Warhammer 40,000/Tactics/Tau (9E)

From 1d4chan

This is the current 9th Edition's T'au tactics. 8th Edition Tactics are here.

Why Play Tau[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, like in 8th edition, can be performed multiple times, but using this special rule 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.
  • 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.
  • Almost everything bigger than INFANTRY has the FLY keyword.
  • Easy access to rerolls on 1s to hit makes Overcharging Ion weapons much less risky than usual.
  • A plethora of sources for wound-transferring mechanics including 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.
  • Miss the old days where the T'au was a highly mobile army? Congrats! New rules mean only infantry suffer -1 to hit for moving and firing heavy weapons.
  • 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 without markerlight support.
  • 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 Tau 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 4 fusion blaster on a Coldstar Battlesuit, there are very few characters who can withstand 4 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. Expect them to die early, and take advantage of the time they buy you.
  • You have no psychic powers, few defenses against them, and no cost-effective way of eliminating the CHARACTERS who are hiding among infantry. Anyone running heavy Psy is going to have a field day with your lack of Deny the Witch outside of an Enclaves-only relic.
  • You may get frustrated trying to master your shooting, and -1 to hit like on Alaitoc and Raven Guard will make your game a painful, frustrating slog. Thankfully, the days of -2-4 to hit are gone, but -1 to hit on BS4+ is still nothing to write off.
  • In 9th Ed, being able to FLY no longer allows you to fall back and shoot. Sad face.
  • You are very reliant on Stratagems. Expect to burn through CP like no tomorrow.
  • 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 each detachment shares the same <SEPT> will allow your units to benefit from any special rules based on that <SEPT> keyword.

Special Rules[edit]

  • For the Greater Good: May fire Overwatch whenever you are charged, not needing to use the stratagem - saving you command points and allowing you to blast away at multiple chargers in the same turn, unlike literally every other army out there. When an enemy unit declares a charge, any unit with this rule within 6" of one of the charge's targets that also has this rule 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.
    • 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 within 3”, so no soaking up shots for your Sky Rays, 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, as of the latest errata, it works by allowing you to roll a d6 after a successful wound roll has been made against the unit you want to protect; on a 2+, the protected unit doesn’t take the wound, but the Drones unit gets a mortal wound allocated to it instead. 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. Watch out for anything that doesn't roll to wound (eg Space Marine Infiltrator's special bolt carbines on a 6 to hit) as this will stop you getting to roll.
  • 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 Tau HQ has one) for one turn, based on whichever tactic they choose. Kauyon allows you to choose friendly <SEPT> units 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. This is great for positioning your army early in the game without losing firepower. Vor'la sept tenet grants a similar effect, but doesn't work on Heavy weapons.
    • Also note that Vespid and Kroot can never benefit from either effect, due to them not having <Sept>.
  • Manta Strike: The Tau'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 Crisis Suits, Bodyguards, Commanders, and drones can do this. 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 12" from the opponent's deployment zone. 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, despite having the troop battlefield role.
  • Sept Tenets: 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.

Custom Sept Tenets[edit]

As of the revised Codex: Space Marines, many armies can now represent their lesser known chapter equivalents or create their own. Welcome to the 40K Build-A-Bear Workshop. The Tau gain the ability to make bespoke Sept Tenets in The Greater Good by choosing two abilities from the list below:

  • Stabilization Systems: BATTLESUIT unit don't take hit penalties for firing Heavy weapons after moving. Riptide and Broadside would like this if 9E didn't entirely remove to hit penalties for moving and firing heavy weapons except for INFANTRY (Remember Crisis Suit/Commander weapons are all Assault).
  • Soldiers in Arms: The "For the Greater Good" ability has its range extended to 9". Damn good, makes your gun line much bigger.
  • Turbo Jets: Add 1 to Advance rolls for all JETPACK units; additionally increase the Movement characteristic of all JETPACK Units by 2".
  • Dedication to the Cause: +1 Leadership for all <SEPT> units.
  • Hardened Warheads: Improve the AP of all Smart missiles, Missile pods, High yield missile pods, and Seeker missiles by -1. This is a great upgrade for Broadsides, keep it in mind.
  • Sophisticated Command Net: When a VEHICLE unit shoots a unit with 1+ Markerlights, reroll 1's to wound.
  • Hybridized Weaponry: Add 4" to the range of all Grenade and Assault weapons; does not apply to Prototype weapon systems.
    • This unfortunately doesn't work so much for the Pulse Blasters, as it only boosts their highest range profile, not all profiles.
    • A large amount of T'au mainstray weapons are assault weapons. Burst cannons, Pulse Carbines, Missile Pods, Flamers and Fusion Blasters all get a boost. This is especially useful with the recent changes to our flamer profile, going up from 8 to 12 inches as the base range and reaching 16 inches with this tenet.
    • Triple flamer crisis suits are hilarious with this. Deep strike them in and burn anything that looks at you funny.
  • Gifted Pilots: VEHICLES and MONSTER units that remain stationary or move less than 1/2 their Movement reroll 1's to wound in the Shooting phase.
  • Advanced Power Cells: Tactical Drones have a move characteristic of 10".
  • Maneuvering Thrusters: BATTLESUIT units can Advance when Falling back.
  • Up-Gunned: Improve the AP of all Burst cannons to -1. Has been errata'd to not apply to any relic Burst cannons.
    • Stacks with the Advanced Targetting System. Battlesuits with this sept tenet, ATS, and as many burst cannons they can carry become a nightmare for the vast majority of infantry.

Stratagems[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. It can be used at the start of any turn, including your opponent's.
  • Branched Nova Charge (1 CP): Overcharging a Riptide's Nova Reactor grants it two buffs instead of one. Almost mandatory each turn if you include a Riptide in your army. Sadly doesn't work with FW Rapetide sub types.
  • 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.
    • Note that this buffs a unit, not model, so it works nicely on a pack of Broadsides.
  • 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. Let your Tau Sept-Fireblade (BS2+) use this for a very reliable Focused Fire (3 CP) afterwards.
  • 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.
    • It can come in handy if a major target is down to one wound and you really really need to take it down.
  • 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. Works great against an advancing squad of Boyz or a unit that you'd really like to see miss.
  • 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, but Further helps Krootox enter melee.
  • 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): Used when a Vehicle gets charged. That 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.
    • **Note** this one might seem useless at first, since most of the time your Pathfinders are going to be camping in cover, and even when they're not you're still going to want to shoot their markerlights. *However* if they get charged and need to fall back, this stratagem is great for putting some distance between you and the enemy.
  • 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.
    • Note that it says after the enemy charged, and that you roll a D6 for every model in the unit within 3" of your model. Riptides and Ghostkeels will love this. The only major downside is probably that it hits on 6's.
  • Stimulant Injector (1 CP): Replaces the old wargear option. Pick a Battlesuit with 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 wounding 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 great way to try and get enough stacks for the +1 bonus, or else save your markerlights for other targets.
  • 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. Much more valuable now that fly does not allow you to retreat and shoot anymore. 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.

Psychic Awakening[edit]

