Heavy is not Quite the Operative Word: Eldar Heavy Support

Oh. My. Goodness. Eldar heavy support is choc full of some of the most deadly units I’ve ever seen, especially considering how incredibly mobile they generally stay. All of the units in the heavy support section of the codex are worth taking, though I’ll separate them into three tiers. Tier 1 will include the top, most powerful and most broken units in the section. Tier 2 will include the slightly less overpowered units and tier 3 will include the rest. However, none of these are not worth taking, all very useful units.

Firstly, tier 1. You all knew it was coming, and you all knew it was going to be here: The Wraithknight. The Wraithknight is really, really powerful. With enough ranged weapons to ruin the day of anything, and a statistics that make Hive Tyrants look like little insects, the Wraithknight is sure to ruin the day of whatever it shoots at or stomps on. The best equipment that I’ve found is taking the suncannon and scattershield, along two scatter lasers as the scatter lasers will allow you to re-roll your scatter die for the suncannon, leading to a Wraithknight that just melts entire squads of MEQs each turn. This also gives it the scattershield, giving it a 5+ invulnerable save at the trade-off that everything within six inches must make an initiative check or be blinded whenever it makes a save, though if a unit passes an initiative check then it becomes immune to blind until the end of the phase. This build of Wraithknight is a real pain for any enemy who doesn’t have an abundance of poisoned attacks in their army, as toughness 8 with a 3+ armour, 5+ invulnerable, six wounds and four initiative five, strength ten, AP2 attacks in close combat, combined with squad melting firepower is a real tough nut to crack. Here it does come to three hundred and twenty points, though it’s worth every single one of them. I generally do not like any of the other weapon loadouts, as in my opinion they are not as effective. Oh, this unit is a jump monstrous creature as well, because it didn’t want to be left behind by the rest of the army!

Next up, we have War Walkers. These were powerful before, but with ballistic skill four instead of three and generally cheaper weapon options, these have gone from powerful to truly broken. You can still take dual scatter lasers, though now you can average a total of fifty six hits, as opposed to thirty six before if you shoot the weapons in the correct order on a squad of three; that’s enough to even cause terminators to die in droves, let alone the hordes that it is designed for! You can go the other way and take dual bright lances to turn any tank that you turn your attention to into a pile of useless metal in one or two rounds of shooting, and even starcannons are viable choices now, though I believe that scatter lasers are still more versatile, and shuriken cannons are just cheaper. Eldar missile launchers are not worth it any more though, being the only weapon to not be ridiculously cheap, especially as scatter lasers deal with infantry better and bright lances deal with tanks better. Take a squad of three War Walkers, kit them out with whichever weapon you want and watch them melt units. Oh, did I mention that they have a 5+ invulnerable save, as well as the Scouts, Battle Focus, Fleet and Ancient Doom special rules? Yeah, they’re pretty ridiculous now.

Lastly for tier 1, we have Dark Reapers. Cheaper, slow and purposeful, can all upgrade to take strength 8, AP3, pinning missiles, no jink saves against their shots and can now be taken in squads of ten. Dark Reapers laugh at anything with a 3+ or worse save, and can now be fitted to deal death to vehicles too. I wouldn’t recommend upgrading their Exarch to a missile launcher, not even to take flakk missiles as there are better anti-air units in the Eldar codex that are also cheaper, such as the Crimson Hunter and War Walkers. Keep them doing what they’re good at doing: Killing MEQs in droves and causing power armoured armies to shake in their boots. We’re Eldar, we specialise unlike those Mon-Keigh who like to have units that can do a little bit of everything. All of the Exarch’s powers are decent, so it all comes down to personal preference. More precision shots, more shots or ignoring Night Fighting? I’d probably go for the latter two, as a unit of Dark Reapers firing at any heavy infantry will likely deal enough damage without worrying about more precision shots. Hey, those heavy weapons will die anyway if I kill enough of the squad!

Okay, so onto tier 2. First up, the Fire Prism. The Fire Prism has gotten a buff as well at the cost of not being able to link shots any more. We have either strength five, AP3 with a large blast; strength seven, AP2 with a small blast, or strength nine, AP1 with the lance special rule. It still has a sixty inch range and costs ten points more now, so I would say that overall the Fire Prism is about the same as it was before in terms of power, which was pretty powerful, mind you. The reason why I like Fire Prisms is that you can spend forty points extra on star engines and a crystal targeting matrix to make them able to move thirty six inches total if they move flat out, as well as fire their prism cannon once per game when doing so. You bait them in, then boost to the other side of the board and still fire your prism cannon, it’s demoralising! The Fire Prism, however, falls under the category of “it’s not one of the units above.” It’s a good unit, but if you’re looking for the most powerful, you just don’t have enough heavy support slots on the force organisation chart. They are still a very capable unit, however, and I know that I will be taking one in my army.

Next up is the Falcon. This has gone from terribly broken in fifth edition, to useless in sixth edition, to useful in the new codex. They are ten points more expensive, but now have a ballistic skill of four and a shuriken cannon by default. Their weapon replacements for the shuriken cannon are the same, but they’re now cheaper and the scatter laser now has a use on a Falcon now that it has the laser lock special rule, allowing all other guns on the Falcon to re-roll their to-hit dice if the scatter laser hits. I will still be taking a starcannon and star engines for a measly one hundred and forty five points of AP2 death. Now that I have ballistic skill four, I may actually kill something! Also, it makes a useful transport for any units that may need it, providing there are no models with the Bulky special rule and the squad size is six or less.

