Thursday, July 28, 2011

Armies 101 Part 4: Eldar

Yes, I'm alive for anyone who noticed my absence.  We just got over a heat wave here in Nj and I learned that when it's too hot to sit on my leather computer chair...or think posts don't seem to happen.  But we're back in the 80's and I got home early from work today so here we go with the next installment of my totally arbitrary analysis/advice to new gamers...the Eldar

They share an ancestry with Dark Eldar and their basic statlines are similar.  Both are built on speed and somewhat fragile, but that's about all they share.  They are another fast army...VERY fast.  Their transports can be equipped to move 36 inches a turn and that's really booking it.  Their models are everywhere so finding bargains isn't too tough and they run about average in model count for an army.  They have a mix of plastic and metal, with finecrap again rearing its unwanted, overpriced and low Quality-controlled head...your troops are plastic and your specialists are metal basically.  Eldar are similar to the Chaos Marines in they can be built a few ways.  They have some of the best (and most expensive points-wise) transports in the game so going mech is a definate good idea, but they can make the gunline work, and have bikers if you like going that way too.  The things that make Eldar are their synergy, their specialists and their psykers. 
1. Synergy- Eldar believe in the 1-2 punch idea.  Much of their army list is built around what can it contribute and how can it help other units. 
2. Specialists- The Eldar "Aspects" each have a special area they focus on.  As a result they are very good at it, but not skilled/equipped in others.  Howling Banshees, for example,  are brutal in CC, but will get ripped apart by bolter fire if cought in the open. 
3. Psykers- Eldar are very psyker heavy.  You can play without them and still have a potent force, but bringing a Psyker to the table is a powerful weapon. 
As mentioned, Eldar are big into synergy so while there are powers that are capable of dealing damage, it is the big 3 that will be the bane of your opponent; Doom, Fortune and Guide.  Doom and Guide may do nothing on their own, but use them both then open up with some Dire Avengers and whatever you are shooting at is pretty much guranteed to have a bad day.  They also bring some serious toys to both help your psychic tests and huurt your enemy's.  Beyond those, there are "minor" powers.  These don't need a test and are always active.  These will give the unit or warlock (sargeant) some extra ability. 
Finally the big I see them as a good "beginner race"  I do.  They will be a bit tougher to master, but the options available means not only can you experiment to see what you like, but you can end up collecting quite a bit just for the fun of it.  Eldar are fun and while less durable then Marines, once you get a few games under your belt and learn the finesse of playing Eldar, you will have a potent power that you can have fun with for a while.
Affordability: A-.  There's a lot of great deals out there, it's just the large number of metal models holding them from a higher rating.
Tactics: Mixed, but specialized.  Unline a Marine Tac squad, you are not the jack of all trades.  You can build your list for close or long range killing, but if a unit is cought outside its designed role, bad things tend to happen.
Useless Unit:Heavy weapons teams.  They have some cool guns, but they're artilliary, which sucks in 40K and they take up Heavy slots that are better used for other units.  Honorable mention here is the Wraithguard.  They're a great unit, but another one that's prohibitively expensive.  $100+ for a single unit is just stupid.
Final Grade: B+.  They're good, and easily collected.  They look good in almost any paint scheme.  The problem is they are a tricky army to play well, but as you get more experienced you'll learn how to pull off combos needed to win.

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