Wednesday, 15 November 2017

One Post a Week

When I started posting this year, I was aiming on creating one post a week. Once this started slipping due to other commitments, I adjusted the goal to be an average, rather than tying it fully to the calender.

This is my 52nd post this year. Given how sparsely I've posted in previous years, this is quite the achievement. Hopefully I can keep up the rate of at least 52 posts a year going forward :)

Monday, 13 November 2017

Asuryani Review - Part Eleven; Lords of War


There is now only one option left in this Battlefield Role, as the Avatar has returned to HQ where it belongs. The scourge of 7th Edition, the Wraithknight.


Wraithknight

First things first. This unit is now expensive. While the Codex has brought some points reductions, it will still set you back 452 points at cheapest. And at that level, it's not very effective. While that gives it an Invulnerable Save, and a close combat attack that does a flat 6 Damage at Strength 16, it only kits it out for melee. This makes it capable of taking out other Titanic units, but means it likely has to wade through the opposing army to do so.

It's better in one of it's two ballistic modes. The first and most expensive of these is the Suncannon and Scattershield. This keeps the Save and, if you also give it a pair of Starcannons, it has 4+2d6 S6 AP-3 shots. Great for annihilating the heaviest of infantry or light vehicles and monsters. That makes it 570 points though. Probably too expensive for the job.

The middle ground is the default. 502 points gives you no Invulnerable Save, but 4 shots at S16, AP-4 and Dd6 each. This will wreck opposing Vehicles, Monsters and Titanics at 36" Range. And with 24 Wounds itself, be really hard to put down. This still leaves room for shoulder mounted heavy weapons. Did I mention that an Iyanden one has to have 6 Wounds remaining to have a drop in it's stats, and 3 remaining to reach it's bottom level.

A peculiarity with it's close combat ability is comparing it's Titanic Wraithbone Fists to it's Titanic Feet. The Fists are 4 attacks at S8, AP-3, Dd6 but the Feet are 12 attacks at S8, AP-2, Dd3. It's usually better to stomp than punch. Same is true of the Imperial Knight. Combine this with the Psytronome of Iyanden for 24 Feet attacks!

The final chapter is next, Part Twelve; Summary and Thoughts Going Forward.

Asuryani Review - Part Ten; Fliers


Stormraven spam may have caused a change in the rules of 8th Edition, but the Aeldari truly rule the skies.


Crimson Hunter

The anti-flyer Aspect. It has the usual Airborne and Hard to Hit rules to give it protection. To help it hunt other Flyers, it re-rolls failed wounds against models with the Fly keyword. In 8th Edition, that also includes units like Jetbikes, Assault Marines and Bloat Drones. It's armed with 2 Bright Lances and a Pulse Laser, to bring opposing vehicles down.

Wings of Khaine is a great rule. Allowing the Hunter to turn 90° both before and after moving. This means it can strafe up and down your back line, while the long range on it's weapons punishes opposing Fliers and Vehicles. For 160 points, it's a great package. In an Iyanden army, it has to lose 8 Wounds before it loses any effectiveness too.

This unit appears to have replaced the Nightwing in the interceptor role.


Crimson Hunter Exarch

For an extra 15 points, you gain re-rolls of a 1 for shooting, and the option to replace it's Bright Lances with Starcannons. I wouldn't recommend the weapon swap, but the re-roll is probably worth it.

Now that you no longer take these as squadrons, the Exarch feels strangely out of place. The point difference almost makes it feel like an auto upgrade to the regular Hunter.


Hemlock Wraithfighter

Proving to be quite fearsome on the table top for a bargain 200 points, the psychic aircraft is back. It shares the Wings of Khaine, Hard to Hit and Airborne rules with the Crimson Hunter. It also has built in Spirit Stones to give it the ability to ignore wounds on a 6.

It's role is different. The short range of it's weapons means that it wants to strafe their lines, not yours. 16", Assault d3, S12, AP-4, D2. It has two of them and they auto-hit. Good at hurting anything, units that are too numerous to worry about the guns are usually not a threat to it. While it's that close, it's Mindshock Pods give enemy units -2 Leadership. The cherry, on top of this icing, on top of this delicious cake: It's a Psyker.

It can deny one power, and cast one. It know Smite and any one power from the Runes of Battle. It can only cast the debuff half of the power, but those are potent enough options. It's also a Wraith Construct for the purpose of the Stratagem that heals them.

The final unit review is in Part Eleven, Lords of War.

Asuryani Review - Part Nine; Dedicated Transports






The Aeldari only have one Dedicated Transport and it's come a long way in design since the Epic model.


Wave Serpent


The Wave Serpent has long held the title of best transport in the game. It's fast, with a 16" Move. It carries 12 models, allowing it to potentially carry two squads of Aspect Warriors. It's got a lot of firepower, with a twin heavy weapon turret and an under slung either Twin Shuriken Catapult or single Shuriken Cannon. It's got the ability to survive a lot of punishment too. 13 Wounds, 3+ Save and the Serpent Shield plus the option of taking Spirit Stones.

It only asks what guns you are giving it. 3 Shuriken Cannons is pretty good, allowing it to move and shoot with no reduction in effectiveness. It's a good fit for all the Vehicle Upgrades as well, allowing for more speed, more survivability and more firepower, if you have the points. It's a shame that all this means you are less likely to field a Fire Prism, especially as you can theoretically take 1 Wave Serpent for each other unit in the army.

I won a vehicle conversion competition with my first Wave Serpent by adding parts from the plastic High Elf Dragon model. I'd post a picture, but I currently cannot find the turret,

Part Ten will be almost as short, as we look at the Fliers.

Asuryani Review - Part Eight; Heavy Support


Just in case there wasn't enough mobile heavy weapons in the Fast Attack slots, the Asuryani pack out the Heavy Support slots too, with some unique weaponry to boot.


War Walker

The humble War Walker is a cheap way of getting 2 heavy weapons per model onto the battlefield. With a 10" Move they are relatively fast too. They don't mitigate the -1 penalty for firing them while moving, but if you are worried about that you can always give them a pair of Shuriken Cannons to hunt infantry.

However, having the weapons of your choice is only half the equation. It has a 5+ Invulnerable Save and the ability to come on from Reserve along any board edge. Another unit great for harassing either your opponents back row artillery or their flanking units. 210 points gives you 18 Shuriken Cannon shots against flanking Genestealers or equivalent troops. Or, Bright Lance their Basilisks. What ever you need, you can configure these guys to match.

Some people are complaining that War Walkers have lost the option to Scout Move at the start of the game. I feel that the "Outflank" ability is better, putting them where you want, when you want and avoiding Alpha Strikes which is a key property in 8th Edition.


Wraithlord

In the Index, they reduced the Wraithlord's legendary toughness to 7. I wasn't happy with this, as in previous editions it had been immune to Strength 4 weapons and in 8th that suddenly translated to Strength 4 hurting it on 5s. Thankfully the Codex restores it to it's former glory.

A slower, tougher, more versatile unit that the War Walker. It lacks the Invulnerable Save and the ability to be fielded in squads; but gains higher Toughness, more Wounds and great close combat ability. It can be built for the role you want. Ghostglaive to destroy Monsters and Vehicles in combat, Flamers to defend on Overwatch, Shuriken weapons to run around, other heavy weapons to be a static gun platform, or any combination. Obviously, the more roles you try and have an individual Wraithlord do, the more expensive it gets, and the Wraithbone Fists ensure that it's never a slouch in combat, even without the sword.

I think specialising is the way to go, as is par for the course with the Aeldari. A static one with 2 of the heavier weapons with Flamers for Overwatch gives you a gun platform that can defend itself. A mobile one with 2 each of Shuriken Cannons and Shuriken Catapults to run around shooting infantry. The options are actually limitless.

The Wraithlord hasn't always had Toughness. In 2nd Edition, it was a normal Vehicle with Armour Values. It was in fact at the time called the Eldar Dreadnought. 3rd Edition changed it's name to Wraithlord and gave it Toughness 8. I still have my 2 original metal ones, although they are actually the second version of the model.


Support Weapons

Static gun platforms with 3 options for firepower. They set up as a unit but after that count as separate units from each other, making it harder for the opponent to tackle them all at once.

The default is the Shadow Weaver. D6 shots, 48" Range and the ability to ignore line of sight. Otherwise, same stats as the weapons of the Warp Spiders. Decent for killing all sorts of infantry, especially in high numbers. Nothing spectacular in an army that already has lots of options for that job.

