Review of 8th ed 40k Codex: Craftworlds aka: Eldar Part 1 of 3.

Howdy partners, Reecius here form Frontline Gaming to bring you a slightly overdue review on the new 8th ed Codex Craftworlds….or the Eldar Codex. Check the Tactics Corner for more great reviews. Part 1 of this review will cover the army and Craftworld wide special rules, psychic powers, Warlord Traits, relics, and stratagems.

And as always, you can purchase this and other Games Workshop products from Frontline Gaming’s web-cart at a discount every day, with FREE shipping within the continental USA for orders $99 and up!

Codex: Craftworlds is a seriously awesome book. Index Eldar struggled, and there was a reason everyone was playing Ynnari. Now however, you can play a specific Craftworld and not only compete but kick ass. Beyond the obvious points drops, there are so many combos and layered unit interactions in it that it is hard to contain my enthusiasm. This is a codex that provides tremendous depth and opportunities for mastery. Every time you play, you will see more and more potential combinations giving it a very nuanced and subtle feel with a multitude of play style options, which is perfect for Eldar, in my opinion.

Army Wide Special Rules

  • Ancient Doom: Re-roll hit rolls in the fight phase if you charge or are charged by Slaanesh units, but also must add 1 to morale checks if within 3″ of them.
  • Battle Focus: units with this rule can move and advance but shoot any weapons apart from Heavy as if they had not moved.
  • The Path of Command: Autarch’s have a re-roll 1 aura for friendly <Craftworld> units within 6″ and if the Autarch is your Warlord and on the table, each time you spend a CP on the roll of a 6 you do not lose it.
  • The Path of War: In a battle-forged Craftworlds Detachment, all Troops gain ObSec. Phoenix Lords can be taken and not lose these benefits.

These are fun abilities. Ancient Doom obviously doesn’t kick in that frequently (but is great when it does), however, Battle Focus is bad ass. I love it, the extreme mobility of the Eldar army is just a blast to experience. Path of Command is also very nice, regaining CP and a re-roll aura hardly require explanation and give you a big incentive to use an Autarch. The only problem I find myself having is which awesome HQ to take! Eldar have so many incredible choices available to them. My lists often have 4+ HQs in them as they all bring so much to the table.

Warlord Traits

Eldar have some very solid Warlord Traits available to them.

  • Ambush of Blades: Hit rolls of 6+ in the fight phase for friendly <Craftworlds> units within 6″ the Warlord increase the ap of that attack by -1.
  • An Eye on Distant Events: Enemy units may not fire Overwatch at your Warlord.
  • Falcon’s Swiftness: +2 to your Warlord’s Move characteristic.
  • Fate’s Messenger: Your Warlord gains +1 to wound and a 6+ FnP.
  • Mark of the Incomparable Hunter: Your Warlord can target enemy Characters even if they are not the closest model.
  • Seer of the Shifting Vectors: Once per Battle Round, your Warlord can re-roll a single hit roll, wound roll, save roll, Psychic test or Deny the Witch test made for your Warlord.

Obviously, those are pretty dang good. I tend to go with Falcon’s Swiftness on my Avatar as boosting him up to a 9″ move to speed him up which is very powerful in my list, but they are all very good. Mark of the Incomparable Hunter on an Autarch with Fusion Pistol, while short ranged, can be devastating.

And important to note: Phoenix Lords cannot take Warlord Traits. I often find giving it to the Farseer is a solid bet as they tend to not die very frequently in their support role.

Ambush of Blades has tremendous potential, too. I like to use Storm Guardians as a screen unit in my Eldar armies and with this Warlord Trait, and some additional buffs such as the Enhance or Empower psychic powers, plus re-rolls from an Autarch, combined with Doom, and even a stratagem like Supreme Disdain and they actually become deadly combatants! With a full unit of 20, they put out 40 attacks potentially hitting on 2’s with re-rolls, wounding T4 targets on a 4+, becoming rend -1 on a 5+ to hit which also generate additional attacks due to Supreme Disdain, and re-rolling failed wound rolls. You will be shocked at how quickly this wimpy unit all of a sudden starts chopping things to bits! That is a common theme in the Carftworlds Codex. It is all about finding those synergies that take a unit from good to amazing. We’ll be sure to take a look at more of them as we go!


There are loads of absolutely awesome stratagems in the Craftworlds Codex. As stated numerous times in previous, similar articles, 8th ed 40k lists will often be built around their stratagems and Eldar are no exception. They have some fantastic options in this regard. Let’s take a look at some of my favorite options!

  • Celestial Shield: 1 CP, a unit of Guardians gains a 4++ for the shooting phase. You use it after they’ve been targeted.
    • This is AWESOME. If you use Guardians as your screen unit, the benefit is obvious. However, it goes up to an 11 when you combine it with things like the Protect and/or Fortune psychic powers for a potential 3++ with a 5+ FnP style save! Toss in Alaitoc for a possible -1 to hit and those wimpy Guardians can become neigh unkillable in the shooting phase.
  • Cloudstrike: 1 CP, allows you to place an Asuryani Vehicle in deep strike reserves and if it has any units embarked, they get to go along with it. May not be used with Webway Strike.
    • This is another amazing Stratagem. For barely any investment, you get perfect defense against the alpha strike and can wait to see how a game develops before delivering a transport and unit where they are most useful. Just remember, you cannot disembark as this occurs at the end of the movement phase.
  • Forewarned: 2 CP, Your standard “interceptor” stratagem to shoot units coming in from reserves.
    • I mention it only because not every Codex has gotten it and it is very good!
  • Concordance of Power: 1 CP, doubles the range of a Warlock Conclave’s psychic power.
    • As the Runes of Battle psychic powers are stupidly amazing, this is also an amazing stratagem.
  • Unparalleled Mastery: 1 CP, allows a Farseer to cast another power.
    • When you really need Fortune, Doom AND Guide or Smite in the same turn, well, here you go.

