Warhammer 40,000/Tactics/Tau(8E)

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The 7th Edition Tactics are here

Why Play T'au[edit]

Because you like shooting and battlemechs, and being an optimist in a crapsack universe. And lots of overwatch. Just stay the fuck out of melee if you don't want to be tabled.

Pros[edit]

  • You can shoot overwatch with any unit within 6" of the charged unit. Noteworthily, basic overwatch in 8th can be performed multiple times, but using it makes you unable to fire more this turn.
  • The new codex basically turned Tau into Imperial Guard armed with Eldar-grade equipment - it's practically suicide to charge a Tau gunline, especially with all the other disadvantages assault armies now have in the 8th edition meta.
  • Strength 5 guns everywhere means your troops have an easier time wounding most MEQ things and T8 tanks/monsters.
  • You can pump out a lot of mortal wounds if you build around Destroyer Missiles and Rail weapons.
  • Markerlights let you focus down single big targets effectively with your entire army.
  • Everything non-FW bigger than INFANTRY has the FLY keyword, with all the buffs and AA hatred granted by that!
  • Easy access to rerolls on 1s to hit makes Overcharging Plasma Ion weapons much less risky than usual.
  • A plethora of sources for wound-transferring mechanics, wound ignore rolls, and invulnerable saves can make your important units very resilient.
  • You have a wide selection of decent AP weapons.
  • Crisis/Commander suit weapons are Assault, letting them Advance and still shoot. Also Deep Manta strike.
  • You have a lot of advantages in Cities of Death.
  • The glottal stop of everyone trying to pronounce your new apostrophe.

Cons[edit]

  • Virtual army wide BS 4+ meaning the so called "Ranged experts" of the galaxy are only as good as your off the line Imperial grunt.
  • You'll still crumple in assault against just about anything actually optimized for it. Using your dakka and mobility to make sure they never get that close is still the key to survival.
  • Because of the sheer number of T'au units that have the FLY keyword, beware of enemy AA.
  • Lackluster snipers that require Marksman and Drone Controller support to be cost effective.... (You can still field great character killers, though. Place 3 fusion blaster and a target lock on a Coldstar Battlesuit, there are very few characters who can withstand 3 fusion blaster hits to the face!)
  • Markerlight system is annoying due to being forced to progress through each stage on a table, with the holy grail of +1BS requiring five ML hits. If you are running an infantry army, 3/5ths of the table is useless chaff.
  • No way to protect your vulnerable drones from LoS ignoring and/or ranged fire. Especially long ranged artillery fire. Sadly they are not characters, so as long as an enemy unit can see the drone, they can shoot it.
  • You have no psychic powers, no defenses against them, and no cost-effective way of eliminating the CHARACTERS who have them hiding among infantry. Anyone running heavy Psy is going to have a field day with your lack of Deny the Witch.
  • The glottal stop of everyone trying to pronounce your new apostrophe.

Faction Keywords[edit]

The core faction keyword is, unsurprisingly, T'AU EMPIRE. The core shared keyword for your units is the wildcard <SEPT>. Apart from a few special characters with predetermined septs, this keyword is entirely up to you for each unit. Making sure they're all in the same <SEPT> will allow your units to share any special rules and benefits based on that <SEPT> keyword.

Special Rules[edit]

  • For the Greater Good: When an enemy unit declares a charge, any unit with this rule within 6" of one of the charge's targets may fire Overwatch as if they were the target of the charge.
    • Note that units lose their ability to fire Overwatch again this turn if they use this rule. Don't get baited into wasting all your Overwatch defending one unit, only for your opponent to charge something else that now can't shoot back.
    • Also, note that there are no faction keywords in this rule. The T'au can, appropriately, give covering fire to anyone.
    • Watch out for models that cancel Overwatch, such as Howling Banshees or Warp Talons. FTGG is defined as Overwatch, therefore it can be cancelled.
  • Saviour Protocols: You'll be using this one a lot, so you need to make sure you understand its limits. First, your drones can only take wounds for <SEPT> INFANTRY and <SEPT> BATTLESUITS, so no soaking up shots for your Skyrays Hammerheads and Stormsurges. Second, it only applies to melee or ranged attacks (thanks FAQ), so no saving your guys if they get hit by psychic powers. Thirdly, unlike most "Look Out Sir!"-type abilities the rule only allows you to allocate wounds to the Drones (as if they were part of the target's unit), rather than allowing you to ignore wounds on one model by removing another - so wounds that you don't get to allocate, i.e. mortal wounds inflicted on specific models (rather than units, which you do allocate) by things like Nova Reactor and Ion gun overloads, cannot be foisted off on a Drone using this rule. Keep in mind Tau Shield Drones get a 5+ FNP so they are back to being the best at tanking wounds for other units while sacrificing the ability to do anything else.
  • Mont'Ka / Kauyon: A once per game rule available to only Commanders and no matter how many generic Commanders you take, this can only happen once per battle, not once per detachment, or once per commander. ONCE PER BATTLE. You want more than one, take Shadowsun or Farsight. This gives them a buff bubble (meaning that now every generic T'au HQ has one) for one turn, based on whichever tactic they choose. Kauyon allows every friendly <SEPT> unit within 6" to reroll all failed to-hit rolls, but they cannot move for any reason. Meanwhile Mont'Ka allows friendly <SEPT> units to advance and shoot as if they hadn't moved at all. Oi, did dose blue gits loot our Waaagh! cry?
    • Note that Mont'Ka not only removes the to hit penalty for advancing and shooting an Assault weapon, it also allows Rapid Fire and Heavy weapons to Advance and fire without penalty, which is normally not allowed. However, note that the Vior'la Sept Tenet already grants most of the benefits from Mont'Ka on its own without needing to be activated or being limited to a buff aura.
    • Also note that Vespid and Kroot can never benefit from either effect, due to them not having <Sept>.
  • Manta Strike: The T'au's new answer to Deep Strike. Set up a unit in a Manta Hold during deployment, then at the end of any movement phase they may arrive via low-altitude drop. Set up the unit anywhere you want so long as they are more than 9" away from any enemy units. Only applies to Crisis Suits, Bodyguards, and Commanders, so say goodbye to Deep-Striking Stealth Suits, Riptides, and Ghostkeels (two of those can still infiltrate to somewhat compensate). Vespid have their own version with the same rules, Plunge from the Sky How very clever.
  • Infiltrators: Stealth Battlesuits, Ghostkeels and Shadowsun get this ability, that lets them setup anywhere more than 12" away from an enemy unit, and outside the opponent's deployment zone. RAW this means if you have first deployment, you can put a unit literally right outside their deployment zone if you wanted to (although that would give them a perfect opportunity to deploy some heavy assault troops directly into melee with you, so make sure you leave at least 1" spacing). As this is not a deep strike from reserves, you can still move during your movement phase.
  • Vanguard: Pathfinders and Darkstrider get a new version of the Scout USR from 7th. Start of the first battle round, before the first turn, the unit can move up to 7", as long as it does not get within 9" of an enemy unit. Also not a deep strike from reserves.
  • Warriors of the Greater Good: Objective Secured, Tau edition. Drones taken with Troops choices don't get to benefit from it however. RAW Drones brought on with Troops do get Objective Secured from the rule in Chapter Approved 2017 - although don't to be That Guy because it clearly states that the rule was an interim measure while everyone waited for their faction codex.

Sept Tenets[edit]

With their Codex, the Tau get their obligatory Chapter Tactics counterpart in the form of Sept Tenets, and like other armies requires a detachment whose units all have the same <SEPT> keyword. Septs not listed below can choose any Tenet they wish. Kroot and Vespid don't interfere with Tenets, but will not benefit from them either.

  • T'au- Coordinated Fire Arcs: Any unit with this tenet that fires Overwatch within 6" of another T'au unit or triggers For The Greater Good hits on a 5+ rather than a 6+, ignoring Ballistic Skill or any modifiers. Makes charging Tau gunlines an even more daunting prospect.
  • Bork'an- Superior Craftsmanship: All Rapid Fire and Heavy weapons get an extra 6" of maximum range. Why wouldn't you want more range? Yes, it stacks with PAC Drones, 42" Pulse Rifles anyone?
    • Note that it specifies Rapid Fire and Heavy weapons, so Crisis Suits (other than ones with Plasma Rifles), Stealth Suits, and pretty much every Fast Attack choice is out in the cold as they rely on Assault weapons. Use these guys for Gunlines, Tank Squadrons, and Riptides.
    • Like the similar Vostroyan doctrine, this is helpful in keeping your units at half range out of enemy charges more than it is sending shots far downfield (although they can do that, too).
  • Farsight Enclaves- Devastating Counter-Strike: When shooting enemies from a distance of 6" or less with someone using this Tenet, re-roll 1s to wound. Your Flamers and Fusion Blasters will thank you. Should also work on Overwatch if the enemy's charging from close enough. Overall a high risk low reward version of lieutenants everyone else has.
    • Y'vahra also benefit from this, so long as you get them close. Which you will.
  • Dal'yth- Adaptive Camouflage: Any unit that does not move, charge, fall back, Manta Strike, pile in, or consolidate on its turn gains the benefits of cover on the opponent's subsequent turn. This includes Vehicles. Hammerheads with 2+ saves anyone?
    • Like Bork'an, this is best suited to a gunline. While tougher vehicles and battle suits are nice, the main benefit comes from value protection against light arms, specifically for infantry blocks.
  • Vior’la- Strike Fast: If a unit advances, its rapid fire weapons become assault instead. In addition, units with this Tenet do not suffer a penalty for advancing and shooting assault weapons. Perfect for granting Battlesuits extra mobility. Makes Mont'Ka almost completely redundant, also great for stringing your opponents out if they're slower than you. If only this worked with Vespids.
    • Note that the “rapid fire (x)” gets converted to “assault (x)”, so you will be settling for one shot after the advance move.
  • Sa'cea- Calm Discipline: +1 Leadership. In addition in the shooting phase, you can re-roll a single failed hit roll for each Sa'cea unit. Oh my railgun... Sa'cea heavily favors MSU lists trying to take advantage of the free re-roll per unit. Conversely you could use it to run bigger blobs and make use of the +1 Ld but you're better off breaking the units up into smaller sizes to get as many free re-rolls as possible. HQs with a 2+ML are almost guaranteed to land that first stack, letting the rest of the sept use their tenet to re-roll a 2 or 3. Add to this the uplinked ML strat and your Sa'cea battalion with 2x Cadres are going to put 5 MLs on whatever you need them to every. Single. Time.
    • A 5 man Sa'cea Strike Team with a nearby Ethereal is immune to (unmodified) moral checks. Ld 9 from the Ethereal combined with the +1 for sept means that losing 4 models puts your Ld down to 5 on the d6 roll. Enter Bonding Knife Rituals
    • The only units that don't Massively benefit from this are the high volume models like Burst-tides and stealth suits. Ion-tides, Rail/Ion-heads, Rail-sides, every unit with MLs can get game changing utility out of the simple free re-roll.

Stratagems[edit]

Universal[edit]

  • Automated Repair System (2 CP): Battlesuit or Vehicle regains D3 lost wounds. Well, there goes the downside of using the Nova Reactor, but don't count on always being able to use it, as it's really expensive.
    • Got a pretty major buff with the September 2018 Big FAQ. Now it can be used at the beginning of every turn, including your opponent's.
  • Branched Nova Charge (1 CP): Overcharging a Riptide's Nova Reactor grants it two buffs instead of one. Between this and the better Nova Reactor effects, the overcharge may actually be worth using. Sadly doesn't work with FW Rapetide subtypes.
  • Breach and Clear! (1 CP): Use in the Shooting phase, when a Breacher Team is about to shoot an enemy unit in cover. They reroll all failed wound rolls. Note that you can stack this with markerlights to make things worse for enemy units in cover.
  • Command and Control Node (1 CP) : Commander cannot shoot, but a Battlesuit unit in your army within 6” can re-roll wounds.
  • Emergency Dispensation (1 CP/3 CP): Standard extra relics.
  • EMP Grenade (1 CP): When throwing a photon grenade, only make a single hit roll, and if it hits, the grenade deals D3 mortal wounds against an enemy vehicle. Good for last-ditch efforts, or for taking a vehicle down on its damage table. Bad for everything else.
  • Fail-safe Detonator (1 CP): Use when a Battlesuit unit from your army is destroyed in the fight phase. Roll a dice for each unit within 3” and on a 4+ it suffers a mortal wound. It's... there, but there's much better options.
  • Multi-spectrum Sensor Suite (1 CP): Used before a battlesuit unit shoots, enemy units cannot claim cover saves from that unit.
  • Neuroweb System Jammer (2 CP): At the start of the enemy shooting phase, pick an enemy unit within 18” of a Battlesuit Commander; subtract 1 from to hit rolls made for that unit this phase. Makes fun of IG and other Tau.
  • Hunting Grounds (1 CP): If a Kroot Hound unit successfully completes a charge, Kroot units within 12” can re-roll charges. Not that you might need your screen to run somewhere.
  • Orbital Ion Beam (3 CP): Can only be used on a Commander that has not moved or Manta Struck in the preceding movement phase. Pick two points on the battlefield 2D6” apart and draw a line between them. Each unit suffers D3 mortal wounds on a 4+ (characters 5+).
  • Point Defense Targeting Relay (1 CP): Vehicle can overwatch on 5s and 6s.
  • Positional Relay (2 CP) : start of movement phase, pick a recon drone and a unit of the same sept that has been set up in a manta hold. That unit can set up within 6” of the recon drone.
  • Recon Sweep (1 CP) : Pathfinder team can move 2D6” in the shooting phase, but cannot shoot or charge.
  • Repulsor Impact Field (1 CP) : After an opponent successfully charges a Battlesuit unit, roll a dice for each model in the enemy unit within 3” of your unit and on a 6 they suffer a mortal wound. Don't ever forget this one. It's amazing against things like Genestealers and Boyz.
  • Stimulant Injector (1 CP): Replaces the old wargear option. Pick a Battlesuit with a maximum wounds of 10 or more (i.e. a Riptide or a Ghostkeel; Stormsurge isn't a battlesuit) at the start of your turn. That unit ignores all the negative effects of having taken any wounds (BS penalties, etc.) until either it dies or the turn ends. Good for squeezing that last bit of juice from a Riptide your opponent assumes is useless thanks to wound penalties.
  • Support Turret Replacement (1 CP) : If a Fire Warrior's Turret has been destroyed, it can be replaced. Unfortunately the CP is worth more than the turret in most cases.
  • Uplinked Markerlight (1 CP): Use this stratagem after an enemy unit has been hit by a markerlight fired by a model from your army. Place d3 + 1 markerlight counters next to that unit instead of only 1. An interesting way to try and get enough stacks for the +1 bonus.
  • Wall of Mirrors (1 CP): In the Movement phase, select an XV25 Stealth Suit unit within 6" of an XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit. It can be removed and redeployed via deep striking anywhere within 12" of the Ghostkeel (and with the typical deep strike limits). If the XV25 was engaged in close combat, this does not count as falling back, which, as it is explicitly stated in the rule, allows you to charge in again, not that you would want to. (You would already be able to shoot, since Stealth Suits can Fly). With the Homing Beacon now dropping at the start of the movement phase you can use this Stratagem to reposition your stealth suits before dropping the beacon.

