Saturday, August 1, 2009

Eldar Elite Melee Choices Evaluated

Or, Screaming Psychos, Chainsaw-wielding Manaics, and Clowns:
This time around, I'm going to offer up an analysis of the Eldar melee choices from the Elites section. I'm aware of the fact that the Seer Council is a melee selection, but I feel that it merits its own section. It is a wholly different beast, compared to the Banshees, Harlies and Scorpions.
I'm going to start by comparing capabilities, and then speaking to the extras that each unit can bring to the table. I'll cap it off with some thoughts on how to get them where they're going, and what you might consider to bring with them. As ever, my aim is to be complete, though I encourage critiques, and will as usual do my best to respond to them thoughtfully (and while sober. Hey, just finished exams, so, y' time? And I celebrate by writing up a unit review...go figure.)

Melee Capability
Well, it's what you're taking these guys for, honestly. The goal is to get into the other guy's face, and rip it off. Banshees, Harlies, and Scorpions go about it three different ways.

The Howling Banshee Way
The standard Howling Banshee gear is a power weapon, shuriken (AKA bolt) pistol, and Banshee mask. The power weapon hits at S3, and the shuriken pistol fires off an S4, AP5 shot and grants them a base of 1+1 attacks. The Banshee mask, though, is a gem. Round one of combat?

Banshees negate the effects of cover and grenades on the assault, and Banshees swing at I10. What's this mean to you? Banshees go first in assault (except against the odd, rare thing like a Dark Eldar Lord with 'Always Goes First' combat drugs on), and ignore your defensive grenades as it's written now.

Banshees rely on power weapons to do the job. The Exarch can boost this two ways: pick up a set of Mirror Swords (get +2 attacks as opposed to +1, for a base 4 attacks at WS5) or grab an Executioner and swing at S5, but get no bonus attacks. I suggest the Executioner, as it allows Banshees to harm the rear armor of vehicles in a pinch, and more readily wound higher-toughness models. See, S3 means you really want Doom support.

The Banshee Exarch can also take the chakra- I mean Triskele. It's a throwing disk/power weapon that has a 12" range, hits at S3, AP3, assault 3. Sure, it's the cheapest option, but it's also kind of 'eh' in terms of capabilities compared to the Executioner.

In short, Howling Banshees hit first at WS4 and crank out heaps of power weapon attacks, and cost 16 a head. Like virtually the whole codex, Banshees are Fleet. Not like the pistols are THAT cool, anyway.

The Harlequin Way
Basic Harlequin gear is a pistol and CCW, and base cost of 18. Really, they cost 22, because you will be buying the Harlequin's Kiss, which means their close combat attacks gain Rending. Harlequins, unlike their brethren, are also WS5 base, with 2+1 base attacks.

Harlequins also benefit from Furious Charge and Hit 'n' Run. This means Harlequins assault you at I7, WS5, S4, rending, with a total of 4 attacks each.

The Harlequin Troupe Master is +20pts for Ld 10, and 3 attacks base with a Power Weapon or Kiss thrown in free. The power weapon helps versus enemies with armor saves; the ability to blow off a 3+ or 2+ save is worth doing. I trust Dverning's math more than enough in that regard.

If you want Plasma Grenades, you will have to take a Shadowseer. Techincally, the badass comes with Hallucinogen Grenades, which sound much cooler. However, since you ignore Difficult Terrain (and thus do not roll for it, and thus do not have your I reduced to 1) you're not really getting him for the grenades. See the 'Additional Capabilities' section for other impacts; I'm focusing on how they kill in melee.

Harliquins also pack Flip Belts, which means they ignore difficult terrain. They are also Fleet, which makes them pretty swift on foot, and means you're never going to snake-eyes your way out of an assault and into a point-blank rapid-fire death. Additionally? You can totally sit behind LOS-blocking terrain, then pop out like a demented, leering elf-in-a-box. And, you can do this RELIABLY.

Harliquins take a 5+ invulnerable save, and have no armor save. Doesn't take much to realize that Harlies don't mind Fortune one bit, here. Since Rending isn't that killy, you might have to survive and win via combat resolution.

In short, Harlies are the swiftest of the melee choices between Fleet and Flip Belts. They have the best WS, and rely on massed rending to win the day.

