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Thursday, 6 August 2009

Further Eldar advice: -

Mathew Wong wrote:

Hi King,
I saw your insights on YTTH, I like the way you think. I'm hoping to build a competitive Mech Eldar list, right now I have a few ideas for 1.5K. I'm wondering if you could take some time to provide a in depth review.

HQ
Maugan Ra 195
Eldrad 210

ELITES
5 Fire Dragons w/ Wave Serpent - 225
+ TL-Bright Lance
+ Shuriken Cannon

5 Fire Dragons w/ Wave Serpent - 225
+ TL-Bright Lance
+ Shuriken Cannon

8 Harlequins w/ Shadowseer, Deathjester - 234
+ 8 Harlequin's Kiss
+ Shrieker Cannon

TROOPS
5 Dire Avengers 60

5 Dire Avengers 60

HEAVY SUPPORT
Falcon 145
+ EML
+ Pulse Laser
+ Shuriken Cannon

Falcon 145
+ EML
+ Pulse Laser
+ Shuriken Cannon

Total: 1499


or


HQ
Yriel 155
Eldrad 210
7 Warlocks w/ Wave Serpent 285
+ TL-Shuriken Cannon
+ Shuriken Cannon

ELITES
5 Fire Dragons w/ Wave Serpent - 225
+ TL-Bright Lance
+ Shuriken Cannon

5 Fire Dragons w/ Wave Serpent - 225
+ TL-Bright Lance
+ Shuriken Cannon

TROOPS
5 Dire Avengers 60

5 Dire Avengers 60

HEAVY SUPPORT
Falcon 140
+ Scatter Laser
+ Pulse Laser
+ Shuriken Cannon

Falcon 140
+ Scatter Laser
+ Pulse Laser
+ Shuriken Cannon

Total: 1500

thanks,
Mathew

Hello Richard,
I'm currently toying with the idea of having 3 Dakka Falcons (scatter laser, shuri cannon upgrade) with Eldrad, Yriel and 4 Warlocks in one of them. The other 2 will have 5 man DA's, while the rest of the army is composed of 2 Wave Serpents (BL, shuricannon upgrade) w/ 5 man FDs in them. Seems like a good Mech torrent of fire list to me for 1500.

Anyways will be looking forward to hearing from you soon! Have a great vacation!

Thanks,
Mathew"


Okay, thoughts that spring forth here Mat. 1stly - essentially you have 3 HQs in your 1500. Now, while this isn't necessarily fail, sadly trying to create an uber HQ in an Eldar list requires that said HQ to be riding Jetbikes - it's sad, but it's true. Also, although I have only played an all-Bike list once, I think everyone reading this (hopefully) knows I've got a decent enough grasp of the game, the race, and the army type in particular to believe me when I say that Stelek is undoubtedly correct in his assertion that you require a full-size council in order to protect yourself from being tormented by shitty (Ork) units. I'll never not recommend Mind War on such units however, even above Doom. While Doom + Destructor has hilarious consequences, you want the enemy to live long enough to lock your unit in assault. As a result, it's a far better plan to be using said 2nd power to snipe Power fists/Klaws out of enemy units, as rolling a 4++ is harder than a 3++. This of course can be extended to encompass any and all support characters, from Mad Doks to ...er, Apothecaries. ;)

Secondly, I feel the second of these list has too few Scoring Units. While 2 Scoring Units does prove sufficient for many armies at this level (most notably Marines and all-GJB lists) for MechDar, sadly, isn't quite enough, if using DAVU units at least. Perhaps if these were the 10-man units Stelek favours, although I think I'd still be more comfortable with DAVU personally - I just don't trust T3 bodies on the ground unless they have Melta. On a side note - the only flaw, for me, with IG Veterans is that they can't realistically be used as a suicide unit, due to the relative dearth of Scorers in a MechVet list as opposed to a Platoon. It's no big deal though, and wholly unimportant to this analysis. So, to continue! :) - Note that the fact you only have the two Scorers is almost entirely unfixable, without sacrificing an HQ.

Third, By placing the DAs in the Falcons, you've hit a reasonably sound principle - essentially hiding the Scoring Units until late-game, dealing with threats to their survivability in midfield from range/close when threats to the falcons directly are annihilated, and then swooping like the Consort of The Great Hawk should, seizing objectives with your lovely AV12/12/10 Bunker.

