Tournament Preview – Three Cool Lists from Blood and Glory

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Who am I kidding I love this.

As the dark season continues to extend its icy tendrils across my rainy island home, tournament season continues in full swing, and this weekend I’ll be heading up to Derby for Blood and Glory. This was one of my favourite events that I attended last year and I’m very hyped to be heading back (especially as there’s one of the few studio previews we get in the UK on Saturday night). Despite only being a couple of weeks on from my last event, it’s also a fresh new metagame, because as we recapped on the weekend it has been a wild few weeks of new releases and rules changes. Two new Marine Chapters have arrived, the Eldar have received some new tricks, and while the Iron Hands FAQ was in play for Glasshammer, this time people have had a chance to properly plan for it. With over 70 players registered it’s comfortably over the line to being a major, and is running largely down-the-line ITC rules (with fixed psychic powers being the only real exception), so lots of eyes are going to be on the results.

Will the dominance of Space Marines continue? Will the Aeldari find some sneaky new build to knock them off their perch? Am I going to deeply, deeply regret some of my life choices? Come the weekend we’ll all get to find out!

My List

The Army

Army List - Click to Expand

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
+ PLAYER NAME: James Grover
+ ARMY FACTION: Asuryani
+ TOTAL COMMAND POINTS: 9
+ TOTAL ARMY POINTS: 1999pts
+ POWER LEVEL: 111
+ ARMY FACTIONS USED: Asuryani, Craftworld Mara-Nai (Expert Crafters, Masters of Concealment)
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

== Battalion Detachment == Asuryani, Craftworld Mara-Nai (Expert Crafters, Masters of Concealment)
[41PL, 739pts] 5CP
HQ: Farseer (110), Witchblade (0) [6PL] [110pts]
Powers: Fortune, Doom, Fateful Divergence
Relic: Faolchu’s Wing
HQ: Warlock Skyrunner (65), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2),  Witchblade (0), [4PL] [67pts]
Powers: Protect/Jinx, Fateful Divergence
Warlord: Seer of the Shifting Vector

TR: 5 Dire Avengers (40), Exarch (0), 5 Avenger Shuriken catapults (15), Exarch Additional Avenger Shuriken Catapult (3), Exarch Power - Bladestorm [3PL] [58pts]
TR: 5 Dire Avengers (40), Exarch (0), 5 Avenger Shuriken catapults (15), Exarch Additional Avenger Shuriken Catapult (3), Exarch Power - Bladestorm [3PL] [58pts]
TR: 8 Storm Guardians (48), 2 Chainswords (0), 6 Aeldari Blades (0) [48pts]

EL: 5 Striking Scorpions (50), Exarch (0), 5 Scorpion Chainswords (5), Scorpion’s Claw (9), Exarch Power - Stalker [4PL] [64pts]

DT: Wave Serpent (120), Twin Aeldari Missile Launcher (40), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2), Crystal Targeting Matrix (5) [9PL] [167pts]
DT: Wave Serpent (120), Twin Aeldari Missile Launcher (40), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2), Crystal Targeting Matrix (5) [9PL] [167pts]

== Supreme Command Detachment == Asuryani, Craftworld Mara-Nai (Expert Crafters, Masters of Concealment)
[42PL, 728pts] 0CP (1 base, -1 Wraithhost)
Specialist Detachment: Vigilus Defiant - Wraithhost -1CP
HQ: Autarch Skyrunner (95), Laser Lance (8), Fusion Gun (14), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2), Banshee Mask (0) [6PL] [119pts]
HQ: Spiritseer (65) [3PL] [65pts]
Powers: Quicken/Restrain, Smite
HQ: Yvraine (115) [6PL] [115pts]
Powers: Gaze of Ynnead, Word of the Phoenix, Smite
LOW: Wraithknight (315), 2 Heavy Wraithcannons (100), 2 Scatter Lasers (14) [27PL] [429pts]

== Air Wing Detachment == Asuryani, Craftworld Mara-Nai (Expert Crafters, Masters of Concealment)
[28PL, 532pts] 1CP
FL: Hemlock Wraithfighter (200), Spirit Stones (10) [10PL] [210pts]
Powers: Jinx, Smite
FL: Crimson Hunter Exarch (135), 2 Starcannons (26), Exarch Power - Hawkeye [9PL] [161pts]
FL: Crimson Hunter Exarch (135), 2 Starcannons (26), Exarch Power - Hawkeye [9PL] [161pts]

This list is, obviously, completely uninteresting and we don’t need to talk about it any further.

