Now that 6th edition and the FAQs are out, I thought it would be a good time to go over EVERY unit in the codex and talk about how they've changed alongside how they can be used in 6th. This will be a series so I will break it up based on force org slots starting with HQ units. This post will cover our HQ units and special characters.
General overview and theory regarding HQ selection:
Every army will need at least one HQ choice and for Eldar, your HQ choices should be chosen in light of what you want the rest of your army to look like and how you want them to function. Specifically, your HQ choices should be a natural extension of your army and enable your units to perform above and beyond what may be expected of them.
For example, Dire Avengers are pretty mediocre with a 4+ save and an 18" assault 2 gun. If you throw in a Farseer with Doom, Fortune and Guide, this unit's performance and survivability is vastly increased. Whereas most other army HQs simply add more attacks/better leadership to a single unit, our HQs potentially add functionality, survivability and killing power to our whole army either in the form of our psychic powers from Farseers or from the "Fearless bubble" from the Avatar. We also have quite a selection of generic killing power in our HQs if that is your cup of tea.
Generic HQ choices:
The Avatar's stats are WS10, BS5, S6, T6, I6, W4, A4, Ld10, Sv 3+/4++. For 155 points he is a solid MC and bulwark for any Eldar army with a foot element. Now that you don't have to worry about Fearless saves from losing combat, this guy is a lot better. His stats ensure he hits everything on a 3+ and is hit on a 5+ from WS 1-4 models, he goes before most everything with his I6 and, consequently, can effectively run things down that break from combat if he wins. Having a 3+ save means that he can take a beating and the 4+ invulnerable is especially nice as this lets him tank attacks that would normally see other MCs running to the nurses office to call their mommies to take them home.
All in all, what really makes the Avatar a beast is having a Farseer (or Eldrad) around to cast Fortune on him. Being able to re-roll his saves is almost essential as people will focus their firepower on the Avatar to bring him down before he can get into combat and wreck havoc. This model is a nice anvil that can tie up enemy units that would give the rest of your army trouble in CC.
Thanks to the Smash rule, he can effectively take out tanks in CC as well as he will have around 3 s10 AP2 attacks on the charge that re-roll armor pen results and all vehicles are hit on 3+ at worst. Do the math and all of a sudden you see how the Avatar can destroy a Land Raider/Monolith in close combat on average rolls whereas before he could hardly scratch anything like it.
Add all of this up and you have a Psyker who will reliably cast psychic powers with a nice save against any potential Peril's of the Warp that may come into play; who will give enemy psykers a headache when trying to cast their powers; who will provide a 4+ deny the witch roll to any unit he joins; who can get a good number of rolls on any discipline chart or get some nice Eldar powers and cast two of them a turn.
How you build your Farseer depends largely on how he will be used and what you need but generally, we will always have a certain unit we want to be extra survivable each turn so Fortune is always a nice choice as is Doom as that increases the effectiveness of our whole army against a particular threat. Fortune, Doom, Warding, Witnessing and Spirit Stones clocks in at a reasonable 155 and is a solid HQ choice.
You will always want at least one Warlock with Embolden, as this lets your Farseer re-roll failed Psychic tests in addition to the unit re-rolling any failed Ld based test (this can be huge if you lose combat). If you have the points to spare, 1 Warlock with Enhance to give your guys +1WS/I which allows them to hit WS4 on 3+ and makes them all the more deadly against dreadnoughts with any remainder of points in Destructor if you can afford it as what's not to love about a S5 AP4 template weapon? This is an especially nice place to put Destructor since Eldar generally lack in template weapons and this is an "in your face" kind of unit that will get good use out of them.
In short, Eldrad is everything a Farseer could want to be, unless you want a Farseer on a Jetbike.
Note: According to our FAQ, Phoenix Lord powers only affect aspect warriors and since our codex/FAQ trumps the BRB, it is uncertain if Phoenix Lord powers will affect any unit they join (such as Feugan's Tank Hunter rule). Just something to keep in mind until it gets clarified!
This is huge as it ignores Smoke, any and all cover a model might hope for and Jink Saves that might otherwise frustrate your shooting attempts to down a tank. This guy can also take out anything with a weak armor save but strong cover save like Pathfinders or Orks going to ground behind an Aegis Defense Line. Heck, I've taken out quite a few Land Radiers with his rending shots too so Maugen never ceases to amaze me! Keep in mind that since Maugen is a character, any 6s to hit are precision shots so you can choose where they are allocated which is awesome if he also rends with those shots.
Due to the changes with Power Weapons being AP3, you only need to fear Power Fist type weapons so he got a lot better in close combat with his 4 S6 power weapon attacks. You can literally send him fortuned into a Paladin squad and tank their Ap3 weapons with your re-rollable 2+ armor save which is quite hilarious (This also applies to every other Phoenix Lord).
The Howling Banshee Phoenix Lord. She has a decent S5 AP2 shooting attack and 5 S7 power weapon hits on the charge. Once again, if you really want a good CC element, take a unit of Harlequins.
The Phoenix Lord of the Swooping Hawks....Cute. Take him if you want to try out a Swooping Hawk type army, otherwise don't bother. Oh, he gives a unit Hit and Run which is pretty nifty, can you imagine a unit of Wraithguard or Warlock Seer Council on foot with Hit and Run?
Ultimately, you will want the right HQ for the right type of Eldar army but fitting in a Farseer is definitely my first choice. Fortune and Runes of Warding are too good to pass up and if you want, take two Farseers to buff multiple units.
Eldrad is a great boon to any army as far as special characters go and I hope to include both Eldrad to use Eldar powers coupled with a Farseer with 4 powers to pick from the Divination chart for my Wraithguard-centric army.
I see our HQ choices as filling a roll of support which enable the rest of our army to tear through our opponent's army. Our HQ choices to our army are akin to a sniper scope to a sniper rifle, when used together, you can do some serious and meaningful damage. This is why Farseers are so potent as they help our army more than any other choice we have available to us.