  • Aerial Targeting (1CP): Run out of markerlights? Already use your Uplinked markerlight and need one more? For 1 CP, you get 1 additional markerlight when shooting at an enemy unit of your choice.
  • Ambushing Predators (1CP): During the opponent charge phase, a Kroot unit can make a 6" Heroic Intervention. combined with Hidden Hunters, Kroot screens are a lot more viable even as back defenders counter an enemy that thinks they can tie up your guns.
    • Consider having a unit of 1-2 Krootox riders in your backline as bodyguards for something that’d be otherwise helpless if charged (e.g. Broadsides). Pop Raging Beasts on them for a bird-gorilla rampage of 8 S6 AP -1 D2 attacks on an opponent who would normally expect to not have any problems from us in melee other than overwatch or Farsight & Friends.
  • Coordinated Engagement (2 CP): In the shooting phase, select a Crisis Battlesuit or Crisis Bodyguard. Whatever it shoots is considered to have 5 markerlight counters for the purposes of the attack. Use in tandem with Dropzone Clear to awaken the ancient spirit of Commander spam for a single shooting phase.
  • Deadly Aim (2CP): During the shooting Phase, your MV71 Sniper drones gain -1 AP. If in Half range of their guns, you gain an additional -1 Ap. Let's see those Imperial Guard players put their Characters in the open now.
  • Hidden Hunter (1CP): During the opponent's Shooting phase, while in cover, a Kroot unit is -1 to hit and will have a Sv4+.
    • Sounds awesome on the first glance until you remember that after using this Stratagem your Kroot are still just T3 with a 4+ save while Firewarriors without a Stratagem in the same situation would be T3 with a 3+ save at least. The -1 to hit is nice but barely matters against anti-infantry shooting due the large amount of shots coming towards your Kroot. Perhaps okay for some Krootox though.
  • Modulated Weaponry (1CP): Automatically get max shots for all variable shot heavy weapons on a Riptide, Ghostkeel, or Vehicle model. Does not work on Titanic units. A seriously nerfed stratagem after GW realized how strong it was (They got the hint when the Y’varha sold out twice on Forgeworld), you'll find more use on Hammerheads or Tigersharks than anything else.
  • Pack Alpha (1CP): Select a Kroot unit within 6" of a Kroot Shaper. Add a single D6 to the charge roll and discard one. Y to the E to the S!
  • Point-Blank Volly (1CP): Select an infantry unit that survived melee. All Pulse Carbines, Blasters, and Weapons are converted to pistol 2. Cannot be affected by Volley fire.
    • If your infantry unit survived melee you are going to be a smart guy and fall back so the rest of your army can shoot at the enemy unit and don't waste 1CP for what most likely amounts to something like 2-6 S5 AP0 shots, aka nothing. There's a reason for why nobody takes Pulse Pistols on their Firewarriors. On Breachers it could be nice since your opponent would be automatically in range for the best profile but they'll still only hit on a 4+ without re-rolls and honestly ... how many of your Breacher do you expect to survive after getting shot at and then getting charged?
    • If you like not having friends, point out it does not require you to be in melee. 30" double taps anyone?
    • If stuck in melee, bring a Pulse Pistol as now you can fire both for maximum laughs.
  • Promising Pupil (1CP): Select a Character. They now have a warlord trait. It cannot be a named character, though this much should be obvious you dumb cluck. Strong ... if we had good warlord traits. Pass.
  • Pulse onslaught (1CP): Breachers get the S6 Profile at 15". Good for extending the threat Radius of Pulse Blasters.
  • Raging Beasts (1CP): Four attacks on the selected Krootox rider unit. In addition, Krootox fists get -1 additional AP.
  • Rain of Fire (1CP): Vespid reroll failed Hit rolls when shooting from Deepstrike. Oh, Markerlights stack with this by the way.
  • Seasoned Sniper (1CP): a Firesight Marksman can snipe at a character with his Markerlight or Pistol. A Marker Helps Sniper drones actually Snipe or the Flanking Battlesuits.
    • Pretty much useless though if you consider the use of Aerial Targeting. Why would you spend 1CP and then have to roll a 3+ in order to put a Markerlight on a Character if you could just pay 1CP and ... well ... put a Markerlight on a Character? Sure, this one would enable you to use the Uplinked Markerlight Stratagem in combination, but seriously what do you need 2-4 Markerlights on a Character? Chances are your Seeker Missiles and Heavy weapons can't shoot at it anyway and most Characters you can target like that aren't sitting in cover either. Only the 5th Markerlight would've been nice here.
  • Sworn Protectors (1CP): Crisis bodyguards can reroll hit and wound rolls in melee while near a friendly sept character. Nothing to write home about unless you’re taking WS 4+ FSE Veterans with ATS, who will most likely be around Farsight himself as part of a bomb.
  • Wisdom of the many (1CP): An Ethereal gets to choose another ability to cast. Storm Of Fire plus Sense of Stone anyone?

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 specify that most of the buffs only apply to TAU EMPIRE units.

  1. TAU EMPIRE models attacking the target may reroll hit rolls of 1.
    • Re-rolling 1s is 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. It 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. The target gets no saving throw bonuses for being in cover.
    • Good in most situations against any opponent competently plays the game as most of your high volume weapons don't have AP. An ok bonus, but you shouldn't just stop with 3 markers.
  4. TAU 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. The 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 Riptides.
  5. TAU 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.
      • With the addition of The Greater Good, Aerial Targeting is also available if you've already used or want to save Uplinked Markerlights for another target.
    • 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 (Your troops may have better guns, but your more expensive for less volley fire).
  • You often don't have the resources to put 5 markerlights on everything, so only aim for 1 light if it's a minor threat (you only put one them so the far of Gun Teams has something to shoot at), 3 is for those pesky Centurion squads, 4 is if your moving your lines forward and also want to kill a target, and 5 is insuring that tank or Heavy weapons Squad will go to the grave. If you have CP to spare and only need the markerlights for a couple of attacks, the Coordinated Engagement Stratagem is also a good alternative.
  • Special note: Markerlights shot from non-vehicle sources cannot be fired in addition to 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]

  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 Manoeuvring thrusters and you can get right back into safety after laying the smackdown!
  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 Advanced 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, but then your also losing out on other sept traits.

Wargear[edit]

Melee Weapons[edit]

HAHAHAHA NOPE! Generic melee weapons are for other armies.

HAHAHAHAHHAHA

Ranged Weapons[edit]

Expect a lot of S5 AP0 weapons, with a couple of High damage low output weapons on the bigger units, all of which come with above-average range.

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. Usually it's better to just fall back and let your other units punish whatever came at you, but pulse pistols are pretty much required anyway, in case your unit gets locked an melee, and they're free anyway.
      • As of Faith and Fury the above is more relevant than it’s ever been. Night Lords have a compliment of stratagems and relics that used in tandem will: Deny Overwatch, make charges out of deep strike easier, and prevent falling back. In other words, the Three Golden Uh-Oh’s of playing T’au. Still a very weak solution to a niche problem compared to how many loyalist marines you should expect to face, but know that you at least have something you can do instead of just give them light pats. (Assuming they all didn’t run away last turn because, y’know, Night Lords.)
    • Pulse Rifle: The original, the best. 30" rapid fire smackdown, stacks wonderfully with sept traits, wargear and warlord traits granting extra range, shots, and the occasional additional point of AP.
    • 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. Note that despite having 'pulse' in the name, these do not benefit from Volley Fire.

Another viewpoint: It really depends on the army you are facing. Strength 5 shots will wound most characters on a 3+, and AP requirements vary between armies.

  • 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 Tau, 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 D6 grenade, but it doesn't do any damage. Instead it gives the attacker -1 to hit in the proceeding fight phase. Absolutely amazing with the T'au sept, as the spam means you're bound to get that juicy -1 to hit in overwatch.
  • 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 unmodified 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 (mimimu 3 at half range) and being Tau Empire gives you a lofty 6" more range than those silly primitive Imperial ones for 1 more point. Second most expensive option along with the missile pod, but the clear winner against anything with more than a couple wounds. Your primary source of antitank and monster-hunting, 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). Remember that these are great against Quantam Shields.
  • 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 Tau 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 Tau 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, double the damage and 6" more range.
  • Broadside Weapons:
    • Heavy Rail Rifle: 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. 9th edition favours quantity over quality when it comes to shooting, and most targets you'd want to shoot this at have invulnerable saves anyway. It's hard to justify taking this instead of the HYMP, unless you need the extra range.
      • UPDATE Thanks to the new Magna Rail Rifle prototype weapon systems, this thing just got a new lease on life. 3 Broadsides armed with Rail weapons, Smart Missile Systems and Seeker Missiles will net you around 300 points for a serious heavy armor killer.
    • High Yield Missile Pod: Heavy 4, S7, AP-1, D3 missile pod. Broadsides take two of these instead of a single HRR. 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 damage (+2 MW) across 2. Almost always the better of the two weapons, with the exception of targeting something like a Tank Commander which lacks an invulnerable save.
  • 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. Coupled with ATS this is a very powerful weapon, and easily worth taking on your Riptides.
    • Cyclic Ion Raker: Heavy 6 shots at 24" range at S7. Disappointing AP-1 and D1 damage, though; overcharge buffs to S8 and Dd3 Damage. Not as bad as it appears on first glance, the pure volume of Dd3 shots provides flexibility and performs similarly to a fusion collider outside of melta range. Increases noticably with ATS.
    • Fusion Collider: S8 AP-4 Heavy D3 shots at 18" doing the standard melta thingy with its D6 damage.
    • 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 Tau?! 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" Heavy 1 S8 AP-2 DD6 with one use per missile. At only five points it doesn't seem like a bad investment; could mean the difference between bringing that scary unit really low or killing it. They work wonderfully on Hammerheads, who can hit on a 2+ with Longstrike's buff. 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... unless you consider that his +1 to wound will trigger mortal wounds on 5+ and he has a straight up 82% chance of wounding TEQs (assuming you have 1 markerlight on the target)- good for triggering focused fire.
  • 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 Tau Plasma Cannon (Forge World): Got the "Tau" 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]

Secondary wargear for battlesuit type units, not usually worth replacing a weapon for, but can be when taken in addition to them.

