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Piranha Light Skimmer
The very pinnacle of speed meets firepower and versatility, the piranha has many tactical applications on the battlefield. Unfortunately, many Tau players regard the piranha as a second rate weapons platform due to its perceived fragile nature and single weapon hardpoint. Initial impressions can be deceiving however since in addition to the single weapon hardpoint, the piranha’s offense always includes 2 “free” gun drones. Defensively, they are more survivable than an initial survey would suggest due to their fast skimmer rules and front AV of __.
The focus of this article will be all things piranha. What upgrades to take, how many to run in a squad, tactical roles they fill, synergies with other units, enemy specific tactics, and special maneuvers they can perform.
Before any meaningful discussion of how to get the most out of a piranha, we must first examine what are the most useful wargear and weapon options for the piranha. First, choose between the two distinct classes of piranha, the burst cannon type and fusion blaster type. Once a weapon loadout is chosen, proceed to pick wargear.
Target locks – Not useful at all on either version, since you can already shoot at separate targets with the drones, and the weapon ranges are always at or below 18”. Skip em
Disruption Pod – Can be useful first turn, or if stunned, but most opponents tend to shoot at bigger tanks first turn. Also, with open topped rules, a penetrating hit is not much worse than a glance anyway. Skip em
Decoy Launchers – While these are definitely worth their points cost on non-open topped vehicles, the open top status of the piranha make their benefit marginal at best. Skip em.
Sensor Spines – Haven’t had much experience with these, but they don’t seem too useful since the piranhas are already fast skimmers and don’t really need to hide inside terrain. Skip em.
Flechette Dischargers – Useful against assaulty horde armies and big assaulty enemy HQ’s the flechette discharger does not rely on a strength value to wound. Therefore it can wound a nightbringer or a wraithlord as easily as a termagaunt. That being said, your opponent has to choose to assault your flechette equipped piranhas for them to work. So if your opponents are assault oriented you will probably be inclined to take the upgrade. But, opponents who have seen them used before may try to avoid assault. This is both good and bad as it can make them more effective as a skimmer wall, but costs more points with no additional offense. So this one is up to your individual circumstance, but personally I leave them at home.
Blacksun Filter – Nearly useless on a weapon with maximum 18” range guns. Leave it at home.
Targetting Array – This is the one upgrade I always bring. While absolutely essential on the fusion loadout, it is also economically viable on the burst cannon model since it only costs 5 points. Always take it.
Seeker Missiles – These require their own section, as any piranha with seekers will need to behave somewhat differently than a piranha without.
That’s it for the wargear, every piranha should come with the targetting array standard. The flechettes are most useful against assaulty armies, while seekers can be good, but tend to change the behavior of your piranha (more on this later). The other upgrades are pretty useless. If you start wanting to load up on goodies for your piranha remember that the piranha, while somewhat tough, is still pretty fragile against higher strength weapons. So keep them cheap, that way losing one won’t sting so much.
Burst Cannon Variant
The first class of piranha for discussion is the type running a burst cannon. This form of piranha is most often used against hordes of infantry. Some will ask the question “Why not just use stealth’s instead?” Well, stealth suits have their place in any Tau army to be certain, but the piranha with a burst cannon is a very different animal than the stealth suit. Some notable differences include-
-Piranha’s can engage 2 separate units via its drones with no upgrades.
-A piranha’s “free” drones are useful as fodder and speed bumps since they are not worth victory point’s.
-For 60 points both units put out nearly the same level of offense. The piranha gets 5 pulse shots with 2 causing pinning, compared to 6 pulse shots for the stealth suits.
-A piranha is nearly immune to CC attacks because of its fast skimmer rules.
-It's Front AV requires a minimum of STR5 weapons to even have a 1 in 6 chance at glancing, whereas even lasguns have a 50/50 chance of wounding a stealth suit.
-The high speed of the piranha allows it to support multiple allied units anywhere within its massive Zone of Control.
-The high speed of the piranha makes it a more effective scoring unit.
-Piranha’s can employ skimmer walls to slow enemy assaulters without removing LOS to allied units (similar to FoF).
-Not subject to any type of leadership tests.(this one is very important!!)
-Forces enemy to make target priority checks when targeting units, including vehicles in the backfield. Stealth suits never cause any kind of target priority.
All these differences mean that it is not really fair to compare the piranha to the stealth in many respects. They may use the same weapon systems, but they are different in their tactical applications.
Fusion Blaster Variant
As good as the burst cannon piranha is at killing light infantry, the fusion blaster type is that much better at killing hard targets. High AV vehicles, beefed out enemy HQ’s, and even MEQ are all excellent targets for this form of piranha. By mounting a fusion blaster on a fast vehicle, Tau commanders have access to a mobile tank hunter which can get within melta range of an enemies back line by turn 2 and does not rely on a deep strike roll. Here are some of the advantages to using the piranha as a tank and heavy infantry hunter.
