Ok, I'm fairly new to Warseer but I consider myself to be a very experienced Eldar player. I have won 4 local tournaments (Aberystwyth, Lampeter and Shrewsbury were you there?) with Eldar so I hope this establishes my credentials a little. I would like to help other Eldar players with their lists/tactics. This first section is very long and contains a general guide to how to play the Eldar and a break down of the units available to them. I will follow this a later date with a guide to army selection and advice against specific opponents so check back here frequently.
The aim of this guide is to show people how win competitive games with the Eldar. The Eldar list is quite diverse and unless you have a clear idea in mind as to how the army plays and what troops to use it is easy to get lost. Tau players have access to very good advise online as to how to play their army effectively and the standard of play among Tau players is very good. Getting good advise for playing Eldar though is much harder and Eldar players tend to have a much less good idea of how to play their army. I hope everybody finds this guide useful I’ve not had a lot to do over the last few days waiting for my college course to start so I just started typing…
Please not that all these opinions are my own I don’t want to force them down your throat. I will be quite happy to discuss anything I have said in this article and explain why I have made a particular judgement. If you notice any mistakes or omissions point them out to me so I can edit the article.
Lastly I am aware that elder are one of the most powerful codex’s around and that many people have strong opinions about the Eldar. This thread is not the place for anti- Falcon/harlequin/uber unit ranting and accusations. I don’t play 40k just to win (I also play orks lol), it’s about getting the best results from the Eldar list.
I define large games as +1,500 points
Medium sized games 750-1,499 points
Small sized games 0-749 points
-Eldar are about mobility and firepower. I have yet to see an Eldar infantry army perform particularly well they are just too vulnerable. In games of 1,000 points plus you should take lots of fire prisms, wave serpents and falcons if you want a competitive army. Aspect warriors with a 4+ save are very vulnerable and should have a transport.
-Take the first turn if offered the worst thing that can happen is your opponent shooting your tanks before they move and getting penetrating hits. The exception to this rule is in Omega level games with escalation. If most of your force is coming on by reserve you can happily give your opponent the first turn so you can take the last turn of the game.
-Usually take the deployment zone with more terrain since it gives you more room to hide your troops and tanks.
-Terrain is very important for Eldar. All vehicles should start the game behind terrain or where your opponent cannot see them. This way if your opponent gets first turn your tanks are hopefully not visible.
-Always move you vehicles more than 6 inches each turn always!
-Don’t try and fight your opponent’s entire army at once this is very important. Manoeuvre your tanks and army so you can fight 1/3 or 1/2 of your opponent’s army with all of your force. Your opponent can make this easier for you by spreading out thinly across the entire length of his deployment zone while you put all your forces on one end of the table. This is referred to as a refused flank deployment. If your opponent does not fall for this it may be worth sacrificing a turns shooting to move all your tanks 24 inches to the other side of your deployment zone outflanking him this way.
- Try and gather enough firepower to wipe out your target in one round of shooting. In a perfect game you would not get any return fire at all. I’ve not seen a perfect game but it’s what I strive for. Manoeuvre to stop the enemy army drawing line of sight to your troops.
-Move your tanks so the back armour is not exposed if possible; it is a favourite tactic of my opponents to deep strike units to hit the weak rear armour of my tanks. This can be avoided by placing the back of the tank against a table edge or terrain. Be careful though if the tank is carrying troops and is destroyed and the troops onboard can’t disembark they are also destroyed.
-On the attack strike with as much of your force as possible at one point in your opponent’s army having mobile forces helps this.
-On the defence hide your tanks and troops behind terrain and wait to ‘pounce’ that is wait until your opponent draws close then throw all your forces forward. Good pouncing units are blades storming dire avengers or fire dragons in transports. Aim to break the back of the opponent’s army in one strike. The build up to the ‘pounce’ should have you taking pot shots at his army, ducking in and out of terrain with your tanks to bait your opponent forward while you yourself take little damage due to holo fields.
I believe the heavy support section to be the most important in the Eldar list and selection from it contributes a large part to how effective your army will perform. Selections should be based on how many points you have available.
Here are the heavy support entries ranked best to worst.
