Thursday, February 25, 2010

E-mail In: Eldar War Walkers vs Dark Reapers

Silar of The Fallen Princes wrote in today asking about War Walkers versus Dark Reapers:

So I have an upcoming game and need your help with the math. So the choices in front of me are 2 eldar warwalkers with 4 scatter lasers at 120 or 3 reapers and exarch at 117 (no upgrades or weapon swaps). I'm fighting Spacemarines and would like to know which are better (for shooting and surviving)? Also there is a farseer with doom and guide floating around if that effects them?

Offensive stats aren't too difficult even though Doom & Guide certainly make it a little more complex. Here's the basics precepts going in:
a. Reapers have 4x shots at BS4 and the Exarch has 2x at BS5.
b. Reaper shots are S5 and AP3.
c. Walkers have 16x shots at BS3.
d. Walker shots are S6 and AP6.

Here's how things fall out when comparing full unit shooting:What does this tell us? That except when the target is basic Marines standing around with no cover saves, Scatter Walkers out perform Dark Reapers.

But then we get into a more nebulous area... durability. Here's the basic precepts I'm using:
a. Reapers have a 3+ Armour Save.
b. War Walkers are AV 10.
c. War Walkers are subject to Squadron rules. (If one dies, this goes away but I'm not computing the math for that... too many variables getting there.)
d. Numbers are for a single shot to avoid a seeming skew of the data.
e. Most Marines have the same BS, so the to-hit is not factored. We're looking at the effects of a shot that has already hit.

That gives us:Most weapons will have a comparable chance of killing a Dark Reaper as they will of doing some kind of Damage to the War Walker. However, even with a meltagun, the chance to actually Destroy the Walker is much lower. The Reapers have the advantage of being able to shoot even if the squad takes casualties. The War Walkers will likely be able to take more fire but won't put out offensive power if they do.

In the final analysis: War Walkers really are the superior choice. Not only are they better statistically, they also have the advantage of mobility. War Walkers can move & fire (a BIG thing in Dawn of War scenarios), Scout, and Outflank.
The only way I'd consider Reapers is if you're take the extra expense of giving the Exarch a Tempest Launcher and Crack Shot. At 147 points, this build is marginal but is at least does something useful for those players who really want Dark Reapers.

***Image is of Silar's great RT Pirate themed Eldar as seen here, hope he doesn't mind me using it!***


  1. Oh, I'm a huge fan of reapers, because most armies I face are marine oriented, and the fact that they ignore armor saves is priceless. That said, your suggestion here is predicated on an all-around solution, and based upon that logic, the walkers do prove to be the superior choice; however, the logic is based upon impartial information.

    I'm curious if your opinion would change if you found out he was also fielding 12 bright-lances? That's really more than enough AP2 and anti-mech to handle any load of tanks, at which point the ability to fell basic marines really becomes the point of this unit choice.

    I love dark reapers, and almost always take a squad--but I know why they're there: to kill marines. I don't waste shots on Terminators, or Tanks, or marines in cover (if I can avoid it). Other counterpoint units in my army are there to handle those things.

    Just a thought...

  2. Nope, that wouldn't change my opinion. Actually, that amount of S8 AP2 would make me more likely to suggest the Walkers, since the Marines would be likely to be hiding in tanks or cover. More AP threat wouldn't heighten the effect, but more rate of fire would help for winkling them out.

    Reapers are great... if you're facing Marines that aren't in tanks on a board without enough terrain. But in general they need more mobility and/or versatility of firepower to be worth such a high cost. The problem is just more pronounced and obvious when you're looking at them for an all-comers list.

    I can see taking them for theme, model preference, or non-tournament games... but my Reapers are low on the stack for ever getting painted. I have too many other things that I'll actually field at tournaments. Maybe when we get a new Eldar codex...

  3. Hey thanks for doing the maths for me. I thought walkers would be the slightly better choice, but people in my local group all seemed to think reapers are better.

    @warhammer39999 I wish I could afford to field that many bright lances, but sadly they would eat a huge chunk of my points up.

    Once again thanks for this and for linking it to my blog. It has been very helpful.

  4. This is a great general analysis, I like the charts and math you setup they look great. In your analysis of 3 Reapers vs 2 War Walkers that is some solid advice.

    It is a bit like comparing apples to oranges however as these two units have completely different strategies and a few more pos/neg than you listed at first glance. I agree with you that in general, War Walkers are better; points alone can prove this but Dark Reapers can still be good.

