Playing Like Your Craftworld

Often times the Eldar army is referred to as a toolbox. By that it is meant that, if there is a problem in the 40k universe, the Eldar have the solution. Enemy Space Marines brought a pesky Land Raider? Try some Fire Dragons. Need that objective, send in the Guardian Jetbikes. No hoard can withstand a Dire Avenger Bladestorm followed by a Striking Scorpion assault. Why then is the Eldar codex not number one? Well, like everything about this army, it takes finesse to balance everything. The points are just too high to take every awesome unit. This is why you do not see any army lists that have Wraithguard as troops, Aspect Warriors in wave serpents, and the list led by a Farseer and Warlocks on jetbikes. The point costs for all of that would have you playing Apocalypse where you have that and your opponent is rocking multiple Baneblades. How do you balance it all? A good place to start would be to build your army in the shadow of a particular Craftworld.
Read the fluff. The Eldar Craftworlds are not just a color scheme, but a style of play. Each Craftworld has its own war doctrine. Each Craftworld has a specialty: Saim-hann has jetbikes, Ulthwe has powerful psykers, and Alaitoc is ranger heavy. Not only does each have a specialty, but they make a concession in order to fit in the type of units they specialize in. Let us look at Ulthwe again. Craftworld Ulthwe is famous for two things, its Warlocks and Farseers, and also it’s Black Guardians. Why Guardians and not Dire Avengers? The answer to that question comes down to points, at least when the transition to the table top is made. Compare a Dire Avenger to a Guardian, by all accounts you have a superior unit and as such you pay extra points for it. Now consider that you get three Guardians for every two Dire Avengers and things begin to come clearer. The Dire Avenger is still the better unit and worth the points, however when you need to put models on the table while conserving points for better units, the Guardian becomes a better buy. Ulthwe has “Black Guardians” so that their military high command can bring as many Warlocks as possible. Here is a list made using the ascribed method.
  • In Wave Serpent (w/Spirit Stones, Star Engines, and TL-Eldar Missile Launcher
  • Eldrad
  • Farseer w/Runes of Witnessing, Spirit Stones, Doom, Mind War, Eldtrich Storm, Singing Spear
  • Warlocks x10 w/Enhance, Embolden, Destructor x8, Singing Spear x4
  • In Wave Serpent (w/Spirit Stones, Star Engines, and TL-Brightlance
  • Guardians x10 w/Scatter Laser
  • Warlock w/Singing Spear, Destructor
  • In Wave Serpent (w/Spirit Stones, Star Engines, and TL-Scatter Laser)
  • Storm Guardians x10 w/Fusion Gun x2
  • Warlock w/Enhance
  • In Wave Serpent (w/Spirit Stones, Star Engines, and TL-Brightlance
  • Guardians x10 w/Scatter Laser
  • Warlock w/Singing Spear, Destructor
  • In Wave Serpent (w/Spirit Stones, Star Engines, and TL-Scatter Laser)
  • Storm Guardians x10 w/Fusion Gun x2
  • Warlock w/Enhance
How does this relate to the “toolbox”? Well, the Eldar Codex contains several units that fill each role in the 41st millennium. Some of these units are better at these jobs than others, but you can cut on one type of role to bolster another. In the list above each unit has a means of dealing with troops and vehicles. The Guardians in Wave Serpents can use their transports gun or the Warlocks singing spear to handle oncoming vehicles, while the Guardians use their shuriken catapults and scatter laser platform to handle footsloggers in range. The Wave Serpent ensuring that they do indeed get into range. The Storm Guardians on the other hand can thin hordes with their transports gun, dispatch tanks with the fusion guns and Warlock’s witchblade, and by way of Enhance can handle themselves decently in an assault. The “Seer Council” has mobility thanks to their Wave Serpent, and by the power of Witchblades, Singing Spears, and Psychic Powers handle just about any threat in the universe. This unit could be built thanks to points saved by choosing Guardians. There were even enough points left to put the whole army in Wave Serpents. As it is an Eldar force, finesse and clever tactics are required to win the day, but the list itself covers all the bases and if it is played right, will be a force to reckon with.


