Warhammer 40,000/5th Edition Tactics/Eldar
Why Play Eldar
In general, the Eldar are a fast army with great guns, awesome toys and poor resilience. The Eldar are often touted as a “specialist army,” and for good reason: Each unit plays a very particular role and generally everyone in a squad has the same gun. If you are the kind of guy who likes it when a plan comes together, you might be man enough to lead an army of Eldar.
The need for careful consideration of your army, along with the limitations of their aging Codex, makes for a genuine challenge to veteran players. Tactical blunders will see your army crushed, 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 of Foot and pack high Leadership and good stats. All of their vehicles are skimmers (okay except war walkers) and they have two different flavors of jump troops. The Eldar also bear a peculiarly attractive aesthetic, in spite of the frequent phallic jokes directed at the shape of their helmets. We suggest that you convert them to an all-girl force because an army of lesbian space elves would be totally awesome.
The standard Eldar HQ choice is the Farseer. He starts pretty cheap at 55 points, but he has a whole menu of wargear and psychic powers that greatly increase his cost and determine his role on the battlefield. Every Farseer has a few basic pieces of wargear: a Ghosthelm, which protects against Perils of the Warp; a basic shuriken pistol, which isn't useful against all that much; Rune Armour, which gives a very nice 4+ invulnerable save; and a Witchblade, a scary little close-combat weapon that always wound on a 2+ and counts as strength 9 against vehicles. He also has a few other upgrades:
- A Singing Spear is a Witchblade, but the Farseer can also throw it. Not always that useful, considering its 12" range, but at 3 points it's so cheap that it's almost always worth taking.
- Runes of Witnessing let you take Psychic tests on 3d6, discarding the highest. You must always use the lower two, so it can screw you over if you happen to get Perils on a double 1. It's okay if you have the points, but not absolutely necessary.
- Runes of Warding interfere badly with each and every enemy Psychic test all over the table. These can summarily melt an Ork psyker on round 1.
- Spirit Stones allow the Farseer to use two powers every turn. You love Spirit Stones. You will take Spirit Stones.
On top of this, the Farseer must choose at least one of these psychic powers.
- Doom, a 24" curse that zaps a particular enemy unit and allows you to reroll all wounds against it that turn
- Guide, a 6" buff power that enables a particular Eldar unit to reroll all shooting
- Fortune, another 6" buff that allows an Eldar unit to re-roll armor saves
- Eldritch Storm, a large blast AOE psychic shooting attack with an 18" range: S3 is low, but it does cause Pinning and spins vehicles around randomly, 2D6+3 Penetration gives it a 1/36 chance of penetrating AV14.
- And finally Mind War, which is a nasty brain-zap assassination power, limited to 18" and Line of Sight, capable of hitting ANY unengaged MODEL, so you can pick out the sergeant in a Space Marine squad and kill him with this bad boy.
So, as you can see, you will have to decide how you like to use your Farseer before you go and deck him out with these 20 and 30 point goodies. The Farseer's ability to buff friendly troops is singular, straightforward, and usually fairly effective. One popular option is to kit them out with Stones, Guide and Doom and have them run around with your War Walkers and Dark Reapers or jump on a transport with your Dire Avengers re-rolling everything and making your opponent hate your shooting phase. More Christmas-ruining options include giving him Fortune and sticking him with some Wraithguard. The Farseer can take a pack of Warlocks as bodyguards, which sounds simple but can get really complicated (see below).
25 Points stock with a pistol, Witchblade and rune armor. Warlocks are Eldar junior officers and psykers. In regular use, 'Locks are part of the magic that turns Guardian squads from shitty to remotely useful. One other option is to add one to a 10-pack of Wraithguard, causing it to become a very big fat mean expensive Troops choice (see below). Finally, a group of Warlocks can accompany your Farseer as a bodyguard unit called a Seer Council. This whole squad can even mount your Farseer and his Warlock buddies on jetbikes, and people will call you cheesy, but that's only due to the wetness soiling their trousers. The Eldar didn't get any gifts from Heaven in the Blood Angels and Grey Knights codices, so don't take any shit about it. We cover the details of the Jetbike Seer Council in the Blue Chip Units section.
Warlocks choose a power from the following list:
- Destructor, a *PSYCHIC SHOOTING ATTACK*!!!! that is basically a heavy flamer
- Enhance, which buffs the Warlock's squad with +1 WS and Initiative
- Conceal, which gives the team a rolling 5+ cover save
- Embolden, a Leadership buff
70 Points stock. An Autarch is an Eldar that tried out a few different warrior aspects and decided to just grab his favorite guns from each one. He's also supposedly a super-genius on par with Andrew "Ender" Wiggin which translates into him letting your reinforcements show up faster. Honestly though, his "tactical brilliance" is considerably less impressive than the orders rules that the Imperial Guard get. Yes, that's right, our centuries old tactical genii are worse at leading than a twenty-something mon-keigh. Ah well. Autarchs are essential to "reserves-style" army lists which count on getting lots of guys on the table reserves quickly.
An Autarch is basically built by picking four or five pieces of Aspect Warrior gear and sticking them on the same guy. They come stock with two grenades, a pistol, 3+ armor and a 4+ invulnerable save. The Autarch is characteristically fragile, and should not be relied on to run around on his own and score touchdowns. He will, however, bring a whole lot of extra stink to whatever squad of Aspect Warriors you stick him with. I like making him an honorary Warp Spider with a fusion gun, a banshee mask, and a scorpion chainsword for Strength 4 beatings. He can also be the thing you need to make Swooping Hawks a little less crap.
Remember that Autarch is Fleet even if he's with a squad of guys that aren't, and that his Haywire grenades and/or fusion gun will not really allow him to kill Space Marine dreadnaughts in the middle of a raging firefight.
- Avatar of Khaine
A long long time ago, the god of war, murder, hitting, and bad manners... no, wait, not that one, the Eldar one... got in a fight with baby Slaanesh and got smashed into a bajillion pieces across the materium... just like the C'Tan, at least in the new fluff. Eventually, the god-chunks made their way to Eldar craftworlds where they were each given a nice big room to collect dust. Now, whenever the entire craftworld gets angry enough, the Eldar can sacrifice an Exarch known as the Young King to the statue which comes alive, walks towards the nearest battle field and start hacking stuff apart.
In game terms, he's a pretty decent monstrous creature, sort of like a rogue, somewhat gimped Tyranid monster leading your Eldar. He can crump tanks, and broadcasts fearlessness to your Eldar, but isn't as badass in a fistfight as some other army leaders I could mention. You can find him assigned an escort of Wraithlords in our Blue Chip Units section, and otherwise he can catch fleeing units within 12" and make them get back in the fight. The Avatard is a demon in game terms and therefore can get punked by certain weapons and psychic powers, but is immune to all Melta and Flamer weapons, so it's sort of a tie.
Important to remember is the fact that the Avatar has a Melta weapon(and BS5). This is VERY important to remember in his fight against vehicles and a good thing to know against infantry (since it's Assault and you can't fleet, if you can, might as well). A fun thing to do with this is to walk him up to a transport, Melta it open and then charge the Squad inside
Except you have to charge the unit you shot at. Page 67 of the Rulebook: If the vehicle is destroyed (either result) the unit that shot it may assault the now disembarked passengers. Even if you fail to crack it, you can still charge the vehicle itself (and Avatars are reasonably good vehicle crackers in close combat). Remember, the Avatar is a durable and fairly brutal close combat specialist, so if you fail to crack the transport again, your opponent will probably not want to drop his squad right where the Avatar can get to them.
