Hi, everyone. Chandler here with a look over how our pointy eared space elf friends might fare in the tidal wave that is to come as we prepare for a new age of 40k. Will the Craftworlds still reign supreme along with their Ynnari friends? Will tables still be dominated by their presence in tournament play? Those questions will hopefully be answered in the coming months, but until then here are some things I am hoping to see for the Eldar going forward based on what we know now from GW’s releases on their Community page.
We’ve already seen a sneak peek into the new statline for Newhammer. Particularly interesting are vehicles now having wounds and saves, individual movement values for units rather than unit type, and set ballistic and weapon skill values. The statline I think will streamline the game in many respects making it much faster to play a game.
Particularly interesting is the note that there won’t be any more super heavy or gargantuan class units. Instead units of those types could have “dozens of wounds” as GW has stated. I expect the Wraithknight to be one such unit that will have an increased set of wounds. This will be particularly useful considering that “everything can hurt everything else” as GW has also confirmed. It might be possible to see a Wraithknight with as many as 18-20 wounds!
Units are already like this in Age of Sigmar as some of the bigger units have 10+ wounds, but they end up taking a lot more damage through the course of the game. Consider also that a lot of these high wound units lose their potency or have degraded abilities as they take wounds. A unit like a Wraithknight could potentially have less ability to produce damage output the more wounds it takes, which in my opinion, is a nice change.
Movement is one of the biggest confirmed changes coming for the next 40k iteration. Rather than being based on unit type, a model’s movement will be unit-by-unit. In other words, each unit will have their own movement stat. GW has already confirmed that units and armies that are intended to rely on mobility will retain their movement edge, so to speak. While this bodes well for a lot of armies, Eldar are unique in the fact that while their shooting can be downright devastating, it is their maneuverability that really sets them apart from other armies.
Presently Eldar scatbikes are just insane on the table and that is of course, no secret. These guys have crazy good shooting being armed to the teeth with scatter lasers, objective secured in Eldar CADs, and the ability to cover 48″ of field in a single turn. The unit is just nuts, but you all know that already. This begs the question, how maneuverable will they be moving forward? I expect these guys will have a pretty high movement value, perhaps even as high as 18″, but is Turbo Boosting even going to exist in Newhammer? There has been no word on it yet, and it is very possible that the ability will simply go away. 18″ Sounds like a lot, and it is, but it certainly limits their ability to fly all over the table and get in key positions for objective control, especially later in the game when Eldar players tend to boost onto objectives to claim them with obsec. It’s a mechanic that begs to be re-worked. If they keep a static movement of 18″ then it will allow them to be extremely fast, yet also limit them from robbing someone of a win simply because they have insane speed at the end of a game.
But Eldar jetbikes also have neat tricks like moving in the assault phase. Will that change? I’m thinking it might not. Eldar jetbikes are terrible in assault and getting charged is all but signing a death warrant for the squad when it happens. I can see them having a built in special rule on their datasheet that will allow them to move, perhaps half their movement value, in the assault phase to avoid getting charged or to make charging them more of a challenge. This might seem over powered, but consider that many of the assault based units in the game will have increased movement capabilities able to cover greater distances, especially on a charge, then it becomes less broken than it sounds.
But what about other units like Guardians and Dire Avengers? I expect them to have a pretty high movement value as well. Perhaps 8″ with the ability to maybe move as far as 12″ and fire in the shooting phase, somehow incorporating their Battle Focus type ability. Meanwhile some of the more slow units, like Wraithguard for example, will probably be able to move only 4″ or 5″ a turn.
Warp Spiders have, of course, have been a powerhouse unit in 7th due to their incredible mobility combined with awesome firepower. I don’t expect that to change much, although I do anticipate Flickerjump either being nerfed or removed entirely. Still, expect this unit to retain its ability to be one of the fastest in the game.
Then there is, of course, the big daddy; the Wraithknight. I expect it to retain a very high movement perhaps even 12-18″ making it very maneuverable as it has been since its inception in the game. That could also make it even more deadly when it makes a charge move as well. These things have always been able to cover a lot of ground and I don’t expect that will change much.
Wave Serpents, Falcons, and other tanks, will probably have the ability to move at speeds of up to 18″ or more retaining their incredible mobility as well. We still don’t really know how transports will work moving forward, but being able to move further than 6″ and dump out your troops will definitely play up to the flavor of an incredibly mobile and fast army like Eldar and will make their close range shooting units like Guardians more of a threat.
