Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Wings of the Cruel - Voidravens and Razorwings

Whenever someone thinks about Dark Eldar heavy support, they tend to think about the Ravagers, and perhaps even the Talos. But with the new edition of the codex there are two new choices for Dark Eldar; both of which are unique even among Dark Eldar. The vehicles that I am talking about? The Razorwing jetfighter and its larger cousin, the Voidraven bomber.

These two Heavy Support choices are unique to us because of two reasons;

1)They are aircrafts

2)They are not open-topped.

Now let's talk about the first one. The fact that aircrafts are now in our book means that we will definitely see an influx of much heavier weaponry mounted upon these aircrafts, as the Imperial Valkyrie and the Stormraven have already shown the rest of the 40k world. Indeed, they will be the first Xenos aircraft introduced in a normal 40k game (with the exception of Imperial Armour stuff). A future for all Xenos entry no doubt.

Secondly, and perhaps the most important one, they are the only Dark Eldar vehicles that are not open-topped at all. This alone is something new for the Dark Eldar, as they are used to the fact that all their vehicles are fragile and bound to be destroyed catastrophically. Well, actually the aircrafts would also be destroyed, but not to the extend of the little ones. AV 11 for front and back, it is a rather decent vehicle for Dark Eldar.

Now that the talk that makes them unique are all out, we can now touch upon their abilities and also their weaponry.

Rule-wise they are similar to the Ravager that they can fire all their weapons if they move at cruising speed, and this alone made it a rather scary vehicle, especially with the payload that both of these aircrafts can carry. Another unique thing is that they have the ability to move up to 36" as well, which means that they are the fastest Heavy Support around, if not one of the fastest. And last but not least, they come with Night Vision and Deepstrike as their default universal rule. I do not need to touch upon the fact that they are both skimmers and fast vehicles, as all Dark Eldar vehicles have the same attribute.

As for their weapons, the Razorwing and the Voidraven have quite different default weaponry, which already show what kind of role that they would play on the battlefield.

For the Razorwing; the default weapons are;

Twin-linked splinter rifles

Two wing-mounted dark lances
4 Monoscythe missiles

As for the Voidraven, the weapons that comes automatically with it are;

2 Void lances

1 Void Mine

Of course, with all these default gizmos, these aircrafts can be upgraded to make them significantly more lethal. The Razorwing can replace the following weapons;
Replace both wing-mounted dark lances with disintegrators for no cost
Replace twi-linked splinter rifle with splintercannon for 10 pts
Replace any Monoscythe missile with Necrotoxin missile and/or Shatterfield missile for 5 pts each

The Voidraven can be upgraded with up to 4 missiles of any type as listed below;
Monoscythes missiles for 10 pts
Necrotoxin missile for 10 pts
Shatterfield missiles for 10 pts
Implosion missiles for 30 pts

Both of these can take the Flickerfield and the Nigh Shield as their defensive upgrades. Now what are all these dazzling weapons? Let's walk through it now.

Now what on earth is a Void Lance and Void Mine? A Void Lance is a stronger dark lance, with a Str of 9 rather than the normal 8, and this alone makes it a very destructive weapon. Land Raider hate is all in the game for this big bad boy, and the fact that it is Str 9 means that it is more useful against AV12 than a normal lance.

As for the Void Mine, think of it as what happens when the caltrops on Reavers are upgraded to an one-shot, Str 9,Ap2 ,Assault 1, Blast Lance. This is what I call shitbiscuits. During the movement phase, the Voidraven may place this weapon upon any one model that it drove by and with a scatter dice that only scatters 6", proceed to try and kill off the unit. Despite the fact that this counts towards the number of weapons being shot by the Voidraven which warrants its use only while you move up to cruising speed, but the fact that for its sheer stats, this weapon will make a Land Raider's life so much more harder. Not funny when the vehicle is destroyed and the occupants are exposed to the sheer firepower of the Voidraven, let alone the entire Dark Eldar army. Lovely in my books.

The missiles is perhaps the most interesting thing that one would notice straight away. They provide the aircrafts with some heavy hitting power and the fact that they are all one-time 48" Assault 1 large blast missiles would really make any Dark Eldar drool.

Monoscythe: These missiles are the most basic, but perhaps one of the more practical ones that one could use, as these missiles have a profile of  Str 6 Ap 5. Good against both horde and also most vehicles.

Necrotoxin: This is where the fun starts. This missile is utterly useless against vehicles, but it is a bane against all-non-infantry units. With the ability to wound units on a 2+ and then force a pinning test, this is the one thing that Orks hate more than anything. Oh did I mention that it is AP5? Enough to make them cry "BASTARDS!" with their waving fists up in the air.

Shatterfield: This missile is a rather interesting missile as it is the only missile in the entire DE missile armory to reroll any failed to would rolls. This combined with Str 7, is very arsehole-ish thing to do. Unfortunately for the Dark Eldar player, this weapon does not have any AP value on it. Also could work against light and medium-armoured  vehicles for the sole reason of its Str, but the lack of Ap would hurt its tank-destroying abilities.

Implosion missile: I would call this one of the weirdly cool missiles in the missile armory as this missile wounds  units via a characteristic test based on their profile (not current wounds). If they failed the test, the models would suffer instant death. This is a rather interesting missile as it could insta-kill units such as Thunderwolves and Nob Bikers with one big blast. The fact that it is Ap 2 really don't help these kinds of units. Utterly rubbish against vehicles.

I would see them being used in two ways;

1)The Calvary - they would come in at the Dark Eldar's darkest (or to be exact brightest) hour and plunge and catch the opponent's forces by surprise, and hopelly that is more than enough for the Dark Eldar to bounce back on the offensive. Very important for Dark Eldar, as shit can happen to us really fast and really dirty.

2) Shock and Awe: Using overwhelming and spectacular display of force, they would cripple and paralyze the opponent's most vital elements, in the process disrupting their plans and break their will to fight on. Anything that is still out in the open will suffer the brunt of the rest of the Dark Eldar army. If deployed on the table, they should be deployed in a refused flank to capitalize on their capabilities.

Inherent weakness is that due to their size they would be massive fire magnets, and due to their low Av 11 they could go down in flames very quickly. Nonetheless I don't mind this as the more shots flies towards the aircrafts, the less shots it will be that will go to my transports. The price tag is also another problem, as kitted out they could be rather expensive pointwise (and modelwise if the model ever come out) and if one does not spend points on them, then you are not really pushing them to their best capabilities.

Personally, if I got the points I would put at least one into my list, and the aircraft that would deserve that spot would be the Voidaven for the fact that it has soo much going for it, from killing the hordes, breaking the Av 12 lance curse, to the destruction of hammer units and nasty big vehicles. The razorwing would be take as a budget version, but I rather have the Voidraven any day.

With that, I bid you all adieu.

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