Sept-Specific[edit]

  • Bork'an - Experimental Weaponry (1 CP): When firing a weapon with a random number of shots (e.g. the Stormsurge's Pulse Driver Cannon), you can reroll one of the dice for the shot number. Makes those Crisis Suits equipped with flamers slightly more effective, but you would probably be better served with Railgun Sub-Munition shots, or units equipped with Ion Weapons.
    • Keep in mind the BRB stratagem does the same thing. Presumably the only reason it's a separate stratagem is in case you roll double ones on a 2d6 weapon and would like to spend two CP instead of one.
    • Don't forget that in matched play, the Strategic Discipline rule prevents you from using a stratagem more than once per phase. This stratagem can allow you to keep your generic re-roll stratagem for another use in the phase (for example, re-roll to hit for a railgun or a fusion blaster).
    • Thanks to the new FAQ it's absolute garbage, with the recent FAQ adjusting it so you need to use it before determining the number of shots, meaning if you elect re-roll the humble Pathfinder Ion Rifle you'll have wasted 1 CP 2/3s of the time. Even on the premiere Bor'Kan unit, the Y'Vahra, not only do you now have to determine which of the weapons you're re-rolling, you'll still waste a CP 1/4 of the time you use the stratagem.
  • Dal'yth - Strike and Fade (1 CP): Pick a unit at the start of your shooting phase. That unit may move 6" after it shoots as if it had another movement phase (it may not advance with this extra move). It's Move-Shoot-Move, with everything that entails. Sucks that doing so means you give up the main benefit of your Sept Tenet, but if your opponent is within charging range cover won't do you any good anyway, as such it's best used for when the enemy's closing in and you really don't want them to catch you, in case you're not going to cause enough damage in the shooting phase. Don't use it for extra speed otherwise, you're giving up your Sept Tenet by doing that and making yourself more vulnerable (also wasting a CP). It can also be used to keep your dudes safe from enemy shooting if you pop out of LoS blocking terrain, shoot, then hide again but this isn't all that great most of the time since you're still wasting a command point by doing that, and good lists you're up against are going to have artillery, fast units that will run down anyone hiding (in which case you've just ruined your Overwatch) or they'll be tough enough/numerous enough that hiding after shooting them is effectively a waste of a CP.
    • Although completely insane, you can also use this to get a 3" charge after Manta Dropping with a TAU unit. Land 9" away, shoot anything, then move 6" towards the enemy, granting a 3" charge.
    • Can also be used to move heavy weapon units without a penalty to shooting, as an alternative to taking a Target Lock, as this resolves shooting BEFORE moving. So, for example, could use this to shoot broadsides at no penalty, and then move 6" (which is faster than they'd normally move...).
    • Drawback to this stratagem is that it must be done at the START of your shooting phase, or rather, it must be done before you pelt the enemy with markerlights from another unit.
  • Farsight Enclaves - Drop zone clear (2 CP): Select a battle suit unit that was set up using a manta strike ability this turn and add +1 to hit rolls for that unit. Will protect Battlesuits dropping in with Overcharged Cyclic Ion Blasters to clear out hot spots.
    • Note that this Stratagem cannot be used with Homing Beacons or the Positional Relay Stratagem as these lead to the unit performing a "low-altitude drop" instead of a "Manta strike".
  • Sa’cea - Orbital Marker Distribution Uplink (2 CP): Pick an enemy unit visible to a character. That unit and all units within 6” gain a markerlight counter.
  • T'au Sept - Focused Fire (3 CP): When a unit with the T'au Sept keyword inflicts an unsaved wound on an enemy in the shooting phase, add +1 to wound for all other shooting attacks made against that enemy by anyone who shares the same Sept. Don't you just love being able to wound Knights on a 4+ with only basic infantry?
  • Vior’la - Hot Blooded (2 CP): Select an infantry unit; it can shoot twice this phase, but must target the closest enemy unit each time. With Rapid Fire weapons, this practically amounts to giving them FRFSRF from the Imperial Guard.
    • With Breacher Teams or Rail Rifle Pathfinders this can devastate a lot of units. 40 strength 6 AP-2 shots anybody?
    • XV25 Stealth Teams are both Battlesuits and Infantry. While you'll usually get more overall shots out of a unit of Fire Warriors, a Stealth Team in the right place can make excellent use of this Stratagem. Getting the team into the right place is all the easier given the accompanying Sept Tenet.

Tactical Objectives[edit]

11 - The Lure
1 VP for destroying an enemy unit that made a successful charge last turn. d3 VP for destroying 3 units this way. Hopefully they charged at someone you won't miss.
12 - Patient Hunter
1 VP if at least 1 enemy unit was destroyed by a unit in your deployment zone.
13 - Ambush
1 VP if an enemy unit either dies or fails a morale test. Upped to d3 if you have more than 3 enemy units do this.
14 - Multiple Distractions
1 VP if you have one enemy unit within 12" of one battlefield edge and another enemy unit within 12" of the opposite edge by the end of the turn.
15 - Tactical Withdrawal
1 VP if you completely destroy an enemy unit in the shooting phase which was within 1" of one of your units at the start of the turn.
16 - The Greater Good
1d3 VP if you steal an objective from an enemy, which is upped to 1d3+3 if you steal 3 or more.

Markerlights[edit]

This deserves its own section, due to its importance to the army. Lots of your units have Markerlights and when a unit is hit by a Markerlight, place a counter by it for the remainder of the phase. Effects depend on the number of Markerlight counters on a unit, and are cumulative. In addition, Markerlight counters are no longer used up for their effects, so you can really pour focused fire onto a lit target - but make sure you actually do make use of them once placed, because they'll be gone at the end of the Shooting phase (or the Charge phase if you're shooting them on Overwatch). The marker light rules specifies that most of the buffs only apply to T'AU EMPIRE units.

  1. T'AU EMPIRE models attacking the target may reroll hit rolls of 1. Re-rolling 1s is only an increase in accuracy of about 16.67% - BS4+ goes from 50% to 58.3%, while Overwatch goes from 16.67% to 19.44%. In addition, it also means overcharging ion weapons is way less risky.
  2. Destroyer and Seeker missiles fired at the target use the firer's Ballistic Skill (and re-rolling 1's, as above), instead of hitting only on a 6. With your 4+ to hit, the shot is now only a gamble to fire, not pointless to take. Works wonders with Longstrike though. Keep in mind that Hammerheads still have BS3+, and the Seekers cost basically nothing anyway so just take it and be happy if one of those D1d6 shots gets through. Also works great with the Stormsurge as it'll cause a ridiculous amount of damage against everything (excluding hordes, don't use it to shoot those).
  3. T'AU EMPIRE models shooting at the target may ignore the hit roll penalties for moving and firing Heavy weapons, and Advancing and firing Assault weapons. This is somewhat useful for extracting suit teams who fail to alpha their intended target (and chances are, they will unless you sink 1/4+ your points into a single squad) or for your infantry to retreat from approaching enemy units as Tau lost some of their mobility to move and shoot in the same turn effectively. Only problem is that you have to decide whether you move/advance before you know whether you can hit with enough Markerlights, so better keep those Target Locks on your Ghostkeel.
  4. The target gets no saving throw bonuses for being in cover. Good enough against factions that get built in cover saves like Hive Fleet Jormungandr or cover-camping IG, but otherwise mediocre.
  5. T'AU EMPIRE models shooting at this unit get +1 to hit. There's the money shot! If you fail to get your 5th markerlight, consider the Uplinked Markerlights stratagem as anything less is barely worth the points taking them at all.

The enviable +1 to hit for a single markerlight is gone, expended token or not, as is the handy Hunter Cadre rule of +1 to hit if 3+ Tau units targeted the same enemy. Now you must invest enough markers to score 5 net hits to counter the lackluster ballistic skill of an army that was intended to dominate the shooting phase. Without markerlights, you are similar to the Imperial Guard, only fewer, more expensive and equipped with better flashlights. Basically, you're fucked.

Fortunately, 10 Pathfinders can expect to lay down 5 ML hits per phase, unless you move then it's only 3, and cost a whopping... 80 points. Remember, we're Tau, not IG.

  • Special note: Markerlights shot from non-vehicle sources cannot be fired in addition other weapons (Page 123, Codex Tau). This means Cadre Fireblades, Darkstrider, Pathfinders, and various unit leaders with both markerlights and other ranged weapons - they get to choose which to fire (other weapons OR Markerlights), not both.

Warlord Traits[edit]

Universal[edit]

  1. Precision of the Hunter: Re-roll wound rolls of 1 made for your warlord against enemy vehicles or monsters.
  2. Through Unity, Devastation : In each of your shooting phases, pick a unit that is visible to your warlord; until the end of your phase each time you make a wound roll of 6+ against that unit made by a friendly Sept unit within 6″ of your warlord, the AP is improved by 1. Aun’va has this.
  3. A Ghost Walks Among Us: add 6″ when the Warlord Advances instead of rolling a die. Darkstrider has this. Take this on your commander with CIBs and your movement goes from 8 to 14". Handy for making sure you can capitalize on their short range. Couple this with Vectored Maneuvering thrusters and you can get right back into safety after laying the smack down!
  4. Through Boldness, Victory: if your warlord is within 12″ of an enemy unit at the start of your shooting phase, you can re-roll failed hit rolls made for your Warlord until the end of the phase.
  5. Exemplar of the Kauyon: You can re-roll failed hit rolls for your Warlord as long as they haven't moved this turn. If they have moved for any reason, they lose this trait until your next turn. Shadowsun has this.
  6. Exemplar of the Mont'ka: This Warlord can Advance and still shoot as if they hadn't moved this turn. Good on Coldstar commanders, but Vior'la's Sept Tenet can already let them do this without giving up a Warlord Trait for it.

Sept-Specific[edit]

  • Farsight Enclaves - Hero of the Enclaves: The Warlord can perform a Heroic Intervention if they're within 6" of enemy units after all enemy charge moved are made, and can move up to 6" when doing so as long as they end up closer to an enemy. Additionally, if the Warlord charged, was charged, or made a Heroic Intervention, he re-rolls all failed hits until the end of the turn. Farsight has this and it's EXTREMELY superfluous on Farsight himself. His "Way of the Short Blade" ability gives him the melee rerolls anyways and even buffs it to shooting against Orks. So don't take him as your Warlord.
    • Heroic Interventions aren't exactly strong, but the second part of that bonus is worth noticing, especially if you go second: notice that it never says which phase the re-rolls apply to. Since the re-roll requires the Warlord to Charge, be charged or do a Heroic intervention, all of this happen on the Charge phase, so re-roll to hit apply to charge and fight phase.
  • Dal’yth - Gunship Diplomat: Kroot and Vespid units within 12" of the Warlord gain For the Greater Good. This could probably be good with Vespid with FLY shenanigans, but it's not like you're short on strong Overwatch. Otherwise there's better traits to take than hoping that Krootox or those Kroot Canivores save you.
  • T'au - Strength of Belief: Roll a D6 for each Mortal Wound inflicted on Warlord; on a 5+ it is ignored. Longstrike has this.
  • Vior’la - Academy Luminary: If your Warlord has Master of War, Volley Fire or Failure is not an Option ability, the range of that ability is increased to 9″ and you can get an additional CP for being battle-forged. Aun’Shi has this. Let's be honest, you're taking this mostly for the CP.
  • Sa’cea - Beacon of Honour: Friendly Sa’cea unit within 6″ reduce the number of models that flee by 1. If you really want to take big units of FW, with an ethereal nearby you're looking at the equivalent of LD 11 troops with autopassing moral on 6's.
  • Bork’an- Seeker of Perfection: For each hit roll of 6+ made for your warlord, add 1 to the wound roll for that attack.

Wargear[edit]

Melee Weapons[edit]

HAHAHAHA NOPE! Generic melee weapons are for other armies.

Ranged Weapons[edit]

Infantry / Drone

  • Pulse Weapons: your S5 D1 guns at various ranges.
    • Pulse Pistol: 12" range and a pistol, in other words it grants you 1 shot at S5 per model in your shooting phase while in combat. Granted, you should not be getting into close combat but if you somehow survived an assault, your opponent can get hit by this in your next shooting phase from your Fire Warriors (if you paid the 1pt per model to bring them). Usually it's better to just fall back and let your other units punish whatever came at you, but if you can't disengage then consider having pulse pistols on half of your guys to give that melee unit an emergency punch.
    • Pulse Rifle: The original, the best. 30" rapid fire smackdown, stacks wonderfully with sept traits, wargear and warlord traits granting extra range and shots.
    • Pulse Carbine: Doesn't pin targets anymore, but is assault 2 at 18". Changes to assault weapons in 8th make them kinda dicey shooting on the run at BS5+ on your pathfinders. Gun drones get two of these.
    • Pulse Blaster: the pulse shotgun found on your breachers, start at a assault 2 bolter at 15" end at S6 ap-2 under 5" Very risky, but that's life on a breacher team.
    • Longshot Pulse Rifle: Found on sniper drones, big range and can target characters, dealing mortal wounds on 6+ to wound. Still sucks due to only being S5 and AP0, which pretty much all characters can take without blinking. Stacks with the abilities from a spotter.
  • Markerlight: There's a whole section above for the effects these have, but they're almost a rather literal heavy 1 flashlight laser pointer.
  • Rail Rifle: Pathfinders only. The smallest source of Mortal Wounds currently available to T'au, each squad may take up to three of these weapons if they don't take an Ion Rifle. They're generally a better call for hunting MEQs, TEQs, and Monstrous creatures thanks to their AP and ability to deal mortal wounds on a 6+ to wound.
  • Ion Rifle: Pathfinders and interceptor drones only. The second type of special weapon available to Pathfinders, this weapon acts like every other Ion weapon, in that it can be overcharged to deal potentially more hits and damage. Not bad at 4 points for a S8 shot.
  • Photon Grenade: it's a grenade, but it doesn't do any damage. Instead it gives the attacker -1 to hit in the proceeding fight phase.
  • Kroot Weapons:
    • Kroot Rifle: It's basically a boltgun that has a close combat bonus.
    • Kroot Gun: It's a rapid fire autocannon, but does D3 damage instead of a flat 2. Found on the Krootox.
  • Neutron Blaster: the vespid gun, used for burninating armour at S5, AP-2.

Battlesuit

  • Airbursting Fragmentation Projector: A Weapon that ignores line of sight. Okay, but unless you need to ignore the line of sight, such as on very terrain laden maps, the Burst Cannon outperforms this weapon.
  • Burst Cannon: The cheap Dakka that it always has been. 4 Shots at Str 5 and 18". You might want to give your suits some other (and more expensive) options as all your drones and Fire Warriors will provide Str 5 shooting en masse. Actually, with an advanced targeting system, you can make these work very effectively. Note that commander with 3 bursts+ATS is good, but crisis suit loses too much dakka, and unless you're shooting terminators, giving up a burst cannon for ATS is a downgrade in raw power.
    • If you want the -1 AP from Advanced Targeting Systems to actually match a Heavy Bolter's profile, the best you're going to get are 12 shots. Still, that's more than enough to scare most troop choices shitless.


  • Cyclic Ion Blaster: 3 (almost) Autocannon shots at 18", this gun's default mode outperforms the Plasma Rifle per point outside of its Rapid Fire range against HEQ, GEQ, MEQ, and TEQ. Using the Overcharge profile gives you extra Strength and Damage making it second only to the Fusion Blaster against multi-wound models and vehicles, the downside being that Overcharge deals a mortal wound to the bearer upon rolling any number of modified 1's to hit. Markerlights let you re-roll natural 1's to hit which mitigates a bit of the threat, and if you manage to get 5 Markerlights on the same target you can't suffer this downside.
    • Note that the CIB is only superior to the Burst Cannon when you are overcharging it. If you do not expect to overcharge, consider 3 BC+ATS instead.
  • Flamer: Standard flamer in every respect. Deadly when combined with advanced targeting system (though just taking another flamer is better statistically if you are going for an all-flamer loadout (statistically 2 flamers +ATS does about the same vs MEQ and GEQ, but once you get up to TEQs, the ATS starts to show it's worth). Just don't waste it on commanders unless you crave the OMAE WA MOU Coldstar shenanigans.
  • Fusion Blaster: It's a Meltagun, which means it deals 1D6 damage (best of 2 under half range) and being T'au Empire gives you a lofty 6" more range than those silly primitive Imperial ones for 25% more points. Second most expensive option, but the clear winner against anything with more than a couple wounds. Your primary source of antitank and monsterhunting, due to ridiculously low damage-per-point ratio of broadsides and hammerheads.
  • Missile Pod: It went up in price considerably and being able to deal D3 wounds doesn't quite make up for it. Still a decent choice, but is outperformed by a Cyclic Ion Blaster unless you're not willing to risk the overcharge on anything T6 or above. Or if you actually want a weapon with range, as it has twice that of the CIB (and the longest range option of the Commander and Crisis Suits).
  • Plasma Rifle: Your go-to cheap option against heavy infantry, melting away 3 points of the enemy's Save. At 1 extra point over a Burst Cannon it's cheap, but will struggle against multi-wound models as it only does 1 damage a shot.
    • Received a subtle nerf with the reintroduction of Overcharge mechanics. The selling point of T'au plasma was that, while it was weaker, it wouldn't suffer Gets Hot!, now that nobody suffers that particular penalty without overcharging their weapons, there is no reason for T'au plasma to be S6 if everyone else can put their plasma out at S:7 without blowing themselves up, so yes, GW actually made tau plasma the worst plasma.
    • A little bit better with the Bork'an sept tenet, which can keep it out of charge range whilst being able to fire twice. Also, the only gun for crisis suits that actually does work with this sept.
  • High-Intensity Plasma Rifle: Farsight got a weapon upgrade. More AP and double the damage.
  • Broadside Weapons:
    • Heavy Rail Rifle: A good gun, you get two S8 AP-4 D6 wound shots at 60" and deals mortal wounds on top of the other damage if you roll a 6+ to wound. Real useful for hunting Monstrous Creatures or Vehicles, but you'd best hope you hit.
    • High Yield Missile Pod: Heavy 4, S7, AP-1, D3 missile pod. Noticeably inferior to the other gun, but Broadsides can take two of them, which balances it out somewhat. Does D3 damage compared to the HRR's D6(+1MW on a 6+ to wounds), meaning that if all shots hit, a pair of these can do up to 24 Damage, across 8 targets, compared to the HRR's 12 across 2 (+2 MW). Use this one for clearing out big squads of GEQs
  • XV9 Weapons:
    • Double-barrelled Burst Cannon (Forge World): Twice the shots for a 60% price increase. Bit of a bargain right there.
    • Phased Ion Gun (Forge World): An Assault plasma rifle with worse AP (unless it rolls a 6+ to hit), Strength, and Range, but has the potential for more shots. Since it is a bit more expensive than a Plasma Rifle, and less reliable, you probably want to skip this.
    • Fusion Cascade (Forge World): A Fusion Blaster with 66% less range, but the potential to fire 3 shots. Also 60% more expensive. Cheaper than the equivalent amount of FB Crisis suits, but slightly less effective as the number of models increases.
    • Pulse Submunitions Rifle (Forge World): 30" range, 2d3 shots at S6, for 20% more than a burst cannon. If you don't need the range, take the DBBC instead.
  • Monstrous Suit Weapons
    • Ion Accelerator: Two different shooting modes. Both are a wonderful 72" range but are Heavy D6. Standard is S8 with D3 dmg, while Overcharge gives you S9 and 3 damage. Nova Charge changes the type to Heavy 6 (for both Standard and Overcharge modes).
    • Heavy Burst Cannon: 36" Heavy 12 S6 AP -1 D2. Becomes Heavy 18 on Nova Charge.
    • Cyclic Ion Raker: Heavy 6 shots at 24" range at S7. Disappointing AP-1 and D1 damage, though; overcharge buffs to S8 and D3 Damage.
    • Fusion Collider: S8 AP-4 Heavy D3 shots at 18" doing the standard melta thingy with its D6 damage. Probably the one to take over the Raker on your Ghostkeel.
    • Pulse Submunitions Cannon (Forge World): 60" Heavy 3D3 shots, dropping S6 AP-2 D3 hits. Nasty!
    • Ion Discharge Cannon (Forge World): Curiously, this Ion weapon doesn't have a basic overcharge profile outside of Nova Charging. Regardless, short 12" range dishing out mortal wounds to vehicles if you roll a 6 to-wound; normal profile is Heavy 3 S8 AP-3 D1, and Nova Charge is Heavy 3D3 S10 and flat 3 damage.
    • Phased Plasma-Flamer (Forge World): the scary gun found on the Y'vahra, 8" Heavy 2D6 autohits at S6 AP-2 and 3 damage on the standard profile holy shit! Nova Charge gives you another D6 shots; not much but still insane!
    • Flechette Pod (Forge World): how is this not standard battlesuit equipment WTF T'au?! Pistol D6 S4 shots at 6"; for the time being only found on the Y'vahra until the Earth and Fire Castes figure out how goddamn useful this is is.

