Piranha escort for a devilfish Breacher transport

A review of past Tactics by commanders during the First, Second, Third & Fourth Phase Expansion.
FrogPrince
Shas'Saal
Posts: 26

Piranha escort for a devilfish Breacher transport

Post#1 » Mar 01 2017 01:19

Hello All,

Newbie here with a question about the possible usefulness and effectiveness of combining a pair if piranhas with a devilfish full of breachers and Darkstrider as a rapid infantry hunting force. I have read that a devilfish full of breachers can be an effective way of getting up close to an enemy unit and looking at Darkstrider's bonuses he would help make them even more effective in this role.

What I am thinking was to assign a pair of piranhas to this too as an escort for the devilfish during transport, would this be helpful? The dilemma is the load out on them. The way I see it is I either give them burst cannons to assist the devilfish in moping up any models the breachers don't finish off after disembarking or do I give them fusion blasters so they could act as transport killers to force a disembarkation of an enemy unit then go at the newly exposed troops with my breachers afterwards?

I am leaning towards giving them the burst cannon role as I could take a riptide, Broadside or use a ghostkeel in the role of taking out enemy loaded transports but would greatly value more experienced input. Also, for example, is this not a practical use of the units or would 3 piranhas be better than 2. All help is appreciated.

Thank you in advance.

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Panzer
Shas'Saal
Posts: 3548

Re: Piranha escort for a devilfish Breacher transport

Post#2 » Mar 01 2017 02:00

I doubt the Piranha would help them in any way. If your opponent wants to get rid of the Devilfish Breacher the Piranha won't stop him and whatever the Breacher shoot at some S5 AP5 won't help much.
The only thing I could see them usefull for would be to crack open transports so the Breacher can kill whatever was inside but that depends on how many transports you see in your meta.

Keep in mind that you could just outflank the Devilfish if Darkstrider is with them and if you have a unit of Pathfinder with Recon Drone near the enemy edge (via outflanking as well for example) they can even arrive from the enemys edge. ;)

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Unicornsilovethem
Shas'Saal
Posts: 278

Re: Piranha escort for a devilfish Breacher transport

Post#3 » Mar 01 2017 03:10

Outflank it, and buy the 4+ invulnerable against Interceptor for the Devilfish. The thing costs like 3 pts, saves you a Jink and is damn good way to get your breachers in range. And due to the wording, it works against guns with the Interceptor rule even in their own shooting phase. If you are simultaneously deepstriking any suits then a Positional Relay is another well spent 5pt.

If you want to kill transports to expose the infantry inside, you could probably do it with Burst Cannon piranhas as long as it's a vehicle with weak Rear armor. But getting the piranhas to get into the correct position at the right time might be difficult. Shooting down transports is something Broadsides excel at, I'd do that instead.

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AnonAmbientLight
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 821

Re: Piranha escort for a devilfish Breacher transport

Post#4 » Mar 02 2017 01:12

FrogPrince wrote:Newbie here with a question about the possible usefulness and effectiveness of combining a pair if piranhas with a devilfish full of breachers and Darkstrider as a rapid infantry hunting force.


They could be useful, but consider the problem you are coming up against and the tools you are using to fix that problem. Piranha themselves are pretty weak in both shooting and durability. Devilfish are also in the same boat and Breachers are only good if you can get the target within 5in or less. This unit would be rather easy to shoot off the board.

FrogPrince wrote:What I am thinking was to assign a pair of piranhas to this too as an escort for the devilfish during transport, would this be helpful?


The Piranhas might offer some relatively cheap anti-tank shooting for your breachers.

FrogPrince wrote:The dilemma is the load out on them. The way I see it is I either give them burst cannons to assist the devilfish in moping up any models the breachers don't finish off after disembarking or do I give them fusion blasters so they could act as transport killers to force a disembarkation of an enemy unit then go at the newly exposed troops with my breachers afterwards?


You should consider giving the piranhas melta. Your breachers will very likely destroy whatever it is they are shooting at (for the most part).

FrogPrince wrote:I am leaning towards giving them the burst cannon role as I could take a riptide, Broadside or use a ghostkeel in the role of taking out enemy loaded transports but would greatly value more experienced input.


Melta piranhas would be more of a threat since they are quick and have melta. You are also noticing the trend that Tau quickly fall into: "This unit is good at this role, but this other units is better."

FrogPrince wrote:Also, for example, is this not a practical use of the units or would 3 piranhas be better than 2. All help is appreciated.


If you are dead set on taking piranhas I suggest taking them in separate units if possible. Hull Points carry over to other vehicles in the squadron as the squad takes damage.

Personally I find piranhas are not very useful and are not really seen all that much at more "competitive" levels. Their low armor value and mediocre shooting leave much to be desired.

