Monday, December 21, 2009

Vespid Stingwings: Worthy of a place in the Cadre?

Vespid Stingwings have been one of those units that has intrigued me since the new codex was released. The insectoid aliens come equipped with a nasty S5 AP3 neuron blaster and have the ability to leap from cover to cover due to their wings and skilled flier special rule. The unit is hampered by a few surprising disabilities. While having a short range gun, the unit can't survive any reprisals by the enemy due it's light armor of 5+. Most basic weapons in the game have AP5 or better, meaning you'd better choose your targets wisely. On top of that Vespid are poor shots and need markerlight support to be effective.

I'd like to really see this unit come into its own. I can see the unit being very useful held in reserve and used a counter attack unit on any enemy forces that have broken your lines. Unfortunately though, with Mech lists being all the rage these days and Vespids having no real way of dealing with that, you're going to have get your opponents infantry on foot before Vespid can start causing damage.

Being metal models makes them more expensive to purchase so this stands to reason why Vespids are so rarely seen in Tau Cadres. My prediction is that once a new Tau codex comes out in a few years, Vespids are going to get a huge boost, maybe a tougher armor save and longer range on their blasters.

If there are Tau readers out there, who use vespid, I'd love to hear how you use them, in what squad sizes and which units they work well with.


Pete W said...

I'm also interested in seeing what comes out of people's experiences with Vespid. I like the idea of them but their current rules don't seem to be too amazing.

Fingers crossed for some funky new rules and plastic models in the future.

Off the top of my head, I'd think that sneaking vespid up a cover-heavy flank to take on a MEQ heavy weapon unit in the backline would be the best use. They could probably do fairly well against devastators or Dark Reapers etc., especially against smaller squads.

Adam said...

Even in 4th edition, which this unit was designed for, Vespids are appauling!

In the background they're meant to support Tau Battlesuit teams. Not sure how that works in gameplay terms and certainly not for the cost of the unit.

Vespid are awesome in the Dawn of War video game, because they take on the roll of a fast close combat unit with Rending claws, so they tend to rip people apart.

Going against what the Tau army is all about, I'd like to see Vespid become a close combat unit that tears things to shreds.

Pearlygates said...

Ahh my beloved vespids!!! (sorry Adam)

I accept that vespids are going to die in a game nomatter what; so you should view them as an expendable unit.

In objective games I hold them in reserve, then fleet them forward, behind a devilfish for cover, to contest/eliminate any unit on an objective; The devilfish then moves forward and takes the prize!

Vespid heads look utterly rubbish! which is why I have replaced their heads with Termagaunt heads. The chitin plates on the gaunts head matches both in size and shape to the plates on the Vespid body.

OSH, do you have any Vespid?? If you don't, and you intend to get some, then use Termagaunt heads, once painted the heads look like they were meant to be!!!

Vespids are those units that, once again, you either love them or hate them! (actually I think I'm the only one who loves them!)
They need to be paired with another unit to be of value; I tend to give them a helping hand from my Pathfinders. With your P/F's in position, you send their devilfish forward (circle the waggon/tankwall with a F/W devilfish) to act as a shield for the vespid to move and obtain cover. Using the Pathfinder's markerlights your vespid are true spacemarine killers and should hopefully eliminate an entire squad in one turn; with tank support and spare M/lights for seekers your opponent won't stand a chance!

Some people feel that their vespids have to be given too much help from too many units in a single turn which is also a major down point for them; that's why I use them mainly for Objective games, when you need that crucial obeject - you should be prepared to throw everything in your army at it!!!

UltraLemming said...

Sigh, sorry Vespids, but FireKnives do what you do... with missiles... with durability. Better luck next Codex/Edition.

Pete W said...

I think they are definitely a unit of weaknesses but it'd be great fun to play with/against them in a non-competitive setting.

Me and OSH have talked about the idea of playing with different units that generally aren't taken for competitive play.

My plan includes using inquisitors and their retinues (expensive and don't hit that hard), mega pricey marine honour guards, maybe some vanguard veterans. I know OSH has talked about playing with some different units like vespid so we'll see if we can't get something interesting going on.

Swift Hunter said...

I always stared at them with sympathy. But I hve no idea, how they effectively might work, so there was only one time I was thinking about buing them - when somebody was selling his whole army on Allegro (polish eBay) at low price, each unit separately. =)

Old Shatter Hands said...

I'm thinking that a good player can figure out a way for them to shine, with a long process of trial and error. They're a little over specialized though. Imagine if you brought them against imperial guard, they would have nothing to do! I like the idea of flying them from cover to cover, finishing off units that your other units have softened up. We'll see. I'm going to be getting a unit of 11 of them and we'll see what happens.

slxiii said...

for the current cost, vespid should be assault 2 or have an extra attack and rending. The biggest problem with Vespid, IMO, is that they are really only good at killing marines, and that's not something that's hard to do with Tau.

The Brotha said...

Sorry OSH Vespids are just free kill points. Carry on.

Raptor1313 said...

I'm with Adam, here.

I'd love to be able to use the things, but let's look:

1) Expensive
2) Short-ranged S5 gun
3) said gun's only real perk is AP3, and there's this thing called 'cover'
4) T4, 5+ save, so we have to rely on cover.
5) No real CC punch, at all.

So, about all they have is speed. If speed is what I want, then I can get a Piranha, which can threaten a tank, can screen stuff, and actually draw fire.

Vespid will eat it against any real CC unit, and have no grenades.

Vespid can't put out enough shots to really worry non-marines, and regular marines have cover. You'll KO a couple, and then you're in rapid-fire range and probably in the open, to boot. 5+ means 'You Just Got Expended' when bolters are involved.

