Since the release of the new Astra Militarum codex there has been a lot of debate over the Taurox transport. Looking around the internet I’ve seen claims ranging from “it’s worthless” to “it’s not that bad.” On paper I thought it looked like it had a lot of promise so I added a couple to my list to try it out. Having played a few games with it I would say that it’s actually a bit underrated. So today I will share my thoughts on the Taurox and how to make good use of it. I won’t talk about the Taurox Prime here because they are Tempestus specific and they are really a different animal all together.
The Taurox: What’s Wrong With It?
Nothing major, really. The Taurox does have a number of weaknesses that need to be worked around to make it effective, but a lot of people have blown these out of proportion a bit. These are typically the reason people will avoid using the Taurox so I will start with the cons before I cover the pros.
The Taurox is lightly armored – We’re looking at a light transport vehicle. At 11/10/10 a single Taurox is not going to anchor your force or break your opponent’s line single handed. But it isn’t as bad as it sounds. AV 11 requires a minimum strength of 5 to glance which rules out the majority of small arms. And now that very few weapons can finish a vehicle with one penetrating hit you’re opponent will probably have to strip all three hull points to stop it. It the Taurox is your only vehicle then it won’t last long but anyone who’s faced multiple rhinos/razorbacks knows that it can be surprisingly tough to knock them all out. And if you’re opponent is wasting lascannons on a Taurox he’s leaving your more powerful tanks alone! AV 10 side armor does leave it vulnerable but the same can be said of the Chimera, and your solution to this should be the same for both. By the time your opponent is close enough for a side armor shot the Taurox is close enough to deliver it’s payload and/or there are other threats pressing in at the same time. Your opponent needs AP 2/1 to make it explode so most likely they’ll just wreck it. The passengers just step out of the wrecked vehicle and, if they can pass the leadership test, they open fire as if they’d disembarked from a still functioning transport.
The Taurox costs more than a rhino – Yes, the Taurox is 10 points more than a Rhino with dozer blade. But you can’t buy a Rhino anyway because you’re playing Astra Militarum. If you’re running with Astartes allies then you can get a rhino for less, but it won’t have twin-linked autocannons on top. The Heavy Bolter Razorback is more similarly armed and slightly more durable from the side but only packing S5 at 36″ range instead of S7 at 48″ Plus the Razorback only carries 6 and costs more.
The Taurox doesn’t have Smoke Launchers – It’s true that you don’t get smoke launchers on the Taurox unless you pay extra for them. Personally I would almost never use them anyway. The Taurox should be moving flat out to cover as much distance as possible, or it should be blazing away with the twin-linked autocannons. It can’t do either of these when it’s using smoke launchers and if it isn’t doing one or the other I don’t need it so stay alive.
The Taurox isn’t a Command Vehicle like the Chimera – This is a pretty good point but most transports aren’t Command Vehicles and most units don’t need to be in a Command Vehicle. If you want the unit to issue commands from the safety of a transport you should give it a Chimera.
The Taurox doesn’t have as many weapons as a Chimera – The Chimera can put out more shots than a Taurox but they aren’t S7 and they aren’t twin-linked. If the Chimera is sitting still in your back line then you can make full use of the multi-laser/heavy bolter combo but if it is moving it has to snap-fire one. With 2 twin-linked BS3 shots you’ll average 1.5 S7 autocannon hits with the Taurox. The Chimera’s 3 BS3 shots will also average 1.5 hits per turn but at S6, plus .166 hits at S5. For mobile firepower the cheaper Taurox wins out against light vehicles and higher toughness targets but the Chimera is better as a command bunker and against light infantry, or against any infantry when close enough to use the lasgun arrays.
The Taurox: What’s good about it?
So we’ve run through the major weaknesses of the Taurox and why they aren’t necessarily crippling. Now lets look at the reasons I consider the Taurox and useful unit in spite of the those weaknesses.
The Taurox is cheap and readily available – For less than a Chimera or Razorback you get a model that can carry 10 models, re-roll dangerous terrain, and carries a twin-linked autocannon. Almost every infantry unit in the army can take one as a dedicated transport so you you can pretty much take as many as you want. A single Infantry Platoon can cram six of them into one Troops slot!
All Terrain APC – The Taurox can re-roll dangerous terrain as if it had a dozer blade, so you can trample through the scenery with abandon!
