Tactica: Eldar Seer Council on Jetbikes

tactics
The much maligned Warlocks are actually a powerhouse unit when used correctly. Read on for more info!

The Deer Council
by: Grant Theft Auto from the Road to the Las Vgeas Open blog
Edited by Reecius from Frontline Gaming

Are you tired of your failing seer council? Are you frustrated with the randomness of the warlock powers you roll? Well, there is still hope and I’m going to tell you why! So grab your popcorn, put some new shorts on and go dust off those old warlocks because the whole band is back together and they’re better than ever.

Now before I start, this is my only warning; this is an extremely strong and competitive tournament build. This is the kind of build that makes your friends want to flip the table when they lose two riptides and a fire warrior squad in a multi-charge turn 2 and put the middle finger up at you indicating that you, sir, are no longer their punching bag!

Now what is the Deer council? If you haven’t seen any of my video battle reports at Frontline Gaming, or battle reports on Dakka or you haven’t played against someone who runs one then it’s a brand new concept to you. The Deer council is essentially a mix of the big three; Farseers, Warlocks, and the Baron (Dark Eldar +Seer Council). This synergy between the big three is essential to giving this death star its super strength. I’m going to explain the big three and tell you their weaknesses and strengths not because I want to ultimately ruin my run at tournament dominance but to help people understand why the council can be so dominating if played by the right person. So, first off every good death star needs a good start and without the Farseers nothing else would matter.

Lets start with the ones that lead the pack; the Farseers.

Starting from the top:

  • Stats are decent
  • Comes with witchblade/ shuriken, ghost helm, fleet and automatically level 3 physic
  • Has access to powers from Runes of Fate, Divination, Telepathy

Not bad choice for an HQ. Now when you upgrade him you get lots of options some notables are:

  • Singing Spear, Jetbike
  • Runes of Warding, Runes of Witnessing
  • Remnants of Glory

Now when I run my Farseers I run two, both on Jetbikes, both have Runes of Witnessing but each one has different weapons. First off my warlord always switches out his shuriken for the Shard of Anaris. This makes the Farseer a real threat in a challenge against monstrous creatures and strong HQ’s. The next thing is extremely important, the Shard makes the entire council fearless. My next Farseer is equipped with the Fire Sabre, the only AP3 weapon that the Farseers can get. I put them both on jetbikes which is essential because it adds mobility plus it gives them a 3+ save and makes them T4.

Now when rolling for powers at the beginning, your first goal is to get fortune. Sadly without fortune your council has to be played a little bit more fragilely. Between the two Farseers you should get it once. The point of having two Farseers is to up your chances of getting fortune. There is always that one game when you will not get it and things suddenly are a whole lot tougher. After you’ve rolled fortune then it’s up to you to roll on the other charts. I usually go for Telepathy because I’m a huge fan of puppet master and terrify because the ability to take away a unit’s fearlessness is huge when considering assaulting it. Also the ability to take over your opponents the vehicle, Riptide, or Wraithknight and to destroy his own units is always priceless.

So now that we have the Farseers, now we need the bulk of the council. That’s where the warlocks come in.

Starting from the top:

  • For a command add on unit they have a good stat line, notables are WS4, I5, BS4, fleet but only LD8
  • They come with a witchblade/shuriken, 4++, and are Level 1 Physic
  • Can access powers from the Runes of Battle

Can be upgraded with:

  • Singing Spears and Jetbikes only

When you construct this unit, your primary goals is to increase your chances of getting the powers you want but also to increase the amount of bodies to soak up fire and perils of the warp. Keeping this in mind, I usually take a minimum size. if I’m going to include one in my list then I always include at least 8 warlocks. I then go ahead and upgrade them all to ride on jetbikes, this is the upgrade that makes this unit amazingly versatile and tough to take down. Just like the Farseers the warlocks gain a 3+ save and become T4. Now let’s talk about the one thing the council have benefited most from this new codex, the introduction of their own unique physic powers.

