Tuesday 11 June 2013

Codex Eldar: Pheonix lords re-light

I have always had a soft spot for the phoenix lords and with the new codex it has changed them from the 4th edition incarnations. Each lord is unique in their own way, with very different strengths and weaknesses. This little article of mine will go over each of the lords and their role on the battle field.

Each of the phoenix lords share the same stat line, all rather impressive and definatly a monster you can’t ignore. With WS, BS and I 7 these guys are definatly skilled in combat, 4 attacks is impressive and coupled with a 2+ armour save they are quite capable of looking after them selves if they get into melee. A few special rules are also shared between the lords, fearless, fleet, battle focus, ancient doom and eternal warrior. These rules again root the lords as close combat specialist who refuse to die but to the most powerful of assaults. What makes each phoenix shine is the wargear and few additional rules they gain, these make each one very unique and powerful in their specialist role on the battle field. With out any more stalling I will go over each lord. 

Asurmen; The hand of Asuryan

The first thing that struck me about  was his price, for 220 points he does look very overpriced for what he is. However on closer inspection I believe that he could be one of the most powerful additions to any eldar army. 

This ones wargear is almost none existent with just a shuriken catapult (twin-linked to be fair) and The sword of Asur. The sword however is impressive with +1 strength and ap 2. So far we are directed towards combat. His unique special rules consist of counter-attack, and Hand of Asuryan which forces him to be your warlord, and rolls D3 times on the eldar warlord chart. Now this rule is what I think makes this guy a potential monster, you have a chance of getting the trait that allows you re-roll failed saves of 1. Combine this with his 2+ save and he is an immovable object, fearless, eternal warriors and a save that only fails 1/36 times, he will laugh at anything not ap2. Granted that you might not roll this, you might just roll once on the warlord table, but its worth the risk. 

Exarch powers that he possesses are a 4+ invulnerable save, and a 3+ invulnerable save in a challenge if he forfeits his attacks bar one.

Strengths: He can easily anchor your battle line where ever he is placed, and with several warlord traits he can give useful abilities to those battle brothers fighting next to him. Counter-attack and fearless transfare to what ever unit he joins so that boost alone could help a large unit of guardians become a killing machine in combat. 

Weaknesses: If he comes across something ap 2 he is in trouble, a 4++ save will only go so far and after repeated attacks he will fall. granted if its an enemy character he should be able to kill it unless it’s a monstrous creature. Defending will make him last longer but it drastically reduces his ability to kill. So while he boosts your force he’s not much of a killer. He also has no real way of killing tanks with armour 12 and can only hope to glance anything less to death.   Also no grenades.

Jain Zar; The storm of silence

A little less than Asurmen at 200 points, so a tiny bit more affordable. The special rules Jain Zar has are acrobatic (+3 to run rolls), and her exarch powers, fear, and disarming strike. So he can affect a whole unit with fear and in a challenge she can make an opponents weapon lose any special abilities.  Her warlord trait (assuming she is your warlord) lets her run an extra inch, so her and her unit now runs D6+4 inches, a potential 10 inches of running, now that can put daemonettes to shame.

Wargaer and she comes with plenty of ap 2, both in melee and shooting. The silent death is an assault 4 ap 2 weapon, and in combat she has ap 2 and shred, a very useful ability for taking down those more robust enemies with higher toughness, or just for shaking off an unlucky roll. That’s not all, she also comes with her mask, which when she charges she reduces the enemies weapon skill and initiative by 5, that’s a very useful ability when fear doesn’t work. Alas she has to charge for it to take affect.

Strengths: With so much ap 2 she will be able to assasinate the most heavily armoured of foes and can even take on units on her own thanks to shred and +1 attack for having 2 melee weapons. While not a team player she is the perfect spear tip for an assault.

Weaknesses: She is meant to be a combat monster, able to kill anything and any one, yet she has no assault grenades. Granted she will probably strike at the same time as the enemy with the -5 initiative but that’s not good enough for me. She is no read addition to a squad bar upping its combat potential, but that’s not the worst thing in the world. Again she is only strength 4 so cant really harm tanks.

Karandras; The shadow hunter

Last edition this guy was a personal favourite of mine, not just because of good rules but I have always liked his fluff about not being the first striking scorpion exarch. The most expensive lord at 230 points but is he worth it? I will let you decide.

