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A Review of Stratagems in Codex: Craftworlds

Submitted By: Blazinghand Date: December 8, 2017, 06:10:18 PM Views: 1169
Summary: The new Eldar Codex has many exciting stratagems. This article introduces, rates, and discusses the stratagems in Codex: Craftworlds.

A Review of Stratagems in Codex: Craftworlds
The new Eldar Codex has many exciting stratagems. In this article, we will introduce the stratagems in Codex: Craftworlds, discuss how they might be used, and review them. Stratagems will be rated on a scale of 1 to 5. A score of 1 corresponds to a stratagem that is very bad and should almost never be used. A score 3 corresponds to a stratagem that is capable of good situational use, or moderate effectiveness generally. A score of 5 corresponds to a stratagem that should be used often and will have a significant impact on the game.

Our review panel:
Blazinghand: Blazinghand has played Ulthwť Eldar since 3rd edition, sometimes running footdar and sometimes running mechanized Eldar.
Nomad: Nomad is an old hand at painting and playing WH40k. In 8th Edition he plays a list comprising Jetbikes and hover tanks.

We divide Stratagems into seven groups:
Craftworld-Specific Stratagems are specific to a Craftworld.
Pre-Battle Stratagems affect deployment or the army list, and are used before the start of the first turn.
Reactive Stratagems are used on the opponent's turn to react to something they did.
Movement Stratagems improve the mobility of Eldar armies.
Psyker Stratagems affect the powers of psykers or psychic checks.
Shooting and Assaulting Stratagems increase damage output in the shooting or assault phases.
Healing Stratagems heal a unit.

Beyond simply making this article a little easier to read, these divisions make it easier to think about stratagems and have them ready to hand in combat. Since there are so many stratagems, and so many different situations in which they might be useful, having them organized in one's mind can help with proper application.


Section I: Craftworld-Specific Stratagems
Alaitoc: Pathfinders (average score: 2)

Blazinghand - 2/5
The obvious comparison for Pathfinders is Lightning-Fast Reactions. Pathfinders is less reactive, and must be used at the start of a shooting phase, making it easy for your opponents to play around. An Alaitoc Ranger is already quite difficult to hit. This will not improve a Rangerís defenses against a Guardsman. Nonetheless, thanks to The Path of War, this stratagem could be useful in a pinch to hold that crucial objective through your opponentís shooting phase, especially if they are relying on high accuracy.

Nomad - 2/5
I rated this a 2/5 because it was one command point.  It is not really useful owing to the hard to hit bonus which Rangers already have, in addition to Fieldcraft.


Biel-Tan: Court of The Young King (average score: 2.5)

Blazinghand - 3/5
This is of marginal benefit to non-close combat focused Aspect Warriors, but makes close combat focused Aspect Warriors much better. It may not be worth taking an Avatar just to run this stratagem at its highest strength, but making it easier for units to get off charges can make the difference between winning and losing a game, while getting a 16% or 33% increase in damage output is valuable. If this were to cost one command point, it would be incredible. At its current cost, it is good in the right army. This can well be worth it just for the difference between 'maybe' getting a charge and 'probably' getting it.

Nomad - 2/5
Looks great with an Avatar, but it is not so hot without one.


Iyanden: Guided Wraithsight (average score: 4)

Blazinghand - 4/5
For the low price this is a great stratagem. The Spiritseerís Spirit Mark bubble affects enemies, not allies, which means it can be tricky to get your Spiritseer in range to use it. Increasing that range from 'claustrophobic' to 'manageable' alone would be excellent, but increasing the benefit as well effectively means that several of your units will benefit from Guide if they shoot the target. With the greater radius, you could affect multiple enemy units and have potentially your entire army benefiting from Guide.

Nomad - 4/5
Excellent with a Wraith army.


Saim-Hann: Warriors of the Raging Winds (average score: 3)

Blazinghand - 4/5
This stratagem was devised for Shining Spears. It is strong if you need that extra bit of range. This makes turn one charges a lot more plausible, since theoretically you get an average threat range of twenty-nine inches with your Shining Spears charging in. The re-rolls are not that amazing if you already plan to run an Autarch Skyrunner. Even so, it can be worth it to catch an opponent by surprise. Shining Spears do not have trouble getting stuck in usually, but for a chance at a turn one charge, the price is right.

