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Tau in the 6th Edtion!

After the 6th Edition review I wrote, I want to cover my favorite army I own, the Tau! I'll be discussing changes that Games Workshop has made to the Tau, either directly from the 6th edition codex, or from their Errata's they post online. If you have never read an Errata before, go now and look! It's on the GW website (www.gamesworkshop.com). Once you are on the site, go to the gaming tab. You should find it there easy enough.

I'm going to use this space to post how I feel about the Tau in the new edition, what I feel about changes done, and talk about strategies I've come up with to battle those who refuse to listen to the Greater Good.


[ Comunica from Sept Moonstar to Imperial Space Marine forces entering system ]

First, let me introduce you to my Sept. My Sept is the Moonstar Sept. We inhabit a world covered mostly by water. We primarily have water farms where we produce food, both plant and fish among several other products. Many of our grand cities float above the surface of the ocean, with highly advanced shielding to protect them from the occasional fierce storm that blows in from the warm waters.

Our planet, much like your Terra, has a moon rotating around our planet. Our moon though is unique in fact that it also has a smaller body of mass orbiting around it as well. On our moon, we have a military base, an outpost if you may. They have some of the most advanced sensor systems in this sector.

Alas, that leads to the next portion of information we feel is vital to the Greater Good, and to you, our Imperial neighbors. We are primarily run by earth caste, as we excel at advanced research and development programs. We not only are one of the top producers and testing facilities for advanced weapon systems, even our Fire caste works within research and development. We, our Sept, are always striving to find better tactics to fight any acts of aggressions against the Tau Empire. Be it through military strategy, or technological breakthroughs.

Our Fire Caste is composed of two factions, each lead by an honorable Shas'o. Shas'o Starlite prefers the path of Kauyon, the Patient Hunter. He is willing to plot a cleaver trap to see a foe ensnared, unable to escape or fight back. He always works towards limiting losses of any Tau, or non-combatant, he can. He has a keen eye for the battle field and a cleaver mind. Sometimes, he can be too patient, and can be prone to inaction.

The other faction of our Fire Caste is lead by no other than Shas'o Nitescar. He has always been one to follow the path of Mont'Ka, the killing blow. He is a fierce hunter from his days of training. He is likely to go off on his own and hunt an enemy down so as to never threaten the Tau or his command ever again. He is prone to great battle charges, coming in close to the enemy. He is willing to kill his pray, even if it means hunting it into it's own nest.

Between the two, the bold hunter and the patient tactician, our army runs smoothly. Rarely do the two fight over what plan they should follow, and Shas'o Starlite uses Shas'o Nitescar's hunting tactics to his advantage. Through their years of service together, they have learned to depend upon one another for support. Though the Hunter might not want to admit it, he is more than willing to pull back when the pray gets too tough, and lure them into a trap cleverly set up by his counterpart.

With this, I welcome you as friends to our sector. For the Greater Good, I bid you to stay and enjoy the lush waters of our planet and some of the bounty from our seas. Rest, and enjoy our new alliance. We look forward towards training beside you, and your great reputation on the fields of battle.

6th Edition and how they effect the Tau Empire

6th edition brought with it a new face to not only the game of warhammer, but also to the Tau codex. With 6th edition, the Tau went from having just a few tricks up their sleeves and otherwise dead if touched by an assault (though I have had a squad of Fire Warriors fend of some Mandrakes before, made them run and riddled them full of holes with plasma fire). With 6th edition, I feel the Tau gain new playing potential. I'll have to play them more in 6th edition, but some of their glaring flaws, though still there, aren't as bad as they once where.

One big change that helped the Tau was the change to Rapid Fire Weapons. With the new rules, you can now move and shoot rapid fire weapons at full range, and still double shoot at half range. That's right. Fire warriors are now more flexible than before, and the Tau can now do what they where suppose to do, give ground so we can shoot more! Also the change of double shots at half range, instead of just 12 inches, means that the fire warriors have double shots at 15 inches. That's 3 extra inches. Not much, but it's still an advantage.

Pinning weapons haven't changed, so between pulse rifles, and pulse carbines, always field rifles. The extra range is what you need for Tau, and you can really double the shots if you had to with the rifles. Carbines are still assault 1, 18 inch range. Yeah. Like your going to even consider assaulting. If any Tau player considers it as anything other than a last ditch reaction, then they are playing the wrong army.

Overwatch is very helpful for the Tau. I can see some good from that. Sure, 6's only to hit on an overwatch, but enough shots and you are bound to hit, right? I can also see some nice combos with Eldar with this, now that the allies rule is back in. Just have a Farseer with them, roll right for one of the new Disciplines, and you could be shooting overwatch at your normal BS. Tau may have low BS, but that still is something any assaulting playing is going to be weary of.

The availability of cheep twin linked weapons for the Tau are going to help them out I can see. Not only will it help with any necessary overwatch shots, but also with any shots against Fliers, seen as they don't have any weapons with Skyfire at the moment. Need 6's only? If that's the case, having a second try at it per shot isn't bad. Especially when it often times only costs the Tau a few extra points to twin link something.

Charges are now more threatening, but less at the same time. Possible charges range from 8-18 inches. So needing to stay just 12 inches away doesn't work anymore, but then again, you might not get charged if you where just 9 inches away. Hard to say now.

Allies can help fill in a lot of gaps. As Tau as your primary army, you can now take Eldar or Space Marines as Battle Brother allies and have them cover your troops from possible assaults. Then again, Tau can ally with just about anyone with relative ease. So there are many options now. And if you want to use them as your ally force, then they once again can ally with just about anyone. And no one would really complain about having a few railguns in their army, especially if they are twin linked.

