So in a follow up to my previous articles about using Corsair armies/units in 7th edition I figured that I would make a follow up article for 8th edition. Expect there to be a copious amount of salt and disappointment…… I’ll just try and keep the language family friendly!
What happened to the Corsairs in 8th?
So in 7th edition whilst GW were focussing on making Scatterspam craftworlders insanely good and coming up with ways of making them better *Cough* Ynarri *Cough* Forgeworld were trying their hardest to help us piratical types with the Corsair army list from the Doom of Mymeara book. This was a generally very popular list and one that certainly sat close to my heart as although it had it’s flaws they had done such a great job of capturing the feel and the theme of the corsairs.
Then 8th edition happened…….
8th Edition hurt Corsair players, and I mean hurt as in a whole unit of D-Scythes to the face sort of hurt.
Gone are the Coterie rules and their own detachment, gone are the Corsair Prince, Void Dreamer, Baron, Malevolents, Ghostwalkers, Voidstorms and Balestrikes gone are a lot of their interesting wargear.
All the Corsairs have been left with are The Corsair Cloud Dancer band, Corsair Reavers and Corsair Skyreavers (previously the same unit selection as Reavers). You have the vehicles that are available to the Craftworlders (Hornets, Warp Hunters, Wasps etc) available to you as well but there are no HQ choices for you to be able to build a detachment and there are no Elites or Heavy Support to fill one up……. All you have is a single Fast attack choice and two Troops choices who were previously the same entry.
So what is left for Corsair players?
So the three units that you are left with have not been changed massively in terms of composition although their rules have changed somewhat.
All three units have kept the old Corsair unique special rules of “Dancing on the blade’s edge” and “Reckless abandon” although these have both changed considerably.
Dancing on the blades edge:
In 7th edition this rule had no real upside for the Corsair player, the lower leadership represented their indiscipline. In this edition this rule is actually a lot more helpful, it improves your chances of passing any morale tests that you need to take although does make it more damaging should you fail. With the decent Eldar leadership and the fact that you likely aren’t going to be using any large units of Corsairs this is actually pretty helpful.
This rule has been massively changed since 7th edition. In 7th this was your replacement for battle focus, it allowed you a free movement after shooting whether it be in your shooting phase or on overwatch. This was easily exploited and was definitely somewhat overpowered (particularly on the overwatch movement). In 8th edition however it has now been massively weakened and now offers a much smaller movement (less than half your normal movement speed) after the unit has inflicted at least one casualty in overwatch. This is still useful but nothing compared to the previous edition and unfortunately quite a lot weaker than the battle focus that your craftworld friends have access to.
So then, the units themselves….. As I have mentioned the only unique Corsair units left available are the Corsair Reaver Band (Guardian equivalents), Corsair Skyreaver Band (Guardians with Jump packs) and Corsair Cloud dancer band (Jetbikes).Corsair Reaver Band:
These guys are still the basic infantry of the Corsair forces, very similar to the Craftworld Eldar Guardians. They have the same stat-line as the Guardians although with a lower leadership, they do however have access to a wider range of weaponry and do have access to the fairly awesome Brace of pistols.
All Reavers come with a Lasblaster and Brace of pistols as standard and the Lasblaster can be changed out for either a Shard carbine, a Shuriken catapult or a spar glaive (Close combat weapon). One in every 5 models in the unit has access to the range of special and heavy weapons (Shredder, Blaster, Fusion Gun, Flamer, Dark Lance, Shuriken Cannon, Missile Launcher, Splinter Cannon).
These guys are in a slightly odd place, they are more expensive than Guardians although they are no more survivable and unfortunately due to not having the craftworld keyword they can’t gain any of the benefits such as the Autarch’s path of command trait. In terms of firepower they aren’t really able to do anything that Guardian defenders or Kabalite warriors cannot do.Corsair Sky Reaver Band
So much like 7th edition these guys are basically just the same as the Reaver band but with Jetpacks!
