9 Jun 2013

Eldar Tactica - Special Characters

Hey there everyone, I am Learn2Eel and today I want to talk about the new and improved Eldar! The Eldar have an extensive array of special characters, all of which have written their names into the stars through deeds of bravery and skill. I hope you enjoy this article!

As one of the most ancient of races in the Warhammer 40000 universe, it is fitting that the Eldar would have such an extensive array of special characters; warriors and seers who have surpassed legend to become the shining rays of hope for a dying species. The struggle for survival is grim for the children of Asuryan, but with such capable leaders at their head, they have as yet avoided the Rhana Dandra - the final battle, the apocalypse. The most famous of their kind is doubtless the High Farseer Eldrad, a psyker without parallel and guide to the Eldar. Illic Nightspear, a Ranger of Craftworld Alaitoc, is a precise and deadly sniper as much imbued with the trickery of the laughing god as the Harlequins themselves. Even despite the fall of Craftworld Iyanden, Prince Yriel remains a powerful warlord with considerable martial prowess, fighting even despite a doom he cannot avoid. The Phoenix Lords themselves, the greatest of all Eldar warriors, are other-worldly avatars of death that personify the Aspects they lead. All are interesting choices that deserve play-testing of some form; though generic commanders may be cheaper and provide better value in some cases, the special characters have specific wargear and rules at their disposal that could prove their worth. Uniquely, all Eldar special characters have a preset Warlord Trait or, in the case of Asurmen, roll D3 times on the Warlord chart, giving an Eldar player less random elements to concern themselves with.

Special Characters

Eldrad Ulthran, High Farseer of Ulthwe - The most iconic of all Eldar, and the Warhammer 40000 counterpart to Teclis - they even share the same basic pose! - Eldrad is a master psyker that comfortably sits at the top of a very distinguished selection of special characters. As the High Farseer of Ulthwe, Eldrad is a master of the art of divining the future; affording him a pre-selected Warlord Trait that, once per game, grants Stealth to both himself and all friendly Eldar units within twelve inches during an enemy shooting phase. For what is very much a support character in an army that features highly mobile and durable skimmer tanks as well as dangerous yet fragile Infantry, this is a great boon and eases the pain of rolling on a random chart and hoping for the best. His age and experience have seen him crafted or granted unique wargear that can have a significant impact on the game; most notable of which is his Staff of Ulthamar, an AP three force weapon with the Fleshbane special rule. With but two attacks, owing to bearing two melee weapons, and three on the charge, he isn't a great melee character, but he can nonetheless be a scary proposition for monstrous creatures and power-armoured or worse characters alike - his Weapon Skill and Initiative of five are also quite useful here. The really interesting aspect of the Staff is the Spiritlink special rule; after each successful psychic test, Eldrad regains a warp charge point. Given that psychic powers cannot be cast more than once in the same turn, this may not seem like it is very useful; that is until one takes into account both Eldrad's Ghosthelm, allowing him to ignore Perils of the Warp by expending a warp charge point, and the sheer number of Mastery Level two spells in both the Runes of Fate and Telepathy psychic disciplines. It is very much defensive in nature, and should allow Eldrad to, on average, spend five warp charge points in each turn for any number of differing purposes. As a mastery level four psyker, Eldrad has few equals when manifesting the eldritch powers; generating four spells from each of the powerful lores available to him, including Divination, is incredible and, in conjunction with both the Ghosthelm and the Staff of Ulthamar, should lead to him dominating the psychic aspect of a game.

