Saturday, August 3, 2013

New Eldar Heavy Support Review (part1): or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the E-Bomb (part 6)

There are a lot of difficult choices to make when assembling an Eldar force, and none more difficult than picking your Heavy Support choices.  There are EIGHT of them now (which is why this is part 1 of Heavy and part 6 overall), and all of them are pretty damn good.  Not all of them are choices that I would personally make (I'm not jumping on the gigantic, hip, and expensive wraithknight bandwagon, for example), but I will talk briefly about them all and, as always, give you may personal take on them (your views may vary from my own).

Dark Reapers: As I am an Aspect Warrior fan, I almost always field me some reapers.  These guys have traditionally been one of my anti-marine units, and they are even better now than before.  Basically, everything they were before they still have -- basic reaper launchers are the same (S5 AP3 Heavy2) and the Exarch options for Shuriken Cannon, Tempest launcher, and EML are pretty much the same (though the EML now Pins and can take skyfire ammo).  Reapers got even more kickass in that they can all be upgraded to use Starshot ammo (krak missiles with pinning -- and by the way, so glad they got their own name for this now too -- "krak" is an Imperial word and not fitting for an Eldar spelling bee).  This gets expensive but it's a fantastic way to go.  You still have their reaper launcher but you are now anti-vehicle too!  And they are now Slow and Purposeful, which means they can move and still fire their heavy weapons, which is great!  Downside is they can't Overwatch, but we never had that before anyway so no loss (and let's face it, if they get charged they're pretty much dead anyway--unless Ra is with them, he's Death incarnate).  The new codex also finally gave the fluff about their helmet vanes some purpose: they can track fast-moving targets, thus negating any Jink saves, which adds to their anti-vehicle power.  And, for you spam fans, they can now have a squad of up to 10 models (vice 5).  That's a lot of points but anyone who invests in that will utterly destroy at least one target unit per turn.  So in total, I can't see an Eldar army without them.  Traditionally I would always have 3 reapers plus a tempest exarch but with the new options I may not necessarily go tempest all the time anymore.

Vaul's Wrath Artillery Batteries: I personally haven't used these much, and with all the other outstanding Heavy choices available, I can't see too many other people doing so either.  But if you want raw artillery firepower (and relatively less expensively) this is a nice way to go.  There are three options:
Distort Cannons: Still the most desructive force in the universe.  Distort weapons tear open real space and expose the target to the warp.  Relatively short range (24") but S10 AP2 Blasts that auto-penetrate and insta-kill on a 6 so... how can you argue with that?
Shadow Weavers: These are monofilament web casts like the Warp Spider weapons but on a bigger scale.  Large blast templates, S6 AP6 but AP1 on rolls of 6.  So again, you're hitting a lot of targets and probably killing them.
Vibro-cannons: Porbably the least cool of the three options, but they can combine their powers.  They start at S7 AP4 like an autocannon, but multiple hits from the same unit of up to 3 models increase their effectiveness by +1 to S and AP -- so if all three batteries hit, that's 3 S9 AP2 hits.  Not too shabby, especially against a vehicle. They are also pinning weapons, which is a nice bonus.

Actually, these are better than I thought.  Maybe I would like to field some...  Though I think they also lost something in this edition.  Some of the cooler, more logical aspects of these special attacks were lost.  If *I* were redoing them their rules might look more like this...
Monofilament:  The idea on these is that a razor-fine web gently drifts down on the target.  In that case, how is it that light as air line has a S6 or S7???  (Not that I'm complaining, just not very logical.)  Reimagining these weapons (even for warp spiders) I would make them something like their Strength is equal to the target's own Strength (as they fight to free themselves they cut themselves apart), keeping the to-wound roll of 6 equals AP 1.   And I want back the Difficult and Dangerous Terrain rules for units hit by this next time they move -- you find yourself tangled in a razor-sharp web, moving is a tricky thing.  Maybe that stacks a lot of rules and benefits on one weapon type, but it all makes sense to me (a lot more sense than "S+1 if their Initiative is 3 or less").   For targets without Strength (non-walker vehicles) I'd say just the Dangerous Terrain roll when they move. I can see a tank just rolling through and the line most likely snapping against its armored hull, giving a 1 in 6 chance that something important but non-lethal gets cut or tangled (like a fuel hose or line sucked into an intake or something, thus immobilizing and causing a hull point).
Vibro: This is a very unique kind of attack and it seems to me there could be more to it too.  Like Ignores Cover and causing Difficult ground on the next turn.  This also used to effectively be a Beam attack, hitting everything in a straight line.  Again, I don't want to overpower it, but would like it to be more logical and have strange effects.
Distort: This is pretty damn cool the way it is.  No changes I can think of.

War Walkers:  I don't have any of these, but would love to get my hands on some.  These are walking weapons platforms, scouting (or better yet, outflanking) war machines that come on the board and let go with up to 8 shots each of heavy weaponry.  I'm sure alot of folks are giving them at least one scatterlaser, which now has laserlock, making the second weapon (possibly another 4-shot S6 scatterlaser) twin-linked.  Massive shootiness.  Though the walkers haven't really changed that much from last codex, save one thing.  I always figured--especially in 6th ed where a 2 hull point AV 10 walker can be easily glanced to death by bolter fire--they were too fragile to spend the points.  But now they have a power field that grants them a 5+ invuln save, making them totally worth while!  AND they also operate under the Battle Focus run-shoot/shoot-run rule and Fleet.  I know a lot of players are making use of these guys and causing a lot of damage doing it.  This is one bandwagon I would like to jump on. 

(Though again, there comes the hard choices thing -- if I take war walkers I need to give up something else.  I typically take reapers, a wraithlord, and a falcon or tank -- what do I sacrifice?  Though with the new Wave Serpents, i suppose you can easily replace a Heavy choice tank with a Dedicated Transport...)  (And I think the build I would most likely go for would be one scatterlaser and one shuriken cannon -- 7 S6 shots and cheaper than 2 scatters, plus the bladestorm potential.  hmmm...)


Wow...  See, that's why this Heavy review is in two parts!  But I figure I should keep the grav-tanks together and wraiths together so we'll put all those in the next (and final) installment of E-Bomb. 
(By the way, no one has mentioned the "stop worrying and love the e-bomb" thing -- I hope I'm not the only one who gets that reference.  Am I that old?? (The correct answer is no, I'm not.))


  1. I'm sure lots of folks appreciate the E-bomb reference. Get those walkers!

    1. Well I know YOU get it. I'm sure others do to, at least those our age... You youngens... I don't know what to tell ya.