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Offline Cavalier

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Eldar Close-Combat
« on: September 4, 2015, 07:15:40 AM »
Hey guys. So as I've been rumbling along with my Eldar, the absolute necessity of a close-combat unit became readily apparent. I found against some armies, particular Necrons, that there would come a time in the game where the Wraithknight alone (who features prominently in my army) was not enough to prevent units from getting at my high-value shooty units like my Dire Avengers, Wave Serpents and Laser Bikes. High model count armies could saturate the board to the point where there was just no place to run... something had to be done.

My solution was Wraithblades with axes. They are a unit I had experimented with a bit before, but recently have dedicated to learning and wow, what a payoff. I've included an Autarch with Banshee Mask and Fire Sabre, and a Spiritseer rolling on Sanctic (hopefully getting +1 invuln, gate of infinity, or hammerhand). Even getting the shooty powers on Sanctic has been VERY nice and this cheap little unit has turned out to be a star in my most recent games.

Basically if I get Gate of Infinity I launch forward out of LOS and begin to harass the flanks, and if I don't get Gate of Infinity, I use cautiously inching up the board out of LOS as much as possible protecting my Jetbikes, Wave Serpents et. al. alongside the Wraithknight and its worked great. The highlights being crushing a pair of Mawlocks, and chewing through a 1/4 of a Tau army and almost nabbing his Riptide, and a number of other games against Guard where once they're in combat they just start sucking units in left and right.

I've found their low number of attacks is actually a great benefit. It means they are usually breaking their targets on my opponents turn enabling me to assault without return fire on the subsequent turn which is great.

They are cheap, can go after almost any target and are tough as hell and with a little buff from the Autarch with his Banshee Mask and high initiative attacks, and the versatility of the Spiritseer they've easily become a new favorite in my lists.

Anyway what do you guys run for close-combat? Or have you forsaken it for overwhelming shooting. I used to forego it completely but have been burned for it big time. So let me know I'd be fascinated to know what all you other Eldar players have been running for close-combat options!

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Offline dog_of_war

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Re: Eldar Close-Combat
« Reply #1 on: September 4, 2015, 08:29:57 AM »
I use my scorpions for easier targets and some horde control while my wraithlords do all the heavy hitting. A naked lord, or just with a wraithsword, can handle himself in almost any combat situation. His high toughness makes him impervious to most troops and the flamers help eliminate a good chunk of models prior to getting engaged and help it prevent being tarpitted. Being a lone character can help by making a challenge each turn and slowly pick apart a unit, while the rest of them look on helpless. Being a monsterous creature really helps with vehicles or against good armour saves. As a versatile close combat unit, they are my number one pick. Need to be wary of powerfists, but if you challenge you should be able to flatten him before he even has a chance to swing. A mob of nobz with power klaws would be a different story, but everything has their rock to their scissors.
 
« Last Edit: September 4, 2015, 07:39:49 PM by dog_of_war »

Offline Fenris

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Re: Eldar Close-Combat
« Reply #2 on: September 4, 2015, 09:30:50 AM »
I also use scorpions, usually a large unit of 9-10 with clawed exarch of course. I infiltrate them a bit up the board preferably in cover, which makes them quite OK as cannon fodder by eldar standards. Behind them I often run a small unit of 5 banshees, the banshees can take cover behind the scorpions and should be able to multi-assault by turn 2-3 since they run faster than the scorpions.

Against orks and nids and daemons they work as counter-charge units, since those armies usually needs to be thinned out a bit before they reach combat.

@2K these units are a bit too fragile but @1500 they work well.
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Offline Grizzlykin

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Re: Eldar Close-Combat
« Reply #3 on: September 4, 2015, 01:33:58 PM »
Well for me close combat is a place i haven't explored much.
Yet i can say that i shall soon (when i recieve my purchase so to say) run with 1 squad of 9 banshee + exarch with excutioner supported by jain zar and the avatar. I've seen my avatar do maestro work more than once in CC did something like 6 or 7 hp dammage on a stompa even when i forgot he had armor bane.
I also run a wraithlord with sword and this guy did a wonderfull job a cleaning an objective in a tyranid game ( to get destroy just after but you can't have every thing).
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Offline Cavalier

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Re: Eldar Close-Combat
« Reply #4 on: September 4, 2015, 02:39:00 PM »
Man, very cool to see so many of you guys running Scorpions. I've just recently incorporated them into my force and while they didn't impact the game very much (opponent conceded by turn 4) I was very impressed by their presence and their durability in cover. In addition to Wraithblades they've made into my "standard" list going forward.

