Monday, September 28, 2009

Eldar Hall of Shame

Today's topic: units out of the codex that...just, honestly, don't have a lot of use. I'm going to explain why these units don't see a lot of play, and how, if you really want to, you can use them. If all else fails, I found the picture highly amusing and fitting for some of these guys.

The Most Epic of Failures
Swooping Hawks
I want to like these guys, I really do. I have a soft spot for jump infantry. On the face of it, these guys are bloody fast, with jump packs, fleet, and even the ability to hand off a power weapon to your Exarch without compromising shooting options. They even have some duality with the ability to attack tanks with grenades. What's so bad about them?

The Failbirds
Well, your anti-infantry shooting comes in the form of an S3, AP5, 24" Assault 2 gun. Note the basic trooper is 21 points a head. You get the usual aspect warrior WS/BS4, and I5, and 4+ save. You even get plasma grenades, in case you want to assault into terrain with your S3 and I5, which isn't that great with your base 1 attack.

Well, we mentioned duality, so you are also paying for Haywire Grenades. On a hit, you roll a d6, and a 2-5 is a glance ahile a 6 is a penetrating hit. On the bright side, you can get an Exarch and take Intercept (for a total of 17 points; 12 for the Exarch and 5 for the power) so you'll never need worse than a 4+ to hit a vehicle with these grenades. Too bad you really can't do enough damage with grenades; you need 3 glances to get to an actual damage result, so you might be able to take out a stationary vehicle.

The exarch can take some neato-looking guns; one's a few S5 shots and the other's a heap of S3 shots. You can also take Skyleap and combine that with the Grenade Pack, so you can deep strike, slap an S4, AP5 Large Blast that scatters 1d6 66% of the time on infantry. Combine that with an autarch, and you could theoretically hit infantry out of LOS.

What's this out of LOS striking power cost you? Run an autarch, then 4 guys and Skyleap, and you cost 132. You must also be careful to end up on the table at the end of the game, as otherwise you count as destroyed. Bonus.

Otherwise, you can try to fit them out as a torrent of fire unit; take the full 10-man squad, take the Exarch, grab Intercept, and the Sun Rifle, and you run 237. What's that do in terms of damage?

9x2 S3 shots at BS4, 6 shots of S3 pinning at BS5.
That turns into 12 S3 hits, and 5 S3 pinning hits.
Against T3 enemies, that's 6 regular and 2.5 pinning wounds; it's not that impressive.
Vs. T4? about 6 wounds, total. Impressive. You don't even want to think about the T5+ fellows.

Against tanks that move, you get 5 grenade hits, so you should see 3-4 glances, and maybe a penetrating hit. Also not that impressive.

Dire Avengers can get a transport AND more powerful guns for the price.
Warp Spiders are more durable, and whioe shorter-ranged, they're S6, and gneerally more nimble. I'm still not a huge fan, but they're better than these.

You're Just Not That Useful, But Not As Bad As Those Guys
Dark Reapers
35 points a head for a unit of 3-5 folks with T3 and a 3+ save. Standard issue weapon? An S5, AP3 heavy 2 gun with a 48" range. The Exarch can take 36" S4, AP3 Heavy 2 blast weapon, or a regular Eldar Missile Launcher. On the bright side, the Exarch can take an ability to either get an additional shot, or let his shots ignore cover. NEat, but...

Why take
So, let's say you take a full 5-man squad, an Exarch, and give the Exarch a missile launcher and the ability to double-tap that thing as a nod to killing tanks. You are paying 217. I suppose you could take a 'minimal' squad with the Exarch and the double-tapping BS5 missile launcher, but that still costs you 147 for three guys.

So, they shoot into infantry in cover. Eight S4, AP3 shots. BS4 applies, so 5.3 hits. Let's say the two frag missiles get about 4 hits, just because.
If you shot T3 guys, you get 3.5 wounds from the Reapers and another 2.3 out of the frag. Seriously? This is it? For 217 points of freaking troops?

These guys were meant to be used back in the day when marines were prevalent, and cover saves were generally 5+. At that point? They were neat against marine gunlines. Past that? Not so hot.

Shining Spears
We charge in at WS4, I5, with two S6 power weapon attacks. Our leader gets THREE, but at WS5, or a power weapon. On the bright side, they can get hit 'n' run, and have T4 and a 3+ save on an Eldar Jetbike, which means they don't stop going fast 'til you kill them all. You can also get Skilled Rider, which means going into terrain and killing yourself only happens 1/36 times.

Why Skip this guided missile?
Their big problem is unit size. 3-5 guys in the unit. Also, they forgot Frag Grenades. They're natural MC killers, and if you can fortune them up, ride out a round, and hit 'n' run? Not bad, but if you nuke that unit on the charge, you're 3-5 guys sitting out in front of what's probably an angry army.

They're too much glass hammer; if you want a bike-mounted assault unit just bite the bullet and pay for the Seer Council.

(Dis)Honorable Mention
Regular Guardians
Low morale, and it's basically 80 points plus 5-30 for a BS3 heavy weapon. They'll fold in melee, and if you brought along an Avatar or something else fearless to try to bail them out, you'll learn about the 'joy' that is the No Retreat! rule.