Nomad - 2/5
This only received this score because of being able to move and fire heavy weaponry on bikes.  Vypers were awarded the biker tag in the codex, and so the Saim-Hann trait is pretty handy for them. It is not, however, my style for a Jetbike army, so I will not award it a higher score.


Ulthwe: Discipline of the Black Guardians (average score: 4)

Blazinghand - 4/5
This is a great stratagem at a cheap price. Although it is not worth it on a squad of ten Defender Guardians, it is definitely amazing a squad of twenty Defenders with two platforms. In addition to effectively letting them move and fire heavies with no penalty, you could imagine a squad of twenty Defenders and two Shuriken Cannons advancing up the field (or emerging from the Webway) and putting dozens of shuriken shots into a hapless enemy with great accuracy. It is not worth it for Storm Guardians though. This also applies to anything with the Guardian keyword, such as a D-Cannon Platform, but it is probably not cost-effective there, since they split on deployment. Combined with support from an Autarch or Farseer, this can allow for an impressive damage output from a large Guardian squad.

Nomad - 4/5
This is good for all infantry Eldar armies.


Section II: Pre-Battle Stratagems
Treasures of the Craftworld (average score: 1)

Blazinghand - 1/5
This is decent if you want a second relic, but I do not think that you often want a second relic.

Nomad - 1/5
I do not know anyone who would take two relics.


Webway Strike (average score: 5)

Blazinghand - 5/5
Webway Strike is simply amazing, and is easily one of our best stratagems. Note that it does not work with increased charge range of Howling Banshees. Considering that one of the principle drawbacks of Eldar infantry is short range, being able to deep strike any infantry squad is very solid. You cannot deep strike more than two units, unlike Cloudstrike, which can be used as much as you want. It is most efficient, in terms of command points, to deep strike one unit. Good candidates for this are squads of Fire Dragons, squads of Wraithguard, and large units of Guardian Defenders. I personally like the Wraithguard a lot for this, since they can sometimes stand up to the follow-up fire the next turn. We have other units that can deep strike, like Swooping Hawks and Warp Spiders, for hunting infantry, which means that Fire Dragons coming in with this stratagem offer a new kind of threat that is not possible without it.

Nomad - 5/5
This is a great choice.  It offers high flexibility and allows for some nice tricks.


Cloudstrike (average score: 3)

Blazinghand - 2/5
Most of our vehicles do not need this. One could hide a super-heavy Scorpion from alpha strike, maybe. Compared to Webway Strike, you can use it as much as you want, which is nice, but it is far less useful.

Nomad - 4/5
An excellent for only a single command point.  It allows me to hide any of my tanks.


Phantasm (average score: 3.5)

Blazinghand - 3/5
Although situationally useful, Phantasm will not work twice on the same opponent. Trying to bait out a bad deployment by overbalancing your own and then correcting it is the obvious choice, but in all likelihood this stratagem is most useful as a tool to react when you made a mistake with your deployment and failed to realize it until the end. They say that half of the game is decided before the first turn by army lists and deployment, and so this might give an edge.

Nomad - 4/5
This could be good, as it is only a few command points to perhaps alter the most important part of the game.


Section III: Reactive Stratagems
Forewarned (average score: 5)

Blazinghand - 5/5
If you have a Farseer, this is a better Auspex Scan. In fact, it is one of our best stratagems. I have used this in almost every game since the codex was released. Forewarned is noticeably superior to every other faction's version of this stratagem, due to the lack of limitations on range and who can use it. A Farseer near a unit of Dark Reapers can make this good against anything. I often find myself firing off hover tank guns with this. Forewarned can seriously throw a wrench in the plans of some deep striking Imperial Guard units.

Nomad - 5/5
This stratagem is excellent. Combine it with big guns for lots of laughs.


Lightning-Fast Reflexes (average score: 4)

Blazinghand - 4/5
Lightning-Fast Reflexes is strong for all craftworlds, and even stronger for Alaitoc. Infuriating when used on a tough unit that your opponent absolutely must kill. A steep price, but worth it for a crucial moment. This is expensive, so be careful with how you use it. Bear in mind that an opponent may often react to this by having later shooting in the turn aim at a different unit, so this is best used to weaken on particular shooting attack, or to make shooting a valuable unit less attractive.

