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Discipline of the Autarch: An Exploration of common Eldar Strategies Part II: The Reserves Strategy

Submitted By: moc065 Date: September 7, 2011, 04:45:01 PM Views: 3173
Summary: Article on how to use the reserves stratagy with Eldar.

Discipline of the Autarch: An Exploration of common Eldar Strategies (Part II): The Reserves Strategy


Methodology:

-Mechanized, mounted, scouting, and/or deep striking units.
-Mobility.
-Selective aggression.

Reserves lists are gaining in popularity, so now you ask what on earth is a reserves list?  It is an army list that is designed to start on the battlefield, or fully in reserve, and it should take advantage of some useful Eldar traits, such as their deep striking units, scout USRs, mobility, and/or Autarch(s).  To sum it up, the entirety of this army can stay in reserve and simply arrive on the table as needed.

It has been said that these list are typically a 'glass hammer', as they can destroy large swathes of their opposition on turn two (or later if they so desire), but  they cannot really take much in the way of punishment.  This may or may not be true, as specific reserves Eldar lists can be as resilient as any other army, and still deliver a lot of punch when required.  One way in which many reserves lists beef up their resilience is through the use of mechanization, cover, and simply using synergistic units that are reasonably tough to begin with.  Some examples of this include adding Embolden Warlocks to any Guardian units, or running fully mechanized army with all the units transported inside Wave Serpents and Falcons to take advantage of the flat out cover rules.

Further Strategic Remarks and Psychological Demands of the Strategy:

The premise of using the reserves strategy is to deny your opponent an advantage that they might exploit, so it is not so much a way of gaining an advantage; although it might turn out this way in the long run.  This requires further elaboration, as it digs deep into the psychology of your opponent in certain situations.  Look at your army and see how you have some very mobile units that can now be used to divide and gang up on enemy units to crush them in a piecemeal fashion.  If your opponent is using Drop Pods, or has already deployed, you can often understand what his game plan is going to be; thus you can use the reserve option to mess up his plan and mess with his mind, putting him off kilter, and allowing you to exploit extra mistakes he makes later down the road.

In the case of Drop Pods you can simply stay off the battlefield until he has marked where all of his Pods intend to land, rolled for scatter, and then deployed them accordingly.  (Note the order in which I wrote that, as some opponents try to deploy one Drop Pod at a time when they actually all arrive at once).  After the scatter you can now seriously exploit any deployment errors by ganging up on particular units or avoiding units as required.  This often makes people feel that the Eldar are broken, as they get to come in late, pick where they go, and leads to comments of the sort 'oh wait they took away all my crafty deployment ideas; whine, whine, whine', which is what I was referring to when I discussed messing up your opponent's mind.

If you have first turn, you can deploy well hidden to lure your opponent with a few units, and then bring in reserves to assist your plan as needed, since the Autarch can really help make your plan a lot more cohesive.  You can even start off of the battlefield, and allow your opponent to do nothing for a couple turns, as this frustrates many people, and your mobility will easily allow you to to take objectives later in the game.  You can even use an opponent's movement to hinder his own line of sight, thus further limiting his options, and messing with his thought processes even more.  Alternatively, you can hit him full force if he opens the door to you.

All in all, the reserves strategy is about removing your opponent's options and increasing your own; which should translate into an easier time for you to gain table control, and thus win the battle, or at least draw against opponents that are much stronger than your army happens to be.  (It does happen that certain match ups for Eldar are just a little lop sided against you, so trim their advantage and lessen the gap).

Favourite/common units and/or unit combination:

One of the big lures to Eldar generals with respect to fielding a reserves list is that, if put together and used well, these lists can basically seize the initiative regardless of who goes first.  Through the use of an Autarch or two, you can practically guarantee that your units will arrive as needed.  Not all reserves lists use the dual Autarch approach, but I would say that at least one Autarch is mandatory to do a reserves list any justice.  From there, you add your troops, and these will normally consist of Guardians or Dire Avengers mounted in Wave Serpents, or Jetbikes.  After this, you can consider taking any unit that has the Scout USR, can be mounted inside a Wave Serpent or Falcon, is a vehicle to start with, or is able to deep strike.

Here is a typical list that uses one Autarch (and Yriel is extremely good for this type of army so you could consider using him in many cases).

  • HQ - Yriel
  • HQ - Autarch
  • TR - Dire Avengers, including an Exarch armed with Dual Avenger Catapults, Bladestorm, and Defend; mounted in a Wave Serpent or small enough to fit into a Falcon.
  • TR - Storm Guardians equipped with two flamers, led an Embolden Warlock with a Singing Spear; mounted in a Wave Serpent.
  • TR - Pathfinders.
  • TR - Jetbikes.
  • EL - Striking Scorpions, including an Exarch with Shadowstrike.
  • FA - Swooping Hawks, including an Exarch with Skyleap.
  • FA - Warp Spiders.
  • HS - Fire Prism.
  • HS - War Walkers.
  • HS - Falcon (transporting a small unit).


Think of how the entire force can start off the table in reserve and arrive as the Autarchs allow, owing to their bonuses to your reserve roles which you can add as needed.  You can allow your opponent a turn to set up and move, and then pounce on him as needed with little risk of retribution (if you do it well).

