Today we talk about one of the speediest xenos Detachments around – the Wind Rider Host detachment from Vigilus Defiant.
I make no bones about it, I’m an Eldar fanatic. I’ve played every faction of Aeldari since 2nd edition and I’m always looking to make some of the classic builds work, even in an adverse meta.
One of the units I’ve had my eye on for awhile now is Wind Rider jetbikes. When taken in numbers they offer hellacious anti-infantry firepower that operates at very solid range (unlike Guardians) so I’ve kept coming back to the Vigilus book to see if there are any weird combinations in there that can help me get my Wind Riders into regular rotation in my lists. So lets dive in and evaluate the Wind Rider Host.
So for 1 CP you can unlock the detachment thus gaining access to a couple of stratagems, a relic and a warlord trait. The effected units are as follows
- Autarch Skyrunner
- Farseer Skyrunner
- Warlock Skyrunner (including the Conclave)
- Wind Riders
So thats a robust number of units, but it sadly excludes Shining Spears (probably due to the Ynnari effect) and that is a shame, since they FAQ’d this almost immediatley to disallow Ynnari form having access to the detachments.
Wild Rider- Your Warlord and any friendly Windrider Host unit with 6″ can fall back and charge.
This is a decent power that can dislodge say an Autarch Skyrunner and a Warlock Conclave from a tarpit situation and allow them to hunt down more choice targets. However having to spend an EXTRA command point to unlock it is a deal breaker for me, considering the cost of the strats within the detachment and the normal codex strats you are going to want to use in concert with them.
Howling Skyspear- A Witchblade that wounds on 2’s AP 0 but rocks 3 damage a pop. This is a very good weapon, but considering Warlocks and Farseers only have 2 attacks its not really worth it IMO. I would rather take the standard Eldar relics such as the Nova Lance and look to avoid paying out more CP for extra relics considering how much CP a Wind Rider Host needs to take advantage of all its special rules.
Nimble Escape (2 CP)- This is a very simple strat that allows a Wind Rider Host unit that has already fought to immediately make a move (and advance) as if it were your Movement phase, or fall back if there are any units with 1″.
This is a stratagem I rather like and think it can be very handy, especially for dealing with Knights and other high priority single model threats.
I think the ideal units to take advantage of this are Warlock Conclave and a Saim-Hann Autarch rocking the Nova Lance. A large Warlock Conclave while very expensive is actually a very serious threat to units like knights. With their Witchblades are wounding Knights (or similarly tough targets) on a 2+. Throw Supreme Disdain for exploding 6’s and you could be generating a lot of damage against targets like that.
The same can be said of a Saim-Hann Autarch with the Nova Lance (or a regular Autarch with laser lance). I’d look to either use the Warrior of the Raging Wind strat to advance and Charge (if you are Saim-Hann) or Quicken him into position (same for warlocks) and with the Nova Lance you are kicking out 4 Strength 8 AP-4 Dmg 2 (damage 4 when you roll 6+ to wound). Again the Supreme Disdain for exploding 6’s can really do a lot of damage.
However the key is destroying the target. If you cant destroy the target you are simply going to be falling back and that is a horrific option if you went super aggressive into your opponent front lines with your Autarch or Warlock Conclave.
It can also be a move used defensivley where say your unit Autarch of Warlock Conclave gets charged but ends up destroying the unit, you can use this strat to launch them across the table and setup a really tasty charge in your own turn.
The second consideration is there is a lot of resource investment going into pulling off this maneuver. That being said if you can deal an early knock out blow to an important unit such as a rampaging melee Knight or such it might be a game winning move, though at a very high cost of CP if you are looking to use the Saim-Hann advance and charge strat and Supreme Disdain and the cost of unlocking the detachment.
In my evaluation its a great stratagem, one that’d I love to use on the regular, but the CP needed to make sure it works means I’d only rate it as situational.
Tempest of Blades (3CP)- At the start of the shooting Wind Rider host units with 6″ of a Wind Rider Host Farseer Skyrunner improve their AP by 1.
Now this was the stratagem that really leapt out at people at first glance. This is a phenomenal strat, but at 3 CP plus the command point necessary to unlock the detachment its a brutal cost. However the fact that its an aura effect is very significant. With a somewhat moderate investment of points say 2×6 Scatter Laser jetbikes (which make a decent bodyguard for a Farseer and Warlock Skyrunner and a good target for the Forewarned stratagem) you could be kicking out 48″ shots at Str 6 -1 AP. If you are going after a target that is Jinxed and Doomed that is a frightening possibility against even the toughest units when you are re-rolling wounds and have an AP of -2. An Outrider Detachment with 3×6 Wind Riders is kicking out 72 Str 6 AP -1 (-2 with Jinx) is absolutely crazy
However, in all honesty I’d say the 3 CP (4 CP when you factor in the cost of unlocking the detachment) is too expensive unless you are intent on running a sizeable number of Wind Riders at which point it can become potentially devastating against almost any target (or targets) especially when supported with Guide, Doom and Jinx. That being said I’ve been running Wind Riders more and more in my lists and found them incredibley useful, especially in a pure Asuryani list where waiting for a Webway bomb of Guardians to drop down on turn 2 costs you too much time in this super deadly edition of the game.
I think the perks offered by this detachment are very good, but come at a very, very high cost. However if you are interested in fielding a good number of Wind Riders say an Outrider with 3×6, with a Farseer + Warlock Skyrunner you have potentially explosive offense. Also paying just 1 CP to have access to these stratagems should you need them is actually somewhat negligible, should the need arise to crank the dakka up to 11. Overall I think it’s the strats that are probably too expensive if you aren’t building around Wind Riders, but if you are (and with the prevalence of hordes these days its not a bad idea) you can get some frighteningly deadly offense out of them but at a high investment of in-game resources.
~What do you think of the Vigilus Windrider Host Detachment?
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