Welcome to what I hope will eventually be a full and expansive series covering every unit in our codex (unless I get bored or enough people tell me to shut up). As a forward for a little background I haven't even had a chance to play a game of 9th yet, and I'm writing this article partially for entertainment but mostly to learn a bit more from people who are more experienced with the current smattering of codex's. So feel free to tell me I'm outright wrong, correct me on rules, ect.
So lets start in the least logical place aircraft.Voidraven Bomber
Well it's our most resilient vehicle, at a "mighty" toughness of 6, -1 to hit it with shooting, 12 wounds and a 5+ invun its not completely made of paper and as for firepower it has access to 4 weapons systems that are completely unique to it's chassis. With all that said it should be good right?. Well?. No for its whopping 185pts price tag it's firepower is anemic to say the least.
So lets start with the void lance, it's a dark lance with +1 strength, that's it. Versus anything that isn't toughness 8 or 9 you are flat just better off with a cheaper more abundant dark lance. It's allot of points to pay for a pip of strength that isn't always relevant. In a system where 10 is no longer the limit this gun went forgotten and unloved.
The dark scythe is a gun I really like the stat line on, it's big disintegrator that's good at reliable damage to most targets, it's got high strength and a reasonable rate of fire, it's like a space marine captain with a power fist punching you in the face but from range. It's just a shame it makes the overpriced chassis even more expensive. I really want to love this gun but I just don't quite see it being reliable for its points against all comers.
The void mine is meh. You are gonna want to catch at least 4 units in your 12 inch bubble cause statistically you are only gonna connect with half of those and be prepared to only hand out 1MW. For something that is the smart bomb of an alien civilization far advanced of anything we can conceive man is this thing unreliable. I can't help but feel that the void raven is overly taxed in points for it's one and done ability. Bombs don't even have the blast keyword...
Void raven missiles don't come fitted as standard but they are at least IMO worth their points even if they are bad(assuming you get to fire them more than twice). The implosion missile is unreliable disintegrator at its heart, it hits hard but only when it generates enough shots. The shatter field is good for finishing off light/medium vehicles and some ok damage to squads of non MEQ infantry.
I don't really know what they where going for when they gave the void raven its load out. Any battle field role bar one (more on this later
) chosen for a void raven can be done better for a cheaper cost by a ravager or a razorwing speaking of which...Razorwing Jet Fighter
The razorwing is allot like the raven but it comes with a reasonable amount of guns, a couple less wounds and a much more reasonable price tag. It's base weapons are dark lances (with the upgrade to disintegrators if you like) and twin splitter riffles (which upgrade to a splitter cannon). These being basic weapons common across the army I don't feel the need to address them here.
Razorwing missiles are however a bit more interesting, the monoscythe has odd stats having no ap and damage 2 im at a bit of a loss as to a good use for it, pox walkers maybe?. Primarily the monosythe seems to be aimed at killing other Dark eldar which is very flavorful
The necro toxin missile is a reliable hoard buster, it's a good amount of shots with blast the only thing that lets it down is its lack of ap, this is definitely balanced around the metalotoxin stratagem.
The shatter field we already touched on except this time they are free!.
All in all I like the razorwing much better, it's cheaper, more versatile and has more reliable secondary weapons.
Both craft are available in Wych cult and Kabal flavors with black heart and obsidian rose coming out on top because of the rerolls, flayed skull has it's stratagem for air superiority and the negation of light cover which is also ok.
Wyches don't really get vast amounts out of their obsession's for their aircraft, cursed blade can tag units that assault them with mortal wounds (inceptors saw high but intercessors are never sucked into jet engines) they can also in what might be the ultimate bad manners move for the army attempt to finish things on one wound with eviscerating fly-by (yes its a massive waste) maybe intercessors can be sucked into jet engines!.
The use of aircraft seems to be mostly limited to flying in boxes, trying to stay on the battle field and providing support fire all general stuff most units can do. For me though where our aircraft shine is in their ability to render no character on the board who isn't in the centre of a big unit safe. The capacity of our flyers to absolutely punish a misplaced character things like ancients, apothecary's librarians and even lieutenants in marine army's have to be really careful as one of these planes can just straight up remove them. That said it can be risky for the plane but that's a situation you will have to account for (selfless healer apothecaries babysitting blade guard look like a pain in the arse and I don't want my incubi getting messed up by terminators i've killed because of that ancient, that kind of thing).
Well wall of text I should probably shut up now. Next time dedicated transports!