Revisiting Mechanized Gun Drones

Discuss tactical and strategic development for 40K/Tau.
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Arka0415
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Revisiting Mechanized Gun Drones

Post#1 » Dec 30 2017 09:26

Some months ago, mechanized Gun Drones were very popular additions to Tau lists here on ATT. Normally the build was:

HQ - Cadre Fireblade w/ Markerlight
Dedicated Transport - Devilfish w/ Burst Cannon; 2x Gun Drones
Fast Attack - 5x Gun Drones
Fast Attack - 6x Gun Drones

The Gun Drones and Fireblade were put into the Devilfish, then the transport sped off, advancing or possibly charging into enemies, then unloading 80+ S5 shots into enemy infantry.

Recently, there hasn't been as much discussion about them. Are people still using mechanized Gun Drones? Or, have they fallen out of favor?

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Beerson
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Re: Revisiting Mechanized Gun Drones

Post#2 » Dec 30 2017 09:43

Now the meta seems to be drone taxis and ablative wounds so the drones are not treated as something that needs protection, but rather as cannonfodder ment to soak up shots until they reach enemy for those devastating volleys, and the cost of devilfish gets you more drones to do just that

Also with the addition of -1 to hit, 80 s5 shots on 5+ doesn't seem that good anymore I guess

Watcher on the wall
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Re: Revisiting Mechanized Gun Drones

Post#3 » Jan 07 2018 10:01

It works only if you're playing a mechanised list or one with lots of other targets like Y'vrahas or Stormsurges. And then it is good for semi-competitive play but commander + drone spam is of course more effective.
Ultimately I'd say it works if you make it an integral part of your list but you can't just tack it on and expect it to perform.

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StealthKnightSteg
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Re: Revisiting Mechanized Gun Drones

Post#4 » Jan 08 2018 04:28

I haven't played with it yet, but I am going to do so.
I want to use it as one of the moving threats on the table next to the Stealth Suits team that will deliver my flamer Crisis and a board control part with my keel. so I can focus 2 of those parts on 1 flank or try and deny the whole length of the board by having a thread on the left, right and center. Depending on how deployment goes.

Also I want a second stealth team with Drone Controler tagging along with the Devifish to provide the +1 to hit for the drones to make that thread even bigger.

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gunrock
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Re: Revisiting Mechanized Gun Drones

Post#5 » Jan 08 2018 10:39

Retracted for miscalculations.
Last edited by gunrock on Jan 08 2018 10:37, edited 1 time in total.
All the rivers run into the sea, Yet the sea is not full; Unto the place whither the rivers go, Thither they go again.

Watcher on the wall
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Posts: 135

Re: Revisiting Mechanized Gun Drones

Post#6 » Jan 08 2018 01:17

I'm a little confused by some of the numbers to be honest, particularly with the crisis suits. Redoing the same examples as gunrock (or at least until I get bored):

10 Gun Drones , 1ML(80points): 40 shots to 15.56 hits to 10.37 wounds to 8.64 kills, 9.26ppk
10 drones, Fireblade, 1ML (122 points): 60 shots to 23.33 hits to 15.55 wounds, to 12.96 kills, 9.41ppk
10 drones, Fireblade, 1ML, DC (122 points): 60 shots to 35 hits to 23.33 wounds to 19.44 kills, 6.28ppk (+ cost of DC)

I'm not convinced about adding the Fireblade actually. It means effectively an extra markerlight (and its utility will increase if you have more than 10 drones), but you need to get within 9" for it to be effective. The Drone Controller is great, if you can get it in place.

And then for the crisis suits:
3x CIB XV8, 1ML (96 points) 9 shots to 5.25 hits to 4.375 wounds to 4.375 kills, 21.95ppk
3x Burst Cannon, 1ML (72 points) 12 shots to 7 hits to 4.66 wounds to 3.88 kills, 18.54ppk
3x Flamer (69pts) 10.5 shots to 10.5 hits to 7 wounds to 5.83 kills, 11.83ppk

This isn't counting the attached gun drones who will be using in all likelihood to top gun drones profile and so shooting at 9.26ppk. I think this bit makes clear that if you're shooting at light infantry, flamer XV8 are the only viable choice, and even then they need a significant investment to effectively manta strike.