The Striking Scorpion Way
Do you like the sound of chainswords revving? You do? Well, good, because that's the Scorpion weapon of choice. Basic Scorpion gear includes Mandiblasters (+1 Attack), Shuriken Pistol (+1 attack), the Scorpion Chainsword (+1S), and plasma grenades (not actually + anything, but good in cover?). In short, their statline lies, because they have base S4, and base 1+2 attacks. They also pack a 3+ armor save into the mix.

Long story short? Scorpions are meant to go into a mass of troops and crank out lots of attacks. Their Exarch actually has some interesting choices. They may take an S6 powerfist (that includes a Shuriken Catapult; big whoop). They may take Chain Sabres, which grants +1 attack and re-rolls on to-hit and to-wound (...but not, leave the things at home). Finally, there's the Biting Blade. 2-handed melee weapon that hits at +1S, and for each hit they inflict, they get +1S. (So, if Exarch charges, has base 2 + 1 Mandiblasters +1 charge bonus, and hits 3 times? He hits three times at S7). As Dverning pointed out, you can take both of these toys; one replaces your chainsword and one replaces your pistol. If you're going to take scorpions and take the Exarch, then cough up the 20 points to kit him out.

Scorpion downsides? No fleet. They're the slow poke of the melee choices, but the most durable in terms of armor save. They also crank out a heap of attacks. Like Banshees, Scorpions are 16 a head.

Comparison of Melee Ways
So, basically, we've got 3 schools of thought: massed power weapons, massed rending, and massed wounds. Obviously, Doom helps everyone, but I'm going to say that in most cases, Doom helps Harliquins and Banshees more. Every Banshee wound is a dead guy or an invulnerable save (that is worse than the armor save, 99.9% of the time). Every re-rolled Harlequin wound is another chance to get the rend. Every re-rolled scorpion hit is...well, another chance to wound.

Honestly, I have to pretty much hand Scorpions the bronze medal here. Their Exarch can bypass the armor sometimes, but is probably better served hunting things like armor with the Biting Blade, though if it comes to AV10 rear, then at least the Scorps can try to glance the crap out of it. Honestly, though, with an Eldar army? You should have better ways to KO vehicles.

Melee-wise, then, it comes down to Howling Banshees vs. Harlequins. Let's take 7 Banshees w/ Exarch w/ Executioner. This costs us 134 points. Harlequins get 5 Harlies; 4 with kisses and one as the troupe master with power weapon.

Now, let's assume we get the charge.

3 WS5 S5 attacks, 18 WS4, S3 attacks. All ignore armor.
2 WS5 S5 hits, 9 WS4, S3 attacks (assuming WS4 enemy).
vs. T4: 4.3 kills. Doomed = 6.6ish
vs. T5: 2.5 kills, Doomed = 4.25
vs. T6: 2.2 wounds, Doomed = ~3 wounds

So, Banshees really need the Doom support. They're capable of KOing marine squads reasonably well; that's half a squad most of the time. They can also fell Monstrous Creatures by dint of the power weapons; those odd 5's and/or 6's stick.


5 Harlies; 4 attacks each @ WS5 = 21 attacks at WS5; 5 are power weapons. Hit on 3+, so we get 3.33 power weapon hits and 10.66 regular hits.
vs T4: 1.665 p/w wounds, 1.77 rends, 3.5 wounds. ~3 dead, 3 wounded. With doom, it turns into about 2 p/w wounds, ~2 rends, and about 5 wounds
vs T5: 1.11 p/w wounds, 1.77 rends, 1.77 wounds. ~3 dead, 1-2 wounded. With doom, we get about 1.5 power weapon wounds, ~2 rends, and a couple wounds.
vs T6: 0.5 power weapon wounds, 1.77 rends. Doom means ~2 rends and ~1 power weapon wound.

Harlies need it, and average more rends. The wounds, of course, are a function of the enemy saves. The round after (when they are down to S3) sees the rends go down a little, and the wounds. Ride that out and get out, then charge in again and do it again if needs be. The rends, though? On the charge, they automatically penetrate vehicle rear armor, making them a bit more lethal.

