So to begin the EPIC Eldar review I want to take a look at the Eldar army’s two special rules. Now it is pretty hard to overstate just how important thse two rules are to playing the army – honestly, if you forget about them, or find yourself never using them, then you are playing the army at half-strength. These rules ARE the the Eldar army. The one I want to look at today is the Farsight special rule.
So, if we split this up into its two parts we can begin to see how this is a very powerful rule for the Eldar army. The first half, allowing you to retain without penalty when using a formation with a unit with the Farsight rule in it, is a big deal. It removes the penalty that you normally have to take when using the very powerful retain action – this means that you remove any extra risk when choosing to retain, which in turn allows you to either maneuvre twice, or to launch devastating combined assualts by prepping (laying blastmarkers on them by firing at them) and then engaging an enemy formation which is now at a disadvantage in the ensuing combat (-1 for having blastmarkers, and possible -1 for having more blastmarkers than your assualting formation).
Now there are only two units in the army that have the Farsight special rule – Farseer stands, included as characters in Guardian formations, and the Warlcok Titan. These play pretty wildly different roles in the army, and we will look at the way they work in more detail on their own posts, but both serve very well as the engaging formation, being big and tough enough to take on opposing formations as the second activation of a retain and win.
The second part of the special rule magnifies this focus on maneuvre, mobility, and the concentration of force. What it does is allow the Eldar player to retain the initiative twice in a row, once a turn. This means the Eldar player can perform three actions, in a row, with the opponent able to do nothing about it. That is huge! By now we should all know the importance of the classic EPIC maneuvre of moving a unit up within firefight range, prepping the opposing formation by firing on it, then retaining with a second formation to engage the prepped formation. This allows you to concentrate your force (two formations against one) and stack the odds in your favour (supporting fire and blastmarkers).
The other important thing to notice is that the two rules combine – that means that if the third activation chosen by the Eldar player is a formation that includes a model with the Farsight rule, then it does not take the penalty for attempting to retain. So lets think this through:
Activation 1: 1+ activation Dire Avengers in Wave Serpent double up to within 15cm of an enemy formation and the Wave serpents shoot at it, laying two blastmarkers.
Activation 2: 2+ activation (as it contains a Farseer) Guardian formation in Wave Serpents engages the enemy formation, with the Dire Avengers in support. With the 16 4+ FF attacks in supprt and being 2 up in combat resolution from the blastmarkers on their opponet, the Guardians are VERY likely to win. Using their Hit and Run special rule (to come!) they mount up and move a full 35cm to position themselves behind another enemy formation.
Activation 3: 1+ activation (due to farsight rule) of a Warlock Titan to engage the second enemy formation, with Guardians in Wave Serpents in supprt and providing cross fire. This will mince pretty much anything.
Now obviously these formations etc can be different, and the enemy is unlikely to play ball quite so much with you. However, hopefully it demonstrates the massive potential of the Eldar “triple retain” and the way in which this can totally change the face of a game for very little risk. With Eldar formations being a mix of 1+ and 2+ activations, you can chain together a number of very powerful actions with very little risk of failure.
So, yes, Farsight is vitally important rule for playing the Eldar army in EPIC and one of the ways I think the Eldar army really plays as it should – fast, reliable, maneuvreable, but delicate and precise. This feeling of “playing like the fluff” is something I really appreciate in EPIC and although other armies have that feel (space marines being incredibly elite. for example, or Orks being an unruly horde) none have it to the exent of the Eldar list.