|Submitted By: Seer Fox Date: January 8, 2006, 09:46:02 AM Views: 684|
|Summary: Firstly, let us look at the Dire Avenger himself. For four points more than a Guardian, he has an extra Weapon Skill, Ballistic Skill, Initiative and Armour Save, not bad I'd say. The squad is always small enough to make the Wave Serpent a viable transport option and one of the Dire Avengers may be upgraded to an Exarch and given some cool close combat tat, but we'll go into that later.|
Firstly, one must understand the disadvantages and limitations of taking Dire Avengers over other units, this way you know when and how to use them in comparison to other units, plus youâ€™ll enjoy the advantages more when you hear them. The main complaint about the Dire Avengers is that they do not offer the same amount of fire power that a Guardian squad of the same cost does, which is true, and that if a Warlock was in the Guardian squad it could outclass the Dire Avengers in any one of the things that make it better than the Guardians, which is also true. However, fifteen Guardians, though more powerful than ten Dire Avengers, will not live as long, nor can they be put in a transport like the squad of Avengers. Also, though a squad of Guardians with a Warlock can excel over Dire Avengers in one area, they are still poor in all the others, if the Warlock takes Conceal the Avengers still beat it in close combat and leadership, which is now very important, if the Warlock takes enhance the Dire Avengers beat it with their armour save and their leadership; so Dire Avengers are still the better purchase.
Dire Avengers are also seen as a kind of jack-of-all-trades squad, something that is competent at everything and good at nothing. This is true when compared to the other more specialised aspects such as Fire Dragons and Howling Banshees, but what people fail to realise is that being competent at everything is actually a pretty good thing, especially so in the new edition of the rules which disallows charging from moved transports. Dire Avengers have a great role in fire support, keeping up with the other aspects of your army and delivering a little bit more punch into a charge by firing a volley at the first, softening them up and detracting firepower from the rest of your army.
Anyway, onto how Dire Avengers can be used on their own.
The first rule of Dire Avengers is you do not talk about Dire Avengers
Wait, that's not it. The first rule should be to always give them a Wave Serpent where possible. With the new rules being able to jump out of a transport and unleash an impressive hail of fire is more important that charging straight out of them and at this the Dire Avengers will excel, especially against low armoured opponents like Orks and Dark Eldar. The problem in doing this is the fact that when they move twelve inches, jump out and shoot they will not be able to assault that turn, which means any enemies left will in turn either blast them away, assault them, or even blast away at them and assault them, depending on the enemies weaponry and mood at the time.
There are only two ways I see that can limit the Dire Avenger casualties in these instances, the first is to not swivel the Serpent around when disembarking. Seeing as line of sight is not blocked by skimmers now the Dire Avengers will still be able to shoot their targets, and there is a slight chance that anyone who shoots at them will fail their leadership check and instead hit the Serpent. Hell, they might just shoot the freakin' Serpent and forget about the Avengers! However, this will not protect them from assaults, and I don't especially like this tactic, unless the enemy is poorly armoured and two squads gang up on its destruction, because it usually means the enemy just gets peeved slightly and blows the DA's off the map. Not good.
The second idea is to disembark from the transport then let it move off, allowing the Dire Avengers to move and Assault. The problem is that in order to assault that turn the vehicle which they were in will have to be within twelve inches of the enemy at the start of the turn anyway, which means sitting in front of their big guns or a turn, which isn't a good idea. Some people have suggested that they should move the transports twenty four inches towards the enemy and then those squads that survive the hail of fire jump out on the second turn and do their duty. To me this seems slightly wasteful of the transports guns, and the transports that were destroyed will be so close to the enemy lines that the pinned squads that emerge will be easily overrun.
Suffice to say I do not approve of this tactic, and so I vote for the second option, to move twelve inches twice, hugging terrain, then deploying the squad, either amidst cover or just within charge distance. This has its drawbacks, the enemy army may be able to get more shots off at the tanks and has a better chance of destroying them, but the advantages are that the tankâ€™s guns can speak some more, softening up the targets before the squads make their move, and any that crash will either be surrounded by cover and hard to get to (comparatively) or are just too far away for any immediate retaliation. Then on the third turn the ensconced squads are set loose, the Dire Avengers can run towards their enemies, fire off a volley, then get stuck into some melee and rough it up a bit. At this the Dire Avengers will excel at, and will be one of the very few units who can do this and get so many shots out of it.