  • 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.
    • 3x more expensive on the Ghostkeel, Riptide and Stormsurge, though they don't replace any systems for it and all have a lot of guns, so possibly still worth looking at.
  • Counterfire Defence System: Allows re-rolls to hit when firing Overwatch. Give it to your Tau 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 with this have 55% - better than BS 4+, which is the standard for our army.
    • Note: Since the Stormsurge is a VEHICLE this can be combined with the Point Defence 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. You can put this on a Commander or Crisis suit and buff Sniper, Markerlight, or Gun drones. Usually requires a critical mass of drones to be effective. A critical mass of gun drones is all you need to mow down infantry, swarms, and screens. Stick this on your Shas'Vre crisis suit dude!
    • 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. Very seriously worth taking on a team of Crisis suits, giving them Missile Pods, or Burst cannons/Plasma Rifles if you want to go cheaper. Keep them on Riptides for extra denial. Works with Velocity Tracker and, as with the Drone Controller, base size of model equipped will increase area of effect.
    • Twice as expensive on the Ghostkeel, Riptide and Stormsurge, but these are very shooty models with large bases, and so will create a very impressive bubble of Fuck You Dakka if your opponent is still insistent on throwing his Terminators away.
  • 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. Shower thought: Crisis suits can get Iridum armor and this for a 2+/4++ to mock those pesky Custodes.
    • Costs 30 points on the Stormsurge and a whopping 40 on the Y'vahra. Obviously not worth it on the latter, since it already has a 5+ Invuln that jumps up to 4+ against Melee and close ranged attacks in addition to its Drones, but the Stormsurge is painfully lacking a Invulnerable save, so unless you're planning on losing the unit, you'll likely be selling out for it anyways.
  • Target Lock: No longer provides ignoring to hit penalties for heavy weapons, instead allows you to advance and fire heavy weapons and rapid fire weapons (at -1 to hit), or assault weapons at no penalty. Y'varha might be getting a comeback afterall.
  • Velocity Tracker: +1 to hit when targeting units with the FLY keyword. Against dedicated flyers, 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).
    • It is less cost efficient on the usual suspects (Ghostkeel, Riptide, Stormsurge and Y'vahra) at 10 points, but, again, those models carry lots of guns and give up nothing to take this.
    • Pay particular attention to this one for units with effects that trigger on 1s or 6s to hit. A +1 to hit does not prevent you from killing yourself with an Ion gun, because 9e rules shenanigans. 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.

  • 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.
    • This relic is all but guaranteed to pay for itself, assuming you spent 1 CP to take it and reasonably expect to spend at least 1 CP on a reroll during the game. And that's not even accounting for the CP you generate from it.
  • 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. Against a 30 model Boyz Mob, its about 5 dead Orks--however, most large units are barreling forward and not in cover.
  • Supernova Launcher: Replaces an Airbursting Fragmentation Projector. 18″ Assault D6, S6, AP-2 2D. can shoot targets that are out of line of sight. Good for pot shots on hidden primaris and the like.

Prototype Weapon System[edit]

Like the Tyranids, instead of picking one Signature Systems, you can give any unit one of these, which will replace all of its equivalent weapons when available. Note that they aren't relics but you can use the multi-relic strat to generate up to 3 of these. Likewise, none of them displace actual relics, so you can put a relic plus one of them on the same unit. Some of these affect all models in the unit, so all 10 of your Crisis Suits can gain bonuses. Consider this when sticking something on a single commander (They are making less appealing options very appealing: Crisis Suits in all configurations, Railguns of all forms, and Ion Accelerators).

  • Accelerated-photon Grenades: Unit with Photon Grenades. In addition to a melee penalty, the Photon Grenades also prevent them from advancing and halves their charge rolls. Lasts until your next turn, so you can throw one in the shooting phase instead of waiting for overwatch.
    • The duration our regular photons cry out in dismay for.
  • Advanced EM Scrambler: Ghostkeel Battlesuits only. Enemies that deep strike cannot set up within 12" of the user. For if you don't need more firepower but want to shut down deepstrike with the Ghostkeel's big base. Proper positioning and use of cover with this baby using Infiltrator can give your army a beautiful 28” (including base size) deep strike denial bubble, much to the chagrin of any DS heavy army.
  • Amplified Ion Accelerator: XV104 Riptide Battlesuit only. Replaces the Ion accelerator. Each setting deals 6 attacks, Standard deals D3 and Overcharge deals D3+1d3, along with AP-4. Notably, This allows you to use your Nova Charge on other abilities while firing with increased output.
  • Annihilation Warheads: KV128 Stormsurge model only. The units Destroyer Missiles auto-deal 3 MW when they hit. Consider each Stormsurge has 4 D missiles, this means 12 potential mortal wounds.. Not bad.
  • Cross-linked Stabiliser Jets: Commander, XV8 Crisis Battlesuit, or XV8 Crisis bodyguard unit only. You may re-roll hit and wound rolls of 1 for this unit. Really useful on flamers, burst cannons, and CIBs especially. Gets better in larger units.
  • Fusion Obliterator: Ghostkeel Battlesuits only. Replaces the Fusion Collider. 24" Heavy 3 S9 AP-4 D1d6 (melta). Almost doubles your output against high-wound targets, but probably not worth a relic slot.
  • Gatling Burst Cannon: Commander, XV8 Crisis Battlesuit, XV8 Crisis bodyguard, or Ghostkeel Battlesuit unit only. Each Burst Cannon in the unit gets replaced with a version that scores another hit for each unmodified 6. This is better than +1 to hit in that it works on BS2+ models (commanders or anything BS3+ shooting at a 5 markerlight target) just fine, as well as applying to Overwatch. Gets better in larger units.
  • High-Capacitance Railgun: TX7 Hammerhead Gunship unit only. Replaces the Railgun. Reduce the range to 60" but increase the number of shots for Solid shot to 2, and Submunition to 4D3 shots.
    • Not worth it at all. With no invulnerable save to speak of and the inability to benefit from savior protocols it will get destroyed quickly. If Hammerhead squads were a thing, then it'd be pretty good. But as of now they don't exist.
  • High-Powered Incinerators: Battlesuit unit only. Replaces all Flamers. They become S5 when at half range (usually 4"). Being as flamers are cheaper than Burst Cannons and can still benefit from ATS, this makes them very comparable, just note that playing in close like this pretty much assumes the unit will get shot up badly. Distraction Carnifex?
  • Magna Rail Rifle: XV88 Broadside Battlesuit unit only. Replaces the Heavy Rail Rifle. +1S (so S9), and 1s and 2s for damage count as 3s. Now you can generally threaten Tanks and T8, while also taking on multi-wound targets with ease. When compared to the HYMP, these are all the more appealing given that they are half the price.
    • Stack Kauyon and Command and Control node to wipe your opponent's vehicles off the map turn one.
  • Networked Markerlights: Pathfinder Team unit only. Turn Markerlights into Assault weapons. Makes your Markerlights mobile and synergises with Assault weapon buffs, but you need a big Pathfinder team to justify this over other Systems.
    • Don’t let that Assault profile fool you, if you’re taking you’re only doing so to get out of the penalty for moving and firing Heavy weapons, that extra 1”-6” isn’t worth the shooting penalty (Vior’la being the exception).
  • Reactive Countermeasures: Battlesuit model with Airbursting Fragmentation Projector only. Ignore AP of -1 or -2 against this model. Something to consider solely for the massive amounts of AP -1 a marine army can spit out nowadays thanks to doctrines. Anything AP -3 or higher should be handled by your drones or shield generators. Use this, a Shield Generator, and Iridium Armor for a frustratingly hard to remove target that is unfortunately carrying a piece of shit gun.
    • Because of order of operations, you can give a model a projector, then this, then the relic projector Supernova Launcher just fine. And CIBs!
      • Note that this only affects shooting attacks and not melee.

