Sunday, 26 April 2015

New Eldar Codex: Craftworlds review part 2 - HQ, Troops and Elites

On to part 2 of my Codex rundown. It's a gorgeous book there's no denying and some changes are fantastic in how they reflect the unit role. However, some units may simply be too good for their points now as we'll see.


Eldrad Ulthran: Took a 10 point price drop but also lost the path beyond (although an eye on distant events now resembles that). Aside from gaining access to sanctic, Daemonology, nothing else has changed with Eldrad. 

Prince Yriel - no different.

Illic Nightspear: While most things remained the same, there are a few changes here. Master of pathfinders now only allows rangers in Illics unit to all gain sharpshot, which is the same as before. Walker of the hidden path is different in that it no longer allows other Ranger units to deep strike within within 6" of Illic. Lastly, voidbringer lost distort (which no longer exists) and gained voidshot, which makes to wound/penetrate rolls of 6 instant death/auto-penetrate.  

Asurmen: Pretty much the same except that shield of grace is now a pimped save that is 4++ normally and 3++ in combat. His Hand of Asuryan rule now doesn't demand he be the Warlord but still gives D3 traits. He also has both defence tactics and counter-attack as standard.

Jain Zar: Mostly the same Disarminging strike is now a bit different in that no test is required to remove one of your opponents weapons for that phase at a -1A cost to Jain. She also benefits from the Banshee rules war shout and acrobatic which are discussed under banshees. Her Banshee mask is a mix of old and new, denying overwatch and also granting -5 to WS/I to all enemies in 6".

Karandras: He's dropped a scorpion claw in points but also had a few tweaks here and there. He retains all his equipment and special rules as well as gaining shadowstrike (see Striking Scorpions) and hunters strike, which allows him to automatically arrive turn 2 if held in reserve. He can move on from any table edge and can imbue this upon a unit of Striking Scorpions as long as no other ICs are attached. Scorpions bite has changed also in that he inflicts a single I10 wound on a 2+ (4+ for gargantuan) which ignores armour, so a fair improvement unless you're taking on vehicles. Still as deadly as before, maybe even more so now. 

Fuegan: same price as before, Fuegan has a few changes. He no longer has fast shot or crushing blow but instead gains crack shot, allowing a single to hit/wound/pen roll to be re-rolled per turn. Unquenchable resolve remains the same as does the fire axe. Still a beast to be feared. 

Baharroth: a power fist cheaper now, this chap has had one significant change. Night vision is gone and hit and run is now a standard ability. Crucially, battle fortune is also gone, denying him a 4++. Skyleap is now incorporated into swooping hawk wings and he also has herald of victory (see Swooping hawks). The shining blade remains the same as does suns brilliance. The weakest of the Phoenix Lords, Baharroth Doesn't seem to bring as much to the table as his fellow Phoenix Lords sadly.

Maugan Ra: Same price and now has night vision as standard. Relentless is gone but was kind of pointless anyway. He lost fast shot but instead got Whirlwind of death, which allows him to fire twice but at different targets. Marksmans eye is also gone. The Maugetar go an overhaul no doubt inspired by the shreiker cannon carried by death jesters. The melee profile remains the same, and the standard profile lost pinning, but it can also choose to fire a shrieker round which is pinning, rending, AP5, poisoned 2+ - if it kills the target then a large blast is centered and units suffer S4 AP4 ignores cover hits. I've never been particularly enamoured with Maugan Ra despite the awesome model and I suppose he's a bit better now but I'd be more inclined to take one of the melee orientated Phoenix Lords over him. 

Autarch: A few subtle changes here as well as a great new model. The warp jump generator got 5 points cheaper, the jetbike option is now incorporated into its own profile as an autarch skyrunner, the path of strategy is now called the path of command and lastly he gets the option for a fusion pistol in addition to the other options.

Farseer: Again, a few subtle changes. The skyrunner is again a seperate profile but costs the same. The psychic powers now include sanctic daemonology and instead of paying for rune upgrades, they are now a free inclusion grouped together simply as runes of the Farseer. These are quite different now and instead of being one use only items they instead allow you in EACH psychic phase to reroll any number of dice in a single psychic test or deny the witch roll. This is a fairly significant bolster but it also states that the 'model' may, which in my view means you can only deny maledictions or witchfires against the Farseers unit or reroll tests for that Farseers powers.

Warlock Conclave: Formerly Council, the Conclave works a little differently now. You don't attach them to individual squads any longer but field them as a single entity with the upgrade Warlocks being part of the individual squads. They too have the skyrunner option, which is all or nothing, as well as access to sanctic. Most importantly, the size of the squad influences the mastery level. 1-3 (1), 4-6 (2) and 7+ (3). But there's more. This only affects the amount of powers you can draw, the number of models in the squad determines the warp charge which is a huge boost to the eldar warp charge pool.

Spiritseer: The Seer is very much the same except that it too gains access to sanctic and no longer makes wraith units troops. Lastly, Spirit mark now works against all enemy units within 12" of the Seer, still allowing rerolls on 1s to hit (in any phase) giving an un-needed boost to wraiths.


Windrider Jetbikes: And here's where it all starts to go a bit wrong. These chaps were always too powerful in my mind in the previous edition. In addition to being super fast and having twin-linked bladestorm weapons, they had an armour save on par with space marines that defied every other bike unit in the game who either retained their riders armour or had it improved by one point, not two. The new bikes don't even look as heavily armoured as the old either. My feelings were that the 17 points either had to be upped to nearer 20 or, even better, the armour dropped to 4+ and left as is. Neither of those have happened. They have remained unchanged, and worse still, now can take a heavy weapon on each and every bike in the form of not only a shuriken catapult, but a scatter laser also. How many other bike units in the game (aside from attack bikes) have unrestricted heavy weapon access. despite the 10 point cost you can now put out an insane amount of s6 firepower from one unit. Add in a few Eldar psychic boosts and that becomes ridiculously powerful. Bad news for the balance scales, good news for sales of jetbikes and red paint I think.