Jink makes it almost worth taking a devilfish, almost. Hammerheads benefit from it too, but I'd still take the +4 cover save from the Disruption Pod (Pods only give +1 to cover save). Multi-trackers for vehicles are no longer necessary, but once again (No Multi trackers for vehicles any more), I recommend still taking them. If you are going to pay the points for a vehicle, you might as well add in the 10-15 points to make it mobile and defensive. Also, the two burst cannons now have a place on the vehicle, so scrap the Smart Missile systems and get out the cheaper burst cannons. Might as well save yourself the 10-20 points. And Gundrones are not counted as crew now, but are a weapon system. So if you vehicle goes pop with them in it, they are gone. You can still disembark them, and they still can't re-embark after leaving a vehicle. So get the cheaper Burst Cannons. If someone gets close, you're gonna want to have that extra firepower. And if you have to snapfire one of them, not a big deal. And, with the burst cannons, if someone ruins the Railgun, you can at least close in and burst cannon them a bit before becoming wrecked/exploded.

The new Jet-pack rules are helpful. They clarify what they can do now, though they no longer move 6" in the assault phase like they use to. They now move like a charge, without charging. They still ignore terrain, but that random 2d6 movement is either going to save you, or doom you. You might not get back into cover. So move those units carefully. On the other hand, you might be able to move past your old cover that is being compromised by troop movement and duck into a new hiding spot.

Still not enough guns on the field! Crisis suits are nice, very nice. I love them. However, they are expensive, and don't really carry a lot of weapons. The twin missile pods can come in handy against most vehicles, or those plasma rifles can still be nice to have, but you pay probably close to 100 points when you are done for about three shots. Not a lot of fire power for 100 points...

Weapons and Special Gear of the Tau

Those of you who know/play Tau know we have a lot of fun toys to play with. I'll be listing each here and explaining how it is effected in 6th edition and some uses I've thought of for how to use it. Some of these ideas, I'll have to admit, might be a little far fetched, but they are ideas only. I'll mention/mark what ideas seem to work and what ones seemed good at the time... till the Tau starte to realize that maybe it wasn't such a great idea to...

Advanced Stabilization System

Still helpful, though not as necessary as in times past. This use to be fairly good to take for the Broadside teams, but now it isn't needed as much. With snap fire rules, broadsides can shoot those twin linked railguns at a counted BS of 1. All that these do is make it so you can move and fire the weapons at your full BS, which would be 3. Not too bad still.

Compared to other models with Slow and Purposeful special rules, the Advanced Stabilization System has a few nice tricks behind it. When you are Slow and Purposeful in the new rules, you can't run, can't overwatch and a couple of other things. Seen as in the Advanced Stabilization System description, you can turn this special rule off for the Broadsides that take this wargear. That means, if they need to run and not shoot for some reason, you can now run with them. You can also "turn off" the system, provided you didn't use it to move in your turn, to still be able to preform an overwatch. Yes. You can overwatch with those Railguns. Ouch.

On any other unit, this I think is a waste of time, as everything else already has the relentless rules.

Airbursting Fragmentation Projector

This is a fun little weapon, and it always goes onto my Commander, Nitescar. He always seems to be the dread of my opponent, and they always try to pop a shot off his way to get him to back down when they can. It might have only an 18 inch range, but with the ability to premeasure, you can keep that right at 18 inches as much as possible. Also, it's still a large blast weapon, that counts as Barrage. I don't know if that means it still gets pinning or not, but pinning is just about useless anyway. I always suggest placing this one a Shas'o, or a Shas'el with a Targeting array, as the array with bump the BS to 5. Having a BS of 5 means, if it's going to scatter, it will scatter 5 inches less. That means it's more likely to hit where you want it to.

This is special equipment. That means it's only one per army and only certain units can take it. There is a reason I suggest it on a Commander model. With the High BS on the commander, added to a one per army listing anyway... why not? It's good for it's point cost.

Blacksun Filter

Got night fighting issues? Need to see them no matter how dark it is? These little pieces of wargear are your answer. They now just ignore night fighting rules completely. So, your 72 inch range guns can still fire at full range. Hows that for the Necrons? And the best part, they only cost a couple of points. 3 points for infantry based, and 5 for vehicles. Not too expensive, and that means you can toss them on easily enough "just in case".

Taking these really depends upon your play style, and if you think Imoteck might be making an appearance. If you actually roll for mission scenarios from the book, it might be worth it. If you just set down and start playing, then you probably don't need it so much. And don't waste them on little units. I'd place these on anything with long range. Though, honestly, I haven't read night fighting rules yet...

Bonding Knife

This is still a useful thing to have, but not as needed as once before. Before you couldn't regroup if you where below 50% full strength, not that it's changed to 25%, you might only loose a couple of models to running off the table edge with little/no chance of regrouping. So, I'd probably start saving your points and not take as many of these. Not unless it's a really large squad. Even with a large fire warrior team of 12 member (14 with drones), you are still only talking about when the squad get to be 4 members or less...

Burst Cannon

This is a good weapon still. Assault 3 means you can get three shots per. So mounted on a vehicle isn't bad, and the Stealth Suits that have it is nice at close range. However, there's the problem. Close range. It's only got a range 18 inches. For Tau, who hate to be assaulted, that's a little close. Use it for support fire as people get close, or to scare people from closing in. As a primary attack weapon, it's not bad, but there are better.

I'll be honest, I've never loaded up on these. In 6th edition, my vehicles will now have these on them instead of the Smart Missiles. It's cheaper for them, and has good number of shots. I've never placed them on any crisis suits, though I can see that being useful as a close range support crisis suit, able to duck in, shoot a lot of shots, and then duck out hopefully without any retaliation. But at that range, it's going to be close and hard. I'll have to play test these more really.

Command and Control Node

Doesn't do anything and has been removed, finally. This piece of wargear has been sitting in the book for years being able to do nothing but still being able to be taken. Now it has officially been removed.

