Updated for 9th Edition!
Getting into Eldar on a Budget
Let’s face it. This is an expensive hobby, and most people simply can’t afford to drop $800 all at once on a 2K army. In this section, I will cover the best ways to get into eldar on a limited budget, how to buy second hand, where you can cut corners, and how to build a competitive 1k force for under $300 if you decide to buy new from your local game store and Amazon. In fact, if you are willing to buy everything on Amazon or similar discount sites, you can get a reasonably competitive 1000 point force for only about $250. Here are some suggestions for getting into eldar on a budget:
(NOTE: Another option is to start your journey into 40k with 500pt games called “Combat Patrols.” If you are interested in how to build a competitive 500pt force for this style of play, click here.)
1) The cheapest method in the long run is probably to buy a large lot on Ebay or a Facebook 40K Buy/Sell Page
If you can find someone selling their army second hand, and pick it up for 60-70% of what it would cost direct from GW, you are probably going to save the most money in the long run. The biggest obstacle here is the initial expenditure- you might not be able to afford $600 all at once.
If you do decide to buy online, beware of the following:
- People selling old sculpts from the 90s that are uglier than the newer models. You are just going to want to replace these later, so it’s ultimately wasted money.
- Armies that are so badly painted that you are unlikely to be able to salvage them, no matter how good the deal appears. Models you don’t want to play or that sit in a drawer for three years waiting to be “saved,” are worthless.
That said, you can strip paint off metal models very successfully by leaving them overnight in a glass of concentrated “Simple Green” and then taking a wire brush to them. This can be pretty labor intensive though and the brush will damage resin or plastic. If the paint looks thick on a model that is resin or plastic, it’s probably not worth trying to salvage it to save money.
- Armies largely composed of units that are quite poor in this edition. Paying for units that bring you no closer to a playable list is not a money saver.
- Armies that are advertised as being 80% of MSRP, but actually are just Amazon.com pricing. If you are buying at retail prices, buy exactly what you want- not what happens to be in an ebay lot.
- To know what models to look out for second hand, check out: Our Best Units and How to Use Them
2) Saving Money by Passing on Books Initially
Ideally, you would buy the Warhammer 40k Rulebook, the Craftworlds Codex, The Psychic Awakening Book, and the most recent chapter approved, but that’s $200 on books before you even buy a single model. The fact is that you can skip all of that for now. Instead:
- Read the core rules to 40k for free here.
- Use this invaluable resource
- Download Battlescribe. Here you can find up-to-date profiles for all our units, point costs, psychic powers, artifacts, and Craftworld traits.
- Consider signing up for the 40k App. It only costs $5 per month and it gives you access to all of the codexes for all of the armies, as well as core rules and point values.
3) Buying a Playable 1000pt Eldar Army New for Under $300
The following list is constructed around the eldar “Start Collecting” Box, which is available for $76 on Amazon, and from GW for $90. This list, while not as flexible going forward as the list I suggest in my other “first 1000 points” page, is definitely just as competitive both on its own and as part of a 2k list later. It should serve you well in introductory competitive play and be more than sufficient for casual games. If you buy all these units on Amazon, you can get the whole list for about $250. It all starts with the $76 “Start Collecting” box. If you buy from your local game store instead, you will spend about $300, which is still a good deal.
Any, but consider running a custom craftworld with “Expert Crafters” and “Masterful Shots” or “Hunters of Ancient Relics” for competitive results.
DETACHMENTS: 1 Patrol
HQs: (180 points)
- Farseer w/witch blade, psychic powers: DOOM and GUIDE, Warlord Trait: Seer of the Shifting Vector, Relic: Faolchu’s wing
- Warlock Skyrunner, with witch blade and psychic power: PROTECT/JINX and Smite swapped out for GHOSTWALK (see Runes of Fortune in Psychic Awakening or here.)
TROOPS: (55 points)
5 Dire Avengers including exarch with exarch power “Battle Fortune” and 2 shuriken catapults OR scattershield and power glaive.
