Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Tau Empire Army List

There's nothing more fun than sitting down with your Warhammer 40k army's Codex and trying to figure out the best way to utterly decimate your opponent. It's even more fun to me with Tau because you can't rely on strength with Tau, you have to rely on tactics.

I took a look at Tau of War's YouTube vid on Army Structure where he covers his army build that was based on Fritz' "Attack Support Defend" model of army building. The army makes a lot of sense to me, so I created a dream list based on that one. It's not a carbon copy (I changed the Shas'o to my own character general, Shun'aun aka The Firebreather, and made a couple other small tweaks to fit my play style) but it's a close proximity. Then I realized that I'm about 3 Piranha's and a Hammerhead short of being able to field that army. Sooooo, it was time to rebuild my list to fit what I've currently got. I'M READY FOR BATTLE!

1850 Pt, Semi-Mechanized Tau Army

  1. HQ
    • Ethereal - My Tau ethereal is equipped with his symbol of office, a bonding knife, EMP Grenades, Hard-wired Drone Controller, a Gun Drone, and a Shield Drone. He's also accompanied by his Honor Guard of 12 elite Fire Warriors, Equipped with Photon Grenades, EMP Grenades, and Pulse Rifles. The Honor Guard's Shas'ui has a Hard-wired Drone Controller and a Marker Drone.

  2. Elites

    • Crisis Suits - My Elites section is filled out with two units of 3 Crisis Suits each. Both units are equipped with Missile Pods, Flamers, and Targeting Arrays. Both units have team leaders with Hard-wired Drone Controllers and Marker drones. One of the units' Team Leader has been upgraded to a Shas'vre and given a Positional Relay.

  3. Troops

    • Fire Warriors - I have two units of 8 Fire Warriors in my Troops section. They're equipped with Pulse Rifles, Photon and EMP Grenades. Both units have Shas'ui with Pulse Rifles and Bonding Knives. They've also go dedicated Devilfish Transports equipped with Gun Drones, Disruption Pods, Multi-Trackers, and Targeting Arrays.

    • Kroot - I find it advantageous to have Kroot on the field, especially when I'm fielding a Fire Warrior heavy army. Kroot attack like Orks: In mass numbers and relentlessly. I don't expect them to survive till the end of the battle, but I do expect them to be an annoying holdup for the enemy so that my main army has time to fight. All for the greater good, right? I have one unit of 16 Kroot in my army, one of which is a Shaper. Unlike the rest of the squad, who are wielding Kroot Rifles, my Shaper is upgraded with a Pulse Carbine (pinning = good). The whole unit has been upgraded to have a Armor Save of 6. It ain't much, but anything that keeps my Kroot alive longer is good by me.

  4. Fast Attack

    • Pathfinders - When you consider that a squad of 6 pathfinders have the potential to drop six marker lights on the enemy, they become essential to any range-based army. My army list contains one squad of 6 Pathfinders, equipped with Pulse Carbines and Markerlights. The Shas'ui is additionally equipped with a Hard-wired Drone Controller and a Marker Drone. Sound redundant? Consider this: If my Marker Drone hits it's target with a mark the Pathfinders are even more likely to hit their target. (3+ roll to hit). I'll take it. Their required dedicated transport is equipped in the same manner as the Fire Warriors dedicated transports.

  5. Heavy Support

    • Broadside Team - My army contains one unit of 3 Broadside Suits. Equipped with Twin-linked Railguns, and Twin-linked Smart Missile systems, these bad boys are trouble just waiting to happen. I also added a Target Lock to give them more flexibility on the table. Their team leader also equipped with a Drone Controller and Marker Drone.

    • Hammerhead - No Tau army is complete without a Hammerhead Gunship. Armed with a Railgun, Burst Cannon, Disruption Pod, and Multi-Tracker, it's ready to tear up anything you throw at it. Primary use is pie plating enemy infantry with it's 72", S6, AP4, Large Blast Ordnance shot. SCARY STUFF!

The whole army comes in just shy of 1850, and should give me the versatility that I'm looking for in my army. I finally found a place to play that's all about minis. I couldn't be happier. Spent some time talking to the owner today and he's really cool. I'd be going up there to give this army a try this Friday, but I'll be traveling. BUT... all going as planned, I'll have a Battle Report to post next Saturday :)

In the mean time, I'd love to hear any opinions you guys might have on my list. Leave a comment and I'll answer any questions. And please, if you see any gaping holes in my line up, or a flaw I'm not thinking of, lemme know! I'm still learning all of this :D

Prosper, as Tau shall!


