Tau Rules Clarification / Public Service Announcement

I have been reading a lot of the Tau tactica threads, totally not during work hours of course, and I decided to do a bit of detective work and put together a comprehensive list of which systems work for Overwatch/Interceptor, and which ones don’t. One of my favorite things about the Tau book is how specific the special rules are; for example, many of the shooting buffs specify that they only work in the shooting phase. Bam, no FAQ necessary! Well, almost… I’ll get to that in a minute.

A lot of the support/signature systems and other rules only work in your shooting phase, so they won’t help on Overwatch (which obviously occurs in the assault phase) or Interceptor shots (in the enemy movement phase).

  • Command and Control Node and the Multi-spectrum Sensor Suite both specify that they only work in the shooting phase (so no benefits if firing via Interceptor), and also notes that they don’t work on Overwatch.
  • Multi-trackers only allow you to shoot a second weapon in the shooting phase, so not with Overwatch/Interceptor.
  • Advanced Targeting Systems only work in the shooting phase, so no precision sniping with Overwatch or Interceptor.
  • Darkstrider’s Structural Analyzer cannot be used when firing snapshots, so no Overwatch.
  • Shadowsun’s Command-link Drone only works in the shooting phase, so no Overwatch or Interceptor functionality.
  • Cadre Fireblade’s Volley Fire only works in the shooting phase, so no extra shots during Overwatch.

When taken together, this means Tau Overwatch firepower is much weaker than most people think. The Farsight blob with 7 bodyguards can drop in and blast a few units into oblivion via target locks, but they can’t fire all of their guns with re-rolls to hit and ignore cover saves during Overwatch. Thank the good lord for that.

On the flipside, Ethereal Elemental Powers, Pulse Accelerators, Blacksun Filters, Target Locks, Puretide Neurochip, Drone Controller, Early Warning Override and Velocity Tracker function for all shooting attacks regardless of when the shots are happening.

This leads me to one potential FAQ question: Can a model use a Target Lock to fire at a separate target during Overwatch?

This could be a huge loophole. Imagine you have Broadsides sitting within 6″ of a Fire Warrior Squad that is being charged. The Fire Warriors declare Overwatch and the Broadsides also get to shoot via Supporting Fire, but the ones in the squad with Target Locks decide to take free potshots at some enemy tanks instead. That’s probably not how it’s supposed to work…

26 comments on “Tau Rules Clarification / Public Service Announcement

  1. That loop hole is a beauty. You gotta believe that it well be FAQ’ed/errata’ed, though.

    I appreciate the summary. It should be distributed at all tournaments to prevent tau shenanigans

  2. Under the overwatch rules (page 21 — left column – 3rd paragraph) – “An Overwatch attack is resolved like a normal shooting attack (albeit one resolved in the enemy’s Assault phase) and uses all the normal rules for range, line of sight, cover saves and so on.”

    I think too much is being read into this. So a normal shooting attack would allow extra shots from the Fire Cadre. You could fire 2 weapons by using Multi-trackers.

    Although it will probably be answered in a FAQ’d, I think the reasonable thinking is a unit cannot use Target Lock to fire at a different unit than the one charging.

    • A normal shooting attack ‘in your shooting phase’ is different than both Overwatch and Intercepter shooting attacks. It is specific and in plain English. So no extra weapons or shots just as Dan pointed out. Also it should be noted this also applies to all monstrous creatures.

  3. Given that (as you note yourself) some items specifically exclude working on Overwatch and Snap Shots (why would they do that if “only in the Shooting Phase” covered it anyway?), I think it’s possible to read too much into the “…in the Shooting Phase” phrase. After all, firing on Overwatch itself works “exactly like firing in the Shooting Phase”!

    I think it will need a FAQ to be clear, though, as I understand why some would disagree with me. I also think that the Target Lock loophole is obviously unintentional (the Broadside example you give is but one of many reasons why), and that will undoubtedly be errata’d out ASAP.

