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Thread: Eldar Tactica

  1. #1

    Default Eldar Tactica

    Hey there everyone, I am Learn2Eel and today I want to talk about the new and improved Eldar! The ancient warriors remain an incredibly elite, effective and mobile force, but a fragile one, and understanding this will be key to their use. I hope you enjoy this article!

    Foreword

    The Eldar are warriors with few peers, and no better is this displayed than in their army-wide special rules - particularly the latter one - that serve to emphasise their sheer mobility and trickery. Few other armies can manipulate the movement phase as well as Eldar, and few can fire and fall back out of range across such a wide breadth of units. Almost the entirety of the codex is built for such tactics, and it really highlights how a skilled tactician will bring an Eldar force to life like no army list ever could. They have two fully fledged psychic lores to be spread around throughout the various psykers in the codex, and even though they are now randomly determined and thus cannot be relied upon in a specific strategy, I feel it is nonetheless important to cover their usage and potential. Overall, the Eldar have a lot of strong options in each slot, or at least units that are typically of very similar usefulness in any given army list; deciding which to employ commonly will likely come down more to preference than anything else. Like any other codex or army book, I strongly recommend experimentation with the army so as to work out which units you like and which you units you feel need some tweaking.


    Army Special Rules

    Ancient Doom - The Eldar fear and hate the scions of Slaanesh above all else; all Eldar with this special rule have Hatred against Daemons of She Who Thirsts and models with the Mark of Slaanesh. Conversely, and Fear test taken against such models suffer a negative modifier of one. Though this ability is obviously situational, the mostly above average Leadership of Eldar minimises the issues inherent with the latter rule, and the former is rather handy - particularly for deciding the always important first round of combat with Eldar assault units. Fittingly, every unit in the codex that could potentially fight in melee bears this special rule; the wraith units, in particular, do not suffer the ill effects owing to their natural Fearless. Of course, Slaanesh Daemons tend to be incredibly brutal in a melee; be wary of which units you send into combat against them, as even their lowly handmaidens, the Daemonettes, can brutalise the elite assault forces of the Eldar.

    Battle Focus - The Eldar warriors are the most skilled and refined of any species, their sheer mastery of the ways of war leading to a calmed, almost graceful style of warfare that none can match. The speed of the Eldar is represented no better than in their ability to run and then shoot, or shoot and then run, in the same shooting phase; this unprecedented ability, particularly when applied to all but a handful of units in the codex, opens up some incredible layers of tactical depth. Effectively, the entire army has a minimalist adaption of the "jump shoot jump" tactics of which the Eldar made famous - and were later adapted by the Tau - that gives them the extra edge in dictating their engagements; anything from how quickly their assault troops make a melee to firing with all models and then retreating out of harms way are valid applications of this rule. That almost all Eldar have the Fleet special rule means that the reliability of this rule is significant; complimented with an almost unparalleled movement phase owing to heavily armoured fast skimmers and many jump or jet pack units, Eldar are an army designed to control the speed of the game like few others. This means that a more considered and devious mind is required to make full use of the army effectively, as more than any other army, you need to execute your movements and positioning with precision and foresight; the fragility of much of the force means that risks and rewards must be considered before each motion, and the potential to fight without rebuttal is what makes the army far deadlier than it would seem at first glance. This rule, when used to its full potential, could make or break a game for an Eldar force; and it is sensible to be so, as the army is highly expensive with little durability to compensate.


    Warlord Traits

    Like every other 6th Edition codex released so far, Eldar Warlords may choose from their own unique warlord traits table, or select from the three established charts in the main rulebook. Which table you roll on will really come down to personal preference; in any case, I feel the Eldar warlord traits are, while not particularly inspiring, handy to have in most situations. Interestingly, the Eldar codex also continues the trend of one use only warlord traits, a precedent set by the recent Tau codex.

    1) Ambush of Blades - The prescient mind of the Eldar Warlord leads to the massed destruction of the enemy once per game, allowing your friendly forces within twelve inches to re-rolls to wound rolls of a one for the duration of a single shooting phase. This is a nifty ability that can be used at an opportune moment in conjunction with the typically high strength Eldar weaponry to maximise your damage for one round. There is never any "right time" to use this ability; it will always be at your discretion, and when you feel you both have enough units in proximity to benefit from the ability, and need its benefits enough to warrant its use.

    2) An Eye on Distant Events - Aware of the incredible danger present to their forces, the Eldar Warlord can forewarn those within twelve inches once in an enemy shooting phase. Gifting them the Stealth special rule, this allows them a fighting chance to survive the inevitable torrent of fire. Obviously, this is a very strong ability that can be used to deny your opponent some important kills; that it applies to your vehicles as well is quite useful. Again, using this ability at any given point will depend on you alone; your judgement of when you need the extra boost, and even if it will matter - for example, typical Tau forces care little about cover saves - are key.

    3) Falcon's Swiftness - Lost in the trance of battle, the fluidity and grace of the Eldar Warlord is apparent for all to see, adding an extra inch to any run move made by both they and any attached unit. This is nice to have, though it must be noted that Warlords mounted on Jetbikes gain no benefit from this. Given that almost all Eldar already have the Fleet special rule, it gives you an added boost to your mobility - for someone such as the Avatar, it is a priceless ability as it helps it to get into combat that much quicker.

    4) Fate's Messenger - Caught amidst the wills of divine beings, the Eldar Warlord may re-roll failed saving throw results of a one to better serve the future they seek. This is a very handy result for any Warlord, as it gives them that extra bit of staying power to hopefully not concede a victory point for Slay the Warlord. On an Avatar or Phoenix Lord, it is somewhat ludicrous as the former effectively becomes an enraged Daemon of Tzeentch and the latter laugh at any attempts to get through their armour save.

    5) Mark of the Incomparable Hunter - With a precision only an ageless warrior could display, the Eldar Warlord can fire at a separate target to their unit - delivering the killing strike with a veiled fist. For some Warlords, such as the Avatar, this isn't of great use; for an Autarch with a special weapon or a psyker with a witchfire power though, it may just come in handy.

    6) Seer of the Shifting Vector - Interpreting the skeins of fate, the Eldar Warlord positions to guide their brothers and sisters on to the battlefield. Any friendly Eldar forces do not scatter from deep strike provided the first soldier arrives within six inches. Though there are only a few units with the option to deep strike in the codex - and one of them already has this ability effectively - this does open up some distinct possibilities; Warp Spiders in particular will love this ability, allowing for precision strikes with massed firepower.


    Psychic Powers

    The children of Asuryan are psykers with few parallels in the galaxy, their endless training and refinement of innate psychic skills leading to some of the most focused and powerful beings of their kind. Eldar psychic powers are naturally geared more for support than anything else, with a heavy emphasis on blessings and maledictions above witchfires; given the availability of psychic defence and Deny the Witch, this is a passive boon that allows them to more readily influence the game without fear of denial. The Eldar have two distinct psychic trees available, with the Runes of Fate available to Farseers and Eldrad Ulthran only, while the latter Runes of Battle can be accessed by Warlocks and Spiritseers. Overall, I would say that Eldar have the strongest set of in-codex psychic powers, owing both to their natural support focus and with most of them providing some very useful and potentially game-changing benefits. Though the popular pick for many may still be Divination, the two psychic trees have some very strong powers.

    Runes of Battle - Despite the name, this collection of psychic powers is actually more support focused than the Runes of Fate; the unique trait of these powers is the startlingly attractive duality of each power, with each one having a specific effect against enemies, and another against allies. This is a very strong psychic table with very few weak points, though it does heavily depend on which psyker - and by extension, which unit - rolls up any given psychic power. With no real way to control these, it certainly helps that the Primaris power is incredibly strong for almost any unit - a note that these are referred to as the '0' power for the purposes of the review. All of the following powers are Warp Charge one, and as such any psyker in the codex that has access to this discipline may use them.

    0) Conceal/Reveal - The first effect is a blessing that grants the psyker the Shrouded special rule, and owing to the wording of the rule, it is conferred on to their unit as well. Unless you play against a Noise Marine or Tau force, gaining a +2 bonus to cover saves is an incredible defensive boost for almost any unit; the few units that won't benefit from it too much are those that either already have the rule or do not require the inclusion of a Warlock or Spiritseer anyway. The second effect is a malediction that removes the Stealth and Shrouded special rules from an enemy unit within eighteen inches. To put it lightly, this effectively grants the Eldar force a somewhat unreliable form of Night Vision to be used against a specific target, and is very useful for removing irritating units that feature these special rules - such as Stealth Suits and Striking Scorpions. Perhaps most amusingly, it is incredibly damaging for Nurgle Daemons, even if Eldar hate Slaanesh Daemons above all else.

    1) Destructor/Renewer - The former power is the only witchfire power in the list and manifests as a heavy flamer with the soul blaze special rule, meaning it is very useful against all but the most elite of infantry. Between mediocre Leadership values and Deny the Witch, it is, unfortunately, unreliable. The latter power is a blessing with a range of eighteen inches that restores a single lost wound to a friendly model; though this won't be of much use for a typical Eldar force, it is hilarious in an army that can feature Wraithknights, Wraithlords and the Avatar of Khaine.

    2) Embolden/Horrify - The blessing part of this power makes the psyker and their unit Fearless, while the malediction part of the power reduces the Leadership of a single enemy unit within eighteen inches by a whopping score of three. The former won't be of much use to a Wraith army, but will be highly useful otherwise to keep your fragile forces in the fight; the latter is incredibly synergistic with the amount of Fear-causing units in the codex, and particularly with the Hemlock Wraithfighter.

    3) Enhance/Drain - Enhance provides the psyker and their unit with a bonus of one to both their Weapon Skill and Initiative; while the latter may be seen as unnecessary owing to the typically high Initiative values of all Eldar, the former is definitely a big improvement for any unit and is necessary to force through a greater number of hits and, consequently, wounds. The latter subsequently reduces the Weapon Skill and Initiative of an enemy unit within eighteen inches by one, which in some cases may actually be the more beneficial skill to use, particularly if you are trying to help another of your units.

    4) Protect/Jinx - The first ability grants the psyker and their unit a +1 bonus to their armour save; while this won't be too useful for a Seer Council as they only have invulnerable saves - though a Jetbike mounted Seer Council does benefit from it - it will surely be a big defensive boost for most other units. Some popular uses of this have been making a 2+ armoured wall of Wraithguard, or granting Dire Avengers their much sought after power armour to make them true Space Marines....The second ability, as you may have guessed, does the exact opposite for an enemy unit within eighteen inches; reducing the armour save of a unit by one may not seem like such a big deal in an army where the basic trooper has a semi-Rending gun, but think of Howling Banshees charging into Jinxed Terminators and see the potential.

    5) Quicken/Restrain - The former ability provides the psyker and their unit with an additional three inches to any Run moves they make; despite the claims of the White Dwarf battle report, sadly, this can't be used to get an Avatar of Khaine or other such unit into the fray quicker as they cannot be joined by the psyker. In an army that can run and then shoot with the Fleet special rule, this is ok, but mostly beneficial for the more plodding units such as Wraithguard and Wraithblades to help them reach their targets quicker. The latter ability removes the potential of running from an enemy unit within eighteen inches; this is handy for limiting the maneuverability of enemy units, though the short range means that its best use is to increase the time it takes for an enemy melee unit to make it to combat.

    6) Empower/Enervate - The blessing segment of this power grants the psyker and their unit a +1 bonus to their Strength value which, given the typically low Strength of Eldar units, is a pretty fantastic buff to help them both survive 'Strength test or die' abilities, rare as they are, and wound their foes much easier in a melee. Eldar units already have the advantage of Initiative and, sometimes, Weapon Skill over their opponents; raising their Strength is sure to give them a very welcome boost in combat. The malediction segment of this power instead targets an enemy unit within eighteen inches and reduces their Strength value by one; this can be funny for making a Space Marine Sergeant with a power fist strike at Strength six and thus pose little threat to your Wraithlords and Wraithknights, though it definitely helps your Eldar forces to survive in combat that much more.

    Runes of Fate - As confusing as the names of the disciplines are, these powers are definitely more offensively oriented than the Runes of Battle. Available only to Farseers and the peerless Eldrad, this discipline suffers from high warp charge costs across the board and some rather situational effects. Much like Runes of Battle, the Primaris power here is very effective and helps out your ranged firepower quite significantly, at least depending on the unit blessed. Unlike the Runes of Battle, you do not get the "two for one" psychic powers that thus limit the sheer versatility of the discipline, though in reality, it is a good lore; it just doesn't stack up amazingly well when sat next to its main rival. From what I understand, the reasoning behind the high number of warp charge two powers is both the base Mastery Level three of Farseers and their Ghosthelms that can expend warp charge points to ignore the effects of Perils of the Warp; from a balance perspective, I can understand it in that sense, as it would just be too good a failure defence if a Farseer could still cast two powers each turn with little risk involved.

    0) Guide - A blessing with a range of twenty four inches, this is effectively Prescience with double the range but half the effectiveness; it grants re-rolls to hit with shooting attacks to a single friendly unit, but not their melee attacks. Many players use cheap Mastery Level one psykers purely for the significant bonus to damage output that re-rolls to hit provide; with most of the Eldar army geared towards a firefight anyway, this is also a highly useful power that is particularly welcome because it is the Primaris. Interestingly, given that a Farseer can roll on both the Divination and Guide disciplines, it is possible to take both Prescience and Guide and grant re-rolls to hit (either from shooting or both) to two units each turn. Not bad. Not bad at all.

    1) Executioner - A focused witchfire with a range of twenty four inches, Executioner deals three automatic hits to an enemy model with the Fleshbane special rule and no AP value. Against a typical single wound model with a three-up armour save, this will statistically kill them, and it also has a decent chance of killing a 2+ armoured model. If the chosen or randomly determined model dies, another model is selected and suffers two automatic hits instead; if they die, a third model is selected and instead suffers only a single automatic hit. This isn't a terrible power, particularly as if it isn't denied and you do get to select the model, you can pretty reliably pick out special or heavy weapon gunners in enemy units and kill them. A note here that the second and third models are only selected by the Farseer if the first model that died was selected owing to the rules for focused witchfire.

    2) Doom - The favoured psychic power for Eldar players all over, this is a malediction with a range of twenty four inches that allows all failed to wound and armour penetration rolls against the chosen unit to be re-rolled. Obviously, this is pretty incredible in an army with semi-Rending weapons and massed high Strength guns everywhere; with the right application and use of the units at your disposal, the Doomed unit should suffer extensive damage. This power requires an acute knowledge of target priority and the ability to determine which units would be the most likely to either be destroyed or crippled beyond repair; a Land Raider with only a few hull points left that is in sight of Wraithlords with bright lances is an example of such a target. Use it well and it can win you games, particularly if the target unit is engaged in combat with your typically low Strength melee units; in short, it is a psychic power designed to minimise the issues involved with a low Strength army.

    3) Eldritch Storm - A warp charge two power that manifests as a witchfire, the Eldritch Storm has a range of twenty four inches, a Strength of three and uses the large blast template. Though it may seem uninspiring at first glance, it comes stock with three useful special rules; Fleshbane, Pinning and Haywire. The first two are very useful for attacking high Toughness units, such as Wraithguard, that heavily rely on their Toughness to make up for minimal numbers, and for neutering a given unit for a turn; the latter provides a single chance at a glancing or penetrating hit on a vehicle, which is pretty decent. Of course, with only one shot and the potential for significant scatter, it is an unreliable and ultimately mediocre witchfire power that draws a considerable amount of warp charge points considering its damage capabilities.

    4) Death Mission - One of the more interesting blessings available to a psyker, the Death Mission is effectively a vote of suicide; it gives the user a +5 bonus to their Weapon Skill, Ballistic Skill and Initiative, as well as an extra two attacks. As the only psykers that can use these powers have the same stat-line and, effectively, equipment, they will end up with a the first three stats showing tens, while the last, when paired with the extra attack from holding two melee weapons, will give them four attacks base and five on the charge. Now, it must be said that for a typical Farseer this ability really isn't that great; randomly determining psychic powers means that building a character with this power in mind is out of the question, and typically they will only have a melee weapon with an AP of nil, though it must be said that Fleshbane and Armourbane are nice. For Eldrad, it is somewhat more useful, as his staff is actually a force weapon with an AP of three, meaning he can and should rip apart monstrous creatures and most characters with little difficulty. Of course, the power is not without some major drawbacks that make it a sketchy choice at best, particularly for your most expensive psykers. A Warp Charge cost of two doesn't really repay the investment, especially where the risks are concerned. When you cast the power, you gain D3+2 tokens that, on a D6 roll of a three or lower at the end of each phase for each turn, are lost one at a time; if you lose all of them, the model is removed from play. Bear in mind that this power is permanent, though it can be cast again to gain more tokens. The heavy risks and minimal returns considering the typical model that will receive this power just don't justify in my mind what is a very weak warp charge two psychic power.

    5) Fortune - A blessing with a range of twenty four inches, and a heavy warp charge cost of two, that allows the targeted unit to re-roll all failed saving and Deny the Witch throws. Obviously, this offers an incredibly significant defensive boost to any unit; even allowing re-rolls for Deny the Witch is handy given the increasing number of psykers in the game, particularly those fielded by the terrifying psychic-spamming Tyranid army lists. When casting Fortune, you need to look at which unit would benefit most from it and actually make best use of it; a large Guardian squad in close proximity to flamer-toting units will have little use for this as they would get no save regardless, but a Wraithguard squad joined by a Spiritseer to provide them Conceal would undoubtedly make for a phenomenally durable platform. Try to give this to units that will be able to get some kind of decent save no matter what will be thrown at them in the subsequent turn; despite the somewhat alarming Warp Charge two requirement, it is still a very useful power that can be employed to devastating effect in some combinations. Of course, the random nature of determining psychic powers means that building an army list with this - or indeed any - power is not wise.

    6) Mind War - A focused witchfire with a range of twenty four inches, and, as expected, a warp charge cost of two. For the final ability on the table, it is rather decent; provided you get to select the model to target it with, of course, which isn't exactly guaranteed. In any case, the Farseer and the chosen - randomly or not - model roll a D6 and add their respective Leadership scores; if the Farseer scores lower, he or she is reduced to Weapon Skill and Initiative one until their next turn. If the scores are drawn, the target model instead suffers the penalty. If the Farseer scores higher, the target model is treated to both that nasty debuff, and is afflicted by a number of automatic wounds with no armour or cover saves allowed based on how much the Farseer won by. As cool as it sounds, the reality is that in an edition where the commanders and squad sergeants of most armies have a Leadership of nine or ten, it is unlikely the Farseer will achieve victory by a significant enough amount required to kill a commander equivalent model. Against monstrous creatures, though, it is incredibly useful to simply pick off their wounds - especially owing to their typically mediocre Leadership - and make them so much easier for the rest of your force to deal with. Owing to the rules for focused witchfire, Look Out Sir attempts are not allowed against the power either; as wounds are never "allocated" to the chosen model - it merely suffers them based on a D6 roll by either player - they cannot be saved from a bad roll. Still, the sheer potential to kill a multiple-wound monster (in both the literal and philosophical senses of the word) that lacks good invulnerable saves, such as a Carnifex or a Tau Commander, is definitely worth using this power.


    Did you enjoy this article, or feel that I need to step my game up? Let us know in the comments section below - we appreciate any and all feedback! Cheers!
    Last edited by Learn2Eel; 07-21-2013 at 02:17 AM.
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  2. #2

    Default

    Hey there everyone, I am Learn2Eel and today I want to talk about the new and improved Eldar! The Eldar have an extensive array of special characters, all of which have written their names into the stars through deeds of bravery and skill. I hope you enjoy this article!

    As one of the most ancient of races in the Warhammer 40000 universe, it is fitting that the Eldar would have such an extensive array of special characters; warriors and seers who have surpassed legend to become the shining rays of hope for a dying species. The struggle for survival is grim for the children of Asuryan, but with such capable leaders at their head, they have as yet avoided the Rhana Dandra - the final battle, the apocalypse. The most famous of their kind is doubtless the High Farseer Eldrad, a psyker without parallel and guide to the Eldar. Illic Nightspear, a Ranger of Craftworld Alaitoc, is a precise and deadly sniper as much imbued with the trickery of the laughing god as the Harlequins themselves. Even despite the fall of Craftworld Iyanden, Prince Yriel remains a powerful warlord with considerable martial prowess, fighting even despite a doom he cannot avoid. The Phoenix Lords themselves, the greatest of all Eldar warriors, are other-worldly avatars of death that personify the Aspects they lead. All are interesting choices that deserve play-testing of some form; though generic commanders may be cheaper and provide better value in some cases, the special characters have specific wargear and rules at their disposal that could prove their worth. Uniquely, all Eldar special characters have a preset Warlord Trait or, in the case of Asurmen, roll D3 times on the Warlord chart, giving an Eldar player less random elements to concern themselves with.

    Special Characters

    Eldrad Ulthran, High Farseer of Ulthwe - The most iconic of all Eldar, and the Warhammer 40000 counterpart to Teclis - they even share the same basic pose! - Eldrad is a master psyker that comfortably sits at the top of a very distinguished selection of special characters. As the High Farseer of Ulthwe, Eldrad is a master of the art of divining the future; affording him a pre-selected Warlord Trait that, once per game, grants Stealth to both himself and all friendly Eldar units within twelve inches during an enemy shooting phase. For what is very much a support character in an army that features highly mobile and durable skimmer tanks as well as dangerous yet fragile Infantry, this is a great boon and eases the pain of rolling on a random chart and hoping for the best. His age and experience have seen him crafted or granted unique wargear that can have a significant impact on the game; most notable of which is his Staff of Ulthamar, an AP three force weapon with the Fleshbane special rule. With but two attacks, owing to bearing two melee weapons, and three on the charge, he isn't a great melee character, but he can nonetheless be a scary proposition for monstrous creatures and power-armoured or worse characters alike - his Weapon Skill and Initiative of five are also quite useful here. The really interesting aspect of the Staff is the Spiritlink special rule; after each successful psychic test, Eldrad regains a warp charge point. Given that psychic powers cannot be cast more than once in the same turn, this may not seem like it is very useful; that is until one takes into account both Eldrad's Ghosthelm, allowing him to ignore Perils of the Warp by expending a warp charge point, and the sheer number of Mastery Level two spells in both the Runes of Fate and Telepathy psychic disciplines. It is very much defensive in nature, and should allow Eldrad to, on average, spend five warp charge points in each turn for any number of differing purposes. As a mastery level four psyker, Eldrad has few equals when manifesting the eldritch powers; generating four spells from each of the powerful lores available to him, including Divination, is incredible and, in conjunction with both the Ghosthelm and the Staff of Ulthamar, should lead to him dominating the psychic aspect of a game.

    Of course, one might wonder whether a stock Farseer would be a better investment than Eldrad; after all, one can feasibly purchase two Farseers for marginally less than the High Farseer, attaining two mastery level three psykers to spread around. While this is certainly true, it fails to recognise the amazing advantages that Eldrad brings to the table compared to a regular Farseer that make him incredibly cost-effective. As well as the Staff's capabilities and his guaranteed Warlord Trait, Eldrad allows the player to react to the opposing player in a manner that can change the game; typically, the advantage to going second is that the player can counter what the opponent does through smart deployment. If an army featuring Eldrad deploys first, however, this advantage is quickly lost; after both sides have deployed, but before Scout moves, Eldrad's force can redeploy D3+1 units - with a few restrictions, such as not bringing reserves on to the field - to negate the tactics of the opponent. Imagine a squad of Dire Avengers holding an objective are set down on a flank, and they are soon faced by an unassailable Land Raider that aims to sweep them aside and bunker down on that objective while attacking the exposed rear of the Eldar forces. Employing Eldrad, the Eldar player reacts and switches a Wraithknight armed with Heavy Wraithcannons, as well as a Wave Serpent bearing a squad of Fire Dragons, to counter the threat and ensure that the opponent cannot achieve victory on that front. Despite weakening their forces elsewhere, the Eldar player can smash an expensive transport and the unit inside with little difficulty, and focus the rest of their attention on the lesser forces elsewhere. While this is a rather extreme example, it nonetheless serves to give the Eldar player a very fluid approach to any game; set up first and proceed to counter the enemy deployment with Eldrad, or do so anyway by deploying second. It is a fantastic ability that should be used wherever it is needed; even if you deploy second, but feel you made a mistake, you can employ it to ease your doubts and sway the game.

