Wednesday, 19 June 2013

New Eldar Psychic Powers

Psychic Powers

The Eldar are the most potently psychic living race in the galaxy yet some of their wargear doesn’t reflect this, like the super nerf to Runes of Warding and also leadership 8 warlocks, but in saying that I think their new psychic powers are quite nice. In the Codex there are two lines of psychic powers available, one for the warlocks (Runes of Battle) and one for the Farseers (Runes of Fate). Let’s take a look at them.

Runes of Fate Overview
One would think that with the name Fate as opposed to Battle, that the Runes of Fate would be all about blessing and helping your units but the fact is, that Runes of Fate are very much a direct set offensive powers compared to Runes of Battle with their blessings. These powers are available only to our Farseers and range 1 to 3 Warp Charges. The powers themselves are quite useful but they do have to compete with Divination and Telepathy from the main rulebook. So I will let you decide.

Primarius - Guide
The venerable guide, oh how we love you. Typically Guide was always one of the most used powers in the old Eldar Codex and even though it is similar to Divinations Primarius power Precience it’s still an excellent choice. It has a range of 24” which is fantastic (Precience is 12”) but unfortunately it only offers rerolls to hit with shooting as opposed to both shooting and close combat that Precience offers. For an truly excellent loadout on a Farseer take guide primaris power and then the precience primaris powers casting rerolls to hit with shooting and melee left, right and center on two separate units. Really effective on a backfield Farseer near some Scatter Laser Warwalkers or Dark Reapers.

Executioner is a witchfire power with a range of 24” and deals 3 automatic hits to an enemy model. Also it carries the fleshbane special rule so you will be wounding on 2+. Unfortunately it doesn’t have an armor value but that doesn’t stop the fun. If the model targeted dies then another model is chosen and suffers 2 automatic hits and then if that model also dies then a third model is chosen and that suffers one automatic hit. Very handy for picking out heavy weapons and squad sergeants etc.

Like Guide, Doom is an old favourite among all Eldar players. However this version of doom has gotten a nice little buff. It now allows reroll failed to wound rolls and also failed armor penetration rolls against vehicles. Couple this with all our Wraith Cannons and rending Shuriken weapons and this becomes a real gem of a power. The only problem is as per the rest of the powers, it is randomly rolled for so you can’t rely on getting it.

Eldritch Storm
Eldritch Storm has a reach of 24” and throws out a Strength 3 large blast template, so it’s pretty good at taking out large blobs of infantry. But it also comes with fleshbane so you are wounding everything on a 2+. It also has the pinning special rules so it’s extremely useful against units with low leadership such as Orks or Guardsmen. The fun doesn’t stop there though, it has the Haywire special rule also so it will glance ANY vehicle on a roll of 2-5 and automatically pens it on a 6. With a large blast it could easily cover squadrons of light vehicles etc. A fairly decent power that at first glance seems underpar.

Death Mission
Death Mission is an interesting power. It costs two warp charges to cast and it boosts the Farseer’s Weapon Skill, Ballistic Skill and Initiative by +5 and also gives him/her an extra two attacks. This means that you will have a WS10, BS10, I 10 Atk 4 Psyker running around the battle field. Sounds good right? Not quite, because it certainly comes with its drawbacks. When you cast Death Mission you roll a D3+2 and that is how many tokens you have and on a D6 roll of a three or lower at the end of each turn, one token is lost. If you lose all of them, the model is removed as a casualty. The power once cast, lasts for the entire game and the only way to keep your tokens up is by casting it again so you can roll that D3+2. It seems a bit situational but could be useful if your Farseer is leading a close combat unit such as Harlequins. Having said that it’s random so you can’t rely on getting it.

Good aul Fortune. I once played an apocalypse battle with a large seer council on bikes and they tanked the fire power of a full Tzeench and Dark Eldar force for three turns before being taken out. This power was a must have and it is still great only that it‘s now random. It has a range of 24” now as opposed to the old power which was only 6”. It costs two warp charges to cast and it allows you to reroll all saving throws and all deny the witch rolls. This could be incredibly useful and annoying for your opponents when cast on your Wraithknights or Wraithguard. It is effectively an even better version of the old Fortune but unfortunately it’s now random like the rest of the powers. I can kind of understand this though because it was quite broken in the last Codex.

