Frustrated at the fact that there are two extreme beliefs (eldar are the best, or they are the weakest) and very little research behind both, I have decided to post some of my strategies. Maybe I can help some people, maybe not, but read on and we'll see.
Food-for-thought- First of all, elder is all about using a small amount of units to slice through the enemy rather than smashing them with a large blunt object until they are unconscious. Tactics are the key. To start, let’s discuss the mobility. Eldar can outpace any other race on the map with their units from day one till the endgame. Fleet of foot is the first upgrade you get EVERY game EVERY time. Learn the hotkey -F-, and learn to use tab to cycle through your groups. If a unit is moving it should be in fleet, if it is shooting it should be out of fleet, and you must learn to do this smoothly without thinking about it. Never let a fleeted unit fire a shot- because you’re cutting your damage in half. And never walk around without it, because no matter what reason you have for moving, getting there faster is better. The gravic boosters do the same thing, use the tab–G- method to move your platforms around the map quickly.
Grenades- the second upgrade you get, the moment fleet is done, in fact before it is done, get the grenade upgrade. This will allow you to catch units trying to run, and knock them out of cover, and slow oncoming traffic. If you have only 2 guardian squads and you get attacked by orks, throw grenades at one of the oncoming units and then when they get up, throw the other one, you’ll stop them from reaching your units for at least 4-5 seconds this way, giving you plenty of time to shoot them.
Dancing – Dancing is a term I borrow from Kohan, basically, to survive, and ultimately win the early game, you must learn to dance your units. You alternate 2 guardians (for example) by using fleet of foot constantly, whatever group the enemy targets, you fleet and run away while the other shoots, let them chase you around. When they switch targets, you switch fleet on both units and do the same thing. Whatever group is standing still should be out of fleet and vice versa at all times. This will FORCE the enemy to use ranged combat against you and this is where elder shines- before they get a seer council.
Ensnare- Hands down the best ability the elder get, always have 2 companies of guardians with ensnare with you so you can freeze assault marines, horror squads, and most importantly commanders. The enemy has wasted time and resources to get that commander out, and even better… they depend on him to turn the battle. Ensnare him once, and kill the people around him without letting your units get near him, after the first snare wears off, do it again, then have every unit on ranged stance and target the commander. Boom…
Seer council – get them early, and use ranged attack a lot. Council members in ranged mode are VERY hard to kill, and do almost as much damage. Plus the biggest bonus to the seer council is that they knock units back, so if the enemy closes in on them, they still do that, only once they knock them back, they keep shooting rather than chasing = more damage.
Brightlances – only one or two are needed for the first 5 minutes of the game, but they are critical. Even ONE lance will take out a listening post or tower in a matter of seconds. 2 will drop an upgraded post in something like 8 seconds. Once you get 6-8 of them no tank, tower, or building will be able to survive more than 3 volleys from these guys before dying. ALWAYS target all of your brightlances on the enemy as a group. Don’t have one shooting a building and another a tank, all lances attack one thing at a time. Trust me on this. Use SHIFT click to give them a QUE of targets to kill.
Gateway teleportation – At every frontline battle you should jump in a builder unit and build a gateway. Having your barracks waypoint set to the nearest gateway. Then as units are built they will go straight to the gateway and poof they are on the front line as if your barracks itself was mobile. When you can… its expensive now… but when you can get the invis upgrade and use it on every gateway. If you must lose a battle, kill the commander and then run away, and your buildings will live. This also gives you a quick retreat when your infantry are about to die, don’t waste time running away, they can still shoot you if you do, just hop in the gateway and teleport out. I laugh when I see elders with 4-6 gateways in one place. Its such a waste… they should populate the map like landmarkers. Every place that a gateway is at the end of the game should represent a battle you’ve won. If your map looks like it has bullet holes in it at the end, you’ve done well.
Towers – Never build them, every dime you spend on a tower is a waste. They don’t buy time against good players, they don’t move with you when you attack. And defense will always lose. Only offense wins. If you wish, you may upgrade a listening post that is on the front, but the rest should stay in their original state the entire game. The start of the game is where every dime counts, and you cant waste it by spending on stuff that wont help you kill the enemy.
Initiative – Eldar because of their mobility bonus and brightlances are ALL about momentum and initiative. Attack once you reach the 2-3 minute mark, attack to control all the resources, attack early, attack often, and NEVER stop… if your units are fully re-inforced and standing still they are a waste of money. A gun should always be firing if you have full groups. Once you start to beat your enemy do not just stand still and pat yourself on the back. So many times I see people win a battle then stand still while they build more units… YOU WON that means you get to march into your enemies base and kill things… isn’t that why you fought to begin with? The right to kill the enemies buildings? When the units are dead the buildings are next, don’t waste time thinking about it, keep the momentum going and keep the attack going. Elder wont win by slugging it out punch for punch. You have to sneak in and foot sweep them, then when they are on the ground you kick them, again and again until they never get up. If you try to slug it out… you will find marines are more suited to your playstyle.
I think I’ll stop here. If you want me to post more simply reply with request and I will go into some advanced tactics. These strategies are just general guidelines. Hope this helps more people feel more comfortable playing Eldar.
PS – Please join my FFA games…