[Troops] Firewarrior Team

Articles by commanders from Prior Phase Expansions. Worthy historical datacores.
User avatar
BabaGanoosh
Shas'Ui
Shas'Ui
Posts: 450

[Troops] Firewarrior Team

Post#1 » Nov 07 2013 08:30

[TROOPS] Firewarrior


Image
"Fire Warrior" by FonteArt


"The enemies of the Greater Good fear our ships, armor, and weapons. They believe our power derives from our technology. They fail to account for the Firewarriors the ships carry, the armor shields, and who wield the weapons. They should fear the Firewarrior at whose hands they will learn defeat."

-Por'El D'yanoi Ula'vesh, before the Third Sphere of Expansion




Introduction


Firewarriors form the core of many hunter cadres. They are one of two Troops choices in the codex and are essential for scoring purposes, but can be a powerful force in their own right, especially if supported. They can be considered light or medium infantry, with relatively low toughness and a respectable save. They are equipped with relatively powerful infantry weapons, but have poor leadership. Their shooting ability is average if unmodified, and their close combat skills are poor. Firewarriors have a decent selection of equipment/upgrade options, which can shore up some of the unit's weaknesses and to an extent, expand their capabilities. Although they are often vulnerable on their own, Firewarriors can be extremely potent when properly deployed and supported.

Options, Upgrades & Wargear
Battlefield Roles
Synergy
Competition
Counters
Conclusions
Last edited by BabaGanoosh on Nov 07 2013 08:37, edited 6 times in total.

User avatar
BabaGanoosh
Shas'Ui
Shas'Ui
Posts: 450

Re: [Troops] Firewarrior Team

Post#2 » Nov 07 2013 08:30

Options, Upgrades and Wargear


Composition:

Firewarrior teams have 6-12 members, equipped with pulse rifles and photon grenades by default. They have access to a Shas'Ui upgrade character, who in turn allows the squad to bring two drones. The squad can also purchase EMP grenades, be bonded, and exchange their pulse rifles for carbines.

Shas'Ui:

One member can be upgraded to a character Shas'Ui, improving leadership by one point, improving their leadership significantly. Firewarriors with a Shas'Ui fail leadership tests roughly one-third less often than those without. The Shas'Ui is otherwise identical to the other Firewarriors, except for one extra - and often inconsequential attack. The Shas'Ui can take a markerlight and target lock, potentially serving as an ancillary markerlight source, although this upgrade comes at a relatively high cost.

Like all characters, the Shas'Ui can make precision strikes, and can challenge in combat. Shas'Ui challenges may be used to act as a wound-sink, preventing enemy characters from killing other models. This is potentially useful if trying to remain in combat for another player turn.

Drones:

The Shas'Ui also unlocks access to two drones from the standard list. Gun drones can augment the firepower of the unit at close ranges - particularly during overwatch, while shield drones can offer invulnerable saves which can be useful against weapons that bypass Firewarrior armor and ignore cover. However, in most cases the gun and shield drone are not useful to the Fire Warrior team, and are significantly more expensive than a Firewarrior. The markerlight drones potentially could be used in a “Cascade” style markerlight chain. The inclusion of any drone raises squad initiative to 4 for the purposes of preventing sweeping advances.

Bonding Ritual:

The squad can be bonded for a moderate cost, which can be useful in certain situations. Units operating independently of an Ethereal or Cadre Fireblade can break easily, and being bonded can prevent decimated units from running off the table. This upgrade is less useful for units operating at the back edge of the table, because they often do not have the chance to regroup before they run off the table edge.

Rifles vs. Carbines:

Firewarriors are typically equipped with pulse rifles, since they offer better range than carbines and equal firepower at 15” or less. Carbines are only superior in a few situations; permitting a charge and firing one more shot than rifles between 18"-15”. Carbines are also pinning weapons. Although pinning is typically unreliable, it is a powerful effect when it does work. Units that are pinned can be ignored for or a turn or destroyed with concentrated firepower as necessary - but do not rely on this effect!

EMP Grenades:

EMP grenades are an interesting choice: with the haywire special rule, they offer Firewarriors an effective anti-vehicle option on paper. However, Firewarriors must assault a vehicle in order to effectively use these grenades, which presents problems. In many match-ups, Firewarriors are not very resilient out of cover, advancing on the enemy.

Furthermore, vehicles that approach Firewarriors are generally transports carrying assault troops, and are better dealt with at range. A unit of Firewarriors lucky enough to reach a target intact are likely to be assaulted the next turn. Furthermore, Firewarriors will have to forgo a round of shooting at their preferred targets to assault a vehicle.

Photon Grenades:

Firewarriors also carry photon grenades, which count as defensive grenades. Charging units lose their bonus attack against them, and Firewarriors also gain the stealth special rule against shooting attacks from 8" or closer. These benefits are easy to forget, probably because they are not useful in every game, but can be surprisingly useful. The bonus of stealth within 8" in particular can greatly increase squad resilience.

