Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Decisions, Decisions: Voidraven vs. Razorwing

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This time I'm bringing you a debate that has long raged in my own head, and I'm sure many of my fellow Archons have experienced a similar dilemma. With the onset of 6th edition, flyers have obviously become an integral part of the game. Dark Eldar, aside from fortifications or allies, really has only two options for reliable anti-air: the Voidraven Bomber or the Razorwing Jetfighter. My hope by the end of the article is that you will come away with a common understanding of the pros and cons between the two, and I also hope to offer my recommendation based on the weight of the benefits each brings to your army, should you chose to include one! Now I have usually always included either one or the other in my army lists just as a fail safe, because Dark Eldar can find themselves at a significant disadvantage when facing down enemy flyers. Granted other armies will generally dominate the air when compared to us, but having at least one flyer can help mitigate that damage. So we've determined that taking a flyer along for the ride is good. So, with that established, how do you choose between the two?

The Razorwing Jetfighter
First off, let's look at what the cheaper, lighter variant of the Dark Eldar aircraft has to offer. At base 145 points, you're already looking at paying more than most other competitive flyers, but hey, we've got to work with what we've got, right? The Razorwing comes stock with 4 monoscythe missles (S6 AP5 large blast) free of charge, which is great, because paying for missiles is a pain. You also get two dark lances (which you can reasonably replace with disintegrator cannons for more anti infantry punch), and for some reason a splinter rifle, which you'll almost always want to upgrade to the splinter cannon for 10 more points. The splinter weapon is nice inclusion, as it gives you more anti-infantry capabilities beyond the missles, since you can only shoot two of those per turn. The biggest weakness of the Jetfighter is the AV10 on all sides, meaning that even concentrated bolter fire can bring the thing to the ground. I almost always recommend taking a flickerfield for ten points, as that means you don't have to worry about dodging to stay alive and thus sacrificing all of your offensive output. As far as the power level of the flyer goes, I would put it about on par with the storm talon. It is too overly costed to be taken in quantities similar to night scythes, and it just can't deal as much damage as a heldrake or other similarly costed flyer. The Razorwing, in my opinon, strikes a nice balance between cost and effectivness, and is much more of what I expected from flyers in 6th edition: Not game changing, but fun to play. Instead we find ourselves competing with flyer spam that enables virtually no interaction with your opponent making for games that just aren't fun. But I digress.

The Voidraven Bomber
The bomber variant of the Dark Eldar flyer plays very similarly, but has a few key differences that set it apart from the jetfighter. While the Voidraven also begins at 145 points base, it doesn't include any missles. Paying ten points per one shot weapon adds up quickly too, so you will find that the Voidraven will almost always be more expensive than the Razorwing when all is said and done. As far as the missles go, I have found that two shatterfield missles is the ideal loadout. while you can take up to 4, you can only fire two per turn. I often find that my first turn is spent targeting enemy fliers if there are any, the second is spent shooting the missles, and the third is usually when I fly off the board and drop its bomb. While the extra two missles are nice if you have the points, I definitely like to trim the fat on expensive units, and that is the most efficient way to keep the bomber cheap. Furthermore, the Voidraven comes in at AV11 on the front and sides. This extra point of armor is exponentially more important as it takes you across the threshold of bolter damage. This means that the Voidraven will hopefully be around much longer to cause havoc and be a general nuisance. Again the flickerfield is pretty much an auto-include here, since you don't ever want to be forced to dive to save your craft. Diving basically translates to a turn of doing nothing, which you can't afford on a 175pt model. In addition to the increased armor, the Voidraven comes equipped with the best anti armor weapon in our book - the mighty S9 AP2 void lance. Being a lance weapon, you are guaranteeing penetrating hits on a 4+, and against lower armor enemy flyers such as a night scythe or dakka jet, the void lances can tear them apart. In my opinion this is the greatest advantage over the Razorwing, as it vastly increases the likelihood that the flyer will make its points back every turn. Finally, the Voidraven also comes stock with a void mine (ironically the only "bomb" on the bomber) which definitely isn't game changing, but is nice to have. the S9 AP2 small blast is great for when you have to fly off the table, allowing you to get in some extra damage before you leave.

The Verdict
Overall, I rank the Voidraven slightly above the Razorwing. While it is the more expensive option, it brings along significantly more anti-flyer potential in the void lances and AV11, and that's why you're really bringing it along for the ride, right? That's not to say the Razorwing doesn't have its place, however. If I knew I was playing against a list that did not include flyers, I would choose the Razorwing every time. It is cheaper and carriers a significantly larger anti-infantry payload, making it ideal to use when it is alone in the sky. However, since most of us do  not have the luxury of knowing what our opponent is bringing to the table, the Voidraven ranks slightly higher because of it's increased reliability and resiliency against the enemy it is being brought to fight, namely other flyers. Furthermore, it still provides anti infantry support with its missles, making it the more versatile choice for a balanced meta where you find yourself playing a vast collection of different enemies.

Hopefully my thoughts have helped your internal dilemmas as well, but please comment with any thoughts or suggestions! And as always, make sure to follow so I can get myself motivated to produce more content for your viewing pleasure!


  1. Great write up. I am a nube to dark eldar so any advice is well appreciated and your articles are enjoyable to read. Keep em coming!

    1. Thanks! Feel free to email suggestions anytime!

  2. I also include one of either in my list. Packing the same loadout with 2 shatter fields. But after soooo many games I still cant decide which is better. as for AV's ive never suffered from bolters... hitting on 6's and glancing on 6's, the enemy would have to dedicate alot of bolters to it. So, they seem to get shot by heavy weapons, AV 10 or 11 doesnt help too much vrs a lascannon. So for me it's allways a case of 'Do I have 20 spare points and try out the voidraven'. Sadly us Archons got a raw deal in 6th as my 2 ravagers often reap a heavy toll while my flyer does little, sadly due to flyer mitigation i dont feel we can drop it.

  3. you could redo this article for the new Codex. Actually I wont to play a 1750pt list with 2 razorwing and 1 voidraven,a nd I hope it is a good idea