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The Skyray, a more misunderstood, under estimated and plain discriminated unit does not exist in 40K.
I am actually astounded at the level of ignorance surrounding the use and usefulness of this unit.
The main point that tends to get thrown into the mix is that the "Skyray" is not "a tank" well yeah and the point is what?. Lets get something straight from the get going, the Skyray is not and never has been a tank, it is an infantry fire support and marker light provision vehicle, just because it uses a hevay slot does not mean it is a tank.
So given the fact that it is not a tank we have to look at the Skyray in a totally different way to the way we view a tank.
So what does it do then, well the Skyrays main function is as a mobile markerlight platform and this should not be underestimated. To get the most out of this mobility and the markerlights it carries we need to equip it accordingly.
Best fit is
Burst cannons for cheapness (you should aim to never use these)
Targeting array for BS4
multi tracker to allow full 12" of movement and still fire the markerlights (absolutely vital)
Decoys to add to survivability.
The multi and TA are the most important additions, the Skyray has a maximum movement rate of 12" when added to the Markerlights range this means an effective 360 degree of table coverage out to 48", now there are not many units that will be able to avoid being markerlit by a Skyray and this is a massive advantage.
When your opponent realises how much of an area the Skyray can cover with its markers believe me it will make him/her think twice about where to move those valuable units, this can be used to good effect to effectively deny parts of the table. When coupled to the Hammerheads massive gun range the mobility offered by the Skyray really comes into its own.
The other benefit is rapid response to changing tactical scenarios, the Skyray can get to most parts of the field quickly to provide marker support to a unit and this can make all the difference to for instance a FW unit in danger of being assaulted (24 shots at BS5 makes a bigger impact than the equivilent at BS3), often other ML units will be out of range and unable to help, Skyrays do not suffer from this restriction.
Things like Basilisks can be taken out by a seeker from the Skyray from 36" away, deploy the Skyray 12" into the field, move 12" and with the range of the ML you are looking at 1st turn kills on Bassies out to 60" (it is very rare for all the Basilisk to be totally in cover).
The maneuverability is the beauty of the Skyray, its ability to make sure the opponent has very little chance of avoiding a ML on his valuable units cannot be underestimated.
Also its markerlights are totally immune to weapon destroyed results, this is a real bonus.
another point is the Skyray makes other markerlight toting units more viable, the fact is that you have a vehicle that can ML two separate units a turn, this means that the Skyray is brilliantly placed to provide ML support for Hammerheads which leaves the other ML units more able to support other units like Fire Warriors.
If you take a unit of Pathfinders and a Skyray you can markelight 3 separate units a turn, with a TL in the pathfinder squad you can ML 4 units a turn, to do this without the Skyray you need to either:
Take 2 Pathfinder squads, which is expensive and they lack mobility.
Take 3 Fire Warrior squads with markerlights or drones and again this is expensive, lack mobility and if drones are taken the cost goes through the roof.
Stealths with ML, TL and 2 ML drones, yeah right hideously expensive and again lack mobility (though the stealth field is a slight benefit)
3 Sniper drone units, well Ok but the snipers BS suffers if the ML is used for other units.
Unless a target lock is taken then a Pathfinder squad can only mark 1 enemy unit and the same applies to most other units that can take markerlights, unless a target lock is taken (along with its expense). this means that to markerlight for more 3 separate units a turn means taking a PF squad with target lock and one of the other squad types, but why when you can get the Skyray
A Skyray costs 155pts (optimal) and for this you get two mobile markerlights able to fire at two separate targets, 6 Seeker missiles and two Burst cannons, this works out at 60pts for seekers and 10 pts for the BC's so that leaves 85pts / 2 = 42pts per markerlight, compare this to
Stealth squad with TL with 2 markerlight drones and markerlight with TL and BS filters for all others (for cheapness) works out at 275 pts, thats 47.5 pts per ML (taking away base stealth team cost of 180pts) with reduced mobility and 5 wasted stealth suits.
Fire Warrior squads, with Shas'Ui with markerlights and TL and 5 FW = 85pts, cheap enough until you realise you need two to equal the Skyray and you get no mobility, so 170pts for two BS3 markerlights compared to 155 for the Skyray (oh and you get 6 pulse shots with the Skyray as well, same as the FW squad)
The sniper squad is in my opinion not a valid markerlight unit as to use the ML means as reduction in efficiency of the sniper drones.
So taking a Skyray is indeed a very cost effective way of providing extra markerlight support and allows a pathfinder squad (especially with Shas'Ui with a target lock) to provide three units a turn with ML support (4 if TL is taken in PF squad).
All the above non skyray squads have inherent drawbacks, Fire Warrior are expensive, have poor BS and limit mobility and can only mark one unit, stealths suffer from the same set backs, ML drones are hideously expensive and hinder mobility.
Sniper drones are Ok but if you use the ML to provide aid to another unit the snipers BS suffers.
Pathfinders do suffer from lack of mobility but at least have lots of markerlights and ablative wounds plus a Devilfish if needed (which can be used as a separate tank as well)
The Skyray is often seen as somehow depleting a list of firepower by virtue of filling a heavy slot that can be used by Hammerheads or XV88's, well I do not agree with this, the Skyray has 6 STR8 missiles now how can that be seen as underpowered.