Is This a Good Idea Wings?

Wraithknight

Wraithknight. Photo: Wings

No. Wraithknights are not very good. I think some of the new toys in Phoenix Rising do boost them up to being the best they’ve ever been this edition, but that’s not a high bar to clear and I am not, in any way, suggesting that this list is actually the best thing for me to be playing right now.

The problem is that I really, really want to play something different. A new book stuffed with rules feels like it should be an opportunity for renewal, but while there are some real goodies in there I don’t currently have the stuff painted to make them work. If I was being sensible I’d probably just be playing my list from Glasshammer with a few minor tweaks, but that’s such a depressing idea I discounted it outright. Instead we’re going to have some fun if it kills us which, on balance, it probably will.

Hear Me Out, Boon – The Upsides of a Wraithknight

We’re now going to borrow (by which we mean flagrantly steal) Cyle and Chase’s schtick. I’m going to attempt a tenuous justification of why this isn’t quite as horrendous a plan as it sounds, then fellow Asuryani player Boon is going to mock me mercilessly and predict my humiliating defeat.

Lets start off with the key thing – the Expert Crafters/Masters of Concealment combo is a really, really good Craftworld trait. Plenty of Marine lists have seen success with their equivalent, and lots of things in the Aeldari range are pretty good with it. The most obvious standouts are Vibro Cannons, but I don’t have those painted so we’re going to have to make do with my large, ridiculous robot son instead. A Wraithknight with the guns wants everything that this combo brings to the table. Masters of Concealment forces enemies to close to well within his threat range if they want to bypass his cover, and gives him a hefty save if they don’t. Meanwhile, with four “big” shots its in the sweet spot for benefiting from the offensive re-rolls of Expert Crafters as well, often letting it get all four of the shots through against a conventional vehicle and threatening to blow them to bits, especially if you have an Autarch or a Fateful Divergence caster around as well.

If you get to go first, you can also make it a formidable target to shift as well. Stacking up Fortune and applying a 4++ via the Spirit Shield stratagem makes it massively resilient, and when it’s often going to be gunning down a conventional vehicle a turn (since Marines have brought them back with a vengeance) that can be a real problem for your opponent.

It also presents a serious counter-charge threat, which adds a lot of value in matchups such as GSC. Comboing the Wrath of the Dead (+1A) stratagem with Supreme Disdain (extra attack per hit roll of 6) when attacking with its stamping feet in an Autarch bubble suddenly gives it an average of 24 stomp attacks, potentially enough to send an entire unit of Acolyte Hybrids to an early grave assuming you bring in even the smallest amount of backup. With careful screening via planes to prevent the knight getting ganked from Deep Strike, this does actually pose a moderate problem to melee armies that are planning to wrap and trap your stuff, as it significantly reduces their “good” options.

Finally, it isn’t a VEHICLE (instead being a TITANIC MONSTER WRAITH CONSTRUCT, which is also my metal band name). There are quite a few Imperial Fists lists out and about at B&G, and if they’re going to rely on Doctrine-boosted high rate-of-fire D1 stuff like Assault Cannons to try and down large targets the Wraithknight presents something of a conundrum for them. It’s also extremely good against haywire, but having been everywhere at Glasshammer, it’s barely present at this event, which is a shame as no-selling it would be hilarious. Ah well.

