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CAV Unit Brief SyRaM Starhawk VI To kick off my first tactical unit run down, I’m going to focus on the Terran Starhawk VI. Each faction has a heavy CAV that I rate as the premium combatant of the force that combines the best speed to armor to firepower to threat value in a package that is truly a superiority CAV. The Starhawk VI is the Terran’s superiority attack CAV in all regards! Lets take a closer look at this unit. Nuts and Bolts I always start off by looking at a unit’s speed and armor. I feel that it gives a good picture as to what the unit should be doing and expected to do on the battlefield. The Starhawk VI has a respectable speed of seven and an armor value of seven. This tells me that it’s slightly quicker than other faction’s superiority CAV’s (say the Rach Dictatoror Ritterlich Cataphract) but sacrifices a little armor to do so. This ties into the over all arch-type that the Terran’s have as a more mobile force. This speed allows for more fluid battlefield control and great Assault movements (which we’ll get to in a second!) Secondly, the armor is also seven. In my mind and experience, seven is the minimum armor total that can survive for any length of time on the battlefield. If you are rocking a six armor, you tend to die just a little quicker. My six armor units tended to get snuffed out much easier than my seven armor units. This is also the point where I start classifying things between a superiority CAV and a cavalry CAV. I’ve made these rolls up in my head of course, but their roles are just a bit different. Most CAV’s with six armor are at least speed eight and while only an inch further, start to outdistance their speed seven brethren. They also have to be careful to not get blown up with relative ease. Finally, the Special Abilities and Attributes can really help a unit shine (or further reinforce it’s roll.) The Starhawk VI has several which will factor into it’s use. An Advanced Targeting Computer One and Wizzo (weapons officer) will grant you bonuses to your attack roll, while Ammo Bin One will save you once if you happen have a horrible roll and run out of ammo. Rugged allows you to always have a critical success, granting you two damage track repairs if you use your damage control systems which is handy if you have a moment on the battlefield to repair yourself. Finally, Assault Two helps to direct the Starhawk VI into it’s roll of attacker. The Hard SA directs your opponent as to which damage value to apply to your unit. Weapons Two Medium MRAC’s and two Medium Guided Missiles give the StarhawkVI very respectable range and damage potential. The MRAC is your standard direct fire, mess up someone else’s armor weapon. Point it at the enemy and pull the trigger. Simple as that. You must have a target lock or someone using TAG for you to fire your Guided Missiles, so keep that in mind when you are choosing your actions! We’ll cover the usage element next though and give some tips on combinations that help the StarhawkVI shine! Using The Thing You noticed I didn’t tell you what Assault Two did right? Good! One of the StarhawkVI’s best attributes is being able to Run ‘N Gun with less penalties. See, when you Run ‘N Gun, you subtract two from your movement value and then double it (so ten for those of you doing the math at home.) Then you fire your weapons. For each weapon you fire, you receive a negative modifier to the roll. So if you fired all four weapons, you’d be looking at a negative four to each roll. Every level of the Assault SA takes away that penalty, so you could Run ‘N Gun the StarhawkVI with a negative two instead of a four, or only fire two of your weapons for no negatives at all while benefiting from the three extra inchs of speed. This can help you dictate range or maneuver for later in the game. But what if you look up and you don’t need the extra movement but want to dump all of your weapons into the enemy? You have a few options. You can target lock and fire, using both of your actions to insure you get the guided missiles into the action. This is the most basic move you can make and it keeps you stationary. Use it when you need to or if you are standing in cover. I prefer to run a unit that uses the EST SA (which allows that unit to share target locks to it’s section) which essentially gives you a free target lock. You can then move and fire all of your weapons. Alternatively, a unit with TAG could paint your target and then all of the friendly guided missiles on the board could fire at it without a target lock while moving, but now you are missing out on your Advanced Targeting Computer bonus. In my mind CAV is about stacking as many bonuses as possible to insure you hit and insure you hit hard. Force Composition The Terrans use a force structure of five, so five CAV’s or vehicles make up a section. This can be difficult to use inside the current standard is 5000 Threat Value, but it’s doable. I like to take two Starhawk VI’s as the base of the list. From there, sprinkle to flavor. I’m a fan of EST and Active Phased Array, so a more points heavy list might include the following: Starhawk VI 590 (heavy firepower) Starhawk VI 590 (heavy firepower) Archer 683 (Active Phased Array 2 = +2 to all shots at enemy models within 30 inches, heavy short range firepower) Falcon 457 (cheap cavalry heavy with good firepower) Talon 274 (EST shares target locks with the rest of unit and also has ECM) This list gives you everything for 2594 threat value. That only leaves you with 2406 for the rest of your force, but you have choices. The other option would be to drop the Archer for another Falcon and field a tight, compact force for 2368 and have over half your points to play with for the other section of five! If you wanted to save even more points, grab one of the OPEN units like the Firedrake (231) or Dart (123) and sub out one of the Falcons. Using the Dart, your first section totals in at 2034. Then for a second section, you could build a “make it shady” fire-support section: Starhawk VI 590 (heavy firepower) Starhawk VI 590 (heavy firepower) Falcon 457 (cheap cavalry heavy with good firepower) Dart 123 (cheap throw away unit to get the Terran model of five into the section but also has some anti-infantry ability!) Talon 274 (EST shares target locks with the rest of unit and also has ECM) Raijin 854 (four batteries of heavy rocket launchers) Raijin 854 (four batteries of heavy rocket launchers) Regent 550 (medium weight fire support) Raptor 347 (light fire support and back up EST) Talon 274 (EST shares target locks with the rest of unit and also has ECM) What have your experiences been with or against the Starhawk VI? What did I get right? What did I miss? What would you like to see covered that maybe I didn't? Questions? Hopefully that gives you something to think about for one of the Terran’s best combat units! I hope this has been informative! Check back next time as we take a look at another unit in the CAV universe!
When I fill out my questionnaire for the exchanges, I like to give lots of options for people to choice from. For example, I mention that I have CAV:SO figures (and hope to play someday....). One of the other things I mention is that I collect rabbit minis (it all goes back to the Doom Bunny...). I never really thought anyone would ever combine those two.... What an awesome and creative piece Kangaroorex came up with! I love it!! (Although I may never look at a Starhawk VI the same way....) I don't know where he found the little car but it is perfect.