- Phoenix Lords
Fluff-wise, if Kaela Mensha Khaine was God, the Phoenix Lords would be his Jesuses. They are the founders of the various styles of war that have been reborn over and over. How? Basically, when someone puts on their armor, the armor possesses the wearer and puts the original Phoenix Lord's consciousness in charge. Most Eldar players never use them. They are generally considered over-priced for what they do, and they have some fluffy limitations which add to the problem. They have great laugh value if you are willing to accept that they might not be the most competitive choice in the codex.
Each Phoenix Lord is the most awesome example of one type of Aspect Warrior. They have super-powered versions of the regular equipment and have all the powers available to a respective Exarch, only more so. Taken as a group, they pack awesome statlines with 2+ normal armor, Eternal Warrior, and cause a squad of their particular aspect to become Fearless. They are all Fleet, too, no matter their aspect.
- Asurmen (Dire Avengers)
230 points. Comes with an Assault 4 Avenger shuriken catapult, a diresword that can re-roll misses, both Exarch powers, and a 4+ invulnerable save. While expensive, he's another beatstick in melee, and he contributes handily to the Dire Avengers' already-impressive dakka. The problem here is that 230 points can buy you more infantry-shredding power somewhere else.
- Jain Zar (Howling Banshees).
190 points. The mama Banshee, Jain Zar has an Executioner AND a S5 Triskele, giving her both a S5 AP2 Assault 3 shooting attack and S6 power weapon attacks in assault. She also has both Exarch powers and Furious Charge. Only the insanely tough, lucky, and/or well equipped will be able to withstand a charge by Jain Zar and a full squad of Banshees. Heck, occasionally you can just have her charge one unit, and let the bansheerinas hit something else.
- Baharroth (Swooping Hawks)
200 points. Probably the least useful of all the Phoenix Lords. Baharroth has all the standard Swooping Hawk gear, a Hawk's Talon rifle, both Exarch powers, and the Hit and Run rule (which he confers to the squad he joins). Hawks are one of the "iffy but fun" aspects and their boss man is no different.
- Karandras (Striking Scorpions)
215 points. Holy shit is this guy nasty. Gains +2 Attacks from his mandiblasters instead of the usual +1, comes with a Scorpion's Claw (and all the power-fisty goodness that implies), both Exarch powers, and the Stealth rule (which makes your sneaky Scorpions even more of a pain to kill). Good for krumping anything that your other Scorpions' chainswords can't penetrate, and could even punch out tanks if necessary. An excellent choice among Phoenix Lords.
- Fuegan (Fire Dragons)
205 points. Want to make your Fire Dragons even more ridiculously deadly against tanks? Not only does he come with a Firepike, both Exarch powers (seeing a theme here?) and Feel No Pain, he also comes with the Fire Axe, a deadly tool used by Eldar firefighters to- no, wait, it just gives him +1 strength and lets him fight like a monstrous creature in close combat. Still, awesome, right?! Also a good choice as far as Phoenix Lords.
- Maugan Ra (Dark Reapers)
195 points. This guy's weird, and is actually very different from the Aspect he rules. Instead of having some uber-powerful missile launcher, this guy instead has a fancy Assault 4 cannon that has pinning and rending, while also functioning as an executioner (+2 S power weapon) in close combat. He also has (you guessed it) both Exarch powers and the Acute Senses rule. This means he can choose to either fire five times, or ignore cover and re-roll wounds, making him a particularly nasty machine gunner in an army full of them. In the Blue Chip Units section, we couple him with some Harlequins for a magic machine gun troll squad.
- Irrllyth (Shadow Spectres)(Forgeworld)
225 points. This individual is just mean spirited. Maybe being lost on an alien world for thousands of years makes you develop a certain disdain for anything with a 2+ save. His list of special rules runs as long as my arm. The only stat he has that is below a "4" is his wounds (3), and anything that is not 4, is 7. Tough as a space marine, faster then a space marine, better armed then a space marine. His special weapon not only is a three shot version of the exarch weapon, but he decided to stick a power weapon on the end of it. His Holosuit gives him a 4++ save outside of 12 inches, and 5+ inside of 12 inches. He has both exarch powers, is fearless, fleet, and eternal warrior. You may be thinking "but hey! all exarchs have something special about them, a special weapon or power! Where is this guy's wooge?". Please observe the special rules for his Spear of Starlight. He can combine it with a ghostlight, making it BS7, re-rollable, and heavy 3. What a dick.
- Wraithseer (Forgeworld)
It's funny how Forgeworld makes units that require OTHER awesome units. It's not a hard choice to take Wraithguard, but this T8 bastard makes it SO much easier. Starting at 185 points, and the ability to equip a D-cannon for 30, and loaded with crazy powers... It's a godsend to an army that really needed a durable and powerful HQ choice. Don't get your hopes up for an "all wraithguard, wraithlord, wraithseer" army, you MUST take another HQ on top of it. As for special glitter, it has a 12 inch zone of "no wraithsight" all around it AND it reduces the coversave of anything being shot at by wraithguard or wraithlords by 1. It has a close combat weapon that lets it reroll missed to-hit rolls and adds +1 to any vehicle damage result that it causes, a 5++ save, and three psychic powers, two of which are designed to be used on wraith-units. One gives them fleet, the other gives them FNP. The third power makes units within 18 inches pinned if they fail an LD-2 check. Not jaw-droppingly awesome, but a great choice of you want a wraith-based army.
- Eldrad Ulthran
210 Points. If a normal Farseer is a Jedi, then Eldrad is a tall Yoda. He's the big cheese of the Eldar army; he's basically got all the possible options for a normal Farseer wrapped together into one package with a nifty ability that lets you reposition your guys after deployment on top. He also gets to use up to three powers a turn instead of one or two and has a staff that works like a witch blade that you can throw and which also ignores armor.
He is a very popular choice for an HQ in larger points games, and many people call him "cheezy." These people eat their own navel lint and bathe in squig piss. He, along with Yriel, compose the "wonder twins," which is to say, they can work together very VERY effectively.
- Prince Yriel of Iyanden
155 Euros. Once upon a time, there was a badass named Yriel who won a battle by using almost all of Iyanden's forces in an attack. This scared the guys in charge of Iyanden who said, "Hey! We could've gotten attacked while you were gone!" To which Yriel replied, "Yeah, but you didn't," to which they replied, "That's it! You're fired!" So Yriel went off to be a pirate for a while. While he was busy counting his loot, some Tyranids came and attacked Iyanden so the guys in charge were all like, "Crud! We wish Yriel was here to save us!" So Yriel comes back, gets a magic spear of awesome and saves the day, but now he's cursed and slowly dying as the spear sucks out his chi or something. Yeah, this guy needs his own anime show or something.
He gets the reserve rule the Autarch gets, but instead of buying aspect warrior war gear, he has a spear that somehow ate a black hole or something like that. It works a lot like Eldrad's staff - essentially a witchblade (wounds everything on 2+, S9 vs tank) that ignores armour saves as well. He also has a monocle weapon that let's him turn the area around him into a giant crater and turns all those puny marines surrounding him to ash, unless they have 2+ armor. Yeah, he's pretty cool.
A Word About Aspect Warriors
Aspect Warriors are the meat and potatoes of the Eldar Army. They appear in Troops, Fast, Heavy, and Elites. They are the whole thing people are talking about when they say the Eldar Army is mostly specialists. They have a pretty good statline, great leadership, and are almost all Fleet. Each squad of Aspect Warriors can upgrade one of their number to a sergeant called an Exarch. Exarchs get bumps all over the statline - Initiative goes to a tyranid-like 6, attacks to 2 - and can then take fancy versions of their weapons and buy Exarch powers, which almost all boil down to a Universal Rule for the squad. Exarchs are very popular and are almost always worth the chips, most especially if you like to field big squads.
