Craftworld Biel-tan before it got shattered During the height of the Eldar Empire, the Eldar built the Craftworlds as large merchant ships. Before the Fall most of the Eldar populace looked down upon the Craftworlds with derision, seeing them as little more then cargo haulers. Craftworld crashes into a planet Will of Iron comics. Damn these suckers are big. Unfortunately, not all of them made it out of the Segmentum Obscurus in time, and many of the Craftworlds were caught in the creation of the Eye of Terror just as the hedonists were.
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Wrapping Up Competitive Rating Medium. After being dominant for a lot of the edition, the rise of Marines and the general levelling up of shooting options have hit Craftworlds hard. A lot of the units in the codex also look very dated at this point, and plenty are largely worthless.
A well executed Craftworlds game can see you in total command of the board and the enemy boxed in. Pure Craftworlds are also a decent army to take your first competitive steps with, because their mobility and the array of cool tricks they have available to them mean that you will have lots of options available to you at most points in the game, and can come up with plans to adapt to most situations.
While most units are fairly fragile, there are some high-quality core options that can be quite forgiving on the table and teach you how to best make use of your resources. Army Rundown The Eldar book has a huge number of datasheets in it, but as is somewhat characteristic of earlier codexes, there are quite a lot of options that are either a bit lacklustre or are made redundant by something else doing their job better.
Before we get to that, we will cover the various abilities available to the army across special rules, traits, stratagems, powers and relics. Strap in — thanks to Phoenix Rising, this is pretty long. Down with this sort of thing This ability appears on all units in the codex other than grav-tanks and planes.
Battle Focus This is much more like it. Most infantry and biker models in the codex notably excluding Wraith constructs have this. It allows you to use all non-heavy weapons as if your unit remained stationary even if it moved or, crucially, advanced.
This is a decent bonus — the main Eldar infantry weapon is the shuriken catapult, which is a powerful but short-ranged Assault weapon. Battle Focus lets you use an advance to get units with these into a firing position without the normal penalties to hit.
It also lets your units throw a grenade even after advancing, which is a nice bonus given that plasma grenades are substantially better than the frag grenades used by Imperial armies. Like the majority of armies, taking a detachment entirely made up of units from a single sub-faction in this case a Craftworld grants a bonus to those units. As well as this, units from each faction get access to one extra stratagem, and the characters have an extra relic or warlord trait to choose from.
There are five of these in the book, and you also have access to custom Craftworlds, where you pick two traits from a pretty extensive list in Phoenix rising. However, this has diminished a lot as Games Workshop have rolled out abilities designed to counter it, and especially as Marines have hit the big time, where their volume of re-rolls and bonuses often lets them nearly ignore this. Similar to Alaitoc, Ulthwe gives you a widely applicable boost to your durability, something Eldar badly need.
Some of the other tools here are nice as well — Guardian bombs are out of fashion, but Discipline of the Black Guardians is a good boost if you do bring them, and the warlord trait is at least OK. The other thing and honestly, one of the best things that Ulthwe brings is the ability to take Eldrad, an extremely powerful named character.
Biel Tan Falcon Grav Tank. Credit: Wings Attribute — Swordwind: re-roll hit rolls of 1 with shuriken weapons. The remaining big bonus is the stratagem, which is specifically great on Shining Spears dropping in from deep strike.
Relic — Novalance of Saim-Hann: a ridiculously over the top relic laser lance. Scatter laser armed windriders tore up the metagame for a bit in and are very good with this trait, while an Autarch with the Novalance is a brutal killing machine. Finally, advancing and charging is both great for the aforementioned Autarch and great for Shining Spears, who can also flex to coming in from Deep Strike if you give them Swooping Dive.
Iyanden Attribute — Stoic Endurance: Only one model can ever flee to morale, and you double the wounds of units with a damage chart when determining their characteristics. Poor Iyanden. These buffs are aimed squarely at Wraith armies but basically end up as a swing and a miss compared to other traits that either boost their survivability or increase their killing power without so many hoops to jump through. To build your own Craftworld, you pick two abilities from the list to make a trait.
The cornerstone of the most common Eldar archetype right now, and an enormously potent force multiplier. A Masterful Shots: Ignore cover. Deceptively powerful, and one of the most commonly used. Less good on Eldar than it is on Marines, but still very handy for buffing up the defences of vehicles and planes.
Got a lot of hype on release, but no one has yet found a build where it actually gets there. Currently, defensively, this is inferior to Alaitoc and inferior to Ulthwe against D1 weaponry on infantry. Not broad enough to be worth it. D Mobile Fighters: Re-roll hit rolls of 1 for a unit that disembarked from a transport this turn.
There are much easier, broader ways to get re-rolls. Surprisingly turns out to actually be a bit better than Hail of Doom, comboing particularly well with Dire Avengers and being seen in the wild in a top four list from a major.
