Our Best Units and How to Use Them

Updated April/05/21

“A List” Units

Like all factions in 40k, eldar have a handful of units that are much more competitive than the rest. For our purposes, we will call these “A List” units. These units all do one or more specific and essential jobs extremely well and are valuable against any opposing tournament list. (For more on exactly what jobs a good army needs to be able to do, click here. I strongly recommend reading this first.)

Even if you are not trying to create a top tournament list, you probably want to include several of these units in your army. Much casual play is still “competitive casual,” that is, it involves armies that are have a core of A-listers and are being piloted by experienced players who don’t need a tournament army to utterly stomp a poorly constructed list.

Keep in mind that The Meta is constantly changing in 40k. What units are most valuable at any given time depends in part on what other people are running. Also, your local meta probably has its own slant. For example, if lots of people you play with regularly play marines, weapons that do a flat two damage- like reaper launchers- will be much more valuable than in a meta where orks are popular.

The list below is made up of units that often form the anchor of competitive eldar armies. Not all of these at any given time are going to be showing up on whatever eldar list did the best at the most recent ITC Grand Tournament, but if you make an army composed with a core of these units and pilot it well, you should be a contender in tournaments at your local store if 10-12 players show up, some of whom are playing hard.

Also, don’t think that I am suggesting that units that don’t appear on the list are crap or not competitive; quite the opposite. Played well, and against certain types of lists, lots of eldar units are competitive; however, as this site is intended mostly for new players, I have tried to narrow it down as much as possible to avoid barraging people with so many options that choices become difficult. I have also omitted Forgeworld units because most new players focus on options from the codex, but you can find the best aeldari Forgeworld options here.

(You can find information about how to use units that don’t appear on this list in the article about how to design an army list for 9th edition linked above.)

The Craftworlds “A List”

HQs:
Farseers & Farseer Skyrunners
Warlock Skyrunners
Spiritseers

TROOPS:
Dire Avengers

ELITES:
Wraithblades with Ghost Axes

FAST ATTACK:
Shining Spears
Vypers

HEAVY SUPPORT:
Dark Reapers
Night Spinners
Fire Prisms
Falcons
War Walkers
Wraithlords

TRANSPORT:
Wave Serpents

HONORABLE MENTION:
Swooping Hawks
Warp Spiders (bear with me on this one)

FARSEERS & FARSEER SKYRUNNERS

The Farseer might be the only auto-include unit in every single competitive Eldar army. Only Farseers provide access to the Runes of Fate, which are among our faction’s biggest advantages. In 2000 point play, Farseer Skyrunners are usually best because of their improved durability and mobility. In 1000-1500 point play or in lists where you really need 20 points elsewhere, you might run a foot Farseer, but if you do, give her the artifact: FAOLCHU’S WING, which increases her move characteristic to 12, making it much easier to get into range to cast DOOM and other powers.

(Unless of course you want to run a backline Farseer. What follows is a guide for how to design a frontline Farseer, which is often easiest for new players. If you are interested in how to build a backline foot-Farseer for competitive play click here.)

DO’S and DON’TS
DO: Make your Farseer Skyrunner your warlord and give her “Seer of the Shifting Vector,” which provides her with a free reroll in every phase. She can now reroll TWO of her psychic power attempts per turn and her invuln save is much more likely to succeed.

DO: Give your Farseer DOOM if you have any doubts about what powers to select. DOOM is the most powerful damage multiplier available to our army.

DO: take either GUIDE or EXECUTIONER as her second psychic power. GUIDE is the right choice if you have a maximally sized squads of Dark Reapers, Shining Spears, Windriders, or War Walkers. Otherwise you probably want EXECUTIONER, which is highly effective at slaughtering infantry and easy and satisfying for new players.

DO: Use the “Unparalleled Mastery” stratagem to cast SMITE in addition to your other two psychic powers if there is a target in range. (If she also casts EXECUTIONER, your Farseer can inflict 3D3 mortal wounds in a single phase. Against multi-wound heavy infantry, cast SMITE first, so to maximize your chances of triggering the second D3 for EXECUTIONER.)

DO: Run a Warlock Skyrunner alongside your Farseer Skyrunner so you can use the “Seer Council” stratagem, significantly improving the odds that you will succeed with more of your powers. (Seriously, this is way better than you think. Your army relies on the synergies created by your psychic powers.)

