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[reserve][pagebreaks]Effective Seer Council Building

Submitted By: Date: January 1, 2006, 04:14:59 AM Views: 768
Summary: The Seer Council Of Ulthwe can be one of it's greatest strengths if built and used with care, or one of it's greatest weaknesses if built without thought to it's role on the battle field. Without a clearly defined goal for the Council to accomplish, the cost of the Seer council can quickly spiral out of control. In this guide, we will be taking a look at each and every option available to the Seer Council, analysing its most effective uses, point efficient combinations, and looking at goal oriented use. The three primary goals we will be examining are the Assassination Council (used to take out characters and squad leaders, or other specific targets inside squads), the Combat Council (Designed to assist in the assaults with their added skill and special powers), and the Support Council (meant to bolster other troops offensive and defensive capabilities, as well as provide assistance in the counter charge). In this article, we will be assuming a fairly standard point’s limit of between 1500 to 2000 points. The advice can also be used in 1000 points games; however using any one of the suggestions as detailed later in the article may use 25% or more of your points in such a small game.

We will start by taking a look at what the base Seer Council comes with.

Individual Models

For less than 100 points You get two Farseers and three Warlocks.  Not a bad bargain at the outset, considering that you get just a little over two Warlocks, basically for free.  You keep the ability to mount them in a Wave Serpent, gain access to a new warlock power, and a potentially unlimited number of Warlocks, but loose the Farseer as an Independent Character and the option to mount them on jetbikes.  So far, all the benefits far outweigh the penalties for taking a Seer Council.  Without any upgrades it is a fairly resilient HQ choice with some good stats, and a nasty reputation on the table.  It is definitely worth fielding, which is a plus, since it is a required choice in the Ulthwe list.

The first option we are going to look at is the ability to add bodies to the Council.  At the same cost listed in the main Eldar Codex, you can add up to three additional Farseers.  Taking this option adds some considerable cost to the Council, especially since each Farseer must take a power, and Farseers tend to take more gear than Warlocks.  Unless you are playing a very high points game (2000+) or are building an Assassination Council, I would recommend not adding more than one Farseer, if any.  Even with an assassination council, I would resist the urge to add more than one additional Farseer.  I would also advise not using an additional Farseer in a Combat Council because even as potent as the Combat Council is, it should never be acting without the aide of either a close combat squad, or supporting fire, or even better, both.

Now Warlocks are a different story.  Again, they cost the exact same as the Main Codex Eldar Warlocks, but only three have to remain attached to the Council itself.  This is wonderful because you can add the benefit of having the Warlocks to each and every Guardian squad you field while keeping plenty with the Farseers.  With the council itself, the number of warlocks kept with it varies a bit depending again on the Function of the Council.  Most Seer councils acting as character assassins or combat councils benefit from having "sacrificial" Warlocks that are basically there to soak up wounds to keep the Farseers and the Warlocks with powers alive.  Councils crossing the board on foot benefit from a few more extra warlocks, while transported Seer Councils should be kept to a total of less than 6 models to use the Falcon as a more secure transport than the Wave Serpent.  A council that is primarily going to be acting in a tactical support role will usually be far from the front, guiding and fortuning the back lines, and since it is exposed to less risk, it needs extra bodies some what less.


Next up, lets look at weapon options and combinations.  We will start with the least expensive and move our way up.

First off, No weapons what so ever.  The pros are it doesn't add anything to the cost of the council.  The cons are you are wandering around on a battlefield in the forty-first millennium with your dukes.  You don't even get an extra attack for having two fists.  While I think this is a viable option for a pure support Farseer, I really think that the Seer Council deserves to have some way of defending itself until a more combat oriented unit can come to the rescue.

If you only take one weapon and it's not the Singing Spear, make it the Shuriken Pistol, especially if you don't give the model any ranged offensive powers.  It gives you a little bit of range, it lets you assault, and if you stand still, you get to shoot twice.  Honestly, it’s better than just taking a CCW, but if you can't afford a better weapons set than this, there may be a problem somewhere in the list.

One of my favourite combinations has to be the Pistol and CCW.  Compared to the overall price of the unit, loading up on these is dirt cheap.  Honestly, any of the three types of council I have mentioned could benefit from the pittance of points that this weapon set offers.  A little range for those without offensive powers, extra attacks in close combat, and plenty of points left over for other goodies or the rest of your army.  Unless there is a bona fide reason for a Warlock to carry something else, this is what I give them.  Farseers can benefit from this as well, but I would recommend this only for the Support Council, and an inexpensive Assassination Council.