I'd look for a few things in Vespid:
1) Cheaper cost
2) Better Gun (ideally more range and more shots; AP3 is not THAT important to me. Hell, give them burst cannons or something like a plasma gun + Relentless)
3) Better armor save.
5+ does NOT work on jump infantry that get into the open. 4+ is pushing it since you have to get close, and stuff like heavy bolters and/or autocannons can hash you.
4) Options for fusion blasters, or something to threaten vehicles with.
5) A CC buff would be nice, if not a way to get out of assault.

Pearlygates said...

I knew I'd be the only one who likes Vespid!!!

Old Shatter Hands said...

Pearly, I think you might be the only who likes vespid. A friend of mine has offered to sell his vespid. When the new codex came out back in 2004/05? he bought 22 of them! But has since realized they're not the best models for his army.

I'm going to try to make them work...just for the challenge

Grajo said...

No, you are not the only one, I really like ´em... albeit i think they are pretty useless :D

Nah, not useless, but target of opportunity hunters.

Maybe if joined by a well armed, well armoured and defense-droned battlesuit commander... they can hit almost hard and survive a pair of turns.

I think vespids can be played as a unit to positional relay in order to keep your really important units in reserve, but... this is a very sad role.

A friend of mine really loves them (anyway he hasn´t fielded them yet, which is a thing to consider :D ) but if someday he plays them i´ll keep you informed.

One last thing... Pearlygates, do you have any photo of this conversion?...

Xanadu said...

I have only had a good game with them once, and they were used as a last minute objective denier, rushing the objective being held by a marine tactical squad - they killed every one of them winning the game for me, however.

They need to be made either, cheaper or stronger for what they are, I agree with the introduction of the rending or even assault 2 as mine just get butchered without fail in the retaliation.

Thank Bob that I picked up my team on eBay for £5!

Sholto said...

I have a squad of six, but I really only got them so I could finally have every unit in the codex.

They are only any use if you are tailoring your army to fight Space Marines. Or, rather, Space Marines who are not in vehicles. And who are not in cover. And who are not in vehicles or cover and who have no other supporting units nearby.

Even then, you still have better options elsewhere.

In their favour is their 12" move, which Tau don't get outside of vehicles.

Since you are going to play a game with them, try and make it Cities of Fight (I like to mash up the edition names), where Vespid shine. Okay, they don't shine, but they're not black holes of purest suckage, either. They give off the faintest corpse-light of illumination, thanks to the skilled flyer USR.

A gun drone mobile cover-save unit is pretty handy, although all it does is delay the inevitable.

Old Shatter Hands said...

The thing about Vespid is, they sound like a lot of fun to use. Instead of using them as an attack unit, you could build up their value in the metagame, "oh man, my vespid are gonna toast your marines", get your enemy to really focus on them and simply play a running game with them, flying from cover to cover, but basically not shooting very much. A small squad of six should be enough to pose a threat and run circles around your enemy. This would be their only value in distracting your enemy from more valuable units like XV8s or something. That's all I can now see them being used as.

quikdra14 said...

Vespid and gundrone squadrons work together incredibly well. Gun drones are the only cheap/expendable unit that can keep up with Vespid to give them that important 4+ coversave. The trick is all in how you use your assault moves.

Pathfinders+vespid+gundrones is the only real way to make them work in my Tau experience. Use pathfinder ML tokens to buff Drones to BS4 and then the rest to drop leadership. Assuming you are throwing your vespid/drones at the proper target MEQ's a squad of 7 gun drones buffed to BS 3 will statistically always kill 1 MEQ. an 8 man pathfinder team will give you enough ML tokens to drop them to leadership 5 or 6 in general (8 PFs averaging 4 ML hits)

once pinned, vespid suddenly aren't subject to the reprisal attacks that always have been their bane. The gundrones give them a respectable 4+ cover save that can easily move out of the way of Vespids Str 5 AP 3 blasters.

Speaking meta/psychological effects: there is a great chance your vespid and gundrones will be ignored when the enemy is staring at crisis suits and railguns. 8 vespid and 6 drones isnt a "huge" point sink... *cough* ...

in general, this is the best way I could imagine to use Vespids in the current edition.

but imho... you could spend more points elsewhere and have a much stronger army. end of the day, GG vespid. cya next codex.

quikdra14 said...

EDIT: Meant to say buff the drones to BS 3, not 4... that would be a waste

Old Shatter Hands said...

@quikdra14, that's an interesting concept. It would fit in well with an army that forces a lot of pinning checks...I like it.

Victor said...

I've been looking for non-traditional ways to run my tau for a while and i got interested in vespids. two problems though: I hate the models and i hate the price/cost (three problems total, i guess). Most of the people at my local GW play marines. where fireknives are effective, they remain predictable too.

The solution for my issues with vespids is to do some conversions. build some custom weaponry out of the fire warrior carbines. I want to run them with some teamwork tactics to alpha-strike squads with two or three units in cooperation. I like the idea of running them with some gun drones tagging along to be a total pain for anybody to deal with. i like the idea of these guys jumping from building to building. if anything it'll direct fire away from something more important for a turn, like a scoring unit.

Militant.Jester said...

I just picked up 9 vespid, been too lazy to assemble them so far :P

WIth regards towards future codexi, improved armor saves are not the way to go IMHO. They are T4, I know not great but it should be good enough - they're supposed to jet through cover (re-roll dangerous terrain, remember?) and completely annihilate an enemy unit, *hopefully* avoiding reprisals. Tactics!

I think a better way to improve them would be to give them slightly more powerful guns (assault 2? I guess that's not slightly...) and Hit and Run.