When you’re rolling for power at the beginning of the game the council’s powers become a huge role in how you run it. When I roll for powers, I always try to get some key powers that benefit the council. One important one is the Protect/Jinx power. This power is huge it makes your council a 2+ save, or it -1 save to an enemy within 18 inches. I once rolled four of these in a single game and made a riptide a 6+ save. Don’t underestimate this power; it makes your witch blades become extremely deadly against terminator like enemies.  The rest of the powers are nice and they complement your council nicely, some notable ones are Empower/Enervate which gives you an extra punch in against vehicles or on your Hammer of Wrath hits. Another is Embolden/Horrify, this is a huge one that helps win multi assaults or paired with Terrify from the Telepathy chart helps you run an enemy off the board. Recently I used this combo on Aun’Va and a castling Tau player to get rid of the LD10 stubborn bubble that the army uses. I cast Horrify on him twice, which then dropped him down to LD4 stubborn and cast Terrify on him to make him run off the board edge. This is also effective against Demons and their instability check when assaulting them, you can eliminate more of them through a LD test then potentially the combat itself. The next power I’m a huge fan of is Destructor/Renewer, this power is huge it allows you to put down a S5 AP4 soul blaze template or revive a wound to anyone wounded within 18 inches. When I get two of these I usually put my Farseers in front to tanks wounds from smaller strength weaponry. The last power and the second most important power is Conceal/Reveal, this gives the council Shrouding or take away Stealth and Shrouding to an enemy within 18 inches. I always have at least two or three of these in my council, depending on who I’m playing. Every time the council moves an inch they get a 5+ jink save, now when the Barron is in the council they gain the Stealth bonus from his special rule bringing them up to a 4+ cover save. Lastly when you cast conceal on the council they gains shrouding which brings their save up to a 2+ cover save. Now when you have eight to ten warlocks rolling for powers at the beginning of games the odds of getting all the powers that you want go up. Now you’re starting to get the picture of how the Deer Council works, but don’t forget the last piece that makes this whole death star work; the Baron.

The Baron is the single most important unit to making this whole thing work, without him everything crushes inward from the lack of special abilities that the council has. Let’s show you why.

Starting from the top:

  • Dirt cheap point wise
  • Decent statline for a Dark Eldar HQ S4 from Hellglave, T3, LD9, A4, Power from pain, Skyboard
  • 2++ Shadow field
  • Give units he’s joined with; defensive and offensive grenades
  • Stealth
  • Gain +2 Strength on the charge with his skyboard
  • With new GW FAQ, he adds +1 to your roll for determining who goes first
  • Hit and Run

The Barron is a huge gain for all the amazing things he gives to the council and did I mention he is a real bargain at a little over a hundred points. First off when you’re rolling for who goes first he gives you a tiny bonus of +1 to that roll. Going first is huge with the council it allows your precious Warlocks and Farseers not to get alpha strike by your opponents big guns before your council can get their powers up.  Next up, even though the Barron can’t turbo like the rest of the council he still keeps up with the back of the council with his 12 inch movement on his sky board. One key thing about the skyboard is that he doesn’t lose his fleet while on it because the rest of the council has fleet also. Now in the rule book it says you can’t run on bikes, but if everyone in the squad still has the fleet special rule then you can use it to reroll your charge distances when getting into those long multi assaults. Next thing that the Baron gives to your squad after they’re in close combat is the ability to Hit and Run away from the combat to bounce off to a weaker unit or set yourself up for a bigger multi charge so that you can wipe out multiple enemies. I have used this plenty of times to hit multiple weak units that are suddenly unprotected by their screen or counter assault units.

And don’t forget about those Grissly Trophies! Wow those things help this unit as they allow you to reroll psychic checks. Also, the warlord trait that allows them the Warlocks to test on the Farseer’s ld is amazing!

This unit is a true deathstar. It can be incredibly difficult to destroy and if you get +1 armor save and Fortune, they are effectively immine to small arms fire. Even AP 2 has to get through the 4++ reroll, and if you position the Baron correctly, a 2++ reroll. Doesn’t get better than that.

The unit doesn’t have amazing offense but they pack a wallop with fleshbane attacks, and a lot of them. With rerolls to hit and possibly to wound, you really maximize what offense they do have, and lowering enemy armor saves can be huge, too. This unit can and will win you the game on its own, and has done so for me many times.

Be wary of massed AP 2 attacks, Mind Strike Missiles are murder (although the Farseer can use his Ghost Helm to tank a lot of the wounds if positioned correctly) and getting alpha struck on turn 1 before you get juiced up is a real threat.

Here’s a video battle report of the unit in action, and check out my blog for tons more content on this unit and how it works in my list!

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About Reecius

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

36 Responses to “Tactica: Eldar Seer Council on Jetbikes”

  1. kalhoun August 29, 2013 10:12 am
    #

    Are you allowed to roll psychic powers one at a time? I’ve always done it like a split-fire shooting attack, and said putting 2 on this chart and one on this.
    It’s a pretty nice advantage if you’re lucky with getting fortune on the first roll to then put the other dice where you want them.
    Great writeup.