For Scorpions, for crap and giggles? Let's take the Powerfist for ease of math, and to give you at least something to KO monstrous creatures. That's 7 Scorpions, one of which is the Exarch with powerfist. Realistically, though, you'd grab the powerfist and the biting blade, and vary according to your target.
Scorpion Attack
Exarch: 4 WS5, S6 power claw hits; 6 guys w/ 4 S4 WS4 attacks each = 24 swings.
This translates to 12 S4 hits, and 2.66 S6 powerfist hits.
vs T4: 6 normal wounds, 2.21 PK. Doom: still about 2 PK, 9 normal wounds.
vs T5: 4 wounds, 1.77 PK wounds. Doom: 2.33 PK wounds, 6.66 wounds
vs T6: 2 wounds, 1.33 PK wounds. Doom: ~2 PK wounds, 3.66 normal wounds.

So. Let's look at the numbers.

Banshees get the most confirmed kills without Doom. With Doom? It's pretty even, and we're assuming power armor at the worst.

Without Doom, Banshees drop off, and the Harlies get rend-happy. With armor saves, it's close to even between Scorps and Banshees. With doom? Back to about even.

Vs T6
Also about even, once you get rending and doom.

Melee Ways Overall
In raw melee capabilities, on average, they're all about as killy as each other, especially with Doom. Pistols? Everyone has access to the same basic shuriken pistol. Now, from my Managerial Accounting class, we have to look at what's different among the alternatives. In melee capabilities:

-Clowns have superior WS.
-Clowns and Banshees both tend to go first; Scorpions are not quite as guaranteed.
-Clowns are the swiftest with Fleet + Flip Belts, Banshees can Fleet.
-Each Clown is equal in terms of melee damage; not all Banshees and Scorpions are. Clowns, however, must take an upgrade character for grenades (and other things discussed later).
-Scorpions win in durablity
-Clowns take an invulnerable save, boosting their durability vs. power weapons and the like

Overall, I have to say Clowns have a bit of an edge here, but you certainly pay for it. 22 a head vs. 16 a head, though the average Exarch (prior to Exarch abilities) costs about 50 points. Then again, the requisite Shadowseer w/ Kiss is 52. If I weren't going to take Clowns, then I would take Banshees. Both clowns and Banshees can bypass armor saves, whereas a lucky round of armor saves can see Scorpions end up utterly ineffective. Of course, the Scorps can handle themselves a bit better if there's a Dread or other walker, but again, Eldar. You should have other ways of killing armor.

'Extra' Capabilities
The previous section focused solely on butchering the other guy with pointy objects (or thrashing monofilament wires inserted into the body cavity via Harlequin Kiss, if you prefer). This part will focus on things like Exarch abilities; it's not directly rated to killing the other guy, but it helps.

Howling Banshee Extras
The Banshees get access to two exarch powers: Acrobatic, and War Shout.
Acrobatic means you gain the Counterassault capability, and costs you all of 5 points. This is cool until you realize that you're heavy flamer fodder, and have such an advantage in melee that most people will shoot you down where you stand if they can.

War Shout forces the enemy to take a morale test in round one of the assault, and failure means they fight at WS1. Is it cool? Hell yes. Five points here gives you at least the chance to hit the other dude on 3+, and he hits you on 5+. Is it reliable? Not so much.

The Banshee extras are neat, but worth considering more as filler than as 'must have' capabilities.

Harlequin Extras
Now, honestly? These guys have the coolest extras. Instead of Exarch powers, they can take an 'upgrade' character or two. There's the Troupe Master, or 'have a little help killing armor. We covered him already

The Death Jester picks up a 24", assault 3 pinning S6/AP5 gun. Is it neat? Kind of. Is it
essential? Not so much. Still, he's 10 points and one per Harlie unit. His gun makes you go 'splort', and can harass anything from infantry to monstrous creatures to light armor in a go.

The other gun upgrade is the fusion pistol. Hand a Harlie a 6" meltagun. Is it required? God, no. I hope you can get your melta in other places, but if you must, you can at least pack some heavy-duty anti-tank in your Harlequins for +10 points a pistol. It's probably a bit expensive, but again if you can't find room (or don't want to find room) elsewhere, then grab one.

This leads us to by far the coolest extra ability: the Shadowseer's Veil of Tears. It's basically a Warlock (power is psychic, the guy's a psychic, but the power is always on). But, if the enemy wants to shoot at you? They roll 2d6x2. Are the Harlequins in that range? If not, you don't get to shoot them, and you wasted your shooting. In other words, on average Harlequins with a Shadowseer cannot be fired on from more than 14" away. Harlequins average an assault range of 15", between Fleet and Flip Belts.

