First Impressions – Aeldari Craftworlds
My first love in 40k has always been the Eldar, now know as the Aeldari. It started in Rogue Trader with the Regiments of Renown Harlequins and then just prior to 2nd ed, the Aspect Warriors of the Craftworlds were released, sculpted by the father of the Eldar – Jes Goodwin – in White Dwarf 127. These elite warriors grabbed me hook line and sinker – they were, to my pre teen eyes at least, reminiscent of the Samurai of ancient Japan, a culture I have always had a fascination with (I blame my Dad for that one!)
I have played the Eldar races in 40k in every edition of the game. I have seen their highs and lows and seen the lore grow and change and flourish. Its also true I have played many (oh so many!) other races in 40k but the Eldar are always my first and favourite fighting force in the 41st millennium.
Craftworlds of the Eldar
When people speak of Eldar these days – its usually the Craftworlds they are talking about. They represent the most widely developed of the Eldar lore, the biggest model range of the pointy ears and feature some of the oldest sculpts in the game still on sale. Sure the Dark Eldar joined the fight in 3rd ed (being an update to the pirates of rogue trader) and the Harlequins have gone from full fighting force, to a couple of entries, to a single unit, to vanishing to returning as a full force again (as is their flippant and capricious manner!) but through all of that, the Craftworlds have endured… and stayed pretty consistent to boot.
8th edition and the Craftworlds
My first few games in 8th we actually me facing off against Craftworlds rather than wielding the aspect warrior scalpel I love. I got to see first hand that they are still a force to be reckoned with – only improved by the Codex we so recently got hold of. I will likely do a break down of units and proper review in the coming weeks but I have a few observations from the 2 tournaments and the single apocalypse game I have played with the warrior host of the Craftworlds.
To say I have been disappointed with Forgeworld on the eldar front is an understatement. I was excited to see what my titans would be like in 8th, my corsairs and my super heavy vehicles… and a bitter pill it was to swallow when I got the book. Its only gotten worse in the months following as FAQ and errata followed by chapter approved made most of my beautiful resin nothing more than ornaments on a shelf. Shadow Spectres are a small glimmer of hope in an otherwise group of over costed, under powered units and models – they even nuked the corsairs entirely so now I would have to run a bastardised version of craftworlds with the 3 unit entries for actual corsairs… which actually made my units illegal now to boot. I really hope this is resolved in future.
Where Forgeworld let me down, Games Workshop did not disappoint. The codex is one of the most well balanced the Craftworlds have ever had access to with very few units that fall to far over to either to good or too bad to take. Its not perfect but its probably the best codex to date for the pointy ears! A few units of note (on both sides of the previously mentioned coin) include…
Falcon Grav Tanks – a vehicle that still lumbers under the heavy support slot (it should be dedicated transport) and is outshone by the cheaper and all round better wave serpent. The falcon hasn’t been worth taking since around 4th edition and I would love an FAQ to fix them. Adding a line to the pulse laser that when mounted on a Falcon the weapon becomes assault rather than heavy would be a great start but ultimately it needs a point reduction as well to compete in the heavily competitive heavy support section.
Dark Reapers – I am expecting some kind of change to this unit in the next round of FAQs… they are just too good for their cost. So good in fact that they are pretty much the only heavy support choice you should take to a competitive event. I am expecting at least 5 points per model increase but 10 is just as likely and ultimately fair. Its nice they are back in the lime light after wallowing in the shadows for several editions but they have gotten a little to good for their cost.
Wraithknight – Oh how the mighty have fallen! Gone are the glory days of 7th edition replaced with a unit that costs more than an imperial knight but offers no invulnerable save, limited support weapons and mediocre abilities. Its not BAD per say, but its definitely aching for a built in fell no pain style save at least as well as cost reduction. Its such a shame these behemoths of war are such a rare sight on the table now. The codex perked them up a bit but no where near enough.
Shining Spears – Another aspect that has floundered in obscurity and over cost since its introduction in 3rd edition (and still boasting the same models as then!) – the shining spears are now a force to be reckoned with in the Craftworlds arsenal. Fast, durable, flexible and hard hitting at a reasonable cost… a combination of things they have never been before! They are so tempting I actually and now going to finish building and painting my full squad that has sat in the bits box for so so long. After I update them with new bikes of course!
I might have to start the proper review writing sooner than I thought! My pointy ears are showing and the Craftworlds are marching to war again in Western Australia!