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Drones...the answer
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Old 22 Dec 2005, 17:08   #1 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Drones...the answer

Drones are the answer to Tau fast attack.*

Drones have taken a bad rap for many reasons--poor BS, drop in leadership when below 4 in a unit, cost in points--but the reality of drones is that they are truely a viable fast attack option that actually works.

First let us look at the other Tau fast attack options.* 1.* Kroot hounds.* Well not really an option at all since they are forced to attach to a kroot squad.* 2.* Pathfinders.* A manditory 80pt. DF and a BS3 means that 1 out of every 2 PF will actually mark something with their light.* Without a 'ui upgrade and target lock, all PF will have to mark the same target.* Say they mark a tank and 3 of 6 hit with the lights; great, the HH shoots and destroys the tank, no other effect for a unit that cost more per individual than FW and the same as drones. The PF can't move fast, they can't deepstrike, and they become expensive foot slogging infantry once outside of their fish (yes i know the pirranah will help, but it aint here yet )* Thus the only option left is the drone squadron.*

Lets look at three possitives that a drone squadron bring to the Tau army:* Deep strike,* JSJ infantry, and 12" move.

For 12 points each, drones bring a fantastic capability to the table.* First they are armed with a twin linked assault 1 weapon with a range of 18".* This is better than any other basic troop:* Eldars basic range for assault 1 is 12", IG basic range for assault 1 is 12", SM can't move and shoot outside 12" since they are rapid fire, and no other Tau infantry can match an all carbine squad in this respect (pulse rifle being rapid fire and at least 1/2 of each FW unit).

A thought on the twin linked carbine.* Drones come with a BS of 2, so they have only 1/3 chance of hitting.* On the surface this doesn't seem good (6 drones, 2 hit).* However, the carbine is still a strength 5 weapon, so hitting a toughness 4 enemy is back to 3+.* Basically 1 wound from 6 shots taken.* But the twin linking adds a layer here that means at least 1 more drone will hit per turn (4 drones reroll, 1 hits).* So now there are 3 rolls on the wound table at strength 5.* That is 3 50% chances of wounding or 2/3s total chance of wounding.* If it is an eldar, guardsman or ork, they are dead.* SM get a save, as do Tau troops.* Not bad if you consider that 6 firewarriors will hit 3 and wound 2, all things being average.* In short, the TL carbine offers a very powerful weapon in a marginal targeting system a redemption that equals that of basic Tau infantry.

Deep Strike.* Drones tend to be ignored until they become too bothersome, are the only thing to shoot at, or the game is in the last two turns.* Deep striking drones makes this even more beneficial since by turn 2 both players have focused where and what they are trying to do and what they are trying to stop the other guy from doing.* Deep striking a drone squadron near a critical enemy infantry squad will have a perplexing effect on any enemy plan.* The enemy must choose to ignore the drones and continue the plan, or divert resources in order to compensate for the appearance of the drones.* Multiple drone squadrons cause chaos far beyond their cost and ability simply because they will have JSJ.* JSJ makes drones near terrain invulnerable to shooting, so the enemy has to divert resources beyond what would be thought necessary to dispatch a small squad of infantry.

JSJ Infantry.* What would make Firewarriors really fit into the mechanized Tau-ish ideal?* A jet pack of course!* Drones get a jetpack for 2 points each.* That's right, a jet pack armed firewarrior is all a drone really is.* With the assault move drones can move, shoot up to 18" and move again.* We all know this, but think through to the next level.* What can drones do in conjunction with firewarriors mounted in a DF?* Keep up!* Fish of Fury has all but died as a tactic since return fire is always hard on the firewarriors.* Sure the FW are safe from assault for a turn, but the FoF essentially disadvantages the Tau by causing the firewarriors to get into a 1 vs 1 shooting contest with a single enemy unit.* This is where the drones shine, since they can screen firewarriors, they can keep pace with a 12" moving DF, and they can shoot regardless of moving.* The possibilities of using drone squadrons in conjunction with mech FW completely changes the dynamic of aggressive Tau tactics.

12" move.* As has fairly been covered above, this is the main reason why drones are awsome infantry.* No other basic troop in the game can move as far without rolling for it.* The stigma drones receive from being relegated into the "fast attack" slot on the force organization chart is warranted when compared to other fast attack choices from other armies--jet bikes, assault marines, land speeders, and bikes; of course they suck in such light, but they aren't actually fast attack troops at all.* They are basic robot infantry which happen to move quickly.* The drone's ability to move with the fastest Tau vehicle means that it can act as a screen against assaulting troops or positions, it can act as snipers by JSJ behind terrain, it can even ignore terrain when moving, and all for 2 points more per model than the basic firewarrior.

