Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Blackmoor's Eldar Codex breakdown Part 1: Eldar Combat HQs

I know most of you know me as a Grey Knight/Paladin player, and I am! But what a lot of people don’t know is that I am also a hardcore Eldar player. I was the originator of the foot Eldar build that was winning a lot of tournaments back before anyone knew about it. Here was my first list that I took to the Las Vegas GT all the way back in 2007:

I ended up on winning on table #2 at that GT, and a few months later I scored 97 (out of 100) battle points for 2nd best general at the Baltimore GT. I would have scored a perfect 100 but I was tired and I misread the rules package. I thought that I had to keep a unit alive when in reality I had to have it die.

Now I still play my Eldar since I took them to the Nova Open and Duel Con last year, and I have been allying them with my Grey Knights at events like the 11th Co GT and the So Cal Slaughter GT.

So now that I have my Eldar credentials out of the way, let’s talk some Eldar!

I am going to break down the HQs like this:
Eldar HQs Part 1: Combat HQs
Eldar HQs Part 2: Farseers, Spiritseers, Warlocks & Psychic Powers
Eldar HQs Part 3: Phoenix Lords
Eldar HQs Part 4: Special Characters

Part #1 Combat HQs

The Avatar

I use to love using this guy. He kept my guardians from running and was a bad-ass in combat. Slap fortune on him and he was nearly unkillable.

The Good

He received a stat boost. He is now BS10 (where was this when I missed like crazy when he was BS 5?), +1 wound, and he went up to I10. These are all great stats that you want, and need.

The Bad.

Point increase: He went up about 30 points
Pedestrian: In a fast army he is a slow foot slogger.

The Ugly

No longer being able to count on having fortune.
-1 Invulnerable Save


The Avatar use to be cheap for everything that he did. He created a fearless bubble, was an awesome counter attack unit, and he took all kinds of fire power that the rest of your army didn’t. Now the foot army works a little differently. Everyone knows that mobility is at a premium in 6th edition, and he is rather slow. The second is that fearless bubble is not as good as it once was because the foot elder army now works differently than it did in the past. With the old codex you needed to have your army all compacted together not only for the fearless bubble, but because of the short range of the farseer’s psychic powers. In 6th edition fearless is now bad for a shooting army. First off you can't go-to-ground. When you have a lot of 5+ saves you want to hit the dirt from time to time to keep some models alive. Second, let’s say you get assaulted by some fast moving units. What would happen in the past is that they would all die due to fearless/no retreat wounds. Now what happens is that if you get charged and the whole squad does not die (which your opponent can manipulate to kill as many models as they want to) the unit stays locked in combat and then can’t be shot. Then the next (your) turn they are safe from getting shot and they butcher the survivors and then gets free to cause mayhem in their turn. Then the last part that made the Avatar so good is that he was such am awesome bullet magnet. Since you can’t depend on getting fortune for him the dependability of his durability is compromised. So all you are left with is him being a close combat monster which will be enough for some people, but not me.

Final word

I can’t recommend him but if I was going to take him I would just take him stock. The exarch powers are not worth it (Night vision on a 12" weapon?). Even disarming strike is too many points especially since you should cut down anything in a challenge that can hurt you with a special weapon.

The Autarch


I don't think that I have every used one, or faced one across the table. You only saw them in an all skimmer list for the +1 to the reserve roll, or you saw them used because they were the cheapest HQ slot. Being taken because you are 50 points cheaper than a farseer is not a ringing endorsement.

The Good

He is cheap and can take a lot of different movement modes. Can still manipulate the reserve rolls up or down one.

The Bad

Farseers and Spritseers are much better

The Ugly

Strength 3 and Toughness 3 is not what you want from a combat character.


The Autarch is still very disappointing. I thought that they would get a little better (like the DE Archon) but they are still underwhelming. The good news is that they are still cheap, and their options are inexpensive as well. Some of their wargear is bad (Mandiblasters are horrible now, but kept the same cost?). I have seen people trying to make Autarchs work but I have not seen anything that I like yet. Yes, you can have them as a 100 point fusion gun caddie but you are better off taking a squad of fire dragons at that point. They still have the ability to manipulate the reserve roll up or down one, but that still does not make them worth it since reserves are very different in 6th edition. 

Where Autarchs are bad is in assault where they have to be good. These should be the assault IC choice but they really do not assault well at all. Their main problems are they are Toughness 3 which means that anything with strength 6 doubles them out, but their other weakness is that they only are strength 3. Strength 3 will not hurt anything that you want to kill.

