Monday, 15 July 2013

Eldar- Battle of the Battle Tanks



“Today we are crushed by the sheer weight of the mechanized forces hurled against us, but we can still look to the future in which even greater mechanized forces will bring us victory. Therein lies the destiny of the world” – Charles de Gaulle, WWII

Johno here, with a little look at the futuristic and sleek grav tanks of the enigmatic Eldar. Simply put, first there were three, now there are four…

At first it’s hard to ascertain what the best Eldar battle tank is. Four tanks (Falcon, Fire Prism, Wave Serpent, Nightspinner) all with the same armor values (12/12/10) and three residing in the Heavy Support section and one sitting comfortably in the Dedicated Transport section of our new Codex. But what is a Battle Tank?

Here is Wikipedia’s definition:
“A main battle tank (MBT), also known as battle tank or universal tank, is a tank that fills the heavy direct fire role of modern armies”

I don’t think this definition is any different for our favorite space elves. They use MBT’s just the same as the Imperium uses its lumbering behemoths, a universal direct fire role tank. However as much as this is true but with a slight twist, two of the Eldar tanks have transport capability (Falcon & Wave Serpent).
My interpretation of universal means, that the Fire Prism, Falcon and Wave Serpent can pretty much take on anything that gets in their way, be it armor or infantry and in some cases aerial targets. In these categories mentioned, I feel that not all three excel at.

Let’s take a quick look at the three tanks in more detail:

Falcon:
Heavy Support
Transport Capacity = 6
Type: Skimmer
Armor: 12 (front), 12 (sides), 10 (rear)
Stock armament: Pulse Laser, Shuriken Cannon, Shuriken Catapults

Upgrades:
Shuriken Cannon can be upgraded to Bright Lance, Scatter Laser, Star Cannon or Missile launcher. The Shuriken Catapults can be upgraded to a Shuriken Cannon.

Loadout:
If I were running a Falcon I would kit it out with the Pulse Laser and a Bright Lance and a Shuriken Cannon. That’s 3 Strength 8 shots at 48” range and 3 additional Strength 6 shots at 24” range. In this role I would place 6 dire avengers inside to hold backfield objectives and fire with my turret weapons at 48” range. Also don’t leave home without Holofields.

Fire Prism:
Heavy Support
Transport Capacity = 0
Type: Skimmer
Armor: 12 (front), 12 (sides), 10 (rear)
Stock armament: Prism Cannon, Shuriken Catapults

Upgrades:
The Shuriken Catapults can be upgraded to a Shuriken Cannon.

Loadout:
I always run my Fire Prism’s with Holofields as with all skimmer tanks, they can make their points back in no time. I don’t tend to bother upgrading the Shuriken Catapults to the Shuriken Cannon as I never plan on getting anywhere near 24” with my Fire Prisms. The Prism Cannon is one of the most deadly weapons in Eldar weaponry arsenal.

Wave Serpent:
Dedicated Transport
Transport Capacity = 12
Type: Skimmer
Armor: 12 (front), 12 (sides), 10 (rear)
Stock armament: Twin Linked Shuriken Cannon, Shuriken Catapults, Serpent Shield.

Upgrades:
The Shuriken Catapults can be upgraded to a Shuriken Cannon. The Twin Linked Shuriken Cannon’s can be upgraded to twin linked; Scatter Lasers, Bright Lances, Star Cannons, Missile Launchers.

Loadout:
Ideally you should be transporting a unit in your Wave Serpent so it’s going to be getting close to your enemy. The best loadout really depends on your role as you can go for anti-infantry/Flyer or anti-armor. In my opinion the best loadout has got to be the Twin Linked Scatter Laser turret and the upgraded chin weapon to the Shuriken Cannon. Also as per usual don’t leave home without Holofields.

So here is a brief look at the three tanks in question but let’s categorize how well they take on most targets utilizing the different options they have at their disposal. Please note this is just my own opinion and taken from my own knowledge and experiences.

