Friday, October 18, 2013

Eldar Codex Review: Heavy Support Part 1

Dark Reapers

Man, I need to repaint these guys...
 Dark Reapers are unique among aspect warriors. While most aspects specialize in engaging the enemy at short range, Reapers prefer to sit at the back of the field and blow the enemy apart with missiles. Lots and lots of missiles.

Reapers come with a 3+ armor save as well as a reaper launcher that fires starswarm missiles, which are perfect for tearing apart any infantry without a 2+ save. With two shots each, they are really quite terrifying to most infantry in the game. Even better, the reaper rangefinder means they ignore Jink saves, which is very handy for dealing with enemy bikes. If you want to add some extra flexibility in the Reapers’ targets, you can give them starshot missiles (essentially krak missiles). This gives them perhaps the most flexible missile launcher in the game. Finally, Dark Reapers have Slow and Purposeful, making them mobile for a heavy weapon squad.

The Reaper Exarch adds to the squads firepower, being able to take a shuriken cannon, eldar missile launcher (which can take flakk missiles), or a tempest launcher (an AP3 barrage weapon that accentuates the squads infantry killing power).  The Exarch can take Night Vision (which passes along to the rest of his squad and is really almost a required upgrade), Fast Shot (which gives him an extra shot with any weapon; also almost required), and Marksman’s Eye (which is good, but not quite as awesome as the other upgrades).

Dark Reapers are an excellent firepower unit. They can engage heavy infantry and vehicles with excellent results, and they have great range and above average mobility. The previous standard build was a squad with an Exarch with a tempest launcher to destroy enemy infantry. However, I think their optimal role has changed now that they have access to starshot missiles. I would go with a squad all with starshot missiles and an Exarch with an eldar missile launcher with Fast Shot and Night Vision (flakk missiles are useful if you have the points but not required). This squad can still take out most infantry but can also provide massed S8 firepower, something most Eldar armies really seem to lack.

Vaul’s Wrath Support Battery

These are the Eldar artillery, and there are three types. They are a general artillery unit of 1-3 artillery pieces each with two Guardian crew. They can be joined by a Warlock for some added flexibility, though only Conceal really benefits them. Like all artillery, they are very durable but their firepower varies by type.

One of the cheapest options (and my favorite) is the Shadow Weaver. It fires a S6 barrage blast out to 48”, with the same Monofilament rule as the Warp Spiders’ Death Spinner. This makes it dangerous to even the heaviest infantry as well as S7 against vehicles. For relatively few points, Shadow Weavers allow you to put a lot of threatening hits onto enemy infantry and even have a good chance of damaging vehicles. They can reach almost any area on the table if deployed centrally. Finally, the barrage rules mean that they are excellent for sniping important models from enemy squads.

The Vibro-cannon is an equally cheap option. It is essentially a Pinning autocannon, but it gains an extra point of strength and AP for each hit beyond the first caused by a unit. This means that a unit of three Vibro-cannons that all hit will hit at S9 AP2, which is pretty impressive. They are limited by having to see their targets and by causing a relatively small number of hits, but Vibro-cannons can act as excellent vehicle hunters for cheap. Guide really helps to increase their hitting power.

The D-cannon is the final option, and costs almost twice as much as the other weapons. It is a barrage blast with a 24” range, which is pretty meager. However, that blast S10 AP2 with the Distort rule. D-cannons will kill anything that they hit; they are essentially a Vindicator that doesn’t need line of sight. D-cannons are most useful as a defensive weapon, creating a no-go zone around them where any enemy will be violently punished. If you need to dissuade the enemy from approaching your other squads (such as Guardians holding objectives or Dark Reapers blazing away with missiles), then the D-cannon is the weapon for you.

War Walker Squadron

War Walkers may be the most straightforward unit in the Eldar codex. They’re a walker with AV10 all around, a 5+ invulnerable save, Battle Focus, Fleet, and Scouts. They sound pretty fragile, and they are. However, they can mount any two of the standard Eldar heavy weapons, and they don’t count as twin-linked if they have two of the same weapon. War Walkers come with two shuriken cannons, but all of the other weapon upgrades (except the ever overpriced Eldar missile launcher) are a measly 5 points. If you decide to go with the missile launcher, War Walkers can take flakk missile for even more points. They’re the only entry in the codex that can take multiple flakk missiles, but the price is very high.

War Walkers are cheap and mobile fire platforms, and are quite popular. Dual scatter lasers will pump out an extraordinary number of S6 shots for its cost, while bright lances make for great vehicle hunters. Even the basic shuriken cannons are quite useful for the points, though their range is limited. Battle Focus allows the War Walkers to take excellent advantage of cover while maintaining fire, and they can use Scout or Outflank to reach the best firing positions.

I really don’t have anything bad to say about War Walkers. They will fill pretty much any firepower need in your army. Of course, they are fragile and will die to concentrated bolter fire, but you should be able to use their range and mobility to keep them out of danger.

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