Tuesday 2 February 2016

Imperial Armour Review Part 2: Eldar Corsairs

Part 2 of the Review and we move onto the Eldar Corsair army list. As a brief overview, the army is a very fast army (more so than dark or craftworld eldar) and has a mixture of options available from the other two kin books. If you ever though “my Dark eldar are too slow and too resilient” then Corsairs are the force for you.

Who are the Corsairs?

Pirates, raiders or nomads, the Corsairs can be described as all of these operating independently from the Craftworlds or their dark kin or alongside them. Most aggressive of all the Eldar, but why the Corsairs are so aggressive raiding is unknown by all but themselves, but they never linger in one place for too long, moving on so their enemies can't gather a large force to destroy them.

Quite often Corsair bands operate around the Exodite worlds, protecting them and in return having a place they can call safe. These alliances can last a long time and the exodites will occasional give the corsairs military aid.

When the Corsairs go to war they typically act as a fast-moving low orbital raid, deploying from space via their swift vampire raiders so they can strike where they need to for maximum damage and minimum resistance. Unlike the other Eldar races they do not have the bodies or heavy support for a long drawn out combat, relying on hit and run attacks, or in close confined spaces where lacking heavy support is not an issue and their elite skills aid them.

A Corsair Prince will lead their force to war for many reasons, trying to find a specific item of desire, the promise of plunder and riches. Sometimes they will hire themselves out to the other races for a high price, aiding a rebel planetary governor or a small Imperial settlement on the verge of getting overrun by orks. So they really can be used in what ever way you want.

Army Special Rules

The majority of units in the Eldar Corsair come with 2 racial special rules, Reckless Abandon and Dancing on the Blade's Edge. These rules personify the corsair really well in my opinion, pirates aren't the most loyal.

Reckless Abandon

Similar to battle focus but subtly different. After a unit has shot at an enemy unit within 12 inches of it they may move 6 inches, but I can't move any closer to the unit it shot at, if the unit is jet pack or jet bike they move D6 + 6 inches instead. This allows them to be very hit and run, and unlike battle focus you can move after firing heavy weapons. And the jetbikes become even more manoeuvrable which is just crazy.

Dancing on the Blade's edge

A unit with this rule comes with two leadership values. The first is higher, generally 8 or 9, the second is 3 lower. You use the higher value for leadership tests but the lower value for regrouping. This makes then harder to shift but once they have given up and run for it, its a lot harder to get them back in the fight. Just another way to make them fragile as well as show their mercenary traits, only doing it for the money.

The Detachments

A well a being able to take the Combined arms detachment and allied detachments the Corsairs have their own unique way of fielding them, the Corsair Fleet Raiding Company. I only mention they can be taken as a CAD and Ally detachment because Harlequins can only use their own force organisation, so I wanted to make it clear you have options with this.

The fleet raiding party is broken up into 5 parts, One (compulsory) Command crew, one Primary (compulsory) Cotorie, and up to 3 optional Cotorie.

The command section, which must contain a HQ and has the option of a second hq, one elite unit and the only lord of war slot.

Each Cotorie contains a compulsory HQ and troops choice, with two optional troops, elites, fast attack and a single heavy support.

The real reason to take a Raiding company is to gain the command benefits. Troops get objective secured (meh) but each Cotorie gets to take a special rule from a list of 6. No Cotorie can have the same as another and the abilities range from gaining preferred enemy (tank and walkers), re-rolls of 1 in a guy is in a challenge, free anti-tank grenades, re-roll on reserves and 1 less D6 scatter from deep strike, night vision and preferred enemy (everything) during night fight, or you really hate 1 enemy unit. So you can specialise each cotorie for a specific role in your army.

One downside of the fleet raiding company is that each Cotorie counts the others as allies of Convenience, so they don't play well with each other, so each has to be self contained and do what it needs to do with out real help. I think this is a great little rule and make them much more characterful.

The Army


The army has 3 HQ choices available to it, the Prince, Void Dreamer and Baron.
Once Yriel was a corsair prince

The prince is a 1 choice, so each detachment Must have a prince, how that works with the fleet raiding force, i'm not 100% sure if you can have one per Cotorie or if it 1 for the whole thing, its not very clear. But this guy has to be your warlord, and for it you get the state line of an Autarch, with the option to be mounted on a jetbike. You can upgrade him to become a psyker (divination, telekinesis), have a jetpack, as well as options from both Eldar and Dark eldar codex's such as a shadow field or fusion pistol. The real benefit of the Prince is they may take a special rule for free, and these are varied from gaining the Combat drug special rule or having a similar item like a webway portal. Other rules allow the prince to take special wargear from codex dark eldar, craftworld or Harlequins, or to gain feel no pain (5+) and it will not die, but if they do take a wound they must take a pinning test. Combine this with special rules from the unique detachment and you can have a very unique force.