Mind War
Mind War is a witchfire power that has a range of 24” and a warp charge of two. This power can be hilarious to use if you manage to get it off a few times during the battle. However the only times I have used it was in a recent game where my opponent managed to roll higher than me. You select a model within 24”, usually a character or Sergeant and you both roll a D6 and add it to your leadership. If the Farseer scores lower, he/she has their Weapon Skill, Ballistic Skill and Initiative reduced to one until their next turn. If both scores are equal the enemy suffers the above afflictions, however if the Farseer wins, the enemy suffers the number of automatic wounds equal to the difference rolled between the two players dice roll and these are at no armor saves or cover saves. It can be extremely effective at taking out those squad Sergeants with power fists or heavy weapons etc.

Runes of Battle Overview
The most obvious thing about the Runes of battle is that it is divided up into modes for each power that affect your enemy and also those that bless your own units. Most of these powers are quite supportive in their nature while the powers available for Runes of Fate are the opposite. The list of powers are actually very potent and nearly all are very useful however this is somewhat hampered by the fact that these are randomly rolled for. Not all is lost though, the primaries power “Conceal/Reveal” is a very strong ability and a lot of players might not bother on rolling on the table as this power is exactly what they are after.

Primaris - Conceal/Reveal
The blessing side of this power, Conceal, is an excellent power that grants the unit shrouded special rule. This is a fantastic rule especially when used in conjunction with Jetbikes who already have the 5+ cover save from jink. Now they can get a 3+ cover save. It really is a brilliant ability. The blessing side of the power removes stealth and shrouded from an enemy unit which can be extremely useful against some Tau and Daemon units and not to mention those other Eldar/Dark Eldar players you will be facing.
Destructor is a witchfire power and is basically a heavy flamer and features the nifty feature called soul blaze.I think this power will come in very handy against some of the tougher foes out there. Renewer on the other hand is a blessing power that if a friendly model is within 18”, you can restore a lost wound to it. It’s very useful if you are playing any of the Eldar Monstrous creatures in your list.

Good aul embolden, well now it has gotten better! Embolden makes the warlock and his unit fearless! I can see this great for twenty Guardians lead by a warlock. The Horrify power reduces the leadership value of an enemy unit by -3. This is absolutely lethal and used alongside a Wraith Fighter, you will see tones of Orks and Guardsmen running for the hills.

Wow I used to never leave home without an Enhanced warlock in my seer council. Again if used with a large squad of Storm Guardians this could be effective but to be honest will you ever be running Storm Guardians? Enhance provides the Warlock and his attached unit with a +1 to their Weapon Skill and Initiative. Drain reduces the weapon skill and initiative of an enemy within 18” which could be excellent if one of your close combat units is about to charge an enemy unit.
Protect is a potentially fantastic power that grants the Warlock and his unit a +1 bonus to their armour save which could be excellent for giving Jetbikes and Wraithguard that 2+ armor save to drastically increase their durability.  Jinx reduces the armor value of the enemy by -1 which could be excellent by softening up tough units like Terminators etc.

Quicken provides the Warlock and his unit with an additional three inches to any running they decide to do. Again due to the fact that Warlocks can only really join 4 units (Jetbikes, Defenders & Storm Guardians, Vaul Support Batteries) and the fact that bikes can’t even run anyway I think this is most useful to Guardian Defenders. Why? Well Storm Guardians are so outclassed by most other dedicated close combat units in our army but by adding 3 precious inches on a squad of 20 Guardians armed with 12” shuriken weapons, this could potentially be a big boost in getting them into range in conjunction with Battle Focus, Restrain reduces the chances of running from an enemy unit. I think this power will be mainly used in its blessing form due to the flexibility it provides.