Of course, one might wonder whether a stock Farseer would be a better investment than Eldrad; after all, one can feasibly purchase two Farseers for marginally less than the High Farseer, attaining two mastery level three psykers to spread around. While this is certainly true, it fails to recognise the amazing advantages that Eldrad brings to the table compared to a regular Farseer that make him incredibly cost-effective. As well as the Staff's capabilities and his guaranteed Warlord Trait, Eldrad allows the player to react to the opposing player in a manner that can change the game; typically, the advantage to going second is that the player can counter what the opponent does through smart deployment. If an army featuring Eldrad deploys first, however, this advantage is quickly lost; after both sides have deployed, but before Scout moves, Eldrad's force can redeploy D3+1 units - with a few restrictions, such as not bringing reserves on to the field - to negate the tactics of the opponent. Imagine a squad of Dire Avengers holding an objective are set down on a flank, and they are soon faced by an unassailable Land Raider that aims to sweep them aside and bunker down on that objective while attacking the exposed rear of the Eldar forces. Employing Eldrad, the Eldar player reacts and switches a Wraithknight armed with Heavy Wraithcannons, as well as a Wave Serpent bearing a squad of Fire Dragons, to counter the threat and ensure that the opponent cannot achieve victory on that front. Despite weakening their forces elsewhere, the Eldar player can smash an expensive transport and the unit inside with little difficulty, and focus the rest of their attention on the lesser forces elsewhere. While this is a rather extreme example, it nonetheless serves to give the Eldar player a very fluid approach to any game; set up first and proceed to counter the enemy deployment with Eldrad, or do so anyway by deploying second. It is a fantastic ability that should be used wherever it is needed; even if you deploy second, but feel you made a mistake, you can employ it to ease your doubts and sway the game.

For what is such a strong character, one would expect his defences to be fitting of the price tag. And indeed they are, as he has not only a Toughness of four - highly irregular for an Eldar on foot that doesn't bear the title of Phoenix Lord - but an invulnerable save of 3+. Combined with strong melee weapons, an amazing array of psychic powers from Divination, Telepathy and the Runes of Fate that can allow him to re-roll saving throws or boost the cover saves of his unit, as well as his higher than average Toughness, Eldrad is very difficult to kill provided he is not used rashly. His Ghosthelm also provides him a natural defence against Perils of the Warp, an advantage that neither Ahriman or Fateweaver possess. Bearing both the Runes of Warding, for a one time 2+ Deny the Witch save against a particularly nasty psychic power, and the Runes of Witnessing, for ensuring his psychic powers on Leadership ten are successful in one turn, Eldrad is amazingly cost-effective and what he pays for his boosted abilities is negligible when directly contrasted with a Farseer. He is an incredible character for his points that, while already a favourite amongst competitive players, managed to become even stronger and cheaper than his previous incarnation. His support oriented nature, ability to hide in a unit, defensive upgrades that allow him to ignore the problematic Perils of the Warp for a high level psyker, nasty melee weapon, and redeployment ability all add up to what may very well prove to be the game's most useful mastery level four psyker. Ahriman and Fateweaver have their own advantages, to be sure, but for his cost and considering the psychic lores available to him, I feel that Eldrad has kept his place as Warhammer 40000's premier psyker.

Prince Yriel, Autarch of Iyanden - A peerless strategist doomed to die by the ill judgement of those that he defended, Yriel is a proud figure that exemplifies the Path of the Strategist in both martial prowess and innate strength. His profile is mostly similar to an Autarch, with a few key differences; he has a bonus of one to Wounds, Initiative and Attacks, making him both that much nastier in melee and difficult to kill provided he isn't struck by an instant death weapon. He comes standard with what you would expect from an Autarch, and as such is still very much ideally used both as a cheap melee character and to provide bonuses to reserve rolls. The latter ability alone is usually enough to justify the use of an Autarch, though Yriel differs somewhat here as he costs twice as much as a standard Autarch. To say that he isn't worthwhile would be doing the Prince an injustice though, as there is much more to Yriel than a mere manipulator of reserves with some stat boosts. The keys to his use are the two Remnants of Glory that he bears, both of which are decidedly destructive in nature. The first is the Eye of Wrath which, once per game instead of striking blows, can be used to centre a large blast on Yriel that does not scatter; all friendly or enemy models struck by the template, save Yriel himself, are struck by a Strength six AP three hit, though cover saves are allowed. This is an incredibly nasty, though admittedly risky, ability that can serve to get Yriel out of a tight spot, such as being tarpitted by a brood of Hormagaunts or facing a Tactical Squad with only a few wounds remaining. As this is resolved at Initiative seven, it is likely it will annihilate most of both units - if Yriel is not alone - before they get a chance to strike, and it bears the important clarification that only those unsaved wounds suffered by enemy units count to combat resolution, not those also inflicted on friendly units. Though you risk destroying your own forces, it is a dangerous tool that can be used in a dire situation to free Yriel up to go hunting for another target or at least survive the game; and given that he is a doomed figure and could be your Warlord, this is very important to remember.

