Warlord Traits:I personally don't like the 1-use-only concept. I'd rather have Stealth: Ruins all game rather than have it once for everything within 12", for example. As always, they're too random to build an army list around, so if you get one that fits, great, if not, it doesn't really matter. The Rulebook Traits in 7th I find to be very strong, depending on your Warlord. Everyone can benefit from Tactical Traits in a Maelstrom game, most armies can benefit from Strategic, and obviously things like an Avatar/Jetarch can get decent buffs from the Personal ones.
Eldrad:Redeployment has changed a little in how it works now that the winner of the rolloff for deployment can choose to go first or second. Generally speaking you want to go second to enable your Serpents and Jetbikes to make last turn contests/claims on Objectives, however this means you no longer necessarily need to deploy second. You can now Deploy first, choose to go second, and also respond to your opponents deployment with D3+1 units, which is basically the best situation you could ask for. He’s the only ML4 Psyker we have access to, which can be very relevant if you’re making a Psychic heavy army – Warlocks are an expensive way to buy Power Dice compared to other armies methods of generating them. He also can replace dice he uses, but given the rate at which you tend to burn through dice under the new system, this is less of a benefit than before. Force Weapons took a nerf as well, needing you to spend dice to use them. Overall I’d say he works well in a foot-based Deathstar army (Council or Wraithguard/Blades) but those armies are normally quite poor anyway. These days I’d rather take Farseers or Autarchs in his place.
Yriel:Essentially unchanged, he’s still an expensive, mediocre-to-poor melee character. No power weapon means he struggles against anything without a 4+ save, because he doesn’t have the volume of attacks to force wounds through, although obviously he’ll duff up Sergeants and 2W semi-HQs well enough. Doesn’t do enough for your army under any circumstances, really.
Illic:Has Shrouded, but not Stealth, meaning the logical choice is to put him with Rangers so they all get a +3 to their cover. Can get as close to the enemy as he likes, but unlike Marbo has no demo charge equivalent, so why would you put a sniper right up in the enemies face? Ditto for his special rule allowing him to drag a unit of Rangers to him as well. Not only are you bringing them closer to the enemy (bad plan) they can only snap shoot when they deep strike, and can't even run afterwards. I simply don't understand the concept of what they were trying to achieve with this rule. Has the potential to pull off some stylish kills with a D-Cannon Rifle but overall he’s pretty crap.
Phoenix Lords:Still expensive. Some neat little rules (Karandras decking most MCs by himself, Jain Zar granting a potential D6+7" run move to Banshees etc) but overall not worth the points nor the opportunity cost of skipping a Seer or Autarch.
Avatar:Gets beaten out by the Wraithknight because they are tougher, can shoot more than 12”, and pretty much just as killy in melee, and are faster. You can hide an Avatar in terrain though, but still too expensive, and in an edition based around torrented S6-7 he simply can’t survive.
Autarchs:Remains similar to last edition, being a very tool-boxey character. Still functions as a useful buffstick to a Jetseer unit, and is even better as a solo "cleaner" unit since Jetbikes are now 15pts and you can strap stealth, shroud, hit and run, and rerolling failed cover saves on for another 40pts. Synergises extremely well with things like Spiders, Hawks and so on. Should see a little more play now that there are only two points on the Psychic level of any army – nonexistent or ridiculously weighted towards it. I normally run a Mantle, Bike, Fusion, and Lance with the option for a couple other toys if points allow – but generally I spend 10pt bits and pieces on the Serpents instead.
Farseers:The default HQ choice for a long time, they’re still very nice Psykers. We’re the only army that can effectively ignore wounds from perils, making both schools of Daemonology more attractive than they are to a lot of armies who have to worry about their heads exploding after more than 3 dice are used. The Runes got a buff though, because Miscasts have a couple of nasty results (you only ignore the wound inflicted – not mastery level loss or dice drain) and Denying on a 4+ can save you against some nasty powers. It's really personal choice on what lores you give him, because each does different things. GW fuckwits seem to think that a race whose entire technology base is formed around “Psychically moulded plastics” shouldn’t be able to move things with their mind. So no Telekinesis for us if we follow the rulebook.