Twin-linked Autocannons – The autocannon is a go-to weapon for versatility and twin-linked makes it that much better. Just remember to put them on the turret. If you’ve mounted them behind the side hatches to kill your dudes as they disembark, you’ve just done it wrong! There are cheaper sources for autocannons but Sentinels take a Fast Attack slot and Heavy Weapon Squads aren’t as mobile.
Three Access Points – With access hatches mounted half-way up the sides it is much easier to drop your passengers where you want them than it is with a Chimera’s single rear hatch. You have much more flexibility to line up your shots or get out of enemy fire, and if you’re trying to get forward you gain 4 or 5 inches by coming out of the side.
The Taurox comes with everything it needs – With a special rule allowing it to re-roll dangerous terrain and twin-linked autocannons strapped to the top the Taurox doesn’t come with much but doesn’t need anything more. You can add items from the Vehicle Wargear list but in most cases I would save those for the tougher vehicles.
The model is small! – The Taurox has a smaller footprint than a Chimera or Rhino/Razorback, making it easier to take advantage of cover. It’s also just tall enough for the turret-mounted autocannons (again, why would you put them behind the exit hatches on the sides?) to see over a Chimera or Hellhound so you can use those as mobile cover for your softer Taurox.
The Taurox: What to do with it?
Like just about every other unit in the game we need to use the Taurox in ways that take advantage of it’s strengths while mitigating the weaknesses. Given the strengths and weaknesses I’ve seen we can find a couple of ways to do this.
Most of the units you would put in a Taurox are going to be troops. Your command squads are better off in Chimeras so they can still issue orders and Tempestus squads can only take the Prime version which, as I’ve said, is really a different animal in many ways. Ogryns, Bullgryns, and Wyrdvane Psykers open opportunities to take a Taurox in the Elite sections but I’m not sure those are the best place for them. Bullgryns/Ogryns fit better in the larger Chimera and Wyrdvanes need to be on foot to use any non-witchfire powers. Infantry squads and Veteran squads seem like the best choices for a Taurox.
At 20 points cheaper than a Chimera with dozer blade the Taurox is a good option for transporting a Veteran squad. You can tear through terrain to get them where you need them and take advantage of the side access points to place them more easily. The Taurox has two fire points on each side so it isn’t bad for driving around and firing with the squad’s special weapons, but for that purpose I prefer a Chimera because the hatch gives you a better firing arc and you can take advantage of the lasgun arrays and maybe a hull-mounted heavy flamer. Once it has delivered it’s cargo the Taurox can pull back or run down a flank and use the autocannons to blast away from a relatively safe distance. Since it gains Objective Secured from the Veterans it can be used to charge in and contest or steal objectives. It is more likely to be taken down at such close range but if you’re pulling a victory point for the objective it’s a sacrifice worth making and any turn an enemy unit spends on the Taurox is a turn it isn’t targeting something more valuable.
I like to use the Taurox as a support vehicle for Infantry squads. It is a cheap unit in a cheap transport so it will tend to be a low priority target until later turns and by then it should already have delivered the squad to it’s destination. Because it’s cheaper than a Chimera it makes it easier to mobilize a large portion of your army. If you decide to set up your infantry on foot the Taurox becomes a support unit that can lay out some decent fire power and provide cover for the infantry units. It could also be loaned out to mobilize a heavy or special weapons squad. As with the Veterans, the Taurox will gain Objective Secured from the Infantry Squad so it can be very useful as a mobile objective grabber.
The Taurox is a bit soft for a front line vehicle but in an army with access to so many other vehicles the Taurox should rarely be at the forefront. They work well along the flanks or in the back lines where they can take advantage of cover and superior range. They are small enough to take cover behind the tougher tanks and tall enough to shoot over them so they also work well advancing behind Chimeras or Hellhound variants.
The Taurox: In Conclusion
In short the Taurox is cheap, mobile, and well armed. The Chimera is still a better transport for Officers and for driving into the enemy’s face but the Taurox is cheaper and its autocannons can threaten a greater range of targets. It is a versatile support vehicle on its own and works well for moving units into strategic locations along the flanks. Even if it is softer than your other vehicles it still requires enough effort to remove that it will draw fire from your more valuable tanks, or continue to punish your opponent if they leave it alone.
The Taurox doesn’t compete well with the Chimera in all cases because it doesn’t have to. Each serves a slightly different purpose. I’ve been using two of each in my 1650 point list and it feels like a good balance. What has been your experience with or against the Taurox?