This also lets you do 'Stupid Clown Tricks.' Have a static unit in the back? Slap a Farseer in there with Harlies. You get your counterassault/backup for something like Rangers, and you also deny your enemy the ability to directly fire on your Farseer. Of course, blasts can still fall on 'em, but there's no protection against wrong time/wrong place. Naturally, this works for any crazy IC you attach to the unit, but if you want to augment 'em, consider Eldrad for the psychic power + power weapon/witchblade combo gear, or someone who can punch out tanks/dreadnoughts. Or, if you have Wraithlords, you can use the Shadowseer as the attendent psyker in a pinch. I wouldn't necessarily suggest it as a primary strategy without a couple Clown units, but it's something worth nothing.

Bottom line? Stupid Clown Tricks are freakin' sweet. Full stop. They add the most to your force in terms of options.

Striking Scorpion Extras
The Scorpion Exarch can pick up two abilities: Shadowstrike and Stalker.

Shadowstrike is 20 points to give the unit infiltrate. Is infiltrate cool and annoying? Kind of. You're not exactly a FAST unit, so you really don't make the best use of this. Can you outflank? Sure. What does the enemy do? Move away, or move accordingly. Or, you deliver an outflanking Wave Serpent to them, which I suppose could start the game on the board and lend fire support as well.

Stalker is 5 points for Move Through Cover. If you're going to take Scorpions and an Exarch, find 5 points for Move Through Cover. You don't have Fleet, and if you're going to root someone out of cover, you need all the movement help you can get.

Comparison of Extras
Harlequins win. The Shadowseer gives them grenades to keep I7 into cover, but the Veil of Tears just permits so much extra crap that Move Through Cover and Counterassault just don't compete at all.

Using the Eldar elite section melee units
Well, at the core, there are three kinds of lists: footslogging, mechanized, and a bizarre hybrid of the two.

Footslogging Melee Choices
Two choices come up here: Harlequins and Striking Scorpions. Scorpions can go in front of the rest of your footsloggers and screen them; they provide everyone behind them a 4+ cover save and take their 3+ armor save. However, if you're doing this, Warp Spiders are a swifter screen with ok-ish melee punch and S6 shooting attacks. But, you can always infiltrate the Scorpions.

Harlequins cannot actually be singled out with shooting attacks because of the Shadowseer, so they can live to assault more reliably. They can also take care of your Farseer with the Veil, so no one gets wise and tries to torrent him down.

...of course, I don't think I'd play pure footslogging to begin with, because you're giving up accurate bright lances, and I don't think someone's going to let footslogging Fire Dragons close.

Hybrid Melee Choices
Honestly, if you're going hybrid, you're probably doing one of a few things: bringing Wraithguard/Wraithlords, or you have some Rangers camping on an objective.

If you think you need the melee support (and you do, if you're trying to get Wraithguard to work or rolling with Wraithlords) then bring Harlies. Otherwise, someone shoots your assault unit to death, and then proceeds to apply a powerfist (covered by its squad) to your Wraith stuff. Alternatively, they will attempt to deliver flamers to your Rangers, who are somewhat allergic to fire. Go figure that T3 with 5+ is flammable.

Mechanized Melee Choices
Well, the bright side? You can safely place your melee troops into a Wave Serpent. Huzzah! AV12 with an Energy Field! Now you're flying in style. Go check out the Grav Tank Primer if you want more details on the Wave Serpents.

There is, though, one big tactical issue with delivering your assault troops to their destination: you have no assault ramp and are not open-topped. Ergo, your 'ideal' delivery is something like Fortuning the Serpent, then shoving it 24" towards the target to get a re-rollable cover save. From there, the opponent may attempt to shoot down the serpent, or move out of your assault range (or perhaps both.).

If you are getting a Serpent as close as possible to the enemy troops as fast as you can, you're probably putting the nose right up to the terrain. Let's go with this assumption unless you really feel like showing off that AV10 rear armor (that's not protected by the energy field) to guns. I don't really recommend it, to be honest. Serpents are about 7" long, and you can get troops about 5 inches away, if you do it right, given the whole 2" disembark move. Assuming you don't get blown up, the Serpent zips away (and the pilot changes his pants). You move into terrain, fleet, and try to assault.