As for the rest of the list, a lot of it is stuff you’ve seen before. The murder-autarch is here and better than ever now he has a free re-roll to wound on his fusion gun, and new discount Yvraine is a must take if you’ve got HQ slots to burn. The only really unusual choices in the main detachment are the aeldari missile launchers on the Serpents and the Striking Scorpions. The missile launchers have been low-key good since their cut in Chapter Approved, and they’re another thing that’s great with Expert Crafters, as two big shots is a good number for the re-rolls. I also don’t mind spending a few more points on the Serpents when there’s a giant distraction stomping around next to them, as they probably won’t be on top of anyone’s target priority.

Striking Scorpion Exarch with Biting Blade

Credit: Alfredo Ramirez

Then we have the Scorpions. I was looking at the list and thinking I needed something to lurk at the back and hold objectives, and remembered that their new Exarch power makes them pretty good at that. If I decide I don’t need that in a given game, they can also just go into deep strike and emerge at some opportune point. They seemed like the easiest and most flexible thing to put in this slot.

Finally, we have the planes. Should they still be Alaitoc? Probably, but all my stuff is painted the same, and I’m deeply bored of running into armies that just no-sell hit mods via re-rolls or special abilities. Hawkeye CHs are another great beneficiary of Expert Crafters too, as they miss with an average of one shot each time they fire, and having a free re-roll to use on a pulse shot wound against a non-flying target is a big upside.

That’s my attempt at a defence, anyway. I don’t expect to win with this list (especially not now I’ve read the list document, yikes), but I do intend to have a good time and use one of my favourite models that barely gets to come out. I’ll put together something more sensible for the Element Grand Slam. We’ll also be taking a look at some more sensible uses of Phoenix Rising in the other armies below. Before that though, it’s time for me to face judgement – take it away Boon!

Boon’s Thoughts

After perusing the list and reading Wings’ thoughts I had to stop. I went over to the cabinet, poured myself two-fingers of bourbon, then strolled into the office where my warhams reside. Staring forlornly at my shelf of ghostly bois and their Wraithknight overlords I sighed deeply. Some day my friends.

Man, Wings, I hear ya – I had a similar idea when I pulled out my Slicey Bois for NOVA. That’s why I can authoritatively say that this won’t end well as you’ll spend a few days justifying to everyone around you why, despite it dying ignominiously every game, it “wasn’t as bad as you’d think” and it was a lot of fun to use even as you put it right back on that shelf. So let’s talk about why it’s not great!

First, since 6th edition, no one has ever looked across the board at a single 429 point, T8, 2+ model without an invulnerable save and thought, “How am I possibly going to handle THIS thing?” It’s much more likely that you’ll need to explain to your opponent that this is the mythical Wraithknight, that it was once really good but now it’s paying for it’s sins (it knows what it did). If that’s the case, just tell them that it’s kind of like a Knight Crusader but without any of cool relics or stratagems or any way to act at full effect once tiered (it can heal d3 for a couple CP!) that makes it good. That’ll settle their nerves. On the offensive it’s certainly nothing to sneeze at and Expert Crafters is such an excellent trait for this guy. As you rightly point out it can delete a lot of things, and has a hell of a lot of opportunity for stomping around. But the low rate of very high strength fire falls victim to the same thing that plagues Fire Dragons, invulnerable saves, and you’ll find that your 12″ move up the board is woefully inadequate to take advantage of kick-stomping things into the ground.

Woe be unto that Repulsor Executioner that faces going second, but conversely the same thing applies to the Wraithknight. Dicing off for the win is an exhilarating but ultimately awful way to live. Fortunately, you kept your drop count very low which mean good things! Unfortunately, 2 of the missions will be decided on a deploy-first-go-first basis. Overall, I think you chose the best possible way to play this guy and fully tooled up with that 2+/4++/5+++ he is indeed stupidly tough. A savvy opponent will likely ignore him at that point and focus down your flyers which is your main offensive punch. In some games he’s going to give you flashbacks of halcyon days. In other games he’s going to flame-out spectacularly, and probably explode among all your characters for good measure. I think he’s way to unreliable and expensive for what he’s bringing to the table – but he’s going to look damn good being there.. and that’s not nothing.

