Army Review: Codex Scatbike

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Since the release of the 7th edition codex, the Eldar have received a host of army supplements. One of the most popular has been Codex: Scatbike. This provided some nice buffs to the Eldar army, but they still continue to struggle in the current meta, as they have for many years. For more reviews, analyses and battle reports, check out the Tactics Corner.

These army reviews are intended as tongue in cheek looks at popular army builds in 40k. No digs at any playstyles or players are intended, it’s all just a bit of fun!

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The Eldar are a dying race. Not just on the background, but on the tabletop as well. From 3rd edition to 5th edition, the Eldar Codices were decent enough, providing many different playstyles and list building for gamers. However, the release of 6th edition caused a seismic shift in the meta, with the poor Eldar getting the blunt end of the stick and languishing with other low tier offerings such as Codex: Space Marines and Codex: Tau.

In 6th edition, the release of Codex: Wave Serpent gave new hope for Eldar players, providing a viable army build that could compete with the Ork horde armies that were dominating the tournament scene.

Meh, alright I suppose.

Meh, alright I suppose.

 

Codex: Wave Serpent was strong, but not too strong as to overpower and dominate the meta. The kits were a bit of a pain to build and paint, so it was rare to see more than one or two in even the most hardcore tournament list. It did, however, serve to give the Eldar a nice boost that they were sorely missing in 6th edition.

As good as the Wave Serpent was, it did have its limitations. Yes, the Serpent Shield could fire D6+1 S7 shots with Ignores Cover at 60” each turn. However, one of the major drawbacks was that it could only do this in the Eldar player’s turn. For 50% of the shooting phases of the game, the Serpent Shield could not fire and was relegated to only making any Penetrating hits against the vehicle Glancing hits on a 2+. The fact that you could twin-link the shots with a Scatter Laser mitigated the downsides of the Serpent Shield slightly, but not enough to make them a must-have in the Eldar army.

This must be for an apocalypse game. When did you ever see 4 Wave Serpents on the table in 6th edition?!?

This must be for an apocalypse game. When did you ever see 4 Wave Serpents on the table in 6th edition?!?

The Eldar army in 6th edition had to struggle to make do with only Wraithknights, Battle Focus, pseudo-Rending on their basic infantry and some of the best psykers in the game to try and win battles. Poor Eldar tournament players were forced to the last resort- summoning hordes of free Daemons onto the table in a vain effort to compete. Most Eldar players did so with a heavy heart and tear in their eye.

Needs to be better!

Needs to be better!

 

The release of 7th edition saw an already lacklustre Wave Serpent receive further nerfs. Times were tough for the Eldar. Not even buffs to most of their units, fantastic new formations, multiple D weapons on infantry and an even harder to kill Wraithknight could boost their spirits. Fortunately, not long after the release of Codex: Eldar, a new supplement was released to breathe some life into the dying race of the 40k universe. Codex: Scatbike was greeted with enthusiasm from many Eldar players. In fact, the entire 40k community rallied around the new supplement as a means of finally bringing the iconic Eldar towards being a competitive force on the table. Websites and forums were full of encouragement for the new unit that would aid struggling Eldar players without having too much of an influence on the current meta. There was not a single complaint to be found online about the army being overpowered or the end of the game of 40k as we know it.

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Army Composition:

The choices in Codex: Scatbike are somewhat limited. The only Troops choice is units comprised of 3 Windriders with scatter lasers or 10 Windriders with scatter lasers, nothing inbetween. The unit has the option to include a Warlock and must be led by a Farseer on a Jetbike.

All this for less than 100 points. Decent enough, I suppose.......

All this for less than 100 points. Decent enough, I suppose…….

A standard tournament army consists of twenty units of 3 Windriders, all with Scatter Lasers. Unfortunately, the unit entry is limited and the Scatter Laser is the only weapon option, but most Eldar players are able to manage somehow. For a bit of variety, the army is often allied with Codex: Warp Spider to create a force composed of 50% Jetbikes and 50% Warp Spiders. You know, for a bit of variety. In fact, the wealth of variety in competitive Eldar armies is what brings many players to the force. There are a large number of ways to build a competitive Eldar army. The army can be composed of Scatbikes, Warp Spiders and a Wraithknight. Alternatively, you can go for an army composed of Warp Spiders, Scatbikes and a Wraithknight. For something completely different, some radical players go for armies comprised of Wraithknights, Warp Spiders and Scatbikes.