Finally we have the Empower/Enervate power. Empower grants the Warlock and his unit a +1 bonus Strength which given to the right unit could become extremely handy. Strength 5 Striking Scorpions or Strength 8 Ghost Axe wielding Wraithblades anyone, or dare I say Strength 4 Howling Banshees? Nice! The Enervate power typically targets an enemy unit within 18” and reduces their Strength by -1. It’s quite handy considering our close combat units and most of our units for that matter are toughness 3. If those space marines are wounding our units on a 4 instead of a 3 then all the better!

So there you have it Folks, a comprehensive look at our new psychic powers. What do you think? Which powers will you hope to get?

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Eldar- First Game With New Codex

Hi guys,
Well last Thursday I played Ugo’s Death Guard in a 1650pts battle, the first one with the new Eldar Codex. You may have seen Ugo’s Death Guard on here before and if not check out this Battle Report. His army is truly one of the best painted armies I’ve ever seen and the camera just doesn’t do it justice.
Firstly this isnt a battle report but I will give an idea on how each unit performed in the battle. The list I took is slightly different to my normal list. As some of you may know I am building a new footdar 2000pts army list that comprises of a bit of air support too. But anyway here is what I ran.
Eldrad – I rolled and got Executioner, Guide, Mind war (All Runes of Fate), and took Prescience (Divination).
Avatar of Khaine
6 x Guardian Jetbikes (2 Cannons)
6 x Guardian Jetbikes (2 Cannons)
6 x Guardian Jetbikes (No Cannons)
10 x Dire Avengers with Exarch and Power Weapon & Shimmer Shield
2 x Vypers with Dual Shuriken Cannons
2 x Vypers with Dual Shuriken Cannons
5 x Fire Dragons
Wave Serpent with Dual Shuriken build
Fire Prism with Holo Fields
Fire Prism with Holo Fields
Performance Evaluation
Eldrad was with the Dire Avengers Squad and I deployed them midfield and in the front lines. I did this because I wanted Eldrad to manipulate as much as he could and be in range of everything. I also deployed the Avatar right next to them in the middle of the army to give the 12” fearless bubble but also act as a deterrent to any units wanting to get too close to Eldrad and the Avengers.
Eldrad First;
Eldrad performed amazing during this battle, he really pulled all the strings and had his hand err oh should I say mind, in many parts of the battle field to assist other units and generally be a nuisance. Granting Prescience onto the Avengers was fun rerolling to hit and Casting Executioner on the Havocs. However twice he cast Mind War and twice I rolled below my opponent reducing Eldrads WS,BS and Init to 1.
In the later part of the battle a squad of Plague marines double charged Eldrad and the Dire Avengers and a squad of Guardian Jetbikes. This battle lasted a few turns until the Plague Marines were wiped out. Only then the last remaining Death Guard Terminator charged but was cut down in overwatch by Eldrad and 3 remaining Dire Avengers. Eldrad isn’t so shabby in close combat either, with a base of 2 attacks due to his sword and pistol and with Fleshbane and AP3 it made mince meat of Plague Marines.
Eldrad finished the battle with just one wound and it is worth mentioning that both of those wounds were cause by Perils of the warp and not having any warp charges left to prevent the perils. It was typical that I would roll over 10 on my last casting each turn.
Believe it or not this was the first time I have ran an Avatar since 2nd edition. The Avatar acted as the fire magnet and also to generally give my opponent a big worry from the very start. I had to go second so the Avatar lost a couple of wounds in the first turn due to some good shooting. It must be said that if a unit of havocs shoots at your Avatar or anything that bypasses his 3+ save, then you will notice the slight decrease that his  inv save provides going from 4+ to the now 5+.
Overall though the Avatar performed well this match, be it earning his points back and more but also dying after dispatching a Maulerfiend and Typhus along with a few terminators. It was the last few terminators that took him out though. Overall I am happy with his performance and not having to take those Ld8 break tests on guardians was a godsend. I think in future game though I will be taking the Fast Shot Exarch power on him for two wailing doom melta shots a turn at BS10!
Dire Avengers;
The Dire Avengers tagged along with Eldrad during this battle. I didn’t get much success out of their 18” range catapults apart from killing a Plague marine or two but that was due to the over effectiveness of my Guardian jetbikes which I will come to. However the 5+ Inv save offered by the Exarch’s Shimmer Shield really saved my bacon a few times when the Forgefiend dropped those multiple plasma cannon templates on their heads and I think overall this is a better option than the dual catapults due to its flexibility that they can be somewhat a threat in CC and get a inv save of 5+ compared to 2 Shuriken Catapult shots.
Their CC ability was tested later in the battle as mentioned already, where the Exarch was stuck in combat after being challenged by a Plague Marine Sergeant with a power first. This combat lasted 3 rounds believe it or not due to poor to hit and wound rolling by the Plague marine and also great inv saves by the Exarch himself. Eventually the Exarch struck down the Plague marine with his power sword. Overall I was very happy with this unit. It packs plenty of punch ranged and can hold itself in close combat. The Exarch is an exceptional upgrade.
Guardian Jetbikes;
I’m going to come out and say this right now, these guys have had such a boost in the new codex it almost seems… broken. But I say almost because it’s about time Eldar got a unit like this. Most other armies (not all) have an overpowered unit and I’m just glad we got one.
I ran three squads of these guys, two of which sporting two Shuriken Cannons. They performed absolutely brilliantly. The BS4/WS4 upgrade along with the new Bladestorm rule has had a huge impact on how good this unit is. The range of the twin linked Catapults is still only 12” but the bikes also move 12” so you are effectively getting 24” threat range. All shots are twin linked and all to wound rolls of a 6 are AP2… just nasty!
And all this for 17pts as opposed to a 23pt plague marines. Granted the Plague marine is fearless, has T5 and good poisoned CC ability but after a good discussion, myself and Ugo agreed the Jetbike is much more bang for your buck. The sheer number of twin linked and semi- rending shots these guys put out is crazy. If you are not playing Eldar and looking for an allied unit, pick these, you won’ be disappointed.
I ran with two squads of two Vypers for this battle. Many people have said and continue to say that Vypers aren’t good. I have used them consistently for a year now in all my battles and rarely do they disappoint. Now though they are BS4 and Semi-rending Strength 6 24” guns that still fire 3 times each. They were just absolutely nasty and did an incredible amount of damage to the Deathguard.
 I think going forward I might equip them with a Shuriken cannon and Scatter Laser for the Laser Lock ability (Twin links any other weapon if the laser has hit previously). One squadron really decimated some Plague marines and the other unit flanked around and took out a Forgefiend through its rear armor and then finished off the havocs in the ruins. Really great unit even though they are made of wet tissue.