Like I said, a good thing. Problems arise now, however, when we look at the distribution of the guys inside - 2 such units, that are perfectly designed to hitch a ride in such a fashion, and one uber-CC unit. Now, in order to help you dictate the pace of the game, and what happens where, this unit needs to be in C most of the time to exert the maximum (i.e., more than threat +Eldrad) pressure upon the enemy., Putting the opponent under pressure forces errors, and this makes it a lot easier to win games - the hallmark of being a truly great player is the ability to remain in control, irrespective of how badly things are going, to focus on the mission to the exclusion of al else, be it pride, revenge, our simple lust for battle, - make sure you're playing your mission, not their game. Of course, when two equally great players clash, it will often then come down to deployment, rather than actual skill, per se - or luck, which is an unfortunate fact of our game. If two equally matched players, lists, and Deployments clash across the tabletop, the only divisive factor becomes luck...and that makes the victory somewhat pyrrhic, in a way. few will complain about it though, we all like to be tested. By way of example, some more info about me. It's unfair for me to say that I'm the best player I know, but, I think in many ways, it is the case. It's not that there aren't players who can beat me, and there are certainly plenty of players I know that can challenge me - the difference comes in changing armies. I'm not going to say I'm the best list writer I've ever encountered (Stelek definitely takes the crown there.) I'm not the best SM, Chaos, Tau, Necron, DH, WH, BT, DA, BA, Daemons, Nids, DE, IG...I'm only the best player I know of Eldar and Orks, race wise. HOWEVER, the thing is, I can adequately, to well, play any other army, given one or two practice games. the strength here is flexibility. nothing teaches you how to beat other armies like playing as them, and seeing where your own weaknesses are in the game and the list. I don't want to sound like I’m just being arrogant, or that I think I'm better than anyone else for this ability - I'm sure if I could instead focus all of the ability to pick armies up so quickly could be channelled into my Eldar then I could quickly claim the unofficial crown of best Eldar player in the world - something I'd simply love to do. who doesn't want to be World Champ at something. I'm content with being regarded as a very good/great Eldar player. Not everyone thinks so...but most of them (well...all.) have never seen me play in person. Another factor of the game that cannot be taught (IMO) is the ability to predict the game's flow adequately. Of course dice are eminently unpredictable, you can MathHammer all day, and decide nidZilla is actually playable, but it doesn't change the fact that it's not. More times than I care to recall (or can, honestly) I've realised before the opponent that I'm playing for a draw (thankfully, never in a competitive game), sadly, this has a tendency to come out in my expression. I fear this has ruined many a game for my most skilful and common opponent, Mark, along with a good number of others, but I simply cannot abide not being able to win, when it's not because (necessarily) I'm being outplayed. To be clear, it's not that he can't or hasn’t outplayed me, in the past or recently - but when that isn't the case except through a stupid mistake on my part, I get pretty frustrated at the game. he game can be as close as a Shave by Wallace and Gromit, but if I would have won but for a misdeployment, then I find it difficult to conceal my self-annoyance.

Back to your list, after more digression than a MGS cut-scene...

Having this close-range unit in the Falcon counters it's own role, and one AV12 Bird flying into the enemy's face is a lot more vulnerable than 3 equidistant from the foe.

A lot of people stress the ability of MechDar to move 24" in one turn. Mostly, these people are idiots. The real benefit of having a fast vehicle isn't the ability to redeploy in such a way, because you still only get the same number of turns in which to kill the threats to the list. Cover Saves for moving Flat out are great, but no better than the same Cover Save claimed by hiding behind another Grav Tank. It's not rocket science, they come with a variety of heights of base, and they have a huge-ass turret on the top of the fucking thing that can clearly shoot over the hull of another even at the same height. You are obscured, they aren't. No movement, or loss of fire required. Being able to move, that's the thing. Just because you CAN move 12" and fire your main weapon, doesn't always mean you should, or will. That said, the ability to move a Fire Prism/ Wave Serpent 12" and unleash whatever various gizmo is mounted on the top at full effect is pretty damn sweet. use it liberally, but never move for the sake of moving.


