Monday, July 1, 2013

Wave Serpent Tactical videos (now with text!):

Wave Serpents are amazing vehicles that add so much to any and every Eldar army. This post will debut my first ever tactical videos covering the Wave Serpent including weapon options, vehicle upgrades, keeping the Wave Serpent alive along with how to use it offensively and effectively deliver units.

So yeah, this is my first video ever so please let me know what you guys think, what I can improve, what I missed and that kind of thing.

Part 1:
This part covers the very basic stats of the Wave Serpent, the weapon options, vehicle upgrades and what I think is the optimal build. This first part is more for those that have no idea what a Wave Serpent is or what you can get for it as well as anyone who wants a refresh on their Wave Serpent knowledge. Part 2 (below) will have more of the "advanced" tactical aspects of using the Wave Serpent.

Just an FYI, in the video I mention Crystal Targeting Matrix only gives your Wave Serpent one shot but I meant to say that it allows you to shoot one weapon so I hope nobody is confused!

Weapon Options:
The Wave Serpent comes with a Shuriken Cannon turret and Shuriken Catapult underslung weapon. Both have 360 line of sight since they can both rotate as such (and GW FAQs confirm this). However, for a minimal cost, you can upgrade both of the weapons which are generally better than what the Serpent comes with..

Underslung Shuriken Catapults:
A 12" S4 AP5 weapon with the Bladestorm rule so anything wounded on a 6 makes the shot AP2. Good for maximum LOLs when you get those 6s to wound things like a Riptide. Can be upgrade to an Underslung Shuriken Cannon which no longer has 360 vision but offers you much more of a punch. I usually skimp out on the Cannon upgrade to save points and because I am either too far away to put the weapon to good use or I will generally be firing other weapons as I tend to move 12" a turn and if I don't, the Catapults work out just fine.

Shuriken Cannon:
A 24" Heavy 3 S6 AP5 weapon with the Bladestorm rule. All in all, solid and cheap as it comes stock on the Serpent but as I said above, the other available weapons are generally better and offer more for the Serpent and your army.

Scatter Laser:
A 36" Heavy 4 S6 Ap6 weapon with the Laser Lock rule so if this hits any of your other shots are also twin-linked. This is probably the most optimal weapon to have on the serpent since it will twin-link your Serpent Shield and Underslung Cannon if you got one. This option also makes your Serpents better against Flyers since you will have (hopefully) a lot of twin-linked shooting in general. What's not to love about a potential 11-14 (14 with the underslung cannon) shots at S6-7?

Bright Lance:
A 36" S8 AP2 Heavy 1 weapon with the Lance rule so anything above AV12 is counted as AV12. A Great anti-tank weapon but perhaps a waste on the Serpent as you really are not taking advantage of the Serpent Shield with this loadout.

Star Cannon:
A 36" S6 AP2 Heavy 2 weapon. Great for taking out anything with a 2+ save but again, a Serpent is not the best place to have this weapon.

Eldar Missile Launcher:
A 48" S4/8 AP4/3 Blast/Heavy 1 (for the Plasma/Starstrike versions respectively). Both versions have the Pinning special rule as well. This is the most expensive upgrade but generally not worth it compared to the Scatter Laser.

So yeah, Scatter Laser is what I think is the best option because it increases the utility of your Serpent Shield and that is the main thing about the Wave Serpent anyway. The Serpent Shield is a 60" S7 AP- d6+1 shot weapon that has the Ignores Cover and Pinning special rules...Quite a great weapon to take out anything that relies on cover for survival or av 10-13 vehicles.

Vehicle Upgrades:
Below are the Vehicle Upgrades available to the Wave Serpent in order of importance/usefulness...

+1 to your Cover Save if you move, what's not to love? 5+ Jink save turns into a 4+; 4+ Flat-out turns into a 3+; 4+ Ruins, Hill Crest and Aegis Defense Line save turns into a 3+. If you manage to position your Vehicle so that the enemy is in a facing they do not have LOS to then you get another +1 to your cover save so an otherwise 4+ Ruins save would become a 2+ save at that. Stacks with Stealth or Conceal so with Eldrad's Warlord power you can get 2+ Cover for a turn quite easily (for when you have destroyed everything with a Marker Light in a Tau army and want to get up close and personal but not get shot to death in the process).

Vectored Engines:
A great upgrade that allows you to pivot after shooting your weapons. This mainly allows you to move up with any vehicle, allow a unit to get out of the rear hatch, shoot your turret weapon then turn your vehicle around so the back hatch is no longer exposed to enemy shooting. Essentially, it adds the length of the Wave Serpent to any Disembarking unit.

 Ghost Walk Matrix:  
Another great upgrade that gives your Serpent Move Through Cover so they automatically pass dangerous terrain tests...Never worry about immobilizing your vehicle when going through terrain! Now you can end on top of impassible terrain or move flat out in the craziest piece of terrain on the table without a care. Far superior to those silly Dozer Blades other armies put on their things, what, is there a snow storm they need to shovel snow in or something? Silly imperium...

Spirit Stones:
An ok upgrade that allows you to ignore Shaken results on a 2+ and Stunned results on a 4+. Overall, the Serpent Shield is much better and this upgrade only comes into play when the Shield is down. Therefore, you will not get much use out of this upgrade as you will need to have your Serpent Shield down, take a Penetrating hit that happens to roll a 1-3 results which means chances are you will never need this upgrade on your Serpents.

Crystal Targeting Matrix:
This lets you shoot a weapon after you turbo-boost which could be the turret, Serpent Shield or Underslung...Though for 25 points why bother? Chances are you won't need the extra shooting of the Serpent if you are moving Flat out and it just makes your Serpents too expensive...Just move 12" a turn and keep shooting at your opponent.

