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.

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