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.
...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.
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
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.)