Why I love the Eldar Codex

Hey everyone, Reecius here from Frontline Gaming to talk about why the Eldar codex is such a fantastic book.

Ah the Eldar codex, this thing is such a beauty! Great fluff, great rules, so much fun to play. Really just a magnificent codex and one that I personally will hold all others after to as the bar. Phil Kelly, you’re my guy, bud! Every now and then you deliver a hyper OP unit (Super Falcons and Dakkafexes in 4th, Long Fangs and Deff Rollas in 5th, Hell Turkies in 6th, etc., etc.), or a flat-out disappointing book (Chaos, whhhhhyyyyy?!?!?!) but when you hit your stride bud, do you ever hit it.

Much like the Dark Eldar book, which he also wrote, this is in my eyes a masterpiece of the codex writing art. Why? It lets you play the game in a wide variety of ways with themed lists that are also good on the tabletop. I was told once by a gentleman that talked to Mr. Kelly about this exact topic who said that when writing a codex Phil thought up a certain number of lists within the book he would like to play (I believe it was 9 or so) and then wrote the rules to allow you to play all these different ways with a single book. I think that is a really sound strategy as it forces you to not only make every unit viable, but viable for multiple lists and play styles.

One of the things I like most about this book is that every single unit is good. For once, they actually pulled it off. I almost don’t believe it, but so far it has proven to be true. Nary a Warp Talon or Kheradruakh in sight! Some units don’t scream power right out of the gates, but upon closer inspection you see that they actually do all have uses. A perfect example is Swooping Hawks. At first I thought they looked pretty crummy, but upon seeing them in action and thinking about their uses further, I realized they’re actually a game winner.

While they won’t kill a lot of stuff, they are fantastic skirmishers to go hunting back field units and they will mince any tank in the game with ease. However, the real ace in the hole is the ability to sky leap turn 4 and then come down with certainty turn 5, without scattering, drop an ignores cover pie plate on an enemy unit, shoot the same or another unit and then contest an objective anywhere on the table! Not bad, not bad at all.

The units strike a really fine internal balance and each have their place. For example, I wrote off Warlocks with their low leadership and high cost. However, when taken as a Deathstar they are BRUTAL. Grant, a member of our tournament team, uses an old school Jetseer Deathstar and if anything the unit got better. Now granted some units clearly stand out as amazing, like Warp Spiders, but there are no stinkers in there that I would never use.

Things like this just go to show that you really need to rethink how to use units in the book in the context of 6th ed before judging them. I also thought Autarchs wouldn’t hold up compared to the Farseer and Spiritseer, not that they were bad just not as good, but upon further play-testing I found that the good old Autarch adds a lot of utility where he lacks brute strength. In fact the choice of HQs is MUCH harder to make than I initially had thought. They all have their utility and uses.


More so than ever with Eldar, you need to take a list that strikes a harmony between units. Eldar units are often individually weak (apart from the Wraith units, obviously) but when used to buff one another and working together to support each other, they form a seriously powerful army. There is no army in the game they can’t take head on and expect good odds of winning. I have been running mine through the paces against a wide variety of tournament players and lists, and so far have not found any big miss-matches. You can see some of our test games on our YouTube channel.

I really have to tip my hat to the design team for this one. The army is just great fun to play, does something in every phase of the game and can be played any way you want. You can go blazing speed and firepower with a mech list, hoof it with a colorful variety of infantry units, go uber resilient with a Wraith army or Deathstar list, dominate the psychic phase with a literal army of psykers, assault well, shoot well, play a tricky army or a blend of any of them. You name it, this book provides it.

So well done GW, please deliver more of this and less of the disappointing Chaos Space Marines and 6th ed will be a great edition.


About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

28 Responses to “Why I love the Eldar Codex”

  1. Gary Percival June 27, 2013 6:14 am #

    Id agree whole heartedly if it were not for one unit. Howling Banshees. I cannot get them to work…at all….. Its all well and good saying they are a counter attack unit,as some people claim, but when most army’s in 6th DONT WANT TO CHARGE YOU, then a counter attack unit is basically worthless. If they had some facility to become more aggressive and survive enough to be able to make it in to assault on your terms rather than the enemy’s then they could be usable. But they don’t – too squishy with no grenades and no way to get in to assault that doesn’t result in them getting shot at at least 3 times. Awful awful unit. Make “acrobatic” an ability that allows you to charge from a vehicle and then id say there were no duff choices in the book.

    Other wise, good article and i agree with you 99.666666 %

    • fluger June 27, 2013 1:46 pm #

      Agree here, this is the only turd in the book. Everything else is useful IMO.

  2. Shitty Bill June 27, 2013 7:43 am #

    Hey man. Just started following your shit and I’m lovin’ it. Keep that greasy business coming!

  3. MRC June 27, 2013 7:46 am #

    Hmmm, I have to agree… I think this is one of the best codexes out there, balanced exceptionally both internally (units compete well within their FOC) and externally (a very competitive chance against any other codex, but not auto-win by any means).

