Tuesday, 9 July 2013

The Power Of The Vyper

Johno here,

Those of you who have followed me either here or on www.w-ired.org or have played against my armies on the tabletop will know I love my Vypers. Even when we took the leap from 5th edition to 6th edition with introduction of hull points, I rarely played a game without my trusty Vypers. You hear alot all over the webtube how Vypers are useless and not worth the investment but I don't buy it at all.

Base cost - 50 points
Ballistic Skill - 4
Weapons - twin linked Shuriken Catapults underneath and a Shuriken Cannon turret.
Armor - AV 10/10/10 (Open topped)
Type - Fast Skimmer


May exchange the Shuriken Cannon for one of the following; Bright Lance Scatter Laser Star Cannon
May exchange the twin linked Shuriken Catapult for a Shuriken Cannon
May take options from the vehicle equipment entry in Codex Eldar

Now how to load it out:

First things first, you will want to upgrade that 12" range Shuriken Catapult to the Shuriken Cannon for 10 Points. This immediately increases the Vypers firepower but almost as crucially, it's active range. With an armor value of 10 all way around, you don't want these getting anywhere near all those Boltors if at all possible. Then you need to decide if you want to upgrade the turret to a Bright Lance, Scatter Laser, Star Cannon or Missile Launcher.

Bright Lance

For 10 Points you can upgrade the Shuriken Cannon to the mighty Bright Lance. With a 48" Range and a Lance that's hitting on 3's now thanks to an upgraded BS4 in the new Codex this could plug a whole in much needed AT weapon systems. It has a Strength of 8 and is AP2 but for those unfamiliar with the Lance rule, anything above AV12 is counted as AV12. This means the Bright Lance will always glance on a 4 and penetrate on a 5 or 6 at the very worst. But back to the Vyper itself, would I equip my Vyper with a Bright Lance? The answer is simply no for two reasons. The first is that you have already upgraded the Shuriken Catapults to the Shuriken Cannon so by taking a Bright Lance you are equipping one anti-infantry weapon and one anti-tank weapon that don't compliment each other. That's a 70 point model that will never be firing to it's full potential each turn. The second reason is that there is so much better anti-tank option's in the heavy support section that it just seems like a waste of great anti-infantry potential for this unit. Therefore I cannot recommend the Bright Lance for the Vyper. The only way I see this working is if you don't upgrade the Catapults to the Cannon but for 10 Points it's hard to say no.

Scatter Laser

The next option is the fantastic Scatter Laser. The Scatter Laser has a long range of 36", and puts out 4 Strength 6 shots with an AP of 6. So it's not great at denying those armor saves but to be honest with the abundance of cover saves these days, I think the volume of high strength shot's mitigates against this. The best part about the Scatter Laser though is the new rule called Laser Lock. If one of your shots with a weapon that has this rule hit the target then all other weapons on the vehicle are twin linked. So the Scatter Laser is a 10 point upgrade for the Vyper which means you are paying 70 Points for a fast moving Vehicle that put's out 7 Strength 6 shots if you upgrade the Catapults and 3 of those 7 shots are twin linked and nearly always wounding models on a 2+ and any roll of a 6 to wound means it's counted as AP 2 thanks to the Bladestorm special rule. These can reliably strip other light vehicles and transports and can even have a decent chance of taking down flyers due to the volume of high strength shots. I highly recommend kitting out your Vyper's with a Scatter Laser Turret.

Star Cannon

The Star Cannon is third choice turret option and is a fairly decent gun. It is an Eldar version of a Plasma Gun with a 36" range and shooting two Strength 6 shots with an AP of 2, perfect for killing Terminators. I think this is a better option than the Bright Lance but compared to the stock Shuriken Cannon turret I dont think it is worth the point's investment for one less shot, and with the Bladestorm rule the Shuriken Cannon can get AP 2 shots too. It is far inferior to the Scatter Laser with only half the shots and lacks the Laser Lock special rule that makes the Scatter Laser so amazing.
Missile Launcher

The final option for the turret mounted weapon is the old reliable Missile Launcher. Like the regular Eldar Missile Launcher it fire's the Plasma (Strength 4 small blast) and Starshot missiles (Strength 8 AP3). Mounted on a Vyper you are paying 15 points for the privilage and bringing the cost of the skimmer to a expensive 75 points. I feel with the Missile Launcher it is a jack of all trades and master of none. The Bright Lance deals with armor better and the Scatter Laser and Shuriken Cannon deal with infantry better so I would refrain from taking the Missile Launcher.

Other Equipment worth taking

Just one other piece of equipment that you might want to consider is the Holo Field. The Holo field adds +1 to your cover save so a moving Vyper will get a 4+ Jink save and a 3+ when moving flat out. They are expensive however due to being 15 points each so I recommend you take one Vyper per squadron with a Holo field and place it a bit closer to the enemy with it's 4+ cover save since the other Vypers in the squadron with benefit hopefully from it's Holo Field.

So How To Run a Typical Squadron

Typical Vyper Squadron - 225pts

Vyper 1: Shuriken Cannon, Scatter Laser Turret, Holo Field
Vyper 2: Shuriken Cannon, Scatter Laser Turret
Vyper 3: Shuriken Cannon, Scatter Laser Turret

Thats 21 Strength 6 Shots, 9 of which can be potentially AP2 and 9 of which can be twin linked. Nice!

How to play them

Always keep your Vypers at arms length because the internet is right about this one, they are fragile. Focus on infantry and particularly heavy infantry and monstrous creatures. So move 12" keeping the Vyper with the Holo Field's an inch closer towards the enemy and shoot those Scatter Lasers first so your Shuriken Cannon can benfit from the Laser Lock special rule. Alot of opponents haven't played against Vypers before since most Eldar players don't field them and this can work to your advantage giving them a nasty surprise. When it comes to your second turn keep near your maximum range for the Shuriken Cannon which is 24" so fly backwards if you have to. If you are taking a few squadrons and both squadrons are focusing on one unit then have one of your Vyper squadrons move a bit closer so that it is still in range of those Terminators once the first squadron has finished shooting them. If you can, always try and keep them 25% partially behind a wall to get better cover saves with the Holo Fields.
I hope you enjoyed this article and convinced you to take some Vypers of your own. And lets be honest, the model still rocks after all these years.

Thanks for reading,



  1. The single Holo-field trick will only work against beginners as others will simply Focus Fire the two others
    I can still come in handy, but not that much

    1. Against an experienced player I agree yes they will focus fire, but against the average Joe, I think they will forget to focus fire and will just fire at the unit which will allow the Vyper to utilise the Holofield.

  2. Personally I think the double Shuriken Cannon makes them dangerous enough. I would usually reserve them so I get at least one turn of shooting against my opponents higher str weapons. If I manage to take out his mid-range anti-tank then the Vypers can roam the board relatively free to shoot up whoever they want.

  3. Thanks Crazy 424 for commenting. Yes I agree the dual Shuriken Cannon build still rocks. I was using two swyads of 3 last night setup like that and made a mockery of terminators. In essence I think its a safe bet to run with either the scatter laser or dual shuri cannon build.

    1. I was looking at how Corsairs are now interacting with the new Eldar now. To me, if your gaming area allows it, Hornets are better in every sense. Scout, AV11 and can even use Star Engines if need be. Most important of all is that they cost pretty much the same in terms of points. Prob worth a look into.