Post-Chapter Appproved 2018- The Hornet

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.

If you are interested in more Aeldari discussion check out our podcast: Splintermind for exclusive Drukharii and all things Aeldari news and discussion. If you are interested in following my painting exploits check me out on Instagram! Thanks for reading and stay tuned!


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About Cavalier

Commission Painter for Frontline Gaming + Co-Host of the Splintermind: The Dark Eldar Podcast

9 Responses to “Post-Chapter Appproved 2018- The Hornet”

  1. Avatar
    abusepuppy February 1, 2019 6:38 am #

    I’m not sure why you would so much favor the Hornet Pulse Laser over the Starcannon when they have virtually identical profiles and the Starcannon is half the price. Yes, fixed damage is nice and the extra 12″ of range doesn’t hurt, but when you’re paying that much more for it? I just can’t see the argument. And sure, a Crimson Hunter Exarch is a better way to bring Starcannons… but the Hunter is just a better vehicle than the Hornet in general, so that’s not really specific to the weapon loadout.

    • Avatar
      Cavalier February 1, 2019 8:02 am #

      Its the range, 3 shots as opposed to 2 and a flat 2 dmg as opposed to d3. The Hornet is fragile, having it hang back at 48″ in the corner of the board using terrain to cut it off from return fire keeps it in the game longer.

      If I’m gonna take starcannons I’d rather take it on a Crimson Hunter which can be closer and have less to worry about in terms of return fire.

      • Avatar
        Cavalier February 1, 2019 8:11 am #

        With 48″ it also means I probably wont have to move it either meaning I dont have to sacrifice accuracy either

      • Avatar
        abusepuppy February 1, 2019 4:57 pm #

        Ah, I see. You listed the Hornet Pulse Laser as Heavy 2, which was what was confusing me.

        • Avatar
          Cavalier February 1, 2019 7:18 pm #

          My bad. Good catch man. Yeah the 3 shots is sweet

  2. Avatar
    Kdash February 6, 2019 6:48 am #

    Personally, I can see a place for Shuriken Cannon, Vectored Engines, Spirit Stone Hornets, at 100 points apiece. Sure, their output might not be the best there is, but superfast units with minus -2 to -4 to hit, really does up the amount of work they can do in a game. A unit of 2 or 3 isn’t overly expensive and a reasonable unit to guide if you want to go down that route.

    My problem with the Pulse Laser is that you’re not moving, are 10 points more expensive and are less durable. This doesn’t sync up with the Hornets abilities as well. The way I see it, if I want a backfield unit doing 6, str 6+ shots for 110 points, I’ll take a Night Spinner to ignore LoS, 3 Dark Reapers or 2 Starcannon War Walkers.

    Another point, in favour of a mobile Hornet squad, is that they can act as pretty decent mid-field screens for your Farseers and Warlocks, whilst being super mobile and a tough target to shoot for a lot of armies. Nothing like 2 squads of 2, -3 to hit vehicles protecting characters and helping you claim recon every turn whilst putting dents in screens/msu units.

    • Avatar
      abusepuppy February 6, 2019 9:50 am #

      I had looked at the Shuriken/Vector version- it’s insanely difficult to hit with shooting attacks, but that runs you into two really big problems. One, so what? Just staying alive isn’t actually accomplishing anything, and the firepower it puts out is paltry at best- no one is impressed when you kill two Guardsmen. Second, a Wave Serpent is only a little bit more expensive and does a much better job; while it might not get that extra -1 to hit, the -1 damage more than makes up for it, as do the extra wounds and firepower. And a Serpent doesn’t suffer as badly from going second, which can be a big problem.

      I don’t think the Pulse Laser is great, either, but I think you can make a solid argument in favor of taking it because it’s the only unique thing the Hornet really has going for it. If you really, really want that mid-range high-AP firepower, the Hornet is not a bad place to get it- but if you want a tough tank, a Serpent is better than a Hornet every time.

      • Avatar
        Kdash February 7, 2019 2:26 am #

        On the flip side, I’d argue that staying alive is achieving something – especially when it comes to ITC points. My view on this is simple.
        If you cannot reliably kill 32 T6, 3+ 6+++, -3 to hit wounds, then the following happens. I likely hold or contest 2 midfield/backfield/non-deployment zone objectives. I have 2 units reliably ensuring I’m 50% of the way to getting recon every turn, and, that I’m likely also picking up Behind Enemy Lines points, should I take that option.
        This simply allows me to deny my opponent any potential advantage in regards to holding objectives for bonus points – even potentially giving myself the advantage (unless they are running horde troop – which then opens up other options), whilst also giving me reliable ways to score and max out secondaries.
        Also, by removing them as an “easy killable” shooting target, it forces my opponent to put the vast amount of their firepower into killing each model, giving me the potential advantage in regards to the kill more primary.
        Of course, melee units can, and will still provide a good amount of threat to them, but that is the case anyway for a lot of Eldar units.
        As for horde style lists, then, chances are a base -1 to hit is more than enough, allowing that increase from hitting on 4’s, back to 3’s on 6 str 6 shots a model. Sure, it’s not going to table your opponent, but the wounds add up over time and provide more than enough when the rest of the army is taken into account.

        Going second, is, something to be potentially concerned about, I agree. However, with the continuously improving “state of the table” in terms of terrain and rules, I’d remain relatively confident of being able to deploy out of/in restricted los.

        Another weapon option to consider, is the AML. Maxwell Koch went 4/1 at the LCO last month using 9 AML Hornets with Crystal Targeting Matrix. Now, I’m not 100% sure what he went up against, but as those 9 took up a large chunk of his points, there seems to be some merit to spamming Hornets again.

        • Avatar
          abusepuppy February 7, 2019 2:51 am #

          The thing is, you’re only super-resilient to _shoot_ firepower. There are lots and lots of melee armies that can crush you easily in the assault phase, and most other armies will be able to put three models on an objective (or a single troop model) to steal it out from under you. I don’t think you can actually say that you will be reliably controlling two objectives with those two units of Horents- and at nearly 400pts between them, that seems like a fairly horrible investment to not even meet your stated goal against a lot of armies.

          >Also, by removing them as an “easy killable” shooting target, it forces my opponent to put the vast amount of their firepower into killing each model

          Is every other model in your list just as tough as the Hornets? Because if not, they’re just gonna direct their firepower elsewhere instead. If you’re not hurting them with the Hornets’ shooting and you’re not reliably able to take objectives, why do they care whether the Hornets are alive or dead?

          I did notice Maxwell’s list, and it’s.. an interesting beast, but I don’t think i would take that single instance as a sign that Hornets are coming back. I would be curious to hear his thoughts on why he ran them, but at the surface level I don’t find myself particularly impressed- the EML seems to compare poorly to the Pulse Laser overall, though it does have a slightly higher output against vehicles.

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