Here we are, at the end of my formal review of the Doom of Mymeara version 2, covering the part I was the most excited about: the Eldar Corsair army list. Forge World has a tendency to make some really flavorful army lists, often not overly powerful, but dripping with flavor. And as an unabashed Eldar Corsair fan, I was interested to see what they would do with it.
The previous edition of the Eldar Corsair list was woefully out of date. The 6th Edition Eldar Codex could safely declare “Anything you can do, I can do better…” (hence why my Eldar army is built off the main Codex), and when we got around to the 7th Edition of 40K, it wasn’t just obsolete, it was incoherent.
So where do we stand, now that the army is updated?
The short answer: Until this army list too is driven to obsolescence by the codex release schedule, in a pretty good place.
The Corsair Fleet Raiding Company
Rather than just being a collection of formations or the like, the Corsairs get their very own detachment, which is the only one they’re allowed to use outside a standard CAD. And it’s a cool detachment at that.
There is a single “Command Crew”, made up of 1 mandatory and 1 optional HQ, and an optional Elites and Lord of War choice.
The rest of the army is made up of “Cotories” – one primary, and up to three optional. Each of these are essentially a “mini Force Org chart”, with an HQ, 1 mandatory and 2 optional Troops, 2 optional Elites and Fast Attack, and a single optional Heavy Support.
Each cotorie may specialize, giving themselves a unique bit of special rules, in addition to the usual army wide Objective Secured. These are:
- Titan Breakers: Infantry and Jetbikes get Preferred Enemy (Tanks & Walkers).
- Head Takers: The entire unit may re-roll To Wound rolls of 1 during the assault phase as long as at least one model is in a challenge.
- Vault Breachers: Infantry and Jetbikes get dissonance breach charges for free (discussed below) – basically, they do bad things to buildings.
- Sky Burners: Re-roll failed reserve rolls, and only scatter on d6 from Deep Strike.
- Night Hunters (not to be confused with Konrad Curze…): All Infantry and Jetbikes have Night Vision, and get Preferred Enemy (Everything) while Night Fighting. Have I mentioned how much I like the concept of Preferred Enemy (Everything)?
- Hate Bringers: Select one enemy unit. Infantry and Jetbikes get Hatred (That Unit), and if you kill them, you get +1 VP as a Secondary Objective.
Nice – some of these are super-powerful, some of them (cough Vault Breachers cough) are super situational, but they all add a bit of fun. But the best is yet to come. The entire detachment has the Internal Politics special rule, to represent that it’s made up entirely of self-interested bastards who may very well stab you in the back and/or sell you out. Coteries treat each other (but not the command crew – gotta respect the Captain) as Allies of Convenience. That’s just awesomely flavorful.
Speaking of allies, this army treats Eldar and Dark Eldar as Battle Brothers, and Eldar, Dark Eldar and Harlequins treat them as Battle Brothers. Necrons, Daemons and Tyranids are off the table, and everyone else are Desperate Allies. Note here the curious omission of Harlequins as being treated as battle brothers. That’s the first time I’ve ever encountered an asymmetrical allies matrix, and I’m a little skeptical that it’s actually genuine.
Army Wide Special Rules
As with most armies, there are a slew of army wide special rules. The first is Reckless Abandon – a unit with this special rule that fires at an enemy within 12″ may immediately move 6″ after the shots are resolved (d6+6″ for Jet Pack or Jetbike units) as long as it doesn’t move them into combat, within 1″ of an enemy, or closer to the unit they fired at. Note this does not say during the shooting phase. Essentially, Corsairs can fire on a unit, then scoot backwards, potentially out of assault range, as the result of Overwatch. Expect this army to be extremely slippery.
