Eldar Craftworlds Review: Detachment: Craftworld Warhost

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Hey, everyone. Chandler here with a review on the Eldar Craftworlds Warhost Detachment.  For more reviews, analysis, and battle reports be sure to check out the Tactics Corner.

Since its publication last year the Eldar Craftworlds Codex has asserted the good ol’ space elves as one of the most powerful factions in the game. Seen in tournaments across the world, Eldar are arguably the most popular competitive faction, and for good reason. Most players are content to use the Combined Arms Detachment for their Eldar build, and rightly so as that is definitely the most powerful way to run the army. Unlike most of the new 7th edition codices, the Eldar “decurion” build isn’t as strong as the CAD counterpart, but it can still be a pretty tough army to play.

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Overview: 

The Craftworld Warhost Detachment is composed of 1-3 Core choices, 0-3 Command choices (per Guardian Host Core choice), and 1-12 Auxiliary choices.

The Warhost features three “Guardian Host” Formations that can be chosen as a Core choice:

Guardian Battlehost:

  • 1 Farseer
  • 3 units of Guadians
  • 1 Vyper Squadron
  • 1 unit of War Walkers
  • 1 Vaul’s Wrath Support Battery
  • 0-1 Warlock Conclave

Special Rules:

  • Our Time of Need: Units of Guardians from the formation can take a Heavy Weapon Platform at no points cost instead of the points cost listed on the datasheet.
  • Vaul’s Might: Vypers, War Walkers, and Vaul’s Wrath Support Battery from the Formation gain the Preferred Enemy rule when shooting at a unit that is within 12″ of a unit of Guardians from the Formation.

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Guardian Stormhost:

  • 1 Farseer
  • 3 units of Storm Guadians
  • 1 Vyper Squadron
  • 1 unit of War Walkers
  • 1 Vaul’s Wrath Support Battery
  • 0-1 Warlock Conclave

Special Rules:

  • Bring Forth the Torch: Two Storm Guardians may take either a flamer or fusion gun for free. Two other Storm Guardians may exchange their close combat weapons for power swords for free.
  • Close Support: Vypers, War Walkers, and Vaul’s Wrath Support Battery from the Formation gain the Preferred Enemy rule when shooting at a unit that is within 12″ of a unit of Storm Guardians from the Formation.

Windrider Host: The Farseer and all models in the Warlock Conclave must be upgraded with Skyrunners.

  • 1 Farseer
  • 1 Warlock Conclave
  • 3 units of Windriders
  • 1 Vyper Squadron

Special Rules:

  • Tempest of Blades: Once per game, as long as the Farseer is alive, all Shuriken weapons in this Formation gain the Shred special rule until the end of the phase.

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The Command Choices are:

Heroes of the Craftworlds:

  • 1 Autarch, Price Yriel, Eldrad Ulthran, or Illic Nightspear

Seer Council: The Warlock Conclave must include at least 5 models. If any Farseer or Warlock is upgraded to a Skyrunner, all other models must do so.

  • 2 Farseers (one of which can be replaced with Eldrad)
  • 1 Warlock Conclave

Special Rules:

  • Psychic Bond: Both Farseers must join the Warlock Conclave before deployment and cannot leave the unit.
  • Path of the Seer: If chosen as your Primary Detachment you can re-roll the Warlord Trait when rolling in the Codex: Craftworlds Warlord Traits Table.
  • Psychic Might: When models from this Formation make Psychic Tests, results of 3+ will harness Warp Charge instead of rolls of 4+

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Living Legends: 

  • 1 Avatar, Asurmen, Jain Zar, Karandras, Fuegan, Baharroth, or Maugan Ra

 

Auxiliary choices include:

Outcasts:

  • 1 Unit of Rangers

Aspect Host: Each unit in this Formation must include an Exarch

  • 3 units chosen from Dire Avengers, Howling Banshees, Striking Scorpions, Fire Dragons, Swooping Hawks, Warp Spiders, Shining Spears, or Dark Reapers in any combination.

Special Rules:

  • Rites of Battle: Choose for all units in the Formation to have either +1 Weapon Skill or +1 Ballistic Skill.
  • Shrinekeepers: Models from this Formation can re-roll failed Morale, Pinning, and Fear tests.

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Dire Avenger Shrine: Only one unit in this Formation may include an Exarch

3 units of Dire Avengers

Special Rules:

  • Killing Strike: Once per game in the Shooting Phase all avenger shuriken catapults carried by the models in the Formation are Assault 3 instead of Assault 2.
  • Rites of the Avenger: All models in this Formation add 1 to their Ballistic Skill
  • Shrinekeepers: Models from this Formation can re-roll failed Morale, Pinning, and Fear tests.