Last for tier 2 is the Wraithlord. The reason why this unit is tier 2 rather than tier 1 is because it has been nerfed. At thirty points more expensive with two less strength, I can’t see how this would be among the likeness of the Wraithknight or War Walkers. The Ghostglaive is a must take in my opinion, at only five points to increase its strength by one, as well as having the master crafted special rule, I can’t see why you would not take this upgrade. Its guns remain expensive, which makes the Wraithlord into a unit that is tough and has its uses, but is nowhere near the same level as squad melting tier 1 units. I will not be taking a Wraithlord, as I just cannot justify them any more.

Finally, in tier 3 we have the Nightspinner and the Vaul’s Wrath Support Battery. Both capable artillery units, but like the tier 2 units, they just don’t have what it takes to compete with the rest of the heavy support section. I dislike the Vaul’s Wrath squad’s lack of mobility, as it will become isolated when it cannot keep up with the rest of my army, and the Night Spinner no longer causes anything it hits to treat all ground as difficult and dangerous terrain when it tries to move after being shot at. I do not have much to say about these units as I have never fielded the artillery batteries and rarely fielded a Night Spinner, but I dislike them and will not be using either of them in my army. They are useful, but I do not see them being that great.

I also wanted to talk about the Wave Serpent, the Eldar dedicated transport. It is now cheaper, unless you take Eldar missile launchers, with ballistic skill four and a different shield. It’s still a lot more expensive when compared to other armies and their transports, but with the Wave Serpent you get what you pay for. It carries twelve models, can carry bulky models, is a fast skimmer and can take some rather effective upgrades. Generally, they are less useful than before, due to how mobile the Eldar warhost is on its feet, but if you still want to run a mech-Eldar list, then the Wave Serpent remains a very solid choice for a troop transport. I’ll still be running a few of them to carry my Dire Avengers around if I need to rush some objectives, mainly with twin linked bright lances to swat down any enemy tanks on the way.

Eldar heavy support is very broken. The only problem we have as Eldar players is which units we want to take in our three slots. Unfortunately, it’s possibly the hardest choice we will have to make when army building, as our heavy support section is incredibly powerful. Much like the rest of the codex, however, all of the units are useful, depending on what kind of army you field. The above comments are my thoughts and opinions, so if yours differ, please leave a comment and let me know how you will be fielding heavy support choices.

And You Thought Our Other Units Were Fast…: Eldar Fast-Attack

How does one go about writing an article for the fast attack section of a very mobile and speedy army? Is it excessive? Is it just right? Is it not different enough? One thing we do know for certain is that we now have some rather effective non-Forge World flyers. As a note, I actually don’t own any fast attack units myself.

Firstly, Swooping Hawks. They are five points cheaper than they used to be, have Skyleap by default, shoot an extra shot with their lasblasters, have the Ancient Doom and Battle Focus special rules and, to top it off, do not scatter when they deep strike. Wait, what? They have been seriously buffed as well as seriously lowered in price! I liked Swooping Hawks before on the grounds that Haywire grenades could reduce a vehicle to nothing in a single phase, but now they are a really mean unit with the huge buff and point cost reduction. Hold on one moment while I go out and buy two boxes of them! They can now reliably decimate light infantry, as well as pop whatever tank they want to. However, like most Eldar units, they are not the most survivable thing out there, so if your opponent is paying attention, he or she could immediately turn their firepower to kill your squad before it can really come into its own. That said, it can move twelve inches in the movement phase, then fire all its multitude of shots and then run D6 inches with the fleet special rule in the shooting phase. As the title says, you thought our other units were mobile? Swooping Hawks redefine mobility! Their Exarch is largely the same as before, able to take a power weapon and a Hawk’s Talon or Sunrifle, though the Sunrifle is now only three shots with the blind special rule and no more pinning. It is AP3 however, and the Hawk’s Talon remains unchanged, rendering it a better choice in my opinion as we have enough anti-MEQ in our army and the rest of the squad are great at killing lighter infantry. He can also be given the hit and run special rule, meaning that if you do get in trouble then you can just pass an initiative check on stupidly high Aspect Warrior initiative to jump out of combat, though in my opinion the other Exarch powers are not that useful, making precision shots on a 5+ instead of a 6 and giving him night vision, though the latter is arguably useful as it can throw your opponent off-guard.

Warp Spiders, like Swooping Hawks, have gotten cheaper, though not to the same magnitude. Now three points cheaper with guns that are AP1 on rolls of six to wound, Warp Spiders can not only shred infantry, but they can also shred tanks with ease. With Battle Focus they can move, then run with the fleet special rule, shoot at potentially the rear armour of a tank where all rolls of six count as AP1 and then jump 6+2D6 inches in the assault phase. Just in case they do get into close combat, they also have hit and run as standard, meaning you can jump out of combat almost certainly, due to the fact that they have a very decent initiative like the rest of the codex. I think I’m starting to see a pattern here with Eldar fast attack choices. The Exarch’s options are good, though there are some choices that I would not take. For example, the twin-linked death spinner is not worthwhile, as he has a ballistic skill of five and therefore will rarely be missing. Also, I find that the Stalker Exarch power, as well as the powerblades are wasted points as you shouldn’t be keeping your Warp Spiders in melee combat for long, making the most of your Hit and Run ability to jump out and gun down the upstarts who charged you. The other choices, however, being the the spinneret rifle and the Fast Shot and Marksman’s Eye Exarch powers, are very nice indeed. The combination gives you a strength 6, AP1, 18 inch rapid fire gun that precision shots on 5+ and has an extra shot. Yes please?