Vehicle Weapons

  • Smart Missile System: heavy 4 pulse rifle that can hit targets out of LoS from the shooter. Most things that can take them get two, which is great.
  • Seeker Missiles: 72" Heavy1 S8 AP-2 DD6 with one use per missile. At only five points it doesn't seem like a bad investment on a Broadside; could mean the difference between bringing that scary unit really low or killing it. Seekers of course come stock with most of the things that can take them though, so not much choice in the matter regarding that. They need the target to have at least two markerlight shots on them to use the firers BS though, otherwise they ONLY hit on 6s and it doesn't take a genius to know that that's not worth doing unless you're in a desperate situation.

Hammerhead Weapons

  • Rail Gun: A single-shot weapon on an expensive chassis, with two 72" profiles. Solid shot does an S10 AP-4 D6 damage shot that throws down with a mortal wound on a to-wound of 6 on top of normal damage. The dreaded submunition puts out D6 S6 AP-1 D1 hits. If you take Longstrike, his +1 to wound makes an overcharged Ion cannon a better choice overall.
  • Ion Cannon: Standard and overcharge modes at 60". Standard puts out 3 S7 AP-2 D2 shots while overcharge does D6 shots at S8 and 3 damage with the standard overcharge risk. If you want to use Hammerheads (aside from Longstrike or FW options) then this is THE gun. Against T7 Sv 3+ vehicles, it does almost 50% more damage than the railgun when supported by markerlights and Longstrike (synergy is the name of the game for Tau).
  • Twin Heavy Burst Cannon (Forge World): an absurd amount of shots (16 to be exact) at S6 AP-1 D1 and 36". You will chew through most infantry with ease with this gun.
  • Twin Fusion Cannon (Forge World): 24" Heavy 2 S8 AP-4 and D6 damage with melta.
  • Twin T'au Plasma Cannon (Forge World): Got the "T'au" stamp in order to differentiate itself from other plasma cannons, Heavy 4 S7 AP-3 D2 at 48". A strong competitor to the Fusion and Ion Cannons.

Flyer Weapons

  • Quad Ion Cannon: very disappointing, the gun has basically been reduced to a reaper autocannon, which aren't even any good in the CSM army. Overcharge helps out a bit, granting +1 S D3 damage and D6 shots.

Tidewall Fortification Weapons

  • Supremacy Railgun: As Soild Shot Railgun profile, but with 2 shots.

Titanic Weapons

  • Pulse Driver Cannon: Better with the codex, now doing Heavy D6 shots instead of the measly Heavy D3 from the Index. Still sporting a powerful 72" S10 AP-3 D6 damage.
  • Pulse Blastcannon ARC Cannon: 3 range modes to choose from, with number of shots and stopping power increasing and decreasing with range respectively. Short range hits with a tremendous S14 AP-4 and a savage 6 damage, but only at Heavy 2 at 10"; Medium range is still pretty hardcore at S12 AP-2 D4 but double the shots and range over close range; lastly, long range triples the range and shots, but decreases the power down to S10 AP0 and D2. Try to ignore the range bands and focus instead on what sort of targets you should be hitting with this gun.
    • Heavy 2, this gun qualifies for the Bork'an Sept Tenet. It's not a lot at 30-36", but at 10" - 16" this pretty much means you don't have to be in charging range of anything that could tie you up in melee while you try to bring the thunder down.
  • Cluster Rocket System: 4D6 shots at 48" and S5, but no bonus damage or AP to speak of. Still, that's a shitload of shots for smacking the shit out of tarpits within range.
  • Destroyer Missiles: Seeker missiles with a foot of range lopped off, shooting a single shot and on a hit they do D3 mortal wounds. Practically mandatory to be used alongside Markerlights as without two they will only hit on unmodified 6's.
  • Heavy Rail Cannon(Forge World): Macro weapon. Single shot at S18(!) with 2D6 damage. Inflicts an additional D3 Mortal Wounds on a Wound Roll of 6+. Also comes with the Cluster Shells ability, that has a 4+ chance to deal a Mortal Wound to any Model that ends a charge within 3" of the carrying unit.
  • Tri-Axis Ion Cannon (Forge World): 9 shots of TEQ killing goodness, that can be overcharged into busting vehicles.
  • Fusion Eradicator (Forge World): 5 shot Fusion Blaster, with an extra 6" range.
  • Pulse Ordnance Multi-Driver (Forge World): Macro weapon. Choice of profiles between 6 shots at S12 + 4dmg, or 2D6 shots at S8 + 3dmg. Given the law of averages, You should not ever use the secondary profile.
  • Nexus Meteor Missile System (Forge World): Macro weapon. 2D6 shots at S10 and 4dmg, with a minimum range of 24" and maximum range of 120".

Support Systems[edit]

  • Advanced Targeting System: Improves the AP of all weapons on the suit by 1, turning those Burst Cannons into sawn-off Heavy Bolters. For Commanders it is generally more effective to do so, albeit more expensive. You don't want to replace a weapon for ATS on a normal Crisis suit, it is a damage loss.
    • The FAQ changed the AP of the default close combat weapon to "0", so this now affects the melee on the suits. Take it on your Stealth Suits to give them a AP-1 melee attack along with their Burst Cannons. Also makes Commanders even more dangerous in melee.
  • Counterfire Defence System: Allows re-rolls to hit when firing Overwatch. Give it to your T'au Sept suits and you'll be re-rolling Overwatch on 5+ which makes a HUGE difference for charging units. Normal units have a 16% to hit on overwatch. Tau Sept units have 55% - better than BS 4+, which is the standard for our army. Using this item, an MSU stealth suit team fires 12 S5 shots at 55%, dealing 3.7 damage to GEQ and 1.5 to MEQ.
    • Note: Since the Stormsurge is a VEHICLE this can be combined with the Point Defense Target Relay Stratagem (makes overwatch hit on 5s and 6s). Tau Sept Stormsurges have this already, but useful for the other Septs.
  • Drone Controller: All <SEPT> DRONE models near (6" bubble) any bearer get +1 to hit rolls. Great for shooty drones, useless for the rest.
    • Note: Drone Controller's area of effect is based on the size of the Battlesuit's base. So a drone controller on a stealth suit (32mm round) can affect less drones than a drone controller on a Stormsurge (170mm oval).
  • Early Warning Override: Get a free shooting attack on one unit that is deployed (deep striking) within 12" but at -1 to-hit, so only at 5+ with any suit apart from the Commander and don't even think about overcharging those CIBs.
    • Works with Velocity Tracker.
      • As with Drone controller, base size of model equipped will increase area of effect.
  • Multi-tracker: If a model shoots all its weapons at the same target, it may re-roll 1's to hit. One Markerlight can give this to your whole army. The target unit now also has to include at least 5 models for this system to work. Also only works in your shooting phase. Oh and it got more expensive in the Codex. So it went from bad to absolutely terrible.
  • Shield Generator: The classic 4+ invulnerable save. Riptides still can't take this, but it's cheaper than before for all other suits.
  • Target Lock: Enables the suit to ignore the to-hit penalties for Advancing and firing Assault weapons, and moving and firing Heavy weapons. Also allows firing Rapid Fire weapons after Advancing at -1 to hit. A cheap way to potentially increase your suits' mobility by a good amount, and reduce reliance on Markerlights. Be mindful that Vior'la already gets most of its benefits for free through its Sept Tenet.
    • You will likely never want to take this on a Commander or Crisis suit, as removing the -1 to hit gives you the same number of hits you would have from another gun. While lowering your damage if you don't advance. Can be useful for Coldstars, to take advantage of the 20" move, and Broadsides so they can move and shoot without penalty. Stealth suits will mostly see better returns from the ATS. Almost an auto-take on ghostkeels as both their big weapons are heavy, meaning you can ignore the penalty while you jump around the board.
      • This has the same effect as shooting at a target with 4x markerlight counters on it.
  • Velocity Tracker: +1 to hit when targeting units with the FLY keyword. Against dedicated fliers, this just counters their -1 to hit Hard To Hit ability; however skimmers and jump infantry now also possess the FLY keyword, so you can also use the bonus against Jetbikes, skimmers, Assault Marines and anything else that jumps or hovers. A good investment in those cases as you get it basically for free at two points, particularly on units where you can take support systems on grunts without losing a weapon system slot (such as Stealth Suits or Broadsides).
    • Pay particular attention to this one for units with effects that trigger on 1s or 6s to hit. A +1 to hit completely eliminates the chance of blowing yourself up with your Ion gun. Sadly, this does not help your wound rolls, so you still need that 6 to get the bonus wound.
    • Worth a serious consideration on both Broadsides and Stormsurges, or even a unit of Crisis/Stealth Suits

Signature Systems[edit]

  • Also known as your relics. Please note that you cannot give any of these to Kroot units. Although why you would want to give a relic to a Kroot Shaper is beyond me.

Universal[edit]

  • Puretide Engram Neurochip: Once per battle, you can re-roll a single hit roll, wound, or damage roll made for the bearer or a friendly <SEPT> unit within 6" of the bearer. In addition, if your army is battle-forged and the bearer is on the battlefield, roll a d6 each time you or your opponent use a stratagem, on a 6 you gain a bonus command point. The first ability isn't amazing, per-se, but it's not bad and it might help you out of a jam. The second ability is far more worthwhile if you expect your opponent to spam low-cost stratagems, giving you plenty of chances at bonus command points.
    • RAW this ability triggers during deployment or other pre-game phases as long as the bearer is already on the field, so deploying the bearer first against armies dependent on deployment/infiltration strategems can pay off in a big way.
  • Onager Gauntlet: Battlesuit Commanders only. The old donkey punch is a single S10 AP-4 d6 D attack in melee ideal for cracking open tanks, but you only get one attack and a WS of 3+ really hurts your chances of actually killing anything with it.
  • Multi-sensory Discouragement Array : Enemy units within 6″ subtract 1 from Leadership. Skip.
  • Solid-Image Projection Unit: Ethereal with hover drone only. Once per phase, if declared as the target of a charge, the Ethereal can move up to 3″ before the charge is made. Amusing, but if something is trying to charge your Ethereal, he's dead meat anyway. Save your slot for something useful. *Insert Dr Zoidberg sound*
  • Seismic Destabiliser: At the start of each shooting phase, you may either pick an enemy Infantry unit claiming cover or a Building within 12″ of the bearer; the Building suffers D3 mortal wounds. If targeting the infantry squad, roll a die per squad member. On a 6, they suffer a mortal wound. Might be decent for weakening blobs, but you've got better choices.
  • Supernova Launcher: Replaces an Airbursting Fragmentation Projector. 18″ Assault D6, S6, AP-2 2D. can shoot targets that are out of line of sight.

Sept-Specific[edit]

  • Bork’an - Plasma Accelerator Rifle: Replaces Plasma Rifle. 30″, Rapid Fire 1, S7 AP-3 D2 (so +6" range, +1S, and +1D compared to the base gun).
    • Remember the Sept Tenet? You don't? This weapon goes to 36" RF1, thanks to Superior Craftsmanship boosting all Rapid Fire weapons' ranges by 6". If there is a downside to this weapon, it's that you have to use up a slot on a normally very shitty weapon. So only use up 1 slot for the Plasma Rifle and use the remaining 3 for whatever role you want your commander to fill. (Burst Cannons for hordes, Fusion Blasters for Vehicles, CIBs for everything in between)
  • Dal’yth - Dynamic Mirror Field: -1 to hit the user.
  • Farsight Enclaves - Fusion Blades: Replaces two fusion blasters. Has two modes: as a ranged weapon it's 18" Assault 2 S8 AP-4 D1d6 with the typical melta effect (i.e. it's still two fusion blasters, with no changes), and as a melee weapon it has the same statline but can only be used for two attacks each time the user fights. That said, it's still one more attack over the Onager Gauntlet and the loss in Strength compared to the Gauntlet won't be noticeable unless you're fighting something with higher Toughness than is currently in the game.
    • As Onager Gauntlet, wording is "2 attacks with this weapon" so you can still make your other attacks with your close comabt weapon which all units are equipped with in 8e. So Battlesuit commander has 2+2 attacks (2 fusion blade, 2 close combat weapon)
  • Sa’cea - Grav-Inhibitor Field: Subtract 2″ from charge distance if user is declared the target of a charge. Can really save you from a charge while still letting you fire Overwatch.
  • T’au Sept - Vectored Maneuvering Thrusters: Battlesuit only. User can move 6″ after shooting. Move-shoot-move, how we have missed you. Same as Dal'yth Sept stratagem, only now you don't need to pay CP for it and it's only on 1 model.
    • Although completely insane, you can also use this to get a 3" charge after Manta Dropping with a TAU unit. Land 9" away, shoot anything, then move 6" towards the enemy, granting a 3" charge.
  • Vior’la - Thermoneutronic Projecter: Replaces a flamer. 8″ Assault D6 S6 AP -1 2D. So basically a souped up heavy flamer that you can still fire after advancing.

