by Anonymous Foodie
Despite the fact that my troops come equipped with some great anti-tank (Lances on Raiders and Blasters in squads) even I have the urge to "bring out the big guns!!" once in a while. And by once in a while, I mean all the time.
The Heavy Support section of the Dark Eldar codex is about the same as any other part; not stuffed to the gills, but effective and varied. Again we have three choices here, and they're actually not too shabby for the most part.
My personal heavy-of-choice, the Ravager is basically a Raider that kicked out the squad inside, replaced them with extra guns, and had the sense to throw on some heavier armor. Bring it bolters, all you're doing is scratching the paint on this guy. Tau Pulse Rifles... okay, those will start to hurt a tad, but you can't win 'em all.
The Ravager has three things going for it.
It's still really fast, following the standard Fast Skimmer set-up that the Dark Eldar (and even our wayward kin) like so much.
It has lots of big guns. Three to be exact. And when you're pointing three fairly accurate Lance weapons at a tank, chances are you're gonna put the hurt on said tank.
It's cheap. Clocking in at just barely into three digits, it's hard to beat that kind of firepower for the cost.
Sure, it's still open topped, and yeah the armor is no better than a Rhino, but like momma always taught me "If you're already dead, then I don't have to worry about you shooting me".
There are two primary set-ups for the Ravager (gotta love versatility!). Anti-tank, or anti-heavy infantry.
If you want to make a mess of enemy armor, leave it as-is. Able to move 6" and fire 3 Lances the Ravager will do good things for you. In a pinch you can still move 12" and let off one shot: in a bigger pinch you can still flat-out half-way across the board to get where you need to go (and a nice 4+ save on the way).
MEQ's got you down? Veiling Immortals just asking for some templates to wreck their day? Then allow me to introduce to you my favorite build, the Triple Dissie Doom Boat. What is a dissintegrator you ask? Think of it as a Plasma Cannon with a secondary firing mode that is fully functional on the move while still making a mockery of Power Armor (yeah, an effective defensive weapon, gotta love it).
I prefer this build as Lances are a relatively common sight amongst the rest of my army - this allows me to thin out groups of heavy infantry (instead of having to rely on Agonisers all the time), and while it's only a small blast that's still better than nothing when it comes to horde control.
It's also possible to combine the two; I used to run two dissintegrators and one lance - still functional while moving 12", the lance was sometimes fun for gibbing characters and the like... but in the end specialization won out. These boats are for turning your hardest units into slag. I've got other toys to open up the enemy's RV's to get to the playthings inside.
Another of the Heamonculi's creations. Only the most pitiable are unfortunate enough to be strapped into this engine of destruction. This foul machine uses not only the soul of its victim, but its torturous death throes as its power source.
Slow in comparison to the rest of the army, but also incredibly durable - two facets that set apart the Heamonculi's work from the rest of the Codex. The Talos is as slow as any other infantry model, and is even outclassed by our Fleet Warriors. It is a Skimmer though, and as such gets to ignore terrain.
Both stronger and tougher than a Hive Tyrant, the Talos also is one of the most heavily armored units in the codex, matched only by the Incubi. A random number of attacks can make this guy unpredictable in combat, though he's striking along with marines at a better WS.
The Talos Sting, essentially a splinter cannon with a couple of extra shots, is a quirky gun. You essentially pick the first target, then from there on each subsequent hit is resolved against the closest enemy model, then the next, and so on. As such the enemy doesn't get to use ablative wounding to select the casualties... but you don't really get to snipe in the traditional sense as you *should* be too busy getting a good charge with this guy to worry about having the three-or-so hits he'll get measured out to hit the targets you want.
Often the advice with these guys is to run them in pairs - much like the Exorcist tank, this way the roll of a 1 won't hurt quite so bad. Plus they're even cheaper than a Ravager. Cheap enough to be used to draw fire, in any case, and tough enough to take a bit before it goes down. With the fall of the Webway Portal tactic, these guys are sadly left to hoof it across the board. Although now you can run with them, so not all hope is lost.
This unit doesn't make it into my lists as a rule - I've proxied them once as part of a niche force and had some fun, but they don't fit into my personal army type. A solid choice, but one that doesn't fit as easily into every Kabal as a Ravager would.
Of course, where would we be if there wasn't a selection that I could say nothing but bad things about? Probably in one of the new codexes.
In theory, these guys have promise. In theory, they're a cool unit. In theory, they don't fail as soon as you even think about taking them out of the box.
In practice... not so much.
The quick and dirty: Take a Warrior. Now double the cost and give him wings.
Now, on this winged unit offer up to 4 Dark Lances (heavy weapons) at a 150% cost hike. Or, up to 4 Splinter cannons (at least they're assault) at a 100% hike.
At around 200 points for a minimum sized, maximum armed unit, you're either toting heavy weapons on a winged unit, or setting 4 splinter cannons on a unit that then (if we're looking at normal rapid fire waepons) has range to retaliate on you... and your T3... and your 5+ save.
I love the models, I like the fluff (very mercenary, removed from normal Kabal ranks). But when I can get two Dissintegrator-armed Ravagers for the same cost as a full squad (before a Sybarite upgrade), I think my choice is clear.
Take heart, though, Scourges... at least I liked the new fluff enough to give you a new paint scheme.
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