The T’au Empire are young upstarts to the Galaxy, using their superior technology and tactics to win the day. An almost entirely Shooting focused faction, able to operate at all ranges with swathes of Infantry, heavier Battlesuits and large Vehicles.
T’au Empire Tactical Guide | Warhammer 40,000 Tactical Guide
- Fantastic shooting and movement potential
- Great customizability across many units
- Operating like a proper combined arms force, with rules that reward cohesive play and forethought
- Potential for some of the strongest alpha strikes in the game
- Cool and unique model range
- Pretty much only active in the Shooting Phase in terms of damage
- Can get pricey very quickly if you use certain loadouts for units
- Auxiliaries continue to rage against the dying of the light, with very little synergies with the army as a whole, taking up room in the Codex, and overall having some very niche uses that can often be fulfilled elsewhere
- Can dish it but can’t take it, with survivability being fairly low outside certain units, making holding onto Objectives and trading a tough ask
- “Bonus Con?” – More so than any other army they tend to bring out the worst in people. Not necessarily those playing them, just the community in general has a hate hat on for them, despite them being far more popular than other armies, and “sins of the past” is rife in conversation about them
Here are some key points to remember when reading this Primer, mainly to save it being typed out every time. Don’t forget that this presumes you have the Codex, so some basic things may not be explained here.
Any of the rules discussed below apply only to T’AU EMPIRE models with the same <SEPT> Keyword, so no overlapping or crossing of Auras (no VIOR’LA Auras or powers affecting BORK’AN units, for example). There are occasional exceptions that will affect all T’AU EMPIRE units, these will be called out. As a general rule, any AUXILIARIES cannot benefit from or trigger any abilities discussed unless explicitly called out (a unit of VESPID won’t trigger the Focused Fire Stratagem for the T’AU SEPT for example)
Some common shorthand terms found throughout-
- X++ means an invulnerable save
- X+++, or ‘shrug’, ‘Feel No Pain’ or ‘Ignore Damage roll’ depending on how you’re feeling, means it is a dice roll to ignore each point of damage, which is taken after any failed saves.
- ‘6s explode’ essentially translates to ‘An unmodified 6 to Hit does an additional hit’, so read that as ‘Does 2 Hits instead of 1’. Per the Core Rules, anything that might also happen on a 6 to hit (such as auto-wounding) does not apply to the additional hit, only the original.
- ‘First turn of combat’ means any rules that trigger when you Charge, are Charged, or Heroically Intervene.
- ‘Deep Strike’ essentially means the unit can be placed into Reinforcements and arrive more than 9” away from enemy units.
- ‘Infiltrate’ or something on those lines means the unit can be deployed anywhere on the table over 9” away from enemy models and the enemy deployment zone, instead of deploying normally.
If your Detachment is Battle-Forged (which will be most armies) and only has T’AU EMPIRE units in it.
- Cadre Command- One COMMANDER per Detachment, unless you’re FARSIGHT ENCLAVES, then you can have 2. COMMANDERS are very potent units, so this limitation makes sense from a balance perspective, just a shame GW didn’t deign to give you Shas’el style Sub-commanders.
- Independent Power- The flipside of Cadre Command, preventing you from having ETHEREALS in your FARSIGHT ENCLAVES Detachments. Ethereals offer some nice bonuses and abilities, so this is a reasonable (and obviously fluffy) restriction to offset the strength of having 2 COMMANDERS.
- Sept Tenets- The “Chapter Tactics” for the T’au, working how they normally do, and described below.
- Objective Secured- All of your Troops get ObSec as you’d expect. Fire Warriors and Kroot are not the toughest things around, albeit fairly cheap, so make sure you support them so they can hold off for long enough
Every SEPT unit gains a Tenet, provided the whole army is from the same SEPT, granting them unique abilities, as well as a Warlord Trait, Stratagem and should your WARLORD have the associated Tenet, you are also eligible to have their Relic too.
AUXILIARY units (so Kroot and Vespid) never gain a Tenet, but don’t prevent it either. Fine.
You can also include a SUPREME COMMANDER from a different Sept (so SHADOWSUN) without taking away their rest of the army’s Tenet, but they will of course only benefit from their own Tenet if your entire army is of that Sept as well.
Sept Tenet- Coordinated Fire Arcs
Reroll a single Hit or Wound roll each time they Shoot or Fight (lol) is a great reliability boost, especially for things with heavy, low shot weaponry like Ghostkeels or Hammerheads. On top of that, you get +3” to Auras and to any abilities used in the Command Phase, up to 12”, letting you affect a larger part of your army or support elements further away without giving up your position. A decent general spread of abilities that will always be useful, though with greater benefits for Character support.
Warlord Trait- Strength of Belief
A 5+++. It’s fine, though if you’re caught out to need this, you’re probably already in trouble. Not bad, but there’s better generic traits.
Relic- Vectored Manoeuvring Thrusters
+2” Mv and, once per Turn, you can make a Normal Move after being declared the target of the charge if you’re not already in Engagement Range, at the cost of not Overwatching or Setting to Defend this Phase. A good defensive Relic to avoid melee, and the Mv boost helps ensure you can be in the optimal position for most of the game.
Stratagem- Focused Fire
When an enemy model loses any Wounds from an attack in your Shooting Phase, spend 2 CP on this to give all the CORE models in your army +1 to Wound that model’s unit for the rest of the Phase. A fairly costly ability, but this makes for a supremely lethal turn against a key enemy unit if you light them up before your heavy hitters turn their guns to them, and even makes your lighter arms much more potent.
Sept Tenet- Strike Fast
Units that are wholly within your Deployment Zone get +2” for your First Turn, and you can reroll Advance and Charge rolls. This is all about establishing board control early doors, and realistically will only benefit when used with the Mont’ka Philosophy, though it makes for some incredibly scary Turn 1 offense, only to be followed up with Turn 1 Charges from Battlesuits and Tanks. One of the more niche Tenets, but if leveraged properly can be brutal.
Warlord Trait- Academy Luminary
Refund CP you spend on a T’au Strategic Ploy or Wargear Stratagems on a 3+. Whilst only affecting 2 categories, they are home to some strong abilities that you’ll likely want to use often, and this is as close to a guarantee of refunding a CP a turn as you’ll get. A good choice for a secondary HQ. Annoyingly, your own Stratagem is a Battle Tactic, but I suppose you can’t have everything. Aun’shi has this, wise master that he is.
Relic- Automated Armour Defenses
A COMMANDER fires out a salvo of laser beams at the start of your Shooting Phase, though with weirdly varying ranges depending on the dice roll. On a 2-4, the closest visible enemy within 18” takes 1 Mortal Wound, if you roll a 5+ the closest visible within 12” takes D3. So if you roll a 5+ with no one within 12”, this does nothing. It’s an ok Relic, and decent if you’re expecting to get up close which Vior’la seems to want, but it’s nothing to write home about unless gearing to make the most of it.
All non-DRONES in a selected unit do an additional Mortal Wound on 6s to Wound, up to a max of 6, provided they target the closest eligible target. Not bad at 2CP given the sheer quantity of fire that can be unleashed by T’au units, though the ‘closest’ limitation means you’ll want to position units with care if you want to make use of this most effectively.
Sept Tenet- Masters of Urban Warfare
INFANTRY get Dense Cover against attacks from over 12” away, VEHICLES get Dense when over 18” away, and VEHICLES and BATTLESUITS ignore the -1 to Hit with Heavy Weapons when shooting into melee. The cover bonuses alone are great, granting some much needed survivability boosts to many units when at range, and ignoring the Heavy penalty lets you use your suits and tanks a bit more aggressively, or just able to worry even less about being tagged. A solid set of benefits for most builds.
Warlord Trait- Strategic Conqueror
The WARLORD picks a unit within 9” and gives them ObSec, and if they already have it then they each count as +1 model. Pathfinders? Crisis Suits? A Riptide. Yeah boy. A great ability that is as useful for defending a point as moving to deny one. Will be useful in most lists to give the T’au some need Objective control.
Relic- Grav-inhibitor Field
Units in Engagement Range of the bearer must Fight Last, and the bearer is -1 to be Hit in Melee. Not a bad Relic for some melee defense to help you last long enough to level your guns, though the Fight Last element is neither here nor there really outside of some real fringe cases.
Stratagem- Orbital Uplink
An enemy unit in your Shooting Phase just doesn’t receive Cover for the Phase. Turning off both Light and Dense for a single CP is a powerful tool, and one of the few ways to get that for T’au on a wide scale, outside of specific wargear or rules. A great ability to use at any point.
Sept Tenet- Trading Partners
Your INFANTRY get Light Cover against any attacks made outside of Engagement Range, and your AUXILIARIES can use your Philosophy of War (even though they don’t have the Tenet rule themselves). A mixed bag of traits, with the Light Cover being powerful for your Fire Warriors and medium Battlesuits, but otherwise not helpful for anything else. Kroot and Vespid getting access to Philosophies is…fine, I guess. They have bigger issues, but it’s nice at least. If you’re looking to run basically zero big things or a bunch of Auxiliaries, this is the one for you, otherwise it doesn’t offer amazing benefits.
Warlord Trait- Unifying Influence
A two-part 6” Aura, giving units, including AUXILIARIES , +1 Ld, and you AUXILIARIES also can use Markerlights. These are ok benefits, and can make a battleline hold a little longer than normal as well as buff up VESPID in particular, but it’s by no means game changing.
Relic- Dynamic Mirror Field
The bearer can’t be shot at unless they are the closest eligible target, or within 12” of the attacker, and they get a 5++ to boot. A great defensive Relic, keeping them safe from Snipers, if caught out of position, and even a bit of melee.
At the end of the Movement Phase, a CORE or AUXILIARY unit within 9” of a Battlefield Edge goes into Strategic Reserves. Useful to get around the board, escape combat, redeploy for Secondaries, or just to play mind games, for 1CP this is a decent option to have.
Sept Tenet- Superior Craftsmanship
+4” Range to all your guns, and any Ranged Attacks of Str 7 or less that target your VEHICLES and BATTLESUITS are at -1 Str. Whilst less useful for your longer range guns, the boost to things like Carbines Flamers and Burst Cannons is great, not to mention Rapid Fire extension. The durability boost for your suits and tanks is a bit niche, but makes a big difference to the mid power weaponry often used to deal with them, with things like Heavy Bolters now wounding your Crisis teams on 5s, and anything Str 4 or lower wounding your bigger suits and tanks on 6s. A decent spread of buffs that most things will be able to utilise.
Warlord Trait- Seeker of Perfection
All Ranged Attacks made by the Warlord are at -1AP, and any 6s to Wound do an additional Mortal, to a max of 3 per phase. The AP boost is nice on the already good weaponry a COMMANDER has, with the Mortal Wounds being a nice side benefit. They are capped at 3 for the WARLORD, not per enemy unit, so choose the order of firing if you choose to split carefully, as any 6s on latter units are ‘wasted’ if you’ve already hit the 3 cap. Obviously has better benefits on weaponry with high rate of fire and lower AP like Flamers or Burst Cannons, with less use on things like Plasma or Fusion with their low number of shots and already high AP.
Relic- Overdrive Power Systems
A COMMANDER picks 2 of his Ranged Weapons, and gives them +1 to Wound when they target something within half range. Great on any of your weapons, and works nicely with the Tenet itself, though this is particularly great on things with longer ranges like Plasma or Missiles. A Fusion COLDSTAR will also enjoy this, wounding pretty much anything on a 2 when in half range.
Stratagem- Experimental Weaponry
One model picks one weapon they have, and it then ignores Invulnerable Saves for a Shooting Phase. You thought the salt about Railguns was bad, now slap it on the main gun of a RIPTIDE or STORMSURGE. This does cost a pretty hefty 2CP though, so you are paying for that power, but it can be utterly devastating on the right weapon. Save it for your big things and enjoy the seasoning.
Sept Tenet- Devastating Counterstrike
Models shooting at units within 12” automatically count as having a Markerlight against them, and you can reroll a Wound roll each time you Shoot or Fight (again I say lol). Whilst a bit annoying that you have to measure each model in a unit separately to see if they get the free Markerlight or not, automatic +1 to Hit close range units is a powerful buff, and makes BATTLESUITS particularly good in ‘Melee’, as they’ll still get the bonus to Hit when compared to other Septs. The Wound reroll is always useful, adding up over the course of the game and ensuring your big hitters do the business when needed.
Warlord Trait- Master of the Killing Blow
All attacks made by the WARLORD get a massive -3 AP on 6s to Wound, and rules that ignore wounds can’t be used against them at all. Shrugs or C’tan esque abilities to cap Damage need to be wary when this WARLORD stalks the battlefield, though Damage Reduction will still apply. The AP boost isn’t massively reliable, but good to have, and hilarious if already high (AP 7 Fusion cos sure why not). Both these abilities also work in Melee, cos Farsight.
Relic- Talisman of Arthas Moloch
Deny a Power, with a +1. I mean, it’s the only Psychic defense T’au have access to, but it’s not exactly exciting or worth the Relic slot. If literally nothing else works or takes your fancy, go for it.
