The Art of War’s Quinton Johnson on Bringing Craftworlds Eldar to the Streamhouse RTT

The Streamhouse RTT is an annual event run by the Art of War team in which their team gets together to play in an eight-person tournament on stream. We’re covering the event this year and previewing the players and lists taking part. Today we’re joined by Quinton Johnson, who’s bringing Craftworlds Eldar to the tournament.

If you watched the last streamhouse RTT, you’ll know that I paired against John Lennon round one last year. That was back when I was a fool who assumed that large squads of expensive elf models on flight stands was a surefire plan to victory. Then John won the first turn roll-off and picked up 15 of my 20 hellions in the first shooting phase of the game. It was all downhill from there.

This time, I’ve come prepared.

Windriders. Credit: Rockfish
Windriders. Credit: Rockfish

The List

++ Arks of Omen Detachment (Aeldari – Craftworlds) [94 PL, 2,000pts, 12CP] ++

+ Configuration +

Craftworld Selection

+ No Force Org Slot +

Seer Council (Unit) [5 PL, 120pts]
. Warlock Skyrunners: 4. Protect/Jinx, 5. Quicken/Restrain, Smite
. . Warlock Skyrunner: Shuriken Pistol, Twin Shuriken Catapult, Witchblade
. . Warlock Skyrunner: Shuriken Pistol, Twin Shuriken Catapult, Witchblade
. . Warlock Skyrunner: Shuriken Pistol, Twin Shuriken Catapult, Witchblade

Seer Council (Unit) [3 PL, 65pts]
. Warlock Skyrunners: 1. Conceal/Reveal, Smite
. . Warlock Skyrunner: Shuriken Pistol, Twin Shuriken Catapult, Witchblade

+ HQ +

Avatar of Khaine [14 PL, 280pts]: Wailing Doom

Baharroth [7 PL, 160pts]: Fury of the Tempest, The Shining Blade

Farseer [5 PL, 105pts]: 1. Guide, 5. Focus Will, Shuriken Pistol, Smite, Witchblade

Farseer Skyrunner [6 PL, 135pts]: 2. Doom, 3. Fortune, 5: Mark of the Incomparable Hunter, Shuriken Pistol, Smite, Twin Shuriken Catapult, Warlord, Witchblade
. Kurnous’ Bow: Treasures of the Aeldari Relic

+ Troops +

Corsair Voidreavers [3 PL, 60pts]: Corsair Voidscarred w/ Corsair Blaster, Plasma Grenades
. 3x Corsair Voidreavers: 3x Shuriken Pistol & Aeldari Power Sword
. Voidreaver Felarch: Shuriken Pistol

+ Elites +

Corsair Voidscarred [4 PL, 85pts]: 4x Corsair Voidscarred w/ Pistol & Aeldari Power Sword, Plasma Grenades
. Voidscarred Felarch: Shuriken Pistol
. Way Seeker: Shuriken Pistol, Smite, Witch Staff

Dire Avengers [6 PL, 130pts]: Defence Tactics
. 9x Dire Avenger: 9x Avenger Shuriken Catapult, 9x Plasma Grenades
. Dire Avenger Exarch: Avenger Shuriken Catapult, Plasma Grenades

Dire Avengers [6 PL, 130pts]: Defence Tactics
. 9x Dire Avenger: 9x Avenger Shuriken Catapult, 9x Plasma Grenades
. Dire Avenger Exarch: Avenger Shuriken Catapult, Plasma Grenades

Dire Avengers [6 PL, 130pts]: Defence Tactics
. 9x Dire Avenger: 9x Avenger Shuriken Catapult, 9x Plasma Grenades
. Dire Avenger Exarch: Avenger Shuriken Catapult, Plasma Grenades

+ Fast Attack +

Shroud Runners [5 PL, 90pts]
. 3x Shroud Runner: 3x Ranger Long Rifle, 3x Scatter Laser, 3x Shuriken Pistol

Windriders [12 PL, 240pts]
. 8x Windrider – Shuriken Cannon: 8x Shuriken Cannon

Windriders [12 PL, 270pts]
. 9x Windrider – Shuriken Cannon: 9x Shuriken Cannon

++ Total: [94 PL, 2,000pts, 12CP] ++

Writing a list for this RTT was an interesting conundrum, mostly because the challenges presented varied pretty widely. First, I have to deal with Chaos Knights, which are a difficult matchup for Asuryani at the best of times, but then go straight into either T’au Empire or Grey Knights. If you’d allow me to put on my ghosthelm for a moment and try and scry the future, I’m imagining either Jack’s Harlequins or Nick’s Demons as my likely final opponents, with a dark horse bet on Mark’s World Eaters and a possibility of Kas’s Ultramarines. In short, I had to write an Eldar list that could deal with any of those factions. But first I had to get through Chaos Knights, then a likely pairing into T’au Empire, followed by Chaos Daemons or Harlequins.

My first instinct was to really tell John he could go back home early, and slam down 30 fire dragons followed by 3 fire prisms and 9 d-cannons. Aside from being hilariously bad into anything that’s not only vehicles, the math on that killing Chaos Knights was also embarrassingly bad for a list that contained basically no anti-infantry shooting. 10 fire dragons kill a non-rotated, Herpetrax armiger on average, but like… without that much room to spare, and for a 240-point unit that will only get to shoot once before it dies, that was unacceptable. The terrain is such that John can hide his big knight T1, which makes 3 Fire Prisms less attractive. Since they’re only good into one target, they became to many points and 4CP to kill 1 armiger per turn, especially if they die on the return swing. It’s an unfortunate fact that the Asuryani anti-tank options are lackluster at best.

