Eldar Review: Fast Attack: Swooping Hawks


Howdy fellow gamers, Mr.MoreTanks back to talk more about things in which I’ve got some moderately above average ideas.  Swooping down from the skies to blast the enemy into oblivion, Swooping Hawks match the synergy of speed and firepower  so prevalent in the Eldar’s Codex.  Able to threaten everything from ranks of infantry to heavy vehicles, Swooping Hawks have the tools to be considered in most every Eldar army.  Be sure to check the Tactics Corner for more great articles!


80 points nets you 5 Swooping Hawks, rocking the standard and respectable Eldar Aspect Warrior stat line.  The combination of Special Rules and Wargear make for a useful and formidable tool.  As Jump Infantry, Hawks have the speed and maneuverability to keep up with the common Eldar units like Jetbikes, Wraithknights, or Warp Spiders.  Additionally, having an abundance of Haywire is a great tool for cracking open vehicles.  While this isn’t necessarily something that the Eldar struggle with, the advantage of having a flexible unit that can threaten anything from a Rhino to an Imperial Knight is something that is worthwhile in and of itself.



  • Aspect Armor: 4+ armor
  • Lasblaster: Assault 3 means a lot of firepower, but Strength 3 and AP 5 are somewhat meh.
  • Haywire grenades which auto-glance any vehicle on a 2-5 and pen on a 6. Incredibly good, but the best part is that Wytches don’t get them. Nah, nah, nah, boo, boo!
  • Plasma grenades: Assault Grenades that do solid damage when throw, too, dope.
  • Grenade pack; handy little trick that let’s you drop a Strength 4, AP 4, Barrage Blast with Ignores Cover.  This attack is made in the Movement Phase as well if you Deep Strike in, so that lets us target something else in the Shooting Phase. If you take 6 or more models in the unit, it goes to large blast!
  • Swooping Hawk wings: makes us Jump Infantry and lets us move 18 inches.  It also lets us reenter Ongoing Reserves in the Movement Phase, which can be handy as we’ll discuss later.


  • Add up to 5 more Hawks for 16 points each.
  • Upgrade one to an Exarch for 10 more points.
  • The Exarch may exchange his lasblaster for the hawk’s talon for 10pts or the sun rifle for 15pts. He can also take a power weapon.

swooping hawk

Special Rules:

  • Ancient Doom, Hatred against Slaanesh, -1 Fear tests against those units.
  • Battle Focus, more speed options?  If you insist!
  • Fleet, can come into handy.
  • Intercept, each model in this unit that moves over a Flyer or Flying Monstrous Creature in the Movement phase gets a single Strength 4 AP 4 Haywire hit on a 4+, vehicles are hit on their side armor. This is ridiculously good! A unit of 6 will often destroy a 3 HP flyer in a single pass.
  • Herald of Victory, if the Exarch is in the unit when it Deep Strikes, it does not Scatter.  Pretty legit.


Swooping Hawks I think are one of the most under-appreciated and under-utilized Aspect Warriors in the game.  The harassing potential for this unit is nearly unmatched, especially late game.  The strength of the Swooping Hawks comes from their deployment and redeployment ability.  They’re able to strike at units that not only are often out of the way and difficult to harm, but can do so in a phase that its very rare for models to harm another with: the movement phase.  The ability of the Hawks to actually be a flexible threat in every phase (bar psychic) is something not to be underestimated. Dropping that Ignores Cover, AP4, Barrage, large blast will make a mess of light infantry.

I’d highly advocate adding the Exarch, Herald of Victory is soooo good for what you’ll want to be using these guys for.  The ability to not Scatter when Deep Striking is very useful, and considering we have the ability to Deep Strike multiple times throughout the game, that power will be invaluable.  We can essentially put this unit anywhere we want and lay into an isolated enemy unit.  Additionally, we can have two movement options the next turn that will dictate where we put the Hawks and what we send them after.  Dropping these guys within 24 inches of a Knight is an excellent option, especially if we can stick them out of line of sight from it.  Remember, they can move up to 18 inches in the Movement Phase and then have Fleet in order to make certain that they reach their target.  The turn they drop in, they can lay into an isolated unit with 15 shots from your lasblasters in addition to their Ignores Cover Grenade Packs.  You could upgrade the Exarch’s weapon, but honestly, I think you save the points and are better off adding in a couple more Hawks.  More lasblaster shots is always a good thing as well as haywire grenades, additionally having more bodies around the Exarch is crucial. Remember too, that the unit can run into cover after shooting the target unit! So good.

eldar swooping hawks 3

The Assault Phase is where I think you’ll see some real potential strengths of these guys.  I think these things can threaten Imperial Knights potentially better than Fire Dragons can in some ways.  The key point is the high Initiative of 5, as well as the WS 4.  Haywire grenades can carve up a Knight, and have the potential to finish it off before it even swings, especially considering you can lob one at the Knight before assaulting with your BS5 Exarch!  Your Hawks will have the speed to catch the Knight (or any vehicle) while staying far enough away from it that it can’t just roll through them.  The Hawks also can carve through and ding up multiple transports in a Battle Company.  Haywire is mean, and with the speed and mobility afforded to the Hawks lets them put it where they need it with their grenades. Their crazy speed also means first turn charges are 100% a possibility if your opponent deploys on the line.

