Thursday, March 25, 2010

Don't Fear the Reaper

The topic of today is Dark Reapers, and more specifically - have they any use anymore?

With the rise of mech that is a staple of 5th edition, they may have taken a backward step on the battlefield, being pushed out of that all important Heavy Support Slot for more popular options, including Fire Prisms and Warwalkers.

The problem isn't so much that Dark Reapers cannot deal with mechanised forces, but rather it's also matter of their effectiveness in 5th edition when they actually do manage to target a unit on foot. With all those units with 2+ saves, and FNP, with cover saves all around these days, it's no wonder that Dark Reapers have found a more suitable place on the shelves.

What I'd like to see one day, in our next codex update is an option to give Dark Reapers an anti-mech role - perhaps able to switch back and forth between anti-Meq and anti-Mech alike. This way, they have suddenly become versatile, they have suddenly become useful in 5th edition. We've seen how their survivabilty was upped since our last codex, and I for one welcomed the increase of our 4+ save to a more comfortable 3+ save. These days, your Reapers will sit in cover, hopefully pinging away through fire lanes or pockets where LoS is granted, but the real pain is that, despite their range, they can be easily countered with the right kind of positioning of enemy vehicles - and str 5 guns are of course wasted on vehicles. Give them an anti-mech option and at once they have overcome this obstacle, and are viable in 5th edition.

These days, they're simply too static, both on paper, and on the battlefield. There is really only 1 single thing they can do - kill marines - and they do that quite well. Deny the Reapers that one target, and you've effectively put them out of the game. I argue that generally speaking, as an Aspect, their role is simple Long Range Support - but this simply needs to be expanded to bring them back into play. I want to see Long Range units that can deal with armour, is that too much to ask GW? :)

Of course I could be completely wrong in my assertions, after all - just because they haven't worked for me does not mean this is the case for other Eldar players. For example, Fritz's Vyperology has seen me use Vypers in my recent games, and if internet wisdom is anything to go by, they are entirely useless in 5th Edition. Fritz has effectively smashed this claim into a million pieces and proven that a disregarded unit can not only find a place in 5th Edition, but work very well.

Any thoughts on Dark Reapers? Do they work for you?


Dverning said...

Honestly, any unit CAN be made to work with a bit of planning and skill. It's not that Vypers do/don't inherently suck... it's that a single Vyper or two in a standard force sucks. But a bunch of them used correctly can be pretty decent.

Heh. Maybe I'm just difficult to impress... I remember when Fritz was still advocating Holofields and Spirit Stones on his Vypers.

Coming back around to the main point: Are Reapers cost efficient, flexible, mobile or otherwise "useful" in a competitive environment? No. But it's still possible to build a decent army that uses them. For example, the hidden barrage of a Crack Shot Tempest Exarch w 2 ablative wounds.

The_King_Elessar said...

I would counter that, by saying that such things are invariably only truly useful when you are significantly better than the opponent anyway, in which case it's largely irrelevant what units you have. :p

As regards Codex I want the option for Shrieker Cannons, or EML. That would do me.

That said, it's no coincidence that when I wrote a Harlequin Codex a few years back (long before my blog) I gave Death Jesters the option for Lances. And Relentless, IIRC.

Dverning said...

only truly useful when you are significantly better than the opponent anyway
Mmm... I have to disagree.
Using an off item like this isn't a matter of just being better than your opponent. It's about being skilled enough with the unit to make them work.
They'll still be sub-par in the hands of an okay player facing a newbie. But they will be okay in the hands of a good player facing another good player.
At least, that's my experience.

The_King_Elessar said...

Reapers aren't the best example for that, I was honestly thinking of things like Hawks, that are far worse.

Reapers would be okay in that situation, yes, but Hawks, or Baharroth, or Spawn, etc etc.

President Evil said...

Good illustration of the "any unit can be useful" theory: i like hawks, had alot of success with them in my list. like alot of Eldar units their effectiveness drops dramatically against the wrong target. As mentioned in the post "there is really only thing reapers can do : kill marines", and i dont have much trouble doing that without reapers!

The_King_Elessar said...

Yes, but what exactly IS a Hawk's target? Infantry? Then we need better AP, and/or more shots/range.

Tanks? Then more S, and better Haywires.

Walkers? No, just kidding.

MCs? Then a LOT more S.

Basically, they aren't like Banshees or Reapers in that they are obviously slanted in favour of their perceived role - they have no clearly defined place on the battlefield - and that makes them suck more than the cost alone, and lack of competent duality.

Oliver said...

Hawks are a unit that jumps in, blows something up with their grenades, hides behind cover, hopes to god they don't die, then assault the nearest big evil tank.

The Exarch should get the haywire launcher from the Shadow Spectres.