French Tau! A perfect combo of so many Stereotypes.

Salut mes petits apprentis! I heard you wanted to learn how to Pew Pew with the Upcoming New Tau update. Be sure to check the Tactics Corner for more great articles.


Well I wanted to give you all a chance at a build I am considering that was not completely static and not entirely dependent on Markerlight using the new rules update.

I will be using the New Tau MultiFormation Detachment which loses Objective Secured and Forgeworld Unit access but gains the following:

The Detachment Rules are: (Hunter Contingent)

  • Re-Roll Warlord Traits (All, not just Tau)
  • When a Unit Declares its firing target, you can have Units join into that fire. If 3 units join in, they all benefit from +1BS. Markerlights consumed affect all of the units (so 2 ML for ignore cover for all of their fire, etc..)

The Core Formation Rules are: (Hunter Cadre)

  • Supporting Fire rule from the models in this Formation are 12″ versus 6″.
  • Units within 12″ of the Formation Commander can choose to run and then fire.

The Auxiliary Formation Rules are: (Optimized Stealth Cadre)

  • During the Shooting Phase of the Formation, the Ghostkeel unit gain +1 BS and Ignore Cover. The Stealth Suits also benefit from Ignore Cover and +1BS if they are within 6″ of one of the Ghostkeel from the Formation. Also in addition they always Hit Rear armor no matter the facing.


Now for the Army List:

Core Hunter Cadre Core Formation:

  • 1 Commander with 1 Missile Pod, Stimulant Injector, Target Lock, Drone Controller, 2 Marker Drones.
  • 3 Units of 5 Breacher (or Strike if they can be 5 Minimum) Team.
  • 1 XV104 Riptide with TL SMS, Ion Accelerator, Early Warning Override.
  • 1 Unit of 4 Marker Drones.
  • 1 KV108 Stormsurge with TL SMS, Cluster Rocket System, 4 Destroyer Missiles, Pulse Driver Cannon, Early Warning Override.

First Auxiliary Optimized Stealth Cadre:

  • 1 Unit of 2 Ghostkeels with 2 Cylic Ion Raker, 1 TL Fusion Blaster, 1 TL Burst Cannon, 1 with Target Lock and 1 with Positional Relay.
  • 2 Units of 3 Stealth Suits with Burst Cannon.

Second Auxiliary Optimized Stealth Cadre:

  • 1 Unit of 2 Ghostkeels with 2 Cylic Ion Raker, 1 TL Fusion Blaster, 1 TL Burst Cannon, 1 with Target Lock and 1 with Positional Relay.
  • 2 Units of 3 Stealth Suits with Burst Cannon.

Total of list is 1,848 Points.

Pretty much a MSU mobile army minus the Stormsurge and the Strike Teams. The goal was to maximize the amount of Unit Firing for stacking the +BS increases from 3 or More Units.


The Optimized Stealth Cadre can easily give themselves (with the Detachment and Formation rules) +2 BS and Ignore Cover without any markerlight support while the Markerdrones and Commander will effectively try to assist the Riptide and or Stormsurge (Especially the Stormsurge since i can use Markerlight Hits to up a Destroyer Missile from Str 8 to Str D.)

With the Ability to Run than Shoot (from the Hunter Cadre and 12″ bubble of the Commander) for the Commander, the drones, the Stormsurge, the Riptide and the Strike Team means they can effectively try to play keep away (unless the Stormsurge Anchors) from the enemy while retaining for the Commander, Drones and Riptide the ability to jump in the Assault Phase.

If I am facing an Alpha strike Army, I would probably keep the Ghostkeels on the table and use their awesome defense mechanics to survive the initial output of fire with their Countermeasure (which allows them to force 1 Enemy Unit in their shooting phase to snapshoot) and their Stealth + Shrouded (x2 if enemy units shooting is more than 12″ away). I would split them by placing them on each table side to allow me to bring in their Stealth Suit Squads from their respective formations using the Positional Relay (auto pick side for Outflank Reserve if there is a Positional Relay within 6″ of it, this includes any table side as long its within 6″ of it).

The Commander with the Drones has a Missile Pod and Target lock to help assist one of the Units for combined Fire Rule to one of the units.


