T’au Unit Review [FW] – Flyer: DX-6 Remora Stealth Drone Squadron

Charlie here from 40kDiceRolls, here again, to discuss the versatile and autonomous Remora Stealth Drone. As always, for more tactics articles, check out the Tactics Corner!

 

The Remora can be deployed in a variety of scenarios and used for a myriad of tasks from anything to support manned T’au aircraft to seeking and destroying key enemy vehicles. Capable of both skimmer (for short durations) and full-flight mode, the remora is able to adapt to changing battle conditions. A common method of battlefield deployment is from the transport capacity of a Tiger Shark or even a Manta. It seems that Remoras do no benefit from the same level of artificial intelligence that other drones benefit from and if they get too far away from their control ship, they oftentimes lack sufficient protocols to maintain effectiveness.

On the tabletop, Remoras are a Flier choice that contains at least one Remora but up to five additional Remora chassis.

DX-6 Remora Stealth Drone Squadron

M WS BS S T W A Ld Sv
20-30″ 5+ 4+ 4 5 3 2 6 4+

Wargear

Each Remora is armed with two long-barreled burst cannons (each 36″ Heavy 4 S5 AP0 D1) and may take up to two Seeker Missiles (72″ Heavy 1 S8 AP-2 D[D6]).

Special Rules

  • Airborne
    • Cannot charge or be charged by (or attack or be attacked by) units that don’t have the <Fly> keyword.
  • Stealth Protocols
    • Able to deepstrike up to > 9″ away from an enemy unit.
  • Hard to Hit
    • Your opponent must subtract 1 from all To-Hit rolls that target this in the Shooting Phase.
  • Remora Targeters
    • Doesn’t suffer the penalty to moving and firing heavy weapons

Tactics

With no wargear options, what you see is what you get with the Remora: anti-infantry light attack vehicle. No, it’s not actually a vehicle,  it’s a <Drone> (we’ll get to that in a minute), but you get my point. Its primary focus will be on harassing chaff units or helping to ping away at other, hardier units. The choice to take Seeker Missile should be simple (do it). This will give you some additional versatility in terms of suitable targets, plus their Stealth Protocols special rule allows you a way to protect your Seeker Missiles until turn 2 – something not possible by other Seeker Missile platforms. If you’re looking for a way to take more Seeker Missiles and not have them be shot off the table turn 1, this might be it.

What you get for the points, reduced in CA2018, is not bad by any means. The movement results in the Remora having a large threat range (66″ for the DBBC’s), a T5 W3 -1 To-Hit chassis will put up some amount of resistance, and the <Fly> and <Drone> keywords will typically be useful. The <Fly> keyword will ensure that you can get over and behind protective terrain at the end of your movement or jump across screens to try and snipe a character who was poorly protected. The <Drone> keyword means that they can benefit from a Drone Controller (+1 To-Hit for nearby <Drones>), though you shouldn’t misconstrue this keyword to mean that it has Savior Protocols special rule – it does not. All of this amounts to a unit that can cover large amounts of the table in a single turn and would benefit from a Coldstar babysitter, a platform for the mentioned Drone Controller. A nice perk of this is that the Coldstar could hide behind the -1 To-Hit wall of Remoras and with careful positioning might prove to be a difficult target for your opponent to deal with. You’re giving up one of the four hardpoints (usually weapons) on the Coldstar and don’t take full advantage of his BS2+, but the benefit to the surrounding drones could be worth it if there are enough drones.

It’s not all sunshine and roses for the Remora though. While the maximum movement of 30″ is very nice, the minimum movement is 20″ and this can prove cumbersome at times. Though it has no requirement to pivot before moving, thankfully, you might find yourself flying back and forth over an area trying to stay close to something. Or worse, find yourself unable to end your movement near a key location or objective due to the minimum movement requirement. Its S5 shooting is nothing that the T’au Empire is lacking, so from that point, it’s just redundant and doesn’t help fill any gaps your army might have.

