8th Edition Codex Eldar Review: Units, Craftworld Traits, Psychic Disciplines and Sundry

Part Two of Variance Hammer’s review of Codex: Craftworlds (part one here). Here we’re going to cover the meat of the codex. I had originally intended to talk about this in two parts, the units themselves and then all the accessory bits (artifacts, Craftworld traits, the changes to Runes of Fate/Battle, etc.) but I found that the two are too intertwined, so I’m just going to hit them all at once

First, a note on why this is still a little late. I’m currently writing from a hotel room in scenic Viçosa, Brazil where I’m giving a lecture on what I actually do for a living, and my days have been fairly full. #craftworldproblems, I know.

The Biggest Change

The big, sweeping change that is both the major change to the faction from Index to Codex, and the one that will be the most impactful. Things got cheaper. A lot cheaper.

Just how much cheaper? Lets take a look.

The figure below is the distribution of points cuts, expressed as a percentage, to all the units in the codex. So something that was 100 points that is now 80 would be 20%.

While a little less than 30% of the units in the codex didn’t see their points change, there were steep cuts elsewhere, with a huge number of units getting their points cut by a fifth or more, with the most dramatic being the cut to the Vaul’s Wrath Support Battery dropping from 77 points to 30 points, a 61% reduction. While the Vibro Cannon and Shadow Weaver options got a little more expensive, this still represents a massive cut. So Eldar players should look forward to seeing their armies get bigger, be able to take more wargear, etc. Very few units got repriced in the other direction, and only one, the Warlock, was nearly as drastic a magnitude (going from 30 points to 35).

This is the same graph for Power Level:

A very similar trend. Indeed, when you look at the distribution of the ratio of Points:Power Level, things look pretty similar (and the averages are nearly identical at ~15 points per PL before equipment).
Ignoring some outliers at the bottom (Dark Reapers look like they’re only 5 points per Power Level because I haven’t included their extremely expensive weapons) there’s been a little tightening of things on the upper end, but the changes largely aren’t actually due to bringing points in line with Power Level, but indeed a recognition that there was widespread overpricing in the Index-version of the Craftworlds.

Army-wide Rules

Little has changed to the army wide rules, save for Path of Command, which weirdly is reported as if it is an army-wide rule when it’s only actually applicable to having an Autarch as one’s warlord. In addition to the re-rolls, Path of Command now also means when you spend a command point, on a 6 it’s refunded. Note this is for each Command Point. A neat power – probably not hugely impactful, but if it buys you another re-roll late game, you’re going to be happy you had it.

Specific Units

I’m not going to go through unit by unit, but rather discuss some units who I think have had interesting developments. Generally speaking, I’m also not going to talk about points discounts unless they dramatically change the role of the unit.

Farseers: We’ll talk about the Farseer’s powers a little later on, but it’s also important to note that the Farseer’s Ghosthelm got a little better. Instead of simply ignoring a mortal wound on a 5+, it does the same thing but you add 3 to your roll if it resulted from Perils of the Warp, effectively giving you a 2+ save vs. Mortal Wounds from Perils.

Autarch: I am…a bit salty about this one. The 7th Edition codex robbed a bit of creativity from my Autarch when Mantle of the Laughing God went away, and 8th…has done a number on the Autarch. All three of the Autarch options (the standard foot-Autarch, the one with Wings and the Skyrunner) have had their options vastly reduced to only reflect what is available on a currently sold Autarch model. While their fluff still says that they select a single item from their time as a Aspect Warrior, even the narrative has been designed to only describe models that exist (Wings + Mandiblasters, Bike + Laser Lance).

On a personal level, this means my beloved Bike/Banshee Mask/Reaper Launcher Autarch is now actively not an option.

Which is sad. Super-sad. And I’m far from the only person with a converted Autarch. This also has some fairly substantial game consequences – with the loss of both the Reaper Launcher and 7th Edition’s Uldanorethi Long Rifle, there’s now no viable build for a “Firebase Autarch” – all of the options are very short-ranged, with 12″ being the maximum range of any of their weapons.

Even some of the most impactful close combat options, like a Banshee Mask, are also gone. And lets be honest – at S3, T3-4, with a 3+/4++, it’s debatable that Autarchs really belong in close combat at all. Their buff bubble is a good one, it’s a little disappointing for an ancient warrior who has studied all the Aspect Paths to be effectively relegated to being a glorified aura buff.

