Eldar Review: Heavy Support: War Walkers

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Hey everyone Clover362 here with another installment of Frontline Gaming’s review of the Eldar codex. Today, I will be writing about a gem of a unit from the heavy support section, War Walkers.  For more reviews and tactics articles make sure to check out Frontline Gaming’s Tactics Corner.

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Eldar War Walkers are fantastic,  they posses all the traits you want in a competitive unit.  War Walkers can be kitted out to have a defined role and accomplish specific tasks in your army.  They are points efficient (price paid for accomplishing the designed task) and they can take advantage of normal Eldar shenanigans to make them more resilient than appear at first blush.

 Over View:

War Walkers come in a unit size of 1-3 War Walkers at a base cost of 60 points per model.  War Walkers are open-topped walkers with AV10 all around and 2 Hull points.  They have ws/bs of 4, S5, A2, and I5.  I know at first blush that seems like a unit that will die from a stiff wind but War walkers wargear and special rules make them a lot more survivable than they appear.  A smart Eldar player will keep their War Walkers shooting and will have a unit that has a great chance to make up it’s points every game.

Wargear:

War Walkers come stock with two Shuriken Cannons and a Power Field.  You can sub out either or both of the two Shuriken Cannons’s for Scatter Lasers (free), Bright Lances (5 pts each), Star Cannons (5 pts each), or an Eldar Missile Launcher (15 pts each).  War Walkers can also purchase any item from the Eldar Vehicle Equipment list.

The Power Field grants a 5+ invulnerable save which is nice in increasing the chances your War Walkers stay alive to keep shooting.  And the weapon options allow you to kit out the War Walkers  to kill infantry, light armor, heavy armor, or heavy infantry at mostly reasonable prices.

Special Rules:

Ancient Doom– This gives your War Walkers Hatred Slannesh which is nice but won’t come into play in most of your games

Battle Focus-This rule allows you to run after you shoot or run before you shoot.  This obviously works well with fleet as you to re-roll your run distances making it more reliable that you can jump in an out of cover and/or line of sight.  This allows you to both get into range for your fire power and stay hidden to help increase the War Walkers longevity.  It was nice that Games Workshop extended this to War Walkers as you would expect Eldar walkers to be extremely nimble and fast.

Fleet– Allows your War Walkers re-roll their charge distances and run rolls.  Very nice.

Scout– The big advantage of your War Walkers having Scout is that you can outflank with them.  This can leave your War Walkers shooting at side or rear armor against vehicles they might otherwise have a hard time damaging, or allow you shoot down hidden backfield units.  Very good and powerful.

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Possible Formation Bonuses:

As everyone now realizes, formations and detachments can make a marginal unit a must take, so any evaluation of a unit has to address the various formations that they can appear in.  One unit of War Walkers is mandatory in the Guardian Stormhost and Guardian Battlehost formations.  Both of these formations can serve as a core formation for the Eldar’s Decurion style detachment called the Eldar War Host.

In the Guardain Stormhost formation the War Walkers gain preferred enemy when they shoot a unit that is within 12″ of any of the formation’s Storm Guardian units.   In the  Guardian Battlehost formation the unit of War Walkers gain the preferred enemy  rule when shooting at an enemy unit that is within 12″ of the formations Guardian Defenders.   In both formations, this bonus rule dials up your War Walkers effectiveness right when it is critical that you start dealing damage to a unit that is threatening your lines.  In addition to these rules, if you take a unit of War Walkers in one these formations as part of an Eldar War Host your War Walkers will also gain the special rule Matchless Agility.  Matchless Agility allows models from the War Host to automatically run 6″ instead of rolling a d6.  That is a great rule for War Walkers as it allows you to more reliably shoot and jump back into cover or out of line of sight.

