Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Skyrays: Preemptory Strike Tactics

In a metagame over-saturated with flyers, Skyrays are fantastic.  Durable, high-damage and with the option to skyfire, that rack of seeker missiles is a highly effective countermeasure against fliers or flying monstrous creatures.

Just imagine it has smart missiles
That isn't the best part, though.

The most attractive aspect of the new Skyray is that it can empty its entire cache of missiles during the first turn of the game.  Unlike in previous editions, seeker missiles are no longer limited by markerlights to fire.  Each seeker missile fired via markerlight has BS 5 and ignores cover, which is nice, but not really ideal for the Skyray.  Rather than spending six markerlights to fire off the missiles, you can spend three for the same effect (assuming you have pathfinders available) - one to raise the Skyray to BS 5, and two to negate the enemy's cover save.  And if cover's not an issue, the Skyray's networked markerlights can handle the BS 5 on their own.

Firing six seeker missiles into a single target right as the game starts will be crippling against some armies.  Multi-wound units, including monstrous creatures, are fantastic priority targets for a Skyray, as are vehicle squadrons (of armor 12 or less) or particularly expensive enemy units.  Sometimes an army has a unit that has to die right damn now, and pumping S8 AP3 missiles into it is a great way to accomplish this

(A quick note before we go on - yes, there is a rule that states a vehicle can only fire two missiles per turn.  However, this rule specifically applies only to fliers, which the Skyray is clearly not.)
Six seeker missiles aren't a counterspell...
but they're pretty close

The frontloaded firepower of a Skyray is viciously effective if used well - you can burst down an enemy unit when they're not expecting it, or demolish a key target they were expecting to survive for a few turns.  Coupled with these missiles being skyfire, Skyrays are especially devastating against Tyranids with winged hive tyrants, or Daemons with Bloodthirsters or Daemon Princes.  With six shots, you've got a solid chance of killing any monstrous creature (without a 2+ save) immediately.

Using all of your seeker missiles immediately limits the Skyray's uses later in the game, of course, but unless your opponent had a more important target held in reserve, being able to eliminate a 200+ point monstrous creature before it can do any damage to your army, courtesy of your 115 point Skyray, is almost always going to be worthwhile.

This early-strike tactic will leave you more vulnerable to fliers later on in the game, but the Skyray's pair of markerlights are still fantastic as anti-air.  Because they're skyfire, you can use this pair of markerlights to give other units in your army with fusion blasters, missile pods, or railguns BS 2 or 3 and let them put down the flier.

There are a few downsides to this tactic.  You can't move your Skyray on the turn you unload, which means no jink save, and sometimes it's better to wait and use the missiles to deal with units that become a problem later in the game.

With that said, you're going to want to unload your Skyrays on the first turn of most games.  There will be times you'll need to be patient, but being able to devastate a target immediately is a brutal trick to have in your back pocket when you need it.

No comments:

Post a Comment