All across the galaxy the brutal mon-kei battle against themselves in a riot of power armor on the battlefields. As the scribes of the Imperium push out new codexes with updated wargear, units, and tactics the light of the Eldar race grows a bit dimmer with each new book…
…but fear not my brothers and sisters of the stars, I have cast the runes of fate and communed with the wraith spirits, our time of return is coming soon, just a bit more patience… Farseer Fritz
So what is the current state of the Eldar race as 40K 5th edition begins to draw to a close? Unfortunately the space elves have not fared well over the course of 5th edition, with many of our exclusive abilities and units being usurped by the various Space Marine codexes- from our aspect warrior specializations to psychic powers.
That said, all is not lost! You could shelve your army or put off starting one, OR you could use the hallmarks of our race to your advantage and continue to push the fight forward till we get that new codex!
Known for my Saim-Hann and Harlequins I want to share some of the points to consider in your own army based on what I have learned playing them over the course of this edition, while sticking to my beloved armies…
Eldar as a whole have always been an elite and rather unforgiving army. Fragile and expensive units mean we have always been outnumbered and any mistakes on the part of your farseer or autarch were paid in blood.
While there is a time to hang back and wait till turn five, there is just as many times now where you have to push forward and shift the momentum of the game. Against certain armies like Grey Knight Purifier and henchman spam and gunline ‘Wolves the game is won or lost on your first turn actions.
As you and your opponent are pulling out your models ask yourself if you can take a round of their shooting even with mediocre dice rolling on their part.
If there is any hesitation then it is time to be bold, deploy as far forward as you can, take that first turn or gamble on the seize and come out star cannons blazing! With what we have to work with in the book it is easy to fall back on a defensive or hit and run nature, but one has to push back against that what needed.
While I don’t want to turn this into a psychology article it is an important point to mention, that many Eldar players are vastly underestimated by their opponents- a potent weapon if given the opportunity. Eldar seem to be taking on the reputation of “Necrons” in that they are a joke and just can’t win vs. a bad boy power armor army. Perhaps, but operator error is an important factor. If your opponent already thinks the game is in the bag and they are tallying up their victory points to hand in, go all out, make them flinch and press the advantage.
At this point in the game farseers are still holding their own very well thanks to an unexpected piece of wargear that was little seen in the early days of 5th edition- runes of warding. Since every marine codex can now bring a psyker that is actually decent on the table forcing tests on 3D6 is a great passive options- especially against armies like Grey Knights where their psychic powers are the cornerstone of leveraging their insane power.
But this is only half the picture with leveraging them.
Eldar used to be a very shooty army, perhaps second only to Tau, but even that has shifted. Sure we have a lot of S6 shots in our shuriken cannons and scatter lasers, but the numbers just aren’t there to deal with all the armor on the table and the majority of it is not twin linked like marines- and to make matters worse most of our vehicles only hit on a 4+ despite our command of technology.
Farseers are the way around this- notice I said plural.
The guide psychic power is our “twin linked” making sure those shots at least hit their targets before surrendering to the mercy of the dice. In this respect two farseer are now mandatory in your Eldar list. Fortunately most tournaments are now at 2K+ in points so the premium you pay still leaves you with enough points left over for the rest of your warhost.
In this capacity I often use both Eldrad and a generic seer- redeploy powers aside, this gives me three uses of guide, followed by two uses of fortune.
What about doom?
Doom used to be the staple of Eldar units boosting the killing power of their small model counts, but ask yourself based on your local gaming area if you still need it. Typically my Eldar only face small spammed units of five marines, easy pickings for massed star cannon fire or charging harlequins.
Where your seers might have played a more forward role, now they need to shift back with mass guide and throwing up runes of warding.
Beyond the strength of vehicles and the need for mobility in objective based games which are the hallmark of 5th, Eldar still have some of the fastest vehicles in the game. More than ever we need to use this speed to refuse a flank, attack a weak side, and chip away at the outer edges of Chimera parking lots. Your warhost should never be deployed in a gunline setup, concentrate in one area, and move as an entire unified force.
The speed we can generate combined with AV 12 hulls and star engines (if allowed in your gaming area depending on the interpretation of rules) open up another avenue of attack.
When was the last time an Imperial tank rammed you in a game?
When was the last time you rammed something in a game?
If you can’t shoot it, or tank shock it, ram it!
Eldar are a product of 4th edition and a very linear battlefield- I have my side, and you have yours. Many of the new codexes have changed that even if players don’t realize it or take advantage of it- but as Eldar that opens up another opportunity.
I’ve seen a resurgence of war walkers in some players lists and add them to my own from time to time. The ability to outflank and open up a new side of the battlefield buys you more time for your other units.
Walkers are especially good thanks to the range of their guns meaning that if you come in on the side you don’t want they are at least still doing something. Remember with walkers if you can’t kill something reliably you can still assault- tying up border hugging units like long fangs is huge in what it buys you: 5-7 less krak missiles coming at you a turn. If your walker positioning affords cover and fortune even better.
Without drop pods, teleport jumps, webway portals, and the like even a simple side opening up on the table buys a lot of opportunity. Even Swooping Hawks for all their flaws can create opportunity if you stop trying to kill stuff with them…
~With that my runes are growing dim and the wraith spirits are calling me back to the infinity circuit, hang fast and persevere, all is not lost yet, just a little longer… So what are best tips and tricks for holding back an ever darkening universe with Craftworld Eldar?