Shining Spears were good in the old codex, due to their mobility, lances and annoying hit and run tactics to get multiple charges. Now they are just broken. At a whopping ten points less, you now get the same unit as before, but with the Ancient Doom, Battle Focus, Outflank and Skilled Rider special rules all included. Their laser lances took a slight hit in the fact that they are now AP3 on the charge as opposed to AP2, but otherwise they remain constant. For the Exarch, Hit and Run is a must take for a squad that relies on charging as this unit does not hit very well on a turn where they do not charge. Monster Hunter is useful as well, as it’s only a measly five points, and will really help you when you charge into your opponent’s Hive Tyrant or Daemon Prince. Suddenly, that’s a lot of wounds that ignore 3+ armour saves. I usually also take a star lance on my Exarch, as I like to have the strength 8, AP2 melee and shooting attacks from my Exarch; with the ten point cheaper models, I think we can afford to spend ten points to make our Exarch hit very hard.

Vypers are almost exactly the same as they were before, apart from now they are ballistic skill four as opposed to three and most of their weapons are now cheaper to buy. They make for useful mobile weapons platforms and I can definitely see their uses now that they are ballistic skill four, but I’m afraid I just don’t think that they are perhaps as powerful as other fast attack choices. I will be getting a unit myself, and I am very happy that the battleforce now comes with one instead of a War Walker, but that’s because I dislike how broken War Walkers are / were. In my opinion, it’s down to personal preference. Vypers are in no way a bad unit, but they’re not super broken either.

Then we have the two new flyers in the codex, the Hemlock Wraithfighter and the Crimson Hunter. Personally, I am not a fan of the Hemlock Wraithfighter, as it’s very expensive and doesn’t really put out that much hurt. Sure, it has two heavy D-scythes which are small blasts with strength 4, AP2 and the distort special rule, but other than that, all it does is cause lots of morale checks to be re-rolled and can cause fearless units to become cowards all of a sudden. This is all well and good, but let’s think who we play against most of the time. Most of the time, our enemies are some sort of Space Marine variant, or an army with a semi-decent leadership which makes rallying no problem. It’s a nice idea, but I think that most of the time it is just going to be a waste of points. The Crimson Hunter on the other hand is a great fighter jet for the Eldar. With a pulse laser and two bright lances (don’t upgrade to starcannons, it’s better as is) it can really tear up any flyers that it comes across, especially considering how it re-rolls all failed armour penetration rolls. Buying the Exarch upgrade and getting him some Exarch powers is nice, but for me I do not see it being worth the points; this is a really great fighter jet to just pay one hundred and sixty points for, keep it cheap and wreck some other flyers.

For me, I believe that the fast attack section is nice, but sometimes the insane mobility is just a little too much. Most of our normal units are more mobile than the fast attack choices of some armies but having said that, there have been some pretty solid buffs to all of the old Eldar fast attack units, and the Crimson Hunter can swat down enemy flyers nicely. I need to go out and buy myself some Swooping Hawks and some Shining Spears…

The Benefits of Specialisation: Eldar Elites

The elites section of the Eldar codex has quite possibly been my favourite section since I started collecting them. It could be because it houses the Eldar dedicated melee squads, which I absolutely love to field in order to protect my dedicated ranged units. As we all know, an Eldar army relies on synergy between units rather than aiming for a specific idea. The way the Eldar warhost operates allows for many different types of units to be fielded, allowing for more diversity than any other army out there through units of specialists, rather than the more Space Marine approach of having every unit as a relative jack of all trades. These units all inherit Ancient Doom and Battle Focus like most units in the new codex.

First of all, my personal favourite: Howling Banshees. Whilst we all remember the days of our power sword wielding maidens charging into units of terminators, only to decimate them and strike fear into the hearts of the hordes of power armour wearing opponents, they are not the same in sixth edition. Their power swords only being AP3 has really swayed people against using them in the current meta, preferring to just take Striking Scorpions instead, though I believe that the Banshees still have a key battlefield role. Whilst their swords merely bounce off the armoured shell of a Terminator or other 2+ save models, they still carve a bloody path through anything with a 3+ or worse save. I’m not saying that you should charge them into hordes, as they still only have a toughness score of three and a 4+ armour save, but any non-Terminator Space Marine squad (these ladies will absolutely decimate Vanguard Veterans for about half the points cost) is a prime target; non-Terminator Grey Knights weep at the sight of Howling Banshees, as do Sisters of Battle, just watch out for those incinerators and flamers as they fire overwatch! Their masks now reduce your opponent’s initiative by five as opposed to bumping yours to ten when you charge, which again is nice as unless your opponent has an initiative score of ten, or some other way of reducing your initiative, you will be striking first on the turn that you charge in, which is invaluable for such a fragile unit. They also now run D6+3 inches, as opposed to just D6, and also keep the fleet special rule, which will really help you to charge your enemy and not the other way around. Their Exarch largely remains the same, although her Executioner has been made AP2, her Triskele is AP3 and her Mirrorswords are now master crafted and only give +1 attack as opposed to +2. With an initiative of six, she remains a great choice for challenging enemy sergeants only to chop them cleanly in half in a few seconds. Where Howling Banshees fall short, in my opinion, is through a lack of support. Without the ability for our Farseers to reliably take doom and fortune, these ladies have certainly lost some of their appeal as a dedicated melee unit on the tabletop; whilst they have AP3 attacks and will likely be going first, they only have strength and toughness of three and a save of 4+, which means you’re wounding Space Marines on 5+ without a re-roll some of the time. That hurts.

