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I think this is an interesting topic and This came up in the other thread and I didn't want to hijack the thread nor go off-topic with it.
I want to post about what I use instead of “sniper squads” and then how I use ravagers. These are the main units I use to pop tanks as well as the stray dark lance shots I use from various empty raiders. I am not saying this is the only way to do it nor am I trying to get everyone to hate sniper squads but if you keep your mind open I hope you find something that you might want to try beyond the conventional anti-armor options we all try. So here we go.
As some of you know I do not like "sniper squads” – in short, they are not DE to me and resemble a marine tactic (hide in cover like a mon-keigh coward and hope you don’t get charged). So what I have replaced the sniper squad with is the other popular setup and that is the large foot-slogging squad with 2 blasters, 2 cannons and a sybarite with an agoniser. This unit, although may still be considered “slow”, is actually quite agile with its fleet move. They do get shot at a lot as it does scare the opponent by their sheer size and believe it or not they do take a lot of punishment even if they do “break” – chances are they can still recover and keep on slogging. In one game, I had them get shot up each turn as they trudged forward and had to take tests each turn as well. In that game the warriors only broke in the 2nd turn but since they were still over ½ they had no problem regrouping and continue onward up the board (shielding the 4 weapon carriers and the sybarite). For me they almost always make it past the halfway point and have always shot at the target I assign to them. Simply, it’s a durable unit that is resilient to enemy fire and can reach any objective I give them.
Now where this unit really shines in armor popping is when I play “Cities of Death” (CoD). I absolutely love the “Sewer Rats” stratagem and it really compliments not only our Army Design but compliments the large warrior slogging squad. On top of that its more reliable than deep-striking and is totally free (since I don’t play wwp at 1500!). Simply figure out how many “manholes” you get and place them according to terrain layout and mission objectives. I like to place them inside terrain on the edge of cover right on the border of a city ruin so when they make their reserve rolls they can either stay in cover or move out of cover. I generally have left them in cover when they emerge and used them to pop out near enemy armor. Having a 14 man or 16 man squad sitting in cover and firing 2 blasters (and 2 cannons if its AV10) is an ideal setup, using the cover save and utilizing cover in case they get charged is nice. They are instantly in range and since you cannot assault the turn coming out of the sewers the “shooty” warrior squad is perfect for this.
The Ravagers role in all my lists is mostly armor popping or at least is the first priority over all before moving on to crowd control. At 1500 points I have dropped the ravager count down to 1 at the most and now I have been playing without them entirely (and not missing them). At 1500 I prefer the "body count" as ravagers are usually a priority #1 target and can easily be lost in the 1st or 2nd turn. If I do run a ravager its almost always has the 1 lance and 2 disintegrator setup (the most flexible setup for me). I don't give it night shields and sometimes give it a horrorfex but usually they are bare bones.
Now at 2000 points in a Kabal I would surely be running 2 large foot squads and almost always be using haemoculi to drop my portals. The strategy is seamless as the Haemoculi run with the warriors taking advantage of their IC status running next to (but not attached) the large meat-shield warrior squad.
The only thing that changes really is that I will use the wwp to hide my ravager(s) – I believe in putting the ravagers out of sight and in reserve and let them enter the game while everyone is running around and out of place. This gives me 2 advantages:
1. I get to have first shot guaranteed – no real chance of losing them to not winning the first move roll.
2. Almost always the enemy is now out from hiding and is either in view, in range and in the open.
This is true for tanks and infantry alike and with a good wwp deploying system that is mildly aggressive I can easily find a high priority target moving 1 to 12” from the portal. This actually worked so well that I now use a 3 Darklance ravager (usually only 1). The ravager just moves within 6” of the portal and gets what I call the “Death or Glory” shot at a prime target. With 3 darklance shots I simply need to “shake” the target to not get shot back but I can usually count on destroying the tank. The 3 darklances also work well against monstrous creatures and super-HQ’s – so for its cheap point cost it’s a wonderful deal that works well with the portal.
So typically at 2000 points the warriors are running up the field and are essentially looking for armor or heading towards it. The Haemys drop the portals and the ravagers pop out of the portal and first deal with armor then crowd control. Usually, crowd control is not an issue with all the choices we have like wyches and lords but I do try to even it out – 3 to 4 good CC units and 3 to 4 (or more) anti-armor units.
I also include “distraction” units to help the warriors and Haemys out and they are usually, Kroot, Reaver Jetbikes, Warpbeast packs, Mandrakes and sometimes a Talos.
Units that I would not count on be a good at popping armor on their own:
Bikes, they make a good distraction and just might make it to an enemy tank but they are fragile do to the low model count and if they miss their one chance to pop a tank they will usually get destroyed immediately afterwards. Great for distraction and if they pop a tank then that’s a bonus. The supplement the anti-armor cause but are not a serious solution.
