Eldar

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Space Elves: bringing quality, connivance and disarray to a galaxy near you since 10,000 B.C.

"Nothing makes one so vain as being told that one is a sinner."

- Oscar Wilde

"Would it not be wondrous for this whole nation to be destroyed, like a beautiful flower?"

- General Anami

"We want to go out with a bang, not a whimper."
-Richard Thomas

"You are so brave and quiet I forget you are suffering."
-Ernest Hemingway

The Eldar (now spelled Aeldari in the Tome of the Retconian, AKA Patentus Friendlius Renamian) are one of the playable armies in Warhammer 40,000. They are essentially elves ported directly from Tolkien into space, pointy ears and all, and as a result are often called 'Elfdar' by fa/tg/uys. Which is retarded, because the term 'Eldar' itself is already pulled straight out of Tolkien, being one of the many names the Tolkien Elves use to refer to themselves (appropriately enough, it means "people of the [light of the] stars"). They are one of the oldest races in the galaxy and have very advanced technology and highly developed psychic abilities, but ages of warfare and strife, and in particular one extremely devastating and painfully avoidable strife, have reduced their population from the galaxy-spanning empires of the past to the few surviving Craftworlds, Maiden Worlds and Exodite Worlds still present in the 41st millennium.

In the 40k game, the Eldar army is comprised of specialized units that excel at a particular task, as opposed to more general all-rounders like the Space Marine tactical squads. Their vehicles are almost all skimmers too, with the exception of War Walkers. The Eldar also have a few special tricks up their mystical elfy sleeves, like Webway travel and wraith-constructs, which are wraithbone suits that are controlled by the souls of dead Eldar. It's like a Space Marine Dreadnought in purpose, only the Dreadnought pilot is merely a cripple while the wraith-construct's 'pilot' is a straight up ghost. The Avatar of Khaine, one of the Eldar's most powerful units, is a giant monster made of lava that used to be the penis of a war-god.

In spite of their fall from being a colossal empire that ruled the stars and heavens alike when Mankind was still poking things with sticks and roasting dead animals over fires in caves to their current state (a dying, elegiac race slowly being whittled down to extinction by combat losses and the hunger of Slaanesh), their utter disdain for every single bit of non-Eldarin life remains completely unchanged. The race as a whole has a superiority complex that would put Failbaddon to shame. They often act indirectly, subtly manipulating events to resolve in their favor.

History[edit]

Origins and the Eldar Empire[edit]

Did you know Tyranid tastes best when cooked inside out with warp fire at 1,000 degrees Celsius?

Much of Eldar history has been lost and is consequently closer to mythology than fact. Even the Eldar themselves are unsure of the details. What they do know is that they were one of many races either created or uplifted by the Old Ones to fight against the C'tan and their minions at the time, the Necrontyr. They were designed to be powerful psykers to take advantage of the C'tan's weakness to the powers of the Warp. In their infancy as a race, the Eldar learned how to create Warp entities (essentially, artificial daemons) to help them get shit done (be it war, healing, or building), but when the Old Ones took the Eldar to war and subsequently got wiped out by the combined efforts of the C'Tan, the Necrons, and Enslavers, the Eldar constructs went out of control and started merging into much more powerful beings, even capable of facing full-powered C'Tan without being annihilated in 0.1 seconds. The Eldar mistook those beings for gods and started worshiping them. The gods themselves started to play divine soap opera (which often resulted in piles of space elf corpses) until their boss, Asuryan, got tired of this shit, and banned all divine manifestations in realspace, effectively locking all of the gods in the Warp. At this time in cosmic history, the Warp was far less dangerous, especially for the Eldar since it was mainly the swinging bachelor pad of their gods, and not a scheming, raping, murdering, rotting hellscape. Some accounts suggest that when Eldar passed away, their souls were preserved in the Warp to be reincarnated.

For reasons left conveniently unexplained, the Eldar managed to survive both the war between the Old Ones and the C'tan and the high school drama of their gods, and over thousands of years built a galaxy-spanning empire that was undoubtedly more bitchin' and stylish than anything the Imperium has achieved. The Eldar terraformed planets into paradises, inhabited thousands of them, and traveled between them effortlessly using the technology of the Webway left behind by the Old Ones. At the height of their civilization, approximately the same time that humans were starting to evolve, they were using their advanced technology to perform pretty much all the work required in their societies and had rendered manual labor completely obsolete; most Eldar therefore devoted themselves to pursuing lives of hedonistic decadence (like a goddamn Dr. Seuss fantasy... IN SPAAAACE). Later on, there are a few recorded instances of the newly-spacefaring humanity clashing with elements of the Eldar Empire over resources, kind of like the Imperium and the Tau currently (a comparison which doesn't bode well for the former party if you accept that history tends to repeat itself).

The Fall[edit]

As Eldar civilization became more and more excessive, it began basically to resemble the world of a certain godawful assault on the dignity of the human creative impulse, and the Eldar made a science and a cultural centerpiece out of indulging and refining every perverted sensual desire they had. As their race descended into lawlessness, depravity, and evil, little did they know that all of it was slowly but surely nourishing a new entity in the Warp. Some Eldar decided to forsake the ways of their kin and left to settle other planets at the fringes of the galaxy; this turned out to be a pretty smart move, since the planet-wide orgies and other assorted debauchery going on back home culminated psychically in a gargantuan Warp storm that resulted in the birth of the Chaos god Slaanesh and tore an enormous hole in the fabric of realspace that is now known as the Eye of Terror. This calamity also resulted in the deaths of most of the Eldar still on their homewards.

