Goatboy here again and while personally I am playing a bit more AOS then 40k – let’s talk NEW Eldar!
I always pay attention to new releases. I like to prepare for the upcoming 8th edition changes and while I am guessing it isn’t a complete rework like some people want – the new releases should have a ton more hints on how will compete in the future dark age of 40k. With that in mind – lets delve into this release and see what might be good, bad, or just a little too weird. Personally I don’t know why Eldar needed so much more love beyond just some things to reign some of their power in. But heck I could have said the same thing about the Magnus/Daemon release as well.
First – let’s look at what this book gives us at the top of the army. We have 2 different detachments that allow us to build new and unique Eldar armies. One is an Alliance like build that throws a ton of the different Eldar Races units into one huge detachment. If you take your army this way you get a new “faction” rule called Strength From Death and lose Ancient Doom, Power from Pain, or Battle Focus depending on what Faction you initially came from. You also happen to lose Objective Secured as well and that is most likely the biggest lose for this faction especially when you consider a lot of Eldar games came down to fast Jetbikes getting on an objective and taking it from you. Still the Strength from Death is pretty powerful as it gives you the ability to Soulburst when a unit with 7″ (sometimes 14″ depending on the formation) dies. This is both friendly and not friendly so it looks like it can combo out pretty well depending on how you stack your turns. It also is only allowed once per unit (Again it seems a formation might change this up a bit).
Soulburst has 3 different options you can use. First is to allow you to move again as if it were your movement phase. This is pretty strong and a good replacement for Battle Focus as you can murder someone with Shruiken fire and then “move” away. The second option you can use is to shoot again as if it were your shooting phase again. This is pretty interesting too as you can easily chain up some double shot D options and maybe completely murder a death star with multiple flamers if you happen to kill a Character or two within the unit. The final option is to allow you to make a charge move. This happens at the end of the current initiative step (helps clear up some issues with assaults) and then allows you to continue through the steps. Of course this means you want to ensure your fastest guy is hitting first so I don’t suspect this one will be used during most assault steps and instead something that feels more cute then worth wile. Still I can think of some deep striking turns where a unit comes in, shoots up a unit and then their friendly assaulting unit gets to make a charge move with say – I don’t know Wraith Blades.
Overall Soulburst seems pretty good but I think the “taxes” of losing some abilities and Objective Secured will end up making this option not nearly as good as people want it to be. People forget how a lot of games now are defined by how much extra free stuff you get mixed with massed MSU objective secured options to win you the game. Sure you can shoot someone to death but at the end of the game it is that dang free Rhino or bleeding fast Jetbike that leaves you with a loss most of the time.
From there the other big thing from Soulburst is that they are basically bubble effects that can hit multiple units. AOS has a ton of these effects and it seems to be a big thing GW is pushing in the upcoming set of rules. I like this as it really forces you to use all your army to ensure you are within range and makes movement much more important. This is one of the things I really like about AOS and I hope we see a return of movement like this in 40k.
The Aeldari Monster Detachment
From there the huge Alliance detachment does do wonders for those Harlequin players. Now you can easily get a ton of Shadowseers, Farseers, Archons, and the like into one big fat list. The Shadowseers seem to benefit a lot as most players wanted some kind of options that was you just having to take a ton of weird units in order to get those tricky spell casters. Beyond that the only missing things from this list is Haemonculus units as the rumored chatter on the book is that those guys do not like the idea of “dying” to get closer to this new god. Some people are pretty excited but again I don’t know how good this detachment will truly be as you do lose a lot that is currently allowing you to win your 40k games. Also this Detachment doesn’t have any of those neat FW goodies you see in most lists – the Jump Around Wraith Knight and even the crazy up-gradable princes.
There is a new psychic discipline as well. It seems ok – with powers along the lines of the later releases (Tzeentch, Thousand Sons, new CSM powers etc). Their are two options to grant Soulburst actions but I think they are too combo heavy to really be worth it. The new 12″ shot of doom spell feels like a crazy mortal wound option. It ignores all saves so it seem pretty powerful to quickly remove something. Or at least give you a chance to really hurt a Knight. I don’t know how often these powers will be used but if Spells are getting Nerfed in the new edition they might come back. Plus the ability to combo extra Soul Bursts beyond the initial “dead” unit option could see some crazy combos.
The Ulthwe Strike Force is the real power in the Detachment. This lets you take up to 4 Elite choices out of the new Black Guard Options (All elites). They gain the ability to deep strike on the first turn, don’t scatter, and look to be extremely powerful. You get some other options like Stubborn and Preferred Enemy “Chaos dudes) all for the price of losing Objective Secured. The ability to come in through the webway, don’t scatter, and powerful options means this will be a common choice. You do need to have all 4 options filled out in the detachment to come in turn 1 with a reserve roll and again the entire unit needs to be made up of the Black Guard to get these rules. Keep those “other” factions at home. Its great they have this in the rules completely as it doesn’t need an FAQ later on as someone tries to pull apart the English and find some way to get something through the haze of competitive 40k.
The characters themselves are a mixed bag. I think the last Imperial ones seem pretty strong and while these are interesting – I feel only a few might show up. The Visarch is pretty neat – but again he doesn’t give a ton to a unit so his usage would be rather limited. Still he seems cool with a plethora of rules that make him decent in combat, but without anything extra to give a unit it will be a heck of a lot harder for him to get there. There is some thoughts on using him to complete a leadership bomb style of set up with dominate, shriek, and some of the other Harlie/DE options to bring a units leadership down to some insane numbers. Still I feel he needs another starting wound, invulnerable save, and a better armor save to match him to a Phoenix lord.
The Yncarne feels like the most interesting as it is set up to give out a good deal of Bubble protection in FNP and Fearless. The cheeky rule of always being in reserves and popping out when a unit dies is pretty interesting. I am not sure how good that will be – but a scary guy coming out during an opponents turn 2 would be pretty fearsome. The next turn they could assault and tear into some pesky Xenos/Imperial guys. I see the wound total of 5 gives me hope other MC’s will jump up to a starting pool of 5 wounds. I think the ability to be level 3 with psychic options is very cool and while the model is severely limited to the disciplines it can pick – it could have some goofy interactions with the 12 inch murder shot. Also eternal warrior is starting to show up on all these named characters which makes me wonder if the D might get some limited damage potential to allow for less – oops I roll a 6 wins.
Yvraine feels like an odd set up of rules. It is supposed to be more psychic, but it is again limited in its spell choices. The model has an Invulnerable save, ways to get more WC, and abilities to get more WC. Of course it kinda seems hard as it has to kill a psyker to level up – and most armies now that run psykers either has them combined into a Death Star or involved with some kind of crazy flying MC that has a ton of gifts, formation rules, or a daemonic primarch coming to take all your candy. It also feels weird that their Wound size is low when compared to the 2 new Imperial characters (The Saints 5 and Cawls big ole bootie of wounds). I am not sure where she would really fit in most armies as she doesn’t really give anything to a unit and with an AP of 3 she is just not nearly as exciting.
I didn’t get a chance to see the Relics to see if anything amazing pops out. I am sure there are a few good things in there. It does feel a bit odd as why did Eldar need anything else added to them? I do like the models a lot but most likely will pass on buying them as there isn’t any armies I plan that involve those pesky pointy earred jerks. I will be picking up the book as I am sucker for more fluff and story time as the idea of the 40k moving closer to the dreaded midnight of the dark age has me excited for the future.
~What do you think stands out most in Fracturing of Biel-Tan?