Cyclic Ion Blaster

This here is a good little weapon. Experimental like the Airbursting Frag projector, so one per army, but I wouldn't want to necessarily load up on these anyway. They can be a good deterrent, but I have as of yet to see it really do any massive damage. It's got a good 18 inch range, with assault 5. So it spams out the shots, but at a cost. It's strength is only 3, which means a lot of it's hits kinda bounce off your target, leaving them feeling slightly wonder struck and maybe having some glow orbs in their eyes from the light show. However, despite what I just said, this can make terminators think twice about approaching.---- If you roll any 6's on the to wound, it's counted as AP2. Consider it having rending, before rending was around.

I like to pair this weapon up on Starlite as his standard weapon loadout. If I'm running him as a Shas'o, then that BS of 5 really makes a lot of the shots hit. More shots hitting means more chances of rolling a 6 to wound, cutting through their armor. If on a Shas'el, I tend to give him a Targeting array to make him BS 5. Why not? It's worth it. And think of it this way, if I only wound on a 5 or a 6, that means If I wound, I'm going to probably wound. And if I only wound on a 6? Then it's going to be a wound.

Drone Controllers

I'm going to separate this out farther, as a drone controller doesn't do just one thing. Actually, on it's own, it does nothing. But it gives you options to take additional war gear. I'll mention now, unless there has been an update, it doesn't matter how many drone controllers one model might have, their effects do not stake. So if you wasted points taking a Drone Controller and a Hard Wired Drone Controller, stop. It doesn't let you take four drones. You still can only take the two stated.

Shield Drone

Shield drones are probably going to become your bestest of best friends for your little Tau. They are basically extra wounds that have a +4 ward save. That's nothing to sneeze at. If you have the points, I'd recommend these guys for any squad worth taking them for. In the new rules, they are even MORE powerful than before. he trick is placing them right.

As wounds are now placed onto the closest models first, just keep these helpful guys as close to the enemy as possible. They wont do you any good behind your squad. And don't EVER get the model with a drone controller between the drones and the guys shooting at you. If you get surprised though, and jumped at from behind, this could be a waste of points. Still, for 15 points a model, it's reasonable for an extra wound and an invulnerable save as well. Place them well and you'll be all set.

Another hint, if you field your crisis suits as I do, and that is always in squads of one, then these guys are awesome. They are easy to hide, like your single crisis suit model. They also are jet packs, so they can jump with your model when needed. And one last thing that really makes these guys worth taking, even if you loose the two drones, if you are a total squad of three (Crisis suit and two shield drones), then you can NEVER drop bellow 25% starting squad size. Your minimum squad size is still 33% starting. So you can always regroup using your full leadership. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise. When in doubt, you take the better number. That's what I've always heard.

Marker Drone

These are drones that contain a marker light. That's all they have, but being Jet-pack, they are now considered relentless. That means they can shoot that heavy one markerlight even if they, and their squad, moved at no penalty. for 30 point a piece though, it's a steep price to pay for a weapon that supports other weapons, and does no direct damage itself. However, compaired to 5th edition, you can now move and shoot those markerlights, no matter what squad they are with. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, it's a long story and doesn't do anything in 6th edition. If you want me to say it though, leave a comment and I'll say it in the comments section.)

As far as how I use these, they can work well combined with Stealth suits. They will no longer gain the Stealth Field Generator special rule, as they changed that in 6th edition errata, but that's kinda still okay. Just place the whole squad in terrain, with the stealth suits in front, and the stealth suits will provide a +2 cover save for themselves. If you loose a stealth suit though, you'll loose any drones attached to it. (ADDED) I made a mistake. Yes, your drones don't GET stealth field generators anymore, but so long as one member of the squad they are with has one, and gain the shroud and stealth special rules, then the whole squad benefits from it. I believe that means that now, if a independent character joins their squad, the independent character also gains the protection from the stealth fields.

I tend to make a marker light squad of Stealth Suits, where every stealth suit will take the Drone Controller as their upgrade, and sit them back behind cover marking up something I want REALLY DEAD. If I want it to die now, they mark it. With that +2 cover save, it's even better than before, and gives the Stealth Suits a true role in the army, as their Burst Cannons are too short range to truly take advantage of those stealth fields cover save. (Though I have used them as cover fire incase anyone got too close... but I'll mention that in the Stealth suit field.)

These can now be used as support for a fire warrior team as well. Seen as each model moves according to it's movement type now, and each model only counts as moving if they actually moved, instead of the old rule of if any member of the squad moved the whole squad counted as moving. This means that they are still counted as jet-pack units, even in a squad of infantry Fire Warriors. Jet-pack units are still relentless, so marker lights in a mobile fire warrior squad isn't bad. Not so. The Tau codex shot itself in the foot on this one. Drones take on the unit type of the squad they are joining. That means, if they join fire warriors, they become normal infantry. That means, they could only snap fire their marker lights. Though now, if the drones did not move but the fire warriors they are with did, the drones could still shoot as normal. Movement and movement penalties are now based per model moving, not the squad as a whole. Sorry for the mistake. Serves me right for writing this without the codex sitting beside me...

Gun Drones

With their twin linked pulse carbine, as well as being able to expand a squad past their supposed max. They still only count as whatever squad they are joined with for unit type, but on their own they count as Jet-pack infantry.

As exhilarates for squad, they can be handy. They may have BS of 2, but being twin linked you can reroll them. Wait. Did I say twin linked? I can think of another good job for these guys. OVERWATCH! Twin linked 6's for those pulse carbines aren't too bad. Better chance to hit at least, and for 10 points a piece? It isn't bad. Plus, their weapons do have pinning, which wont help for overwatch, but can prevent a charge by pinning a nearby target (if you are lucky). Don't count on that pinning though. It isn't reliable.

