Once pleasure crafts the ubiquitous DE Raider has been transformed into an instrument of pain. Each raider can be customized to allow the Raider captain to inflict pain and death in their own personal style.
In game terms this means that the Raider has a plethora of options available to the new Archon. Some of these upgrades are extremely useful such as flicker fields, while others are not so useful such as Retrofire Jets. Here are my thoughts on each upgrade.
Cheap upgrades (5 points each)
Shock Prow -
Gives the raider the ability to tank shock and adds D3 front armour for ramming. - using your raider as a guided missile sounds really good, There may be a tactic in there, however I am not sure how effective it would be. (needs to be combined with athersails for maximum range) Make sure you have no units inside as they will die if the raider is destroyed in your turn.
Torment Grenade Launcher -
Enemy leadership -1 LD within 6 inches. while nice to have I do not think it is worth 5 points. The only scenario I can see where it is useful is boosting 2 or 3 raiders with this close to an enemy pyscher and popping the crucible of malediction. (hard to pull off but would be funny as hell)
Enhanced AetherSail -
Provides an additional 2d6 inches of movement. Units may not disembark when sail is used. I like this upgrade to get my assault units in the enemies face turn one. The down side is that you are likely to get assaulted first. I think that it is too much and not really worth the 5 points.
Retro Fire Jets -
Allows deep strike. Why would we spend any points on this when we have no ability to manipulate reserves and we can get this for "free" on all raiders/venoms by taking the duke?
Chain Snares -
D3+1 S4 AP- wounds on each unit moved over. This is kinda cool, however raiders do not survive long and I prefer using my lance instead of going flat out. In the later half of the game it would be worth it, however Raiders are too expensive to begin with. Leave this one out.
Grisly Trophies -
friendly units within 6 inches re-roll failed leadership tests. With our average leadership of 8 this is a great upgrade. If I have 20 points over I put trophies on 4 raiders. This pays for itself with even one unit not being pinned or running from combat and is my point filler.
Envenomed Blades -
For each 1 on a CC attack the attacker takes a S4 AP- hit. This is just not worth it. Too situational and out of 2 or 3 games may kill one model if on multiple raiders? No thanks.
Expensive upgrades (10 points)
Night Shields -
Reduces weapon range by 6 inches. This does not work on ordinance and weapons with a 6 inch range. I have tried this and just do not get enough mileage for 10 points. With the incredible amount of ML, LC, and AC out there I am not worried about bolter fire taking down my raider. I know many will disagree but these are not worth the points in my opinion. (maybe grey knight S7 psycannons will change my mind)
Splinter Racks -
Re-Roll to hit with splinter weapons. This is really nice especially when combined with the Duke and some warriors or trueborn with carbines. This unit will be targeted a lot once your opponent knows what it is capable of so make sure the Raider is in cover.
Flicker Fields -
5+ invulnerable save. Let's see... negates 1 out of every 3 glancing or penetrating hits? works against CC as well? only 10 points? Yes please. This is a staple for me. Until official Beastmasters unit models come out and provide 4+ cover for my ravagers and raiders (crosses fingers) flicker fields are the way to go. They do not replace smart play and getting every cover save that you can get, but in the frequent situations where cover is not an option or just got blown up Flicker can save your ass and make your opponent cry.
So for me my average raider comes equipped with Flicker Fields and grisly trophies and weighs in at a hefty 75 points...same as a SM/SW TL-LC razorback. So not too bad, not great by a long shot, but I can live with it.