Don’t Overlook Sniper Rifles
by James Button
I recently read the “Favorite Marine
Weapons” bit on the “Lessons
Learned” page of the Tactics
section. I dare to suggest that one weapon may have forgotten: the humble
sniper rifle wielded by a “lowly” Scout.
Granted, it ain’t going to kill a
Land Raider or even a Rhino (though I have seen massed rifle fire do nasty
things to an Eldar Jetbike squad), but there are a few points in its favor.
It will take down a Wraithlord,
if that is sufficient to your purpose: for example, if your bigger guns
have Guardians to frag and bolt or a Wave Serpent to las to death.
Since you can infiltrate Scouts
before it all kicks off, you have the opportunity to take out or nullify
the crew of a support weapon (Eldar platform, Ork Big Gun, etc.) that otherwise
would prove irritating at best.
When facing an assault-heavy army
(Orks spring to mind) then pinning becomes the veritable gift from God,
especially against Speed Freeks: you can slow their footslogging second
wave up even more, thus giving yourself more time to redeploy after waxing
the trukks and buggies. They can be handy against ‘Nids as well, since
they can outrange them and make use of cover/difficult terrain to slow
up the broods. The suggestion that sniper Scouts could take out that Zoanthrope
might draw a brood or big critter away from your gunline long enough to
then be able to deal with said threat at relative leisure and not have
it steaming through your Tactical Squads.
Following on from this, the implied
threat can be a versatile tactic in itself, especially if you can infiltrate
more than one squad, ideally up a flank or even holding the middle ground
inside a terrain feature (although do be prepared to either support them
or yank them out in a hurry, I'll admit).
Everything counts in large amounts:
like massed bolter fire or even massed flamers and heavy bolters, snipers
work better in groups of squads that are capable of mutual support. I’ve
used three five-strong teams to hold an entire flank; they can generally
gun down anything before it gets too near. Watching them take out Kroot
is a joy in itself.
Effective? Certainly. Worthy of mention?
I think so.