Points of Power: Leadership, maneuverability (open space and celestial phenomenon), speed, advanced guns, advanced launch craft, amazing torpedoes, Holofields, better turrets, ability to remain stationary.
Weaknesses: Relatively fragile, less shields, relatively less guns and launch bays, less hits, twice the chance to take critical damage.
Synergy of Abilities: Eldar function much like a "glass cannon" fleet. They can dish out tons of damage but are fragile and can not handle damage back very well. Use your offense are your defense: kill off the most dangerous ships first and use your maneuverability to deny your own front arc as much as possible. Eldar are the kings of Alpha Strike.
Ships Using this Synergy: Pretty much all of them.
Successful Alpha Striking: Eldar of all types have the benefit of speed and maneuverability. Make sure you are careful about your facing and where the sun is. This is important for making future attack plans. Preparing the Alpha Strike starts before any of your ships are deployed on the board because deception can come into play and tricking your opponent into deploying in the best spot for your sun facing can really help. On the turn you are going to engage the enemy, you want to have your side arcs facing the sun so as to keep as far away from the enemy guns as possible and to maximize your Holofield benefits.
Angling Your Fleet: One important tactic to remember is that, when you attack, remember that most fleets have to move before they shoot you again. Your guns are almost always front facing and so you will need to have your front arc exposed to the enemy to fire on them. When Alpha Striking, make sure your turn ends in a way in which the enemy will be firing on your side arc after the move forwards, not your front. This will add to your defenses immensely. They will either have to make a Burn Retros special order to shoot your front art (with reduced battery power) or move forward, probably have to turn towards you, and be firing on your side (with reduced battery power). You will want to be close most of the time to make the best use of your weapon batteries. Make sure you plan in advance because, sometimes, you do not need to be within 15cm to make the best of your weapon batteries based on the chart. Then, it's preferable to be outside of 15cm but with 30cm (duh). Be careful about using Lock-On special orders to maximize damage. Your priority is to do damage but still survive the backlash. If you cannot Lock-On and keep the majority of your enemy on your abeam location (after their minimum movement), don't lock on and err on the side of caution. Yes, there is a chance you will do enough damage with Lock-On to mitigate the backlash, but don't count on it.
Protecting Your Escorts: I have found there to be a difficult decision here: Do you put your escorts or biggest ships closest to the enemy fleet (which usually means it takes more damage)? I personally think the escorts should be the closest. Why? Escorts naturally have a higher level of defense on the weapon battery scale and are more maneuverable and so, during the Alpha Strike, has the highest chance to be abeam to the enemy. Granted, lances will still be a problem. Another reason: if your escorts are closest, they will soak more lance shots which are partially wasting some of their anti-armor role on them. To shoot your non escorts, they will need to pass a leadership test to shoot past the closest ship/squadron and will probably allow for a Holofield save. This is the way to use some of the built in benefits of escorts to help protect your bigger ships.
Asteroid Camping: Eldar do not have a minimum move and do not need Burn Retros. This, combined with their Celestial Phenomenon special rules, makes them able to sit inside, just behind, right in front of asteroids. Just keep in mind that you do not need to move and you are able to keep your entire fleet stationary for a turn if it will benefit you. This can help you set up a nasty Alpha Strike and keep you protected up until you execute the order.
Limited Ordnance: Eldar ordnance is amazing. You can do staggering amount of damage with just ordnance. Yet, your Fighter/Bomber/Assault Boat levels will almost always be lower than your opponent's. However, your Fighters are "resilient," meaning that they may be able to intercept more than one enemy piece of ordnance. The problem arises when you are forced to use Fighters defensively, mostly while putting them on CAP; you will be able to play defense with less ships than your opponent can strike. Yes, your Fighters are resilient, but the enemy will have more options and can split their waves more. How to solve this? Ordnance superiority.
Basic Strategy: My recommendations are Alpha Strike and Ordnance Superiority. Because your limited but elite ordnance is a positive in offense and a negative in defense, you should make sure you intimidate your enemy with the amount of ordnance you have. Now, this may be difficult when battling Tyranids (with double ordnance capacity), Torpedo Imperial Navy (with lots of close ranged torpedo combat and launch bays), and Tau (who have massive amounts of long ranged torpedoes). You should put them on the defensive with how many Eldar torps and bombers you have. Other than that, you should have a nasty amount of guns. Eldar weapon batteries and nasty with their column shift and Pulsar lances are pure gold.
-Void Stalker: This is the big beast. This battleship is as durable as a Vengeance cruiser (plus Holofields) with much more maneuverability and firepower. It can reload both the torpedoes and launch craft in one special order, which is great. Also, its guns are not just forward facing, which can help with its limited turn radius. If you can lock on with a Void Stalker and catch a vessel while it is closing, you will do massive damage. Try a couple playtests with a Void Stalker shooting an Imperial or Chaos cruiser with different facings. Be careful with it. It is fragile for the points (as is the entire Eldar fleet). Personally, I try to take a Void Stalker whenever I can. I love it. In 1500pt games or less, you may not want to take one (though I sometimes do).
