This is the 7th Edition tactics. 6th edition can be found here.
- 1 Why Play Tau
- 2 Tau Special Rules
- 3 Arsenal of Expansion
- 4 Unit Analysis
- 5 Supplements
- 6 Formations
- 7 Games Supplements
- 8 Allies
- 9 Building Your Army
- 10 Helpful Hints and Fun Strategies
Why Play Tau
Because you want to win? When you start a Tau army, you know others are going to hate you, be it because you're bringing a plasmagun to a knife fight, thrashing their best guys with Gundam-style battlesuits, or abusing the ever-loving shit out of cheap-and-effective long-range missile strikes and widely-available infiltration and cover-save-raping. You may win battles, but that is not your goal as a Tau player: you play Tau to drink your enemies' tears.
Veteran Tau Commanders recommend an order of sushi to go with those tears.
Remember, you cannot spell "Taunt" without "Tau".
With 7th edition favoring shooting, Tau, with their focus on shooting and nothing else, are at their peak. In the competition for the title of the cheesiest power faction in the game, they now fall behind Necrons, Eldar, and even the Space Marines Battle Company. You still have all the rules to fit the crunch changes: widely available ignore cover against the bullshit 3+/2+ cover saves everyone throws around, easily the best anti-air in the game against flying cheese (arguably now; Orks say "HAI BOSS" with their Traktor Kannons), excellent mobility to hunt objectives in Maelstrom missions, and monstrous creatures in every slot but Troops to capitalize on their effectiveness in a current edition. About the only thing you don't have is anti-psychic defense, but with the reduction of warp charge effectiveness in 7th edition it's no longer such a huge problem.
That's not to say you can just park your gunline, back it up with power units end expect it to mow down everything thrown at it - that's the Guard and Necron way. With Tau you need to support even your power units in order for them to earn their points, and carefully pick key targets to be eliminated one by one, since most things in your army work better when you concentrate your firepower. Good thing pretty much your entire HQ and half of FA are force multipliers or could be made into ones, and your superior range allows for better focus firing.
In summary, Tau are a power army. Not only do you have delicious cheese combos, but all other armies' cheese could be hard countered by you to the ground. Mass flyers? Velocity Trackers on everything! All terminator army? Eat plasma/ion interceptor shots! Heavily covered gunline? Ignore cover with markerlights! Nidzilla/Wraitharmy? Cheap snipers will drown them in poisoned wounds! Mass heavy mech? Fusion blaster drops and EMP grenades everywhere! Hordes of light vehicles? Oh boy, our basic guns are S5 and their jink saves won't help them if markerlighted! Deep striking dedicated melee units with Feel No Pain? Counterfire Defence Systems and Early Warning Overrides will help you make short work of them! There is no way one can out-cheese properly prepared Tau. Not like you can do all of this with one army, but if you want to ruin the day of some local gameclub cheesemonger, Tau are definitely your army.
Tau Special Rules
Bonding Knife Ritual: A unit with this upgrade has Heroic Morale, allowing them to always test to regroup on their unmodified Leadership. Is it that useful? Not really. It is a super situational upgrade, even though it is cheap. But it fits nicely on battlesuit squads with drones, the increased squad size can mean being below 25% is a possibility, and it costs even less for those squads because drones don't take it. Spending 3 points to make sure your last suit doesn't have to roll snake eyes to regroup is worth it. Note that if you're running a Farsight army, this is mandatory.
Supporting Fire: One of the new biggies, this rule lets all units within 6" Overwatch as if they were members of the charged squad. Note that each model can still only Overwatch once per phase. This is absolutely vital; it can stave off assault by a turn or more. It can be especially devastating when combined with copious amounts of Markerlights, which according to Pinpoint, do benefit during Overwatch. It allows your infantry (and some battlesuits) to become a "wall of pikemen". If you keep the units tight together, the enemy charge may not break, but it will be much more painful for them if to try it, and they will be likely to lose a few models just closing the distance. The survivors will still kick your blue ass though, so do not count on it unless you have a truly massive blob of supporting fire goodness; best options are flamers, burst cannons and plasma rifles, and drones with their twin-linked carbines. Keep in mind a unit does not need to have this rule to recieve supporting fire, only to give it. This is especially hilarious when combined with 30 man Kroot squads stretched out from table edge to table edge, allowing for units 30 inches from the assaulting squad to auto-hit with flamers. If enemy complains, flip to Wall of Death and prance about.
Markerlights: As any defender of the Tau'va worth their salt should know, markerlights are what turn a rambling mob of shooty morons into a synergetic army of hard cheddar. The delivery system for these little babies has stayed the same: Pathfinders, Tetras, Markerdrones & Skyrays (amongst other niche units). What makes this great is that markerlight hits can't be saved. Not even by cover (which it kinda shoud - a tree saves you from plasma but not a laser dot? That's game mechanics). Their uses have been ever more streamlined, leaving you with the most beneficial uses, these being:
- Pinpoint: Spend 1 marker for +1 BS with no limit even to snaps shots and overwatch (so it can be used with the Ethereal's Gun&Run). Great in a Redcoat gunline army.
- Seeker: Spend 1 marker to fire a Seeker missile at BS5 which ignores line of sight and cover. The missile must be fired by the unit spending the token and at the same target that the rest of the unit is firing at, but doesn't count against the number of weapons it can fire. Many armies like to hide support HQs in cover. Tyranid Warriors behind gaunts? IG Command squad behind an Aegis line? Mark them (cover wont preven this) and suddenly a missile IDs that commander, throwing his troops in disarray. That's Mont'Ka for you.
- Destroyer: Spend 1 marker to fire a Destroyer Missile at strength D. This is how you make Stormsurges nightmarish.
- Scour: Spend 2 markers to give the entire firing unit Ignores Cover against the marked target. In all better than before seeing as it used to take on average three markerlight points to completely negate someone's cover save. This sees good use against skimmers that can use a jink save, since jinking confers a 4+ cover save. Since you can't save against markerlights, a jinking enemy has no chance to make use of their jink ability.
Fire Team: GW's reason for you to shell out a crapload of cash for the new expensive models and it's a decent reason, too. A unit with this rule that has three monstrous creatures or vehicles gains +1 BS. Combine it with Coordinated Firepower to get BS5 even before using markerlights. This makes a team of Hammerheads dangerous on their own right and reduces (but shouldn't) needed markerlight support. You can even do this with freakin' Stormsurges. Of course, this will be a HUGE points sink, but you could find uses for this in some armies. Three Ghostkeels in an Optimized Stealth Cadre will be your independent hunters of the night, making your opponents cry delicious tears.
Skyfire: While this isn't a rule that all Tau actually have standard, a plethora of units in the codex have access to Skyfire. This makes Tau the absolute leader of 7th edition in anti-air tactics. A tactic that was popular when the codex was first launched in 6th edition was to put Skyfire on pretty much anything that could take it, but this is far too expensive. But don't forget the fact that you have some very interesting options due to your army's flexibility. If your opponent likes to run a Vendetta/Night Scythe/Storm Raven exploit list, then two squads of High-Yield Missile Pod Broadsides equipped with velocity trackers can very quickly ruin their day- or, with their twin-linked ability, just take an EWO and get rid of the bastards before they're even a problem. Either way, a Tau army can easily rule the skies. Remember this.
Tau WTs are heavily geared towards Battlesuit commanders, but the best are available for all - sadly, those are One Use only. If your warlord rolls a Tau WT they can't use, they'll just reroll it, Battleforged or not (though you should be). This is most noticeable with Ethereals. Honestly, why wouldn't you have a Commander as your warlord?
- Precision of the Skilled Hunter: Enemies can't use Look Out, Sir! when shot at by your Warlord. Useful for sniping the enemy Warlord if he is a coward and a fewl and hides in a METAL BAW- I mean, if he hides in a unit.
- Through Unity, Devastation: For one shooting phase, all Tau within 12" reroll To Hit rolls of 1 — Particularly useful if you're deploying as a nice castled-up gun line. Can stack to ludicrous levels if you combine it with Markerlights (which you should), formations and Ethereal or/and Cadre Fireblades +1 shot to pulse rifles/carbines for true devastation®. Note that in 7th edition, there now exists a WT in the base rulebook (Target Priority from the Command Traits table) that provides the exact same benefit but is not single-use, meaning this trait just became far less special. That table also has 4 WTs you won't like, even when Battleforged, is it worth the risk? Yeah, especially when Shadowsun's Command drone does something simmilar.
- Extremely useful, provided the situation involves lots of Gets Hot weapons. Want your Riptide to fire its Nova-charged Heavy Burst Cannon without killing itself, while you overcharge all nearby Ion weapons at the same time? Well now is the time. Maybe it is worth the risk, roll for Target Priority, good luck! Anything targeted by this combination is dead, dead, dead, and you run no real risk to yourself by doing it. Some cheesemonger who concentrates all their points in some kind of super-unit will explode with rage when hit by this. Make your standard-issue Tau tear collection cup handy before doing it.
- A Ghost Who Walks Among Us: The Warlord and his unit move 3D6" with their Jet Packs. It makes them much less likely to suffer a snake-eyed fail of a thrust move. Commander Shadowsun gets this trait by default if taken as your warlord.
- Exemplar of the Selfless Cause: Once per game, all units that have gone to ground stand back up and act normally. This means you can weather a turn of enemy shooting, then stand right back up and shoot him in the face; needless to say, this is one of the better Warlord Traits. If you took bucketloads of battlesuits it has less use for you, but then you'd be rolling Farsight Enclaves' WTs instead. Aun'Do and Aun'Va get this trait by default if taken as your warlord.
- Predator of the Skies: For one shooting phase, your Warlord and his squad get Skyfire - which you might already have from a Velocity Tracker or Coldstar, but you do have Ideal Mission Commander...right? It's not that bad if your Warlord's unit has Markerlights, tho.
- Through Boldness, Victory: Your Warlord and his unit don't scatter on Deep Strike. If you're planning to do a Commander-bomb, this is the one you should fervently hope/pray for. Commander Farsight gets this trait by default (if taken as your warlord), and can deepstrike with NINE Crisis/Bodyguard suits, all their drones, a second Commander with drones if you're feeling saucy and even your mom, with guaranteed no-mishap. Hell, cut on some Crisis, add a Riptide and some Broadsides and that's a Retaliation Cadre with no scatter. Screw tear cups, you'll need tear pools.
X: The Assassin: O'Rly's unique WT grants him Preferred Enemy: Independent Characters. You get it if the IC is alone, attached to a unit or hiding elsewhere, and it works well enough to blast the things, hulls and idiots that get in the way as long as IC still alive and attached.
The new Death From the Skies (from Shield of Baal: Leviathan) gives you the ability to bolster flyers with a special rule, all of them inferior to the ones in the previous one, but at least it got cheaper. For
50 35 points, you can roll a D3 and give a Flyer or FMC (FGC are up to debate though, but J.H.C., BS 6 Coldstars) a special bonus. Not available on the Y'Vahra because of that one rule it has.
- Targeting Array: +1 BS. Could be useful for rationing Markerlights if you're going economical with them, or to hit a target beyond your markerlights. Near useless on a Coldstar Commander (his weapon is already BS5 Twin-linked, and BS6 Missile pod isn't a huge step up from BS5), a Sunshark will benefit more of it.
- Stealth Shielding: All cover is improved by +1 to a 3+ Cover Save. Expect to spam this to keep them running. Might save you from a Slay the Warlord, sucks if you got it on a flyer with Disruption Pods.
- Marker Plane: Add D3 Markerlight tokens to a single target within 12" of your Fighter Ace. Rejoice as you give your troops an opening to kill with. Aproaches the previous version's effectiveness when the Ace has other sources of Markerlights, like a Sunshark, and it's useful when your Coldstar swoops, as he leaves his drones behind.
- 11. The Lure
- Pretty simple: Win 1 VP for destroying an enemy unit that charged during the last turn. If you do it three times, you win D3 VP
- 12. Patient Hunter
- 1 VP for eliminating an enemy in your Deployment Zone.
- 13. Ambush
- Real easy here. You win a VP for either eliminating an enemy unit or if they fail morale. If you get three units to do either or both, you win D3 VP.
- 14. Multiple Distractions
- This one requires a bit of setup. The only way you can achieve this (and win 1 VP) is if you get an enemy unit within 12" of one table edge while getting another within 12" of the opposite table edge. Having mobile firepower helps with this, as do Kroot.
- 15. Feigned Withdrawal
- This one's a little risky; to win this, you need to destroy an enemy within 9" of your units and outside of his Deployment Zone.
- 16. The Greater Good
- This requires attention. You only win D3 VP for taking over an objective controlled by the enemy. If you repeat this three times, you get D3+3 VP, and you win an additional VP if you suffer no casualties during this turn. To maximize this, you need to prioritize what you can use to take these points immediately.
Arsenal of Expansion
Battlesuit Ranged Weaponry
These are chosen for Crisis suits, including the Commander and his Bodyguards. Differently from the previous Codex, Cyclic Ion Blaster and Airbursting Fragmentation Projector aren't experimental weapons anymore.
Note: You can make a weapon Twin-linked for some extra points and it will take up a second hard point (same as last codex), or you can take multiples of the same weapon at the base cost for each. Example: You could take a Plasma Rifle for 15 points, Twin-Linked Plasma Rifle for 20 points, or two individual Plasma Rifles for 30 points (15 points each). Nowadays people usually just take two of the same non-twinlinked weapons, trading versatility for efficiency, but loading a suit with two different guns so it could deal with a higher variety of threats is still a valid tactic.
- Flamer: Good old reliable and cheap. If you have points and hard-points to spare, stick them on. They are a good deterrent for weaker units trying to tie up battlesuits; a twin-linked flamer, with its re-rolling to-wound goodness, is amongst the best systems you could have for overwatch, costing less than all other guns and leaving a hand free to fire another weapon. Expecting lots of close encounters with infantry trying to engage in melee? You take a flamer.
- Burst Cannon: Like a Tyranid Deathspitter but with one extra shot. Good for dealing with light infantry, and when combined with a flamer it's awesome at tackling hordes. However, you get lots of S5 AP5 shots elsewhere, and combined with drones and the new higher squad size, its main advantage, high rate of fire, isn't a need as before. But it's quite cheap and perfect for small squads: 3 Crisis with 6 gun drones can easily glance most transports to death while remaining excellent against infantry, all of that for less than 200 pts. Most vehicles have rear AV10, so with good positioning they won't even need the gun drones. Drop in, remove 3-6 HP or murder 16 GEQs, a very troll-worthy tactic. And it's even better with markerlights - owing to its high rate of fire this weapon will be more likely to come into its own with other wargear made to take maximum advantage of it. So, if you are going to take them, consider putting two of them as non-twin-linked weapons on a Crisis to chug out eight shots per turn, and indulge your gatling fetish, you sick bastard. Enjoy the look on your opponent's face when your three suits drop THAT many dice, or watch enemy Orks go green(er) with envy at the absolutely XBOX HUEG amount of dakka you put out.
- If you're gonna go Farsight Crisiswing, outfitting a team with double Burst Cannons (and gun drones for a taste) can be perfect at clearing hordes, like Conscripts, or cheap and fast tarpit units like DE beasts or Chaos Spaw...WAIT, NO I DIDN'T MEAN-AJRSPLBLBLBLBLBLBLBLBLBL
- Airbursting Fragmentation Projector: The only Barrage weapon in the codex, the AFP slings flamer-equivalent (including Ignores Cover) pie plates at 18" range. This weapon was pretty iffy in the 6E book when you could only have one: even where it was good, it was too vulnerable and too likely to be anywhere but where it's needed. Now that you can take more than one, it actually has some merit. It costs as much as three flamers, but doesn't need line of sight. Useful against the same classes of target that you'd use flamers on, now from a much more comfortable distance. Cannot be twin-linked, but you can take two per suit, just remember Blast weapons cannot overwatch. All in all not bad, but you're generally not hurting for ways to ferret GEQs out of cover, and using a Multi-spectrum takes away its main advantage over other weapons.
- Cyclic Ion Blaster: A cross between a Burst cannon and a Missile pod, this is a 18" range, 3 shot S7 weapon in normal mode, and becomes a + 1S Blast when overcharged, the only downside of that being the chance to burn your little weeaboo fingers, and you can't twin-link it to avoid it. It's an extremely versatile weapon, in fact, having only one less shot but 2 more Str gives the Burst cannons insecurity issues, being better at dealing with vehicles without compromising lots of anti-infantry power, unlike missiles, with the AP4 that will make IG officers cry (more). While S8 will ID the unlucky MEQ, you're still better using the normal mode against AV13, volume of fire compensating the reduced strenght. Its only real problems are power armored enemies, cover campers and AV14, but that's a job reserved for more specialized guns. If you like to put 2 different weapons on a suit to make it good against a wide variety of targets, at least one of those weapons should be a CIB. Great with an EWO.
- Fusion Blaster: 6" extra to the range might not seem like a lot, but it is. This makes deep striking and cracking open the soft caramel center of vehicles all that much easier. Properly measured, it puts you on average 16" away from the vehicle that you just exploded at the end of your assault phase, making charges from units left to defend them far less likely. Also, don't forget that AP1 is still AP1 - Fusion Blasters have an important secondary role IDing Terminators (Suck on that, Paladins), high-toughness units and MC/GCs. Low shot volume hurts, but markerlights can compensate.
- Missile Pod: More like Autocannons, really. The longest ranged weapon your battlesuit can have, it's excellent for sniping walkers, light vehicles and the odd monstrous critter or two (ones with low armor saves, to be exact). Due to the low output of shots, however, battlesuits equipped with these should avoid firing at larger-sized squads unless they have no better option.
- Plasma Rifle: Before the inclusion of the Riptide, this was the Tau's only source of reliable AP2 weaponry. The new codex has not stopped their usefulness. They have good range, don't get hot, enough Str to wound marines on a 2+ and are Rapid-fire. If you find yourself fighting a lot of marines, necrons, jetbikes and monstrous creatures (which you WOULD in a current meta) a full squad of double-plasma suits is just the right tool to bring it down, with a bit of markerlight support to cut though cover saves.
These can be taken by nearly all battlesuit variants, albeit to varying degrees; Broadsides and Stealth suits, for instance, can only take one. Items marked as "(standard issue)" come with all battlesuits, do not need to be purchased, and do not count against a suit's support system limit. They are included just for the sake of completeness.
- Advanced Targeting System: Allows an equipped model to use the Precision Shot Special Rule. Consider equipping them with this plus a burst cannon and a cyclonic ion blaster to maximize the odds of sniping special weapons and characters from enemy units as a kind of tactical-level Mont'ka maneuver.
- Blacksun Filter (standard issue): Tau Nightvision, it grants the Night Vision special rule (obviously) and immunity to Blind, which is nice, since Blind become more common nowadays and could seriously fuck your I2 everything up. Unlike certain options (like searchlights) available to other forces, this does not give away its user's position at night, but doesn't illuminate the target for the rest of your army, like those options do. But because a unit only needs one model with the rule, if you brought multiple Commanders/battlesuited characters you could attach them to some fire warriors until the dawn. Once a separate option, this now comes as standard issue equipment built into all Tau battlesuits for free and without occupying a hardpoint.
- Counterfire Defense System: Increases a model's Overwatch fire from the normal BS1 shot for snap-fire to BS2. For my money and hardpoints I'd rather bring a Flamer - you'd get more hits and wounds in most cases. Or save some space and have Markerlights do the work, which can improve snapshots beyond BS2. It's a personal choice though, can be useful if you decide to go TEQ hunting with some plasma rifles. Also a good choice if you feel like investing in support systems on your Stealth suits. Keep in mind they don't change BS of Drones.
- Drone Controller: Formerly necessary for a unit to use drones, that functionality has become built-in. This new little bad boy works to enhance the drone's function, meaning the drones in your unit use the same BS as the bearer, making Markerlight hits that much easier to get. If your squad is taking any sizable amounts of drones (unless they are all shield drones) then think of including this as it will make up its point quickly.
- DS8 Tactical Support Turret: New support that only Fire Warriors (both Strike and Breacher Teams) can use. It can be deployed in a turn where the team stands still. It acts as an extra gun (actually either a missile pod or a smart missile system) for all intents and purposes, but it's immobile. However, in the event that nobody's nearby enough to blast or enemies are too close, it can be recalled to be deployed elsewhere.
- Early Warning Override: Battlesuit aimbot program, providing Interceptor. While your first thought would be to combine it with a Velocity Tracker, its too expensive to be effective against anything save absolute cheesemongering (i.e. all-air lists). Instead use the Interceptor rule for what it was designed: to shoot down reserves at the end of THEIR movement phase. Do not forget to bring your tearcup when your Riptide blows apart tightly packed teleporting Terminators or drop-podded Sternquards with single Ion accelerator blast. A decent option, all things considered. Great with a Cyclic Ion Blaster.
- Multi-tracker (standard issue): Sensors and targeting systems which allow a unit to manage the fire power of two weapons simultaneously, like a battlesuited John Woo action hero. Once a separate hardpoint-filling option, its popularity (bordering on ubiquity) has made it a now standard issue piece of equipment built into every battlesuit, so comes free with the unit and does not occupy a hardpoint.
Note: There is an argument here about whether or not they work in Overwatch. Most people go with the "Multi-trackers only work in the Shooting Phase not the Enemy Assault Phase" side of the argument, although there are some notable exceptions (like the NOVA tournament organizers) that think otherwise. Make your own judgement call. Luckly, White Dwarf team has answered this. It's the closest thing to RAW you'll get from them.
- Positional Relay: This allows outflankers in reserve in your army move in from the same board edge as the bearer provided he is within 6" of it, including your opponent's edge. Used correctly this could allow you control of most of the board. However there isn't much need for lots of these in your army - setup for Kroot Konga line, anyone?. Expect to use it more often on larger point games. Note that this piece of gear also comes as standard with the Recon drones that can accompany Pathfinder squads, so weigh that in consideration for this if you are already taking them.
- Shield Generator: Another that remains unchanged. It grants you a 4+ invulnerable save. Basically it's a one upped version of the Stimulant injector. Combine the pair and add shield drones for a model that just simply refuses to die.
- Stimulant injector: Again another item that is no longer one per army. This will give the equipped model Feel no Pain. It's not cheap and it's even costlier on Riptides/Ghostkeel, but it prevents a wound on a 5+ that is only denied by Instant Death. Get it if you have the points and the unit in question is likely to see a lot of fire and needs the endurance, like the aforementioned Riptides so they don't kill themselves.
- Target Lock: Allows the model to fire at a different target from the rest of the unit. This tool, while cheap, is often over-used. More often than not the one extra weapon does not make the difference. The only real time its effectiveness comes into play is when used in conjunction with fusion-blaster wielding, deep striking, jihad shouting, suicide squads. Deploy them onto the back armoured line of a foe and watch him cry. Remember to have your china tear cup at the ready. You can't use this to shoot at units emerging from a wrecked transport because you must declare targets prior to rolling any dice. Alternatively, it works really nice with Marker drones, whose markerlights are no longer Networked.
- Vectored Retro-thrusters: No longer one per army, this gives the model both Fleet and Hit & Run. Useful if you get bogged down in combat and need to redeploy quickly. The only downside is a poor I means that you won't always pull out in time, unless you have Drones with you (which are I4 for some reason) or stick it in a Farsight Bomb (Farsight is I5). Vespids have I6, but not only they already have H&R, why are you sticking around with them?. Would be great for Broadsides, Ghostkeels and Riptides stuck in CC, but they can't buy this. Note: You only need 1 suit with this system in order to give the entire unit the benefits of Hit & Run, but you need to give this to everyone in the unit if you want to gain the benefits of Fleet. Because you wont be running or assaulting with battlesuits, you don't care about Fleet, so take only one. Still, positioning is key so the model carrying doesn't get killed before running away.
- Velocity Tracker: Another new toy. This thing allows a model to choose on a turn-by-turn basis whether it wants to use the Skyfire rule or not (so it can be fire at fliers one turn and ground units the next with no penalty to either). Slapping these on Broadsides may be everyone's first move but they don't do too badly on Crisis suits, Ghostkeels or Riptides (especially with the HBC) either. Combine with Early Warning Override to give flier heavy lists an early bus ticket home.