There is some help with the new addition to the Eldar codex of all the new wargear they get to choose from the Remnants of Glory chart but what is there is still underwhelming. The Shard of Anaris is probably the best choice because that does boost the Autarch with a +2 strength and this is ok with Rending/Instant Death. The down side is that there is no AP, and that it is expensive. That is ok if you are fighting a multi-wound toughness 4 or less creature, but against anything with some numbers he will struggle. I see everyone else talking about the Mantle of the Laughing God as well. Since I am doing a harlequin themed army I wanted to like the piece of wargear but all it does is give stealth, shrouding, Hit-and-Run and re-roll cover saves for a lot of points, and at the cost of being an IC. Yes you can put him on a jet bike to help out, but there are so many weapons out there that ignore cover saves. Heck, just look at the primaris power for Spiritseers and Warlocks and you can drop the cover save off of him right there. So if you want to get depressed just look at the other CC ICs from the other top codexes that he will be dueling with (Destroyer Lords, Demon Princes, Hive Tyrants, etc) he will be less points sure, but nearly powerless against them.

Final Word

If I did take an Autarch I would arm him with a fusion gun because that is always nice to have in an Eldar army, and I would mount him on an Eldar jetbike for #1. Mobility, #2. Toughness, and #3. So you can take Laser Lance. With that build you can move fast and hit as hard as you can. Make sure he is with a unit that has hit-and-run because if he gets stuck in combat he loses all of his effectiveness.

Edit/Update: After thinking about how many MC there are running around these days in a lot of top armies I am starting to like an Autarch with the Shard of Anaris. With Rending/Instant Death this is a good way to take a lot of them out. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

How does my army deal with flyers?

So Ryanjj405 below asked as question that I thought I would answer in a new post:

I have tried a similar list but I cannot handle full on Necron air or Triple Hell Drakes, how do you plan on dealing with those?

I do believe that everyone does need to have an anti-flyer strategy so here is mine.

You will note that I do not have an aegis defense line or bastion or anything else with sky fire. If you think a quad gun will shoot anything down that has a 12 AV (unless you have fire dragons) is going to be in for a big disappointment. I felt that I could spend the points better elsewhere.

Here is my anti-flyer strategy
  1. The Emperor protects! I have over 1000 points in 2+ armor saves so right there half of my army is going to be very hard to hurt by fliers (besides vendettas)
  2. Draigo being Draigo. Draigo has a 2+ save and so what I could do it put him in the front of my strike squad and make him take all of the saves if some heldrakes try to BBQ them.  
  3. Sing with the psychic choir. Coteaz, can also be out in front but if he fails a 2+ save then he will be insta-gibbed. The only way that he can be out front is if I roll a 5 on the divination table and it lets him re-roll failed saves. Also if I roll a 2 I get a 4+ inv save and that will help slow down the heldrakes a little bit.
  4. Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer. If I go first the interceptor squad is so fast I can just move forward and try to get into assault with something. This will let me be safe from any shooting while being locked in combat.
  5. See, but don’t be seen. If I go second I can try to deepstrke behind the fliers after they come on. With their 18” move and 12” range they have to move away, and I can try to land in their blind spot. The next turn they can choose to hover but then they will get shot down.
  6. Use my enemy’s strength against them. Interceptors are so fast that I can often take over my opponent’s quad guns and try to shoot down their own flyers with them. There is nothing better than doing this.   
  7. A nexus for the rest of us. The interesting thing about the random objective Skyfire Nexus is that you have to be able to scoring to use them. Here is the problem with most scoring units…they do not have the tools to shoot down flyers. That is not the problem with my army because if I find one, my army can shred fliers.
  8. And if all else fails, plan B. I will either just ignore them, or shoot them down. Yes, you need “6”s to hit, but I pump out a lot of strength 7 shooting and with prescience I am going to get some good hits. The other thing that I have going for me is the dreadnaughts. 4 twin linked shots at strength 8 might get their attention. If they have too much I have to count on my durability to weather their fire.  

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Road to Adepticon- 39 Days and counting

As most people know I played at the Bay Area Open last weekend and I did well early on, but on day #2 I stumbled a bit.

Here was my list:


10x Paladins - 4x Psycannons, Brotherhood Banner, Warding Stave, mix of weapons
1x Paladin - Hammer
3x Henchmen - 1x Banisher, 2x Warrior Acolytes

10x Interceptors - 2x Psycannons, Psybolt Ammo
10x Interceptors - 2x Psycannons, Psybolt Ammo

I took this list because it was so fast. I keep saying that mobility is very important in 6th edition and this list let me put my money where my mouth is.

It performed very well and I managed to climb my way up to table #4 on day #2 where I lost to the eventual winner. Even the games that I lost were very close and I had a chance to win each of them. That is the sign that you are close to having a good list when you are not getting blown out, and the games that you lose are close.


So it is time to get ready for Adepticon and I have 39 days to do it.

Here is the list I am thinking about right now

1850 Points of Grey Knights:

10x Paladins - 4x Psycannons, Brotherhood Banner
10x Strike Squad - 2x Psycannons, Psybolt Ammo
10x Interceptor Squad - 2x Psycannons, Psybolt Ammo
Dreadnaught 2x Autocannons, Psybolt Ammo
Dreadnaught 2x Autocannons, Psybolt Ammo

There you have it. It reminds me a lot of my Nova Open 2011 list.


