The Eldar: Aspects of War

One of the many, many advantages of the eldar is their wide range of specialized troops. The eldar have a troop type for every possible situation, from hand to hand squads to heavy fire support units. The downside, however, is that each unit is ONLY good at one (and in a few rare cases, two) things. I have come to understand that the most effective way to win as eldar is to have all the specialized troops do exactly what they're good at, and nothing else. One of the most useful thing about the eldar specialized squads is their exarchs. Here is a breakdown of the different types of aspect warriors and their exarchs.

Warp Spiders: The warp spider exarch is the one of the few exarchs with more than one use. He can be equipped with powerblades, which makes him pretty good at hand to hand combat, and his entire squad has a 3+ armor save, plus the surprise assault ability gives his entire squad +2 attacks when charging, instead of just +1. This means he can charge, and get 5 attacks with power weapons, just like the howling banshee exarch. Another reason it's not suicidal to charge with spiders is that the exarch can leave the combat at the end of any assault phase. The spiders also have good guns, a strength 6 and no AP, the death spinner is built almost exclusively for taking out vehicles. Their high speed means that they can get to the weaker rear armor of tanks, and take them out. My favorite thing to do with this squad is to use both of their skills at once. I move in front of a large enemy unit, shoot, then assault. The first turn, the exarch's 5 attacks, plus the spiders' 3 attacks each means that the unit could do some damage. Then, at the end of my opponents assault phase, I teleport out, and on my turn shoot and assault again. This maximizes the potential of the surprise assault ability. One problems with this tactic is that it doesn't work too well against marines, seeing as they get their armor save against everything except the exarch. Also, there sometimes aren't enough enemy troops to stand up to more than a turn of this treatment. Another problem I've run into is that my exarch gets killed, leaving the rest of the squad stranded in combat, with only one attack per model. This tactic is worthwhile on orcs and imperial guard, however, because of their large number of poorly armored troops.

Striking Scorpions: The striking scorpion exarch, accompanied by striking scorpions is an amazingly good hand to hand unit. Not only does each model have 3 attacks when charging at strength 4, but they also get a fourth strength 4 attack at +2 initiative. This means that the opponent is going to be forced to take a lot of saves. Then, when the exarch uses his 4 attacks (charging), around 3 other things will instantly die. Thatís a lot of death. Also, the scorpions have relatively tough armor (3+), and a high initiative of 5 or 6 for the exarch. The combined effect of all this is that anything not in power armor or terminator armor crumples in seconds, but marines or heavily armored troops survive. As long as the scorpions arenít put against units with lots of armor, theyíll do pretty well. Also, if they fight a unit with power weapons, one of their biggest advantages, their armor, becomes useless. Another problem Iíve run into is that my exarch doesnít get a chance to use his powerfist because some one hits him with a power weapon. As long as youíre careful of who you assault with scorpions, theyíll always win. Anything with low armor saves and no power weapons (i.e. orcs, imperial guard, dark eldar) make ideal targets for the scorpions. Another aspect of the scorpions is that their heavy armor makes them slow (by eldar standards). They canít use the fleet of foot rule, which means it will take them a while to get into hand to hand. There are two ways to prevent them from being shot down in a turn. Either you can hide them behind a guardian squad with conceal, or you can infiltrate them somewhere where theyíre in cover. This is the only reason that the exarch ability is worthwhile. The other ability, mighty blow, is rarely useful, but itís relatively cheap, so if you want to use it, go ahead, but I think of it as something as a waste of points.

Howling Banshees: Gotta love these girls. Fleet of foot, so theyíre quick, reasonably good armor saves, the banshee mask, and, best of all, power weapons. At 16 points per model, the banshees are one of the cheapest models to get power weapons, take advantage of it! The exarch in this case isnít much better than the normal troops, except for the extra attack, and the option for power blades or an executioner. The banshee exarch also has a tough decision to make. Either she gets 5 attacks when charging at strength 3 (power blades) or she gets 3 attacks at strength 5 (executioner). Normally, I like to take the power blades, but to be honest, the executioner seems like a better option. The thing to do with banshees is take full advantage of the first turn, since they automatically go first, regardless of initiative. The best way to do this is make the extra attack that you get when charging count for something by making it strength 5. Because of the high weapon skill of the exarch, it will most likely hit, and then kill, as opposed to an extra hit with a power blade, which will hit, but needs a 5 or 6 in most cases to wound. The best thing to do with these girls is hide them so they donít have to make any armor saves, then sprint them forward and kill anything with armor. They love taking out terminators, despite the fact that terminators have power fists. The nice thing about banshees is that they donít really rely on their armor, due to their speed, masks, and power weapons, but if they have to, they will save half the time. In terms of exarch abilities, shriek is all right, but so many races have moral boosters (orcs have mob rules, imperial guards have bonuses for being close to HQ, etc.) that it rarely makes a difference. The bounding leap ability is pretty good for taking out characters, cause it lets you choose who you attack, worthwhile if youíre playing eldar (take out other exarchs!) or marines.

