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So.... Sniper teams?
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Old 11 May 2006, 09:19   #1 (permalink)
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Default So.... Sniper teams?

Do people not like sniper teams? I rarely see any in any of those armylists... I'm currently using a team and figured I'd list what I'm finding to be the good and the bad on them. This isn't really meant to be a full comparison, more of a "am I forgetting some critical flaw about them", and a little advertisement for that seemingly neglected unit over in the tau army list section.

+Stealth field: Unless whoever's targetting you has BSF and a fair roll, or some equivalent, nothing outside of your range has much of a chance of ever managing to even fire at you. The further you are with a stealth field, the better; and these rifles and markerlights have double the range of our dear old burst-cannons.

+Equivalent cost: consider the cost of your entire unit. It gives us a team where the three rail-rifle equipped models are 10% cheaper than an identically equipped pathfinder would be. Each of these drones is a stealth-field equipped rail-rifle pathfinder with slightly better initiative. Compared to the real thing its a bloody bargin!

+Networked Markerlight: At 2/3 the cost of a marker drone, this guy comes with better ballistic skill mind you. Stop drooling; if he dies the entire unit goes down, which I would say balances this out quite a bit.

+Firepower: Plasma this ain't, I'll admit. But its long-ranged, its pinning, and it'll knock a chunk out of any transport, or maybe even monstrous creature. Put an 'assault 1' version of these babies on an XV8 (they ARE a lot bigger after all... and come with dedicated targetting suites; I doubt the average firewarrior could wield the battlesuit plasma rifle like a rapidfire gun anyways) and we'd have a very interesting ranged alternative to the fireknife suit...

+ They're kinda cute, really. Kinda like really nice two-doors, the ships in so many shmups, or kittens.

So what are the problems with them then?

-Non-scoring: Annoying for sure, but not crippling.

-Static: Ok ok, so they're ALL carrying heavy weapons, and they're not exactly jetpack-capable. Both of these things are very bad... unless you use them as a decoy!

-Its a heavy support choice: yeah. This I'll be the first to admit makes it tough. Taking sniper teams means you've used up one of your precious broadside/hammerhead slots.

-Its a bargin... and yet its still expensive: Just looking at what you get, its way cheaper than getting such stuff anywhere else in your army.

-The ionhead does it better: That networked markerlight is nice. damn nice. But at the cost of two teams you could have, in that same slot, a fully decked out ionhead with a few seekers even. Sure it only gets out 3 of those same shots a turn, but it does so at almost double the range, naturally at BS4, and they're even a little bit stronger.

Honestly, I think its actually the last one. The stealth field protects you from ranged fire, and the further, the better. Ion cannon range does this even better, since very few weapons can actually reach out to that range. All this on a heavily armored skimmer tank chassis that could be carrying some seekers and gundrones of its own, and even have a pretty impressive close-combat weapon: big nasty exploding packs of flechette shot.

So then... What would you suggest gets done with the sniper team if we already have a (cheaper, in a way) equivalent that can actually move? Are they in the wrong force slot type? Too expensive? Too few in number? Or are they simply dismissed as non-mechtau (even though they make a great big target for you to close your jaws around if the enemy actually bothers with them)?

If you think they're great as-is, though, might I hear your reasons why you simply don't take them, then?
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Old 11 May 2006, 10:46   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: So.... Sniper teams?

I like them, but can't afford them yet.

I think they really become effective when they are in 3 teams, as 1 or 2 just won't put out enough to be worth the loss of the heavy support slot.
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Old 11 May 2006, 13:14   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: So.... Sniper teams?

Its early yet give it time. The majority of Tau players have not had the time or resources to update their armies to the new codex yet. I for instance would love to field Piranhas but there are just none to be found around here. I bet we will see more of them over time.

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Old 11 May 2006, 14:19   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: So.... Sniper teams?

I like mine allot. I also couldnt see dropping that much cash on them so I made my own, with the massive amount of drones I have lying around and some fire warriors. the pics suck, but you can see what I did, and everyone knows what they are supposed to be.

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Old 11 May 2006, 14:26   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: So.... Sniper teams?

nice snipers colonelchuck!!! (can i steal your idea?)
snipers are amasing and are the 'core' of my army. enemys like 'nids or 'crons hate the things (and i agree, they are cute)

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Old 11 May 2006, 14:51   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: So.... Sniper teams?

I like them very much. I'm going to try them... as soon as I can buy the parts I need to convert them. Or maybe I'll just buy the actual squads, the difference is only $25, and a lot of filing and cutting of metal...
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Old 11 May 2006, 14:56   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: So.... Sniper teams?