Unit Analysis[edit]

HQ Units[edit]

  • Tau Commander in XV8 Armor: These are now one of the Tau Empire's most powerful models. Carrying an eye-watering four weapons at BS2+ with an incredibly cheap chassis, 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 (as of The Greater Good, you can take 2 if using the Farsight Enclaves), as a relic of a time before the rule of 3 existed. This can make it hard on you if you want to mix septs in your army. On the bright side, they can upgrade to Iridium Armour without using a Signature System slot to do so, giving them a shiny 2+ armour save.
    • Commanders excels in two roles: Anti-armor with quad fusion blasters; anti-TEQ with triple cyclic blaster and ATS. Leave anti-infantry for other units and put your best guns to use with BS2+.
    • They can't be spammed, but they usually run about 140 points, making their loss not as terrible as you would think.
  • Commander in XV85 Enforcer Battlesuit: Same as the regular commander, but has 1 more wound instead of access to Iridium Armour. 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 Armour upgrade, saving you 6 points.
  • Commander in XV81 Crisis Battlesuit (Forge World): commander in an XV8 Battlesuit with a mandatory Smart Missile System weapon and only 2 remaining slots for Weapons/Support systems. Noteworthy is that the wording is "replace burst cannon with a gun and\or system", so technically you can stick 2 weapons AND one system in it. A ok choice if you want a commander with a weapon that ignores cover and fine with him only to having fewer customization slots than usual.
  • Commander in XV84 Crisis Battlesuit (Forge World): Another variant of the XV8 Battlesuit. Automatically applies one Markerlight token per phase, as long as one of its shots hits the target; also has a built-in Target Lock System, although at 8 points more than a base Commander with Target Lock and can take two additional Weapons/systems, presumably the 8 points is paying for your auto-markerlight and extra wound. This is single-handedly 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.
  • Commander in XV86 Coldstar Battlesuit: The Coldstar commander has Ludicrous Speed - Movement 20", and Advancing adds another 20" instead of D6" for a total of 40" movement. 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.
  • 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 one of the best markerlight users in your army. He hits on twos and is a very hide-able character. You could also put him on a Droneport hooked up with 4x marker drones and now you're firing 5 markerlights that hit on 2+.

Special Characters[edit]

KE'LSHAN 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, able to stay with him without taking hit penalty but are for some reason WS3+ 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.

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're encouraged to take them for the extra CP and firepower they offer to your army. If you want to spam them, 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 and give them FNP, and markerlights for re-rolls and +1 to hit. 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 the 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.)
    • Don't forget that pulse pistols are free this edition (for when your screen inevitably gets charged).
    • 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 Sergeant), which is cheaper 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 Fireblade, the rifles will only be firing 2 shots at 15", a dangerous distance and the pulse carbines will be firing 3 shots at 9", which I would still be hard-pressed 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. Maybe a more viable choice now, given that most everything for our army has dropped in points cost.
    • MV-36 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 the 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. The changes to disembarking before the transport moves make 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 4 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 utilize 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 has 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.
    • MV-36 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 pulls their finger out and update that ruleset for 8th), what with Breachers being designed for indoor/CQB an' all.
  • Kroot Carnivores: Slightly cheaper bubble wrap than Fire Warriors, their 7" movement and initial infiltrate scout 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. with Ambushing Predators, they can counter-counter your Tau getting charged while they hide out of sight, other wise 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 and blast the stranded assault unit with 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, it 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 is 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]

All of the new updates and codices/psychic awakening have attempted to improve the space chickens, though they will typically find few roles other than meat shields.

  • Dahyak Grekh: For 40 points you get a deepstriking character with a 24" S4 sniper rifle. 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. Another idea for him is that Grehk can be a great way for mid game raising the flag, as you're not missing much with his shooting.
  • Kroot Shaper: A support hero for Kroot, buffing leadership of Kroot units within 6" to his ld7, and in the improbable occasion he kills with his knife, they also don't have to test morale. He is more usefully also re-rolling wound rolls of 1 and a Pack Alpha Stratagem improving charge rolls. He makes Hounds and Krootox Riders Dangerous while keeping pace. You always want to upgrade his rifle to Pulse, since both are free. Much like Grehk, These guys could be useful for raising banners, as it's a cheap throwaway unit with relatively high mobility.
  • Krootox Riders: A relatively cheap unit, they have become cheap Space Marine bikers, a fast unit with relatively strong shooting and melee, and able to quickly advance at the defect of not doing anything else that turn. they each have a pseudo-Autocannon (48" Rapid Fire1 S7 Ap-1 D3d). They do need stratagems to do their best, with Hidden Hunter for their low defense, Raging Beasts so they make 4 S6 Ap-1 D2 punches each, then throw in an advancing Shaper using Pack Alpha to go further beyond. They are cheap enough that you could throw a couple in your army if you wish tau had Melee calvary. another minor benefit is that you can field them as one model for complete moral immunity assuming you don't plan on buying anything else for the Elites slot (The second biggest benefit is that the model is sculpted with a menacing, don't-mess-with-it expression on its face).

<Sept>[edit]

  • XV-25 Stealth Battlesuits: Your infiltrators, able to be set up anywhere besides the opponent's deployment zone and within 12" of enemies. They no longer have any special interaction with cover, but their stats increased to T4 W2 while actually decreasing in price, and their Stealth rules now apply a -1 to hit modifier to any units attacking the Stealth Suits in both shooting AND close combat, lessening their dependence on terrain and giving them more autonomy. Unlike other battlesuit units they also have the INFANTRY keyword, with all the benefits and vulnerabilities it entails. They also con take only 2 drones per squad, one model every three can swap their Burst cannon for a Fusion blaster, and the Shas'vre can buy a markerlight w/target lock on top of his normal gear, which makes for a good argument to get MSU if you want more than three Stealth suit models.
    • Not useless at direct combat in any way, but their utility lies not on their raw power but on their tactical mobility, setting up where you want them right from the start while being difficult to remove. They even infiltrate a pair of drones, since they deploy together. Their homing beacons are one of the only ways to set up reinforcements closer than 9" from the enemy which matters to Flamers and Fusion gun (& Fusion Cascade) battlesuits, but since it works at the start of your movement phase it's rather niche. But they might need that help, since they cannot Manta Strike - the only other unit they can deploy alongside with is the Ghostkeel, with whom they work well:
      • Ghostkeels have lots of 18" guns but also want to keep their distance from the enemy; bodyblock them with Stealth suits, which get -1 to be hit even in melee. Ghostkeels can't bring regular drones; Stealth suits bring two, and their Shas'vre can get a target locked markerlight. And when a Ghostkeel loads up on fusion weapons and can no longer defend itself from the small guys, the Stealth suits help it with their burst cannons, maybe gun drones and even fusion guns of their own. Teamwork!
    • Stealth suits are in the enviable position of being able to take battlesuit support systems without actually needing them to be efficient, and since they're relatively hard to shoot away they can survive for when you Manta Strike all your stuff next turn. Give one a drone controller and that's a Crisis suit that doesn't need to give up a gun to support the incoming drones. A shield generator is relatively cheap and gives the unit a 50/50 chance of ignoring any rogue heavy weapon hits, such as a lascannon's. You can give the fusion gun suits a target lock so they can advance to melta range. The other systems affect their shooting, which may be a job best left to the real combat units: What would an enemy flyer care about being shot at with a gun that wounds it on 5's, has no AP and deals single damage, even if you do hit it on a 4+ with a velocity tracker? That's what Broadsides are for.
  • XV-8 Crisis Battlesuits: GW has given them plenty of points drops to make them useable, and Psychic Awakening has done even more to make Crisis Suits appealing by giving you lots of relics and stratagems. Crisis teams are the surgical strike of the Tau military, deployed to counter the enemy elite and destroy their vulnerable points, but those costs add up. The only weapon they're more cost effective than a Commander is Flamers, as they are not affected by their questionable BS4+. The Commander is just more effective, but the limit on Commanders makes Crisis suits a viable alternative for when you can't bring as many as you'd want. They deep strike through a Manta Strike, a distinction which matters in 9E for stratagem use. Unlike other suits, Crisis suits put weapons and support systems in the same slots, and 9E's simplification of the rules has made it so that bringing three guns is better than two guns with a support system most of the time. On the plus side, they can take 2 drones per model, and deploy with them in the same Manta Strike, as well as support them with a drone controller. This means they can bring their own drone support without using up Fast Attack slots, and you can keep shielding your Riptide with like thirty drones and such.
    • They are very versatile, but so is the rest of your army and some models have the same battleroles, so you have to decide what you get from which unit. Not saying "don't take this and go WAAC", just saying some loadouts overlap in function. For example, you can bring trios of Burst cannons and pairs of Gun Drones for a bazillion S5 shots...but since you get S5 from literally every other place in your army, is anti-infantry something your Crisis should really be doing? They can get a ton of Fusion Blasters up the enemy's face, but do you need to, when you also have railguns? The same thing happens with other guns. Missile pods are for long range light antitank & heavy infantry, and so are Broadsides. Airburst projectors' ignore LoS, but so do Smart missile units, and you can also FLY over obstacles. Flamers, your best anti-infantry weapon, get automatic S4 hits at 12". 9 Flamers on the deepstrike will reliably melt most things, and is a seriously viable anti-tank/elite option if you stack the stratagems right.
      • Crisis suits are your most efficient source of plasma rifles, which are your most efficient anti-MEQ, even after the nerf 8E was for them. Cyclic ion blasters look like a very complete weapon by being like a combination of a burst cannon and a missile pod...but burst cannons kill marines more efficiently even when you overcharge the ion blaster, by virtue of it costing more than twice what a burst cannon costs. Plus they're scalped to hell...but they are your only gun with guaranteed D2, which makes it an invaluable tool at killing those Primaris Gue'ron'sha.
  • XV-8 Crisis Bodyguards: +3 pts per suit to give them Shas'Vre stats (Ld8 3A), with the ability to take wounds for your CHARACTERS. 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. Still, the ranges at which flamers and fusion guns operate are short enough that close combat is a real possibility and an extra attack is worth considering. If you are already bringing a Crisis bomb, make them Bodyguards.
  • XV-9 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 barrelled 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 armour 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!
  • XV-95 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 (the extra -1 has been removed, but allows you to ignore any plus one to hit bonuses as of the latest errata, thus keeping the Ghostkeel at almost always -1 to hit). 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...
    • MV-5 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.
  • XV-104 Riptide Battlesuit: These are still the most dangerous units in the roster, bringing an eye-watering amount of firepower and being nearly impossible to remove if you bring enough drones. Nova Reactor confers an automatic mortal wound, but it grants a useful effect (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 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 receive. Also don't forget that Sense of Stone gives you that 16% chance to not get DERP'd by reactor. MONSTERs drew the lucky ticket this edition, so have fun now prancing around with Heavy guns (forget Target Lock) and shooting people in melee with you in the face. ATS goes great with HBC/SMS loadout; Ion is better off with a Velocity Tracker.
    • MV-84 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. Still, with a movement of 12" it's probably the best drone to keep up with a Riptide on the move, to absorb hits directed at it.
  • 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. Slightly better BS than normal, and has a Markerlight. Unfortunately, he is 3x the cost of a Pathfinder for the privilege, though he is 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). If you bring sniper drones this is a mandatory take, since he provides them with a +1 to hit. Combine that with a drone controller on a nearby commander and they'll be hitting on a not-terrible 3+.
    • Note that 3 of these and an ethereal are perfect for a Sa'cea sept vanguard detachment. The ethereal takes the +1 Ld and turns your entire army into Ld 10, and with the free re-roll your Firesight Marksmen will have an 89% chance to hit.
  • 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.

