In the sense that Warhammer races parallel the earlier Warhammer Fantasy Battle game, the Eldar parallel the Elven race, the "Fantasy Eldar" being the High Elves. In Warhammer 40,000 the Eldar are divided into three distinct groups with their own distinct armies: the Craftworld Eldar, who are similar to the High Elves and the Dark Eldar, who are similar to the Dark Elves. The Exodites, who exist mainly in Warhammer 40,000 background material, are similar to the Wood Elves. The equivalences are only in very general thematic terms however, as the major details of the races' backgrounds differ greatly from their Fantasy counterparts. However this only applies to the 3rd edition of Warhammer 40k (The Codex is different in 3rd edition).
The Eldar mind is capable of a far deeper level of emotion and imagination than that of a human; therefore although they are capable of experiencing the greatest joys and creating the most beautiful pieces of art and music they are also capable of experiencing the deepest hate and ugliest depravities. These pursuits became more extreme and depraved as time went on. Torture and murder came to be seen as artforms every bit as worthy as music and drama. The Eldar were extremely long-lived, never suffered from senility or disease, and their superior intellect allowed them to perfect their skills to a degree far beyond that of even the most talented humans. The Eldar were able to devise cunning new ways of torturing and killing their fellows at rates never imagined.
Despite the prediction of the reclusive Eldar Seers that warned of impending doom if the Eldar did not change their ways, government within the Eldar Empire soon collapsed and the moral degeneration of their homeworlds and colonies continued unimpeded. As the pursuit of ever more extreme experiences reached its height, death reigned in the streets of Eldar cities, hunter and hunted each being part of a twisted ritual of destruction which consumed thousands. Some Eldar were able to see that their now-corrupt society was destroying itself, and fled in disgust; these refugees would settle in the distant colonies of their Empire, and would later be known as the Exodites.
Upon dying, the soul of the deceased traverse the bounds of the physical realm and go to rest within the warp. As more and more Eldar died, the souls began to somehow coalesce into a larger entity, a living representation of the corruption that had taken their lives. This collection of souls gained sentience sometime in the early 30th millennium, creating the being known as Slaanesh. Most of the remaining Eldar gods were destroyed by Slaanesh. Kaela Mensha Khaine attempted to combat the new being, but Khaine's form was shattered and exiled to the mortal realm in the form of great statues called "Avatars", which rest in the hearts of the various Craftworlds. The other Eldar gods to survive the Fall were the trickster god Cegorach (also called the Laughing God), who hid himself within the Webway, and Isha, whom was ripped from the jaws of Slaanesh by Nurgle, who now keeps her as a slave.
The Fall destroyed the Eldar Empire, leaving scattered bands of Eldar fighting for survival. Before the Fall, vast space-borne vessels called Craftworlds were constructed, enabling those wishing to escape the degeneration to flee. When the Fall occurred, the various Craftworlds rode out the pyschic shockwave, some being destroyed in the process. The Exodite worlds, far from the epicentre of the catastrophe, were largely untouched. In order to prevent the events of The Fall from ever recurring, the Eldar devised the Path system.
The Eldar are forever wary of falling into the same traps which led them to the Fall. In order to avoid slipping into such debauchery and wanton disregard for life and law, most Craftworld Eldar take an extremely focused view on life. Rather than dabbling in various skills and occupations, they will choose a single skill and dedicate themselves to mastering it. Upon doing so, they are then free to choose a new occupation. Their long lives mean that a single Eldar will often master several skills or Paths in the course of their life, pursuing each until they feel they have reached their potential and then choosing a new one.
This view of life is not without its pitfalls, however. Occasionally, an Eldar will suffer what is considered a great curse— the inability to leave their current Path. While these Eldar are respected as the foremost practitioners of their Path, they are also viewed with a great deal of pity, as they exhibit the same failings that brought about the Fall.
Eldar are known to pursue any task they set out to do with an intensity that makes human efforts pale in comparison. When an Eldar feels called to the path of the Warrior, he or she will join an Aspect Shrine, a cult of warriors who train themselves to embody some aspect of the Eldar War God Khaine or ancient Eldar myths and legends. All Craftworlds have some Aspect Shrines, although some, notably Biel-tan, have more than others and place a greater emphasis on the Path of the Warrior.
Each Aspect Shrine is led by an Exarch(s), an Eldar fallen to the curse of inability to leave the Path of the Warrior. These Exarchs are powerful warriors, doomed to die on the battlefield. Exarchs are the high priests and armourers of Khaine, living in and tending to the Aspect shrine. The first or founder of an Aspect Shrine is called a Phoenix Lord, since they are the original Exarchs of each respective discipline, and never truly "die", being reborn many times. When an Aspect warrior becomes an Exarch, they will don one of the ancient suits of Exarch armour that belong to that shrine, when they do the spiritstones of all the Exarch's before them (already in the armor) will merge with the spirit of the current user of the armor (in the same manner as with the Phoenix lords), giving them prowess and skill beyond their brethren. Each Exarch is an ancient hero, whose legend can continue in this manner.
