Princes of the Void: Eldar Corsair Shenanigans

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Guest contributor Ibushi brings us an article on the Eldar Corsair’s dirty tabletop tricks.

 Check the Tactics Corner for more!

The gossamer edge of dawn was just touching the sky above Kaldon IV’s forest canopy when Sergeant Dagrin looked up from his steaming Recaf to stare at the panoply of stars under the mighty Emperor’s dominion. As if in response to his longing gaze, to his fatigued mind it seemed like the stars were beginning to dance and swirl, etching out a spiraling pattern in the glorious sky. The lights began to brighten, flaming tails streaking out behind them, and in an instant the moment was broken – snapping out of his reverie, Dagrin jerked his gaze back down to earth to sound the alarm, punching the sentry console beside him. Before he could move any further, a shrieking let out from the shadows, and Dagrin’s torso was rent into a thousand pieces in a storm of monomolecular blades. A winged figure landed where the sentry once stood, bounding on towards the Inquisitor’s bunker.

Hearing the clarion call, the defence forces began emerging from their hab-units, clutching helmets and lasguns, when suddenly the air was filled with blinding flashes from every direction.  With a whirring, rushing noise, the enemy landed as if from nowhere, pointed red helmets with cold blue eyes, shrieking pistols in each hand, leaping on blurred wings from building to building, leaving shredded armour and entrails in their wake. 

Charging from the bunker, Lebannen let out a roar, power fist engaged and ready to slay the Xenos scum – a tall, robed figure strode out to meet him, sheathing his pistols, a grin on his scarred face. Pacing to the right and staring down the Inquisitor, the figure stretched his arms out wide, daring the Emperor’s agent to strike….

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Rogue Trader Eldar Paintschemes

Eldar hit fast and they hit hard – Eldar Corsairs are the oiled up, chick-wrestling Frat party version of Eldar, and there are some things you need to know before the cops shut this party down.

Zyekian did a fantastic review series on the new space pirate rules from earlier this year, check it out if you need a refresher. Think Eldar without Farseers, Wraith units, or Aspect Warriors, then loaded up with some swashbuckling special rules and wargear.

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Reckless Abandon

“Corsair bands prosecute war with wild abandon, closing with the enemy to unleash a fusillade of devastating weapons fire and scathing insults, before flitting away once again”

(IA11 Doom of Mymeara v2, p.154)

The rum guzzling version of Battle Focus, this army-wide special rule cooked up by Forgeworld is balanced on paper and absurd in practice, perfect for a band of space pirates.

First off, where CWE scatbikes cannot Battle Focus, Corsair jetbikes are allowed to Reckless slide 6+D6” after shooting at a unit within 12”, followed by their regular 2D6” jetbike slide in the assault phase. This makes Corsair jetbikes way better at getting out of dodge, covering up to 36” per turn, the majority of which is after shooting.

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These same Jetbikes come stock with Outflank, meaning that Corsair jetbikes turn up on your 6 and play the kiting game like no other, for a paltry +3pts over regular scatbikes. The way these jetbikes move in from your back table corner 12”, blast apart units from behind, then reposition 9-24” will really catch you off-guard.

Secondly, Reckless is not a Run move and so Corsairs can still assault after pulling off this move – this is a huge boon to the Corsairs and will majorly screw up plans. In a general sense, this allows Corsairs to mitigate Overwatch by cramming more bodies into charge range, or by setting up multiple assaults by using Reckless to string out towards a secondary target unit. Both useful tricks but not game-breaking – Eldar jetbikers are not prime assault units, even Corsairs with initiative 5 and up to 5x s3 attacks on the charge.

The “Rum Slingshot”

Where Reckless becomes like cheating is when you combine it with the Corsair Prince and his optional special rule Reaper of the Outer Dark – this gives the Prince Rampage, and any Corsairs Faction unit may also take Rage for free. The secret sauce is that all such units must assault enemy units within 8”.