Dancing on the Blade’s Edge is the second rule, and again, is super-characterful. Corsair units often have two Ld values, one high and one low, like 8/5. The first is the value you use for Morale, leadership tests, pinning checks, etc. These are Eldar, they’re still pretty damned competent. The second is used for Regroup tests – essentially, when a Corsair unit has decided their greedy little guts have had enough and start to hoof it, they’re going to keep hoofing it. This kind of intense self-preservation instinct has also been used to justify why Chaos Space Marines don’t have And They Shall Know No Fear, and I’d love to see this mechanic make it to the main game.
Finally, Wild Psyker represents the fact that Corsair Psyker units are operating without the usual safety measures a Craftworlder will put in place, and as such are doing stupidly dangerous things. They roll on a special table, which I won’t detail out fully, but it’s a brutal table. There is no “Good” result. At best, you’re committed to rolling more Perils of the Warp tests when you roll any doubles next time (You’re on Slaanesh’s radar now), and at worst…there’s now an NPC Daemon on the board being controlled by your opponent.
I love these special rules, a lot. They give the army tons of feel, and while powerful, they don’t feel crippling.
The army also gets some new pirate-themed wargear, which again, I won’t fully detail, but will touch on a few high-points. There’s Brace of Pistols, which does what it says on the tin, and counts a unit as being armed with a pair each of Shuriken and Splinter pistols which can be used in any combination. Because of course they’d have pistols coming out of everywhere.
The Dissonance Breach Charges, as mentioned above, do horrid things to vehicles that haven’t or can’t move, or buildings. Str 2 and AP3, they roll 3D6 for Armor Pen, and if they do get a 6 for an armor pen score, the charge becomes Str 3 AP2.
They’ve got some weapons with the same type of Vibro rule as the Eldar, and a one-use Balelight, which is essentially a multi-barreled pistol that fires everything at once, doing 3D3 S3 AP6 shots with Blind and Rending. The complaint about swanky pistols in 40K is that you only get one shot off with them – this one gives you at least 3, and up to 9. The Void Sabre is a neat little weapon, +1S and AP3 at initiative with Rending, and it’s got great fluff – it’s made from pillaged or stolen Wraithbone, and the Craftworlders have strong opinions on those who carry them.
The last big one is the Kinetic Shroud, which will appear as an option for many vehicles. Essentially, it works much the same way the old Eldar holofields worked – move 6″ or more in the movement phase, and gain a 5++ save vs. shooting. If you move Flat Out or Run the maximum allowed distance, this improves to a 4++, and if you Deep Strike, it’s a 4++ with re-rolls vs. shooting. For an army pushing mobility, that’s pretty nice, as it gives you an alternative to Jink, albeit one that’s slightly less reliable. Hilariously, the designers note that you actually have to credibly move the distance. No keeping your tank in place, and claiming it moved 3″ backwards, and 3″ forwards into the same bit of cover, or that you drove around in a circle. You have to actually be moving. As someone who has absolutely done exactly that, it’s a good thing they took it away.
I’m not going to go into huge detail about the units that the Corsairs share with Eldar or Dark Eldar, save for mentioning any differences. The corsairs do have a fair number of unique units worth discussing.
Corsair Prince: A Corsair army must take one, and only one, Prince, who must always be your Warlord. Armies with multiple Corsair detachments must pick one to to be the warlord, and all other detachments with a Prince treat different Corsair detachments as Desperate Allies. These guys really don’t trust each other.
Equipped with a standard Autarch-esq statline, the Corsair Prince has one major difference – S4. This is a pretty big deal – that moves the standard to wound roll vs. the most common units in the game (MEQs) to 4+, you can glance the rear arc of vulnerable vehicles, etc. Slightly more expensive than an Autarch, they come with a Brace of Pistols, a 4+ save, Plasma and Defensive Grenades. They also have Force of Will which lets units that can draw line of site within 12″ re-roll their failed Regroup tests, somewhat mitigating the lower leadership scores. They also come with a slew of options – they can be a Psyker (taking Divination or Telekinesis), take almost every standard weapon an Eldar or Dark Eldar character can get (Venom blades, Blast pistols, etc.) as well as special Corsair weapons, a jetbike…the list goes on.