@Fenris- I was intrigued to see your Scorpions+ Min. Sized Banshee approach Fenris. I know you have very strong opinions on list construction/unit viability, and was surprised to see both those units in there. Cheers on such a bold move Fenris, I like it!

@Dog of War & Grizz- Awesome to see both you guys rocking Wraithlords. In one of my more recent games I ran one myself, and was very impressed how well they still stack up especially in the hyper-powerful state of the game we all find ourselves in. Against the right targets and used cautiously the old standby is as solid as ever. I'm with you guys 100%
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Offline Lyonic

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Re: Eldar Close-Combat
« Reply #5 on: September 5, 2015, 01:11:43 AM »
Wraithblades are too slow outside the hosts. Wraithlord has no FNP or invul and dies hard any fire. Whatever is shooting at its toughness normally has ap TEQ or MEQ anyway..

Offline Irisado

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Re: Eldar Close-Combat
« Reply #6 on: September 5, 2015, 02:52:56 AM »
Lyonic, Wraithlords can't be destroyed easily in close combat for the reasons posted above, and you cannot shoot into close combat, so I don't understand your comment.

Are you trying to say that it won't make it into close combat?  If so, then that may be the case, but an opponent has to utilise a substantial amount of fire power to bring down the Wraithlord in the first place, and if you're fielding two of them (as I used to do when I played), then it's not that easily to neutralise them.  Indeed, even against armies with a lot of fire power, such as the Tau, I managed to get one of my Wraithlords into close combat, where it made a major nuisance of itself, so I would support the comments above that they are quite a handy close combat option.  This is especially true if you can make use of their dual flamers to burn targets on the way into combat.
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Offline Cavalier

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Re: Eldar Close-Combat
« Reply #7 on: September 5, 2015, 07:53:43 AM »
@Lyonic- In the 5+ games I've used my Wraithblades speed hasn't been an issue at all. When used on foot, in those early-to-mid turns of the game as they inch up the board (preferably out of LOS) the defense they give alongside the Wraithknight to units like Wave Serpents, Laser Bikes, etc is very valuable in the 1st half of the game.

Being able to have a rock hard assault unit clearing mid-field objectives mid-to-late game is  excellent as well.

Also when using a Spirit Seer with Gate of Infinity they can be anywhere on the board turn 1. I've also used them in a Wave Serpents to great effect especially on a far flank (away from major retaliatory fire) where once they are in combat, they slowly start chewing through gunlines or sling-shooting from unit to unit as they often break their targets in the opponents phase due to low attacks.

I've found consolidaton moves, actually add a lot of movement to slower assault units helping them close gaps very rapidly making them even deadlier when they are in the thick of things.
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Offline dog_of_war

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Re: Eldar Close-Combat
« Reply #8 on: September 5, 2015, 07:58:10 AM »
If I understand what Lyonic is saying, an opponent will concentrate all his high strength weaponry at the wraithlord and much of it will nullify his armour save. But I agree with Irisado, the amount of fire power needed to ace a wraithlord is substantial. Taking into account firing BS and equal strength to wraithlord toughness weapons you'll statistically need at least 10-12 shots to strip all of a wraithlords wounds (marine BS 8 shots and ork BS 16 shots, so I took the happy median) And that's not taking into account line of sight blocking or cover saves, potentially doubling the number of shots to taken. I don't know many armies that pack that much potential fire power each turn, but if they do, that's a lot of wasted effort on removing one model. A good example would be brightlances versus a land raider or monolith. The lance rule gives you the same results versus armour 14 as a missile launcher versus a wraithlords toughness. If you've ever faced a land raider or monolith you've probably swore at how many lances you had to fire at it to take it down. Now realize that the wraithlord if half the points of the land raider.


