Wednesday, 22 November 2017
Asuryani Review - Part Twelve; Summary and Thoughts Going Forward
It's been a long journey, but I've finally reviewed every unit in the Codex. Now it's time to wrap things up with the Summary and Final Thoughts.
My previous entries may make it obvious, but I really like the codex. The Index was fine but felt somehow a little lacklustre. This tome returns the Asuryani to the glory that attracted me to them in the first place. I can see a use for most of the units in the book, which is fitting. The Path of the Eldar means that most units are tuned towards a specific purpose. If you can't work out the purpose, the unit can't find a place in your list, let alone on the battlefield.
Other sites have done the math, and apparently, units have dropped by an average of 20% in points from the Index. It seems to be a trend that the Indexes were over-pointed, possibly as an attempt to play it safe upon 8th Editions release. So the armies that already have Codexes have seen reductions and I assume the rest of the Codexes will do the same thing. The Aeldari need it, as classically they are an Elite heavy army and lack the cheaper fodder units of Imperial Guard or Tyranids.
Also gone are the days of 7th Edition, where Windrider spam supported by Wraithknights was the order of the day. Both units are reduced in effectiveness. The Windriders get some of theirs back in the Codex, especially if you play Saim-Hann. The Wraithknight on the other hand still seems points inefficient compared to similar options in other forces like the Imperial Knight. I'll have to get some games in with one to know for sure.
Path of Command incentivises Autarchs in a way the Index didn't. Command Points are hard to come by for the Asuryani, compared to many other armies. The cheapest Brigade comes in at 996 points (For reference, Guard and Marines come in at 624 and 1008 points respectively). So any source of extra Command Points is good. Combined with the re-rolls to hits, and the Autarch as Warlord feels like a must-have.
The Avatar of Khaine feels worth the 250 points now. He makes a fantastic centrepiece for an Aspect Warrior assault and will tear Monsters, Vehicles and similar Characters apart on his own. He can't measure up to a Primarch, but they are at least double his points. I'm currently painting up my Forge World Avatar to put my words to the test.
Swooping Hawks have gone from Rapid Fire 2 to Assault 4. This gives them much more room to deploy from Reserve as a shooting unit, and not get close enough to be assaulted in return. I see people make this mistake with units like Inceptors. Just because you can deploy 10" away, doesn't mean that every unit should.
Shining Spears feel capable of their Monster hunting rule now. They may be just the ticket for dealing with the renewed Tyranid menace.
Wraith-units getting a Toughness increase. Toughness 5 Wraithguard wasn't too bad, but the Wraithlord being a 7 was terrible. Now they are back to the stats they should have.
The Craftworld Attributes give flavour to the Craftworlds and hint at guidelines for building the armies in ways that make sense. I was surprised to see that they were all good.
Finally, the Runes of Battle and Fate are fantastic. They make Warlocks and Farseers seem like auto-includes, much like the Autarch. The Supreme Command Detachment is your friend.
So many great HQ options. Your slots may be taxed making sure you get what you want in the army, let alone your points. It would have been nice to see Warlocks and maybe Spiritseers moved to Elites.
Warlock Conclaves are good for Ulthwe Seer Councils, but not much else. You have to take a lot of Warlocks in the unit to gain any benefits over a lone Warlock while losing the hard to targetability of a Character.
Autarchs lost options, but fear not. The FAQ allows you to take options from the Index. While I'm sure this will also be printed in Chapter Approved, it's a shame it took 2 weeks for this to be communicated to players. There will also be people with older models who may not be aware of this rule.
The Falcon is still outshined by the Wave Serpent. I'm not sure what can be done to fix this without either making the Dedicated Transport too expensive or the Falcon far too cheap. One measure I would have considered would be making the Cloudstrike Stratagem only apply to the Falcon, much like it's squadron benefit in 7th. This would allow players to use it like a better Drop Pod.
The Wraithknight may be too expensive to use now. This may be an error on my part, analysing it in a vacuum. It could be that with the in-Codex synergies that it just requires the correct support army. Time will tell.