All that said, I love your intuition on the flyers. The proliferation of rerolls on things that excel at damaging flyers has made Alaitoc much less of a must-take and a bit unreliable – the greatest defense now seems to be Cloudstrike and a strong offensive punch. I look forward to seeing how your + save, re-rolling flyers perform. Moreover, this looks like it’s going to be a very fun list to play and it feels more like old Eldar in it’s style. I look forward to hearing how it all goes and how you prove me wrong!

Marcus Doyle’s Iron Hands

The Army

Iron Hands Intercessor by Booley

Iron Hands Intercessor. Credit: Jack Hunter

Army List - Click to Expand

+Name : Marcus Doyle 
+Factions Used: Iron Hands 
+Total 6CP
+ Total Points 2000 
+Power Level: 91
+Army Factions Used: Imperium, Adeptus Astartes, Iron Hands
==Spearhead Detachment== Faction: Adeptus Astartes Chapter: Iron Hands
Points: 645 Power Level :31 Total CP 1
HQ1: Captain in Phobos Armour (90) Camo Cloak (3) Master Crafted Instigator Bolt Carbine (6) WARLORD - Target Protocols [5PL] [99pts]
HQ2: Captain in Phobos Armour (90) Camo Cloak (3) Master Crafted Instigator Bolt Carbine (6) RELIC - The Ironstone [5PL] [99pts]
HS1: Thunderfire Cannon (55) Techmarine Gunner with Servo Harness (26) Flamer (6) Plasma cutter (5) [4PL][92pts]
HS2: Thunderfire Cannon (55) Techmarine Gunner with Servo Harness (26) Flamer (6) Plasma cutter (5) [4PL][92pts]
HS3: Thunderfire Cannon (55) Techmarine Gunner with Servo Harness (26) Flamer (6) Plasma cutter (5) [4PL][92pts]
FL 1: Stormhawk Interceptor (85) x2 Assault Cannon (44) Typhoon Missile Launcher (32) Icarus Stormcannon (10) [9PL][171pts]

==Air Wing Detachment== Faction: Adeptus Astartes Chapter: Iron Hands
Points: 984 Power Level :42 Total CP 1
FL2: Stormhawk Interceptor (85) x2 Assault Cannon (44) Typhoon Missile Launcher (32) Las- talon (40) [9PL][201pts]
FL3: Stormhawk Interceptor (85) x2 Assault Cannon (44) Typhoon Missile Launcher (32) Las- talon (40) [9PL][201pts]
FL4: Stormtalon Gunship (100) Twin Assault Cannon (44) x2 Lascannons (50) [8PL [194pts]
FL5: Stormtalon Gunship (100) Twin Assault Cannon (44) x2 Lascannons (50) [8PL [194pts] 
FL6: Stormtalon Gunship (100) Twin Assault Cannon (44) x2 Lascannons (50) [8PL [194pts]
==Spearhead Detachment== Faction: Adeptus Astartes Chapter: Iron Hands
Points: 371 Power Level :18 Total CP 1
HQ3: Iron Father Feirros [6PL] [110pts]
HS4: Whirlwind (65) Whirlwind Vengeance Launcher (20) [4PL] [85pts]
HS5: Whirlwind (65) Whirlwind Vengeance Launcher (20) [4PL] [85pts]
HS6: Whirlwind (65) Whirlwind Vengeance Launcher (20) Hunter Killer Missile (6) [4PL] [91pts]

Starting us off, lets check out how the Iron Hands are doing. I wavered a bit on whether to include this list or a Fists one, but ultimately Iron Hands are out in bigger force, and this list is probably the more immediately relevant. I’ll do my best to pick out a Fists or Salamanders list for Element.