So wait, how do you resolve some amazing shooting combos?

Well consider this. The Optimized Stealth Cadre Ghostkeels will always get +1 BS, Ignore Cover and Hit Vehicles in the Rear. Now I have 2 Targets I want to fire them at, I could choose just fire them normally at BS4 and Ignore Cover or I can have 1 from the other Ghostkeel Targetlock to Support bringing me to 2 units firing at one while the other 2 can pick the other target on their own, now all I need is 1 Unit to support both of their targets to gain +1 BS and this is where the Stormsurge can shine by assisting them, not only does itself gain +1 BS but so does the Ghostkeel. Now I have BS 5 Ghostkeel with Ignore Cover and a BS4 Stormsurge. (If the Surge is Anchored, you could technically use the TL SMS or the Cluster Rocket System twice and thus on the same round you could fire one of the weapon system once at both Target.) Assuming this reading of the notorious rule we have yet to decide on! -Reecius

Honestly at this point the Markerlight are really there just to make sure the Riptide and Stormsurge Cannon get Ignore Cover.

Damn, thats a lot of Pew Pew but what do you do when they finally get in combat?

Well for the most part, the Stealth Team will probably die quickly if they get focused on, even with Stealth and Shrouding but there is a total of 6 Monstrous Creatures (1 of which is Gargantuan).  1 which gets Stomp if you play right and 1 of which can be effective at tanking. The Ghostkeels have 3 attack base at Str 6 with Smash (AP2 and the ability to trade swings for 1 at Str 10) so they aren’t exactly incompetent, especially when rocking T5. The Riptide with its T6, 2+ and Overcharge shield of 3++ is not terrible at tanking either. Honestly the Stormsurge with T6 3+ armour and only 2 attacks might be the weakest in the bunch unless you get some great stomp rolls. I would never play Tau in a Gunline strategy, I would try to use Reserve and agility to dance around. Sure you will lose Units to charges but you have to make sure its the UNITS you want them to chew on.


I will be getting some play test of it starting in early to mid November, so looking forward to more on hands but conceptually this army is what I wanted to Tau to be, a tactically flexible surgical strike army. It also allows me to bring some of the prettiest Models GW has manufactured in my opinion.


About Jeremy Veysseire

Long time Pacific Northwest Warhammer 40k player feared and loved by the masses of pluviophiles in Portland Oregon. Commonly known as the French Overlord or MikhailLenin, has participated in many cross USA tournaments for 40k. Now, relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area, he is looking to bring his terror down south,

41 Responses to “French Tau! A perfect combo of so many Stereotypes.”

  1. dr.insanotron October 29, 2015 12:04 pm #

    I’m really digging this list Jeremy

    • Jeremy Veysseire October 29, 2015 1:34 pm #

      Thanks Ben!

      • dr.insanotron October 29, 2015 4:40 pm #

        that is a very similar list to what I was thinking about

    • abusepuppy October 29, 2015 8:16 pm #

      OpStealth is really good, to be sure- it’s hard to go wrong with Ignores Cover, +1BS is really handy for Tau, and always hitting rear armor is a cool trick.

      My main concern with it, from a competitive perspective, is fast, tough assault units- things like Khorne Dogs, Thunderwolves, Wraiths, Brass Scorpions, etc; because the list really only has one strategy (“shoot harder”), anything that can weather that first turn of shooting is going to hit it pretty hard. It’s particularly problematic because the OpStealth wants to be so close to the enemy, giving you very little potential maneuver room.

      I’d also be worried about an enemy alpha-strike list; with only two Interceptor units (albeit strong ones), I definitely think an enemy Drop Pod or other reserve list could give it trouble.

      And, as already mentioned, flying targets will be a huge pain.

      I would hardly call it a bad army at all, but I feel like trying to run two OpStealths and the Stormsurge together is aiming for too much. Might do better to bring in some allies to deal with Maelstrom scoring and melee defense.

  2. Ibushi October 29, 2015 12:13 pm #

    Love it, totally agree with the mobile, surgical Tau army philosophy, and I think that is where these formations really shine too.

