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 Reaver Tactica - my thoughts

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Massaen
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PostSubject: Reaver Tactica - my thoughts   Reaver Tactica - my thoughts I_icon_minitimeWed Feb 01 2012, 04:50

Reaver Jetbikes – Tactics, Payloads and thoughts

The Reaver Jetbike unit is something of a quandary. You have a unit of T4 models (thanks to the bike) with a mere 5+ save. They are super fast thanks to the eldar jetbike rules with its Jump Shoot Jump (JSJ) move as well as a turbo boost range of 36”. They deal damage to enemy units (not vehicles) when they turbo boost over you and have the chance to pick up a special weapon for every 3 models in the unit for tank hunting duties. Looks great so far. Until you realise they are as expensive as an incubi with none of the durability or hitting power. They can’t torrent you off the table like kabalites and while they have 2 CCW their low save, average toughness and lack of numbers means melee is often the end of this unit. Indeed, most of the advice I have seen regarding the Reaver is to leave it on the shelf until you have filled your troops, elite and heavy options.

When we first saw the models there were many who bought them on that basis alone. I personally did not like the newer design but having since bought some I have changed my tune. They are very striking on the table top which for me and many others, is enough to include them. But in practical (and indeed competitive) terms – why take reavers?

First up, the whole basis behind building a good dark eldar list needs to be briefly touched on. I firmly believe that 3-4 troops even at 2k is more than enough. Why? As a dark eldar player you should be aiming to either table the enemy (preferred) or objective grab turn 5. The troops choices are good units but ultimately lack the punch of other units.
So after you have your obligatory 3 heavy support choices, 2-3 elites and the 3-4 troops plus a HQ you will no doubt have points to spare at 1750 or above. What to do? Look at the fast attack of course!

Comparing the Reavers to other choices in fast attack you can see something of an irony. Of the 4 choices, only reavers are actually faster than the rest of the dark eldar force. Basic warriors and wyches will always have a transport making them as fast as hellions, beasts and scourges. Only reavers are faster. They compare ok in terms of cost to the other units in the fast attack section with them equal to scourges who are comparable in terms of role on the table.

So what can reavers do for your list? Firstly – they can dual role for your force which is typically accomplished in the DE list by adding a transport to the unit. Using a venom? Make sure the unit inside has a blaster! Wyches? Grab a raider so you have an AT shot. Reavers do this in 1 go. The ability to take heat lances or blasters (more on this choice later) means going tank hunting is easy. Their speed will get them into position – typically side or even rear armour and their good BS of 4 means you have a good shot at dealing some damage. Combined with skilled rider and JSJ they can attack and slip away into cover to avoid retaliation. What is you need to kill infantry though? Reavers can do it just fine. Sure they pack splinter rifles on a relentless platform (which work fine against monstrous creatures) but basic troops – use your flyby attack with the blade vanes. 1d3 S4 hits per reaver means even a unit of 6 will deliver around 12 hits – not attacks but hits all at S4. This is great as it not only deals significant harm to the enemy but allows you to move the reavers up to 36” during the turbo boost and picks them up a 3+ cover save in the bargin! The versatility of this unit is awesome.

Blaster vs Heat Lance

This is often the million soul question – which special weapon do you take? You can take cluster caltrops or grav talons as you see fit but the blaster vs heat lance is THE topic when it comes to Reavers.
Let’s look at each in turn…

The Blaster – everyone’s favourite mobile anti tank gun. High strength, AP2 and lance combine with a mid range of 18” and assault profile to give a very good weapon. When mounted on a reaver, the threat range significantly increases. Thanks to the 12” move of the reaver, the threat range is now a huge 30” – nearly the same as a dark lance. Combined with the JSJ you can keep the reavers out of harm’s way very easily with this weapon. The speed of the reavers also makes side or even rear armour shot viable where the blasters high strength can lead to very easy penetrating shots.

