Underplayed & Overlooked: Codex Tau


Welcome back to Underplayed & Overlooked. This is article is going to cover the warriors of the Greater Good from Codex: Tau Empire. Lets begin. Aun'Va

  • Cost: 1
  • Offense: 2
  • Defense: 3
  • Support: 3

Beginning with the cost I have to say not only is it overpriced but egregiously so. A regular Ethereal is only 50 points. Add a full sized bonded Honor Guard Firewarrior squad to the equation and it is still 10 points cheaper than this unit. Suffice to say this unit is easily 100 points overcosted which is never a good place to start an army or a unit review for that matter.

Offensively the unit lacks a ranged attack. However in close combat they do have the two honor guard models which have WS 4 and Strength 5 as well as 3 Attacks. For Tau that is saying a lot but it is still only at Initiative 3 and Aun'Va himself adds nothing of consequence.

Defensively they have some resilience. All three models are Toughness 3(5) meaning that they are easily Instant Killed but tougher to wound than the average Tau by a fair margin. Additionally Aun'Va has 4 Wounds and each Guard has 2 Wounds meaning you can divvy up wound allocation and soak some lower Strength Fire.

Both Aun'Va and the Guards have a 4+ Armor Save. Additionally the unit has a re-rollable 4+ Cover Save which could help them stay alive longer than expected and helps you keep them out in the open to take advantage of their abilities. However you lose the Independent Character aspect meaning no joining an ablative unit of Kroot or Drones which does weaken survivability in my opinion.

Like a regular Ethereal if a Tau unit can draw LoS to him they can reroll their leadserhip checks. In addition he also makes the Tau units Stubborn. I personally feel like the price of failure is not game ender it can be perceived as. If all the units are bonded then as long as they are over half they can rally if they fail their check. Sure a unit might run off the board or it may disrupt your plans but it isn't necessarily an auto lose as far as Im concerned.

O'Shovah - Commander Farsight

  • Cost: 3
  • Offense: 4
  • Defense: 3
  • Support: 2

From a cost perspective O'Shovah isn't bad. A similarly equipped Shas'o with everything but the Dawn Blade is only 28 points cheaper. The Dawn Blade makes O'Shovah a monstrous creature in close combat and his other abilities help make up for the difference in points in my opinion. Is he a bargain? No. But nor is he a detriment either.

Offensively O'Shovah has potency. For range he has a plasma rifle and a missile launcher which is a very popular Crisis Suit configuration and for good reason. In Close Combat he really begins to shine being WS 5, Strength 5, and have 4 Attacks base with a power weapon. This is unusual for Tau and as long as he has ablative wounds around him he stands a chance of making a dent in an assault.

Defensively O'Shovah has the best layout for survivability that a Crisis Suit can take without resorting to unique equipment. Combine this with his ability to be accompanied by up to 7 bodyguard Crisis Suits and you can make quite a nasty Death Star type unit that has a nested power weapon that will usually hit and wound on 3s and that absorbs 8 Wounds before losing a model. And that is before Drones are considered. With Drones you could easily make that 12 or 13. Ouch.

While he does make all your units Bonded and have Preferred Enemy: Ork for free he still suffers for not having access to Kroot or Vespid. He is also restricted in his choices across the board with many units becoming 0-1 for him. That significantly changes the army. Lastly he doesn't even count as your mandatory HQ Crisis Suit choice. All of this for him means a lower than average Support score as he hurts more than helps.

O'Shaserra - Commander Shadowsun

  • Cost: 3
  • Offense: 3
  • Defense: 2
  • Support: 4

Comparing her cost to a Shas'o isn't really fair given that they cannot take an XV22 Battlesuit. But just a comparison of everything else shows that she is not a ripoff but neither is she a bargain. Where she shines in special equipment increasing her survivability and support she falters in loss of Toughness and a Wound. It ends up being a wash in my opinion.

Offensively she excels in tank hunting which is always welcome in any army. The ability to split her Fusion Gun shots between two tanks hitting on 2+ adds to her ranged threat a great deal. But in Close Combat while comparing her with a regular Shas'o she trades a point of Toughness and a Wound for a point of Initiative. Not a favorable trade by any means.

Defensively she is saddled with the inability to join a larger unit for protection. While she does have a trio of drones any shooting of Strength 6 or higher puts her unit and herself at great risk. To offset this she does have a Stealth Field Generator to help against range as well as 3+ Armor Save and a 4+ Invulnerable Save. In the end I would treat her more as a cruise missile than something you would expect to stick around for a long time.

She is probably the best all around character in the entire Codex for providing support. She provides Leadership 10 to all Tau and Vespid units to within 18" which is very helpful and unlike an Ethereal is not restricted by Line of Sight or anything else for that matter. With her on the board you can make sure your units act the way they should and stick around for the long run.


That concludes this article. See you next time for Codex: Space Wolves.