Fire Dragons: Never was much of a fan of these guys. I always thought that you had to get to close for these guys to be effective, and they rarely survived that long. Yeah, theyíre nice when they get close enough, they eat tanks for lunch, but even if they take out a tank, they still havenít paid their point cost. Sometimes useful to put them in a transport of some sort, but in my opinion, too much energy to spend on so weak a unit. True, I really canít complain too much about the exarch, but still, heís fairly costly and, like his men, needs to get too close.

Dire Avengers: Blah. When I first started playing, and I didnít know the rules, I bought a squad of these guys. What a waste of money. To sum up, theyíre like guardians, just without the bonus of a warlock, or a heavy weapon. Yeah, they hit on 3+, but nobody cares, cause their guns have really crappy range (12"), and theyíre not resilient enough to survive until theyíre close enough to do anything with their guns, and god forbid they go into combat, theyíre much, much worse than any of the other aspect warriors. I think when Games Workshop made the rules for this unit, they were trying to make a well rounded troop type that was pretty good at everything, and not as specialized as the other troops. What they ended up with was what is probably the most useless unit in the eldar army. While they arenít that costly, I donít see how they could every pay for themselves. The exarch isnít bad at hand to hand, but itís a good idea to just take another squad of guardians instead of the dire avengers.

Shining Spears: Man, these guys would be awesome if it werenít for one thing. They cost 50 points a piece! For the same price you could have a vyper jetbike, which, in my opinion is a much more worthwhile investment of points, cause vypers are faster, harder to kill, and better at shooting. The only disadvantage is that they canít assault, while the spears are amazing as hand to hand. Unfortunately, any smart player will wipe out this costly squad in the first turn, taking out between 300 and 500 points of jetbike. Theyíre as easy to kill as marines, larger targets, and much, much more costly, thatís the bottom line. Again, as with he dire avengers, the exarch is good, but not worth spending the points on a squad. My advice is to get 6 extra vypers instead.

Swooping Hawks: WHOA!!! OK, to start off, Iím going to say that I donít use these guys very often, because theyíre soooo cheesy. To be honest, the exarchís sustained attack rule is the nastiest, most useful, meanest rule in the entire game. Iíve seen this girl get more than 25 hits in one turn, and if that wasnít enough, she has a power weapon! On average, when she assaults, (which she always does, due to her wings) she kills about 5 to 10 marines unless she gets unlucky. Yeah, sheís sort of weak, strength 3, but still, against eldar, dark eldar, orcs, imperial guard, or even tyranids, sheís AMAZING! In fact, sheís even amazing against the tougher marines and chaos marines sheís because of her power weapon. If you havenít gathered by now, sheís worth her weight in gold. Also, she and her squad deep strike, which is pretty cool. Unfortunately, theyíre not tough enough to spend a turn out in the open after they deep strike, so itís best to land them behind cover. Also, they get to drop grenades on the enemy before they land, which is a nice bonus. Their guns are fair, but donít expect them to do much against marines, cause theyíre weak and have poor AP. In my opinion, the best thing to do with the hawks is take a unit of 5, include an exarch with a power weapon and sustained attack, and then deep strike them behind cover, after dropping grenades. Then have them jump out of cover and butcher any unit they come across. The small unit keeps point cost down (cause, after all, all you want is the exarch) and deep striking them allows you to take advantage of the grenade attack. The exarchís other ability is also sort of useful, but only if you have the points to spare, itís not at all necessary.

Dark Reapers: In my years of playing eldar, I donít think Iíve ever played a game without this unit. Hereís why. 8 strength 5 shots, with AP 3 that hit on a 3 or better, followed by 2, yes, 2 plasma or krak missiles that hit on a 2. WOW. The normal reapers are amazing by themselves, but throw in an exarch with fast shot, and the squad becomes possibly the most effective heavy support squad in the game. The exarchís other power, krak shot, isnít really worth it, but if you think your opponent is going to have a lot of tanks in cover, then go ahead and pay the points. For about 215 points, you can devastate or destroy one squad/tank every turn, regardless of who it is. Also, the AP of the reaper launcher means that this unit melts marines at unbelievable speeds. In the genocide tournament I was recently in, I put this unit in the tower of an imperial fire base, and every turn it took out another unit. It was beautiful, all I had to do was point at a unit, roll some dice, and it disappeared. I strongly advise you to take this unit.

Created by: system. Last Modification: Sunday 25 of January, 2009 12:56:38 PM EST by ZiggyQubert.

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