  • Feigned Retreat: 2 CP, a unit may fall back from combat and still shoot and charge.
    • One of my favorite stratagems in the book and incredibly useful. Not being shut down in melee is worth its weight in gold, particularly with the incredibly mobile Eldar units that may take advantage of it.

  • Linked Fire: 1 CP, can combo Fire Prisms fire power to give them all re-rolls to hit and wound if they fire at the same target.
    • This is obviously powerful, particularly when combined with the bad ass Pulsed Laser Discharge rule Fire Prisms got which lets them fire twice if they move half speed or less they can quickly make short work of things like Magnus, Mortarion, an Imperial Knight, etc. 
  • Lightening-Fast Reactions: 2 CP, when a friendly Asuryani unit with the Fly keyword is targeted in the shooting phase, your opponent must subtract -1 to hit it for the rest of the phase.
    • Again, stacking this with Alaitoc, the Coneal power, etc. can quickly get a unit up to -3 to hit, making it essentially invulnerable to many shooting attacks. Not bad for delivering something like Fire Dragons up the field.
  • Supreme Disdain: 1 CP, exploding 6’s to hit in the fight phase for a unit.
    • As noted above, combo this with the Enhance psychic power to get exploding attacks on a 5+.
  • Webway Strike: 1 or 3 CP, place 1 unit in reserve or opt to pay 3 CP and put two units in reserves. These units then deep strike unto the table during the course of the game. Cannot be used with Cloudstrike.
    • Stupidly, amazingly awesome stratagem. The uses for it are longer than my arm and is an all-star ability. Fire Dragons will be raining form the sky!
  • Overloaded Field Energy Projectors: 1 CP, allows you to fire a Serpent Shield for a second time.
  • Starhawk Missile: Allows you to deal D3 mortal wounds to a target that can Fly when firing an Infantry model’s Aeldari missile launcher on a successful hit with +1.
    • Great for dealing with tough units like Magnus or Mortarion, etc. 
  • Seer Council: 1 CP, if you have a Farseer within 6″ of a friendly Warlock, they both gain +1 to their Psychic tests for the rest of the phase.
    • Eldar Psychic powers are incredibly good, and this boosts them as they are typically WC 7 and helps a ton to make them reliable.

  • Fire and Fade: 1 CP, allows an Asuryani unit to shoot and scoot 7″.
    • I use this bad boy all the time, it is incredibly useful with units to shoot then fade away behind cover, particularly after using the Webway Strike stratagem or something similar!
  • Runes of Witnessing: 2 CP, friendly <Craftworld> units within 6″ of the targeted Farseer can re-roll wound rolls of 1 for the remainder of the phase in which the stratagem was used.
    • Stupid good for those turns when you really need to destroy whatever it is you are attacking or if Doom failed to go off. 
  • Phantasm: 2 CP, pick up to 3 Asuryani units and redeploy them before the first battle round begins.
    • This is one of those stratagems that are amazing but may not seem that way at first glance. For anyone that played Eldrad back in 5th ed, you know how crazy good this is. You can use it for all kinds of high level tactics. You can bait your opponent by throwing units on a flank, forcing them to react to them, then pulling them back to the other side of the table. You can deploy units ultra aggressively but if you find yourself not going first, pull them back to safety. You can deploy units up-field to block enemy infiltrators, and then bring them back to safety once their job is done. This is an absolute gem of a stratagem. 
  • The Tears of Isha: 2 CP, heal D3 wounds on a Wraith Construct.
    • Combo this with the new Bonesinger and you can potentially heal 2d3 wounds which is especially awesome if you are using Iyanden.
  • Vaul’s Might: 1 CP, so long as two Support Weapons are within 6″ of one another, they both can re-roll 1’s to wound for that shooting phase.

  • The Avatar Resurgent: 3 CP, after the Avatar is killed in the fight phase, this stratagem keeps him alive with D6 wounds.

Psychic Powers

Eldar have a blistering array of incredible Psychic powers available to them with essentially 18 different powers to choose from! These are quite simply amazing abilities. Runes of Battle especially having game changing powers in it.

  • Runes of Battle: all of these have two options, one a friendly buff, the other an enemy debuff. The buff works on Asuryani Infantry and Bikers within 18″ (no LoS required), the debuff has no restrictions on what units it works on and is also 18″ with no LoS required.
    • Conceal/Reveal: WC 6, either granting a friendly unit -1 to hit vs. ranged weapons, or stripping cover from an enemy unit.
    • Embolden/Horrify: WC 6, +2 to friendly leadership, or -1 to enemy leadership.
    • Enhance/Drain: WC 7, either +1 to hit for a friendly unit or -1 to hit for an enemy unit.
      • As noted earlier, this combos especially well with any ability that triggers a special effect on a 6+ in melee as it will not trigger on a 5+ such as the Striking Scorpion Exarch’s Sustained Attack rule, doubling the amount of them you get!
    • Protect/Jinx: WC 7, +1 to a friendly unit’s saves or -1 to an enemy unit’s saves.
      • Stupid good. Remember, this impacts invulnerable saves, too!
    • Quicken/Restrain: WC 7, either move one of your units a second time in the psychic phase as if it were the movement phase, or halve the movement of an enemy unit.
      • Ridiculously, amazingly, beautifully good! No joke, this is one of the best powers in the entire game. Moving a unit like Howling Banshees or Fire Dragons a second time, or halving the movement pf a unit like Berzerkers or Magnus is game winning.
    • Empower/Enervate: WC 6, either +1 to wound rolls for a friendly unit in the fight phase or -1 to wound rolls for an enemy unit in the fight phase.
      • Again…bonkers good. Just incredible. As noted it makes your units that may not normally hit so hard much more dangerous and makes enemy units much less scary to your squishy Eldar. It also combos as with Enhance for abilities that trigger on a 6+ such as Asurmen‘s Sword of Asur.

