Friday, 6 November 2015

Burning Dawn Campaign & Infiltration Cadre [Tau] - Updated Dec '15

[Our New Character Ethereal Aun'Do]

I'm a bit late to the party with this campaign.  I always thought the Ethereal looked really neat, and was hoping to pick it up cheaply from ebay a few weeks after the release.  However I don't think this is likely to happen, as unlike the previous campaign boxsets there isn't the huge savings on the price, meaning it's unlikely people will be buying multiples of the boxset to either bulk out their army or start an army from scratch.  Therefore the Ethereal is currently, and is likely to stay, being sold for a very inflated price compared to an Ethereal (around £25+).

However while listening to a YouTube battle report it was mentioned that the new campaign Ethereal had fearless, and knowing the new character Ethereal was only 25pts more than a standard Ethereal, I was intrigued with the rules for the Burning Dawn models.

So firstly what do you get if you take Aun'Do, well he got a hover drone (not that impressed, as only means he ignores dangerous terrain checks when he's with a unit), an honour blade (ok, but I've never taken one because an Ethereal shouldn't be getting in combat voluntarily), recon armour (nice but nothing special), once a game can use 2 invocations (nice) and has another rule to do with ignoring cover (which I will try to get more info on).

A normal Ethereal with recon armour, honour blade & hover drone would be 70 pts, so the extra abilities, particularly fearless is only 5 points.  In my eyes that's a bargain, and I would have paid 75 points for him even if he didn't have the hover drone, armour or honour blade.

So what is in the boxset, and would I get it

In the box you get:
1 Pathfinder Squad (10 Pathfinders, including special weapons & 3 Drones)
1 Piranha
1 Stealth Suit Team (3 Stealth Suits & 1 Drone)
Ethereal Aun’Do
Burning Dawn Campaign Book (32 pages, including background story & rules)

If you assume the Ethereal cost a bit more than the current Ethereal and is in line with the other plastic characters, then you're only saving a couple of pounds.  So unless you really wanted to pick up the Ethereal or the rules for the formation (which you could probably pick up elsewhere, eg. ebay) you'd really need to what to use all the models.

Both Pathfinders and Stealth Suits have not been in my army for a while, Stealth suits for a few editions and pathfinders since I started using forgeworld Tetras.  Now while both units are not dead weights like Vespids, they are not the most common units seen (although pathfinders are almost a auto include if you don't have Tetras).

Outside of their formation I wouldn't want to use all of these models, so lets take a quick look at the formation.

The formation gives scout (or infiltrate if you already have scout), and Shrouded.  Scouded is very interesting because it makes the pathfinder much more survivable; 3+ cover save in forests, and 2+ in ruins, plus as Aun'Do is an indepentant character he sould give Shrouded to any unit he joins.  In my army my Ethereal normally joins my Sniper Team, which with their own Stealth would have a 2+ cover save when behind the Fire Warriors and Kroot in front of them.

Aun'Do abilities and the Shrouded seem very good.  Now we need to look at the bloat.  Do the units have extra wargear or costs that make the formation as whole so inefficient to outweigh the formation benefits.

[Update: The formation give Stealth NOT Shrouded, no is not quite as good, plus it ruins my idea of joining the Ethereal to my Sniper Drones, as Stealth does not stack with itself]

The Stealth squad comes as 3 with a marker drone and costs 125 pts.  So it has the shas'ui upgrade, fusion gun upgrade and a drone.  A bit of bloat but not too bad to stop me taking the formation.

The Piranha character has BS4 and a fusion gun, so is fine for 55 pts, effectively you get +1 BS and the formation bonuses for 5 points :)

[What a way to kill something promising]
Now the pathfinders, the death dealers.  They are a full squad (not the worse thing in the world), however they are fully bloated with upgrades, they have multiple special weapons and ALL of the drones, and come stock at 240 points.  They don't contribute many markerlight tokens (for their cost) which is what you should take a large squad for. They have a pulse accelerator drone, but then exchange some pulse carbines for special weapons, plus lots of situational wargear (eg. grav inhibitor drone).  Overall they become a very expensive jack of all trade unit that is not overly good at any task for their cost, while still being as tough as guardsmen if anything with ignore fire shots them.

I know this isn't a full proper review of the Burning Dawn units, but at 240 points for one unit of pathfinders it's a deal breaker for me.  I'll take Aun'Do as part of a Combined Arms detachment, but the pathfinders ruin the formation for me (even with the good benefits of Scout and Shrouded).

What's you take on the Burning Dawn Infiltration Cadre ?  I'm going to get the campaign booklet off ebay (for the fluff and Aun'Do rules), and try to pick up Aun'Do, but after that I'll leave it at that, and save my money towards a Stormsurge or Ghostkeel.


[Update: While attending a convention, Warfare, I saw the boxset £10 less than GW price, so I picked it up, as I was shocked at the prices of the Ethereal and the Campaign booklet prices on ebay, which were regularly going for £25+ each, I'll be magetizing the Ethereal so he can be Aun'Do or a regular Ethereal on foot, pics to follow]

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