User avatar
BabaGanoosh
Shas'Ui
Shas'Ui
Posts: 450

Re: [Troops] Firewarrior Team

Post#3 » Nov 07 2013 08:31

Battlefield Roles:


Scoring:

Firewarriors are one of two Troop choices available in Codex: Tau Empire, and as such their main role will often be capturing and holding objectives. Firewarriors are not naturally a resilient unit however; their low toughness and middling save cannot protect them against sustained fire.

Properly supported and augmented, Firewarriors can be decent objective holders. Leadership support is essential, whether it comes from an Ethereal’s area of effect, an attached independent character, or a Shas’Ui within the unit. Depending on the opponent, Firewarriors may need to stay in cover - but in some cases there will be a lack of AP4 weaponry available to fire on them and they will be able to operate out of cover.

Firewarriors are also slow-moving on their own. Devilfish transports can be useful in getting Firewarriors where they need to be if objectives are located mid-field and are unapproachable until the late game. Devilfish transports are also very durable and can protect Firewarrior squads until they are needed to claim objectives.

Firebase:

Firewarriors can also be a significant source of firepower for a Cadre. Pulse rifles are relatively long-ranged, and can effectively engage light to heavy infantry. Firewarriors are most effective with markerlight support, although care should be taken not to over-spend markerlight tokens on Firewarrior teams, especially when removing cover, since many enemies will prefer their armor save to cover anyway.

Firewarriors in a firing line can be most effective in close ranges, under 15", where pulse rifles are in range to rapid fire. Augmented by an Ethereal or Fireblade, Firewarriors can lay down an intimidating barrage at close range.

Strike Team:

A more unorthodox use of Firewarriors is their deployment in aggressive close-range shooting attacks. Firewarriors loaded onto devilfish can move/disembark within a range of ~12" and rapid fire with rifles another 15", or fire two shots with pulse carbines at 18", for a threat range of 27-30" after movement. Augmented by firepower-enhancing Independent characters such as Ethereals or Darkstrider, a Firewarrior team can become deadly. The inclusion of Darkstrider in a Firewarrior Strike Team also allows the team to deploy via outflank, putting enormous sections of the board within the threat radius of the unit. This deployment can even be used for the attacking and claiming of objectives in enemy territory. This aggressive style could expose Firewarriors to assault and close range retaliatory fire, however.

Firewarriors equipped with EMP grenades and pulse carbines, referred to as "EMP commandos" are close cousins of Firewarrior Strike Teams. They are also deployed aggressively, sometimes in Devilfish for close-up attacks against the enemy. They can be extremely effective against vehicles, if they make it into assault.


Relevant Firewarrior resources on ATT:

Darkstrider Article
Commando Cadre Tactics

User avatar
BabaGanoosh
Shas'Ui
Shas'Ui
Posts: 450

Re: [Troops] Firewarrior Team

Post#4 » Nov 07 2013 08:31

Synergy:


Independent Characters:

Firewarriors benefit greatly from the attachment of Independent Characters, such as Darkstrider, Cadre Fireblades, and Ethereals. Each of these has a direct amplifying effect on the durability and firepower of a Firewarrior unit, by affecting their shooting and leadership.

Cadre Fireblade: These veteran warriors have the unique ability to increase the number of shots fired by a squad, even at maximum range. The Fireblade works extremely well in static gunlines, since his ability is dependent on staying still. He also greatly improves squad leadership and offers a BS5 markerlight with target lock, so he can affect other units' shooting as well as the squad he is attached to.

Ethereal: The spiritual leaders of the Empire are useful in several ways. They raise leadership, and offer variable bonus effects to nearby units. Ethereals can be most useful when multiple squads of Fire Warriors are deployed in close proximity and can share the Ethereal abilities. Storm of Fire is particularly powerful, increasing the number of shots fired at close range, an effect that can work during the Tau shooting phase as well as during overwatch in the enemy assault phase. In turn, the Firewarriors provide shielding for the Ethereal.

Darkstrider: This unique character gives several benefits to a Firewarrior squad: more effective shooting via structural analyzer, conferring outflank to the squad, and an ability to move after overwatch - the "fighting retreat" special rule. Leadership is also increased by his addition to the squad.

The different Independent Characters have varying effects on a Firewarrior team's firepower, leadership, and mobility. The Fireblade is the best at boosting firepower for one stationary unit of Firewarriors. Ethereals are great for mobile teams working close to friendly units and/or the enemy. Darkstrider is great for highly-mobile squads, particularly those operating close to the enemy.