Eldar joining the Path of the Warrior are terrified of losing themselves to their bloodlust, as such they create new personae that take over when they go to war, which separate their warrior and civilian lives so that they can freely live as a warrior without fear of losing themselves to madness. The only exception is the Exarch, who are warriors until death, their only impulse being to wage war. This has serious consequences, since all other feelings and desires are subordinated to that one desire.
Once an Eldar warrior finishes his time as an Aspect Warrior, they move on to other occupations, as per the convention of the Eldar Path. Since the population of the Eldar race is low, all Eldar are expected to serve if called to fight. Thus, if the Craftworld subsequently goes to war, these former Aspects will frequently be called upon to serve as Guardians, a type of militia serving to defend the Craftworld. Every civilian in an Eldar populace can bear arms, whatever their discipline, to boost the less numerous Aspect Warriors.
Here are some of the most common Aspects. The list is by no means exhaustive, but these are the most common ones, which are seen in more than one or two Craftworlds. The Phoenix Lords are not known for every Aspect; however, since each Aspect Shrine is founded by one, it is not unreasonable to believe that there is (or was) a Phoenix Lord for every Aspect.
The Dire Avengers are the oldest and most numerous of the Aspects Warriors, and embody a more traditional view of war. They embody Khaine as the noble warrior. They take to the battlefield as well-rounded infantry, armed with the traditional weapons of the Eldar, the shuriken catapult, although they are improved, with a greater range than conventional models. The Dire Avenger Exarch is able to equip a Diresword and Shuriken Pistol in exchange for his standard wargear, or a Shimmershield and power weapon for additional close combat defence. The Phoenix Lord of the Dire Avengers is Asurmen, the Hand of Asur. He was the first of the Phoenix Lords; it was he who instructed all the other founding Phoenix Lords in the skills of combat. Dire Avengers are mostly used as the core unit of an Eldar army. With shuriken weapons and the Blade Storm ability, Dire Avengers excel at taking down large hordes of lightly armored infantry, although the sheer number of shots they can fire make them effective against any kind of infantry, they are also an effective counter assault unit with the defend ability and a shimmershield. It is rare to see an Eldar warhost without a core of these noble warriors at its heart.
The Dark Reapers represent Khaine in his aspect as a destroyer, callously striking down foes from afar. They specialize in long range fire-power. In battle they appear as menacing, black armoured troops wielding rapid-firing miniature missile launchers called "reaper launchers", which they use to destroy great numbers of enemy infantry. Dark reapers excel at taking down large numbers of heavily armoured infantry. The Dark Reaper Exarch can also be equipped with a Missile Launcher or a Tempest Launcher, as well. The Phoenix Lord of the Dark Reapers is Maugan Ra, the Harvester of Souls, who comes from the Altansar Craftworld, which he helped to escape from inside the Eye of Terror during Abaddon's 13th Black Crusade. Maugan Ra teaches that the mightiest weapon can be wielded with the precision of a scalpel.
The Fire Dragons, named after their mystic serpents of lore, embody the fiery wrath of Khaine, and as such, generally wear red or orange armor, and wield short-ranged, heat-based weaponry known as 'fusion guns' (similar to the Imperium's Melta Guns, although more refined and stable). Their weapons and training allow them to focus on destroying enemy tanks and heavily-armored infantry. Fire Dragons are aggressive and destructive, seeking nothing less than the total annihilation of their foes. The Exarch can be armed with a powerful Dragon's Breath flamer, which lets them deal with hordes of lighter infantry as well. The Exarch can also be equipped with a Fire Pike, a longer-ranged fusion (melta) weapon. It is said that when the battle lust is upon them, Exarchs generate their own corona of flame around themselves. The Phoenix Lord of the Fire Dragons is Fuegan, The Burning Lance.
The Howling Banshees are a corps of generally female Eldar warriors who embody spirits from Eldar legend, and are meant to bring swift death to their foes. It is said that the Crone Goddess, Morai-Heg, sent her daughters to haunt Khaine, until he performed a deed for her. Upon completion of said deed, Morai-Heg granted Khaine the Aspect of the Banshee. They are famous for wearing warmasks which emit piercing psychically-charged shrieks as the warriors attack; these shrieks disorient the Banshees' victims, making them easier to slay. Banshees specialize in mobility (at the expense of durability), and use power weapons, which can easily carve through heavy armor, even Terminator armor. The Banshee Exarch is even more deadly with Mirrorblades or the powerful Executioner. The Phoenix Lord of the Howling Banshees is Jain Zar, the Storm of Silence. Jain Zar is the most devoted to her Shrines out of the Phoenix Lords, and the Banshees maintain an eternal vigil for their deadly mistress.