It can fire its own missiles at two separate units a turn and even if it is stunned/shaken it can still launch seekers in response to other units markerlight hits.
When you consider that many vehicles only get 1 main weapon shot a turn for 6 turns then 6 seekers should not be considered a bad deal when you add in the markerlight role as well.
The other thing to consider is that the Skyray is actually helping the remaining Hammerheads to perform at a higher level and the hit rate is actually comparable to 3 Hammerheads at BS4, this equals 1.66 hits a turn compared to 1.9 hits per turn for 3 BS4 Hammerheads, which equals 9.9 hits a game for the 2 BS5 Hammerheads and 11.9 for 3 BS4 Hammerheads, the 3 hammerheads do slightly better but then you have to factor in the 6 seekers of the Skyray.
So really the loss of firepower is hardly a justification to not take the Skyray when you factor in the additional benefits of the Skyray.
Obviously the Skyray can be destroyed but then again so can that extra Hammerhead and it takes as much to destroy a Skyray as it does a Hammerhead.
In 1500pt or 2000pt games I firmly believe that a Skyray and Pathfinder squad make a very effective markerlight contingent and the Skyray enhances both the Pathfinders and Hammerheads in a list.
I am simply saying stop looking at the Skyray in such a blinkered fashion, take a bit of time, consider and study its unique capabilities, you may well be pleasantly surprised.
Decent overveiw, i think skyrays are brilliant in fact when i look into it i based part of my own list around this one vehicle,
The two marker lights on the skyray i use to boost my 2 hammerheads bs, that left my with 6 seekers, so i add a pathfinder squad with attached warfish to use the seekers, these group of units cost just over 700pts though i find it is a very efficient way to use the heavy support units in the tau army.
BEN DIESEL FTW!!!
I think the main reason that the Skyray is overlooked, like some other units in the game, is the player's perception of power. Too many players under-utilize the full tactical value of a unit. They try to put aside brain power and get by on "Codex Power".
"It takes a vast amount of self control to be this dangerous."
---Ogvai Ogvai Helmshrot, Jarl of Tra, VI Legion Astartes
~ Ravenscraig ~
Tau are an army that relies on co-operation and close support between units and the Skyray is the prime example of this, it is effective enough as a missile delivery system in its own right (note I did not say tank) but shines as a support unit to increase the effectiveness of other units.
I don't see a cost break down for the pathfinders. If I use the same method you did the pathfinders MLs are 12 points each, and there are eight of them, now that's cheap. But I do agree though that there isn't another unit out there that should be toting MLs around.
The skyray isn't specialized enough, what I mean is it has two roles, one to fire seekers and the other is to boost BS of other units and that can't happen at the same time. I liken it to having an XV8 with a flamer and a missile pods, they don't compliment each other something is going to waste. I feel the skyray falls into the same category.
The Skyray is not a tank.
Even if it is taken on its own it is entirely feasable to expend its seekers and still provide ML cover for units.
If any player was stupid enough to take a Skyray and waste its seekers then maybe another game would be in order
Like I expalined you are not actually sacrificing that much (if we are talking HH here), it is also not to early to evaluate it, as Oni pointed out in a PM to me enough time has passed to have a good idea how well any new unit in the codex performs, I use the Skyray (not as a tank but as I advise in this thread) and it is probably one of the most useful units in my list, I never thought I would lose a HH but its happened.
See I am curious Riki, but I have tetra for mobile marker lights, not saying they are the best tactical choice but liked the fast skimmer calling in missile strike, the the question then beomes do I distribute seekers amongst my other vehicles or do I take the skyray as a job lot (but run the risk of spilling them all to 1 shot?
Also if I did the skyray as a repository of Seekers I am then think SMS, allowing my Skyray to stay out of line of sight if at all possible for the early parts of the game as the tetra call in missile strikes and it fends off stuff with the SMS, thoughts?
Everything you have been told is a lie!
A tank is an armoured combat vehicle. In conventional terms, the word "tracked" can be added to that definition, but since Tau tanks fly it's irrelevant.
Basically, everything from Razorbacks to Dreadnoughts to Wave Serpents is classified as a tank. If it's armoured, a vehicle, and has a gun, it is a tank. You can distinguish a jeep from a tank by the fact that the jeep isn't armoured; you can distinguish a ATV from a tank because the ATV doesn't have a gun. The Skyray is an armed and armoured vehicle => it's a tank.
If it had no guns or seeker missiles, and its only function was, say, radar or markerlights, then yes, it's not a tank. But it has six S8 missiles on board. That is the definition of "armed", I'd say.
Now onto the point of it being useful: I understand that you like it and its uses, but personally, whenever my resident Tau force played the markerlight card, I steamrolled him. Now he just takes railguns and tries to hammer the crap out of me; it's simpler and it works. You can use Skyrays as you describe, and I am sure it works very well - it must be how they were intended to be used. But it's conditional, indirect and a lot of players are just going to say "Why not a Hammerhead?"
I applaud your ability to read into tactical situations. This is really some insightful stuff; like I said, a lot of Tau players I know would be too one-track-minded to pick up on the subtler uses of the Skyray.
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