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New Tau Codex 6th Edition Review Warhammer 40k - Army Rules

Updated on June 24, 2016
Tau Codex Review 6th Edition
Tau Codex Review 6th Edition

Introduction

Murphy, here, with a brand new set of codex reviews for Warhammer 40k 6th edition. With this series of articles I will be reviewing the Tau Codex for 6th edition, and I hope to get a new article up every day or every other day.

I know the new codex is already a few months old, but I hope to review every one of the 6th edition codexes as they are released, as I have done with the Chaos Marines, Dark Angels, and the new Eldar codex. I missed the Chaos Daemons and Tau, so I am getting back to them now.

In this first article, I will look at the new Army Rules. This not only marks the beginning of the "crunch" in the new codex (which is a beautiful book, btw), but it marks a starting point for my personal knowledge about the Tau. The are truly an alien army. In a gaming world that is mostly dominated by Imperial agents of one kind or another, the Tau have barely been represented on the tabletops in my sector of the galaxy. With the new codex, I am confident that will change.

So let's dive right in and see what makes the Tau Tau.

New Tau Codex Review 6th Edition
New Tau Codex Review 6th Edition

New Army Rules

Tau armies fight in close-knit units that have gone through intense psychological and emotional conditioning to fight as a cohesive unit. This is all part of the greater good that the Tau politicians preach across their empire. Two Special Rules exemplify the special relationship that Tau warriors share with each other.

Bonding Knife Ritual

Some Tau units have this rule included or may purchase it with additional points. This special rule reflects a ceremony that the warriors have committed to before battle, where they bind themselves to each other in an elaborate ritual. What benefit does it give your troopers?

Units where all models have the Bonding Knife Ritual rule always benefit from the Heroic Morale rule, even if they do not have an Independent Character in their midst.

I will be honest, I had to look up the Heroic Morale rule in the main rulebook to understand what this means, and I will share that research with you here.

Heroic Morale is found in the Independent Character special rules. Normally when unit WITHOUT this rule is reduced below 25% of its starting numbers, it can only pass a Morale test with a roll of double 1's. However, if an Independent Character has joined them, they gain Heroic Morale, and can pass with a standard Morale Check.

So that is what the Bonding Knife Ritual does. Say a 10 man Fire Warrior unit is reduced down to just 2 models left (20%), if they break, they are normally only able to regroup with double 1's. If they have the Bonding Knife Ritual rule, though, they may regroup with a normal Morale check and continue to bring the pain to your opponent.

Why bother? A two man unit isn't doing much to kill enemies, is it? Yes and no. With the amazing firepower that Tau fire warriors possess, your opponent will be aggravated as all get-out at two men peppering his units. Also, a two-man unit can still claim or contest objectives, and in 6th edition 40k, this is how you win games.

Supporting Fire

This is the big one. This is like the new Eldar's Battle Focus in that it breaks the standard rules of the game. This is probably bigger than Battle Focus, though, because it establishes the Tau as a true gun line army. So here's what it does:

A unit with the Supporting Fire special rule is allowed to fire Overwatch in support of a unit within 6" that is the target of an enemy charge. Remember, a unit can still only fire Overwatch once per turn.

This means that 3 Fire Warrior units within 6" of each other can all fire Overwatch if one of them is charge. Considering that they use Rapid Fire weapons that can double-tap within 15", you will be getting 60 shots on Overwatch. Statistically, this will be 10 hits with 6's . . . with Str 5 AP 5 weapons. Yikes!

A couple more points on this. A unit with Supporting Fire can use this to help any friendly units within 6". This means you can use Tau as allies to help your own gun lines. Or use allied units with Tau and not fear that they will be left out in the cold.

So how do enemies of the Tau get around this? There are two methods I can think of. The first is "flank" charges. If there are a group of Tau units supporting each other, the enemy must charge the one farthest from the group so that there are fewer supporting units within 6". Enemies of the Tau are going to try to hit a flank and then roll down the battle line.

