Foul Xenos, start your engines! Mr.MoreTanks here to talk about the sleek and stylish Windrider Host. While these Windrider jetbikers may not be any Sons of Anarchy (man, that show started strong and just crashed and burned hard!), this formation really brings out the wild side to these space elves. Bad to the Wraithbone as they’d say. For more smart tactics articles and bad pop culture references, be sure to check out the Tactics Corner!
The formation requires quite a few units, all of which must be mounted on jetbikes, shockingly. A Farseer, Warlock Conclave, 3 Windrider squads, and a Vyper Squadron make up the formation. This does not come in cheap, these units that you’re required to bring are by and large all good though. The weakest part might be the Warlock Conclave, due to its high costs and limited access to any significant psychic powers. All of the rest of the formation though can work very well in concert with one another in order to achieve success on the battlefield. This formation is all about speed and firepower, which we all know are where these Eldar excel.
- Tempest of Blades, as long as the Farseer isn’t dead, once per game you can make all of the shuriken weapons from this formation gain the Shred special rule. Somewhat disappointing, as most of your units will likely have their catapults replaced by scatter lasers.
So the formation’s one special rule is unfortunately essentially useless. You’ll either be crazy or playing very casually if not every jetbike is packing a scatter laser. The other units that may be packing them get to benefit from MAYBE once during the game. Any who, we can sit here and complain about stuff, or we can talk about how to overcome it and get the best out of what we do have. Let’s break down what we’ve got.
So we rock units of the Windriders in sizes of 3-5, all with scatter lasers because we like to win. The essentially make it so that there isn’t a bad target for us to go after with these units. So long as they aren’t Toughness 8 or Armor Value 13+, the scatter lasers will pummel the enemy until they fold up thanks to the bucket loads of dice going into them. Its a simple strategy, but its a damn good one.
The Vypers are actually one unit that I think really doesn’t get enough credit in the codex. Cheap, speedy, and packing respectable firepower means these things can find a great role within the formation. Normally, my go to gun in this codex is the starcannon; but this time, I think you can make a strong argument for the brightlance. The Gladius is out there in droves, and while you can whittle away the hull points off a vehicle with scatter lasers, nailing a Rhino with a brightlance has a much better shot of killing it and can potentially kill the transport and prevent the opponent from gaining any cover. Either way, you can make a push for the starcannon or the brightlance. Just don’t buy another scatter laser or a shuriken cannon.
The Farseer is awesome, and really most players put them on the jetbike anyways, so the requirement to stick him on one isn’t something to worry about or hold against the formation. The real question is, what to do with it? The Farseer will function well as a buffing unit, and can find a happy home in any of the Windrider units. A word of warning though, you should probably purchase a larger unit of bikes, around 5 or so to stick him in. You wouldn’t want your expensive HQ unit to turn bike fin and run at the sight of one jetbike getting waxes, and believe me, they will.
The other option for the Farseer is the other required unit you’ll be taking, the Warlock Conclave alla Skyrunner. I’ve talked about the Warlocks at some length in another article, and their ability and function doesn’t change much in this formation. They’re good for bumping up the dice pool for the Farseer and maybe getting a bunch of powers that could potentially make the Conclave a respectable counter-assault unit. The Invulnerable Saves, witchblades, and powers from the Runes of Battle and even the potential of the Farseer to throw on some more goodies their way can make them have some teeth. You’d have to really dump some points into the unit and run maybe 7-8 of them, which is honestly, is most likely too many to be purchasing. You can try and make these guys a wanna be deathstar for counter assault, and that unit would certainly have a role lacking in the rest of the army; but, anything that would likely have the durability and speed to make it across the board and catch the jetbikes is probably able to shrug off nearly anything the Warlock Conclave and smash it apart in assault as well. So the alternative for the unit then is to pay as little for it as possible and try to find something useful for it to do every turn. Tagging a little vulnerable unit, something along those lines.
This formation can certainly find its place in the Warhost, but its not cheap, and will certainly eat up a large portion of your points. The speed of it though will certainly work well with the automatic 6 roll all of your Infantry will be getting. All of the bonuses though aren’t probably enough to make up for the units you’ll have to take and the unimpressive special rules you get with them. Long story short, if you want to run these units, use a Combined Arms Detachment. Objective Secured is a far better rule then maybe getting Shred on some guns which you’ll probably replace so long as your HQ choice is alive. Long story short, this formation is a really missed opportunity for the jetbikes to get something cool, not that they really needed help though.
Thanks for reading fellow gamers, tell us what you’re take on the Windrider Host formation is in the comments; and as always, may the dice be ever in your favor.