Talos, simply unpredictable. They do work great in tandem and their best chance to pop a tank is on the charge but the whole rolling to find out how many attacks you get is too random for me. When I take a talos I usually count him as an anti-infantry unit.
Random empty Raiders – although it is quite likely that a stray darklance shot will pop at least one tank in a game I do not “count” on them for being a big part of the solution. However, they usually do venture away from their cargo to try and take out a tank and again it’s a one time “death or glory” shot that if they miss they will surely get shot down. But they do definitely help in some games.
One unit that is simply the best but controversial is the Kroot. For the cost less than a full Mandrake squad (about 23 points) you get an infiltrating squad with strength 4 rifles and a 3 wound squad leader with the best armor-popping weapon in the game – the eviscerator (chainfist). Talk about a cheap distraction with an awesome chance to pop a tank on the first turn! Absolutely wonderful and legal to use. At one time they replaced all my bikes and mandrakes and served as a portal protection/anti-infiltrator/anti-armor unit that was going to infiltrate in both gamma and omega missions – they are the perfect ally that even counted towards your “troop” choices as to not take an important “elite” or “heavy” slot. Only thing controversial about them is they are seen as a “power-gaming” add on and after the “cool” factor is gone and they pop that predator they become most hated. I usually get the “sour grapes” remark that I needed supplement my army with mercenaries to win – gah!
I am curious in how the rest of you "plan" your strategy to pop tanks at different point levels and lists.
My anti-tank strategy really depends on what I am going against:
Monlith/Land-Raider-Crusader: I cannot kill these so I just ignore them as best I can. The first can get "killed" by making the army phase out and the latter is slow and short ranged so if I can trick an opponent to deploy them off to one side I can just avoid it all game. (Note: Yes, I know a S8 Dark Lance can still glance them but the amount of DL shots it would take to do any significant damage isn't worth the effort).
Mid-armor to heavy armor (12+ AV): DLs work well against them. Either from Raiders (I rarely upgrade them to dissies), Ravagers (I usually keep at one DL on them), or Sniper Squads (I know kwi doesn't like them but that is besides the point at the moment).
Low Armor (11 or less): Really depends on the vehicle but usually the same as mid-armor. I occasionally will assault an armor 10 non-skimmer with my wyches or command squad simply because I always give them plasmas since that is a lot of attacks and I only need a 5 to glance.
Back to the subject of sniper squads:
Fluff wise, they make little sense when used in relation to standard Dark Eldar fluff. Thats really a given and also a non-issue unless you prefer fluff/themed armies.
Rules wise, they have two advantages that cannot really be ignored: They are cheap (only 100pts for a 10 man squad and 2 DLs) and they are long range (since they use DLs rather then blasters).
I generally run all three Heavy Support slots (2 Ravagers and a Talos). For me, Sending the ravager with its lone DL after a vehicle just isn't an option most of the time. I'd much rather send it after that Devastator squad or unit of Swooping hawks since they are both worth a fair amount of points and the Ravager can shred them. The Sniper squad functions as a cheap Anti-tank unit for when my other Anti-tank models (Footsloggers with blasters, ravagers, raiders, etc) are going after targets where they can bring more of their weapons to bear and to greater effect.
Also, although a sniper squad can't move and shoot, it is still quite mobile. If you have cleared out their firing lane and the enemy is wisely avoiding it, the sniper squad can quickly re-deploy to a different position. Yes they aren't shooting during that phase, but they weren't going to be shooting anything anyway. In addition, sniper squads provide a good distraction for enemies. One of the Chaos players I play against quite a bit will often specifically target my sniper squad because he knows it will chew up his deep-striking terminators and obliterators. So in this way, my sniper team functions as a rear-guard for the rest of my army which allows me to advance far more aggressively then I would be able to do safely under other conditions.
Your experience is showing here, well thought out tactics derived actual play and minus the usual theoretical mumbo jumbo.
I guess that I use a lot of your techniques but on a more subconscious level that evolves more out of necessity on the battlefield.
The only 2 “anti-armour” solutions that I have tried that are not illustrated by you are –
1. That of giving my large 20 man warrior squads that protects the Haemy/portal combination, 2 Dark Lances.
(The drawbacks to this are the loss of heavy weapons fire when the squad moves forward into position but the pluses are that 2 shots are an acceptable loss when the Lances gain magnificent firing lanes from a forward position.
To me this squad is destined to perish anyway and lances can be given to any warrior squad so its not that I am losing a restricted weapons choice when this squad dies. And I often find that often the classic “sniper squad” that camps in cover becomes ineffective when their LOS from careful deployment becomes ruined when the enemy dares to move in the game and the other 8 splinter rifles are rarely used due to range problems.) I don’t use warriors as assault choices so blasters don’t get much action with my troops.
