Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Where to start...Part Two: Is it wholewheat?

This article is to discuss better some of the units I discounted last time out - and a number that I intentionally left off of both lists.

Firstly, I have been asked specifically about a couple of units...

These are a static element in a totally mobile army, indeed, and army that relies upon mobility and reducing enemy fire in exchange for heavy armour and conventional survivability. While their ability to get a 2+ Cover Save is fairly (to very) impressive, it's their only real redeeming feature. MtC doesn't matter, as they won't be moving, for it prevents them using their other 'strength' - the Ranger Long Rifle. The chance to get AP1 shots, and to Rend, is fabulous on paper. In reality, it's actually not THAT useful for the targets you should be shooting with Sniper weapons - small, mid- to low-Ld enemies with average or poor saves...or, of course, MCs. You shoot MCs because they're easy to wound...but they are generally no less easy to wound with S6 weaponry, something the Eldar have no difficulty in attaining with greater mobility and even survivability. They ARE Troops choices, but any Troops choice that doesn't allow you to take a Dedicated Transport (ie, a Wave Serpent) is relatively poor fare. The old adage of strength in numbers doesn't fail to hold true for the Eldar just because they typically have smaller armies than most Space Marine players...quite the opposite, in fact. Redundancy is critical in an Eldar force, more than some if not most. While you can use them in a different fashion to the alternatives for MC hunting, the simple fact is that most armies that have significant MC threats also don't have AV13/14 to deal with, and so the Fire Dragons will have no better targets - since they prove so much more efficient, and cost-effective, at killing these things, the extra versatility (and Wave Serpent) make them better at this role...while DAVUs are so much cheaper and more survivable that they make Objective holding better...even though they don't truly 'hold', but rather 'seize' objectives late-game.

Rangers in of themselves are not a terrible unit...but they are the antithesis of the way the Eldar want to play...and Flamer weapons are somewhat too prevalent at the moment for them to require much more than cursory attention from a good opponent.

War Walkers:
While significantly more mobile, and with much more firepower than, Rangers - the humble War Walker has rarely a place in the modern day Eldar army. Spitting out a shitload of S6 killiness is brilliant, no question. Having them outfitted with EMLs is also a viable option...Nevertheless, their survivability is abysmal. Devastator squads are poor for precisely this reason: They can't take anything approximating the damage they can dish out. War Walkers are no more survivable than SM Devvys. (I'm sure that's not statistically true, but it's certainly not far wrong. Immunity to Melta is ridiculous on an AV10 vehicle, and so is reducing enemy S to 8...sigh.) They'd be a LOT better if the stupid field simply increased their AV to 12...

They're a reasonably good unit, in a vacuum...but they can't fight in CC, they can't take gunfire, and they can't hold objectives. Eldar have enough trouble with all their Troops choices being shit, you take the best of a bad bunch, without taking a unit that is no more survivable and therefore doesn't take fire away from the overpriced Transports keeping your fragile T3 guys upright.


Mainly, there are two HUGE issues with the Wraithlord;

1) Weapon options. Phil Kelly, are you fucking KIDDING ME?!?! I take two Bright Lances and I'm forced to make them a single Twin-linked Bright Lance?! For EIGHTY FUCKING POINTS?!?!?!?! The weapons are hugely overcosted, the twin-linking rule makes them even more so - and it's shit in CC, even with a Wraithsword. Let's go back to the days of D-Cannon mounts, and then we can talk.

2) Survivability. People say "It's T8! It's immune to S4 stuff, like bolters and similar shit things to fire at MCs!" - it has a 3+ armour save, and no way to get an InvulSave. Vendettas can literally rape them in one phase. It's nigh impossible to get them a Cover Save in 'non-stupid-fantasyland' where I play 40k...I don't remember the exact odds, but 27% is in my head for some reason (probably an unrelated figure that'll evoke much laughter among my detractors) for the chance of killing a Wraithlord with a single Vendetta in a single round. That's far too high - especially since Vendettas frequently come in pairs, or even threes. It can't go to toe-to-toe with most other MCs in CC, and can't take heavy a-t fire, such as Lootas. If it didn't provide one of the 4 possible ways for the Eldar to get a Template weapon, it'd be even shittier than it is...even so - it's terrible. People who cling to them are either playing against idiots, or playing some variant of 4th Ed.

Now...the other ones I was directly asked to address:

With Mandiblasters, Power Weapon, Fusion Gun? Awesome. But not Yriel or Eldrad, and therefore lacking in comparison. For 100 points though, a bargain - if you can't get anything with a name of it's own.

The definitive Eldar Foot unit. They are, in 5th, stupidly overcosted...but they weren't in 4th, so they get a bye on that. Their versatility is their greatest strength...but they have a pretty big list of strengths. They are a very good unit, within the confines of the Codex...not excellent in comparison to many other dedicated assault units...but as good as Eldar get, excepting (after a fashion) Seer Councils. Raptor1313 has an excellent couple of articles in his sidebar discussing Eldar Elite units, and I'm pretty much in accordance with anything he says on the issue. My long-delayed 'Complete Guide to the Eldar' will go into it in much greater detail, if ever finished in this edition of the game. lol

Just because this isn't 4th doesn't make them shit all of a sudden. Sure, they aren't the definitive powerhouse they once were, but they're a mobile, heavily armed battle tank with medium armour and yet the capacity for survivability that outstrips anything outside of Apoc rules, or shitty homebrews. Sure, they're rather overcosted, especially given their BS of 3, and the relative cheapness of both the Predator and the Leman Russ, and their weapon options are similarly overpriced...but they're as solid as this Codex offers in Heavy Support...and they're more versatile than the sadly inaccurate Fire Prism. Prisms, btw, aren't enough worse to be shit...but neither are Falcons good enough to be pivotal.

Hope that clarifies that part of my thinking process a little for you all! :)

Next "Part Three: Time to scrap the metaphor!" where I discuss list structure in the confines of the FoC.
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