Basically, these are the equivalent to the artifacts/relics of other books. They can be taken by the Commander, his Bodyguards, or Crisis Shas'vres, but it's a bad idea for the latter because these take up hardpoint space with him, unlike with the previous two (meaning you could be a complete retard and stuff all of them on one single Shas'O if you wanted). Only one of each can be taken per army.
- Command and Control Node: A 4th ed piece of tech that was killed off in the switch to 5th ed when Target Priority tests went the way of the dodo. Back from the dead and clocking in at 15pts, it makes all of a unit's weapons Twin-linked at the cost of giving up the bearer's own shooting. If you put this on your Commander you'll miss out on his sweet BS5, but at least it will be on your longer lasting model. Using this and Multi-spectrum Sensor Suite on a gigantic Farsight bodyguard squad kicks total ass.
- Failsafe Detonator: S5 Large Blast on death. Useful as a last 1 fingered salute to anyone assaulting you and not much more. Still, it's just 10 pts, you might as well put it on units you don't expect to survive the battle, like those Rambo Crisis suits, but by no means an auto-include.
- XV-8-02 Iridium Battlesuit: Adds 1 Toughness and gives a 2+ save. Don't waste this on a Crisis Shas'vre, save it for the Commander (your warlord if there isn't an Ethereal present). Alternate opinion: Put this on a bodyguard loaded up with stims and a shield generator to get an unkillable bodyguard (who causes you to auto-pass Look Out Sir rolls) to act as a T5, 2+/4++, FNP whipping boy while leaving your Commander's hardpoints free to load up on dakka.
- Multi-spectrum Sensor Suite: Like Command and control, you forgo shooting with this model in place of giving the model's unit's ranged weapons the Ignores Cover special rule. Take it on your Commander with the Command and Control Node, because if you're doing something else with it, you're probably wrong (see above regarding Crisis Shas'vre).
- Neuroweb System Jammer: At 2pts this little gadget is an auto-include. At the start of your enemy's shooting phase the bearer selects 1 enemy unit within 12" to have its weapons get hot until the end of the next turn. Even if you never use it it can still be funny to watch your foe create a wide area of space around the bearer. Note: This thing is hillarious against wimpy Gue'La, who become 3 times more prone to kill themselves than killing you, conscripts faring even worse. Eg: A Guardsman squad gets in rapid fire range for FRFSRF (40 shots). You'll lose 1 Crisis...while they'll need to take a Morale check in their own shooting phase.
- Onager Gaunlet: The first close combat weapon for a battlesuit. Shame there is only 1 and it only gives 1 S10 AP1 attack, but it's dirt cheap. It can be useful for opening tin cans or crumpling lower key characters in challenges. Just watch out however as you're still Tau and 1 attack that you may miss with isn't all that when you're T4 with a 3+ save, much less against power swords. On the other hand, HIDDEN POWER FIST! That unlike similar weapons it does not strike at I1 should come as a surprise to anyone expecting a Tau commander to go down immediately in close combat to a monstrous creature without a good chance of taking the thing with them. Half the time you're still hitting last because of I3, tho. But it can get save him from those nasty marine powerfists, which would ID him, and keeps you from having to "our weapons are useless" against walkers. Still, the main reason you're buying this is because a) You ran out of space for Fusion blasters, b) You really want to model a mighty fist on your Tau snowflake, don't you?
- Puretide Engram Neurochip: Select one of five special rules (Counter-Attack, Furious Charge, Monster Hunter, Stubborn, or Tank Hunter) at the start of Movement. The bearer has it until the next turn. The only ones of note are Monster Hunter and Tank Hunter, which will benefit the entire unit (make him join Railgun Broadsides for pure win), maybe Stubborn too if CC is unavoidable, but the 2 others are close combat related and only affect the bearer and therefore nigh useless.
- Repulsor impact Field: Another (anti-)assault gadget. It's like a flechette discharger for battlesuits. It won't make an enemy unit think twice about hitting you though, but D6 I10 hits might score you a wound before your opponent strikes. Bear in mind it hits each unit that succesfully charged at them, not models touching the suit, so keep the wielder out of reach deep inside the unit. A unit that has at least one VRT, drones and the Repulsor field is a unit your enemy may charge at, possibly hurting itself, and then he needs to get into combat all over again. Those casualties will slowly add up, just like your unit's price tag. Better yet when the enemy tries to tie up with Farsight's I5. And taking flamers/Counterfire for overwatch just adds insult to injury.
- XV-81 Prototype (Forge World): Once limited to Commanders, it is now available to all able to take Signature Wargear...so, mostly still commanders. The Model becomes Extremely Bulky, but in return, gains a Smart Missile System. Limits you to taking a maximum of two other weapon options, but who the fuck takes TL weapons on a Commander anyway? Does not stop you from spending your full four choices on support systems (though you still shouldn't put all the systems on one suit, for you'd lose everything should the model die). Plus, 25 points isn't too much to ask for this nice piece of equipment. Great with Early Warning Override: you could fire Interceptor shots and still use two other weapons the next turn. Or grab a just-in-case flamer along the weapon you really want to use - a veritable swiss army suit. Still, 2 more pts and you'd have yet another Crisis with flamer, so unless you planned for a Farsight bomb and run out of yet moar Crisis to deepstrike with, it's a little too much.
- XV-84 Prototype (Forge World): Also once limited to Commanders, the XV-84 contains a Networked Markerlight and a Target Lock. While it lets you support a low BS unit, the XV-84 would probably see its best use in a Farsight Bomb, giving them their own dedicated markerlight support - pretty much the only thing they needed. At 20 points, the suit is a relatively cheap addition to any force.
Only Drones that can be taken by more than one unit entry are discussed here. The rest will be discussed in their related entry, like the now Broadside-exclusive MV8 Missile drone. All drones discussed now cost 12pts (with the exception of Shielded Missile Drones, which cost 25pts each) and are all Jetpack Infantry. This is a big decrease for the marker drone, a minor decrease for the shield and a minor increase for the gun drone.
- MV1 Gun Drone: With the Pulse carbine being Twin-Linked Assault 2 and drone controller giving the drones the same BS as the bearer it has made them a much more usable option for some extra firepower.
- MV36 Guardian Drone: Exclusive to Fire Warriors. More unit friendly than the Shield Drone, it only gives itself a 5++ save, but the attached unit gets a 6++. It only really shines with the Breachers' Field Amplifier Relay (becomes 5++), but it can help your Strike teams when facing lots of blast weapons.
- MV4 Shield Drone: It's a drone-mounted Shield generator, and it's actually cheaper and more effective to boot. As in cheaper than the support system version by 13pts, and if it fails, you merely lost a drone. It gives multi-wound characters a second chance at outlasting any scary S8 weapons that would insta-kill them. Even if not attached to Commanders it still makes a decent addition to any unit that can take it. Unless you have other plans or points are too tight, you cannot go wrong attaching a pair of these to Crisis suits, as they are tough enough to weather some anti-infantry fire, but not so robust that they can easily survive anti-armor weapons. The Shield drones will let them do so, at least long enough to neutralize the threat to them. If these are the only drones you take, then there is no need for a drone controller. A full Crisis team can take six of them without using up any support slots at all. Expect to cry when a Wyvern says "Hi!", tho.
- MV7 Marker Drone: A staple of many Tau armies has just seen a massive points decrease! Watch as markerlights rain down as heavy as the tears of your fallen enemy. 16 pts has been taken off the tab and it benefits greatly from improved BS granted by having a Drone controller in the unit. The downside that not many players have noticed yet is the loss of Networked markerlight, meaning you better have two units firing at the same target and maybe some Pathfinders too, if everyone is going to benefit from those lovely markerlight hits. Goes very well with Target Lock, tho.
- MV84 Shielded Missile Drone: A cross between a Missile Drone and a Shield Drone (hence the 8-4), combining the strengths of both types. Only Riptides and their variants can use them, but on the bright side they also have T6, so they don't reduce majority Toughness while still helping your battlesuit to tank Grav shots.
Vehicle Battle Systems
- Advanced Targeting System: It gives "To Hit" Rolls of 6 Precision shot. A trollworthy thing if your Rail Gun can insta-gib a enemy HQ hidden within meatshields, but there are plenty of snipers in the codex that are better suited for that role. Doesn't make it any less hilarious though. Still, because most of vehicular firepower comes as Blast weapons or from drones, it might not see much use.
- Automated Repair System: On a 6 it repairs a Weapon destroyed or Immobilised result. It's cheap and could give you back what you once thought lost. Use if you have points to spare.
- Blacksun Filter: While these come as standard on battlesuits, they still have to be paid for by vehicles. It lets you ignore Night Fighting and Blind effects. As it's so cheap, it's hardly points wasted even if you don't ever get to use it.
- Decoy Launchers: 4+ invul to glancing or penetrating hits caused by the interceptor rule. By far the best use of this is on the flyers. Makes those nasty quad guns seem like a bad dream. Sadly it has little other use.
- Disruption Pod: It gives a +1 to your cover save, so it effectively acts like Stealth while still being stackable with it. Not as brokenly powerful as before, but still pretty damn good.
4+3+ in 7th in the open is great. Detach your drones and put them between your tank and your enemy and then yeah, 4+ cover without the disadvantages of Jink. Always buy it for your tanks, never for aircraft, unless you expect jinking a lot (which you don't unless you brought buckets of markerlights).
- Flechette Discharger: Fires a S4 number of hits equal to the number of folk in contact with it. Scares lightly armoured grenadiers (meltabomb vets, witches and swooping hawks comes in mind), but MEQ's don't give a shit about it.
- Point Defence Targeting relay: The S5 and below weapons can overwatch. Gives the vehicle Supporting Fire as well. Autotake on Devilfish (only if you grab SMS), and reasonable on Tanks if your local meta uses assault units. Perfect for Tetras and Sky Rays, if close to your units.
- Sensor Spines: Gives Move through Cover. Another case by case one. Useful for hiding tanks in cover, especially with Disruption pods, but almost worthless on fast skimmers and definitely worthless on flyers. Since Skimmers ignore Vertical Move Distance, use them to go from ruin cover camping to ruin assault range kiting in 3". If it fits, it sits!
- Ethereal: Ethereals used to be a bad joke for the Tau army along with Vespids (the Fast Attack bad joke). They provided marginal benefit coupled with a serious drawback leading to much regicidal humour. So it came upon the Hamster to improve this rather terrible selection and so he made an attempt: instead of a meager benefit, all friendly units from this codex with a model within a foot of an Ethereal must use his sweet Leadership 10 for Fear, Morale, Pinning and Regroup checks; in addition to this the Ethereal can grant all friendly non-vehicle Tau units one of four abilities at the start of each movement phase: Stubborn, FnP 6+, Snap Shots after running or a bonus shot for Pulse weapons against anything less than half-range away (except for Pulse bombs, Drivers, Blastcannons and Submunitions). The only downside for Ethereals now is that killing the Ethereal awards an extra Victory point and undoes whatever power was being used at the time. Can also take a beacon for fairly cheap, presumably so you can launch a Devastating Defensive Deep strike to rescue him. If you fear for his mobility, you can also purchase a Hover Drone, letting them ignore Difficult and Dangerous Terrain while remaining Infantry.
- To summarise, they became Badass. Not only is the Ethereal a force multiplier of the first order with his Storm of Fire Invocation, but he bestows a 12" Ld 10 Stubborn bubble, excellent for when you want your thin Orange Line to hold rather than break, effectively turning the Tau into one of the bravest armies in 40k.
- The real selling point of Ethereals however is precisely that - their selling point. At 50 points, unless you're running an almost completely battlesuited army you should be seriously asking yourself why you shouldn't be taking an Ethereal, and even in those armies, the FnP and ability to fire Snapshots while running (which of course can be augmented by markerlights) is well worth it.
- Needless to say with a glorious W2, T3 and a
complete absence of a save(they can get cardboard 5+ armour save for 5 points!), you can expect your Ethereal to be the prime target of the Marbos, snipers, CC infantry and units with "Precision anything" in the description. Place at the back of large Fire warrior squads, amongst large numbers of similarly large squads for maximum survivability and boosting, while your faster dudes pop that nasty artillery.
- Battlesuit Commander: An excellent unit if kitted out properly. The versatility of the battlesuit chassis means you can equip him however you need to be most effective, and being the Commander, all special issue equipment is available to him (see Armoury for setup tips). The Generic Commander is however the most expensive generic HQ Choice in the Codex, clocking in at 85 points before wargear. He is equipped with XV-8-05 Enforcer Armor, the "Standard" Commander armor (the one with fingers), and comes with a total of 4 hardpoints for your mounting pleasure (and Signature systems don't count!). You could try and put all the Support and Signature systems you can think of (he IS your most durable model, after all) and surround it with Bodyguard ablative wounds, who autopass LOS rolls, but you'd be losing on his sweet BS5. Then again, if the unit is taking Gun or Marker drones, he should be the one with the Drone Controller to give them BS5.
- XV86 Coldstar Armor: A hefty points upgrade, it leaves your Commander in the middle of the road between the best Jump unit and the worst FMC. Flying Monstrous Creature type (thus vulnerable to those Monster Hunter formations) but without the best stuff like Smash, Fear or Vector Strike, and gets a Missile pod and the exclusive High-output Burst cannon (Assault 6 Twin-linked). That's right, you now have a jinking commander. Best of all, he can still buy two Support systems and drones, but his weapons are restricted to the ones mentioned and he can't get Signature systems, so no Iridium for him. But the suit's best boons are all the advantages Swooping brings with it, meaning he can't be tied up and they'll need Skyfire to shoot him down; he's nigh untouchable now. The opponent brought melee squads and plasma guns hoping to catch your Commander? They'll never hit him. Pesky flyers bothering your dudes? Sweep and get on their level, you have enough dakka on your own. And you will be on your own; swooping means leaving everyone behind, even his drones (but they catch up with him when gliding). Take all the measures you need to avoid being hit when swooping, because getting wounded while enjoying the cloud's-eye-view means he takes a Ground test, which has ~28% chance of inflicting Instant Death to your T4 frame, so a Shield generator is almost mandatory.
- Cadre Fireblade: At first glance, the Cadre Fireblade looks pretty crappy, especially compared to everything else. He's 10 points more than an Ethereal but can only really buff a single Fire Warrior squad (or Pathfinder squad, if you're so inclined), with a markerlight, Split Fire, and Volley Fire (which grants an extra shot to everybody with Pulse Rifles and Carbines so long as they stand still). A little disapointing, right? Actually, not really, at least in an allied detachment. Although the Ethereal is much improved, he's still somewhat of a risk if you field him, especially in an allied detachment, as you give up an extra Victory Point if he's killed (and, given how weedy the Tau are, that's not very hard). Also, his abilities only affect Tau, which isn't very useful in an allied detachment. The Fireblade, on the other hand, will almost always be useful (at least for your one compulsory unit of Troops) and will never be a liability. Also, Volley Fire is up to the entire range of the guns, not just half range like the Ethereal, so it's perfect to use with a castled up army and with your new forts, especially when combined with his Split fire - his Fire Warriors can defend that Tidewall with Volley fire while he shoots the Railgun at some valuable targets with his sweet BS5. Or he could throw a Photon grenade at another unit. Lastly, he comes with a Markerlight to support two squads at once, so you can chain markerlights. All in all, you'll probably usually want an Ethereal in your main detachment, but in an allied detachment, a Fireblade is probably the better choice for a "cheap" HQ. This might be an edge case, but hey, at least he has some use, unlike certain other units. With the advent of the 7th edition codex and the Coordinated Firepower special rule, it's possible to share the Volley Fire ability with all units shooting at the same target as his own, and as such Fireblade serves as a much better dakka multiplier than before.
- Aun'Va, Master of the Undying Spirit: The popestick got a huge buff! Roll equal to or over a weapon's AP to ignore wounds? That is an auto-pass against AP1, so enemy railguns/death rays/tachyon arrows/meltas can eat shit and die. And since it technically doesn't count as a save, even fucking Destroyer weapons are ignored! However, you can't roll against AP- so Tesla will still ruin your day (You only have a 5+ normal armour save). Only 100pts? Vetock, you are a god. OK, so the bodyguards are still meh but they're better than they used to be. 5+ saves combined with the Paradox's harder-you-hit-it-harder-it-is "fuck you save" gives the whole unit a variable amount of protection. He also gets 2 Ethereal bubble abilities per turn, which either give Stubborn, Fnp(6+), +1 pulse weapon shot in half range or snap shots after running. His massive, multiple buffs are just awesome. He also provides a table wide re-roll for any morale checks, anything in Tau codex. That shit is money.
- Aun'Shi: Brought back from 3rd edition into 6th. Shi is essentially a close combat HQ (albeit a modest one) in an otherwise shooty army. Despite being double the points of a regular Honor Blade Ethereal, he at least comes with a saving throw: a 4+ invul save to boot. Always use Patient hunter in CC, because re-rollable 4++ is hilarious. He is basically an Ethereal with the weaknesses removed for a price bump - so make good use of those elemental invocations - but beware of anyone with strength 6 or over, because you'll be insta-killed if you botch it.
- O'Shovah (Commander Farsight): The l33t renegade commander of the Fire Caste, Farsight is odd in the fact that he's specced for assault in an army meant for shooting. His Dawn Blade is very nice and got one hell of an upgrade to what is essentially a Necron Warscythe (AP2 Armourbane). Due to changes to Crisis teams, his bodyguard is no longuer exclusive to him and they are forced to take a slot, but it is still a devastating tactic to deepstrike with up to NINE bodyguards, especially with his "no scatter" WT, negating the one of the difficulties of deepstriking such a large unit. Preferred enemy is quite useful against Orks, although given Tau are near top-tier and Orks are somewhere slightly above unplayable, it's pretty much kicking a dead horse.
- He has lost some of his appeal, now that "Farsight bombs" aren't exclusive to him - arguably a normal Commander could do it better because Signature systems can be placed on him to make them immune to precision fire, and you can reroll undesirable traits/get beacons for no scatter. Still, you could take him for what he is: your WS5 AP2 I5 melee response against anyone expecting easy melee from the Tau...lol JK, you still need to bring battlesuits because he can't do it alone and Farsight bomb is pretty much the only viable tactic with him - that's not a bad thing by all means, that one hell of a tactic and no-scatter is
topTAU-tier, so it has pretty much its own section HERE.
- But I can't field that many Crisis suits. Good grief, he has an army of his own, so go read Farsight Enclaves and see if it *puts on Blacksun filter* suits your style.
- He has lost some of his appeal, now that "Farsight bombs" aren't exclusive to him - arguably a normal Commander could do it better because Signature systems can be placed on him to make them immune to precision fire, and you can reroll undesirable traits/get beacons for no scatter. Still, you could take him for what he is: your WS5 AP2 I5 melee response against anyone expecting easy melee from the Tau...lol JK, you still need to bring battlesuits because he can't do it alone and Farsight bomb is pretty much the only viable tactic with him - that's not a bad thing by all means, that one hell of a tactic and no-scatter is
- O'Shaserra (Commander Shadowsun): Commander Tsundere herself, she wears an experimental next-gen XV-22 stealth battlesuit, which gives her a 3+/5++ save, and she has Shrouded and Stealth (duh) as well as two non-TL Fusion Blasters that can fire at different targets, great for cover-camping and jump-shoot-jump close-range tank killing, which in turn makes her much better on dense battlefields than in open ones (like Cities of Death), where she can put some hate on vehicles while being all but invulnerable to return fire...if they ever get line of sight on her because of her 3D6" Jump move (when she's the warlord). If she joins a Stealth suit squad they'll act as bodyguards, auto-passing Look Out,
SirMa'am! rolls, great for preventing instant-death (which is pretty common when you are T3). And on top of that she can buy buffed shield drones (3++) and a Command-link drone to let a unit within 12" re-roll to hit rolls of 1.
- Let us reiterate what her Command-link drone does: Any one unit within 12" of the drone gets to re-roll any 1s on its to-hit roll. And she can do this every turn. Hillarious when a drone does it as well as a Warlord Trait, right? ALWAYS BUY IT. You know how that Riptide's Nova-charged Heavy burst cannon is almost as dangerous to itself as the enemy? Not anymore under Shadowsun's drone gaze. Just think about how much dakka you can (relatively) safely put out from the two of them on a continual basis...
- Attaching Mrs. Tsundere to a Stealth team may be everybody's first thought, but she does damn fine with just any kind of battlesuit squad. Because Stealth and Shrouded is conferred to the entire unit by her presence, Shield generators and Shield drones become sort of redundant due to 4+ cover save in the open and 2+ in any terrain (unless facing artillery), so that's some (hard)points you can use for other things. But Stealth teams are her bodyguards. Crisis teams are better damage sponges thanks to their T4 and 2W, never mind they have more hardpoints and dakka. You could take propper Bodyguards, but you'd be taking them because Signature systems are a great addition to a Shadowbomb. After all, isn't passing Look Out
SirMa'am rolls on a 2+ good enough already? And with her 3D6" move, where Farsight makes CC more manageable, she outright makes it never happen. Note that she cannot join Riptides and share the hax. Yeah, that would've been too cheap.
- In fact, the Stealth + Shroud + Command drone combo is great for almost any of your squads (Sniper Kroots now don't need any cover, Pathfinders reroll some markerlights, etc.)...but not placing her in a Jetpack squad is kind of a waste.
- El'Myamoto (Sub-commander Darkstrider): The second Tau commander to piss off the Ethereal elites, Darkstrider is a powered up Cadre Fireblade - he fights on foot, so he can only join Firewarriors (both) and Pathfinders. His selling point is his Structural Analyser, which lowers the Toughness his target for him and his unit (and it counts for Instant Death) which works best with Railrifle equipped Pathfinders. Can be very troll-y. See that crazy powerful Paladin or Meganob? A single Pathfinder in this guy's squad just sniped him. Also works on T5 (Nob bikers, Ogryns, Thunderwolf, Harpies, Daemon Prince, etc.) with Ion Rifles in overcharge. Furthermore, he allows his unit to consolidate D6" in any direction immediately after firing their overwatch and BEFORE the charging unit rolls for charge distance. Stick him in a Pathfinder squad with a Grav Inhibitor drone and they become one slippery unit.
- Because he has Scout and Outflank he does great with Breachers in a Devilfish, easily getting them into range to wreak havoc, while he gets a 6++ (you ARE taking the drone right?), meaning those point blank Pulse blasters now ID those pesky Nids and Astartes characters, all at sweet AP3. U MAD? Just be prepared for the assault, cause their weapons are so close ranged not even his consolidation move will get you out of charge range.
- O'R'myr (Commander Longknife) (Forge World): Dread Pirate R'myr, who inherited the name from four previous commanders, is a decent suit that seems to want to be charged. With a Double-barreled Plasma rifle (Assault 2 Twin-linked with 24" range) and a Target Lock, he looks built to take down heavy infantry / monstrous creatures without needing to get into Rapid fire range like others (so his squad should have missiles). His Signature Wargear is the XV89-02 Battlesuit, which contains a Flechette launcher that nicks the attacker for a S3 hit at I10. Depending on how you interpret the word 'any,' the flechette launcher may not be one use anymore. His enhanced shield generator has a 4++ against shooting attacks and a 3++ against close combat. His flechette dicharger is a nasty surprise for swarm armies thinking they have just trapped the expensive tau HQ unit in CC...and they kinda have, even guardsmen have a decent chance to survive S3 flechettes, so put him in a squad that also has a Repulsor Impact field and other assault trinkets so their effects stack. A good choice, especially against Imperial Guard due to Preferred Enemy against them. If you want a Commander with double plasma, you'd be out of your mind not to take him: R'myr is cheaper than a similar Commander by 20 pts, but is using the equivalent of 5 hardpoints, his shield is better, allows for Repulsor Field stacking and thus can do his job both at close and long range.
- Aun'Do (Deliverance): Fearless Ethereal with Honourblade, Beacon and Hover Drone. Only really useful for his formation.
