Monday, June 17, 2013

Eldar Allies just got a whole lot better.

As a Dark Eldar player, Allies were pretty limited for me.  You have a few armies that you can take as Desperate Allies, but there is so much extra micromanagement, and they don't really serve any purpose other than unlocking access to certain units in that army.  Eldar were the only Battle Brothers that we had, the big problem was that they didn't synergize with my play style as well, and were overcosted in a list that was already very points heavy with Grotesques and Pain Engines.  Granted, a farseer for psychic defense was nice, but where did you go beyond that?

All that has changed though.  I had a chance to run a 1555 pt game this weekend running a Coven list with Eldar Allies.  It was the standard foot bound Grots, this time adding Urien and a Spirit Seer, two 5 man wrack units in venoms, 2 Talos and a Cronos, along with two units of Wraithguard and a second Spirit Seer (I was using 2 because of what's been leaked in the Iyanden book, just waiting on it to show up).  It was facing a very mobile Tau army that included 3 Riptides.

I had some thoughts going in on how some of the things would synergize, but I was quickly amazed at how far beyond my expectations the psychic powers performed.  I figured this would be a good test of the resilience of this list because the Tau army has access to a fair number of high strength low AP weapons,  that high strength tops out around 7 or 8  now on average instead of 10.  It was very quickly frustrating for the Tau to have to rolls 4+ or even 6+ to wound vs the large array of high toughness creatures, and what little headway they would make was quickly negated.

Why?  Spirit Seers = pure gold.

One of the two Spirit Seers ended up with the Destructor/Renewer and Enhance/Drain, the second one had Protect/Jinx and Embolden/Horrify.  I'll be honest, I was going to ditch Embolden/Horrify for the Primaris Conceal/Reveal, but since he was in a squad of Wraithguard and lined up to march through ruins I thought it wasn't going to be worth it.  That was the best decision I could make.

Renewer was used over the course of 5 rounds to heal a wound each time since I went second.  1 to a Grotesque, 1 to a Razorwing flock, and 3 to the various Pain Engines.  This was pure gold, and if I could get that on two or three Spiritseers, I don't even know how you would kills some of these squads.  Destructor could be helpful if you get up to terrain and want to soften something, but I think Renewer is the break and butter power there.

Enhance/Drain never got used, I think it would probably have seen use more for the debuff than for the buff, pushing enemies closer to needing 5s to hit in close combat.  In most cases I think both powers should be close to the same, with the major difference coming in making them fail initiative tests easier.

Protect/Jinx was interesting, and also the only power I failed my psychic test on, perils once, and just a normal fail twice.  So one round it gave the Wraithguard a 2+ save, which is nothing to sneeze at for a model that is T6.  The other round it reduced a Riptide to a 3+ save, making it much more vulnerable to the torrent of splinter fire.  I think both of these are very strong powers, but I  think where it will really excel is allowing a squad of wyches to hit a squad of terminators harder than before.  An Agonizer Hekatrix, and the pile of attacks against a 3+ save Terminator is going to be great.

Embolden/Horrify was almost thrown onto the scrap heap, mostly because Embolden isn't going to do much for Dark Eldar who can gain Fearless through Pain Tokens, or the Wraithguard that are already fearless.  Horrify though, is absolutely amazing.  -3 leadership is a huge debuff, and has so many uses.  Couple that with the Torment Grenade Launchers on a Raider and you can put units at -4 vs tank shocks, or shooting.  This was used very effectively to shoot a unit of Firewarriors and make them run off the table in a couple instances.  Even better, although Eldar lost the protection of Runes, a quick cast of this on an enemy psyker means they aren't getting off all those powers.  Better still, my beast pack was left without any beastmasters, and inevitably failed it's leadership, a fall back into the 18" range and Embolden put them right back into the fight.

I think the Wraithguard add another tougher dimension to the army, and instead of two squads I think I could be better served by 1 squad in a Waveserpent, but to better enhance the overall army, I may be just as likely to stack with as many Spirit Seers as possible and as cheap an HQ as I can get once I get a hold of the Iyanden supplement.

The game overall was going to be a loss because of some sneaky kroot and good gameplay, but it definitely gave me a lot of perspective to go back and re-tool my army to add some more mobility and maybe get a little closer to the old Dark Eldar playstyle.