Craftworlds Codex Review: Fast Attack: Wasp Assault Walker

Great leaping… insects? Wait, wasps fly, not leap. And Wasps can fly, but their flying is jumping, so… er… well, this didn’t quite work out as smoothly as planned. Click below to read on, or check out the Tactics Corner for more reviews and strategies.

Overview

More so than even the War Walker on which it is based, the Wasp is intended as a light recon and skirmishing unit- it is designed to range across the battlefield, obliterating any isolated enemy units it encounters while still remaining quick enough to flee from anything that outguns it. The bipedal design (as well as the added jump jets) provide it with unparalleled maneuverability across all types of terrain; not only can it “leap” over obstacles in the same way a skimmer can, but it can pass through tight terrain like a walker, maneuvering in the close quarters of ravines or cityscapes without worry. Wasps are especially favored by the Corsair fleets, as they can be deployed via low-altitude drops from a Vampire Raider to circumvent static defenses and clear landing zones for the main body of the fleet.

The Wasp’s statline is pretty close to that of its cousin, but there are a few small differences. A 10″ move is a very nice starting place, especially since they benefit from the Fly keyword- this latter part is a major distinction between the two, as it allows the Wasp a lot more mobility and the ability to pull out of combats it doesn’t want to be part of. Weapon and ballistic skill 3+ are pretty standard to Eldar units and give the Wasp a solid starting place overall; strength five and two attacks are pretty mediocre, though, so don’t expect it to get anything done in melee. Toughness six is actually pretty respectable for a unit of its size, and with seven wounds (one more than the War Walker) it is relatively resilient (although in ITC missions this does mean it’s vulnerable to Big Game Hunter, which is rather awkward.) 4+ armor, although not exciting, serves reasonably well and is about what we can expect from a chassis like this. At a base price of 75pts, and with squads of up to three models, the Wasp is fairly respectable little vehicle, although not so exciting that you’ll want to run out and buy a set of them.

Special Abilities and Wargear

Like most Craftworlds units, Wasp Assault Walkers come with several standard special rules- Ancient Doom gives them rerolls to hit in combat against Slaanesh (though you really shouldn’t be getting into these fights), and Battle Focus lets you advance and shoot with non-heavy weapons at no penalty (though it is limited use given the Wasp’s weapon selection.)

Beyond that, Wasps come with Power Field for a 5+ invulnerable save as well as Explodes for a chance at  a single mortal wound when they are destroyed. They also have Cloudstrike, which gives them an innate ability to go into reserves and arrive in the standard fashion, which is actually pretty nice given their general battlefield role.

Each Wasp comes armed with a pair of Shuriken Cannons (24″ S6 AP0 Assault 3 rolls of 6 are AP-3), which is a fairly decent weapon that meshes well with its other abilities. These can be swapped out for any of the usual variety of Craftworlds heavy weapons, most notably Scatter Lasers (36″ S6 AP0 Heavy 4) at a 3pt discount per gun or Starcannons (36″ S6 AP-3 DmgD3 Heavy 2) for a 3pt premium. Unfortunately, anything other than the basic loadout loses the use of Battle Focus, but since you can get some pretty nice stat upgrades they are worth at least considering.

Uses

The Wasp is very, very similar to the War Walker and should really be looked at as an upgrade/alternative to it, given how close they are. Since it comes in the Fast Attack slot it does function a little bit differently- it might be better to compare it to the Vyper, which falls in the same slot and is also armed rather similarly, not to mention sharing the Fly keyword. Looked at from that perspective, the Wasp is probably a fairly marginal vehicle overall. Although its main armament is certainly superior to the Vyper’s, it lacks the speed of that chassis and is significantly more expensive (75pts vs 52pts) while only gaining a pip of toughness and a wound in the bargain. It does carry the 5++, but with a weaker armor save, that is probably something of a sidegrade, since the most threatening weapons to these sorts of vehicles tend to be the mid-range guns such as Autocannons that have weak AP values to start with.

If you really want to mount two heavy weapons on a light vehicle, the Wasp does do that, which can be a useful advantage. Kitted with Scatter Lasers, for example, it comes in at 69 points (nice) and puts out quite a lot of S6 firepower overall, enough to harass the enemy’s lighter units n a pretty obnoxious fashion, and can do so at a longer range than a Vyper (which caps at 24″) while having most of the same advantages. In this setup it’s not too terribly much more than the Vyper (69pts vs 60pts for the double-Cannon skimmer) and has some advantages in toughness, so we can call it a reasonable option there. Double-Starcannon is unfortunately a lot more at 81pts, but you are getting four AP-3 shots per turn, which isn’t the worst thing in the world and could potentially see some use, especially since you do benefit from the Alaitoc trait and a 5++ to protect you.

The main question is whether the Wasp’s presence in the FA slot and Fly keyword give it enough advantages over the basic War Walker- you’re paying 15pts more for a vehicle that is otherwise basically identical, and on a cheap unit like that it makes a significant difference. Now, Fly is admittedly a really good keyword to have and not only allows you to get out of combat for free, but also to do it even when tri-pointed; it even gives you access to Lightning Fast Reflexes, if for some reason you really wanna waste that on a stupid little walker! but whether it’s worth a 25% price increase on your vehicle is definitely debatable, especially because you usually want to be sitting back at as close to 36″ as possible and hitting them with your guns without retaliation.

All things considered, the Wasp is not a terrible option to have available to the codex, but neither is it anything ground-breaking; with its statline and armament being so close to two other vehicles from the same codex, it really struggles to find itself a niche. It does have the potential for a spot, and since it’s not actually priced too horribly it’s hardly impossible that you will see it in a list, but I wouldn’t expect it to make waves anytime soon.

Countering

The Wasp’s big weakness is a pretty fundamental one- it has a weak armor save and not that many wounds. With 4+/5++, even basic weapons like Bolters will wear it down without too much trouble if you have to do that- and similarly, if you get into combat with it your basic dudes’ punches can do a surprising amount of damage, although you certainly shouldn’t count on that. Weapons like Autocannons and Missile Launchers will be more reliable options, forcing it to rely on the invuln save and pushing through significant damage on each failure. At the end of the day, a Wasp is a harassment unit, designed to deal enough damage to be worth noticing while being tougher to kill than is worth dedicating effort to- and that means you need to assess whether you have the guns that can efficiently deal with it without losing significant firepower on other, more important targets. If you do- great, vaporize that stupid little thing. If you don’t, just ignore it and soak up the plink damage it will put on your units while you clear out the rest of the army. And if the opponent moves it in to take an objective or do some other important job? That just makes your target priority even simpler.

Final Thoughts

The Wasp probably sits where most Forge World units would ideally be: cheap enough to be usable, but not so much so that they overwhelm their codex counterparts and with enough tweaks to make them distinct. FW units don’t need to be all-stars (as that just breeds resentment and eventual nerfs into oblivion, as evidenced by the Malefic Lord and Alphabet Soup), but it’s nice when they aren’t so bad that taking them is an active liability in your army.

As always, remember that you can order your wargaming supplies at great discounts every day from the Frontline Gaming store, whether you’re looking to expand your current army or start a new one.

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AbusePuppy is the one who has been ruining 40K for everyone this whole time. He is also searching for the six-fingered man and is one of the three people who know the secret recipe for coke (not the soda, the illegal drug.)

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