Tau Empire: HQ: Tau Commander


Hello everyone, HotSauceMan is here to tell you about one of the most flexible HQs in the game, the Tau Commander. The guy can support your army, destroy high value targets or even get into the thick of CC if he is kitted out properly. If you want to know more about this game, check out the Tactics Corner for more fun stuff.

As said, we are looking at the seminal HQ tau armies are built around: the Commander. These are the highest ranking military personal within the tau army, each being a tactical genius in their own right. They can be gods of destruction on the battlefield or tactical thinkers setting traps and delivering the killing blow to the enemy.


The puppy is really cheap, like cheaper then you expect. The reason for this is how insanely customizable this guy is. I’m going to go over just the myriad of way you can use him.


  • Crisis battlesuit, which gives him the following…
  • Multi-tracker(Two weapons fire at once, this is pretty sweet)
  • Blacksun Filter(Immunity to blind, and ignores nightfighting)

Special Rules:

  • Independent Character
  • Supporting Fire
  • Very Bulky(He can’t go into transports, so this is only in play versus certain units/abilities)


Now, let’s talk about the weapons he can take and their uses. He can take up to four of these (but still only fire 2) or 2 twin-linked versions of these.

  • Flamer (Poor) A standard flamer that just uses a template. This is good versus hordes, but you have to get close. It also takes no advantage of his high BS
  • Burst Cannon (Good) Pretty decent medium strength, medium shot, medium range weapon. Seeing a pattern? Two of these with his ballistic skill can make short work of hordes or even light vehicles like those pesky rhinos. Not a great choice, but solid.
  • Plasma Rifles (Great) These are good one commander who are Deep Striking down and you are getting in their face. Lower strength then the imperial ones, but no Gets Hot special rule. 4 shots can make short work of those terminators you see everywhere nowadays.
  • Fusion Blaster (Great) My favorite, but I might be biased. This is a Meltagun with slightly longer range. This does put you in the danger zone though where you can be assaulted by what you don’t kill.
  • Missile Pod (Good) a two shot auto cannon with decent range. These are simply ok, while they used to be a go to, they got replaced when the game went to hardier units.
  • Cyclic Ion Blaster (Great) Forgot this existed huh? Well you can take multiple of them now and man are they great. This can kill light vehicles and hordes with ease. The problem is it is very low range so you have to get in range.
  • Airbursting Fragmentation Projector (poor) a single-shot, large blast bolter. Not really worth it IMO, you can’t over watch with it, you cant kill much because it is str4. Just give it a pass.



As I mentioned, this guy is super customizable, so I’m going to give you several ways he can be ran. These are my personal favorite ways these guys are built, but you can try some for yourself. Now, there is some conflict in the new Farsight Enclaves book and whether or not you can take signature systems from both books, so watch out there.

Buffmander: This guy was so feared in 6th edition, he almost got banned or nerfed into oblivion. The Buffmander comes equipped with several Signature Systems. These are the Command and Control Node, the Multi-spectrum Sensor Suite and the Puretide Engram Neurochip (Grants the bearer Counter Attack, Monster Hunter, Furious Charge, Stubborn or Tank Hunter). The first two allow you the unit to reroll to hit, and to ignore cover respectively. Goes best with a XV8 Crisis Bodyguard unit that is loaded with weapons that can take advantage of these abilities. Broadsides are a good choice, too, but they don’t need the re-roll. This guys isn’t meant to kill, but to support the army and make sure you kill something. Sprinkle on some extra toys, whether it be a Shield Generator or Stimulant injector. Iridium armor, of course. He may as well come stock with it!

The Destroyer: This guy is the cudgel to the Buffmander’s scalpel. This guy’ comes packing to the teeth with as much heavy hitting weapons as you can fit onto him. My favorite is a twin-linked plasma rifle, and fusion blades, so he can charge and kill those pesky vehicles. Try a shield generator and a stimulant injector to make him more survivable to keep him alive. He will be in the thick of things quite a bit.

farsight tau 001

The Swiss Army Knife: This is my own personal favorite and the one I tend to use the most. This guy combines the previous two to make a master of neither, but pretty good at both. My favorite loadout for this guy is a cheapish but still pretty effective unit. XV84 Crisis Battlesuit(Target Lock and Networked Markerlight), Two Fusion Blasters and a Puretide chip. This allows him to be very good on the drop down from deep striking, allowing him to up the BS of a unit, give them special rules, and giving some extra firepower to the unit.