    War Walkers are vehicles so giving them cover saves is a chore and moving through difficult terrain is risky. The AV10 makes it easy to shut down for a turn with minimal effort. Medium fire will glance easy disabling shooting for a round or worse. Multi-Lasers, Assault Cannons, Heavy Bolters, Shuriken Cannons, etc will just ruin your day.

    Dark Reapers are all about controlling the movement and flow of the game. They are easy to hide, hard to deal with and will create a lot of pressure during your opponents movement phase. Setup on a building top or area terrain will give you a reliable 3+/4+ with a 48” movement controlling ability. Place an objective out in the open and directly into their fire lane and make them a huge threat. Then place a counterattack unit nearby and spread your opponent out a bit so the rest of your army can piecemeal theirs. The turn you drop some marines out of a vehicle the Reapers are standing by to drop the pain.

    It is up to you to decide how much of a threat Dark Reapers should be in your games. Make them a big enough problem and of course they will be put down, but the effort to do so will usually require flamer/flank and you now have forced your opponent to move where you want them to.

  5. @Silar: You're quite welcome on analysis and link.

    @dzer0: Mmm... nice reply and well thought out. Amusingly, during an early draft of my reply I used had the line "Comparing these units is not quite 'apples and oranges' and more 'apples and asian pears'. They seem similar from the outside and bounce off someone's skull the same, but are quite different if you want to eat them."
    You do raise good points about Reapers. 2 Reapers and an Exarch versus 2 Scatter Walkers? That's a "no contest" in my mind. Reapers in general? They certainly can work and work well.
    My problem are that I'm not willing to:
    a. Invest the points. You really need a full squad with Exarch and upgrades to pull that off. Better still is two such squads. I'd rather spend my points elsewhere.
    b. Tie down to a static firebase. I prefer mobility. Not saying it is intrinsically "better", just more my style.
    c. Rely on a decent table setup. That ideal area terrain with good lines of fire doesn't always happen...
    d. Rely on the mission. Reapers are great when they can setup in a good position. But Dawn of War throws them off the field and they can't fire when they enter. As this is often cover, they're taking difficult terrain tests too. Yeah, that frees them to Run to get where they need to be.
    e. Rely on the opponent. Almost all my games are in tournaments or tournament prep. So it isn't until shortly before the armies hit the field that I know what I'll be facing. Reapers are excellent for mowing down Marines or Necrons, are overkill for IG and Tau, and ineffective against mech lists until their rides are cracked open.
    So while they can be made to work and work well, I find there's just too many negatives to outweigh the benefits. I can achieve the same kind of movement and flow control with other units too. (Wanna see board control? Try Wraithguard some time...)

    Thanks for the excellent commentary!

  6. I have to side with Dverning on this one.

    Reapers are great at about one thing: killing marines in the open and necrons.

    Plus, most of the rest of the Eldar army excels at mobility, and if you use that you're potentially leaving them high and dry. It's why I'm not such a fan of War Walkers either, and would choose Vypers over the Walkers period.

    Also, as Walkers, they just move through difficult terrain as infantry. No real danger there. If you have grav tanks or something else in the back, you can look for cover as well.

    It's not that the Reapers can't kill, it's that you're limited in what you CAN kill, and if folks mech up (and most of them do) then, well, yeah.

    I disagree that they're hard to deal with, though. It's 4-5 guys with T3 and 3+ saves. Any army with some decent ranged firepower can divert some torrent and drop some wounds on them.

  7. This is possibly way out of context, but if the rumours surrounding the leaked BA codex are true, then Dark Reapers are really going to suffer.

    I can see the dreaded Storm Harbinger deepstriking in front of my Reapers and unloading assault marines straight into them, the turn it deepstrikes.

    That will certainly hurt...

  8. I should really learn to do my research before commiting to rants - it appears the Jury is still out on such rumours, in which case, ignore my post like the 3rd Jurassic Park movie!

  9. Im usually playing space wolves, choas or reg SM. Im happy fielding both.Irritateing them by wiping 1 to 2 squads in 1st turn. With the help of Eldrad i position him inbetween my DR and WW my DR i take 2 and an EX with tempist launcher and fastshot, so i can target units that arnt in line of sight, and still have 3 blasts @ AP3. My WW Ill take 3 (280pnts) and give them Starcannons that 12 shots with an ap2 really hits em even Logan. Have eldrad keep casting guide (giving them both re-rolls to hit) on both units and its pretty much my game after turn 2.
    DR are deplioed behind eldrad (due to 48range) and WW in front (36range). oh we did play on a smaller table