I have just received my first sniper drone team, and have been working on my army list to incorporate them in...

Originally I played Mech exclusively, but I am now leaning toward hybrid for the simple reason that 1) you can deploy more models & 2) the sniper drones are very cool.

In analysis-

The temptation is there, by virtue of the stealth field, to deploy them as "lone wolves", similar to stealth teams. This is a mistake, simply because to be effective, they have to sit still due to all the heavy weapons. All it would take is for the opposing force to get close enough to threaten the sniper drones with assault, and then the Tau commander is left with the choice of leaving them where they are, and potentially having them wiped out the next turn, or moving them. Moving them, since they are only infantry, means they will only be able to move just out of assault range for the next turn. By constantly being threatened, the sniper team will essentially by "mission killed" for the duration of the game. Because of this, in my opinion, the best use of the sniper drone team will be to use them in support of any static elements of an army.

In the current config of my army, my static FW squad will have a pair of sniper teams deployed to support the gunline. The snipers will be deployed behind the FW team approx. 6" so that the ranges of all the weapons mesh at the maximium 30" range of the pulse rifles. The snipers will have the advantage of the stealth field and in addition force targeting checks if someone really wants to try to kill them. The snipers can then lend some extremely powerful anti-MEQ firepower to the FW team, MEQs being the bane of my FW teams.

The key to snipers is proper deployment, and forcing your opponent to ignore the snipers for the majority of the game. A good commander should be able to distract their opponent by forcing them to concentrate on other units, whether it be a rush by DF equipped FW teams, flanking Phiranas, or a deepstrike assault by crisis/stealth teams. Given enough distraction, the opponent probably won't be paying attention to a small, static unit of drones who will probably be picking off 3-4 SMurfs each turn. Combining the sniper teams with a base of Fiewarriors means that if your opponent does turn his/her attention to the static gunline, the snipers can support the gunline with organic rail rifle and markerlight support.

I have not addressed the pinning potential of the rail rifles, as I have had little success ever pinning a target. I'll leave that for someone else to analyze...

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Old 11 May 2006, 16:02   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: So.... Sniper teams?

I haven't used any sniper teams yet but they're definitley on my list of things to try. However I've banned myself from buying more Tau stuff until I finish painting my piranahs and battleforce...

I also started off doing an all mech army but with the new codex i'm thinking of switching to something a little more hybrid.

However I've got some different ideas on how to use the snipers than what kurtisxxxv suggested.

I think they're the perfect lure for Kauyon.

Deploy them slightly in front of your firewarriors, about 6" away from the front of your deployment zone. They'll still be able to typically shoot 6" into the enemy deployment zone and be far enough away that their stealth fields are effective.

There one of those units that will be really frusturating for an enemy and he'll want them dead. The fastest and easiest way to kill them is with an fast assault unit, like Assault marines.

As the attack unit advances the Snipers and firewarriors can shoot them possibly pinning them in the open. If this doesn't work the turn before they can charge I'll simply have devilfish + firewarriors teams flank and FoF them, or advance the Firewarriors hiding behind the drones to rapid fire.

I'd rather lose the Sniper teams than a firewarrior team because they cost less points/team typically and they're non scoring. So all the effort an opponent puts into killing them isn't really aiding him in winning the game!
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Old 11 May 2006, 17:28   #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: So.... Sniper teams?

They're awesome against MEQs...generally, they give you 2 dead MEQs for 80 points...versus the .89 dead MEQs you get for 8 fire warriors! More than twice as efficent against 3+ saves...not bad! Only thing is keeping them alive. Stealth field only works when the enemy's 30" away...if he's 24" away at the start of the game and moving 12" a turn (assault marines?)...you can expect the drones to die on turn 2...So you deploy them behind a rank of fire warriors. That way they have meat shields, and even if the enemy is potentially close enough to see them, he has to first declare them as his target, then pass targeting priority for the FW in front of them, only then does he get to roll to see them. Funny part is, once he declares them and passes his leadership test...if he can't see them, he can't shoot at all! Logically, he would shoot the FW, but the rules shake out saying no!
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Old 11 May 2006, 20:34   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: So.... Sniper teams?

OK, I've used them and they are nice for one VERY nice reason: You get a BS 4 Stealth Sheilded Markerlight. Sure you get rid of the 3rd Hammerhead, but with 3 teams (that DON'T have deploy together) You can cover a wide area of effect, and can support the Hammerhead by raising it's BS to 5 and just let the Drones take pot shots at other targets.
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