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Contemplating the Once & Future Skyray - updated
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Old 25 Oct 2005, 20:19   #1 (permalink)
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Default Contemplating the Once & Future Skyray - updated

Perhaps this is premature, but I've been thinking about how the upcoming Skyray variant Hammerhead might be utilized in a Tau list.

UPDATE: A lot of information came to light during the course of the thread. The new information and analysis will be included in these italicized update blocks.

Skyray as Heavy Weapons Platform
At first glance, the Skyray appears to be hampered by it's own complexity. It's primary weapon is actually a pair of networked Markerlights and a bank of 6 Seeker Missiles. When compared to an Ionhead in direct firing, one must ask why a Skyray would ever be considered useful.

Skyray vs. Ionhead - Direct fire (Primary Weapons Only)
Skyray: 2x Markerlights @ BS4 w/ Seekers hitting @ 2+ = 1.1 Strength 8/3 hits
Ionhead: 3x Ion Cannon shots @ BS4 = 2 Strength 7/3 hits

If I want a skimmer-tank that only hits about once per turn, I'll take a Railhead thank-you-very-much.

UPDATE: The Skyray is expected to be able to fire a full salvo of Seekers at a unit lit by one of it's own networked markerlights. (It is unknown if markerlights from other units will be able to call in such a multi-seeker strike, though it is generally accepted that they will be able to pull at least one missile from the Skyray.) This option changes the equation dramatically, though for only 1-2 turns of firing (depending on salvo size). While this would quickly deplete the missile stores, it would dump an obscene amount of very accurate, very powerful munition upon an enemy unit. This feature alone sets it as an equal partner with the other 'heads.

Skyray as Fire Support Platform
However, because of it's complexity, the equation isn't quite that simple. In a way, it becomes the Tau's only (marginally) credible 'Indirect Fire' Platform. Sit the Skyray behind cover and mark targets from other units (Pathfinders, Tetras, etc) and you can pack a punch without exposing your expensive tank to return fire (just your expensive markerlight units). Once the seekers have been expended, it can then come out and perform the role of a mobile markerlight platform. When compared to the other mobile BS4 markerlight platform, the Tetra, we get the following:

Skyray vs. Tetra: Point & Feature Evaluation
2x Tetra with Targeting Array and 6 Seekers (on other tanks, naturally): 170pts
1x Skyray with a Hammerhead Chassis and secondary weapons systems: ~same cost (still unknown)

The trade-off here is that although the Skyray packs a bigger punch for a similar points cost, The Tetra takes up an under-utilized Fast Attack slot instead of the precious (and increasingly crowded) Heavy Weapon's choice.

UPDATE: The Skyray comes with at built-in Target Lock and is expected to cost "much closer to 100pts than 200" in it's base configuration. Add the requisite Targeting Array, Decoy Launcher, and Multitracker, and this thing is still a bargain - even compared to the Tetra config. However, the loss of the precious heavy slot is a hard blow, so Tetras will still have their place.

Final Preliminary Analysis:
The Skyray appears to take up the role as a Tetra replacement more than it does a Heavy Weapon platform. That may explain why it is largely accepted that the Tetra didn't make the cut to GW Plastic. However, because the Skyray takes up a Heavy Weapons slot, I predict that this newly configured Hammerhead variant will be sidelined in favor of the omnipresent 'Railhead' and it's companion 'Ionhead'. If someone still wants to field a Skyray, they need but order a pair of Tetras from Forgeworld.

UPDATE: The more I hear about the Skyray, the better it gets. I already have a heck of a time speccing the Heavy section of my org chart, and this little monster isn't going to help matters any. I'm loathe to drop any Rail Guns, and an Ion Gun gives me 18 potential primary weapon shots throughout the course of a conflict, compared to the Skyray's 6. I guess time (and codexes) will tell, but it looks like the Skyray is shaping up to be a valued member of the Tau's mighty war machine.

Other items of note:
1) Neither the markerlights nor the seekers themselves are strictly classified as 'weapons', so are likely to be immune from 'Weapon Destroyed' results.
2) Some have speculated that because the seekers are externally mounted, there could be room for troops - making the SR a transport. This rumour, while extremely exciting, is most likely just wishful thinking.
3) Another rumour mentions that the seekers will not deplete when fired - much like Whirlwinds that no longer run out of rockets. Again, very cool. But again, not likely.

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Old 25 Oct 2005, 20:23   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Contemplating the Once & Future Skyray

They should have scrapped the Skyray and taken the Tetra. As you said, the Tetra makes for a better Markerlight tank and the Hammerhead makes a better heavy weapon platform. I fear that, unless someone finds an awesome tactic for it (like FoF for the Devilfish), the Skyray will become the Krootox of 4th edition.

