Imperial Armour Vol 3, 2nd Ed "The Tauros Campaign" Part 3

June 8, 2013 ·

This book updates the rules for all of Forge World’s Tau units. This is the bit I’m really looking forward to, as I’ve used FW units in the past (UK tournaments are increasingly allowing FW) and they really boosted the Cadre. In particular Tetras and Hammer Head plasma cannon turrets were very strong.

So I’ll run through the units in the traditional way – HQ, Elites, Troops, Fast Attack and Heavy and see what they can do. I’ll focus on how things have changed.


There are 2 HQ units, both named characters, Shas’O R’ymr, and Shas’O Ralai.


R’ymr was the Tau commander on Tauros. To be honest his rules are so so! He comes with a plasma rifle that has a 24” range and is Assault 2 and a shield generator that gives him a 3++ in close combat, but a 4++ everywhere else. The only other interesting thing about him is that he comes with built in flechette dischargers! For obvious reasons he has preferred enemy, Imperial Guard.

All in all, a bit lack luster. For the points (60pts more than base cost for a standard XV8 Commander), I would stick with loading out a standard Shas’O.


Commander R’alai is more interesting. He comes with an XV9 battlesuit (largely the same as the XV8, but crucially makes him T5), defensive grenades, a shield generator which gives him a 3++ for anything more than 12” away, 4++ for anything closer, 2 Marker Drones and an experimental Pulse Rifle. Sadly, while he is now an independent character, he still can’t join other units. The problem is, when he’s with his Drones, the majority toughness of the unit is 4, not 5. You need to get one of his Drones killed off to get T5!

The most interesting thing about him is his Experimental Pulse Submunitions Rifle. It has 4 firing modes – the standard mode (R24  S5  AP4  Large Blast, Ignores Cover), an EMP shell (R24  Assault 2, Haywire, Gets Hot), a High Density Sabot shell (R36  S9  AP3  Assault 2, Gets Hot) and an Ion Cluster Beam (R24  S4  AP4 Assault 2, Large Blast, Rending, Gets Hot).

This makes him an incredibly flexible HQ choice that threaten anything in the game from AV14 (with his EMP shell) to Hordes (2 S4  AP4 Large Blasts). You’ll need to look after him, but as the ultimate swiss army knife, he’s hard to beat.


There is only one entry here, and those are the upgraded Crisis Suits, the XV81 and the XV84. Interestingly the XV89 is no longer here. In the past this gave the XV8 Iridium Armour, but at the expense of slow and purposeful.  The explanation given in the book is that after the Tauros campaign the Tau decided that the XV89 was too slow and cumbersome, and was upgraded to the XV8-02 i.e. the signature system suit in the new codex. I quite like that – an example of how the Tau way of warfare is constantly developing, unlike the imperium!

Each of theses suits are signature systems, so you’re only allowed one per Cadre. The XV81 allows you to take a smart missile system in one hard point. The only problem with that is the SMS is a heavy weapon so if he moves he can only snap shot. The XV84 gets a networked marker light and Target Lock for an extra 20 points. By coincidence this is the same cost as a Marker Drone and a Target Lock!

On the face of it the XV84 is pretty pointless, but perhaps not. The benefit you get is that if you upgrade a commander with it, his unit can pick up the networked marker light, and the Target Lock doesn’t take up a hard point. So you could use the XV84 to baby sit a unit of Broadsides give him 2 Missile Pods, a Drone Controller and a Velocity Tracker, and still target a separate unit using his built in Target Lock. The interesting thing about this load out is that it also gives you a BS5 Skyfire Marker Light.


Not really troops in the normal sense, but Sensor Towers and Gun Turrets count as troop choices.

Gun Turrets

Gun Turrets dropped in points, but also in Armour. The old turrets were AV12, the new ones are AV11. For 10 points less than a Piranha you get an immobile AV11 turret with 2 Hull Points and a twin linked BS2 Burst Cannon. You can upgrade it with TL Fusion Blasters, Missile Pods and Plasma Rifles for 15, 10 and 15 points respectively. You also have access to the Vehicle Battle Systems.

