Review of 8th ed 40k Codex: Craftworlds aka: Eldar Part 2 of 3.

Hey everyone, Reecius here to continue the review of the new 8th ed Codex: Craftworlds review. This time, we will cover most of the units in the book and there are a LOT of little changes throughout that add up to a big difference for Codex: Craftworlds. As always, check the Tactics Corner for more great articles and reviews.

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!

In part 1 of this article series, we covered the army wide special rules, Craftworld Attributes, stratagems, Psychic Powers, relics and Warlord Traits. With those as a foundation, let’s dive in to the actual units in the book as that is the true power of the Eldar codex. In this installment, we will cover HQs, Troops, Elites and Fast Attack.

HQs

Eldar obviously have a LOT of options in the HQ department. Honestly, the challenge is in which of them to take! As covering them all in depth would require multiple articles to do it any justice (which we will get to in time here at FLG), we will do an overview here. Generally speaking though, Eldar HQs are outstanding. Through a combination of points reductions and new special rules, you have so much to choose from, so many options and combinations it is honestly staggering. The raw amount of combos available to Eldar boggles the mind as so many units interact with one another at a time. This is a master generals dream dex and one that will provide exciting new possibilities with every play experience.

The core though, and most familiar choices are your psykers. Eldar psychic support is potent and are able to select from a wide array of incredible powers. As covered in part 1 of this article series, Runes of Battle especially is astoundingly good. For my money, Quicken/Restrain is the best psychic power in the game. Anything that has to do with movement provides tremendous impact on the game. Warp Time for Chaos shapes many of their core strategies and is what makes Mortarion and Magnus truly terrifying and the Terminator Bomb work. Quicken is the same thing but with an 18″ range AND can be used inversely to slow your opponent down while not requiring LoS. I seriously cannot stress how stupidly powerful this is and in my opinion you are making a massive mistake not utilizing it in your list. Dropping in a full unit of Wraithblades or Wraithguard with the Webway Strike stratagem for example, moving them again, and then charging with a series of other buffs is devastating. Slowing an Imperial Knight or a unit of Khorne Berzerkers down to half speed (or the Chaos Rhino they are riding in) can win you the game. A Warlock for a mere 35pts or 65pts for the Skyrunner is a great investment in the HQ department and the other powers available are too good to pass. If running Biel-Tan, their Spirit Stone of Anath’Lan relic is great for a Warlock to increase the odds of them getting that critical power off when you need it.

The Warlock Conclave or Skyrunner version is interesting in that it gives you some ablative wounds at a discount and has the awesome Concordance of Power stratagem but loses Character protection. However, with Witchblades always wounding on a 2+ and doing D3 damage, at only 30pts per member, each having 2 wounds and a 4++, you can seriously consider turning this into a self-buffing melee unit that can put out some serious pain, particularly when combined with the Ambush of Blades Warlord Trait. With Protect, they all go up to a 3++ which can be further reinforced simply by being Ulthwe or by also casting Fortune on them. Have them enter play using the Webway Strike stratagem or in a Wave Serpent and you have a nasty combination. There’s so much more to say about Warlocks but in a nutshell: you REALLY want something in your army that can take advantage of the Runes of Battle powers.

The Spiritseer also gives you access to Runes of Battle on a sturdier–if slightly more expensive–platform. The fact that he is only 10pts over a Warlock and comes with 4 wounds alone makes him a great choice, and the buff to Wraith units (when you are close enough for it to kick in) is just icing on the cake. If not for the excellent Seer Council stratagem, I would say always choose the Spiritseer, but that stratagem is excellent (granting both the Warlock and Farseer +1 to cast for the phase for a measly 1 CP).

Farseers and Farseer Skyrunners are still amazing units, as they have been since forever. The core Eldar powers of Fortune, Guide and Doom are still phenomenal. Guide isn’t as crazy as it has been in the past due to all of the other ways to get re-rolls to hit in the Eldar army, but Doom is still devastating and the power you will want to focus on getting off successfully in most instances as it can impact your entire army and is worth the price of the Farseer alone. Particularly when used in conjunction with Shuriken or Spinner weapons that have a special effect on the wound roll, you get so much more mileage out of the rest of your army. Fortune I still love to use on my screen units on on a unit that is about to go into melee, but all of them are solid choices. A Farseer is a reasonably priced unit at 100pts, and is a great choice for Warlord as they seldom die. Solid relic choices for them are Faolchu’s Wing for increased mobility, the Spirit Stone of Anath’Lan, Shiftshroud of Alanssair, etc. Anything that boosts their durability, mobility or already considerable psychic prowess.

In my list, I often make my Farseer the Warlord and give him the Biel-Tan Warlord Trait, Natural Leader, where he can give a nearby unit re-rolls to hit in the shooting phase which for me is often a unit of Dark Reapers that I drop in using Webway Strike to avoid getting alpha struck. As they ignore penalties to moving and shooting, they then hit on a 3+ with re-rolls, freeing up the Farseer to potentially Guide another target or cast Fortune and Doom. It is a very effective combo and one you can do with other Craftworlds, just obviously without the Warlord Trait.