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Some Raging jetbikes is a nice perk and everything, but the real candidate for the rage juice is the Prince himself: For 135pts the typical Rage Prince is packing a Shadowfield for a 2++, a Void Sabre for s5 ap3 Rending, and the ability to move like a greased up eel on his sweet fleet jetbike. With Rage and Rampage that’s up to 9 attacks at s5 ap3 on the charge, hitting at WS and Initiative 6, and with rending for chewing through those inevitable Centurions. What really brings this terror to life though, is the ability to slingshot around the battlefield, picking and choosing optimal targets like a true void bully, avoiding tarpits or units that would break the Prince’s neck.

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Now let’s look at the Rum Slingshot maneuvre: Rage Prince shoots at unit (A) 12” away, then uses Reckless to move sideways 7-12” and set up a slingshot charge on unit (B) that was previously out of range and LOS, bearing in mind he is a jetbike unit with Fleet to re-roll charge range and ignore terrain penalties. Gross. Rinse & repeat; Corsair Prince starts to wave his junk around like a wrecking ball, taking out a unit per turn. Another layer of dirty is when you match the Prince up with a unit of scatbikes and just eliminate the targeted unit in your shooting phase – now there is no target unit to be ‘further’ from, so you can Reckless straight over those twitching cadavers and potentially take out multiple units per turn.

With this move the Corsair Prince goes from a middling assault character to a freaky Mon-Keigh-murder machine, covering huge distances and jumping right around screening units or potential assault threats, getting up field fast to take out unsuspecting support units all over the board.

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Now the drawback to the Corsair Prince is that he is required to be Warlord, and given that he is a Pirate lord that likes to get his blade dirty this seems fair. For all the antics in the world, losing Warlord often spells a loss for the Corsairs though, and this is where the 3-detachment format really shines. Doubling or tripling up on Corsair detachments brings a host of benefits to the space pirates, one of which is 1-2 fully expendable Rage Princes to cause as much grief as possible. This can look something like this:

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Corsairs
# Corsair Fleet Raiding Company:
1 “Good” Prince Void Sabre, Jetbike, Shadowfield, Rage, Warlord 135
Sky Burners Coterie:
1 Void Dreamer Jetpack, shimmershield, Rage 70
10 Malevolents Jetpacks, 2x melta bomb, Rage 210
3 Scatdancers Scatter lasers, pistols, Rage 90
3 Scatdancers Scatter lasers, pistols, Rage 90
3 Scatdancers Scatter lasers, pistols, Rage 90
1 Hornet Pulse lasers 80
1 Phoenix 205
1 Warp Hunter Void burners 190
Hate Bringers Coterie:
1 Hate Baron Pistols 30
5 Ghostwalkers Pistols 60
Corsairs Combined Arms Detachment
1 “Bad” Prince Void Sabre, Jetbike, Shadowfield, Rage 135
3 Splinterdancers Splinter cannons, pistols, Rage 75
3 Splinterdancers Splinter cannons, pistols, Rage 75
1 Void Shield G. 2x shields 75
 
Corsair Fleet Raiding Company
1 “Ugly” Prince Void Sabre, Jetbike, Shadowfield, Rage 135
Hate Bringers Coterie:
1 Hate Baron Pistols, jetbike, Rage 45
3 Cloud Dancers Pistols, Rage 60
1850

We’ll be back again next time to look at this list in more detail, with further Eldar Corsair shenanigans. In the meantime, be glad that we voted to disallow Reckless Abandon from activating after Overwatch, and keep your shuriken sharp and blind grenades handy.

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Lebannen brought up his pistol, sending bolts of superheated plasma towards his foe, but each was stopped by a rippling shadow mere inches from the target. Unfazed, Lebannen charged in with fist ready to deliver the Imperium’s justice. Suddenly the figure spun forth, kicking Lebannen to the ground and pinning the Inquisitor’s head with his knee. Before Lebannen could move, the Corsair Prince forced a grenade into the man’s mouth, then leapt into the air on blurs of crimson.

“Mon Keigh, trying to hide in the woods like your monkey ancestors.
The Princess sends her thanks for your thoughts.”

