Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Keeping the Crimson Hunter in the air:

I've been exploring ways to use the Crimson Hunter and while it has a lot of firepower, essentially, it is just such a fragile flyer with AV10 and no way to improve the Jink save. So how can we build our army to make sure the Crimson Hunter keeps hunting throughout the game? Here are some ideas...

First off, the Crimson Hunter is an Aspect Warrior. Anyone that knows anything about Aspect Warriors knows that Aspects are intended to fulfill some specialized roll and the Crimson Hunter's roll is shooting other flyers out of the sky. With that said, if you don't have any flyers in your Meta, the Crimson Hunter may not be the best option for you as the points are probably best spent elsewhere. However, if you just want to use one for the firepower/looks or have some enemy flyers you want to wipe out, this article will discuss how you can build your army to help ensure the survival of your Crimson Hunter.

When building an Eldar army, you must realize that every unit in the army is intended to fulfill a role to cover the weaknesses of other units. Dark Reapers excel at ranged combat, Scorpions excel in close combat and so on...It's like a giant "I'll scratch your back if you scratch my back" party where if properly used, everyone gets their back scratched and your opponent's hobby is systematically annihilated.

Regarding the Crimson Hunter, this model is the "shoot flyers dead until they die from it" model in the army and much like how many other Aspects need support elements to function to their fullest, the Crimson Hunter needs you to have certain other models and units in the army to help ensure it's survival and utility. What kind of models/units are we talking about? Well, let's look at the weaknesses of the Crimson Hunter and I'll tell you.

Crimson Hunter is fragile...Looking at the stats of the Crimson Hunter, you can see that it is very vulnerable to anything and everything that can shoot at it. Skyfire/Intercepter models and other Flyers are going to destroy it before it can do anything meaningful if you let them. Therefore, you need certain units or models in place to limit what your opponent can do to your Crimson Hunter.


An Autarch helps ensure the survivability of your Crimson Hunter by allowing you to modify the reserves roll each Hunter will have to make. If you want it to come in, you can increase your 66% chance of making your reserves roll to 83%. Conversely, if you don't want it to come in because you went first and your opponent has flyers waiting to come in to pummel your Crimson Hunter, you can reduce your chance to 50%. This helps skew dice in your favor which is always a nice thing.

Comms Relay:
This piece of gear can be taken with an Aegis Defense Line or Bastion and allows you to re-roll reserves rolls. Therefore, if you wanted the Hunter in on a 2+ but rolled a 1, you have another shot at rolling a 2+. Conversely, if you didn't want it to come in and rolled a 4+, you can re-roll and hope you get a 3 or less. This really goes a long way in getting your Hunters in when you want. If you take a Farseer and roll the #6 Divination power, you basically have a mini Comms Relay as well since it is roll 3 dice and pick the one you want, not a bad power to get if running Crimson Hunters.

Icarus Lascannon/Quadgun:
This can also be taken with an Aegis or Bastion and instead of ensuring your flyers come on when you
want them to, it helps ensure enemy flyers are dead when they come on. It plays to the whole "best defense is a good offense" mentality and I recommend an Icarus Lascannon for several reasons I'll outline  below (and I thumb my nose at that 3++ article that says a Quad Gun is best because it didn't consider my set-up in the math).

Eliminating enemy anti-air:
One of the easiest pieces of Skyfire/Intercepter gear that any army has access to is an Icarus Lascannon/Quadgun and taking out this piece of gear is one of the easiest ways to ensure the safety of your Crimson Hunters. Case in point is that the only time I played against an emplaced weapon, it killed a Crimson Hunter despite my best efforts to eliminate the emplacement.

So how can you GUARANTEE the enemy weapon emplacement is dead on turn 1? Easy, get the right models that can destroy it in one round of shooting. As an added bonus, those models will also be very effective for the rest of the game as I will discuss below...

Dark Reapers & Tau Commander:
The combination of Dark Reapers and a Tau Commander give you the firepower to destroy an opposing Gun Emplacement and threaten any other flyer/vehicle/MC in the game quite effectively all game long....

Dark Reapers:
Dark Reapers are key for this to work because they can get access to a lot of S8 AP3 shooting which will negate the armor of a Gun Emplacement and wound it on a 3+ which is pretty good. The real bread and butter of the unit, however, is the Exarch that can use Fast Shot to lay down 2 BS5 shots a turn. When placed on a Gun Emplacement of your own, you can lay down some serious firepower and this is why I favor the Icarus...with the right support, it pretty much guarantees things are dead and I just prefer the S9 Ap2 because it ends up being more potent with this set-up since AP2 comes in very handy against many targets. Cast Guide or Prescience on a unit of Dark Reapers and they lay down a very accurate torrent of S8 Ap3 or S5 Ap3 shots while the Exarch can get a re-rollable 2+ to hit with 2 S9 Ap2 shots. Now if only they could ignore cover completely and have tank/monster hunter...Oh wait, they can!

