Saturday, 22 June 2013

Codex: Eldar and Iyanden supplement review

So, I have finally finished the new Eldar codex and played a game against it (which I lost by the way). This is my review of that book.
The first thing to comment on is the awesome detailed history of the Eldar. If only the Tau codex had this much detail I might have been more pleased with it but never mind. A huge chunk of the book is made up of this history which goes into some real depth on the race. One thing that struck me as I finished it, is that Games Workshop seem to have completely retconned the whole Blackstone Fortress stuff as it has no mention what so ever, not even in Eldrad's description. Rather dissapointing but if it is being ignored than it may stop be grumbling that Eldrad should be dead and not in the codex.
As for the new special rules, Eldar now have Ancient Doom which gives them hatred towards anything with a mark of Slaanesh but also gives them -1 leadership against anything with said mark. They also have Battle Focus which allows them to run then shoot or shoot then run in the shooting phase. This was a pain to me in my test game and I knee jerked against it but time will tell as the new codex gets played.
The Eldar have been balanced in the psychic area. They are now longer the overpowered psychic force. Farseers and Spiritseers now get two new disciplines to choose from in addition to those from the rulebook; Runes of Battle and Runes of Fate. What makes these nice is that each power has two powers you can use. Again, these are much more balanced.
On to the units...
There Eldar still have a huge chunk of special characters to choose from. The new one is Illic Nightspear, a Necron hating ranger type who upgrades rangers into pathfinders. All in all these seemed appropriately points costed despite being monsters on the battlefield. I still think Eldrad will be the only one (other than the Avatar of Khaine) to be played.
Dire Avengers are still my top choice in the troops department even though Guardians seem to have a slight boost. I just don't see Guardians being worth the time, just as I thought under the last codex. Guardian Defenders with weapon platforms, Storm Guardians, Windriders and Rangers make up the rest of this slot.
Wave Serpents remain the troop transport and I have to agree with many Eldar players that it was dissapointing there wasn't an option to make this an assault vehicle.
Fire Dragons and Harlequins are the best options in my mind from the typical Elite options. I don't expect Striking Scorpions to make much of an appearence, and since Eldar players are hung up on an inability to spud Terminators I don't think you'll see Howling Banshees unless they know who they are going up against.
Wraithguard however will always see use I think. They are still just as good as ever. Wraithblades, however, are just going to be avoided by most I think to be worthwhile. Wraithguard can at least shoot. Both can be taken as Troops though if you have a Spiritseer.
Fast Attack.
Still not impressed by Swooping Hawks. If Skyleap worked differently then I might think otherwise but they just don't seem to do much on the battlefield. Warp Spiders, on the other hand, are a real nuisence. They caused me much trouble in my test game against this codex. Not that they did much damage but I had to keep an eye on them and they kept me occupied when I should have been focussing forwards. Shining Spears and Vypers are ok but haven't seen them played as yet.
Eldar get two new flyers in this codex; Crimson Hunter and the Hemlock Wraithfighter. My regular Eldar opponent dislikes them for base armour and no permanent invulnerable saves. The Crimson Hunter certainly seems to be the better option in my mind. The Hemlock is too short range to be too effective. I don't like the models though. The Forge World planes looked a lot better.
Heavy Support.
Dark Reapers are still a fantastic choice from this slot, as are Fire Prisms and Falcons. The weapon support platforms, now called Vaul's Wrath Support Batteries are about the same. The Night Spinner has been made better since it appeared in White Dwarf a few years ago. The monofilament Doomspinner has been improved and locally is being called pseudo-rending.
I found War Walkers better. The weapon options are the same points costs so no longer will have to deal with just swarms of these armed with scatterlasers, which pleased me as a space marine player. This also helps make War Walkers more versatile on the battlefield.
This just leaves us with Wraithlords and the new Wraithknight. Wraithlords (and Wraithguards) no longer need a Spiritseer guide either, which is a nice improvement. The Wraithknight is a nice model, though it looks too fat to be Elder IMO, but at £70 each I don't expect to see many.
Over all I think this is a nice codex, and a more balanced approach than the last one. I think they will still always win any game if they know what codex they are going up against.

Which brings me to the Iyanden codex supplement. Oh boy, where do I start with this?
If you are a collector like me, then this is a nice addition if an expensive one. If you are looking at this for a addition to the Eldar codex, then save your money. The Iyanden supplement is simply a history guide with pages devoted to showcasing painted models. The actual rule additions are almost pointless. Iyanden gets a single new psychic power, their own warlord traits and artifacts. There are now changes to the FOC just an increase to the number of Spiritseers you can have and a Wraithknight or Wraithlord can be your Warlord.
A waste of money completely.

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