Life is not as it once was, but still the Aeldari continue to press on. These proud peoples continue to travel deeper into the Webway, continue to strike out against their enemies with blinding speed, continue to guard their souls against the hunger of Slaanesh. To be an Aeldari is to constantly mourn the past, and take little hope from the future. But in the present, there is time to fight, and survive, and thrive. This spring sees the release of a swath of new units, and a brand new Codex, all for the Aeldari. Games Workshop provided us with these new releases to check out, and here are our initial thoughts in our Warhammer 40K Aeldari new releases preview.
Who Are The Aeldari?
The Aeldari were once a powerful and ancient race of elf-like creatures, who were given so many gifts from their gods that they soon flourished and conquered much of the known galaxy. Soon they knew no predators, and had all their daily needs provided through incredible psychically-tuned technology. As life got easier, the Aeldari sought out new, strange, dangerous, and depraved forms of entertainment to keep them engaged in the world, and from that depravity was born the Chaos God Slaanesh. After obliterating a huge swath of the population of the Aeldari, and slaying most of their gods, Slaanesh set out to devour their souls upon death. Now, the proud Aeldari are a scattered tribe, with some living on massive planet-sized spaceships called Craftworlds, while others donned the masks of a traveling troupe and perform for their Laughing God, who was said to have escaped Slaanesh. Few though their numbers are, the Aeldari strike hard and fast, their lithe graceful bodies perfectly attuned with their psyker-powered weapons and armor.
What's Included In The Warhammer 40K Aeldari Codex?
The Warhammer 40K Aeldari Codex is a massive tome containing updated lore, rules, and data sheets for running an Aeldari army. It includes rules for four different factions under the general Aeldari heading: The Asuryani and their Craftworlds, the Harlequins, the Ynnari, and the Corsairs. It should be mentioned, the dark Eldar known as the Drukhari are not covered in this book, as they have their own Codex.
The first 56 pages of this 200 page book are dedicated to the lore around the Aeldari. From their gods and the petty squabbles common to all pantheons, to the dreadful fall of the Aeldari as described above, we get a look at who the Aeldari were, and how they got to where they are. From there, we dive into learning about their planet-sized ships, with a special focus on five distinct Craftworlds, a description of the unstoppable Avatar of Khaine, a special look at specific units like the Warp Spiders and the Dark Reapers, and then learn a bit about the Ynnari, Harlequins, and Corsairs.
After a beautiful spread of pages in their Showcase section, where they show off professionally painted armies and give inspiration for hobbyists, we dive into the special rules for the Aeldari. One of my favorite parts of this section is the attention paid (and special rules and abilities granted) to the various Craftworlds. Each Craftworld's special abilities and rules really make it feel unique and set apart from the others, and make the choice of a Craftworld feel like so much more than choosing a paint scheme.
The Warhammer 40K Aeldari rules in this codex also include Matched Play and Crusade Rules, as well as psychic powers to equip your psykers with, Exarch Powers that can help swing the tide of battle, Stratagems to help you gain the upper hand against your opponent, and a wealth of unique relics that add depth and customization to your army.
Finally, the Aeldari Codex contains over 50 distinct Datasheets for Aeldari units, covering everything from named characters like the Avatar of Khaine, Yvraine, and Prince Yriel, to powerful units like Rangers, Warlocks, and Warp Spiders. Vehicle support is here in force as well, with Voidweavers, Shroud Runners, and more detailed to help you dominate the table. Wargear relevant to the Aeldari, as well as updated points, finish out the Codex. Now let's move on to look at the individual units we were sent for Preview.
Unit Spotlight: Aeldari Guardians
The Aeldari Guardians in this box can be built as either a unit of 10 Guardian Defenders or 10 Storm Guardians. I decided to model them as Guardian Defenders because I wanted to heavy firepower of the Shuriken Catapult, which launches far with a range of 18 inches, has the Assault 2 keyword, and deals one damage per strike (along with the additional potential point of damage for the Shuriken rule). With a move of 7" and the ability to re-roll hit rolls of 1 when within range of an objective token, the Guardian Defenders are perfect for sitting on and controlling important points on the battlefield. They can also come equipped with a Heavy Weapon Platform (included in the box), which can rain down extreme firepower with its Shuriken cannon. The alternate build for this box, the Storm Guardians, are also an impressive unit, with a wealth of weapon options including fusion guns and flamers, and come with a Serpent Shield (an alt. build for the Heavy Weapon Platform which negates wound rolls of 1-2, regardless of any other abilities the attacking model may have).
Unit Spotlight: Aeldari Warlocks
The Aeldari Warlocks in this box come two models to a box, and these powerful combatants are masters of using psychic energy on the battlefield. Along with the ability to manifest a psychic power during the Psychic phase, these units are also quite nimble on the battlefield. With a move of 7 inches, they can close the gap and shoot with their Shuriken pistol or swing with their deadly Witchblade (AP -1, 2 Damage, and unmodified wound rolls of 2+ are always successful). These Warlocks pull their psychic abilities from the Runes of Battle discipline, which can either grant boons to your units, or debuff your opponents in varied ways, making them useful utility units that can deal some serious damage when they get in close.
Unit Spotlight: Aeldari Dark Reapers
These Aeldari Dark Reapers are the heavy hitters of the bunch. With a 3+ save, they launch wave after wave of blistering attacks with their long-range Reaper Launcher. The Launcher has two attack profiles you can choose from each time you shoot, the Starshot, which has a Strength of 8 and deals three damage per successful wound, or the Starswarm, which has a Strength of 5 and only deals two damage per successful wound, but throws out double the amount of attacks (it's Heavy 2, as opposed to Starshot's Heavy 1). Add to this intense firepower their Inescapable Accuracy ability, which ignores dense cover when attacking, and the Dark Reapers are like a trudging force of pure death, which matches their skull and bones aesthetic.
Unit Spotlight: Aeldari Maugan Ra
Finally, last but not least, let's talk about the incredible Maugan Ra. This Character unit is truly a powerful force on the battlefield, as it wields its awe-inspiring weapon The Maugetar in both ranged and melee combat. With a range of 36 inches, it fires out six blasts at Strength 7, with two points of armor penetration, dealing 2 points of damage per successful wound. Plus, each time you roll an unmodified wound roll of 6, you inflict one additional mortal wound on your target. In melee he's just as nasty, with 6 attacks. He also benefits from the above-mentioned Inescapable Accuracy ability, makes models he destroys count as two models each during the enemy's morale phase, and adds 2 to the leadership characteristic of models near him while giving them the Objective Secured ability. But aside from his raw power, just... look at him. This is one of the most incredibly-designed models I've seen in recent months from Games Workshop. I love how angular and oddly positioned he is atop the ruins of his base, it makes him look like the haunting, enigmatic reaper that he truly is on the battlefield.
That sums up our coverage of the various Aeldari releases coming to hobby store shelves near you this spring (pre-orders should be going up shortly after this publication). To learn more visit Games Workshop.
The Warhammer 40K Aeldari models and codex used in the creation of this preview was provided by Games Workshop.