The second option I see is that they will simply have to charge with multiple units at the same time. Remember, a unit can only fire Overwatch once a turn. If a unit has a choice to either support a friendly unit, or fire upon the enemies that are charging it, I suspect that they will likely save themselves.

Tau Codex Review 6th Edition
Tau Codex Review 6th Edition

Warlord Traits

Tau commanders may either use the Warlord Traits out of the main Warhammer 40k Rulebook or they may roll on their own Tau list.

  1. Precision of the Skill Hunter - Shots from your Warlord cannot be saved with Look Out, Sir! rolls. If your warlord has no shooting attacks, then you get to re-roll this result.
  2. Through Unity, Devastation - One Use. Warlord and all friendly units within 12" get to re-roll To Hit rolls of 1.
  3. A Ghost Walks Among Us - Warlord and unit roll 3d6" for Jetpack moves. Re-roll if he doesn't have a jetpack.
  4. Exemplar of the Selfless Cause - One Use. Declare at start of Movement Phase. All units from the Tau codex that have Gone To Ground in previous turn ignore that order and may now act as normal.
  5. Predator of the Skies - One Use. Warlord and unit have Skyfire for that turn.
  6. Through Boldness, Victory - Warlord and unit do not scatter during Deep Strike. If no Deep Strike, re-roll this trait.

Murphy's Take:

I like this list, especially the one that lets you ignore Gone To Ground. It's a great trap for your enemy. Get all your units in cover and Go To Ground against every enemy attack. You will likely save a lot of wounds this way, and once a unit has gone to ground, your enemy is likely to act more boldly, putting his own units into dangerous positions. When you spring up next turn and open fire, the effect could be devastating.

What's more, I love how this codex lets you re-roll Warlord Traits that are useless to your Warlord. I wish all codexes let you do this!

New Eldar Codex Review
New Eldar Codex Review

Drones

Another set of alien rules, the Tau Drones are unique to their army and something I've never really understood. Thankfully the new codex lays out how they are used in one simple section. Here are a couple basic rules about drones:

  • Units made completely out of drones are non-scoring and they cannot contest objectives either.
  • Drones that are bought as a unit upgrade become members of that unit, adding to its total models and maintaining coherency. However, they cannot be purchased upgrades, so thus don't pay for them if bought for other models.
  • Drones purchased for an Independent Character become a unit with him. However, the IC & his drones can STILL join another unit. His drones join with him and leave with him if the IC leaves the unit.

There are also Vehicle Drones, which have a few more rules:

  • Drones attached to a vehicle act like embarked passengers (but do not take up any transport capacity slots). As embarked passengers, they may fire (at the same target as the vehicle), but they also gain any benefit that the vehicle might be benefiting from.
  • If the vehicle is destroyed, the attached drones are automatically destroyed as well.
  • Drones may detach from the vehicle just like from an Open Topped transport, and form a new unit by themselves.
  • They may not re-attach to another vehicle, but they can embark on transports like normal.
  • Drones starting the game attached to a vehicle do not count for victory points if destroyed.

All this is great, but without knowing what drones can do, it's a little useless. So why don't we take a look at the drones themselves. Note: these drones are going to be part of other units or bought as upgrades to other units. Here are some stats common to all drones:

  • BS of only 2 (can be better using a drone controller)
  • Toughness of 4
  • 4+ armor save

Gun Drone:

  • Twin-linked Pulse carbine: 18" Str 5 AP 5, Assault 2 Pinning
  • Supporting Fire

Marker Drone:

  • Marker Light - see below* they are awesome!
  • Supporting Fire

Missile Drone:

  • Missile Pod - 36" Str 7 AP 4, Assault 2
  • Supporting Fire

Shield Drone:

  • Shield Generator - 4+ invulnerable save for the host model
  • Supporting Fire

Marker Lights

Marker Drones serve no purpose, other than to light up enemy units with marker lights. They are fairly complicated rules, so I thought I would write them here.

First, a unit cannot benefit from it's own marker light, so they are there to benefit your other units. You must roll to hit like normal, and if you hit with a marker light, you put a marker light token next to the enemy unit. Multiple hits from marker lights add multiple tokens. The tokens last until the end of that phase if they are not expended.

