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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
There are two major tactics with Codex: Scatbikes:
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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!