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Tactics:

There are two major tactics with Codex: Scatbikes:

  1. Deploy on the table. Try to annihilate your opponent with approximately 300 shots per unit of Scatter Lasers. Grab the objectives on the last turn. Win the game.
  2. Hold the army in reserve. Try to annihilate your opponent with approximately 300 shots per unit of Scatter Lasers. Grab the objectives on the last turn. Win the game.

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Advanced Tactics:

Codex: Scatbike requires some finesse in order to utilise effectively. Many players are able to overcome their inherent weaknesses to craft an effective fighting force on the table.

First of all, Scatbikes have an issue with mobility. They are able to move 12” in the movement phase, turbo-boost 36” in the shooting phase and move 2D6” in the assault phase. Due to these limitations, this means that on a standard 6×4 table, there will be at least 12” of the board that the jetbikes cannot access on any one game turn. Somehow, expert Codex: Scatbike players are able to cope with only 90% board coverage on one turn with one unit.

Second, Scatbikes have to make do with a 3+ armour save. Fortunately, they can Jink to mitigate this crippling disadvantage and have access to a wide range of psychic powers giving them twin-linked to keep up their rate of fire.

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Third and most important, the enemy army can actually shoot at them. Windriders are one of the few units in the Eldar army that can be targeted by enemy firepower. They really need access to Flickerjump or Swooping Hawk jump packs in order to be more effective on the tabletop in order to be competitive in the current meta.

Despite all these inherent disadvantages, there are several ways to run a competitive army list featuring the Eldar.

The toppest of the Top Tiers

The toppest of the Top Tiers

The most popular way is to make use of Allies to combat the drawbacks of Codex: Scatbike. Dark Eldar allies are a very popular way of helping prop up Eldar armies at tournament. Codex: Dark Eldar has long been the more effective of the Eldar codices, hosting a wide array of units and special rules to deal with most armies. The Dark Eldar boast access to Poison, some of the toughest open-topped transports outside of Codex: Orks, Poison, the Talos (a monstrous creature that puts the Wraithknight to shame) and of course, Poison.

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A Raider with a Webway portal is an amazing option for combating the weaknesses of the Eldar army. The unit is so effective that the recent FAQs have nerfed the effectiveness of the unit, ensuring that once again, only pure Dark Eldar armies will be observed at tournaments up and down the country. Maybe if the Wraithguard had cleared up the fast food wrappers or re-filled the gas on returning the Raiders to Commorragh, Games Workshop would not have had to step in to fix the mess. This is not such an issue for Dark Eldar players. Most were struggling to find a way to fit Wraithguard infantry with D weapons into lists that already feature phenomenal units such as Wyches and Incubi.

Don't worry, you won't see much of these at tournaments.

Don’t worry, you won’t see much of these at tournaments.

 

The Tau, being the friendliest of all the 40k races, are frequently observed in the company of the Eldar. The Riptide building business has been booming recently, with Riptide Wings being sold to every army and races across the known 40k universe (it’s the extended warranty that is the killer!).

To The Future:

With 8th edition hopefully around the corner, there are many changes that could help revamp Codex: Scatbike to improve its standing in the current game.

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  • At the moment, Scatter Lasers are limited to one per Jetbike. Increasing the number of Scatter Lasers to two or even three per model would be a moderate boost for the Eldar and should not have too much effect on the game.
  • Have GW considered adding D weapons to Windriders?
  • Allowing units from Codex: Scatbike to move, shoot AND turbo-boost would allow these units to actually take part in the game. At the moment, their woeful 60” movement really hinders them in competitive gameplay.
  • Why can’t the Jetbikes assault after their assault move? This seems like a gross oversight that should have been corrected when the codex was released.

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As can be seen, Codex: Scatbike is a challenging army for most players. With a lot of work and the careful application of allies, the weaknesses in the Eldar army can be overcome with time and skill. Unfortunately, they are unlikely to reach the high levels of the Orks, Dark Eldar, Chaos Space Marines and Tyranids, where winning games is merely a matter of turning up.

And as always, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off of retail, every day!

You can also pick up some cheap models in our Second Hand Shop. Some of these gems are quite rare, sometimes they’re fully painted!

secondhandstore

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About Michael Corr

An avid 40k player and blogger from Scotland. I started in 3rd edition and have been playing ever since. I detail my adventures in my own blog "St Andrews Wargaming", highlighting my mediocre painting skills, regular battle reports and my occasional random ramblings.

