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Warhammer 40k 10th edition T’au ditch army rules, keep big guns

The T'au Empire's faction rules are in upheaval for Warhammer 40k 10th edition, but their oversized firearms will remain as effective as ever

Warhammer 40k 10th edition Tau Empire battlesuit models by Games Workshop

Games Workshop has previewed the Warhammer 40k 10th edition T’au Empire rules in the latest Warhammer 40k Faction Focus article. Published on the Warhammer Community website on Friday, the article reveals changes to T’au army rules, including a new buddy-system for units to coordinate their firepower.


The new army rule for 10th edition T’au is ‘For the Greater Good’, and it completely replaces the ‘Markerlight’ system the T’au used in eighth and ninth edition 40k. T’au units can act in pairs to co-ordinate fire on an enemy unit that both can see. One T’au unit becomes an Observer, the other becomes Guided, and their target is Spotted.

Warhammer 40k 10th edition T'au Empire For The Great Good army rules by Games Workshop

When the Guided unit targets the Spotted unit, it gets +1 to hit; if the Observer unit targets anything other than the Spotted unit, it gets -1 to hit. If the Spotter has the Markerlight keyword, then the Guided unit can also ignore cover when targeting the Spotted unit. The Pathfinder Team can be used as an Observer twice per turn, according to a newly revealed datasheet.

Warhammer 40k 10th edition T'au Empire Pathfinder Team datasheet by Games Workshop

The rules provided by GW are a bit wordy, but the tabletop effect should be simpler than tracking the markerlight hits the T’au land on each enemy unit. It also makes order of activation a little easier: you don’t need to paint an enemy unit with markerlights before unleashing your main ordnance.

Warhammer 40k 10th edition T'au Empire drones wargear rules from Games Workshop

This isn’t the only big change for the T’au revealed in the article. T’au drones are no longer independent models in Warhammer 40k 10th edition, and can no longer be taken in independent units – now they’re unit wargear. Warhammer Community gives a rundown on the abilities that some drones grant:

Drone Benefit
Guardian drone Enemy ranged attacks suffer -1 to wound the bearer’s unit
Gun drone Bearer gains twin pulse carbine ranged attack
Marker drone Markerlight keyword; can be picked as an Observer unit even after advancing
Missile Drone Bearer gains a Missile pod attack
Shield Drone +1 wound
Grav-inhibitor drone Enemies suffer -2 to charge rolls against bearer
Pulse Accelerator drone +6” range for unit’s pulse carbines
Recon drone Infiltrators ability; Bearer gains drone burst cannon attack

The T’au way of war, or Tau’va, is split into two philosophies: Mont’ka, the Killing Blow, and Kauyon, the patient hunter. Both have had rules in previous editions of 40k, but only Kauyon will be making an appearance at the start of 10th edition, as the first T’au Detachment.

Warhammer 40k 10th edition T'au Empire Kauyon Detachment rules by Games Workshop

As we’ve seen with previous faction previews, the Kauyon detachment has a fairly simple core rule. From the third battle round onwards, T’au Empire ranged weapons have the Sustained Hits 1 Weapon Ability, increasing to Sustained Hits 2 if the unit is guided.

That might feel antithetical to T’au players who’re used to thundering away with maximum firepower from turn one – we’ll have to see if 10th edition 40k is less immediately lethal than ninth edition was.

Warhammer 40k 10th edition T'au Empire Combat Embarkation stratagem rules by Games Workshop

To help keep your squishy troops alive to reach the late game and get away from combat infantry which will definitely have closed by then, for 1CP the Combat Embarkation Stratagem allows a T’au Infantry unit to embark on a nearby transport in response to an enemy targeting them with a charge.

Warhammer 40k 10th edition T'au Empire Railgun weapon profile by Games Workshop

Weapon profiles revealed in the article should at least reassure T’au players that their big guns remain preposterously big. The Railgun has S20, AP-5, does damage D6+6 and has the Devastating Wounds and Heavy abilities.

Warhammer 40k 10th edition T'au Empire Pulse Blast Cannon weapon profile by Games Workshop

The Pulse Blast Cannon on the Stormsurge has an even more terrifying S24, AP-6, Damage 12, and 2 attacks, plus the Heavy keyword.

Combining the +1 to hit from a Heavy weapon remaining stationary, and +1 from a Spotter, and these guns are going to be terrifyingly accurate, as well as preposterously deadly.

Earlier this year we covered a gun free T’au Empire list that won a “worst army” competition – the changes to T’au drones mean that will, mercifully, be impossible in any future worst army contest. There’s something about the T’au that brings out the creative side of people – like this astonishing T’au Empire army made from LEGO.