5 Counts-As options to Continue with Corsairs

Hey guys Cavalier here, co-host of Splintermind the Dark Eldar podcast and commission painter for Frontline Gaming. Sharing how I’ve continued on finding new roles for my Corsair units and models after their demise as a standalone army.

One of the few truly unfortunate aspects of 8th edition has been the death of a number of the Forge World armies. Imperial Guard have felt the sting, but so to have the Eldar with the death of Corsairs. They seemed poised for a seamless transition into 8th edition with their unique FOC consisting of small detachments with unique chapter tactics for the many Corsair sub-factions but it was not to be. With almost every unit entry being dropped in Index Xenos, and the truly crippling omission of an HQ choice which essentially destroyed them as a stand-alone faction after a brief but glorious run at the end of 7th edition. The final nail in the coffin being in the 2019 FAQ where it was stated that they could be included in any Aeldari detachment but when you do it prohibits you from getting command benefits for that detachment.

To make matters worse the actual Corsair infantry and jetbikes are no longer available from Forge World and are horrifically over-costed in points despite multiple Chapter Approved’s. My friend Eric over at Variance Hammer wrote a great article on his views on the situation and was a direct inspiration for me to write this article in regards to solutions.

So what to do if you are like me and have a massive Corsair force? Well with a little kitbashing and some counts-as magic, you can get your Eldar renegades back into real space. In this article I’m going to highlight all the Counts-As options I’ve elected to spring for to continue my Corsairs realspace exploits.

Defining Eldar Corsairs

Eldar Corsairs represented the very first aspect of Aeldari society to be represented in Warhammer 40k as they pre-dated the Asuryani and Drukhari, featuring as the first Aeldari faction in the Rogue Trader days.

They are wild Eldar who follow powerful Eldar barons and princes each striving for power, glory and the esoteric secrets of the ancient Aeldari empire. They travel both the void and the webway in great Corsair Fleets some of which rival even that of the Craftworlds and Kabals of the Dark City. Yet they stand apart from both neither holding to the Asuryani path system, nor are slaves to excess of the Dark City. They are described as being wild and willful and the closest representation of the Aeldari  race prior to the dark days which lead to the fall.

Their style of play on the tabletop was a highly customizable commando style units heavy on deepstriking, supported by fast mechanized assault featuring light vehicles like Venoms, Hornets, Falcons and flyers.  Luckily that is a style still very much alive in 8th edition with many corollaries with the now vanished Corsair units, with contemporary Asuryani and Drukhari units which are very viable at present.

Corsair Core Units

The following units are the most iconic Corsair units and the units they parallels from the Craftworlds and Drukhari codices. Luckily they are also the foundational units for building proper Asuryani or Drukhari forces are in a very good place currently in the game. So without further ado lets dive in.


Corsair Prince- The Corsair Prince’s are the iconic leaders of the Corsair Warbands and one of the easiest counts-as options out there. An Autarch or Archon is a perfect choice for the quintessential Corsair character. Prince Y’riel after all is both an Autarch, Admiral and Corsair Prince. The Corsair Prince on jetbike with Void Saber was the go-to option in 7th, but a kitbashed Asuryani Autarch with a laser lance (or Nova Lance) will give you a very similar vibe on the tabletop. Also the Corsair Prince with reaver jetpack variant is easily accomplished with a Autarch with Swooping Hawk wings and all the various weaponry. I converted an Autarch with Reaper Launcher with Wings (and Mark of the Incomparable Hunter warlord trait for sniper action), and that is a great stand in as well.

Worth mentioning also are Archon’s and Succubi from the Drukhari codex which are great options as well. Wargear and the old stat-lines are very close and as I consider Drukhari the go-to for getting that Corsair vibe you wont go far wrong with either of those choices. All of the above options also work for the Corsair Baron’s which were cheap Lieutenant equivalent support characters for Corsairs as well.


Void Dreamers

The wild psykers of the Corsair warbands, almost any psyker will make a valid stand in for your Corsairs. I’m partial to simply using a Farseer and in particular my old school Rogue Trader Era Prometheus/Space Jockey sculpt as it definitley falls into the weirdest spectrum of the Eldar aesthetic. However any psyker feels thematically capable of filling in the role. I even use my counts-as Yvraine  to that end as well.

