Saturday, 1 October 2011

Eldar Codex Project: Dire Avengers & Puffy Albert

Puffy Albert

Hello everyone...! S'been a while.

Once again, real life has been hard work and doesn't seem to be relenting with UCAS, Vet work and applications coming to an unpleasant mount next week. TKE and I have been discussing behind the scenes niceties and rules that have been written, are being written and are yet to be written (I sound like an oracle... lol).

Well, I haven't yet replied to the ranger sniper rifle and Jetbike points raised from last time, but I can say that some of the plans out there will make Saim-Hann players happy.... Autarch Upgrade do I hear...? I have taken your pointers for the cannon upgrade though - I genuinely made a mistake there I intended to make them every 3.

The last troops choice (not counting groups of Wraithguard and the like...) in this codex are our first group of Aspect Warriors - the Dire Avengers. Clad (typically - some people have funny ideas about colour schemes ;) ) in blue and gold bodysuits, with tall white plumed helmets, these guys are primarily focused on defence and anti-infantry firepower, protecting other units by utterly removing large numbers of infantry heading their way. The current ruleset for them is... okay (naff).

The main complaint for me is that they are so expensive for how they perform. I mean, sure everything in the 'dex inherently has doom and guide factored into the cost, but they don't need to be that expensive. If they *are* going to be that expensive, they really shouldn't be that shit. Sure, their gun is *okay* but not on an incredible platform. They don't fulfil their 'fluffy' ideal as a unit that removes light infantry at a glance, instead sometimes epically flailing to do that too.

The Exarch is only really occasionally used, and then only to unlock bladestorm for the squad, with no-one using the other 'power' defend. The only real choice of wargear is the Dual Catapults to increase damage output at range, as frankly no-one wants to get these guys into close combat... Yay T3 4+ save with no defensive grenades! w000t. Not.

As they stand, they are at best mediocre troops choice if stripped back to a DAVU unit, clocking in at 60pts for 5 who try their hardest to hide inside a tank until it blows up, and then to cower, crying, maybe emerging to just flail at something until it (or more likely) they die. Compare that to a melta-carrying imperial guard infantry squad who, at 60pts has 5 more bodies, the same toughness... etc etc etc They pretty much have no caveat.

Codex creep *is* real people. [Actually Width, I disagree vehemently. :p]

So, how to improve them without breaking them, yet retaining an air of fluffiness?

First of all, as they are a defensive aspect, who go around in smaller numbers than the large squads of guardians, I figured, give them Tanglefoot grenades - no-one will moan about that... surely? :) Their weapon buff has already been mentioned in a previous post, shoving them to s4ap5 18" A3 guns from the inferior shottage they previously had, meaning they really can hose targets to death with their shuriken rain.

I wasn't really sure on recosting with these changes, especially with some of the others made across the board, but I felt that dropping them to 10pts each was fair. If you do feel that this is inappropriate, by all means give us a shout - we will listen and jack them up a little. :)

And now a short musical break.....

In the fluff, each Aspect Warrior Troupe is led by the Exarch in charge of their respective shrine, with each Craftworld having at least one of each shrine flavour. Exarchs are highly important members of the shine, being responsible for training the eldar who come to them seeking containment of their War Mask whilst giving the group benefit of their unique skillset in combat. These are displayed in the codex in the form of the tabletop powers that you have to purchase (buh - whut?).

On the tabletop, we rarely see exarchs (unless someone is taking a silly footdar list...) indicating that the intricate fluff has no presence on the table. This is going to be changed for our rewrite.

Exarchs are mandatory for Aspect Warrior Squads.

Yes, mandatory.

Don't hate us just yet. They are going to be actually genuinely useful now - we've given the powers a real rethink. Especially those that were previously a wee bit shit.

This article is about Dire Avengers, so we'll start with these guys then.

When I first mentioned my intention to do this fandex to TKE over twitter, one of the initial ideas he threw at me was 2W exarchs. I have seized this stat and run with it all over the draft unit profiles that have been written so far it is integral to the design of several units. Other than this, their profiles are exactly the same.

The modified powers were a little bit harder to think up, but some classics had to stay such as Bladestorm, with Defend being modified significantly to make more sense in the current gaming scene. Another power, suggested by TKE was 'Asuryan's Bent' (You at the back, stop sniggering!) is an interesting one...

"The unit may always attempt to regroup, regardless of other considerations, if the Squad's Exarch remains in play."

I liked it so much, I stuck it in the unit entry with the other updated Exarch powers.

With regards to wargear changing, I didn't think that anything needed extensive modification but I have been inspired by some of the new rumours floating around... You'll have to read the entry to understand what I mean by that... :)

From DakkaDakka... A Beauty isn't it.

Now, without further ado, here are the alpha draft rules.

As usual, any comments or criticisms, please let us know via comment, or if you like via Twitter (I am @TWidthofACircle).

Next time... Community Approved Troops and The Wave Serpent.
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