This specialist detachment has largely flown under the radar (pun intended: yuck, yuck!) and I can see why. At this point in time most players aren’t too hot on either Scions or Valkyries, but I am here to tell you there’s a lot to like in this detachment.
- Competitive: This is a codex entry (unit, stratagem, item, etc.) that has a place in essentially any competitive list built with this faction regardless of unit choices or is the source of a significant force multiplication effect for other units.
- Efficient: This is a codex entry that can stand on its own merit in a matched play list but works best when combo’d up with other units or in specific situations to become very powerful but may not always be seen.
- Situational: This is a codex entry that may not pass as competitive on its own merits but can be made effective in a creative list, as a meta-buster, or in a specific combo or scenario where it ratchets up in power to potentially very high strength but otherwise will not be seen very often.
First of all, what does it do? Let’s take a look.
- For 1CP, you give all Tempestus and Valkyries in the detachment the Drop Force keyword.
- This opens up the ability to take the Grav-chute Commando Warlord Trait which you will definitely want to use. And remember, you can always unlock it by using the Field Commander strat. It’s pretty obviously awesome, giving you +1 to hit for units that disembarked from a Drop Force Valkyrie that turn and are within 6″ of the model with the trait. But, let’s dive in a bit as to why it’s so bad ass. For one, hitting on 2’s in most cases is great! But further, it means Plasma weapons cannot overheat in most instances and further, it triggers the Tempestus Regimental Doctrine: Storm Troopers, gives you an extra shot on a hit roll of 5+. So, you can quite easily generate a lot of extra shots with that combo, triggering the ability on a 5+. This with things like First Rank, Second Rank can get pretty bonkers. Competitive.
- You also get access to the relic, the Cypra Mundi Null Emitter which is really good when it is applicable. It nullifies any psychic power cast on the bearer on a 2+ which means if you find yourself playing say, a Smite spam army, you put this brave bastard out front and let him soak them all up. But, that’s not always going to happen and not easy to pull off, either. Something to keep in mind. Situational.
- Lastly, you get access to two stratagems, both of which are pretty cool.
- The first, Precision Drop is 1CP and allows you to drop all of the units in a Valkyrie Grav-chute out and forgo the D6 check to see if they die, regardless of how far the Valkyrie moved. This means you can go potentially 45″, drop out 2 units and 2 characters, or even 3 units Command Squads, and no worry about taking any casualties. This gives you MASSIVE range and allows you to get within range to double tap the 18″ Hotshot weapons or even throw grenades, which we will talk about in a bit. If it’s turn 2+, you can even drop in Officers normally to support units coming out of the Valks. Competitive.
- The second, Aerial Fire Support is also 1CP and pretty cool, although nothing to blow your hair back or anything. It allows a Drop Force Valkyrie to overwatch for a Drop Force infantry unit as if it were the target of the charge, and always hits on 4’s. It’s not always going to be relevant, and not always the right call but it could help you avoid casualties in melee or to discourage your opponent from charging in with a wimpy unit to just tie you up in combat. The Valkyrie doesn’t have amazing firepower so it’s not going to be a go to part of your strategy but it’s cool and can be good in the right circumstances. Efficient.
NOTE: the April, 2019 FAQ that came out alters some of how this works, so please read that and be aware that some of the tactics would adjust to accommodate this.
So how do you use all of this? Let’s look!
We already covered the awesomeness of Grav-chute Commando + Storm Troopers. Even better though, is when you toss Elimination Protocols Sanctioned–the Tempestus unique order–into the mix. This order allows you to re-roll failed wound rolls when firing on Vehicles or Monsters. That is awesome! So, you can have a unit of say, 4 plasma gunners in a Tempestus Command Squad fly 45″ across the table, drop out, double tap 8 Plasma shots hitting on 2’s, no chance of overheating in most cases, and triggering extra shots on a 5+ with full re-rolls to wound vs a Monster or Vehicle!
When you consider you can fit 3 of those units in a single Valk that is 24 shots, with an average of 8 more bonus shots, for an average of 27 hits! Against a T7 target, you are going to land an average of 24 wounds (potentially 48 damage), lol. Against a Knight that’s an average of 20 wounds through which if they only have a 5++ is going to result in 27 damage dealt! That’s pretty devastating.
Now, that’s one extreme of it and often you aren’t going to be taking 3 Command Squads, but even the regular Scion units are awesome in this load-out. Give them 2 Plasma Guns and a Plasma Pistol on the sarge and you’ve got 63% of the damage output with a lower cost investment with ablative wounds and a Troop unit, too. A judicious mix of the Primes, Scions and Command Squads to fill out a Brigade and get maximum punch per point is the goal. A good mix in my mind is 3 of each which gives you a Battalion, 3 Primes to issue 6 orders (with their Rod of Command wargear) and 3 Command Squads for maximum damage output, not all of which necessarily have to ride in the Valks. Some can just Deep Strike normally.
Another fun unit I have put to good use with these combos is the 10 man unit of Scions. They ability to disembark from a Valk within double tap range for them is really strong in conjunction with FRF,SRF and the +1 to hit from the WL trait noted above. You get an average of 43 AP-2 hits out of them which is very strong for a 90pt unit. You can count on them just mulching most screen units. Alternatively, you can use the Grenadiers stratagem to huck 10 Krak Grenades on something which with the re-roll wounds order is BRUTAL! You will really catch people off guard with that combo. And again, if you use the combos above to hit on 2″s and trigger additional grenades on a 5+ it gets beefy in a hurry without investing in wargear for them.
The Valkyrie itself is underrated. It’s not an all-star by any means, but for a mere 121pts you get a decent chassis with T7, 14 wounds, -1 to be hit, high speed and decent firepower. The Multi-laser and Multiple Rocket Pods (which remember, are assault weapons!) aren’t going to set the world on fire but they can help finish off weakened units and plink away at screens, etc. They’re not there to kill anything really, they’re their to deliver their payload and then go by annoying by taking objectives and win earning missions points. In ITC missions for example, they rock at getting board control secondaries like Behind Enemy Lines, Recon, etc. Also, they’re tough enough that it will take more than just a casual effort to remove them from play which the more fire they draw the better for everything else in your army.
So there you have it! Some fun ideas to perhaps inspire you to give an underused detachment another look as it is quite good. What do you think about the Tempestus Drop Force?
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