Hey Everyone Clover362 here to bring you a review about the other incredible troop choice in the Eldar Codex, Dire Avengers. Scatterbikes (Windrider Jetbikes) might get all the attention, but an army built around a core of Dire Avengers will bring you plenty of glory in your games of 40k. For more reviews and tactics articles, or to just help raise your game, make sure to check out Frontline Gaming’s Tactics Corner.
So why do I love me some Dire Avengers? Simple, they have all the elements that make a basic troop choice good, and Special Rules and access to some formation buffs that make them incredible.
From a stat line perspective Dire Avengers are solid. They rock the standard aspect warrior stat line while still being troops (WS/BS 4 S/T 3, A1, LD 9 and a 4+ save). Dire avengers are also nice and affordable. A unit of 5 clocks in at 65 points and can increased to 10 for a total of 130 points. You can upgrade one model to an Exarch for 10 points. So for 130 points you get a unit that is fast on foot thanks to the Eldar universal special rules, puts out a lot of shooting that can threaten any non vehicle, and they have good enough armor so basic Bolters and Thunderfire cannons won’t obliterate them.
- Aspect armor: It’s nice to have a 4+ save. This makes them much more survivable than Guardians.
- Avenger Shuriken Catapult: This is what makes the unit a gem. This is an 18″ range S4 Ap5 Bladestorm assault 2 weapon. By the numbers, a unit of 10 will do just under 7 wounds a volley against a Marin stat-line 2 of which will be Ap2. That is decent and with the ability to pump up the volume of shots and Ballistic skill with formation special rules you get a unit that can really start laying the hurt.
- Plasma Grenades: It’s nice that if you are in a pinch and have to charge something at least you will get to swing first more often than not. Also, they’re not bad on the offense, thrown. Remember to throw your grenades!
- Ancient doom: Hatred against Slaanesh and -1 to fear checks caused by Slaanesh, nice and fluffy but not to relevant.
- Battle Focus: being able to run and then shoot or shoot and then run extends their shooting range and gives them good mobility without sacrificing their offensive contribution.
- Fleet: it’s nice to re-roll battle focus run rolls if you are not getting the automatic 6″ as part of a War Host.
- Defense Tactics: when chosen as the target of an assault you can choose to either overwatch at BS 2 or gain the counter-attack and stubborn special Rule. This is really good. This gives you so much tactical flexibility to essentially choose to tie up a unit in close combat with stubborn on a LD 9 unit. BS 2 over watch will also more like then not kill a marine or two before the charge in which can prevent someone from making a charge.
- Battle Fortune (Exarch only)- This gives your Exarch a 4+ invulnerable save. Not amazing on a T3 2W model but it does allow him to survive a bit in a challenge if necessary.
Potential Formation Buffs
Dire avengers can be taken in two auxiliary formations to the Eldar War Host or as stand alone formations. If taken as part of the Eldar War host in addition to the formation buffs your dire avengers will automatically run 6″ which with battle focus you effectively have increased your range shooting to 30″. The first formation is the Aspect Host which can include 1-3 units of dire avengers though each unit must upgrade a model to an Exarch. In an Aspect Host you can choose to increase their BS or WS by 1 and re-failed moral pinning or fear checks. The Other option is the Dire Avenger Shrine which is composed of 3 units of Dire Avengers, only one of which can include an Exarch. In a Dire Avenger Shrine all squads are BS5, can re-roll failed moral, pinning and fear checks, and once per game can turn their Avenger Shuriken catapults from Assault 2 to Assault 3. That is a devastating amount of fire power. For reference your squad of 10 Dire Avengers would on average kill a squad of terminators in one volley. Insanely good.
So how should you run your Dire Avengers? Honestly, I don’t think there is a bad way to run them. As a basic troop choice in a CAD they are excellent. You can throw them in a Wave Serpent and you have a highly mobile relatively resilient ObSec. troop choice that is potentially dangerous to any non-vehicle within 24″ of them. If taken as part of a War Host, Dire Avenger Shrine, or Aspect Host formation, I would ditch the Wave Serpent. Dire Avengers are fast enough on their own with fleet, battle focus, and/or unmatched agility that I don’t think you should spend the extra points on the Wave Serpent. In theses formations Dire Avengers are cheap enough that I would still take full squads to maximize the buffs. Then march them around the board and watch as they do more and more wounds to your opponent who likely has his hands full dealing with the rest of your Eldar army.
They are especially good vs. things like Monstrous and Gargantuan Creatures where Bladestorm really shows its strength. As they auto wound on a 6+ and ignore armor, they can shred things that are normally largely immune to small arms fire. Combo this with Killing Strike in the Dire Avenger Shrine formation and you could have 90, BS 5 shots! That will simply melt any toughness based models that don’t have some sort of enhanced defense such as a reroll save, etc.
For the points, you really get an exceptional unit. Game Workshop hit it out of the park with this unit, how rare is that?
As always, let us know your thoughts and tactics with Dire Avengers in the comments section. And remember, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off, every day!