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June 18, 2010

40K TACTICS: The Eldar Warhost: Rangers

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This week’s articles is going to take a look at rangers and what they can do for your warhost, along with some ideas to flush them out if you find yourself facing them on the table.

Rangers, and Pathfinders by extension have three factors that need to be considered into your warhost- first they are troops, second they have awesome cover saves combined with range, and third is they only work on foot.

As a resilient troop choice Rangers are great for parking on objectives on your side of the table that you intend to hold. While this seems to be the standard way to use them, it is not always the best choice given their vulnerability to template weapons and craptastic assault abilities. On a side note, and Jawaballs can confirm this, I did once have a group of Rangers beat down a group of Khorne Berzerkers…

One of the problems with camping rangers on objectives is that once your opponent makes it to the objective they (the Rangers) are dead and done. Of course you would then counter assault and take out what hit the rangers, but the damage is done. Better to put them off in out of the way places far from objectives, in terrain of course, with the 36” range of their sniper rifles so your opponent has to make a choice- go after the objective OR the Rangers- don’t hand them both! Of course if the Rangers are your only scoring units then you have no choice, and being scoring, you can always move and run them later in the game to get those objectives on your side.

Which brings us to cover saves which is the real debate between Rangers and Pathfinders. In cover the Pathfinders get the 2+ vs. the 3+ of the Rangers. My points are on the Pathfinder upgrades for two reasons. First is that you don’t have to go to ground for the 2+ so you are guaranteed to be shooting every turn. Second, when you are out in the open you can generate a 2+ cover save on these guys also- great for when you have to advance to claim mid field objectives because you screwed up, or for when you have to pull back off your objective before launching a counter assault.

How does one get the 2+ cover save in the open? Easy! Put a unit in front of the Pathfinder- when your opponent shoots though them you get the 2+. I often use a fast moving Wave Serpent with a cover save or a group of Harlequins, which also can’t be targeted thanks to veil of tears. Speaking of cover, add in some farseer support (Eldrad) and guide/fortune the Pathfinders for that 2+ cover save you can re-roll. Good luck trying to kill that!

Shooting. Both Rangers and Pathfinders offer rending, along with AP 1 on the 5/6 to hit which is also really nice. Monstrous creatures, and small incoming squads are all targets. My Hive-tyrant cries when he sees Rangers on the table. C’Tan would cry if they could. The big and always overlooked bonus with the Rangers is pinning. Yes, everything is LD 10, fearless, meched up, etc. but pinning can still happen and it does have its place vs. certain armies. Tactically if the pinning option is viable you want to shift your target priority over to and hard hitting units in order to force LD test to slow them down with pinning- it can happen, remember, anytime you roll dice in 40K bad things can happen.

The down side to Rangers/Pathfinders? They are static and slow, kind of like Space Marine devastators, only the space elf flavor. Play a fast army and your Rangers will get left behind. Mess up on anticipating where your opponent is going to go, or better yet, fail at controlling the movement of the battle, and suddenly your rangers are surrounded and being assaulted. Your other units may be able to retreat and zip away, but not your Rangers.

How are you using Rangers in your army? Is pinning a viable tactic, or only an added “fun” bonus? What do you think of the Pathfinder upgrade? Worth it?
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