DO: Position your Farseer within 6” of a heavy support unit the turn before your opponent brings in deepstrikers, (so you can use the “Forewarned” stratagem to blast them off the table.) This also creates synergy with the “Runes of Witnessing” stratagem, which allows nearby units to reroll 1s to wound.

DO: Use your Farseer to zip off and grab undefended objectives late in the game.

DO: think ahead about which units you will use to protect your Farseer and Warlock with the “Look Out Sir” rule. Because your skyrunners are fast, you can have them zip between positions protected by tanks, transports, or Wraithlords.

DON’T ever think that your Farseer’s 2+ WS and 2+ to wound makes her a good candidate for hand-to-hand combat except in the most dire circumstances.

DON’T spend the extra points on the Singing Spear instead of the Witchblade; it just isn’t worth it. If you are worried about the fact that your Farseer is modeled with a spear, stop worrying. (“Witchblade” could totally refer to that enormous glaive of a spearhead.)

WARLOCK SKYRUNNERS:

Warlock Skyrunners are not only a cheap way to gain access to some essential Runes of Battle powers, but they also enable you to use the “Seer Council” stratagem, which gives +1 to the casts of both your Warlock and your Farseer.

DO’s and DON’Ts
DO: Give your warlock PROTECT/JINX in order to either give key units a defensive buff, (for example, a Shining Spear Exarch with “Skilled Rider” can now have a 2++ invulnerable save,) or to make high priority targets easy to damage. An enemy armored unit with both DOOM and JINX on it becomes vulnerable even to small arms fire. JINX is also the best eldar tool against units with strong invulnerable saves.

DO: consider giving a warlock QUICKEN to make your Shining Spears and Wraith units significantly more dangerous, (but remember that QUICKEN cannot be used on deepstrikers.)

DO: Keep your Warlock close to your Farseer so that you can use the “Seer Council” stratagem.

DO: Consider swapping your Warlock’s SMITE power for one of the new alternative powers in our psychic awakening book, as Warlocks only deal 1 damage with a regular SMITE. GHOSTWALK is incredibly useful if you have melee-oriented units in your army, while FATEFUL DIVERGENCE is easy to cast and can provide a reroll to a powerful shooting unit.

DO: Use your warlock to grab objectives late in the game

DO: Consider giving your Warlock Skyrunner the artifact PHOENIX GEM and performing a suicide run with him late in the game against essential enemy units.

Spiritseers:
Spiritseers have one big advantage over Warlock Skyrunners: they can cast a full SMITE, and they remain relatively cheap by Aeldari standards. If your plans for psychic shenanigans do not require significant mobility, Spiritseers might be your best option. You can also mount a couple of them in a Wave Serpent with your assault units for some extra psychic damage on turn 2.

DO: position a Spiritseer with PROTECT/JYNX in a unit of Wraithblades with shields and axes intended for midfield objective control. In addition to being able to raise the invulnerable save of the Wraithblades to 3++. The Spiritseer also allows wraiths to reroll 1s to hit as long as you keep this HQ unit close to the enemy unit engaged with the Wraithblades.

DON’T forget that Spiritseers are not eligible for the “Seer Council” stratagem, and so replacing your last/only Warlock with a Spiritseer will reduce the overall probability of your psychic casts succeeding.

DIRE AVENGERS

Let’s be clear: compared to other troop options in 40k, Dire Avengers aren’t great. Imperial Scions, for example, are objectively better versions of Dire Avengers, but cost 9 points instead of 11. Dire Avengers appear on this list because you need troops to make a battalion, because it is helpful to have units with “objective secured,” and because they are the best of four highly mediocre troop options. That said, your Dire Avengers have an important role to play in almost any eldar army: they are primary objective holders and secondary objective operatives.

DO: consider mounting 5-man squads of Dire Avengers in Falcons or Wave Serpents and parking them on midfield objectives. This video will show you how you can use this tactic to entirely screen most enemies out of a key objective on turn 1. Skip to 19:40 if you don’t want to watch the whole thing.

DO: Use Avengers to control backfield objectives especially if they are out of Line-of-Sight of enemy units.

DO: Use small squads of Avengers to help score the secondary objective “Scramblers.” The unit of Avengers likely to hold your backfield objective can perform this action on turn 1.

DO: Consider giving the exarch “Battle Fortune” and assign incoming for with an AP of -1 or better to the exarch to keep the squad alive longer with his 4++ invuln.

