Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Eldar: Back In The Box

After some thought, my Eldar are probably going to take a break. They've been fun, but I'm starting to feel their age, and I'd initially gotten them because I could get several builds out of the codex. However, I don't much feel that's the case any more.

Maybe I just need a break from them, but I think I may be setting them down until I see a new codex for them.

Options (and lack thereof) in Builds
Frankly, I feel like the only real way to run Eldar is either fully or partially mechanized. If we're partially mechanized, then it's because we have Rangers, Guardian Jetbikes, or a Seer Council.

Once you get to that, well...it's all into the 'vagaries' of the mech build. Which brings me to the 'glut' of 'quality' options I feel that the Eldar have.

Eldar 'Choices' in the Force Org Chart
The Autarch? No, not really. While he's got okish saves, and a neat reserves ability, he just doesn't DO a lot on the field. He usually ends up being a high BS meltagun and a power weapon, if I bother to bring him and not something like, oh, a Vyper.

Phoenix Lords? Crap, for 200 points in a pure fighting HQ, I want to be able to eat a squad in a turn. These guys? They can't, and they don't have a real impact on the build. Sure, some of them are cool (IE: Maugan freakin' Ra), but for 190-200 points? They just don't DO much.

That really leaves me with a Farseer, a Farseer on a bike, or Eldrad. If it's a Farseer on a bike, I've committed to either a Seer Council or a Guardian Jetbike Score-Squad.

The Seer Council is a SWEET wrecking ball...unless the other guy brought psychic defenses. Then, well, you have a 600pt squad that is about as durable as space marines in cover. On the other hand, he has about a turn to hurt them before they get in his face and start killing things, so it's a gamble. While I had fun modelling and painting them, playing them gets dicier as people start learning to take psychic defenses, and soon it becomes 1/3 my army in one basket, which means if they fold without doing a lot of damage, I am in trouble. If they don't, I'm in good shape to start cleaning up.

So, we have two Fire Dragons in Wave Serpents. Really. It's pretty much mandatory if I want to actually KILL armor/monstrous creatures reliably. Sometimes they get a sixth guy, the Exarch w/ heavy flamer. Sometimes they're just five fellas with meltaguns. On the one hand, honestly, they're among the nastiest anti-tank troopers out there. On the other hand? Um. They're one use. I don't care who you're playing; unless you get lucky with placement the enemy WILL nuke them (or their ride, if not both) next turn. They're not suicide troops so much as major target priorities.

Other than that, we have...let's see, Scorps and Banshees, which both have issues launching assaults out of Wave Serpents. Then there's Harlequins, which aren't bad, but have issues with being shot at (...should the enemy get lucky and see you before you assault him, well, you have 5+ saves to keep you safe, and those will surely work...)

So, we have Dire Avengers, suicidal Storm Guardians, camping Rangers, Wraithguard, and Jetbikes.

Dire Avengers just don't do enough damage. Even with Bladestorm and Doom, you just won't drop a ton of targets if they have cover, and/or go to ground, or are Marines. Usually, the only time mine hit the board is if their Falcon pops.

Storm Guardians are spiffy with flamers, but...gee, T3 and a 5+ save will do what for you? Get you killed because you fell out of the back of a Wave Serpent? Yeah. It will do that for you, but you'll at least KO infantry in cover, which is something the eldar need help with every now and then.

Guardian Jetbikes usually mean a Farseer riding with them, and while not bad, they don't do a lot other than fire shuriken cannons at 24". Every now and then, they might torrent an enemy infantyr unit that gets close. I might also be a little jaded about that one time I had one move into cover, lose enough guys to take a morale check, and run off the board on turn one.

Fast Attack
...I run Vypers every now and then, poitns permitting? They are not bad, but still, I can't help but think of the days of Space Marines, when I dropped 70 points for an MM/HF speeder, or 90 for a HB/Typhoon speeder, and it was good. The Vyper is reasonably versatile as well, but still feels like a pale shadow of the Land Speeder.

Shining Spears, Swooping Hawks, and Warp Spiders don't really draw the attention, though Warp Spiders did at least work for me a bit here and there. Still, the AP- was a huge turnoff for versatility.

Heavy Support
I tried Wraithlords/Wraithguard. Too slow, and there's only so much durability will do for you. If the other guy can sucker punch you, well, it hurts. Additionally, there's only so much that shooting will do for you, and Wraithlords take too long to get into melee.

War Walkers are neat, but S6 only gets you so much. Additionally, they're bloody expensive; $90 a squad before tax.

That pretty much leaves me with Falcons (Scatter Laser + Shuriken Cannon + Holofield) holding Dire Avengers and a Farseer in the back and a Fire Prism w/ Shurikannon. It's a decent firebase, but doesn't make for a ton of variety.

I just feel like there's not a lot I can do with the Eldar. And, the thing is? I got into them thinking that I could do several builds with them, and purchased accordingly. Well, now I've gotten rid of the Wraithguard, the Wraithlords, and have it pared down to what I use.

I'm running 5-6 grav tanks, I'm running ~10 Dire Avengers, I'm running a Farseer, I'm running two Fire Dragon squads in Wave Serpents...and that's kind of the start of Mech Eldar. There just ISN'T that much that I can do with the codex, I feel. And, the thing is, my ranged firepower is only so-so. With a pristine army on turn one, I can crank out:
3 TL Bright Lances
2 TL Pulse Lasers
Prism shot
2 Scatter Lasers, sometimes.

That just isn't a lot of lead. It doesn't always do the trick.