How it Works

Fresh from taking perhaps the biggest snap nerf in 8th’s history, the Iron Hands are doing just fine. Someone, somewhere wished real hard for the metagame to be saved from Eldar flier spam and a finger on a monkey’s paw in the GW offices curled shut. Stormhawks and Stormtalons looked very close to good straight out of the core Marine book, and it turns out allowing them to ignore the hit penalties they are normally forced to take to get anywhere and giving them a built-in captain makes them a bit much, and by a bit much we mean yikes. Especially in lists like this that go heavier on paying for the “big” guns on them, they represent an absolute avalanche of really hard to avoid anti-tank fire, and are no slouches at clearing hordes either. Both these units cross the line towards being “problematically” good once the Iron hands doctrine is in play, and the extreme low price and good defensive stats on the Stormhawk in particular just makes them fantastic all round. Both planes are showing up in other Marine lists as well, especially Fists where the Doctrine boosts up their Assault Cannons against other vehicles.

The rest of the list leans on just how brutally cost-effective Marine artillery is now. Thunderfire cannons are absolutely everywhere at the moment because they’re just so damn cheap, and the Whirlwinds join them here to add yet more highly accurate firepower to the enfilade.

Basically, this list is just aiming to blow people clean off the table in short order, and is more than capable of doing so with the tools it’s packing.

Strengths

Firepower, and not just that, broadly effective firepower. There are more than enough lascannons here to blast vehicle-heavy lists off the board, but also a cool ~96 high quality anti-infantry shots per turn, all operating at boosted accuracy. That’s easily enough firepower to go through your average Ork or Genestealer horde, and even Plaguebearers aren’t going to last forever. While the list is very CP constrained, against some armies kicking off by double tapping Tremor Shells into some key ground targets is going to be a really effective way to delay the arrival of the enemy in its face, letting it squeeze out some extra turns of dakka. More than a lot of “firepower” lists, this army has a plan to blow pretty much everything off the board unless it’s actively stopped.

Weaknesses

This list has nothing that wants to contest the mid board, so it is at least somewhat gambling on successfully managing to completely delete the opponent in only a few turns. It’s more than capable of doing that, but it doesn’t super have a backup plan against any army that can take out a trio of its own planes turn 1. Much like my own travails against them, I’d say this against Chaos Knights hangs a lot on the first turn, as with the Helm of Warpsight and Trail of Destruction quite a few planes are going straight in the bin. Custodes can do much the same.

The other thing it’s somewhat weak to is psychic spam. While it can go through a Plaguebearer horde, it’s going to take at least a few turns and the list has basically no smite defence while that’s going on. Especially if there are flying Daemon Princes as well able to trash the planes from the sky, a Chaos list could potentially put up a fight here.

I do wonder, if I were running this, whether I might just forgo the shooting abilities of the Whirlwinds in favour of stacking some Hunters as dedicated bumper cars/objective holders. Their T8 makes them a bit better for this, and I honestly don’t think the army needs the Whirlwinds. I’d also probably look at swapping one of the Phobos captains out for a Librarian – even with two the sniping won’t add up to much, and I’d rather have access to Hands excellent psychic discipline.

These are pretty minor nitpicks though – this army is horrifying and I very much do not wish to play against it and twiddle my thumbs while my army is blown to bits.

Mark Crombleholme’s Drukhari Covens

The Army

Credit: Corrode

Army List - Click to Expand

9cp Dhukhari
Coven spearhead 951
dark technomancers & obsessive collectors
Haemonculus, stinger pistol (75) electrocorrosive whip (6) [81] Warlord (master nemesine)
Free relic nightmare doll
Venom (55) 2 splinter cannons (20) [75]
Venom (55) 2 splinter cannons (20) [75]
3 cronos (195) 3 spirit syphon, 3 spirit probe(15), 3 spirit vortex (30), 3 spirit leech tentacles [240]
3 cronos (195) 3 spirit syphon, 3 spirit probe(15), 3 spirit vortex (30), 3 spirit leech tentacles [240]
3 cronos (195) 3 spirit syphon, 3 spirit probe(15), 3 spirit vortex (30), 3 spirit leech tentacles [240]
Coven battallion [1042]
Hungry for flesh, master torturers
Haemonculus, stinger pistol (75) electrocorrosive whip (6) [81]
Haemonculus, stinger pistol (75) electrocorrosive whip (6) [81]
5 wracks [45] 
5 wracks [45] 
5 wracks [45] 
5 wracks [45]
10 Grotesques [350] 
10 Grotesques [350]

