Back in 5th, he held the joint top spot for Phoenix Lords in my mind and also held a rarefied distinction of being a decent ranged special character. Seriously, there are so few of these around, which is strange given that that it’s the bloody future and all, but nearly all special characters come in the ‘force modifier’ or ‘assault monster’ categories. There are so few that focus extensively on shooting beyond, y’know, just owning a pistol. We’ve got this guy, Telion, Illic Nightspear, and a smattering of Tau characters. No, I’m not counting ‘Tank upgrade guys’. Just because, that’s why.
Anyway, Maugan Ra has the usual Phoenix Lord stats and rules, so it’s a quality statline to build on. He pack the typical 2+ armour save of his ilk, but wields one of the coolest weapons in the game (as far as I’m concerned), the Maugetar. This is an upgrade shuriken cannon with a big damn blade attached to the end. The upshot is that it fires four shots a turn at 36” range at S6, AP 5 and not only Rends, but Pins as well. In close combat, it allows Maugan to strike at S6, AP3 which makes him a worthy assault opponent was well.
What special rule have we got going for him then? He has the usual barrage of Phoenix rules (Eternal Warrior, Fleet, Ancient Doom, etc) but also packs Relentless (pointless as his weapon is an Assault one) and Hatred (Chaos Daemons), which kind of renders Ancient Doom pointless as well. Yay redundancy! Joking aside, it’s nice when the special rules tie into a characters back story nicely, and Maugan Ra having rescued his home craftworld from the warp is nice justification for that bit of flavour. I approve. His compulsory warlord trait give him split fire if he’s your warlord, which is definitely good for a primarily ranged character.
His Exarch powers are where things get synergistic though. Night Vision is cool, but unremarkable otherwise. Just a basic utility power in the right place. The next two are the fun ones. We have Fast Shot, increasing the Maugetar to five shots a turn and Marksman’s Eye, allowing him to snipe on 5s instead of 6s. You are quite likely to get two precision hits a turn with this guy and it is here where he shines. Try not to try to snipe Independent Characters, but aim for upgrade guys in the squad. Special Weapons, Heavy Weapons, banner bearers, that kind of thing. Even his overflow shots can be quite effective in suppressing a squad, although it works better against the non-power armour types.
He helps out other dark reapers (obviously) but will bring more benefits to other ranged squads. His gun is slightly shorter ranged than the DR standard and will probably want to hunt for different targets as (without the heavy shot upgrade) he’s better at dealing with medium vehicles that his disciples. That said, he can split fire, so that’s not necessarily going to pose much of a problem. He could also be a bit of an assault deterrent for backfield harrying forces. I think he is at his best when accompanying a big old Defender squad. They benefit greatly from his Fearless rule and he’ll benefit from the ablative bodies in the squad whilst firing at whatever is out of range for the rest of the squad. He will also get a boost from the Warlock powers, if one of them makes it into the squad as well, so I’d say that would be a good fit. For a laugh you could always stick him in a ranger squad though! He’ll get benefits from the Stealth rule and he looks for similar targets, so that’s an interesting little combo.
And that’s pretty much it for him. He’s a simple guy really, but what he does he can do well. He’s a hyper-accurate assault cannon on legs and I love him for it!