Tuesday, June 04, 2013

New Eldar Codex Unit Reviews - Special Character HQs

Here's the first in a series of unit reviews I'm going to write for the new Eldar codex. Bear in mind these aren't written based on playtesting so my opinions may change once I've had more time with the book. Anyway, the HQ section is probably going to take 3 posts to cover as the Phoenix Lords need a separate post to really get into them. Today then I'm going to look at Eldrad, Yriel, Illic and the Avatar.

Eldrad Ulthran
Despite costing more than double the amount of a conventional farseer, Eldrad saw plenty of action in the old book. As before he's toughness 4 which is significant for those S6 or 7 weapons. He gets Runes of Warding and Witnessing thrown in although they aren't what they used to be. He's also Mastery 4 (as you might expect). He retains a lot of his special rules too. Firstly he allows D3+1 units to redeploy which is great when going first and which unsurprisingly is no longer called "Divination". Secondly his staff allows him to potentially use more powers than normal. Whilst he can no longer use the same power twice he can regain warp charge on a 5+. His staff is now AP3 though which is a slight nerf really.

I've always been a big fan of Eldrad and indeed he's the only model I kept when my Eldar army went on eBay. The issue for some is that he doesn't fit in with jetbike seer councils but there's no arguing he's a powerful psyker. The combination of the Runes of Fate powers with Divination and Telepathy is pretty fearsome. Obviously, it's open to randomness but even with the Primaris powers of those disciplines he'd be potent. Whether or not we'll see him as much remains to be seen as I'm not sure farseers are necessarily as automatic a choice as they used to be but more on that later.

Prince Yriel
I vividly remember losing an entire unit of grey hunters to Yriel in a game at Blog Wars 2 (I think). He's essentially a beefed up Autarch. He's gained an extra wound since last time we saw him but is still pretty vulnerable to S6+ attacks. Having 3+/4++ helps but his Cursed special rule doesn't. He's solid in combat though and if you combine the Eye of Wrath with his warlord trait there's certainly the possibility of killing a swathe of enemy models (and possibly some of your own) in combat. Of course this is limited by the new pile in moves since at his initiative step he may not be as close to enemy models as he would've been in 5th.

He'll likely need a transport to be effective and without an assault vehicle he'll have to take some punishment on the way in. He's a decent choice but I suspect most will go with a standard autarch if they want reserves manipulation. They're pretty good for the points (but I'll get to them) and Yriel doesn't really offer much that they don't.

Illic Nightspear
Illic is necessary if you want to unlock pathfinders in the new book although they're pretty pricey. Essentially they provide a similar benefit to before with Shrouded replacing Stealth and gaining the Sharpshot rule. Whilst we're on that subject that's a pretty significant thing. Illic has the rule too and it means you can choose to assign hits to specific models without needing 6s to hit. A whole squad doing this would almost guarantee the death of a squad leader type character and could worry ICs too. Obviously LoS rolls will hamper how effective this is but there's big potential there.

Elsewhere his warlord trait gives him split fire making his unit more potent. His weapon is 48" in range and has the Distort rule making it great against characters and decent against vehicles too. His Hidden Path rule is interesting allowing him to Infiltrate wherever he likes and allowing other rangers to deep strike to him. Interesting but difficult to see it's effectiveness. For normal rangers I can see the benefit as it allows them to get in behind units and pick of models that are staying to the back for safety. For pathfinders it seems a bit pointless. Perhaps I'm missing something but I'm not sure I really want him that close to my enemy in the first place so I'd be more likely to keep him outside 18" anyway.

Most will see him as a "tax" worth paying to get Pathfinders. Personally I think it makes them too expensive for something that's still vulnerable to flamers etc. Rangers as a cheap scoring unit are probably still a viable option though but again I'll be getting to them.

The Avatar of Khaine
The avatar used to be one of my favourite units in the old book. Able to take on entire enemy squads alone it was a fearsome thing to behold. Well to me anyway, not many other people really used him/it. BS10 is back and he's gained a wound and attack somewhere in the last few years. The combination of battle focus and a meltagun is nice. He's certainly a major threat to vehicles. The fearless bubble he provides will come in handy for getting other combat units into the fray too. Sadly his invulnerable save has been reduced to 5+ but in combat it probably doesn't matter as very little will touch him with I10, WS10 and T6. The problem will be getting him into combat unscathed. Having the Character type helps him challenge out and annihilate enemy characters too.

