New Eldar Codex 6th Edition Review - Warhammer 40k
Murphy, here, reporting on the breaking release of the new Codex: Eldar for Warhammer 40k 6th edition! Hot off the presses, the ancient rulers of the galaxy are back with a new codex; their first in two editions! I have fond memories of Eldar from back in the day . . . at least fond memories of them whooping my butt! It was all in good fun, though, so let us get over our shame of being outgunned and out-runned by space elves, and maybe join in on the fun!
Eldar are one of the staple armies of Warhammer 40k, at least in my memory of the game. Fifteen years ago, they were the scourge of 2nd edition 40k. They brought a lot to the table in the form of specialized aspect warriors, Exarchs with crazy wargear, tons of psychics, and beautiful models. Jump forward to 5th edition and they seemed to be the dying race that their fluff depicts them as. I will not comment on their effectiveness on the battlefield, but I will say that they suffered from a dated codex and I think players mostly moved on to newer and shinier things.
The webway has opened again, however, and the Eldar are back! With a small release of new models and the new Codex: Eldar 6th edition, I have a feeling that this staple army of 40k will come back with a vengeance. In this review, I will go section by section and cover some of the exciting changes and updates to the Eldar army.
Let's check out some of the new rules first!
New Army Rules
This section will cover the army-wide rules that bring the Eldar into 6th edition Warhammer 40k. There are some great things here that I can’t wait to see on the battlefield!
Most of the units in the Eldar army have these new special rules.
Ancient Doom: The model gains Hatred (Daemons of Slaanesh and models with the Mark of Slaanesh, but have -1 on their LD when testing for Fear against Daemons of Slaanesh and Marks of Slaanesh.
Battle Focus: This is the big one! The unit may run AND shoot or shoot AND run. You have to activate this ability with each unit before you can move the next unit. Models cannot use Battle Trance if they have a heavy weapon, unless it also has the relentless special rule (hint, hint: weapons platforms!)
I think that the Ancient Doom rule is great for fluff, but will only come up in a handful of battles. I love that 6th edition codexes are finding ways of including fluff into the rules without unbalancing the game. For instance, I absolutely love the Chaos Space Marine rule, Veterans of the Long War. First, it's such a "fluffy" name, and giving your evil marines Hatred for the loyalist reflects perfectly their 10,000 year devotion to destroying the Emperor and his most loyal soldiers.
Now, the other new rule, Battle Focus, is going to change the game! Truthfully, it's the first new rule that I've seen to actually "break" the rules. I mean this in a good way. For two editions now, units could not fire weapons AND run in the same turn. Heck, I think this rule of either/or goes back to 2nd edition. Now, we have practically an entire army that breaks this rule.
Eldar players in 6th edition are going to have two options to use this new power: offensively or defensively. Obviously, you can use it offensively to move, run forward to get in range, and then open fire. This makes Eldar very mobile on foot and very aggressive.
However, smart players might also use this defensively as well. You could very well wait until your opponent moves into range, perhaps move your own troops up to get in range, shoot, and then run backwards to increase the range between you and your opponent again.
Consider now that almost all Eldar units have Fleet, meaning that they will be able to re-roll their Run distance. This will give players a reliable 4-5 inches on most turns. The downside to this rule is that most Eldar foot weapons (as opposed to vehicle weapons) have dreadfully short ranges, from between 12-18" inches. At least this rule will help you get into range quicker!
The Eldar have a new set of Warlord Traits, which is to be expected for a new 6th edition codex. One interesting thing to note is that the Phoenix Lord, Asurmen, gets to chose 1D3 of these traits!
Eldar Warlord Traits:
- Ambush of Blades: Once per game, in your own Shooting or Assault Phase, the warlord and allies within 12" reroll failed To Wound rolls of 1.
- An Eye on Distant Events: Once per game, in the enemy’s Shooting Phase, the warlord and all allies within 12" gain Stealth.
- Falcon’s Swiftness: The warlord and his unit add +1 to their run movement.
- Fate’s Messenger: The warlord rerolls failed saves of 1.
- Mark of the Incomparable Hunter: The warlord gains the Split Fire rule.
- See of the Shifting Vector: Allied Eldar units deepstriking within 6" of the warlord will not scatter.
The "once per game" traits are interesting. While they might seem a little "meh" at first glance, being only a one use trick, but I realized that there are often games I play where my Warlord Trait is NEVER used because they are often so situational. At least these give you a choice of when to use it! I like the Split Fire trait because it allows you to keep your Warlord protected in a unit, but perhaps to use some firepower to direct where it's needed, rather than at its unit's target.
Every unit of Aspect Warriors can upgrade one member to become an Exarch, which then opens up new wargear options and lets them pick from a list of usually 3 Exarch powers. Each type of Exarch has a different combination of powers, chosen out of the master list here.
Several of the Exarch powers are straight out of the Warhammer 40k rulebook in the form of a Universal Special Rule (USR). There are some great new ones, too, though! Let’s look at the USR’s available. Remember, every Exarch gets to pick one from their available list.
USR abilities: Fear, Feel No Pain, Hit and Run, Monster Hunter, and Night Vision.
New Exarch powers:
Battle Fortune: 4+ invulnerable save.
Crushing Blow: +1 Strength.
Disarming Strike: When in a challenge, both the Exarch and his enemy both roll a d6. If the Exarch’s WS is higher, he adds +1 to the roll. If he ties or wins the roll, choose ONE of the enemy’s weapons and it counts as only a normal close combat weapon for the round.
Fast Shot: The exarch may fire his weapon 1 more time than normal, but not with template weapons.
