Dec 16, 2009

Are Eldar Dead?

I've seen a lot of talk on the internet lately about the apparent death of the Eldar, and I began to think about why they might be going extinct. Really, when it comes down to why an army gets played, the main reason is the person who plays the army wants to use it in a game. Now, there are many compound reasons for a person using an army, (mine are mostly because the filthy mon-keigh need to die [oh wait I play Imperial Guard too]) they may like the models, the rules, or just something inexplicable that draws them to their army of choice.

As a side note, I totally missed my post 300 (this one being 301!).

So, why are Eldar fading from use? I really think that it has a lot to do with the groups that people play with. My gaming group is small, the nearest retail store is about an hour away. Before the game even begins, we are all friends anyway. I've talked before about how I don't like playing at any store, and I feel it really is a bad place to get games in, but those are just my experiences.

In my group, we play from the 1500 to 1750 points level. Let's look at my gaming group for a moment and see what we have there for armies:

  • 2 Ork Armies
  • 2 Space Marine Armies
  • 1 Space Wolves Army
  • 1 Necron Army
  • 1 Eldar Army
  • 1 Tau Army
  • 1 Chaos Space Marines
  • 1 Imperial Guard Army
  • 1 Tyranid Army

Of all those forces, my Eldar and my Imperial Guard, the Necrons, the Space Wolves, Space Marines and Tau are the most likely to see actual combat these days. My usual opponent can therefore be said to be T4 3+ save armies with not a lot of long range firepower. Even Tau can put this out in the form of Battlesuits. Aside from yourself, the next most influential thing in the game is your opponent.

Now, knowing what I know (and assuming money is not an issue) I can easily make a list to steamroll the armies there. I can take all the right troops, weapons, and wargear. I know my opponents, I read the Codices of their armies, and I know what they have in their collections. But what if someone plays a different army other than the one I'm gearing up to fight?

I'm not saying don't build your army for your opponent (because they are certainly going to be doing the same to you), but I am saying be wary of adapting to a changing situation. I'm not just talking about tactically in the game here, I'm talking about your opponents. There are times when everyone falls into the trap of knowing they are improving but they forget that everyone around them also improves as they play too, and this applies to all armies.

Right now there seems to be a huge focus on anti-mech (and with Tyranids coming up, anti MC). I'm not really worried about Tyranids, as my runes tell me, they're not likely to be played anytime soon. The most mechanized army that gets played right now is probably my Eldar. I regularity squeeze in Fire Prisms, Vypers, Jetbikes, and sometimes even a Falcon.

Traditionally, Eldar are a hard army to balance. There are not a lot of troops in the Eldar Codex that are capable of taking on multiple battlefield roles based purely on what is printed in the Codex. I will admit, there are times that I would much rather have some the equipment options in the 3rd Edition Codex.

Perhaps this sounds like an overused axiom, but the Eldar army is perhaps the army in 40K that needs the most synergy. With so many specialized units on the board, each one will rely on the others to make up for their shortcomings, even if it is just placing a unit in a transport. Units need to be close enough on the board to support each other, but not so close they get vaporized by a blast or caught up in a multiple assault.

Even things like Jetbikes are very dependent on just exactly what an inch measures on your table. Using the jetbike slide means you need to give yourself enough room to actually do it. If ever there were an army that relied upon the ruler in 40K for all aspects of the game, it has to be the Eldar hands down.

Now, you can argue Codex Creep all you want, but if nobody in your group plays those forces, then why are you even worrying about it? And even still, what happened to the challenge of adapting to the ever changing faces of war. Has it come down to abandoning an army in favor of new shiny plastic? Perhaps. Perhaps we just need to communicate with our opponents more and decide what kind of game we are going to play.

Naturally, everyone wants to win every once and a while. Do not get me wrong, I do enjoy using my Guard (and they probably the better army as far as the Codex is concerned), but they just pale in comparison to the fun I get from playing my Eldar. Eldar for me are definitely not dead, maybe it is just my group. What about you?


zealot December 16, 2009 at 11:21 AM  

Awesome army! I'm actually startin exodites myself if you'd like to check out what I get goin :D

Batjutsu December 16, 2009 at 8:15 PM  

I agree, nice article.

I do find it amusing how news about how a forthcoming army gets a few people all emotional, when said people do not go to tournaments and only play the same few people.

Also small groups tend to use 'house rules'.

dzer0 December 16, 2009 at 11:48 PM  

I find it hard to believe Eldar are even close to dead. I hardly ever lose with my Eldar in local games and tournaments, although I play a list very different than most. I am rolling over people hard with my Dark Eldar at that! It's about the game you play and familiarity of armies and wargear, having a plan and being the better player. Not blaming shortcomings on codex creep.