Corsair Reavers

The basic Corsair foot trooper is a Guardian equivalent model in terms of stat-line but can be equipped with shard carbines, shuriken catapults or lasguns. For my money the easiest way to get these guys going is as Kabalite Warriors or Guardians.

Both have the same armor and basic stat-line and are great troop options for either army. Furthermore the kits are very cross-compatible for easy kitbashes and conversion without even using the old Forge World upgrade kit.

Corsair Skyreavers

These were the most iconic of all the Corsair models (but probably my least favorite to be honest) hailing all the way back to the Rogue Trader days and were in fact the original Eldar unit! Like the basic Reaver they could equipped with Shuriken Catapults, Lasblasters or Shard-Carbines and my go-to way for running them has been with Lasblasters as Swooping Hawks.

Balestrike Band

These guys were basically the Corsair devastator squad which could be equipped with Dark Lances, Missile Launchers, Blasters, Shredders and some various other odds and ends. My go-to approach all edition long has simply been Dark Reapers. For ages I used my old 3rd ed. metal Reapers which look very distinct but in the end converted up these guys using the actual Corsair heavy-weapons options. This has been a heavy lifter throughout the edition and you cant go wrong investing in this kitbash if you have the bits.

Balestrike bands could also be upgraded with Reaver Jetpacks to give you some deepstriking options. The natural fit here is Drukhari Scourge. I’ve been using mine with Blasters and Shredders as surgical fire support throughout the edition and truly loved them. They give you a really legit visual representation of the Forge World sculpts on the tabletop which is a really nice touch, as well as the attack from all angles, hit and run, fast and fragile vibe that Corsairs once provided.


Bonus Round- Corsair Venom

In 7th edition Corsairs had two transport options, the Corsair Falcon and the Corsair Venom. For anyone interested in a modicum of effiency, you’ll probably opt for the Venom which is an absolute foundation unit for running Drukhari in this edition and my preferred troop transport. The Corsair version could have Scatter Lasers, Splinter Cannons or Shuriken Cannons. So while sadly Scatter Lasers or Shuriken Cannons (unless you are going counts-as Harlies with the shuriken cannons) is out, the Splinter Cannons are a fantastic option and give you a solid foundation for establishing your anti-infantry shooting options when you go to make a list.


So these are my core counts-as options for Corsairs. There are number of others I will explore in next weeks article but its worth pointing out that all the above options are fantastic for competitive or casual play. So if you disenchanted as a Corsair player just know that if you go to re-tool your army their are some good competitive choices waiting for you on the other side.

Furthermore the Hornet and Warp Hunter are still very much alive and kicking, so you have legit Corsair options that need no further counts-as massaging to get on to the table.

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!


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





About Cavalier

Commission Painter for Frontline Gaming + Co-Host of the Splintermind: The Dark Eldar Podcast

6 Responses to “5 Counts-As options to Continue with Corsairs”

  1. Reecius
    Reecius July 12, 2019 7:39 am #

    I never get tired of looking at your army, bro. Some amazing conversions in there!

    • Avatar
      Cavalier July 12, 2019 8:26 am #

      Thanks as always man. I really appreciate it. Got a real special Shining Spear conversion I’ll share soon with a painting guide using the new GW whites. But again thanks brother it truly means a lot

  2. Avatar
    WestRider July 12, 2019 12:38 pm #

    When I saw the title, my first thought was “that sounds a lot like that post from VarianceHammer”. Looks like there was a reason for that 🙂

    • Avatar
      Cavalier July 13, 2019 1:27 pm #

      Yeah Eric from Variance Hammer is my dude. I know he and a lot of other people are really disenchanted about what happened to Corsairs so happy to share some solutions

  3. Avatar
    Casey H July 14, 2019 8:26 am #

    I will second the praise for the army’s look and paint details. I’m a long time eldar/DE player and your stuff has me thinking about how to go back to my old models (5e), both the mopey and drug addled elves, and giving them some pop.



    • Avatar
      Cavalier July 14, 2019 2:12 pm #

      Thanks man super appreciate it! I’ve been repainting almost my entire collection throughout the edition. Its been an arduous process but its also been a lot of fun because their were a lot of units I just wasnt running because I wasnt happy with the paint jobs. So dive back in man, its a lot of fun restoring old models to new glory! But thank man I appreciate the kind words

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