Monday, October 13, 2014

7th Edition 40K - New Dark Eldar Codex Review - Fast Attack

This was the section that saw the most interest towards the end of 6th edition and early 7th with competitive players adding a beast pack to their Eldar lists as a deathstar. Well things have changed quite a bit for the beasts so will they still be popular? This section has expanded somewhat with the addition of the empty raiders/venoms and the razorwing. Otherwise it's business as usual on the surface but there are some significant changes when you look a little deeper.

Beastmasters
For some strange reason beasts apparently no longer need masters. Strange name for the unit then eh? Well now you can take upto 12 models in any combination. That means no-one will bother with a beastmaster in all likelihood, although they do now all have access to agonisers which is interesting. They're also effectively cheaper Hellions (but Beasts instead of Jump Infantry). The clawed fiend is still a waste of time especially as Bestial Fury is replaced with Rage. Let's face it, most people are interested in what Khymerae and Razorwing Flocks are like now. They're the two units that got a lot of use as part of the deathstar that went alongside many an Eldar list at the top end of tournaments.

Well, Khymerae got cheaper but are now just 5++. It seems to have escaped peoples' notice but they're now T4 which is interesting. Their save might be worse but they should be making less of them with improved toughness. Still, I can't see them being anywhere near as popular with the top flight players. Razorwing flocks have gone up in price significantly and are now WS2 plus they've lost two wounds an attack per base! That's some hit they've taken. I'm very glad I didn't buy any or find a third party alternative.

Whilst I recognise they were powerful I've never seen the appeal of a beast pack and the new book hasn't changed my opinion. Glad I don't need to fork out for the incredibly expensive models. As I say, they're not going to disappear completely but they're far from what they were, which was to be expected really.

Raider & Venom
The basic raider is now cheaper but you pay to upgrade the disintegrator to a dark lance meaning the lance version is the same cost. With nearly all of the vehicle upgrades jumping in price and flickerfields vanishing completely for raiders it's hard to see a reason to upgrade them. The exception is probably splinter racks which now applies to all splinter weapons. That throws in some interesting options for trueborn with cannons, sslyth with shardcarbines or just ten warriors with rifles.

I think I'm going to be taking advantage of the saving and keeping the disintegrator cannon rather than upgrading to a lance. That means that a splinter rack raider is effectively the same cost as it was before. The disintegrator is by now means awful either and compliments the occupants role of anti-infantry well. It'll also prove irritating to MCs etc. There are other, better, ways of getting the dark light weaponry into the list. Not only that but you'll not worry about Jinking if you aren't particularly bothered about losing a lance shot. You could give yourself night shields but personally I think it's too expensive and sometimes useless. Keep the raiders cheap and don't worry about losing them.

Nothing has changed with the venom really. They're the same cost and will still want the upgrade to a second cannon. I'm actually pretty amazed they didn't get more expensive to be honest. Like with the other new books you can now field them empty which is incredibly tempting in the case of venoms. If you wanted to run the faction specific detachment you could be looking at 12 venoms (6 empty, 6 with 5 kabalites) for just over a thousand points. That's a pretty scary thought. Of course it's useless if your opponent is holed up in transports but some armies would melt in the face of that much poisoned firepower.

Finally, both the venom and raider can now Deep Strike by default. Since you used to pay for vectored thrusters this effectively means raiders and venoms are cheaper than before. I'm not totally convinced deep striking is the best idea without having some reserve manipulation but if I lost the roll off I'd strongly consider null deployment. It's nice to have the tactical flexibility if nothing else.

Reavers
I loved reavers in the last book and regularly ran them. They were pretty expensive though so it was difficult to justify them at times. In the new book they've taken a big price cut. This comes at the expense of their bladevane sweep attack antics but they now get rending HoW attacks instead. What this means is a shift in how they're used. In the past I'd run two squads of 6 with no upgrades at all which came to 132pts per unit. Now you could take the same squad of 6 but give them two heat lances or blasters and a set of cluster caltrops for just about the same points. It's worth noting here that you can now run them in units of 12 if you wanted.

To me they're now a source of mobile anti-tank and a decent combat unit (assuming they aren't charging through terrain). Should they get a decent combat drugs roll (thankfully the 3D6 to run has gone) they should be able to pick on weaker combat units without worrying too much. Should they find themselves in hot water they've now got Hit & Run. Unlike some of the other combat units in the army reavers actually have a good chance of getting there. Skilled Rider means they can totally ignore terrain and gives +1 to their Jink saves. Should they get FNP they'll be pretty tough to shift at range and they can cover a lot of ground quickly.

They're a decent anti-tank platform, reasonable combat unit and durable enough to be around at the end of the game for some objective grabbing. It's a shame there's no DE character that can join them on a bike or board.

Hellions
I really really want Hellions to be good as they're awesome models. In the old book you could throw in Baron to give them Stealth plus a helliarch with phantasm to give them grenades. Both of those options are gone now. The phantasm doesn't work the same and Baron is plain deleted. They may be quite a bit cheaper but I can't see me using them. They've got a decent amount of firepower but they don't offer anything you can't get elsewhere. In addition they're flimsy as hell and most of the time won't get to use their I6 with their lack of grenades.

