Hey everyone, Reecius here to finish the review of the new 8th ed Codex: Craftworlds review. This time, we will cover the remaining units in the book. 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. In Part 2 we dove in to the HQs, Troops, Elites and Fast Attack. In this final installment, we will cover Heavy Support, Transports, Flyers and Lords of War.
I may be sounding a bit like a broken record here, haha, but Eldar have great Heavy Support choices, too! Let’s jump in and take a closer look at them.
War Walkers are great for a number of reasons that may not jump out at you right away. For one, they can outflank, appearing from reserves off of any board edge. That alone is fantastic as any unit that protect itself from the alpha strike is golden in 8th ed. Also, it means these zippy gunboats can also threaten objectives all around the table and pick up mission points. With Battle Focus they can move up to 16″ and still shoot Shuriken Cannons normally (but remember, Battle Focus doesn’t work on Heavy Weapons) and if you are Biel-Tan, they re-roll 1’s to hit, too! I like to use them solo in the Heavy Slots to open up a Brigade and for board control duties. The damage output isn’t amazing, but they’re surprisingly durable with a 5++. As they tend to operate solo, that extra durability is important. For a total investment of 70pts with dual Shuriken Cannons, you get quite a bit. However, the old unit of 3 with Scatter Lasers is still solid as if you guide them that is significant firepower on a reasonably durable platform that can be further buffed by being Ulthwe or with Fortune. In all honesty though, if you want to go that route, Saim-Hann Windriders are simply better at it due to their crazy mobility. Another option is to kit them with heavier weapons such as Star Cannons, Bright Lances or Aeldari Missile Launchers where their ability to outflank means you can simply start them off of the table if it is tactically intelligent to do so with no additional resources used, move on turn 1 in to your lines and buff them up with Guide or the Biel-Tan warlord trait and open fire, buffing them with Fortune. 90pts for a T6, 6 wound unit with an invul save that boasts 2 Bright Lances is not a bad investment at all.
The Wraithlord holds a special place in my heart. I have 3 of them lovingly painted, and have used them for years now. But, much like the kid who peaked in high school, they really haven’t been so hot in a while. I stubbornly continued to use them and that patience may have paid off! They have a lot of potential uses now, not the least of which is running them dirt cheap with no upgrades at all to unlock the Brigade detachment. 103pts for a toughness 8 model with 10 wounds is no joke. Their Shuriken Catapults aren’t the best thing in the world but they’re not bad (especially when they’re free!) and if you run Biel-Tan, they’re rerolling 1’s. But really, they come in to their own with Iyanden, allowing them to stay at peak performance longer and if you get in to melee and pop their Pstronome of Iyanden which doubles Wraith unit’s attacks characteristic, they go up to 8 attacks a pop! With each of those being strength 7, AP-3 and 3 damage, potentially re-rolling hits thanks to a nearby Spiritseer or Autarch, they will pummel things. You could opt for the Ghostglaive to bump them to strength 9, AP-4 and D6 damage, too, but I find the fists are often enough. They’re also pretty quick with an 8″ move and while they can’t start off of the table like War Walker, they’re tough enough to just trudge up the table and if run with no real firepower to speak of, will be a low target priority for your opponent allowing them to go after objectives. For only 20 points, you could toss 2 Shuriken Cannons on them and they can provide more dakka as they walk around.
Alternatively, you can kit them up to be gunboats, stacking two heavy weapons on them and parking them in cover where their natural durability and BS3+ makes them solid fire support units. These guys work well unsupported but something like an Autarch really helps them out a lot for re-rolls of 1 to hit. Ulthwe is nice for the 6+ FnP and Alaitoc really rocks for the -1 to hit as these gents will often be at max range. Last, you can easily heal them with the Tears of Isha stratagem and/or a Bonesinger which with Iyanden means they will be at max capacity essentially until dead.
