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Is adding a drone to a broadside unit a good idea?
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Old 09 Nov 2005, 08:42   #1 (permalink)
Kroot Shaper
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Default Is adding a drone to a broadside unit a good idea?

I was thinking about broadside units in various sized armies, and thought about something. Initially my 3 man broadside unit would be 2 target locks and 1 shield generator, or multitracker if short on points. Then I got to thinking about adding a drone controller in place of a shield generator. I though I'd run it by people in case ther's something I'm missing as everything I've ever heard about drones in 4th ed is "DON'T USE THEM!".

In 4th ed FAQ, it says drones follow majority toughness/armor save rules. They also count towards maximum unit size and counting for below half. Now, a 3 man XV88 unit will be below half if two die. A four man XV88 unit would be AT half when two die. Becuase of majority armor save, the drone has a 2+ save and T4. You might even be able to use it's inv save when hit by a lascannon or something, but even if you don't, you'd save 5 points, get a TL pulse carbine, and still get to remove it as the first casualty (owning player assigns unsaved wounds to models in a unit) if hit by S8 AP2 weapons.

You could do the same thing with a 3 man crisis suit unit, but it would be more expensive as you'd need to upgrade to team leader and take a hard-wired drone controller (I always take Helios or Deathrain suits with multitrackers on the 3rd hardpoint)
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Old 09 Nov 2005, 10:39   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is adding a drone to a broadside unit a good idea?


First, A 2-man broadside unit will be at, not below, half strength when one dies. Very important distinction!

Second, majority rules will dictate that the drones benefit from T4, but they retain their own save. To paraphrase a little Shakespeare, every model's toughness is the unit's, but every model's save is his own. Majority save rules only dictate that the models with the armor type (not armor save, once again, there's a difference) in the majority have to take a save before any saves are taken by any other models. Practically, this means in a unit with 3 broadsides and 2 shield drones, everyone gets T4, but the broadsides have to take saves before the drones...which is ridiculous against, say, lascannons. The forthcoming tau codex is rumored to address this by stating that shield drones, though apparently not gun drones, always take saves first. Essentially, this will be an exception to the majority save rule, but apparently not to the majority toughness rule.

This also means that your idea that you could take two gun drones and always choose to remove them as the first casualties holds no water, for more reasons than I care to explain here.

However, it will be worthwhile to take shield drones if the new codex contains the rumored drone fix. However, as the only thing that broadsides really fear is lascannons, T4 won't do a damned thing for the drones, so you'd be best off taking six shield drones. Expensive, sure, but your three railguns suddenly have nine wounds...Hell, even a hammerhead fanboy like me might be tempted if I get six disposable invulnerable saves for broadsides!

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Old 09 Nov 2005, 13:57   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is adding a drone to a broadside unit a good idea?

There's a little known but very important notation at the bottom of p.85 in italics:

If any non-vehicle units include multi-wound models, count wounds not models to see if a unit is above/below 50% strength.

Therefore if a single Broadside with 2 Drones loses both Drones, it is AT 50% (not below) and therefore still a scoring unit.
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Old 09 Nov 2005, 16:59   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Is adding a drone to a broadside unit a good idea?

hmm... my credentials i guess would help- but i don't want to seem like i'm full of myself. i have the highest straight wins (50) in the GW in New York and am regarded the resident fanatic on Tau. well if you want to talk about broadside deployment i have found this tactic desirable.
in small games= if you have a hammerhead choice and a broad team choice, split the broad team into two units to fill the extra slot. why this is good- ok, you save on target locks and bonding- you mix up your options in deployment. you remain manueverable. The pilot is Ld8- and if you have an ethereal, the chances of him running are not worth it to clump. as for drones, there good and all, but in small games it might be worth making a small unit- the reason for this is is that even if your enemy is shooting up your broadsides they'll forget the drones which will keep moving up- i've had these suckers kill dreadnaught and earthshakers alike.

in larger games, giving shield drones is the way to go- hands down no questions. if you go all out and get two apiec for a team of three? you might as well keep going and throw the ethereal into the unit with another two- the reason for this is they'll be fearless and nigh unkillable with a unit of Kroot/Firewarriors in front.
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