Moving up to the next most expensive weapon set, we have the Witchblade and Pistol.  This is one of the most tempting combinations in the Weapons.  A lot of new Ulthwe players put these weapons on everyone who can take it by default.  I would strongly advise against that tactic.  With the average number of warlocks in an Ulthwe army, you could buy a half squad of any elites choice except the Wraithguard for the point’s difference between this and the Pistol and CCW.  I will however mention that this is a very strong weapon set, if used in moderation.  You have a pistol for range and multiple Witchblade attacks in close combat.  You wound infantry on a two plus, despite the fact that they get a save, and you can also start to cut up tanks.  I highly recommend this for the Farseers, especially in the Combat Council, less so in the Assassination Council, but it would also be affective there.

The only other single weapon worth talking about is the Singing Spear.  It's a Witchblade that you throw, and comes back to you.  Unfortunately it won't be back in time for the assault phase.  The only downside to the thrown spear is that, unless changed in a FAQ or chapter approved article, it has no AP value.  As such it means that you won't be able to score penetrating hits on vehicles at range, and anyone you throw it at will likely get an armour save, but both the Warlocks and the Farseers will have a great chance at hitting with the toss.  I would strongly advise that any model in an assassination squad that doesn't have an "instead of shooting" power carry one of these around, points permitting.

If you have the points to spare, the Singing Spear and Pistol combination provides a wealth of tactical flexibility.  You can choose to shoot with either weapon, depending on the situation.  Against most infantry, you are better off saving the Spear for the charge, where as most vehicles are easier to hit at range with the Spear.  The only downside I see to this you gain no additional attacks in the assault for a hefty price of points, but you gain quite a bit of tactical flexibility over the Witchblade and Pistol combination.  As good as just the spear is for the Assassination council, this is better.

The final weapon combination we will look at is the horrendously expensive combination of the Witchblade and Singing Spear.  While yes, this may look better than a Spear and pistol, I cannot recommend this combination for any one in any circumstance, unless you are in a HUGE battle.  It is a huge point sink, and despite the fact that anyone armed with this will always wound on a 2+, you will only glance vehicles at range and never get the two CCW bonus.


Now lets take a look at the wargear section.

First off for the Warlocks, the only piece of wargear that I believe they are allowed (Unless I am miss-reading the F.A.Q.) are the Runes of Witnessing.  While they are inexpensive, and will increase the Warlock's ability to cast any power that requires dice rolling.  The only one is Augment.  The other downside is that it increases the chances of demons from the warp trying to eat the Warlock's brains from roughly 2% (1 out of 36) to a little over 7% (16 out of 216).  Without access to the Ghosthelm, I would not be a strong advocate of Warlocks with the Runes of Witnessing under any circumstances.

For the Farseers, the Runes of Witnessing become a decent investment when coupled with the Ghost Helm.  If your Farseer is going to carry the Runes, carry the Helm as well.  Other than dropping the 7% threat of a "perils of the warp" to a more acceptable 3.7%, it can also be useful against the forces of chaos.  Honestly though, as long as you haven't gone overboard arming the council the only reason not to have any and every Farseer in your army take these two inexpensive pieces of war gear is if it is a very small battle.

The more expensive Runes of Warding are a slightly different story.  While they can dramatically affect your opponent's ability to get their powers off, enemy psykers are not as common on the battlefield as they once were.  While I would recommend one in the council for tournaments or anywhere else you are likely to bump into either the forces of chaos or the Space Marines, I would say that one is sufficient, but not required.

The final piece of war gear for the Farseer is the Spirit Stone.  Please note that it costs as much as another Farseer.  You can also use up to 5 Farseers in the Council. This piece of gear may be useful in other Eldar lists, but not to the Seer Councils of Ulthwe.


At long last we get to the "good stuff."  The psychic powers.  

Starting with the Warlock powers, we will discuss how this power can be used in all three types of Seer Councils we have discussed.

We will start with Augment.  This is a strange one, as far as Warlock powers go.  First off it is only allowable to the Ulthwe Warlocks, and it is the only Warlock power that requires a roll.  It is also the cheapest power a warlock can have.  With the ability to double the range of any one of the Farseer's powers in the council, this is an absolute must for the Assassination Council and a good thing to have in the Support Council, but not that useful for the Combat Council, as they will be very close to anything the Farseers would want to affect.  

Next, Conceal.  Honestly, this power is better suited used in Guardian Defender squads, since the Council already has an invulnerable save.

Destructor is an interesting choice.  While I personally prefer other options, a Combat Council could use this instead of the pistols to soften up the target for assault, but still carry the pistols for about four more inches range and the extra CC attack.  An Assassination Council could use this to clear out some of the bodyguards around their prey, but Mindwar is Model specific and longer range.  I would personally consider this a third tier choice for the Combat Council and the Assassination Council, while a better choice for the Support Council to help thin the ranks of anyone deep-striking, infiltrating near them, or trying to assault them.