Beyond this, Prince may take a slew of specialization options that further add flavor, and impact both them and the army as a whole. These include:
- Access to Corsair combat drugs (Jet bike, Jet pack and Infantry units can join in the narcotic fun for +15 points per unit)
- Getting a Multiphase Key Generator (other Characters can buy them for +25 points), which gives them Deep Strike, and access to some serious Eldar Webway Shenanigans, in the form of firing the Generator and placing a Webway marker within 3″. Friendly non-vehicle models can choose to enter from within 3″ of the marker as if they were Deep Striking (but without Scatter or Mishap), and you can retreat to within 3″ of the marker to enter ongoing reserves at the end of the movement phase. So much potential for hijinks. This is restricted to the same detachment, so it’s not as just “Easy Mode Allies” as the Dark Eldar Webway Portal, but there’s potential for heaps of reserves manipulation here.
- Access to one Artifact from the Eldar, Dark Eldar or Harlequins codex. Shard of Anaris (combined with Head Takers) for some serious challenge chops, The Storied Sword for just overall combat utility, or a number of other tempting combinations. Any other character can Master-craft a weapon for +10 points.
- Rampage for the Prince, and Rage for Corsairs with Jetbike, Infantry or Jet Pack Infantry unit types at no cost. However, these units must declare a charge if an enemy unit is within 8″, choosing the target if they have a couple choices. This also appears to break the “Charge what you shoot at” general rule – if the unit fires at an enemy outside 8″, they still have to declare a charge.
- It Will Not Die and Feel No Pain (5+), but if It Will Not Die fails, the Prince and their unit has to take a Pinning check. Other Characters in the detachment can take Feel No Pain for +10 points.
- An additional psychic level (up to a max of three, though I haven’t figured out a way to get to three yet), and you have to take at least one power from Malefic Daemonology. All other models with Wild Psyker may also take Malefic Daemonology. There’s also a slight adjustment to the Perils of the Warp table – on a roll of 6, you must always attempt to manifest a Warp Charge 2+ Malefic Daemonology power first. Eldar Summoning is back baby! Back and super-dangerous.
Lots of really fun, really characterful options. The Multiphase Key Generator feels like the most powerful – I’m not convinced that the Corsairs have enough Psychic oomph to move Malefic summoning from “A Fun Little Bit of Casting” to a genuine summoning engine force. But all of them are quite strong, and would make for a nice customization twist to a force.
Corsair Void Dreamer: A 0-1 Psyker, the Void Dreamer is better than a Farseer in close combat, enjoying I6 and two attacks, along with grenades, a Brace of Pistols, and access to the same huge array of weapons the Prince gets, as well as the ability to buy up to two more Mastery levels. Importantly, besides the Divination and Telekinesis disciplines, you get access to a new, custom discipline: Aethermancy.
The Aethermancy table has been posted online elsewhere, but in brief, it’s a fairly powerful collection of Warp Charge 1 and 2 powers with an emphasis on mobility. Some of the highlights are:
- Webway Breach, which targets a friendly unit within 12″ of the Void Dreamer, and as long as they aren’t locked in Close Combat, they can be returned to Ongoing Reserves.
- Path-ward (the Primaris), which allows you to count all dice rolled for Run, Difficult Terrain, Charge, Thust, Hit and Run or Reckless Abandon to be a 6 (if d6) or 3 (if d3).
- Warp Tunnel: A weird, somewhat dangerous but also pretty flexible redeployment spell like Gate of Infinity.
- Webway Maze, which targets an enemy unit within 12″ and places them in ongoing reserves. It cannot target super-heavies, and Eldar factions of all types get +1 to Deny the Witch. But that big scary beatstick unit about to crash into your lines? Gone now. It’s a three charge power, so it’ll be hard to cast, especially without a miscast, but if it does, that’s potentially profoundly powerful. Remember, in many scenarios, units in Ongoing Reserves are counted as casualties for scoring, so toward the end of the game, that’s a powerful “Go Big or Go Home” scoring attempt spell.