- O'Ra'lai (Commander O'Rly) (Forge World): O'Rly is a monster of a unit; he is your Commissar Yarrick, your Failbaddon, your Mephiston, your Swarmlord, your Ghazghkull, with BS5, T5, I4, and the power of the XV-9 battlesuit. The main difference he has compared with the above heroes is that he is primarily a ranged fighter whereas most uber-hq units tend to be close combat focused. O'Rly's main strength is his versatility, allowing him to be effective against almost every unit type in the game with his ability to switch to four different templates for his Pulse Sub-Munitions Rifle, though every template except for his default have Gets Hot!. Keep him away from TEQs though, as none of his weapon templates get better than AP3. Against MEQ's and Tank armies, however, and you got yourself a certifiable nightmare of a unit, with the ability to Ignore Cover, Rend and Haywire on one weapon depending on the specific template used. Of note is O'Rly's ability to make vehicles melt, with the choice of BS5 Haywire shots at 24", or 36" S9 AP3 shots, allowing O'Rly to decimate light and heavy vehicles alike.
- The latest Imperial Armor Apocalypse Second Edition rules have updated O'Ra'Lai's equipment. His shield no longer conveys stealth, but gives him a 3+ invulnerable save if fired at from outside 12 inches. On top of that, All of his weapons are now Assault 2. This involves all of the "gets Hot!" weapons, so you run the risk of taking more damage, but can cause a lot more pain as a result. With this change, he no longer has "Baby's First Lascannon," instead he has "Oh what the fuck, he has an assault 2 lascannon?!" His template weapons now make him a real nightmare to just about any army, and he also is now the best HQ unit the Tau have.
- His drones are T4, which means you're losing that awesome T5 bonus until a drone dies. He USED to be able to join guys, but the special rule 'Lone Warrior' prevents him from joining units, despite his Independent Character rule. However, he can leave his drone unit (though he may not join any other unit unless he wants to rejoin his drones for some reason), which means you can separate him from his drones and let him be majority toughness 5 while you get 2 markerlight drones for free, though they drop from BS 5 to BS 2 without his drone controller.
- Make him your army's warlord. Period. At T5, 4 wounds, a 3+/3-4++, I4, hit and run, and JSJ, he is an absolute bastard to kill without S10 or instant death weapons. His Warlord Trait, The Assassin, leaves much to be desired however. It grants Preferred Enemy: Independent Characters, which leads to an awkward position when shooting at units containing Independent Characters - When exactly are you allowed this reroll? (Due to wording, one can interpret it as PE against any squad with an IC in it, and the opponent will have no way to disprove it. Lolz) Well, given that every god-damned Independent Character either rides something, comes with dedicated retinue or meant for sole specific purpose of boosting a squad, this rule obviously meant to be working in those cases - there is no point in making something that's never used a whole Warlord Trait. And you know very well that your opponent will try to keep the target alive by relocating hits and wounds through whatever reasonable or cheesy ways available, so use context, be adamant about using this while trying to kill said character, but do not use it just to mow everyone around him - this kind of rule-bending is cheesy on it's own and will hastily make you into that guy of your community.
- Fire Warrior Strike Squad: Yes, they have the best basic infantry gun in the game. Yes, they will go down like a tower made of tissue paper if properly targeted or assaulted. For the new book, their price gets dropped to a much more workable 9 pts/model, so it just got a lot easier to buy a squad with a Devilfish; however, larger squads are going to be more difficult to squeeze into cover, but if they fit in a fish, you got it made. The price break does let you spend a little more on the Tau's new toys elsewhere though. Devilfish give Fire Warriors much needed mobility, and safety from assault. After all, the second ANYTHING gets into close combat with a Fire Warrior squad, the Fire Warriors will lose. Even if it's other Fire Warriors or even fucking Grots and Rippers. With abysmal WS and mediocre BS, if these guys are firing, use markerlights to up their hit chances, although other units may make better use of the markerlight tokens. 6th edition buffs them a lot: new shooting weapons rules make them rapid fire on 15", hull point system allow them glance to death light vehicles with pulse rifles or blast them to oblivion with EMP-grenades, and new defensive grenades allow you blind enemies and assault when cornered and actually stand half a chance in combat. Fire Warriors get other goodies like the ability to overwatch with another friendly unit within 6" of them - yes, they are now quite the bargain. Please note that only one model can throw an emp grenade but all may attack with them in melee. You can blind and EMP bitch-slap walkers to death, or murder enemy vehicles.
- When Shas'Ui takes markerlight for his rifle, he also get free target lock. This allows you to chain markerlights between fire warrior squads by using the markerlight on the target of the next fire warrior unit. This may also be useful to man fortification gun emplacements without forcing all his squad wasting their shots on something they can't hurt, which is worth.
- Fire Warrior Breacher Squad: A new squad of Fire Warriors specialized for close-quarters firing with their new Pulse Blasters (Which sadly don't benefit from the Fireblade). Their guns are just the thing to break marines up-close, and they do so for cheaper than a Fire Warrior squad! Of course? Vespids would do the same job better and safer, being faster, tougher and having much more comfortable range, but they cost twice as much, for eventually the same firepower. Also important to remember the entire squad can get a 5++ Invulnerable save for 22 Points (Shas'Ui (10) & the new MV36 Guardian Drone (12), and all models in the squad have the new Field Amplifier Relay) allowing them a measure of surviveability against anything, so it could be possible (with some lucky rolling) for this squad to survive far longer than normal against the normal anti-Tau weapons.
- MV36 Guardian Drone: This new drone was released alongside the Breacher Team, designed to aid teams that are expected to take heavy fire this Drone Emits a Wide-Area Protective Energy Shield that grants it a 5++ Inv and any models in the unit a 6++ Inv for the same cost as a Shield Drone, however if any model in the unit is wearing a Field Amplifier Relay (Lucky for you, we do!), their Inv save increases to a 5++, very awesome as while the shield is weaker than a regular Shield Drone, it spreads its benefit over an entire squad which is necessary considering the Breacher Squad's incredibly short range.
- Kroot Carnivores: Disregard what fluff says - Kroot are NOT assault infantry. Yes, they have WS4, so what? They can not assault after shooting, their saves are weak and they lost their S4 and extra attack from the rifle for no fucking reason (while remaining super-strong in fluff), and AP5 melee looks like a fucking joke in all-marine metagame. Instead look at their gun. It's a fucking bolter just with AP6, which don't matter a lot, cause most of the infantry in the game is either Sv4+ or better, or constantly in cover. Spend the extra point per model (for a total of 7 each) for Sniper Rounds, and you get the cheapest sniper squad in the game. A 20 strong squad hidden in a forest taking out Characters hidden in squad. This is more deadly against certain armies than other, but it's rather troll worthy at any rate. The only downside is the shortish range of the Kroot Rifle. Still, 140pts for 20 Sniper shots it's not that much of downside. And speaking about cover, these guys have stealth(forest) for 4+ in forests (even better if they're Ironbark). What you got is fairly cheap, hard to shoot down from cover and hard to kill in CC area denial unit that shoot bolters or even sniper rifles, and can deploy anywhere on the field, messing with opponents pathing and deepstriking, and keeping his forces away from your fragile gunline until they all die. In addition to regular Kroot, you can field the following Kroot subspecies:
- Kroot Hounds: These are Space Chickens... In a dog form. As Kroots loose their close combat power, and become infiltrating snipers, the I5 and extra attacks on this doggies would not help you much. If you plan to outflank instead of infiltrate, take one for acute senses.
- Krootox Riders: At 25 pts., you get a space chicken Silverback with a big Kroot Gun on its back with the rider. Having a S7 rapid fire gun that can shoot up to 48"(24 in rapid fire) is nice to have, along with two S6 melee attacks up close and two wounds. For the new book, Krootox riders no longer prevent your squad from infiltrating, which means you can now have an absurdly strong gun line infiltrating right where your opponent doesn't want it that can actually hold out in combat!
- Shaper: The boss of the Carnivore Squad. These Kroot have three wounds, +2 attacks more and +1 LD. Oh, and he costs three times more than a Kroot for the upgrade. It's worth taking if you want the six extra S3 hits, which can help a bit. Still not great to take on anything except for Orks, Tyranids, and Daemons, so only take him if you plan on going up against other horde armies.
- An alternative look on these green lizard/chicken mercs is to dish em' out infront of a firewarrior dakka line so your fragile little firewarrior won't die when the kroot are getting the objectives (which is helped by them having infiltrate) . Even though on paper the idea seems flimsy you don't want to know how many games I've won because of my kroot holding objectives and the firewarriors behind them peppering anything that comes near them to molten mush.
- Gue'Vesa (Forge World): Shooty Gue'vesa troops, so far the only human auxiliaries you can field in 6th ed. They cost the same as Conscripts and 6 guys, with potential upgrades for another 5 guys, a sarge, and grenades (12 total). They are equipped with Lasguns and Flak, and get their shit kicked in by Guardsman because of the Death To Traitors. They are only allowed in specified Taros Campaign missions, but don't fret. They suck anyway. Just take your fire warriors, especially since these guys have no Supporting Fire.
- Drone Sentry Turret (Forge World): A group of up to four 11/11/11 immobile vehicles with TL burst cannons that can be upgraded to TL missile pods, TL fusion blasters, or TL plasma rifles. They have access to the vehicle battle systems and can be upgraded to have deep strike for 10 points each (which is another example of Forge World's ignorance, as immobile vehicles left in reserves get deep strike for free per BRB rules). Not an exceptional unit, but not a bad choice by any standard (they are cheap at a base cost of only 30 points each). They do not count as a compulsory troop choice, but can still score and even secure objectives, and if placed in heavy cover with dispods, they're going to hold that point like forever.
- TY7 Devilfish Troop Carrier: These allow your Fire Warriors to be exactly where you need them to be. With AV12 in the front, the ability to gain a 3+ cover save with ease through the Disruption Pod wargear, think of this as the iron-clad, greased up eggshell that you need to crack to get to the delicious omelette inside. With the new codex, drones that detach from vehicles never count as a kill point. For ten points, you can replace the gun drones with a twin-linked smart missile system (although good luck finding the model parts for it), which got a serious buff in 6th Edition from its previous stats, allowing the Devilfish to add some cost-effective (line-of-sight ignoring / cover negating!) fire support. These are almost necessary for a good army although they do cost 80 fucking points!. (note: Devilfish are not allowed to carry models with the bulky special rule, so stealth suits en route to a dispute must shoot-and-scoot and can't commute.)
- XV8 Crisis Battlesuit: God's First Gift To Tau. These guys are your mainstay. Their weapons are varied and versatile, and are specialized for various situations. They can take any combination of weapons and wargear unless otherwise stated. These guys will fill up your elites slots. The Crisis suits are famous for the Jump-Shoot-Jump - moving out of cover, shooting, and jumping back into cover, denying return fire and annoying the enemy, an excellent tactic. Each suit may take up to three hard-points but it's no longer a requirement that all three slots be filled. Hard-points are made up of Ranged Weapons and Support Systems. Typically a Crisis suit will have two weapons and a support system, but there is no rule against three weapons or even three support systems, or any other ratio you fancy. Obviously some combinations are more effective than others. Note that if a single weapon system is selected twice, it could count as a single twin-linked weapon (filling two hardpoints) at only +5 pts or two separate guns at full cost - though you must state it in your roster and point it to your opponent (it may be a good idea to mount TL pair on one hardpoint to make it more WYSIWYG). Crisis suits (and other large suits) come with Multitracker and blacksun filter pre-installed so you can choose that extra system you've always wanted. Probably one of the most past by improvements, yet comforting additions to 6th; Shas'Vre come in at Leadership 9, meaning if you lose a couple of expendable wounds (for instance in the form of bin lids) you don't panic, forget you're in a huge powered gundam wing and run off the board! However, you should be painfully aware that Crisis suits are T4, which means they suffer heavily from rocket sniping. If you value your suits, take at least two drones to absorb the inevitable S8 AP3 shot. Everything in the damn game has some version of a "fuck your crisis suit" weapon. As all drones have the same price, consider carefully, what type you want for your Crisis suits:
- Shield drones are just ablative wounds, that are slightly better at being ablative wounds. 4++ could help them to survive twice as long against heavy fire, but against AP5 or higher they would go down as fast as other drone type, as they lost their 3+/2+ mimicked armor save from previous codex, and you cannot allocate only those wounds you want on them. Take them if you expect a lot of S8 or and/or low AP4 shots fired on your Crisis suits.
- Gun drones are not only T4 Sv4+ cold expendable wounds for your Crisis suits, but also TL pulse carbines, which packs considerable firepower in 7e, and may even pin shit if you're got lucky (don't count on it, though). BS2 is not a big problem, as with twinlink they have 55% chance of hitting something (think of it as BS 3.5) without markerlight support. With a suit equipped with a drone controller, they become BS3, and with a Commander with drone controller, BS5.Additionally, being twinlinked they tend to deal more hits on overwatch, or when snapfiring at flyers/fmc's. Definitely worth it when combined with infantry hunting Crisis teams (flamers, burstcannons), and even on more heavily armed teams could be fine if combined with target locks (they are fairly cheap after all). Group of 3-5 gun drones on targetlocked team could reliably blow AV10 vehicles, or those with AV10 on the rear (read: almost all of them) with some smart maneuvering and with some luck could even glance to death AV11. Again, this is even more useful, when Crisis team have target locks and can focus their firepower on something more important. If you're planning to jump around heavy cover or include Shassera to your Crisis team, Gun drones would benefit from 4+ cover (or up to 2+ with Shassera in cover), becoming as survivable as Shield drones, while retaining their firepower.
- Marker drones are tricky ones. BS2 with no twinlink or networking seems useless, but they are designed to CHAIN markerlights when focus firing a target - you're spending 2 markerlight tokens to give your Crisis team awesome BS5, and 2-3 marker drones at BS4 could reliably regain those tokens to be used on the next Crisis team and so on. Aside from it, they could be used as emergency markerlight source if your main markers was destroyed or tied, and of course, as ablative wounds, like all other drones.
- One completely unexpected result of 6th ed was the Rambo Crisis Squads. With Crisis suits now costing 22 points, it's now a perfectly viable option to take your Cheap as Chips naked (or naked plus flamer) Crisis squad and use them for GLORIOUS COMBAT. Why? Because 3 Crisis suits naked costs 66 points! If one was to compare them with Assault Marines, you're looking at higher natural str, more base attacks, double wounds for about the same price and at the expense of lower WS and lack of Hammer of Wrath, which considering that unless you have the misfortune of fighting Grey Knights or Daemons, you're going to hit most things on a 4+ anyway. In effect you have a unreasonably durable tarpit unit on a super budget, best used against assault threats to your fire warriors (needless to say, anything with a large quanity of power weapons is to be avoided, but that marine squad? Fuck yeah). Of course, given the fact that you're expending an entire precious elite choice won't sit well with many, but given 6th Ed Detachment rules and the scary viability of running an Ethereal/Fire Warrior combo army rather than a Crisis suit orientated list, this may prove viable. You might be tempted to whack a Shas'vre in there with a Neurochip for Furious Charge and counter attack shenanigans, but at the end of the day, the main value of this squad is exactly how cheap it is. Don't do it. Do not forget, your Crisis suits have 2 base attacks and S5 - charging AV-10 rear tanks with your Crisises could be a good move. Charging shooty squads with poor melee (Centurions are the prime example, but things like Devastators or, say, Fire Dragons are OK too - just make sure their characters have no power fists) is also an option if you have retro thrusters, as it ties them up AND allows your Crisis suits to escape enemy fire and then jump right out melee at the end of his turn and then vaporize the poor fuckers. Make sure to allocate the few wounds you're taking to the drones.
- Crisis Bodyguard: Now forced to eat an FOC slot, 1-9 Crisis Suits can auto-pass Look Out Sir! for their Commander, Leadership 9 and an extra attack (though they shouldn't be in melee to begin with). They're 10 points more expensive than a basic Crisis Team. Take them if you want, but they'll benefit best from a Commander.
- XV25 Stealth Suits: First, the good bits: they have 3+ armour saves, a burst cannon, stealth, shrouded and they can infiltrate. Now the bad: their BS is average to the rest of the army but their biggest weakness comes in comparison to other entries in the Elites section - they're not as tough or versatile as Crisis or Riptide Suits. Arguably, Kroot do the whole infiltration/sniper thingie better now but Stealth Suits have an ace in the hole: they can take a homing beacon. You're taking a shitload of suits, right? You know they deepstrike, right? Oh sure, pathfinders can take beacons, but they need plural turns to get into position by which time it's already too late and you've lost the advantage. With infiltrating Stealth Suits, you can get your deepstrikers striking deep (see what I did there) into enemy territory, hard and fast. Everything else is just icing on top of the cake, from their fusion blaster per every three models to the marker light/target lock the Shas'vre can take (slightly more worthwhile to take though, because unlike Crisis or Broadside teams, you only get 2 Drones per squad, and you'd end up with a very fragile Shas'vre if you try to use a Drone Controller instead of Stims or the Shield). Build this selection to be a hard point to whether whatever your opponent throws at you (shield generators or stimulant injectors) so it can survive long enough to guide your deep-strikers with ease. Be careful with both of those upgrades, though - they're expensive, and not as good as it looks. Stealths are T3, so a lot of things deny FNP, while they also have Stealth, Shrouded and a 3+ armor save, making the shield generator mostly only useful against the rare AP3 Ignores Cover shot (or you Infiltrate and dislike the notion of being Power Sworded/Lightning Clawed in the face with no recourse). Don't forget that Stealths also have a ton of deployment options: Infiltrate, Outflank and Deep Strike, and they can play jump-shoot-jump shenanigans as well as Crisis Suits can (and maybe better, with smaller bases).
- Stealth Team Shadowtide (Deliverance) - Three Stealth suits, one with Fusion Blaster, and a Marker Drone. They benefit from Supporting Fire, Infiltrate, and Precision Shots, plus the Bonding Knife Ritual.
- XV104 Riptide: Devil's gift to Tau. Designed by the Earth Caste, likely to troll the Gey Knights and their stupid bullshit Dreadknights. It's Jetpack monstrous creature with a big statline (S/T6, 5 wounds, 2+/5++) to accompany its big guns, plus it can take another twin-linked battlesuit gun; even with terrible Tau WS and I it still can and would smash tanks in close combat if needed. It's also the only unit that can use Shielded Missile Drones, which are awesome.. Then there's its Nova Reactor, which can give it a special power per turn of your choosing on a 3+, although on 1 or 2 it'll going to lose a wound with no saves allowed (but you can still FNP). While Nova reactor bonuses are nice and sexy, don't overuse them - 1/3 chance of failure isn't low, and you're gonna need those 5 wounds, as Riptide is the primary target on the board, and quite expensive one. Special powers include:
- 3++ save - ideal when you're in the sight of multiple anti-tank guns with no cover or BLOS to jump behind.
- 4d6" thrust move - grant you the mobility, only matched by flyers, FMCs and teleporting Dreadknights, great for jumping out of melee range. In Maelstrom missions it has proven invaluable for scoring or denying key objectives early in the game.
- firing twice in a turn with its bonus weapons - nice additional dakka, especailly when facing something your secondary gun is designed against - entrenched infantry for SMS, heavy infantry for plasma and vehicles for fusion blaster.
- unlocking alternate main weapon profile:
- Heavy Burst Cannon becomes Heavy 12 and rending - great for one-shoting squads of Sv4+ or worse infanty or medium vehicles. Gets hot may seem dangerous, but it isn't - you have 2+ armor to save against it.
- Ion Accelerator overcharge besomes S9 and ordnance - this is mostly used against heavy armour - S9 with rerollable to-pen have a better chance to pop Land Raider open from safe distance than the railgun do, though it only have +1 for damager results compared to railgun's +2.
- While cool and deadly, Riptides are not without flaws. Both of their main cannons rely heavily on markerlight support - burstcannon really shines when most of its dakka actually hits the target, and ion blasts are mush more effective when they ignore cover and don't scatter much. Like all monstrous creatures, Riptide tend to melt under hail of poisoned shots, so DE and Sternguards would violate it just like they do with Dreadknights, Wraithlords and Tyranid monsters (DE will need 126 poison shots to take down one riptide with fnp. In that time, the riptide can handily tear through half the DE army with proper markerlight support. So what I am saying is, don't worry about DE, 4+ poison ain't all that hot shit). Anything that can fight back in melee is going to either tarpit Riptide till the end of the game or rip it to shreds, and you cannot take VRTs to jump out of melee.
- Do note, as awesome Riptides are, they are a bit too powerful for their cost. Taking one is OK, taking two might give you a mean look or two, but if you take three or more, you're automatically That guy. Consider yourself warned. This includes FW Riptide variants!
Note: with the new codex, Riptides get 2 (not exactly necessary) changes: first, they can be taken in squads of 3 (as Dooku sarcastically put it, "IDON'TBELIEVEITTHEY'VEGONETOOFARTHISISMADNESS!!!!), and they now have the Fire Team rule, making them BS 4 when taken in 3s. I guess 2015 is the Year of That guy.
- XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuits: What a Riptide is to a Crisis suit, the Ghostkeel is to Stealth suits - a durable and shooty jet pack monster. Much like the Stealth team it's evolved from it has Stealth and Shrouded, but the way it gains these rules is a bit schizophrenic. You see, the Ghostkeel Suit only has Stealth by default, but its drones grant stealth to all models in their squad, and Shrouded to all that already have Stealth, and while technically only the suits gain Shrouded this way, as RAW Shrouded itself affects all models in a squad, so the drones gain a +2 to cover in addition to their +1 from Stealth for a total of 4+ cover. The obvious downside of this convoluted web of rules is that s Ghostkeel suit that loses all of its drones would loses a good chunk of its survivability as well. It loses the ability to Infiltrate like its smaller brethren, but instead gets the Fire Team rule, which grants it BS 4 when there are 3 suits in the squad.
- The Electrowarfare suite that the XV-95 carries in the left hand further adds to its stealthiness, doubling cover bonuses from Stealth/Shrouded for pretty much guaranteed 2+ cover - against all dakka from outside 12" range - however the way it's worded only the suits get that bonus. In addition to this, once per game the Ghostkeel can pretty much auto-blind one enemy unit that opens fire on it, forcing it to only fire snap-shots, so alpha-striking it is not an option, especially with Blast & Template weapons which won't get to fire at all. To further this squad's survivability drones lower their average save to 4+, meaning grav-weapons marine players tend to spam out of their asses nowadays are not nearly as effective against it. And it's not like the XV95 is particularly squishy that it needs all that defensive powers so desperately, with four T5 Sv3+ wounds and two T5 Sv4+ drones it's more then capable of taking the fire even from cover-ignoring weapons. On the offense in packs a set of twin-linked flamers, burst cannons or fusion blasters on it's shoulders and either a Fusion Collider (Blaster with a small blast) or an Ion Raker (24" 6-shot Ion Rifle with a large blast overcharge). Seeing as both main guns are either anti-tank or anti-light vehicle/medium infantry, blasters are the preferable shoulder weapons, despite being the most expensive, although if you find yourself constantly fighting Orks and DE, flamers would ruin their shit. If your run the forthcoming Optimized Stealth Cadre, these guys graduate to full-on cheesy BS, with BS 4 (5 if you run a full squad), Ignores Cover, and treating all shots on vehicles as hitting Rear Armour, which gets added to any Stealth Team taken as part of the Formation within 6" during your Shooting Phase (so not when Intercepting or Overwatching). Serpent Spam is officially dead; Necron Barge & Ark lists, dead; IG Armoured Company, dead. Just remember to keep these in DSR so you aren't having to play catch-up with your Infiltrating Stealth Teams.
- Drone Squad: Drone Squads have had an overhaul. Your 12 man strong squad can be a combination of Shield, Markerlight or Gun Drones. The choice is yours. A new tactic being to have Markerlight drones with Shield drones protecting, though BS2 hampers your chances of doing much. An option being mentioned is sticking a commander with Drone Controller to accompany them. 15 BS5 markerlights, jumping behind solid cover after each shot is great, but a bit costly. On a side note, markerlights can benefit from other markerlight hits, therefore a large 12 man unit of marker drones can be buffed to a relatively high ballistic skill via the actions of other markerlights in the army (for example firesight marksmen, pathfinders, Shas'o marker drones etc.)