His warlord trait allows you to re-roll 1’s to would for one turn, either shooting or combat with in 12 inches, so already a potential team player. His additional special rules include infiltrate, move though cover, night vision and stealth. That’s a fair few additional rules for this guy, and they all transfer to what ever unit he joins which can make a single unit be in the right place at the right time. Exarch powers consist of monster hunter and an ability that lets him re-roll failed wound rolls in a challenge.

Where he really shines is in his wargear, plasma grenades, scorpions claw and the scorpions bite. Now these are very useful, the grenades so he can take on unit in cover, the claw so he is strength 8 ap 2 and still striking at initiative 7 with 5 attacks. The scorpions bite allows Karandras to make a single strength 6 attack at initiative 10 step. Not a bad little addition.

Strengths: 5 strength 8 attacks at ap 2 is nothing but amazing, he can cut down hordes of enemies and the highly armoured elite all the same. Tanks do not worry him and for a turn he can even re-roll the 1’s that he fails to kill with. Taking a squad with him to either outflank or infiltrate where he is most needed can help the battle too, and stealth will keep them alive a little longer.

Weaknesses: He wont be in your battle line when shit hit’s the fan, he can will be off murdering your opponent and in some missions that can be a liability. While he can cut down monstrous creatures and tanks alike he doesn’t have an invulnerable save so plasma fire and power fists can still reduce him to nothing.

Fugan; The burning lance

A shooting phoenix lord weighing in at 220 points, he can set the enemy alight. 

His warlord trait gives him split fire, a useful ability but nothing that really helps the team. The additional special rules that define him are feel no pain, and an ability to gain +1 strength and attack when ever he takes a wound. So this is the one guy you really don’t want to make angry other wise he becomes so much harder to handle. His exarch powers are fast shot (shoots an extra shot) and +1 strength.

Now the powerful thing about Fugan is he has a fire pike, melta bombs and the fire axe. Now the fire axe is ap 1, armour bane. The fire pike is an 18 inch melta weapon and with 2 shots, its going to wreck a tank. 

Strengths: He has the ability to shoot twice and wreck a tank or monstrous creature in the shooting phase. But he is no slauch in combat either, while he doesn’t have an actual invulnerable save his feel no pain ability will give him a pseudo one versus most wounds bar the few instant killing ones will keep him going. If you get luck and have a warlock or spirit seer with renew, you can heal fugan and he will still keep his plus to strength and attacks, making him so much more scary as the games carries on you keep healing him. It’s not likely to happen but if it does…

Weaknesses: 2 shots is still a limited number and even though he can target a different unit he can only kill 1 or 2 models a turn. In combat he is ap 1 which is rare, but his limited number of attacks at starting strength 5 is still hard to use to kill off a horde or kill a monstrous creature. He’s good but very limited, a precision instrument that can burn the key unit of the enemy but nothing more.

Baharroth: The cry of the wind

Now I never used to like baharroth in the 4th edition codex but the change that has been made to him has increased my interest in him. He’s join cheapest with Maugna Ra at 195 points.

His special rules include not scattering when he deep strikes, night vision and the classic hawk ability, sky leap. Also when he deep strikes unit in 6 inches have to test for blind. Exarch powers for this guy surprised me as he has a 4++ save, now him and Asurmen are the only lords to get an invulnerable save which is surprising, he also has hit and run to get out of those combats that he just doesn’t want to get stuck in. his warlord train allows him to run an extra inch like Jain Zar.

Wargear comes in the form of swooping hawk wings, making him jump infantry, hawk talon. haywire grenades, and a swooping hawk grenade pack. He has a wide range of wargear which lets him take on all kinds of enemy units. His sword, the shining blade, is an ap 3 weapon which causes blind so he could be useful in a challenge.

Strengths: As jump infantry he can move to where he needs to be. As he doesn’t scatter when deep striking it makes that a much more viable option, especially with the grenade pack. Now he can either go alone to take advantage of his own pack or join a unit of hawks to improve theirs. He has a 4++ so can take a hit and walk away and thanks to hit and run, he will walk away. With haywire grenades he can take on tanks but will probably just glance them, and not destroy them 1 hit.

Weaknesses: As he’s ap 3 he can’t take on the most heavily armoured foes and again only being strength 4 he will struggle to take out many infantry a turn.  

