The Phoenix is a creature from Greco-Roman mythology, a fiery bird with metaphysical connections to the sun said to live in Arabia. Its most famous trait is its immortality, which it achieves by ceremonially immolating itself when it grows old and feeble, only to be reincarnated as a chick from the ashes.
In fantasy gaming, like most mythological monster and as popularized by Dungeons & Dragons, Phoenixes tend to be a species rather than a single individual. Like the Unicorn, they have been generally associated with the Good branch of alignment, mostly because of their adoption as a Christ-figure in Christianity and their long association with healing, life, renewal and immortality in general. They tend to be significantly more badass, often given both elemental control over fire and/or allowed to resurrect themselves in combat.
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Phoenixes as a kind of fiery harpy sorcerer are actually surprisingly popular, although the powers associated with the actual monster means that phoenix-girls are often seen as rather Mary Sue, even by monstergirls fans.
In WH40K however, the Phoenix is a super-heavy aircraft in the Eldar army. Unlike most Eldar aircraft, the Phoenix sacrifice speed and maneuverability in order to carry FUCKHUGE weapons payload for ground attack missions. The Phoenix along with its smaller cousin the Nightwings work in symbiosis; with the Nightwings clearing the skies of enemy aircraft and escorting Phoenixes as they rain destruction upon ground forces. However despite lower top speeds, the Phoenix is still a thousand times faster than its Imperium counterparts, what with most Eldar aircraft looking sleek and aerodynamic while some Imperial aircraft looks like they are massacring the air with their fleet of flying cargo containers.
In terms of armaments and the amount of Dakka it can carry, the Phoenix holds a pair of twin-linked Shuriken Cannons mounted in the craft's nose for engaging other aircraft or infantry units, while below the fuselage is a single centerline-mounted Pulse Laser for pinpoint accuracy against hardened ground targets such as Terminators or Dreadnoughts. The Phoenix's main ground attack weapons are twin Phoenix Missile Launchers which can also be mounted in the fuselage or in wing mounts. They typically carry plasma missiles for saturation bombardment of a target, but may replace it with a complement of Krak Missiles. Alternatively, some Phoenix bombers will instead carry the same deadly Monofilament Weaponry as found on the ground-based Night Spinner in place of missile launchers.
It also comes equipped with the usual Holo-fields to make it hard for the enemy to shoot down.
In 8th Edition, the Phoenix was corrected from Fast Attack to Flyer. Not The cheapest of all the Aeldari "Flyers" though it has more wounds then most of the Space Elf flyers AND more shots than all of them too! Built-in CTM means you can shoot the underslung heavy weapons at the closest unit without the -1 to hit penalty. Due to flyer movement this is a little trickier to utilize than other eldar flyers, so watch out. The Phoenix Pulse Laser has one more strength than the normal Pulse Laser, so it's more likely to wound T8 Super-Heavy vehicles like Knights and Baneblade variants than standard bright lances and pulse lasers. Twin Starcannons are very expensive but 4 shots semi-guarantee death (even with the FAQ errata for D3 damage instead of 3). Nightfire missiles averaging 7 shots a turn can be used as an anti-horde option, and includes a debuff if you wound the enemy if you're playing an apocalypse game. Phoenix Missiles are similar to starcannons with only D6 variable shots and flat 2 damage, so they're unreliable for big damage output but can trim a few enemy Terminators or Primaris Space Marines from any squad. Finally the nose-mounted Twin Shuriken cannons add more anti-infantry and since they are assault, can shoot even at far targets without the -1 to-Hit penalty.
Void Dragon Phoenix
The Void Dragon Phoenix is a variant of the Eldar Phoenix fighter-bomber, flown by an Eldar Corsair warband known as the Void Dragons (Not to be confused with the actual Void Dragon). The only difference between this variant and the original is the replacement of the fuselage Pulse Laser with twin-linked Starcannons. As the Void Dragons have sold their services to both the Craftworld Eldar and Dark Eldar, so too has the Void Dragon Phoenix flown in support of both brethren.
The last time the Void Dragon Phoenix had rules was back in 7th Edition. Seeing as how Eldar Corsairs are as dead as their woodland friends due to having a few models that didn't sell well due to, you know, a lack of models, the vehicle has been morphed with the regular Phoenix in later editions as a vehicle upgrade.
Anyways, the Void Dragon Phoenix is a fast attack choice for the Eldar Corsairs. Like the Nightwing, this flyer also comes with stealth and vector dancer for unparalleled mobility and a modicum of protection, plus strafing run for BS 5 against ground targets. It can torrent absurd amounts of anti-infantry dakka, but it almost reaches Land Raider’s price-tag in points. There are a couple of things the Phoenix actually does really well: killing MEQ’s in the open - consider it a flying Dark Reaper squad.
It also tears other flyers out of the skies by throwing around fifteen of S5-S8 shots depending on what your under slung weapon choice has been. Against Horde armies like Guard, Nids or Orks it can just remove entire squads, particularly if you replace the Phoenix Missile Launchers with Nightfire missile launchers, giving you six frag missiles that pin and ignore cover on top of all the other firepower.