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Of all the new units in the Tau codex, the Skyray (SR) is probably the most misunderstood and under appreciated.
The 1st thing to understand about the SRis it is not a tank, it is not meant to be the out and out offensive beast that the Hammerhead is and this needs to be understood to get the most out it.
This is probably the single biggest reason the SR is not taken, this idea that it is an inferior Tank, but this is the wrong way to look at the SR, it is not a tank.
So what is the best way to look at it then?
The SR is a heavy infantry support vehicle, all its main armaments are directly geared towards support.
Take the Markerlights (ML) and seeker missiles for instance, ask a Tau player what are the ML on an SR are for and 9 times out of 10 the answer will be "to enable it to fire its Seeker missiles" wrong, they are there to marker light targets, now granted the ML allows the SR to fire one of its seekers but thats only a part of it.
The SR uses its ML to support other units, by improving the units chances of hitting the target or increasing the units chances of gaining a pinning result etc, the SR can do this for 2 separate units a turn and that is invaluable. Just one ML hit can make all the difference to a units success, that Submunnition round hits on 2+ rather than 3, the FW unit is rapid firing at 3+ (or 2+ if both ML's are used) and that makes a big difference, that Marine unit is working at -1 or -2 to LDS for its pinning test and thats gotta help, that unit in cover, well drop a subs round on em and use the ML hit to reduce its cover saves.
Support is where the SR shines not as a tank
The SR has six Seekers and this is somehow seen as a hindrance to its effectiveness, how many times has it been said "oh it fires its missiles and then its useless" but useless as what 'A tank' well it never was a tank anyway.
Lets put this supposed firepower limitation into context, lets take a Whirlwind for instance it has 6 turns with 1 shot at a maximum STR6 nobody says whirlwinds are useless because they only get 6 shots, or a basilsk with its earth shaker cannon thats STR_ and AP_ only +1 pt of STR higher than the seeker no one says paah not taking that it only gets 6 shots in a game.
Now I am not saying the seeker is as good as an earth shaker but its not a bad weapon its capable of destroying armour up to AV14 and it is good at taking down TGH4 characters and quite good at taking wounds from things like Carnifexes. It also needs remembering that many characters and monstrous creatures only have 3+ saves and the Seeker is pretty much guaranteed to take a wound (even with 4+ inv their is still a good chance of it taking a wound).
It also has to be remembered that as long as you have any ML's working on the table, those seekers can always be called, even if the Skyray is shaken or stunned
However the thing to remember is not to be tempted to just throw the seekers at the first target that presents itself, I tend to save them for taking down transports (which tend to be around AV11) hitting on 2+ and 3+ to glance on AV11 is not at all bad, I will tend to do this even if another apparently more tempting target is available (say a dread) because the longterm tactical gameplay implications are better by putting the transported unit on foot allowing the rest of my list time to defeat them, rather than have them in my lines. This is another example of the support I am talking about and not falling into the tank mentality which would demand multiple seekers at the dread.
So lets take a further look at those ML's:
(1) They are classed as defensive weapons but have no strength, now this is important because it means that the ML's are immune to armament destroyed results, so to stop a SR from using its ML's you either have to stun or shake it or destroy it.
(2) The SR is the only unit in the Tau list that can move and take its with ML with it, this is important as it can move to gain LOS with no restrictions and this leads to the next point.
(3) The SR does not rely on other units to be in LOS with ML's, it takes its own with it, so as long as it can see the target it can use its ML's and Seekers.
(4) Give the SR a Multi tracker and a Targeting array and it can move 12" a turn and fire its ML's at BS_, there are no other units in the Tau list that can do this making the Skyray the most efficient and consistent ML platform.
Now the point about the ML's being immune to weapon destroyed results has led to some debate about the Seeker missiles being immune to them as well, the argument is that when taken on other vehicles they are not counted as the vehicles weaponry, now the wording for seekers on a SR says the SR is armed with 6 seekers, but then again so is any vehicle that takes Seekers, they are armed with them but they cannot fire them.
The SR seekers can be called remotely by any other ML equipped unit just as any other vehicles, and they have to be called by the SR's Marker lights so in effect they are fired remotely as well (only the ML actually fires using the BS of the vehicle)so are they remotely called weapons hitting on 2+ exactly the same as any other vehicle (they can be called by other units) or are they vehicle controlled as the SR can expend its own markers.