Maugan Ra: The harvester of souls

The real shooting unit of the phoenix lords Maugan Ra, is he guy to go to if you are after a shooter. Hes joint cheapest at 195 points.

Special rules include hatred (chaos daemons) and relentless so that he can move shoot and still over watch if he needs to. Exarch powers are fast shot (for an extra shot), marksmans eye (presision on 5+) and night vision if you need to shoot something in the dark. 

His wargear is simple, The Maugetar, a weapon used for shooting and melee. It can shoot 4 strength 6 rending shots, or an ap 3 melee weapon also strength 6. He is lacking the reaper rangefinder which surprises me as its basic gear for a dark reaper, so he can’t ignore jink saves making tanks harder to kill.  

Strengths: With 5 shots and rending he has the ability to cut down light tanks and infantry alike, and still act as a powerful counter attack unit in your back field. He’s a little more value for points as the cheapest. 

Weaknesses:   He is very 1 dimensional though as he can’t really kill dedicated assault units ( e.g. assault terminators) nor can he reliable kill them with shooting as he’s only ap 5 with out rending. While the cheapest he’s by no means cheap.

While each lord is very distinctive I feel that the new rules have boosted some while making others, mainly Maugan Ra, less attractive to add to your army. I still love the phoenix lords and I’m very tempted to try them out in future larger games, but in a standard game of 1500 points I don’t think there is much of a place for them. 2000+ points a think they will be a great addition. 

What do you guys think of the Pheonix lord rules?


  1. I'm pretty intrigued by them. Good summation. One thing you left out for Asurmen makes him a little more dangerous in combat, which is his sword's Soulrazor rule; for each unsaved wound your opponent suffers, they must take a Ld check. If they fail, they are removed from play. While most multi-wound beasties he'll be facing have high Ld, the chance of being instakilled regardless of T or Eternal Warrior is a nice deterrent if nothing else.

    1. I suppose i should have added that in as well, but i can't help but feel it will never work. Dire swords have never instant killed anything for me in the 3 editions i have been playing, but you never know, that might now change.

  2. Fuegan's Split Fire rule is a actually quite handy. Attach him to a unit of Fire Dragons, disembark from a Wave Serpent near two vehicles, or a vehicle and an MC/Termies/etc. Fire Dragons roast the larger unit, Fuegan hits the tank - at BS7 and Fast Shot Melta weapon, it's a pretty reliable thing.

    I was disappointed by the PL's at first, but I'm warming up to them. I think they are all a bit more useable. Especially Baharroth, who I think got the biggest boost. I'm very interested in running a unit of Hawks with him attached.

    1. What i also should have added is that in the unlikely event that the pheonix lord isn't your warlord (say you take asurmen as well) then they don't have split fire and that's points wasted.

  3. I've always loved these characters, but feel they haven't been given their due since 2nd edition. Its like they weren't bad, but were kept in 3rd and 4th ed books for nostalgia's sake rather than making them useful.

    Anyways! Haha

    I've always wanted to run Baharroth, but never got the figure. Without sounding stupid, what kind of uses would he and a squad of Hawks have? How big a unit?
    -no scatter deep striking with Haywire Grenades? (Not sure if you can throw grenades after deep striking, I've never done it)
    -guns do well at thinning 5+ and worse armored units with lots of shots?
    -mobility can net you things like Linebreaker and objective contesting?

    What other things can he/they do? Any other thoughts?


    1. Baharroth you say, honestly i have no real insight into how to use him. All of the following is speculation as i haven't used him in a game yet.

      If you run him i would say that putting him in a hawk unit might be good as his hit and run ability will get them out of any tight spots that he will get into, as hawks are irritating and die in assault, he helps. He can take on big characters thanks to his 4++ save and he might even blind 1 if you get lucky. If you are going all out on this lord i would probably stick him in a unit of between 7-10 hawks with him at the front to take the fire power with his 2+ save and when he gets wounded look out sir to a few of the hawks.

      I feel it would be a waste using skyleap with him as he is so expensive you might as well have just bought more hawks, he doesn't do anything with hte grenade pack bar giving it BS 7 which means you are hardly ever going to scatter, but is 200 points really worth that?

      I was thinking you could just run him alone but he would be a minor annoyance at best, and his blast would only be small when he deep struck in. He is ap 3 so can't hunt terminators, cant hunt tanks thanks to S4. So put him in a hawk unit.

      Sorry Trogdor that i can't be of any real help.