I’m not persuaded by the turrets. The only way I can see them working is with D’pods behind an aegis for a 3+ cover save, supporting a static gun line. However, there are so many other fire power support units in the new Codex I’m not sure why you would take them over just more Fire warriors or Broadsides.

Sensor Towers

Sensor towers also took a bit of a hit. In their old incarnation they made any one unit with 6” Twin Linked. I know one Tau players who used them to twin linked allied Ork Lootas – very scary! However, now they only work for Tau Units within 2”, and more importantly only allow re rolls of ones to hit.

Oh and they also have a Twin Linked BS2 marker light….! Not sure we’ll see many of them especially when for 100pts you can get an allied elder Farseer that can twin linked 2 units per turn (via Prescience and Guide). The downside of that is you have to spend another 102 points on 2 units of Guardian Jet Bikes … oh wait!

Fast Attack

This slot is again jam packed with Tetras, Barracudas, Remora Drones, TX-42s, XV9s and some Kroot gribblies.


I’ll make no bones about it, I wanted the Barracuda to be good, as I got one from my brother for Christmas – and it doesn’t disappoint! For 15 points more than a Stormtallon, you get an AV11, two hull point flyer, with “Agile” (+1 to it’s jink save) and “Supersonic”. It comes stock with an Ion Cannon, a twin linked Missile Pod and 2 auto-targeting burst cannons (i.e. they ignore jink saves). Finally you can upgrade it from the Vehicle Battle Systems List, and it can take up to 4 seeker missiles – oh and it’s BS4 standard!

So for roughly the same price as a Crimson Hunter, you can have a D’pod (giving it a 3+ jink save), 4 seeker missiles and a Decoy Launcher (4+ invulnerable against weapons with interceptor – not sure this is worth it). That’s a pretty deadly flyer, although perhaps not quite so deadly against other Flyers as the Crimson Hunter!

While not a Vendetta - I think the Barracuda is “not bad” and certainly better than it was!


Let’s face it, most people who played Tetras knew it couldn’t last – they were just too good! So, how big a nerf did they get?

The got a price drop to a few points less than a piranha, but their Heavy Marker Light went from Heavy 4 to Heavy 2. It’s twin linked now, which is just as well, as they’re now stuck at BS3 because Targeting Arrays are gone. I think everything else stayed the same. The other “nerf” is that D’pods only grant +1 to your jink save, rather than give shrouding as they used to.

So, are they still worth it? Well, roughly speaking a unit of three will cost more or less the same as 9 pathfinders and will produce roughly the same number of ML hits. However, at the same time they’re way more mobile. I haven’t done the maths (not my strong point) but I get the “impression” they’ll also be more survivable (6 AV10 hull points with a 5+ jink save, and no risk of running away, versus 9, T3 wounds with a 5+ armour save, and leadership 7). Adding D’pods obviously makes them more survivable, but at a considerable price cost on relatively cheap units.

So I guess the answer is “yes” still worth it, just not quite the “auto take” they used to be.


Remoras got a pretty hefty price drop. For the cost of a little more than 2 Piranahs you get a BS 3  2 hull point AV10 flyer (with Hover) armed with a twin linked Long Barreled Burst Cannon (R36  S5  AP5 Heavy 6), 2 seeker missiles and a networked marker light. Oh and it comes on a small skimmer base, has shrouded and can take a D’pod…..!

So hold on a minute – this is a flyer that has a 3+ jink save, can reliably land 4 S5 hits, and with a bit of luck could add an S8 AP3 hit to the mix. Oh and it also has a skyfire marker light…..! Better still perhaps, it can operate as a fast skimmer has a permanent 3+ save while shooting to full effect (as long as it moves an inch), and because it comes on a skimmer base, can hide pretty effectively! Add a D’pod and its jink save becomes a 2+. All for the cost of 10 Fire Warriors! And it comes in squadrons of up to 5.