    In terms of stacking the shooting abilities via the Stormsurge, I’m guessing as long as he starts the Shooting phase for the whole army by declaring all the targets for his guns (which I’m guessing would only be allowed to double-tap the same target, but I could be wrong), and then the stealth stuits, ghostkeel and strike teams would declare at the same time to gain 3x units targeting — that way I’m pretty sure everything would stack OK. You would also end up with these hilarious shooting phases where your entire army has to declare exactly what they are shooting, and then just roll dice without any opportunity to have a second go if something goes wrong. Seems fair!

    Really looking forward to seeing this on the tabletop from an aesthetics, tactical, and fluff perspective — nicely done, sir! May your reign of terror extend beyond the coffee-sipping pluviophiles of the PNW!

    • Reecius October 29, 2015 1:56 pm #

      Yeah, that bit is still up in the air in terms of rules, but even without all that, the list is cool.

      • Jeremy Veysseire October 29, 2015 2:13 pm #


        If Supported Fire gets unwielding or not really as useful, I think you see me running some Tetras and Flying Riptide!

        • Ibushi October 29, 2015 3:56 pm #

          That’s true, the Stealth Cadre is the real heavy hitter anyway, do it in a CAD + 2x stealths for pretty much the same, if not better with tetras and…flying riptides, hah!

  3. Skyler October 29, 2015 12:51 pm #

    Don’t forget that The Wall of Mirrors is resolved at the beginning of the shooting phase, the same time as an Imperial Knight’s Ion shield. Since it is your shooting phase, you get to pick what happens first.

    If he covers his butt, hit him in the face/side with the Ghostkeels. Also hit him in the face with your D missiles.
    If he covers his front, hit him in the back with your Ghostkeels.

    • Ibushi October 29, 2015 1:05 pm #

      Wall of Mirrors is such a great rule, it makes burst cannons totally brutal with one nice buff that doesnt seem too OP to me.

      Reading it I assumed they would hit your rear armour value, but not be in your “rear arc”, so things like ion shields and wave serpent shields would still be in effect if you are the in front or side facings.

      If that is incorrect, well, ouch.

      • abusepuppy October 29, 2015 1:26 pm #

        I was actually reading the Ion Shield and Wall of Mirrors over, and the way they’re worded I’m pretty sure you would have to put the Ion Shield to the rear arc to protect against them- it cares about what facing you are hitting, not what facing the models are in.

  4. Talon of Anathrax October 29, 2015 12:58 pm #

    Great list! That looks surprisingly fun to play against for a competitive Tau list – not that my current CSM lists would have a chance of winning, but anyway…
    Now I wish Nids had lists that good with that many MCs! Apart from the Flyrant of course.

  5. fluger October 29, 2015 1:19 pm #

    I love the look and feel and power of this list.

    • Jeremy Veysseire October 29, 2015 1:37 pm #

      I am actually considering 3 Variations of this list that function differently.

      Mostly because the Heavy Retribution Cadre has some really nasty tools against some of the Star by restricting their movement (Though that only works when you go first really). The whole no running, or flat out and halving the Charge Distance just by being targetted by 2 units from that formation is magical with Gargantuan Creature picking various target.

      • Vercingatorix October 29, 2015 3:30 pm #

        Do Tau have a relic that is a straight (-2) to charge range available to them? Combine with halfing range and a dark strider you could potentially be an inch away and still fail.

        • abusepuppy October 29, 2015 4:16 pm #

          No, there’s a Drone (available to Pathfinders only) that gives -d3″ to charge range when going after its unit and a Signature System that inflicts autohits when an enemy unit charges the bearer. You might be thinking of either of those.

          • Vercingatorix October 30, 2015 6:14 am

            maybe that’s it then. So Pathfinders in Terrain would basically be unchargable if the unit charging doesn’t have move through cover of some sort. Even a 12 inch charge goes to 6, then 4, then -D3. Or a unit with darkstrider could walk away, which would actually be more effective.