Stratagem- Drop Zone Clear
A BATTLESUIT unit arriving from Manta Strike Reroll all their Hits and Wounds in the following Shooting Phase (not DRONES though). This is incredibly powerful and makes a Crisis Bomb truly scary. Whilst it does cost a whopping 3CP on units of 4 or more BATTLESUITS, and 2CP otherwise, it is well worth it for the sheer devastation you will cause on arrival.
Custom Tenets basically, picking two from various lists, or picking Allied Worlds. The T’au also have a weird quirk that makes certain combos impossible, as you can only pick traits from adjacent ‘Sectors’ on their map, and you can’t pick from the same Sector twice. Most of these are quite specific in what they affect, so consider that when building your lists.
For most of us, you’ll pick this as this is the “Technically the rules you should use if you aren’t painted any of the main armies” one, giving you the Tenets, Warlord Trait, Relic and Stratagem of one of the named Septs above.
Linked with all Sectors
- Hit Early- All INFANTRY wholly within your Deployment Zone get to make a 6” Normal Move before the First Turn. A pseudo Vior’la ability that is generally a bit better, but more limited being INFANTRY only. Good if you have lots of footsloggers and Crisis size suits, letting them get into position.
- Play Their Part- BATTLESUITS count as 3 Models for holding Objectives, or 5 if they have 10+ Wounds. If you’re going suit heavy this isn’t a bad choice for playing the Primary a bit better, but you’ll still need ways to have ObSec nearby to assist them.
- Adherents to the Teachings- +3” to Auras and Command Phase abilities, up to 12”. Just like the T’au Sept, which is convenient given this Sector is the heartlands of the Empire. It’s good, if you’re going heavy on the Characters, but unless there is another trait you’d prefer over the rerolls, alongside all the other benefits the T’au Sept get, just use them instead.
- Calm Under Pressure- Assault Weapons get +1 Str when shooting at units within 12”. Will need to be measured carefully given it’s model by model basis, but if you’re looking to run lots of Fire Warriors with Carbines and Blasters this is great, and CRISIS SUITS will love this as everything they get is an Assault Weapon.
Linked with Sectors A and C
- Camouflage Experts- Get Dense Cover on INFANTRY if you’re over 12” away and within/on a Terrain feature. Inferior to Sa’cea, so just look at that unless there’s a very particular trait from A or C you want in conjunction.
- Braced Stances- Melee attacks with AP -1 or -2 are set to AP0, if the attacking model charged this turn. Pretty niche, as most big combat units are hitting at AP-3 or higher, and it’s useless for ongoing rounds of combat or any other way of getting into melee.
- Blocking Tactics- CORE INFANTRY models get ObSec until your next Fight Phase if they charged this turn, or count as +1 model if already ObSec. Good to help shut down Primary, if you’re confident of surviving the counterattack. Decent for aggressive CRISIS play, and combines well with Play Their Part above
- Fire Caste Marksmen- Pulse weapons get an extra -1 AP on 6s to Wound. Great if going with lots of Fire Warriors and Gun Drones, stacking up some pretty nasty damage over the game.
Linked with Sectors A and B
- Evasion Manoeuvres- FLY models that Advance get a 5++ against Ranged attacks until your next turn. Combos very well with Mont’ka Philosophy, letting you zip around for the first 3 turns and shoot with no downside with extra toughness, ideal for CRISIS SUITS and HAMMERHEADS. Obviously without FLY, it’s useless, and basically forces you into Mont’ka or you give up shooting.
- Disciplined Firing- Models that shoot at targets within 12” ignore Light Cover. A powerful benefit for most of your army, and whilst the short range is a bit of a downside, you’ll be reaching those ranges quicker than you think, and the option to blast units out of a ruin easier is a nice option to have.
- Disengagement Protocols- When INFANTRY are selected to Fall Back, one enemy unit within Engagement Range takes a Mortal Wound on a 2+, or D3 on a 6. It’s cute, and can be quite funny, but it’s not making waves compared to some of the other traits.
- Blaze Away- Burst weapons fired at targets within 12” get +1 to Hit. It’s fine, though Burst weapons aren’t all that common, you have Markerlights for pluses to Hit, or you could just be Farsight for basically the same effect, for all guns.
Linked with Sectors A and E
- Reliable Weaponry- Reroll one Wound each time a unit shoots. It’s good and reliable, and can be nice over T’au or Farsight if the other aspects of those Septs don’t appeal.
- Defenders of the Cause- A 5+++ vs Mortal Wounds, but not for DRONES. A decent defensive buff to compliment units, it’s perhaps not the most exciting, but handy when it comes up.
- Reinforced Armour- The Str reduction bit of Bork’an. As mentioned above, it’s fairly potent against the mid-power weapons that might be leveled against your Suits and tanks, but the Tenet itself also unlocks the powerful Stratagem, so unless you really want this and something else instead of the Range boost, just use them.
- Hardened Warheads- Missiles Ignore Cover. Pretty decent if going Missile heavy, though they are usually the most expensive option on your units, so this could lead to a small, if pretty effective, army.
Linked with Sectors A and D
- Turbo Jets- +2” Mv to FLY models. A decent enough boost, a sort of permanent Vior’la but only for tanks, drones and certain suits. Can be pretty great over time to let you get into position, avoid counter attacks and nab objectives, but the uses aren’t as obvious as some of the more outright offensive or defensive Tenets.
- Loyal to the End- +1 Ld and reroll Morale Checks helps with avoiding any crumbling battlelines, ensuring that your warriors will need to be killed to the man to shift them, but it doesn’t take too much to make failure likely in the first place, so this won’t help all that much in the grand scheme of things.
- Rapid Retreat- +3” to Fall Back Moves. Funny, and can be decent with the Kauyon Philosophy to get into optimal counterstrike positions, but anything that relies on your opponent doing something to you and you surviving melee probably isn’t the best.
- Enriched Reactors- Plasma weapons do 1 Mortal Wound instead of normal Damage, on a 6 to Wound. This is frankly terrible as Plasma weapons are quite rare across an army, and with their high AP and Dmg, this is only ever useful against Invulnerable Saves, and even then you’re sacrificing a lot of damage potential. Hard pass.
T’au Stratagems are focused on movement enhancements and boosting their already considerable shooting output. There aren’t a huge amount of defensive boosts available here, and whilst there are some nice general purpose utility tricks here, they aren’t that common either.
Note as well that due to the nature of how DRONES work with the army, some Stratagems that refer to a unit’s Keyword will generally only affect those models themselves. For ease, units marked with a * only affect the specific models referenced in the Stratagem, meaning any DRONES attached to the units will not benefit from that Stratagem, but likewise not prevent other models in the unit benefiting, nor count towards the number of models in the unit for the purposes of working out CP cost.
- Breach and Clear*- BREACHER TEAMS get reroll Wounds and Ignore Cover for 1CP. This is a huge offensive boost for only 1 CP, ensuring that whatever they get near is deleted, which considering they can’t survive much in the way of reprisal, you’ll want to ensure.
- Relentless Fusilade*- A STRIKE TEAM always counts as being in Rapid Fire range, and gets -1AP to boot. Helps make for a pretty dangerous backline support element, and even for units in closer range the extra AP alone on top of the already good base AP is worth the 1 CP alone.
- On-board Sensors- At the start of your Shooting Phase, a DEVILFISH picks a visible enemy within 24”, and then grants a 6” Aura of Reroll 1s to Hit for all FIRE WARRIORS when targeting that enemy unit. Good at 1 CP to help focus down a key target, or for providing buffs whilst a COMMANDER or FIREBLADE are elsewhere.
- Dynamic Offensive- A CRISIS BATTLESUIT unit auto advances 6”, and ignores the -1 to Hit for shooting with Assault Weapons when it does so. Getting into range and line of sight is vital for the powerful weaponry that CRISIS SUITS bring, so this is useful for 1 CP. Whilst the latter half doesn’t matter too much with Mont’ka, it’s great for later turns, or if going Kauyon, so having the option is good.
- Pulse Onslaught*- A FIRE WARRIOR unit autowounds on 6s to Hit with their Pulse weapons. Good for adding a little bit of reliability to your already solid Strength, this isn’t terrible for 1 CP, though other Stratagems will probably provide more damage.
- Point-Blank Volley- Turns a FIRE WARRIOR unit’s Pulse Rifles, Carbines and Blasters into Pistol 2 for a Shooting Phase, if already in Engagement Range. Lets you fire off a pretty nasty salvo, especially since every Fire Warrior brings a Pulse Pistol now as well. Great to deter any tagging that might happen, or to punish someone who left slightly too many alive, not bad for 1 CP.
- Drop Threat Acquisition*- BATTLESUITS that arrive via Manta Strike or by using a Homing Beacon get reroll Hits for the following Shooting Phase. For 1CP, or 2CP for units of 5+ models, this is a great boost to their offense, though sometimes having the unit on the board to contribute firepower will be better, so this will be dependent on loadout.
- Saviour Protocols- When a model fails a Saving Throw in any Phase, a DRONE model within 3” (or 6” if the unit that failed has a Drone Controller) is destroyed, but the Damage is set to 0. A powerful survivability tool, especially as it can affect any model in your army, and in melee to boot, but you can quickly burn through your CP keeping units alive, especially if attacked on multiple fronts. Also bear in mind that this sets the Damage to 0, it does not negate or transfer the attack anymore, so should there be any extra effects like Mortal Wounds, they will be suffered by the original target. Still, a powerful defensive tool to have to keep your vital big things and Characters alive.
- Branched Nova Charge- When a RIPTIDE burns out their Nova Reactor, you can use this for 2 CP to stop it, and pick an ability as normal. Only works on each Riptide once, so if it burns out again that’s your lot, but great to ensure one last hurrah, or to give a vital piece of your army a needed round of the buff you want.
- Combat Debarkation- At the start of your Movement Phase, if you are in the associated Battle Rounds of your chosen Philosophy (so 1/2/3 for Mont’a, or 3/4/5 for Kauyon), you pick 3 DEVILFISH, otherwise pick 1. Any units inside these DEVILFISH can disembark after it has made a Normal Move, though they cannot charge. For 1 CP, this is ludicrously good, and part of what makes a T’au alpha strike so potent in Mont’ka. With the built in pregame move on the Devilfish, which then Move again, then the units disembark, can Advance and still shoot without penalty, makes for a minimum threat range of 32” plus guns, so 40” for the close range Blasters, longer for Rifles. The Devilfish can still charge as well. It is very easy to get 3 big tanks move-blocking and tying up units Turn 1, alongside Objectives already taken or Secondaries done, plus Shooting and giving your heavier stuff lots of breathing room. Fish of Fury is back in a big way with this. Less useful for Kauyon, though can be good for last minute objective grabs, if you still have Fish and Warriors alive at that stage of the game.
- Wisdom of the Many- An ETHEREAL automatically intones an Invocation they know, that has not already been done. Fairly costly for 2 CP, this will be very dependent on what they have and how important it is for your battleplan, however most of the Invocations are quite strong, so having this to fall back on is no bad thing, despite the cost.
- Fail-safe Detonator- A BATTLESUIT explodes on death in a 3” radius, doing D3 Mortal Wounds on a 3+, or 3 on a 6+, with suits with 12+ Wounds (so RIPTIDES) getting +1 to the roll. This replaces any Explodes rule, so no “double dipping” with Riptides, but with the better chance this is a good option for a CP to inflict some final damage on nearby enemy units.
- Backup AI- A model in your Command Phase counts as being on it’s top profile for it’s Damage Table, until your next turn. Great for 1 CP to keep your heavy hitter’s at optimal efficiency should they have taken damage, and given the fairly harsh damage tables of the T’au big things, this is great to have.
- Emergency Dispensation- Your standard Extra Relic. T’au Relics run the full gamut of terrible to incredible, so this really boils down to a dealers choice scenario. You’re not hugely dependent on a big pool of CP like other armies, and you’ll generally know where your first turn or two of CP will be spent, so plan accordingly, but don’t worry if you take all 3. It’s probably not necessary, but you do you.
- Promising Pupil- And as to be expected, use this to give someone a Warlord Trait. Now the T’au Warlord Traits are all very strong, barring one or two of the Sept specific ones, and you’ll be forgiven for taking 3 Traits in an army as they can offer some potent buffs. Is it worth doing 3 Traits alongside 3 Relics? Debatable. But you really can’t go wrong with an extra Trait, if you had to pick one.
- Orbital Ion Beam- Once per game in your Command Phase you place 2 markers on the battlefield within 12” of each other. In your next Command Phase, any unit under a 1mm line between the 2 markers takes D3 Mortal Wounds on a 2+, or 3 on a 6+, with a +1 to the roll for any BUILDINGS (sure). You’re typical “Bombardment with a twist” ability, though this only costs 2CP. It’s also fairly easy to circumnavigate as units can just avoid the line, but this can be handy to create a bit of move blocking or area denial, especially in the last stages of the game where D3 Mortals on a damaged unit could be the difference between them holding an Objective or not.