Harlies get 13-18" (Thank you flip belts)
Scorpions can chance the terrain and probably get 8-12" (Move Through Cover assuming an average of 4 inches or so)
Banshees can chance the terrain twice and Fleet for 10-18" (assume 3.5 for the average.)
Banshees can also just move 4.999 inches riiight up to the terrain, fleet ~3 and then get about 3.5 for just under 11.5
Harlies are the most reliable.
Scorpions have Move Through Cover but the lest range
Banshees can roll on Fleet.

So, you can probably catch the guy, and the Harlies almost certainly will.
Now, what happens in this scenario?

Well, the worst case is your Serpent gets immobilized (and crashes, unless you pay for Vectored Engines. This is the ONLY case I'd consider it) or popped, in which case it spills your guys out into flamer template death formation. I think the enemy will probably be happy to shoot up your 150-200pt assault specialists that you just served up.

If you happen to get the charge off against non-melee troops, you'll probably win. This means you probably want to multi-charge and stay in assault. Again, if you're not locked in assault during the enemy turn, I think he'll be happy to shoot you to death or counter-assault you. Preferably shoot you, because honestly, Banshees and Harlies have a rep. (Go ask a 4th ed Vet about 'The Flying Circus' or the 'Clown Cars.' Bet you they'll tell you they're happy to splatter the things when they can out of sheer malice.)

Also, honestly, Wave Serpents aren't immortal. Short story? AV12 can blow up. Fortune and the Flat-out 4+ means any hit has a 25% chance of sticking, but it just takes a good one to make you dead and cost you the troops.

Finally, the Harlequins cannot take a Wave Serpent of their own. This leads to problems; you'll have to get them a wave serpent from someone else, which means there's a unit of something that usually really wants that Serpent (IE: Dire Avengers, Storm Guardians...) or you took a unit of Guardian Defenders as an objective camper, which is kind of dubious. I'd say this makes me look at Banshees or Scorps, and personally I have to lean towards the power weapons.

What, Ultimately, Can do the same job?
This is the real question you should ask yourself. Are you using your forces as efficiently as possible? If you're looking to clear lighter-weight guard-type infantry off objectives, Storm Guardians can take a pair of flamers and burn them off. They also happen to cost 92 points for that configuration.

Dire Avengers can theoretically do it from 18" away, but can get into cover. They can also go Guide/Doom, and 10 of them are 120 points, and scoring.

Theoretically all three of the melee choices have at least some mild anti-tank capability, but I think I'd still take a Serpent's twin-linked Bright Lance, or the delivery of Fire Dragons. Thus, the anti-vehicle/anti-MC bit is icing on the cake.

I have to conclude that Harlequins can do some neat tricks for your army if they're on foot and taking advantage of the Shadowseer, but overall you should always ask yourself if you can do the job better with another unit. If you're going to mech, get Banshees. If you really want to bring chainswords and think you won't see lots of armor, I suppose there are Scorpions.

Versus Other high-end melee units
To be honest, I have to say that the Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield assault terminator is pretty much the nastiest assault unit in the game in all-round capabilities. And, you'll lose to a full squad of them, at least in combat resolution. Harlies and Banshees might drop a couple of them. Scorpions? Give up. Harlies get saves and may survive with Fortune, but you're in for a hard fight. Unless you mob them with Banshees (like a charge from a 10-woman-strong unit) you'll probably lose.

Scorpions in general will not stack up as well as the others, unless you're fighting against Ork Boyz or something else that relies solely on numbers.

Vs. Tyranids, Scorpions might help, but Banshees + doom or harlies + doom solve more problems. Harlies and Banshees beat Genestealers in initiative, and can hack them down along with the Hive Tyrants and Carnies. (Clowns > Carnies, apparently, but don't tell the Carnies that.)

Dreadnoughts win vs. Banshees and Scorpions, and there's not a lot to do about it. A good Biting Blade might help, but probably won't. Harlies need the rend, but can at least hit 'n' run away from it, and with Fortune might even stall it out because of the Dread's few attacks. Otherwise, you're feeding it 16pt speed bumps 1-2 at a time, and that's just kinda dumb.

