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I've read through the main rulebook and Tau Empire Codex, and I am having a hard time understanding exactly when you do and don't get to take the 4+ invulnerable save for Shield Drones.
Here is my common scenario -
3x Crisis Suits
6x Shield Drones
So, I understand all 9 models form a single unit and everyone has a 3+ armor save. The drones also each have a 4+ invulnerable save.
When taking wounds from weapons higher/worse than AP3, I am going to take normal armor saves and apply the wounds however I choose (within the limitations as specified in the core rulebook).
When taking wounds from AP2 and lower weapons, only the drones get a save.
If I am shot and have say.....7 AP2 wounds to save against....how does this work?
Slightly different scenario....say the shield drones no longer make up the majority save in the squad and there are only 3 left.....how does this work when there are 3 AP2 wounds to save against?
Since I have read the majority armor save rules from pg. 70-something in the core rulebook and I don't think they really cover when\if invulnerable saves are treated differently than armor saves my interpretation would be that you can only take the 4+ saves as long as they make up the majority.
Is this the correct way to play? Is there a clear ruling from Games Workshop somewhere else?
One thing to understand is that mixed armour applies to armour saves, the drones ALWAYS have the same armour save but you can always elect to take an invulnerable save if the model is equipped with it (which a shield drone obviously is), so a drone can be allocated a wound from an AP2 weapon and still take its invulnerable.
The shield drone adopts the toughness and save of the owning model so the majority toughness rules do not apply nor do mixed armour, the 3 drones, 3XV8 scenario would go the same way, if you got hit by 3 AP2 weapons then you could give the three hits to the three drones because they have the same armour save and toughness and you can always use the drones invulnerable, so its common sense to use the drones.
if you had 2 drones and 3 XV8's and got hit by 3 AP2 shots, then again you would give two wounds to the drones but an XV8 must be allocated the remaining hit.
One more thing to remember if the unit takes as many or more wounds than the unit has models then the opponent can make you take a save on the XV8's so if you got hit by say 6 AP2 shots and had 3 drone and 3 XV8's the opponent could make you take a wound on the XV8 which would mean insta kill.
The thing to remember is that the invulnerable save has no bearing on majority toughness or mixed armour.
EDIT: by the way welcome to the forum and a good first question.
Thanks Rikimaru, I appreciate the explanation.
also the drone confers a 4 + invulnerable save, so everyone has the same saves.
The invulnerable save always stays at 4+, and it is drone specific, it does not get carried over to the unit or model controlling it, it never did in the old or new codex. I don't know where you got the idea it confers the invulnerable from.
Basically if a model with a shield drone gets hit and wounded with 2 lascannon shots, the suit takes a wound (you have to allocate a wound to the suit) and dies because it has no invulnerable, the drone would be removed irrespective of whether it passed its inv save or not (controlling model has gone so drone removed), if the suit and drone got hit by 1 lascannon the drone could be allocated the wound and take its inv save, if you were daft enough to allocate the lascannon to the suit then an inv save could not be taken becasue the suit has none and again the suit would die (no armour save possible).
It should also be noted that if a shield drone is controlled by a stealth suit, it gets the spotting benefits of the stealth field as well