Sunday, June 2, 2013

Eldar Codex Review

I swung by the local store on Sunday for a tournament and was pleasantly surprised to see plenty of copies of the Eldar codex, as well as plenty of the new boxes. I'd promised myself I wouldn't be buying any new models, but I let myself splurge a little and get the book. 

As with the Tau codex, I am still impressed with the quality and appearance of the book. There is a good bit of very cool artwork, much of which I haven't seen before. I particularly like the art on the coverpage:

Moving on to the rules, starting with the Farseer, he's gone up in base points, but comes with 3 powers standard. Additionally, the runes of witnessing and runes of warding got nerfed big time, and I'm not sure they're worth taking anymore. They both are one-use only. A surprising number of the Farseer powers are warp-charge 2. Combined with the Ghosthelm allowing you to expend a warp charge point to ignore a Perils wound, it makes it unlikely you will cast three powers a turn. As for the Warlocks, they come with a single power on the battle runes table, the primaris power of which is Conceal, which gives Shrouded to the psyker and his unit. I can speak from experience that this makes a Guardian squad in cover very tough to dig out. If your farseer gets Fortune, they become even harder, getting re-rollable 2+ or 3+ cover saves.

Speaking of the guardians, between the Battle Focus rule and the increased Ballistic Skill, they've become pretty dangerous and reliable. This is not a unit that you're going to use to hunt down opponents, but hunker down on a strategic location, refuse to move, and punish anyone who tries to move them. Against a defensive army like Tau they might be less valuable since they're liable to be left alone. But against an offensive opponent, they might have to come to you, making them fairly strong.

The new units seem interesting, the most valuable of which might be the Crimson Hunter or the Wraithseer. The Wraithseer makes Wraithguard and Wraithblades troops, and the Iyanden-style list viable. They're certainly tough and no longer suffer from needing a babysitter in every unit. The Crimson Hunter has great tank-hunting capability, and will be very good at knocking opposing flyers out of the sky. The Wraithblades seem interesting, and while they might not be a knock-out unit exactly, but they certainly should be tough and able to succeed in grinding out two round combats ideally, setting them up to move on to the next unit in their following turn.

The remainder of the changes seem fairly minor. The Wave Serpent got a lot tougher and potentially dangerous with the Serpent Shield, but is pretty pricey. Dire Avengers got a little better, Fire Dragons might have become too expensive, Striking Scorpions might be a little more viable with Move Through Cover and Stealth.

EDIT-UPDATE: After further review, the Crimson Hunter might be even more valuable than I made out since it's relatively one of the cheaper AA options out there. Warwalkers and Dark Reaper Exarchs can get flakk missiles, but I think that's about it, and they're quite pricey for that option. Warwalkers come in over 100 points a piece if you give them two missile launchers. Granted, the missile launcher is flexible enough that they're not stuck being just AA, but can handle hordes and tanks with the other two missile types.

Heavy Support is definitely crowded, and I'm not sure I can say any of the eight options are bad. This is something I noticed in the Tau book, that, at least in my opinion and at first glance, there are few if any "auto-include" units that army must take in order to be competitive. I'm really liking the flexibility that allows players to stick with units or themes they like. That said, considering the meta in 6th edition, the combat aspects will still be a tough sell. I could see any craftworld-based themed army being balanced and competitive except maybe Biel-Tan, depending on your non-aspect supplements.

Final note for now - Asurmen is a beast, expensive, but pretty awesome, with the potential for three Warlord Traits. The Dire Sword (and his special version) can remove a model from play. Not instant death, remove from play. From my reading, that means Eternal Warrior or reanimation or anything else does not take effect. Granted, he has to cause a wound and then the target fail a Leadership test, but still, there's always that chance.

That's my brief take on the book. What are your impressions from what you've heard/seen? Any questions/curiosities?