Novelties not mentioned:* 4+ armor save, pinning test if wound inflicted on enemy, leadership of 7, initiative of 4.* All of these traits are just bonus gravy that help diversify the way in which drones can contribute to the battlefield.* Here are some examples:* armored enough to survive most basic weapons fire in the game, so fear of open terrain is negated.* Leadership on par with firewarriors and better than any other fighting robot in the game (oh yeah, there are not other robot fighters ).* Initiative as good as a Space marine, so suicide runs into CC don't necessarily mean suicide...

Overall, drone squadrons are an excellent choice for Tau as fast attack.* Not only do they fulfill a gap in the Tau's ability by providing fast moving infantry with strong weapons, they also bring a variety of abilities like DS to a force tied almost failingly to a either or doctrine of mech or static.* A true hybrid mech will contain drone squadrons as a matter of course if for nothing other than to compensate for the lack of DF mounted FW from turn to turn.

Comments welcome

Wanax
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Old 22 Dec 2005, 17:21   #2 (permalink)
Ethereal
 
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Default Re: Drones...the answer

Well said. It's true that they are the unpolished gems of the Tau fast attack. I'm also using them in my army. My first game and they have saved the lives of two of my firewarrior squads against chaos. ;D
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Old 22 Dec 2005, 18:24   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Drones...the answer

Totally. I don't like people ragging on drone squads. Mobile 5/5 shots. What could be better, especialyl against a slow infantry army like Guard?

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Old 22 Dec 2005, 18:51   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Drones...the answer

Drones are nice, but there are other things I'd rather spend points on.
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Old 22 Dec 2005, 19:02   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Drones...the answer

You know, I am one of those people who didn't like taking drone squads but reading that has put me on a different path, also due to the fact the drone controler with sheild drones aren't that good at the moment you can put your commander in the unit (if he is i on his own) to give him protection and up to 8 strength five shots that cause pinning as well as his own armamment
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Old 22 Dec 2005, 19:06   #6 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Drones...the answer

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hadhfang
You know, I am one of those people who didn't like taking drone squads but reading that has put me on a different path, also due to the fact the drone controler with sheild drones aren't that good at the moment you can put your commander in the unit (if he is i on his own) to give him protection and up to 8 strength five shots that cause pinning as well as his own armamment
I always take them as squadrons. You get the same effect, just the IC doesn't join them.

yes, sheild drones are a waste of points. 22 points for 1

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Old 22 Dec 2005, 19:10   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Drones...the answer

True but in another post you said the crisis suit was a mobile support platform, so by putting a commander in the squad you get a support platform and protect your commander at the same time, Bargain!


(at least that is what I will do)
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Old 22 Dec 2005, 19:12   #8 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Drones...the answer

Quote:
Originally Posted by WANAX
12" move. As has fairly been covered above, this is the main reason why drones are awsome infantry. No other basic troop in the game can move as far without rolling for it
How so? A drone can move a total of 12" in a turn. 6" in the movement phase, 6" in the assault phase, just like any other tau jump infantry. The space marine jump infantry, however, can move 18" in a turn (if it's charging) or 12" in the movement phase alone. This not only is as fast as the drone, it's faster in some circumstances, is easier to maneuver if moving alongside other fast models (as they don't get left behind until the assault phase) and they most certainly don't have to roll for it.


That said, you missed one very nice thing about drones....

... given how you get 2 drones with pretty much everything you buy for your army, you can have a couple of squads without every having to buy a box of them (that's how I managed to get my squad )
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Old 22 Dec 2005, 19:13   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: Drones...the answer

I've heard rumours of the Tetra and Piranha vehicles to come in plastic and to be released with the coming new Tau Empires codex. Just rumours, dunno if they are true.
But the Tetra is a Tau Fast Attack choise.
And the Vespid should also fall into that category.

These are just rumours so don't take it too seriously, I'm not quite sure myself.
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Old 22 Dec 2005, 19:14   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Drones...the answer

I like using a drone rush. Keeps the enemy somewhat busy until firewarriors and Crisis can get into place to do maximum damage.
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