So normally we get a new unit or something interesting when a codex comes out, but as of late we have nothing and the only new models are a farseer on jetbike, jetbikes and a plastic autarch. So with that its all about the rules I guess.
Old vs New
Looking though the new book, the first thing that struck me was that only a single model went up in points, everything else either stayed the same or went down in points. The lone model that went up in points was the wraithknight. Many would say that it deserved to go up in points, and I agree, the model was rather under costed, but games workshop not one to stop selling models upped it from a monstrous to gargantuan creature... so naturally it didn't go up enough points. Its also moved to the lord of war slot. Any one that didn't go up in points got new fancy special rules (more on that later).
The vast majority of the models state lines stayed the same, except for the exarchs, which have gained an extra wound but instead of having a static 3+ save, the have the armour of their aspect instead. Its a minor change but its a little more fluffy I guess. While im on the topic of exarchs, they have changed rules wise compared to their old form. No longer do we have extra powers to buy instead they all have a specific exarch power each which can't be changed. Still we have a few weapons option but no extra rules.
Psychic powers are more or less the same but the runes of fate have a few little changes. We have lost death mission (thank god!) and its replaced with will of asuryan, a power which gives units with in 12 inches fearless and adamantium will. So a great trade I would say, I will defiantly have more use for it than death mission. Eldritch storm has had a major boost, with 2 options either warp charge 3 or 4 options. The 3 is the regular storm we all know and love. The 4, is the same but its now an apocalyptic blast... who doesn't love a 10 inch fleshbane haywire blast. Sounds very op when you say it out loud.
Something else that has had a slight change, the warlocks are different. They now have a variant of the brotherhood of psykers rule, similar to pink horrors. Depending on how many are in the unit, depends on what level the unit counts as (between 1 - 3), however each model generates a warp charge so they are like a battery for the farseers... which is a little more like they used to be back in 3rd edition.
Distort weapons have also changed, I can confirm that the rumours were true, they are now all D weapons. The scythes get -1 on the destroyer table but they are all D. So what ever you do don't charge that unit of wraithguard with D flamers.... no matter who are what you are it won't end well.
Wave serpents are also different now. No longer will be have them constantly firing their shields as a weapon. Now you can fire it once, and only once. And if you do shoot the shield you loose all of the defensive bonuses for the rest of the game. Now the shield shot has lost a point in strength but gone up to 2D6 which isn't so bad, but as we have lost laser lock, its a bit more balanced.
In this new codex there are a few units which came out a bit better than others. While I wouldn't say any of them really lost out, some gained a bit more than others, and here is my list:
Swooping Hawks: Theses guys got a massive boost which they didn't need. They have stayed the same points but now they can move 18 inches in the movement phase instead of 12. Its unprecedented and makes then very quick around the table. Also if they move over a flyer they can drop a haywire grenades on it on a 4+ per model, so they could wreck one out of the sky with ease. They still have skyleap, as well as the rule for not scattering after deep strike, but is only granted to the unit if you have an exarch with them. But now autarchs can sky leap too as its granted by the wings, not the unit.
Avatar of Khaine: This might sound odd, and not really mentioned in the rumours that were flying around about the eldar codex, but in my opinion the Avatar has become a great force multiplier to have in your army. While his stats have stayed the same, so has his price but he has been upgraded with a better wailing doom which makes him strength in combat. But more importantly his khaine awakened rule has been massively upgraded. In the past it gave fearless to eldar units within 12, which is nice but now it also gives then furious charge and rage. So now those strength 3 banshees with power sword become a little bit scary on the charge with strength 4 and those storm guardians now have 4 attacks when they charge. That makes other units so much better, and can make a massive difference for small hard hitting units like shining spears. Hell even a guardian defender unit now could counter charge a unit and possibly win. However the Avatar is now a lord of war, so you have to purchase a hq to lead your force.
Falcon grav tanks: out side of 4th edition who the hell uses falcons? Hell when was the last time you saw one on the table no pretending to be a wave serpent? Yer well now they might be seen a lot more often. They are the same as they used to be BUT now, if you take 3 they can deep strike and not scatter AND they can just be with in 4 inches of each other instead of touching. That is a massive advantage, so turn 2 they appear behind a knight, all those high strength shots could really blow a hole in one. Need a few units like fire dragons exactly where you want them? Pop them in a unit of falcons and they are safe as houses. It is a massive ask to buy 3 of them though, which I can see putting a lot of people off. But the fact they now have this nice little rule means we should be seeing a few more of them about.
WraithKnight: it got more expensive as already mentioned but hell is it a lot better now. Just for the possibility of strength D in combat and the stomps its worth it. Now it can't be instantly killed and has feel no pain, its a truly disgusting model to use. Its very under pointed and really it should be the price of an imperial knight, but right now GW love eldar so they get all the best toys. I don't agree with the change but it is undeniably a big winner in this codex.
Some slight changes
In the codex there are a lot of slight changes that you can easily miss at first glance. Mainly the wargear which has had a slight difference made here or there so I though I would share a couple that I have noticed.
