Using Neil’s awesome spreadsheet, I’ll be doing two posts on weapons of 8th edition – one for Eldar and one for Tau. You can also find the spreadsheet for general use here.
We will start with Eldar.
Unlike the Imperium armies, Eldar have a lot less weapon variety to go through but there is a specific group of weapons that are options repeatedly – the Eldar Missile Launcher, Bright Lance, Starcannon, Scatter Laser and Shuriken Cannon. Let’s check these first.
The Starcannon jumps out as a strong damage dealer – straight 3D is huge at providing consistent damage, even to a Land Raider thanks to the -3AP. They are very expensive though (30 points) and have a lowerish strength when considering its potential damage against the T7/8 vehicles (Doom of course exists). The Missile Launcher is much like the Imperial one – good across the board with its multiple shooting styles, the Bright Lance like the Lascannon (but slightly cheaper) does reliable damage to the bigger unit values thanks to AP-4 and D6D and diddly squat to infantry. The more interesting comparison though lies with the Scatter Laser and Shuriken Cannon – both are similar, cheap(er) weapons that can also be bought for Jetbikes / Windriders and we see their damage is very similar. The Scatter Laser is slightly better against lower armor models due to its rate of fire while the Shuriken rule for the Cannon makes it consistently more reliable against units with higher toughness values, particularly when you’re wounding on 5’s regardless. Based upon this, they seem a wash but there are two key differences we need to look at – their weapon type and range. The Scatter Laser has an extra 12″ of shooting power which is fantastic, particularly given the increased threat ranges of assault armies and the lack of a JSJ move; however, the weapon is also heavy compared to the assault type of the Cannon.
Here we see the damage disparity of the two grow and the Shuriken Cannon is consistently better across every model type from T3/5+Sv to T8/2+Sv. The 12″ range if important on Scatter Lasers but losing damage output for moving and paying for that improved movement ability in standard unit costs seems to tap the Shuriken Cannon as the better weapon here, particularly if we start considering the Doom psychic power will allow some re-rolls to Wound generating more potential 6s (though we also must acknowledge Guide will be better on a unit of ScatBikes than CannonBikes).
The -1 to Hit is super important for all the other weapons as well given their heavy typing though the Crystal Targeting Matrix can help with this on occasion for just 5 points.
Overall, I like each option though the Starcannons damage output is the clear winner, they are the most expensive and they probably need Doom to really chew through most vehicles who are T7+.
Let’s look at some of the other heavy support options for Eldar with the Fire Prism, Falcon, Support Batteries and Night Spinner.
Vibro Cannon I did not include as annoying to code if someone would like to do that as the +1 to wound is really, really big. Wounding a Land Raider on a 2+ with -3AP and D3 damage on the final shot is pretty solid and they no longer require the previous shots to hit. Not sure if they are worth it but would like to see their numbers… Anyway. Really solid numbers across the board here for Eldar except the Shadow Weaver but the Doomweaver, D-Cannon and Pulse Laser have pretty significant numbers to multi-wound models. The D-Cannon though has to take the cake in terms of damage against the more durable targets, even outstripping the strongest of the Prism Cannon shots. The Doomweaver takes the cake in terms of damage against weaker infantry though its straight 2D and rending keep it pretty consistent against tougher, multi-wound models.
Despite the gaudy numbers, the D-Cannon is insanely expensive given its defensive statline with a 77 base point cost and a 50 point gun upgrade, a full unit of three measures in at 381 points. You could essentially take two Falcons, Prisms or Night Spinners for the same cost on much more durable platforms (though these platforms could also protect the Support Battery for the first turn at least).
Looking at some other weapons, all of the Wraithknight weapons are super strong – the Suncannon on average dropping a light vehicle in one volley. The normal Wraithguard Wraithcannon and D-Scythe are not flashing the table green, particularly given the D-Scythe’s destructive power of last edition (being reduced to D3 hits for a previous template is a big hit) but they are both decently consistent across the multiwound board if not amazing. The Warp Spider weapons aren’t bringing the house down like they used to with Hull Points so it will be interesting to see if they still get table time while the Dark Reaper weapon is now appears pretty poor at what was always it’s primary job – mowing down MEQs. The Tempest Launcher though seems a beast at putting lots of wounds on those lower toughness models.
Other than some of the bigger and expensive weapons *looks at Wraithknight* there do seem like multiple options available for weapons across Eldar, particularly in their heavy weapon options. The days of spamming Scatter Lasers on everything appear to be over and while we are probably not going back to the days of spammed Starcannons of 3rd edition, there does seem to be a decent case for most of those weapons.