If playing Ulthwe, you have access to the sorcerer supreme: Eldrad. Eldrad is better in every way than the equivalent Farseer on foot and if not for the fact that I love to play Biel-Tan, would for sure use him. An extra wound, point of toughness, a 3++, third psychic power per phase plus an increased ability to get powers off means he is simply superior, particularly for a foot based army. If near a Warlock, you can use the Seer Council stratagem to have him potentially casting critical powers like Doom on a 5+. In a pinch, he can go toe to toe with things like Magnus where his 3++ (potentially going up to a 2++ with Protect) will keep allow him to tank wounds like a champ. While you don’t strictly have to take a Farseer in an Eldar list, you get a lot of force multiplication out of one and I highly recommend it.

Autarchs got a bit of a shakeup as a lot of their options went away which stinks, but, they are still a great addition to an Eldar army for a number of reasons. For one, they’re cheap at only 65/85/95 pts base depending on if you want him on foot, with Wings or on a Bike. They also provide a latent re-roll 1’s to hit aura for friendly <Craftworld> units which works all the time, not just in the shooting phase, and if they are your Warlord and are on the Battlefield, on a 6+ you do not lose a CP you spent. Those are all great bonuses, plus with Wings you can deep-strike him and their damage output is respectable, particularly with a relic such as the Shard of Anaris which turns them into a pretty scary combatant, especially if combined with a psychic power like Empower! The Shimmerplume of Achillrial is also a great choice for a latent -1 to hit or the Shiftshroud of Alanssair if using Alaitoc for a potential -2 to hit over 12″ away plus Deep-strike, making your Autarch great for playing to the mission. However, all of the Eldar Warlord Traits are good for an Autarch, honestly. Denying Overwatch on a Autarch Skyrunner means he can fly out from your backlines and go into a unit first, allowing the rest of your army to follow in after. A bonus wound an 6+ FnP speaks for itself, and the Ambush of Blades power works very well on him, too. Mark of the Incomparable Hunter is a sneaky one, too, allowing him to jump in to enemy units and then blast a Character with his Fusion Pistol when they thought they were safe!

Prince Yriel is an Iyanden named character Autarch, and pretty cool. He’s got an extra wound over a standard Autarch and a very powerful melee weapon that always wounds on a 2+. If your Warlord, he gets the normal Autarch bonuses and gains the ability to Deny the Witch, too, which is quite useful in the current psychic heavy meta.

If it were not for the fact that I absolutely love Asurmen and use him in my list with my Dire Avengers who already re-roll 1’s to hit with their Avenger Shuriken Catapults due to being Biel-Tan, I would take an Autarch every time. That said, an Autarch provides a low priced force multiplier and utility unit that is also highly mobile if built out for speed that can run around grabbing objectives and remaining a decent damage dealing unit, too.

The Avatar of Khaine is my hands down favorite Eldar unit, and my personal Avatar (the Forgeworld Version with the spear) is my favorite model in my entire collection. I am a bit of a fanboy for the Avatar, lol. My enthusiasm aside, he is an expensive model that is surprisingly fragile, but has tremendous force multiplication capabilities and can pack a vicious punch. The Avatar is primarily a support model, despite his fearsome appearance. With only 8 wounds and a 3+/5++ and 5+ FnP save, it doesn’t take much to kill him. However, he is a Character and as such can hide behind screening units….how that works, I don’t know, but apparently the giant molten incarnation of the Eldar God of War and Murder is easily missed on the battlefield, lol.

Jokes aside, he has a 12″ aura that causes friendly Asuryani units (regardless of <Craftworld>) to automatically pass morale checks and to re-roll failed charges. Not bad! He also packs an almighty wallop in melee as his attacks are melta hits, at strength 8, AP-4, roll 2d6 damage and take the highest. So, unless his target has a hefty invul save, he tends to shred whatever he hits. His best use though is in Biel-Tan, where the Court of the Young King stratagem lets you do some fun stuff, granting re-rolls to hit and bonuses to charge distances for an Aspect Warrior unit near him. Lastly, the Avatar Resurgent stratagem is obviously good as it allows him to cheat death if he is defeated in melee for 3 CP, remaining alive with D6 wounds. Be wary of snipers with him as he is surprisingly vulnerable to them. The Avatar is honestly not for every list as if you make any mistakes, he will die and you are out 250pts. But, in the right list and when used properly, he can just wreck face. Most commonly this will be a Biel-Tan army as the Court of the Young King stratagem is stellar.

Illic Nightspear is a very cool Alaitoc sniper character rocking a Damage 3 sniper rifle! Ouch! It also wounds on a 2+ vs. anything that isn’t a vehicle with 48″ and AP-3, hitting on a 2+. This combined with a latent -1 to hit on top of Alaitoc for what will typically be a -2 to hit on a model that is a Character and can deep-strike and you have a winning combination at only 80pts. His only real downside is that he is pretty dang squishy with a 5+ and no invul save. He does get +2 to his save for being in cover but anything that ignores cover or simply punches him will take him out easily.

And I saved the best for last! The Phoenix Lords are and have always been one of my favorite things in the 40k universe. They’re like the Eldar X-Men (and women!) with such a cool, compelling backstories and lots of character in addition to looking just rad. However, they’ve been poor to OK in the past but that has most assuredly changed. Now, they are very appealing at reasonable price points and can not only deal a lot of damage themselves, but provide powerful force multiplication. They all rock impressive stats and their 2+ armor saves are much more significant in this edition.