But You Can Use the Index…

Maybe. Unlike the Space Marine Chaplain, or Rifleman Dreadnought, which don’t have codex equivalents, some of GW’s language suggests that if there is an Index entry and a Codex entry then the Codex entry overwrites the Index. Which would kill the more diverse Index-Autarchs.

Plus, I really, really dislike this as a solution. It’s the same kind of rules sprawl that people complained about in 7th, adds ambiguity, and somewhat makes a mess of everything.

Contemplating things a little more, I think for me the Autarch is where GW’s “Only if we have a model” and the relentless pace of their development have collided in a really negative way, robbing the game of some flavor, adding some really illogical elements (like why only Winged Autarchs can get Mandiblasters, and how apparently Foot Autarchs forgot Fusion Guns exist…) that cohere neither with the fluff nor with good game design, but instead only make sense if you’re looking at their retail offerings.

For such an immensely kitbashable line, that’s genuinely a pity.

Guardians: Not a change to Guardians as much as to their heavy weapons platforms. Scatter Lasers got five points cheaper and Star Cannons had their points cost cut in half, while Shuriken Cannons stayed at 10 points. This adds a little bit of viability to two weapons that were in a really awkward place compared to the Shuriken Cannon.

Dire Avengers: Between their cost and the cost of their weapon, Dire Avengers dropped in cost by 5 points/model, which I think is significant. They’re now priced in line with being “Guardians with Nicer Guns”, which is effectively their role, especially in the post-7th era where the difference between 4+ and 5+ armor isn’t as pronounced as “Get a save vs. bolters vs. don’t”.

Rangers: Rangers got a huge price drop, shedding 8 points per model. I might have preferred some sort of rule ala Scout Vehicle in the Imperial Guard codex that would have allowed a pre-game move to give the Eldar something to screen against in-your-face 9″ deployment armies, but with the cheaper cost their viable to have in larger numbers than previous, where it really hurt when a ranger died. Combined with the Alaitoc craftworld power (discussed later) they could also be actively difficult to root out for your opponents if they don’t want to close.

Howling Banshees: Their Acrobatic rule expressly lays out that they can declare and charge 15″ with their 3-inch boost. The result of a 2d6 roll is actually a pretty clean bell-curve, so this just shifts that to a minimum of 4 inches, the most common result being 10 inches, and a 15″ charge having a probability of about 2.8%. The substantial move and no Overwatch means you can potentially get them fairly deep into enemy lines without having taken heavy losses. This will, naturally, depend on the scenario, board layout, etc. but Banshee’s are fast.

Exarchs lose the triskele, another casualty of the “It has to have a model” policy, but this is, I think, less of a loss in terms of it doesn’t change the fundamental role of the Banshees.

War Walkers: Scout Vehicle entirely changed – and now doesn’t do what the identically named rule in the Imperial Guard codex does. It’s now essentially a limited-scope Deep Strike – you have to be 9″ from an enemy model and within 3″ of a battlefield edge. That’s considerably more limited, and less useful in my mind then extending out the zone of exclusion of your own battle lines ala the Imperial Guard.

Falcon: Pity the poor Falcon. Both 6th and 7th Editions (especially 6th) saw Grav Tank-heavy Eldar lists at the height of viability, and yet Falcons were nowhere to be seen. In the Index, the difference between a Falcon and a Wave Serpent was insulting – a Falcon with a Pulse Laser and a Bright Lance was 57 points more expensive than a Wave Serpent with two Bright Lances and an extra wound, not to mention the Serpent Shield and extra carrying capacity. The Falcon paid more to be inferior in basically every respect except a little flexibility (you could equip it with an anti-infantry weapon in addition to the Pulse Laser) and the ability to split fire. A…dubious premium at best.

With a 49 point reduction, the disparity is a little better. I could at least see paying 8 points for those options, plus the Pulse Laser’s slightly superior performance against light vehicles.

But the Falcon remains in an awkward place, because the fluff (and I think the Falcon as it exists in the minds of many) doesn’t match up with the game model. Consider this narrative description from the Codex:

This principle of deliverance lies behind the design of the Falcon, the primary battle tank of the Asuryani. As well as mounting a diverse array of potent weapons, it carries a small squad in its transport pod, delivering them to where their prowess is most needed and retrieving them once their mission is complete.