And then mechanised gun drones:
1 Devilfish, 13 Gun drones, Fireblade, 1ML (257 points) 82 shots (including the burst cannon on the devilfish) to 31.5 hits to 21 wounds to 17.5 kills. 14.69ppk
1 Devilfish, 13 Gun Drones, Fireblade, 1ML, DC (257 points) 82 shots (including the burst cannon on the devilfish) to 47.83 hits to 31.89 wounds to 26.57 kills. 9.67ppk.

The devilfish is about 33% less efficient than a set-up involving just gun drones and a fireblade, but this is partially compensated by the additionnal durability, utility and mobility of the devilfish (of course, all of this is for nothing is your devilfish is destroyed turn 1). On the other hand, a higher drone to fireblade ratio will make the numbers less favourable for the devilfish.

Conclusions?
Don't rely on battlesuits to attack light infantry. Gun drones (or a normal fire warrior gunline) are the best, and putting them in a devilfish or not depends more on the rest of your army. So for commander spam or armies with lots of manta striking units, go on foot. If you're taking hammerheads or a stormsurge or a y'vraha, you can give mech a go.

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gunrock
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Re: Revisiting Mechanized Gun Drones

Post#7 » Jan 08 2018 10:36

Watcher on the wall wrote:I'm a little confused by some of the numbers to be honest, particularly with the crisis suits. Redoing the same examples as gunrock (or at least until I get bored):

10 Gun Drones , 1ML(80points): 40 shots to 15.56 hits to 10.37 wounds to 8.64 kills, 9.26ppk
10 drones, Fireblade, 1ML (122 points): 60 shots to 23.33 hits to 15.55 wounds, to 12.96 kills, 9.41ppk
10 drones, Fireblade, 1ML, DC (122 points): 60 shots to 35 hits to 23.33 wounds to 19.44 kills, 6.28ppk (+ cost of DC)

I'm not convinced about adding the Fireblade actually. It means effectively an extra markerlight (and its utility will increase if you have more than 10 drones), but you need to get within 9" for it to be effective. The Drone Controller is great, if you can get it in place.

And then for the crisis suits:
3x CIB XV8, 1ML (96 points) 9 shots to 5.25 hits to 4.375 wounds to 4.375 kills, 21.95ppk
3x Burst Cannon, 1ML (72 points) 12 shots to 7 hits to 4.66 wounds to 3.88 kills, 18.54ppk
3x Flamer (69pts) 10.5 shots to 10.5 hits to 7 wounds to 5.83 kills, 11.83ppk

This isn't counting the attached gun drones who will be using in all likelihood to top gun drones profile and so shooting at 9.26ppk. I think this bit makes clear that if you're shooting at light infantry, flamer XV8 are the only viable choice, and even then they need a significant investment to effectively manta strike.

And then mechanised gun drones:
1 Devilfish, 13 Gun drones, Fireblade, 1ML (257 points) 82 shots (including the burst cannon on the devilfish) to 31.5 hits to 21 wounds to 17.5 kills. 14.69ppk
1 Devilfish, 13 Gun Drones, Fireblade, 1ML, DC (257 points) 82 shots (including the burst cannon on the devilfish) to 47.83 hits to 31.89 wounds to 26.57 kills. 9.67ppk.

The devilfish is about 33% less efficient than a set-up involving just gun drones and a fireblade, but this is partially compensated by the additionnal durability, utility and mobility of the devilfish (of course, all of this is for nothing is your devilfish is destroyed turn 1). On the other hand, a higher drone to fireblade ratio will make the numbers less favourable for the devilfish.

Conclusions?
Don't rely on battlesuits to attack light infantry. Gun drones (or a normal fire warrior gunline) are the best, and putting them in a devilfish or not depends more on the rest of your army. So for commander spam or armies with lots of manta striking units, go on foot. If you're taking hammerheads or a stormsurge or a y'vraha, you can give mech a go.



Hey, I'm really sorry if I botched my analysis, I'm still figuring out how to do this sort of mathhammer. Thank you for helping check. I think I'm a little unclear as to what the numbers on the weapons table represent. I'm under the impression that the numbers represent average wounds? but now looking back on my math it does not seem to work?
Can anyone clarify what the stock formulas are for doing these sorts of calculations?
Thank you watcher!
All the rivers run into the sea, Yet the sea is not full; Unto the place whither the rivers go, Thither they go again.