Asurmen, the first of them, is stupid, stupid good. SOOO GOOD! Lol, I want to write a ballad about him and draw hearts around it. He provides surprisingly potent melee capabilities with the Sword of Asur which deals D3 damage, and D3 Mortal Wounds on a 6+ to wound in addition to normal damage at strength 5, AP-3 with 5 attacks hitting on 2’s. Boost him with Empower to deal Mortal Wounds on a 5+ and hey, why not the Supreme Disdain stratagem, too, for exploding attacks on a 5+…he will walk through things and beat the crap out of Daemon Princes, etc. with ease. On top of that, he has tremendous defense, with 6 wounds, a 2+/4++ that goes to a 3++ in melee. Boost this with Protect to bring that to a 2++ in melee, and why not Fortune, too? Lol, he is a force of nature and if that were not all enough, he also has an aura granting aspect warrior units within 6″ a 5++, and Dire Avengers go to a 4++. All this for the reasonable price tag of 175pts. Holy crap, he is incredible. Particularly so if you use lots of Dire Avengers (which I do!). At any rate, the leader of the Phoenix Lords finally lives up to his reputation as a true bad ass.

The others are all exciting, too. Baharroth is cheap at only 110pts, has solid melee (his weapons has the same base stats as Asurmen but instead of dealing mortal wounds, any unit wounded by it gets -1 to hit rolls until the end of the turn!), deals mortal wounds when he deep-strikes in or in the movement phase on a 4+ (rolling one die for each model in the unit he moves over, up to 3), and allows re-roll 1’s in the shooting phase for Swooping Hawks in addition to being able to deep-strike and boasting a 14″ move. Fuegan is a beast, packing a Firepike and Fireaxe (strength 5, AP-4, D3 damage), and a 5+ FnP save. He also allows Fire Dragons to re-roll 1’s to hit in the shooting phase (including himself), and the first time he loses a wound in the fight phase his strength and attacks goes up by 2. All that and only a 150pt price tag!

Jain Zar weighs in at 140pts, gains the 8″ movement of Howling Banshees and the ability to advance and still charge. This gives her a crazy threat range when combined with the Quicken power. In addition, she is vicious in melee. With 4 strength 6, AP-3, D3 damage attacks that re-roll failed wound rolls, Jain Zar can take a chunk out of nearly anything. She leads this with her 4 Silent Death attacks, which are assault 4, 12″, strength 4, AP-3, 1 damage attacks. Her defense is impressive too, as she has a latent -1 to hit in melee as do all Howling Banshees, cannot be overwatched and she and friendly Howling Banshees within 6″ always trike first in combat! Lastly, and coolest of all, her Disarming Strike special rule allows her to stop her Infantry opponent from using one its weapons of your choice at the beginning of the fight phase on a 3+! That is so powerful, lol, as many characters are reduced to simply punching her if it works. Likewise, Karandras is a melee monster, with 4 Power Fist attacks that are not -1 to hit, and exploding 6’s to hit for himself and any friendly Striking Scorpions within 6″. Again, team this up with Enhance to trigger those extra attacks on a 5+.  His super Scorpion’s Bite triggers at the beginning of each fight phase and inflicts a mortal wound on your opponent with any roll of a 5+ on 4d6. He with some Striking Scorpions or just solo, deep-striking in can cause havoc in the backfield and a bargain price of 150pts.

Lastly, one of the badest ass looking models in the game: Maugan Ra. Again at a reasonable price point of only 140pts, you get a lot. He packs the Maugetar, which is strength 6, AP-2, D3 damage in melee, and in the shooting phase is 36″ range, Assault 4, strength 6, AP-1, 1 damage, or a single shot which if it kills an Infantry model, deals D3 mortal wounds to the unit. Maugan Ra may fire his weapons twice in the shooting phase and he always hits on a 2+ regardless of modifiers, re-rolling 1’s to hit for both himself and friendly Dark Reapers within 6″.  He’s a solid choice.

Troops

Eldar have great troops choices. I know many have felt that this isn’t the case in the past, but I have always had tremendous results with Dire Avengers and Guardians, and to a lesser extent, Rangers. I say that not because I think Rangers aren’t good, but because I find they are best used sparingly. However, first things first. You have a few choices available to you with Eldar. You can go for the Dire Avengers for a cheap option at 60pts for a unit of 5, 64 if you opt for the second Avenger Shuriken Catapult on the Exarch (which you should). This is a great unit for the points, in my opinion. They’re fast with a 7″ move, and they can enhance that with Battle Focus to cover an additional D6″, which I find myself doing all the time as they rarely want to actually charge.

