The pantheon of Avatars for the Eldar has expanded. We had Kaela Mensha Khaine, the Bloody-handed God of War
Since 2nd Edition 40K, we've had rules and a model for this guy. He's had his ups and downs but I've always liked the guy. In 7th Edition, the Eldar following him have Battle Focus. This is a great rule, allowing models to move then shoot or shoot then move.
The Dark Eldar have Power from Pain, a rule that allows them to gain specific special rules the longer the game goes on.
The Harlequins don't get anything special, possibly because Cegorach, the Laughing God hates them.
The Gathering Storm 2; Fracture of Biel-Tan awakens a new god. Ynnead, the God of the Dead
And it's Avatar, the Yncarne. The model is fantastic and has a host of rules and abilities.
Devotion to it loses your army both Battle Focus and Power from Pain. The Harlequins lose nothing, possibly because Cegorach loves them. You gain the ability to take units from all three armies in the same Detachment.
The big thing though, is Strength from Death. This rule allows you to trigger move, shoot or assault when a unit (friend or foe) dies. For a proper review of this, check out this post by Variance Hammer (and check out his blog in general)
This post is my opinion and ideas on how to make this all work on the table. I will cover each of the things in order of least-to-most importance.
The fluff in this book is amazing. The story is fantastic and there is so much going on. It certainly feels like an epic journey. I won't give any spoilers to the major events, but one of my favourite moments is a huge battle in the Webway where all the Phoenix Lords turn up. There is a bit where Maugan-Ra is causing quite a death toll and a Lord of Change swoops down to stop him. At the last moment, Karandras appears leaping out of the ground to intercept and kill the Lord of Change before it's talons can connect.
Between this, the Fall of Cadia and Rise of the Primarch, the books have been worth it for the story alone.
Artefacts of the Ynnari
Like most Relic lists, I give these a glance but rarely consider them when army building. Relics are often expensive for what they do. Three on this list stand out to me though.
Corag Hai's Locket - A cheapish way of getting wounds back, might be good on a Succubus, Harlequin or even a close combat Autarch.
Hungering Blade - A nice idea, but only triggers if you kill other Aeldari with it. Might be best seen as a Fleshbane weapon and ignore the rest of the text.
Song of Ynnead - It's a Shuriken-Splinter pistol that lets you pretend to be a Death Jester. That combination or rules is pretty kewl, even if it's probably not worth taking 18" range though.....
Firstly, we have Yvraine. She is dangerous in close combat, especially with her Instant Death sword. She's also a decent Psyker, with the potential to gain extra Levels and Powers. She is 200 points though. I don't think she is as good a Psyker as Eldrad. She is a much better close combatant though, especially with Eternal Warrior. Her ability to gain Powers relies on Aeldari psykers near her dying, so maybe you want to put her in a Warlock Conclave. That seems weak though. I'm yet to try her out as her points cost is really off-putting. Her D3 extra Warp Charges is okay though, as is her Warlord Trait, 14" range on Soulburst. I'll make a point of giving her a go soon, though I actually have low expectations.
Secondly, The Visarch. I have actually tried him in a couple of games, as a HQ alongside some Harlequins. I never managed to roll high enough to get wounds back, so he fell over pretty quickly. However he is the cheapest of the three and great in combat. His weapon is S5 and AP2, with 4 attacks and WS7. That plus Rampage makes him nasty in combat, just don't expect him to survive. His ability to generate a Warlord Trait alongside not being your Warlord is pretty good too. I feel happier taking him and expecting him to die than I am taking Yvraine in the same role.
Lastly, we have The Yncarne. This is an interesting piece. It has the ability to teleport near to units that have just died, which when done carefully will either have it always be where you need it or frustratingly out of your opponents ability to focus on dealing with it. It gains wounds back easier than the other 2, and grants Feel No Pain to itself and others within 12" and it's attacks have Fleshbane and Armourbane. 6 Attacks at AP2 and these two rules will tear through a lot of things on the battlefield, allowing for more Soulburst. It's easy to make comparisons to the other Avatar, as well as the Wraithknight, but they are all units that do different jobs. This one is even a level 3 Psyker. I'm looking forward to the chance to try this one out.
All three of them are fantastic models as well.