Dire Avengers. Credit: Rockfish
Dire Avengers. Credit: Rockfish

Which left me back with old reliable: Hail of Doom, where the humble dire avenger becomes a hilariously efficient anti-vehicle shooting platform and where 9 cannon bikes kills armigers like they’re really snotlings in a big trench-coat. Hail of Doom also helps deal with a 28-wound knight with Blessing of the Dark Master, since it’s much less re-roll dependent. The core of my list, 30 dire avengers and 9 cannon bikes, is usually complimented by a Harlequins detachment with a Troupe Master and super Death Jester that is good into everyone except for John. I ended up cutting the Harlequins detachment, because I actually see this as my hardest matchup, and I need as much help as I can get out of the gate. Also, maybe it’s because I want to crush John as revenge for what he did to me last time.

Once I’d settled on Hail of Doom, another question emerged: How do I survive 9 Havoc Launchers? John is a big fan of rocket hats, and since he’s going to be playing into me round 1, there’s no way that his dogs aren’t going to be walking around without fatal fedoras. This was another strike against Harlequins, since pummeling phrygians are solid into Starweavers and Troupes. It also removed things like Howling Banshees and Striking Scorpions from the list, as they’re prime targets to get chipped down. Losing 2-3 aspects a turn hurts, and I can’t take the wound on the exarch without risking them dying to a random mortal in the Morale phase. Dire Avengers, ironically, are much less susceptible to this for two reasons: First, the squad is much less reliant on the Exarch, which essentially gives me a blanked failed save against the bloodthirsty bycokets. Second, Avengers of Asuryan, which allows a Dire Avenger unit to shoot twice if below starting strength, means that chipping Dire Avengers is a much less attractive option. If they’re standing in cover, or have either Protect or Conceal up, I get a 2+ armor save against the slaying sou’westers.

My first-round pairing also influenced the star of the show: The Avatar of Khaine. The fiery T8, 2+ 4++, half-damage murder machine is probably going to have Fortune cast on him for a sweet, sweet 5+++ as well. He’s durable enough to make even tau shooting feel survivable, and he’s an amazing counterweight against Harlequins, Demons and Grey Knights. But he really comes into his own against Chaos Knights. Late game, after I’ve chipped a few armigers away, he’s very difficult for John to deal with properly, and with 7 attacks at 14/5/D6+2, he has the potential to pick up 2 full armigers in a round of combat. He’s a massive bubble that John can’t effectively approach without committing hard, and The Avatar Resurgent ensures that a melee kill will be met with hellish retribution. Leadership 10 means that he’s resistant to Dread Tests, and Strands of Fate ensures that a Desecrator Laser Destructor is all but useless into him. Plus, I want to beam my own Dire Avengers so one unit gets 63 shots in a single shooting phase; that just seems like a fun thing to do.

Credit: Keewa

Behind the incandescent mad lad are what might first seem like a cheap attempt to match John shot for shot, and that’s 17 cannon bikes. Because 18 couldn’t fit and 27 is excessive. The plan here is simple: the 9 man gets Doom, Guide, Bladestorm and Jinx and they pick an armiger every turn before returning to the safety of my ruin. The 8 man gets fortune, protect and conceal and they hit a flank hard, then try and battle focus back behind a wall. With Matchless Agility, I have around a 75% of staying safe, assuming there’s no cheeky angles to play with. The second unit will not go out every turn, it’s mostly a cocked hammer in case John tries to rush me. Even if things go poorly, max buff wind riders are survivable enough that 1 or 2 armigers isn’t going to wipe the squad, since they’re sitting at a 1+ save, -1 to hit and a 5+++. I don’t love taking shots on my 30-point models, but it’s enough to ensure that if he can see the tail of 1 bike, I don’t lose them all.

The Plan

The secondaries are pretty set: this list really likes Behind Enemy Lines, Warp Ritual, Retrieve Battlefield Data and Raise the Banners High. I’m almost certainly taking Bring it Down against John, and Battlefield Data/Banners against everyone else. Quickening a Warlock back and forth for Warp Ritual is a key part of the plan, and so my walking Farseer has Focus Will to help make that play more reliable. Trying to deny a spell that’s cast at +2 with a strands die in there is incredible difficult. Baharroth, The Shroud Runners, and any random unit with Quicken make excellent Behind Enemy Lines choices, and the Dire Avengers being able to RBD and still shoot makes them prime targets for free strategic reserves.

The plan with this list is what it usually is when I play hail. The first two turns are reserved for light chipping and death by a thousand cuts type damage. Trying to make hail a T1 table army will always lead to disappointment. On turn 3, usually the Dire Avengers pop out of reserves, the jetbike units both hit a flank, and the Avatar pushes into the center. The goal there is to cripple my opponent and then present them with too much to deal with. After that, just finish it for the craftworld.

Tomorrow: John Lennon’s Chaos Knights

And that’s the list!  You can find video breakdowns of some of the Streamhouse lists over on the Art of War 40k Youtube channel and if you want to see more of list testing in action along with tons of other high level 40k content, check out the War Room, which offers a free 3-day trial to test it out! And, of course, follow along with the Streamhouse RTT brought to you live by Joe from WarGames Live on the Art of War 40k Youtube channel March 31st to April 2nd.

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