Saturday, August 12, 2023

10E T'au: There's Gold In Them Thar Hills!


I speak treason in the name of Commander Shadowsun!

The meta has stated that the T’au Empire is low tier in the early going, and that they must needs bow before their betters.  I refuse to tow the line, as I ever have!

Remember when I spoke treason in 3rd Edition, 4th and 5th Editions and even early in 6th edition by suggesting T’au could be competitive?  That it was the general MORE THAN the codex?  How many articles did I wrote on this very blog, spewing the heresy that skill trumps the numbers on the page?  "Many" is the answer.

I shall do so again.

After looking through this codex and playing some practice games to confirm what Aun’Va was telling me, I have come up with the conclusion that while things have changed, there is still gold in them thar hills. 

Here are three units I think are worthy of most T’au armies and are reasons enemies should rightly fear them, despite the rumors of T’au Empire tumbling in the power rankings.  I think that T’au players may have been slower to take advantage of their new winnings, but I suspect many more T’au generals are going to change the initial negativity.


Chief among the winners of the T’au 10E sweepstake is the Ghostkeel Battlesuit.  It is tough as hell and an absolute points scoring machine.  Most of the mission’s center around what is true at the end of the round or the command phase.  Luckily Ghostkeel Battlesuits can start on any No-Mans-Land objective before the game even starts, covering either situation for scoring points with the Infiltrate ability. At OC 3 they are better than many singular models in the way of OC as well.

Despite being of T’au make, the Ghostkeel Battlesuit can absolutely take a beating from just about anything.  They can bounce shots from Lascannons powered by the Space Marine “Oath of Moment” ability via their drones.  They can absorb normal hits easily with T8 and a 2+ save if they have to, conserving the Drones for bigger hits;  they can penalize the enemy shooting by -1 with their innate stealth ability, and their Lone Operative ability keeps them safe from a LIONS SHARE of enemy shooting.  Enemy units are therefore forced to voluntarily move up and (one hopes) out of cover to try and strike at the Ghostkeel, but it may just fade away again!

The Tank Shock Stratagem works on Ghostkeels, as they are now wierdly vehicles!  This has allowed me to kill units on the charge who thought themselves very safe from any Tau threat in the fight phase, including a surprised looking Daemon character holding objectives in the backfield who took four very unexpected Mortal wounds.

I place my Ghostkeels CONFIDENTLY on the No-Mans-Land objectives, as far as possible away from enemies; and also as far toward other No-Mans-Land objective in case you draw an objective card that lets the opponent choose a No-Mans-Land objective you must take.  The oval base is large enough and the unit fast enough to hop to another objective usually if forced.

I have seen in actual game play that you will benefit a lot from running the Ion weapon as Hazardous.  The Fusion Collider really needed to be three shots to be worth taking, not two.  They might be usable for a specialized task in your list but I'm not sold on it as an alternative.  The wounds you take running your Ion as Hazardous is worth it, by the way.  It’s rare that you even take any.  If you do, you will have abated, absorbed or otherwise sidestepped so much damage by then that surely it is no big deal to take a few mortal wounds.


Firesight marksmen are essential.  The consistent appearance of 20 Necron Warrior blocks and other silly combinations has underscored for me the need to be able to manage those threats by knocking out Orikan or whatever buffer the faction is using.  Even in previous editions (please read back for examples) I extolled the virtue of Snipers for this duty which no other unit can do.  In 10E I see a great need for this utility.  An example is that I count 21 characters in the Ork Codex all with really strong powers.  You can teleport not one but THREE ork units in a round with Wierdboyz (for example) if you don't pop them.  You just cannot afford to be na├»ve about the need for killing characters before they shenanigan you to death.

Firesight Markmen are really good snipers and reasonably priced currently at 70 points.  They only take up the space of one model in 10E!!!  Not only that, but they can’t be shot because they are Long operatives.  They also can fill in as good Spotters if the need arises to Guide units. 

Each game will determine which way to use them but surely they will prove valuable becasue they serve the dual role of spotter.  Three of them are probably necessary in order to act as quickly as you’ll need to in a five round game to make it matter.  Taking one isn’t recommended unless you do it just for its spotting ability.  That said, these are important units for every T’au.  You simply won’t be CAPABLE of killing certain units in enough time unless you can get through to the beating heart of the units “plan”.


Breachers are specifically quite lethal and can be projected forward using Devilfish’s.

In theory the Devilfish can move up to 18” plus a 3” disembark, and the Breachers 10” range gives it a threat range potential of 31”.  That's because Devilfish have the unusual ability to Advance and still disgorge its contens.  Add the stratagem that can make you -1 AP.  This on it’s own is fantastic, but they come with an unusual BS of 3, meaning you will actually be hitting on 2’s with 30 shots, and -2 AP when guided. 

That’s likely 11+ wounds against most any Marinelike target.  Add to that the benefit of a grenades mortal wounds, and you have done something very significant.  Perhaps more fun is their Guardian drone which gives them great defense (for a soft T’au anyways).  Overall, it is a good first pawn move that will force an enemy to spend some resources they rather wouldn’t to remove them.  Their Devilfish can spot for them and will be ideal for the task. 

The Breachers are also effective because their ability to pound those on an objective is even more powerful (re-rolling wounds on a STR 6 pulse Blaster?  Yes please?).  Against such a target, it would instead be about 21+ wounds plus the grenade (don’t bother firing a Fireblade when he can be tossing grenades).  That pretty much guarantees whoever was standing on the objective…won’t be.  It’s impressive.  A Cadre Fireblade is no small tax, but killing off units at a time always comes with a price.  Killing those on an objective is often required for the 10E objectives.  Why not be good at it?

 Last point on Breachers:  the Stratagem that allows the breachers to embark out of phase back into their devilfish is quite tasty as well.  The combination allows them to really pound an objective sitter to dust and do so relatively unscathed.

I hope you enjoyed reading it.  If you did, tell a friend.  =)