Next is the Vibro Cannon. Upgraded from the Index, it now has d3 shots and 2 Damage. Each subsequent cannon that hits the targeted unit improves its AP and wound roll by 1. Good for focus fire on a Monster, but again there are better options in the army. One interesting facet is enemy units it damages cannot Advance in the next turn, unless they have the Fly keyword.

Finally, is the D-Cannon. "Only" d3 shots at "only" 24" Range, and also ignoring line of sight. It's also been upgraded to Strength 12, one of the few weapons in the game with a printed Strength above 10. I've long been a fan of parking one of these behind something and daring the opponent to bring things nearby. 75 points may seem expensive for this, but many opponents will fear the potential of 3 shots doing 6 damage each, even when the reality could be 1 shot doing 1 damage.

Support weapons are in an odd spot. While they are cheap for what they do, their job is largely done better by other things in the Codex. While I've often taken the D-Cannon, I'm never happy taking the other two options, and I don't think 8th Edition changes that.

In 2nd Edition, this entry also included the Heavy Weapons Platform. 3rd Edition made those part of Guardian Defender units instead.


Dark Reapers

The Aspect that represent Khaine as the Destroyer, Dark Reapers have long been the heavy firepower unit of choice. Still armed with their signature Reaper Launchers, they now always hit on a 3+, regardless of modifiers. That means they can move and fire with no penalty, ignore the Hard to Hit rule of many Fliers, ignore the abilities of armies such as Alaitoc or Raven Guard. The flip side is they also ignore positive modifiers, but not re-rolls.

The Reaper Launcher still has it's two firing modes, either the Starswarm for Marines or the Starshot for Vehicles/Monsters. They excel at dealing with either target, and you can just keep an Autarch nearby to allow the re-roll of 1s. They wont kill units like Conscripts or Pox Walkers quickly enough, but you have more than enough other options to do that. Taking multiple units is an easy way to lose friends if your playgroup has a lot of Marine armies.

That last part isn't hyperbole. Dark Reapers tear Marines to pieces, and do decent amounts of damage to Terminators and Vehicles. I'm hearing a lot of online sources recommending taking multiple units, which is fine for competitive lists. Your mileage may vary.


Falcon

The first tank model that the Eldar had, and half transport/half gun vehicle. Receiving a near 50 point drop from the Index they are a more attractive option than they were, although still oddly competing with the Wave Serpent for their job. They are good for carrying a small unit and the Pulse Laser is a pretty good weapon. It just doesn't make sense when compared with the Wave Serpent. For near equivalent points, or identical Power Level, you get less transport capacity and less survivability.

It's a solid battle tank, that can also carry some Aspect Warriors. It also allows you to put your transports in the Heavy Support slot when trying to fill detachments but minimise deployments. It is a shame that the Wave Serpent outshines it.

Turning up near the end of 2nd Edition, the current model changed the way Eldar vehicles are designed, being different to the Epic versions at the time. It's a hull sculpt that has gone on to be the base of the other Asuryani tanks, plus the design basis for the Forge World versions.



Night Spinner

The closest thing the Aeldari have to vehicle-mounted artillery. The Doomweaver is a solid anti-light vehicle weapon that ignores line of sight. 2d6 shots, Strength 7, potential AP -4 and 2 Damage. That is perfect for tackling Razorbacks and Rhinos. More so with help from Guide and Doom. That not only deals with an opposing fire base, it strands the unit that was inside, hopefully while they are still in the opposing deployment zone.

This unit has always felt weird. It's on a mobile platform, but it feels like it wants to be static. It might prove to be the answer to the competitive Razorback spam, while also having enough shots to deal with screening units like Conscripts. Time will tell.


Fire Prism

The Aeldari rival to the Imperial Leman Russ. It also has the ability to fire twice if it moves half distance or less. It's not as tough as the Leman Russ, but trades that for a main weapon that combines many of the turret options the Imperium has.

For killing Marines - d6 shots, S6, AP-3, D1. Takes out heavy infantry squads and light Vehicles.
For killing Tanks - d3 shots, S9, AP-4, Dd3. Takes out heavier Vehicles and Monsters.
For killing Titans - 1 shot, S12, AP-5, Dd6. Punches a hole in Titanic units, especially those without an Invulnerable Save. All of this weapons are combined into one gun that can choose how it fires each turn. This is so strangely versatile for the Aeldari.

The original model for this had a different turret, with a shorter cannon made completely of metal. The plastic sculpting allows for a much better looking transparent prism.

This brings Part Eight to a close. Part Nine will be the shortest part, Dedicated Transports.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Asuryani Review - Part Seven; Fast Attack


The Aeldari are renowned for their speed and the Asuryani are no exception. Here is where the most manoeuvrable units reside, and they aren't slouches when it comes to firepower either.


Windriders

This unit is defined by it's 16" move and ability to advance 6", no rolling. Keep the Twin Shuriken Catapult or upgrade to Shuriken Cannon for mobile infantry slaughter. Or, keep them static and give them Scatter Lasers to keep them further away from the enemy, and use their massive speed if you need to redeploy to find new targets.

Or play Saim-Hann and use your Craftworld Trait to have the best of both worlds, this unit being one of two the Heavy Weapon part of their Trait is built for. The Fly keyword lets them both ignore terrain while moving, and still shoot should they Fall Back from combat.

Until 7th Edition, the upgrade options were 1 in every 3 bikes. The change to allowing all to upgrade lead to units focusing on certain types of firepower.


Vypers

Mobile firepower at it's finest. They have a 16" move that increases to 20" if there are 3 models in the unit. Each one has a Shuriken Cannon and a Twin Shuriken Catapult. You can upgrade the Catapults into a Cannon, for maximum mobile Shuriken fire, slaughtering infantry much like the Windriders. Or you can give them your choice of Heavy Weapon, getting -1 to hit when you move, but giving a cheap platform for Bright Lances or Aeldari Missile Launchers.

Again, Saim-Hann ignore the -1 to hit for Heavy Weapons on Bikers, so they excel here. They will be mobile tank hunters in with Lances/Missiles, or exceptionally mobile infantry hunters with 2 Shuriken Cannons.

Long gone are the days of 2nd Edition, where you could remove the heavy gun platform and instead mount a character on the back so they could ride around in style.


Swooping Hawks

And the award for most improved from the Index goes to - Swooping Hawks. And that's awarded for one simple change. Lasblasters have gone from 24" Range, Rapid Fire 2; to 24" Range, Assault 4. They have even dropped in points to boot. They've kept the ability to Deep Strike, cause Mortal Wounds as they arrive/move and even re-enter Reserves to come back the turn after. The Exarch still gives an aura bubble of +1 Leadership too.

Deep Strike these guys in far away from the opponent. Use their 24" Range to target the Infantry unit you want to kill and let rip. This should keep them out of combat, where they really don't want to be. Don't worry about the opponents army moving away, their 14" Move and Battle Focus should keep their targets in range. If things get too hot where they are, leave the board and return elsewhere the next turn.

This unit is one of the units that made the Eldar appeal to me in 2nd Edition, and drew me to Eldar as my first army. The ability to leave and re-enter the battlefield while dropping grenades sounded really fun, and still is.


Warp Spiders

From 3rd Edition onwards, this has become a strange unit. Their weapons, while okay, always seem to be outclassed by others in the army. I think their role in 8th is as a very mobile unit for grabbing and holding Objectives. They can sacrifice the ability to Advance or Charge, to move 7+4d6" and gain the Fly keyword. That gives them an average of 21" to get to the correct Objective. They can even set up in Deep Strike, though you risk losing a member on a double 1.

To help clear out anyone near the Objective, they have Range 12", Assault 2 weapons that gain -4 AP on a 6 to wound. The amount of shots can even help with Overwatch. To help them keep the Objective, the Exarch lets them re-roll Morale tests, and they can Flickerjump. Again risking losing a model on a double 1, this gives your opponent -1 to hit them in Shooting.

In 2nd Edition, the Death Spinner used the Heavy Flamer template. I'm not sure why the stats couldn't have been adjusted and let them keep the template rule, giving Craftworld Eldar a unit for clearing out horde units. Alas, it just wasn't meant to be, until D-Scythes.


Shining Spears

Much like ancient Knights looking for Dragons to slay, these guys are hunting Monsters and Vehicles while mounted on trusty steeds. Much like Windriders, they Move 16" and Advance 6". That gets them to where they are needed, while a 4+ Invulnerable Save against ranged weapons helps keep them alive. While they have Twin Shuriken Catapults for killing threatening infantry, that isn't their job.

