Final Thoughts on the Codex
The Eldar have retaken the mantle of "fastest army" in Warhammer 40000, and have done so with an almost tangible bang. From fast skimmer tanks that can be upgraded to move up to thirty six inches a turn, to even the most basic infantry covering an average distance of ten inches a turn while firing normally and Jetbikes galore, this is an army that simply dominates the movement phase. Though their success won't always be based around their incredible mobility, it is the defining trait of the army; that they can move into range, fire for full effect, and then retreat back to safe distance. This makes them almost the ultimate hit and run army - it helps that the special rule makes an appearance numerous times here - with cheap scoring Jetbikes and fast skimmer tanks that are unreasonably difficult to destroy. They now have access to arguably one of the best units in the game in the form of the main battle tank and dedicated transport, the Wave Serpent; capable of soaking up immense damage while destroying enemy vehicles rather easily, that it can safely offload nasty forces is all the better than before. The army is geared towards annihilating elite infantry and monstrous creatures, with even the humble Guardian bearing a two shot weapon with semi-Rending; the sheer number of auto-wounds at AP two or one available in the codex is ridiculous, particularly with high Ballistic Skill and re-rolls for to-hits and to-wounds so readily available. They emphasise psychic support above most other armies, barring Tyranids, in that they have cheap access to mastery level three psykers in the form of Farseers; that they can guarantee two powers that grant re-rolls to hit is deliciously vile in an army with so much high Strength shooting.
What really strikes me about the army is the sheer number of viable units; the codex is wonderfully internally balanced, with few real outliers and almost any unit well worth the investment in a balanced army. Though some are clearly superior choices in their slot, such as Warp Spiders or Wave Serpents as opposed to Falcons, there is very little reason not to employ many of these units owing to their clearly defined and separate roles; Swooping Hawks face stiff resistance from their arachnid buddies, but are simply fiendish denial, anti-vehicle and light-infantry killers. Like always though, they are an army with a lot of inherent fragility - at least as far as the non-vehicular units are concerned - and as such they remain a finesse army with lots of expensive, but very powerful choices. An army, in short, for veteran and new players alike looking for an intriguing and rewarding challenge with gloriously detailed models.
Allies - Unlike the Tau, the Eldar can be very selective of their potential allies; they abhor the Necrons, their ancient foes, as well as the scions of Chaos - no matter the god they owe their allegiance. Of course, there isn't much to those armies that Eldar would really require anyway; they deal well enough with elite armies that the benefits brought by either Necrons or Chaos Space Marines, specifically masses of high strength shooting and baleflamers, are almost superfluous. Chaos Daemons are always an odd duck out with some of the crazy good units they can bring such as massed flying monstrous creatures or Flesh Hounds, but do you really need more speed in an army as mobile as Eldar? The only other limitations are the Desperate Allies; the Sisters of Battle and Orks. Hilarious as it is, the two pet races of the Old Ones can indeed be allied together; more likely, the Eldar would manipulate scores of Orks to do their bidding. The two actually make for a very nasty match-up, as Orks bring potent anti-air units in the form of Lootas as well as deadly and mobile assault units - Shoota Boyz and Nob Bikerz are typical here - for a generally low price. The Sisters, on the other hand, bring some tougher bodies to the field as well as some truly nasty tricks and good firepower; though they don't solve the potential issue of Eldar with which the Craftworld kin can only really bring Crimson Hunters to bear, no one wants to face Saint Celestine or massed Exorcists. From there, the Eldar can ally with a range of armies rather conveniently, with some of the more interesting options being Grey Knights - psykers, psykers everywhere! - and Imperial Guard, both of whom provide strong melee options as well as the firepower to more adequately deal with hordes. Keeping in mind that the Eldar are seemingly tailor made to annihilate elite armies, they do suffer somewhat against hordes and the tougher enemy fliers - the latter mostly if Interceptor weapons are in abundance. Happily, Imperial Guard cover up almost any deficiency far better than any player could hope for; Sabre Defence Platforms, Hydras, Basilisks, Medusae and Griffons alike - as well as a slew of other options - are all fantastic at dealing with either of those stated targets, and are darned cost effective to boot.
|"I heard we might have new rules!" "I can't wait! It's been too long!"|
Other Codices and the Meta - While the Tau were certainly a kick in the teeth to the general meta, with sheer amounts of ignores cover - and armour - shooting at high strength values that hit so darned reliably. It gets even more ridiculous when you consider there is more Skyfire and Interceptor in the codex than all of the previous6th Edition books combined; by contrast, the Eldar are probably happier to just sit it out somewhat and go along. Much unlike the Tau or the Heldrake, the Eldar don't seem to be having a truly far reaching impact on the meta, save that they are now popularizing fast skimmer tanks with Wave Serpents and Fire Prisms being so strong. The anti-tank solutions employed by some simply don't function well at all against these vehicles, particularly with holo fields providing nasty 4+ or higher cover saves on AV12 skimmers that can ignore penetrating hits. That the army itself, from the most basic infantry to the towering Wraithknight, are designed to shred elite units and high Toughness monsters is a double blow against the monstrous forces employed by both Daemons and Tyranids, both of whom were already reeling after the Tau release.
The Eldar also bring some of the cheapest and most effective mastery level three psykers in the game in the form of the Farseer, whereas the sheer mobility of the force provided by Battle Focus and fast tanks allows them to dominate the movement phase and really choose their engagements. Slower armies or those not equipped with significant amounts of ignores cover weaponry at good ranges may simply find themselves led about by the nose all game while being severely crippled by the mass of shuriken or monofilament firepower on offer. The Craftworlders also bring perhaps the toughest monster that can be found in a regular game, with the Wraithknight used commonly as both hammer and anvil packaged into one; a true terror weapon that, in conjunction with speedy units such as Jetbikes and Wave Serpents, can really put test to enemies early on. I feel that they aren't particularly vulnerable to any form of army, though forces that employ tough aircraft and in turn have massed Interceptor weaponry will prove an issue for a mono-Eldar force owing to the fragility of their fliers. Additionally, unless Shadow Weavers or Fire Prisms are employed in decent numbers, Eldar lack a significant enough amount of blast weaponry to effectively deal with horde armies; thankfully, against Tyranids in particular, they can neutralize the monsters and large targets quite easily.
I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to everyone involved in the development and editing of this series; though I am the sole writer, the contributions of our fans and my family and friends have nonetheless been significant. A warm thank you to everyone that has commented on or viewed these articles; you have really helped me out to not only to keep these articles going, but to correct any mistakes that I have made. I hope this has been an entertaining and provocative series that has inspired you to either start up or add on to an existing Eldar force, perhaps even learn how to effectively combat their units by understanding their weaknesses and strengths. It has been really intriguing to see the direction that 6th Edition is taking, with the Eldar proving that the movement phase is more important than ever in Warhammer 40000. Fully of nasty tricks and surprises as befits their fluff, I look forward to seeing Eldar feature at tournaments and in gaming stores across the world; feel free to share your experiences with them and see just how powerful they really are! Thanks again, I hoped you enjoyed this series!
For the Craftworld!