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Sniper Team Control

Submitted By: Date: October 12, 2006, 08:00:00 PM Views: 2808
Summary: Well, following on from the useful advice from Fishy on the use of Sniper Teams I felt that we needed to be sure that once fellow Shas’O place their teams in the field that they will be best prepared to use them. Whilst Fishy went some way to explaining this the following will hopefully outline some practical applications of Sniper Teams so that they may form an integrated part of your Tau Cadre, as opposed to simply being an additional bonus.

Sniper Teams are more often than not seen as a support unit. This means that they can help other units in your army achieve their goals but will rarely be able to complete a task on their own. As such, Sniper teams work most efficiently when used in combination with other units.

Totting a total of three rail rifles, essentially heavy weapons, what you have in the Sniper Team is effectively the heavy weapon support that your Fire Warriors lack. As such I feel that one of the best combinations is to use your Sniper Team/s in conjunction with a Fire Warrior Team/s. This is a safe support role, which can use its range to lay down aggressive fire as well as providing a good defensive network as the battle progresses. For now I will discuss some of the ways in which this partnership can be applied and I will later touch upon some other combinations.

Sniper Fire

The “Sniper-Fire” combination allows a Fire Warrior Team to utilise the hard hitting power of rail rifles. Augmenting its own already potent pulse rifle fire, the combination is incredibly dangerous even when used at long range. This sort of support is shown in the diagram below. With a networked markerlight thrown into the mix things can be made really interesting and can be adjusted to suit the type of enemy being faced and the threat they pose. This may also dictate the order in which you conduct your shooting. For instance, if the enemy was numerous but lightly armoured, such as Orks hulking in cover, then one should fire the Sniper Team first and then use the markerlight hit to allow the Fire Warriors to impose a -1 to the victims cover save. On the other hand, should the enemy prove more difficult to dissolve then one may wish to use the markerlight hit to allow the rail rifles to impose a -1 on any pinning tests, in the hope that you may be able to halt them in place and buy yourself some more time. Obviously though, there are any number of variations each depending on the enemy and situation at the time, the trick is knowing when to use which one!

With the simple combination of Sniper Team and Fire Warriors in place we can now take this even further thanks to the possible upgrades to the Fire Warrior Team. The most notable of these is the possible markerlight upgrades. Here we have a number of options. First of all, is the simple markerlight upgrade for the Fire Warrior Shas’ui. This second markerlight can help to increase the effectiveness of the units support... remember that this one is not networked and so cannot be used by the team itself. The obvious next step is to include some markerlight drones. Now these are networked and so can really allow you more defensive (though aggressive) flexibility in your co-operating units. The bonus of these additional markerlights is that they can be fired before the Sniper Team, allowing to impose a possible maximum -3 Ld modifier to any pinning test caused by the Sniper Team. This is on top of the -1 that can be achieved by the Spotters markerlight for a total of -4 Ld!

With the use of a single team down, the same principle can be applied when fielding multiple teams. With each one either “attached” to a particular Fire Warrior unit or designated as support for a particular area of the battlefield.

Tag, your it!

Whilst in my opinion one of the best combinations to use Sniper Teams is Fire Warriors there have been occasions where some of my other units have been well served by Sniper Team support. The most notable are my Stealth Teams. Playing a rather aggressive, and it appears still rather unorthodox style as a do, I always field LOTS of Stealth Suits. Those XV15s are always on hand to plummet the enemy into a tornado of pulse fire. With the XV15s working well up the battlefield, the Sniper Teams are great at providing them with the additional punch in much the same way as they do with Fire Warriors. The difference here though, is that their use is far more flexible. For instance, rather than simply exchanging fire over a distance, Stealth Teams can first be used alone to lure the enemy into advancing, before using the hard hitting sniper teams along with the heavy rate of fire of the XV15s to decimate the unit, (using the BS increase, or depending on the situation, the -1 cover save, from the markerlight) and leaving a hole in the enemy line which can be exploited by fast moving units. With the XV15s often only needing help some of the time, the Sniper teams can also be used as a sort of Ad-Hoc support unit.

Other units which I have found are supported well by Sniper Teams include Kroot. Again their advanced position often means that they need immediate support, and couple these with Stealth Teams and Sniper Teams and suddenly you have a strong network. Vespid can also use Sniper Team support, not only using rail rifles from another teams to add to their firepower (meaning you don’t have to field as many Vespid) but also making use of the markerlight in a variety of ways, +1 BS is a favourite, but the cover modifier can also be useful, as can using the pinning modifier to help protect your winged buddies!

Of course, I’m sure you can find many places where those rail rifles can be useful and in many cases, that additional markerlight can make the difference all on its own, and lets not forget that it can be nicely exploited by your own vehicles.