If you're going to take a melee choice on foot, Harlequins. Full stop, end of story. Shadowseers offer too much utility with the Veil of Tears, and can protect the Farseer better than anything else.

If you're going to mount up, I'd take Banshees, for power weapons and fewer complications. I think that at best, mech-mounted assault troops are a mop-up asset, because you're simply asking to lose them using them as a vanguard unit. If you want to lead the spearhead with an assault unit, then load a Land Raider Crusader with Thunder Hammer terminators.

Eldar melee choices in mech units are best suited to mop-up duty if you intend to employ them, but be aware that you are taking a tactical risk with them, and may be able to get the job done better with different selections.

As usual, your mileage may vary. I'm still likely to test out Banshees at some point as a unit, but I'm more worried about what I have to pull to get 'em in there. I will keep you posted if I do so.

As usual, thanks to those that critique these articles. My aim is to provide some useful primers for those who are looking into Eldar, or fighting against Eldar. The first step towards beating the other guy is knowing unit capabilities.


Dverning said...

As always, another good, well thought out post. And as always, I have a few comments:
1. Banshees ignoring Defensive Grenades is a little iffy, but I can see that reading.
2. Troup Master, "feel free to skip him"? Yes, he does not appreciably increase your attack power when armed with a Harlequin's Kiss... however, he's well worth it with a power weapon. I've done a full cost efficiency spread on the unit. Against normal Kiss Harlies he loses 14% vs Oks, 34% vs Plague Marines, 2% vs Chaplains, 23% vs Hive Tyrants and 100% versus Wraithlords. However, he's better by 2% vs IG, 37% vs Marines, 52% vs Termies, 14% vs Storm Shield Termies, and 14% Termie Chaplains. He gives the squad some extra oomph against the kind of targets that they need help with. For the others, that's why you have 9 other guys with Kisses! I consider the PW Troupe Master an almost "must have" for Harlies. (If you want a copy of the Excel cost analysis, it covers Harlies, Banshees and Scorpions in most common cases. Just drop me an e-mail to dweomer@hotmail.)
3. Even though everyone always takes a ShadowSeer, I think it is worth noting that Harlequins don't actually need Plasma Grenades because of Flip Belts. Initiative charging into cover is only reduced if you have to take a Difficult Terrain test. Harlies ignore the test and thus never go below I7, even if the ShadowSeer's dead.
4. Chain Sabres do not give +1S as they replace the Scorpion Chainsword and Pistol.
5. The Scorpion's Claw is nice for beating down Marines or other decent armour saves. The Biting Blade is good for beating down everything else. The Claw replaces your pistol and can't be used with other weapons due to power fist rules. The Blade replaces the chainsword and can't be used with other weapons due to 2-handed rules. Why not take both? It's not that expensive and lets you use the best weapon for the job.
6. "If I weren't going to take Clowns, then I would take Harlequins." I think your bias for Harlequins is showing and that you meant to say Banshees at the end. :-p
7. Stupid Clown Trick #4: The ShadowSeer is a Psyker and can therefore allow Wraithlords to pass Wraithsight...
8. A unit always moves at the speed of the slowest model. It's worth noting the Harlies will thereby roll 3d6 to move through Difficult Terrain when a Farseer is attached and will lose Fleet if Eldrad is attached.
8. I think Infiltrate is critical for Scorpions that are looking to aggress rather than provide counter-assault. Lacking Fleet, Infiltrate allows them to close just that little bit more...
9. The prevent Outflank, an enemy has to cover the ENTIRE board edge. That's not exactly easy to do and can be a large investment just to prevent a unit of Scorps from Outflanking. Plus, it doesn't work if the unit has a Wave Serpent...
10. Ooo... I think you missed a HUGE point in here regarding Harlequins and mechanization: They can't buy a Wave Serpent! In order to mechanize Harlies you either have to take a Falcon or abscond with a Serpent from another unit. The first means a smaller squad size and taking a Falcon close to the enemy, a place that Serpent fare better. The latter means you can't start/enter the game embarked, seriously slowing down the speed of your advance, especially in Dawn of War.


Raptor1313 said...

Ahh...thanks for the catches, Dverning. I new there was a reason I shouldn't publish unit reviews late at night...I shall have to do some touching up.

On #1, I agree it's an iffy reading, but I can see someone doing it.

Flip belts and terrain: I gotta go back and read that over again, but it makes sense.

