Saturday, June 1, 2013

Eldar Codex: First Impressions

Eldar release day!

Hey guys, really quick:  This will be a quick snapshot review of the Eldar book from a realistic standpoint.  I'll talk about which units I'd be interested in, and for those that will receive a lower rating, I'll talk about why I don't think they'll have a place on the battlefield.  Please feel free to disagree, as I plan on doing another design-focused review later that'll talk about overall balance, internal and external balance.


Eldrad Ulthran - Not bad, is now Lv.4 and has some pretty good abilities for cheap.  Comes stock with both runes, has a better weapon and have better protection, for cheaper than he was before.   The only problem with Eldrad is that he was nerfed indirectly.  He can no longer pick his spells, cast the same power per turn, and is limited to walking around everywhere.  However, if you're taking a footseer, I think he's the best choice.

Prince Yriel - Still good because of his price, and I think his extra wound is to balance out the fact the has has to successfully re-roll saves of 6s.  I don't know if this balances out well because when you need that 6 to save you from being ID'd, Yriel is in a very bad place.  However, his attacks still trump on MEQ really well and his S6 AP3 boom is still there.

Illic Nightspear - Not bad, but not fantastic.  If you like to shoot, I think he's a good addition to your army for the price.  His ability to unlock Pathfinders is also interesting, but having him sit back and shoot with Rangers while Split Firing is probably what he'll be doing.

Phoenix Lords - I grouped these guys together because all of them fit under the same category of expensive HQs that doesn't really make back their points.  The only ones that stands out for me is Karandras, Maugan Ra and maybe Fuegan.  Karandras is just a beast because of his S8 AP2 Scorpion Claw, Maugan Ra because of his ability to shoot sitting behind an ADL, and Fuegan because he can double-tap his BS7 Firepike while being a serious threat near vehicles.

Avatar of Khaine - I like him because of the stats and the abilities that he can take from the Exarch.  It's to note that he becomes noticebly more expensive with Exarch powers, however, I think some of them are definitely worth it (such as Fast Shot or Crushing Blow).  WS10 I10 with a good amount of attacks is no joke, what made him really stand out before is Fortune and now that's not garaunteed.  However, if you're taking an Avatar with Eldrad, Wraithknights and Wraithguard, I think he'll definitely play a role in the army.  In short, I think it's up to the list.

Autarch - He was never bad I thought, as you can bring in your reserves more precisely.  He can now alter your reserves as well just in case you don't want those scoring Jetbikes to come in just yet.  Maybe hang around with those scoring Jetbikes, equip yourself with a missile launcher and hang back with a Power Lance to do some damage when the time comes.

Farseer - The stable HQ is going to continue be the staple I think.  A lot of cheaper options, access to Fate and Divination gives him the potential for 2x Guides, but loses a lot of juice because of indirect nerfs.  With Runes of Witnessing and Warding being pretty bad, one-use only items, I can see this guy take a Singing Spear and a Bike and just calling it a day.

Spiritseer - Much better than the Warlock council IMO.  The reason why is because of the higher leadership, Wraithguards become troops, an ability that makes them better as well, while having access to Runes of Battle.  If you want to run a Wraithguard army, you take one of him and Eldrad and you're good to go.

Warlock Council - These guys are OK.  Access to base Conceal/Reveal is great, but having Ld.8 is a real big letdown for me.  Being able to be a Seer council is still cool, but I honestly think these guys will be overshadowed with more points effective options.


Dire Avengers - These guys are basically the same for me.  Their Shuriken weapons got better overall and this applies to everyone's Shuriken weaponry as well.  Built-in Counter-attack, but I'm not sure on losing Bladestorm.  I really liked that mechanic from a deisgn perspective and now they don't have it anymore.  I'm pretty upset.

Guardian/Storm Guardians - They're troop fodder that has been buffed indirectly.  Better Shuriken Weaponry, BS4 across Eldar, Battle Focus, but their weapons are still 12".  You can equip the Storm Guardians with better stuff, but you're still looking at T3 troops with paper armor at the end of the day.  The one thing that really stands out for these guys is that they're cheap, and can take a cheap artillery piece to make them a threat vs. almost any unit.