Star Engines:
An extra 6" when you go Flat-Out with your Serpents...Really? If you need that extra 6" you are doing it wrong. This is probably only good on War Walkers who can then Battle Focus up to 9" (this adds 3+ to their run moves). If you see this upgrade on your opponent's vehicles you will probably win the game.

So those are the upgrades...Really, Holofields is probably the only thing I would consider taking on most all of my Serpents and only on the ones I expect to be out front attracting the attention of my opponent. Ghost Walk Matrix is awesome and Vectored Engines is great for when you need to get a unit somewhere (like Fire Dragons, D-Scythe Wraithguard, Storm Guardians) and so these on those few Serpents carrying such units is a worthwhile investment. otherwise, keep the Serpents cheap and use them for some great shooting.

Part 2:
This part covers maximizing cover saves and using the Wave Serpent offensively which includes Tank Shock and deploying units to efectively engage targets.

I plan on doing similar videos for other units and perhaps a general overview of what I think about the new Eldar codex, let me know if you guys think the video format worked or if it is failtastic!


  1. Videos are not to good. Text is nicer. I cannot wait to read your units overview. :)

    1. Thank's for that input, I'll try to make a text version with maybe some pictures/diagrams. This was more of an experiment to kind of give a visual to how things look on the table-top. Failed experiment? Perhaps...we'll see =).

    2. Yep. Faeit did this for but now he puts a text rundown with the video, which is much better:-)

    3. Agreed, I do like to come here for a good read :) But supporting video is fine, but it's nice to have all the info in text. Sorry Yriel lol.

    4. I agree as well, therefore I added a text breakdown of Part 1 and I hope it makes the post/video more meaningful!

      Ultimately, Scatter Laser and Holofields all the way =).

    5. Hi Yriel. Great video's man, looking forward to more of that. Just one thing: you say you don't really need the stones because of the shield, but everytime you fire the shield, you no longer downgrade pens to glances.

  2. Always look forward to your Eldar articles.Awesome stuff

  3. I like the videos.

    After initial enthusiasm I have become a bit disappointed and skeptical regarding the "expensive Wraithguard jumps out of Serpent and incinerates stuff with D-Scythes"-strategy.

    I tried it in every game I played since the new codex came out and it never worked. The problem is always that the enemy units that are worthwhile targets (like Longfangs or Broadsides or some juicy HQ, Elite or Fast Attack unit) are standing too far back in the backfield of my opponent's deployment zone. To get to them I have no other choice than to park the Serpent near some troops that are deployed ahead of my target for one turn.
    And in that turn those troops always seize the chance to block the Serpent's one access point, kill it in close combat with ease and force the Wraithguard to emergency disembark.

    That happened to me in most games I tried to use that unit.
    It is just too easy to kill vehicles in close combat and every measly little troop unit seems to carry around Krak grenades nowadays or has Rending attacks or whatever.

    Till now I always ended up hoping that my 135 point vehicle would explode so I could at least place the passengers in the crater.

    To me unfortunately it seems that as good as the Serpent is as a gunboat and battle tank, as bad it is as a transport.

    1. Don't forget,in the new rules Skimmer bases count as an access point.

    2. @ dzur99:
      The rulebook says "transports on flying bases" and I think that means the big bases with the high plastic stems real Fliers are put on, not conventional Skimmer bases.
      The rulebook doesn't really define what a flying base is, but this rule only makes sense when you apply it to Flier bases. Skimmers have normal access points like normal vehicles, so it would make little sense to ignore them and use their base. Fliers can't apply the usual rules for disembarking from access points, so they need such a special rule that makes their special bases the access points.

    3. TrangleC:

      Thanks for the clarification, you're completely correct in that it's transports. I've always seen "flying bases" in past editions to mean any of the clear bases with stems, regardless of size, and with the addition of actual flyers to the game, it's hard to say. I think it might be FAQ time on that one.

    4. Clear bases are flying bases. Read pg 83 mini rulebook. As such until faqed, they are access pointsz:-P

  4. In our local meta, the "foot list" never really caught on. We've had vehicles ruining the battlefield since 5th. I took 5 Serpents to the last tournament and they only excelled against nids.

    1. I usually run 2-4 Wave Serpents and I usually only lose 1 each game...What opponents are you facing and what is killing your Serpents?

  5. Good point on corralling enemies with tanks shocks, did not think of that myself. I have my wraithguard set up with only the d-guns but might decide to remodel them with the d-scythes. I have a farseer though that runs with them, may also have to change up to a spirit seer.

    One rules question though, with a farseer casting prescience or guide on d-scthes, would that allow you to re-roll wounds because they are template weapons?

    1. Sadly, it does not work that way, Kaughnor =(. This is because Guide/Prescience does not make the weapon's twin-linked and the BRB only says that twin-linked flamers get to re-roll to-wound rolls. But oh how I WISH it were the case...

  6. I liked it. I just wish I had more than one serpent.

  7. I never felt like "Corraling" was such a great idea tbh, especially with the number of units that can simply destroy the Serpent with a random Death or Glory attack. That being said, when you're sure they just cannot do anything to you, it's a fun trick. You can even push it further by making a V out of two tanks, and pushing the last tank in, which will annihilate the unit standing there, even better than using your awesome D-Scythe.

  8. Or the classic Serpent to the left, Serpent to the right, Fire dragons in front, bye bye Land Raider and all of your damn Terminators.
    Although I just read in the new rules, you will have to tweak it a bit to put Dire Avengers to the back of the Land Raider, so there is no spot left to disembark.

    Still, for two Serpents and two minimal squads of DA and FD, it's an awesome trick.