Monday, 5 August 2013

Eldar Analysis - Autarch

Wow I'm getting behind on this. This could possibly be due to my recent exploits. On Friday I went down to Warhammer World, and filled in as a mercenary for the Freebootas as they took on the Overlords. Since, I have decided that I really need to kick my play up another gear. The last few 2 day tournaments that I've been to I've been pushing on just above mid table, which I've been content with really, but I've been attending bigger independent tournaments for 6 months now and really feel that I should be at a level where I'm hitting the top 50% most of the time.

This is something that I need to achieve at my next outing in October, aka the GT Heats in Brighton, so I've resigned myself to reading the 40k rulebook cover to cover at least once a week, to get myself really familiar with every intricacy that may be thrown my way. In addition, I'm starting to collect all of the Codecies. This is really important for me, because although I feel I'm strong at the actual tactics and how to use individual units when they're on the tabletop, I really struggle to strategise. The main reason for this is that I am extremely easy to bait, as I get excited trying to kill as much stuff as possible.

Then I have my army. At the minute it's a toss up between Chaos Space Marines, a list that I'm rather pleased with, my Space Wolves, familiar and not as much up reliant, and Eldar, a semi-complete curveball.

But that's enough of GT talk, Autarchs.

An Autarch is essentially the Eldar equivalent of a Space Marine Captain. Except that they work nothing like a Space Marine Captain. Like most Eldar HQ choices, their primary roll is support. They may have 3 wounds but they're only T3 with a 3+ save with very little option to upgrade that. There are a couple of choices that you can take but we'll get onto those later when we jump into the Remnants of Glory (later in this post).

The primary use of the Autarch is really as a Comms Relay equivalent. His Path of Strategy rule allows him to modify reserve rolls by 1, allowing you to keep your Jetbikes off the board until late game when they can whizz on and contest or take objectives with their 48" effective movement. But then it really comes down to why you would take him over an Aegis with a Comms Relay.

Well firstly, he provides an excellent way to protect your Slay the Warlord point, and take some attention away from your Farseer. He's only a small model so he's not difficult to hide, plus his ability's only passive so it's not like he needs Line of Sight to anything. It helps that he has a 3+ save and a 5+ invuln too. 

In addition, unlike the Aegis Defence Line, an Autarch has access to a lot of equipment. Before getting into some of the standard options, it may be a good idea to first drift into the Remnants of Glory, as some of them stack very well with the normal wargear.

First up is the Shard of Anaris, it's a close combat weapon, and it gives the bearer Fearless. It has no AP, but it does grant +2 strength, Rending, Fleshbane and Instant Death, which isn't bad at all considering that it's not a specialist close combat weapon and so grants an extra attack when combined with the Autarch's Shuriken Pistol. It is extremely expensive however, although I am tempted to combine it with the Mantle of the Laughing God (if it's possible, normally you can replace one weapon with one of the Remnants however as the Mantle doesn't replace a weapon it might be legal, waiting for clarification) just for giggles. It wouldn't be very efficient but it would be pretty funny.

The Firesabre is the second of the close combat Remnants that you can pick up. It's a little cheaper than the Shard, and it does come with an AP value of 3, however it is only +1 strength, and instead of Rending, Instant Death and Fleshbane, it gets an enhanced version of Soul Blaze, how lovely.

The Spirit Stone of Anath'Lan is the cheapest of the Remnants, although it can only be given to Farseers and Spirit Seers. What it does is lower the Warp Charge cost of a power by 1 (useful for Fortune), but in exchange, you lose your Invulnerable save for the next 2 player turns. Ouch. I find this a little situational as you're not always going to be getting 2 warp charge powers that you want plus losing your invulnerable save is a big deal unless you're mounted on a bike - which you probably are going to be - but 15pts can go a little way in an Eldar army.

The Uldanorethi Long Rifle is one of the more spendy upgrades, essentially it's a Sniper Rifle. The 2 big changes to it are firstly its base AP3 and its enormous range of 120". I forgot I could pay 25pts and expose my HQ to kill a non-terminator model every other turn...

The Mantle of the Laughing God. What it gives you is Stealth, Shrouded, Hit and Run and the ability to re-roll successful cover saves. With 2+ re-rollable saves being all the Jazz nowadays, some clever soul thought that it would be an excellent idea to put him on a jetbike too for a 2+ cover save.