    • bogalubov August 29, 2013 10:22 am
      #

      I did the whole split-fire approach as well, but now that I read the rules, I have no idea where I got that idea. In the back of the rulebook in the section where it lists the psychic powers it says:

      “first choose one of the psychic disciplines known to the Psyker. Then, roll a D6 and consult the chosen psychic discipline;”

      “If the Psyker needs to generate more than one psychic power, repeat the above process until a number of psychic powers have been generated equal to the Psyker’s Mastery level. Note that second and subsequent psychic powers do not have to be generated from the same psychic discipline as the Psyker’s first power.”

      The more you know.

    • Reecius
      Reecius August 29, 2013 10:30 am
      #

      That is the way you should play it, yes. You roll one at a time and decide if you will swap for the Primaris and then move on. It really does help to get a good hand of powers.

      • kalhoun August 29, 2013 12:16 pm
        #

        Fair enough.
        Another case of RTFM 🙂
        Thanks.

        • Reecius
          Reecius August 29, 2013 2:12 pm
          #

          NP =)

  2. Alex Yuen August 29, 2013 10:47 am
    #

    I just did a quick math here. That unit is over 850 points? just want to confirm that setup.

  3. jy2
    jy2 August 29, 2013 11:25 am
    #

    It is truly a nasty deathstar right up there with Draigowing and the Farsun Bomb. It’s biggest weakness is probably Shadows in the Warp by tyranids but the way Grant’s army is configured, it’s got enough poisoned shooting to deal with a lot of the tyranid Shadows units from range.

    BTW, there is a mistake in the article. Empower/Enervate does not affect Hammer of Wrath hits, as that is based on your unmodified strength.

  4. bogalubov August 29, 2013 11:32 am
    #

    The space pope should not have run off. Stubborn allows him to take morale tests ignoring any negative modifiers. I would say that Horrify is a negative modifier.

    • jy2
      jy2 August 29, 2013 9:10 pm
      #

      That is incorrect. Stubborn ignores negative modifiers only for the purposes of Morale. It still uses the unit’s base LD. Horrify has nothing to do with Morale. It affects LD before taking into account Morale, psychic tests, mindshackle scarabs, etc.

      Thus, cast Horrify on a Space Marine character and he is now LD7, which essentially becomes his base LD. His unit then gets into combat and lose by 5. They are still testing Morale on their base LD, which is currently LD7.

      • bogalubov August 30, 2013 10:04 am
        #

        I don’t see it that way.

        Horrify says “One unit within 18″ has -3 Ld”.

        Then Terrify is cast on the same unit which is “Furthermore, it must immediately take a Morale check.”

        That goes back to Stubborn which allows you to take pinning and morale checks ignoring negative modifiers. -3 Ld sure sounds like a negative modifier, hence you ignore it. Then you proceed to test on your regular Ld of 10.

        The space marine example isn’t applicable here. Regular marines don’t have stubborn, only DA do. So yes, Terrify/Horrify will work on them. Also in your example, after losing by 5 the marines would test on LD 2. If they did have stubborn, they would be testing on their regular Ld of 10.

        • bogalubov August 30, 2013 10:07 am
          #

          Forgot to include this in the previous comment.

          The Horrify/Psychic shriek combo would work just fine against the space pope as the 3D6 roll for psychic shriek wounds is not a morale or pinning check. Just not the Horrify/Terrify combo.

        • jy2
          jy2 September 1, 2013 12:20 am
          #

          Space marines can be Stubborn with Lysander, Pedro or an IG Commissar ally.

          This is how I believe Stubborn works.

          As with all 40k characteristics, each trait is state-dependent. For example, you shoot my 3W character and I take 1W. You then assault my character. My health doesn’t go back to 3W just because I haven’t been wounded in combat yet. Before you got into combat, it was at 2W remaining and that state continues until my character is healed (or until the effect ends if it is only temporary).

          The same goes with LD modifications. What is the LD of the unit before you cast Terrify? It is at LD7 due to 1 application of Horrify. Basically, that is its current state, or that is its current LD even if the unit has Stubborn. It is a LD7 Stubborn unit and from then on, will be taking Morale or pinning checks based on LD7. Now negative modifiers cannot reduce this LD any further (i.e. losing in combat), but basically this will be the new “starting point” for all Morale tests made by this unit until the effect of the psychic power wears off.

  5. Black Blow Fly August 29, 2013 7:33 pm
    #

    I don’t think you treat psychic tests as a leadership test .

