New Tau Codex 6th Edition Review Warhammer 40k - Army Rules
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 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.
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 commanders may either use the Warlord Traits out of the main Warhammer 40k Rulebook or they may roll on their own Tau list.
- 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.
- Through Unity, Devastation - One Use. Warlord and all friendly units within 12" get to re-roll To Hit rolls of 1.
- A Ghost Walks Among Us - Warlord and unit roll 3d6" for Jetpack moves. Re-roll if he doesn't have a jetpack.
- 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.
- Predator of the Skies - One Use. Warlord and unit have Skyfire for that turn.
- Through Boldness, Victory - Warlord and unit do not scatter during Deep Strike. If no Deep Strike, re-roll this trait.
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!
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
- Twin-linked Pulse carbine: 18" Str 5 AP 5, Assault 2 Pinning
- Supporting Fire
- Marker Light - see below* they are awesome!
- Supporting Fire
- Missile Pod - 36" Str 7 AP 4, Assault 2
- Supporting Fire
- Shield Generator - 4+ invulnerable save for the host model
- Supporting Fire
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.
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?
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!