Raptor1313 December 17, 2009 at 1:24 AM  

A note on Dark Eldar:
Dark Eldar ended up nasty in 5th because of some of the ways their stuff works in 5th (IE: a large number of Dark Lances available, along w/ stuff like the NIght shield).

Do I think Eldar are dead? No.

However, I find that as I fight against tougher folks, the codex shows its age. Codex creep IS a fact; stuff gets cheaper and it gets updated. New stuff gets added, and old stuff gets updated/deleted. It's the way things work in this game.

My biggest problem, though, is that I started Eldar with several builds in mind, and with the bleief that I as getting into a codex with plenty of options. As it turns out, though, stuff like Wraith-heavy armies are more of a 'fun' thing, and even something as brutal as a Seer Council is dependent on the other guy not realizing he should really take some psychic defense (and if he doesn't? Man, it's fun to annihilate whole chunks of his army in short order).

As for player talent?

If player A and player B have equal talent as a general, and generally equal dice, then the army IS a factor. You cannot wholly dismiss the armies and codices involved. IE, if Necrons cannot bring psychic defenses (...and, they really can't) and they're getting trashed by stuff like Weaken Resolve and/or Seer Council w/ Fortune+Doom, then is it a problem with the Necron player, or is it a fact that the Necron codex gives them no recourse but 'kill the psykers' as a means of stopping psychic powers?

Death 0F Angels December 17, 2009 at 3:43 AM  

most of the time i hear griping about codex's its from people who dont have a great grasp on the game. Eldar not the most powerful codex? yes. Any game you play will be unbalanced to a degree. The army you choose just chooses the lvl of difficulty you will play with. There is only 1 dead army in 40k. Ill avoid reseting the clock though.

HuronBH December 17, 2009 at 6:48 AM  

Personally I feel that the Eldar army is the answer to the current Mech nightmare that is the Marine/IG world of 40K. I think the reason people don't see this and the MEQ list have been able to dominate is there is not enough players playing eldar these days.

This is probably due to the fact that most people see the Eldar as a low powered one trick pony (jet bike council). I disagree there, and have started to assemble an Eldar force of my own to show some of my locals that they are quite wrong.

For now keep the faith, eldar will have their day in the sun again soon.

Raptor1313 December 17, 2009 at 10:49 PM  

@Death of Angels
True; GW would have to actually come out and SAY a codex is dead for it to be well and truly dead.

On the other hand, codices with fewer viable choices than others (and less-frequent updates, for example) tend to fall by the wayside. Dark Eldar can very well be powerful, but the models and rules haven't been updated in quite some time. Similarly, Orks had been a good many years between their recent release and the last one, and you will see the numbers dwindle.

I agree and disagree.

On the one hand, Wave Serpents laugh at the extras ordnance and melta have (and anything S9+ as well), and Falcons are a royal pain to kill at long range.

On the other hand, unless you can get flank shots against them, stuff like Chimeras (and hell, just Hellhounds) en mass are a bit of a problem for Eldar. At most, you'll have 4-6 S8 shots coming out of heavy support on grav tanks, and a few TL ones coming out of your transports.

Lances may scare AV13-14 vehicles, but it's psychological as much as effective. On average, you'll still need 3 pens to kill a vehicle, which means 6 lance hits, which means 8 TL Bright-Lance shots. (Or, 8 Lance/Pulse laser/EML shots at an AV12 vehicle, assuming Guide on the Falcons).

Frankly, though, if I'm gonna kill AV13-14 and I really want it dead in short order, I'll trade Fire Dragons for it.

I worry more about an IG player that brings 2-3 Vendettas (...high rate-of-fire lascannons worry me) and 3-4 chimeras. Add in a few Russes and some infantry-born autocannons and there's a fight on your hands.

I'm not saying the Eldar codex is dead, mind you, but I think it's getting tougher and tougher to compete with it. Then again, massed AV11/12 vehicles (Guard, to an extent Eldar, though we don't quite have the numbers, and Razorback/Immolatr spam) can be touhg to deal with.

Sorrowshard October 11, 2010 at 9:45 PM  

The Eldar are dead , Long live the Dark Eldar !

Not trolling but I fully expect to see 90 percent of eldar players take up DE.

I still win alot but I things are getting harder and harder aginst the new books.

I'm actually in the process of doing retroactive reviews of Eldar units in 5th on my blog.

Check it out , would be nice to have some other players to discuss with :o)

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