The exemplar of the Eldar armies synergy. While near useless on their own, the Farseer’s powers are capable of making one, or all, of your units better at what they do.
Guide – A very useful power, and essential for those times when you absolutely need to hit your target! Needless to say, guide ramps up the to hit chances of any unit, and thus works best with units that are possess destructive weaponry. Ideal targets to guide are: Warwalkers: guiding a unit of 3WW with 6SL or EML comes to 18S6 hits with the former (15 wounds vs MEQ!), and A scary 5krak missile hits, or and even scarier amount of Plasma missile hits on a unit (remember, its a pinning test per pinning weapon in a unit that causes a wound, so remember to work out the hits seperately! A pain, yes, but nothing like causing 6 pinning tests on a big unit of Boyz!
Doom – Essentially a power with the potential to make every unit in your army more effective, albeit against a single enemy unit. Cast it on the stuff you really want to die, TMC are prime targets, with doom turning even SC and SL into deadly weapons, forcing lots of saves, and making sure StC's get those kills! Consider the dominant weapon strength in your army before choosing doom. If the majority of your weapons are S6+, then you wont get too much mileage from it, and guide may be better. On the other hand, if you have a lot of S4 Scats in your army (DA, DA, DA) then doom in invaluable!
Fortune – Designed to keep your valuable troops alive! Bear in mind that no matter how much your guardians are fortuned, theyre still dead when hit by AP5 weaponry, so make sure that you fortune the right unit! Aspect warriors and models with invulnerable saves are best. Everyone knows of the might of the fortuned seer council, a rerollable 4+ save is statistically better than a a 3+ (but not quite as good as a 2+...), so remember that you will lose at least some models, so take spares. General good use is to fortune an avatar, or wraithlord in cover, meaning all those nasty krak missiles fired at it will amount to nothing.
Eldritch Storm – A power that splits decision like no other. Some love it, most dont bother with it. If you know that you will be facing a horde army, or an army with a lot of vehicles, this may be useful. Combine with doom to dish out the pain on lightly armoured models. Considering an average roll will glance AV10, and with a slight [1/12] chance of getting a glance or better vs a monolith, this can be used as anti tank in a pinch. Just dont pin your hopes on it. What is nice, however, is that any tank touched by the template is spun around, giving you a reasonable chance of having a tanks rear armour exposed to your S6 weapons of doom. Just remember to use this power first!
Mind War – Another power that people will either use to death, or not at all, Mind War can truly be a pain for an opponent, especially with the farseers superior leadership. Use this to assassinate normally untargetable models, like the Ork nob with powerklaw thats about to get at your wraithlord (or even better, the painboy in a nobz mob...), or that marine with the melta
Spirit Stones – Useful for multi purpose farseers, allowing multiple casting of powers. Guide and fortune allow for a good defensive shooty firebase, while guide and doom combine well to target and neutralise a specific enemy unit. Warding An absolutely fantastic item, making psychic tests for your opponent much harder, and much much more riskier! Ive had Slaaneshi daemon princes refuse to cast lash of submission because of the effects of the runes. A must have for casual games, but they can be left at home if you know your opponent wont be using psykers.
Runes of Witnessing
Witnessing They seem great initially; much easier to pass the psychic test for powers. But bear in mind, the two lowest dice must be used – this item makes that snake eyes much more likely, and you'll suffer more PotW than usual. Id leave this at home, the Farseer’s Ld of 10 should be enough to pass pretty much every psychic test.
No longer the cheap meatshields for farseers, the compulsory equipment gives a high cost, meaning these warriors are not to be taken lightly. Theyre good statline is a trap. Even with a warlock, guardians are still rubbish in combat! Only take them when you absolutely need that unit to hold (6 man jetbike squads).. Critical if you want to run Wraithguard as troops, and useful if you ever want to use weapons platforms, as they can embolden them, and the warlock, as an upgrade character, is allowed to fire one of the weapons at his better BS of 4!
One of the best, a perfect compliment to a dual flamer storm guardian squad in a wave serpent. This also finds use in multiples in seer councils, where jumping out of a serpent/arriving via jetbike is accompanied by 2-6 heavy flamers into your opponents favourite unit. Quite messy.
Possibly the best power for guardian warlocks, embolden keeps them in the game with rerollable Ld8. Dont forget, embolden allows farseers to reroll failed psychic tests too, so having an embolden 'lock or two in a seer council is useful indeed!
pretty cool, adding to the base stats of the unit. Again, pointless on guardians, but can make wraithguard competitive in combat, and a seer council, +/- autarch, murderous!
Used to be ok. Now is pointless. Paying for 5+ cover is pointless when theres so much free 4+ cover all over the place! Maybe useful if you play on cover sparse boards. Potentially useful for wraithguard, who may have to venture from cover.