Corsair Baron: The on-the-cheap combat character option that I’d rather like for my Eldar, the Baron is 50 pts. for a WS/BS 5 model with 2W and 2A, who can be mounted on a jetbike as needed, and again, can be given an avalanche of potential weapons, as well as potentially 1 Psychic Mastery Level. They have to be escorted – if using the Corsair’s FOC, they must be assigned to a friendly Troops or Elites unit with the Eldar Corsair’s army, and may not leave it during play (they have the Character type, not the Independent Character), but you can’t pack more than one in a unit. Essentially, this is a little bit like a super-Exarch you can drop into any squad, which is a neat idea.
Corsair Reaver Band: This is kind of the basic troop template for future Corsairs, so they’ll be discussed in a little bit of detail. At 10 points a model for a unit between 5 and 20, they’re pretty cheap, coming with a pretty standard stat-line of WS 4, BS 4, S 3, T 3, I 5, A1, Ld 8/5 and a 5+ save. The “Felarch” sergeant upgrade boosts the WS, A and Ld values by one. Those hoping for a continuation of the multi-wound Exarch, sorry to disappoint.
5 points each will buy them jet packs and Heavy Mesh Armor, which respectively give them Jet Pack Infantry and a 4+ armor, and a 4+ armor save respectively. The jet pack feels like a better deal, unless you’re planning to put them in a transport – they have access to the Corsair Venom and Corsair Falcon. These, in turn, are mostly like their mainline Codex versions, save for access to a mix of Dark Eldar and Eldar weapons (for example, a Venom with a Splinter Cannon and Scatter Laser is totally a thing), Scout and access to some wargear like the Kinetic Shroud, or Corsair Void Burners, which give them Deep Strike. Keeping your options open there might be worth the slightly less impressive bang-for-your-buck with the Heavy Mesh Armor. They can also be armed with Haywire Grenades or Tanglefield Grenades, which force a targeted unit to take a Strength test or have their Initiative and WS halved.
Similarly, they have a mess of special options for every 5 models in the unit- a flamer, fusion gun, shredder or blaster. That’s a lot of options. More vexing is the option to swap out their Lasblasters with Splinter Rifles, Shuriken catapults, or a pistol and CC weapon.
The latter is an easy choice – do you want to play them like they’re assaulting? If yes, take the weapon option that gives you more attacks. But what about Lasblasters vs. Splinter Rifles vs. Shuriken Catapults? First off – don’t take the catapult. A brace of Shuriken Pistols does the same thing, with the bonus of an extra close combat weapon.
Let’s break down the performance of all three versus several opponents: A T4 3+ Save opponent (MEQ), a T4 2+ save opponent (TEQ), a T3, 5+ save opponent (GEQ) and finally a big beastie – a Monstrous Creature with T7 and a 2+ save. The distribution of wounds done are in purple (Lasblaster), blue (Splinter Rifle) and green (Two Shuriken Pistols). We’re going to assume a 12 inch range, as that’s pretty much the sweet spot for all the weapons, either because that’s their maximum range (Shuriken), or where they at least get their maximum number of shots.
Honestly, based on these results, I heavily favor the shuriken pistols, if you’re confident of getting your troops into 12″ – and I would be with Corsairs, as Reckless Abandon can help pull you out of some fires. Generally speaking, against either good save (3+ or better), or really tough opponents, the shuriken pistols’ combination of auto-wounding and potential for AP 2 outweighs Poison or more shots. Even against weaker enemies like the Guardsmen/Guardian-type units, the shuriken pistols’ higher S offsets the extra shot.
