Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Imperial Armour 11, Part 4: The Corsair Army List

Ah yes, Corsairs! They've existed in the fluff for ages, and it seems reasonable that the Eldar pirates would be the most frequently encountered xenos in the Imperium, but ironically enough no one has seen rules for them since the Rogue Trader days (barring perhaps BFG players). Hmmm! So how does Forgeworld's take on the Corsairs stand up?

I haven't yet had a chance yet to play them, and apparently Army Builder has crippled my brain's ability to do math on the fly, so I'm not sure how "buildy" they are. On paper they look pretty good. My original plan was to go into a unit by unit breakdown of the list, but without time to try out different builds and play-test them, I have opted for a broader approach. I will revisit the nuances of the list later, after I've had a chance to try out a few builds and get a game or two under my belt. Instead I'll give a nitty-gritty breakdown of the Force Org structure.

  • Corsair Prince (a tactical bomb with a retinue option)
  • Void Dreamer (a light psyker who can serve in CC)
  • Voidstorm Squad (an elite Corsair assault squad with a free Shimmershield)
  • Craftworld Outcasts (any Fast or Elite from the Eldar codex)
  • Harlequins (why not? They are everywhere else!)
  • Kabalite Warriors (Codex: DE)
  • Corsair Squads (a mandatory unit that can be equipped tactically, like storm guardians but better)
  • Wasp Assault Walker (an enhanced War Walker with a jump jet move option)
  • Corsair Jetbikes (oh yeah baby!)
Dedicated Transports
  • Corsair Venom (for units of 5 models or less)
  • Corsair Falcon (for units of 6 models or less)
Fast Attack
  • Hornet Squadron (a lightweight, lightning fast attack squadron and my favorite Forgeworld model)
  • Nightwing Interceptor (a Razorwing equivalent)
  • Corsair Nightspinner (as the regular version but BS 4)
Heavy Support
  • Corsair Warp Hunter (a devastating and mobile tank loaded with the biggest D-cannon yet outside of Apocalypse rules)
  • Corsair Phoenix Bomber (an expensive but potentially devastating flyer)
  • Corsair Firestorm (an anti-arcraft Falcon) oops, my bad! Forgot this one in the original post.

Here are the highlights and low-lights of the new Corsair army list:

The Good
1. Everything in this army list is BS 4 or better. It might not seem like much, but when you consider the difference between a BS 4 Corsair Falcon and its BS 3 Craftworld counterpart, it becomes apparent just how big that single statline change really is.

2. Corsair Jet Packs. Every Corsair unit has the option of purchasing Jet Packs. These are identical to those used by the Tau, allowing a six inch regular move followed by a six inch move during the assault phase and opening up the option of deploying via Deep Strike. For the first time since I can remember, it is possible to make an all-jump pack Eldar army.

3. Dedicated Transports. If you opt for a more mechanized approach (and keep your squad sizes small), you may purchase Venoms or Falcons as dedicated transports. Ballistic Skill FOUR dedicated transports!

4. Modern air support. The Corsairs have access to both the Nightwing Interceptor and the Phoenix Bomber in NON-APOCALYPSE GAMES. Wha? The points are significantly reduced from their Apocalypse counterparts by losing the Flyer descriptor and instead becoming Fast Skimmers.

5. The Felarch. The Felarch is a unit upgrade found in most Corsair units. The Felarch's equipment includes options largely absent from typical Eldar units - particularly Troops, such as power weapons, a fusion pistol or haywire grenades.

The Mediocre
1. A different way to play Eldar. Five years on from the release of the last Eldar codex, IA11 offers you a new way to play your favorite army. While the old codex boasts a fantastically diverse array of choices, anything that lets you play the game in a new way is a bonus. On the other hand, not many tournaments nor even friendly gaming circles allow for the use of Imperial Armour rules, so it may be a good idea to make sure you can actually use these rules in your area before committing to buying the book.

2. The Void Dreamer. One of the two HQ options available, the Void Dreamer is roughly equivalent of a Farseer, though with more close-combat options. His three psychic powers are rather lackluster given the array of psyker powers out there, and he lacks the standard psychic defenses of a true farseer (no option for Runes or even a Ghosthelm), so the Void Dreamer comes off as more of an jumped-up Warlock than anything else. He does have access to unique wargear (such as the dread Neural Shredder and a pet cat), but I'm not sure if these factors are enough to make me shell out the points for him. 

The Bad
1. Overloaded Elites. The Corsairs have too many choices for their Elite slots; Kabalite Warriors, Harlequins, the Corsair Voidstorm squad (think elite stormtroopers with a close combat edge and you won't be too far off), and "Craftworld Outcasts." Craftworld Outcasts can consist of any unit from the Elite or Fast Attack slot in the Eldar codex. That can include Fire Dragons, Banshees, Scorpions, Wraithguard, Swooping Hawks, Shining Spears, Warp Spiders and I believe even Vyper squadrons. That's too much!

2. Limited Heavy Support options. The Corsair list only has two options in the Heavies slot; the Warp Hunter and the Corsair Phoenix Bomber. The Phoenix is a point-hog at 225 points, and while it sports all the bells and whistles of 'modern' pointy-ears technology (Supersonic, Deep Strike, Aerial Assault, and so on), the rest of the army is fairly points-hungry too. The Phoenix is definitely a 2nd place option when compared to the Warp Hunter, with it's Large Blast Barrage D-Cannon. Oh yeah! As far as the Firestorm is concerned, I find it the weakest unit in the Heavies. Despite being twin-linked, it seems like a lackluster anti-aircraft weapon with S6. It can only ever glance against things like the Storm Raven or Valkyrie, so it's primary purpose would be to shoot down other Eldar /Dark Eldar vehicles!

The Bottom Line: this list offers you a new way to play with Eldar using updated rules and new toys.

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