In this post, I'm going to go through the thought process and choices made in making a list, based on what is available and the tactics I expect to employ. For this first List Building post, I have chosen to make 1,000 point Eldar list using the new codex. I chose Eldar for the obvious reason that they're new and everyone is still feeling out what will work and what they might need to change in their collection. That said, I will only be including models I already own, so I unfortunately won't be exploring the new units. I chose the point level for this list for two reasons: 1.) my local store has monthly 1k Tournaments which is where I do a fair bit of my limited gaming. 2.) I don't have an extensive collection of Eldar available, so 1,000 points will force me to make some choices whereas at 1,500 points I could probably take just about everything I own.
To begin, we have to outline what our options are. As I said, my collection is pretty limited and generally out of date. For a long time I had scattered Eldar minis because I liked them and wanted to paint them, but never had full unit sizes. That, combined with occasional spurts where I planned on building an army, namely an Ulthwe list from the Eye of Terror book, leaves me with this collection:
20 Guardian Defenders
10 Storm Guardians
1 Missile Launcher platform w/2 crew
1 unassembled weapons platform w/2 crew - Scatterlaser, Starcannon, and Bright Lance Options
10 Guardians on sprue with bits to make them Defenders or Storm
5 Dire Avengers including Exarch (there should be 3 more somewhere, but I haven't found them)
2 Rangers (like the 3 Dire Avengers though, they are currently lost in the warp)
6 Warp Spiders including an Exarch
2 Swooping Hawks
Falcon with Scatter laser
Metal Wraithlord - unassembled with Scatterlaser, starcannon, and bright lance options
Now that we have all the possible choices, my next step is to get an idea of what I want my army to do. With 5/6 of missions revolving around capturing and holding objectives, I find having a strong, solid Troops core is vital to my lists, so that is where I should start my plan. Fortunately, despite my limited collection, I have a strong representation of Troops, which will set the tone for the rest of my list.
In this case, I have a lot of Guardians and little else. From limited experience on the field, as well as reading through the book, I've come to like Guardian Defender squads as versatile and solid objective holders. At 1,000 points, I'm comfortable with having just 10 in a squad. Two squads, each with a weapon platform, give me the ability to hold objectives in my own zone. For the weapon systems, I would like to use two missile launchers, increasing their flexibility, but my unassembled models don't include a second missile launcher, so I will have to settle for only one. Of my remaining choices, it really comes down to either a starcannon or a bright lance. For now, I'll set aside the 20 points each cost, and look to how the rest of my army pans out to see where I might have further needs.
While I have the minimum troops requirements taken care of, I might as well take care of the other required slot: HQ. For me, this is a no brainer - Farseer. Eldrad is a bit too expensive for my taste at 1,000 points, though he does provide some nice psychic pop. That said, if I wanted to, I could potentially take a second Farseer and still spend less. While I'm in HQ, I might as well pick up a Warlock for each of my Defender squads. I know that 90% of the time, they will be sticking with Conceal to make my backfield objective holders survivable.
Now that I've taken care of my requirements and a couple options for them, it's time to take stock before moving on to the rest of the list. I've spent 400 points, leaving me 600 to go. How I spend those points should be based on what I still need to accomplish my goals. As it stands, my force is very defensive minded, but without a lot of range. Eldar are not Tau. This seems so obvious as to be nonsensical, but it's important to remember; my guardians, while they may be primarily used in my backfield, will not be laying down much fire at approaching enemies or stalling their advance. My army is currently lacking a way to get to grips with the opponent on my terms reliably, and a way to reliably move forward and threaten my opponent's backfield.
My remaining options are Dire Avengers, Storm Guardians, more Guardians, Warp Spiders, a Falcon, and a Wraithlord. As I mentioned before, I like a strong basis of Troops, and I need something that can move forward and contest. My first choice for this is going to surprisingly, be Storm Guardians. I know they've been derided, and admittedly are not a close combat powerhouse, but that's not what I plan to use them for. I'll start by picking up another Warlock to help them as they advance either by giving cover or, should good luck happen, through a relevant buffing power they roll. This unit is going to be moving forward and threatening my opponent's deployment zone. One high value target they could go for is enemy artillery or vehicles, and I can give two guardians Fusion Guns. To add to the unit's tank-busting postential at short range, I will give the Warlock a singing spear. My final option is whether to add Power swords or not. For now, I'll opt out, but will add them if I have 30 points.