This is the picture I think many of us, myself included, have of the Falcon – as the primary Eldar battle tank, a formidable gunnery platform that can also carry a small squad of troops. Contrast that with the description of the Wave Serpent:

The Wave Serpent is the main troop carrier of a craftworld’s army. Protected inside its sleek hull, strike forces can be transported in safety to any part of the battlefield. The Wave Serpent’s energy field projectors generate a rippling bow wave of force at the front of the craft that disrupts incoming fire, protecting the vehicle while it makes its assault run to the front lines.

While the passage later goes on to note it’s heavy weaponry, the primary framing is as a transport craft.

The issue is the Wave Serpent is also arguably a better battle tank. It’s considerably more durable with the Serpent Shield and an extra wound, can carry weaponry as heavy as that of the Falcon (arguably heavier with the twin Bright Lances, which have less guaranteed damage but a higher top end), is potentially as flexible – a Wave Serpent with twin Aeldari Missile Launchers can comfortably shoot at basically any unit in the game, and is only a few points more than a comparably equipped Falcon. And, on top of that, it’s got a free one-use Smite.

In my mind, two options exist, both of which would need another codex revision, so don’t hold your breath. The first is to heap some special, “main battle tank”-esq rules onto the Falcon. Free wargear or special rules, an improved BS, things like that. The alternative is to stop trying to make the Falcon something it isn’t, and reframe the Eldar tanks as the Fire Prism acting as a main battle tank, while the Wave Serpent and Falcon are both heavily armed transports, with the Falcon being the stripped down, light version of the pair. While less pathologically terrible as a choice than the Index version, it’s really hard to come up with a coherent case for the Falcon as a primary battle tank.

Hemlock Wraithfighter: In case anyone was trying to use their Hemlock as a mobile buff-jet, that option has been taken away. When they take a Runes of Battle power, they get the 2nd option only, which is the one involving violence, death, and otherwise scary things. Which is appropriate.

Fire Prisms: If a Fire Prism moves at less than half of its total movement, it can fire twice. This would have been a bigger deal last expansion, when Fire Prisms essentially needed to be in cover to avoid being shut down by being forced to jink, there’s still a high likelihood that they’ll be fairly static to avoid any movement-based penalties to shooting, and if that’s the case, two shots is always better than one.

So overall, with the exception really of the Autarch, most units work the way they used to work, just for fewer points. Which is alright really – most Eldar units work like I feel like their supposed to (though I still don’t like jetbikes in this edition), it was just there weren’t enough of them. Hopefully now there will be. I think there are legacy issues that will continue to dog the Eldar – Guardians, both Storm and Defender, remain downright odd in their utility, and Shining Spears still feel overpriced.

Choosing Your Craftworld

As with all the new Codexes, the Eldar have gotten the “Pick a Craftworld, get a bonus” rule, plus the usual “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Objective Secured” if you’re battle forged. The Craftworld bonuses apply to any unit with the appropriate keyword, i.e. <Alaitoc>, and Phoenix Lords don’t count for “Everything has to be from this Craftworld” but nor do they benefit from the traits.

Let’s talk about the traits.

  • Alaitoc: Your opponent suffers -1 to hit if they’re 12″+ away
  • Biel-Tan: +1 Ld to Aspect Warriors, Reroll 1’s for Shuriken Weapons
  • Iyanden: Never lose more than 1 model to a failed Morale test, double the number of current wounds when referring to the damage table
  • Saim-Hann: Re-roll failed charges. No penalty to shooting heavy weapons while moving for Bikers (note that Vypers are bikers…)
  • Ulthwe: 6+ ignore a wound. If you already have an ability like this, you have to choose (i.e. you don’t get a 6+ then a 5+ for a Farseer trying to avoid a Mortal Wound).

Some of these are manifestly better than the others. I’d argue that Biel-Tan is at the bottom of the list – while +1 Ld is nice, generally speaking Aspect Warriors are fielded in small squads, which are less susceptible to lost Morale meaning much. And only one Aspect is defined by Shuriken weapons.

Saim-Hann is frustrating because it’s almost good, and both traits are interesting, but they pull you in different directions. Being able to use Heavy weapons without penalties on bikers opens up a sort of careful, mobile, long-range dance with jetbikes mounting Scatter Lasers and Vypers mounting heavier anti-tank/anti-heavy infantry weapons. The re-roll charges…gets you stuck in. And let me make this clear right now: Eldar jetbikes do not belong in close combat. And importantly, if you manage to get into combat, you reduce the targets for those heavy weapons.

