Sunday, 5 August 2012
Unit Review ~ Dark Eldar Reaper
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...