Army List Breakdown #1: War Walkers

The War Walker Squadron is one of my favorite parts about my new style of list. (See last post) They're like a sneaky left hook. Their biggest feature: A cheap unit with lots of Dakka. With other expensive choices in the Heavy Support slot it is nice to see that I can have 18 Str 6 Ap 5 shots for slightly more than the cost of a baseline Fire Prism. I've used them in my last five games now, lost a total of 9 War Walkers in all, and wrecked a fair amount of face. Some career Highlights:

Game #1 vs. Blood Angels - Outflanked behind an outflanking Baal Predator and immobilized it with shots to the rear. Tied up Assault Marines in close combat for two turns before succumbing to Power Fists.

Game #2 vs. Tyranids - Outflanked onto the table and mopped up some Winged Warriors and Gaunts, tied up warriors in close combat until turn 6 where they met their end.

Game #3 vs. Orks - Came onto the board normally and removed a 7 man squad of Ork Lootas, then survived a 30-man Ork mob assault and slowly but surely picked it apart in the remaining rounds of combat. Lost two walkers to power klaws

Game #4 vs. Daemons - Less than spectacular, Outflanked on the wrong side of the table and fired pot shots at plague bearers

Game #5 vs. Daemonhunters - Outflanked onto the table, obliterated an Inquisitor's retinue, cleaned up a massed squad of guardsmen in close combat. After losing one to a Vindicare Assassin, they continued to pour shuriken into the woods holding a heavy weapons crew.

That is a nice resume considering what my Falcons normally do. Mosts games my Falcons fly around all shaken and stuff.

Now before I said that they were like a sneaky left hook, I mean more than that then they outflank onto the table and destroy stuff. There's a meta-game psychology attached to them. They are unassuming Armor 10 vehicles with the cheapest guns Eldar money can buy. Less intimidating, than say, A fire prism or Wraithlord. In fact, my Harlequin get the most attention in my previously described list. This leaves the War Walkers plenty of time to move into position.

You might be asking, "Isn't the Scatter Laser a better option? It has better range and 1 more shot. Why not take 6 of those instead of Shuriken Cannons?" For me the answer was related to saving points, but really I feel it's a matter of opinion. Scatter Lasers cost three times more than Shuriken Cannons, multiply that 6 times and the cheapness of the unit goes out the window. The differences between AP 5 and AP 6 may be unworthy of mention, but consider how many more units you can flat out kill with an AP 5 weapon over an AP 6. Who has armor 6? Orks, Kroot?. Who has armor 5? Some Eldar, most Imperial Guard, several sub-species of Nid, and some Tau. Weapons are progressively more awesome the better an AP they have.

Let's get back to tactics with these guys. Ideally suited for hoard armies, you can use them a little differently and still get the same bang for your buck. The Str 6 shot is good enough for all but the thickest tank armor and you can use these guys to pop transports like Rhinos and Chimeras. Or get at the rear of most other thanks and pummel them with shots as I did against that Baal Predator (He thought he'd be fast like Eldar! Showed you buddy!) You'll wound the inhabitants of said Transports on a 2+ more often than not, so even if they have 3+ armor saves, you're still likely to down a few. The biggest hindrance to this firepower is the BS 3 these Walkers shoot at. Why the Eldar don't have a Path of the Vehicle Operations Specialist is beyond me! Counter this drawback with Guide and you essentially have 6 twin-linked shuriken cannons! Relatively slow compared to other vehicles and namely other Eldar vehicles, War Walkers can take some effort to get them into position. Outflanking is really a good option. You'll get to where you want to be 2/3 of the time. Generally when it comes to outflanking players will not consider outflankers or at least not deem them a big enough threat. If they are concerned they will keep their forces centralized. Find out which type of player you're facing and use it to your advantage. More often than not your opponent could care less that three goofy looking Eldar Walkers can coming in from the side of the table, if so, walk on and go to work. If they are concerned they will condense their forces in the center of the table. Use this to your advantage and let other units like swooping hawks have some fun dropping grenades on the clustered infantry or multi-assaulting some tanks with haywire grenades. May be a far fetched plan, but not impossible. As I said earlier, the War Walker Squadron is generally unassuming. In a sense it doesn't draw Aggro as much as other units. That reason alone is what makes it good.