If Biel-Tan and Saim-Hann could swap the 2nd aspects of their traits? Now we’d be talking.

Iyanden is okay. If you’re fielding a lot of expensive, multi-wound Wraith models, it’s going to be nice to not see 5 or 6 wounds worth of models vanish because you failed a Morale roll by 2. It’ll also keep the transports bringing those Wraith units to the battlefield, as well as Wraithlords and Wraithknights, operating at full effect.

I’d argue Ulthwe and Alaitoc are at the top of the heap, and the decision between them likely hinges on what other Craftworld-y things you’re interested in, or if you’re a “reliable” vs “potential power” type of player.

Ulthwe is genuinely always-on. There’s never a time when an extra 6+ save is bad, though it doesn’t feel particularly Ulthwe-ish, even with the “Preternaturally out of harms way” explanation for what’s normally an “unstoppable juggernaut” type of power. It’ll be especially nice for higher volume, low armor armies like ones with lots of Black Guardians. But it also doesn’t really stack with anything – you can’t build an army concept off “1/6th of the time I don’t take a wound”.

With Alaitoc you can. The penalty stacks with the bonuses from Rangers as well as Conceal. With the armor bonus to units in cover, if you’ve got the right kind of table Alaitoc could be quite tenacious for Eldar. As an alternate build, if you want to deliver units into the heart of the enemy army, a combination of this trait and Vectored Engines create a combined -2 penalty for a breakneck advance move in the first turn. Ultimately, I think the utility of Alaitoc hinges on your local meta – if there are lots of armies trying to close quickly who might not care overmuch about shooting (Tyranids, Orks, Blood Angels…) then the -1 penalty might not be terribly impactful. On the other hand, if you find yourself facing armies that are primarily interested in moderate/long-range firefights, the Alaitoc ability is profoundly good.

Psychic Powers

The Eldar have always been known as a psychic phase powerhouse (though not always the powerhouse), and with the Autarch in an awkward place, and Warlocks being able to cast more freely on different units, that’s still true.

Runes of Battle: The power set for Warlocks, Spiritseers and Hemlocks has the familiar dual-use powers with a buff and a power targeted at your opponent.

  • Conceal/Reveal: -1 to Hit for Ranged Weapons / Enemy unit has no cover bonus (take that Imperial Fists!)
  • Embolden/Horrify: +2 Ld to you/ -1 Ld to your enemy
  • Enhance/Drain: +1 to Hit in Fight Phase to you / -1 to Hit in Fight Phase to your enemy
  • Protect/Jink: +1 to armor saves to you /  -1 to armor saves to your enemy
  • Quicken/Restrain: Move as if it was the movement phase / halve an enemy units movement characteristic
  • Empower/Enervate: +1 to wound rolls to you in the Fight phase / -1 to wound rolls to your enemy in the Fight phase

Each power counts as two (so a Warlock Conclave could cast both the buff and debuff), which means that there’s the potential to pour a lot of power into a single conflict. I also find these slightly more useful than their 7th Edition counterparts – for example, restrain used to forbid Running, which didn’t necessarily help vs. a number of units.

Runes of Fate: The domain of the Farseers, Runes of Fate has always been powerful, though now there’s also the temptation of Smite.

  • Guide: Re-roll failed to-hit rolls with a ranged weapon. Especially nice now that it can boost twin weapons with the changes to that rule.
  • Doom: Re-roll failed to-wound rolls. Much as it has been – I especially enjoy it for “fishing for 6’s” mass shuriken fire vs. tough targets.
  • Fortune: Now a 5+ “ignore a wound” save. How nice this is will depend on your army – if you’re playing Ulthwe it’s less of a thing than it might otherwise be.
  • Executioner: Nearest unit within 18″ of the Psyker takes D3 mortal wounds, and if a model is slain with that, it takes another D3 mortal wounds. Essentially another Smite-esq power, that’s a lot of mortal wounds being put out, and is potentially deadly against low-wound count elite units. Much more useful than it’s older version, which essentially only worked against units with poor saves.
  • Will of Asuryan: Automatically pass morale within 6″ of the caster, and add +1 to Deny the Witch rolls. At a pretty easy Warp Charge of 5, a potentially good way to keep large units alive through Morale rolls.
  • Mind War: Choose an enemy character with 18″. Roll a d6 and add Leadership. If the caster’s roll is higher, the target takes the number of mortal wounds of the difference. Especially combined with an Embolden/Horrify combo, this could be vicious. Hard to pull off, but not inconceivably so. I’ve particularly enjoyed using Mind War against Carnifexes in the past, and I don’t see that changing.