« Last Edit: September 5, 2015, 08:46:38 AM by dog_of_war »

Offline Wyldhunt

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Re: Eldar Close-Combat
« Reply #9 on: September 5, 2015, 10:22:34 AM »
In my purely eldar lists, melee is generally handled by my lone wraith lady and my Phoenix Lords. Wraith lords are surprisingly durable if you keep them in cover.  Shooty armies can still kill them pretty quickly, but that's a lot of firepower to put into something. Especially if I also have a farseer tossing fortune on it.  One of the nice things about wraith lords in melee is that they can challenge, so that single powerklaw in an ork boy squad that can hurt you gets to be the first to die! 

My Phoenix Lords (the most common of which being Baharroth, Maugan Ra, and Jain Zar in that order) are nasty too.  Maugan can be countered pretty handily by anything with a 2+ save, but he'll butcher most other targets. Baharroth's sword means that enemies have a good chance of hitting him on 5s in return. This ramps up his durability.  Combined with hawk movement and his ability to slip out of combat, he's a surprisingly good melee harasser!  Jain is just... Entire guardian squads get assigned to her just so she can go take out nasty gribblies all by herself. Also, if you manage to have just her, a guardian, and a heavy weapon platform alive like in my lat game, you get to enjoy a boost to toughness! :D

Now all that said, if I'm building a list with melee in mind, I usually bring harlequin or dark eldar friends along.  A single Solitaire manages to seriously change the way my opponent looks at the table, and a small squad of harlies can do wonders.  I've had fantastic results with Drazhar and Incubi (though not in the same squad squad), and bringing along a few dark eldar MCs can be pretty handy as well.

Offline Lyonic

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Re: Eldar Close-Combat
« Reply #10 on: September 5, 2015, 07:10:47 PM »
I think for building fun fluffy or fun lists wraithblades are awsome! Wraithlords too!

however most armies are shooty and most armies will wreck wraithblades and wlord.

wblades have an MEQ save same as the wlord, there is so much ap2-3 firepower in the game nowadays. Not to mention grav weapons too
..

i like to see things as a "is it point/useage" efficent and the wblades and lord are not. By a long way.

Offline Cavalier

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Re: Eldar Close-Combat
« Reply #11 on: September 6, 2015, 08:13:40 AM »
Against two of the shootiest armies in the game IG and Tau my Wraithblades (axes and shields) have had the most success. The IG army was especially brutal with 4+ units of Plasma Vets, Plasmacutioner, Pask in a Punisher and the whole nine yards. The one turn I left my Wraithblades exposed Pask unloaded everything the Punisher had and I lost one Wraithblade (I may even have the bat-rep in my project log to back it up  8)). I've run the Wraithblades about 4 times against the same IG list which features tons of Ap2/Ap3 via Basilisks, Plasma Vets, Plasmacutioners et. al and 3/4 times they have gotten into the enemy lines tearing apart infantry.

Same thing with Tau... against 2 different players in about 3 games they managed to get into the Firewarriors, Broadsides (never could reach the Riptide before the game ended), and tear them up.

In about 6-7 games of play testing them, they've only really fell on their faces twice, but made it into combat every time.

There is no denying that when left exposed the Wraithblades can be brought down, but in actual playing experience against some very competitive armies my Wraithblades have excelled. They are not a unit you can just run down the gut, but in a streamlined, high performance army they are very easy to fit in due to how cheap they are and can be invaluable tool.

Especially when you have high value shooting units like Laser Bikes, Wraithlords and even Wave Serpents garnering so much attention its easy for a cheap 5 man unit of Wraithblades to drop on the target priority list.

Anyway, you may not *like* them but for points efficiency at only 10 points more than a naked 10 man Space Marine tactical squad (!), they have a ton of wallop, versatility in terms of what targets they can handle, and have high value for a shooty army like Eldar.

