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Eldar close combat (specifically against tau)
« on: June 17, 2017, 06:31:17 PM »
Ok, so this thread is about all around close combat, but the thing I'm really struggling with is how to beat tau with a combat army. I ask because I favour a fast, threating approach which is especially difficult vs. tau at the moment.

The units I've taken have taken such a beating due to overwatch, because of their damn supporting fire, that they struggle to do much damage to the units in combat, let alone finish them off, and then a lot of their valuable units have fly so they can just jump out of combat.

I've tried the avatar, howling banshees, striking scorpions, shining spears, autarch skyrunner and storm guardians, and hellions and reavers from druchari.

Shining spears, striking scorpions and hellions have been OK for me. What has worked for you guys so far?

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Re: Eldar close combat (specifically against tau)
« Reply #1 on: June 17, 2017, 06:38:41 PM »
Use transports or vehicles to soak up overwatch and charge shooty units with them. Another good way to limit supporting fire, is to charge multiple units at once, so multiple of their units cannot all pound on one of yours.

Take a look at the units the Tau player has too. I'd want to do charges with heavy-hitting units against anything with the 'fly' keyword, and use transports to charge anything without.

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Re: Eldar close combat (specifically against tau)
« Reply #2 on: June 17, 2017, 07:35:42 PM »
By the way, do u think it's worth taking wave serpents for close combat units? I was thinking about it for striking scorpions but I didn't think it was worth the extra 155 points.

Maybe that's the problem, that I didn't have enough wave serpents to use as overwatch soakers, as I haven't really taken them so far.

Also, that's what I was wondering about, which of our combat units is the most hard hitting? Personally only shining spears seem to be able to put out enough damage on the charge, (and of course the avatar).

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Re: Eldar close combat (specifically against tau)
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2017, 07:52:48 PM »
By the way, do u think it's worth taking wave serpents for close combat units? I was thinking about it for striking scorpions but I didn't think it was worth the extra 155 points.

Maybe that's the problem, that I didn't have enough wave serpents to use as overwatch soakers, as I haven't really taken them so far.

Also, that's what I was wondering about, which of our combat units is the most hard hitting? Personally only shining spears seem to be able to put out enough damage on the charge, (and of course the avatar).

Could be any vehicles, Vipers could be used for the main purpose. The main thing is that you really want to cripple anything with the fly keyword when you charge, so they can just pop out of combat and shoot you again.

Looking through the Datasheets, Banshees look good on paper. -1 to be hit in melee helps keep them survivable, and they have a really good AP on their attacks. The exarch with the executioner will do work as well with the multiple damage.

I don't think Scorpions are as good for tackling Tau suits, mostly due to their lack of rend on basic weapons. They'd be good for horde control though.

Jain Zar is also really good, as she has an anti-overwatch aura for nearby banshees which would completely nullify Tau supporting fire.
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Re: Eldar close combat (specifically against tau)
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2017, 09:04:29 PM »
Don't forget Wraithblades. A unit of 5 with ghostswords puts out a respectable amount of attacks.

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Re: Eldar close combat (specifically against tau)
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2017, 10:03:57 PM »
Jain Zar is your best bet. Open topped transports are T5, so charging a transport may end up popping it with the number of S5 shots Tau can put out.

Scorpions in a wave is expensive, but not a bad option. You can deploy 3" infront of the wave now for a nice sling shot. The wave should survive the OW fire.

Jain Zar and the wave are a similar price point. If you really wanted to you could go Jainzar+Banshees in Wave, scorpions deploy using their special rule. Turn 2 the JZ+B get out, and slam into one unit, the wave and the scorpions into another. Really expensive to do, but you could crush a flank that way.




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Re: Eldar close combat (specifically against tau)
« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2017, 06:56:32 AM »
Also, that's what I was wondering about, which of our combat units is the most hard hitting? Personally only shining spears seem to be able to put out enough damage on the charge, (and of course the avatar).