Divination got the obvious incoming nerf of bumping Prescience up to 2 WC points but we suffer the least from that because we get Scatter Lasers. Honestly since the only time you’re going to use heavy Psychic powers is in a Council list, Divination simply doesn’t offer much to us any more. Misfortune is nice for Witch Blades, allowing us to get through 2+ armour, but it isn’t worth rolling on the table for.
Telepathy is a really nice table for Councils, assuming you got everything you wanted from Sanctic Daemonology – giving a range of useful powers.
Malefic Daemonology’s big attraction is to summon things, but frankly if you want to do that, go play Daemons, who do it better.
Sanctic Daemonology. You want this. Banishment is a bit “eh” but given the last tourney I went to was about 50% Daemons, this is far from useless to have in your toolbox. Gate is always nice for a single WC point, even on a unit as fast as Jetbikes. Hammerhand lets us reliably hurt vehicles, up to and including AV14 or Superheavies. S5+2D6 is MUCH scarier than S3+2D6, averaging AV12 instead of 10, and bringing AV14 into much better statistical deviation range. Cleansing Flame throws out some decent wounds (expensive though) and now you no longer need to charge the targets. Vortex is the only free access to Strength: D in the game, which is nothing to be sneezed at, giving you a good weapon for softening up things like Knights or even removing vehicle squadrons wholesale. You can also hop away from the Vortex in the Assault phase if you need to. The real power though, increasing your saves by 1 – a 3++ is VERY good and makes you far less reliant on Fortune going off to survive melees – in fact you don’t even really need it now that Jink is a 4+ Cover save – Conceal takes that to a 2+.
Spiritseers:Scoring Wraithguard. Nuff said. Can cast 2 Warlock powers per turn, making them useful for accompanying any beatstick unit such as Wraithblades, foot-councils or Harlies, but generally you want two Seers for Sanctic and another one. Jetbikes score very well, but Serpents bring different things to the table, so Objective Secured Serpents and T6 units can be helpful from time to time.
Warlocks:Still expensive at 35pts and now have to take a Psychic Test to cast, which is far from reliable, and the lack of a Ghosthelm means a Perils will kill them outright. I feel that Councils suffered a bit this edition, needing to pick and choose which two or three powers they want to cast instead of just casting every damn spell they have. Still perfectly viable though.
Dire Avengers:I *like* Dire Avengers, so I will probably keep at least one unit of them in my army, however they are definitely the losers of the Troop slot, even if it's by a small margin. The pseudo-rending on all Shuriken based weaponry is nice, but doesn’t compensate for their lack of movement compared to Jetbikes. They are, however, the go-to for cheap Objective Secured Serpents.
Guardians (Defender):Blobs of them can do well, as in large numbers Shuricats become threatening to anything, especially with Psychic support. However they simply don’t do well in terms of bang-for-buck, being vulnerable to assaults and spending most of the game contributing a mere heavy weapon shot every turn. With the ability of any unit to score, the need for backfield Troops has lessened, as you should be killing enemy Objective-Secured units as a matter of top priority, thus freeing you from the concern of someone stealing your objectives last turn.
Guardians (Storm):You'd think that WS4 would be the noticable improvement for these guys, but actually having BS4 Melta in a unit other than Fire Dragons is more important. Even with WS4 you're going to get panned by Marines (avoid the 15pt power weapons - a waste of time) due to S3/T3 and a 5+ (although a Warlock can potentially help on all of those counts). Not my personal favourite, but having one unit in your army wouldn't hurt if you don’t have an obvious secondary answer to AV14.
Jetbikes:The very obvious winner of the Troops section. Twin linked near-rending combined with an Assault phase move and Shuricannons with the sexy new BS4 makes them far more killy than they were, and they also received a 5pt price drop, however bear in mind that large units are very unwieldy - I'd stick to 6 with an optional Warlock for some nice survival buffs - Shrouded and Jink saves? Nice. Get about the table very easily, which is incredibly good with the new Maelstrom Objectives, and can steal away Objectives from non-OS units very easily.