  1. Hello Aaron, it's always good to see another follower of the Greater Good.

    Let me first say that I feel you should always play with the models you want to use. Be it for visual or fluff reasons. I get annoyed with lists that are just about being competitive and don't try to tell a story.

    Anyways, I hate to burst your bubble, but your list is illegal. You are required to have a Shas'El or 'O in one of your HQ slots. So you can't only use an Ethereal.

    Make sure to give your XV8's defined roles on the battlefield and use them accordingly. I think you will find that you need a bit more Plasma in your list. Especially against Marines. But no need to Fireknife spam.

    As for the grenades on everyone, how close do you really want them getting to combat? Face it, Firewarriors will die in CC. Using Photon Grenades give them a chance to survive and hit back, but on dedicated assault units, it's useless. They will break them either way and it can end up being a waste of points. Also, having EMP grenades can work out well, but if they are equipped with Rifles, they cannot assault after firing. That is why Carbines are effective for EMP squads. You have to trade range for mobility in that case.

    I LOVE Kroot. Defintily keep them! But I think taking the Shaper is a mistake. I took one for awhile and it never really did much to help the Kroot; he costs as much as 3 Kroot and he is an upgrade! The 6+ armor save is also a nice idea, but fails when you consider that most weapons pierce it and that is is really hard to roll many sixes to get that save. Your better off spending money on more Kroot or adding some Kroot Hounds. The Hounds are amazing. They can attack in combat first and when your opponent strikes back, take away the Hounds first, then you will have plenty of Kroot left to smash an opponent to pieces. Just remember that Kroot die easily, but if you commit them, commit them 100%. Also, using their Fieldcraft ability to make them mobile bunker works out great. Maybe split the squad in two, remove the Shaper, add a few hounds and Kroot outflank them. Fun times!

    With your Broadsides, be careful about Marker Drones. The Railgun has 72 inch range while the Marker Drone has only 36. That's a rather big distance. I think you will find it rather useless for the roles Broadsides take. With that said, you MUST give them Shield Drones for the extra 2+, T4 model in the squad.

    Overall, your list looks very interesting (in a good way). I look forward to your progress.

    Oh and if you've never been there before, check out They have an academy section that you will find VERY, VERY enlightening. I am Wolfs16, a mod on that forum, so feel free to stop bye. :-)


  2. ARGH!? Is that what that +1 means? Bugger I didn't realize that! I must confess, it's been over two years since I read my Codex and I don't think I did a good job the first time. I'm re-reading it now and I've already slammed my head into my desk a couple times on my decisions on this list (marker lights on broadsides and crisis suits? wtf?). So consider it in a state of flux lol.

    You make some really interesting points on the list, and some I'm really going to have to consider. I'll be honest with you, my typical preference is to play for fun, not tournies, but from time to time it's fun to play to win lol. More often than not, though, I thrive on telling a story and running campaigns :) Heck, I'm even working on a Tau novel in my spare time.

    I'm intrigued by what you've said about the Kroot. You're one of the first people I've heard say that they're not useless. Usually when I tell people that I use Kroot, I get "Why?" as a response, but frankly, I love 'em. They're CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP, they've got awesome field abilities and at number of points it costs for 20 more units on the field? Hell, TOTALLY worth it. Especially since they can hold their own pretty well in combat. At this point, I've only got 1 unit of 20 carnivors and nothing else. I haven't had a chance to update my "Kroot stash". But that's definitely part of the plan.

    I was iffy about including the shaper in the first place, but you've definitely convinced me that my initial lack of shaper was the way to go. You can count him out on my next list. There's basically not a point.

    The Marker Drones on my Broadsides were basically a security measure in case things got too close, but I think you're right. That's a lot of points for something that I might not suse. Plus, that's the equivilant of 2 shield drones, which would be a better use of the pts. That's a change I'll make too :D

    I've already been to and I've even got it linked on my main page :D It's a fantastic site with an awesome community, from what I've seen so far (still coveting that Tau costume I saw in progress on the boards lol). To date, I've only lurked, but I plan on getting more actively involved here soon.

    Jacob, thanks so much for your feedback on my list. You've really given me some helpful insight - not just on this list, but where I want to go with my collection as a whole. It's much appreciated :D I'll be sure to keep you posted on my progress!