- Fire Dragon
Now you see the tank, *FWOOSH!* now you don't. Fire Dragons have short-range guns that will blow up anything from tanks to daemonic giants to buildings to slightly under-cooked hamburgers. Basically, if you get them close to something, they can kill it. Use them on enemy vehicles and speed them towards the enemy so that you can burn stuff. It probably won't take more than six guys to kill most vehicles or monstrous creatures. Also great for killing Wound-allocation abusers such as Nobz or Grey Knight Paladins, rivaling the Fire Prism for the best unit for this purpose. Just be ready to lose these guys the turn after you use them as most opponents don't appreciate having their precious Land Raiders turned into smoldering piles of slag.
The Exarch can take a Fire Pike, which is a meltagun with an extended range (18" instead of 12" - note that melta rules apply), or a Dragon's Breath heavy flamer, which, given the unit's role of tank-busting, is rather counterproductive. Exarch powers include Tank Hunters, which make killing vehicles even more laughably easy, and Crack Shot, which means the enemy gets no cover saves against the Exarch, and lets the Exarch re-roll to Wound.
Also, remember that melta guns have a max range of 12" and only get their special anti-vehicle effect at half that. Fire Dragons are great. A minimum squad of fire dragons can change a whole game around. Small squads of them LOVE to ride around in Falcons, remember that.
- Striking Scorpion
These are the "heavy" hand-to-hand Eldar squads: sneaky, chainsaw-wielding ninjas, or maybe samurai. Scorpions have two qualities that are rare in the Eldar army: A beefy 3+ armor save and a sword that hits at Strength 4. Add to this a pistol and a set of guns strapped to their mouths which gives them +1 Attack, and they're as killy as Ork Boyz or Khorne Berzerkers, with three attacks and four on the charge. To make them sneaky, the Exarch can take Shadowstrike (Infiltrate) and Stalker (Move through Cover).
The Exarch can also choose a Str 4 chainsword / Scorpion's Claw pair, granting him a power claw (that hits at strength 6, doubling the base strength) with a shuriken catapult strapped to it, and/or can swap out his chainsword for a Biting Blade, making him stronger the more guys you hit, or he can toss both the pistol and the sword and take Chainsabres, which gives him yet another attack and let him make some re-rolls in shooting AND close combat. Wait, does anyone know if the Chainsabres selection is literally two weapons? Is it 2+1, then +1 mandiblasters, then +1 chainsabres?
Personally, I think the power claw's stopping power is well worth the points in a unit that might be alone somewhere in enemy territory. These guys can tear up just about anyone short of real heavyweights, tanks, armored vehicles, Dreadnaughts and tanks. They're great, and their Phoenix Lord is one of the good ones.
- Howling Banshee
They scream as soon as they get close, so loudly you can barely hear yourself think. Then they cut your heart to pieces and leave you a bloody mess on the floor. No, they aren't your ex-girlfriends, they're the Howling Banshees. These sword-wielding ladies (and traps) are the fast, lightweight hand to hand Aspect Warrior in the Eldar army. They all come stock with a pistol, a power sword and a mask that makes them Initiative 10 for the first round of any fight, no matter who charged who. Beating everyone to the punch with power weapons is like Chapter 1 of the Big Book of Battles.
Banshees have one big drawback, their fragility. Most players assign them a transport as a matter of routine. Generally speaking, Striking Scorpions do better against swarms of enemies and bullets than Howling Banshees, but these noisy dames laugh at Space Marine power armor and Feel No Pain, and will go first in close combat 99% of the time. Use them on an enemy your Farseer has Doomed (with a capital "D") and watch the enemy be sliced to shreds.
Exarchs can take Executioners, which are nasty two-handed power weapons at S5, Mirrorswords, replacing the pistol with another sword and an extra attack on top, or a Triskele, a throwing weapon with S3 AP2 Assault 3 in addition to being a normal power weapon. Powers are War Shout, which makes the enemy take a leadership test in the first round of an assault or count as WS 1, while Acrobatic gives them Counter-Attack, giving your opponent yet another deterrent to counter-charging them.
Will it blend? It will if the Howling Banshees have anything to say about it. Also, they're primarily female, not that that should have any bearing on your decision about whether or not to get them.
Scorpions are heavy, Banshees are light, and Harlequins are expensive and weird. Fluffwise, they are psychic, ninja, space-elf dancer clown historians of the 40k universe. For two points above the cost of a Dragon, Banshee, or Scorpion, you get a pretty fighty little elf with a pistol and a mean overhand right, a weak invulnerable save, and the ability to run across terrain, Hit and Run, Fleet, and Furious Charge. Two can be upgraded to carry a little melta pistol, and any can take a Harlequin's Kiss (not as romantic as it sounds; they shove a sharpened tube into the enemy and then use a super-thin metal wire to blend their insides) which Rends in hand-to-hand. Fine so far.
For a sawbuck, you can upgrade one to be a Troupe Master, who gets a free kiss or power weapon and gets an extra swing with it. You can upgrade another to be a Death Jester with a big machine gun for 10 points, and for the big 30 you can bring a unique psyker officer named Shadow Seer, who brings a pretty effective stealth field to the unit and also hands out hallucinogen grenades and weed to everyone.
Granted, these are cool toys, but the Quins continue to be unpopular. People bitch about them for a lot of reasons, and there is some truth to each: Taken stock, quins are more expensive and lamer in any given way than Scorps or Banshees. If you buy the whole circus, they become semi-competent at things like killing armor and holding down territory, but at exorbitant cost. They are sadly fragile. They still have to put up with Morale checks. They get no transport option unless they hijack somebody else's ride.
That said, we don't have to weigh everything against psyker Blood Angels venerable dreadnought jump infantry to gauge its value. Harlequins are mean and can charge through windows and forests and crap at top speed and then wail on the enemy at S4. They can use Hit and Run to jump out of combat after your enemy's assault phase and then charge again on your turn.
Also, and this is important, unlike Banshees or Scorpions, if you take the whole circus, they can be equally effective against either low number, heavily armored infantry or high number, poorly armored infantry. The Harlequin's Kiss means they can easily get enough rending to punch through heavy armor and against things like Orks or Nids, the sheer volume of your attacks is likely to overwhelm your enemy. Finally with Rending, Plasma Grenades, and Fusion Pistols, they CAN take out vehicles, but that's really a last resort. Overall, if you're buying them, you're bringing them for their versatility.
These are the psychic, robot, space-elf zombies of the Eldar codex. They are tough, mean, slow, expensive shock infantry. With toughness 6 and 3+ plates, they are nearly as hard as Terminators, cheaper than Meganobz, and pack a very short-ranged gun that literally shoots people to Hell. In larger volleys, it is a reliable tank killer and can put a dent in any MC or terminator unit. They are also Fearless. They can even be taken as a 400 point Troops choice from hell, if you bring 10 and take the Warlock + Spiritseer option.
That said, they have some serious drawbacks which make them less popular. For one thing, without a friendly psyker nearby they have a one-in-six chance to simply go stupid and do nothing for a turn. It bears repeating that their guns have the range of a pistol. Considering their price, they can be taken out fairly easily by serious fistfighters with power or poison weapons. They are not Fleet. You can only cram five of them on a transport.
