First let me say that Eldar players have, at this time, one of the finest and most varied menus of scoring units to choose from of any 40k army, particularly when you consider other 4th edition codices still circulating. Necrons have, at the time of this writing, one Troop choice, and Tau have two, neither one of which is terribly impressive, IMHO. The legacy marine codices such as Dark Angels have only one, as well. So it is with a certain amount of sheepishness that I propose the following changes for our forthcoming codex, whenever that may arrive.
Dire Avengers are among my favorite units in the current codex. With statlines approaching that of a standard marine, an improved shuriken catapult and exarch upgrades and equipment that actually serve a purpose, there's little room for improvement without breaking the unit altogether. My proposed changes are merely the following:
- Dire Avengers should be equipped with some sort of grenades or at least a grenade option.
- The Dire Sword should be changed. It should either become a power weapon and provided to all exarchs for free, or it should be upgraded to a force weapon (or similarly useful melee weapon) with a corresponding increase in cost.
The Dire Sword as it exists now is pretty much useless. Consider that it is first and foremost a power weapon. It is carried by a WS5 model, but with a Strength of only 3. On the assault this model will make a solid 4 attacks, hitting on a 3+ against all but the best melee opponents. Then take into consideration that most models you will use this weapon against will be Toughness 4, so the exarch will only be putting wounds on the model with a 5+.
Then you have the Dire Sword's main ability; inflicting instant death on a multi-wound model with a failed Leadership test. Really, how many models in the game are likely to be affected by this? Nobz? Everything else is either fearless or Leadership 10. It requires that the model in question have A) more than one wound, B) a toughness low enough to be affected by S3, C) no Eternal Warrior or Fearless special rules.
By my reckoning, there are very few units that have a likelihood of being affected; ogryns and some ork units, to be sure, but most other multi-wound models that are not Fearless or Eternal Warriors have a Leadership score of 10 or some other ability which obviates their poor morale, and they frequently have an invulnerable save, as well. Not such a great power. In fact, I don't think I've ever heard of a single person successfully using this ability.
While a force weapon may seem a bit over the top, there's the requirement of wounds inflicted that has to be successfully met before the fall-through condition can apply. The DA exarch has a Ld of 9, so somewhat equivalent to that of a librarian. I do not think this ability is to extreme for, oh, let's say a 30 point upgrade.
Grenades! Grenades please. I've also read somewhere of allowing multiple heavy weapon platforms to be attached to the unit, based on its size. There is some merit to this idea, but I don't feel that it's necessary in order to make the unit viable.
Still an awesome unit, even without the old Black Guardians of Ulthwe rule. But they do need grenades. Lots of them.
Y'know, I really have no complaints about this unit. Keep them as-is. They don't need any alterations. Cheaper cost per bike would be nice, but I think they are worth their points cost as they are.
I rarely use rangers, but when I do I am always surprised at how resilient they are, despite their seeming inability to pin anything. No changes.
Let us not forget our beloved transport! I like this vehicle just fine. The one issue I have with it overall is the cost of its weapons. Brightlances and Starcannons are overpriced as they are now. Indeed the rest of the weapon options need to be brought down a tad. It's BS 3 guys. Even twin-linked, a BS 3 brightlance isn't worth that many points. I have the '1s' to prove it.