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Monday, July 12, 2010

Drones? An important question

Gun Drones on vehicles. Are they a blessing or a curse?
On one hand, they make great roadblocks, contesters, and general annoyances, built-in to the cost of the Devilfish.
On the dreaded downside, however, they are ruled to give up KP in most events. This can absolutely screw a Tau players chances in any mission that involves, KP, essentially giving up an additional killpoint for the deaths of our transports.
So the question is becomes: is it worth the points to get rid of them? 2/3rds of the time, they can slow enemies attacking a small firebase, block assault lanes, give cover... but on the third, they can lose you the game easily.
To buy SMS for a Devilfish, you have to pay 20 points. While it gives you a bit of firepower, the amount isn't really equal to what you can be getting from an actual fighting element, such as a Crisis Suit. You lose your road-blocking techniques, but gain safety in Annihilation.
As for me, I've been on the fence for this for a while. After some deliberation, I've found that my army needs the extra points in real firepower. Drones are back on my Devilfish to both save points and to run interference for my Broadsides and Pathfinders, buying them some extra shooting turns, hopefully.
Other Tau players; do you have Drones on your 'Fish? No Drones? No 'Fish?


Anonymous said...

I only run one DF but it's definitely drones for me. As I understand it, they don't have to deploy with the DF so they can be used to fill in gaps where enemy deepstrikers want to go. Plus, you mentioned their other uses, which are significant.

One thing I'm not sure about is whether if they don't deploy with the DF, and are thus considered their own squadron, whether they're allowed to deepstrike as one.

Old Shatter Hands said...

There are absolutely a blessing. The drones or burgerbots as I call them, are some of the unsung heroes of my army. Able to block assaults, fill space, creep around the rear of enemy vehicles and do whatever I deem necessary. I love them!

AbusePuppy said...

On Piranhas? They are totally sweet and awesome. You are usually trying to contest objectives or otherwise annoy the enemy with the skimmers anyways, and having them sprout another unit after it's all said and done is just golden, especially since lots of opponents can't afford to dedicate the extra AT shooting to bring them down during that phase and thus can only assault them, making it impossible to get rid of the resulting Drone unit in time.

Devilfish, on the other hand, are another matter. You only get two of them (which is less useful and less survivable) and the 'Fish tend to be in very different places and roles than Piranhas do. At lower point values (1500 and under) I tend to leave them on to save points, but by 2K and up it's usually worth it to go for the SMS, I think. Obviously having the few points to spare at lower values you can sometimes fit them in.

Aloh'Nan'El said...

So we have differing opinions on the matter, I see.
It is kind of nice to see the multiple opinions here though.
-Shas'O D'Narb runs minimum Devilfish, and is using the drones to both save points and repel enemies. I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that you run a Kroot Castle?
-Old Shatter Hands uses them for a variety of roles on his multiple Fire Warrior squads' Devilfish, saving points there as well. It should be noted, however, that your 2000 point list runs SMS on the Pathfish. Is there a reason for that?
-AbusePuppy sees Devilfish drones as a hinderance mostly, pointing out that devilfish used in backfield roles will rarely make good use of the drones. You see it worth it to pay for SMS in the ~1500+ range, but not in lower levels. Is this simply to fit more guns in at lower levels, or is there a more complex reason involving metagame, etc.?

Any other opinions floating around out there?

AbusePuppy said...

Mostly just an issue of points. There's not really any point level where I would avoid taking the drones, but below 2K I usually don't have the points to spare, since it's always a stretch to fit in Piranhas, Broadsides (+their drones), Crisis (possibly with upgrades), Kroot and Hounds, etc, etc. The SMS just isn't a huge priority for me most of the time, although it's certainly a strong gun, the 25+ pts (including Targeting Array, possible Multitracker, to get full use out of it) is a big investment into a single unit.

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