Their Lances are what make them. They have an AP of -4 for both shooting and combat, and a Damage value of 2. The Laser Lance is Strength 6 for shooting and on the Charge, while the Exarch's Star Lance is Strength 8. The Exarch also gets to re-roll wounds against Vehicles and Monsters. This makes them superb for hunting Tyranid Monsters, denying your opponent Synapse and Shadow in the Warp at a key part of the Battlefield. With the Fly Keyword, they can also hunt enemy aircraft, something your opponent may not realise until it is too late.

While the Windriders got a model upgrade, the current models for Shining Spears are still mounted on the 2nd Edition plastic jetbike models.

With the end of Part Seven having arrived, it's time to tell you that Part Eight will be about the seven choices for Heavy Support.

Asuryani Review - Part Six; Elites





Where the bulk of the Aspect Warriors are found, as well as the deadly Wraith-units, the Elites section is where you start to see the specialisation that Asuryani excel at. With 5 options, each unit is great at it's purpose and bad at everything else.





Howling Banshees

Classically, this unit has struggled with it's Strength 3. In 8th Edition though, that can now hurt a wider range of units. A unique quirk is that Toughness 4 and 5 are the same, both requiring a 5+ to wound. They are armed with Shuriken Pistols and Power Swords, making them a nightmare for heavily armoured troops. They will struggle against units with multiple wounds and Storm Shields, like Terminators and Custodes though.

Where they shine is delivering their killing strike to the unit you want. Move 8 and the ability to Advance and still Charge gives them quite a threat range. When they do this, not only can they attempt to charge units up to 15" away, but they get +3 to the roll. That gives them a combat distance of 11+3d6! This even combos with Battle Focus so they can still fire their Pistols. Their masks nullify Overwatch and the Exarch give opposing units -1 to hit in combat. Establish a target, Charge the target, remove the target.

In the Index, the Banshee Mask let them always strike first. I think the Codex version of ignoring Overwatch is much stronger, allowing them to make a mess of T'au battle lines. They were at their strongest in 2nd Edition though, denying their opponents attack dice on the turn they charged, as well as stopping Overwatch.


Striking Scorpions

They attack at Strength 4 in shooting and combat, allowing them to pick apart Toughness 3 troops with ease and pressure Toughness 4-7. The Exarch can even strike at Strength 6 with a -3 AP and Damage d3, with no penalty to hit and extra attacks on 6s. Their Mandiblasters cause Mortal Wounds at the start of combat, allowing them to take on units much larger than them. The icing on this cake, and what defines their role is the combo of Deep Strike and +1 to hit units in cover. They excel at hunting your opponent's backfield units. Just put these guys in Reserve and wait for the time to strike.

These guys haven't changed over the years. They have always been about a combination of combat prowess and ability to cause extra wounds from the Mandiblasters. In this edition though, use of Reserves is important for getting to strike the units that would normally try and hide, while denying your opponent the Alpha Strike against such threatening units.


Fire Dragons



The truest masters of their art, and the best at it in the game. They carry Fusion Guns, all of them. The Exarch can even upgrade to a longer range one. This gives them 1 shot each at Strength 8, hitting on 3s. Battle Focus allows them to do this while Advancing, increasing their threat range. The Exarch also re-rolls 1s to hit at range. They have an AP of -4 and do d6 damage, rolling 2 dice and choosing the highest at half range. Finally, to make sure they destroy the target, if shooting a Vehicle of Monster, they get to re-roll 1s to wound. Get them to a Vehicle or Monster and make it die.

They really need a way of getting to the target though. I recommend a Wave Serpent, though there is an argument to be made for the Webway Strike Stratagem to Deep Strike them in. Which  ever method best suits your play style.

Here is a familiar refrain - These guys haven't changed. The heavy focusing of Aspect Warriors doesn't give them a lot of room for change, plus it really fits the flavour of the Paths that they are unchanged this far in the game across 8 editions now.


Wraithblades


The first of the Wraith-units is close combat based. They have been increased from Toughness 5 to 6 from Index to Codex. They also have 3 Wounds each and a 3+ save to help them survive. 2 Attacks plus an extra 1 when they Charge, from Fires of Wrath, gives them a lot of hitting power. These guys are for taking on in combat the units that are too heavily armoured for Banshees.

They have two load out options. You can either give them Ghostwords for a 4th attack and essentially a Strength 6 Power Weapon. This is for hunting and killing Terminators, possibly retaliation after they Deep Strike. The other give them a 4+ Invulnerable Save for more survivability, and a Strength 7 weapon that has -3 AP and d3 Damage. This is for taking on Dreadnoughts, Monsters and other Vehicles in combat. They get -1 to hit with this Ghostaxe, but you can easily mitigate that with a nearby Spiritseer with Enhance.

Wraithblades were introduced in 6th Edition, presumably to give Iyanden a more flavourful close combat unit. While they are effective once they get to combat, they are both slow and expensive. They suit a more defencive style of play, while Banshees are more about aggression.



Wraithguard


These have always been about bringing relatively short-ranged death to whatever you can point them at. They replace the combat abilities of the Wraithblades with Implacable, allowing them to Fall Back and still shoot, should your opponent try locking them down in combat. Even their, at Strength 5 they have -1 AP and d3 Damage, so they aren't terrible. This also allows them to finish of a Vehicle or Monster if their guns fail to do the job.

They have 2 options. Firstly is the much maligned (by their opponents) D-Scythes. Only 8" Range, but Strength 10 and -4 AP. Only 1 Damage, but d3 shots each with no roll to hit. They make a mess of heavily armoured troops that get too close, and are a nightmare on Overwatch. The second (and my preferred) is their traditional Wraithcannon. Similar stats, trading the auto-hit for +4" range, and the d3 shots for 1 shot but d6 Damage instead. They are a nightmare for Monsters and Vehicles, especially if they don't have an Invulnerable Save. Again, an expensive unit, but as an Iyanden player I'm not concerned.

The D-Scythe appeared in 6th Edition, alongside the plastic models. Still not sure what the reasoning behind bringing this weapon to the game was. 8th Edition is the first edition where the Wraithcannon hasn't had the ability to instantly remove models from play, something they had long before Strength D became a universal special rule.

That brings Part Six to an end, Part Seven will be a look at the Fast Attack units.

Friday, 3 November 2017

Asuryani Review - Part Five; Troops






The backbone of every army, giving access to Objective Secured and filling out the Detachments that give the most command points - Troops. The Asuryani have 4 choices here and, like the rest of their army, each one has a specific purpose.


Guardians

When the Craftworld is in threat, all must help defend. Those that don't join the Path of and Aspect take up the mantle of Guardians.

Guardian Defenders

The standard of the Asuryani. Combat stats of the Space Marine, physical stats of the Imperial Guardsman but with a higher Movement value. Backed up by Battle Focus and Shuriken Catapults. These guys aren't exciting, but for every 10 in the unit you can add  Heavy Weapons Platform. If this isn't a Shuriken Cannon, you lose out on the mobility of Battle Focus though. They are the solid Troops choice, nothing special but nothing bad. I would take the Heavy Weapons platforms and use them to hold an Objective while shooting choice targets.

They have been largely unchanged over time, though 4th Edition upped their Weapon Skill and Ballistic Skill.

Storm Guardians

Same stat line as the Defenders, but with a unit cap of 24 rather than 20. Regardless of unit size, 2 models can have either a Flamer or a Fusion Gun. I wouldn't take them these days. While they are the cheapest option for Troops, their role is eclipsed by other units in the army. Everything they do except cheapness is better done by something else. And while Defenders cost 24 more points at minimum, their Shuriken fire is better than Aeldari Blades or Chainswords. While they are better than they have been in previous editions, I still can't see much use for them.

Storm Guardians didn't exist in 2nd Edition. You could simply purchase close combat weapons for regular Guardians, making them a unit that could do both jobs if you were willing to pay the points. It made them one of the few options in the army that was customisable. 2nd Edition was weird for it's rules that allowed models to carry numerous weapons for different purposes.


Dire Avengers

The Aspect of Asurman, first of the Phoenix Lords. They have longer range that Guardian Defenders plus they Overwatch on 5s. These are the Troops you want mobile Shuriken fire. They really exemplify Battle Focus. Their Exarch has several options, an extra Catapult is a good choice. My preferred choice is the Shimmershield to give the unit a 5+ Invulnerable save.

The Aspect Warriors are much like their Pheonix Lords, in that they haven't really changed as the rules changed around them.