The curse that binds Yriel to a gruesome fate is the Spear of Twilight, an ancient artefact of Iyanden that Yriel was forced to obtain so as to dispose of the invading Tyranids. Bearing insurmountable power that no mortal should wield, it strikes with an AP of three, the Fleshbane and Armourbane special rules, and disadvantages Yriel in no small way. When engaged in a melee, Yriel is forced to re-roll successful saving throws of a six; given his 3+ armour save and 4+ invulnerable save, he does not have the defences necessary to shrug off the curse, even with an extra wound to compensate. When faced by an instant death-causing attack, no player would dare wish to re-roll a successful saving throw just because it was a six; the chances of failing afterwards are high enough to be of serious concern. Of course, that is provided there are any saves Yriel has to take anyway; with five attacks on the charge that always wound on a 2+ and ignore most armour, Yriel is quite capable of ripping apart a wide number of monstrous creatures and characters in combat before they get a chance to strike. Against anything that isn't in Terminator armour, he can be used to shred entire squads with little difficulty, particularly owing to his high Weapon Skill of six and Initiative of seven. To say that you pay for what you get with Yriel would be an understatement, as though he is expensive, he is a very nasty melee character and a tough one by Eldar standards. That he innately acts as a supporting character by boosting your reserves rolls is very handy, and for the purpose of allied armies, he also fits reasonably well with Corsairs or Dark Eldar owing to his profession as a pirate. His guaranteed Warlord Trait, the Ambush of Blades, allows he and friendly Eldar within twelve inches to re-roll to wound results of a one in a single shooting or assault phase in the game; paired with his Eye of Wrath or the Spear of Twilight, it serves not only to maximise his strong assault potential, but that of friendly forces in a situation that demands it.

Illic Nightspear, The Walker of the Hidden Path - Where Yriel marshals the defence of a dying host, and Eldrad guides all living beings with a a flicker of his mind, Illic is a wanderer that seeks some unknowable goal and appears without any perceivable rhyme or reason. That he hails from Craftworld Alaitoc is obvious; he is a sniper without compare, and the thousands of years he has spent walking the Path of the Outcast has only honed his skills as a predator. He comes stock with a pre-defined Warlord Trait, the Mark of the Incomparable Hunter, which allows him to Split Fire; a useful trait depending on what unit he is paired with. Using this to your advantage if you are protecting him or using his defensive rules for the unit is invaluable; Wraithguard may want to deal with the nearby Dreadnought, but Illic would be much better suited to ridding a Tactical Squad of their plasma gunner. As he only bears a 5+ armour save with no invulnerable save, he is quite fragile in a melee; from ranged attacks, however, he has the Shrouded special rule which incidentally is conferred on to a unit he joins. For similar reasons to Tau players using Shadowsun, Illic can be joined up with any unit that you feel needs a defensive boost and grant them a hefty +2 bonus to any cover saves they would have. As it stands, he isn't too much of a push-over in an assault either, with a minimum of four attacks at Strength three with an AP of three owing to his power sword and two combat weapons; though unlikely to worry a Space Marine Captain or character of that type, he can reliably deal with most squad sergeants should the need be there. His Weapon Skill and Initiative of six are particularly advantageous here, though on a somewhat disappointing note, he lacks Hit and Run to truly embody the vision of a sniper that disappears and reappears almost impossibly.