-They are faster than a broadside or a hammerhead, making it easier to flush out enemy armor hiding behind terrain.
-Adding seekers allows it to hit the side armor of tanks as early as first turn
-Almost assured arrival in enemy deployment zone turn 2. Deep strikers on the other hand might never arrive and if they do, they may scatter off the table.
-Melta range is also assault range (6”), the piranha has excellent assault defense, crisis suits do not.
-Fusion blasters are more effective than everything except railguns against tooled up enemy commanders such as; demon princes, bike riding chaplains, hive tyrants etc. Many big enemy HQ’s can be insta-killed by the fusion blaster, and placing it on a piranha not only allows quicker response time to these threats, but avoids CC problems associated with fusion blasters on crisis suits.
-Dedicated Multi Role- This simply means that while the drones detach and hunt/delay lighter infantry, the piranha itself is free to hunt harder targets. So in essence a fusion piranha is two different types of units in one.
-Previously covered advantages from above include speedy scoring unit, skimmer wall, early target priority tests etc.
-Frees up a heavy support slot. (very important!!)
Do not gloss over that last benefit, freeing up a heavy support slot from dedicated tank hunting allows a Tau commander to pick from a greater variety of heavy weapons. Sniper drones, ionheads, and skyrays were previously difficult to justify over a railhead or a broadside team. This was unfortunate since ionheads, skyrays, and sniper drones are some of our most effective anti MEQ selections. With fusion piranhas in the list, it is much easier to swap that railhead for an ionhead while not losing heavy armor hunting capability. BTW snipers, ionheads, and skyrays are also quite effective vehicle hunters, just not as much against AV13+
Special Case – Seeker Missiles
Seekers on piranha are a double edged sword, while it is true they add more punch to anti MEQ and anti armor as well as alpha strike capability, they also increase the cost of the piranha to nearly unacceptable levels. There are some advantages to using seekers on piranha since the piranha can move 24” and still fire them, but whether or not this offsets the cost is debatable. There are two ways to use seekers on Piranha effectively. The first is on a burst cannon variant (with no upgrades) operating alone. Leave it behind cover the whole game and only use its detachable drones and seeker missiles from out of LOS to generate its offensive contribution. Only bring it out last turn to grab objectives or bring it out in emergencies as a blocker.
The other option is to put seekers on teams of 2 fusion variant piranhas. Run them up the flank 24” first turn and use them to snipe side armor across the field. Make sure to keep them in cover though. Then hunt tanks as normal, but if you lose one, be sure to hide the remaining one from harm so your opponent doesn’t get any VP’s. After all, the increased cost the seekers add to the piranha will push this unit up to 180 points. That’s a pretty juicy target, so be sure to be careful with them if used in such a manner.
How Many in a Unit?
Always run fusion variants in either units of 2 or units of 1. These numbers are the optimal setup for denying victory points to your opponent. In units of 2, your opponent has to kill both to get any points and remove non-scoring status. Units of one are easier to hide and less of a target due to their small size.
The burst cannon variant on the other hand need greater numbers in order to be effective. Using 2 teams of 2 is nice for victory point purposes, but then limits the number of the tank hunting fusion variant. Units of three are better offensively, but are harder to hide and less than optimal in terms of VP’s. So in this case, use your best judgment.
What about running 4 or more in a unit? While this has obvious benefits in terms of firepower, it tends to make the unit unmanageable and impossible to hide.
So stick with smaller units of piranhas, and simply run more units of them. This is key to making them effective. By running multiple units, they are nearly assured to destroy those nasty pieces of ordinance forever hiding out of LOS (Whirlwinds and Basilisks come to mind).
A second reason to run multiple squads is to overload an enemies high strength weapons. A piranha requires a minimum of STR5 weapons to even glance the front. Most armies don’t have access to a large number of weapons in this category (other than Tau). Most basic weapons are STR4 ore less (except Tau). Therefore, many of the enemies “special” weapons will be forced to target piranhas if an enemy commander wants them removed. Those are usually the same weapons that would normally be targeting Hammerheads and Devilfish. This poses an interesting dilemma for an enemy commander. Does he shoot at the durable hammerheads and devilfish and ignore those dangerous fusion piranhas, possibly removing neither? Or does he target the slightly more fragile, but also more numerous piranhas and guarantee the larger vehicles survival? Either way he chooses, he cannot get them all, and a clever Tau commander will then focus on removing their opponent’s high strength weapons. This in turn weakens the opponent’s ability to deal with those skimmers.