So for close in work? I’d take the Brace of Pistols and use the Shuriken option. I’d consider the Lasblasters for Corsair units you don’t intend to get very close (for example, if you’re looking for extra wounds on a heavy weapons squad you want to keep cheap), but there’s a distinct risk of being unable to do much against tough opponents. I’m not super-impressed with the Splinter Rifles. The one caveat is that that many Shuriken Pistols may be hard to model in a WYSIWYG environment. In that case, I’d take the Shuriken Catapult, which provides the same performance, albeit without the extra attack in close combat, as Shuriken Catapult bits are easy to come by.
Corsair Ghostwalker Band: As the Reavers, but with the addition of Stealth, Infiltrate and Scout, these are clearly the sneaky pirates, and they are priced accordingly at 12 pts. per model for a unit of 5-10, with the choice to swap out their Lasblaster for a Eldar longrifle for an additional point to essentially mimic a Eldar Ranger. Unlike the Rangers though, they can also take one Reaver-type special weapon per five models, letting you sneak some nastier weapons in with the sniper rifles. They can also take jet packs for 5 pts. per model, which would make them a very mobile sniper fire base, but a very spendy one.
Corsair Cloud Dancers: Eldar jetbikes, the nemesis of…well…everyone. Coming in at 20 pts. a model, slightly more expensive than their Windrider cousins, they have a very similar profile, including the 3+ save. They also come with Outflank, which is nice for striking from reserves, and they can come in units of 3-10. Interestingly, like the infantry units, they can take Tanglefield and Haywire Grenades – with that much mobility, there’s a lot of potential for a torrent of Haywire hits on a vehicle. Their Felarch can be upgraded to take a number of close-combat weapons, giving them the potential to be dangerous in combat, but with the ability for any model to exchange their twin-linked Shuriken Catapult for a Shuriken cannon, Scatter laser, Dark lance, Splinter cannon or Dissonance cannon (a S5 AP 4 24″ Heavy 1 weapon with Pinning and the potential to go up in strength), they’re probably more useful as the fragile but brutal heavy weapons platforms that they are in the Eldar army.
If your opponents are already complaining about Cloud Dancers, odds are these guys aren’t going to improve their mood.
Corsair Void Storm Band: Essentially a collection of Felarchs, this is a unit in the Trueborn/Blood Brides pattern, paying a premium 15 points per model for an extra WS and Attack, as well as an innate 4+ save. For every five models they can take the usual special weapon, and every model may take two of the following: A close combat weapon, a power weapon, a venom blade, a blast pistol, or a dissonance pistol. That’s a tough unit, but it will get expensive quickly, and you still have a turn of sitting out with a T3, 4+ save model before you can assault. I’d be careful with them, but if you want some pretty badass Corsairs to field as a unit, this is where to look.
Corsair Malevolent Band: The Corsairs other Corsairs look at and think, “Man, you’re a little angsty…”. At 15 points per model for a unit of 5-10, they have the usual stat-line, except for having 2W. Absolutely swimming in special rules, in addition to the usual Corsair ones, they have Furious Charge, Fearless, Rage, Feel No Pain (5+), and Curse of the Void, which subtracts 1 from the leadership of any Eldar-type unit within 12″, and makes them not count as scoring.
For every five models in the unit, you can take two with a power weapon, venom blade or melta bombs, and they all have a brace of pistols and a close combat weapon. Corsair jetpacks are their only mobility option, and I’d probably take them. Basically, this unit just wants to get in and stay there – an interesting concept for the usually glass cannon Eldar. As long as your opponent isn’t bringing tons of S6+ to the table, they’ll make an interesting tarpit unit. They’re a little expensive to just throw away, but at times you might find yourself having to “Feed the machine” to keep a close combat unit out of your lines, and the Malevolents will do a better job of that than most, and be potentially a genuine thread.
Corsair Wasp Squadron: As the Eldar Wasp, save that the 5++ Power Field is subbed out for the Corsair Kinetic Shroud (a better deal, as long as you keep them on the move and out of combat), and the option to take Void Burners (for Deep Strike) and a Splinter Cannons and Dark Lances in addition to the usual Craftworld options.