The Heat Lance – An amazing weapon on paper. Identical range to the blaster with the lance special rule as well. Strength is 2 points lower than the blaster but it picks up AP 1 and the melta rule. Its only available on 3 units in the whole dex, 2 of which are in the fast attack section. The AP1 makes it hugely effective vs vehicles and the melta combined with lance means that at half range you will pen reliably vs virtually any AV. The biggest problem is the combination of S6 and melta. What this means is that unless you’re at the magic 9” or less for the 2d6 penetration, your heatlance is virtually useless. A lot of supporters of the heat lance claim that at 9” plus the JSJ it puts you 15” away from the vehicle you just slagged. I say this is rubbish. Very few people can accurately judge that magic 9” to be bag on – you will either be an inch or so out or an inch or so in. With a 2” disembark and a 1” base combined with a move and assault, if you misjudge the distance its good bye Reavers. Even using skilled rider to get into terrain, unless you judge the move just right, you’re being charged. This is my biggest issue with the heat lance as the unit becomes a suicide melta unit.

So to summarise – I would always take the blaster. It’s safer, reliable and more versatile thanks to its higher base strength. Others swear by the heat lance but for me – the Blaster wins.

Other Options
Grav Talons and Cluster caltrops both add more to the reavers flyby attacks but at significant cost. The question should always be ‘would another reaver be better than this upgrade’ in both these cases as typically the extra reliable hits and bodies is worth more. It’s worth noting the grav talon can be very good thanks to the pinning effect when combined with torment grenade launchers on nearby vehicles.

The Arena champion is something of a strange beast. I think the LD boost is worth it if you have the 10 points to spare at the end of a build but I don’t think he is mandatory by any means. The close combat weapons are all points’ traps as most of the time reavers don’t belong in combat despite having 2 CCW and combat drugs. Sometimes it’s worth throwing them in to finish a squad off after flyby attacks have reduced them enough but more often than not it’s better to keep flyby attacking them rather than risk the 5+ saves. If you do insist on taking a weapon for him – I would go the venom blade. Cheap, effective and all the combat drug rolls benefit him. It’s also less of a risk in terms of points. On a wych, go the agoniser thanks to the 4++. On the Reaver – keep it cheap.

Typical builds

There are a number of builds that can work for the Reavers. For me, they default always include the 1 per 3 blasters I am allowed. This can change pending the battlefield and opponent but for a tourney – blasters.

3 reavers, 1 heat lance. The suicide melta unit. I personally don’t like this as its literally a 1 shot and then you’re gone. It is cheap with a small foot print but the BS4 means a 1 in 3 of missing and you lose the unit (and KP!). I use only if I have under 100 points to spend and no where better to put it.

6 reavers, 2 blasters. My default unit. It’s around the same price 5 trueborn with 2 blasters in a venom with a similar effectiveness. Yes the trueborn build I listed is not optimal but it is comparable in terms of effect on the table. It’s not overly expensive, is effective early in the game (turn 1 in some cases) and only mid range in terms of enemy target priority thanks to all the raiders and venoms. The foot print is ok for this unit but like all bike units, still on the big side. If your one of the ‘Heat lance is better crowd’ then you can swap the blasters out for the heat lance and save 6 points. I still think the blaster is better.

6 reavers, 2 cluster caltrops. This is a pure anti infantry unit designed to flyby units and then charge to finish them off if the odds are in the reavers favour. Adding an arena champ with a venom blade can make this charge more of a sure thing but more often than not, the flyby is more effective with less risk.

You can go with units bigger than 6 but the price combined with limited increases in effect means 6 is the best bang for buck in terms of reliability and output. You need to lose 4 models before being unable to rally and need to lose 2 before the LD test. As you gain nothing from not going in a unit size divisible by 3 you should always be 3, 6 or 9 strong.
Other synergy

Couple of final thoughts and notes.

Rolling a 6 for combat drugs and gaining that all important pain token dramatically increases the reavers survival rate and getting a second makes combat more of a consideration. Conversely a roll of a 1 does nothing for them. Adding a haemonculus to them at the start of the game to give them the first token can be valid but personally, other units bet more out of it so its not something I would do regularly.

