Not much to say as a quick introduction today. We continue on with the Fast Attack section for Dark Angels, I went into the city centre and came out with some bases to convert my Harlequins with and a pot of paint. I also tried out Zagstruk, who came down behind Pedro Kantor and his crew, only needing a 4” charged, rolled a 3, re-rolling for Waaagh!, got another 3. I think I'd better give him another chance.
I've also got a ranking in the UK now, but because the tournament that submitted events was Perils of the Warp 2, where I didn't do particularly well, I'm only ranked 257th. Hopefully I'll do a little better at Battlefield Birmingham (although that's a big ask considering the calibre of players that attend), but even if I don't it's still more points on the board, plus I'll get a bonus for each member of the top 16 there, and there are quite a few attending.
Anyway, the second flyer in the Dark Angels Codex, the Dark Talon.
Something that I've realised throughout this Codex analysis is that it is very difficult in this instance to analyse each and every unit completely off its own merit. There is a lot of synergy here, and this can be seen in the Dark Talon.
It's 20pts cheaper than the Nephillim Jetfighter, keeps its armour values but apart from that has a complete overhall in loadout and special rules. It doesn't have any homogeneous special rules with the Nephillim, and instead gets Hover Strike, allowing it to Hover and get +1 BS when shooting at non-flyers, although it can't move in that turn.
It then has 2 Hurricane Bolters, a Rift Cannon and a Stasis Bomb.
Now, it's not the most deadly flyer in the game by itself. In fact even the Nephillim outdoes it for sheer individual damage output. But that's not where the Dark Talon's strengths lie. It does get 6 Twin-Linked Bolters, that's not bad, but they're only Bolters. What you're paying for is the Rift Cannon and the Stasis Bomb.
The Rift Cannon is an 18” S5 Blast with Blind. Ok, the range isn't fantastic but with the prevailance of shooting in this edition, especially shooty infantry, throw this at a squad of Lootas and this could really hurt them. Even if it doesn't you're probably going to cause your opponent quite a bit of distress in trying to avoid this.
Next up is the Stasis Bomb. You only get to drop this once, and it's only S3 but it's Large Blast and any unit hit by this automatically suffers -3 Initiative and Weapon Skill until the end of the turn. So on turn 2 (assuming that's when you come in) you fire your Rift Cannon at an opposing shooty unit hopefully helping to minimalise your casualties, before in turn 3 flying straight over an enemy unit that is likely to be charged this turn, as your close combat troops have moved up into charge range, drop the Stasis Bomb and take them down.
This is probably most synergistic with the Deathwing Terminators as oppose to the Deathwing Knights. Simply because Deathwing Knights are hitting on 3s in combat anyway due to WS5 and are also striking first in most cases as they strike at initiative. This guarantees that your Hammernators will do the same, although at best they'll be striking at the same time as the opposing unit but at least all of your models will be able to strike.
So, the big question. Is it worth its points. I think that with the Dark Talon it is very difficult to say, as its effect on the tabletop can't be measured mathematically. Is it better than the Nephillim? In a fire support role, even the Nephillim is better. But as a force multiplier, the Dark Talon blows it out of the water. There is definitely a higher potential for synergy with other units with this.
Right now, I would probably be inclined to say that the Dark Talon is balanced (not sticking my neck out here) but I really need to see it on the tabletop a few times to make a call. Anyone want to put down £45 on a flyer just to show me whether it works?