Great 4 Handed game highlights armies strengths and weaknesess

On Saturday we had a great game of Warhammer with 2 Chaos forces ( Chaos Space Marine and Daemons of Tzeentch) face 2 forces of Order (Using AoS) armies of Space Marines and Tau.

Richard and I had a quick pre-game match to get use to our new armies. Ghks was the first time I have played Chaos Daemons in 40k so I was flipping back and forth through the Codex getting use to the Daemon Special Rules. Richard also got to grips with the raft of new weapons availible to the Tau since the last Codex.

In the afternoon Lee and Mark arrived for the main battle royal. Lee brought Space Marines with him and Mark had Chaos Space Marines. This is what Richard had suggested would be the case so no big surprises there.

As Richard and Lee where long time 40k comrades and because it made a better match to the background fluff Richard and Lee teamed up as the forces of order against Mark and I who where the new comers championing  the forces of Chaos.

My first surprise was when I saw the army that Mark brought. As we where playing 1000 points per player I was surprised my how HQ heavy and troop unit light his force was. It did not bode well as my force was fast and light but a bit short of solid troop and heavy support units. This brought up the first learning point, where possible, in a two handed game, check with your team mates what they are bringing to the battle or you could end up with a mismatched force.


It was great fun testing out my Chaos Tzeentch Daemons in a WH40k game, even though it was not a winning outcome! Many thanks to Richard, Lee and Mark for the battle.


Tau Heavy Support Tactics for WH40k 7th Ed

Warhammer 40k Tau Hammerhead GunshipEven though the Tau army are thought of as a heavy weapon style army, the only have 4 heavy weapon choices. This is important when it comes to ‘The Big Guns Don’t Tire’ missions.

XV88 Broadside Team

Warhammer 40k Tau Broardside TeamThe XV88 Broadside Teams are one of the more flexible heavy weapon options available to the Tau army. They have a number of weapon system variations available and as they are based on the XV8 Crisis suits, they have a good degree of armour protection too.

Hammerhead Gunship

Warhammer 40k Tau Hammerhead GunshipThe Hammerhead Gunship is the main battle tank of the Tau army. The Hammerhead Gunship is also an skimmer anti-grav vehicle and much like the Eldar Falcon anti-grav tank in this respect.

As a skimmer the Hammerhead can move the usual distance for a tank but it can hop over difficult terrain. This can be useful for hopping over a building for example and catching the enemy from an unexpected direction.

Sky Ray Missile Defence Gunship

The Sky Ray Missile Defence Gunships replace the Railgun or Ion Cannon with a rack of 6 Seeker Missiles. The advantage of this is that the Seeker Missiles can be filed by anyone that can light up the target with a Markerlight ( see Tau Codex P68 for details). The main downside of the Seeker Missile system is that they are one shot weapons. This means that you have only got 6 missiles on the gunship for the whole game. Bearing in mind that you can fire several missiles a turn, this is not many missiles.

What can the Sky Ray Gunship do once it runs out of Missiles?

If, or when you do run out of missiles then the Sky Ray Gunship still has uses.

The first is that the Gunship is armed with 2 networked markerlights. This means that the Gunship has a role lighting up targets for other units to shoot at.

The second role is as a fire support platform. The Gunship is armed with a pair of Gun Drones. These can be replaced with either the burst cannon or the Smart Missile Systems. These two options make much more sence if you are looking to use the Gunship in this role as a secondary role.

The third role is that because the Gunship has built in Velocity Trackers, the gunship is a great tool for lighting up or shooting down flyers. This is specially true if you upgrade the support weapons to burst cannons or smart missile systems.

Sniper Drone Team

In the classic sneaky style the Sniper Drone Team allows you to run drones with a long 48″ ranged S5 Sniper Rifle from a concealed position.

How far can the Sniper Drones move from the Firesight Marksman Controller?

Remember that the Marksman or Marksmen and the Drones are still one unit. This means that they are bound by the 2″ rule that all units have to follow. However if you have several drones they can make a ‘ conger line ‘ to reach further out.