 
Rangers

Character support is key in 8th Edition. Having lesser Characters in the right place with the correct skills is integral to a battle plan. The rules let those Characters hide, making them difficult to deal with before you opponent gets maximum benefit from them. These guys are the answer.

While the stats on the Ranger Long Rifle aren't exceptional, they do additional mortal wounds on a 6 on the Wound roll. They also have the ability to pick out Characters. This means units like Commissars, Lieutenants and other support Characters can be easy pickings. They can also help soften up stronger Characters before a more capable unit tackles them.

They give the opponent -1 to hit them at Range, and get +2 to their saving throws while in cover, making shifting them an effort for the opponent. That choice will come down to how important their Characters are. They also have the ability to Infiltrate, placing them in exactly the best vantage point right from the start of the game.

3rd Edition brought us Pathfinders in the Craftworld Supplement. They were better Rangers, but have since fallen to the wayside.

This is the end of Part Five. Next will be the review of the Elite units, where the majority of the Aspect Warriors reside.

Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Asuryani Review - Part Four; HQs



Time to get to the meat of things: Units. The Asuryani have 20 HQ entries, which gives them a lot of choice and flexibility. The downside is fitting them all in. They all have specific uses that are great for your army, but without filling multiple detachments you'll struggle to get access to them all.







Farseers

There are 3 options for Farseers. These give you your access to the Runes of Fate and that makes them a key part of of any Asuryani force. They can manifest 2 powers and attempt to deny 2 powers a turn. Their offence outside of this is low, they really want to be supporting other units. Witchblades and Singing Spears always wound on a 2+, but they only have 2 attacks. Keep them out of combat unless absolutely necessary.

They all have an invulnerable save, the ability to re-roll dice in one Psychic test a turn and a 5+ save against mortal wounds. Interestingly, this becomes a 2+ if the source of mortal wounds is Perils of the Warp. Between that and the re-roll, Perils aren't to be as feared for a Farseer.

Eldrad Ulthran

Obviously, he can only go in an Ulthwe army and so will only have their Attribute. Combine this with his extra Toughness and Wound over the regular Farseer, and having a 3+ invule rather than a 4+ and he will be much more survivable. He can also manifest 1 additional power and when he passes a Psychic test, he gets +1 to the next one. At only 50 points more as well. The only reason not to take him is if you are playing a different Craftworld.

He has long been a signature character of the Eldar. As in the story he is slowly turning to crystal, he is often given more Toughness. Long gone are the days of 2nd Edition where this also made him less capable in combat.

Farseer

This is the stock version, and a great Psyker. I can't imagine fielding an army without one. Runes of Fate are well worth the points investment, and with this editions ability to pick your powers at the start of the game they are even more fantastic. If you aren't a fan of the Psychic prowess, it makes me wonder why you want to play Asuryani.

In 2nd Edition, you could only field one Farseer, but they were the top level Psyker for the army in those rules. Warlocks were simply Farseers in training. In 3rd Edition they were cheap, but you had to pay points for each power you wanted. At least you could choose the powers. After this, they haven't changed much.

Farseer Skyrunner

Same as a regular Farseer, but on a Jetbike. Good for the extra mobility, great for your Saim-Hann army. Ride the Wind is a great rule on them, making their Advance move an extra 6" rather than a die roll. Perfect for making sure they are in right position at the right time, which is both flavourful for the Eldar and key to making the army synergies work.

This option was missing in 3rd Edition, possibly due to lack of model. It soon returned though, and was a staple HQ choice in 7th Edtion during the infamous "Scat-Bike Spam" era.






Warlocks

Support Psykers, they give you access to Runes of Battle and the potent buffs/debuffs found therein. With only 2 Wounds, they aren't something you want exposed to the enemy. They would be a cheap source of Smite, if they weren't restricted in the way they use it. Great for adding more Psychic protection to the army, though Perils of the Warp can easily prove deadly. Like the Farseer, their powers feel too good to ignore, for both you during army construction and your opponent on the battlefield.


Warlock

The obvious option. Grab some of these, possibly through a Supreme Command Detachment and then sprinkle across the army during deployment. Be careful though, as they are fragile. Enemy snipers could be their bane.

In 2nd Edition, they were your other Psykers, being available in 3 levels. Then they became unit leaders, so their powers only really supported that one unit. This meant that even when you could take a unit of 1 Warlock, you didn't really want to. They shine in this edition though.

Warlock Skyrunner

The same things I said for the Farseer Skyrunner are true here. Keeps your Saim-Hann command team thematic, and has great repositioning ability to get the powers where you want. Be careful not to over-extend them, as the extra Toughness and Wound the Jetbike gives them doesn't really help their survivability.

Again, they were strangely missing from 3rd Edition. And the subsequent "unit champion" option meant you could only really run them with other Jetbikes.

Warlock Conclave

Is your army thematically Ulthwe? Or did you just want a large group of Psykers? Here is the unit for you. The larger the unit, the more powers it can manifest and the better it's Smite is. At 35 points a model, with 2 wounds each, this seems like a really expensive unit for what it does. The same Psychic output can be found from 2-3 single Warlocks, and they can spread out further for greater coverage. I wouldn't recommend this., unless you miss the old days.

Those old days were the Seer Council that came in with 3rd Edition. Thematic for Ulthwe and powerful at the time. A unit that could give itself all of the buffs and hunt down opposing units for close combat. Was still expensive for that purpose though.

Warlock Skyrunner Conclave

The same as above, but faster. And therefore twice the points. Definitely a unit I wouldn't recommend. It's unfortunate because they are flavourful, but a few solo Warlock Skyrunners get the same job done at a much cheaper rate.

Great to accompany your Farseer Skyrunner in other editions. The mounted conclave hasn't really been much use outside of that, as Ulthwe Seer Councils are traditionally on foot (the Farseer is reportedly "far too old and proud to go racing round the skies!")





Spiritseer

There is only one option for Spiritseer. Essentially a Warlock with more wounds and the Spirit Mark ability to give re-roll hit rolls of 1 for nearby Spirit Host units. There are only 10 points more expensive too. While you can take them as more survivable Warlocks, they really shine when buffing your Spirit Host units.

The Craftworld supplement in 3rd Edition brought these in for the Iyanden Craftworld as enhanced Warlocks. They then became their own unit and spread to other Craftworlds.




Autarchs

The quintessential Warlord. Path of Command is better if this model is your Warlord, and thematically they tend to lead armies with Farseers as advisers. They buff the units around them, are decent in melee and when they are the Warlord regain you spent Command Points. They have lost a lot of their equipment options since the Index, but the 4 options for them are still quite flexible.

Prince Yriel

The Autarch for Iyanden. The Spear of Twilight is a decent weapon and the Cursed rule, which re-rolls 6s to save in the Fight phase, shouldn't be too much of a problem. He may not be worth the additional points of a regular Autarch, and has to take the Enduring Resolve Warlord Trait, which lets him deny 1 Psychic Power a turn. Not great, which is a shame for such a legendary character.

While he has long been in the lore as the exile that returned to save Iyanden from the Tyranids, it wasn't until 4th Edition that he got a model and stats. He has long been worse than the nameless Autarch due to the equipment options they had. 8th Edition has him at his best, though still not great unless you are taking him for flavour.

Autarch

The standard Autarch has lost a lot of it's upgrade options since the Index, a point that bears repeating if you have older models. Instead, it now has a Star Glaive, which is a Power Fist analogue. A weird choice, hopefully a new model can come with the parts and datasheet to restore it's old options. Still, a great choice for Warlord, though it is my second choice when building a more competitive army.

4th Edition introduced these guys. Their old ability of reserve manipulation has been removed, as it isn't needed in 8th.

Autarch with Swooping Hawk Wings

When you still have a model (and in fact are the default model available), you get to keep your equipment. The ability to start in Deep Strike Reserve, leave the Battlefield and redeploy, take a Fusion Pistol and dole out a mortal wound in combat. This is my choice as Warlord, because you can start off-table to avoid the enemy Alpha Strike and then come in Turn 1 and be exactly where you need Path of Command the most. Skyleap lets you redeploy or reach units that have extended far away from your main force.

An amalgamation of some of the options introduced in 4th Edition. I think the Autarch really shines in 8th Edition though. The Warp Spider Jump Generator option is missing, but still in the Index, so an FAQ would make that choice still valid.

Autarch Skyrunner

The Saim-Hann option. Can swap it's Power Sword for either a Fusion Gun or a Laser Lance. I recommend either the gun for Vehicle/Monster hunting. The Lance is good for flavour though. This model is great for bringing Path of Command to an all Jetbike army.