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Tactics:

The two big tactical questions that apply to War Walkers are how do you equip them and how do you keep them alive?  Like most things in 40k, it is better to dedicate the War Walkers to a specific task.  What this means is you probably should never mix weapons as it can make half of the unit’s shooting inefficient.  For me I believe the two best load outs are all scatter lasers or all bright lances.  Both of these weapon load outs give you the range to let your War Walkers hang back and either wreck light infantry and light vehicles or put a hurting on any armor you encounter.  A unit of 3 War Walkers with 6 Scatter Lasers will cost you 180 pts and a unit of 3 maxed out with bright lances will cost you 210.   The Starcannons might seem appealing at first but the sheer weight of dice make the scanter lasers almost as good against units with good saving throws and better against AV12 for 30 points less.  Additionally, because Eldar have ample access to AP2 throughout the rest of the army with the Monofilament and Bladestorm rule, you don’t really need AP2 from your War Walkers.  The Eldar Missile launcher option provides versatility and potential skyfire but it drives the unit cost to high for what ultimately is still a pretty fragile unit.  Personally, I believe the max Scatter Laser load out is the best as it will hurt pretty much any infantry or light armor unit though weight of dice and keeps the unit cheap for the amount of fire it puts out.

As far as playing your War Walkers, they are pretty straight forward.  Hang them in your back field close to a LOS blocking piece of terrain or a place where they can get cover.  Then simply use battle focus to jump in and out.  With fleet you should reliably get in and out of position even if you are not in a War Host formation.  Throw guide on them to take their shooting up a notch as well.  With guide they can even help against flyers and FMC.  Overall War Walkers are a very good unit in a very good codex.

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24 Responses to “Eldar Review: Heavy Support: War Walkers”

  1. Trueknight December 17, 2015 5:47 pm #

    I find great success with a unit of 2-3 Warwalkers armed with scatter lasers… Especially when I run an Autarch, I use their outflank ability (usually) and bring them on turn 2. They normally do end up dying, but not before getting their points back and then some

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 17, 2015 6:41 pm #

      Yeah, I run them in the same load out and they hit so damn hard.

      • Variance Hammer December 23, 2015 12:31 am #

        Same for me. It’s just a blistering amount of shots. Worse if you can swing a Farseer by to cast Guide, which is more likely now that Wave Serpent gunships are less of a thing.

  2. Ibushi
    Ibushi December 17, 2015 7:10 pm #

    Back when starcannons had three shots, a squad of two with guide was the scourge of my local scene for years.

    With the ulthwe strike force special webway portal rules it became 2×2 with starcannons for a beta strike of pure mon keigh killing.

    These days a squad of three with scatter lasers does the trick, especially in lower point games, but the fact that they compete with laser bikes for targets is their biggest weakness.

    Nowadays the best loadout I find is outflanking 2 with lasers as a disruption unit, pretty decent.

    • Colinsherlow December 17, 2015 8:38 pm #

      I concure with Ibushi.

      I love walkers, but tend to find a better use of points for scatter. Like bikes or now the new corsair bikes

      • Colinsherlow December 18, 2015 11:54 am #

        P s. There a was for me to have my own avatar picture? Or just this squiggly germ looking thing

    • Cavalier December 18, 2015 3:55 am #

      Ibushi! Preach teach! lol

  3. fluger December 17, 2015 9:53 pm #

    I’m going to say I ran dual scat lasers for ages, but then I was talked into running dual star cannons. I gotta say, the AP2 makes a HUGE difference. Try it sometime, I can’t recommend it enough. It has half the shots, but gets through all the armor and you get to potentially blow up tanks.

    • Ibushi December 18, 2015 9:35 am #

      Yeah the blowing up tanks part is surprisingly important.

      More than once I’ve just not quite rolled the “average” number of 6s to glance out a serpent or other vehicle in one round, and that is DEATH since glancing hits no longer shake/stun, etc.

      • fluger December 18, 2015 11:40 am #

        And while, yes, shuriken weapons are great with pseudo rending to go after MCs and GCs and the like, always banking on 6s isn’t the most reliable of plans. Reducing variance is good.

        Also, the RANGE is a big deal. Being able to play peak-a-boo with Broadsides or Riptides or other tough units that have high armor and toughness but potentially shorter range is AWESOME. Or just being able to put a crap ton of damage into Cents?

        Basically, I think there are enough high-value 3+ or 2+ save units that having a heavy hitter like that is worth doing.

        Also, finally, the argument that Star Cannons are basically replaced by other Eldar stuff also goes for the Scatter Lasers since you should be running scatter bikes (you’re running scatter bikes, right?).

