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Since the new codex was released I have used pretty much all the new stuff, I am impressed with Skyrays, I am unimpressed with Piranhas but as time goes on I am starting to see some benefits with them, Vespids are rubbish.
I wont go into special issue wargear and things like markerlight and Kroot changes here so this leaves Sniper Drones.
Now I have proxied this unit with gun drones and a FW in a fair few games, using 1 to 3 teams and they don't seem to fit my style of play, I love the stealth field and the fact that you can pump out 9 STR6 shots.
What I do not like is the static nature and loss of the heavy slot, but I have seen a fair few players on this and other forums heaping praising this unit and I am intrigued and would like to establish if I have missed something with them.
So given my limited use of this unit I have some questions and I hope the players who use these will help out, I know Israfel uses em and I would be especially interested to hear of your tactical use of them dude.
How do you use this unit, do you build the list with these in mind?, do they need protection?
What is their primary offensive role?, the offensive part is important because I know they are good MEQ killers but I want to know your experiences against Non MEQs, do they make their points back etc?
However I want to know if they have any defensive value (I/E holding table quarters, take and hold missions etc I could see a stealth field equipped, railrifle BS3 equipped team in cover with 4+ saves upped by he cover bonus being a complete swine to move)
Also I know they have networked ML's do you use these to help other units or is shooting with the Railrifles the primary use for the ML'S? does the range of the rifles and ML's (which to me is not brilliant on 6X4 tables) hinder you?
Does the fact that even with ML help from the spotter the best BS available is 4?, also if you ML a unit with the 3 separate ML's from 3 sniper units are the ML hits stacked (I/E can one unit use 2 hits to up BS to 5 and the of the remaining sniper units, one hits on base BS and the other +1 BS, hope that makes sense).
Finally the thing I did not like was having up to three non scoring units on the table, does this bother anyone else.
I know its a big list of questions but I want to do a unit conversion (don't like the models they look to unwieldy) and would like to use em in friendlies (I will be surprised if I am swayed enough to use em in tournies)
Thanks in advance for your help, but be prepared for some debate.
I'm not willing to give up the heavy slot for those things. I think they would only really work on a static army and I think Tau should at least be hybrid. I'd take them if I could leave the FW w/ controller behind - or maybe have all them in a squad together, separate from the drones but I can't. Apparantly the range of the radio is only 6'.
Definately a unit that needs support or at least a far clear view (tho if you can see them...they can see you - but do they have the range?). You better take all 3 (as 1 FOC slot) and at least they can try to cover each other.
Possibly in small games. Combat patrols would be good. Or maybe if you know what you are going to fight.
I would rather have the Sky Ray w/ 2 mobile MLs, 2 BC, and TL
(plus the other basics - MT, DL - ... isn't the TL free)
You don't like the models to look unwieldy... They guy that made the Catfish had some crab drones - the had 4-spiked feet they walked on. Would make sense that they walk since they only move 6" due to the foot soilder w/ them. If I can find it I'll edit in a link.
EDIT: the page I linked thru to find it is down: www.atrarts.com
Lets see, I am a little short on time, but I'll answer some key points.
First off, they are not good at all in smaller point games. Reason is that they are non scoring and are more of a support unit with their ML.
In 1500 point games I use 2 teams, while in 1850 or higher I use 3 full teams. I never field just one unit as I would rather just use the points and the slot to get an ionhead.
As far as tactics go, I can say this. They are not going to mesh well with a mech or mech heavy style as they are immobile and often don't have LOS to help in the support.
What they are great for are hybrid lists(and I assume static though I never play strictly static).
When I say hybrid lists, I refer to the type of hybrid list I play. I use no mounted Fire Warriors, but I do tend to use a couple of hammerheads(rail and ion), plenty of long range deathrains, lots of Piranhas, a team of 10 kroot(which I consider fast due to their infiltrate), likely a stealth team, and in high points games, maybe a team of ten vespid(though it makes me sick not to take another team of Piranhas in their place). All of that is my mobile or "mech" part of my army, basically anything that can either infiltrate or move 12" in a turn. What makes my lists hybrid are the two support units I use. The first are my static FW with markerlights in 1500 point lists I typically run 3x8 teams with 'ui, bonding, ML, and TL. The other support unit is the sniper drones.
So in 1500 point games I'll have 3 BS3 MLs and 2 BS4 MLs for a total of 5 markerlights all which are very well protected by either being buried in an 8 man squad or hidden behind stealth fields. With these static elements I have options in how I deploy them depending on the threat I am facing. Against assaulty fast or drop pod/deep strike MEQ elements I tend to clump them into 2 seperate bases far enough from one another that no one coherent enemy strike force and roll them all up. If I face horde assaulty I make one big base to maximise the static firebase element. If I face static shooty armies I deploy wherever I fell is most advantageous based on what enemy units are where.
In any case, the best thing about the sniper drones are the marine level BS ML which is hidden by a stealth field. The rail rifles are also great against marines and GEQ but they must be used differently. Against marines, it is best to concentrate their firepower on one marine unit(not neccessarily the ML though). This can quickly whittle down an MEQ unit and also causes pinning checkls. Against GEQ they don't do damage fast enough to really be worth it in terms of kills, however, they can split their fire with their target locks, and since their high STR and low AP means almost all hits will be wounds, you can shoot at 3 seperate units and have good chance to cause multiple pinning checks.