1.Falcon (use in medium to large games)
This tank is without a doubt the best Eldar Heavy Support choice in terms of power and utility (and also the best tank in the game). In points terms a kitted out falcon costs more than a kitted out fire prism however and this influences our selection.
In terms of weapons never give a falcon a bright lance or a missile launcher. These limit the mobility of your Falcon to 6 inches if you want to fire all the weapons since only 1 s8 weapon can be fired if it moves over 6 inches. This leave 3 weapons: the star cannon is the best overall because it works very well working together with the pulse laser at killing MEQ but it is also the most costly. The scatter laser has 4 shots and costs less than the star cannon.. In anticipation of facing horde armies and in the interests of economy all falcons beyond the first should be armed with scatter lasers. Shurikan cannons are not really worth considering for the turret you will often find yourself out of range when you need the extra shots. Conversely Flacons should always replace the twin catapults on the hull with a shuriken cannon for 3 more s6 shots for only 10 points.
On a falcon with a scatter laser, pulse laser and shuriken cannon we get 9 shots at s6 and above which is fairly impressive considering it can also move 12 inches. If you can angel up for side armour shots you should be able to generate impressive numbers of penetrating and glancing hits.
In terms of vehicle upgrades all Falcons and indeed all Eldar tanks should have spirit stones without exception. It really is a no brainer that if your tank gets stunned and can’t move 6 inches next turn it will die to penetrating hits on its weak armour in the following turn.
Holo fields are the next most important upgrade. They make your Eldar tank nearly invulnerable as long as you move more than 6 inches in your previous turn The odds of your opponent destroying your falcon fall from 1/3 to 1/9 with holo fields for each glancing hit. This is therefore a very desirable upgrade, which should be taken if you are taking a serious mechanised Eldar army. Note that wave serpents cannot take holo fields. The maximum number of holo fielded Eldar tanks in a game using the force organisation chart is therefore 3.
Vectored engines further reduce the probability of a falcon being destroyed still further. The probability of destroying a falcon with one shot falls from 1/9 to 1/36 in other words your opponent needs a double six to destroy it on the damage table. This pushes the price of the tank up still further but makes your tank nigh on invulnerable combined with holofields. While not as essential as holo fields vectored engines are still very much worth taking. If you plan on using your tanks cautiously you can skip this upgrade to save points. If you plan on exposing your tanks to quite a bit of fire you should take this upgrade. Falcon’s should have vectored engines before fire prisms if you are running short of points because they have a more aggressive role.
Don’t take star engines as Eldar tanks are fast skimmers and can already move 24 inches, which is enough. Unless you have some unusual battle plan you can do without star engines.
The falcons I use look like this:
Falcon with scatter laser, shurikan cannon, pulse laser, spirit stones and holo fields = 185 points
Falcon with star cannon, shurikan cannon, pulse laser, spirit stones and holo fields = 195 points
If I have more points:
Falcon with scatter laser, shurikan cannon, pulse laser, spirit stones and holo fields, vectored engines = 205 points
Falcon with star cannon, shurikan cannon, pulse laser, spirit stones and holo fields, vectored engines = 215 points
The following squads work well transported in a falcon ranked in order of effectiveness for their cost: fire dragons, harlequins, dire avengers possibly scorpions. For shooting units like avengers and fire dragons you can just power up the table and destroy two units i.e. falcon kills one unit/tank fire dragons kill another tank . To have a an assault squad deploy from a falcon you need to rely on the falcons invulnerability to survive one turns shooting before you disembark and assault the following turn.
2. Fire Prism (use in medium to large games)
Cheaper than the falcon packs a punch, has a 60 inch range can still take holo fields and upgrades. Work best in pairs so don’t take 1, take 2 if you want to use any. Should always have spirit stones and holo fields as well unless your opponent has no ranged firepower (lol!). This is generally the limit in terms of upgrades and comes to 160 points .If you can move the tank so that it is out of range of their heavy weapons while still being in range with the prism cannon do so. One tactic you can use is only giving one-tank holo fields and giving the unshielded tank the job of hiding and powering up the other tank.