The Corsair jetpacks have had a big change from 7th edition. They now give an increased movement characteristic on your stats profile. Unfortunately this is a big change from 7th edition and not for the good…… The only real way to use Corsair Reavers in 7th edition was to make use of the Deep Strike (With Fusion Guns/Flamers and the Sky Burners Coterie trait) and then to use your Reckless abandon and Jump pack assault moves to get yourself out of harms way. These tactics are now no longer available to you, the Sky Reavers are now much less survivable as to get into the effective range for most of the Corsair weapons you are getting yourself into rapid fire boltgun/assaulting range. The loss of ‘Relentless’ on the jet packs is also a huge hit as although in 8th they can shoot heavy weapons whilst moving they suffer from the usual negative modifier on their accuracy. Corsair Cloud Dancer Band
Jetbikes, who doesn’t love jetbikes? Think Craftworld jetbikes but with a Brace of pistols, the Corsair special rules and access to dissonance cannons, Dark Lances and Splinter cannons in addition to the Scatter Laser and Shuriken Cannon of their Craftworld brothers.
Dissonance Cannons have actually become fairly useful in this edition, whilst still not the most points efficient weapon they now have a half decent strength and AP (with the potential to increase with the right rolls) and a potential for multi wound damage. In 7th edition they were pretty much a complete no-go, easily beaten out by Scatterlasers and Splinter cannons for effectiveness they were a very tough choice to justify.
The Cloud Dancers are one unit that I could actually see being a useful addition to a Craftworld army, with access to Dark Lances in addition to the usual heavy weapons this adds a potential anti-tank threat, the only downside is the loss of accuracy for shooting heavy weapons in 8th, even when it’s mounted on a jetbike!
But I still want to use Corsairs……
If this is the case then you seriously have my respect!
If you are wanting to use Corsairs units then bear in mind they have now become more of a complementary addition to an Aeldari army. Unable to use them as a standalone force you are either given the options of using a Drukhari or Craftworlds army that you’ve ‘themed’ to fit the Corsairs theme or you are going to have to use them as an allied addition to a Craftworld or Drukhari army you already have.
One big issue with this is that the Corsairs do not have either the Drukhari or Craftworld keywords, meaning that A) They do not gain any of the bonuses from units like the Autarch whose traits benefit nearby units bearing the keyword or B) They do not gain the benefits from any strategems etc that are due to come out in the upcoming codices (and potentially may cause clashes in the detachments due to them not having a craftworld keyword). As it stands the Corsair’s only real place is as an addition to an index Craftworld or Drukhari force and with the upcoming Eldar codex and hopefully very soon the Dark Eldar codex it leaves the Corsairs in a very strange spot.
Unfortunately the Corsair units also have the problem that there are options in the Craftworlds and Drukhari books that are A) Better at doing their particular jobs B) More points efficient.
In 7th edition the ability to use their jetpacks and reckless abandon moves to make hit and run attacks made Corsair Reaver bands a very interesting prospect and one when used well negated their overall squishyness and could be used to some quite devastating effect. Unfortunately with the changes in 8th edition these tactics are no longer possible and you would probably be more prudent to put your points into units such as Fire Dragons who are not only more survivable but also able to put out a considerably higher amount of damage.
So where does that leave us devout Corsair players? Without even an index list of our own and with the Craftworlds codex dropping and Drukhari codex expected shortly we are soon running out of options.
Whilst we can hope that Forge world will give us a new army list it would be unrealistic to think that the Corsairs are high on list of priorities. Our current options are to use a Craftworlds list but potentially lose the very good Craftworld traits so that we can use our Corsair units (when there are better ones in the codex, especially with the traits…..) or to use them with a Drukhari or Ynarri army.
I dearly hope that further plans are in motion behind the scenes to bring back some options for the Corsairs but unfortunately we are heading towards having to use “Counts as” craftworld armies and building the narrative ourselves to justify pirate Fire Dragons/ Wraithguard etc. This is truly a great shame firstly to lose such a characterful army that the Corsairs were in 7th edition but also to have such great models go unused and gathering dust in cases and cardboard boxes…….
Let’s hope that our Drukhari cousins can continue raiding and pillaging as good pirates do even if the true pirates are no longer able to.