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Eldar Craftworld Rules: 17 Years and the Future

5 Minute Read
Oct 11 2017
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The Eldar Craftworlds have had rules going back 17 Years. What do they tell us about the future?

Back in 2000, during Warhammer 40,000 3rd Edition, the Craftworld Eldar codex was released.

It introduced rules and new units for the five major craftworlds:

  • Saim-Hann
  • Ulthwe
  • Biel-Tan
  • Iyanden
  • Alaitoc

We had previously been introduced to these in the 3rd Edition Eldar codex, but only in vague terms.  Now we got to see rules to reflect each Craftworld’s way of war on the tabletop, as well as a new unit for each.

Fast forward to 2003 and the Eye of Terror global campaign codex. It introduced a related but not identical army – the Ulthwe Strike Force. While the earlier Craftworld Eldar rules reflected the standing armies of Ulthwe, the Eye of Terror list represented very specialized hit and run web-way based forces used during this specific campaign.

Here is what we learned about each Craftworld:

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Saim-Hann

The Wild Raiders were all about mobility, jetbikes and vehicles.

Wild Rider Chief – a “proto Autarch” or uber-guardian jetbike rider.He was equipped for close combat and rode a jetbike. He could be accompanied by a retinue of…

Wild Rider Kinsmen – 5-10 Jetbikes with A2 and close combat weapons in addition to their jetbikes’ guns. They formed a single unit with the Chief.

Their flying vehicles and jetbikes rerolled Difficult Terrain tests and they could deploy an extra Fast Attack unit pre-game.

Ulthwe

Ulthwe the Damend has a dual theme of Seer Councils and Black Guardians.

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Black Guardians – were Guardian Defenders or Storms with a +1 to either BS, or WS. The first two compulsory TROOPS choices in your army had to be these.

Seer Council – this was the first “big mixed unit” of Warlocks and Farseers available to the Eldar. It kicked out a crazy amount of psychic power and had an new ability the Warlocks could use to extend the range of the Farseer’s powers. These was one of the Meta One-trick-pony armies way back in the day, as the unit has no max size…

Aspects Warriors units could not outnumber Guardians.

Ulthwe Strike Force

The Strike force was a tricky force of Infantry and light vehicles such as War Walkers and Jetbikes, led by Seer councils, Maugan Ra and the Avatar.  It half deployed on the board, and the other half arrived via a webway portal mid-game.  It was a high-risk high-reward army that could overwhelm an enemy who was caught out of position – or be crushed piecemeal by a prepared defender.

Biel-Tan

All Aspects Warriors all the time.

The Swordwind made all Aspect Warriors TROOPS and all the Guardian based units ELITES.

Court of the Young King – A squad of 5 mixed Exarchs – that became fearless while the Avatar was on the table (and he always was).

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If you loved Aspect Warriors being led by a nasty Avatar and Exarch based HQ unit – this army was for you.

Iyanden

Hello Wraith-constructs.

Wraithlords and Wraithguard became TROOPS, while all Guardians were spread out to FAST ATTACH, HEAVY, and ELITES based on their role.

Spiritseer – this unit was first introduced in codex Craftworld Eldar and let the Wraith units ignore Wraithsight tests. The unit survives to this day.

Alaitoc

I saved the best for last. Alaitoc has always been about Rangers – or, more accurately their even better versions of them:

Pathfinders – Uber Rangers who were super snipers and master of both hiding and deploying in very hard to access areas of cover.

Alaitoc Ranger Dusruption Table – this is what was infamous from 3rd edition. After deployment you rolled a d6 per unit of Rangers and Pathfinders in your army and consulted the chart. Just look at the havoc it would to to an opponent:

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The Future?

We don’t know much except that GW has multiple ways to handle translating these themes into rules for the new Eldar codex based on what we have seen so far with other 8th codexes.

They might give us the old units back. Things like Pathfinders, Black Guardians, Wild Riders and the like might return. Some of these could easily use existing minis.

There will certainly be Craftworld Doctrines – GW has already said that.

There could be Themed Relics – Relics could be invented that mimic the themes up there.

There could be Themed Strategems – A set of 5 Craftworld Strategems might also mimic the special abilities up there. We have seen similar techniques with the Space Marine and CSM chapter specific Stratagems.

I’m just hoping to drive folks crazy with an 8th Edition Alaitoc Ranger Disruption Table – but I’m thinking it’s a long shot.

~How do you think GW is going to pull it off?

 

 

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