Another rant tat comes to mind right now, again sorry for the interruption, but, fucking ElfZillla. Get fucking real. All you nfucking morons who think that it's actually competitive, at ANY points level, get your heads out of your asses, and smell the fucking clean air. Saying that a Wraith cannon Can kill a vehicle is just retarded. Of course it CAN. On a 5/6 to pen, after a 3+ to hit, then you need a 5/6 to destroy, because you're AP2. That’s 16/216. Your chances of destroying a vehicle are 16/216. That's 2/27. Holy hell, what more do I need to say? Oh yeah, you've no InvSave, and only 1 Wound...and a 12" range. Seriously. Oh, and @35points a pop - cheap at twice the price! Next person who says WraithZilla lists are competitive gets an eFist in their eFace.

Okay, now, the problems with the FDs. Now, Mat, don't get me wrong, I don't want to come across as wholly negative about your lost. However, Stelek and StJohn were right, in that it's time to really spell Fail out where it exists, explain why, try to suggest fixes, and hope that you stay with us throughout the wisdom, because I'm not trying to offend, merely to say what's bad. I learn a lot more from losing, or doing badly, than I do from winning, and in the same way if I say what's good bout your list before the bad, there's a danger (not much, admittedly, you came to me for advice, but other people will read the article too) that it goes to your head, and the bad stuff gets glossed over somewhat. The fact you read YTTH should help prevent that too. :)

Fire Dragons are a suicide unit, because they don't score. They're a speedbump. Obviously, it's fantastic if you can keep them alive after doing their job -incredible, in fact, as they can then move onto and subsequently destroy another target and so on until the opponent finally, deals with them, which they have to do, as you certainly can’t ignore 5 BS4 Meltas in your face, even if you run a 4th Ed list. The problem with your then, is that they comprise 90% of your short-range anti-tank...and ride in 100% of your long range a-t! If the Ser is hanging back to deliver Lance, then they can't go for a 'Fire Mission'. If they are speeding down the flank having been Double-Fortuned (cheers Eldrad!) and ready for next turn's Beta Strike, then the Lance is inoperable. The additional problem this causes is in proximity. Just because a Serpent is immune to Double Dice, doesn't mean it's safe within 18" of a Meltagunner. No siree bob, you'll find that nasty little AP1 the single greatest problem a Serp faces on the table, greater even than the threat posed by massed Autocannnon fire (a quite significant threat indeed!)

When you fly a Serp into the enemy's face, it need Holo-Fields to have a relatively decent chance of getting out of dodge. It can't get them. Ergo...the Falcon is better at this role of delivery with Heavy Weaponry.

Thing is, if the Serp had inferior weaponry, i.e., a SCan, then it wouldn't be so much of a threat, empty, and wouldn't attract the same volume of fire. It would be cheaper, and tougher, in a way...but less flexible (/useful).


Now, to discuss your HQ selections.

Eldrad is awesome. No doubt. He adds more to his lists, even if they aren't built for him, than most other special Characters can dream of. Ghaz? lol. Fabius? Don't even joke. A Chaplain? Get real.
There are a number that add equivalent amounts of awesome to their lists, and the like of Vulkan in particular get better the more you dedicate to helping them help you. Eldrad works best in a list where he can use Divination, get out his 3 Powers a turn, preferably doubling Guide (or Fortune, if he has to) with a Doom or War thrown in. He doesn't need LOS for most of this. He also doesn't need LOS to be a CC Deterrent, which is better for him than actually fighting anything with more than 1W. For all that though, he is inferior in non-Falc MechDar, as he can't Guide Serps, can't Guide the contents, and doesn't often need to Guide prisms. If you deploy 2nd, Divination is useless, literally, especially since you can't Redeploy into Reserve. Since you pay for that ability...*sigh*.

The Foremost of Ulthwe therefore fits in a very specific Eldar build, in 5th, which I dub MechDrad. I've been calling it that in my head, and my Tactica I've been writing a LONG while, for months, but never in public AFAIK, so, there it is. MechDrad is a variant of MechDar that uses Falcons in place of Prisms to provide ranged a-I fire, in order to squeeze in Ulthran.

Next HQ, Maugan Ra. Possibly the greatest, most balanced Character the Eldar have, he suffers from his flexibility, in that Eldar HQs are generally regarded better for being more specialised, as are their Aspect kin. Few things in the Eldar list are better off as Generalists, with only the fact that they're S6 as a saving Grace. Luckily for Big Ra, he has a S6 gun, and the same in CC. :D

He's brilliant...except that he can't join other Aspects. Since your Transports are (going) to be full of DAVU and FDs, he simply has to go. Still...not a bad word to say about him. If you request it I can throw you out a Ra themed MechDar list (MaugDar? MechRa?) as well...but it's basically Stormies over DAVU, so I doubt it'll be as good at 1500.