Sounds OK to me! And, BTW, the models is pretty cool. I have 2 gathering dust (they were way to expensive under the old rules) which might now see the light of day.


Essentially for 30pts more your Piranha gets side armour 11 a twin lined Fusion Gun, but sacrifices its Gun Drones. You can swap out the Fusion Gun for twin linked missile pods for free, or upgrade to a TL Plasma Rifle or TL Rail Rifle for a few points more.

Can’t get overly excited about the TX-42. It’s a very fast special weapons platform, but for the points, I think I would rather have a Piranha.


I really, really wanted these to be awesome so I could splash out on some of the gorgeous FW suits, but they’re a bit lack lustre IMHO.

Essentially they’re the next generation of Crisis Suits. The stats are the same, except they’re T5. They come with 2 twin linked burst cannons base, but can swap out one or both of the TL Burst Cannons for a Fusion Cascade, Pulse Sub-munition Rifle or Phased Ion Guns. Oh and they come with Defensive Grenades,Hit and Run as standard, and have access to the Battle Suite Support Systems, although the points are a little bit different here and there.

The big problem however is that they cost more than 3 times the cost of a basic un-upgraded XV8! Or to put it another way, you could kit out 2 XV8s with twin Burst Cannons for only 9 points more than one XV9!

The weapons upgrades are interesting, but not “Oh my God” interesting. The Fusions Cascade give you a R12” Fusion Blaster with D3 shots (2 XV8s with twin Fusion Blasters are 3 points less). The Phased Ion Gun gives you four R 18 S4  AP4 Rending shots and the Sub-munition Rifle give you 1 S5 AP6 Large Blast Templates at R24” which ignore cover.

You can mix an match, so you could swap one of the Twin Linked Burst Cannons for a Sub-munition Rifle for something that would be pretty good at killing hordes, or take a Phased Ion Gun and a Fusion Cascade to kill marines and armour. An other interesting option might be to take a Counter Fire Defense System (overwatch at BS5) with the standard Burst Cannons for an average of 4 hits on overwatch.

At the end of the day, I would almost always want to take 2 normal XV8s with similar load outs! The only time I might prefer to take XV9s is when my elite slots were full.
An interesting army might be three Riptides in the elite slots and XV9 in Fast Attack, or even Stealth Suits in Elite and XV9s in Fast Attack.

Kroot Gribblies

I just can’t get excited about running Kroot Gribblies in anything other than a heavily themed army. T5 Monstrous Creatures with 6+ armour saves just die too quickly, even with 5 wounds.

The only thing I thought might be interesting were the Knarloc Riders. Outflanking cavalry units with 4 attacks on the charge could be a good distraction unit, but then again I can get 4 standard kroot models for the cost of one Kroot Rider…..! Think I would rather have 4 normal Kroot models!


There are only 2 units in this section, Heavy Gun Drones and Upgrade Hammer Head turrets. You can forget the Heavy Gun Drones. For the cost of 2 normal gun drones you get a twin linked burst cannon. Not bad as a dakka unit, especially if you attach a commander with Drone Controler. The problem is you would almost always rather have one of the alternatives in the Heavy Support slot.

The HH Turrets have been badly nerfed IMHO. There are 3 of them – Long Barreled Burst Cannon, Fusion Cannon and a Plasma Cannon. The LBBC has had its strength dropped from 6 to 5. However, it’s now 2 weapons rather than a twin linked weapon so 12 shots rather than 6 twin linked shots. But  - so what -  the codex isn’t short of S5 anti infantry shots. My only thought on this is if you combine it with a Point Defence Targeting relay (allowing it to overwatch), or even Longstrike, that’s a lot of over watch shooting!

