Monday, 24 June 2013

Eldar Analysis - Avatar of Khaine

The Avatar of Khaine was the first unit that I really ever loved for its awesomeness. The last Eldar Codex was the first one that I actually properly started getting into and after getting some Guardians and the Battleforce the Avatar was next, and whilst everything around him died he was a bedrock on which I could rely to kick the crap out of stuff.

In the new Codex, he keeps his badass statline, with a couple of improvements. As well as being WS10 he is now also BS10, Strength and Toughness remain unchanged at 6 whilst Initiative is buffed to 10, Wounds to 5 and attacks also to 5. However, there are a couple of negative changes here.

Firstly, he loses his 4+ Invulnerable save, dropping down to 5+ for being a Daemon. This offsets the +1 Wound a little as he only has a 3+ armour save. However, he has got a little quicker. Not only does he have the Battle Focus special rule, meaning that he can run and shoot, but he also has Fleet for a more reliable run or charge.

Closing out the special rules are a couple of little abilities that he has. Starting with the lesser, the Avatar is immune to Pyromancy spells, Melta, Soul Blaze, and Flamer Weapons.

Secondly, he has the Khaine Awakened special rule, which was one of the big reasons for taking him in the last Codex, as he makes all Eldar units within 12" Fearless. Nice.

Finally, he gets his Wailing Doom, which is essentially a Meltagun. Not bad when you can run and fire it at BS10, if you think you're unlikely to get the charge why not. In addition remember that as well as being a Monstrous Creature the Avatar is a Character so he can precision shot.

One of the larger changes to the Avatar is the ability
to give him Exarch powers, however each of these will push him over the 200pts threshold.

First off you can take Night Vision, which sucks because he can't join units giving it to them and he has no use for it himself as his only shooting weapon has 12" range. Next, he can take Crushing Blow. This gives the Avatar +1 Strength, which isn't too bad, but you're not Instant Death-ing anyone new and if you want the extra stength you can always Smash. Next, Fast Shot, an additional shot with a Meltagun at BS10 is not bad, a little situational however. He can also get Monster Hunter, which I should really look up in the rulebook. Penultimately he can get Marksman's eye, which pushes him up to old Eldrad points but allows him to Precision shot on a 5+, although with only 1 shot it's still a little unlikely for the points you're paying.

Finally, you have Disarming Strike, which is quite spendy but gives you about a 66% chance of knocking a Power Fist off a squad.

To be honest, how do I feel about this new Avatar in comparison to the old one? I feel it's taken a bit of a hit. Yes he becomes a little bit more of a beatstick due to his extra attack but due to the nature of the weapons that are going to be fired at him like Missiles he's lost a bit of durability due to the Invulnerable save nerf. Plus, he's gone up by 40pts stock. I'm not sure if he's seen more, if competitive Footdar builds come out of this book then maybe he'll come back but as it stands I'm not sure. At almost 200pts you'll want to restrict how much more you spend on him, so honestly I'd leave the Exarch Powers alone on this guy.


  1. Personally, I'd be much inclined to give him Disarming Strike at a minimum. Just restricting its use to power fists doesn't quite convey the awesomeness of that ability. It'll work on Force Weapons as well, and given that he is a character and can challenge, he can chew through a whole lot more than he could, as the squad as whole won't be able to attack him while a character is still around.

    I even think DS will work on the Swarmlord, getting rid of his dmn boneswords most of the time. I get your point about the diminished survivability versus ranged weaponry, but in combat with decent challenging and a disarming strike, I think he is truly a god of murder!

    1. I think it's definitely viable, Disarming Strike and Fast Shot seem to be the most popular upgrades from what I'm seeing. Power Fists were just an example, although it's definitely useful for Force Weapons too. The only reason why I probably wouldn't take it as Force Weapon defence is because most Force Weapons are going to be wounding you on 5s and 6s anyway (unless you're a Rune Priest), and if you're against a squad with multiple Force Weapons (Grey Knights) then Disarming Strike isn't going to save you.

      As a Space Wolves player, I'm pre-programmed to anticipate how quickly Long Fangs will take something down, which is why I'm personally inclined to keep him as cheap as possible, although he is definitely a fantastic beatstick should you get into combat, and at the size of the GW model he often isn't too difficult to hide. I'm actually thinking about how well a list with an Avatar, Farseer on bike with Jetbikers and 3 Wraithknights with Swords would work.

      Excellent point about the Swarmlord by the way, hadn't thought of that.

  2. About the disarming strike.. It feels a bit useless imo.
    I can see his high initiative, his high WS, the S and AP1 in melee, and the loads of attacks.. if someone challenges him, with say a power fist, they are going to die before using it, rendering DS useless.
    If they decline the duel, simply dont give a crap about the fist. He's always going to strike first, and most likely kill the things he's hitting.

    It'd be the force weapons in a duel on a big fat character then, but that's also a good use only vs certain armies.

    1. Very true, however what it can often allow you to do is get through a combat more safely. Say you're charging a 5 man Tactical Combat Squad, with a Sergeant with a Power Fist in there. Normally you would probably get through that squad in a turn with the Avatar, especially factoring in taking one out with the Wailing Doom first. So you charge in, and your opponent may consider not challenging you to give them a chance to swing with the Power Fist should you whiff a little with your attacks. However, with Disarming Strike this is pretty much out of the question, meaning that they may be tempted to challenge you to save some of the squad, but then you're locked in for an opposing shooting phase.

      So what's more likely to happen really is that you challenge (thinking aloud now) to try and stay locked in for a turn, if they accept, fine you're locked down. If they decline, no swinging with the power fist anyway. Good point.

      As it stands, building in Meatshields point I definitely agree that the best use for it is when you're character/creature hunting, as there are things about that would cause the Avatar a bit of trouble in combat, the Swarmlord being opne of them, and Disarming Strike gives him a chance. However, as I mention in the post, I probably would agree with not taking it.