The other option is adding Baron Sathonyx to the unit. He gives grenades to them, still has skilled rider and also gives stealth. For a more conservative unit (using blaster range) you can set up a unit that can redeploy quickly and remain durable while in cover. He also makes combat more of a proposition as while not awesome, he is no slouch either. Yes he lacks turbo boost or JSJ but he has more movement synergy here than with beasts and can always break off when the time is right. He can also catch the odd bullet thanks to his shadowfield.

I hope this has made you think a little more on reavers and what they can offer your dark eldar force. Happy Raiding!

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Azdrubael
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PostSubject: Re: Reaver Tactica - my thoughts   Reaver Tactica - my thoughts I_icon_minitimeWed Feb 01 2012, 07:29

I wanna add some tactics from blog i read often, by Faeit.

The Ability to Kill During Movement
One of the things that hit me early on, before I even had the codex in my hands, was that Dark Eldar are deadly throughout your turn. No other army can take such advantage of each phase of the game as dark eldar can. I have discussed the advantage of Assault armies over shooting at tabling your opponents in the past, because it gives you an extra phase to kill the enemy. Well, no longer are you limited by simply shooting during your turn, and close combat during yours and the opponents assault phases. Dark Eldar can cause severe casualties during your movement phase. While this might seem a small thing, it has shown in my games to be such an advantage and moral breaker (player and units) that I think it is something more players need to take seriously.

First lets side track a little look at Shock Prow's. These are nice as they allow you to tank shock and ram. Ramming seems like a one way ticket, but hey, nothing like a raider delivering a S10 hit on an objective game after your lance has been destroyed. Tank shocking is nice though. You are a skimmer and can fly over units to hit your target. You can take Torment Grenade Launchers to give units a -1 to leadership (although I just let leadership fall where it may and go without). GW did however give units a chance to survive multiple tank shocks, here is the recent rules change to the FAQ.

Q: What happens when a vehicle tank shocks a unit that is already falling back? (p68)
A: The tank shock will be resolved in the usual manor. Note that passing the Moral check for a tank shock will not cause the unit to regroup it will just prevent them from fleeing again.

What this means is that units no longer auto fail to tank shocks and continue to run off the board without checks. It also means they will be getting the chance to death or glory you, so just don't run through the melta model in that unit. Plan your tank shock well. You will still have opportunities to break people off the board, its just not a slam dunk with tank shocking anymore.

Besides tank shocking someone off the board, Dark Eldar have a very unique way of using the movement phase; killing the enemy with flyby attacks. Remember that in any phase that a unit takes 25% casualties they are required to make a moral test, if that unit is already broken, they auto fail. This no long applies to tank shocking, but for 25% casualties they just fail and run again. Make sure you land nearby them, so they just keep going on your turn.

Reaver Tactica - my thoughts M1470599a_2010-11-04_03_873x627


Raiders
Taking chain-snares grants you d3+1 hits on all non-vehicle unit you pass over during the movement phase, resolved immediately, cover saves taken as normal. Remember that you are directly over them, so they had better be in area terrain to get a cover save. Chain-snares can effect multiple units that you fly over. So if you are hauling butt, and go over 3 different enemy units, they all receive d3+1 hits. Do this once with Raider A then again with Raider B, and you are starting to get somewhere depending on what you are flying over.

Reavers
Reavers are the kings of killing during the movement phase. Each reaver comes with Bladevanes. D3 S4 AP- hits for flying over. You can only effect a single unit with your reavers flyby attacks. With cluster caltrops on every 3rd Reaver, you replace your D3 S4 hits with D6 S6 hits. With Reavers you get 36" of movement to get in your attacks, that means rd1 you can hit a de-mech'd unit with up to 18 S6 hits and 21 S3 hits (that is the max) with a single unit.

The ability to kill enemy models during the movement phase is huge. It gives you another chance to break enemy lines with yet another moral check and it can double or triple up how far a broken unit flees (by causing another 25% casualties in your shooting phase). If your enemy is somehow able to swarm your webways (have yet to see someone able to pull this on me), just kill them during the movement phase and your troops can come in through the gaps you've created.

Never before have we seen an army that is able to take such advantage of the movement phase. When you are killing the enemy during every phase of the game except their own movement, you've just made yourself an efficient killing machine.