Wraithguard can be impressive if used properly and carry their weight particularly well in high point games. A unit of Wraithguard with a Farseer carrying the Fortune power will be hard as hell to kill. As shock troops and infantry trumps, these can be the "anvil" of your force and simply walk up the table. Your enemy will either spend a lot of time trying to kill them or ignore them until they close. In Troops form, they can sit on your objective if you are into playing defensively and your enemy will have a serious challenge taking it. Give the Warlock walking with them Conceal and he'll protect them from a lot of fire that would normally knock them out. Pack five of them and a Warlock with a spear into a Wave Serpent and menace enemy armor.
- Wave Serpent
The Dedicated Transport for the Eldar, available for nearly any infantry unit. As with all models using the Falcon chassis the Wave Serpent is an Armor 12 fast skimmer. What sets it apart is its ability to transport 12 models and its energy field. The energy field makes all ranged hits against front and side armor that are higher than strength 8 act as strength 8, as well as preventing any hit from rolling more than 1d6 to penetrate, which acts as a lovely counter to ubiquitous meltaspam. The draw back to this is that you can't take holo-fields, which means that the wave serpent is more fragile than most of your other tanks. (take holofields on your other tanks!)
It should be noted that the Ballerina Bus is armed with twin-linked shuriken catapult which can be upgraded to a single shuriken cannon and must take turret mounted twin-linked heavy weapon, making it a very accurate Eldar vehicle. These things might as well be a symbol of Eldar tactics: Fast as hell, bristling with guns, melts under fire.
Guardians are the poets, chefs, and cannon fodder of the Eldar. They have pretty unimpressive armor and short-range guns. They will probably die in droves, and probably spend a lot of time wishing they'd selected another path to pursue. So why take them?
Well, the normal guardian squad can take a nifty Assault 2 rifle, which isn't too shabby for the price - if it weren't for having the range of a shotgun or a bolt pistol. Note that when a Guardian Squad takes a heavy weapon, it really assigns two members as a gun team and the weapon itself becomes Assault and replaces only one of their rifles. Both must die to silence the gun, and the gun is abstracted for all other purposes. Of course, they aren't great shots either, so you'll probably want to get a Scatter Laser or Shuriken Cannon. You can also use Storm Guardians instead of Guardian Defenders, which means that they realize how stupidly short-ranged their guns are and decided to grab a sword and pistol instead. These Storm Guardians can take either two fusion guns or two flamers instead of a heavy, which actually makes them almost decent close combat units. They are Fleet and have sturdy Leadership and a notional 5+ armor save. No grenades, though, so don't charge into cover.
Guardians can also convince a Warlock to hang out with them, which can be pretty nifty. Guardian Defenders are a good fit for Conceal or Embolden, while Storm Guardians are a natch for Destructor or Enhance. Popular opinion favors Scatter Lasers or Eldar Missile Launchers for heavy weapons (see guns discussion elsewhere). Finally, Guardians and their Warlock leader guy can jump on jetbikes (see below.)
- Guardian Jetbikes
It's... a guardian defender on a jetbike for 22 points. Sums it up pretty well. They do become slightly tougher to kill than most Eldar units, gaining T4 and a 3+ armor save, and strapping twin catapults. Every third Guard Bike can upgrade to the familiar Shuriken Cannon. They may also bring along a Warlock on a bike. Eldar jetbikes gain a special 6" move in the Assault phase just for being awesome, giving even these chumpy guys a neat stick-and-move ability. Tricky to use but ridiculously fast, and it bears pointing out that a three-pack of Guardian Jetbikers is a fairly cheap Troops choice (5 Avengers without a vehicle is just 60 points, but much less useful), and are trollfully happy to turbo boost 24" over to an objective on turn 1 (or 5). Vroom.
- Dire Avenger
Dire Avengers are elite riflemen. For 12 points each, they bring S4 guns that shoot two times at 18" range. That's a lot of budget firepower, and they're pretty accurate. Their Exarch can Rambo-fire a second rifle for 5 points, or can choose one of two hand-to-hand kits: A diresword/pistol combo or a power weapon and a funny melee combat shield like in the Dune books. Two powers are available: Bladestorm, where the Exarch and his squad all fire one extra shot and then have to reload, and Defend which steals enemy attack dice.
Obviously, the powers and equipment are split between being more shooty versus gaining a poorly-scaling advantage in a fistfight. Stipulated that Avengers are Fleet and might one day get a chance to blast-and-charge some Imperial Guardsmen or Gretchin, their Exarch's hand-to-hand ability can only be a desperate last-ditch attempt to save the squad from being eaten by Genestealers or something. And he isn't an Independent Character, so he can't necessarily punch who he wants in a fistfight anyway. We suggest that you stick with the shooty upgrades and follow the path of Gay Trans-Unit Synergy to get your fistfighting done.
They just wouldn't be space elves without someone wearing camouflage and wielding a ranged weapon would they? Rangers are sniper-rifle wielding rebels (or hobos) with special rules to make their snipers a little better than usual. They also have special rules to make their cover saves better. You can upgrade them to Pathfinders (no, not like the Tau have) which are even better with their sniper rifles and ignore difficult terrain. They are also ridiculously hard to kill so long as you get a cover save. Pathfinders have, at last count, five different special rules.
Just remember that their rifles are Heavy, which means that they'll not be moving along with the rest of your force. For an army that likes to move around a lot, this can be a bad thing. They're also probably a little expensive points-wise for what they do, though they're pretty good at killing Monstrous Creatures or small, elite units. They're also okay at damaging lightly-armored vehicles. However, they are a troops choice, so take a squad of five pathfinders and place them on an objective and you can be assured that they will be there at the end of the game so long as they don't get assaulted, and as long as the enemy doesn't bring along any flamers to torch them. If you absolutely have to flee a position, remember they carry pistols.
- Swooping Hawk
Swooping Hawks are the lightweight Eldar jump infantry. Their rifles have excellent reach and fire twice, though they are quite weak. They also come stock with Haywire Grenades, which are somewhat impotent anti-vehicle weapons, except in large groups (which is not particularly efficient with something so expensive as Hawks). Hawks can Deep Strike and while doing so can fling a large blast template anywhere on the table. They are as fragile as cake frosting. Their Exarch has two available rifle upgrades: the Sun Rifle which fires 6 times and is Pinning, or the Hawk's Talon which fires 3 times at S5. He can also take a power sword for dubious reasons (but at least gets to keep his gun). Exarch powers are Skyleap, which lets your Hawk squad fly off the table and Deep Strike again the next turn (flinging another bomb), and Intercept, which means the squad can hit enemy vehicles on a 4+ no matter what.
Hawks continue to be unpopular because they are yet another fancy, fun way to inefficiently shred infantry and die to Grot muskets. Their anti-vehicle capabilities are only significant in a large volley size. Against a good old Tactical Squad with a Heavy Bolter, the Hawks will probably lose both the direct gunfight or melee. They carry low-power weapons and share poor armor and low T with the rest of the Eldar army, so in effect you are paying a pretty high price just for their mobility.
- Shining Spears
An Aspect Warrior on a jetbike, near twice the price of the Guardian on a jetbike. Shining Spears' bikes similarly carry the twin 12" rifle, T4, 3+ armor save and "shoot and scoot" rule that we all adore. Spears additionally bring a Laser Lance, which can be fired 6" at S6 (Lance) and can stab guys in melee as a S6 Power Weapon (Lance). Note that they do not carry pistols, and anything that the Lance rule applies to is still too tough for S6 weapons to reliably crack. The Exarch can replace his jetbike's catapults with a cannon, which is useful for softening up infantry before you charge, and replace his laser lance with a power weapon (why would you do that) or with a S8 Star Lance that gibs Space Marines and can actually potentially crack a Land Raider. Exarch powers include Skilled Rider and Withdraw (Hit and Run), which are both probably necessary.
