One of the unholy terror’s of 7th edition has become something of an obscurity in 8th. With points reductions it has become much more interesting, but is it worth it? Lets discuss after the jump. For more great list ideas and tactics, articles, check out the Tactics Corner.
So in 7th edition the Hornet was a nightmare. Taken in squadrons they would usually arrive out of reserves and just annihilate everything in their path. Those days are thankfully gone because it was ridiculous.
The Hornet in 8th ed. is a Movement 16, BS 3+, T6 gun platform. It also has a handy little rule where if it Advances opponents are -1 to hit. It can pick and mix the following weapons
- Aeldari Missile Launcher- Good versatile weapon that can pair well with some Stratagems to get some mortal wound output and a nice long range its an ok choice for the Hornet. A tad too expensive for my tastes though.
- Bright Lance- Its always good to get lances into your army, but you are probably better off with other options. Its expensive for just 1 or 2 shots at 36″ range, if you are deployed to avoid LOS, or just positioned badly and you have to move for any reason, the reduced accuracy, the fragile platform all combine for a mediocre to bad option IMO. If you want Lance fire look to the Crimson Hunter Exarch or call on your friendly neighborhood Drukhari for help in that department.
- Star Cannon- Great tool, but the inaccuracy medium range of the weapon on a somewhat fragile platform make this a no-go for me. Pulse Lasers offer you the same tools with more reliable damage output and longer range. Again the Crimson Hunter Exarch is the better option for Star Cannons.
- Shuriken Cannon- A solid choice for those looking to take advantage of the Lightning Strike special rule which grants Hornets a -1 to hit after advancing. With Vectored Engines and taken in an Alaitoc detachment Hornets with Shuriken Cannons become -3 to hit which is crazy. However you are now hitting on 4’s with Shuriken Cannons with 6 shuriken cannon shots per Hornet. Its a decent option but for my money the damage output just isnt there and investing multiple Hornets to make a bigger dent with this tactic is not worth it for me.
- Scatter Laser- A decent fire support option, as Scatter Lasers are really cheap, but I prefer War Walkers in this role as they can come off the board edges and bring the same kind of fire power. If you are thinking about taking Scatter Lasers you might as well take Shuriken Cannons and try and exploit the penalties to hit IMO.
- Hornet Pulse Laser- Save the best for last. The Hornet Pulse Laser at Heavy 3 Str 6 AP-3 Dmg 2 is really solid. At dmg 2 its a threat to vehicles even though it’ll wounding most on 5’s. But against T6 and lower infantry and bikes this thing can be a bit of a terror. It can really threaten Primaris, Nurgle and even Custodes type units. When the beta rules for bolters drop I really expect to see Marines and in particular Primaris really take a spike in popularity (Marine bikes as well) and the Hornet Pulse Laser can make very short of work all those type of units. Its range at 48″ meshes well with any Craftworld (or Ynnari) but especially Alaitoc, its volume of shots even make it a decent target for Guide or even just a nearby Autarch’s re-rolls. To me the Hornet Pulse Laser is the clear winner, especially at only 5 pts more than a Bright Lance.
So in my opinion its really a two choice thing Shuriken Cannons for cheeky harassing tactics, or Pulse Lasers for backfield fire support. In a harassing role with Shuriken Cannons it can take advantage of its ridiculous 16″ + Advance movement to zip around being a nuisance and perhaps even assaulting units later in the game. I dont find this all that appealing though for the reasons I stated above. The Shuriken Cannon is a middling weapon IMO and if I want to make a real impact I’d have to take multiple Hornets with this build. For just 2 Hornets with Vectored Engines you are spending around 180pts to do so is just not worth it for me. We are talking 5 man Reaper squads at that point but hey if you have a plan and want to its certainly an elusive unit that you can get some mileage out of, but to me its not really that attractive of a choice.
The Pulse Laser, backfield fire support role is the one that I go for and I’ve had very good success with in games since Chapter Approved. The Str 6 is a bit awkward especially for those used to 7th edition Hornets, but man it is brutal on infantry. I like taking just a single Hornet and just have it prey on infantry at range. When taken in Alaitoc the -1 to hit, tends to make it get ignored most of the time, with bigger threats such as Crimson Hunters, Dark Reapers etc. roaming the field. Its sort of like a more static Ravager with Disintegrators albeit without Writ of the Living Muse to really make it shine. While it may not be the heavy hitter that a Ravager can be, its volume of shots, range, small visual foot print make it a great support unit that can pummel infantry, act as a serious threat to T6 monsters (such as Daemon Princes without great invuln saves) or act as the closer against vehicles in a pinch with its -3 AP and DMG 2. However if the Beta Bolter rules really take the world by storm, dont forget about the Hornet because it can annihilate Primaris marines and regular Marines very easily and at range.
Overall I’d rate the Hornet as a good support unit that has high upside. I’d give it a solid B. Not quite as useful as the Warp Hunter but a good contributor that can help give your Eldar army a little flexible long range shooting.
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