What I also don't understand is why the melee weapons for the helliarch became so expensive? The stunclaw is interesting with S4 and Instant Death in challenges but you're relying too much on a failed save if you actually ever make it into combat to find out. Generally they just can't compete with the other Fast Attack choices so I think they'll be staying on the shelf. One less thing to rush to paint I suppose!

Razorwing Jetfighter
You'd be forgiven for thinking the Razorwing became significantly cheaper. However, you now pay for your lances. You'll be wanting to do that too so that you've got a chance against an enemy flyer. I'd even be tempted by the splinter cannon as you'll cause FMCs some headaches when combined with the lances. With that loadout you're still 5pts cheaper than the equivalent in the old book but we're still looking at 150pts for an AV10 flyer.

I think people are fixating on that too much though (especially with the voidraven but I'll get to that). The ace up the Razorwing's sleeve is the rack of missiles it carries. Having the option to come on and fire four S6 large blasts is a big deal. You could upgrade to Necrotoxins but I like the flexibility of hitting both troops and light vehicles. The shatterfield missiles bump the cost of the flyer up too much for my liking so I reckon I'll leave the monoscythes. I think the night shield is tempting but costs too much. It's a shame to lose the option of flickerfields as you're now forced to Jink for a save which means no missiles next turn. The secret I think is to run 2 or more razorwings and have some redundancy. Don't forget the faction specific detachment allows you to run six if you wanted.

I'm a big fan of the razorwing and it's benefitted a lot from a move to the Fast Attack section since it's no longer competing with ravagers. Expect to see more of them I reckon.

Scourges
I bought a couple of boxes of these a while back but mostly to get the shardcarbines for the trueborn unit I used to stick Duke in. They've sat on their sprues since then but I can assure you they won't be there much longer. For starters they're some of the nicest models GW have ever made (although that's the same for a lot of the DE range) but they've also seen huge improvements in the new book.

Like the reavers they used to be horribly overcosted and, again like the reavers, they've now been significantly reduced in price. The big thing though is that you can now field four special/heavy weapons per squad. In the old book you'd have had to take a full 10 to get the same number of special weapons. That means they're now an awesome choice for anti-tank duties. The choice in this role is between haywire blasters, heat lances (now cheaper) and blasters. Blasters can be found elsewhere in your list though so it's between heat lances and haywire which are the same points. For me the haywire wins on ground of range. Although scourges have a decent save their still T3 and so you'll want to keep them away from other units as much as you can. Having 12" move plus 24" haywire gives the a big threat radius and should keep them out of range of most of the return fire/charges.

With four haywire blasters in a unit you're pretty likely to strip hull points from a vehicle (cover saves permitting). That's probably more useful than the heat lances anyway which might not penetrate anyway and still aren't that likely to blow a vehicle up. Of course they're less useful if your opponent doesn't have vehicles but S4 AP4 isn't too bad as a backup.

Conclusion
Scourges are definitely the stars of the Fast Attack section as far as I'm concerned. For just 120 points you get a unit that's probably more reliable than a ravager against wave serpents which are the bane of DE. I can also see a role for razorwings and reavers too. I personally won't be fielding beasts and I can't see anyone taking hellions. That means scourges, reavers and razorwings have to compete for te slots.

Speaking of which, it's important to talk about the Realspace Raiders detachment here. Having the option of six fast choices will be very tempting but I'm still not convinced it's worth losing objective secured for. Having said that, your opponent isn't likely to have trouble shifting your troops if he needs to and your fast choices could be contesting/grabbing objectives in the end game. Coupled with Night Fighting your units will all have 5+ cover saves turn one as well. Troops will have 4+ of course but they're unlikely to be on the ground turn one (unless they find themselves rudely ejected from their transports.

One section left before I wrap things up and talk about some lists I'm considering. I hope you're finding these posts useful.

7 comments:

  1. Reavers are a hidden gem. Everyone cried and cried and cried over them. They are absolutely ridiculous now. They got a massive point drop, and you can still take caltrops for every three bikes...(so Four in a group of 12).

    They absolutely murder face vehicles. MURDER FACE. You are looking at 4D6 str 6, rending + 8 Str 4 Rending hits vs the vehicles rear armor, that can't be jinked. And if the vehicle explodes? Their T4, and 3+ jinks save them. (Sometimes even T5 due to combat drugs like shantz got this weekend!!!).

    One of the stars of the codex in my eyes. By moving caltrops to CC, it effectiveness gave them ignore cover, and they have a chance of ignoring armor as well. That plus their insane mobility...just wow.

    Plus you can take 72 in an army.

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    1. You still have the issue of manoeuvring them to hit the rear armour, since HoW now is against the armour facing that you are attacking from in assault. This isnt too much trouble with their 48 inch move using turboboosts, but still requires some thought.

