Today we’re looking at the stand-up boys in the pointy eared pirate’s troops section: the Corsair Reaver Band. Check the Tactics Corner for more great content!
Izdrakh gazed down at the swirling clouds below, the stars above, and the blackness between, before jumping from the cargo bay after his Felarch.
Within moments the Vampire Raider was gone again, holo-fields cloaking its after-burners against the velvet black, a trail of Reavers descending into the atmosphere like a cloud of dancing insects.
Identifying the target bunker, a motley blob of grey rapidly approaching, stubby anti-aircraft weapons protruding from each corner, Izdrakh adjusted his wings to land just next to its sunken door, and gripped a grenade in each fist.
Raucous bands of disorganized, “rank and file” space pirates, Reavers are your ordinary 50-year old Craftworld teenager looking for some real space action before realizing that the salaried job under Farseer Yriesil was a much better deal. Down and out, these guys need to make some cash catching slaves and selling them at markup, so let’s get down to business and see what they’re about. At one point over an Eldar Guardian, Reavers are just that: Guardians rocking classic Eldar WS/BS4 and Initiative 5 with S3, T3 and 5+ armour. That extra point over Guardians buys you blind grenades and the option to take a lasblaster, splinter rifle, or brace of pistols for basic loadout. They can take shuriken catapults as well, but why? Brace of pistols shoots the same as a catapult and also gives the option to shoot poision and grants an additional attack in close combat. Sweet! Personally I always go with brace of pistols, as the double-tap with Bladestorm at 12” plus additional attacks in close combat always seem so nice.
Lasblasters are another decent option, standing off and shooting at 24” with 3x s3 shots. Not bad if shooting out of a Venom or as a cheap backfield unit, but don’t expect miracles.
The upgrade options are where Reavers really shine: Jetpacks at 5pts/model, providing that crucial 4+ armour save, Deep Strike, and mobility. And Reavers have access to 2x special weapons per 5 models, a choice of flamers, fusion guns, blasters, or shredders, which can provide a lot of punch.
In terms of special rules, Reavers come with the two Corsair standard rules: Reckless Abandon and Dancing on the Blade’s Edge. Reckless Abandon allows them to move after shooting targets within 12″, a very useful rule, especially with jetpacks bumping it up to 6+D6″. Dancing on the Blade’s Edge is the rule where Corsair units essentially suffer -3 Leadership after failing a morale check. Typically this drops Reaver leadership down to 5, making successful Regroups unlikely. For your core objective secured troops, this rule hurts.
The main tactic with Reavers jumps right off the page – 5x jetpack pirates dropping out of the sky with 2x flamers or 2x fusion guns, coming in danger close and burninating the Mon Keigh, then getting 3D6+6” out of dodge thanks to Reckless Abandon and Jetpack thrust moves. These guys can definitely can do some work.
This strategy of course works best in the Corsair Fleet Raiding Detachment as a Sky Burners Coterie, re-rolling failed Reserves and rolling just D6” for Deep Strike scatters. Just watch out for Interceptor, as literally any firearms will eviscerate this unit if given the chance.
Tactics-wise, Reavers excel at taking out high-value armoured targets on the drop, scooting behind LOS-blocking terrain, then coming back with shuriken pistols and plasma grenades to maraud infantry, but don’t expect miracles at that point. Fortunately this is where Reavers and Corsair Cloud Dancer jetbikes pair so well, as the splinter cannons and scatter lasers easily do the rest. It is very tempting to load up a Sky Burners Coterie with 3x 5 fusion Reavers for just 300pts, then double up with a second Corsairs detachment of all scatter laser jetbikes in a second Sky Burners Coterie, and let the burninating begin.
Also due to the Dancing on the Blade’s Edge leadership issues, it is definitely worth considering 5 more points to take a Felarch sergeant for Ld9/6. This also brings a unit of 5x Reavers with jetpacks and 2x fusion guns to an even 100pts, which is a thing of beauty.