All of a sudden, the enemy commander is caught in a vicious game of “catch up” which will ultimately end with his inability to respond to all those skimmers running around. Additionally, consider if the enemy does you a favor and ignores your hammerheads and devilfish instead attempting to remove all of your piranhas, even if he does manage to kill all those multiple piranha units (highly unlikely if you use terrain) they still drop free drones when they die, so you haven’t lost everything. This will frustrate your opponent to no end.
The free gun drones brings me to the final reason to run multiple squads of piranhas. Every extra unit of piranhas means an additional gun drone squad. This can seemingly double the size of your army once deployed. Not only is this a great thing tactically, but will have a real effect on your opponent’s perception of those little fish. He will then tend to ignore your hammerheads/devilfish even more and focus on the little piranha.
So run more than one squad of them if you plan on using them. Piranhas are after all, a schooling fish. In the wild a lone piranha or two is nothing but a slight nuisance while a large school of them can skeletonize a cow pretty in a few minutes. Land Raider on the hoof?
Some Basic Tactics
Now that we know a little more about what the various versions of piranha can do, and we’ve determined optimal squad sizes and numbers squads to run, it is important to go over some general tactical guidelines.
Early in the game, fusion piranhas should be zipping out 24” on the flanks(into cover where available). This will get the enemies attention and hopefully takes the enemies first round focus off of your Hammerheads and Devilfish. Second round, they should drop their drones to contest the middle of the board, slow enemy assaulters, and cause target priority checks. Meanwhile, the piranhas should move another 12” to get within 6” of some vital piece of enemy armor or expensive commander. Then use a markerlight hit (if available) to ensure destruction of that enemy target.
If you lose a piranha from a unit of two, the remaining one can zip back toward your line to hide. This is smart to do because the opponent will have to destroy it or he will not get any VP’s for the one he already did kill. Alternately, if you feel they should remain and continue to remove high priority targets then do so, but always weigh the risks against the benefits.
Dice Gods willing, you piranhas should have removed a fair amount of the enemies dangerous weaponry by turn 3, without giving up any Victory Points.
After these first few rounds of high priority target removal, viable piranha units can help hunt down MeQ’s, block enemy assaulters with skimmer walls, and finally act as a last turn scoring unit. When hunting MEQ’s, remember to go for those heavy weapons teams in order to protect themselves and Hammerheads/DFish. If your opponent is using lots of fast assaulters, you may need to reprioritize your target list. It all depends on how fast you perceive those assaulters will get to your assets. If the opponent has multiple units of fast assaulters, obviously your piranha will have less armor/heavy weapons teams to hunt, and with therefore be more useful in the skimmer wall tactic.
Burst Cannon Piranhas - Defensive Linemen
While the Fusion Variant is primarily about high priority hard target threat removal, the Burst Cannon Variant is all about helping hold off approaching enemy infantry, and combining firepower with other units. By using their great speed, they can assist infiltrating stealth and kroot by adding their weight of firepower. Their assistance can be unexpected by your opponents due to their 30” zone of control (12” move+12” range on guns). They can swoop in and assist another unit to the point that an enemy unit is completely wiped out, or at least so severely crippled as to no longer be a threat. Stealth and Kroot are not the only ones who can benefit from this. Their great speed and maneuverability allows for the assistance of virtually any unit you field. For example, Fish of Fury can be greatly enhanced by extending the “skimmer wall” with piranhas and adding more firepower into the equation.
As far as armor hunting with this piranha goes, It can still be done by using the piranha’s great speed to maneuver for rear armor shots. They can be quite effective at this since they put out so many pulse shots.
Advanced “Situational” Tactics
Feeding Frenzy – There are actually 3 related tactics which all bear the name “feeding frenzy”
Version 1 - The first version has been around for a while and doesn’t require piranhas to pull it off. However, a piranha’s speed allows them to excel at this tactic. The way it works is simple: First, surround an enemy transport in such a way that there is no legal place for transported models to disembark. Second, use the Fusion Blasters on your piranhas (or railguns, missile pods, whatever…) to blow up the enemy transport. Since the units inside have no legal place within 2” of the exit points to disembark to, they are destroyed. Try this against a landraider filled with terminators and watch your opponents jaw hit the floor.
Version 2 – This version incorporates either a Hammerhead or Devilfish. First, surround an enemy infantry unit with the piranha in such a way as to negate the ability of the enemy unit to move between them (1" rule). Make sure to leave a gap where the Hammerhead or Fish can fit through to get at the enemy. The resulting formation of piranhas should resemble a U. Now simply tank shock into the gap with the hammerhead/fish. Whether he passes his leadership test or not, he still has nowhere to move without breaking the 1" rule, therefore he is destroyed outright via the "No Retreat" rule. His only hope is a successful death or glory. This version has some controversy surrounding it so use it at your own risk(your opponent may cry cheese).