Unit Analysis[edit]

HQ Units[edit]

  • Commander: These are now one of the Tau Empire's most powerful models. Carrying an eye-watering four weapons at BS2+, these are a major source of deep striking firepower. Note they can take up to two tactical drones if you wanted another way to get those onto the table. Not inept at close combat, though he's still not very good at it even with the Onager Gauntlet or Fusion Blades. If you do it right, you can Manta Strike your commander (take into account Homing Beacons if this is your plan), light up a heavy target with your weapons, and then charge to finish it off with an assault, although it's pretty difficult to pull this off, since Tau are not full of buffs to charge distance.
    • The Codex limits you to taking only one Commander per detachment in Matched Play, so the days of Commander spamming are partially over (you can only spam them if you bring enough extra detachments). On the bright side, they can upgrade to Iridium Armor without using a Signature System slot to do so, giving them a shiny 2+ armor save.
      • If you do still wish to spam them, note the normal limit on detachments in matched play... and the T’au's utter lack of allies.
  • Commander in XV85 Enforcer Battlesuit: Same as the regular commander, but with 1 more wound and no access to Iridium Armor. Only 4 points more than the standard Commander, so you may as well use him if you don't plan to give your Commander the Iridium Armor upgrade.
  • Commander in XV86 Coldstar Battlesuit: The Coldstar commander has Ludicrous Speed - Movement 20", and Advancing adds another 20" instead of D6". No longer restricted to specific loadouts (save for being unable to take a cyclic ion blaster, and can only take a high-output burst cannon in a pair with a missile pod), so feel free to use your four hardpoints however you want. GW for one suggests a quad-Fusion Blaster loadout for a super-speedy tank destroyer that can also be used to wipe out characters; it's fast enough to make sure a given character is targetable (provided they aren't bubble-wrapped too badly) and not very many things can take four Fusion Blaster shots and live. Alternatively, give him a drone controller and fly around with a squad of remoras; not super effective, but at least you will get to use those expensive FW models you bought.
    • If you'd rather not use points for Target Lock, the Vior'la Sept Tenet is ideal for giving the Coldstar commander the ability to use his guns without any penalties from advancing.
    • The note about close combat above also applies to the Coldstar, but more so, because the Coldstar can simply scoot into charge range of the enemy. Something to keep in mind for Enclave players, who can take advantage of the Fusion Blades to make the most of it.
  • Commander in XV81 Crisis Battlesuit (Forge World): Commander with a mandatory Smart Missile System weapon choice, with 2 remaining slots for Weapons/Support systems.
  • Commander in XV84 Crisis Battlesuit (Forge World): Automatically applies one Markerlight token per phase, as long as one of its shots hits the target; also has a built-in Target Lock for "free", although at 4 points more than a base Commander and with only two systems it can take, presumably the 4 points is paying for your auto-markerlight and target lock together, which is a steal. This is singlehandedly the best unit in the codex to turn into a buffmander for markerlight drones. Use a missile pod for range (97.22% chance of a token at 36"), an airbursting fragmentation projector for applying markers to targets your buffmander can't see (99.73% at 18", vs 99.92% for a Burst Cannon), or a flamer to guarantee the first marker token (100% chance at 8"). Then use a drone controller on markerlight drones to markerlight up the same target at functionally BS 3.5+, racking up the markerlight hits to 5 (on average, you will need 8.57 drones to make this happen). Works absolutely great with a gunline as you can activate Kauyon and be effectively BS2.5+ on those markerlightss for when you desperately need them or just boost your gunline in general. If not taking drones, works great in a commander bomb to give your already BS2+ suits rerolls of ones. Hurt by the fact that it's now only 1 per army, because FW isn't retarded enough to render all other Tau sources of marketlights useless.
  • Ethereal: Two key abilities. First is a Leadership to Morale checks bubble (6") which applies to all TAU EMPIRE units. Second is a variable buff bubble selected once per player turn which only applies to TAU EMPIRE INFANTRY and BATTLESUITS. Secondary ability Buffs include a re-roll of 1s for stationary units, a 6+ FNP, -1 morale check modifier, or re-advances. Neither ability is Sept Specific, and Leadership is downright mandatory for large units of both Drones and Kroot (which they work very well with), and is helpful for larger strike squads. Their only wargear are melee weapons, which is unfortunate as neither of them are good and melee is the last place you want an Ethereal to be (unless they're Aun'Shi).
    • Consider taking Aun'Shi or Aun'Va instead of a regular Ethereal if you want one and the points allow it. Both named Ethereals can do a better job than the vanilla versions, since all those have on them is their hover drones (which are of questionable utility since they only add 2" worth of movement).
  • Cadre Fireblade: Gives your <SEPT> Pulse Pistols, Pulse Carbines, and Pulse Rifles an extra shot. Unfortunately multiple Fireblades do not stack, but that doesn't matter because a horde of MV1 Gun Drones firing 6 shots each (It's one extra shot with each weapon, and gun drones carry 2 pulse carbines) at 9" is a lot of dakka. Handy if you are running a mobile gun line. The big change this edition is that the Fireblade's Volley Fire, and the Ethereal's Storm of Fire have swapped movement priorities. Storm of Fire can't be used if you move, and Volley Fire works even if you do which is the opposite of 7th, which is... interesting.
    • He's the SINGLE BEST markerlight platform in your army, as unlike anything else both hits on twos and is a very hide-able character. Put him on a Droneport hooked up with 4x marker drones and now you're firing 5 markerlights that hit on 2+. Even without the Droneport, three of him will also out perform a six man strike team for the same power level at everything but bodies.

Special Characters[edit]

DAL'YTH[edit]
  • Shas'O R'myr (Forge World): Equipped with a Twin Plasma Rifle and a 6" Assault 1d6 S4 AP0 D1 gun, as well as an S4 melee weapon that doubles his attack volume (and since against literally every target in the game, 2 S4 attacks are equal to or better than 1 S5 attack, you'll always use it; the weapon's immunity to STR debuffs on him is just icing on the cake). Re-rolls 1s to hit against Imperial Guard, which makes his weapon loadout an odd choice. His 4++ becomes a 3++ when attacked by a melee weapon (updated in FAQ) and he can't take any drones. Overall, not great.
    • Not being able to take drones doesn't really have any effect (unless you're critically short on Detachment slots), as drones purchased separately work identically to drones purchased along with characters anyway.
    • A note with the S4 attack option: It's a fixed weapon strength 4, while the other profile is user. So in the rare case his strength is adjusted (like via an enemy psychic power), the S4 attacks will remain S4, while the other profile will adjust to his current strength.
FARSIGHT ENCLAVES[edit]
  • Commander Farsight: With his S+3 D3 Damage AP-4 Dawn Blade and an upgrade to WS2+ (with re-rolls on 1s thanks to Way of the Short Blade) over the regular Commander's 3+, Farsight can make a good accounting of himself in melee. His plasma rifle also got buffed to 30" range, AP-4, and D2, making it okay for picking off TEQs from far away. With an effective S8 he has a better chance against hard targets than before and will butcher most infantry in short order, and is even capable of dueling CHARACTER models as long as he picks his battles. Way of the Short Blade also grants Fight phase hit re-rolls on 1s to other FARSIGHT ENCLAVES units within 6" - improving to hit rerolls on 1's in any phase if the unit is attacking ORKS. Doesn't come with the option of accompanying Tactical Drones for ablative Wounds, but that doesn't stop you from buying some separately. Can perform an additional Mont'Ka per game. All things considered, he's looking good at 125 points.
    • Farsight is tricky to use, but absolutely devastating when done well. 4 Strength 8 attacks are quite potent, the rerolls of 1's helps units tied up in melee with him, and the Plasma Rifle isn't too shabby either. He's best used for dueling characters (he can kill SM Captains quite well, so long as they aren't in Gravis or Cataphractii armour, or carrying a hammer in which case he has a much worse time and can easily get himself killed), finishing off tough targets and tying up vehicles. Against hordes he does struggle since he can at best kill 4 models. What you want to do against those is pair him up with other FSE characters, preferably Coldstar Commanders with an ATS (though regular ones and even Cadres can be helpful) and you have an additional 4 Str 5 attacks at -1 AP, not bad for finishing off hordes. But what you really want to do is pair him up with a Fusion Blade Coldstar Commander with "Through Boldness Victory". If the enemy does survive your 4 Fusion Blaster shots with rerollable ones, throw them both into melee. Now you have 2 3+ to hit with rerollable 1's Str 8 d6 damage melee attacks in addition to Farsight. Very few characters or Vehicles will survive this, and the ones that will are the sort you're not going to get into melee with anyways unless you're REALLY desperate. Don't bother using an Onager Gauntlet though, rerollable 1's aren't going to help you much with only 1 attack, and most of your targets will be T8 or less.
    • Also note that he makes a great platform for the Command and Control node Stratagem. You give up only decent shooting for a pretty devastating effect. It's not like you're taking him for his shooting abilities anyways.
KE'LSHAN[edit]

This Sept has no rules, but it has got at least one person in it.

  • Shas'O R'alai (Forge World): Appears to be a ranged monster killing Commander, that can also throw a SINGLE Mortal Wound onto vehicles at close range. Equipped with Photon casters and a drone controller he can do a decent amount of damage at close to mid range while still being difficult to charge due to Photon Casters reducing enemy charge range by 2". His Markerlight drones are for some reason WS3+, and now that they ignore the penalty for moving and firing heavy weapons are slightly better than regular marker drones. While he can re-roll failed hit rolls against CHARACTERS, he has no special rules bypassing the Character targeting restrictions.
    • RAW, the EMP rounds roll to see if any Mortal Wounds are inflicted to a VEHICLE on target, rather than on hit. This means you effectively have to make a second to hit roll after all your normal ones, just this time for the Mortal Wound, and you can only inflict one Mortal Wound no matter how many times you successfully shoot the target.
    • Also with the Sept Rules his Drone Controller is defunct since R'alai is Ke'lshan Sept and his Blacklight drones are Dal'yth.
T'AU[edit]
  • Aun'va: Dead, but apparently that doesn't stop him from spreading the good word. Nearby units can use his Leadership, and as long as he is "alive" any friendly T'au units can re-roll any morale tests, regardless of distance. AP also works inversely on him when shot thanks to Paradox of Duality, making him very resistant to character killer weapons. Also gets to provide two buffs per turn, instead of one. Quite nearly an auto take. Definitely an auto take in any team game with multiple T'au players. The space pope also brings two super cheap cannon fodder bodyguards with alright melee ability and 2 wounds each, great for the laughable 5 points you pay for each of them.
  • Commander Shadowsun: Ever wished your Stealth Suit squad could carry more Fusion Blasters? Well, now they can. Everyone's favorite T'au waifu comes with a pair (of fusion blasters), and your other Stealth Suits love her so much they'll even take a bullet for her on a 2+. She can also bring along a Command Link Drone, which lets you give one T'AU EMPIRE unit rerolls on 1's to hit in a shooting phase as long as it stays close to Shadowsun, and two upgraded MV52 shield drones for ablative wounds with a tasty 3++ rather than the usual 4++. May perform an additional 'Kauyon' per game. Considering that she's a whopping 167 points along with her guns however, you might want to consider her value against all of the other things that ~150 points could get you in that infiltrator role - such as a 5-man squad of naked Stealth Suits, or 4 with some additional equipment.
    • Unfortunately, she's rarely worth the cost - while she's really cool and surprisingly resilient, being hit by the 'Commander Limit' while having only half the Fusion Meltiness of a Cold-Fusion commander and being less mobile really hurts. Flavour-wise she's delicious, but if you want effectiveness there's not much she offers that a regular commander can't offer more of.
    • With chapter approved she dropped 57 points to 110 points, while she still takes up the commander "slot" for that detachment with the point decrease her ability to declare 'Kauyon' twice per game becomes more valuable especially for gunline armies. it's still up in the air if she is competitive, however, now she definitely isn't a bad choice.
  • Darkstrider: Now buffs a nearby T'au Sept infantry unit, giving them +1 to wound rolls against a single enemy unit that Darkstrider can see, and also allows nearby T'au Sept infantry to Fall Back and shoot as if they had FLY. And as an added bonus, he brings along a Markerlight and a tasty BS2+! An excellent choice to accompany a unit of Breachers in a Devilfish and can be really handy in a drone port or gunrig. Even better, pair him up with a Fireblade and a few Strike Teams to get a bunch of dakka that can’t be tied up in melee! T’au Sept overwatch and Focused Fire makes this combination super cheesy.
  • Longstrike: No longer an upgrade to a Hammerhead, but a separate HQ unit choice and CHARACTER. Gains additional BS (down to 2+ base), For the Greater Good (almost uniquely among your vehicles), Tank Ace for +1 to Wound rolls vs MONSTER and VEHICLE models, and Fire Caste Exemplar which grants all T'AU HAMMERHEAD units within 6" a +1 to hit in the Shooting phase (including himself, naturally). Finally, he is also wearing some fancy duds inside that tank - his XV02 Battlesuit lets him treat the number of markerlight counters on a target as one higher than it actually is, is great for only 37 extra points on top of the Hammerhead's base 100. If you plan on running any Hammerheads, he's a must-buy. Also makes his gun drones/burst cannons (which you should never take; 8 points total to detach them for holding objectives is easily worth it)/smart missiles serious anti-vehicle and monster weapons, as they will wound any of them with T6+ on 4+, while wounding those with T5 on 3+. Also, the +1 to hit will prevent you from hurting yourself while overcharging Ion Cannons. Either weapon is viable on him, even if you do not plan to take any other Hammerheads, he is still worth some serious consideration in almost any list, he is that good.
    • Longstrike only needs 1 token to fire his seeker missiles at full BS and can reach that +1 to hit that much faster, so strongly consider seeker missiles on him.
    • Can now buff the Forge World Hammerheads, as everyone's keywords changed to HAMMERHEAD.
    • Cannot buff Hammerheads that are not T'AU SEPT, so prepare to sacrifice some fluff for crunch if you want to drink enemy tears.
    • Consider paying the 6 points to upgrade the two gun drones to smart missile systems, which synergize much better with the range of the primary gun, allow you to ignore cover bonuses, shoot stuff outside of line of sight, and are great for putting the hurt on fliers thanks to the range and Longstrike's passive abilities.
    • You can make him your Warlord, but he'll be forced to take the 5+ FNP against mortal wounds trait, which isn't great on him - it's not like he was concerned about snipers anyway, since his Wounds are high enough to make him a target for everything the enemy has. Instead, the best way to buff him via Warlord Trait is to strap a Warlord to his ass with the trait that provides -1AP to nearby friendlies against target enemies when they roll a 6+ to wound, because it will stack with Tank Ace, letting Longstrike get it on a 5+. Obviously, this is better if he takes an Ion Cannon than a Railgun, as the Railgun doesn't generally need the help against anything.
    • Also remember that Longstrike won't count against your Commander limit, so you can use him to fill out a detachment with more than 1 HQ tax in it, if you find yourself running up against the detachment limit for your points limit.
VIOR'LA[edit]
  • Aun'shi: An Ethereal that, unlike the other Ethereals, was actually serious in training with his blade. Good in melee for the points even compared to the melee characters of other factions, especially before considering that you are playing T'au and literally every single other unit you can pick besides Farsight, Kroot Hounds and Krootox absolutely suck in combat and are better off trying to shoot things if at all possible. For only 23 points more than a vanilla Ethereal you get a 4++ invulnerable save, another wound, two more attacks, hit stuff in melee on a 2+ and S5, and in each fight phase you can either give yourself AP -2 or the ability to re-roll failed invulnerable saves. In other words he does serious damage to most choppy melee infantry or fast assault units such as Assault Marines or Storm Boys (which people like to spam against Tau), particularly with a smartly pulled-off heroic intervention that only allows a few of the attackers to attack him instead of the Fire Warriors they charged (since being T3 still, don't expect him to not get hurt), ideally he could even hold up the enemy unit and then retreat in your movement phase afterwards. If your gunline gets charged by something that would trounce him otherwise, you can still use him as a charge blocker and annoy your opponent by tying their killy murder machine down with your re-rollable 4++ saves. All of that for only a roughly 33% point increase over a normal Ethereal, who is literally dead meat and a free kill point outside the buff bubbles he offers, which Aun'Shi has as well. The only reasons not to take Aun'shi instead of a regular Ethereal are if you are extremely short on points, want the hover-drone for point-inefficiently buffing Vespids or Crisis, don't run Vior'la, or want to take the only 7 points more expensive Aun'Va.
    • Note: While Aun'shi is great at murdering single wound units and still quite capable of killing heavily-armoured two wound units such as Terminators in a pinch, he is not a good duelist, as his attacks only have D1. Consider switching over to re-rolling your invulnerable saves against buff and choppy characters or monsters and simply tying them down until you can fall back and open them up to your shooting.

