One thing magpies do that is not documented as such is this: if you're playing teams and you've never touched planes because you're not sure how they work, try magpies.
They perform rather well with high level commands such as attack or line attack. Most of the time with planes you either have to area split target (F -> flick and drag, hold crtl, release click). This makes ravens and likhos pick different targets so they don't lose time retargeting after the first target gets destroyed, or avoid overkill. Likhos are especially prone to overkill if not manually targeted properly.
Magpies on the other hand perform very similar to skirmishers, but also can fly. When a considerable group (12+ units) are ordered to attack a single point, they tend to spread their shots to avoid overkill rather well and tend to not lose time swirling around retargeting as units die.
They are VERY friendly to new air players.
They also do not require much consideration as to the angle of approach, given their range. They do tend to be easy pickings due to their rather slow turn rate however.
The main thing that is difficult to manage is that their reload time is so high that they require a LOT of airpads to be effective, and are a considerable energy drain to reload. If one is to spam magpies, it is advisable to almost split eco half magpies half airpads, and then supplement with a fusion or two as time goes by.
While I have not yet had the opportunity, I expect magpies to completely replace swifts for games like FFAs in which one player achieves air supremacy and seeks to control the entire map efficiently. They are safer than gunships while having far more alpha damage than swifts vs land targets.
I didn't like them at first, but I think they are a fantastic addition.
I have no idea how they'll perform in 1v1. The fact that they are not as alpha strike as ravens AS WELL AS require more airpads doesn't seem to make them a very cost effective tech switch, but it might be that they would be more for attrition than killing blows. B1758418 31 on Obsidian_1.5