Hey guys its Cavalier, commission painter for Frontline Gaming and co-host of Splintermind the Dark Eldar podcast back again with another article. So often whenever I see a themed Eldar army its the classic Iyanden Wraithost, a Cult of Strife Wych Cult with Lelith, or a pysker heavy Ulthwe army. Yet there are a lot of lesser represented themes that are perfect for not only a cool narrative, but also for some very solid tabletop action. This time we’ll be looking at some lesser explored themes available to narrativley driven Eldar armies. Lets dive in!
Frozen Stars + Haemonculus Covens
Even among the ranks of the Harlequins who played a key role in the birth of Y’nnead there is disagreement about the nature of the Eldar God of Death. There are those who see her as salvation and their followers champions, while there are those like the Frozen Stars who see Y’nead and the path she represents representing the path of the Fool, leading the Aeldari to destruction. The Haemonculus Covens are also natural rivals with Y’nnari who they see as infringing on their territory as masters over life and death with their regenerative/ressurection sciences and alchemy.
On the tabletop side of things Haemonculus Covens possess perhaps the most raw strength in the dex with the mighty Talos Pain Engines who can mulch infantry, Daemon Princes and even Primarchs quite handily when in sufficient numbers. Add in the often overlooked Frozen Stars who give +1 Attack to all Harlequin models on the charge. This can create for a devastating melee army that can also pack in a lot of Haywire via Bikes, Talos and Scourge and also a lot of Fusion for Harlequin Troupes who really maximize on the Frozen Stars Masque Form.
Flayed Skull + DE Mercenaries
Sadly the awesome line of Forge World Eldar Corsairs has fallen off a cliff in terms of play-ability on the Tabletop. Having lost almost all the units they once could field and those remaining being wildly too expensive and losing access to the command points you would normally get when taking them in a Battalion or such has seen them shuffled off into a fathomless abyss of 40k obscurity. However all is not lost!
Dark Eldar come in many varieties. Not all of them even call Comorragh home such as Duke Sliscuss who (once a special character in the 5th ed dex) left Comorragh forever after stealing the three flagships of three of his rivals in the Dark City. He then went on to become a full-fledged Eldar Corsair leading the infamous Sky Serpents (Phil Kelly’s army of choice BTW).
A great way to represent Eldar Corsairs on the tabletop is playing your Dark Kin as Flayed Skull whose combination of enhanced speed, re-rolling 1’s for rapid fire weapons used by flyers or units embarked on transports make them feel like a true Corsair Raiding Company. Combine the fantastic Djinn Blade and the Flayed Skull Warlord famed Savagery pretty much brings back to life the void sabre toting Corsair Prince of 7th ed, getting him up to 8 Attacks at Str 5 Ap-3 Dmg: D3. Furthermore Flayed Skull very closely resembles the Sky Serpents who were masters of aerial combat.
Prince Y’riel’s Eldritch Raiders
As I mentioned in my previous article, there is often a lot more to Craftworld Iyanden than just Ghost Warriors (Wraithguard, Wraithlords etc.) One of the most iconic characters and my personal favorite in all of 40k is Prince Y’riel. The bastard scion of Ulthanash was once the most powerful Corsair Prince in the galaxy, leading his Eldritch Raiders to unparalleled success. While Prince Y’riel has returned to Iyanden as its principal Autarch and high admiral of their fleets, the Eldritch Raiders live on and continue to serve him.
Guardians are a perfect stand-in for Eldar Corsairs and Games Workshop even painted up Guardians in the Eldritch Raiders color scheme in Gathering Storm II. While the Storm Guardian variety might not be ideal (though I believe Reece would tell you otherwise) standard Guardian defenders are one of the best units in the Eldar dex. Whether Webway Striking them in at 20 strong with weapon platforms or taking units 12 in Wave Serpents they are an excellent unit and with Iyanden’s excellent morale control they’ll never lose more than 1 model after a failed Morale Test. Plus their Wave Serpents (should you take them) double their wounds characteristics for purposes of consulting the damage chart making those already tough Wave Serpents even tougher as they perform at their best longer than any other Craftworld.
Sons of the Serpent
Saim-Hann and Soaring Spite Bike Spam
Soaring Spite Harlequins base their entire way of life after the Cosmic Serpent. Thus they favor fast, flowing airborne combat their Troupes being mounted exclusively in Starweavers and featuring more Skyweaver Jetbikes than any other Masque. They are explicitly stated to have a spiritual and military bond with Saim-Hann Eldar who are famed for their massive host of Windriders and feature the Cosmic Serpent as the glyph of their Craftworld.
On the tabletop these two factions are a match made in heaven. Many feel the Soaring Spite is the strongest of all the Harlie Masques as they can advance and shoot with their deadly Jetbike Haywire Cannons without penalty and treat all pistols as assault weapons and dont suffer the penalty for advancing and shooting with them. They are fantastic at dealing with Knights and super heavy tanks, while their Saim-Hann counterparts are excellent at anti-infantry. The much maligned Windriders can move and shoot their scatter lasers without penalty, making them fantastic anti-horde units. Also Saim-Hann has a 1 CP stratagem allowing Saim-Hann bikers to advance and charge (and re-roll 1’s in the fight phase) making Saim-Hann Shining Spears a very respectable + reliable stand-in for the more infamous Y’nnari version. These factions cover each others weaknesses excellently is a combination I’m very keen on using.
So guys hopefully that may have inspired you to try some new thematic combos on the tabletop, or perhaps paint up a new detachment. A number of these are combos I’m currently building towards and painting as I type! Let me know some of your own favorite combos in the comments below and thanks for reading!
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