Vespid Stingwings are true converts to the Greater Good and staunch allies of the T’au on the battlefield. For many years they have struggled to perform well alongside their T’au allies but with the dramatic changes in the galaxy they have seen a significant improvement in their performance and equipment. Vespid are a Fast Attack choice for a T’au army, they are a fast moving unit which has reasonably hard hitting shooting attacks and is tolerably durable.
Vespid have similar base statistics to other T’au infantry including a 4+ save but they have a superior T4 and WS4; the weapon skill will rarely matter but improved toughness makes units of Vespid noticeably more hard to kill. The outstanding characteristic of the Vespid is their Move of 14”, when combined with the Fly keyword this makes them one of the most mobile infantry units in the game. They are perfectly suited to flying between the upper levels of terrain pieces while raining shots onto the slower moving enemies below, on typically laid out battlefields it is quite likely that their movement will be enough to span the distance between pieces of terrain in a way that slower units could not manage. Vespid Stingwings have very poor Leadership of 5 which would leave them very vulnerable to Morale unless they have a Strain Leader with them who provides a much more useful leadership of 8.
The signature wargear of the Vespid Stingwings are their Neutron Blasters, an Assault 2 weapon with Strength 5 and 18” range; its advantage over comparable T’au weapons is its AP of -2. With this weapon Vespid units are well equipped to use their mobility to hunt medium and heavy infantry to lethal effect. With a good weapon strength and respectable armour penetration they can also tackle heavily armoured monsters and vehicles to worthwhile effect, they are not as strong in this role as more specialist vehicle/monster hunters but their ability is good enough to merit use when no better target is available.
All Vespid Stingwings have the Plunge from the Sky rule which allows them to be deployed off the table and then be placed on the battlefield in any subsequent movement phase so long as they do not arrive within 9” of any enemy unit. This rule enables Vespid to be placed off-table and to pose a threat to infantry almost anywhere on the table as their weapon range is well in excess of this deployment range.
As auxiliaries Vespid lack the <Sept> keyword and have the Vespid keyword instead. In a few cases this limits their ability to benefit from synergies that other units can use.
The only upgrade available to a Vespid Stingwing unit is the Strain Leader. Strain Leaders have much improved leadership which improves the durability of Vespid units against morale which is highly valuable, and one extra attack in close combat which is not likely to be significant. As an upgrade without cost there is no reason not to take the Strain Leader.
Vespid plunging from the sky can be used to launch strong shooting attacks on a key unit to eliminate it from the game With only the BS4+ typical of T’au units Vespid will generally need markerlight support to perform an effective surgical strike but with their AP -2 weapons they are quite capable of dealing out crippling damage when supported. If Vespid are to inflict serious casualties in this role they should be in significant sized units – a minimal squad will rarely do enough damage to matter whereas a larger team of 8-12 can inflict crippling losses on suitable targets.
Vespid in a surgical strike role have sufficient mobility and durability that they can continue to pose a threat to enemy backfield units throughout the game. While a suicide drop by Vespid may justified in some instances – they are after all considerably cheaper than alternative units such as XV8 Crisis Teams in this role - they should not generally be regarded as a suicide unit.
Vespid performing a surgical strike may also be able to assassinate carelessly placed Character models. In practice it is likely that only weak Characters will succumb to Vespid attacks as it is not usually possible to provide markerlight support but the mere threat of this happening can prey on the mind of an enemy commander resulting in their making other mistakes which can be exploited.
Vespid are very fast and are unhindered by terrain. Units of Vespid can outflank slower opposition to find advantageous shooting or scoring positions. This mobility of Vespid is particularly effective on battlefields with a lot of tall terrain where their ability to Fly can leave them in effective shooting range but very difficult to assault. Vespid can survive assault from units which are not dedicated to that purpose and Fly clear to continue their harassment although successful charges from dedicated units will usually be fatal for units of Vespid. Units of Vespid set to harass an opponent do not need to be large as their role is more to divert and disrupt than to inflict mass casualties.
The Ethereal powers apply to Vespid as T’au Infantry. The Calm of Tides power will help to reduce casualties from the Moral Phase. Storm of Fire can result in a moderate increase in shooting damage from units of Vespid although remaining static is not often the preferred tactic for Vespid. Zephyrs Grace will be helpful in making Vespid even more mobile than they already are while Sense of Stone will grant them a worthwhile bonus to their durability.
The Supreme Loyalty rule of the unique Ethereal Aun’Va has no range limitation and will permit Vespid to re-roll failed Morale anywhere on the battlefield.
Tactical Drones are cheaper than Vespid and in many situations a commander would rather keep Vespid on the battlefield. As T’au Infantry Vespid may benefit from the Saviour Protocols rule of Drones which can intervene to take wounds that would otherwise threaten the Vespid.
While Drones are not slow nor are they nearly as mobile as Vespid, if Vespid are to benefit from nearby Drones they must either slow down or meet up at critical moments of the battle.
The Commander in Coldstar Battlesuit is one of the few T’au units which is more mobile than Vespid, while the Vespid are the only Infantry unit which can even nearly keep pace with the XV86 battlesuit Commander. Both units are suited to a highly mobile form of warfare and both can be deployed off the table and then arrive on the battlefield together to form a combined strike.
The Master of War ability of the T’au Commander does not affect Vespid. They cannot benefit from either Mont'ka nor Kauyon nor are they subject to the movement restrictions of Kauyon when it is declared. The only Commander who does affect Vespid with Master of War is Shadowsun.
Crisis Battlesuits can use their Manta Strike to act in the Surgical Strike role. Against medium to heavy infantry targets the Vespid with their Neutron Blasters will often prove the most cost effective choice of unit and weapon for this strike role. Where Crisis Battlesuits excel is in their wide range of weapon choices to tackle other targets and in their ability to bring significant units of Drones along with them on the Manta Strike to deliver additional threats from an unexpected angle.
Piranha have mobility similar to that of Vespid and can be used to good effect in a harassment role. For equivalent points or power level the Vespid will be more numerous and hence have the advantage in scoring objectives and although the volume of shooting from the two units will be similar the AP -2 of the Vespid means that their shooting is of a higher quality. The Piranha will generally have the edge in durability especially when the ability of the drones to abandon a wrecked Piranha is taken into account; this advantage is offset if the Vespid are able to make effective use of terrain.
As a typical medium infantry unit Vespid are vulnerable to high quality shooting or to high volumes of shooting which can overwhelm them. While they can make use of terrain to evade assault they remain vulnerable to fast moving dedicated assault units, especially those which have the Fly keyword and can match Vespid in vertical movement.
Vespid are very much at their best when there is terrain to take advantage of and especially when that terrain has a significant height to exploit. In the absence of useful terrain Vespid units can be left exposed to return fire and assault.
Vespid are a fast moving unit which can threaten many things on the battlefield but which are at their best when hunting enemy infantry through built up areas of terrain. Their ability to drop out of the sky and to outmaneuver opposing forces makes them a valuable asset to a T’au commander