For quite a while, snipers and artillery pilots have been finding it increasingly difficult to remain useful during battles, mainly due to the rapidly evolving meta where most robots on the battlefield are either fast, durable or shielded. While most robots and weapons are for close range combat, the massive increase in robots with speed boost abilities of some sort, allowing them to travel longer distances in a shorter amount of time, and open fire on snipers who are outgunned. Examples of these robots include: Hover, Haechi, Bulgasari and the Kumiho.
Firstly, we have to look at the role of snipers. Their role is to mainly provide support fire for their teammates, helping them defeat enemy robots or buying them time to capture beacons by picking off other beacon cappers. Snipers favour long-range weapons with usually low-DPM but high burst damage statistics. Examples include the Trebuchet, Kang-Dae, Gekko, Nashorn and the Arbalest. Robots usually used for sniping include the Fury, Butch, Natasha and even the Leo. Snipers often use large robots, with a large amount of firepower but also a large frame and slow speed which makes them unsuitable for close combat (except the Leo). They rely heavily on their teammates to prevent enemy robots from getting too close to the back lines, where they will be outgunned by close-range builds. They also use cover more than other robots, where they can hide in relative safety while their weapons are reloading and they are choosing their targets. Snipers also often target enemy snipers, especially on maps such as Yamantau and Canyon.
Secondly, we have artillery robots. The main difference between artillery and snipers is that snipers favour weapons which do a large amount of damage in a small amount of time, such as the Trebuchet. This is balanced by their high reload time. On the other hand, artillery robots deal more damage over a more sustained period of time, and are more effective at suppressive fire than picking off weaker robots. With more firepower, they often offer much more direct fire-support for their teammates, often acting as long-range brawlers. Their value is often underestimated, but their high damage makes them a very viable threat. As much as they are outgunned by brawlers, due to their inaccessible position, they will usually outlast their opponents. Artillery robots are often equipped with Zenits, Noricums, Tempests, Molot Ts and Molots. Despite their differences, Artillery pilots often use the same robots as Snipers do, with the addition of the Raijin and Fujin. Artillery pilots using Zenits and Noricums also have the extra advantage that their missiles can go over traditional cover such as walls, and do decent splash damage, therefore effective against physical shields. Their missiles are quite slow however, so leading them is usually a good idea.
Why these roles are threatened
To understand why these roles are under threat, we have to look at the change in meta. Previously, the meta was mainly based on the Lancelot, which despite its Rush ability and heavy armour, was slow and large. This made it a relatively easy target (to fire at) for snipers and artillery robots. Their slow speed often meant that they were unable to be a threat to snipers and artillery pilots, unless they were equipped with long range weapons themselves, in which case they were slightly outgunned.
Then the Dash bots were released along with the Shocktrain. The Bulgasari and Haechi in particular were shielded and well protected, able to avoid damage by using their Dash ability, which also allowed them to rapidly close the distance between them end enemy robots. To make matters even worse, the widespread use of the Shocktrain weapon allowed them to hit sniper and artillery pilots with the equivalent firepower of three Trebuchets in less than a third of the reload time with a chain effect at 500 metres, a range where usually they were relatively protected, as most close-range builds had a firing range of 300-350m and if they were able to fire at 500m (such as the Thunder), minimal damage occurred due to bullet spread. The Shocktrain Bulgasari changed all of that. This robot was able to inflict devastating damage on long-range builds by dashing around cover, firing before dashing back and turning its torso so that any retaliatory fire would just hit its shield.
Overall, snipers and artillery robots are still very useful in the meta, despite them being more vulnerable. They provide invaluable direct (and indirect) support and suppressive fire, helping their teammates defeat the enemy. They also add much variety to the game, and their presence, while effective in a support role, requires significant skill and strategy to pilot and counter.