DO: Use the psychic power PROTECT to increase the invuln saves of a Dire Avenger squad that is in danger of being shot off of a key objective.

DON’T rely on your Dire Avengers doing any damage. Although they have the potential to get lucky and kill some enemy infantry or put an extra wound or two on a hard target, you should always assume that they will fail to kill anything important and make plans accordingly. This way, when you Dire Avengers do bring-the-pain and eliminate an enemy, you will free up a more powerful shooting unit to target something else instead.

DON’T think that by adding Asurmen to your army that you will turn 20 Dire Avengers into durable bad asses. (Believe me, I have tried.) At best, you can run Asurmen with a single ten-man squad and cast PROTECT on it to give them a 3++. (You probably also want the exarch trait “stand firm” in this case.) This works pretty well for holding a single midfield objective and it’s a decent strategy in semi-competitive play. That said, Asurmen is probably too expensive for his value-add in highly competitive games and because the Avengers need to spread out to control multiple points, his invulnerable buff rarely benefits more than a single squad if those squads are positioned with objective control in mind.

WRAITHBLADES WITH AXES AND SCATTERSHIELDS

Wraithblades got a big boost in 9th edition because of the smaller board-size and the emphasis on being able to hold objectives throughout an opponent’s turn. Wraithblades with axes and shields are not only fierce melee fighters, they are the most durable infantry available to Craftworlds as they have 3 wounds per model, T6, a 3+ save, and a 4++ invuln.

DO: Do use Wraithblades mounted in Wave Serpents or advanced turn 1 with QUICKEN to seize midfield objectives.

DO: Use PROTECT to further increase the survivability of these frontline objective holders.

DO: Remember that the “Tears of Isha” Stratagem can be used to add survivability to a particularly hard-pressed wraith unit.

DO: Position units of Wratihblades in semi-circles two and a half inches forward of objectives. This may enable you to screen out enemy melee units attempting the challenge your control with greater numbers.

DO: Consider advancing your Wraithblades past objectives or between key terrain pieces to block enemy movement while you seize the objective you have just screened out with something else.

Do: Use Wraithblades with “Protect” to tie up powerful enemy melee monsters like The Keeper of Secrets if your heavy fire is needed elsewhere.

DO: Consider selecting the Custom Craftworld traits “Hunters of Ancient Relics” and “Expert Crafters” if you are running wraithblades and other melee units like Shining Spears. “Hunters” gives them an additional attack while on objectives, while “Crafters” lets them reroll both a hit roll and a wound roll. These two together  increase the damage output of your ghost warriors by more than 50%.

DON’T forget that Wratihblades can be undermined with 10 man troop units that have “objective secured.” Because ghost axes have a -1 to hit and Wraithblades only have two attacks on turns they did not charge, they struggle to eliminate enemy light infantry that swamp them in order to contest objectives. Either deploy your Wraithblades in a part of the board where they are unlikely to be challenged in this way, or have another way to eliminate those light infantry. )(EXECUTIONER, for example, is useful for slaughtering enemy infantry engaged in hand-to-hand combat.)

SHINING SPEARS:

With the right buffs, Shining Spears are one of our best tools against almost every type of enemy unit. Played correctly, Spears have tremendous damage output and can be made highly resilient against shooting attacks; however, they are very difficult for new players as they need to be deployed and moved with careful attention to the positioning of enemy units.

DO: Consider including small units of Spears in a detachment with “Hunters of Ancient Relics” and “Expert Crafters,” specifically for the purpose of punching enemy units off of objectives. A three-man unit of Spears with these buffs hits as hard as a five-man unit if the enemy is on an objective. The exarch power “Lancer” can also help with this, especially if you give your squad leader the upgraded lance.

DO: Consider swapping the standard exarch ability for “Skilled Rider,” which will raise the exarch’s invulnerable save against shooting attacks to 3++. A small unit of spears caught in the open can assign all incoming fire to the exarch. If you also buff the squad with PROTECT, they will have a 2++ invuln. against shooting attacks until the exarch dies.

DO: consider using QUICKEN to get a larger unit of Spears into position for a charge early on.

DO: Use the “Fire and Fade” stratagem to get another move with your spears if you need one, (although keep in mind that they cannot charge the same turn that they use “Fire and Fade.”)

DO: Use the “Supreme Disdain” stratagem on larger units of Spears in hand-to-hand combat with a unit they are not otherwise guaranteed to destroy.

