Ruleshammer 40k: Tau and GSC Updates!

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T’au – Markerlights on Vehicles and Drones – can they Advance?

I think the answer to this is currently “yes,” as there’s no specification of the type of move, and I think it might even be intended.

While a VEHICLE or DRONE unit is performing the Fire Markerlights action, that unit can move without that action failing. If it does, until the end of the turn, models in that unit without the VEHICLE or DRONE keyword that are equipped with any Markerlights are treated as not being equipped with any markerlights for the purposes of the Fire Markerlights action.

The reason i think this might be intentional is Marker Drones. Having two models doing an action every turn preventing a unit of Crisis or Stealth suits from Advancing would be quite a significant burden on the unit.


Had a lot of feedback about this and my suggestion, mostly regarding the “Move Normally” FAQ.

Move normally: Rules that refer to move/moves/moving normally are the same thing as making a Normal Move, e.g. a rule that states ‘instead of moving this unit normally’ means ‘instead of making a Normal Move with this unit’. If a rule simply tells you to make a move as if it were the Movement phase, but does not specify what kind of move is being made, it is a Normal Move.

This FAQ is probably one of the more annoying ones we currently have, as it’s very broad for what is actually a very specific issue. This FAQ is to put 8th edition abilities that just say “the unit can make a move of x” into 9th edition move types. It doesn’t cause all mention of the word “move” to become “normal move”. My confidence of this fact comes from the start of the movement phase rules.

Start your Movement phase by selecting one unit from your army to move; that unit can either make a Normal Move, it can Advance, or it can Remain Stationary.

Where “to move” is pretty firmly established as covering all the types of move a unit might choose to make. Fall Back as well but you have to start within Engagement Range for that and you can’t start actions while within Engagement Range so that prevents Drones and Vehicles from using the Markerlight action before falling back. As such my suggested play for Drones and Vehicles is unchanged.

Pre-FAQ Suggested Play: Drones and Vehicles can advance and not fail the Markerlight action.

Gun Drones. Credit: Rockfish
Gun Drones. Credit: Rockfish

Tau – Drones in other Units and FLY

“But Vrekais” you might be saying. Hasn’t this been fixed why talk about it now? So I want to discuss it because GW haven’t fixed all of it. There’s still a whole pile of weird stuff to do with the FLY keyword and Drones.

What have they fixed?

Q: If a unit contains both Drone models (which can Fly) and models which cannot Fly – like Pathfinders – can the whole unit move as if it can Fly (e.g. can Pathfinder models move over other models as if they were not there when moving, just because there is a Drone model in their unit and therefore that unit has the Fly keyword)?
A: No. Only the models that actually have the Fly keyword can move using the Flying rules (e.g. in a Pathfinder Team unit, only Drone models in that unit can move over other models as if they were not there when that unit makes a move).

So they’ve said that only Flying models can move as if they have FLY, they’ve said this in an FAQ answer rather than actually change the rule but despite this now contradicting the Core Rule it’s specific and it makes sense. It is a contradiction though, and this will matter later so let me demonstrate this.

If a unit’s datasheet has the FLY keyword, then when it makes a Normal Move, an Advance or it Falls Back, its models can be moved across other models (and their bases) as if they were not there, and they can be moved within Engagement Range of enemy models. In addition, any vertical distance up and/or down that they make as part of that move is ignored. However, these models cannot finish their move either on top of another model (or its base) or within Engagement Range of any enemy models.

and this rule;


Some units can include models that have different keywords. While a unit has models with different keywords, it is considered to have all the keywords of all of its models, and so is affected by any rule that applies to units with any of those keywords. If a rule only applies to models with a specific keyword, then it instead only applies to models in such a unit that have the correct keyword.

What’s still broken?

So a unit with any models with FLY is affected by any rules that affects units with FLY. We now have an FAQ that makes the movement rules an exception, however that leaves A LOT of other rules. For instance;

‘The only exception are units that can Fly, which can end a charge move within Engagement Range of an enemy Aircraft model.

Broadsides with a Drone can charge at AIRCRAFT models.

Use this Stratagem at the start of your opponent’s Movement or Charge phase. Select one enemy unit (excluding units that can FLY) within 12″ of and visible to an ADEPTUS CUSTODES INFANTRY…

They are also immune to Tanglefoot Grenades. That’s just two examples, there are more. The thing is though Drones don’t actually need FLY as much as they did in 8th edition because of this rule.

For the purposes of interacting with terrain features, DRONE models count as having the INFANTRY keyword.

