This is the first of, hopefully, several posts I would like to make that are going to talk about the “worst” units in the game, and put a positive spin on them. Heck, maybe I’ll even change someone’s mind about them. Then again...some of these units are pretty terrible.
Ok, let’s take your standard marine, and give him a jump pack, then let’s give him an invulnerable save. Not too bad huh, but he costs 30 pts. Outrageous you say, I agree. What if he also came with a PAIR of lightning claws, and caused fear, and could blind you when he deep strikes near you? That 30 points might not be looking so bad right now.
Enough messing around, let’s get down to brass tacks. A unit of Warp Talons costs 160 pts, which is a lot, but they come with a pair of lightning claws. Just getting a pair of lightning claws for ANY other model costs 30 points. But let’s crunch some numbers and I can show you their usefulness.
A unit of un-upgraded Warp Talons on the charge will have 16 attacks. Assuming they are charging against 10 marines they will inflict, on average, 5 wounds and lose 1. With a couple of upgrades they can become far more killy, or far more durable. The Mark of Khorne lets them put out 6.5 wounds, while the Mark of Nurgle reduces their wounds taken in half, and believe it or not, the Mark of Slaanesh reduces their wounds taken by more than Nurgle. Of course the numbers change after you factor in special weapons, challenges, and cover, but you’d be surprised how little. Charging into cover nets 4.5 wounds inflicted, and a pair of plasma guns adds less than half a wound received. This means that when you charge a 10 man marine squad with 2 plasma guns, 7 bolters, and a vet with a power weapon, you will inflict 4 wounds and receive 1.5. And that is possibly the worst case scenario.
Now, you just assaulted a unit of marines with your 5 man unit of Warp Talons, there are only 5 marines left and 4 Talons. Your opponent is thinking he’d like to voluntarily fall back so he can shoot you during his turn. The Mark of Slaanesh helps here making it harder for him to get away, and then you can kill 3 more during his turn and let him run.
I mentioned challenges earlier, and I’ll mention it here again, but first I’ll mention that the champion can buy 2 gifts of mutation before the game starts. Neither one of these can turn him into a spawn so your only getting nothing, or something good. If you find it hard to justify paying 10 points that could do nothing I haven’t played a single game yet where I have used every single piece of wargear that I have paid for be it melta bombs vs horde orks, or power swords vs Deathwing. Onto the challenges, the Warp Talon champ has 3 attacks, 4 on the charge, re-rolling failed to wound. That averages at least 1 wound.
At least one of you reading this (Donny) is screaming “Terminators get a pair of Lightning claws for only 7 points, and they have an extra attack, AND they have a 2+ save! Terminators are way better!” Ok, I’ll give you those couple advantages, but terminators only move 6”, don’t get Hammer of Wrath attacks, and can’t perform a Sweeping Advance. What’s worse than jumping into a blob squad of 30 guardsmen with a best buddy Space Marine captain giving them ATSKNF, killing 10 of them, winning combat then having them walk calmly away from you? Having them auto regroup and shoot you with the 3 plasma guns and 25 or so lasguns. Not to mention the rest of the army that happens to be at hand. Warp talons are faster, which makes them a far better response unit, and have a better chance and sweeping the unit they just beat in combat. Also, their Blinding effect on anything within 6” of them will help keep them alive against lower I armies like Tau and Necrons.
Let’s talk about match-ups. Obviously these guys can’t go up against anything with 2+ armour. They also don’t have enough attacks, even with the Mark of Khorne, to take out a horde of anything over 20 models that has a leadership buff, although getting them stuck into a big soft unit saves them from getting shot at. A unit of 25 shoota boys will kill 5 Talons in 3 rounds of combat, and that’s without a power klaw toting Nob. The trick is to use them as backfield harassment. Pick off those heavy weapons teams and the “deck chair” units staying home to guard the objectives. Don’t get reckless with them though cause they will die to small arms fire just like a marine.
Well, that’s it. I could probably go on and on arguing their worth, but it will get repetitive. I did forget to mention their biggest weakness though. . .
they take up the same slot as a Heldrake.