Monday, April 08, 2013

New Tau Codex Unit Reviews - Flyers (Sunshark and Razorshark)

This will be the first in a series of posts looking at the units in the new Tau codex. I'm starting off with a double talking about both of the flyers. The reason being that I've had three games with the new codex today against various opponents and it's made me think about what the two different Tau flyer variants have to offer. Now I'm sure, like me, at first glance the fighter seems like the obvious choice right? Well I'm leaning toward the bomber actually so maybe I can convince you as well.

First off, the two flyers are both 11/10/10 in terms of armour and are both BS3. These facts alone mean that neither of them are particularly brilliant when compared to some of the other flyers out there but nethertheless they're our only choice if we want a flyer but don't want allies. Remember some armies will still struggle even if they have a quad gun. Against other flyers though, these two are pretty screwed. Even so, I think they can be useful. In terms of Vehicle Battle Systems, there's only really one worth taking which is the Decoy Launchers. This can prevent those pesky quad guns from destroying them before they even get to shoot. For 3 pts I think it's pretty much compulsory with the number of aegis lines around. Everything else is either too expensive or useless for a flyer.

Now let's look at the two flyers in isolation and what you get for your points.

Razorshark Strike Fighter
Stock equipment is a quad ion cannon, two seeker missiles and a burst cannon. You don't need me to tell you that a missile pod for 5pts should be automatic. There's no point having S5 on a flyer if you can swap it for S7. Anyway, that brings us up to 153pts with the decoy launchers. You've then got two S7 shots from the missile pod and 4 S7 shots from the quad cannon to take down enemy flyers. That's 3 hits on average meaning probably only a single penetrating hit. Combined with a seeker missile hit (assuming you fire both off) and you might kill the enemy flyer but will struggle in subsequent turns.

Against ground targets the missile pod and quad cannon could combine beautifully to kill off tightly packed tanks or infantry. Even so it's hardly devastating.

Sun Shark Bomber
Again you pretty much want to always take the twin-linked missile pod upgrade meaning with the decoy launchers you're paying 168pts i.e. 15pts more than the fighter. The seeker missiles are still here but this time we're getting a pulse bomb generator and two interceptor drones. The pulse bomb is one of those things that could be brilliant but will most likely be ineffective. On some occasions you're going to roll a 1 early in the game and not get to fire it much, if at all. However, when you do fire it you might get a couple of cheeky kills against a different target to the rest of the bomber's shooting.

The twin-linked pod should almost guarantee you at least one hit and with the addition of a networked marker light you can fire a missile at BS5 or even fire the pod at BS4 and be quite likely of getting two S7 hits. Granted you've got to get lucky with the marker hit but essentially you're only losing out on 1 S7 hit compared to the fighter.

You then have to factor in the drones. These guys can be deployed whenever you feel like it during the flyers move without penalty and get a twin-linked ion rifle each. That's two S7 shots with pretty slightly better than BS3. Essentially it's about the same as the quad ion cannon. However, unlike the ion cannon it can be fire at a different target to the flyer. This means if you got lucky with your bomber's missiles then you could still fire the drones at something else. They can overcharge them for S8 small blasts which again make decent vehicle hunters (and counteract the poor BS somewhat) but also have the Interceptor rule. This means you could drop them off, turbo-boost them to your opponents board edge then have a pop at something as it comes onto the board, maybe even an enemy flyer.

The key thing for me is that whilst the bomber itself isn't particularly difficult to take down, the drones can easily be hidden somewhere or might even get overlooked completely. This essentially gives the unit a lot more longevity.

Conclusion
Let's get something straight, the main thing here is that neither flyer is great. They're better than some but AV10 most of the time and mostly S7 shooting isn't great. They have the potential to take down enemy flyers but broadsides do it better for the most part. That being said, I still think there's a place for them in your lists. They distract enemy flyers from ground targets and if your opponent doesn't have much anti-air then they could be terrorising vehicles and infantry alike.

If you are going to take a Tau flyer I strongly urge you to actually sit and look at the bomber vs the fighter. To put it simply the drones provide the same as the quad gun so for your 15pts extra you're getting a markerlight, twin-linkage on the pod and the bomb generator. Not to mention the aforementioned shooting at two targets.

What do you reckon? Have I sold it to you or are you still favouring the fighter? Please feel free to let me know your thoughts on them in the comments section. Next up is the Riptide and why I don't think it's as exciting as everyone else seems to think!

15 comments:

  1. I like the bomber better anyway. The bombs seem like they could be devestating against about 50% of armies, and the rest would be at least inconvienced. I can already guess why you don't like the Riptide and it rhymes with "Bova Generator." Also BS3.