  • Runes of Fate: the traditional Eldar powers, still as good as ever.
    • Guide: WC 7, 24″ range, re-roll failed shooting attacks for a friendly unit.
    • Doom: WC 7, 24″ range, re-roll all failed wound rolls vs. the targeted enemy unit until the start of the next psychic phase.
      • This is also one of the best psychic powers in the game, and one you will want to focus your energies on getting off successfully as it can potentially buff your entire army.
    • Fortune: WC 7, 5+ FnP style roll for a friendly unit with 24″.
    • Executioner: WC 7, 18″ range, the nearest enemy unit takes D3 mortal wounds, if a model in the unit id destroyed, the unit takes another D3 mortal wounds.
    • Will of Asuryan: WC 5, 6″ fearless aura from the caster and +1 to Deny checks for the caster.
    • Mind War: WC 7, targets an enemy Character within 18″, both players roll a D6 adding their leadership, target takes a mortal wound for every point the Farseer wins the roll by.

Relics: Remnants of Glory

  • Kurnous’ Bow: Replaces a Shuriken Pistol, same stats bu damage 2.
  • The Phoenix Gem: The first time the bearer is slain deal D3 mortal wound to friendly units within 3″ on a 2+. If any mortal wounds are dealt, the bearer does not die but survives with a single wound.
  • Shard of Anaris: replaces a model’s Power Sword, same stats but D3 damage and allows the bearer to re-roll failed wound rolls.
    • This is a great relic for an Autarch and dramatically increases their damage output. 
  • Faolchu’s Wing: Infantry model only, bearer gains the Fly keyword and their move characteristic becomes 12″.
  • Firesabre: replaces a model’s Power Sword, +1 strength, AP-4, 1 damage, on a 6+ to wound also deals a mortal wound.
  • Blazing Star of Vaul: replaces a model’s Shuriken Catapult, increases the number of attacks of that weapon by 2.
  • Shimmerplume of Achillrial: Autarch only, gives them a -1 to be hit.
    • Awesome! Particularly with Alaitoc and in combination with the Lightening-Fast Reactions stratagem.

 Craftworld Attributes, Relics, Warlord Traits, Characters and Stratagems


Alaitoc is the Craftworld drawing the most attention online and for good reason, the -1 to hit ability for units 12″ or more away is very powerful, especially when combined with some of the other ways to stack -1 to hit on units, such as is native to Rangers and the Conceal power which gives a unit an additional -1 to hit for a potential -3 to hit! This can make your army incredibly difficult to take on in the shooting phase, especially for armies like Astra Militarum. Although, remember, this is no silver bullet as they can simply run up and punch you in the face, too! Eldar are squishy and even a Guardsman is a threat to you in melee. And as this will often be the only viable strategy left to them, you can count on this being what they do so bring some counter assault units.

However, this is a great baseline ability and helps to mitigate the alpha strike quite a bit and works well with seriously any army archetype. I don’t rate it quite as high personally as Eldar have so many ways to stay off of the table and often want to get close to deal maximum damage, but that is just me. What it does though is establish a baseline for an army that should win a long ranged shoot-out against a similar army due to the fact that you simply are harder to hit. We will be seeing a LOT of Aliatoc armies in the months to come.

  • Fieldcraft: Your opponent is -1 to hit your units if they shoot at you from more than 12″ away.

  • Pathfinders: Alaitoc Stratagem, 1 CP, used when a unit of Aliatoc Rangers is chosen as a target in the shooting phase, attacks against this unit hit on 6’s regardless of modifiers for the rest of the phase.
  • Puritanical Zeal: Alaitoc Warlord Trait, so long as all units within 6″ of your Warlord are Alaitoc, they automatically pass morale.
  • Shiftshroud of Alanssair: Alaitoc relic, Infantry models only, bearer is -1 to hit in the shooting phase and can be set up in deep strike reserves.
    • Bad ass relic. Just incredibly good. 
  • Illic Nightspear: an Alaitoc sniper Character that packs a damage 3 sniper rifle!


Biel-Tan is my favorite Craftworld package for a number of reasons. For one, my play-style and preference for using infantry and the fact that I love Aspect Warriors means they are my go to choice as that is what Biel-Tan is about. Plus, I use loads of Dire Avengers and other Shuriken weapon toting units that tend to get in very close to the enemy where something like the Alaitoc bonus would be less effective for my play-style. As Eldar have a plethora of ways to deliver themselves into close ranged battles, the need to withstand an alpha strike isn’t so important as they can simple stay off of the table.

Beyond my personal preference though, Biel-Tan has a lot to offer. The re-rolls of 1 to hit with Shuriken weapons is solid and the +1 leadership for Aspect Warriors helps quite a bit if you are running an MSU play-style as you just don’t have to worry about morale in most instances. Their Warlord Trait is one of the strongest I’ve seen and their unique Stratagem and relics are also very good.

This army compliments a combined arms strategy quite well and as all of the various Aspect Warriors have gotten boosted across the board. You can really create a fun and flexible army using Biel-Tan as a core. As units self-buff in most instances, they can operate solo or you can string together some crazy combinations with them using what is also a very true to the lore army-list, which I love.

  • Swordwind: +1 Leadership for Aspect Warriors and units with Shuriken Weapons re-roll 1’s to hit.
    • This is great for not only Aspect Warriors. War Walkers and Windriders with Shuriken weapons, Guardians, etc. all benefit from it quite a bit.

  • Court of the Young King: Biel-Tan stratagem, 2 CP, a Biel-Tan unit of Aspect Warriors that has an Exarch add 2 to their Charge rolls and re-roll 1’s to hit in the fight phase. If within 6″ of an Avatar when the stratagem is used, they add +3″ to their charge and re-roll all misses in the fight phase.
    • This is an awesome stratagem, it has loads of uses, not the least of which is catapulting units coming out of reserves into easy charges by giving them +3″ to that roll. For units like Striking Scorpions, this means a 6″ charge with a re-roll due to the Avatar. Or for Howling Banshees combined with the Quicken psychic power, they have a potential 46″ threat range! That is absurd, lol, and a lot of fun to use. Coming out of reserves, they only have a 3″ charge when using this stratagem! Which, considering they cannot be hit with over-watch, is pretty dang good. You can then send in your other units after without having to worry about taking any casualties on the way in.