- Wall of Mirrors- A STEALTH BATTLESUIT or GHOSTKEEL unit wholly within 9” of a battlefield edge at the end of your Movement go into a pseudo Strategic Reserves, arriving next turn wholly within 9” of a battlefield edge and over 9” away from enemy models. Good for redeploying to set up shots next turn, or score Objectives, which for 1 CP isn’t a bad deal.
- The Grisly Feast- If a KROOT unit destroys an enemy unit in Melee, they get a 5+++ for the rest of the game. A decent buff, and for 1 CP. But it’s Kroot. Killing stuff in Melee. That’s not what they’re for, or even good at. File this in the section labelled “Cool Stratagems that exist but will come up basically never, and you’ll vaguely remember it exists 2 days after a game where it happened.
- Coordinated Engagement- In your Shooting Phase, pick 1 enemy unit and 2 friendly units within 18” and visible of that enemy. Both your units get -1 AP on their weapons this phase, but can only shoot that enemy unit. A good boost for 1 CP, especially if there is a single or important target to deal with. Be wary you have to have 2 units capable of firing at the same target, so it’s not AP on demand for a lone unit. Position carefully and use on your heavy hitters.
- A Trap Well Laid- Another KROOT Stratagem to make them attempt to be melee units… Gives a unit of KROOT a 6” Heroic Intervention and +1 A for a turn. But this can only work if not already in Engagement Range, so you can’t use this to boost any other situation where combat is happening. Super niche, and whilst not costly at 1 CP, will rarely occur. Can be useful if they are swarming an Objective and want to deny a very light Infantry unit coming along to steal it, but that’s about it.
- Recon Sweep- A PATHFINDER unit gets +1 to their Markerlight rolls, and then they can make a Normal Move. For 1 CP this is a great swathe of boosts, making their Markerlights super reliable as well as keeping the unit protected by moving out of reprisal range. Well worth using every turn, and makes PATHFINDERS well worth considering.
- Shocking Firestorm- In your Shooting Phase, when a friendly unit shoots you can select 1 enemy unit within 18”, and any casualties caused on them this phase count as 2 models for the purposes of Morale Checks. It’s fine for 1 CP, and can be handy to force a Morale Check, but they aren’t to be relied upon in the first place.
- Counterfire Defence System- When an attack is allocated to a model with COUNTERFIRE DEFENCE SYSTEM in you opponent’s Shooting Phase, change the Damage of that attack to 1. 1 CP if you have less than 14W, or 2 CP otherwise (so obviously more expensive for RIPTIDES and STORMSURGES), making this a fantastic defensive boost. However, consider that this is used when the attack is allocated, and therefore before Saves. So you could use this, then save it anyways, thus wasting it. Also no good vs Melee or Overwatch, for what that’s worth. Good for redundancy, or against weapons you have little or no chance of saving.
- Designated Tasking- Used in the Command Phase, a unit with both DRONES and non-DRONES immediately splits, or they undock if on a VEHICLE. Gives you a little bit of flexibility to go off and do multiple things, but given the limitations on DRONES and how they interact with missions, it doesn’t really lend itself to much in the way of tactical nuance outside of maybe a bit of move blocking or preemptive charging. Better on things with lots of DRONES like CRISIS or PIRANHAS, but a bit of a waste of a CP on the 2 DRONES following some Fire Warriors around.
- Strike and Fade- JUMP SHOOT JUMP IS BACK BABBBBBYYYYYY!! A JET PACK unit can make a Normal Move of 6” after Shooting. They have to be the first unit that shoots, as you need to select them at the start of the phase then immediately shoot with them, but the sheer utility you get from this is fantastic, whether it’s to get out of Line of Sight, out of range, melee counterattack, onto Objectives, our even to make a key charge yourself (it might happen). For 1CP it’s fantastic, and even needing to pay 2CP if you have 6+ non-DRONE models is a fair price to pay.
- Frequency Lock- A model’s Seeker Missiles, Seeker Missile Array or Destroyer Missiles get +1 to their Wound roll, and can also target units out of line of sight, provided they have a Markerlight on them. The +1 to Wound is already good, with the Line of Sight ignoring a handy bonus. Good for 1 CP to help a Seeker do its job wherever it might be
- Neuroweb System Jammer- A NEUROWEB SYSTEM JAMMER picks a visible enemy within 18” in your Shooting Phase, and on a 3+ they are -1 to Hit until your next turn. Sounds good, but the downsides are range, visibility, working only 66% of the time, and being limited to being done by PATHFINDERS with a specific piece of equipment only. Lots of hoops to jump through, and whilst only 1 CP, not reliable.
- Repulsor Impact Field- When a BATTLESUIT is Charged, impose -2” to Charge Rolls from all enemy units for the rest of the Phase. For 1 CP this is a very powerful tool, all but denying charges from Deep Strike, and even making average charges trickier to employ. Just watch out for this being baited by multiple charges on different units.
- Ionized Shockfield- For a fairly hefty 2CP, you can use this after destroying a model with an Ion weapon in your Shooting Phase, causing their unit to not benefit from any friendly Auras until your next Shooting Phase. This is a powerful tool to take away all manner of buffs that a key enemy unit might be getting from Auras, whether it’s rerolls or something more potent like ObSec. Time the use of the Ion weapon well so you can benefit from this, but consider targets well given the high price tag.
- Submunitions- A HAMMERHEAD fires a big blast with their Railgun, rolling a D6 for each model in a visible enemy unit within 36”, doing a Mortal Wound on a 4+, or 3+ vs INFANTRY, to a max of 8. A potent tool for 1 CP, helping you punch through bigger units your solid shot might have struggled with. Anti infantry isn’t exactly lacking in this army however, so try to save this for big units with Invulnerables or where you have no other real attackers on a unit.
- Photon Grenades- When a PHOTON GRENADES unit is Charged by a non-MONSTER/VEHICLE unit, give them -2” to their Charge and also -1 to Hit for the combat should they make it in. Pretty decent for 1 CP, and a good deterrent to multi charges if you have a lone Fire Warrior team nestled amongst your Battlesuits, especially if you want to ultimately troll by combining with Repulsor Impact Field above for a hilarious -4” Charge should the situation arise.
Your paid upgrade rules, though keeping with the theme of the T’au these are just cool bits of unique wargear, giving you extra rules for COMMANDERS, CRISIS SHAS’VRE (normal and Bodyguard versions) and GHOSTKEELS. Each model can have one Prototype, and each one is unique to the army.
As with Relics, some of these are direct upgrades to particular weapons, meaning you need to pay for the weapon first, making some of them much more expensive than they first appear- take this into consideration when looking at them, and given it only affects one weapon, there’s no real way to bump up their efficiency.
These are all quite costly, but are the same regardless of who wields them, so in the case of the weapons, you’re generally better putting them onto COMMANDERS to benefit from their higher BS. Of course their base weapons are already more expensive so this can very quickly rack up in points, making these a tricky upgrade to justify. Some are very good indeed, but will add up quickly if too many are taken.
Alternating Fusion Blaster
COMMANDER or CRISIS only. Upgrades a Fusion Blaster for a pretty whopping 25pts, reducing their Range to 12” but having their +2 Dmg always active, and in addition if it hits, every unit in a line between the target and the bearer also takes a hit, letting you set up some pretty nasty beam potential. The lower range can be a mixed bag, as while you have lower potential reach, you effectively have a longer half range, and the ability to hit multiple targets can be pretty nasty, especially if you can angle to hit a Character or other protected unit. Ideal on a COLDSTAR for their speed, or a unit arriving via Deep Strike.
Dominator Fragmentation Launcher
COMMANDER or CRISIS only. Bumps an Airbursting Fragmentation Projector to Str 5 and -2, and if you hit a unit they are -4 Ld for the rest of the turn. An interesting upgrade, the stat boosts are quite handy, but the Ld reduction is fairly niche, though can combine nicely with other firepower to all but ensure Morale Checks, for what that’s worth. Is it worth the hefty 25pts though? Probably not, but AFP were some of the cheaper weapons to begin with.
DW-02 Advanced Burst Cannon
COMMANDER or CRISIS only. Cranks a Burst Cannon up significantly with +2 Shots, -1AP +1 Str, and also prevents Shrugs from being used against it. For 15pts this actually isn’t a terrible upgrade, hitting that nice Str 6 for wounding things easier, and negating wound ignoring, even if only D1, helps punch through tougher things. Combos well with things that can do Mortal Wounds as well like Bork’an’s Seeker of Perfection Warlord Trait, as the Mortals can’t be shrugged either if they come from the gun. A decent buy if you’ve points spare.
E-H Disruption Suite
GHOSTKEEL only. Once per game, in your Command Phase, you get a 12” Aura of +1 CP to any Stratagems that are used on enemy units, until your next Command Phase. This can be brutally powerful, able to shut down or mitigate the amount of defensive abilities your foe can do, force them to move into less advantageous positions to avoid it, reduce offensive output, or diverts attention from other aspects of your army so it can be dealt with. It does cost a mighty 30pts, but the large range and the tough platform makes it relatively easy to get into position.
Internal Grenade Racks
Any model. Does D3 Mortal Wounds on a 2+ on a single unit the bearer moves across. Flexible given they can all take it, and the units are all fast enough to utilize it to tack on some extra reliable damage. Not too expensive at 15pts.
Novasurge Plasma Rifle
COMMANDER or CRISIS only. Upgrades a Plasma Rifle to a hilarious -5 AP and lets them ignore Invulnerable Saves. It’s a pretty steep cost at 20pts for a fairly niche application, though killing a Terminator or Custodes a turn can make it’s points back immediately, so swings and roundabouts.
COMMANDER or CRISIS only. A Missile Pod gets a chunky boost with +1 Shot and get bumped to that sweet, sweet Str 8. On top of that, if you hit an INFANTRY, BEAST or CAVALRY, they halve their Mv until your next Shooting Phase, which is a brutal debuff to apply to any combat unit, units approaching Objectives or hilariously units in Difficult Ground. The good stat boost and powerful debuff do come at a high 30pt cost but it is well worth it for their control and output.
Sensory Negation Countermeasures
COMMANDER or CRISIS only. For 15pts the bearer can impose -1 to Hit on an enemy unit in Engagement Range at the start of the Fight Phase, once per game. Not shabby to give you some breathing room so you can leverage your Battlesuit’s shooting at the offending unit next turn, despite being once per game.
Starflare Ignition System
COLDSTAR COMMANDER only. Once per game, either before or after moving, or before using their Coldstar System rule, all units within 3” take D3 Mortal Wounds on 2+. Not terrible, though be careful as this does hit friendly units as well, and does come in at 20pts, but if you can set this up to hit multiple units it can be a nasty surprise.
COMMANDER or CRISIS only. Once per game you can activate this after failing a saving throw to give the bearer a 4+++ for the rest of the turn. A powerful defensive boost, though does need to come after failing a Save, so no good vs Mortal Wounds caused before failing said Save, though can be used on anything after the Save. At 10pts its a cheap upgrade, great for a Commander if you’ve some leftover points.
COMMANDER or CRISIS only. Take a Flamer and give it a nasty AP -2 and D2 (though weirdly removes it’s auto hitting. Meh). On top of that, you can flip a nozzle and use it as a melee weapon with the same stats, letting you feasibly make one of the best combat Characters in the game. Yes you read that right. Combined with the Precision of the Hunter Warlord Trait and Onager Gauntlet, you get a fearsome and reliable melee beatstick, who gets great shooting to boot. For 20pts this is a good upgrade on the Flamer given its already cheap cost, and enhancing an already a solid auxiliary weapon.
Any model provided they have an Early Warning Override. 20pts nets you the ability to shoot at a single enemy unit that arrived from Reinforcements within 12” of the bearer, making it a nice deterrent. The Early Warning Override is already a decent piece of wargear, albeit taking up an equipment slot on CRISIS makes them able to fire less weapons at the arrivees, and on a GHOSTKEEL they might be degraded. Not a terrible upgrade, though can be tough to justify putting it in given the relative restrictions.
Similar to the some of the Stratagems above, DRONE models are generally not affected by these abilities. Any Trait marked with a * will not apply to DRONE models in any units under the effect of these abilities.
- Precision of the Hunter- Reroll Hits and Wounds. Makes their Ranged attacks hyper reliable, and works in Melee as well, great if you take one (or both) of the Melee options for COMMANDERS. A good pick on any Commander.
- Through Unity, Devastation*- A 6” Aura that grants CORE units an extra AP on 6s to Wound with Ranged attacks. Simple but effective, applying to lots of units and improving the already good AP of many T’au weapons. Will have better returns on weapons with already low AP, giving them a bigger boost whilst being somewhat wasted on AP 3 or 4 weapons. Will add up nicely over the course of a game, and great on Characters supporting your battlelines. Given his nature as Supreme
Buffer HologramLeader, Aun’va grants this.
