OK, I bought this Eldar codex almost a month ago, so it’s about time I wrote a review of it. Here goes…
First impressions are generally positive. I have moaned before about the price of the latest GW codexes and that stands. £30 is a lot for even this lovely book. For the record, the Eldar codex is little lighter than the Tau codex, but this is probably because the main craftworlds will be handled in separate supplemental codexes (at an additional £30 a pop).
Of course, the quality of the book is absolutely top notch as you would expect and the artwork and fiction are on par with Games Workshop’s normal excellent standards. The book itself is split into background, a bestiary describing all the units and characters, a war gear section, and the army list; much the same as the other new codexes.
Although there are page references for everything (which is good), Eldar units have a lot of special rules so there is a lot of page turning involved to find out what stuff does. Annoyingly the universal special rules are not reprinted in this book, so you also require the main rulebook to hand, especially as 40K now has a lot of universal rules to remember.
The signature ability for the pixies is Battle Focused, which enables many Eldar units to shoot either before or after running. This is very characterful and should turn them into a very mobile army which is exactly what Eldar should be. They also gain the Ancient Doom rule which adds some character when facing Slaanesh models, but has a very small impact on their overall game.
The second big change is the upgrade of Guardian stats. Everything now has BS and WS 4, and an appropriate increase in points cost. This includes War Walkers which are now BS 4 and have Battle Focused, and have access to upgraded Scatter Lasers which make their counterpart weapons more accurate.
There have also been a lot of changes to the weapons the pixies use. Shuriken and Monofilament weapons both get an AP bonus when rolling a 6 to wound, and similar effects also appear on other weapons. This means Eldar weapons should be very effective when applied en mass.
In terms of units, we have all of the normal options, plus two new flyers, the Wraithknight, Spiritseers (ok, these sort of existed before), and the new Wraithblades. Surprisingly, there are only three special characters that are not Phoenix Lords, and only one of those is new. I suspect any new supplement codexes will add new characters.
At a quick glance, none of the point costs seem to have increased dramatically except for Fire Dragons and War Walkers, but everything is simply better, even if something has only gained the universal army rules.
Striking Scorpions are a good example of this. At 85 points for a unit of five, they are on par with the previous codex. However mandiblasters have changed to become strength 3 initiative 10 instead of an extra attack. They get Fleet, Infiltrate, Move through Cover and Stealth for free. Their armour has been upgraded. And finally they still have Battle Focused. That’s a lot of special rules for just one unit.
Another unit worth mentioning are Dark Reapers. These have gained Slow & Purposeful along with heavy aspect amour (3+ armour), and access to Eldar missile launchers. Unfortunately they are still competing for Heavy Support slots, but they are finally viable option.
Apart from Wave Serpents which have gained some interesting additional tools, Eldar grav tanks have not been tuned up in the same way which is a shame, because I really like Eldar tanks. However it seems the holo-fielded Falcons of doom of yesteryear have been solidly hit with the nerf stick.
With the decreasing survivability of vehicles in general, Wraithlords and the new Wraithknights seem to be far more solid heavy support choices if you want any kind of resilience. This said, I really like War Walkers in this codex.
So there you have it, my whistle stop of the new Eldar codex, and overall I approve. It looks like Eldar will play as they should, ie hard and fast. And with the exception of the Hemlock flyer, all the new models look absolutely ace, especially the other flyer…
Will this encourage me to actually start playing 40K again? Err, I don’t know. Although Games Workshop have very kindly updated codexes for three of the five armies I own since launching the 6th edition of the main rules which is very nice of them.
This said, I like my Eldar and I like this new codex. I might even be tempted to start painting models and writing army lists. Maybe.