  • Natural Leader: Biel-Tan Warlord Trait, at the start of your shooting phase, a friendly Biel-Tan unit within 3″ of your Warlord may re-roll all failed misses for that phase.
  • The Spirit Stone of Anath’Lan: Biel-Tan psykers only, this relic allows you to re-roll failed psychic checks but if you fail on the second check you cannot cast any further powers that psychic phase.
    • You obviously use this after you’ve used Runes of the Farseer if you have it on a Farseer. However, I find it is often better to use it on a Warlock or Spiritseer.
  • The Burnished Blade of Eliarna: Biel-Tan model with a Power Sword, this relic replaces the Power Sword and has the same stats apart from damage 2 and +1 strength and damage vs. Orks.

Iyanden has some awesome abilities that can create a very powerful and unique play-style. Obviously the theme is Wraith Constructs and much of what they offer revolves around buffing those units but by no means must you play a Wraith army to get a lot out of what Iyanden has to offer. They can ironically run very effective hordes of Guardians and they can also run effective mechanized lists due to their Stoic Endurance rule with not a Wraith unit in sight.

Iyanden though benefits a great deal from the Wraith units. Taking say, 10 Wraithguard with D-Scythes or Wraithblades and dropping them in using the Webway Strike stratagem, then having them move a second time thanks to the Quicken power form your Spiritseer, then blast the pants off of a target unit and/or charge them after having popped the Psytronome of Iyanden combined with the application of Guided Wraithsight and you can deliver a punishing blow to your opponent. Meanwhile, units of potentially 20 Guardians or perhaps 10 Dire Avengers to maximize the impact of Stratagems and Psychic Powers used on them, run around grabbing objectives with no fear of punishing morale checks while a Wraithknight provides fire support remaining at full efficacy until nearly dead (at which point you can easily repair him) and you have a powerful army. That is just one example as well, the possibilities are limitless.

  • Stoic Endurance: units with this ability never lose more than a single model from a failed Morale check, and double the number of wounds remaining for determining which profile they use in the instance they have a degrading profile.
    • This is an awesome trait and means you can run larger units without any morale control units. Guardians especially love this as you can take full sized units with impunity, but also full strength units of Aspect Warriors too, take very good advantage of this boost. And, obviously, any vehicle heavy or Wraith Construct heavy army.
  • Enduring Resolve: Iyanden Warlord Trait, allows your Warlord to Deny the Witch or if they already can, to Deny another power.

  • Guided Wraithsight: Iyanden stratagem, 1 CP, allows an Iyanden Spiritseer to increase their Spirit Mark aura to 12″ and and allows friendly Iyanden Wraith Construct units to re-roll all failed hit rolls.
    • This is a potent stratagem and one you will use pretty much every turn you can. The downside of course, is getting into range to trigger it, but on a turn in which you use this plus the Iyanden Relic, you will wreck things.

  • Psytronome of Iyanden: Iyanden Pysker relic only, once per battle, Iyanden Wraith units within 6″ double their attacks characteristics for the fight phase and then take D3 mortal wounds.
    • This is a devastating relic when you can pull it off. A Wraithknight with 24 titanic feet attacks in melee? Wraithlords with 8 or Wraithblades with 4 attacks? That is potentially devastating, particularly when combined with the stratagem above, as stated. 
  • Prince Yriel: An Iyanden Autarch character with a powerful melee weapon.

Saim-Hann provides a compliment of abilities that largely gear you towards assault and Biker armies which matches the fluff. However, while they may not scream power like some of the other do, you can build quite a good army with Saim-Hann. Scatter Laser Windriders are back in force here, and packs of them with psychic support will be devastating, particularly in this meta filled with chaff units. Guide+Doom+Dozens of Scatter Lasers=dead chaff. With their new, lower price point, Windriders will be back in a big way.

The other benefit of Saim-Hann is utilizing any unit that wants to engage in melee and can also go into reserves. Striking Scorpions (who are great for filling out those Brigade detachments) can function largely on their own here and have a much higher chance of getting in to melee after coming on to the table. However, Howling Banshees too, using Webway Strike, are great with Saim-Hann as with their +3″ charge and a re-roll, will have a very high chance of making the charge from reserves and as they ignore over-watch, can really jam your opponent up.

Saim-Hann are also great for simply taking a detachment of them. An Outrider detachment consisting of an Autarch and three units of Scat Packs will bring a lot to an Eldar army needing really no other support.

  • Wild Host: You can re-roll failed charges for Saim-Hann units and Bikers ignore the penalty for moving and firing heavy weapons.
    • The Saim-Hann trait certainly aims you at running Bikers but hey, that is the Saim-Hann role in the lore. That said, the Scat Pack is back in a big way, as legions of cheap Jet Bikes packing serious firepower will be sure to be seen zipping around the table in no time. Obviously also, melee units will benefit quite a bit from re-rolls to charge.
  •  Warriors of the Raging Winds: Saim-Hann stratagem, 1 CP, Saim-Hann Bikers can advance and still charge and also re-roll 1’s to hit in the fight phase.
    • This begs to be used by Shinning Spears who are very good, now. With a massive 56″ potential threat range combined with Quicken, there is nowhere safe on the table form a roaming pack of Saim-Hann Shining Spears. 
  • Wild Rider Chiefton: Your Warlord can Heroically Intervene 3″ towards the nearest enemy Character, even if they are not the closest unit. If they do so and direct all of their close combat attacks on that enemy Character, they gain a bonus attack.
    • This is a solid meh on the scale of bad to awesome. It’s not terrible but it certainly isn’t all that exciting, either although like many of the similar Astra Militarum Warlord Traits, it is characterful. 
  • The Novalance of Saim-Hann: This replaces an Autarch’s Laser Lance and has the following profile: shooting: 12″, Strength 6, AP-4, 2 damage; melee: strength user +2, AP-4, 2 damage, and goes up to strength 8 on the charge. On a wound roll of a 6+, the weapon does 4 damage.