What Special Rules do the Sniper Drone Teams have?

The Tau Sniper Drone Teams are one of those units that have rules within rules. These can be a bit confusing so I will summarize them here:

  • Stealth: The Marksman & Drones get a +1 cover save, min 6+ cover save.
  • Jet Pack: The Drones are Jetpack troops. This means that tat the Drones can Deep Strike, but as the Marksman can not Deep Strike, this option is not available to this unit. The Drones can still use the Jet Pack move in the assault phase as long as they stay within 2″ of another member of the unit.
  • Snipers: This allows the Drones to wound on 4+ ( S3 against armour ). Remember that the drones hit using the marksman’s BS5 too ( while he is alive ).
  • Precision Shot: On a 6 to hit the Sniper Rifles get Precision shots too.
  • Rendering: Sniper shots have the Rendering special rule too. So rolls to wound are AP2. And rolls armour penetration rolls of 6 get a get another D3 on the armour penetration roll too ( ie a max of 3+6+3=12 armour penetration).
  • Pinning: Sniper Shots have the pinning special rule too.

Tau Fast Attack Tactics for WH40k 7th Ed

Warhammer 40k Tau Gun DronesTau are usually played as a static gun line army designed to wait for the enemy to come to you and gunning them down as they approach.

However, what do you do if the objectives are outside of your defensive lines? Well in this case you need to whittle down the enemy with the big guns as far as possible and then use the fast attack teams to mop up what is left.

Pathfinder Team Tactics

The Pathfinders are the Scouts of the Tau army. They get the Scout and Outflanking special rules. However the Pathfinders have a specific role in the Tau army, the lightinhup of targets with Markerlights!

Vespid Stingwing Tactics

Vespid Stingwings are the jump pack troops of the Tau Army. Instead of having Jet packs  like the Crisis suits the Vespid are another alien race that have been drawn in to the Tau army.

I like the Vespid Stingwings as a good anti Space Marine strike force. At 18 points a model, and with a 18″ range weapon, they will not survive if you assault a large Space Marine unit, but if you are looking to take out a wounded unit that has strayed way from the main force, then you can swoop in an polish them off.

Drone Squadron Tactics

Warhammer 40k Tau Gun Drones


Tau Piranhas

Tau Sun Shark Bombers

Tau Razorshark Fighters


Tau Troop Tactics for WH40k 7th Ed

Warhammer 40k Tau Fire WarriorThe Troop choices are the backbone of the Tau army. You need troop units to capture objectives. The Tau Codex only offers two options when it comes to Troop choices, the Tau Fire Warriors, and the Kroot Carnivore Squad.

Tau Fire Warrior Team Tactics

Warhammer 40k Tau Fire WarriorThe Tau Fire Warriors have some of the best basic weapons in the game. With a massive 30″ range and S5, these weapons give the opponant something to think about if they want to rush your lines.

Fire Warriors are good value for their points cost. For 9 points per warrior you get the a 4+ save and the 30″ S5 basic weapon mentioned earlier. If you compare this to the 10 points per model that the Imperial Guard infantry man costs you can see my point.

The weak spot with the Tau Fire Warrior is when it comes to close combat. With stats of WS2 and I2, you can see that the Tau will fall like flies. So the core stratagem you will need to employ will be to shoot the enemy down before they get in to assault range.

Kroot Squad Tactics


Tau Elite Tactics for WH40k 7th Ed

Warhammer Tau Elite Stealth SuitsGeneral Tau Elite Tactics

The Tau have a 3 Elite choices that you can choose from. These range from the stealthy XV25 Stealth Teams to the monstrous ‘ tank on legs ‘ XV104 Riptide battlesuit. In this section we will have a look at the strengths and weaknesses of each of the Tau Elite units.

XV8 Crisis Team Tactics

XV25 Stealth Team Tactics

XV104 Riptide Tactics


Tau HQ Tactics for WH40k 7th Ed

Tau Commander & Body Guard in XV8 Crisis Battle SuitsUnlike most Warhammer 40k armies many of the Tau HQ options have better stats and then also get some heavy weapons to play with too. This means that you have mobile gun platforms with better Ballistic skills too!