Long story short? I dig the psychic powers. They still feel Eldar-y, and there’s not one of them that I can point to and go “I can’t ever imagine using that”.

Warlord Traits and Artifacts

Warlord Traits and Artifacts help define your warlord, and can have a major impact on how you approach using them. First up, the Warlord traits – all of which have excellent names:

  • Ambush of Blades: Increase the AP of a hit made with a hit roll of 6+ by one within 6″ of the warlord
  • An Eye on Distant Events: Enemy cannot fire Overwatch at your Warlord
  • Falcon’s Swiftness: +2″ to movement
  • Fate’s Messenger: +1 W, roll after each wound, on a roll of 6 your warlord doesn’t take it
  • Mark of the Incomparable Hunter: Can target non-closest unit <Characters> in the shooting phase
  • Seer of the Shifting Vector: Once per battle round re-roll a single hit, wound, save, psychic or Deny the Witch roll.

I used to ignore the Warlord traits in the Eldar book, as half of them didn’t apply to my warlord. In some cases, that’s still true, though the ability to choose eases that problem. Mark of the Incomparable Hunter is frustrating given the loss of the firebase Autarch, and primarily confines this power to picking out a dangerous but easy-to-kill character as they close. Similarly, Eye on Distant Events only really matters if you’re intending to charge. Seer of Shifting Vector though…is really quite tasty.

There are also Craftworld-specific Warlord choices:

  • Alaitoc: Auto-pass Morale within 6″ of your Warlord
  • Iyanden: Your Warlord can try to Deny the Witch once (if they already can, they can an additional time)
  • Biel-tan: Re-roll failed to-hit rolls in the shooting phase within 3″ of your Warlord
  • Ulthwe: If you are Battle Forged and your Warlord is alive, at the start of each turn roll a d6. On a 6, you get a command point.
  • Saim-hann: If the Warlord piles in or does a Heroic Intervention, they can move toward the nearest character rather than the nearest unit, and if they target all their attacks toward an enemy character, they get an additional attack

Again, some nice, some…meh. An Ulthwe-Autarch army could potentially be a CP engine, but it’s very swingy. Lets consider a 10 CP army, which is a pretty heavy investment in a Brigade-class detachment to get and a six-turn game – simulated 100,000 times.

The median number of CPs regained, even with the Autarch also giving a refund on the newly generated CPs, is 2, and by far the majority of the time you’ll see two or less CPs returned to you. One extremely rare occasions you’ll see four or six come back, but I’m not sure the odd game with a torrent of CPs is worth constructing your whole army around, which is about the level of investment required here.

Iyanden is hugely dependent on your local meta. Saim-hann is, again, contradictory with half it’s craftworld traits, but I suppose if you’re doing the melee Autarch, there’s something to be said for going all in.

Artifacts

There are, compared to previous Codexes, a ton of artifacts.

  • Kurnous’ Bow: A slightly nastier shuriken pistol. Note that this replaces a shuriken pistol, which means no, you cannot give this to an Autarch.
  • Phoenix Gem: When the character dies, every unit within 3″ rolls a d6. On a 2+ they take D3 Mortal Wounds, and if at least one wound is dealt, the character comes back with one wound.
  • Shard of Anaris: Replaces a Power Sword, so this one is only for Autarch’s with Wings or Bikes. At S3, AP -3, Damage D3 and re-roll failed wound rolls, it’s more widely useful, but not quite the monster in challenges that it once was.
  • Faolchu’s Wing: Move characteristic of 12″ and can fly. Something of a niche – either because you want a two-handed sword wielding Autarch who is still speedy, or want a mobile Farseer without paying the price of a jetbike.
  • Firesabre: Replacing a power sword, at S +1, AP -4, D1 and on a wound roll of 6+ the wound is a mortal wound, the Firesabre has gone from a mass, cheap-infantry killer to a potentially more dangerous power sword.
  • The Spirit Stone of Anath’lan: Biel-tan Psykers only, the model can re-roll any failed psychic tests, but if that second roll fails, they’re overcome with feels and can’t cast anymore.
  • Shiftshroud of Alanssair: Alaitoc infantry only, effectively acts as a camo-cloak and deep strike.
  • The Burnished Blade of Eliarna: Biel-tan powersword wielders only. S user, AP -3, D2 that gets an additional +1 to strength and damage if fighting Orks. Serious business edge-case weapon.
  • Psytronome of Iyanden: Iyanden psyker only. One-use at the start of a Fight phase, powers up Iyanden Wraith Constructs within 6″, doubles their attacks, but they take D3 mortal wounds at the end of the turn. I don’t use Wraith models much, but I imagine this will be tricky to use, but potentially powerful.
  • The Novalance of Saim-Hann: Laser lance wielder only, so…jetbike Autarch. S+2, AP -4, D2, resolved at S8 if the user charged, and on a 6+ to wound, the damage is increased to D4. I mean, if you’re going for a melee jetbike Autarch…this will hurt.