Support Weapons are an interesting choice in 8th ed. While they no longer function as a single unit which is a bummer as it means a single stratagem or psychic buff cannot impact them all, the upside to it is that they can be used to very cheaply fill out your Heavy Support slots for a Brigade with units that are effective and surprisingly tough at T5 with 5 wounds and a 4+. At 30pts base, and 25pts for the cheapest weapon option, the Shadowweaver, for 55pts you can fill a slot. That alone is useful but the Support Weapons is by no means bad. The Shadowweaver is 48″ range, no LoS required, BS 3+, Heavy D6, strength 6 and goes up to AP-4 on a 6+ to wound (again, Doom is your friend!). The ability to hit units on objectives out of LoS while simultaneously holding your own is great. The D-Cannon is pretty sweet at strength 12, AP-4 and D6 damage with D3 shots, but the short range of 24″, even with no LoS required, is a bit limiting but when they do hit, they pack a wallop. I find this set-up is better in defense, as if something like Magnus or Mortarion comes your way and you hit them with Jinx, these guys can really put some hurt on them. Lastly the Vibro Cannon is interesting. It is basically a D3 shot Autocannon, but it gets better the more of them you fire at the same target up to a maximum of AP-3 and +2 to wound. They’re alright, not my favorite, but can be fun to use if you have the models. For my money, the basic load-out is best to open up a Brigade on the cheap with a useful unit.
Dark Reapers are all-stars! This is a unit that has the potential to dramatically impact the game. Each comes with a Reaper Launcher which is 48″ range and either strength 8, AP-2, 3 Damage Heavy 2, or 48″ range, strength 5, AP-2, 2 Damage, Heavy 2. This on a BS 3+, 27 pt platform that ignores modifiers to shoot and you have a winner. Some effective tactics with them are to start them in reserves using the Webway Strike stratagem if facing a shooty army, then drop them down near a unit like a Farseer for Guide, or an Autarch or Maugan Ra for re-rolls of 1 to hit and profit. If running Biel-Tan, you can also use their Natural Leader Warlord Trait to boost an additional unit with re-rolls to hit as well. Ulthwe and Alaitoc are also great choices for the increased durability. Per usual, this can be further boosted with Protect and/or Fortune. Also, this unit provides one of the few ways to take advantage of the Starhawk Missile stratagem by upgrading your Exarch to carry an Aeldari Missile Launcher and remember, the Exarch naturally re-rolls 1’s to hit. This is a unit that really requires very little explanation, haha. Park them in a good spot and blow stuff up.
The Falcon is a hybrid gunship/transport vehicle that packs a solid punch. At 140pts base, it isn’t prohibitively expensive and can put out respectable firepower with plenty of dakka due to twin Shuriken Catapults and a Shuriken Cannon as well as the powerful Pulse Laser which is strength 8, 48″ range, AP-3, 3 damage, Heavy 2. It has a 16″ move at full health and a transport capacity of 6. With the Crystal Targeting Matrix you can move and ignore the penalty for heavy weapons as well. Additionally, consider the Cloudstrike stratagem on this vehicle in order to avoid getting alpha struck and place it and it’s payload where you want it. If filled with say, characters, this can get nasty, fast as on the next turn they all go where needed to inflict maximum damage. In all, a solid choice and works well in any Craftworld.
The Night Spinner is a good support tank. For the low price of 140 pts, possibly 145 with the Crystal Targeting Matrix to take advantage of its speed (which for 5 pts, why not?!). You get a decent barrage vehicle that pumps out 2d6, Strength 7 shots at 48″ that become AP-4 on a 6+ to wound. And, as the story goes, Doom is your friend here to really crank that damage output up. There’s not a lot more to say, lol, this is a solid if unexceptional tank that can put wounds pretty much anywhere on the table. As with other Eldar vehicles, Alaitoc, Iyanden and Ulthwe provide the most benefit.
There’s a new sheriff in town and his name is Fire Prism, lol. If you thought the Leman Russ was nasty with Grinding Advance, wait till you get a load of this bad boy. With the basic load-out and the Crystal Targeting Matrix (which he may as well come stock with, lol), he is fairly mobile and has a wide variety of options for its main gun, making it very versatile. It can have D6 shots at strength 6, AP-3, 1 Damage, or D3 shots at strength 9, AP-4, D3 damage, and lastly, 1 shot at strength 12, AP-5, D6 Damage. All of these are at 60″ range and as the Fire Prism has the Fly keyword, it is very mobile and cannot be easily tied down in melee. The ability to shoot twice if it moves half speed or less is the real magic. You can pump out 2d6 AP-3 shots, or take down tougher units like Razorbacks for example, with the mid range shot, or target very tough units like Imperial Knights with the highest strength shot. Generally, the mid-ranged shot is going to be your best bet for reliable damage output, but the lower power is great for cutting down infantry, particularly when combined with Doom. At a price tag of only 165pts, this is a solid choice and doesn’t need much support outside of say, an Autarch for re-rolls of 1’s to hit and possibly a Bonesinger for repairs. Alaitoc, Iyanden and Ulthwe benefit these vehicles the most and remember to consider utilizing the Cloudstrike stratagem if you need to keep them off of the table.
