Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Eldar War Walker


The War Walker is one of the less commonly seen Eldar units out there. In part because you can (and often ought to) take a heap of them; they come in squads of 3 in the heavy support section. Also, unlike the rest of the codex, they're not exactly fast. So, no further ado, let's get into it.

The War Walker Chassis
We're talking about an AV10 all-round walker. You're looking at WS/BS3, S5, I4 and 2 attacks. Obviously, it's not that interested in going boot-to-head in assault, but it'll still take some work to kill in assault if you're just a basic trooper. Yeah, you need those 6's to hit me with grenades...

However, you're still just AV10, which is not exactly that durable. You need numbers on your side in order to last. Additionally, you need clever use of cover. It's a squadron, so if you get more than half the squad in cover, guess what? Cover save.

As a side benefit, you get Scout, which grants you a scout move, or outflank. I'm not really a fan out outflanking, since you should be using range as your defense. The closer you get to the enemy, the more weapons he brings to bear on you, and with AV10 you even have to pay some attention to most troop-borne firearms, since S4 can still cost you your chance to shoot.

Weapon Options
Well, the whole squad can take Spirit Stones, which is basically extra armor. Too bad there's no point in that for the squad. So, we move along to guns. Each War Walker can take two weapons. This means you can either double up, or try to do a same-purpose mix 'n' match. I'd probably go for doubling up, to be honest.

Shuriken Cannon
5 points gets you a 24" S6 gun with 3 shots. It's cheap, nasty, and does the trikc against things S6 hurts, which is anything with an AV lower than 12, and any toughness lower than 8.

Scatter Laser
15 points gets you a fourth S6 shot and a 36" range.

Starcannon
If you really wanted to, you could drop 25 points for an S6, AP2 two-shot gun out to 36". I'd skip it because BS3 and the nature of cover mean we want volume rather than quality.

Eldar Missile Launcher
This is your longest-range gun; it's an S8 AP3 shot or S4, AP4 pinning small blast out to 48". Costs 20 points to get the range.

Bright Lance
Phew. 30 points a head for this lovely little 'threaten any tank or MC' gun. I honestly find it a bit costly for War Walkers; a double-lance War Walker is 90 points solo. You can bet it's a priority target, even if those two lances are only BS3.

Weapons and Mission
If you want to get your Walkers for cheap, 40 points gets you a War Walker that cranks out six S6 shots at 24". The downside is the range, though between scout and most deployments it's not such an issue getting into range unless you're fighting a slipper opponent.

A full suite of 3x3 War Walker Squads is 360 points and your heavy support slots; not a bad start.

My other default is the scatter laser; a double-scatterlaser walker is 60 points, and a full 3x3 compliment is 540.

The downside of taking massed S6 is that you'll need to find ways of dealing with heavier armor, and even AV12 is going to take some work. Assuming you twin-linked a Scatter laser squad via Guide, you'd get 3 glances on average, which isn't bad, but it means you just might do some actual damage.

So, what then? A double-missile walker is 70; a team is 210, and a full compliment is 630. If you Guided a team, it should get 4-5 hits, or 1-2 pens on AV12, which is still not that impressive. A full compliment of missile-walkers (assuming you can twin-link two squads) nets you about a dozen S8 hits in a turn, which, when focused, might kill a single AV12 vehicle. We're not that efficient, are we? We're not.

So, I'd have to go with the shuriken cannons or scatter lasers, and rely on Fire Dragons and serpent-mounted lances to do the heavier lifting. I mean, we WILL hard-core nuke the lighter targets with that much S6.

A Note On Range
The other thing to remember is that range helps to deny mobility, and that range is life for lighter targets. I've got a buddy/current student who plays IG, and at least against Eldar, there's a huge difference between staying at 36" and staying out of it, as his sentinels are only a bit less durable than our guys, and a scatter laser or two can totally nuke such a squad. Then again, a penetrating hit kills a squaded sentinel on a 2+ because they can't take immobilized and they're open-topped.

A squadded War Walker dies 50% of the time, as it simply dies on an immobilized result.

Summary of Mission
I'd stick to the shuriken cannon or the scatter laser, and full squad. You're a torrent of fire unit; roll with it and make it your own.

A Sample War Walker/Torrent of Fire BS List at 1850
Warning: I haven't tested this, and it may not make you any friends. But, here's the basic idea of 'How Much S6 Can I Fit In There?'

HQ
Farseer w/ Runes of Warding, Guide [90]

Autarch w/ Fusion Gun [80]

Elites
5 Fire Dragons [80]
Wave Serpent w/ TL Lance, Shuriken Cannon [145]

5 Fire Dragons [80]
Wave Serpent w/ TL Lance, Shuriken Cannon [145]

Troops
5 Dire Avengers [60]
Wave Serpent w/ TL Lance, Shuriken Cannon [145]

5 Dire Avengers [60]
Wave Serpent w/ TL Lance, Shuriken Cannon [145]

Fast Attack
3 Vypers w/ Shuriken Cannon [150]

3 Vypers w/ Shuriken Cannon [150]

Heavy Support
3 War Walkers w/ 2x Scatter Laser each [180]

3 War Walkers w/ 2x Scatter Laser each [180]

3 War Walkers w/ 2x Scatter Laser each [180]

Total: 1850

I'd thought about rolling with Shuriken Cannons all around, and if you do, you can go up to a third Vyper Squad, but you lose some range.