Now I believe they should be immune to armament destroyed results but play it the other way at my club and with friends, though I think this point needs clarification, because remember if SR could take seekers from the armoury they would be able to fire them using their networked ML's but they would be immune to Armament destroyed results even though the firing method would be exactly the same.
This could actually work against the Skyray because if a vehicle gets an immobalised or armament destroyed result when it is already immobalised or has no weapons above STR4 then it is destroyed and the SR would only have two Burst cannons or an SMS to remove as the ML's and seekers would be immune.
So we have a vehicle that has 6 STR8 shots a game, can move 12" a turn (with Multi) and hit on BS3(with TA) and ML two separate units per turn and it has Hammerhead equivalent armour.
It also has another advantage 'low perceived threat index' this means that most opponents will tend to dismiss the SR as a threat especially if its seekers are all but depleted, this is doubly so if a couple of Hammerheads are on the table, this can really be an advantage in a few ways.
Because its not perceived as a threat it can get into position easier without drawing undo attention, this allows for prime LOS situations, draw a nice LOS to that hidden Basilsk, try doing that with a Hammerhead or Pathfinder unit.
Also because it is not perceived as a threat it will not draw anywhere near as much firepower as say a HH and this means it will usually finish the game intact, which means it will retain valuable VP's by denying your opponent them and will remain a scoring unit. I have used the SR any times to secure objectives, and that lack of threat works again here by allowing you to maneuver the SR into favourable positions you simply could not achieve with other more threatening units like HH's.
I also think that SMS have a place on the Skyray, given their need to be within 36" to use the ML's and the lack of threat I discussed it is quite easy to get the SR into a position where those SMS shots can be handy given the closer range nature of the SR a unit will fall into range quite often and they do not even have to be in LOS (useful if you have the points to spare).
Lastly their is often the argument that the SR is no replacement for the Hammerhead and this again is falling into the SR is a crap tank mentality again, the SR is and has never been a replacement for the HH, it should be thought of a complimentary to the HH, its ML's can really help two HH to work effectively every turn, they can also take heat of the HH by using its seekers to take down the mid range AV vehicles and helping other units (such as MP equipped XV8's) to destroy vehicles and things like Dreads, Warwalkers, sentinels, Trukks etc, you have to decide what you want from you heavy slots, 3 slots of HH killing power, or two HH with effective support for the REST of your list (including the HH) and some reasonable additional firepower.
We have to really get out of this SR is a tank mentality an see the SR for what it is, a valuable support tool.
I hope this brief description of some of the Skyrays benefits will mean more players stop seeing it as a second rate Hammerhead and see it for what it is a valuable part of the Tau army - Bah! Stat posting! - Firedrake28
Last edited by Katie Drake; February 16th, 2007 at 19:26.
Either I'm really easy to convince or that was a goood interpratation of what SR's are for.
i do agree with you my only problem with SR's is....I don't have one!
not every single thing with an AV over 11 is meant to be a tank like a HH and march out there and get in combat not sayin that HH's are meant to get close up but you get what i mean.
It doesn't think, it doesn't feel,
It doesn't laugh or cry.
All it does, from dusk 'till dawn,
Is make the soldiers die.
Commander Cyrus's Black Legion. W1/D0/L1
Very nice! I got new thought´s actually now about the SR.
Just one question what should be the "minimum" points for play, does it work on 1500 army?
Though I will say that mid range armour is the norm for 1000pts and the SR is easily capable of taking this down, though I would not like to lose the submunniton option.
OK I've had it! I know this post is about a SR and I will maintin the integrity of the post but I am going to interject for a minute.
I guess I get really upset when people tell me that they wouldn't take a particular unit until a certain point limit. What makes the unit better at a higher point limit? It is the same unit, offering the same advantages. As long as you have two squads of anything the SR is almost at full effectiveness. Just like how Riki said, it is a support unit and yes I agree with more units on the board, it's variety of support becomes better; use it wisely and it is a dangerous addition to the Tau army list.
I personally used one in a 1000 pt game. Let me tell you; my opponent under-estimated the SR until the 4th turn when he just got fed up. It took out a transport on the first turn and lit-up another unit for my HH's rail-sub shot which ended up killing about 9 models. Next it moved into position and double lit up a fast attack squad quickly coming for my static FW squads (2 of em). The fire-warriors, although not in RF range still managed to devestate the entire squad with both of them hitting on 3+. Next it launched 2 seekers at his Darchon and retinue. Let's just say they was less of a threat after that. and then finally lit up the incubi for my stealth team on turn 4 (OMG THAT WAS COOL), but then out of my own stupidity placed it's rear in plain LOS to a dark lance. He got a lucky shot but it still was the end of my SR.