You REALLY need to be careful against Tau with these guys or other Interceptor heavy armies.  Even a single Broadside can crush a unit of these.  It really doesn’t take too much to push a unit of Hawks off the board and back into your case, you need to make sure you’re placing these models carefully.  Grenade packs let you tag a unit even out of line of sight, so dropping in behind a big ruin or hill isn’t an issue. A good idea is to take aunit of 6+ to take advantage of the large blast you get at that unit size. The Exarch is nearly a must as well for the no scatter Deep Strike in addition to the extra wound he brings.

Where you will typically see these Aspect Warriors deployed will be in the Aspect Host formation which is an auxiliary choice in the War Host but is also often fielded on its own. The option to improve your BS or WS by +1 before each game is incredibly good. When facing targets like Imperial Knights, Soul Grinders, Dreadnaughts, etc. you take the WS+1 as it increases the number of Haywire hits you will get in melee. When facing most targets though, you will opt for the +1 BS for increased accuracy with their shooting weapons. When nested in the War Host, they gain Matchless Agility which gives them an automatic 6″ run! Wow, that makes an already fast unit stupid fast. Your opponent’s will be dumbfounded as you fly around the table with these guys.

In and out is the name of the game with these guys, pick your targets carefully, and you’ll achieve success with them.  Use your speed to threaten your opponent’s armor and vulnerable targets and you’ll be thrilled.  Keep the pressure on with the rest of your army and every time your Swooping Hawks skyleap onto the game winning objective on the last turn, you will thank Khaine you brought these bad boys along.  What are your thoughts gamers?  Can Swooping Hawks stay up to date with the meta? Tune in next week to see if our hero can get out of this one!

As always, share your thoughts in the comment section and remember, we here at Frontline Gaming sell Games Workshop products at up to 25% off, every day!



About Mr.MoreTanks

Lover of gaming, whiskey, steak, poker, and politics. T.O. of the http://tshftopen.com/ and http://cruisehammer.org/ events.

15 Responses to “Eldar Review: Fast Attack: Swooping Hawks”

  1. Reecius
    Reecius December 28, 2015 6:01 pm #

    Swooping Hakws are, no joke, one of the best units I have ever played in 40k. They are stupid good.

  2. Avatar
    abusepuppy December 28, 2015 7:05 pm #

    Two things to add: first off, you always want to add at least one Hawk to the squad, as with 6+ models their grenade attack becomes Large Blast rather than merely Blast. Second, while WS5 helps against Knights and Dreadnoughts, almost all Daemon Engines are WS3 or WS5, so it won’t do you any good there.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 29, 2015 9:56 am #

      The 6+ unit size is a must, I agree. Added it to the article.

  3. Avatar
    Colinsherlow December 28, 2015 10:44 pm #

    I absolutely love my Swooping Hawks. I wpuld say 6 hawks with an exarch is a must for the hawks. It is a rare game when they don’t pull their weight on the battlefield. They are a great utility unit that performs well in the AI and AT departments. On occasion the fly by on a flyer is very useful. I sometime hide them in a forgettable spot and spring on over the enemy flyers.

    • Avatar
      Colinsherlow December 28, 2015 10:50 pm #

      Mobility is definitely the best part about the hawks. They are great for grabbing objectives and maelstrom points. Which is perfect in the ITC format.

      I really think that they are underrated. They may need a little getting use to, but once you get used to how to manoeuvre them they will impress

      • Reecius
        Reecius December 29, 2015 9:57 am #

        For me, they are auto-include. So, so good and provide an answer to multiple problems: Knights, Flyers, Objective Grabbing, Barrage Weapons, etc. They’re incredibly good.

  4. Avatar
    Cavalier December 29, 2015 3:52 am #

    Absolutley love my Hawks. They are a nightmare for most armies. Armed to the teeth, capable of handlng flyers, knights, and are the bane of anything rocking a 4+ armor the turn the arrive they are without a doubt one of the best units in the Eldar codex. Mine have been absolute aces and earned a fearsome reputation with my opponents. Love these guys to death

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 29, 2015 9:57 am #

      Same here, they’re always one of my best units.

  5. Avatar
    Styro-J December 29, 2015 9:40 am #

    Hawks are one of my most useful units. Not only do they have a wide threat range and scoring capability, the Exarch throws out Blind checks that really help in many of my matches. Every little bit of incoming fore reduced bolsters my end game.

    • Avatar
      Cavalier December 30, 2015 3:37 am #

      Love the old “sun gun”. Whenever I have points I purchase it. Just one more thing to drive your opponents nuts lol

  6. Avatar
    Jmanj321 December 29, 2015 10:07 am #

    It should also be noted/corrected that intercept is a model rule, not a unit rule, so each model that moves over a flier gets a hit on 4+. So, in most cases it should be 6 (unit should be run at 6 man) attacks on 4+ not 1.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 29, 2015 10:21 am #

      Good catch, I missed that in editing. Will correct.

  7. Avatar
    fluger December 29, 2015 12:02 pm #

    3 units of 6 is a great Aspect Formation to run. Cheap(ish) for how nasty and versatile it is.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 29, 2015 12:12 pm #

      I’ve never run more than a single unit. You don’t find you get diminishing returns?

      • Avatar
        Nightman December 31, 2015 6:30 am #

        When playing against them, 1 unit seems to be enough.

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