I've been known in the older days to place these with stealth suits, increasing their shots quickly and cheaply. They could wipe out infantry fairly well if they could get close. Team up a squad with gun drones (weather they are on their own as a squad, or in another squad filled to max) with another marker light squad to light up a target... if you get enough marker lights on their target, how would you like to change that 5-6's to hit into don't roll a 1 with reroll for those pulse carbines? Nasty, no? Though, the tactic takes a lot of points to kill a single squad, but I'm sure even terminators would quack at the shear number of wounds coming their way. (9 stealth suits, each with 2 drones makes a max squad size of 27. Total shots? 45 shots total. Most should hit if you bump up their BS with the marker lights...)

They also can be kinda handy in assault, as they are one of a few things with good initiative. WS is still 2, and toughness is till 3... so don't expect much...

Sniper Drones

I'll cover these in the Sniper Team entry, as you can't take them for any other squad, unlike the other drones.

Ejection System

Still a fun, neat system to have, but only if you have the extra points. I like to put this on my warlord (an HQ) for fun sometimes. Though I don't understand how a system that should save lives and is considered basic for most of our own gear in todays world seems to go unnoticed in the 40k world. I just don't get how it's an experimental system... you would think it would be an option for anyone who wanted to take it, or just built in...

Still, having you kill my commander and explaining him as coming back because he safely ejected can be fun for a campaign. And having denied you the kill point because of this system for a possible extra turn can be fun. Though armed with only a pulse pistol is a little weak... but hide him in a nearby squad for safety, possible a well hidden stealth team to cover his retreat, could be annoying to your opponent.

More than likely though, it's honesty a waist of points... at least a 15 points. 5? Maybe...

EMP Grenade

Grenades got a huge face lift. I'm still getting use to the new rules for them. But now, you can "throw" most of your grenades 8 inches. Does this make the EMP Grenade more worth it? Sure. Does it make it a must have? Seriously... when are you planing on ever getting that close to another person's vehicle. What you thinking about doing? Assaulting it? Don't make me laugh. These are only really good against a possible walker assault, but seen as only a few select squads can take them... it probably isn't worth making the squads more expensive. Can you try them? Sure. I'm sure they can come in handy, but I'm always too busy trying to keep a nice distance between me and my opponent that I probably wouldn't really use these much. Could I make a squad dedicated to hunting down vehicles in a more personal approach? Sure. It could work. I could see it happening too.

Is it a must have? No. Can it be useful? Sure. I haven't tried them yet in the new rules. So they might be more powerful than I'm currently giving them credit for. I'll have to give them a test run.

Fail Safe Detonator

"The ultimate show for the Greater Good." I don't like them. If I'm gonna die in the assault, most likely I'm just going to get dismembered completely anyway. And the model that has this war-gear has to live the fight to use it. Also, it can only be placed on Crisis Suits or Broadsides from what I can tell. It might be a bit more worth it if, say, a Stealth Suit could take it, but they can't take experimental wargear... not they I would want to take this one.

Fun to think about, but not very useful from what I can think of. I'd rather just die at that point. Then again, good luck catching my Crisis Suits...


Personally, though I love the idea of a flamer on a crisis suit for some reason, it just doesn't make any sense to place one on. I see it as too much of a risk on a crisis suit. Your greatest strength is the ability to hide after shooting, and if you have to get within flamer range, you're at risk of being charged/shot at. Unless you, of course, roll well with the new Jet-pack rule...

Fusion Blaster

These are basically like the Imperial Melta-guns, but I like to think of them as better than the imperial junk. After all, they are nice looking, neat, sleek... who am I kidding. They are melta-guns. They run off hot plasma and burn holes in anything they hit. At AP 1, Strength 8 and get 2d6 for armor penetration when they are within 6 inches of a vehicle... they are nice. Short ranged though, so don't load up an army with these, unless you intend to close in nice and close to roast them! And then get dismembered afterwards from any survivors...

Too close range for effective use. Best saved for units that are mobile, sneaky and able to get close and escape. Hum... any ideas? Once again, the age old and trustworthy Crisis Suit comes into mind. Though it only moves 6 inches in the movement phase, it has the potential to get close fast with that 2d6 in the movement phase. Or escape with that same 2d6 after a failed attempt of destruction. Stealth suits also are good for this, as they can infiltrate (if you think you have the first turn), deep strike (like the crisis suits), outflank... they have their options. However, Stealth suits are not what we are use to any more. They now no longer have night fighting rules for anyone wishing to shoot at them, they now have "stealth and shroud", which means they get a, what? +4 cover save? Their armor save is +3 anyway. For 30 points a piece, it just isn't worth it. Crisis suits are just more versatile. Plus, most people will kill a Stealth Squad by massive small arms fire. They normally don't get heavy hitting things coming their way...

I commonly use to infiltrate with stealth teams right next to a target and then blast away with these things. A small squad of three stealth suits (90 points, plus 2 for the blaster, and maybe a targeting array and HW target lock for a little more), they where a hunting unit. They would hunt down tanks, hope they killed it, and then hope to the dear Ethereals and the Greatest of Greater Goods that someone wasn't able to see them to shoot them. Basically, a suicide squad to hunt down a target and/or die trying. I could think of better things to do with almost 100 points... but if you have to...

My other tactic with these guns was to place them on my "Heavy Weapons Specialist" Shas're Solis. She often times was loaded out with twin fusion blasters, to more or less guarantee I was going to hit. Then take out the tank and hide behind cover again to position for the nest target. Seen as she took out an old school monolith (if any of you can recall them), after railgun after railgun shot failed... I'd have to say it can still be successful. And with the new damage chart, very much a possibility still.