- A Ghost Walks Among Us- The WARLORD is -1 to be Hit, and auto Advances 6”. The defensive boost is nice at any time, and the reliability the Advance boost gives works very nicely with the plethora of Assault weapons a COMMANDER has. Darkstrider has this, being the sneakiest boy around.
- Through Boldness, Victory*- The WARLORD picks a CORE unit within 9” in the Command Phase, giving them 6s to Hit autowound for their Ranged attacks. A nice buff to help bypass higher toughness and give a bit of reliability for a unit with lots of output. Doesn’t synergise with Through Unity however, so watch out for that. Longstrike has this. I’d be bold too, piloting a Hammerhead.
- Exemplar of the Kauyon- Start of the First Round, before First Turn, redeploy 1 unit if you’re using Mont’ka, or 3 units if using Kauyon, including putting them into Strategic Reserves for free if desired. Any redeploy is a potent tool, though as you can see you get better returns if in the Kauyon Philosophy, but the ability to redeploy a key alpha unit when in Mont’ka is still great to have. Shadowsun has this, for she Exemplifies the Kauyon fighting style. It’s very clever you see.
- Exemplar of the Mont’ka*- Pick a CORE unit within 9” in your Command Phase, giving them reroll Wounds with Ranged at any unit within 9” of them, or 12” if in Mont’ka. Full reroll wounds is strong, especially on the mass guns of CRISIS or BROADSIDES, the downsides being the range limitation but this is a big power spike when it comes up. If you guessed that Farsight has this, you’d be correct. Funny that.
So these exist. They’re all 6” Auras that only affect KROOT models, but will affect all of them, including the SHAPER himself, so that’s something.
- Master of the Hunt- Ranged attacks Ignore Cover within 12”. A decent boost, but your guns weren’t incredible to begin with. Can be helpful to pepper some extra wounds off at range, but not really worth the effort.
- Pack Leader- Roll 3D6 and discard one for Charges. Handy for a bit of extra reliability to help attempt at tying units up.
- Nomadic Hunter- Count as Remaining Stationary when Shooting, provided you didn’t Fall Back. Fine to help get into range, or to still contribute whilst establishing board control.
- Puretide Engram Neurochip- Refunds CP spent on a T’au Battle Tactics or Epic Deed Stratagems on a 3+. You have a great spread of Battle Tactics, and some more niche but still useful Deeds, so this will be a reliable way to keep your CP ticking over and your Stratagems fuelled throughout the game.
- Onager Gauntlet- Gives a BATTLESUIT a mighty melee weapon, hitting at Str 12 -4 Dmg 3. Whilst you’re only WS 3 and with 4A, this is still a pretty nasty deterrent to elite melee units or Characters, as even if only 2 go through that is most things dead. Combines nicely with Precision of the Hunter to all but ensure it connects.
- Multi-sensory Discouragement Suite- Roll 3D6 for an enemy unit within 12” at the end of your Movement Phase. If you beat their Ld, you force them to either lose ObSec, halve their Mv and Charge Rolls, or force them to only shoot the closest eligible units. All of these last until your next Movement Phase, and are solid benefits to bring, and 3D6 will average an 11, so you’ll beat most Ld values. The only real downside is the range, meaning your Character will likely be in the threat zone of many parts of the enemy force. If used well, this can turn a game in your favour however.
- Solid-image Projection Unit- The first time a Saving Throw is failed each turn for the bearer, the Damage of that attack is set to 0, and you have a 4++ to boot. A great defensive Relic, granting you some pretty nice boosts. If the enemy can’t fish out the Damage reduction with lighter weapons early, this can ensure you take even a massive hit and still keep going.
- Advanced EM Scrambler- Grants a 12” bubble of no Reinforcements, and in your Command Phase you can pick an enemy unit within 6”, preventing them from benefiting from Auras until your next turn. A mixed bag, with the Reinforcement prevention being handy to protect your backline, albeit not useful at all in some match ups, and the Command Phase ability being very powerful indeed, but with such a short range and happening before Movement it might only come up once a game, if at all. A decent Relic, but pretty niche.
- Borthrod Gland- A SHAPER can eat these once per game in your Command Phase, getting a 6” Aura of +1 Str and A to KROOT until your next turn. It’s fine, but it’s melee boosts to Kroot, who despite popular belief, are just not melee units. Can be fun, but pretty much a waste of a Relic.
- Ohr’tu’s Lantern- Upgrades a Markerlight to roll 6D6 instead of 1. A very potent upgrade, averaging 4 Markerlights on a unit, often more than enough to contribute plenty of accurate firepower. Whilst it is restricted to only affecting the one unit at a time, it effectively does the job of a whole squad, with the safety of being a Character.
- The Humble Stave- An ETHEREAL can Intone an extra Invocation each turn, and gets +1 to all their Intones as well. A great buff, and the Invocations are all strong to begin with, so this makes them very reliable and flexible with what they can offer your battleline (or take AUN’SHI).
- The Kindled Blade- A FIREBLADE actually pulls his big knife out of its sheath in your Command Phase, getting a 6” Aura of autopass Morale for FIRE WARRIORS, until your next turn. It’s decent, but only affects your light (ergo, already easy to kill) Infantry, and needs to be timed well. Still, if you’re going heavy on Fire Warriors, or just want to ensure you hold an Objective against Shooting without worrying about Morale for a turn, it’s not bad.
- Neuro-Empathic Nullifer- An ETHEREAL
projects their mind control pheromones to other racesuses a highly advanced piece of technology once per game, picking an enemy unit within 18” and visible in your Command Phase, and stopping them from performing Actions on a 2+, as well as immediately stopping any ongoing Actions. It’s ok, but it’s very niche, not even being relevant in some games, alongside it’s range/visibility/Command restrictions, and sometimes not even working. Probably pass.
- The Be’gel Hunter’s Plate- +1 Armour Saves and a 5+++. A good defensive boost, and especially chunky on an ENFORCER with a Shield, giving him a ludicrous 1+/4++/5+++ -1Dmg.
- Ka’chak’tarr- A SHAPER upgrades his rifle to Str 5 -2 D2, as well as becoming a Sniper (ignoring Look Out Sir and doing an additional Mortal Wound on 6s to Wound). It’s not that shabby, though still only 24” Range it is Rapid Fire 2, so if you can get in range it has a decent chance of killing lighter Characters and even dealing with heavier ones. Main issues are, it’s on a Shaper…
All ETHEREALS use these, Intoning them in your Command Phase on a D6, the value depending on who is doing it. They’re all quite potent, making them a worthy inclusion in your army. All of them last until your next Command Phase. Note that they aren’t massively reliable being on a dice roll, so don’t rely on them lest the dice gods decide to mess with you when you least need it…
If you’re somehow playing with mixed SEPTS, these all explicitly work on T’AU EMPIRE units, but not if you’re FARSIGHT ENCLAVES.
- Storm of Fire- A CORE unit within 6” can still Shoot whilst performing an Action. Ethereals can already do this automatically with Overarching Command, so this might not be super essential, at least not compared to some of the others, but can be useful if you’re looking to focus on Action based Secondaries with multiple units.
- Sense of Stone- A CORE unit within 6” gets a 5+++ (except DRONES). This is a huge survivability boost for any unit that can have it, particularly CRISIS Suits which will likely be a prime target for the enemy.
- Zephyr’s Grace- A CORE unit within 6” is -1 to be Hit with Ranged attacks, provided they did not Remain Stationary in the previous Movement Phase. Another great defensive buff, and generally you should not be staying still with T’au units outside of a few fringe cases. Does work with Mont’ka, as that explicitly says you “count as Stationary” for your own Shooting Attacks- you’ll still have Moved or Advanced as normal.
- Power of Tides- An AUXILIARY unit within 6” gets +1 to Wound. Actually pretty decent, lending some much needed reliability to a KROOT or VESPID unit, and can offer a nasty surprise to the foe. They still have many other problems, but this isn’t a bad choice if you’re going heavy on them, for whatever reason.
- Unifying Mantra– Gain a 6” Aura that grants CORE units reroll Morale and +1 to Combat Attrition checks. A good boost to your battleline, when combined with the innate Ld 10 boost ETHEREALS grant, this all but ensures you’ll have some models left around if they aren’t totally wiped out.
- Wisdom of the Guides- Immediately gain a CP. Useful to have in your back pocket, especially if you haven’t taken any of the other ways to get a CP back. Obviously don’t use with the auto Intone Stratagem, spending 2CP to gain 1 is…well, stupid.
The following are available if you have a T’AU EMPIRE WARLORD when playing Matched Play or Grand Tournament Mission, with the usual restrictions (namely no using two from the same category), and you can only take one T’AU EMPIRE Secondary per game regardless of its category.
Shadow Operations - Aerospace Targeting Relays
Place an Aerospace marker halfway along each battlefield edge. At the end of your Movement Phase, one or more INFANTRY units can perform an Action within 6” of an Aerospace marker that doesn’t have a Relay on it. It completes at the start of your next Command Phase, or at the end of the battle, whichever comes first. When completed you put a Relay on it, and score VP with 2 for the first one, 6 for the second, 9 for the third and 15 for the fourth. This is an interesting Secondary as depending on the Deployment and opponent, as well as your army build, could be an easy 9 VP, and the ability to score this last turn offers a nice last gasp ability to gun for the 15. On the flip side, this could be tricky to score vs some armies, though it will still cause your opponent to need to divert attention to deal with the enemy. With a few ways to still Shoot and perform Actions this can be fairly easy to do with flanking units without sacrificing offense, especially with units like CRISIS or STEALTH suits. Just be wary about doing it with Markerlight units, as you’ll give up their buffs.
Battlefield Supremacy - Decisive Action
Score 4VP if you control half or more Objective Markers at the end of your turn, but it only works in Battle Rounds corresponding with your chosen Philosophy- so you can only score this in Turns 1-3 if you chose Mont’ka, and Turns 3-5 for Kauyon. This makes it an easier scoring, but capped, version of Stranglehold, as well as not reliant on holding more than your opponent, which can be better for 4 and 6 Objective missions. The main downsides are the 12 VP cap, as well as being dependent on your Philosophy, which kind of forces your hand in how you might play in the opening and closing turns. If you were looking at Stranglehold, but not confident you’ll score more than 9, this might be a good alternative.
No Mercy, No Respite - A Clean Victory
Score 1 VP at the end of the Battle Round for a destroyed enemy unit, and an additional 3VP if 3+ units were destroyed. As with the above however, it is restricted to the Battle Rounds that match your Philosophy, so you can only score this in Rounds 1-3 with Mont’ka and 3-5 with Kauyon. This limits it somewhat, alongside needing to destroy 3+ units in order to get the most benefit, being a kind of “all or nothing” Secondary that doesn’t scale all that well. If you can reliably kill 3 units a turn, say against small units of Genestealer Cults or Imperial Guard, you can do quite well. Against Knights or Custodes, this is a terrible pick.
These are rules that will be commonly found across multiple, if not all, units in the T’au Empire Codex.
Your “Pure” rule, giving you one of two powerful benefits if every model is from the same SEPT (excluding AUXILIARY, UNALIGNED, or SUPREME COMMANDER units). After determining First Turn, you can pick one of the following Philosophies to apply to all non-AUXILIARY T’AU EMPIRE units.
In Turns 1-3 you count as Remaining Stationary for the purposes of Shooting if you made a Normal Move or Advanced. In addition, you get an additional -1 AP and can reroll 1s to Wound when Shooting at the closest eligible enemy within certain Ranges- 18” Turn 1, within 12” in Turn 2, and 9” in Turn 3.
Favouring an aggressive playstyle, this offers great maneuverability and some significant offensive boosts if you can leverage this speed to get your chosen targets. If used well, this leads to some brutal alpha strikes, boosting the already nasty AP of many of your weapons into very high levels as well as the extra layer of reliability of the Wound rerolls. Works very well with units arriving from Reinforcements on Turn 2 as well given the 12” range lets you drop in to your ideal target, causing your opponent to need to consider screening a bit more.
In Turns 3-5, your units can Fall Back and Shoot, albeit with a -1 to Hit, and you also get exploding hits when Shooting at the closest eligible unit within 12” and didn’t Fall Back that turn – Exploding 6s in Turn 3, 5+ in Turn 4, and finally 4+ on Turn 5 (all unmodified as you’d expect, and provided they would still have Hit in the first place).
A bit trickier to use compared to Mont’ka, as the raw output and speed being frontloaded helps with the nature of 9th Edition Missions and the nature of 40k as a whole, as well as the two contradictory parts of the rule itself. Often your units caught in combat might not last long enough to benefit from Fall Back and Shooting, however the exploding hits makes up for lost casualties as the game goes on, keeping units still contributing even in the dying stages of the game. If you can keep the bulk of your army alive to benefit from exploding hits en masse, it can lead to horrific killer blows on enemy remnants, allowing you to mop up in later turns and play the late game if preferred.