Ulthwe provides an army wide durability buff which while it doesn’t scream power, when you approach it mathematically, it is not bad. Essentially, your entire army becomes 16.6% more durable which when viewed from a wider perspective, is quite good. As it works against all wounds and at any range, it means your army can be built in any way you like and you benefit from it, which is nice. It gives you a lot of freedom to build a list in any way you like whereas a Carftworld like Saim-Hann really wants you to use Bikers.

That said, Ulthwe does have a stratagem that only works on Guardians but Guardians are quite good in my opinion, and cheap. They have a plethora of buffs available to you, too, and simply deep striking in a large unit and blasting someone with 2+ to hit Shuriken Catapults then fading away using the Fire and Fade stratagem is an easy and effective tactic that does a lot of damage. Likewise, even Storm Guardians with Fusion Guns coming in using the Webway Portal, or running around the table, hitting on a 2+ or with some character support, are quite good.

But the real strength of Ulthwe again, is in having total freedom to build whatever army you like and simply having them be more durable than they would have been.

  • Foresight of the Damned: Ulthwe trait, gives you a 6+ FnP style save.

  • Discipline of the Black Guardians: Ulthwe stratagem, allows a unit of Ulthwe Guardians to gain a +1 to hit in either the Fight or Shooting phase.
    • This is a deceptively good stratagem. It can be stacked with the Enhance psychic power to gain a +2 to hit, which when further combined with the Ambush of Blades Warlord Trait and Supreme Disdain Stratagem to have Storm Guardians hit on a 2+, with exploding 4’s which also become AP-1. You can further boost this as noted earlier in this article with Doom and/or Empower to make them scary in melee, averaging roughly 58 hits assuming you are re-rolling 1’s to hit, wounding on no worse than a 5+, half of which are AP-1. 20 Storm Guardians with these buffs will destroy roughly 13 Berzerkers. Alternatively, simply have a unit of 20 Guardians drop in using the Webway Strike Stratagem and then boost up to BS 2+ for a far simpler, but brutally effective combo as you shred something with 40 shots. Combo this with Doom and profit. 
  • Fate Reader: If your army is Battle-forged on your Warlord is on the Battlefield, on the roll of a 6 each Battle Round, you gain a CP.
  • Ghosthelm of Alishazier: +1 to cast Smite for your Ulthwe psyker.
  • Eldrad Ulthran: an Ulthwe Farseer special character and one of the best psykers in the game. Eldrad is very hard to kill in addition to providing an extra psychic power per phase and increased odds of successfully casting powers. He’s all around a great unit and at a reasonable price point, too.

Well there you have it! Part 1 of this 8th ed Eldar review over and done with. Part 2, covering the units in the dex, will be coming shortly. In the meantime, which Craftworld set-up is your favorite?


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About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

74 Responses to “Review of 8th ed 40k Codex: Craftworlds aka: Eldar Part 1 of 3.”

  1. David Hayden October 26, 2017 5:23 pm #

    Illic does 3 damage?! Awesome. I’ve always wanted to use that model, cause it’s so cool, but could never justify it.

    • Reece Robbins October 26, 2017 6:00 pm #

      Yeah, tons of little things have changed with the book. I love playing with this codex, it’s a blast.

  2. Dbiesto October 26, 2017 5:50 pm #

    Between the release of the new codex and eldar based armies gwtting top placings already Im seeing Eldar making a powerful return to tournaments. 3 seperate detachment to exploit each craftworld as long as they are discernable in tournaments will definitely be seen at the too at the LvO will you be streaming on twitch again? Will try to go next year.

    • Reece Robbins October 26, 2017 6:01 pm #

      We will certainly be streaming at LVO 🙂

  3. Dbiesto October 26, 2017 5:51 pm #

    Top tables

  4. Dakkath October 26, 2017 6:46 pm #

    So, let me see if I understand the difference between the Cloudstrike and Webway Strike stratagems. Cloudstrike is vehicles only, but seems to have no restriction on numbers, just use the stratagem multiple times before the game starts. Whereas Webway Strike is any type of unit, but only up to 2 total, kind of like the various “purchase additional relics” stratagems.

    Speaking of which, either I missed it or Eldar don’t seem to have one of those. Does that mean they’re limited to one relic only?

    • Reecius October 27, 2017 8:50 am #

      They can purchase additional relics per usual.

      Cloudstrike/WWP is either or, sorry I should ass that to the review. You cannot use both.

  5. Dunmer October 26, 2017 7:15 pm #

    God I really want an Iyanden army, a wraith knight with a bone singer can be efficient for so long. Hoping to do a wraith/mech list with a Knight and guardians. Looking like it will be pretty solid. Can’t wait to get the book!

    • Reecius October 27, 2017 8:33 am #

      I think you will be quite pleased. They have some vicious combinations available to them.

  6. Garry Leonard October 26, 2017 9:58 pm #

    Can some one some where please help me. Why is it that everyone is all over windrider only have scatter laser or shurikan cannons <.< i just dont get it. If any one could shed some light here i would appreciate it. The only buff you can give them to make them good is guide, which might be more cost effective to cast on either of those i suppose. However…

    Windriders with just twin shurikan catapults are most cost effective than either of the above weapon options. Also if you look at the windrider with catapults they cost about the same as 2 dire averengers for the exact same damage out put and wound count, but you get +1 armor and toughness; they trade obsec for speed/fly/toughness. Take these in biel-tan and profit. Your Biel-ten is already going to have an avatar of khaine so if you need it you can get your charge reroll's from that. Rerolling 1's with no effort on all your wind riders in money, and as we've seen they compete well with dire avengers.