"Well......fuck."

Most of the Eldar gods were wiped out along with their race. The newborn Slaanesh went on a rampage through the Warp, devouring everything Eldar that he/she/it could get its hands/tentacles/claws/many phallic appendages on. The gods who bit the big one were Asuryan, Kurnous, Lileath, Morai-Heg, and Vaul. The three that survived are the Laughing God, Cegorach, the shattered God of War and Fire, Khaine, and the goddess of healing and fertility, Isha, also known as the Mother.

During the genocide of the Eldar gods, Khaine fought against Slaanesh and found himself evenly matched. Before a winner could be decided, however, Khorne appeared and declared Khaine his property. Whether this was due to the slight similarities in their names, or the fact that Khaine was another god of war is unknown. What is known is that Slaanesh refused, resulting in the first of the many regular beatings Khorne gives Slaanesh. While Khorne was curb-stomping his new compatriot, Khaine was shattered into many pieces and flung into the mortal realm. These shattered pieces of Khaine found their way to the Eldar Craftworlds and are now used to summon the Avatar of Khaine to fight for them (a fate very similar to the Burning One).

Cegorach famously ran from Slaanesh in a very Benny Hill-like fashion before Khaine showed up. It was at this point Cegorach told Khaine "you got this" and fled to safety. Cegorach now spends all his time getting into just as planned competitions with the other dicks of the galaxy. The rest of his time is spent reading books in the Black Library and trolling Ahriman by denying him entrance to it. He also usually plays paradox poker with Tzeentch, the Deceiver and the Emperor once every week. It's not exactly known how one dimension managed to contain that much dickery in a single location without imploding.

The fertility goddess, Isha, was saved from the lusty Argonian maid *BLAM*NO!! by none other than Papa Nurgle. Isha now endures as the test subject of Nurgle's plagues and as of the 6th edition Daemons codex is kept company by a small forest of the agonizingly petrified souls of the one craftworld that believed she still existed and that were supposedly her descendants. The disease that set them in that state, one capable of degrading Wraithbone—and divinely created versions of the stuff, no less—is mysteriously absent from any other lore, though you would be forgiven for thinking that a disease that can devour whole craftworlds would be important. So grimdark. Her subsequent weeping was pathetic enough for one Death Guard Plague Marine who observed her plight to learn what pity was. Sleep tight, Life Mother. (You could also take the story allegorically, with the Eldar's life goddess, and thus their continued existence, tethered to the god of death and hopelessness.)

The Eldar present in the 41st millennium are the descendants of those who left to settle other planets or are the mercantile group that travelled around in their enormous ships called craftworlds. They are dedicated to their fight against the forces of Chaos spawned by the folly of their ancestors. They are extremely long-lived; the average Eldar has a natural lifespan of at least a thousand years, and the most powerful of their psykers can survive to be tens of thousands of years old. As a result, most Eldar die in battle while still in their prime, and their population continues to dwindle. So grimdark. The Craftworld Eldar are now mostly focused on using their collective deceased souls, interred in each craftworld's Infinity Circuit, to birth a new god into the Warp, Ynnead, whom they hope will be powerful enough to destroy Slaanesh once and for all and save the Eldar race. The Dark Eldar are those who have continued to embrace the vices that led to the destruction of the Eldar Empire; they still exist largely in the state in which the Empire left off. Other Eldar, like the Corsairs (see below) and the Exodite Eldar (the ones living on fringe planets unaffected by the cataclysms of the Fall) are somewhere in between ideologically. The Harlequins, yet another sub-group, devote themselves to preserving what they can of their pre-Fall history, which they perform via plays and oral tradition. They also act as respected diplomatic intermediaries between the other factions of remaining Eldar in the 41st millennium.

The Eldar Paths[edit]

TASTE THE RAINBOW MOTHERFUCKER!

After the fall of their race, and apart from the potential to have their souls eaten by a crazed she-man masturbating furiously in the Warp, the Eldar discovered most of their population had also been cursed with ADHD. This new curse was adapted into the Paths of the Eldar, their equivalent to careers. The Eldar will spend hundreds of years dedicated to perfecting their fry cook job at Space Elf Wendy's, then move on to the next occupation that takes their fancy. Why do they do they focus on one thing? Because branching out might be "excess", so instead they strive for perfection in a single discipline. Which is pretty stupid, as "perfection" is also part of Slaanesh's portfolio. As you would expect from a universe where an entire race can be wiped out by the birth of a single hermaphrodite, the two most prevalent paths are the Path of the Seer and the Path of the Warrior. These can be simplified as The Path of the Dick and The Path of Everyone Else. The Path of the Warrior includes such exotically-titled job opportunities as being a Warp Spider, a Howling Banshee, or a Fire Dragon, all of which involve the applicant donning some form of flamboyant drag attire and out-trending the enemy (see left). Also, Aspect Warriors will occasionally shoot and impale things with deadly proficiency. The Path of the Seer includes jobs for potential Warlocks and Seers. The few Eldar without ADHD who follow the Path of the Warrior or the Seer will eventually become an Exarch or Farseer. Of course, the Paths of the Eldar are not limited to the Seer and the Warrior. There has to be someone to fill the revered positions in the Path of the Toilet Cleaner. Let's not forget the Path of the Angry Gamer and the Path of the Craftworld Drunk, either.