The Wave Serpent remains an outstanding vehicle. It offers so much to be excited about for the Eldar player. For one, at 134 pts with three Shuriken Cannons (great in a Biel-Tan list), it’s cheap, fast with a 16″ move, and durable with the standard Eldar hover tank profile of T7, a 3+ save, but with 13 wounds. The real magic is the Serpent Shield which reduces incoming damage by 1 to a minimum of 1. Alternatively you can fire the Serpent Shield off and deal D3 mortal wounds to tne nearest visible enemy unit but loses the defensive benefit. Normally this is a once per game ability, but with the Overloaded Energy Field Projectors stratagem, you can fire it an additional time. Once you’ve fired the shield, there’s really no reason not to use this stratagem as frequently as possible. This adds even more ways to deal mortal wounds to your Eldar force which already is brimming with psykers. This unit can also be up-gunned to carry a variety of twined Eldar heavy weapons. The Crystal Targeting Matrix is an obvious upgrade here, and you can turn these into lethal, mobile weapons platforms.
With a transport capacity of 12 (Wraithguard and Blades take up 2 spots, each), you have a lot of options for delivering units where needed. The Webway Strike stratagem really reduces the need for Wave Serpents in a list as a transport mechanism, but they’re still quite good and of course the uber obnoxious tactic of loading one with Psykers for a smite bomb is still viable. However, in 8th ed, I would see these morphing more into gun boats that pump out firepower and mortal wounds every turn for a reasonable price point, serving more as bunkers for reducing the number of drops you have and keeping units safe on turn 1. A unit like Howling Banshees for example, who have a massive threat radius, can begin the game in this unit and then pop out and go chop-chop wherever needed once the game has begun. And of course, these are a great choice for the Cloudstrike stratagem, too.
Eldar flyers are solid choices and all boast a similar stat-line with T6, 12 wounds and a 3+ save. The notable difference is that the Crimson Hunters are BS2+ but when you consider that the Hemlock has no weapons that require a roll to hit, it is a bit irrelevant, lol. Jokes aside the Crimson Hunters are essentially identical apart from the Exarch can take Star Cannons and has the ability to re-roll 1’s to hit. Both versions re-roll wound rolls vs. targets that Fly, and have the usual benefits of Flyers. For a reasonable 160 pts for the stock version and 175 for the Exarch, you get a LOT of high damage, reliable firepower from them. With the Cloudstrike stratagem, you can keep them off of the table, too if facing a shooty army and you don’t want to risk it getting destroyed. Iyanden, Alaitoc and Ulthwe are great here, Alaitoc especially as you will often have a -2 to be hit! These are both seriously awesome units in my opinion and for my money, the Exarch is where it’s at unless you have some other scheme for keeping them in a re-roll 1 to hit bubble as with an Autarch Skyrunner.
The Hemlock Wraithfighter is another powerful flyer in the Eldar arsenal. It is a bit pricey at 200pts base (although its weapons are free) and it is also a Psyker that not only can Smite, but can also cast one of the extremely powerful Runes of Battle psychic powers (but only the debuff version). This plus the Heavy D-Scythes which are 16″, Heavy D3, strength 12, AP-4, 2 Damage, auto-hitting and a 12″, -2 leadership debuff makes for a seriously bad ass unit. The Cloudstrike stratagem is important as this bad boy has a massive target on its head and Alaitoc is a great Craftworld (although unlike the Crimson Hunter that stays at range, the Hemlock gets close) and Iyanden is cool but as none of the degrading stats really matter too much, and it already has Spirit Stones for the 6+ FnP style save, the Craftworld doesn’t matter that much. In all, this is an exceptional flyer and provides a lot of utility and damage dealing potential. As a Wraith Construct it also can be repaired with the Tears of Isha stratagem if needs be.