Shining Spears are another case of 'expensive fun fancy infantry shredder.' As pointed out here, their weapons are quirky and they aren't particularly the last word in any kind of fighting. They cost the same as a Wraithguard, and you will probably double down points on the Exarch. They are not qualified to kill Space Marine Dreadnaughts or Land Raiders except in dire emergencies. Still, they are more efficient in high-point games and small gangs of Spears have been known to do great things, such as dogfighting Dark Eldar, crushing enemy deep strikers and running down artillery. Oh, and there's no Phoenix Lord of the Shining Spears. For those of you who care.
- Vyper Jetbike
They're big jetbikes, 45 points stock, carrying twin rifles underneath and a single choice from the Standard Gun List on top. As fast as a normal jetbike tearing ass 24" on the turbo boost, and packing a real Armor Value of 10 (open-topped), yet still can get dropped by a chump with a S4 rifle. They're another one of those units you really have to think about when designing your army. This is the only thing in the Fast Attack section that can serve as a direct tank killer or serious fire support, but are less effective as War Walkers for those roles. However, this is the biggest gun that you can move across the table in the shortest possible time, making them great counterpunchers, flank-grabbers and range-trollers.
- Warp Spiders
These are probably the most popular of the Eldar fast attack choices, the heavyweight partner to the nimble Hawks. Spiders are jump infantry with a nifty move in the assault phase that lets them pull off stick-and-move attacks. They have tough, rare 3+ armor and are not Fleet. They pack a 12" A2 S6 AP- rifle, which is pretty weird, but can reliably hurt Tyranid monsters, or even tanks if you SHOOT THE WEAK POINT FOR MAXIMUM DAMAGE!!!...Ahem. Yes, deep striking them behind a medium or light tank and dumping shots into the rear armor is quite effective at scoring multiple glancing blows, crippling or killing the target instantly.
The Exarch can get a Spinneret Rifle, a S6 AP1 Assault 1 weapon with Pinning, or a pair of his normal guns (for those who prefer dakka over AP), and can also strap on some power weapons (giving him +1 attack in the bargain) without giving up his shooting attacks. Exarch powers include Surprise Assault, which lets the squad Deep Strike, and Withdraw, which gives his squad Hit and Run which makes them quite competent at... er... hitting and running, which is surprisingly rare in the space elf army.
The strength, and weakness, of the Warp Spider is the second jump. On one hand, it averages about 7" and can quickly move the entire unit out of danger in a hurry, preventing retaliatory shots. On the other hand, the move can be anywhere between 2-12" and has a one in six chance of killing one of your own. Spiders are fun, they can kill other jump troops and bounce around the table, and cause obvious distress in your enemy. However, they are more expensive than Dragons, Avengers, Banshees, and even Hawks by 1 point. In total, a pretty solid choice for a unit, and quite fun to use. Consider an Autarch if you plan to deep strike them as they may fall prey to Pot-smoking-Deep-Striker Syndrome. (Is this legal?)
For some odd reason, there is no Phoenix Lord of the Warp Spiders. You probably wouldn't take it if there was one, but there isn't.
- Shadow Specters (Forgeworld)
Leave it to forgeworld to prove once again that the Eldar will only die out when they are no longer profitable. This whole new aspect basically function as a squad of mini-fire prisms. What really sets them apart from any other aspect is their access to the Jet Infantry special rule, making the "heavy" nature of their weapons a bad joke. Effectively, they can either cover the table with s6 AP2 shots, or combine them via a 'ghostlight' attack, which can shoot the strength of the weapon up to st10 with the "blast" special rule. These are pretty obviously designed to kill infantry - in the test rules their guns were AP 2 and the glostlight was a lance, but that's gone now; the regular shot is 18 inches S6 AP 3(MEQ killer), and they have can fire a "diffuse" S4 AP5 blast instead. The only weakness is the range, which (in typical Eldar fashion) is only 18 inches unless they use the ghostlight. These bastards still have the benefit of "jump, shoot, jump," which makes them extremely dickish to use, sort of like a group of Fire Dragons that can actually move without the need of a transport. The special powers for the Exarch (who has a better armor save, initiative, weapon skill and ballistic skill), are the Cynosure (which lets you re-roll to hit on a BS5 shot... what a dick) and Withdraw (giving them hit and run). The Exarch can also take a "Prism Lance" which is S7 AP 2 Heavy 2, but doesn't have a diffuse setting. They are expensive at 35 points, but the squad is small, so they are restricted from being too much of a points sink. By Eldar standards, their save is good, at 4+, but you will hardly end up using it, you jump-shoot-jumping dicks. At least, you better not - at T3 and 4+ and 5++ or 4++ save, these guys die fairly easily if shot at, and they are quite expensive.
They were initially heavy support as per the test rules, but have been moved to fast attack. If you haven't read IA 11, the ghostlight is also a blast rather than a lance (and takes 2 models to buff by one degree rather than one), the regular guns got longer reach and a "diffuse" mode, but are AP3 instead of AP 2, and have an invulnerable save. It's mostly an anti-infantry unit now, although a full unit of 6 with a Prism Blaster can hit vehicles at S10 in a pinch, which is helpful.
- Wasp Assault Walkers (Forgeworld)
A modified war walker that gets a huge jetpack for prancing around, the better to shoot stuff. They cost 10 points more per model and lose the scouts rule, but can move as jetpacks (yes, that includes being able to deepstrike or jump-shoot-jump), also getting have a pseudo-turbo boost, moving faster and getting a 5+ cover save if they forgo shooting or assault moves. Other than that, they are still war walkers - cheapish, relatively fragile, and heavily armed, and come in units of 1-3. Between all that and moving from the heavily contested HS slot to the traditionally poor FA one, they are definitely worth it.
- Hornet (Forgeworld)
It was good in the test rules, and it's even better in the book. It is fairly cheap at 65 points per model (you can take up to 3 in a unit), for which you get a BS 4 fast skimmer with AV 11/11/10, 2 shuriken cannons already paid for, and star engines. If that's not good enough, it also has the scout rule and the Aerial Assault rule, which lets it fire all guns if it moves at cruising speed (like the ravager). It can also trade its shuriken cannons for the usual Eldar vehicle guns, plus the falcon's pulse lasers, and can take the standard vehicle upgrades. Equipping it with the stock shuriken cannons or scatter lasers are good and relatively cheap combinations, while giving it two pulse lasers will turn it into an incredibly nasty light armor hunter. It is, in short, awesome - one of the best light skimmers in the game, and so, so much better than the old vyper.
- Dark Reapers
At a glance, these guys look like ideal Space Marine killers, which they would be if there weren't so many pesky cover saves around. They have long range guns with above-average strength and just the right amount of AP to ignore Space Marine armor. OH, and a decent armor save. They are also ridiculously expensive, come in small squad sizes, and will have half of their kills ignored by cover saves. Reapers aren't Fleet (not that you will want to assault with them very often). That being said,any infantry caught in the open when these guys open up better have either very good invulnerable or absurd armor save or it's going to die quickly and painfully.
The Exarch will wind up doing half of the squad's killing, and should probably always be taken if you're using these guys. He can take an Eldar Missile Launcher, good for killing enemy tanks if need be, or a Tempest Launcher that drops a nice number of blasts on the enemy. He can also take a Shuriken Cannon, but there's no point - it has much lower range and can't do what the reapers do, which is kill non-terminator Marines from far away. Exarch powers include Fast Shot, that gives the Exarch an extra shot per turn (especially good when using the Eldar Missile Launcher), and Crack Shot, that lets him (and only him) reroll wound rolls and ignore cover, but unfortunately you can only use one power at a time.