The unit puts out surprising firepower, with 12 shots from the unit at 18″. If you’re running Biel-Tan, they self buff with re-rolls of 1 to hit and at Ld 9 with the bonus, they essentially ignore morale. Alaitoc would be solid too for the -1 to hit but as they tend to get close, it won’t trigger for them as often. Ulthwe is also solid for Dire Avengers for the general durability boost. As stated above, I run mine with Asurmen as he gives them a 4++ and provides savage counter assault to keep enemy units wary of approaching and to deliver a punch if you need to move up-field. With their 5+ overwatch on top of everything else, they’re a seriously well rounded and very affordable troops choice and my personal favorite. I take 5-6 units of 5 in most cases with Asurmen in a Brigade. Alternatively, you could absolutely run 10 strong units to take more advantage of powers like Guide, especially in an Iyanden detachment where morale is largely a non-issue. Doom is their best friend as if a tough target comes along Dire Avengers do work. Combo that with Jinx to lower your opponents’ saves (including invulnerable saves!) and Dire Avengers will shred things you may not have thought possible with more chances to get those AP-3 wounds.

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Storm Guardians are the absolute cheapest troop option at only 56 points for 8. I actually love Storm Guardians and have had great results with them. With all of the support available to them in the codex you can ramp them up dramatically, quickly. As stated in the part 1 of this article, you can take a full unit of 24 of them and hit them with a string of buffs such as +1 to hit, the Supreme Disdain stratagem granting them extra attacks on a 5+ after Enhance, AP-1 on 5+ to hit thanks to the previous buffs plus the Ambush of Blades Warlord Trait, plus Empower for +1 to wound and all of a sudden they thrash things in melee. Alternatively, just keep them dirt cheap and run around acting as a screen or to grab objectives. With the Celestial Shield stratagem they can gain a 4++ in the shooting phase, which can be further buffed up to a 3++ with Protect, and can be even further fortified with Fortune for a 5+ FnP. They have options for both Fusion Guns and Flamers. This humble unit is extremely flexible and can be made very powerful on the fly so long as you have the support units in your list to buff them up as needed. They work well with any Craftworld attributes, in all honesty as they are flexible enough to be molded into all of them.

Guardian Defenders are also a solid choice. At 8pts per model, they’re a bit more expensive than the 7pt Storm Guardians but they seriously pack a punch at close range. A unit of 20 using Webway Strike drops in and pumps out 40 strength 4 shots that become AP-3 on a 6+ to wound as with all Shuriken weapons. With Biel-Tan, they re-roll 1’s to hit naturally with these weapons and as described above with Dire Avengers, if your target is doomed, they can kiss their butt goodbye. You can additionally take a support weapons which if I do, I typically take a Shuriken Cannon.

Rangers are another solid choice and are CHEAP. At only 12pts per model, this is one of the most affordable sniper units in the game and they are Troops. That is incredible. If that alone weren’t enough, they also infiltrate and they are -1 to hit in the shooting phase natively while also gaining +2 armor in cover bringing their not so hot 5+ to a respectable 3+ save. The obvious–and flavorful–choice here is Alaitoc for a -2 to hit over 12″ away. That is brutal, and makes these marksmen quite difficult to take out. I have found Snipers to be very hit or miss (pun intended!) but as Eldar want to take Battalions and Brigades for those sweet CP, this is an affordable and effective unit to fill those slots and if you have enough of them, can be a very real threat to your opponent’s Characters.  Just be wary of assault units as these dudes fold big time if anything engages them in melee.

Elites

Eldar elites have often been fan favorites in terms of aesthetics and lore but not always in terms of performance on the tabletop with the exception of Fire Dragons who have just always kicked ass! Now though, they are all very good choices.

Howling Banshees are exceptional. What a vast improvement! They are tactically one of the best units available to you now. For one, they’re cheap at only 13pts per model. On top of that, they’re blisteringly fast moving 8″ and being able to advance and still charge. And, due to Battle Focus, can still shoot, too! So, for all intents and purposes, their movement is actually 8+D6″, meaning they move 9 to 14″ a turn, which is by itself already blazing speed. However, in addition to this they can utilize Quicken to move and advance again, for another potential 14″ of movement….and still charge. As if that were not enough, they get +3″ to their charge move for a potential charge range of 15″ (and they can declare charges out to that distance). But, as the salesman says, there’s more! If using Biel-Tan, you can further increase this by another +3″ with the Court of the Young King stratagem for an astounding potential 46″ threat range, lol. If you drop them in with the Webway Strike stratagem, and apply Court of the Young Kind you have all of a 6″ charge out of reserves with a re-roll due to the Avatar. That is crazy….crazy awesome!

Beyond this blistering speed, they also cannot be overwatched thanks to their Banshee Masks and are naturally -1 to be hit in melee. This unit has so many potential uses I don’t have time to list them all here, but suffice it to say with just the rules I listed above, they’d be worth their points. The ability to fly across the table, deny multiple units overwatch, then engage in melee and be -1 to hit is crazy as it allows everything else to come in after unharmed. You can further combo this with the Drain power for an additional -1 to hit on a target unit, meaning the Banshees are likely to take almost no damage in return. However, if you are still worried you can cast Protect on them, or Fortune to further boost their defense.

But, if you do want to chop some things up into bits, they can do that, too. Empower is obvious, giving them +1 to wound with their Power Swords, but also Supreme Disdain and and Enhance as described above to give them bonus attacks on a 5+ to hit…lol. A unit of 10 can be expected to produce 28 attacks with that combo. Anything that doesn’t have an invulnerable save is toast. At any rate, there is more to say but this unit is so flexible in what it can do, you’re missing out by not taking them in my opinion. Plus, they’re gorgeous models!

