Welcome to the first installment of my Tactica's
As I sit here deciding how to approach talking tactica Vyper, I look at my two Vypers, one Scatter laser + Shuriken cannon and the other Star Cannon and Shuriken cannon.
Rolls of the Vyper
There rolls are totally different to each other, one, Star cannon toting Vyper, goes after high priority targets, Terminators for example. The other has a more varied roll, with its Scatter laser; it has the ability to take on light armoured targets such a Rhinos or Raiders, and/or Horde infantry. The roll of the Vyper is very important topic and this is where I shall begin.
Going back to the 3rd edition, the Vyper, was a very simple set up for most players, Star cannon and maybe Crystal Matrix Targeting (CMT), it was a beast, good range, good number of shots and filled a very important roll of anti marine.
But with the onset of the 4th edition, many Eldar players where left scratching there heads, no CMT and lots of nerfing to there precious Star cannon, reduced in shots too two, and the final preverbal nail in the coffin, a price hike, Its main battlefield roll had gone, so the Vyper felt a no choice to some people.
The old Star cannon Vyper costing 65pts and the new Vyper 70pts with a drop in performance and a price hike, its not looking good at all for the Vyper.
All these changes have resulted in, the once very popular Vyper, taken by almost every craftworld, now has been rendered almost dead. I and Iím sure many others, saw the Vyper as nothing more that a friendly list unit and not to be taken in a tournament environment and quickly sort out alternatives.
But, after playing a few games with these Vypers I mentioned above, I began to climb the learning curve, after initially shunning the Vyper for more shiny units. I began to think, sure the Vyper the 3rd edition is dead, but the base Vyper stayed the same and that is something I can build on.
Rise of the Shuriken cannon
This is the weapon that can bring the Vyper back from the abyss, a dual Shuriken cannon Vyper will cost you a full 10pts less now, than it did back in the 3rd edition. This makes a huge difference, when calculating cost v performance issues. Its not the turret Shuriken cannon that makes the Vyper, itís the hull mounted cannon, it doubles the amount of shots the Vyper can dish out and allows some intriguing tactical opportunities, to a canny tactician who can exploit them.
Starting with the basic Vyper, Shuriken cannon + twin linked Shuriken catapults, this is nothing to write hope about at all, on the other hand. A Vyper equipped with Bright lance, Shuriken cannon, Spirit stones and Holofields, will be setting you back, almost the same points as a Wave serpent, so neither for me is a viable choice.
Dual Cannon Vyper-
This is one of the more viable options for the Vyper, its cheap, keeps a very low threat priority, as its low range, and high AP, as its so fast, I can bring these extra 6 strength 6 shot where ever I want them on the battlefield, and for 60pts, itís a bargain.
Scatter Laser Vyper-
Reduced fire power from the Dual Cannon Vyper, but the sacrifice is made for extra range and safety, makes a great escort vehicle.
Scatter Laser + Cannon Vyper-
One of my favourite combos, makes an excellent horde hunter and in combination with the Vypers speed, it can make a great vehicle hunter, 70pts for 7 strength 6 shots at the side armour, most medium AV vehicles are going to take a hit sooner or later with this combo.
Star Cannon + Cannon Vyper-
This is another favourite of mine, with still a good number of shots, coming it at 5, it still packs a punch against horde and now marines, with its low AP Star Cannon, this Vyper now has a totally new roll in the Eldar army from the 3rd edition, this Vyper now picks at units not destroys them, the Star cannon has evolved and we have to adapt to use it.
This is a risky combo, most Eldar players will say this, single AP3 shots will on average hit only 50% of the time. But range is a key factor keeping the Vyper out of harms way while it take pot shots at enemy armour, but with its blast template and low AP, it now become a viable horde hunter as well. Its cheaper than the Star cannon and Bright lance platforms and itís a very viable platform in the 4th edition.
