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Swooping Hawk musings ( 5ed tactics w/ Planetstrike )
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Old 23 Jun 2009, 04:28   #1 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Swooping Hawk musings ( 5ed tactics w/ Planetstrike )

Part One -

What's up with hawks in 5ed

I run a an Iyanden list with dual Wraithlords, Yriel, Farseer, Dire Avengers and of course, Wraithguard. So how do I use Swooping Hawks in this list? I love the models and I really like the idea of skyleaping in and out. But I'm told they are no longer as good in 5ed as they once were. I'm a bit of a hard head though. So I've been trying them out regardless. Despite their bad reputation in 5ed I wanted to see how they performed.

They are not entirely 'nerfed' in 5ed. Even in an Iyanden list ( if we overlook the fact that they are aspects seldom seen in such a list) they are good against Tyranids, Orks and IG that can give Iyanden trouble. Using a sunrifle and skyleap, you can pin squads and they can still damage tanks. Haywire grenades still pen on a 6. Swooping Hawks can contest.Now add Yriel to make sure the hawks enter play when you want. He is there to help reserve rolls and can be joined to a different squad. In the end you get decent tactics with a nice little blast-template whenever the yo-yo back and forth into the battle.

You might ask why they are not used more often. Well they cost 22 points and suffer from the Eldar weakness of low strength and specialized uitility. They are generally bad versus marines. They also take a little time to get to know. Even experienced players sometimes have difficulty using them to their best effect. That is a lot of points for jump infantry that are not very good in cc. Also those grenade packs blasts drift, and almost everything will get a save against them.

What are their strengths

Now having said all that, they are not useless against Meq armies. All you have to do is doom the unit they are going to shoot at and also drop their pie plate on the same unit unless it is really badly needed elsewhere. Also they can kill any tank no problem with their speed and haywire grenades. Eldar are specialists. Against anything but marines they will pretty much they're wounding on 4+ and they can get a ton of attacks in. Surprisingly, they are very good against other Eldar armies. Swooping Hawks are your rapid response squad.

So lets get down to the bottom line. Swooping Hawks are an excellent complement to an Iyanden list. They provide the harassment necessary to get the Wraithguard into position and they contest objectives well, late game. They also are great against Wratihguard's weakness - namely hordes. Hawks work best against light enemies and squadrons of tanks. This are targets we want to get to as our wraithwall advances.

A good Iyanden list has a mechanized wing as do many hybrid lists. This is where Swooping Hawks shine. They are great support on that wing. You can start them on the table. They have an effective 36" range ( 12" move, 24" weapon). Keep them out of sight if possible behind your skimmers tuen one and go to work turn two, firing and skyleaping.

What they have that we can use

Swooping Hawk Wings - All jump infantry can now deep strike if you wish to.
Grenade Launchers- These can be used each time you 'skyleap'
Fleet of Foot - although not designed for cc, they can get to vehicles with greater range
Haywire Grenades - they lost a bit in 5ed but they can still hunt tanks. Fly them forward into position, fleet and then assault that vehicle. Note that you cannot assault after a deep strike.
Sunrifle - On an Exarch this is the best weapon by far. It has the volume of fire and pinning ability to hurt
infantry.
Skyleap - This is their key ability. You can pull your Hawks out of combat or out of a dangerous situation when you need to. You then get to redeploy them the next turn and use the grenade packs again. This rubber banding technique is well known and rightly feared by Teq forces. It also allows you contest objectives in later turns. Golden.
Intercept - This gives the entire squad the ability to hit Vehicles in CC on a 4+ even against moving vehicles and skimmers. It can come in handy. I use my Hawks as an harassment anti-horde squad but still, Intercept is tempting and it is always on my squads so that I can target skimmers when needed.

So how do we best utilize them?

Rubberbanding ios a bit dangerous and unpredicrable but it is useful at times. Once we deepstrike in, drop the grenade packs. You can shoot when you deepstrike. Doom your target. Shoot your target. Remember that they will go down to heavy bolters, rapid fire bolters, and other anti-infantry weaponry. Try and avoid assault but id you need to assault dwindle down the squad you are attacking first. Rubber-band andf utilize cover well and stay out of assault range. A nice squad is eight Hawks, Exarch Upgrade, Sunrifle, Skyleap. This will give an adequate volume of fire which is what we are after with this squad.It is a unit designed to pour mass firepower into other units with poor armour and mediocre toughness and as a secondary application, to take out tanks.