Embolden is a wonderful power.  I will go so far as to say embolden is an almost essential power in any Seer Council.  With as much as this one unit tends to cost and the importance of its role on the battlefield, it is a unit that is very disruptive to have pinned or falling back.  With as much firepower as any Seer Council tends to attract, you will be glad to re-roll any failed pinning or morale test.

Finally, at least as far as the Warlocks are concerned, we reach Enhance.  While it sits just over the average points cost for the warlock powers, it is worth its weight in gold to the Combat Council.  It would be a decent addition to the Support Council, but less useful than Destructor, as the Support Council usually "buffs" other units and Enhance affects only the Council itself.  I would not recommend Enhance for the Assassination squad, because it needs to be mobile and able to act in the shooting phase.

Farseer Powers

The last thing to look at, and honestly the choices that make the biggest affect on how your Seer Council performs on the table top is the selection of the Farseers' powers.  Now, despite the fact that any one Farseer can have all four powers, and can actually use two a turn with the spirit stones, I strongly recommend a limit of one power per Farseer in the Seer Council.  This will help keep costs down even more effectively than resisting the urge to give everyone who can have one a Witchblade.  

We will start by taking a look at one of the most controversially debated powers a Farseer can have.  The strange and troublesome Eldritch Storm.  First off it is expensive.  On the upside, it uses the Ordinance template.  Also, it causes pinning without having to cause a casualty, and can even cause the rotation of enemy vehicles.  On the downside it has a very low strength and no AP.  This means despite the fact that you get to roll 2d6 for vehicle penetration, you will only ever glance, and just rotating a tank doesn't affect its ability to fire a usually high strength, low AP Ordinance weapon, let alone heavy weapons.  While Augmenting this power does make it somewhat more attractive, based on it's strength and AP, I would have to say that while it may help thin the herd for the Combat Council, the other powers would be far more useful for any other type of Council we have discussed.  I would call this a second choice at best for a Combat Council, and a fourth pick or lower for the Assassination and Support Councils.

Far better than Eldritch Storm, is Fortune.  This power is a big part of the reason why the Seer Council in all its forms is so feared.  Casting this on the Council itself gives it a 75% chance to negate any wound.  This power is in my opinion almost a required one.  The Combat Council becomes far more capable of outlasting almost anything in the assault phase, the Assassination Council becomes very capable of withstanding the huge amounts of return fire that they may suffer, and the Support Council makes frail units far more sturdy, and the already sturdy units insanely difficult to kill.  Also, the FAQ has said that this power affects armour, cover, and invulnerable saves.

Another favourite of the Support Council is Guide.  Any weapon in the unit that receives this boost is considered twin linked for the shooting phase.  For anyone who complains that a given unit in the Eldar list can't hit the broad side of a barn, this is the answer.   This is a stellar choice for the Support Council, a viable choice for a Combat Council mounted in a Falcon, but a less optimal choice for the assassination squad, only because it takes away a slot better suited to the role of the Council.

Finally we reach the darling of the Assassination Council, Mind War.  In addition to being the least expensive power, it is the only offensive power where you, the Eldar player, get to decide who has to defend against the attack.  It has very permissive targeting, and it's only real drawback is cover, and other non-armour saves are allowed.  This is a powerful, even defining choice for the Assassination council, a decent choice for a Combat Council (useful for killing "Hidden" powerfists and the like), but a less than optimal for a Support Council.

To bring all of the ground covered together, let's look at a collection of the suggestions grouped by Council type, with a focus on keeping the points reasonably low without being cheap.


Support Council

2-4 Farseers with Guide/Fortune, possibly Mind War, CCWs/Witchblades and Pistols,  0-2 sets of Ghost Helms and Runes of Witnessing depending on points, and perhaps one set of Runes of Warding.

3-6 Warlocks with CCWs and Pistols, 0-2 Augments, 0-2 Destructors, 0-1 Enhances and/or Emboldens.

Cost: Somewhere around 170 to 300 points depending on the over all size of the battle

Assassination Council

3-4 Farseers with 2-3 Mind War, 0-1 Fortune, CCWs/Witchblades and Pistols, 2-4 sets of Ghost Helms and Runes of Witnessing depending on points, and perhaps one set of Runes of Warding.

3-6 Warlocks with 3-4 CCWs and Pistols, 0-2 Singing Spears and Pistols, 3-4 Augments, 0-1 Emboldens.

Cost: Somewhere around 210 to 400 points depending on the over all size of the battle

Combat Council

2-3 Farseers with 1 Fortune, and 0-2 of any combination of other powers, Witchblades and Pistols, 1-2 sets of the Ghost Helms and Runes of Witnessing, and perhaps one set of Runes of Warding.

3-4 Warlocks with CCWs and Pistols, 1 Enhance, 1 Embolden, and 0-2 either Destructor or Augment.

Cost: around 220 to 300 points plus a recommendation for a transport, again depending on the size of the battle

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