Eldar Review: HQ: Eldrad Ulthran

Eldrad_Ulthruan

The Eldar Farseer is, hands down, one of the most classic Eldar units in the game. Before the onset of Jet Bike Spam, Wave Serpent Spam, Wraithknight Spam (you can’t actually spam a Wraithknight, but when you play against one it feels like spam – anyways), before any kind of spam, except the real Spam, which came out in the mid-thirties, there was the Farseer… Today, Scuba Steve is going to tell you about the Big Daddy Farseer, Eldrad Ulthran – Buckle up, guys and gals, you’re in for one hell of a ride. As always, for more great articles, be sure to check out Tactics Corner!

Hidden Heroes

Writing Unique Character profiles is a really difficult job. Competitive Warhammer 40k doesn’t really lend itself to hyper-expensive units that are (more likely than not) way too expensive for what you pay for. Additionally, the character may not fit with how the current meta is jiving or his abilities be similar to an inexpensive option or too particular for general use.

When it comes to Eldrad Ulthran, this statement doesn’t change, even though every single ability and wargear this character comes with is absolutely awesome, we still don’t see him get much table time… why?

mind_war_by_majesticchicken

As I do with all of my character articles, it is best to start by breaking down his rules into “good/just okay” categories, so we can get an awesome bird’s eye view of what the big man is all about. Here we go:

Wargear:

  • Shuriken Pistol (One of the best pistols in the game)
  • Witchblade (One of the best close combat weapons in the game)
  • Ghosthelm (Lets you side-step wounds from perils of the warp…)
  • Armour of the Last Runes (The man is a walking Storm Shield)
  • Staff of Ulthamar (An AP3 Force Weapon that can re-fill his warp charge pool)

Warlord Trait:

  • An Eye on Distant Events (Dishes out scout to units in his army)

Special Rules:

  • Ancient Doom (it will almost never take place, but it’s cool anyways)
  • Battle Focus (One of the more nutty army-wide special abilities in Warhammer 40k)
  • Fleet (This makes battle focus better on so many levels it hurts my brain)
  • Independent Character (He can join other units, read on, this makes him really important)
  • Psyker (LEVEL 4!) (Very few models in 40k are blessed with this level of power)
  • Runes of the Farseer (makes casting/denying powers easier/safer to do)

High Farseer of Ulthwe

  • Shuriken Pistol/Witchblade/Ghosthelm (Good): All of these super basic items rock the space-tits off of anything your standard Space Marine could ever offer. Every Eldar in the army gets all this gear when the sign-up to kick ass across the cosmos, so I don’t think we need to spend much time talking about it. I will say though, full blown man-slap anyone who tells you the following is a bad load-out of wargear: a Fleshbane close combat weapon, a pseudo-rending pistol, and a helmet that (not only makes you look like a total bad-ass on your brand new jetbike, but also) lets you casually avoid taking those pesky wounds from messing up with your Psychic Power manifestation rolls.
  • Armour of the Last Runes (Good): Hey, everyone! Come see how good I look… with this Storm Shield strapped to my chest! Yup… all the benefits of a Storm Shield without the pesky drawback, this handsome devil is sporting a super-sexy 3+ invulnerable save… oh yes… this means that you could reasonably tank a few wounds with this incredibly versatile HQ unit. Additionally, he is Toughness 4, which means that it will take something truly dangerous to Instant Death him (not just a light sneeze); even though it isn’t where you want him to be, you could possibly even succeed in a challenge if you have to, it helps to have an independent character with these kinds of possibilities.
  • Staff of Ulthamar (Good): Yet ANOTHER AP3 close combat option that is ALSO a Force Weapon. This guy has some seriously awesome options. Additionally, Eldrad’s disco stick has a really cool little ability that can really help you get off that extra power here and there. The Spiritlink ability allows Eldrad to  re-fill his Warp Charge pool with an extra dice, if he succeeds on casting a psychic power, on the roll of a 5 or a 6. With a mastery level of 4, you will already be hard pressed to cast every power you can per-turn, but this power can definitely help you get there.

Master Tactician

  • An Eye on Distant Events (Good): This Warlord trait allows you to give scout to D3 units in your army. I would like to point out that vehicles/bikes scout 12″… This awards mobility to an already incredibly mobile army. (I tried out an awesome alpha strike strategy using this ability, read through this article, I talk about it near the end.)

Warlock_Iyanden

Mind War

  • Ancient Doom/Battle Focus/Feet (Good): Well, all of these are present essentially army wide, so we don’t need to spend much time talking up this crazy grouping of special rules. The best comment I can offer though is all about Battle Focus and Fleet. Thanks to the combination of these abilities, we are now presented with a character that can join highly mobile infantry squads and reliably out run any other infantry units in the game. When we think about Eldar, we immediately think about unmatched speed, and these abilities are representative of that incredible speed.
  • Psyker Lvl 4/Runes of the Farseer (Good): Like I said before, there are very few units in the game that get a Mastery Level of 4… and Eldrad is one of them. This means that if you roll all of your powers on a single power chart (Telepathy is the likely choice – INVISIBILITY), you will have almost the entire chart of powers at your disposal. You also don’t have to worry about failing to cast these powers much either, the Ghosthelm lets you re-roll a power once per turn… so you can be almost guaranteed success on the powers that you need most.

