Sunday, May 26, 2013

Spirit Chamber editorial: Speculations and concerns about the new Eldar codex...

With just about a week ft for the new Eldar Codex to come out and a lot of the info already available floating around, there are still a few unanswered questions and concerns I have about the Eldar... specifically how prevalent Warlocks will be and how accessible Fortune and other Staple Eldar powers will be or how the lack of access to these things will affect Eldar going forward?

First off, based on the rumors floating around, I think that most all of the changes I have heard seem well thought out, good and functional. I have a lot of faith that Phil will do a good job with how our vehicles, Aspects and special rules will work out in that they will be powerful and fluffy. My only real concerns now will be how one of the biggest aspects of the Eldar codex, Psykers and their powers, will pan out? Perhaps this is just fear of the unknown or a desire to not have to change/adapt to a different play style but I know first hand the sheer power of having a good set of psychic powers your army can be built on (i.e., Fortuned Wraithguard). I definitely think, for example, that without a reliable means of Fortune, certain units/builds will not be as viable or strong and that concerns me!

Psychic powers:
Any seasoned Eldar player knows the joys of having Fortune, Guide or Doom on hand anytime you want it. Now, Powers are rolled for so we don't exactly know how easily we will be able to obtain any of them (except Guide is a Primaris power so it should be quite easy to get compared to the others).

What does this mean?

Not being able to guarantee certain powers limits the utility of certain units/builds that pretty much relied on these powers...Such as Wraithguard and Harlequins. I know that from my own experience (and as can be seen in my battle reports) that Fortune, for example, really made Wraith units resilient, not necessarily their T6 (thought T6 helps). Other units really benefited from Fortune and Doom as well such as Harlequins since they were so fragile to begin with. Also, Doom was essentially the "on" button to the blenders that the Harlequins were.

Does it make sense that a Farseer, to prepare for an upcoming battle that he saw through his "Crystal Ball," throw a bunch of Runes in a bag and draw some out at random hoping they will be useful? That sounds dumb to me and if that was how many Farseers prepared then I'd imagine the Eldar would have become extinct long ago...But alas, that is the 6th ed. we live in, where you roll dice to see what dice you roll in each and every game =(.

Going forward:
Going forward, it seems like some units here and there will have a reduced point cost to maybe offset this limited access to Eldar powers but hopefully we still have a means of reliably getting the powers we want.

Speculating leads me to think that Eldrad will perhaps be our best bet, yet again, to get the powers we want as he might come stock with all of them (as he currently does) and if he can cast the same power twice in the new codex, this would allow us to reliably get the right powers every game. Otherwise, I think that many lists will have 1-2 Farseers to try and get the best Eldar powers and more access to Warlocks and right off the bat Eldar will be forced to take certain options to have the most optimal builds, which is a shame if true.

Access to powers:
Ultimately, I would like to see a reliable way to get the powers you want out of a discipline which then allows that to be a reliable part of your strategy/army. If something is random, it can't be counted on or relied upon so if our powers truly are just randomly acquired, we will ultimately be unable to rely on them which is a shame because Psychic powers and their reliability have been a staple for Eldar armies since, well, always.

Access to Psykers/Warocks:
Another concern I have is how prevalent Warlocks will be in the new codex. We know from the current codex that Warlocks are Eldar's equivalent of a Sgt. upgrade for units without Exarchs and a solid bodyguard for Farseers when on bikes...But how is that changing?

-First off, it seems as though Warlocks are being greatly buffed as they will be Mastery 1, have their own Discipline and potentially have 2 Wounds. Their powers are apparently greatly buffed too since Conceal now grants or removes Shrouding, which is A LOT better than the flat 5+ cover save it gave previously (considering it now stacks with existing cover/stealth for potential 2+ cover saves). Anyway, I can go on about the greatly increased utility and potency of Warlocks so my concern is how is GW going to balance this?

-If Warlocks are less prevalent such that they cannot be spammed as unit upgrades then (1) units that relied on them need to be reworked so they will not need to be dependent on them (such as Wraith units); and (2) units that had them as an upgrade option will need to have better/different options to offset the loss of a Warlock as an upgrade.

-Rumors have it that Farseers somehow unlock a certain number of Warlocks. I am not sure if this is one Warlock per Farseer, if there is a Seer Council option or if Warlocks can be broken off to join other units from this Seer Council like Wolfguard? We know that in the WD Battle Report Jetbikes did not have a Warlock in them so I am not sure if this was poor list design or if that option simply isn't available? Time will tell and I am hoping that each Farseer allows you to take 1-10~ Warlocks and that each Warlock can be broken off to join a squad...Of course Warlocks will probably increase in points but that is expected if they have an increased utility/power.

Psykers as HQ:
-There are apparently different Psyker HQ options (not sure on all of them) and it remains to be seen how these options will pan out. Allegedly the Iyanden supplement will have some additional rules for a
true Wraithguard style army but who knows?

-Wraith armies will need a Spiritseer to unlock Wraithguard as troops...How powerful will this option be compared to any other one and will it be worth it? I wonder how much this will feel like a tax to play a fluffy army vs an actually viable HQ option.

So with all of that said, a large part of the Eldar codex hangs in the balance and this balance has to do with how Phil works out the Eldar Psykers. The other parts of the codex, I think are minimal or I have enough faith that Phil will do the right thing such as the reworking of the Aspect Warriors and vehicles (the rumors seem to be pretty nice).


  1. The spiritseer is going to take up an HQ slot. Well. I can see maybe the warlock being moved to a non-slot HQ choice and having the ability to be moved into different units, thus maybe taking up points in the army, but not counting against the HQ cap. Just speculation of course, but a way for us to still unlock 1 farseer/eldrad and spiritseerer and have warlocks to distribute. Where does that leave the Autarch?

    Hopefully not a lot of redundant rules and each has their own play style.

  2. invisible jet-bikes with 2+ cover i broke the codex before it came out :]

    1. Throw in Fortune and you are really cooking!

  3. Really like the blog! Keep up the good work.

    1. Thanks dude, always glad for the commends/feedback; stay tuned for codex reviews/unit tactics!

  4. I finally read the WD battle report and the Eldar player took a single Warlock, Farseer and Avatar. Assuming the FOC is correct in the battle report, I'd hazard a guess if you take a Farseer, it unlocks Warlocks with a minimum of 1. Then, the Warlock can be attached.

    Added to this, I read the Conceal power which is a Primaris power and gives Shrouding to the psyker. If one model has it, the entire unit he joins benefits as well.

    I've been playing DE as an ally for awhile now and have been using a Beastpack quite a bit. If I get lucky, I will still be able to take a jetbike for the Warlock and give him the Primaris power. He joins the Beastpack unit along with Baron Sathonyx. Now, the Beastpack gets a 4+/2+ cover save. However, without the Jetbike, it is still doable, but will need to string the unit out a bit. Not a huge deal, but the jetbike would be a lot easier.

    I'm really waiting to see how Fortune is written...