Monday, 5 May 2014

10 Games in 10 Weeks & Tau Reinforcements

With those immortals words:

"List is fine.  See you there"

I move into the final preparations for my upcoming tournament in 2 weeks which is the first of 3 over a 10 week period.  Due to a busy work and hectic family life I don't normally get as many 40k games in as I would like so tournaments give me a chance to get in a few games in a short space of time.

These tournaments will be a good for a new heavy support make-up of my Tau army I've been considering and painting towards over the last few months.  Now all the three tournaments I'm attending are comped in simular but different ways, all three have limits on the amount of flyers and flying monstrous creatures (FMCs), which has allowed me to try dropping the Skyray I always put in my force to try out a new unit, which gels well with the Ethereal I use...

Sniper Drone Teams

[My new Sniper Drone Team, with converted Firesight Marksmen]

I think sniper drones are forced out of lists because they compete in the Heavy slot with Broadsides, Skyrays & Hammerheads, however on paper they look quite good.  In my case knowing I couldn't face 4 helldrakes, and in the 1250 games the limit was only 2 flyers or FMCs I thought I could do without the Skyray, with it's skyfiring markerlights and great alpha strike ability with 6 seeker missiles, to have a unit with more consistant firepower over a game (with a nasty, Ethereal boosted, short range punch).

The Sniper drones are T4, 4+ save with BS5 thanks to a Firesight Marksmen.  The Marksmen also carry (BS5) markerlights.  The drones themselves carry 48" range rapid fire sniper rifles.  Being jetpack they can move and fire the Heavy sniper rifles, and get 2 shots at 24" range.  This can be boosted to 3 shots at 24" with the Ethereal's Storm of Fire innvocation as the sniper rifles are Longshot Pulse rifles listed under the Pulse Weapons entry of the wargear.

The Sniper drones form a great protection unit for the Ethereal, being deployed close to the fire warrior infantry but not too close to the front line, plus having Stealth and being troop units which is required to hold objectives helps (previously I used to put the Ethereal with a kroot unit in cover).

On paper the Sniper drones at 24" with the Storm of Fire innvocation should do 4-5 wounds to a Wraithknight, and if you ever wanted a Wraithknight dead in a turn a unit supported by a buff commander with a Puretide Chip to give the unit Monster Hunter would drop a Wraithknight in a turn with ease.

Field Testing

Theory hammer is all well and good, but how have my new Sniper Drones performed for me.  So far I've been able to use them in 3 games.

How I've tried to use the sniper drones is as a safer place for the Ethereal to hide, and as a 3rd layer to my advancing infantry line.  I've finding that if an opponent can take of advantage of my Tau armies, reltively, short range I would use the first two turns moving and running the army to pin the enemy in place.  Markerlights on the crisis suits and use of the Etherreal's Innvocation to run and snap fire allowing a few shots to be ccurate on the advance.

The first layer of the infantry is 2 units of 10 kroot, followed by 2 units of fire warriors.  The ideal goal of the infantry is to advance to rapid fire range, and hopefully get the kroot with 12", the fire warriors within 15" and the sniper drones within 24" while the Ethereal does his Storm of Fire ability to give all the units 2 shots each.  Due to the number of models this has never happened with some models always out of range, but the even with this the firepower can be devastating.

So enough with more theory hammering, what has actually happened in my games:

1st Game (1750 pts) Against Nids: This was the Geekend game.  The Ethereal joined the unit and he was safely tucked in the 2nd floor of a building while the rest of the unit was outside.  A Mawloc popping up killed a few while a biovore scatter also killed some.  However the remaing 6 drones throwing 18 shots into the mawloc scared it, plus the markerlight hits from a remaining marksman and the Ethereal's 2 markerdrones allowed the nearby broadsides to put a few more wounds on the mawloc.  Overwatch fire on the mawloc bought the beast down to 1 wound, so although the mawloc was able to charge and eventually kill the unit the sniper drones showed their potential.

2nd Game (2000 pts) Against Eldar:  With the diagonal deployment, a large LOS blocking terrain piece in the middle of the board, and by reserving some units the Eldar Army.  The first two turns was mainly spent mainly running.  The only initial damage was done by the crisis suit which downed a wave serpent.  Turn 2 a heavy outflanking and reserve force game into play.  They mauled one broadside unt leaving 2 broadsides, and killed a broadside and 4 drones from the other unit.  However the sniper drones (who had been getting poor difficult terrain and run rolls) were left untouched.  The moved 6" to get in half range of a wraithknight that had come in from reserve and tried to one-shot a riptide, and took 4 wounds from it, allowing the riptide with ion accelerator & ripple firing fusion guns to finish it off.  The Ethereal's Storm of Fire also allowed a kroot unit and fire warrior unit to increase their shots against warp spiders and jetbikes killing both units along with the help of another rapid firing kroot unit.  Overall an excellent game for the snipers

3rd Game (1250 pts) Against Dark Eldar:  Another diagonal deployment against a vehiclur heavy army (2 ravagers, 4 venoms in 1250 pts).  A enemy Talos was with 30" of the majority of the sniper drone team on turn 1, so I move 6" forwards, Ethereal popped Strom of Fire and the 9 drones (6 in rapid fire range) got 21 hitting on 2's, wounding on 4's with rending and dropped the Talos in a turn.  Next turn they got lucky and wreaked a venom

So far the Sniper drones have been doing well, and I look forward to seeing how they perform over the 3 upcoming tournaments.

Have you been tempted to try out Sniper drones ?  Have you played with or against them, and what did you think of them ?


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