Thursday, October 31, 2013

Breaking The Meta And Killing Riptides PT 2: Close Combat

So before I went on a tangent plugging the ever living daylights out of the Craftworld open and the other events the Craftworld team is bringing you at UCON, I was talking about killing Riptides and trying to break the current meta, which quite frankly is pretty rough right now. Last time we talked about shooting mostly. Now I want to delve into a subject there is much conjecture about in 6th , edition, close combat. I want to also cover the use of Psychic powers, as this is one of the biggest Benefits the Eldar have when it comes to taking down tough enemy units. So lets get into the fray as it were.

Close Combat aka Assault
The Eldar have some crack assault troops. Howling Banshees and Striking Scorpions at the fore. There are some oft overlooked gems in the ranks of the Warhost though. One of my favorites and an excellent slayer of Riptides is the ignored and unused Shining Spear. Now that the Shining Spears can be taken in units of more than 5 they can be a very potent Assault unit. The Laser Lance Is a very short range weapon for shooting, but its primary function is close combat. At a strength of 6 and an AP of 3 they are very effective in hunting big varmints like Riptides. Combine this with the Ability of the Exarch have a strength 8 AP 2 Star Lance and Monster Hunter you can take down most monstrous creatures in a turn with a big enough unit. You also have Hit and Run so you can get out of combat and charge again to get your strength 6 again with the Laser Lances. I personally like running a Farseer and or Autarch with the unit to add some more punch and resiliency. Having invulnerably saves in the mix along with a possible Fortune is pretty handy. Now I know the Laser Lance is only AP 3 but that is effective against most targets. It is not effective to deal with a Riptide though, until that is you hit it with Jinx from a Warlock. I will get into this though when I cover psychic powers.

Dedicated close combat troops are an extremely effective way of dealing with Tau and some other army builds. You just have to know how to deploy them and how to use the troops effectively to get the desired results. The current rules set has killed one of the most effective ways to get your Striking Scorpions in to the fray quickly. Not being able to Assault after an Outflank deployment put a kibosh on one of my favorite tactics. This tactic forced your opponents to deploy his forces in such a way as to avoid being assaulted from the flanks. You can still do this but with units like War Walkers though. Its risky putting a lot of units in reserve, but using a screen of War Walkers followed by a unit of Scorpions can help get the Scorpions into the fray. Most opponents will try and take out the War Walkers first especially if they are armed with something suitably nasty.

Deployment for Scorpions is going to be completely situational. Infiltrating will probably be your best bet for many situations. Deploying in terrain to take advantage if the move through cover and more importantly Stealth will help keep the unit alive as it advances. The real trick is using your other units to funnel your quarry towards the Scorpions. Scarier mobile units can be used in this way. Shining Spears or even the dreaded bike council can really make big critters move where you want them to when you have them barreling down on them.

Arming your Exarch, and actually running an Exarch, is pretty clutch when hunting big critters. Also running a squad of 10 is important. When monster hunting I always arm the Exarch with a Scorpions Claw. With Crushing blow he is strength 7 and strikes at initiative. Adding Monster Hunter to the mix helps the rest of the Squad possibly finish off the high wound models. The only real snag is if the Monster is a character and it challenges the Exarch. With only 4 attacks on the charge the Exarch cant kill a full wound Riptide or Tervigon in one round. Which is kind of important as the Exarch will die quickly on strikes back in a challenge. Dedicated monster hunting units are substantially bolsters by the presence of a Phoenix Lord. Karandras and Jain Zar in their receptive Aspect units make the units much tougher to deal with for your opponent and the killing power is also increased.

Howling Banshees are not really suited to hunting big prey, but they seem to be geared towards hunting characters, especially IC's, and death star units, at least in a support kind of way. They strike fast, but not particularly hard. The Exarch can be kitted with an Executioner which makes her strength 5 with an AP of 2. This is pretty decent for hunting IC's. You can neutralize the IC by giving the Exarch disarming strike and shield of Grace. With very few exceptions you will always be striking first as well. The Banshees are great for supporting Scorpions if you have another unit moving in to support the unit or model the Scorpion unit is attacking.

