Friday, 5 July 2013

IntrAspection: Karandras

Karandras is the Phoenix Lord of the Striking Scorpions, although not the founder of the Aspect.  That’s a fairly long-standing and well-enough know piece of the fluff and one that I like, especially as it is expanded on in a nudge-and-wink way in the Dark Eldar codex and in The Dark Eldar novels, particularly Path of the Incubus.  The founder of the scorpions and, later (allegedly) the Incubi, was Arhra Father of Scorpions, also known as Drazhar, the Master of Blades (allegedly) although according to legend Arhra is dead now (allegedly).  I bring this up apropos of nothing by the way; I just enjoy all the maybe/maybe not messing around that happens with these characters.  Yet another of the reasons why I like the game and the universe in general.
The fact that he’s only second fiddle in the history of the Scorpions has no effect on his ability to do his job however:  Karandras is an absolute damn murderer on the battlefield.  Amongst the Phoenix Lords in 5th, he was highly ranked despite his price tag as he could pack a massive punch and probably survive long enough to deliver it.  Now in 6th, such a declaration is beyond any doubt.  With the Scorpion’s claw being altered in the new codex, this guy has taken a distinct upgrade in sheer killitude.  Its lack of the Specialist and Unwieldy special rule means that he can get about breaking necks at a highly respectable I7 and all the while at S8 and 5 attacks flat footed.  That weapon attached to that statline is almost cruel.
His unique piece of wargear this edition is the Scorpion’s Bite (‘cos scorpions are renowned for their bites, aren’t they?) and operates exactly the same as the run-of-the-mill Mandiblaster, but resolved at S6 rather than S3, which is nice, but not amazing.  Nevertheless, it’s funny to imagine this guy blowing up a tank using his face-mounted lasers!  It’s also always fun to get a cheap shot in during a challenge and it helps to thin the ranks during a brawl-style melee.  Also, while we’re on wargear, note that Karandras has a clutch of plasma grenades, so charging through cover is not a problem.  Suck it, Jain Zar!
Skills wise, if he is the warlord, then for one phase per game he and any friends with 12” get to reroll failed wounds.  Not earth-shattering, but could turn the tide in a pinch and assert a strong charge.  He comes with the usual Phoenix Lord goodies, most importantly Eternal Warrior and Fearless.  He also brings the gamut of Scorpion rules to the fore, packing Night Vision, Infiltrate, Move Through Cover and Stealth.  Most of these skills are transferable to his unit, so much like Fuegan, he may well be of greater use accompanying a non-Scorpion unit.  It would be hard to break theme though…  Unlike Fuegan however, he does not dual class very well and his shooting is limited to a Shuriken catapult.  I would very much stick him in an assault unit.  I’m think Storm Guardians again, oddly enough.  His Fearless will rub off on them and the mass of them approaching, all stealthed up, could prove a significant threat.
His Exarch powers are not what I would have chosen, as there is a fair amount of overlap between the two.  He has Monster Hunter (granting him rerolls to wound against Monstrous Creatures and a law suit by Capcom) and Stalker (allowing him rerolls to wound with a successful Initiative roll-off in a challenge).  I can see their relevance to him, no doubt, but all I’m saying is: no Crushing Blow?  Really?  Anyway, that’s really a minor gripe.  The major gripe may come for many at his cost.  He comes with a Land Raider price tag.  Oh, all right, he’s a few points under, but in a 1,500 point game he’s still accounting for about a sixth of your army, so if you take him, you’d better have a plan to get into combat.  Not only that, but a combat that is worth his while.  Again, challenges add a dimension of deadliness to the character that’s hard to overlook, but a lot of the time he would be better off dealing with the bulk of the enemy unit, so whichever unit accompanies him into the fray, make sure they have a character in them to soak up any chancers who want to challenge to deny some wound allocation.
Nevertheless, having said that, blunting his impact on the charge by having a squad sergeant as a wound soak for resolution will increase your chances of breaking the assault in the opponents turn, always a good thing for an assault unit.  So what I’m saying is that you need to judge these things carefully and plan ahead.  He’s a lot of points bound up in one small character, so much like the Scorpions, you must be patient and only strike when the time is right and when the appropriate target presents itself.
I so want to play a Court of the Young King now…


Nick said...

Did you notice the comment regarding the Court of the Young King in the Biel-Tan section? Fingers crossed for them to appear in a future supplement!

Meatshield said...

Well, Apocalypse is just round the corner, so I'm very curious as to what the revamped Eldar can bring in that regard!