Monday, March 23, 2009

Eldar :: Ulthwe

No Wraithlords allowed!
Originally uploaded by Xadhoom.

In the good, old days we had special rules for each of the five largest Craftworlds: Alaitoc, Biel Tan, Iyanden, Saim Hann and Ulthwe. Today, you can build armies representing all the Craftworlds from the same Codex, but even so the best lists are often very similar. All the armies are heavily mechanized, Guardians on foot are absent and Fire Dragons are the only anti-tank unit.

Is it possible to build an Ulthwe themed list that is competitive?

To make the list truly Ulthwe, I have defined the following set of rules:
  1. No Aspect Warriors
  2. No Wraiths
  3. Only Farseer as HQ
  4. At least one unit of Warlocks as the Seer Council
  5. Only Guardians or vehicles driven by Guardians

Here is my attempt at approximately 1750 points:
Eldrad Ulthran
5 Warlocks (Embolden, Enhance, 2 Singing Spears, 3 Destructors)
10 Storm Guardians (2 Flamers), Warlock (Destructor) in a Wave Serpent (Twin Starcannons, Spirit Stones, Star Engines)
10 Guardians (Bright Lance), Warlock (Embolden)
10 Guardians (Bright Lance), Warlock (Embolden)
6 Jetbikes (2xShuriken Cannons), Warlock (Destructor)
Fast Attack
Vyper (Bright Lance)
Vyper (Bright Lance)
Heavy Support
Falcon (Eldar Missile Launcher, Holofield, Spirit Stones, Star Engines)
3 War Walkers (6xScatter Lasers)
2 D-Cannons

Tactics :: Objective mission
Eldrad and the Seer Council sits in the Falcon, driving close to the Wave Serpent with the Storm Guardians. Their task is to take out the least defended flank, forcing the opponent to send forces to deal with them. If they are not dealt with, the Guardians can even take an objective.

Two Fortuned Eldar-transports full of models capable of dealing with hordes, tanks, walkers and elite troops should make the opponent nervous. Remind the opponent that they can move 36" per turn, and that the Guardians are scoring, and he will not ignore them. They will most of the time draw extreme amounts of attention from the opponent, and should be able to contest one objective at the end of the game.

One of the Guardian squads should park in cover close to the single objective you wish to control at the end of the game. The D-Cannons should also be placed close by, preferably out of sight. Ideally, this objective is on either flank, not in the center of your board edge.

The other Guardian squad should be placed on the other flank, about 30" away, and in hard cover. If they are in a ruin, use multiple floors to mitigate the effects of any template weapons targetting them. Remember that the enemy can only target one floor with a single template. This squad will most likely be ignored by the enemy, seeing as it doesn't control an objective, and there are always juicier targets about. Use them to shoot at enemy transports or deep-striking units trying to get to your objective. Two Bright Lances and Two D-Cannons are a big threat in 5th, with the extreme focus on mechanization.

The Jetbikes should try to delay any troops going for the objective. Destructor and Shuriken Catapults are great against hordes. Don't forget that the Catapults are Twin-Linked. Shuriken Cannons can take out or delay light transports like Trukks, Rhinos or Chimeras. Get that side or rear armour! The Shuriken Cannon's 24" range + the 6" Assault Phase move should keep them out of close combat until it is safe to charge. Don't be afraid to charge walkers. The Warlock is more than capable of taking them out.

The Vypers should zoom about like irritating insects, sniping tanks and elite units like Terminators, Plague Marines, Immortals or Zoanthropes. Their Range will keep them safe most of the time. If nessecary, they can stay next to Eldrad for some Guide goodness. Remember to stay out of range of Bolters and Meltaguns. "Feel free to shoot my Vyper with your Lascannon, just as long as you don't target the Falcon/Wave Serpent." It is often better to sacrifice a turn of shooting in order to redeploy and get that 4+ cover save, rather than gamble on that 4+ to hit. If you stay in the open, you present a juicy target to the opponent. Many Lascannon shots can be wasted on a fast-moving Vyper!

War Walkers should Outflank, either supporting the flank where Eldrad and his boys are doing their thing, or to support the Jetbikes delaying forces trying to take the "home objective".

Tactics :: Kill points mission
Try to get the opponent to take first turn. Put all units in reserve. If this happens, the opponent only has three to five turns to kill your units, while you have four to six. At the same time, you're forcing the opponent to react to your reserves, entering play where needed or right into cover/out of sight.

Use cover religiously! This is twice as important with units that are easy to kill in one shot, like Vypers or D-Cannons. Go to ground if neccesary.

If you're ahead, do a full retreat. Hide in a corner, behind buildings or behind bushes. Get those cover saves. The Vypers should fly all over the place if it can keep them alive for one more turn. Winning by a single Kill Point is enough, there is no bonus for winning by tree.

Hordes will likely not have enough anti-tank to hancle two Fortuned Grav Tanks. Keep them moving for that invaluable cover save. Tank shock and drop four Destructor Templates and two Flamer Templates if you can safely eliminate a unit. Don't get charged. War Walkers can Outflank and stay at long range.

Versus Space Marines or similar armies, Rhinos are top priority. Take out one and hide/run away. Drop Pods are also easy to deal with if the reserve rolls are in my favour.

The worst that can happen is that the opponent forces you to take first turn, and all your units enter play in turn two, with the opponent's units enter right after. If this happens, spread out so he can't bunch up on the fragile Eldar. Assault Terminators are nothing to fear, as they will only take out a single unit at most. Taking out the opponent's transports and fast-moving assaulters will win the day for Craftworld Ulthwe.


norau said...

Bra liste! Tematiske hærer er alltid mer moro å spille enn 2+ vinn.

Anonymous said...
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Eric said...

Overall I think this is a nice looking list. I also really like that you have decided to adhere so strictly to the Ulthwe' fluff and only run guardian/psyker units. I think that the loss of Codex: Craftworld Eldar and the distinctive flavor it gave to each of the different craftworlds is a shame and hope in the next codex (whenever that is) that they do something to bring that back. There's just something disturbing about how many Fire Dragon temples are springing up on craftworlds across the 40k universe these days!
I have a question about the D-cannons, though. I play Saim-Hann these days so I don't use them, but back in 3rd ed. I had an Ulthwe' force and I never found the support weapons to be of much use. How are they working out for you, especially under the 5th ed artillery rules? My buddy plays Orks and likes to use a unit of Big Gunz which follow the artillery rules too, and I have no problem dealing with them. So I am just curious.

Xadhoom said...

Thanks for writing in, Eric!

I rarely use D-cannons. Actually, this game was the only one this year in which I included them.

I find that static units like D-cannons really need to be worked properly into the list. They perform poorly if not supported by other units, or if not in a supporting role themselves.

What they are fairly good at is creating a "no-fly-zone" 24" out. Kind of like what a Vindicator can do. The primary difference is that they really need LOS-blocking terrain, so they can hide safely out of reach of enemy guns. In these situations, they can perform pretty well, but on an open battlefield, they are very vulnerable.

In the end, though, they are without a doubt the worst Heavy Support choice in the Eldar Codex. For the points of three D-cannons, you can get a kitted out Wraithlord or a Fire Prism with the Holofield upgrade. Easier to play and harder to deal with, about as destructive within 24", and much more mobile.