While his contemporaries arrived with 4th Edition, technically this model can be seen as the Saim-Hann Wild Rider Chieftain from the 3rd Edition Craftworld Supplement.


Illic Nightspear

While not an Autarch, it seems fitting to talk about him here. He is the anti-Autarch. Not great for leading an army (and keywords means he will only show up with Alaitoc), he is fantastic for sniping enemy command and support characters. 3 Damage on Voidbringer, and an additional mortal wound on a 6 to wound. At 80 points, he is also really cheap for this role.

Introduced in 6th Edition, is utility has waxed and waned. He is really good in this edition, as there are plenty of good targets for Voidbringer.






Phoenix Lords 

The originators of the Aspect Warriors, and the Paths of the Asuryani themselves. They each have unique special rules, equipment and an ability that buffs nearby warriors of their Aspect. While they cannot benefit from your Craftworld Attribute, their presence in a Detachment doesn't remove it's ability. They have been around a long time, both in the lore and in the game, with ancient models to match.

Asurmen

The first, and for the longest time the best. He still is. A decent amount of shooting from his twin Avenger Shuriken Catapults, which Overwatch of 5s rather than 6s. The Sword of Asur is a great melee weapon, which does d3 additional mortal wounds on a 6+ to wound. This is rounded off by a solid invulnerable save and a buff that confers a 5+ invul save to nearby Aspect Warriors, 4+ if they are Dire Avengers.

Different editions have treated characters differently. And somehow Asurmen has always managed to be the best of the Phoenix Lords. Personal note - I won the Arena of Champions event with Asurmen in 3rd Edtion, defeating Asdrubel Vect in the final round.

Baharroth

He has a good assortment of weapons, and can easily get to wherever you want on the Battlefield. he also has 2 buffs. One increases the Leadership of nearby Aspect Warriors by 1, 2 if they are Swooping Hawks. The other lets nearby Hawks re-roll 1s to hit.

As will be a common trend, the Phoenix Lords haven't changed much over the years. They have simply adapted what they do to each rule set.

Fuegan

As always, the bane of Vehicles and Monsters. A Firepike and Melta bombs to counter their high Toughness and Wounds and the ability to re-roll 1s to wound against them. He and nearby Fire Dragons can re-roll hit rolls of a 1 for ranged attacks. He also gains +2 Strength and Attacks for the rest of the game after losing his first wound in the Fight Phase and has a 5+ feel no pain to ensure he stays a massive threat. All you need to do is get him to the targets, which is his one weakness.

In the lore, during the Rhana Dhandra, the final battle against Slaanesh, he will be the last to fall.

Jain Zar

Did you want a combat monster? Look no further. She is fast, can't be Overwatched, can Advance and Charge in the same turn. She gives opposing units -1 to hit her in the Fight Phase and can make an enemy weapon unusable for a turn. Put her with a group of Howling Banshees and they will always strike first in combat. Your opponent will learn to fear her presence.

She has long been a fearsome melee opponent.

Karandras

I think he is worse than Jain Zar. But only slightly, and that's a testament to how good she is. He does come with a Strength 8 Power Fist that doesn't subtract from his hit roll and the ability to do up to 4 mortal wounds at the start of the Fight Phase. Nearby Striking Scorpions get to make additional attacks if they roll any 6s to hit in melee. He really shines  for Master of Stealth though, allowing him to arrive "late" to the battlefield and in perfect position to hunt any characters that aren't suitably bubble wrapped.

Tactical Advice - Leave him in Reserve until the start of the Third turn. Your opponent will be forced to keep units positioned so that he can't arrive, charge and kill their character. He can easily slay any Warlord short of a Primarch. If they don't give you an opening by the third turn, he can easily kill a squad of infantry so take down any remaining back-row threats instead.

Maugan Ra

The Grim Reaper. He has a longer ranged, more shot Shuriken Cannon with an optional fire mode that you probably will never use. He can also fire this twice in the Shooting Phase, always hitting on 2s and re-rolling 1s. He confers that re-roll to nearby Dark Reapers too. When fighting Chaos units, he can re-roll 1s to wound.

Strangely, he is the only Phoenix Lord with drastically different Wargear to his Aspect. This hasn't always been true, but in 8th Edition the Dark Reaper Exarch can't take a Shuriken Cannon.


And finally, I've saved the greatest til last...





Avatar of Khaine

Every Craftworld has one, and it's his stirring that leads them to larger wars. And in 8th Edition he has stats to match. While not on par with a Primarch, he is hard to kill for an Asuryani, made more so by the Avatar Resurgent Stratagem. Both in Shooting and Melee he does d6 damage per hit, rolling 2 dice and discarding the lowest. He has 8 wounds, and okay armour/invulnerable save and a 5+ feel no pain. But what makes him a true centrepiece is nearby Asuryani do not take Morale tests and re-roll Charge rolls. He will make a mess of anything you send him to fight, and survive a few turns doing so. He isn't unkillable though, so don't throw him at the bulk of your opponent's force. Having less than 10 wounds lets him hide at the centre of your army until it's time to release him. The one downside to him is if you make him the Warlord, he gets whichever Trait matches your Craftworld. Some are better for him than others.

2nd Edition he was truly a God of War. Powerful stats and Wailing Doom, combined with immunity to Plasma, Melta, Flamer, Gas, Poison, Virus and Blinding attacks. It took a similar level character or a lot of Lascannons to take him down. Strangely, in 3rd Edition he dropped to an 80 point Monstrous Creature. He lost his ranged attack, his save was awful. The only reason to take him was his cheapness. 4th Edition restored some of his status and 7th weirdly chose to make him a Lord of War rather than a HQ, without improving him and putting him into direct army role competition with the Wraithknight. He's had his ups and downs but is finally a force to be reckoned with again.

This brings us to the end of Part Four. Part Five will be the review of the Troops units, the backbone of any force.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

Asuryani Review - Part Three; Psychic Powers, Tactical Objectives, Stratagems

On to the third part, and we haven't even reviewed a Unit yet.


Psychic Powers

Generic

Smite - The power every Psyker gets. The only differences are lone Warlocks halve the range and only cause 1 mortal wound, unless in a Conclave. Then they cause 1 if the unit is 3 or less models, the normal amount if 4-6 models, and at 7+ they always cause d6 mortal wounds. It's the standard power for use when you really want to wound something, or no other powers are useful/in range.

Runes of Battle

These are available to Warlocks, Spiritseers and the Hemlock Wraithfighter. All the buffs target a friendly Infantry or Biker unit and all the debuffs target an enemy unit, both at 18" range. Choose a power for a Psyker and they get access to both versions, although the Wraithfighter only gets access to the debuff.

Conceal - Your opponent gets -1 to hit for shooting attacks targeting you unit, until your next Psychic Phase. Always useful to slow down your opponent's shooting on a key unit. Really works well for the theoretical Alaitoc Gunline as well.
Reveal - Removes the cover bonus for an enemy unit. Marines in cover have a 2+ armour save, so this is always useful, especially for the Wraithfighter, who can go looking for units to Reveal. It also turns off bonuses like Camoleoline Cloaks.

Embolden - +2 Leadership. Marginal. You have to expect it to need it's Leadership value, which isn't guaranteed. Unnecessary for Iyanden.
Horrify - -1 Leadership for an enemy unit. This however is really good, as you can target a unit you are about to cause lots of casualties to. It can also stack with other abilities that affect/care about Leadership like Mindshock Pods and Mind War for some devastating effects.

Empower - +1 to wound rolls in the Fight Phase until your next Psychic Phase. Good for your close combat units, also means Wraithblades with Ghost Axes will wound all but the toughest units on 2s.
Enervate - An enemy unit gets -1 to wound in the Fight Phase, until your next Psychic Phase. Suddenly their elite combat unit isn't killing anything. Can also make a Wraithlord nigh-unkillable in combat.

Enhance - +1 to hit for an Infantry/Biker unit in the Fight Phase. This can make your Scorpions/Banshees hit on 2s, or negate the -1 for Ghost Axes. A solid choice to accompany melee units.
Drain - As expected, the inverse for an opposing unit. Again, makes their combat unit worse, or makes a normal unit unable to do much in melee.