They did come down in points in CA2018 by nearly half, which is substantial. Even still, while the overall package isn’t terrible, it’s not ideal either and you’re paying a bit too much for what you get, in my opinion. A fully equipped Remora is just over 50 points a pop now so a full squadron is well over 300 points. I won’t say there couldn’t be play in a 300 point scalpel appearing turn 2 or 3 to rendezvous with a Coldstar babysitter, but I feel strongly that I could make much better use of those 300 points in general. It would take a certain type of list to work well around this. Bork’an is probably the best sept to try and get the most out of the Remora, but even still doesn’t synergize with the abilities and stats of the Remora overwhelmingly. And because it’s not a <Commander> or a <Battlesuit>, it misses out on benefitting directly or even indirectly from nearly every stratagem the T’au have access to.

Counters

Ignoring the -1 To-Hit or offsetting it somehow will cut back a large portion of the Remora’s defensive capability. It relies on that considerably because, without it, it’s just a T5 W3 model with a Sv4+, no invulnerable save, which should be trivial for nearly any army to deal with.

Expect it to either be hidden turn one or deployed in reserves. It’s a small model with <Fly> and a large movement so it’s very possible to hide behind something big and that blocks line of sight first turn, only to have it pop out across the battlefield. Be very conscious about its movement restrictions and minimum movement. It doesn’t need to pivot but must move at least 20″ per turn. This can create some awkward situations for the T’au player that might cause it to have to move out of range for something it wanted to be targeting.

It’s only BS4+, like T’au in general, but does ignore the penalty to moving and firing with a Heavy weapon. Any units, abilities, or powers that can give your key units negative To-Hit modifiers work wonders against T’au in general and the Remora is no exception. Even if accompanied by a Drone Controller-carrying Coldstar, the T’au player will be investing non-trivially to support an over-costed unit and that knowledge might help to make the decision to just ignore the Remoras and target something more efficient all the easier.

Because it’s only chargeable and attackable by things that have the <Fly> keyword, a canny T’au player will probably try to lane/move block with it against units that do not have <Fly>. Be aware of this and have some plan B in place to either move around it, destroy it, or otherwise not let your opponent get what they want.

Summary

The Remora Stealth Drone is a badass looking model with wings that actually deploy/stow by folding up and down. For collectors of the T’au Air Caste, it’s a model I’d highly encourage you having. For the competitive gamer, it just doesn’t cut the mustard, in my opinion. I’m not even sure that it’s terribly over-costed. Yes, I’d like it cheaper, but it’s borderline workable at that cost. What’s harder to work around is the large minimum movement that makes a bigger impact that it seems it would at first. Changing that 20″ to even 10″ minimum movement (or, heck, getting rid of the minimum) would give the Remora a bit of kick that it needs.

Does the Remora deserve more time on the table at its point cost and current rules? Has it been overlooked or does it fall into the category of FW T’au units that have subpar rules and too-big price tags?

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!

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About Charlie A.

Mathhammer is best hammer. Follow Charlie on twitter @40kDiceRolls for mathhamer, painting pictures, and a generally good time.

13 Responses to “T’au Unit Review [FW] – Flyer: DX-6 Remora Stealth Drone Squadron”

  1. Shas’O March 18, 2019 3:47 am #

    An interesting note is that unlike other flyers, it does not have a rule forcing it to move in a straight line. Does this mean it can fly 10 inches out and 10 inches back in the end pretty much where it started?

    Also, super useful for blocking charges from ground-based units like orks!

    • Charlie A. March 18, 2019 3:57 am #

      There’s nothing I’ve found that prohibits that, though it does feel to me a little against my assumed intent. If you’re going to use them, should probably check with the TO or opponent beforehand to discuss.

  2. happy_inquisitor March 18, 2019 6:52 am #

    Everything you say makes perfect sense, yet….something nags at me that there is play in the little winged drones that we have just not yet seen the way to unlock.

    I have had a couple of tries at using Remora; in the index era and post codex. Both times I ended up feeling that it has more play than it would appear on paper but they were horribly overcosted. Post CA18 I have been toying with the idea of picking up a few more to make a list with them. After a couple of recent tournament successes by a UK player with Piranha I am even more tempted. The two units have quite a lot in common but play out subtly differently

    The key difference here is that the remora are much more focused on being a seeker missile strike platform and you lose out on some of the other value of the piranhas (scoring and shedding drones). With the ability to hide them in reserves to avoid enemy alpha-strike and an easy way to get them BS3+ before markerlights the remora are a better seeker missile platform.