Of course, the best part about a Pathfinder special character is that they are darned good at range, and I do feel that Illic doesn't disappoint in this area - at least with the rules that they intended, but more on that later. His unique longrifle, the Voidbringer, functions like any other Sniper save that it is AP two, it has a range of forty-eight inches, and it has the nasty Distort special rule. While it still needs to wound on a fixed dice roll of a 4+, there is no doubt that the potential for death dealing is there; that it is AP two all of the time means there is little need for Rending, allowing him to reliably snipe out special weapon holders and the like. The Distort special rule is the really juicy aspect of this weapon though, as any to wound roll of a six inflicts instant death; see that potentially problematic Nemesis Dreadknight moving up the board to you? Give it something to think about and, paired either with Doom or just some luck, roll a six to wound and see it evaporate in one fell sweep. Unlike other sniper rifles, it also stands a strong chance against well armoured vehicles; on an armour penetration roll of a six, it counts as an automatic penetrating hit regardless of whether the weapon would usually be able to or not. With an AP of two, some luck could see you destroying Monoliths or Soul Grinders in the early rounds of the game. Owing to his Sharpshot special rule, all of his shots count as Precision Shots, meaning he can allocate them wherever he wants; unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, this doesn't function perhaps as the rules writers intended as it means that any character can claim a Look Out Sir save against it. There is nothing more disheartening than hitting a kitted out Terminator-armoured character in a squad of Veterans, rolling a six to wound that inflicts instant death, and watch it palmed off on to a regular squad member. It is a shame, and it does reduce Illic's value, but it is nonetheless a handy option for singling out non-character members of a unit; striking a Riptide and not its shield drones, or fileting a gunner wielding a heavy bolter is still helpful to your efforts. It is also prudent to note that Illic has some extra luck against Necrons, with his Hatred and Preferred Enemy of the skeletal husks maximising his damage somewhat - even, ludicrously, hitting on a 2+ with re-rolls owing to his crazy Ballistic Skill of nine.

Illic also has a neat and fluffy special rule that allows him to Infiltrate normally, or do a special one alone; he can be placed anywhere, regardless of enemy proximity, on the board if you so choose. There have been some rather ridiculous uses of this rule so far, but for a Toughness three and three-wound character that is quite costly, it would likely be best not to make too outlandish a move here. The key benefit, perhaps, is that any Rangers or Pathfinders that Outflank can "deep strike" to his location, provided the first model "lands" within six inches of Illic. Still, many may rather deploy their snipers with the master hunter himself, as conferring Shrouded on to a unit that already has Stealth (Rangers) who in turn give it back to their 'Phoenix Lord' - as he has been described by some - is highly useful and makes for a nasty and tough scoring unit. He is a capable Warlord that perhaps needs some clearing up in regards to Precision Shots and Look Out Sir to be made even more useful, but for now, he is a great boon for Infiltrators looking for a defensive boost and, depending on whether you play the rules this way, granting Infiltrate to a short-ranged or melee unit that particularly needs it. That he also allows Pathfinders to be taken as an upgrade to Rangers is nice for themed army lists and if you have a specific plan in mind.

Phoenix Lords - As the Phoenix Lords all share the same basic profile, I will cover the traits common amongst them here so as to focus on their more unique aspects in their individual reviews. All Phoenix Lords share a Weapon Skill, Ballistic Skill and Initiative of seven, meaning that they have combat and ranged proficiencies equal to the combat monsters of other armies - such as Abaddon or Kaldor Draigo - and will typically strike before most enemies. When performing a Sweeping Advance or a Hit and Run test, their high Initiative is very useful and will usually beat out the typically lower Initiative of most characters. All of them have a Strength and Toughness of four that represents their ageless nature and status as almost divine warriors; they are much less prone to Strength or Toughness tests than other Eldar, and are considerably harder to wound than usual, even if they each only have three Wounds. All Phoenix Lords have some form of powerful or unique melee weapon, and it is as such highly appropriate that each of them has four attacks on their standard profile, though some have more owing to bearing two melee weapons or as a related special rule. Their Leadership of ten is expected, given that Farseers and Autarchs share it, though each Phoenix Lord bucks the trend for Eldar and dons a 2+ armour save; for a melee character, this is invaluable and allows them to power through most challenges with impunity. Each Phoenix Lord shares a host of special rules, from those common to the Eldar - such as Ancient Doom, Battle Focus and Fleet - to others that are decidedly rare, including Eternal Warrior and Fearless. The former obviously means they are not susceptible to force weapons or the 'Smashing' attacks by monstrous creatures, though only three wounds to a model means they still can't be reckless. The latter is there to ensure that any unit they join will stay in the fight, and though it is easily attained while in the presence of an Avatar, it is nonetheless a useful rule for making sure the Phoenix Lords aren't chased down in a freak mishap of bad dice rolls.