Fast Attack[edit]

Kroot[edit]

  • Kroot Hounds: Cheap bubblewrap at 4 points each (minimum 16 per unit) for more valuable units. 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.
  • Great 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 armour 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.
    • MV-31 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.
    • MV-33 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.
    • Pro-tip: If you are against Custodes, use these as skirmishers. You can use them to mess with their jetbikes, and possibly charge them to give your suits more time to tear them apart.
  • Tetra Scout Speeder Team (Forge World): Has a High Intensity Markerlight, that grants 3 Markerlight counters on a hit. 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!
  • Tactical Drones: Note this is also the datacard used for all other drones that deploy with, and then separate from, other Tau 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.
    • MV-1 Gun Drones: At 10 points, this is the Tau Empire's somewhat more efficient source of dakka after the change to Volly Fire. These synergise 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.
    • MV-4 Shield Drones: These drones have a 4++/5+++, making them incredibly good at soaking damage. With the way saviour protocol functions you want a bunch of these around to absorb any high strength, high damage weapons aimed at your battlesuits. Lascannons will be completely useless against your army until these are dead, since they turn that D6 damage into a single Mortal Wound, then have a 33% chance to ignore it. Some lists are running 30-40 of these guys to do nothing but keep your army alive. Extremely frustrating to play against, so don't do that if you want to keep your friends. GW has realized the utter Bullshit that is these were and were bumped to a deserved 15 points.
    • MV-7 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.
  • XV-109 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 murder small targets or murder 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 god tier Sanic fast tag team. If you're feeling extra cunty take three and keep them in 6" range of each other, 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 synergises 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.

Vespid[edit]

  • Vespid Stingwings: They're cheap at 11ppm 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.
    • Unfortunately, at T4 1W Sv 4+ these are going to die very easily. Get them cover or have something more threatening on the board for your enemy to worry about.

Heavy Support[edit]

<SEPT>[edit]

  • MV-71 Sniper Drones: Without support these are terrible, they have BS 5+, a 48" Rapid Fire 1 S5 AP0 D1 gun that can target characters. If you have a Firesight Marksman who can see the target and have another unit with drone controller nearby they gain +2 to hit, then add Deadly Aim for 2 CP for -2Ap at 24", going from below to above average for snipers. As with all drones, their LD is garbage, so keep an ethereal nearby if they start to get shot at. Another important to make most out of the deadly aim you real need fill to upper limits to about 12 drones Ethereal will help but so will the Stratagem - Strike and Fade for one command point you can move it into behind line of sight. If get opponent real angry you might want to do same after doing this for two or three turns
    • Note that Cadre Fireblades don't work on these guys - The FAQ specifically says Longshot Pulse Rifles are not a Pulse Rifle for the purposes of volley Fire.
    • Sadly the changes to 9th ed made these units beyond worthless. The +1/-1 cap meant that they can no longer receive the +2 buff that made them mediocre, now they can't ever hit more than half the time. Forget they exist, if you need character killing, use a Fusion Coldstar instead, will actually hit and certainly kill its target.
  • 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 buy 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.
  • 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. These have amazing alpha strike capability, delivering a huge amount of firepower turn 1. After that, they really don't do much besides provide some markerlights and S5 shots.
  • TX7 Hammerhead Gunship: Railguns are kinda questionable without Longstrike. However, Solid Shot can now deliver D3 Mortal Wounds on a to-wound roll of 6+, making them useful against Vehicles and smaller Squads (remember Mortal Wounds always rollover 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 are only 5 points more, 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). Frankly, take Ion if you are only running one Hammerhead, and take Rail if you brought Longstrike.
    • Crunch-wise, Hammerhead-borne railgun is actually buffed up due to new vehicle 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. Many targets will have an invulnerable save anyway, and if Longstrike's around you should just go for that Ion Cannon, you'll get a better return on investment.
  • 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.
  • XV-88 Broadside Battlesuits: Their Heavy Rail Rifle has long-range and fires two S8 AP-4 D1d6 shots, 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, especially when targetting anything with an invulnerable save. Broadsides still have the (practically mandatory) option to take their one Seeker Missile for that nasty potshot. It can take up to 2 drones, in any combination of tactical or missile, per model. These suits are getting damn cheap, at 76 points with dual plasma rifle and rail weaponry. Three of them with Shas'vre nets you 228 points and the Magna-rifle upgrade can be had free of points cost.
    • A large squad of these can be buffed with Kayuon and Command and Control node, giving them full rerolls on both to hit and to wound. This is an excellent tactic to take out a large threat, but be aware that they aren't very mobile at all and lack fly. If they get engaged in close combat you can say goodbye to any use they have. Keep them screened.
    • MV-8 Missile Drone: A mobile Missile Pod for fewer 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 it 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 chassis for the Broadside has gone down significantly to 35! Now a Broadside with an 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 are 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).
      • If you prefer to keep them close to their missile bubblewrap, consider taking heavy Rail rifle broadsides, two with shield generators/velocity trackers and the Shas'Vre taking a drone controller. Suddenly your unit is a blob of rail-and-missile death that can cause problems for almost everything.
  • XV-107 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.
    • While the R'varna remains a very powerful choice, it is a much more specialized unit than it was in previous editions: it no longer gains weapon strength or additional hits against larger targets, and the removal of blast weapons has reduced its efficiency against hordes. Keep it pointed at its favorite targets, and it'll never disappoint.