Honor Blade

I have to be honest, I kinda skimmed over this weapon for years. I mean, who even takes ethereals? Seriously? It's an ethereal weapon only, so you probably have skimmed over it too. It hasn't changed much in 6th edition either. It's still useless and not really even mentioned.

However, if you do take an ethereal, which I can see some cases where you might, it does add +2 to their strength. Wait? Is that an joke? You mean Tau assaulting? They must be joking. Right? Nope. They mean it. It adds 2 to their strength if they assaulted or got assaulted. Their still dead... and then your whole force is in trouble if your ethereal dies. So why would you ever risk him in a melee fight?

Waste. Enough said. Unless you really like to take a big risk for only a small amount of gain... for the assault... which is a joke for Tau...

Iridium Armor

Still the same. No change. It's a nice piece of wargear to have if you don't expect much in the way of cover and don't need maneuverability. Personally I find that the Tau that stands still, is a dead Tau, with very few exceptions. Personally, I skip this wargear, though I have toyed with it every now and again for the fun of it. If you are playing on an open field, with no place to withdraw to, and no place to hide from incoming fire, then take it. It will save your unit from some very painful wounds. And if you are taking this upgrade, you might as well pay the points to place a Shield Generator. You're going to be slow moving and a big target. Might as well make yourself a little more resilient.

I also would take a pair of shield drones while I was at it. They copy your armor save as always, and they also give you two more wounds and also still have that +4 invulnerable save to boot. If you are going to be a target, make yourself a big target and draw more fire away from the rest of your army. It's not going to be cheap, but it should take a lot of fire power still. Just... don't roll those 1s on those armor saves... (And this could also be good encase you get assaulted by power weapons. Power weapons are AP3... maybe a saving grace to bail out another crisis suit? One of the few times a Tau assaults, now THAT is kinda funny.)

Overall, good enough to take, but not good enough to just take it. Make a plan for it before you take. Oh, and it's experimental still too...

Kroot Gun

A long range, high strength, rapid fire gun for the Krootox riders only. Not a bad gun for certain. And... with it being a rapid fire weapon, you now get to move and shoot, as well as double shot at 24 inch range! This might make taking kroot finally worth it. A little bit more pow for the cost... hum...

Kroot Rifle

About the same as a bolter, but counts as a weapon in each hand for assault. Not bad. Not as good as the Pulse Rifles, but not bad. And kroot come standard with this weapon, which actually is helpful to them, but the rapid fire part is a draw back for kroot. If they want to assault, they have to either shoot, or assault. No middle ground here. So you'll probably just end up shooting and letting them walk into assault with you... if they dare.

Marker Light

There are two different Marker Light categories. I'll separate them out farther, but their uses are the same basic.

Marker Light Basic

These are Marker Lights held by most people. They are your common style. They shoot of and can only assist other units. The squad that shot off these marker lights can not take advantage of their own marker light hit.

Your basic marker light you can get. If you can get one and feel you could use it. Great. Despite what some people say, he Tau do not need their marker lights. Sometimes it can be a tempting point sink, as they are expensive and don't do any damage on their own. They can be useful though, very useful. Just try to balance points spent into marker lights with points in weapons they actually can help. Having an army of marker lights and no guns will do you little to no good.

Net-worked Marker Light

The Networked Marker Light is a heavier and more sophisticated version of the normal Marker Light. This marker light type can use it's own shots to give the squad shooting it advantages right then if they choose. This means that a squad with this form of marker light can increase their other non-marker light shots BS, reduce a cover or pinning test save etc, on the same turn that the marker light hit.

These are better, but I've only ever seen them on vehicles and Marker Drones. So if you intend to use these benefits for the squad taking the marker lights, marker drones aren't a bad choice. Otherwise, you wont see many of these on the field.

If I had to choose between networked or non-networked, I'd try for the networked. If there was a huge price increase for it, I would go for the cheaper one. It's nice, but not that nice. I typically find that the squad that shot it normally doesn't need to use it, so I carefully consider where I want them to shoot, and organize my shooting turn around the marker lights.

Marker Light Hit Effects

I know there are a list of effects, but really, very few changes have happened. The only thing mentioned in the FAQ/errata is that you can't shoot a seeker missile from a marker light hit caused from an overwatch. So basically an overwatch markerlight hit is basically useless. You shoot at a presumed BS of 1, and I don't think a Marker Light can save you from that. At least as far as I understand things. There really should be more FAQs on how the marker lights work now. But, I feel that the Tau are soon going to get an update anyway, which would explain a lot of the errata information they've added in.

Overall, these can be great additions to your Tau army. They have a lot of nice effects, though most you will find you wont even need to use. The best use of these are to increase your troopers BS skill, cut threw cover saves, or launch a seeker missile (if you field them). I'd have to warn you, don't get blinded by their effects and flood the field with them. They are easy to get too many, and point sink you army with useless systems that can't even hurt the enemy. You need the weapons these systems can support as well.

NOTE, current core book errata states that non-damage dealing wargear that causes hits, specifically Tau Markerlights, cause SFMCs to take grounding tests, so markerlight the hell out of that Hive Tyrant, then once it falls down, use the markerlight tokens to dump railgun rounds into it.

Missile Pod

A good, high strength, long range, cheap weapon that does two shots. This is my answer to most light vehicles, and in 6th edition it just got better. Seen as now you just need to glance a vehicle and you can kill it with only a few glances, I only need to hit you a few times and I can clear out that predator, vindicator, etc. At strength 7, it threatens to glance AV of 13. Not bad. And for what? 12 points? I normally run these on my crisis suits as a primary weapon.