DO: Consider including a psyker with EMPOWER if you are relying on your Spears to be a primary weapon against enemy units that are T7 and greater. EMPOWER will make it possible for the Spears to wound high toughness units on 4+.

DO: Cast DOOM on targets that are T7 or greater if you plan to engage them with the Spears, especially if you do not have EMPOWER on cast on the Spears already.

DO: Deploy the Spears out of Line-of-Sight or out of range of your opponent’s weapons. If it turns out you get first turn, move them foreword with the stratagem “Phantasm” before the game begins.

DO: Remember you can set your Shining Spears up in deepstrike for a melee ambush by using the stratagem “Webway Strike.” (Many competitive players argue that this is the best way to use Shining Spears.) If you do so, you need to take the custom craftworld power “Headstrong” and use the Runes of Fortune power GHOSTWALK to give them a combined charge bonus of +3, as well as be prepared to spend a CP on a re-roll. (Rules for “Headstrong” and GHOSTWALK can be found in the Phoenix Rising Supplement or here.)

DO: Remember to resolve attacks with your Spears first in the fight phase if you charged with multiple units; this will prevent your opponent from using a stratagem to interrupt and attack your Spears before they have resolved their own attack. Likewise, remember that if your Spears do not completely destroy and enemy on the charge, they can spend 2 CP for the “Counter-Offensive” stratagem to fight first in your opponent’s fight phase, (although their strength is reduced by 2 on your opponent’s turn as the Spears no longer get their charge bonus.)

DON’T Leave your Spears vulnerable to being charged by powerful enemy melee units. A smash captain or carnifex brood can wreck the squad in a single round if the Spears don’t attack first.

VYPERS:

After being all but useless in several previous editions, Vypers are back in a big way. Not only are they one of the cheapest options for getting heavy weapons into the field, but their extreme mobility makes them useful both for eliminating enemy units sitting on hard-to-reach objectives and scoring secondary objectives like “Engage on all Fronts.” Also, because Vypers are Fast Attack units, they don’t cost you a valuable heavy support slot.

DO: think in advance about what role you need Vypers to fill in your list and kit them out appropriately. If you are running a squad of three to maneuver into the enemy backfield and blast hard-to-reach objectives holders, consider Star Cannons. If you already have plenty of D3 damage or flat 2 or 3 damage weapons, consider Brightlances. Aeldari Missile Launchers only make sense of you are planning to keep the bikes far away from enemy units, as the BLAST keyword prevents them from being fired in melee.

DO: Remember that if you are using the “Expert Crafters” custom craftworld trait, your battalion can include 3 vypers with Brightlances or Star Cannons each as a separate unit to maximize your rerolls.

DO: Maneuver your vypers to make use of terrain with the “obscuring” feature in order to minimize enemy lanes of fire against them.

DO: Use cheaply kitted out Vypers to grab midfield objectives and lure your opponents into charging so that you can then counter charge with Shining Spears or Wraithblades.

DON’T forget how fragile Vypers are against heavy weapons. Unlike War Walkers, Vypers don’t enjoy the benefit of an invuln. save; and since Lascannons, Meltas, Darklances, etc. got a big big damage boost, small vehicles liker Vypers have become more fragile. Position these bikes carefully.

DARK REAPERS:

Dark Reapers are gold against the multi-wound heavy infantry that are dominating the meta at the moment. Reapers have 2 weapon profiles: Starshot missiles, which are H1, S8, AP-2, inflicting 3 damage, and Starswarm missiles, which are H2, S5, AP-2, inflicting 2 damage. Against Terminators, Kataphrons, Custodes, or anything else with three wounds, those Starshot missiles with terrify your opponent. In a primaris heavy meta, starswarm missiles are especially good because they kill a 2 wound heavy infantry model with every failed armor save.

Your biggest decision when including Reapers is whether to run small squads in which the exarch has a standard Reaper Launcher and the exarch power, “Fast Shot,” or whether you want to run a large squad, perhaps give the exarch a Tempest Launcher, and probably buff the whole thing with GUIDE.

DO’s and DON’Ts:

DO: Use the Tempest Launcher, (if you took one,) to wipe out light infantry holding objectives out of line-of-sight of anything in your army. Remember that you can split your fire and have the rest of the Reapers target heavy infantry.

DO: deploy the Reapers either in a Wave Serpent or completely out of Line-Of-Sight to protect them during the first turn. Because “inescapable accuracy” means the reapers ALWAYS hit on a 3+ no matter what, they don’t suffer the usual penalty for firing a heavy weapon after moving out of the Serpent or from behind cover on turn 1.