    For what is such a strong character, one would expect his defences to be fitting of the price tag. And indeed they are, as he has not only a Toughness of four - highly irregular for an Eldar on foot that doesn't bear the title of Phoenix Lord - but an invulnerable save of 3+. Combined with strong melee weapons, an amazing array of psychic powers from Divination, Telepathy and the Runes of Fate that can allow him to re-roll saving throws or boost the cover saves of his unit, as well as his higher than average Toughness, Eldrad is very difficult to kill provided he is not used rashly. His Ghosthelm also provides him a natural defence against Perils of the Warp, an advantage that neither Ahriman or Fateweaver possess. Bearing both the Runes of Warding, for a one time 2+ Deny the Witch save against a particularly nasty psychic power, and the Runes of Witnessing, for ensuring his psychic powers on Leadership ten are successful in one turn, Eldrad is amazingly cost-effective and what he pays for his boosted abilities is negligible when directly contrasted with a Farseer. He is an incredible character for his points that, while already a favourite amongst competitive players, managed to become even stronger and cheaper than his previous incarnation. His support oriented nature, ability to hide in a unit, defensive upgrades that allow him to ignore the problematic Perils of the Warp for a high level psyker, nasty melee weapon, and redeployment ability all add up to what may very well prove to be the game's most useful mastery level four psyker. Ahriman and Fateweaver have their own advantages, to be sure, but for his cost and considering the psychic lores available to him, I feel that Eldrad has kept his place as Warhammer 40000's premier psyker.

    Prince Yriel, Autarch of Iyanden - A peerless strategist doomed to die by the ill judgement of those that he defended, Yriel is a proud figure that exemplifies the Path of the Strategist in both martial prowess and innate strength. His profile is mostly similar to an Autarch, with a few key differences; he has a bonus of one to Wounds, Initiative and Attacks, making him both that much nastier in melee and difficult to kill provided he isn't struck by an instant death weapon. He comes standard with what you would expect from an Autarch, and as such is still very much ideally used both as a cheap melee character and to provide bonuses to reserve rolls. The latter ability alone is usually enough to justify the use of an Autarch, though Yriel differs somewhat here as he costs twice as much as a standard Autarch. To say that he isn't worthwhile would be doing the Prince an injustice though, as there is much more to Yriel than a mere manipulator of reserves with some stat boosts. The keys to his use are the two Remnants of Glory that he bears, both of which are decidedly destructive in nature. The first is the Eye of Wrath which, once per game instead of striking blows, can be used to centre a large blast on Yriel that does not scatter; all friendly or enemy models struck by the template, save Yriel himself, are struck by a Strength six AP three hit, though cover saves are allowed. This is an incredibly nasty, though admittedly risky, ability that can serve to get Yriel out of a tight spot, such as being tarpitted by a brood of Hormagaunts or facing a Tactical Squad with only a few wounds remaining. As this is resolved at Initiative seven, it is likely it will annihilate most of both units - if Yriel is not alone - before they get a chance to strike, and it bears the important clarification that only those unsaved wounds suffered by enemy units count to combat resolution, not those also inflicted on friendly units. Though you risk destroying your own forces, it is a dangerous tool that can be used in a dire situation to free Yriel up to go hunting for another target or at least survive the game; and given that he is a doomed figure and could be your Warlord, this is very important to remember.

    The curse that binds Yriel to a gruesome fate is the Spear of Twilight, an ancient artefact of Iyanden that Yriel was forced to obtain so as to dispose of the invading Tyranids. Bearing insurmountable power that no mortal should wield, it strikes with an AP of three, the Fleshbane and Armourbane special rules, and disadvantages Yriel in no small way. When engaged in a melee, Yriel is forced to re-roll successful saving throws of a six; given his 3+ armour save and 4+ invulnerable save, he does not have the defences necessary to shrug off the curse, even with an extra wound to compensate. When faced by an instant death-causing attack, no player would dare wish to re-roll a successful saving throw just because it was a six; the chances of failing afterwards are high enough to be of serious concern. Of course, that is provided there are any saves Yriel has to take anyway; with five attacks on the charge that always wound on a 2+ and ignore most armour, Yriel is quite capable of ripping apart a wide number of monstrous creatures and characters in combat before they get a chance to strike. Against anything that isn't in Terminator armour, he can be used to shred entire squads with little difficulty, particularly owing to his high Weapon Skill of six and Initiative of seven. To say that you pay for what you get with Yriel would be an understatement, as though he is expensive, he is a very nasty melee character and a tough one by Eldar standards. That he innately acts as a supporting character by boosting your reserves rolls is very handy, and for the purpose of allied armies, he also fits reasonably well with Corsairs or Dark Eldar owing to his profession as a pirate. His guaranteed Warlord Trait, the Ambush of Blades, allows he and friendly Eldar within twelve inches to re-roll to wound results of a one in a single shooting or assault phase in the game; paired with his Eye of Wrath or the Spear of Twilight, it serves not only to maximise his strong assault potential, but that of friendly forces in a situation that demands it.

    Illic Nightspear, The Walker of the Hidden Path - Where Yriel marshals the defence of a dying host, and Eldrad guides all living beings with a a flicker of his mind, Illic is a wanderer that seeks some unknowable goal and appears without any perceivable rhyme or reason. That he hails from Craftworld Alaitoc is obvious; he is a sniper without compare, and the thousands of years he has spent walking the Path of the Outcast has only honed his skills as a predator. He comes stock with a pre-defined Warlord Trait, the Mark of the Incomparable Hunter, which allows him to Split Fire; a useful trait depending on what unit he is paired with. Using this to your advantage if you are protecting him or using his defensive rules for the unit is invaluable; Wraithguard may want to deal with the nearby Dreadnought, but Illic would be much better suited to ridding a Tactical Squad of their plasma gunner. As he only bears a 5+ armour save with no invulnerable save, he is quite fragile in a melee; from ranged attacks, however, he has the Shrouded special rule which incidentally is conferred on to a unit he joins. For similar reasons to Tau players using Shadowsun, Illic can be joined up with any unit that you feel needs a defensive boost and grant them a hefty +2 bonus to any cover saves they would have. As it stands, he isn't too much of a push-over in an assault either, with a minimum of four attacks at Strength three with an AP of three owing to his power sword and two combat weapons; though unlikely to worry a Space Marine Captain or character of that type, he can reliably deal with most squad sergeants should the need be there. His Weapon Skill and Initiative of six are particularly advantageous here, though on a somewhat disappointing note, he lacks Hit and Run to truly embody the vision of a sniper that disappears and reappears almost impossibly.

    Of course, the best part about a Pathfinder special character is that they are darned good at range, and I do feel that Illic doesn't disappoint in this area - at least with the rules that they intended, but more on that later. His unique longrifle, the Voidbringer, functions like any other Sniper save that it is AP two, it has a range of forty-eight inches, and it has the nasty Distort special rule. While it still needs to wound on a fixed dice roll of a 4+, there is no doubt that the potential for death dealing is there; that it is AP two all of the time means there is little need for Rending, allowing him to reliably snipe out special weapon holders and the like. The Distort special rule is the really juicy aspect of this weapon though, as any to wound roll of a six inflicts instant death; see that potentially problematic Nemesis Dreadknight moving up the board to you? Give it something to think about and, paired either with Doom or just some luck, roll a six to wound and see it evaporate in one fell sweep. Unlike other sniper rifles, it also stands a strong chance against well armoured vehicles; on an armour penetration roll of a six, it counts as an automatic penetrating hit regardless of whether the weapon would usually be able to or not. With an AP of two, some luck could see you destroying Monoliths or Soul Grinders in the early rounds of the game. Owing to his Sharpshot special rule, all of his shots count as Precision Shots, meaning he can allocate them wherever he wants; unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, this doesn't function perhaps as the rules writers intended as it means that any character can claim a Look Out Sir save against it. There is nothing more disheartening than hitting a kitted out Terminator-armoured character in a squad of Veterans, rolling a six to wound that inflicts instant death, and watch it palmed off on to a regular squad member. It is a shame, and it does reduce Illic's value, but it is nonetheless a handy option for singling out non-character members of a unit; striking a Riptide and not its shield drones, or fileting a gunner wielding a heavy bolter is still helpful to your efforts. It is also prudent to note that Illic has some extra luck against Necrons, with his Hatred and Preferred Enemy of the skeletal husks maximising his damage somewhat - even, ludicrously, hitting on a 2+ with re-rolls owing to his crazy Ballistic Skill of nine.

    Illic also has a neat and fluffy special rule that allows him to Infiltrate normally, or do a special one alone; he can be placed anywhere, regardless of enemy proximity, on the board if you so choose. There have been some rather ridiculous uses of this rule so far, but for a Toughness three and three-wound character that is quite costly, it would likely be best not to make too outlandish a move here. The key benefit, perhaps, is that any Rangers or Pathfinders that Outflank can "deep strike" to his location, provided the first model "lands" within six inches of Illic. Still, many may rather deploy their snipers with the master hunter himself, as conferring Shrouded on to a unit that already has Stealth (Rangers) who in turn give it back to their 'Phoenix Lord' - as he has been described by some - is highly useful and makes for a nasty and tough scoring unit. He is a capable Warlord that perhaps needs some clearing up in regards to Precision Shots and Look Out Sir to be made even more useful, but for now, he is a great boon for Infiltrators looking for a defensive boost and, depending on whether you play the rules this way, granting Infiltrate to a short-ranged or melee unit that particularly needs it. That he also allows Pathfinders to be taken as an upgrade to Rangers is nice for themed army lists and if you have a specific plan in mind.

    Phoenix Lords - As the Phoenix Lords all share the same basic profile, I will cover the traits common amongst them here so as to focus on their more unique aspects in their individual reviews. All Phoenix Lords share a Weapon Skill, Ballistic Skill and Initiative of seven, meaning that they have combat and ranged proficiencies equal to the combat monsters of other armies - such as Abaddon or Kaldor Draigo - and will typically strike before most enemies. When performing a Sweeping Advance or a Hit and Run test, their high Initiative is very useful and will usually beat out the typically lower Initiative of most characters. All of them have a Strength and Toughness of four that represents their ageless nature and status as almost divine warriors; they are much less prone to Strength or Toughness tests than other Eldar, and are considerably harder to wound than usual, even if they each only have three Wounds. All Phoenix Lords have some form of powerful or unique melee weapon, and it is as such highly appropriate that each of them has four attacks on their standard profile, though some have more owing to bearing two melee weapons or as a related special rule. Their Leadership of ten is expected, given that Farseers and Autarchs share it, though each Phoenix Lord bucks the trend for Eldar and dons a 2+ armour save; for a melee character, this is invaluable and allows them to power through most challenges with impunity. Each Phoenix Lord shares a host of special rules, from those common to the Eldar - such as Ancient Doom, Battle Focus and Fleet - to others that are decidedly rare, including Eternal Warrior and Fearless. The former obviously means they are not susceptible to force weapons or the 'Smashing' attacks by monstrous creatures, though only three wounds to a model means they still can't be reckless. The latter is there to ensure that any unit they join will stay in the fight, and though it is easily attained while in the presence of an Avatar, it is nonetheless a useful rule for making sure the Phoenix Lords aren't chased down in a freak mishap of bad dice rolls.

    Typically, the Phoenix Lords are expensive - but probably worthwhile - characters with devastating abilities that make them far less support oriented than Autarchs, Farseers and even the Avatar. A shared weakness for most of them is also that, in light of their cost, they lack invulnerable saves; only two buck this trend. When used in practice though, their propensity for slaying troubling enemy characters before they strike, or for moving up with a squad to minimise the damage dealt by AP two ranged weaponry, mitigates this issue largely. Just be aware that, barring certain Phoenix Lords who are specifically equipped to deal with them, monstrous creatures and Chaos Lords or Abaddon that dish out many AP two attacks in melee are a huge threat to their safety and should be avoided unless you feel confident of your chances in killing them. An unfortunate aspect of some of the Phoenix Lords is that they lack assault grenades for charging through cover or a viable means of dealing with vehicles that, as typical melee monsters, does limit their usefulness. However, they are nasty enough and, against most targets, tough enough that this shouldn't be a common issue. The last and one of the more important traits of the Phoenix Lords is that each has a pre-selected Warlord Trait that can be advantageous for specific army lists, further encouraging the player to tailor their list around the chosen Phoenix Lord(s). They are costly and don't offer the same army-wide support as most other Eldar characters do, but Phoenix Lords remain the nastiest champions to the Eldar outside of a tooled up Avatar of Khaine.

    Asurmen, The Hand of Asuryan - The first and foremost amongst the Phoenix Lords, Asurmen is not only the well of knowledge from which all other Aspects drew their most primal teachings, but a master of warfare to whom all those in service to the Bloody Handed God owe their respect. He is a warrior almost without peer, and is laden with the most powerful of the artifacts amongst the Dire Avengers. Like those who embody him, he is equipped with a twin-linked Avenger Shuriken Catapult, giving him some modest firepower, as well as the Counter Attack special rule to stave off the charge as if they were the ones that launched it. As the Avatar of Asuryan's will, and unlike any other Eldar special character, Asurmen does not come stock with a preset Warlord Trait; instead, he has D3 traits from the Eldar Warlord Table, re-rolling doubles. This makes him tactically the most flexible of the Eldar commanders in that sense, giving him a lot of extra stacking benefits that other characters simply can't enjoy; sensibly, he must be your Warlord if you field him.

    Much like the Exarchs of his Shrine, Asurmen has two Exarch powers that are more defensive in nature; Battle Fortune, affording him a 4+ invulnerable save, and Shield of Grace, allowing him to substitute all but one attack in melee to have a 3+ invulnerable save. In addition to having 2+ armour and the Eternal Warrior special rule, this obviously makes Asurmen incredibly tough to deal with - particularly in an army that can restore lost wounds to characters psychically - and it helps that is particularly vicious in a melee too. His ancient diresword, a relic from which all others were wrought, grants him both a bonus of one to his Strength and is AP two, meaning that he strikes with five attacks on the charge at Strength five and ignoring all armour. With a re-roll to hit owing to its master-crafting, Asurmen can put on some pretty serious hurt to most enemies he faces, and that is before one even considers the Soulrazor rule common to all direswords; any model wounded but not slain by it must pass a Leadership test immediately or be removed from play. As it does not inflict instant death, an Eternal Warrior - such as Draigo, whom Asurmen would slaughter - cannot be saved from its effects; a truly brutal rule that is obviously intended to hunt other such expensive and powerful characters. As it stands, Asurmen can best almost any character in the game in a melee, and is tough while providing a lot of passive benefits to your army to boot. Though costly, he truly lives up to the fable of a demigod from which all the Aspects of Khaine were derived.

    Jain Zar, The Storm of Silence - As the progenitor of the Howling Banshees Aspect, one can reasonably expect Jain Zar to be a monster in melee; it is safe to say that she doesn't disappoint here. Like her pupils, she has the Acrobatic special rule, giving her a boost of three inches to any re-rollable - due to Fleet - run move she makes that, paired with Battle Focus, can get her into the thick of it quicker or allow her to lead enemy melee units on a hilarious chase. Her Warlord Trait is Falcon's Swiftness, adding an additional inch to those Run moves for a potential sixteen inches total movement on foot, though the Acrobatic rule - unlike the Warlord Trait - unfortunately only functions alongside Howling Banshees as well. But enough of the unimportant details, the good stuff here is that she carries two melee weapons; both of which are AP two, and both of which count as melee weapons to give her an extra attack. Her ironically elegant Blade of Destruction bears the Shred special rule, allowing her to re-roll to wound at Strength four and AP two in melee with five attacks base, or six on the charge. In short, particularly owing to her high Weapon Skill and Initiative of seven, she can flay entire squads of Terminators in a single round without the aid of fellow Eldar warriors. Her Exarch Powers give her a brutal edge against other characters, counting their attacks as mundane provided she wins a roll off - which she usually will, as she only needs to tie with the opposing dice roll and gains a +1 bonus to her roll if she has a higher Weapon Skill than her opponent - so as to neuter a nasty enemy like a Chaos Lord with the Axe of Blind Fury, in addition to causing the rather situational Fear. You can feasibly walk on up to Abaddon, disarm him of Drach'nyen, and laugh as he flails about wildly while Jain Zar smashes through with several AP two wounds.

    Of course, she wouldn't be the Phoenix Lord of the Howling Banshees if she didn't have some form of Banshee Mask. The Mask of Jain Zar is unique in that it not only reduces the Initiative of an enemy unit she charges by five, but it also reduces their Weapon Skill by the same number. This incredible ability, coupled with her Disarming Strike and sheer number of attacks, effectively allow her to single-handedly tear apart almost any combat character in the game with impunity. The benefits are far-reaching though, as it also gives any squad she joins a serious advantage in the first round of combat and should minimise their casualties quite nicely. She works wonderfully well with melee units of any kind, and is sure to shock many opponents with her incredible grace and skill; she truly is death incarnate, a storm of blades that silences her foes before they can even raise their blade in defence. Interestingly, her other melee weapon - the Silent Death - can also be used for ranged attacks, with a twelve inch range and four shots at her Strength of four with an AP of two. This is a nasty ranged weapon that, owing to her well above average Ballistic Skill of seven, should reliably kill a few models off before a charge - even Terminators - or can be used in the aforementioned "dance" to lead enemies by the nose and pick them off a couple at a time. She is a very well balanced character that, while lacking an invulnerable save, makes up for it with sheer destructive potential; her best attribute is that she is quite cheap for what she does, as the equal second least expensive Phoenix Lord. A very strong choice that will sever limb from limb in a glorious display of craftsmanship.

    Karandras, The Shadow Hunter - A veiled figure that strikes with a brutal swiftness, Karandras is a particularly adept melee character that provides a host of benefits to your forces. As the Phoenix Lord of the Striking Scorpions, Karandras fits very well with his Aspect; he can Infiltrate - and confer it on to a unit, depending on how you play it - he provides both Stealth and Night Vision, and he can Move Through Cover that, with Fleet and Battle Focus, make him very fast. Unlike some Phoenix Lords - including Asurmen and Jain Zar - he is equipped with plasma grenades and thus has little to worry about if he charges into cover, though he lacks the defences of those Phoenix Lords to compensate. His guaranteed Warlord Trait, the Ambush of Blades, allowing he and friendly Eldar units within twelve inches to re-roll to wound rolls of a one in a single shooting or assault phase, particularly helpful for ensuring both his high Strength attacks and that of his forces cleave through enemy defences. The real meat behind Karandras' value is his melee capabilities, and I would be lying if I didn't say he is possibly the most brutal of the Phoenix Lords for sheer damage capabilities against a wide range of targets. Owing to the Scorpion Claw being a power fist that strikes at Initiative order, and with two melee weapons to boot, Karandras has a staggering six Weapon Skill seven, Initiative seven, Strength eight attacks on the charge at AP two. From vehicles, walkers, monstrous creatures, characters and units, almost any such unit will be crushed in spectacular fashion before they have even a chance to strike, and against all but some foes, he can hide behind his 2+ armour save afterwards too on the rare chance that the target survived.

    It really is amazing how destructive that many Strength eight, armour ignoring attacks with such a ridiculous profile can be, but they are even more ludicrous when paired up with his Exarch Powers. Monster Hunter allows Karandras to re-roll to wound against monstrous creatures, ensuring that he slays them in short order, while the Stalker power forces a dice-off roll similar to Jain Zar's Disarming Strike, save that the bonuses are tested against Initiative and thus even more likely to be in the Phoenix Lords' favour; the result is that Karandras re-rolls to wound if he wins or draws. On top of all that, Karandras bears the Scorpion's Bite; like a regular mandiblaster, it inflicts a single automatic hit on an enemy unit in base contact with Karandras - similar to Hammer of Wrath, save that it works in each combat phase and not just on the charge - but it is instead resolved at Strength six. As if the lord cloaked by darkness wasn't already brutal enough in a melee. The only real detriment to Karandras' use is his exorbitant cost, solidifying his position as the most expensive Phoenix Lord by a small, and probably reasonable margin. Karandras will slaughter most foes - truly, even a Trygon needs to be very cautious - before they strike and provides natural defensive boosts to his unit, and though he lacks such benefits himself and will likely fall to massed armour-ignoring attacks, he is nonetheless an incredibly strong character and one that you would remiss not to test.

    Fuegan, The Burning Lance - The Eldar whisper that of all the Phoenix Lords, Fuegan shall be the last to fall in the Rhana Dandra - the final battle - and with fire and axe shall he fight to the death. Unlike some of the other Phoenix Lords, Fuegan is very difficult to kill conventionally; with Feel No Pain and a burning resolve that only strengthens him as the battle rages, there are few things that can reliably put him down before he reaves those standing before him. Every time Fuegan suffers a wound, his Strength and Attacks value raise by one, displaying almost a glimpse of his inner flame by drawing near to death; combined with a Warlock or Seer Council that can restore his wounds, and you have potentially one of the game's most laughably powerful characters. That he is an Eternal Warrior with Feel No Pain on top of a 2+ armour save is rather awesome, but so are his offensive capabilities. He wields a firepike - effectively a meltagun with a range of eighteen inches - that can be fired twice owing to his Fast Shot Exarch Power; when one considers his Ballistic Skill of seven, he can reliably snipe out a few models, put wounds on a monstrous creature or blast an enemy vehicle into burning slag with ease. Handily, he also has meltabombs to deal with heavily armoured vehicles that he would otherwise struggle to deal with reliably.

    Most valuable amongst the relics borne by Fuegan is the Fire Axe, an AP one melee weapon with the Armourbane special rule that will allow Fuegan to reliably destroy any vehicle with an armour value of twelve or lower on the charge, provided they moved. Much like Asurmen, Fuegan also strikes at Strength five, but that is owing to the Exarch Power Crushing Blow that he possesses; representing more a natural strength wrought from a molten body. His guaranteed Warlord Trait, the Mark of the Incomparable Hunter, allows Fuegan to split fire; this is almost laughably effective when combined with Fire Dragons, entitling the unit to two vehicle "kills" in the space of one shooting phase. All up, Fuegan is tough and strong, with the capability to deal with most enemies quite reliably. Though perhaps not the straight out combat monster that Karandras or Jain Zar are, Fuegan is suitably equipped to deal with enemies from range and up close - and be part of some brutal combinations to boot that exploit his Unquenchable Resolve special rule.

