Eldar Tactica: Methods of Attack

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Emlyn's note: this is a narrative discussion on Eldar mechanized tactics. By mechanized, I do not mean a tank-heavy force but rather a true mechanized force in the modern military version of the term. Essentially, this will be a force of troops which have transports or some other mode to rapidly come to grips with the enemy. These forces may or may not be supported by tanks. However, they generally avoid utilizing infantry who do not have a means to move quickly (albeit a transport or a special rule). Likewise, this strategy is not for everyone. Eldar armies allow for a vast flexibility in both their composition and their implementation. Therefore, do not take the contents of this writing to be gospel for all Eldar army types. Thanks for reading. Em

The Methods of Faolchu:
Or
Target Selection, Approach, Delivery, Attack, and Victory in Eldar Mechanized Warrior inspired by the Hawk
Introduction
During the epic battle between Eldanesh and Khaine, Faolchu retrieved Vaul's sword, Anaris, and delivered it to Eldanesh. Ultimately, Eldanesh was slain by Khaine. But the concept of the Falcon or Hawk in Eldar mythology has lived on as a symbol of heroism and warfare.
It should come as no surprise then, that Autarch Imra'el of Elathiad has developed a tactical instruction based on how birds of prey hunt.
"Consider the ways of the Faolchu, my brethren. Consider this creature, the way it stalks its prey, the way it attacks, and the way it devours. Above all other creatures, the Faolchu is the greatest hunter.
"See how the Faolchu soars. Observe how it rides the wind currents, circling, observing the terrain and spying on its prey. Distance is its shield, it masks the predator from its prey. From afar, the Faolchu positions itself for its attack.
"Likewise, do not be too eager to come to grips with your foe. Use distance as your shield - keep him at arms length. Observe his movements, the terrain, and allow him to think he is safely at a distance.
"Notice how the Faolchu dives with blinding speed. Its wings folded, it plummets with unimaginable grace an frightening velocity. This advance is combined with incredible precision.
"Does the Faolchu hesitate, waver, miss or arrive off course? Of course not. Likewise, let speed and precision be your tools. Overwhelm the enemy with mobility.
"As the Faolchu approaches the prey, it extends its razor sharp claws toward its target. In one motion, the prey is struck by the velocity of the Faolchu's dive and by its talons. Though the prey struggles, it cannot free itself from the iron talons of the Faolchu. It's claws rend flesh and crush bone.
"Likewise, utilize the lethality of the Aspect Shrines, the firepower of our ancestors, and the tools of death and warfare. Bring attacks which are sharp, dividing, strong and multi-pronged. The enemy is our prey and we our his hunter.
"When the prey is ensnared, the Faolchu uses its powerful beak to deliver the killing blow, tear flesh, and devour the prey. Its talons firmly hold the prey as the beak rends and dismembers the prey piece by piece.
"Likewise, incorporate the sheer power of our weapons, our forces, and our vehicles. Utilize them to deliver the killing blow to the enemy. Dismember his forces through powerful thrusts and counter thrusts as you pin him down with your talon forces.
"Emulate the Faolchu in your warfare, my kin. Allow it to inspire you to be mobile, precise and lethal in you tactics. Use all parts of the armies of our kind to hunt down the mon-keigh, the daemon, and the ancient foe. We are the hunter, they are our prey."

Methods of the Hawk unveiled:

Essentially, Autarch Imra'el has broken Eldar tactics for us into a four stage game. Likewise, he has divided Eldar units into three categories which apply themselves to those tactics. Let's study them below:

Observation:

In game terms, this can be as short as the Deployment phase or it can last into the second turn. During this stage, it is important to keep the enemy away from your core army in an effort to establish yourself to the main strike. This is most easily done through a combination of ranged units and mobility.
Ranged units such as the Fire Prism, Dark Reapers, or Weapons Platforms can cover firing lanes and delay or, even, dissuade enemy approach. Mobile units can reposition or even screen your main force from a direct enemy assault.
Remember that the strength of the Eldar lies in a balance of firepower and mobility. This means that you don't want to be caught with an enemy who is approaching your force. While you may be able to form a firing line for a time, most of your troops (especially the ones tooled for firepower) lack the ability to hold that line for long.
Instead, observe the terrain and your enemy's composition & deployment. Devise a strategy through which you can assault the enemywhile retaining a terrain advantage.

Approach:

The Eldar are fast. With the exception of only a few units, they can all either Fleet of Foot or utilize another special rule that enables them to begin the game more closely to the enemy. Once the observation is complete, ground should be covered as quickly as possible. While the Eldar possess terrific firepower, the majority of their weapons have relatively short ranges (especially true with troop-carried guns).
This is easily overcome by the fact that the Eldar units are blindingly fast. They are able to cover huge portions of the board in a single turn. Furthermore, almost all Eldar units possess weapons which may be fired on the approach.
While the Hawk uses the vast expanse of the sky to "hide" itself, Eldar units do not get this luxury in the game. Instead, they must utilize terrain features to cover their advance. Likewise, skimmers and jet bikes can often gain defensive advantages through rapid movement.