Not-So-Dying Race[edit]

You may have noticed that in most of the fluff the Eldar are described as a dying race. However, they've been slowly dying for the past 10,000 years, never seem to mind the heavy losses they take when they lose a battle, and for every one world lost there are a dozen more that pop up. The reason for this is that GW writers have different opinions on what the Eldar's "theme" is. Gav Thorpe, who did most of their older fluff, views them as dying out, and only thinks there are a dozen craftworlds with a dozen million Eldar each. However, Phil Kelly thinks their theme is "holding on just barely and losses are only minor things, keeping the important stuff" and thinks there are hundreds of craftworlds, with the average housing a hundred million to half a billion Eldar. Humorously, Matt Ward seems to agree with Phil as the theme of his Iyanden book is definitely "rising through the ashes" (maybe Phil and Matt were sick of Eldar being treated as the galaxy's punching bag in 40K).

What we're saying is: as with the other species, Craftworld Eldar do take the time to reproduce, but the open question is whether they're technically dying out or if they managed to keep a net population growth rate over the 12 millennia or so since Slaanesh came into the picture. If the former, an intelligent species is still paying the price for the nuttery of their forebears, and will until they're totally extinct; if the latter, a bunch of racist assholes who hate you (yes, you) are on the upswing, though all possibility of a total comeback is about on the same level of probability as Nurgle taking an antibiotic bath. Between all the wars and the occasional disaster (like Kher-ys and Malan'tai), one would think the galaxy is waging a slow war of attrition on their species. Fluff describes them going either way (giggity).

Eldar Corsairs[edit]

Were Space Elves not enough for you? How about Space Elf Pirates?

These guys pop up every so often, though whether they're technically a naval splinter group of the Craftworlds or a completely separate offshoot is still an open question. Most of them are Craftworlders living the Path of the Outcast, though considering Eldar can spend many years away from their Craftworld, many may have been born in deep space as natural-born Corsairs. These Eldar live on ships and space stations until they return to their home Craftworld (if they return at all), and often raid other species' space lanes for plunder, usually in the form of people. Part of the reason Imperial commanders think Eldar are a random, inscrutable force in the galaxy is because they can't tell the difference between these guys, Dark Eldar, or a Craftworld strike force. Confusing Corsairs and Craftworld ships could be forgiven, but your intel must be pretty fucked if you confuse those ships and the ones covered in blades and similar grotesque shit. (Alternate opinion: you forget that Eldar ships use holofields as their defences. When they are not looking like a garbage hauler, they will just be a blur to both the eye and Imperial sensors. Then you factor in that Eldar ship weapons will do very similar battle damage—dark or plasma lance, etc. It's impossible to tell the difference unless you're a Magos working for an Ordo Xenos inquisitor. Then you need to factor in that Corsairs and Harlequins use BOTH Craftworld and Dark Eldar ships. It would get very confusing, very fast.)

The update to IA:11 (7th edition) added ways to play them and some nice fluff as well. The first paragraph states: "An Eldar Corsair is more akin to the Eldar before the Fall than those who now live upon the Craftworlds. Not for them are the highly disciplined paths trod by their Craftworld kin, although many may turn to them once their need to explore the galaxy has be satiated. That is, though, if they have not completely turned in their lot with their dark kin who dwell in the depths of Commorragh."

So they act a lot like the Dark Eldar. They kill, rape, loot, party, but don't go whole hog and torture things to stave off Slaanesh. They also lack the spirit stones the Craftworlders sport, so their souls are being chewed on by She Who Thirsts, and for them dying is a pretty shitty prospect. They get along well enough with the Craftworlders and Dark Eldar, but aren't above kicking some space elf ass for vehicles or whatever. They generally have cool pirate hideouts all over the galaxy. Some even hang out with their dino obsessed hillbilly cousins.

Some might have spiritstones. But which one of their cut-throat "buddies" are gonna pick it up and carry it with them until the next time they get a chance to visit a Craftworld? Maybe to use as currency for a nice new Falcon!?

The leaders of these piratical bands are dubbed Princes by the Imperium. Being Eldar and not diving off the deep end of excess is really hard without the strict stuff Craftworlders do. Princes do what they will and generally end up being obsessed with something, almost like choosing a Path that the Craftworlds do, but more self-serving and douchey. Seeing his resolve though keeps his underlings inspired and so they follow him because of shear bad assery.

The Void Dreamer is a very dangerous psyker in the Corsair ranks. They help navigate both the Webway and the Warp with Aethermancy, which is risky as hell when you are food item number one for a certain warp entity. Though they haven't died from mismanagement of their talent, they don't have the protection the Craftworlder psykers get from strict practices and cool trinkets. This brightly burning power is a beacon in the dark for Slaanesh to focus on. In game this is represented by a unique Perils of the Warp table; the worst result is the psyker being claimed body and soul by Slaanesh and becoming a daemon of Slaanesh (presumably to kill all his Eldar buddies nearby).

Eldar-Human Hybrids[edit]

Commissar.gif This article or section is EXTRA heretical. Prepare to be purged.
Say what you want, but their women are hot as hell.