Troops[edit]

  • Strike Team: Your main gunline infantry. In the past you may have been hard pressed to find the compulsory 2 5-man units lurking in cover somewhere while large bots dominated the board. Now, you can't hope to win without coming close to maxing out your troop slots. Take them. Take as many as you can. Make sure you also get a Pulse Accelerator drone from the Pathfinders, a Fireblade to increase their volume of shots, and an Ethereal to buff their leadership, give them FNP, and re-roll 1's. High strength keeps them capable of wounding more easily, but low BS and higher cost compared to other armies' infantry hold them back, though even a single marker light on their target helps compensate. Still very effective in numbers - go MSU with them, which maximizes the benefit of their free turret (in power level games), among other benefits. They also have Photon Grenades that do no damage, but any hit INFANTRY unit suffers a -1 To Hit until the end of turn (why these things don't work on bikers, cavalry, etc is a mystery best left to GW). Toss one during Overwatch and hope you get lucky. Also, literally turn the worst possible morale test result into an auto-pass with their Bonding Knife Ritual rule, which acts just like +1LD outside of interacting with re-roll buffs more strangely. Treat this unit as not having the option for the carbine; it is a) worse than the rifles and b) if you want the carbines you have better options in pathfinders or drones. (NOTE: the last two aren't troops, so keep that in mind for your detachments.)
    • If you're facing an enemy that's going to charge your Fire Warriors consider having pulse pistols to give that melee unit an emergency punch if they can't disengage.
    • A unit of 12 is surprisingly sturdy thanks to the 4+ save. If you put them in cover they can weather a lot of firepower before going down. By comparison, a Strike Team can be affected by a Pulse Accelerator drone and a Fireblade, to give them 3 shots at 18" (or 1 at 36"), as opposed to the 3 shots at 12" that the Pathfinders would get, or the 6 that the Gun Drones get at 9". Gun drones cannot be affected by Pulse Accelerator drones, suffer more from morale losses (taking tests after a single loss, compared with the 3 of Fire Warriors), Drones can only shoot at the closest target, and Pathfinders have 1 worse armour save. Units of 5 are also perfect for filling troop choices: 5 man is 35 points (or 38 with a markerlight on the champion), which is cheapter than a Guard infantry squad. Two 5-man teams, a Fireblade, and a Pulse Accelerator drone exactly fill a Devilfish, which is no coincidence and a great way to pay Troops taxes.
    • Bork'an Sept: Our 30" guns buff out to 36" due to the Sept tenet. With a Pulse Accelerator drone that range goes out to 42", rapid firing at 21"! Alternatively, you can use the Sept Trait as an excuse not to buy a Pathfinder team, if you're looking to avoid them.
    • Vior'la Sept: Perhaps the only exception to Pulse rifles being superior to pulse carbines. Vior'la allows you to fire your weapons after advancing without penalty. The downside is that it turns your pulse rifles from rapid fire 1 to assault 1. The pulse rifles still have range but the pulse carbines will be getting more shots off. Even with a Firebalde, the rifles will only be firing 2 shots at 12", a dangerous distance, and the pulse carbines will be firing 3 shots at 9", which I would still be hardpressed to do but you're more likely to eliminate the unit. And with a PAC drone, your carbines are now doing 2 shots at 24" and 3 at 12", after advancing without penalty. Now obviously you don't have to advance every turn, and pulse rifles maintain a lot of flexibility with Vior'la, but if you want to take the movement phase away from a very mobile opponent like assault-heavy blood angels, consider pulse carbines.
    • DS8 Tactical Support Turret: Can no longer be picked up and moved, and gets destroyed if you lose coherency, but can be re-deployed via Stratagem if you swim in CP. Costs 0 points itself, but you still have to pay for its gun. In points matches it's better to pay for more fire warriors than take turrets if you expect to be in rapid fire range. The missile pod is lackluster but performs adequately against light vehicles.
    • MV36 Guardian Drone: Gives any Strike Team units in range an invulnerable save, and a better one to any nearby Breacher Teams. Drones can be targeted by fire, so keep them out of line of sight or in bigger packs. The save on strike teams only helps against AP-3 or better (AP-4 or better in cover), soo... DON'T. If your opponent is stupid enough to shoot melta and lascannons at your troops, you don't want him to get discouraged.
  • Breacher Team: The budget Vespids. They put out good firepower, as long as you are close enough to count their nose hairs. Don't expect them to live past their first shot unless you can tie down any potential threat with a Devilfish. Speaking of, Breachers are likely the best filling you can put into them and they synergize with each other big time. Move the Devilfish 12", charge a unit and tie it down and force it to waste a turn, then unload the Breachers and retreat the Devilfish from combat (thanks to FLY it can still shoot afterwards too). The changes to disembarking before the transport moves makes attempting a Breacher charge across open terrain extremely risky. It can still work, but careful positioning to utilize cover or breaking LoS is critical. Try for a flank instead of the bold center attack or prioritize enemy units that will get that one crucial turn of shooting before the Breachers close the gap; that or stay in your fish longer and hope they can survive the attention they will undoubtedly draw. Alternatively, you can simply move the Devilfish as close to the enemy as you need, disembark the Breachers 3" away, move them for another 6", and as long as you manage to put 3 Markerlights on the target unit, you can even Advance for another D6" and shoot your blasters without penalty, very likely putting the unit within their ideal 5" range. You can also do this with footslogging Breachers, which make quite a good screening unit, as they are something your opponent does not want to get close to on their way to your Pathfinders, Strike Teams, and other backfield units, though it is harder to pull off and lacks the synergy with the Devilfish.
    • Given their boosted profile, you might think Breachers are great for throwing a wrench between the legs of any opponent who thought they were going to face a static gunline they could easily squash in close combat if they just make it across the field, but the enemy can just charge you outside the 5" super-effective range and if they hit your breachers with a fast moving close-combat oriented unit, they're effectively dead.
    • Breachers are pretty much the best unit to accompany with Darkstrider, as they will wound T4 (in other words: MEQ) units within 10" on a 2+ with Darkstrider's debuff, or wound T5 targets such as bikes (or squishy Eldar/Dark Eldar skimmers, making Breachers surprisingly good tank killers against them) within 10" on a 3+. And it goes without saying that Breachers are the best unit to utilise Darkstrider's "fall back and still shoot" rule, which seriously hurts when you hit the guys that just charged you with S6 AP-2 blasts. Devilfish have 12 seats, so just toss Darkstrider in there with two 5-man units of Breachers.
    • Breachers do still get their improved invulnerable save from the Guardian drone, which can be shared between units for cost savings. They also have Photon Grenades that do no damage, but any Hit INFANTRY unit suffers a -1 To Hit until the end of turn. Toss one during Overwatch and hope you get lucky. Do note though that if they're in a Devilfish with Darkstrider, they're going to be a large fire magnet and can easily be stopped outside of their effective range.
    • Alternate take: Consider taking the flying bugs instead of Breachers w/Devilfish, for more range, movement, and deep striking, at the cost of 1 gun strength.
    • Farsight Enclaves boost these guys immensely. With rerollable 1's to wound you'll have a field day killing anything lower than toughness 6.
    • DS8 Tactical Support Turret: Same as the Strike team version. An extremely bad investment as the unit will likely either be constantly moving, or die shortly after placing it.
    • MV36 Guardian Drone: Gives any Breacher team units in range an invulnerable save, and an inferior one to any nearby Strike Teams. While cheap for what you get it's still a questionable investment, as your opponent is unlikely to shoot the Breachers with anything stronger than a Heavy Bolter and will just murder them with small arms and high volume/low AP weapons instead. Also a free kill point if you already take Darkstrider and a Devilfish.
    • Speaking of different game types, Breachers are pretty handy in Cities of Death and should also find a place in Zone Mortalis (when GW pull their finger out and update that ruleset for 8th), what with Breachers being designed for indoor/CQB an' all.
  • Kroot Carnivores: Slightly cheaper bubblewrap than Fire Warriors, their 7" movement and initial infiltrate might allow them to be more usefully positioned to protect more valuable units. Not very good at either shooting or close combat, but what really kills them is their crappy morale (they are half as hard to kill as GUARDSMEN, yet are more expensive, and if you lose 5 of them, then you will lose another 1-5 Kroot on a 2+ without your opponent ever having to lift a finger). Kroot Shapers are a terrible choice themselves that utterly fail to address the morale issue, and getting an Ethereal just for babysitting Carnivores is a waste of points that yet again goes against the only reason why you would use them over Strike Teams or Breachers in the first place. Look to their devolved hound kin, for a cheaper and much better option.

Dedicated Transport[edit]

  • TY7 Devilfish: Fish of Fury returns! Just kidding. They can mercilessly charge enemy units, tie them down and force them to waste turns not using their dakka or slowly killing that fish instead of getting closer and killing the backfield targets that they actually want to murder. If they don't want that then your opponent will either be forced to fall-back, which for most units means not being able to do anything at all for an entire turn, or if the enemy unit stays in combat you can simply fall-back without penalty thanks to FLY and blast the stranded assault unit with your de-facto burst-cannon drones and the rest of your army, and ideally the Breachers you just unloaded. Also can fly over enemy units and snipe support characters behind them or tie down backline support units with strong firepower. Benefits from the same durability increase all vehicles received, however can still be relatively easily popped on the first turn, though much less so than a Rhino or even Chimera thanks to the rather generous amount of wounds you have (12 instead of 10). Cannot transport Kroot or Vespid, so ideally put Breachers into them. Thanks to the 12 seats you can toss in Darkstrider or accompanying drones as well. Devilfish are flexible but still quite pricy, so keep them as cheap as possible, save the upgrades for actual tanks such a Longstrike or Hammerheads.
    • Remember that you can detach the gun drones if you use the Devilfish for late game objective grabbing, which increases the number of models holding it from 1 to 3 and makes it much harder for the other player to contest it. Keep the drones attached otherwise as you can't re-attach them and the Devilfish gets to shoot their guns at BS 4+ and ignores the 'only allowed to shoot the closest target' rule, effectively turning them into Burst cannons.

Elites[edit]

Kroot[edit]

  • Dahyak Grekh: For 30 points you get a deepstriking character with a 24" S4 sniper. He's underwhelming at first glance with his low strength and toughness, but he's surprisingly tough and versatile, boasting three wounds, three attacks, and the CHARACTER keyword, meaning he can hide behind a Pathfinder screen while picking off your opponents special snowflake Captains and Chaos Lords. He also has a special booby trap ability that enables him to deal D3 mortal wounds on a roll of 4+ on a D6 +1, or D6 mortal wounds on a 7+, giving him an effective way to clear out pesky Assault Marines or Berzerkers who might be walking in the wrong direction.
  • Kroot Shaper: Leadership buff to all friendly Kroot units within 6", and should he actually manage to kill someone with his fancy bit of cutlery, no friendly KROOT units within 6" have to test morale, which would be amazing if he didn't suck ass in melee. More usefully he allows them to re-roll wound rolls of 1. Would be okay for Kroot hounds if he could just keep up. Stick him with any Krootox, if you take them (the Shaper himself can't ride one). Given his general lackluster melee ability, and special rule on the blade, you always want to upgrade his rifle, since both are free.
  • Krootox Riders: One pseudo-Autocannon each (D1d3 rather than D2, and usable on the move thanks to Rapid Fire 1 instead of Heavy 2). Not really any different from before, but they did gain a bonus on the Advance, which they can't synergize with - they can't shoot or charge after Advancing. A relatively cheap unit suffering from an identity crisis. It has a good gun at mediocre BS, and a decent WS but low armor and toughness, with poor AP but multiple damage on its attacks, none of which goes well together. Cheap enough that you could throw a couple in your army if you weren't sure specifically what hole you wanted to fill and still be reasonably effective. If you know what you need though (as you should), you're better off grabbing Kroot Hounds for melee, or any other units for shooting. The biggest benefit is that you can field them one model at a time for complete morale immunity (assuming you don't plan on buying anything else for the Elites slot).

<Sept>[edit]

  • XV25 Stealth Battlesuits: Stealth rules now apply a -1 to hit modifier to any units attacking (i.e. shooting AND close combat) the Stealth Suits, which can help them survive getting charged, and then flying away right after. They are dramatically tougher than in previous editions, having gone up to T4 and W2, while actually decreasing in price. Also they have the INFANTRY keyword, unlike any other battlesuit units - this makes them vulnerable to some anti-infantry weapons they otherwise wouldn't be. Can take 2 tactical drones per unit. With the change to cover saves, people will actually now shoot at Stealth teams where previously it was largely wasted ammo as they routinely got a 2++ in cover. In 8th edition, you *may* be able to get that 2+ cover, but with defensive stats of a primaris marine don't think for a second the -1 to hit will deter anyone from shooting at them. Take large squads and hope something looks scarier.
    • Each unit can take a Homing Beacon, which can allow other Manta Strike units to land closer than 9" to an enemy model. This is only really useful for deep striking models that actually benefit from being closer than 9" to the target - so Flamers, dropping Farsight into easy Charge range, or going for risky melta shots with Fusion Guns.
    • Stealth suits are in the enviable position of being able to take battlesuit support systems without actually needing them to be efficient. A drone controller on one model is a great choice if you're planning to run a swarm of gun drones. A shield generator is relatively cheap and gives the unit a 50/50 chance of ignoring any rogue heavy weapon hits, such as from lascannons. A velocity tracker is a must if you're expecting multiple enemy flyers - it costs only 2 points and gives the model +1 to hit against units with the FLY keyword. Rounding off, an ATS can give your burst cannon suits better armour penetration (but makes them a bit more expensive).
      • Protip: Take a team of six, squad leader with a fusion blaster but ignore the markerlight/homing beacon option (you will never use it). Take a drone controller on him to increase his versatility. Everyone else, burst cannons and ATS. You can take marker drones, gun drones or shield drones to make the squad tougher, and you are dumping 20 shots into your enemy with a surprise fusion blaster shot. These guys are astonishingly survivable in current edition, and have intense firepower for such a small squad.
    • As INFANTRY, they are eligible targets for the Vior'la strategem. Also makes them eligible to Embark on TAU Tidewall TRANSPORTS
  • XV8 Crisis Battlesuits: The new limits on Commanders are likely to return the Crisis Battlesuits to the forefront now that their chief competition can't be spammed. They're still capable of deep strike through a Manta Strike, especially with a homing beacon which can bring them within 9". Crisis teams were always intended to be the surgical strike of the Tau military, deployed to counter the elite amongst the enemy but unfortunately without ballooning your suit teams points cost they will never earn their points back fielded as intended, unless you take drones (more on that later). The only weapon they're more cost effective than a Commander is Flamers, as they are not affected by their questionable BS4+ shooting skills, otherwise the Commander is much better on offence.
    • On the plus side, they can take 2 drones per model. A squad of 3 can take 6 drones and deep strike them where they need to go. Mount a drone controller on one of them and you have a pretty solid and cost effective source of Dakka.
    • Due to a rather big points drop in CA2018, they are now a LOT more usable. You can dust off some of your old Crisis suits, they will see the battlefield once more.
  • XV8 Crisis Bodyguards: More expensive versions of a vanilla Crisis Battlesuit, with the added ability to maybe take wounds for your CHARACTERS (including Longstrike, which is pretty baller). For the same price as a single Crisis Bodyguard you can take nearly 6 Gun Drones which have double the wounds, intercept the wound on a 2+, and mitigate multi-damage weapons more effectively. The difference is, Bodyguards can absorb shots for any <SEPT> CHARACTER instead of only INFANTRY and BATTLESUITs, the disjoint of which only Longstrike belongs to.
    • NOTE Bodyguards have 3 attacks each, rather than 2. With farsight around and an ATS on each one the melee damage output for these is enough not to be ignored.
  • XV95 Ghostkeel Battlesuit: Not as heavily armored as the Riptide, but with two different systems (its onboard countermeasures and its stealth drones) that each give opponents -1 to hit it (for a cumulative -2). It might actually be more survivable against heavy weapons, but it needs cover badly and fears close combat. What makes it stand out however is its DISTRACTION applications. Giant Mecha are bound to draw enemy fire away from the more important target (Stealth Suits in this case) and with a cheap shield generator it can survive a lot of punishment.
    • Can be a great late game objective grabber if you position it right. Use the wall of mirrors stratagem as it pretty much means you can move a stealth team 18 inches, right on to that objective tucked around the corner...
    • MV5 Stealth Drones: Lowers the to-hit rolls when anyone shoots at these drones or a Ghostkeel within 3". Try to keep them out of line of sight, so they can't be picked off. Remember, they are a separate unit from the Ghostkeel now after they deploy.
  • XV104 Riptide Battlesuit: The Codex has salvaged the Riptide, bringing it back up to something closer to its original threat level. Nova Reactor still confers an automatic mortal wound at the end of the turn, but it now has some much more useful effects (a 3++ invulnerable save, move 2d6 in the Charge phase even if you don't declare a charge, or improve the Heavy Burst Cannon and Ion Accelerator to Heavy 18 and Heavy 6, respectively). The mortal wound thing still sucks, but there's now a cheap Stratagem that lets you get two effects at once and another one that can heal the wounds you recieve. Also don't forget that Sense of Stone gives you that 16% chance to not get DERP'd by reactor. Additionally, all of its weapon options have grown significantly stronger (and cheaper as well); as they are all Heavy, the Bork'an Tenet is a good fit for the Riptide. Weapons are simple, go Heavy Burst Cannon for infantry (you'll thank it when facing 2-wound infantry), and the Ion Accelerator is a better choice for vehicles/monsters. Always put a Target Lock on it. The ability to move about the battlefield without losing your accuracy is worth every point.
    • MV84 Shielded Missile Drone: A missile pod, with an invuln save, for slightly more points than a missile pod. For some reason it has a better base invulnerable save than the Riptide. Also a separate unit from the Riptide after deployment so you can have these bugger off to support another unit now. Still kind of expensive given the drone's low BS unless you have both controller and marksman nearby.
  • Firesight Marksman: Because he's a special snowflake his Stealth Field works differently from everyone else's, and he gains +2 to his saves for being in cover, rather than imposing a -1 to-hit on any shooting attacks made against him - if your opponent is allowed to shoot him at all, as he is a character and even a single model in between him and the shooter prevents him from being targeted. Slightly better BS than normal, and has a Markerlight. Unfortunately, he is 3x the cost of a Pathfinder for the privilege, though he is much, much harder to kill and ideal to start markerlight chains together with Fireblades (allowing any subsequent markerlight shots against the target to re-roll 1s to hit as well). Ironically enough you should never take him for controlling sniper drones, as those are extremely overpriced and not worth taking, but take him as hard to kill markerlight tosser that is likely to stay alive long after your regular pathfinders have been shot to pieces.