Pros and Cons of Rubber Banding

Pros:
- Can target anything on the board when they enter play
- Able to DS and skyleap in the same turn
- Bolter strength pie plate
- Average 3 per 6 turn game if used each turn
- Enemy cannot kill your Hawks
- Disrupts enemy placement as they need to spread out their troops
- Excel at grabbing objectives in the late game
- Rough on Tau, IG, Nids, Orks

Cons:
- Might not come in from reserves until latter turns
- Will not kill many MEQs
- May get poor deep strike rolls
- Bolter strength pie plate
Quote:
Originally Posted by cykosis

Although it could be dangerous to sky leap on turn 5 and then random game length ends the game.
I use skyleap on my Hawks but I do not use it every turn. In fact I generally start my Hawks on the board and begin sky leaping turn three and four. With an Autarch in the list this improves my odds of arriving from reserve and helps protect them for that last turn objective contest.

Iyanden have a core of rock solid troops that Hawks can dependently fight around. A wraithwall can interpose itself between the enemy and the Hawks and provide a solid firebase. If you are going Iyanden it is worth trying out Hawks.

Quote:
Emlym
Quote:
They shouldn't be overlooked when it comes to stomping 5 model specialist units of Marines (Devastators, Combat Sqaud Heavy weapons, etc). They can muster a blistering 16 shots in just a 6 model unit. That alone will drop 1-2 Marines. Then they can charge for another Marine, maybe two. More importantly, they're tying up units that would threaten you with shooting. Thus they make great 'assassins'.
Just as an aside - IG is being played again and Ork hordes are everywhere. Hawks do very well against both. Consider that with sunrifle and lasblasters, the sheer amount of AP5 shots they can put out will scare a few guard players

also

Quote:
from scarface
Although swooping hawks can hurt like hell now, they absoloutly kill in planetstrike (haywire grenades and the ability to claim far -off objectives).
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Old 23 Jun 2009, 22:29   #2 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: Swooping Hawk musings

Excellent read!! Good thourough coverage on the stats and mechanics as well as going into great detail into their actual use in a list on the tabletop.

I personally have used and seen these guys used with success, however I feel these units are the extreme example of the eldar problem of mistakes on the Eldar generals fault being very unforgiving. (Most of) Our units are fragile and expensive.. in the hawks case extremely expensive. A bad deepstrike out into the open or to close to some nasties and you are almost guaranteed to lose this pricey unit. Yet at the same time If you baby them to much you'll never earn your points back. They can be used well however the risk involved always makes me second guess adding these units to an army list. I always ask myself.. is there a different eldar unit that can do what I want these hawks to do but better and/or cheaper?

With all this said it's worth mentioning that this unit isn't very beginner friendly as beginners are bound to make mistakes in the process of learning. This unit is arguably the least forgiving unit in the entire Eldar Codex in terms of making mistakes.

Also more directly tied to this post the one thing that makes me iffy about Hawks use in a Wraith Wall list is the hefty price tag. The cost of a Wraith Wall including the psychers is just under 400 points. This will lead to a low model count in the list which is ok in the Wraithguards case since the durability of the wraith wall more than makes up for it. However in the hawks case.. while already having high point models in the list.. I'm not sure if it's wise to add fragile high point models to an already expensive setup. However I'd be interested in hearing how play testing a list like this turns out.
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Old 24 Jun 2009, 00:46   #3 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Swooping Hawk musings

Part 2 -

In larger lists I play them with Yriel/Farseer, Harlequins, Wraithguard, DA in serpent, DAVU Falcon, SWOOPING HAWKS and Wraithlordsx2. It was 1750 points with 44 models on the table. Now all the non wraith units are difficult to get into assault, have transports or have abilities that can protect them. Although it would seem there are way too many glass cannons in the list but if you play with a little thought and focus it works quite well. I really enjoyed the addition of Hawks. Notice as well that I do not use Fire Dragons (I insert them at 2000+) but I handled AT duties pretty well.

