Monday, 17 September 2007

Vespid Tactica

Vespids - are they hideously fragile fliers or MEQ* killing superstars of the highest caliber? In this article I will examine their use on the tabletop, and suggest tactics for their use in games of 40K.

From the forum posts and articles that I've read, it seems that a lot of people really, really hate the Vespids. They complain that the guns are short range, they have too low an armour save, they are dire in close combat and most of all, they hate having to pay 16 points for each model! Yet, I've found that if they are used in the right way they are a fantastic reserve unit that can really ruin a marine players day.

OK, now I've waffled for a bit, lets look at their rules.


Vespids are jump infantry, therefore moving up to 12" each turn. They also have the Fleet of Wing ability (potentially adding another 6"), meaning if they wanted to assault then they could move a total of 24" - not too bad.

Add to this the idea that they are skilled fliers. With this rule they get to re-roll any failed dangerous terrain tests, meaning they could simply skip through dangerous terrain if you wished it. This is a very handy ability to have for flanking, if your gaming group uses dangerous terrain.


Now lets add the guns - their 12" range means they need to be staring into the eyes of the opponent, so every shot counts here. They can practically kill anything, but you need to ensure the enemy is dead by the end of that shooting turn, or returning fire and close combat will destroy them. I recommend markerlighting the target unit for them, they'll be much more likely to destroy the enemy and survive to shoot again

What can we do with this unit?

Reserve Unit

My first idea is a reserve unit - they are born for this role. Keep them out of the enemies sight, preferably near to any static units of Fire Warriors. When a close combat unit attempts to get near them (like Assault Marines), the Vespid unit will fly out of their hiding place. Markerlight the incoming unit, increase the vespids BS and let them pummel the target squad to a fine paste. Any models that are still alive can then be mopped up by the fire warriors, and if that doesn't kill them the Vespids could charge them, using their high initiative to their advantage. 9 times out of 10 there would be no enemies left by this point.

Surgical Deep Strike

Pretty simple tactic - simply deep strike as close as possible to the most expensive enemy unit on the table (that has 3+ Armour), and cause as much damage in one turn of shooting as possible. If you hit an expensive enough target you can easily make twice the Vespids points back.

This tactic once helped me successfully wipe out a death company. Yes the company could be claimed to cost not that many points, meaning that points for points the Vespids didn't make their points up, however, they eliminated the biggest threat to the Tau - something that I'm sure any player who has fought blood angels are all too aware of.

Flanking Force

My next suggestion is a flanking force. With the potential to move through almost any terrain with relative ease, the Vespid can out flank and maneuver around most forces, hitting them and exploiting their weak points, something that would be great against most tanks. You should use terrain that blocks LoS to avoid being shot at - at least get a cover save on the go. At a critical point in the game you should reveal the Vespids and cause as much damage as possible, again using Markerlights to your advantage.

Evaporating Flank

A suggestion I've seen someone put was the evaporating flank technique. Set up the Vespids away from everyone else, draw the opponent towards them, then fly away, leaving you free to deal with the rest of the army. If you're lucky it will work, although most players will either ignore them or use long range weaponry against them.
Points to Remember
- Always use them against models with Armour 3 or above, to take best advantage of their high AP.

- Avoid the enemies fire as much as possible, even the humble Lasgun can chew through Vespids.

- Use squads of 11 where possible, to make this unit as survivable as possible.

-Alternatively, use 2 small units of 5 to split the enemies fire
(although this also splits your markerlights!)

- Use markerlights where possible, this can almost double the number of enemies killed!

So to sum up, yes vespids have dire close combat, short range of guns and are extremely fragile - but used well they make the perfect supporting unit for the Tau Empire army.


*MEQ = Marine Equivalent, Models with T4 and 3+ Armour.

You might want to check out the Games Workshop page on Vespid Tactics also.


Gavin Schofield said...

I've edited the article, as you've probably noticed. I made it easier to read, added pictures and headings, corrected a few grammar mistakes, removed duplicate phrases and corrected how you killed the Death Company (you deep-striked, you didn't lie in wait).

Apart from those few things, I really like the article! You've obviously put a lot of work into it, although it could do with a little expansion. Read the tacticas on Bell of Lost Souls, they're probably the best I've seen, and they use this blogging software to boot!

Sam Carter said...

Thanks for the advice, I only looked at a few, there isn't really that much out there, I think people hate vespids.

Gavin Schofield said...

He He, this article is the first result on Google if you search for "Vespid Tactica"!

Sam Carter said...

Well I'm glad. People now have some tips. If there are any people reading this, please leave feedback and I will improve things if need be.

Old Shatter Hands said...

I've never used Vespids but I can see their benefits. Markerlights are key I would agree so be sure to have Pathfinders in your army. This will also help you when deep striking as you'll be able to re-roll the dice if within sight of the marker beacon on the Devilfish.

I remember when they first came out, people went crazy for them but that subsided when people started playing with them.

Gavin Schofield said...

I'm not sure I'd ever get them with the current metal models, but if they ever update them with plastics I'd snap a squad up for my Tau. It'd just be nice to know you have the option of using them, even if you don't normally field them.

Spyrle said...

Great article. Definately some things I'll consider as I paint up my 6 Vespid. I'm planning to use them mostly as a mobile reserve, but for static gunlines I'll consider the deep-strike technique.

Flippy said...

Vespids are really valuable against small groups of "expensive" units but they terribly useless against "swarming" armies like imperial guard or orcs.

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