Version 3 – This version is really just a modified version of number 2. In the event that there is no available tank with which to tank shock, surround the enemy completely with piranha then shoot them with units until a leadership check is failed. When they are forced to fall back, they will have no avenue of retreat and will be destroyed via “No Retreat” rule. This version is perfectly legal, but relies on the enemy failing a save(not likely in the case of marines).
Skimmer Walls – This has been alluded to already, but remember, no matter what happens a Tau commander cannot allow enemy units to get into assault with his infantry. One way to prevent this from happening is to use skimmer walls. Fish of Fury has been doing it for years. The principle is the same, but instead of having to buy dedicated, non-scoring transports to do it, we can do it with a squad of 2 piranhas instead. A nice bonus is that they can provide protection for practically whatever unit needs a CC buffer due to their great speed and non-dedicated role. Much more on this in the “Unit Synergies” section.
Open Topped Assaults – Here is one thing our piranhas can do that none of our other units can do. Use drones to tie enemies up in assault after moving over 6” (up to 12”). Imagine, it is first turn and there is a unit of infiltrators poised to assault your line possibly turn 1, definitely turn 2. What do you do? Well, you can move out your piranhas 12”, deploy drones 2”, fire all weapons, and assault 6” with those drones. That’s a 20” assault zone of control!!! You can tie up nearly any unit on the board starting turn 2!!! And since the drones are one of our better units in CC, you may just be surprised at how truly effective this tactic can be. This tactic also helps when you need to tie up that annoying devastator squad, or even the tactical las/plas team. By tying such heavy weapons teams up early, they waste precious turns of shooting while hammerheads and piranhas run amok.
Markerlights – By leaving drones attached to the piranha, both they and the piranha may benefit from a single markerlight hit. So sometimes it is better to leave them attached, especially with the burst cannon variant.
While all of our units can benefit from the piranha’s abilities in one manner or another, certain units have an even greater perceived benefit when combining with the piranha. Most of the following tactics center on the skimmer wall, but each of these units have specific small differences in how and when they can be exploited.
Stealth/Kroot- Often these infiltrators are left out of support range from the rest of the army. This forced kroot and stealth to either operate alone, or to support each other. By adding piranhas into the equation, they now have another potent support unit. The burst cannon variant works better for this role since they can combine like firepower, but the fusion variant can also assist via its gun drones and skimmer wall tactic.
Mounted Fire Warriors– When a mounted fire warrior squad performs a fish of fury, they often have to remount and move the next turn. By using piranhas to extend the skimmer wall, you can buy another turn or two of shooting without having to remount.
Static Fire Warriors– Static fire warriors can now benefit from a pseudo fish of fury using only the piranhas as the skimmer wall. Simply wait until the enemy is in assault range then run the piranha in to block the fire warriors. This can also be done with broadsides, sniper drones, or pretty much any static infantry unit.
Helios Crisis Suits– For those who do not know a Helios suit is an XV-8 with a fusion blaster, plasma rifle, and multitracker. The main use for such a suit is in Terminator and MeQ hunting. The problem is that for the suit to be effective it must come within 12” to use its fusion and to rapid fire its plasma. While it can still jump back out to 18” with its assault move, it is quite vulnerable to fast assaulters and it can be tricky getting the distances right. So the answer is yet another skimmer wall using the piranha in teams of two. The piranha is approximately 4.5” long. Whenever your helios suits are in danger of being overrun by a unit that can move 18” (12” move+ 6” assault), simply swoop the piranha in front of them. The helios can then jump over the piranha, rapid fire its plasma and fire its fusion, then use its assault move to jump back behind the protection of the piranha. Since the base of the helios is an additional 1.5” and the enemy cannot land within 1” of your units the resulting total distance the enemy fast assaulter would have to fly over would be 7” minimum (4.5”+1.5”+1”). This means that with a 12” flying move of the typical jump infantry, they would have to be no farther than 9.5” from the front of the helios. This is nice because before the movement of the piranha, the enemy could have assaulted those helios from 18”. Another nice thing is, the fusion gun on the piranha stacks nicely with the typical target engaged by the helios, so you probably won’t be wasting firepower.
Vespid– Vespid are another unit with a short range that benefits from a piranha skimmer wall similar to above. The difference is that they cannot make a JSJ style assault move, and they lack a 3+ save in the open that the helios has. So when screening vespid, it is important to make sure that they are in some cover, and not to use them against fast assaulters. If done correctly your vespid will not be forced into an assault situation after they attack their target. This can go a long way toward making them efficient points wise. This is a difficult tactic to pull off correctly, but if achieved properly can be very worthwhile.