According to Rogue Trader fluff which is almost two decades old (and has almost been entirely retconned out of existence), humans and Eldar once had a common ancestor (which doesn't make any sense since the Eldar as a race are far older than humanity, by at least 60 million years). There was a theory back in the day that both races were creations of the Old Ones (or the C'tan successfully made humans similar enough to the Eldar). This apparently made it possible for both races to interbreed and produce viable offspring. For example, it was hinted that Illiyan Nastase, Chief Librarian Astropath of the Ultramarines, was part Eldar. This is of course HERESY and GW has, in a rare case of good judgment, rightfully chosen to ignore this character's existence. Illiyan Nastase would later be overwritten and replaced by a new Chief Librarian of the Ultramarines, Varro Tigurius, in the more current fluff (likely because of his unusual affinity for psychic powers).

Confirmed human/eldar hybrids no longer appear outside of fan works, such as the cute little bugger Lofn from the fan comic Love Can Bloom.

More recently the Black Library novel The Chapter's Due has as a minor character Kaarja Salombar the Corsair Queen. She's variously described as "... beautiful, with palm skin and warm almond shaped eyes of striking violet... there were some who said there was Eldar blood in her veins" and "... more than a hint of inhuman Eldar to her lithe frame, and a wild mane of azure hair flowing around her shoulders". She also bags at least a trio of Ultramarines and nearly slays Cato Sicarius before getting piked by the Ultramarines 2nd Company standard, which should make her a bit of a hero to the various Ward haters.

As usual there is no "confirm or deny" about any unusual heritage for a character who existed in a single novel, no part of which was ever told from her perspective and who died without a single line of dialogue. Grimdark.

Nowadays if it was still possible for Eldar-Human hybrids to be born, they would be born in Commorragh (basically take the Scriptural cities Sodom and Gomorrah, all the worst aspects of 16th century Port Royal, 19th century Singapore, Las Vegas and Mos Eisley spaceport, and throw in extra helpings of pain, rape, scum, villainy and wretched hive-ness, and there ya go). What did you think the Dark Eldar used those slaves for, making pie or HERESY?

On the other hand, according to the Path of the Outcast, Eldar have markedly heightened olfactory senses and given their infamous state of inflated self-regard for an Eldar to naturally create a hybrid that would be the equivalent of a human screwing a dog and then hoping for puppies. In either case the pregnant female would likely regard the impending pregnancy with at least incredible disgust or utter xenophobic horror. Said child would then be hated by Humans for being the incarnation of the idea of genetic impurity and likely shunned by any Eldar for being a "lesser" by nature. Grimdark.

Naturally fa/tg/uys, being essentially romantics, see things in a less insistently hateful light, and Lofn, Liivi, and Taldeer manage to thrive. Noblebright.

Skub Time![edit]

Eldar cosplaying as a Chinese Warlord? HERESY!

It has long been stated by many a fa/tg/uy that the Tau are Japs in space while the Eldar are Space Chinese in that they had a more established civilization as old as the beginning of history itself, with a fucking complicated language and philosophy. Some history/culturefags strongly dispute this assertion as being simplistic and inaccurate, as the Chinese language is marked by relatively light grammar and high syllable-information density, as well as one unified set of logographic symbols (that mostly have one pronunciation). Japanese has low syllable-information density and has a sophisticated agglutinative grammar structure, like Korean, and also possesses two syllable-alphabets in addition to utilizing Chinese characters (often with multiple readings). To add to the language debate, Only War describes the Eldar tongue as 'tonal', something that is a prominent feature in the Chinese language, and is not present in Japanese. So if FFG are to be trusted, the Eldar speak a language more similar to Chinese than Japanese. Just don't ask why the Eldar religion is sorta Hindu (India) and the Tau religion is sorta Buddhist, the only difference between East and Southeast where you haven't been and where you'll never go.

The problem in this comes not just from language, but fundamentally more on how their ideologies and society is constructed. A problem with this idea is that the Tau philosophy of the "Greater Good" is practically derived from one of the greatest philosophical teachers who studied social interactions, ethics and morals and to leave a lasting mark was Confucius, who lived in China, while the Eldar's divisions between Aspect Warriors and Guardians can be better compared to those between Japanese samurai warriors and ashigaru peasant conscripts. Linguistically and ideologically, the Tau draw influence from Confucianism combined with post WWII Chinese-Communist culture. The Eldar is admitted by Games Workshop as being openly modeled on Japanese culture (possessing Japanese-style robes and wielding katanas and shurikens into battle) combined with space Ancient Greece (complete with the togas and the complete hubris that brought them down).

Then again, any debate on Weeabooism in 40k lore is meaningless because the argument is corrupted so much that anything fa/tg/uys or 4chan residents do not like can be labeled with the term once they have found something about it that vaguely invokes anime tropes... such as, for example, the Imperium's extensive use of gigantic overpowered mecha.

/tg/ Feelings on the Eldar[edit]

Elfdar vs. weeaboo: whoever loses, we win.

The Eldar's arrogance and penchant for Just as planned, paired with their being used as the defenders of the status quo (see below) and the blatant favoritism they seem to get in any work featuring them, have caused them to be the single most-hated race by /tg/. Yes, more than the space zombies and weeaboo space communists. Part of this stems from the fact that they are a hit-or-miss army, much as their counterparts were in the last edition. When they work, they work amazingly; when they don't, they tend to fail. Some argue that a lot of the hate has been due to them being insufficiently Orky, which, if true, is RACIST.

Thankfully, some of the hate has recently started to abate, and this has everything to do with the fact that the Eldar seem to have become the whipping boys of Games Workshop. You know they hate you when you can't even win in your own codices. Also, almost every victory they get nowadays is a Pyrrhic one. Matt Ward especially enjoys his crusade against the Eldar, with Avatars dying in almost every codex the guy's written, and if not that then expect similarly one-sided defeats for the Eldar.