- Another alternative that is being considered is attaching a full squadron of Gun Drones to a Buff Commander. While this sounds counter-productive (As each drone costs 14 points compared to the 9 of Fire Warriors),adding a commander to the squad can give you a Twin-Linked (doubly so), Ignores Cover, Pinning, BS5 squad of Fire Warriors with the added bonus of being tougher with the same save, and the ability to JSJ. This can be used to great effect against almost any GEQ based army, and can spell the end for light vehicles with 20 Twin-Linked BS5 Ignore Cover shots, especially if they can get behind them. That and the squad is also more effective against assaults due to Twin-Linked and having higher toughness. Troll-worthy, but intriguing.
- Vespid Stingwings: Once the other bad joke of the codex, Vespids have been buffed. As with the fusion blaster, 6 extra inches on their Neutron blaster will put you at a much more comfortable distance, out of assault distance. With a new 4+ Sv on top of T4, they've become on par with Space Marine scouts for survivability. As they now have move through cover, stealth in ruins, and hit and run at I6, they can jump out, kill MEQs, and escape in the assault, pretty much becoming the nightmare bugs of anything with power armour. Vespids run around in groups of four to twelve, and one of those MUST be a Strain Leader. Without him they have only Ld 6, but they have Ld 9 with him. Overall, a rather expensive unit, but may work for some and in high point games. If your opponent runs mass Marine lists, couple with dual-plasma Crisis and go to town. No effect vs. TEQs, though, so watch out.
- Pathfinders: One of two good sources for markerlights, and very cost-effective for the number of markerlights you get. These guys put out a large amount of markerlight support every turn, useful for your other guys. Their Recon Drone (if you take it) allows deep strikers within 6" to not roll for scatter. They are also scouts, quite useful to outflank or get into position. Beware though, their armor save is only 5+ (which makes sense since they always had lighter armor and are made for recon rather than gun lines) which means that they are particularly vulnerable to things like bolters, if caught in the open. Camp these guys in cover somewhere safe. They can optionally take Devilfish, but those are no longer compulsory to take with them like they were in earlier editions. They can take rail rifles and new ion rifles, but only ever do this if you have an additional markerlight source. A unit of pathfinders can't go wrong. Don't be faked out by the special weapons - the rail rifle is for busting heavy infantry and MCs (S6 is marginal on vehicles even with AP1), while the ion rifle is for bunging holes in light to medium armor (think of it as baby's first autocannon, but you can have three). They have several options:
- Special Drones: These drones can only be taken by Pathfinder squads, only one of each can be taken, and they do not count against the two drone limit for accompanying drones (each is purchased as its own upgrade independent of other things.)
- MB3 Recon Drone: Expensive, but it gives the unit a burst cannon, which is always nice, and is what allows the unit to have its homing beacon and position relay functions, so worth taking if you have deep-striking reserves. As a bonus, it does not take up any extra space when being transported by a Devilfish, and can employ its reserve-guiding equipment while embarked.
- MV33 Grav-inhibitor Drone: Slows down any charging foe, reducing assault moves by D3. Great for giving the unit a little more time to get the hell out of dodge if your enemy really wants to commit to eliminating them (and let's face it, if they do you have successfully trolled them into doing so from markerlight-related rage.) While it is good on smaller maps and games, anything past 1,250 and they will probably be shot to pieces with large blast templates and ignore cover weapons to kill them ASAP, making this drone a less than stellar selection.
- MV31 Pulse Accelerator Drone: This boosts all pulse weapon fire from the unit to extend its range by 6". This effectively means that those pulse carbines your Pathfinders are carrying go from 18" Assault 2 weapons to 24" Assault 2 weapons, potentially out dakkaing line Fire Warriors. Unfortunately, burst cannons are not classified as pulse weapons any longer, so the range on the Recon Drone is not increased. While your Pathfinders should be more about dropping marker tokens than shooting up the enemy, you can really make the enemy pay for trying to take them down with this.
- Team Leader: For another 10 points you can upgrade one member to a Shas'ui. The primary benefit of this is to provide better leaderhip, so your spotters doesn't run away, add a few more equipment options, such as a blacksun filter for one more point that the whole unit can use (which is not as essential as it used to be as Markerlights only have a range of 36" and ignore all saves and hence do not push up against the Night Fighting limits.) He can also bring along two extra drones from the standard drone list, and this is in addition to the special drones Pathfinders can take. Be aware that filling up the entire squad with pathfinders, special drones, and two regular drones will put them above capacity for riding in a Devilfish.
- Pathfinder Team Aurora (Deliverance): 10 Pathfinders with the three pathfinder-exclusive drones. The sarge and 6 others own Carbines, one gets Ion Rifles and the last two get a Rail Rifle. The Shas'Ui Ignores cover and gets Relentless while the team benefits from the Bonding Knife Ritual.
- Special Drones: These drones can only be taken by Pathfinder squads, only one of each can be taken, and they do not count against the two drone limit for accompanying drones (each is purchased as its own upgrade independent of other things.)
- TX4 Piranha: Burst cannon basic, can be upgraded with fusion blaster. Low armor means they are fragile, but as fast vehicles they can block paths and provide anti-infantry / anti-armor harassment. These guys are also pretty cheap for what they do. For their price they have 8 S5 AP5 range 18" shots per model. Half is BS3 and half BS2 TL. Keep in mind however that unlike most of the other Tau vehicles, the drones are vulnerable to template weapons due to Open-Topped. Finally Piranhas are the only vehicle in the Tau codex that can be put into squadrons of up to 5, making them very good at denying line of sight and assault from the opposing forces.
- Alt Take A fun thing to note is that the majority of the cost of a Piranha can be made up in the Drones. For 200 points you can get Five Piranhas in a squadron and detach a squad of 10 gun drones. This gives you a 140 point Gun Drone Squad(That don't take up a Fast Attack Slot, or count for kill points) and a 60 point squad of 5 11AV Front skimmers with Burst Cannons. Also you can attach a Drone Controller Commander to gun drones to maximize the point return.
- Tireless Hunter (Deliverance): Fusion Blaster Piranha that gets Supporting Fire (but that doesn't pass to the Drones) and +1 BS. For five more points, that's neat.
- AX3 Razorshark Strike Fighter: One of two new aircraft for Tau, sporting average aircraft stats (11/10/10 3HP) a quad ion gun. Normally, it shoots at S7 AP4 at 30" and is assault 4, but because it's an ion weapon, it can be overcharged (for the price of Gets Hot) turning it into an S8 AP4 Large Blast! Even funnier, the gun is mounted on a turret to the rear, meaning that any deep-striking aircraft that thought they could get the jump on it will be thoroughly surprised, - upgrade the burst cannon to a missile pod for even more 360 degree fire arc fun.
- AX39 Sunshark Bomber: The other new aircraft with similar stats to the above, but trades the quad cannon for blowing pulse bubbles (S5 AP5 Large Blast) onto unsuspecting targets below every turn unless you roll a 1, in which case your bomber can no longer produce bombs. It also comes with the networked markerlight for lasing targets and a pair of interceptor drones to fuck up enemy aircraft.
- Comparing the Sunshark to the Razorshark, the Interceptor drones are arguably better than the quad-ion due to being able to detach if necessary, and also if you go ahead and compare the quad-ion and the interceptors as equals (which they are, interceptors might win out due to TL) then the Sunshark is effectively a more tooled up Razorshark for a slightly higher price cost, coming equipped with a pulse bomber unit instead of a burst cannon and a Missile Pod that has the option to twin-link (5 extra points) for only 15 points more. Definitely worth considering.
- Piranha TX-42 (Forge World): Heavier, with an extra point of side armor, but with a higher cost. These start with twin-linked fusion blasters which lets them put some serious hurt on tanks, but can be upgraded with missiles pods, plasma, or rail rifles. These guys can go hunting for different enemies dependent on loadout, though a crisis team may be better in regards of JSJ. 6th edition changes to fusion blasters and rail rifles buffed TX-42 A LOT. New updates show no points bumped, but an extra point of side armor and a twinlinked gun for 20 points on a similarly equipped Piranha. Only take these for the plasma or rail rifles if you really want them.
- Tetras (Forge World): Where Pathfinders are the cudgel of markerlights, these guys are the scalpel. They zip in as fast vehicles, drop an accurate markerlight, and zoom away. Low armor and open-top means that every shot could be their last. Keep them safe, and they will benefit you immensely. When deciding tetras vs pathfinders consider your need to reposition and your desire to bring in extra pathfinder goodies such as drones and heavy weapons. Pathfinders would generally provide much more markerlight tokens per points spent, but Tetras have their mobility to help them stay for longer, and thus earn their price reliably. Make sure you gave every one of them dispods and sensor spines for 3+ cover in ruins/jink, and zoom around hiding from enemy anti-tank fire LoS and bolter/charge range - just like any other marker unit is is a priority target and would attract a lot of fire.
- Barracuda (Forge World): A pants-wettingly terrifying air superiority fighter that packs raw, balls-out, firepower in a maneuverable package. Armed with two Burst Cannons, an Ion Cannon, which can overcharge into essentially a battlecannon, Missile Pods and can take up to four Seeker Missiles, this thing is capable of taking down pretty much any flyer, and what's more? It's got BS4. Sadly, it has a maximum armour value of 11 and a measly 2 hull points. Still, a great way to drop some nasty, high-strength dakka on ground and air targets. Thanks to the update in the second edition of IA:3, the Barracuda is now the best flier available to the Tau, and a strong contender for the deadliest flier in standard 40k, second only to Nightwing and Thunderbolt in a dogfights (though they're both cost more and cannot drop marine-killing pipe plates on the ground). It can take a 4++ against interceptor fire for only 3 points, and has a 3+ jink as standard due to the Agile special rule and if you buy a Disruption Pod (which you should), you're looking at a cheesetastic 2+ jink save! It has absurd firepower that dwarfs the other Tau fliers (and indeed, most other races' fliers too) while remaining cheaper. Don't forget that your burst canons are now auto-targetting, which means that you can tell jet bikes, lightly armored skimmers, and other fliers to suck it.
- DX-6 Remora Drone Fighters (Forge World): Since 6th edition, this souped-up, more accurate, flying Heavy Gun Drone make a squad of Remoras obviate the purpose of a Skyray, a squad of Pathfinders and maybe even a Tetra team! They have a huge advantage over the Barracuda in that they can be taken as a squad of 1-5; come with twin-linked long-barrelled Burst Cannons, a networked Markerlight and two Seeker Missiles; and to top it off, they have a permanent 5+ cover save with 2+ on jink as its stealth field generator give it Shrouded. Want to troll your enemy? 6's to hit and a 2+ cover save just to hit a light AV10 flyer that can take on bigger flyers should cause a lot of rage. Meanwhile, you can drop his flyers out of the sky with a punishing battery of seeker missiles and when he's out of flyers, start markerlighting ground targets to help out your broadsides! Plus with the latest Imperial Armour release of Taros Campaign Second Edition, these babies are now a mere 90 points each! Drop a squad of five for 450 and laugh your ass off as your opponents reag. With the update for long-barreled Burst Cannons also factored in (from 3 shots to 6), they are actually quite mean.
- XV-9 Hazard Team (Forge World): God's Second Gift To Tau. These bruisers contain experimental weaponry on a high toughness frame with vectored retro-thrusters to run away. The downside is that greatness is expensive, and you will feel it. Though that price is arguably a bargain, given that at a base cost of 75 points at the cheapest, they are actually 3 points cheaper than an equivalently equipped XV8 Shas'Vre would be (if it could take 4 weapons and 2 support systems), while being tougher and and bringing unique options, not to mention occupying less cramped Fast Attack slot. They look really, really fucking awesome and they make vehicle light armies (dark eldar, tyranids, orks, and chaos daemons) weep. Their weapons include:
- Burst Cannons: Four on one suit means two twin-linked sets. Now that burst cannons have an extra shot, these guys now have the equivalent of miniguns. Two of them in a team will seriously mess up any ground unit out there, from Marines to Tyranids. Being the only twin-linked set of weapons on the suit also gives the suit the unique ability for the team to also run completely or near-completely independent of Markerlights, something that will be greatly appreciated by the other guys who would love to use them. Plus, Burst Cannons are fragging bad-ass. Learn to love them.
- Phased Ion Gun: The phaser is Baby's First Assault Cannon but without the gatling barrel arrangement, with lower strength but decent AP and rending. Previously it was near to only way to get Rending in Tau army, but with new codex you get Riptide and shitton of sniper rifles.
- Fusion Cascade: The Fusion Cascade is the go-to weapon for heavy infantry hunting. A melta weapon with lower strength but multiple shots, these can decimate spess mehreens and light vehicles alike. And best of all, it's not plasma, so you can tell Matt Ward and his plasma siphon to stuff it, which is great because it's one of your best ways to eliminate a threat that would otherwise render three quarters of your weaponry unable to shoot for shit. Generally your best bet as it's effective against everything (though you need a bit of luck to penetrate high AVs even with melta rules.)
- Pulse Submunition Rifle: The shotgun is an excellent anti-horde weapon that ignores cover, with good strength but crap AP. A unit of 3 XV-9s equipped with 2 submunition rifles each can drop 6 pie-plates on the table every turn (and from 24" away), which will absolutely devastate Ork and Tyranid blobs. However, this setup is very expensive at 20 points per rifle, and is not very reliable against MEQs (though you can still force them to throw tons of saves). With the sheer amount of templates available to the Tau army, these are kind of redundant. However, they are more cost-efficient than twin-linked burst cannons if you can average more than 4 models under each template. The only exception is GEQs outside of cover (but seriously, when does that happen?), which require 7 models under each blast template.
- Consider what an Iridium Commander with a command and control node, a multi-spectrum sensor suit or both can do for a team of three XV9's.
- XV-109 Y'vahra Battlesuit (Forge World): Prepare. For. Tears. The Tau just got YET ANOTHER Riptide variant. This one rocks on fragile speedster trope, spotting one fewer Wound, and much less comfortable range for increased mobility and higher accuracy, compared to regular Riptide. It is armed with two-shot S6 AP2 flamer with half-torrent (6" instead of 12") and gets hot (never use the weakened one-shot AP3 variant - you have 2+ to save against gets hot), and 12" S8 AP3 3-shot Iconic discharge cannon with blind and extra haywire srike for each hit dealt. (making land raiders and others heavy vehicles very sad). As you can see, it is designed to seriously fuck things in close quarters, able to mulch any infantry up to and including terminators, and one-shoot any vehicle up to and including land raiders, but only at close range, much like supercharged XV-9. Which means the risk of close combat. But hey, just like Hazard suits it have in-built retro-thrusters, and can use drone Initiative of 4 to reliably activate them. If you're afraid of rapidfiring plasma or melta, don't, because it have 4++ against shots from 12" or less. Ballistic skill 4 and cover-ignoring nature of one of its weapons means it's much less reliant on markerlight support, which is essential, given it's going to work on the front lines where enemy units may hide out of your marker unit reach or LOS. Oh, and this thing can fly like FMC, except without vector strikes and only once per two turns - you can use it to gain better mobility, avoid close combat, or shoot the shit out of enemy flyers. When it flies or deep strikes it can also use fletchette pods to kinda-bomb a unit in 6" with D6 shredding bolter shots - nothing great to talk about, but it doesn't take off your shooting attacks and doesn't affect your targeting. And of course it have its own (mostly inferior to vanilla) version of Nova reactor results which are:
- 3++ in close combat only, which is meh, since you're gonna avoid CC anyway and have a lot of tools tailored exactly for that purpose.
- Extra D3 shots for Ionic cannon, which is brutal against AV13-14 vehicles with your extra haywire strikes
- Escaping to reserves, which is mostly useful for escaping danger in turns you have no flying mode, or jumping out of assault in case you've failed Hit and Run test.
- Jink while walking/4+ cover while flying - not really that useful, considering your 5++/4++, and the downsides of jinking.
- You can select any two support systems from the book (note how the FSE upgrades are specifically mentioned as a no-go, pretty much forcing FW to admit that FSE players will use this bad boy), but there really are only two choices that you should ever take: Stimulant injector and Velocity Tracker.
- NOTE: Forgeworld has chimed in on the issue of drones and the FMC move. If you take the drones you CAN NOT make your 'swoop' move, you sacrifice mobility for durability.
- Mounted Great Knarloc Herd (Forge World): If you have a fast attack slot open and need a massive distraction, take 3 of these. These are your new distraction carnifex. For 85 points each, you have a WS4, S6, T5, W5, monstrous creature with Stealth (forests) and fleet, but have the downsides of being only I3, Ld7, and a paltry orkish save of 6+. Don't give them guns, they're not there to shoot, they're there to smash stuff.
- Goaded Great Knarloc (Forge World): A singular version of the Knarloc Herd that has a chance of going crazy and killing its own units. Just skip it, and go for the Herd.
- Knarloc Riders (Forge World): I want to like these guys, I really do, because come on, they're freaking birdmen riding god-fucking-damned dinosaurs! These guys beat Canoptek wraiths, when they charge. They're also able to move 12, re-roll charge distance and then get hammer of wrath, something jump troops cannot do, and are 2 wounds now with T4. They're basically here for a distraction. Problem with Knarlok riders is not that they are bad, but almost any other FA choice is flat-out better. Anything that kills orks (read: everything) will kill these faster, if only because there is less of them, somehow. Unfortunately, forgeworld has stopped selling these knarloc models as there was not enough demand for them, the only way to get them is from other retailers such as ebay.
- TX7 Hammerhead Gunship: God's Third Gift To Tau. The railgun is your best friend, and this one retains its 72" S10 AP1 goodness (
arguably the only one now that nothing else in the book mounts the classic RailgunTidewall Gunrig). It's mounted on a durable chassis (only a few standard skimmers with better armour) and comes with a higher BS than your average Tau (up to 5 if you take 3 due to Fire Team; you can do that now). Plus with disruption pods you get 4+/3+ cover (unless you're stupid enough to park it in the open) making the Hammerhead much more durable to dedicated anti-tank equipment. Take one. Hell, take two. With its ability to make vehicles its bitch with its bullet-mode, and its ability to mincemeat infantry with its large blast shotgun-mode, a hammerhead will NEVER disappoint...provided you take the railgun option. Its options are as follows:
- Railgun: Yes. Standard mode is a S10 AP1 (it will knock out vehicles on a 5+ if it penetrates, opened-topped go out on a 4+), and can be upgraded with a S6 AP4 blast template just for 5 pts. Powerful, versatile, and rightly referred to by a variety of profane monikers by non-Tau players, it is the most popular Hammerhead primary weapon choice with good reason.
- Ion Cannon: An autocannon with another shot and better AP. It's no railgun, but it does have some new tricks up its sleeve to make it worth it especially against MEQs. Specifically, it's an ion weapon, which means it can be overcharged to a S8 AP3 Large Blast that gets hot; this effectively turns it into a discount Leman Russ, though Markerlight support lets it strip cover from targets.
- Secondary Weapons: Your choice of two gun drones, a twin-linked smart missile system or a twin-linked burst cannon, all free. Yes, you read that right, a TL burst cannon, not two burst cannons. So obviously, skip that one. Your choice on the other options, though - the gun drones can (being passengers) shoot at a different target or fire Overwatch, or get out to harass or foil a charge, while the SMS has superior range, superior accuracy and ignores cover.
- La'Sha'ng (Gunner Longstrike): Joining the burgeoning crowd of tank aces started by Antaro Chronus and Knight Commander Pask, and then trolling them silly because he's actually worth it! Shas'la T'au Sha'ng is a nifty upgrade for a Hammerhead gunship, blessing it with BS5 (up to 6 if you Fire Team; muahahaha), preferred enemy
IGAM, Tank Hunter, a blacksun filter and the ability to overwatch or deliver Supporting Fire. He can also overwatch multiple times per phase against different eligible charging enemies. Considering that he also has the Supporting Fire special rule like infantry and most battlesuits, that can actually be a whole lot of potential targets, each of which he can Overwatch on behalf of as often as the enemy attacks them. Consider flanking his Hammerhead with infantry to better take advantage of this, offering the protection of his tank fire to them while they keep the melta-bomb bearing enemy troops off of him. Just remember that you cannot Snap Fire anything which has a blast template, so sadly no sub-munitions Overwatching for him. Stick to his secondary weapons for most Overwatch targets, or use the solid railgun shot against a charging monstrous creature (if it even lives long enough to get that close.) Also, consider using him with an ion cannon. He only needs one markerlight (or wingmen) to avoid overheating when he overcharges, provides best output for overwatching with 3 S7 AP3 shots along with secondary weapons, and can still wreck the hell out of light armor. Oh, and did we mention he headshotted a titan?
- La'Sha'ng (Gunner Longstrike): Joining the burgeoning crowd of tank aces started by Antaro Chronus and Knight Commander Pask, and then trolling them silly because he's actually worth it! Shas'la T'au Sha'ng is a nifty upgrade for a Hammerhead gunship, blessing it with BS5 (up to 6 if you Fire Team; muahahaha), preferred enemy
- Forge World brings several new weapons options to the Hammerhead Gunship:
- Please note that as the following are bought as a set of two, how one would fire the system is a matter of debate. Some would find it completely acceptable to count the two weapons as a single weapon system, thus being able to fire both as one weapon system after moving at combat speed, while others may punch the rules and declare they are two unrelated weapons and thus cannot be fired together. The latter will probably be common where your forces are curb-stomping the opponent into submission and they need every out they can get, but as a general house rule it should be completely acceptable to count the two systems as a single system that just fires twice at the same unit.
- 2 Long-Barrelled Burst Cannons: Since the update hit, it's now become a full-blown flak cannon with 12 shots, but weaker strength, shorter range, and the possibility to clip flyers. Post codex, you have Broadsides to do this job now. However, this weapon beats rail sub and ion cannon when it comes to facing down hordes of light infantry; guardsmen, guardians, Kablite warriors and ork boys get wounded on 2s and 3s with no armour saves. With the right support, 10-12 models can die in a single shooting phase. Throw in Longstrike for even more fun!Also consider the Point defence targeting relay. Anyone wishing to charge a unit with this monster nearby will have to suffer 16 shots of overwatch from just this tank. Markerlight the target beforehand to end the assault before it starts.
- 2 TL Missile Pods: Cheaper on Crisis Suits, but will come with a velocity tracker - basically turns your Hammerhead into very expensive and slightly more accurate Hydra flakk tank / Missileside. Just take a Missileside squad instead.
- 2 Fusion Cannons: This option had a bad rap for a while. However, the proliferation of TEQs briefly gave this gun its time in the sun (a twin-linked blast S8 AP1 melta does have its place, especially when facing down lots of deep-striking TEQs, vehicles, etc.). Unfortunately, now you have the Riptide to deal with that kinda shit, so the Fusion Cannon is back to being dubious once again. Also, thanks to the fact that if you move your tank, you can only fire 1 blast weapon, so don't take this. At all.
- 2 Plasma Cannons: A go-to gun for facing down TEQs/MEQs/Mounstrous Creatures and flyers. Now that the new codex is out, you have other options for anti-MEQ and anti-aircraft. Ion Cannon is better against the former and Broadsides are better against the latter. Might still have some use against MCs, although... it does pump out 4 S7 AP2 at 48".