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Arka0415
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Re: Revisiting Mechanized Gun Drones

Post#8 » Jan 08 2018 11:13

gunrock wrote:Hey, I'm really sorry if I botched my analysis, I'm still figuring out how to do this sort of mathhammer. Thank you for helping check. I think I'm a little unclear as to what the numbers on the weapons table represent. I'm under the impression that the numbers represent average wounds? but now looking back on my math it does not seem to work?
Can anyone clarify what the stock formulas are for doing these sorts of calculations?

The "ppk" numbers represent the "points per wound" essentially the "price" (in points) of a single wound against the indicated target in one round of shooting. 10 Gun Drones shooting at T3/6+ should deal 8.64 total wounds worth of damage. As 10 Gun Drones cost 80 points, this is 9.26 points per wound. This is for one turn of shooting only of course- if the Gun Drones deal this damage across multiple turns their points-per-wound efficiency increases dramatically of course.





If anyone's curious I've now tried out the solo Devilfish unit in a few games, and at least by itself it's really not that useful. However, I have found that Gun Drones accompanying battlesuits are a fantastic way to get anti-infantry firepower to the battlefield. At the moment I think the "perfect" Gun Drone deployment method might be a pair of XV9s in separate units. Let's look at some numbers:

Group 1: 260 points
Elites - XV9 w/ 2x DBBC, Drone Controller; 4x Gun Drones (130)
Elites - XV9 w/ 2x DBBC, Drone Controller; 4x Gun Drones (130)

Group 2: 257 points
HQ - Cadre Fireblade w/ Markerlight (42)
Dedicated Transport - Devilfish w/ Burst Cannon, 2x Gun Drones (127)
Fast Attack - 5x Gun Drones (40)
Fast Attack - 6x Gun Drones (48)

Here's the math against a few different targets. I understand that there are multiple units with different BS in Group 2, that's factored into my calculations.

vs. GEQ:
Group 1: 48 shots > 32 hits > 21.3 wounds > 14.2 kills
Group 2: 85 shots > 32.5 hits > 21.67 wounds > 14.4 kills

vs. MEQ:
Group 1: 48 shots > 32 hits > 21.3 wounds > 7.1 kills
Group 2: 85 shots > 32.5 hits > 21.67 wounds > 7.2 kills

The Devilfish/Gun Drone unit absolutely pales in comparison to the XV9s not only in terms of firepower, but also usability (the Gun Drones can only really fire on turn 2) and deployability (the XV9s can deep strike). Since the Gun Drones only net an average of 0.2 more kills for only 3 points cheaper, I'd say that the XV9s are better.

I'm not recommending that mech Tau players abandon Devilfish lists for XV9s, but just that the mechanized Drone loadout isn't quite as effective as it seems.

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Haechi
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Re: Revisiting Mechanized Gun Drones

Post#9 » Jan 10 2018 10:39

I'm gonna play two of them (devildrones) in a tournament Sunday 21st. I'm not expecting much, but it should be fun =]

I also believed that the "meta" of protecting them is a bit gone. Now they're just cannon fodder.

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gunrock
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Re: Revisiting Mechanized Gun Drones

Post#10 » Jan 14 2018 10:54

Hey, I was just curious if anyone had any comparative numbers for any of the the other devilfish setups namely: Railfish, and Breacherfish. I suspect neither of them are any good, but I'd like to consider all of the setups before writing off the devilfish completely.
All the rivers run into the sea, Yet the sea is not full; Unto the place whither the rivers go, Thither they go again.

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Arka0415
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Re: Revisiting Mechanized Gun Drones

Post#11 » Jan 14 2018 11:15

gunrock wrote:Hey, I was just curious if anyone had any comparative numbers for any of the the other devilfish setups namely: Railfish, and Breacherfish. I suspect neither of them are any good, but I'd like to consider all of the setups before writing off the devilfish completely.

It's an older thread, but:

viewtopic.php?f=52&t=26659

Edit: No Railfish in this but I don't think anyone's seriously considered that. It would cost almost 350 points! :neutral:

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