Rangers:BS4 SM scouts without the ML or 4+ armour. But they have stealth natively, obviously still infiltrate, and serve an identical role to last edition - backfield or wide flank scoring unit – but there still isn’t a reason to take them over Jetbikes.
Striking Scorpions:Don’t bother.
Howling Banshees:Still no way to reach combat, and once they get there, still S3 AP3. And no grenades. Avoid.
Harlequins:Still our single most choppy combat unit with kisses, but overall, a Jetcouncil will serve you much better. These guys are Rapid-Fire bait.
Fire Dragons:The Exarch is the only one I would consider buying as he gives the unit nice duality with a Heavy Flamer or Fast Shot, which is strictly better than a second Dragon for exactly the same points cost. Now they have a fighting chance to live after destroying a vehicle, being able to run behind cover and having more armour, and the changes to the Damage chart mean that being able to actually score those 7s with AP1 is important. I’d almost always find space for a unit of them w/ Serpent in my army.
Wraithguard:They can pay 10pts for a D-Scythe, which is an AP2 Flamer (say what?). If it was a free swap, it'd be a no brainer, but 10pts adds up *very* rapidly and the loss of S10 removes some of their duality versus Vehicles. If they get the drop on an enemy unit then they can lay down some fierce hurt, but taken aback they perform poorly. You really want them to be OS, but that removes a HQ slot from you – is it worth it?
Wraithblades:aka "Meleeguard" can come with matched Power Swords for 2A base, or a Power Axe and 4++ for 1A base. Each gives +1S and +2S respectively with the axes being able to cut through Terminator armour while the swords can't. I *would* say that the axes are the only option but dropping to 1A base severely hurts their combat ability. Overall I'd rely on the T6 and Farseer/Spiritseer to protect them and keep the S6 swords - just avoid Hammers/Fists and anything with a 2+ save. If you want to muss up Termies use Shooting.
Vypers:Outshone by the Hawks and Warp Spiders, so unlikely to make too much of an appearance.
Swooping Hawks:Much improved, now that they can claim objectives and never scatter – Skyleaping from Objective to Objective in Maelstrom missions can be very frustrating for your opponent, and dropping a cover-ignoring AP4 Pie Plate every time is just salt in the wound. Don’t overspend on them though, one unit of 6 is normally enough.
Warp Spiders:Fast like freaks, almost crazily so. The choice of movement modes is very useful, allowing you to close into range of your guns faster or get away after making your attack. If you're running an Autarch already then you could do a lot worse than a squad of these guys to DS turn 2 in the side or rear of some valuable tank/MC targets. Failing that, they'll still put significant wounds on anything with their S6. The only real downside is that the 12" range guns can leave you at the mercy of the scatter dice when you come in. You need a LOT of Line-of-Sight blocking terrain to deploy them at the start of the game, as they’re often a priority target of enemies, and the Eldar player tends to use them aggressively, which will normally see them dead by T2-3. Synergises extremely well with Eldar Warlord Traits if you fancy running an Autarch with Jump Generator and Fusion Gun with them.
Crimson Hunter:Our only viable anti-air unit barring the Aegis and allies. Flakk walkers are too expensive, to the point of absurdity, and Reaper Exarchs are better served doing their actual job of hunting MEQs. The question is, though, do you actually need Anti-Air in your army above and beyond the ridiculous amount of Twin-Linked S6 and 7 you’re putting out from your Serpents?
Hemlock Wraithfighter:Never take it. Except for fun when you're using *all* the Rangers and Support Weapons you possess. Useful combination with Terrify/Horrify psychic power, but don't rely on it working.
Shining Spears:Seriously GW, why do you hate the idea of giving these guys pistols? Would it be so hard to make a dedicated assault unit 2A base? I digress. You can pop on from a table edge, pop some S6 AP2 into side/rear armour and then scoot away again and an Autarch with a Fusion Gun and Laser Lance would turn it into a seriously threatening unit, but you start climbing up in points very quickly for what is still a fairly fragile and so-so punchy combat unit. They fall under the same heading as several of our other units, which is "Finesse units" - you can get good results with them if you use them well and never get caught out, but there are other units that do the same job with less skill needed in order to make them work.
