Gearing up for Eldar Part 3
Eldar pre-orders are live and I'm holding the June White Dwarf. I've spent the last few hours reading it from cover to cover trying to take as much from the information inside as possible. Based solely on this White Dwarf I was able to confirm and speculate a few things that I hadn't seen elsewhere. Most of it from reviewing the mini page inserts with a magnifying glass. Also, a few of the rumors I had previously reported may not be as truthful as previously thought, such is the fate of rumors I suppose. I left my salt at home when I read them. As with my usual format facts will remain in normal text, rumors and speculation will be red.
The Army List
First thing I'd like to touch on is the reported army list from the White Dwarf. While accurate in the models presented by the Eldar player, it does not actually list which Eldar units are used and as a result which slot they are in. It could be, for example that the Warlock, listed as an HQ choice, is just the typical Warlock allowable by a Wraithguard unit, in this case attached to Wraithblades. So first speculation: Wraithblades may take a Warlock.
Edit: Just realized my White Dwarf is missing pages 41-56 and it's highly probable that any sort of Eldar army list appeared on one of those missing pages..... sort of weird.
The big hero of the battlereport is the Wraithknight. It appears to be equipped with a Shattershield and Suncannon along with 2 scatter lasers. Even with the single Suncannon (not sure if two count as Twin-linked or not) he was able to decimate the Necron Infantry. It also appears to have a 12" jump move, I base this on my ability to determine distances from the pictures. I'm generally good at it and they played on the realms of battle board so I had that as a rangefinder. Also, in the pictures, the shoulder mounted starcannon that comes with the kit is of a different sculpt with a wide, thin fire point similar to the pictured D-scythe. I don't expect this to be put throughout the other kits however as it's still pictured on the weapons page as it's current incarnation. Also shown is the Wraithknight mounting Shuriken Cannons. So this makes it's available shoulder weapons up to the Shuriken Cannon, Scatter Laser, and Starcannon. Time will tell if it can mount missile launchers or brightlances as well.
After straining my eyes to read the fine print I can say that Dark Reapers have unchanged statlines from their 4th Edition incarnation. Dark Reapers are Infantry, have the Slow and Purposeful and Ancient Doom (it's really hard to read so I can't tell for sure if it is "Doom") special rules, and have the following wargear listed standard: Heavy Aspect Armour, Reaper Launcher with starswarm missiles, and reaper rangefinder. Let's talk about that for a minute. Starswarm missiles, why list the ammo? You don't see Dire Avenger Shuriken Catapults with Shuriken Ammunition or Heavy Bolters with Bolter ammo. When you do see something like that, it's generally an indication of ammunition options, like on Sternguard. Dark Reapers have alternate ammunition options. Further speculation, this option will include skyfire missiles. Why? Because as it stands they are the best unit to give direct anti-air abilities to the Eldar Warhost. Banshees and Scorpions are out, they're close combat specialists. Fire Dragons would work, but the range is too short. Dire Avengers have the shots, but they don't have the weapons to handle high AV flyers. Warp Spiders can handle AV 12, but they still have the same range issue that Fire Dragons have. This leaves Swooping Hawks and Dark Reapers (outside of vehicle options) We know the Crimson Hunter will be an Anti-Air beast, but it's also a flyer and likely expensive. Swooping Hawks are doable, in a quirky sort of way. The Intercept rule from 4th describes them as being a unit that lands on fast moving skimmers and rips them apart and up until 6th edition this meant they posed a threat to Valkyries and Vendettas. It's possibly that they could tweak this rule to include flyers, but it's still a quirky and roundabout solution. Dark Reapers on the other hand have the range and if I'm right about the missiles, saying missile X has skyfire isn't much of a stretch.
Warp Spiders, like Dark Reapers, continue to have the same statline however they've become Jet Pack Infantry. They have Heavy Aspect Armor, Death Spinners, and Warp Jump Generators. Special Rules include Ancient Doom (seriously can't read it, could be Death) Battle Focus, Fleet, and Hit and Run. Off the bat, no points changes this unit got "cheaper" in that you don't need to pay for hit and run. The addition of fleet is nice and making them Jet Pack infantry could reduce the risk of the Warp Jump Generators old assault move. Potentially at least, it could still have that rule. Base on the fact that they have it without having Shuriken Weaponry we can at least speculate that Battle Focus works with just about any weapon, or maybe just assault weapons. My theory though is that Death Spinners could be Salvo weapons and take advantage of the newly earned Relentless quality given by being jet pack infantry. I base this on the fact that while the Deathspinner was an assault weapon in forth edition, it was a rapid fire weapon in 3rd so there is a basis for the weapon really not having a proper footing in its firing mechanism. That can be said for a lot of weapons though, what really makes me think this way is the change to jet pack infantry. Yes it's a convenient way to give rules to the unit to represent the extra assault phase movement, but the issue is that it slows the unit down. 12" move plus a 2d6 assault move, despite the risk involved was a lot faster than what is potentially now a 6" move plus run (with fleet), and a 2d6" assault move. So in effect, it's all a nerf to the unit. The argument against Salvo Death Spinners is that there would be no drawback and they'd be super awesome.
