Tau Unit Tactica: Sniper Drones

This Article was written by:
Olannon


Posts: 1,033
Karma: 14
No Comments View rating View Rating [Report to Mod] Report to Librarian
One of the biggest changes in the new Tau Empire Codex was the Heavy Support options. Before, we only had 2 real options (seeing as no-one used Krootox): Hammerhead and Broadsides. The amount we now have is twice as many. Interesting one might say, but this provides another difficult issue:

- Can you prioritize?

With 4 strong units competing for the Heavy Support slots, it might be hard to fill all needs. This is especially true now that the vehicles and Broadsides have more options than ever before. Besides, Heavy Support units are the only ones sporting railguns. Will it be worth it taking those Sniper Drones?
Sniper Drones are totally new to any Tau player. They are a different unit with some interesting abilities. Many players complained back in the days of the old Codex: "How come Tau have no snipers?". The waiting is over. The Sniper Drones are here!
What kind of unit is the Sniper Drones?
  • Sniper Drones are an entirely different unit than any other Tau unit we have ever seen. Sporting the distracting Stealth Field, the powerful Rail Rifles and even a markerlight; these guys are an interesting choice for a mere 80 points per team. They are only a precious few per team, and eliminating one key model might prove to be the demise of the squad. Still, they do sport powerful guns, and their defensive measures are impeccable if they can keep their enemies at range. Sadly, they are only a 0-1 choice (you get to take 3 teams though), so it is not possible to have loads of them.

- With these statistics, we can begin to form a picture of the Sniper Drones:

  • They have pretty good firepower (and pin!)
  • At range they are untouchable
  • If your enemies can get close, chances are your team will die
  • The low model count means that they will be vulnerable to basically everything
  • Last but not least, it is important to note that they are not scoring (doh!)
The firepower of the Sniper Drones are best used against normal Marines, Necrons and similar units. They can only fire a few shots, but those shots are devastating if they can reach their intended target. As a team sports 3 Rail Rifles, I think we can all agree that it is ineffective to fire upon conscripts with Sniper Drones (except maybe for the pinning ability). If we disregard the markerlight, our Snipers will kill 1.25 Marines on average. In other words, this is ~40% more kills than a team of Fire Warriors (8 Fire Warriors = the cost of our Snipers) could kill (above rapid-fire range). Wow! This is what I call effective static firepower! And then, we haven't even taken the markerlight into account. Considering that our Fire Warriors are very strong basic troopers with the best basic gun in the game, our Snipers truly must be a good unit!
Continuing our example earlier, let's assume our units of Fire Warriors and Snipers are having a "firefight" with a small group of Tactical Marines. Assuming the Marines to sport a heavy bolter (making their cost = Snipers) and the range ~30", we can now continue our example:
 The Fire Warriors will most likely be ripped apart in a few turns by the heavy bolter, while the Snipers will probably get away pretty safely.
However, what happens if these Marines get to, say, 18" and pass their Stealth Field test? Most likely your Snipers will be dead.

1st lesson learned

Snipers are awesome against Marine Equivalents in terms of offensive firepower. They are also quite good at dodging enemy long-ranged firepower.
However...
-If- the enemy can get close, it is pretty much over for your snipers.
Thus we have a weak unit at close range who can provide us with some excellent medium-ranged firepower.

Alright, the basic theory and some Mathhammer results. What about their role on the actual battlefield?

As many players have pointed out, there is a lack of "medium-guns" in a Tau army. We have loads of S5 basic guns and some awesome S10 heavy guns, but in-between there are precious few. Usually, these weapons are sported by our Crisis Suits. However, many players don't like these. Some players again play static Tau, in which case the Crisis' will not even be there (barring the mandatory Commander). These players will want another unit to provide some "medium-guns". Sniper Drones are an excellent choice here. Their weapons can threaten even light vehicles and skimmers trying to sneak up your flank, they can (with a bit of luck) pop transports and they provide excellent weapons against Marine Equivalents.
Seeing as the Snipers are not mobile enough, they will never appear in a Mechanised list. However, there are plenty of options for them in a Static and Hybrid list.

With the much needed S6 guns, our Snipers can be used in different ways:

  • Stay with the main gunline
  • Cover a flank
  • Decoys (Stealth Field)
Bear in mind that they are not scoring units
If you decide to stick your Snipers to the main gunline, it is pretty simple, really. It's just a matter of finding the good spots for them, and prioritize correctly. Several posts have been made about target prioritizing earlier, and they are worth reading - just do a forum search. Anyway, Snipers in the main gunline is just like any other units: Find them a good spot, be careful not to expose them to too much (usually not a problem unless the enemy gets really close), have LOS to everything you want to fire at and make sure to prioritize correctly.
If you decide to use the Snipers to cover a flank, they should not be there alone. As their weaponry is very specialised, you will typically want a small, flexible unikt with them. Fire Warriors (maybe mounted to increase mobility) will work excellent here. Kroot will also do a very good job; especially if they can find some woods nearby. If you know you are facing Marine Equivalents a small squad of Vespid might be a good choice. It all depends. Use them in conjunction with whatever unit is effective against the enemies you will expect to try the flanking approach.Important! Bear in mind that although the Snipers are primarily bought for their anti-Marine firepower, it may sometime be worth it to fire upon weaker targets.
Example: You have decided to use the Snipers as a flank protecting unit. An Imperial player sends a team of Veterans up your flank. An allied contingent of Tactical Marines advances on your main line. The pinning ability of the Snipers might make it worthwhile to stand your ground and fire at the veterans. A re-deployment can be time-consuming.
We have all heard ofKauyon, the patient hunter. Usually, this is what playing Static Tau lists is all about. This tactic is usually about setting a trap. In order to set a trap, a decoy is needed. Due to their Stealth Field, the Snipers can be a good lure. They are also cheap, and not scoring, so if the situation turns hopeless for the decoy, they are expendable. More so than most of the other units in our book! The guns they sport will also ensure that most players will want to eliminate them ASAP. The pinning, the sheer power, even the casual markerlight hit will make most players fear them.