    Once you get them going they are more agile than even Aeldari flyers and crucially can fit their base into smaller spaces – which makes them a moderate threat to any hidden backfield unit or character. They can also move block some serious threats – such as Knight Gallants – like little champions.

    • Charlie A. March 18, 2019 8:48 am #

      I would love for you to be right. If I had to guess, maybe a flock (swarm, school?) of 4-6 Remoras could shield for a Coldstar on your opponent’s flanks and put up enough of a fight to try and keep your Coldsar alive longer. This might give the Tau player a better scalpel for taking out key targets. That and it could be useful in taking out unprotected characters, as you suggest. Better players than I might get it to work, give it a shot!

  3. tim March 18, 2019 8:19 am #

    Typo found under Wargear:

    “Each Tetra is armed with two double-barreled burst cannons”

    • Charlie A. March 18, 2019 8:38 am #

      Fixed, thanks!

      • WestRider March 18, 2019 2:46 pm #

        Still says “double-barreled”. Should be “long-barreled”.

  4. Spera March 19, 2019 3:33 am #

    I think that many people underestimate this little bastards. There is nothing to prevent moment back and forth in the same moment phase. So they can effectively stay in the same spot, since they will ignore terrain thanks to fly rule. They have airborne rule, that makes them invalid charge target for non flying units. I think you get where I’m going by now. Look on face of my opponents when they realize that the can’t charge my breachers that are 5″ away because of remoras standing in the way. This strategy won’t work on taloses, jet bikes and so on, but man, any footsloging unit basically wastes a turn and thats huge tempo swing. Especially if that makes them stay out in the open. That also means that armors can stay in 6″ range of FSE wound reroll witch is nice.

    • Spera March 19, 2019 3:53 am #

      Sory for mistakes, autocorrection was turned on.

    • happy_inquisitor March 19, 2019 12:38 pm #

      I think you would need to be very careful with that flying back to the same spot tactic, many a TO or judge would rule against it.

      Remora are great movement and charge blockers and really once they have unloaded their seeker missile payload any value at all you get out of them is a bonus. Knight Gallant players will rage at them – of course if you want to keep the Knight stuck there you do need a couple of units of Remora who then play a rapid switcheroo.

      Still they are very flimsy, lacking in serious firepower once the seeker missiles are gone and have no answer at all to 360 degree LOS blocking terrain. That last one is probably the deal-breaker for big ITC events as they are just not cheap enough to be useless whenever certain terrain appears on the table. They can and will fly around LOS blocking terrain to take a shot but if it is LOS blocking in all directions you are going to wish you just took more SMS platforms instead – so the same old Broadside/Riptides then.

      • Spera March 19, 2019 1:35 pm #

        Well then TO would create rule where there isn’t one. All other flyers either have Supersonic rule, or have hover rule that enables them to turn it off. . And even if you have fly keyword, therefore you could ignore terrain and blocking of movement, you don’t have to move in straight line. For example, drukhari bikes can move in arch to move over unit that they want to use flyby start but then change direction and and somewhere else. Remember that you still need to declare that you moved them thou, otherwise your opponent have all rights to call for crash and burn. Is it bad writing on FW part? Probably, but it is completely legal. And this unit was FAQ once, but this part went untouched. Rules application is clear to this one.

        Taking them doesn’t prevent you from taking sources of SMS. And their “badness” can be actual advantage, giving your opponent dilemma between shooting on more damaging targets, or get rid of annoying drones. Once they came from reserves and shoot all their missiles, they aren’t high on threat priority, which is deceptive because of their movement blocking capabilities that can screw somebody in movement and charge phase hard.

        • WestRider March 19, 2019 1:52 pm #

          “Some models that can FLY have a Move characteristic consisting of two values. The first is the model’s minimum speed – in the Movement phase, all parts of the model’s base must end the move at least that far from where they started.”

          From the basic Movement Rules in the little 8 page pamphlet. You cannot finish your move closer to your starting point than your minimum Move value.

          • Spera March 19, 2019 2:00 pm
            #

            Thank you. That answers and clears all concerns.

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