Saturday, 25 April 2015

New Eldar codex: Craftworlds review part 1 of 3 - overview and wargear.

Well, once those Harlequins dropped we knew it was coming soon, but with the old book being barely 2 years old it is still hard to believe that the new one is upon us already. Not only did this release bring a new codex to us, but a new set of datacards and some new models too. With Eldar being one of the more powerful books out there, this release had a lot to deliver in terms of re-balancing the game. Let's take a look firstly at the book and cards, then the models, and then finally the rule to see if everything lived up to expectations. Seeing as this is more of a (ill-thought through) tweak than a major update I'll only talk about things in detail if anything has changed - if not I'll simply write 'same', and obviously all harlequin stuff has gone from the book.


Well, I loved the old codex cover and the new one is equally gorgeous, portraying a Saimm-Hann Warlock rather than Ulthwe Farseer. The newly rechristened Codex Eldar: Craftworlds is quite the tome, weighing in at 33% bigger than the previous incarnation and being on par with codex Space Marines. A price increase came with this of course but page for page it's better value. Let's not forget the datacards too at this point, which grant Eldar not only the tactical objective deck but also the two disciplines established in the previous book, bringing them up to date with other armies. It's also worth mentioning the very pretty and overpriced Ltd edition, which has of course sold out immediately.

On to looking at the Codex in more detail now then. If it wasn't for the fact that they're effectively the first army to get a update to an existing hardback, then I'd be really excited about the book. As it happens it's still a really nice book and divergent enough from its predecessor to be worthwhile. The first section deals with the background and the Craftworlds, with double page spreads for each of the 5 main Craftworlds and smaller sections for the lesser ones. We then move on to the new trend of computer generated pics of Different colour schemes for both the Craftworlds and Aspects. Some interesting ideas in here and the pics are a bit higher quality than with some other previous instalments. We are then treated to some glorious full colour pages focussing mostly on Saimm-Hann. We then move on to data-slates rules in the usual format. and My biggest complaint about the book both picture and rules-wise is that Alaitoc yet again seem to be underrepresented. I should be used to it by now playing both them and Iron Hands but never mind. Still, a lovely and chunky book sure to please Eldar fans, tho I confess I preferred the old cover a bit more.  


Well, they're finally here and after almost two decades of waiting the Eldar have finally  got the Jetbikes they deserve, and they look great. They fit nicely with both the Dark Eldar and Harlequin designs and finally give the Eldar that sleek, fast look that they deserve. Essentially the same sprue x3 in a box, they also have the option for a scatter laser or shuriken catapult each (more on that later) and are compatible with the guardian box set to add variety. Finally, we are also treated to a plastic set for either a Farseer or Warlock on a jetbike in the form of the skyrunner. This is a slightly more detailed jetbike with a single body, just with a different rune and head for each and the option of either a singing spear or witchblade, plus different vanes for the bike. Bizarrely, the old finecast jetibike autarch and shining spears have been released packaged with the old jetbikes - a bit odd and lacking in uniformity but there you go. A canny hobbyist could always convert the shining spears/autarch onto the new jetbikes or use the regular jetbikes to double up on seer council models using greenstuff. Lastly, we are treated to an elegant, gorgeous Autarch model which has swooping hawk wings, a power sword, mandiblasters and a fusion pistol (new option). Very nice model and bringing the range a step closer to plastic perfection.


Army special rules:

Battle focus - same.
Ancient doom - same.

Warlord traits:
1 - Ambush of blades - same.
2 - An eye on distant events - now D3 units gain scout.
3 - Falcons' swiftness - Now add 3 not 1.
4 - Fate's messenger - same.
5 - Mark of the incomparable hunter - same.
6 - Seer of the shifting vector - now 12" not 6".