Nomad - 4/5
It is great in a Jetbike/hover tank army.  Everything is a viable target.  It helps to keep your gun line alive just a bit longer.


Celestial Shield (average score: 4)

Blazinghand - 4/5
Celestial Shield is great with large squads of Guardians, especially with Protect. With this Stratagem, Guardians are surprisingly resilient. Some people have tossed around the idea of bringing in a squad of twenty Guardians via Webway Portal, having them unload into the enemy, then protecting them with Celestial Shield the following turn against the inevitable shooting response.

Nomad - 4/5
This is great when used on large squads of Guardians.


Section IV: Movement Stratagems
Matchless Agility (average score: 3.5)

Blazinghand - 3/5
This is cheap, and can get you onto an objective at a crucial moment for the win.

Nomad - 4/5
Another good choice, although bikes do not benefit from it on the advance.  It is still good for getting those fragile tanks repositioned if things go south for them.


Fire and Fade (average score: 5)

Blazinghand - 5/5
This is one of my favorite stratagems. It is amazing for sending opponents into fits of rage. A unit cannot disembark and embark in the same turn, but you could send in ten Fire Dragons via the Webway, shoot, then hop them into a transport or out of line of sight with this. Given that so many Eldar units have a short range with their guns, this is particularly good for keeping those units safe. If nothing else, it is a chance to bring back the Jetbike slide or your Warp Spiders' assault move.

Nomad - 5/5
An outstanding stratagem for shooting and scooting.

Feigned Retreat (average score: 4)

Blazinghand - 5/5
Everyone expects assault to tie up shooting units. Surprise your opponent with this. A must-have for expensive close-range shooting units like Fire Dragons. The very existence of this stratagem reduces your opponent's ability to mitigate close-range shooting. Obviously, you could still get completely encircled, but this is still potentially quite good.

Nomad - 3/5
It is handy if you get into a fight with something and want to blast it again.  It is much less useful if everything you have has the fly keyword, unless you are running Saim Hann correctly with Shining Spears, as they can fall back and then charge again in the same turn.


Section V: Psyker Stratagems
Concordance of Power (average score: 2)

Blazinghand - 3/5
Warlock Conclaves are quite bad and inferior to Warlocks and Spiritseers in almost all ways. Their only saving grace is this stratagem, which has good situational use. Being able to project a jinx out to Mortarion on turn one without being in range of Deny the Witch, for example, is a game changer. Getting a crucial Quicken or Restrain from far away can help with the tight positional work that Eldar armies need to win games. Valuable, but because it requires you to take a bad HQ, it is not the best.

Nomad - 1/5
It is not a good idea to take a Warlock Conclave.


Unparalleled Mastery (average score: 3)

Blazinghand - 3/5
This will let you Smite in addition to normal powers. It would be much stronger if Warlocks could use it.

Nomad - 3/5
It could be good, but I usually already have cast everything that I need, or at least made the attempt.  Eldar usually have lots of psykers, so this can be both good and bad.


Seer Council (average score: 4.5)

Blazinghand - 5/5
Seer Council is excellent because it increases your chances of manifesting most powers from around 58% to around 72%, and it is easy to meet the conditions for this stratagem. This is especially good if you plan to use a Smite with your Farseer, and are hoping to get the extra Smite damage. This also helps when you have an absolutely crucial Warlock power you absolutely must get off. Statistically, this can be viewed as the equivalent of spending three command re-rolls on the three powers your Warlock and Farseer will attempt this turn, for a much lower cost.

Nomad - 4/5
This is top notch.  Eldar already are strong psykers, having this just adds to that.  It is great if you are casting lots of Smite powers.


Section VI: Shooting and Assaulting Stratagems
Supreme Disdain (average score: 4.5)

Blazinghand - 4/5
This is potentially very strong, especially with Enhance. Supreme Disdain is an excellent name for a stratagem. It is almost worth using purely for the name. This will chew enemies up. It works best with something like Enhance or Striking Scorpions that can make this trigger more often, or a unit like Wraithblades with many strong attacks that can trigger this.