How it Works

Drukhari master Mark (most recently seen beating me in the last round of the Glasshammer Open) has found a rather awesome combo among the new Covens obsessions from Phoenix Rising (easily the best of the three sets Drukhari got). Mark is the only person I’ve ever seen bring a Cronos to a tournament, but if what he’s pulled together here is as good as it looks that might be about to change.

Put simply, the Dark Technomancers buff, which gives a unit’s weapons +1 to wound and +1 damage at a risk of suffering some mortals is obscenely good on Cronos. Fully upgraded as they are here, they have two guns – a Spirit Syphon (Assault d6, 8″ range, auto-hits) and a Spirit Vortex (Assault d6, 18″ range). Both of these are only S3, but are AP-2 and deal d3 damage rather than 1 on a 6+ to wound). As you might be rapidly figuring out, adding +1D and +1 to wound on these weapons is amazing, turning them into absolutely phenomenal Intercessor sweepers (very welcome in the current meta) and letting them threaten anything – with +1, they’ll always wound on 5+ at worst, and hit for d3+1 damage when they do. All of this is attached to a resilient body (same as the Talos) at a low price, and if they hit melee (which they’re at least OK at) they can rapidly regain wounds via Obsessive Collectors and their Spirit Probes.

Over in the other detachment, large units of Grotesques have always been very tasty, and this Coven Obsession makes them even better. Despite their massive size, Grotesques are INFANTRY, so can come in from the webway, as I expect at least one of these units will be in most games. When they emerge, the +1″ charge from Hungry For Flesh makes hitting melee quite likely (thanks to a Power from Pain re-roll) and the discounted Torturer’s Craft stratagem will then let them rip pretty much anything smaller than a Knight to shreds.

Finally, Venoms boosted by Dark Technomancers is what everyone has been talking about, and Mark has managed to squeeze a few in, allowing him to substantially up the mobility of some of his Wrack units (as Drukhari transports aren’t keyword locked to their subfaction). This helps ensure that while the opponent is dealing with the wall of flesh up front, wherever stuff needs to be in the backline objective holders can redeploy to it. They’re also perfectly fine at adding some weight of fire too.

Strengths

This army has a tonne of board presence, with >140 wounds of T6+ (accounting for the Haemoculus buff) stuff that has an invuln and a FNP. That’s enough to start giving even Marine firepower some real pause. Cronos are also pretty good at counterattacking enemy planes thanks to their souped-up autohitting weaponry, although it is a mild concern that if the opponent chooses to engage from right out at 24″ away the Cronos won’t be able to close in. That can be mitigated a bit by careful model placement though, as if an opponent tries to cower too many things right out at that range they might lose a chance to fire if a Cronos is removed.

The extreme deep strike threat of the Grotesques is also going to keep a lot of armies on the defensive, and can cause problems for forces that want to play a melee game. Grotesques have such a gigantic pile of wounds that even Acolyte Hybrids aren’t going through them reliably, and even at half strength they can rip whole squads of chaff apart. Shoring up the reliability of the Deep Strike charge fixes one of their only problems, and I know from recent experience just what a nightmare these things can be.

Weaknesses

This army doesn’t really have a way to project much threat on the first turn, and that means that against some armies (such as the Iron Hands list above) it might struggle going second. Cronos are tough but not indestructible, and if a Marine plane spam list can just body them straight out of the game then they can probably manage the Grotesque threat for the rest of the game by screening with fliers. This is one of the more insidious effects the extreme Iron Hands lists have on the meta – ITC used to be a format where a resilient army that didn’t do much on T1 was a viable strategy, but the punches some marine lists now throw are so outrageous that if you can’t hit just as hard your might find games slipping away from you.