2. The use of “Ghost Ships,” by this I mean Dark Lanced equipped Raiders that have already had their troops disembark and have little to do apart from a ‘drive by’ single Lance shot whilst darting from behind cover. Here I have had success by having these Ghosts ignored because their troops are much more of a threat than they are and as a consequence they seem almost immune to enemy fire, surviving right to the end of the game even though they are in the enemy deployment zone! The best example of this to date has been an empty Raider sitting right in the middle of 2000pts of Imperial guard, each turn my opponent weighed up the offer to divert a squads fire to destroy it, then decided that something else had a higher priority so ignored it (cast iron will from the Commissar I suppose). This all ended when the stationary Raider received a “Vehicle Explodes” result that injured his own troops more than it did me! (Page 67 BGB.)
I have never used Lances on a Ravager but only disintegrators because of their anti troop power and previously relied upon Blaster/Reavers and Raiders (and sometimes sniper squads) for my anti armour solutions. The Reavers have been not as successful as my Raiders due to their shorter range and limited numbers, they tend to be a suicide squad that never last further than turn 3.
Good thread here and I await input from other members.
In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.
Sure, I don't think kindly of sniper squads - the points and squad configuration make it an obvious choice despite it not belonging in our army design (so just because you can doesn't mean we should in my eyes, purely personal choice). Also, if we take the Chaos and Ork codices and notice the trend including some of the Space Marine chapters the 10 man Sniper Squad will disappear entirely.
Of course I am curious to hear what all you all are using (sniper squads or not).
My (most played) 1000 point list is a full Raider Rush list. Meaning 4-5 Raiders full of Warriors.
Within this unit, there is one Blaster each.
This gives, in a 1000 point game: 5 Highly Mobile Dark Lances, 5 Mobile Blasters.
This is generally enough to nuke whatever enemy I face in a slightly smaller than normal game. At this value, I see maybe maximum 3-4 tanks, including Dreadnoughts and the like. 10 Lance weapons are more than enough.
Plus, my normal opponent (aka my brother) is a Blood Angels player, so the AP 2 is great for destroying MEQs and the str 8 is amazing at destroying the almighty Death Company.
I always try to fit a Sniper Squad. Cheap points, 2 DLs, you can't beat it ... The best thing about the DE Codex is the ability to take multiple options to destroy armor and all of which can be very cheap.
Currently, I am looking at 1 Sniper Squad, mostly Raider squads, 1 Wych Squad (till more models get ordered), Reaver squadx4 (running with a tooled Archon on a jetbike), second suicide Reaver Squadx3, and Ravagers. All of which have the capability of disposing armor. (and cheaply)
I love a Reaver squad of 3 with 2 Blasters turbo boosting turn 1, very cheap and very good tactic to draw fire. Roll good for your invulns and you could see the opponent forced to use at least 2-3 squads (depending on LOS) to take down a cheap squad. This leaves your Raiders to move up quick, your Sniper Squad to pick off something from the back (or advance as needed).
Raiders I always use 1 DL, 2 Dissys, its a great mix.
At this point, I am taking two sniper squads as my primary anti tank. I also have a few footslogging warrior squads with blasters and a couple raiders to help out in a pinch. Eventually i hope to get away from the sniper squads, but I am trying to get control of my army as it is before i change anything else.
I have used these before, I called them "Decoys" but ghost ships works too. For one reason or another I stopped using them but the tactic does work! I think that I was doing the min/max with them as well by taking only 5 with single darklance and using them as mini-sniper squads. I like them though and not only do they act as a decoy they can crash blocking line of sight as well. However, I will admit I didn't really see them as an anti-armor threat but rather more of a distraction manuver to take the heat off of the wwp deployers.2. The use of “Ghost Ships,” by this I mean Dark Lanced equipped Raiders that have already had their troops disembark and have little to do apart from a ‘drive by’ single Lance shot whilst darting from behind cover.
Because I dont like to use warriors as "assault troops" (even though the splinter cannon is great) and the distance I like to stand back from would put blasters out of range usually.
"However, I will admit I didn't really see them as an anti-armor threat but rather more of a distraction manuver to take the heat off of the wwp deployers."
Yes but I have had them last so long into the game that its a shame not to use this long forgotten ability.
In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.
As far as anti-tank proficiency goes, we can't ignore the following setup:
9 wyches, 2 blasters, haywire grenades
sybarite with goblet of spite
the raider can be replaced by a wwp where applicable.
This is SO effective against higher av vehicles, IE 13's or 14's