The boss, the head honcho, the big cheese.
The Corsair prince is your main HQ choice and is a mandatory choice for each detachment whether you use a CAD or the Raiding Company Force Organisation. Must be your armies Warlord, thankfully he is pretty good at that job!
Lots of Weapons options
Helps nearby units regroup
Useful special rules
Good assault unit in a mostly shooting army
Still has an Eldar's toughness
Power Weapon- A solid choice but a bit on the expensive side
Venom Blade- A good choice if you are expecting to be facing low armour/ High toughness opponents but as anyone who uses Farseers/Warlocks regularly will tell you, sometimes easily wounding something is great but you just need that AP value to get past the armour. Very situational.
Void Sabre- This is what you want...... Everytime. One of the few options that the prince can take that is actually a bargain, All the benefits of the power weapon and more for a very small amount extra. Lets the Prince cut through power armoured opponents like a hot knife through butter.
Blast Pistol- A great weapon with a very short range but also unfortunately in this book also really freaking expensive. Can be worthwhile if you plan to use the Prince very aggressively but is a lot of points to put into something that realistically will not get much use.
Fusion Pistol- As above, highly situational and very expensive upgrade.
Dissonance Pistol- Oh the potential, so much wasted potential. Great idea but poor execution, just not worth it.
Balelight- Expensive for a one use item but can be very good if used prior to charging, potentially a lot of shots with the possibility of nicely weakening a unit that you want to carve up with the Void Sabre.
Haywire Grenades- My option if you want to go anti-tank, can be thrown and used against vehicles in combat. Still expensive (bit of a trend here!) but if you are expecting to see a lot of vehicles could well be worthwhile, cheaper than either the Blast pistol or Fusion pistol.
Tanglefield Grenades- Another interesting choice if you plan to use the Prince aggressively, can seriously aid you in combat.
Voidplate Harness- Pointless and Expensive, possibly worth a look in Zone Mortalis but that is literally about it.
Ghostplate Armour- A very expensive poor invulnerable since you already have the same armour save. Waste of ink.
Shimmershield- Handy little bit of kit but better suited for a Baron than your Prince, you want more protection than this if you are putting the points into him.
Forceshield- Same shield that the Autarchs come with as standard and a decent choice if you want to save points.
Shadowfield- Expensive but if you want to protect your Prince it's the best option, if you have any experience with using them on Dark Eldar Archons then you'll know the value of them, just don't fail a save!
Cloud Dancer- If you are a planning a fast jetbike heavy army then this is a great option, a Cloud Dancer Prince can form a great little combat unit with a few Venom Bladed Felarchs on bikes.
Jet-Pack- A Corsair staple, bargain price and gives you extra mobility. If you aren't putting him on a Cloud Dancer then you want this.
Psyker Mastery Level 1- Avoid, Avoid, Avoid! In theory the ability to give your units Prescience can be really appealing but the Wild Psyker Perils table is so punishing, you don't want your Warlord turning into a Daemon and using all that lovely expensive Wargear on his friends! The fact he can't take the Aethermancy is a little disappointing. A big risk if you do go this way.
As part of the Prince's special rules he can take one of the following upgrades for free, they are nothing game breaking but can really help to supplement your other units.
Seeker of Forbidden Pleasures- Don't show this to any Dark Eldar using friends, they won't like you for it. Gives your Prince and units in the detachment access to a Combat Drugs chart that is really good if you are playing an aggressive style.
Travelller of Forgotten Paths- Think that the Corsairs were fast before? Think again! Multiple Multiphase generators allowing your units to literally warp across the battlefield, this is what Webway portals should always have been. One of the most fun options in the book.
Collector of Ancient Treasures- Gives access to some Wargear out of the Eldar/Dark Eldar and Harlequins books and Master Crafted. There isn't much on the list that's really that useful for you, much better options available (like the Void Sabre).