Gav Thorpe, on the other hand, will fight to the death to write about anything starring the Eldar, because he just loves the elves (enough to stop them from losing in their own codex, so he's a much better kind of fan than Matt Ward in this regard) and it's more or less agreed that he's really the only one who can portray them totally accurately since he is the Eldar expert. However, a sizable number of the older 40k playerbase hate Thorpe for turning Exarchs into watered-down Space Marine sergeants and other travesties of fluff. Eldar are also noted to have a major Asian influence, most notably from China, with their martial arts, yin-yang symbol, phoenix and dragon worshiping, cultural pride and philosophy. Pre-1945 Japan factors in as well, with an infantry standard weapon called the Shuriken Catapult, their belief in racial superiority and their ideas about being direct descendants of gods. So all in all this means that the Space Elves are the 40k equivalent of East Asia... huh.

Eldar as Defenders of the Status Quo[edit]

Games Workshop is well-known (read: notorious infamous) for using the Eldar as a gigantic fiat that everything remains exactly as it is (which is to say, in a state of imminent-but-not-quite-here-yet disaster).

It must be noted, however, that they aren't the sole custodians of this. Necrons, pre-update, used to be pretty bad for doing this, and the Tyranids in general seem to exist to eat GW's mistakes, but both of those can be written off as the fault of the armies themselves, since the Tyranids exist only to consume biomass, and the pre-5th edition Necrons just wanted to kill everything. In short, whenever something needs to be eaten, destroyed, turned into armor paint, or involve the interplanetary equivalent of poking an electrical outlet with a fork, GW uses one of the other armies. But when a situation calls for things to remain exactly as they are, the Eldar, traditionally, get the call.

Thankfully, this is no longer the case, as the Eldar are at least partly responsible for the massive shakeup that will be 8th edition. Basically, Biel-Tan is gone, the Eldar have a scary new god, and one of them does the impossible and revives Rowboat Girlyman. So much for status quo.

Play Style[edit]

The Orks may actually be on to something with that red paint...

As a general rule, the Eldar are a fast army of specialists. Each unit is engineered for a particular style of fighting but is nigh useless outside of that assigned role. For example, Dark Reaper squads are known to cripple, if not wipe out completely, entire squads of Space Marines in a single volley. Conversely, they are incapable of moving and shooting (but now they can, lulz) and are comparable to Guardsmen in close combat (though they don't wear wet cardboard boxes for armor). Usually, everyone in an Eldar squad has the same gun and the squad as a whole aims for one goal, as opposed to squads of dudes each toting a different gun for a different kind of foe. This can help new players by not forcing them to keep all of a squad's weaponry in mind, but it also requires you move the right squad for the job to the right place, which can be tactically challenging. An ill-positioned Eldar squad has a greater chance of doing nothing than those of other armies. Some units, like Jetbikes, overcome this disadvantage with superior speed and mobility. This is huge in a game where most of the missions are about capturing objectives. If you are the kind of elf who likes it when a plan comes together, you might be tactical enough to lead the Eldar to their victories upon the battlefield.

With their new, updated codex, the Craftworld Eldar are given a firm footing in the game to compete with or dominate their numerous foes through their increased special abilities, units’ tactical applications and general ability to put shurikens into things and make those things fall down. The newer codex makes units even more points-efficient in doing their jobs. Tactical blunders will see your army turned into rainbow confetti, but if you can get the right part of your Eldar army fighting the right bad guys, you can ruin Christmas every time.

Eldar are almost universally Fleet, pack high Leadership, high Initiative and good overall stats (apart from defenses, with some notable exceptions, such as Wraith constructs), their accuracy is good, their special abilities are rich and useful and their armies need never run the same trick twice. With the Battle Focus ability they can choose to take a run action either before or after shooting, for free, a benefit that allows them to become more mobile than the competition by far. Almost all of their vehicles are skimmers or flyers; those that aren't can Deep Strike or outflank; and they have three different flavors of jump troops and fast-as-hell Jetbikes. Eldar look good when they fight and often kill their enemies in style.

In summary, when an Eldar army is functioning as it should, it is difficult to stop. For this reason, opponents hate them. On the other hand, the army falls apart if given a mean look. They are devastating if they set up, and terrifying if allowed to stick around, but the presence of one Manticore Rocket Launcher, Whirlwind Artillery Tank or Defiler can collapse an entire Eldar battle line should the space elves not fight with care and foresight. Or go second.

Lameness, Courtesy of Games Workshop[edit]

Hm, a dead Eldar. I wonder what GW is peddling in this picture? The Imperial Guard, the creek, the forest perhaps...? Gotta be something.

Eldar recently were dethroned as the punching bag of Games Workshop. Until the most recent codex (Newcrons), the Eldar suffered repeated and humiliating defeats. Every single defeat involved overwhelming odds in favor of the Eldar, with gigantic wraithbone constructs and burning shards of war gods being overwhelmed by [insert faction GeeDubs is trying to sell this time]'s broken pinky finger.

