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Sure, sniping sounds great at first. Pick out dangerous enemies like wizards before they can become a real threat. However, is that single s3 attack from the hawk's talon and the s4 attack from the pageant of shrikes really that useful?
Difficult question to answer.
Would I take it in a "Take all comers list"? No.
Would I take it against a VC army, for example, on a one off? I'd give it a shot.
The combination is nice and can pay for itself. It's just going to be useless against some armies, like anything else.
Agreed. Probably not the best for tournament play. In the grand scheme, it isn't likely to ever kill many characters, but the simple threat of being able to target enemy characters is usually enough to make opponents think twice about how they use their resources. Just ask any Empire player who stockpiles Long Rifles.
Sometimes the ability to disrupt your opponent's plan is all the virtue you need out of an item or unit.
You could also take the bow of loren if the enemy mage is not in a unit.
combine that with hagbane arrows or arcane bodkins and you have a dead mage...
if you want the hunter's talon then throw on hagbane arrows or arcane bodkins and you have a dead low tougness model that can be in a unit, however, you only get one shot a turn so it is a risky game....
the hunter's talon can't be used with magic arrows, snyderman.
I'd use it to take out Unit Champions. They can cause no end of hurt to your characters the way we use them.
Imagine you have a tooled-up hero ready to do some serious killing (say, 5+ S6 attacks) and you have to use it on a champion in a challenge, that an put a dampener on your plans somewhat.
Alternatively you issue a challenge, as you have a really powerful character and you want to bring down an enemy character, and end up fighting a unit champion instead.
That's why I always make the point of saving one attack for them if no challenges have been issued, they can be very annoying.
I'm not a wood elf player so forgive me if I'm missing something, but why would arcane bodkins be good for killing enemy mages not in units when mages can't wear armour anwyay?
Bow of Loren doesn't allow you to pick out anything. The Hunters Talon and Pagaent of Shrikes could do it though.
There are upgrades that let Mages cast magic in armour (like the Armour of Tarnus). So that's when it's useful. But I agree that you do have a point that Arcane Bodkins generally isn't a good Mage-Assassin.
If you're facing Tomb Kings, why not try running the Hunters Talon with the Hagbane Arrows on a Waywatcher Noble to take down the Heirophant? That way, even if he's hiding in a unit, you have a 1/4 chance of killing him in one turn due to his low toughness. That would also pretty much win you the game, especially if the general is preoccupied/dead(enter the Assassin Noble).
With Heroes you can try a ton of stuff that makes them a handy sniper. It's just how you use them that defines how effective they are.