Actual Design Process:

Something that is often done with reserves lists is to combine the mechanized aspect of the Eldar to cross into two areas at once.  This can result in a seriously competitive style of list, but it does come with a downside, as mechanized Eldar often give up a lot of kill points, which can be used to overcome them.  They also tend to be low on scoring units, so it is often difficult to achieve a true balance between a reserves list and reserves mechanized Eldar list.  I will only focus on the reserves list in this article, but I might expand into the reserves mechanized Eldar list in a subsequent article (comments welcome).  For the sake of simplicity, I will keep the list size down to a reasonable level, so that even a player starting from scratch will have the option to consider using this strategy.

Building my list:

Troops:

First, I need some troops, and it is important to really think this through, as this is where you win the game for two of the three standard missions.  I will take a unit of Dire Avengers mounted in a Wave Serpent and some Jetbikes, as I like the figures.  These two units can both provide mobility, shooting, and some resilience; but they lack in high end shooting, anti-tank, true crowd control, close combat capability, so the rest of my list will have to cover these bases.

HQ:

Next, I need an HQ to have a legal list, and I really want to focus on choices which can support my troops while adding to my the potential of my list overall.  I also need those bonuses to reserve rolls, so I will take Yriel.  He will give me those valuable bonuses, and he also adds close combat punch, as well as offering a few other little things that are nice to have (think about his Eye).  I may, or may not, want another HQ, but this decision can wait until I have added more to the army list, and see what support, if any, is still required.

I put the list together and see where it stands at this stage, so if I add some Brightlances to the Serpent and a Warlock with Embolden to the Jetbike squad I have some added resilience and some anti-tank already.  I now need to find some close combat ability and some crowd control.  I could look at any of the FOC slots, but I like to keep some balance, so I will try to limit myself to one choice from any of the three remaining FOC slots to start with.

Heavy Support:

It should be noted that I could have picked elites or fast attack first, it is all down to personal preference.  I want some dakka for crowd control, and there is almost nothing cheaper than Warwalkers with Scatterlasers for their range, dakka, and strength, so into the mix one unit goes.

Elites:

I am trying to keep the list down to a low points cost level, so I need to find a close combat unit that is effective when starting in reserve, and not too expensive.  I think that Striking Scorpions would fit the bill, so in they go.

List:

TR - 524pts
(177) 10 Dire Avengers: Ex has PW & SS, with Defend and Bladestorm.
     (145) Wave Serpent: TL-BLs and stones.
(202) 7 Jetbikes: 2 Shuriken Cannons; also includes Warlock with Embolden and Singing Spear.

HQ - 155pts
(155) Yriel

HS - 140pts
(140) 2 WarWalkers: 2 Scatterlasers each.

EL - 180pts
(180) 8 Striking Scorpions: Ex has Claw, with Stalker and Shadowstrike.

999pts, 2 SUs, 6 KPs, and 29 figures.

I have a little 1000 point list that can easily start in reserve if needed, and has a good chance to come in when I choose, and everything works straight out of the box.  I could also split the War Walkers, as there are advantages to this, but it also give up another kill point, and has some disadvantages as well.  Of course, the list will still try and make use of any terrain, so that it can focus its firepower and/or assaults on selected enemy units at will; and, as the troops are not really designed to hold an objective forever, the army should be used in a manner that takes objectives in the latter stages of the game, rather than early on.  Elements of the list could be placed on the battlefield straight away (Dire Avengers with Yriel in the Serpent might be a nice Dawn of War start) if you have some decent terrain, or the first turn, for example.  Hopefully, this is starting to illustrate some of the advantages of a reserves list, but comments and suggestions are welcome.

moc065
August 2011.

Rating: ***** by 4 members.

Comments

Algavinn of the Many Paths
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Stockholm syndrome is a great way to pickup chicks


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May 19, 2012, 08:29:54 AM
I do generally also agree that most of the articles in this series I have read could be expounded upon, with more tactical insight given instead of just an encyclopedia type entry, but they are certainly good articles in what they do and how they're executed.  Hoping the whip gets more of you buggers to get the rest of them finished soon! :p
Irisado
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November 22, 2011, 11:59:50 AM
There are more articles in the series, but none are ready to be published at this stage for a number of reasons.  Three (including this one) have already been published, and more are likely to be added in the near future though.
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all is dust...


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November 21, 2011, 05:49:02 AM
A good start, are these articles going to be added to in the future?

These articles are a great idea and can be fleshed out a lot.

Irisado
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October 30, 2011, 09:13:03 AM
Thanks for noticing this Embolden.  I've contacted moc to let him know, so it should be corrected soon.
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October 29, 2011, 08:26:50 PM
Good article once again, but you're slightly out with your points on the War Walkers.
Irisado
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September 28, 2011, 06:14:39 AM
The next article in this series will probably be Gutstikk's castle strategy.  As ever, this is always provisional though, as the order may well be changed, owing to editorial discretion  :).
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September 27, 2011, 06:40:08 PM
wow, great work, this is really helpful. what is part 3 gonna be about?



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