Tau Photon Cannon
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The Tau, as ever before, constantly seek to push the boundaries of their technological achievements onward, and nowhere is this more evident than on the field of battle. Fire Warriors seem to wield newer and deadlier weapons against their foes with alarming frequency, and unless something is done to curtail their ingenuity soon, the Tau Empire may quickly evolve beyond the Imperium's ability to stop them.
The latest weapon to be used against the armies of the Emperor has been classified as a Photon Cannon by the Adeptus Mechanicus (who, it must be admitted, are eager to capture one and examine its construction). Wielded by the elite jump-capable Battlesuits of the Fire Caste, these heavy cannons are easily capable of tearing through even the heavily-armored hull of a Land Raider without noticeable resistance.
Although the design of these weapons makes them slow and cumbersome to wield, many battlefield Commanders have reported that the Crisis Teams armed with Photon Cannons have even used them in close combat, often to devastating effect. If the Tau continue to design weaponry functional in close quarters as well as at range, then there may be no end to the heights which they may reach.
Tau Photon Cannons are devastating (if mercifully rare) weapons, with the operator often showing an unusual talent for wielding such an ungainly block of polymer compounds, even in the tight press of close combat. Thus far, the difficulty of manufacturing and maintaining such firepower has limited their production and distribution to only a few experienced Battlesuit pilots, but as is the way with the Tau, the number of the Photon Cannon encounters can be expected to rise exponentially in the near future.
Photon Cannons employ a tightly-focused beam of photonic energy, which somehow maintains cohesion for a greater distance than Imperial lasweapons. Once the outer range of the weapon is reached, however, the light particles dissipate extremely rapidly & the photon laser dissolves in a cloud of harmless prismatic light. Although the practical mechanics of the weapon are not yet understood by the Imperial Tech-Priests, the effects of the weapon are all too clear, as the photon laser beam punches through whole ranks of infantry & lightly-armored vehicles & defences, seemingly without resistance. An experienced Fire Warrior can sweep the beam across the front rank of an enemy squad & decimate the whole unit with a single slash of light.
Only Tau Fire Warriors in 'Crisis' Battlesuits, of Shas' Vre rank or higher, may wield a Photon Cannon. Ordinarily, no more than 1-Photon Cannon can be taken in a single army. However, if the army is led by both an Ethereal & a Shas'O Commander, then up to 3-Photon Cannons may be selected, though the Shas'Omust be armed with a Photon Cannon if more than one is selected.
A Photon Cannon costs +50 pts and uses up one Hard Point on a normal 'Crisis' suit. It cannot be twin-linked. The Photon Cannon has the following profile:
Range: 48" Strength: 9 AP: 1 Assault 2/Lance
When the Photon Cannon is fired at a non-vehicle unit, it inflicts 2D6+2 hits, rather than 2 as would normally be the case. This represents the photon beam slashing its way through the armor and bodies of the soldiers. Against vehicles, the Cannon inflicts 2 hits as normal.
In addition to the profile & rules given above, a Photon Cannon-armed model may use it in close combat. The model loses -1 Attack and -1 Initiative, but it strikes at Strength 9 and ignores Armor Saves.