The tokens can the be exchanged for benefits before you roll to hit with another one of your units. Here are the ways you can spend marker light tokens:

  • Pinpoint - shooting unit gains +1 BS for each token you spend for this ability. Can be used for Snap Shots or Overwatch, too.
  • Scour - cost 2 tokens - shooting attacks Ignore Cover for the firing unit.
  • Seeker - spend tokens to fire seeker missiles (if unit is equipped with them). Seeker missiles launched in this way do not need line of site, fire at BS 5, and Ignores Cover. It must be fired at the vehicles same target, but does not count towards the total number of weapons it can fire that turn.

Murphy's Take:

It's all about the Marker Drones and anything else in this army that can give you marker lights. A lot of armies have such weak armor (or are targeted by such heavy weapons) that cover is the only available way to save your models. With potentially any Tau weapon having Ignore Cover on it, due to marker lights, this is an incredible advantage to the Tau. Also keep in mind that Jink saves are also cover saves, so fast and zippy armies like Eldar and Dark Eldar will be very vulnerable to this rule, as well as Flyers being unable to make Jink saves as well.

Why are you interested in Tau?

See results

On to HQ!

That covers the new Army Rules of the Tau codex for 6th edition Warhammer 40k. I know I learned something! I particularly like the Supporting Fire rule and the Marker Drones with their marker lights. I can already see that the Tau are the best shooting army in the game right now.

Next up is the Tae HQ, which is a mixture of infantry characters, the Ethereal Caste, and the battle suit wearing Commanders. Of course, they have their share of special characters!

In the mean time, why not take the poll above and then leave a comment below? I love feed back and the more, the better. New tactics, combinations, and even corrections have been found by readers in past articles, so I hope the same can be done.

Thanks for reading. Murphy Out!

Comments

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    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 3 years ago from Florida

      You have a good strategy, there. The key is to survive those incoming Tau rounds, which I suspect is done by hitting all his units with wave serpents first! The Tau and Eldar seem to be the most powerful two armies in the game right now, so they should make a great match up. They are mostly mentioned as allies to each other on the tabletop, but I'd love to see some Eldar vs. Tau battle reports! Thanks for reading and commenting!

    • profile image

      Omeguh_Nanashi 3 years ago

      I'm an eldar player and my best friend's a tau. we're constantly in an arms race, but i have found long range heavy armor (specifically wave serpents) just decimate ground units and ranged anti armor as well. i drop a squad of scorpions in assault range and cover with walkers and wraithlords. as long as you can use eldar's god given assault capabilities without eating 60 ion rounds, you'll win.

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      I know Dark Eldar and Eldar are battle brothers, but I think Tau are actually the better allied option. Go for it!

    • profile image

      Ray 4 years ago

      I'd say the eldar just confuse every other race out their with their see hundreds of years into the future shtich, it's one of those if you can't do it you can't understand those who do.

      I'll have to get some tau as allies for my eldar.

    • Xarin profile image

      Xarin 4 years ago from Apeldoorn

      thanks

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      The best leak and rumor/news site out there is Faeit 212 located at http://natfka.blogspot.com/

      Enjoy!

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      In Butcher's Nails, a short about Horus Heresy era World Eaters, the Eldar attack an imperial fleet because they know Angron is going to grow into a daemon prince eventually. The space marines were all "why they attackun uz??

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 4 years ago

      Eldar are only "bad" in the eyes of their enemies, on the whole they're just a little capricious. Emprah (Big E, Ebabes) doesn't help himself with attempts to destroy every other living creature out there...

    • Xarin profile image

      Xarin 4 years ago from Apeldoorn

      what are good leak/rumor sites these days? Last I know it was portent

      Also, I would really love a genestealer cult army, love the concept and models/conversion options. We had the option for a while with lost and the damned but sadly that codex has been gone from us for some time now.