Fire Dragons;
As per usual I still think more than five fire dragons is overkill and a waste of points that could be better spent elsewhere. Unfortunately the Wave Serpent carrying them blew up after being hit by a Lascannon and even with their 3+ save now, two of them still died in the explosion. This mean’t I had three left in area terrain in the middle of the battlefield. Even after some shooting these three survived the entire battle and managed to take out a couple of Terminators probably earning back their points in the process. Overall they performed OK but I don’t think their roll has changed much. They are now slightly tougher and more expensive and still do the same thing as before. Still though, always was and still is a solid unit.
Wave Serpent;
The Wave Serpent has gotten a massive upgrade. In this battle I ran it with Twin linked Shuriken Cannon turret and underslung Shuriken Cannon. In future I will put Holo Fields on it for that 4+ save. The Wave Serpent was blown out of the sky by a bullseye shot from a Lascannon totting havoc but it did manage to cause some casualties beforehand which ironically led it to becoming target no.1 for the Death Guard next turn.
 When it was still alive I shot at the havocs with it firing the BS4 6x Strength 6 semi rending shots, 50% were twin linked and then along with D6+1 Strength 7 shots (I rolled a 6 lol) that ignore cover and pin at the havocs killing about half the squad. It was awe inspiring to see such a formidable amount of fire power from one tank that has a transport capacity of 12. The above setup only cost 135pts too! That was 13 Strength 6/7 shots in all from one tank… wow! Although it didn’t last long enough in this battle it showed a glimpse of what is yet to come of this transport or should I say Battle Tank?
Fire Prism;
I took two Fire Prism tanks in this battle and equipped both with Holo fields to give them that +1 to cover. These tanks are still a steal at 125pts. Both tanks performed OK during this battle. They did manage to worry some Terminators but mainly dueled at range with the Forgefiend humorously stripping all 3 guns off the daemon engine over the course of the battle. The Forgefiend did manage to regenerate a couple of wounds throughout but eventually dying after getting flanked by a couple of Vypers. They didn’t perform too well in this battle but did enough to worry the Death Guard and draw some fire away from the rest of my army. Also the new Lance ability of the Prism Cannon was great for shooting single targets like the Forgefiend where you didn’t have to worry about scatter. Big upgrade and a main stay in a lot of my games going forward.