Dark Reapers are surprisingly effective against light vehicles, being as powerful as heavy bolters but with longer reach. Also, you can use the Exarch to kill heavier vehicles when you give him the Eldar Missile Launcher, should you have nothing else to shoot at. It has been my experience that the Eldar Missile Launcher is better than the Tempest Launcher for the role Reapers are generally taken for. Others argue that an EML is taken for versatility, while the reaper launcher is taken if you want to focus on marines.
Overall, Dark Reapers are a pretty good unit that is not taken very often because their niche is narrow, they cost a great deal and the Eldar simply have more potent Heavy Support options.
The Eldar standard battle tank is a fast skimmer with 12 armor for 115 points stock. It can carry a squad of six. It packs the regular twin cats or cannon on the belly, and the turret carries a Pulse Laser, a Grade-A long range tank killer that shoots twice, and an optional bolt-on heavy weapon. When given delicious, precious holo-fields the Falcon becomes one of the most durable vehicles in the game. The falcon is essential for any mechanized army and packs more firepower than other APC's. Generally considered to be the best choice in the Eldar heavy support slot, though the mediocre BS of eldar tanks can occasionally do a number on you. Your army is probably not complete without an anti-tank rigged Falcon.
- Fire Prism
"Imma chargin' ur lazer!" You know in anime where one guy shoots his laser into a giant crystal which shoots the laser into another guy's weapon to power it up? That's what Fire Prisms do. This is basically a Falcon, except instead of a transport capacity they carry the high watermark of Eldar guns, the Prism Cannon. With its upgraded BS, the Fire Prism can drop the little template at S9 or a large blast with slightly less strength and average AP. The gimmick is that you can give up your Fire Prism's shot to supercharge (and twin-link) yet another Fire Prism's cannon!
This is a fun trick, but these are cannons with 60" range and maximum Strength mounted on fast skimmer tanks that fire at BS4. If you brought two of them to the same battle, you should probably find two things worth shooting at. Or shoot the same target twice. Again, take holo-fields to make it more durable.
These are Wraith Guard on steroids. 90 chips stock and bristling with hardpoints, they have some of the highest toughness in the game, a good armor save, are monstrous creatures with 3 wounds and swing at the highest possible strength while ignoring armor in a fight. Each arm carries either a catapult or a precious, scarce Eldar flamer, and must take a big gun and/or a sword that lets them reroll missed attacks in close combat. Another shoulder-mounted heavy weapon can be taken for the same cost, but if duplicate the guns, you only get one twin-linked one - and you pay the full price twice. Don't do that. Ever.
Wraith Lords are bullet magnets that can put the hurt on just about anything, while being impressively resistant to harm - and flat-out ignoring any attack at S4 or less that doesn't either rend or poison. Their drawbacks are that they have a 1 in 6 chance of going stupid in absence of a friendly psyker, are unable to move as quickly as the fast stuff in the Eldar army and lack an invulnerable save which makes them vulnerable to Low AP anti-tank fire, other monstrous creatures or special characters with power weapons and higher strength.
Taken in pairs or trios rather than by themselves, Wraithdreads draw more anti-tank fire away from the rest of your army and will also give you more shots with the weapons (because two shots just doesn't cut it most of the time.) Flamers, a Scatter Laser (or Shuriken Cannon) and a sword make for a cheap Wraithlord that will be terrifying in close combat. The Wraithsword/Brightlance combo is 140 points of hurt, but leaves you spread a little thin. Take an Eldar Missile Launcher and a Brightlance to be a threat to anybody. A solid choice if your army isn't all skimmers all the time. Remember that monstrous creatures have Move Through Cover, but that doesn't help you strike at normal initiative against enemies in cover.
- War Walker
These guys can throw out a ton of fire power. You can take up to three of them as a single unit, they have a reasonable cost, and they can be equipped with all kinds of different guns. They are cheap at 30 points stock and fragile at armor 10. Two of the most potent combinations are dual scatter lasers on each walker for a ridiculous number of shots, and dual Eldar Missile Launchers which let them serve as either anti-tank or anti-infantry according to your needs. Shuriken cannons also deserve a mention if you are looking for cheap and efficient dakka, but the lower range may pose you a problem.
They can also use the Outflank rule and unload a salvo of shots on your opponent's vehicles' rear armor, which is nice. A very solid choice for an Eldar army.
- Support Weapon Battery
These are the artillery of the Eldar army which can be taken in squads of three and are crewed by two guardians per gun model and come in three flavors. Gunners get a rifle. Bear in mind that these support weapon batteries show none of the awesome convenience of Guardian squad support platforms - they are type Artillery and therefore function like a Napoleonic-era field cannon: They explode if they are hit with a potato or forced to cross a dirty floor, and they can't run.
The first gun is the D-cannon which can kill just about anything in the game dumb enough to come within its mediocre range. It ignores armor saves, wounds models with a toughness on 2s, glances vehicles on 3s, and penetrates them on 5s. As a barrage weapon it doesn't need line of sight to shoot at a target however it does scatter.
The next gun is the vibro cannon. An interesting gun in that you simply roll to hit with each gun and the number of hits determines the strength of the battery. Once you roll to hit you draw a straight 36" line from a gun model and hit EVERYTHING in that line (including things you can't see, friendly units, and units in assault) causing a d6 hits and causing glancing hits on any vehicle model hit. Sadly this gun has no AP so everything gets armor; against vehicles it inflicts a single glancing hit, regardless of armor value.
The last variety is the Shadow Weaver, which is notable for having the longest range of the three guns. It fires a blast with S6 but no AP and is a barrage weapons so it again doesn't need line of sight and denies directional cover saves.
You can also give a battery a warlock if you want, though I feel that the points are generally wasted given the ease with which a cover save can be attained, though a basic Warlock can make a Battery more resistant to assaults by small cavalry/beast units.
- Nightspinner (Forgeworld)
A mean cousin of the Fire Prism, this tank was released in July of 2010 as part of the new Fire Prism kit and the rules for it are available in the white dwarf of that month. In short it is a fire support tank that fires a STR 6 AP - twin linked rending large blast barrage weapon at an absurd range that causes models hit with the thing to be treated as being in difficult AND dangerous terrain in their next movement phase. That was a mouthful. While it may not pack as much punch as the Fire Prism, it is an excellent heavy support choice due to it's ability to slow down large swathes of the enemy army. As a barrage weapon, it allows the tank to stay out of sight and still shoot, making it even harder to kill than normal for an Eldar vehicle. And of course it can take all of the usual Eldar vehicle upgrades. A solid choice if you want some anti-horde artillery, and the movement denial gimmick can be a nice trick, both slowing and doing some damage if the enemy wants to get to you.
- Warp Hunter (Forgeworld)
The Fire Prism's other mean cousin, it appeared in the latest Imperial Armour book. It is, essentially, a fire prism trading its gun for an improved version of the D-Cannon. It can either shoot it as a barrage large blast at up to 36 inches or use it as a template, starting 6 inches from the gun (like the IG hellhound). In either form the D-cannon is nasty - AP2, wounds everything with a toughness on 2+, instakills on 6, glances vehicles on 2-4 (not 3-4 like the other D-weapons in the Eldar codex) and penetrates on 5+. It is slightly more expensive than the prism, but that gun is pure murder. On the other hand, it doesn't have the prism's range, and even a glancing hit will probably silence the gun least a round. Consider it a faster, lighter version of the Vindicator - it can be shut down, and it will attract a lot of firepower, but if it shoots, someone will cry.