The Dire Avengers are there because you need troops, and the Fire Dragons are there because you might face someone with AV12 or better out there, and glancing it to death isn't always fun. The Farseer is in there more for the Runes of Warding, but you might as well get Guide. The Autarch gives you another meltagun, but more importantly lets you deal with going second.

Now, the downsides? Most Eldar players have the Elites, HQ, and Troops listed here. Then, you'll need 6 Vypers and 9 War Walkers, which is a pretty hefty commitment to build, buy, and carry around.

Also, did your enemy bring stuff vulnerable to S6 fire? You can crank out 24 S6 shots per walker squad, and another 9 from each vyper squad. That's 99 shots of S6 at BS3 a turn, though it tends to fall apart. It's a very distinct niche of firepower, but if I could bring two autocannons on my war walkers...aw, yeah. Or pulse lasers.

But yeah. This list cries a bit at Land Raiders until it pops 'em, and if it's vulnerable to S6? Get ready to get punched in the balls.

For an alternative take on trying to make War Walkers workable, here are Elessar's thoughts on the matter. (I tend to cut out the 'king' part mostly because it gets the point across to call him Elessar, though this is assuming it's a 'him' [which seems safe in this hobby, but there ARE exceptions] and if the removal of king is offensive...I'm sure Elessar'll deal. Right? :) Right. )

One More Thing...
I think a squad of 3 War Walkers, kept cheap with 2x Shuriken Cannon each, might be a decent experimental block for armies as well. It'd give me, personally, an excuse to play around with walkers again, as the models are neat. At 120 points for that block, it's a reasonably interchangeable heavy support block, and might mesh well with an Autarch. 'sides, I still have that redonkulous Autarch with an oversized fusion gun that wants itself some use...

9 comments:

John Laubersheimer said...

That was fast. Awesome read. Same with the troop comparison.

Thanks!

Raptor1313 said...

It helps that the War Walker is a fairly focused unit. The real work lies in figuring out the ideal weapons, and the Eldar are nice in that regard, as BS3 leads you to torrent. The next problem is really scatter laser vs. shurikannon, and I think I'd rather have the ability to wander in and get shots out to range.

I think it just doesn't get love because you're looking at like $90USD in models to fill just one heavy slot...

suneokun said...

To the best of my knowledge, twin scatter lasers on the Warwalker do not twin-link, so instead of 4 reroll to hit shots, you get 8 shots...

Has this changed?

I've played Eldar and against Eldar a lot. Warwalker are what Sentinels which they could be ... 24 shots from a single 3 unit squad is death to heavy weapon teams - although against amoured opponents its not.

Like wehn using Sentinels, use their range and squadron to avoid fire and harness cover saves.

I use three 'camo' lascannnon scout sentinels behind a chimera or Russ to give me a cheap antitank move or fire weapon.

Raptor1313 said...

Nah, I meant Guide on the things, I should probably clarify that.

The one thing Sentinels have over War Walkers, I feel, is the autocannon. The S7 vs S6 gives it a bit of an edge against armor, it still has rate of fire, but it gives them a 48" standoff, and once you get past that 36" the volume of fire drops sharply.

Dverning said...

Yeah, you should clarify the Guide. :-p

Also, I think you're a bit too quick to dismiss Outflank. Yeah, it is random, but a 6" move and 24" range still threatens almost 1/2 the table. But the big thing is how it can give you side armour on a tank.

Outflank's also nice for an army doing Reserves Denial, as it can keep your backfield from getting too crowded.

Basically, my rule for Walkers is Scats for firebase Walkers and Shuris for disposable Outflankers.

The_King_Elessar said...

It's an interesting list. I like it. if fact, I may do a spin-off list...

Raptor1313 said...

@Dverning
Outflank for reserves denial? Could you clarify what you mean on that? I'm assuming it's the art of 2x Autarch + massed reserves for the 'arrives on 2+' thing on turn two and alpha-strikes.

On the other hand, I'm still not 100% sold that outflanking and the side armor shots save you. You can get half the board, but if they can face AV12 out at the flanks...you're in trouble, as you'll harass the crap out of it but not necessarily do more than that.

Then again, a 120pt disposable war walker unit with 2x S-cannons each might be an interesting component in and of itself. At that point value, you could pretty readily sub it in for a Fire Prism.

@ Elessar
Looked at it, posted a link to the site. Might as well get that referenced here, since there's some interesting discussion in it. I'm warming up to Guardian Jetbikes, though I'm not sure they do much for the war walker theme.

The_King_Elessar said...

Thanks. I plan a follow-up to that post of mine, too, so I'll go into more detail in it. :)

And my ego can certainly take not begin called King. Occasionally :P

*Hums Lion King soundtrack*

Colin said...

I've been running 3x 2 shur can walkers for as long as I can recall. I've never been disappointed by them.

You can always find a use for them in any game.

I'd love to see them up star cannon to strength 7. That would justify its cost and make it a turbo-auto-cannon, which would fit.

As it currently stands, star cannons are simply not worth it in any configuration I've found.