Reaper of the Outer Dark- Rampage! A great option for aggressive Princes, if you have a Jetpack or Cloud Dancer you can mitigate the necessity of charging.
Wielder of Profane Powers- Do you like taking risks? If you do then you could have a lot of fun with this! Corsairs summoning Daemons can be really quite fun but don't expect your Prince to finish the game.
Survivor of Endless Darkness- Makes your Prince and other units (at a cost) harder to kill with a small downside, fortunately your Prince's high leadership makes failing the test pretty unlikely so worthwhile. A very good option although many will prefer to go for an offensive trait rather than this defensive one.
Although the Prince is a mandatory choice he is far from being a tax. The only real problem here is that if you decide to really kit him out then you are going to be paying top dollar and this can be a very heavy investment when the majority of units in the Corsair army don't overly enjoy being in combat. In an aggressive army he can be a superb Marine killer and the First Prince special rules can really help to buff the units around him.
My current favourite choices are:
Prince- (Traveller of Forgotten Paths)
I will join this guy in with my Deep striking Reaver band and use him as some close combat protection but also to aid with a spot of Anti-tank and to make sure I get a Multiphase Key Generator dropped in my opponents deployment zone.
Prince- (Reaper of the Outer Dark)
This guy will normally join a unit of Cloud Dancer Felarchs and be used just to do as much damage as possible, with a large amount of attacks with the Void Sabre he can tear through most Space Marine equivalent units on his own.
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A Corsair prince's resident Psychic presence, limited to 0-1 per detachment. Starts off relatively cheap but can soon be boosted up. He can take powers from Aethermancy (The Corsair Unique Psychic discipline) and can also take powers from Divination or Telekinesis. Unfortunately he is a Wild Psyker though so any perils are rolled on the Corsair's own Perils table (and it's nasty.....)
Can go up to ML3
Good Psychic Powers
Good selection of wargear
Corsair Perils table!
Can't take a Cloud Dancer
Can get expensive
All the same options as the Corsair Prince for the same points! For the most part you aren't wanting to take many if any upgrades from here due to what will be discussed later on.
Same options as the Prince for the same points. Again you probably don't want to invest too heavily here.
Jet Pack- Standard Corsair Jetpack, if you aren't planning on sticking him in a transport then you need one of these.
The Corsair Psychic discipline, the Void Dreamer needs to take at least one power from this Discipline although if you are going to be fielding this guy you may want to go the whole hog in the hope you get a couple of the more nasty powers.
Gives you a guaranteed distance when running/ charging etc. Should be a WC1 power in my opinion but can be very handy. Works well when making the most of the Reckless abandon moves, helps keep your units alive which for Corsairs is a very big thing!
Warp Blink (WC1)-
Can be used to move any unit a random distance, very short range but only WC1. Not really all that helpful to be honest. Swap this for the Primaris if you get it.
Dispersion Field (WC1)-
Very similar to Conceal, can be cast on a unit in range rather than on it's own unit and gives a set save rather than a modifier. Pretty good for a WC1 power.
Webway Rift (WC1)-
Witchfire power good at taking out mass infantry, low strength and poor AP but poisoned. Not all that great but can be useful, certainly no Eldritch Storm!
Webway Breach (WC2)-
Let the fun begin! Takes any friendly unit within range and sticks them in ongoing reserves. Good for quick redeployment of a unit that's out of position especially good if you have Sky Hunters Coterie or Multiphase Key Generators. Risky power to cast but can be worth it.
Warp Tunnel (WC2)-
Slightly risky Teleportation, can let you jump any distance across the table but you can potentially take more damage the further you travel. Does allow a unit to charge on the turn this power is used, sadly only available to be used on units with the Corsair's faction (so not Howling Banshees etc). Can be good to ensure that you get the charge and can be good with units like Malevolents/ Voidstorms.