No comments

Other Content

All the content currently available!
Showing page 1 of 19 pages
[Next] [Last Page]
Army: Category: View:
ArticleAuthorDate AddedRatingCommentsViews
Ork Skullhamma Battlefortress "Wartanker"Khanaris7th Jun 10Current rating for this item: 4.5 stars
4.5 stars
-41509
Tau PiranhaOggy7th Jun 10Current rating for this item: 3 stars
3 stars
-21880
Sa'Cea XV84 Shas'el De'mure (BATTLESUIT COMMANDER)BlairH19th Apr 10Current rating for this item: 4.5 stars
4.5 stars
-18336
Multiple Assaults And Youcrazyguy83210th Apr 10Current rating for this item: 4.5 stars
4.5 stars
-10105
The Art of Vengeance: Using Sternguard RoundsWarpspiderman1st Apr 10Current rating for this item: 4 stars
4 stars
111455
Blood Angels Codex Review/Thoughtscrazyguy83213th Mar 10Current rating for this item: 4.5 stars
4.5 stars
-22872
Ork Army List TacticaEasyification7th Mar 10Current rating for this item: 4 stars
4 stars
-15784
Urban BasesMurchankite9th Feb 10Current rating for this item: 5 stars
5 stars
-26781
Plastic Grey Knight TerminatorsGreyDeath30th Jan 10Current rating for this item: 4.5 stars
4.5 stars
129850
Slaaneshi Keeper of SecretsSILK20th Jan 10Current rating for this item: 4.5 stars
4.5 stars
-9833
Chaotic Tactica - Chaos LordsSILK6th Jan 10Current rating for this item: 5 stars
5 stars
-9456
The Wolfwing - TacticaEasyification3rd Jan 10Current rating for this item: 5 stars
5 stars
-11614
Daemonettes, anyone?SILK1st Jan 10Current rating for this item: 4.5 stars
4.5 stars
-9853
Using Green StuffAunny23rd Dec 09Current rating for this item: 3.5 stars
3.5 stars
-12176
Ruined BuildingCar'Lel23rd Dec 09Current rating for this item: Not rated
Not rated
-11407
Slaanesh Daemon PrinceAlabaster23rd Dec 09Current rating for this item: 3 stars
3 stars
-30722
A Guide to Playing 40K FasterThor{DoH}21st Dec 09Current rating for this item: 4.5 stars
4.5 stars
-9208
Seeking Alternatives - Constructing a List that Works for Youxx21st Dec 09Current rating for this item: Not rated
Not rated
-13486
Arnell's Ascendancy [Novel length, Part 4]Tyross (FT)20th Dec 09Current rating for this item: Not rated
Not rated
-8487
Dark Angels Verses Ulthwe [Battle Report and anti-wraithlord tactica]Tyross (FT)20th Dec 09Current rating for this item: 2 stars
2 stars
-12795
Enemies Of Ancient EldarRezzy20th Dec 09Current rating for this item: 5 stars
5 stars
-12703
Starting A Tau ArmyTau Online20th Dec 09Current rating for this item: Not rated
Not rated
-19499
Eldar Tactica: Methods of AttackJUST_LIKE_NAM!!!20th Dec 09Current rating for this item: Not rated
Not rated
-12518
Daemonhunters Tactica: Know Thy SelfTyross (FT)20th Dec 09Current rating for this item: Not rated
Not rated
-10333
Chaos Versus EldarTyross (FT)20th Dec 09Current rating for this item: Not rated
Not rated
-10450
Assessment of the Tau EmpireWargamer20th Dec 09Current rating for this item: 2.5 stars
2.5 stars
-14722
Commander FarsightOxiotle20th Dec 09Current rating for this item: Not rated
Not rated
-14289
Eldar Versus KhorneTau-killer20th Dec 09Current rating for this item: Not rated
Not rated
-8701
Conversion Guide: Coverting a Valkyrie to a Vendetta Aunny20th Dec 09Current rating for this item: 4 stars
4 stars
-25687
Tau'Va Tel'OshiWargamer20th Dec 09Current rating for this item: 1 stars
1 stars
134738
Showing page 1 of 19 pages
[Next] [Last Page]

TauOnline.org is completely unofficial and is in no way endorsed by Games Workshop Limited.