Let's make a list here:

  • Fulgrim - Big Eldar force including a fucking Avatar and Wraithlords is killed by a small detachment of the Emperor's Children (the Avatar is strangled to death by Fulgrim because he's distracted by his glowy Laer blade. I'm not making this shit up.)
  • Codex: Chaos Daemons - Aside from being a nifty reference to Ker-Ys/Ker-Is, an Avatar is possessed by a Keeper of Secrets and helps wipe out a Craftworld.
  • Codex: Tyranids - Avatar issues a challenge to the Hive Tyrant leading the assault on Iyanden. Apparently it doesn't work and it literally gets stampeded to death by 12 Carnifexes. What the fuck. (To be fair, it is 12 Carnifexes.) Oh, and Farseer Kelmon dies, despite neither the Avatar nor Kelmon dying in older iterations of Iyanden's invasion. Oh, and the Doom of Malan'Tai singlehandedly eats an ENTIRE CRAFTWORLD.
  • Matt Ward's Cornucopia of Wank - From the Avatar getting his chest punched in by Papa Smurf, other hilarious things like Wraithlords being killed by Sergeants and god knows what, Matt Ward's Necron Codex featuring a fucking retarded Alaitoc Farseer who fucks over every engagement he commands and gets 'captured' in the White Dwarf issue, I don't even know where to start.
    • Ironically, Ward is also the only one who writes the Eldar being badass, including a bit about Biel-tan beating two whole Imperial sector fleets and ten Space Marines chapters. It seems that only his love for his Ultrasmurfs can surpass his compulsion to make the Eldar actually, y'know, even remotely competent.
  • Dawn of War: Dark Crusade has the Blood Ravens wipe out all of Taldeer's distractions and then kill her, with their heretical Chapter Master gaining a fancy new piece of bling by taking her spirit stone (or perhaps she escaped and Kyras only managed to kill a body double, depending on who you listen to).
  • In Dawn of War: Soulstorm, Vance Motherfucking Stubbs wipes the Ulthwe forces on Kaurava III out wholesale and used his sheer manliness to make Caerys join his harem.
  • Dawn of War II has the Eldar farseer acting like a complete and total DUMBASS from the moment you take control of Force Commander Hairgel. While things started off good with the Eldar making the Orks and Space Marines do the work for them, Farseer Ree-t'ard then decides to antagonize the Blud Rehvens for literally no reason, resulting in a total of 11 marines, 3 scouts, and a dreadnought killing somewhere in the ballpark of hundreds thousands of Eldar and a fucking avatar.
  • Imperial Armour 11: Doom of Mymeara (which sounds like a Playschool TV show puppet - way to go on the Craftworld name GW) - Again, droves of Eldar in the midst of snotting Imperial Guard and Space Wolves from here to Jupiter, somehow get their collective arses handed to them. This is achieved by some fresh out of training/wet nosed/"tea bagging my comrades for the Emperor is my past time" IG commander, pulling a victory out of his chocolate starfish - with collective precision that makes the Dome of Seers predictive foresight look like your average crystal ball psychic con artist.

(And let's not forget that all of these instances are pretty recent fluff, from 4th-5th edition.) Case in point, when GeeDubs needs to give some character or unit or faction some street cred, they just go "he killed an Avatar, so that's good enough." As if the prevailing logic wouldn't be; "gee, if so many things can kill the Avatar, isn't it kind of a lame thing to kill anymore?" Regardless, GW sucks at writing decent fluff (with a few exceptions).

Fortunately, the new punching bag has been changed to the Tau, who for reasons uncertain, don't seem to mind the change of pace- Uh, don't you mean Sisters of Battle? The ones who, you know, not only die in droves, but usually at the hands of their own alleged allies? Eldar still lost most times they were mentioned in the codex, though.

Notable Eldar Characters[edit]