Double Team

Well, when using more than one team you are provided with more options and flexibility. The most obvious tactical option is for two teams to provide support for the same unit. Of course, this role could very well change with the flow of battle but the idea is simple. The combination of teams work together to annihilate one enemy unit at a time. Unfortunately, we are not always given the circumstances to do so, as other units will often present themselves as a threat. In this sort of situation the value of the Sniper Teams target locks and markerlights will begin to show.

With two enemy units to handle the Fire Warriors below will work on concentrating their fire to deplete the numbers of the left most unit. They will get at least one more turn of shooting and by then fire support from elsewhere can be brought to help out. Meanwhile the nearby Sniper drones can lend a helping hand, providing some hard hitting shots. Their spotter though, can mark up the second unit... which means that the second Sniper Team can fire upon these and hopefully impose a -2 Ld for their pinning test. For most armies this will mean they are held firmly in place allowing you some breathing space for now. Remember that all of this can be done at extreme range and so will allow you to get your opponents units out of position.

In this way, multiple Sniper Teams can work together to disrupt enemy movements and tend to work better when supported themselves (or providing others) with additional markerlights. Whilst many Shas’O rightfully dismay at the difficulty of pinning opponents when they are suffering a -5 to their Ld check things really start looking different!

There are however, many opponents who thanks to the fearlessness of their gods or brain zapping from their queen bug are not able to be pinned at all. At this point you can simply fall on the old faithful of using your heavy fire power to whittle numbers or target monstrous creatures etc... using any markerlights to help support other units. Simple really.

Sniper Drone Pinning Test Hell

Right then. Now this is the really cool bit! You see, if you have gone the whole hog and splashed out on three teams for a single Heavy support slot then you can really have some fun with them. Whilst two teams can go some way to working alone to concentrate fire upon an enemy, three teams can really go to town. Where this differs from your standard use is that, when combined you can really cause your opponent some headaches!

The idea here is that, what with all your sniper drones having target locks, they can each target a different unit. With three drones in each unit able to target three different units your three teams can each split their fire amongst three targets to cause casualties as if one sniper team had been targeting each. What’s the point? I hear you ask. Well, your opponent will need to take a pinning test when firing from one of your units inflicts casualties with pinning weapons, and, as an enemy unit may be called upon to make multiple pinning tests this means that you can swing the odds in your favour.

In order to do this your units need a wide arc of fire, so that they can target the maximum number of units. In this respect, you want to be as far away from your enemy as possible (if you can see them then they can see you), and in this case you are banking on your stealth generators doing most of the work in protecting you.

Now, first things first. You will need to take a priority test to allow two of your drones to fire at different units. Starting with your first sniper team (we will call them A) your spotter fires at enemy unit 1. His mark will be used to inflict a -1 on the enemy pinning test (should he be forced to take it!). One of the drones fires at unit 1, another fires at unit 2 and the final one fires at unit 3. (The hope is obviously to get as many hits as possible). Assuming you are relatively lucky, and manage to kill one opponent from each unit then your single Sniper Team will have caused enemy unit 1 to take a pinning test at a -1 modifier, and enemy units 2 and 3 to take a pinning test each with no modifiers. If the enemy is lucky enough to pass each of those, then your second sniper teams can do the same... and following that your third sniper team. In total, from your three sniper teams your enemy may well have faced one pinning test at a -1 modifier on EACH of the three target units, plus his three units would have had to take an additional two pinning tests at their standard leadership. Yes, each unit may have been required to take three pinning tests, as opposed to the one pinning test that a single Sniper Team can usually cause. In short... this should be enough to swing the balance in your favour and may well see a large bulk of his units pinned in place for the following turn.

Of course, the great thing with this is that you can adjust your fire splitting as you go. For instance, if you are lucky enough for enemy unit 1 to be pinned after firing one Sniper Team, then that means that you can ignore that unit with your other sniper drones and instead concentrate on the other units. In this way you can often help offset the fact that you are not always likely to hit with all your drones. Saying that though, with the amount of fire you should in theory be able to pin two of the enemy units. This does obviously depend on the enemy though...

But what does it all mean?

Marine players and their equivalents, whilst often more protected from being pinned, will soon learn to be wary of your Sniper Teams and send fast units after them. Mainly due to the fact that the rail rifle poses a real threat to them. Meanwhile, lighter armies may find them less of a threat, being more worried about your high rate of fire Stealth Suits or mass of Fire Warriors. Whatever your situation though, and whatever your opponent, there is often a way to fit in those Sniper Teams... the only question is... what do I drop in order to fit them in??!!

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