    Baharroth, The Cry of the Wind - When the sun rises, a blazing star falls from the sky; in tandem with its twin, it shines with an unreachable brilliance. Baharroth, Phoenix Lord of the Swooping Hawks, is as much a hero that inspires the forces of the Eldar as a consummate warrior that strikes their enemies down. Like a Swooping Hawk, he can deep strike without scatter and, owing to the Sun's Brilliance, causes all enemy units within six inches of him when he deep strikes to take a Blind test. If you hadn't of guessed, this is a powerful ability that works particularly well against low Initiative armies, such as Tau and Necrons, both of which are dominating the meta right now. Aside from this, he has the same kit as a Swooping Hawk; haywire grenades, plasma grenades, a grenade pack for destroying light infantry, and the skyleap ability to head back into reserves. He also confers both Night Vision and Hit and Run on his unit, boosting their offensive potential and, for Swooping Hawks, allowing them to skyleap to safety and continue to lead your opponent on a merry dance. For offensive punch, he wields a Hawk's Talon for decent anti-infantry and light anti-vehicle firepower, and the Shining Blade; a melee weapon with an AP of three that, much like its master, blinds Baharroth's opponents. His preset Warlord Trait, the Falcon's Swiftness, grants both he and his unit a bonus inch to any run moves they make that, combined with both Battle Focus and Fleet, give Baharroth and any unit he joins some serious mobility. One of the intriguing aspects of Baharroth is that he is now only the second Phoenix Lord to have an invulnerable save, and a 4+ one at that owing to his Battle Fortune; such is his ability to change the battlefield. Though some of his abilities are decidedly situational, the sheer breadth of special rules, wargear and tactics available to a character that can deep strike without scatter are simply breath-taking and, owing to his low cost for a Phoenix Lord, make him an ideal all-rounder character in a reserve-heavy or mobile army list. That he is also one of the toughest Phoenix Lords and can deal with a wide variety of threats ensures that he is of great value for an Eldar army that wishes to employ the dancers on the wind.

    Maugan Ra, The Harvester of Souls - We often speak amongst ourselves of a dark entity that pervades the spirit and mind, a reaper that waits with a skeletal vice to take us to the other world; the Grim Reaper. Many have attempted to mimic the primal image of Death, but few have done so as successfully as Maugan Ra, Phoenix Lord of the Dark Reapers. If his model alone wasn't reason enough to use him, you should be pleased to know that, despite differing somewhat majorly to his students, he is a powerful character with a balance of strong firepower and melee capabilities. His guaranteed Warlord Trait, the Mark of the Incomparable Hunter, gives him the useful Split Fire rule that, considering the gun he has, is quite useful when paired up with his own aspect who prefer to shoot at other targets. Maugan Ra's signature weapon is the aptly named Maugetar, a weapon with two profiles; the first is at range - thirty-six inches, specifically - firing four Strength six AP five shots with the Rending and Pinning special rules. Effectively an assault cannon with one worse AP but the addition of Pinning, it is a handy tool that, owing to his Marksman's Eye allowing Precision Shots on a 5+, can be used against a wide range of targets or to single out enemy characters and special weapon carriers. In melee, it is very much a relic blade, boosting the Harvester's Strength by two with an AP of three; a pretty nasty melee weapon that, with four attacks base, are sure to put on some hurt. Between a Weapon Skill, Ballistic Skill and Initiative of seven, Maugan is a skilled and dangerous Phoenix Lord both at long range and up close, adding a lot of punch at a low price to almost any unit. His Fast Shot and Night Vision both give his Maugetar an extra shot and allow both he and his unit to ignore cover saves provided by Night Fighting, both handy tools for a very useful character. Much like Baharroth, Maugan Ra may not necessarily be a combat monster, but he is definitely a character that can be used in almost any situation and perform very reliably.


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    Last edited by Learn2Eel; 07-02-2013 at 04:59 AM.
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  3. #3

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    Hey there everyone, I am Learn2Eel and today I want to talk about the new and improved Eldar! The generic commanders of the Eldar are, unlike most armies, primarily support focused above all else; even the Avatar, a living demigod of war, benefits your army outside of combat. I hope you enjoy this article!

    With but one inclusion into the mix, the generic commanders for the Eldar have seen few re-enforcements, though in truth this is unnecessary as each character has a clearly defined role in the army. Farseers and Warlocks provide different flavours of psychic support, whereas the Spiritseer - while performing a similar task - is very much a component for a force themed around Wraith constructs. The Autarch provides your army with reserves manipulations and a cheap, adaptable character to help out a unit of your choice, and the mighty Avatar - enjoying a renaissance with a massively improved profile - brings both a highly useful Fearless bubble and unmatched combat prowess to your force. Each of them fits into different themes and styles of army list; a Spiritseer lacks the option for a Jetbike and as such is limited to a foot-based or transported support role, while the Avatar similarly lacks the outright mobility in an all Jetbike or Fast Skimmer force. Each provides unique abilities for your army, such as the Autarch's reserves manipulation, and so they should be judged based on what they bring to the force overall, not just psychic might or combat prowess.

    The Avatar of Kaela Mensha Khaine - A fragment of the Bloody Handed One, the Avatar is a burning maelstrom of death and destruction; seething with the fury of a dead god, it rouses the Eldar into a blood haze of reckless warfare. For what amounts to but a metal cast off from a deity, the Avatar is easily the most proficient generic character in the game with a ridiculous profile filled to the brim with tens and sixes. As a monstrous creature, all of its attacks are AP two owing to the Smash special rule and it can therefore halve its attacks at any point to double its Strength to ten; it crashes through terrain with Move Through Cover, and it benefits from the same cover rules as Infantry. As far as most monsters are concerned, the Avatar is very hard to kill; a Toughness of six, five wounds, a 3+ armour save and a 5+ invulnerable save allow it to withstand unreasonable amounts of punishment. As repetitive as it may be, this works incredibly well with the new Runes of Battle psychic power, Renewer, allowing the player to restore lost wounds to friendly characters; combined with an already very durable monster, this is a very nasty tactic to employ. Like those that revere its molten body, the Avatar has the full trio of army special rules, from Ancient Doom to Battle Focus and Fleet. The first provides situational benefits to the Avatar which become particularly useful against foes such as a Keeper of Secrets, whereas the second both boost his speed, allowing him to run a higher average distance to make it across the board, and make for more reliable random charge lengths. For a combat monstrous creature on foot, this is invaluable, and with 6th Edition's cover rules allowing an Avatar to benefit from area terrain, it should both get into a melee quickly and survive along the way. The third special rule is somewhat laughable on the Avatar, allowing it to play a game of cat and mouse with an enemy unit the player doesn't feel they want to engage, or to move into range with its ranged weapon and bombard the foe.

    As a form embroiled in constant flame, the Avatar is immune to a wide number of weapons that would otherwise be a common defence against its wrath. It cannot be harmed by any Pyromancy psychic power, an attack with the Soul Blaze or Melta special rules, or any weapon described as using flames - such as heavy flamers, flamestorm cannons and baleflamers. Not only does that give it a complete defence against an incredible array of both melee and ranged weapons - poor Veterans with melta bombs - but it also effectively neuters the Wall of Death, a common defensive measure against assault units. The implications of this are rather staggering; squads armed with melta weapons as opposed to plasma weapons will find themselves entirely out of luck, while a Tzeentch Daemon with Change psychic powers will be a helpless bystander as the Avatar rips into its warping flesh. It isn't enough that the Avatar is also Fearless and, owing to its presence, inspires any Eldar within twelve inches to fight without remorse or fear, granting them the very same special rule.

    But alas, it would not be the Avatar of the Bloody Handed God if it weren't a master of warfare, and true enough, Khaine's wrath embodied does not disappoint. With an incredible Weapon Skill, Ballistic Skill and Initiative of ten, it is the purest manifestation of war martial prowess yet seen in the game outside of special characters. This means that not only will he hit all but a handful of enemies in the game on a three or higher in a melee, but the vast majority will in turn be hitting him on a five and up; an amazing defence against dangerous commanders and masses of grenade-armed infantry alike. He will also strike first universally unless faced with a few select Greater Daemons, or by charging into cover; however, with his boosted mobility and high stats, this should be of little concern against most enemies. A Strength of six and five attacks base give the Avatar some very nasty damage potential, allowing it to reave entire squads or halve its attacks and double its Strength for three Smash attacks rounding up - four on the charge - to crush anything else. As a character, there is little hiding from the Avatar either; the friendly power fist bearer will find no joy against such a monstrosity, and any commander foolish enough to accept the challenge should only leave a burning, flayed corpse behind. The Avatar is not without ranged options though, as its Wailing Doom - an AP one melee weapon - can also be used as a meltagun that, owing to his Ballistic Skill of ten, is virtually guaranteed to hit and, in conjunction with the Battle Focus rule, get to vulnerable points or maximise its melta range. Potentially, the Avatar can fire its Wailing Doom twice thanks to the Fast Shot Exarch Power, if you feel the need to make it even more deadly - and expensive - than it already is.

    A lovely feature of the Avatar in the new Eldar codex is that it has access to a range of Exarch powers that really serve to ground its background - the master of warfare from which the Aspects were derived - in the in-game setting. One of these is actually pointless; the Avatar can take Night Vision, but has a ranged weapon with only a twelve inch arc. Aside from that strange outlier, the Avatar can take up to two useful and, sometimes, situational abilities that are decently priced; the most expensive, and hilarious, of which is Disarming Strike. With a Weapon Skill of ten, the Avatar will almost always gain a +1 bonus to the dice roll, and can as such disarm opponents such as the Swarmlord or Mephiston of their nasty weapons that could actually threaten the Avatar. You can configure him for monster hunting, granting him both Monster Hunter and Crushing Blow to strike at Strength seven with re-rolls to wound against others of his unit type, or maximise his ranged damage with Fast Shot and Marksman's Eye to single out plasma gunners and the like from units. The only limit placed on the Avatar is that one may be taken per detachment, though for thematic reasons, I see little actual purpose to taking two Avatars in the same force unless you are representing more than one Craftworld in your force. This aside, the Avatar is well priced with a hefty base cost, but it is a very mobile, tough, and damaging monster that simply outshines most any other monstrous creature in terms of overall capabilities and effectiveness released in this edition. A strong contender for any army list to be your Warlord.

    Autarch - Where many warriors judge themselves based on success in the field of battle, those true Warlords amongst the Eldar focus their efforts on a successful tactical application of their forces. These are the Autarchs, Eldar who have walked the Path of Command and are both proficient combatants and master strategists. What must be understood about Autarchs before you equip them is that they are still principally a support character, and should not be equipped as a combat monster; they do not have the stats or options of a Chaos Lord or other combat-oriented commander, though they can be irritating for an opponent to deal with as any Eldar should be. Their Weapon Skill, Ballistic Skill and Initiative of six means they are faster than other commander equivalents, with an identical melee proficiency but a slightly higher ranged potential. Their Strength, Toughness, Wounds and Attacks of three are as you would expect for an Eldar commander, and given the options at their disposal, it does limit their effective uses in melee from a wargear perspective. The best attribute of the Autarch for hobbyists is that they are incredibly versatile, with options allowing them to be tailored to almost any Aspect. They can take Jetbikes and a Laser Lance to join Shining Spears, or a Reaper Launcher to hang out with Dark Reapers, and even Mandiblasters with a Scorpion Chainsword to provide an extra set of hands for Striking Scorpions; there are many other options to use and explore. If you intend the Autarch to join a melee unit of any kind, I would definitely recommend a Banshee Mask; this cheap upgrade provides a nasty Initiative decrease of five to any enemy unit that the Autarch charges, which is particularly useful for your more sluggish forces such as Wraithblades. An Autarch also has access to the Remnants of Glory, and these are very interesting options indeed; one of which allows you to design your own Solitaire, fit with the Mantle of the Laughing God. The possibilities for themed and competitive builds alike are staggering.

    The raw equipment of an Autarch does give them an edge over the basic warlords of other forces; they come stock with every applicable kind of grenade, a 3+ armour save and a hefty 4+ invulnerable save. Considering how cheap they are, and even when considering how prone they can be to Instant Death, they are pretty darned tough for their points. Still, perhaps the best reason to employ an Autarch, as befitting their training and skill, is their strategic manipulation of reserves; you can choose after rolling each individual dice for reserves whether to modify it by adding or subtracting one from the dice roll. This gives you a serious advantage to reserves that few other armies can enjoy, and given the number of deep-striking or outflanking units available to an Eldar force, this is a truly invaluable ability that you should make full use of in a reserves-heavy army list. That you can modify the rolls individually, and choose to add or subtract to them, gives you unprecedented control of your reserve rolls, and alone justifies the investment in an Autarch. A great choice with lots of customization options, but they should be kept cheap and simple as they simply won't compete with the nastier characters from other codices; their best trait by far is their reserves manipulation.

    Farseer - In the previous Eldar codex, Farseers were taken for their amazing support abilities as a psyker; their powers geared to improving the survivability of a fragile force, and denying enemy psychic powers with great efficiency. Suffice it to say, those who enjoy their Craftworld miniatures should rejoice that the Farseer is very much still one of the most valuable - and important - defensive psykers in the game, albeit with some significant changes to how they function. The Farseer starts off as a Mastery Level three psyker, unusual for any army - even the Lords of Change are only Mastery Level two base - which indicates just how powerful and focused those who walk the Path of the Seer can be. This provides whatever unit they attach to a strong psychic defence, with a probable 4+ Deny the Witch save against anyone that isn't Mastery Level four - and only three such characters exist, as yet. With access to Divination, Telepathy and the Runes of Fate, a Farseer has a lot of diversity and potential to roll up mastery level two powers, particularly from the Runes of Fate. The availability of Divination and the Runes of Fate allows a Farseer to effectively take "double Guide" with both Prescience and Guide, granting re-rolls to hit, being the Primaris powers of their respective psychic lores. As to which lore to employ, that should depend both on your army list, that of the opponent, and whether you feel you want to risk rolls on any given table. Thankfully, while casting so many powers can be harmful, the Farseer does have a counter-measure in the form of the Ghosthelm; should he or she suffer a Perils of the Warp attack, they can ignore it by expending a Warp Charge point. Given that these are restored at the end of each player turn, this is handy both for casting your powers with little fear, and in case you face an opponent that can force such attacks on you - like Grey Knight Mindstrike Missiles.

    Like other Eldar, the Farseer has a trio of special rules intrinsic to the functionality of the army; Ancient Doom, Battle Focus and Fleet. While the first is rather situational, the latter two are handy for playing out the "trickery" of the Eldar on the table-top; in particular regards to a Farseer, this allows them to cast Witchfire powers with a greater effective range, or get in close enough to throw a Singing Spear. Ultimately though, the Farseer is defined by both their survivability and their psychic powers; they are the purest reasons to include them in a force. They are superb psykers in an army built around their use, and all things considered, they are quite durable too. While a Toughness of three isn't great, having three wounds, a 4+ invulnerable save and a natural defence against Perils of the Warp more than makes up for it; the extra wound in particular really gives the Farseer some breathing space, unlike the Librarians and Sorcerers of other armies. That Perils is much less of a concern is a great bonus. In terms of options, a Farseer has a few to choose from; an Eldar Jetbike for mobile support is always a fantastic and cheap purchase, particularly in a more mechanized army list. The new Runes of Warding and Runes of Witnessing do provide useful one-turn-only benefits, but are perhaps a bit too expensive for such purposes. Aside from those, a Farseer also has access to the Remnants of Glory; owing to their cost and drawbacks, I would recommend these in specific builds after studying them extensively. For a Farseer that you feel confident enough in defending, and that is using the Runes of Warding, the Spirit Stone of Anath'lan may be of particular use owing to its reduction of required warp charge points for any given power despite its serious drawback of removing the Farseers' invulnerable save. Overall though, a Farseer is yet again a fantastic supporting character that is both cheap and very effective; their access to three very strong psychic disciplines only solidifies their standing in the game as one of, if not the, best generic psykers that can be found.

    Spiritseer - Where a Farseer divines the future of their Craftworld and seeks to elude the cold grasp of fate, a Spiritseer instead embraces that chilling end in an altogether unusual way; communing with the spirits of the fallen, they walk amongst the citizens of two worlds - the living and the dead. A Spiritseer is effectively a lesser Farseer, what with one less wound, one less point of Leadership and a psychic Mastery Level of two as opposed to three. That they also lack a Ghosthelm, a very handy defence against Perils of the Warp, when one considers the price difference between the two doesn't seem to paint the Spiritseer in a great light. Of course though, there is more to the Spiritseer than just these rather significant disadvantages. Though the Spiritseer loses access to both Divination and the Runes of Fate, he can instead roll for powers from the Runes of Battle - a psychic lore that I would argue is superior to the Runes of Fate for general purpose army list building, owing to its lower warp charge requirements and duality of powers. As a unique part of their equipment - most of which cannot be altered, save to be exchanged for Remnants of Glory - they have a witch staff instead of a witch blade; the only real difference is that the witch staff inflicts soul blaze, as it is otherwise identical. A fluffy addition, nonetheless, for a mortal psychically attuned to the spirits of those who have fallen. They bear a 4+ invulnerable save that is very handy, though with only two wounds and a Toughness of three they should still be given your best efforts at protection.

    The real reason that you should employ one of these listless psykers is that they unlock both Wraithguard and Wraithblades, two of the toughest Infantry units that can be found in the game, as Troops choices. This is a game-changer that redefines how an Eldar army functions, though it is dependent on just how much you are willing to invest in the ghost warrior theme. It is for such purposes that a Spiritseer finds their own niche in an Eldar army, as is their highly useful Spirit Mark ability; any single enemy unit within twelve inches of the Spiritseer at any time during the Movement phase can be marked, granting re-rolls to hit of a one to any Wraith construct or Wraithfighter that fires or strikes at the unit. Given the average Ballistic Skill of four for all Eldar, living or not, this is a very useful ability that really maximises the already terrifying damage potential of Wraiths. Obviously, the Spiritseer is designed to be a part of a force that will invest heavily into Wraithlords and their cohorts; otherwise, a Farseer is rather easily the better value supporting psyker for an Eldar force. That isn't to say the Spiritseer isn't without their perks, but I would say that in a typical all-rounder army, rather than a Wraithwing themed army list, a Farseer will likely prove the more valuable option.

    Warlock Council - Seers who have walked the Path of the Warrior, numbering far greater than the Farseers; their destructive psychic potential harnessed further by their previous life. Warlocks are Mastery Level one psykers with a middling Leadership of eight and but one wound, identical in all but their equipment and psychic gifts to a Guardian or Dire Avenger. They are very cheap at half the cost of a basic Spiritseer, and share the same basic equipment - with the exception of the witch staff, as they instead carry a witch blade alike to a Farseer. With but a single wound and a 4+ invulnerable save to save them, they are very much another fragile Toughness three body; the difference between a Warlock and a Dire Avenger, particularly when Fortune is applied, is that the Warlock can use their save against any kind of wound. Their Leadership of eight, as a psyker, is not particularly helpful; they have a greater chance of casting psychic powers than failing the test, but it is nonetheless a sizable hindrance that limits their effectiveness as front-line psykers. For really, that is the reason you employ them; to both grant a 5+ or even 4+ Deny the Witch save to your units, and to provide cheap but effective psychic powers that buff those units up - such as Conceal, Enhance or Protect. Though they are limited to the Runes of Battle, it is a very strong psychic discipline where virtually every single power is useful in some sense. Perhaps the biggest hindrance to using Warlocks is that are very limited in terms of the number of units they can attach to; they are only allowed to join Guardians of both flavours, Windrider Jetbikes and Vaul's Wrath Support Batteries. This limits their use in an aspect-based army severely, particularly as they are intended as pseudo squad sergeants with a clear support focus. Still, in an army that features those units, Warlocks are of very high value; they provide strong bonuses to those units for both psychic defence and overall profile improvements, with a Primaris power that boosts their cover saves dramatically. Much like a Necron Royal Court, a Warlock Council is purchased as a single unit that doesn't take up a Force Organization Slot; they are then separated one by one into different units that they can never leave before deployment and, unfortunately, before psychic powers are rolled for, limiting their use in specific strategies somewhat.

    Alternatively, Warlock Councils can be kept as a unit of up to ten that can complement another psyker, such as a Farseer or Spiritseer, and provide them with extra bodies and psychic powers. A unit used in this way can function as one of the Eldar's few true "death-star" units; a prohibitively expensive but certainly powerful squad that can soak up ridiculous amounts of firepower with the right psychic support. This is very reliant both on an attached Farseer to attain the Guide psychic power - that is sadly not even guaranteed - and, if they are Jetbike-mounted, having at least a few of the Farseers rolling up the Protect psychic power to give each model a potential 2+ re-rollable armour save and a 4+ re-rollable invulnerable save. Impossibly difficult to shift, their damage potential comes from the wealth of psychic powers available to them which, again, are limited by the random rolling and no guarantee of a witchfire power. Though the unit will likely be hard to shift, its lack of damage, reliance on psychic powers, and fragility if the right powers are either not rolled up or fail to cast, combine to make for what is definitely a far less viable choice competitively than before. For the individual Warlocks though, each can be mounted on a Jetbike or exchange their witch blade for a handy singing spear; the Jetbikes are cheap and recommended for a true "Seer Council" build of old, whereas the Singing Spears actually give the Warlocks a nasty ranged attack against vehicles and monstrous creatures alike. Ultimately, Warlocks are there to be used as you see fit; they are tailor made to act as supporting squad leaders for your Craftworlds' militia forces, and despite their weaknesses as psykers - primarily due to their mediocre Leadership - they are still valuable additions to an army that features Guardians and Windriders.

    Example Builds - There are many ways to run our commanders; the diversity on offer here is what makes them so fun to use. Here are some builds that I hope you find useful or inspire your own creativity;

    The Avatar of Khaine w/ disarming strike - 215
    The Avatar of Khaine w/ fast shot - 205

    Farseer w/ Spirit Stone of Anath'lan, singing spear - 120
    Farseer w/ eldar jetbike, singing spear - 120

    Autarch w/ warp jump generator, fusion gun, power weapon - 110
    Autarch w/ eldar jetbike, laser lance, banshee mask - 100
    Autarch w/ eldar jetbike, fusion gun, mantle of the laughing god - 135


    Did you find this an entertaining and insightful article? Let us know in the comments section below - we appreciate any and all feedback. Cheers!
    Last edited by Learn2Eel; 07-02-2013 at 05:00 AM.
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  4. #4

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    Hey there everyone, I am Learn2Eel and today I want to talk about the new and improved Eldar! The citizens of the Craftworld, as well as that most famous of Aspects, comprise the bulk of the Eldar force; fittingly, the elite nature of the army is conveyed no better that even the most basic soldier has a stat line fitting of a Space Marine. The potential addition of Wraith constructs as the core troopers of the army adds both a lot of flexibility and versatility to army list design, something that can be somewhat lacking in the other 6th Edition codices.

    Troops

    Dire Avengers - The most famous and accomplished of all Aspects, the Dire Avengers are elite warriors bearing graceful weapons and skill into battle. For a general purpose Troops choice in a mechanized or foot-based army list, Dire Avengers are easily the stand-out. They carry superb weapons, are more than decent in a melee with the right tools, and their range as well as the addition of Battle Focus make them a unit truly capable of "dancing" with enemy medium or heavy infantry. They are billed as an all rounder, and pay considerably for it; each Dire Avenger has direct cost parity with a generic Chaos Space Marine, and though they do have a wide range of advantages, they lack the staying power and outright versatility of such a unit. With a Toughness of three and a middling 4+ armour save, they are bait for heavy flamers and incinerators alike; they aren't as fragile as Cultists or Grots or any true meat shield, nor are they bolter bait, but such abundant weapons can and will still murder them in decent numbers. Though any kind of Infantry has natural hard counters, it goes without saying that Dire Avengers pay a lot and, if they don't perform well, die far more easily than the tougher Space Marines and Necron Warriors for a similar cost. This is where the psychic support so intrinsic to the Eldar, as well as an innate understanding of the special rules at hand, really gives Dire Avengers - and by extension, most other Eldar forces - the boost they need to both survive and maximise their damage potential. Dire Avengers gifted with Fortune from a Farseer or Protect from a Spiritseer will find themselves far less reliant on smart maneuvering, though a skilled player will no doubt exploit both their eighteen inch guns and ability to run and shoot or vice-versa.

