So while I have been keeping myself busy with X-wing the last few days, a lot has been going on. Eldar have been released — and from what I hear, GW was finally able to properly allocate stock to independent retailers this time around — and the new WD is starting to be leaked. All hail the mighty Truckosaurus of Khorne! In a week or two, we’ll also see what exactly the Iyanden supplement is all about. Looks like a couple new rules tweaks for the army, plus scenarios and strategems for Cities of Death/Planetstrike. Probably a good thing it isn’t a must-have, since that would start to get pretty expensive for Eldar players…
As the previous (4th edition) Eldar Codex was largely a cut and paste job from the previous, albeit with a few of the abusable combos removed, the pointy eared folk were long overdue for a significant overhaul. Overall, it seems like this is exactly what they got.
With the previous book really showing its age, you were mostly limited to a small selection of units that were able to perform in a 6th edition environment. All of a sudden, Eldar seem to be spoiled for choices.
There are multiple viable HQs, and far more Troops choices than almost any other book (Guardian Defenders and Storm Guardians, Dire Avengers, Rangers and Jetbikes — plus unlockable Pathfinders, Wraithguard and Wraithblades). Best of all, you can make a strong case for building around any of those Troop units. The Aspect Warriors have been tweaked and buffed to give the under-utilized types a reason to exist (even Swooping Hawks!). Vehicles have been rebalanced so they all haves roles to fill. You might even see something aside from dual-Scatter Laser spam!
Shiny New Toys
With the new book comes a few new units. Wraithguard get expensive D-scythe options for S4 AP2 flamers, or they can be built as Wraithblades with dual S6 AP3 swords or S7 AP2 axes with 4++ from their shields. Depending on what you want to synergize with, all four choices could end up being viable.
These models look just about perfect — they are the 40mm base size and multipose version of an old model that always had the potential to look quite decent. Like the plastic Terminators that came out a few years ago, they finally have the size and stature that just wasn’t possible on a 25mm base.
Their bigger brother, the Wraithknight, is still polarizing the community with its looks and stats. It’s huge, and for the most part quite good looking, but the points cost is equally huge and the build variants vary dramatically in cost-effectiveness and battlefield role. Unlike the Riptide, which is almost an auto-include in the Tau book due to the combination of cost, durability and versatility, the Wraithknight isn’t necessarily something everyone will be buying 2-3 of immediately. It does boast some speed and formidable firepower, but not having 2+ armor makes it more vulnerable to a number of threats, including Snipers, Poisoned Weapons (Dark Eldar and Sternguard) and the ubiquitous Krak Missile.
Spiritseers are the other Wraith-themed unit to come out this release, and they are very useful. Not nearly as good a psyker as your Farseers, but they do unlock Wraithguard troops, which is great. Having to take 10-man squads to become scoring in the previous codex was prohibitively expensive and forced you into a Death Star mentality. Personally I like the model as well.
Like the Wraithknight, the Wraithfighter/Crimson Hunter kit is also a bit of a cause for debate. Unlike the Forgeworld Nightwing, which is a very straightforward dog-fighter aircraft, these guys have a ton of special rules and options. They get expensive in a hurry, but they can do interesting things. If only they were a bit nicer looking…
Time will tell if they are worth much consideration, but the Wraithfighter can potentially combo up its Mindshock Pod and Terrify psychic power to make a Leadership bomb. I believe the Runes of Battle psychic lore has another Ld penalty power, just to ensure you can herd those opponents off an objective. The Crimson Hunter is also worth consideration, simply due to its volume of S8 fire that is needed in a meta filled with Heldrakes. Not much in the Eldar list can take a Baleflamer shot from a Heldrake, including the Wraithguard you are likely to be spamming.
Built for 6th Edition
One of the cool things I (and several others of course) have noticed about the Eldar Codex is that there are some obvious counters to existing builds.
Nightspinners get S7 barrage attacks that go up to S8 against non-vehicle units with I3 or lower. Sixes to wound become AP1 as well, so they retain a decent chance of penetrating 2+ saves. This is a great way to deal with Necron Wraiths, instagibbing them and bypassing their Destroyer Lord bodyguard tanking wounds up front. They can also fire as a Torrent, which is an interesting backup if enemies end up getting too close.
Another good one is the former redheaded stepchild of the codex, Swooping Hawks. While they can’t Skyleap to drop grenades and avoid damage every single turn, they do have the ability to deep strike without scatter, drop a large blast that ignores cover saves, fire S3 AP5 Assault 3 guns at a separate target, and then run to space themselves out before getting hit with templates. They sure know how to make an entrance!
After that, they carry EMP grenades to run around blowing up enemy support vehicles, or Skyleap again. You can see how this might irritate someone relying on a few units of 10 Cultists to hold objectives, while Forgefiends provide covering fire for the army. Pathfinders also have to be very wary of these guys, as they are essential to the Tau army and only pack 5+ armor. Even Scout Snipers camping an Aegis with Telion have to worry if they don’t get their 2+ or 3+ cover saves. These units are all perfect prey for the Swooping Hawks.
I fully expect to hear about Eldar non-stop for the next little while. That’s what you have to expect when the guy living upstairs has been infatuated with them since 2nd edition… A more in-depth look at the book is coming soon, in the meantime, let me know what you think of the newest army released for 6th edition!