He's now also eligible for a couple of upgrades. Realistically he's only going to use Fast Shot mind you. A two-shot BS10 meltagun is tempting. Should I ever get a full army again I think it'd be fun to run both an avatar and wraithknight! Once either of them is in combat they're likely to be pretty unstoppable.

None of the above are bad by any stretch but in a codex with a wealth of options they perhaps all could do with being a little better to justify their expense. Certainly Yriel and Illic are easier to justify as they're cheaper but generally they'll be a play-style choice and perhaps unlikely to make competitive lists.

Personally I'd love to try any and all of them in my lists but I need to think carefully before splashing out on the models.


  1. Illic can pull some funky stuff infiltrating things, he can join a unit and then infiltrate them using his special rule - infiltrating 10 wraithguard, some fire dragons or even a wave serpent are all hilarious things that you can do with him (time will tell how effective they are). He's also the cheapest Eldar Special Character I believe (except maybe Yriel?)

    1. Can he though? That's a generous interpretation of his rules. I suspect GW will clarify that in an FAQ.

    2. Can he give infiltrate to the unit? Absolutely, that's in the rules. Can he use his special rule - remains to be seen.

      Even infiltrating wraithguard the normal 18" means they should be shooting T1, which is a turn earlier than usual!

  2. He has infiltrate and can be set up pretty much anywhere. The other part of his rules applies to rangers deep striking near him. Does an ic with infiltrate confer it to the squad in 6th? It says any model in the unit with infiltrate. It does seem like it wasn't intended for that purpose so will probably be faqd.

  3. Yeah an IC confers it but its a stretch to say he confers his special version of it

    1. That being the case as its written it seems on the level. Nasty.

    2. To be rules lawyery, technically infiltrate states "if one or more models" but his rule doesn't. That to me says its like the lictor or marbo style rules. Hopefully GW will clarify but I'm not holding my breath.

    3. trying to get my head around this one so one of you kind chaps may need to spell it out for me. Infiltrate says one or more models in theunit with this rule right. Illics rules say he has infiltrate which in addition may also allow him to set up anywhere outside of normal restrictions. So if he has infiltrate with exceptions noted, surely he still has it and if heshe's part of a unit tthey act the same. What am I missing?

    4. Infiltrate is a different rule to Walker of the Hidden Path. Illic can give infiltrate to a unit but in my opinion he can't give walker. Just like wolf scouts can't give their behind enemy lines thing to a character in their unit. Needs FAQ clarification but I think that's what they'll say.

    5. I see where you're coming from. Still not convinced either way though, as arguably as WotHP grants Illic infiltrate, he can then bestow that upon any member of a unit he is a part of. (nothing specifically indicates that his special version of infiltrate would not apply) It's kind of the same as with wolf scouts even though the rules is from the unit not the IC and so that may give the precendent as to which way it will be rules. Personally I think he should be able to use the rule but only with units who also have infiltrate, i.e. rangers and pathfinders, which is probably how it was intended. FAQ shouldn't be too long hopefully.

  4. I will say this for Illic, the Sharpshot plus his Sniper Rifle having the distort special rule makes him extremely dangerous for multi-wound targets. He would be the bane of Tau; he can snipe Broadsides and Crisis Suits out even when they have shield drones and potentially knock them down in one shot.

    As for Eldrad, he's powerful, but I think it's shifted a bit to where two Farseers can do as much or more than a single Eldrad, whereas with previous editions, it would take tooled up Farseers to come close to him, and they would be more expensive then.

  5. eldrads staff is now a force weapon, which is quite scary, do keep that in mind.. I don't think it's been nerfed at all:). d3+1 re deploy is gold and if you want the avatar or something other than 2 farseer's in your HQ slots, he's the guy to go to.

    Also , this is the special character HQ list.... the avatar isn't one and.. where are all the phoenix lords?

    1. The avatar is in the sense that you can only take one of him (at sub 2k at least).

      The first paragraph says that it'll take 3 posts to cover HQ. This post, one on phoenix lords and one on generic HQs. This would've been a huge post if I'd covered the lords too.

  6. Nice write up as always Alex. Saves me from having to use my own brain cells!


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