    And this is where the Dire Avengers truly start to shine; like any Eldar unit, simply looking at their basic stats and equipment is not the best way to judge them. You need to study both how their mobility affects both their defensive and offensive capabilities, as well as the support-based psykers that are spread so massively throughout the army - though certainly psychic support is nowhere near as necessary as it may have been previously. You simply cannot directly compare Dire Avengers with units such as Chaos Space Marines and Necron Warriors without discussing the aspects of the army that make them function. Intrinsic to the unit itself are two special rules; Battle Focus and Fleet. The first allows Dire Avengers to run and then shoot, or shoot and then run that, combined with re-rolls owing to the second rule, gives them unprecedented mobility as opposed to other armies' foot-slogging infantry. Now, combine this with the Avenger Shuriken Catapults, deadly weapons with the Bladestorm rule that, at a range of eighteen inches, not only will devastate any enemy with a Toughness value, but gives them the perfect range in addition to both Battle Focus and Fleet to get into range and attain ranged superiority compared to the infantry of other armies. Firing two shots each with an Assault profile leads to twenty shots from the unit at an effective range of - including movement and Battle Focus - twenty-eight inches, as opposed to a similar amount of shots from a Space Marine squad at an effective range of eighteen inches. The Dire Avengers lose out on merely two inches of average range when factoring in movement and run actions, but gain so many more shots. With Bladestorm thrown into the mix, this allows them to more effectively engage a far wider range of targets, including monstrous creatures, and can readily stay out of range of units with short range guns or the rapid fire ranges of most armies. This is a significant advantage that needs to be fully exploited to really prove the worth of the Dire Avengers; their design is centred around the idea of running and then shooting, or shooting at full range and then slinking away. Fleet makes these run moves so much more reliable, and gives them such an edge over their enemies that it really emphasises the theme of owning the movement and shooting phases with Eldar.

    Adding to the Avengers' array of special rules is Counter Attack that, with Initiative 5 and Weapon Skill four throughout the unit, makes them a more than decent melee squad. They may not have the same hitting power or durability in an outright fight as heavier infantry, but with Doom and readily accessible Guide or Prescience in the army, this isn't as much of an issue as you might think. The inclusion of an Exarch, however, can seriously improve their staying power in a combat and give them that extra bit of punch to knock enemy units out and, using their high Initiative and Leadership, chase them down or stick around comfortably. The Exarch has a great stat line for what others might term a "squad sergeant", and the wide range of options available to one allows for some very important unit buffs; prominent among which is certainly the power weapon and shimmershield choice. Though a power weapon of any kind is useful, particularly on a character with two attacks base and a Weapon Skill of five, the really tasty treat here is the shimmershield; amazingly, it provides the entire unit with a 5+ invulnerable save that is applicable to anything where such a save could normally be taken. For a unit that will often be on foot or jumping out of a transport, not having to worry so much both about both the sheer number of cover-ignoring AP four or lower weapons and the attacks of monstrous creatures or elite melee units, is simply incredible. Combine Dire Avengers equipped as such with Fortune from a nearby Farseer, and you will have a unit that is both decent in assault, hilariously scary at range, and can tank almost any kind of damage with little cause for concern. Though they are expensive for what is typically a fragile unit, utilising their amazing mobility and almost unmatched firepower against any model with wounds to their fullest will give you a unit that functions well in almost any configuration. Particularly when supported with a psyker or Wave Serpent, they can go toe to toe with the elite units of other armies and emerge the victor despite their natural vulnerabilities; a unit designed, as such, for a flexibile and understanding tactician.

    Guardian Defenders - Citizens of the Craftworlds, Guardian Defenders are skilled short ranged fighters that utilise heavy weapons in a desperate struggle against extinction. As their name implies, Guardians are a more defensive unit that, owing to their lacking firepower at range, are best used either as an objective sitter or as a cheap offensive unit in a Wave Serpent. Their Shuriken Catapults are undoubtedly devastating when they can fire; each model fires two Strength four AP five shots with the assault profile that bear the Bladestorm rule, meaning that they can shred any model with a Toughness value as easily as ice cream in a blender. The tricky part is actually getting them close enough to fire, as their guns only have a very minimal twelve inch range; they compromise sheer damage output for a lesser number of rounds spent shooting. In a similar vein, they aren't designed to last long either, with only a Toughness of three and a 5+ armour save to protect them; with bolters and ignores cover weaponry in abundance within the 6th Edition meta, Guardians simply won't last long without sufficient care and assistance. Provided you aren't facing Tau or deep-striking flamer-equipped enemies, Guardians should be able to provide a strong firebase deep in your deployment zone, or at least in some decently sized terrain. If you use them in this way, you can't expect to be doing much damage throughout the game, but the sheer firepower the unit dishes out to anything without an armour value should be more than enough of a deterrent to scare most opponents away. If not, you can reward them.....by shredding them with molecular disks. If used in such a capacity, I would definitely recommend giving the squad a heavy weapon; the boosted profile of Guardians, and the reduction in price overall, makes these options far more viable. If you feel you need some anti-tank punch, a bright lance will likely be your best bet; for giving Terminators something to think about at range, a Starcannon will more than prove its worth. The beauty of the heavy weapon platforms is that, per their special rules, the Guardian firing the weapon gains the Relentless special rule and thus can make full use of the Battle Focus special rule, handy for if they are used more as an objective taking unit.

    And it is on that note that the flexibility of Guardian Defenders becomes more readily clear. With access to the amazing Wave Serpent, and as the cheapest unit in the slot that can utilize them, using smaller squads of a dozen or ten with a weapon platform is an expensive but deadly combination. They can be sent straight at an enemy infantry unit or monstrous creature and savage them in a timely manner, using their Bladestorm weapons, Battle Focus and Fleet to pop into range and simply annihilate almost entire squads of Tactical Marines or even Terminators through concentrated Shuriken firepower. A deadly tactic that is perhaps not as effective compared to that which involves Dire Avengers, as Guardians lack the durability and boosted combat prowess of the Aspect Warriors to make for a truly prominent front-line unit. Even with their Weapon Skill and Ballistic Skill of four, as well as an Initiative of five, the paper-thin armour of Guardians and their limited melee capabilities even with an attached Warlock make them fodder for mobile counter-assault units or those warriors armed with template weapons. Nevertheless, Guardians remain the cheapest and most deadly point-for-point unit at close range in the codex, and making full use of the ability to run and then shoot, or shoot and then run - combined with the re-roll from Fleet - is sure to lead to much havoc.

    If you deign to include a Warlock Council in your force, it would be prudent to include one such psyker in your Guardian squads; the benefits they provide, while random, are typically very strong and the duality of their powers adds a lot of versatility. Reducing the armour save of Fire Warriors so that you need not worry about rolling sixes to wound, or granting the Guardians Fearless to act as a decent tar-pit unit; these are but a few of the applications of adding what is a cost effective psyker, given their support powers. A generous advantage here is that the Primaris power grants Shrouded to the unit, potentially making them a very durable unit at either close or long ranges for any kind of objective-based gameplay. I must stress though that even despite having plasma grenades, I would very rarely charge Guardians into a unit save to finish off the remnants of your shooting phase; with only two attacks each at Strength three on the charge, they won't pose much of a threat to nearly any unit worth their cost in points. As to unit size, I would be careful with twenty-strong units; if you aren't backed by an Avatar of Khaine or a Warlock with Embolden, one failed Leadership test could lead to a massive investment slinking away.

    Storm Guardians - Despite having an entry all to themselves now, Storm Guardians are a unit that really needs to be considered in the context of an Eldar army before they see use. Designed as an assault unit, Storm Guardians share an identical profile with their Defender cousins, though they exchange their Shuriken Catapults for Shuriken Pistols and Chainswords. Given that I already discussed the frailties and strengths of Guardians in general earlier, I do not feel such information bears repeating. As they are identical in cost and stat line, the contrast between damage output in both shooting and melee is rather necessary; Storm Guardians have fully half the firepower of Guardian Defenders, though in combat they have double the attacks when charged or a third more attacks if they both charge. Though this doesn't seem like a mark against them, the harsh truth is that Guardian Defenders are not reliant on assaulting and thus are far less likely to be gunned down in short order, even if both units generally operate at similar ranges. Guardians simply don't dish out the pain to most enemies, save the chaff of other armies - but such forces are usually so much cheaper and have a lot of firepower as opposed to the Storm Guardians anyway - for them to be considered an effective melee option for their points. They are an elite unit that wants to get into combat, but will both die on the way there and in the combat in absolute droves.

    Guardian Defenders have the advantages of popping into position and running away with Battle Focus, shredding most enemies before they can react with sufficient numbers - provided they are used smartly, of course - and of bearing heavy weapons that make them effective at range. Though Storm Guardians may be more effective in a melee than Dire Avengers per point spent because of the greater number of attacks, they do not share the benefit of Avenger Shuriken Catapults, an increased armour save or an Exarch equipped with a shimmershield. They compete with a unit that simply outclasses them in terms of a front line all-rounder squad. The main advantages to using Storm Guardians is the addition of up to two power weapons and either fusion guns or flamers into the unit. The power swords added are expensive on what are again fragile models that, despite their three attacks on the charge at Weapon Skill four and Initiative five, are still quite feeble with a Strength of three. The fusion guns and flamers provide some nice offensive strength to the unit at range, but again, it simply puts them too close to the enemy and, given the high cost per model of Guardians, means that they still fall too easily to really justify getting so close. While Storm Guardians certainly aren't a bad unit, they suffer dramatically by competing with other units that, while fragile as well, have the benefit of actually being able to stay away from the enemy to be effective. Now, adding in a Warlock can change the complexity of this unit entirely. Whether it is through Conceal - though that won't save the unit against flamers of any kind - or a power such as Protect or Empower, both of which improve their survivability or melee capabilities dramatically, Warlocks add a much needed element to the unit that I would recommend if you employ them.

    Windrider Jetbike Squad - As the first Troops choice in 6th Edition to be mounted on Jetbikes, it is understandable that Windriders may have been toned down somewhat so as not to be too effective a choice next to their foot-based counter-parts. After all, an army with that kind of mobility, elite-worthy profiles and sheer number of decent heavy weapons should have some kind of drawback, right? Well, if you can get past the aged sculpts, Windrider Jetbikes truly are the stars of the Eldar Troops section, and that they distinguish themselves so much for so little a cost increase is rather mind boggling. To give you some idea of just how valuable Windriders are, take a regular Guardian Defender and compare the two directly. The Windrider is mounted on an Eldar Jetbike, providing not only almost triple the average total movement, but a boost to Toughness four over three. They gain a 3+ armour save, compared to a 5+ armour save, effectively giving them similar durability to a Space Marine. The Jink save provided by moving gives them a cheap 5+ or 4+ cover save on the move, the latter of which is accessed by turbo boosting - a regular Guardian requires the proximity of either terrain or a Warlock to attain such a save. The Windriders lack Fleet and the usage of Battle Focus, but with double the movement and moving over terrain - as well as a free 2D6 inch move in the assault phase - it is incredibly rare that they will need them as much as Guardians. Each Windrider's shuriken catapult is twin-linked, and one in every three may take a shuriken cannon, as opposed to adding a more expensive heavy weapon platform per ten Guardian Defenders. In short, Windriders are far tougher, much faster and, with Hammer of Wrath, actually stronger on the charge. To put it lightly, Windriders are hilariously cost effective and provide the mobility of a Wave Serpent and the firepower of Defender Guardians without the need for either, all in one relatively inexpensive unit. And they are scoring.

    If you really want to pump Windriders up to ridiculous levels, attach a Jetbike mounted Warlock to them and just laugh at enemies attempting to gun them down with AP three or lower weaponry. Take Conceal on the Warlock, boost them with Shrouded and, provided you don't stop moving, you can enjoy a 3+ cover save identical to their 3+ armour save that gives them incredible leeway against a wide range of enemies. Perhaps the best benefit of Windriders, however, is that they are a simpler unit to effectively implement to an army list as opposed to most of the other Troops choices; they are already very mobile, they are the toughest by far, and they have similar or superior damage output. Though positioning with a more elite unit can be trickier, as one wrong move can prove fatal, they are nonetheless an exceptional unit that, owing to a significant price decrease in the new edition, is sure to be the popular choice with competitive gamers everywhere.

    Rangers - Do you like Guardians? What about Guardians with sniper rifles and a hooded visage? Rangers are, as the title suggests, a quirkier unit that is not intended for front line combat at either range or melee. Instead, they are best used to sit on your home objectives or move into a good firing position to unleash their powerful sniper weaponry. As it stands, they are best positioned away from most potential retaliations; with but a mere 5+ armour save and Toughness three to defend them, they will die very quickly if exposed. Thankfully, Stealth helps to alleviate this issue; they are designed to sit in a good base of cover, and pick off light enemies, squad leaders and weapon bearers, or provide more reliable wound rolls for a nasty monstrous creature. They are versatile and can even harm light vehicles at range, with the potential for Rending giving them some added bonuses against elite or armoured units with some luck thrown in the mix. Both Stealth and Move Through Cover make them ideally suited to moving through terrain and defending it, gaining a hefty boost to their survivability and mobility in such areas. About the only real limitation Rangers have, as opposed to Guardians or Dire Avengers, is that their sniper rifles being classed as heavy means that they cannot be used alongside Battle Focus.

    Unfortunately, Rangers cannot be joined by Warlocks; a design choice as likely to be influenced by theme as well as rules, as adding in a cheap character that can reliably grant Shrouded to a unit already sporting Stealth would probably be somewhat over the top. Regardless, they make for effective fighters and provide some more than minimal resistance in combat as far as most sniper units are concerned; their Weapon Skill and Ballistic Skill of four, as well as an Initiative of five, give them some leeway in combat, though admittedly it is of little note against most enemies. Ideally, they should be used to snipe out key targets and to deal with monstrous creatures at long range; unlike most armies, basic Eldar troops are actually incredibly well equipped to deal with high Toughness enemies, and thus are not as reliant on units such as Rangers to do the job. However, their short area threat gives Rangers a clear role, and helping to neutralize enemy units early on - such as sniping out their meltaguns or plasma rifles - is sure to come in very handy as your Wave Serpents and other forces advance. Use Rangers smartly and defensively, and they will prove to be a valuable addition to your force that really spices the mix up.

    Dedicated Transports

    Wave Serpent - The Eldar are renowned for their use of fast skimmers, more so even than their debased kin or the sentient fish humanoids that they are rumoured to guide, and the Wave Serpent is easily the most popular amongst them. With great durability, strong offensive potential, a large transport capacity and almost unmatched speed, Wave Serpents are the crowning jewel of Eldar grav-tanks, and take their place as one of the best battle tanks that doubles as a transport in the game. In reality, though it is a dedicated transport option for much of the codex, the Wave Serpent cannot be judged solely as a transport; with firepower and survivability more than comparable to a Predator or Annihilation Barge, it is far more than just a ferry for your infantry. For such a role though, they are indeed very useful; they can carry up to twelve models - six if they are bulky - and though they lack the assault transport special rule, they are still more than mobile enough to get their cargo into a great position.

    Importantly, Wave Serpents are unlikely to concede First Blood like so many other transports are prone to; with armour twelve on the front and sides, as well as ten on the rear, it is a well armoured vehicle. Owing to its classification as a fast skimmer, it gains a 5+ cover save simply by moving even a mere inch, and can get a 4+ or even a 3+ if it turbo boosts and is outfitted with the affordable and highly useful Holo Fields. On such a well armoured vehicle that transports fragile infantry, this is a massive boon that ensures they are unlikely to be destroyed before they attain close proximity to enemy forces. That they can turbo boost even further than a regular skimmer, combing for a total move of up to thirty inches, allows them to get anywhere they need to be in record time while enjoying a strong cover save. If that wasn't enough, the Wave Serpent in particular has a unique defence against explosions that could seriously harm the frail forces inside; the Serpent Shield, while doubling as a ranged weapon, downgrades any penetrating hit to a glancing hit on a 2+. However, you need to be careful with this; it can only be used provided those armour penetration rolls were resolved against the front or side armour of the vehicle. All up though, it is an incredibly durable vehicle with easy access to strong cover saves and a strong innate defence for its embarked unit.

    The Wave Serpent, as mentioned previously, has firepower comparable to a Space Marine Predator; no mean feat for a common transport. It comes stock with a twin-linked shuriken cannon, and a twin-linked shuriken catapult, aimed at gunning down infantry. As well, the Serpent Shield can be deactivated until the start of your next turn to provide a nasty ranged attack resolved as D6+1 Strength seven, Pinning, Ignores cover shots. Against enemy skimmers or models relying on cover saves, this is particularly effective; if nothing else, it is a potent anti-tank weapon with some good applications against other units that effectively comes for free. Now, as a fast skimmer, a Wave Serpent can move six inches, disembark its cargo and fire all three weapons at full Ballistic Skill in a frontal arc, or, alternatively, move twelve inches and fire two at full Ballistic Skill. Effectively, you can move incredibly quickly to get close to the enemy for transport purposes, and still fire some nasty heavy weapons at them while enjoying a tasty 5+ or 4+ cover save.

    If you deign to use the Wave Serpent in such a way - and you really should - I would upgrade the Shuriken Cannon to a Scatter Laser and maximise the damage potential of the Serpent Shield, particularly against vehicles; the Scatter Laser itself is not insignificant, after all. Upgrading the Shuriken Catapult to a Shuriken Cannon may also prove to be a smart move, giving the Wave Serpent a bucket load of Strength seven and six shots all at a very good price. For other purposes, such as smashing through Land Raiders or laughing at Terminators, Bright Lances and Star Cannons are also viable options; the Eldar Missile Launcher is decent, but strangely over-costed compared to its counter-parts. Though many will stick with the Scatter Laser and Serpent Shield combo, it depends on your army list and what you need; if your Wave Serpents carry Fire Dragons or Wraithguard, then anti-infantry shooting or weapons aimed at light vehicles may be more to your liking, for example. However, when mounted with Guardian Defenders or Dire Avengers, I would heartily recommend a more anti-tank based build, particularly if your Wave Serpents are the main source of heavy weapons in your force.

    The Wave Serpent has access to a wide range of beneficial upgrades, though I feel that the only near-mandatory selections are the Holo Fields simply because of the defensive boost they provide. Utilising the Crystal Targeting Matrix en masse with multiple Wave Serpents and Fire Prisms or Falcons is sure to provide some hilarity in the form of a brutally fast alpha strike that will unload its nasty contents in the next turn while sporting 3+ or 4+ cover saves all around. As they say, sharing is caring. For most opponents though, a wall of Wave Serpents is one of the last things they will ever want to see; they are fast, dangerous, durable and make for great transports. Overall, it is a battle tank - and a transport - with few equals that is sure to be recognised as one of, if not the strongest ground-based vehicles in the game in short order, and deservedly so.


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    Last edited by Learn2Eel; 07-22-2013 at 10:52 PM.
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  5. #5

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    Hey there everyone, I am Learn2Eel and today I want to talk about the new and improved Eldar! For an army that defines the term, elites are even more of a specialty choice in an army comprised of units designed to perform specific roles almost exclusively. Each of them is based around close range firefights or assaults, but they are typically more durable than your average Eldar forces to compensate. I hope you enjoy this article!

    Though the phrase "elite amongst the Eldar" has little real conventional meaning, the units represented here are still very much a competitive bunch with no real "stand-out" in an all comers army. As is the Eldar way, each unit is tailored to fight certain enemies; Howling Banshees tear apart power-armoured foes, while Striking Scorpions are more useful against less durable opponents owing to their sheer number of attacks. The competition for an elite melee unit is as much a crack-shoot as it is for a specialised tank hunter at short range, a role fulfilled exceptionally well by both Fire Dragons and Wraithguard. The Harlequins, as befit their nature, are a truly oddball unit that requires a smart tactician above all else to use in an effective manner; when they strike, though, they truly are devastating. Deciding which of these units to employ largely depends both on what kind of force you are using and what you need. If you are lacking for anti-tank, consider Fire Dragons in a Wave Serpent to even the odds; similarly, if you feel that elite infantry hugging cover may be an issue, then Wraithguard armed with D-Scythes may be your best bet.

    Howling Banshees - Lithe and graceful warriors that terrify their opponents and crush them in a melee, the Howling Banshees - descended of Jain Zar - are a nifty assault unit with some crippling weaknesses. First and foremost, Banshees are built around combat against tough opponents; with each Banshee striking three times on the charge with a power sword, they are geared for hunting power-armoured foes of all kinds. Their shuriken pistols give them some light firepower at a range of twelve inches, with the powerful Bladestorm rule giving them some freedom to engage tougher opponents such as Terminators or monstrous creatures. Like other Eldar, they have a trio of special rules that give them some love against Daemons as well as a boost to their speed; for a melee unit, being able to run after shooting helps, though the re-roll on charge and run distances is easily the most valuable trait. A unique ability to Banshees represents their acrobatic fighting style; provided there are no characters attached without the special rule, the unit can run an additional three inches on top of their usual re-rollable run move, much akin to Daemons of Slaanesh. Though they can't assault after running, this nonetheless allows them to get into position much quicker if they are forced to foot-slog; whether through the absence or destruction of a Wave Serpent or Falcon, this is quite helpful. They have a good Leadership of nine, and a rather typical Eldar profile otherwise; their Weapon Skill and Ballistic Skill is four, with an Initiative of five - though it isn't surprising, it isn't as befitting an elite melee unit as an extra point of Weapon Skill or Initiative may have been. Nonetheless, they received a slight price drop so that units of ten or so are more viable; combined with the cheaper Exarchs and upgrades, they will cost you quite a bit less to use.

    Unfortunately, even given their reputation, Howling Banshees are not as great a unit as many would have hoped; they are peppered with draw backs that make them a rather mediocre and situational unit that requires the utmost care in their application. The main issue is the lack of any dedicated assault transport in the army, from which all other problems with the unit arise; they cannot charge out of their durable and mobile carriers, meaning they must either foot-slog up the field or endure a round of shooting on top of Overwatch to make it into combat. Now, this wouldn't be a major issue if the Howling Banshees weren't so fragile; a Toughness of three and only a 4+ armour save will not secure their safety against heavy flamers, massed bolters or even any kind of dedicated firepower. For a unit with a maximum size of ten that is quite expensive per model, this is a truly pressing concern; they can no more afford to lose models, hampering their melee effectiveness, than Dark Reapers can afford to miss their targets. They absolutely require a Warlock or Farseer to give them psychic support to survive such fusillades, though another option would be to include their Matriarch - Jain Zar - to soak up wounds at the front, though such a tactic is obviously risky for an expensive character. Their Banshee Masks have also seen a reduction in overall effectiveness from the perspective of Banshees fighting alone, though as part of a combo-charge, they are actually better. Instead of allowing the Banshees to strike at Initiative ten, they reduce the Initiative of enemy units assaulted by the Banshees by five to a minimum of one. This works wonders with other assault units such as Striking Scorpions, though it must be noted that most units don't have an Initiative of five anyway so its effectiveness is somewhat limited there. However, Banshees themselves lack assault grenades meaning that the masks will allow them to strike simultaneously with most foes if they charge through cover. While this is handy, it doesn't solve the issue that the Banshees suffer casualties far too easily and really rely on striking before enemies to reduce the number of attacks coming back at them. They are a unit that simply isn't designed to function effectively as a front-line combat unit, as the combination of Overwatch and strong firepower in 6th Edition will simply kill too many before they can strike; that charging through cover means they will fight at the same time as most foes is ultimately to their detriment, not to their benefit, as they can't afford to take wounds back in such numbers.

