I still can't find my old Eldar Codex, so again I'm going to have to be relying on the power of my memory to discern whether today's choice is better or worse than how they used to be. Unfortunately, today's subject is Prince Yriel, one of the very few units from the old Codex that I never used. So instead, forget old Yriel, how good/bad is new Yriel?
For starters, he has seen a 15pt reduction (the only reason I know this is because he used to cost the same as an Avatar). Not a measly, 'might be able to chuck a rarely used upgrade on a Sergeant' deduction like Eldrad's, one that is actually pretty useful.
Bouncing through his statline, his weapon and ballistic skills are 6, strength and toughness 3, so a Missile Launcher to the face or even a Scatter Laser will probably kill him. He does have a 4+ invulnerable save, to hopefully cope with a Missile or 2. However, he only has a 3+ armour, which is ok but he can't take very many S6 wounds. He has a respectable number of attacks at 4, leadership 7 and comes in at initiative 7.
Essentially, the only non-special war gear that he comes with are his armour, his Forceshield granting him the invulnerable save, and some Plasma Grenades (assault grenades). As for special rules, he gets Ancient Doom (see the Eldrad post) and Battle Focus, which is still useful as you can put him in units with shooting weapons to keep him alive, and still run and shoot. He then gets fleet and is obviously an independent character.
Onto his special wargear and rules. This guy comes loaded to the hilt with special crap. Starting off with the least special. As an, 'Autarch' he gets the Path of Strategy special rule. Meaning that you can modify each of your reserve rolls by 1, plus or minus. Nice little bonus. However if you're going to build an army around this you might as well just get an Autarch, same job for cheaper.
He also gets his own super-special predetermined Warlord Trait. Ambush of Blades. This is a roll of a 1 on the Warlord chart, however it's a one use only power that makes everything from Codex: Eldar re-roll 1s to wound in that shooting phase. Pretty nice. Imagine reserving 9 War Walkers with Scatter Lasers, walking them all on due to Yriel allowing things on on a 2+ if you wish, then popping your Warlord Trait and going nuts. Even better. Take a Farseer, take 1 power on Divination, 1 Power on the Runes of Fate and then another from wherever you fancy, then Guide/Prescience 2 squadrons of free and cause even more havoc. War Walkers are BS4 now.
We only have 2 more of Yriel's toys to go through. The first is the Eye of Wrath, which is an interesting piece of kit. Again, one use only, centre a Large Blast on Yriel and everyone else (excluding Yriel) takes a Baleflamer hit. This is interesting because when I say everyone else, I mean everyone else. So, you're hitting your own guys too. Therefore, you want Yriel in a squad so that he doesn't get shot to pieces on his way into combat, but then when he's in combat you want him by himself.
Couple of ways to do that, firstly, when/if you get close to your enemy split him from the squad and charge him into something else, he's got his Eye or he's got 5 attacks at WS6 at I7 (can't use both), so he'll chop some stuff up pretty good. Problem is, he'll probably run it down too, leaving himself vulnerable.
However, if you are going to go with the close combat choppy choppy approach to Yriel do not make him your Warlord. He is not the most durable of types especially when he gets up close and personal, or his by himself in front of a reasonable number of guns. Yes, 4 wounds is respectable, but the guy is just as durable in front of a bunch of Bolters as 4 Sisters of Battle.
Finally, he's got his Spear of Twilight. A.k.a, a big ass Spear he somehow managed to kill a Hive Tyrant with. It is an Fleshbane, Armourbane weapon at AP3 (rulebook's disappeared so can't look up armourbane for AP2). The downside is that it is Cursed. This means that Yriel re-rolls saving throws of 6s in close combat. Again, the guy can't take too many hits.
So, there are 2 real uses for Yriel. The first is as a guy that you throw into combat, maybe kill a tac marine squad or something with, and then lose due to taking a few too many hits. The second is as a hinge. This is something that you build your army around. Allowing you to improve your reserve's reliability and at the same time increase your army's shooting effectiveness for a turn. The latter is an idea I'm going to be toying with and trying out over the next few weeks.