Despite them appearing in the vast majority of lists I write, the humble Eldar Falcon (and, by extension in Epic, the Firestorm – which I will also cover) never seems to get much in the way of thanks. I think it’s because, while they’re always useful, they’re never really the pivotal unit or moment – I don’t recall a game where, afterwards, I exclaimed, ‘Man those Falcons were putting in some overtime that game!’ Despite this, I think that they’re a great part of the Eldar Swordwind list, with a variety of uses for a fairly affordable points cost.
I seem to always harp on about movement, but that’s partially because of how important it is to Eldar, and partially for how vital good positioning is in Epic anyway. The Falcons boast the usual impressive 35cm move, allowing them to redeploy around the board with relative ease while ignoring most terrain due to their Skimmers rule – ideal for objective-claiming or the crossfire bonus. This decent movement has been particularly helpful with regards to the Firestorm upgrade, since you can reposition them to target flyers as they try to exit the board.
This leads nicely on to their firepower and offensive capabilities. The Falcons themselves are fairly middle-of-the-road – offering decent AP and AT firepower without excelling at one or the other. Their real strength, in my mind, comes from the Firestorm upgrade. This provides some of the most devastating AA firepower in the game, mounted on a speedy vehicle that allows it to easily target pretty much any flyer you want. Granted, this does diversify the unit even more, but to my mind it’s a very worthwhile upgrade that fills a great niche – since you probably won’t need to worry about intercepts as much, your Aircraft & Titans points allowance is a bit more free to be spent elsewhere.
An interesting side note to mention here is that Falcons can be taken as transports for Guardians or Aspect warriors, though this isn’t something I’m a huge fan of. Firstly it removes the option for Firestorms, depriving you of that brutal pulse AA. Secondly, in my experience the Falcon sadly just doesn’t stack up against the Wave Serpent – it offers more firepower, sure, but I’ve only ever found the firepower from transports to be useful for laying blast markers and the like, where the Wave Serpent’s shuriken cannons will do just as well as the Falcon’s turret. Not to mention the fact that Falcons cost 15pts more each than Wave Serpents, and can only hold one stand as opposed to two. It’s nice to have the option, but personally I’d only ever take Falcons as a separate unit since Wave Serpents do the whole transport shenanigans so much better.
If I were to sum up this post in a conclusion (my student days are showing through, aren’t they) I would say that Falcons are a good addition to any Eldar list. They’re fast and versatile, as well as offering some of the most formidable anti-air firepower not only in the list but quite possibly in the game as a whole.To me, they’re the unsung heroes of the army – a pivotal cog in the machine, but never really the hero that leads the charge.
As always, I hope this has been an interesting little insight into my own wargaming thoughts, and if you’ve got anything you want to add please comment, it’d be great to get a discussion going! :)