    Saim-Hann is good, but sadly, only really useful in my opinion for shining spears. An outrider with 3, 9 bike units of shining spears is pretty decent. Bigger units are usually spooky and that many bikes but if your going to take shining spears you need to take enough. The shining spears if they a threat to your opponent can be targeted out so you need enough so that you can force them on your opponent with out thier say so encase you don't get first turn. From thier in saim-hann you can use quicken to get a for sure first turn charge in most situations. Then you can on a second unit use the stratagem to get a pretty fair chance at another first turn charge with your other spear unit. With fly your opponent has to bubble wrap right up against his units otherwise you'll just jump over thier heads and take thier vehicles out of action. WIth empower your lancers are wounding on 3s or 4's which can also get pretty spooky for big stuff rather quick. TLDR for this bit: Saim-hann you take for the stratagem on shining spears, and due to what i said before isn't really worth using on scatter bikes as i don't think thier any targets you'd rather take scatter over more shurikan bikes in biel-tann.

    • Reecius October 27, 2017 8:36 am #

      I think you are forgetting to consider the 12″ range on the twin shuriken cannons, which should factor into your assessment. That is not a lot of distance between you are your opponent.

      Shining Spears are amazing, though. Very good unit.

      Shuriken Bikes with Biel-Tan are awesome, no doubt, as they self buff. But, for all those people that have Scatter Laser Jetbikes, this is a good option for them.

      But, that said, i agree, Saim-Hann is likely to be less popular than some of the others.

  7. Garry Leonard October 26, 2017 10:49 pm #

    Oh lol and re-read my thing it sound abit whiney :p it’s not. Or atleast i’d say as much to your face with a happy grin. Thanks a lot for the break down seer reecius.

    • Reecius October 27, 2017 8:36 am #

      You got it! Happy to help spread the good word.

  8. Marius Xerxes October 26, 2017 11:13 pm #

    I like Ulthwe myself. As you said, you can build pretty much any force you want with them without feeling coerced to go a certain direction. I think that is a great choice as both a player and a collector that lets you easily shift with any meta’s you play in.

    With one of Eldars weakness being fragility, the 6+++ is a nice bonus. I like it because its the kind of bonus your opponent cannot straightforwardly mitigate or otherwise do anything about. Alaitoc, like AL and RG, you can just drop/move in under the 12″ and its mitigated. Iyanden, if big guardian units become a thing, will be packed into the same club as dealing with Cultists, Pox Walkers and Conscripts, so they will be planned for already, to some extent, just by the nature of the current meta. Just to name a few examples.

    But Ulthwe.. you cant do anything about them being innately more durable. You just have to hope that the 6+++ don’t land for them. Especially at a critical moment. Every single time you damage them. And by them, I mean any and all of them. There are no softer targets as the durability floor got raised for the entire army.

    So, I like them. Much like the black they wear, when compared to the other craftworlds, they aren’t flashy. But they are durable. And durability brings with it its own form of reliability. And I like reliability. Especially with the new ITC missions. Even if this durability leaves them only hanging on by their fingernails, that could be just enough to squeak out those last few points.

    • Reecius October 27, 2017 8:53 am #

      Yeah, good points. I was trying to explain this to some ork players who felt the Painboy was a waste of time and I was like, all of your boys just got 16.6% better! It’s like buying 5 Boys and getting the 6th free…..

      Some people struggle to see the benefit because they only think about having to roll a 6 when it matters, not about the benefit to reducing damage by 1/6th spread out over an entire game.

      • Marius Xerxes October 27, 2017 1:30 pm #

        Pretty much. Combined with 8th rules dropping the AP 5 type rules, Eldar get a save against Bolters, Auto Cannons, Assault Cannons etc that they haven’t in forever. Then this 6+++ on top of that.

        They are more durable then they have been since they introduced that all or nothing save mechanic back in 3rd.

      • abusepuppy October 29, 2017 8:21 am #

        For sure. The 6+ “FNP” effect is way better than anyone ever gives it credit for- this edition or last. There’s a reason that everyone slaps Spirit Stones onto their Wave Serpents.

  9. WestRider October 27, 2017 12:05 am #

    Quicken: Because Warptime just wasn’t good enough 😉

    • Reecius October 27, 2017 8:40 am #

      lol, right? Quicken/Restrain is the most powerful psychic power in the game, IMO.

      • Dakkath October 27, 2017 10:54 am #

        On a related note, can you cast both halves of a runes of battle power each turn or is the whole thing considered one power? IE can I can “conceal” AND “reveal”, or is it one casting of “conceal/reveal” per turn?

        • Reecius October 27, 2017 11:18 am #

          EDIT: the book specifies they are two separate powers for the purposes of casting both versions from the same unit.

          • Marius Xerxes October 27, 2017 1:34 pm

            Interesting change. It was considered separate in the Index.

      • Kaughnor October 27, 2017 5:05 pm #

        Do you get two advance rolls with quicken. Ie move/advance in psychic phase then move/advance in movement phase?

        Also, can you stack the 6″ advance strategem with quicken for a potential two 6 inch advance moves in one game turn?

        • Reecius October 27, 2017 5:48 pm #

          You move as if it is the movement phase, so yes. As for Matchless Agility I think you’d have to use it both times to double down.

          • Kaughnor October 28, 2017 8:54 am

            That’s awesome! With two 10 strong wraithsquads coming out of webway and a third squad boosted to move 22 inches in first turn you can have 30 wraithguard in your opponents deployment zone turn one.

      • abusepuppy October 29, 2017 8:23 am #

        I mean, I think that’s a bit of an overstatement, but it’s certainly a very strong power. (The 18″ range compared to Warptime’s 3″ is a big advantage.)

        If you asked me, Smite would be the most powerful spell in the game right now. 😛

  10. Horton October 27, 2017 3:22 am #

    This looks great!!!

    • Reecius October 27, 2017 8:40 am #

      The book is so fun to play, truly a blast. Once we get in to the units, I think Eldar players will start to see how much has changed.

  11. GhostValley October 27, 2017 4:41 am #

    Fantastic review as always, Reece.

    I have never played eldar before but ordered a bonesinger and am going to start building an Iyanden army. But as an Eldar newb I have almost no idea how to build a foundation.