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Old 25 Oct 2005, 21:02   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Contemplating the Once & Future Skyray

Originally Posted by Shas lyn
Skyray: 2x Markerlights @ BS4 w/ Seekers hitting @ 2+ = 1.1 Strength 8/3 hits
You're forgetting that the Skyray can launch any number of it's Rack-Mounted Seekers with a single Markerlight hit.
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Old 25 Oct 2005, 21:06   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Contemplating the Once & Future Skyray

So you devastate one target on the first turn.... and then it becomes a really expensive tetra.
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Old 25 Oct 2005, 21:10   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Contemplating the Once & Future Skyray

Originally Posted by T0nkaTruckDriver
Originally Posted by Shas lyn
Skyray: 2x Markerlights @ BS4 w/ Seekers hitting @ 2+ = 1.1 Strength 8/3 hits
You're forgetting that the Skyray can launch any number of it's Rack-Mounted Seekers with a single Markerlight hit.
Yes, that certainly would change the equation. I know a lot of this is still rumor, but the information I was looking at stated that Skyray 2.0 went back to a 1-Seeker-per-markerhit configuration. Perhaps I misread.
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Old 25 Oct 2005, 21:22   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Contemplating the Once & Future Skyray

The rules as presented in the Taros book aren't completely clear; they state that any and all missiles can be launched against an aerial taret, but don't say whether the same is true of ground-pounder targets as well. I'd dare say it is possible, barring a FAQ stating otherwise.

Another note missed is the mounting of the SMS missile platform or twin burst cannon. Depending on what you want to do with it, you can have a platform still capable of providing excellent indirect fire support or as a more powerful gunship. It becomes a cross between Hammerhead and Devilfish in this regard, as it has less armament than the Hammerhead but equivalent armor strength. In addition, for the direct-fire configuration its own Markerlights make it a fiercely potent attack system, capable of guiding its own or others' gunfire against chosen targets.

For side-shot attempts, the Skyray is a much more survivable and dangerous platform than the Devilfish.
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Old 25 Oct 2005, 22:57   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Contemplating the Once & Future Skyray

YAH I joined another forum hello all

The sky ray is great under the new rules.

First thing itís going to be able to fire its entire seeker missile rack. Other wise why would it have it in its description page der. Also note the manta has a sky ray system but only 1 network marker light and it is only allow to fire to missile a turn hmm. Also the tiger shark AX-10 (love that aircraft) is said to fire a salvo of missile its self so donít be silly the sky ray is still going to fire all its missies! Sadly we have to wait till Tau codex to find out if its only the sky ray can launch as many missiles as it likes or ever maker light can chose how many missile to launch. It is rumour that seekers are going to get a lot better and their for only 2 on each tank, so I presume there is going to be a war gear or a general rule that you can launch ever single missile on a tank if you want.

I think most people under rate it you get 6 missiles, 2 marker light and smart missile / burst cannons / drones on a hammerhead base that pretty amassing you fire off all the missiles off then you still have 2 marker light and a smart missile/burst cannon/ drones.

You must remember that you cant loss the marker lights. If you get weapon destroyed marker lights cant be destroyed where as with other hammerhead the main weapon is the first to go. Even if you donít fire the missiles off how many weapons are there to get rid off hmm 7 not that great loss.

The sky ray after it has fired its missiles to the unwary enemy becomes a low priority target so you can marker light as much as you like also firing off those lovely missiles/burst.

It also cost less than an ion or rail.

Also no one is comparing it instant kill abilities the ion may be able to by pass more saves but not strength enough to instant kill T4 and the rail cannon doesnít fire enough shots. So let take it like how many marker light we get in a game. Lets say it lives for all time thatís 6 marker lights at BS 3 or 8 with targeting array. At least 1 will be used for the missiles so 5(bs3) or 7(bs4) could be use to fire off missiles in a game 11(bs3) or 13 (bs4) seeker missiles. Take in to fact that it unlikely you going to get into combat due to the moving 12Ē each turn. I think the SR is better at firing off missiles than pathfinders as the sky ray can reposition easily with out loosing firing turns. Also donít forget the SMS or BC.

So what about the tetra well armour 10 is really bad your going to be rolling on the glancing table all the time with the range of the marker light its unlikely that your going to escape not being shoot at. All the battle report I read with tetraís are that they where good but got destroyed easily.
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Old 25 Oct 2005, 23:36   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Contemplating the Once & Future Skyray

The only problem I have with the Skyray is the Heavy slot it's gonna take up.
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Old 25 Oct 2005, 23:52   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Contemplating the Once & Future Skyray

Originally Posted by Sanctum
The only problem I have with the Skyray is the Heavy slot it's gonna take up.
ture but i would take it against a thousand sons or necrons heehehehe

on other thing is to rember is how you can use it just to remove a irritating model say a warith lord or a carnflex are perfect for instant removal. even a criss suit team it is perfect for removal of such units just keep thinking of T4 W2 SV3+ models . so 1 200 piont unit for the cost of the skyray on the first turn nice.
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Old 25 Oct 2005, 23:53   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Contemplating the Once & Future Skyray

I'm totally going to have a Skyray once we get to codex V2, I have no HS for my army yet at 1500 pts, and once we get V2 I'm making plans for the further 500 to get to 2000. So now I'm thinking Railhead, Ionhead and Skyray...if they fit to 500 points...
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