Lords of War
The Wraithknight, beyond being a beautiful model, has had quite the emotionally charged history ranging in reaction from “utterly broken” to utterly worthless,” haha. But then, the internet community is not known for their lack of hyperbole. In 8th ed I feel that the Wraithknight is a solid choice. Not overwhelming, nor underwhelming but solidly good with a lot of potential uses in a list. At a base cost of 402 pts, he is most certainly not cheap but brings a lot to the table. I prefer the “classic” load-out of Heavy Wraithcannons backed by 2 Starcannons which comes in at 532 pts. This gives me a toughness 8, 24 wound platform that pumps out serious firepower at range. Guide or the Natural Leader Biel-Tan Warlord Trait is a perfect fit here, or simply an Autarch with re-rolls of 1 to hit. I prefer the Heavy Wraithcannons as I found the Suncannon–which tends to be more popular with its 2d6 strength 6, AP-3, 2 Damage shots–wasn’t getting it done against vehicles and monsters due to wounding on a 5+. With Doom you can really crank up the reliability, but when using the Heavy Wraithcannons I found I didn’t need it as you wound damn near everything in the game on a 2+. With 4 shots dealing D6 damage a pop, he tends to wreck what he shoots and still has the Starcannons to pile on more damage. If you use adequate terrain, I have actually found it isn’t too difficult to get him a cover save, too, to help mitigate his lack of an invulnerable save, and Fortune is a solid choice for him as well.
Alaitoc for a -1 to hit is clearly fantastic but Iyanden is really where it’s at. Your profile doesn’t degrade until you get down to 6 wounds, where the application of the Tears of Isha stratagem or a Bonesinger will easily boost you back up into your top tier. Beyond that though, the Psytronome of Iyanden turns these bad boys into melee monsters. Doubling their attacks characteristics means that they will deliver an astounding 24 titanic feet attacks, each of which hits with the power of a Battle Cannon! At that point, may as well also use the Supreme Disdain stratagem for exploding 6’s and pump out an average of 28 attacks, easily going over 30 if you have any re-rolls to hit which is easy to do with the Guided Wraithsight stratagem or a nearby Autarch. If you opted for the Titanic Ghostglaive, that is 8 attacks dealing a flat 6 damage a pop and again, with exploding 6’s and re-rolls to hit, you can reasonably expect 10 attacks on that turn, lol. Very, very few things in the game can take that type of punishment. It will make your opponent think very carefully about bum rushing you with Magnus or Mortarion, lol. Speaking of the Sword and Board version, you can get him on the table for only 452 points (472 with just some basic guns) which considering all of the above, is not bad and with that 5++ potentially backed up with a 5+ FnP save from Fortune and the Iyanden benefits, you have very good odds of delivering the beast into melee and then wreaking havoc where you can pump more wounds back in to him with the Tears of Isha stratagem and/or a Bonsinger to keep the carnage rolling.
Lastly, the Suncannon and Scattershield load-out is very strong. With Starcannons, it is a 570 pt investment which is hefty but the damage output is staggering with essentially 2d6+4, AP-3 shots. All that and you have the 5++ as well. As above, boost him up with Guide or an Autarch, toss Fortune on him and profit. I love my Wraithknight and continue to have good results with him although I know the general consensus is negative on them at present. I encourage folks to give it another go as I bring mine to tournament play vs. some nasty armies and as of yet have not been disappointed with him or every wished I didn’t bring him.
Whew, finally done! But, that was a lot of fun to go through as I love playing Eldar. I took a break from them last edition as every Tom, Dick and Harry were bringing them to tournaments due to them being so crazy overpowering. Now I feel like we’re back to our Eldar roots with an army of units that must coordinate with one another to achieve victory which is my absolute favorite way to play any army. I love finding combos and synergies as I feel like I am discovering things as I play, and I never feel like an army gets stale that way as there are so many new and subtle combos that can really change the way an army performs.
I also love the flexibility of the Eldar if you take the right support units. You can adapt on the fly, powering up friendly units or debuffing enemy units as is needed. Hopefully after reading these articles your imagination is firing and you feel inspired to play some Space Elves as I know I sure am!
And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!