Windrider Jetbikes - Pretty damn good man.  Better Shurikens, Battle Focus, cheaper price, these guys are great.  For the price, I don't think there's a better scoring option in the Eldar warbook.  You're looking at 51 points for 3, adding +10 for a Shuriken Cannon for every 3.  Solid buy.

Rangers - Cheap, Infiltrate and Stealth.  These guys are good at sniping things and keeping points on the back side of the base.  Good choice if you need a cheap backfield scoring choice.

Wave Serpent - I guess I put this here because it's a dedicated transport for most of these units.  The Wave Serpent is truly amazing and worth its points IMO.  Much cheaper heavy weapon options and Serpent Shield reducing pens to glances on a 2+ is insanely good.  For a dedicated transport, it can shoot well, with heavy weapons, and can mitigate a lot of damage with good stats and Holofields.  The only thing that prevents him from being the best dedicated transport in the game is probably the no assault ramp.


Howling Banshees - Trash.  No grenades, AP3 weapons, strikes at the same time with opponents into cover.  I don't get it man, there were so many ways to fix these guys but I guess Kelly forgot how?

Striking Scorpions - Better Scorpion Claw (Power Fist without Unwieldy), price, rules and solid 3+ AS.  You're go to unit for dedicated combat in a transport.  No assault ramp is bad, but Fleet, Battle Focus and Infiltrate should be alright for now.  Much like all of the Eldar units, I don't think assault is an Eldar focal point.  That's more in line with Dark Eldar Wyches and Incubi.

Fire Dragons - More expensive, now has a 3+ AS, but otherwise the same aka does their job and does it damn well.

Harlequins - Take note on the Shadowseer's abilities being changed yet again.  Looks like we're back to square one with 2d6x2 or no shoots.  Otherwise, they're exactly the same as they were 3 editions ago.

Wraithguard - The improvement to D-cannons is something to take note here:  S10 AP2 is a much stronger statline than it was before.  It still has the 6s ID and gained 6s to auto-pen.  However, I don't think with S10 AP2 guns that we'll take advantage of the 6s to pen unless you're fighting something more Apoc flavored.

Wraithblades - The melee version of Wraithguard is pretty interesting.  You can give them pseudo TH/SS with the axes and 4++ invul, but I'm not seeing the value of CC Wraithguard because I'd rather take the shooting variant.  Why would you engage in melee when you would rather shoot people with S10 AP2 guns?  Seems a little weird to me.

Fast Attack

Swooping Hawks - Much better than they were before.  When they come in, they come in without scatter and drops a large template S4 AP4 blast that ignores cover.  Haywires, decent weapons and the ability to just hop out of there and precision contest later makes these guys good.

Warp Spiders - Really solid unit that puts out a large number of monofilament attacks at ranged.  With Battle Focus, these guys gained a lot of mobility and can cause some serious damage when they land.  With the Monofilament rule giving you +1S on the weapon if you're shooting at I3 or lower and 6s AP1, I think Warp Spiders are going to be fantastic in this new book.

Shining Spears - I never liked them, but I think they have a use with Skilled Rider and AP3 lances on the charge.  They do their job at killing MEQ well, with the Star Lance doing enough damage to rear-pen most vehicles.

Crimson Hunter - The fluff is amazing and the rules itself are quite nice.  However, you're still paying 160 points for an AV10 vehicle with no Holofields or anything.  Why?  I have no idea why there's no vehicle upgrade options for these guys.  Skyhunter with 4 S8 AP2 shots (can be BS5, 2 of them are Lance) is enough to do some serious damage to most fliers, but these guys die insanely quick to volume of fire or Quad-guns.

Vyper Squadron - Pretty solid shooting platform with Jink and BS4.  Scatter Lasers having Laser Lock really helps up their damage output when you factor in the BS increase.

Hemlock Wraithfighter - Just.. not good.  The fluff behind this piece had so much promise too!

Heavy Support

Dark Reapers - Solid anti-infantry units at long range with the ability to take multiple ways to deal long-ranged death.  However, I'm hesitant on their price and resilience compared to other heavy weapon options. Overall, not bad, but I don't think these will see much play over vehicles and Wraith units.

Vaul's Wrath Support Battery - Cheap artillery units that competes with a lot of the more mobile options.  I would probably just stick with the Guardian heavy weapons over these.. although adding a bunch of D-cannon templates into the fray can really do some work.  That's what the Warp Hunter is for right?