    • Reecius
      Reecius August 30, 2013 9:18 am
      #

      You actually do! I couldn’t believe it, it makes grisly trophies like, broken good. Check the BRB, they redefined psychic checks.

  6. Baal Viper August 30, 2013 7:17 am
    #

    I see the very fact that it is possible to get a 2+ rerollable save on an entire unit as a design failure by GW and fonestly feel like this unit and Screamer Star are both gimics that should not be allowed in the game. Mathmatically, it’s absurdly hard to do anything to. Thats not fun or fair to someone playing a normal army. It’s just a clear rules writting oversite that is being abbused…

    • Reecius
      Reecius August 30, 2013 9:19 am
      #

      I totally agree. It is downright fun killing. You have to kill the bearer or the Grimoire if at all possible, baring that, kill Fateweaver to try and take away the reroll. It is just stupid, it shouldn’t be in the game, IMO.

  7. Hotsauceman1 August 30, 2013 8:07 am
    #

    Wait, Does the baron get a Re-roll. It says the second he fails his Shadowfield save it goes away.
    Doesnt the power that grants you the re-roll says you re-roll failed saves? with that wording im not sure he can re-roll it.
    Correct me if im wrong

    • Reecius
      Reecius August 30, 2013 9:21 am
      #

      The reroll happens first, and if he fails it twice, it counts as a fail. By your logic, if you had a reroll armor save ability, but failed the first save you would take a wound immediately, and the reroll would be moot.

  8. D.J. September 2, 2013 6:05 am
    #

    I just ran this deathstar at NOVA, and it performed admirably well.

    Even on games when I did not get Fortune, I was able to make the jetSeer council + Baron work through the sheer flexability.

    My favorite moment with them was when HulkSmash dropped a squad of DA in my back lines. I doomed them, jinx’ed them, fortuned a venom and blasted them right off the table.

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 2, 2013 8:22 am
      #

      Yeah, that is such a nasty combo! The Seerstar is absolutely brutal, very difficult to deal with when fully juiced up.

      • D.J. September 2, 2013 9:24 am
        #

        If you want to see an example of how it worked out, you can look on the 11th company streamcast. I was on table 1 in the first round.

        • Reecius
          Reecius September 2, 2013 9:35 am
          #

          Nice one! That must have been fun. We will check it out.

  9. D.J. September 2, 2013 6:06 am
    #

    Errr….I guided the venom 😀 Need more coffee

  10. Kaldor Draigo September 2, 2013 9:57 am
    #

    Both the seer council and screamer star are balanced. It is over 800 Pts to bring those units to the table. And they have counters, you just have to know what you are doing.

    They are designed to be played against other tournament players, not little johnny with his new Space Marine battleforce.

    And, GW knew exactly what they were doing with those rules. They wrote daemons of tzeentch re-rolling 1’s, grimoire, and divination all together purposefully. It just took a while for people to figure it out.

    A fully kitted out Draigowing is worse in many ways.

    • Reecius
      Reecius September 2, 2013 10:00 am
      #

      I can’t imagine you really feel those invincible units are balanced? Truly? I mean, they are beatable, but you have to be a VERY good player and be very lucky to pull it off. So much of it is luck dependent which is what frustrates me. If the deathstar player gets the right powers, goes first and doesn’t fail any of his critical roles (psychic powers, grimoire, etc.) it is almost impossible to defeat those units. That isn’t fun in my mind or balanced. It requires just dumb luck to beat.

      • steven morrow September 2, 2013 1:10 pm
        #

        Unfortunately if a codex doesn’t have those kind of combos in them it is considered a failed codex by the Internet.

    • Caldria September 2, 2013 1:29 pm
      #

      It seems that there are so many vastly differing opinions on this unit. Many people believe the entire unit is rendered useless without fortune, and others that the unit is overpowered.

      does fortune really take this unit from useless to Godlike? Is there no middle ground?

      I’m fairly new to Eldar, and have taken a liking to Ulthwe – and I was kinda sad to see that the seer council seemed so bad without jetbikes (I dislike jetbikes a fair amount, not in terms of their stats – they are certainly amazing with fantastic mobility – but I just don’t like bikes/jetbikes in general)

      Other than the seer council how does one really bring the Psychic might of Ulthwe to the board.

      anyways, I’m pretty amped to try this unit out (Even if it means the use of jetbikes) – you guys here at frontline gaming seem to be the most level headed out of most fo the other sites out there – willing to look at all units fully without dismissing them at first glance, and I love that keep it up! ^^

      I’ve come to really love your guys’ tactics discussions and batreps.