Bright lance Vyper-
This for me, it not a viable option, as I said above, its just too expensive, Iím not saying donít take it, but I feel there are better options out there, like the EML for one. I also prefer to use the Vypers mobility to get a side/rear shot, than take a tank head on.
key points to think about when choosing your weapon options.
One thing to consider when arming your Vyper, perceived threat, if your Vyper is totting a Bright lance or Star cannon, your going to make the Vyper a high priority target. Weapons such as Shuriken cannons, Scatter lasers and EMLs donít carry the same threat.
Multiples, when taking a lone Vyper, I say multiple shot weapons are more viable, single shot weapons are best left when taking lots of Vypers. Allowing for misses, there are no second chances when youíre alone.
Is it worth taking Vypers in Units, my view in short is yes, it is viable, single shot weapons as mentioned before work best in multiples, allowing for misses.
That said, I donít take Vypers in squadrons, this is because it does not suit me battlefield roll, I use Vyper to add weight of shot and pressure in precise places on the battlefield and there second roll is to support my Falcons.
Taking them in squadrons make them clumsy and not tactically sound, as they cannot hide quite so easily, least we forget they are only AV 10, making them very susceptible to being shot down.
This brings me nicely onto my next point; upgrades- are they worth it?
Lets look at each one on its own merits-
Good in theory, but looking at the odd of them being of use are so remote, it makes them unattainable and not worth the pts your spending on them.
Just no... Donít even go there, if your tempted, get another Vyper, Holofields will not save your Vyper, end of.
Another upgrade that looks good on paper, just in reality its not worth it, much like Spirit stones, the odd on it saving your Vyper are not worth the pts sent on trying it.
Are quite handy for a Vyper allowing it to get into position for next turns assault on the enemies. But again, as all things with the Vyper it boils down to pts, Star Engines will make the Vyper very expensive and again, will become of a bigger threat, even if you went Dual Cannon- it defeats the objective of the game- cheapness, if you went expensive, you may as well take a Wave serpent.
Donít fall to temptation of short term success
I have read it time and time again, people moaning that the Vyper is useless and not worth taking, people expect the Vyper to shoot every turn, when in reality is doesnít (this is the case for people switching to Eldar, like myself). I found that the Vyper comes into its own, when you pick your opportunity to strike carefully, waiting, bidding your time. This is a risky strategy of course, leading to the people moaning and belittling the Vyper, ďit didnít shoot all gameĒ, but hiding provide protection, until the time is right to deal the killing blow, rather than taking a few pot shots, then dieing in a hail of return fire.
How does the Vyper compare against its rivals?
Space Marine Landspeeder, in particular the Tornado, is a top notch unit, the Tornado, boasts some impressive characteristics compared to the Vyper, not open topped, and above all the rather impressive Assault cannon + Heavy bolter combo. So the Marines can boast about how good there Tornado is compared to our Vyper, it is impressive after all. The only advantage the Vyper has over its fiercest rival, is that it costs less for us to mount strength 6 weaponry with a high rate of fire. But the Tornado is one of the best in the class on the battlefields of Warhammer 40k.
Another competitor to the Vyper is the Tau Piranha, this suffers the same opened topped weakness as the Vyper, totting detachable Gun drones and an impressive looking Fusion gun, its no push over, But we have the Piranha beat on average price, range, and rate of fire, so we can argue that Vyper is a better skimmer here.
All three vehicles have there Strengths and Weaknesses, its just a matter of how each units used, to determine which is better. But, I take pride in the fact that our Ďflimsyí Vyper can be a match for any of these very rather impressive looking units, and with skill and a pinch of luck, the Vyper can come out on top.
I defiantly consider the Vyper a viable unit, it has developed from the 3rd edition power house, to the 4th edition support role quite nicely. The Vyper in my mind, has a very niche roll in the Eldar army, the roll of support fire, no other unit in the codex comes close. It all about measuring your expectations of the Vyper, if you expect it to take armies apart, like the 3rd edition, I suspect you will be left feeling disappointed, but if you expect it to chip away at units, provide support and mop up units, then your in for a treat.
Thanks for reading those ramblings.