Attack:

When coming to grips with the enemy, the Eldar are able to lay down withering firepower and prove to be fierce opponents in close combat. Through careful planning, an Eldar commander can arrange his forces so that they arrive at the enemy together, thus, multiplying their potency. The mobility of Eldar units allows them to approach the enemy from multiple directions and attack the enemy from multiple sides at once.
Eldar ranged weapons are not the most powerful in the game, nor are they the least powerful. However, they almost all have very respectable rates of fire which enable them force enemy casualties by sheer numbers. Simultaneously bringing several units' worth of weapons to bear on an enemy target can be devastating.
Likewise, the Eldar benefit from high Initiative characteristics in close combat. This means that, oftentimes, the Eldar will be striking first (or at least even up) with an enemy unit. Since the Eldar tend to lack high Strength and staying power in close combat, the first round of an assault is often the most important. Therefore, be sure to commit as many troops as possible to a combat and do your best to overwhelm the enemy before he has a chance to strike back.

Eradication

Certain Eldar units lack the speed or a mode of delivery to allow them to come to grips with the enemy as quickly as the rest of your army. These units can be used as a second punch or a finishing blow to the enemy. They tend to be very strong and very resilient. However, their lack of speed seriously impairs them.
It's not recommend leading your charge with these units. It simply gives your opponent too many turns to prepare for their arrival. Instead, consider moving these units forward while the rest of your army ties down and attacks the enemy. When the slower units arrive, the enemy will, hopefully, be in disarray or close thereto. The arrival of these units can oftentimes seal the fate of your opponent's army.

Conclusions

So there you have it. Eldar tactics based on theMethods of the Faolchu by the esteemed Autarch Imra'el of Elathiad. Remember the way of the Hawk: Observe, Approach, Attack, Eradicate. Incorporate balance, speed, precision, surprise, and strength in order to quickly and efficiently subdue your enemies.
Components of the Hawk Method

Wings

Wings serve several purposes to the Hawk: transportation, mobility, speed, and balance. In the same way, thewings of an Eldar army provide you with the same tools. Remember that, while they are not classified as wings, Eldar ranged units are effective as keeping the distance between your army and your enemy. So it may benefit you to incorporate these units into your army's wings too.
Wave Serpent, Falcon, Jetbikes, Shining Spears, Vypers, Swooping Hawks, and Warp Spiders are all utilizations ofwings. Fire Prisms, Support Weapons, Rangers, Dark Reapers, and Wraithlords or War Walkers (when configured properly) can all serve to maintain an acceptable distance between enemy units in your own; allowing you to utilize your wings more efficiently.

Talons

Talons function to deliver the main blow to the enemy. This can be in the form of a single attack or a multi-pronged assault on the enemy. Talon units have potent attacks and tend to function at close quarters with the enemy.
Dire Avengers, Guardians, Howling Banshees, Striking Scorpions, Fire Dragons, and Harlequins all serve well astalons. Likewise, Shining Spears, Vypers, jet bikes, or Falcons can serve as talons as well.

Beak

A Hawk will administer the lethal blow with its beak or use the beak to rend its prey and devour it. Likewise, in an Eldar army, the beak units are used to finish off components of the enemy which have been attacked, isolated, or weakened by the talon attack. Independently, the beak or the talon may kill an enemy unit, however, beak units tend to be less mobile and, as such, are too slow to maintain pace with the talon portion of the army.
Avatars, Wraithguard, Wraithlords, and War Walkers are all examples ofbeaks. These units are very powerful, but tend also to lag behind the main push of a Hawk method army.

Hawk Method Composition

HQ
Headquarters units should be tooled to maintain pace with the rest of the army. So if you're using Autarchs: make them winged, warp jump pack equipped, or mounted on a jet bike. If you're using Farseers: give them jet bikes or attach them to a unit with which they can ride in a transport. Leaving your HQ behind can hinder your army, isolate your HQ, and waste points.
Elites
As Elites compose some of the best talon choices, it is important to incorporate at least one Elite choice into your army, preferably more. Fire Dragons and Banshees are good candidates for a Wave Serpent transport. Harlequins and both of the above are good for Falcon transports. I'd seriously avoid putting a unit of Wraithguard in a Wave Serpent, however, because they are a lot of points to simply loose in a bad vehicle attack.
Troops
Depending on your preference, pretty much any Troop selection can benefit your army. If you use Dire Avengers or Guardians, be sure to give them a Wave Serpent. If you really want to use Wraithguard in this type of army, I'd recommend that you use them as Troops. Personally, I think that they tie up too many points. However, if you've got to use them, but use them as Troop selections. This will free up your Elites for units that can actually make their points back.
Fast Attack
Aye, there's the rub. You really should have all three slots filled here. Relatively speaking, these units are going to be cheaper than a Wave Serpent mounted force because of the added transport cost. So they end up being a relatively cheap way to get up close an personal fast. Note that all of the choices in this category lack staying power. While these units can be extremely effective, they can also get pounded very quickly. They also tend to run away further than other units. So use them intelligently.
Heavy Support
The more important toys here are the Falcon and the Fire Prism. These are both mobile tanks that can provide much needed fire support while remaining mobile. If they should end up loosing their main weapons, use them as Tank Shock torpedoes to force enemy units into your firing lanes or off the board.
I'm not nearly as hot about Support Weapons, Wraithlords, or War Walkers for this strategy. If you've got to have one of those, take the War Walkers as their scouts rule makes sure enables them to get a little head start on your army. However, they'll quickly find themselves passed over by a skimmer based force.
 




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