    How many command points would I need to be effective – is the brigade necessary, or just 2 battalions? Also how many seers and other such psykers would you say are needed? I am not adverse to some screen units and other non wraith units, but defintley want to represent the fluff as well. I am just sort of lost as to what my initial building blocks should be.

    • Reecius October 27, 2017 8:56 am #

      Glad you enjoyed it =)

      I try to always play a Brigade personally, but that is just me. I love the variety and tactical flexibility it brings.

      Eldar like Space Marines, want lots of CP, IMO. You have so many awesome stratagems available to you and you want a steady flow of CP throughout the game to use them. To that end, yeah, I would say shoot for 9 at least. The nice thing is that Eldar units are often good without any buffs, either, so the MSU Brigade for them is not filler, every unit is useful and potentially game winning.

      • GhostValley October 27, 2017 10:31 am #

        Yea, the stratagem combos seem savage, so the more command points the better. Nice when your screen units can contribute in more ways than just board denial or tarpitting

        • Reecius October 27, 2017 11:20 am #

          Yes, exactly! The Guardian screen is more expensive, but can do so much more than other screens. It is a fair trade-off, IMO.

          • David Hayden October 27, 2017 3:18 pm

            Especially with a webway strike. What’s that? Forty guardians and four star cannons in your backfield?

            That’s what I’m rolling with, along with an Alaitoc Farseer with the Warlord trait to make the Guardians fearless and the cloak to let him deepstrike with them.

      • abusepuppy October 29, 2017 8:27 am #

        To judge by the releases so far, all Codex armies are going to want a good number of CP- six at a minimum, with more in the neighborhood of nine or ten being desirable. There’s a lot of powerful stratagems that can really tip a game, and being able to use them consistently is huge.

        Eldar don’t have a lot of “filler” units, but I think that is both a positive and a negative. On the plus, all their units can be effective on the field; but on the minus, it means that their cheapest options in a lot of slots are 60+pts, twice what the “cheap” units in some other books are.

  12. DarthKaktus October 27, 2017 6:28 am #

    Great review. I guess Eldar have some bright future ahead! Only “downside” for me is that although lower unit cost helps in a competitive way, Eldar start to feel a little bit as “horde” army. I always imagined them as a race with low numbers and elite warriors.

    • Reecius October 27, 2017 8:46 am #

      That is certainly a fair critique, but low toughness high cost units just don’t work without some crazy special rules to increase their durability.

      • DarthKaktus October 27, 2017 8:53 am #

        Yes, I completely understand this from a rules point of view. My point was more from fluff perspective or maybe rather how I imagine Eldar to be.;-)

        • Reecius October 27, 2017 8:56 am #

          Yeah, totally understandable. But, I have to admit, my newer, higher model count Footdar army looks pretty cool when I put it on the table! =)

          • DarthKaktus October 27, 2017 9:09 am

            Yes, I bet it is quite epic view!:-)

  13. C-Stock October 27, 2017 6:48 am #

    Reece, fun article, I enjoyed reading it.

    Unfortunately though Craftworld Eldar are not back. This book boosts the bejeezus out of Ynnari, much more than CWE. So while you guys have made a cool looking book the critical, frustrating-as-hell flaw remains that there’s still no reason to play anything but Ynnari.

    • Reecius October 27, 2017 8:41 am #

      Assuming that Ynnari and Craftworld Eldar interact in the way you think they do, sure. But if they do not, then it’s a new day, right?

      • Jural October 27, 2017 10:44 am #

        I think this means that the point/unit adjustments in CW don’t apply to the Index Ynnari, right?

        • Reecius October 27, 2017 11:18 am #

          We’ll wait for GW to answer the CW/Ynnari interaction questions.

          • Tautastic October 27, 2017 11:24 am

            Booo!!!! We are impatient SOB’s LOL

            On a different note. I hope Ynnari gets a codex or more models or more rules.


          • Jural October 27, 2017 12:58 pm

            Oh! I thought it was 100% clear Ynnari had to use the Index. If this is in doubt, we must indeed wait.

          • Piotr Kurkowski November 4, 2017 4:26 am

            Updated rules for Ynnari in Triumvirate Box Set cleary state that Ynnari uses Codex entries and point cost

    • David Hayden October 27, 2017 3:19 pm #

      I have already dropped Ynarri for Craftworlds in my tournament list. This is because I have 20 years worth of Eldar in my collection. I can pull different things in. The new strategems and craftworld traits are really awesome when you find the right synergies.

  14. DirtyDeeds October 27, 2017 6:49 am #

    This is fantastic! Now my Drukhari will stand a fighting chance…

    • Reecius October 27, 2017 8:47 am #

      Hopefully! Glad you liked the review.

    • Jural October 27, 2017 10:44 am #

      LOL- that’s what I said about GSC when AM launched (but that got walked back a bit.)

  15. C-Stock October 27, 2017 6:59 am #

    Also are the craftworlds balanced with one another with competitive play in mind? Alatioc’s blanket -1 to hit at range seems like the auto-take here.

    • DirtyDeeds October 27, 2017 7:37 am #

      But some of the other Warlord traits are awesome. I think every Craftworld has a fighting chance.

      • Reecius October 27, 2017 8:43 am #

        Yeah, agree. Alaitoc is crazy good though, no doubt about it. However, it depends on your army.

        Footdar tend to get very close, so the -1 to hit is only really good on turn 1, but Eldar can keep all of their good stuff off of the board so I just don’t like it as much, personally. YMMV of course, and I think Alaitoc will be the most popular, but I don’t think it is auto-take.

        Also, I just love using Aspect Warriors, haha, and Biel-Tan benefits them quite a bit.

    • happy_inquisitor October 27, 2017 10:35 am #

      Alatioc is fantastic in a shooting meta – but I think the presence of so many armies in the game with similar rules will be harder on pure shooting armies. Against an assault army or smite spam that -1 will not help at all.

      • Reecius October 27, 2017 11:20 am #

        Exactly. A lot of it will depend on your local meta. Vs. the current AM “net list” it is brutal. But for armies that get close, it isn’t so hot. However, Alaitoc does have a lot to offer in addition to the -1 to hit.

