9E Tau Codex Review: Flyer: DX-6 Remora Stealth Drone

Today we look at the smallest flyer in the game, the Remora Stealth Drone. Click to read on, or check out the Tactics Corner for more reviews and strategies.

Overview

The Remora is a light flyer with a profile that looks rather akin to that of most light vehicles. Movement 15-30″ is a bit off from what most flyers have, although still pretty similar in the end. Toughness five and five wounds are a middling defensive profile, though not awful in combination with a 3+ base save. Ballistic skill 4+ isn’t exciting, but at least isn’t awful. Finally, weapon skill 5+ makes it bizarrely better than most vehicles in combat, although with two attacks and strength four it’s hardly going to set the world on fire. Leadership six might seem irrelevant, but since the unit can be taken in squads of up to four, it actually will come up fairly often. Remoras come in at sixty points per model and are arguably the best-priced Tau unit in Imperial Armour.

Special Rules and Wargear

The Remora comes with a host of special rules, some unique to it and others seen on other units. As a starting package, it has For the Greater Good (allowing it to fire overwatch for nearby units) as well as Hard to Hit and Airborne (giving -1 to shooting against it and preventing nonflying units from fighting it.) We should also point out the rule that it doesn’t have here- namely, Supersonic, which is the one that forces flyers to move in straight lines and only turn ninety degrees; this means that the Remora can essentially follow any path that is pleases, though it still must end up at least 15″ from its starting point.

Of course, it also has the Hover Drone rule, allowing it to reduce its movement to 15″ and lose the two aforementioned rules, functioning like a normal unit- given how rare this rule is on non-Imperial units, it can be considered a reasonably-significant get. Outside of the movement rules, the Remora also comes with Stealth Field Technology (which gives it cover against all shooting attacks) and Cloaked Insertion (which is a standard reserve ability.)

Each Remora Drone comes with a fairly hefty armament, albeit a lopsided one. The main armament is a Long-Barreled Burst Cannon (36″ S5 AP0 Dmg1 Assault 4), which is fairly unimpressive, but also comes with a pair of Remora Seeker Missiles, which are identical to the normal version but deal d3 damage instead of d6. It also comes with its own Markerlight, but since it does not have the Vehicle keyword it cannot fire this on the same turn it fires any other weapons, somewhat limiting its usefulness.

Uses

As mentioned earlier, the Remora is actually a fairly handy unit in the Tau army for a couple reasons, the main one of which is simply scoring. Tau struggle with most secondary objectives and it is often necessary to dedicate a significant chunk of a list to being able to get a reasonable secondary score- but the Remora is cheap, allowing the army to focus more on bringing firepower and survivability. Just as importantly, it is excellent at completing the Engage on All Fronts secondary (a mainstay for many armies), since it is both fast enough to easily reposition itself to any table quarter that is needed and also durable enough to not be a completely trivial kill.

This second part is easy to overlook, but the Remora is actually a much tougher kill than one might think. There is, of course, the -1 to hit that all flyers have and that the opponent will always have to deal with. Add in the immunity to charges (which many armies such as Daemons, Deathwing, and Drukhari rely on for much of their output) and things become even more inconvenient. Then take the hull itself- T5 with five wounds is enough that most basic weapons are simply not going to do any real damage and that some sort of dedicated anti-tank is needed, especially when it has a 2+ save thanks to its eternal cover save. This basically necessitates some heavy anti-tank with AP-3 or better to do any reliable damage to it, but these weapons are typically have low numbers of shots and come on static platforms- and with the Remora’s extremely small profile (it is mounted on the clear plastic “hover tank” base, not the larger and taller flyer one) and ability to move in any direction it wants you have a target that can be rather annoying to chase down.

Now, to be clear- since the Remora is an aircraft it can’t benefit from terrain or LOS-blocking under most circumstances, but you can still make it a huge hassle to get to via range and other methods, and even just making your opponent turn their heavy guns on your little 60pt nothing units keeps your bigger stuff alive and shooting longer. Every shot that goes into a Remora is one that isn’t hitting your Riptide or Crisis, and that adds up fast. Remember what I said earlier about Remoras taking more shooting than you would expect to kill them? Take a guess offhand, how many Lascannons do you think it takes on average to kill a single Remora?

If you said less than five, then I’m sorry, that Remora is still kickin’ and will score the Tau player another 3pts on the following turn. Light vehicles are very resilient with the right buffs, and the Remora has all of the right buffs to keep it alive for far longer than one might expect. It’s certainly not invulnerable, but given the price tag it’s hard to ask for more.

The Remora’s armament, while not impressive, is not completely ignorable, either. The pair of “light” Seeker Missiles can harass enemy multiwound targets and the Burst Cannon can be used to chip away at nearly-dead units or backfield objective-holders. The utility of having a mobile Markerlight should also not be underestimated, allowing you to drop that critical 1-3 counters on a target if needed. And, just to make things extra weird, the Remora is technically a Drone, allowing it to benefit from a Drone Controller for a mighty BS3+.

Final Thoughts

The Remora is a surprisingly-useful addition to the Tau army, giving them exactly what they need to help keep them in the scoring game; it’s no surprise that you almost always see them in successful Tau builds. Although it may not be much of a fighter, it does its part for the good of all, making it one of the most valued units in the codex by almost any measure.

As always, remember that you can get your wargaming supplies at great discounts every day from the Frontline Gaming store, whether you’re looking to start a new army or expand an existing one.

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