I don’t doubt that Mark has a plan for this though, and I’m very excited to see how this army performs.

Tom Leighton’s Asuryani

The Army

Shining Spears

Shining Spears. Credit: Wings

Army List - Click to Expand

+ Team: Team Wales 40k
+ Army Faction: Asuryani
+ Total CP: 6
+ Total Army Points: 1,998pts
+ Total Power Level: 108PL
+ Army Factions Used: Craftworlds + Total Reinforcement Points: 2pts
Craftworld Dabonitwagwan: Craftworld Attributes: Children of Prophecy
Children of the Open Skies
== Supreme Command Detachment ==  [29PL] [546pts] +1CP
HQ1: Farseer Skyrunner (130): Shuriken Pistol (0), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2), Witchblade (0): Psychic Powers: Doom, Executioner, Smite. Relic: The Phoenix Gem. [7PL] [132pts]
HQ2: Warlock Skyrunner (65) [Warlord: Seer of the Shifting Vector]: Shuriken Pistol (0), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2), Witchblade (0): Psychic Powers: Quicken/Restrain, Focus Will. [4PL] [67pts]
HQ3: Warlock Skyrunner (65): Shuriken Pistol (0), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2), Witchblade (0): Psychic Powers: Protect/Jinx, Impair Sense. [4PL] [67pts]
HQ4: The Yncarne (280): Psychic Powers: Gaze of Ynnead, Ancestor's Grace, Smite. [14PL] [280pts]
== Air Wing Detachment ==  [27PL] [483pts] +1CP
Flyer1: Crimson Hunter Exarch (135): 1 Pulse Laser (0), 2 Starcannons (26): Exarch Power: Hawkeye [9PL] [161pts]
Flyer2: Crimson Hunter Exarch (135): 1 Pulse Laser (0), 2 Starcannons (26): Exarch Power: Hawkeye [9PL] [161pts]
Flyer3: Crimson Hunter Exarch (135): 1 Pulse Laser (0), 2 Starcannons (26): Exarch Power: Hawkeye [9PL] [161pts]
== Outrider Detachment ==  [52PL] [969pts] +1CP
HQ5: Farseer Skyrunner (130): Shuriken Pistol (0), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2), Witchblade (0): Psychic Powers: Guide, Fortune, Ghostwalk. [7PL] [132pts]
HQ6: Warlock Skyrunner (65): Shuriken Pistol (0), Twin Shuriken Catapult (2), Witchblade (0): Psychic Powers: Protect/Jinx, Fateful Divergence. [4PL] [67pts]
Troop1: 8 Storm Guardians (48): 8 Chainswords (0): [3PL] [48pts]
FastAtt1: 9 Shining Spears (inc 1 Exarch) (216): 8 Laser Lances (64), 1 Star Lance (Exarch) (10), 9 Twin Shuriken Catapults (18): Exarch Power: Skilled Rider [14PL] [308pts]
FastAtt2: 9 Windriders (144): 9 Scatter Lasers (63): [12PL] [207pts] 
FastAtt3: 9 Windriders (144): 9 Scatter Lasers (63): [12PL] [207pts]

How it Works

Last but not least, we have another previous opponent (and winner of last year’s Blood and Glory) Tom Leighton. Unlike me, Tom has gone with the controversial strategy of taking the actually good Craftworlds stuff from Phoenix Rising out for a spin. He’s got a Supreme Command detachment that leverages the Children of Prophecy/Children of the Open Skies combo that I was very high on, allowing him to deploy reliable psychic powers pretty much wherever they need to do. The newly discounted Yncarne also comes along for the ride, presenting a powerful counter charge threat and general horrendous murder machine who threatens to pop up when an opponent least expects it.