Warp Spiders
Some people swear by them. They're not bad, but they're just not that great. They're mobile, can actually hide in assault with Hit 'n' Run and a guy with power weapons. They only get two shots each at 12", but they're firing S6, AP- shots. Downside? With their ability to go 12" and then another move from the warp generator, you'd think they'd be prime for getting behind vehicles. Too bad you get -1 to vehicle damage results. Past that, an S6 gun is hardly special for Eldar, and they have to be careful what they try to hide in assault with.

I know sometimes folks will value theme over effectiveness, but there are some units in the older codices that just don't need to see the light of day. They do something, and they do it very poorly not only for their codex, but in general. Some units struggle to do stuff, and some just aren't very good at it for their cost. Others can do it well, but are plagued with problems.

Comments and feedback welcome.


suneokun said...

Great Roundup 1313... Gav Thorpe recently (2008 I think) commented at a conference that the Eldar had a 15% benefit over other codici.

On the old codici, I would have agreed. The strength of the Eldar was their ability to 'sandbox' 5 different armies out of the same list... But all codici are built along these lines now.

The Smurf codex is all about variety and resilience. The Ork Codex gives you at least 5 macro builds, and as for the Guard ... I can think of about 4 different guard builds that could spank Eldar in any format.

Even my Tau spank Eldar ... including Harlequins.

Killer IG List:

Primaris Psyker (2D6 S6 shots a turn ... yup)
Command HQ: 4GL in basic Chimera, Power fist, 2 bodyguards.
Inf HQ: 4GL in basic Chimera (Grenade Launchers are the bane of Eldar as they are move and fire (even from a Chimera, and the S6/S3 blast is lethal to lightly armoured pansies).
Squad #1: GL in Chimera.
Squad #2: GL in Chimera.
5 Mortar Teams.
1 Squadron of 3 Hellhounds.
2 Separate Vend/Valks with 2xVets (3xmelta, PF)
Hydra Squadron x 3
Leman Russ Squadron, 3 Battle Cannons.
3 x Bassies

Tactics: Bassies and Mortars sit back and pound the fixed units with indirect - yes thats 15 S4 blast templates a turn and 3 S9.

Leman Russ Squadron up the middle with the battlecannons booming. Hellhounds charge a flank with the Chimera (Heavy flamer variant) to flamer sniper and take objectives.

Chimeras move and fire S6 krak or S3 blast grenades with Primaris bringing 2D6 S6 shots a turn.

Vendettas/Valks bring outflank and melta-vet death.

Hydra are your anti-jetbike weapon, allowing you to 'shave off' the scoring units, ignoring their cover saves.

If a seercouncil is likely, swap the Leman Russ for Collosus and pray some good hits. Collosus ignores cover saves and is AP3 - giving the seercouncil a 4+ rerollable.

Otherwise torrent of fire with lasguns.

jabberjabber said...

I wanna like Swooping Hawks as well - I think I've got some really old miniatures of them tucked away somewhere.

Raptor1313 said...

I'd love to know how Gav came up with that number, but I suspect its origin is some place that gets little sun and smells foul. Eldar are strong at meching up, but still you really see full mech, or mech w/ Seer Council.

Eldar also abjectily hate those Hydras; that's a lotta flak that nullifies the go-fast save.

Hellhounds are nasty just in principle; Hellhound + Hull Multi-melta = what the SM Speeder wishes it was.

I have some trouble with heavily-mech'ed guard with Eldar, and once they learn to bring anti-psychic gets worse.

Dverning said...

Hrm... I'd contend that Reapers do have ONE viable build: 2 DR + Exarch w Tempest Launcher & Crack Shot. Hides behind a building and lobs Blast fire on incoming Marines.

Not perfect, but not horrid. I also like Spiders for their maneuverability, but only in larger games where I needs slots more than points.

Otherwise, preach it! You're dead on with this analysis.

Raptor1313 said...

I think Reapers lose out in general because they're waaaay too focused on killing marines. They can do it, but most marines...well...are in these bizarre contraptions called Rhinos that laughs off S4 shots.

I suppose three + a guess weapon and crack/fast shot could work, but I still think it's a bit of a waste. Still like 130-140 for three guys, which is what really makes me cringe.

I think if Reapers got a cost break, relentless, and a better gun I'd consider using them. Maybe if they all had autocannons or something, you'd see them. THEN they'd actually fill a niche. I'd really love autocannons and some kind of 'gotta spot me' ability, as that might make them usable. I'm probably dreaming, though.

Faolain said...

I love the model, but it cracks me up how Maugan Ra is armed so totally differently from his squad. Furthermore, the fact that the tempest launcher has 12" less range is fail. However, with crack shot that thing will clear marines like no other.

Also, notice how three of your choices were from our Fast Attack slot? Aren't Eldar supposed to be the masters of that?

Raptor1313 said...

Maugan Ra was supposedly the model for a Death Jester hero. I'd honestly probably roll him with Harlies and another Death Jester maybe, on foot. Might get some mileage out of Ra, then.

It is kind of ironic that most of our fast attack section sucks, but the army as a whole is pretty mobile. I mean, when you get down to it the slowest thing we have is a tie between the AVatar, Wraithlord, and Striking Scorpions; all of which lack fleet or any other speed boost.