Stratagems. This isn't an issue with the Codex, but the Edition itself. People used to complain in 7th that units in Formations that were then in Detachments had to learn many special rules for each unit, and know when it applied. Stratagems replace this. With 27 new ones to learn, and remember, especially for ones that trigger due to certain events or can only be used at certain times. Obviously, players who can learn them well will gain an advantage. Knowing what tricks an opponent could pull with them could prove to be impossible, especially if you are at a Tournament and face a wide variety of armies.
So, you wanna play the Asuryani?
Firstly, choose a Craftworld. This can be based on anything you like. Maybe you like the Attribute or one of the named Characters? Maybe you like the background or the colour scheme? Whatever attracts you to the Craftworld is what makes it right for you. It may even be that you wish to come up with your own Craftworld so you can use your own colours and fluff.
Then look at the Attribute for the Craftworld, or if it's your own choose one you like. Between this and the fluff, that should give you an idea of which units to prioritize putting into your army. Add the "essential" command elements of Autarch, Farseer and Warlock. Then with the remaining points for your build, take the units you like. It's pointing then at the correct targets on the battlefield that comes through play experience.
The Attribute is good for any unit, whether it's protecting melee units as they close the gap or shooting units that keep the opponent at a distance. Rangers get an additional -1 to hit and are a key part of the Alaitoc background, so take them in the Troop slots. This gives you deployment options and a built-in way of dealing with opposing Characters. You want to look at units that can, therefore, deal with Vehicles and units of troops. Mobility to stay at 12"+ Range may be key.
The Attribute gives Aspect Warriors a Leadership buff, while also giving a re-roll to Shuriken weapons. This makes Dire Avengers better at shooting than Swooping Hawks. Don't forget that Howling Banshees and Striking Scorpions have Shuriken Pistols! Add the Avatar to the "command essentials", and take your favourite Aspects. Consider adding the Phoenix Lord of your choice.
The Attribute wants you to be charging into melee while shooting from Bikers. So look at the close combat units for the core of your force, and use Windriders and Vypers for you fire support. Obviously, make the "command essentials" Windriders too so they can keep pace.
A one in six chance to ignore lost wounds is universally strong. Much like Alaitoc, this Craftworld asks you to look to the background for unit choices. Add more Farseers and Warlocks, potentially making a Warlock Conclave. Take large units of Guardians because of the Black Guardians Stratagem. Take Eldrad, because it's Eldrad.
The Attribute stops Morale killing off units too often, so don't worry about it. Their fluff says "the dead outnumber the living". While this may seem like an invitation to take an all-Wraith army, those units are expensive. At the least though, I would take a unit of Wraithguard/Wraithblades and a Wraithlord, equipped to suit whatever role you want. My current army mixes Wraithcannon-wielding Wraithguard for killing the harder targets, while the Wraithlord runs around with two Shuriken Cannons.
That's the starting points I would look at for the 5 major Craftworlds.
Here are some Synergy ideas that will help you in your games. Some will be more competitive than others.
Swooping Hawks using Children of Baharroth can come into play, use their Grenade Packs and deal Mortal Wounds to an opposing unit. Have a Warlock cast Quicken on them to move again and cause more. Finally, after they shoot, use Fire and Fade to move them 7" and drop the grenades a third time that turn.
Mind War deals Mortal Wounds to a Character via a Leadership roll-off. Move a Wraithfighter near to the target first to have it's Mindshock Pod reduce the Leadership by 2. Then have a Warlock cast Horrify for an additional -1 to increase the damage.
Vaul's Might is great when targeting D-Cannon Support Weapons, as they will be wounding many targets on 1s anyway, so the re-roll is great.
Has your opponent charged your Dark Reapers to stop them shooting for a turn? Use Feigned Retreat to have your survivors leave combat and still be able to shoot normally.
Against armies with artillery or a gunline, take 2 units of Howling Banshees and use Webway Strike to charge them from Reserve. The Banshee Masks mean the opposing units won't be able to Overwatch, and even if you don't do any/enough damage your opponent won't be able to fire as they Fall Back. If you are feeling really spicy, replace one of the units of Banshees with Jain Zar.
In case the massive review wasn't enough of a clue, I'm excited to play the Asuryani. I've already had one game versus Death Guard, with a rematch due this Friday. Plus promise of the third Qa'tan campaign early next year, so I'm looking at getting more painting done. They have even announced an errata to the Ynnari, making them less obviously more powerful. It's a great time for Iyanden of either flavour.