DO: Make use of the Reaper’s extreme long range to keep them safe from most enemy units.

DO: move your reapers out of Line-of-Sight with the “Fire and Fade” stratagem after they fire. In 9th edition, this can even be used to move them back into a transport that they jumped out of the same turn.

DO: Remember to use the “Lightning Fast Reactions” stratagem to increase the longevity of your Reapers if they get caught out in the open or if your opponent has a unit that can target enemies without having Line-of-Sight. (Ideally, however, you don’t want to have to do this. 2 CP is very expensive, and if you make good use of Reapers’ long range and the “Fire and Fade” strategem, “Lightning Fast Reactions should rarely be necessary.)

DO: Move a Farseer within 6” of your Reapers to use the “Forewarned” stratagem if your opponent has units in deepstrike.

DO: Use DOOM against high-toughness targets if you plan to target them with Starswarm missiles.

NIGHT SPINNERS:

Night Spinners are anti-infantry tanks that are also valuable against heavier targets when buffed appropriately. The Night Spinner’s primary weapon, the Doomweaver, has a 48” range and fires 2D6 S7 shots, each of which does 2 damage and can target enemies out of Line-of-Sight. The main drawback to the Night Spinner is that it has no AP except on shots that roll 6s to wound, (those shots have -4.) Despite the unreliable AP, the Doomweaver’s high volume of fire and multi-wound damage profile make these tanks exceptional against multi-wound infantry. This is because a good eldar player can create synergies that will offset the low AP of the Doomweaver and because the Doomweaver can blast enemy infantry off of objectives that are completely out of Line-of-Sight.

I personally find Night Spinners work best when run in pairs and supported with very particular combos and characters. For more about this, click here.

DO’S and DON’TS
DO: keep a reroll ready when generating shots for the Doomweaver if you are running only a single Nightspinner. It is probably worth rerolling anything less than a 5.

DO: consider taking the custom craftworld trait “Masterful Shots” if you plan to run Night Spinners in competitive play . “Masterful Shots” will undo your opponent’s Light Cover bonus, which is important given that the Doomeweaver has no AP.

DO: use JINX on targets that REALLY need to die if they have good armor saves and your Spinners are the best option for taking them down.

DO: remember that adding DOOM to the mix with “Masterful Shots” and JINX will make your Doomweavers dangerous even to high-toughness models like Imperial Knights and greater daemons, and the high fire output is golden against units with good invulnerable saves.

FIRE PRISMS:


In groups of 2 or 3, Fire Prisms are a potent answer to enemy tanks, monsters, and super heavy units like Imperial Knights. Prisms are also flexible enough to be highly effective against heavy infantry. The “Linked Fire” stratagem gives your Fire Prisms all the advantages of both GUIDE and DOOM, while freeing your Farseer use those powers to benefit other units.

DO: Spread your Prisms out on your back line in deployment. The “Linked Fire” stratagem makes it possible for all your Prisms to target any unit that is only visible to and in range of a single Prism.

DO: Remember that as long as your Prisms move less than half their movement, they can fire twice. You need to take advantage of this pretty much every turn in order for these tanks to be worth their considerable expense.

DO: Run Fire Prisms in lists that require your psychic powers to be used elsewhere, as Prisms are a rare unit that require no psychic support and only a single CP per turn to be highly effective.

DON’T: ever run a single prism. Why would you do that?

FALCONS

Falcons were one of the biggest winners for eldar in the 9th edition points update. Although there is still some debate over how many belong in a competitive list, (the eldar experts over at Goonhammer plan to run several, while the Splintermind dudes think that up to 1 is probably right for competitive play,) it’s clear that Falcons are getting a lot of love from top players. This is because they are an inexpensive way to bring some armor with powerful heavy weapons to the table  while picking up some transport capacity to boot.

DO: Use Falcons with 5 Dire Avengers sitting in them to hold mid and backfield objectives.

DO: Use a Falcon as first turn protection for a small squad of Dark Reapers if you are running one.

DON’T: give your falcon an Aeldari Missile Launcher if you plan to hold midfield objectives with it. Choose a non-blast weapon that can be fired in melee combat if something tries to engage your tank.