Striking Scorpions in my opinion have taken a hit. Their scorpion chainswords are now AP6, so they’ll ignore some armour saves, but the fact that their mandiblasters are no longer an extra attack has hurt their horde killing potential, now working as an automatic hit at initiative ten with strength three and no AP on a single model in base contact. I much preferred my extra attack as now I believe that Striking Scorpions just aren’t as effective as they used to be. They come with infiltrate and move through cover as standard, however, and also now get stealth as well, so they’re a bit faster and more durable than they were before, and at only one point more I can say that they are still very much worth taking. In terms of the Exarch, I feel that the Scorpion’s Claw is now redundant with the Biting Blade almost doing the same, striking at strength +2 and AP4 as opposed to strength x2 and AP2, but keeping the Exarch’s delicious initiative of six. My favourite choice for the Exarch are the Chainsabres, though I will be keeping an Exarch model with a Biting Blade as it is a very viable option, because it is now AP5, grants a bonus attack for being two close combat weapons, increases his strength by one like the normal chainsword, but also gives his melee attacks the rending special rule. For a measly ten points, I can definitely get on board with that idea! He can also take an Exarch power that increases his strength by one, giving you a model with four attacks on the charge, with strength five and rending. Definitely still a unit that is worth taking, though overall I feel that they aren’t quite as effective as they were before.

Fire Dragons are a double edged sword. The good news is that they have been given that much needed 3+ armour save, so they won’t just get annihilated as soon as they show their faces. The bad news comes in the form of their points cost. Now, Fire Dragons cost a whopping six points more per model. They do get the Ancient Doom and Battle Focus special rules as well, so they are overall a lot more of a solid unit, but you really do pay for it. There’s not much else to say about Fire Dragons, as they have remained largely unchanged apart from those points stated above. I will probably not include a unit of Fire Dragons in my army list most of the time as I prefer my anti-vehicle firepower to be long range or durable enough to be on the front lines; even with their 3+ armour save, at twenty two points per model they just don’t fit the bill. However, they are far from useless, especially with the Battle Focus special rule, I’m just saying that I won’t be taking a squad myself.

Harlequins weren’t really anything special in the last edition of the codex, being expensive, toughness three and only possessing a 5+ invulnerable save whilst being generally not as deadly as Howling Banshees or Striking Scorpions. In this edition of the codex, they are completely unchanged, though the Death Jester, Shadowseer and Troupe Master have been explicitly labelled as characters. With the general buff that the army has gotten overall, I find that Harlequins are still lacking, trying to do a job that can be done better by other units. I will be fielding a unit of Harlequins because they look amazing, especially when painted well, but thinking from a practical point of view I would prefer to take more of other units instead of Harlequins. They also don’t benefit from Battle Focus or Ancient Doom.

I will talk about Wraithguard and Wraithblades in one paragraph as they are effectively the same unit, just equipped differently. Wraithguard have the same statistics as before for a slightly lower points cost, both Wraithguard and Wraithblades costing three points less than Wraithguard used to, as well as not suffering from Wraithsight and gaining the Ancient Doom. Standard Wraithguard are equipped with Wraithcannons, which in my opinion have been vastly improved. They no longer wound on a 2+ and cause instant death on a 6, now with strength ten and cause instant death on a 6. Also, against vehicles it doesn’t glance on a three or four and penetrate on a five or six, it’s just strength ten with AP2. A unit of Wraithcannon wielding Wraithguard are now, in my opinion, far better at shredding tanks as well as infantry. Strength ten has a tendency to kill with ease anyway. They can also take D-scythes, which are basically AP2 flamers with the distort special rule, which is very useful considering how close range your wraithguard usually are, though it costs a heavy ten points per model for this upgrade. I feel sorry for anyone who tries to charge that unit! Wraithblades are basically Wraithguard equipped for melee combat. They are equipped with either two Ghostswords, which strike at strength +1 and AP3, or a Ghostaxe and forceshield, basically strength +2, AP2 and unwieldy (strike at initiative one) but also having a 4+ invulnerable save. You want a tar-pit unit? There you have it; toughness six, 3+ armour save and a 4+ invulnerable save, with strength seven, AP2 close combat attacks for only thirty two points per model.

Personally, I’m not a fan of Wraith units, so I won’t be using any, though I will still be taking a unit of each close combat Aspect Warriors, and occasionally a squad of Harlequins when I get the points for it. Hey, I field what I like the look and feel of, not what I think works well!