Name Origins Allegiance Description/Current Status Image Model
Eldrad Ulthran Craftworld Ulthwé Aeldari /Ynnari Saviour of the Eldar. High Farseer of Ulthwé. Greatest and most powerful of the Eldar Seers. A dick.
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Yvraine Craftworld Biel-tan Ynnari Emissary of Ynnead. Herald of the Eldar God of the Dead. Helped bring Guilliman back into the game. Wields the Crone Sword Kha-vir the Sword of Sorrows.
Yvraine.jpg
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The Visarch Craftworld Biel-tan Ynnari The Sword of Ynnead. The mortal champion of the Eldar God of the Dead and Yvraine’s bodyguard. Wields the Crone Sword Asu-var the Sword of Silent Screams.
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The Yncarne The Infinity Circuit Ynnari The Avatar of Ynnead. The physical manifestation of the awakening Eldar god of the dead. Wields the Crone Sword Vilith-zhar the Sword of Souls.
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Avatar of Khaine The old Eldar Empire Aeldari The Avatar of Khaela Mensha Khaine (also known as the Bloody-Handed God). The physical manifestation of the Shattered Eldar God of murder, War and Fire.
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Asurmen The old Eldar Empire Aeldari /Ynnari Asurmen, the Hand of Asuryan. Was the first Phoenix Lord and founded the Dire Avenger Aspect and the Path of the Warrior.
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Jain Zar The old Eldar Empire Aeldari /Ynnari Jain Zar, the Storm of Silence. Was Asurmen's first student and loyal companion. She's the founder of the Howling Banshees Aspect.
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Baharroth The old Eldar Empire Aeldari /Ynnari Baharroth, the Cry of the Wind. Was the founder of the Swooping Hawks. Noted by Asurmen as the best of all his students.
Bahharoth2 7th Edition.png
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Karandras The old Eldar Empire Aeldari /Ynnari Karandras, the Shadow Hunter. The Phoenix Lord of the Striking Scorpions but not their founder. He started out not as the pupil of Asurmen but of Ahra.
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Fuegan The old Eldar Empire Aeldari /Ynnari Fuegan, the Burning Lance. The founder of the Fire Dragons and the patron saint of overkill.
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Maugan Ra The old Eldar Empire Aeldari /Ynnari Maugan Ra, the Harvester of Souls. The Phoenix Lord of the Dark Reapers. He is one of the most OP characters from a fluff prospective but sadly not from a table top one.
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Irillyth The old Eldar Empire Aeldari Irillyth, the Shade of Twilight. The Phoenix Lord of the Shadow Spectres. Was lost for a long time but has finally made his return.
Irillyth I hope..jpg
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Drastanta The old Eldar Empire Aeldari Drastanta, the Tempest of Starlight. The Phoenix Lord of the Shining Spears. After failing to save Asurmen he went into self-exile, leaving his weapon behind.
Sylandri Veilwalker Harlequins Harlequin/ Ynnari A Shadowseer who has played a big part in the forming of the recent Imperial Eldar alliance.
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Prince Yriel Ulthanash Craftworld Iyanden Aeldari /Ynnari Prince Yriel is arrogant and deadly in equal measure. Whether as High Admiral of Iyanden’s grand fleet, commander of the Eldritch Raiders he leads his warriors from the front. Turns out that the The Spear of Twilight was one of the Crone Swords.
Yriel.JPG
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Illic Nightspear Craftworld Alaitoc Aeldari The Walker of the Hidden Path. He has wandered the Path of the Outcast for thousands of years, slaying monsters and men alike as he seeks out the paths that span the stars.
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Iyanna Arienal Craftworld Iyanden Aeldari /Ynnari The Angel of Iyanden. The most prominent Spiritseer of Iyanden and one of the most outspoken supporters of Ynnead. (Her official rules are actually worse than the normal Spiritseer so it would be better to use the normal rules instead)
Iyanna Arienal.jpg
Nuadhu Craftworld Saim-Hann Aeldari The Fireheart is a Wild Rider of Saim Hann with a modified Vyper called the Alean- the steed of Khaine.
Prince Eldrathain Craftworlds Corsairs Leader of the corsairs in Battlefleet Gothic: Armada
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Bel-annath Craftworlds of Mymeara Aeldari Farseer of Mymeara
Macha Craftworlds of Biel-Tan Aeldari Macha is a Farseer of the Craftworld of Biel-Tan during the events of Dawn of War.
Macha2.jpg
Taldeer Craftworlds of Ulthwé Aeldari A Farseer of the Ulthwé Craftworld. During the events of Dawn of War Winter Assault. Taldeer would end up dying and her Soul stone was retrieved by her brother Ronahn. She will appear in Dawn of War 3 as a Ghost seer (a psychic Wraithknight… and you thought it couldn’t get more broken).
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Pariah Craftworlds Corsairs The Daemon Heart. Pariah is the “companion” and guide to the The Thrice Born in the Daemonifuge comics.
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Minor Eldar Characters[edit]

  • Farseer Caerys - Farseer of the Kaurava endeavour. From Craftworld Ulthwé.
  • Farseer Idranel - Ulthwé Farseer who tried to stop Tyranids from nomming a craftworld in Subsector Aurelia by getting the Orks and the Blood Ravens pissed off. It failed utterly, with special mention going to Tarkus and his termie armour.
  • Farseer Eldorath Starbane - Farseer of Craftworld Alaitoc. An arrogant bastard who couldn't get over himself and promptly got his ass handed to him by the Necrons.
  • Autarch Kayleth - An Autarch of Craftworld Alaitoc. She took charge of the Subsector Aurelia situation after Idranel's death.
  • Ronahn - Pathfinder. Born on Ulthwé, but eventually cut ties with his craftworld to wander the stars. Taldeer's brother.

Notable Craftworlds[edit]