WAVESERPENTS:

Wave Serpents are transports that can also be outfitted with heavy weapons. These enormously durable and mobile tanks can deliverWraith units to their targets, give fragile Aspect Warriors longevity, and increase the threat-range of melee infantry on turn 1. (A Waveserpent positioned at the forward most point of your deployment zone essentially increases the deployment range of embarked units by 3″.)

In competitive play, Serpents are one of our most effective tools for playing the primary objective game, especially when filled with infantry. (If you have not already watched the video on how to use transports to screen opponents out of objectives, you can do so here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXzeFg5q7uQ (the whole video is good, but skip to 19:40 if you just want to see the objective control trick.)

A 2021 FAQ has given Serpent additional utility in competitive play by making it possible for Fire Dragons and Dark Reapers to “Fire and Fade” into a transport after shooting. For more about the options created by the change, read my blog post “Shall We Dance Mon-Keigh?”

DO’s and DON’Ts
DO: Outfit your Wave Serpents with Shuriken Cannons or Star Cannons with a Crystal Targeting Matrix. Your Wave Serpent will probably make advance moves, which means you need a weapon loadout that you can still fire after such a move, (hence Shuriken Cannons or the addition of the Crystal Targeting Matrix to allow heavy weapons to do the same.)

DO: Use consider using your Serpent to protect fragile units like Dark Reapers on turn 1.

DO: Use a Serpent that has already unloaded its units to score primary objectives, block the movement of opponent’s melee units, and score secondary objectives like “Engage on All Fronts” and “Linebreaker.”

DO: Use your Serpent to charge into hand-to-hand combat with enemy support units late game. This obviously won’t do any damage, but it will prevent your opponent from firing at something important with these units. This tactic can win games for you, especially if used late game when the opponent is out of CP.

DO: Remember to use the stratagem “Overload Energy Field Projectors” when it is a safe bet that your serpent will be destroyed the next turn anyway.

DO: Consider giving your Serpent ‘Vectored Engines,” and possibly even ‘Spiritstones’ to increase its longevity. Each of these adds 10 points to the cost, which is not insignificant given that the cheapest Serpent build is already 150 points, but if you are relying on this tank to soak up significant enemy fire the additional 20 points might be worth it.

DON’T: be tempted to put high cost heavy weapons on the serpent and use it as a stationary artillery piece. It’s just a bad deal for the points. The ONLY possible exception to this is a backline Wave Serpent being used by a large unit of Reapers that “Fire and Fade” back into the transport every turn.

WAR WALKERS:

These cloven-footed mech suits piloted by ambitious guardians are among the biggest winners for 9th edition Eldar. They are the cheapest option for bringing significant heavy fire to the field and their ability to hide behind terrain or deepstrike without spending CP helps to offset their only moderate durability. They can be outfitted to address any enemy threat.

DO: consider before them game exactly what role you want these mechs to fill. A squad of three Walkers with six Star Cannons is a well-rounded option that will be effective against any opponent. Bright Lances can also be brutal and make good use of the “Expert Crafters” custom craftworld trait when Walkers are run as singletons or in squads of two. (For more on heavy weapons loadouts, click here.)

DO: Use GUIDE on groups of 3 Walkers to significantly increase their damage output.

DO: Use the “Forewarned” stratagem to turn a Farseer and 3 War Walkers into a powerful anti-deepstriker fire team.

DO: If you are using “Expert Crafters,” do consider running 3 War Walkers in squads of 1, especially in low point-cost games. If you are also running 3 Vypers, you can generate significant heavy weapons fire and rerolls with minimal point cost and no investment of CP.

WRAITHLORDS:

Although this monstrous ghost soldier is a little expensive once fully kitted out, a Wraithlord is a valuable tool for reinforcing your midfield objectives. Some of the top players feel that the Wraithlord has become a little too expensive for competitive play, but the build I am going to suggest is only 10 points more expensive than a Falcon for a similar level of durability and combat utility, (and everyone agrees that the Falcon is a good deal.) The wraithlord trades speed and transport capacity for being a credible melee threat that can rebuff enemy assault units.

DO: Equip a wraithlord with two Star Cannons and wrist mounted shrunken catapults. In 9th edition, a Wraithlord can use those weapons at range and fire them in close combat if he needs to, making him a threat to every kind of unit an opponent can throw at you. If you are using the custom craftworld trait “Expert Crafters,” (and you should if you are running Wraithlords,) you might also consider swapping 1 Star Cannon for a Brightlance. The Ghostglaive is a nice addition if you have the points, and it looks great on the model, but those wraithbone fists hit hard enough on their own if you need the 10pts elsewhere. (For more on how to use Wraith units, click here.)