NOTE: the extra shuriken cataplut is a slightly more “killy” loadout with half again the firepower, while the shimmershield build is sturdier, confering a 5++ invuln on the whole squad. I prefer the shimmershield as Dire Avengers are a utility unit for objective control and are unlikely to do much killing regardless of what you give them, but plenty of very good players make the other choice.
ELITES: (200 points)
5 Wraithblades with axes and shields
HEAVY SUPPORT: (380 points)
- 3 Warwalkers with 2 Aeldari missile launchers each (magnetize if you can; if not, use blue tack or something. You really need these to be customizable as the AMLs will no longer be your best option when playing at 2k.)
- 1 Wraithlord with Ghostglaive, and 2 Star Cannons, (magnetize if you can)
TRANSPORT: (160 points)
- 1 Wave Serpent w/2 Shuriken cannons and vectored engines
TOTAL: (975) For your last 25 points…
If you are running this list at 1000 points, you can use 10 points to either give your wraithlord wrist mounted flamers (MAGNETIZE OF BLUE TACK!) Or give the Wave Serpent spirit stones. Flamers will make your wraithlord a horde-killer even in melee, (as monsters can shoot in melee) while the spirit stones bestow a 6+++ “feel-no-pain” on your Wave Serpent which will be a fire magnet. I think the spirit stones are the more competitive pick unless you know that you mostly play one or two opponents who are running lots of low cost troops that swarm objectives.
TIPS and TRICKS
HQs: As most eldar psychic powers do not require line-of-sight, try and keep these fragile commanders completely obscured. Faolchu’s wing will give your Farseer the mobility he lacks and enable him to keep up with the skyrunner. If you keep them together, you can make use of the “Seer Council” stratagem, which many new players undervalue. Use GUIDE on your War Walkers to maximize their fire output, while PROTECT can be used to give either your wraithguard or your Dire Avenger exarch a 3++ invuln to help them control objectives.
TROOPS: There are two ways to use your Avengers. The first its to start them off in the Wave Serpent and park it just on your opponent’s side of a point. The serpent shield and vectored engines make this a tough nut to crack, and even when it does burst, the aspect warriors inside can still hold the point. Keep in mind that your Dire Avengers are not here to kill anything. Their only priority is objective control.
Your second option with the Avengers is to start them on foot and have them control a backfield objective, hopefully out of line-of-site of the enemy guns. The primary reason to pick this one is that you plan to use the transport for your wraithblades.
ELITES: These wraithblades are the most durable infantry available to eldar. They want to assault a midfield objective turn 2 after advancing turn 1 with PROTECT on them, or deepstrike into your opponent’s backfield and assault an objective being held by a tank. Consider using the “Supreme Disdain” stratagem to increase their damage output. Wraithblades are best used against objectives not being held by large enemy troop units, as they lack “objective secured.”
Your other option is mount them in the Wave Serpent. This is a great option in 2K games in which you are likely to have other transports for your Dire Avengers, but if you are just running this list at 1k, you probably want your Dire Avengers to use the transport as that build provides you with two robust forces to grab midfield objectives instead on one.
If you do plan to use the Wraithblades to take and hold objectives, your second Custom Craftworld Trait should be “Hunters of Ancient Relics” to give them each an extra attack.
HEAVY SUPPORT: Use the AMLs to either destroy high-threat enemy tanks and monsters, or to clear infantry off objectives. The star cannons are for killing heaving infantry and bikes, or finishing off tanks. The walkers should try to create angles where they aren’t vulnerable to enemy fire, as they are fragile. Keep in mind that the walkers can start the game in deepstrike without spending CP. This is absolutely the right move if you can not put them completely out of line-of-sight in deployment, or if your opponent has powerful weapons that can target enemies their units cannot see. Consider also that deepstriking might let you create more favorable firing angles on turn 2.
The wraithlord can either hold a backfield objective against an army with strong melee options, or it can advance to reinforce a midfield objective turn 2 while blazing away with its heavy weapons. If your meta features lots of melee infantry, consider adding the wrist mounted flamers.
For more information about how to build on this list in the future, check out: How to Design and Army List for 9th Edition
For the latest tips, tricks, and unit combos, check out my blog.