Hey guys Cavalier here, co-host of Splintermind the Dark Eldar podcast and commission painter for Frontline Gaming. This time talking about avoiding pitfalls in collecting and painting late in an edition of 40k.
At the beginning of 5th edition, I took a step back from the game when I realized my Eldar collection was hopelessly outdated. I had gotten back into the game in late 4th and was using stuff from 2nd-3rd edition and it was just a massive struggle. So I decided that I wouldn’t play any more games until I had assembled and fully painted a nice robust force with a good variety of options.
This was the best decision I ever made during my time in the hobby. It took loads of pressure off of me and I was able to really wrap my head around exactly what kind of an Eldar army I wanted to play and the time to paint it to a standard I would be proud of.
So my plan was to create an army that suited my playstyle and so I wanted a fast completely mechanized force. So I got 3×10 Avengers fully painted up with dedicated Wave Serpents, a number of HQ options to ride with them, a trio of FW Hornets and a Warp Hunter with other assorted odds and ends.
By the end I had a big fully painted collection with lots of options that all worked together very cohesively. I had achieved my goal of creating a fully mechanized Eldar force. So I was in a great place at the beginning of 6th edition. I had no unpainted models and was able to continue my projects in any direction I wanted. I made the very wise decision to stick to my plan and decided that in addition to my red and gold Lions of Asuryan who were an elite mechanized force, I wanted to do a more foot-dar based build around some Rangers that I had picked up and so I added 2×10 Striking Scorpions, 3×5 units of Dark Reapers, War Walkers etc. So by the end of 6th edition I had 2 completely decked out Eldar armies.
So when 7th edition dropped I added jetbikes to my mix, and with the Warp Hunter and Hornets I found myself in a position of absolutely crazy strength. Those units were incredibly powerful in the game and my entire collection was fully painted. I was just cruising through the edition winning games left and right on the back of an incredibly strong rules set and robust collection of very strong units that I had painted up years prior. I started mixing and matching from my various Eldar builds and found myself just coasting on an Eldar power trip. There was nothing I NEEDED to add to up my game, as I had all the strongest units my army had available in multiples. Yet instead of using the surplus of hobby time I had to continue my very deliberate and planned “army building” approach to collecting I started dabbling. Randomly painting up a unit of Storm Guardians, painting a single Star Weaver, a lone Wraithlord, random Forge World odds and ends. I was painting everything to completion but it didnt really serve any purpose and wasn’t really building towards anything. Then 8th edition dropped and I realized I was in trouble.
Wake Up Call
When 8th edition dropped, all my heavy hitters were pale imitations of their former glory. Warp Hunters, Hornets, Wind Riders, the Wraithknight, which were my major damage dealers were nothing like they had been. Not only that my actual Corsair army that I had built up no longer existed! My Dire Avengers were wildly too expensive and taking Wave Serpents was out of the question. The only saving grace was my alternative “Alaitoc” themed Ranger force I had built with 3 x 5 Dark Reapers. My “back-up” Eldar army saved my bacon and kept me winning games and when the Codex came out I was obviously doubly rewarded.
I resolved then and there that the only things I’d add to my collection going forward were things that made sense within the context of an actual army build or playstyle. But the painful truth was that my beloved Lions of Asuryan needed such a massive refit that I’d have adapt my all Alaitoc force which needed far less help to 8th edition first and my main army would have to wait. I was able to get my Alaitoc force up and running pretty quick. But for my red and gold Lions of Asuryan its been a long painful road. The commitments on my time were totally different than when I got back into the game. I had become a commission painter, a co-host on a Drukhari themed podcast (meaning I had to get my former allied detachment of Drukhari in stand-alone playable condition) in addition to many other life commitments. Its only now, some 2 years later that they’ve been restored to some semblance of their former glory. I realized that beyond adding a couple units of jetbikes in 7th ed, I had not really updated them since 5th edition and thus had fallen into the same problem that I began my return to Warhammer all those years prior! If I didnt have my Drukhari and Alaitoc themed force I dont know what I’d be doing right now!
My biggest piece of advice is even if you are currently crushing it with your main army, still continue to collect towards a defined army lists or detachments with defined playstyles. A Windrider Host, a Drukhari Covens army, a Ravenwing build, a Tyranid monster list will never be a random collection of models without cohesion regardless of how good they are in future editions. My other core bit of advice is stay close to your main army/faction and continue to add depth with multiple build options. I really only had one build option for my main Eldar force (and was only saved by my second Eldar army) and a random hodge podge of stuff that now never see the light of day because they dont fit into any kind of cohesive playstyle. If I had made a second build style for my red and gold Lions of Asuryan Eldar I would’ve been in good standing for 8th edition with that particular Eldar army. But I’ve learned my lesson and whenever I add anything to my overall collection its with a definitive end goal in mind. The biggest reward is that as you continue to build upon that core collection you’ll find yourself able to start sub-dividing that core collection into almost stand alone armies in their own right. I can now play a Wind Rider host, a totally mechanized list with Wave Serpent borne troops and all vehicle options, a foot-based Wraith Host, an special ops themed Ranger force with big units of Dark Reapers and nightfighting flyers etc. Likewise for my other armies like my Drukhari or Harlequins who I specifically designed to work in conjunction with my main armies and match their playstyles. Its been a great process and made for a lot of fun on the tabletop when I can mix and match within a single codex or across the broader Aeldari faction. There were a couple of rough learning curves and some periods of intense painting workload but it was a lesson worth learning- and hopefully I can save you some of the time I lost via this article!
If you are interested in more Aeldari discussion check out our podcast: Splintermind for exclusive Drukharii and all things Aeldari news and discussion. If you are interested in following my painting exploits check me out on Instagram! Thanks for reading and stay tuned!
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