Combining this ability to hurt people in the movement phase with the ability to manipulate going first, are you are taking the Strike Hard, Strike Fast to a whole new extreme.

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Massaen
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PostSubject: Re: Reaver Tactica - my thoughts   Reaver Tactica - my thoughts I_icon_minitimeWed Feb 01 2012, 10:14

Good info! Thanks for the extra info!

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Cailos
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PostSubject: Re: Reaver Tactica - my thoughts   Reaver Tactica - my thoughts I_icon_minitimeWed Feb 01 2012, 14:51

This is all great info to help me with an army list I am thinking about making. And I can tell you with experience that tank shocking with Raiders can be deadly. One Raider killing a Bloodthister, Soul Grinder, and a 5 man Plaguebearer squad in one movement. The Plaguebearers were from the Soul Grinder exploding.
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Levitas
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PostSubject: Re: Reaver Tactica - my thoughts   Reaver Tactica - my thoughts I_icon_minitimeFri Feb 03 2012, 03:57

Really good post gents. I have a tournament on saturday and FOC restrictions have forced me to think outside my usual selections. Before I read the article i'd put together a unit of 6 with 2 blasters, so good to know that was a smart choice.

I'm actually looking forward to using them now, as an escort for my wych filled raiders and taking heads in the movement phase.

I'll let you know how they do, with 3 competitive games to earn their starting place in future lists.

Thanks for posting, big help!

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Massaen
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PostSubject: Re: Reaver Tactica - my thoughts   Reaver Tactica - my thoughts I_icon_minitimeFri Feb 03 2012, 04:03

Glad to hear it was helpful!

I too am putting my money where my mouth is in a few weeks with a unit of 6 with 2 blasters. Keen to see how we both go!

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PostSubject: Re: Reaver Tactica - my thoughts   Reaver Tactica - my thoughts I_icon_minitimeFri Feb 03 2012, 18:34

Ill guess Ill be the opposition here and post my points of view on reavers (yes I am that heat lance guy).

The biggest advantage is the 2d6 and AP1. The disavantage is S6 (instead of Cool and the shorter range required to kill a tank. Their purpose is to either A: Draw fire away from your main force, or B: Take out backfield higher AV armor tanks, leaving your darklight to target lower AV transports. They are 100% better than anything we have to take out AV 12 (what lance rule lowers everything to) The Average 2d6 pen is 7, and with even AP 1 a glance can still kill a tank. Instead of using them as Harrasment/Light AT duty as the 2 blaster squad is, their job is akin to a scalple, get in, kill high priority main battle tanks (russes, preds, hydras, mantacores, falcons, riflemen dreads) and get out hopefully in one piece (hurting some infantry along the way)

How they do this is simple. T1 you turboboost them up the flanks to get them good field positon to where you can hopefully get a good shot off at these high priority threats. At doing this most people's reaction is to A: Shoot them to they are dead, or B: Ignore them and throw their long range down field. Remember with most tanks if they want to shoot all of their shots (except BA ofc) they would have to stay still, or only move 6", well within the 18" threat range of the Reavers. On top of that most people's transports tend to be more AT focused, so if they do shoot at your Reavers, your looking at most high strength, low # shots, which Reavers chew on for breakfast because of their MEQ statline and coversave. If they die, so what, its 156 pts for 6 w/ 2 heat lances, and thats less fire that could of dropped your more important main force (like your veoms, ravagers, raiders.)

T2 if they werent killed off they now have options. You mainly want to try and hug cover (as your goal is to after they shoot they get into cover using their Eldar Jetbike Movement) So while you have a 12" movement, you have to stay within 6" of cover (not really that hard, but it does depend on your board set-up) Now it was brought up about how hard it is to get 9" exactly. Personally Im very good at eyeing distances (used to play when you didnt have perfect 2x2 boards to play on.) But there has always been a secret in 40k that you can bend the rules to get around the whole "you cant pre-measure" rule. When you go to measure your movement, you just extend your tape out to include the gun range as well. Then you can clearly see what if anything is in range of your shot. Its alittle janky I know, but its widely accepted and there is no rule against it. So you go, shoot the tank "making sure you are 9" for the 2d6" and see the result. After that you move back 6" into terrain, and with skilled riders its highly unlikely you lose a model.