Typically, the Phoenix Lords are expensive - but probably worthwhile - characters with devastating abilities that make them far less support oriented than Autarchs, Farseers and even the Avatar. A shared weakness for most of them is also that, in light of their cost, they lack invulnerable saves; only two buck this trend. When used in practice though, their propensity for slaying troubling enemy characters before they strike, or for moving up with a squad to minimise the damage dealt by AP two ranged weaponry, mitigates this issue largely. Just be aware that, barring certain Phoenix Lords who are specifically equipped to deal with them, monstrous creatures and Chaos Lords or Abaddon that dish out many AP two attacks in melee are a huge threat to their safety and should be avoided unless you feel confident of your chances in killing them. An unfortunate aspect of some of the Phoenix Lords is that they lack assault grenades for charging through cover or a viable means of dealing with vehicles that, as typical melee monsters, does limit their usefulness. However, they are nasty enough and, against most targets, tough enough that this shouldn't be a common issue. The last and one of the more important traits of the Phoenix Lords is that each has a pre-selected Warlord Trait that can be advantageous for specific army lists, further encouraging the player to tailor their list around the chosen Phoenix Lord(s). They are costly and don't offer the same army-wide support as most other Eldar characters do, but Phoenix Lords remain the nastiest champions to the Eldar outside of a tooled up Avatar of Khaine.

Asurmen, The Hand of Asuryan - The first and foremost amongst the Phoenix Lords, Asurmen is not only the well of knowledge from which all other Aspects drew their most primal teachings, but a master of warfare to whom all those in service to the Bloody Handed God owe their respect. He is a warrior almost without peer, and is laden with the most powerful of the artifacts amongst the Dire Avengers. Like those who embody him, he is equipped with a twin-linked Avenger Shuriken Catapult, giving him some modest firepower, as well as the Counter Attack special rule to stave off the charge as if they were the ones that launched it. As the Avatar of Asuryan's will, and unlike any other Eldar special character, Asurmen does not come stock with a preset Warlord Trait; instead, he has D3 traits from the Eldar Warlord Table, re-rolling doubles. This makes him tactically the most flexible of the Eldar commanders in that sense, giving him a lot of extra stacking benefits that other characters simply can't enjoy; sensibly, he must be your Warlord if you field him.

Much like the Exarchs of his Shrine, Asurmen has two Exarch powers that are more defensive in nature; Battle Fortune, affording him a 4+ invulnerable save, and Shield of Grace, allowing him to substitute all but one attack in melee to have a 3+ invulnerable save. In addition to having 2+ armour and the Eternal Warrior special rule, this obviously makes Asurmen incredibly tough to deal with - particularly in an army that can restore lost wounds to characters psychically - and it helps that is particularly vicious in a melee too. His ancient diresword, a relic from which all others were wrought, grants him both a bonus of one to his Strength and is AP two, meaning that he strikes with five attacks on the charge at Strength five and ignoring all armour. With a re-roll to hit owing to its master-crafting, Asurmen can put on some pretty serious hurt to most enemies he faces, and that is before one even considers the Soulrazor rule common to all direswords; any model wounded but not slain by it must pass a Leadership test immediately or be removed from play. As it does not inflict instant death, an Eternal Warrior - such as Draigo, whom Asurmen would slaughter - cannot be saved from its effects; a truly brutal rule that is obviously intended to hunt other such expensive and powerful characters. As it stands, Asurmen can best almost any character in the game in a melee, and is tough while providing a lot of passive benefits to your army to boot. Though costly, he truly lives up to the fable of a demigod from which all the Aspects of Khaine were derived.