The Seer Council is a good bridge between Assault and our next topic, Psychic powers. I have always preferred a council on Foot, but its proving to be quite cumbersome anymore. I prefer the foot council
mainly because you cant put Eldrad on a bike. Oh lord do I want Eldrad on a bike. The Bike council is a Death Star at its best. Mobile and chuck full of Eldar psychic Shenanigans. They are good against pretty much everything. Their resiliency make them excellent for fighting other death stars and tough units. If anything just to tar pit them so they are completely ineffective for the rest of the game. The only real down side to a full bike council, that is 10 warlocks on bikes and 2 Farseers, is the amount of points the unit takes up in a list. They can, however, completely cripple a unit before slamming into it and laying waste to it. Jinx, reveal, horrify, enervate and Drain all sap out a units effectiveness and with 10 Warlocks in the group you should get most all of these powers, sometimes doubling up so you can use the Blessing portion to further enhance your already formative capabilities.

We will get into the intricacies of Psychic powers next time. The real thing I am trying to convey is thinking outside the box and trying different things in the codex. The Eldar have changed substantially and it seems people are hung up on Wave Serpent Spam and the old way of doing things.

SO next time Psychic powers.....and probably more UCON plugging

Until next time.....

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


  1. I've been saying for the past couple weeks that I think assault is coming back. Now that the shock of Overwatch has faded a bit, the brutality of the Assault phase is starting to really show itself. 6th Ed has really morphed into a shooting game, so it's only logical that there would eventually be a shift away from it in order to counter it a bit. I don't think you're going to see too many "all assault" lists in the tradition of previous editions, but I think there are going to be a few more units poking around that mean to bash skulls in rather than shoot them. Future codexes notwithstanding of course. I have to imagine that Tyranids, Orks, and Blood Angels are going to be fairly adept at assaulting. So we shall have to see.

  2. Yeah I agree. I think Tyranids are going to herald the return of the assault phase. rumor has it some of the bugs may have a rule similar to battle focus, but it allows them to assault after running, which sounds horrific to play against. Probably the only thing scarier is if they can assault after coming in from reserve.

    It has been apparent to me that the major threats in the meta can be dealt with pretty easily if you put a little thought into it. Screamer star can be tied up and tar pitted with the right unit, riptides can be killed with the right close combat unit or low AP weapon, flying circus can be dealt with by massed fire and well placed skyfire weapons.

    Heck I am actually going to use a skyshield landing pad in a list just because its different and it makes ignores cover a moot point.

  3. Good article, but I'm not so sure Shining Spears will do that well vs a Riptide as the Riptide has a 2+ save. Luckily the Riptide should only do a few wounds with it's poor WS & A, allowing you to Hit&Run out and ping yourself into the Tau backfield where the Spears would be great at taking out any other Tau unit, apart from maybe Broadsides, but particularly crisis suits, and which ever unit is hiding the Etheral.


    1. I think a full squad of Shining Spears would finish off a Riptide in one turn more often than not, mostly due to the shooting of the lances before the charge and everyone benefitting from Monster Hunter.
      It turns into a slaughter, however, if there's a friendly neighborhood Warlock in the area to reduce the Riptide's save to a 3+ with Jinx.

    2. I have not covered psychic powers yet, but yes Jinx was a key to a Spear assault. The Star Lance is AP 2 as well so the Exarch has a very good chance of wounding it. Weight of attacks tends to get through a 2+ save

    3. Good points. Putting an Autarch with the spears would also make it an easy Riptide kill.


    4. I think an Autarch would work well with them. Probably give him a power axe for some more AP2 action and maybe a Reaper Launcher or Fusion gun. Probably the Fusion gun.