Welcome to Eldar Tactics 102. Pre-requisites are 101, which you can get caught up on here.
We already talked briefly about the HQ, scoring and Aspect Warrior options in 101, so what’s left are support vehicles, aircraft and possible Allies options.
Eldar have a large number of vehicles, ranging from the squadrons of War Walkers and Vypers to the heavier tanks, such as the Fire Prism and Nightspinner. Scatter Lasers will remain a common weapon choice, as the Laser Lock rule can allow them to shoot first and (if they hit) twin link the rest of that model’s weapons. Combined with an increase to BS4, these vehicles are more accurate than ever, and don’t require Farseer babysitting.
I’m not necessarily too keen on Vypers, but War Walkers got an interesting shakeup with the addition of Battle Focus and a 5++ force field. They are back to open-topped, meaning they suffer a +1 when rolling on the damage chart now, but their accuracy and added mobility is really handy. Dual Scatter Laser wastes the Laser Lock ability, but provides the most volume of fire. Some folks might want Scatter Laser/Bright Lance to maximize on their anti-tank capabilities, or possibly even toy with some of the rarely used weapons like Starcannon or Shuriken Cannon, depending on the list’s needs. Still, Scatter Laser is probably the most common setup due to decent range, S6 and four shots each.
Also taking advantage of the Laser Lock rule are the Falcon and Wave Serpent. Twin-linking your Pulse Laser and Shuriken Cannon gives the Falcon a lot more punch, while the Serpent can actually become a decent anti-air platform in a pinch. Fire the twin-linked Scatter Laser, and if you score any hits then you can also re-roll to hit with your Shuriken Cannon and shield blowout ability. This rule comes from the old Epic system, where Wave Serpents could produce a shockwave that disrupted the enemy. D6+1 S7 shots with re-rolls to hit can certainly scratch the paint on most flyers (or anything on the ground short of AV14), and the inexplicable 60″ range is quite amazing. Defensively, the shield knocks penetrating hits down to glancing hits on a 2+, which will keep them around long enough to deploy some troopers. Mechdar are back with a vengeance.
The Fire Prism lacks the re-roll party, but no longer requries multiple linked beams to be truly dangerous. With three fire modes for maximum versatility, including a S9 AP1 lance, this tank is a great Swiss army knife.
As I indicated in the previous article as well, the Nightspinner also very handy in that it fires using Barrage, ignores armor on 6’s to wound and goes up to S8 versus I3 or lower opponents. Lots of barrage sniping and Instant Death potential for multi-wound T4 models (Wraiths!!). The torrent fire mode is a nice bonus that could come in handy from time to time.
When it comes to upgrading your vehicles, Holo-fields are back. +1 to cover saves is just dandy for skimmers, just ask your local Tau player!
As a 25 pt one use only system, Crystal Targetting Matrix is probably too pricy for common use. Being able to fire a gun at full BS after moving flat out is nice, but not if it breaks the bank. If you are desperately in need of a gimmick, maybe it’s worth it on one of the heavy tanks? Probably not in my estimation, but maybe if you have 25 pts left over throw it in there and catch somebody off-guard.
Vectored Engines are cool, allowing a free pivot after firing. This will be good for Wave Serpents and their single access point. Fly up, infantry pile out fowards, shoot, then run (Battle Focus) and finally pivot the tank to avoid easy shots on the rear armor.
Not sure what the Spirit Stones (mitigate stunned/shaken?), Star Engines (more flat out speed?) and the Ghost-walk Matrix do (probably something about dangerous terrain) … looks like I have some homework to do!
According to the Internets, 6th edition is all about the Flyers. While not necessarily true for all races, spammy Demon Princes and Heldrakes (not to mention the Vendetta) make Flyers a necessary consideration in most games. This is one of the more controversial things about the Eldar book right now. Are the new flyers all that good, and how do they compare to the Forgeworld Nightwing?
For starters, all Eldar planes are fragile, lacking even the 5++ Flickerfield option Dark Eldar have. Unless you plan on constantly evading, you will need to learn how to use Vector Dancer to its fullest, hugging table edges to stay out of enemy range while still setting up firing angles for yourself. You can’t always dodge the 48″ heavy weapons, but being shot down by bolters is emberassing. Don’t let it happen to you!
The Crimson Hunter (with or without Exarch upgrades and powers) is a fairly potent interceptor with Bright Lances, a Pulse Laser and Vector Dancer, which can help it dodge Heldrakes and their vector strikes. Not a cheap plane, and you can only take one Exarch upgrade per primary detachment, so spamming isn’t much of an option.
Compare this to the Nightwing, which boasts Shrouding and Agile for up to 2+ when evading. It does have lighter armament (dual Bright Lances and Shuriken Cannons) and only two hull points… so it can die easily or at least be neutered by evading and reduced to snap shots only. It is cheap however, and looks a bit nicer than the plastic kit, so it can may see some action.
Hemlock Wraithfighters can mess with enemy Leadership via the Terrify power (cast by the pilot at ML1) and a Mindshock Pod that forces all leadership tests within 12″ to be re-rolled (friend or foe!). The guns are similar to Wraithguard, with AP2 blast templates and the Distortion rule for Instant Death/auto penetrate on a 6. Not terrible by any stretch, but this plane is definitely an odd one to wrap your head around.
Only blast weapons means no anti-flyer ability, and with a lot of powers needing to go off successfully to make this thing reliable as a Leadership Bomb, I don’t rate it that highly. Panicking guys off the board is hilarious but you simply can’t bank on it.
However, the Hemlock does open up some dirty tricks if you ally in Dark Eldar.
The Crucible of Malediction forces psykers within 3d6″ to pass a Leadership test or die, so that re-roll makes it a lot more dangerous. Daemon armies full of Princes and Greater Daemons won’t like this, nor will monster mash Tyranids. The Hemlock only forces re-rolls of Morale and Pinning, so it does not mess with psykers after all. Eldar psychic powers can also affect Dark Eldar as they would any other Battle Brothers, so there might be some more combos available there as well (Fortune/Shadowfield with no FAQ necessary, Autarch or Farseer on Jetbike leading Reavers… lots of options to explore).
I haven’t put much more thought into allies yet, but a Gate of Infinity Librarian warping around Wraithguard or a Tau Commander with Puretide Chip can make for some fun with Deathstars. I’ve heard of some folks pondering Warp Spiders allied into a Tau list, so the Spiders can be led by Shadowsun. I’m sure someone will find something truly evil before long… they always do!
The next step is obviously to get some games in and see how everything works in real situations. I don’t play Eldar personally, but I know some folks who do and they are already trying out various combinations of Mech, Jetbikes and Wraithguard. I’ll be sure to nag them for their thoughts and list-building advice!