40K: Gun Drones and You

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There’s a new sensation that’s sweeping the nation Sept.

Let’s talk for a moment about the best unit in the Tau arsenal. The Gun Drone. Coming in at a the same cost as a fire warrior, these little guys are the most versatile and effective unit the Tau have to offer. It’s only a matter of time before they develop enough sentience and take their rightful place as rulers of the galaxy.

There is nothing they can’t do if they put their minds (and twin pulse carbines) to it. As mentioned, they’re the same price as a fire warrior, but I’d rather have a unit of these any day of the week. Just as durable, gun drones have twice the fire power, an 8″ move, the fly keyword (which means they can charge even supersonic aircraft)–and sure, they ate bs/ws 5+. Until you have them hang out near a guy with a drone controller, which gives them a blanket +1 to hit, then suddenly they shoot just as good as the majority of the Tau army (mediocre) and fight at higher skill than all but the most elite units.

And on top of that, they are the perfect screen–run a stealth or crisis suit behind them with a drone controller, and even if they’re targeted, the drones STILL have their saviour protocols. Better still, you can just attach them to a unit (like crisis suits), have them deep strike in, then unleash a volley of furious firepower (each drone has 4 separate strength 5 ap 0 shots,  and with 6 hanging out with crisis suits that means 24 plus the other 20-30 shots of crisis suit weapons) and you’re well on your way to just pushing one of your opponent’s units off the table.


And there’s a certain bit of a psychological hit anytime anything is brought down by these little Frisbees of Fury. It’s almost like getting killed by Grots. It just gets demoralizing after a while.

Or if you really want to cheat it up, take a tiger shark with drone racks, loaded with 14 of these bad boys and just pop wherever you need on turn 1,then spit out 56+ shots on turn 2. This is an age where buckets of dice are the best weapon at your disposal. A single powerful shot just doesn’t get the work done anymore.

Behind, the most powerful force in the grim darkness of the 41st millennium.

That’s why I’d take a broadside over a hammerhead any day of the week–the Heavy Rail Rifle just outperforms the massive rail cannon. You need to be able to throw out a ton of wounds. Which is where the gun drones shine–they’re annoying enough that you have to worry about them, but if you’re opponent shoots them down they’re not shooting your other, heavier firepower.

And, if you’ve built your army correctly, you’ve got at least 50 more where they came from. So all hail the Champions of the Greater Good.

At this point, an all-robotic Tau Sept seems inevitable.


  • TheMCP Angel

    Ah well… Had to play against 48 of these accompaning two Forgeworld Riptides and a Commander at 1500 Points -.-

    It was just meh how they soak damage for the Riptides, had one down to 2 Wounds at turn 4, thanks to my Libby 😉

    I had a Tac-List with Marines and made 2 poor choices in the game, but neither of us could play Missions so it was practically a draw.

    But damn, that was a Pain to play 😂😂😂

    Anyways, its a good and viable Tactic for Tau, these things are quite the Rage 😀

    • Moke

      Necron players will be having a great time if this becomes a mainstream tactic. They can just bring the Obelisk and watch everything with FLY fall out of the sky…

      • Carey_Mahoney

        … like flies.

  • Chris Hilliard

    The 18″ range doesn’t do it for me. I’ll take a Pulse Rifle and a higher BS and just camp objectives thank you.

    • Nilok

      Drone controller on stealth suits.

  • happy_inquisitor

    They get a lot of shots but they are as dumb as a box of rocks. They always have to shoot the closest visible enemy unit. – even if that enemy unit is not viable because it is locked in combat.

    • Harthelion

      Didn’t thought about that case haha you are right, but this tactic is mostly mont’ka, for deepstriking in the right place with crisis suits and commander.

  • Stealthbadger

    64 gun drones. 5 fusion commanders and a storm surge, now S5 wounds anything and most stuff easily why even bother with the rest of the codex?

    • 301stFeinminsterArmoured

      Mastodon owners scoff at this.

      • Stealthbadger

        I Imagine the thunderhawk owners have a giggle too 🙂

        • Henry Blake

          Until the tiger shark peaks over the horizon.

  • AircoolUK

    Unfortunately, Gun Drones always have to target the nearest unit, and as far as I’m aware, that is still the case if shooting with a drone controller.

    They’re still pretty much an auto take when it comes to drones though.

    • Yeah. Given the wording of Savior Protocols, there’s just no reason to take Shield drones anymore (though I’ll probably still take at least a couple to tank melta/lascannon and equivalent shots). Previously I ran about half the drones in a battlesuit squad as gun drones; now we’re looking at 2/3rds of them, at least.

      • Karru

        Out of interest, why are you taking Shield Drones at all? In case someone decides to shoot directly at them? They don’t get any save against the shot they try to take when using the Saviour Protocol.

        • Harthelion

          Before FAQ saviour protocols made shield drones do what they were designed to. Right now I won’t use them but if I did, it would be for objective camping or maybe have 1 invul 4 drone in the unit in case it was targetted directly.

  • Drpx

    With templates gone and everything woundable, I suppose this is what we have to look forward to until more death-aura type abilities are introduced.

  • PiotrekEtoo

    Drones don’t have twin pulse carabines – they have two of them. Throw a Cadre Fireblade nearby and they put 6 shots at 9′. It may be colse, but all you need is a commander (with drone controller ofc) shouting kauyon and you can get very close. Devilfish can also transport drones if you wish…

  • Cinaed Roderic Ruadh

    http://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/a96008d83652fee3355e1fd769fcc3837d28b8255c5cb2c9cb78cc8d306157c9.jpg Check out the Primaris Chaplin and Apothecary, as well as the other new models for the range at the right of the screenshot. Look Pretty Badass!

    • Shinnentai

      Yeah that firepower unit that was rumoured is looking really badass! Esp the sergeant’s pose!

  • davepak

    Yes, drones are good at shooting the closest target in range.

    The game is more than mathhammer – and there are a lot of other factors to take into consideration.

    Drones, like any tool have their place – but don’t jump on the newest shiny – thats what made seventh a poor experience.

  • Keaton

    People who splurge on these are going to be massively disappointed when, in the next codex, they double in points.

    • eMtoN

      Drones come in just about every tau kit. It’s not like you have to buy them. So even if they double in points it’s not like anyone actually bought more drones. I’m pretty sure I have about 50 or so that I haven’t even assembled.

      • Keaton

        I have a lot too but certainly not 50. I still think they’re a bit overhyped. Their leadership is like 6 without bonding knife. Sure, they become a target priority because of their healthpack nature, but get a few casualties and the whole unit may well disappear.