I take these whenever I can. And, now with fliers, I twin link them whenever I can. Strength of 7 is good for any basic flying unit, as most of them are fairly frail. And twin linking them means if I miss the first time, with that BS of 1, then I can re-roll he shot and maybe still hit. That means I have four chances to hit up to twice with a single twin linked missile pod, for only 18 points. I run crisis suits with these when I can, which is almost always at least one. My commanders also have this one to help establish a long range threat level. They work on almost anything. Very few weapons in the Tau weaponry is as versatile as these are. Only thing they wont really hurt much are heavily armored troops and the heaviest of tanks.


Useful enough I say that you should ALWAYS take this on anything that has more than one weapon system. Come on. For 5 points, you can almost double your fire power! Why not? And if you ran out of support system slots, you can always try to get one Hard Wired. Put it on the Broadsides. Put it on the Crisis Suits. Heck, if you can and you take the markerlight on the stealth suits and the Fire warriors, take it on them to! I tend to have the marker light squad of Stealth Suits team leader take this and a marker light on him, then if someone gets too close, I can still shoot my main weapons as well as a marker light for if they survive. Okay, kinda a weak example there. It isn't needed on everything, but most anything could use it.

Oh vehicles, this little 10 point gear is a must have. Recall when I said the Tau that stands still? Same goes for vehicles. And with jink as well in the rules, why not? The biggest change here is that now, instead of firing one weapon when you move 12 inches, you can now shoot two! Bust cannons for hammerheads are back in. I still recommend staying away from your opponent, but if you lose that railgun/ion cannon, you can still at least close in and shoot your two burst cannons at a target.

A must have. Do I need to say any more? It lets you fire more guns if the model has it. I always make room for it. It's just too handy not to have one.

Photon Grenade

Not sure how these fit into the army yet, have to read the grenade section of the new rule book first... more later.

Plasma Rifle

A good, all around, heavy armor hunting gun. You have terminator problems? This AP 2 gun is your answer. Have some light vehicles to take out? No fear, this Strength 6 weapon can still threaten up to AV 12. It's rapid fire, so it could be better, but I wont complain with a long range shot that can kill a terminator. And if they get close? Feel that double shot! I've taken down a Tyrinid monster before with this...

I tend to have my Longshot configuration for many of my standard crisis suits. Twin Plasma rifles and a single missile pod (usually with Hard Wired Multi-tracker and maybe a drone controller with some shield drones). Sometimes I might change it out with twin missile pods and a single plasma rifle. Depends upon points and what I think I might be fighting. Usually, I like to bring in one of each if I can. Plasma Rifles and Missile Pods make a good combo from what Ive been able to tell. Each are fairly long range, have high strength and it can be up to four shots if the target is close. If your fighting a vehicle, more than likely you aren't going to be "wasting shots" that just can't even hurt it. Each of these weapons have a large number of vehicles and monsters they can threaten.

I try to keep people at the farthest extent of the range of this gun when I use it. I'd rather take several turns of one shots, than risk a two shot, not kill my target and then get assaulted/killed because of it. Not to mention, you have the range, you might as well use it, right? Only charge in if you are sure you can kill it, it's a do or die situation, or the target only has a few wounds left and you hope you can take it down with only this gun, but have others on stand-by if this fails.

Positional Relay

This helps you deep strike your units in faster onto the table. But, seriously? Who really honestly deep strikes their Tau? I've done it every now and again, but not very often at all. I find that, typically with my long range, I'm better off starting with everything on the table. Very rarely will I deep strike. Also, you can only deep strike the one squad this wargear is helping. And it takes up a support system. I could name several systems that are far more important to take as a support system than this.

It was more useful in 5th edition, when it was a +4 on turn two to come in. But in 6th, it's a +3 to come in from reserves on turn two and three. And on turn four and on everything automatically comes in. So, seriously, don't bother. Unless you want to just about force a unit to come in on turn 2 without question (just about), I'd skip this for better things. It's not as useful as it once was, and it wasn't overly useful to begin with. (Actually, I've never played with it myself, and I've never seen it played with in any games I've watched...)

Pulse Rifle

Your basic guns. Your fire warriors have a choice between these and Pulse Carbines. Choice? Forget the choice. Just go with these. Rapid fire, 30 inch range... if anyone is foolish enough to get close, or let you get close, enough to use that rapid fire, it's going to hurt them.

Pulse Carbine

An optional gun for your fire warriors, but your standard guns for Pathfinders and gun drones. Assault 1, with pinning. Honestly, these are almost a waste in the new rules. Go with your rapid fire weapons when you can. The pinning isn't worth it. The extremely few times it works isn't going to make them any better. And seriously? Tau assaulting? Please don't even try to joke about it... it just doesn't happen. Stay with Pulse Rifles if you can.


Not much as changed. Still one of the deadliest weapons a Tau can have. People still fear these, especially the Hammerhead version. Being able to punch through just about anything in a single shot hurts, and then being able to shoot a large blast template at tight squads... can really hurt. The Broadside can't do the templates, but they have it twin linked instead. Anyone called in air support? These things being twin linked, in a codex that doesn't have any sky fire or fliers themselves yet, is your best chance to take down those fliers. And the best part is, if you hit, most fliers only have an armor of 11... even if you roll a one to penetrate their armor, it's still a glancing hit!

If you have a Hammerhead, use Marker lights to help it hit. If you have a broadside, your own BS is normally good enough for the job as it's twin linked. And I pity the fool who doesn't go after these guns from the start of the game. It's be like ignoring a Vindicator or a predator with lascannons.

Rail Rifle

Nice range. AP3. Good strength. I'd say go for it if you can take them. That means, Pathfinders should take as many of these as possible. Only other unit that can take these are sniper drones. You'd think crisis suits would be able to take these, as well as possibly sniper drones as well, but they can't. A great weapon limited by selection. Too bad.

