About a month ago, we dove headfirst into a slew of new Warhammer 40,000 releases around the space-faring elves we all know and love, the Aeldari. And now, timed with this weekend's preorders, we're going to further flesh out our Aeldari forces as we check out the fast-striking Shining Spears and the huge, intimidating, bloody Avatar of Khaine. Plus, we'll check out a new pack of Mission Cards to round out the weekend lineup. Let's start with the big guy...
Warhammer 40K Aeldari: Avatar of Khaine
The symbol of a living deity of war brought to life, there's really no single unit you can drop on the battlefield in your Aeldari army that will make quite the impact the Avatar of Khaine can make. Coming in at 14 Power / 270 points, he'll definitely take up a large chunk of your army, but he's strong at mid-range and an absolute destroyer in melee combat. Though his statistics drop as he takes wounds (like most character/large models), he starts with 14 wounds and a movement speed of 10 inches. And see that huge sword he's wielding? That's called "The Wailing Doom" and is just as nasty as it sounds.
The Wailing Doom has both ranged and melee attack profiles. At range, he can blast his opponents with a 12 inch range, -4 armor penetration, and D6+2 wounds (in other words, it hits hard and shreds through armor). Plus, on a successful hit, you draw a line from Khaine to the closest model of the targeted unit, and the searing attack hits every other unit that line touches. In melee, The Wailing Doom has two different attack profiles - piercing strike and sweeping blow. Piercing Strike is good for focusing on character units or single targets, as it doubles the strength of Khaine, has -5 armor penetration, and deals that same, nasty D6+2 wounds as his ranged attack. Sweeping blow is good for large groups, because while it doesn't buff his strength and only has -2 armor penetration, and deals 2 damage, you make two hit rolls instead of one (meaning, at full health, Avatar of Khaine is swinging with 14 attacks).
That's pure power, there's no way around it. And Avatar's additional abilities further cement its place on the battlefield. Along with a 4+ invulnerable save, he halves the damage characteristic of all attacks against him (rounding up). He also allows you to re-roll charge rolls for any friendly Asuryani units within 6 inches of him, and when he has a chance to explode, dealing D3 mortal wounds to all units around him.
So what do we do with Avatar of Khaine? There are a lot of good strategies around him. For one, he simply cannot be ignored on the battlefield, so using him as a stomping, walking target while faster units (like the Shining Spears, detailed below) dart around securing objectives is a valid strategy. But he's also just so damn powerful on his own that he can really be a unit-killer, crushing infantry forces under his molten feet.
Fun and relatively easy to build, Avatar of Khaine is an absolute must if you're looking for big, big muscle for your Aeldari army.
Warhammer 40K Aeldari: Shining Spears
The Aeldari codex states simply "Shining Spears live to joust, which they do at breathtaking speeds upon their jetbike steeds." And with a 16 inch move speed and their devastating laser lances, you'll live to joust too! A unit of Shining Spears consists of three to six models, and at the three model size comes in at 5 power total, or 35 points per model. Along with shuriken cannons on their bikes, they're armed with their laser lance which hits hard at ranged with a 6 inch range, and a melee attack that gains strength if the unit's charged in that attack. You can outfit the unit leader, a Shining Spear Exarch, with a Star Lance which has somewhat better stats, but they're fairly similar.
Their special abilities, where they get an automatic 6 inches added to their advance roll (instead of rolling a D6), and subtract 1 from all ranged attack hit rolls against them, make them agile, fast, and easily positioned units on the field. The best tactics with the Shining Spears is to do what they do best: roll in fast, strike super hard with charged melee attacks, and zip away as fast as possible. In an army with lots of great fast-striking units, the Shining Spears pack a lot of muscle on those skinny little bikes. Though a little tricky to put together if you're fairly new to constructing Warhammer units, the Shining Spears look absolutely stunning once mounted on their stands.
Warhammer 40K Mission Pack: Tempest Of War
Finally, also available for preorder this weekend is the Warhammer 40K Mission Pack: Tempest Of War. These mission packs are a fantastic way to quickly throw together a battle between you and an opponent, while sustaining a sense of surprise. Sold as a deck of mission cards, the Mission Pack comes with everything you need to get units on the table and vying for objects ASAP. Along with instructions and objective markers, the Mission Pack includes a series of cards meant to be drawn randomly to set up a battle. There's the Primary Mission Deck, which lays out the goal of the match, the Mission Rule Deck, which lays out additional rules and twists to the game, secondary objectives shown through the Secondary Objective Deck, and a dedicated Deployment Deck telling you how to set up the battlefield. By simply drawing cards from these various decks, you'll have a totally unique play experience each time you muster your army.
The products used in the creation of this review were provided by Games Workshop