Thursday, May 21, 2009

In defence of the humble IG Sniper Rifle

"Ah, the humble Sniper Rifle, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

-You are 5pts each. So cheap, yet not trashy-cheap
-You are a Rending and Pinning weapon
-You are the most cost-effective standoff weapon for Guard Infantry units

Roses are red....and so is that giant, gaping wound I just put through your Space Marine's armor."

"We're so awesome, no one will notice our bright green bases..."

Seriously, I know everyone is flipping through the Guard 'dex right now and jizzing their collective pants over 3x BS4 Meltaguns for Vets. And, I have to admit, I had to smoke a cigarette after seeing that as well. 3 Meltas at 30pts is a steal. In a bare-bones Company Command Squad you can get 4 Meltas....but then you open up your squads to get attacked in close combat.

This, in my opinion, is a lose-lose situation, unless you're crazy enough to assault with Guard. Then, you have my grudging respect.

But let me suggest a low-cost, effective alternative to throwing away that pretty little CO (or a Veteran unit, if you'd like). Here's your unit breakdown:

Commander, 4 Vets w/ Sniper Rifles, Camo-cloaks (, any Advisors to taste...)

That is a cost of 90 points. You now have two ridiculous uses for this unit:

#1: Monstrous Creature Removal (yeah, Carnifexes, I'm talking about you): You have 4 36" Twin-Linked Sniper Shots against the target creature. At BS4, you are hitting over half the time, re-rolling any misses. This mean there is a good chance you will hit all 4 times. Now, roll to wound. It's Sniper so you're wounding on 4+, regardless of Toughness. Roll a 6 and you get an Auto-Wound which is now AP2. This means you are wounding on about half your shots every turn. Even the toughest Monstrous Creature will not be able to withstand firepower of that magnitude (....."It's a trap!").

#2: Standoff Covering Fire: Using the Commander's other order, you'll have 4 36" shots with no cover saves allowed. This is a HUGE advantage in 5th edition, where 4+ cover saves are ubiquitous. Again, roll to hit at BS4. You're hitting half the time (no re-rolls though *sigh*). Roll to wound, you're now wounding half the time because of 4+. On 6s, you're getting Autowounds and AP2. What does the target unit have to fall back on? Cover saves.....ah, but no!

And herein is where some of you may say "Big deal, so you kill one model per turn. Who cares?". Ah, but you are now forcing the target unit to take a Pinning Check. Failure means it can't do shit next turn. And, here's the biggest advantage of the Sniper Rifle - psychological warfare.

Now you're opponent is thinking she'd better move that unit or else it will continue to come under fire and, perhaps, fail a Pinning Test. So she moves it. Problem solved....or at least put off. Maybe even your opponent does something stupid you can take advantage of. This is the real-world advantage to Sniper weapons, in miniature - force your enemy to either keep their heads down or do something tactically advantageous to your own goals.

You are providing your sniper unit with camo-cloaks because you want to plant this unit inside area terrain. Getting a 3+ cover save over the 5+ Flak armor is a very reasonable price at 20pts.

Oh, and don't even get me started on including a Master Of Ordnance with you CO Sniper unit, that is just crazy badass....

"Damn the Man, Save The Empire!"

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