Anyway I'll cease in my attempts to convince you of their value, as the thread's purpose is not to debate the merit of Wraithblades  ;D but what close-combat units do you run Lyonic? Like I said in the opening post, I've had problems with high model count armies reaching my lines, and having no place for my shooty units to run due to my opponents saturation of the board. Or do you forgo close-combat all together, living and dying in the shooting phase?
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Offline Lyonic

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Re: Eldar Close-Combat
« Reply #12 on: September 6, 2015, 02:29:15 PM »
If you are playing horde, scorpions will wreck. If u are fighting TEQ, then its not a horde and u can shoot them. Toe to Toe we don't have any u its that can stand up to TEQ type units.. The reason we suck at cc is because we have no assault transports and wblades have a pitiful movement. You will waste minimum 2-4 turns trying to get i to combat usually.

even when they do eventually get into combat they have minimum attacks on the charge..
« Last Edit: September 6, 2015, 04:29:20 PM by Lyonic »

Offline Irisado

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Re: Eldar Close-Combat
« Reply #13 on: September 7, 2015, 01:49:10 AM »
however most armies are shooty and most armies will wreck wraithblades and wlord.

How much cover do you typically have on the boards you regularly game on?  If you're playing at some of these tournaments where they don't use a sensible amount of terrain, then I understand why you have this view.  On all gaming surfaces I've played on though there has been sufficient terrain to prevent this from being an issue.

Indeed, as I alluded to earlier, I faced Tau with all their fire power, and one of my two Wraithlords made it into close combat every time.  As a result, I find it improbable that, on a board with sufficient terrain, most armies will consistently bring down multiple Wraithlords before at least one of them makes it into close combat.

Also, Eldar are not poor in close combat.  The issue is the delivery system.  That does not mean, however, that close assault units cannot be employed successfully.  Striking Scorpions are durable enough, for example, to be used on foot, and if you take a look at Cavalier's battle reports, you can see how he is using his Wraithblades.

Thinking outside the box is a good thing.  Just because Eldar armies are easier to use in a shooting role doesn't mean that close combat should be overlooked altogether.
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Offline Lyonic

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Re: Eldar Close-Combat
« Reply #14 on: September 7, 2015, 03:49:43 AM »
The thing with cover is, a 4+ save if you make it in to ruins say, is pretty awful for a save. The wraithlord has half the wounds of the wraithknight and a 4+ is trash sorry. I don't know what kind of Tau you have been playing, maybe a friendly fluffy Tau? Multiple riptides will pie-plate your blades and marker light away any cover. Again, if you ate relying on a wraithblades invul save to keep them 'Effective unit Size', you are gonna lose.

I use scorpions in all my non competitive lists, purely because i don't have space for an aspect host in my tourney list. They chop up horde units with ease but i have found relying on exarch alone to kill can leave you with dead scorpions.

Eldar are not awful in CC but they don't have an assault transport as i mentioned before... Also..


storm guardians.. Lol
banshees.. 5's to wound marines?.... Lol
wraithblades.. Have 1 attack base and horrible mobility.. Not to mention they are twice as expensive as a scorpion.
scorpions.. Excellent horde killers but nothing else.
wraithlord..anythin g able to shoot at this guy is going to ignore armour anyways and its to slow! Getting into combat turn 3-4 is 33% of the game useless.
wraithknight.. Outstanding.. Take lots!

Offline Irisado

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Re: Eldar Close-Combat
« Reply #15 on: September 7, 2015, 06:21:22 AM »
The thing with cover is, a 4+ save if you make it in to ruins say, is pretty awful for a save.

It's not awful, it's average, and a pretty handy average save.  The boards that I have played on have had a lot of 4+ cover and it makes a massive difference compared to 5+ or 6+ cover saves.

I've faced Marker Lights and they are a pain, but they cannot target everything, and as we've said if your opponent is busy shooting one Wraithlord down before it gets into close combat, then there's still the second one (or third one if you really want it).

Quote
storm guardians.. Lol

Explain please.  Writing comments like 'lol' means nothing to me.

Quote
banshees.. 5's to wound marines?.... Lol

It has been like that for numerous editions.  That's not the issue for Howling Banshees.  Their problem is delivery.

Quote
wraithlord..anything able to shoot at this guy is going to ignore armour anyways and its to slow! Getting into combat turn 3-4 is 33% of the game useless.

Please explain where that statistic comes from.  Also, much depends on the opposing army and the deployment type as to how long it takes Wraithlords to get into close combat.