Well, strictly speaking, just like it was in the blessed days of 4th edition, our most hard-hitting melee unit is Harlequin Troupe :)))) I mean, as Asuryani (Craftworlders), Drukhari and Harlequins are all Aeldari now, nothing prevents us from mixing and matching units from all three sub-factions even within a single detachment. So, Harlequins can be included just as easily as Scorpions or Shining Spears. It's quite fluffy too, in my opinion - much more fluffy than Harlequins fielding a whole army of their own.

As for close combat power, Harlies are better than any other Aeldari melee unit. With the cheapest melee weapon option, a regular harlequin costs just 2 points more than a regular Striking Scorpion - and with that option a harlequin fights with 4 attacks, and is almost 3 times better than Scorps when fighting a unit with no high invulnerable save. And even in the worst case scenario - when fighting Terminators with Storm shields - harlies' damage output is still about 1.6 times better than that of scorps. All for the same point cost! Harlies are also much better than Shining Spears - even in the equal model count situation Harlies still cause more wounds - and if we consider points, then it would be 10 Harlies for 5 Spears, in which case Harlies fight 3 times better.

The close second place is held by DE Incubi (1 pt cheaper than Scorps and also fight about 2.5 times better than them).

As for the Craftworlds list specifically - our most hard-hitting melee unit, as I found this weekend, is the Wraithknight. Avatar of Khaine is second. Everything else is not too impressive, sadly.

In general, out of the CWE infantry/biker units the highest raw damage output is provided by Wraithswords (a shorter name for Wraithblades with ghostswords) and Shining Spears. Point for point, Wraithswords fight much better than Spears - but they are slow and absolutely need a WS, while Spears don't. So, a unit of 5 wraithswords + a WS with a spirit stone cost about as much as 8 Spears - and, coincidentally, on average 5 Wraithswords on a charge provide about the same damage output as 8 Spears. Considering other factors, a combination of a WS with 5 Wraiths in it is far more durable than 8 Spears, and so far more likely to live long enough to charge something. At the same time, Spears are faster, shootier and have much greater threat range. So I'd say it's a wash, and you're free to pick what better suits your local meta, your army, your play-style and your aesthetic taste.

Considering other infantry, 5 Wraithswords fight better than 10 Scorpions or Banshees, and are much more durable than either. Banshees have an advantage of significantly bigger threat range, but they are super-squishy and super-weak, so I'm not sure if that advantage is really worth it.

Hence, I'd sum it up as follows:

1) if you want some general purpose (relatively) light-weight melee support, your best bet is a unit of 5-6 Harlequins in a Starweaver (204-225 pts for the whole package including transport). Depending on your view of the fluff and other preferences, you might also go for a unit of 5 Incubi w/Klaviex in a Venom (185 pts for the whole package) for similar results. Note that in both cases the total cost of a unit with its transport is roughly equal to or less than the cost of a full squad of 10 Scorps without a transport, AND at the same time both 5 Harlies and 5 Incubi will dish out more damage on a charge than 10 Scorpions.
For roughly the same points you can field 5 Shinig Spears, but they will be both much harder to keep alive AND much weaker in melee. They're not much faster than Harlies in a Starweaver too.

2) if you want something more heavy-weight, you can go for either a big pack of Shining Spears or a melee squad in a Serpent. In the latter case the best melee unit to carry in a Serpent is 5-6 Wraithswords (~330 pts total). Scorpions will only be efficient if you use them without a transport and manage to make the maximum tactical use out of their ability to infiltrate.

3) Beyond that, the ultimate CWE melee is in WK and Avatar - but WK is an altogether different price tag and army composition. Avatar is nice in many lists though, and is cheaper than a WS full of guys.