I don't know. Had I gotten into Eldar with the knowledge that I'd be playing Mech Eldar and Mech Eldar alone, I think it might have been a different story. I don't necessarily want to be 'Mr. Bandwagon', but on the other hand, the new codices DO have some draw in terms of the number of builds they put out. I've enjoyed the modeling project that is my BT army. The Tau are fun, but I was never under the illusion that they'd have another real build I was into before a new codex came out.

Maybe if the new 'nids look cool, I will return to the bugs. If not, maybe space pups. Or, I might just hold tight with two armies and save my money.

/Frustration, Annoyance (Hey, it happens to all of us, yes? Yes.)


Bocman said...

Yeah after spending the last month and a half playing around with lists (not playing the army...just lists. yay deployment) it looks more and more that I get channeled into the exact same thing, without giving way much for versatility. It really kind of sucks, as I've dumped a metric crap ton of money into eldar in the hopes that it would be a good sideline for my CSM army, but the codex just hasn't gotten enough love in past years.

I'm leaning towards hopping on the bandwagon and finally getting some sort of SM army...but that's a good time off so we'll see.

Mercer said...

I think you've hit it on the head with the Eldar. All the unit you side are ok are the ones I run anyway.

I found that the elite close combat units are disappointing, however for me Striking Scorpions are the best. If Scorpions had fleet they would be better, and the addition of buying any member of the squad a power weapon. I guess making Wave Serpents assault vehicles would be nice, as Eldar move quickly in the background I cannot see that as being a problem.

Dverning said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dverning said...

Sadly, I have to agree. The codex was great when it came out, but 5th and the newer Codexes have left it wanting. At normal game levels, mech really is the only competitive build right now... and it's still second string compared to some. (I think non-mech Eldar are still nice at 1K and less or at 2.5K+, but that's an aside.)
I don't mind the dynamic too much as I built my Eldar with the idea of mech from the start... back in 2nd edition. But this and my love of the new Wolves 'dex has mostly relegated my Eldar to friendlies, pure-mech, or when I'm proving a point about "generalship > list". I certainly would NOT take them to a real tournament and expect Overall.

Nix603 said...

Its sad to see another Eldar player drift to the newer armies, but very understandable. Personally I do not like tanks as a primary part of my force and even I have 8 grav tanks sitting in my case.

I will be sticking with Eldar, even with the rumors of the new Nids making that very hard. I figure it will improve my generalship overall until the codex is updated, then we will see how things go.

Raptor1313 said...

My other big problem is that for the amount of money I sank into the army, there just isn't that much that I really, honestly, routinely use.

Looking at it from a models perspective, I use:
6 Grav Tanks (6x$40)
~10 Dire Avengers ($35)
10-12 Fire Dragons ($60)
1 Farseer ($15)
Total for 'core': $415

Now, on top of that, I own a grand total of:
30 Dire Avengers
Seer Council on Jetbikes
2 Vypers
10 Banshees
10 Rangers

And I'd initially bought 10 Wraithguard and 3 Wraithlords (...which is $220 off the shelf, though e-bayed for a bit less than that).

I mean, crap, if I'd gotten all that off the shelf instead of via trades/e-bay?

We're readily talking something like $600-$700, and barely 1/3 of that turns out usable.

It's when I do math like that, that GW hacks me off. I mean, if they actually put out a freakin' ELDAR CODEX that had VARIETY, I would be happy. I would probably go out and buy Wraithlords all over again, if they did something other than draw a lot of anti-tank fire.

I'd initially bowed out of Space Marines because I felt 'restricted' to 2-4 builds.

Then I picked up Eldar, and...well...wow. I got perspective.

I will still hold onto my Eldar as I had fun with them, but just...ugh.

Stelek said...

Stop copying me. :P

Lantz said...

All I have to say is, "amen."

You've spoken every word my head has had in the last 4 months.

Raptor1313 said...

All your fault for saying half of what I was thinking anyway. ;P You just prodded it in the direction.

...well, that, and I started playing Tau and seeing what firepower was all about. Switching from BS3 TL Bright Lances to Hammerheads is a heady experience in terms of making things go away.

Raptor1313 said...

@Stelek (partially)
What did it more, though, on further thought:

I was updating my army lists to 2k and realized that I could ctrl C, ctrl V most of the spreadsheet from tab to tab.


Because half the units in the 'dex (or more, but that number gets depressing) Just Don't Cut It that much.

The Stelek Eldar Codex REview actually goes into a little more depth on it. Easy(ish) set of links to several posts:


Anonymous said...

Psh rob you don't hear from me in months and don't even say "I miss you"! Bastard!

jk, I miss your soft touch and good games haha.

-Boc (forgot the log in for my page and too lazy to check my email ftl)

Raptor1313 said...


That's because the rail guns DON't miss you! >D

When are you getting back in town? I know it's some time in the next...um...year? I want to say six months.

Anonymous said...

I may be back sometime around June for a few weeks, but I'll be spending that with the wife...otherwise occupied haha.

If I have a 3 hour block of free time I'll definitely hit you up for a game.

Other than that...October next year will be the next time I'll be back.

Anonymous said...

I understand where most of you are comming from but im simply to devoted to my eldar :(. I know people want to get the best numbers out of there armies (points vs efficiency), but i think more hybrid(creative) builds are needed.
A geared up Autarch in a Shining spears unit, WITH a complementary unit of swooping hawks. Now everyone i talked to told me even using hawks is, and i quote "retard, stupid". However every time i field them they MORE then make up there point cost. I think if people re thought there strategies to how they play, and kept it less fluffy they would have a lot more fun. Ive used "custom" armies several time and each time pulls out a win. (could be my amazing luck at dice rolling)

But seriously tooled out autarch on a jet bike supported by a unit of shinning spears rips tanks, and just about all types of infantry i run into.Playing smart of course helps and the deep strike abuse with hawks.