Enemy Specific Tactics
Some enemies need specific mention since special tactics can be used against them.
Khorne– Use their blood frenzy against them by parking the piranha within 6” of Khorne Berserkers and they’ll be chasing them around all day futily attempting to hit them in CC.
Black Templar– Use the piranha speed to get behind them and then shoot Them. They’ll be running the wrong way.
Drop Pod Marines– Simply space the piranhas and the drone units out in such a way as to limit the space the pods can land. If done correctly, your opponent should have to drop down in a place where you can demolish him on your turn.
Necrons– Avoid these guys like the plague, their gauss flayers glance any vehicle on a 6 and this can spell doom for your piranhas. If you know you will be playing Necrons, I’d actually recommend leaving them at home and taking more crisis suits. If you are in an all comers environment, try to use the piranhas to destroy enemy destroyers and lords. Other than that they will probably be toast pretty darn quickly.
In conclusion I’d like to leave you with some of Sun Tzu’s tenets which the piranha fills admirably.
Tenet 1. According as circumstances are favorable, one should modify one's plans.
Piranhas are extremely versatile providing many different useful tactics/threats at the same time, allowing you to modify their role as the situation permits.
Tenet 2. All warfare is based on deception.
Piranhas only have one gun, but they have drones and can do much more than destroy tanks. Use this fact in the metagame by complaining about how "expensive" your 70 point piranhas are and that they are only equipped with the one main weapon. This will cause the enemy to discount them as a threat, which is what you want up until the point they release their drones. Then start pointing out how cool it is that they had those drones, and how you really like em now. This will cause a shift of fire away from your advancing tanks(which should be hidden first turn), to what has effectively become a 51 point model (drones worth the equivalent of 24 points).
Tenet 3. Hold out baits to entice the enemy. Feign disorder, and crush him.
Use Vespid, Helios, or other short range weapon platforms to lure enemy units out. Then just when your enemy thinks he has caught them, the piranha swoops in and blocks his assault.
Tenet 4. If he is secure at all points, be prepared for him. If he is in superior strength, evade him.
A single piranha can engage different types of enemy units and fulfill different battlefield roles, all while using their speed to escape out of LOS when the going gets tough.
Tenet 5. If your opponent is of choleric temper, seek to irritate him. Pretend to be weak, that he may grow arrogant.
I love this effect midgame, nothing is more irritating than to ALWAYS have to test for target priority. Combine this with your markerlights ability to automatically pass the same test, and watch his ire rise. He'll be wasting shots on those cheap durable skimmers in no time. And, even if he kills 'em all, the drones will still be zipping around in the middle of the field causing the same tests(against infantry only).
Tenet 6. If he is taking his ease, give him no rest. If his forces are united, separate them.
Once again, speed and enticement the piranha’s forte allows them to harass nearly any unit on the board, and draw out enemy forces into compromising positions
Tenet 7. Attack him where he is unprepared, appear where you are not expected.
Skimmer walls, Feeding Frenzy, 24" movement, drones popping out of nowhere. Yeah it has this one on lockdown.
Happy hunting for the greater good!!!
Last edited by israfel420; December 5th, 2006 at 07:51.
I have read this before (perhaps the previous version though), and yet again it is very good.
I now include Pirahna's in my lists where others suggest not to. Fair enough as you said vs Necrons they will get ripped appart. But I too find that the use of their drones, speed and general annoying-get-in-the way factor very useful.
I have mentioned it twice before on other threads, but I must re-itterate. First time I used my Pirahna's they took out a Russ on the first turn and managed to deploy drones. One set of these drones proceeded to tie up a Rattling sniper squad (the guards most expensive squad) for FOUR turns. The other team got wiped out by the 3rd turn but forced target priority and managed to pin a guard squad.
Also, because these Pirahna's are so dangerous... or appear so, guard ended up firing at them with its lascannons instead of my two hammerheads lying at the table edge (and in plain sight as my edge had NO cover!).
Pirahna's are what you make of them. Sure they have "paper thin" armour, but then, so do most skimmers. Their 11 front armour is actually better than most skimmers out there. Look at Eldar for example. Their main tanks have only 12, vipers at 10!!! and war walkers and sentinels = enemy draws paper, I draw scissors...
Conclusion: Good Tactica (Rep given)
In CC all hits have to be distributed throughout the squadron, so you could lose all the vehicles. If one is stunned the rest have to either leave it (so it’s destroyed) or stay with it, that’s stunned not immobilised. So think about it your 3 Piranhas could end up with 2 stunned vehicles that are either left and are destroyed or they stay and do nothing all next turn (and this goes for shooting as well)
Tell me again what’s the benefit of having a 210 pts skimmer wall, you do realise that DF are 80pts and do a better job.
