9E Tau Codex Review: Troops: Strike Teams

Today we look at the main troop unit of the Tau army, Strike Teams. Click to read on, or check out the Tactics Corner for more reviews and strategies.

Overview

Strike Teams are the basic unit of troops for a Tau Empire army. They move 6″, which is standard for an infantry unit, and have weapon skill 5+ and ballistic skill 4+, both common to virtually all Tau units. Strength and toughness three are both on the low end of the scale, but 4+ armor compensates somewhat for the latter. One attack and leadership six round out their statline. One member of the squad can be upgraded to a Shas’ui, gaining an additional attack and leadership at no cost. Squads can be from five to ten models strong, and cost 9pts per model.

Special Rules and Wargear

Like most Tau units, Strike Teams benefit from the For the Greater Good rule, allowing them to fire overwatch for nearby units. They also have the Bonding Knife Ritual rule, which means a result of ‘6’ on a morale test passes automatically.

Each member of the squad is equipped with a Pulse Rifle (30″ S5 AP0 Dmg1 Rapid Fire 1) and Photon Grenades (d6 shots, any hits inflict -1 on hit rolls for the rest of the turn). Any member of the Team can exchange their rifle for a Pulse Carbine (18″ S5 AP0 Assault 2), although you probably should not do so. They also can take a Pulse Pistol (12″ S5 AP0 Pistol 1) for free, which you might as well. The Shas’ui can purchase a Markerlight for 5pts, which is can be a reasonable upgrade at times but probably is not worth it for general use.

The squad can be accompanied by up to two drones, which follow the usual rules- one of these drones can also be a Guardian Drone, which grants the unit a 6+ invulnerable save as long as it remains within 3″. Although Breachers benefit from it more, it is still a reasonable choice for Strike Teams.

The unit can also purchase a Support Turret, armed with either a Missile Pod (36″ S7 AP1 DmgD3 Assault 2) or Smart Missile System (30″ S5 AP0 Heavy 4 ignores cover/LOS). Unlike other models in the squad, the turret is not deployed with them but can be called down at the end of any movement phase and arrive in coherency, being destroyed if the unit ever leaves coherency with it. It is otherwise treated as a normal model in the squad and has the same profile as them, albeit with no ability to move.

Uses

Being the default troop choice of the Tau codex, Strike Squads are unfortunately not well-positioned in 9th Edition. Their guns, previously a decent all-rounder weapon for dealing with enemy infantry and plinking wounds off vehicles, are now all but worthless against Primaris Marines and their profile has easily been surpassed by the weapons available to other factions.

The Strike Team does not serve much of a role in the context of the Tau army, because it lacks both the ability to deliver effective firepower as well as the ability to effectively hold objectives. While they do have a range advantage over their in-faction counterparts, this is largely meaningless since they cannot expose themselves to shoot without risking immediate destruction and they are unlikely to do any meaningful damage in any case- AP0 shots against targets in cover, especially low numbers of them with weak ballistic skill, simply are not relevant. You would need almost four full-strength Strike Teams to kill a single Primaris Marine at long range- or, in other words, almost one-fifth of your army.

Of course, they do become more dangerous at closer ranges, but once you get within 15″ where this is the case, Breacher Teams suddenly look a lot more appealing. If you have a unit sitting in the backfield, it might theoretically be better as Strike than Breacher, but that equation changes abruptly as soon as any nontrivial threat from your opponent lands in your backfield.

Final Thoughts

There is virtually no reason to choose Strikes over Breachers right now- and considering the two units are otherwise identical in statlines and cost, this bodes poorly for Strikes. Unless some drastic changes are made to their points cost or weapon profiles, they are unlikely to have much of a place in games of 9th Edition, because they are exceptionally ill-suited to the way the missions want to be played.

As always, remember you can get your wargaming supplies at great discounts every day from the Frontline Gaming store, whether you’re looking to start a new army or expand an existing one.

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About abusepuppy

AbusePuppy is the one who has been ruining 40K for everyone this whole time. He is also searching for the six-fingered man and is one of the three people who know the secret recipe for coke (not the soda, the illegal drug.)

5 Responses to “9E Tau Codex Review: Troops: Strike Teams”

  1. Avatar
    AnonAmbientLight June 2, 2021 6:56 am #

    Just like with other things in the T’au Codex, Strikes need just a litttttttle bit more in order to make them really shine on the tabletop.

    I really enjoyed how multiple units within the Codex can buff others. Like how Strikes can benefit from, Ethereals, Fireblades, Drone Support, Markerlights, etc, and I am hoping that the new codex expands upon that idea.

    It would make army compositions more diverse, and more fun just in general.

  2. Avatar
    kaixaukyr June 2, 2021 7:24 am #

    the profusion of aura interactions in the army is the basic problem with the army because it drives castling and static play

    we need to go away from that model not towards it in 9e. we need more targeted longer range interactions and more unit autonomy. another reason Breachers >> Strikes right now is they don’t need Fireblade buffs they can just go in

  3. Avatar
    Dakkath June 2, 2021 11:03 pm #

    Man, I remember when the pulse rifle was the best basic infantry weapon in the game.

    • Avatar
      AbusePuppy June 7, 2021 10:57 am #

      Yeah it looks really, really sad now compared to Bolt Rifles, Gauss Flayers. Seeing the upgrades to the AdMech weapons is especially galling, since Rangers are cheaper, have better AP, have better BS, and are cheaper with more survivability. There is essentially no situation in which a Strike Squad is better than Rangers.

      • Avatar
        Rathstar June 14, 2021 3:18 am #

        Although I disagree slightly and think both Strike Teams and Breachers are poor at the moment, its great to see you writing more Tau articles.

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