Monday, 27 April 2015

New Eldar Codex: Craftworlds review part 3 - Fast, Heavy and Formations

Phew, 3rd and final part of the review is here chaps. Without further ado:

Fast Attack:

Wave Serpent: As with other books, the transports have moved to fast attack. The serpent itself is a little cheaper and mostly unchanged. The weaponry on the other hand is significantly different, meaning no more twin-linking everything with scatter lasers and firing Serpent shields every turn. Much more balanced and IMO no returns to being a transport first and gun platform second. At last something in the book that has been toned down!

Swooping Hawks: They were vastly improved in the last book and this book is no different. The grenade pack changed a bit (covered above) and swooping hawk wings changed to incorporate skyleap (yay Autarchs) as well as making them 50% faster. Herald of victory has the same rules but changed to become the Exarch ability. If all that wasn't enough, another big change here also. Intercept was a rule that disappeared last edition but is now back. These guys can now make a S4 AP4 haywire attack at the end of the movement phase against any flyer or FMC they move over. It hits (side armour) on a 4+. This is huge seeing how devastating haywire is with the hull points system. Given that there's no points increase I'd say Hawks are one of the winners of this Codex.

Warp Spiders: A great unit last edition, these chaps have also had some tweaking. Same price and a few subtle wargear changes, such as monofilament weapons no longer having bonus strength and now wounding against initiative characteristics instead - no different for your average guard or marine but better against necrons and worse against SM Heroes and other Eldar. The Warp jump generator no longer kills you as easily anymore. Here's the really nice change I like though. Flickerjump (stupid name) allows you to warp jump in the enemies shooting phase when it is first targetted, although it only moves 2D6. The firer then cannot choose another target if out of LOS or range. This then precludes the Spiders from using the WJG next turn but still, what a great and fluffy rule (makes me think of the DOW2 intro). Iron resolve has now changed to allow auto passes for pinning , fear, regroup and morale checks if you take an Exarch. All else remains the same.

Shining spears: Again, wargear changes combined with subtle rule changes. The Spears are the same price and are now always AP3 in combat not just on the charge. They retain outflank and skilled rider but in addition now have Acrobatic grace, granting them a permanent 4+ cover save when they move, meaning you don't always need to jink. Also, the Exarch gains expert hunter which allows rerolls to wound against MCs and to penetrate against vehicles. Nice.

Crimson Hunter: Now 20 points cheaper, I've always loved the Hunter and now do even more so. Mostly unchanged, except that perfect strike is now replaced with the Exarch ability Marksman's eye, which is the same as the Exarch ability from the previous book.

Vyper squadron: Got double the max squad size but otherwise the same.

Hemlock Wraithfighter: This unit stayed the same price but got a boost in the form of ML 2 for the pilot and access to Sanctic same as the other Eldar Psykers, but lost auto-terrify. Nice for consistency seeing as it is a Spiritseer pilot. The Heavy D-Scythes also got destroyer profiles and the mindshock pod changed somewhat to be -2 rather than must reroll. It has one glaring weakness still and that is it is fragile as hell and if forced to jink will be unable to fire it's scythes (plus it can't target other flyers). Auto spirit stones compensate for this somewhat in that you can likely negate stunned/shaken. Not much use to you if you're a) dead or b) have jinked though really.

Heavy Support

Dark Reapers: Another one of the books winners, Reapers got a 5 point price drop and also gained a few abilities. The reaper rangefinder and ability to upgrade to starshot (Krak) missiles remains the same, as do the options for the Exarch. The new abilities are inescapable accuracy for the squad, meaning they reroll all to hit rolls against units that zoomed, swooped, turbo-boosted or moved flat-out, and fast shot for the Exarch which is the same it has always been. Reapers are deadly against bikes it seems by rerolling to hit if they turbo-boost, having S5 AP3 and also ignoring jink. Ironically, they seem perfectly geared up to killing Windriders.

Vaul's Wrath support battery: No real changes except to the Wargear, and boy are D-cannons scary as hell! As the only gun upgrade that costs, they nearly double the cost of the unit, but a large barrage D-weapon is pretty darn terrifying and I suspect these things will be used to great effect as midfield deterrents. 

