Tau Heavy Support Tactics

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.