      • dr.insanotron October 29, 2015 4:46 pm #

        you cant play that formation in itc because of the mandatory 2 units of GMC

  6. Hotsauceman1 October 29, 2015 2:02 pm #

    This is close to what I wanna run. But Im gonna Ally in some Tetras

  7. jy2 October 29, 2015 2:27 pm #

    One area where I see this list may falter somewhat is against flyers. Those BS increases don’t work against flyers unless they are from Markerlights. I think you should come up with the flying riptide/tetra build as an alternative. Otherwise, this type of list might get bogged down my flyrant-spam or Daemon FMC-spam.

    • Jeremy Veysseire October 29, 2015 2:36 pm #

      Flying Riptide doesnt have Skyfire sadly, it wouldnt help versus them.

      Honestly against Flyrant-Spam the only strategy is to kill everything else than the Flyrant and just score maelstorm.

      Oh and dont forget Skyfire Nexus!

      • Luke October 29, 2015 5:32 pm #

        One of the warlord traits is also Skyfire for the warlords unit! Especially nice when you run buffmander since not only do you get a re-roll, but if you don’t give him weapons (obv) then there’s another result that he gets to automatically re-roll. Brings your odds up to almost 45% if my math is correct

  8. MarkDawg October 29, 2015 4:59 pm #

    I want to know how much the retail value of this list is. It’s gotta be like 1500$ or more

    • abusepuppy October 29, 2015 5:45 pm #

      It’s actually not that expensive, around $700-800 total.

    • MikhailLenin October 29, 2015 6:51 pm #

      Retail Value is like $700.

      or $560 with 20% discount

      • Reecius October 29, 2015 6:54 pm #

        Or $525 with FLG’s 25% pre-order deals!! 😉

    • Jp October 29, 2015 8:02 pm #

      Mark, you know you want it!

  9. iNcontroL October 29, 2015 7:02 pm #

    Nice writeup dude! Love hearing what a skilled player is thinking in regards to new lists

  10. ehegner1 October 29, 2015 7:07 pm #

    I love this list and the new tau. lots of new combos and tricks to be found. I must admit I really didnt like how GW didnt give tau any reliable way to deal with Wraithknights or Imperial knights.

    well that XV109s are good start against knghts. thanks for letting us vote on the reece! it does help !

  11. T6Ted October 30, 2015 4:22 am #

    Does the Stormsurge get SMS? I thought I saw you can replace the TL flamer with Airbursting Frag or burst cannons. Am I wrong? please tell me I am wrong.

    • MikhailLenin October 30, 2015 8:01 am #

      Stormsurge comes with SMS 😛 and TL Flamer that can be upgraded to Burst Cannor or Airbursting Frag.

  12. Karaghul October 30, 2015 6:03 am #

    Nice writeup!

    What happened to your Ravenwing list though? Never saw a follow-up on that one.

    • MikhailLenin October 30, 2015 8:03 am #

      The Ravenwing list is still kicking but I had made the mistake of not building a Deathstar Ravenwing Build and it seems with the appearance of all this Ignore Cover, its becoming a liability over a boon.
      (Referring to the new Tau and the new White Scars relic)

      • Reecius October 30, 2015 9:08 am #

        Yeah, Dark Angels rose gloriously like a Phoenix only to have those two new things spray them with a hose, instantly, lol.

        • elphilo October 30, 2015 10:42 am #

          Feels like 6th edition all over again 😛

      • Karaghul October 30, 2015 9:47 am #

        Yeah, I’d pure RW armies tend to have quite “bipolar” match-ups already as of now (No Ignores Cover = woo!, Ignores Cover = oh…).

        That ought to be just about to get aggravated with the new releases, I agree.

        It’s a shame though, RW armies are so cool looking on the table, whereas RW Command Squad+friends, not as much (still alright though).

        • Karaghul October 30, 2015 9:47 am #

          I’d say*

      • abusepuppy October 30, 2015 11:34 am #

        Tau is pretty brutal to RW lists, definitely. Whether or not we continue to see them appearing near the top will depend a lot on how good (and popular) Tau end up being.

        That WS relic is gonna mean a lot more Centurion Devs showing up, tho.

  13. T6Ted October 30, 2015 9:51 am #

    Where can i get that Alt Fireblade/Darkstrider from? wow.

  14. VonCrown October 30, 2015 7:12 pm #

    You could stick a neuroweb systems jammer in there with the last two points, unless they changed how signature systems don’t take up slots.

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