Fire Dragons

So, following up on the Eldar post yesterday, here's a few thoughts on Fire Dragons... what's not to love?

Okay, it's pretty standard 'play-to-win' knowledge: every good Eldar army has to have at least two Fire Dragons squads, arguably three.  Where I differ is the unit size.  Current thought is 5 in a Wave Serpent for a 'Suicide-Stop' tactic - but I'm not digging anything for Eldar that includes includes the word 'suicide.'  Here's my basic thoughts, without a lot of explanation.

If you're going with 5-man squads, you'd better have 3 units.  Waveserpents are a must - Falcons for Dragons is a tactic that's long past.  This is the route my buddy Gauthic is going.  He's also outfitting his Serpents with Shuriken Cannons; this is the most cost-effective outfitting, given you're going to get close to the enemy for the drop-off.

Fritz advocates, and I believe this to be true, that 6-man Dragon squads are the optimal size.  If you don't already know, and if you're reading this I'm sure do, Fritz is the man for Eldar online.

Where I differ is my advocacy for 10-man Fire Dragon Squads, complete with Exarch and Dragon's Breath Flamer.  Yes, it's a pricey squad, but consider.  People think nothing of maxing out squads of Marines, or Orks, or so-on.  Then it gets to Eldar... and cost becomes an issue.  I understand.  The idea is Wave Serpents are expensive, so to keep up with the mech of other 'dexes, you have to cut your costs.  My problem with this is the concepts of durability and utility.

My Dragons - pardon the flash of my camera.  The idea of my Altansar is red armor for the Guardians and Black for the Aspects.  I broke the 'black' rule for the Dire Avengers, which irritates me when I look at them but I don't want to repaint the squad.  Anyway, I painted an orange-helm unit and a yellow-helm unit for my two, maxed out Fire Dragons squad.  I was fine with this, but once I stepped back and looked at the army I didn't feel the paint scheme worked.  Too many disparate colors.  Anyway, I'm repainting all the Dragons, and any future Aspects, with Black armor and red helms.  I hope that ties the army together better.

Durability:  When the Wave Serpent crashes I want the Dragons to stagger out, ready to kick ass.  Okay, their armor isn't great, but 10 Dragons are that much harder to kill than 5.  I need them to stay a threat until my opponent kills the unit completely.

Utility:  I use my Dragons to target squads as often as tanks.  When I shoot something, I need it to die.  Completely.  All the way.  Gone.  You get the idea - Melta is great for that.  20 Dragons on the board makes my opponent leery of getting out of his ride.  My idea is using Bright Lances from a distance to crack his tank, then swoop in with Dragons to kill off a squad.  Even Terminators have something to fear.

Without spending too much time on it, those are my thoughts.  Usually I played a 10-strong Harlequins squad as my 3rd Elite, though these days I'd probably add another 10 Dragons.



Eric said...

What size games are you running them like this at? Hopefully larger games only as that's alot of points spent on non-scoring units.
I can see, though, where this config could really come into it's own in KP missions.

The_King_Elessar said...

If they scored, yes.

If they cost 14/model with free Exarch, yes.

If the Terminators don't have SS, yeah, they surely die...but they also die the Serpents' fire, without forcing a disembark - No Fire Points = Sad Farseer.

Truly, I get where you're going with this, and I believe that 7 with DBF Exarch is the best possible squad of FDs...but it's too expansive for 1500 or less, and not easy to take even at higher, as it limits the army so much (even though they're the best unit available anyway)

Fritz may be the foremost Autarch of Saim-Hann...but a Seer from Ulthwe is ultimately superior... ;)

(Mild trash talk on a mutually followed blog is much more polite than on personal blogs...)

Brent said...

Eric: Yea, that would have been important info to include...


2000 - 2500

King: Yup. Overcosted! But frankly they don't need to score; Eldar contest on Round 5! Don't you read Fritz? I know you do!

But you're a dead-sexy Ulthwe you are... :)

The_King_Elessar said...

Ah...I just spotted my horrible typo. ExpEnsive, not expAnsive...Sigh.

And you're right, they don't need to score - but they are a tiny bit too expensive (probably okay if the WS were 70 points +20 for Bright Lance)

Big Whit said...

I can tell you that many of my space marine have died at the hands of Brent's fire dragons. The way he plays them pisses me off, because before I can kill the whole squad he will get back in his ride and go for an objective. Most of the time he kills what ever it was that he was gunning for. I can tell you that people at the store disagree with what he runs in his eldar list, but nobody can match the success that he has when he uses them. I promise you that!

