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Sniper Drone teams.
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Old 28 Sep 2008, 10:03   #1 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Sniper Drone teams.

I'm getting some as a present for my birthday next week, and I would like to know what you enlightened souls out there think of them and what their uses are.

I know there is another topic about them, found here; http://forums.tauonline.org/index.php?topic=54735.0, But I would like to know peoples lastest opinions of them.

PS; Oh and useful posts please, Thank you in advance.
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Old 28 Sep 2008, 10:56   #2 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: Sniper Drone teams.

Happy Birthday! ;D

Back on topic, I think Sniper Drones are great! You get three very powerful guns that can break through power armour, nice! But that's not all, you get a networked markerlight thrown in as well, so you get a chance to raise your BS by +1, break down cover and so on, before firing your Rail Rifles. That isn't all though, they have a Stealth Field Generator to prevent other snipers or long ranged guns getting to them.
Bad thing is though, they're static and very fragile so a deep striking unit could easily bring them down, but that is a risk you have to take. Hide them behind your firewarriors, your drones can see over them easily but the line will make sure assault units have to get through them first before they get to the snipers. Another bad thing is that they take up a valuable heavy support space which you could fill with Broadsides or Hammerheads, but that is why you can get three sniper teams in one space, an asset I assure you.
Perhaps you could combine three sniper teams with Pathfinders. Get the Pathfinders to markerlight a marine or necron squad, then fire at them with the snipers. Using the right markerlight assets could see you take out a whole squad of marines.

Hope this helps, and have a great birthday!
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Old 28 Sep 2008, 11:27   #3 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Sniper Drone teams.

For 5th ed - I am not the greatest fan.

Plus points.
Stealth field
High Strength Weapon
Bring a Markerlight to the table
Pinning weapon
Long range
Ap 3 weapon
Effective against Heavy Infantry and Light Vehicles

Minus Points
Stealth field is only really good as long as you enemy is at least 21 inches away (with fast assault's/run etc in 5th ed its easy to close the range).

5th Ed wound allocation - means if you take 4 wounds you HAVE to allocate one to the spotter, he then has a 50 percent chance of dieing and if he does you lose the entire squad (even if the drones made all there saves).

Only 3 shots from the unit at BS 3 - they are dependant on the spotter hitting to boost their BS (or another Markerlight).

Cover saves in 5th Ed - Even if you hit with them the new cover save rules mean it is likely your enemy will still get a 4 plus cover save (which takes away a lot from there AP 3 Killyness).

Ineffective against light infantry (they don't have enough firepower to destroy large units, they do have pinning weapons, but so do Gundrones, Fire warriors and Pathfinders - in greater numbers and cheaper than the Sniper team).

Small team - make them fragile (see also wound allocation).

Cant move and fire - so to fire effectively have to remain static for the whole fight. Now also difficult to place, as Outflank means putting them on the flank makes them a juicy target (easy Killpoint) for you enemy.

Now lets look at effectiveness firing at a 30 inch range. 3 sniper drone plus spotter - 80 Pt's v 8 Fire Warriors - 80 Pt's - Lets say they are firing at a unit of Marines.

On average (without a markerlight hit) your 3 drones will hit 1.5 targets, They will wound on a 2 - so at least 1 wound is likely (2 if the dice gods like you). The Marines are out in the open - so you kill 1 with no save. Forcing a pinning test (marines high leadership so have lets say an 80 percent chance of passing this). If the Marines are in cover (very likely in 5th Ed) then they have a 50% chance of saving your 1 wound. So 50% of the time your Sniper drones will fire and cause no damage.

8 Firewarriors firing at the same unit - 4 will hit, 3 will wound. Marines get there 3 plus save - so theoretically you will kill 1 marine (with average dice rolls).

If we do the same with 1 markerlight hit for both units (boosting BS) - 2 Sniper drones will hit (probably causing 2 wounds) - Cover save for the Marines, means 1 dead marine. 8 Firewarriors - 6 Hits - 4 will wound 1 (maybe 2) will die.

Basically at 30 inches these 2 units do the same damage. However when you close to within 12 inches you are doubling all the results for the Firewarriors, the Snipers stay the same.

The Marines (depending on weapons) at 30 inches are unlikely to be able to return fire on either unit. However if a unit is in firing range the firewarriors are more survivable, there are more of them, with the same toughness and save as the snipers (plus if 4 wounds are done there is not a 50 percent chance of the whole unit dieing).

They only advantage the drones have is the stealth field - but with fast moving units that's not that much of an advantage anymore. The average roll for spotting at night is 21 inches -the minimum is 6 inches, the maximum 36 inches (with a very lucky roll). And when shot, the drones are very fragile (even 1 dieing will force a morale test). The Fire warriors then (for the same points) are better at shooting, more versatile, mobile - and above all - a SCORING unit.

Using sniper drones to take down light vehicles - yes the drones have the edge on the Firewarrior on that one, but again there is a better unit to take. For just 26 more points you can have 2 crisis suits, with TL missile pods and a Targeting array. They hit 80 percent of the time, have a higher strength weapon, are mobile (and with JSJ effectively have a longer range). They are also harder to kill.

In my mind, in 5th Ed the Sniper drones no longer really cut the mustard - the only advantage they have is the stealth field, and I think that is pretty much neutralised by the many hideous disadvantages they now have. (wound allocation, coversaves, outflank etc etc etc).
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Old 28 Sep 2008, 15:31   #4 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Sniper Drone teams.

@GoneFishing: You're being unfair to the Sniper Team. At 30 inches the marines have to move forward to hit... or better yet, since most marine squads carry a heavy weapon that gun is go to trash you.

