40k Word Association, where we take four opinionated players from the across the country and pick their brains to tackle current 40k topics.

First up is Miggidy Mack, host of the great weekly Podcast Dice Like Thunder

This is a difficult word association for me.  I just don’t have enough experience playing with or against Eldrad to really get into the thick of things tactically.  Eldrad is a special character and there is loads to talk about when it comes to special characters.  I could go on at length about how players still have 2nd edition opinions on special characters, how running them now is no different from any other codex choice.  I’m sure many of the other typing heads will cover that stuff.

I’m going to talk about assessing a unit, using Eldrad as my example.  When you first break open a new codex it is tough to figure out exactly what you want to run.  When I started Space Wolves I had no desire to use Mark of the Wulfen or Power Weapons… I was going all fists.  Now I have wide variety of gear.  I didn’t stop and do a full assessment of the units initially, assuming I had a full grasp on a marine codex.  So let’s take a look at the ways in which we can assess a unit.

*Step 1)* Baseline comparison.  What makes this unit better than similar units.  Why is Eldrad better than a typical Farseer.  With Eldrad this is pretty simple.  A 3+ Invuln save, all the psychic powers and the ability to throw three a turn (even duplicating) is a pretty impressive unit.  Is he worth 210 points over the much cheaper 100ish points of a well equipped Farseer?

*Step 2) *Play style assessment.  How does he function for you.  Are you a player who prefers to run a lot of assault units with some back up?  If so, does that make Eldrad with his warlock council a powerful hammer in your hands?  His 1 attack might hamper that, but those attacks are powerful.  Is Eldrad a better tar pit, re-rolling his 3+ saves and forcing opponents to wade through half a dozen warlocks first?  Do you prefer to control the pacing of the game, making his redeployment ability worth 100 points on its own?

*Step 3) *Comprehensive rules understanding.  This is a step many players skip.  Read all of his rules, all of them very carefully.  With the Eldar Codex still out, grab a main rule book and ask yourself all the craziest questions.  Here are the ones I asked while reading his profile:  “Can Eldrad use his powers from a wave serpent, which ones?”  “Can Eldrad use Divination to place a unit that is on the table into reserve, do reserves?”  “What does each piece of his war gear do and how does it effect the warlocks or other units I might put him with?”  Once you have asked yourself all these questions (maybe even write them down) it’s time to download a copy of the FAQ and crack open those books.

*Step 4)  *Test.  This may seem self-explanatory but you would be surprised how many people skip this stage.  Test the character at 500 point.  Run him against one unit of equal points.  Run him against twice his points.  Do a bunch of little tests, not just full games with the unit.  Get a feel for how you want to use it and if it’s going to fit into your overall repertoire.  Think about the types of units you see in your local metagame, how will Eldrad’s powers help you there?  What nasty tricks can you pull?

These are my steps for assessing a unit.  If I played Eldar I would certainly consider him.  I would probably run him and a unit of 20 Guardians, that way I can place the guardians in a huge line across the board, force my opponent back towards his edge and then redeploy the guardians into a back corner.  All the while Eldrad and his Warlocks sit in a pimp’d out Wave Serpent behind some cover (or in reserve) ready to assault anything that might be able to hinder my more focused units.

Next is Blackmoor, recent winner of The Wild West Shoot Out in Mesa AZ. You can find Blackmoor on his blog as well playing at Empire Games in Mesa.
It looks like the reports of Eldrad’s death after the Eye of Terror campaign had been greatly exaggerated.
In fact just the opposite seems to have happened. Not only is he not dead, but he is on every battlefield facing every foe of the Eldar across the entire galaxy.
And why not? Look at what Eldrad brings to the table. We are going to compare him to a regular farseer.
Let’s give the Farseer everything that Eldrad comes standard with:

Runes of Warding
Runes of Witnessing
Spirit Stones
Farseer powers:
Eldritch Storm
Mind War
So let’s add them up and see what we get
Farseer with everything=215 Points
Eldrad=210 Points
So as you can see, you are already coming out 5 points ahead. Now let’s look at what else Eldrad brings to the table the regular Farseer Doesn’t.
Eldrad can cast 2 of each power and then one bonus power for a total of 3.
The Farseer can cast only 2 different powers.
Eldrad has a 3+ inv save.
Farseer has a 4+ inv save
Eldrad has a power weapon that wounds on a 2+.
A Farseer only wounds on a 2+
Eldrad has a toughness of 4
A Farseer has a toughness of 3
Eldrad has the ability to re-deploy D3+1 units prior to the game starting.
Farseer has nothing.
The fact that Eldrad is so much better than a regular Farseer is the reason you see him everywhere. Also he compliments an army much better because he does so much, and you still have one HQ slot to take an Avatar, Autarch, etc.

