Cancon Recap and Eldar List Review

Okay. I am back to civilisation! I ended up going a disappointing 5-3 and finishing 21st out of 130 odd players. Good but not my usual standard. Let’s look quickly at the last two games (games 1-3 and games 4-6 are recapped here) before looking at the list and experience as a whole. We will then have lots of battle reports with another tournament in 4 weeks…

Game 7 – was against Nurgle + Knights basically (two knights, Morty, Daemon Prince, Lord of Contagion and Typhus). I went first and was able to just kill Morty with my last shot and I then killed the 27 wound Knight with my last melee attack the next turn. This game was then very similar to Game 1 where I was able to pick apart the big units one by one and start scooting ahead on ITC points. My opponent played more aggressively which meant I lost more and if I had not dropped Morty on the last shot, I could have lost a bigger chunk of stuff. As it was, game was overly pretty quickly and I had another two hour lunch break…

Game 8 – was against Tyranids with a lot of combat power and the exact list I did not want to see (I was hoping for the Sisters list as I did not want to player Eldar for a 4th time). Unfortunately Jaime ended up playing the top five Eldar players so he had a rather mono-tournament. I deployed quite poorly which was compounded by Jaime seizing on me and the game was basically over from there as he was able to get both Genestealers into my mid-base and destroy the Wave Serpent, Dark Reapers and Wraithguard – straight line assaults without bubble-wrap is a stupid mistake and something that I was having issue with throughout the tournament with my list because of a) mistakes and b) mistakes. We wrapped up quickly and both of us worked together on his assault as he knew what he wanted to do but we were both mentally exhumed. Was a fun game and great opponent despite the smashing.

My losses in Games 2 and 4 were avoidable though I am not sure I could have won against Jaime’s list – I just did not have the anti-infantry or counter assault power. The game could certainly have been closer but my anti-infantry is just not there in the list. So let’s look at the list in detail then.

Autarch – I liked this guy, he was my best combat clearer but his ability to target characters when used did dick all (my flyers were better Snipers) and he often needed to move away so the re-roll 1’s aura was not seen as much. I think I would rather he become a unit of Shining Spears (see Banshees where this becomes a pattern). That being said, the extra Command Points was clutch in some games and I did hold him back rather than be aggressive which I may do otherwise with Spears but I was generally out of CP by Turn 2/3 regardless.

Farseer / Warlock – both of these guys were what you expect, psychic support and utility which they did. Quicken on many things is ace though WC7 is a pain. I never used the Seer Council Stratagem so I would try and find the extra points for a Spiritseer or Conclave to double distance cast if necessary.

Banshees – I was deeply disappointed with the Banshees and perhaps I was using them too passively (certainly so in the Eldar mirror match I lost) but their durability against anything who can actually swing a stick (even at -2 as well) was near non-existent. This was even when I was using them in practice games so while I never played a gunline type Imperial army where this unit would be a great disrupter and thus did not have their ideal opponent, I would again much rather have had Shining Spears. They just require so much support to actually chew through things. Small units of 5 I might consider to get free charges and avoid overwatch from for the Spears but that’s about it.

Wraithguard – The scare factor of these was amazing against my opponents while their damage was less so (everyone also thought they were D2 which would make them near autoincludes). While each model does an average of two wounds per shot, their shorter range made them have far less impact. While “another squad of reapers” can be the response to anything, they are certainly more durable and surprisingly poke a punch on combat. Their best use is a deterrent, particularly on the combat side, though smart opponents can figure there way around this by either assaulting other units or assaulting outside of 8″.

Dire Avengers – I actually wanted more of these guys as I felt they could have been a good aggressive unit in a Wave Serpent to push up against enemy infantry *cough Dark reapers cough* that the Wraithguard had a near 10″ disadvantage against. They otherwise were another space filler.

Rangers – The amount of plinks these guys did to drop the final wound off a big model was pretty high and like the Hemlock below, allowed for much better efficiency for the army. They were also my only real blockers and this left them dying often and early but there were not enough bodies to really stunt charges or deep strikes.

Dark Reapers – they were of course the star of the show and prepare for them to be rebalanced quickly. Ignoring all negative modifiers to hit is too good for their points so they either need to go up in points or simply ignore the move and shoot penalty rather than all modifiers. They were target number 1 for my enemy and I did a relatively poor job of consistently protecting them across the tournament which directly led to two of my losses. I was also surprised to see so many players at the tournament using their big missiles when using any combination of Doom (i.e. Guide or no Guide).

Wave Serpents – Were very surprisingly durable, even without Stones; at 13 Wounds and Serpent Shield they are a tough nut to crack but also having an effective 3D3 Mortal wounds available in a pinch is super valuable. I did not use them aggressively enough overall, launching only a few assaults and often splitting my Banshees and Wraithguard up when they should have ideally been supporting each other.