Protect - +1 to saving throws for the target until your next Psychic Phase. This covers both armour and invulnerable saves.  Really good for that unit you want to keep alive, and frustrating for the opponent.
Jinx - Despite on the surface looking like the opposite of Protect, it works out even better. Opposing Terminators get a 3+ armour save while under this powers effect, making it easier to reduce it with AP to a point where it is useless. They then want to rely on their invul save, only to find that's been reduced too. Similar effects on units with Storm Shields. No matter how many saves a unit has, they will all be reduced.

Quicken - The targeted unit can move again, as if it was the Movement Phase. This means they can even Advance. Jetbikes zipping from one side of the field to the other, as long as a Warlock is near the mid-point of their journey. Combat units are also more likely to successfully Charge if this is used on them.
Restrain - The targeted unit gets it's Move characteristic halved. Think on that. Removing movement options from the opponent can stop Charges, inhibit the ability to reach objectives, or narrow their window for escape. Very versatile if you can time this correctly.

Runes of Fate

These don't have a common theme, other than they are powerful and only available to Farseers.

Will of Asuryan - Did I say they are powerful? This one is actually subtly powerful, but situational. Units within 6" auto pass Morale, and you get +1 to Deny tests. You won't often need this buff, but the times you do and have it in place, it will be amazing. The rest of the time, you'll be casting Smite instead.

Guide - Re-roll ranged weapons. This applies to both Shooting and Overwatch. This is an obvious power, with obvious targets. It also has a range of 24", meaning the Farseer doesn't have to stay near the unit. Good for casting on War Walkers that have outflanked, or Hawks that have come in via deep strike and therefore aren't nearby.

Doom - This has long been my favourite power. Re-rolling failed Wound rolls against the targeted unit until your next Psychic Phase. All of them. It doesn't matter if you are shooting or fighting, your turn or the opponents. This can help reduce the hardiest of opposing units to dust, especially if combined with Jinx.

Fortune - A 5+ "Feel No Pain", that doesn't combo with any similar ability. It's good for keeping a unit alive, and doesn't have the Infantry/Biker restriction of the Runes of Battle powers. Let's your Wraithknight survive all the big guns it's going to attract.

Executioner - An alternative/additional Smite. D3 mortal wounds, and if that slays a model, d3 more. If it didn't say closest enemy unit, it would be great for killing off Astra Militarum weapons teams. Still, a Farseer Skyrunner may be able to get into the perfect positions to cast this and Smite on the correct target.

Mind War - Choose an enemy Character within 18". Roll off and add Leadership. If you win, they suffer the difference in mortal wounds. Combo this with Mindshock pods and Horrify for -3 to their Leadership, and your Farseer's 9 should see many support characters fall.

Tactical Objectives

I'm not going to analyse all 36 tactical objectives, just the 6 that are unique to the Asuryani. As a side note, they all have lovely Eldar artwork.

Combined Strike - Destroy units, with it scaling in points for the more phases of the turn you destroy them in. Rewards a balanced build with the ability to kill units with Psychic Powers, shooting and melee. Also potentially easier to score in the late game when enemy units are smaller and easier to kill, especially with Smite.

Strands of Fate - Control a randomly generated objective. Increase or decrease it's number if your Warlord is a Psyker. A simple on, though having some control over the outcome is nice, I'd still rather have an Autarch Warlord for the regaining of Command Points, than worry about drawing this card at a bad time.

The Hidden Path - If your opponent isn't within 12" of a randomly generated objective, gain a point. Can be hit or miss. Not that difficult to achieve unless it happens to be the one your opponent's whole army is parked on.

Khaine's Wrath - Charge. Gain more points if more units charge. Some armies won't want to see this card. Others will get the d3 points every time.

Master of Runes - Cast Psychic Powers (except Smite). 3 or more powers gives you d3 points. As if you needed encouragement to have multiple Psykers in the army.

Legacy of Sorrow - Kill an enemy Character. Assassinate, but only worth 1 point, not matter how many you kill. Between snipers, Mind War and positioning, this shouldn't be too hard to score the turn you draw it.

Stratagems

With the correct selection of units and precision timing, the Asuryani Stratagems bring a lot of synergy to the army and frustration to your opponent. There are even Craftworld specific ones.

1 Command Point

Command Re-roll - The generic one. Well timed re-rolls for dice you can't re-roll with other abilities. There are more Stratagems now vying for your points, but this one is never to be forgotten.

Vaul's Might - 2 Support Weapons within 6" of each other can re-roll 1s to wound for the Shooting Phase. Especially good on D-Cannons, as they will often be wounding on 2s.

Fire and Fade - Shoot and then move 7"? I thought old school Battle Focus was gone. This can be used on any unit, and as it is post-shot it doesn't matter if they fired Heavy Weapons. Great for keeping Alaitoc units out of 12" range, and probably amazing on a Wraithknight.

Seer Council - If a Farseer is near a Warlock, they can both get +1 to Psychic tests. It's a shame you can only use this once per phase, but at least Farseers can cast multiple powers. Especially good with Eldrad who gets +1 for each Psychic test after he succeeds in one.

Starhawk Missile - Flakk missiles! I'm not sure if the mortal wounds replace the weapons normal damage, or are in addition to. And remember, while most aircraft give you -1 to hit (which this compensates for), there are more units that Fly which don't. Feel free to use this to shoot down Assault Marines and T'au Battlesuits.

Overloaded Energy Field Projectors - For the low cost of 1 Command Point a turn, a Wave Serpent can fire it's Serpent Shield every turn. Great for pouring on the mortal wounds. Can work out quite expensive though, assuming the Wave Serpent doesn't get destroyed. Better saved for a surprise, when your opponent has forgotten this exists.

Supreme Disdain - 6s generate extra attacks in combat. Great for a large unit of Storm Guardians. Or the aforementioned Wraithknight, buffed by the Psytronome of Iyanden and using it's Titanic Feet to push it up to an average of 28 attacks that turn.

Linked Fire - Fire Prism linked fire. Lets all your Fire Prisms target the same thing, as long as one of them has range and line of sight. They all get re-rolls on hits and wounds. Great for killing Knights and Daemon Primarchs if you have multiple Fire Prisms. Especially now they can fire twice.

Unparallelled Mastery - Lets a Farseer cast 1 more Psychic power. That will usually be Smite, but every little helps. Especially good if you drew the Master of Runes Tactical Objective this turn.

Concordance of Power - This requires a Warlock Conclave, but it doubles the range of a Runes of Battle power. Stops your opponent from thinking they are safe. Get targets up to 36" away, again great if your opponent isn't expecting it.

The Great Enemy - Re-roll failed wounds in combat against a Slaanesh unit. Combos with Ancient Doom, and will come into play just as often I guess.

Matchless Agility - Why roll for your Advance, when you can just make it a 6? Perfect for Banshees, as pictured on the card, as  the can Advance and still charge.

Celestial Shield - Give a Guardian unit a 4+ Invul save for the Shooting Phase. Solid, especially the turn you need them to hold an objective. Combos well with other defensive buffs.

Cloudstrike - Put a Vehicle that can Fly in Deep Strike reserve, including any passengers. Great for keeping Fire Prisms safe from Alpha Strike, or delivering a Wave Serpent full of Wraithguard/Wraithblades exactly where they are needed.

Warriors of the Raging Winds Saim-Hann - Lets your Bikers Advance, Charge and re-roll 1s to hit in the Fight Phase. Especially good for Shining Spears.

Pathfinders Alaitoc - When your opponent targets a unit of Rangers for shooting, they need 6s to hit this turn. Keeps a unit of rangers alive, but they should already have minuses to hit from passive abilities and a decent armour save.

Discipline of the Black Guardians Ulthwe - Used at the start of the Shooting or Fight phase. A unit of Guardians gets +1 to hit for the phase. Better with larger units, it even effects their Support Platforms.

Guided Wraithsight Iyanden - Double the range of a Spiritseer's Spirit Mark and turn it into re-roll failed hits rather than re-roll 1s. Really good for the army that should have both Spiritseers and Wraith Construct units. And only 1 Command Point.

2 Command Points

Insane Bravery - Auto pass a morale test. Everyone gets this one. Some Craftworlds won't need to use this at all.

Counter-Offensive - Interrupt the flow of combat. Stops you being slaughtered by a full army charge. Always useful, worth the 2 points. An incentive to not blow all your points to early.

Tears of Isha - Heal a Wraith Construct d3 wounds. Keeps a Wraithguard unit closer to full strength, stops a Wraithlord from dying and forces an opponent to kill an Iyanden Wraithknight to reduce it's effectiveness.

