Sunday, 5 August 2012

Unit Review ~ Dark Eldar Reaper

Admittedly this came out while ago, but I have good reason to go back and review this. They are scarily unique in 6th Edition!

I'll start with looks.
I'm personally unsure about the oversized gun platform look which a lot of Eldar vehicles seem to get sometimes (Warp Hunter in particular, along with super-heavies like Lynx & Cobra) but the Reaper is the first Dark Eldar vehicle to follow this line and you could say it does so to an extreme.

Still, it doesn't sacrifice the gorgeous looks all Dark Eldar skimmers have and its personalised sails and side fins are very pretty (I would love for Forgeworld to release those as a separate sprue to add to Raider/Ravager hulls).
Lastly, the barrel of its main weapon which replaces the ram is intimidating.

Gameplaywise it is a Heavy Support option for the Dark Eldar codex, opening it up for allies option for Craftworld Eldar in particular.
This means it is a rival for other units such as Ravagers, Razorwings and the Haemonculi Engines.
Most particularly it should be compared with the Ravager, since the two are very similar. Not only have they identical armour values and hull points, but they are both Fast, Open-topped Skimmers with the Night Vision  rule.
It costs 135 points, which does make it somewhat costly in comparison and it comes with options for all the usual vehicle upgrades, except for Enhanced Aethersails which is has built-in for its points.

Unlike Ravager's, Reapers cannot fit the anti-elite role (No taking Disintegrator cannons and hunting terminators) but simultaneously fill anti-tank and anti-horde roles, as well as being pretty handy against Monstrous Creatures.

So we'll all agree that anti-tank & anti-horde are rarely done by the same unit (missile launcher devastators aside), but how does that work here? The answer - Storm Vortex Projector.
Not only does it have a fairly impressive name, but this weapon works quite interestingly in the new rules.
It has two fire options, following the typical blast or single powerful hit system that is so common.
Its blast use (conveniently named blast) is shorter ranged, only 24", uses the large 5" blast and is Str5 Ap4 with the Haywire* and Pinning rules. This means that not only can you lay down reasonably sized blasts and hurt hordes, you can also really upset their transports and really scare opponents with parking lots.
Its more powerful direct shot attack (called beam in this case) has a longer range of 36" and is Str7 Ap3. What makes it dangerous and completely unique is that along with the Haywire* rule this mode of fire also has another rule named 'Kill-Shock'.

* Before I go on to describing the fun that is Kill-Shock, it should be noted that when I list Haywire here I am not referring merely to the (1: No effect, 2-5: Glancing Hit, 6: Penetrating Hit) version of the rule listed in the rulebook or Eldar codex. - No, the Storm Vortex Projector has better batteries than that.
Haywire rolls in this instance cause penetrating hits on a 5 or 6!

What is Kill-Shock then?... It means that if the attack hits you make not one, but D3 Haywire rolls.
Yes, that means on top of causing a Str7 hit on a vehicle, that vehicle will on average lose another D3 hull points and quite likely have to roll on the Vehicle Damage Chart! - Even if the Str7 hit can't actually damage the vehicle.
On top of that, if fired at a non-vehicle Kill-Shock means the attack inflicts Instant Death on a 5+, meaning you are certainly hampered by taking a Reaper against Tyranids or Chaos Demons where the Haywire rule isn't much use. You can still hurt hordes and make the bigger beasties nervous!

There we have it, the Reaper!
Probably the only vehicle in the game which can take off four hull points with a single shot...

Saturday, 4 August 2012

6th Edition Flyer Rules are Weird!

So, while I await a reply from Forgeworld to my second email, I thought I'd fill the time by giving some of my thoughts on the new rules for Flyers.
Obviously huge changes with them slowing down (not that big a deal unless you're playing on vastly big tables) and no longer being able to do 180 degree pirouettes in mid-air (thankfully).

Now Flyers actually require some tactical advanced thinking ahead and as an old fan of both Battlefleet Gothic & Dreadfleet, I'm quite looking forward to their use in several games ahead, especially as I've three Vendetta's in my collection and they look to be very nice at the moment.

Still, my love of this aside... I really just don't get some of the Flyer rules!

First Point of confusion: Can Zooming Flyers fire more than four weapons?
In the standard shooting rules it notes that vehicles can fire so many weapons at full ballistic skill, varying by speed and all other weapons are left to be Snap Shots. That is fine and easy.
The rules on vehicles with the Fast type also note that leftover weapons can fire as Snap Shots, this would suggest vehicles types overrule the standard rules.
Strangely however, there is no mention of this in the section on Zooming Flyers. It just says that four can be fired at full Ballistic skill. So does this mean that Snap Shots are impossible at such high speeds? *shrugs* I think not, but others seem to think that can.

Second Point of Confusion: Flat Out Minimum Speed Why?
It makes perfect sense for Flyers to have a minimum speed when moving, that is how flyer works (when not hovering), but when you can't go Flat Out when zooming if you haven't already gone this minimum distance (it would be wrecked before it got to the shooting phase otherwise) does it need another minimum distance to go a bit faster?
Where is the logic that if you plan to move a total of 36"-38" you need to purposely move less in the movement phase? You need to go slower in order to go faster... Right?
Then of course the Supersonic rule makes this even stranger. For them to go a total distance between 36"-54" they have to considerable slow down. To go just over 36" you need to go minimum Cruising Speed (fraction over 18" remember) in the movement phase. Total nonsense.

Third Point of Confusion: What is up with Locked Velocity?
So if I go exactly 18" I'm going Combat Speed and if I move anything between a fraction of an inch over 18" up to the top speed of 36" I'm going Cruising Speed. Neither of these affect turning, shooting or anything else I've managed to come across.
So if Locked Velocity has you stuck in Combat or Cruising Speed, my question is why would anyone not always move a fraction of an inch over 18" when going slow to effectively shrug off that part of Locked Velocity? - I mean, if you were going exactly 18" you'd be stuck going exactly 18" from then on, hugely restrictive compared to the alternative.
If the above is how the rules work, what is the point? Why didn't they just make Locked Velocity stop the Flyer from using Evade or going Flat Out and avoid the needless mention of Combat Speed?
NOTE: Few seem to notice that Locked Velocity also stops the vehicle entering Hover Mode, but even that doesn't explain the above but is certainly something people with Transport Flyers should keep in mind.

I am really hoping someone who reads this can explain at least some of the above things.
What are your thoughts readers?