Honestly, none of these are really strong enough that I’d let them dictate your choices for character or craftworld, but some of them do have fun effects.

Shard of Anaris vs. Firesabre vs. Novalance

These are really the three general purpose Autarch killing weapons. But which one should you choose?

Versus Infantry: Let’s consider them versus the basic Space Marine. Here, the damage statistics don’t matter, so it becomes a raw to-wound and AP question. The Shard has a marginally higher likelihood of wounding thanks to the re-roll, but because it still allows a 6+ save, it drops to a few percentage points lower than the Firesabre’s probability of a successful hit turning into a wound. The Novalance, if you’re Saim-Hann, it just flat better than the other two – especially as the mortal wound effect of the Firesabre doesn’t do anything vs. a tactical Marine.

Versus a Character: But killing Space Marines isn’t really what any of these are about. For tougher targets, my instinct at the moment is to favor the Novalance, as even with a good invulnerable save four damage wounds are likely better than a single mortal wound. Between the Shard and the Firesabre, I think the Firesabre is once again superior – but it’s likely closer, between the slightly higher damage potential vs. mortal wounds. This needs a simulation approach, which I’m working on, but the nested if/then statements needed to handle all the “On a 6…” rolls in a general fashion are a little nightmarish, and I’d like to put this out faster than I will finish that. But stay tuned.

Stratagems

This has been the area, along with army traits, that Games Workshop has been injecting some of the “flavor” back into the pretty same-y Index armies. And the Eldar get some really cool ones.

One note I will make however is that, despite a super-smug paragraph in White Dwarf I read awhile back, I’m not convinced these are easier than Formations to keep track of – I think buying the cards for your armies are now essentially an essential purchase, and I’m pretty sure that I’m going to get more than one game-winning move sprung on me because I can’t hold double-digit potential special rules for every army in the game in my head. A good heuristic though? If three of something shows up in your opponent’s army, be prepared for there to be some nasty power that goes along with it.

It’s not assured, of course, but there’s more than one of those sprinkled into the recent books. Maybe kill one of them ASAP, just for good measure. Even if you’re wrong, there’s probably a reason your opponent brought three.

I’m also not going to go over the whole list, but rather touch on some I think are particularly neat, or particularly dubious:

  • Treasures of the Craftworld: This is the usual “Spend CPs to get more artifacts” card. I’m somewhat unimpressed with the Eldar artifacts – I think I might pass on this.
  • Celestial Shield: 1 CP to give a Guardian unit a 4++ save. Not many people run Guardians, but it could be interesting if you’re making a high risk play with them to give them a proper save, especially if it’s combined with Ulthwe’s 6+ wound ignoring power.
  • Cloudstrike/Webway Strike: Effectively one power as you can only use one per turn, you can spend 1 CP to give a vehicle with Fly the ability to deploy within 9″ of the enemy, or a 1 CP/3CP power to do that with one or two infantry/biker units respectively.
  • Forewarned: A 2 CP power used when your opponent sets up a unit from reserve that’s in sight of a unit within 6″ of a Farseer. That unit can fire as if it’s the shooting phase. Some mild protection against the in-your-face deployment, but only really available in a limited context (stick close to the Farseers kids) and only once. So save it for the nastiest punch.
  • Lightning Fast Reactions: A 2 CP power that gives an enemy attacking one infantry or unit with Fly that’s targeted by a shooting or close combat attack a -1 penalty. Could stack nicely with Warlock powers for those single clutch combats. It’s also potentially handy for keeping your aircraft alive a little longer, though I’m not sure that’s a good use of CP.
  • Overloaded Energy Field Projectors: 1 CP to pick a Wave Serpent that shot it’s shield and you get to shoot it again. Basically 1 CP Smite.
  • Fire and Fade: 1 CP for the old move-after-shooting abilities the Eldar used to have – you get 7″, but you can’t advance or charge.
  • Phantasm: 2 CP’s, used at the start of the first battle round, but before the first turn has begun. Pick three units (if you pick a transport, the embarked models come with it) and redeploy them. This is great if you’ve put yourself out there and then got seized on, or managed to draw your opponent into a particular deployment you now want to exploit.