  • Craftworld Alaitoc - The most structurally rigid of the craftworlds. Their strict adherence to discipline allows them to field a large number Exarchs. On the other plus side, all these rules tend to put off a lot of spehss elves, so they also have a large number of rangers on hand, including elite rangers known as "Pathfinders". The large number of misfits they produce also makes them close to Corsair bands. Currently got their shit kicked by the Imperium after their craftworld was invaded by both the Guard and the Space Marines, due to Dark Eldar dickery.
  • Craftworld Biel-tan - Best known for their military prowess, which allows them to wipe out invaders. Are on a mission to restore the Eldar Empire, and so are highly protective of Eldar Maiden Worlds, violently murdering any non-Eldar race trying to settle on one under their watch. The most militaristic and xenophobic (more so than usual) of the Craftworlds. If DoW: Retribution is canon, they've currently lost their entire Seer council.
  • Craftworld Iyanden - Almost got nommed to death by the Tyranids, including the infamous story of having their avatar trampled to death by a herd of stampeding carnifexi. They would have been completely eaten, if it wasn't for Prince Yriel, who saved his Craftworld using with his Corsair band. Is almost depleted and so reluctantly have to rely on a large number of wraith constructs to help them in battle.
  • Craftworld Saim-Hann - A less-restrained craftworld who likes to go fast. They've even taken a page out of the Orks' book that "da' red wuns go fasta'!" as their primary colors are red. Unlike other craftworlds; Saim-Hann takes the concept of the Paths with a grain of salt, and so are more wild and barbaric compared to others (although not a Dark Eldar extreme). Whether this is them just making the best out of their situation or downright retarded (as these were the actions that led to their race's near extinction) is up to debate. Is basically the red, elfy version of the White Scars, only with less Mongolian.
  • Craftworld Ulthwé - The largest of the craftworlds, it specializes in psykers. Ulthwé is currently caught at the edge of the Eye of Terror's gravity pull, and so cannot escape its proximity and the lovecraftian horrors spewing out of it; they're basically the Eldar version of Cadia. Due to this, they have a heavy emphasis on the Path of the Seer to help them predict the constant attacks they experience on a daily basis. This emphasis on psykers does have a downside of having less Aspect Warriors on hand compared to others, but compensate for this by drilling their Guardian squads into elite "Black Guardians" which are more akin to career soldiers than your average militiamen made to answer a call to arms. Also home of the biggest dick, this side of the Eye of Terror.
  • Craftworld Altansar - Was lost in the Eye of Terror for a while. Then Maugan Ra dragged it out with his epicness. Are viewed by suspicion by other Eldar due to spending an extended amount of time in the Warp (as an Eldar, no less), but do not dare do anything about it, lest they face the biotitan-bisecting wrath of the Eldar's version of Jetstream Sam.
  • Craftworld Malan'Tai - Was invaded by a Tyranid fleet. They almost won as they repulsed most of the invaders, but missed a particular Zoanthrope that could eat Eldar souls (somehow). The nid devoured their craftworld's Infinity Circuit and singlhandedly vaporized the entire place. N'Kari, a Slaaneshi Keeper of Secrets, later visited the ruined craftworld to molest any spirit stones still left over after the party, but was cockblocked by the Grey Knights.
  • Craftworld Iybraesil - A matriarchal society with a disproportionately high female population. Commissars warn citizens of the empire to stay away of the craftworld because the perfidious xenos capture men for sexual fun and reproduction, as there are not enough eldar men to fulfil these tasks. Many brave citizens have decided to risk their lives in the name of the Emperor to find the Craftworld Iybraesil and ... ahem ... destroy this heresy.

See Also[edit]

Gallery[edit]

PROMOTIONS-small.png This article contains PROMOTIONS! Don't say we didn't warn you.
Forces of the Eldar
Heroes: Eldrad Ulthran - Illic Nightspear - Prince Yriel - Phoenix Lords
Command: Autarch - Avatar of Khaine - Exarch - Farseer / Spiritseer - Seer Council - Warlock Council
Troops: Aspect Warriors (Dire Avengers - Howling Banshees - Striking Scorpions - Fire Dragons
Dark Reapers - Shining Spears - Warp Spiders - Shadow Spectres - Crimson Hunter
)
Guardians - Paths of the Eldar - Rangers - Storm Guardians
Wraiths: Wraithblades - Wraithguard - Wraithknight - Wraithlord - Wraithseer
Support: Support Weapon Battery - Vyper - War Walker - Wasp Assault Walker - Windrider Jetbikes
Vehicles: Hornet - Falcon - Fire Prism - Firestorm - Night Spinner - Warp Hunter - Wave Serpent
Flyers: Hemlock Wraithfighter - Nightwing Interceptor - Nightshade Interceptor
Super Heavy: Deathstalker - Cobra - Lynx - Phoenix - Scorpion - Storm Serpent - Tempest
Vampire Hunter - Vampire Raider - Void Spinner - Void Dragon Phoenix
Titans: Eldar Knight - Revenant Scout Titan - Phantom Battle Titan - Warlock Titan
Auxiliaries: Harlequins
Weapons of the Eldar
Sidearms: Shuriken Pistol - Fusion Pistol
Basic Weapons: Shuriken Catapult - Avenger Shuriken Catapult - Ranger Long Rifle - Reaper Launcher
Eldar Flamer - Fusion Gun - Lasblaster - Death Spinner - Laser Lance - Prism Rifle
Exarch Weapons: Fire Pike - Dragon's Breath Flamer - Tempest Launcher - Star Lance
Hawk's Talon - Sunrifle - Spinneret Rifle - Prism Blaster
Warp Weapons: D-Scythe - Wraithcannon - D-Cannon
Heavy Weapons: Shuriken Cannon - Scatter Laser - Eldar Missile Launcher - Bright Lance
Shadow Weaver - Starcannon - Suncannon - Vibro Cannon
Vehicle Weapons: Pulse Laser - Prism Cannon - Doomweaver - Phoenix Missile Launcher
Super Heavy Weapons: Pulsar - Psychic Lance - Sonic Lance - Revenant Missile Launcher
Melee Weapons: Diresword - Eldar Power Sword - Executioner - Ghostglaive - Mirrorsword
Scorpion Chainsword - Scorpion's Claw - Singing Spear - Witchblade
Playable Factions in Warhammer 40,000
Imperium: Adeptus Custodes - Adeptus Mechanicus - Imperial Guard - Imperial Knights - Space Marines
Officio Assassinorum - Inquisition - Deathwatch - Grey Knights - Sisters of Battle
Sisters of Silence - Squats - Militarum Tempestus
Chaos: Chaos Daemons - Chaos Space Marines - Lost and the Damned - Renegade Knights
Xenos: Dark Eldar - Eldar - Eldar Corsairs - Harlequins - Ynnari
Genestealer Cults - Tyranids
Necrons - Orks - Tau