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Friday, January 20, 2012

Eldar Codex Review - Part 2: Farseers


Farseers are quintessential Eldar – they are one of the most well recognised units in relation to the Eldar army and for good reason. Whilst the most recent codex added another HQ to steal the limelight, your basic Farseer is still excellent value. We’ve already reviewed the Psychic Powers available to the Farseers and nothing has really changed. Doom is easily the best power since multiple units can benefit from it but both Guide and Fortune have excellent value by allowing re-rolls to shooting or armor saves. The problem here is they are only allowed to use each of these powers once. They certainly have uses but if you’re going for a simple and cheap HQ, a Doomseer is your budget option. Eldritch Storm and Mind War, whilst not seeing much use, are also decent options.

Farseer’s also have access to Runes of Warding – one of the best anti-psychic options in the game. Not only does it force most opponents to fail roughly 40-50% of the time, more often than not if the opponent fails, they will suffer a Perils of the Warp. That’s pretty good and if you're taking a Farseer, Runes of Warding should pretty much be standard. From there you have a couple of options. Farseer's come with Ghosthelm along wide the usual Eldar statline of medicore S/T and pretty good everything else with an important Ld10, no armor save and 4+ invulnerable.

If you're not taking Doom, you need to have a really good reason for doing so - it's the power the rest of your army is going to take the most advantage of. You can add some utility to the Farseer (beyond Doom + Warding) with some extra spells and/or Spirit Stones to be able to cast two a turn but when you go down this road, Eldrad often becomes the better option for 50-100 points more (we'll discuss him later). Otherwise, keep your Farseer cheap. A singing spear is an okay option for ranged anti-tank and Runes of Witnessing makes the Farseer more reliable in casting psychic powers (though their chances for Perils go up) but all in all, you don't want to be sinking too many points into the Farseer. A spell beyond Doom as utility for a specific situation is fine but if you're doing that and Spirit Stones, we again bring you back to Eldrad.

The cheap Doomseer option therefore brings you a lot of utility for relatively cheap whilst filling that mandatory HQ slot. You get army wide buffing by being able to cast Doom on a target which everything can benefit from and you get psychic defense against your opponent with Runes of Warding. The best bit? It's cheap, can hide anywhere and can cast Doom from inside transports as there is no line of sight requirement. In the end, this is what you want from your Farseer - cheap, utility and fits into the army easily enough. The Farseer is never going to be good at combat or at shooting but rather improving the army around him.

The Farseer can also be taken on a bike though this is only really a good option in a mass Jetbike army (not so competitive) or with a Seer Council on Bikes as well (also not so competitive). The Farseer becomes quite expensive, if a bit more durable, with the Jetbike but becomes a lot more vulnerable to psychic defenses as one often relies on Fortune to keep the unit alive. Running two Farseers for one unit is an option but still risky - at least once a game if not twice, you are going to fail double cast Fortune when there are psychic defenses around. Keeping Farseers in larger/cheaper units or inside transports is often a better means of keeping them alive and as Line of Sight is often not needed for most of their powers, not very restrictive. Taking a Jetbike therefore has minimal application and isn't cheap.

So what changes would we like to see in the future? The Farseer is pretty good as is currently so there's not much other than a bringing in line of psychic power cost and coming standard with Runes. Most psykers currently can choose any two powers and be upgraded to cast two a turn though the new Grey Knight Librarian is allowed to buy powers at five points per. Either of these options would be great for the Farseer as well as an increase in powers available to them. The base cost of the Farseer would obviously need to rise - 100+ points but in the end a Farseer with two to three powers isn't going to cost somewhere near 200.

I also think the Farseer should come with the ability to cast two spells standard and not be reduced to two wounds (like the Librarians). The Farseers are supposed to be some of the most powerfully psychic beings in the universe so coming with the ability to cast two powers a turn standard would make sense and offset their weaker statline nicely. They should still be a utility piece rather than someone who wades into combat or shooting but there needs to be more utility options whilst not blowing the points bank.

The real question then becomes - what extra powers do Eldar need and what, if anything, should be done to the current powers. Remember, Games Workshop is aiming to bring a lot of things in line so expect a series of powers FarseersFarseer. The main focus would still be utility but having options up your sleeves to throw out a big blast, template, direct shot, etc. against something that really needs it provides more tactical options - particularly if Games Workshop goes the five point per power route.


Currently the Farseer is an excellent choice as long as you don't sink too many points into them. Your basic Farseer should really only include Runes of Warding and Doom with the occasional second power, singing spear and/or Runes of Witnessing for utility. Otherwise the Doomseer is cheap and effective and adding much more beyond this really lends itself to taking Eldrad instead who, whilst more expensive, comes with a bunch more options.

The base concept of the Farseer doesn't need to change for their upcoming codex though bringing the wargear (Runes of Warding standard) and psychic powers (five points per or pick two from a group - expand the group) is an obvious change as it makes the expensive costing of the Farseer powers less restrictive. The big question mark is what will those powers entail and how will they interact with the army.

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