The Breacher & Darkstrider option though seems to have some merit. The latest LVO tournament had the 7th place player use a Breacher & Darkstrider combination.

http://bloodofkittens.com/wp-content/up ... n-2017.pdf

The game is about scoring objectives first and foremost. The Breacher/Darkstrider combination allows the player to rush to objectives quickly with Darkstrder's Scout special rule. It also allows him to outflank the transport should he need to.

Ultimately it sounds like this is something you should test out for yourself and see how it holds up in your meta. It might prove to be fun and effective against what you are seeing. I would suggest getting accustomed to pre-measuring and understanding exactly how disembarking works and what you need to do to achieve that.
Sky IS Falling, T'au WILL Suck, Sell Me Your Models

FrogPrince
Shas'Saal
Posts: 26

Re: Piranha escort for a devilfish Breacher transport

Post#5 » Mar 02 2017 03:14

Thanks for the information and feedback, it is much appreciated.

It gives me something to mull over for sure.

Edit- a thought on the melta loading option. Will I not have to commit to the disembarking of the breachers and move them into position before the shooting stage, therefore taking the risk that the piranhas do not destroy the enemy transport and so then could leave my breachers exposed? Also, when the enemy units disembark their damaged transport could they then disembark out of the breachers' effective range too as I will have committed to my positioning?

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AnonAmbientLight
Shas'La
Shas'La
Posts: 821

Re: Piranha escort for a devilfish Breacher transport

Post#6 » Mar 02 2017 04:00

Disembarking for your Breachers must happen in the movement phase. Your Breachers will be out and exposed whether or not your piranhas are successful in opening the vehicle up.

If the vehicle is wrecked, the enemy can put his troops on the other side of the vehicle, effectively LoS your already deployed Breachers.

If the vehicle blows up, the explosion might end up hitting your Breachers (maybe).
Sky IS Falling, T'au WILL Suck, Sell Me Your Models

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Panzer
Shas'Saal
Posts: 3548

Re: Piranha escort for a devilfish Breacher transport

Post#7 » Mar 02 2017 04:24

Nobody said it's a perfect strategy and there are definitely better targets for Breacher than such a gamble. :D
Luckily almost no army relies heavily on other transports than Drop Pods except for Chaos Space Marines.

FrogPrince
Shas'Saal
Posts: 26

Re: Piranha escort for a devilfish Breacher transport

Post#8 » Mar 03 2017 09:31

I think having the piranhas as transport popping escorts is too risky, so I will probably just run them either separately or with the burst cannons.

I'll trial it both ways and see which works out best.

Thank you for the insight.

Moffmaster
Shas'Saal
Posts: 4

Re: Piranha escort for a devilfish Breacher transport

Post#9 » Mar 12 2017 06:51

I think considering your piranhas 'escorts' for your troop transports is great from a fluff or storytelling perspective, but on the table, they are a separate unit with very different abilities. For starters, Piranhas are FAST, and able to zip from one side of the battlefield to the other to contest some vital objective. If you have piranhas, you must be willing to use them for what they are good for, even if that means 'breaking formation'.

In the escort role, the only thing that the Piranhas can really provide is cover, either from shooting or charging. Piranhas are big for their point cost and, depending on terrain, could reasonably give your transports or disembarked troops a cover save. With their mobility, they can always interpose themselves between your valuables and the most likely danger. However, depending on the Piranha flyer base height and the size of your enemies, they might be able to shoot over or under them without cover, and more mobile enemies can reposition as well to get a better angle.

They might be more useful to block an enemy charge, though. Your unloaded troops and transports might be threatened by fast assault troops (won’t stop jump troops, obviously) or perhaps flamer-armed enemies. Drop your drones and then just interpose your piranhas. Put them right in his face, so he can't even move properly. He can blow them in the shooting phase, and charge through the craters - but if he is blocked in the movement phase, he should not be able to make the charge anyway. And Piranhas are very broad, so two should really ruin his movement corridor. It's a sacrifice, of course, but depending on how you value the drones - which you should deploy before sacrificing - the chassis itself is only ~20 points. And the enemy still has to devote firepower to destroy them – or charge and risk getting caught in their explosion.


At this point, this is turning more into general advice about Piranhas, and my own experience with and my favourite uses for them:


First off all, Piranhas are NOT fragile and are actually decent at soaking fire
In fact, they are surprisingly resilient – for their price. Don’t expect any one piranha to live, that your enemy really wants dead, of course. But taking them down protects the rest of your army. Yes, they can be damaged by bolter fire as people like to point out, but only from the rear. And even supposing the enemy gets to take rear shots at your piranhas, you will actually be okay. It takes two glancing hits to down a Piranha, so that is twelve bolter hits from the back – or twelve heavy bolter hits from the front. Twelve bolter hits on a battlesuit will inflict two wounds on average killing one suit. But a suit is rather more expensive than the ~20pts Piranha. There are weapons that are more efficient at taking out Piranhas, but your enemy will still be hard-pressed to justify the expense of firing more valuable weapons at your cheap skimmers. Especially because you can opt to Jink them to get cover even when you are in the open (where your Piranhas honestly will often find themselves, because you will need to reserve good cover for more deserving units).