I am absolutely delighted with the well earned boost Eldar have gotten with the new Codex. I truly believe that all the moaning on the internet about lack of assault grenades and random generation of powers are only a minor hiccup in an otherwise exceptional piece of work by Phil Kelly. The army still requires finesse and is still quite fragile but it certainly got its sharp teeth back. From what I have seen so far, the Wave Serpent and Guardian Jetbikes are the star of the show.

Monday, 10 June 2013

The New Eldar Warlord Traits

Warlord Traits

Eldar players may choose their Warlords traits from either the codex specific warlord traits table, or they can select from the three charts in the main rulebook. I suppose the first and foremost incentive for you to take the codex traits over the ones in the rulebook is that they seem geared for Eldar and in my opinion are quite decent for what you get. On my first observation the warlord traits left much to be desired however after reading them over and thinking of how they could affect the game I have changed my mind on these. Let’s march on and see what we can conjure up with the traits given to us.

1. Ambush of Blades
It allows friendly units within 12” to re-roll to wound rolls a one result for the duration of that shooting phase. Now bearing in mind that the army I field has about 70+ strength 6 shots (typical Eldar army does really) a turn so most of the time I am rolling a 2+ to wound, it could still be very handy if you are fielding large bubbles of infantry. Think about running 2 large blobs of 20 Guardian Defenders along with some Dire Avengers and an Avatar and what you get is one messy round of shooting when you use this warlord trait. Use it as soon as you are in range and when you have most models alive (early in the game) to maximize your damage output. Bear in mind that this is a one use only per battle trait.

2. An Eye on Distant Events
This trait allows for the Warlord to give the Stealth special rule to any units within 12”. I can see this especially useful for a footslogging Eldar army. Not bad having 60+ infantry with the stealth special rule don’t you think? It also confers stealth to vehicles too so not a bad trait at all. Just keep in mind that if you are playing Tau, don’t bother with this trait as they can remove it at a whim. Still though for other games this one is definitely worth considering.

3. Falcon's Swiftness
This trait adds 1” of all running movement to your Warlord and a unit he is attached to. Quite good especially if your warlord and the unit he is attached to want to get some place in a hurry, say close combat. Combine this with fleet and you can get a very fast and dangerous unit. I can see this very useful on your avatar to give him that extra range don’t you think? Moves 6” and then runs a potential 7” with reroll due to fleet! Nice! Unfortunately this trait is completely useless for Jetbike mounted Warlords as they can’t run.

4. Fate's Messenger
Your Eldar Warlord may re-roll a failed saving throw of a one. Again the Avatar can really benefit this but especially those 2+ toting Phoenix Lords too. Might be handy for denying your opponent that Slay the Warlord Victory point or help keep him alive in those intense challenges and frustrate your opponent. Get Asurman and the chances of getting this are very high since you can roll D3 times on the warlord table and pick which one you want. Asurman has a 2+ and a 4+inv so pretty handy.

