The Dark Reapers are the Ranged Heavies of the Aspect Temples. Having heavy amour with a +3 save and the deadly Reaper launcher as a weapon, which is strength 5 AP 3 heavy 2. With a range of 48 inches this can spell death for heavily armored squads from across the table. I have always used Dark Reapers as an anchor. They can support all the units on the table. They can cover the advance of the troops foot slogging across the battle field by taking out armor and heavy weapon teams. I also find them great for eliminating close combat troops advancing on my units. The real kick though comes from the Exarch.
The Dark Reaper Exarch has several weapon options at his disposal and when combined correctly with one of his Exarch powers can make the enemy have a very bad day. Those powers being Crack Shot which denies the target its cover save and Fast Shot, which add one to the number of times the weapon can fire. The first weapon available is the Tempest launcher. Although only strength 4 it is still heavy 2 barrage and AP 3 albeit with a shorter range, 36 inches to the Reaper Launchers 48. This can be deadly to tightly packed units and big units of troops. You can go two way with it. You can combine this with The Fast Shot power to make it heavy 3. This means a heavy 3 barrage with very devastating results to units. If you combine it with the Crack Shot power all of a sudden the enemy gets no cover saves. Great for those heavy weapons teams in cover. This power can also be used to great effect with the Eldar Missile launcher available as a weapon choice. Using fast shot is all well and good when firing a pair of krak missiles at a tank, but using Crack shot means those fast vehicles screaming across the table for a cover save are out of luck. That's right obscured vehicles get a cover save. Crack Shot ignores cover. Crash and burn anybody? I don't have a Tau codex handy but I am pretty sure that the disruption pods give a cover save too. Just a thought for those annoying hammerheads and pathfinder devil fishes.
The only real drawback it that to field a full unit of 5 with an Exarch is about 220 points give or take depending on how you load them out. That's 60 points more than a Fire Prism with holo fields and spirit stones. I like to field them in full units unless I am using them in a small point total game of 1000 points or less. It makes sense, to me at least, for survivability and weight of fire you can bring to bear.
Fire discipline is essential to effectively use Dark Reapers. As you cannot split fire, like @#$%ing space marine devastators, you usually have to choose between your Exarch wasting a tank or the whole squad taking out a squad. This is why I limit my Reapers target to lightly armored targets and infantry. Leave the tanks to the Fire Dragons, Fire Prisms and units with bright lances that's what they are there for. At a strength of 5 the reaper launchers can at least glace on sixes on armor 11 targets. Combine this with fire from a Eldar Missile launcher toting Exarch and you can pop all the transports on the table pretty easily. If you are going for anti infantry spec the Exarch to do so. A Tempest launcher with Crack Shot as his power. This way you can support your infantry and your anti tank units can do their jobs unmolested by the enemies supporting units. Of course using Guide from a close Farseer makes for good times as well making sure all your shots hit. Judicious use of Doom is also recommended especially for Reapers tasked with anti infantry duty.
Placement is very important when deploying. You want a good vantage point of the battle field that hopefully provides cover. You don't want the Reapers to move at all. This means a wasted turn of not firing on the enemy. This is one of the reasons I like using Eldrad Ulthran. If I set up first I want to be able to move my Reapers into optimal firing position. I can do this thanks to Eldrad's Divination power. As they say in business its all about location.
If points allow using two units is nice. One for anti infantry and one for anti transport / back up anti tank duty.
So three down. Next time I will have a battle report unless I get My seer council on bikes from Chapter House studios this week. Then we will be having a product review followed by a battle report using the new night spinner and the bike council. Our next article in the Aspects of Khaine series will be taking us back into the fray. The wail of the banshee will be upon us next week as we cover the nimble Daughters of Khaine. The Howling Banshees.
Blood Runs, Anger Rises, Death Wakes, War Calls !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!