Lone Piranhas or small squadrons can effectively perform these manoeuvres:

Fusion Joust
(Threaten vehicles)
As others have pointed out, piranhas are great at threatening vehicles. A fusion piranha is ~30 points sans drones, which is not the best firepower for the price. However, it has okay survivability and great mobility. The presence of one or two (deploy them singly if you can) of fusion piranhas helps to keep your enemy worried and force him to manoeuvre his tanks more defensively – or hunt down your piranhas. For the actual attack, you should use markerlight support to make up for the rather poor BS.

Dying Light
(Be sacrificed to block)
Is there an enemy unit you just can’t allow to approach this turn? Like a land raider full of assault termis or that big wave of orkyness? Just land your paper-thin little skimmer right in front of it. It will be blown to bits in the shooting phase, but there isn’t much he can do about it in the movement phase, except tank shock it – which only clears the way if he manages to explode your piranha, which is highly unlikely.
Usually, denying the move will be enough to prevent the assault. And even a destroyed Piranha will force move through cover rolls. Remember that delaying the enemy charge just one more turn is a huge strategic goal for most Tau armies.

Carry the torch
(Move Seekers behind the enemy)
Some vehicles like imperial tanks are very tough in front, but weak in the side or back. Provided there is good cover on the side, you can rush a piranha forward with its blazing speed in one turn and in the next put two rather big holes in the back of some tank with markerlighted seekers. Later, you can use the lone piranha behind enemy lines to contest objectives, continue to threaten enemy tank rears with the burst cannon or lock enemy heavy weapon squads in melee with the drones.


Big swarms of Piranhas can:

Swarm
(Use their size)
Piranhas are HUGE for their point cost. They can really cover the board if you bring them in numbers. On a confined map, this will stifle their mobility, block the rest of your army and make them fall prey to template weapons. But on an open field, especially if you are worried about enemy deep strikes or other surprises into your lines, you can just spread them about as you would kroot, to make deep striking close to your more valuable units more difficult and dangerous.

Feeding frenzy
(Form a mighty, highly markerlight efficient, shooty unit)
Take a maxed out swarm of five Piranhas for 200pts. This gives you 40 BS3 /BS2Twin pulse shots. Add just two markerlights (attached drones profit from the markerlights of their parent vehicle), and this becomes an average of more than SEVEN dead marines or similar. Add two more markerlights for scour, and you will absolutely slaughter imperial guard or orcs. The only issue is range, as the piranhas are so bulky that not all of them might be in range. But remember that vehicles in squadrons don’t cover line of sight for their own squadmates shooting.


Macross Missile Massacre
(Unleash all the seekers at once)
Not necessarily the best value for money manoeuvre, but it’s hilarious and often makes your enemy’s chin drop. Build a full squadron as above, but add the maximum of ten seekers for 80pts. Seekers can be fired as ‘seeking’ on markerlights, but they can also fire as regular missile launchers, which is far more markerlight efficient. Just light a big, dangerous enemy unit or vehicle up as above, and fire 10 S8 AP3 shots at 72” range with BS5 and ignore cover. This will kill many monstrous creatures, tanks and vehicle squadrons outright. It’s murderous to Tau battlesuits, too.

FrogPrince
Shas'Saal
Posts: 26

Re: Piranha escort for a devilfish Breacher transport

Post#10 » Mar 14 2017 03:31

Thank you for the detailed information on the options available and your experience in using them.

I agree that after the feedback having them as escorts would be a waste. I do like the idea of loading 3-5 as a feeding frenzy and possibly taking the seekers too for a bit of fun.

Thank you again.

Moffmaster
Shas'Saal
Posts: 4

Re: Piranha escort for a devilfish Breacher transport

Post#11 » Mar 14 2017 04:21

If you want to do feeding frenzy, it pays to bring a full squadron for higher marker light efficy. Provided, of course, your table is big and relatively empty. On a crowded playing field, they will have trouble.

With Piranhas, it's also great to be close to your commander if you bring the standard 'hunter cadre' formation. The ambushes and feints special rule allows you to move flat out and then shoot in the same shooting phase. This is especially useful for fusion armed piranhas, as you can do a melta attack on basically any vehicle in the first turn with your 12" move, 18" flat out and 9" effective fusion range. But it also allows the 'feeding frenzy' unit to find a good position on the flank where they are not in the way.

And if you carry seekers, and are not too attached to your piranhas, you can move 12" forward, then flat out 18" inches above the enemy lines and land right behind them (if they left space. Probably a bit too tight for a large squadron, not to mention too big a sacrifice.) If they have vehicles that have weak armor in the back, you can then fire your burst cannon into their rear... and then use markerlights to home in seekers. S8 against AV10 or 11 will net you some nice penetrating hits.

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