Kroot[edit]

  • Great Knarloc (Open and Narrative Play only): GMO space chickens have taken to the extreme. Their big melee brutes equipped a big gun or Gattler, and can either inflict MW on attack or be a large standard to keep your Kroot chaff in line.

Flyers[edit]

  • AX3 Razorshark Strike Fighter: Cheaper than the Sunshark but fewer 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. It could be worth it, as it is substantially cheaper than a Sun Shark.
  • AX39 Sun Shark Bomber: 9th 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. Might also be useful in low point games against Custodes, due to the heavy Dakka and free mortal wounds. It's a decent enough unit that can zoom across the map to take advantage of the Bomber rules, though somewhat frail in comparison to other units on this list.
    • MV-17 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 sports a 20" move value, making them good Coldstar Commander Escorts.
  • 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 horrendous 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.
    • This is a good Titan hunter, not a great one. Simply put, the Heavy Rail Cannons are a very low volume weapon with only 2 shots. Chances are high that one of those shots (perhaps both) will fail to hit, wound, and/or will get saved somewhere. That leaves you with essentially 6 x 2 for 12 damage on average, and a 1/6th chance for additional DD3 mortal wounds (which can also be saved by void shields). For the cost, lascannon equivalents and regular rail cannons can fill the same role with added consistency. When making the comparison between the Imperial Volcano Cannon, it's the higher volume of shots (3 x DD3, as opposed to 2) that give it an advantage. Frankly, a flat 10 or 12 damage is warranted for a weapon that hurls human-sized projectiles at 5 kilometers per second (depending on atmospheric conditions).
  • AX-5-2 Barracuda (Forge World): The default Heavy Burst Cannon, two Long Barrelled Burst Cannons, and two Missile Pods mean 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. Changes to primary weapons mean this thing is fucking worthless compared to the riptide, which is the role it fulfills anyway, with the branching nova charge stratagem you have even less reason to ever touch this thing.
  • 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 a 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 BS2+ (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 26+2d6 shots per turn, giving you on average over 40 dice to throw around raping infantry.
    • Changes to Barracuda primaries have made this thing absolutely worthless, either take the ax-1-0 or pay a little more for a pair of riptides/y'vahras instead, it was good while it lasted.
    • 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).
    • With Modulated Weaponry stratagem 2 stock Ion Cannons this thing has will dish out 6 shots a turn on overcharge, and those 6 shots will hit on 2+ in 9th with only 1 ML required to reroll overcharges. With 3 damage per shot this is a lot of pain. Sadly, it will only do 2d6/12 shots vs 10+ model units against which those 3 dmg are wasted.
  • 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. Not great but not bad either at a comfortable 54 points apiece.
    • Coldstar with drone controller seems like a niche and useful combo. These are base BS4+ meaning you can boost them to BS3+ with drone controller. They can also deep strike and can move without taking any shooting penalties with 36" burst cannons.
    • Also bodyguards the Yvahra battle suit well and clears out the hordes which may attempt to shield precious units from the Y'vahra's weaponry. R'vahra also has the option for a drone controller, just like other riptides!
    • You are no longer able to shove them in a Devilfish per the latest FAQ.
  • Orca Dropship (Forge World): Once considered so useless and over-costed that Forge World removed it from the 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.
    • Since in 8th Edition you only have to set up within 3" when disembarking from a transport this issue is somewhat downplayed. You can have everyone in the Orca fan out around it now instead of being limited to the rear ramp.

Lords of War[edit]

  • KV-128 Stormsurge: In some ways, the Stormsurge is a better option than the Riptide. 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, it takes extra damage from some particularly massive weapons but suffers no penalty for moving and shooting and can Fall Back and still shoot. It ends up being about 30% more expensive than the Riptide once equipped but with more Wounds, better base invuln save (only if equipped with shield generator), 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 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. HOWEVER, in 9th ed Super-heavy auxiliary detachments do not gain detachment abilities, so unless you have three of these guys then Sept tenets won't matter.
      • 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-armour 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 reroll 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 fewer hits, their lower strength and the minimum range really hurt them, especially since things want to be close to your Ta'unar. 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. It would have been better if it were 3d6 shots to match the codex ion buff. Viable Ta'unar 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 ungodly 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.

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 Tau 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.

Sept[edit]

Bork'an[edit]

Bork'an Sept Symbol.webp
In the grim darkness of the far future, the technology of T'au makes us strong

Thematically, Bork'an is the brains of the Empire. Few of the many great battlesuits in the hunter cadres would be as advanced as they are today without the innovations of this sept. Enlightened and hardworking, they ever aspire to create more technology to better serve both the armies and the citizens of the Greater Good.
On the tabletop, they play similar to any gunline, only they get bonuses to the range of their Rapid Fire and Heavy guns, further detering charges, and allow your weapons to have just that much ability to tap enemy units.

  • Sept Tenets – 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.
    • Y'vahra. drop the mic.
    • Like the similar Vostroyan doctrine, this is helpful in keeping your units at the half range out of enemy charges more than it is sending shots far downfield (although they can do that, too).
  • Warlord Trait - Seeker of Perfection: For each hit roll of 6+ made for your warlord, add 1 to the wound roll for that attack.
  • Relic - 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)
  • Stratagem - 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[edit]

Border
In the grim darkness of the far future, there is no victory without unity.

Thematically, Dal'yth is the idealized version of the T'au'va's creed. A world once infested with predators, through hardship, has been transformed into a world of plenty, where aliens of all kinds interact and trade, creating a boon of prosperity. Even in the light of the devastating Damocles Gulf Crusade they gave only inches, and have turned their hardship into reason to push harder and higher.
On the tabletop, they play as a slightly beefier gunline, resisting light arms fire better with their armor saves and wiping out enemy opposition with their sudden surges, that while exposing them, also allow them to shock, surprise, and ambush their opponents.

  • Sept Tenets – Adaptive Camouflage: Units with this tenet gain cover, but lose it if they move for any reason until the start of the next movement phase. This includes Vehicles. Hammerheads with 2+ saves anyone?
    • Reminder that the way the Core rulebook is written, technically modified save rolls of one are now possible thanks to GW incompetence. Thus Broadsides, Crisis Suits with Iridium Armor, Riptides, and anything with a 2+ save can get this enviable save. Don't forget to add shield generators for extra lulz.
    • 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.
    • Also note that units that use a recon drone or homing beacon to perform a “low altitude drop” technically receive this benefit.
  • Warlord Trait - 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 are better traits to take than hoping that Krootox or those Kroot Carnivores save you.
  • Relic - Dynamic Mirror Field: -1 to hit the user.
  • Stratagem - 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.
    • 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. (The strategemen picks a unit to shoot them immediately move, it doesn't immediately make a unit shoot then immediately move.)
Units[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]

Border
In the grim darkness of the far future, freedom isn't free.

Thematically, the Farsight Enclaves are patriot rebels, aspiring to the tenets of the T'au'va away from what they perceive to be the corrupt and tyrannical rule of the Ethereals. They are also highly aggressive, a trait born of necessity when the only support they have is each other and the few allies they have in the main Empire.

On the tabletop, they play as a highly aggressive mobile attack force not unlike Eldar, subverting the ranged stereotype of the Tau with plenty of close range shooting tricks and even some melee tools. Playing FSE means to always be on the offensive, potentially blindside an opponent expecting a static gunline.

If you would do away with tau stereotypes and bring the fight to the enemy, then suit up with the Farsight Enclaves and redden the skies.