The Heart of a Strikeforce: Eldar Troops

Thus we start article number two of Eldar week. In the last article I talked about the HQ choices that will lead your army, so I decided to cover their troops choices next; being the other required units on a standard force organisation chart. Troops will probably make up the bulk of your army, unless you’re list-tailoring or being generally beardy, as they can capture and hold objectives regardless of the scenario. Before I start, I want to talk about some of the global rules that I referenced in my last article: Ancient Doom and Battle Focus. Ancient Doom gives your units hatred against all things Slaanesh, whether they are Slaanesh daemons or merely models with the mark of Slaanesh, your Eldar gain hatred against them which allows them to re-roll any 1s when rolling to hit or wound; however, the trade off is that you also take a leadership penalty of -1 when in combat with the units you gain hatred against. Most Eldar have at least a score of nine for leadership, so I’m not too fussed if it also gives me hatred. Battle Focus is one of the most broken parts of the new Eldar codex, allowing your units to run and shoot in whichever order you want to in the shooting phase, rather than one or the other. This takes your already mobile Eldar and turns them into what they should be, in accordance with how they are portrayed in the fluff. Also, I feel that I should write something about the new rule for all shuriken weaponry called “Bladestorm”. This is not the same as the old Dire Avenger Exarch power, giving AP2 and an automatic wound on any rolls to wound of a 6. Yes, Eldar players, all our shuriken weaponry is basically rending against infantry. Enough intro, let’s get right into it.

First, I will talk about Dire Avengers. These lads and ladies in blue have gone from a staple inclusion in most Eldar armies to… Well, it’s hard to compare them to what they used to do. The two main builds that I saw around before was either an Exarch with power weapon, shimmershield and defend, or an Exarch with dual Avenger shuriken catapults and bladestorm. Their Exarch powers have been completely changed, now able to purchase up to two out of three that come from a pool of shared Exarch powers rather than the fixed ones for each Aspect Warrior squad. Statistically they are identical to the old codex, now also boasting plasma grenades and counter-attack by default for an extra point cost. They have the Ancient Doom special rule, as well as the Battle Focus one, meaning that they can run and shoot in the same shooting phase with those pseudo-rending eighteen inch range shuriken catapults. Move up, unload pseudo-rending death and then run D6 inches away from your opponent or back into cover afterwards, with a re-roll if need be due to the fleet special rule. That being said, the dual Avenger shuriken catapults have been nerfed, now only counting as twin linked rather than having four shots, and the weapon upgrades generally cost more. You can also give your Exarch a power weapon as opposed to a diresword for a few points less, though in my opinion, it is not worth it. The power weapon and shimmershield sticks out to me as the best option for any Dire Avenger Exarch, as it still gives the whole squad a 5+ invulnerable save and turns them into a real tar-pit should they get charged. Just make sure to decline challenges from big, beefy, scary opponents! My biggest annoyance with Dire Avengers is the fact that Games Workshop have decided to make them financially impossible. Now, you get half the box for roughly the same price. I don’t know about you, but five Dire Avengers (six with a spare pair of Guardian legs!) for twenty pounds is just not affordable. Lucky for me, I already have all the Dire Avengers I will need.

Next up are Rangers. Not much has changed concerning Rangers, as they still sport all their old special rules, though they act like normal snipers now; meaning 6s to hit are precision shots, no longer AP1, and they have the rending special rule. They still have stealth, infiltrate, move through cover, as well as the two new rules stated in the first paragraph. They have gained an extra point of initiative and weapon skill as well though, unless things go horribly wrong, these are largely moot. What is nice is that they have been brought down to a measly twelve points per model, even though they have largely just been buffed. I will always be fielding at least one unit of Rangers in all of my Eldar armies, regardless of points. It’s a sixty point, five man unit of snipers with the stealth special rule who can capture objectives. Very useful! If your army contains Illic Nightspear, then you can pay an extra thirteen points per model, bringing the total up to twenty five points per model, to make your Rangers into Pathfinders. Pathfinders in this edition are basically normal Rangers with shrouded and sharpshot, giving them +2 to their cover saves as well as making all of their shots into precision shots. Watch your enemy weep as you kill all of his shiny weapons!

Finally, I will cover the last three choices in one part, as they are all three Guardian variant: Defenders, Storm and Jetbikes, renamed to Windrider Jetbikes. In terms of statistics, Guardians are much better. With an increased initiative of five as well as weapon and ballistic skills of four as opposed to three, along with the Ancient Doom and Battle Focus special rules added on and plasma grenades as standard, Guardians may actually do some serious damage on the tabletop now. They cost one point more now and do not have to take a heavy weapon platform, though just imagine their uses. Twenty Guardians is one hundred and eighty points; if they unload all their shooting, that’s forty shots that hit on 3s and have the Bladestorm special rule. That’s a lot of twelve inch range death that they can hand out for a very small amount of points, with the ability to then run away or into cover afterwards. However, one thing to note is that heavy weapons platforms are generally more expensive and nowhere does it say to treat them as assault weapons, meaning that if we want to fire our Guardian heavy weapon platform, we have to stay still like everyone else or resign ourselves to snap firing. Storm Guardians get the ability to take two power weapons in their squad as well as two special weapons between fusion guns and flamers. I believe that both Guardian Defenders and Storm Guardians benefit even more from a Warlock leader now than they ever did. Just imagine if your Warlock got the psychic power that increases strength by one; suddenly your Guardians are weapon skill and strength four with initiative five and two power weapons in the mix. That’s some cheap, yet very effective troops there, however they are still made of paper, sporting a 5+ armour save and toughness three. No matter, it’s the Eldar way: Kill them before they can effectively strike back. Windrider Jetbikes benefit from all the Guardian statistic increases, though they remain largely untouched. For every three, you can take a shuriken cannon, and squad size has gone down to a maximum of ten. The best part about them, however, is the fact that they are five points cheaper, despite all the buffs that they received.

