Monday, May 2, 2011

Farseer Fail's Eldar Wishdex, part 1: HQ

We all have one. We all have things we wish were in our rapidly aging codex but aren't. I've taken a look around the web at various wishdexes over the years, but I've found most of them to be a bit over the top. In fact, I think that the Eldar Codex can be repaired or brought into line with relatively few changes! Of course that won't happen; GW will not release a new codex without significant alterations. But if it were me, I would opt for the following changes.

Let's start with the HQs.

The Autarch
I wouldn't change Autarchs at all. They are a fine specimen of a well-rounded HQ that can augment not only your army but any unit to which you want him attached. In fact, there is only one rule I would change for the Autarch, if any.

Master Strategist is a fine ability as it is, but if it were to be changed, I would like to see it either
  1. Allow the Eldar player to either add or subtract 1 from their reserve rolls (there are times when I wish I could delay my reserve units' arrival until turn 4 or 5),
  2. Force enemy re-rolls for reserves (much like IG's Officer of the Fleet), or
  3. Have some other board-altering effect, such as preventing enemy reserves from arriving via Outflank. 
 The Avatar
Again, I wouldn't change much here. He has a decent ranged attack, reasonably stout defenses, and the ability to increase the functionality of the Eldar with his Inspiring Presence. In fact the only weakness I can see with the avatar is in the rules of 40k itself; the Fearless rule is due for an update, at least in regards to losing combat.

Eldrad Ulthruan
Eldrad is just wonderful, but see my comments on Farseers below. He kicks ass pretty well for a dead guy.

Farseers and Warlocks
The seer remains the least changed of the HQ units across multiple revisions of the codex and the game. From time immemorial they have plied classic Eldar psychic powers to the benefit of their race and the consternation of their enemies. Little has changed. While I wouldn't change the farseer or the warlock per se, I would like to see an expansion of their powers to bring them in line with their reputation as master psykers. These days, even the deranged Blood Angels and the psyker-phobic Space Wolves have us outclassed, mentally.

In the next revision of the codex I would like to see either new psychic powers, kept in line with the Eldar themes of augmentation and battlefield manipulation, or an enhancement to the efficacy of their current psychic powers. For example, either fusing Guide and Doom into a single ability affecting both shooting and wound rolls or one that allows the use of either one from turn to turn. Also, the ability to force re-rolls of enemy armor saves with Fortune, rather than as a simple defensive attack.

Phoenix Lords
Ah the Phoenix Lords. I simply can't stay away from them for long. While I have no problem with any single Phoenix Lord, I do have some issues with their common traits. They all hover somewhere around 200 points, augment one specific unit to which they  must be attached, and with the sole exception of Asurmen, there isn't an invulnerable save in the bunch. That's just stupid.

In the grim darkness of the 40th millennium, you can't swing a power-cat without granting someone an invuln save. Even Eternal Warrior can't save this bunch.Ideally, a 4+ or 5+ invuln save will come with the next codex.

Additionally, I'd like to see some ability to alter the force organization chart a little, along the lines of the special characters in the current Space Marine codex. Allowing a Phoenix Lord to make members of his aspect become Troops, or at least make the unit he joins scoring, seems like a very likely direction to go, and that's not just Internet jabber, IMHO.

Think about this. Any marine army can field 12 scoring units by bringing 6 full tactical squads and breaking them into combat squads (regardless of the viability of such a tactic, that's a lot of scoring units for your enemy to keep track of). Even my Dark Angels can do this, and they can do it with tougher units, like Ravenwing squadrons (6 bikes and 1 attack bike times 6 troop slots equals 18 scoring units if Sammael tags along, and all of these units  can turbo-boost!).

Most mechanized eldar players get by with 2 to 3 scoring units. Footdar players seem to bring more (necessarily, as half of them are simply meat shields for their brethren), but at no point will you see an Eldar army with more than 6. Thus we increasingly rely on contesting objectives rather than controlling them. The ability to add one more scoring unit I see as a key move in the survival of the Eldar in an increasingly complex and adjustable play environment, especially a scoring unit that will be difficult or hazardous to root out of an objective when led by a Phoenix Lord!

I haven't had much experience with this special character. I've used him only once and wasn't terribly impressed, but I'm not sure what alterations I would make to him ... aside from bringing him to allow the unlocking of scoring wraith units... (didn't see that coming, did you?)

Next up, elites...


  1. Nice write up

    For my money, Eldar HQ's need to be full of dirty tricks. Farseers aren't bad right now, but they should be able to utterly dominate psychically. For some reason, I'm thinking of a extra move power that affects friendly and enemy (like an uber-lash)

    And I'd love to see Master Strategist become a re-roll for all reserve rolls- something comes in too early, re-roll it. You need it now, re-roll it.

    Basically, Eldar throughout the Codex should go back to the Andy Chambers design brief, which was 1 line: "Make them extremely gitt-ish"

  2. The Avatar needs Eternal Warrior if you ask me. Kinda lame that he can get Force Weaponed or other Instant Deathed but actual daemons cant

  3. @Tenzing: I agree we need dirty tricks, and while we are supposed to be the "greatest psykers" yet clearly aren't, publishing a bunch of broken powers will simply up the ante for whatever codex comes next. Thus I'm hoping for something a bit more clear-cut and useful - either in 5th ed or 6th.

    @BillyJoeRay: Good call on the Avatar. I hadn't considered that.

  4. Simply add 1 ws & 1 BS to every unit in the codex. Anything that was overpriced/not terribly good just got a heck of a lot better.

    Assault and shooty squads get a significant boost in their damage output and it all fits with the whole "eldar are l33t" philosophanamy

  5. I think you hit this pretty well, I would also like to see The Avatar get fleet, all Witch Weapons become Force Weapons, and the Phoenix Lords become actually useful. Also you should be able to make a Farseer up to par with Eldrad so we can make our own characters without having to use the same named character in every single Eldar list.

  6. @dzer0, That's a good point about fleet on the avatar, and one I've heard mentioned before. I'm not certain it's needed, but it would certainly be nice.

    I say, however, let Eldrad be Eldrad. Otherwise he's just a farseer that can't ride bikes.