Craftworlds Codex Review: Heavy Support: Lynx

Not the Panther or the Puma or the mystical Catamount, but the Lynx! A not-very-good weapons platform from a faction that should know better! Click to read on, or check out the Tactics Corner for more reviews and strategies.

Overview

The Lynx is a heavy grav tank, one of an intermediate class between the more common battle-line units such as the Fire Prism or Falcon and the titan-killers such as the Cobra. It is a relatively rare design, one mostly only seen in ancient armories and old paintings, at least until recently; with Craftworld Mymeara making its return to the galaxy the vehicle has gotten a resurgence, however, and though it’s still uncommon it is not wholly unheard of anymore, either. The Lynx seems to be something of a compromise design, intended to carry the heaviest possible of weapons on a chassis that could not normally maintain such firepower, but by making a number of compromises the designers were able to manage to do so- albeit with a number of downsides.

The Lynx has a bit of an unusual statline, being neither quite in line with “standard” vehicles such as the Predator/Hammerhead/etc nor “heavy” vehicles like the Gorkanaut or Land Raider. Toughness seven and a 3+ armor save definitely incline it more towards the former than the latter, but sixteen wounds puts it well above what most common vehicles in the game have, so it’s something of an odd duck in that regard. Ballistic skill 3+ is pretty standard for an Eldar vehicle, while the rest of its numbers for close combat and whatnot are virtually irrelevant (WS6+, three attacks, etc.) The most unusual part about it, however, its is movement value, which has two separate characteristics- either 16″ or 60″, depending on which mode it is operating in- though of course both of these degrade as the vehicle takes damage, as normal. At 335pts with its basic equipment, the Lynx is an extremely expensive unit, almost unmanagably so, though it does have some merits.

Special Abilities and Wargear

A Lynx comes with a couple of abilities, some of which are fairly expected. Hover Tank allows you to measure to the hull instead of the base for most purposes, which is almost universal among these kinds of vehicles, and Explodes is likewise pretty identical (6″, d3 wounds) to the version that is commonly seen on almost every other unit of its size. The unusual candidate here is Sky Hunter, which allows it to switch between two different operating modes; normally it works exactly like other skimmer-type vehicles, having a standard movement value and no special limitations. At the start of its movement phase, however, the Lynx can switch to flyer mode and act in the same way as a flyer does- making a single pivot of ninety degrees and then moving in a straight line as well as being unable to be charged by units without the Fly keyword. However, unlike other flyers the Lynx does not have an innate -1 hit penalty against shooting, which makes it a lot more vulnerable than the more common variety.

A Lynx comes with two weapons, a main gun and an underslung mount. The underslung is fairly standard- it starts as a Shuriken Cannon but can be exchanged for any of the other Craftworlds heavy weapons at the usual cost, with the Starcannon (+3pts) and Scatter Laser (-3pts) being the standout options. The main gun comes as a Lynx Pulsar, which is theoretically a downsized version of the Pulsar found on the superheavy vehicles- however, it doesn’t come anywhere near equaling them in numbers and is actually a bit sad. It can fire on two modes, Saturation Mode (48″ S7 AP-3 DmgD3 Heavy 2D3) for hitting lighter targets or Salvo Mode (36″ S12 AP-4 DmgD6 Heavy 2) for larger ones. Unfortunately neither version is terribly appealing in most cases, though Saturation ends up being better against the vast majority of targets. Still, it’s a very underwhelming weapon all things considered- two Lascannons strapped together, basically, which is not what you want for a 300+pt vehicle.

The other option is the Sonic Lance, which is actually pretty good overall. Although only an 18″ range, with the Lynx’s high movement this isn’t a big problem- and with 3d6 autohits at AP-3, it will put a hurting on most things. It lacks a strength value completely, instead wounding all Infantry on a 2+ and all other models on a 4+, which allows it to clear out whole squads of troops with ease (especially heavily-armored ones, or those relying on hit penalties) while also being able to do reasonable damage to larger targets. The downside, though, is the cost- upgrading to the Sonic Lance as of the latest Chapter Approved is a 60pt tax, which comes on top of an already-expensive vehicle to become almost absurd in total price.

Lastly, a Lynx can take a pick from the various add-ons available to Craftworld vehicles; Spirit Stones (for 6+ FNP) or Crystal Targeting Matrix (to ignore the heavy penalty against the closest target) are both decent options and don’t add too much to your price tag, comparatively. Neither are particularly required, however, especially depending on your choice of craftworld.

Uses

The Lynx is… not good. Or more properly I should say the Lynx is not good for how much it costs; if it were 100pts cheaper it would definitely see some use, but of course that’s true of most units out there. But the reality is that if a vehicle is to cost more than three hundred points, it needs to have an invuln and probably some other special defense as well- because otherwise some random Knight or Shadowsword will glance at you and make your expensive-but-fragile target vanish off the board in a puff of smoke.

This is especially problematic for the Lynx because it is so very fragile- it’s got about 50% more wounds than a normal tank does, but costs far, far more than 50% more than even the most expensive of those vehicles, coming in at more like two to three times the price. And while it can benefit from the Alaitoc trait in order to get a -1, unlike some of the other options it can’t stack this with anything to generate a “real” layer of defense. And with a middling armor save and no invuln, once hits actually start landing the Lynx will come apart very quickly- even if you assume cover, it just can’t take any significant amount of fire from the enemy’s big guns.

Now, this might be forgivable if it had a truly horrific damage output, but the Lynx Pulsar is a sad excuse for an anti-tank weapon. The regular Pulsar can annihilate most vehicles in a single go, barring some lucky invulns, but the Lynx’s version is unlikely even the most fragile of units in a single volley- it doesn’t even kill a Scout Sentinel on average dice. So that option is a complete joke and can be thrown out the window instantly; the Sonic Lance is at least a much more respectable weapon, but the massive price hike it got recently means that the chassis clocks in at nearly 400pts total, which is ludicrous for something that has sixteen wounds and a 3+ save.

So from any kind of competitive standpoint, the Lynx can simply be thrown in the garbage- it dies quickly, as it will have to expose itself to enemy fire immediately even if you get the first turn, and it most certainly won’t get enough kills in to justify its inclusion before the enemy sends it down in flames. Casual players probably won’t be very happy with it, either- it consumes a huge chunk of your army and has a very gimmicky, counterintuitive set of rules and a gun that scoops up handfuls of infantry, which will immediately make it the target for all sorts of return fire. It is, in short, a vehicle that virtually no one will be happy with, which is a shame because it’s kind of a neat model.

Countering

If you’re facing the Pulsar version, just laugh; it will spend the whole game trying to kill one or two vehicles and probably failing. If it’s the Sonic Lance variant, walk your dudes slightly forward so that they are within 12″ of it (which is easy when it has to get within 18″ of you) and shoot at it, since you’ll be doing so at no penalty and against a target with weak defensive stats.

Final Thoughts

Forge World has a lot of units that they screw up, and the Lynx is one of the worst examples of this lot. More so than all of the underwhelming characters with no special abilities or the weird variants of tanks with a gun that is a sidegrade from the usual one but that costs 20-30pts more, the Lynx is really just hot garbage. It doesn’t do the job it’s supposed to and it costs a huge number of points, which means you can’t even slip it in as a “well this unit is just for funsies” inclusion in an army, because its cost dictates that it be a major feature of your force no matter what you want. It sadly is going to be on the shelf in any but the most absurd of games, at least until that distant future day where the FW units receive a rules update and are brought in line with the rest of the game.

As always, remember that you can get your wargaming supplies at great discounts from the Frontline Gaming store every day, whether you’re looking to expand an existing 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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