As for what the transport should be armed with, that all depends on your opponent. A good thing with the new edition is the fact that the Shuriken Cannon upgrade to your Catapults is worth something now, as you can shoot both it and the main weapon wherever you go, thus it is something I highly recommend for any vehicle. As for the main twin-linked weapon, people like to make the Shuriken Cannons for the fluffiness of it all, but I urge you not to do this if facing Marines. As fluffy as it is, it is fluffier that the tank be equipped with guns that will stop more Eldar from dying, even if it does lose its 'Shuriken' flavour somewhat. I believe that is what the Farseers would want.
The Exarch of a Dire Avenger squad is the lynchpin, if he goes, the squad will go -mainly due to the fact that he'll go in close combat and he's the only one good at it, but that's beside the point. Unfortunately due to the new rules the Exarch's Defend power becomes much less useful, not to say that it is entirely useless, if the only man left in the kill zone/squad is the Exarch then it comes into play, but besides that it is really a waste of twelve points. Distract however is now more pronounced and useful, even if you do have to be in base contact with the enemy to use it at least they can't hit you back.
The new edition also helps in that people cannot target your Exarch until everyone else is dead, allowing you to get your money's worth out of your power sword, which no Exarch should be without. If you have any spare points left that you don't know what to do with, you can upgrade this to a Dire sword if you want, but don't always take one if you feel that you won't get your points back out of it, it will be a rare day indeed you actually explode someone's head with one of these.
There are of course other ways to use the Dire Avengers in any given situation, besides the 'Stormin Norman' tactic given above, though it will probably be the most used version in the new rules, and it is a relatively effective use of them, allowing them to adequately support other units where necessary and throw themselves into it along with anyone else. Don't be fooled into thinking that Dire Avengers should be used purely in support of other units though, they are quite capable of holding their own and watching their own backs thanks to their Exarch, unlike other aspects.
Another way you could use Dire Avengers is as a counter strike squad in a shooty Eldar army. With as much firepower as these armies have, it is still inevitable that some squads of the enemy will contact your own in bloody melee fighting, upon which time you will probably be screwed, unless of course you have a squad backed up to deal with such a problem. Striking Scorpions are usually the ones held back, due to their high armour saves, but in my mind Dire Avengers now do the job better. Just stand back and wait for that squad to consolidate or whatever, then let fly with nineteen Shuriken Shots before charging with twenty two attacks, four of which being power weapon shots.
This squad is cheaper than a Scorpion squad for much the same effect, and if it is a bunch of Tyranids or Orks the Shuriken's AP will decimate them much more effectively than the Scorpions attacks would, and would also prove less risky for the warriors involved.
The other way you could use the Dire Avengers is to put them in a Falcon instead of a Wave Serpent. Though the Dire Avenger squad size is smaller, thus less durable, the Falcon makes up for this with its better survivability and firepower, which are both much better than the Wave Serpents. In this instance you would want your Avengers to take a back seat and let the Falcon do most of the talking before sending them in to finish off some already weakened squads. You could also deploy the Avenger squad on foot with a full squad and then wait until they get whittled down to start cruising them around in a Falcon; though this seems a bit wasteful.
The downside to this method of thinking is the fact that the Falcon takes up one of your Heavy Support slots, and if you'd rather do something else with these the Falcon would hamper things somewhat, but on the other hand at least the Falcon can claim table quarters, unlike a Wave Serpent.
Well that's it. Okay, it wasn't really that great of a tactica, it was more of a positive general overview of the Avengers than a really detailed tactical readout of exactly how to use them. But would that have been of any use? I am a firm believer in making up your own tactics to go with the battle; your best laid plans will fall apart as soon as the battle starts, and so all that is really needed is a point in the right direction, which I hope this article brings.
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