#4: I swear that's what I was thinking when I typed it...

Scorp Exarch: Good catch on the weapons. You can indeed bust out the powerfist or biting blade. Ynnead knows how he'd wield it with a grabby claw for one hand, but...if you're gonna go to the trouble of running Scorps, I'd take the Biting Blade.

#6: Irrelevant details. ;P

#7: also a good catch. I tended not to think about it as much as I had a Wraithguard Spiritseer nearby, but if you're only running Wraithlords, then it's a definite consideration.

#8 You do get options with infiltrate, but you're still a slow foot unit. Still, it is worth mentioning that you can get some mileage out of it. In a pinch, you can use infiltration to deny the enemy shots at you, but I'm not sure that's an efficient use of an Elites slot. Then again, RAngers are the other alternative and are 18 a head, so...

#9 I still think outflank isn't that hot. It works better if you have some control over reserves AND the deployment, as the 33% chance of getting the 'wrong' side can really hurt you. Guard Astropaths are something that makes outflanking worth it; 3+ to come in on turn two AND an 88% chance to come in on the side you want.

#10...I did indeed miss that, shame on me. That probably relegates the Harlies squarely to the Footslog category, between that factoid and the Shadowseer.

As ever, the tweaks and comments are appreciated, as I started writing this late at night, and coherency was at some point knifed and slapped into the trunk. I know not when...I AM INNOCENT! Really.

Dverning said...

Glad to help. Honestly, I don't think there'd have been so many points had you not covered all three at once.

I do have to agree that Outflank isn't all that hot. Too unreliable. I did have a 1750 that provided some amusement though: 3x10 Scorps Outflanking in Serpents, 2x10 Spiders Deep Striking w Spider Autarchs, and then a bunch of Guardian Jetbikes... It was pretty brutal, especially to my friend that plays IG.

The Harlie Wave Serpent thing is a pretty commonly missed item, so don't feel bad. It does knock them to a foot-note in full-mech. They're still fairly viable in a mixed, especially as a support unit for Wraithguard.

Raptor1313 said...

I think you're probably right on the edits not being as prolific if I'd not hit all three at once.

On the other hand, I do think that it makes the most sense to put alll three together. I mean, it's three units that do the same basic thing and occupy the same force org slot. They're competing to do the same thing, so why not place them all side-by-side and see how they do?

I think Harlies absolutely shine helping out Wraithguard. It's what the 'guard just plain NEED. The boggarts are slow, and even if you go with Enhance for WS5/I5 and stick to cover, fact is that you will die if something assaults you with high-strength, armor-breaking attacks.

The_King_Elessar said...

I struggle picking powers for WG. I can give them a better Cover, I won't survive with I5 and WS5 anyway, and Destructor < Spear in a unit that's all 12" range.

jabberjabber said...

What an awesome piece! I'm going to have to re-read it to digest it properly. Thanks for your very carefully crafted write up :)

Raptor1313 said...

Thanks, man. IS a heap to digest, but I stand by the heap being the most logical presentation.

@King Elessar
I've solved my problem by shelving my Wraithguard, but if I were going to re-think it...
-Destructor does give me some flamer love, but I'm not guaranteed to get it off.
-Conceal lets me break into the open for a turn and hope Fortune holds.
-Enhance gives me a little edge against not-so-melee-oriented enemies, but does not save me from powerfists.
-taking nothign saves me some points.

Sheriffen said...

Hey everyone, just found this page and i really like the reading.

I do have a question about Clown and their Veil of Tears. When they enter a vehicle shouldnt that transfer to the vehicle then?

I know Ork players use Kustom Force Field like that when they put Big Mek in a battlewagon and keeps boys within 6" from that.

Raptor1313 said...

Glad you like the page.

To be honest? Veil of Tears + Vehicle has never come up for me.

Veil of Tears reads:
"Any enemy unit wishing to target the Shadowseer or unit she is with must roll..."

I would say then that no, the Veil doesn't transfer to the vehicle. If the Shadowseer is in a Wave Serpent or Falcon, then they're shooting at the grav tank and not the harlequins.

On the other hand, the Big Mek's KFF is the type of ability that specifies a range. Since the mech is in a vehicle, you just measure the range from the vehicle.

Shadowseer's explicitly the SS or the Clowns.

That make sense?