Crimson Death: One Crimson Hunter must be upgraded to an Exarch

  • 3 Crimson Hunters

Special Rules:

  • Preferred Enemy (Flyers, Flying Monstrous Creatures)
  • Evasive Manoeuvres: All models in the Formation have a 4+ cover save.  If a model in the Formation chooses to Jink, it can re-roll failed cover s aves until the start of its next turn.

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Wraith Host: 

  • 1 Spiritseer
  • 3 units of Wraithguard or Wraithblades in any combination
  • 1 Wraithlord
  • 1 Wraithknight

Special Rules:

  • Battle Focus
  • Guided Wraithsight: All units from this formation except the Spiritseer can re-roll failed To Hit rolls against enemy units that are within 18″ of the Spiritseer from this Formation.

Engines of Vaul: 

  • 1 unit of Night Spinners, Fire Prisms, or Falcons

Wraith Constructs:

  • 1 Hemlock Wraithfighter, Wraithlord, or Wraithknight

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Special Rules: 

The Craftworld Warhost Detachment comes with a single Command Benefit:

  • Matchless Agility: If a unit composed entirely of models from this Detachment Runs, do not roll a d6 to determine Run distance. Instead, it automatically counts as having rolled a 6.

Tactics: 

The Craftworld Warhost is unique in that it enhances an already fast army and makes them exceptionally speedy. All units being able to auto-run 6″ with Battle Focus allows you to Run/Shoot or Shoot/Run and increases the threat range of their weapons immensely. And while the units all lack Objective Secured, their ability to move around the board at lightning speed makes them capable of grabbing objectives all over the table.

The Guardian Battlehost gains the most from the Matchless Agility trait.  Suddenly Guardians are moving 12″ per turn and shooting their weapons, which all come with Bladestorm, allowing rolls of 6s to auto-wound anything with AP2. Getting the free weapons platforms is a big boon here as well.  Personally I like to run with Scatter Lasers here or Shuriken Cannons as they can lay down some high strength firepower on infantry units.

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Upgrading each unit to have a Warlock helps give the Guardians some amount of survivability beyond their measly 5+ armor save, as you can cast Conceal and give the entire unit Shrouding as they move across the board virtually unhindered by terrain. Alternatively you could put them all in Wave Serpents, but the points really start racking up then, and this is already a fairly pricey Core Choice.

Players are probably already familiar with just how devastating a Vaul’s Wrath Battery can be with D-Cannons equipped. Because they are artillery and your opponent must roll To Wound against their Toughness 7 when shooting, they make a great unit for your Farseer to join. Casting powers like Guide on them makes them even more dangerous and a 24″ threat bubble with Destroyer weapons will make your opponent think twice about moving too close to your Guardians as they move across the table.

The Guardian Stormhost is also a nice choice here. Getting free flamers and fusion guns combined with their speed in the Warhost makes them a force to be reckoned with. Unfortunately, while they can gain a lot of Initiative 5 close combat attacks, their Strength 3 attacks make them less than optimal. If you’re fortunate enough to have a Warlock with each unit, they can buff the strength up with the Empower Psychic Power, but it’s a random roll with 1 dice so the odds are slim of getting it most of the time.

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The Windrider Host probably suffers the most of all the Core choices. Most everyone is familiar with Scatbike packs and how much of a nuisance they are on the table. Upgrading the Windriders with Scatter Lasers means they won’t get to benefit from Tempest of Blades as it is not a Shuriken weapon. Shuriken Cannons, however, make a great alternative in this case. The loss of Obsec and the inability to take advantage of Matchless Agility makes them less than optimal and you’re better off running them in a CAD than a Warhost Detachment.

The Command choices bring you the versatility to add some special characters to your army and are very flavorful, but none are optimal and all of the Phoenix Lords are very expensive. Taking an Autarch is not a bad choice here, especially if you plan on using reserve units (such as the Crimson Death Formation, or deep striking Aspect Warriors) as he can manipulate reserve rolls with his special rules.

The Seer Council is obviously an attractive choice as well, because of the ease of gaining Warp Charge. The fact that the Warlocks generate Warp Charge in the Conclave for each model in the unit helps bring a lot of power to the Psychic Phase. While no longer the threat they were in 6th edition really, they are still a force to be reckoned with and make a pretty dangerous, albeit expensive, death star unit.