Both are good options to have, and getting to choose after knowing Turn 1 does offer a modicum of flexibility, however in general your army build will often dictate which Philosophy you will choose, or at least lean more towards.
Basically BATTLESUIT models get Big Guns Never Tire, allowing them to shoot into an enemy unit in Engagement Range with them, with a -1 to Hit if it’s a Heavy Weapon. They can also shoot at units outside of Engagement Range, provided you kill the unit in Engagement Range with other weapons, so you have some flexibility. Effectively gives you the ability to do what you’re good at without too much fear of losing effectiveness, though of course your targets will be more limited. There’s also the fact that you need to survive long enough to make use of it, nor does it replace your Melee attacks, so particularly brutal melee opponents might do enough damage to minimise your return fire. Still, it’s useful to have, and most units have access to Assault weapons in some capacity so aren’t suffering too much. Can also open up more aggressive playstyles, being close or even charging lighter units before clearing them away in your next turn.
Units equipped with a Markerlight get, funnily enough, the MARKERLIGHT Keyword, and can do an Action at the start of your Movement Phase (even your AIRCRAFT), completing at the start of the Shooting Phase. VEHICLES and DRONES can still Move, though if they are part of a unit with other models, those non-DRONES/VEHICLES can’t use their Markerlights in the next step.
When the Action is completed, each Markerlight can be fired at an enemy unit within 36”, provided the unit was eligible to be shot at, applying a Markerlight on a 3+.
When units shoot at an enemy with a Markerlight on them, they expend one of the Markerlights on them and get +1 to Hit against them. Any unspent Markerlights are lost at the end of the Phase.
In essence, you give up your Movement to use your Markerlights, but there are ways around this, just something to consider for positioning. Also note they must be used when a unit fires at them, there’s no option to “save them”. If your target priority is on point you’ll reap the benefits significantly, so make sure your heavy hitters target the enemy unit first lest you not have enough Markerlights for them later in the phase.
A big benefit of the system is you’re still able to Shoot afterwards, so units that have Markerlights and other weapons aren’t missing out on contributing damage, and with the ability for DRONES to do the Action whilst moving around with units enables nice flexibility.
The other thing to watch out for is as it’s an Action, it does preclude you from doing other Actions which you might have access to for Mission and Objective purposes, so plan that out accordingly. It also means you won’t be able to do it whilst in combat, nor can external units apply it to units in combat, meaning your BATTLESUITS, VEHICLES and Pistols won’t be able to benefit when in Engagement Range. Overall however Markerlights are a fairly flexible system that provide a potent boost to your ranged offense without sacrificing too much if planned for.
Deep Strike by another name, arriving from Reinforcement lets the usually significant firepower of units with this get to whoever they want, though don’t get too close unless you need to be.
All KROOT units can make a Normal Move of 7” before the First Turn begins, not finishing within 9” of enemy models. Gives some nice utility for early Actions and screening efforts, or potentially charges to tie up a key shooting unit for a turn, and one of the main benefits Kroot have in terms of their role.
In the Command Phase an ETHEREAL gives a CORE or AUXILIARY unit within 6” the ability to Shoot and continue to perform Actions for a turn. Good if you’re going for Action based Secondaries, giving you options in chosen Objectives without sacrificing firepower.
Not necessarily a set of Special Rules, but probably more so than other armies, the T’au are reliant on their weapons, and have a large selection of them that can be taken across the various Battlesuits, with varying pros and cons for them. Add to that the differing points values of these weapons depending on the unit that takes them, and this guide would be three times longer if I wrote them all out in each section. As a general rule of thumb, they’re all better, albeit more expensive, on a COMMANDER by nature of their better BS, and their purpose remains the same across the army. For simplicity, these common weapons are noted below, with a stats, brief overview of role and their points.
Airbursting Fragmentation Projector (AFP)
Assault D6 24” Str 4 -1 D1 Blast, Ignores Line of Sight
A decent anti light anti Infantry weapon with fairly average stats but being able to ignore Obscuring allows for dealing with all manner of board setups and positioning. Just be wary as Blast means you won’t be able to fire them into combat.
|Cost for 1st||Cost for 2nd||Cost for 3rd/4th|
Assault 6 18” Str 5 AP0 D1
A good multi purpose weapon, predominantly for anti-Infantry but can do some chip damage to heavier units by virtue of sheer weight of fire and good Strength. The low range does creep you close to combat, but still makes for a good “sidearm” amd all purpose weapon.
|Cost for 1st||Cost for 2nd||Cost for 3rd/4th|
Cyclic Ion Blaster (CIB)
Assault 3 18” Str 7 -2 D1
Assault 3 18” Str 8 -2 D2, 1s to Hit do 1 Mortal Wound to the bearer’s unit
A versatile, albeit expensive weapon, able to deal with a variety of targets with its good Str and AP, with the option to overcharge to inflict greater damage and have an easier time of wounding most targets. The relatively low weight of fire and range, as well as high costs, make it tricky to justify spamming, but it is generally one of the better all-purpose weapons.
|Cost for 1st||Cost for 2nd||Cost for 3rd/4th|
|Commanders (Except COLDSTARS)||10||20||25|
Assault 1 18” Str 8 -4 D D6 +2 Dmg at Half Range
Great anti-tank weapon with a good range and the usual melta-esque stats you’d expect. Can add up quickly in points if looking to run multiples, but that is generally the best bet to ensure consistent output. Just take note the half range is 9”, and you have to appear over 9” away when arriving from Reinforcements.
|Cost for 1st||Cost for 2nd||Cost for 3rd/4th|
Assault 2 30” Str 7 -2 D2
With above average stats in all categories, the Missile Pod is one of the most all round weapons available. Compare to the CIB which has to Overcharge to get D2, and still has 12” less Range. The main downside with the Missile Pod is it’s middling number of shots and Str 7, which whilst nice, does make certain things like T7/8 things, as well as things with Damage reduction, a bit more of an issue. Add to that it’s high costs, and it can rack up to effective but expensive output. Still, if you’re looking for a weapon for most occasions, you can’t go wrong.
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Assault 1 30” Str 8 -4 D3
Elite Infantry killer extraordinaire, with a fantastic statline and a fairly decent points cost, the main issue of the Plasma Rifle is it’s poor rate of fire. But the otherwise great profile makes it stand out from the rest of the army which can often struggle with 3W Infantry or massed light Vehicles.
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Assault D6+2 12” Str 4 AP0 D1 Automatically hits
Close range infantry mulcher, the Flamer is fairly reliable and cheap, with an average of 4-5 hits each time it fires, and a decent enough statline that it can rinse through lighter hordes and even add some extra damage to bigger targets. Auto hitting is icing on the cake, and whilst the low range isn’t ideal, when combined with various abilities, as well as firing into melee with zero downside, it makes for a great secondary or tertiary weapon, especially for a unit looking to get in close or Deep Strike.
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Smart Missile System (SMS)
Heavy 4 30” Str 5 AP-1 D1 Ignores Line of Sight and Light Cover
Not available for COMMANDERS or CRISIS, but still ubiquitous against the bigger suits and VEHICLES, the SMS is a great all round choice, as whilst it’s not particularly high damage, it has good stats across the board, and the ever useful ability to target units you can’t see. With ignoring Light Cover built in, the otherwise average AP is still enough to punch through light and heavy infantry with reasonable effectiveness. You’re usually paying a premium for this weapon however, it often being an upgrade, if not the most expensive option, on the units that can take it. However it offers great flexibility and lets you generally always impact parts of the battlefield.
Similar to the Weapons above, there are a large number of ancillary equipment that provide numerous benefits to the suits that bear them. These are generally a free upgrade, or a small cost for the Shield Generators. Regardless of who wields them however, they all offer the same benefits, and take up one of your Suit’s equipment slots, which will be noted in their individual Datasheets.
Counterfire Defence System
Grants the bearer the Keyword COUNTERFIRE DEFENCE SYSTEM. Only interacts with the Stratagem of the same name, though it is a good defensive ability to have, especially for a big suit, or a lone CHARACTER looking to have a backup plan if caught offguard.
Only available to certain suits (and PATHFINDERS), this lets the bearer pick a DRONES unit within 6” in the Command Phase and give those DRONES BS 4, and any GUN DRONES can target freely this turn, not just the closest eligible. Great for GUN and MISSILE DRONES, letting them use their not-insignificant firepower much easier and more effectively, the main downside of this is the limited access to who has it, and the range, meaning to benefit well from it you’ll need to plan accordingly, and in some cases babysit units with Drones with other units that might have better impact elsewhere on the battlefield.
Early Warning Override
Makes the Fire Overwatch Stratagem cost -1CP (so usually 0CP, though remember some things can increase the costs of Stratagems) for their entire unit whilst alive, and the bearer themselves hits on 5+ when Overwatching. A nice benefit, especially for bigger units of suits, or your larger suits with their more potent weaponry.
When the bearer shoots at units with 6+ models, 6s to Hit explode. This isn’t terrible, though the requirement for 6+ models in the enemy unit does limit its potency somewhat. Probably more than others this will depend on your loadout. For things with Fusion Blasters or Heavy Rail Rifles, this won’t see great returns, though it does help you in a pickle if you need to turn attention to larger units. Heavy Burst Cannons or CIB toting suits can really rack up the damage against larger units with this.
Grants a 4++. A simple but effective upgrade, this is only usable on your smaller suits, but does grant a pretty significant survivability boost, and usually for only a fairly small points cost, either 10pts for a COMMANDER or 5pts for a CRISIS.
Lets the bearer Ignore Light Cover. With the already solid AP on your weapons, this helps your output and consistency. Generally the best pick if you’re unsure, unless you’re going heavy on Plasma and Fusion with their already high AP, though still useful to just ensure your wounds stick on heavier units parked in a Ruin.
A +1 Hit vs any unit with FLY is a nice offensive boost, especially since there are a lot of said units out there. Helps make units a bit more independent of Markerlights when facing certain armies, or can be stacked to offset any minuses which are often found on these units.
Certain units with differing Datasheets will have common stats or rules, and so are condensed into one for ease of reference.
Regarding Keywords, anything that is not a CHARACTER, AUXILIARY, DRONE or VEHICLE is CORE.
Drones are such an intrinsic and widespread part of the army with lots of rules in common, to the point where it’s easier to talk about them first so you can refer back to them later.
They are all part of the unit they are bought or equipped to, have Manta Strike, can’t perform Actions (except Fire Markerlights), nor can they have Objective Secured unless attached to a unit. They are also ignored when working out Look Out Sir, whether a unit is at Starting or Half Strength, when accounting for Morale Checks, and what the Toughness of a unit is if there are non-DRONES in there.
Finally, if they’re “Docked” (ie attached to a VEHICLE), they can’t take hits for the VEHICLE, their weapons are counted as being equipped by the model they’re docked with, and if the model they’re docked with is destroyed, so are the DRONES
Phew. There’s a lot to unpack there. But effectively, DRONES are part of the unit and so are good to add extra bodies, and especially to act as effectively ablative wounds for your key units. You will need to be careful on allocation, so you can’t take Bolter shots on a RIPTIDE and then have the Drone zip in to take a Melta shot (you’ll need to use the Stratagem for that), so a canny opponent can bypass them a lot easier now, but they are generally quite cheap.
It’s also worth noting that they don’t gain any Keywords of the unit they’re part of (so generally no Cover for them as they’re not INFANTRY), but also don’t prevent other Keyword interactions, so CHARACTERS can have 2 Marker Drones with them to provide support without fear of reprisal via Look Out Sir, for example.
Final final thing to mention is whilst some DRONES are optional, those that are compulsory (such as STEALTH DRONES with a GHOSTKEEL) are included in their cost, so there’s no nasty surprise in terms of points.
All DRONES, have a basic statline of a 10” FLY Mv, WS/BS 5, S3 T4, 1W, 1A, Ld 6 and a 4+ Sv, with a few little changes here and there depending on the Drone, as noted below.
Advanced Guardian Drone
The first of SHADOWSUNS special drones, they have a 4++ but more importantly make their unit untargetable with Shooting attacks unless they’re the closest eligible target. This keeps Shadowsun safe in entire shooting phases as long as there is something between her and the enemy guns. The downside is her guns are relatively short ranged so she won’t be contributing much whilst safe, but it’s great if you’re just looking to have her support your lines and act as a close range tank deterrent.
Command Link Drone
SHADOWSUNS second super Drone, giving her +3” to her Auras and Command Phase abilities, up to a max of 12”. This means when using her in full T’AU SEPT, she grants a massive 12” Master of War Aura as well as having 12” on her full reroll ability, giving her unparalleled support options. Even if she’s run alongside a non T’AU SEPT army, that’s still an impressive 9”, making her an ideal support piece.
-2” to any Charge Rolls against the unit. Decent enough at 10pts, and helps keep a forward positioned PATHFINDER unit a bit safer from enemy charges, and particularly against Deep Strikers, but it won’t go too far if they’re already on top of you. Especially funny when combined with Difficult Ground or the Photon Grenades Stratagem to impose a -4” (or all three for maximum hilarity).