- XV107 R'Varna: Forge World's most beautiful creation to date. A riptide which exchanges its Jet Pack status for a better statline (+1T +1W) and inbuilt fletchette discharger (so it cannot be tarpitted). It also comes equipped with two Pulse Submunitions Cannons. Worth noting that these weapons are UNAFFECTED by the Ethereal ability Storm of Fire (so not stupidly broken) and do NOT have Rapid Fire. These guns are S6 AP4 Large Blast, with a Cluster Fire special rule. Cluster Fire lets the weapons get a higher strength and inflict more hits when you fire at larger models. This means it can potentially put out 6 (or 12 if you nova-charge) OC'd Ion rifle equivalent hits against an enemy MC per turn. You'll no longer have to worry about fighting MCs and Artillery because of this beautiful son of a bitch (actually, not as effective as it was with the changes of 7E, AP4 renders it about as useful as two hammerheads with Pulse submunitions, albeit hitting more on the blasts... but still only AP4. Gotta love party fouls). Also has a different Nova Reactor with an ability to increase invuln save to 3++, detonate a haywire "bomb", fire the cannons twice(at the cost of not firing next turn!) or give the unit Fleet and a 2D6 run. Can equip with a Positional Relay and Stimulant Injector (which CANNOT be used in a failed Nova Charge), and can purchase Shielded Missile Drones to protect you. Being a FW model, they charge you more than is even remotely reasonable for it i.e. 'only' £70.
- WARNING: Forgeworld has not released any sort of official document or FAQ stating that it cannot be used in the Farsight Enclaves army. Until they do, enjoy your battlesuit extravaganza. However, Considering the old rules are still available online, and until they are published in a copy of IA, nothing is official, you could still potentially be a douche and run the old rules for this brute. If you really want to be that guy, though, never over-charge it. Ever. You prick.
- XV88 Broadside Battlesuits: God's Fourth Gift To Tau. Broadsides got taken down a peg in the new codex, with their railgun variant hitting at a decent S8 (still AP1, though) and only at 60".(Making them mostly ineffective in their previous role of an AV14 killer, since they can only glance now, and that only on a 6) In addition to their old options, they get new options like the ability to skyfire or replace their downgraded railguns with a fucking ton of missiles (including a seeker missile). If you have target locks on the broadsides, you can fire at different targets, possibly giving two different vehicles a serious glance-to-death headache, and turn those scary monstrous creatures into pink (or green) mist. Along with the change in rules, broadsides have a new plastic kit that has them holding their twin-linked heavy railrifle like a rifle, as well as bits for their new twin-linked high-yield missile system (the one that replaces their twin-linked heavy railrifle). Arguably, Broadsides needed this nerfing in order to open up board for the other options in Heavy Support. The main thing to consider when choosing missiles or rail rifles is range. 60" is still pretty much table wide while the missiles are only 36". Missilesides will need to either be deployed farther forward or wait in the rear, but which ever you choose remember that Broadsides are infantry and will only snap-fire if they move.
- Look to the skies! These guys are also excellent AA units and are great as an ally unit for armies that lack reliable AA. Misslesides with VT run through AV11 flyer's (with 1 broadside averaging 2 glancing hits per shooting phase) and they don't do too badly against the AV12's either taking 1 hull point per shooting phase per broadside. Railsides aren't bad against flyers either - AP1 means a decent chance of FOOM!. Although, if you take the command variant from the Farsight Enclaves and attach him to a Darkstrider unit, you suddenly have a nice amount of twinlinked insta-death at your disposal.
- Sniperside A railrifle shas'vre with Advanced Targeting System gets precision shots on a 5+. Twin linked, that's a 50% chance per round of shooting. Not great against ICs due to Look Out Sir, but great for sniping anything else. Plus, it's just about the only legit reason for you to use a great-looking model instead of a missileside. If you want to kick this up a notch you can make him your warlord and pray for Precision of the Skilled Hunter.
- Drone Sniper Team: This entry has seriously been retooled in the latest Codex. They no longer have rail rifles, just beefed up pulse rifles, but these new Longshot Pulse Rifles get Sniper (which includes precision shots and rending on to wound/penetrate of 6) and a 48" range now. Also, their new gun is a pulse weapon so it's effected by Storm of Fire. If the spotter dies, the drones get reduced from BS 5 to BS 2, though in 6th edition you can hide him behind a drone line AND you can now take three spotters per squad! They used to take up a Heavy Support choice that was usually better filled with something else but now they can lay down a devastating salvo of accurate, potentially rending dakka with wounds that you may choose how to allocate. Though, despite being pulse weapon longshots still count as S3 against vehicles like any sniper rifle, so do not expect to threaten tanks with them. Note that the Firesight spotter is BS5 and comes with a markerlight. While they max out at three spotters per team, those three markerlights are nothing to sneer at, as each one of them is almost guaranteed several tokens per shooting phase. Keep in mind that while the spotter is standard infantry, the drones are called out specifically as jet pack infantry, which means that they can use the jump-shoot-jump trick to pop in and out of cover, so long as they end their move in unit cohesion with the spotter they should be fine. If your opponent protests, show them the unit description in the Codex saying that they do just that. That said, they will still be going at the speed of the spotter, so consider using a spare Devilfish to get them where they need to be. A sniper team with three spotters and 4 drones, or 2 spotters and 5 drones, can still fit inside a Devilfish. A neat little trick is to set a single spotter up on a ledge where he'd probably get insta-gibbed by the opponent and let your XV8-05 commander take over the drones when the spotter bites it, thereby giving your longshots the ability to JSJ while keeping BS5.
- Another tactic: These guys weapons are pulse, meaning they are affected by the Etheral's Storm of fire ability. 9 drones, 2 spotters and an Ethereal clock in at just over 200pts and they have a nasty bit of fire power backing them. Why an Ethereal? They're better suited to be in a spot where they can boost the most possible units, and they benefit from the unit's Stealth rule. While they'll have to move about a lot after the first few turns, position them right and you've got rapid fire plus SoF for a total of 27 shots at 24"; 27 absurdly accurate and potentially rending shots, or 9 shots to protect the Ethereal from Vasily Zaytsev-wannabe's.
- Skyray Missile Gunship: At first glance it looks like a Hammerhead with it's gun replaced with six seeker missiles. "Meh", you say, "I can bring my missiles on any vehicle". Point is that those six missiles doesn't matter. Sure, they are useful, but as i said, you can get them without the Skyray. The things that matters are two tiny gizmos on it's hull - a set of two markerlights and velocity tracker. Think of it like 67 pts upgrade that could give any of your units skyfire on BS2 or hopefully BS3, that also have 6 seeker missiles attached to it. The moment you've landed at least one markerlight token on the enemy flyer/FMC in range of your pathfinders or marker drones it's pretty much dead - spotter units would turn those 1-2 markers into 4-7 and then you just finish the poor fucker with whatever seems more appropriate - from railgun slug to the face, to fusion guns on your battlesuits or pirahnas, to just the hail of pulse shots in case it's AV10 flyer. Against one of the AV10/11 flyers you can just boost Skyray's own BS with his markerlights (they're networked BTW), and then swipe it with as many missiles as you feel appropriate - even if you spend all six you still gonna blow enemy unit out of the sky almost guaranteed. And since most flyers cost 100+ pts. your Skyray just payed for himself, and still can keep doing his air spotter duty. Hell, you can even land a few glances or force an FMC to crush with your SMSs. Unfortunately, Skyray have to compete with almighty Broadsides, Hammerheads and R'Varnas, which are much more point-efficient, but if you have free HS slot and points taking one hardly would hurt your army. However, if you choose to run an unbound list, you can mix n match skyrays with everything else. Have fun. Note: with the new codex, Skyrays can takes squads of 3, and get the Fire Team rule, so more Seekers, more Markerlight hits, and more impact.
- Secondary Weapons: Same as the Hammerhead, and the same considerations apply - skip the weird TL burst cannon and go for the SMS or gun drones, depending on what you need.
- Heavy Gun Drones (Forge World): They're Gun Drone Squads, if slightly more accurate - yet somehow made worse courtesy of them devouring a Heavy Support choice. You don't want to waste one of these all-too-valuable slots on twin-linked fucking burst cannons when your army has dozens of ways to get these onto the table. Their airmobility and markerlight options are still not worth it. Avoid.
- Although you could attach a commander with drone controller to a six drone squad with marker lights and a burst cannon. 6 marker lights at BS5 and 24 strength 5 burst cannon hits at BS5. Sadly, you can't do both in the same turn.
- Also this limits your ability to split your marker light hits between various units. If you decide to take these guys at all go for the TL Burst cannon and make them a bubble wrap unit or a nuisance.
Lords of War
- KV128 Stormsurge: Or Kevin to his friends, the new bad-boy to advertise the new Tau Codex. You may as well just roll to hit and then not bother rolling to wound, the target will be deader than dead. Something of note is the fuckhuge Pulse Blastcannon which acts like an Imperium Conversion Beamer on Tau Hax, 2 shots whose strength depends on the range, 1-10" nets you two Destroyer shots (for a total of 4 per turn when anchored, before factoring in Markerlights), 11-20 is S10 AP3 blasts, and 21-30" is S9 AP5. Also comes with a missile pod which shoots 4D6 Smart Missle rockets per turn. Additionally, you get 4 Destroyer Missiles, which on paper are a little disappointing, in that they're 60" range, AP 1 Hunter-killer Missiles, but with the addition of Markerlights, they can live up to their name by graduating to Strength D on a 1:1 basis. It can take 3(?!?) support systems, albeit with a few upcharges (50 points for a Shield Generator, for example). Target Lock, Velocity Tracker, and Early Warning Override could make a Stormsurge with the Pulse Driver, if not the most cost effective, than certainly the most deadly AA unit in the game, Auto-penning anything in the air before it gets a chance to cause trouble, Nope, Sorry Mate Pulse Driver Cannon is a Large Blast Weapon, you can't target Zooming Flier with Blast, Large Blast or Template weapons, regardless of whether or not you have skyfire (Page 81, Core rules, 6th ed. True, but last time I checked, this is 7th ed. - Sorry, Mate; Page 84, Flyers "Hard to hit"), the Cluster Rocket will still royally fuck shit up if you can get a Fliers RAV though, and if they're stupid enough to get within 10", they deserve the double-D. It can also deploy stabilizing anchors in the shooting phase, giving up the option to move in exchange for doubling it's ability to shoot in the next shooting phase. Oh, also did we mention you can fucking squadron this shit? 3 Lords of War in 1 slot may not be the smartest idea, given how many points these bastards eat, but it's there . Anything that could potentially take these things down will obviously get shot to shit before coming close. This is not however the thing you should take countering the big cheesy Wraithknights and Imperial Knights, given D-shots are too short-ranged/limited and dependent on outside support to rely upon, but rather a centerpiece big artillery platform you form your gunline around. Also, Stormsurges are the only suit in the army vulnerable to Blind and affected by Nightfighting, due to not even having access to Blacksun Filters.
- KX139 Ta'unar Supremacy Battlesuit (Forge World): A breath of semi-fresh air from the ten thousand year old funk, FW decided that no, a Riptide isn't big enough, and made a GC Battlesuit. Not only that, but it's a non-mobile GC meant for static defenses, words practically unheard of in the Tau's dictionary. While it has some of the staples (S9, 10 wounds, Ld9), and a middling BS of 4, which can easily be corrected with a Markerlight or two, its biggest standout is that it lacks the basic Supporting Fire rule that made the Tau infamous. The replacement is it's Vigilance Defence System, which allows it to fire its double Smart Missiles and double TL Burst Cannons at BS2 in Overwatch. The cheese only goes up from here: A 2+ Armor and a 5+ Invul (Which ups to 4+ against dakka) that can half the damage done on a 6 in the Destroyer Table (Though it has to shut down till your next turn). A Pulse Ordinance Multi-Driver that either fires an S:D AP2 Massive Blast or an S8 AP3 Apocalyptic Barrage that Pins and Ignores Cover, both with incredible range. It also has two arm cannons, each a choice between either a Heavy 5x Multi-Melta or an Ion Cannons that either fires 6 shots at S7 AP3 or 3 shots at S9 AP2. Anything it fights, it will find a way to break something, even if it's your army and bank, as it's 600 Points and 250 Quid ($380 for those that use pounds solely to weigh things($500 for the U.S.'s upstairs MAPLES neighbour.)).
- Manta: The bastard child of a Thunderhawk and a Titan, this small spaceship is just as capable an attack craft as it is a heavy transport. This thing carries an absolutely goofy number of guns and can spew out a retarded amount of dice. Sixteen Long-barrelled Burst Cannons (who now fire 6 shots, meaning this thing fires 96 S5 AP5 36" shots), three Long-barrelled Ion Cannons, two Heavy Railgun (destroyer weapon and AP1 like a standard railgun in slug-mode, so it auto-penetrates/wounds and destroys vehicles 2+, not to mention the submunition mode that throws out large blasts with the strength and AP values of an Ion Cannon, and deviate less than usual by virtue of being drone-controlled), a Missile Pod, a Seeker Missile Battery (10 missiles), and a Networked Markerlight turret ensure that anything it's shooting at will not live to see the next turn. And there's the little benefit that for a Titan equivalent, it's damned fast. Oh, and it can carry a metric fuckton of Tau; 48 Fire Warriors, 8 battlesuits, 2 Devilfish (and any models in them DON'T count towards total models in the Manta's cargo), 2 Hammerheads, 6 Gun Drones, and 1 Ethereal. Just one of these can damned near carry an entire normal 40k game's worth of Tau ground units! Unfortunately, for the price of the Manta model, you could just as easily buy a decent used car. (PROTIP: Buy a Smart Car, paint it ochre, and use it as both a vehicle and a proxy. Or proxy it with your converted army case.) If you can afford one and don't know how to use it, try asking either your butler or the two burly Armenians who just came over to break both your legs. One other drawback: unlike other flying vehicles in Apocalypse, ground attackers without AA or pintle mounts use their normal BS rather than needing a 6 to hit because of how fuck-huge it is (blasts and templates still can't fire at Manta). Though it does have a 4+ invul save due to its energy shield, remember an enemy still needs to deplete its structure points to destroy it like a ground-based super-heavy vehicle. In the most recent update the manta has BS4, 13/12/11 armor, 30HP, a transport capacity of 200 (up to 4 vehicles counting as 30 each, and bulky, very bulky, and extremely bulky as normal) and the ability to spew out more dakka at 2,000 points than most armies.
- Tiger Shark: This thing can shit out fourteen gun drones and carries an impressive armament of a twin-linked Ion Cannon, TL Missile Pod, and two Burst Cannons, making it the death of anything without a 2+ armour save/a lucky invulnerable save/Land Raider-equivalent armour (especially since flyers always hit the side armour of ground vehicles!).
- AX-1-0: A version of the Tiger Shark meant to really bring the hate to super-heavy vehicles, swapping out drone racks and ion cannons for twin-linked Heavy Railguns. Put on a trollface as your opponent realizes just how terrifying Railguns are on a flyer platform (answer? Very, especially since the ones on this Tiger Shark variant are just as capable as those on a Manta).
- As a fluff note, the AX-1-0 was originally made as a counter to Imperial Titans. Titans take decades and lots of resources to build, while the AX-1-0 uses existing parts from the Tiger Shark with weapons normally installed on Mantas, thereby minimizing fabrication time and material cost, giving the Tau an extremely cost-effective anti-titan punch. You know that the Earth Caste engineering team that came up with it said, "Problem, Magos?" Few things are more satisfying than watching the look on your enemy's face when you blow up his Reaver Titan or Heirophant with a fraction of its cost in AX-1-0s, that go on to tear his other super-heavies a new one. An SHF with a D-strength weapon, the AX-1-0 is the ONLY (that made it down to scale, there's plenty of star-busters both in AE and BFG) D-weapon in the game (with AP1 no less) that can hit other flyers at full Ballistic Skill (the Wraithknight can snap-fire, but what's that for?). 660 pts. is a goddamn bargain for a thing with 6 hull points and a 110" range that can one-hit anything up to a Reaver Titan PLUS a networked markerlight (because TL BS5 is way better than TL BS4) and doesn't give a shit if its target is flying or not. This unit was once one of top ten apex predators of the whole game, and is still quite devastating though more obscure and costly than other contenders (there's lot of them, but the cake still goes to IG's fuck-you missile, with all bigger-than-monolith necron units and primarchs coming shortly after). However they're far from being anywhere near invulnerable as their players like to think, and even marines now got more unpleasant AA-tanks, not even mentioning the fighters that were around since before Tigersharks themselves, so you shouldn't be surprised when your precious rail-rape will be shot down like a fish in the barrel if your opponent brought delicious buffed-up heavy-AA or wanted to unleash skyrape too. Yet it is quite nice source of D-railguns, so bring some if you feeling titans or other superheavies approaching. Expect your face bashed true tau flat and blue if you'll field them in a standard game in some orky club, though. PROTIP: carry some Aeronautica (they're cheaper in cash and lighter while still being perfectly legit, certainly moreso than whatever giant horror opponent managed to field) Tigersharks in a hidden compartment of your army trunk. You'll never know when you'll get the need to put down some rich faggot that commissioned an Emperor titan, Mega-Gargant, Manta or other car-worthy rubbish.
- AX-2-2: A rather weird unit that carries two Remora Stealth Drone fighters that have two long barrelled burst cannons and seeker missiles.
- AX-1-0: A version of the Tiger Shark meant to really bring the hate to super-heavy vehicles, swapping out drone racks and ion cannons for twin-linked Heavy Railguns. Put on a trollface as your opponent realizes just how terrifying Railguns are on a flyer platform (answer? Very, especially since the ones on this Tiger Shark variant are just as capable as those on a Manta).
- Orca Dropship: If you have the money and points to afford a Manta (lucky you!), don't bother with this one. While still a super-heavy flyer, its transport capacity is only a quarter of the Manta's (it can't even carry vehicles), and it is only lightly armed with Seeker Missiles, a Missile Pod and a twin-linked Burst Cannon turret. Needless to say, the Orca dropship doesn't do any justice to its namesake (which is an apex marine predator in real life). It did get +1 front and side armour, +1 BS, a built in disruption pod and blacksun filter, an the ability that allows 4 units to disembark at the same time, and long-barreled burst cannon's new buff to 6 shots greatly helps. Also in big apoc floor matches a very mobile flying cheap transport with a transport captivity of 57 is nothing to sneezed at. Also if you want to be an asshole, remember that you can transport up to 11 broadsides or (more usually) three teams of 3 with drones.
- On a side note, this dropship first appeared in the Fire Warrior 40k FPS and Tau vehicle units in Dark Crusade and Soulstorm arrive at vehicle production buildings via Orca.
- Another View: The Orca and the Manta have two entirely different roles on the battlefield. Specifically, the Orca isn't a 2000 point army by itself. The Orca is designed to support an army as a Lord of War, capable of surviving on the battle field while deploying it's cargo of suits/drones/troops. With the advantages of the flyer rules, it's +1 to cover saves and it's damn good armor and hull points, it is remarkably reliable as a transport. The most important facet of this vehicle is that it can transport battlesuits, and more importantly, jet pack infantry. This includes Hazard suits.
- I am sure you are wondering "what difference does that make? I can deep strike my jet pack infantry!"
- Consider this: The greatest weakness of drop-fusion squads is that they tend to get the shit shot out of them. A lot. They can't move after deep striking so you are sacrificing your units in hopes that they destroy their target. You are also risking mishaps if you don't have a homing beacon(bacon? BACON!). With the Orca, you get to move, shoot and thrust move, which pretty much assures you can get your guys into cover before they get shot by the entire enemy army.
- Consider also that the vehicle can move -and- deploy it's cargo without worrying about dangerous terrain checks for the guys inside, Unlike the Valkyrie. You can also load it with a metric fuckton of fire warriors, pathfinders, kroot, broadsides and drones.
- It is a 400 point mini, more if you take other upgrades, and looks a bit like a shoebox, but as things continue to grow in size and scope, this point cost (roughly the same as a knight titan with FAR more versatility and resilience), it becomes a dead-killy option.
- Area Denial Node (White Dwarf UK 336): Only technically a Super Heavy choice, this is the Big-Daddy version of the Drone Turret, coming in at 175 with a BS3, All AV 12, 2 Structure points, & A Twin-Linked Railgun (R 180", S:10, AP1, Heavy 1), Submunition Rounds (R 72", S:6, AP4, Heavy 1, Large Blast), and a Special Rule that means if 2 of these thing hit the same target with Solid-Shot Rounds they gain the Titan-Killer USR.
- These are fairly old rules, so consider tripling the Hull Points, and altering Titan-Killer to increasing the Weapons Strength to D, and giving it the option to take a Velocity Tracker or a Emergency Warning Override if actually using it in a game, but it is still fully legal, and offers a fun modelling opportunity.
More general tactics in using fortifications are here. These are notes specific to Tau common playstyles:
- Aegis Defense Line: Can be useful or useless, depending on how you plan to use it. The anti-air emplacements are much less useful to you than most other armies, since you have so much AA already, though it's your only viable anti-air interceptor. That being said, it's still a nice piece of cover for your Fire Warrior gunline and dispoded tanks to cower behind and because you control where it goes it is cover your fire warriors will always have. If you're running a highly-mobile, you'll find it to be actively useless. If you're going to commander-bomb the enemy, for 20 points more, the comms relay will allow you to reroll reserve results, which might save your entire game. Something else to consider - park you riptide on your fire warrior firing line next to an ammunition dump. Have fun rerolling those ones that otherwise might kill you!
- Vengeance Weapon Battery: If you don't like taking a risk that might end up blowing your tank up with poor rolling, or you just like a sturdy Battle Cannon mounted on a reliable AV14 building chassis, then the Vengeance weapon battery is your go-to fortifications. It's cheap, it's hardy, and it can take either a Punisher Gatling Cannon (20 shots FTW) or it can be armed with a fearsome battle cannon for +10 points, adding another large blast ap3 weapon on your side that doesn't suffer much from the disappointing bs2 the Weapon battery is cursed with due to being a blast weapon. All in all, if you need a little extra kick, the VWB is hard to disappoint.
- Skyshield Landing Pad: Very big and you can probably fit your entire army on top of it. The 4++ it gives units on top (when the sides are up) means you can put your fire warriors and broadsides up there and not have to worry about things that ignore cover *cough*deathstrike missiles*cough*. When the sides are down, you can deep strike units onto it without them scattering - sort of useless given that if you are deep striking you are probably trying to insert a commander bomb behind an enemy tank, In which case you would have Farsight.
- Plasma Obliterator: Think of this as Ethereal-approved static artillery and being Massive Blast really useful for preventing overrun by hordes or MSUs. Expensive though.
- Imperial Bastion: It's big. It has 4 heavy bolters but you cannot really fit much at the top, and even less so when you add a gun emplacement. A decent crows nest for a sniper drone team or rail/ion rifle pathfinder team, but past that, it's an expensive piece of cover.
- Fortress of Redemption: Expensive, expensive, expensive. But like the rest of your army, the range of the weapons is crazy high. (96" missiles). You can also give it a gun with both skyfire and interceptor, but your Broadsides and Riptides should be taking care of that. The building only has one entrance, so be careful about getting it blown apart. On the other hand, it'll give some trouble to your enemies trying to pull you into an assault. You're also going to need about 300 points freed up just bring in a fully kitted out FoR. Imagine the Battle for Helm's Deep, and you're not too far off.
- Void Shield Generator: Let me break it down for you - you have broadsides. Wouldn't it be nice to stick them behind a nice, thick slab of AV12 from which they can still shoot out? 50pts. Scratch-build your own Tau-ish looking one. Troll the world, drink neckbeard tears.
- Vortex Missile Aquila Strongpoint: More useful in Farsight full-suit army as vortex blast is not really an issue with your mobility, and you're Tau, don't ever think about getting into melee/being less than 6" away from enemies.
- Macro-Cannon Aquila Strongpoint: The almighty D although not as sorely needed for Tau is always welcome (especially being in blast form, luxury in Tau army), and perfect as Kauyon bait. Do consider if you're going against Wraithwall armies.