You have little control over your Warlord Trait, though some Detachments give you a re-roll. So it's hard to put too much stock in these. The Visarch can take one even when he isn't your Warlord though, so that can allow you a second chance at getting one that suits your force. Warden of Forgotten Wisdom stands out as the best one though, as on a Farseer it will allow you to pick and choose your preferred Psychic powers from Telepathy, Runes of Fate, Sanctic and the new Revenant Disciplines. If you pull this off, that will lead to some nasty combos. It even forces you to re-roll it if you aren't a Psyker.
All of these powers are great. This is the default chart for Yvraine and The Yncarne. It's really hard to decide if this is better than Runes of Fate. It's probably best to leave that for Farseers and have Shadowseers roll on this chart. Unless your Farseer is a Warlord with Warden of Forgotten Wisdom. Then you pick and choose, probably also taking Invisibility from Telepathy.
Spirit Hook - The Primaris. As a Focused Witchfire, this allows you to snipe out special and heavy weapons from squads, especially as most of the time you will have a higher Leadership.
Shield of Ynnead - short range but a 6+ Invul for units in it's area of effect. Useful for your last couple of Warp Charges, or as your first attempted power if you think your opponent may waste dice trying to Deny it.
Storm of Whispers - A Nova that's AP2, Ignores Cover and 2D6 hits? The low strength is the only thing stopping this being too powerful, as it only costs 1 Warp Charge.
Word of the Phoenix - Straight up, target unit Soulbursts. Which can then create a chain of extra actions across your force. Or more simply, target a unit for extra movement to ensure they get where you need them.
Ancestor's Grace - \This is a mega buff. Almost any unit you target with this will benefit from some, if not all of the upgraded stats.
Unbind Souls - "a number of shots equal to the number of models in the enemy unit" and Soulreap means this is likely to kill at least one model and then trigger a Soulburst action.
Gaze of Ynnead - If this hits and wounds, you get no save except Look Out Sir. Great against vehicles and monstrous creatures without Feel No Pain, though you still need to roll to hit and wound.
Reborn Warhost Detachment
So, it's a Combined Arms Detachment, with optional Formations attached and a list of specific choices for each battlefield role. It gives Stubborn, lets you ignore shooting casualties if you are within 7" of another unit and if you build it with at least 7 units in, then you can Soulburst 2 units per death. It draws units and Formations from across this book, Craftworld Eldar, Dark Eldar and Harlequins. This gives you a lot of customisation choice to build the kind of force you want. Shooting, close combat based, even everything on Jetbikes.
For those interested in such things, a Court of the Archon, 2 units of Kabalite Warriors and a Wraithknight comes out to 385 points at minimum. Just in case you want to min-max the amount of Wraithknights in your army.
Strength from Death
Finally, we come to the strongest thing in the army. A thing so confusing they've have already had to publish an FAQ to make sure everyone understands how it works. It's the main reason to field the Ynnari instead of other Aeldari, though the ability to play mix-and-match via the Reborn Warhost is certainly attractive too.
Essentially, every time a unit is slain (friend or foe), you can immediately take an action out of sequence. Move, Run, Turboboost, Shoot, Assault. Whatever fits your tactical needs. If killing/having a unit die triggers the right unit, it can then kill an opposing unit. This can then trigger another unit and so on causing a chain that potentially lets your whole army act outside of the normal turn sequence and put a hole in the opposing one. This is compounded by the Reborn Warhost letting 2 units activate from one trigger and then the Psychic powers that let you Soulburst for less effort.
It makes for an army that wants to get stuck in and not care about it's own casualties. This is different from the usual hit and run style of the regular codexes. Rather than replacing, I feel it gives options for when you want to build for that play style without having to start another army. Also, with the correct unit choices and tactics, it could become a brutal strategy. Imagine a squad of Fire Dragons or Wraithguard killing a tank with their guns. This is quite an easy feat for them.Then, using Soulburst they immediately target and kill another tank. Or the occupants of the tank. Or even trigger another unit to assault the passengers. The possibilities get greater from their.
All told, this book essentially creates another army for 40K, both fluff and rules-wise, without the need to release a bunch of new models. I'm excited to try this out and will keep the blog posted with any such experiments.