Packs a 4++ and grants their unit mini Transhuman, making unmodified 1s and 2s fail to Wound them. Might not sound like much, but there’s plenty of Str 6+ weapons out there looking to make a mess of your fairly squishy STRIKE and BREACHER TEAMS, so this isn’t a terrible buy if you have the 10 points.
The first of the 3 “Standard” Drones, and a good little workhorse. Whether attached enmasse to a CRISIS TEAM or docked VEHICLES, they pack 2 Pulse Carbines and have the limit of only being able to shoot the closest eligible target (though there are ways around that). With the restrictions on their targets and low BS, without support they’ll still add some extra firepower though perhaps not the most efficient, but if you’ve overcome those shortcomings and given them extra support, they pump out very points effective firepower for only 8pts (or free in the case of your VEHICLES), whilst acting as ablative wounds for your more important and bigger things.
Docked to the SUNSHARK, this pair come with 2 Ion Rifles, adding some not inconsiderable ranged firepower to the Bomber, and also come with +10” Mv should you undock them. Whilst the Mv is probably neither here nor there, they can be useful for last ditch Objective grabs or Secondaries like Behind Enemy Lines, so don’t forget you have it if the opportunity presents itself.
Comes with a MARKERLIGHT, as its name implies, and is a cost effective platform for them in your army, being the second of the 3 “Standards”, and thus readily available on many units (including CHARACTERS, giving you untargetable Markerlights so long as you have Look Out Sir up and running) and affordable at 10pts. With the flexibility to move into position whilst doing the Action, they give you good flexibility for Markelight placement. A great choice whether it’s taken sprinkled through the army or in bigger units, able to provide key support as well as a bit of extra protection from errant shots.
It’s a Drone with a Missile Pod, shockingly. Only joins BROADSIDES, and whilst not terribly expensive at 15pts, their low BS is begging for a Drone Controller nearby to support them, making them need further babysitting from certain units to get better efficiency. If you’re looking for ablative wounds they’re too costly, though the extra firepower they offer is quite nice, if you can get them buffed.
Pulse Accelerator Drone
Another PATHFINDER exclusive, giving their unit’s Pulse weapons an extra AP for 10pts. This is a good multiplier, especially since the unit’s shooting isn’t wasted when using Markerlights now, and also applies to any GUN DRONES that might be in the unit.
The chunkiest of the lot, getting +2W, a Burst Cannon, and grants their unit Ignore Light Cover against targets within 18”. You get a fair bit for 15pts, and can help boost up the offensive capabilities of the unit quite a bit, especially if combined with the PULSE ACCELERATOR DRONE and some special weapons, but this will add up quickly.
The final “Standard” Drone, coming with a 4++ and +1W, at the cost of any weapons or other rules, but they do offer a good layer of protection to important units, at a pretty reasonable 12pts. Obviously it’s only a 50/50 chance, but even saving one Lascannon helps offset a potentially significant loss. Great on units with already high output, or will be a key threat, like CRISIS or BROADSIDES.
More of a floating gun than an actual DRONE, the Longshot Pulse Rifle has a healthy statline of 48” Rapid Fire 1 with Str 5 -2 D1…and that’s it. Fortunately, their actual “Sniper” abilities are covered by the FIRESIGHT MARKSMAN, which is covered in detail further below.
Shielded Missile Drone
Take a SHIELD DRONE and strap a Missile Pod to it. A good blend of offense and defense, and fairly cheap at 15pts, the main downsides are its exclusive to RIPTIDES (and indeed the only DRONE they can take), could do with a Drone Controller nearby, and also slightly slows the RIPTIDE down, being 2” slower when at full health, so that might be something to watch out for. If you have the points to spare, or find your RIPTIDE gunned down a bit too quickly from heavy firepower, consider bringing some for a safety net.
The GHOSTKEELS best friends, to the point where one bit of fluff mentioned they often name them. Adorable. Whilst at least one is alive, the unit can’t be shot unless they’re the closest eligible target, or are within 18” of the attacking model. Whilst this has a bit of a contradiction with the GHOSTKEELS infiltration style role, getting them up close, it does help when you have multiple units around, can keep them alive longer in later turns, and also causes difficult target priority and positioning for the opponent, sometimes making them choose between an advantageous position, or the ability to deal with the big gun toting Battlesuit roaming the battlefield.
Units marked with a * can purchase up to 2 DRONES, in any combination of GUN, MARKER or SHIELD.
All your Commanders pack BS 2, a 10” FLY Mv, alongside a fairly robust T5 6W and 3+, as well as being a Battlesuit, having Manta Strike and offering a 6” Aura of Reroll 1s to Hit (for CORE models in CORE units, so not for any attached DRONES). With access to 4 Weapons and Wargear slots, they are flexible and can be kitted out to either plug gaps you need, or to just add to existing firepower. Each one also has a unique ability that boosts some aspect of a CRISIS CORE unit within 9” of them in the Command Phase. With good utility, access to powerful ranged weaponry, and a semi decent defensive statline, Commanders will form a lynchpin of your army, and their type will further focus what you want some mainstay units to do. Melee wise is best to avoid even with the Battlesuit rule, unless you’re looking to make TBCCIG (The Best Combat Character in the Game) via Precision of the Hunter, the Onager Gauntlet and the Thermoneutronic Projector. At 90, 110 and 100pts respectively, they start cheap but those upgrades can stack up quickly so carefully consider what your Commander will be doing and where so you aren’t wasting their prodigious firepower and buffs.
The “basic” Commander, with the access to all the Crisis Weapons and Wargear, as well as having the very powerful Tactical Acumen ability, letting your selected CRISIS unit ignore any Hit modifiers when Shooting, as well as Fall Back Shoot & Charge. The first covers a big weakness of the T’au in the first place, and lets you use Markerlights for maximum offense, whilst the latter ensures you can always have a pick of targets, should someone try to tie you up to mitigate being a Battlesuit. Can also take Iridium Armour for a 2+ Sv, a worthy investment if you have the points spare to give them a little extra hand in the survivability department.
A suit for the more burly Commander, getting +1W, a built in 2+ Sv and -1 Dmg, for the cost of -2” Mv and a bit more limited Wargear. They can only have a Shield Generator or Velocity Tracker, though they do get access to the more specialised Positional Relay, letting one unit a turn arrive from Strategic Reserve as if the Battle Round were one higher, so long as they arrive within 6” of the Enforcer, which is a neat trick but fairly limited and not really worth the wargear slot. Their ability to grant ObSec to your CRISIS unit is great however, letting you use them even more aggressively to take Objectives, or to just add further robust bodies to a vital point. Whilst a bit more limited and specialised than the Crisis Commander, the defensive benefits are a worthy trade if you’re looking to push the board with your suits.
For those that have the need for speed, the Coldstar comes with +1W over the Crisis, and the same slightly more limited Wargear options as the Enforcer. The Positional Relay is more useful for them however, given their faster 14” Mv letting them get into position (ha) a bit easier. They also come stock with a Target Lock, which is a neat boost for their offense, and the unique High Output Burst Cannon (giving a Burst Cannon a pretty hefty +4 Shots and -1 AP, albeit at a 15pt price tag). On top of that, they have a once per game ability to jump up into the sky at the start of your Movement Phase, either arriving via Deep Strike that same turn, or going into Strategic Reserves (your choice in the Reinforcement Step, so you have some flexibility, depending on what might happen elsewhere in the battle). Their CRISIS ability is probably the weakest of the three however, or at least not the most obviously powerful, giving a unit a flat +8” when they Advance. Whilst not as flashy as the others, it’s still a strong tool to get the team into position or line of sight, and combines well with Mont’ka to ensure you maximise its benefits asap. With some neat tricks the Coldstar can catch the enemy by surprise, or help his other units get the drop on them, though he’s less useful once the fighting gets up close and personal, so they’re better suited as a harrier keeping their distance.
Effectively a Fire Warrior Character, he comes with a Markerlight, a souped up Pulse Rifle with +1 to AP and Dmg, grants CORE units (but not DRONES as you should expect) exploding 6s with Pulse Weapons, and can give CORE models in a FIRE WARRIOR unit within 9” reroll 1s to Hit with Shooting. For 50pts he’s a cheap secondary HQ, ideal for some auxiliary Warlord Traits or Relics, as well as helping your battlelines be slightly more efficient.
A Kroot leader who offers his Ld 8 and Reroll 1s to Hit to all KROOT within 6”, and a choice of wargear (none of which is particularly exciting or potent, with nothing better than -1 D1). He is incredibly cheap at 25pts, making him ideal to just cover a Battalions second HQ slot to spend points elsewhere, but without KROOT to lead he’ll just be kind of there, and the minimal points increases above him will net you a far more useful FIREBLADE or ETHEREAL.
The leader priests of the Empire, offering their tasty Ld 10 to all non-AUXILIARY/ENCLAVES CORE units within 6”, as well as the potency of their Invocations (knowing 2 and Intoning 1 per turn), and the utility of Inspired to Greatness. With the option of a Hover Drone for a mere 5pts to boost their Move to a healthy 10” FLY, they can ensure they get into position where needed, and for a fairly cheap 60pts base, they offer a decent amount of support to your lines for their cost. Don’t get them anywhere near a fight though, they will die.
From the heart of the Empire comes Shadowsun, packing what amounts to a Crisis Commander statline with +1W, a -1 to be Hit with Shooting, and a built in 5++. She has to be your WARLORD (which is a bit of a pain if you’ve taken her in other Septs as then she can only redeploy herself), can Infiltrate, and her unique Commander ability gives full reroll to Hits to a CORE or CHARACTER unit within 6”. Both her support abilities apply to T’AU EMPIRE units, handy given her ability to be taken in other Septs. Offensively she has a Missile Pod with -6” Range and -1 AP, and a choice of 2 Fusion Blasters in any combination, either the High-energy version which has +6” Range, or the Dispersed which has -6” Range and Str, as well as only being Dmg 2 (Dmg 3 at half range), but does gain an extra shot. Oh and she has a Pulse Pistol, but as a Battlesuit you’d never use it over your other guns. Essentially you just need to decide if she’ll add some anti-tank or anti heavy infantry firepower to your gunline, which is where she is best suited safe from reprisal and offering solid buffs to your army. At 150pts she’s not too expensive for what she brings, though you might need to consider some extra CP expenses for other Warlord Traits if she’s in a non-T’AU SEPT army.
The big grandpa leader of the Empire (you can tell as he has the most impressive hat), he brings along 2 minor Ethereals who act as his bodyguards, effectively giving him a fairly decent 6A at Str 6 -1 D2 (again though, avoid melee). Fairly tough with 6W, 2W on the guard, as well as a 5++ and -1 to Wound (though only T3), his Ld Aura is boosted to 9” base, and he also knows 3 Invocations, Intones 2, and does them on a 2+, letting him offer fantastic utility to the army, all for only 20pts above the normal Ethereal. He can even be taken in other SEPTS without taking away their Tenets, though he doesn’t gain T’AU, which is a bit of sting given the range boosts are great for him, but he’s still useful in any non-ENCLAVES army. Think of him as a more survivable Ethereal with a free Humble Stave Relic, and you’re not far off.
A Pathfinder Character with a bunch of potent rules, he comes with a Markerlight, a Relic Pulse Carbine with -2AP and D2, can reroll a Hit and Wound roll when Shooting (making him hyper reliable), as a Pathfinder he can Move and then Markerlight as well as make a pre-game Normal Move, but his most important abilities are his Structural Analyser and Fighting Retreat. The Analyser basically picks one CORE unit within 6” (so 9” cos T’AU) and then a visible enemy. That CORE unit then gets +1 to Wound that enemy. Good on FIRE WARRIORS, phenomenally strong on CRISIS or BROADSIDES, all but guaranteeing wounds going through on a vital enemy unit. On top of that, your non-BATTLESUIT CORE units within 6” (so again 9” via T’AU) get to Fall Back and Shoot, effectively letting your FIRE WARRIORS avoid being neutered via tagging, as well as being able to contribute should they survive combat. At a miniscule 60pts, he’s begging to be included in your army as he offers a huge amount of force multiplication. Whilst he’s not the toughest thing around, he is cheap and tricksy enough to warrant serious consideration.
Take a HAMMERHEAD and make it better, basically. For only 15pts more than the base tank, you get +1BS across all your damage profile, +1 to Wound when shooting MONSTERS or VEHICLES, and you can grant a CORE or other HAMMERHEAD (so no not yourself) within 6” (but T’AU so 9”), an automatic Markerlight when they Shoot. I mean yeah, he’s great. The downsides are of course being a CHARACTER (but hey, CRISIS BODYGUARDS exist…) as well as using a HQ slot, but if you’re running T’AU and have a Hammerhead, consider Longstrike instead (or be that guy and run 4, you know someone will…)
What happens when you take an Ethereal, make him better in every way, and let him watch 70s Hong Kong Martial Arts films to boot. With an additional +1WS, +1W and +2A on the standard Ethereal, he also has a Shield Generator for that tasty 4++, an extra AP on his blade, with no -1 to Hit and exploding 6s on top, so he can fight when needed (though avoid it if you can), and can take a fair bit more damage. He has the same level of Invocations as Aun’va and the being able to be taken in other Septs, so has a lot of reliability and use there, and he even gives VIOR’LA CORE units within 6” the ability to always Hold Steady or Set to Defend if they aren’t in Engagement Range already, letting him shore up a battleline even further. For 25pts more than a standard Ethereal, he’s a fairly costly upgrade, but the flexibility he gets from his Invocations, alongside
better actual defenses and some respectable melee, he’s well worth considering.