- Tidewall Rampart: Brand new cheese for 7E. 4+ piece Fortification of your very own, consisting of 2 (or more) Tidewall Shieldlines, which are like an Aegis Line section, only better in that any successful Cover save bounces back the shot on a 6, with an auto-wound/glance at the same AP, 1-2 Tidewall Gunrigs, which come with a password-protected, twin-linked, Hammerhead-grade Railgun with all the fixins (which you could throw Darkstrider on, use his ability to lower T6 units to T5 and ID them with the S10 gun), and 1-2 Tidewall Droneports, which give you 4 Drones of any combination that your basic infantry could take, with some nasty abilities and 2 serious drawbacks. First the good: your 4 (or more) components, altogether, count as Defence Lines, so, apart from the Railgun, can't be destroyed, and doesn't care much about Bulky. Each component comes complete with a built-in Ammo Dump, and, if a Shieldwall is between the section and an attacker, it too can bounce back shots. If one model (I nominate a Shield Drone) in the Droneport foregoes shooting, you can give your Railgun emplacements (or bigger stuff if you have Missilesides or the Stormsurge, etc. parked on the Gunrig) +1 BS, Monster Hunter and Tank Hunter for the Phase (slightly more reason not to charge this thing, especially with Fexes or Dreads). It only counts as a single terrain piece. And it moves... Now the bad: it has to hold formation, can't move at all if an enemy (read: any non-Tau model, so keep your Eldar buddies off) is within 1" (and because the Tidewall Field rule doesn't specify friendly models, shooting at an enemy within 1" risks bounce-back) and it can't cross terrain, so watch out for enemies that bring their own. Also, it only moves during the Movement Phase at a sluggish 6", preempting the movement of the units manning the walls (but not for the purposes of shooting). Although they benefit from the special rules of the other Rampart sections, the Railguns, and the Drones are vulnerable to enemy Shooting, particularly if the enemy has a lot of high strength (ideally 8+, but even a Heavy Flamer would cause problems), Ignore Cover weaponry, as would any unit camping out there. Also, if you're opponent tasks a serious assault unit with taking it, you best float away, because those Tidewall Fields won't help much. Bottom Line: like the Void Shield Generator, and its upgrade, the Void Relay Network, Tidewall works best when properly deployed and kept as far away from the enemy as possible. The whole "bounce back hits" is horribly worded as if a Land Raider fires his heavy bolters and you roll a 6 THE LAND RAIDER TAKES A GLANCING HIT FROM A FUCKING HEAVY BOLTER.
- Tidewall Gunfort: Slap three Gunrigs together within 6" of each other. If someone fires from one gunrig,he can make every railgun fire at the user's BS. If they use Submunitions, the shot gains +1 Strength, and if there's Solid Ammo, it gains Armourbane.
- Tidweall Defense Network: 4 Gunlines join either a Gunrig or a Dronefort. All Tau inside it gain Stubborn and can activate the Gunrig/Dronefort attached to it. Bring this, and accept that nobody will ever kill you and thus hate you to death (except for Noise Marines, Vraksian Renegades, Hellhammers, LR Eradicators, etc.).
- Primus Redoubt: The huegest fortifications with AV15, however expensive as balls and may not suit your playstyle (especially crisiswing). Nobody sane will assault properly entrenched Tau army inside, what with supporting fire and spotter units you can put above.
- Remote Sensor Towers (Forge World): After being noticed for the bad-ass auto-take it was, Forgeworld majorly nerfed it. It's now 'Battlefield Debris' with BS2, T6, W2, and a 4+ save, it has a twin-linked markerlight, and allows '(...)a singe friendly unit selected from Codex: Tau Empire that is within 2" of any sensor tower in the unit may re-roll all failed To Hit rolls of a 1 and gain the Night Vision special rule...' Sadly, it's no longer an auto-take, but may get some use to help with a Riptide to stop it from killing itself. Then again any other fortification piece can take much cheaper ammunition dump upgrade which does exactly the same thing.(They still offer some unique hilarity. Attach shadowsun to them and have them go to ground every round for a 2+ cover save. Shadowsun being able to give stealth+shrouded to a sensor tower that is 20" away from her is amazing.)
Farsight's retinue is not enough for you? You want to fill the table with battlesuits, because screw those puny Fire Warriors. Most importantly, you want to have an answer to melee besides him and Aun'Shi (who gives a VP when killed). This is the army for you, if you're hot-blooded enough to step away from the usual ways of Tau. That being said, surely you can play normal Crisiswing instead of spamming Farsight bombs all day long? So don't place those Kroots on the shelf just yet.
Farsight Enclaves' Special Rules
- Battlesuit Spearhead: The big rule everyone will be talking about, Battlesuit Spearhead allows you to take XV-8 Crisis battlesuits as Troops choices. There is only one restriction: You can't take them as Elites (the book explicitly says 'Troops instead of Elites') and you must bring at least one unit of three Crisis suits. Because, you really needed the motivation to do that anyways. If you find yourself nodding to this, you're doing it wrong.
- Don't be so quick to put all your points in Crisis - they still need markerlight support, and their antitank options expose them too much. What this rule really does is that it enables you to take Crisis without needing to buy chaff troops first, and allows you to better contest far away objectives, that's it. Oh, and it frees slots to better spam a tonn of Riptides, Stealth teams and whatnot.
- Ork Hunters: Every model in a Farsight Enclaves detachment has Preferred Enemy (Orks), but only in close combat, because Farsight hates them that much. It's nice in case you do end up in close combat, but don't go rushing there: you're still Tau and you still suck at melee.
- Ta'lissera Bond: Remember the often-pointless Bonding Knife Ritual mentioned above? Yeah, every unit that can take it must take it. As discussed above, it's not all that useful (and is, in fact, absolutely pointless for three-man Crisis suit teams), but that's the price you must pay for battlesuits in Troops.
- Signature Systems: You can't take the Tau Empire signature systems (well, you can, in a roundabout way, but we'll talk about that in a minute). Instead, you can take the Farsight Enclave signature systems, which we'll discuss below. For the most part, this is a bad thing; the Tau Empire signature systems are excellent, whereas the Farsight Enclaves systems are...significantly less so. "Note that XV104 Riptides in your army may select items from the Signature Systems of the Farsight Enclaves" (page 129), which is good, because the best item is made primarily for them.
- Farsight's Commander Team (The Eight): Instead of taking his regular 6th edition seven-man Crisis bodyguard team, you can take Farsight's Commander Team, made up of seven Unique Special Characters. The unit doesn't take up an HQ slot (which is nice, and regular Bodyguards now DO take an Elites slot) and each model has the Independent Character special rule, meaning they can join other units, lessening the advantage MSUs have over Deathstars. However, you must use their wargear as listed, but you don't have to take all of them (which would get as expensive as an army of its own (which they kinda are)). They'll be discussed in more detail below.
Note that, due to the extremely confusing wording of the rule, it's not clear whether you need to take Farsight or notFAQ'd so that you must have Farsight as your warlord if you want to take any of the remaining Seven. They're purchased as a single unit but all have Independent Character, so it's not clear whether they must be deployed together as a unit or if they can be deployed separately.
- Divergent Destiny: A Farsight Enclaves detachment can't include Shadowsun or Aun'va, obviously. But can bring them as standar Tau allies, so you don't care a lot. Whether this is any big loss depends on your preferences, but a Farsight Enclaves army can get along well enough without them. Oddly, you can take Ethereals, fluff-wise only Aun'Shi is still welcome in the Enclave so take him whenever you want to have a melee dude for your non-jet pack units too.
- Allies: Farsight Enclaves and Tau Empire are Battle Brothers. Yep, that's A LOT of Riptides.
Farsight Enclaves' Warlord Traits
Believe it or not, you have lots of options with this army besides "Farsight Bomb Erryday" (and more with its upcoming formations), although Crisis suits will remain a staple of your army regardless of strategy, and taking Farsight is always recommended, if not for his bomb then for his mate's Signature systems. Yes, you could get resourceful and get No-scatter from other sources (beacons) and have a warlord other than Farsight in order to get an even better bomb (leaving behind some of the Eight if you need to make ends meet), because ALL these traits work nice on such his squad. Thus, comments like "this would be great for a Bomb" should be placed in its section; this one is for general Enclave strategies.
- The Way of the Short Blade: Schooled in Farsight's Battlesuit-fu, the warlord has WS5 unless you're BALD AND FOOLISH and he isn't equipped with a battlesuit, in which case this gets rerolled. What's better than Farsight? TWO Farsights! You bought Fusion Blades, didn't you? Add the gun of your choice and you can pretend he is a slower-but-shootier Farsight. Have him lead another front or add to the deathstar. You didn't bring Fusion blades? Then reroll it - that's why you should always be Battleforged.
- Echoes of the Grand Master: A discount Puretide Engram, your warlord can pick ONE of the following: Counter-attack, Furious charge, Monster hunter, Tank hunter or Stubborn. As with the original Puretide Engram, the last three rules are better than the first two, especially Monster and Tank Hunters. While getting a true Engram isn't too difficult (Sha'vastos or Tau allies) it wont do you wrong to have it repeated.
- The Way of the Broken Sword: For one turn only your enemy has -1 to his reserve rolls. Not bad per se, but "Divide to Conquer" from the BRB's Strategic Table does the same thing all game long. That's a rather good table for Tau, actually, so if you really wanted to affect his reserves you'd be rolling for that instead.
- The Fire Unquenchable: The warlord is Fearless and has a 6" Stubborn aura. You could combine this with the Ethereal bubble for Stubborn Ld 10 while freeing up his other powers. Or it could turn your Coldstar into a sort of 'morale dispenser', his 24" move letting him get to squads in need in short time.
- Countercrisis: Crisis teams get +1 to their reserve rolls. Similar to #3, "Strategic Genius" provides not only a reserves reroll for your entire army (instead of only for Crisis), but also a +1 to Seize, stackable with the Mirrorcodex, so you'd rather be using that table.
- Through Surety, Destruction: Your warlord and his unit gain Shred during one shooting phase. Combine it with Volley fire for true Destruction®. Using this with a Crisis team loaded up on Burst cannons and Gun drones will leave the enemy crying (as usual), and plasma rifles become TEQ woodchippers.
Farsight Enclaves' Signature Systems
- Earth Caste Pilot Array: Let the engineers have some action. Drops WS of the wielder to 1 (but what are you doing in close combat anyway? Oh right, Farsight list) but you get to re-roll ones for shooting (works with Gets Hot) and failed Nova charges. Oh you read that right (JUST DO IT).
- It's a no brainer to use this with a Heavy Burst Cannon on Nova-Charge. What's not to like on a Heavy 12 S6 AP4 Rending weapon that doesn't represent a danger for your own model to use? And although the AP isn't great, even a squad of TEQ/MEQ will shit their pants at this as you drop a double-digit number of (rending) wounds on them. And if you can boost their BS up to 5 (only two marker hits) your looking at what is essentially BS10.
- Did you know you can take TWO of these? Run Farsight and O'Vesa in his Bodyguard and, although O'Vesa has one equipped, the Signature Systems limitation of 1 per army doesn't apply to him (your opponent might dispute this, given the word "above" in the exception and that limitation appearing below)! Question is, does your opponent only run one Tear Cup in his list?
- Talisman of Arthas Moloch: Anti-daemonic Bling-Bling found in the same site as Dawn Blade, this makes stopping those warp-shenanigans much easier. The holder gets a 5++, and for all units within 12" the Deny the Witch roll is
made on 4D6passed on a 2+, according to FAQ, which is frankly fucking-A, as Tau doesn't have anything to help them against psykers. Even blessings get turned the fuck down!
- Warscaper Drone: Counts as drone upgrade (retains any other gear and stats), grants Move Through Cover, Outflank and Acute Senses USR to attached unit, and enemy units within 12" of it who are also outside of their deployment zone treat Difficult terrain as Dangerous terrain. Combos well with Seismic Fibrillator.
- Seismic Fibrillator Drone: One use only. Roll at beginning of any player's turn, on 2+ open ground within 36" of the drone (NOT the unit attached) becomes difficult terrain and difficult terrain becomes dangerous terrain for one turn, and continues at next turn in further rolls of 5+.
- The Mirrorcodex: Farsight's torrented Codex Astartes copy, adds 1 to Seize the initiative, which is very convenient for your deepstrikers, Mr. Farsight Bomb. Also, at beginning of each turn, roll a D6 and you have the chance to win PE:SM, PE:SM&IG or PE:Everyone for bearer and any unit within 6". Sadly, it also has 50% chance of winning jack shit.
- Fusion Blades: Upgrade for a Commander with TL Fusion only. Turns your blowtorch gun into a fucking lightsabre, with Armourbane (not Melta, to fuck with Armoured Ceramite), Blind, S8 and AP1. The best part? It's NOT UNWIELDY unlike similar weapons. Hidden Onager donkey punch? More like TAU MURDERSWORD. However, it can short out after the combat (meaning you have at least one guaranteed use), so a VRT is recommended and a second weapon almost mandatory. Don't be scared, the odds of that happening are the same he has of blinding the foe. The one who dares, wins, right?
- Don't use it to merely "defend" yourself. Your Tau are as mad as hell, and they aren't going to take shit in melee anymore! Blow that Land Raider to pieces and slap-chop the poor fellers inside. Challenge that Chapter Master, make him rue the day he thought he could let the Tau catch him up in melee. And the best thing is it works: Statistically your WS4 Commander, with 5 attacks on the charge, will land 1 wound on him even after his Iron Halo save, but it's S8 so that's all it takes to kiss his 4W goodbye. And he can't kill you because his four attacks translate into 0.66 wounds to you (you did bring a Shield generator, right?), and he'll be dead long before he can use his power fist. Not that it matters, because Fusion blades can blind and even with all his trinquets he just does 0.07 wounds more than you; he could be WS10 for all he want, it doesn't get better than 3+ in 7E baby. Did he just chickened out? Then he can't fight at all.
- You could do it like this guy and model it in such a way everybody is scared of that Tau with the fucking flaming sword. And yes, you can take two because of Farsight's Eight.
Tired of regular Bodyguards, Farsight got himself a squad of Commanders, who are all Independent Characters. So, you lose auto-pass LoS!, but you don't want to anymore, and the squad becomes decent in melee, each with 4 attacks and WS4. But most importantly, they brought regular Tau Signature systems before defecting to the Enclaves, and combine them with the your army's systems - Signature System palooza! They're a way to get more ICs than normal Tau, which you can (arguably) second to other squads instead of forming an XBOX HUEG deathstar. However, despite being named they aren't really unique: they cost and behave the same as regular Commanders, their boon being they don't use any HQ slots. They all contribute to making the Farsight bomb better, especially in melee, but you can opt to not take all seven of them. After all, you get what you pay for, which is a lot.
Again, because they're ICs you could leave a few at home to save some points and attach them to a Crisis team (which are Troops here) so they have Objective Secured. In this manner they can get more drone-wounds (you don't want to lose any of the Eight) and stuff you're lacking, like Velocity trackers. And because they're pretty much kited out regular Commanders, you could replace one with another equipped to your liking (eg.: leave Ob'lotai for another Fusion Blade Commander), the only downside being you'd use more HQ slots. But they can still deepstrike as a single unit.
Note: Although the Signature Systems rule states that only one of each Signature System may be taken per army, this rule does not apply to The Eight. Have fun with running two Earth Caste Pilot Arrays on your Double Riptides. Because ALL Eight are Independent Characters, it's not clear whether you have to start them as one unit or can second them during deployment to other units.
Further Note: The rule limitation on 1 of each Signature System per army is located below the "does not apply" exception, which only covers "the Signature Systems rule above". Cheese at your own risk.
- Commander Farsight: As seen in Codex:Tau, the only difference being that in this army he can take some or all seven samurais, costing exactly 1494 points - an army on its own (which actually happens in a mission). Because his bonus to the unit are just the means of entry and his I5 melee prowess, you might want to put him in the front, just behind the drones.
- Commander Brightsword: The seventh lunatic to bear this title (the first was killed by a squad from the 13th Penal Legion on an assassination mission). Has a Crisis suit with twin-linked fusion blasters (with fusion blades), advanced targeting systems, and a shield drone you don't want to use as an ablative wound, because it comes with the Warscraper upgrade. While this feller is made to ID characters and explode vehicles, he is also a decent way of getting multiple Fusion blades and Warscraper drones.
- Commander Bravestorm: A charred out husk kept alive by his crisis suit, sound familiar? In possession of the only surviving Onager gauntlet. To have a better chance of using it he's also clad in Iridium armour with a stim injector and a shield generator, and for dakka he has a plasma rifle, flamer and two gun drones.
- Shas'o Arra'kon: Farsight's would-be-successor in his absence, canonically the only one in the tall fine cast Commander suit, equipped with a plasma rifle, cyclic ionic blaster, airbursting fragmentation projector (both not "one per detachment" anymore), a Repulsor impact field, two gun drones, and counter fire defence systems. Adding dakka and overwatch to the team, you'd do best to keep him at the center of the formation, relatively unexposed.
- Shas'o Sha'vastos: Had some slight problems adjusting to the prototype engram nanochip, is better now. Has a crisis suit with a plasma rifle, flamer, shield generator, vectored retro thrusters, two gun drones, and said Puretide engram chip. Due to the chip he's the one who will dictate what the squad is going to do, instead of Farsight and Arra'kon. Try to be the one charging in order to provide O'vesa and Brightsword with Tank Hunters, instead of having to put Counter Strike on himself.
- Sub-commander Torchstar: Vior'lan defector and youngest of the Eight, relieves her unrequited feelings for Farsight with her second love: FIRE. Pilots a Crisis suit with two flamers, target lock, multi-spectrum sensor suite, a neuroweb system jammer, drone controller and two marker drones. You will move her back and forth, alternating between providing Ignores cover and torching stuff depending on the situation.
- Broadside Shas'vre Ob'lotai 9-0: A Broadside piloted by an AI, nice. The only non-Commander model, he's an IC Missileside Shas'vre with twin-linked high yield missile pods, twin linked smart missile pods, a seeker missile, velocity tracker and two missile drones. Lacking Relentless, he's the odd ranged character in a close ranged squad that has to keep on the move. Crisis with Missiles and VTs may give better anti-air support to the unit. Completely undistinguishable from a Broadside Shas'vre, you could attach him to a unit of Missilesides to achieve a ludicrous ammount of dakka and use their markerlight tokens, or have him near Railsides, his VT screening the skies for them.
- Honour-Shas'vre O'vesa: An earth-caste scientist in a Riptide. Comes with an Ion accelerator, twin-linked fusion blasters, shielded missile drones, an earth caste piloting array, early warning override, and stim injector. Fun fact: Unlike the other seven, he's actually cheaper than his equivalent. You could use him to have two EC Piloting Arrays.
That's right, TAU DECURION! Besides the usual WT re-roll, you get the ability to pour on the firepower! The Coordinated Firepower rule means you can have multiple units firing at the same time on the same target as if they were one unit, optimizing markerlight use up to mega-cheese levels, and if more than three units get involved, everyone gets +1 BS (thus it can stack with Fire Team, if you have the points). TREMBLE IN FEAR AND VENERATION OF THE GREATER GOOD!
You must take one of the following:
- Hunter Cadre: A Battlesuit Commander and an optional Fireblade and Bodyguard get to join 3-6 teams of Fire Warriors (either setup) or Kroot, 1-3 squads of Crisis suits, Stealth suits, Riptides or Ghostkeels, 1-3 squads of Pathfinders, Drones, Pirahnas, or Vespids, and 1-3 squads of Broadsides, Hammerheads, Stormsurges, or Sniper Drones. This unholy mass of firepower gives everyone a 12" bubble with which the entire formation can use Supporting Fire and if anyone's within 12" of the Fireblade or Commander at the start of the shooting phase, they get to run/flat-out before shooting, as if they were less vulnerable Ethereals. Add to the Contingent, and you see entire forces go up in smoke before they can even charge.
You can take up to one of these:
- Contingent Headquarters: A bonus Battlesuit Commander (or Shadowsun) get 1-2 squads of Bodyguards and can call in an optional Ethereal (named or not). There's no other bonus to this. (Notice how the only way to take an Ethereal, without taking a separate CAD and adding two more troop choices to the 3 already required in the Hunter Cadre, is to own two Commanders. Gotta sell the new Commander model somehow I guess since every Tau player already had one).
You must also take 1-10 of the following per hunter cadre:
- Optimized Stealth Cadre: Remember the old Optimized Stealth Group? Then forget about it. A Ghostkeel alongside 2 Stealth Teams. Any Stealthsuits within 6" of the Ghostkeel add +1 to their BS, get Ignores Cover, and AUTOMATICALLY HIT THE REAR ARMOR OF ANY VEHICLE. So yeah, they run independent of Markerlights, feel free to give them to someone else. Buh-bye, Leman Russes. Seeya Doomsday Ark! Amazing against GEQ (that includes Tau too) when the Stealth teams bring Gun Drones, a Controller, Fusion guns and Target Locks. The drones' Pulse Carbines WILL pin down those guardsmen now their AP5 shots ignore cover, and the fusion gun will poke their supporting armour's butt blowing them sky high, as dirty as it sounds, whithout taking the Ghostkeel into account. That's 414 pts minimum, but it counters more than its cost on enemies in a single turn. Shame on you, Gue'La.
- Retaliation Cadre: aka Farsight Bomb 2, electric boogaloo. One Commander, 3 units of Crisis Suits, 1 unit of Broadsides, and 1 Riptide combine to gain Relentless and auto Deep-strike on turn two if you choose, adding +1 BS the turn they arrive. With the changes to Crisis and Riptide squad sizes this can mean up to 27 Crisis suits and 3 Riptides dropping in. Along with the Commander and the Broadsides that is 31 suits. Not that you will play this many outside of Apocalypse, but remember they don't need to be full units, and you're probably bringing those units already. Defeat the traitor Farsight at his own game! Read that again: Deepstriking Relentless Broadsides. You may want them as shock troop missilesides spewing 8 BS4 missiles each, averaging 1.33 Precision shots per suit when equipped with Advanced Targeting. Target Locks with TL Plasma rifles work too. Just make sure one of them takes a Drone Controller and bring their sweet exclusive Missile drones to the party, so it feels like this.
- Firebase Support Cadre: A Riptide along with 2 Broadside teams. These are even cheesier than their 6E iteration because they can all join in and fire at one enemy (using Markerlight tokens as if they were one unit) for the addition of Tank Hunter and Monster Hunter. Everything within range will DIE.
- Armoured Interdiction Cadre: 3 Hammerheads alongside a Skyray. At the start of any Shooting Phase you can select one point on the board. The formation rerolls failed hits when shooting at anything within 6" of that point.
- Air Caste Support Cadre: 2 Razorsharks along with one Sunshark. Everyone now ignores Crew Shaken/Stunned on a 2+ and they all restore a HP on a 6.
- Allied Advance Cadre: 4 Kroot packs join 2 Vespids gangs. Vespids gain Infiltrate and Stealth (Forests), and any Kroot within 12" of them replace Stealth with Shrouded while simultaneously gaining +1 BS, stackable with Coordinated Firepower. In addition, the formation gets Supporting Fire when assisting any member of their formation.
- Heavy Retribution Cadre: A Ghostkeel joins alongside Stormsurges for dat new cheese. Acting as a spotter, if the enemy is within 12" of the Ghostkeel, the Stormsurges can re-roll to hit it. If at least two units attack the same unit (anywhere), the enemy now can't run/flat-out and can only charge at half his distance. So yeah, they can't melee these tau, the can't outshoot them - they can only cry. Just in case you needed more reasons to field those Taubaddons.
- Infiltration Cadre: Three Pathfinders join two Stealth teams and a Pirahna as an alpha strike. If any unit here is destroyed, then everything you have in reserves automatically arrives - sacrifice one for the Greater Good?. If you lay three markerlights on an enemy you also get a Seeker missile to automatically hit them as well, absolutely free.
- Drone Network: One unit of drones. And that's it, no bonus rules.
Dawn Blade Contingent (Mont'Ka)
Just like Kauyon brought a Tau Decurion, so too did Mont'Ka. Except this one is Farsight Enclaves exclusive. And even more cheese. Besides the usual WT re-roll you get Killing Blow, which lets you secretly mark a unit for death at the start of every enemy's turn. During your turn declare who it was, and anyone attacking them pretty much gains Shred and Tank Hunters against the target. So, while Kauyon hits more often, Mont'Ka hits harder (duh). But at least you don't need half your army focus fire on a single unit like them, allowing for more independent assassination strikes without compromising the rest of your army. Oh, and this also works in melee (this is the Enclaves, remember?). Sadly, you would need to bring much more markerlights to merely keep up with Kauyon's, so instead of engaging in a dick swinging contest with them just keep doing what you do best: Crisiswing.