The Fusion Cannon upgrade is a pair of Fusion Cannons which are R24” S8 AP1 Small Blasts with the Melta rule. Can’t get overly excited about this to be honest.

Finally the Plasma Cannons were the one I was really looking forward to. Under the old rule they were R48  S7  AP3 Heavy 4 Twin Linked, and, with Marker Lights stripping cover, murdered marines. Sadly they’ve been nerfed heavily. Their profile has improved slightly, in that they are now AP2, however, rather than being Heavy 4, Twin Linked, the upgrade comes as 2 Cannons each being Heavy 2 – so the same number of shots in total, but not twin linked. But losing twin linked is not the problem – the real problem is, because they come as 2 weapons, to fire both at full BS, you can’t move….! So rather than having a Hammer Head that could move 12” and still fire 4  S7 AP3 Twin Linked shots, you now have one that most remain stationary to shoot the same number of shots, which aren’t twin linked (this problem effects all the Turrets).

Having said all that, its wrong to view these turrets through the lens of what was. You need to think about what is. The Plasma Turrets are still OK IMHO, especially now they’re AP2, even if you do need to stay still to fire them. And the reality is, you can use marker lights to boost snap shots after the HH moves.

However, the real kicker is that they now cost more than a Rail Gun (they used to cost significantly less) and, given the Hammer Head is our only source of S10 AP1, most people would rather take a rail gun … or Broadsides …. or Skyrays.


I think the stand out units are Commander R’alai, the Barracuda, the Remora and (maybe) Hammer Head Plasma Turrets. Tetras are certainly a viable option, just not as good as they were.  The XV8 variants have no clear purpose, the Gun Turrets are too static, and the Sensor Towers kinda pointless now. TX-42s and XV9’s are too expensive when compared with Piranhas and XV8s, and the Kroot Gribblies are just silly.

So that’s my view – where have I gone wrong – what have I missed?



Anonymous said...
June 8, 2013 at 3:12 PM  

Well if GW thinks I am buying that book a second time, they are crazy.

Travis.G said...
June 8, 2013 at 4:30 PM  

Nice post! Any thoughts on the super heavies?

Enigma Crysis said...
June 8, 2013 at 6:31 PM  

Jet Pack Infantry are relentless so you can move and fire the SMS on the XV-81.

Rathstar said...
June 8, 2013 at 8:06 PM  

A very informative summary, thanks!

I think the XV81 may be usable, as I think jet packs have the relentless rule. However I don't we need SMS on XV8.

The Barracuda sounds excellent (especially as I also have one that has been gathering dust in a case). If it's a normal Ion Cannon and can be overcharged into an Str8 Ap3 Large Blast then it makes the Barracuda an excellent ground attack craft once flyers are dealt with.


Anonymous said...
June 8, 2013 at 8:20 PM  

Not sure why everyone believes tau suits can't fire heavy weapons on the move.... ALL tau suits, except XV-88's, have the relentless special rule. This allows the. To move and shoot as if they were standing still. Tat means the smart missile system and the maker lights can be used when moving.

I would like a little clarification for commander Railai... He used to be assault 2, albeit with 2 small blast markers, when using his normal shot. This was the offset for not getting the higher powered normal pulse rifle shot. That has definitely changed?

Also, please confirm that the Barracuda is still n,y 2hp? I mean the Remora is 1/4 of the size and has almost the same Armour and a MUCH better save! Still, for the fire power... It's still fine in my books.

Embrace Your Inner Geek said...
June 9, 2013 at 5:36 AM  

Sorry guys, snafu on the XV81 you are all of course correct, still thinking in 5th ed mode! Makes him an interesting baby sitter for XV88s.

Here's a question though - both the XV81 and the new iridium armour suits are signature systems, but they are different ones - can you take both on the same Commander?

As regards super heavies, I've no idea- never played apocalypse.

Ralai normal shot is assault 1 large blast, guess he swappws 2 small for on big one - know what the say, a good big ones better than 2 little ones...!