Falcons: Grav-tanks got a big change this edition which was expected last edition. They can now be taken in squadrons of 1-3. Aside from a few weapon options points, nothing has really changed except for the Cloudstrike rule. This grants the squadron the ability to grant a maximum size squadron the ability to deepstrike without scatter. Ouch! Imagine dropping 3 of them full of Fire Dragons on your opponent in turn 2.

Fire Prisms: Again, same price and no real changes except for the perk of taking more than 1 in a squadron granting linked fire. This is like the old rule where only one of them gets to fire its prism cannon but can do so at +1S and -1AP for each linked prism. So effectively you could fire a S7 AP1 large blast instead of 3 S5 AP3 ones. Not really sure it's that great unless you want to keep one out of sight - probably best used in pairs than 3s as you get down to AP1 pretty quickly regardless.

Night Spinner: I love this tank and thankfully it has changed relatively little in this book aside from the monofilament rule being less effective against tanks now. They got a power weapon cheaper too and, like their cousins, can be taken in squadrons of up to 3. Like the prism they can effectively link fire using the monofilament shroud rule, which is cumulative as with the prism and adds 1 to both the strength and shots fired. So firing 3 using this rule would result in 3 S9 shots! This is pretty good and better than the Prism version IMO. It only takes 2 Spinners to get up to S8 and start easily penetrating vehicles and instant-death marine characters.

War Walkers: No change except scatter laser price going down and no flakk option as they're standard with EMLs now.

Wraithlord: No change except for scatter laser price going down.

Lords of War

Wraithknight: Well, it's elephant in the room time. Some of the decisions that I've discussed in the book so far have been contraversial, but none so much as the Wraithknight. It was suspected that it would get Gargantuan creature status and indeed it did, making it able to stomp its way through infantry, making it resilient to poison/snipers/instant death and also granting it feel no pain (plus some other things I'm sure I've forgotten. But it did get a price rise mind to just shy of 300 points. Considering what it can do that seems on the low side already. But wait, there's more. There are 3 weapon options: suncannon and shield, which are unchanged; sword and shield, thought the shield now has Destroyer status as it rightly should at the size of a tank; and 2 heavy wraithcannons. Yes, so you can independently target two vehicles a turn and erase them from existence (assuming you hit and then don't roll a 1) and then, assuming you paid for the now useful shoulder weapons, shoot a 3rd (and 4th) target before charging and stomping it. Ouch! Compared to the pricing you get on other units in the game that is pretty insane. There's more to this story which makes it even more ridiculous but I'll cover that below. This is seemingly a unit with no drawbacks, although if I run one I will do so with the suncannon and shield to make it less ridiculous.

Avatar of Khaine: Always a favourite unit of mine, I couldn't help but feel the last few times I used him that he lacks a bit of punch compared to other MCs. Thankfully the new book has addressed this as the wailing doom now grants him +2S, making him S8 both at range and in melee. In addition to fearless, his 12" bubble now grants furious charge and rage to nearby units making him a lynchpin of an Eldar foot army. His only real downside is that he competes for the Lord of war slot with the Wraithknight, but the Warhost negates that as a problem. He can no longer purchase Exarch powers, but it's not like he really needed them in the first place.  


Guardian battlehost: The first of the formations is pretty rigid in its design. It comprises 1 Farseer, 3 Guardian defender squads, 1 Vyper squadron, 1 unit of War walkers, 1 Vaul's wrath support battery and 0-1 Warlock conclaves. Although there is flexibility of size within the individual squads, it is still quite a restricting formation. Our time of need grants free weapon platforms to the Guardian defender squads, while Vaul's might grants the Vypers, War walkers and Vaul's wrath batteries preferred enemy when shooting at units within 12" of Guardian defenders. So one rule is effectively a discount on wargear while the other is a fairly fluffy rule that represents the support units defending their bretheren. To be fair, Grav tanks, wraiths and Aspects aside this makes up a decent core for an army and encourages the use of units that wouldn't necessarily see much battlefield use otherwise. 

