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Monday, May 24, 2010

Armies in 5th: Psychic Powers: Eldar

Enter Eldar. Before books like Space Wolves came about, Eldar were considered the most psychic race around. And they showed it. With the impressive advantage of re-rolls on pretty much any roll they could wish to make, their spells were powerful and complemented the Eldar playstyle very well. However, with the decreased probability of these spells going off, some of been reduced in effectiveness. However, Eldar still have the best anti-psy going with Runes of Warding. It’s board wide (something only DH/WH get), increases the chances of failure to around 50% (if someone would care to run the math?) and also makes it much more likely for an individual to suffer Perils in the Warp (again, would someone like to do the math?). This is very important currently as most psykers outside of Eldar are W2 and don’t come with a built-in invulnerable. Runes of Warding alone sneers at individuals who say Eldar have been knocked off the pinnacle of psychic might in 40k. We can also expect a buff for them with a new codex but for now, let’s look at what they run with.

Doom. This is the single most important spell left in the Eldar arsenal. Yes, not fortune, doom. Doom is as close the Eldar get to an army-wide buff spell as it allows re-rolls to wound against a set unit for a full turn. Any unit can use this as long as the targeted unit isn’t dead. Whilst with the majority of Eldar firepower is S6+, all those T5/6+ units which rely on their toughness as a defence (oh hi TMC’s), Doom makes the Eldar army much more effective against them. If it fails? Your army plan isn’t falling apart as it doesn’t impact on your defensive abilities.

Right behind Doom is Fortune. If you want to call something “broken” or comp something, Fortune is it...yet it’s never been done; enter complaining of Lash. Fortune is a spell we should all love. Re-rollable 3+ save? With a 4+ invul? Back when no one took psychic defence as they were too short sighted, this spell was game changing but with the ability to have it reliably shut down it becomes much more of a utility spell, particularly in a Mech Eldar army list. Eldar units are not generally survivable and Fortune made them much tougher and worth being a lynchpin for an army (i.e. Seer Councils). With the reliability of Fortune gone (you really need 2 Seers for one Council now), this becomes a much less viable list. Back to using it as utility in a Mech Eldar force, its importance is again downplayed. The ability to re-roll cover on important skimmers (cough Dragons cough) is very valuable but you’re not going to cry if it fails. Serpents w/cover are already impressively survivable.

Guide is next. Doom usually wins out against guide becomes the army as a whole can benefit from it where only one squad can be guided. Whilst guiding a Falcon or Vyper squad (9-21 shots...) can get you a lot of re-rollable shots, you might often find more use for Doom (focus firing is after all good...). I’d therefore only recommend this spell for a army which contains squads of Walkers or Vypers where you can really take advantage of the number of shots but would still consider Doom before. Remember both Guide & Fortune have small ranges whilst Doom can reach out across the field. Fortune/Guide is then really only going to be advantageous to units which are sitting back and shooting except on the first turn (particularly Fortune) whilst Doom is a lot more flexible with range.

Mind War is a fickly utility spell best used for picking out special weapons. The limited range is problematic as it makes it hard to pick out heavy weapons/special weapons from afar but it really was designed against HQs. Shame HQs have high Lds to match the Farseer & invuls. For the most part this spell really falls short against Doom, Fortune & Guide as it has such minimal application whereas you can nearly always find a use for the aforementioned spells. The extra dice rolls needed for this spell to succeed as well make it much less attractive.

Final spell! Eldritich storm does a what now? S3 isn’t fantastic and the spinning ability against tanks is just down right unreliable but hilarious if worked right. The large blast against infantry isn’t even that scary, particularly since Eldar have such impressive torrent elsewhere already. This spell loses out completely to the rest and like Mind War, I wouldn’t bother buying it. Whilst Eldrad has both of these spells and can occasionally find uses for them (such as last ditch, I hope this works!), paying points for either of these spells in comparison to Guide, Doom or Fortune is lunacy. Lunacy I say.

Overall, Eldar have lost defensive prowess because of the increase in anti-psychic ability of other races (i.e. Fortuned Councils) which impacts their offensive firepower out of tanks. With Mech Eldar now dominating Eldar armies, Fortune loses potency other than a first turn “Go Dragons Go!” (Eldrad does this relatively well actually). Doom therefore has replaced Fortune as the main spell of choice with its ability to enhance the whole army’s effectiveness. It’s then a toss-up between Fortune and Guide (if either) depending if your Seer is out and about with your Serpents (or with Jetbikes, mini-council!) or if you have some impressive torrenting units such as Vyper squadrons. Runes of Warding is still extremely powerful and a must have for any Eldar Seer and if you want your psy powers to go off against Nids/Eldar, take Runes of Witnessing as well.

Now Warlock powers! Will run through these a bit quicker. Embolden is a must in any sort of Council to make sure their Ld10 keeps them around. In relation to Storm Guardians, Destructor is a much better spell to combine with flamers. Destructor is also very useful in Council like squads for impressive killing power. We know Embolden and Enhance have been used before for Guardians but they shouldn’t be on foot anyway (so take those Defenders away!) or die in combat a terrible death. Same with Wraithguard; they die in combat. Conceal is less useful in 5th edition thanks to cover being everywhere so really all we’re using is Destructor with Embolden and Enhance being used for Councils.

8 pinkments:

Vinsanity said...

Top summary Kirbs :D

I remember a few times in 4th getting off Eldritch Storm with my Seer Council from the Ulthwe Strike Force on a Russ or two in one game, and then glancing them a lot with my mass shuriken fire for ensuing lols...

Chumbalaya said...

Enhance and Embolden make Seer Councils very mean.

Totally agree re: powers. Guide only affects 1 unit, Doom potentially affects all of them.

Myke. said...

This post made me aware of the Runes of Warding... Looks like my Tyranid reserve list which is base on 6 Zoas is turned into a pile of ...t just because of one lousy cheap rune... All this although p33 says that Tyranid-psykers aren't real psykers but utilize the power of the hive-mind instead. But thanks to GW they still work like normal psykers...

BTW: Am i the only one that is pissed off because GW isn't capable of putting together a reasonable Nids FAQ.

But what i really wanted to say: Interesting article series. Waiting to hear more about Psy-Powers. I think they are pretty cool.

kennedy said...

Good summary on the Eldar, Kirby.

Unfortunately, most Eldar generals are very familiar with the current spell list. I really wish we had some way to circumvent hoods and Runic crap, but I suppose it's only fair we're not an unstoppable psychic powerhouse.

Kirby said...

It'll come Myke...unless it's out and I've missed it!

@Kennedy; aye thought I'd getthe easiest out of the way first. A lot of people though still run foot councils, fortune over doom, etc. More enlightenment is key!!!

The_King_Elessar said...

Yes, BUT - Doom can't be used against Mech lists so well. That's where I have an issue with it, I reckon. Plus, like you said before, rolling more Hits can lead to more Wounds, so re-rolls earlier are often better.

MasterSlowPoke said...

Oh god don't start that again.

Kirby said...

hahaha I don't think TKE waded into that :P. Idk I think Doom/Guide is the best combo atm. You may not get Fortune early turns but what the hell. Then again, this is why Eldrad is so lovable. Double Fortune + Guide first turn then double Guide + Doom from then on unless needed.

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