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« Last Edit: June 19, 2017, 10:42:25 AM by Irisado »
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Re: Eldar close combat (specifically against tau)
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2017, 10:52:09 AM »
Well, strictly speaking, just like it was in the blessed days of 4th edition, our most hard-hitting melee unit is Harlequin Troupe :))))

It was also the most abused unit in fourth edition, with Harlequins in a Falcon popping up all over the place, despite the fact it was, and remains, completely against the background to field them in that manner, so I have no fond memories of that at all.

Quote
I mean, as Asuryani (Craftworlders), Drukhari and Harlequins are all Aeldari now, nothing prevents us from mixing and matching units from all three sub-factions even within a single detachment. So, Harlequins can be included just as easily as Scorpions or Shining Spears. It's quite fluffy too, in my opinion - much more fluffy than Harlequins fielding a whole army of their own.

In terms of the rules, you are of course correct, but in terms of the background, this is not so, unless GW has re-written the lore on Harlequins for eighth edition.  Harlequins have always been more likely to be encountered and fielded as their own army, not as an element of another Eldar army, which is very rare and usually only occurs under very specific conditions, such as fighting Chaos or in battles critical to the survival of the Eldar race.  They are a very rare unit and I thus continue to advise all Eldar players who are interested in the narrative side of the game to treat them as such and not make them the most commonly chosen assault unit, regardless of how attractive their damage output may be.

Speaking of damage output, that is only one element to consider when evaluating an Eldar assault unit.  It is also imperative to consider durability, especially if protracted assaults are expected, as well as how well they may combine with other units.  This is where, I feel, other Eldar units may well be a more viable choice compared to Harlequins.  Also, even though the points difference is modest, they are still more expensive.
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Re: Eldar close combat (specifically against tau)
« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2017, 11:14:11 AM »
I agree, troupes seem amazing now, and starweavers are a really good transport as well, so they are going to be an incredibly good unit. I'm just annoyed that banshees and scorpions got a price hike from last edition, it wasn't like they were good then!

Wraithblades seem awesome, although I have yet to try them out. I think they'll be especially good because their stats seems like the perfect stats to have because of their weapons now. I think I'll probably still favour shining spears though because I just love the way jetbikes play. And also in your comparison you say 8 shining spears, but they are more likely to be in min units of 3 to make the most use out of the free exarch and the 3 point star lance.

Speaking of damage output, that is only one element to consider when evaluating an Eldar assault unit.  It is also imperative to consider durability, especially if protracted assaults are expected, as well as how well they may combine with other units.  This is where, I feel, other Eldar units may well be a more viable choice compared to Harlequins.  Also, even though the points difference is modest, they are still more expensive.
It definitely isn't, but in the case of howling banshees and striking scorpions the difference in damage output with troupes is so drastically different that the other factors don't really make up for it.

I think I'm going to try 2 min units of wyches with a hydra gauntlet, and agoniser in a raider next battle...the no escape rule seems really handy, and they seem pretty cheap for what they do considering they can take +1 attack for example.

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« Last Edit: June 19, 2017, 06:29:28 PM by Grand Master Lomandalis »

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Re: Eldar close combat (specifically against tau)
« Reply #9 on: June 19, 2017, 04:18:55 PM »
There is a bang for your buck aspect too. Troupes are not too bad, but crazy expensive. My troupers with the kiss are like 25-30pts each. Aspect warriors will give you a good saving in points.

I think banshees are highly underrated and would be very good at carving up units protected by a good save. The fact they can interrupt opponent charging units, or just always strike first is not to be undervalued. Especially now that initiative is not a thing. They are also amongst the fasted models on foot in the game.

Scorpions are going to be good slugging out in a battle of attrition and dealing with more lightly armoured folks.

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Re: Eldar close combat (specifically against tau)
« Reply #10 on: June 19, 2017, 05:14:53 PM »
I think banshees are highly underrated and would be very good at carving up units protected by a good save. The fact they can interrupt opponent charging units, or just always strike first is not to be undervalued. Especially now that initiative is not a thing. They are also amongst the fasted models on foot in the game.
I'm not sure, I think that the banshee mask seems kind of situational, I mean banshees will not be multicharged that often. The problem for me though is still their low strength, which means they struggle to put wounds on MEQ.