  4. Cavalier December 18, 2015 3:54 am #

    War Walkers truly are excellent. I think battle-focus is what keeps them a competitive choice when stacked up against units like the Hornet. Yet still I find it hard to take them when I can get the same weaponry on Jetbikes at a much lower cost… and have the Hornets with pulse lasers take on the role of primary outflankers. Also with Corsair JB’s having outflank it makes it even harder to take them at least from where I am sitting.

    • EJCob May 22, 2016 1:27 pm #

      Yeah, I know what you’re saying… but the popping up behind heavy stuff that otherwise you may not get to is a winner. I still field them most of the time purely because I think they’re still really sweet models and I reckon that counts for a lot…!

  5. Charlie December 18, 2015 5:30 am #

    I tend to have enough firepower for infantry and light armor, so I tend to forego Scatterlasers, but acknowledge that is a great choice. I run two with Brightlances mainly to Outflank. Most of the time, they do well, other times a bit ‘meh’ but my opponent always has to deal with them as it is an easy unit to get Linebreaker.

  6. DCannon4Life December 18, 2015 6:46 am #

    Ultimately, no, they are not tournament-strength.

    In order to guarantee the 6″ Battle Focus, they have to be taken as part of a formation that is, itself, not tournament strength. They compete with Objective Secured Scatbikes not just for targets (as Ibushi pointed out) but also for points. 180 points is better spent on Warp Spiders (assuming you’ve already spent as many points as you want on Scatbikes). Finally, a unit of 5 Scatbikes buffed with Perfect Timing and Prescience is superior to 3 walkers with Prescience. I realize that Perfect Timing is no guarantee, but it’s never even a possibility for the walkers.

  7. Clover362 December 18, 2015 8:41 am #

    I know that scat bikes could in theory provide the same type of shooting but I am always doing everything I can to not expose my scat bikes to risk of being killed. Jinking kills the shooting of the scat bikes.

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 18, 2015 12:17 pm #

      Yeah, I love my War Walkers, always have. Battle Focus really is a tremendous benefit.

  8. ryan December 18, 2015 8:47 am #

    why use these when you can fill a similar role with the superior hornets?

    • HarrytheDog December 18, 2015 10:26 am #

      Cos maybe the format you’re playing doesn’t allow Hornets?

    • Reecius
      Reecius December 18, 2015 12:15 pm #

      War Walkers are pretty sick, but yeah, Hornets, too. Detachment requirements are often a reason to take them, such as in the War Host.

  9. Venkarel December 18, 2015 10:33 am #

    The problem I have with war walkers is the same problem I have with scat bikes, warp spiders are just straight up better. I think if I ran them I would use the bright lances to give the army some medium to heavy armor capability.

    • Venkarel December 18, 2015 10:37 am #

      Whoops. I meant to add that I am loving your current push to get caught up with the tactical side of the site. The last month has been wonderful, especially since my favorite arthor AP has been writing so many of them. Sorry Thomas, although you still the nicest guy in 40K.

  10. Charlie December 18, 2015 1:20 pm #

    Hornets and Wasps became Craftworld Warhost formation options. I know a bit off topic, but that book just opened up a lot of new options for Craftworld Warhost armies.

  11. Toranaga December 18, 2015 1:44 pm #

    3 scatter laser war walkers have always done me proud and kicked lots of ass. The price is right, I wouldn’t run them any other way. Curious though: although it’s pricey, has anyone tried upgrading them with star engines? They give +3″ to a run move – if you’re doubling down with the War host detachment that means you’ve got a guaranteed 15″ move, which would be awesome for jumping in and out of cover and other Eldar tricks.

  12. Ibushi December 19, 2015 9:20 am #

    Oh speaking of the IA11.5 book, the new Wasp Phalanx COULD be amazing — deep striking 3 wasp war walkers and getting twin-linked and pinning fo’ free? Great!

    Hang on, how can you legally deep strike wasp walkers?

    Nice one, FW!

    But no, even in the current meta I still think war walkers are solid, although by 1850pts there is a lot out there that will savage them.

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