5. Mark of the Incomparable Hunter
This Warlord trait allows your Warlord to fire at a separate target than the unit he is attached to. Might be handy for a Farseer with Eldrich Storm or a Fusion gun armed Autarch, Think of it like this, the Autarch and his Dire Avengers approach the Rhino/Land Raider etc. The Autarch fires the Fusion gun melting the Land Raider followed then by ten Dire Avengers unleashing a flurry of razor sharp discs into your opponents precious cargo. Ok I know it’s a bit situational but still… Not bad especially on a Seer council.

6. Seer of the Shifting Vector
This can be a decent trait providing you take a list that can take advantage of it. This trait allows any deep striking units not to scatter if they arrive within six inches of the Warlord. Could be very handy for deep striking some Jetbikes or better yet, Warp spiders!
Overall I might have misjudged the Warlord traits when I first looked at them. I definitely see potential there and providing you are willing to accommodate the trait into your list so you can take full advantage of it, I think they are going to be pretty solid for you.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

New Eldar Codex First Impressions

Hi all,

Well it's finally here, the new Eldar Codex! I am so excited about this release I have probably been talking about it way too much around my gamer buddies and wore ears off them. But now that it's here at last I would like to write a little bit about my first impressions of the book itself. So stick around and read on!

The Codex

It has to be said GW have done a fantastic job on all the 6th edition codex's written so far. I have bought everyone of them. Maybe I have more money than sense but to be honest I just love reading the fluff and the rules. It's always nice to know what to expect when your opponent fields Daemons or Dark Angels with their new rules.

As with all the previous 6th edition hardback book's it is comprised of 104 pages and takes on the same format as all the previous codex's (Race Background, Timeline, Common special rules, Individual leaders and units back ground and rules, followed by the army section with the points and stats). Even if you are not an Eldar player it's still worth picking up a copy of this because it has some of the most beautiful artwork (just look at that cover) of any of the codex's and if art isn't your thing then the fluff and the background makes up for that.

Chuck Noris to Summarize

To put it in a nutshell as a whole the army got a boost. I know all over the net people are whining that this unit and that unit weren't fixed (Banshee's I'm looking at you!) and some things went up in price and very little came down in price but in the sum of all parts we got a boost not a nerf.

One critical improvement was a boost from BS3 to BS4 across the board. Let me put this into perspective. This is a core stat, not a special rule like Battle Focus or Ancient Doom which I will touch on a bit later but an actual core stat. This vastly improves a whole heap of our Eldar units. I know personally playing a guardian heavy army that I was absolutely ecstatic when I seen this improvement.

Then we have this special rule called Battle Focus. Oh wow is this good or what! We can move and then run and then shoot, or Move and Shoot and then run. This is HUGE. Ok Guardian Shuriken Catapults have a 12" range but you move 6" then Run another 6" with a reroll due to the whole army getting fleet now and then shooting another 12". The whole army basically has a minimum movement of 7" and inches my friends win games especially with an army that requires finesse like the Eldar do.

Ancient doom is a bit more situational as it only works against units with mark of Slannesh. This can be Daemons or Chaos Space Marines. It gives our entire army Hatred against these foes which is great! But we also received -1 to our leadership roles for fear when playing these armies. Still though Hatred is better than -1 LD so I'm happy.

The humble shuriken catapult is not so humble anymore... With BS 4 now more shots will hit their mark, couple this with that every roll to wound of a 6 now counts as AP2, we are going to see a lot more bang for our buck when our opponent starts picking up his models after a round of shooting from our Shuriken wielding Gardeners and Mechanics.

But let's not kid ourselves, the Eldar army itself is for the advanced level of player and that hasn't changed. It's not going to be the next Grey Knights nor is it the new Necron's. Each and every move you make, the consequences must be planned out in advance. It's not a point and click army. If you are new to Eldar I highly advise you speak to an experienced Eldar player to get that much needed little boost to help you at the start. You may find it frustrating at times but the army can be one of the most rewarding when everything comes together and the synergy works.

So overall a thumbs up (Thank you Mr Noris!). I will be reviewing each unit individually and our new Psychic powers in a series of posts over the coming weeks so check back with us here at Wild Serpent regularly because we are as excited as you are!