    This is like a teacher saying “If you correct this your term paper goes from a 98% to a 100% in score,” but if I could wishlist and change only one thing per FOC of Codex: Eldar, it would be as follows:

    HQ (non-unique)
    -Autarch — Can take any of the Exarch Powers (but not Iron Will or any of the Crimson Hunter powers) for same points costs as the Exarchs
    *Rationale: Gives Autarchs even more flexibility in their build and enables them to be taylored to support a specific unit, Aspect Warriors or otherwise, in combat. Fluffy and competitive option, I believe.

    HQ (unique)
    -Yriel — Has a special ability called “Master of the Fleet” which enables his army, if he is the WL, to bring in a single unit from reserves each turn (including Turn 1) without having to roll for that unit. All other units in reserve have to roll as normal (and are affected by his “The Path of Strategy” rule).
    *Rationale: I think Yriel is pretty decent for his points, but he just lacks that special bit of uniqueness that really makes a player consider bringing him in their army. This rule would be both fluffy for him and would truly allow Eldar players who chose him to master Reserve play, which I think would be outstanding for this codex.

    -Banshees — All Bashees (and Jain-Zar) gain the special rule “Howling Death,” which allows them to ignore cover when charging and prevents any enemu unit they charged from being able to overwatch.
    *Rationale: As many have noted, this is one of the few units that truly seems to struggle in the codex, both in terms of role and competitiveness. Letting them ignore cover on the charge and enemy overwatch tremendously buffs their usefulness, while not make them overpowered (still S3 and T3 with 4+ Armor Save)… plus, again, I think it fits with their unit design/fluff 😉

    -Windrider Jetbikes — Armor Save is reduced from 3+ to a 4+ save.
    *Rationale: While there are many very powerful, competitive units in the codex (Wave Serpent and Warp Spiders immediately jump to mind as almost too good for their points), I actually think Windriders are the most undercosted, especially given their status as Troops. Dropping their armor to a 4+ is in line with Guardians (usually more lightly armored than the rest of the army), reinforces their roles as rapid raiders (fast, deadly, but fragile), and tones them down just a little bit so they are not an “auto-take” unit every game.

    -Hemlock Wraithfighter — Heavy D-Scythes have range upgraded to 24″ and are Assault 2, vice Assault 1.
    *Rationale: While Terrify/PML(1) is the most unique part of the Hemlock, I think its role as a “bomber” is significantly undercut by the poor range and damage output of its primary conventional weapons. Hence, the buff to Heavy D-Scythes, making them genuinely a weapon to be feared and a factor on the battlefield. The Hemlock is still expensive points-wise and very fragile, so should not be over-powered, but still able to fullfill that “glass cannon” role, albeit more an an anti-infantry flyer than the anti-armor/anti-flyer role of the Crimson Hunter.

    -Falcon — Gains “Assault Vehicle” rule.
    *Rationale: A good vehicle, but seems to struggle with competition in the HS slot, especially against FPs, Night Spinners, and even against other transports like the Wave Serpent (which can hold double the number of models and is more survivable). Giving the Falcon “Assault Vehicle” status gives players a real reason to take it and a special niche within the Edar army, since this is the only way they can conducted mechanized assaults into close combat. Given that the Falcon can only hold 6 models (so no Wraithblades), this capability is tempered from being too OPed while forcing players to use them in a very surgical, Eldar-ish fashion… i.e. you can only take 6 Banshees or Scorpions or Harlequins and assault out of the vehicle, so players must employ a great deal of care and skill when doing this.

    PHOENIX LORDS [I broke them out because they are a “separate class” of unit in my mind]
    -All Phoenix Lords gain the rule “Disciples of War,” which gives the Phoenix Lord and any unit of his Aspect Warriors that he has joined the Preferred Enemy USR.
    *Rationale: While I think overall Phoenix Lords are pretty decent this time around (especially Karandras and Fuegan), this buff makes them better in both shooting and CC, giving them a slight edge in gameplay for their high points cost and also being fluffy, given that they are the total embodiment of the Eldar art of war personified. Allowing a unit of their Aspect that they have joined to also have Preferred Enemy is very fluffy, in my opinion, and gives players solid incientive to do this in actual gameplay.

  4. Gordy June 27, 2013 11:18 am #

    While I agree that pretty much every unit is usable (except Banshees, not in 6th edition anyways), a lot of units have some missed opportunities. Wraithguard/blades should be able to mix weapons. Autarchs should be able to share Aspect special rules if they’re attached to an Aspect unit, which would vastly increase the number of viable builds available to them. Falcons should probably be Dedicated Transports so there’s a reason to take them over either a Wave Serpent or one of the other HS slots.

    • Reecius June 27, 2013 11:44 am #

      I think the Banshees are good, actually. I have 6 going to try them out as a cheapo counter assault unit.

  5. David Key June 27, 2013 12:12 pm #

    Nice article. I could not agree more. I am glad you mentioned swooping hawks. Big sleeper unit. Given a few more dexes adding to the meta and I bet they make every tourny list even over warp spiders. The autarch with that 48″ run thing is also a big last turn contesting nightmare.

    • Reecius June 27, 2013 5:07 pm #

      Yeah, that wing looks like a lot of fun to use.