Choices, Choices, Choices…

Alright, there are a few ways you could run Eldrad (all of which are really good, by the way), so all you really need to do… is make a choice. There are ultimately three choices:

  1. War Host Command option (Heroes of the Craftworlds) – Okay, this is a good choice, you can shoehorn him into a Guardian Battlehost really easily, which will be effective and you could definitely make it work. This option is, in my opinion, not the best choice…
  2. The Seer Council option – Okay… again… a solid choice and you could make it work, however… the main issue with this option is nobody runs the Seer Council on foot (that I know of). One of Eldrad’s biggest drawbacks is his inability to jump on a Jetbike. He cannot keep up with a Windrider Seer Council, not to mention how expensive that formation is already, there is no need to add another 195pts to its cost.
  3. An HQ choice in a CAD – Yes, this is hands down the best place for Eldrad. The reason this choice is the superior option is because of the customization you can do to the units that support him. Wraithknights, Aspect Warriors, and Jetbikes make a fantastic compliment to his psychic back bone.

The Eldrad Alpha Strike

Thanks to his Warlord trait, you can actually use him to perform a really devastating alpha strike on your opponent. How I was able to construct it was combining the powers of a CAD with the power of a Dire Avenger Shrine (I know what you’re all thinking… “Aren’t Warp Spiders better?!”, it’s okay, Warp Spiders are really good, but they don’t work with this strategy). The premise of the list is shoving a ton of nutty units right up your opponent’s nose on turn one thanks to the scout move your Warlord always dishes out. There is a random element that you can be prepared for, so it’s okay if you don’t get to scout three units all the time. here is the skeleton of a list I’d like to challenge you all to give a whirl:

Dire Avenger Shrine

  • 3x 10 man units of Dire Avengers
  • 3x Wave Serpents w/ TL Scatter Lasers

CAD

  • Eldrad
  • Farseer
  • 6x 3 man units of Jet Bikes w/ Scatter lasers
  • Wraithknight (Double D-Cannon)
  • 2x Vauls Wrath D-Shooter Battery – one gun each

This is in the area of 1850 points, give it a look yourself and fiddle with things as you like, but the general presmise of the list is to load the Farseer and Eldrad each into different squads of Dire Avengers and then scout the Serpents up the table. On your turn, you move 6″ forward, unload them 6″ (Which essentially puts you in your opponent’s deployment zone) Then use the Killing Strike ability, after you’ve cracked some transports with Scatter Lasers and D-cannons, to obliterate their infantry. The point of a list like this is to overwhelm your opponent from the first turn, your whole army has so much power that most opponents will crumble to it. The math in this list is rough, I left it that way so that everyone can experiment with it in their own way, try it out, it may surprise you.

Eldrad has a purpose, but you need to build your army to take advantage of it, I challenge you all to try it at home or the next RTT you go to, it’s a style of list with some serious attitude.

As always, leave your thoughts and tips in the comment section! And remember, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off retail, every day!

Scuba Steve, Signing Out

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9 Responses to “Eldar Review: HQ: Eldrad Ulthran”

  1. DCannon4Life March 10, 2016 11:41 am
    #

    I was under the impression that ‘An Eye On Distant Events’ did not allow a player to redeploy outside of their deployment zone. Happy to be wrong.

    • Reecius
      Reecius March 10, 2016 12:54 pm
      #

      It’s now a Scout move, which is very good for Eldar!

  2. Sheit27 March 10, 2016 1:46 pm
    #

    Looks fun! I think it kind of needs to go first for the full effect!

  3. Galahad911 March 10, 2016 2:03 pm
    #

    Witchblades aren’t AP3. Seercouncils are already killy enough without their attacks being AP3

    • Reecius
      Reecius March 10, 2016 2:27 pm
      #

      Good catch! They are indeed not AP3

  4. Beau March 10, 2016 3:15 pm
    #

    I use my sad and terrible csm thousand sons as a counts as army with a list like this but allied to dark eldar for wwp d scythes too

    • Lord Krungharr March 10, 2016 5:42 pm
      #

      Don’t worry, the Sons will be back later this year with Curse of the Wulfen 2…..I hope!

  5. Lord Krungharr March 10, 2016 5:44 pm
    #

    My favorite game moment for Eldrad was when my opponent placed him in the front of some Dire Avengers during deployment, I seized the initiative, and my Soul Grinder insta-killed him turn 1. That was soooooo SWEEEEET! Otherwise he’s been a huge pain in my rear every time I’ve played against him 🙂

  6. abusepuppy March 10, 2016 6:28 pm
    #

    Eldrad’s two biggest selling points are his ML4 and his Fleshbane force weapon, neither of which are available anywhere else in the Eldar codex. With four rolls on any table you want, Eldrad can more consistently get the “good” powers off of important disciplines (like Invisibility, Doom, Fortune, etc) and though his combat statline is far from exceptional, he still hits most MCs/GCs on 3s (probably with a reroll from Prescience, if you want it), wounds them on 2s, and makes them go splat. He’s actually one of the few models in the game that stands a good chance of downing a Wraithknight in a single go, presuming he gets the charge.