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40K RETRO: Meet The Original 1988 Eldar Army List

4 Minute Read
Feb 19 2019

With the Aeldari Codex on the way we figured now was the time to go back to the Original Eldar Pirates of the Rogue Trader era!

Today we turn the clock back over 30 years and go back to the early days of the game.  Before Aspect Warriors, and the Eldar Path, there were Space Elves. These earliest incarnation of the Eldar arrived in Rogue Trader and got their first army list in Chapter Approved: Book of the Astronomicon from 1988.

The initial Eldritch Raiders army list came in Chapter Approved and laid down the foundation for the fast, fickle thieving Elves. You know, the same ones we all know and love to this day…sort of. This is the proto-list that would one day split into bth Craftworld and Dark Eldar and you can see early outlines of them laid down in it. Let’s dive in.

The List

We start off with the history of Yriel’s Eldritch Raiders terrorizing Kolarne system. Even from these early days we get the strict caste and levels of aristocracy within the Eldar alongside the serpent theme and emphasis on cunning and cruelty. We get the exotic mercenary vibe set up here and even talk of some Tyrannic creatures pressed into service of the Eldar. Note that one could consider that original Imperator model to be the first incarnation of Yriel himself or at least one of his senior officers.  Also note that Imperator could be up to Level 4 Psyker!

Page two has the support characters and it from here we get a bunch of guys with flight packs (proto Swooping Hawks vibe) and power swords and psychic abilities all around.

Page 3 has the core squads – and you can see some things that feel like proto-Guardians in their setup. Of course let’s all sit back and appreciate the AWESOME that is mercenary Zoat Terror Squads – with lots of Melta weapons to go around.  After that we get Jetbikers on stolen Imperial jetbikes who would one day evolve into Windriders/Reavers in later editions.


Page 4 is where more of the thievery comes in with stolen Imperial speeders adding to the Eldar Dreadnoughts and deodorant anti-grav tanks.

Oh yeah!


Now we get to the original metal Space Elves from way back in the day. We see both the more familiar Shuriken Catapult on Cmdr. Swifteye and the older “crossbow” style design on the color image. 40K still had banner bearers and musicians back in the day and Kelos Longfinger is always popular with his battleharp. On the rare occasions these minis still see the battlefield. They are commonly used as Defenders and Storm Guardians. Down below are the original War Walker and Dreadnought.



There is also some fantastic late 80s artwork in here. Take a look at this 80s classic:

Do you have any fond memories of the Rogue Trader Eldar Pirate list or still have some of these minis? Let us know.

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