Zyekian here to bring you a run-down on the lesser-known jetbikes, Reavers.
Reavers aren’t often seen these days due to the headwinds Dark Eldar face in the current meta. Crafty players know though that Reavers can bring the pain where pain is due and can wield this unit to great effect. Read on for an in-depth look at Reaver jetbikes and how to get the most out of this swift and deadly unit on the battlefield. And be sure to check out Frontline Gaming’s Tactics Corner for more reviews and tips on how make your army hum!
Reavers bring quite a lot to the table for the reasonable cost of 16 points:
- 3-12 Reavers
- WS4, BS4, S4, T4, W1, A1, Ld8, Sv 5+
- Splinter Pistol, poison (4+)
- Close Combat Weapon
- Reaver Jetbike – a lightning-quick Eldar Jetbike with a 5+ armor save and a Splinter Rifle, poison (4+) with rapid fire
- Bladevanes. Wonderful, wonderful Bladevanes boost Hammer of Wrath hits to S4 and add the rending rule
- [conspicuous lack of assault grenades] – sigh…
- Combat Drugs, potentially very good but random
- Hit & Run
- Power From Pain – given that they’re T4 they can use FnP with some reliability
- Skilled Rider – 3+ jinks
For every three models in the unit, +10 points can swap in a special weapon. Both are viable options and serious threats to armor and infantry alike at a good price.
- Blaster, 18″, assault 1, S8, AP2, lance
- Heat Lances, 18″, assault 1, S6, AP1, lance, melta
Reavers can pick up an Arena Champion (sergeant) for +10 points, bringing an extra leadership point and CC attack to the table as well as the ability to take a special melee weapon. The points can add up quickly here and for that reason I would avoid taking a Champion unless the unit is six or more. At that point it becomes worth it to protect the point investment from zooming off the map.
The real meat here though is the most formidable weapon Reavers can posess, Cluster Caltrops. This fearsome weapon give the model D6 S6 hammer of wrath attacks with rending. This is critical because HoW attacks hit on I10, partially offsetting the unit’s lack of assault grenades. They hit first no matter what and they hit hard. Caltrops can be taken one per three models in a unit as a +15 point upgrade. This piece of wargear has so much damage potential and helps compensate for weaknesses so well that I recommend it in all Reaver units.
Reavers seek to get into assault ASAP while jinking at 3+ on the way in. And when they’re able to dart up, crack a transport, and assault the contents all in one turn, they’re golden. The volume of rending Hammer of Wrath hits threatens all sorts of targets while hit and run keeps them from getting bogged down.
Reavers probaly have the least impressive bike weapon in 40k. A non-TL poison gun doesn’t scare many armies but don’t underestimate its ability to sneak wounds onto high-toughness targets just prior to assaults.
A word about combat drugs, rolling the right drug really helps. The +1 toughness drug makes Reavers wonderful. Drugs that give bonuses to strength, attacks, and WS are all useful as well while +Ld protects the investment. The +1 initiative bonus is usually garbage and means you play with essentially no drugs. And of course Power from Pain gives FnP phasing in as the game goes on as well as furious charge on turn four. Once Reavers are able to pair S4 normal attacks with their hammer hits they’ll annihilate a lot of vehicles.
Reavers are typically taken in unit sizes of either three or six. Three-model units excel at taking objectives assisting in assaults, and sneaking in a lance attack on a flank. Six-bike units are full-fledged multi-role units in themselves and will serve almost any Dark Eldar list well. The Arena Champion starts becoming useful at this point just to keep the bikes on the map. Be prepared for six-Reaver units to become a serious target however.
What to Fear and When to Fear it
Despite their usefulness Reavers have some notable drawbacks. Their primary one has to do with the plethora of ignores cover in the current meta that will ignore every defense Reavers have unless Feel no Pain is running. Flamers and Thunderfire Cannons are death to this unit as are pretty much anything Tau. These vulnerabilities can be mitigated though by running several small units of Reavers; MSU is basically what Dark Eldar are going to be doing with their whole list anyway. The Realspace Raider detachment opens up half a dozen Fast Attack slots, perfect for swarming these units. Lastly, most seasoned players will rush with their Reavers and other assault units, allowing the opponent only a turn or two to act before receiving multiple charges. Applying pressure is key.
Some players place Reavers in reserve in order to bring them on once FnP is activated. This is an ill-advised strategy though since it takes pressure off the opponent who can then focus fire on the rest of the vulnerable army. The key with Reavers is to bring them into assault turn two or at least dictate the opponent’s attention by forcing them to deal with the threat.
Another limitation involves how tricky it can be to land every model in base-to-base contact during assault. Quite often a few will fail to make it sufficiently close for hammers and end up relying on a flurry of S3 attacks, not good. This is yet another reason to keep unit size small and agile.
As always, let us know your thoughts on Reavers in the comments section. And remember, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off, every day!