Hammer of Math: T’au Codex Inquiries

This week’s Hammer of Math takes a look at some specific questions from our review of the 10th Edition of Codex: T’au

This article is going to focus on a few interesting questions that have popped up based on our initial reading of the new codex. When the T’au were first introduced to the 40k universe in 2001, the reception was… difficult. From a rules perspective they were a heavily specialized force that tended to heavily favor ranged combat over melee attacks. In a game that was historically designed around a balance of melee and shooting (in other words, Space Marines), this proved to be unpleasant for many armies to play against. At the same time the lore was unusually optimistic and cheerful, espousing a egalitarian “Greater Good” that was in stark contrast to the grim darkness of the rest of the universe.

The end result was that for many years T’au players were subjected to quite a bit of scorn and ridicule while their armies consistently did well in a way that wasn’t always fun to face. That said, the years have changed the T’au considerably from an army that likes to sit back and shoot into one that has to be mobile and get up close, risking danger to reap the reward. Of course that wont’ stop people from making dumb jokes about T’au players in The Year of Our Lord 2024, but that’s just how it goes. If you’re one of those: Don’t be that person.

Let’s dive in.

Credit: Zuul the Cat

Mont’ka vs. Kauyon for Heavy Hitters

The T’au Index Detachment, Kauyon, is back in the Codex, granting the same nasty benefit – [SUSTAINED HITS 1] or [SUSTAINED HITS 2] for your ranged weapons from the third battle round and onward. What’s changed however is the addition of an alternative detachment – Mont’ka gives your ranged weapons [LETHAL HITS] in the first three battle rounds. One question that came up was whether or not the Mont’Ka detachment would prove deleterious against particular targets when fired by Hammerheads or Broadsides. Both of these units have a main weapon option that hits very hard but has the [DEVASTATING WOUNDS] ability. Since you need a Wound roll for that ability to go off is it possible that against a particularly tough target with a high invulnerable save that the detachment ability would be harmful?

Against a T12 target with a 4+ invulnerable save the answer is “No.” Both detachment abilities are superior to the unmodified version, with the extra attacks provided by Kauyon consistently providing an advantage over [LETHAL HITS]. The difference is more pronounced with the Hammerheads, where the high damage output and strength makes the added attacks particularly effective. I also took a look at a T13/5++ target like a Khorne Lord of Skulls and in that case the Broadsides actually averaged more damage under Mont’ka than Kauyon.

XV8 Crisis Battlesuit. Credit: Rockfish
XV8 Crisis Battlesuit. Credit: Rockfish

Can Fusion Be Good?

Melta weapons have endured a pretty bad rap in 10th Edition. In the lore they’re brutal weapons capable of burning holes through tanks, but in this version of 40k the fabled meltagun is lucky to inconvenience a light truck. The reason for this is pretty simple: while the distribution of Toughness characteristics was expanded with T12 being the new T8, melta weapons are generally below S9 which means they’re usually wounding their intended targets on a 5+ (Robnote: I think this means they’re no longer intended for taking down vehicle targets but well, that seems wrong). The distribution of Save characteristics also makes the high AP of melta weapons somewhat redundant. This means that melta weapons generally need a bit of a boost, which often comes in the form of bonuses and re-rolls.

Enter Crisis Sunforge Battlesuits. Featuring a pair of S9, AP -4, D6 damage guns with [MELTA 2], these battlesuits also have the Sunforge ability which allows you to re-roll a Wound and Damage roll against MONSTER or VEHICLE targets. The chance of hitting can potentially be further enhanced through the presence of re-rolling 1s from Stealth Battlesuits or Commander Shadowsun. Wounding can be improved via [LETHAL HITS] from Mont’Ka, a bonus to the Wound roll from Commander Farsight, and the bonus Strength from Retaliation Cadre. Conveniently enough they’re roughly the same points cost as the Hammerhead (depending on the MFM changes) so it’s a viable point of comparison.


The results are pretty convincing, with the bonuses from the two detachments providing a significant improvement over the unmodified baseline. Retaliation Cadre is particularly useful given the prevalence of T10 targets in the wild but is less useful against tougher targets. Compared to a Hammerhead, the Sunforge is consistently more effective, with even the baseline profile producing a slightly higher average number of wounds.

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