Eldar Corsairs Codex Review Part II: HQs, Troops, and Dedicated Transports

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Nightwing Interceptor, painted by Nigel Bartlett

Hi all, Zyekian here to take a look at the great new and updated units the Corsair Codex has to offer.  The rules here can be found in the Imperial Armor 11: Doom of Mymeara book, version 2 from Forgeworld.  Part I of this review can be found here while the final segment (Fast Attack, Elite, and Heavy Support) will be up next.

And as always check out the Tactics Corner for more great content and ways to make your army hum!  And as always Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off, every day.

The Stuff

Let’s start with an overview of what the Corsair wargear options are.

  • Brace of Pistols: Two shuriken pistols and two splinter pistols, can’t beat that.  The former is better than the latter except in the rare case of high-toughness targets with modest armor saves.  Also counts as a “brace of close combat weapons”.
  • Lasblaster: The basic Corsair infantry weapon, S3, AP5, assault 3 at a respectable 24″.  It’s the Swooping Hawk gun.
  • Shadowwave Grenades – GW likes to dress defensive grenades up in fancy names.
  • Tanglefield Grenades – 8″, str:2, AP:-, Assault 1, blast.  Any unit hit must take a strength test.  Failure means the unit has its WS and initiative cut in half until the end of its controlling player’s next turn.
  • Voidplate Harness – The unit gets 3+ armor but loses fleet.  They also get to re-roll dangerous and difficult terrain rolls.
  • Mesh, Heavy Mesh Armor – Mesh grants 5+, the same light armor Guardians use.  Heavy mesh grants well, a 4+ armor save.
  • Dissonance Pistol, Cannon – S5, AP4, Pistol 1 or Heavy 1, pinning, 12″ or 24″ range.  For each to-hit roll of ‘6’, add one strength and lower AP by one.  Looks good at first glance until one considers the low rate of fire.  For laughs Voidstorm Bands can take two each for mega points and hit stupidly hard.
  • Balelight – A gimmicky one-use pistol 3D3 shot at S3 rending.  Has the blind special rule which isn’t worth much in an army full of blinding grenades.
  • Void Sabre – +1 str, AP3, rending sword available to all HQ units.  You want this.
  • Corsair Jet Packs – Five points gets corsairs a jet packs that also grants a 4+ armor saves.  Worth taking most of the time, especially given the D6+6″ Reckless Abandon move – which works on any shooting attack including overwatch.
  • Corsair Void Burners – Grants vehicles deep strike for a cheap 5 points.  Nice synergy with our next item.
  • Corsair Kinetic Shroud – 15 points gets a vehicle a 5++ against shooting attacks.  Comes with the additional bonus of making it 4++ re-rollable when deep striking or moving flat-out.

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HQ

Corsair Prince (Grade: A-):  Part I of this series outlined the Prince’s paths and how they function in the Corsair force so we won’t repeat that here.  The Prince himself though can be run on foot, with a jet pack, or on a Cloud Dancer jetbike.  The bike of course gives him the most utility as well as T4 and a 3+ armor save.  Curiously the Price has S4, Phoenix Lord strength (for some reason), with the option of making that S5 AP3 rending with a Void Sabre.  Slap on a Shadowfield for a 2++ save (until it fails) and he’s ready to do some work against a range of opponents.  Let’s look at the impressive array of wargear and options here, starting with what the Prince gets stock:

  • Brace of Pistols
  • Shadowwave Grenades
  • Plasma Grenades
  • Heavy Mesh Armor

A naked Prince for 75 points brings a fair bit of utility to the table but the options are where he really excels:

  • 15 points to pony up on a jetbike with TL lasblasters, TL splinter rifle, or TL shuriken catapult
  • 5 points for a Corsair Jet Pack
  • 20 points to become a ML1 psyker with Telekinesis and Divination psychic powers
  • 15 point haywire grenades (ouch), 10 pt tanglefield grenades
  • Corsair HQ weapon options: 10 pt Venom Blade, 15 pt power weapon,  20 pt Void Sabre
  • Corsair Pistols: 20 point fusion/blast pistol (ouch), 10 pt Dissonance pistol, or 15 point gimmicky Balelight.
  • Corsair protective gear: 10 pt Forceshield (4++), 15 pt Shimmershields (5++ to the whole unit), 25 pt Shadowfield (2++ until it fails)

