Warhammer 40K Eldar Ranger Tactics.
Across various gaming systems that I enjoy playing I have always utilized snipers and small fire teams, not so much for the physical damage they cause, but for the psy-op effect that it could have on my opponent. Sniper teams are bait- will they take it? Will they spend more time and unit resources dealing with it vs. what it cost me to deploy. Are they worried about when I will take that shot so they avoid that section of the gaming table, compressing the movement of their other units?
With my WW II Chain of Command German army, I will always deploy a sniper team for this effect. If my opponent ignores it, I fire a few shots for the lolz and maybe hit something, if they take notice and adjust their battle plans that gives my entire army more of an advantage. In Chain of Command sniper teams work like snipers- you can’t target them till they shoot, and when they do you have to make a spot check, plus they can directly target junior and senior offices in a squad with almost unlimited range…
…but what about in Warhammer 40K- Eldar Ranger, the snipers that don’t work like snipers.
What about this idea in 8th edition?
In previous editions you would put down your ranger sniper team- usually five space elves since they cost a good amount of points, and you would fire them like any other unit and maybe score a kill or two. Right away your opponent would fire back and they would die.
Sure you got cover saves. Maybe you even buffed them with farseer support, but really they were NOT snipers, but a small shooting unit that could infiltrate onto the board. They were kind of like Space Marine scouts just for more points and less wargear.
As 40K evolved into 6th and 7th edition I played them less and less- at most one small unit just for the dedicated objective secured troop choice and ability to infiltrate. The problem became that as units became cheaper in points, as the size of the table stayed the same, they just had nowhere to hide. Turn one multiple units would be in range.
So what about 8th now?
As an Eldar player, I really think we need to reconsider rangers in our list.
A reduction in points and a big cover save boost has gone a long way in keeping them up and alive- they are still not true snipers in that they can hide, but at least a single turn of return fire won’t wipe them out.
The biggest plus for them- and I expect this to grow as Games Workshop pushes out the power creep with this edition as they do with all editions before hitting the rest, is the ability to target characters without restriction. As more and more players go the herohammer route, the ability to pick them out and put on a few wounds before your other units get there is nice.
Similar to my snipers in other games, can we use this perception of an ability to keep certain characters away from the part of the gaming table that your rangers occupy. More powerful it the ability to strip away characters that might be buffing other units or characters in the opposing army.
For this potential in a game, I feel it’s worth always taking a small group, and they are back as a main-say in my Eldar ground lists.