Warhammer 40k Tau Empire Faction Focus shows some worrying rules, but if you look under the surface, you can find the Greater Good.
Some consider them the true (an only) good guys in the grim darkness of the 41st millennium, while some say that they are just as bad as the rest of the factions – and are very annoying to face on the tabletop due to their strong gunline. The T’au Empire however are one of the most interesting factions in Warhammer 40k due to their unique look and playstyle, and Games Workshop finally revealed some of their new rules in a recent Faction Focus! Let’s take a look at the T’au Empire’s new tools coming up in the 10th Edition!
Faction Rules of the Warhammer 40k T’au Empire Faction Focus
Of course, the Army Rule for the T’au Empire won’t be any other than For the Greater Good, which is really fluffy for a faction which unites different alien races under one banner to work towards the betterment of the galaxy. With this Rule, T’au units can work together in pairs to target specific enemies: one unit will be an Observer, spotting the target for their other unit, called a Guided squad. The enemy unit which they’ll try and focus fire on will be called a Spotted unit.
After linking and selecting an enemy unit, the Guided unit receives a Ballistic Skill bonus of +1 against the Spotted unit, and if the Observer has the Markerlight keyword, the Guided unit also gains the Ignore Cover ability – but be careful, as if you’re not shooting at your spotted target, you receive a -1 to your Ballistic Skill.
This new Army Rule means that the Fire Markerlights action will not stay in the 10th Edition of Warhammer 40k, which will be a good thing for the T’au, as they don’t have to keep their Markerlight units safe if they want their army to work optimally, they can get the +1 to BS as long as they have 2 units on the battlefield. Note that For the Greater Good increases the Ballistic Skill of units instead of their Hit rolls, so they can also receive a boost in that regard – sadly, this means that the +1’s most likely won’t stack in 10th Edition, so factions such as the Leagues of Votann need to look for other ways to make the best of their 4+ Ballistic.
Other than the Army Rule for the T’au Empire, we got one of the big Detachment Rules, which will be the current Kauyon philosophy remastered. The Kauyon Detachment Rules gives all T’au Empire models the Sustained Hits 1 ability for their guns, which is upgraded to Sustained Hits 2 if they are Guided by an ally Observer Unit. This means that if a T’au unit rolls a 6 to Hit, an extra hit is scored – or 2, if they are working in tandem with another T’au unit. This seems extremely strong, as the T’au firepower is no joke as is, but will be much deadlier in the 10th Edition of Warhammer.
Unit Spotlights of the Warhammer 40k T’au Empire Faction Focus
Of course, there has to be some nerfs as well – or balance shifts, if you take into account that the Army and Detachment Rules are very strong. The first datasheet shown for the T’au Empire was the Pathfinder Team sheet, which revealed that one of the best infantry choices for the Empire are now Ballistic Skill 5+ in most cases – bar some heavy weapons and the most basic gun of the Pathfinders, the Pulse Carbine.
However, they retained their Markerlight keyword, so they can be better Observers, ant they can do it twice with their new Target Uploaded ability, which let’s them Guide two friendly units and Spot two different enemy units in a single turn. With their Scouts 7” pregame move ability, they can get into a favourable position after the deployment, helping unleash the might of T’au shooting upon the enemies of the Greater Good. They can also take some drones as well, giving them 6” to the range of their Guns, the Infiltrator Keyword, or make it harder for enemies to charge them.
Even though we all wanted to see the reveals for the Crisis Suits, or at least the Broadsides, Games Workshop have subverted our expectations by showcasing the new T’au Drone system – and why they are listed under the Wargears of the Pathfinder team instead of their own. In the 10th Edition of Warhammer 40k, Drones won’t be considered as models anymore, but instead they’ll be “tokens” for marking different wargear taken by a unit. This means they won’t be eligible targets to shoot, but also won’t count towards unit coherency, meaning that tricks with Drones won’t be a thing in the next Edition.
5 types of T’au Drones were showcased:
- Guardian Drones, which takes 1 away from the enemies Wound roll shooting at the Drone’s unit,
- Gun Drones, which will provide extra firepower and will be extremely reliable thanks to their Twin-Linked keyword, providing rerolls,
- Marker Drones, which will grant the Markerlight keyword, and let the unit Observe even after they Advanced – which wouldn’t be possible, as the Observers have to be eligible to shoot to Observe, and you can’t shoot after Advancing by default,
- Missile Drones, which are harder-hitting, but more unreliable Gun Drones,
- And the iconic Shield Drones, which don’t give Invulnerable Saves anymore, but grant and extra Wound to the bearer.
While it will be a bit sad to see the individual drones going away, this system is much more beginner-friendly, and should be just as impactful as before.
Weapon Spotlights of the Warhammer 40k T’au Empire Faction Focus
Luckily, Games Workshop didn’t leave us without the proper Big Guns shown in the Warhammer 40k T’au Empire Faction Focus. First, they showcased the Railgun of the Hammerhead Gunship, which is the first thing that comes to mind with the fishpeople after the Crisis Suits. The Railgun received the Devastating Wounds ability, which turns it’s damage to Mortal Wounds if it’s one shot Critically Hits. While it only has a 4+ Ballistic, that can be improved in many different ways – such as staying still with the Heavy keyword and the For the Greater Good Army Rule, which makes it Hit on a 2+ for D6+6 Damage instead of the current D3+6. I’d suggest buying some Hammerheads before the next edition of Warhammer 40k.
But the T’au Empire can go even bigger with the Stormsurge, the biggest non-Forgeworld model of the faction. The Stormsurge’s Pulse Blast Cannon’s Dispersed profile got a bit weaker, as it will only have 10 Strength instead of 12, but the Focused version will have a whopping 24, while also receiving an increase in AP rather than a decrease that we saw in almost every 10th Edition Faction Focus. While the Stormsurge will still be a walking target due to it’s sheer size, it might find a home in some niche lists in the next Edition – or at least I certainly hope so!
Stratagem Spotlight of the Warhammer 40k T’au Empire Faction Focus
With Kauyon as the Detachment Rule for the Warhammer 40k T’au Empire Faction Focus, it’s only natural that a Kauyon specific Stratagem was showcased. Combat Embarkation let’s a T’au Infantry unit embark on a nearby transport after chosen as the target of a charge by an enemy unit – but the enemy can choose new targets. But that doesn’t mean that your Infantry has to fight in melee just to die, they can live to shoot another day – which is really thematic for the most notorious shooting army of 40k.
Overall, the Warhammer 40k T’au Empire Faction Focus showed us some incredible rules. While For the Greater Good can seem a bit complicated at first read, it’s really just a more reliable way to make your army’s shooting well… more reliable. While T’au players can be sad that none of the Epic Heroes or even the Crisis Suits were shown, the new Drone System is a breath of fresh air, and I’m glad that Games Workshop talked about why they took this direction in the Faction Focus.
There’s not much time left until the start of the 10th Edition of Warhammer 40k – and there’s not a lot of Faction Focuses left either. Tune in to ESTNN for the latest news regarding the next Edition of the most popular Wargame in the world!