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Thursday, 1 September 2011

Basset Hounds, Flugdar and Sparks of Creativity

Hey there again,


It's been a while...

It won’t come as much of a shocker, but I love all things bright and beautiful of the spelfey flavour, their aesthetic, background, playstyle and the entire concept behind them sits with me happily. I say this even if one of the two spelfy codexes is severely lacking despite featuring some amazing models (I <3 The Wraithlord Kit. Wünderbar) and the concept behind individual specialised parts working together to completely dismember armies. 


I am, of course writing about the Craftworld Eldar codex, a book from which competitive players have coaxed some ‘effective’ army builds for 5th Edition allowing them to (dice abiding) happily play in games with more recent, shinier codexes and maybe win.
I mean, just look at their dark cousins - in my opinion one of the finest books (other than the previous Chaos Space Marine codex) to ever come out of GW - so much customisability in terms of list building and it feels right to do so, not cutting off one of your legs following a terrible accident-like feeling that mechdar generates in me. Almost everything in the book is completely useable, with distinct caveats and advantages causing much debate in the both the competitive and friendly list building circles over army structure. Every single unit has a distinct flavour and all the constituent components fit together to make a good (although twisted) picture that is happy to carve, shoot, disintegrate and transmogrify it’s way through most armies it faces (Dice abiding ;)). 


Compared to the lame, limp basset hound that the Craftworld dex has become, it’s a beautiful greyhound streaking well ahead into the future that won’t be needing crutches for a while (not sure of where that analogy is going... hmm).


The Craftworld codex suffers a lot in the way that it is effectivey a 3rd edition codex with a little bit of shiny tacked on (Autarchs and Jetbike Seer Councils), creating something that has a tiny dribble of pizazz but not much oom pah pah. Sure, it *was* a nasty codex in the days of 4th Edition in the days where glancing hits were something to be scared of (I’m looking at you D-cannons) and units of Jetseers were terrifying to gunline armies (or bad ones at least...), but nowadays, everything it has feels outdated and outpsyked. When you get Grey Knights Librarians that can cast 3 powers in both players turns (with powers that make a Farseer go hmm) and everybody and their mums getting fast assault transports. To those decrying codex creep, I slap your face. It seems to me, that everything that the Eldar had making them a special little flower has been happily lavished upon everybody else, leaving the Craftworlders moping amongst their broken pottery and architecture with their cheap rehash of a codex.

It seemed I wasn't alone in my discontent.
Along came M. Fluger with his shiny typeface in the 3++ chatbawx one day, and was chatting about a re-write of the Craftworld Eldar dex that he was working on - curious, I asked if he would indulge me with a WIP for me to read through. He obliged and I tried to read it but couldn't really, mainly due to poor formatting (It was a huge-ass wall of Text and profiles written as WS3BS3 etc ie unreadable). So, I asked if I could format the beast for better everyone to read it and I was very kindly indulged, transforming the reams of  text to clearly readable pages of rules and troop profiles. Then I digested it; sure, it had some good ideas scattered around the place like pixie dust, but it was very much Opiee (to a level that some mock even to this day). As is common with most fandexes, it was broken.
Horribly broken.


He endeavoured to fix it, but there was a massive pile of things that people hated and it faded.


Then I was moaning to a friend about the 'dar dex (as I often do) and he reminded me of Flugdar, and I remembered all the criticism and ideas that was floating in my head. Now that there was a platform for me to write from, I could do it How I Wanted, with some balancing comments thrown in as I worked along - creating something that everyone agreed would be fair and not Opiee.
So, taking all the criticism in from all the sources around on the internet for the Flugdar 'creation' (YTTH, BOK, 3++), I have resigned myself (and TKE if he wants in) to rewrite the Eldar codex to a high standard, fairly balancing it for 5th Edition play so those players with unused piles of Striking Scorpions, Howling Banshees, Warp Spiders, *Shudder* Swooping Hawks and Shining Spears can, with opponents permission use this fandex as in interesting substitute. As far as changes go, I intend to make a few fundamental modifications to weapon profiles, statlines, costs and swapping out a few special rules, but not to a level that screams stupid - making them how I want them to be.


You don't want to get him angry, you won't like him when he's angry (Image from The Warforge)
A few of the ideas that I have come up with between sitting in airport departure lounges, visiting obscure cretan villages with names that sound like venereal diseases and scrambling up mountains are based on things I’ve read around the place on blogs such as Rant in E Minor, 3++ and this very nice forum thread detailing a few 5th ed balances for the Eldar that I've used once or twice during games with friends (It appears that the link is dead, but I have cached it for personal use lol).


As this project progresses, I will post up individual unit pages and describe how they should work within the context of the redefined codex and then take criticism on each unit in turn, using peer feedback to effectively balance out the codex, rather than making it so drastically Opiee that there's no hope in hell of finishing it.


Thanks for reading,


Any thoughts....?
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