Jain Zar, The Storm of Silence - As the progenitor of the Howling Banshees Aspect, one can reasonably expect Jain Zar to be a monster in melee; it is safe to say that she doesn't disappoint here. Like her pupils, she has the Acrobatic special rule, giving her a boost of three inches to any re-rollable - due to Fleet - run move she makes that, paired with Battle Focus, can get her into the thick of it quicker or allow her to lead enemy melee units on a hilarious chase. Her Warlord Trait is Falcon's Swiftness, adding an additional inch to those Run moves for a potential sixteen inches total movement on foot, though the Acrobatic rule - unlike the Warlord Trait - unfortunately only functions alongside Howling Banshees as well. But enough of the unimportant details, the good stuff here is that she carries two melee weapons; both of which are AP two, and both of which count as melee weapons to give her an extra attack. Her ironically elegant Blade of Destruction bears the Shred special rule, allowing her to re-roll to wound at Strength four and AP two in melee with five attacks base, or six on the charge. In short, particularly owing to her high Weapon Skill and Initiative of seven, she can flay entire squads of Terminators in a single round without the aid of fellow Eldar warriors. Her Exarch Powers give her a brutal edge against other characters, counting their attacks as mundane provided she wins a roll off - which she usually will, as she only needs to tie with the opposing dice roll and gains a +1 bonus to her roll if she has a higher Weapon Skill than her opponent - so as to neuter a nasty enemy like a Chaos Lord with the Axe of Blind Fury, in addition to causing the rather situational Fear. You can feasibly walk on up to Abaddon, disarm him of Drach'nyen, and laugh as he flails about wildly while Jain Zar smashes through with several AP two wounds.

Of course, she wouldn't be the Phoenix Lord of the Howling Banshees if she didn't have some form of Banshee Mask. The Mask of Jain Zar is unique in that it not only reduces the Initiative of an enemy unit she charges by five, but it also reduces their Weapon Skill by the same number. This incredible ability, coupled with her Disarming Strike and sheer number of attacks, effectively allow her to single-handedly tear apart almost any combat character in the game with impunity. The benefits are far-reaching though, as it also gives any squad she joins a serious advantage in the first round of combat and should minimise their casualties quite nicely. She works wonderfully well with melee units of any kind, and is sure to shock many opponents with her incredible grace and skill; she truly is death incarnate, a storm of blades that silences her foes before they can even raise their blade in defence. Interestingly, her other melee weapon - the Silent Death - can also be used for ranged attacks, with a twelve inch range and four shots at her Strength of four with an AP of two. This is a nasty ranged weapon that, owing to her well above average Ballistic Skill of seven, should reliably kill a few models off before a charge - even Terminators - or can be used in the aforementioned "dance" to lead enemies by the nose and pick them off a couple at a time. She is a very well balanced character that, while lacking an invulnerable save, makes up for it with sheer destructive potential; her best attribute is that she is quite cheap for what she does, as the equal second least expensive Phoenix Lord. A very strong choice that will sever limb from limb in a glorious display of craftsmanship.

Karandras, The Shadow Hunter - A veiled figure that strikes with a brutal swiftness, Karandras is a particularly adept melee character that provides a host of benefits to your forces. As the Phoenix Lord of the Striking Scorpions, Karandras fits very well with his Aspect; he can Infiltrate - and confer it on to a unit, depending on how you play it - he provides both Stealth and Night Vision, and he can Move Through Cover that, with Fleet and Battle Focus, make him very fast. Unlike some Phoenix Lords - including Asurmen and Jain Zar - he is equipped with plasma grenades and thus has little to worry about if he charges into cover, though he lacks the defences of those Phoenix Lords to compensate. His guaranteed Warlord Trait, the Ambush of Blades, allowing he and friendly Eldar units within twelve inches to re-roll to wound rolls of a one in a single shooting or assault phase, particularly helpful for ensuring both his high Strength attacks and that of his forces cleave through enemy defences. The real meat behind Karandras' value is his melee capabilities, and I would be lying if I didn't say he is possibly the most brutal of the Phoenix Lords for sheer damage capabilities against a wide range of targets. Owing to the Scorpion Claw being a power fist that strikes at Initiative order, and with two melee weapons to boot, Karandras has a staggering six Weapon Skill seven, Initiative seven, Strength eight attacks on the charge at AP two. From vehicles, walkers, monstrous creatures, characters and units, almost any such unit will be crushed in spectacular fashion before they have even a chance to strike, and against all but some foes, he can hide behind his 2+ armour save afterwards too on the rare chance that the target survived.