My Eldar Army

Was planning on making this post a battle report, but I've hit a bit of a dry spell with my 40k games. At any rate I'd like to drop the army list I've been running these days to give you an idea of the type of Eldar I play. Later I'll talk about how I use it. Here's 1000pts worth. I have been using it since a team tourney I played in, a couple of weeks back and wrecked enough face to really consider it as a viable play style.

Autarch w/Swooping Hawk Wings, Mandiblasters, Power Weapon, and Avenger Shuriken Catapult

Harlequin Troupe w/4x Harlequin Kiss, 2x Fusion Pistol, Troupe Master w/Power Weapon, Shadowseer, Deathjester

Guardian Jetbike Squadron x8 w/2x Shuriken Cannons
Rangers x5 w/Pathfinder upgrade

Fast Attack
Swooping Hawks x6 w/Exarch carrying Sunrifle and Skyleap/Intercept

Heavy Support
War Walker Squadron x3 w/Shuriken Cannons x6

If you've played me before you may be wondering where my Farseer and Falcons are. The lack of a Farseer was an unwilling sacrifice to save on points and I would like to have Eldrad or a Jetbike Farseer in the list if possible. As far as the Falcons go, I've stopped using them for awhile. Probably won't see them until the 5th Edition Eldar codex comes out where I'm hoping Falcons are cheaper and (fingers crossed) dedicated transports for aspect warriors.


A Time and Place for Autarchs

Now I will not simply dog on an Autarch without discussing some of their finer points. Farseers are just my personal preference, but even I have a use for Autarchs and can appreciate their tactical benefits. In an increasingly non-linear game the Autarch is slowly becoming necessary. My side of the table does not fight your side anymore. Units can come in from anywhere or any side. A few even come up from beneath! The catch to this new found mobility is that these units must come in from reserve. The Eldar codex just happens to be one of the few 4th Edition codices that was prepared for thee rules changes and no unit helps you maximize your outflank/deep strike potential like an Autarch and his master strategist ability. Whether the Autarch is in play or not you may opt to add one to your reserves rolls. Have two Autarchs?? Why not go ahead and add two to reserves! This means that if you use Swooping Hawks and Skyleap you will be able to drop a grenade pack nearly every turn, coming in on a 2+ as early as turn 2!

Outside of that handy ability the Autarch is a pretty solid warrior and will generally end up being cheaper than a Farseer after upgrades. The trick is to know what you want to use your Autarch for and choose wargear appropriately. Your choice of mobility upgrade is generally up to you. Which flavor of moving 12” across the battlefield do you like? Allow me to break it down. Swooping Hawk wings are the cheapest, but least mobile. You only get the Jump Infantry 12” move. Both the wings and the Warp Jump Generator allow you to deep strike, but the Warp Jump Generator also allows for an albeit risky 2d6” extra move in the assault phase. If you roll doubles however, kiss your Autarch good-bye. If you choose the Warp Jump Generator it’s best to run him with Warp Spiders to maximize the ability and cushion him from instant and certain death at the hands of Warp Beasts. The Jetbike is the most expensive choice, but for good reason. You get the 12” move; also you get to turbo-boost 24” and the Eldar Jetbike 6” assault move. Combine that with the increase in toughness and the relentless quality and the Jetbike makes for an excellent choice. As for choice of helmet, the Banshee mask is near useless. The Autarch comes standard with plasma grenades and you’ll rarely need an initiative higher than six. The mandiblasters are a much better choice, but if you need to save points 3 base attacks may be plenty. Statistically vs. Space Marines (and variants) the Power weapon ends up being the better choice. You will kill roughly 0.887 space Marines with your 4 attacks (+1 for pistol and close combat weapon) with the power weapon over 0.439 kills using the Scorpion Chain Sword. If your opponent is playing Orks you may want to go with the Scorpion Chainsword and it will give you some potential against monstrous creatures, but for most targets the Power Weapon is the way to go. The Laser lance can be awesome, but it is still only good on the turn you assault. Also, Autarchs cannot hit and run like Shining Spears so you may very well end up tar pitting your now very expensive HQ if you are not careful. Choose targets wisely. That said, with proper wargear you can have 6 Strength 6 power weapon attacks on the charge. As for your choice of ranged weaponry, the choice is yours. Keep in mind your goal and pick the right weapon for the job.

