Sunday, July 11, 2010

Eldarology

I had quite an odd day today - it kicked off with a trip down to the comic store, Other Realms with my Eldar in tow to face Dave's nasty Space Wolves, and ended up with me busking on the streets with a pair of musicians, even using my warhammer case like a drumkit, like some crazy sci-fi, post apocalyptic reggae space elf. Great game as ever with Dave, which ended up in a draw by turn 7.


Aside from our monday night sessions at the club, you can get some decent games in at the store on weekends. Other Realms has a sort of gravitational pull that draws in anyone with the slightest disposition towards wargaming or general comic book geekery. It's the kind of place I like to imagine where my Eldar end up when they die. Who wants to buzz around in an Infinity Circuit forever? Not me!

I'd picked up my first ever Eldar about six years back, in New York of all places.
One box of 8 Storm Guardians and a box of 16 Guardian Defenders. I remember looking around the GW Store for probably an hour, trying to decide what army I wanted to use. For me, the Eldar stood out like a flame in a void - the sleek and graceful vehicles, the exotic masks, the vivid colors. I was instantly hooked. When I was in college, I spent what little cash I earned on weekends expanding my Eldar - this was 4th Edition, when Eldar still used Craftworld rules, so I took Starcannon platforms for my Ulthwé Black Guardians, complete with Falcons, Warlocks, Farseers. Starcannons had 3 shots back then, and it was a common sight to see upwards from 20 incoming shots from my army. Oh glory days!

Now, in 5th edition, and with a newer codex to boot, i've definitely shifted by play style to a very characteristic approach: I take silly upgrades on my tanks to weather 4 or 5 turns of enemy fire, reserve everything I have, and leap for my enemy's throat with multiple tanks - where and when I choose, thanks to tricks like Star Engines and the Master Strategist rule. I pick my fights, and do everything I can to come out on top when I start them. My new philosophy is act, don't react. What I mean by that is simple: instead of merely reacting to every move your opponent makes, have a plan, then a backup plan, make them work. We have the speed and hard hitting power to do just that. Make your opponent react to you, not the other way around:

Those two Rhinos sitting on an objective somewhere?

Use your speed to to get there quickly, disembark with everything you've got and hit them hard.
You might like to use Fire Dragons supported by Banshees and Storm Guardians, or Jetbikes supported by Fire Prisms and Vypers, you might even be bold and disregard Internet opinion and take Harlequins with fusion pistols and swooping hawks!

The principle stays the same. You've acted swiftly and decisively. Suddenly, you dealt a crippling blow to your opponent, and they will react to it. If your opponent panics and sends more nasties to deal with you, all the better! By reacting to your movements, your opponent is right where you want them. Now, you are taking control of the game, and just like a true Farseer, guiding their enemy to iminent destruction, in spite of being outnumbered and often outgunned.

These days, it's a little problematic though, especially for me vs Dave's Space Wolves, when there are Thunderwolves with fleet and 12" assaults to worry about. Fast Deathstar* units like this can sometimes hurt mechanised Eldar, because they restrict your movement, and you might be more conservative than you like. The last thing you want to see happen is a perfectly timed manoevre go horribly awry by straying too close to a group of marines riding giant wolves!

Such Deathstar units are often durable, which is understandable of course since they draw heavy firepower due to their characteristic ability to crush most things in their path. Confronted with such a unit on the table presents a problem: you do need to neutralise this threat before you have freedom of movement again. A caged Eldar is not a happy one! Thankfully, we have an array of exotic weaponry for dealing with any foe, and psychic powers and other gizmos to support it.

With each new codex being released, Eldar players must compensate for new threats. Our Psychic powers are threatened more than ever, and we're seeing ourselves outnumbered more than ever by opponents who are increasingly mobile, with fast vehicles, and skimmers of their own. This matters not to a true Farseer. Pull the strings, and make them react to you. Take control of the game. Act, don't react.

Now, you have the enemy in the palm of your hand...


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*"It is a big powerful bruiser that looks like the end of the world" - Sanctjud from DakkaDakka

1 comment:

The_King_Elessar said...

Would you believe that, while I HAVE used Star engines, I never DO? True story. They're not as useless as Vectored Engines - but they're still something I'd just generally rather not have.

Also, I like Harlies with Fusion Pistols. I don't definitively know of anyone who doesn't.