I do think they have potential, especially considering how good Jain Zar is, but I feel like they are just a bit weak for their price output and survivability wise.

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Re: Eldar close combat (specifically against tau)
« Reply #11 on: June 19, 2017, 05:42:42 PM »
The one and only situation when a Banshee mask can actually come into play would be a situation when you have multiple squads of banshees engaged in melee at one and the same time, and your opponent counter-assaults them all simultaneously. Only in such situation, after one of the counter-assaulting enemy units fights and slaughters one of your banshee squads, you can use Banshee Mask rule to activate other still remaining Banshee squads out of sequence. I think such situations will be too rare to consider them significant. And even if such situation arises, almost the same trick can actually be done by anyone with any units for 2 command points (Counter-offensive stratagem).
Thus, imho, Banshee mask rules, they way they are written currently, are largely insignificant.
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Re: Eldar close combat (specifically against tau)
« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2017, 06:52:40 PM »
Banshee masks are not only good in turns someone is charging. If no one charges, banshees strike first before anything else. This breaks up the 'taking turns' aspect of the combat initiative, and can mean you flat out strike first in your opponents turn.

Any turn in which your opponent charges with more then one unit, the Banshee mask is useful. You will strike before other of your opponents units, or make him have to attack the banshees right away, which could give a respite to other units.

Banshees are also under 20pts each, they are not expensive at all, especially for a very good melee rend.

With use of the elder powers (doom, guide, conceal, enchance in particular), it can help guarantee the units success. Harlequins cannot be the target of these powers, which IMO make them less ideal units to take in a primary Craftworld army.

I think ever elder army should have a farseer (or two) and a few warlocks, just to help buff key units, smite things out, and help deny enemy powers.

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Re: Eldar close combat (specifically against tau)
« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2017, 06:57:44 PM »
I think storm guardians will be a decent option against tau, grab a couple of powerswords and they should be fine @64 points for 8 of them with 2 P.swords.

S5 which Tau has plenty of only wounds on 3+ now and guardians will get their saves.
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Re: Eldar close combat (specifically against tau)
« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2017, 05:20:46 PM »
Quote
I mean, as Asuryani (Craftworlders), Drukhari and Harlequins are all Aeldari now, nothing prevents us from mixing and matching units from all three sub-factions even within a single detachment. So, Harlequins can be included just as easily as Scorpions or Shining Spears. It's quite fluffy too, in my opinion - much more fluffy than Harlequins fielding a whole army of their own.

In terms of the rules, you are of course correct, but in terms of the background, this is not so, unless GW has re-written the lore on Harlequins for eighth edition.

To be part of the same detachment, you must use a common faction keyword, so CWE and DE would be an Aeldari force, so neither getting the race benefits of Power from Pain or battle focus. I think you could run the two side by side as seperate detachments though.

You could of course run them as Ynnari.

Yeah Irisado is on the money fluff wise.

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Re: Eldar close combat (specifically against tau)
« Reply #15 on: June 21, 2017, 05:59:21 AM »
To be part of the same detachment, you must use a common faction keyword, so CWE and DE would be an Aeldari force, so neither getting the race benefits of Power from Pain or battle focus. I think you could run the two side by side as seperate detachments though.
Not sure why you think so, as there's nothing to indicate that in the rules.

You don't "use" faction keywords, units just happen to have certain faction keywords in common. It doesn't affect their individual or faction-specific rules in the slightest. I.e. the fact that both CWE and DE units have a common "Aeldari" faction keyword allows them to be in the same detachment. It doesn't change the fact that those units that also have "Drukhari" faction keyword benefit from Power from Pain rule, while those with "Asuryani" keyword have Battle Focus and can be affected by Farseer powers.

There's nothing in the rules that would suggest that if you have several faction keywords you have to somehow choose one of them to be "in effect" and discard all others.
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