The Yncarne

The Yncarne by Corrode

An Air Wing of Alaitoc Hawkeye CHEs is, realistically, pretty much a mandatory inclusion if you’re optimising an Eldar army at this point. I’m still boggling at why they needed to be better, and the only thing stopping me giving in and painting a third of my own is a fear they might be on the nerf list come Chapter Approved.

The Saim Hann detachment is the interesting bit. Scatter bikes are a known and very powerful quantity at this point, but the exciting new (or I guess returning) thing here is the full unit of Shining Spears. These got several new options in Psychic Awakening, the most exciting being an increased charge (helping with Deep Strike) and the one Tom has gone for, Expert Rider, which gives the Exarch a 3++ against shooting. Stacking this with Protect lets you give the Exarch a 2++, allowing the squad to shrug off high-quality shooting for days (especially if you choose to load up a free re-roll with Fateful Divergence and cast Fortune on them). As they’re Saim Hann, they can also advance and charge, and Quicken combines with this to give them a terrifying threat range if they’re on the board. In games where deploying them on the table isn’t safe, Ghostwalk gives them a much more reliable charge out of Deep Strike.

Overall, this brings together a lot of the actual power boosts Phoenix Rising brings to the table, and is one to watch to see how much of a difference that makes.

Strengths

As with a lot of Eldar lists, this is very flexible in the targets it can go after. Being able to put Doom pretty much anywhere on the board means that the Scatter Lasers are a huge threat to anything, and the CHEs are as good as ever. Anyone who’s played against Spears back in the bad old days will know how deadly they can be as well – there are few things they don’t threaten to completely flatten, and they’re no slouches at horde clearance either. They also happen to be great at murdering enemy planes. Convenient. The two full Scatter Bike squads also combine with the spears to give this army anti-horde capabilities on-par with the Iron Hands lists.

The Yncarne is also a strong inclusion here. With a second powerful melee unit in the form of the Spears, it will often be able to murder something in combat and then teleport away to safety when the Aspect Warriors dunk something as well. You can also do a hilarious fringe combo with Impair Senses – forcing your opponent to choose between not shooting one of their better units and putting the Yncarne where you want it. I don’t think this will come up super often, as it’ll usually leave the Yncarne in danger, but could be relevant in scrappy late game situations. More likely, Impair Senses will sometimes be being used to force the enemy to target the souped up Spear squad.

Unlike the Iron Hands lists, the entire army is also capable of contesting objectives and is extremely fast, meaning that scoring the bonus from early turns is often going to be a possibility. Maximising your early score is a good insurance policy in a metagame full of armies that can body you off the board, and against static forces this list plays objectives very well.

Weaknesses

This army desperately wants more command points than it can get. Eldar have lots of wonderful stratagems, so only having 6CP hurts like hell. This army does lean on lots of reliability tools to reduce the chance of needing CP re-rolls, but the fact that Tom will have to think long and hard before even popping an emergency Lightning Fast is potentially very painful.

The other thing I’d be a bit worried about is how well the terrain will support it. This list ideally wants lots of places to hide bikes during deployment, and my memory of the terrain last year was that it was fine but wasn’t the kind of setup where there were reliable full LOS blockers in every deployment zone. Especially with the high effective range the Marine plane builds have, I’d be a bit worried about getting blasted off the board on an unlucky table going second.

Finally, it would really hurt me to take out a Saim Hann list without the super smash Autarch armed with the Novalance. I think ultimately Tom has made the right call in not including it – he already has the Yncarne as a countercharge threat, the Spears will already be advancing and charging, and he needs the extra seers to set up all the powers he wants (especially in a fixed Psychic format), but the Novalance Autarch is soooooo good that leaving it behind when you have a Saim Hann detachment takes some serious willpower.

Wrap Up

That’s it for the preview. Tune back in next week to find out all the ways my ridiculous robot son got horrifically dunked on by mean people in power armour.

In the meantime, if you just can’t wait to tell me that I am an idiot, a fool, you can reach us at contact@goonhammer.com or via our Facebook Page.

 

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