Fire Dragons - Point for point, arguably the most effective tank hunting unit in the game. Turn them upon enemy armour, monstrous creatures or even 3+/2+ saves and they will show their worth! Generally, 5-6 dragons will score you multiple penetrating hits, and generally a kill, with the help of AP1 fusion guns! This awesome power comes at a price, though.
Fire dragons are extremely short ranged (6” of target to be effective), and will find that their attempts at walking into position will see them full of bullet holes. As a result, dragons need the support of a transport. This traditionally used to be the falcon, its smaller transport capacity, seeming most suited, but now with melta weapons now being the most cost effective anti tank weapon in the game, the falcon is pushed into redundancy with the wave serpents energy field rule protecting it from meltas at the close ranges it needs to obtain to deliver its cargo. With the prohibitively expensive cost of lance weapons, coupled with their substandard effectiveness, fire dragons should be used to take out targets of AV13 or higher, with AV14 being the priority.
Banshees are potentially one of the most destructive units in the eldar army, thanks to the sher volume of power weapon attacks they can dish out, making mincemeat of those races that like to think themselves impervious in their 3+ armoured might! The problem with Banshees, is that they are very fragile, and any kind of determined shooting will see them whittled to ineffective numbers very quickly. Banshees need a transport, whether being used offensively, or as a counter attacking unit: they need the protection until they are ready to strike.
With regards to weaponry, the executioner is the best choice by far: Running the numbers, the higher strength executioner outperforms the extra attacks granted by the mirrorswords in every possible circumstance, with the exception of an ongoing combat/being charged by T3 opponents. When charging, or vs T4 (or greater), the executioner outperforms the paired swords consistently in terms out causing wounds. The only real weakness of the banshees is their S3, which will see them needing 5+ to wound their most common enemies, T4. This is somewhat countered by the S5 of the exarch-ocutioner, who will kill a fair few MEQ on her own, but to truly get the most from your banshees, you should combine their charge with a doom wielding farseer, to get those almighty rerolls: Then, their S3 is pretty much negated, leaving each hit with a 75% chance of scoring a wound, or, in model terms, 2 banshees will kill 3 marines between them on the charge (6 attacks, 4 hit, 3 wound) which is damn impressive!
The citizen warriors of the Eldar should only be used as a last resort, poets and sculptors should not be on the battlefield. Short ranged weapons mean that they are at maximum effectiveness within bolter rapid fire range, which is exactly where they shouldn’t be. The saving grace is that they have access to the Eldar heavy weapon arsenal.
Take weapons that are either multi shot, or don’t rely greatly on BS to hit. Shuriken cannons, scatter lasers and the EML for plasma missiles are the order of the day. Don’t think that giving them a bright lance will make them effective tank hunters: they will hit 50% of the time, and 50% of the time, the shot will do nothing (vs AV12 or greater), giving an average of 0.056% chance to get a kill on a vehicle of AV12+. Vehicle of AV<12 should be targeted by scatterlasers, and AV>12 by fire dragons.
Warlocks do not add great amounts to this unit, almost making it cost almost 50% more for little return. If anything, take embolden to keep them in the fight. That said, a unit of 10 in cover makes for a decent objective holder, but are prone to assaults. They will need protection. Best suited for static armies, or armies that want a cheap unit to hold a home objective.
Storm guardians are a different kettle of fish. Their poor statline makes them roughly equivalent to basic troops from any other race in combat, their points cost seeing them usually outnumbered. What is nice, however, is that they have the option for two flamers. Combine this with a destructor warlock, put them in a wave serpent, and you have a unit that can dish out a lot of damage. Just watch out for return S4/AP5 fire. Most suited to Mechanised Eldar armies, that already have some combat ability.
Eldar Guardian Jetbikes (EJB)- The star of the elder list: cheap, fast, relatively tough, and most importantly, scoring. The only negative point I can see to this unit is the low Ld value. There are different schools of thought regarding jetbikes. The first is to take the minimum unit of 3, often with the SC upgrade to add a little punch to the unit. this is for objective stealing and harassment only. This is quite vulnerable, and getting shot at by heavy weapons will most likely kill most of the unit, with the possibility of the rest running away due to lack of embolden warlock (who would see the unit almost double in cost...). Still, the unit costs under 80pts, and if you coordinate your army well, then your opponent will have scarier things to shoot at than 3 bikes, much to their grievance when that unit turboboosts onto an objective in the final turn. The second is to take a unit of 6, with 2 SC, and an Embolden warlock. This follows much the same role as the first, except that since there are more bodies and SC, it’s a bit more of a threat. A better objective contester than the 3EJB unit, however this comes at a high cost, and 7 EJB can be very hard to get behind cover. Still with the addition of a singing spear to the warlock, this unit can be quite a nice tank hunter, turboboosting to the other side of the board, then unloading with 6S6 shots and, 8S4, and 1S9 shot into the back of a tank. Well suited to any type of Eldar army.
