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Codex Tau Review – A New Empire Dawns

4 Minute Read
Apr 09

The wait is over, the new Tau Codex is here. I had chance to really break down the Tau Codex over the weekend.

Below is my initial review on book, and some food for thought about how they may play and shake up the current “meta”.

First off, the Codex itself is 104 pages long (just like the Daemon ‘dex), and written by veteran game designer Jeremy Vetok.  It’s the fourth hard-cover codex for 40k, once again with a $50 MSRP.

This book re-introduces the Tau with a few new toys, but keeps their play style once again as a primarily “overwhelming application of fire” type army (although with the right allies you can get crafty with their play style).

At first look they seem to be more than able to handle themselves as a stand alone list, but greatly benefit from close combat oriented allies.

The book itself is divided into four sections; “A New Empire Dawns” (fluff section), the Unit Entries in the “Force of the Tau Empire”, followed by the “Arsenal of Expansion” where the advanced wargear of the Tau is cataloged.  “Warriors of the Greater Good” is the obligatory painted model showcase to inspire us, and finally “Armies of the Third Sphere” list section (with fold out summary) itself.

Overall the fluff accounts for a new codex high of about 30 pages before sliding into the “Forces of the Tau Empire” section that summarizes all the new unit entries, and their individual fluff.  There is a ton of new upgrades and weapons in this section, so it may be worth reading the wargear (“Arsenal of Expansion”) section first, like with the Daemon codex, to have a decent idea of what everything does.

After just a few unit entries in, I found myself flipping back and forth between sections before just giving up and reading the “Arsenal of Expansion” section first.

So maybe keep in mind that the above section should, perhaps, be your first thorough read, because it contains the majority of new rules and stats for weapons and wargear options.

After the wargear section is, of course, a full color spread of painted minis to inspire us all, in the “Warriors of the Greater Good” section.


The army list itself, (with fold out reference page) takes up the last ten or so pages.  This is where you’ll find all the points and options that “Army of the Third Sphere” can take.  I really like that title as it just sounds inspiring and a tad dynastic.

To be perfectly honest I don’t really remember very well how many points units used to cost in the previous codex.   However, at first look there doesn’t seem to be much in this book that is over costed points wise at all (except maybe the Devilfish APC ).  The inclusion of Multi-trackers and Black Sun Filters to come standard on each crisis chassis is a good move too IMHO, as the choices for support systems and weapons have greatly increased (while the hard points to equip them have not).

At first glance the Tau may become the kings of the sky (and quite possibly change the current “Dragon/ Cron Air” meta) with their ability to engage and attack both airborne, alpha striking rapid deployment, and ambush style units.

Their flyers may also help in keeping the skies clear as well, as they seem very durable with 3 Hull Points, and come with a myriad of defensive technologies to help keep them effective longer.

Black sun filters should help the Sixth Edition issue of losing (or rendering ineffective) precious turns of shooting to the darkness as well.

However with all this promise of superior technology, an army is only as effective as it’s most basic unit of troops.  Wars in real life, and on the table top, seem to be won or lost by the boots on the ground, and this is where the Tau have their work cut out for them.

Tau troops, while great at shooting, will fold like a wet paper bag when successfully engaged in hand to hand combat.


To help overcome this disadvantage, including allies strong at assaults or even being “tar pits”, would help beef up the Tau’s ability to survive fast moving assault based match-ups.

~For the Greater Good

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