Putting aside the low-orbit base jumping strategy, when not equipped with jetpacks Reavers are able to take either a Corsair Venom or Corsair Falcon as dedicated transport. Both of these come with slight alterations from their parent codices, most importantly gaining Scout, which opens up several juicy options.
First, you can always go the Venom spam route, taking 6x 5 Reavers with lasblasters for the ranged firepower, maybe some blasters, mounted in 6x dual splinter cannon Venoms. Compared to True Kin Venomspam army, Corsairs are able to pull a lot more deployment shenanigans thanks to Scout and Outflank — deploy aggressively then scoot backwards 12″ out of range or vice versa. On Hammer & Anvil the Corsair Venoms can all Outflank and keep the opponent guessing for 2 turns before arriving en masse from the edges. All good options. Sadly Corsair Venoms do not have Flickerfields, making them somewhat less “survivable”, but Venoms were never that survivable anyway.
Second, you can go the AV12 spam route, packing as many objective secured, Deep Striking, Outflanking Falcons into your list as will fit in a carry case. Falcons come with pulse lasers – 48” s8 ap2 heavy 2 lasers – as well as shuriken cannons, splinter cannons, or a scatter laser, so they can put a solid amount of firepower downfield for 135pts, and as dedicated transports they benefit from ObSec too. Taking advantage of Scout to shift in and out of range before turn 1 or use Outflank, the Falcon flotilla has some really nice flexibility, and in a Sky Burners detachment it may be worth the 5 extra points to pick up Void Burners to give your Falcons Deep Strike. If you like mechanized Eldar lists, this is the way to go.
Reavers are required to have 6+ models in order to purchase a Falcon for some reason, meaning you do pay a 10-point tax per Falcon so do watch out for that. This also means that if Reavers want to ride their transports, you are unable to join any characters to these units, which is a bit annoying.
Aside from jetpack drop-shotting, the pirate flotilla, or just 5 naked Reavers in the backfield, there is a final option that I’ve been tempted to play in fun games – the Troll-dar blob. This involves 20x Reavers with jetpacks, brace of pistols, 8x fusion guns or flamers, haywire grenades, a Felarch with 2x dissonance pistols (+20pts), and a Void Dreamer with shimmershield and another 2x dissonance pistols. Lastly, give the whole unit Rage for 4x attacks apiece on the charge, and the ability to shoot and assault different units after some Rum Slingshot action.
Dropping out of the sky with D6” scatter, or better yet teleporting across the table with Warp Tunnel, this unit can lay down some shooty at 12”, and can be pretty slippery thanks to Reckless Abandon and jetpack repositioning shenanigans, followed by a further 6+D6” Reckless move after Overwatch if anyone tries to charge them. With stackloads of fusion, haywire, and 4 dissonance shots (12” s5 ap4, gets +1s -1ap for each 6 to hit), they can go after armour, then multi-assault and tie up the remnants. Great unit for a themed list, but not exactly meta-busting.
Overall, Reavers are slightly overpriced given their painful leadership situation, but 5pts for a Ld9 Felarch is very reasonable and there are definitely some viable options here. 100pts for a little fusion bomb that can skitter around the board hiding is not too bad. While it is a bit irritating that Reavers cannot take any ranged heavy weapons like they used to, at the same time this does seem to suit their fluff and their aesthetic better, and now the army has Balestrike Bands for that. If Reavers were a tad cheaper and could take a Falcon at just 5 models, I could see them being a much more compelling choice. As it stands you can field Reavers and feel OK about that life choice, I give them a B.
As Izdrakh’s feet were about to touch the ground, a fusion gun spewed forth from his right, slagging the bunker’s door into a molten tragedy. He threw his grenades through the gaping maw, and again alighted to skim through the air towards the next installation before the defence force knew what was happening.
Above, the fire trails of the Baron’s flotilla began their eerie scrawls, heralding a tortured existence in Comorragh for any colonists unlucky enough to be caught by the raiding party.
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