The Prince also has some mostly-useless options that are barely worth mentioning:

  • 15 points for a Void Plate Harness which is pointless next to a jetbike
  • 10 points: Ghostplate Armor (4+/6++)

The prince has a an impressive array of options but there are two issues here.  One, the Prince isn’t a ranged threat as even his jetbike can’t mount a heavy weapon.  This means he’ll be using his point-intensive pistol upgrades (or cheap Brace) and then fading back with Reckless Abandon moves or going into assault.  Two, while all the pieces are here for the Prince to be an assault unit there’s a question of what unit will accompany him in that role.  Cloud Dancer jetbikes are second-line melee combatants at best, therefore Corsair players may want to look outside their codex to Harlequin Skyweavers, Dark Eldar Reaver jetbikes, or even Shining Spears as an escort for the Prince.  A Farseer with Fortune rerolling that 2++ also brings a modified Seerstar unit back into the meta.

Princes running jet packs can work with Malevolents, Reavers, or Balestrikers, possibly utilizing 1D6 deep strike to stab into a critical hole in enemy lines.  The unit will be focused on by the enemy however, so have a defensive strategy.  Pack a Baron in there for a shimmershield and possibly a second shadowfield and pray for no ones.  And those Malevolents excel at soaking small arms fire.

Overall the Prince is a capable, dynamic HQ with rules that push him toward playing aggressively – like a pirate. His Paths that we discussed in Part I are going to give him Combat Drugs, Rampage, relics, or Feel No Pain for even more potential.  He’s not going to be able to access dedicated transports, so plan on throwing everything he’s got at the enemy while he’s busy trying cope with your Lynx or Warp Hunter.

Void Dreamer (Grade: B+) – Undisciplined Eldar wild psykers with a penchant for disaster.  The Corsair Perils table is a catastrophe waiting to happen as it’s a constant threat to turn the caster into a Slaanesh Demon under the opponent’s control, immediately tearing his own unit to a pulp (the same risk applies to psychic Princes and Barons by the way). The Aethermancy discipline boasts a few impressive powers that can have a dramatic impact on the game though.  Warp Blink and Warp Tunnel can give *Corsair* units turn one no-scatter teleports with ensuing assaults while Webway Maze returns an enemy unit to ongoing reserve, a devastating outcome for an enemy Wraithknight or a death star wanting to assault.  Warp Blink may also target enemy units, removing them from their cover or off an objective, possibly into assault range.  It also allows for teleporting a friendly unit so it’s sort of two powers in one.  Half of of the Aethermancy discipline is warp charge 2-3 however, meaning perils is a real risk.

Void Dreamers begin at ML1 for just fifty points and can add levels for +20 up to a maximum ML3.  It’s probably worth grabbing a level or two to increase the chances of getting one of the better powers.  Dreamers have access to telekinesis and divination but must always take at least one Aethermancy power.  As far as wargear, they get an armorbane/fleshbane Witch Staff (the same stick Eldar Spiritseers carry) and the same stock equipment and options as a Prince, minus the jetbike option.  Corsair players may want to pause before gearing up a Void Dreamer because if it goes full-Slaanesh it’s going to use all that great stuff to stomp their own army.

Corsair Baron (Grade: B) – Just hirty points gets an HQ with and Exarch stat line and every wargear option the Prince has, including becoming a psyker.  Barons are not independent characters however and must be attached to a unit in their own Coterie.  Like the Prince, ranged options are few so this is another in-your-face pirate – either that or run him cheaply with a ranged unit.

Every list will include at least one Baron as a coterie leader and most lists will include two.  And as inexpensive as as they are, those points can add up to to be not-so-cheap before long.  It’s probably best to take the bait and gear them up a bit for at least second-line assault duty – or perhaps with a shadowfield to tank wounds for the unit.  Malevolents will appreciate a 5++ shimmershield emanating from the Baron to allow them a save even against more punishing firepower while Cloud Dancers and Balestrike Bands benefit from Divination sharpening their aim.