Say the Marine squad carries a Heavy Bolter. That's going to start ripping you a new one as the marines will kill ~2 Fire Warriors a turn while you *might* kill one. The Marines can't even fire on the Snipers as the Stealth Field prevents that. Now if the marine runs towards you then your snipers will have had at least 2 rounds of firing before he can even think about responding... not so hot for the Fire Warriors as he's butt raping them with the Heavy Bolter from the outset.
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Old 28 Sep 2008, 15:35   #5 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Sniper Drone teams.

there one of those things you really don,t need but they will help you along the way.They wont win you a battle but they could change the tide a bit.
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Old 28 Sep 2008, 17:18   #6 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Sniper Drone teams.

gonefishing you might want to check some of your math.

I say if you have the extra heavy support slots, buy a sniper drone team. They're amazing against anything with a 3+ armour save and can force pinning test. On top of all that you get a neworked markerlight as well.
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Old 28 Sep 2008, 17:21   #7 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Sniper Drone teams.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KCKitsune
@GoneFishing: You're being unfair to the Sniper Team. At 30 inches the marines have to move forward to hit... or better yet, since most marine squads carry a heavy weapon that gun is go to trash you.

Say the Marine squad carries a Heavy Bolter. That's going to start ripping you a new one as the marines will kill ~2 Fire Warriors a turn while you *might* kill one. The Marines can't even fire on the Snipers as the Stealth Field prevents that. Now if the marine runs towards you then your snipers will have had at least 2 rounds of firing before he can even think about responding... not so hot for the Fire Warriors as he's butt raping them with the Heavy Bolter from the outset.
The Stealth Field does not stop the Heavy Bolter firing, it makes it "unlikely" to see them at a 30 inch range - but if the marine player rolls 10+ it can see them. Also the Heavy bolter is only likely to Kill one Fire Warrior - Average rolls would be 2 hits, (it is likely to wound with both those hits) but if your firewarriors have a cover save (4+) only 1 will actually die. If my Firewarriors were sat on an Objective It would take the marines (with one heavy bolter) well over 5 turns to get them all - and both units will be on average killing 1 model each a turn.

I am not denying that the Snipers stealth makes them harder to shoot at range 30 inches - but every time the marines move forward that spotting distance gets easier to make, with the run rules the marines could potentially move 12 inches in one turn (6inch move, 6 inch run). But lets say they role a 3 on the run - they are now 21 inches away from your snipers. The average roll on 2D6 is 7 - which is all they need to roll to see your snipers and fire. And if they fire, causing 4 wounds you have a 50 percent chance of the spotter dieing - bye bye Snipers. Even if you do get your 2 rounds of firing you have only killed 2 marines and then your squad is dead meat.

The fact is that very very few armies are going to line there troops up on the back marker and spend 5 turns trading shots with the Tau, and even fewer armies could survive doing that! Your enemy is going to advance, and with outflank, run, deepstrike etc your sniper team is no longer anywhere near as safe as it was in 4Th edition.

There are a lot better things in the heavy support slot that you can spend your money on - a ionhead with BC and disruption pod is 120Pt's - 40 Pt's more than the unit of snipers, but has a longer range and is 3 times more survivable. If we put it in the same scenario it has exactly the same strike rate as the snipers (1 dead per turn), if the enemy get within 18 inches that becomes 2/3 dead (the burst cannons) and the marines cant touch it. If the enemy get to close it can move and keep firing! However that's probably not a fair example as its a tank - so Broadside suit and multi - tracker - 75 Pt's, 5 Pt's cheaper than the Snipers. Still kills at the same ratio long range and has the SMS at 24 inches - can kill vehicles (with ease) and at 2 + Save, with higher toughness is harder to kill than the drones.

Sniper drones in 4Th ed were ok, but 5Th ed has compounded all the things that made them bad, and made them even worse. To my mind they are expensive, use up a heavy support slot, and fragile in the extreme - (easy killpoints). Coversaves have reduced the effectiveness of there AP weapons substantially, and while they bring a markerlight to the table for 72Pt's you can have 6 pathfinders - (with 6 markerlights) and give their devilfish to the fire warriors (you can even give them rail rifles if you want)

Other things in the Tau list will do the same job with more survivability and versatility.
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Old 28 Sep 2008, 19:31   #8 (permalink)
Shas'Vre
 
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Default Re: Sniper Drone teams.

It's best to compare them to a 4-man squad of pathfinders with 3 rail rifles, which they closely resemble. Same toughness (except for the fact that the drones fall if the spotter dies), same weaponry, and similar point cost. Sniper team is 80; pathfinders are 88 with shas'ui. The sniper team's advantage is the stealth field, the fact that the markerlight is networked, and that you can pack 9 rail rifles into a single force-org slot, albeit one of the valuable Heavy Support ones. The advantage of the pathfinders is that they don't take a heavy support slot at all, they come with a devilfish that helps deepstrikers, and they can also act as carbine fire warriors in a pinch.

In a regular game I usually prefer the pathfinders because there are so many better choices of heavy support. My sniper teams often appear in Apocalypse or Combat patrol, though, and they are particularly nasty in CP! A couple of 5th edition changes make a big difference to the sniper teams. As mentioned earlier, a single failed save on the spotter will kill the whole team (which sucks), and they can now ride around in a devilfish (which could be cool).
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Old 28 Sep 2008, 19:37   #9 (permalink)
Shas'El
 
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Default Re: Sniper Drone teams.

Well, now that the independant character rules have changed, a sniper team could find it's use killing a lone enemy commander.
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Old 29 Sep 2008, 02:19   #10 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Sniper Drone teams.

I find them quite good i played a 2k point game and killed 2 entire SM squads (4 half size squads) all you have to do is force him to make morale and pinning tests and they cant do anything while the rest of your army mops up, heck i even used them to knock out 2 Rhinos
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