A few thoughts on ranged weapons before I go:
• An Autarch with a Shuriken Catapult in a squad of Dire Avengers can Bladestorm
• Jetbikes are relentless and a Reaper Launcher is a Heavy Weapon


Farseers vs. Autarchs

A friend of mine recently took a tour of the Craftworld so to speak when he started assembling an Eldar force of his own. One of our early discussions was over which is better, a Farseer or an Autarch. His position was that the martial prowess of the Autarch was superior to the psychic wizardry of a Farseer. I accused him of thinking like a mon keigh (okay I said Space Marine, but I don’t want to estrange any Space Marine players out there.) Indeed, it was true that when I began playing Eldar I consider the Farseer to be nothing more than a wizard, sitting back and casting spells. I was befuddled on how to effectively use this HQ unit in my army and often ran a stripped down Farseer just to fill the Force Org. Slot. It wasn’t until, after a two year sabbatical from the game and the 4th Edition Eldar codex was released, that I truly began to walk the Path of the Seer.
Like the codex itself, running a Farseer takes skill. At its core you have a potent support unit. The ability to re-roll almost every major die roll in the game can not be overlooked. Certainly with codex creep and a clear push by the powers that be to enhance psychic powers within 5th edition the Eldar have competition, but still no other army holds a candle to the reliability and utility that a Farseer brings to the table.
We are all familiar with what Doom and Guide can do for a Dire Avenger Bladestorm (If you are not familiar, try it, it’s pretty awesome) but consider using other psychic power combinations on other units. Consider what fortune and doom used to augment a Howling Banshee assault might do to your opponent. Fortune and guide your Fire Dragons before they go after that Land Raider and make sure it is destroyed.
You should be casting two psychic powers per Farseer per turn (and a third from Eldrad if he’s on the table) There is nothing to be afraid of. With Runes of Witnessing, Ghosthelms and the potential for a Warlock with the embolden power you really don’t need to be concerned with perils of the warp or even failing a psychic test for that matter. The only anti-psyker wargear that causes me to think about casting a psychic power is the psychic hood and only turns into a roll-off between you and your opponent.
It’s for these reasons, the overall army enhancement and the reliability of such enhancement that I use Farseers over Autarchs.


First Post and Introductions

Greetings Farseers and Autarchs,

This is to be the first of hopefully many posts in my brand new Eldar blog! Enjoy pointy eared xenos in the gothic universe, this is the place for you. Look forward to Battle Reports, Tactics, Fiction, Army Lists, and Pictures in the near future.

So I guess I should introduce myself, I am Bowen, or Shaolindisciple over at www.mi40k.com, and I've been playing Eldar since about 2003. Back then Warhammer was a completely different game and the Eldar were my first army. I was drawn in by the Falcon I must admit, an excellent model. 40k was in the midst of third edition, like I said, it was a different game. Two editions later and I still play my Eldar. The rules have changed, the way I play my army has changed, and over the years I've collected almost the entire Eldar model range and have run every kind of list from grav tank spam to foot slogging aspect warriors. After all this time I am still trying new tricks and tactics. I play in tournaments occasional and frequent hobby shops and gaming stores in the Southeast Michigan area. Well anyways, that's me and again welcome.