Striking Scorpions, or the other Aspect Warrior melee unit, is one of my top 5 favorite looking units in all of 40k. These guys are just too cool! They’re also quite good. The real benefit to Scorpions is that they are cheap at 14pts per model, have a 3+ save, come with their own delivery system as they can deep-strike, deal mortal wounds in melee (and remember, their Mandiblasters trigger at the beginning of EACH fight phase, not just your own), and the hefty punch of their Exarch who’s Scorpion’s Claw is a Powerfist with no -1 to hit and exploding 6’s to hit, and you’ve got a great little unit. Toss Enhance on them and the Exarch is getting bonus attacks on a 5+ with his claw. All of that weighs in at a reasonable 81pts for 5, which is perfect for filling out a Brigade. Striking Scorpions also don’t really need any support and can hunt your opponent’s backfield on their own, dealing with squishy units quite easily, or popping in to help out against tough units. They also very much like being Saim-Hann as they tend to operate solo, the re-roll charge buff is great for them. Biel-Tan is solid too, though, again due to the Court of the Young King stratagem.

Fire Dragons require very little introduction as everyone has faced them before, lol. A unit where every member has a Fusion Gun is pretty decent! They also re-roll wound rolls of 1 against Monsters and Vehicles while the Exarch re-rolls 1’s to hit all the time. At 24 points per model, they’re a great buy. The obvious use is with the Webway Strike stratagem to drop in and blast something with a subsequent application of the Fire and Fade stratagem to then move away from your target and hopefully out of LoS or at least in to cover. Alternatively, they work great in a Wave Serpent or Falcon where they can just fly around the table or use Cloudstrike to appear where needed.

Wraithguard and Wraithblades are also much improved. With a boost up to toughness 6, they are even harder to kill. All of the variations they come in are solid and with 3 wounds and a 3+ they are durable, too. Wraithguard have very powerful shooting attacks, either strength 10, 12″ assault 1, AP-4, D6 damage a pop, or a D3 flamer that is strength 10, AP-4. On top of this they’re quite good in melee, too with strength 5, AP-1, D3 damage punches! The Wraithblades have the same stats apart from 2 base attacks, and a bonus attack on the charge. The Ghostswords are +1 strength (taking them up to 6), AP-3, 1 damage with a bonus attack. The Ghostaxe is -1 to hit, but strength 7, AP-3, D3 damage a pop. They also gain the benefit of the Forceshield, giving them a 4++ which can be further boosted to a 3++ with Protect.

Wraithblades with an axe and shield can be used as an effective screening unit especially when further boosted with psychic powers. If running Iyanden, they also effectively ignore morale, or in Biel-Tan with an Avatar they actually do ignore it. They become extremely durable and can be healed by a Bonesinger and/or the Tears of Isha stratagem. Otherwise, Wraith units practically beg to use the Webway Strike stratagem to be delivered into battle. Drop these suckers in, hit them with Quicken to move again and prepare for the pain train to leave the station! Iyanden Wraithblades using the Psytronome of Iyanden can go up to 60 strength 6 attacks! If you also use the Guided Wraithsight stratagem, they additionally re-roll all misses and again, you can also use Supreme Disdain with Enhance for exploding 5’s in melee. Stack Doom and you re-roll wounds, too, potentially even going so far as to add Empower for +1 to wound. Brutal. Conversely you can do the exact same thing with normal Wraithguard who shoot your opponent in the face then come in with 20 D3 damage attacks after that. Not much can withstand that amount of damage. While Iyanden really takes this to an absurd level, you can get similar results with any Craftworld.

Fast Attack

Fast attack is also full of appealing options for Eldar players. The notorious Windriders are now in the appropriate force org slot as a fast choice, and cost a reasonable 18 pts base. With the Scatter Laser or Shuriken Cannon they’re only 28pts per model and if you want to keep it really cheap the twin Shuriken Catapult is only 5pts. However, for my money getting that close is playing a dangerous game for the Bikers and I prefer the Shuriken Cannon for any Craftworld apart form Saim-Hann where the Scatter Laser would be my choice as they can move and shoot with no penalty at that sweet 36″ range. Alaitoc also benefits Windriders quite a bit as -1 to hit is easy to maintain with them on the longer range weapons, and Biel-Tan is great with Shuriken Weapons for re-rolls of 1’s to hit. Ulthwe is not bad either as the 6+ FnP becomes very nice when facing 2 damage weapons like overcharged Plasma. In all though, this is a great, cheap choice for filling detachments with units that can zip around with a 16″ move, grabbing objectives and putting our respectable firepower, or for gearing them up to as much as 9 and hitting them with buffs like Guide to crank out tremendous firepower.

Vypers are solid performers at 50pts base, a 16″ move and with 2 Shuriken Cannons, 6 shots at 24″ range. They’re not super exciting but they do cheaply fill that fast attack slot for a Brigade and are certainly not bad. With Biel-Tan they self buff quite well pumping out shots and grabbing objectives as with the Jetbikes above. However, they are harder to kill generally speaking than a unit of 3 Jetbikes with slightly less firepower but also a lower price point. Generally, I’d rather have War Walkers with their 5++ and ability to outflank for the same cost, but Vypers are quicker and if you need to, you can use Cloudstrike on them to deep-strike a unit of them. Typically though, you will want to use these guys to unlock a Brigade at a low price point with a unit that is most assuredly not bad.

