Tau Unit Tactica: Vespid

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Olannon


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With the new Tau Empire codex out, it is time to revise our former tacticas, and make some new ones for our new units - the Vespid are one of these new units.

Firstly, we need to know 3 basic points about the Vespid:

  • What are they capable of?
  • What will be their purpose?
  • What use can they be put to?

When we have made these 3 basis points clear, we can start looking at their battlefield role, and how to achieve success with them.

  • The Vespid carry a powerful gun, have weak melee stats (but are surprisingly fast!), cannot stand up to much beating, and they are very fast. This means that they are mostly capable of inflicting damage in the shooting phase, and that they will not be able to cope with any dedicated firepower. In other words, we have a specialised unit which needs to be used against what it is effective against in order to be effective in our army. Their powerful guns means that they are able to take on and counter medium infantry (note: for in-game reasons, 6+/5+ save counts as light infantry, 3+/4+ save  counts as medium infantry, while 2+ save counts as heavy infantry. I also assume that 6+/5+ save have T3, 4+ save T3, while 2+/3+ save units have T4), but at a cost: powerful guns are expensive.Let us take a look on how the Vespid will perform against light infantry. A squad of 10 Vespid fire at 10 Imperial Guard (light infantry). On average, 4.17 guardsmen will drop. This might seem impressive, but for the same cost we could have roughly bought 5 stealth suits, which would've downed 6.25 guardsmen. The stealth suits are far more efficient against light infantry than the Vespid. Vespid should not be used against light infantry, we have other units which excels at this area. A squad of 10 Vespid fire at 10 Fire Warriors (the medium infantry). On average, 4.17 Fire Warriors will die. Our 5-man stealth team would've downed 3.13 on average against the same unit- our Vespid are more efficient. We could also compare them to our Deathrain Crisis suits (with targeting arrays), in which case it would be roughly 3 of them for our 10-man Vespid unit. These 3 Deathrain suits would've killed 4.44 Fire Warriors. This is pretty close to the Vespid, but bear in mind that Deathrain suits have thrice the range of Vespid. Deathrain suits are better suited to fight the lighter medium infantry. Our 10 Vespid now open fire on 10 Assault Marines. 3.34 Assault Marines will bite the dust, on average. This is where the Vespid truly shine, against the heavier medium infantry. Although, admittedly, Fire Warriors will do even better, point-by-point against marines, they don't have the speed of the Vespids. And, not to forget, the speed of the Vespid in close combat will sometimes assure you that the last guy falls before he can strike back. If 9 Vespid assault, 1 marine goes down (on average), and this can really be helpful. Against heavy infantry, I will not even bother you with the maths, you all understand that AP3 weapons firing at 2+ save units are a waste.
  • The purpose of the Vespid will mostly be up to yourself, as it is your army. However, there are areas where they shine, and areas where they are truly a waste of points. Vespids are fast, not resilient, have firepower, not cc abilities. Their purpose will, no matter what, fill a role in the army.
  • What role do you put them to?
     Well, you could use them as an anti-assault unit. They can really pack a punch against those nasty assault marines closing in. If you can spare a couple of markerlights, they get even better; a squad of 10 Vespid will kill over 5 marines (on average) if they have 2 markerlight hits. This will really give any assault unit a bloody nose. Vespid can also be used to hunt down enemy heavy firepower, provided they have enough cover to move through. Having 10 Vespid aiming their guns at those devastators with lascannons = priceless (especially if guided). Although Vespid are not resilient by any means, you could use them as a bait. Once your opponent has seen his glorious tooled-up veteran squad obliterated by those Vespid once, he will never forget it. If you are clever, it could be possible to move the Vespid into a seemingly dangerous and aggressive position, in which case he might overreact and send too much after them, and voila, you have a perfect trap. A 4th way to use the Vespid is to block a good approach route. If you have a lot of terrain on your right flank, sending your Vespid preferably aided by a stealth team (for added anti-light infantry firepower) will usually block it. This way you deny your opponent a covered route to your fragile units (wouldn't want crisis in melee against power-fist wielding guys, eh?) and forcing him out into the open. Besides, the Vespid are fast enough to re-deploy after you have made sure he has given up the route.

So, To Summarize:

  • Vespid are lethal, but they only excel against units in the medium infantry area (T4, 3+ save)
  • They are fast, but as a consequence their points cost go up
  • Treat them as if they were made out of glass, ie do not let them stand out in the open to receive heavy bolter fire (unless you are really really desperate)
  • Find out if they add anything vital to your army. If the Vespid suit your style of play and they add a vital part, use them. If not, leave them at home.
  • Know how to use their different roles. It is not always a good thing to use them as heavy weapon hunters, and likewise it is not always good to use them as anti-assault specialists.

So, how will these small flying creatures perform in a game, and how exactly can you achieve success with them?

As with any other unit in the Tau army, it is essential (to say the least,) that you find them a role to perform within the army, and fulfil that role. Failing this will result in your Vespid ending up as a waste of points, and a rather useless addition which probably shouldn't been there in the first place. It is very important to highlight the fact that this doesn't mean that unless your Vespid kill equal to or more points than you paid for them. For example, take soccer. The guy who scores is not necessarily the important one. Translated to the Vespid situation, I'm trying to say that if you have forced those Striking Scorpions into the open where the rest of your army can obliterate them through blocking a path with the Vespid, they have fulfilled their role, even though they haven't killed a single model! Another example would be the Deathrain suit. You don't buy a Deathrain suit to kill one third of a Leman Russ. You buy a Deathrain suit to add anti-light vehicle and anti-medium infantry firepower. Warhammer 40,000 is not a game where things are all about getting your points back. If you are to ever achieve success with Tau, this needs to be realized. Do not rely on the Vespid winning the day alone. As with any other Tau unit, they need assistance and support, and they need to be assisting and supporting. Vespid are not a one-man-army in the same way that some Chaos squads can be, so don't expect them to either. Probability shows us that, guided by 2 markerlights, they should kill over 5 on average. However, don't count on it too much, it might be 3, it might be 7. You never know.
The Vespid can easily become a nasty target that your opponent doesnt want around. The same as the sniper teams will be. They could possibly be used with such teams. Setting up a team on a center lane of fire forces your opponent to keep his infantry out of there. Next you move the vespid up the flank to threaten your enemy. When he moves to get rid of them if you made sure that he is entering a second mostly unnoticed fire lane to the drone teams; voila you have two anti 3+ save units suddenly able to put the hurt on the enemy. Once this is accomplished with the Vespid speed you can redeploy them and get them back to your lines.
They can be used to hold an objective. Rush them to a bunker or a defencible objective and put them in there. Their speed lets them get to it before the enemy, the objective helps boost their defences and their weapons help ward away any attempts by the enemy to force them out. Or it may make the enemy target that specific objective with too much of his army, drawing him into a trap or allowing you to take other objectives.
Remove the Vespid from the main core of your army, the meat of your army and learn to not relly on them too much. Think of them more as a very nice boon on the side and not a basic reliable unit. Use it to push or pull enemies from the main core, kill units harasing the core, etc but dont focus on them as you would the core of your army.
Last but not least, do not go overkill and buy too many Vespid for the job. It never pays off.
 




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