So here we are at the end of 5th edition and curiously my warhost has made it back to the table in full force, aggressive as ever, dire as ever- what had changed since the start of 5th edition and the fact that some many codexes have gotten proper updates, while Eldar still languish for some reason?
The two biggest changes have been not so much the increased model count on the table- both from GW making marines cheaper in points, and tournaments hosting at the 2000-2500 point level, but rather massively increased shooting in the game, and the rise of five objective based missions (NOVA) as the standard for better or worse.
We also need to examine this based on the fact that I don’t play a “competitive” Eldar list- I use lots of jetbikes, three vyper groups, and fire prisms…
At the start of 5th edition I only needed my jetbikes to act as a scoring unit for the game. Sure they sniped around with the shuriken cannons occasionally blowing up a tank, but basically they were there to move in on turn five. The real model killers were my vypers, seer council, and fire prisms.
With the move to five objectives in each game AND that fact that current codex armies can get 6+ troop units on the table as scoring means that my jetbikes now have to work in a direct attack mode and confront models. Jetbikes really weren’t meant to kill anything, and they certainly weren’t meant to directly oppose Space Marines with their furious charge, wacky grenades, and power weapons all for less than the cost of my jetbikes.
My elites and fast are killing other things, and my limited troops are now forced to confront the excess of troops that my opponent has.
Fire power has also been ramped up- just look at what the Grey Knights and Space Wolves can put out there as an example. On paper I don’t have as many shots, but I make up for that with my speed and the durability of my units when done correctly. I may not have fortitude or venerable for cheap, but I do have holo-fields, cover saves, and fortune.
Guide and fortune are more important than ever! Two farseers on a jetbike handing out the candy at least allows me to hold my own for a while if I can keep the momentum going with my mobility. If you pin me down I’m dead and done.
Runes of warding on both farseers also tend to shut things down so quick, something that Grey Knight players just aren’t ready for or have experienced so far since nobody plays Eldar anymore. Runes tend to balance things out a bit- shutting down fortitude based shooting, and shrouding. Hammer hand and force weapons don’t really matter since I’m dead in the assault anyway.
For now I’ve disbanded my seer council, dispersing the warlocks into the jetbike groups and giving two of the groups farseers to create a mini-council. If I can get fortune off, this gives the jetbikes just what they need in terms of survivability- a 3+ armor save and a 5+ cover save from conceal if I can’t get the direct 4+.
Use the mobility to stay out of rapid fire range if you can so you are only eating one or two long range shots- of which you get the re-roll. When the jetbikes have to close on a unit to kill it, we then have the twin linked on the shuriken catapults for the re-roll and then doom for the re-roll on the wounds.
The farseers also boost my vyper gunboats, which have now dropped their brightlances. Sure they make AV 14 sweat, but nobody brings AV 14 anymore in an age of cheap melta spam and all marines. I pick up scatter lasers, star cannons, and under slung shuriken cannons which all get guided and maybe doomed. I won’t drop the star cannons even if they are way over costed- denying marines a power armor save still has great value for me and a spot in the overall plan.
Finally my guardians- boosting warlocks are now mandatory to boost the guardians based on their role- either defender or storm. Aspect warriors are basically done- compared to the current marine books they just don’t have the super special specialization that they are supposed to have- they die the same as guardians for 2-3X the cost. Sadly this has made me drop my banshees.
So those are the updates to my list in response to such an ultra competitive environment where one is brining a fluff based themed list, and I hope it doesn’t come off as all doom and gloom because it isn’t.
More than every my surprise factor in the list has really been helping me, as long as I can keep the edge of it going with mobility and psychic powers supporting my units- it just isn’t seen in a game of marine vs. marine, and for the guys who have come into the game in the past 2-3 years and that is all they have as a frame of reference, never really playing against xeno armies, etc. it can throw off your game.
And finally, of course, this is yet another holding pattern, not only as we wait for a new Eldar codex, but also as 6th edition drops in a few months or less. It will shake up the game, and there will be new exploits for the warhost, which you can be sure I’ll be leveraging to my fullest advantage…