You know you've done it: fallen in love with a unit, struck by an epiphany as you flipped through your codex for the God-only-knows-how-many time. We all of us spend more time thinking about gaming than actually doing so, and this leads to some interesting speculative diversions as we come up with all these scenarios that will bear out whatever story we're currently, lovingly crafting in our heads about just how well said unit is going to perform.
So it goes without saying it's often a surprise when the gaming table doesn't reciprocate the love and whatever uber-unit you're invested in goes tumbling off the pedestal to lay among the other hopes and dreams you've all but given up on ever achieving and... WHY GOD WHY?!
Case in point, Herr Fernseher and his sterling defense of Swooping Hawks.
I feel funny defending the Hawks so much, because I can’t make them work either. I just wish someone would, because I think IF they can connect to their target, then they are competitive with other options in the Eldar army list.
And here is the crux of it: our good man Mr. Television can't make the unit work but is convinced someone should be able to! Paradigms are a trap: you must shake off your illusions and mistakes and move on.
Don't worry, I'm not picking on Herr Fernseher. I know him personally and he's got a first-class mind - more importantly maybe, he's not afraid to be criticized. On the contrary, I love his passionate defense - there's a lesson in there to. The conversations were good and certainly worth working through if you're someone who wants to understand more about Eldar. There are available in the comments sections of recent articles, specifically HERE.
To close this off though, I'm going to answer the question for him in a way I believe he'll appreciate. Here's the short answer, cutting to the heart of the problem. It's twofold.
1) Army creation is problem-solving; when adding anti-mech in a list, it is important to plan for destroying a tank, not shaking it. Hawks can reliably stop a tank from shooting, but that's beside the point. Solve the equation.
2) The Eldar cannot afford to throw units away. If you get lucky and penetrate then destroy a tank, there's a good chance Hawks will die from the explosion. There is a better chance the occupants of said tank will climb out of the rubble and kick the crap out of you.
Close combat is the second best way to destroy a tank. These points, while Swooping Hawk specific, apply to any army. If you have a problem in your list somewhere, simplify then solve it.
All this said... all these words spoken, Herr Fernseher, and I'll let you in on a secret. The Master Manipulator (every store needs one) and I both, on more than one occasion over the years, have tried and failed to make Swooping Hawks work. That's not a bad reason to leave them at home, is it?
A sighting of the infamous Goatboy... his eyes really are red...