That lines up with my own testing — this genuinely helps a surprising number of units. Uses beyond the first must select a unit with this trait. Way too hard to set up for a pretty mild payoff. D Grim: Re-roll morale tests.
You do not need this. Strike and Fade: Uses both your picks. I am not aware of this Craftworld. I am not going to use my customisation to lock in a bad bonus against a single faction, thanks. Good news, this might be for you.
This is a bit more fringe than some of the other stuff here, but from my own experimentation there is something decent here. Can be good as a setup for two psykers alongside the Yncarne if you want to bring an avatar of death along. Psychic Powers Credit: BuffaloChicken As befits one of the most psychically powerful races in the galaxy, the Asuryani have access to a mighty three psychic disciplines please ignore Marines having 11 and counting.
Eldar have some incredibly good options among these, and the only caveat we should put out up front is that the Warp Charge values do tend to be pretty high, so make sure you plan how to use the various re-rolls or boosts you can get access to in order to ensure you land the key ones each turn. Conceal has some uses but has fallen out of favour as a defensive tool as hit bonuses and re-rolls have gotten better. Reveal is pretty niche, and while it can be good sometimes is way less consistent than Jinx and suffers a lot from the short range.
Importantly, both of these affect invulnerable saves, and that makes this easily the best power in here and one of the best in the game. Taking enemy invulns down by a point is a gigantic boost to your output against a single target, and against lots of popular Marine choices just giving your regular shots an effective extra one AP is a big deal too. In the late turns of close matches, just being able to double move the caster to hustle between objectives can sometimes get you that key extra point too.
A tremendously powerful force multiplier that is most famously combined with Dark Reapers or deep striking Guardian units, but has also seen lots of use with various ways of stacking up Scatter Lasers, and is also surprisingly great on a rampaging Shining Spear unit.
It also combos super well with shuriken weapons, as if they need a high target number to wound then re-rolling all fails will get a lot of hits with the -3AP through. Also frequently seen comboed with Jinx for when something really, really needs to die.
This is another very strong effect that needs a bit more finesse to use than the other two. A lot of Eldar armies have high redundancy, which can make this a bit weaker — if your opponent can just ignore the unit you target in favour of another then it loses a lot of impact.
This is an exceptionally good alt-smite and one of the best examples of the genre if you can get it to double tap. Overall, this is just absurdly potent, and much like Doom is basically always great, not needing any setup.
Sadly, however, the first part almost never comes up in a relevant way, leaving this the clear last choice in the set. If your total is higher, inflict Mortal Wounds equal to the difference. If you are planning to use it, bringing a Hemlock along is mandatory, and comboing in some Harlequins to add more Ld modifiers can help.
Alternatively, you can just bring two Farseers and have all four! Runes of Fortune The final discipline is unique in that rather than taking up a power slot, these powers are swapped out for Smite. The flipside of this is that these powers tend to have lower-key effects, but two are great and at least a few others have niche uses. Was briefly exciting with Warlock Skyrunner Conclaves, but got errataed to only affect a single model. This can be slightly fiddly to set up, but is incredibly good for any sort of deep strike threat, several of which are very popular at the moment at least partially because of this now existing.
Codex: Eldar Craftworlds
Wrapping Up Competitive Rating Medium. After being dominant for a lot of the edition, the rise of Marines and the general levelling up of shooting options have hit Craftworlds hard. A lot of the units in the codex also look very dated at this point, and plenty are largely worthless. A well executed Craftworlds game can see you in total command of the board and the enemy boxed in. Pure Craftworlds are also a decent army to take your first competitive steps with, because their mobility and the array of cool tricks they have available to them mean that you will have lots of options available to you at most points in the game, and can come up with plans to adapt to most situations.
M41 The Ixia Wayport within Craftworld Biel-Tan Before the Fall of the Eldar Prior to the Fall, the Craftworlds were vast Eldar commercial starships sung from wraithbone; they were effectively self-contained starfaring communities housing hundreds of Eldar families. Trading missions could take the Craftworlds thousands of light years beyond the borders of the Eldar empire, separating the community from the Eldar homeworlds for centuries. These colossal spacecraft would travel across the galaxy using the Eldar Webway , trading with the many intelligent alien races they encountered before returning centuries later to the Eldar homeworlds. This meant the Craftworld communities had already developed a strong sense of independence and self-reliance from the heart of their civilization - an independence that prevented them from being infected by the increasing decadence and sadistic hedonism that ultimately consumed their species. Because a Craftworld might return to the rest of Eldar civilization only three or four times in a thousand Terran years, it was easy for them to perceive the degeneration of Eldar society, while to the Eldar as a whole the slow decline was too gradual to realize.