So let's look at a list that incorporates Swooping Hawks;

Iyanden 1750

Yriel 155
Farseer Chaeli (Eldrad) 210

6 Harlequins 184
Kiss (6)
1 Shadowseer, Kiss

10 Wraithguard, 396
1 Spiritseer, Conceal

9 Dire Avengers 262
1 Exarch, Dual Avenger SCs, Bladestorm
1 Wave Serpent, Shuriken Cannon, Shuriken Catapult, Spirit Stones

5 Dire Avengers, 60
Falcon, BL, Spirit Stones, Holofield 190

5 Swooping Hawks 173
1 Exarch, Sunrifle, Intercept, Skyleap

Wraithlord, Scatterlaser, Wraithsword, 2x flamers 120

1750
Models: 44
KP: 10


Now I've been tempted to add another squad of Hawks and drop the Harlies but I would do so only in larger point games. The problem is that at 2000 points I want to use two squads of WG and that eats up the points. I will generally drop the serpent DA to accomodate those WG and then fit in the second Hawk squad.

There are not lot of extra upgrades in this list. It is not particularly strong on AT either. So those Hawks need to do their share of tank hunting. What the list accomplishes is adding some solutions for hordes that Iyanden traditionally lacks.

A note on Iyanden lists - we want units in Iyanden lists that are either rock solid and tough or that are very difficult to target. We do not want soft squads. So while DA, Hawks and Harlies are fragile they have abilities or transports that make them much tougher to take down.

Hawks can stay out of range of most weapons (or at least out of rapid fire range) because of their nasty 24" assault weapons. Swooping Hawks in many ways are used like jetbikes in a mechanized army. Except Swooping Hawks can land, drop their grenades and skyleap back up to safety in the same turn. They are not great at cc but they can assault up to 36" if need be. I almost always start them on the table and skyleap out turn two or three. With Yriel they will reappear quickly. Hawks can, if you cjhhoose, be nigh indestructible if you skyleap each turn.

Harlies with the Seer have Veil of Tears making them difficult to shoot at until they are ready to charge. I keep them behind and off near the flank so that that can either support the DA and Hawks or they can counter charge a unit trying to tar pit the wall. Not many units want to attack that wall though. Yriel generally accompanies these boys. This unit will make it into cc. The trick is to keep them alive after the attack. You want to be able to fall back behind cover when possible or use other squads to screen them.

DAs stay in their transports until needed ( DAVU never leave the transport). The serpent also acts as a bit of a hindrance preventing squads from getting to the DA in cc and my Hawks start on the table and follow the serpent up the flank. The DAVU are not going to be easy to take out and the serpent DA can head back to your deployment zone late game to take the home objective.

Iyanden is a tactically demanding army regardless of what you field. Hawks take some practice (I mentioned this briefly) but I think they are worth the effort to familiarize yourself with. It would seem almost counter intuitive to insert them in Iyanden lists but in fact it might be one of the better lists for their particular specialty. As part of your mechanized flank and supported by both DA and Harlies they shine.

I have focused heavily on their application in an Iyanden list. I have seen multiple squads of Hawks used well in hybrid lists as well. Against certain foes these Hawks, dropping multiple templates a turn can be quite devastating. In lists of 2000+ points Eldar can take some interesting support squads to back up the rubberbanding Hawk list.

I will say this - Warp Spiders have abilities that also help against hordes, can also target tanks and have a better save. They are easier to incorporate into a list for beginners and experienced players often will prefer them in tournament situations as they have a better save and are more forgiving. I prefer Hawks - yes, I said it, even though many Eldar players have veered away from them in 5ed.

Let us be honest about their effectiveness in 5ed as compared to 4ed too. Not being a scoring unit hurts. They can contest and I certainly use them to contest. I would rather have had them remain a scoring unit though. I still use them in groups of five or six as tank hunters but with the new vehicle rules glancing hits are not that good anymore. I send them after skimmers and tanks all the time but they are no longer guaranteed to cause damage.

It is worth mentioning that in my list I'm a little light on numbers for their anti-horde duties. Ideally I would want eight Hawks or more. After all, volume of fire is their strength. Still the grenade pack helps if it does not drift off target too much and the range of their rifles and their speed are still a great asset.

Weigh up all the pros and cons of Hawks before deciding to use them. I happen to love the models and this is game meant to be enjoyed. Learn their movement rules, be aware of how effective haywire grenades are in 5ed, familiarize yourself with the deep strike rules and always have an Autarch in your list if you use them.

I hope you enjoyed this small dissertation.

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Old 24 Jun 2009, 18:00   #4 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: Swooping Hawk musings ( Part Two now done )

I'm glad to see someone else toting the value of Swooping Hawks other than myself. Great write up!

As you mentioned, Swooping Hawks excel at utilizing mobility to take down GEQ infantry. Within your Iyanden army, they actually fill more of a niche than they would in an Alaitoc or Saim Hann force.

