In competitive and semi-competitive play, eldar are a mechanized army
As an old-school Eldar player from second edition when Eldar tanks had no rules in the codex and were seldom seen on tables, this was a hard concept for me to accept. The fact is that newer editions of 40k our work-horse units have been flyers, tanks, and bikes, all buffed by psykers and stratagems. Guardians and aspect warriors still have important and highly specialized roles to play, but the most powerful units in a competitive Eldar army are not infantry. (From a lore perspective, this actually makes sense if you consider that what the Eldar do have is some of the most advanced technology in the universe, what they don’t have is enough warm bodies.)
2. Eldar rely on synergy created with psychic powers and stratagems
On their own, many of our units either cost more than comparable units from other armies and/or have weaker stats; however, enhanced with the right stratagems and psychic powers- and used in the right ways- our units will outperform those seemingly cheaper/better units almost every time. The downside for new players is the learning curve for Eldar is steep because to make them function you need good knowledge not only of what your units and weapons do, but your options for enhancing them with specific stratagems and psychic powers.
3.) Eldar require patience and careful use of superior mobility
Eldar are fragile, but highly mobile. When you deploy your army do so in a way that minimizes your opponent’s ability to target them first turn, even if it means not firing with all of your units right away. Use speed and various deepstrike options, psychic powers, and stratagems to move in a way that makes it difficult for your opponent to bring the full brunt of his or her firepower against your army. Eldar don’t win slug fests, so don’t play that game.
If you want to buy your very first models, but don’t know where to start, check out:
Your first 1000 points
Your first 1000 points on a budget
If you are trying to design an effective 2,000 point list, or you have a modest collection that needs to be developed or improved for more competitive play, you are ready for:
How to build an effective army list for 9th edition
If have no idea what books/etc. you need to play Craftworld Eldar, have a look at my guide below called GETTING STARTED.
GETTING STARTED: What you need, and what you don’t
If you are just getting started with Eldar, you have chosen a good time. The 9th edition of the game has significantly reduced the number of books that you need in order to play. In fact, if you get the 40k App, which only costs $5 per month, you will gain access to all the base rules and all the codexes for every faction. For now, you can use this free resource to get an idea of rules and unit stats: http://wahapedia.ru/wh40k8ed/factions/craftworlds/
In order to just play, all you really need is:
–Rules for our units. these can be found in the Craftworlds Codex book and Phoenix Rising psychic awakening book, on the 40k App, on Battlescribe, or online here: http://wahapedia.ru/wh40k8ed/factions/craftworlds/
–A list of our stratagems and Psychic Powers. In order to have all of these, you need either the 40k App or both Codex Craftworlds and Phoenix Rising. Or, find them here http://wahapedia.ru/wh40k8ed/factions/craftworlds/
–Updated point values for all of our units. These can be found in the “Chapter Approved Munitorum Field Manual” and should soon appear on the 40k App.
You also need:
–Rules for 9th edition detachments, which can be found in the core 40k rulebook or with some clever googling.
–A copy of the basic 9th edition 40k rules, available from GW for free: https://www.warhammer-community.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Lw4o3USx1R8sU7cQ.pdf
or in the Core Rulebook.
Consider Buying the App, the Core Rulebook, and the Mission Pack & Munitorum Field Manual both of which come together in a single shrink wrapped 2020 “Chapter Approved”
If you are short on cash, you can get by with just the App, but I find it much easier to have physical copies of the core books. Unless money is no object, however, I would discourage you from buying the current codex and Phoenix Rising books. At some point, we will get a 9th edition codex that will render the current one invalid, and everything you need from those texts is available on the app anyway.