Rangers: Pathfinders are now gone unless they happen to be Illic's unit, so no more upgrading them for 13 points each to gain sharpshot and shrouded. Then again, realistically this was a huge tax to pay for those perks and so getting them as a free upgrade for Illics squad is a nice trade-off. More importantly, Rangers now get shrouded as standard instead of stealth for the same points.

Guardian Defenders: No real changes except for the scatter laser becoming 5 points cheaper (but lost laser lock) and the Warlocks becoming a squad upgrade again.

Storm Guardians: Same change to Warlocks as with Defenders above, with the only other change (which is nothing to do with the finecast pack size I'm sure) being the unit starts at 8 not 10.

Dire Avengers: Same base cost and price to upgrade the Exarch, except (as is now the trend with Aspects) the Exarch got a hell of a lot better and more straightforward to equip. Weapon options are the same but instead of having to pick Exarch powers he now simply comes with battle fortune as standard, giving him a 4++ (great when paired with a diresword). It gets better - the Exarch now has 2 wounds as standard! This is a new trend among codexes which makes models like the Dark Eldar Klaivex and all Space Marine Veteran Sergeants look rubbish by comparison for the same points (curious to see if this changes in the next marine dex and then gets FAQd for the others). Also worth noting is that all Exarchs now have the same armour as their aspect. Back to the Avengers themselves, no longer do they have counter attack, but instead gain defence tactics - this gives them the option to either overwatch at BS2 or gain counter-attack and stubborn. Some really nice and streamlined changes (which follows through to all the Aspects here) which really make squad leaders stand out as being special.


Howling Banshees: Always a point of contention in an Eldar Codex, the question is are Banshees now playable? I would argue very much yes, but maybe not the assault transport auto win that many players wanted. They, like many of their aspect cousins, now play like the Aspect is described in the fluff. They've dropped 2 points a piece and now have banshee masks that negate overwatch fire and cause fear. The acrobatic rule now means that they add 3" to their moves when they run and charge, making them slightly faster than before. Also, this rule negates the terrain penalty for initiative, which was much needed. The Exarch, like the other Exarchs, has lost access to buying powers and simply has war shout, a -2 to enemy Ld in combat. She does, however, retain the same options as before and gets 2 wounds. I think Banshees have definitely changed for the better and will be much better off in this edition, especially if you ally in DE Raiders for the assault vehicle.

Striking Scorpions: Another unit that seems to have changed for the better. The points remain the same but the shadowstrike rule now means that the unit also has shrouded until it first fires or fights in combat. Combined with fleet, stealth and infiltrate this makes them a dangerous and well protected alpha strike unit while the rest of your army gets in position. The Exarch now gets stalker as standard, which has changed to allow 1 bonus attack in the first round of a challenge for each point of initiative you are higher than your opponent - great against Necrons, Tau and Orks. These chaps now seem divergent enough from Banshees to play them in completely different roles. I think an Aspect formation with 2 small unit of Scorpion supported by a full strength unit of Banshees would be a lot of fun.

Fire Dragons: These guys have gone from expert tank hunters to possibly the best tank hunters in the game to the point of overkill. The Exarch gets crack shot (yay, it's back) as standard now, allowing him to reroll one failed to hit/wound/pen shot per turn, where the squad as a whole gains assured destruction, which grants a mighty +1 on the damage table (so +3 - land raiders beware!)  I always take a unit of Fire Dragons and will continue to do so now except that the Exarch upgrade is a lot more appealing.

Wraithguard: Oh dear oh dear. This is one of those units which will make people hate playing against Eldar. Nothing has changed, except that they can no longer be taken as troops. Oh, and did I mention they now all pack D-weapons!?!?! As in destroyer, not distort. I'm trying not to jump on the broken bandwagon but it just seems that with the manoeuvrability granted by wave Serpents (effectively a 24" threat zone) you're going to be terrified of these guys. But, on the bright side they will only kill 5 guard or 5 space marines at most per turn, keeping your expensive elites and especially vehicles out of the way is the big problem. If only there were a way you could make them more effective against infantry. Oh wait, you can upgrade them all to carry D strength template weapons for the same price! Sure they minus 1 from the destroyer table giving you a 1/3 chance of escaping unscathed. And you only use S4 for instant death purposes. But still, their effectiveness against vehicles is now huge, as is their charge resistance given that they can throw up D3 D-strength wall of flame hits against you. I'm not the best 40K tactician, but the way I see of dealing with these things is to focus on crippling transports early then keep your distance and use high strength, low AP to take them out. A basilisk or something like that would be ideal. The problem is that a small unit with D-scythes and a Serpent is still only just over 300 points so you're going to have to neglect a large portion of the army (and limit where you're able to assault) if doing this. Definitely one of the winners in this Codex, arguably too much so.

Wraithblades: Gained rage and dropped a couple of points each. Pretty decent for their points but would you really choose them over Wraithguard?

Phew, that's part 2 over with. Part 3 will cover everything else. Cheers.

1 comment:

  1. Great review. Son plays Eldar, so know 6th codex well. Got a game against Eldar at local club tomorrow. Know mate bringing bikes, Wraithguard, wave serpent, and Hemlock. Will be pleased if I make round 3...