Nomad - 5/5
I use this every time.  Exploding dice are always great.


The Great Enemy (average score: 3)

Blazinghand - 3/5
Truly excellent in the right situation, but very situational. Since the start of 8th Edition I've had a chance to fight against Slaanesh units only once. Combined with Ancient Doom, this gives great damage output in melee.


Linked Fire (average score: 4.5)

Blazinghand - 4/5
Good if you are running multiple Fire Prisms and it is reasonably priced. When using this stratagem, it is best to place both of your Fire Prism pretty far apart, each capable of seeing different sets of enemies around line of sight blockers. There is no reason for your Fire Prisms to be close to each other for this stratagem, and by getting better visibility coverage of the table, you create more options for yourself. Simply have the Fire Prism with line of sight to the target be the one to paint it.

Nomad - 5/5
Fire prisms are cheap now, and already get to shoot twice if moving slow.  This is just icing on the cake.


Overloaded Energy Field Projectors (average score: 3)

Blazinghand - 3/5
This could be worthwhile. The main downside is that it requires that you have fired off your shield in a previous turn, so your Serpent must live for a turn without a shield to use this stratagem. The only reason this gets a lower rating from me is that I tend to discharge my Wave Serpent shields when they are closer to death, and a Serpent without a shield is a prime target for enemy anti-tank weapons, especially Autocannons and Plasma weapons that are just looking for an unshielded target. After shield discharge, Wave Serpents can be destroyed before the next turn when they are allowed to use this stratagem. It is still worth keeping in the back pocket, since opponents rarely plan around this.

Nomad - 3/5
This seems marginal in terms of its effectiveness.  I am not sure how common the Wave Serpent is, so my score here is probably not indicative of anything.


Starhawk Missile (average score: 3)

Blazinghand - 3/5
This stratagem is situational, but good. This is not quite as useful for Eldar as the equivalent stratagem is for say Space Marines, since we have a variety of good ways of dealing with flyers. Although it does not have the same maximum potential damage as a regular missile, it very reliably gives a smaller amount of damage, and on average deals more. It is great against a flyer with one wound left.

Nomad - 3/5
If you really need to shoot a particular flyer, this can be very handy.


Runes of Witnessing (average score: 2)

Blazinghand - 3/5
Runes of Witnessing has anti-synergy with Doom, since they do not stack and Doom gives us a better effect. However, this is one of our few sources of re-rolls to wound and could make a difference. The fact that it is a bubble makes it better, but the fact that it is so expensive makes it worse. It would be amazing if it were cheaper.

Nomad - 1/5
It costs too many command points to get a weaker doom, near your Farseer, for only a single phase?  I will pass.  At least it is a bubble and not a single target.

Vaulís Might (average score: 1.5)

Blazinghand - 2/5
The price is right, but Vaulís Might requires two Support Batteries and only helps them. Runes of Witnessing will likely give you more value, but is more expensive. Like Runes of Witnessing, this has anti-energy with Doom. The primary weakness is that unless your Support Batteries are running some pretty sweet guns (like D-Cannons) and shooting at something crucial, it is not clear this is worthwhile. Also, this requires you take Support Batteries, which are of dubious value.

Nomad - 1/5
It does not seem like good value, given that not many players are likely to field Support Batteries.


Section VII: Healing Stratagems
Tears of Isha (average score: 2)

Blazinghand - 2/5
This stratagem is situationally useful. It is better if you have a Wraithknight one wound below a profile, to pop it up a profile by surprise. It would be pretty rare for me to want to use this otherwise, but when it is useful, it could be a difference-maker.

Nomad - 2/5
This is good for wraith armies, but useless otherwise.


The Avatar Resurgent (average score: 1.5)
Blazinghand - 2/5
This Stratagem needs an Avatar, which is still overcosted. If you do in fact have an Avatar, this is a potentially amazing stratagem, and can throw an enormous wrench in your opponentís plans.

Nomad - 1/5
Needs an Avatar, needs an avatar to die, and needs an Avatar to die in the fight phase.  In addition, it could come back with only one wound remaining.  Over priced for the high variance involved.

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