DO: Deploy your Wraithlord to provide heavy fire support turn 1 while moving to control midfield objectives on turn 2.

DO: Use your Wraithlord to counter-charge melee threats that engage your objective holders.

DO: Use the “Tears of Isha” Stratagem if your wraithlord’s profile begins to degrade.

DON’T: Add a single Wraithloard to a list with very few high toughness targets. If you do this, he will simply get blown away turn 1. Wraithlords flourish in lists with high toughness target saturation. If you are running 1-3 Wraithlords alongside 1-3 Falcons, 1-2 units of Wraithblades, perhaps a unit of Vypers, etc. they will do good work for you.

HONORABLE MENTION: Hawks and Spiders


Because they are enormously mobile infantry units with a CP-free deep strike, both Swooping Hawks and Spiders are fantastic options for scoring those secondary objectives that are a critical part of winning a 9th edition game. They are particularly good for secondaries like “Engage on all Fronts” and “Scramblers” among others. (Scramblers is an option in the 2020 chapter approved tournament guide, but perhaps not the core book.)

I have a long-standing aesthetic preference for Hawks, although Spiders are objectively better. If you do take Hawks, give them the exarch power “Evade” to give them a little extra durability while they wrack up points. Spiders are more expensive, but a little tougher with the -1 to hit provided by their Flicker Jump ability and superior armor. More importantly, Spiders have an alternate exarch power called “Web of Deceit” that allows them to essentially deepstrike a second time.

Just in case their are any interweb warriors out there itching to send me hate-mail for having the audacity to include Spiders in this list, you should know that they are here because Hawks and Spiders have been endorsed as good picks by some of the top eldar players in NOVA and the ITC. (You can check out the eldar episode of the “Best in Faction” podcast to hear from three of them who talk about these two units in the last 30 minutes or so.) I was tempted to include Hawks from the beginning, but I hesitated until I had evidence that at least some top players are using them in competitive 9th edition play.

DO: Decide exactly what secondaries you are likely to run and then add a single units of Hawks or Spiders with very specific strategies for how you will use them to score points. There might be some lists that call for two units, but more than that almost certainly overkill.

DON’T expect your Hawks or Spiders to do much damage. These are utility units that are here to help you score points, and that should always be your priority when making decisions about how to deploy them and move them. Once you have maximized their scoring potential, or when you know you can close out those secondaries with other units, you can use them to harass enemies by tying up heavy support units in close combat or shooting squishy enemy infantry off of objectives. But don’t be tempted to start killing or messing with opponents’ units prematurely with these Aspect Warriors. They have a job to do before they can become the vigilante sky-rogues that they are in the fluff.

WHAT ABOUT ALL THAT COOL FORGEWORLD STUFF?
Yup, there are some great Forgeworld units available to eldar. Hornets are especially strong in 9th edition, while the Wraithseer is a right-of-passage acquisition for most serious eldar players who can also do some work in the right list. I also like the Lynx. A lot. Find reviews of those units and more here.

That said, this site is primarily geared towards new players and Forgeworld units are not only significantly more expensive in real world currency than GW units, but also not included in the codex.

WHERE IN THE NAME OF THE OLD ONES IS ELDRAD!? HE’S SO GOOD!!!

It’s true, Eldrad is amazing. The reason he does not appear here is that Eldrad can only be used by Craftworld Ulthwe, which is may undermine his status as a competitive choice as the custom craftworld options are currently so strong. If he becomes a “Supreme Command” unit in the 9th edition codex, he will absolutely find a place on this list.

A FINAL WORD: I AM NOT THE BOSS OF YOU

None of our units is useless. Even real “C list” stuff like the Avatar of Khaine can perform heroic deeds, and might be a strong pick for competitive play is a very specific list. If you like how a unit looks or plays, by all means include it. I run my Avatar in most of my casual games, despite the fact that he has never inflicted damage equal to his own point cost, except perhaps against very new or very sloppy opponents. (If like me, you run the Avatar for emotional reasons, give him the warlord trait FALCON’S SWIFTNESS.)

The point is this: nothing I have written here should keep you from doing whatever in Isha’s name you want to do. I am not the boss of you.

-Brent

For the latest tips, tricks, and unit combos, check out my blog.

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