It really is amazing how destructive that many Strength eight, armour ignoring attacks with such a ridiculous profile can be, but they are even more ludicrous when paired up with his Exarch Powers. Monster Hunter allows Karandras to re-roll to wound against monstrous creatures, ensuring that he slays them in short order, while the Stalker power forces a dice-off roll similar to Jain Zar's Disarming Strike, save that the bonuses are tested against Initiative and thus even more likely to be in the Phoenix Lords' favour; the result is that Karandras re-rolls to wound if he wins or draws. On top of all that, Karandras bears the Scorpion's Bite; like a regular mandiblaster, it inflicts a single automatic hit on an enemy unit in base contact with Karandras - similar to Hammer of Wrath, save that it works in each combat phase and not just on the charge - but it is instead resolved at Strength six. As if the lord cloaked by darkness wasn't already brutal enough in a melee. The only real detriment to Karandras' use is his exorbitant cost, solidifying his position as the most expensive Phoenix Lord by a small, and probably reasonable margin. Karandras will slaughter most foes - truly, even a Trygon needs to be very cautious - before they strike and provides natural defensive boosts to his unit, and though he lacks such benefits himself and will likely fall to massed armour-ignoring attacks, he is nonetheless an incredibly strong character and one that you would remiss not to test. 

Fuegan, The Burning Lance - The Eldar whisper that of all the Phoenix Lords, Fuegan shall be the last to fall in the Rhana Dandra - the final battle - and with fire and axe shall he fight to the death. Unlike some of the other Phoenix Lords, Fuegan is very difficult to kill conventionally; with Feel No Pain and a burning resolve that only strengthens him as the battle rages, there are few things that can reliably put him down before he reaves those standing before him. Every time Fuegan suffers a wound, his Strength and Attacks value raise by one, displaying almost a glimpse of his inner flame by drawing near to death; combined with a Warlock or Seer Council that can restore his wounds, and you have potentially one of the game's most laughably powerful characters. That he is an Eternal Warrior with Feel No Pain on top of a 2+ armour save is rather awesome, but so are his offensive capabilities. He wields a firepike - effectively a meltagun with a range of eighteen inches - that can be fired twice owing to his Fast Shot Exarch Power; when one considers his Ballistic Skill of seven, he can reliably snipe out a few models, put wounds on a monstrous creature or blast an enemy vehicle into burning slag with ease. Handily, he also has meltabombs to deal with heavily armoured vehicles that he would otherwise struggle to deal with reliably.

Most valuable amongst the relics borne by Fuegan is the Fire Axe, an AP one melee weapon with the Armourbane special rule that will allow Fuegan to reliably destroy any vehicle with an armour value of twelve or lower on the charge, provided they moved. Much like Asurmen, Fuegan also strikes at Strength five, but that is owing to the Exarch Power Crushing Blow that he possesses; representing more a natural strength wrought from a molten body. His guaranteed Warlord Trait, the Mark of the Incomparable Hunter, allows Fuegan to split fire; this is almost laughably effective when combined with Fire Dragons, entitling the unit to two vehicle "kills" in the space of one shooting phase. All up, Fuegan is tough and strong, with the capability to deal with most enemies quite reliably. Though perhaps not the straight out combat monster that Karandras or Jain Zar are, Fuegan is suitably equipped to deal with enemies from range and up close - and be part of some brutal combinations to boot that exploit his Unquenchable Resolve special rule.