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Troops

Corsair Reaver Band (Grade: B): The rank-and-file Corsair comes in much-improved from last edition, now sporting the basic Eldar Guardian stat line for ten points.  Customization is the theme here:

  • Choice of lasblaster, splinter rifle, shuriken catapult, or Brace of Pistols and CCW
  • Plasma and shadowwave grenades
  • For every five models in the unit, up to two Reavers may take a Flamer, Fusion gun, Blaster, or Shredder
  • The entire squad may take haywire grenades for +25 points or tanglefield grenades for +10
  • Felarchs can gear up with several CC options or be one of the models that carries the unit’s special weapon
  • Jet Packs for 5 pts
  • Can take a dedicated transport

The majority of the time Reavers are going to be taking jet packs as the 4+ armor save and added mobility are just too much to pass up.  That puts them at 15 points though which isn’t cheap  The next step to make them really work is to take a pair of those special weapons skipping across the map or deep-striking.  Remember that they only scatter D6″ with the right coterie power and can then make Reckless Abandon and thrust moves to escape retribution.  All the pieces are here to play them as well, recklessly as you want, deep-striking or moving in close and then vanishing to deny the counter-strike.

Fusion guns are just +10 points each and give the unit serious punch.  The risk of using them at short range is mitigated by the Reckless Abandon ability which allows the unit to immediately make a 6″+D6″ move and then also the assault phase thrust move.  It’s the safest 6″ melta attack you’ll ever make.  And remember to have a model throw a defensive grenade for the sucker-punch blinding check.

Blasters are a fair option for mid-range lance attacks.  Daring players may run Reavers with shuriken catapults and perhaps flamers or even shredders, again firing and retreating to safety before the opponent can react.  And while it’s not cheap, running five or more models each with haywire grenades is a serious threat to any vehicle in the game.  A unit of five with no jet packs leaping out of a Venom is something Imperial Knights don’t want to see.  In all, Reavers are a highly customizable unit that can fulfill a variety of needs in a list.  Their biggest drawback is that they’re not Cloud Dancers but the hit-and-skip melta and a few other features allows them to distinguish themselves somewhat.

Corsair Ghostwalker Band (Grade: C): Ranger-themed Corsairs with a bundle of options.

  • Lasblaster
  • Plasma grenades
  • Defensive grenades
  • Mesh armor (5+)
  • Fleet
  • Stealth
  • Scout & Infiltrate

Base cost the same as a Ranger and for +1 point per model they can get a longrifle.  For free they can swap their lasblaster out for a Brace of Pistols and CCW in case you’re looking for a sneaky light combatant with solid short-ranged shooting.  Like Reavers, Ghostwalkers can also have one guy pick up a flamer, fusion gun, shredder, or blaster and the whole unit can get haywire grenades for 25 points.  Jet packs can be taken because um…  Space Elf Pirate Jet Pack Snipers?

Ghostwalkers will fulfill the role Rangers play in the Craftworld codex admirably and with options to mix up the unit’s capabilities a bit.  It’s probably best to keep them cheap and jet pack-less however, as their cost spirals out of control quickly with whistles and bells.  Lastly it’s important to note that they have no Felarch (sergeant) option and are therefore stuck with a mediocre 8/5 leadership.  If they break the unit isn’t likely to come back.

Corsair Cloud Dancer Band (Grade: A): These are Eldar Windriders plus three points.  Nobody reading this article needs to be told how great Eldar jetbikes are so let’s focus on the differences and what Cloud Dancers do that’s worth those few extra points:

  • They can get a Ld9 Felarch for a mere 5 points.  This is great since practically the only weakness Eldar bikes have is mediocre leadership. The down side is that they still get -3 to regroup rolls so things can still go south.
  • Brace of Pistols.  They’re close combat-worthy with one extra CC attack each.
  • Outflank
  • Reckless Abandon move, though usually they’ll want to stay outside of 12″.

In addition to the TL shuriken catapults, Cloud Dancers can take:

  • Dark Lances (+20)
  • Dissonance Cannons (+10)
  • Scatter Laser (+10)
  • Shuriken Cannon (+10)
  • Splinter Cannons (+5)

Dark Lances may look tempting to some, however 40-point jetbikes are a questionable selection.  It’s likely best to take only a small number within a unit.  Dissonance Cannons suffer from being just one shot each making them poorly-suited for well, everything.  Splinter cannons are an interesting choice at a cheaper price point and will actually top Scatter Lasers at killing T5 or higher enemies, though they have no effect on vehicles.