As the Corsair rose into the air, the blazing trails of fire above converged, scythed silhouettes of Eldar flyers and skimmer vehicles emerging from the flames. The next moment the pirates were gone, the bunker imploding into itself and torn apart by unleashed Warp energies, the entire outpost wracked by missiles and pulse blasts.

Inquisitor Lebannen tried to scream in rage, but the tanglefield grenade in his mouth triggered a gravity pulse, bringing his chipped teeth crashing together, popping his eyeballs, and collapsing his prefrontal cortex, leaving him a mewling wreck amongst the shattered remains of a striving Empire.

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It’s good to be the prince!

~See any Eldar corsair activity in your corner of the galaxy?

  • Defenestratus

    1) How is a jetbike “fleeting”? Pretty sure that fleet only applies to models, you know, using their feet to move.

    2) How is a model shooting at a unit and then assaulting a different unit when it is not a GC/SH?

    • Jeramy Bailey

      Not sure on 1. On 2, with Reaper of the Outer Dark, your units have to charge a unit if they are within 8″. So, you shoot at one unit and Reckless Abandon towards a second unit, getting within 8″ of the second and more than 8″ of the first. Then you have to charge the second unit. This all, of course, hinges on getting the distances right.

    • Koszka

      Yeah. I don’t see a way to give those jet bikes fleet other than the characters. Since fleet is a usr that doesn’t grant the ability to a squad I can only assume they are banking on a tactic that isn’t available.

      With reaper of the void that means all your units that you buy this upgrade for has to charge every game. That sucks so bad, especially when you don’t have access to hit and run. You can very well whiff on blowing out a unit in assault this will just get swallowed whole by a counterattack.

      Excellent way to avoid being AoC with yourself though.

      • Cj Cox

        Reaper has the problem of convincing you that corsairs are a choppy army. They’re not. They’re about average in CC. But they’re VERY good at shooting.

    • Vinícius Contrucci Capelloto

      all eldar corsair have fleet
      the reaper of outer darkness say that if there`s a enemy unit within 8″ you need to charge, but if there are multiple units you can choose which one you ll assault, so it doens`t need to be the one that you shoot at

  • LordKrungharr

    I don’t think my iron hands with a 2+ FNP will give a toot about corsairs. Other than losing on objectives capturing.

  • daKingSays

    Corsairs are super funky but a lot of fun. Jet packs are where it’s at though.

    • ZeeLobby

      They’re like what Dark Eldar should have been, haha.

  • Arthfael

    I don’t think I have fleeted a jetbike… have I been playing this wrong for years?

  • Bran D

    It is a fun ability, but it isn’t something that happens all the time and requires some set up that might not be worth it. Your guys are still T3 (4 on bikes) and while the Void Sabre is awesome the shooting this army has is where it truely excels. Reckless Abandon is, imho, more for getting away rather than charge hijinks.

    Corsairs are a fun and very fluffy way to play Eldar as close to before The Fall as you can without being Dark Eldar. Some of their abilities are useless but really cool for narrative games or making your Fleet your own. Like the Prince path that allows him, and his detachment, to use Malefic but he has to spend warp charges at least once per psychic phase…sure your Eldar can now summon daemons, which would be fun, but your perils chart is worse than normal and you still perils on any double as you aren’t a daemon! Fun but I wouldn’t say that is competitive 🙂

    Great fliers, amazing grav-tanks (the Lynx is my favorite 40k model), and enough customization for the army/leaders that you could play a lot of games before coming back to the same set up. Check um out!

  • Mandragola

    Unfortunately, this army list, and actually the whole book it comes in, is an obscenity. It’s like FW said “oh well, the Eldar book is broken anyway, so screw it”.

    So for instance, like warp spiders? Why not take them as “troops” in your core formation for a pale courts list, along with a farseer. Then take as many wraithknights and warp hunters as you like. Awesome.

    The warp hunters are fun. D3+1 D barrage blasts (firepower comparable to a warhound titan, except you don’t need LoS), or if you prefer you can just fire it as torrent and delete everything it touches. Fun.