Forge World[edit]

  • DX-4 Technical Drones (Forge World): Same stat profile as a Tactical Drone, with an 8", Assault 1, S5 shot. Once per shooting phase the unit can choose to either attempt to repair D3 wounds on a single BATTLESUIT model within 3", or select an enemy unit within 12" to not receive cover saves until your next turn. Adding additional drones gives no benefit towards number of attempts or the success chances of any repairs. Expect these guys to draw a colossal amount of fire, and probably die immediately as a result. Make sure to hide them out of sight behind buildings if you want them to live long enough to actually fix something. You can also stack repairs between different units (don't ever increase their unit size, just get a new one).
    • RAW, you can use the ability in every player's shooting phase, not just your own, but good luck with trying that! If you use this to try and heal the Ta'unar in the enemy's phase then you can expect to be immediately punched in the face.
  • XV9 Hazard Support Team (Forge World): A Crisis heavier Battlesuit that gets a variety of advanced weapon choices. 50% more expensive than a Crisis Suit before weapons for the privilege. Having 2 extra wounds, +1 attack (beh), -2" to hostile chargers and a free Support System per suit adds to that somewhat. Can take two weapons in any combination of: Double-barrelled Burst Cannon (which is two Burst Cannons at 80% the price), Phased Ion Gun (roughly a 20% more expensive Burst Cannon but with slightly lower strength and better AP), Fusion Cascade (basically 2 Fusion Blasters at 83% the price, but they drop down to standard melta range), or Pulse Submunitions Rifle for when you want to hit targets 30" away and wound pesky T5s on a 3+ and T3s on 2+. At a glance, seems to be most cost effective if you need a single suit to perform a task. Past that it may be more effective/reliable to look towards normal Crisis suits. For comparison, a 2xDBBC+ATS w/4 Gun Drones will average you the same number of wounds as a 3xBC+ATS w/2 Gun Drones Commander, while being a few points cheaper and a little less durable. Finally an actual tactical choice!
    • RAW, you do not have to pay for the single support system choice the suit can take, as you are taking its ability, not an item.
    • Chapter Approved 2018 gives these bad boys a point drop. Now a unit of 3 with dual double barreled burst cannons costs 216, while unloading 48 shots at the enemy. Give them ATS, and you give that downpour of fire a sexy AP-1 for just 18 points more. This setup leaves them with just their armor save, but it poses a risk to anything on the board. It is fully capable of exterminating entire squads of infantry, execute monstrous creatures and light vehicles, and shave wounds off of larger monsters and heavy vehicles. They are the single most effective battlesuit option in the entire army, and a must-have for those who are willing to pay for them.
    • Protip: Take the team above and a team of dual Fusion cascades with shield generators. Use the farsight enclaves ability for +1 bs on deep strike, and get some markerlight support. 48 shots shooting on a 2+ with re-rolling 1's? Yes please!

Fast Attack[edit]

Kroot[edit]

  • Kroot Hounds: Cheap bubblewrap at 4 points each (minimum 16 per unit) for more valuable units. Note they have two attacks in close combat and can re-roll charges if the charged unit got wounded this turn. Try to stick to MSU if you can, to circumvent their low morale of 5. You can also use them to squeak an extra Commander in, or to cover the Fast Attack portion of a brigade.
  • Knarloc Riders (Open and Narrative Play only): Added to Index: Xenos via the v1.1 FAQ from Forge World, these rare CAVALRY have no points listing; if you have a cool group you can agree on points for them, then test & adjust until balanced, if your group is an uptight bag o' dicks then you're stuck with Open & Narrative Play only (upgrade your group, escape the bag). They're PL5 for a unit of three so should roughly clock in at around 20-23 points per model. Basically 3-6 Kroot rifle-wielding hooligans lumbering about on a low, fat, beaky K-Rex each, Knarloc Riders fill an odd niche where they've got a similar stat-line to Krootox Riders (inc a flat +6" Adv move); two less Strength & one less Toughness, but with a 4+ save and more melee attacks so are kind-of focused towards assaulting infantry. The Knarloc itself, like all 8th edition Cavalry gets to have a go at the target at pulse weapon strength but slightly better AP after the rider's had his two standard Carnivore swings. Thunderous Pounce gives the Knarlocs (not the riders, though!) +1 To Wound on the charge so they'll wound T3 models on 2s...if they survive to get into combat and hit with their WS3+. A minimum unit of 3 will rapid-fire 6 shots then hit with 8 attacks on average (4 at S3 & 4 at S5/6 -1AP) so they're not amazing at killing much but should take a big chunk out of an equal-value unit of Gaunts or other T3 crappy-save death-fodder before getting hit back. Three of these vs 12 Hormagaunts (60pts) will kill off 7 standard Gaunts with rapid-fire and then on the charge, taking a wound back on average. Vs GEq that's 5.8 Guardsmen and for MEq it's 2.5 dead Marines. Double that up for a full unit of six Knarlocs and you end up with 14 dead Gaunts (obviously), a wiped unit of 10 Guardsmen or one dead Marine combat squad, on average. On terrain-heavy tables they may be useful but you've still gotta get them onto target first so...rare models, questionable value. Plenty of character for rounding out a Kroot fanatic's list but beyond that...?

<SEPT>[edit]

  • Pathfinders: Now cost considerably less than what they used to, you're going be getting a lot more use out of these guys. Not only are they a cheap source of Markerlights, their special weapons are actually great now, with the Ion Rifle being very cost-efficient (and almost impossible to overheat, with a single Markerlight hit on your target granting re-rolls on 1s) and the Rail Rifle packing a real punch. These will profit from their own unit's Markerlights, but you can also shoot them at another target if you so desire. Also, their armor now actually works against small arms fire, despite their lack of even one manly pauldron, so they won't instantly melt when caught out of cover. Markerlights are still Heavy weapons, so movement remains a concern. They also have Photon Grenades that do no damage, but any Hit INFANTRY unit suffers a -1 To Hit until the end of turn. Toss one during Overwatch and hope you get lucky.
    • MV31 Pulse Accelerator Drone: Increases the max range of your pulse rifle/carbine/pistols. No longer attached to the Pathfinder squad, so you can take and then leave behind with your gunline. Can take 2 per unit, and an auto include if you are running a gunline. Only affects INFANTRY, so won't help gun drones.
      • Consider throwing in a Recon drone as it forms one unit with the PA-drones and provides cheap ablative wounds for the vital buff for your Fire Warriors, as they can easily be singled out otherwise.
    • MV33 Grav-inhibitor Drone: Makes it more difficult to charge your guys. Cheap, but random effectiveness and competes with slots with the Pulse Accelerator drone. They can also just shoot the drone before the charge phase, so hide it behind terrain (which is highly effective as the charge hindering effect still works even behind LoS blocking terrain) or throw in a recon drone for cheap ablative wounds. It goes without saying that a 1d3 reduction to charge range is massive when it comes to preventing first turn charges, which several armies such as Tyranids can effectively spam and many scout move units can pull off as well, as they often have to be placed more than 9" away from you and results in a high likelihood of the charge failing, which becomes almost certainty with a grav-inhibitor drone.
    • MB3 Recon Drone: A burst cannon on a drone chassis, that lets nearby Pathfinders ignore cover saves, for slightly more points than a burst cannon. If you have any rail rifle or ion gun pathfinders, keep this near them. Doesn't suffer the targeting limitations of gun drones. Consider taking it if you have the points. Does not conflict with the other two drones slots and has two wounds while costing 4 points less than two regular drones with the same toughness and number of wounds, so great for adding extra ablative wounds to the strong but squishy grav-inhibitor and PA-drones which form a unit with the recon drone after deployment. The recon drone also has 2 wounds and savior protocols, so it can tank 2 shots for your battlesuits.
    • The datasheet indicates the unit can take two tactical drones along with the three special drones; remember that in case you want more ablative wounds on your buffs. You can have up to five drones in that unit: two tactical, two in any combination of grav/PAC, and one recon.
  • TX4 Piranhas: Zippy, decently priced, can be armed for anti infantry or vehicle, and the drones use the model's BS while attached. Fills the same harassment role it always has, but is no longer the essentially "free drones" platform it was in 7th. Basically shoves a 3 man stealth suit team, into a vehicle chassis for increased movement at lowered durability, at a lower cost. Only consider putting the Burst Cannon on if you're really short on points or facing a particularly horde heavy opposition. True, you may have better anti-tank options in your arsenal, but remember; A Piranha is a harasser first and foremost, your job is to weaken tanks, not destroy them. And while you might have some better anti-tank you have a lot more better anti-infantry options. The Seeker missiles are often a good investment too.
  • Tactical Drones: Note this is also the datacard used for all other drones that deploy with, and then separate from, other T'au units. All drones can be allocated wounds that would otherwise hit any INFANTRY or BATTLESUIT within 3" thanks to Saviour Protocols. Note they cannot soak wounds for vehicles, even if they come with drones.
    • MV1 Gun Drones: At 10 points, this is the T'au Empire's somewhat more efficient source of dakka after the change to twin-linked. These synergize extremely well with a drone controller and Cadre Fireblade, resulting in 6 shots at 9" at BS4+. Even with the reduced ballistics skill compared to Fire Warriors and Pathfinders, they still do more wounds per point to most targets, with the only real disadvantage being they're dumb as a bag of rocks, and can only fire at the closest enemy unit.
    • MV4 Shield Drones: A wound soaking invuln save with a 5+ FNP thanks to the new FAQ, better than before for the same low cost. Moving on.
      • Note that a shield drone has a 33% chance at completely ignoring that wound it just intercepted with saviour protocols. Keep at least a few around your heavy battlesuits to soak up those lascannon shots.
    • MV7 Marker Drones: A bit more expensive than a Pathfinder, with a worse BS, but no penalty for moving and firing. Does not suffer the aiming restriction of the gun drones. Basically requires a drone-controller to be effective, which puts into question why you wouldn't just take cheaper pathfinders for markerlight duty and gun drones which massively benefit from drone controllers, resulting in disgusting amounts of firepower if you spam them.

Vespid[edit]

  • Vespid Stingwings: Miracle of miracles, they actually don't bite for the first time since they were introduced. You'll have to find a new butt for all the "canonical bad unit" jokes. They're cheap and they chug out a fair volume of S5 AP-2 shots, and they move like greased lightning. Point for point they can ruin overpriced heavy infantry, can get in close for the kill with excellent mobility, all the while staying at comfortable 18" assault 2 range. these are phenomenal flankers/harassers. Unfortunately These crazy bugs will become ld 5 if the strain leader is slain, so don't be stupid. They can also deep strike, meaning they are really good at killing other harassing units. Use them to take care of the random supporting units or anything that try to buff your enemy.
    • These guys are REALLY good at robbing objectives thanks to their speed, deep strike, moderate durability, and dakka.

Forge World[edit]

  • Tetra Scout Speeder Team (Forge World): Has a High Intensity Markerlight, that grants 3 Markerlight counters on a hit. Still suffers a -1 to hit when it moves. As is, faster but less efficient Markerlight application than Pathfinders. An odd rules choice, as you want 3 Markerlight tokens already on the target to fire without penalty which then wastes a Markerlight token by taking you to 6. Should have been 2 MLs from the HIM, and then a secondary Markerlight weapon.
    • Alternate Take: These little bastards are infinitely better at the singular task of efficient markerlight delivery. While a Pathfinder squad has the multi-role of being a heavy weapons squad and support unit for other units, these guys are designed to A:Deliver markerlights and B. Survive. They are cheap, fast and can deep strike. They have a low profile allowing for easy cover, and their marker lights seem inefficient at first, but a single hit will deliver re-rolls on 1's, cover negation and seeker/destroyer accuracy. If you need the final two, spend a CP and get d3+1 to finish the job. Suggested that you take between 2 and 4 of these guys, and keep them in cover!
  • TX-42 Piranha Light Skimmer (Forge World): Comes with your choice of two of: Fusion Blasters, Missile Pods, Plasma Rifles, or Rail Rifles. The guns are quasi-twin-linked, forcing you to fire them both at the same target. Due to the cost of the unit, at first glance the best option seems to be the Rail Rifles, giving you a 16" movement and 30" range, with two Rapid Fire 2, S6 AP-4 D1d3 guns that deal a mortal wound on a wound roll of 6+. Yet another unit that is a better sniper than our Sniper Drones!
  • XV109 Y'vahra Battlesuit (Forge World): The Nova Reactor nerf the Riptide got still applies, but at least it doesn't have the same competition in the Elites slot as the Riptide. Also per FAQ it can take one of the rare magical Shield Drones in the army that can survive Saviour Protocols (in 1/3 cases). Escape Thrust allows it to remove itself from the battlefield and enter reserves at the start of you Movement phase, re-deploying anywhere more than 9" from an enemy at the end of your next Movement phase, so it misses an entire turn and one extra phase of movement which sucks ass. Give it ATS and target lock and go to town on any unit in the game. Infantry? 2d6 S6 Ap-2 (-3 with ATS) DAMAGE 3!! FUCK THOSE TERMINATORS AND THOSE CENTURIONS!! Flamer that can overcharge to 3d6, which lasts into your opponents phase, 3d6 overwatch will fuck anything that's T6 or less, and will still threaten heavier units. Monsters/vehicles? Heavy 3 S8 Ap-3 D1 isn't the most glamorous thing but this is where nova reactor gets the most value. Heavy 3d3 S10 Ap-3 (-4 with ATS) D3 with mortal wounds on a 6 to wound will average 6 shots and will fuck up something badly. This is the Riptide variant with the best reactor buffs for guns, you already get a 4++ from 12" or less/melee so that reactor for 3++ in melee is pretty shit, so basically it's a choice of rape small targets or rape large targets. Dump this and keep in supporting fire range of stealthsuits/ghostkeels or give it a coldstar (Y'vahra is M18 and coldstar is M20) as a partner and enjoy your rape tier Sanic fast tag team. If you're feeling extra cunty take three and keep them in 6" range of eachother, enjoy having literally nothing less than a knight charge you and survive, as your overwatch phase becomes 6d6 to 9d6 flamers on steroids.
    • Bor'kan adds 6" to all heavy and rapid fire weapons, this model's weapons are all heavy oddly enough. Very Nice. Combine that with Target Lock and Multi Tracker and perhaps some marker lights and the Ion Discharge cannon becomes far more accurate. The investment is worth it considering how much more firepower you're unleashing, this is a model you want to at maximum possible efficiency. So get some technical drones to fix it when it no doubt gets shot at.
    • Farsight Enclaves synergizes pretty well with it too. Rerollable 1's to wound with the flamer really boost its killing potential since most of the threats you'll use it on will be wounded on a 2 or 3+ roll. Sure you have to be within 6" to actually get the benefits, but that's a situation you'll likely end up in given the range of the weapon.
    • Note: While certainly powerful, Y'vahra are unfortunately a bit of a death star unit. True, it hits really hard but most savvy players will be aware of this and target it first. It's too big to hide from most unit's line of sight, and a good deal of artillery units can bypass that anyways. Toughness 7 can be overcome by a good amount of weaponry and a 5+ invuln save isn't going to help you very much. Once it's down you basically end up with a 400 odd point void in your army. Be cautious when you field this, and do your best to keep it in range of some kind of drones, or use technical drones in tandem with it. Use terrain to try and keep the LoS blocked and do try to go first. A good tactic is to use a Coldstar and declare Mont'ka to get it in range.

A better tactic would be to surrounded the Y'Vahra with shield drones and use them to tank wounds for it. You'll shrug of all anti-tank weapons as on a 2+ that D 10 Valient Harpoon translates to a single mortal wound. 20 of these things and suddenly you have a 34 wound suit whose first 20 wounds can only be taken one at a time. Even if your opponent does the smart thing and targets the drones first they'll have to chew through a bunch of T4 4++ models which isn't as easy at it seems. Have the drones in a few small groups and this combo becomes even harder to deal with.

