October 2020 FAQ Update Review: T’au Empire

In advance of the upcoming release of Codex: Space Marines and as promised, Games Workshop dropped a massive FAQ update on us today (remember when we said fifteen books needed FAQs? Turns out it was more). There’s a lot to digest, so we’re poring over every word of the updates and noting what’s changed and our thoughts on what it means for the faction. In this article we’re looking at changes and updates to the T’au Empire, as laid out in Codex: T’au Empire and Psychic Awakening: The Greater Good. 

There aren’t a whole lot of changes and frankly none of these are going to dig the faction out of the hole it’s in, but every little bit helps, so let’s dig in.

  • Codex: The Thermoneutronic Projector Signature System now has a range of 12″, which makes sense as it’s basically a flamer upgrade. That’s a big boost and it’s a pretty nasty (albeit high variance) weapon at that range. Speaking of which…
  • Flamers are now 12″ range. That’s pretty neat given how many you can drop on a squad of crisis suits. It combos well with the Farsight Enclaves re-roll wound abilities but doesn’t have much synergy with the faction’s +1 markerlight ability (at least, not until you get to 2 or 3) but you also save the CP you’d spend upgrading their ballistic skill. Flamers were already competing with airbursts for cheap crisis suit loadouts, with the latter having better range and the ability to fire indirectly and with blast and this makes that a much closer fight. Unfortunately flamers are still S4 AP0 guns however and so they’re not going to do much damage for you but they’re worth testing and consideration.
  • Cyclic Ion Blasters, Ion Accelerators, Ion Cannons, Ion Rifles, and Quad Ion Turrets now cause a single mortal wound if you roll an unmodified 1 to hit. For Cyclic Ion blasters and rakers, the unit takes a wound instead of the model. No more worries about overheating when you shoot through forests, and this also brings all the weapon wordings in line, which was something we had to deal with in the wake of The Greater Good reprinting profiles for The Eight.
  • Blast Adjustments. Blast was added into the profiles of weapons. While it didn’t necessarily matter before, Ion Rifles and Ion Cannons only have blast on their Overcharge profiles now, in case something that keys off Blast weapons comes up.
  • The Greater Good: The amplified Ion Accelerator only causes a mortal wound on an unmodified 1 now. Another solid buff.
  • The Greater Good: The High-powered Incinerator Signature Weapon Systems now have a 12″ range. This could make for a pretty beefy combo if you can get close enough with your FSE crisis suits to proc the +1 Strength and re-roll wounds bonuses.

Most of this is what you’d expect. The big losers here are fusion blasters, which don’t get the updated melta damage rules. That’s not the end of the world, but it’s not great either – lower variance is typically worth sacrificing a bit of expected value over. The big winners here are crisis suits, which get better cyclic ion blasters and the ability to triple up on flamers for pretty cheap. Ion Riptides also got better, since they’re no longer going to eat as many mortal wounds.

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