Baharroth, The Cry of the Wind - When the sun rises, a blazing star falls from the sky; in tandem with its twin, it shines with an unreachable brilliance. Baharroth, Phoenix Lord of the Swooping Hawks, is as much a hero that inspires the forces of the Eldar as a consummate warrior that strikes their enemies down. Like a Swooping Hawk, he can deep strike without scatter and, owing to the Sun's Brilliance, causes all enemy units within six inches of him when he deep strikes to take a Blind test. If you hadn't of guessed, this is a powerful ability that works particularly well against low Initiative armies, such as Tau and Necrons, both of which are dominating the meta right now. Aside from this, he has the same kit as a Swooping Hawk; haywire grenades, plasma grenades, a grenade pack for destroying light infantry, and the skyleap ability to head back into reserves. He also confers both Night Vision and Hit and Run on his unit, boosting their offensive potential and, for Swooping Hawks, allowing them to skyleap to safety and continue to lead your opponent on a merry dance. For offensive punch, he wields a Hawk's Talon for decent anti-infantry and light anti-vehicle firepower, and the Shining Blade; a melee weapon with an AP of three that, much like its master, blinds Baharroth's opponents. His preset Warlord Trait, the Falcon's Swiftness, grants both he and his unit a bonus inch to any run moves they make that, combined with both Battle Focus and Fleet, give Baharroth and any unit he joins some serious mobility. One of the intriguing aspects of Baharroth is that he is now only the second Phoenix Lord to have an invulnerable save, and a 4+ one at that owing to his Battle Fortune; such is his ability to change the battlefield. Though some of his abilities are decidedly situational, the sheer breadth of special rules, wargear and tactics available to a character that can deep strike without scatter are simply breath-taking and, owing to his low cost for a Phoenix Lord, make him an ideal all-rounder character in a reserve-heavy or mobile army list. That he is also one of the toughest Phoenix Lords and can deal with a wide variety of threats ensures that he is of great value for an Eldar army that wishes to employ the dancers on the wind.

Maugan Ra, The Harvester of Souls - We often speak amongst ourselves of a dark entity that pervades the spirit and mind, a reaper that waits with a skeletal vice to take us to the other world; the Grim Reaper. Many have attempted to mimic the primal image of Death, but few have done so as successfully as Maugan Ra, Phoenix Lord of the Dark Reapers. If his model alone wasn't reason enough to use him, you should be pleased to know that, despite differing somewhat majorly to his students, he is a powerful character with a balance of strong firepower and melee capabilities. His guaranteed Warlord Trait, the Mark of the Incomparable Hunter, gives him the useful Split Fire rule that, considering the gun he has, is quite useful when paired up with his own aspect who prefer to shoot at other targets. Maugan Ra's signature weapon is the aptly named Maugetar, a weapon with two profiles; the first is at range - thirty-six inches, specifically - firing four Strength six AP five shots with the Rending and Pinning special rules. Effectively an assault cannon with one worse AP but the addition of Pinning, it is a handy tool that, owing to his Marksman's Eye allowing Precision Shots on a 5+, can be used against a wide range of targets or to single out enemy characters and special weapon carriers. In melee, it is very much a relic blade, boosting the Harvester's Strength by two with an AP of three; a pretty nasty melee weapon that, with four attacks base, are sure to put on some hurt. Between a Weapon Skill, Ballistic Skill and Initiative of seven, Maugan is a skilled and dangerous Phoenix Lord both at long range and up close, adding a lot of punch at a low price to almost any unit. His Fast Shot and Night Vision both give his Maugetar an extra shot and allow both he and his unit to ignore cover saves provided by Night Fighting, both handy tools for a very useful character. Much like Baharroth, Maugan Ra may not necessarily be a combat monster, but he is definitely a character that can be used in almost any situation and perform very reliably.

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  1. I believe you've miscounted Yriel's attacks. 4 base, no extra because he only has 1 CC weapon, +1 for charging. He should still wipe out most of a combat squad, but there are limits.

    1. Yes, you are correct. It may have been a typo, or I could have thought for some reason that he had a pistol. In any case, thanks for pointing it out - I've edited it already :)

  2. Bit on the fence whether Eldrad is worth it, but with the guaranteed stealth for one turn for all my tanks in an enemy shooting phase, he's almost too good not to take if you're running a vehicle heavy list.

    And just a general comment - I do enjoy articles that aren't full of whining that are all over the internet. Blog definitely bookmarked.

    1. I think he is worth it, but you do need to ask yourself whether two Farseers would be a better investment for your army list. The guaranteed Warlord trait, the nasty staff and generating extra warp charge points to ward off Perils definitely help Eldrad's case.

      Thank you! I try to be as fair and balanced in my articles as possible - I want hobbyists and gamers alike to have fun and enjoy the models they own, not be told that they shouldn't use them. Better that they be given advice on how to use them rather than be disillusioned, I always say.

      Thanks for the comment!

    2. True. The reason I'm very much inclined to take him is a different one though - I could get two farseers for his price, but I get more than one farseer with him for a single HQ slot, leaving the other free to take a spiritseer or an Autarch.