Heavy Support[edit]

  • MV71 Sniper Drones: The most controversial unit in the codex. Overcosted but somewhat useful, or utter trash? Their BS is terrible (helped by a Firesight Marksman, but still only 4+), but their weapons are Rapid Fire rather than Heavy, and longer ranged than a standard sniper rifle, and Strength 5. They also can't be easily shot back at unless they're within 12" (Raven Guard Chapter tactic for free), but still weaker than the Ghostkeel or Stealth Suit's effect. 18 (i.e. you'll need to be within 24") S5 shots that hit on 4's is very easy for most characters to ignore, since they're still only at AP0 and such a unit costs 162 points without the Marksman, and as of the Codex, they have extra mortal wounds like real snipers! They'll struggle against the defenses of targets, and other armies have better snipers. However you don't, so it's either these or none whatsoever. As with all drones, their LD is garbage, so field them MSU style - all of the buffs they can receive are auras, anyway.
    • Note that Cadre Fireblades don't work on these guys - they have "Longshot pulse rifles", and the Fireblades buff "pulse rifles". The Sep 2018 FAQ also says Longshot Pulse Rifle is not a Pulse Rifle for the purposes of volley Fire.
  • TX78 Skyray Gunship: Two markerlights, six seeker missiles, same drones/burst cannons as before. Seeker missiles only hit on 6+ unless the target has 2+ Markerlight Tokens, and deliver an S8 AP-2 D1d6 hit apiece. In other words, six hunter-killer missiles.
    • The Codex is doing its best to save it. It now at least has a chance of making its points back if the dice are in your favor and you can get enough markerlights on target.
  • TX7 Hammerhead Gunship: Railguns remain awesome, only now Solid Shot can deliver D3 Mortal Wounds on a to-wound roll of 6+, making them useful against Vehicles and smaller Squads (remember Mortal Wounds always roll over within a unit - if you add 3 extra mortal wounds onto 1-wound infantry model, you'll kill three of his mates with a quadruple-collateral railgun shot). Ion Cannons keep at the middle ground as usual, but now rolling a one to-hit when they're overcharged will slightly damage the Hammerhead. Try to always keep them buddied up to Longstrike, for that sweet, sweet +1 to hit (which will stop you hurting yourself with Ion Cannons).
    • Crunch-wise, Hammerhead-borne railgun is actually buffed up due to new vehicles rules. It is Strength 10 and AP-4, that ensures that the vehicles with Sv 3+ or lower (and Sv 3+ is what most tanks or even such mighty war engines like Reaver battle titans have) get NO armour save at all. Still very pricey for the shot however and if Longstrike's around you should just go for that Ion Cannon, you'll get a way better return on investment.
  • XV88 Broadside Battlesuits: Actually worth fielding again with the Codex due to massive points drops. Rejoice! Their Heavy Rail Rifle is now awesome; even with the slightly shorter range and weaker strength, they're now firing two shots at D1d6, as well as an extra Mortal Wound from rolling a 6+ to-wound. The HRR can be exchanged for two High-Yield Missile Pods, which can allow you to do far more damage, but you trade off the HRR's save negation and potential Mortal Wound. Broadsides still have the (practically mandatory) option to take their one Seeker Missile for that nasty potshot. Can take up to 2 drones, in any combination of tactical or missile, per model, and can be fielded one model at a time, for maximum MSU commitment.
    • Another potential way to use these guys is as back row meatshields. Take two with HYMPs, Plasma, and Shield Generators, and put them behind either an Ethereal or a Fireblade you're using to buff your gunline. Any assassin or harasser unit dropped into your back lines that doesn't have a way around the character targeting restrictions is going to have to deal with these guys before they can get to the much squishier HQ they're protecting. Do note that these guys will not be able to keep up with a mobile Gun-line after several turns have passed, so this works best for the first few turns, or for protecting a static gunline on an objective.
    • MV8 Missile Drone: A mobile Missile Pod for less points than two Missile Pods. Low BS hinders it, though. As with all drones this edition, is not attached to the Broadside unit after deployment, so can be moved where it is needed (but is also independently targetable, so be wary of getting them shot).
    • A note on cost: With the Chapter Approved 2018 the chassi for the Broadside has gone down significantly to 35! Now a Broadside with a HRR and 2 Smart Missile Systems is a 100 points. Combine it with the point decrease for Attack Targeting Systems and 2xHYMP, 2xSMS and ATS is just 121 points. At that point range you can get 2 of them for 252 points, rivaling the Riptide's 280 points while also competing it in firepower. ATS Riptide's Heavy Burst Cannon offering 12/18 S6 -2AP 2 damage shots vs the two ATS Broadside's 16 S7 -2AP D3 damage shots.A Hammerhead with an Ion Cannon and 2x smart missile systems will run you 165 while being tougher and more mobile (and more accurate while holding still). Both can be cheaper with different choices (plasma rifles and burst cannons, respectively, will bring the costs down to 113 and 151, respectively).


Kroot[edit]

  • Great Knarloc (Open and Narrative Play only): GMO space chickens taken to the extreme

Forge World[edit]

  • Heavy Gun Drone Squadron (Forge World): Gun Drones packing double the usual firepower with two Burst Cannons for 34 points each; alternatively, you can swap one Cannon for a Markerlight to get a combination Gun and Marker drone (the downside being that they don't have a way around the -1 to hit for moving and firing a Markerlight, and that they still cost a colossal 29 points each). They can fire guns and Markerlights at the same time thanks to Automated Targeting Protocols, but if any of them do, the whole unit gets no benefit from Markerlights at all that turn. So they're hideously expensive compared to an equal weapon loadout in standard drones, and they take up a Heavy Support slot to boot. All of those extra points buys you 3W per drone instead of 1, and removes Threat Identification Protocols, so they don't have to shoot the closest unit. If that sounds like a good deal to you, then by all means knock yourself out.
    • If you're buying these just for the guns, remember that 76 points for a minimum size unit of these with two cannons each (6 wounds, 16 shots) would have bought you nine Gun drones (9 wounds and 36 shots) or eight Gun Drones and a Shield Drone (9 wounds, 32 shots and a 4++ until you take your first wound) with four points left over for a Kroot Hound too. The Burst Cannon/Markerlight Heavy Gun Drones are marginally more efficient, but still stupidly overpriced for what they do compared to regular drones.
      • FAQ gave them the codex TAU Drone Saviour Protocols and these are 3 wound models, so rather than dying when they save people, these can save up to 3 models before being destroyed.
        • These drones also don't require any extra space in transport, so you could put 12x of these in a devilfish. The point cost is insane, but they bring 108 shots.
  • TX7 Heavy Bombardment Hammerhead Gunship (Forge World): Initially massively overcosted and lacking the right keywords. The new FAQ lowers the cost of the base tank down to index level (so 17 points above Codex level), and gives it the HAMMERHEAD keyword so it can be buffed by Longstrike. Unfortunately, the big seller on this is replacing the turret with a pair of high yield missile pods, whose cost is also substantially above Codex levels - 82 points for the pair, rather than the 50 the Codex would charge. The net effect is that you'd be much, much better off just taking a Broadside with the same HYMP pair and a support system that's appropriate (target lock or ATS).
  • TX7 Fire Support Hammerhead Gunship (Forge World): Initially massively overcosted and lacking the right keywords. The new FAQ lowers the cost of the base tank down to index level (so 17 points above Codex level), and gives it the HAMMERHEAD keyword so it can be buffed by Longstrike. Has a choice of three main guns: a Twin Plasma Cannon, which will behave like a badly overcosted Ion Cannon, a Twin Fusion Cannon, which will behave like a moderately overcosted Railgun, or a Twin Heavy Burst Cannon, which hasn't got a dreadful cost for its profile until you remember the 17 point surcharge you paid for the chassis. Avoid this; you're better off, depending on the profile you like, fielding more standard Hammerheads for cheaper.
  • XV107 R'Varna Battlesuit (Forge World): Heavy support version of the Riptide, a long range TEQ and light vehicle killer. Like the Broadside, it gives up FLY in exchange for its heavier weaponry and increased durability. Use the nova reactor to Reroll those 6d3 shots, get the godlike 3++ or blast some MW into the units tying you up. It has value that exceeds 1 MW no matter what you do with it.

Flyers[edit]

  • AX3 Razorshark Strike Fighter: Cheaper than the Sunshark but less Ion shots in 15" (Assault rather than Rapid Fire, though) and has a choice between a Burst Cannon and Missile Pod. It also loses the Pulse Bomb, Markerlight, and a potential second Missile Pod. It does get +1 to hit ground targets with the Ion Turret so as long as you pick your targets properly you shouldn't blow yourself up. Could be worth it, as it is substantially cheaper than a Sun Shark.
  • AX39 Sun Shark Bomber: 8th ed bomb rules mean that after moving choose one unit this model has flown over, and roll a dice for every model(up to a maximum of ten), inflict a mortal wound on a 5+ (4+ against INFANTRY). This is a solid buff, that could be amazing against large hordes like Orks, Tyranids, or IG, simply for the number of dice rolled. It's also a markerlight wielder that can't be charged by non-flying units.
    • MV17 Interceptor Drone: Two rapid fire ~Autocannons, on a drone chassis. As long as you keep them attached to the Sun Shark, they will use its BS instead of theirs; within 15", the pair has double the firepower as the Razorshark's main gun. A bad overcharge while attached will actually kill the drone itself, rather than damage the plane, so both riskier and safer at the same time. Once they disembark, they cannot be re-attached. Interceptor Drones also sport a 20" move value, making them good Coldstar Commander Escorts.

Forge World[edit]

  • AX-1-0 Tiger Shark (Forge World): A flyer (not a LoW which is weird) with a Heavy Rail Cannon (x2), an impressive Macro weapon that deals double damage to TITANIC units, along with two burst cannons that can be swapped for cyclic ion blasters and two missile pods, not to mention a battery of 6 seeker missiles to one up that pesky skyray. 3+/5++, Hard to Hit, along with T8 and 16 Wounds make it very durable, especially for a Flying unit, did we mention it has a 5+ invuln?. It should be mostly used for killing Lords of War, and secondarily for vehicles. Despite being a non-titanic flyer it has an ability to let it destroy everything without worrying about those pesky macro weapons not working. This horrendus monster will set you back 629 fully kitted and $217 (250 with the darn taxes and shipping) in real life points, ouch. Did I mention this is superior to the Barracuda in all aspects?
    • Also worth noting, it no longer has a submunitions mode, so can no longer help with hordes.
  • AX-5-2 Barracuda (Forge World): The default Heavy Burst Cannon, two Long Barrelled Burst Cannons, and two Missile Pods means it can put a lot of S5 shots out at a decent range, while still being able to injure light vehicles. Can also swap in an Ion Cannon or Swiftstrike Railgun for the HBC, or CIB for the LBBC, to improve its anti-vehicle ability. Hard to Hit, 3+/5++, and T7 make it decently durable. About twice as expensive as a Razorshark, with Heavy weapons, and without any bonus to hit still leaves us without a viable anti-Flying unit.
  • Tiger Shark Fighter Bomber (Forge World): 2 Barracuda AX-5-2 primary weapons, 2 burst cannons and 2 missile pods on a T8 chassis with 16 wounds and BS2+ for a bit over 400 points is great value. Can swap out its drone carrying ability for Heavy 2D6 S6 Ap-2 D2 which means that giving this bad boy two ion cannons can make him an ungodly rape machine against heavy infantry, or slap on 2 railguns and go to town with 4 railgun shots per shooting phase. If you're not dealing with enemy LOW this will probably be a better choice over the AX-1-0, as it can dish out more dice against a larger variety of targets. This is our best air superiority fighter with effectively BS4+ (all main weapons are Heavy type) against "hard to hit" meaning you will hit at least 2 of those railguns, add in the rest of the dakka and you deal out some serious anti-air pain with this thing while still having great anti-ground capability to boot. Take seekers and use "refuel, rearm, repair" to add 6 seekers back after you unload them for extra value, beating skyrays at their own game. If loaded up with 2 heavy burst cannons and 6 seekers, this thing can dish out 34+2d6 shots per turn, giving you on average over 40 dice to throw around raping infantry.
    • The 2nd big FAQ changed a few things for the tigershark. Ion cannon and HBC are now swiftstrike versions. Both prices went up by 20 points for each weapon and HBC/new swiftstrike HBC use the old crappy stats. Potential dmg went down on the HBC to only 33.3% of its former stats (shots: before 12, now 8 / dmg: before 2, now 1).
  • DX-6 Remora Stealth Drone Squadron (Forge World): Losing the stealth part of its namesake, only getting the generic -1 to hit for being a Flyer, and gaining Infiltrate instead. This results in a rather generic light fighter which will easily be shot down by enemy AA. The utility side has also gone as they have also lost their Markerlights. Overall a pretty weak unit that will probably get shot down before it can earn back its points and should best be avoided. On a side-note, these are still drones and can still be affected by drone controllers. They are also fast enough to accompany a coldstar commander and protect it with the character rule, while being hard enough to shoot down that your coldstar might just survive while monster hunting.
    • These have the DRONE keyword, so you can technically embark them in a devilfish. I expect an FAQ to be written if this ever becomes a thing at tournaments, but for now, you can put 12 of these in a devilfish.
  • Orca Dropship (Forge World): Once considered so useless and over-costed that Forge World removed it from sale, the Orca makes its glorious return... remaining over-costed and pretty useless. Well, better luck next time guys. It's simply not a good idea to use it to its full potential, that of flying practically your entire army around in a transport that isn't even all that hard to shoot down, especially since there's not too much else on the board to shoot at. It also still has the same old problem of not being able to deploy everyone at once, leaving some of the units stuck until later in the game when they could've been helping immediately.

Lords of War[edit]

<SEPT>[edit]

  • KV128 Stormsurge: In many ways, the Stormsurge is now actually a better option than the Riptide, largely because it doesn't explode as often, can't be instantly killed by being ran over, and costs only a tiny bit extra. For weapons get the Pulse Blastcannon for more average wounds at a lower cost, or the Pulse Driver Cannon for a vastly increased range and points cost. Practically mandatory upgrades are trading out the Flamers for Burst Cannons and taking a shield generator and ATS to improve both durability and destructive power. Can no longer double shoot by anchoring down, now it improves its to hit roll by 1. As standard for TITANIC units, takes extra damage from some particularly massive weapons but suffers no penalty for moving and shooting and can Fall Back and still shoot. Ends up being about 30% more expensive than the Riptide once equipped but with more Wounds, better invuln save, and more firepower. Note that it is not a BATTLESUIT, so cannot take advantage of drone sacrifices via Saviour Protocols or certain stratagems.
    • If going up against a deep strike heavy opponent, consider taking a Stormsurge with a Blastcannon, and Early Warning Override, in order to fire all the things. If going this route, the Airbursting Fragmentation Projectors can actually become a viable option, depending on how much terrain is on the board. They can admittedly just deep strike more than 12" away to bypass this, but it will still help protect against / deter turn 1 charges. For only the low cost of a single Fire Warrior in points to do it.
      • The Bork'an Sept tenet goes quite well with Stormsurges as almost all of their weapons are heavy anyway, but the best bit is it keeps it out of charge range when using the Pulse Blastcannon at that sweet, sweet 6D profile.
      • The cruelest reality of this unit is that it looks ugly as sin, find shapeways options to make it look like it's not taking a dump on the battlefield. Markerlight support is a must, and Tetra's are truly the best possible option to make it's Destroyer Missiles viable. Do not underestimate the power of Destroyer Missiles, they can and will ruin a chosen target's day. Overall they are the best anti-armor weapon on the unit, even outstripping the effectiveness of the Blastcannon and Driver simply due to their mortal wound output. Be very selective with where they are being dropped however, you only get four of them. (Get marker support and drop your stabilizers to get a 2+ to hit, reroll 1's)
  • KX139 Ta'Unar Supremacy Armour (Forge World): Comes with 4 Smart Missile Systems, 4 Burst Cannons, 1 Pulse Ordnance System (that can be swapped for a Nexus Meteor Missile System or a Heavy Rail Cannon with Cluster Shells ability), and 2 Tri-Axis Ion Cannons (that can be swapped for Fusion Eradicators). T8, 30W, 3+/5++ makes it a bit more durable than a Knight. It can fire its non-Macro weaponry while in melee and it may re-roll 1's when firing the Burst Cannons and Smart Missile Systems in Overwatch. It can move through any unit without Fly or Titanic, however it cannot Fall Back and still fire that turn.
    • Has the BATTLESUIT keyword, so can be healed by Technical Drones and benefit from Saviour Protocols (don't worry, that Gun Drone can totally block a Volcano Cannon shot for you). Even better, it can be buffed by an Ethereal. Bring along your holographic Aun'va and enjoy your Ta'unar that re-rolls 1's and has a 6+ FNP. Unfortunately CA 2017 was not kind to the Ta'unar, making it so costly that you can get an entire army for the price of fielding one, and right now it doesn't justify that cost.
      • With the 2018 update the points cost of this unit dropped by a whopping 750+ points, making it viable in even 2000 point games. You'll get the most mileage out of the big boi by giving him the generic loadout of ion and pulse. The railgun is worthless in normal games as the tigershark gets two for cheaper at the same BS. The Missiles are alright but the possibility for getting less hits, their lower strength and the minimum range really hurts them, especially since things want to be close to your taunar. Pulse is a guaranteed six dead infantry or a confirmed kill on anything without an invuln, and you have a decent chance of putting eight to sixteen wounds on a buffed castellan with it. Arm guns are an even easier argument. 18 slaughtered infantry or a good handful of wounds vs bigger targets. Would have been better if it were 3d6 shots to match the codex ion buff. Viable Taunar play is risky, as you will lose the game if it dies (hard if you have at least 12 drones) or even if it gets charged (easy without screening) meaning you have to make the most optimized list that 800 will allow. Do keep in mind that it is around the same price (Real dollars) as three tides and a y'vahra, and that if it gets nerfed you'd have lost a good deal of your army, so it's only advisable if you play in a knight heavy meta or already have three riptides. Tl;Dr: Don't let it get charged, give it a reroll 1, Command and Control and drones, and you'll win if you picked good secondary objectives.
  • Manta Super-Heavy Dropship (Forge World): Sixteen Long-barrelled Burst Cannons, three Long-barrelled Ion Cannons, two Heavy Railguns, and 10 Seeker Missiles; the Manta spews out an un-godly number of shots a turn. Capable of removing multiple infantry squads and a few vehicles every turn, the Manta isn’t just a transport vehicle but also an insanely powerful attack craft. Not only is it powerful but it’s also durable, coming in at T8 with 60 wounds and a 3+ save and 4+ invuln, and as it is a Flyer it also imposes -1 to hit on shooting and on top of that you have to subtract 12″ from your range. It has a truly colossal transport capacity of 200, +8 BATTLESUITS and 4 VEHICLES (who have their own separate transport capacity). This may lead you to believe that the Manta will be a slow lumbering beast, but with a movement range of 20″-60″ for the first 30 Wounds, this is far from the case. But there are some downsides: First is the points cost, 2K will get you the manta but you will need that again to fill it; second is 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). Still, on the bright side humans are born with two kidneys, and you only need one.