In case I've never been clear, btw, I HATE 1500 with a passion. It's for pussies. You listening GW? Probably not. I'll be sure to let you know in my Job Application for a job in the Studio.

Next HQ? Yriel. My pick for MechDar. He's fairly cheap, and he gets a Singing Spear that ALWAYS ignores Saves. Throw it, hit on a 2, wound on a 2, no armour. Awesome. It's also S9 against Vehicles, of course, and he has his pie-plate face for Tactical Marines, or even Orks. That said, Stelek suggested I run a regular Autarch instead, so that's something I may readdress in due course. :)

Finally, Warlocks. They're just fantastic, on paper. In reality, they're just better Nobs. Even then, they require the farseer to be effective in a way that the Nobs don't QUITE. They need Bikes, quite simply, or else they have virtually no hope of reaching the enemy lines, no matter how many saves they get. If you throw them in Turn One, they'll probably do a decent job, especially with Maugan Ra (Yriel's face O'Doom would hurt them, ofc) and against a fool, an idiot, or an Ork (see what I did there, Dakkaites?) they can hold up a whole army for the game, and let you sweep the objectives. It's unlikely that'll really happen though. In reality, they'll get 24", have a 4++/reroll...get shot down, get torrented, lose a few, probably not all, and get surrounded by crap things you don't need to kill, or tarpitted by Nobs/PMs/TH+SS/another Seer Council. For this reason, primarily, they simply aren't cost effective on foot, ESPECIALLY @1500.

Right, hope that too much of a wall of text. I suffer from the same malady as Stelek, in that I often think I've explained things sufficiently when I apparently haven't - this literally comes naturally for me. I simply need to look at the Rules, Dex, units etc and stuff osmoses into my head. If it'd only work for my conscious brain, I’d be set... ;p

Now, to finish off, the list I advise you to run @1500, if you're determined to run MechDrad (and no good reason why not.)


HQ:

Eldrad Ulthran:
Is that a Wraithsword in your pocket? - 210


HEAVY SUPPORT:

Falcon:
Pulse Laser, Scatter Laser, Shuriken Cannon. - 140

Falcon:
Pulse Laser, Scatter Laser, Shuriken Cannon. - 140

Falcon:
Pulse Laser, Scatter Laser, Shuriken Cannon. - 140

TROOPS:

5 Dire Avengers:
Avenger Shuriken Catapult. - 60

5 Dire Avengers:
Avenger Shuriken Catapult. - 60

+ Dedicated Wave Serpent (you never plan to ride in) [TL-Bright Lance, Shuriken Cannon] - 145

5 Dire Avengers:
Avenger Shuriken Catapult. - 60

+ Dedicated Wave Serpent (you never plan to ride in) [TL-Bright Lance, Shuriken Cannon] - 145

ELITES:

5 Fire Dragons:
Fusion Gun. Wave Serpent. [TL-Shuriken Cannon, Shuriken Cannon] - 190

5 Fire Dragons:
Fusion Gun. Wave Serpent. [TL-Shuriken Cannon, Shuriken Cannon] - 190

TOTAL: 1480.

Spirit Stones for the Dragon Serps optional, and probably wise. :)

7 Grav Tanks in 1500. Scare the shit out of most players. Probably puts out more a-I fire than my most recently played 1750 list, lol. Only 2 Lances isn't great, but the benefit of such a shitty points total is that the opponent can't reasonably have more than 4 AV14s, ever, and you've got the Dragons for Land Raiders, and side Armour of a Battlewagon is shit. Bear in mind that the retarded way GW have done the diagrams in the BRB means that, actually, Front etc Arc isn't decided from the centre point, but from the freaking corners. Means the Battlewagon is fucking retarded looking. Oh well, it sells I suppose.

In conclusion: You started out with a decent pair of lists, but ones that were dead-ends for expansion without radical changes. You certainly seem to know what way Eldar want to be used, and, if you really really want a SerpCouncil, it's workable. Sadly, I don't think it's doable at this points level. Going up to 1750, I'll add a second list in the Comments below in a few days/ a week. For further reading, I recommend Spite for the Dice Gods, by Raptor1313, especially this article. :)
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