Monday, July 28, 2014

Why does GW Hate Sniper Rifles?


So this is a rant that is a little long in the coming.  I have long felt that sniper rifles were underpowered in the game of 40k, and for some reason GW does not agree.  With 7th sniper rifles got nerfed pretty hard and are much worse than they used to be.  Its something that upsets me because sniper rifles should be quite powerful, but instead are quite meh.

So whats the issue?  Well its a couple of things, the first being the loss of pinning.  I mean if there is any weapon that should be pinning, its a god damn sniper rifle!  And on top of that, they lost rending!  Oh sure they can be AP2 on a wound of a 6, but its a hug loss in effectiveness against vehicles with the loss of rending.  Sniper rifles are S4 and can possibly glance AV10, but the loss of previously being able to pen AV 10 and even possibly glance 12, does not make up for that. 

The big problem in my mind is that GW sees sniper rifles as this mass weapon, with giant squads running around with sniper rifles plinking away.  Where they should be much closer to the INQ assassin, at least in style and function if not power.  But sadly that is not the case.

Using sniper rifles effectively is hard because you run into the math gauntlet, where probability is not in your favor.  Lets say you have a 10 man squad of ratlings, and the odds are in your favor and every one hits, your still only likely to score 5 wds, with one being AP2.  That's really not that great.  Before it was made up for in the fact that you caused pinning, while you may only cause a few Wds, that would be enough to cause a pinning check and if you caused enough, a morale check as well.  Now though that is gone.

Sure orders can bring pinning, but that doesn't solve it for other armies.  Its a 40k wide problem.  This doesn't hurt large squads that made use of sniper like kroot squads, whose use was mainly putting lots of wds on a MC, but for smaller squads this is not a great use, as again they have to hit, then wd and in the end aren't left with much.

Part of my disappointment is that I want sniper rifles to be better and different from how they work in 40k, but the reality is still there that sniper rifles find a hard time to pull their weight without pinning and rending.  The little upside is that they are cheap in most armies, so the investment isn't much, but I really struggle to find them useful when other weapons can deal with infantry and MCs better and more reliably. 

As IG, I really don't need sniper rifles in 7th, I can order precision shot and pinning on whatever squad and weapon I want (non vehicle), so why bring a weapon that has only 50/50 chance of doing any damage and unless I roll a 6, is no more effective than a lasgun.

I want them to better, but sadly they are not.

GG

21 comments:

  1. Well,snipers rifles and barrage weapons(mortars,artillery units) losing pinning is something I will never understand.In my experience as a Lt these things make you hit the ground!

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  2. I was pretty disappointed when they changed the sniper rules. I had just painted up a unit of marine sniper scouts, as I found them to be extremely effective in most games.

    The loss of pinning definitely hurts, but they are still excellent MC hunters with their 36 inch range. They usually are engaging targets every round of the game, and their camo cloaks usually ensure they have at least a 3+ cover save.

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  3. Rending was the best thing about the sniper rifles a full squard of Ratling could a a complete beast on the table my friend killed a Bloodthirster, with all it's wound with his in one turn but now there is very little reason to spend the points on them.

    Sniper rifles is was good while it lasted.

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    1. Well they still become ap2 on a to wound roll of a 6...they just don't get +D3 armor pen anymore :(.

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  4. Yeah it's the latest in a multi year nut check being handed out to alaitoc armies. Oh your core is 30 rangers? Let me nerf that for you, so you don't overshadow Eldar monster mash our serpent spam

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  5. I'm ok with the removal of rending since its a very powerful ability and I dont necessarily agree that a 2 pt sniper rifle should glance av12. The ap2 on a roll of 6 is still a nice way to make sniper rifles hurt MC's and high armour infantry too. Pinning itself was i think a bigger loss as you said sniper rilfes are more about target precision priority hunting instead of a blunt attack. I also dont mind pinning removal from barrage since those units typically are still well worth its points and barrage by nature are not precise shots. Regardless of the choice i agree that currenty sniper weapons are still a weak choice. If they made sniper rifles into Salvo 1/2, even with the current nerfed rules for sniper weapons that would make ratlings much better and even make the shoot and scamper rule usable. However i would think that 2 points need to be increased to 5.