Swooping Hawks are fantastic! They’ve gotten quite a boost and at only 13pts per model, can be taken in a unit of 5 for a measly 65 points. The Lasblaster got boosted up to assault 4, giving them  a much more respectable damage output, particularly against all of the chaff units in the game at present, and their ability to drop mortal wounds on units when they deep-strike in or when they move over them in the movement phase on a 6+ is a nice bonus (you roll 1 die per model in the target unit up to as many Swooping Hawks as you have in your unit). Their ability to skyleap means that if they aren’t in range to grab an objective with their 14″ move plus advance roll, they can simply leave the table and come back down via their deep-strike ability on the next turn. They can’t really take a punch but in general, a great unit for winning missions, dealing moderate damage and opening up a Brigade. Lastly, a cool little bonus is that they add 1 to friendly <Craftworld> units leadership within 3″ if the unit contains an Exarch. If playing Biel-Tan, this means most Aspect units near them (including themselves) will be leadership 10.

Warp Spiders are also an appealing choice and one I often take. They too, are reasonable priced at 18 pts. 5 runs you 90 and if you opt for the second Death Spinner on the Exarch (which you should) you’re looking at 98 all in. This is a little pricier than the other options in the fast slot, but you get a lot. For one, they have a 3+ save and can deep-strike like Swooping Hawks. They also move blisteringly quick when using their Warp Jump Generator going 4d6+7″! They can also trigger Flickerjump in the enemy shooting phase to give them a -1 to be hit for the remainder of that phase which is awesome. They also can re-roll morale checks so long as their Exarch is still around. They have decent firepower too, with 2 strength 6, assault 2, 12″ shots a piece (4 on the Exarch with dual spinner) which become AP-4 on a 6+ to wound. As with Dire Avengers, Doom is your friend! These gents do cost more than other fast attack choices but you get more for the investment. I quite like them.

Shinning Spears may be one of the most improved units in the book! They run 31 points per model, and if you opt for the Star Lance on the Exarch (which you should!) a unit of 3 is only 95 points and you get a lot for that. The unit is fast with a 16″ move, relatively durable with 2 wounds at toughness 4, a 3+ save and a 4++ vs. shooting attacks. They have very respectable damage output with all of their twin Shuriken Catapults, and on the charge their lances are deadly, at strength 6, AP-2, 2 damage a pop, strength 8 on the Exarch. The Exarch also re-rolls wound rolls against monsters and vehicles. In all, this is a great unit. The speed, hitting power and durability on a reasonably priced unit is all around great. Start tossing buffs on them and you just get more and more out of them. Quicken is a no brainer but so is Protect, giving them a 2+ and a 3++ vs. shooting! They work well with any Craftworld, but Ulthwe helps make them even tougher, Saim-Hann gives them re-rolls to charge and Biel-Tan makes their Shuriken Catapults even better but also gives them access to Court of the Young King which makes their threat range truly ridiculous.

Oof, I ran out of steam! This will now become a 3 part article series (and you can read Part 3, here!), haha. I will finish up the rest of it ASAP, but thanks for reading so far! What do you think about Eldar at this point?

 

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!

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About Reecius

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

39 Responses to “Review of 8th ed 40k Codex: Craftworlds aka: Eldar Part 2 of 3.”

  1. Casey H. October 27, 2017 9:20 pm #

    I already own a Brigade worth of Eldar models and damnit, I was all prepared to move on to A.M.

    Well, Carlos Keyser is gonna wanna tutor me on this. So, if I keep to one beer a game, maybe BeerHammer could be a force to recon with.
    😉

    Casey
    Team BeerHammer

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 28, 2017 8:46 am #

      Yeah, at SoCal I don’t think you were following that limitation =P

  2. Loofa4 October 28, 2017 2:54 am #

    I love these new books, but is it just me or is power creep back with force?
    The indexes were relatively balanced, but these new books are drastically better. Hopefully there will be some balance again once all the codexes are out.

    • GeekmasterK October 28, 2017 8:25 am #

      Right now, it just seems to be the case of codex armies having an advantage over index armies. The codexes all seem to be on a similar power level to each other, at least based on what I’ve seen. Most people I’ve talked to about this in-person are in agreement. It’s not the same as the codex creep of the past. I honestly have a feeling the indexes will be getting phased out once all the codexes are released.

      • Reecius
        Reecius October 28, 2017 8:46 am #

        The Indexes are strictly weaker than their Codex version and that is on purpose. The indexes are just meant to get you going in 8th until you get your codex, nothing more. Compare codexes to codexes.

        • GeekmasterK October 28, 2017 3:32 pm #

          ^This is exactly the point I was trying to make. Codex creep as we knew it isn’t really happening this edition. Yes, the indexes are weaker than the codexes, but the indexes were meant to be temporary, anyway. Complaining about balance between codexes vs indexes doesn’t really make sense, when you consider that. 🙂

    • Jural October 28, 2017 5:41 pm #

      Honestly, the Imperium and Chaos Codexes, by themselves, should be a little bit weaker than Xenos, as their options to ally and combo are much greater (Even tho Eldar will have 4 options, they are kinda a similar 4 options!)

