Monday, 17 February 2014

Super-Heavy = Super Fun! The Flyers

So FINALLY here's the next installment of the series running you through the pros and cons of the new Escalation units. Next up are the Flyers, and I'll show you what they have to offer and tell you why a big stupid flying machine is better than a little stupid flying machine.


However first off I really have to apologise for not being more prompt with this series. The last few months have been busy for all of us here at Warzone HQ, especially with Ruby getting engaged and CrAzY424 picking up a new job. Hopefully in the next few weeks while TommyH and CrAzY424 perform their role reversal to keep bringing you the best in rumours and tactics, I can polish this series off and we can get the Campaign going again!

So let's begin our rundown with the awkward one of the bunch, but arguably the most fun:

The Tyranid Harridan

Now before I go into any detail on this thing, I'll get through the special rules that are a part of this hilarious beastie as a result of it being a Flying Gargantuan Monstrous Creature. All the standard rules for normal Flying MC's apply, including movement and the ability to have this baby starting on the board. In addition to this, all FGMC's have: Fear, Fearless, Feel No Pain, Hammer of Wrath, Move Through Cover, Relentless, Smash, Strikedown, Stomp and Vector Strike. In addition sniper and poison weapons can only wound GMC's on a roll of a 6, and any weapons that inflict instant death or would cause a model to be immediately removed from the table only cause D3 wounds.

So before we even get into any rules, you can see this thing can be a serious problem if left alone. The Harridan, while not being synapse, has no issues floating around the board causing mayhem. It can carry up to 20 Gargoyles as if it were an open-topped transport, which can make for some real slapstick comedy come turn 2 with an enemy deployment zone full of your models. And if someone is really stupid enough to charge your ws4, 8 wound, 4 attack, t8, 3+ 5++ horror, they're going to have SUCH a bad day.

And yet I havent even reached the best part. Each Harridan is equipped with 2 Bio-cannons: S10 ap3 assault 6 weapons it can fire at TWO separate targets. Enemy super-heavy getting you down? Well good news! Not only can their D-strength templates not hit you as you fly, but you can safely pummel them into the ground from afar. Run from THAT, Revenant.

Verdict: The Harridan has a lot to offer an enterprising Tyranid player. For 200 points less than a Revenant you get a creature that is incredibly hard to put down, that can safely avoid the damage being put out by other super-heavies, and that can rain merry hell down on enemy armour. While vulnerable to the plethora of anti-air mechanisms there are available (and remember it DOES have to take grounding tests) t8 with a 3+ armour save means that it can shrug off a huge amount of firepower without too much trouble. And if all else fails, your FNP save will give you that extra survivability following any failed armour or cover saves you have to take. All in all, a solid investment for a Tyranid general wishing to rule the skies.

The Thunderhawk Gunship

Say what you want about the Thunderhawk, but despite the fact that it's comparably fragile compared to other super-heavies, I LOVE it. The design of this FW masterpiece is a bit on the unwieldy side, but it's so damn intimidating that doesn't really matter. As I'm sure we're all aware, the Thunderhawk is the assault mainstay of the Adeptus Astartes and the rules provided display as much. At face value it's not overly expensive, and has some very solid killing power mounted on a reasonably durable chassis. But it is the upgradable options that make the Thunderhawk a powerhouse to be rightly feared by any godless heretic or decadent xenos.

At AV12 12 10 with 9HP the Thunderhawk is less well armoured than a Stormraven Gunship, but shares many of the same benefits. It's a flyer (hover) transport with Ceramite Plating, Power of the Machine Spirit and as an Assault Vehicle the Thunderhawk behaves in a similar role, providing close fire-support before dropping a nice big nasty surprise next to an enemy hard target. Yet it is the ability of a Thunderhawk to transport Jump Infantry and Bikes that makes it truly terrifying. A squad of combat White Scars bikers, led by the God-on-Bike, emerging from the maw of a flyer that just chewed up half your army is enough to make any player baulk.