Void Dreamers are the main psykers, with 2 wound and a witch staff they are rather similar to a spiritseer, but they are 0-1 choice. Their choices are the normal choices for corsairs but where they excel is their powers. They must take one power from Aethermancy, then they may take others from Divination or Telekinesis.

Aethermancy is not a direct discipline like pyromancy, or as obvious as biomancy. It is about shifting units, improving them and messing around with reserves. The primaris power allows a unit to change it dice roll to 6's when it runs, moves though difficult terrain, charges and most other things, a guaranteed 12 inch charge? Not too bad.

Its other powers allow you to move a unit 2D6 in what ever way you want (friendly or enemy), grant a 4+ cover save, return a friendly unit to ongoing reserve that is not in combat, place an enemy unit into ongoing reserve, or finally a large poison blast.

The other unique thing about the void dreamer is his perils chart, instead of using the regular chart this one is much more damaging to eldar, getting the attention of Slaanesh is never a good thing and can end up getting possessed by a daemon, they go to ground and cast the power on a different unit, or all eldar units within 6 must take a moral test on 3D6, so your force could just crumble as Slaanesh makes his/her will known.

The final HQ is the Baron which isn't anything special but is the cheapest one, he can be upgraded to be a pyker (divination, telekinesis) but must be joined to a Troop or elite choice and can't leave it for the duration of the game.


If you though other Eldar were fast, these troop choices are much faster. They have 3 units, Jetbikes (much the same as you would expect, but they have outflank), Reavers which are the basic infantry unit, or Ghostwalkers which are similar to rangers.

Cloud dancers

Cloud dancers (jetbikes) are normal jet bikes with outflank, which is good, but they can all upgrade their weapons, making them even more powerful then the craftworld counterparts. They can take dark lances, scatter lasers, splinter cannon or dissonance cannons. I like the dissonance cannon as for each roll of 6 to hit, they increase their strength by 1 for the whole unit, and drop the ap by 1. So if you have a unit of 6 all firing and roll 3 6's they become strength 8 ap 1 each, possibly devastating. Realistically though, a unit of 4 with dark lances will just appear and kill a tank, or take scatter lasers and shred the side armour of any tank or a unit and watch it die.


The basic unit, the work horse, this is your general infantry unit which will have to win you the game. As standard they come with a lasblaster so have a range of 24 inches which can be scary. They can swap this out for either a shuriken catapult or splinter rifle, and can take two special weapons for every 5 models, so can have a flamer, melta gun, shredder, or blaster. No heavy weapons are available but they can be upgraded to jet pack infantry and the squad leader can have a variety of different weapon options. So they can do what you need them to. As they can take jetpacks, they can deep strike, so you can have multiple units of 5 with 2 special weapons dropping down taking out key units.


Like rangers they have stealth, scout and infiltrate and can buy long rifles, but they don't come with them. They don't need them as the extra rules help them stay alive when hiding in cover. They can take special weapons (but only 1 per 5) and jet packs like the Reavers, so there really isn't any difference bar the rules. For 2 points extra a model, I think they are worth considering with out long rifles and just use them like a regular unit that can hold objectives in cover).



This isn't quite the same as the dark eldar venom as it has a much more varied weapon option, as it can take more than just splinter cannons (but I like splinter cannons on it I must say). As its a corsair it gains scout which make them even faster and gives more options. Unlike the dark eldar venom it can swap the splinter cannons for shuriken cannons (like the harlequins) or can upgrade one of them to a scatter laser. Its a shame they can't both be scatter lasers, but still it increases its range. Stick with the original though, they are best in my opinion.


Much like the eldar craftworld falcon except that it has scout as standard, which opens up a whole bunch of possibilities for the units inside them.


Voidstorm band

This unit is just the veterans of the army put into a single unit, I can't say it adds much apart from its less likely to run, apart from that, see the troops section.

Malevolent band

This unit is a bit odd, its like the troops choice but they have 2 wounds each, furious charge, rage, and feel no pain. They also have a rule which stops them from ever being scoring units, and makes other eldar units (from any of the 4 eldar factions) have -1 leadership while within 12 inches of them. Its odd but you get a durable eldar unit they could wreck face in combat. However only 2 in 5 may upgrade their close combat weapon to either a power weapon, venom blade or melta bomb.

I would likely go for either power axes (not very eldar I know, but strength 5 on the charge with 4 attacks isn't bad) or venom blades for the 2+ to wound.