Crimson Hunters – I was suitably impressed with the Crimson Hunters given the tournament was my first outing with them and not double Hemlock; particularly in the Eldar mirror matches. So many things have Fly in the game currently that their ability to re-roll wounds is like a little Doom here and there though as they degrade, they are certainly less useful. I would definitely consider maintaining them in ongoing lists.

Hemlock – As usual, the Hemlock was great. He brought the utility of an extra denial, an extra psychic power (normally Jinx) and some strong autohitting damage which usually finished off hard to kill models to allow my efficiency to remain high. I still would like double Hemlocks but Hemlock + 2x CHE gives an extra valuable CP so I’m happy in this regard. CHE are also more reliable against infantry if there are fewer monster / vehicle targets. It did make the Hemlock the first fighter to be shot off the board more often than not though, easy way to spend 2 CP and give him an effective -3 to hit.

Overall Thoughts

Eldar are obviously quite strong currently with their ability to stack negative to hit modifiers and do very well against a wide variety of opponents. Interestingly at Cancon they seemed to struggle against Tyranids though this did not appear to be the case at LVO (not sure what Nid lists were run). I know my list would have struggled with lots of big infantry squads (see round 8) but there were very few lists in the top 20 that featured large durable unit blocks (lots of MSU though). I will be tweaking the list over the coming two weeks to prepare for Clash (where I used to run 3++con) and may consider adding Yvarine and Ynnari to the Reapers (which I was initially loathe to do but the double shooting Reapers will definitely outweigh the utility of the Autarch) and grab some Ynnari Spears (sounding familiar?).

The tournament was great fun though not sure if I can physically and mentally manage three straight days of wargaming. Thankfully two of my games were over very quickly so I got to check out the gaming stalls, purchase a few things and have a chat with a lot of people.

Will try and get the bat reps ASAP to review mistakes and prepare for the next one in four weeks :).

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22 responses to Cancon Recap and Eldar List Review

First Off, Congrats Kirby. I think you should not be dissapointed to much by the result, Even if it is below your standarts. Considering the fact your List was not a spam-x-to-a-point-where-it-gets-annoying-even-for-the-reader-list I Had fun to Follow your recap. It was refreshing to read vs. the boredom of the LVO-lists: How Many reapers are the new black?

Which brings me to the Point Where I completly agree with you: They will get rebalanced Big Time in the near future. They are so borderline OP that it couldnt get more obvious…i mean the reaper launcher itself is okay pricewise, compared with Other MLEQs. But 5points per model? With those stats and a unique skill, this good? Even on paper, with no experience in the game, one must come to the conclusion that they are ridiculously underpriced.

I will be disappointed if I want! It's more relating to my errors that I was making consistently. Need to fix those for next tournament.

Next list will likely have 13 Reapers… so 13 ;)?

Yes Reapers will be changed and probably too much just like Spectres were. They also rely heavily on psychic powers and not being targeted so if you can overcome this in any way, they are T3/3+ models.

I play spectres a lot, and they don't feel nerfed, they are expensive, but they win games solo. The point increase coincided with quicken/deep strike. The only reason I only run 10 still is the ynarri nerfs.

I've messed with the eldar a bit, but cos they are total shit in melee and have no anti infantry i gave up on them. I don't have a single unit i can take to counter poxwalkers or genestealers, and whats the point of an army that just flat loses to orks? I dont mean the triple squiggoth abomination either, i mean just a load of ork boyz going, sup if i make this 9" charge you dead.

Well going from 23 points to 33 points is a significant nerf. Before I would take one big unit to throw buffs on and then 3 – 4 min sized units to go out and skirmish/flame things/cap objectives. Now its just one big unit in some versions of my list.

If a big reaper nerf makes them a viable choice again I could see them being used in a large block of 8-10 with a load of defensive buffs (fortune, protect, conceal, lightning fast reactions) plus guide. I would screen combat troops off them by deepstriking in hawks in front or keeping them behind already established ranger units.

I dont think this is as good as shining spears in most situations but if spears get nerfed with reapers (probably deservedly) then there may be more parity.

AT LVO the reapers seemed stronger than the Flyers, but either way we have the problem and the solution in the same codex, that's never good.

Here's hoping that Tau get some way to cancel out neg penalties. I say that not just as a Tau player (though, yes, that) but so that solutions are more spread around.

Well I guess your report kind of confirms the things I've been thinking about the eldar codex and ynnari index pre the expected March changes.

There are a number of competitive choices in the Eldar codex which boil down to:

1. Reapers
2. Shining spears
3. Rangers
4. Guardian Defenders
5. Wave serpents
6. Swooping hawks (although maybe not, see LOV?)
7. Kabalite warriors as filler
8. Yvraine, farseer, warlock/conclave, spiritseer, autarch on foot or bike (but not the gimmick sniping variety, swap that for Yvraine)

Below this there is a tier of choices which are good but not 'top tier' and those include the flyers, wraithguard, banshees, dire avengers etc.