Out of the book, the Thunderhawk comes armed with four twin-linked heavy bolters, two lascannons, 6 hellstrike missiles (s8 ap3 ordnance) and the Thunderhawk cannon. The Thunderhawk cannon is a pretty impressive addition alone, a s8 ap3 7" blast primary weapon, but for 90 points you can make the Thunderhawk the only super-heavy flyer with a Destroyer weapon. That's right, you can turn the Thunderhawk cannon into a Turbo-laser Destructor, a large blast ap2 D weapon. Now that's just unfair. To add to that, for a further 60 points you may exchange all 6 of the hellstrike missiles for Thunderhawk cluster bombs, that are deployed using the bombing run rules. These bombs work off the Apocalyptic Barrage template, which is basically 6 5" blast templates stung together, numbered 1-6, that can be manipulated to form any pattern you like. You position and roll to scatter as normal, then roll a D6 for each shot fired. The shot lands in the template corresponding to the result of the D6. Considering each of these bombs is heavy 6 s6 ap4 I'd say that's a pretty solid investment.

Verdict: Soooooooo the Thunderhawk. As the only flyer that can mount a D weapon it's really something unique. Its ability to evade other super-heavy weaponry, however, is kind of let down by its AV value, making it far more vulnerable to conventional heavy weapons. That said, while it's not the most heavily armoured of super-heavy vehicles, 9 hull points and the fact that most things will be snap firing at it do lend a certain survivability; keep in mind however, and this is honestly the biggest drawback with super-heavy flyers, they CANNOT evade, so no Jink saves. I love the mass of weaponry the Thunderhawk can bring to bear, and the fact that it can deliver a horde of assault troops into the midst of an enemy force. It's literally a flying Land raider, and at only a little over the cost of 2, I think it definitely has a place in any Space Marine force.

The Flying Disappointment (The Tau Tiger Shark)


Excuse the provocative name, but I had to put it there as it's the first thing CrAzY424 said when he read the profile. I'm not going to say that it IS that awful, however when you compare it to some of the other super-heavies available it stands out, and not in a good way. AV 12 12 10 with only 6 hull points means the Tiger Shark is the most fragile of all the (escalation-wise) available super-heavy flyers. A BS of 4 with the Strafing Run special rule means that you get a good amount of fire on target, and fluff-wise this certainly helps explain the design. As a vehicle designed for a hunter-killer role, the Tiger Shark is intended to skirt the edge of a battlefield and take out individual units or scouts. I can see this literally being what it would do if anyone actually fielded it, as exposing it to anything stronger than a light breeze is going to mean you've spent more than 500 points on a nice big crater.

To be fair its armament isn't AWFUL. A twin-linked ion cannon, a twin-linked missile pod and two burst cannons. Ok so it's awful. I'm afraid the Tiger shark will have a hard time earning its keep on the battlefield. Even with its FOURTEEN gun drones and full access to the Vehicle Battle Systems list, it's just not enough. It's supersonic, so can never travel less than 18", and while it can deploy all the gun drones in a single unit which doesnt scatter or take dangerous terrain tests, it's not much use considering they're BS2 and non-scoring. It seems GW really screwed the pooch when they wrote the rules for this thing.

Verdict: I am sorry, but the Tiger Shark is far and away the weakest of the super-heavies. 6 hull points and severely restricted weaponry means it will struggle to give you a decent return on the points you spent on it. It wouldn't be so bad if it just wasn't so expensive (points and money-wise), but as it stands, in this hobbyist's opinion, just get a couple of Riptides instead.

Well that's it from me for now, I hope you've enjoyed yourselves, I certainly have, it's good to be back.

Next week I'll cover the Necron forces, and tell you why the Transcendent C’tan really shouldn't be allowed anywhere.

Make good choices,



  1. Do you have to pay extra for the gun drones on the tiger shark? I'm just wondering if that evens out some of the points cost of the unit or not.

    1. They're included in the points cost, but are vanilla drones. It does go some way to contributing, but really it should be around 300 points, not over 500 as it is, that huge point investment is why it just doesn't work.

    2. Haha that's my opinion anyway.


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