  16. Tate October 27, 2017 7:17 am #

    Phoenix Lords cannot have warlord traits and I believe the Avatar has to take the trait of his chosen craftworld because he is a named character

    • Blight October 27, 2017 8:38 am #

      Does it say they can’t have warlord traits on their datasheet or on the page in the codex that talks about WT?
      There isn’t a blanket rule about warlord traits or relics so they would need specific rules to prevent it.

      • Reecius October 27, 2017 8:44 am #

        No he is correct, I forgot that you cannot give them Warlord Traits, the book specifically prohibits it.

        • Tate October 27, 2017 3:47 pm #

          Just for my own clarification, how do you interpret the rules for the Warlord trait of the Avatar? The codex says named characters must have the trait of their craftworld and the Avatar is a unique character but you are able to choose his craftworld he is not set like Eldrad or Yriel.

          • NovaStar October 27, 2017 5:34 pm

            The Avatar isn’t a named character he’s just unique

          • Reecius October 27, 2017 5:48 pm

            He’s in the character section with all other names characters, though.

          • Reecius October 27, 2017 5:49 pm

            He chooses one.

  17. Requizen October 27, 2017 7:49 am #

    Looking quite strong, wonder if they’ll be able to hold up to AM or Chaos.

    Necrons when!?!

    • Reecius October 27, 2017 8:48 am #

      I think Alaitoc by itself will force AM players to adjust as they won’t be able to shoot them to bits. You will have to be able to go into melee, too. Although, Conscripts can be very good at that, particularly if Catachan with a Priest and Strakken and using Move, move, move on the first turn to get right in their face….

      But, that aside, yes, I think they can compete just fine with the big dogs.

      • Jural October 27, 2017 1:01 pm #

        I’m really wondering how the mono factions will compete… seriously, Orks, Tau, and Necron will need to have pretty expansive “regiments” to compete with the flexibility Imperium and Chaos have, and the flexibility I imagine Eldar and Tyranid will have.

        Orks have such a rich (and insane) 40K history that you could diversify the Codex all over the place. But Necrons and Tau are much more bleh from a fluff perspective.

        Tyranids are also bleh, but of course have Genestealer Cult and Astra Militarum reinforcements.

  18. Petehappens October 27, 2017 12:13 pm #

    Eldar still look like they will struggle against horde armies.

    It seems like they have become more resilient and better and hunting big, tough units but it doesn’t look like they have anything that matches the efficiency damage out put compared to berserkers, Vanguard vets with double chain axes that you pay to attack twice, aggressors not moving, conscripts are 12″ with first rand fire, second ranks fire etc.

    Even with doom and guide and ulthwe guardians just don’t get there. Is there anything in the new codex that is REALLY efficient at clearing chaff? Because I don’t see it.

    • Reecius October 27, 2017 2:57 pm #

      Really? Hmm, guess it just depends on the list. My army for example, has zero problems blowing thorugh chaff.

    • David Hayden October 27, 2017 3:22 pm #

      Guardians can’t get there? Webway strike.

      Guardian blobs you can make fearless and Wraithguard with D-scythes are pretty dark effective at getting rid of horde armies. Swooping Hawks with Assault 4 guns do that well too.

  19. GeekmasterK October 27, 2017 12:58 pm #

    The current plan on my end is to have an Alaitoc battalion detachment with some Rangers, Illic Nightspear, an Autarch, some Howling Banshees, and some Dark Reapers. Then, because I love my scatbikes and want to use them again, a Saim-Hann Outrider detachment with a Farseer, a Warlock, some Windriders, and some Shining Spears. For detachment 3, if I have the points, I want to have an Iyanden Spearhead detachment with a Warlock, 3 Fire Prisms, and maybe a Bonesinger.

    The plan is, drop the Banshees and Autarch in through the Webway, use Quicken to get the Shining Spears up the field, snipe characters with Illic and the Rangers (as well as camp the back-field objectives), and blow everything else away with the scatbikes and Dark Reapers. The Fire Prisms are there to deal with the big threats like primarchs.

    I’m hoping to have this ready for LVO. The problem is, stock is selling out quickly, so I’ve got email alerts on for some of the models I’m missing.

    Since there are three craftworlds, I might call this list something like the “Asuryani Triad” or the “Triple Space-Elf Bro-Fist.” Still working that out. I don’t have points costs yet, of course, so all this is subject to change. 😀

    • Reecius October 27, 2017 2:58 pm #

      Sounds like a fun army!

  20. Heldericht October 27, 2017 4:08 pm #

    Will Ynaari be able to just use all these cheap units? Or will they have to stick to index unit entries?

  21. DarthKaktus October 28, 2017 4:23 am #

    Is anyone else disappointed/puzzled that the best guardian army is Ulthwe, except their craftworld rules make them one of the worst? Iyanden, Biel-Tan, Alatioc are all better at running Guardians than Ulthwe, which is messed up and a major fluffbuster.

    If you want to be bad at running Guardians, relatively speaking, you run Ulthwe in these rules.

    Seems like someone in quality control should have caught this.

  22. Andy March 27, 2018 8:25 pm #

    Sorry if this is obvious but how can banshees have a possible 46″ charge range with court of the young king?

  23. Tanagriel July 17, 2019 2:50 pm #

    Great Reading – and that Bonesinger PDF was much-needed – thanks a lot.

    – I am a returning WH40K fan that had my “Pirated” Iyanden based Army lying in the cellar for more than 12 years – Unpacked it about 2 months ago and started to figure out what I had and what I need – played a few games with my new WH40K friends (Other Armies).

    But I want to field my Eldars and in Building the Army I am confused about detachment options – the question is if it will be possible to have e.g a Craftworld based Iyanden Army and additionally have Detachments of e.g Harlequins, Corsairs and/or Drukhari´s?.

    Is that an option – and if How?

    Any Help much appreciated, be it answers or links to the subject – Cheers 😉

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