Sunday, 23 February 2014

Fear the Reaper

A while back, I lamented on how my Dark Reapers had remained on the shelf after the release of the Sixth Edition Codex, however, I looked at them again, and decided that I would sacrifice the Wraithknight and take my squad of Reapers for the last couple of games that I played.

The statline for the Dark Reapers hasn't changed between the editions, but the prices for the unit has decreased quite drastically. They are now 30 points per model compared to 35, and the Exarch is now a 10 point upgrade over 12. However, they now have access to the Starshot missile, which is S8 AP3 Heavy 1 Pinning for 8 points per model which, although puts them above the previous points cost, now gives them so much more utility. They are now also Relentless for free, which now gives them a small amount of maneuverability compared to their predecessors.

The two games I have played with them so far have been against Blood Angels and a swarm Tyranid list, and in these cases they have proved invaluable. Paired with Guide from a Farseer you are going to be hitting quite easily on whatever you target, and if you aim at a standard Marine with the Starswarm Missiles, then you are looking at 10 shots that wound on 3+ with no save allowed. I usually drop Fast Shot onto the Exarch to grant that +1 shot to bump it up to 11 and with the 48" range conferred by the Reaper Launcher, you can pretty much cover a standard board with firepower to protect your weaker units.

The Starshot missiles came into their own against the Tyranids. Sure, I sacrifice around 50% of the shots, but now the Monstrous Creatures are threatened. At Strength 8 your wounding rolls are going to be at least 4+ and, with the exception of the Tyrannofex, you ignore the saves. With 6 shots flying in (with Fast Shot, and hopefully Guide) there is a chance of dropping a 6 wound model in one turn. The Starshot also threatens the lighter vehicles, the front of most Rhino chassis vehicles for example is only 11, so 3+ glance, 4+ pen are quite good odds so if you can hit with all 6, that's a 67% chance of scoring a Hull Point and you only need 3 to remove it from play. Tied in with the Reaper Rangefinder, and even if it moves, it can't jink to save itself. It isn't a surefire way of removing every vehicle, but compared to the previous iteration at least it is in with a chance.

On the other hand, they are still Eldar infantry, so they are pretty squishy with their Toughness of 3 and 3+ armour isn't a guaranteed save (although it is nothing to be sneezed at). Being backfield artillery, I haven't had much attack them yet (I think I have lost one in two games), but Deep Strikes and Drop Pods can remove that protection that distance brings, and their killcount will drop if faced with 2+ armour units. However this is all part and parcel of an Eldar army and their effectiveness will all come down to how well you are supported, if you can put a big hole in your opponents army before the Deep Strike comes down then there will be no obvious place to drop the supporting troops and the Reapers could be ignored to add strength to the faltering lines. Dark Angel's and Drop Pod Strikes are just one of those situations where you may have to be a bit defensive at the start of the game.

So why am I favoring Dark Reapers now? Simple answer is more dice in the hand, sure the Wraithknight is tough, but you are only rolling 2 dice for the Heavy Wraithcannon and my dice rolls leave my cursing the gods far too often. With 6-11 cubes in my hand any bad rolling could be negated by sheer weight of numbers, also, when targeting vehicles, you can hit two pens with the Wraithcannon, but still see the enemy unit on the board, with Starshot Missiles, you have a chance of employing Necron tactics and glancing to death.

Both of the games I have used the Reapers in have given me victories and to be honest, I don't think the two are mutually exclusive, I used these guys a lot in 5th edition and I think I will be taking them quite a bit more frequently in the future.

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