Harwood's Guides: Warhammer 40,000

A gentle shove in the right direction.

The Tau Empire

The Tau are the new kids on the block. They're supposedly 'neutral', but all that really means is asking to negotiate before absolutely ruining you in the name of what they call 'The Greater Good'.

A little bit of history...

The story of the Tau is one of good feels. It starts when an Imperium ship that was checking out places stopped on the planet T'au (original, right?) and found a race of alien cavemen. They were using fire, and basic tools. So, the ship returned, and let their bosses know that it was fine to glass the planet.

Fortunately for the Tau, there was a huge battle going on in the Imperium, huge warp storms, etc., so we didn't get to annihilating the planet in the name of the Emperor. While we were away, the Tau were working on their smarts.

The Tau Empire is divided into four real castes: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water. There are also the Ethereals, but I'm getting there. Anyway, this came from when they were cavemen and some of them went to the river, some went to mountains, some went to valleys, and some stayed on the plains. Of course, they all developed skills, and started fighting, and then.... do I really need to tell the whole story? I mean, this is about as cliche as you can get. Really? Fine. When they started fighting, the Tau entered a dark age. Just when they were on the brink-Hooray! The Ethereals showed up, and told them to get their heads out of each other's asses. They went on to work together using TEAMWORK! YAAAAAY!

Anyways, the Air caste became the flyers, the Fire caste were warriors, the Earth caste were builders, and the Water caste drove the vehicles. The ethereals ruled, because they weren't idiots. Oh, and they stopped being cavemen really, really fast. They advanced so quickly, that in 2000 years, they evolved to where they are today, which is past humans. Their race is weak, but their technology is stron- SON OF A GUN! What's that, more cliches? Jesus...

In any case, they fight for the Greater Good, whatever that means. Basically, they're the first alien race we've met that doesn't want to slit our throats. They'll fight, but half the time, they're on humanity's side, killing Tyranids or something. In fact, the reason they are called the Tau EMPIRE is because they have gotten a few races to actually join them. Who knows, maybe they'll get powerful enough that the Imperium will answer to them...but I doubt it.

In reality...

The Tau are interesting. Overall, they shouldn't really be a bad army. In fact, they really should be pretty powerful. However, there are a couple key things that really screw the army over. First, they haven't had a recent codex since 4th Edition, which leaves them with pretty few units, and haven't had some things changed that really need it. Secondly, the Fire Warriors, basic troops, only have a Ballistics Skill of 3, making them equivalent to Guardsmen, despite their good weapon profile and expensive cost. Finally, the kroot, their nearly sole melee unit, are nothing special in combat, making them a silly point sink. Their railguns are awesome, however, and can certainly turn an battle around. They can still be used effectively, but once they get a new Codex they will really shine.