That squad takes my total up to 550, 450 to go. My next addition will be the Dire Avengers, who can help support the Storm Guardians from midfield. Partly because I have the model and partly because I like the scary potential, even if unlikely, I'm going to have them led by an Exarch with a Diresword. From my early interpretation, this weapon doesn't cause instant death, it simply removes opponents from play if they fail a Ld test. That will make the most hardened Eternal Warrior pause. Now, to give him an even slight chance of using the weapon, I might want to give the Exarch one or more of his powers. Disarm is nice in that it gives me a shot at taking away a potentially nasty weapon. Shield of Grace allows me to use the Exarch as a sacrificial lamb, accepting the challenge of a unit-shredder and potentially holding him up for a while. Finally, Battle fortune also gives an invulnerable save like Shield of Grace, but he gets it outside of challenges and can still attack with his full complement of 3, 4 on the Charge/Counter Charge. To that end, I'll give him just Battle Fortune, though Disarm is tempting. That said, he's already 58 points out of 110 for the entire unit.
I've now spent 660 of my 1,000 points and still only have 2 long ranged weapons. My Heavy Support options are the Falcon and the Wraithlord. Of the two, I like the Falcon more, particularly when I give it a Scatter Laser. The falcon can transport my small Dire Avengers squad, as well as take out tanks with its Pulse Laser, which becomes twin linked if I hit with the Scatter laser. That leaves me with just over 200 points remaining, and choices of more Guardians, another Farseer, Warp Spiders, or a Wraithlord.
Looking at the Warp Spiders' jump pack, I'm intrigued by how incredibly fast this unit can be. They can move up to a maximum potential of 18" in the movement phase (though one member would randomly be lost to the Warp on a double) with a realistic expectation of around 13". They can then run and fire their weapons, which are admittedly only 12" range. Finally, they are jet-packs, so they get to move a further 2D6 in the assault phase. All in all, they move 6 + 4D6" in a turn. That is a lot of randomness in their movement, but you could realistically expect them to cover about 20" in a turn, making them a threat to contest objectives at any point in the game. Considering I don't have jetbikes, they could give me some needed speed. Not to mention, I like the idea of the Monofilament rules against Tau, Necrons, and Orks, not to mention the fact that they can hurt transports. 6 Spiders with an Exarch tooled up a bit with fast shot, marksman's eye, and a Spinneret rifle (giving him 2-3 S6-7 AP1 shots that are precision on 5+) come in at 164 points.
That gives me just enough points to round out my list with power swords for the Storm Guardians and Disarm for the Dire Avenger Exarch. My final list comes in at 999 points and looks like this:
3 Warlocks: 1 Singing Spear
10 Guardians: Eldar Missile Launcher
10 Guardians: Bright Lance or Starcannon
10 Storm Guardians: 2 Fusion Guns, 2 Power Swords
5 Dire Avengers: Exarch with Diresword, Battle Fortune, and Disarm Strike
6 Warp Spiders: Exarch with Spinneret Rifle, Fast Shot, and Marksman's Eye
Falcon: Scatter Laser
I am not going to say this is a perfect list by any stretch, or even optimized based on what I have. Only time will tell if I made the right choices or if I should drop one of the aspect warrior squads for another Farseer to increase my Psychic assault or a Wraithlord to give me something tough and strong. I'm sure as I play with the list I'll change my mind often.
But what are your thoughts? You've made it through this long post, so you deserve a say. What builds will I have trouble against, keeping in mind it's 1,000 points? Would you take something different if you were me? Also, are the restrictions to this exercise too much? Do I need to at least entertain the idea of adding more models?