Mercer said...

10 Fire Dragons? Against a tank they should do the job in a unit 5, same against a tank and monstrous creature. I think 10 is just over kill you really don't need that many.

I take serperts on mine with t/l shuri cannon and underslug shuri cannon. This makes a cracking gun boat for when the dragons pop a transport or need help against that monstrous creature.

Never been a fan of the flamer. I need the meltas for monstrous creatures, tanks and real tough infantry i.e terminators. A heavy flamer doesn't threaten either of these, really.

Gauthic said...

I prefer fairly minimalistic squads of Dragons myself, as the costs tend to spike up and then they become TOO GOOD at killing things and you've got wasted shots. 5 might be a tad bit too small, but 10's way too much unless you're just going for killing whole squads of terminators or something similar.

5 will almost always kill/disable a vehicular target. 5 will usually kill at least 2 terminators as well ( I think the math-hammer comes out to be 1.851(repeating)).

I love 'em, I use 'em. I might beef up my personal squads to 6 or 7, but I feel 10's too much unless you're looking for shock and awe as squads fall by the droves.

It's pretty ironic we both post Fire Dragon articles on the same day, Brent :P

Gauthic said...

Also, sorry about the double post. Wave Serpents (in this edition) are WAY TOO FRELLING EXPENSIVE to use as throw-away transports.

The_King_Elessar's costing for a Wave Serpent is closer to what it should be. As one of my Wave Serpents at his cost would be 100 points, not 145. (WS: 70, TL BL: 20, Spirit Stones: 10).

Brent said...

10 is sometimes overkill...

Until you take casualties.

Until you shoot at a Landraider from 7-inches away.

Until you're firing at a Thunderhammer/Stormshield squad.

My target with Dragons is rarely vehicles, but rather squads. 10 Dragons may sound like a lot, until you shoot them at 10 Marines. And as a thought-exercise, consider that outcome. It's why I have the DBF in the squad. It's also why I'd have more to shoot at that squad than one unit of Dragons!

Gauthic said...

Oh I worked it out. You should be killing 5.5 repeating space marines without cover. And 2.7 repeating if they are in cover. I'd rather fire shuriken cannons at range with those odds and let the dragons do what they do best: kill vehicles and big critters.

Brent said...

Spot on Gauthic - my point is one squad of Dragons knocks the crap out of one squad of Marines, then gets counter-charged and destroyed.

The DBF is there to torrent more wounds, 'cause killing even 2 models puts your count to about 7, and you can take 3 Marines in a fistfight.

Still and all, the Dragons would fire first so I knew how much of the rest of my firepower had to target the remaining Marines.

My point remains simple: a full-sized Dragons squad will pay for itself, and two will pay that and dividends.

I know it breaks the paradigm, but as Whit pointed out, my outcome was top-notch.

Give it a try sometime!

Gauthic said...

I might at 2000 next month -- Although I'm thinking on Banshees or Scorps just for giggles.

I'm finding Exarchs for the most part completely overcosted. Three Dire Avenger Exarchs with Bladestorm aren't nearly as badass as having Eldrad (or in my case, Rhianna when I model her) popping Doom & Guide on one or two and having a squad DEAD (almost guaranteed). Bladestorm is nice, but for 24 + 15* + 5* points each exarch, I'd rather have the ability to shoot next round and doom/guide singular units.

But, I digress, this is best as a discussion not pertaining to fire dragons.

*I think it's 5 points for the dual-Shuriken Catapult Option and 15 for Bladestorm.

Gauthic said...

Back on topic: I think that FD exarchs are a bit overcosted too. The BS of 5 is nice, but not worth 12. The Firepike is nice, but not worth the value in the end-unless you end up more than 6" away from your target and it'll get the additional d6 against most vehicles for penetration.

Mine are getting painted only because they snuck in the paint stick with their buddies (that and I might as well paint them as it's only another 1/6th models to paint).. that and in the future they may be much more conveniently point costed... I don't even want to think on the price of such an upgrade, because technically they're spot on (except all the Exarch abilities are about 20-30% over costed for how easy it's to saturate fire and kill individual models in our small squads).

The_King_Elessar said...

I hate to hijack the thread, but I think Exarchs should be free.

Mercer said...

I totally agree with TKE.

Brent said...

You guys should feel free to hijack the thread whenever you want.

It's not like there SO many people here that's its hard to keep track of!


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