We’ve covered the units available to the Craftworld Eldar, but the 7th Edition of 40K is well into the era of the Formation. The unit entry is only half the story, especially with the new Decurion-style detachments. In between the release of the latest Eldar codex and now, it’s been technically impossible to field most Forge World units in a Craftworld Warhost detachment.
Lets see how the Craftworld Eldar manage.
Mymeara Guardian Battlehost:
An alternative to the standard Core battlehosts, the Mymearan version drops the Vyper and Vaul’s Wrath batteries in favor of 1-3 units of Rangers, and 1-3 units of Wasp Assault Walkers or War Walkers. That’s a pretty decent swap, in my opinion. The do however lose In Our Time of Need and Vaul’s Might in exchange for two new rules, On Lonely Paths and Fortress of Discipline.
The first gives Move Through Cover to any Guardian units in the Warhost within 12″ of a unit of Rangers. A neat rule, especially if you’re using terrain-heavy tables, to ensure your Guardians don’t get tangled up. The second grants Pinning to any shots from the Warwalkers in the formation if they shoot at units already fired on by a Guardian unit. Again, not bad, but these feel slightly less powerful than their codex compatriots, but not so much more that they’re not worth taking (especially given ultra-competitive lists not so much rocking the Guardian-based formations).
Warhosts of the Pale Court:
The Mymearan Guardian Battlehost ushers in the whole concept of tinkering with the formations to adjust them to reflect new, original Craftworlds – like the ones you could enter in Variance Hammer’s fluff contest. You get to choose up to two traits from the following list, but that comes with restrictions – you’re now locked into the Pale Courts Battlehost as your Core choice. The core formation is:
- 1 Farseer
- 3 Units of Guardian Defenders
- 0 – 1 Warlock Council
Your two traits will change that composition, adding or subtracting units from it, and adding rules. The traits are:
Children of Khaine: Replace Guardian Defenders with Storm Guardians. When a Storm Guardian rolls a 6 to any hit roll in the first turn of assault, they get +1 Strength to that attack.
On Lonely Paths: As discussed above.
Crossroads of Eternity: The formation may include 0-1 Harlequin Troupe and/or 0-1 Corsair Reaver band (discussed in the next post), which are treated as having the Eldar faction. That’s potentially a very fun option – Corsair Reavers are a flexible choice, and Harlequins are as an army not splendid, but splashed in as a single unit, potentially quite potent as a close combat unit.
Disciples of Vaul: Add 1-3 Vault’s Wrath Support Batteries (handy for those who purchased those to pay the Codex formation tax…). Guardian Defender squads pay their standard points cost for a Heavy Weapons platform but can take them at 1 per 5 Guardians, instead of 1 per 10. For a Guardian/Footdar fire base, that’s a significant increase in firepower. It’ll get spendy if you’re paying for Bright Lances or Eldar Missile Launchers though.
Graveyard of Dreams: You must include three Wraithblade units, and the Guardians switch to 0-3 units. The Wraithblades also get Crusader.
Tomb-ship of Fallen Heroes: The Battlehost must replace the Farseer with a Spirit Seer or Wraithseer, and may include 0-1 Wraithhost. If a Wraithlord or Wraithseer is the Warlord, you get to roll 2 dice for the warlord trait and choose which one they want.
By their powers combined – all Wraith troops. An all Wraith HQ is coming up. Which means those of you who want a pure-Ghost troops army in the style of Iyanden. It’s Fully Legal Now. Well played Forge World. Well played.
Aspect Lord-shrine: The formation must include three Aspect Warriors from the same Aspect, and can drop the Guardians. You can’t take Dire Avenger Shrine formations unless that’s also what you pick as your Aspect. This one…this one feels dangerous. Several major tournaments have been carried by Aspect-heavy armies, and this pretty much eliminates any non-Aspect tax in an entire army. That’s going to be a thing.
Fortress of Discipline: As discussed above.
Swift to Anger: The Battlehost must include 1-3 unit of Vyper Jetbikes or a single unit of Hornets. These units gain the Outflank special rule, and may re-roll failed reserves.
Swift to Anger is actually an interesting one for me – it’s probably the easiest way to model my Corsairs nee Craftworlders as an army. And Hornets as core choices. Given how nicely priced Hornets are, that’s pretty sweet, as is the reserve re-roll, though they already have Outflank via Scout.
Halls of Martial Splendour: The Battlehost must replace the Farseer with an Autarch, and this Autarch may re-roll any missed To Hit rolls in a Challenge. Combined with the Shard of Anaris, that’s some seriously dangerous Challenge potential to anything not laden down with invulnerable saves.