Char Farsight is a Crisis Commander with +1WS, W and A, comes with custom Plasma Rifle that has +1 Shot and +6” Range, a Shield Generator, and of course the mighty Stormbringer Dawn Blade, letting him put those boosted combat stats to good use. With either x2 Str -3 Dmg 3, or double attacks at Str 6 -2 D1, he’s capable of dealing with a wide range of targets in melee. He has to be your WARLORD as you’d expect, and retains the Tactical Acumen ability whilst also can give a CORE unit +1 to Hit in Melee as well, letting them lend a hand when combat occurs. A similarly geared CRISIS COMMANDER would run you 5pts cheaper and have a 4th Weapon or Wargear slot, but the stat boosts and melee option make Farsight a potent, if not automatic, addition to any ENCLAVES list.
The first of the FIRE WARRIORS, with a fairly standard “human” profile, though with the famous T’au WS 5, they offer effective ranged firepower, whether it’s the longer ranged Rapid Fire Pulse Rifle or the more mobile Pulse Carbine, either act as a great anti infantry weapon. The Shas’ui can also bring a Markerlight to add some extra support to the unit or other parts of the army, and everyone carries a Pistol as standard should the need arise. At 80pts for a squad of 10 (no ifs ands or buts, that’s all FIRE WARRIORS now) they’re quite affordable for their output. They can also take up to 2 of the standard DRONES, or 1 GUARDIAN for a bit of extra toughness. They can also bring a Support Turret, which is activated by an Action that sacrifices your Movement to set up either a SMS for 10pts or a Missile Pod for 20pts, and whilst the Turret itself cannot move, you just bring it with you to set up in another round. Overall the Strike team is a good workhorse unit, contributing decent firepower, Objective play and Secondary options to your army. Just don’t go overboard on extras for them, as the points add up quickly, and at the end of the day you’re still just T3 with a 4+ Sv.
A closer range version FIRE WARRIOR team, with the same base stats and extra options as above, but their wargear is set to the Pulse Blaster, basically a nifty shotgun with some weird ranges. At either range they’re Assault 2 and D1, with Str 5 -1 at 14”, and Str 6 -2 at 8” (told you they were weird). At 14”, they’re outshone by Pulse Rifles and Carbines, especially when accounting for Mont’ka, but at 8” they are some of the best anti infantry weapons out there, wounding most things on 3s or 2s and with minimal chance to Save. Slightly pricey than a Strike Team at 85pts, they fill a totally different role, wanting to get up close and personal to help clear an area so the second wave of units behind can move in to hold the position later.
Carnivores are a strange little unit, simultaneously wanting to be hordes, skirmishers, scouts, screens, campers and melee units. And guess what, they don’t really do any of them well. Str 4 and 2A at WS 3 does make them decent enough in melee, but AP -1 and D1 not so much, plus they have to get there. Which with a 6+ Sv, even with their Predators ability, as well as getting a +1 to their Sv when in Cover, is very tricky. Otherwise they carry what equate to Bolters, and have Str 4 Frag Grenades. They’re fine, and thankfully very cheap at 6pts, and can be taken in units of 10-20. They do make useful screens and harassers, but that’s about all they’ll do (a unit of 10 just about kills 10 Guardsmen, between Shooting and Melee, and not accounting for any terrain or other rules). They do enable a single SHAPER, KROOTOX and HOUND to be taken in a free Detachment Slot per CARNIVORE, so they can open up some interesting utility options without taking up too much in the way of room, and they can be useful to get early Objective grabs in some missions or be Action caddies should you need them, but don’t expect them to stick around for long or contribute much else to the battle.
Big gorilla birds, packing a fairly robust statline…and that’s about it. There’s no fancy rules or abilities to these things, they’re just 25pt semi-decent melee units that also have an Autocannon strapped to their back. Whilst their 4A at Str 6 -2 D2 is nice, T5 4W and 6+ ensures they’ll rarely get to use them. They might absorb a bit of firepower, but aren’t really worth looking at unless you’re desperate for some melee output.
THE iconic unit of the T’au, and with a ton of options they can really deliver the pain. A healthy 10” FLY Mv helps get them to places, and with T5 4W and a 3+, they’re tough enough to withstand a decent amount of damage. Each one has 3 Slots which can be used for either Weapons or Wargear, and an additional Slot for a piece of Wargear. Coming in units of 3-6, each CRISIS can take up to 2 GUN, SHIELD or MARKER DRONES to add to the unit, and 1 in every 3 suits can upgrade to Iridium Armour for 5pts, to grant them a 2+ Sv. Starting at 30pts, their cost can add up very quickly depending on your weapon loadout, but their output is significant, and the platform reliable. A mix of weapons will keep the cost down, whilst giving you a variety of tools for several situations, making them an all round great unit that benefits from many abilities in the book to help enhance them even further. Given their decent statlines and Battlesuit rule, don’t be afraid to get them stuck in to lighter units or to tie things up as well, for whilst they won’t punch much to death, their guns can still be used on whatever their fighting next turn, so either they’ll stick around and waste their own shooting only to get shot in the face next turn, or fall back and shake up the opponent’s game plan.
Take the CRISIS team above, make them 2-6 in the unit instead, give them the Bodyguard rule so CHARACTERS near them can’t be shot (yes even LONGSTRIKE, come on Day 1 FAQ…), and they don’t take up an Elite Slot for each COMMANDER in the Detachment. The Character protection alone is good for the 5pt premium you pay, though watch out as there is an almost certain typo in the unit entry, namely that they don’t get the free Wargear slot that the normal CRISIS get, limiting them to only 3 Weapons or Wargear (expect that to change). Otherwise the same principles as the CRISIS team applies, being a fast, decently tough and offensively powerful unit, with added Character protection.
A much lighter Battlesuit, with only an 8” Mv, T4 and 2W, but a built in -1 to be Hit as well as +1 Sv vs Ranged when already getting Cover. With Infiltrate and their small size, they’re fairly easy to hide and require a fair bit to shift, making them ideal for forward Objective grabs or early Secondaries. With Burst Cannons as standard they can help clear light Infantry, though 1 in 3 can upgrade to a Fusion Blaster for 5pts for some anti tank support, but all told they’re affordable as they are for 25pts. Another 1 in 3 can also take a Target Lock or Drone Controller, which isn’t totally necessary, though helpful if they’re going to be lurking near big units of Drones. Speaking of which, they themselves can take up to 2 of the standard three Drones, should you wish. Their final piece of Wargear is the Homing Beacon, letting them perform an Action once per game that effectively stops them from Moving, but lets a unit Manta Strike within 3” of them and still over 9” away from enemy units, even if its the first turn. This enables some particularly devastating alpha strikes if you get turn 1, and if you don’t it forces your opponent’s hand in dealing with the Stealth Team lest you bring down a bunch of Crisis Suits turn 1. Stealth Suits offer a fair bit to the army for a cheap cost, with an entire squads worth of firepower packed into a small team that requires a decent amount of firepower to shift, all whilst they move around to harass light units or complete Objectives.
The big brother to the Stealth Suits. With a pretty robust T7 12W and 3+, -1 to be Hit vs Ranged and their Stealth Drones, they’re fairly tough to shift, and pack some hefty firepower. The Ion Raker makes them a nasty anti heavy infantry hunter (36” Heavy 6 Str 7 -2 D2, or +1 Str and Dmg when overcharging), or can opt for the Fusion Collider, which amounts to a Multi-melta with +1 Shot and Str. With an auxiliary choice of paired Burst Cannons, Flamers, or Fusion Blasters for 10pts more, they can compliment their main gun, or cover it’s weakness. Also comes stock with a Drone Controller (should that come up) and an Early Warning Override, the latter of which can be upgrade to a Flare Launcher for a pretty hefty 15pts, but granting the Ghostkeel a 5+++ vs Str 7+ Ranged Attacks, which given their lack of Invulnerable Save is probably a good idea, as concerted effort will bring them down fairly quickly, and at 160pts base, they’re a costly asset to throw away.
For 70pts you get a Markerlight toting Character who also comes with 3 Sniper Drones, and their otherwise meh profile suddenly makes sense with them thanks to his Drone Uplink ability, giving a SNIPER DRONE models in a unit within 6” in the Command Phase (yes, he’s within 6” of himself before you ask) BS 3, Ignore Look Out Sir and doing an additional Mortal Wound on 6s to Wound. They can’t be shot if they Remained Stationary (explicitly in the Movement Phase, so no interactions with Mont’ka), unless they are the closest target or the attacker is within 12”, giving them a good layer of defenses to hold a backfield Objective in relative safety, even if not contributing much in the way of shooting. Whilst the movement restrictions does mean you’ll want to keep them near other units whilst getting into position, once they’re there they can offer some pretty nasty firepower, both against Characters or other Infantry. Whilst you won’t be getting Markerlights on many Characters unless they’re out in the open (and then they have bigger things to worry about), a unit of Snipers will still dish out a good 3-4 Wounds a turn at 24” to most Characters, even with Invulns, making them fairly effective at area denial.
A unit of 4-12 DRONES in any combination of GUN, MARKER or SHIELD, letting you have some mobile harassment, support, screening and general annoyances. Remember they don’t interact with quite a bit of the battlefield as well as some important rules (no screens of Drones to protect your COMMANDERS for example) so just be careful. Generally you can get Drones across enough units that you don’t need to do this, but can be worth taking a few extremely cheap units of Gun Drones to drop into enemy territory for things like Engage or Behind Enemy Lines.
The third of the FIRE WARRIORS, they sacrifice their 4+ for a 5+, but do gain +1” Movement, a pregame Normal Move, and Markerlights that can be fired after moving. On top of that they have a ton of special Wargear, be it a Drone Controller or Neuroweb System Jammer, as well as some special weapons, be it up to 3 Rail or Ion Rifles, or one guy packing a mini Grenade Launcher. Add to that their 3 special Drones and still getting access to 2 of the standard Drones, and they have a lot of flexibility in loadout. Their main strength is their Markerlights however, and the flexibility they have to utilise them, so don’t go overboard with upgrades you probably don’t need, as whilst cheap to start with at 90pts, you can very easily start approaching 120-130pts for minimal gain, not ideal for a unit that will get shredded by most basic weapons. A special weapon or 2 probably isn’t a terrible shout given how surprisingly cheap they are for their effectiveness, but in general you want these guys light and on the move to support your bigger units with Lights and to cover gaps in any anti-infantry firepower they might need.
Fast skimmers that come with a hefty 16” Mv, and a fairly decent T6 and 7W, albeit with a 4+. Each one comes with 2 Docked GUN DRONES and a Str 6 Burst Cannon, which for 10pts can be swapped out for a beefed up Fusion Gun that always gets the +2 Dmg, or +4 if in half range. You can also bring 2 Seeker Missiles for 5pts a pop to give them some more anti tank utility. With the ability to set up in Outflank style Reinforcements they do have some deployment utility, though arriving wholly within 6” of a board edge and still over 9” from enemies does limit you a bit, and with their vast speed they can generally get where they need to get to with ease. Not too costly at 60pts, they’re ideal flankers and harassers to go and engage with ranged enemy units that you’re looking to tie down, or threaten their tanks with close range Fusion.
A somewhat useful AUXILIARY, with a decent enough T4 and 4+, but more importantly a 14” FLY Mv, Deep Strike, and coming with a solid gun, packing a tasty 2 Shots with Str 5 -3 D2 at 18”. At 12pts a Model and squads of 5-13 (stupid blister sizes, don’t ask me), they’re actually fairly killy and mobile enough to warrant looking at. The main issue is you already have lots of mobile, killy units, which actually benefit from your army rules. There is some element in using them for things like late game Actions, or to drop in and secure an Engage whilst contributing a modicum of firepower, though realistically they’re killing maybe 2 Marines, so take that as you will. Certainly not a terrible choice, which goes for all the AUXILIARIES really, just by the time you’ve taken things you might actually want or need to take, you’re probably looking for more efficient things.
Nippy little birb dogs, with a 12” Mv and Ambush they can get up the board with haste, and have innate rerolls for Advance and Charges to help ensure they tie stuff up. They’re small and BEASTS, so interact favourably with terrain, though as you’d expect with Kroot, T3 1W and 6+ Sv doesn’t make them survivable in the slightest, even with the cover boost ala the CARNIVORES. They’re semi-decent in a fight with 3A at WS3 and -1, albeit at Str 3 and D1, but that’s not really why you’re taking them. In units of 4-12 and 6pts each, they offer a fast and annoying unit to tie things up in combat should you get the first turn, or to screen out turn 1 charges should you need to. The main issue, as with other KROOT, is there’s other units you’ll want to take instead, and they pretty much have a single turn of use before they die.