Windrider Host: From Ulthwe to Saimm-Hann, the Windrider host is a fast, mean and cruel thing. Take the already very powerful Windrider jetbikes x3, add in a Farseer and Warlock conclave on jetbikes and a unit of Vypers and you're left with a rapid army packed with psychic potential and S6 firepower. Tempest of blades is the perk here that once per game (if the Farseer skyrunner is still alive) allows you to add shred to all shuriken weapons in the formation. Not much use if you opted for the scatter lasers, but if you went for shuriken cannons (or even went bare bones) then it's a nifty boon. 

Guardian Stormhost: Very similar to the battlehost, except swap Guardian defenders for Storm Guardians. They also get Vaul's might, which is called close support but does exactly the same thing. Instead of our time of need they get Bring forth the torch, which is similar in principle in that you get 2 free special weapons and 2 free power swords per Storm Guardian squad, which is better value than the Defender support weapon free upgrade. It's a real shame that there wasn't simply one formation which allowed free mixing and matching of Defenders and Storm Guardians as then I would have been tempted to use it. As it stands I'll pass but if you're one of the few people out there with 3 squads of storm guardians then you might want to consider this.

Seer Council: This formation consists of 2 Farseers (one may be Eldrad) and a Warlock Conclave (3 minimum) and are also restricted to an all-or-nothing policy with regard to jetbike upgrades. Now for the perks. The Farseers may not leave the unit, Warlord trait may be rerolled and, crucially, psychic tests are harnessed on a 3+! This is pretty huge and will allow Eldar to dominate the psychic phase, with a max strength Seer Council having 16 warp charge (17 with Eldrad).

Aspect Host: A very powerful little formation, it is really flexible in that it allows you to pick any 3 units of aspect warriors. The only restriction is they must all have Exarchs (which to be fair you'd want anyway nowdays) and in return they all gain shrinkeepers (reroll failed morale, fear and pinning tests) and rites of battle, which grants them all either +1 to WS or BS. This is pretty huge and will reward groups of aspect warriors being clumped together, such as Banshees and Scorpions in one host, Fire Dragons, Warp spiders and Dark reapers in another. I get the feeling that those competitive players not running wraiths and jetbikes will be packing Aspect hosts as they take already good units and make them even better.

Dire Avenger Shrine: To represent the numerous Dire Avenger shrines, you can also run this Formation which is 3 units of Dire Avengers, only one of which may include an Exarch. As well as the shrinekeepers rule, they get rites of the Avenger (+1 BS) and killing strike, which allows a once per game assault 3 round of shooting rather than assault 2. A great formation to load up on the dire avengers if you like to play them and some great perks. I think I'd more likely run them as part of an aspect host as above but still worth considering.

Crimson Death: 3 Crimson Hunters (one must be an Exarch), which while excessive grants both preferred enemy against flyers and FMCs as well as granting a permanent 4+ cover save, re-rollable if the model jinks. This makes them vastly superior against other flyers in conjunction with their normal rules as they can effectively evade at will then fire back without penalty (and indeed a much better than average chance of damaging enemy flyers). 

Wraith Host: Oh dear. If you didn't think there were enough broken combos in the book yet then wait for this one. A formation consisting of a Spiritseer, Wraithlord, Wraithknight and 3 units of Wraithguard or Wraithblades. You gain not only battle focus but also get the range of wraithsight extended to 18". So you're destroyer weapons now have an even greater threat range and also can reroll to hit so long as the Spiritseer stays alive and close. Ouch! (It gets even worse below)

Eldar Warhost Detachment: Now we've talked about the contents of the book and the formations, it's time to look at the Eldar version of the Decurion. The Warhost is much less flexible within the individual formations (as you can see above), but still retains flexibility as far as what formations you want to choose. Unlike the decurion, there are 3 core detachments to choose from, which are a great way to represent either an Ulthwe (Storm host), Saimm-Hann (Windrider host) or any other Craftworld with the Defender host. You can pick 1-3 of these as your core Guardian Host detachment. Next there's the 0-3 Command, which can be either a Hero (Autarch/Eldrad/Yriel/Illic), Seer Council (2 Fareers and 1 Conclave) or Living legend (Avatar/Phoenix Lords). Again, this can be tailored to suit the particular craftworld, with Heroes from 3 of them, the Seer council being very much Ulthwe and the Legends being ubiquitous, maybe more suited to Biel-Tan.