One Piranha will not do the job and for the Piranhas to get into the lines and close enough to shoot they usually have to boost which means they cannot shoot and, they have to be within 12" of the tank to be able to get in range next turn.
So the opponent has a whole movement phase to either take the Piranhas down or move his vehicle to a more advantages position (all he has to do is move it 12" and the Piranha is basically screwed.
Most scenarios have a 24" set up with min 18" between units so I cannot see how a second turn kill is going to happen that often (unless the opponent is a tactical berk).
XV8's make better armour, vehicle and tough unit killers than Piranhas and have served in and filled that role for a long time. So really the Piranha is not needed to free up a heavy slot, the Railhead will never lose out to Ions and sniper squads are usually favoured by players who don’t like HH anyway.
The Piranha needs to be moved forward to do any damage, so given that the HH will most likely be out of range of the majority of weapons for 1st turn and possibly 2nd, this means the point is moot. The Piranhas are going to be the only viable target. Also you keep saying how handy they are (at least as valuable as that HH for different tactical reasons) and a two strong unit is worth 140pts (comparable to a HH's points) so it is actually worthwhile for the opponent to take down the Piranhas (if they are as mightily good as you claim).
If your taking multiple units of Piranhas (remember even two units of two is over 280pts+) those points have to come from somewhere else in the Tau list. So something has to go, this means that the Tau list is going to be reduced in effectiveness somewhere else.
Seeing as two troops are compulsory and so is an XV8 commander, most Tau players will take a unit of stealth’s and a couple of XV8's this leaves very little choice of what to lose. Either a fast attack (pathfinders) or heavy slot, which pretty much nerfs the advantage of diluting the shooting at your heavy slots (at least the HH that’s not there)
Your army is hardly doubled you get one Drone squad per Piranha squad. Your tactics just took a nose dive
Also you keep missing one vital point here, the opponent has a whole turn to either move away from said frightening Piranhas or just destroy them. Do you think your opponent is going to be dumb enough to let you get within 6" of his valuable armour? hmm
[Deleted pirahnas dont make good support units
Last edited by Rikimaru; April 13th, 2008 at 00:40.
Wow Riki, man, you dissected that entire post down to every single atoms and then destroy them in fashions.
Piranha does have its own use if played right. Like you have said on some other posts, with similiar meaning.. given a finely crafted pistol to an amature and you would expect the result to be differently than when it is given to an expert. It all depends on how you use it. I know you've done a billion posts of giving your point of view on the Piranha as a 'complete' garbage and a total waste of plastic, but I do have some success using it.. and I've been using it ever since, never forget to include one in my army.
Anima Tactics - try it out!
1 in 6 chance of immobilized - Decoy Launchers thusly kick in for a reroll
3 in 6 chance of being destroyed on reroll - decoy useless
1 in 6 chance of weapon destroyed - preserves VP's but little else
1 in 6 chance of being stunned - will likely die the following round or be ditched - decoys useless
1 in 6 chance of only being stunned - decoys usefull
Out of all that only one option is really desirable. If the Piranha is immobilized then rerolls a 1 the DL's have been worth it, otherwise they are a waste of points. DL's increase a Fusion Piranha's cost by a 7.14% While only giving desirable results 1/36 times or 2.777% of the time. Even if you consider armament destroyed and crew stunned desirable, it still only happens a grand total of 8.333% of the time for a net % benefit of 1.19%. Those are 5 points better spent elsewhere.
5 STR5 AP5 shots with 2 pinning for the Piranha VS 6 STR5 AP5 for the stealth.
It's all there in my original post, and I thought it was quite clear. But you are right about one thing, a unit of 2 or 3 pirnahas (10 and 15 shots respectively) do not have the kind of firepower neccessary to destroy units on their own. I never intended for that to be the case. Instead, use their speed to assist other units (like stealth, kroot) to overwhelm and obliterate enemy infantry units. The enemy doesn't expect that much firepower to coalesce out of seemingly nowhere.
RailHead vs. IonHead
I think you may wanna revise your position, as well as considering the slippery slope you now stand on. Also, before you go about the forums making blanket statments like "ion cannons are crap" you may wanna do your research. After all, we are trying to help new players learn the best way they can get the most from their Tau army here. Not delude them into incorrect lines of thought such as "railheads own everything". And BTW the post in the link was written before the new codex, so the Ionhead he is describing costs only 130 points now so is even more cost effective than he describes it.