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    1. Nova Generator isn't too bad just don't think it's worth boosting the main gun with it.

      PS sorry that one of your comments got deleted the other day. Hit delete instead of approve by accident on my sodding phone.

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  2. Very nice post... I think the place that the Fighter will do better in in an army that has allot of Markerlights in many places (Not just in PFs), especially with units like the Skyray (Skylights) as a ML token will do more for all of the fighter's weapons than the bomber's... However the bomber is indeed the more "Swiss-army knife" of the two.

    As for the Riptide I agree that players are putting too much stock in it... Its a solid unit that is tough enough to be a fire magnet, but not so critical that if you lose it early that its devastating, but has enough firepower that its not easy to ignore... I foresee allot of players backing off of there must have 2-3 of these dreams for a its a must have 1 (maybe 2) stance.

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    1. If you're getting marker hits on a flyer it'd be better to fire broadsides at improved BS rather than using them with either flyer to be honest. Bomber's own markerlight could be used by broadsides too.

      I reckon there's just about a place for a single riptide but it's one hell of a points sink.

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    2. Yeah, just looking at them by themselves, they are a head scratcher unit.

      As for the 104 it feels like one of those units you have to build to what you want and it owns one game, but is out of its element the next.

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    3. An interesting thing about the riptide is that though its a monstrous creature you can attach a Shas'o to it. Add the Shas'o's two shield drones plus the new squad support options and you've got a squad with majority toughness 6, a pile of invulnerability saves and though it isn't a end-all army slayer its very durable and dishes out solid damage.

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  3. I still am not sure if I want one of those two Flyers at all. Should I pick one I'd go with the bomber for the reasons you stated, but also due to the fact, the fighter seems to be a miss construction.
    I have yet to see one / hold it in my Hands, but from the Pictures I've seen it appears the quad gun can't fire at Targets, that are infront of the fighter, Rendering it rather impotent.
    What are your thoughts on the angle of the quad gun?

    Cheers,
    HellHenni

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    1. They're not brilliant by any stretch. To be perfectly honest I bought the model because pop up missiles remind me of childhood toys!! Anything else is a bonus!

      The quad gun would struggle to hit targets to the front but there's nothing stopping you modelling it with it on the top instead I don't think.

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  4. Nice review mate, look forward to hearing your thoughts on the other units. Bit sad that out of two Vetock codices now we've ended up with two subpar fighters and two passable bombers. They really need to distinguish the roles of the multibuild flyers better, like they did with the valk/vend.

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    1. Yeah I know what you mean. I like the dual kits in some ways but they do feel a bit lazy sometimes.

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  5. The only advantage I could see to the Fighter after reading this is that its Ion weapon is turret mounted, but even then the drones generally should be dropped off on the first turn that the Bomber comes in, in order to attack their own targets. Great review by the way, going to do more units?

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    1. Thanks for the comments. I'm slowly working my way through the entire book so keep checking back for more.

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  6. Whilst the Bomber can target multiple units, I think an 11/10/10 flyer should be kept fairly cheap. I'd take the Razorshark with Disruption Pods and nothing else. Any quadguns would be prioritised by the rest of my army. The main benefit I see is that the limited manouvrbility of the bomber means that even if the bomb always regenerates it will only be able to drop 3 or so bombs a game and frankly fire warriors can do better. However the large blast of the Razorshark have a 30" range and are perfect for dealing with Necrons/Tau/Scouts and anything below.

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    1. The razorshark with disruption pod is 160pts that's only 8pts cheaper than my bomber loadout. Obviously quad guns would be a priotiy but why not take a decoy launcher instead of the d-pod? The disruption pod is only any use when you Evade and if you've had to do that then chances are you're either toast anyway or else will be firing snap shots which isn't great.

      The decoy launchers give you an invuln save so you don't comprimise shooting but they protect your from interceptor fire for the whole game not just when you arrive.

      The bomber threatens cheap scoring units hugging objectives deep in your enemy's deployment zone. The fire warriors will struggle to hurt them. Of course the razorshark's large blast will be good but most of the time you can't fire it if you've had to evade. The bomber can't drop bombs either if it's evaded but at least the drones can still be targetting enemy flyers.

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  7. I'm playing an 8 a side apocalypse game soon, and I'm planning on bringing two Razorsharks to shoot at other flyers, it just seems like the better option, as the bomb, a) could go out on first turn, ad b) is not that powerful, so I don't want them, what do you think?

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