  • Sept Tenets – Devastating Counter-Strike: When shooting enemies from a distance of 6" or less with someone using this Tenet, re-roll 1s to wound. Should also work on Overwatch if the enemy's charging from close enough. Overall a high-risk low reward version of the lieutenants everyone else has. Fortune favours the bold, and an army that would rather keep its distance would be better served by using a different tennet.
    • Succintly geared towards battlesuit use, which have the speed to get up close and the resilience to survive: their flamers (including the Y'varha's) and fusion blasters (especially fusion cascades) will thank you.
  • Aggressive Footing: Gifted from Psychic awakening since the tenet can be underwhelming. When shooting an enemy within 12", they are treated as having +1 markerlights. AKA turns 0 to 1, and 4 to 5.
    • The first markerlight is the most important one for Commanders, what you’ll probably be taking a lot of if your force is Enclaves heavy. This lets you run lean on Markerlight platforms or devote more of them to the rest of your BS 4+ army that won’t be shooting at the same things your super special suits will. It's also the most important one for Overwatch.
  • Matched play rule - Commanders: You can bring up to two Farsight Enclaves Commanders, as opposed to the codex' limit of one. Regarding whether or not this rules overrides the codex one, this rule says you can bring up to two...so you can.
    • A popular way to bring a lot of commanders is to bring multiple battalions, each with 2 commanders and 3 strike / breacher teams for roughly 450pts (depending on commander equipment).
    • Do note Shadowsun, who can now be used with any sept, is not a "Farsight Enclaves Commander", so you can have a Battalion with two FE Commanders and Shadowsun and still be legal.
    • When playing with the rule of 3 in a 2k game. you can bring 6 "Farsight Enclaves Commander" split over different types. exp 3 enforcers and 3 cold stars in 3 detachments to still comply with the entire rule of 3.
Warlord Traits[edit]
  1. Hero of the Enclaves: The Warlord can perform a Heroic Intervention if they're within 6" of enemy units after all enemy charge moves 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, it re-rolls all failed hits until the end of the turn. Note this would affect his overwatch, which happens during the charge phase.
  2. Aggressive Tactician: When the Warlord (Commander model only) declares Mont'ka, its range is extended to 12". The extended range can be used to bring more units in the ride, like accompanying Drones.
  3. Blooded Through War: Bonding knife units pass morale on a 4+ within 12" of the Warlord. Effectively makes you never lose more than 3 Fire Warriors to a bad morale phase. More useful than Ethereal support for large blobs of FW or against fear-based armies, but you have warlord traits with more general purposes.
  4. Master of the killing blow: Re-roll hits rolls against CHARACTER models for your Warlord. Thoroughly meh; your commander lacks both a sniper gun to hit characters from afar, or blades to strike them down up close. No, with only 2A the Fusion blades aren't reliable either.
Relics[edit]

It is a good thing that GW released Prototype Weapons and that the Enclaves are no longer restricted from taking Tau Empire Signature Systems (back in the day...), because these relics are...underwhelming, to say the least.

  • Fusion Blades: They give a character with at least two fusion blasters TWO (and only two) melee attacks at S8 AP-4 D1d6, the remaining attacks will be S5 AP0 punches. Not melta in melee so if you roll a 1 for damage, that's what you get.
    • Where marines get Thunder Hammers, you have to use a relic to get two S8 armour-ignoring attacks. They are obsolete reminders of a previous age, when meltas could one-shot tanks by causing an Explode result and S8 meant Instant Death; a high risk - high reward gamble. They are cool, but they shouldn't be the sole reason why you paint your suits red.
    • Do not also take the Onager Gauntlet. That thing is only one attack, this one is two. You should NOT be spending a CP for 3A with power weapons.
  • The Mirrorcodex: The wielder re-rolls all hits (not just failed ones) against enemies within 18". Should have been an aura because that's kinda how it worked last edition, but no. It does work pretty much only works in melee, since your Commanders are BS2+ and get +1 markerlight when within 12". And you're not giving it to a single-gun Fireblade. Pass.
  • Talisman of Arthas Moloch: Gives the user a 5++, and allows one DTW against enemy psykers within 24" per opponent's psychic phase. Use it to deny psychic powers that boost enemy units or debuff your own; you have sacrificial drones to eat Smites.
  • Seismic Fibrillation Node: Once per battle, you can activate this relic at the start of your opponent's turn. For the rest of the turn, if an enemy model starts or ends their move within 6" of the relic bearer, roll a d6, on a roll of a 1 that enemy model's unit suffers 1 mortal wound. Has been nerfed with the 03/12/20 Errata to ignore Pile-Ins or Consolidation movement, so it can't be used to support other combats. The enemy will totally end their move at 6.1" away, HARD PASS.
Stratagems[edit]
  • Drop Zone Clear (2 CP): Select a battlesuit 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".
  • Danger Close (1 CP): In the shooting phase, pick a Breacher Team or Strike Team. When performing ranged attacks against enemies within 12", they can re-roll all wound rolls (and not just failed ones). Compared to the universal Breach and Clear!, this doesn't need the enemy to be in cover, which would cost you 2 markerlights to ignore. It does need close range, but that's a given for Breachers, and it can also be used by the more common Strike Teams.
    • Simply put, this increases a troop's dakka when close to the enemy. So, not only you could spend points on a Devilfish and ferry your Breachers to the meatgrinder of the front lines, but you could also use it defensively. It is your enemy who will try to reach you in melee; many times they will succeed. Either keep some Pulse Rifle squads further back, or a few Breacher MSU inside Devilfish, or use the transports themselves (or drones) as a front line, but the point is to have squads who can respond to an enemy who has reached your lines. Then you teach the fools what "Danger Close" means by rerolling all wound rolls on S5-S6.
  • Veteran Cadre (1/2 CP, Single Use): Costs 2CP for units with more than 3 models. A Crisis Suits or Crisis Bodyguard unit (but not their drones) gain WS4+ BS3+. Better than Drop Zone clear, which only works on a Manta strike and doesn't affect melee.
    • This is perhaps the better way to get re-rollable BS2+ Crisis suits, especially since the Enclaves need only 4 markerlights at close range. The other two "+1 to hit" options (Drop Zone Clear & Coordinated Engagement) cost 2CP per use. This one may be single use, but it lasts all match long and can even be combined with Sworn Bodyguards or Farsight's own Way of the Short Blade to get a unit with decent melee in addition to awesome dakka.
  • Defense in Numbers (2cp): When a Crisis Suits or Crisis Bodyguard unit is targeted for an attack during the fight or opponent shooting phase, they gain 5+ FNP. Useful for the shots you'd try to save with the suits' armour instead of passing on to nearby drones.
  • Furious Assault (1cp): When a jet pack finishes a charge move, for each model, one nearby enemy takes an MW for each 3+, aka 2 MW for each Crisis trio that charges. Neat.
  • Focused Fury (1CP): When a character is used during the Shooting phase, he can re-roll the wound roll for the phase. On top of the Commander being BS2+ re-rollable at close range. Use it on a Coldstar for REAL MONAT TIME.
  • Firestorm (1CP+ each affected unit): AKA 2CP-4CP. At end of the movement phase, a pick up to 3 T'au empire Flyers. Each enemy within 3" takes D3 MW on a 4+. Can stack to nasty levels with bombers, as both effects happen at the end of the movement phase. One of the few stratagems that can be used with FW options, since it doesn't specify which flyer to use.
Units[edit]
HQ[edit]
  • Commander Farsight: The rebel melee commander got better with the codex, and now Psychic Awakening gives you the tools to solve the old problem of him being the only melee model in your army. Now that reserves and deepstrike scatter no longer exist, Farsight's focused on his one true calling: Close. Quarters. Combat. His Way of the Short Blade is a 6" aura for any Farsight enclaves to re-roll 1s to hit...in the Fight phase, upgraded to any phase vs Orks because fuck Be'gel. His S+3 AP-4 D1d3 Dawn Blade effectively strikes like a power fist, but with only 4A he still has to pick his battles: finish infantry shot half to death alongside your trusty S5 3A Crisis Bodyguards, or put a dent in a tank. He's got no drones of his own, so buy some separately.
    • Naturally he goes well with Crisis units. He's got a relic-tier S6 AP-4 D2 plasma rifle good for killing TEQ, but he's still the least shooty commander you'll see because that's his only gun. As such, he's perhaps the best candidate to use the Command and Control Node stratagem, and sacrifice only two shots for half a dozen battlesuits to re-roll wounds for shooting the turn they arrive. Next turn you can get closer to 6" of the enemy and get the wounds re-rolls of 1 from the tenet, and you can use Farsight's Genius of Mont'Ka extra activation to get those Fusion Blasters in position.
Lords of War[edit]
  • The Eight: As of The Greater Good, 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, 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. Do note his Fusion Blasters are two extra attacks on top of his regular melee ones, unlike the normal version.
    • 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+++. Unlike other users, his Onager Gauntlet is an extra attack on top of his regular melee. Still, it's a single punch.
    • 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/armour: 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.
  • The Eight are a very cinematic choice and can be 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. Furthermore, Battlesuit gameplay changed A LOT from 7E to 8E, and this guys didn't. Any loadout that isn't 4x of the same gun is a waste of a Commander's BS2+, and many of them are actually spaztic, combining anti-GEQ flamers with anti-MEQ plasma rifles. Yes they are stacked with relic gear, but if what you want is to merely spam Commanders, then bring the ones you want instead of the ones GW gives you: You can bring 3 Commanders (rule of three), Farsight and Shadowsun, with Commander flavours the Eight don't have (markerlight Commander, Smart missile commander, COLDSTAR MONAT). Hell, you could represent Torchstar with a Crisis Bodyguard Shas'vre (she's SUBcommander) with dual flamers and a drone controler, even give yours a 2+ save the real one doesn't have. You would miss out on Broadside Ob'lotai and Riptive O'vesa...were it not for the amazing Prototype Gear you can equip your versions with. All in all, your dudes can beat GW's 8 anytime.
Tactical Objectives[edit]
Tactics[edit]

Sa'cea[edit]

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In the grim darkness of the far future, the Banner of T'au flies high.