There are only 2 drawbacks to Eldrad vs. Farseer and one is if you want to go cheap you can get a good Farseer for around 155 points. The other one is if you want to mount Eldrad on a Jetbike, you are out of luck, but you can do it with a regular Farseer.

Now, Jwolf from Bell of Lost Souls and regular at Battleforge Games in Austin TX.

Eldrad is practically a compulsory unit choice for Eldar armies.  Eldrad is the only Farseer who is as good as Farseers should be, with the added bonus of some redeploying.  Sure he’s pricey, but he’s got serious mojo.  And now that Njal has been added to the Psyker Pantheon by GW, Eldrad is a weak and pale shadow of a man, wondering how he never figured out the AE Krak Missile Trick.  I bet he sits at the breakfast table with Mrs. Eldrad muttering stuff like “Living Lightning and Jaws of the World Wolf – these Monkeigh ‘psykers’ have no subtlety! 

Only a hack actually destroys things with his mind, use real psykers spin vehicles around (at close range), no exploding them at the horizon!  Mind War is a scalpel, unlike Jaws – what a stupid name for a power.  Jaws is like a whole bucket of scalpels, shot out of a cannon, and who needs that?!?!!?”

Eldrad used to be somebody, now he’s like hoping that a newly-minted Space Wolves Rune Priest can’t roll a 4+ and doesn’t fry his Wave Serpent from across the board.

Finally, Nathan Fluger blog commentator and bitchin Ork player from the Pacific Northwest who can be found at the Fire and Sword Gaming Center in Seattle WA. 

I know most of you all know me as an Ork player, but Eldar is the other army I roll with in 40k, so I’m pretty familiar with this gentleman. 

At first blush; Eldrad is probably the biggest no-brainer HQ choice after Pedro (IMO).  For only about a few more points more than a different farseer you get all the stuff that makes Eldrad, Eldrad.  Not only does he bring the pain with his casting, but his weapon is awesome, and he’s more survivable than a normal farseer (T4 instead of T3 and 3+ invul instead of 4+). Initially, when I played Eldar, I brought Eldrad to every fight; but I found that time and again, he didn’t do enough for me to justify bringing him.  Eventually, I dropped him for an 80 point Autarch.  Call me crazy, but I’d rather have that extra 150ish points towards more units (you can take the Ork out of the jungle…); however I can see why some people go ga-ga over him; he just doesn’t jive with me.  Here’s my thought process on making him worthless to your pansy opponent. 

1:  Kill what he’s rolling with.  Eldrad by himself doesn’t really do much; sure he has good melee attacks, but not enough to roll over squads.  Where he shines is hiding in a unit of harlies or whatever, and giving them the edge (doom/fortune) against whatever they are fighting against to run amok.  Most of those psychic powers have short range, so clearing out the area around him of nasty space elves is the way to make him pointless.  Eldrad by himself is just a pretty ignorable target, or one you can tarpit, or one you can take out with massed firepower.  Obviously, killing the unit he is with isn’t always the easiest thing (like if he’s in a 10 strong unit of wraithguard with conceal that’s standing behind 3 wraithlords…); but it should be a priority. 

 2:  Put attacks on him.  This seems kind of obvious, but I know plenty of people that avoid mobbing up on him and throwing attacks at him.  He WILL (I swear) eventually fail a save, and you only need 3 of those to kill him.  Hidden power fists and the like are great at this because even though he’s all Mr Mighty Elfmanpants he isn’t Eternal Warrior, so you just need that ONE strength 6+ (go-go Imp Guard power fists!) hit to get through, and good-night Eldrad. 

 3:  Leave him alone, kill everything else.  Sometimes, Eldrad just isn’t the key to beating your opponent.  Perhaps just killing the rest of the army that is outside his zone of influence is the best tactic.  Eldrad isn’t fast (unless in a wave serpent…), so most of the units that are staying close to him are limited by how slowly he is moving.  If you are a fast army or have a balanced list, use your speed elements to go after other parts of the army and start knocking down his list. 

4:  Run him over with a Trukk.  I’m only throwing this up here, because I think it’s hilarious.  When playing Dusldorf’s eldar once, he had Eldrad all by himself (I’d killed the unit he was with) near my lines.  I decided I wanted to gamble, and tank-shocked him with my trukk with reinforced ram.  Dusldorf figured this would be no prob and death-or-gloried.  Needless to say, he failed, and my 40 point trukk ran his silly face over. 

Basically, understand what he CAN do, and know what he CAN’T do.

Questions for Comment:

  1. What if any reasons would you take a normal farseer over Eldrad?
  2. How has Njal raised the psyhic bar above Eldrad?
  3. Best and Worst Eldrad war stories?