Shield Generator

No real change. Useful, but you pay more for them still compared to, say, an imperial Storm Shield. I find it funny that it's 20 points for this, with a +4 save, and a Storm Shield is 15 points with a +3 save. However, do recall when this codex was made. It use to be storm shields only gave you that save in close combat, where as this was always on. So... it's just showing more age.

Take it? I probably wouldn't. Go with a drone controller, buy two shield drones for 30 points and gain the two extra wounds from them being around. It just works better. (And remember, keep those drones closest to the enemy now...)

Smart Missile System

Nothing really changed here. Useful, especially if you like to and can hide. It no longer gives any cover saves for lack of line of sight, unless the model being hit is in cover itself. Nothing new, but it is a change from the codex. It's been an errata for a while now.

Personally, I like to place these on my Devilfish/Skyray, hide them behind a building and still shoot at people on the other side. Personally, I don't take Devilfish. But for Skyrays, it can come in very handy. You don't need line of sight for the seeker missiles to shoot, and you don't need line of sight for the Smart Missile System.

I used to say keep the missiles on the Broadsides, as if you had to stay still you might as well get as many shots as possible. Now I don't recommend that in 6th edition so much, as Plasma Rifles can be shot on the move, so if you have to move...

Stealth Field Generator

Its a great, yet horrible thing that happened to these wonders. They no longer do the night fighting rule thing. The whole entry has been changed. The new errata says any unit with Stealth Field Generators now has Stealth and Shroud. This is bother great, and bad. The stealth field now work best for hiding in cover, as you can easily get a +2 cover save. However, the Stealth Suits only have an 18 inch range gun, so hiding in wait and sniping isn't an option for them. Being on the move helps them most. However, using them as a +2 cover saving marker light drone squad is even better. No one can really kill them with that +2 save. So the marker drones 36 inch range becomes very helpful still.

Sniper teams have these, so they just got better. Hide them in a building and then shoot out with those 36 inch rail rifles. That +2 cover save should save them from a lot of wounds, and they shouldn't need to really move during the game.

Still useful, but it's different so you might have to reconsider how you use to play these units. They just don't play that way anymore. Give them a try though, they have different uses and you might just need to figure them out, and still having a +4 cover save can be helpful for heavier weapons fire...

Stimulant Injector

This nice piece of wargear just got nicer. I'd place it on a commander, but that's up to you.but with the new changes to Feel No Pain, it's better now than before. Would I say take it all the time? Maybe? I'd rather still take it if I have a few points to spare. Actually. If I have any points to spare at the end of making my army, I'll always try to take this gear. Nitescar just got harder to hunt down...

If I could, I wouldn't mind taking this for most/all my crisis suits. It would greatly help their survivability those few rare times someone can bring their guns to bear on them, or assault them. But most people shoot heavy, high strength weapons at them when they get the chance.

Target Lock

Edited: 9/23/2012 Just updated. The old entry was useless now.

I feel that these gizmos are one of the real gifts of the Tau. With these, I am able to have my squad shoot at one target, as the team leader shot a marker light (to be covered later) at a different target.

I place these on Fire Warrior team leaders, so they can shoot their marker lights at a different squad from what the rest of the team are shooting at. Therefor, I can spend that firepower shooting things that they can hurt, while the marker light goes after a target those seeker missiles could wreck, or even to boost up a future shot of a railgun into that target. I also use these on my Stealth suit teams, placing it on the stealth suits that have a fusion blaster on them, so that fusion blasters could shoot at tanks, while the rest of the squad shot at infantry they could hurt.

I can see I'm not the only person excited about the Target Locks making a come back. Personally, I don't understand why they ever removed them in the first place...

Stranger: The Target Lock is back with a vengeance after the latest errata. Now it allows the user to target a different unit than the rest of his unit without those pesky leadership checks. Just point and fire! It's amazing on Stealth teams with fusion guns or hardwired on the Apocalypsis team leader. Use them, love them.

Targeting Array

Hasn't changed at all in 6th edition. Overall, it's nice to have and I often try to take it if I can. It isn't a must, but it really can come in handy to make sure a non-twin linked weapon hits. Just recall that it's useless if you BS is already 5, as it can't increase it any higher than BS of 5. That only effects the Shas'o of the codex really, so it's kinda a useless point.

Overall, take when you can. It isn't vital, but it is helpful. If you need to spare a few points, than these can easily make up for those spare points you might need. It's good, but there are better things out there.

Vectored Retro-thrusters

Just about useless. It gives you a promise of being able to get out of an assault, but then rips it away by having it follow the Hit and Run special rules. That's a leadership to pass, not hard for a shas'o or Shas'el, but then you have the near impossible initiative roll off. Come on. Your Initiative is what? 2? 3? If you're lucky? You probably aren't going to make an escape anyway. And let's be honest, your chances of surviving long enough to make this thing actually worth its points... probably aren't very high. It sounds like such a fun piece of wargear, but in actuality, it's not that great. It's basically a false promise and just a whisper of a hope that you'll be able to get out and actually shoot at your assailants.

Vespid Neutron Blaster

Another great weapon, but too short ranged and only on the Vespids. Still, not bad. It cuts through most armor and has good strength. And on Vespids it's a nice, natural fit. Get in close and shoot, then assault the survivors...

Vehicle Armory

I felt it was important enough to seperate many of these specific systems away from the other wargear. Most of them haven't changed, but these affect only vehicles.

Decoy Launcher

This hasn't changed. Still lets you force your opponent to reroll an immobilization result on the vehicle damage chart. Want my opinion? Waste of your time. Do you really want them to have a second change to explode your vehicle? And with hull points in now, you'll probably be glanced to death before this would even be handy. In the older days (before 5th edition) this was handy, as I believe any skimmer that became immobilized became a wreck. That fear has long since past, and now, it's just a little more useless. Save your points. Get better gear instead.