The shooting phase is changing as we all know, and Eldar, being one of the top shootiest armies out there, stand to be effected by this naturally. I think GW has seen the error in allowing every jetbike to take a scatter laser, so I would not be surprised to see this be a more costly upgrade and also limited to 1-2 per unit depending on the size. Eldar will probably retain their ability to hit on a 3+ in shooting with taking Command Points in their detachments to enhance that even further. I would not be surprised to see Eldar detachments with units hitting on 2s quite frequently.
AP values are a thing of the past, and instead weapons will have modifiers which will effect the target’s saves.
Weapons themselves are changing to a degree and while I expect staples like the scatter laser to retain their current 4 shot strength 6 deadliness, other weapons will change quite drastically. Destroyer weapons are going to be a thing of the past, as has been confirmed now by GW, but weapons will also have the capability of having higher Strength values than 10 as well. I can see the Eldar Heavy Wraithcannon as having a Strength higher than 10, with a large modifier to saves maybe even as great as -5 or 6 while doing d6+x damage. So no longer will these weapons be able to just remove an expensive model on a 6, they will still be able to dish out tons of damage.
Wraithguard could have the potential to be extremely deadly as well with the recent change to how flamer type weapons will work. Rather than using a template of any kind (something that is going away across the board), these weapons will shoot a random number of shots which auto-hit, most likely for Wraithguard D-Scythes that will be 1d6 per gun. This has several advantages being mainly you don’t have to worry about positioning your models so that templates don’t cross over your own models, but could potentially reduce the number of hits you might get on a large unit as opposed to using the standard templates. Of course, as noted above, with Destroyer weapons being a thing of the past, expect to see D-Scythes having a very high Strength value (10+) as well as a big modifier to saves and each capable of doing multiple wounds per hit. I have the feeling that these units will be incredibly useful for Eldar (not that they were ever bad before.)
Bladestorm will be changing as well, and I see that as providing an additional modifier beyond the standard weapon modifier to maybe a -1 or 2 to saves on rolls of 6s to wound.
Regardless of how the changes shake out for weapons and shooting, count on Eldar being just as deadly as ever in the shooting phase.
Unfortunately GW has been very tight lipped on how the Psychic Phase is going to work. Details have been scarce, but I think we can all expect a giant overhaul to the phase from psychic powers to how they are manifested in-game. Eldar have always been psychic masters and I don’t expect that to change. I expect them to still be able to ignore wounds from Perils results, re-roll psychic test mechanics, and some of the other shenanigans we have come to expect from them.
Farseers will likely still be the go-to HQ choice for Eldar as I expect they will retain psychic buffs of some form. I think we can all agree that gone are the days of the indestructible seer council, however. Death stars are a thing of the past and that is a good thing for the game overall.
The fact that Eldar will be faster in general combined with charging units having the ability to strike first in combat suddenly makes units like Striking Scorpions and Howling Banshees much more appealing than they have been for a long time. Shining Spears were actually already quite good in 7th edition and with the increased movement capability perhaps as fast as a standard Eldar jetbike, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Shining Spears more than ever on the table top particularly if they retain the ability to buff how hard they hit on the charge. An 18″ moving Shining Spear that can move virtually anywhere they want on the charge is particularly good.
Wraithknights will be punishing forces in assault just as they have always been, with a high movement stat, and the ability to sling high strength attacks that will likely ignore or heavily modify the enemy’s saves, I would not be shocked to see an increased usage of the sword and board Wraithknight.
I anticipate Eldar will have very good assault units and also the capability with some of their more mobile units to avoid charges when needed. Also factoring in Command Points giving them added bonuses, likely there will be options for assault as well such as increased weapon skill, or maybe even the ability to de-buff enemy charging units in order to strike first. Eldar are incredibly fast after all.
Eldar are going to be good, of that there is no doubt. They are one of GWs top selling armies and one of the most popular behind Space Marines in the entire game. I don’t expect them to get the huge nerf that most people in the community might want, but while they will be just as brutal as ever, I anticipate other factions will be just as deadly in their own ways.
Then again, I could be completely wrong on most of this. One thing is certain, there are exciting times ahead for all factions in 40k. Bring on Newhammer!
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