Webway Maze (WC3)-
Warp Charge 3? Warp freaking charge 3?....... This power is good, takes any enemy unit not in combat in range and sticks them in Ongoing reserves, got a enemy Deathstar causing you problems? Stick them in ongoing reserve! Cannot Target Super Heavy Vehicles but doesn't say anything about Gargantuan Creatures *Cough* Wraithknight *Cough*. Really risky power to use as you are going to have to throw a fair few dice at it but can really be a life saver when used. I got it off on a Land Raider full of Terminators a few weeks ago (Without Perils as well!), it was 4 turns before any of them got into Combat and by that time the game was already lost for them.
The Void Dreamer is a a fun and fluffy unit but realistically not one that you are going to find in a competitive list. The Corsair Perils table is really quite nasty and can be pretty catastrophic should things go south. Most of the Aethermancy powers are good if unspectacular but when you consider the risk involved in using them for the most part they aren't really worth it. If you want a fun unit to use and aren't expecting to face too many psykers then go for it, otherwise I'd say ally in a Farseer or Shadowseer if you want some Psychic support.
Should you take the Void Dreamer then be very wary of tooling them up with Equipment, get the wrong roll on the Perils table and he then turns to your opponents control. Give him a Shadowfield and you'll find that your unit is going to be struggling to get rid of him for a long time, give him a Void Sabre/Venom Blade and you might find that the unit accompanying him isn't there any more.......
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The Corsair Baron, also known as the Coterie tax is your cheap HQ option and a neccessary inclusion if you plan on using the Coteries. He needs to be allocated to a Troops or Elite unit within the CAD/Coterie and cannot elect to leave that unit during play.
Cheap as chips
Cheap, low risk Psyker
Lots of weapon options
Items same price as Prince- Can go from cheap to expensive way too quickly
Limited to staying in one unit
Doesn't get the Prince's strength bonus
Again like the Void Dreamer the Corsair Baron has all the same options as the Prince for the same points values. There is a case to be made for a couple of the Close combat weapons as just throwing a Void Sabre or Venom Blade on this guy can make your Reaver squad look a bit scarier.
Again, the same options as the Prince for the same points. The Shimmershield is an interesting option when it comes to the Baron though, you likely won't be spending big points on a Shadowfield for him and a lot of the Corsair units could do with an invulnerable save while in combat. Not a huge points outlay for this.
Jetpack- Really these should just come as standard, unless you are mounting him on a Jetbike you want this. Due to the rules for the Dedicated Transports you can't even join him to a foot unit with a transport and no-one in their right mind is going to use a Corsair unit on foot that's not in a transport. Bargain for the price and gives a lot of mobility.
Cloud Dancer- If you are planning on dropping a lot of Cloud Dancers then this could be well worth it. If you are going with the Multiphase Key Generator tactic then this can allow you to reliably drop a portal deep in the opponents deployment zone on Turn 2.
Psyker ML1- If you want Prescience this can be worth a look, the Baron is cheap enough that you won't worry too much if you lose him to perils and if you don't load him up with items he isn't too much of a worry should he go all daemonic. Unless you have Farseer Psychic support you probably won't be getting the powers off particularly often due to a lack of dice but if you want to dabble then you aren't putting too many points into it, especially as you are likely having to take the Baron anyway.
The Baron is an unexciting HQ option although with how the Coteries are set out he is one that you are likely going to have to use if you want to use the Raiding Company. If you have the points to spare then throwing a few points at a Void Sabre, Venom Blade or a Shimmershield can help the unit that you are joining him with but those points could quite easily be spent better elsewhere.
The option of using it as a cheap Psyker is an intriguing one as really even paying for the Jetpack/ Cloud Dancer and Psyker upgrade it's still a cheap unit and not really one you are going to miss too much should he go pop.
More often than not though I suspect you will probably just be using him as a tax to take the Coteries and will just pay the extra points for the Jetpack/ Cloud Dancer and have him as a couple of ablative wounds to keep your Scatter bikes/ Fusion Guns alive.