Disruption Pods

Updated: 29/23/2012

Read the newest Erratas. Always. They just made these awesome. I'll let someone else say it in their words now:

Someone Else: Latest errata changed Disruption Pods to give the Shrouded Universal Special Rule. That means now the bonuses from Disruption Pod stacks with those from Jink, with has made them awesome. As long as the vehicle moves a bit every round, you are getting a 3+ cover save. Yes, thank you.

I really am wishing that this article system would have proposed changes, so that the creator can clear changes, instead of just anyone can change anything and make me look like a fool... But. They are right. A comment on the change would have been great instead though.

And I still agree with my above statement...

Basic Idea, always keep your vehicle moving at all times, even if only an inch for the jink rule. And keeping foes 12 inches or more away is also a very good idea, as your disruption pods still stop working on anyone who is 12 inches or closer... so be careful. This greatly helps Tau vehicle survival, but will not make your tanks invincible juggernauts. As always, keep your distance, stay on the move and you should be fairly well off.

Flechette Discharger

These are great, if you intend to get assaulted. Sure it can help in a pinch, as a nice surprise to your opponent who thought he was going to assault and get away with it, but really? If you can't escape the assault, then you aren't moving enough! Though, I guess if you get immobilized...

For 10 points, I could think of several other things I could get instead, number one being a disruption pod. However, best spot for this might be the Piranha. They are fast, and tend to have to close in close to the enemy to be of much effect. A tempting assault target? Maybe...

Gun Drones

I'm not talking about the infantry versions. They act differently on a vehicle. Espesually now in 6th edition. No longer do they count as passengers, though they still shoot like them. They are now weapon systems that can be blown off. Also, if you haven't detached them before the vehicle explodes or becomes a wreck, then they go with the vehicle. No more, if the vehicle dies the drones come off and operate on their own. Nope.

Take? Maybe. It is a way to still split fire your shots, but I don't feel it's worth the extra points now. Take the burst cannons or smart missile system instead. Each have more fire power and sound a little nicer...

Hammerhead Railgun =

MUST HAVE. Did I type that out big enough? You really should have this on your hammerhead. The Ion cannon isn't bad in 6th edition either though, as it can take on most infantry and threaten a lot of vehicles, but the flexibility of the single punch to the large blast template is just too good to pass up. Not to mention some units, only a strength 10 weapon can really threaten them.

I normally like to have these on. It's just to dang handy to not take. And nothing is better at taking out Landraiders and vehicles still.

Ion Cannon

A nice weapon to have. Three anti-space marine shots. Wont work on terminators though, and only threatens lighter vehicles. Still, 60n inch range isn't too bad and it could possible glance that light vehicle to death with it's three shots. Or combined with Burst Cannons could be a shot spitter. But I prefer the more expensive railgun. It just works.

I'd still rather the Railgun, but if I was squeezing in a Hammerhead on points, an Ion cannon isn't too bad...

Landing Gear

Here's the funny thing! Tau still have landing gears! They haven't removed them, which is kinda nice. They come free but have an interesting feature, you can stay still and land to stop being counted as a skimmer. How is this good you ask? Good question! This means that if someone has Skyfire, and not Interceptor, you could land your skimmer so that they would hit you on 6's only! Unlike any other skimmer I know of in the game. However, it wont help you with much else. Just Hydra Flak tanks so far really...


I know I mentioned this up above, but same thing. Worth taking if you can. Don't know about you, but I rather like being able to run away from my opponent 12 inches and still be able to shoot at them. And now with fast skimmers being able to shoot 2 weapons at full BS if they moved up to 12 inches, even nicer. Though, if you can't take it, nothing says you can't snap fire those same weapons instead. It just wont be as likely to hit is all.

Highly recommended. Will it be a do or die point? Probably not, but that extra mobility gained is a huge bonus and should help you out still.

Seeker Missiles

These are nice to have if you have lots of marker lights and spare points to put them on a couple vehicles. They Skyray comes with six of these, which can be nice as well. But they are one shot deals, so have a back up plan. Don't have this as your main version of attack, because if it doesn't work, you will find yourself out of ammo and nothing left to defend yourself with.

These missiles are actually good for taking down fliers. Unless an FAQ says otherwise, they shoot with an assumed BS of 5, after using a marker light hit. No sane person would deny you your one chance to hit by saying you have to get 6's only, after already hitting a flyer with a 6's only marker light. And, it says it shoots at this, so the codex still overrides the rule book. Not bad? Right? Now just get those marker lights to hit those planes...

Sensor Spines

These are nice. If you don't take Disruption Pods, take these instead. Your basically ignore terrain. That means you can hide in a forest without fear and take that cover save. You can move and stop over that lake/building/bush/forest and slow down possible pursuers. Handy, as you don't have to worry about crashing into something and stopping to get shot/assaulted. A must have? Not really. Disruption pods are still cheaper. Take them instead (unless it's a high terrain map, or all terrain map...).

Latest errata extra: As disruption pods now grant Shrouded instead of just giving a cover save, both Sensor Spines and Disruption pod can work together for a nice 2+ cover save on your vehicle in the proper terrains. Still, most of the time you'll have enough with that cover save Jink grants.

Ohh. I don't know who you are that is updating this, but thanks. I missed that one... wait!? A +2 Cover Save! Awesome! Seen as you can control the terrain on your side of the table/deployment zone, you could always take lots of trees and forests to blanket your field. Take these and Kroot and you'd be doing well for yourself...

Does anyone know if Jink combines with other cover saves?

Targeting Array

Same as before. Increases your BS by 1. And no, Hammerheads can't take these, they already have it. Sorry. Take? Sure. If you want. But the unit you want to have this already has it. So I wouldn't worry too much.

Continued here: http://www.dakkadakka.com/wiki/en/Tau_in_the_6th_Edition!_%28Continued%29


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