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      'Nids! I've almost collected a nid army twice in my life. I actually bought a bunch of models years ago when my wife chose them as her army . . . however, she never really got into it and I ended up trading them all away.

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      I did see the farsight supplement leak. Very cool! I love that there will be more detail for armies, beyond the incredible amount they already cram into each codex. Regarding bad guys, I like that Eldar can be good or bad. They certainly stand for order, but that doesn't mean they always side with the Imperium. They oppose chaos, orks, necrons, and the tyranids . . . but they also might oppose the will of the Emperor, especially considering the Imperium doesn't have a live and let live attitude towards xenos.

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 4 years ago

      Tyranids jumped right out at me as a bad guy army I'd want to play, because they've got the same mysterious edges like the Eldar, but are muchmuchmuch more evil, well, not even evil, just a -really- bad case of the munchies.

    • profile image

      Asuran 4 years ago

      Not sure why but none of the bad guy armys appeal to me. Meh must be the goody to shoe in me. On another note did you guys see the new leaks? Im looking forward to the farsight supplement codex.

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 4 years ago

      Nothing wrong with liking marines at all, I just think GW has written some bad quality fluff for a number of chapter *Glares at the Ultramarines* but I've gotten over that by being an Eldar tactician with sadistic game plans, and occasionally take it out on a few power armoured foes ^.^ And being "the bad guy" does have it's appeal, I have to agree.

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      That makes sense, too. I think a lot of people start with Marines and will always play them, but they get attracted to more diverse armies over time. I don't know. There's nothing wrong with liking marines. I love them! I just like imperial versus non-imperial battles for thematic reasons, and since everyone play Imperium here, I go for the bad guys :)

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 4 years ago

      To be honest, I would stand a chance of losing against an Imperium list if anyone experienced played them near me, but as it happens, the most Marine players are newbies because they're the easiest to play and paint. So, y'know, all the experienced guys head for the 'Crons, Tau and Dark Eldar.

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      Raging, that's awesome that you are getting into the hobby. There are so many awesome models to collect and armies to try, it is hard to just settle on one. The good news is that you can use Allies . . . and it just so happens that CSM and Tau are allies of convenience, so they can claim objectives! You can bring 1 HQ, 2 Troops, 1 Elite, 1 Fast, and 1 Heavy along for the ride. My point: collect both :)

      As a CSM player for more than 15 years, though, you wont be disappointed. They are tough, have cool rules, and they have lots of nasty things they can bring, daemon princes, awesome characters like Abaddon, not to mention the Heldrake. If you haven't done so already, check out my CSM codex review. Just click on my profile and you can find it easy! Thanks for the reads!

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      SEG, that's an amazing record! I've gone through spurts with 40k, with any of the armies I've fielded. I win some and I lose some. There is only guy at our club that beats me almost every time, and it's usually not even a close battle. I've beaten him once resoundingly, and maybe another time where it was close, but that's it. He plays marines and he is just phenomenal.

    • profile image

      Raging 4 years ago

      Just starting up in the game as CSM. I didn't realize that Tau had so many cool battle mechs... otherwise I may have gone with them first. Great write up so far. You are making me want to start a 2nd army and I only have my 1st 75% completed and 1 game under my belt! HA!

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 4 years ago

      I play Eldar and Tyranids, and my brother plays Eldar as well, it's hard to find someone who hasn't got a marine force as you said, but we pride ourselves on being independent. On a side note, I've always beaten Imperium lists, I've yet to lose against one (I've lost against Eldar and Necrons, can't think of any others I've lost against)

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      Yet, every time I play at my local store, I'm always facing space marines of one variety or another. Okay, 80% of the time :) We have a guy with a Necron army and another with an Ork army, but they also play power armor in some form from time to time. I would like to see a xenos on xenos battle. The Eldar/Eldar battle I had last Saturday was awesome, even if it was only a test!

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 4 years ago

      Dark Eldar are the most popular xenos force now apparently, which is hard to believe for me, but their last update left them as a fairly incredible army with some very unique models. Necrons are the most overpowered army as of the moment, so if you go by the power = popularity argument, they're doing well for themselves, Tau have always been popular, and Eldar have had their once in a decade re-release, so the xenos have had a good year.