Eldar Heavy Support
Wraithknight:Previously I was fairly down on Wraithknights, but seeing them through all of 6th has changed my mind. They’re fast, tough, killy in melee, and have non-ignorable shooting, although the removal of Prescience as an auto-cast has hurt them slightly. Have come out smiling from the MC changes, as they didn’t rely on Smash attacks to start with, and don’t Fly, so still assault perfectly well. They’re going to find it harder to find cover though, as area terrain is no longer a thing (some players might forget this – remind them). Most players will benefit from taking one, but leave it with the default loadout unless you come across Deathwing equivalent armies often, in which case a Scatter Laser/Suncannon combo can do some real damage.
Wraithlord:Outshone by the Wraithknight in basically every way. Cheaper though.
War Walkers:Still my favourite lovechild, but I no longer take as many of them as I used to, the points tend to get eaten by Serpents, Spiders and Knights. I find the Scatter/Lance combo to be disappointing, I normally run Scatter/Starcannon as for 10pts over the Shuri/Shuri loadout, it’s much better against almost every target out there.
Support Weapons:Very cheap, and tough, but don’t ever seem to kill much compared to other choices.
Fire Prism:Now perfect for filling that last spot, you no longer need to link them up in order to get an effective anti-tank weapon. S9 Lance AP1 is just as good against AV13 and better against AV14 than the old S10, and the large blast AP3 is beautiful. Worth taking one in every army, if you have the points and the slot.
Night Spinner:Just don't.
Falcon:The ugly stepchild of the HS slot, I don't see them ever having a role. Serpents put out more damage and carry more men. There's never really a reason to take one, imo.
Dark Reapers:Don't be tempted by the 8pt Krak Missiles - ally in some Devs if you want that. And don't go for the Skyfiring Exarch either - he has no Intercept, and will get toasted turn 1 or 2 by any opponent worth a damn. If it's easy to remove a T7 2W model from behind an Aegis, it's even easier to do it when he's T3 1W. Oh, and costs well over 100pts. Don't bother. However if your local meta is Horde-Wolves then you could do worse than these guys since they can now move and shoot (but not run). However they're still only S5 so have no duality vs vehicles, and are T3 3+ so die easily when targeted. I'd rather have the twin linked S6 offered by tanks and Walkers and lose the AP3, myself.
Wave Serpent:Saved ‘til last as the crowning glory of the codex. That's not hyperbole! I took 4 of them when the codex dropped. They've never left my list, and probably never will. Who else gets an AV12 fast skimmer with 3HP that puts out an average of 11.5 shots at BS4 twin linked per turn for 130pts? No-one. Resist the temptation to buy vehicle upgrades - the chin cannon and scatters are all you need baby. Can now be Objective Secured (awesome!) at the cost of Jink being worse than before for them. Since I never took Holofields very much anyway, it’s not much of a hit to me. My ethic is very much “Punch them hard enough that their punch back is too weak to matter”. Eldar are probably the best Objective takers in the game with these and Jetbikes working in tandem.
Eldar Vehicle upgrades
Falcons, Fire Prisms, Wave Serpents, Vypers, Night Spinners and War Walkers can take these. The flyers cannot take anything. Of those units, the Night Spinners and Falcons are probably the worst of the bunch, either being too expensive (Falcon) or being outperformed by another tank (Prism > Spinner). That leaves us 4 vehicles in the codex that might benefit from upgrades.
Holofields:If you move, you gain +1 cover save. On skimmers, that means a 4+ cover save sat behind 25% cover, or a 3+ when you Jink! Nice. They are, however, fairly expensive at 15pts per model. Because of that points cost, I think they are best put on a single unit or two that you want to survive as long as possible, be it a Fire Prism sat at the back or a Serpent with a nasty cargo (Dragons, Wraiths). However if you're running 4 tanks, putting fields on each is running you 60pts already (the same cost as another unit of Jetbikes) so should only be considered in larger games - most of the time getting more boots on the table is a better bet.
For Vypers and Walkers, we have an interesting option in that you can buy it for a single model in the squadron. This allows you to tank hits on the front model to a certain degree, because everything will be resolved on it first, and it's the one with the better save. Overall though, AV10 Open Topped 2HP vehicles don't benefit from 15pt upgrades because they're not survivable enough in the first place.