There’s also a single Craftworld specific one:

  • Alaitoc: Pathfinders – 1 CP to make a Ranger unit only get hit on 6’s.
  • Iyanden: Guided Wraithsight – 1 CP to boost the a Spiritseer’s  Spirit Mark ability from 6″ to 12″ and allows re-rolling of all failed hits.
  • Biel-tan: Court of the Young King – 2 CP to make a Aspect Warrior unit with Exarch charge better and re-roll failed hits of one. If you’re within 6″ of the Avatar, charge even better, and re-roll all failed hits.
  • Ulthwe: Discipline of the Black Guardians – 1 CP to boost a Guardian units to hit by one for either a shooting or fight phase.
  • Siam-Hann: Warriors of the Raging Winds – 1 CP to let a bike unit that has already advanced charge, and re-roll all failed to hit rolls of 1.

None of these are really anything to hinge an army on, but some are nice. Guided Wraithsight is the one I can see using a lot as it naturally follows from the standard Iyanden build, while Siam-Hann is again a little disappointing unless you’re trying to get an early pounce in with some Shining Spears.

 The Codex Overall

Here we are, at the end of the review. And just what do I think of the codex?

Overall, my feelings are pretty positive. The widespread points reductions resolve my primary issue with fielding my Eldar in the games I have, which is a feeling of “smallness” of the army. It also remains the most elegant way of rebalancing things. And the codex still feels like an Eldar codex – many of the Stratagems particularly add a feeling of Eldar tricksy-ness.

A few units remain in awkward spots – Guardians are in a somewhat eternal struggle to find a niche, given their fragility and the legacy equipment they carry that’s…just not very good for a light infantry unit. Jetbikes have definitely fallen from their lofty heights, especially as they’re no longer troops. The biggest potential booster to them would have been Siam-hann’s rules, but those themselves are somewhat middling and very much focused on pushing them into close combat, where they really don’t belong. I think there was a massive lost opportunity there for a “dance in and out at short range” army. My beloved Autarchs are…in a really weird place.

My hope is that this book – and indeed the other codexes that have been released recently – are “intermediate” products. Many of the sub-faction rules are becoming somewhat predictable, and there is no newness to the Eldar with this codex. If anything, it lost some things it had previously. As an update to the Index, it’s a massive improvement, but it’s my sincere hope that we actually get to see another round of codexes before the edition turns over. Revisiting things at a slower pace, adding more uniqueness and adding new models to some of the lines or at the very least updating the ones that are currently showing their age. A more considered approach after the breakneck Index-Codex release cycle that the extensive reworking of the core rules required.

But has this book renewed my interest in the Eldar. Oh yes.

Overall Rating: 8/10.

Standard eBook Edition:

iTunes Enhanced Edition:

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3 Comments


  1. Couple of points –
    i) Shuriken cannon is 10 pts, same as the scatter laser,
    ii) Howling Banshees have to advance to get the +3″ charge, so it can’t combo with Webway Strike.

    Reply

    1. i) That’s what I get for having the index and the codex open side-by-side on a laptop.
      ii) Fair. I didn’t read the “at the end of your movement phase” bit and register as no advances – I’m still used to the old rules for running.

      Reply

  2. On the Index Units thing, note that the WH Community article that talked about that mentioned both Units that weren’t in the Codex and options that were missing for Units that were included. The Rifleman Dread is a perfect example, since it’s just different weapon swaps, but still uses the same Dreadnought Datasheet. So the variety of Autarch options should still be legit. That policy is very disappointing in a few cases, tho, and Autarchs are one of the big ones.

    Your guideline of “If your opponent has three of something, there’s probably something going on there” makes me want to start just taking everything I can manage in 3s. I do agree that Stratagems are more of a sidegrade than outright improvement over Formations in terms of being able to keep all the possibilities in mind. As with Formations, tho, there will probably emerge a more manageable subset that you really have to watch out for.

    Reply

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