Named Tau HQ Characters

Commander Farsight

Commander Shadowsun




Tau Commander Tactics

Tau Commander & Body Guard in XV8 Crisis Battle SuitsThe Tau Commander is the most popular option when it comes to selecting a leader fo your Tau army. There is good reason for thi too. First he has good stats, specially for reanged warfare, but not too shabby in close assalt. He also gets the XV8 Crisis Battle Suit. This gives him a far better 3+ save, but also allows him to take four of the ranged weapons or support weapons that make the Tau such fun to play. And remember that the battle suits have the jetpack rule, so your commander can move, shoot and then retreat for cover in the one turn.


The Tau Commander can take up to 2 drones. It is highly recommended that you take these. The Drones add additional fire power or support systems, however their main benifit is that they can do ‘ look out sir ‘ test and save the Commander from taking additional wounds.

Placement of the Drones can be strategic too. If you place one Drone in front of the Commander and one behind then you are likely to find that the Drones are closer to any incomming fire than the Commader is. Again this will save your Commander from getting some of the flack.

XV8 Crisis Bodyguard Team

If you are taking a Commander as your HQ then I highly recommend taking a team of two Crisis Bodyguard too. The Body guard are veteran Fire Warrior Shas’ui with a point better Leadership and the extra strength and toughness that the Crisis suits provide. However they also have the option to take 3 units of hardware each too.

Each Crisis Bodyguard model can take up to two Drones. If you have the points then this is usually a good idea as mentioned in the

Tau Commander tactics. Again by placing the Drones in a circle around the Commander and Bodyguard team then this will provide a bit of a sheild for your more expensive models.

Cadre Fireblade Tactics

If you take a Commander and strip off the Crisis Battle suit yo get a Cadre Fireblade.



Tau Tactics for WH40k 7th Ed

Warhammer 40k Tau Fire WarriorThe Tau are the new army in the galaxy. Bristling with high tech weaponry the Tau are fast and hard hitting.

To use these pages you will need the new 2013 Tau Codex and the Main Warhammer 40k rulebook. If you do not have these yourself, you will need regular access to them.

General Tau Tactics

There are some tactics that are useful for several different units or need to be considered for the whole army.

Good In Low Point Games

Became the basic Tau weapon is so good,  you do not need as much heavy support in low point games ( under 1000 points ). This has been highlighted in the latest Kill Team box set where Tau are pitted against Space Marines.

Use your Drones

The Tau drones are a very useful addition to a unit. You will find that most units can have additional drones attached. In the 2013 Tau Codex the range of drones available have been expanded. Have a look at each type and play with the combinations to find a mix that works for you.

The Tau Gun Line

Warhammer 40k Tau Gun DronesThe Tau troops have a great standard ranged weapon, but they are very weak when it comes to close combat. For this reason the best tactic is usually to hold back and gun down the enemy as they approach.

For an effective gun line you will want to set up where you have a good line of sight to where the enemy may come from, and hopefully a nice open ‘ Kill Zone ‘ between the enemy and yourself.

Arrange the units so that they can give each other supporting fire. Wiping out whole units at a time will mean that there will be fewer attacking units in the long run. This means that you will want to focus your fire on key enemy units with several of your units in the same round.

If the enemy have a number of template ranges weapons be careful to hide behind cover if you can, and not to bunch up too tightly.

Supporting Fire

Supporting Fire is a new rule that applies to most of the Tau army and allows units to offer supporting overwatch fire to other units in 6″. As the many Tau units can take Counterfire Defence System upgrades ( Tau Codex P68 ) that allow them to overwatch using BS5, this can offer a devastating amout of fire upon charging


Another example of Tau technology is the markerlight system. These are fired in the same way as regular shooting weapons, but they do not cause damage themselves. Instead they allow other models with bigger weapons to hit more effectively, for example increasing the shooters BS, or adding ‘ ignore cover ‘ for that turn to weapons that
would otherwise allow a cover save.