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The Auxiliary choices are where the Warhost shines. Specifically when you include an Aspect Host. Most people are probably all too familiar with this Formation already as a way to bring lots of Warp Spiders that hit on 2s in shooting. When you factor in Matchless Agility their speed gets insanely ridiculous. They are the go-to choice for your Auxiliary in a Warhost Detachment.

Outcasts make a great way to cheaply fill in your Warhost requirement and of course Rangers make great objective campers. Unfortunately you’re not likely to move them much in the game so they won’t benefit from Matchless Agility very often. Keeping them in Reserves and coming in late game to snatch objectives with Outflank is a great way to use them as well.

Dire Avenger Shrines are good as well, because of their ability to increase the number of shots once per game. Hitting on 2s with the extra Bladestorm shots means you can lay down a lot of deadly firepower. Their speed with Matchless Agility also makes their threat range extremely dangerous as well.

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Harboring back to the Iyanden supplement of 6th edition, the Wraithhost brings in Wraith units that Battle Focus. Suddenly those Wraithguard are moving 12″ a turn with D weapons which makes them incredibly dangerous. Unfortunately the formation is way too pricey to be viable especially considering the cost of the core formations. The Wraithlord is a big tax here as well as he is not very effective, even with Matchless Agility factored in.

Crimson Death is a nice Formation, but would probably be better had it been 2-3 Crimson Hunters. 3 Crimson Hunters is a little overkill as Flyers are not really dominating the meta in 40k anymore. Still their ability to gain a 4+ cover without resorting to Jinking is nice. And gaining Preferred Enemy combined with their built-in ability to re-roll armor penetration rolls against all other Flyers makes them more than capable of dominating the air. Vector Dancer allows you to maneuver these guys all over the board too which is nice. Their lack of ability to drop into Hover means you’re investing a lot of points into non-scoring units, which is not really optimal. If your meta is flyer heavy then this is a great formation to take as an auxiliary, however.

Engines of Vaul is a pretty solid choice for the Warhost detachment, especially Falcons. When taken in a squadron they can use their Cloudstrike ability to really lay down a massive beta-strike. Combine them with Fire Dragons taken in an Aspect Host or Wraithguard from the Wraithhost, and their threat ability is terrifying for the opponent. Unfortunately again, it is a huge point investment to your army which makes them less than optimal in the Warhost.

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Wraith Constructs gives you the option to add a Wraithknight to your Warhost which is pretty much an auto-take for every single Eldar army which should come as no surprise. It is an under-costed Gargantuan Monstrous Creature with the potential to do a massive amount of damage in the game.  Throwing in one of these in a footdar Warhost detachment makes the army even more formidable as your opponent must be very careful in target selection. Running one of these with the sword and shield makes a great counter assault unit for anything threatening your Guardians.

The Craftworld Warhost is an often overlooked Detachment and while the CAD is probably the best build for an Eldar force, the Warhost is a more than capable alternative. The detachment brings a lot of high powered shooting combined with speed and maneuverability that can’t be rivaled in 40k by any other army as a whole. It is a glass cannon, however, so you’re going to need to hit the opponent hard within the first two turns to get the most out of the detachment. Fortunately it is versatile enough to allow a variety of options capable of handling any threat in the game.

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About Chandler

Sometimes I play 40k. Sometimes I drink beer. Oftentimes I do both. I host an annual ITC Grand Tournament, Come the Apocalypse GT, as well as a podcast called Come the Apocalypse - a Warhammer 40k Podcast which you can find on iTunes or the Google Play Music store.

2 Responses to “Eldar Craftworlds Review: Detachment: Craftworld Warhost”

  1. Blight October 27, 2016 7:48 am #

    Is this article actually accurate?
    After FW totally changed how this detachment’s core formations work I thought there were quite a few of these being fielded.
    Which brings up the question of why FW’s additions to this detachment weren’t brought up? They’re pretty huge, almost entirely eliminating tax units.

    • Chandler October 27, 2016 8:29 am #

      There are some amazing options in Doom of Mymeara. And a lot of that actually makes the Craftworlds Warhost amazing really. I wanted to touch specifically on the Codex itself.

      The Core options as well as the Auxiliary options in Doom are usable in a Craftworld Warhost yes. But I’m not sure how it couldn’t be “actually accurate?” because the options in the codex are still available. And as many players won’t easily have access to Doom of Mymeara these are still playable options?

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