    Still, there is potential to using Banshees; like any Eldar unit, they function so much better with psychic support. Adding some characters with Conceal or Fortune into the unit will give them a dramatic boost to their survivability and, even if they can't employ Acrobatic, they are at least quick enough either to run up the board or deploy out of a transport and endure what comes next. They also make for a great counter-charge unit in a more defensively-oriented force; they won't suffer much damage if you hide them, and they can do what they do best in conjunction with another unit. The Exarch is also a nasty character to include, particularly if you take an Executioner; though she can't take on entire units, her Weapon Skill and Strength of five paired with an AP of two - if you take the Executioner - will still do some pretty significant damage and give the unit some breathing room against 2+ armoured foes. She can take some cool options such as Disarming Strike and Shield of Grace to give her an edge against other minor characters, though ultimately she requires neither and becomes very expensive for a squad Exarch. A Wave Serpent is a fantastic transport for the Banshees and, if you do intend to use them aggressively, works best in conjunction with some other units to ease the pressure on the Banshees; Striking Scorpions with Infiltrate work very well here. Overall, Howling Banshees are a unit with a lot of issues related to their durability and assault delivery, but hit hard when they get there against more elite units while providing a more than decent counter-charge threat for opponents to consider.

    Striking Scorpions - If you are an Eldar player and searching for a dedicated assault unit, Striking Scorpions would have to be one of my top picks; shrouded in as much mystery as their Phoenix Lord, they strike hard and without warning then fade back into the shadows. Their basic profile is as you would expect from an Eldar; they have a Weapon Skill and Ballistic Skill of four, an Initiative of five and but one attack. Where they differ from the norm is their boosted Leadership of nine, as well as a meaty 3+ armour save; though the former is certainly useful, that the latter gives them a save against heavy flamers and a wide range of high Strength cover-ignoring weapons is just priceless in a typically fragile army. That they also do not require a transport to get in assault range by turn two means that they are far better equipped as a more front-line assault unit than most others. Despite being more expensive than Banshees per model by a small amount, not requiring an expensive Wave Serpent to carry around a decently sized squad more than compensates for the cost increase. With Infiltrate, they can either Outflank or start either twelve or eighteen inches away from enemy units and, provided they go second, are even capable of assaulting on the first game turn. Like any other Eldar unit, they are very mobile to boot; with the ability to run and then shoot, a re-rollable run and charge move owing to Fleet, as well as Move Through Cover to maximise their durability as they advance, Striking Scorpions are purposely built to make it into combat early on. That they also have innate Stealth gives them a more than welcome defensive boost, with forests or ruins providing 4+ or 3+ cover saves, respectively. Unlike Banshees and Shining Spears, their main competitors in terms of an elite assault unit, Scorpions also possess assault grenades that allow them to strike first against most opponents even when charging through the very same cover that grants them boosted saves against shooting and Overwatch. Though I feel the comparisons are somewhat unfair, it nonetheless displays just how much more well thought out Striking Scorpions were as a unit in the context of 6th Edition as opposed to Howling Banshees.

    Of course, where it counts for an assault unit - aside from their speed and durability, of which Scorpions have in plentiful supply - is their actual combat prowess, and suffice it to say that they won't disappoint for the most part. Each Scorpion strikes three times on the charge at Strength four with an AP of six, owing to their Scorpion Chainswords, which owing to their Space Marine-worthy stats allows them to deal with tarpit and horde units better than most other melee units. To give them some extra punch, each Striking Scorpion is equipped with a mandiblaster; provided a Scorpion is in base contact, it inflicts an automatic hit at Strength three with an AP of nothing on the enemy unit. Very much akin to Hammer of Wrath, albeit at a middling Strength, the real benefit here is that it applies in each combat phase and not just the first; make sure to remember your pile in moves as every extra wound caused helps, particularly against fellow high Initiative forces. All in all, the unit is decently strong in the assault phase; though they don't inflict the same damage against power-armoured foes as Howling Banshees, the higher Strength, similar number of attacks and inclusion of mandiblasters signify the Scorpions' greater utility and effectiveness against non-elite foes. In fact, Scorpions are better equipped to deal with foes to whom either Banshees cannot harm - such as Toughness seven monsters - or opponents with a 2+ armour save, as their AP of three is the only direct advantage Banshees have over Scorpions in an assault. Though Scorpions aren't exactly an ideal unit to use against such foes - especially given Eldar specialize in destroying them from afar - it is nonetheless an important fact to consider and one that serves to make them that much more appealing.

    A Striking Scorpion Exarch makes for a very nasty character killer in a unit designed to overwhelm enemies with a significant number of attacks; they are a cheap upgrade that, with some investment, can reave squad sergeants and even some commanders alike with impunity. Perhaps the most intriguing, and expensive, option here is the same weapon that Karandras uses to punish nearly any foe indiscriminately; the scorpions' claw, a power fist on a Strength three model that strikes at Initiative. Between plasma grenades and an Initiative of six with four attacks on the charge - plus the Mandiblasters - a power fist that doesn't strike last with those stats is absolutely horrendous, particularly given the Exarch is also Weapon Skill five and, as with the unit, not easily killed from a distance. Though it doesn't give them the capability to effectively engage a Dreadnought or similar armoured vehicle, it nonetheless makes for a character that will slaughter most any other squad Sergeant or cheap character in the game easily, and proceed to tear through entire Terminator units alone. The Exarch powers on hand mostly serve to give the character a boost against monstrous creatures, and they are quite cheap; still, particularly if you took the Scorpions' Claw, the costs will add up to make for a very expensive squad leader. All things considered though, Striking Scorpions are a very effective melee unit that, combined with a natural delivery system in the form of Infiltrate, decent durability and greater effectiveness against most foes as opposed to their direct rival, are arguably the premier assault unit in the codex.

    Fire Dragons - Revered as tank hunters without equal, Fire Dragons are arguably the most devastating anti-tank unit at short range that can be found in the codex. Each Fire Dragon bears both a fusion (melta) gun and melta bombs, allowing them to reave tanks and monstrous creatures at short range and in a melee. To say that is all there is to the unit would be doing them an injustice, but truly, that is what they are designed for and, though costly, they are incredibly effective at destroying such units. When your basic gear includes a Strength eight AP one gun with a twelve inch range, as well as a 'grenade' in melee with similar stats - both with the melta or armourbane special rule - then that doesn't really leave any illusions as to what units they are designed to engage. They will strike fear into small elite units such as Terminators, monstrous creatures such as Trygons, characters such as a Chaos Lord and any vehicle ranging from a Venom to a Land Raider. Like any Eldar unit, they come stock with Ancient Doom, Battle Focus and Fleet; the last two in particular serve to make them incredibly deadly when your opponent least expects them to be. The ability to run and then shoot or vice-versa with twelve inch ranged guns, allowing a re-roll to that run move, give Fire Dragons so much more mobility and allow them to fire and then run out of range; a brutal tactic in particular when employed alongside a transport, such as a Falcon. As to which transport works best, given that Fire Dragons are effectively a suicide unit - they pop in, destroy their quarry, and likely get shot to death - a Falcon may work better owing to the smaller transport capacity and stronger firepower overall. Fire Dragons function just fine in units of five, though a Wave Serpent is definitely the stronger all-rounder choice; my bet is to pick which suits your army list and go from there.

    Now, to say they are a suicide unit is, again, probably selling them a bit short; they are quite tough for Eldar with a 3+ armour save to each model, and their weaponry insures most targets will want to stay out of their assault range. Still they aren't infallible, as a small squad of Toughness three bodies will still fall to any kind of sustained firepower quite quickly; that they are so expensive and almost prohibit larger squad sizes - not that they need them - only adds to the problem. In any case, an Exarch makes for a decent albeit unnecessary addition; the unit truly doesn't require one to perform its role effectively, though if you are willing to spend some extra points it can certainly help. Adding an Exarch opens up some interesting possibilities, such as a firepike - an eighteen inch fusion gun - as well as Exarch powers such as Iron Resolve or Fast Shot. While I feel that spending such points on the character is not required, it does certainly improve the squads' chances of flat out destroying any vehicle they touch; a nine inch melta range with an extra shot on top of Ballistic Skill five is nothing to sneeze at, though one could purchase another Fire Dragon or two for such a price. Again, you must ask yourself whether excess points spent on an already deadly tank-hunting squad that will likely be shot to death or charged when they destroy their quarry is worthwhile. About the only help Fire Dragons need is to get in range of their target, and with such awesome transports available, you really are spoiled for choice as an Eldar player.

    Harlequins - Dancers in the webway, Harlequins are as mystifying a unit on the table-top as they are in the background; guardians of the Black Library, keepers of secrets. Knowing the tricks to using Harlequins as well as their extensive array of options and wargear is necessary to their effective use. As opposed to the other melee units in the Elites slot, Harlequins are the most fragile to an extent; they share a Toughness of three, but in place of an armour save, they have a 5+ invulnerable save. Against small arms fire, they are the most easily slain of the bunch; however, against cover-ignoring or armour-ignoring weaponry, they do indeed have an edge. Like with Chaos Daemons, a smart opponent will merely target them with masses of small arms fire and use their heavier weaponry on other more valuable and vulnerable targets. Though they lack assault grenades, Harlequins are not slowed by difficult terrain owing to their flip belts; given that they rely on their high Initiative to strike before most enemies and reduce the number of attacks coming back at them, you need to be very cautious as to which foes you assault. Unlike other Eldar, they lack both the Ancient Doom and Battle Focus special rules to signify their more neutral stance free of the Craftworlds; they lack the ability to run and then shoot, but it isn't too important here given that they are a dedicated assault unit. Their shooting capabilities are limited to shuriken pistols, with the option for two Harlequins to take fusion pistols instead; though expensive, they do help the Harlequins in dealing with well armoured vehicles or taking valuable wounds off of elite units and monsters. The minimal range of six inches for the fusion pistols, while not unexpected, is still very limiting and at that point, given the average charge range for Harlequins would be close to nine inches owing to Fleet, you likely would have assaulted anyway.

    Harlequins are very nasty on the charge, predictably, with up to four attacks each on the charge at Strength four, owing to Furious Charge, and they can Hit and Run out of combat at a moment's notice. When taken in decent numbers, they can reave most units simply through sheer weight of attacks; their Weapon Skill of five and Initiative of six is of particular note here, as they can simply maximise their damage potential better than most. To really spice things up and make them almost unfairly devastating in an assault, each Harlequin can be given a 'Kiss'; their melee attacks gain the Rending special rule, with no downside if you ignore the rather significant price point. If they ever make it to combat - and trust me, most opponents will dedicate a lot of firepower to ensure they don't - a unit of ten Harlequins with the Kiss has a stunning forty attacks at Weapon Skill five, Initiative six and Strength four with Rending on the charge. Wow. Against your average Tactical Squad of ten marines, you are looking at twenty-seven hits, four dead from Rending, and about ten or nine armour saves - another three of which will be failed. Though it is a very expensive unit, it nonetheless is capable of gutting most anything short of a Land Raider when it launches an assault; most monstrous creatures will fall over in a heap unless they have some form of invulnerable save or six wounds, and that is merely on the first round.

    Where Harlequins really become interesting are in the characters that can be purchased; the Death Jester, the Troupe Master and the Shadowseer, each playing a different role in their 'dance'. The Death Jester loses the option of a 'Kiss' and an attack from exchanging their weapons out, but gains a Shrieker Cannon; similar to a Shuriken Cannon, it fires three Strength six AP five shots with the Bladestorm rule, though it also has the handy advantage of causing Pinning tests. It isn't bad, though one could view it as an expensive form of adding in a less effective Dark Reaper for the cost that, in a melee oriented unit, isn't all that great. A fun choice though, as the range of twenty four inches allows you to cause such tests as you move into assault range; Pinning any enemy unit that can fire at your Harlequins is a welcome bonus, albeit random in terms of success. A Troupe Master is an expensive addition, but is effectively a 'squad sergeant' with an extra attack and point of Leadership that comes stock with a 'Kiss'. Afterwards, the Troupe Master can take a power sword for free instead of the 'Kiss'; though against most foes I would feel that Rending is more useful, it nonetheless goes without saying that a crazy dancer with five attacks on the charge at Strength four and AP three is nothing short of hilarious. The most expensive of the character upgrades is the Shadowseer, a psyker that only ever knows a single unique psychic power; the Veil of Tears. It is a very nifty power cast on a Leadership of nine that forces any enemy unit attempting to target the Harlequins to roll 2D6 and double it, using the total as their "sight" range. If the unit is out of range, and remembering that the maximum total is twenty four inches, then they cannot fire at the Harlequins - or indeed any unit - in that phase. The average total is fourteen, meaning that some smart placement and suitably generous dice rolls can potentially see your nasty assault unit get into a melee almost uncontested aside from Overwatch. Truly a powerful ability that, combined with providing hallucinogen grenades that grant the unit assault grenades, makes the Shadowseer a very worthwhile addition. Though they are expensive and require support either from their expensive character upgrades or psychic powers, and suffer the limitation of no transport option, Harlequins are nonetheless an interesting unit that will surprise you as much as they surprise your opponent.

    Wraithguard - As spirits of the dead interred in constructs forged from wraithbone, the Wraithguard are a somewhat slower but far deadlier force than any Eldar. Elegant in design and skill, each has a Weapon Skill, Ballistic Skill and Initiative of four; unlike other Eldar, they lack both Fleet and Battle Focus, and yet still bear an enmity with scions of Slaanesh even in death. Large as they are, they are only a bulky unit and thus can still fit into the confines of a Wave Serpent; given their predominantly short-ranged weaponry, this is every bit a boon. Where Wraiths differ from the living is in endurance and power; they have a whopping Toughness of six, a Strength of five and a 3+ armour save. They are an Infantry unit that is as durable as they come, laughing off most small arms fire and even deflecting plasma rounds with greater ease than most. And really, this is what defines them as a unit; that they are near impossible to defeat conventionally when used in numbers is an advantage no other non-wraith unit has in the codex. Given that the dead have nothing to fear, they are Fearless and have a Leadership of ten; though the latter seems counter-productive when paired with the former, it is nonetheless useful in an edition where stripping Fearless away or rolling to wound against Leadership is becoming increasingly common. Though they have only one attack, their Strength of five makes them somewhat decent in a combat; most enemies will simply bounce off anyway.

    Still, Wraithguard best used at range - however limited it is - to inflict maximum damage on your opponents. Each Wraithguard bears a Wraithcannon, a ridiculous weapon with a Strength of ten, an AP of two with the disadvantage of a mere twelve inch range. As you would expect, they can devastate anything that gets within range; Land Raiders, Tervigons, Terminators and any manner of foe you could name will be obliterated under sustained fire from Wraithguard. That any to wound roll of a six - of which you should average one in a ten-strong unit firing - inflicts instant death is just insane and should easily put down any monstrous creature, such as a Wraithknight, in but a single volley. The only thing you really need to be wary of is the minimal range; twelve inches puts them in charge range, and without Battle Focus, it leaves them dangerously vulnerable to mobile units or units with similar firepower at short ranges. This also precludes their use on foot, or at least it minimises any potential damage they can inflict until turn three and onwards on standard size game boards; a Wave Serpent, providing them both with protection and mobility, is a smart purchase for any Wraithguard unit numbering six or less.

    This doesn't exclude the tactic of a ten-strong Wraithguard phalanx, however, as such a unit when paired with Conceal from a Spiritseer can endure unfathomable amounts of punishment whilst it advances, dealing death to anything that is stupid enough to move into range. However, if you decide to exchange the Wraithcannons for D-Scythes, you will definitely require the use of a Wave Serpent or limit the Wraithguard to a more defensive role sitting on an objective. The D-Scythes are template weapons with a Strength of four and an AP of two, with the same potential to either inflict instant death or automatically penetrate armour on a roll of a six; such strength and armour or damage modifiers is brutal on a template weapon that can be carried unit wide. That each of them functions as a flamer makes them particularly deadly against armies that positively need to assault you; in a six strong unit embarking from a Wave Serpent, the enemy unit charging will have to try to soak up 5D3 automatic hits that ignore all armour and can kill instantly. Such a unit is downright nasty, but it is expensive; each D-Scythe purchased is a significant investment, and the limitation for the entire unit to take them or not is somewhat limiting in bigger units.

    Interestingly, and perhaps what makes them so infamous to enemies, is that Wraithguard can be taken as Troops choices if a Spiritseer leads the army. As a scoring unit, Wraithguard bring something that no other Troops choice can; insane durability and firepower that simply begs to sit on an objective and dare anyone to try and take it. Remember those D-Scythes that Wraithguard can bear into battle, that make for a brutal counter-measure against any potential assault? Or how about that phalanx that marches purposefully up the field, caring little for any and all punishment that is inflicted on them? Yes, Wraithguard make for a very strong Troops choice, whether mounted in the ubiquitous Wave Serpent or traveling on foot; they are tough enough and strong enough to wither and deal out damage in unmatched amounts.

    Wraithblades - Wraith constructs that have been given swords and axes to fight against the Great Enemy, Wraithblades are effectively melee-oriented Wraithguard that are a somewhat disappointing, but nonetheless useful choice in a themed Iyanden force or as a supplement to a larger army. They share an identical basic profile to a Wraithguard, special rules and all; a Weapon Skill, Ballistic Skill and Initiative of four, an impressive Strength of five and Toughness six, as well as one attack base with a 3+ armour save. They are durable, they fight well, and they are darned hefty in close quarters as well - Wraithblades in particular, with their unique melee weapons, really bring the hurt in this area. Each Wraithblade comes stock with a pair of ghostswords, increasing their Strength by one with an AP of three; with three attacks each on the charge, they will butcher their way through most anything with a 3+ armour save - even most monstrous creatures - while tanking any damage back through their natural durability.

    An alternate option for them is the ghost axe and forceshield, granting them both a 4+ invulnerable save and a bonus of two their Strength. With an AP of two and Unwieldy, each Wraithguard strikes last with two Strength seven AP two attacks on the charge, perfect for decimating other elite melee units and bearing the brunt of punishment in return from power fists or monsters alike. Where this setup falls flat is in the lack of attacks; in subsequent rounds, each Wraithblade only has a single attack that, unless Guided or supported by Prescience - which is admittedly in great supply for Eldar - has few outlets to guarantee hits. For a melee unit, they are actually quite decent and, as you would expect, require a Wave Serpent to get into combat early on. However, I feel that given they are identical in cost, Wraithguard are probably the better investment as their guns are even more brutal and, despite being similarly close ranged, do not force them to be tied up in combat where they will plod on for many turns trying to destroy enemy units. That isn't to say Wraithblades are a bad unit, but given the guns that Wraithguard carry and the lack of available assault transports or grenades, I feel their ranged cousins are the more valuable choice. As Troops, they make for a nasty objective-clearer or, working in tandem with Wraithguard armed with D-Scythes, a brutal counter-charge unit.


    Did you find this an entertaining and insightful read? Let us know in the comments section below - we appreciate any and all feedback! Cheers!
    Last edited by Learn2Eel; 07-02-2013 at 05:04 AM.
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  6. #6

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    Hey there everyone, I am Learn2Eel and today I want to talk about the new and improved Eldar! No recorded species can match the grace and fluidity of the Eldar, and nowhere is this more apparent than in their Fast Attack choices; warriors all, complete with a new Aspect to vie for your attention. Though of debatable use before, the returning cast are very much a far more appealing selection; geared towards dealing with specific threats, the mobility at hand here is simply unmatched in any codex. I hope you enjoy this article!

    Few armies personify "Fast Attack" quite like the Eldar do; almost the entire army is themed around the concept! You have your slower, durable units, but for the most part the Eldar are about duking it out in close firefights and dancing away at a moments notice. It stands to reason that some of their strongest units are present in the Fast Attack slot; with fliers and jump or jetpack infantry lining up for your approval, there are some tough decisions to be made in what is a very congested slot - and codex, for that matter. Thankfully, each unit is tailored to dealing with specific enemies, as is the Eldar way, and thus all have a good place in any army list based on the rest of your force. Swooping Hawks are death incarnate to light infantry and vehicles alike, while Crimson Hunters can deal with any enemy flier or vehicle with impunity. Vypers provide light harassment against a range of foes, while Shining Spears provide nasty anti-elite firepower and melee capabilities to your force. Though an oddball choice, the Wraithfighter has some particularly devilish synergistic abilities that, if exploited, can be truly devastating against most anything with a Leadership value. The real stars of the slot, and perhaps the codex, are doubtless the Warp Spiders; capable of incredible feats of mobility, while bringing devastating firepower against almost any enemy short of a Land Raider, they are truly my pick for one of the best Fast Attack units in the game. Each choice has their uses, and each of them requires a deft touch to use well.

    A note here that I will be covering the Eldar fliers in a separate article so as to provide more accurate thoughts after some play testing.

    Swooping Hawks - Leaping from the skies in a blaze of light, the Swooping Hawks dance with the hover craft of those opposed to the Eldar; their precise strikes with laser and haywire weaponry disrupting enemy positions with calmness and speed. As befits an Eldar Aspect Warrior, Swooping Hawks have specialized gear and a somewhat more impressive statline, if only marginally; they possess a 4+ armour save and a Leadership of nine which, for a unit that likely will be taking fire, is very handy. What serves to make Swooping Hawks distinct is not one or two unique rules or wargear options, but a slew of traits that give them an identity grounded in fragility, speed and flexibility. For one, you can never expect them to win a direct engagement with a non-vehicle unit of any significance; they lack the firepower, durability and melee capability to effectively engage large or elite units in a straight fight. However, this doesn't serve to put them on the back-foot, but really emphasise how important it is to identify and understand their slew of rules to really make full use of their potential. First up is their weaponry, as how they function is integral to the deployment and movement options that Swooping Hawks possess. Each Hawk carries a lasblaster, a Strength three and AP five ranged weapon that fires three shots at twenty-four inches; obviously, this is designed for hunting light infantry of all kinds though, handily, it also helps for putting wounds on high Toughness monsters more reliably as opposed to the fewer shots fired by many other units. Even a small unit of Hawks will decimate light Infantry of all kinds, as the sheer number of shots paired with a Ballistic Skill of four leads to too many armour-ignoring wounds for critters and meat shields alike. To add to the anti-chaff carnage, the Hawks have grenade packs that, after deep striking, can be "thrown" by one model instead of firing; this acts as a Strength four AP four large blast that ignores cover with a range of twenty four inches. Put simply, if your worried about bunched up Fire Warriors making full use of both an Ethereal and Supporting Fire, give them a nice and sparky light show to intimate the error of their ways.

