T’au Empire Tactica – Part 2

Warhammer 40,000 expert Reecius returns for another invaluable T’au Empire Tactica – this time looking at the offensive side of the army he discussed previously, including the return of a famous tactic from yesteryear…


We’ve covered our backfield, but what about offence? That’s where we bring in the old Fish of Fury tactics! As mentioned previously, this is an old T’au Empire tactic of shielding your Fire Warriors with their Transports. This job requires a Devilfish – which is quite affordable in matched play – as well as Breacher Teams, an Ethereal (Aun’Va is quite suited to this role) and Darkstrider.

This Detachment will not be Bork’an, but T’au Sept, as not only is that required to use Darkstrider and Aun’va, but also their benefits really play to the Breachers’ strengths. The T’au Sept Tenet improves their Overwatch from 6+ to 5+, making For the Greater Good even more dangerous. This is great for the Breacher Teams, which should be near one another as they press the attack. Their pulse blasters are mean at close range, going up to Strength 6, AP -2 each. With two Devilfish packing 20 of them, they can put out a punishing 40 shots.

This is further enhanced by Darkstrider providing not only an accurate markerlight shot but also his Structural Analyser ability, which gives a unit near him +1 to wound a visible enemy unit. You can additionally combine this with the potent T’au Sept Stratagems ‘Focused Fire’ and/or ‘Breach and Clear!’. The former gives all T’au Sept units +1 to wound when firing on an enemy unit already wounded that phase by another T’au Sept unit, and the latter allows a unit of Breachers to re-roll failed wound rolls against units in cover. Wow! That is some serious punishment.

The Ethereal can boost the defences of surrounding units, reduce the strain of Morale tests or allow them to re-roll while Advancing, which is useful due to both their short range and the fact that they bear Assault weapons. Aun’va is particularly good at this as he can use two Invocations of the Elements and gives re-rolls for morale to other T’au Empire units while on the board.

As stated, those Devilfish not only get these units into place but also help to protect them by screening them from counter-attacks or pre-emptively charging enemy shooting units to prevent them from opening up on your relatively vulnerable Breachers. And, when the going gets tough, Breachers get right back into their Devilfish and run awa…er… make a tactical retrograde advance! If you do manage to get pulled into combat, those Breacher Teams that survive can Fall Back and still shoot if needs be, thanks to Darkstrider’s Fighting Retreat ability.

To further support these aggressive elements, I like to field Vespid Stingwings, as they’ve improved considerably in the new Codex: T’au Empire. At only 14 points per model, they give you a lot, not the least of which is their Plunge from the Sky ability. This lets you set the unit up flying high above the battlefield, allowing them to drop down 9″ away from enemy later in the game. From there, they can go after lightly defended objectives and harass enemy units with the considerable power of their neutron blasters.

The great thing about this army is that it’s relatively unusual, but also durable; while each individual model is somewhat soft, their numbers and layered defensive abilities really add up when applied to this volume of models. You’ve also got a ton of firepower that similarly gets cranked up by layered offensive bonuses. Not to mention the fact that you’ll have a boatload of Command Points for those important re-rolls and to make use of Stratagems as needed. You also have manoeuvrability, Morale test manipulation and excellent board control.

On the downside, you have a veritable truckload of kill points on your list, so that’s something you will have to plan to work around. You also will be a bit vulnerable to armies that can pump out tons of anti-infantry firepower. However, not overly so – see the many stacking defensive bonuses mentioned earlier.

As a side note, I have also had a ton of fun playing this portion of the list as Vior’la Sept. While you lose access to improved Overwatch, Darkstrider and Aun’va, you gain the ability to Advance and shoot without penalty, which is lethal when those Breacher Teams get close to the enemy. It also means you can drop the Devilfish in favour of more Breacher Teams, who are now quite speedy on foot and make up for the increased exposure to enemy fire with greater numbers.

The Vior’la Sept’s Hot-blooded Stratagem is noteworthy as well, allowing a unit to shoot twice in the Shooting phase for a mere 2 Command Points. As this list is swimming in Command Points, you can use this every turn, no problem.

Best of all, this army is fun! If you choose to play it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Thanks, Reece! If you’re eager to kick off your T’au Empire army, your new codex is available to pre-order right now.

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