Corsair Vypers: Same story – Vypers, but with the ability to take some Dark Eldar weapons in either one of their weapons slots, and the Corsair vehicle equipment. Given the fragility of Vypers I’d be tempted to take a Kinetic Shroud, but at 15 points a model, it feels a bit like throwing good money after bad.
Corsair Nightwing: As with the Eldar Nightwing – without even the option to take some Dark Eldar whatnots as equipment. The Kinetic Shroud is again a bit spendy, but potentially worth it to save you from having to Jink, especially if someone is rocking ignores cover/ignores jink shooting. Nightwings will always be moving, so they’ve got at least the 5++.
Corsair Phoenix: See above.
Corsair Hornet Squadron: Eldar Hornets, but with the ability to take Splinter Cannons, and the Corsair equipment. Again, given the ability of Hornets to be darting all over the battlefield, I’d be tempted by the Kinetic Shroud. Yes, it’s expensive, but a 5++ or 4++ when you’ve Flat Out (and you can still snap-fire…) is really pretty nice. While you can take Splinter Cannons, I wouldn’t – Pulse Lasers are a criminally undercosted 5 points each, and there’s almost no circumstance I can think of where a Heavy 2 S8 AP2 gun isn’t going to sort some things out. Find the points, it’s worth it.
Corsair Balestrike Band: Corsair Devastators. Naked, they’re carrying lasblasters, but that isn’t going to last. Any model in the unit can take a Dissonance Cannon, Shuriken Cannon, Eldar Missile Launcher, Dark Lance or Splinter Cannon. At 10 points each, they’re mostly just weapons platforms with spiky space elves attached to them, but I’d actually regard them as a 15 point per model unit, as Corsair jet packs are really where it’s at. Giving them Deep Strike, more movement, and Relentless, Balestrike’s are what Dark Eldar Scourges wish they could be. You could also keep them on foot, or mount them in a Venom/Falcon, but I think where they really come into play is with the jet packs.
Corsair Lynx: Really, why am I even typing anymore. The usual swap of options. Though I should note here that the Salvo option for the Lynx pulsar is listed as 48″, not the 24″ of the Craftworld version. This also agrees with the back of the book – you could make a credible argument that the Craftworld version is in error. I’m working up an email/FAQ to Forge World.
Corsair Warp Hunters: You guessed it. Again, there’s a slight difference between the (better) Corsair and the (worse) Craftworld rules. The only other comment is that again, I’d take the Kinetic Shroud unless you’re nigh positive you can hunker in terrain. If you Jink in a Warp Hunter, you’re useless.
Corsair Night Spinner/Fire Storm/Fire Prism: Technically three entries, but the same is true for all of them. Consider Kinetic Shrouds or hiding in terrain, and go for it. Note that the Fire Storm may be a discontinued product.
Corsair Vampire Raider: Has a kinetic shroud built in, so you don’t even have to worry about it as war gear, as it replaces the holo-fields that the Craftworld version has, which is a marginally worse deal for the Vampire. But your Corsair prince would have the absolute slickest ride in one of these.
My summary of all this: This army looks fun. Not necessarily stupidly powerful, although it has some neat tricks, but really, really fun. With rules for everything from not trusting your fellow Corsairs to pick-n-mixing Dark Eldar and Eldar tech, it’s got a good feel to it, and is vastly improved from the old army.
More than that, this feels like everything the Dark Eldar should be and aren’t. Shady and duplicitous, shockingly mobile, and brimming with fragile but dangerous units, I think the Corsairs do Kabalites better than the Kabalites do. I want to play this army – really quite a bit. Expect an article in the near future about how to convert an Eldar/Dark Eldar army to a Corsair force.
My overall impressions of the book? Middling-fair Imperial units, a needed and solid, but somewhat error filled and uninspired update of the Craftworld units, and an outstanding showing on the Corsair front. I give that a solid 8/10.
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