  6. kalhoun June 27, 2013 12:54 pm #

    I’d be happier with Heavy Wraithcannons on the Hemlock. It’s called a fighter, but you can’t even shoot blast templates at planes, can you?
    And you sure can’t shoot them if you evade. I have one, and used it in a few games, and it was disappointing as anything other than a flying morale sucker.

    • Reecius June 27, 2013 5:07 pm #

      Yeah, you can’t fire templates or blasts at fliers.

  7. fluger June 27, 2013 1:48 pm #

    Didn’t I post in that anti-air thing that swooping hawks are good now? Love love LOVE them. I wish I had the models. 🙁

  8. Rawdogger June 27, 2013 4:50 pm #

    Lol another eldar article?

    • Reecius June 27, 2013 5:06 pm #

      Haha, Raw Dogger, you are such a troll!

  9. oberonsd June 28, 2013 10:16 am #

    Struggling with my Avengers.
    In my old 4th ed list (i skipped 5th), I took 5 units of Dire avengers with the exarch & dire sword. Did this cause I wanted a little survivability if they got assaulted.
    Now, it seems almost like a waste to take the exarch. Keep them cheaper, and let other units get assaulted. Allows them to live and claim the objectives.
    But the exarch itself really seems to be built to be a tough HtH guy (unless you take the 2 cats)
    So seems like it could work either way. Which i guess does support your (everything is good) claim

    • Reecius June 28, 2013 10:52 am #

      I never bother with the Exarch. He doesn’t add anything I need from my Dires. His assault power is mediocre at best and the abilities are too expensive for what you get. If I need to assault, it is only as a last resort or against targets that are really weak, like Cultists or Fire Warriors, etc.

      • fluger June 28, 2013 1:29 pm #

        Also, DA have counter assault built in. And grenades. Not that they are a CC threat to most things, but they can credibly finish off weakened units without an Exarch.

        • Reecius June 28, 2013 1:35 pm #

          Exactly, and that is why I choose to keep them cheap, myself.

  10. Fulcrum June 30, 2013 6:08 pm #

    Wave Serpents are broken. Brutal going up against fully mech eldar with 4-6 of these on the table. Just another nail in the meq coffin. Even if they do fail the 2+ to convert to a glance, they can ignore shaken/stunned for 10 freaking points. As a marine player can I pay 10pts to ignore shaken on 2+/stunned on 4+ instead of the nearly useless converting stunned to shaken? The more codexes come out the worse DA looks. Wtf couldn’t they have given the LS vengeance the range of a plasma cannon? Ok sorry rant over for now…

    • Reecius July 1, 2013 9:06 am #

      Hey no worries, Fulcrum, my roommate (Raw Dogger) also plays DA and he is struggling, too. I think they can be very good, but they have crummy AA and limited builds. For example, I think one of the best things they have going is the Marine horde…which totally goes against the fluff! haha. WIth FW, DA are actually super good as it fills all the gaps they have. I have yet to see a Deathwing or Ravenwing army do well. They are just too expensive for the offensive output you get. I think those units can be good if you take 1 or 2, but that is it. Also, DA with IG allies is absolutely bad ass!

  11. InNoWay July 3, 2013 11:42 pm #

    Hurray for the new Eldar Codex. But all of that fluffy synergy, TAC talking I think is a bit over the top. The Codex is just plain turbo strong. Let’s just wait a few moth and we will see what turns out to be the new pop star of 40k.

    • Reecius July 4, 2013 9:15 am #

      Wave Serpents are the only unit in there that is super duper powerful, IMO. I think that other than that, the rest of them are pretty fair. But like you said, time will tell.

      • Gargh July 5, 2013 9:39 pm #

        I’m late on this one, but if you happen to see this, would you mind mentioning how the Jetseer Council worked? Warlocks have some neat powers, sure, with Protect in particular being nasty on bikes, but I’m not quite sure what the unit does now. It can’t drop flame templates like it used to, Warlock powers aren’t all that reliable, and the Farseer has a decent chance of not getting Fortune… so what does it do?

        • Reecius July 8, 2013 3:36 pm #

          Grant has been doing really well with it. With 2 Fraseers if you get Fortune, wow, that unit is so ridiculously durable. He uses it to assault and kill things and also to hunt key enemy units. He puts the Shard of Anaris in there also for extra punch and to make them Fearless.

          • Gargh July 8, 2013 6:35 pm

            Hmmm, thanks… but what if you don’t get Fortune? Is the result not just a pile of expensive dead Space Elves?

          • Reecius July 8, 2013 6:51 pm

            I thought the same thing, but Grant wins a lot with that army. You know what, I will ask if he wants to write a tactics article about it. I bet a lot of people, myself included, would be interested in learning more about it.

          • Gargh July 9, 2013 1:54 am

            That would be awesome, man. A lot of people seem to have dismissed the Jetseer Council due to the randomness, and it’d be great to have some ideas about how to make it work. Of course, it doesn’t help that despite being one of the most powerful and fun units in the codex, it seems to have gone about 20 years now without official models…

            Keep up the good work!

          • Reecius July 9, 2013 6:34 pm

            Thanks! And yeah, I will hit him up today.

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