All in all, Eldar now have a very solid selection of troops now that Guardians have gone from almost useless to deadly overnight. I believe that any combination of troops will work in any Eldar army, as long as they are used in the right way. You could viably field multiple Ranger squads, or an Ulthwe strike force of Guardians and Warlocks, or a Saim-Hann inspired mass of Windriders. Personally, I will be using a combination, though Dire Avengers will stay my preferred troops with a squad or two of Rangers to back them up. However, I may actually use my Guardians now… Hmmmmm… Let me know in the comments what you think of the changes, new rules, as well as my opinions. Don’t hesitate to tell me I’m wrong if you believe that I am, and feel free to post up anything I missed!

To Command a Strikeforce: Eldar HQs

With the new update, the Eldar HQ section has been largely revamped. Whilst some choices remain similar, there are changes to those units we knew and loved, as well as completely new choices emerging with new possibilities and potential strategies. In this article, I am going to go through each choice in detail, outlining possible ways to use them, what combinations may work and where the cheese is!

Firstly, we have the main man himself: Eldrad, High Farseer of Ulthwe. Eldrad was amazing in the last edition of the codex and he has only gotten better. Five points cheaper, an extra mastery level and some really fun special rules, Eldrad has gone from good to great. I will not go through all of his special rules one by one as many are globally available to other Farseers or units in the codex, such as runes of warding or battle focus.On the topic of Eldrad’s own special rules, he still has his 3+ invulnerable save, and the ability to re-deploy D3+1 units after both sides have deployed, but before scout moves are performed. He still has his staff, though it has been changed slightly. It is AP3, using his strength with the fleshbane special rule; however, it now gives him a one in three chance at giving back one of his warp charge counters whenever he passes a psychic test. Oh, did I mention it was a force weapon now as well? Yes, Eldrad can now cast on average about five or six psychic powers per turn, as well as inflict instant death with his force weapon. Ouch? Yes, ouch. He also generates his psychic powers from the divination and telepathy trees in the rulebook, as well as the runes of fate table in the Eldar codex itself; whilst I do not like telepathy, the other two tables are both very strong and Eldrad gets four roles total on them! A very, very solid choice for an HQ and a good choice for a warlord if you want one who will probably stay alive, though his fixed warlord trait of giving all units within 12″ of him the stealth special rule once per game for a single shooting phase isn’t the greatest.

Next up, another familiar face: Prince Yriel, Autarch of Iyanden. He remains largely unchanged, with an extra wound and the spear of twilight working slightly differently, he wades in at fifteen points less than he used to, with a general buff as he gets some of the lovely global Eldar special rules that have been introduced. Ambush of Blades, his fixed warlord trait, can be used nicely as it allows you to re-roll 1s to wound for every Eldar unit within twelve inches, which considering how much firepower the Eldar have now, that’s potentially going to hurt a lot. His spear no longer automatically wounds him at the end of the game, either, as it now just forces him to re-roll all saving throws of six. More risky, but potentially less deadly. I like him, for his points cost he is definitely worth taking, but he’s not too broken so if you’re playing to win, there are other choices that are just better. Plus, I dislike named characters, so I’m biased in that respect.

Next on the list is a newcomer to the codex: Illic Nightspear, The Walker of the Hidden Path. Illic is basically a pathfinder on steroids, with weapon skill and initiative scores of six, a ballistic skill of nine, a power sword for no reason other than to annoy people, and a sniper rifle of over-powered killing-ness; Illic is a must have for any competitive army and I haven’t even gone into the juicy details yet. Firstly, let’s look at his sniper rifle, Voidbringer. With a 48″ range, AP2 and the distort special rule which means he auto wounds on a 2+ (WRONG! It’s a 4+. Now you see why I am called Refined Fail) and causes instant death on a six, he kills whatever he shoots at. Not only that, he has the sharpshot special rule, which makes all shots, excluding snap shots, into precision shots. Not only does he kill whatever he shoots at, but he chooses exactly what he wants to shoot at, giving you the ability to surgically remove any characters, heavy or special weapons that your opponent may have. In addition to this, he has the warlord trait fixed that gives him the split fire special rule, and another rule where any outflanking, friendly Eldar Rangers or Pathfinders can just arrive within six inches of him via the deep strike special rule with no scattering, he can not only kill whatever he wants, but also help a load of other snipers kill what they want. To add insult to injury, he gives you the option to field pathfinders, as you cannot field them without Illic, though as they all have sharpshot as well, they are well worth the points if you have Illic in your army. I will cover pathfinders in more detail tomorrow in my article on troops.