One of my personal favourites Remnants is Faolchu's Wing. What this does is give the bearer a 48" run move, and the ability to re-roll cover saves if used. The reason I like it is that it's a little cheaper than the Mantle of the Laughing God, both in base cost and the fact that you're unlikely to take a jetbike with it, but what it allows you to do is dive across the board for yet another unit that can score or contest. Even better if the Autarch is your Warlord, as you can roll on the personal table looking for Feel No Pain within 3" of an objective or scoring. In addition, as your Autarch is not Fearless, you can scoot him into some terrain, go to ground near the objective and re-roll cover saves. Charged? Attempt a challenge and try as hard as you can to stay alive for a turn.

Finally we have the Phoenix Gem. It's a strange little upgrade this one, and comes in at the same cost as the Long Rifle. If the bearer dies, they explode on a 2+, if the explosion wounds someone, the bearer comes back on a single wound. However, it is one use only, but could be useful for squeezing that extra turn out of a contesting HQ choice.

And that's all for the Remnants of Glory, time to move onto the ordinary stuff.

Stuff that makes you faster:

They all cost the same amount, and all are good choices if you want to fit in with a solid Eldar unit choice. The Jetbike is probably the most common, bumping your Toughness up to 4 to offset Heldrake instant death a little bit. It is the quickest option.

Swooping Hawk Wings, makes you jump infantry. So a 12" move every turn plus the ability to Deep Strike.

Warp Jump Generator. Jet Pack, so the least fast of the options in the movement phase, however does give you 6+2D6" movement in the assault phase. Really risky though, especially if running the Autarch by himself, as if you roll a double on the 2D6, a random model from the unit is removed as a casualty. If the Autarch is by himself, and you roll that double, the Autarch goes. Make sure you put him in a unit of Warp Spiders when using this.

Wierd stuff for close combat:

The Banshee mask is the cheapest option here, and reduces enemy initiative by 5 for the phase. Really situational given that you're I6 anyway, and anything that would normally be striking before you is also likely to beat you in the face the moment that it inevitably survives your attacks (unless you have a Shard, maybe).

The Mandiblasters are double the Masks cost, but are also kind of crappy. You get a S3 "Hammer of Wrath" hit every turn. Handy, but not worth getting too excited over.

Stuff for chopping up other stuff:

Scorpion Chainsword, pretty cheap, gives you a pretty irrelevant AP value, boosts your strength a little. Not a bad buy.

Power Weapon, rather expensive. You really need a strength boost from an Axe but then you also need the Initiative bonus to actually get a chance to strike. Probably wouldn't bother.

Stuff for shooting things:

Avenger Shuriken Catapult, pretty cheap. Not a bad weapon but then there's really no reason to take it.

Lasblaster, just as cheap, longer range, more shots, lower strength, no Bladestorm. Want a cheap shooting weapon for your Autarch. First question why and then if you still want it, the Avenger Shuriken Catapult is the better option. I suppose if you've got a few points left over and you want your Autarch to do something whilst hiding it's not a bad idea.

Deathspinner, a little more spendy. Not bad, monofilament, good strength, short range that is offset by Battle Focus a little. But again, why? If not with a unit of Warp Spiders, but then, why with Warp Spiders?

Fusion Gun. When I first started I liked to Deep Strike behind enemy vehicles and shoot them with this. Unreliable but scary when combined with Swooping Hawk Wings.

Laser Lance, only for Biker Autarchs. Short range, decent AP but only 1 shot, why not Deathspinner?

Reaper Launcher with Starswarm Missiles. Why not Dark Reapers?

And that's all, wow that was a long post. Sorry if I got a little strange towards the end, I'm really tired and I have had drinks. In short, the Autarch is a good option for reserve manipulation, as there are so many other options that you can take with him to give him a secondary role that could make him more worthwhile than an Aegis with a Comms Relay. Would I personally take him over an Aegis? With my personal preferences and play style, probably not, but I can understand taking an Autarch, and there are situations where he would be better.

Right, I need to go to bed now, I have to wake my incredibly butch self up to drive to a house for 8:30 tomorrow morning before taking an Eviscerator to a hedge.


  1. I'll be at Heat 2 as well, so perhaps we'll bump into each other! I'll be playing SW+IG.

    1. Nice. I think I'll probably also be running Wolves and IG at the event, there can't be too many of us. I think there was only 1 wolf primary player at Toy Soldier. I'll make sure to pop by and say hi. Always good to meet other Christians in 40k.