Wasp squadron (see last week)

except they they can buy an upgrade to deepstrike which improves their save greatly, and on the turn they deep strike they get a 4+ invulnerable save with a re-roll.

Fast Attack

Most of the units in here are from Codex: Craftworlds or I have already mentioned them (here) so I won't bother going over them again

Vyper Squadron (see codex craftworlds)

Night wing (see last week)

Pheonix (see last week)

Hornet squadron (see last week)

Heavy support

Lynx (see last week)

Warp Hunter (see last week)

Night spinner (see codex craftworlds)

Fire Prism (see codex craftworlds)

Fire Storm

Now if you remember from last weeks post I mentioned that the craftworlds didn't get updated rules for the fire storm, but the corsairs do? I don't understand why but such is life. This anti-air tank I actually remarkable good at it now, as in the past they really did just suck. For 150 points you get a falcon tank with a very nice gun. Its skyfire intercept, so you can shoot flyers as soon as they appear, and with 6 strength 6 shots it has a chance of doing something. Not only that they have twin-linked so they should mostly hit and rending so they can have a chance to ignore the armour of flying monsters as well as penetrate the av 12 flyers. But the real star rule for this guy is when it fires at a zooming flyer or skimmer it gains ignore cover, monsters can still jink but you can't have everything for the points. They can also come in units of 3.

If you can't tell I really like this unit, but it seems a little redundant in an army that should probably be packed with flyers, but it is always a good backup I guess.

Corsair Balestrike band

This kind of unit is more akin to dark eldar than craftworld, as it a heavy weapon squad. They have a standard eldar profile and all have the option for a heavy weapons making a very expensive unit, but one with a lot of fire power, and if you upgrade them to jetpacks they can move and shoot as well (which you should be doing or your doing it wrong). If you take a unit you can modify it for what ever role you need, they can take dark lance for anti-tank duty, splinter cannon to take out monsters, or missile launchers if your undecided (but no option for flak missiles). You can tool it up to what you want.

Lord of war

Their is only a single lord of war available to the Corsairs and its the Vampire Raider (see last weeks post for details), and it really fits into the theme. Being raiders by nature and not having as much technology available to them to upkeep some of the larger weapons of war the other Eldar use. Being a low orbital ship it also acts as a way to transport units from the surface to the fleet in space. This unit can be changed a little to make it more useful in certain situations, taking either a pulsar or anti-infantry guns.

Still I only think you will take this as a thematic unit, but it could be cool coming in turn 2 with the rest of your army inside it.

Unique wargear

Being their own army they have access to some of their own wargear options unique to them, I wont go into them all but the more interesting ones I will.

Brace of Pistols: This is taken by a fair few of the combat quads, its allows the user to count as having both 2 shuriken pistols and 2 splinter pistols and you can pick a set to use when ever you shoot (swapping when ever you want) so they will get 2 shots when they shoot. The ability to switch between the two is rather useful, use shuirken when you need to kill infantry or heavily armoured foes, use splinter ve high toughness models.

Dissonance Breach charge: This is a melee weapon that can only be used on large buildings, immobilised tanks or vehicles that didn't move. It allows you to roll 3D6 for armour penetration + 2, and for each 6 you get it ups the strength and reduces ap, so I think its a great little bunker buster.

Kinetic shroud: This is a vehicle upgrade which allows a unit to gain a 5+ invulnerable save if it moves at least 6 inches in the movement phase, if it goes flat out (or deep strikes) it gets upgraded to a 4+ invulnerable save and can re-roll fails. Makes jinking pointless now, but keeps them alive, a much better version of the holo field.


The Corsair list is a very characterful list, but it is designed with very specific role in mind. It is a hit an run list and if that is what you are after this is great for it. Having an entire army either with jump packs or in outflanking transports it means you can get to where you need to be, but with toughness 3 across the table and no save better than a 4+ you are going to struggle to take a hit unless you have crippled it already.

If this army wants to survive it has to move fast to gain its saves, again promoting its hit and run tactics. At first I didn't like this list, but the more I read over it the more I like it, I don't know what it is, but its really grown on me. It sheer speed and the ability to just deep strike in (with the right special rules chosen) allowing you to have a very good alpha strike force. If I had crazy money I would spend it a small amount on a allied force of Corsairs, all deep striking in or out flanking, which can be a very cool addition to an Eldar army.


  1. Thanks for taking the time to do these -
    I'm really tempted to start a corsair army as they look like fun and the modelling opportunities are vast, but didn't fancy chucking £50+ at the book to find out what was in them. Very helpful review indeed!

    1. Go on start a Corsair army, you know you want to. I'm glad that you found the review useful.