    To add to the chaos, Swooping Hawks each come stock with haywire grenades which, in an edition where vehicles effectively possess "wounds", are undeniably brutal. Each hit with a haywire grenade has a two in three chance of causing a glancing hit, with a one in six chance of a penetrating hit; though restricted to melee, they will assuredly destroy any vehicle, from walkers to Monoliths, in but a single round assuming average rolls. Add in the high Weapon Skill of four and Initiative of five common to all Eldar, and any kind of walker will be scared to death of them; let alone the poor, hapless tanks that can't even attempt to save themselves. Now this is all well and good, but how do the Hawks - with their Toughness of three and 4+ armour save - get close enough to use all these tools effectively? If the grenade pack wasn't a sizable hint, the answer lies in deep striking; something that the Hawks have an amazing proficiency for. Owing to their Heralds of Victory special rule, Swooping Hawks do not ever scatter when deep striking, save for when a character is attached without that special rule. The implications of such a unit with devastating light infantry firepower in the form of cover-ignoring large blasts and sheer numbers of AP shots, as well as toting haywire grenades for vehicle death of all kinds, having no deep strike scatter are simply ludicrous. You can precision strike nearly any unit in the game with amazing efficiency, exposing isolated or otherwise undefended units, and then moving away to a safer location. With jump packs paired with Battle Focus and Fleet, they can subsequently make a re-rollable run move after firing - or vice-versa - and hide in cover or out of sight after annihilating a light infantry unit. Utilising their speed, they can then jump away from terrain for a nearby vehicle and, with masses of haywire grenades, rip it to shreds in moments. And to cap it all off? Swooping Hawks can leap back into reserves with their aptly named Skyleap special rule, utilised on any turn in which they didn't deep strike and allowing them to re-enter the board on the next turn. Oh, and in one of the six missions, they are not only denial units, but scoring as well. Yeah. Use a squad of ten of them, start them on the board and promptly Skyleap immediately so as to not require a reserves roll in the subsequent turn, and proceed to troll the heck out of your opponent. Last-turn objective denial? Wiping out a Land Raider without warning? Obliterating some pesky Fire Warriors giving your Guardians grief? Do it all, and do it with the troll song playing in the background.

    Is it wrong to not have even mentioned the upgrades and options available to a unit two paragraphs into the review? In a good review, no. In a bad review, yes. To cake up your day, you can take an Exarch one, more with bad jokes today way! Incidentally, add an Exarch; if nothing else, they give you some more Strength three goodness with a potential power sword, or even a hawk's talon that provides a nifty trio of low Strength AP three shots. The sunrifle has a probably more useful Strength of five and three shots with an AP of five, though you pay for it and it sort of breaks all the three themes going on. I dunno, I must have that number on the mind. The best reason to take an Exarch, otherwise, is the Exarch powers; Hit and Run is likely the best of the bunch, allowing the Hawks to - as befits their nature - destroy forces, be charged, run out and proceed to Skyleap on the following player turn. Trolololo! They are a great unit that won't always work - they aren't too useful against large volumes of higher Toughness bodies, such as Space Marines or Tyranid Warriors - but will wreck vehicles and light infantry almost gleefully.

    Warp Spiders - As the aspect that perhaps embodies the theme of Eldar - a force that strikes hard and hurriedly retreats to a strong position - more than any other, Warp Spiders are suitably an exceptional unit with some insane capabilities. For one, they are easily the fastest non-vehicle ground-based units in the game, with a whopping potential total movement distance of up to thirty six inches. Even most flying monstrous creatures can only hope to match that kind of speed, not surpass it, which is insane given Warp Spiders lack both jump packs or the ability to fly. Covering an average of about twenty four inches a turn is ridiculous for a ground-based unit of any kind, particularly for one with some serious firepower to boot that suffers no restrictions to firing them despite their mobility. What gives them such sheer speed is their Warp Jump Generator and type as Jetpack Infantry; they get a 2D6 inch movement after their normal move in the movement phase, followed by a re-rollable run move, with a free 2D6 inch movement in the assault phase. That they leap over all terrain while doing so and can effectively perform the "jump shoot jump" tactic better than anyone is more than enough reason alone to employ them, even if the "jetpack move" performed in the movement phase has a slight chance of killing one of the Warp Spiders. They are fast, in case it wasn't obvious. For Eldar, they also happen to be decently tough despite their Toughness of three, with a 3+ armour save and base Hit and Run allowing them to survive more punishing salvos and strikes while weaving out of combat at a moments' notice. Of course, having them out in the open isn't the way to use them well, as they will die to sustained firepower all the same; though those pesky cover-ignoring Heldrakes, as they do, simply don't care how much you try to keep your poor infantry alive. Thus, you need to abuse your superior speed with Battle Focus, Fleet and the Jetpack move as much as humanly possible to both provide maximum damage and reduce any incoming shooting as much as possible.

    What Warp Spiders are really defined by are their weapons; making full use of the Monofilament rule, each Death Spinner fires two shots at twelve inches with a Strength of six and no AP. The high Strength is offset by the lack of AP, though it nonetheless serves to put through a tonne of wounds on anything short of a Wraithknight or Great Unclean One; their Ballistic Skill of four helps out a lot here. What really gives Warp Spiders their edge is Monofilament; each shot fired wounds automatically and is treated as AP one on a to wound roll of a six, decimating anything with a Toughness value in short order. To really spice it up, all shots from these weapons also treat their Strength value as one higher against any target with a majority Initiative of three or lower, while any unit without an Initiative value similarly suffers more. Question; how many vehicles, walkers aside, have Initiative values? Answer; none! Question; what armies are incredibly popular right now? Answer; Necrons and Tau, with low Initiative values of three or lower normally! Question; what do you think Mr Eel? Answer; get off my lawn! No, but seriously, ouch! Strength seven firepower in abundance against almost any vehicle in the game, with weapons designed specifically to give some of the top competitive armies grief. Do I even need to mention what that kind of shooting capability is like when paired with the ridiculous mobility of Warp Spiders? Able to jump in and out of engagements at will, even on the first turn, they are quite capable of laying waste to any and all enemies - such as the rightly feared quad gun, which is great for helping out your fragile fliers - at any point in the game.

    For some added foolery, they can deep strike in and potentially warp jump, then run, then shoot, then jet pack away, though the warp jump after deep striking may be illegal as it is does say instead of making a regular move. This is brutal for attacking the rear armour of vehicles or exposed infantry, and with reserves manipulation from an Autarch, can come down when you most need it. As befits the theme of Aspect Warriors, the only option available to the unit are found on the Exarch alone; a neat but unnecessary upgrade, the best use of the Exarch is to add a nasty AP one Spinneret Rifle, or some handy but situational powers such as Stalker and Fast Shot. All up though, you really don't need to give Warp Spiders any additions, save for some extra members in a squad; they are brutal at range, decent in combat, faster than almost any ground unit in the game, and can get the heck out of any situation if necessary. They will function in almost every army, and can harm almost anything with surprising reliability outside of armour fourteen vehicles or armour thirteen walkers with Initiative scores of four or more. Warp Spiders are, understandably, my top pick for your Fast Attack slots, and easily one of the best units in the codex.

    Shining Spears - The elite amongst those gifted with an Eldar Jetbike, the Shining Spears are an Aspect built around hard assaults and some very decent shooting options; to put it lightly, they will reave entire squads of power-armoured Space Marines with little difficulty. First up, Shining Spears are Aspect Warriors mounted on Eldar Jetbikes; granting them a tasty 3+ armour save, a Toughness of four, and some ridiculous mobility. They can move up to twelve inches in the movement phase and fire normally, or even turbo boost up to twenty four inches in the shooting phase. As Eldar Jetbikes, they also have a special 2D6 inch move in the assault phase provided they don't launch an assault, allowing them to effectively "jump shoot jump" in true Eldar fashion. Of course, Shining Spears aren't purely based around firepower in the vein of Windrider Jetbikes; with laser lances acting both as power weapons and AP three lance guns, they are designed around close range assaults for the most part. In this role, Shining Spears do exactly that; each of them strikes with two attacks at a whopping Strength six and AP of three which, on top of regular Eldar Weapon Skill four and Initiative five, makes for a very dicey - literally - unit against Space Marines and monstrous creatures alike. Add in guns that fire with an identical Strength and AP, and you have a unit that can engage almost anything short of a Toughness eight monster or 2+ armoured infantry and destroy them with impunity. There are limitations to this superb damage potential though, with a pitiful range of six inches on the ranged profile, albeit lessened by the sheer mobility of Jetbikes, and the 'lances' only functioning as such on the charge. They are cheap for what they do, but a large squad is still very expensive, and they don't quite have the hitting power to engage other elite units - at least those with a 2+ armour save, so don't ever rush them at the enemy and expect to be charged in turn and survive.

    The Spears do have some nifty advantages over Windriders to consider aside from their weaponry and boosted Leadership of nine - which is truly a useful boon to a melee-oriented unit that will expect to take casualties. This is apparent in their special rules, with both Outflank and Skilled Rider giving them some additional levity; the former gives them an additional deployment option to be used as you see fit, such as when you expect a torrid initial few turns of firepower with little cover available. The latter allows them to automatically pass any dangerous terrain tests they are called upon to make, a truly invaluable trait for Jetbikes to allow them to jump from cover to cover, while also giving them a +1 bonus to their Jink saves. In short, Skilled Rider makes them so much less risky to use in the movement phase, while their cover saves on the move or in cover are boosted to strong levels on a fast Toughness four model. If that wasn't enough, a Shining Spears Exarch - a good upgrade for a dedicated combat unit owing to the boosted Weapon Skill, Initiative and Attacks - can take Hit and Run as one of their Exarch powers, allowing the unit to thrash enemy units on the charge and then blink out in an almost hilarious fashion. Obviously, one needs to be mindful that, Overwatch aside, such a unit will still be able to catch them, or open them up to shooting; be wary of the best times to employ this trait, and they will dance as well as any Harlequin. If you want to give the squad some love against 2+ armoured foes, or just want to have a squad leader that slaughters HQs, give the Exarch the relatively cheap upgrade of a Star Lance. Functioning similarly to a Laser Lance, it gives the Exarch three Strength eight attacks at AP two only on the charge; otherwise, it fires at such a Strength and AP at range which, paired with Precision Shots, can be particularly brutal. Something to always remember for the Spears when assaulting is Hammer of Wrath; even at Strength three, some extra free hits are always nice for a mostly melee-oriented unit. With good durability, even compared to most Jetbikes, as well as brutal short range damage capabilities and a low cost, Shining Spears are a stupidly good unit that can function very well as your dedicated assault forces in a generalist or Saim Han themed army.

    Vyper Squadron - Suppression teams, FIRE! Anyway, have you ever wanted a Land Speeder for a Xenos force that is not one of; a) Piranha; b) Venom; c) Warbuggy, or; d) Wartrakk - you know, some kind of fast vehicle with good firepower that explodes from a slight breeze? Then Vypers are tailor made for you! On to the next unit....But seriously, a fast skimmer bristling with some devastating firepower works wonders in this edition for a number of reasons, even if it has the durability of a grot jumping on a wee tricycle. Coming stock with a shuriken cannon and a twin-linked shuriken catapult - identical to a Wave Serpent - it has some pretty serious anti-infantry firepower that can even be used for light vehicle harassment. What is really nifty about this is that you can exchange the shuriken catapult for another shuriken cannon, doubling up your Bladestorm goodness, or even switch out the main shuriken cannon for a range of heavy weapons suited to your needs. For generalist purposes, a scatter laser to provide twin-linking as well as a shuriken cannon can deal with a wide range of targets effectively, from infantry to monsters and light vehicles. A bright lance always helps if you feel you are short on anti-tank weaponry, while a Starcannon is sure to bring some heated exchanges from those invested in their puny Terminators - mwahahaha! As a fast skimmer, whatever firepower you add is compounded by the ability to fire two weapons at full ballistic skill even when moving at cruising speed; you can dart right up into range with your shuriken weaponry and let loose a hail of blades.

    Of course, anything that is as fragile as wet tissue paper needs every advantage it can take. Vypers share the uncomfortable tag of "easiest vehicle to destroy" alongside the Dark Eldar Venom and a few others, with but two hull points and armour values of ten all around to protect them. Massed bolters can and will put them down, as will any kind of sustained or even minimal attention from heavier weaponry. This is where the tricky nature of the Eldar comes into play; don't send them out by themselves on the first turn expecting to claim First Blood, as they simply won't cut it even with psychic support. Don't use them as sacrificial units, but as additional cogs to your force; have them harass in conjunction with other harassment units of similar mobility, such as Warp Spiders and Windrider Jetbikes. Abuse their cover saves and mobility by staying just in range of their weapons while gaining a handy Jink save, and don't be afraid to get out of trouble by sacrificing your shooting to move flat out. Holo Fields, while expensive on a unit as fragile as a Vyper Squadron, are nonetheless of some use here to give them that extra survivability to survive something more than a few autocannon rounds. Make full use of how cheap they are, as well as their mobility and firepower; a squadron of three leaves a small footprint, can move up to thirty-six inches a turn and has some nasty guns to boot if you upgrade them - all for a similar cost to a kitted out Falcon or Fire Prism. Use their numbers and guns to your advantage, and make sure that your opponent has other units to consider; target saturation and maneuvres are key to success on what is a useful, if situational, unit.


    Did you find this an enjoyable and insightful article? Please let us know in the comments section below - we appreciate any and all feedback! Thanks, and stay tuned for the second Fast Attack article focusing on fliers!
    Last edited by Learn2Eel; 07-02-2013 at 05:06 AM.
    Check out my blog!
    http://imperatorguides.blogspot.com.au/

  7. #7

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    Hey there everyone, I am Learn2Eel and today I want to talk about the new and improved Eldar! No recorded species can match the grace and fluidity of the Eldar, and nowhere is this more apparent than in their Fast Attack choices; warriors all, complete with a new Aspect to vie for your attention. Though of debatable use before, the returning cast are very much a far more appealing selection; geared towards dealing with specific threats, the mobility at hand here is simply unmatched in any codex. I hope you enjoy this article!

    Few armies personify "Fast Attack" quite like the Eldar do; almost the entire army is themed around the concept! You have your slower, durable units, but for the most part the Eldar are about duking it out in close firefights and dancing away at a moments notice. It stands to reason that some of their strongest units are present in the Fast Attack slot; with fliers and jump or jetpack infantry lining up for your approval, there are some tough decisions to be made in what is a very congested slot - and codex, for that matter. Thankfully, each unit is tailored to dealing with specific enemies, as is the Eldar way, and thus all have a good place in any army list based on the rest of your force. Swooping Hawks are death incarnate to light infantry and vehicles alike, while Crimson Hunters can deal with any enemy flier or vehicle with impunity. Vypers provide light harassment against a range of foes, while Shining Spears provide nasty anti-elite firepower and melee capabilities to your force. Though an oddball choice, the Wraithfighter has some particularly devilish synergistic abilities that, if exploited, can be truly devastating against most anything with a Leadership value. The real stars of the slot, and perhaps the codex, are doubtless the Warp Spiders; capable of incredible feats of mobility, while bringing devastating firepower against almost any enemy short of a Land Raider, they are truly my pick for one of the best Fast Attack units in the game. Each choice has their uses, and each of them requires a deft touch to use well.

    A note here that I will be covering the Eldar fliers exclusively in this article, for the rest of the Fast Attack section, see part one of my review.

    Crimson Hunter - The newest Eldar aspect and jester of the skies, the Crimson Hunter is the surest expression of a glass cannon; it hits harder than any flier has a right to, with the durability of a literal paper plane. Designed specifically for destroying fliers, the Hunter has some truly nasty anti-vehicular firepower; firing four Strength eight shots with an AP of two, half of which have the lance special rule, that are sure to wreck near any flier they hit short of a Storm Eagle. With most fliers sharing an armour value of eleven or so, it isn't difficult to average two or so successful results on any flyer that, with the bonus to damage rolls, will usually at least force enemy fliers to evade and neuter them for the most part. Laughably, what really gives the Crimson Hunter such an edge against the opposition is that, provided the target is of the flyer type, the Hunter can re-roll failed armour penetration rolls against it. Given that each shot is already Strength eight, and that almost no flyer in the game has an armour value above twelve, the Hunter truly is a master of aerial combat. Against other vehicles, with its Ballistic Skill of four, it does decently well and will usually do some significant damage; that it is equipped with two bright lances gives it some strength against Land Raiders and Monoliths alike as well, making it truly versatile. Interestingly, you can give the Hunter some more love against monstrous creatures and elite infantry by switching the bright lances to starcannons; such an upgrade increases your rate of fire, but does lessen your viability against high armour vehicles and high toughness units.

    A costly but nasty option for a Crimson Hunter is to upgrade it to an Exarch, granting it a Ballistic Skill of five that gives it a serious boost to its reliable firepower; averaging four hits on most turns and, with the re-rolls against fliers, effectively ensuring death to other aerial threats. Hilariously, this also allows the Crimson Hunter to fire Precision Shots similar to a regular character; with four Strength eight AP two shots at hand, this is very useful for singling out pesky characters like Necron Lords or even plasma or melta gunners. To add on to the joy, a Crimson Hunter has Vector Dancer; the first of two fliers to feature this coveted rule so far in a hardback codex, this gives it a ninety degree pivot after moving to increase its threat range and effectively "dance" around enemy fliers. For a flier as flimsy as the Crimson Hunter, this is absolutely essential; you can move on past an enemy flier and, with smart positioning to its flank, turn around and shoot at its exposed side or rear armour while preventing any chance of retaliation - unless ground forces or another flier enter the fray, of course. It gives it a large degree of aerial dominance, particularly when the strength and reliability of its weapons are concerned; this thing puts the hurt on fliers better than almost any other vehicle in the game. Some other situational upgrades available only to the Exarch, such as Night Vision and Marksman's Eye, are cheap but ultimately not as worthwhile as you would hope; as a flier with a ridiculous movement speed, it is unlikely Night Vision will ever matter, while precision shots on a 5+ are handy but rather unnecessary. The Crimson Hunter should be firing at vehicles and fliers for the most part from the perspective of an all-comers army, and it truly is a sight to behold when in full flight. Generally speaking, the Crimson Hunter doesn't benefit from vehicle upgrades as much as most others; it fires on the move at full efficiency all the time, while if it suffers a damage result it is more than likely about to be destroyed anyway.

    Of course, such a flier has to have some disadvantages to balance it, and nowhere else is this more apparent than in the startling fragility of the Crimson Hunter. With an armour value of ten on all sides and three hull points, the Crimson Hunter is vulnerable to any weapon with the Strength or greater of a lowly bolter. To any kind of focused counter-attack, such as from another flier arriving from reserves or massed skyfire and snap shots of any kind, the Crimson Hunter will at the very least be forced to evade, let alone survive. You have to be careful even to place it near massed enemy Infantry lacking skyfire, as even a few hits could potentially spell doom - with some luck - for the sky hunter. Choosing between taking an easy kill shot or trying to preserve the flyer through careful movements will be an important tactical decision in each game; do you take the obvious flank and try to destroy an enemy flyer, or attempt to destroy it without exposing yourself to massed return fire from the ground or oncoming reserves? Most notable of the deterrents to a Crimson Hunter are Interceptor weaponry that can Skyfire, with the most popular by far being the Aegis Defence Line with the Quad Gun; against a competent firer, the Hunter will be forced to Evade and probably even destroyed regardless. To really maximise the incredible potential of the Crimson Hunter, such units must be identified and neutralized before it arrives; delaying it with an Autarch is a handy trick, while Rangers and the sheer number of anti-elite firepower Eldar bring should deal with Quad Guns and Skyfire units of most kinds. A risky unit indeed, but one that can easily obliterate a Vendetta or Night Scythe in a single volley; handle with care and make sure to build your list around dealing with enemy Interceptor weaponry.

    Hemlock Wraithfighter - The freaky alternative to the Crimson Hunter, a Hemlock Wraithfighter is themed towards Wraith armies; piloted by a Spiritseer communing with the dead, it frightens opponents into.....uhh.....submission? I got nothing. Unlike the Hunter, the Wraithfighter is centred around fire support aimed at infantry and, generally, any unit that you simply just don't like in general. With two heavy D-Scythes that fire Strength four AP two small blasts at a range of eighteen inches, it is actually somewhat versatile even with rather minimal weaponry. The Distort special rule allows these weapons to automatically wound or penetrate any model on a roll of a six, potentially inflicting instant death or destroying them outright. However, it can't be expected to do serious damage against most enemies; it is useful mostly for decimating elite infantry somewhat reliably, though it shouldn't be counted on solely for that. Like the Hunter, it has the Vector Dancer special rule to allow it a greater effective fire arc on the move; without the ability to hover - probably a good thing considering its fragility - this is handy for allowing it a better chance to survive against oncoming reserves while still firing away. Handily, it comes stock with Spirit Stones to ignore Shaken results on a 2+ and Stunned results on a 4+ - though it must be said that any kind of sustained ranged attack is likely to destroy the Wraithfighter outright.

    What really defines the Wraithfighter is that it is, fittingly, a psychic vehicle; treated as a mastery level one psyker, it comes with only one predetermined power for use against a wide range of targets. The Terrify psychic power from the Telepathy rulebook discipline is a malediction with a range of twenty four inches that strips Fearless from an enemy unit, forces them to treat any enemy unit as causing Fear, and has to immediately take a morale check or fall back. Though not as useful on a unit with And They Shall Know No Fear as they still automatically pass Fear tests, this is handy against a wide range of units simply because it can make them run off the board or synergize well with your forces in combat. Combined with the Mindshock Pod that forces all units within twelve inches of the Wraithfighter to re-roll successful morale and pinning tests, and this is a rare unit in Warhammer 40000 that fights the enemy based on their Leadership, not their actual wounds or Toughness values. Combined with tank shocks from Wave Serpents, or multiple Pinning rounds from Warp Spider Exarchs or vibro cannons, and this is a strangely effective synergistic unit that works well when tailored for specific strategies. However, it lacks both the durability and the firepower to be impressive as an all-rounder unit, and as such it is a bit of a tough choice in an all comers army list as Eldar would typically be better served with the anti-air capabilities of the Crimson Hunter. As well, it is important to note that the Mindshock Pod also affects friendly units; given that Eldar have good, but not fantastic, Leadership scores across the board, positioning a Wraithfighter expertly is of the utmost importance so as not to sway a morale check against you and be the downfall of a given unit. Additionally, as it has to fly on from Reserve, it is unlikely - pending rules interpretations - that it can even use its Terrify psychic power on the turn it arrives, limiting its usefulness until the mid-game.

    Like its kit sibling, the Wraithfighter is decidedly lacking in any manner of hardiness; though three hull points is useful for soaking up Perils of the Warp, it only adds to the ease with which enemies can focus fire it down. Though being a flyer does give it some decent basic defences against most units, any other flier with decent weaponry - even a Harpy with a Stinger Salvo is a surprising contender - can easily destroy the Wraithfighter, let alone Skyfire or Interceptor weaponry from Sabre Defence Platforms or Hydra Flak Tanks. As with the baby aspect, neutralizing such units before the Wraithfighter arrives from reserves should be one of your top priorities on the first turn; the Wraithfighter can be devastating in the right hands, but not if it is destroyed before it can accomplish anything. Somewhat disappointingly, the short range of its main guns - not that they are key to the stated purpose of the Wraithfighter - effectively doom it to the rapid fire range of most weapons which, with numbers to back them up, stand a decent chance of destroying the Wraithfighter. Though it would take an average of dozens of bolter shots to destroy a Wraithfighter on full hull points, the risk is nonetheless there and all it takes is a few lucky shots for you to be forced to Evade. Unlike the Hunter, the Wraithfighter isn't as concerned with shooting and as such it is not a great loss to Evade; surviving is key, and sacrificing the heavy d-scythes to utilize the mindshock pod and Terrify power will usually be an easy trade. Though it is not the best flier, it is one that will work particularly well in an army themed around forcing lots of Fear, Pinning and Morale tests; Howling Banshees, Warp Spiders, Dark Reapers and many others gain noteworthy boosts to their effectiveness from the inclusion of a Wraithfighter. Though expensive, these benefits may be worth it provided you can tailor them to your needs.