Lastly there's the 0-12 auxiliaries, made up of the other formations mentioned above (Aspect host, Dire avenger shrine, Wraith host, Crimson death) and 3 others, namely engines of Vaul (1 unit of grav tanks), Outcasts (1 unit of rangers) and Wraith constructs (A hemlock, wraithlord or Wraithknight). So with regard to the Warhost it's pretty much all or nothing if you want wraithguard or guardians/jetbikes, but within that you can tailor everything to your craftworld. It sadly also allows you to take shedloads of Windriders and as many Wraithknights as you want. I almost forgot to mention the perks (yes, there's more), namely Matchless agility, which means all units automatically get a 6" run without the need to roll. Yes, that's it, making Wraiths (and everything for that matter) that much quicker and deadlier. Example builds:

Iyanden: Guardian battlehost, Yriel, Wraith host and several Wraith constructs.
Alaitoc: Guardian battlehost, Illic, Outcasts, Aspect Host, Engines of Vaul.
Biel-Tan: Guardian battlehost, Avatar, Aspect host, Dire Avenger Shrine, Engines of Vaul.
Saimm-Hann: Windrider host, Windrider host, Autarch Skyrunner, Aspect host, Crimson death.
Ulthwe: Guardian stormhost, Guardian Battlehost, Eldrad, Seer council, Engines of Vaul.


Overall I love this release. The models are great, a lot of the unit changes are also. There are of course a couple of things that stand out as being ridiculously overpowered which is a real shame considering how much thought has been put into other areas. This is magnified exponentially when you start putting things into formations and then into the Warhost. I personally am going to avoid the Warhost and formations where possible as I think they only add to the imbalance and will make Eldar less fun to play against. The Wraith host, Aspect host and Windrider hosts particularly, though I may use the Aspect one simply to fit in as many Aspects as possible into a list. Hoping to get a game in ASAP to try things out. Cheers.


  1. Hiya, thanks for a most useful overview which helped clarify a few things in my own mind.

    One small point: the Communion of Minds rule means that warlocks generate one warp charge per warlock (regardless of mastery level), so the full strength seer council generates 16 charges (17 with Eldrad)

  2. Cheers Barry, overlooked that one by the time I got to the end of the reviews. Very Eldar to have that many wc points but also hugely powerful. The jetseer council is alive and strong it seems. Glad you found them useful. I always find writing the reviews helps me to get my head around things. Cheers.

  3. I like Craftworld ulthwe and I know that they specialize in Warlocks, Farseers and black guardians. They do have aspect warriors but are they are lacking in it. Should I add a few aspect warriors?

  4. Hi Miguel. Afaik ulthwe do indeed specialise in seers, with guardians making up the majority of their other armed forces. The new book states that they do indeed suffer from a lack of aspects as a result and that the guardians compensate for that. No reason you can't field as many aspect as you want tho. There's so many to choose from and the rules are so fluffy now that it'd almost be a sin not to.

    1. Thanks. What does living legends formation do exactly. The codex never states what it does

  5. Hi Miguel. The living legends option is an auxiliary slot in the warhoat detachment. No formation perks.

  6. So I am here just thinking out loud:
    So basically Hemlock just became psychic bomber you generate two powers from: 1 from Telepathy and 1 from Runes of Battle. Then you chance them both into primaris. Thus your flyer having shroud and easily 2+ cover saves when jinking and then you fly around if not jinking, blasting with 2 heavy scythes and then force unit make 3d6 leadership against their LD remove number of models that exceed the leadership (this is fun against Orcs and Guards, not so much against Crons) and if unit has models left it has to do LD - 2 on their LD if not fearless and still 12" or less from Hemlock... as with heavy scythes you are most likely 12" apart from unit as wraithscythes still have 18" range... After all people have focused on Wraithknight and Jetbikes. Hemlock is expensive but has just become force multiplier that can cause terrible damage. Even more than some other noted Eldar units... and side note: Warpspiders just became also premier MC hunters. Hunting everything from Carnifexes and wraithknights down to Talos' and Canoptec Spyder's 2+ Its quite big boost and will make Hivemind cry against bloody tears....