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    1. I would agree that the loss of rending is not a major issue, as sniper rifles are an anti infantry weapon not anti armour. However, the loss of pinning is an issue, for both barrage and sniper. Both weapons cause similar effects, I.e. Causing you to get your heads down, and I think this is what hurts sniper rifles the most, barrage less so.

      As for altering the sniper rifle to a salvo weapon, that actually sounds like a good idea to me, I hadn't really thought of it but it would work quite well I think.

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    2. Loss of rending hurts mostly in that sniper rifles have little to no use against vehicles, which was a good part of their utility.

      Honestly I would like to see sniper rifles go in the opposite direction. Make them and/or the unit that has them more expensive, so 10pts per sniper rifle instead of 2 for example, and give them instant death on a roll of a 6 as well. If instant death seem to powerful, I'd be happy with D3 wds. First its fluffy as many stories I have read have had so monster/space marine commander/big beastie get killed by sniper rifle shot through the brain pan. You balance it by making units and the weapons more expensive, and it still requires a 6 to wd to cause this. This would encourage smaller units of snipers and they would be more effective at killing the targets their meant to go after. Plus give back pinning of course.

      The hardest part would be balancing the pts to keep them from being spammed without a detriment to the army.

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    3. I agree, sniper rifles should be capable of one shot kills, that is generally there intended purpose, but as for vehicles, I'd disagree. I still think sniper rifles are not anti vehicle weapons and should not be made so. It will be difficult for them to balance the weapon properly, and i'm sure they will get it wrong to start with!

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    4. I would be fine if they could potentially one shot multi wound guys and not hurt vehicles, that is a fair trade for me.

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    5. Multi-wound seems a bit harsh, as they can be spammed like hell, especially with IG. For 2p per rifle you can potentially one-shot 40p terminators.
      The only sniper that can remove 2 wounds with one shot is the ridiculously overpowered vindicare, but that guy costs a lot more, and can blow up tanks or do stuff like that.

      The loss of pinning is really bad, it doesn't make much sense and hurts the weapon a lot more than the pseudo-rending. I personally don't care about tank-hunting sniper rifles, that was extremely unreliable anyway.

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    6. As is yeah, but I would have the pts cost increased significantly to counter them being spammed, and units that start with them would also have an increased cost as well for the same reason. Basically it would take them from being a cheap unit to an actual expensive elite one.

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    7. Maybe just give them an increase to BS stat, so they hit more often. Really something like SM scouts should already have BS 4 and they should have the sniper rifle increase it to BS 5. One of the biggest issues I've had with them is the lack of general killing power. The +1 BS would make them accurate which would be a good fit with the weapon I would think.

      I don't have an issue with the loss of rending in regards to killing vehicles. I do think they need a minor boost though.

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  6. dropping them to 1 point for SM scouts helps, as I can fill out that 4 point gap to get every last point out of my list limit and while they are standing around holding an objective they can take potshots at weapons specialists. I am not a fan of the idea that character targets of my precision shots get a lookout sir roll though.

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  7. It's not only 40k that doesn't 'do sniper rifles properly.'
    Of all the mini games I've played, the only one to make snipers feel dangerous and scary is Infinity.

    Nice rant though.
    I so love a good rant.
    :)

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    1. Glad you enjoyed. Yeah I haven't played too many other mini games (at least not in a long while), so its kind of sad that so few get them right.

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  10. My fix would be to give them 'sniper get down' rule which is a pinning test at -1 per wound saved.
    Eg your 10 ratings hit and cause 5 wounds but 4 are saved. 1 guy dies,the rest take a pinning test at -4LD

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