      Not sure why IG was so good, of course… but after the commissar change I feel IG is just a really good codex, not game breaking.

  3. Cavalier October 28, 2017 3:14 am #

    Absolutley killer break down Reece. I was already excited for this dex, but I am even more pumped now. I’ve only played Eldar since 2nd edition while I crushed my opponents mercilessly in 7th, I’m more excited for this army in 8th. This codex is EXACTLY what I want as an Eldar player. Options and tricks that allow my planning to lead me to victory instead of raw firepower (which is the Tau’s thing). With stratagems you can pull off those maneuvers in a variety of situations and against any opponent mid-game which is so much better for me as a player than the beat-stick powers of the old formations. Being able to choose whatever unit I want to deepstrike via Cloudstrike or Webway Assault with all the Eldar specialists at hand is so sick.

    The one thing you highlighted with Jinx and Doom is INSANE!!!! I cannot believe I didn’t think of that. But hey thats why I come here.

    I did want ot mention that I think that Illic and the Rangers have been dark horse MVP’s for me in 8th so far. I’ve played almost nothing but IG and their ability to take out those characters has been insanely useful. I’m looking forward to doing this even more with Alaitoc rules, and perhaps pulling off some ambushes with my Scorpions as well… with a Warlock dropping in cast quicken on them after the drop.

    Anyway great article Reece. Thanks so much for writing such an indepth piece. Please rock your CWE on the bat-reps. The newly painted models look insane. Thanks

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 28, 2017 8:48 am #

      Glad you liked it and I am the same way. I want an Eldar army that is not overtly powerful as in 7th (when I didn’t play them as it was not as much fun) but an Eldar army that is subtly powerful and requires orchestrating a lot of moving parts. That is when it becomes a joy to play!

      Good luck with it and you can be assured I will be rocking the Footdar on some bat reps =)

      • Tyler Emerson October 28, 2017 2:24 pm #

        After one playtest at 1K yesterday and reading your outstanding series, they remind me so much of Sylvaneth in AoS.

        I’ve got 40K fever. Big time.

        • Reecius
          Reecius October 28, 2017 2:47 pm #

          Very glad you enjoyed the review and yeah, they do play much like Sylvaneth!

  4. Dakkath October 28, 2017 3:21 am #

    Can phoenix lords pick their warlord trait? If so then Maugan Ra or Illic with the sniper trait would be amazing.

    • C-Stock October 28, 2017 6:04 am #

      I think their old warlord trait options are melded into their character profile now. In exchange they do not get a warlord trait.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 28, 2017 8:45 am #

      Phoenix Lords cannot take Warlord Traits.

  5. Horton October 28, 2017 4:37 am #

    This is a great article. Thank you very much for taking the time to write it. I am happy to see that GW has made yet another GREAT codex. We truly live in a golden age of 40k!

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 28, 2017 8:43 am #

      It really is. Glad you enjoyed it!

  6. C-Stock October 28, 2017 6:03 am #

    Yeah I wish Warlocks weren’t terrible choices. The spiritseer is a virtual auto-take over them. No-brainer.

    Warlocks should be cheaper or have a less-nerfed smite or something. Or be buff vectors of some sort, even minor ones.

    Also Reece, under the top of the troops section in this article you refer to battle focus giving Eldar an extra 6″ move. But that’s old battle focus from 7th edition. In 8e it doesn’t help movement and well, doesn’t do very much. Or even anything at all for most eldar units because they lack assault weapons to even use their own racial power. 🙁

    • DirtyDeeds October 28, 2017 8:17 am #

      Battle Focus allows a unit to shoot as if it hadn’t moved or advanced, so you can Advance and still fire Rpid Fire weapons!

      Also, Ynnari won’t have access to the CWE strategems, warlord traits, and other goodies; I have a feeling we’ll see more CWE armies than Ynnari.

      • happy_inquisitor October 28, 2017 10:36 am #

        I have the codex in hand and for the cost of one small Craftworlds detachment you can then use the Stratagems with Ynnari. Obviously these will not work with the Harlequin/Drukhari units in an Ynnari force and nor will it work on the Triumvirate but on the Asyurani it looks to work just fine.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 28, 2017 8:44 am #

      Well, the Warlock has access to the Seer Council strat which is really good. The critical powers you want to get off are WC 7, and the +1 to cast on a turn you need them to work is mega useful.

      • C-Stock October 28, 2017 10:55 am #

        That’s a small benefit though and it burns a CP on something that’s not likely to mean anything (you will usually not roll exactly a 6 to make the difference). If it was a free warlock power then yeah I would take the point.

        Warlocks are just not worth taking.

        • Reecius
          Reecius October 28, 2017 1:08 pm #

          It makes a very big difference, actually, if you break down the math. And you have 5 combinations of dice that result in 6, meaning it is a 5/36’s increase or essentially a 14% increase in successfully casting the power, which is no joke on the turn when it must go off. Combine this with a potential CP re-roll or the Biel-Tan relic and it is a massive improvement.

          For strategies that MUST get Quicken off, for example, it is absolutely worth it.

          So, you may not like Warlocks, which is fine, but I have found them to be quite useful. A seer Council as a melee unit too, can be quite scary.