As far as ML usage, I wouldn't use their hits to boost their own BS, instead I'd boost a railhead/ionhead, a piranha team hunting armor, vespid, stealths, or even one of the 8 man FW teams. Reason being that they have so few shots, it usually doesn't take advantage of the BS boost efficicently.
So if you can imagine what my tactics look like, I use my mobile elements to take the fight to the enemy (kroot, stealth, piranha, vespid, HH, etc) while my static elements hang back and markerlight whatever needs markerlighting. It is nice BTW to be able to get an average 3 or so ML hits per round on virtually any unit on the board.
So the majority of the army is out fighting the enemy in the middle areas of the boards, while the static elements support. A special note on the deathrains, I typically hold them back with the static elements since they can use their great range to their advantage, and also if anything does get near to the base, they can jump in and flame them with their flamers(I use cheap deathrains). Other ways of handling getting overrun is to block with skimmer walls from either the HH or the Piranha. Also, you can sacrifice the non scoring snipers so the FW's can disengage and try to join up with one of the other static elements.
There is a lot more to how I run my tactics, but snipers are an essential element of the static portion of my hybrid lists as they add ML hits, MEQ punch, and pinning against GEQ.
I find the Skyray with a few upgrades is a more potent ML threat and has good firepower but has the additional advantage of mobility without restriction to firing the ML's, it can also target two units per turn and is very tough to stop.
I do like the way they can split fire and target separate units and I think its a shame they are classed as heavy weapons squads, they would be much better in the elites slot, because snipers are elite and this would remove one of the main reasons for not taking them 'the loss of a heavy slot'.
I think the non scoring unit status is very poor, Gun drones squads are scoring units and they include a FW controller, so why are they excluded as scoring units.
This non scoring status it has to be said is the one reason that tips me towards not taking them, thanks for the detailed help.
I think this thread is very much finished now unless anyone can work up a strong case for them, I am not saying the are a bad unit by any means (they work for Isra) just cannot see how they would work for a mobile list type.
Excatly Riki, if you are running an all mech list, then Skyrays are the way to go, since they can keep up with the rest of the army. And yeah, the non scoring status thing is the one thing that really nettles me.
Though one benefit to the snipers is the ability to run 3 teams of them in one slot. They actually become less worthwhile the fewer teams you run.
The three in one slot is a nice benefit and I when I do a hybrid list again in the future (I love Hybrid lists) I am gonna consider taking some.
Yeah, they really are invaluable in a hybrid list since they are another unit that can be placed with the FW's, and they add the anti MEQ firepower static bases usually lack. Plus, the ability to cuase up to 9 pinning checks in one turn(for 3 teams) usually means there will be something that gets pinned. But I think they certainly should be scoring units, I have no idea why GW deels the need to continually screw us when it seems lilke marines get all the love and no drawbacks. If you don't agree with that statement, I have 2 things to point out. 30 point drop pods which don't follow any of the DS rules. And the other is assault cannons, the only gun in the game that is absolutely the best all around, and against things like hordes, and any vehicle, they are the very best in the game. We don't have any guns that approach that level of versatility and offense. Add to that the best basic stat line in the game for a way undercosted point, 3+ saves, a huge armory of upgrades, way to many unit choices, a trait system, chapter specific armies, and even the ability to make an army from up to 4 codexes(deamonhunters/witchunters).
Sorry this turned into an "I hate GW anti marine rant" but I just get so sick of assault cannon marine armies, drop pod FotD armies, and other such "unbeatable" army lists. Marines don't encourage thoughtful tactics, no instead playing marines only requires a person to be somewhat decent at list building. Playing the Tau, requires thoughtful tactical planning, not simply running down the field, screaming littanies to the emperor, and relying on a 3+ save to save them where their tactics do not.
I dislike the smurfs as much as the next person, but that's only because of how common they are, not because of what they are. I too am extremely tired of all the hoopla these guys get. Enough, already!
That aside, the marines are designed from the ground up to be very resilient and have multiple redundancies. They're the ultimate generalist army, able to be truly "balanced" or extremely specialized. (It also helps that marines are the base standard of "points efficiency" against which all other units in all other armies are measured.) The tactical squad is the perfect example of this design philosophy. It would be possible to build a solid smurf list from just a single HQ choice, a full complement of tactical squads, and then whatever else you need to fill out points for the game you're playing. Such an army would be extremely challenging to play, of course, but it could be done. Successfully! With how many other armies can one do this?
Anyway, the point is that list-building isn't enough. Marines might be just about the easiest army to make a list with. It's almost impossible to screw it up. But that doesn't change the fact it still requires a fine general directing that army to be effective.
There are only two armies for which I reserve ire at the game designers: Eldar and Chaos. Yeah, sure, Eldar are fragile and few in number, but there are some absolutely killer combos in that army codex! Including unit synergies is one thing, but really. That army can be sick. Just sick. Same with Chaos. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that a "solid" Chaos list directed by a quality general to be the single most difficult army to beat in the game, though Eldar is a close second.
ninjabackhand: point and click, again, really? even after i give you an military term "shock tactic" you still call it point and click.
RIP Warhammer 40,000: 21 Sep 1998 - 24 May 2014
Don't even get me stared on chaos, they are like regular marines with a bigger armory. Though not having assault cannons is nice.
I played Marines and I sill play with Wolves but I find the lack of challenge in creating a decent Marine list boring.