Let's Talk About Guns
Your Space Hairdressers are going to be picking about half their guns from a very short list. Vypers, War Walkers, Guardian platforms, Falcons and Serpents and Wraithlord, everyone gets the same menu. Then there's that cannon upgrade you see everywhere. What does it all mean?
First, assume that you must kill Land Raiders and Matt Ward Brand Venerable Psyker Dreadnaught Jump Infantry Armor 14 if called upon. Your options are abbreviated because Eldar don't get S9 Lascannons. On top of the whole pile, then, is the Fire Prism firing its small blast at S9, with a rare BS 4. The next best option is from the Standard Gun List, the Brightlance - the Lance rule drops all armor to 12 and then dorks it at S8. Your Wraithlord can fire his at BS 4. These guns are expensive like dental work, but we're talking about killing Land Raiders here, and they can. Next, the Falcon's main gun fires twice at S8, while the ubiquitous Eldar Missile Launcher shoots at S8 once. At this level, you're glancing armor 14 on a roll of 6 and glancing Rhinos on a 3. What now, cowboy?
Fire dragons carry infantry melta guns, and will kill armor if you get enough guys in range, as will Wraithcannons. Similarly, the Witchblade found on your psykers crushes vehicle armor at S9 and can be upgraded to have a 12" throwing range (but doesn't go through infantry armor). After that, you enter the realm of amateur tank killers: Swooping Hawks throwing Haywires, The Avatar head-butting a Leman Russ, and your sadly short-ranged support artillery D-cannons. Against the heaviest armor in the game, these are acts of desperation, but they work on anything else just fine.
The Eldar have a big pack of guns for killing stuff of less than maximum armor. Two other choices on the Standard Eldar Gun List are the Scatter and the Starcannon, both 36" range and S6. The Starcannon fires twice with AP2, while the Scatter fires four times at AP6. It is the understanding of this Space Elf General that the Scatter Laser is mathematically the stronger choice unless you will be shooting only armored infantry with no cover all game. My experiences agree, but you can be a real Eldar and try it both ways (lol). A few other people also shoot at this range: Maugan Ra with his fancy machine gun, Rangers, Vibro-Cannons and so forth. It's the 30" flying gun line.
Then there's the humble shuriken cannon, the cheapest option for vehicles or support platforms: fires three times at the S6 of the scatter laser and starcannon, but only at 24 inches range - it's not great, but at 5 (or 10?) points, it's quite serviceable. It can hurt most infantry, and if you make use of all those fast skimmers and outflanking walkers in your codex it also has a decent chance of wrecking vehicles with rear armor shots or what have you. The 'defensive weapon' rule was written for the benefit of Space Marines, not you, so don't sweat the loss of your little twin-linked 12" popguns.
Always beware of Eldar guns of the 'My gun shoots as far as most guys charge' class of annoying weapon. This includes Dragons, Guardians, Wraithguard, and Spiders - all holding a gun that can only shoot across a room. Long-range guns are found on your Avengers, Hawks, Reapers, and vehicles.
Eldar Vehicle Upgrades
Eldar vehicles are among the most powerful in the game, as such it is important to be aware of the ways in which they can be upgraded as these upgrades are what make our vehicles so good.
Simply put, every vehicle that can take holo-fields should take them (except vypers, who are too frail to benefit much from it and cost just slightly over the field itself). The reason for this is that holo-fields make your opponent roll two dice on the vehicle damage chart and take the lowest result. This means that your falcon is harder to kill than a land raider as long as your luck holds out.
- Star Engines
What do you do if you think that moving 24 inches in a turn isn't fast enough? Buy Star Engines. With these bad boys, an Eldar vehicle can choose to move an additional 12 inches during the shooting phase as long as they don't shoot. Which of course means that an Eldar vehicle can move up to 36" in a given turn. This upgrade is best given to vehicles which you want to transport a unit into combat as quickly as possible.
- Vectored Engines
With all of this zooming around one would imagine that one of our vehicle will eventually crash, which normally would be a death sentence for a fast skimmer; however if you take vectored engines you don't wreck, you simply become immobilized as normal. As with Star Engines, only take these if you see yourself moving your vehicle at high speeds often, otherwise the points are wasted.
- Spirit Stones
Extra Armor Eldar style, these are the only upgrades that a War Walker can take. They allow you to treat all Crew Stunned Results as Crew Shaken results. An excellent choice for all Eldar vehicles because any turn in which you are shaken you should be moving. Note that under the 5E rules, being in squadron essentially gives this for free.
Building your Army
There are three basic trends to building an Eldar army.
First is the Biel-tan route. Commonly known as "One thousand frozen leaves falling to cut". More commonly known as Bladestorm. This means getting Aspect warriors, Dire Avengers, Dark Reapers, Fire Dragons, etc. Who are very good at a particular task. This is the potentially most lethal of the three.
The advantage is the raw lethality of a specialist at it's trade. Dire Avengers holding the line while Dark Reapers suppress the enemy. Warp spiders pop in out of nowhere to tear apart enemies before ducking behind terrain. Fire Dragons close with the enemy to engage with Meltaguns. Scorpions creep into close combat as Howling Banshees pour out of a transport to tear apart heavy infantry.
The disadvantage is the reliance on cover and getting everyone in the right spot at the right time. Get knocked off your game and the army evaporates.
Second is the Samm-hain path. This means putting virtually everybody on jetbikes and disdaining everything that doesn't fly. Your Fast Attack choices are Shining Spears and Vypers. Your Heavy Supports are Falcons and Fire Prisms. If your overall formation is even remotely comparable from one turn to the next, then you're doing it wrong.
Surprisingly, this is the most defensive path. Jetbikes confer a 3+ armor save and turbo-boosting turns this into an invulnerable save. It is also very tactically flexible, seeing as they entire army can move more than 12" per turn.
Unfortunately, you need a fortune to field this kind of army. The vehicles alone are going to be 200+ apiece with upgrades and jetbikes aren't free. Expect to be outnumbered on a regular basis.
The final way is the way of Iyanden and Alaitoc. This means Pathfinders saturating the good infiltration spots, Wraithlords and War Walkers blowing the holy and unholy fuck out of shit, and more psykers than you can shake a bolter at. Long range firepower and lots of it.
This is the most powerful of the three set ups. The pathfinders are AP 1 when they roll a 5 or 6 to hit. Couple this with the 50% wound rate and they can potentially kill virtually any non-vehicle target. The Wraithlords and guard are the frontline, blasting everything on their way to the enemy. Psykers, such as farseers and warlocks, tie the entire thing together, sustaining the wraithlords and guard while supporting everything with their abilities.
The bad thing about this is how static everything is. Pathfinders can't snipe and move, Wraith anythings don't fleet and war walkers aren't skimmers. Your starting positions tend to be your ending positions.
There is also the way of Ulthwe, which means psykers everywhere. Eldrad, some Warlocks, six Guardians/Storm Guardians all with warlocks. Powerspam like there's no tomorrow and beware of Culexus Assassins.
It is perfectly normal to blends these setups together. Just know how each part was build to be made and balance out the pros and cons.
So, here we have an army that is strongly specialized heading into a battle where any sort of enemy could show up and start shooting. You gotta bring along the right tools or you're fucked. Within that context, putting together an Eldar army isn't so hard - half the troops only do one thing, and most often that's "shred infantry."
First, and I hate to repeat myself, the specialist nature of this army means that you could very easily bring 1000 points of awesome fun shit but still lack the ability to melt enemy tanks. You then end up watching an invincible White Elephant stomp all over your fancy troops. For your own sake, don't go to war without a Falcon or a Fire Prism, or even some Dragons or Wraithguard, or just somebody with some Brightlances. Take anti-tank stuff, because nothing is more expensive than regret. Your army is likewise incomplete without some hand to hand troops. Against Space Marines and Necrons, Banshees are the suggested elf type, while Scorpions should be used against Orks and probably Tyranids. Harlequins should be thrown at anyone who doesn't understand how gay this army can really get. However, remember to tilt the odds in your favor before the fight. These aren't space marines you're playing, sonny boy - fight dirty.
