· Ethereals are amazing! The leadership buff, 3 pretty useful warlord traits, and above all Storm of Fire … for 50 points..! Buttoned up in his D’fish he survived every game. Also taking him with the XV8 Commander means the Commander is not your warlord and you’re less concerned about putting the Commander in harms way.
· XV8 Commander. I ran him with a Marker Drone squad in the 1750 list and with a double death rain XV8 team with Target Locks and attached Marker Drones in the 2000pt list. His load out was the same in both lists - twin missile pods, Drone Controller, Target Lock, Puretide Chip and Iridium armour. He was outstanding in both lists, making the Drones more accurate and more survivable. Marker Lights are so important in a Cadre, I didn’t feel I was “wasting” the Commander at all. The only slight downside was that the Double Death Rain unit plus Drones has a large footprint and can be a bit unwieldy. Also, I wonder whether the 2 missile pods and Puretide Chip are worth it if all you’re doing is attaching him to a Drone Squadron.
· Fire warriors. Amazing. In all my games they were buttoned up in their D’fish until turn 2 or 3. Their role was to jump out and torrent something to death, which they do very effectively. Mostly they worked in tandem jumping out together and unleashing seventy two S5 BS5 shots at 15”. Very few infantry units can withstand that. HOWEVER, they must have 4 marker light hits (2 each) and they need to be protected from retaliation. If they jump out and e.g. a TFC or Whirlwind targets them, they evaporate.
· Supporting fire. This is very powerful if you get your positioning right (which I managed to do once!), especially if you can fire a unit with marker lights first and get a couple of marker light hits, which another squad then pick up. Makes me wonder if putting a command and control node on the XV8 Commander is work it – 6 twin linked marker lights should get a couple of hits even at BS1.
· Kroot. Still good at what they do (blocking, grabbing objectives and dieing for the greater good) and cheaper. Not being able to do anything in assault now is a little disappointing, but not a big deal. Beginning to wonder if sniper rounds might be the way to go, given the increase in MC’s and high toughness units I’m expecting with New Eldar.
· Riptides. Hmmmmm…… tricky one. The Riptides were good, but not for the reason I thought they would be. The Ion Accelerator seems good on paper, but it’s too unreliable. Even with ML support it’s not that devastating. It’s probabaly more effective to kill MEQ and TEG with torrent of fire rather than high strength low AP weapons. However, where it excelled is in providing the army with something that’s big and scary and pretty resilient. It’s also a great tar pit for anything that doesn’t have high strength AP2 weapons. In summary, it’s not really a fire power unit, it’s a tactical unit that gives the army more options. It’s also a counter to Helldrakes, in the sense that the alternative (XV8s) would get BBQed by ‘Drakes in an instant. The other thing that surprised me was the Early Warning Overrides. While good on paper, they didn’t really help much. The problem is that in interceptor mode, they can’t benefit from Marker Lights.
· XV8s. I only used them in my 2000pt list, but double death rains are pretty powerful, particularly when teamed with a Commander with Puretide Chip. MC’s just evaporate, and anything AV12 or less dies. Also, giving them target locks and attached marker drones worked well. If I was running XV8s rather than Riptides, 2 squads set up like that would be pretty powerful. My concern is that without the XV8 Commander and his 2+ save tanking wounds, they’re still pretty fragile.
· Longstrike’s Hammer Head. Need to run him in a few more games. He wasn’t a star performer to be honest, but that’s probably because, while he always seemed to hit and pen, I always followed that up by rolling a “1” on the damage table!
· Skyrays. Mixed. Fantastic when the other side has flyers, not so much when they don’t’. What I did like however, were the SMS after the Missiles were fired, and the extra BS4 marker lights. In one of my games I used them to start a Marker Light Chain Reaction, eventually allowing a squad of fire warriors to shoot an FMC at BS4.
· I need to try out XV8’s as an alternative to Riptides.
· I need to playtest Riptides with Heavy Burst Cannons rather than Ion Accelerators
· If I’m running an XV8 Commander with Marker Drones I need to try him with no weapons and a Command and Control Node.
· Jury is still out on Longstrikes Hammer Head and Skyrays.
In general, the one thing I’m not persuaded I have right is the balance between marker lights and guns. I think I need the same number of marker lights, but on 2 platforms rather than one.