They shouldn't be overlooked when it comes to stomping 5 model specialist units of Marines (Devastators, Combat Sqaud Heavy weapons, etc). They can muster a blistering 16 shots in just a 6 model unit. That alone will drop 1-2 Marines. Then they can charge for another Marine, maybe two. More importantly, they're tying up units that would threaten you with shooting. Thus they make great 'assassins'.

I don't have a whole lot to add. You covered it nicely.
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Old 26 Jun 2009, 14:49   #5 (permalink)
Shas'La
 
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Default Re: Swooping Hawk musings ( 5ed tactics )

I know this is only semi on topic but for whatever reason I never see pic's of painted Hawks. I love the models, you wouldn't happen to have any picks of your swooping hawks?
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Old 26 Jun 2009, 17:03   #6 (permalink)
Shas'Saal
 
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Default Re: Swooping Hawk musings ( 5ed tactics )

Very helpful, one thing I noticed was in the cons

- Dangerous tactic after turn five as they can become easy kill points if they fail their reserve roll

Isn't it automatic now in 5th Edition to come on after turn 5?

Although it could be dangerous to sky leap on turn 5 and then random game length ends the game.
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Old 26 Jun 2009, 19:40   #7 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Swooping Hawk musings ( 5ed tactics )

Quote:
Originally Posted by cykosis
Very helpful, one thing I noticed was in the cons

- Dangerous tactic after turn five as they can become easy kill points if they fail their reserve roll

Isn't it automatic now in 5th Edition to come on after turn 5?

Although it could be dangerous to sky leap on turn 5 and then random game length ends the game.
I wrote it very poorly. What I meant to say is that you need a good roll on your deep strike and hope there is another turn to reposition your Hawks to claim the objective. Skyleaping out and relying on there being another turn is dangerous as you correctly point out.

I will edit the post - thank you
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Old 27 Jun 2009, 18:18   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Swooping Hawk musings ( 5ed tactics )

Although swooping hawks can hurt like hell now, they absoloutly kill in planetstrike (haywire grenades and the ability to claim far -off objectives). They also happen to be my favourite eldar models as well. Good luck with runnig your SH's in your list,

scar.
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Old 02 Jul 2009, 14:03   #9 (permalink)
Shas'Ui
 
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Default Re: Swooping Hawk musings ( 5ed tactics )

I almost wrote a part three on their uses in planetstrike but in the end I felt there was enough written already as it did not seem that it was catching much interest. I will add your comments to the thread though if you don't mind.
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Old 02 Jul 2009, 17:00   #10 (permalink)
Shas'O
 
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Default Re: Swooping Hawk musings ( 5ed tactics )

Here are some thoughts for Swooping Hawks now:

Intercept With the advent of toys like Valkyries and Vedettas, Land Speeders, or even Ork Trukks, we've got a decided use for these guys. Also, the fact is that any vehicle can move at Cruising Speed - which drastically increases the viability of Intercept.

Skyleap I think the value of this power went down a little in 5th edition. As I said in my previous tactica, I think you should always start with your Hawks on the board because you can always Skyleap on turn 1. But, I'm a little worried about spending all the points on the upgrade when you really want your Hawks either shooting infantry or assaulting vehicles.

Hawks Talon Now known as a "waste of points". It is a pretty powerful weapon against the spamming of T5 models (bikers, Ogryns, Plague Marines, etc), but, really, it's counterintuitive to the overall roll of the Swooping Hawks. It's not going to punch through armor any better. So if I'm shooting against T5 models, it helps. If I'm shooting against T4 models, Sunrifle is still better.

Sunrifle We all know that volume fire rules in 5th edition. Sunrifle is the ultimate volume fire weapon. With the Exarch's amazing BS, you'll hit 5 times with this weapon on average. It will completely rape Guardsmen...which is good. We need that.

Swooping Hawk Wings Now redundant. :-\ One of our many worthless rules.

Grenade Pack This is at best a mediocre weapon...really. It can be helpful against Orks, yes. But, honestly, I think you're better off with shooting. It can be dangerous to deep strike over and over with 5th edition rules.

[hr]
Overall, I think Swooping Hawks increased slightly in value in 5th edition. Their mobility is still their greatest asset. However, the fact that you can't totally block LOS anymore (or it's really hard now) makes it hard to hide them. They're damned if they do and damned if they don't. Swooping Hawks can be great in larger units. They can dish out tons of fire. However, the larger the unit, the more suceptable they can be. So finding that balance can be tricky.
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