In all, Corsair Cloud Dancers are superb units for the same reason Windriders are.  They add a bit more utility than Windriders at only a small extra cost, making them essentially just as good.  Too good perhaps, as they overshadow other units in the codex.

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Dedicated Transports

An important note – Corsair dedicated transports can be difficult to take in a list; Venoms are only able to be selected on units of exactly five and Falcons on units of six or more.  This means that units with HQs cannot ordinarily get inside them as they increase their unit size beyond the capacity of their transport. That and a general tilt toward jet packs and jetbikes means these two otherwise capable units may not see much action.  Neither vehicle is a possible fast-attack choice.  That being said, they’re not bad units.

Corsair Venom (Grade: B+): The Venom we all know gets a wargear and special rules face-lift with an array of options:

  • Selects the following for a top-mounted gun: shuriken cannon, splinter cannon, scatter laser
  • Selects the following twin-linked weapons for the under-slung mount: lasblaster/splinter rifle/shuriken catapult.
  • The under-slung weapon is upgradeable to a splinter cannon for +10 or shuriken cannon for +20
  • Scout
  • Can purchase void burners, kinetic shroud, star engines, and chain snares

Unlike the Dark Kin version there are no flickerfields and no inbuilt deep striking ability.  Those things can be more or less purchased with the above wargear options but for a total cost that will surpass the original.  On the plus side the Corsair rendition costs five points less to begin with and has a bit more firepower.

Corsair Falcon (Grade: B): For five points more than an Eldar Falcon it gets scout and Corsair paraphernalia options.  It lacks the squadron ability from the craftworld codex but on the plus side it uses the same under-slung weapon mount as a Venom, meaning its stock gun can have a 24″ range.

Lord of War

Corsair Vampire Raider (Grade: N/A) – A giant flying transport with a pulsar, banned in the ITC and best-fit to Apoc format.  Sadly this is all Corsairs have got in this slot.

As always, share your thoughts in the comments section and look for the Part III wrap-up on the remaining Corsair slots soon!

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20 Responses to “Eldar Corsairs Codex Review Part II: HQs, Troops, and Dedicated Transports”

  1. Colinsherlow February 1, 2016 9:19 pm
    #

    One thing to note about reckless abandon is that it is done after a shooting attack. Overwatch and witchfire powers are shooting attacks.

    This makes jetpacks troops and bikes really hard to Assault.

    • Happy_inquisitor February 2, 2016 2:41 am
      #

      The movement after overwatch is the secret sauce with these guys, it does to assault armies what Warp Spiders do to shooting. It really does allow you to play them in a reckless abandon style. The witchfire thing is neat but perils are just so nasty on their psykers!

      My modelling bench will be busy this year. I don’t think they are as good as craftworld elder but they seem to be more fun.

    • Truesight February 2, 2016 3:10 am
      #

      Jump move 12”, Reckless Abandon 6” +1d6, Thrust move 2d6, get charged, reckless abandon 6”+ 1d6
      Potentially 48 inches movement in one turn, average rolling means 38.
      Wow.

      • Happy_inquisitor February 2, 2016 5:28 am
        #

        Or just flat-out like any eldar jet bike. Yes they are hyper-mobile.

        You lose Reckless Abandon if you add any allied IC to the unit which really does limit the potential for abuse.

    • zyekian February 2, 2016 7:12 am
      #

      It makes them devilishly hard to assault. Despite that though I’ve managed to still get assaulted with my jet pack Corsairs a couple times.

  2. Archon-Kalafex February 1, 2016 11:28 pm
    #

    You must be part of the Eldar facebook page to use so much of Nigels material. Good reviews and grading system btw. I can’t wait to see your opinions and ideas for the fast attack / heavy support.

    • zyekian February 2, 2016 7:09 am
      #

      Yeah Nigel’s Corsairs are great. And yes I am.

      • Colinsherlow February 2, 2016 9:27 am
        #

        What is his page?

