Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ulthwe Eldar is competitive!

Eldar Seers by Xadhoom, on Flickr
The Eldar have foreseen this
Originally uploaded by Xadhoom.
I've played my Ulthwe list a few games now, and won every single one. Granted, I've not played against the cheesiest cheddar around, but none of the games have been army selection wins.

The two latest games were against Tau and Necrons. I'm actually surprised the list works as well as it does. I was under the impression that Aspect Warriors, Harlequins or Wraiths were required to fill some requirements in the Eldar army, but I believe I was mistaken. Of course, my success could be the result of blatant luck on my part.

After playing a few games, I find that the army and my tactics cover several aspects essential to a 40k army list; speed, firepower, close combat prowess and resilience. In addition to this, it forces the opponent to react to it, rather than the other way around, due to its speed, damage potential and the outflanking War Walkers.

Ulthwe 1250 points
Farseer - Runes of Warding, Spirit Stones, Fortune, Doom
5 Warlocks - 2 Singing Spears, 3 Destructors, Embolden, Enhance
3 Guardian Jetbikes - Shuriken Cannon
10 Guardians - Warlock (Embolden), Bright Lance
10 Storm Guardians - Warlock (Destructor), 2 Flamers
Wave Serpent - Star Engines, Spirit Stone, Twin Starcannons
2 Vypers - 2 Bright Lances
Falcon - Shuriken Cannon, Spirit Stone, Holofield, Star Engines
2 War Walkers - 4 Scatter Lasers

I wrote a post about tactics for this army @ 1750 points, but the same points are still valid.

I'm mightily impressed with what a Farseer and five Warlocks can do. Dooming a unit and throwing down three Destructor Templates is incredibly killy, even against units with good saving throws!

Scaling up to the big battles: Eldrad Ulthran!
In larger games, I'll take Eldrad instead of a standard Farseer. His ability to Doom two units simultaneously is incredible! The Falcon with the Seer Council and the Wave Serpent with the Storm Guardians can destroy most anything when they jump out and start handing out the hurt. There is rarely anything left! Cleverly placing the vehicles in front of enemies offering fire support will give the Guardians Cover Saves, and the Seers already have a Fortuned 4+!

I'm thinking of taking all Destructors for the Seer Council. WS5 and I5 on the Warlocks is awesome against Space Marine armies, and the ability to re-roll Morale Checks can not be underestimated. However, I'm wondering whether it is necessary. Three Destructors is very killy, but five is borderline insanity!

Will it win against (insert "web list" of the month here)?
The army isn't dead 'ard, but that's not the point. In a club setting you often want to play an army that will win when you play it well. Not just because it has 2+/3+i saves, master-crafted Thunder Hammers and twin-linked Multi Meltas, but because you play better than your opponent.

Army selection win
When some players go to tournaments, they gamble that they won't meet that army. This is the army which you haven't optimized your army for and will make you lose, no matter what you do. A balanced approach can win you any game, an extremely optimized one can actually lose the game for you before it has even started!

I firmly believe that any good tournament army should at least be able to win against anything the opponent can bring. If the enemy deploys 150 Orks, and you concede the game immediately because you brought 12 Lascannons and 25 Space Marines, it is your own fault!

This is what I mean when I say "Army selection win". In this setting, the meta game has become more important than the actual game itself, a trend I think will kill the tournament aspect of the hobby if it is allowed to flourish. Fortunately, 5th edition's focus on objectives have mitigated this quite a bit.

The Ulthwe army can deal with tank spam, 'zilla, elite infantry, hordes, mobile and static lists alike. It may not be super effective against all opponents, but its ability to win is strong.

What do you think? Am I just rambling, or are my Seer/Guardian tactics worthwhile?