Nightspinner:
Heavy Support
Transport Capacity = 0
Type: Skimmer
Armor: 12 (front), 12 (sides), 10 (rear)
Stock armament: Doomweaver, Shuriken Catapults

Upgrades:
The Shuriken Catapults can be upgraded to a Shuriken Cannon.

Loadout:
The Nightspinner is a great tank for taking on light armor but particularly infantry.To augment this, upgrade the catapults to a Shuriken Cannon and as per usual take Holofields. Strength 7 large blast with Monofiliment special rule followed by 3 Strength 6 Bladestorm shots is nothing to sneeze at. Dont forget all armoured targets are hit on side armor and at +1 Strength (8).

Grades:
1=Poor, 2=good, 3=excellent, 4=Superb


Infantry
Heavy Infantry
Light Armour
Heavy Armor
Aerial
Transport
Total Result (24)
Falcon
3
3
3
4
1
2
16
Fire Prism
4
3
3
4
1
1
16
Wave Serpent
4
4
4
2
3
4
21
Night Spinner
4
4
4
1
1
1
15

The above results show the Fire Prism, Wave Serpent, and Falcon compare very closely in most categories with the Nightspinner faring better in infantry areas. In the Heavy Armor category the Prism and Falcon seem to do better with their higher Strength weaponry options than the Wave Serpent. This is not to say the Wave Serpent can’t take out Heavy armor with its twin linked Bright Lance.

In the Infantry and Heavy Infantry all tanks did well. The Falcon would equip a Shuriken Cannon or Scatter
Laser or Starcannon along with the chin mounted Shuriken Cannon for this role. The Nightspinner in particular does well in the infantry area, able to ravage hordes of infantry under it's large template barrage Doomweaver. The Prism has its various templates, and the Wave Serpent has sheer volume of shots along with Bladestorm. But the two categories that I felt the Wave Serpent really outshone the other two was in the Transport category with a capacity of 12 models and also the capability to deal with aerial threats. With the Twin Linked Scatter Laser turret and Shuriken Cannon and Serpent Shield your Wave Serpent can put out 4 x Strength 6 shots, 3 x Twin Linked Strength 6 Shots and D6+1 Twin Linked Strength 7 Shots on an aerial target. I recently had success shooting down a Space Marine Storm Talon in this way.

So there you have it folks, the best Eldar Battle Tank is the Wave Serpent. It can reliably take on most targets you are likely to face on the tabletop and do it very well. The Fire Prism is still an excellent tank and will do well in most battles. The Falcon is an excellent anti armor tank with a decent transport capacity for some late game objective holding troops. It’s really a testament to how good our tanks are that all tanks do so well in nearly all categories. The Nightspinner will reliably crush enemy infantry. I feel we are very fortunate to have such good tanks and I foresee a real resurgence in mechanized Eldar armies.

I hope you enjoyed reading.

Johno


7 comments:

  1. Nice article mate. Completely agree with your table. The Wave Serpent is by far one of the most versatile transports out there. I'm already beginning to see a lot of ally templates that follow this pattern:

    Farseer
    5 DA/10 Guardians - Wave Serpent
    5 DA/10 Guardians - Wave Serpent

    Full stop. No need to go into HS, FA or Elites simply because they already have what they need.

    P.S the paint job on the Fire Prism in this post is out of control brilliant.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Crazy, Yeh im starting to think Guardians might be a better call than Dire Avengers at the moment. Hehe I can't take credit for those paint jobs :)

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    2. Guardians for me. I saw one guy at the local GW who runs two squads of 20 Guardians + double Shuriken Cannons, Warlock and a Dedicated Serpent. He just ran the Guardians up the board with Shrouding while the Serpents sniped out AV12 tanks.

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  2. Replies
    1. Maybe so but I don't rate it as a main battle tank :)

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    2. How is it not a battle tank? "Heavy direct fire" is all it's there for :)

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  3. I tell ya what, ill amend this article and include a review of the Nightspinner ;)

    ReplyDelete