So as you can see, there is a reason to free up the heavy support slots from heavy armor hunting. Piranha in melta range are as good at hunting heavy armor(even land raiders) as a railgun. And since you can get about 2.333 Piranhas from the cost of one railhead. Then that heavy slot can be devoted to the cheaper, more efficient light vehicle and infantry hunting Ionhead. That still leaves 2 more slots, one for snipers, and one for a railhead. After all, railheads are more effective than piranhas against 2 types of enemy heavy units. Monoliths(due to living metal negating melta) and T5 Monstrous creatures like a tooled up Demon Prince (since STR10 can insta kill them). And I must admit, they look cool.
1X Shas'el, PR, MP, TA, HWMT, BSF = 100 points
1X Shas'el, PR, MP, TA, HWMT = 97 points
2 XV-8, TL:MP, FLamer = 94points
2 XV-8, TL:MP, FLamer = 94 points
4 XV-25 = 120 points
2x8 Firewarriors, Shas'ui, ML, TL, Bonding = 220 points
2x6 Firewarriors, Shas'ui, ML, TL, Bonding = 180 points
10 Kroot = 70 points
2x Piranha, TA, FB = 140 points
2x Piranha, TA, FB = 140 points
2x Piranha, TA, FB = 140 points
Railhead, BC, MT, DL = 165 points
Ionhead, BC, MT, DL = 130 points
2x Sniper teams = 160 points
Total = 1850
Looks like a pretty well balanced list to me. And oh yeah I won best general by a landslide, no one else was even close out of 16 competitors.
I'll rewrite what I wrote and bold the important parts so it is easier for you to understand.
Every extra unit of piranhas means an additional gun drone squad. This can seemingly double the size of your army once deployed.
I would suggest that if you are going to respond to another person's well written, well thought out, and well playtested tactica, that you read thoroughly what was written before articulating your response, or at least proof read afterwords. Otherwise you may appear ignorant or foolish and I'd hate for you to lose face, as you are actually posing some very good questions here.
Besides unit sacrifice works both ways. If I play against an army with many assaulters, they have less hard armor targets and my Piranhas are then free to support my firebases as Devilfish would. If I play against an army with few assaulters, mobility and skimmer screens for my FW are largely uneeded since nothing will be assaulting them, and thus my Piranhas are free to hunt the hard, shooty targets my opponent invariably fields. Plus I'd rather pay less points for a non dedicated scoring unit with better speed and a more powerful weapon than get devilfish which instead has better defense and transport capability. Transports can get you killed. One lucky lascannon shot, and Boom no more use outof that 200 point FW squad. I's have to lose 3 Piranha's to equal that. Now who has the better defense?
So at this point, late in the game, if you've been removing enemy heavy weapons as you should, there should be little left to shoot at the Piranha. If there is, then the Piranhas would still be hunting that wouldn't they? So then they are free to act as defense walls against assaulters.
And if I seem overly hostile in any of the above, I guess it is due to the fact that I am a law student and love LD debate. So no hard feelings, and I'll give you rep too. (but I don't know how so lemme know ok!!)
Last edited by israfel420; November 28th, 2006 at 01:37.
The wee golden star at the bottom of the users post... click on that for rep.
Also, I was under the impression that you only get a +1 to the damage roll for being open topped if you are hit by a blast marker? Where does it state that on a re-roll for immobilized via decoy launchers that you dont get this +1 for being open topped?
Re: Pirahna's & Seeker Missiles.
I would have thought you might have seen the possibility Riki of these being much more effective on Piranha's. After all, you can fit two onto it, it can move 24" to get onto the rear facing of enemy armour. Sure it cant fire its fusion gun or deploy drones, but then your pathfinders (or whatever) light up said armour and you release 1 or 2 seekers into the rear armour (which is almost ALWAYS 10), 2 or more to hit, 2 for glancing, 3 for penetrating... You could use a cheap burst cannon variant with no-upgrades and suicide it into this situation, and it only takes one Piranha (costing 70pts).
Also Riki, with the Situational tactics of trapping an enemy unit, the Piranhas need to be within 2" of each other (cannot pass within 1" of an enemy model, so they effectively have a 1" zone around them, touch these two zones together and their distance is 1" appart.). Additionally, this could be slightly further so long as the base of the enemy model cannot fit through the gap between the "zones" it cannot pass so is therefore destroyed. This means the piranhas can be about 2.5" apart.
However, I do agree with you regarding the enemy units deployment. Most players deploy their units pretty spread apart with the maximum distance between models so that they are less likely to be annhilated by blast markers. However, if the enemy unit is falling back and say only 3 out of 10 have to move "through" the wall or pirahna, is the whole unit destroyed or are the 7 that have been tank shocked but can remain further away that 1"; still alive?
