Friday, June 28, 2013

New Eldar Troops Review: or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the E-Bomb (part 3)

For this installment, I'll briefly look at our 6th ed Eldar Troops choices.  These guys are probably one of the most talked about changes to the Eldar codex, and they didn't even change that much!  What has changed?  Well, two things: the basic Eldar stat line and the basic Eldar weapon.  And that's just about it!  But these relatively small changes have had a very big impact. 

Guardians:  Your basic cheap troop choice is still the guardian, and they still come as shooty 'pult squads or as melee storm guardians.  The major change is a slight increase in stat lines.  These are probably more in keeping with their Dark cousins, who had an upgrade just a couple years ago.  It also makes more sense fluffily-speaking.  Your basic Eldar statline (guardian and variations) now have WS4 BS4 and I5.  Being as they are supposed to be the quick, agile, sensitive immortal-types, this makes more sense.  It also keeps up with a lot of other armies whose basic troops have more 4s in their stat lines.  They also all retain Fleet and now have the general Eldar power of Battle Focus, which adds even more to their quick-deadly-danciness.  They can move and shoot or shoot and move all in the same shooting phase.  This compounds well with the shuriken catapults, which have and have not changed.

Everyone's talking about the new "bladestorm" ability of shuriken weapons.  ("Bladestorm" used to be a cool fast shot kind of all-or-nothing attack by Dire Avengers, which we've now lost...)  Basically, on a 6 to wound the weapon becomes AP2 and auto-wounds despite toughness.  Suddenly our basic troops are worth having!  This is also compatible with the fluffiness because you would expect mono-molecular bladed throwing stars magnetically hurled at the enemy at great speeds to have an advanced cutting edge!  HOWEVER, our range has not improved.  The basic 'pult still only has a 12" range, meaning you have to get in close.  Typically your guardians had to get close enough to be killed before they got to shoot at the enemy.  This is still true, but thanks to Battle Focus and the new Bladestorm rule, you have a much better chance of killing the enemy... Before all your guardians die anyway.

Windrider Jetbikes:  First, I like that they picked up a cool name like "Windriders" -- better than "Guardian jetbikes".  Secondly, they retain all the basic guardian upgrades to their stats and weapons.  The only real individual advancement the bikers got was a decrease in cost -- from 22 to 17 points.  I like it, I'll take it.  And jetbikes in general, especially Eldar bikes, have become very cool and very fast in 6th edition. I foresee a lot of folks using these as their basic troops from now on.  (And I for one will be sporting a squad for sure, on account'a I likes me some fast and dirty eldar.)

Rangers:  These guys actually got a little better and a little worse.  Their stats match the new improved Eldar line (boost to the ranger WS and I at least) and all the general rules, and now per 6th ed they can move and still fire their long las sniper rifles as snap shots, which is nice.  They also got much cheaper (now 12 from 19 pts.) However, their super-sniper nature has degraded: they no longer get an AP bonus for good to-hit rolls.  That's okay though, that was kind of a weird rule anyway.  The main downer here is that you can no longer upgrade to Pathfinders unless you have Illic Nightspear as one of your HQ models.  To me, that stinks. Personally, I'd like to have seen Nightspear as a ranger upgrade model rather than an HQ slot.  But despite all this, they still make a good scoring troops unit that you can infiltrate on top of an objective and leave there all game.

Dire Avengers:  I'm not exactly sure why, but DAs have always been one of my fave units.  I like the look and the idea that they are the "noble warrior" aspect, the all round "knights" of the Eldar warrior class.  They, too, both got better and worse.  We lost two cool warrior powers -- Bladestorm (extra shot for entire unit, then reload next turn (good balance)) and Defend (reduce enemy Attacks by one).  But they now have Counter-Attack, which I think is very fitting and am actually satisfied with.  "You can take away Defend cuz you gave us Counter-Attack; not quite the same, but I'll take it as an even trade." The exarch's new warrior powers are still cool but more in tune with challenges (which was an interesting way to go with the exarchs in general).  The exarch's gear has changed slightly too, most notably the Shimmershield gives a general invuln save to the whole unit now rather than just in close combat, and rather than having the option of two 'pults for 4 shots, he just gets a twin-linked catapult (sucks--with BS5 who the hell needs that??)

I will also throw in at this point that my main disagreement with the new basic Eldar statline was that the Aspect Warriors have the same line!  (except leadership, 9 rather than 8).  It seems to me they should be better than Guardians by more than that, but I've learned to accept it.

Overall, our Troop game has definitely improved!  I'm more inclined to take more than the required Troop number and we get way more bang for our buck.  Happy Avenger here.

Note: Images stolen from various sources around the internet -- please blame Google, not me. 

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