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The Eldar army is an incredibly diverse race, able to quickly dismantle any foe. However, using the Eldar is like using a crystal sword; it may sweep through any opposing threat or shatter and slowly fall apart. I believe that is why people play the Eldar in war games, they are such a challenge to use. Myself, I've played Warhammer 40,000 for twelve years and I still use and expand my Eldar, even while collecting other armies.
I am, however, always in a constant struggle with deciding what Craftworld to use, or even to use Craftworld rules at all. So, I've created this article to help myself along the way, and hopefully help aspiring or advanced player as well. I'll detail each Craftworld with a single pro and con (although there are many, I've just decided to use the main ones). I'll also detail which opposing army to look out for.
[ Non-Craftworld Eldar ]
Versatility. Non-Craftworld Eldar have no choice restrictions, so the possibilities are endless. It has the makings of a perfectly balanced army. I have played and won many game with a Non-Craftworld warhost, and still continue my legacy.
No Special Rules. Sometimes army related Special Rules could make or break games. Although Non-Craftworld have no special rules, it doesn't really hinder game play, but can turn the tide of battle when your opponent has one or two army related rules.
Varies. It all depends on how you have your army balanced. I have played all (I repeat, ALL) of the other races and their variants, but have not found a real mon-keigh that will always crush a Non-Craftworld army time and time again.
[ Iyanden Ghost Warriors ]
Wraithguard and Wraithlord. With these virtually indestructible beings towering the battlefield, one cannot help but to crack a smile when you place 3 squads of 10 Wriathgurad and 3 Wraithlords. Watching Space Marines players scramble to re-evaluate his/her strategy is always fun to watch!
Guardians. These much need foot troops are moved; Defenders to Heavy Support and Storm Squads to fast attack. Although this isn't too much of a problem, it will take away some vital manoeuvrability slots such as Falcons and Vypers.
Orks. Time and time again I have seen Wraithguard swarmed by green skins. Although the Wraithguards are usually hearty enough to survive (WS of 4, T of 5), it renders their Wraithcannons useless.
[ Saim-Hann Wildriders ]
Vehicles. Now who doesn't like the fact that you can come screaming toward you opponent with 30 Jetbikes and 9 Vypers and only have spent 1500 points (with no upgrades)! Eldar vehicles are the best skimmers in the game and usually always use hit and run attacks to whittle down any foe.
Assault Troops. With the exception of the Chief, Kinsmen and Storm Squads, good assault squads are had to come by with only one elites choice. One also has to be very picky when choosing a Heavy Support Slot (I prefer the Falcon).
Tau. Tau eat anything with an armor value for breakfast. Enough said.
[ Alaitoc ranger Force ]
Disruption Table. This little invention has changed the way Ranger players ambush. By making enemy units start in reserve, start pinned or a free shot at the beginning of the game can ruin all your opponent's plans.
Rangers & Pathfinders. Although they are decent units capable of withering fire, you must have quite a few squads if you want other selections in a Ranger Army. You must have more Rangers and Pathfinders than other units. As well, you must have two ranger units, but they do not count as compulsory units in the force organization chart. This may seem like a deal, but it is a big point grabber it you are playing 750 or 1000 point games.
Space Marines. Somehow they always pass their saving throws.. Bah!
[ Biel-Tann Swordwind Army ]
Aspect Warriors. With a majority of aspect warriors moved into troops, it can cause problems for many opponents. Highly skilled warriors running about the battlefield can be quite a sight and quite devastating.
Numbers. By the time a Beil-Tann Warhost puts down 10 Striking Scorpions or 10 Banshees, another craftworld army can put down 20 Guardians. Many people (such as myself) prefer quantity to quality.
Orks & Imperial Guard. Their strength in numbers will slow any Beil-Tann army down. Again, enough said.
[ Ulthwe the Damned ]
Black Guardians. Now what Eldar player doesn't like 40, shots flying at a Space Marine Tactical Squad? The Black Guardians rules state that you cannot have more aspect warriors than Black Guardians, but that is just fine. What would you rather throw at the enemy? 10 Striking Scorpions (WS 4) or 20 Black Storm Squad Guardians (WS 4)?
Seer Council. Although filled with potent psychers, it tends to be expensive and one will find a good majority of points flowing towards the squad. I've also found that the seer council attracts a lot of attention (usually I lose the squad due to shooting).
Witch Hunters. Inquisitors and their retune are the biggest threat; quite possibly because of the psycher-hungry weapons they pack (notice the sarcastic tone)!
[ Conclusion ]
All said and done, the Eldar are a force to be reckoned with, whatever craftworld you decide to play. For some recommendations, if you want a "shooty" army, go with Iyanden, Alaitoc or Ulthwe. Or if you want an "assaulty" army, go with Beil-Tann or Ulthwe; finally if you want a "vehiclely" (that is not a word, I just didn't want to break my chain of quotation marks!) army, go with Saim-Hann. In total, most people will go with the Ulthwe army because they are flexible army to play around with. However, whatever you choose, remember that every Warhost is quite capable of crushing the Mon-Keigh!