The top tier lists establish board space with rangers, shoot the hell out of you with buffed reapers and then tie up the remainder with deepstriking, quickened, fortuned, protected, shining spears that advance and charge with the Saim Hann stratagem.

I can see a reaper nerf coming – maybe up to 33-35 points and a nerf to the tempest launcher to only '-1' or no rend. Even with that however, double shooting reapers will still be a strong choice and they can pair that with other large units of aspect warriors with crazy amounts of psychic buffs. Even shadow spectres may be worth another look if you are ok with investing the points to put guide, fortune, conceal and protect on them (-3 to hit, +1 save in cover and 5+ FnP).

Nice write-up Kirby! Eldar do look to have the head start due to the effectiveness of dark reapers, but i worry about them just being hit with a nerf bat as a solution. I don't mind Eldar having a unit or two like that, it makes for a tough game as it should. As you point out, they are 3+ T3, and do die if you can catch them. I'm not exactly sure what the right balancing answer is yet, but I have some thoughts. Mostly what I'd actually like to see is a slight change to the ITC scoring for 2 things. One is that the death by 1000 cuts should change, so that you get the point for every 3 units you kill, not for killing 3 units in a single turn, which makes those reapers worth some objective points if you are cleaning up screens and other stuff around. The second is to increase the value of the primary objectives, so that I can win the game, despite how hard I can get hit by them. Both of those will help me win the game, even if I am losing my army to attrition. These are just my thoughts though, if you don't like them, i have others 🙂

I agree with the ITC side; making the primary more important I think is key and / or having the bonus easier to achieve but more significant. I do not like that some armies can literally sit there and kill a unit / sit on an objective and go for single deny a turn and gain 12 points while limiting the opponent to 18 and then forcing wins through secondaries. As you said, lots of ways to do this though. It could be as simple as having a point per objective and a point for every 2-3 units you kill as the primaries and change them as necessary (i.e. a KP mission being every 1-2 units or so). This would then invalidate Death by 1000 cuts as a secondary but other secondaries could certainly be sourced.

Re Eldar – Reapers at +5-10 points would be okay I feel without running any numbers. But I expect the mid-year update to smack them pretty hard.

Until mid year, gonna have to work on my anti-eldar list 😉 Problem is, when i'm good at fighting eldar, i'm not good at fighting Space Marines!

I believe much of the problem is causes by Ynarri units – dark reapers, shining spears, shadow spectres, etc. – being able to both use CWE strategems, and be the recipient of CWE psychic buffs. Remove these abilities, limiting them to 'strength from death' and the Ynnari psychic powers only, will go a long way toward mitigating what makes them OP.

The other easily curbed issue is the minimum squad size for dark reapers. Make it 5 instead of 3. This will reduce the number of tempest launchers, reduce the number of "free" exarchs, and increase the cost of a spearhead detachment.

A lot of players actually don't run all minimum-sized units on Reapers; you typically see 1-4 mimimum units and 1-3 larger units in lists, depending on exact points and whatnot. Mandatory 5man would obviously change things, but I don't think it would actually hurt them all that much in general terms- the Tempest Launcher is a great gun, but a lot of Eldar armies use the Reapers primarily for killing heavy targets, so having more Reaper Launchers per squad would still b perfectly fine.

It would lose a couple CP here or there potentially I think but Tempest Launchers are quite useful for those more static lists that cannot get to infantry hiding in ruins / do not have to send their Spears / fast units after them..

It's a shame Eldar have to rely on dark reaper exarchs for indirect fire…

Really, eldar should clearing infantry with shadow weavers and doom weavers!

Interestingly at Cancon they seemed to struggle against Tyranids though this did not appear to be the case at LVO (not sure what Nid lists were run).

It was flyrant spam (like, 2 7 flyrant lists made top 8 I believe?), specifically run to counter reaper spam. Which worked, but I don't think they do as well in ITC (no real objective presence, not exactly running hot on denying secondaries either).

I hear that the UK is pretty heavy on Flyrants these days, yeah. I'm skeptical that the US will follow suit, though, Tyranids have not been doing particularly well on this side of the pond.

The highest-placing army with Tyranid models (a GSC army) used zero Flyrants at all and was ranked #31. (It mostly just used Tyranids for Hive Guard and Neurothropes.)

The highest-ranking Tyranid army did indeed run six Flyrants, but came in at #53. The next two highest-ranking Tyranid players ran three and zero Flyrants respectively.

I would say that Flyrants were a common inclusion overall, but not a particularly dominant one and were significantly less popular than the Neurothrope, Biovore, and Hive Guard in terms of overall inclusions.

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