Monday, March 11, 2013

Eldar List and Battle Report

Greetings Gentlereaders,

If you've been reading the rumor mill lately you may share my excitement as to the upcoming release of the Tau and Eldar codices.  Until these rumored books drop, or even more than rumors appear I'm trying to get the current books to work in new and interesting ways.  Recently Godfrey and I had a game where we both took our oldest armies, allied in some 5th edition friends and went at it.  While the game turned out to be a rather neat table for Godfrey I think I came out with some new knowledge as to how to run my eldar and how best to run the army's concept, at least until the new codex drops.

I would place the eldar codex squarely in the lowest quarter of codices for competitive gaming at the moment, with companionship from the orks and sisters.  Sisters are arguably a very playable and decently strong codex, if forced into using units in very specific ways.  Orks are very much the same as they were in fifth edition, with their waagh! changing but their codex adapting to a more infantry-centered metagame with numerous troops units.  Eldar have seen more changes than Orks and seem to be in a similar situation to sisters, but with much higher prices.

In comparison to more recent codicies, eldar seem to need to be used with at least one farseer to buff most units to viability.  In fifth edition, the strength of the army was its ability to protect its farseers while they guided their shooting units and doomed their targets from transports.  This strategy was weakened by the hull point system, with the durability provided by the holo-field falcon being basically nullified, and then destroyed with the latest FAQ.  The thought of an entirely psychic race making all of their vehicles into no-ships would make some sense in their fear of Slaanesh, but it is monstrously destructive to a mechanized eldar army like mine.  So I had to take my army back to its roots and run the seer council I loved.

I started eldar and eventually space marines to have an army that played differently conceptually than my tau's sit-back-and-shoot style.  My eldar evolved along the same style as my tau, being mechanized infantry that tried to keep its distance, but did not start there.  The seer council was one of my first buys for the eldar since they were both psychic and at first glance very potent in close combat, things that tau lacked.  I soured on the unit after playing it a few times against dramatt's blood angels and Godfrey's templar when they first were being built and finding that a single assault marine unit was usually more than a match for a mid-sized seer council for about two-thirds the price.

Eldar have received a good bit of help from sixth edition, unfortunately I found this help to be very tricky and of questionable effectiveness.  I tried to bring back my seer council with the aid my the dark kin, since I think tau would be mostly hampered by bringing eldar allies and are in a passable enough spot that I can run them without allies.  In the game with Godfrey I tried bringing a seer council with Baron Sathonyx along with a void raven and fire dragon squad manning an aegis line with quad gun and using Eldrad to throw at BRB powers.  Some of these come from old rules being updated in the BRB, others based on the having access to battle brothers with a newer codex.  So Godfrey and I lined up my eldar against his templar and grey knights and fought it out.  I got a good look at Godfrey's templar and the weaknesses of the list I was running and some mistakes I made.

The first mistake I made was to begin Sathonyx with the seer council.  He needs to be with the council for the council to benefit from his phantasm grenades and hit and run rule, but if he is with them before hand then he prevents them from utilizing their jetbikes to move outside the movement phase and they prevent him from running.  The second and third mistakes were in list construction: I brought troops that were little more than wound markers and a full squad of fire dragons that sat outside their effective range.

The heart of the concept was to hope Eldrad rolled Invisibility (he didn't) and let the seer council run around fortuned and hunting down enemies with spears and witchblades while the void raven and fire dragon exarch used tank hunters and crackshot to keep the skies clear.  I've already pointed out the troubles the seer council had, but the exarch lost to Godfrey rolling Perfect Timing and bringing a vindicare, making it able to destroy any single wound model with no save except invulnerables on a 2+.  The same power allowed Godfrey's jokaero squad eliminate my guardian jetbikes similarly and leave me with no chance to take his base while his dreadknight stormed my base, denying Eldrad's attempt to make him hallucinate twice.  The game ended with Godfrey losing single digit models with my army being reduced to two jetbikes and the seer council locked in cc and outnumbered, at which point I conceeded.

I'm back to square one with 40k right now with the process of learning how my armies work again.  Sixth edition's  seems to have made the game slower and more time consuming while I'm waiting for codex updates to bring my armies in line with newer armies so that I can lose based on my own failing rather than the codex's.  I know I need to improve my tactics, but I may have to get those honed on the new DA book so I'm not putting myself at two handicaps.


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