You must take one of the following:
- Hunter Cadre: As seen in Kauyon, yours is a little more expensive because mandatory Bonded Knife.
- Retaliation Cadre: Unlike Kayon's, it's a Core choice here instead of Auxiliar, which is more manageable because it was too expensive to use this and Hunter cadre outside Apocalypse. Now your whole army can be an XBOX HUEG Farsight Bomb. Excellent.
For HQ choices, you can grab one of the following:
- Contingent Headquarters: A generic Commander/Farsight grabs a generic Bodyguard. Notice you don't get Ethereals. Not much else to it.
- The Eight: Yeah, they're back. Farsight brings with him his besties.
You can grab 1-10 (per Core choice) of the following
- Allied Advance Cadre: Another shared formation. Notheworthy in that you could take them to hold home objectives for rather cheap (384 pts bare bones, 444 decent) while the rest of your army Farsight-bombs the enemy. Quite doable in a 2k pts game.
- Firebase Support Cadre: The last of the shared formations, they allow you to manage the relatively few markerlights you have. They can finish what your Crisis team started, and it helps that you have a better Riptide.
- Counterstrike Cadre: A Pathfinder team and 3 Fire Warriors (any kind) all ride Devilfish. If they fire at anyone within 3" of an objective, they re-roll failed hits and on Turn 1/Whenever they arrive from reserves, their Fish go Fast.
- Rapid Insertion Force: A Stealth team, 3 Crisis teams and a Riptide unit. The Stealth team has to start on the field while the rest of the formation stays in reserve. When they deep-strike within 6" of the Stealth suits, nothing scatters AND they get Twin-Linked for the turn. H-how lewd, Farsight-senpai... - Notice how several formations are differently-flavored Farsight bombs? Not like that is a bad thing AT ALL.
- Ranged Support Cadre: 3 units of Pathfinders and Broadsides make the single most cheese team out there. If the Broadsides use any markerlights fired by their Pathfinders, they count as double, so they'll always ignore cover. The Pathfinders also get Infiltrate and Shrouded, but lose the latter if they ever move or fire something that isn't a Markerlight. Well, at least the Broadsides can Supporting Fire for them at full range.
- Piranha Firestream Wing: Like that Apocalypse formation, these are your Four Horsemen (ay lmao). 4 UNITS of Piranhas, but one of them must go alone and acts as a spotter for the other 3 and nominates a unit within 36" visible to it (doesn't give up shooting). The formation gets +1BS and Tank Hunters against the marked unit. Now the turbo fondue: if they end up within 6" of a Table Edge after movement, they can escape into Ongoing reserves and return with EVERYTHING REFILLED. Which means they can (and should) spam all the drones and missiles they want. You may now proceed to hum Ride of the Valkyries, if put through a sci-fi filter. Wether it is awesome of just plain trolling depends on your view.
- Skysweep Missile Defense: A Devilfish takes command of 3 Skyrays. If the flyers get within 12" of the Fish, they can fire as many missiles they want and, while the Fish lives, everyone gains 5+ cover against anything shot by a flyer (so take Disruption pods, as usual). This brings a whole new definition to FISH OF FURY.
- Assigned Air Caste Asset: Grab a Sunshark or Razorshark. Nothing more to it.
- Air Superiority Cadre: Grab 3 Razorsharks. They all get +1 BS against flyers. On top of that, as long as one of them is still alive, they can drop D3 Markerlights on any unit they want, just like a Fighter Ace. To make this even worse, you can automatically arrive from reserves if you find any Flyers, Skimmers or Jetbikes. Y'know, just in case you didn't have ENOUGH answers against those sorts of things.
- Drone Net VX1-0: 4+ Drone Squads, controlled by Skynet herself. They all get Interceptor, Jink, Outflank, Precision Shot, and Split Fire. Also, as long as at least 2 squads remain on the field they gain +1 BS.
- Infiltration Cadre Burning Dawn (Infiltration Cadre Burning Dawn Boxed Set): Aun'Do, Pathfinder Team Aurora, Stealth Team Shadowtide and the Tireless Hunter (All a box set) team up. Aun'Do gets one turn to pull two elements, everyone gets Shrouded and Scout (or Infiltrate if they have Scout before). All in all, not too bad a setup, but it is fragile.
- Tidewall Counterstrike Cadre (Web-Exclusive Bundle): In a blatant move to sell even more Tidewalls comes an exclusive formation along the lines of the Cohort Mechanicus and the Court of House Terryn. It's composed of a Strike Team, Pathfinders, and two Breacher Teams in a Tidewall filled with two Shieldlines, two Gunrigs and a Droneport to center on. The Breachers , when firing from the Shieldlines, get to boost the ranges on their weapons' profiles, so now you have a not-quite plasma gun from 10" away, which is much safer. The Strike Team re-rolls hits while on the Gunrigs or Droneport and the Pathfinders act as, well, Pathfinders, as the Tidewall can move up to 9" so long as it gets closer to them.
- Tau Firebase Support Cadre (Dataslate): The Tau Firebase Support Cadre is a Formation consisting of one Riptide and two FULL units of Broadsides. Each member of the formation has the Tank Hunters and Preferred Enemy (Space Marines) special rules. In return, your Space Marine enemies will get Hatred (Tau Firebase Support Cadre). This is fair enough really, and not much of a downside... If you're stupid enough to let Space Marines get into CC with your units, then you probably deserve to lose. Even with the 7E version around this formation is still very valid - Marines are the most common army and PE is better than Monster Hunters against them, who have none. Also, you don't need to fire at the same unit like the 7E formation, so it's valid against other armies as well. Keep in mind how versatile this formation is. You want all High-Yield Missile Pods and Interceptor on your Broadsides, and an Ion Cannon and Early Warning System on your Riptide? Good idea. You don't want to include Shas'vre in each Broadside team? No problem. You want lashings of Drones with every model? Sounds good! At the end of the day, this separate detachment will end up costing however much you decide to spend, but the bare minimum is 570 pts so it's not cheap. But it's a hell of a lot of potential firepower that your opponent has to face down the barrel of, with units you might have already planned on bringing. Flyer heavy opponents probably shit their pants just thinking about this formation.
- Air Strike Superiority Wing (Apocalypse): 3-5 Razorsharks. All for killing flyers. This is pretty much the Tau's answer for any flyer, as the formation gets +1 to-hit any flyers and can fire D3 Markerlights so long as one of them is still up. Never mind a Coldstar, your Fighter Ace goes here.
- Counterstrike Cadre (Apocalypse): A Pathfinder team and 2-4 Fire Warrior squads all take Devilfish. The main goal in using this is to secure objectives ASAP and keep there, as their Devilfish get Fast the turn they appear (or at the start if they don't go reserves) and they all get to re-roll to hit when they're within 12" of the objective. If you set it up right, they'll be able to give your other troops room to keep fighting without needing to worry about them.
- Kroot Hunting Pack (Apocalypse): 5 Kroot squads, kitted out however you like. This is a fluff formation, plain and simple. They only get Furious Charge and the ability to Outflank on any side they wish. Better than your average Kroot, they're beleagered by the fact they're still just Kroot.
- Optimized Stealth Group (Apocalypse): 3+ Stealth Teams are needed. This formation has one nice rule and one meh rule. The nice thing is that their shots ignore cover. The meh thing is that if they infiltrate, they need to halve the distance they can set up from the enemy. Being Tau, the prospect of being closer to the enemy shouldn't be a good idea...but it does leave them in Melta range, even when Infiltratin in line of sight. With the arrival of Ghostkeels this formation has lost most of its allure.
- Rapid Insertion Forces (Apocalypse): A Stealth Team take along 3-5 3-man Crisis teams and an optional Riptide for all the mechas. The Stealth Suits are only there to be a homing beacon, hence their inability to go to reserves. After they find a nice spot, the rest of the formation can then Deep Strike within 18" and never scatter. They also get TL that turn as well, making them the filthy xeno equivalent of the Deathwing.
- Riptide Wing (Apocalypse): 3-5 Riptides. THAT GUY TEAM COMING UP!! Yeah, this is just being unfair. Not only can any Riptide within 6" of another re-roll failed Nova Reactor rolls, but they also get +1 BS when firing at something another Riptide already shot at. Really, who'd want to play this and claim themselves fair?
- Skysweep Missile Defense (Apocalypse): A Devilfish takes command of 2-4 Skyrays. For one thing, Skyrays within 12" of the Devilfish can fire all the missiles they want. Also, every Tau within 60" of the Devilfish while it's still working gets Shrouded against all flyers. You want a more expensive and larger Darkshroud, you pay for it.
- Shadowsun's Firestrike Assault Hunter Cadre (Apocalypse): Shadowsun takes command of a grand total of: a Crisis Bodyguard team, 2 regular Crisis teams, 6 Fire Warriors with a Fish, 6 without, 2 Pathfinders with Fish, 2 Stealth teams, 2 Riptides, 3 Hammerheads, 3 Skyrays, and 4 Razorsharks. Really, this is just a convenient excuse to gather all this wanton firepower together, with a bonus of giving anyone within 24" of the commander Fearless and Preferred Enemy. If you really have that many models together (and you like running stuff like the Tyranids Living Tide) then rock on, you extremely rich GW slave.
- Piranha Fireteam Squadron (Apocalypse): 5 Piranhas. Only five, no more, no less. This is a surprise assault formation, plain and simple. They deploy as a team on the second turn, they can jump into reserves so long as they're all within 6" of a table edge and come back whenever fully restocked and restored. If you thought the Tau had enough cheese, there's this, an instant-revival that can make even Tyranids jelly.
- Ethereal Council (Apocalypse): So long as you get three Characters, you can choose between Aun'Va, Aun'Shi, and more than one plain Ethereal. Grouping this many squishy Tau together boosts their FiNaO range from 12" to 24", but if they're all removed, the enemy gets another VP for killing them all. In addition, they can all use one more elemental power just to coordinate the other side's ruination by control.
- Hunter Cadre (Apocalypse): In a smaller Shadowsun formation, a single generic Commander gets: a Bodyguard team, 2-6 regular Crisis teams, Broadsides, Piranhas, and Hammerheads, 1-3 Stealth, Pathfinder, regular Drone, and Sniper Drone teams, 1-3 Skyrays, 3+ Fire Warrior teams, and an option to take up to 3 Fireblades, Kroot, and Vespids each. This formation gifts a bit more to the team. First off, they grab Acute Senses. Then, they can start from reserves and then get out in the first turn. After that, they all get 12" range for their Supporting Fire, meaning that now it changed charging them from a stupid idea to a phenomenally suicidal idea. All for the Greater Good.
- Drone-net VX1-0 (Apocalypse): A real drone network. 12+ Gun, Marker, and/or Shield drones can take optional Sniper, Missile, Recon, Grav-inhibitor, and Pulse Accelerator Drones, all in groups of four or more. All this dronage grants them a grand total of...+1 to their BS. It's meant to be a distraction, and the Shields help on that, but if you're expecting them to survive, don't.
- Hammerhead Interdiction Cadre (Apocalypse): 3-5 Hammerheads put together (so that's +1 BS due to Fire Team). Now, you love Skyrays, ya hate their lack of Railguns. Watch this, so long as the lead vehicle hasn't been blown to bits, it can give your army D3+1 Markerlights to use for extra killing, because this is Tau.
- Paradox Squadron (Apocalypse): 3-5 Sunsharks in a team. When put in the Arrowhead pattern with 3+ pulse bombs, the lead bomber gets to make a Strength D AP1 Large Blast bombing run, with rolls of 1 on the D table instead restoring lost wounds/hull points. Really, this is more of a gamble than most would want, with a chance of either instantly wiping out an enemy or making them even tougher than before. Its only a 17% chance but still, run at your peril.
- Ranged Support Cadre (Apocalypse): 1-3 Pathfinders leading 3-6 Broadsides. By joining, the Pathfinders all get Infiltrate and Shrouded. However, if they ever fire something other than Markerlights or even move they lose it, making placement a priority. In addition, if the Broadsides use the Pathfinders' Markerlights, the value of the lights get doubled. Yes, this is about as cheese as everything else, because this gives them the ability to get +2 BS or ignore cover with all of ONE markerlight.
Cities of Death
The Tau have a lot of good stuff for Cities of Death such as Fast Skimmers, short ranged high RoF weapons, lots of ignore cover, and other fun stuff. Take a Razorshark with Disruption Pod and Flechette Dischargers to take out those tough targets and a Skyray to deal with anything else. Darkstrider and a ton of Pathfinders with Rail rifles. They will hide in the buildings and snipe whilst Darkstrider lowers their Toughness down to Instant Death levels, to fuck up those Paladins. Fighting retreat is a good rule here as well. Whilst their Assault marines charge they can blast them to pieces. Drone sentry turrets (FW) come into play here as well. Give them Deep strike and put them in strategic locations around the board. They serve as blockades if the enemies get to close and if the squad of infiltrators is just out of reach. Use against scouts, lootas, eldar rangers, Obliterators and other Tau. Stealth suits and Commander Shadowsun get a special mention. Infiltrating and stealth + large buildings = models that just don't want to die. Pulse Carbines are very good for the cramped areas, and 24 18" S5 AP5 pinning shots can wipe out some squads in a single volley. SMSs are great here, and vespids can actually do something in cities of death (12" movement, move through cover and stealth in ruins).
The Tau have access to the Manta Super-heavy Dropship (kind of ridiculous considering it costs as much as an entire army), the Orca Dropship (cheap, but not very useful in most games) , the Tiger Shark Fighter Bomber (not particularly amazing), and the Tiger Shark AX-1-0 (pretty much mandatory against super-heavies) in games of escalation.
More stuff to hide behind. Amazing. I'm so excited.
Tau may have a hard time in Kill-Team, especially if your strategy revolves around Markerlights, however you can take a basic team of 6 Fire-warriors, 3 Stealth Suits, and 4 Pathfinders, with 12 points left, or take a Team of 6 Fire-warriors, 4 Pathfinders, and 2 Piranha's with 22 points left for upgrades, and seeing as even the Tau's most basic troop weapon has a 1 in 3 chance of scoring a glancing hit against AV 10 and a 1 in 6 against AV 11, your greatest enemy will be your generally small Squad size, although Over-watch may be fun, especially with "Supporting Fire"
The unofficial version allows you access to a single Broadside at 50 points, and makes Pathfinders a Special choice, so Markerlights become even scarcer, but it's more possible to make a more interesting, if smaller, team.
For a more in-depth look, this page may help, Kill-Team
Main point in bringing allied non-Greater Good adherents are distraction, assault beatsticks (sry Kroots) or psyker support. Remember, you only have D6 defence against psykers.
Farsight Enclaves/Tau Empire: Yep, you can actually ally a "standard" Tau Empire list with a Farsight Enclaves list. This means space for SIX Riptide SQUADS (). And then there's O'vesa. This means nigh-on broken. This means you WILL do this. Using multiple CADs that's 9 available riptides. Use the Fire Cadre data slate for an extra to bring that number up to 10. Do you count R'varna riptides? That's 6 more. Y'vahra? Another 6. Enjoy throwing
16 22 mechagodzillas down your enemies throat. KX139's? MOAR!!!!!! The only problem with this is the fact that you will have no friends, very VERY fast. If taking 3 makes you That guy, than taking 22 makes you That guy's That guy...
Allies of Convenience
Necrons: They are shooty cover campers, that lay waste on vehicles and die in close combat... just like you. Unlike you they have much more survivability in the open (as they are designed for close range firefights, instead of sniping across the board) pie plates of hate, lots and lots of battlefield cheating rules, some of which stacks perfectly with Tau (HOD with Solar Flare for your nightvision army? Yes, please!), and last but not least motherfucking flyer cheese
of scythes croissants. And if you want to screen your gunline with close combat beatstick, they get one too.
- Before allying with Necrons be aware that many of your own models are superior and cheaper. Warriors versus Fire Warriors could go either way - Fire Warriors have pulse weapons and get to use Markerlights but Warriors have Gauss, T4, Reanimation Protocols and can take either zoomy Night Scythes or made-of-iron Ghost Arks. Missilesides will outperform Annihilation Barges (they lack its speed and overall durability however, while the Barge also has the potential to outgun it on enough sixes). Heavy Destroyers? Hammerheads and Railsides. Monolith? Riptide. The best use for Necron allies is a Doom Scythe and Wraithwing.
Eldar: Eldar provides you with psykers and sorely-needed DTW defenses (in form of warp dice). Aside from that, Wraithwall armies can be a good, mobile anchor and distraction; Windrider Jetbikes/Shining Spears or Swooping Hawks for fast objective grabbers, Howling Banshees, Wraithblades or Striking Scorpions for melee support and the dreaded Wave Serpents (still good though significantly nerfed in the 7e Codex) for pushing the gunline forward. Too bad you can't prescience your riptides anymore, but prospect of fighting Hammerheads guarded by Serpents - or, with the new 'dex, squadrons of Falcons - are still gloomy for your opponents. If long-range tank annihilation is your thing, the Fire Prism is as good as the Hammerhead, and situationally better, and the Wraithknight can be quite useful to break through attempts at locking down your Riptides. Harlequins could also be an interesting option to add some assault punch your troops are otherwise very much lacking, and given their predilection for wandering, are not necessarily unfluffy.
Chaos Space Marines: With the right build, Chaos Lords or Princes can occupy that guy's deathstar-HQs or even kill it outright. Nurgle Termies and Heldrake are durable bullet sponges that can perform independently from rest of your armies, and if you're feeling lucky, Thousand Sons. Other than that, skip the shooty parts as you have better options.
Dark Eldar: Dark Eldar do have a couple of upsides - with the right build, they are so mobile that the One Eye Open rule won't be a factor if you play intelligently, and they're very good at dictating when combat occurs, a very good sacrificial defense for your squishy gunlines. On the other hand, a highly mobile Eldar build - such as Samhain - can use this tactic as well.
The Forces of the Imperium:
- Space Marines: With the loss of Battle Brothers, you need to be creative in using Marines. Thankfully all-bikers from both Scars and Ravenwing can still work as they have great mobility and can be left alone for the most part. Assaulty armies like Templars and Sharkies are better as distraction, but don't bring too much as your primary advantage is still shooting. Landspeeders works like a better Piranha, pretty good for dealing with covered blobs if you don't want to commit your suits.
- Imperial Guard: If you want to bring all-suit army, IG's artilleries can be a great boon in dealing with things you'll have difficulty, like MSUs. IG blobs can also screen your gunline, but let them die first or stay away from assaults as you still need to shoot them. IG tanks are best used as distraction that's capable of wreaking havoc if left unchecked.
- Dark Angels: As stated above, go with Ravenwing. Deathwing Knights are also excellent anti-everything deathstar though needs careful deployment and lucky deepstrike. (you'll at best only bring one biker squad to help them, so it will be expensive tax but worth it if you know how to use)
- Space Wolves: Stormwolf. Nuff said.
- Blood Angels: Death Company with jump packs/Sanguinary Guard supporting your deep striking Crisis Suits for a deadly one-two punch down the board.. Plus Assault Squads on foot in front of your firing line to help hold the line when they do reach you, better than Kroot in every category but points cost. Want to bring a Dreadnought and an elite jump squad? Grab a Furioso Librarian Dreadnought and get a built in psyker and dreadnought and your elite jump squad while still maintaining a bound allied force. All with built in furious charge for extra punch. What's not to like about this combo except for having to remain six inches apart.
- Grey Knights: Primary use is psyker defences and Purifiers, though Eldar are better by virtue of being Convenience. Paladins may work if you need tough units.
- Inquisition: Think of Inquisition as a toolbox that capable of filling any holes you need, packed in mobile Chimera or Valks. Though with downgrade to Desperate Allies, pay attention to movement phases.
- Sisters of Battle: Sisters excel at annihilating vehicles with Melta (Dominions) or rooting hordes out of cover (basic Sisters, Heavy Flamer Retributors). Tau are good at this too, but Crisis Suits are the unit of choice for both. Taking Sisters could let you free up some XV8s for other purposes, like hunting transports (missiles) or TEQs (plasma/fusion). Saint Celestine and Seraphim or Battle Conclaves could provide a reasonably good assault interceptor, too. Skip the Repentia, though - you need a Stormraven or a Land Raider to use them effectively.
Orks "What ya want us to smash them gits for yas, and you'll give us that nice flash fer it, why don't we just krump you and take the flash instead, and then'll we'll fight 'em gitz anywayz" And that's why Tau and Orkz don't ally well. With a broad deployement range deploy massive hordes of Boyz infront of your Tau gunlines with a couple of Pathfinder squads on the flanks, and you've got an unruly flesh-shield, but let them die before they get into Melee, otherwise you've just negated your main advantage, and all your accurate shooting is just going to waste now that you can't shoot into a melee combat.
Come The Apocalypse
Chaos Daemons Tzeentch warp-die spam may work and don't need to be close to your units to be effective, and Warpstorm table are non-issue. Needs playtesting though. Could be good however; on paper they have everything you need.
Tyranids Nidzilla-list (needs playtesting). Another popular option is the "Hive Fleet Detachment" which has 1-3 HQs and a minimum of 3 Troops. Take three Flying Hive Tyrants (Wings upgrade) each equipped with 2x Twin-linked Devourers with Brainleech Worms and Electroshock Grubs as the HQ choices. Then take three Mucolid Spore Clusters as your troops since they're the cheapest option (15 points each). This combo is 765 points and is devastating when combined with Tau (generally ran with Farsight Enclaves for Crisis Suits, Riptides, and Skyrays). 3x FMCs; 6x Psychic dice; plenty of anti-air support; quick scoring; and flank maneuverability are among the benefits. Not recommended for friendly/casual games. Tear buckets don't come in this size at your FLGS.
Building Your Army
7th Edition Tau codex is out but Forge World
is still languishing in old rules has been updated to 6th via IA3 2nd ed and IA: Apoc. So yeah, forever outdated. Be sure to check the latest errata when considering your options.
My recommendation is to:
- Start with a Crisis Commander
- Mount all Fire Warriors in Devilfish. Fish of Fury may be dead, but your Fire Warriors still need the survivability.
Unfortunately, with "real" railguns now being the sole province of the Hammerhead,Gunrigs, and their parent Fortification Networks; if you have the points available, get some, then use your freed-up Heavy Support for Missilesides, Skyrays, or more Markerlights, but still, the Tau's primary anti-tank capacity has shifted to Fusion guns and Ion Accelerator toting Riptides.
- Riptide, Riptide, Riptide. Buy a Riptide or two or three, or four with enclaves and watch your opponent weep.
- Battlesuits are great. You want them.(but ESPECIALLY to the point you flood the WHOLE DAMN TABLE with them by playing Commander Farsight/Retaliation Cadre)
- Without eating up space for your railguns, MARKERLIGHTS. You love them, take them.
Helpful Hints and Fun Strategies
The Most Important Rule
Spoiler: It's not the "have fun" one, but if you don't follow it you can be sure as hell you wont have any. Do you like seeing squad after squad of Fire Warriors get slapped to death by Conscripts? No? Then keep them out of melee combat. Your army is WS2, so going against anything above WS3 feels like going against a fucking Bloodthirster. Everybody else will just drown you in bodies, and your I2 wont help at all. And those fucking Korpsmen will do both at the same time.
- DO keep in mind that melee is much less deadly in 7E. After all, even if they are WS10 no one can hit more than 66% of the time, and most units aren't S5 or have a 3+ save like your Crisis teams. While melee with dedicated CC squads or even buffed regular troops are still out of the question, Crisis-and-better battlesuits can hold their own in a brawl against those regular troops, especially after you've mauled them in the shooting phase - punching a few wounded scout marines might be better than exposing yourself to their sniper shots, don't you think? And you have lots of trinquets to help in CC - Fire warriors with their carapace armor are just as good as Guardsmen, and while they hit first, you have Photon grenades, so they're always as good or better. And don't even get me started on FSE. Yes, spending a turn in melee IS wasteful, no doubt about that, but what I'm saying is Don't PANIC at the though of melee, just avoid it on the grounds you have better things to d- Is that a power sword? RUN LIKE HELL.
