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Monday, August 11, 2014

Bit of Analysis

Needless to say that there has been a lot said about this flier since the Dark Angels got their new codex.  The ruling consensus about the Nephilim Jetfighter is that it is overpriced and ever bad at its stated role.  But, is it really?  That is what I intend to find out.

The fluff says that the Jetfighter only started being used by the Dark Angels in late M40 when they found an STC for an improved engine (which they have since starting calling the 'Lionheart engine').  It does make you wonder how bad the old engines if the "improved" ones still don't give the plane the 'fast' special rule like most other fliers do.

Over the skies of Piscina 4, three of these planes managed to kill over 48 Ork planes.  On the world of Kundra, the Jetfighter provided cover for the Ravenwing by blasting apart various tanks and jet-bikes of the Eldar.  So, the intended role of the Nephilim is that of a multi-role air superiority fighter/ground-attack craft.  Seems like either the Space Marines or the writers never heard of dilution of focus.

For the stated price of 180 pts, you get a AV 11 HP3 flier with the starting wargear: Twin-linked Heavy Bolters (36",S5,AP4,Heavy 3), Twin-linked Lascannon (48",S9,AP2,Heavy 1), and six Blacksword Missiles(36",S6,AP4,Heavy 1).  The only option available for it is to replace the lascannon with an avenger mega bolter (48",S6,AP4,Heavy 5).

Since most fliers in the game have AV10 or 11, these weapons seem good enough to contend with them.  It appears that anything AV 12 or above is something the Jetfighter should not be shooting at.  So, it is a bit baffling that the plane comes loaded with a lascannon (whose sole purpose is to take down heavy armor, something this plane has no business going up against).

Now, if I could make a very un-Space Marine-like suggestion.  Focus on what the plane is actually good against and never take a lascannon.  Sure, you'll miss out on being able to cause an explosion with a single shot; but against AV 10, you only had an 11.2% chance of that happening.  Instead, what you should be focusing with this thing is trying to immobilize enemy vehicles.

Why immobilize?  Because two immobilized results means the vehicle is wrecked.  Also, because the Nephilim has the Unrelenting Hunter special rule: When shooting at enemy vehicles, a Nephilim can choose to treat any Weapon Destroyed results as Immobilised.  Most people would want to ruin a weapon on the vehicle, but it doesn't lead to it dying any faster.

So, which one sounds better for that goal?  A twin-linked heavy 1 shot, or a heavy 5 weapon?  Add in two missiles and the heavy bolters, you have seven S6 and three S5 shots to wreck a light vehicle in a single shooting phase.  That sounds something to believe in, unlike a single die roll.

Plus, the avenger mega bolter has another advantage over the lascannon.  If there aren't any vehicles left for the Nephilim to shoot at, there are always infantry mobs.  With anything that has 4+ armor, you have five potential kills vs. just one with the lascannon.

Back to the question from the top of this article.  Is the Nephilim as bad as most forums make it out to be?  No.  There are a lot of people who compare it to the Stormraven Gunship, but that is where their arguments fall apart.  Stormravens are heavyweights who have a whole slew of options to focus on very different targets.  The Nephilim's main priority should be solely on light armor.  Which it can excel at (if you leave the lascannon in the box).

Is it orverpriced?  Yes.  About 20 or 30 pts too expensive for its limited role.  But, who knows, maybe all the over fliers will cost more in the future.

So, just remember, the Nephilim can wreak havok on light armor; and if you have it leap from target to target, it will prove to be a reliable support for the men on the ground.  And, never, EVER, take lascannons on this plane.

Sunday, August 10, 2014


It's been a few months since my last post here.  I have been busy with other writing projects.  Now that I'm back I'll try to keep to a regular weekly schedule.  So, some time today or tomorrow be on the lookout for the first of an article series called:  Bit of Analysis.
In it, I'll be examining the fliers of the 41st Millennium; and how they translate to the tabletop.  The very first article of this new series: Nephilim Jetfighter.  See ya'll then.