As with the two 6th Edition Codexes noted above (the Chaos Daemon Codex played it slightly differently), there are Signature Systems tied to a particular Special Character: Commander Shadowsun’s custom XV22 Stealth Battlesuit for example. There is also a list of Signature Systems not tied to a specific named character, but available to any generic XV8 Commander (but not Ethereals) or, curiously, XV8 Bodyguards and a Shas’vre from a regular Crisis Suit team.
The first thing to note is that there is a healthy choice of Signature Systems in the Tau Codex (p. 73 to be exact). Excluding the items associated with Special Characters…
- Codex: Chaos Space Marines had 6 Artifacts
- Codex: Dark Angels had 5 Chapter Relics
- Codex: Chaos Daemons had 4 Hellforged Artefacts
- Codex: Tau Empire has 8 Signature Systems
For the sake of readability, I’ll discuss four of them now, and four more in a second post.
So, how useful are the…
- Command and Control Node
- Failsafe Detonator
- Multi-Spectrum Sensor Suite
- Onager Gauntlet
#1 – Command and Control Node
It starts with a slightly less-impressive item. The Command and Control Node allows a character to forgo his own shooting attacks in exchange for granting his unit re-rolls to hit.
It’s a neat idea, but the “model with this wargear does not shoot” clause is a real downer.
Your commander is most likely tooled with some fine weaponry, and it seems a waste for him to not use them, making this a Signature System more appropriate for a bodyguard or Shas’vre.
Still, most weapons that “count” on Crisis Suits (or on Broadsides) are – or can be – twin-linked, often for less than the cost of the Command and Control Node. You might also try to use this on Commander sitting with some Fire Warriors or, better yet, Pathfinders early in the game. Even so, there are better ways to boost these units’ accuracy.
Personally, if that is the kind of ability I’d be looking for, I’d look no further than Shadowsun’s Command and Control Drone. Similar effect, but in a bubble (hence your Riptides, Hammerheads, etc.. could benefit from it) and without the “cannot-shoot” trade-off.
I think I will pass on this one.
#2 – Failsafe Detonator
Pretty much as the name implies. The Failsafe Detonator will have the wearer explode in a large blast if he is slain in the Assault Phase (!). Again, this seems to be a better fit for a bodyguard or Shas’vre, and with AP- it isn’t terribly impressive.
That said, I’ve seen many people use Crisis Suit teams on “suicide mission”, deep-striking into the hot spots of the battle with lots of plasma and melta-weaponry. If you bring a Crisis Team like this, and you have the points to spare in your list, why not literally go out with a bang?!
I like the Failsafe Detonator for the fun-factor alone!
#3 – Multi-Spectrum Sensor Suite
The Multi-Spectrum Sensor Suite is similar to (and incompatible with) the Command and Control Node. The wearer opts not to shoot, thus granting his unit the ability to ignore cover.
This strikes me as slightly more useful than the Command and Control Node (and it’s slightly more expensive), possibly granting a Crisis Team, a Broadside Team or your Commander to pick off enemies hiding behind a cover (stealth, shrouded, jink, etc…) safe.
Obviously, Markerlights can offer a similar bonus, though the Multi-Spectrum Sensor Suite can still be a worthwhile addition against certain opponents… Ravenwing-lists for example.
The Multi-Spectrum Sensor is a bit situational, and not the most awe-inspiring Signature System. However, I can see Tau players getting good mileage from it against unsuspecting opponents.
#4 – Onager Gauntlet
The Onager Gauntlet is, in my humble opinion, the best of the first four Signature Systems discussed here: The Tau Close-Combat Fist!
It’s a hilarious concept. It’s also very cheap. And while it asks you to trade in “all your close-combat attacks” for one massive Tau Shoryuken, that’s not much for a trade for a Tau.. right?
- It’s useful for smashing vehicles.
- It’s useful for making your opponent think twice about charging with some 2nd-tier characters (Onager Gauntlet does hit at regular Initiative!).
- It’s dirt cheap and plain fun.
The only downside is giving up a potential weapon-system. Still, this one … I approve!
#5 – Your Thoughts?
What do you think? Have you tried some of these Signature Systems in your list? Let me know what you think and leave a comment for the Greater Good!
- How Good are the Tau Signature Systems? – Part 1
- How Good are the Tau Signature Systems? – Part 2