We still have all of the Phoenix Lords, though they are not that impressive to me. They still have their insane statistics and new rules and weapons, but compared to Illic and Eldrad, especially for the points cost, I don’t really see them as being that useful. That being said, there are no longer the barriers that say a Phoenix Lord can only join their own aspect warriors, leading to the shenanigans when Jain Zar joins a unit of Striking Scorpions and gives them the benefit of her super-powered banshee mask, or when Fuegan joins anything close combat based and tears everything apart. Asurmen is like a powered up Dire Avenger with a 4+ invulnerable save, D3 warlord traits and a master-crafted diresword that gives him +1 strength. Jain Zar is a Howling Banshee with a pumped up triskele, an AP2 shredding close combat weapon and a banshee mask that also subtracts 5 weapon skill as well as initiative. Karandras isn’t that great, with a better mandiblaster than other Striking Scorpions, along with the stealth special rule. Fuegan is a close combat monster, and one of my favourite Phoenix Lords; boasting an AP1 axe with armourbane, fast shot for his firepike, feel no pain and a special rule that increases attacks and strength by one for each unsaved wound he takes. Think about that for a second. Yes, have him followed by a Warlock with the destructor / renewer psychic power for a potential of strength and attacks characteristics of ten with an AP1 axe. Ouch? Baharroth is a Swooping Hawk with an addiction to blinding opponents, which is not that powerful. Finally, Maugan Ra, my second favourite Phoenix Lord. With a thirty six inch range on his four shot rending shrieker cannon of pinning goodness that can also be used to club enemies to death at strength +2 and AP3 and precision shots on a 5+, he is very good at killing lots and lots of your enemies; combined with battle focus, he can run and shoot that cannon in one shooting phase. Also, did I say four shots? He has the fast shot Exarch power, so make that five shots at ballistic skill seven. For me, they are not worth the points for what they are with the possible exceptions of Maugan Ra and Fuegan; if I wanted to win, I’d take Eldrad, an Avatar of Khaine or Illic over any of the Phoenix Lords I think.

Then we have the Avatar of Khaine. The Avatar has gone from an eight out of ten on the broken scale to troll-face out of ten. His points cost has gone up by forty, but let’s look at what you get for that. He still makes all Eldar within within twelve inches to be fearless, and causes fear in close combat due to being a daemon. He is now also immune to pyromancy psychic powers, as well as any weapon with the soul blaze special rule to go along side his immunity to flamers and meltas. He is also now Fleet and has the battle focus special rule, so he can move, run and also fire his twelve inch melta. Wherever you run, the Avatar will get you! He also had his ballistic skill and initiative both increased to ten and gained an extra attack and wound. He also has the option to purchase a large variety of Exarch powers, such as +1 strength, monster hunter and disarming strike to name a few. In my opinion, they are largely unnecessary, but when your Avatar suddenly disarms your opponent’s daemon weapon totting daemon prince, the look on your opponent’s face is worth the extra points cost! Beware though, the Avatar is not an eternal warrior, so he can be killed by weapons that would inflict instant death, such as distort weapons, force weapons and other such items. Also, his save has been downgraded to a 5+ invulnerable save and a 3+ armour save, as opposed to the 4+ invulnerable save that he used to get. However, the fact still remains that the Avatar is under 200 points for his base cost for a whole lot of pain. Very worth the points, very painful. Take one if you want to win and possibly cause your opponent to cry.

Now getting onto the non unique or named characters, otherwise known as the only HQ choices that I take. First up: The Autarch. Autarchs have generally been buffed, though like before, they are nothing special. Seventy points base with a few new rules and the same statistics as before. Some points costs have been tweaked to balance better, though the nice thing for the Autarch is that he or she, depending on your conversion, can take items from the remnants of glory list. In particular there is a sword which gives +2 strength, fearless and rending, as well as fleshbane and instant-death in challenges. It’s forty points, but you can really surprise players when you run up to Scarbrand or any other expensive character without eternal warrior with a banshee mask, attack him first and get lucky in a challenge, slaying him or her or it outright. One hundred and fifteen points for an Autarch with the Shard of Anaris and a banshee mask, having a decent chance of inflicting instant death on your expensive character in a challenge? I’ll take it! Or you could take the Firesabre, otherwise known as the Smokey’s Bane or the Sword of Setting Everyone on Fire as it causes soul blaze that spreads to nearby units; paired with a Phoenix Gem and your Autarch is running into hordes, setting everything on fire, then exploding on a 2+ when he or she dies; then if said explosion causes any casualties, the Autarch gets back up with a wound to do it all over again. One hundred and twenty five points for a Saint Celestine with more of a troll factor? I didn’t think it was possible. All in all, I like the Autarch, even when not exploiting remnants of glory to make cheap yet effective powerhouses. It’s a diverse commander which can be set up however suits your army, providing a decent synergy between commander and units. If there’s one thing the Eldar need, it’s unit synergy.

Next, the staple unit for any Eldar army: The Farseer. This humble HQ unit has the same statistics as before, as well as the same statistics and special rules; though like the Autarch, he or she can take items from the remnants of glory section. They have the two global special rules, Ancient Doom and Battle Focus, but otherwise they are the same. Oh, but they’re now mastery level three and cost forty five points more. This sounds like a lot until you realise that you don’t have to pay for your psychic powers any more. You pay one hundred points for a mastery level three psyker with a 4+ invulnerable save. They can still take a jetbike, runes of warding and runes of witnessing, as well as a singing spear to replace their witchblade. The two runes have been changed for the worse, no longer having the anti-psyker net or the runes of I May Cause Perils But I Will Always Get My Powers Off. They are both now one use only, the runes of warding giving you +2 on a deny the witch role, and the runes of witnessing allowing you to re-roll a psychic test, potentially avoiding a perils of the warp. Oh, ghosthelms now operate like warp charge trading posts to get rid of perils. With mastery level three, you are likely to have a warp charge lying about, so perils of the warp are a thing of the past. Well, unless you happen to be playing against Tyranids.

