Friday, 31 May 2013

4th Edition Eldar Swooping Hawks

First of all I feel that I should apologise for the lack of progress this month, and this has cost the blog a bit of growth. This has been down to a number of reasons. Firstly my exams at the start of the month, finishing off my first year at University. Secondly an increased workload. I have a lot of Chaos Marines to paint, and am falling behind on that, but I'm also writing for 2 entities other than this blog, and the Steel City Wargaming Newsletter, for the latter I had to attempt to squeeze the entire Daemons Codex into 4 pages including pictures. In addition, in the next 24 hours I have 2 seperate recordings for 2 seperate podcasts. I'm being worked hard.

However, whereas tomorrow is a joyful day, today is a sad one, as we say farewell to the 4th edition Eldar Codex. Despite having been in the hobby for more than a decade, this is a new experience for me. The 4th edition Eldar Codex was the first 40k book that I properly played, and it's been with me for 7 years, and I've stuck by my trusty Footdar through thick and thin, even when all of my gaming group was running Dual Lash Chaos Marine lists.

The list that I have really been running for most of this time, although there have been variations, is something a bit like this.


Avatar of Khaine

6 Striking Scorpions

7 Harlequins
-Troupe Master

12 Guardians
-Warlock with Conceal
-Missile Launcher

12 Guardians
-Warlock with Conceal
-Scatter Laser

5 Dire Avengers
-Wave Serpent with Shuriken Cannon and twin-linked Scatter Lasers

6 Rangers

-6 Swooping Hawks
-Exarch with Skyleap and Intercept

Ok yeah, it's definitely not optimal, but remember that I started playing with this list when I was 12, and to be fair, it has done its fair share of giant killing. Such heads include tri-Long Fang Space Wolves, multi-Tervigon Tyranids and Terminator Spam Vanilla Marines.

Eldrad goes in the squad of Harlequins, to make him and that squad much harder to kill, and they still form an excellent counter-assault unit that moves up with the Avatar and the Guardian Squads, which are actually surprisingly hard to shift with Fearless from the Avatar, a 5+ cover save and Eldrad milling around.

The Dire Avengers float around, popping off shots before jumping onto objectives late game, with the Pathfinders camping on an objective at home, again popping off shots hoping to pin valuable units or picking out Plasma Guns, etc. The Swooping Hawks and Striking Scorpions however are a surprise package.

The Scorpions are actually irritating for my opponents, not only do they have the Avatar and a large number of bodies being shoved down their throat, but they also have to think about the Striking Scorpions coming on from the side. In reality, they don't actually do that much damage unless you're a horde in which case you probably don't care too much about the rest of the army as I don't have enough shots to deal with you. But it makes you think about them, and so because they are quite hard to shift due to Move Through Cover and Power Armour, some opponents keep away from board edges rather than risk dealing with them as they come on. If you're up against a strong player though, they'll see through this and you'll generally infiltrate them instead.

As for the Swooping Hawks, I was recommended them by a friend when I first started Eldar, so I bought them only to discover that they were crap. Not wanting to waste my money, and as they're pretty models, the last 7 years have really been a quest to use the Swooping Hawks well, and especially in 6th edition, they're not horror bad. Yes, they are too expensive, almost 25pts for a T3 4+ save model is obscene, but here's what I do.
A half painting Swooping Hawk Exarch
Swooping Hawks are excellent at smashing up vehicles. The problem is getting them there. Never Deep Strike in, as this risks them scattering into the open and if that happens they're as good as dead. Start with them on the board, they're then very quick due to their Jump Packs, and if you have them in cover, your opponent is unlikely to shoot at them as they feature very low on their target priority anyway. Bounce them around the board, without being risky to ensure that you don't lose them, as they're a very unforgiving unit. Smash up vehicles when you have the chance.

Additionally, if you're not in such a position anyway by the lategame, you can use the Exarch's Skyleap ability turn 4, meaning that they'll Deep Strike turn 5, allowing you to land them directly onto objectives to contest or take in the Scouring, or into your opponent's deployment zone for linebreaker. Even if you scatter, you still have fleet for a decent run move to get you back into a decent position, although try to land where you're not going to be shot at, although your opponent may still be dealing with the Avatar and Eldrad.

And that's it, tonight I say my Grand Farewell in a 6,000pts doubles game with another Eldar player. Expect the next few weeks to be jam packed full of Eldar, as 40k Analysis returns.

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