28 Responses to “Army Review: Codex Scatbike”

  1. SonsofVulkan September 18, 2016 7:39 am
    #

    lol this is a joke article isn’t it? Scatbikes are the current best “troop” choice in 40k for the points.

    • Dirtydeeds September 18, 2016 8:05 am
      #

      Please note the “tongue in cheek” note at the top.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr September 18, 2016 9:25 am
      #

      Yes, it is a spoof article on certain aspects of the Eldar codex.

    • AngryPanda September 18, 2016 11:58 am
      #

      No its clealry totaly serious and if there was any oriony it would be so well hidden you’d have to ask if its there.

    • Threllen September 19, 2016 5:40 am
      #

      I’m kind of hoping you just read the opening paragraph of the article. I know sarcasm is hard to detect on the internet, but I would hope after reading this entire article it would be pretty apparent.

      • jamie September 19, 2016 10:40 am
        #

        he is a 40k player you have to take that into account lol

  2. Dirtydeeds September 18, 2016 8:06 am
    #

    This post made me laugh manly tears when you mentioned the Dark Eldar! Keep them up! I can’t wait for Codex: Riptide Wing!

  3. Dash2021 September 18, 2016 8:07 am
    #

    Really disjointed in this article. Eldar aren’t competitive? Clearly the author missed all the Howling Banshee/Vyper spam lists that have been dominating the top tables. 4+ armor save on an assault troop with no assault vehicles, combined with AV 10 2HP 1 weapon bikes are just devastating.

  4. Blight1 September 18, 2016 8:17 am
    #

    You aren’t able to use both the turbo boost move and the assault move in one turn, are you?
    Thought they got rid of that with 7th ed.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr September 18, 2016 9:27 am
      #

      No, you can’t turbo-boost and assault move in the same turn. It was written in the article as a spoof on the mobility of the windriders, allowing them to do both in the same turn.

  5. doktor_g September 18, 2016 8:51 am
    #

    As a top tier list player, Codex Orks, I feel that Eldar may not need to be buffed. I know this might be controversial, but rather than giving future codex Eldar players the widely requested buffs, perhaps we can lower the power level of the top tier lists by debuffing our overpowered codicies like orks, CSM, and AM. For instance making orks only able to move or shoot or assault every other turn because they are arguing amongst themselves over whose skin is the darkest. During the argument one of the boyz pulls a pin on a Waaagh grenade: On a roll of 3+ on 2d6 center a Large Blast of Str D over a randomly chosen boy. This would appropiately debuff the power building ork players to allow the mid to lower tier Eldar players to have a chance.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr September 18, 2016 9:32 am
      #

      Now you are just being ridiculous. Who would possible write a rule where an army’s unit would harm itself after taking damage from the enemy and try and pass it off as a buff?!? That would be like making Tyranid units eat themselves when they get out of Synapse range, just too stupid to even contemplate.

      I’m so sick of the internet always complaining about how OP the Orks are and how they ned to be nerfed in 8th edition!

    • Dash2021 September 18, 2016 11:56 am
      #

      Clearly Orks needs a nerf, I don’t think anyone disputes that. I’m not sure a single large blast would be sufficient though. Perhaps if Orks had some sort of rule that allowed only units of 10 boys, but and mob rules were changed to 3d6 +10 Ap2 automatic wounds? This would be more in line with bringing them in line with us poor Eldar, Marines and Tau players.

  6. Laserfrog September 18, 2016 9:10 am
    #

    As a Dark Eldar player, Tier-One army provocateur, and owner of some of the toughest open-topped transports in the game, I’d like to point out that my vehicles were so indestructibly resilient that when I moved to the 7th Ed Codex, I personally removed the option of giving all my non-Venom vehicles Flickerfields just so my opponents could have a fighting chance.

    My Raiders are feared throughout the Segmentum, and can always be identified by their distinct and terrifying battle cry: “Please don’t explode on turn one… Please don’t explode on turn one… Please don’t… DAMNIT!”

    • AngryPanda September 18, 2016 12:03 pm
      #

      So it was you who did that!!!

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr September 19, 2016 1:26 pm
      #

      My Orks may steal your battlecry!

  7. hillshire September 18, 2016 9:34 am
    #

    Those poor neglected Eldar. Always the forgotten children in GW’s universe playing in the corners of the gaming table by themselves while holding objectives.