Questions about Troops and capturing objectives are hard to settle, so every Kaladriel is going to have to decide for himself. Of course a big meaty unit of Guards or Vengers running over to an objective and Going to Ground is a great way to make everyone sad. Two such units (always take Warlocks and probably Scatter Lasers) will give you great ability to hold turf as long as you aren't point-charged by Vanguard Veterans. 3 Guardian Jetbikes go for 66 points, and they can beat almost anyone to a far-flung objective, except Rangers who can infiltrate. Anyway, piles of raw bullet sponge are rare in the Eldar army (wraithguards come to mind, but they cost a lot of points and an insane amount of dollars) and everyone loves Objectives so think it over.
Space Marine and Necron officers might be fine at running around by themselves and doing CS Goto shit, but your little fairy princes and interior decorators can't do that because they will die. Your boss men have T3 and 4++ saves and there's nothing you can do about it. To practice true Gay Unit Synergy, you are going to team your Farseer or Autarch up with somebody. Between the two, the Autarch is the 'I don't care about my HQ' choice - he is cheap and easy to design once you accept that he is basically just going to lead your favorite team of Aspect Warriors and make sexual advances on the Exarch. Don't overthink him, and don't feel like he always has to have a spider pack. Remember the reserve roll modifications, since that is probably the real reason you are taking him (or her, hard to tell). Farseers are the big HQ choice, who are there to set the tone of your army. The proactive Farseer (and his Warlocks) will want to jetbike forwards, whang on tanks and zap enemy officers with Mind War. The sneaky, methodical Eldar player will plant him in the middle somewhere and have him cast Guide and Doom into every firefight.
Above all else, play to this army's fucking strengths. You will lose exchanges of fire with the hammer of the Imperium or the weeaboo space communists, you will lose battles of attrition to Orks and 'Nids, and you will lose in close-combat to the specialists of other races. Take full advantage of the other races' weaknesses, and exploit the ever-loving shit out of them. If you fail to do so, the bulk of your army will be turned into brightly-colored confetti in short order.
Special note must be made of enemy artillery units - focusing as heavily as they do on light armor, Basilisks and Manticore Rocket Launchers are your kryptonite, and must be focused on immediately, as much their analogues amongst other races, such as Whirlwinds or Skyrays. Make extensive use of your superior mobility against these, deep strike them if possible, and do anything you can to kill them before they can get a shot off - your superior mobility (and ability to control distance) means little to a unit which can fire from across the map.
- as an additional note, the unappreciated and over-hated Eldar clowns are perfect for closing with artillery with their veil of delicious tears and making IG indirect fire scatter onto their own troops, very lulzy. However, one of their other main strengths is giving 2+ cover save in the open on an objective to pathfinders hiding behind their multicolored dream-coats. At 36", most enemies have to shoot through the clowns in front at the pathfinders, which make these guys pretty hee-hawlarious. For even more comedy add fusion pistols to the circus act and watch as they make land-raiders and annoying artillery tanks perform a disappearing act.
Blue Chip Units
The Art of Space Homo Elf Unit Synergy Somebody check my fucking math
Dire Avenger Vehicle Upgrade (Ballerina Bus) 5 Avengers in a Falcon to make it scoring, plus a delicious holo-field. (the so-called DAVU Falcon). 210 clams. Alternatively, 10 Avengers with the Exarch carrying a second rifle and Bladestorm, mounted in a Wave serpent with twin cannons on top. Jump out, shoot 32 fucking times (add Farseer with doom and guide for real ass kicking), shoot from the serpent, prance off. Can't take a holofield. 252 points.
The Camping Faggots 5 Pathfinders, plus 5 Scorpions, with the Exarch carrying the Scorpion's Claw and Shadowstrike (infiltrate). Even as tiny squads, these can squat on objectives or just get in the way from the start. Add more guys to taste. 247 points.
Seer Council of Assholes 1 Farseer (Stones, Fortune, Doom, Jetbike) + Warlock A (Spear, Jetbike, Destructor) + Warlock B (Spear, Jetbike, Enhance) + Warlock C (Spear, Jetbike, Embolden). Cast your spells, and this unit rerolls invulnerable armor saves, rerolls wounds, fights at +1 to I and WS, rerolls leadership tests, crushes vehicles at up to 12" and can move after shooting. 327 shekels plus 45 for each extra bike warlock. We suggest extra warlocks are taken stock for various reasons.
Wraithguard Troops Choice 10 Wraithguard and a Warlock (Spiritseer, Singing Spear, Embolden). As discussed previously, these guys will draw aggro from every county and melt anything that gets too close. 389 points. If you're really feeling this vibe, have your Farseer come along with this unit and cast Fortune. Note that due to majority toughness rules, even the warlock and any IC will effectively be T6 for wounding purposes (not for ID, though) as long as wraithguards outnumber all other models.
Edit: Wraithguard are fucking fearless, embolden gives them a leadership reroll. Why would you do that? Give them Conceal for a 5+ cover save, with rerolls it's more like a 4+. Walk these guys up the table and they will shrug off everything up to and including Demolishers, Meltas, and everything else. They will not die. They may make your opponent ragequit though.
Godzilla, Gamera, and Mechagodzilla Avatar with 2 Wraithlords (Brightlance, Scatter, 2 Flamers each). When you get tired of shadowboxing and cartwheeling around, consider the heavy metal approach. These guys will lumber around the table doing wrestling moves and farting lasers until the enemy hammers them to death. I realize not everyone is into shooting Brightlances at Ballistic Skill 4 the way I am, that's cool. Don't skip out on one of the Eldar Army's only flamer mounts. Bear in mind that these guys aren't really a 'unit' and are free to run in all directions, fire at different stuff, and so forth. 455 points of pants-shitting fun.
Edit: if Forgeworld material is allowed, add in a Wraithseer for even more mecha ass-kicking. This allows for Avatar/Wraithseer/3 Wraithlords, for a total of 5 mean MCs.
Tropic Thunder 5 Harlequins (one Shadow Seer, one Death Jester) plus Maugan Ra. The deal is that Maugan Ra either shoots his S6 Pinning Rending gun five times at 36" or four times ignoring cover and re-rolling wounds, and the DJ shoots his S6 A3 Pinning gun three times at 24", but the Shadow Seer's power will limit the range of incoming fire to around 14" on average and only 24" maximum. This unit is also Fleet and brawls like Genestealers. 325 chips.
BTW, Maugan Ra is Tugg Speedman, and the Death Jester is Kirk Lazarus. Never go full retard.
Smoke Tanks Like Chunks Of Meth 10 Fire Dragons (Exarch w/ Firepike, Crack Shot), Fuegan the Burning Lance, an Autarch (Fusion gun, mandiblasters, gay power weapon), all riding a Wave Serpent with twin scatters and the shuriken cannon upgrade. This is all the napalm you need to turn tanks, dreads, terminators and carnifexes into little Cambodian villager girls. Remember you can allocate wounds to Fuegan pretty fearlessly with his FNP roll and 2+ armor save :3 :3 :3 615 points. Okay, fine, you don't want to blow that many pesos and both HQ slots in one unit. I understand. If you leave Fuegan out, remember to give the Exarch Tank Hunters to compensate - if for some reason you don't think 10 melta shots can't get the job done.