Ghostwalk Mantle:Has the Move Through Cover USR. That means skimmers will auto-pass their dangerous terrain checks, and walkers will roll 3 dice and pick the highest. Cheaper, at 10pts per model. If one vehicle in a squadron has it, they all have to have it. I don't know about you, but I'm not in the habit of parking my vehicles *in* terrain, I tend to be *behind* it instead, because vehicles use the 25% obscured rule. Thus you want as much obstruction between you and the enemy as possible. That goes double for anything threatening assaults on you. It is, at the end of the day, a better dozer blade, but given the majority of our army flies right over it anyway, I don't think you need to spend points here. Buy more chin cannons instead.
CTM:It's a 25pt upgrade that is *one use only*. I'm sorry GW, what? Are you on crack? The ability to shoot after moving flat out is nice, but for a 20% cost increase on a Prism, or a 50% increase on a Vyper? No. It can get you a cute trick with punching a Prism forward for side armour shots on turn 1, but your opponent is only going to fall for that once (if at all) and it'll see your Prism go down in flames shortly afterwards. Avoid.
Spirit Stones:Our version of Extra Armour or Living Metal, ignores shaken on a 2+ and stunned on a 4+. For 10pts. Not bad. Definitely worth taking on a Prism, because if you're snap shooting you can't fire your blasts (owch). I'm not sold on upgrades in general for Vypers and Walkers, because I figure they're going to die at some point in the game (unless your opponent is stupid enough to ignore them, at which point you should win pretty effortlessly anyway) because of their fragility, so piling more points into them is inefficient. Serpents *look* like they don't need them, but actually I'd seriously consider putting them on. Something like 85% of the time I'm going to be shooting with my Forcefields, because 2-7 effectively BS5 cover ignoring S7 shots are not something you see every day, and should be used whenever possible. That means you get no downgrade from Pens to Glances and therefore a lot more rolling on the damage chart. It's really up to you and your individual playstyle - if you find yourself going balls to the wall and shooting every turn, Stones are a good buy. If you're more conservative with your tanks lives, it's wasted points. Your vehicles are more likely to die from HP loss than Penetrating hits anyway, often in a single turn.
Star Engines:Lovely little ability, Flat Outing 24" or running +3" for 15pts. Nice for that Serpent that *really* wants to be in your opponents face ASAP. Again, with my philosophy of "don't buy expensive toys for fragile units" it's too pricey for Walkers, but given that they have Battle Focus then it can really make the difference between getting a cover save and being completely hidden from sight. That's basically it - delivery Serpent (Dragons/Wraiths) is the only vehicle that I see me taking these on (and even then, they're not must-haves given the table is only 48" across and you're already moving 30" per turn).
Vectored Engines:Umm, what? GW, are you aware that most of our vehicles are either AV10 all round, or have a ridiculously small rear arc with turret mounted weaponry? There is literally no reason to ever show your tiny tank ass to the enemy. Bearing all that in mind, wtf GW? Don't take it. It should have been "Skimmers with this upgrade are not wrecked when immobilised after going flat out".
Overall winners of the codex in 7th Edition
Autarchs on Jetbikes with Mantle (Non-Psychic route)
Seer Councils (if going Psychic-heavy)
Wave Serpents (especially those bought for Troop units)
Any list based around the above units will probably do alright, it’s just a matter of getting used to the fragility of the infantry if you’re coming from a Marine background, and certainly the speed as well – when you have LOTS of options for placing your units, you need to think very carefully about which is ideal, instead of just moving your 6” standard shuffle like most other armies out there. Use our strengths of torrent firepower and speed to selectively annihilate individual units of the enemy that can fight back effectively against our main game-winners – Serpents and Jetbikes. So anything long ranged and cover ignoring in the S7+ band needs to disappear quickly, as does anything fast and melee based because the best way to drop Serpents is to assault them with Kraks. Avoid other threats while you deal with one unit at a time, and use the speed to claim Objectives for the game end or during the turns in Maelstrom missions.http://uk.pinterest.com/pin/create/extension/