Asuryani FW + Expert Crafters

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

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.

Warp Hunter

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

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.

If you are interested in Aeldari discussion check out our podcast: Splintermind for exclusive Drukharii and all things Aeldari news and discussion. If you liked the red and gold Eldar models pictured above and are interested in following my painting exploits check me out on Instagram! Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

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About Cavalier

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

13 Responses to “Asuryani FW + Expert Crafters”

  1. Charles Lowry January 26, 2020 6:20 am #

    Thanks for the article. Another well thought perspective. One item locally we have discovered that works very well is a unit of two Hornets with Pulse Lasers and the use of Forewarned. Folks tend to watch out for Dark Reapers, but 12 Pulse Laser shots with Expert Crafters and an Autarch can be crippling. In general, that equates to 10 hits. Not sure about others, but I typically see some type of unit coming in from Reserve and this unit is another option.

    • Cavalier January 26, 2020 9:20 am #

      Thanks man I appreciate it! Yeah I’ve used that Forewarned back on Hornets with Pulse Lasers a number of times and its a nasty surprise. Its great the FW models are getting a chance to shine. They really fill some unique gaps in the Eldar line especially the Hornets. Anyway thanks man glad you liked the article

  2. Neil Tweed January 26, 2020 1:51 pm #

    Be interesting to see what rules and/or points changes our FW units get in the recently announced FW index update.
    Love the Warp Hunter, great fun to use especially when you roll a 6 for shots on the flamer! Probably needs to be about 20 points cheaper though

    • Cavalier January 28, 2020 5:10 am #

      Hey bud yeah I’m excited about that too, especially as a playtester! Yeah the Warp Hunter is great fun and very solid, but could definitley be a bit cheaper. Its still a great tool if a bit too expensive

  3. Martin January 27, 2020 3:27 am #

    Thanks for an interesting review. Especially the wasp was fun to read about. I really like the models and it’s cool that they can deep strike.

    • Cavalier January 27, 2020 5:21 am #

      Thanks bud glad you liked it. Yeah the FW stuff has seen a lot of points drops, very necessary points drops. They aren’t Leviathan Dread awesome, but really handy tools on unique platforms. Yeah the Wasps are really cool and totally viable and very “asuryani style” too where they are surgical tools that can remove key stuff like vehicles, thunderfires, MSU Primaris units etc. They are fragile but they are pretty cheap so totally worth a go.

  4. Sean January 27, 2020 8:35 am #

    Great article. I thought people would move towards hornets after Ravagers were no longer able to use doom, and now with Ravagers going up in points they have become even more attractive.

    I hadn’t thought about an expert crafters Warp Hunter shooting out of LOS. Now I want to take it a step too far and make an Imperial Fist style eldar artillery build. 3 Warp Hunters, 3 Night Spinners….

    • Cavalier January 28, 2020 5:13 am #

      Hey Sean thanks bud. Yeah they are like baby ravagers. Its a shame the crystal targetting matrix doesnt negate the penalty to move and shoot entirely, but with Pulse Lasers if you are Primaris Hunting you are usually going for the closest target and with 48″ you might not have to move at all.

      But yeah I want a 3rd Warp Hunter for sure. I’m about to try running 3 Warp Hunters and 3 Prisms which should be pretty nasty

  5. Martin January 28, 2020 1:13 am #

    Maybe a sidetrack but what is your opinion on Masters of Concealment versus ignore cover trait? Which one do you prefer?

    • abusepuppy January 28, 2020 2:32 am #

      I’ll throw in my $0.02 here- I feel Masterful Shots (i.e. ignore cover) is generally the more useful option. Armies hit hard in 8E, and especially so with Marines around- even if you are allowed to get the benefit of cover (and many armies have ways to deny it), it usually isn’t going to be enough to save you from the kind of firepower that is thrown around.

      Ignoring the enemy’s cover, on the other hand, is extremely valuable against infantry of all sorts. Sisters and Marines can both field large numbers of tough models, and keeping them from getting down to a 2+ save is critical if you want to actually be able to do any damage to them.

      With that said, there are some armies or detachments that can make better use of gaining cover for themselves, so it’s not an absolute case, but in the general sense you’re better off amping your own damage rather than trying to mitigate the enemy’s.

      • Martin January 28, 2020 1:41 pm #

        I think you’re right, against marines with so much fire power cover sadly doesn’t help that much so it’s better to have Masterful shots to get better offense.

    • Cavalier January 28, 2020 5:21 am #

      It depends on what you are using. I like Masters of Concealment when I’m running bright lance Hornets and Warp Hunters since your AP is so good it hardly matters. It takes the edge of Devastator Doctrines and helps out against small arms fire dramatically and is the go-to option if you are playing against lots of vehicles.

      However if you are dealing with lots of infantry, say ground-pounding Primaris forces with lots of Primaris on the ground, Ignore Cover is probably the way to go at least if you are trying to deal with them at range. Load up on Pulse Lasers, Star Cannons etc with vehicles and have Reapers in Serpents as well.

      If you are trying to take a TAC list that can deal with both, separate them into 2 detachments. Put your Hornets, Warwalkers, Wasps etc. in an ignore cover detachment with pulse lasers and starcannons, then stick your Warp Hunters, Prisms, Wraithlords, etc. in Masters of Concealment.

      Thirdly you can take a different approach altogether and go for Headstrong with Shining Spears and Wraithblades with the aim of getting to grips with the Primaris units in CC and have your your vehicles to hunt other vehicles with lots of bright lances, pulse lasers etc and masters of concealment.

      What I like about the Headstrong option is that you can webway them in and use Ghostwalk to guarantee charges and even stage it in waves. This also keeps your opponent from spreading out all across the board and just taking objectives. Playing a vehicle heavy list sometimes prevents you from being aggressive.

      I also like Warp Hunters in this respect too because they can leap out and be aggressive when need be.

      • Martin January 28, 2020 1:47 pm #

        Good idea to have different traits for different detachments. For example an airwing with crimson hunters is probably better with Masters of concealment because they have ap3 weapons.

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