|A really nice drawing of Shadowsun|
Special HQ Choices
Farsight is still probably one of the best named characters in the Tau army. His price only dropped 5 pts., but now you have no restrictions like before, for example he isn't restricted to only games that are more than 1,5k in size. Like before, he can have a really large group of Crisis Bodyguards and his Warlord Trait makes them a really difficult unit to handle. Though it might be expensive, I'd really like to see someone actually using the maximum amount of bodyguards that he can have. All of them with Plasma Rifles (Twin-linked or just normal) and they will be able to kill pretty much anyone. If against large masses, Burst Cannon would also be a viable option. This would especially be a good option against Orks due to the Preferred Enemy Farsight grants the unit.
Shadowsun has improved quite a bit from before. Just like Farsight, she can now be fielded in games that are less than 1,5k and with more than 100 pts. cheaper, she is a great HQ choice. Due to her Defender of the Greater Good special rule, she probably the best with a unit of Stealth Suits that have Shield Drones. When the unit is shot at, you can just make all of the hits end up wounding the Drones instead of the Stealth Suits. Also with the Infiltration special rule they can just start the game in a building or cover, making their Stealth + Shroud really tough.
Aun'Va had a huge change, all of it positive. 100 pts. cheaper, he is actually a really good support HQ. He is (imo) meant to just stay at the frontline but away from the combat. Even though both of his guards are decent in CC, with a 5+ save you won't be able to stay there long, while again't ranged attacks you will more likely survive. His Great Invocation and Supreme Loyalty really force him to avoid cc as much as possible.
Atleast you can actually think about taking him now..
The weird thing with the old codex was that they actually dropped few characters from it for no reason - atleast this lad and if I remember correctly the Great Kroot Shaper, not sure - but Aun'Shi is back. Just 5 more points than Aun'va, he is a lot easier to kill by shooting. But instead of that, he is a decent close combatier, who's main job is to challenge enemies. He feels like he is meant to be some just-for-fun-character, since almost none of the Tau are CCers. The only way I would field him would be with a pack of Kroots with Pulse Rounds (making the best use of his Invocation of the Elements by either using the Stone or Fire element). Not my kind of a named character, but he might be good if played correctly.
Darkstrider is a really strong and cheap HQ choice. At only 100 pts. he can make an enemy charge work as an extra firing round with no down side for you. This is why I think that he would be the best choice with Farsight, Shadowsun or just a regular commander. He is also a really strong character with Ethereal in the same team. The only disadvantage I can see with him is that he is an easy target for snipers - like Vindicare Assassin if I remember correctly - or instant death shooting attacks. The best way to field him would be with a large group of Fire Warriors, supported by a Devilfish and maybe an Ethereal of some sort. The Ethereal isn't a must-have for this, but he really makes the Structural Analyser Signature System a deadly weapon:
12 Fire Warriors firing rapid fire with their Pulse Rifles (24) and some Marker/Gun Drones with them (1-2/2-4) and add Ethereal's Fire Element and you get 36 Pulse Rifle (+ 1-2 markerlight or 3-6 Twin-linked Pulse Carbine) shots directly at the charging unit. All of them have 2+ against Space Marines or weaker and they cause instant death to those that don't have their base toughness 4 or more. With this you could have your Devilfish and a Crisis Suit Team support firing. And after all that you can just consolidate D6 and the enemy didn't get anything out of it.
Well there you have it! The first part of many upcoming articles. If you disagree or think that I've misunderstood something, just leave a comment! Also I hope that this Article wasn't too long.
Hope you enjoyed! :D