      Also, the vehicle will not be exploding unless its open topped, since damage from therending rule in close combat against vehicles are no longer resolved at AP2. Even if you do make a vehicle explode, then their Jink will not save them, as Jink can only be used against shooting attacks, and the exploding vehicle is not a shooting attack. In many ways, it is similar to the issue where your opponent targets another of your units with a blast weapon, and that weapon scatters on top of the reavers. You have to declare a jink when your unit is declared the target before rolling to hit, but by the time the shot has scatter no declaration has been made, and the roll to hit has been taken!. I admit there is some ambiguity to it all, and it is an interesting discussion.

      Still, D6 S6 rending hits against light armour is not bad, and even against light to medium armoured infantry. While I liked zipping about the battlefield using blade vanes on the turbocharged, I much prefer this new dynamic since it actually gives the unit a purpose for its ranged weapons.

      What has been ignored also is that if you get night fighting, then reavers have a jink save of 2+, and lets face it, you will be using that first turn to get close to the enemy to use blasters and heat lances, and caltrops.

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    2. Good point about night fight. I've always loved reavers but I still think scourges are a solid choice too. Perhaps that faction detachment IS worth it.

      Another thing to note is a 12-man traversing unit could happily surround a vehicle to cause the occupants to die when/if you wreck it. Unlikely to happen but worth a thought.

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    3. I always liked the reavers too, and I do think they got more interesting. I wont argue that they got better, rather, they are different and now fill a different role, and that role is a lot more rounded with light armour busting, as well as infantry killing, though the infantry killing seems more of their forte. Lets also not forget that they still come with a close combat weapon and splinter pistol, which gives them two base attacks, with 3 on the charge, or possibly even 4 with combat drugs and even 5 attacks if they make it to PfP turn 6, as well as their hammer of wrath attacks. By that stage, they are also fearless, and have FnP and furious charge. With this in mind, they might well be a unit to keep in reserve with the hope of them joining the fray turn 3 or 4, with setting up for an assault on turn 4 or 5, something they could easily do with their 48 inch move upon arrival.

      Scourges are indeed solid, and I would toy with the idea of deep striking them in close to a vehicle of building they want taken out. yes it leaves them extremely vulnerable to template or blast marker weapon, but if you are taking out something valuable, it could be worth the gamble.

      i also think a unit of 10 scourges with just shardcarbines would make for a headache for some units, especially monstrous creatures. Against marines thats an average of 3.3 unsaved wounds, and half of a combat squad. But for tau its 5 fire warriors, and for guard, orcs, or tyranid small bugs, its 10. So while the special weapons pack more punch and are arguably more favourable, it might be worth thinking about volume of fire against certain enemies.

      I think the Realspace raiders detachment is indeed worth it in my opinion. When night fighting (which lets face it will be the first turn anyway), all troops have a 4+ cover save in the open, and all other units have a 5+ (due to the stealth bonus from night fighting itself). Mandrakes are sitting pretty first turn with a 3+ cover save out in the open. And lets face it, in most games we would be taking at least two troops choices anyway, and at least one fast attack, and we now get to take more than 3 fast attack. Ok, if you only have one detachment and your warlord is in it, you have to roll on the Dark Eldar warlord traits, which lets face it are not great compared to some of the BRB traits. I dothink its a fair trade off though in exchange for that extra survivability in the first turn, which allows you to close the distance and/or soften up the target, before PfP kicks in, and reserves arrive, and that you are in close combat range for your heavy hitters. Of course, those enemies with ignores cover (im looking at you Tau), will make a mockery of this.

      I think one thing to bear in mind with regarding Dark Eldar fast attack, is that they are all fast. Remember if you are in close combat with an enemy unit, that is one less unit that can shoot back at the rest of your army. So thats how I sometimes view my fast attack choices (rightly or wrongly), as a threat potential that your opponent needs to address and quickly, removing the heat from the rest of your army.

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  2. Man you do a really good job on these unit reviews. Nice werk!

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  3. Very good review.

    In defence of beastpacks, although they won't be seen in Eldar armies, I think they can fill a role as a fast assault threat. They throw out a lot of str4 attacks for their cost. My razorwing flocks (6) will stay in my case, but that leaves a nice unit of 2 beastmasters (needed for the leadership) and 10 krymera. A turn 2 charge threatens 40 str 4 attacks, only 7 krymera are required (on average) to make combat to wreak a wave serpent :)

    It's a shame about Hellions, but I have to agree with your assessment. Why they had to lose an attack (the Hellglaive dosn't grant an extra attack anymore), while their shooting is out performed by warriors, venoms and even basic scourges :(

    Like you I'll be digging out my scourge bits, just have to find haywire blaster bits that don't cost a fortune.

    Rathstar

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  4. The best use I could find for Hellions is as deep-striking assassins. They may not be the greatest assault unit in the codex, but can still help you getting rid of artillery squads and weaker HQ units (IG Platoon Command squads or Tau Ethereals) that are hiding in the back of the opponent's deployment zone. A Helliarch with a Stunclaw can be a nasty surprise for the latter.

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