Now lets say they dont have anymore of these heavy tanks to target, and you HAVE to hit a transport. Lets go over exactly what happens. So you get withing that 9" and shoot, most likely blowing or wrecking that tank. they get a 2" deployment and a 1" base, so that puts 6" in between you two (remember, he has to be exact at this point). You then move into cover using your EJB move, which puts you 12" away from them. If the enemy wants to charge you, he has to first move 6" (through cover if you blew up the tank) and then get 6" with their charge through cover. Its not impossible, but a good chance not to happen. If they shoot you, your still a T4 model with a 4+ coversave. On top of that most marines run MSU style, and with 5 man squad w/ bolters and 1 melta they are only going to get 1.607 wounds (on average) which is not enough to cause a test. Also if they bit off more than they can chew (say you just blew up a battle wagon and 20 orks just rolled out of it, and he still hasnt Waaaagh) then you still have your venoms and razorwings to light them up, hopefully dropping them down to a more manageable level.

I am going to end this by disclaimering that its not that I dont like Reavers w/ blasters. In fact I think its a great strategy and works wonders if you play them as light AT duty using their range and quickness to move around to get side/rear armor easily and use them more as a nusience unit, but I feel that the AP1 is too good to miss, and with an average list running 20+ darklight shots, heat lance Reavers fill in a specific role in our army, which is a reiable AP1 AT platform.

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Massaen
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PostSubject: Re: Reaver Tactica - my thoughts   Reaver Tactica - my thoughts I_icon_minitimeSat Feb 04 2012, 01:13

All good points and very relevant to tactical discussions with the reavers in mind! Thanks for adding this!

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PostSubject: Re: Reaver Tactica - my thoughts   Reaver Tactica - my thoughts I_icon_minitimeSun Feb 05 2012, 05:18

An excellent thread in every way, nicely written, interesting and very valuable. Thanks everyone!
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PostSubject: Re: Reaver Tactica - my thoughts   Reaver Tactica - my thoughts I_icon_minitimeMon Feb 06 2012, 02:31

Well I gave my 6 Reavers with 2 blasters and caltrops a solid 3 game tournament run. I came in second and they had some fine moments...and some less than fine moments.

The highlight was bladevaning 5 chaos bikes and leaving one alive...who then shot them up, assaulted and cut all 6 down. Really.

They won my first game with a last turn turbo contest. You cant beat a 36" move. To add insult the bladevanes killed the grey hunters guarding said winning objective. Heads did roll.

Last game the caltrops came in play and took out a super annoying thunderfire cannon.

So, I did enjoy using them. Will I drop a regular starting unit to make room? Possibly not, as they whiff so bad in assault. I will throw them out occasionally though.

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PostSubject: Re: Reaver Tactica - my thoughts   Reaver Tactica - my thoughts I_icon_minitimeMon Feb 06 2012, 03:43

I love my 6 RJB with blasters, they are a unit that I have come to love and will probably never build a list that does not include them. For friendly games I sub out the blasters for heat lances in a more suicidal role... but their main purpose remains... to bladevain stuff.

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PostSubject: Re: Reaver Tactica - my thoughts   Reaver Tactica - my thoughts I_icon_minitimeWed Mar 26 2014, 13:58

Thanks guys, I have always liked the reavers but have never been able to use them properly, last time I used them one got cut down in combat with a space marine and the whole unit ran from his half all the way off the board which was painful to watch but after this I will definitely try them again using 6 with either blasters or caltrops
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PostSubject: Re: Reaver Tactica - my thoughts   Reaver Tactica - my thoughts I_icon_minitimeWed Mar 26 2014, 17:56

reavers are also good for contesting objectives. yes not holding them but contesting them.
it works well when your opponent overlooks a not well guarded objective.
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PostSubject: Re: Reaver Tactica - my thoughts   Reaver Tactica - my thoughts I_icon_minitimeWed Mar 26 2014, 20:04

Locked - This thread is over two years old, and one edition behind! Please check the date of a topic so you don't unawittingly take part in necromancy. This isn't Iyanden! Wink

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