-Supernova: A cruiser with 5 (FIVE) Pulsar Lances? YES PLEASE. Slightly more durable than a Lunar (considering the extra turret, Holofields, and maneuverability, though no 6+ prow) but oh so much frontal firepower. The trick for this monster is to shoot something with shields down. That Emperor has its shields down and you happen to have your Supernova locked on to it? Watch the damage fly. I highly recommend this ship but restrict it to the largest games when you already have ordnance superiority. Keep it near something that has good gun damage output too. Shoot with the other group first to drop the shields, then Supernova it.
-Eclipse: Most look at the Eclipse as the mini Void Stalker. Same about of launch bays for the same price but much less firepower. This is a good way to get the Ordnance Superiority we need seeing as it is our primary carrier ship. Any time you have pulsars, I am happy. Keep it protected and only as close are you need to reach the enemy with damage when Alpha Striking. Your Bombers only flying 20cm means that, if you are going to "shotgun" them (meaning hit and enemy ship with them the turn you launch them), you will need to be within 20cm. You may not want to be that close unless you are sure you can be relatively protected from backlash fire the next turn. Your enemy, if he/she is smart, will want this ship dead. You will need to protect it heavily or the tides will turn against you quickly, especially in the ordnance department.
-Shadow: Torpedoes and a big battery. 12 Eldar weapon batteries are quite a powerful weapon. Compare this with 2 Nightshades and 3 Hemlocks. 12wbs & 4 torps vs 5wbs, 3 Pulsars, and 4 torps. It comes down to the Shadow having an extra shield, an extra hit, better armor, though easier to hit with batteries, less maneuverability, and less speed. Also, 7wbs vs 3 Pulsars. Personally, I like Shadows and take them often in larger games.
-Solaris: Compare the Solaris to 2 Aconites. Easier to fire on with batteries but has 45cm batteries with no column shift(!), the same armor, same turrets, 2 more hits, and 5 points more. Personally, I think they are worth it. They can make the best use of their Holofields based on their long range batteries and are the only thing other than the Void Stalker that has any gun over 30cm. Combine this with the fact that they are only 5cm slower in the first two bands of speed than our smaller escorts, this gives them the highest gun reach in our fleet by either 10cm or 15cm, depending on the speed band (and sun facing). I am highly considering using them more often.
-Aurora: People love these guys because they pack the two most powerful Eldar weapons. You can't go wrong with more pulsars and Eldar torpedoes are amazing. Keep these behind escort for some protection and join in the Alpha Strike. One thing to keep in mind is that it can sometimes be hard to place the Aurora in a protected position and in a place where it can fire its 4 torpedoes without hitting your own ships.
-Helebore: These guys are quite useful in the MMS rules, especially for Ordnance Superiority. They only have fighters? Use those fighters to take down enemy fighters on CAP before bombers or torpedoes hit. Yes, fighter do add to your ordnance superiority and obviously your defense also. I recommend using some of these (probably 2) in very small games for fighter protection. Also, don't forget that they so have some batteries and a pulsar each so they have lot to offer. Don't forget, you can take mines on these and, with their maneuverability and speed, you can use them effectively. I personally have not played around with mines, but I plan to.
-Aconite: I never run these alone but always with either Hemlocks or Nightshades to amplify their batteries. Putting them with Hemlocks is my primary use for them. 3 Hemlocks and 2 Aconites have a nasty amount of firepower. Keep them behind the Hemlocks in the squad because they are of higher value. Also, consider their higher armor in their positioning.
-Hemlock: This is the basic gun escort for the Corsairs. I don't leave home without some. Each one has a pulsar; that's saying something. I like groups of 3 with 2 Aconites to make an escort gun group
-Nightshade: Possibly one of the best ships in the game. It's like a Cobra with more speed, maneuverability, holofields, better turrets, better weapon battery, and much better torpedoes. Granted they are more points, but that's how things should be. I have used the in groups of 3 or 5-6 and am happy either way. Eldar torpedoes, remember, ignore shield, reroll to hit against enemy ships, and are rarely hit by turrets. Don't leave home without these.
Balance of offense. Make sure you are able to cause some good damage with torpedoes, good damage with batteries, pulsars, and bombers. Many will lean very heavily on torpedoes but I support more of a balance. Running 12 Nightshades for the torpedoes? That's 600pts with of 24(!) torpedoes and only 12 batteries. I will grant that eldar torpedoes can generally damage anything reasonably well but the highest armor enemies will require some pulsars. Also, whether you are running those 12 Nightshades in 2 or 4 squads, you will have a decent amount of reloading to do during the game (though with enhanced leadership). Be aware of how many reloads you will need to make during the game with your selected fleet. Personally, if I have a bunch of Nightshades and some Auroras (lots of torpedoes), I will take something like a squad of 3 Hemlocks and 2 Aconites for pulsars and batteries. Of course, to make the best use of your torpedoes, you will need Ordnance Superiority and therefore, you need launch craft. So, the usual foundation of my lists are the following:
1. Void Stalker and/or Eclipse (launch bays)
2. Nightshades and Auroras (torpedoes)
3. Hemlocks & Aconites and/or 1-2 Shadows and/or 1-2 Solaris (guns)
4. Once the first 3 are covered, I add whatever I want so long as I am not excluding any one gun type too much.
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