Kroot:

Firewarriors also synergize well with Kroot, the other Troops choice in Codex: Tau Empire. Kroot and Firewarriors can be used to screen each other, as the situation demands. Kroot are generally the screening unit, conferring a cover save and protective barrier for the Firewarriors behind. In the absence of AP4 weapons, it can be useful to screen the kroot with Firewarriors, conferring a cover save to the kroot. When faced with an assault, Kroot are the better screening unit, since they can benefit from the Firewarriors' overwatch via supporting fire.

User avatar
BabaGanoosh
Shas'Ui
Shas'Ui
Posts: 450

Re: [Troops] Firewarrior Team

Post#5 » Nov 07 2013 08:31

Competition:


Kroot:

Kroot are the only other scoring unit in Codex: Tau Empire, and they are the main competition for Fire Warriors in both of their primary roles. Kroot can outflank and infiltrate onto the board, offering better flexibility in positioning. Kroot also have access to sniper ammunition, which combined with their normal ammo makes them threatening to any model with a Toughness value. Kroot are also significantly cheaper and can be purchased in greater numbers.

However, Firewarriors hold several important advantages over the Kroot. Their armor save is much better - many weapons simply ignore a 6+ armor save. Kroot have a shorter effective range than Firewarriors, and lack the Supporting Fire special rule, decreasing their synergistic value. On the other hand, Fire Warriors excel at supporting fire, especially when supported by an Ethereal’s Storm of Fire.


S5AP5 Overload:

In a way, Firewarriors also face competition from almost every unit in the codex. Pulse rifles and carbines are both Strength 5 and AP 5, a profile repeated many times throughout the codex. In fact only three non-unique units do not have access to such weapons: Kroot, Vespid, and Ethereals. Consequently there is often a glut of this class of weapon in a Hunter Cadre. Fortunately, the pulse weapon profile is effective against targets ranging from light infantry to light vehicles and most Monstrous Creatures, even if it is not ideal against all these targets.

User avatar
BabaGanoosh
Shas'Ui
Shas'Ui
Posts: 450

Re: [Troops] Firewarrior Team

Post#6 » Nov 07 2013 08:32

Counters:


AP4 + Ignores Cover:

Weapons that ignore the armor save and cover save of Firewarriors, and are quickly deployable can pose a serious threat to Firewarrior teams. Firewarrior teams are not high-model count or toughness units and can quickly melt if they cannot take a saving throw. If faced with this type of weapon, there are a few options available, however. Staying off the board entirely until the threat is removed is one option, effective at preserving the Firewarriors but forfeiting their shooting for at least one turn. Area terrain can also be effective sanctuary against barrage-type weapons. Finally, shield drones can also be used to take invulnerable saves against such weapons, although this protection is limited and comes at a cost.

Melee:

Melee units of any stripe are dangerous to Firewarriors, if they can make it into combat. Firewarriors perform quite poorly in combat; even units that are not considered 'melee' units will often be able to engage and destroy Firewarriors in hand-to-hand combat. Fast-moving or durable units are particularly dangerous. The primary defense against melee units is to prevent them from reaching the Firewarriors at all. Target priority and unit positioning must be paid close attention to if Firewarrior teams are to be preserved. The supporting fire special rule can be extremely effective if units are positioned properly, and/or augmented by an Ethereal's Storm of Fire ability.

User avatar
BabaGanoosh
Shas'Ui
Shas'Ui
Posts: 450

Re: [Troops] Firewarrior Team

Post#7 » Nov 07 2013 08:32

Conclusions:

Ethereal powers and leadership boosts are key to a strong core of Fire Warrior squads in a hunter cadre. Squads operating without an Ethereal should be augmented by a Shas’Ui or attached IC to provide leadership; without a boost they fail ~42% of all leadership tests. A Shas’Ui improves those odds to fail only ~28%, and an Ethereal reduces the fail rate to ~8.5%. Given that Firewarrior teams can be expected to take significant losses, good leadership is critical in keeping them on the board.

Firewarriors have several upgrade options available, but no 'automatic' upgrades that should be taken regardless of the intended role of the unit. Leadership upgrades such as the Shas'Ui and bonding ritual can be useful to teams operating independent of other support. Pulse carbines are generally not as effective as pulse rifles, and EMP grenades are powerful but do not fit well with the standard Firewarrior tactics, but both options can be useful if Firewarriors are used in unorthodox roles.

Firewarriors can also produce an impressive volume of fire at close range, particularly when augmented by an Ethereal or Cadre Fireblade. They can decimate light infantry and overload heavy infantry with wounds. Even limited markerlight support can turn this fusillade into a deadly-accurate wall of pulse fire.

Firewarriors are not particularly durable however, and need to be protected against heavy firepower. As a scoring unit, they will often be the focus of enemy firepower.


Fire Warriors are a solid Troops choice when properly supported and integrated into the core of a cadre. They can also be used as a potent, if fragile strike force if deployed appropriately. They work best when augmented, most notably by a nearby Ethereal.

Return to “Academy Archival Datacore”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest