Phoenix Rising has given new life to Craftworld Eldar, particularly with Expert Crafters. Yet its not only the main line of GW models that have received a bump, Forge World units have become far more interesting as well.
Long time readers and followers will know I’m a dispossesed Corsairs player. I was heartbroken when my army went the way of the Squats in 8th edition. While most of that once high performing army is now out of production and without rules, many of the key elements remain in production and have been given a new lease on life with Phoenix Rising.
Expert Crafters has made Asuryani into an offensive army again. For most of the edition they’ve survived on Alaitoc’s elusive playstyle to deny damage, yet with Expert Crafters which allows you to re-roll one hit and one to-wound roll per unit the Eldar vehicle range has become dramatically better.
The Nightspinner, the Wraithlord, Vibro-Cannons and even the Falcon have surged in popularity alongside the venerable Fire Prism but there are more esoteric options from Forgeworld that have become very interesting and in my experience quite invaluable.
The Hornet was an unholy terror in 7th edition. While its not quite up to that standard now, its still an incredibly valuable tool. Its 50pts base for a T6 platform with an 18” move, 3+ BS (4+ on the move), with 6 wounds and a non-degrading profile which can be formed into squadrons of 3. It has access to all the standard Eldar weapons, but the ones I’ve found to be most useful are the Pulse Laser and Bright Lance options. Pulse Lasers come in at 25pts per, and are 3 shots each, Str 6 AP -3 and Damage 2 with an invaluable and rare for Eldar 48” range. When paired with Crystal Targetting Matrix which allows you to hit ignore the penalty for moving and shooting at the nearest target, you have a phenomenal tool for eradicating Primaris Marines. While its quite a high volume of shots, the re-roll one hit, one wound is still invaluable especially when you take a good number of Hornets as those re-rolls really add up. When paired with the Ignore Cover trait you have excellent offensive reliability.
The Bright Lance is also a very solid option on the Hornet as well if you need to add a little extra anti-tank to your list. Expert Crafters is almost designed to get reliability out of your single shot weapons and at only 90pts per Hornet they are cheap enough to gap-fill in your list, or taken as a compliment to Pulse Laser Hornets. If you are taking a dedicated anti-tank detachment you can even forgo the Ignore Cover trait since their AP is so great, and take Masters of Concealment which will give you cover when more than 12” away from enemy models which’ll give you a 2+ save against small arms and negate the additional -1 for Devastator Doctrines.
Hornets of either the Pulse Laser or the Bright Lance variety really benefit from having an Autarch nearby with his Aura of Command which allows re-rolls of 1. This allows you to re-roll any dreaded ones, and an additional dice to hit and to wound with Expert Crafters. A somewhat expensive option is use a Farseer’s Runes of Witnessing Strategem to re-roll 1’s to wound. While that is a 2 CP strat, its also an aura Strat which can benefit multiple Hornets at once (and any other nearby units). I’ve found that it can be a bit overkill but Expert Crafters really helps CP managament as you are spending less on Command Re-Rolls, so if something absolutley needs to die, you can pop that strat to re-roll 1’s to wound and an additional dice which is very good reliability.
A less popular choice than the Fire Prism or Nightspinner, the Warp Hunter has proven reliable contributor for me. The Warp Hunter has your typical Eldar tank profile, but its Destroyer Flail fires D3 shots at 36” range, Str 10 AP- 4 Damage D6 weapon and is an artillery piece that does not need LOS to fire. Alternatley it has a rare 12” range Flamer mode, that has D6 shots instead with the same stats otherwise. The low volume of shots in artillery mode is very much offset by Expert Crafters, as you can save you slot a CP re-roll for volume of shots or damage. Like the Hornet, when paired with an Autarch for re-roll 1’s (and the Runes of Witnessing), that mere D3 shots becomes very reliable and the fact that you can operate out of LOS to do your work is worth it weight in gold at this point in the edition.
Spirit Stones add a lot to this guy giving him a FNP on 6+ and really capitalizes on his defense. Also again if you are taking a dedicated anti-tank detachment you can forgo Ignore Cover Craftworld Trait in favor of Master of Concealment for an instant Cover Save to provide additional defense.
Whats great is that when the Warp Hunter does take significant damage you can leap out with your 12” flamer and go YOLO mode to get ramped up offense before you go down in flames. I’ve used this many approach many many times. Usually leaping over the LOS blocking piece of terrain I’ve been hiding behind all game and nuking whatever is front of me, even assaulting infantry and potentially pinning them with another unit to survive another turn to leap out and slap D6 auto-hits at Str 10 AP-4 D6 Damage on something else.
The Warp Hunter works great in conjunction with Fire Prisms and Hornets who do need to establish LOS and cant hide all game long. The Warp Hunter isn’t the workhorse that the Fire Prism is, but it can be a vicious support unit that can land knockout blows on vehicles or high value targets that are hidden out of LOS, so that you dont have to put your other units in dangerous positions exposed to your opponent just to remove a high value target out of LOS.
Wasps are deepstriking War Walkers with an extra wound (7) and most importantly the Fly keyword. They also have the ability to Deepstrike instead of coming off the edge of the board like the War Walkers. Anything that can start the game off the board is incredibley valueable at this point. Ducking the Alpha Strike these guys can drop in from the skies and let off a very reliable volley of firepower. Starcannons are the go-to here with a re-roll a hit and wound per Wasp, with Masterful Shots to ignore cover is great a ferreting out units out of LOS like Thunderfire Cannons. Also since they have Fly keyword, allowing you to assault and then jump out of combat can give an extra layer of protection, particularly if they are in a Expert Crafters/Headstrong detachment. At only 55pts base they are not a bad choice no matter what direction you take them in.
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