The Coldstar Commander: This is less a way of running him and more of an upgrade to the unit that locks you into a certain selection of wargear. It is an upgrade that make your commander a flying monstrous creature, but without all the rules except for the ability to fly. Monster hunter still works on him though. He gains two weapons that cannot be exchanged at all. He gains a missile pod and a high output burst cannon. He can only take two support systems and two drones. Give him a shield, a stim injector and call it a day. He can fly around taking pot shots and anything and everything, but not doing any true damage to much because of how middling his weapons are. He is a good secondary HQ if you got the points, so have fun with him. He can take out light vehicles and infantry with his guns, but not much else.

So, there you go, by far one of the most fun HQ in the tau codex. Do you have a favorite configuration for this guy? Well As always, share your thoughts in the comments section! And remember, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off, every day.

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About HotSauceMan

HotSauceMan is a mediocre and lower tier player, but he makes up for it in spunk and Jazz. When not writing for Frontline, He can be found huddled away in his dorm watching cartoon, or fighting DareDevil.
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6 years ago

The buffmander in an environment where hunter cadre buffs everyone is terrifying. He is ridiculously points efficient. Also granting all those buffs to something like a stormsurge is insanely effective.
Without that (ie ITC faq) he’s just good. Wish I still saw commander’s that did something other than buff and hide.

6 years ago
Reply to  Blight1

Depending on game size and list, a Commander running a pair of guns can be very solid- for example, when hanging with a Marker Drone squad a Missile Pod Commander adds a lot of survivability to the squad while putting out four Tank Hunting S7 shots, which is nothing to sneeze at.

6 years ago

Drone controller commander is still a really solid build. Typically with longer range weapons like Missile Pods because s/he is going to be skulking around the table with a big bunch of Marker Drones all of whom he grants BS5 to with a Drone Controller. If equipped with the Iridium Battlesuit s/he generally stands out in front of the unit tanking wounds for the more fragile drones.

Although you alluded to it in passing you did not mention the least sensible and most fun build of all. The new improved Fusion Blades commander; give this guy/gal Fusion Blades, Iridium battlesuit + shield generator + stims and you have a Tau who dishes out S8 AP1 CC attacks on admittedly mediocre initiative and who might actually survive long enough to swing. On the plus side this murders vehicles because that weapon has armourbane.The recent change to Farsight Enclaves allowed him to take the Iridium suit which finally makes this build at least tolerably decent.

6 years ago

I don’t think you can take Iridium AND Fusion Blades on the same guy, can you? That would be pulling from two different sets of relics on the same guy, which as far as I know isn’t allowed.

Fusion Blades so bad, you guys.

6 years ago
Reply to  abusepuppy

FSE commanders can pull from both sets now. Empire can’t .

Not that I’d really do it, none of the FSE sigs stand out imo. But farsight enclaves sure appreciate access to iridium armour for their commanders!

6 years ago

I run mine with buffmander gear, iridium, stim injectors and vectored retro thrusters. He goes with crisis suits wielding missile pods and target locks. I know some people like to put marker drones into this unit and a drone controller on the commander. I don’t see much point in the shield generator when you can just lookout sir to the drones in that squad. For the most part, commander tanks for this unit. A t5, 2+ save, 5+ fnp with lookout sirs is pretty tough by Tau standards.

Also the farsight enclave issue was cleared up, they can run both sets of signature systems now. So if you’re running crisis suits in a CAD, may as well make them troops for the bonding knife tax.

6 years ago

My personal favorite setup is two missile pods with target lock and velocity tracker, dubbed the “flakkmander”; probably with irridium and PENchip, obv.

The way you have “The Destroyer” set up can’t take shield or stims, as the twinlinked weapons count as two hardpoints each.

Infinite Freedom
Infinite Freedom
6 years ago

A very well written article. I do disagree on the Fusion Blaster being the best, prefer the Plasma Rifle myself.

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