Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Playing Eldar: Starting from the beginning

While I have only been playing 40k for about two and a half years, my interest in the hobby goes back to my days in high school, when I played many different CCGs to pass the time on the weekends.  Almost every weekend while I was playing, I would get to see a glimpse of the 40k universe as numerous RTTs were run at the store.  Many times I was tempted to pick up this game, and one army stood out among the others with their hovering ships and and sleek, elegant lines.

Of course I am talking about Eldar.  While I might not really like the helmets on the Guardians (and to a lesser extent the Dire Avengers), the vehicles and jetbikes just really call out to me.  When I started to pick up the hobby I immediately looked to them to be my possible first army.  After reading around on the internet and doing some research I found that I should probably learn the game with a more forgiving army, so I took up Space marines.  I quickly jumped over to Codex: Dark Angels, however, as my favorite marine unit is terminators, and at that point there was no other method of getting them as troops.

Fast forward to last week: I am sitting on a collection of Space marine units about 11,000 points strong with a good 3000 points painted, mostly vehicles and terminators.  A friend of mine suggests I should take her Eldar army off her hands.  Of course I do the sensible thing and pick up 4500 points of an army I know very little about how to use.  I add this to a handful of models I've picked up in passing and I have a very respectable force.  I am however missing some very important things:

- Fire Dragons
- Shining Spears
- more Wave Serpents
- Eldrad

So, I immediately head over to the local store and order just that. 2 boxes of everything on the list and the Eldrad blister (the store only keeps a couple of Eldar boxes on the shelf, as it's not an army they move a lot of product for)

As of this coming Friday I should have pretty much everything I need to get the ball rolling.  I have some jetbikes set aside for a seer council as well. I will be using some conversion kits from Chapterhouse Studios to build up the kit just as soon as they are available.  I'm going ahead and ordering a Farseer and twelve Warlocks to give myself a full retinue and some extra warlocks for Guardian Jetbikes.

I will need to pick up some more Wave Serpents at some point.  I'm going to refine a standard playlist before I decide on how many will be needed. I figure four Wave Serpents and two Falcons should cover most of my transport needs for the time being.

I am still working up some ideas on how to run things, and I know for sure I'm going to get a lot wrong from the get-go.  I have read up a decent bit on how each unit should work from various blogs and forums, and I am definitely taking these words to heart.  I've seen a fair number of these ideas used against me to pretty good effect, so I know the advice is sound.

That doesn't mean, however that I should take such advice as the absolute truth, at least from the beginning.  It is just as important to learn the weaknesses and strengths first hand. For instance, SOP out of the Eldar handbook is to run 5-man Dire Avenger squads and 5- to 6-man fire dragon squads in repetition to cover the needs of a standard 5th edition game.  I understand and even mostly agree with the reasoning behind choosing units.

My first several games, however, are going to run these units in 10-man squads.  The Fire Dragons will not be taking an exarch, but the Dire Avengers will.  He will have Bladestorm, Defend, and the power weapon and shimmershield.  I understand completely that such a large Fire Dragon squad is going to draw a good bit of fire once they hit the table, and I am hoping that with enough support I will be able to keep them going for a while.  The plan is to keep the enemy busy with a decently large jetbike seer council and a few other things.  I also plan on layering the anti-tank weaponry a bit so that when the Fire Dragons do get blasted off the table I am not left SOL with no more anti-tank options in the list.

More insight into my advances with the Eldar army are to come.  I expect to repeat this process for other units as I try them out.  Be sure to let me know if you think this approach is completely off-base.


  1. I won't try to convince you that you shouldn't try 10-man DA units, because some like them and use them pretty well. BUT -
    Be aware of the problems going in. :)

  2. Shining Spears make me sadface. Too pricey, not killy enough.

    DA exarchs look cool, but they end up pricey and still very vulnerable thanks to T3/4+. If anybody were to have an Exarch, I'd give it to the Dragons. The Dragon's Breath Flamer makes them a very versatile unit.



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