FARSIGHT ENCLAVES[edit]

  • The Eight: As of Chapter Approved 2018, Commander Spam is back -- if you’re willing to pay for it.
    As a single Lord of War choice, you get Farsight, 5 Commanders (One in an XV85), a Missileside, a Riptide, and 14 Drones, at a discount of over 100 points than if you took them individually. In exchange, you must take all of them, and their loadouts are static (including their Drones), though they do come with some unique abilities in addition to their wargear.
    If you take this unit, you must make Farsight your Warlord. Of course, you may not take The Eight and a second Commander Farsight using the Codex Datasheet. Additionally, this unit must be taken alone in a Super-Heavy Auxiliary detachment, and actually costs 3 Command Points to take. The book justifies this as an automatic use of the extra relics stratagem, as 3 of the unit's models carry Signature Systems. The whole unit is set up at the same time, but they don’t have to set up in cohesion with one another (though Drones are set up in cohesion with the character that brings them). With the exception of O’vesa and Ob'lotai, any character may be set up in Reserve via Manta Strike. For what you're paying (1120 points) you're getting phenomenal discounts along with very potent special rules and what its essentially 6 drops and 2 anchors all in one unit. Following setup, each of the Eight is treated as its own unit.

Farsight’s profile is identical to his HQ profile. The other seven are:

    • Commander Brightsword: Fusion Blades (i.e., 2 Fusion Blasters), a Target Lock, a Counterfire Defense system, and 2 Shield Drones. His Drones (and only *his* Drones) have the nifty ability to slow down enemy charges, a la Grav Inhibitor Drones - helpful, as his primary weapons will frequently keep him within easy charge range.
    • Commander Bravestorm: Plasma Rifle, Flamer, Advanced Targeting System, Shield Generator, the Onager Gauntlet, and 2 Gun Drones. Has a better Armour Save than Brightsword and an inherent 6+++. A decent candidate for Manta Strike in cooperation with a Stealth Team or Recon Drone in order to guarantee pinpoint donkey punch delivery.
    • Shas’o Sha’vastos: Plasma Rifle, Flamer, Advanced Targeting System, Shield Generator, the Puretide Engram Neurochip, and 2 Gun Drones. He carries a loadout largely identical to Bravestorm’s, but he is not as durable while having the same effective range. Serves best as a backfield buff-Commander so that he can continue generating Command Points while being screened by more expendable units.
    • Shas’o Arra’kon: +1 Wound from his enforcer suit, plus a Cyclic Ion Blaster, Plasma Rifle, Airbursting Fragmentation Projector, Counterfire Defense System, and 2 Gun Drones. His Repulsor Impact Field ability is similar to the stratagem of the same name, but goes off on a 2+. It's still just 1 Mortal Wound, but at least it's free.
    • Sub-commander Torchstar: 2 Flamers, an Advanced Targeting System, a Drone Controller, and 2 Marker drones. Like Arra’kon, she has an ability named after an existing Stratagem (Neuroweb System Jammer). However, it functions differently: any shooting attacks that target her are penalized, and enemy units cannot arrive from Reserves within 12” of her. Her fluff paints her as a hot-blooded frontliner, but she may be tactically better on the backfield, buffing her Drones, denying deep-strikes, and assisting a gunline with her souped-up flamers in Overwatch.
    • Ob’lotai 9-0: High-Yield Missile Pods, Smart Missile System. Seeker Missile, Velocity Tracker, and 2 Missile Drones. Takes no penalties to shooting after moving and reduces all incoming damage by 1 (min 1). Tougher to crack than a standard Broadside due to being a CHARACTER; Have him hang out with a couple of Strike Teams to keep him from being targeted.
    • Honour-Shas’vre O’vesa: A Riptide with an Ion Accelerator, Fusion Blasters, a Target Lock, an Early Warning Override, and 2 Shielded Missile Drones. Re-rolls 1s when shooting without the need for markerlight buffs, and doesn’t take Mortal Wounds from using the Nova Reactor on a 4+. Like the rest of The Eight, he is a Character, though his Riptide profile won't keep him safe from being shot at. Instead, it makes him eligible for (and vulnerable to) abilities, stratagems, and powers that would not affect a stock Riptide.

Three of the individual units focus mainly on infantry (~GEQ): Torchstar, Sha'vastos, Bravestorm. Two focus mainly on heavier infantry (MEQ and TEQ): Ob'lotai, Arra'kon. Another two deal with high toughness/armor: O'vesa, Brightsword. Farsight is of course your warlord and can handle business on his own, but will work well when in CC with the onager gauntlet or the fusion blades and is best suited to attacking TEQ.

Ultimately, the Eight are a very cinematic choice, and can be very effective when played to their strengths and properly supported. However, the unit will account for more than half of your army’s total points in most games it can be brought to. Some will complain of cheese and typical Tau bullshit, but lets face it, whenever anyone plays 1K LOWs things tend to get a little out of proportion no matter the faction.

Fortifications[edit]

  • Tidewall General Info: Gives your embarked unit/characters a Wounds buffer and higher Toughness, which also doesn't affect their morale when lost. At the cost of not being able to fire Overwatch (even with For the Greater Good), Advance, and use abilities of any kind (including auras). There's also nothing (expect markerlights) to mitigate the penalty for firing Heavy weapons after the platform moves. If the platform gets Charged, however, you can (unless the platform is completely surrounded leaving you no room to do so) disembark the unit inside out of the back, leaving them able to shoot at something else while the enemy is tarpitted by the platform. Remember that these fortifications can hold any combination of Infantry Characters and one Infantry unit. In the previous example, you can have the unit disembark then fall back with the fortification using the character left inside to let the unit that was previously inside unload on the unit, great tactic for Breacher squads who use this tactic with Devilfish.
    • All Tau Fortifications retain the Sept rule, so they benefit from their Sept Tenets. Not all of them have any application, but the Dal'yth Tenet is especially useful for unmoving Fortifications.
    • Tidewall Droneport: You can take 4 Tactical Drones with it, and use the embarked unit's BS for firing. Best use seems to be one with 4 Markerlight Drones, and throw a Darkstrider into it, to have them all shooting at BS2+. Probably our most reliable way to get 1 Markerlight token on a few units, for the re-rolls. Although you give up access to his two abilities for the boost.
      • ALTERNATIVELY: Put a 24 point Firesight Marksman into one of these and give those 4 Marker Drones BS 3+ (buffable to 2+ via Drone Controller). Since it's also "open topped" the Marksmen himself will be able to add a Markerlight shot as well. Easily capable of racking up the required 5 Markerlight Hits for +1 to hit. For 134 points (70 Dronering + 40 4x Marker Drones + 24 Marksmen points) that has enough room to hold 9 other guys, Breacher Teams recommended.
    • Tidewall Shieldline: The reflect field now works again (even when the enemy fire weapons with negative AP) as it causes a mortal wound to the firing enemy unit on an unmodified save of 6. Worth noting that this is our only fortification that doesn't explode when it is destroyed! Best use currently is to throw some Pathfinders on it, although as mentioned, they still get a -1 to hit if the Shieldline moves.
      • Tidewall Defence Platform: You can take one per shieldline. They have to deploy next to each other, but can move independently after that. It packs +1T compared to the shieldline, but it can explode when destroyed. Can be useful if you want to get another fortification on the field without using another detachment slot, but if you haven't maxed out your fortification slots then it's shit.
    • Tidewall Gunrig: You get 2 railgun shots for less than a Hammerhead! Unfortunately, you need to keep a unit embarked or it can only target the closest enemy unit, and even then it still only hits on 5+ (or BS4+ if the target has 5+ markerlight hits).
      • Perfect unit to embark pathfinders on. It provides durability to the pathfinders, and they provided the needed ballistic skill improvements to the gunrig. And with 5x marker hits, the gunrig should hit at least half the time, which with 2 shots, will make it as useful as a hammerhead would be.
        • Notable that line of sight for the embarked unit can be drawn from the tall tower of this unit. Can be used to fire over things.
  • Remote Sensor Tower (Forge World): One High-Intensity Markerlight at BS4+, and allows one T'au unit within 3" to re-roll ones to hit. Pretty good for 40 points, but the all-or-nothing 50% shot at 3 tokens or none for the High-intensity Markerlight means Pathfinders should still be the main choice for Markerlight application. This might help you bump someone up to that lovely 5+ tokens for +1 to hit part of the Markerlight table though, using the reroll ones from an existing couple of tokens to make the HIM hit more likely (Perhaps thanks to some Pathfinders within 3" of the tower, using its reroll 1s ability to apply their own Markers more reliably. Teamwork!).
  • Drone Sentry Turret (Forge World): Can only shoot at the closest target, meaning point for point regular Gun Drones will provide more firepower than the Burst Cannons with the same limitations. The Plasma and Fusion weapons could work out, but would require the enemy being stupid enough to stand the right targets closest to the sentry for you.

Tactics and Strategy[edit]

Command Points[edit]

  • Use 'em
    • You will see this everywhere, but Tau farm CP very well with battalions to perform:
    • Good for re-rolling railgun/rifle and fusion blaster/collider damage.
    • Good for activating Farsight in combat if he's fighting something T5 T8 or less.
    • Could be used to re-arm seeker missiles on tigershark fighter bombers, making them beat skyrays at their own game (See Death from the Skies game type, Refuel-Rearm-Repair stratagem corebook p.268)
    • Reroll Y'vahra's plasma flamer hit count die to melt those pesky tanks in one go
    • Strongly recommended to keep at least one so when you inevitably roll snake-eyes with your Ion weapons/Hammerhead it's not the end of the world
    • Re-rolling those Markerlights (preferably high intensity) that really have to hit.
    • Lots of lovely stratagems given in the codex that are worthwhile CP investments.

Army Building[edit]

Starter Armies[edit]

  • 1k Balanced Army - While not particularly competitive, it will get you a good core of useful units that you can expand on as you become more experienced. While Crisis suits are currently less than ideal, they can be easily used as proxies for Commanders if needed.
    • Start Collecting T'au: Remains one of the most cost effective ways to build a balanced force. Gets you 3 crisis suits, while also getting 10 Fire Warriors and an Ethereal for essentially free.
      • Whenever you are buying Crisis suits, you should be buying this box. It only costs $10 extra. Use spare Fire Warrior parts to turn any un-needed Ethereals into Cadre Fire Blades.
      • You can technically use the crisis suits as commanders. That is 3 HQs for the price of 1.
    • Hammerhead: Gets you an armored vehicle to dish out some damage. Build it as a Longstrike and use the spare turret with...
    • Optimized Pathfinder: Gets you a handful of Pathfinder's to throw out Marker Lights, and a Devilfish that you can use with the above spare turret, to turn it into a second Hammerhead. *Update*: This set is no longer in print unfortunately. The fish would probably be better used as a fish anyway, with some breachers in (see Breacher Team section above), as you only get the extra main weapon in a hammerhead kit and not a second actual turret/mount. You could build it as a skyray of course (why?), but you'll still lack the parts to fit burst cannon or missile sponsons and the correct sensor array on the chin mount.
    • Stealth Suits: 2 boxes of these gives you two durable units capable of dealing with Hordes and giving you some board control to deny deep strikes and slow charges.

General Advice[edit]

  • Use Drones.
  • Synergy is your friend. All your units should be supporting one another.
  • Your units are confusing to non-Tau and are hard to react properly against. Rotate threats well to keep your more powerful units safe.
  • Avoid dedicated melee units like the plague.
  • You have no way to Deny the Witch. Psykers will be a problem. Using Kroot and/or Shield Drones as screens against Smite will help a lot but won't protect you from Warpgate shenanigans or similar.
  • Don't go in melee to kill the enemy, but to survive. Against most shooty armies it is safer in close combat than it is the open getting fired on. Most Tau units have a preferred range of under 18" so can get a bit closer and charge an enemy gunline and tie them up. Best on suits that can tank overwatch and FLY out to shoot.
  • Your larger suits are vulnerable to smite spam and las spam. Keep them mobile, shielded, and away from characters (with a cordon of anti-drop guards if a deep-striking sorcerer seems likely).
  • USE FUCKING DRONES!
  • Markerlights are always, ALWAYS helpful. Use the Uplinked Markerlight strategem to give you bonuses if you don't have many in your army, use Fireblades and Marksmen for easy hits, Shove them in a droneport to have them hitting on 2's. Use them, Use them all.
  • If you are playing FSE, remain aggressive and remember that you have some decent CC options of your own, and nothing throws off your enemy than charging with a Fusion Blade commander or Farsight. The enemy should never feel safe from any of your shooting units.
  • Focus your fire. A lot of 8th edition is focused on synergy, so be sure to knock out synergy units with your superior firepower.
  • If you are upset with the 1 commander suit per detachment, remember you can take a cheap vanguard or auxilliary detachment to shoehorn in a second commander.
  • Firesight Marksmen are worth their weight in gold. You don't even need the drones- *PEW* T'AU HERESY
  • A Battalion costs less than 200 pts with 3x5 man strike teams, and 2 of Ethereal/Darkstrider/Cadre. Its one of the cheapest battalions that 8th ed has to offer and is not a push over. Basic battalions are also extremely flexible when comparing Septs; Sa'cea with minimum squads and an Ethereal is immune to unmodified moral checks as well as increasing ML accuracy (but pushes cost to slightly over 200 if you include MLs on each Strike Team), triple tapping at 18" with Bor'kan, High mobility castle with Vio'rla, 5+ overwatch screens as T'au... Every list, even at very low pt games should start with a batt
  • Did we mention USE DRONES?

Tactics[edit]

Farsight Bomb 3: The Revenge: Take a unit of Crisis suits and put them in deep strike along with Farsight. If you want to use a homing beacon make sure to only use it for getting Farsight into charge Range. Equip the suits with 2 drones apiece, this part is not optional. Equip the Crisis suits with whatever is most effective against the target you expect to use them on (Burst Cannons for Hordes/GEQs, Cyclic Ion Blasters for MEQs and Fusion Blasters for TEQs and Vehicles), but make sure to leave one hardpoint free for a Drone Controller. Again, not optional. Then stack the following buffs; Drop zone Clear, 5 Markerlights, and have Farsight use Command and Control Node on the Suits. Now your Drones hit on 3's and the suits on 2's with rerollable 1's for both, and the Crisis suits reroll failed wounds. You can even mount Fusion Blasters on the Crisis suits for particularly nasty targets. Anything that survives the Volley will probably be easy pickings for Farsight's Dawn Blade. If you can get another Commander with Fusion Blades in range, so much the better.

  • Also note that the XV9s are also capable of Manta Striking and are significantly more cost effective as suits. You'll lose Drone support in exchange for better suits, but the trade off might be worth it especially if you go with the Double Burst Cannons.

Shadowsun's Fortress: Take Shadowsun and set her in the middle of your castle for the double kauyon. This tactic is prefeably done with squad of three missilesides and as many riptides as can be placed around her. To optimism shooting be sure to place command and control node on the battle suit unit that is shooting plus multi-spectrum sensor suite to remove cover. Though your marker lights should be doing that anyways.

Kroot Konga Line: Yeah, you can still do this. If you're unfamiliar with this classic, you take squads of Kroot at their maximum size then space them out across the board so that they are within 6" of all your units. When the enemy charges your Kroot everything with the range to do so fires overwatch against them. Do this with the T'au sept to hit on 5's.


Flex Rich List: Buy a start collecting box, two more squads of fire warriors, Shadowsun, as many drones as you can get and a Ta'unar. Your list should be a Superheavy Aux, Battallion and if you can squeeze one in, one more detachment that gives CP. Surrounded your Nar with Fire Warriors and Drones, have Shadowsun camp nearby, pop Command and Control every turn and soak in the salt. At most you'll be rocking around 400 points to customize to your local meta. Take Flamer suits to ruin anyone's dreams of a charge. Take Stealth Suits to actually bother to try and objective grab. Or just be that guy and run a riptide or Yvahra at the exact same time and ruin anyone's chances of living past turn three.

Special note: TAU IN MELEE A bit of misnomer is the idea that TAU are terrible in melee. They are terrible Offensively in melee, but defensively they will last. Suits with T5+ will last just fine against marines that don't have strength improving weapons, as wounding on 5s really stifles them. Armor saves on the TAU, especially the suits, are comparable to space marines. The Shield Generator is very impressive from an SM standpoint, as 4++ is usually limited to SM HQ units. So in melee, TAU will be fine defensively provided the opponent isn't overly focused on melee.

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