Good uses are firing a combined dispersed blast at space marine squads to use the large template and ignore their armour. Using a single dispersed blast to kill 4+ sv troops. Against av 14 vehicles such as land raiders or monoliths it is probably better to use one fire prism to charge the other up and fire a focused shot. Against av1 3 fire them separately (I need math hammer people to check this). Fire prism are vulnerable to a single weapon destroyed result unlike falcons. Weapon less Wave Serpents should grab objectives/hide or tank shock enemy units. Don’t bother giving a fire prism a shuriken cannon it won’t be used much of the time.
3. War Walkers (use in small and medium sized games)
Great little things these. In larger games of 1,500 and more though they should not be taken as tanks will take all your heavy support slots but in small games their firepower and low cost makes them very useful. I prefer the twin shuriken cannon armament since you get 6 s6 shots for only 40 points. Twin scatter lasers and twin star cannons also work well since they can hit from a bit more of a distance but undermine the main reason for taking a war walker which is its low cost. I would not ever use war walkers for tank hunting as you then have a very expensive armour 10 model which will almost certainly die to the first hit it takes. You will probably not make your points back on these so don’t take bright lances or missile launchers. The Eldar army has much better ways of dealing with tanks.
The war walker is the reason that the heavy support slots in an Eldar army should never be unfilled. If you can’t afford a falcon or fire prism take a single 40 point war walker as a cheap drop. War walkers are no longer open topped so they are more survivable and get a free 6-inch scout mover before the game. They outclass Guard sentinels in every way. In fact spamming cheap 40 point war walkers in a small say 400 point game is probably a very good way to win when the number of heavy weapons your opponent can take is limited. For 120 points you get 18 s6 shots a turn and your opponent will struggle to draw a bead with a heavy weapon on them. I will go so far to say you would be silly for not taking them in a small game.
4. Support Weapon Platforms (use only in small games)
Ok Support weapons should only really be used in small games otherwise it’s a heavy support slot which could have been used for something more powerful like a fire prism or falcon. I don’t think shadow weavers should be used at all since they are too weak. D- cannons can be used to deny areas of the battle field to your opponent such as one half of you deployment zone. This usually works since nobody really want to put their elite troops or tanks near one if they can avoid it. Vibro-cannons are the best of the bunch having the longest range and causing automatic glancing hits on vehicles. Support Platforms are more useful if you ever for some reason need to defend a static position. The weakness of support platforms is that they are very easy to take out if you opponent can draw line of sight to them or has deep stikers so you can’t really move them around much. I much prefer war walkers though for 40 points for one with two heavy weapons is insane.
5. Wraithlord (use in small-medium sized games)
I used to love this thing but it is no longer as good in the new rules. The wraith lord has only 2 attacks, cannot take duplicate weapons without them being twin linked and suffers from wraith sight. Wraith sight means it will be hit automatically in hand to hand should it fail the roll or just stands around doing nothing. I used to use wraith lords to hold up big assault units without power fists but more things have rending now i.e. death company. The wraith lord has the option of a second heavy weapon but because of the price increase anti-tank and anti MEQ weapons are not really worth it. I would probably give one a shurikan cannon, scatter laser and flamers which comes to 120 points and is ok. Another downside is that you have to baby sit the wraithlord with a farseer or spirit seer, which is a bit of a waste really. I would take a tank over a wraithlord every time. Does better in smaller and medium sized games where there are fewer weapons that can take them down.
6. Dark reapers (use only in large games)
Despite the improvements to their save, drop in point and new weapons they are still not really worth it. The problem is that the unit is static and a static Eldar unit is a dead Eldar unit. Especially dark reapers which are expensive and come in small squads which is why they should only be used in games when you have plenty of points to spare. Much of the time you will find that Dark Reapers have no line of sight or must select sub-optimal targets The damage reapers can do means that your opponent will target your reapers before anything else. The table usually has to be pretty clear of terrain or your opponent fairly silly for you to really get good use out of Dark Reapers. The only time I would ever use dark reapers is in an army with Eldrad Ulthran who can reposition them otherwise they end up facing down a tank, which they can’t kill and they die horribly. Same problem again here taking one of these units means one less falcon or fire prism in the army.