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Why do people love them so much? Okay, theyre able to kill light vehicles and instakill T3 models. Against space marines they seem relatively useless in comparison with a Fusion Blaster/Plasma Rifle combo
Long range medium-heavy weaponry. Plasma Rifle needs to be in close in order to gain full effects. Fusion is short range, leaving the unit too close for comfort to enraged Marines!
Deathrains are the long range medium artillery of the Tau army. Yes, they have a niche role which usually sees them pitted against anything up to and including AV13, but this is not something which should be sneered at. A full team can fire 6 shots almost fully across the gaming table (assuming a 6x4 table), harassing the enemy from afar.
You might like to read this article by Rikimaru:
Twin linked Missile pod and either Targeting array, Blacksun filter or Flamer
This configuration is rapidly gaining popularity and is possibly taking over the Fire Knifes position as the number one suit build and for good reason.
The Deathrain has a number of advantages these include high accuracy, low cost and survivability. The most popular build is the Targeting array build; this gives a near 100% hit rate but does up the cost to 53pts. While this is still cheap many players are happy with the standard hit rate sans TA.
The other popular build is the Flamer variant, many see this as simply a cost reduction exercise and I tend to agree, as the Flamer is not going to be used if the Deathrain is used properly. Some argue that the Flamer is a good secondary weapon failsafe option, to be used if an opposition unit gets to close. Seems reasonable but truthfully if an opposition unit is that close it is usually to late for a Flamer to make much difference.
The main use of the Deathrain is as an anti armour unit and it is very effective at this role. The enhanced accuracy of the Deathrain means it can be pretty much relied on to stop or damage any armour up to and including AV13. A two man unit can lay down serious firepower.
The low cost of even a Targeting array and Target lock equipped Deathrain together with its survivability makes the quite specialised nature of the build easier to stomach; however the high strength and decent AP of the missile pod makes the Deathrain effective against many targets and its effectiveness against other non armour targets should not be under estimated.
Down sides if any are probably a slight lack of versatility and the average AP means they are not brilliant against MEQ or other 2 and 3+ save units.
Probably the best transport stopper in the whole 40K universe, I would recommend the Deathrain with TA over any other suit build, obviously this is only my opinion but it is also based on fact and many many many successful games using them."
"Tau Commandment #226: Participants who use Velocity Trackers in the Tau Clay Pigeon Tournament will be disqualified"
Though I do use a Plasma/Missile Pod commander, my elites are all Deathrain suits. They're fantastic anti light and medium vehicle weapons, which means I only target heavy vehicles and infantry with the Hammerheads. They're also great at taking out certain monstrous creatures, namely Carnifex and Wraithlords.
Edit: and with the introduction of 5th edition, there is a multitude of cover saves. I would argue that a missile pod is more effective than a fusion blaster at killing MEQ's in cover. I also think it is pretty close to if not better than even the plasma rifle at taking out MEQ's in cover do the the superior range.
Edit: To add the mathhammer...
Twin-Linked Missile Pod (BS4)
MEQ kills either in 4+ cover or out = 0.49, max 2
Twin-Linked Fusion Blaster (BS4)
MEQ kills in 4+ cover = .37, max 1
MEQ kills with no cover = .74, max 1
Plasma Rifle (not twin-linked to keep costs comparable, BS4, 12" - 24")
MEQ kills in 4+ cover = .28, max 1
MEQ kills with no cover = .56, max 1
Plasma Rifle (not twin-linked to keep costs comparable, BS4, 0" - 12")
MEQ kills in 4+ cover = .56, max 2
MEQ kills with no cover = 1.11, max 2
Clearly, the Missile Pod is superior to the Fusion Blaster if there is a cover save, but given the massive range advantage, I'd say it's better all around.
Compared to the Plasma Rifle, it also clearly superior if there is a cover save (though the Plasma rifle is better within 12", I averaged between the two). The plasma rifle is better if there is no cover save, but again, the supreme range advantage has to be considered. I argue that range is extremely important... If it is less so to you, then you might prefer the plasma rifle. I like both, but I only take plasma on BS4 and BS5 suits... This means in 5th edition I only put them in my HQ suits.
Last edited by ZenGamer; July 23rd, 2008 at 20:28.
-Thread Killer Bryan
Tyranid Hive Fleet Typhoeus
T'au Empire, Bork'an Sept
I will also add that in 5th with the new rules for true LOS the Deathrain is going to be a very important suit build. The XV8 is not a small model and hiding it is not going to be easy, it will be easier to land hits on it if it trying to get within firing range of its fusions or Plasma (the Plasma is not as badly affected as it has the 24" option). Cover saves are only going to be any use against low AP stuff and they will be just as vulnerable to small arms fire.
While I am not as worried or panicked as most by the new LOS rules (because I use DR's anyway), it has to be said that it will be harder to pull of the JSJ move safely while closer to the opponents forces.
Range is going to be pretty much the most important way to keep an XV8 alive in 5th, range allows the tau player to utilise more cover options such as friendly units, vehicles and terrain, which obviously there will be more of if more of the field is between the XV8 and the opponents forces and also to stay out of range of the vast majority of weapons. With the MP's decent range allied with the JSJ move (which adds an effective 6" to the range) it is going to be a lot easier to keep a Deathrain out of range of a lot of units.
The trend I and others are seeing at the moment is for armies to objective hug and if this trend persists the DR will shine; staying at range while launching highly accurate, good strength shots without the opponents units pursuing or chasing down the XV8 will make the DR a very valuable long range sniper.
Also with the new rules making vehicles harder to stop, hit volume is going to be much more important. A unit of two Deathrain TA's can lay down 4 hits with pretty much near perfect accuracy and against anything up to and including AV13 4 hits is going to do something to the vehicle, even with cover saves.
As has been illustrated nicely by Zen the MP is also a very effective weapon against pretty much any target.
I see a lot of players obsessing about infantry, objective claiming, troops and cover saves and tailoring their lists to deal with these things. However it should not be forgotten that we still need to have elements in our lists to handle vehicles, tough units and other units that will still be a threat. The Deathrain will still be a valuable Tau unit and just because it is not a troop killer or objective claimer does not make it any less valuable. Balanced list building will still be important.