Shield Drones and Infantry

Discuss tactical and strategic development for 40K/Tau.
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Arka0415
Shas'Vre
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Posts: 3213

Shield Drones and Infantry

Post#1 » Dec 18 2017 09:13

This was discussed in a series of PMs with user QimRas, but I figured I'd post some of our findings here.

Shield Drones have an interesting relationship with infantry. If an enemy unit armed with Bolters fires at a squad of Fire Warriors with two accompanying Shield Drones, the Tau player is faced with a choice: should the wounds be shifted to the Shield Drones, or should they be kept on the Fire Warriors?

If the Tau player passes the wounds on to the Shield Drones, the squad actually becomes less durable. This should be clear, since the Shield Drone cannot take its 4++ save and must instead rely on its 5+ "Feel no Pain" save. As such, except in the case of AP-2 weapons (which not usually aimed at Fire Warriors), Shield Drones do not provide a meaningful benefit to Fire Warrior squads. Instead of Shield Drones, more Fire Warrior models should be taken.

However, Pathfinders have a much more positive relationship with Shield Drones. If a Pathfinder squad passes wounds on to Shield Drones, the squad becomes more durable, if only by a little. This should also be clear, as Pathfinders and Shield Drones have the same effective save (5+) yet the Shield Drones' save cannot be reduced. Shield Drone casualties also do not impact the morale of the Pathfinders, meaning that the squad is less likely to take losses due to morale checks. Since Pathfinders often operate away from the main body of Tau troops, morale is more of an issue.

However, Shield Drones do not carry Markerlights, which of course are the main function of Pathfinders. Pathfinder squads that are Markerlight-focused should not take Shield Drones. Special weapon squads, on the other hand, synergize excellently with Shield Drones. It's advantageous for Special Weapon squads to be large, to protect the expensive special weapon-carrying models, but these squads are vulnerable to morale losses. Shield Drones provide not only additional bodies that can soak wounds, but those bodies are also more durable than ordinary Pathfinders and their loss does not impact morale. If you are fielding special weapon-armed Pathfinders, and are worried about their survivability, I suggest taking a pair of Shield Drones before you take additional Pathfinders in the squad.

Summary:
Don't put Shield Drones in Fire Warrior units. Do put Shield Drones in special weapon-armed Pathfinder units, if you're concerned about the durability of those units.
Last edited by Arka0415 on Dec 18 2017 08:45, edited 2 times in total.

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Yojimbob
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Posts: 573

Re: Shield Drones and Infantry

Post#2 » Dec 18 2017 10:26

Well put for the newer (or even not so new!) players who are looking to maximize their squad efficiency. Thanks for the info guys!

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QimRas
Shas'La
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Posts: 390

Re: Shield Drones and Infantry

Post#3 » Dec 18 2017 03:56

Another facet of this that was discussed in private is not mechanical, but instead psychological.

Passing wounds off to shield drones interrupts target prioritization by the enemy. You force them into the choice of shooting at very sturdy Shield Drones or allowing you to bounce hits onto the drones if they happen to make an "important" shot.

Players unfamiliar with the mathhammer can be easily tricked into pumping heavy weapons into Fire Warriors or even the drones if you sacrifice some shield drones to the cause.

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Bloodknife92
Shas'La
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Posts: 644

Re: Shield Drones and Infantry

Post#4 » Dec 18 2017 07:25

For someone like me whose main opponent is Skitarii, Shield Drones with Fire Warrior makes sense because; When Skitarii Rangers get a wound roll of 6+ using their Radium Carbines (of which my opponent takes 3 full units) their weapon becomes AP-1, making Fire Warrior saves the same as the Shield Drone's damage ignoring roll. That being said, I still like to take Gun Drones near my Fire Warriors because I need the fire power to match his, and the Skitarii have some of the most annoyingly points-efficient models I've seen in the 11 years that I've played this game. I mean come on, their Rangers are a whole point cheaper than our Fire Warriors, and hit with 16.5% increased accuracy, and don't even get me started with their Dunecrawlers!

On a completely unrelated note, I wanna advise that you change your red text to orange, because:
Please note that RED is reserved for the exclusive use of the Moderators and Admins.

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Arka0415
Shas'Vre
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Re: Shield Drones and Infantry

Post#5 » Dec 18 2017 08:46

Bloodknife92 wrote:On a completely unrelated note, I wanna advise that you change your red text to orange, because:
Please note that RED is reserved for the exclusive use of the Moderators and Admins.

Huh, never came across this, I use plenty of red in my posts. Thanks, changed to orange.

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AnonAmbientLight
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Posts: 894

Re: Shield Drones and Infantry

Post#6 » Dec 26 2017 03:11

Arka0415 wrote:Summary:
Don't put Shield Drones in Fire Warrior units. Do put Shield Drones in special weapon-armed Pathfinder units, if you're concerned about the durability of those units.


I noticed a small problem with your calculations. Your argument is that it is a loss to pass wounds on a shield drone because of the Firewarrior 4+ armor save, or 3+ armor save in cover. The Drone would have a 5+ FnP save so it is a loss.

Then the same would hold true for pathfinders then would it not? Pathfinders are very very rarely not in cover. So I think it is safe to assume that the pathfinder would have a 4+ save in cover, would you agree? In which case the shield drone being used would still be a loss.
Sky IS Falling, T'au WILL Suck, Sell Me Your Models

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Kelandis
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Re: Shield Drones and Infantry

Post#7 » Dec 26 2017 03:27

AnonAmbientLight wrote:
Arka0415 wrote:Summary:
Don't put Shield Drones in Fire Warrior units. Do put Shield Drones in special weapon-armed Pathfinder units, if you're concerned about the durability of those units.


I noticed a small problem with your calculations. Your argument is that it is a loss to pass wounds on a shield drone because of the Firewarrior 4+ armor save, or 3+ armor save in cover. The Drone would have a 5+ FnP save so it is a loss.

Then the same would hold true for pathfinders then would it not? Pathfinders are very very rarely not in cover. So I think it is safe to assume that the pathfinder would have a 4+ save in cover, would you agree? In which case the shield drone being used would still be a loss.


Well I think Arka was also taking into account the point values of the units. The value for a fire warrior comapred to a shield drone is equal, but a pathfinder carrying a heavy weapon is a much more costly model, thus its wounds are more valuable which makes passing the wounds to the drones a better idea.

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AnonAmbientLight
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Posts: 894

Re: Shield Drones and Infantry

Post#8 » Dec 27 2017 02:51

That doesn't seem to be a very good use of a shield drone then. The shield drone is meant to protect HQs from AP weapons and function as D3-D6 wound soaks for Battlesuits. It won't be very effective against small arms fire.

If you're worried about keeping your Pathfinders safe, then stick them in a Tidewall fortification. That will give you a mobile, durable platform to fire from. Put three markerlights (from another source) on a target and you can move and shoot without penalty.
Sky IS Falling, T'au WILL Suck, Sell Me Your Models

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