          • Vonvilkee October 29, 2017 7:56 am
            #

            Also driving up your total makes it more difficult to deny. That math is super tough and you don’t always realize the impact but it is a thing when you need a power to go.

          • abusepuppy October 29, 2017 8:19 am
            #

            I think his points was that while yes, the stratagem does increase your likelihood of succeeding, most of the time it won’t change anything (most failures will still be failures, most successes will still be successes) and you have to spend the CP _before_ seeing what the roll is.

            If all you want is to succeed on a power, spending the CP to reroll one of the dice on your psychic test is a much better option. Doing both on a single unit is a pretty big investment for a single power.

            The “solo” Warlock just compares very poorly to the Spiritseer. Weaker smite, fewer wounds, and no Spirit Mark while only being slightly cheaper. The Conclave possibly has some potential, although I would be _very_ leery of having it get vaporized before it had a chance to activate powers, since T4/4++ isn’t going to last long against a lot of firepower. And lacking any AP on their attacks is somewhat problematic, even if they are dealing multiple damage- even in its heyday back in 6E, the Seer Council often struggled with damage output.

    • Tomguycot October 31, 2017 5:04 am #

      I don’t really agree, 10 points is 10 points. If your Warlock has a job besides smite and you aren’t running wraith constructs you might as well save the points. Every warlock is a “free” shruiken cannon. Those add up. Yes the smite is crappy but the Eldar powers are good enough that that may not matter.

  7. C-Stock October 28, 2017 6:05 am #

    Also my primary concern with all this is that Ynnari are still auto-takes over craftworld Eldar. SfD is way better than access to craftworld powers. I predict CWE still wont be played.

  8. Akaiyou October 28, 2017 8:37 am #

    This is a great breakdown of everything I love it. Now im curious if there’s also similar information for Grey Knights, Adeptus Mechanicus and Death Guard which are the armies I’m currently playing.

  9. David Hayden October 28, 2017 11:58 am #

    Awesome summary. I’ve always loved Eldar. When I got the 2nd Edition books and read the lore on the Phoenix Lords, I was hooked.

    I’m also a big fan of every Wraight unit, except the Knight, and I love large Guardian Defender blobs. I like the idea of calling up the Eldar citizen army.

    This book is overloaded with tactical options, and with 7,000+ points of Eldar and I’m nearly frozen with indecision for my tournament list. Do I webway strike my wraith units or my guardians? Or one of each? Do I take wraithblades? They’re expensive, but awesome. So many choices.

    For casual games, though, I may never run the same list twice. So much cool stuff.

    And I realize now I may have underestimated the Warlock Conclave. I’ll have to try it out. I’ve got seven warlocks on foot to work with.

    • Reece Robbins October 28, 2017 3:59 pm #

      I seriously love this book! So much fun. I have to ask though, what don’t you like about the Wraithknight? I hear this frequently but I love mine. I’m not seeing the negative.

      • David Hayden October 28, 2017 6:48 pm #

        I don’t like the design that much. The chest is what throws me, I think. I love the wraithlords though.

  10. Eldritchstormer October 28, 2017 3:16 pm #

    I feel like I’m missing something. Doesn’t quicken expressly prohibit charging after use. Yet It gets lots of mentions in this article in reference to assault units ?

    • Reece Robbins October 28, 2017 3:57 pm #

      There is not restrictions on charging after using Quicken.

      • Eldritchstormer October 28, 2017 11:44 pm #

        Well that is very powerful.

  11. Roy mc October 28, 2017 6:17 pm #

    Wow… reecius…. i love your articles! I started playing eldar in 2nd ed though missed a few in the middle.

    The eldar codex almost fills all the voids that used to be there.

    An army should never be winning 80 % of their games with 20% of theor best units.

    So many units have a purpose now. I love aspect warriors and beil tan is my army of choice.

    I love the synergy of the farseers and warlocks. Every army relies on its character synergy and with eldar its 50% characters and 50% psychic powers.

    I cant wait to figure out read share and document all the eldar shenanigans that we can wring out of the eldar codex.

    I also TOTALLY agree about not having an overpowrred codex. I want an opponent to know i won because they were outplayed by eldar tactics… not because the army is more powerful.

    I also disagree with what someone said before about warlocks. If you just want to play guardians vs the other army and not use your psychic powers to either enhance your force or negatively affect the opponents. Warlocks ARE your character synergy… and i need to know how to use them better.

    I cant wait to not only read more… but see more.

    You think you might be able to do more specific tactics videos with practical examples of the tactics you have already mentioned reecius?

  12. Turok117 October 29, 2017 11:48 am #

    Unfortunately Jain Zar’s disarm ability only works on infantry. So probably don’t charge her into a Roboute, Magnus or Mortarion lol.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 31, 2017 9:16 am #

      Ah yes, good catch! Will edit.

  13. bogalubov October 31, 2017 8:40 am #

    The craftworld powers seem really unbalanced. Alatioc is waaaay the hell better than everyone else.

  14. Ben November 3, 2017 4:39 am #

    Hey Reecius,
    have you noticed that Vypers are bikes now? So they gain all the special treatment from the Saim Hann Rule. I would use either Scatterlaser or even a rocket launcher or another heavy on them now.

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