Also, Markerlights, we should talk about them
These things are force-multipliers, plain and simple. Without them, you will do at best "alright" but with them (properly used) you will be kicking ass left and right. For all the talk about the Tau being awesome at shooting, the truth is that they are merely "good" at it. They put out a lot less dakka than, say, the Orks or the Imperial Guard. However, what shooting the Tau do have is very powerful when it hits, but it only hits half the time on a typical roll. Markerlights are what allow them to hit almost all the time, marker units lighting up the target and letting another unit slam that target with very specific fire-for-effect. This means that markerlight-heavy units are almost always best used when paired with other units, as the markerlight-wielders need to be able to paint the target, and the other unit needs to be in range to hit them when they do. If that supporting unit is very long range and has good line of sight (like broadsides or a hammerhead) then the markerlight unit can push forward and select targets for destruction from beyond your enemy's ability to retaliate against them. In contrast, if the supporting unit is short ranged (by Tau standards, like crisis suits or fire warriors) than they need to stay near the markerlight unit to take advantage of them. Since most armies will only have one or maybe two good solid sources of markerlight support, it is important to know what it will be best directed against (see target prioritization below,) usually starting with enemy vehicles and then moving on to wiping out infantry, though it will very depending on the foe and their strategy. Markerlights encourage you to focus fire on one target, wipe it out quickly, then move on to the next. Some units will put out more marker tokens than others, and you need to be careful about what you spend them for. Vehicle targets will have them spent boosting to-hit rolls and firing seeker missiles, infantry squads will also have to-hit rolls boosted paired with cover-denial if you can spring for it (the enemy will not be able to hide from the Tau's guns for long). If your enemy is smart, they will realize all of this and make things hell for your markerlight-wielding units as quickly as possible. If you are smart, you will use this to lure your foe into a Kauyon trap (more on that later.)
More important for Tau armies than it is for others. Indeed, in bygone editions the Tau had special equipment and options for circumventing target priority rules. Those rules may have been dropped, but the need to be selective remains. Certain targets need to be neutralized at the earliest possible turn, then the rest of the enemy can be defeated in detail after that. "The Way of the Broken sword", they call it. One hefty priority is when the enemy hides their infantry in metal boxes, THE COWARDS, THE FOOLS, YOU SHOULD TAKE AWAY THEIR METAL BAWKSES. The moment enemy infantry reaches your lines, you lose, and they do that faster in vehicles. Luckily for you, Tau have many ways of accomplishing their objectives, because the truly wise adapt. So you could destroy their vehicles from afar with markerlight-boosted railgun hits, or a missile massacre on the first turn, or drop Fusion guns/Riptides for devastating hit and run attacks, if you can manage it. The moment enemy infantry is forced to footslog across the tabletop, they lose, as infantry in the open are a turkey-shoot in the face of the Tau's superior firepower. Let Crisis suits take the fight to enemy infantry, whittling down heavy infantry with plasma and missiles or burning blobs to cinders with flamers and burst canons, while the railgun units finish off the remaining enemy vehicles. If they overwhelm you with enough bodies and vehicles to soak up all your dakka and still keep coming, then do not be afraid to give ground and fall back, drawing them further in and giving you a little more time to pour on the fire. Remember, the Tau value mobility and holding the line is secondary to the destruction of the enemy. After all, once the enemy is dead, the terrain is yours to claim without contest.
Mont'ka and Kauyon
The Tau Empire codex will describe two central in-lore strategies employed by the Tau, Mont'ka and Kauyon. Mont'ka, "The Death Blow", involves bringing the Tau's full force to bare on a linchpin target which when removed will compromise the enemy's entire strategy. Kauyon, "The Patient Hunter", involves luring the enemy to the Tau, where they can fall into one of the most deadly cross-fires Tau weaponry can produce. Dawn of War would have you believe that these two strategies are mutually exclusive, and the codex itself does little to suggest otherwise. However, the truth is that both strategies are two sides of the same coin, and that one strategy can be flipped over and turned into the other in an instant. The battlefield situation is fluid, and so to should be your strategy. Tau are an army ill-suited to getting stuck-in, so any offensive actions will halt just at the edge of the Tau's maximum range, and the Tau forces will fall back from an enemy counter-attack. In this way, the battle lines get pushed and pulled backward and forward across the course of a match. You might start with a Mont'ka strategy, sending in Crisis suits (possibly with deep strikes) to hit the enemy hard on a critical unit, or push a Hammerhead Gunship ahead of the line to clear its line of sight to a target. Both will do great damage, but such units in turn attract a lot of enemy attention, becoming a lure for Kauyon in the process. Take advantage of the enemy's distraction, and use the rest of your force to hit the enemy in a more vulnerable flank, or just position them to set up a cross fire they cannot escape from in time. Do not treat your units as expendable, but do weigh your risks and do not be afraid to take a risky path if the payoff will lead to victory. Exploit the range of your weapons and your mobility to get the enemy to break ranks in a gambit to reach you, pulling them into the open and cutting them down in equal measure, always ready to adjust your approach as the situation shifts.
The Farsight Bomb
You've seen us mention it every other paragraph, it has its own freaking subsection now. Back in 6E Farsight's defining characteristic was the fact he was the only one that could take a seven-strong Bodyguard unit, and his WT allows him to deepstrike them without scatter, so it felt like a "Deathstar to go". 7E means he can grab even moar suits, but it's not exclusive to him anymore, which opens several options for the Bomb, which are discussed here - these tactics can be seen as an addition to the original Farsight Bomb® or as alternatives to it. Note that, if you decide to use someone other than Farsight you NEED to secure No-scatter by any means necessary (beacons, usually), lest your Deathstar gets lost to a mishap, easy to get on such a big squad.
The Original Farsight Bomb®
Still haven't got the hang of it? It's Farsight no-scattering a Bodyguard into play. What sets them apart from other bombs is its reliability (which is a HUGE thing) and Farsight's I5 for Hit&Run tests. Even on Shadowsun bombs, when he's not the warlord, his Initiative is the fastest thing on the codex, just behind Vespids (but fuck'em), so he's always a welcomed addition.
- Now available in regular Crisis team flavor, and up to 28.5% more Crisis per bomb! YUM!
Shootier than the traditional Bomb (Farsight has only 1 ranged weapon) you put all the systems you need on a Commander (Buffmander), who will live forever because of the Bodyguards - something a regular Farsight Bomb cannot reliably do unless they bring yet another Commander. Grab all the Gun drones you can (to have ablative wounds and 4+ majority save, for those evil Grav guns) but don't grab any Airbursting projectors. Because of the Buffmander, this unit's shots have Ignore cover, reroll ones to hit, can fire against whatever is a better target, has tons of BS5 TL drones, and has melee protection in the form of a 12" Gets Hot bubble, D6 I10 hits to every charging unit and Hit&Run at I4. As for your ranged weapons, you could use Fusion Blasters with Target locks to hit armour, Plama rifles (the better option) with Advanced Targeting to murder officers, Missile pods with Velocity trackers to provide AA coverage, and Ion Blasters with EWOs intercept those deepstrikers coming to stop you.
- You could run a budget version of the Bomb adding an Iridium suit and Shield generator to the buffmander, and swapping the Bodyguards for a regular Crisis team. Passing LoS! on a 2+ is good enough, and he has 2+/4++ for any lucky shot. You only begin to save points after the 5th suit.
Mrs. Tsundere is a great addition for any bomb, or can make a bomb of her own too. Her Stealth and Shrouded give everyone a 4+++ in the open, so Shield generators become redundant, and her John Woo pattern Fusion guns get along very well with any other Target locks the unit may have. Don't take her Command-link drone, a Command&Control node is cheaper, better grab her two 3++ shield drones. Oh, how could I forget her best bonus: 3D6" THRUST MOVE as the warlord, which will be useful all nightmare long unlike Farsight's one use WT. Forget about Flamers and Counterfire, you just won't be in melee. Hell, you might not even be on his visual anymore, and if you jumped into cover it turns into the veritable 2+++ Bullshit Barrier®.
And you thought regular bomb was good. It's a Farsight bomb made of Commanders, so it has WS4 and 5 attacks on the charge each, and they test Hit&Run on Farsight's I5. And you pay almost 1500 for it, so it's an army on its own. Leave the Riptide and the Broadside at home - that's 433 pts saved. That's an Allied Advance cadre right there so you don't get overwhelmed by chaff squads (Scouts, mostly) that badly - you're still overwhelmed - and can still claim home objectives.
- Did we said they can hold their ground in melee? Farsight, Bravestorm and Brightsword are totally capable of punching out some skulls, and Arra'kon, Sha'vastos and Torchstar give good CC support (Repulsor field + Counterfire, Puretide engram + Hit&Run, and Neuroweb + flamer, respectively). Add a Fusion Blade Commander as a Farsight double (maybe bring the Talisman for DtW) and you'll have 16 AP2 WS4 non-unwieldy hits, 11 of them Instant Killing marines, plus the rest (Sha'vastos can have Furious charge). Just don't mind the unnamed guy shouting "Blood for the Blood god!" all over again. Remember, we said hold their ground - they're still meant to be shooting. You can anihilate a Chapter master + Honour guard in a full turn, but at the expense of all your drones and each commander wounded, and for the cost there are two Assault terminator squads waiting in line to avenge him.
Burst Cannons Vs. Smart Missiles Vs. Gun Drones
Smart Missiles are better than Burst Cannons, period. The real question is now whether to take Gun Drones or Smart Missile Systems. Pinning, detachability and passenger firing status but BS2 vs Homing, Ignores cover and extra range, it all depends on your views on secondary armaments. If you think of them as a source of more dakka take SMS, but if you think of them as defensive guns so that you don't get swarmed then take the drones, their strategies when detached discussed more under the "ABCD" strategy.
Wall of Death
Piranhas are Fast Vehicles and possess AV 11 in their front armor. Even while this is akin to a death wish against S7, this makes them impervious to most handguns such as bolters and lasguns. One can use Piranhas as a mobile "wall" against squads of foot-slogging infantry. The infantry will be unable to pass through the Piranha squad, and the Piranhas can even fire with essential impunity. For added hilarity, do not forget your Flechette launchers. If used properly, Piranhas can even block enemy vehicles, by moving in a way said vehicle cannot turn or move without coming within 1" of it. The vehicle would have to move back, turn, and move out, avoiding the 1" proximity, disrupting their entire movement and possibly shooting phase. Just be careful when the vehicle shoots back. Oh what's that? Disruption pods give Stealth now? Stick these bad boys on your Piranha, and laugh as your opponent tries to get through a 3+ cover save as you flat-out right into his face. Or for even more hilarity, Seeker missiles. Now that Piranha doesn't even need to see those tanks to kill them.
The firing line
Take 1 full squad of fire warriors behind a ADL with a cadre fireblade and Darkstrider. Then one unit of pathfinders next to it. Then use Aun'va and a minimum squad of kroots with sniper rifles as expendable bodies and as CQC punching bags if necessary. You'll have at 19"+ 26 S5 shots from the Fire Warriors squad, and a little closer Darkstrider and the drones add six Pinning shots, and the foe will have a -1 T so you wound marines on a 2+! Within 15" it's 44 S5 -1T to foe. Give those Pathfinders some Rail Rifles, if necessary let Darkstrider switch to them and instakill MEQ and TEQ with 4T. If you face a lot of T5, Ion rifles can give you instakill when overcharged. That is if you dont mind the gets hot on your weeby tau!
ABCD: Annoying Bullshit/Cover Drones
Crisis and, to a lesser extent, Stealth suits are famous for the Jump-Shoot-Jump tactic: the ability to jump out of cover, fire and jump back in, leading to endless annoyance for your opponent. But this also works in reverse, with the humble Gun Drone and, well, pretty much anything that can be obscured by them; the important thing being the drones must be from a separate unit instead of taken as upgrades by the buble-wrapped unit. The ones that come "free" with vehicles such as the Devilfish can work, but the Piranhas' are better (the actual Piranhas costing less than its 2 Drones: 14+14+12), but a proper Drone team will last longer, although those DO grant a VP for their destruction. There are 2 variations of pretty much the same thing - putting some annoying drones in the way; both of them become useless when facing Ignores Cover, Blasts or enemy Jump Units.
- Mobile cover: aka Backwards Jump-Shoot-Jump. Keep them near the unit you want to protect, both of them fire and then you move the Drones in the assault phase to grant your squishy units free 5+ cover, which turns into a decent 4+ cover save in the open for your vehicles equipped with Disruption Pods, up to a 2+ Bullshit-Barrier for Stealth teams; great if you use this to get Jumping Fusion near enemy AV. Let's face it - you'd rather have those T4 4+ save Drones tank some hits than your valuable dudes with special weapons, even if Stealth teams are 3+/4+++. Incoming melta? Deploy ABCD ASAP, the more abbreviations the better.
- Drone wall: Properly placed (ie. abuse coherence), the same tactic can shield your dudes from charges with the added benefits of Supporting Fire and the fact that your enemy will probably kill those drones in his turn...so you can blow him to smithereens now that they have foolishly placed themselves within Rapid Fire range. This can achieve what Disruption pods can't - save you from meltabombs.
Kroot Konga Line
Now it's history due to reserve limit, but it worth saving just for lulz. It's very situational (as in your opponent being a compete retard), but it is perhaps one of the absolute funniest ways to use the Kroot and twist the rules at the same time. This requires your opponent to have all of his forces in Reinforcements, but not Drop Podding, Deep Striking or Outflanking, and for you to have enough Kroot to form a line along the board. Simply infiltrate your Kroot to their side of the board and form a line that manages to keep in coherency while also covering the entire side. They will be unable to draw any reinforcements, they will count as Destroyed, and you will have won in the Deployment phase. Place a big line of Kroot in front of your firing line, stretching all across the board. This keeps enemy units from assaulting you and you can abuse Supporting Fire by having your whole army overwatch a single unit. Add Markerlights and Counter Fire Defense Systems to drink your opponents tears. (This works because only the overwatching unit needs Supporting Fire, not the unit being charged.)
British Firing Line
If you've seen The Patriot, you'll know what this means. Basically, just push as many warriors out on the field with two pulse rifles Tau up in the front and put all of the carbines in the back. Camp like a bitch in terrain but make sure there is a bit of open ground. Exploit the Supporting Fire special rule ruthlessly. Send your Crisis suits out to kill any and all ordnance carrying enemies. Have Broadside suits camp in the back to pound the living shit out of any assaulting units using their Heavy Rail rifles, while said assaulting units are being chewed the fuck out of them. Laugh as you see said enemy cry as his precious troopers being chewed to bits by fire. As powerful as this is against an enemy who has to cross the tabletop, this strategy's main vulnerability is from enemies who can bypass the firing line altogether, either through Deep Strikes or Outflank maneuvers. You might want to hold a Crisis team back as a mobile reserve, jumping up and down the line to counter threats as they come up and lend extra fire power to prevent the line from collapsing.
Out Dakka Anything
The new codex reduces the costs of damn near EVERYTHING. This allows you to take more bodies than all the dead Sisters that the Grey Knights killed. In a 2,000 point battle, ten 12 man squads of Firewarriors, 6 FULL squads of suits with Plasma Dakka, the blueberry space Pope swinging his scepter around saying "Shoot them again!", and then whatever amount of dakka you want to take in whatever amounts allows you to fill something with enough pulse/plasma dakka to ensure it's dead. Be sure to bring your tearcups when facing large amounts of infantry, and even flyers wont be able to stand up to 1,200,000 pulse rifle shots a turn - Note: That's still not enough dakka..
The Bruiser Squad
Shadowsun with three XV9's, kitted out with whatever gun you want. Got an annoying MC that's SOMEHOW survived a hammerhead/R'Varna combo? An annoying distraction unit? Or maybe a little god squad tucked in the corner. This little unit is like your meched out Don Corleone and his crew.
The Gruesome Twosome
O'Ra'lai, Shadowsun and her Command-link drone. Float Ms. Tsundere behind Mr Big Bad Angry Tau Grandpa and use her drone to nominate him. If you thought re-rolling the Riptide's "Gets Hot!" was good, wait until you get a load of giving that gift to O'Ra'lai weapons. Yeah.
NEW Fish of Fury
Devilfish transports make excellent cover for Jetpack jumping Crisis Suits. Drive up the board with your suits immediately behind, jump out with your jetpacks, shoot the crap out of stuff, jump back behind the Devilfish with your Thrust move, stay hidden! Watch your opponent foam at the mouth as he can't see your suits behind your vehicle. Make sure you fit a disruption pod to the Devilfish... That'll probably ensure that they stick around for a while under heavy fire. Also, don't forget to fire the weapons that are on your 'fish.
Tommy Gun Firewarriors
Make a single Firewarrior squad vomit more shots than your opponent's army. Works best if you have Farsight allies. Take Cadre Fireblades with two Gun Drones for all of your HQ slots and attach them to one unit of Firewarriors (make sure to take a Shas'ui with a Gun Drone as well) then place them in a fortification or heavy cover. Each Fireblade will add an extra shot to all of your Pulse Rifles and Carbines when they don't move, turning your S5 single shot gun at 30", into 4 shots with only 3 Fireblades. At 15" that single squad will be vomiting 115 S5 AP5 shots a turn, and if you add 1 more Fireblade with drones it spikes up to 156 shots. Throw some backfield artillery and objectives to draw them in and they won't know what hit them when you open your 5th dice box. Just don't expect this to work on round two.
Those Fucking Stealth Suits and Tetras/Pathfinder Devilfish
This tactic only really works well with the Farsight Enclaves list, since Crisis suits no longer compete with Stealth Suits for the elite slot. Fill out a full team of six stealth suits in the following way: 5x Burst cannons with Counterfire, 1x Shas'vre (trust me, the LD boost helps) with a fusion blaster, marker light, target lock and VRT, two gun drones (total 270 points). Take a supporting team of Tetras or a Pathfinder squad with the recon drone and devilfish. All of your troop crisis suits and elite hazard suits should be in reserve for deep strike. Combining the Scout move of the Pathfinders/tetra and the Infiltrate of the stealth suits creates several homing beacons that cannot be easily destroyed, so when the enemy finally thinks that they are about to crush your paltry army, in come the reinforcements perfectly placed to dump liquid troll on your enemies army.
Why that particular set up for the Stealth suits, you ask?
Consider this: A full stealth team totes the same firepower as a full squad of fire warriors double-tapping. That is 24 delicious shots of st5 ap5 hell that even TEQ's suffer from due to sheer volume of fire. Adding counterfire to that mix means that being assaulted becomes a troll heaven for you (this will wipe out entire squads expecting half the number of incoming hits). Now, to get some good tank busting power, we add a fusion blaster, a marker light and a target lock. Remember that these bastards are both relentless and have a multi-traker, so the Shas'vre can shoot BOTH the marker light AND the fusion blaster...and all this cheese is BEFORE you add a subsystem. Give him VRT for hit-and-run that effects the whole squad. The gun drones? They replace the lost 4 shots by upgrading your Shas'vre, provide valuable ablative wounds... AND PROVIDE INITIATIVE 4 FOR HIT AND RUN! Combine all of this with Stealth, Shrouded, Deep Strike, Infiltrator, 3+ save majority and the ever important homing beacon. It is a huge amount of EXTREMELY effective special rules crammed into a very viable choice.
This DOES help if your commander rolled "counter-crisis" for his warlord trait too.
Donkey Punch Delivery System
XV8-02 Iridium Armor, 25pts. Onager Gauntlet, 5pts. Vectored Retro-thrusters, 5pts. Donkey punching the enemy to death out of nowhere? Priceless.
Drone Controllers have the drones share the BS of the wearer. Sticking a Babysitter commander with a full squad of marker drones means a ton of BS5 markers exactly where you want them. The only problem is it might be a bit overkill. But since when has that been bad? (The answer is when you regularly have 3+ unused markerlight hits. Of course, now that there's no cap on BS from markerlights, I'm sure you can find some way to spend them.) Combine it with loads of skyrays, and you have a great opportunity to use the 'aaaand it's gone' line.
Basically 1 Commander with plasma, melta, drone controller, target lock, 2xBodyguards/3xCrisis with plasma, melta, target lock, each, 6 to 8 markerdrones at BS5 thanks to commander target lock means you can mark one unit and shoot the hell out of another one. Better yet, take a unit of Pathfinders as well, and use two of the marker counters generated above to augment their markerlights, which should nearly double the amount of marker counters you get out of them.
This one is pretty simple. Equip a maximum squad of crisis suits with dual Burst cannons and give them support via a support commander with a healthy number of markerlight drones. 24 str5 shots at BS5 will undoubtedly punch a sizable hole into whatever horde you're shooting at, if not wipe most of the squad out. Two teams of crisis suits equipped this way will pretty much remove the entire squad.
Anti-Air Missile Pod Suits
Get 3 Crisis Suits give them 2 Missile pod each and a velocity tracker and pop those flyers out the sky. Their main advantage is that they are cheap than a 3 man anti-air broadside team (216 points vs the broadsides' 255) also the do well against light vehicles and infantry because they put out 12 str7 ap4 shots. Also marker lights help.
Take brightsword and a generic commander with fusion blades add a seismic fibrillator node and warscaper drone and attach them to two crisis suit teams (or both on one team) (kit out how you want) then have them bounce around doing silly things like charge into terminator squads (stay the hell away from storm sheilds though) and watch as your oponent who thought you were being silly by charging your tau into combat realises that you just killed an entire terminator squad in close combat (bonus points for way of the broken blade making your warlord weapon skill 5)
'Commander Laser Pointer'
A fun, and as of writing untested, method of getting decent markerlight hits is to take a Commander w/ Drone controller, 2 missile pods, target lock & 2 marker drones and throw him with a unit of 2 to 3 crisis suits each with 2 missile pods, a target lock & 2 marker drones a piece. This gives 6-8 BS5 markerlights and double the number of S7 AP4 shots to shoot at markerlight range, at another target (or 3 or 4 targets!). It is pricy though so I would not recommend more than one of these babies. If 6 markerlights sounds like too many laser pointers (and why would it) dropping two of them can get you 24 points back, though for the 12 points per BS5 markerlight, it's really a steal already.
- Alternatively you can run crisis suits naked, using them as ablative wounds for marker drones and commander - this way it would be MUCH cheaper, albeit you wouldn't get a hail of missiles, and would feel awkward for using battlesuits for tanking damage instead of drones.
Commander with iridium armor and stim in a full drone squadron made entirely from shield drone with 4++ saves is almost unkillable. Add Shadowsun with her stealth, shrouded and two 3++ drones for more fun.
- Yeah, but what does he do?
- He just looks at you angrily and doesn't die.
- Yes, he's totally getting killed by a sweep advance, leaving you with a useless Drone squad.
- Or, Spring for Coldstar, Stims, and a Shield, Ace upgrade optional, and just Tank Ack-Ack all day long.
- Can FMC Coldstars even join units? Either way, hanging with drones means no Swooping, which can lead to a sweep advance, and he doesn't have good enough dakka to stave off melee.
- Not what we're saying. Most AA is Strength 7, AP 4. Your Commander is Invisible (and unassailable) to most everything else. The only things that are more hazardous to his health are Vector Strikes (forces that 4++, but generally aren't going to negate FNP), and Skyfire-capable anti-armour fire, again forcing jinks or invulnerable saves. Sweeping Advance is a non-issue, and Grounding has to Wound first.
- Can FMC Coldstars even join units? Either way, hanging with drones means no Swooping, which can lead to a sweep advance, and he doesn't have good enough dakka to stave off melee.
- Or, Spring for Coldstar, Stims, and a Shield, Ace upgrade optional, and just Tank Ack-Ack all day long.
- Yes, he's totally getting killed by a sweep advance, leaving you with a useless Drone squad.
- He just looks at you angrily and doesn't die.