As for the re-roll, its common sense the rule for open topped applies to the original roll for damage, decoys allow a re-roll if you get an immobilised result, the player is re-rolling the original already obtained result, In effect he has already applied the +1 and has achieved the immobilised result, you are simply re-rolling that original result, if you get anything less than a 5+ you don’t get an immobilised.
Think about it decoys allow the re-rolling of a result already obtained, the +1 applies to obtaining that original result, it is not a fresh damage roll but a re-roll of an already obtained result.
Hope that’s clear it takes a bit of explaining
Last edited by Rikimaru; November 24th, 2006 at 11:37.
Secondly, the open topped rules states "whenever a damage roll (glancing or penetrating) is made against an open topped vehicle, add 1 to the damage result."
Since the damage re-roll is made on the glancing(or penetrating) table and the decoy launchers do not remove open topped status, Rules as Written seems to be pretty clear. It still adds 1 to the result. So my original premise stands, Decoy Launchers on a piranha are marginally usefull at best. I wish you were right in this instance, but alas it isn't so.
You're focusing on the 'roll' and leaving out the 're-'. 'Rules as Written' is quite possibly the stupidest concept I could think of for Games Workshop to try and enforce. It's turning it into Magic the Gathering, who's sole purpose is to look for loopholes and cracks in the rules to exploit certain cards. However, it works in Magic the Gathering because every rule is set, it's explained, re-explained, and then defined just for good measure. Games Workshop sticks twelve guys in a room, says 'Ok, we need a rulebook by tommorrow, have fun', then locks the door.
By following 'rules as written', indeed open topped would not apply to the decoy launchers. It applies to whenever a -damage roll- is made, add plus one. However, when you use decoy launchers, you aren't making a damage roll. You are re-rolling a result of a damage roll, therefor the actual re-roll isn't a damage roll at all. It's a seperate roll created by the use of an outside factor, in this case decoy launchers, that supercedes the original flow of game and is therefor seperate. If it had said 'If a glancing hit would result in an immobilized result you may force the opponent to roll another damage result' then you would be right. However, it doesn't. Intent of a rule is thrown out the window in 'Rules as Written'. You are not making a damage roll with decoy launchers. You are re-rolling the result of a damage roll, therefor it is not a seperate damage roll, and therefor no +1 to open topped. Is there an official precedent for this? No, probably not.
But if someone gives you crap about it, bring up the magic the gathering comparison. That is what the purpose of the game is, to exploit and totally ravish the rules by following them to the letter. It is also why playing people who come from a Magic the Gathering background is normally much harder and not as much fun, because if they were serious about it at all, then that is what they try to do with Warhammer. Thus we get rule-lawyers and dairy farmers. If Games Workshop really wants things to work out, they should go through each rule and then explain it and release a new rulebook. THEN we could follow the rules as written and still be gold. However, as it is they are a bunch of lazy slackers who don't want to do anymore so they say 'Just follow the rules as written, we've got better things to do than try to explain them to you'. Now the rules are open to so much more interpretation as before because suddenly common sense is gone from the equation. It's like taking out a universal constant from a physics equation, only luckily most players remember the original intent of the rule itself and still play thus except for the MTG-esque meta-gamers who've found some wonderful crack in the Rules as Written.
There, my rant is done. By the way, thanks for the idea Riki. I'll have to try this one sometime.
"My capacity for hard work is immense. It's my willingness to do said work that's lacking..."
Fluffmaster Clan Member
Shas'El A'ava Mont'Ein D'ran O'Kroot - Tau Fluff HERE
Except that under open topped rules it specifically uses the word "whenever". Whenever is simply another way of saying "always". Since always includes things like re-rolls, the open topped status still applies. Otherwise, why wouldn't the decoy launcher rules specifically mention it if it were GW's intention?
By your logic, Decoy Launchers on a Devilfish would actually make things worse since on the reroll youd be forced to roll on the penetrating table. Think about it, the rules state that all hits on a skimmer that has moved over 6" roll damage on the glancing hits table. But since the decoy launcher has just forced a reroll and no new hit has occured, it stands to reason(by your logic) that we must now roll on the penetrating table. Likewise, mastercrafted weapons on a model with furious charge would all of a sudden not use the extra strength they gained from charging on their reroll to wound. I know for a fact that no one plays it like that. You simply can't start changing rules between a roll and a reroll.
Believe me I'd be all for it if I thought I wouldn't get laughed out of a tournament. But it just isn't the case, any judge or player who knows anything about those rules are gonna say your rules lawyering and violating the spirit of the rules as well as the RAW. They'd lower your sportmanship and honor score, rule against you, and then make fun of you with all their friends.
If you still think I'm wrong, try posting this idea on Tauonline.org or AdvancedTauTactica.com where lots of seasoned Tau vets like myself usually hang out. See what the general consensus is over there.