Maelstrom missions:
11 - Legacy of sorrow - 1 VP if an enemy character was removed
12 - Skyborne assault - 1 VP if an enemy unit was destroyed by an Eldar skimmer/jetbike. (3+ = D3)
13 - Khaine's wrath - 1 VP if an enemy unit is successfully charged. (3+ = D3)
14 - Guardians of the hidden path - Roll a D6 - 1VP if no enemies in 12" of that objective at end of turn.
15 - Strands of fate - Roll D6 - +/-1 if Warlord is a psyker - ! VP if you control that objective at end of turn.
16 - Combined strike - 1 VP if you destroy a unit in psychic/shooting/assault phase. D3 if any 2 of these phases. D3+3 if in all 3 phases.


Remnants of Glory:
Kurnous bow (replaces Mantle of the laughing God, 10pts) - 12" rending pistol, S4 AP3.
Shard of Anaris , Uldarnoreth Long rifle, Faolchu's wing, Phoenix gem, Spirit stone of Anath'Lan, Firesabre - same.

Ranged weapons:
D-weapons - all same except strength is now D (!) for all of them. Scythes -1 on the D-table.
Eldar missile launcher - Flakk missile now called starhawk, plasma no longer pinning. It also appears the EML comes with all 3 types of ammunition now as standard.
Laser weapons - same except for scatter lasers which no longer have the laser-lock rule.
Monofilament weapons - same profiles except that the spinnaret rifle and doomweaver no longer have pinning. Also, the monofilament rule has changed. It is now AP2 on a 6 (unless would be higher) and you now roll the weapon strength vs the initiative of your opponent. (toughness still used for instant death) There is no strength boost vs vehicles now.
Reaper launcher - same except starshots no longer have pinning.
Shuriken weapons - same. Bladestorm unchanged.
Vibro cannon - same but worded in a less confusing way.  

Fusion weapons, Prism cannon, Ranger long rifle, Starcannon/Suncannon, Tempest launcher - same.

Melee weapons:
Biting blade, Chainsabres, Diresword, Executioner, Ghostweapons, Mirrorswords, Powerblades, 
Laser lance - impact rule is gone so now they're always AP3.

Scorpion chainsword, Scorpions claw, Star lance, Triskele, Witch staff - same.  

Armour - all same, but note thataall Exarchs now have the same armour as their aspect. 

Treasures of vaul:
Banshee mask - now cause fear and prevent overwatch fire if even one model has one.
Grenade pack - now barrage but otherwise the same.
Heavy weapons platform - now counts towards morale checks but no mention of transport capacity.
Mandiblasters - now wound on a 4+ (Gargantuan 6+)
Swooping Hawk wings - now move 18" as jump infantry and has skyleap incorporated into the rules.
Warp jump generator - same except that now it needs a double 1 to kill a member of the unit.

Eldar jetbike, Forceshield, Ghosthelm, reaper rangefinder, Scattershield, shimmershield - same.

Vehicle equipment:
Holo-fields - now provide a 5++ unless immobilised
Mindshock pod - models within 12" -2 from their Ld, morale, pinning tests.
Serpent shield - defensive mode still downgrades penetrating hits to glances on a 2+ but the shooting attack is now (thankfully) one use only and 24" range and is S6 AP- assault 2D6 strikedown, so no more pinning.

Crystal targetting matrix, Ghostwalk mantle, power field, spirit stones, Star engines, Vectored engines - same

Psychic powers:

Runes of battle - all the same

Runes of fate - all the same except for the following:
2 - Doom - now warp charge 2
3 - Will of Asuryan - blessing targetting psyker - fearless and admantium will for all units in 12"
4 - Is now fortune (death mission gone) and is the same.
5 - Mind war - same except no penalty to the Farseer for losing.
6 - Eldritch storm - now has 2 profiles and has changed. Warp charge 3 is 24" S3 AP3 fleshbane, haywire, large blast, pinning. Warp charge 4 is an apocalyptic blast.

Well that's a fairly brief overview for the global changes to the book. Some changes for the better so far but will this hold true for the individual units in the book? Next time I'll look over the HQ, Troops and Elites choices available until wrapping up in part 3 with Fast, Heavy, Lords of war, Formations and the Warhost.

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