The Strong Stand Alone: The Battlehost can take a single Night Spinner, Fire Prism, or Warp Hunter. In exchange, there can be no other detachments taken with any of the Eldar factions, except more Warhosts with an identical configuration. Interesting, perhaps, for spamming lots of Grav Tanks, or oddly enough for splashing some heavy Eldar into a non-Eldar force.
Taken as a whole, these don’t seem super-restrictive, but some do seem primed for abuse. An army taking Aspect Lord-shrine and Swift To Anger is essentially concentrating a ton of really excellent units into a Core Choice and pairing it with the ability to take even more outside the core detachment. That feels very, very powerful, and generally speaking, these Detachment rules are quite lean in terms of unit taxes. This is, honestly, a little bit of what I’ve come to expect from Forge World – lots of fluffy, fun, narrative choices, combined with a few combos that make you go “Holy shit…”
It’s basically Harvey Dent, but for Casual and Competitive play.
So that’s the biggest change to the Eldar formations – a new pick-n-mix Warhost core choice. But there’s also a ton of new formations to allow other Forge World units to be used in Warhosts. My homebrew patch for this is here, but clearly, this supersedes that.
Lord of the Undying Host: A ghost-troop HQ choice, unlocking the full potential of an all Wraith army. Basically, 1 Wraithseer plus 1-3 units of Wraithblades. As with the Tomb-ship of Fallen Heroes, if chosen as your Warlord, the Wraithseer rolls two dice for their trait and picks the one they want. Additionally, the Wraithblades are Bound to Serve, and re-roll 1’s the turn they charge into a combat involving the Wraithseer.
That’s it for HQ choices, and really, what more do we need? Onto Auxillary choices!
Shadow Spectres Shrine: Like a Dire Avenger shrine, this is 3 units of Shadow Spectres, only one of which may have an Exarch. There’s no +1 BS bonus or anything, but instead they get an extra d6 for thrust moves and choose the highest, can re-roll all failed Morale, Pinning and Fear tests, and if within 12″ of an Exarch, all enemy models must re-roll successful fear tests (recall that the Shadow Spectres are already doing nasty things to Ld). This formation has yet more potential for a psychology-based army pulling from Dark Eldar and Harlequins as well, but it’s unfortunate that you can just take them in a standard Aspect Host, as three units is a big commitment to Shadow Spectres.
Khaine’s Hawks Squadron: Two or three Eldar Nightwings in a formation with identical upgrades. Cheaper than the Crimson Death formation, they get a nice little boost to their anti-air firepower by being able to choose one weapon to have Ignores Cover thanks to the Aerial Predators special rule when targeting a zooming flier, and with Orbital Interceptors, if they’re in reserve when an enemy flier comes on from reserves, they may re-roll their own reserve rolls to come it. Pouncing on enemy fliers is one of the great joys of running Eldar fliers, and this will help a lot, especially if you’re not running an Autarch.
Fires of the Phoenix: Two (and only two) identically equipped Phoenix fliers, they pick up the Flaming Pyre special rule, which results in re-rolling failed To-Hit rolls of 1 (which is all they’re missing on anyway if attacking a ground target…) and To-Wound rolls of 1 when shooting at a non-Flyer unit. Note it does not say anything about Flying Monstrous Creatures.
It would be nice, for a unit as pricey as the Phoenix, there was also an Engines of Vaul style 0-1 entry with no special rules, but that’s clearly not in the cards. The minimum cost of the formation is 410 points, and very possibly 450+ points. That’s…really expensive.
Fist of Vaul: That theme of formations of multiple expensive units continues, this time in the form of a squadron of two or three, identically equipped Warp Hunters. This squadron can give up their individual shooting attacks and instead make a single “Warp Breach” attack.
That’s a 72″, Strength D, AP2 Ordinance 1, Twin-linked shot, that’s either a Large Blast (2 tanks) or a Massive Blast (3 tanks).
While this naturally won’t work if they’re snap firing, as a first-turn alpha strike? Or coming in from reserve? Holy shit. That’s a really nasty shot for 370 points (at minimum) that can then be spread into lots of little “sorta D” shots when needed. And keep in mind that outside 36″ range, the Warp Hunters aren’t actually giving up anything in order to fire the heavy hit. Just keep them in cover so they don’t have to Jink.
Hornet Swarm: The Warhost version of a Fast Attack choice Hornet Squadron, the Swarm requires 3 to 6 Hornets that form a squadron – again, with the same upgrades. They get Swift Assault, which lets them fire at full BS on the turn they arrive from Reserves when they Jink, and Death Knell, which put the roll required to come into Reserves as 2+ if they controlling player achieved at least one Primary or Secondary objective in the previous turn.