Iron Resolve: +1 LD
Marksman’s Eye: The Exarch has precision shots on a 5+
Shield of Grace: In a challenge, the Exarch gains a 3+ invulnerable, but can only make a single attack.
Stalker: When in a challenge, both the Exarch and his opponent roll a D6. If the Exarch’s Initiative is higher, he adds +1 to his roll. If he ties or wins the roll, the Exarch may reroll failed To Wound rolls.
I love Exarch powers! In the glory days of 2nd edition, every Exarch was an Independent Character, could be given some insane powers and wargear combinations. They were the bane of many armies, and often so cheap that they gave up zero victory points. Unfortunately for Eldar players, the days of a Jump Generator Exarch with a bright lance and Quick Shot are 15 years long gone. Exarchs are now glorified sergeants, but they can still pack quite a punch! Keep these powers in mind when you explore the Exarch options in the later parts of this review!
Eldar Psychic Powers
If the Eldar had one thing going for them in the last two editions, it was the possession of strong Psychic powers. On the plus side, several of their powers have returned in the 6th edition codex. On the down side, they are now randomly generated like the other 6th edition Warhammer 40k releases. There are actually two lists in the new Eldar 6th edition codex, and their different psykers also have access to some of the disciplines in the Warhammer 40k rulebook. Let’s look at the two new lists. Can you spot the returning favorites?
Runes of Battle: This list has more offensive capabilities and is interesting because each power is actually two powers in one: an option to buff your own army, and an option to hurt your opponent. Not bad! Also, every one of these powers are Warp Charge 1.
Primaris: Conceal/Reveal – Either give your psyker (and any unit he’s attached to) Shrouded OR make an enemy unit lose Stealth and Shrouded.
- Destructor/Renewer – Either a Str 4, AP 4 template weapon OR heal 1 wound on a model within 18”.
- Embolden/Horrify – The psyker and his unit gain Fearless OR an enemy unit is -3 Leadership.
- Enhance/Drain – The psyker and his unit gain +1 WS and Initiative OR an enemy unit suffers -1 to the same stats.
- Protect/Jinx – The psyker and his unit gain +1 to their armor save OR and enemy unit suffers -1 to its armor save (wow!).
- Quicken/Restrain – The psyker and his unit can run +3” OR an enemy unit cannot run at all for that turn.
- Empower/Enervate – The psyker and his unit have +1 Str OR an enemy unit takes -1 to Str.
Runes of Fate: This is a set of powerful powers (yes, I tried a different combination of words here and this is the best I could get. Amazing powers? Powerful spells? Magnificent abilities? You understand my conundrum now) available to the Eldar Farseer.
Primaris – Guide – A friendly unit rerolls misses in shooting!
- Executioner – A strange power to describe. It’s a focused witchfire that does 3 hits on a model (fleshbane, so wound on 2+), then 2 hits on another if you kill the first, and then 1 hit on another.
- Doom – Reroll failed wound rolls or armor penetration rolls on an enemy unit.
- Eldritch Storm – Warp Charge 2 – Large Blast witchfire with Fleshbane, Haywire, and Pinning.
- Death Mission – Warp Charge 2 – This weird power boosts your psyker with +5 WS, BS, I, and +2 Attacks, and gains Fearless and Rampage. However, there is a marker system that counts down on a die roll or if the game ends. If you lose your last marker (or the game ends) your psyker dies. Yep.
- Fortune – Warp Charge 2 – A friendly unit may reroll failed saving throws and deny the witch rolls.
- Mind War – Warp Charge 2 – Basically the psyker and an enemy character roll a d6 and add their Leadership. If the psyker loses, he is reduced to WS and BS 1 until the next turn. If he wins, then the enemy takes wounds equal to the difference with no armor or cover saves allowed.
You cannot separate Eldar and Psychics. Well, you could, but why would you? There are probably many long-time Eldar players that are upset about the random powers. Unfortunately, that is the way of all 6th edition codexes. The good news is that both Primaris powers are very useful for buffing your units, and the Farseer is a Level 3 psyker! Also, you can purchase up to 10 Warlocks (level 1 psykers) for only 35 points a pop. What? I hadn't mentioned that yet?
There are quite a few tidbits hidden in that section, and we will get to it in good time, dear readers! I merely want you to keep these psychic powers in mind as you read through that section, to have an idea about how to use your brave leaders (however squishy they might be, save that Avatar hiding in the back).
Which part of the new Eldar have you most intrigued so far?
Onward to the HQ!
This article is getting a little long in the tooth department. There is SO much more to cover that I am inclined, nay forced, to start another article! I hope you've enjoyed getting an overview of what the Eldar will bring to the game table. Already there are exciting changes being made to the 40k system, most notably the rule-breaking Battle Focus (and I mean that in an exciting way!).
In the very next article, we will look that HQ choices in the new Codex: Eldar 6th Edition, starting with the powerful Avatar of Khaine!
Click here to continue with the New Eldar Codex 6th Edition Review - Part 2!
If you are sick of the Eldar already, why not take a look at my other Warhammer 40k articles, linked to below:
- Flyers in Warhammer 40k 6th Edition
- New Chaos Space Marines Codex Review 6th Edition
- New Dark Angels Codex Review 6th Edition
For those wondering where I get my game-on, take a visit over to The Battlezone, Central Florida's elite gaming store! Check out their online store and stop by for a pick-up games if you're in the area.
Thanks again for reading. For quicker updates, follow me on Twitter: @BenMurphy or check out my personal gaming blog forever-war.blogspot.com. I will be posting quicker updates there along with photos of my armies and projects. Murphy Out.