Moral of the story, most average (even good players) have already under-estimated the SR especially when paired with a HH. He only started to begin to understand the SR threat until mid-game, by that time it had helped take out almost 3 times it's worth in points. Literally it assisted my army in going through nearly half of his. He had to quickly change his game plan to combat the SR threat... It worked but too late for him. Good for him though, the next three turns would have all been seeker launches to deplete the remaining squads he had left. Love the SR.
Hi there, I'm a new Tau player (just building my list at the moment) and i've already decided that I would like to take a Sky Ray in 1500 points. To be honest i'd never really seen the Sky Ray as a source of Markerlights for other units so your Tactica helped Riki - thanks a lot.
My question is this though - should i take more markerlight equipped units in my army? I have a mech theme and was planning to take 8 pathfinders to add to the markerlight party. Is this a good idea?
You are getting 6 STR8 shots and I would advise at the very least one railgun equipped Hammerhead.
The HQ would probably be best served with 2 Shas'Els (helios or Fire Knife multi's) this lot will cost you:
Warfish (SMS, TA, Multi and DL) 120pts I would advise this for the firepower it can add and Pathfinders don't really need the Devilfish as they are essentially a static unit, so use the DF as an offensive unit
Two Shas'Els PL/FU/TA and HW multi (or MP instead of fusion) 97pts each.
Thats 730pts which leaves you 770 to play with, I would advise Stealths (180) and a Deathrain (116) or Fireknife team (143), these are two man teams built to be able to split fire.
1 unit of FW in a DF 130 + 85
Thats max 1241, so what next?
Now I don't know if you like Kroot or like FW's but I would advise two units of Kroot (10) with 6 hounds for 106 points each team.
With that lot you would have
2 X Shas'Els 194pts
Stealth team 180pts
Deathrains (2 man team) 116pts or Fireknife (2 man team) 143pts
12 Fire warriors with Shas'Ui and Pulse rifles 130pts
Devil fish with DL's 85pts
2 X Kroot (10 man squad) with 6 hounds 212pts
8 pathfinders 96pts
Warfish (SMS,Multi, TA and DL's) 120pts
Hammerhead with railgun, BC, Multi and DL's 165pts
Skyray Seekers, ML's, TA, Multi and DL's 155pts
For the Deathrain variant thats 1453pts and 1480 for the fireknife variant list.
With the extra points you could add some extras to units like a couple of seekers to the Devilfish each thats 40pts (the deathrainlist)its up to you.
This is just an example of what can be achieved their are other units to consider like Piranhas (these could be taken instead of the stealths) or sniper drone units instead of the Pathfinders.
Anyway the list I advised will give you a hard hitting list and includes the pathfinders. hope I have given you some ideas.
Hi Riki, its quite scary how close you came to writing up my list! don't want to risk this list ending up in the army list section but my list is basically:
Shas'el with Fusion/Plasma
Shas'el with MP/Plasma (Fireknife?)
2 x Suits with MP that can target independently (Deathrain?)
2 x 10 FW in War Fish
8 x PF in Warfish
Railhead with SMS and all the toys
Ionhead with SMS and all the toys
Sky Ray with SMS and all the toys
need to go back through all the posts and learn what Fireknife and Deathrain suits are so i'm 'in with the lingo'
i'm a bit concerned about fielding 6 vehicles - i've looked at sniper drones and discounted them as they seem too static. also looked at stealths and i like them - just can't seem to fit them in. Maybe I could drop the Ion Head for Stealths or more suits. The Sky Ray is here to stay though
I take a 2 man squad with 1 outfitted as above and another as a team leader (+5pts), TA and HW target lock, this gives the opportunity to target two separate targets a turn or combine fire if needed on one unit. brilliant unit and cheap.
Good thing about these is you can keep em at max weapons range to keep them safe, keep em behind cover jump out fire and then jump back behind said cover.
Firefknife = Plasma, Missile Pod and Multi, gets 4 shots at 12", 3 shots at 24" and two at 36".
I recommend two man team 1 outfitted as above and the other team leader with Targeting array, HW multi and HW target lock, this gives 1 hitting on 3+, 1 on 4+ and the ability to target 2 units a turn or combine fire on one unit.
Some will say don't take the HW target lock but for 5pts it gives you flexibility, so I say take it.