Banshees masks: Gone are the days of banshees striking it initiative 10 or reducing your enemy to initiative 1. Now the humble banshee mask makes the wearer cause fear and stops the unit they are changing over watching. Which really is a nice addition for the banshees as they were constantly getting shot to hell and back. This even works on Tau supporting fire (but if they get into combat with tau your opponent doesn't know what they are doing) making them a real threat.
Mandiblasters: the striking scorpions mask, now just auto wounds on a 4+ unless its a gargantuan creature. This is a massive step up as it used to be a strength 3 hit, so now they can wound anything over toughness 3 with relative ease. Also oddly enough if they can't wound something such as a wraithlord with their swords they still can with their mandiblasters... very odd but a boost. As a side note scorpions got a lot of boosts this codex for no real reason, they now also gain shrouded if they infiltrate and don't shoot, making them very resilient in cover. Unneeded but will probably increase the usability on the table.
Remnants of glory: we have the same items bar one, the mantle of the laughing god is gone and replaced with an ap 3 pistol with rending. Ah well it was too good anyway and I don't miss its loss.
Spiritmark: no longer do you pick a unit, now its all units within 12 of the spiritseer get marked making it a lot easier for wraith units to hit them. Its still only re-rolling 1's but still its better than nothing. Strangely enough I feel this is a deserved change unlike most of the others.
This book as is the trend at the moment, has a number of formations in it which are rather good. So good in fact it kind of makes me wonder if any one will bother to use a combined arms detachment for the eldar at all when the formations are so stupidly good.
I don't really want to go into much detail on the formations right now as I want to save that for another post, but I will go over them quickly for the purposes of the review.
We have 7 formations to pick from, some of them rather big such as guardian hosts which incorporate guardians of some sort (storm, defenders or jetbike) and their supporting units to make quite a solid force. This makes you have to keep these units in close proximity and work together in order to survive which I like. But there is really no down side as all the units are great in it and get some good benefits.
Of course we have a wraith host to keep selling those new wraith kits, and what do you know, you get a massive boost in the form of battle focus for the large lumbering machines... makes sense, right? Its practically the only way to play an Iyanden force now as I think the supplement is now out dated, but i'm not 100% sure.
One formation that I do really like is the seer council. If you take 2 farseers and a warlock council they get a lot better, being able to harness the warp on 3+ which is a really powerful ability while still being extremely fluffy at the same time.
The rest of the formations are related to aspect warriors one way or another and gives them either +1 bs or ws for free practically. The only restriction is they need to buy an exarch (oh no what a terrible thing) making them stupidly good. I am a little temped to try just an army of these formations in order to get some Biel-Tan feelings going. It would work, I guarantee, and you can always just buy them wave serpents if you that way inclined.
Of course we now also have the formation of formations that people love. This one is called the war host, and the big benefit is? If you want to run, you run 6... no need to roll. While it can be good, having a bloody wraithlord auto running 6 is stupid especially with battle focus, just saying.
This codex really wasn't needed in my opinion. I liked the older codex even though it did have some rather unbalanced units (wave serpent) but everything else was usable and really rather good. Now we have a codex with out any bad units or really stupid ones (bar the wraithknight) but everything feels like it has too much stuff for its points. I'm fine with the feel that Eldar should be a highly elite and specialised force, but come on if you are going to do that make the points reflect this. All units got a buff in skill this codex and don't show a sign of paying for it? It just feels like my opponent isn't going to have fun and will moan about it. The moaning I can live with, them not having fun, that's not right.
Some things did need to change which have, such as the serpent shield (now you can fire it ONCE with 2D6) and the scatter laser (laser lock is gone) and well done GW did listen with out going the polar opposite like they normally do. So I guess well done to them for that, but they have made a few more problems like every bike can take a scatter laser? Didn't quite think that one though did you design team. So I can have a unit with a gun ranged 36 inches, they can move 12 inches a turn and then in the assault phase move 2D6? Yer they will run rings around 75% of other units in the game and never be in harms way, well done guys.
I love Eldar of all kinds, craftworld, dark, harlequin and even exodites (i'm calling it now, ally exodite codex 2016) and what I think ruins them for me is that people moan about Eldar players because some players take one unit (wave serpents or wraithknight) and just spam the shit out of it making us all look bad. Now a new codex comes out forcing us to look even stronger regardless of what we take or even how we do in a game. I have seen people complain about Eldar even when they beat them in a game or the player they are facing has a fluffy list. I don't know I just hate the stigma attached to it all and this new codex really doesn't help.
Most codex's have that dick move that people seem to take to tournaments, some have more than others and Eldar defiantly have the most now. Against the other codex out there, this one is rather over powered, its a fact right now. But the one good thing is that there is no bad unit inside the book, its got great internal balance. However against other books, not so much. If you want a fast and hard hitting army that will leave you with no friends this is perfect for you. So really its rather fitting for the eldar.
From a technical stand point this is a great book, with good background inspired rules and great internal balance. From a social stand point its a travesty that the internet will moan about for years to come. That's my thoughts.