    With a few tweaks to a couple of units, I think they might reach mid-tier competitiveness. Here are my proposed solutions:

    Wraithknights:
    1. Arrive from Deep Strike on the turn chosen by the player. If there are any Eldar units anywhere on the playing field, the Wraithknights do no scatter. They are guided by the soul gems of their brethren.

    2. During the movement phase, they can move up to 12″ upon arrival. If they cross over any terrain (which, of course, doesn’t hinder them since Eldar are light in their loafers), they can claim a cover save even if they leave the terrain. This should help with their abysmal survival rate.

    3. Of course they can shoot during the shooting phase with their D weapons. Even if they don’t have D weapons, they can shoot D weapons. They’re Eldar for goodness sake, stop trying to hold them back!

    4. Then they can move assault during the assault phase. Sure they arrived from Deep Strike but that was like three phases ago so no one remembers anyway. The “opponent” was too busy picking up models anyway.

    5. Just to make sure that they don’t become too overpowered and help maintain balance in the game, there needs to be a severe penalty to their abilities. If they score more than 5 Kill Points in a Player Turn, they have to give one back. Preferably to another Eldar player somewhere in the tournament. Certainly not the “opponent” they are playing against. How would that be fair?

    Scatbikes:
    1. Movement phase: 18″ so they can feel the wind in their long, luxurious hair.

    2. Psychic phase: 18″ more so their psykers can get their powers into position

    3. Shooting phase: 18″ so they can scoot around transports to get rear shots. Also, rolling pseudo-rending is a waste of time. Let’s make everything AP2 to keep things simple.

    4. Assault phase: 18″ so they can get into assault (yes they can assault after shooting, why shouldn’t they?), just in case there’s something left alive on the battlefield. It’s much simpler for the “opponent” if he can put his models back into their cases all in one go so they don’t get mixed together.

    • hillshire September 18, 2016 6:37 pm
      #

      I forgot to include #5, the “Scoring phase” in the Scatbikes section. This should read as follows:

      5. Scoring phase: after the end of the assault phase, the Scatbikes may immediately move onto any objectives on the table, irrespective of distance. If locked in combat, the Scatbikes may break from the combat to make this move. The “opponent’s” unit may consolidate 1d3″.

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr September 19, 2016 1:25 pm
      #

      Again Hillshire, nice work on the comments! Some good humour there.

  8. Isaac Neal September 18, 2016 3:16 pm
    #

    I wrote down all those tactics. Can’t wait to go surprise my friends op CSM. His Mutilator units are due for some comeuppance. Looking forward to codex Battle Company Oprah edition (you get a free rhino, and you, and you) I need help

  9. firewaspuk September 19, 2016 12:11 am
    #

    Admittedly, I do feel a pang of pity for my opponent whenever they deploy an eldar army against my tyranids. Knowing that the game isn’t going to go past a turn two tabling can’t be fun for them.

  10. Beoron September 19, 2016 1:06 am
    #

    JFC! Please make a “NSFW” hint to this one. I loled so hard in the office…

  11. Anggul September 19, 2016 8:38 am
    #

    Hey now, if you fired the serpent shield you couldn’t use it to downgrade pens to glances in the enemy turn. That’s a whole couple of shots coming back your way after you knocked half the enemy army flat from 60″ away!

  12. GeekmasterK September 19, 2016 9:02 am
    #

    And of course, I’m one of those cheeky bastards just getting started in the ITC, using Eldar with Scatbikes. I also include units from Codex: Wraithknight, and Codex: Warp Spider. So. Many. Warp Spiders. The Eldar are a dying race in the fluff, but we shall rise again! We plot the demise of our opponents, scheming new methods of trickery in our supervillain craftworld lairs! I may be an underdog in the ITC right now, but one day… One day the ITC will be mine! Today the ITC, tomorrow, the world! MUAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!

    P.S. This comment is about as tongue-in-cheek as this article. I know Eldar have a bad reputation right now, but if you’re taking this comment seriously, you’re doing it wrong. Thank you.

  13. jesper77 September 19, 2016 12:20 pm
    #

    I like the article,but for having issues with the main Unit in the article the writer should at least learn how they move 😉

    • Michael Corr
      Michael Corr September 19, 2016 1:24 pm
      #

      I am aware how the jetbikes move in regular 40k games. The jetbikes in the article were given exaggerated movement in the description for comedic effect.

  14. fleetofclaw September 20, 2016 8:56 am
    #

    lol! Excellent analysis!