Monday, July 5, 2010

Aspects of Khaine pt 7: Swooping Hawks

Here we are part 7 of the Aspects of Khaine. We are ending with the Aspect that apparently has fallen out of favor with the forum “experts” on Eldar tactics. I speak of course of the Swooping Hawks. The Hawk is a symbol of vengeance and retribution in the Eldar mythos and the Swooping Hawks deliver that with gusto.
The equipment of the Swooping hawk aides in the delivery of retribution upon your foes. The Lasblaster is the main weapon. With a range of 24” a strength of 3 and AP of 5 it is rather light on punch. It is assault 2 though which means a heavy weight of fire can be had with only 5 Hawks in the squad. With an AP of 5 Lasblasters can shred Imperial guard squads. This is especially true with a Farseer providing a doom and or guide to assist. The Swooping Hawk Grenade pack is their other weapon. This can deliver a large blast with a strength of 4 and AP of 5 that only scatters D6”. You can use this when you Deep strike your Hawks. They are also equipped with one of my favorite toys in the Eldar arsenal. Haywire Grenades. These grenades do not roll for armor penetration. You just roll and on a 2-5 you get a glancing hit and on a 6 a penetrating hit. Not bad especially when you combine it with one of the Exarchs powers that allows you to hit on a 4+ no matter how fast the vehicle went.
Combine all this with the fact they are jump infantry and you have a very mobile anti vehicle and anti troop unit.
The Exarch comes with a Lasblaster and may be given a power weapon. He can also select my favorite weapon the Sunrifle which has the same stats as a Lasblaster but is assault 6 and pinning. This ups your infantry shredding power and has the chance to pin the unit. The second option is the hawks talon which is assault 3 and ups the strength to 5. I prefer the Sunrifle as I tend to use Swooping hawks When I face lightly armored troops. Imperial Guard, Dark Eldar, Tyranids and Tau are all good targets either because of a toughness of 3 or an armor save of 5+.
The powers the Exarch has access to are Intercept which allows you to hit vehicles on a 4+ no matter how far they moved and Skyleap which allows you to pull the squad form the table and deep strike them back on with a successful reserve roll.. Intercept is a must. I do not like using skyleap. Although you can use the Grenade pack when you come back in you run the risk of not seeing your Hawks in the next turn. You also limit their mobility and leave them open to taking fire while they are all bunched up from the deep strike. I like having them stay on the table after their initial deep strike. They are mobile enough and have utility so it is kind of a waste to deep strike back in every other turn.
Using Swooping Hawks can be tricky. I use squads of at least 5 with an Exarch for a total of 6 in the unit. I give the Exarch a Sunrifle and Intercept. I use the unit to hit lightly armored units, like imperial guardsman or anything that is toughness 3 with a save of 5+, I try to have a Farseer in range to at least doom the unit I intend to fire at. I also hit the unit I intend to fire at with the template as I deep strike in. This concentrates the fire and helps open up some room to deep strike into. You have to be kind of ballsy when you deep strike the unit. You want them to be able to shoot at a unit but not leave them out in the open as they are vulnerable the turn they come in. The whole point of the deep strike is to get close and inflict damage. You must choose your spot carefully. Shock and awe can work to your advantage. I deep strike into the midst of the enemy. I do this for two reasons. One my opponent is not prepared and will misstep when it comes to fire discipline. Two if you place it right he may not risk blast weapons as they could drift into his own troops. Not to mention it may be within the minimum range of the heavy weapons on his tanks. It will force a break in formation as he is forced to move his tanks as you start inflicting damage the next turn. It could also force heavy weapon teams or troops to move to engage the interlopers. This allows the rest of your force to move in and lend support. Long range suppressing fire is key in the support of your deep strikers and out flankers.
When fighting against Mechanized forces most players expect fire prisms, Wraithlords or fire dragons for anti tank. You can use this to your advantage especially if you have these units in your army. If you move your hawks into position properly you can move in from 18 inches away to assault your opponents tanks. Many players don't expect this and it allows you to have your dedicated anti tank units take out other targets. You can use the hawks on high armor targets since you simple bypass the roll for Armour penetration. Even if you glance the living daylights out of a tank you will still hamper its ability to fight. Combine this with the fact you can take out vehicles moving fast you can really catch your opponent off guard.
So remember Swooping Hawks are an excellent troop shredding unit and are a very nice anti tank back up especially for moving vehicles.
So ends our series on the Aspects of Khaine. I hope they have been at least a bit informational. Its always nice to explore the options. Even if you have favorites you may find some new strategy you never thought of just by reading your codex. This has been educational for me.
So next time we will be trying some 1750 point lists for the 3rd and final round of the GW Store tournament series which concludes, for me at least, on July 24th at Great Lakes Crossing in Auburn Hills Michigan.

Until then........................

Blood Runs, Anger Rises, Death Wakes, War Calls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  1. Hey, I know I am a bit scared of the swooping hawks, but i think the major downer is not getting to choose when they come in, meaning what you wanted them to shoot at is not forced out of vehicles by your lances.

  2. This is true. With the major lean towards mechanized forces you really have to evaluate your tank busting capability just to get at the troops.
    This is why I like hawks as they are a utility unit.

    You have to get creative killing tanks since Bright Lances are expensive. You cannot rely on lances alone. Unless you are Dark Eldar then they are giving them away like they are out of style.

  3. Hey man, came across the article. Just wanted to say you convinced me to try Hawks.