This lets Drones move through terrain just like the INFANTRY units they accompany. As such here’s my suggestion;

Pre-FAQ Suggestion: Units that contain any DRONE models, other than units where all the models have the DRONE keyword, should be treated as not having the FLY keyword. Rules that specifically affect models with the FLY keyword rather than units with FLY keyword, would affect DRONES as usual regardless of if the unit is entirely DRONES or not. (e.g. A Unit of Pathfinders with a Drone model would not be treated as having FLY for the purposes of checking if it can charge an enemy AIRCRAFT unit.)

Tau – Markerlights in Engagement Range

Q: Do markerlights work in engagement range?
And more importantly, does Farsight Enclaves Markerlight rule work while in engagement range?

So the normal Markerlight action can’t put markerlight tokens onto units that are within Engagement Range of friendly units. There’s two reasons for this.


If this action is successfully completed, for each model in that unit that is equipped with one or more markerlights, for each markerlight that model is equipped with, select one enemy unit within 36″ of that model that would be an eligible target for that model if its unit had been selected to shoot, and roll one D6: on a 3+, that enemy unit gains one Markerlight token.’

and due to the Locked in Combat rule;


Models also cannot target enemy units within Engagement Range of any other units from your army – the risk of hitting your own troops is too great.

They are not eligible targets. Frequent readers might then wonder about if Vehicles such as the Skyray can do this, as units within Engagement Range of itself would be eligible due to the Big Guns Never Tire Rule. Again the answer is no, for the second reason.


You can declare a unit from your army will start to perform an action provided there are no enemy units within Engagement Range of it (excluding AIRCRAFT) and it did not Advance or Fall Back this turn.

Units can’t do actions with enemy units within Engagement Range of them.

What about Farsight Enclaves Tenet?

Each time a model with this tenet makes a ranged attack that targets a unit within 12″, the target is treated as having a Markerlight token.

Seeing as FSE units don’t need to be able to shoot at the units within 12″ or start an action for the unit to count as having a Markerlight Token there’s no reason for this tenet to stop working when they are within Engagement Range. To be clear; Markerlights still only affect ranged attacks but in a Tau army most of the units that benefit from Tenets can shoot whilst within Engagement Range.

  • Fire Warriors (Strike and Breachers) have Pulse Pistols and Stratagems to make their main weapons Pistol 2.
  • Pathfinders carry Pistols
  • Battlesuits have a rule of their own.
  • The rest have the Vehicle keyword.

The only models that can’t do this as far as I’m aware (other than Auxiliaries) are Gun Drones.

Hybrid Metamorphs. Credit: Rockfish
Hybrid Metamorphs. Credit: Rockfish

Genestealer Cults – Can a unit that has been set up in Ambush be moved into Strategic Reserves using From Every Angle?

So this is a meeting of a few concepts here. From Every Angle is sort of a Redeploy ability but it does specifically allow a unit to be put into Strategic Reserves.

At the Start of the First Battle round, if this mission use the Strategic Reserves rules, this unit can be placed into Strategic Reserves without having to spend additional CPs, regardless of how many units are already in Strategic Reserves.

So what matters is if the unit is actually around to be redeployed. I think they are, considering how Ambush is worded:

Units set up in ambush are considered to be setup on the battlefield (unless they are embarked within a Transport model that is set up in ambush), even though their models are not actually on the battlefield. Enemy models cannot be set up or moved within 9″ of the centre of any of your ambush markers. 

So that firmly establishes that they are treated as being on the board to be moved off.

Post FAQ Update

Previously I suggested that the marker that represented the models being removed to strategic reserves should be picked up when you use the stratagem, that was however in the absence of an actual rule saying to pick it up at all. The new FAQ establishes the remaining markers are picked up after all ambush units are set up.

After all units from your army that were set up in ambush have been set up from an ambush marker, remove any remaining ambush markers you placed on the battlefield.

This is actually pretty interesting tactically because it still restricts your opponents movement around your markers but then you can decide which one to not use for setting up models potentially after they have moved if you’re going second. On top of the mystery of which one you might not use for them to consider during deployment.

Allarus Custodians
Allarus Custodians. Credit: Pendulin

Custodes – Martial Ka’tah Calistus – Can I charge after Advancing?

Q: If you are in the martial katah stance that states if you advance you count as being remained stationary, I know you can shoot with those models but can you charge? – Justin

Short answer is no. Here’s why: Calistus Stance 2 doesn’t apply during the charge phase.


Stance 2: Each time this unit makes a Normal Move or Advances in your Movement phase, in your following Shooting phase, it counts as having Remained Stationary.

The models only count as stationary during the shooting phase immediately following the movement phase that just triggered this effect.

More Ruleshammer!

For more questions (as well as the ones above) you can find more for these factions at these links.

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