Tau Empire: Heavy Support: TX7 Hammerhead Gunship

Heyo everyone, It is the world’s worst 40k player here, Hotsauceman. I’m here to tell you about a sadly neglected unit in the Tau Empire, The TX7 Hammerhead Gunship. For more tips, check out Tactics Corner for more fun stuff.

The Hammerhead is the main tank of the Tau Empire. With its anti-gravity it is able to effortlessly glide over obstacles and still deliver a crushing blow. It has several turrets, with each one changing its role in the battlefield. But they are renowned tank killers with the fearsome Railgun. Even if that weapon leaves some room to be desired in the game itself.

With the decline of vehicles in general and the rise of Monstrous Creatures for the Tau, the Hammerhead has fallen to the wayside. It just doesn’t pack the same punch a Riptide or Stormsurge does. But I feel they are still a half decent unit. They are pretty cheap and can bring some decent firepower. This review will also touch upon the Forgeworld turrets as well. The problem with the Forgeworld turrets is that it is a separate unit with a separate name. So they cannot be taken in units, cannot be taken in formations and cannot take Longstrike. So they will be more of a second part of the review.



  • Railgun with Solid shot: The formally feared tank killer of the Tau Empire. Not that bad , but in an era of D everywhere, if falls short of being able to actually kill something without some luck.
  • Two MV1 Gun Drones: Can disembark for some shenanigans, but sadly cannot hold Objectives.


  • Submunition Rounds for Railgun: For a small price, your tank killer gets some versatility. Pretty good IMO, for cheap it can get a large blast
  • Two Seeker Missiles: Not bad, but it is a bit expensive for what they do. I would pass
  • Exchange Railgun with Ion Cannon: A free exchange, this changes the tank into a dedicated marine killer and light vehicle hunter. Both are good, so take what you want and according to your list.

They may exchange the Gun Drones with

  • Twinlinked Burst Cannon: Ok, but depends on the build because these are infantry killers.
  • Twinlinked Smart Missile System: Dedicated infantry killers as well, what I always choose.

Special Rules:

  • Fire Team: If you have three models in the unit, you get +1 BS. Makes them all BS5. Still susceptible to the “Curse of the 1” that pops up.

Tactics for these guys are kinda difficult. Everything they do, our suits can do 10 times better. When I do use them. I use them according to what role I want them to have. They mostly have two roles. The tank killer with the Railgun, and the infantry killer with the Ion Cannon. They are slow, but can keep firing even on the move. With the range of their weapons, they don’t need to be that fast however. The problem is they are a vehicle in the era of Grav Weapons. So two Hullpoints and you are dead. Against normal weapons they have decent armor, but with the amount of Ignores Cover, you are kinda hosed. The problem with them is that they don’t put out enough shots to actually be worth the points they are. However, they can be upped to good levels with some of the formations.

The Hammerhead is sadly not in many formations. It is in a total of 2 formations. It can be taken in both of the Tau Decurions though. In the Hunter Contingent it can share its Markerlights. Not great but combining fire can lead to them getting a higher BS, but they are bs4 naturally, so not that big of a change. In the Hunter Cadre it can Overwatch farther (if you give it one of the upgrades that allow it) when doing Supporting Fire. The Dawn Blade Contingent allows you to re-roll To Wound/Penetration roll against one single target. The final formation is the Armoured Interdiction Cadre. This requires 3 units of Hammerheads and 1 unit of TX78 Sky Ray Gunships. So a pretty a hefty points cost. But it is pretty good. Its is actually pretty simple.  Choose a point in the battlefield, and you can re-roll To Hit rolls against units that are within 6”. So this makes those Railguns are the more accurate. Seems pretty good to me. A 12” bubble that you try to kill what you want with as much firepower as you can.


A unique upgrade to one model. Only one Hammerhead in the entire army can take him. He comes at a pretty hefty price tag too. But for that you get several unique rules. The first is Preffered Enemy(Astra Militarum). Not bad, but nothing to count on. The second is Tank Hunter. With a Railgun you have some fun with that, meaning your 1 shot isn’t wasted. His tank also gets BS5, Can Overwatch infinitely and has Supporting Fire. Don’t forget Tank hunter is conferred to the unit. This guy is pretty fun, but his tricks are not anything special, they just make him good at killing tanks.

ForgeWorld Turrets:
Forgeworld Hammerhead variants are the same point wise, but gain the following options. Note, these cannot be taken in formations and cannot take Longstrike.

Two Twin-Linked Missile Pods with Velocity Tracker:

These turn your tank into a dedicated AA unit. With 4 str7 ap4 shots, you will be pouring shots downrange extremely quickly. Problem is you have to stay still to fire both because you are not a fast vehicle.

Two Long Barreled Burst Cannons:

Now this turns your Hammerhead into a veritable horde killer. It throws down 12 str5 shots across the board. But again, you can’t move. I would use this if I knew I was playing Orks. But it is mostly outclassed by Broadsides

Two Fusion Cannons:

These used to be cool, but now you can only move and fire one. Because they are basically Fusion Guns but with blasts, you cant even fire both. And because of its short range, you want to move. These really are a pass.

Two Plasma Cannons:

Great Infantry killers or Monstrous Creature killers. You really don’t need to move this guy because of its long range. Putting out 4 str7 ap2 shots means you can put the hurt on Riptides easily. But make sure you set up in a decent position.

So, there you go, one of the coolest tau units you can have. Yeah they may be under utilized, but they can be fun and are pretty decent when used right IMO. Go have fun with them. And remember to share your comments below. As always Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off, every day.