Here is a list of items that I want, but I am not getting because I do not have the points:

Warding Staff:  I really like the 2++ save in assault. This is very good for tanking nasty creatures and thunderhammers.
Psybolt Ammo on the Paladins: Even though it is only 6 models, and less cost efficient than the power armored grey knights, it still comes in handy.
Cheap scoring units: I like the ability to keep scoring units in reserve and then walk on the board to an objective that you have placed behind a piece of LOS blocking terrain. Most of the time when you have combat troops you are wandering around killing and you are often out of position for objective holding, or they can be shot at or engaged and killed.

The problem is, where am I going to get the points to pay for them?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Back from the Dead

Alright, time to get going again.

Every year I play my last tournament in November and start up again in February.

So on the agenda for me this spring I have:

Slaughter in Space GT 2000 points and 6 rounds
Los Angeles Ca Feb. 16-17

Bay Area Open 1750 points 7 rounds
Antioch Ca. March 2nd and 3rd
Adepticon 1850 Points 4-8 rounds
Chicago IL. April 18th – 21st
Those are the big events and I should play in some RTTs in between.

Dakka Dakka Battle Report

I played against Jim who is JY2 on Dakka Dakka. He is a prolific batrep writer (I remember when I use to do that!) and you can read about our game here:

Batrep thoughts:

This was my first game after my annual winter break from the game. I was a little rusty and I need to re-read the missions. I could have passed off the relic, and I did not know that heavy support choices gave 1 VP in big guns never tire.

I also am very lackadaisical about the victory points. I need to have a fast moving unit or two in my list for line-breaker (I think I will convert a strike squad to interceptors), and I ignored first blood. I could have killed his tervagon that only had 3 wounds left on turn #2, but I ignored it because it was out of gants. I also need to be more protective of my Warlord and it should have been Coteaz since he is more likely to be in the rear with the gear.

In this game you will notice that I took a Grey Knight Grandmaster instead of Draigo. I have a lot of people ask why I did that so this is the answer:

Draigo vs. Grandmaster

With Draigo he makes the Paladins scoring so he can use grand strategy for something else. He can also buy solodins if that is what you want for some cheap troops. He is still a beast in assault, and is very durable. His downsides though are points, lack of AP2 weaponry. He also tends to make you want to keep your paladins together instead of combat-squading to tank wounds (I prefer to combat squad, but sometimes due to mission, and opponent it makes more sense to keep them together).

You have to take a Grandmaster if you do not take Draigo because you have to use Grand Strategy to make them troops. The Grandmaster is a lot more customizable than Draigo is because you can give him grenades, servo skulls and you get to choose his weapons like a psycannon or even a warding staff.

There is a third option of course and that is to not take any type of grandmaster at all and save 250-275 points. That is a lot of points that you can spend on 10 Purifiers/some strikes/a storm raven/a dreadknight/ or a couple of dreadnaughts. The downside is that you will not be able to make your paladins scoring which means that your opponent is more likely to ignore them, and there have been many games where I have been left with only my paladins, and if they were not scoring I could not hold any objectives. 

Question in!

Would you drop dreadnoughts for Dreadknight+Draigo? Because I saw you mention intending to shift to Dreadknights. I am a new player, been playing quite a bit but oddly there's v little decent GK player in my country. So would appreciate your insight if you have a moment.

I currently run a striker spam list with 50 strikers, 2 Dreadknights, Coteaz and a cheap prescience inquisitor.

The Grey Knight build you are running is good one. Massed strikes with Coteaz and some Dreadknights for mobility and durability are quite formidable.Hulksmash runs a list like that and does well with it.

Adding Draigo and Dreadknights
Draigo is good, but he is not 275 points worth of good unless you are running paladins, and then he brings a lot to the table (making them troops and taking wounds).

Dreadnaughts on the other hand would add something to your army. They add anti-aircraft fire (twin-linked strength 8 shots), and with the amount of psychic powers that you see in 6th edition their aegis is a great defense (anything targeting a unit within 12” makes a leadership check at -4). I did not realize until this game that they still have a role in my army with the amount of maledictions being thrown around these days. 

Dreadknights are good, durable, and they can be made fast for a ton of points. They are good in your strike list for counter assault (since strikes suck against a good assault unit). They also add some durability with their 2+ saves and toughness 6 that the strike squads don’t have. So I would keep them in your list if I was you.

 I am thinking about a GK build that has everything with a 2+ save in it and in that case I was thinking about dreadknights, but I am on the fence with them overall with paladins since they are rather redundant. In all honesty, I have never used them and I need to experiment with them a bit to get a better understanding of them.

I hope that helped.