Tau Commander:
A Tau Commander with a few Signature Systems can make a Dark Reaper unit he joins a point-click-dead button and I'll let you guys figure it out by reading the Signature Systems available to Tau Commanders but suffice it to say, one gives the unit he has joined Ignores Cover if the Commander doesn't fire and another gives the unit he has joined Tank Hunter or Monster Hunter amongst other possible rules. Slap on some Skyfire/Interceptor and a Missile Pod and you have a very nice piece of utility here.

Put this Commander in a unit of Dark Reapers (because Eldar and Tau are bros, yo) and you now have a unit with Nightvision, access to Tank/Monster Hunter and Ignores Cover special rules. What does it mean? It means you shoot at a Gun Emplacement turn one and that Gun Emplacement is GONE. No armor, no cover just gone.  Now all you have to worry about are other natural Skyfire/Interceptor models or units but those have a much shorter range than what the Aegis/Bastion can come with so it then comes down to how smart were you in maneuvering your flyers to stay out of range of enemy units with Skyfire or Intercetor. Also, as an added bonus, you have your own reliable sources of Anti-Air from your own Skyfire/Interceptor Icarus Lascannon and Tau Commander that also has Tank-Hunter so if you Do come in before an enemy flyer, you can shoot down that flyer before it shoots your Crimson Hunter down.

If you take the above combo, you are probably looking at around 540 points invested assuming you take a 5 man Dark Reaper squad, Icarus Lascanon and Tau Commander with the requisite allied Troop choice.  This is not a bad thing as this set-up offers you A LOT of utility throughout the game as who can't find a use for 6 S8 AP3 or 11 S5 AP3 shots that can ignore cover and have Tank/Monster Hunter?

Another way to protect your Crimson Hunter is simply smart play and maneuvering. If you know an opponent set up a Skyfire or Interceptor unit on the board and it only has a 36"-48" range, come on 49" away from it so that it can't shoot you. Take your shots at things that are in range and continue to try and stay out of range of such units. Also, if enemy flyers are going to be coming on after you are already on the board, simply move into a position where you are not likely to be shot when the enemy flyers come on. The best way to ensure this is to also have other units like Wave Serpents get into position to prevent an enemy flyer from moving in such a way as to draw line of sight to your Crimson Hunter.

Kill enemy units that can shoot your Crimson Hunter dead:
Basically, if it can shoot your Crimson Hunter effectively, take it out. Your Ground units are there for a reason and should be used to support your air units. If there is a unit that is in a vulnerable position to combat, tie it up in combat. If a unit is vulnerable to shooting, shoot it. Specifically, the Dark Reaper squad mentioned above can engage pretty much any unit the enemy can throw at you that will be dangerous to your Crimson Hunters. One neat combo that I think will be very mean is casting the -1 armor power on a Riptide or Broadside unit and then shooting it with the Dark Reaper combo I suggested...No more Riptide or Broadsides.

Well, I hope this article was informative...I also hope that I don't see everyone I ever play adopting Dark Reapers+Tau Commanders as that combo is just mean mean mean. I know that I plan on using it to full effect in upcoming tournaments and it will be super effective at prolonging the life of my Crimson Hunters.

How have you guys found ways to keep your air units alive? I'm interested in any feedback or comments so have at it!


  1. Also Scrier's Gaze from the Farseer, and guided Venoms!

    1. Indeed, however Venoms are less killy, more fragile and not as likely to survive the game =(.

  2. I think wave serpents are the best unit available to the Eldar for taking out the icarus/quad gun with their 60 inch shots. The biggest problem I see for the crimson hunter is finding a solution for the prevalence of interceptor throughout the tau codex.

    1. Yeah, Crimson Hunter is sort of a point-sink against Tau. Incidentally enough, I think Wraith armies will be a good counter to many Tau builds.

    2. Yup gave my Tau opponent the frightener's when my Wave Serpent with holo fields and star engines on turn two popped out 5 WraithGuard with D-Scythes and burnt his two Broadsides and 4 missile drones in one shoot.

      Tau definitely doesn't like the enemy in their face especially at toughness 6.

    3. Right on, I definitely think most of my armies will have at least one unit of 5 Wraithguard with D-Scythes..So much utility as you found out. Also, pretty fun watching a CC army try to charge them as well.

  3. Tyranid warriors, nobz, terminators, battle suits, ah bring them on. Wraithguard with mobility and the ability to target large numbers of units. What's not to love?