So we begin. The Aspects of Khaine version two. We start this reboot and retool with an Aspect that is a favorite of mine. The Swooping Hawk. The Hawk is associated with Vengeance and Retribution in the Eldar mythos. The spirit of a murdered soul would come back to inhabit a hawk and hover above its killer to mark his or her guilt. I personally like the Hollywood version loosely based on Native American folklore. A Crow bringing back a vengeful spirit to avenge itself, but I am a child of the 90's. I digress......
So the Swooping Hawks are Avengers. The bring retribution to the enemy. So how do they do this? Well with mobility. They are Jump Infantry, so you have the mobility to move around the table and engage targets. Now some of the other fringe benefits of being Jump Infantry do not really help the Hawks a whole lot. They are Fleet so they get to re roll charge distances already so using the jump packs in the assault phase only really gives you Hammer of Wrath attacks. This is kind of nice as it gives you more attacks. Since they already hit at strength 3 you are more or less getting bonus attacks that may thin the herd a bit before your main attacks. You should not really be charging units though. Swooping Hawks are not close combat troops. They are mobile anti vehicle and anti infantry.
Swooping Hawks are armed with Lasblasters which are 24” Assault 2 weapons with a strength of 3. Basically its a lasgun with a higher rate of fire. Volume of fire does damage and should be directed on light targets. Imperial guardsman, Kabalite Warriors, Chaos Cultists and the like are decent targets. Especially after the unit has been softened up by a large blast form their Grenade packs upon entry. If the unit is deep striking. Which in all fairness it should be doing.
I do Start the Hawks on the table though. Usually when they are in more of an anti vehicle roll. Their survivability tends to go down drastically though when switched to this roll. Especially when its a decent sized unit and your opponent realizes they are all armed with Haywire Grenades. These combined with the Exarchs powers makes even Land Raiders nervous.
The Exarch Has the option of Taking Skyleap and Intercept. Now formerly Intercept gave the unit no worse than a 4+ to hit vehicles regardless of how fast they moved. Now with the mechanic changed and the FAQ updated Intercept now says that vehicles, except walkers, count as weapon skill 0. SO basically the Hawks auto hit with Haywire grenades in an assault. Being able to throw them to remove a hull point or possibly more is pretty handy as well in the shooting phase. I am a big fan of Haywire Grenades. Sadly the only units in the current codex that have them is the Swooping Hawks and the Autarch. This can be a great combination though. Since the Autarch can be armed with more potent weaponry they can split off from the unit to bring the weapons to bear, you can more easily open up transports, like chimeras, without assaulting them and blast the occupants with las fire from the Swooping Hawk unit. There are lots of possibilities. This gives the unit utility, which is awesome in an army of specialists.
Skyleap and the Grenade packs make for some fun now as well. Since the Deep Strike Mishap table is not quite as deadly and the FAQ states you can Skyleap on the Turn you arrive, you can bomb units pretty much every turn. As I see it using the Skyleap power means that the unit enters ongoing reserves when it uses the power. So this means once you actually come in from reserves you could Skyleap at the end of every movement phase and come back the next turn automatically. This has lots of uses besides keeping the Hawks alive and still be semi useful. The real big use of this I see is being able to claim objectives in games where fast units can claim, or just contesting objectives in general.
The Exarchs weapons are decent. You have the Hawks Talon which is a strength 5 AP 5 assault 3 or the Sunrifle, my favorite, which is a strength 3 AP 5 assault 6 with pinning. Pinning is always a nice bonus, as is the really high rate of fire. The Sunrifle really bolsters the fire power of smaller units.
Baharoth, the Phoenix Lord of the Swooping Hawks brings the Fearlessness as well as Hit and Run to the table. Sadly it specifically says it only affects the Swooping Hawk unit in the codex. This comes in handy when dealing with Walkers. If charged or if you charge you can leave the combat after delivering your haywire grenades. Baharoth even just by himself gives you a maximum of 4 Large blasts that you can drop if all your units arrive on the same turn, which is far more likely given reserves arrive on a 3+ and automatically on turn 4.
So there you have it. An overview of the Hawks in 6th. Next up is my namesake and favorite Aspect. The stalkers of the dark. The sons of the fallen one. The Striking Scorpions.
Blood Runs, Anger Rises, Death Wakes, War Calls!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!