    Similarly, the jetbikes in the article above. Honestly they could replace all their movement rule with a single one that says “put your jetbikes anywhere you like”. That’s the effect of the rule. You travel an average of 16.5″ after firing.

    Or I guess you could have hornets. Vypers are cool and all, but why not make one with more armour and two pulsars? Should we charge more points for that? Naaah.

    • Bran D

      The Corsairs differ from the regular Eldar. Corsairs are not broken, but the book does add, as you point out, more options for regular Eldar and those can get crazy. Though we’re all used to that by now 😀

      • An_Enemy

        Corsairs aren’t broken if you take them completely out of context or you own the army.

        If you compare it to any other book in the game outside of Eldar or you actually PLAY AGAINST it then it’s clearly a broken book.

        The rules and units are a level above what most people that play 40k consider the most OP army…Craftworld Eldar.

        If they’re better than the best codex in the game maybe you should take a step back and realize you’re bringing a machine gun to a ping pong game and feeling good about it afterwards.

        Go play DE and then play corsairs. It’s a pathetic joke.

        • Bran D

          How are they broken? What can they do that makes them so amazing? They only thing I see as abusable is that they can have whole squads outfitted with Eldar Missle Launchers (and pay a lot for it) and their skimmers get spinter cannons.

          Situational powers with a worse perils chart and most of the Prince’s paths and cotorie bonuses are useless. Even the 4++ rerollable the turn you deep strike is toned down by counting your units as having gone flat out, so you can’t even shoot. They have some good units and good combos but they are not, imho, an op army.

        • J Mad

          As a person with 15k DE worth of points and been playing them for years, AND a person that plays Corsairs, Eldar. Corsairs are NOT broken, they are a Rock, Paper, Scissors army, you either beat them or they beat you.

          • Ciaphas Cain

            I think he’s thinking of the 5th ed era IA:11 1st ed list which was pretty bent.

            Or he just hates new and different things.

        • deris87

          “The rules and units are a level above what most people that play 40k consider the most OP army…Craftworld Eldar.”

          I don’t see how you come to that conclusion. Corsairs are definitely still a powerful army, but the most egregious stuff from CWE is stripped out. Wraithknights are gone, Wraithguard are gone, Warp Spiders are gone, all of the crazy Formations are gone. The Hornet and the Warp Hunter are broken, but there’s nothing else most people would even bat an eye at.

          • krisbrowne42

            I think he’s badly pushing together the Pale Courts craftworld updates in DoM and the Corsair army part of the book.

      • Mandragola

        I’m afraid I do think that corsairs are broken. The units in the book are broken and the formations (which allow you only to pick the broken units) are broken.

        • Bran D

          There is only one formation for Corsairs and you can spam as much as any other army, even less because of certain restrictions… Like being restricted to only one unit of Warp Hunters and only having 1 heavy support slot for example.

          The Eldar part, not the Corsairs, is where you are getting the formations that allow you to make your own Craftworld force, which do allow for some crazy combos.

          • “only one unit of Warp Hunters” Eldar Privilege LULZ

          • Mandragola

            Ok, to be fair the formation isn’t the problem – it’s the units that make up the army.

            I played recently against a guy with a CAD of corsairs, so he had a Lynx, a unit of JSJ guys with dark lances and a squadron of two warp hunters. For troops he had 3 units of uberscatterbikes, one of which was joined by the prince. Hornets and wasps in fast attack.

            Great game. Really fun how his warp hunters can just delete units at will, moving 12″ and putting down torrent D.

        • …which is kinda the very definition of “broken”. Good golly Eldar Privilege makes me laugh (sadly) every time.

    • I swear they really should have a policy against smoking crack before writing rules.

  • Ebsolom

    Thank you for this article. It’s a good “heads up” on the Corsairs, luckily I haven’t encountered any yet : ) Those are some nicely painted Eldar by the way.

  • Zyekian

    Loved this article, great tactics and writing.