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      The old chicken and the egg argument :) It's something to think about. Whatever the source of the like, when we talk about the scale of Game Workshop worldwide, even if Imperials were only 10% more popular than all other xenos, that still translates to millions more dollars for the company. They'd want to support that as long as they could. I think they are doing a good job with xenos, though... Every new xenos codex brings a groundswell of interest. Dark Eldar and Necron towards the end of 5th edition . . . now you see Daemons and Tau a lot in battle reports, and I KNOW the Eldar are popular because I've had 50,000 reads on my Eldar articles this month :)

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 4 years ago

      GW is definitely a business, but you have to wonder, is the Imperium selling well and therefore has updates to keep the ball rolling, or does it's updates make them sell well?

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      I'm sure it's all money-based. The Imperium is what sells. Going all the way back to 2nd edition, 40k established itself with its grim, gothic art. established mostly by John Blanche. I'd never seen anything like it when I was younger. Without that earlier artistic direction, which was Imperial oriented, then I don't think 40k would be anywhere as popular as it is now.

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 4 years ago

      For an apparently diverse galaxy, there's a whole lot of Imperium - that's my problem. You won't find a codex without something Imperium in it, and just under half the armies available to buy are Imperium, so I'm annoyed at the bias that GW has towards them. I don't think the Xenos are out there with any detail really when you look at it in comparison, but that's not a bad thing in some cases, Eldar and Necrons are all full of mysteriousness so it works in their favour. And I'd love to see more alien armies out there, but the Imperium armies get regular re-releases (I'm looking at you, Grey Knights) and when there's a new line of models released, they get their hands on it first (again, I'm looking at the marines with the Storm Toaster) so that will inevitably draw attention from the player base, and earn itself a lot of sales.

    • murphy80 profile image
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      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      I love the Imperium, I mean, I've read at least half of the Horus Heresy novels and I just soak it up. However, I love that there are xenos out there with at least a little detail. I've read Path of the Renegade about Dark Eldar and I might start reading the Path of the Eldar series soon. What's more, I just want to see more non-Imperium armies on the table top.

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 4 years ago

      yep, exactly right, Tau have little to no warp presence, so are bordering on incorruptible, I mean, rumour has it that Farsight's sword he found is a daemon weapon, but he can't be tainted by it. Cool stuff, right? One of the few bits of fluff that -doesn't- include the Imperium xD

    • Xarin profile image

      Xarin 4 years ago from Apeldoorn

      The Tau were created by the Eldar as some sort of "anti-Chaos" army, that's why they don't have psykers etc if I remember correctly

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 4 years ago

      Yea it's the Eldar who made the Ethereals, who control the rest of the Tau with a gland that excretes pheromones, which exert dominion over their followers. Also I love the idea of a combined Eldar/Tau Army, I think especially Farseers and Jetbikes will be prime choices for Tau to take.

    • murphy80 profile image
      Author

      Murphy 4 years ago from Florida

      Thanks for the reads and the comments :) I love the Tau, but I'm looking at them from the perspective of an ally to my Eldar. Now, if I could get a hold of a cheap start Tau army . .. then that'd be another story. Regarding who made the Tau, I admit that I tend to glance over the fluff to see what the units can actually do on the battlefield.

      Expect part 2 soon.

    • profile image

      Asuran 4 years ago

      Rumor has it that it was the eldar. But I never seen a hardcopy that sas so. There was speculations about it in that xenos book. Can't remember the name now.

    • SomeEldarGuy profile image

      Alex 4 years ago

      I wonder how many people know who created the Tau here...

    • Xarin profile image

      Xarin 4 years ago from Apeldoorn

      yet another great article, although for me this one is more one of a "know thy enemy"article

    • profile image

      Asuran 4 years ago

      STOP you make me want to stop working on my eldar and go back to my tau lol jk. Glad you chose to do the Tau codex. Looking forward to the rest. In the meantime ill work on my eldar.