    Did you find this an enjoyable and insightful article? Please let us know in the comments section below - we appreciate any and all feedback! Thanks again!
    Last edited by Learn2Eel; 07-02-2013 at 05:08 AM.
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    http://imperatorguides.blogspot.com.au/

  8. #8

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    Hey there everyone, I am Learn2Eel and today I want to talk about the new and improved Eldar! Few amongst the galactic civilisations can truly say their technology is a match for the Craftworlders, with the sheer devastation they are capable of rivaling that even of the dreaded Imperium. When the Eldar turn to their ancient weapons of war, they do so assuredly; the firepower they can bring to an engagement from the Heavy Support slot is truly magnificent. Each of the units on offer specialises in their own form of destruction, guided by Aspect or deathly whispers alike; there is a lot of competition here, and that is only to your benefit. I hope you enjoy this article!

    Do you ever feel like halting the charade of arguing and just doing the deed then and there? Do you feel like an engagement simply needs a big gun in order to sway favourably? Do you want to know what the combination of evisceration, laceration, immolation and disintegration results in? Do you ever want to kill someone so hard that they die to death? Well hey, get yourself a new Tau army and let us know how it goes! Jokes aside, the Eldar bring some serious firepower in the Heavy Support section, with each unit typically specialising in destroying a particular kind of enemy. Dark Reapers excel at hunting power-armoured foes such as Space Marines, and jump - or just sit there, speechless and grim - with glee every time they such forces as their quarry. Support Batteries and Falcons are more based upon what you need, as they provide a mix or can be upgraded to suit different roles. The Wraithknight and Wraithlord have similar adaptability, but as tough monsters that can also smash through near anything in a melee. War Walkers are mobile and deadly, usually against vehicles as the codex does lack such quantitative long or medium range anti-tank elsewhere. The Fire Prism is the most versatile of any choice, with multiple fire modes geared to engaging any foe with high success. It helps that all of these units are amongst the most durable in the codex for their type, and with Battle Focus and typical long ranges thrown in, you can afford to sit back or slowly advance at a steady pace. Keeping these precious units alive is as much an investment as the units themselves.

    A note here that I will be covering all of the non-vehicular units in a separate article so as to both maximise the detail in each article and reduce the time between each article being posted up.

    Fire Prism - Few Eldar weapons are as deadly as that which is mounted upon the Falcon chassis, to which the Fire Prism owes both its fame and name. A deadly skimmer tank that is rightly feared by any enemy with their brains alight, the Fire Prism is a standout in a cast of excellence owing to its sheer firepower and versatility at a great cost. Unlike others of its kind, the Fire Prism is strictly a gun platform; it lacks transport capacity of any kind, ultimately proving to be the only reason to pick a Falcon over the crystalline terror. For sheer mobility, the Fire Prism is as you would expect from any Eldar vehicle; it is a fast skimmer, allowing it to move at cruising speed and still fire both of its weapons at full Ballistic Skill. Given the deadly nature of the vehicle and the defensive benefits received from moving owing to the Jink rule, this is an important advantage that allows the Fire Prism to fire effectively on the move while keeping its distance from potential threats. Given its 'fast' classification, it is also capable of a twenty four inch flat out movement to get itself out of a tight spot or into a strong firing position early in the game. To really maximise the effectiveness of this, a useful but expensive upgrade is the Crystal Targeting Matrix; paired with a Fire Prism on the first turn, it can be used to surprise an enemy by moving up, benefiting from a 4+ or 3+ cover save while firing for maximum effect. Like the Wave Serpent, the Fire Prism is also naturally durable, with three hull points and armour values of twelve on the front and sides, with an expected ten on the rear. Though it lacks the almost omniscient - how often does it fail a save, in all honesty? - Serpent Shield, it is still a tough vehicle that, paired with the Jink rule, can be quite difficult to take down short of massed high strength and ignores cover weaponry. Needless to say, however, you should never expect it to survive a punishing volley of lascannon or melta fire; any penetrating hit or high volume strength seven or greater shots can and will destroy the Fire Prism, so be sure to minimise any potential backlash.

    As you would expect if you've seen the model, the Fire Prism has one heck of a large gun, and it truly doesn't disappoint. The aptly named Prism Cannon has three firing modes to really diversify the targets it can engage; this undoubtedly gives the Fire Prism its sheer value over other Heavy Support choices. A trait that each share is a whopping sixty inch range that allows it to fire across much of the map that, when paired with its innate speed, give it the range and flexibility to really challenge any vulnerable cog in the enemy battle line. The first fire mode is a strength five AP three large blast, bringing untold devastation to power-armoured infantry of all kinds; it will decimate much of a Space Marine squad reliably, with the only defence for most infantry being a cover save. The second fire mode is a strength seven AP two small blast, geared solely for taking on heavy infantry such as Terminators or for inflicting instant death on Toughness three multiple-wound models like Scarab Swarms or Ripper Swarms. The third and final fire mode is a strength nine AP one lance that, because it reduces enemy armour to twelve if it isn't already lower, has a rough fifty percent chance of both penetrating and destroying a Land Raider or Monolith in a single deadly strike. Obviously, this allows the Fire Prism to engage nearly any target rather effectively, with perhaps the only exception being the rather rare monstrous creatures. For an army that typically lacks generalist units, the Fire Prism is a stand out because it can annihilate targets indiscriminately with high efficiency; its Ballistic Skill of four makes most of its shots rather reliable, with the inclusion of a ubiquitous Farseer so easily fixing any accuracy issues. Though it doesn't really need upgrades and is quite cheap to boot, some minimal investments do improve its general effectiveness; upgrading the Shuriken Catapult to a Shuriken Cannon ensures it can bring greater harm to more forces, while Holo Fields give it a sizable boost to durability. A moving 4+ cover save with serious firepower is sure to annoy most opponents rather gravely, and for such reasons alone the Fire Prism is a great vehicle to add to your Eldar force; it fits into nearly any list with its low cost, durability, mobility and sheer firepower.

    Night Spinner - As one of three fast skimmers employing the Falcon chassis, the Night Spinner is an admittedly rarer choice because it is designed more for killing light infantry at long and short ranges. The similarities between it and the Fire Prism are rather clear, so I won't waste time repeating myself save to give a quick summary. As a fast skimmer with an armour of twelve on the front and side - ten on the rear - it is quite durable, benefiting from a 5+ cover save and capable of firing both its weapons at full Ballistic Skill even when moving at cruising speed. It can move flat out up to twenty four inches if need be which, given its somewhat shorter range in comparison to the Fire Prism for the main weapon, is important to familiarize. Like the Fire Prism, two upgrades in particular are highly effective in an all-comers army list; a shuriken cannon for added damage potential, and the holo fields for a nasty defensive boost to a 4+ or 3+ cover save on the move for a well armoured skimmer tank. What really distinguishes the Night Spinner from the competition is the Doomweaver, its main cannon; what is readily apparent is that it has a strength value of seven and an AP of six, allowing it to wound easily but rarely ignoring armour. Similar to the Fire Prism though, there are two distinct firing modes to employ that, despite sharing the same strength and AP, function at entirely separate ranges. However, each has multiple special rules in common that make the weapon more alluring than it would initially appear. Namely, both cause Pinning tests - the former owing to being a Barrage - with Monofilament thrown in; the latter works very well with the sheer number of wounds likely to be caused in each salvo, increasing the chances for armour-ignoring sixes to wound. The boost in strength to eight against anything lacking an Initiative value or with a majority value of three or lower is also handy for instant-death purposes or for destroying vehicles, though it must be said that the Night Spinner isn't really designed to do anything more than medium damage on vehicles due to the lack of AP modifiers.

    The first fire mode is a large blast with the Barrage rule, meaning it always strikes side armour; with a probable Strength eight thrown in, this is quite decent and makes the Night Spinner rather versatile. It is also incredible for sniping out pesky special or heavy weapons in squads, or simply any squad member you need removed; centre the blast over them, and watch as a stream of wounds - a few of them resolved at AP one - are allocated to the hapless warrior. It will also remove hordes of Orks and Tyranids alike from the table with ease, with Ork Nobz in particular feeling the heat if they happen to be exposed. The option to fire blind is also great for minimising the risks to the Night Spinner itself; its long range of forty eight inches is particularly useful here, allowing you to hide in cover and continue your bombardment. The alternate firing mode is instead a torrent template weapon that can be helpfully positioning up to twelve inches away and even turned around to really scare off infantry units with mediocre armour saves. Though the lack of decent AP is somewhat of a concern, the sheer number of wounds you should inflict will likely make up the difference. Nonetheless, it must be said that if you are in range to use the torrent template, fast assault units would be in your threat range and thus you always need to consider whether moving away is in your best interests. All up, the Night Spinner is an effective and somewhat multi-purpose vehicle that only really suffers when put up against the superb Fire Prism; without that competition, it would be a good choice as part of a strong line-up. It has anti-infantry firepower in abundance that can be handily adapted against vehicles semi-reliably, with light infantry in particular feeling the heat.

    Falcon - The main battle tank and template to which the Fire Prism and Night Spinner are based, the Falcon is a fast skimmer tank that brings tactical flexibility through speed, transport capabilities and some strong firepower. Unlike the other parts of the 'trio', the Falcon is designed less for long range engagements and more for ferrying small, nasty units into the thick of battle while providing strong anti-tank shots all at a similar price to the Wave Serpent. Like the others, it is difficult to shift in comparison to standard Imperial vehicles; the armour values of twelve on the front and side, ten on the rear, give it a lot of breathing room against most anti-tank firepower, with small arms fire bouncing off of its armoured hull. The Jink save provided as a fast skimmer is highly beneficial to its survival chances, with the always worthwhile addition of holo fields boosting that save to a 4+ or 3+. The latter is accessed by moving flat out up to twenty four inches, allowing the Falcon to cover incredible distances; as it also serves the role of a transport for smaller units such as Fire Dragons, this will likely come into play quite often. However, there are some drawbacks to this weighted versatility; for one, it cannot carry Bulky models like a Wave Serpent can, excluding the use of Wraithguard or Wraithblades. Though it may seem a blessing to have three weapons as opposed to two, if you move at cruising speed the Falcon can only fire two weapons at full Ballistic Skill, meaning that the third weapon will be wasted if it isn't twin-linked. However, it does give you some added flexibility with an additional weapon for engaging different targets, or in case a Weapon Destroyed result occurs. For what doubles as a transport, this isn't a bad thing at all. With the capability to carry six Eldar models, the Falcon is an ideal transport for smaller units such as Fire Dragons or even Harlequins. As it is not a dedicated transport, it can be employed for a number of units that normally either do not require or cannot access the Wave Serpent. For a general purpose battle tank however, I think it bears mentioning that the Wave Serpent is proving to be the stronger choice owing mainly to the Serpent Shield and lack of an organisation slot.

    The firepower on offer from the Falcon is actually quite decent despite the carrying capacity that is unavailable to both the Fire Prism and Night Spinner, though it must be said that, again, moving at cruising speed does limit the use of one of its weapons. It comes stock with both a shuriken cannon and a shuriken catapult for some nice Bladestorm goodness, though the Pulse Laser is decidedly for tank or monster hunting. Firing two shots at a strength of eight with an AP of two, this forty-eight inch range gun is quite deadly to Terminators and Daemon Princes alike. While the Pulse Laser is the signature weapon of the Falcon, its use against general infantry isn't great and as such you need to ask yourself whether you want your Falcon to be able to engage multiple targets semi-reliably or deal with specific forces, such as tanks, with greater effectiveness. Handily, the shuriken catapult can be upgraded to a shuriken cannon, while the stock cannon can itself be exchanged - for a small price - to a bright lance, scatter laser, starcannon or eldar missile launcher. Each of them adds to either the general purpose fire, anti-infantry or anti-vehicle focus of the vehicle; for anti infantry, take the starcannon, while anti-tank purposes will likely be best served either with the scatter laser or bright lance. Unfortunately, as with elsewhere in the codex, the eldar missile launcher seems strangely over-costed compared to the other heavy weapon options; though still decent, it isn't as effective as a bright lance in its stated role. In terms of other upgrades, you can make full use of the Falcon's speed and deliver a nasty alpha strike while simultaneously delivering your embarked forces to the enemy front-line with the Crystal Targeting Matrix. Though expensive for a one-use-only item, it does give you an edge on the first turn and allow you to ignore a potentially tough decision. Rather than choosing to fire and potentially chance First Blood or move up further and lose the chance, you can use both and the benefit of that for even one turn can be quite significant. The Holo Fields are almost mandatory on nearly any Eldar vehicle provided you have the points spare, and for a transport sans battle tank, you will be constantly moving to make full use of them anyway. Others, such as Spirit Stones, are certainly helpful for ensuring the Falcon can at least continue its stated mission of moving and firing. Overall though, the Falcon is a worthy addition to your force, even if it is outdone as both a battle tank and transport by the Wave Serpent.

    War Walker Squadron - Though not strictly analogous to Rifleman Dreadnoughts, War Walkers nonetheless serve a very similar purpose with a few tweaks here and there; they offer great firepower at long ranges for a low cost, with decent stats overall. Dissimilar from their Space Marine counterparts is the durability of War Walkers; each has an armour value of ten all around, and only two hull points to spare. Anything from massed bolter fire to a few token shots from plasma weaponry will destroy them far easier than you would hope, particularly given that War Walkers are open-topped and thus any damage roll made against them receives a +1 modifier; not that it really matters with only two hull points, of course. To say that you need to use them smartly would be an under-statement, but with Battle Focus and Fleet thrown in, this is actually quite easy provided your game board has some decent terrain. The simplest use of this, made reliable by Fleet, is to move out of cover, fire, and then run back into cover - preferably that which blocks line of sight - and do so with confidence due to the re-roll for run moves. This is certainly a nasty tactic, although more complicated uses of the rule are possible; remember that not every game board will have terrain to suit that basic strategy, and some poor movement rolls can neuter it pretty quickly. When engaged in a melee War Walkers are, perhaps unsurprisingly, rather pathetic and not worth the ground that they tread. Each has two attacks at Strength five and Initiative five with a Weapon Skill of four, but not only does it ignore their ranged prowess - their stated goal - but krak-grenade-toting units of any kind will rip them apart with ease. With Ancient Doom, they do benefit from Hatred against Slaanesh Daemons and marked Slaanesh Chaos Marines, but as each of the handmaidens of Slaanesh have the Rending special rule, I would do my best to stay the heck away from any of the pesky warp entities. It is nice that the War Walkers are immune to Fear, at least. The Scout redeployment for War Walkers should help you to get into a good position, however; the free movement at the start of the game can be used either to jump into cover or try to move out of sight of enemy units.

    Getting the bad stuff out of the way is rather easy when it comes to War Walkers though, as they are truly a great unit with a lot of advantages. For one, they each have a Ballistic Skill of four and easy access to friendly psykers that can grant them re-rolls to hit. Each comes stock with a power field which provides a tasty 5+ invulnerable save, making them quite a bit more durable if they are stuck out in the open or from irritating cover-ignoring weaponry. They are equipped with a pair of shuriken cannons for all purpose fire, but have access to a combination of two from a range of bright lances, scatter lasers, starcannons and eldar missile launchers. Each of them is a cheap upgrade, and choosing which should really come down to what you need in your army; for pure anti-tank, dual bright lance would likely be preferable. For general purposes, dual scatter laser is typically the strongest build due to the high Strength and sheer number of shots. Conversely, the common anti-infantry build is a pair of starcannons for shredding elite and medium soldiers alike. Though expensive, one can even take two missile launchers with flakk missiles for some decent anti-air capabilities outside of a Crimson Hunter or Aegis Defence Line; it is prohibitively costly however, and thus I cannot recommend it personally. Any load-out you choose should prove to be very effective in its stated role, and taken in a squadron of three, War Walkers provide cheap albeit fragile heavy firepower of a greater quantity than anywhere else in the codex. Using their strong mobility and Battle Focus as smartly as with Dire Avengers or other Eldar forces, War Walkers will be a fantastic unit that regularly proves their worth with reliable and efficient firepower.


    Did you find this an enjoyable and insightful article? Please let us know in the comments section below - we appreciate any and all feedback! Thanks, and stay tuned for the second Heavy Support article focusing on Wraiths and their organic kin!
    Last edited by Learn2Eel; 07-02-2013 at 05:09 AM.
    Check out my blog!
    http://imperatorguides.blogspot.com.au/

  9. #9

    Default

    Hey there everyone, I am Learn2Eel and today I want to talk about the new and improved Eldar! Few amongst the galactic civilisations can truly say their technology is a match for the Craftworlders, with the sheer devastation they are capable of rivaling that even of the dreaded Imperium. When the Eldar turn to their ancient weapons of war, they do so assuredly; the firepower they can bring to an engagement from the Heavy Support slot is truly magnificent. Each of the units on offer specialises in their own form of destruction, guided by Aspect or deathly whispers alike; there is a lot of competition here, and that is only to your benefit. I hope you enjoy this article!

    Do you ever feel like halting the charade of arguing and just doing the deed then and there? Do you feel like an engagement simply needs a big gun in order to sway favourably? Do you want to know what the combination of evisceration, laceration, immolation and disintegration results in? Do you ever want to kill someone so hard that they die to death? Well hey, get yourself a new Tau army and let us know how it goes! Jokes aside, the Eldar bring some serious firepower in the Heavy Support section, with each unit typically specialising in destroying a particular kind of enemy. Dark Reapers excel at hunting power-armoured foes such as Space Marines, and jump - or just sit there, speechless and grim - with glee every time they such forces as their quarry. Support Batteries and Falcons are more based upon what you need, as they provide a mix or can be upgraded to suit different roles. The Wraithknight and Wraithlord have similar adaptability, but as tough monsters that can also smash through near anything in a melee. War Walkers are mobile and deadly, usually against vehicles as the codex does lack such quantitative long or medium range anti-tank elsewhere. The Fire Prism is the most versatile of any choice, with multiple fire modes geared to engaging any foe with high success. It helps that all of these units are amongst the most durable in the codex for their type, and with Battle Focus and typical long ranges thrown in, you can afford to sit back or slowly advance at a steady pace. Keeping these precious units alive is as much an investment as the units themselves.

    A note here that I will be covering the non-vehicular units exclusively in this article, for the rest of the Heavy Support section, see part one of my review.

    Dark Reapers - Embracing the aspect of war more fully than any other shrine, the Dark Reapers are Khaine's wrath embodied; graceful killers without mercy, they will slaughter all manner of foe if left unchecked. As the most expensive of the aspects - if you exclude the Crimson Hunter - per model, Dark Reapers pay rather heavily for strong firepower at extreme ranges, though they also sacrifice some handy rules to do so. They lack both Battle Focus and Fleet, with Slow and Purposeful instead thrown in to allow them to fire their heavy weapons on the move; unfortunately, this disbars them from running or Overwatching, limiting their defensive roles. Because they can't really defend themselves from a charge or quickly escape encroaching enemies without the use of a transport, Dark Reapers should be supported by nearby counter-assault units - such as Howling Banshees - to protect them from fast moving melee units such as Assault Marines. Otherwise, Dark Reapers are fairly typical of Aspect Warriors; a Ballistic Skill of four and a 3+ armour save in particular are very handy both for maximising their damage output at range and, even with a Toughness of three, being able to withstand decent firepower in return. Where it counts though, Dark Reapers do deliver; each carries a Reaper Launcher - similar to an Eldar Missile Launcher - stock with starswarm missiles. These fire a volley of two Strength five AP three shots, decimating medium and light infantry alike; they also find some use against light vehicles. That they ignore Jink saves owing to their Reaper Rangefinders is sure to be harrowing for the lightly armoured skimmers employed by Dark Eldar in particular. For a rather costly increase, the Reapers can take starshot missiles which act as a regular Strength eight AP three anti-tank shell, though one must ask whether anti-tank firepower is better served elsewhere owing to the cost. Each missile variant has a long range of forty eight inches, and though neither ignore cover saves - except those provided by Jink - they are rightly devastating against their preferred enemies, from power-armoured foes to medium tanks.

    The unit has a maximum squad size of ten, which is very handy for larger games but hardly cost-effective in normal battles; the high points costs of each model, particularly when given the starshot missiles to deal with vehicles, make for a horrendously expensive unit. With a Toughness of three and 3+ armour save, as well as near mandatory support from friendly units, I do not feel Reapers will be worth it in larger units; such forces will simply be overkill anyway. In that sense, if you wish to use them I would take either one or more squads of about five or so, striking a happy medium between cost and damage output. Additional options include an Exarch who has access to a wide range of weapons, though one in particular shines if the Reapers are used for slaughtering power-armoured foes. The Ballistic Skill of five is handy, but the lack of a Leadership boost means that the Exarch isn't really necessary unless you take one of those special weapons. Oddly, the Exarch can exchange their reaper launcher for a shuriken cannon; unless you want some potential armour-ignoring wounds against Terminator-equivalents or light anti-tank suppression, I personally wouldn't bother with it. The rest of the codex deals quite well with such units anyway, with even the basic troops and transports more than capable of fulfilling those roles.

    The Exarch can take a proper missile launcher, though this should mostly be either for Pinning shots or to give them an anti-tank weapon as, strangely, they lack the option to take starshot missiles like regular Reapers. Flakk missiles are available at an additional cost, but one mediocre skyfire units for a high price in a dedicated ground-support unit simply isn't viable. The most expensive but potentially devastating option is the Tempest Launcher; firing two small blasts with the barrage rules at a range of thirty-six inches, this Strength four and AP three weapon is very nasty indeed against medium infantry but little else. Combined with an Exarch power such as Fast Shot, this can make even a small Reaper squad annihilate near any Space Marine squad with impunity. Handily, Reapers can also employ a Wave Serpent for transport purposes but, owing to their superior range, they do not really require it if set up in a good position and supported well. Due to the sheer effectiveness of the Wave Serpent as a battle tank, this can be a good way to effectively add in two 'heavy support' choices while only using up one slot. All in all, I find Dark Reapers are perhaps a tad too expensive for what they bring; they are flimsy despite the 3+ armour save. Additionally, with little mobility and mostly dedicated anti-infantry firepower, I am not sure they can match the cost-effectiveness and utility of a Wave Serpent to your army.

    Vaul's Wrath Support Battery - As one of the few sources for true artillery in the codex, the Support Batteries have a defined role in a mixed Eldar army; providing long range firepower against specific types of targets dependent on what you require. Each gun out of a potential three in a unit has two Guardian crew, meaning that they are - predictably - quite frail in combat and under sustained fire. As Artillery, they use the Toughness of seven provided by the gun save for in a melee which means enemies will typically require anti-tank weaponry to destroy them reliably. That the gun itself has two wounds and a 3+ armour save makes it difficult to deal with by small arms fire, and it can be used at the front to soak up a wound with the new wound allocation rules. Of course, that isn't why you employ artillery; each of the three weapon options provides some nasty firepower at mostly long ranges, with one exception. The base weapon included with the battery is the shadow weaver, firing a barrage small blast with a Strength and AP of six. Though this doesn't seem too impressive save for doing light but unreliable damage against lesser vehicles or barrage sniping out special weapon gunners or characters, the Shadow Weaver also has the monofilament special rule. That each wound caused can potentially be AP one on a to wound roll of a six gives it some nasty bite against more heavily armoured units, and the bonus to Strength against units with a low or completely lacking Initiative value makes it very viable against vehicles of most kinds.

    If it isn't to your fancy, you can make a free exchange to the Vibro Cannon, and be aware that each Support Battery in a unit must have the same gun. The Vibro Cannons are effectively missile launchers with a twist; their Strength of seven and AP four with a single shot isn't that impressive, but the Vibro special rule means that any hit after the first increases the Strength and reduces the AP of each hit in the unit by one. In a unit of three support batteries with a Ballistic Skill of four, they average two hits, increasing the Strength to eight and the AP to three, becoming pseudo missile launchers. When paired with re-rolls to hit or a bit of luck, they will inflict three hits at a Strength of nine and AP two, simply mimicking lascannon fire. Given that it is a free upgrade, and their reliability, they compare far more favourably to Dark Reapers armed with starshot missiles; three Reapers with those upgrades are more expensive than a trio of Support Batteries, and have four less Toughness and one less wound to spread around. Their only advantages come in the form of ignoring Jink saves as well as the alternate starswarm missiles, though I would argue the potential for 'lascannon' hits outweighs these for cheap heavy anti-vehicle duties.