Shining Spears have taken a big hit in 5th with the TLOS rules: whereas formerly you could nicely hide them behind a terrain piece, now they are pretty hard to hide due to their large unit footprint. The best you can really hope for is a cover save, or the 3+cover from turboboosting. Fortuning them right before a boost will see them live for slightly longer, but they are still T3(4), and an assault cannon or two will ruin their day. Now, at least, the skilled riders rule is worth taking to move through cover to get those nice saves with minimal risk of crashing.
With spears, you have to balance the number of models in the unit – you need enough to absorb wounds, but you need fewer to make for a smaller footprint. Ultimately, I would say that the amount of spears to have in the unit depends on whether you will be fielding an autarch with the unit. Having an autarch will dramatically ramp up the killing power of the unit (he will get almost as many attacks as the rest of the unit on the charge, and most likely more in the second round!) This leads to the problem that units without an autarch don’t kill enough models in combat, and those with an autarch kill too many!
With all this in mind, the spears deliver a hell of a punch, and can be guaranteed to kill off a few MEQ models in combat. While they will not win combat on their own, they can definitely tip the scales in your favour, if they charge at an opportune moment.
One thing that the spears do have to their immense advantage, is that they can hurt pretty much everything in the game: Dont forget that their shooting (and combat??) attacks have the lance rule, so they can glance that land raider on a 6, (or a 4, with a starlance!!), and absolutely murder tanks with lower rear armour values! Set up a charge on a doomed monstrous creature to see your white knights win the day – there shouldn’t be much standing after a few S6 AP4 shots, then a load of S6 power weapon attacks.
Treat the Shining Spears like a scalpel – they can hit hard, but likely only once or twice in a game. They have the speed and manoeuvrability to get to where they need to be, and send them after that unit you really, really need to cripple, like that railhead, or whirlwind lurking at the back!
Swooping Hawks Swooping hawks, while not the most useful unit in the Eldar army, can still present a thorn in the side of an opponent, and can basically act as soldiers of fortune. You may hear of people whining about them, saying they're useless. Well. Maybe they are useless...in the role that these people are trying to force them into.
My most basic advice with hawks, is not to formulate your battle plan around them, and dont assume that they will be able to achieve objective x with ease (Im selling them well, arent I??) I put forward that the hawks work well alone, outside of other battleplans, and that they be one of those units that you add in when you have that weird 100 or so points left at the end of army list construction. Hawks may work best taking pot shots at weakened units at 24” range, getting nowhere near the opponent, then, maybe if a unwary tank strays too close, they pounce on it with their haywire grenades. A sunrifle and intercept abilites come in handy here, but obviously ramp up the cost.
Overall, Id say hawks are better anti infantry than anti tank, and that intercept's points could be spent elsewhere. Take an exarch and sunrifle to double the units firepower, then skyleap if you think that your opponent may catch them in combat (bad you), or you want to try with the 'rubberhawk' method (see next chapter). Id advise always deepstriking them initially, to get the most from their grenade packs. Grenade packing a unit, followed by the 14 shots that come from a 5man unit inc. sunrifle exarch, can cause a fair amount of damage, especially if the target marked for death has been appropriately doomed.
The new glory boy of the Eldar list, with the advent of 5th editions rules for blast weapons. Your prism cannon will now hit more often, and has 'stun' and 'kill' settings to eliminate even the toughest stains! Mobile and deadly, the fire prism can redeploy at a moments notice, and is one of the fastest moving heavy support choices in the game! Dont be fooled, though, yes the prism cannon may be a blast lascannon, but that doesnt make it the perfect anti tank weapon. Fire dragons are still waay, better.
The prism is, in its current form, an anti infantry beast. Use the type of beam that will ignore your opponents armour, as this will generally work out to cause the most casualties. Combining fire prisms: Here's the awesome part: A prism can sacrifice its shooting to boost the shooting of another unit, getting the foccussed beam up to a massive S10, AP1, enough to frazzle a monolith (take that, living metal!), and the dispersed beam to an MEQ slaying S6AP3. Pure gold.
Thing is, your opponent knows this as well, and will do everything they can to take that prism down, so keeping them alive is key for success. I would generally take prisms in pairs, as to not lose the anti infantry power, as one will generally be shaken at any one time, and to enable prism cannon combi shots. Holofields are a good, but expensive buy for the prism, and spirit stones will let it go flat out if its ever stunned in order for it to claim the 4+cover save. If you think two prisms is good, then three is even better, the sheer amount of large blasts that they can throw down is excellent, and even if your MEQ opponent stuns one, then the other two can still combine to get the AP3 template. A word to the wise: Combining all three prisms to make a large S7, AP2 shot may seem like the best and coolest idea ever, but its actually overrated. Vs terminators, three S9 AP2 small templates will actually work out to kill more models than a single large template. And also, the S9 shots will insta-kill any characters with the unit. See “Know your Strategy” for tips on how to keep Prisms alive.