Fire Prism - The Fire Prism is now an all-star as far as heavy choices go.  The different firing modes are now S5 AP3 Large Blast, S7 AP2 Small Blast, or S9 AP1 Lance all at 60".  You don't need to take 2 to get mileage out of this unit and with affordable Holofields and Spirit Stones, I think Fire Prisms are going to be the go-to unit for handing out multi-purpose pain.

Night Spinner - Monofilament as an torrent option and as a Large Blast option is always good.  S7 base gives you the potential for S8 AP1 hits on 6s on select units, and that's ID range for a lot of threats in the game.  The price allows this guy to fit in most lists as its utility is really top notch.  I like it.

Falcon - I wish these guys went to dedicated transports, but I can see why Kelly wanted to keep these guys in Heavy.  The Pulse Laser is a strong choice along side the Scatter Laser, and the reason why the transport option is good is that Fire Dragons always find a home inside the protection of this main battle tank.  The fact that Falcons are flexible is the reason I think they stayed a a heavy choice, although I feel that if they moved to Dedicated it wouldn't be so bad.

War Walkers - Price has increased, but they gained Battle Focus, cheaper weapon options, Fleet and 5+ ward.  This basically makes them a better quality unit that you pay a little more for.  Other than that, these guys are just as good as before, but now can function as heavy weapon platforms due to BS4 and better weapon prices.

Wraithlord - The same old Wraithlord is now S8, but has a cheaper way to buy into heavy weapons and melee options.  Just as good, very few changes here.

Wraithknight - Not bad at all, but I think the Wraithcannons can be better.  There is the Suncannon/Scattershiled variant, bu unfortunately, this jumps their price up considerably and I'm not really feeling that's needed.  I mean, when you can take a singular Wraithknight with a Suncannon, you can have 2 kitted out Fire Prisms with 3 different firing modes.  I'm not too disappointed because they can still move around the battlefield quickly and punch/shoot things to death no problem.


Aun Va said...

Nice review over the units. One of my regular opponents just bought the codex and this really gives me an idea of what I'm up against. Just a little sidenote though, you might want to check the FAQ. I'm not sure the Night Spinner has the torrent option anymore. I believe that might have been a mistake.
Then again I don't have the codex in my hands, so I don't really know if this is the correct weapon.

Discordian said...

You forgot support weapons. The base weapon got a awesome boast in rules.

Kill Maim Burn said...

Nice review, but I think the death scythes of the wraithguard deserve mention. AP2 flamers? Yes!! Jump out of a waveserpent and melt some face

HERO said...

That's the Shadowweaver, the Night Spinner is using a Doomweaver.

Aun Va said...

Whoopsies! That's what I get for only playing Tau.

Slicksauce said...

Weren't Wraithlords always S8/T8?

HERO said...

No, they were S10 before.

Les said...

They got an extra attack though, and a master crafted weapon so cheap its an auto-include. Shame Wraithguard/blade units can't mix and match weapons - 'course I can say the same for terminators.

I'll be getting a wraithknight, but I'm more likely to FIELD a Fire Prism or Warp hunter.

Learn2Eel said...

Nice, I agree with most of your summations. The Fast Attack and Heavy Support sections are the real winners for me, though I think any army that can spam Divination psykers out the wazoo with strong firepower to match is going to be very strong if used correctly. No doubt they remain very much a finesse army.

Alsarion said...

Nice initial assessment. I think it's a shame that Banshees are still so trash - even with +3 to their runs, Battle Focus and Fleet. Nevermind - back to the shelf they go!

Can anyone tell me why Guardian Jetbikes have Battle Focus? I mean... they can't run! Other than that I think they're amazing.

I really like the book so far though. Need to get some test-games in.

Draxynnic said...

On the Falcon: I think under the current rules and with the buff to the Wave Serpent, it's pretty much redundant. Against most targets, a Wave Serpent using the 'shoot my shield at you' option represents a greater quantity of firepower (average of 4-5 shots at S7AP- versus 2 at S8AP2, and the other primary weapon is twinlinked) and while losing the shield is a downside, the Falcon doesn't have the option to give up firepower for durability.

'Bout the only time I can imagine using a Falcon with the current rules is when you really need a Marine-killer and a transport, and can't spring the points to do it properly with a separate Wave Serpent and Marine-killing Heavy Support.

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