Barracuda is 2HPs


Bottom Banana said...
June 9, 2013 at 6:30 AM  

Looks like it's time to pick up IA book and to cave on some remoras, they just seem to good as flyer defense especially if it lets me drop Velocity trackers off my Broadsides.

Sad times about the gun towers being a bit lackluster, I really wanted to have a reason to use them as back field objective holders.

Nite Phire said...
June 9, 2013 at 4:04 PM  

"take a Counter Fire Defense System (overwatch at BS5)"

I think the CFD only lets you overwatch at bs2?

Andy Dorman said...
June 10, 2013 at 3:54 AM  

With regards to the TX-42s, I was also a little disappointed at first but they are still a more point efficient Fusion blaster platform than Piranhas due to being twin-linked - it essentially comes down to what you want to do with your piranhas. If their primary role is anti-tank/heavy infantry, the TX-42 is still better with the added bonus of the alternative weapon load outs - although they start getting expensive pretty quickly. If you're looking for more dakka and blocking then the piranhas are definitely better.

It actually sits quite well with the rest of the codex - not an auto-take, but definitely offers something unique that might fit in with your play style.

Embrace Your Inner Geek said...
June 10, 2013 at 10:22 AM  

@ Nite Phire - sorry, "slip of the finger" of course its BS2

@Andy - fair point - if you're looking for fast melta the TX-42 is a reasonable option. In the past I have always used fast speeders for blocking rather than anti armour, but as armour returns to the meta, and Railguns are HH only, might be an increasing need for this.

Another point - does anybody disagree with me on XV9s? Does anybody see a good use for them, even at 75pts a model! Any reason to take them over XV8's, other than no more elite slots in the FOC?


Nite Phire said...
June 10, 2013 at 4:45 PM  

I am sorely tempted to use xv9's, simply for a fully crisis army. Can't say how effective it would be, but I would probably use kroot troops just for the hell of it too!

Anonymous said...
June 11, 2013 at 5:37 AM  

It doesn't sound like they,changed themXV-9's much, if at all. What that means is that your paying an awful lot for relatively nothing... Sort of. The Hazard suits have 3 newer weapon systems on them and come standard with twin linked burst cannons as standard.

The weapon systems are, Fusion Cascade, which STILL only has a range of 12"'s, D3 shots and is only S6 AP1 (albeit melta), the Phased Ion gun, which is STILL only 18" rng, S4 AP4, and 4 shots, and the Pulse Submuniton Rifle which is STILL only 24" range with a large template, S5, AP6, no cover saves! This BTW, is the same weapon carried by Commander R'Alai, so you would think they would have given a similar ammo option to this gun, or named R'Alai's gun something else.

I have 12 xv-9's, so don't get me wrong, I like them as models, but they didn't do anything for them! I was hoping for at least a range increase for the weapons and the Phased Ion Gun getting the same options all of the other Ion guns got, that being able to get the option for a burst template of some kind and a bit of an increase in damage. The burst cannons are better now due to their twin linked status.

They really had the opportunity to make them extremely interesting and didn't do anything, other than allow them the new options that the XV-8's get.

That being said, they are a REALLY good looking model and are at least interesting to add to your Army for aesthetics.

Dominic Bould said...
June 23, 2013 at 2:21 AM  


Is there a way of contacting you (email? etc.) as there are some articles I'd like to contribute to the site.



David Drage said...
June 23, 2013 at 3:24 AM  


I run (admin) the Warhammer Tau blog. Drop me an email and give me an idea of what you have in mind and I will see what I can do.

ironmammoth AT gmail DOT com

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Warhammer Tau is a group of wargamers who feel that they have a little something different to offer other Tau Empire, Kroot, and allied players... even if it's just a starting point for discussion! Our goal is to produce at least one article per week to inform and encourage the Tau and Warhammer gamer community. For the Greater Good, of course!

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