    • The actual wording for Overwatch is “….like a shooting attack.” not phase so yes the multi-tracker does not work for Overwatch.

    • Yes, if you want to cheat its possible to decide to totally ignore basically an entire sentence upon which the rule hinges on… If you want to cheat/purposefully misread the rules.
      But then in that case why bother with the rules at all, you may as well just make up your own house rules and see how many people are willing to play you.

  4. Actually it says NORMAL shooting attack but RESOLVED in the assault phase. They want you to fire overwatch as if it was the shooting phase. The only difference you do it in the assault phase and you must use snap fire. All other rules apply. Since the Multi-tracker works in the shooting phase it will also work on overwatch. Also the extra shots from the Fireblade will work.

    It is simple. Trying to deny a Tau player a few extra Multi-tracker shots and 1 unit of firewarriors the extra shots from the Fireblade is petty rules lawyering.

    • Why would they bother specifying it only functions in the shooting phase if it works in the assault/movement phases as well?

      You could easily argue that a “normal” shooting attack would be with one gun, and multi trackers in the shooting phase give you a “special” attack with both guns.

      Side note: I’m just as likely to play my Tau army as play against them, so it’s not me being petty. Just reading and applying the rules as I honestly interpret them.

      • Agreed ‘in the shooting phase’ is pretty straight forward. There is no basis to arguments against it. Statements like this and
        ‘can also be used during Overwatch’ are used to outline the situations where you benefit from these rules / bonuses.

  5. The same issue came up with Witchfire. It says only in the shooting phase, but Overwatch resolved a ‘normal’ shooting attack.
    The FAQ makes it clear that witchfire does not work in overwatch; so it would seem the same logic would apply to any Tau systems that only work in the shooting phase.

  6. So would you allow an MC to fire two weapons in over watch?

  7. Multitracker: a model equipped with multitracker can fire an additional weapon in each shooting phase.
    monstrous creature: …..can fire up to two of their weapons each shooting phase

    I fail to see the difference.

    overwatch is a shooting attack resolved in other players assault phase, the restrictions I.e only snap fire and only one overwatch are clearly stated.

  8. How about Counterfire defence system + drone controller? Do this combo give my drones BS2 during overwatch?

  9. […] Tau Rules Clarification / Public Service Announcement […]

  10. On page 51 of the rulebook, under the restrictions for multiple weapons – “Unless otherwise stated, if a model has more than one shooting weapon, he must choose which one to shoot – he cannot fire more than one in the same Shooting phase.”

    If we are taking shooting phase to exclude overwatch, there are no restrictions on firing more than one weapon during overwatch.

    It definitely needs to be FAQed, but I’m guessing the intention to be that wargear and abilities that mention the shooting phase also include overwatch unless specifically stated otherwise.

  11. Some of this is wrong. You can still fire both weapons with interceptor because the multi-tracker has nothing to do with it. Each weapon has interceptor when you have early warning. Each interceptor lets you fire one weapon for each instance. It’s not during the shooting phase and does not need to be.

  12. Page 51 brb ” unless otherwise stated, if a model has more than 1 shooting weapon, he must choose which one to shoot- he can not shoot both in the same SHOOTING PHASE”

    This is the only restriction for shooting only 1 weapon, and as can clearly be seen, it is limited to the shooting phase.

    So on to “unless otherwise stated”

    Page 48 brb. Monstrous creatures can fire up to 2 of their weapons each shooting phase…”

    Tau multitracker ” a model with a multitracker can fire an additional weapon in each shooting phase”

    Is overwatch a shooting phase?

    If yes, then the above rules apply.

    If no, then the restriction to firing only 1 weapon does not apply.

    Either way MC’s and models with multitrackers can fire 2 weapons.

  13. Reblogged this on Cadian 501st and commented:
    This helps to clear up a lot of misunderstandings I had about the abilities of Tau.

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