There are a lot of rules in the back of this book, and I must admit I feel a wee bit less put upon for having bought it. We could have just gotten an optional $50 add-on for running what we all knew (after the release of the Imperium Triumvarate at least) were going to be powerful characters, yet question how this is going to potentially impact the perception of Eldar players and where they are in the meta. Dark Eldar and Harlequins benefit, clearly, (although not as much after the horrifically nonsensical ruling GW passed down about transports – more about that later) but in a very round-a-bout way that could feel like a betrayal for those people that are only interested in their one particular Eldar subtype. It is almost a subtle jibe from GW along the lines of “we see you like these armies, but if you want to be good you have to add in this other army.” I mean, it works as a selling tactic, but it is just a wee bit obvious.
Overall, I guess it exceeds my expectations, but more so than probably anything, my standard for GW book/codex releases is pretty low.
For those of you that have not looked at it yet, here is a link to the Gathering Storm II: Fracture of Biel-Tan Errata/FAQ.
Having not really cared for Fall of Cadia enough to keep up on the news about it, I was pleasantly surprised that Eldar get a brand new faction out of this. It combines Craftworlds, Harlequins and Dark Eldar (except for the units typical of Covens). The ability to mix and match all three types of Eldar? Yes please. Now all I need is Forgeworld to release an FAQ that throws Corsairs into the mix.
Beyond that, using the Ynnari faction takes away army-specific special rules such as Power from Pain, Ancient Doom, and Battle Focus. I could care less about losing Ancient Doom; it rarely comes up and is both a blessing and a curse. Losing Battle Focus, on the other hand, is rather painful for probably half the Craftworld army styles save for Saim-Hann Jetbike/Tank spam and Iyanden Wraith spam. Arguably, it is a decent buff for Dark Eldar, but the runaway benefactors here are Harlequins. They give up absolutely nothing and get all the bonuses.
Of course, there has to be an exchange for what we give up by switching (or not), and that is the new thing everybody seems to be talking about – Strength from Death.
From what I have seen, there are two camps for this rule: those that scream that it is super cheesy and those that shrug and point at is rather short activation range. The rule allows a unit within seven (7) inches of any unit that dies (friend OR enemy) to make a Soulburst action – to basically get to act as though it has an immediate extra movement, shooting, or assault phase, player’s pick. Seven (7) inches is not a lot, and there are very few cases in which Eldar want to be blobbing up that close to each other, much less that close to an enemy unit. Fire Dragons and most melee units will love it, but pretty much everything else has to take a substantial risk in hopes of killing off an entire unit. One guy left and it’s no luck, try harder next time.
There were a lot of questions about how Soulburst would work, and GW did their best to answer a lot of those issues with the FAQ (for full text, please see above link). A short summary:
- The range for Soulburst is measured at the beginning of an attack, such as when a specific unit chooses to shoot at a target.
- If both players can Soulburst, the player whose turn it is chooses who goes first.
- Deep Strike Mishaps and Falling Back off a table edge do not trigger Soulburst.
- A unit embarked in a transport may Soulburst if their transport is wrecked, but not if it is destroyed.
- Resolve all the wounds from an attack (even if it hits multiple units, like a Nova power or a Blast weapon) before determining Soulburst.
- If you Soulburst before shooting phase and choose to shoot, you may still shoot or run normally in your shooting phase
- A unit that shoots using Soulburst can pick a different target than one they shot previous but have to follow the eligable rules for assaulting units as normal.
- A unit that uses Soulburst to charge does so at the end of their current Initiative step.
- If unit A joins an already resolved combat, resolve the remaining Initiative steps for the charging unit. For example, if they had not been in combat before, they may freely make all of their attacks, although if they had fought through to Initiative step 5 in a different combat, they would only make their attacks at Initiative step 4 or lower.
- If unit A joins a combat that has yet to be resolved, it may only make attacks that occur at unit A’s remaining initiative steps. For example, if unit A had fought through to Initiative step 5 in a different combat, they would only use their attacks at Initiative step 4 or lower as you resolved the second combat.
Another thing one might notice is that a lot of people seem to be saying that we get to use transports for whoever wants them now. Unfortunately, this is not true. In a last minute about face, GW decided to get super rules-lawyery and decreed that all Ynnari units (barring the Triumvarate models, who are only Ynnari) have two factions and that the models have to have no mismatches to be able to start in transports. So Yvraine and Visarch can transport hop like champs and start in whatever they want, but the dreaded Wraith taxi is not valid. Honestly, it is such a garbage ruling, I am kind of at a loss for words. So we cannot use the vehicles in our own faction because they might have had a past life somewhere else? Seriously? We could have had a pretty valid option for large squads of Banshees, Harlequins, and more, but nope. I mean, this might have been the most daft decision GW has made in a while in terms of profit margin. Want people to buy more DE Raiders, DE Venoms, and Harly Starweavers? Really.
At the cost of losing Objective Secured, you get quite a host of abilities. Models automatically have Stubborn, and if two or more are within seven (7) inches of each other they ignore the Morale check for 25 percent casualties. Another bonus is that if the detachment has more than seven (7) units in it at the start, they get two Soulburst actions for each eligable death. It is a really good incentive to stay a tight, balled up formation that wants to quickly advance on the enemy and stay up in its face. Last but not least, we have the ability to include other formations in the Warhost, in much the same manner as the other armies’ meta-formations, so there is some pretty powerful potential in stacking the bonuses of the Reborn Warhost with some of the other Formations. (Harlequin run+charge anyone?)
On top of all the other benefits the Ynnari get, Psykers are also given a buff as they can also generate powers off the Revenant Discipline that Yvraine and Yncarne have. I have seen people arguing both sides of this one. A lot of people think there is really only one useful power here, but I lean towards the other side of the coin. This discipline is predominantly agressive, which is a nice change of pace from what else we have access to. One of the powers is a Nova, great for targetting Invisible units. One gives a nearby unit a free Soulburst. The Primaris is a focussed witchfire that can try taking out an annoying add-on character like an apothacary or banner-holder.
I have often found myself lamenting the powers I have pulled off the other tables, and this one seems quite useful for casters that want to get up in your face, like Yvraine and Yncarne.
Ynnari models can pull from either the original list of relics in their codex or a new list in this book, and it is not a really great list. Most of the items are very situational and are pretty much only a points sink if you already took the useful items from your normal list.
Most of the warlord traits available to the Ynnari are ok except for a few glaring exceptions. One gives you It Will Not Die, which is useful if you planned to put it on a Wraithknight or one of the two Avatars but nowhere else really. The next lets you pick to have one of Furious Charge, Move Through Cover, and Hit & Run on any given turn and could be pretty useful for some Warlords. The third makes your Warlord’s melee attacks Instant Death on the roll of a 6 to hit, which is rarely going to do much. The fourth gives your Warlord and any models within seven (7) inches Fearless although with the number of Morale based abilities already available it is only alright.
The two Warlord traits that I am going to be fishing for either extend your Warlord’s (and accompanying unit) Strength from Death distance to 14 inches or the one that lets you pick your psychic powers. Get ready for a lot more people with Invisibility because of this Warlord Trait if your area sees a lot of tournament level play.
It seems a lot is going to change meta-wise as well. I do not necessarily look forward to how this might affect how much people despise Craftworld players, but I am really excited that the Harlequins I have been working on finally have more options, especially with the way the Triumvarate characters work. Speaking of which, those will be the next topic, as well as the Black Guardians.