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.

8 Responses to “Tau Empire: Heavy Support: TX7 Hammerhead Gunship”

  1. Vankraken October 16, 2016 8:57 am #

    The way I end up using them is with the Ion Cannnon, SMS, Dpod, Blacksun, and sometimes the sensor spines. Park it in some ruins on a flank and become a high cover save Ion Turret with a nice cover save (2+ save with Conq of Cities). Large Blasts with AP3 is nice to have (only Riptides compete with this role) and creative use of its turret can let it fire over LoS blocking while still being extremely obscured (park behind the wall and have the turret sticking over). What’s also useful about the tank is the ability to get up and go from point A to point B when it’s either shaken/jinked or when it needs to get to an objective that your slower suits aren’t quite as good at reaching or safely crossing open terrain. The Hunter Cadre/Contengent are great for Ionheads who tend to serve as Fire support for other units and tend to drain markerlights without the sharing ability.

    All that said they are not great units and the points are better spent on Crisis, Riptides, or Broadsides. Tanks in general suffer in 7th and it’s primary weapon the Railgun is extremely dated (give it more shots, a D3 wound shell, and/or better vehicle penetration with Lance or Armorbane)

    • WestRider October 16, 2016 9:36 am #

      I find it kind of amusing that the classic Real World Hull Down tactic is described for 40K as “creative” because so many 40K tanks are built in styles that were abandoned after WWI because they couldn’t fight Hull Down, and were thus too easily destroyed.

  2. Ken October 16, 2016 2:17 pm #

    The fate of the Hammerhead is a great disappointment. I love them, and used to routinely run a pair in all my lists since 4th Ed. I stopped when I discovered that my opponents were invariably ignoring them – “it’s not a serious threat”. This is particularly evident once you crunch the numbers. A rail-Hammerhead will take 3-4 turns to kill a 35pt Rhino or Drop Pod. It will take 6-7 turns to kill an MC like a Trygon, assuming the Hammerhead has BS10 and the Trygon just sits there in the open waiting to be shot. In the current meta of high cover/invul saves, MCs and grav, the Hammerhead is hopelessly outclassed.

    This was completely avoidable. Really all that needed to happen was a simple change – make the Hammerhead railgun Str D. A tank with a single Str D shot, costed around 150pts. On average it’s going to do 2HP damage, so it’s not going to dominate the tabletop, yet it would fill the long range anti-tank gap the Tau have, and it is very much in keeping with established Tau fluff.

    It’s certainly a better fit fluff-wise than the Riptide, or worse that abomination the Stormsurge, and I’d argue even better business wise – instead of selling one Stormsurge you sell 3 Hammerheads.

    As it stands, there is no point at all to fielding Hammerheads in 7th Ed. A terrible fate for a very stylish and iconic tank.

  3. Anggul October 17, 2016 12:20 pm #

    Poor hammerheads.

    Such is the current state of all of the iconic battle tanks though. Hammerheads, Leman Russes, Falcons, Fire Prisms, Predators and probably more I’m forgetting.

    All vehicles should be able to fire all weapons at full BS at combat speed, that’s what tanks do!

    Also they need to overhaul how armour penetration and damage work. As it is there’s rarely any point in single-shot powerful weapons, better to fire loads of shots to destroy via hull points. In the lore and in real life if a tank’s hull is breached that tank is almost certainly a goner. Those things are filled with fuel and ammunition, and even if those somehow aren’t hit you’ve killed the crew.

    Perhaps make it so you need the big powerful guns to breach armour so you can’t just S6 everything to death, but if you do penetrate you almost certainly blow up the vehicle. In exchange weapons like lascannons and railguns can be more expensive, but are your only way of reliably destroying vehicles.

    Also give rail weapons sunder. They’re meant to be good against vehicles.

    • Ken October 17, 2016 9:44 pm #

      Armourbane and maybe an additional +1 on the damage chart (so explodes on a 4+) would be useful, however the problem isn’t really vehicles – it’s how much more resilient MC’s are compared to tanks.

      If a tank takes a penetrating hit it will be of reduced usefulness next turn, even if only Shaken. An MC will absorb the wound and continue to function at 100% efficiency right up until it loses that very last wound.

      Perhaps a good fix, if not Str D for the Hammerhead, would be for the railgun to gain Armourbane and Instant Death?

      • Anggul October 17, 2016 10:18 pm #

        I would argue that it isn’t MCs that are too strong, but vehicles that are too weak. If MCs were nerfed into the ground I don’t think you would see a sudden rise in vehicles, I think you would just see more infantry, bikes and beasts.

  4. Alexander October 18, 2016 12:42 pm #

    I don’t find the hammerheads very good in this meta great artical tho.
    The only reason I’d find myself using them is for the AP3 large blast with ignores cover this can be godly against battle componys or ravenwing knights

  5. MagicJuggler October 21, 2016 4:33 am #

    I could see the Ionhead being a thing in the Armored Interdiction Cadre. Flat rerolling to-hit means rerolling to scatter/gets hot, while being able to combine fire means being able to be used as a “multiblast” for those occasions when you really need a target to die. You’re basically getting a discount Leman Russ that has the option to either be a slightly weaker Exterminator (one shot less but AP 3), or a standard pieplate. You get the option of the firepower advantages of a squadron, without having to actually squadron up. Considering you’re paying 65 points less for the Ionhead compared to a Iontide, that seems reasonable enough.

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