Combined with the Hornet-based Core choice, you can basically take All The Hornets. I wouldn’t be surprised to see something like that in the future. Though honestly, three Hornets often feels like overkill – six Hornets feels like against most things a bit like sand-blasting a cracker.
Wasp Phalanx: A formation of 3-6 Wasp Assault Walkers, they get Cloud Breakers, which allows them to re-roll their 5++ save, and gives their shooting attacks twin-linked and Pinning. That’s a good way to get up in someone’s face with a ton of firepower, and I’ve found that 5++ to be remarkably durable – re-rolling just makes it better. That much coming down via Deep Strike is probably enough to start turning a flank, blow someone off an objective, or seriously blunt an offensive. And unlike some of the larger formations, a small three-Walker unit is pretty much the natural way to take Wasps anyway.
We now turn to a new concept, the “Support Choice”. This is a 0-1 per Core choice formation, rather than the 0-12 per Core choice of the Auxiliary choices. This is, presumably, to prevent things like the Wraith-Constructs spam that results in bucketloads of Wraithknights.
Hammer of Vaul: Either a Cobra or Scorpion, and by and large, this does what it says on the tin. Big gun shows up, kills things dead. If it’s destroyed, the opposing player gets +1 VP as a secondary objective, and all models from the same army within 6″ of any part of the vehicle re-roll failed Regroup saves.
Skyhunters Squadron: The 1-3 Lynx tanks you could take as Heavy Support in a standard CAD force, these count as a squadron (remember what I said about overkill? Yeah…), and gets On Wings of Flame, granting them a 4+ cover save the turn they arrive from Deep Strike. Nice, but locking them into a squadron makes this feel super-limited, and more like an Apocalypse formation than anything you’re apt to see on a standard tabletop. Again, it would have been nice to have the means to splash in a single Lynx without being forced to CAD.
Skyreaver Raiding Echelon: A throwback to an older Apocalypse formation, this is a Vampire Raider, an Autarch, 1+ Storm Guardian or Guardian Defender units, and 1 Vaul’s Wrath Battery. This formation does give the Vampire Raider the Assault Vehicle rule, which is cool. But the troops inside are, at best, Storm Guardians. So, you know, better than nothing, and that’s actually a pretty large number of power weapon attacks if you kit them out, but they’re still Storm Guardians.
The artillery is taken care of by the Troop Bay Refit special rule, which makes each crew member take up one transport slot, and the gun itself take up three, for a total of 5. With the Autarch putting that at 6, that’s either 24 or 14 Guardians depending on your weapon loadout, at maximum (less if you add more artillery to the battery). That’s kind of an awkward number, but at best that’s three units of the minimum 8, which is 6 power weapons, 6 fusion blasters or flamers, plus whatever the Autarch is carrying. But really, this is a “Do you think it sounds badass to drop most of an army out the back of a huge Eldar flier?”
If yes, take this formation. If not, take a bunch of troops on the ground, and fly your Vampire around shooting D shots at people. There really isn’t a wrong choice here.
Wraith Titans: The Apocalypse Formation. 1 Eldar Revenant or Phantom Titan, plus 0-2 Wraith Knights. The Wraith Knights have the Close Support rule, which means that if the Wraith Knight is within 6″, any unit that charges the Titan is charging the Wraith Knight if it’s no further away.
We could talk about this formation, but lets face it – if you’re using one or two Wraith Knights as glorified bouncers for your Revenant or Phantom, we’re in the part of the game where the rules start to break down anyway.
But seriously, the image of a Sword-and-Board Wraith Knight putting itself in the way of the oncoming rush of an Imperial Knight or Titan is pretty damned cool when it comes down to it.
And that’s all the formations. Most are solid, but more consistently than the new Warhost rules, these seem a little restrictive in terms of the number of units you have to take. The ones that really stand out to me are the Hornet and War Walker formations, as they fit rather naturally in with the way those units are played, and the Warp Hunter formation, for just jaw-dropping alpha strike potential, even if it will crumble pretty quickly if your opponent can get fire on one or more of the tanks.
For better or worse, fitting the new formations in just by saying “…or a Warp Hunter” to the Engines of Vaul formation would probably have been easier, but wouldn’t have added a whole lot of flavor. These formations definitely have that, in spades, but they do force a lot of points to be spent – perhaps making up for the utter lack of unit taxes in the new Core choice. I’d expect several of them to be harvested for competitive play, and the rest to be the domain of fluff players – but I think either group of players will be satisfied with their choices.
Next time? The Corsairs.
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