Lastly, we have the Spiritseer. They’re mastery level two warlocks who let you take Wraithguard and Wraithblades as troops. They work best when used in tandem with wraith constructs, due to their spirit mark ability that lets you mark an enemy unit and then re-roll all 1s to hit against them with Wraithguard, Wraithblades, Wraithlords, Wraithknights and Hemlock Wraithfighters for that turn. However, it only has a range of twelve inches, meaning you have to get your Spiritseer close to your enemy. However, they also make very capable warlock leaders, able to roll twice on the runes of battle or telepathy tables which will allow them to take a good number of buffs and debuffs to help your army along. I like the Spiritseer, as he or she makes a very affordable psychic commander with a decent selection of abilities to pick from and use. Whilst he or she does best with more Wraith units, I could see them used effectively with no Wraith units as well. Plus, I dislike named characters, so between the Spiritseer, Farseer and Autarch I have two slots to fill. In that sense, I think that I will not take it that often in my army, preferring to use a Farseer and Autarch combination, but that’s personal preference.

I will dedicate a small part to Warlock councils here on the end, as they are a part of the HQ section, though they do not take up any slots on the force organisation charts. It’s a single squad of one to ten that you can either run as one seer council of doom, or break individuals off to lead squads of Guardians, Artillery Platforms and Windrider squads. I could see some people doing a combination, perhaps breaking two off to lead your Guardian squads whilst eight of them congregate around the Farseer, potentially on jetbikes. I will speak more on Warlocks in the article tomorrow about troops choices, as they augment troops very well, but now that they’re mastery level one and able to roll on the runes of battle table, they make very capable psykers, as the runes of battle table is far more powerful than the old warlock psychic powers. They are ten points more expensive than before, but they come with one more initiative point than before, as well as a better psychic power. However, they do have to make psychic tests on their leadership of eight when they want to manifest them. I will probably keep a Warlock council around to protect my Farseer and aid in turning the tables on my opponents with their buffs to my troops or debuffs to theirs’, but I will also split them off to lead any squads of Guardians that I may use. More of a psychic net means that more of my troops are doing more than they should for their points costs.

This article has ended up being far longer than I anticipated, so I apologise for the wall of text here, as well as the lateness of posting. For now, I should go and collapse on my bed, though keep your eyes open this week for more articles outlining my thoughts on the new Eldar codex!

The Eldar Warhost Mobilises!

This article comes a day late due to the very nature of it. On Saturday 1st June, Games Workshop unveiled the new Eldar codex, all ready and streamlined for sixth edition. As an Eldar player, I naturally went down to Warhammer World, having the privilege of living just down the road from the UK headquarters, to get a hold of my new codex. In the spirit of things, I have decided to dedicate my articles for this week to the new Eldar releases where I’ll give unit overviews, some tips and tactics that have come out of spending a whole day in Bugman’s Bar discussing the new rules as well as some general ideas and fluff discussions.

In today’s article, I will give a brief overview of the codex itself. In terms of cost, I believe it is on the heavy side at a total of thirty pounds for the standard version, sixty pounds if you wanted to buy the limited edition; it’s not a book you want to damage or lose once you’ve bought it! Saying that, however, the quality of the book is very good overall, encased in a rather attractive hardback cover. Inside is everything that you would expect to find in a Warhammer 40k codex printed on pages that feel good, rather than feeling flimsy. They’ve certainly upped the quality with the price, though I still miss my eight pound codices that were around when I started the hobby. The artwork is entirely in colour which really helps to bring the book alive with the vibrant array of colours, much like an Eldar tabletop army itself. The background fluff is well written and gives a good insight into the story of the enigmatic Eldar race, being the product of Phil Kelly and Adam Troke, as opposed to some of the more questionable fluff that we’ve seen in other codices; yes, I’m looking at you, Grey Knights, with your Sister of Battle slaughtering ways and characters who casually stride through the Warp, punching Bloodthirsters in the face. But I digress, the point is that the Eldar fluff is largely well written and sticks closely to what we’ve learned so far.

The rules are well laid out though unlike the previous codex, the rules on specific items such as the ghosthelm or singing spear are not listed in the unit entries, relegated to the specific weapons, treasures and equipment section of the book. Whilst annoying at first, it is a nice way of laying things out for easy reference as you don’t have to look for several unit pages if you forget what a few things in your army do, as it’s all in one place. The last few pages of the book are dedicated to a condensed set of rules and tables for ease of use in games when you need to see what your psychic powers do, or what the statistics for your troops are, which nicely folds out to a four page spread, showing almost everything you’re going to need to know during a game. On the topic of psychic powers, I am both saddened and pleased at the same time. I am very pleased with the fact that we get our own tables, runes of battle and runes of fate, as well as getting to roll on the divination and telepathy trees with the former being one of two useful psychic power trees in the entire sixth edition rulebook. I am very pleased with how the runes of battle, otherwise known as the warlock psychic powers, will work and how they will change the way that people will use and field warlocks in their armies, and I am very happy with our lovely rules surrounding psychic powers, though this will be covered in more detail when I cover the units and tactics themselves. What I am not pleased with, though I was expecting it, is the fact that you cannot just choose your psychic powers, having to roll on tables like the other armies with sixth edition codices. I do not like this random aspect that they have added to building an Eldar force, as I liked the certainty of having guide, fortune and doom on my Farseer every game.

Overall, I like the update that they have given Eldar. I believe that we are now far more competitive, for those of you who enjoy cheese and powergaming, as well as allowing for a variety of units to be selected, rather than having a strict meta containing units that everyone used. I think that the fluff is well written and the contents of the codex itself is nicely laid out, giving clear, easy reading for theorycrafting or just reading up on the Eldar background.

The lesser races will fall before us!