I am still curious to know how much terrain is found on the boards you play on.
« Last Edit: September 7, 2015, 06:23:48 AM by Irisado »
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Offline dog_of_war

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Re: Eldar Close-Combat
« Reply #16 on: September 7, 2015, 09:19:29 AM »
I appreciate your point of view Lyonic, but in the year 40,000 everything dies. There is no unit that that is a must take in every situation. Everything has a rock to its scissors and at the same time everything is a scissor to a paper. To counter argue that every eldar close combat unit will die to something is not the point. You can have that argument with any unit in the game. The point is what can I get out of unit A for said points versus what can I get out of unit B for the same points and so on. Yes, it totally depends on the meta game you play in, but that's why you have options in your list to change it up. If most people take flyers you change your list to accommodate. If most people play skyhammer you change as well. Unless you give your list to your opponent prior to playing a game and let him taylor his list to counter it, they are never going to be able to counter everything you have. Maybe the close combat units we are discussing don't work in your meta game where you play, but you have to think of the bigger picture of what people are playing elsewhere. Not everyone plays armies with all ap2/ap3 weapons. If they do in your meta then an army full of scorpions and storm guardians would be good. If you play armies full of heldrakes or mass strength 4 - 6 weapons, bringing some wraithlords would be a huge help. There's no such thing as an ultimate unit because everything has a counter. And that's what makes the game somewhat a level playing field.

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Re: Eldar Close-Combat
« Reply #17 on: September 7, 2015, 11:49:38 AM »
Yeah on a scale of 1-10 I would give Eldar a 7 or an 8 in terms of combat ability, it's just that with shooting they are an easy 10.

In my armies I like to take just enough combat power that against a pure shooty army you can threaten them in serious ways, but against a combat army you still need to neutralize their major threats with lasers and mind bullets, then send in your choppy crew to clean up.

Recently this would look like an autarch on a bike with lance paired with a wraithknight with glaive, but I am strongly playing with the idea of a small squad of banshees, maybe scorpions, and for a bigger squad I am going to try out the harlequins.

In past editions the most successful Eldar armies I played typically had one beatstick combat unit like harlequins or banshees, with one support character and one or two monsters like a wraithlord, avatar, etc. These days it is the same -- one good unit, a couple of supporting elements, and a monster.

Wraithlords can totally perform the same role, but there are quite a few threats to them. Next to a wraithknight they might be a lower shooting priority though, and getting them stuck into 99% of things in the game is going to work out well for you...

I've actually thought of a couple of uses for storm guardians, but we'll see if I can make them work before passing comment. A few editions back, when they could take haywire grenades, I loved them and would use them to glance out tanks. Sad that they can't do this anymore!

Banshees in a smaller squad hiding out of LOS is very tempting to me due to all the drop pod armies etc., where 5-man marine squads drop down really close. You could easily counter-charge and wipe out small squads of marines over a couple of rounds, and against these armies you don't need to cripple them in one blow, just hold up a few units here and there while your big hitters go to work elsewhere. Very tempting.

Of course, combat star for my army in 50% of my games is my farseer -- who would've guessed?! Against Ravenwing and the like, sure they get a 3+ re-rollable jink save, so just charge your thousand-year-old wizard man in there, and now they just get a regular 3+ save, no big deal!

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Offline Lyonic

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Re: Eldar Close-Combat
« Reply #18 on: September 7, 2015, 11:52:14 AM »
I wish wraithlords could be taken in 3's as a squad. I feel that would be a welcome addition. Then you could run 9 wraithlords in a CAD

Offline Irisado

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Re: Eldar Close-Combat
« Reply #19 on: September 7, 2015, 11:57:13 AM »
Banshees in a smaller squad hiding out of LOS is very tempting to me due to all the drop pod armies etc., where 5-man marine squads drop down really close. You could easily counter-charge and wipe out small squads of marines over a couple of rounds, and against these armies you don't need to cripple them in one blow, just hold up a few units here and there while your big hitters go to work elsewhere. Very tempting.

This was a tactic that I had planned to use in the past, but I never managed to get the chance to try it out.  I'd be very interested in seeing someone try this.  If you, or anyone else, would be willing to give this a go and then post the results either as part of a battle report, or in this topic, I'd love to read this :).  I also think that it has the potential to be a very useful tactic.
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