Phantasm - Before the first turn begins, redeploy up to 3 Asuryani units. Great for setting up the refused flank, or to remove units from the opponents line of sight. Even lets you take units from the Battlefield and put them into alternate deployment modes, if the unit allows.

Runes of Witnessing - Turns a Farseer into a Space Marine Lieutenant. Great when combined with Guide on a unit like Dark Reapers.

Lightning-Fast Reactions - Insta-cast Conceal on a unit. Even effects melee. Another one that can catch out an unaware opponent.

Feigned Retreat - If a unit falls back, 2 points lets it shoot and charge normally. Really good for getting out of a bad combat, or leap frogging through bubble wrap.

Forewarned - Lets you attack a unit that came in as Reinforcements, but only if it did so in line of sight of one of your units that is within 6" of a Farseer. Not bad, but the extra restriction is annoying.

Court of the Young King Biel-Tan - An Aspect Warrior unit gains +2 Charge and re-roll 1s to hit in the Fight Phase. If it's within 6" of the Avatar, it gains +3 instead (And the Avatar give a re-roll to the Charge) and can re-roll all misses in the fight phase. Banshees will almost always reach the combat you want them too with this ability. Having the Avatar nearby is just gravy.

3 Command Points

The Avatar Resurgent - If the Avatar is slain in the Fight Phase, 3 points lets you restore him to d6 wounds. Frustrating for your opponent, but limited. If they shoot the Avatar to death, you can't use this.

Variable Command Points

Treasures of the Craftworld - It looks like every faction will get some variant of this. For 1 points, you get an extra Relic. For 3 points you get an extra two. Not sure how often you will want this. Probably never the 3 point version, but I can see wanting 2 Relics occasionally.

Webway Strike - For 1 point, you can set up one Infantry/Biker unit in Deep Strike. For 3 points, you can set up two. This is worth the 3 points, as it lets you Deep Strike two units that you otherwise wouldn't be able to. Great for getting them to the units they need to kill.

That's Part Three done. Part Four will be the first unit reviews - The HQs.

Asuryani Review - Part Two; Warlord Traits and Relics

Now we move on to the Warlord Traits and Relics





Warlord Traits

There are 6 Warlord Traits, plus one for each of the signature Craftworlds. Phoenix Lords can never have a Warlord Trait, but they each have an ability unique to them and their Aspect that is roughly on par. They get that ability even if they aren't the Warlord, so it evens out.

Ambush Of Blades - 6s to hit with 6" of the Warlord get an additional AP. Good for all weapons, better with Shuriken that then gets a better AP with a 6 to wound. Give this to an Autarch, park him near Dark Reapers and you've got a very deadly unit.

An Eye On Distant Events - Enemy units cannot Overwatch your Warlord. Great for a fast moving Warlord, on a Jetbike or with Hawk Wings. Charge in first to protect squads like Striking Scorpions from Overwatch, especially for units with lots of Flamers. This one is let down slightly by the fragility of Aeldari Characters, or if the other unit then fails it's charge. It's a great one for the Avatar though.

Falcon's Swiftness - +2 Movement. Again, great for the faster Warlords. Not sure how much it's needed with all the speed Eldar already have though. I can't see this being chosen often.

Fate's Messenger - An extra Wound and a 6+ roll to stop wounds being lost. Doesn't stack with Ulthwe or Fortune, but does stack with Molten Body, so another good one for the Avatar.

Mark Of The Incomparable Hunter - Gives your Warlord the Sniper rule. Most of the weapons available to characters aren't great with this, and the characters with suitable weapons aren't allowed the trait, being a Phoenix Lord or having the Alaitoc keyword and already having the rule. This one reads as terrible.

Seer Of The Shifting Vector  - The Warlord gets a once per Battle Round re-roll. Useful, but only affects the Warlord's rolls. Not useless, but there are much better ones.

Puritanical Leader Alaitoc -  Auto pass Morale tests with 6" of the Warlord. A good one, for an army that wants to sit at range and punish the opponent, while minimising the effect return firepower has. While the range isn't on par with Astra Militarum, maybe there is an Alaitoc Gunline build to be found.

Natural Leader Biel-Tan - At the beginning of the Shooting Phase, your Warlord basically casts Guide on a unit with 3". Amazing for any of your shooting units like Fire Dragons, without risking failing or Perils of the Warp. If you don't want another Trait for your Biel-Tan Warlord, this frees up a power slot on a Farseer.

Wild Rider Chieftain Saim-Hann - If your Warlord piles-in or Heroic Intervenes, it may move towards the nearest Enemy Character, rather than the nearest unit. If it then fights that target that phase, it gets +1 Attack. Allows you to build a fast moving Autarch that hunts down opposing support character and tries to assassinate them in combat

Fate Reader  Ulthwe - Start of the turn, roll a d6. On 6, gain a Command Point. It says gain, not regain. This doesn't give points back, it adds them. That's insane. Make your Warlord an Autarch to have a chance of regaining as you spend, and as long as the dice are with you you wont easily run out of Command Points. Combine this with the Craftworld Stratagems and smart play will see you to victory every time.

Enduring Resolve Iyanden - The Warlord can deny one Psychic Power per enemy Psychic Phase, or one additional if they are already a Psyker. How do I feel about my Craftworld's Trait?
I'd rather have the Ulthwe one. Don't get me wrong, it's a solid one. Just requires your opponent having Psykers, being within 24" and then you rolling higher than them. Gives the Warlord a Psychic defence I guess. Unless I'm expecting a heavily Psychic-focused meta, I'll probably choose one of the more generic ones. Not bad, just a little situational for my tastes.

Remnants of Glory

These are the Asuryani Relics. Only a few replace weapons, the rest have restrictions as to which model can carry them. Some are Craftworld specific, with Biel-Tan getting 2 while the rest get 1.

Kurnous' Bow - Simply a better Shuriken Pistol, might be worth taking with the Sniper Warlord Trait. Might be. Still requires being within 12" of the target though, and one does 2 damage. So not great for sniping. Given that it's 0 points, it's a good choice if you aren't taking one of the others, or are willing to use a Stratagem for extra Relics.

The Phoenix Gem - When you die, you explode, and if any one suffers wounds from this you come back with 1 wound. Once per game. Shame the Avatar can't take Relics. A nice bit of insurance for a character who wants to be up close.

Shard of Anaris - A better Power Sword, with extra damage and re-roll wounds. Great for an Autarch who already has a Power Sword and maybe the Saim-Hann Warlord Trait.

Faolchu's Wing - Gives the model the Fly keyword and 12" movement. The only character that doesn't already have the option of either Hawk Wings or a Jetbike is the Spiritseer. I guess it also saves you points on those options. Let's Spiritseers keep up with Wraithblades who would otherwise move out of Spirit Mark range due to charges and pile-ins though.

Firesabre - Replaces a Power Sword with slightly better stats and the chance of doing Mortal Wounds. It's okay, but I think I would rather have the Shard of Anaris instead.

Blazing Star of Vaul - A Shuriken Pistol or Catapult gets 2 extra shots. Solid second choice if you are taking extra Relics and have already given someone else Kurnous' Bow.

Shimmerplume of Achillrial - Can only be given to an Autarch. Your opponent gets -1 to hit them, for all attacks. This give -2 if they are Alaitoc, over 12" away and being shot at. A solid choice to keep an Autarch alive. It's a fitting Relic for my signature Autarch; J'Me Iyannar.

The Spirit Stone of Anath'lan Biel-Tan - Allows the Psyker to re-roll failed Psychic Tests, but if they fail the re-roll they can cast no more powers that phase. Farseers already have Runes to do this without the penalty, so this is great for Warlocks and Spiritseers who can only cast one power a turn anyway.

The Burnished Blade of Eliarna Biel-Tan - Replaces a Power Sword. Does 2 damage, and gets +1 Strength and Damage against Orks. Flavourful, but not great unless expecting an Ork-heavy meta.

Shiftshroud of Alanssair Alaitoc - Gives your Infantry Character a -1 to be hit from Shooting attacks, which stacks with the Alaitoc ability. The model also gains infiltrate, setting up wherever you want at the end of the first Movement Phase. Great for avoiding having the character die to Alpha Strike and to keep them alive once they arrive.

The Novalance of Saim-Hann Saim-Hann - Replaces a Laser Lance, so only goes on an Autarch Skyrunner. Makes the Melee attacks stronger, and do more damage on a 6 to wound. Good for hunting down enemy monsters/vehicles/characters with your Windrider Chief.

