Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Gyrocopter : The Apache AH-64 of the Warhammer World

So why do I never seem to field one?
I'm going examine the uses for Gyrocopters in 8th edition and see if I can convince myself that they're worth taking.

I'll liken it to the Apache AH-64 (helicopter pr0n alert) along the way, cause who doesn't like helicopters?
First off, Gyrocopters are comparable to the AH-64 in their methods. Humour me. The AH-64 can pop up above a tree line, unleash a hellfire missle and drop out of sight again before you can blink. Tank be gone.
When fielding a Gyrocopter I wouldn't recommend rushing them out in the first turn. These babies have 20" movement, and a swift stride attack with a base 10" move. That's 3D6 (discard lowest) +10".  Keep Gyro-apache low behind your tree line (i.e. unit blocks/meat shield) for the first turn to keep them out of sight - or actually use the terrain to keep them out of sight.

I prefer hiding behind units, if your opponent is playing defensively and not moving towards you then you can move your meat shield units up and follow close behind with the Gyro-AH64. Capiche?
Then zip out and over your own units to behind the enemy.
Dwarves vs Vampire Counts
It's a bit too late in this pic, the enemy units are already engaged...
and so is the gyrocopter.  It did however, spend the last
 two turns
 behind the enemy line.

What are the options for your Gyro?
It seems to me they're far more limited than they used to be, but the uses they still have could well be worth it.

In 7th Edition you could fly in behind your enemies blocks, if you were clever you could not give your opponent the chance to fire at the Gyrocopter all the while March Blocking and steam cannon'ing enemy units.
March blocking is much less likely now as all units can make a leadership test, if successful they can march. See Enemy Sighted (p26).
Steam cannon? It hasn't changed. You still place the template starting from your 30mm cannon - sorry, I mean the steam cannon in the nose of the Gyro. S3, with -1 armour save. You could do some nice damage to a gunline, or cover the enemy general on purpose and force a look out sir roll.

I used to try and take out warmachine crew with it. That unfortunately is not really an option in 8th ed with the change to warmachines under fire (see p108: Shooting at Warmachines). Crew under fire use the warmachines Toughness, but their own armour saves. As most warmachines have a toughness of 7, that steam cannon ain't killing shit. Oh well.

Hmm, it's looking a bit nerfed here. Are there any real uses for it in 8th edition?

Flank & Rear CR Bonus:

Charging it into combat to provide a flank/rear bonus to CR for a unit that is already in combat is always good - is there still a US5 type rule which is required to get the flank/rear bonus?
p53: Flank Attack
p53: Rear Attack
neither mention that the unit attacking has to be above a minimum unit size.
For comparison:
p52: Disruption mentions the fact that a unit is disrupted when attacked in the flank or rear AND the attacking unit has at least two ranks of 5 models.

Looks like the Gyrocopter can indeed give the flank/rear CR bonus, while it definitely cannot disrupt. Nothing new there then.
It's probably something you only want to do for a hopefully final round of combat, a finisher. I doubt the Gyrocopter could last more than a round against stronger units (its S4, T5, W3).

Chasing down fleeing units:

If you already charged the Gyrocopter into a combat to give that flank/rear CR bonus, then the copter is part of the combat and provided it's in base to base contact before the enemy unit flees it can pursue. See p60: Multiple Combats and Pursuit.

If the copter is free and easy, it has the option of charging an already fleeing unit, hopefully catching and killing it.
I'm not sure I can emphasise this enough so I've made it look horribly ugly...
With the p143: Fled or Dead rules chasing down fleeing units has become much more valuable.
Added to this, fleeing units are no longer lifted if they flee through an enemy unit (see p25: Move Fleeing Units, it's at the top of the second column) - instead they take a p116: Dangerous Terrain test. On average these will kill a 1/6th of the unit.  While this is bad enough, it still means a lot more of the fleeing unit could survive giving your opponent full victory points for each one that does.
This is what we were looking for. This alone is worth taking the Gyrocopter for. Hunting down fleeing units is much more important in 8th ed.

Remember that the Gyrocopter has to have a line of sight on the unit it's charging at the start of it's turn. It can charge over friendly / enemy units but only if it has a line of sight to the targeted unit. How? A protruding edge, maybe the Gyrocopter is on a hill and can easily see over intervening units.

Some other points of note:

  1. Be aware of what can charge your Gyrocopter : some monsters or characters on mounts have a 360 degree line of sight but on p16: Declare Charge it states that the target must at least partially lie within the charging units front arc.
  2. It can charge far - but it can flee far too. I tried to get smart with my gyro by fleeing a charge, my opponent declared a second charge against it (it was still in range so this was a legit charge attempt). It was forced to flee again, this time straight in the direction of the table edge. As calculated by said opponent. Well played...well played.
    So potentially useful to pull your opponents battle line out of shape, but risky.

In Summary:

I think it could well be worth fielding one just for the multitude of options it gives you. The most important option has to be chasing down fleeing enemy units and getting their victory points value.
Mmmmm. I'm actually starting to salivate thinking about it.

"Get me the Engineers Guild! We need more Gyrocopters...and BEER!".

With Swiftstride the Gyrocopter is a hunter killer AH-64 ass kicker. Running someone down as they're fleeing from you? Sign me up. I'm all over it; me and my new best friend, the Gyrocopter.

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