Thematically, Sa'cea is the most militant and disciplined of the Septs, where Fire Warriors and Pathfinders train for years in order to unneringly stand their ground against even the mightiest Monsters and war machines. They are ever eager to expand the greater good, and have disciplined and well trained soldiers prepared to perform this task.
On the tabletop, they highly favor the use of low-volume shot weapons and low squads of regular infantry, allowing them to almost never fail morale and very reliably hit with those extremely powerful and valuable heavy weapons.

  • Sept Tenets – 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 too every. Single. Time.
    • Ethereals are great in Sa'cea sept detachments. The +1 Ld on them will give them an Ld 10 aura for your entire army, and their abilities do not require a shared <Sept>, unlike most.
    • 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.
  • Warlord Trait - 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.
  • Relic - Grav-Inhibitor Field: Subtract 2″ from charge distance if user is declared the target of a charge. It can really save you from a charge while still letting you fire Overwatch.
  • Stratagem - 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[edit]

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In the grim darkness of the far future, the T'au'va burns bright

Thematically, the T'au sept demonstrates the T'au beliefs to the fullest. From the political ideals of T'au to their tactics, the T'au sept is the singular source for everything regarded as properly T'au. Having a great concentration on Ranged warfare and ways to make sure things keep far away, they are the building block of which every other sept in the T'au Empire is built, and have spawned many great heroes over the course of hundreds of years.
On the tabletop, they play like the classic gunline, blasting anything they see to pieces, and anything that tries to get close will very soon find that charging basically is a second shooting phase for you. You won't be moving much, and that's ok, because that is where your true beauty shines.

  • Sept Tenets – Coordinated Fire Arcs: Any unit with this tenet that fires Overwatch within 6" of another Tau 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.
    • to be clear, this could easily be the best sept trait but is highly dependent on your opponent. An assault-heavy army will hate you even more than they already do, while against another gunline you may as well not have a tenet. Though sept is not just tenets, it also has unique units, relics, and strategems, and Tau sept gets jackpot in all three.
  • Warlord Trait - Strength of Belief: Roll a D6 for each Mortal Wound inflicted on Warlord; on a 5+ it is ignored. Longstrike has this.
  • Relic - Vectored Maneuvering Thrusters: Battlesuit only. The 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.
  • Stratagem - 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?
Units[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 Tau 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. It also gets to provide two buffs per turn, instead of one. Definitely an auto take in any team game with multiple Tau 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 Tau 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 TAU 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.
    • 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. Place her in the center of your castle and don't forget to use Command and Control Node.
    • She got a new battlesuit in The Greater Good, and consequently has modified rules. She can now take one of two different types of fusion blasters. The high-energy fusion blaster is the type you know and love, best suited for busting tanks; the dispersed mode has slightly shorter range and strength and only does d3 damage, but the extra shot it fires makes it a bit more useful for taking on multiple MEQs at once (it retains the melta effect too). Her shield drones have been replaced with a single Advanced Guardian Drone that gives models within 3" a 4+ invulnerable save and FnP 6+, and her Supreme Commander rule allows her to be used in any Sept (although only T'au actually lets her benefit from the Sept Tenet).
    • Although she can be used in any Sept army now, only Tau Sept units can benefit from her Kauyon and Mont'ka. As for her guardian drone, it grants a FNP6+ to any model inside the 3" bubble. Her drone abilities are the only one she has working in multiple Sept armies. Strangely, the guardian drone grants its FNP to any model, meaning its the only way to have a FNP on a Stormsurge, or other vehicles, for a small improvement in survivability. Saviour Protocols also is tied to Sept, so if she isn’t used with T’au, she can’t be protected by drones.
  • Darkstrider: Now buffs a nearby Tau Sept infantry unit, giving them +1 to wound rolls against a single enemy unit that Darkstrider can see, and also allows nearby Tau 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! Tau 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, Tank Ace for +1 to Wound rolls vs MONSTER and VEHICLE models, and Fire Caste Exemplar which grants all TAU 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 a base Hammerhead. 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 TAU 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 synergizes 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 flyers 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.
    • One final note, this guy draws a lot of fire. Without an invulnerable save he doesn't have very good survivability. It's probably a good point to keep him tucked away until you get a chance to shoot since he can move and ignore the penalty due to the +1 to hit.

Vior’la[edit]

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In the grim darkness of the far future, a good warrior strikes as fast as he flees.

Thematically, Vior'la are some of the most aggressive and reckless warriors in the Empire. They are taught from birth to do one thing: move close as quickly as possible, and blast their enemies into paste. They are a tough people that come form an even tougher world, and produce some of the finest military minds ever known.
On the tabletop, they are a highly mobile combat force. They make use of lightning fast speed and powerful weaponry in order to let them outmanuever and shatter their opponents on highly concentrated gunfire.

  • Sept Tenets – 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, but doesn't help the bigger suits that have Heavy weapons. You will still need a target lock or Mont'ka for them. 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.
    • Pulse carbines are a bit more valuable too because they retain their two shots at 18” while still giving the extra mobility of advancing. Being able to advance, plus the 3” the carbine has over the rifle’s rapid-fire range, allows your breachers to threaten a wider range with two shots each and making hit and run tactics more viable.
  • Warlord Trait - 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.
  • Relic - 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.
  • Stratagem - 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. Another advantage of using this on a stealth team is, unlike pulse rifles or blasters, your burst cannons will be just as effective in the second volley as the first; using this stratagem on a strike, pathfinder, or breacher team runs the risk of your first set of attacks killing the closest couple models and causing the next wave to either be out of rapid fire or max strength range.
Units[edit]
  • Aun'shi: An Ethereal that, unlike the other Ethereals, really did study the blade. Good in melee for the points even compared to the melee characters of other factions, especially before considering that you are playing Tau 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 afterward. 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. Worth considering instead of the standard Ethereal if you plan to do any close combat, but most of the time you'll want your characters to be screened by other units rather than fighting.
    • 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 duellist, 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.

Tactics and Strategy[edit]

Command Points[edit]

  • Use 'em
    • Good for re-rolling rail and fusion weaponry 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. Holy Aun'va that's frightening.
    • 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 Tau: 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 $20 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 armoured vehicle to dish out some damage. Build it as a Longstrike and use the spare turret with...
    • Optimised 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 and/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 auxiliary detachment to shoehorn in a second commander.
  • Firesight Marksmen are worth their weight in gold. You don't even need the drones- *PEW* TAU 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 Tau... Every list, even at very low pt games should start with a battlion.
  • You are limited to one Commander per detachment. You can minimise this limit by using multiple small detachments. Since Battalions are cheap and easy to make for Tau, you should at least have 2 in your list, this will give you a whopping 13 command points. If you can squeeze another one in there go for it, but if you can't just take one more detachment with smaller requirements. Do what you gotta do to field 3 commanders.
  • 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.
  • You can also deep strike another squad of gun drones to add additional dakka. Not enough, but a lot more than before.
  • With the new Psychic Awakening buffs, this got some extra flexibility. Use 1/2CP to make the suit squad Veterans, giving them a starting WS and BS of 4+ and 3+ respectively. If using Crisis Bodyguards have them charge in with Farsight,use Furious Assault (1CP) for a 3+ mortal wound for each suit within 1", then activate Sworn Bodyguards (1CP) for rerolling both failed hits and wounds.

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 optimise shooting be sure to place command and control node on the battlesuit 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 Tau 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 customise 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. Armour 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.