Monday, 26 September 2011

Army List Advice Interlude One : Eldar from ages ago

Firstly, apologies to Chris from For The Throne for my tardiness.  Being, as I was, on holiday at the time, it get pushed back down my list of priorities (ok, right off it) and I only just realised I never bothered to reply when cleaning out my closet. :(

As a result, let's get on and discuss our pointy-eared friends (the 'good' variety) with respect to his choice (and the existing Codex, not the homebrew a-cooking around these parts.)

His email:
Hey TKE, 

I've put the following Eldar list up on my blog and would like your thoughts (you being a diehard Eldar player and all) 


  • Farseer (Singing Spear, Runes of Warding, Sprit Stones, Guide/Doom) – 138 points
  • 3 x Guardians (Scatter Laser HW platform) – 95 points each
  • 3 x 3 War Walker Squadrons – Dual Scatter Lasers – 60 points each
  • 3 x 2 Vyper Squadrons – Scatter Laser + Shuriken Cannons – 70 points each
  • 3 x 5 Fire Dragons – Wave Serpants with Shuriken Cannons and TL scatter lasers – 205 points each

My initial thoughts are here:

Chris / CLT40K

Well, let's start with the obvious - Elites.

Now, I know to those of you that don't play Eldar/are new to the game that may seem a little awry.

The mandatory choices, as dictated by the Force Organisation Chart, are 2 Troops, and 1 HQ.  Surely it makes sense to start with these, and build the list around them?

Not so for Eldar, and indeed for many others, but let's just stick to one (outdated) Codex for now.  Lol.

Eldar win and lose on the successes of their ability to asplode transport vehicles as far away as possible, mostly with S6 firepower, and their ability to dump a boatload of Dragons on the serious threats and eliminate them mercilessly, before watching the Dragons disintegrate in a shower of blood and body parts.

It shouldn't really need mentioned at this juncture, but T3 Infantry in 5th Edition 40k are essentially allergic to the board.  Setting foot on the tabletop for themselves is tantamount to suicide, and your only option is to make the foe pay dearly for every life they take.

With the Eldar, the most killy unit available is Fire Dragons, who also happen to be one of very few that are solidly worth their points-cost.  The fact that they are Elites forces our hand somewhat, and so we start by taking a minimum of two units of 5 Fire Dragons, irrespective of points cost.  No joke - this is mandatory to have ANY chance of winning games in even a semi-competitive environment, and you MUST include some sort of Transport for the unit.

Obviously the most efficient use of FoC slots in garnering a Transport option is to take the one built in to their options - the Wave Serpent.  This is something Chris has done, so obviously a good thing for his list.

Given that Chris has written a 2000 point list here, there is no excuse for not having 3 units of Fire Dragons.  Thankfully, he has.

In fact, we can se from his linked article that his basic premise is a moderately sound one - he wishes to deal as much damage as possible each turn with the Eldar, and use thme as the kind of shooting army people envision them to be.

Sadly, however, this isn't without a serious cost.

The fragile nature of Eldar means that playing them in such a way, continual high S firepower rather than focusing the list on survivability and late-game functionality, creates an incredible vulnerability and weakness in the list.  It is entirely possible that a horrible enemy shooting phase could see the guts ripped out of his force in one round against some forces - and while this is unlikely, it will always be at the back of your mind playing such a delicately balanced tool.

Getting back to his stated objectives - yes, he has certainly crammed in about as much S6 fire as can realistically be achieved, but unfortunately this leaves his list exposed by things that are resistant to this torrent of fire, Predators and Leman Russes at range, Land Raiders obviously, and high T MCs like Dreadknights and Wraithlords, that admittedly won't often be seen fielded by even half-way competent players.

Is there really anything can be done to improve the list, without shitting on the mixed conbcept and trying to go full Mech instead?

No, not really.

It would certainly benefit from being able to squeeze Eldrad in somewhere, for Divination - and a 4th and even 5th Troops would be a massive boost despite the loss of firepower (assuming you drop 3 of the Vypers)...But it just doesn't truly seem a fair trade.  Plus, of course, the Vypers still come in cheaper than the shitty Guardians, begging not to be tank shocked, assaulted, or even glanced at by Sternguard, Railgun blast templates, or Heavy Bolters (looking at YOU Psyback!)

There's no real changes to be made to the list, frankly - Eldar aren't blessed with a plethora of viable choices or options, we have what we have, and it isn't a lot.
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