These units are covered in the same unit entry. I'm seeing the same statline as Wraithguard had before, but I'm not seeing any mention of the Wraithsight rule. Is it gone? What does a spiritseer do? Perhaps you must take a Warlock with the unit now. As this sort of, every unit needs a leader sort of thing. They are pictured numerous times without Warlock support though, and that still wouldn't alleviate the need for wraithsight as the warlock could be picked out of the unit. Other rules listings show them with Fearless, Ancient Doom, and Bulky which implies they can still be taken in Wave Serpents. That would help with the "getting them into combat issue" though in the battle report they marched their way up to mid-field and smacked a C'tan in the face. For wargear they sport Wraithcannons or Ghostswords and then obviously can take the D-Scythe or Ghostaxe(?) and Forceshield (it's listed as such, suggesting it's the same as the Autarch option)
Edit: According to the article by Phil Kelly at the back the Spiritseer will let you field a whole force of Wraith units from Wraithguard to Wraithlord, Wraithknight and Hemlock Wraithfighter.
Rangers see a bump to WS 4 and I 5. This increase in close combat capability would be unimpressive normally, but with my earlier speculation that they could take close combat weapons, I find the stat changes very supporting. Rangers have Mesh Armor, Shuriken Pistols, and Ranger Long Rifles, and have Ancient Doom, Battle Focus, Fleet, Infiltrate, Move through Cover, and Stealth. No news on Pathfinder upgrades confirmed though I had read another set of rumors said that Illic Nightspear was instead an HQ and by taking him you could take Pathfinders.
Of note, the Wave Serpent in the battle report fired a "Serpent Shield" which killed two Necron Warriors. I suspect this to be similar to the wave attack the Aspect Assault Wave had access to in Apocalypse in that its a low strength pinning attack. While it's usefulness would be limited as the number of units susceptible to pinning is low, I still think it's a nice addition to the model, though will probably take away from any hope that Wave Serpents will be cheaper.
A single page is shown depicting a Shard of Anaris, Firesabre, Spirit Stone of Anath'lan, Uldanobethi Long Rifle, Mantle of the Laughing God, Faolchu's Wing, and the Phoenix Gem. I can say with some certainty that the Uldanobethi Long Rifle is not Illic Nightspears rifle as his is called Voidbringer. Whether he can take the Long Rifle, which is just a sniper rifle with 120" range, has yet to be determined, but it's likely some other unit/model can take it as an upgrade since most named characters have specific gear. This begs the question as to whom can take it. The Shard of Anaris is the rumored +2 Str melee weapon that gives the wielder fearless while being rending, fleshbane and instant death. The Firesaber is +1 Str, AP 3 and has both Soul Blaze and the ability to spread soul blaze. The Spirit Stone of Anath'lan allows the wielder to reduce the warp charge of a psychic power by one, but takes away the models Rune Armor invuln save until the start of it's next turn. The Mantle of the Laughing God takes independent character away from the model but gives them hit and run, stealth, shrouded, and the ability to re-roll failed cover saves. Faolchu's Wing let's the model run 18" at the expense of being able to shoot, charge, or manifest psyhic powers in the shooting phase. The model then gains the ability to re-roll cover saves until the start of it's next turn. Finally, the Phoenix Gem is the item that lets you drop a blast template over the model when it dies dealing damage with a chance at saving the bearer. Really fine print on this one so it's hard to read entirely.
Models in the Codex
The following models are pictured or mentioned in the White Dwarf so you can expect them to be in the codex: Farseer, Autarch, Avatar of Khaine, Prince Yriel, Warlocks, Wraithknight, Wraithlord, Wraithguard, Wraithblades, Hemlock Wraithfighter, Crimson Hunter, Spiritseer, Rangers, Illic Nightspear, Guardians, Swooping Hawks, Warp Spiders, Dire Avengers, Striking Scorpions, Fire Dragons, Howling Banshees, Dark Reapers, Vypers, Guardian Jetbikes, Wave Serpents, Fire Prisms, and Falcons. War Walkers and Support Weapons are being sold as units of three as part of the pre-order so you can expect them to stay. No units have been taken down from the GW website. The Wraithknight is listed under heavy support and the Crimson Hunter/Hemock is in Fast Attack. Illic Nightspear is listed in the HQ section of the website as well along with the Spiritseer.
Edit: Based on Phil Kelly's article near the end of the White Dwarf, he speaks briefly on battle focus making the Eldar the best at what they do. It's my opinion that Battle Focus may have special effects based on the unit it is applied to. Dire Avengers for example can move-shoot-run.
A lot to digest and in just a week there will be so much more. It's no surprise I'm excited for this release and I strongly recommend checking out the June White Dwarf for pictures as there are so many.