      • Reecius
        Reecius September 3, 2013 8:57 am
        #

        You really need to try it in reality before passing judgement. It is a very luck dependent build. If you go second or don’t get Fortune or the 2+ armor vs. a shooty army or powerful assault army you can get rolled hard. If you get the right powers and go first, the game is often just going through the motions as you already won.

        You need to watch out for Nids and Fiends, Rune Priests, etc. Things that can stop the psychic powers. Things that have a high volume of AP2 attacks can also be brutal as that is what will smash you up in assault.

    • Baal Viper September 3, 2013 5:01 am
      #

      You can tell yourself that it is balanced if that makes you feel better but the fact is, may codicies in the game simply do not have the tools to deal with these rerollable 2+ units. you have to put on 36 WOUNDS to do anything to them when all the powers go off correctly. Draigo and his Paladins can be taken down with conventional means, mostly focus fire/ multiple angles of attack with S8+ AP1 or 2.

      It is a failing by GW to alow such combos in the game and it is an easy buttom to bring an army like this. You will not auto win, but barring bad luck you have a huge advantage based purely on resiliance of the unit.

      If you are willing to bring these super broken units you have ceased to play the game for the purpose of challenging yourself as a general and winning a fair game by using your tactical skill. At that point you only care about winning, regardless of the methods you have to employ in order to win. As a result, many armies that very skilled players have invested much time and effort into building and playing are unable to be competative in the current meta. Not because of any lack of skill, but simply becasue they do not own the new easy botton armies. This has an end result of alienating people from tournaments and making sure you only see 3-5 different armies in top brackets instead of seing all codicies represented (so everyone could play what they like and still have a fair shot). 2+ rerroll units are DETRIMENT TO THE GAME.

      • Reecius
        Reecius September 3, 2013 9:00 am
        #

        I agree with your analysis and your angst on the matter to an extent (and man, I have been there myself MANY times as a dedicated TAC player). It is silly to have armies like this, what’s the point? You either get lucky and steamroll your opponent or you don’t and get owned. Seems like not much fun to me personally, but it takes all kinds. The one thing I can say, is that it is very gratifying to beat these types of armies.

  11. Dash2021 September 3, 2013 12:08 pm
    #

    Once the new codex hit, I dropped my Seer Council I’d been rocking since 3rd. Not because it was broken, but because there was just so many more goodies in the codex I wanted to use. From 3-5th there wasn’t a reason to not run it, most of our units weren’t that good, so why not ? Now we have so many viable options I just don’t want to limit my lists by sinking in all the points.

    However, having played a council for so long I felt I needed some sort of hammer unit in my army. Enter Shining Spears. These guys fill the same roll, but for nearly half the cost. Two Seer’s is a must, and you do need to roll Div to get precog to bring them into Council survivability range (though skilled rider +Baron is 3+ cover at all times), but it’s a great substitute. It’s not as good as the council, but it’s also half the points. But mainly, it lets me play the same type army with more options/less table flipping.

    Glad to see people are keeping the real deal alive and well in 6th, but I’d encourage you to test out the pseudo-council. It’s not as frustrating to play against, but allows you to play/practice the same general tactics.

  12. GeneralSmooth September 4, 2013 5:26 am
    #

    I’ve been out of the game for a while but I think a shattershard would make short work of them?

  13. Moridan October 11, 2013 7:18 am
    #

    I plan to run the dual Farseer council with 6 Warlocks, and had a couple questions.

    1) I plan on giving my non-warlord Farseer the Shard in case he dies in a challenge, but for the points, would you give the other Farseer a special weapon like the Firesabre (or one of the new Iyanden weapons) over giving him and some Warlocks Singing Spears?

    2) When you roll powers for your Warlocks, is it illegal/dick move to roll them together and then pick which rolls you want to switch out for the Primaris?

    Thanks!

  14. zed May 7, 2014 2:27 am
    #

    That part is for me very intersting “This power is huge it makes your council a 2+ save, or it -1 save to an enemy within 18 inches. I once rolled four of these in a single game and made a riptide a 6+ save” becose according to RBR only diffrent maladictions can stack.

  15. lemons October 18, 2014 8:31 am
    #

    Whats a baron for DE? I cant seem to find anything named that in their codex’s. Is it short for something? Slang? I can never remember nicknames/abbreviations……

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 18, 2014 2:25 pm
      #

      Baron Sathonyx, the Hellion character.