Incoming Space Elf Pirate
Greetings from the depths of the webway! Zyekian here to put the new Eldar Corsair Codex on your plate, served up hot from Forgeworld’s new second edition of Imperial Armor 11: Doom of Mymeara. As always if you want to read up on more tactics check out Frontline’s Tactics Corner!
While this article will focus only on the Corsair section of the book, suffice to say that virtually everything within the covers was aggressively updated to the current edition of the game. IA:11 is packed with rules and story background reflecting a campaign Eldar, Corsairs, Astra Militarium, and Space Wolves. For anyone looking for a great read and especially new Eldar rules, this book is for you.
If you’re like most 40k players though you’re probably not too familiar with Eldar Corsairs. So who are these guys?
Corsairs are the Craftworld rejects
The outcasts. They’re the kids who sat in the back row of math class in their leather jackets, too cool for school. The rigid Path of the craftworlds is no place for these restless young Eldar minds, leading them to abandon their homes in order to indulge their impulses and take advantage of the freedom the galaxy has to offer. This wanderlust leads many to indulge their darker instincts and indeed Corsairs are much more akin to Eldar before the Fall than those of their recent heritage. Free from both craftworld and kabal, Corsairs ply the galaxy seeing their own unpredictable, often violent ends.
Even as a die-hard fan of Corsairs I’ll be the first to admit that their previous rendition fell short, like watered-down Eldar. Not bad but slightly cringe-worthy on the palate, Corsairs were the imitation crab meat of Eldar. Suffice to say this is no longer the case and what we have here is a full-blown codex. Grab your bibs and wet-naps, we’re having lobster tonight.
Laying out the scoop will require highlighting the three key aspects of the army: special rules, the Corsair Raiding Fleet detachment, and finally the function of the Prince.
Special Rules Overview
Corsair units are characterized by three unique rules:
- Reckless Abandon – It’s Battle Focus’ brother from another mother. When a Corsair unit shoots at an enemy within 12″ of itself it may make an immediate 6″ move (6+D6 for jet pack infantry) but may not move closer to the target unit. Note that this is not a run move like Battle Focus, therefore it’s still possible to run or assault that turn. Take a moment to let this soak in, as a jet pack unit can potentially move 32 inches (6″ move + 6+D6 reckless + 2D6 thrust move). And unlike Battle Focus jetbikes can use it. This is Warp Spider territory here.
- Dancing on the Blade’s Edge – As a reflection of Corsairs’ lack of discipline many of their units have a second, lesser leadership attribute used only for regrouping which looks something like 8/5 for a typical unit.
- Wild Psyker – Away from the safety of the Craftworlds, Corsair psykers tend to be untrained and flirt with dangerous powers. This plays out in a unique an especially deadly perils chart. Corsair psykers don’t take wounds when they peril, however as we will explore in part II of this series some fates worse than death…
Peg legs aside, the army is rooted in an array of boldly pirate-like mechanics right from the start.
The Corsair Raiding Fleet Detachment
- 1 Prince (unique by detachment)
- 0-1 HQ
- 0-1 Elites
- 0-1 Lord of War
Coteries: (1 Primary Coterie plus 1-3 Optional Coteries):
- 1 HQ
- 1-3 Troops (ob sec)
- 0-2 Elites
- 0-2 Fast Attack
- 0-1 Heavy Support
While the army retains its ability to take a CAD, the Raiding Company is what makes the codex hum. The Prince and his bodyguard are the glue that binds the rest of the Raiding Company together – and copious amounts of glue are needed. This is because the Corsairs are not a conventional military but a series of almost feudal coteries led by Corsair Barons, aspiring Princes in their own right. Such is the fractious nature of competing barons that coteries treat each other (but not the command crew) as Allies of Convenience. Likewise the Corsair allies matrix is that of Dark Eldar with the exception of treating other Corsair detachments as Desperate Allies.
Beyond their bickering the coteries bring a specialized combat techniques to the table. Each coterie selects one of the following special rules for itself (no duplicate selections allowed):
- Titan Breakers – All infantry and jetbikes in the coterie gain Preferred Enemy (tanks and walkers).
- Head Takers – During any assault phase when any model from this coterie is engaged in a challenge the entire coterie re-rolls all to-wound rolls of one.
- Vault Breachers – All models in this coterie gain dissonance charges that may only be used against immobilized vehicles, vehicles that did not move in their turn, and buildings. S2, AP3, unwieldy, roll 3D6 for armor penetration. If any of the dice roll a ‘6’, the strength of the grenade increases by 1 and the AP is improved by -1.
- Sky Burners – The coterie rolls D6 deep strike and may re-roll failed reserve rolls.
- Night Hunters – The coterie gains Night Vision and Preferred Enemy (everything) at night.
- Hate Bringers – Select a single enemy unit, if it’s destroyed by the end of the match gain +1VP. Additionally this coterie gains Hatred (that unit).
The Corsair Prince
The new Codex updates the Prince from zero to hero. He’s what the Archon should have been: a full-on force multiplier/potential beat-stick combo who sets the tone for the whole list. Princes are now the Altoids Mints of the Eldar universe, packing a curiously strong S4 punch within an otherwise-Autarch stat line. Combine this with a Void Saber (+1S, AP3, rending) and he’ll provide you with an entire season’s worth of mon’keigh mulch.
The Prince’s options also include an optional jetbike or jet pack, becoming a psyker with divination and telekinesis powers, and he always projects a 12″ bubble to reroll regroup tests. And it gets better as he also selects one of the following options:
- Seeker of Forbidden Pleasures – The Prince gains combat drugs and grants any other unit access to them for the price of a power sword each. Imagine Dark Eldar drugs while replacing the +1Ld roll with “roll for two drugs”. Yeah.
- Traveler of Forgotten Paths – Instead of firing, the Prince may place a webway portal marker on the map as an entry way for reserves. Additionally any friendly units within 3″ of the marker may enter ongoing reserves.
- Collecter of Ancient Treasures – The Prince may purchase relics from Craftworld Eldar, Dark Eldar, or Harlequin books. Additionally any character may add Master Crafted to their weapon for just a few points.
- Reaper of the Outer Dark – The Prince gains Rampage and any number of units may gain Rage for free. They get pretty bloodthirsty though and must assault anything within 8″. Corsairs are so mobile though that it shouldn’t present much of a problem to back up if need be. The best option is probably giving every unit Rage.
- Wielder of Profane Powers – The Prince gains +1ML, and and all psykers in the list gain access to Malefic Deamonology. A ‘6’ on the perils chart gets all your psykers possessed and forces them to cast at least one Malefic power per round using a minimum of two warp charges. If for some reason that’s not possible they become pinned.
- Survivor of the Endless Darkness – The Prince gains It Will Not Die and FnP, granting access to FnP to any character in the army for a few points each.
Forgeworld has done a first-rate job of translating the rich Corsair fiction into rules. The result is a weave of fluffy abilities from different aspects of the army, opening up a wide array of list possibilities both internally and in conjunction with other flavors of Eldar. The underlying mechanics play and more importantly *feel* like a band of nasty space elf pirates – what more could anyone ask for?
I hope you all enjoyed this article and I look forward to writing a part II rundown on individual Corsair units. Until then happy gaming and happy holidays!