The Vanguard-Raptors are on shelves as the new Range option for Stormcasts – but are they worth taking?
Back in the day, we here at BoLS used to run a feature called “X vs Y” where we compared two units. Well in the spirit of those articles and the fact that the Stormcasts have just gotten some more ranged options, I wanted to take a look at the two Ranged units for them and see what we could see!
First up: The Judicators
The Judicators attack with speed and accuracy, with arcing, whistling volleys of arrows and bolts signalling their arrival in battle. The massed, howling forces of Chaos are their sworn, hated enemies, and they will soon feel the wrath of sigmarite crossbow bolts and hissing, crackling arrows of purest lightning. The Judicators disseminate their anger with stoic mercilessness, and leave nothing in their wake but death.
Their rule can be found HERE. I’m going to leave out the “Special” weapon for base comparison sake – I just want to look at the basic trooper.
These were the first batch of ranged units released with AoS for the Stormcasts. They have options for both long range (Skybolt Bow) and shorter, but higher volume fire (Boltstorm Crossbow). You can take them in batches of 5 for 160 points up to a max unit size of 20. Each model has 2 wounds and a +4 save – not too shabby all things considered. The Judicators are capable of being an annoyance at range that would take more than just a stiff breeze to take them out.
10 total wounds doesn’t sound like that much to deal with but on average you’d have to deal 20 wounds to wipe a unit of 5. Considering they are going to be at range (or attempt to be) that could prove to be more than just a minor annoyance. Plus they are Battleline units for a pure Stormcast Eternal list. Another factor worth considering.
Their damage output isn’t anything to really write home about. It’s better than some ranged units but still mostly “meh” – and for the Rapid Fire rule to work they have to have not moved and would have needed to be within 12″ of an enemy…That’s max charge range, not a position I like for my ranged units to be. And that’s only for a lack-luster 15 shots with a 3+/4+ attack. Personally, I’d rather take a block of around 10 with Skybolt Bows, sit them in a forest or on an objective, and shoot 10 shots at characters or other important targets.
Raining death upon the enemy from afar, Vanguard-Raptors armed with longstrike crossbows are marksmen with few equals. Poised in well-chosen vantage points they wait with bolts loaded, reading the ebb and flow of battle until the perfect prey appears. When it comes their retribution is swift, loosing deadly missiles to despatch even the most resilient targets.
The Raptor’s have two different profiles so I’ll compare them separately. First up we have the Hurricane Crossbows. These Stormcasts come in sizes of 3 for 160 points up to a max size of 12. They do have 1 more bravery than the Judicators but basically have the same stats from there. Their weapons, however, are vastly superior. With an extra 6″ of range and 6 attacks per model, it seems like a fair trade with the slightly weaker 4+/4+ weapon. If you add in their version of Rapid fire, that’s an extra 3 shots per model they can generate. That’s right, 3 of these Raptors standing still can generate 27 shots.
Defensively, I think they are a bit more of a liability. They are worse in close-combat (but really, if they are in close-combat something has probably gone horribly wrong). Couple that with the fact that it’s only a total of 6 wounds (per 3). That means you’d only need to do 12 wounds on average to wipe them. They also aren’t Battleline units. They are very much glass cannons.
The Longstrike versions swap out quantity for quality. They may only fire 1 shot each, but that shot has a 24″ range with a 2+/3+ , a -2 rend and 2 damage each. If they don’t move they also get an extra 6″ of range bumping up their threat range to 30″ – that’s no joke! Characters better look out if these guys are on the board. And they also have the possibility of doing 2 mortal wounds with their Headshot ability as well.
They still suffer from the same problems that the Hurricane versions do, and they clock in at 180 per 3 with a max size of 12. Oh, and they aren’t battleline either.
Before we make that call I would like to point out that we’re looking at these in a vacuum. We’re not taking into account the rest of your army, any applicable buffs, formations or even the scenarios. If you do take all those factors into account it really comes down to personal preference and how you want to play your army and their attack. Maybe you DO want to get with 12″ and offer close range, mass shooting. Maybe you prefer the long range Character killing possibilities – it’s different strokes for different folks!
That said, just based on pure numbers, I kind of need to give it to the Vanguard-Raptors with Hurricane Crossbows. If you spend an equal number of points on them and the Crossbow Judicators, the Raptors should (theoretically) out pace them in damage every time. For just 320 points, you could put out upwards of 54 shots a turn at 18″ – even if it’s a 4+/4+ that’s scary. And at that range they are also feasibly out of a reliable charge range – especially with the Suppressing Fire ability. If that buys them an extra turn of shooting even better.
Now, again – I still think the Judicators have a role in the army. That role is long range harassment and objective grabbing. But if you’re looking to add some serious firepower to down hordes of baddies or if you’re wanting to go character sniping then you might want to consider these new Vanguard-Raptors.
So what do you think? Would you prefer the staying power of the Judicators or the firepower of the Raptors? Let us know in the comments below!