Eldar can be a tough army to use so I wanted to talk about some basic tactics and ideas on building Eldar armies and using them. This will be the first installment of a multi-part series covering all things Eldar!
A brief introduction:
So yeah, Eldar are not for the faint of heart. Things can go bad faster than a carton of milk left on a radiator on a hot day or things can come together very well and you can win games in really big ways. It all comes down to your army list, how you use the list and your overall familiarity and expectations for each individual unit as it relates to a larger battle plan.
But first, the very basics:
The foundation for every army that you play is laid out in the codex and core rule book. Know the codex, the units and their rules along with the main rulebook and you are on the right track. This is the most basic thing I can suggest, just read and study the rules that involve your army in both the codex and main rulebook.
One quick example regarding Eldar units and rules from the core rule book is that I found that Skimmers (which Eldar have a lot of) can't dodge a ram from another Skimmer, that makes ramming Vendettas and DE vehicles a lot easier.
So with all of that said, when I first learned how to play 40k, I had no idea what was what or how things worked exactly, it took time and I had to make an effort to read, re-read and understand how things worked regarding my army rules and main rule book rules. Also, practical experience through playing games was a great way to learn things. It's one thing to read about a rule and another to see how it works and looks in an actual game.
Once you understand your basic codex rules and core rule book rules you can fit together an army list that will work well in not only 40k but any game system you pick up.
Now on to what I consider to be a vital concept when making an Eldar army list and playing them in a real game...
Unit synergy is essential and key:
A simple illustration:
To better understand this, let's compare and contrast the anatomy of a basic Space Marine unit compared to Eldar units in general. Typically, Space Marine squads have a Sergeant with a fist or special weapon for close combat, a Melta gun for anti tank and bolters for all around anti infantry in one squad.
Eldar, on the other hand, would have three separate squads to do the same thing-a squad dedicated to close combat like Harlequins/Howling Banshees/Striking Scorpions, a squad dedicated to anti tank like Fire Dragons and a squad dedicated to anti infantry like Dire Avengers/Dark Reapers. The difference is that Space Marines will typically have a bunch of units that are all OK at everything (hence their tactical flexibility) and cumulatively work together to achieve a potent Close Combat, Anti Tank and Anti Infantry role whereas Eldar will have units that are not OK but are super effective at what they are designed to do.This is where the strength of the Eldar army comes into play. One thing to note is that Eldar units further specialize in their areas of close combat, anti tank and anti infantry based on their intended targets like how Howling Banshees are better against units with a 2+/3+ armor save due to their power weapons whereas Stricking Scorpions are better against things with a 4+ save or worse due to their extra attacks.
This is the mentality I want to ingrain and impart upon my fellow Eldar players in this post:
|Integration is key!|
For every battlefield roll, you will need a specific unit (or set of units) for the job. To reiterate, where one Tactical squad may come to around 200 points plus a transport and provide only mediocre results, you can for the same price per unit, get dedicated specialist units that are super effective at what they do (close combat, anti tank, anti infantry). While fragile on the individual level (unlike most other army equivalents), when working together they become nigh unstoppable and very strong.
What this looks like (and what I will try to enable you to do through these tactical articles) in a game is where you can pop a Space Marine transport with some supporting shots, light up the squad with your anti infantry to soften them up and then charge in some close combat specialist and wipe out the unit in one game turn-and if you have done it right, you will have denied the enemy any meaningful counter attack by positioning your grav tanks as a metal wall of protection from any other units that can come to retaliate or by destroying any nearby mobility (like Rhinos) thus preventing any units from getting there in time. Then you just get back into your grav tanks and zoom to the next target area, rinse and repeat.
The key to making a good list and winning games with Eldar, then, is to get the right combination of units to do the right jobs and use them properly.
Something I've noticed about my fellow Eldar players that have a hard time winning/playing Eldar in general lies within their list building and gameplay. They simply fail to allow or empower their units to reach any meaningful potential/synergy in their games so I want to talk about how to achieve this from a list building perspective as well as a practical in game perspective so stay tuned for part II of Eldar Tactics for more on the topic!