        • zyekian February 2, 2016 10:26 am
          #

          Nigel and some others run the following FB groups (no mon-keigh allowed):

          Eldar
          Dark Eldar
          Eldar Corsairs
          Eldar Harlequins

          Come check them out.

  3. W February 2, 2016 12:43 pm
    #

    The Prince can throw Rage on himself too for free, right? Potential 9 attacks on the charge if my counting is correct. Really looking forward to assembling all my corsair stuff and test them out

    • zyekian February 2, 2016 1:46 pm
      #

      Rampage and Rage, yes. He attacks about as much as the Solitaire with certain builds.

  4. W February 2, 2016 2:43 pm
    #

    The Cotiere bonuses are pretty nice (Sky-Hunters one especially), but the more I play around with various lists, the closer I get to just building a CAD, for 1HQ 6 Troops and 3 Heavy Supports, without a Baron tax or anything like that. What keeps me from just running Craftworld Eldar are the Prince and Venoms. And the fact that I’m a hipster who insists on running FW lists.

  5. Trentat February 2, 2016 6:12 pm
    #

    A couple interesting discoveries/observations upon closer examination of the list:

    – Giving the Prince the ‘Collector of Ancient Treasures’ option allows him to take a Remnants of Glory item from Codex: Craftworlds. So, you could give him the Uldanorethi Long Rifle while on his Cloud Dancer Bike and flit around firing S x AP 3 sniper shots out to 120″. Not as scary as an Autarch with a Reaper Launcher, but meh, not terrible I guess.

    – The Rage option for the Prince saddles him with the stinky penalty of MUST charge within 8″ of the enemy. BUT interestingly they introduced a provision to prevent cagey players from preventing a charge by shooting at a target further away (normally have to charge the unit you shoot at): “If the unit fires at an enemy unit that is not within 8″ at the start of the Assault phase, it must still declare a charge against a unit that IS within 8″ at the start of an Assault phase. ”

    So you can shoot one further away target and assault another closer one!

    – Cloud Dancer Bike units: As you observed the unit can upgrade a model to a Felarch squad leader. It can upgrade up to THREE models to Felarchs though. And they can all have Venom Blades. Pricey for sure (40 pts. a pop), but could be an okay unit for the Prince to join for jet-bikey assault-ey fun?

    I think I agree with W’s assessment above. The Cotiere bonuses seem nice, but a CAD seems better. Those Baron taxes rack up pretty quickly.

    Still the ‘Hate Bringers’ Cotiere specialisation granting a bonus VP for destroying a target enemy unit could be a pretty clutch game winner. (“Oooooh, we really hate that metal bawks right there. BOOM! Extra VP!!!)

    It will be interesting to see what the community can come up with for this list. I’m just happy I can take my Dark Eldar out of storage and proxy them with this list. Archon on a bike rides again!

  6. Colinsherlow February 3, 2016 12:39 am
    #

    I am thinking if running corsairs as an allied detachment for my Eldar if that is possible.

    I know the rules for the prince say that they have to be the warlord, but the corsair book also says the corsairs can be taken as an allied detachment.

    That mean that I can take a prince in an allied detachment and he doesn’t have to be warlord?

    • abusepuppy February 3, 2016 4:24 am
      #

      I believe that is the way that ITC has ruled the other “must be warlord” characters from Forge World, although I’m not positive about that.

      • zyekian February 3, 2016 7:54 am
        #

        have they?

        • Vipoid February 11, 2016 3:10 am
          #

          Going by the rulebook, I wouldn’t have thought this would be allowed:

          “If an Army List Entry does not adhere to a particular restriction, it cannot be included as part of this particular Detachment.”

          But,obviously they might rule differently.

      • Colinsherlow February 3, 2016 5:59 pm
        #

        I emailed them last week about that and haven’t heard back yet.

        Any chance you might know where that ruling might be?

  7. Skurvy February 3, 2016 4:47 am
    #

    Great review, loved reading this. The Prince probably warrants his own article, he just has so much going on.

  8. Vipoid February 11, 2016 3:10 am
    #

    Cloud Dancer Felarchs are 10pts, not 5pts. Makes them a bit less of an auto-take.