For this week, Eldar Apocalypse will focus on the super heavy Eldar Grav tanks, known collectively as Engines of Vaul - named for the Eldar smith god. They are more commonly known by the names Scorpion, Cobra, Storm Serpent and Void Spinner.
The Scorpion and Cobra both have rules in Imperial Armor Apocalypse, while versions of the Storm Serpent and Void Spinner are currently limited to datasheets created by fans. The Storm Serpent I created is available as a download right here. I plan on doing a Void Spinner sometime in the future...but that is another story.
As already covered in the previous edition of Eldar Apocalypse, all of these vehicles are immune to Psychic Powers, so you cannot use your Farseers to help out these tanks.
Firstly something that is important about these vehicles is that they are all Fast Skimmers so they can keep up with the other elements in the Eldar warhost. Secondly they are all equipped with Eldar Titan Holofields. Unlike other Eldar skimmers, these ones are about 11.5 inches long, and about 6" wide. Their footprint is quite large and takes up a large amount of table. The question becomes, how can we use this to our advantage?
Since objectives in Apocalypse have a 6" control radius, if you want to keep the enemy off of one, you will need a larger unit footprint. This is different than simply contesting because that means they are already in the area. If you can prevent the enemy from even getting into range of the objective to begin with, then you can swoop in later to control instead of contest. Any Engine of Vaul can sit above one of these objectives and prevent an enemy unit from getting close enough thanks to the large footprint of these models and the requirement for them to stay 1" away. Thanks to the Holofields you can count on them to hold out for a bit.
The other side to this objective parking is to use the speed, mass, and size of the tank to tank shock anything on the objective off of it. You'll force the enemy around your hull and push them out of range, leaving it there for you to control the objective next turn, that is assuming they don't run from the sight of the super heavy tank (remember the penalty to leadership) coming towards them at breakneck speeds. This is basically an up-scaled version of the same tactic that can be pulled off in regular games with your other tanks.
These tanks can effectively double up saves by moving. The way skimmers work now under 5th Edition now means they can get a 4+ cover save, and a 4+ holofield save by moving fast. It makes them very difficult to damage.
Let’s look at some individual things about each of these vehicles.
Scorpion - This is like a supped up Prism Cannon. It fires at 60" range, is a Destroyer weapon, and drops two 5" Blast Template and is AP 2. Use these things to knock out AV14 tanks like Land Raiders and Monoliths (Auto Penetration on this thing is a dream) or to punish heavy infantry. You can easily kill 10 of just about anything with one of these, and it is twin linked, making it pretty much impossible to miss. Blast away at any war machines that stray into range, but make sure their shields are down first. There is no point in wasting Destroyer shots on taking down shields. (I like to use flyers to strafe things with shields until they collapse, then hit them with a Scorpion.)
Cobra - The D-Cannon kills - period. With an ability to ignore Void Shields and Power Fields, the Cobra can instantly rip through any vehicle in range going straight for the kill. Although a barrage weapon, it fires a 10" destroyer blast, so even if you do miss by a bit, chances are you are going to damage something, in fact, you’re likely to damage multiples of something! The D-Cannon also causes instant death, regardless of toughness. Remember that the D-Cannon on the Cobra can be fired indirectly; keeping it out of line of sight or behind cover if the terrain is right.
Storm Serpent – Careful manoeuvres are required in order to make the most of this tank. Since reserves enter the battle at the beginning of the turn, the Storm Serpent has to be moved into place the turn previous for the reserves exiting the Wraithgate to be in their proper position. Once units are deployed, the size of the Storm Serpent can be used to grant them cover and to Tank Shock enemy positions, and to group up models for template barrages. I’m more than happy to deploy a Jetbike mounted Seer Council from the front of this unit. In fact, any unit that can cover a lot of ground makes for a nasty assault surprise, catching the opponent off guard. The Storm Serpent deploys 3 units per turn, so at most it will get to deploy 6 units during the game, since half of all reserves enter 2nd turn, and the remaining units held back enter automatically on the 3rd turn.