Yeah, you might think you’re goth, but are you so goth you literally died and become a skull-face man who takes daytrips to Hell? Click to read the CA2018-compliant article, or check out the Tactics Corner for more reviews and strategies.
Maugan Ra, the Harvester of Souls, is the least-trusted of all the Phoenix Lords, for he embodies the death that comes on the battlefield from every place and angle. Not only does he wield weapons that even the other Eldar mistrust, but he hails from Altansar, a craftworld that was sucked deep into the warp many millennia ago during the Fall. Through unheard-of effort, Maugan Ra managed to snatch it and the souls of the Eldar aboard from the jaws of Chaos, returning them to the mortal realm, but there are many who wonder just how it was they could have survived for so long inside the ever-perilous Empyrean, and what bargains might have been made during that time…
Maugan Ra has a set of numbers that are pretty typical for a Phoenix Lord, and more generally for an HQ model in general. Strength and toughness four are a pip above other Craftworld models but standard for his kind, while movement 6″ is slightly slower than average (just like Dark Reapers.) Weapon skill and ballistic skill 2+ are pretty usual, as are six wounds and four attacks. His 2+ save does give him pretty decent protection, and at 140pts he comes at a not-unreasonable price point overall.
Special Rules and Wargear
Maugan Ra, as almost all other Craftworld models, comes with a couple generic special rules and some others more specific to him. Ancient Doom and Battle Focus, of course, are the standard pair- note that unlike Dark Reapers, Mr. Ra’s weapon is Assault and can thus make use of Battle Focus effectively. Like them, however, he ignores all penalties to hit when firing in the shooting phase thanks to his Inescapable Accuracy abilities. Better yet, you can fire his weapon twice (at the same or different targets) in each shooting phase, making his output a lot higher than might be assumed at first glance.
Maugan Ra also comes with not one but two reroll abilities, though one is a lot more limited than the other. The Harvester allows him and any Dark Reapers in his vicinity to reroll 1s to hit- and since their ballistic skill can’t be penalized, this makes for a very powerful ability even though it does overlap with the Reaper exarch ability. Maugan Ra himself can also reroll 1s to wound against Chaos units with his Legacy of Altansar ability; it’s not hugely powerful, but rerolls are always good and Chaos is about as common a keyword as you’re likely to see.
Maugan Ra’s weapon is a bit surprising in a lot of ways, but it’s hardly bad. It basically works as an upgraded Shuriken Cannon with a couple different fire modes and an inbuilt melee option; the two shooting modes are both S6 AP-1 and Dmg1, with 6s to wound improving to AP-3. One version is simply a torrent of fire, getting four shots per volley; the other gets only a single shot, but if it slays any models in the target unit it deals an additional d3 mortal wounds- potentially a really big upside. As we mentioned, both versions are Assault and thus allow you to move freely with them. When used in melee combat, the Maugetar is S6 AP-2 DmgD3, which is pretty respectable.
On the most superficial level, one might look at Maugan Ra and compare him to Fuegan, who I have previously spoken pretty unfavorably of. And they do share a lot in common- they have roughly equivalent melee and ranged weapons, similar abilities, and come in about the same cost. However, there are a number of factors that set Maugan Ra apart from his brother in arms and I think make him a lot more functional overall; I would rank him as a solidly effective army piece overall, rather than Fuegan’s “don’t even bother” rating.
The big one is the synergy of their abilities and weapon statlines. Maugan Ra carries a strictly-better Shuriken Cannon, getting an extra shot and point of AP over the normal version of the weapon; Fuegan, on the other hand, carries a weapon that is no better than the standard exarch’s gun, which wins him no points at all. Maugan Ra can fire his gun twice, a straight-up doubling of effectiveness during your turn; Fuegan gets no equivalent firepower upgrade from any of his abilities. Maugan Ra ignores all penalties when he shoots, making his attacks land virtually all the time in combination with his reroll aura. And, of course, Dark Reapers are a better unit than Fire Dragons are in general- though we shall see where things stand once the March FAQ drops, as it may or may not herald big shifts for Eldar and other factions.