    The third and final weapon option is the D-Cannon, and you pay a hefty price for it; you can almost purchase another Support Battery for the cost of upgrading just one to have this admittedly devastating weapon. With a Strength of ten and AP of two, this small blast weapon is only restricted by its mediocre range and unreliability inherent with being a scatter-based gun. The twenty-four inch range means that either the early turns have to be spent moving up into a good firing position, or they have to be deployed smartly so as to punish any foes that attempt to move into your back-field or the midfield. The Distort rule allows these to inflict instant death on any enemy, such as monstrous creatures, which can be a harrowing possibility that even the mere potential of it can frighten enemies into avoiding them. They are the strongest at destroying vehicles or tearing apart infantry provided they roll well to hit, though they pay dearly for it. I can't really recommend a gun above any other; the D-Cannon seems just a bit too expensive, but is undeniably brutal, while the other two do particularly well either against infantry or vehicles and monsters alike. I recommend taking units of three as two or one may be a bit too easy for your opponent to remove. They are a good and cheap source of heavy firepower that you should really consider.

    Wraithlord - A medium sized wraith construct that trades a high number of wounds for a ridiculous Toughness value, the Wraithlord is a resilient and versatile monstrous creature that offers strong firepower and nasty melee capabilities. Before I delve into the damage one is capable of, their durability needs to be mentioned; with a Toughness of eight, three wounds and a 3+ armour save, Wraithlords laugh off almost any kind of small arms fire. The common bolter cannot even harm a Wraithlord, and high strength weapons such as missile launchers and plasma guns need fives and fours to wound it, a true change of pace that many won't be expecting. Though three wounds is very low for a monstrous creature, the high Toughness is the trade off that you pay for; helpfully, Wraithlords are quite cheap for what they bring. The new cover rules in 6th Edition heavily favour monstrous creatures, meaning that even a tiny part of the Wraithlord's base can be in cover and it will benefit from - usually - at least a 5+ cover save. This makes up for its notable lack of an invulnerable save, and serves to give it some added protection against the missile launchers and lascannons that actually are a reliable threat against it.

    The Wraithlord has a strong overall stat line; a Weapon Skill, Ballistic Skill and Initiative of four typical of most wraith constructs is very solid for a monster, though the Strength of eight is surely the most impressive. This, in conjunction with three base attacks, allow the Wraithlord to quite effectively deal with low rear-armour vehicles vehicles without Smashing and inflict instant death on the majority of commanders in the game. Handily, the Wraithlord is also a character, allowing it to challenge enemy independent and regular characters and beat them to death with its nasty instant death potential and balanced stats. Singling out characters with power fists and the like is very useful, particularly against Orks and the like who usually would have no other means of taking down a Wraithlord in combat. Did I mention Hammer of Wrath at Strength eight, potentially killing a model outright at Initiative ten? Though a Wraithlord can easily be tar-pitted due to its lack of strong Weapon Skill and high attacks, it nonetheless should do very well against most targets and itself serve as a hold-up unit if the need is there. As a Fearless monster, this is actually a good use of the Wraithlord, though bear in mind that its extensive array of ranged weaponry are probably best served out of protracted combats. One of the useful options for a Wraithlord that is always advised if you have points spare and want the model to look awesome is the ghost-glaive; for a minimal cost and at no other expense in terms of weaponry, you gain a re-roll to hit in combat and a bonus of one to the Wraithlords' Strength. Striking at Strength nine before Smashing and gaining a re-roll to hit is worth the minimal price every time, and really helps if you need to maximise your damage output in combat. Against enemy characters that could potentially harm a Wraithlord, this is key and the boost of Strength helps when not Smashing against vehicles or other wraith monsters.

    What gives the Wraithlord a lot of utility in a mixed Eldar army list is the firepower it offers; though it is always useful as a fire magnet and for combat purposes, the Wraithlord brings up to two heavy weapons and some nasty short range anti-infantry shooting. It comes stock with two wrist-mounted shuriken catapults, providing decent damage at short ranges with the potential for automatic wounds at AP two. However, the far more popular and competitive choice is to exchange them for a pair of flamers at no cost; not only does the similarly short range play into the flamers' favour, but the sheer number of automatic hits they provide that ignore cover is ludicrous against any kind of infantry. For a monstrous creature that typically lacks the means to deal with large numbers of infantry, such as Hormagaunts, this is a vital choice and, with the defensive boost provided by Overwatch, it also dissuades chargers for what is already a tough melee unit. Though the Wraithlord is restricted to firing only two weapons a turn, it is nonetheless a good option to take one or two of the various heavy weapons on offer; the reason for this is to keep it effective against a wide range of targets. The flamers deal with any infantry units that get close, while your harder-hitting guns devastate tanks or heavy infantry at long ranges.

    The Wraithlord has five different weapons to choose from, and each can be mixed and matched in any order you see fit; I would however discourage mixing of two separate weapons for the most part owing to differing ranges and roles. The cheapest by a small margin is the Shuriken Cannon, which provides decent all-rounder shooting at medium range. The three 'middle' options are identical in cost but separate in role; the bright lance is dedicated to tank hunting, the scatter laser is yet another all rounder and the starcannon is geared for hunting heavy infantry. The most expensive option by a rather large margin is the Eldar Missile Launcher with both plasma and starshot missiles - or frag and krak, in Imperial terms - that seemingly pays unfairly for Pinning and an AP of four on the plasma rounds. I would say that there is no best option here, though the Scatter Laser is the one weapon that you should always use in a mixed pairing owing to its Laser Lock special rule to twin-link the other gun. Take what you feel is lacking in your army list; for anti-tank and busting Land Raiders, a pair of bright lances will serve you best, for example. However, I would clarify that as even basic Eldar infantry deal with elite infantry incredibly well, the Starcannons aren't as necessary as the bright lances or scatter lasers would be due to their higher effectiveness against vehicles. However, Starcannons do excel against most monstrous creatures, so deciding which weapons to use - if any - are key to employing a Wraithlord that works in your army list. To employ this cost effective monster, I would certainly keep it diversified with long-range anti-tank and short-range anti-infantry firepower as my preferred build. In a mixed army where the slow speed of the Wraithlord isn't as jarring, having it slowly move up from cover to cover if need be to provide both fire support and counter-charge support for your infantry is key. A Dire Avenger unit alone won't hold out long against a strong charge, but backed by a Wraithlord with a ghost-glaive, the battle will likely swing in their favour. Remember to use the Wraithlord not as a line-breaker or 'death-star' much like a Trygon or flying Daemon Prince, but as a support unit that, while tough, is best used in conjunction with the rest of the army to provide firepower that you lack and melee potential that you need. A great unit that shares two great assets; a low cost, and incredible versatility.

    Wraithknight - As the largest Warhammer 40000 model ever released for use in standard games, the Wraithknight has a rather large pedigree to live up to. With expectations ripe after the amazing success of the Riptide, the self-coined 'little fishy' counter-part to the wraith construct, it goes without saying that the Wraithknight is - or will prove to be - a very popular unit. Given that its miniature cousin the Wraithlord shares the same slot, it is noteworthy to point out some of the key differences; notably that the Wraithknight has double the wounds and lacks the status of a character. While this does limit its ability to leap into an enemy unit, single out a bothersome character with a power fist or simply because they are a Warlord and kill them with little difficulty, the Wraithknight does have effectively double the durability. In fact, it is quite possibly the hardiest monstrous creature in the game; with a Toughness of eight meaning Strength four and lower weaponry cannot even harm it, as well as a ridiculous six wounds with a 3+ armour save, it laughs off almost any form of heavy or regular weaponry. The only viable method of dealing with such a model reliably is either through instant death or massed poison weaponry, as the high availability of cover saves for a Wraithknight allow it to ignore most heavy weapons quite easily. That it has six wounds and, laughably, gains cover from standing in terrain despite its gargantuan height is sure to be a pet peeve for anyone foolish enough to waste shots at it. For this reason alone is the Wraithknight used in competitive armies, as it is simply a fire magnet without peer; it can soak up wounds from nearly anything and, statistically, most armies - particularly due to the movement more to Strength seven - will waste multiple turns of their entire army firing to defeat it. That it moves so quickly and strikes so hard in both the shooting and assault phases is the candy that your opponent simply won't want to resist; tricking them into firing at a Wraithknight frees up the rest of your army in a big way.

    What makes the Wraithknight so difficult to ignore is its sheer speed; as a jump monstrous creature, it moves up to twelve inches in the movement phase. With Move Through Cover, it ignores dangerous terrain and thus can jump from cover to cover and benefit from saves against armour-ignoring weaponry while not being slowed at all. Considering most armies lack both poison and instant death in abundance, the common method of dealing with the Wraithknight, that being heavy weapons, will likely leave most opponents tearing their hair out in frustration at their puny attempts to kill the giant. Between Fearless and this great mobility, the Wraithknight can be used as a hammer that forces your opponent to fire at it; jump towards a Land Raider or squad with a valuable Warlord in it, and watch as the unit others claim can be ignored is the focus of extensive enemy attention. That its stock ranged guns have a long range and can potentially inflict instant death on a costly monster or annihilate an expensive transport with a frighteningly good chance of success is yet another cog in the mind games key to using a line-breaker. When using the Wraithknight in this way - and you really always should - be sure to identify which units would be the most threatening or viable as targets; the range of its guns allow it to stay away from most poisoned weapons, though taking on lone squads or unsupported vehicles and monsters is a smart tactic. It is a battering ram splattered with the blood of opposing nobility, garishly moving in stride with its fellow soldiers and brandishing its superiority.

    As a combat unit, the Wraithknight is very decent indeed; the Toughness of eight allows it to ignore most enemies outright, and it has the speed to both put early pressure on opponents and more reliably choose its engagements. Where it really starts to shine is in its offensive potential; it strikes with four attacks at Strength ten and Initiative five, all the better to stomp enemy units into dust. Few things short of a properly equipped Dreadknight or Daemon Prince can reliably beat it in a melee owing to its sheer Toughness, Fearless and number of wounds. That it will inflict instant death on nearly any enemy it gets into combat with and, handily, tear apart any vehicle stupid enough to get within eighteen inches of it is yet another tick against one of the more fearsome monsters of 6th Edition. Though it isn't a character and thus cannot single out enemy characters, this can work to your advantage as it means you can't be held up by annoying enemies for more than two player turns. Add in Fear and Hammer of Wrath at Strength ten, and you have a veritable wrecking ball against almost any kind of enemy.

    The Wraithknight has multiple configurations that really diversify its role, but for the most part, I would simply recommend sticking with the stock weapon load out. There are three major options you can take, with up to two extra heavy guns on the side. The first is a pair of heavy wraithcannons which each fire a single shot at thirty six inches with a Strength of ten, an AP of two and the Distort special rule; in short, they can instantly kill any model from across the board, and rip apart most vehicles rather reliably. As the basic equipment the Wraithknight is armed with and, importantly, the restriction on only firing two weapons much like any other monstrous creature, equipping it with more expensive guns is completely unnecessary. This allows you to keep the Wraithknight as cheap as possible, provide decent anti-elite and anti-vehicle firepower at good ranges while making full use of its mobility and durability. If you do feel the need to add in extra guns, whether to soak up points or if you built it with bigger games in mind, I would recommend the starcannons to diversify its role and give it some extra shots against elite infantry, if nothing else. The second load out is to take a ghost glaive and shimmer shield; though the former only gives the Wraithknight a single re-roll to hit in combat, it does benefit from a 5+ invulnerable save that causes nearby units to take Blind tests if tests made with it are successful. Given that most Eldar have high Initiative values anyway and thus will usually need a five or a six to fail whether they be wraith construct or the living, the Blind effect shouldn't be of much concern to you anyway. This build is focused around combat, and though it is cheap, you have to question the value of losing two very useful guns for a decent defensive boost; against the majority of opponents, cover saves are easy to obtain with the Wraithknights' sheer speed and the availability of area terrain. The only enemy that has weaponry that can both ignore cover and reliably wound the Wraithknight is Tau, and given their increasing popularity, it isn't a bad idea to equip a Wraithknight this way; just be prepared to pay a very heavy tax to give it any sort of firepower. That it mostly restricts it to a melee-centric role unless the Wraithknight purchases those costly options can be truly harrowing against enemies you don't want to engage in melee, such as poisoned Tyranids and halberd-armed Grey Knights with Brotherhood Banners.

    The third and most expensive configuration is to take a suncannon and scattershield, turning the Wraithknight into a death-ball against infantry of any kind. Like with the second build, this gives you a situational defensive boost that, while particularly useful in combat and in certain battles where cover saves don't really apply, is arguably not worth losing the heavy wraithcannons for. However, as this build is actually suited to long range firefights, you can stay out of range of most harmful enemy weapons anyway. With an effective range of forty eight inches unusual for Eldar, the suncannon fires three Strength six AP two small blasts; though they don't ignore cover saves, they can chew through enemy elites or even horde units at long range. The only real issues here are the scattering and the small blast templates; a smart opponent will merely spread their forces out the maximum distance and ensure that few models will be hit with each shot. The scatter can be solved quite easily, though it will serve to push the Wraithknights' price up to a whopping triple century; equip it with a Scatter Laser, get into range with your twelve inch movement and light enemies up. Though not twin-linked, four shots at Strength six that will usually hit on threes are almost guaranteed to get at least one hit on the target; from then on, due to Laser Lock, each Suncannon blast is twin-linked and has a much greater chance of inflicting many wounds on the chosen unit. My only gripe here is the insane cost of equipping the Wraithknight in this way; in an army where few units are cheap and you need lots of them, I wouldn't kit out Wraithknights so heavily when what you really want them for is their incredible capability as a fire magnet. They soak up firepower like no other unit in the game aside from perhaps the Riptide or a psychically-enhanced Daemonic monster, and remembering to abuse that and force enemies to fire at them is key to using them well. Their firepower and melee prowess, strong as it is, only serve to make it a very well balanced and flexible monster with few weaknesses save to those any monster usually worries about. That is, stay the heck away from massed poison shots and Daemon Princes with the Black Mace, or Great Unclean Ones with the Balesword. But really, just avoid Tyranids in general; shoot them with your heavy wraith cannons and pray (read: move) they don't get into combat with you backed either by Tervigons with poison or just massed poisoned Hormagaunts. If you ignore uncommon deficiencies to which any monster suffers from, they are a really fantastic unit that doesn't need much in the way of upgrades, if at all, to perform its given role with aplomb - if you could ever describe a hulking ghost warrior(s) in such a way, of course.


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    Last edited by Learn2Eel; 07-02-2013 at 05:10 AM.
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  10. #10

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    Hey all, I'm Learn2Eel and today I want to give my final impressions on the new Eldar codex. I hope you find it an entertaining and insightful read!

    Final Thoughts on the Codex

    The Eldar have retaken the mantle of "fastest army" in Warhammer 40000, and have done so with an almost tangible bang. From fast skimmer tanks that can be upgraded to move up to thirty six inches a turn, to even the most basic infantry covering an average distance of ten inches a turn while firing normally and Jetbikes galore, this is an army that simply dominates the movement phase. Though their success won't always be based around their incredible mobility, it is the defining trait of the army; that they can move into range, fire for full effect, and then retreat back to safe distance. This makes them almost the ultimate hit and run army - it helps that the special rule makes an appearance numerous times here - with cheap scoring Jetbikes and fast skimmer tanks that are unreasonably difficult to destroy. They now have access to arguably one of the best units in the game in the form of the main battle tank and dedicated transport, the Wave Serpent; capable of soaking up immense damage while destroying enemy vehicles rather easily, that it can safely offload nasty forces is all the better than before. The army is geared towards annihilating elite infantry and monstrous creatures, with even the humble Guardian bearing a two shot weapon with semi-Rending; the sheer number of auto-wounds at AP two or one available in the codex is ridiculous, particularly with high Ballistic Skill and re-rolls for to-hits and to-wounds so readily available. They emphasise psychic support above most other armies, barring Tyranids, in that they have cheap access to mastery level three psykers in the form of Farseers; that they can guarantee two powers that grant re-rolls to hit is deliciously vile in an army with so much high Strength shooting.

    What really strikes me about the army is the sheer number of viable units; the codex is wonderfully internally balanced, with few real outliers and almost any unit well worth the investment in a balanced army. Though some are clearly superior choices in their slot, such as Warp Spiders or Wave Serpents as opposed to Falcons, there is very little reason not to employ many of these units owing to their clearly defined and separate roles; Swooping Hawks face stiff resistance from their arachnid buddies, but are simply fiendish denial, anti-vehicle and light-infantry killers. Like always though, they are an army with a lot of inherent fragility - at least as far as the non-vehicular units are concerned - and as such they remain a finesse army with lots of expensive, but very powerful choices. An army, in short, for veteran and new players alike looking for an intriguing and rewarding challenge with gloriously detailed models.

    Allies - Unlike the Tau, the Eldar can be very selective of their potential allies; they abhor the Necrons, their ancient foes, as well as the scions of Chaos - no matter the god they owe their allegiance. Of course, there isn't much to those armies that Eldar would really require anyway; they deal well enough with elite armies that the benefits brought by either Necrons or Chaos Space Marines, specifically masses of high strength shooting and baleflamers, are almost superfluous. Chaos Daemons are always an odd duck out with some of the crazy good units they can bring such as massed flying monstrous creatures or Flesh Hounds, but do you really need more speed in an army as mobile as Eldar? The only other limitations are the Desperate Allies; the Sisters of Battle and Orks. Hilarious as it is, the two pet races of the Old Ones can indeed be allied together; more likely, the Eldar would manipulate scores of Orks to do their bidding. The two actually make for a very nasty match-up, as Orks bring potent anti-air units in the form of Lootas as well as deadly and mobile assault units - Shoota Boyz and Nob Bikerz are typical here - for a generally low price. The Sisters, on the other hand, bring some tougher bodies to the field as well as some truly nasty tricks and good firepower; though they don't solve the potential issue of Eldar with which the Craftworld kin can only really bring Crimson Hunters to bear, no one wants to face Saint Celestine or massed Exorcists. From there, the Eldar can ally with a range of armies rather conveniently, with some of the more interesting options being Grey Knights - psykers, psykers everywhere! - and Imperial Guard, both of whom provide strong melee options as well as the firepower to more adequately deal with hordes. Keeping in mind that the Eldar are seemingly tailor made to annihilate elite armies, they do suffer somewhat against hordes and the tougher enemy fliers - the latter mostly if Interceptor weapons are in abundance. Happily, Imperial Guard cover up almost any deficiency far better than any player could hope for; Sabre Defence Platforms, Hydras, Basilisks, Medusae and Griffons alike - as well as a slew of other options - are all fantastic at dealing with either of those stated targets, and are darned cost effective to boot.

    Where the Eldar really distinguish friend from foe can be found in one of the more unlikely places; their debased kin, the Dark Eldar. The two armies, unsurprisingly, complement each other magnificently - particularly with the new rules for Eldar. You have massed poison and semi-rending shooting from either force, lance weaponry in abundance, fast fragility and mobile durability as you pick, and either elite assault units from the Dark Eldar or devastating monsters from the Eldar. That both armies also bring deadly Jetbikes geared for differing roles allows you to really dominate the movement phase like no other force could even dare to replicate. Perhaps the most downright dirty ally to go with is the Tau Empire, particularly given the psychic powers for Eldar affect them as well; what do Tau like more than anything else? How about a cheap Farseer addition casting both Guide and Prescience to give entire units of Fire Warriors, Kroot or Crisis Teams with dual missile pods or plasma rifles re-rolls to hit? All that Skyfire and Interceptor weaponry the Tau bring serve to shore up a lot of the potential weaknesses Eldar can have in a competitive environment, and it also helps that they have large and small blasts in abundance through their multitudes of ion weaponry. Overall, there are a lot of brutal combinations that can be had when allying with Eldar, either as the primary or allied detachment. They bring potent psykers, fast and deadly firepower, as well as relentlessly tough monsters to an engagement; no one wants to face the unholy duo of a Riptide and Wraithknight. No-one....except Tyranids, Dark Eldar and Grey Knights. But aside from them.....no-one.

    Other Codices and the Meta - The Tau were certainly a kick in the teeth to the general meta, with sheer amounts of ignores cover - and armour - shooting at high strength values that hit so darned reliably. It gets even more ridiculous when you consider there is more Skyfire and Interceptor in the codex than all of the previous 6th Edition books combined; by contrast, the Eldar are probably happier to just sit it out somewhat and go along. Much unlike the Tau or the Heldrake, the Eldar don't seem to be having a truly profound impact on the meta, save that they are now popularizing fast skimmer tanks with Wave Serpents and Fire Prisms being so strong. The anti-tank solutions employed by some simply don't function well at all against these vehicles, particularly with holo fields providing nasty 4+ or higher cover saves on AV12 skimmers that can ignore penetrating hits. That the army itself, from the most basic infantry to the towering Wraithknight, are designed to shred elite units and high Toughness monsters is a double blow against the monstrous forces employed by both Daemons and Tyranids, both of whom were already reeling after the Tau release. In essence, the elite armies many favour with Space Marines and the like are utterly demolished by Eldar, and the Wave Serpent alone is changing the way many players view vehicles in the 6th Edition meta.

    The Eldar also bring some of the cheapest and most effective mastery level three psykers in the game in the form of the Farseer, whereas the sheer mobility of the force provided by Battle Focus and fast tanks allows them to dominate the movement phase and really choose their engagements. Slower armies or those not equipped with significant amounts of ignores cover weaponry at good ranges may simply find themselves led about by the nose all game while being severely crippled by the mass of shuriken or monofilament firepower on offer. The Craftworlders also bring perhaps the toughest monster that can be found in a regular game, with the Wraithknight used commonly as both hammer and anvil packaged into one; a true terror weapon that, in conjunction with speedy units such as Jetbikes and Wave Serpents, can really put test to enemies early on. I feel that they aren't particularly vulnerable to any form of army, though forces that employ tough aircraft and in turn have massed Interceptor weaponry will prove an issue for a mono-Eldar force owing to the fragility of their fliers. Additionally, unless Shadow Weavers or Fire Prisms are employed in decent numbers, Eldar lack a significant enough amount of blast weaponry to effectively deal with horde armies; thankfully, against Tyranids in particular, they can neutralize the monsters and large targets quite easily.

    In Closing

    I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to everyone involved in the development and editing of this series; though I am the sole writer, the contributions of our fans and my family and friends have nonetheless been significant. A warm thank you to everyone that has commented on or viewed these articles; you have really helped me out to not only to keep these articles going, but to correct any mistakes that I have made. I hope this has been an entertaining and provocative series that has inspired you to either start up or add on to an existing Eldar force, perhaps even learn how to effectively combat their units by understanding their weaknesses and strengths. It has been really intriguing to see the direction that 6th Edition is taking, with the Eldar proving that the movement phase is more important than ever in Warhammer 40000. Fully of nasty tricks and surprises as befits their fluff, I look forward to seeing Eldar feature at tournaments and in gaming stores across the world; feel free to share your experiences with them and see just how powerful they really are! Thanks again, I hoped you enjoyed this series!

    For the Craftworld!
    Last edited by Learn2Eel; 07-21-2013 at 02:30 AM.
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