Chunky Dreadnought size Battlesuits, packing a beefy T5 8W and 2+, and a choice of heavy wargear, either the Heavy Rail Rifles (Think a Str 9 Dark Lance with +24” Range, +1 Shot and doing a Mortal Wound whenever they Wound), or 2 High-yield Missiles (Heavy Missile Pods with 4 Shots), though the Missiles do cost an extra 20pts. You then have 2 wargear slots, for a choice of the standard Early Warning Override, Multi-tracker or Velocity Tracker, a Seeker Missile, a Twin Plasma Rifle, or a Twin SMS. They also have 2 unique bits of Wargear, the Advanced Targeting System which makes 6s to Hit autowound when Shooting, or the Stabilised Optics which lets them ignore the penalties for Heavy Weapons Moving and Shooting, as well as the -1 to Hit via Battlesuits. There’s some limits to the combination of wargear and weapons as well, not being allowed to combine the Early Warning Override, Optics, Plasma or Velocity Trackers, and no duplicates are allowed either. But fortunately these are free, or 5, 10 and 15 for the Seekers, Plasma or SMS, respectively, so you have some options for loadouts. They can also run 2 DRONES per Suit, in any combination of the 3 Standard or Missile Drones, giving them some options for extra models. Broadsides bring some consistent and powerful output, and are great for effectively denying firing lanes, and whilst they are tough to shift, especially in Cover, they are let down by their pitiful 5” Mv making bringing their Heavy guns to bear tricky at times, making Mont’ka pretty much a necessity. They can also add up quite quickly, as to be expected with Battlesuits, depending on the load out you’re looking for.
Big tank like Battlesuits, coming stock with a nice T7 14W and 2+/4++ for good survivability. Their main weapon is the Heavy Burst Cannon, unleashing 12 Shots at Str 6 -2 D2, or for 10 pts more you can have the Ion Accelerator, halving your shots but doubling your Range, and getting +1 to Str AP and Dmg, plus the option to overcharge as per normal Ion weapons for a very nasty Str 8 -3 D4. Secondary weapons are a choice of paired Plasma, Fusion or SMS, with the Fusion and SMS costing 20 or 10pts respectively to upgrade. Finally they can take up to 3 of the Battlesuit Wargear, barring the Shield Generator which you effectively already have, and all are free, giving you nice options for supplementing your offensive or defensive capabilities. The Riptide has lots of options, and this is further boosted by the ability to Nova Charge, letting you increase your main weapons shots by 33% (to 16 for the HBC, or 8 for the Ion), letting you move 2D6 in the Charge Phase at the expense of making a normal Charge, or getting a 5+++. They do need to roll over their remaining wounds on a 2D6 in your Command Phase to do so, so as the battle progresses you’re chances of using it are lowered, but all three options are great to have access to. At 240pts base, they are a tough and independent unit to have move around the battlefield to take out key targets, as well as draw a good amount of firepower from your more squishy elements. The do degrade quite harshly however, so be sure to have some CP to hand for Backup AI, and keep them contributing for as long as possible.
The main battle tank for the T’au, sporting a robust T7 and 14W, alongside a speedy 12” FLY Mv to help get their guns in line of sight and range, though the latter isn’t quite as necessary with the main guns, with either the Railgun (which I’m presuming you’ve seen by now, but if not is a whopping Str 14 -6 Dmg 6+D3 which ignores Invulnerables and does 3 Mortal Wounds on a wound too boot, but with only 1 shot), or for 10pts more you get the more utilitarian Ion Cannon, giving you 3D3 Shots at Str 7 -2 D2, with the usual +1 Str and Dmg, as well as Blast on the Overcharge. Your choice will basically boil down to what you want and need in your army, with the Railgun offering a very powerful anti tank shot, or the more flexible but generally lighter targets of the Ion Cannon. On top of that you get a choice of 2 Docked GUN DRONES as standard, or for 10pts more upgrade to either 2 SMS or 2 Accelerator Burst Cannons (Burst Cannons with +2 Shots, +1 Str and +1 AP), to lend some anti infantry firepower. You also get to reroll 1 Hit roll when you shoot, best saved for your big gun, the option for up to 2 Seeker Missiles at 5pts a go, and it’s also worth mentioning you explode for a ridiculous D6 Mortal Wounds in 6”- no idea why, but keep away from your units if you can lest they die a horrible death. Also keep in mind it degrades quite harshly, going from BS 4/5/6 when damaged, making it rapidly lose effectiveness. Overall however the Hammerhead is a solid gun platform that offers a substantial threat to your foe, which can be to its detriment as it only has a 3+ to keep it around, but likewise if that can divert firepower from your other units, it’s still playing a part, and at 145 it’s pretty aggressively costed for its output and scare factor. Hide where you can, using it’s speed to draw beads on vital targets, and use your opponent’s fear of it to split their forces and attention.
A Hammerhead retrofitted for anti-aircraft duties, swapping it’s main turret for 2 Markerlights and a Seeker Missile Rack, giving it D3+1 Seeker Missiles to fire at one target a turn, which is a pretty sizable range threat. It also gains +2 to Hit AIRCRAFT to help bypass their own innate minuses, and also rerolls Damage against them, giving you some nice reliability. Otherwise they’re the same stats and wargear as the Hammerhead, minus the additional Seeker Missiles. It’s a decent alternative to the Hammerhead (and won’t lose you as many friends), whilst still being a fairly decent anti tank platform, generally getting you 3 Shots a turn with what amounts to a Lascannon with a much better damage spread, which for 135pts isn’t too shabby.
Fish of Fury booooooyyyyyy! A combination APC and anti-infantry platform, coming in at a cool 95pts base for what amounts to a Hammerhead chassis with -1W, but with a Transport Capacity of 12 INFANTRY or DRONES (not AUXILIARY or BATTLESUITS), as well as a RECON DRONE in addition. With an Accelerator Burst Cannon, and 2 Docked GUN DRONES which you can upgrade to 2 SMS for 10pts, you come with a solid amount of quality anti infantry firepower, and have the option of 2 Seeker Missiles at 5pts each, for some in-a-pinch anti tank. Their main schtick depends on your Philosophy, giving you either a 9” pregame Move in Mont’ka, or the ability to go into Strategic Reserves if you end your Movement Phase within 9” of a board edge. Either one gives you phenomenal flexibility, either Mont’ka for aggressive alpha strikes or effectively redeploys, or Kauyon to outflank and arrive deep in enemy territories in later turns or to make late game plays to steal objectives or board control. A prime attachment for a FIRE WARRIOR squad, helping them get to position in safety or make impressive movements for the mission, alongside bringing a whole squad’s worth of guns themselves and a big body to shield and screen with. As with the Hammerhead, it explodes for D6 Mortals, so be careful of positioning, though you can use this to your advantage, using the Devilfish to charge enemy units, and dare them to destroy you and risk a mighty explosion in their lines.
A light fighter plane with your usual assortment of AIRCRAFT style rules, and comes with a Burst Cannon or Missile Pod, 2 Seeker Missiles, and the unique Quad Ion Turret, which is basically a 30” 8 Shot CIB. That’s it really. It’s pretty cheap at 155pts, and T7 12W makes it weirdly tougher than many planes, but much more likely for damage to stick thanks to its only 4+ Sv, so it’s probably a wash in terms of survivability. It doesn’t offer much in the way of firepower or utility that can’t be achieved elsewhere, outside of being a FLYER and so able to occasionally reach certain parts of the battlefield others might not on turn 1.
Alternatively, you can have the Bomber variant, which comes stock with a Markerlight, Missile Pod (which can be upgraded to a 2 Missile Pods…for free. So do that.) and 2 Seeker Missiles, as well as 2 Docked Interceptor Drones, which give it actually great firepower than the Fighter, as it essentially has an extra Missile Pod and 4 more Ion shots, and though they’re Heavy rather than Assault, it very rarely matters. Now you do lose a point of T, making it very light in terms of defenses, but you also gain Pulse Bombs, letting you roll a D6 (or 6D6 if a MONSTER or VEHICLE) for each model in a unit you fly over, up to 10D6, and doing a Mortal Wound for each 4+. Mortal Wounds are in fairly short supply in the T’au army, so the option to do this can be helpful to soften up bigger or tougher units, and in a reliable way as well. With speed, firepower and the bombs, the Sun Shark is actually a decent pick, despite it’s low toughness, and won’t break the bank at 165pts
Stupid thing in both design and concept (fluff wise the T’au avoid defending ground as much as possible and don’t beleive in static defence emplacements, so of course a giant gun platform that becomes static to defend ground makes total sense…) but it is a potent weapon on the battlefield. TITANIC with T8 22W and a 2+/4++, he’s a tough nut to crack, and that’s before things like Stratagems to make him even more survivable. Coming stock with a Cluster Rocket System for anti infantry with it’s 4D6 Str 5 -1 shots, 4 Destroyer Missiles for anti tank (think Seeker Missiles with Str 12 and -5, a max of 2 of which can be shot a turn), as well as axillary weapons in the form of 2 SMS and an ancillary slot for either Twin Flamers, Twin AFP or Twin Burst Cannon (the latter 2 costing 5pts to upgrade). Their main draw is the big gun however, either the all round Pulse Driver Cannon firing 3D3 Shots at Str 10 -4 Dmg 3, or for 10pts more you get the more specialised anti big thing hunter in the Pulse Blastcannon, with its twin profile of either 6 shots at 48” Str 12 -2 D4, or 2 shots at half that range but at Str 16 -4 D12(!). They also come stock with a Target Lock, Drone Controller and Velocity Tracker, which can be swapped out for a Counterfire Defence System if you wish, as well as the option for either an Early Warning Override or Multi-tracker, all of which are baked into the base cost of 330pts, making him extremely affordable for their output. They can also Deploy Anchors as an Action, sacrificing their Movement for a turn but getting reroll Hits, bumping up their reliability significantly. Whilst they do degrade pretty harshly as most T’au Vehicles do (going from BS 4/5/6), the rerolls help, as do Markerlights and Backup AI, and they can offer solid firepower for multiple targets, whilst taking a lot in return.
All the Tidewall Fortifications are effectively mobile buildings, which can make an 8” FLY move if a unit inside does an Action at the start of the Movement Phase (even though they normally can’t do so when embarked). They all have a capacity of 10 INFANTRY, with models of 3+W taking up 2 slots, 4+W taking up 3 slots (or not possible at all in the case of the SHIELDLINE), and only able to take models with 5+W if they’re a CHARACTER. They’re also capped at a max of 2 squads at a time. This is a bit awkward to start with as most of the time you can put in maybe a unit of FIRE WARRIORS, and for some reason your CHARACTERS are taking up 3 slots due to their Wounds, but fine. All the Tidewalls are T6 with 10W and 4+, and 16W in the case of the Gunrig, so they are not the toughest things around, but they are effectively Open Topped, and can shoot into melee with units engaged with the Tidewall as if they had Big Guns Never Tire, giving them some capacity to be safer and still contribute their firepower. They can all set up within 3” of each, but they don’t have to, so you have some slightly greater flexibility over other armies taking multiple Fortifications (cos that happens). When they are destroyed and don’t Explode, anything other than the Shieldline remains on the battlefield, becoming Obstacles with Difficult Ground, Exposed and Unstable, meaning they can still be quite useful to you even in death, blocking your enemy’s approach with tricky to cross bits of terrain. They’re all fine, but are quite costly and don’t offer anything other than maybe a turn of ablative protection whilst your Warriors shoot out of it, but realistically they won’t see much use.
Again for 80pts, but with the option to have up to 4 of the 3 standard Drones at their usual additional costs, and it also has a Drone Controller provided someone is embarked within it. That’s about it. It can provide some extra Pulse Carbine shots with it’s BS 4 if going GUN, and MARKER is always a good bet for more support, but SHIELD will only be useful if you disembark them, and in any case the cost will go up.
An 80pt barricade with a 5++, and the option to take a Defence Platform for another 80pts (basically the Droneport below but no DRONES), which has to be set up within 1” of the Shieldline. The basic one that gives you the cheapest defenses as well as a decently large footprint.
A larger platform with what amounts to a bigger Heavy Rail Rifle on it, with its 2 Shots at Str 12 AP -4 Dmg 3+D3 and D3 Mortals in addition when wounding, so it’s a pretty decent anti tank piece, though for 125pts there are generally better or more effective units if that’s you’re sole focus. The main issue is it’s BS5 if there isn’t a unit embarked, and it can only shoot the closest eligible target, or closest eligible VEHICLE if unmanned, removing flexibility. Probably the best of the Tidewalls by virtue of it’s greater Wounds and actual weaponry, but remember it’s still fairly easy to damage