Ghosthelm of Alishazier Ulthwe - The wearer gets +1 to their Psychic test when casting Smite. Meh. I suppose the Ulthwe had to have something sub par.

Psytronome of Iyanden Iyanden - Once per battle, you can use this to give all Iyanden Wraith Constructs within 6" double attacks characteristic, at the price of d3 mortal wounds each at the end of the Fight Phase. Well worth the cost on everything except the Hemlock Wraithfighter. But best case scenario, picture a Wraithknight, whose 4 attacks become 8. and then makes 24 attacks with it's Titanic Feet. Just picture that, and remember that an Iyanden Wraithknight wont suffer a reduction of WS until it has 6 or less Wounds remaining. The character carrying this is going to be a priority target for the opponent I feel.

That's it for Part Two. Part Three will be the Psychic Powers, Tactical Objectives and Stratagems

Asuryani Review - Part One; Esoterica

Time to kick off my long planned Craftworld Eldar review.

I'll be revealing my thoughts on the units and abilities in the Craftworlds Codex, while also offering a look at how those units have been portrayed on the table top in previous editions and discussing any changes since the Xenos Index. I'm hoping that this ends up being pretty comprehensive and that 9th edition isn't too close :)


Part One - Esoterica

Warhosts of the Asuryani 

This section of the Codex details how the <Craftworld> keyword works. It's identical in nature to <Regiment> and <Chapter> and other such army building tools. It also opens up access to certain Strategems, Relics, Warlord traits and the Craftworld Attributes, as I'll detail later.

This hasn't changed from the Index.

It's something that hasn't mattered since the Craftworld supplement in 3rd Edition, and normally just suggests how the army should be built rather than giving incentives for it. 3rd is the only other edition that has directly given benefits for building the army to a specific Craftworld's flavour.

Ancient Doom

Re-rolls in combat against Slaanesh units, but a debuff to Moral tests if such units are within 3". It may not come up often, at least until either Emperor's Children or Slaanesh Daemons get their model ranges re-done/added to.

This also hasn't changed from the Index version.

Still, the rule has existed for flavour since 6th Edition. The only change here is how the rules work for Morale. Shame there has been little reason to play a full Great Enemy army since before then.

Battle Focus

To keep the Aeldari's speed and mobility, they are able to shoot their non-Heavy weapons as if they haven't moved. Even if they advance. It mostly allows you to close with the enemy quickly without suffering the -1 to shoot Assault weapons while you Advance, it also allows you to shoot Pistol weapons while Advancing. Makes some units better than they first appear. Also encourages Shuriken Cannons on vehicles and weapons platforms for maximum mobility.

While this is the same rule as in the Index, the way it has been phrased has changed to be clearer.

In 2nd Edition, we had a higher Movement stat than other armies to show how fast and agile the Eldar are. 3rd Edition saw all infantry moving 6", so we were given Fleet, an option to move an extra d6 instead of shooting,  to compensate. 4th Edition onwards followed suit, while making Fleet a universal special rule. It's with 6th Edition that this became the dreaded Run then Shoot/Shoot then Run ability. Of course, the eagle-eyed will spot a way of bringing this back.

The Path of Command

Re-rolling 1s to hit for <Craftworld> units within 6" of the Autarch. Also, if the Autarch is the Warlord, every time you spend a Command Point for Strategems, you get it back on a roll of a 6. This is really good now that the Aeldari have a wide variety of powerfully synergistic Strategems. The only reason to not make the Autarch the Warlord is if you haven't taken an Autarch.

The Index only had the re-roll ability, so this is purely improved.

4th Edition brought us the Autarch, as a way of making your own Aspect Leader/Wildrider Chieftain. It's ability was about reserve manipulation which is irrelevant in 8th Edition.

The Ynnari Question/Heroes of Legend

It's stated that if your Detachment contains any units with the Ynnari keyword, you lose access to Path of War and Craftworld Attributes. The Phoenix Lords however do not stop you having these rules, though they themselves don't benefit from the Craftworld Attribute.

The Path of War

This is the Objective Secured rule. It only applies to Troops units in the army, but is still potent. Guardians can be taken in units of 20, and their Shuriken Weapons are good at thinning down similar opposing units.

This was added to all armies post Index, after Codex Space Marines contained a similar rule.

Interestingly; in 7th Edition, if you took the Craftworld Warhost super-detachment you didn't get access to this. Didn't stop people building their army that way though.

Craftworld Attributes

If all the units in your Detachment share the same <Craftworld> keyword, then they get an ability. Much the same way that Chapter Tactics work. In reverse order of preference:-

Saim-Hann: Wild Host

Re-rolling charges is okay, but most units in the Asuryani aren't looking for combat. The second half removes the -1 to hit for Bikers moving and firing Heavy Weapons. This not only brings back the packs of Jetbikes with Scatter Lasers but makes Vypers much better. They become truly mobile weapons platforms, especially when you can activate their Blade Wind ability. I rate this lowest because it has a low amount of units it benefits. It is really good for the Bike armies though, as you would expect from Saim-Hann. Lowest here isn't bad. Just the lowest of the five.

 In 3rd Edition, the Craftword supplement had an alternative Force Org chart that made Fast Attack compulsory choices and lowered the amount of Elites, Heavy Support and Troops you were allowed. It also added the Wildride Chief  to lead them. Their final benefit was the ability to re-roll Difficult Terrain tests for Skimmers. 4th Edition onwards saw the Jetbikes moved to Troops to make the "All Jetbike" army easier. 8th's variety of Detachments has removed the need for this.

Alaitoc: Fieldcraft

This will probably be a contentious choice for fourth best, but hear me out. Being harder to it at range is excellent, especially on Rangers whom have an obvious synergy with it. However, the armies weapons want to be closer than this rule finds comfortable, especially if the opposing force is looking for close combat. This would be amazing on a gunline-style army. Still, with careful positioning and use of mobility you may stay outside of 12" longer than armies like the Raven Guard who share this rule.

In 3rd Edition, they came up with an enhanced version of Rangers called Pathfinders for Alaitoc. Over time these have essentially merged with the Rangers leaving one distinct unit.

Biel-Tan: Swordwind

Aspect Warriors get increased Leadership. Not bad, but again only effects certain units. The real gem of this attribute is re-rolling 1s to hit while firing Shuriken Weapons. That's catapults, cannons and pistols. That's a lot of the armies guns. Add that to Battle Focus wanting your bigger guns to be Assault Weapons, and you've got a close range, fast moving, very shooty force. The units that can't be equipped with those weapons, like Dark Reapers, can hang out with an Autarach to get the same benefit.

In 3rd Edition, Biel-Tan Aspect Warriors became troops while the Guardian units became Elites. Post this, it was felt that having the Dire Avengers as Troops was enough if you wanted an all-Aspect Warrior army.

Ulthwe: Foresight of the Damned

Many would put this as the best Attribute. There are two reasons I won't. The first will be discussed when I talk about the best Attribute. The other is it seems boring. It's generically powerful, as it increases the resilience of all your units. But it doesn't lend itself to any direction in army building. Granted, too much direction and you get the Saim-Hann trait, but none means this will probably be the default Asuryani army for a long while. At least it can't stack with similar abilities. Otherwise you'd have all the Vehicles taking Spirit Stones for the double save.

3rd Edition gave Ulthwe Black Guardians increased WS/BS and brought in the Warlock Conclave. Later editions made those the default for Craftworld Eldar, rather than the Ulthwe exception.

Iyanden: Stoic Endurance

The best Attribute. Why?

Because it's my Craftworld!

Well, that and it is also excellent. Units only lose one model to Morale, not matter how much you lose the test by, and models with a damage chart double their remaining wounds before checking their variable stats. Obviously the second ability is good for Wraithlords and Wraithknight, which the Craftworld are famed for. But all vehicles except the War Walker and Vyper benefit from this. Your opponent has to almost destroy them before their stats drop to near-uselessness. The Morale rule is great for Wraithguard, as losing a few wont then wipe out the rest on a bad role. But that also applies to Aspect Warriors in small squads, and allows you to take large squads of Guardians without fear that heavy casualties will continue their toll in the Morale Phase.

3rd Edition created the Spiritseer to help lead the Wraith-units, as they had a rule that inhibited them if a friendly Psyker wasn't nearby. The Craftworld supplement also moved Wraithguard and Wraithlord to Troops. 4th kept Wraithguard as Troops as long as you took a Spiritseer in the army. Subsequent editions ended that nonsense, but kept the Spiritseer around.

That's it for Part One. Part Two will be the Warlord Traits and Relics.