Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Phoenix Lords?

Well, the Phoenix Lords are expensive Eldar HQs that are effectively hero-level exarch HQs. My question is whether they're worth it or not.

Common Ground
All of them share the same statline, and it's not bad at all.

WS 7, BS 7, S4, T4, 3 wounds, I7, four attacks, and a 2+ armor save.

On top of that, they are Fleet, Fearless, Eternal Warriors that grant that Fearless bonus to their given Aspect Warriors if they're leading them.

He's the Dire Avenger leader. He has the dire sword that the Avengers get, save that his re-rolls misses in close combat. He also has the twin avenger catapults for an Assault 4 S4 AP5 weapon. The neatest thing he's got is the 4+ invulnerable save.

Not that you ever want your Avengers in close combat, but you get Defend, and he comes with Bladestorm as well.

Jain Zar
See Jain. See Jain lead the howling banshees. Pretty much standard Banshee exarch kit; the banshee mask, executioner, and a Triskele with S5. She also benefits from Furious Charge.

For Exarch powers, she gets War Shout and and Acrobatic. (Translation: make the enemy take a ld test to keep their WS in lieu of 1, and Counterassault).

...now, he makes your Swooping Hawks fearless, but that implies you'd want to take Swooping Hawks. He gets the Hawk's Talon and a power weapon, and is pretty much an Exarch past that.

This is the leader of the Striking Scorpions. He gets the Scorpion chainsword, the scorpion powerfist dealie, plasma grenades, and his mandiblasters give him +2 attacks instead of +1.

While he gets the Infiltrate and Move Through Cover special powers, he ALSO gives his squad Stealth, which isn't that bad. Won't necessarily use it a lot since you've got 3+ saves, but still.

This is the psycho that leads the Fire Dragons. He takes a Fire Pike, and a power weapon that hits at S5 and rolls 2d6 for armor penetration. He gets Tank Hunter and Crack Shot (read: +1 to penetration and Ignores Cover Saves), and also Feel No Pain.

He's actually kind of disgustingly adept at killing vehicles.

Maugan Ra
Hey, he's the happy guy that leads the Dark Reapers. He takes an Executioner (so he hits at S6 and ignores armor saves) and has a 36", Assault 4 Pinning, Rending Shuriken Cannon. Not a bad little gun, that. With Exarch Powers, he gets another shot, and ignores cover saves. Big deal on a weapon that's AP5, but it lets him snipe at fast-moving, lightly-armored skimmers?

The Skinny...
The biggest problem I see with these guys is that they're 190-230 points a head. Jain's the cheapest, and Asurmen's the most expensive.

They all grant Fearless to their chosen aspect, and save you the cost of buying exarch powers. (or, more like drop 20-40 points on them...). They DO let you take an Exarch's kit twice; IE: you can get an S6 and S5 Executioner in Banshees, and get an S6 and S8 powerfist in the Scorpions.

This is neat in cases where the Exarch's special kit is actually cool and useful, as opposed to the neat but not-so-spectacular extra guns (a la the Double Shuriken catapult, or double Death Spinner).

I think if we want to look at other stuff that makes any of the Phoenix Lords worth taking, it's the extra features.

Maugan Ra
I think this guy's honestly a favorite, largely for his capabilities. He will always contribute to the fight; long-ranged gun and nasty in CC with four S6 power weapon attacks at Initiative 'I go First.'

He's a bit mono-tasked in terms of what he does in shooting, but he's got some CC prowess with the whole 'Fire Axe' letting him hit at S5 and rolling 2d6 for armor penetration. Feel No Pain helps as well.

Jain and Karandras
Unsurprisingly, these guys are pretty adept at melee. I'd say Jain's got an advantage, especially on the charge since there's that whole 'Furious Charge' thing. S7, I8, 5 attacks?

Baharroth and Asurmen
Baharroth....is...a Swooping Hawk, and that says it all. There's no real need to have him lead Swooping Hawks. Asurmen is bloody expensive for what he does.

I'm not really a big fan of the Phoenix Lords as a whole. They're meant to be killy HQs, as they've no real support abilities (read: no psychic powers and no Master Strategist). However, for all that price? I don't think they contribute enough, and in my opinion they'd benefit from a price adjustment.

What's my logic for this? Look at the marine HQs. For about 200 points, you get someone potent in melee, and an army-wide effect. In part, it's the difference in army styles, but it's also bang for buck. Lysander, for example, costs 200. You get immunity to Instant Death, a nasty set of saves, the ability to whomp ANYTHING in melee, and an army-wide bonus.

As of now, I'd rather drop ~140 on a Farseer as my HQ than a Phoenix Lord. For fun, I'd probably take Maugan Ra, since he's the most capable of any phase of the game.


Faolain said...

I love the Maugan Ra model. He's the model that made me choose Eldar as my first model. He's a fun choice. In fact, I think I'll take him as my HQ next game as I've only ever taken him in apocalypse.

I loled at the "see Jain" line. Good one. She is also a good pick. I once charged my friend's marines with her and a full squad. He simply removed all the models without bothering to roll.

Karandras is also very good. S5 attacks at high initiative or S8 at low, your choice.

Fuegan is very good as well. He really shines in Apocalypse where he and a squad can pretty much take down any superheavy they want (almost overkill for a normal game. He and a squad of dragons blew up a Stompa the first time I ever used him.

I have never taken the rest so I can't comment on those.

Raptor1313 said...

Maugan's a tight model, I have to admit.

I think if I ran one in an 1850 game, it'd be either Jain or Maugan Ra. Jain has the assaulty prowess to handle herself solo with decent dice rolls (hit on 3's, wound on 2's, and first with shots from a Triskele...fully capable of tackling a monstrous creature, she is).

I think the melee Lords need backup in a bigger game, but part of me thinks they'd be something to kick out of a transport and deal with an assault or a smaller squad. I can definitely see Jain and co. opening a whole lotta power-armor cans.

Then again, I can bring Prince Yriel as my melee-bomb, and he'll handle a lot of problems (especially with Doom support.) for cheaper.

Anonymous said...

Maugan's a tight model, I have to admit.
The irony is that the model was originally meant to be a Death Jester character. That's why he has the skull and bones motif and a Shuriken (Shrieker) Cannon.

But with Harlies being a fringe thing, the Reaper PL test not being up to snuff, and the coolness of the fig... they switched him into the Phoenix Lord role.

If you're interested, here's my old write-up on the subject: http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?p=2811503
It's a little dated, but still fairly pertinent.

Raptor1313 said...

Ah, knew you were still out there...still no blog? I gotta harangue you, y'know. Chaos ponies and all that...

That IS an interesting bit of history about Maugan Ra's model, and it makes a certain amount of sense. Hell, I've seen a lot of folks suggest running Maugan Ra IN Harlies just to hide him.

While dated, I think it's pretty much accurate. The Lords are neat, 'cept they're pretty much upgraded, pimped out Exarchs. I think we'd see more of them if they were cheaper, but I could see Maugan Ra, Jain, and maybe Fuegan getting more time solo.

My problem is that like you mentioned, you can get an aspect squad (and usually a well kitted-out transport) for the cost.