So yes, Maugan Ra is a pretty solid backfield support character. If you’re taking a decent number of Dark Reapers (and you probably are), he provides a useful buff to them that helps them do their primary job better and can himself contribute some firepower to the battle as well- though his gun is pretty much exclusively geared towards killing infantry, which can sometimes be a bit annoying. Having a nice little melee beater near your shooting units is also handy, as it can deter weaker assault units or intervene to cut them down if they do go in for the charge. While you shouldn’t expect him to solo any large squads, cutting down 2ish Marines per turn is well within his capabilities, and that can be the end of a unit fairly quickly in many cases.
Maugan Ra can also be surprisingly mobile when needed; while it’s easy to think of him as Big Daddy Reaper, he is actually pretty speedy on the ground. Though he is slightly slower than other Craftworlds characters (due to M6″), he can still cover ~10″ of ground on an average turn, which is more than most people will expect. While he might spend most of the game sitting back with his creepy goth friends, don’t be afraid to send him skipping up the table to claim an objective, shoot from a better vantage point, or otherwise get some use out of his speed- the 6″ bubble on his aura is pretty big and it’s not too hard to string out one or two models to stay inside it, even when he moves away.
One question I’ve seen a number of people run into and not really be able to make a good decision on is his gun- and this isn’t surprising, as it’s actually quite a complicated calculus as to which of the two modes is more effective against a given target. However, there are some decent rules of thumb you can abide by that will get you through things fairly well. Against Guardsmen, shoot the Shuriken (i.e. multishot) profile; against Marines, shoot the Shrieker (i.e. single-shot) profile, especially if they are in cover. Against any multiwound target, shoot the Shuriken as well, as you are unlikely to get the trigger from the Shrieker. Of course, other factors can influence the decision as well- Shrieker becomes less useful if they have an invuln save or if you are more concerned about causing at least some casualties; it is much more unreliable than the Shuriken is. If you’re not sure, your best bet is probably to fire the Shuriken version- it’s at somewhere between passable and great against most all infantry, so it’s hard to go wrong with it.
All things considered, Maugan Ra does probably fall to the same comparisons that Fuegan does- because at the end of the day, there is little he can do that an Autarch won’t do for a similar price and with greater flexibility as well as speed. While Maugan Ra isn’t completely without his niche- he excels at downing the infantry of other Craftworlds, for example, as well as anyone else that relies on penalties to hit (such as Alpha Legion, etc)- he simply doesn’t fight in the same weight class as an Autarch does and his abilities largely overlap with them. I don’t think he is unique enough to be climbing into the top tables anytime particularly soon, but you’ll probably see him wandering around local tournaments and casual games pretty regularly, and that is about the power level you should expect from him.
From across the table, Magun Ra doesn’t do anything really shocking or noteworthy. While he can chew up a fair number of infantry models with his shooting, it’s not a lot beyond what you would expect from a shooting unit of his cost; even his reroll aura is common enough that few players will be surprised by it, as almost every faction has something similar (and usually more broad-reaching in terms of the models it affects.) In that sense, there’s not a strong need to counter him in most cases.
However, he is still a threat, and not a trivial one. Unlike a lot of shooty characters he comes with a pretty reasonable melee statline, so just tossing a unit of Scouts or Guardsmen into him isn’t really going to cut the mustard; lacking an invuln, however, and with a weapon that is merely acceptable, he really isn’t in a position to be taking on “real” melee units or characters- and that’s probably the direction you should go. A character with a Thunder Hammer will make pretty short work of him, as will any kind of squad with multidamage weapons on its members; as he also lacks Fly or any similar exception for backing out of combat, once a charge goes off against him he’s basically stuck in there until the thing finishes. Remember that he only gets to fire his gun twice during the shooting phase, not during overwatch- so you’re facing down four shots when you charge him, not eight.
A solidly middle-tier character, Maugan Ra is neither exceptionally scary nor underwhelmingly bad. We shouldn’t be too disappointed about this- power levels in a game will always vary somewhat and it is inevitable that some options won’t rank as highly as others. what we really care about is how options stack up against each other overall- and in that regard, we can call Maugan Ra something of a success story, because even while he is outclassed by the Autarch, it is not to such an extreme degree that we should be stunned by or it that they will present radically different profiles on the tabletop.
As always, remember that you can get your wargaming supplies from the Frontline Gaming store at great discounts every day, whether you’re looking to start a new army or expand an existing one.