The relatively rare Shining Spears embody the Spear of Khaine, an invincible weapon wielded by the god of war, said to be able to kill any foe with a single blow. They are unique in that they are the only major Aspect to ride sleek jetbikes— essentially incredibly fast motorcycle-like vehicles which hover just above the ground by using technology similar to the Grav tanks. They also wield specially designed lances, known as Laser Lances, which are able to shoot powerful short-ranged lasers. In this way, they are meant to operate in a manner similar to heavy medieval cavalry, like knights, in a manner similar to the duelling Dragon Knights of the Exodite worlds. At this time, there is no known Phoenix Lord for the Shining Spears.
The Striking Scorpions are another close combat Aspect, representing a more hard-hitting, durable side of hand to hand combat. They are slower than Howling Banshees, but are stronger and wear heavier armor, similar to that of a space marine. Also, rather than wearing the disorienting masks like the Banshees, the Scorpions wear head-mounted guns called 'mandi-blasters'; having them head-mounted frees up the warrior's hands for other close combat weapons, most notably a chainsword, although the Exarch often uses a Scorpion's Claw, a Biting Blade or dual chainsabres. Tactically, they specialize in ambush and overwhelming more numerous enemy light infantry rather than quickly slicing through heavily-armored infantry as Banshees do. This focus on surprise attacks has emphasized stealth as well as great prowess at close quarters; their training ensures a superhuman ability to creep around obstacles and through difficult terrain, blending to the shadows before falling on an unsuspecting foe like the wrath of Khaine.
The Phoenix Lord of the Striking Scorpions is Karandras, the Shadow Hunter. However, it should be noted that Karandras is not the original Phoenix Lord. The original was named Arhra, Father of Scorpions, and is the only Phoenix Lord to leave the Eldar and his Shrine completely. Many theories link him with the mysterious "Dark Father" of the Incubi, a Dark Eldar warrior cult who bear many similarities to the Striking Scorpions. Arhra was said to have 'turned to the Shadows away from the light', also "the fallen phoenix, who burns with the dark light of chaos", and is known to have fled into the Webway (where the Dark Eldar dwell) after going berserk and destroying his first Aspect shrine. It's also heavily implied in Codex: Dark Eldar that the Incubi are "fallen" Striking Scorpions, drawn from Exarch Koradhil's comments when he encounters a squad of those warriors. Karandras has tempered the murderous nature of his predecessor with that of the patient hunter, being supernaturally stealthy, even more so than his disciples. His signature weapon is The Scorpions Bite, a set of mandiblasters many times more powerful than the standard set.
The Swooping Hawks are a highly mobile aspect, representing the hawks from Eldar legend, who would hover above murderers as a sign of guilt. They wear complex sets of wings made from many hundreds of vibrating plates which allow them to enter the battlefield at critical points and lend firepower support. Like the Banshees, the Hawks sacrifice durability for greater mobility. Their lasblasters make them excellent harassment units against light infantry (such as Imperial Guard or Orks). Also of note, they wield cleverly designed grenade launchers on their legs, which allow them to bomb enemy units as they fly into the battle. The swooping hawks are also equipped with haywire grenades which are very effective at disabling any vehicle making swooping hawks a great anti-armour choice as well. The Phoenix Lord of the Swooping Hawks is known as Baharroth, The Cry of the Wind. Baharroth is the most youthful of the Phoenix Lords, and is a brother to Maugan Ra, as the sun is to the moon.
The Warp Spiders are modeled after the tiny spiders which guard the Infinity Circuit. These spiders have the ability to teleport anywhere inside the wraithbone structure, and use this ability to hunt down and repel any daemonic entities which attempt to infiltrate the Circuit, much like an immune system. The Warp Spiders operate similarly, epitomizing the doctrine of aggressive defense; they wear suits of heavy armor which incorporate a warp jump generator that allows them to teleport across the battlefield, appearing without warning to strike and then teleport away before the enemy can respond. Using their warp-jump technology is risky as Eldar using them can be claimed by the warp itself. As a precaution for this, their armor also have warp-resistant spells cast on them. Because they risk not only their lives, but their souls, Warp spiders are considered to be the bravest of aspect warriors. In battle, they wield short-ranged weapons called "Deathspinners", which are able to easily slay enemy infantry, especially those who wear little or no armor because the Deathspinners fire clouds of monofilament wires, which decompress, and shred flesh but are easily withstood by armor. Warp Spider Exarchs have some anti-armour ability, being able to take powerblades that slice through flesh and armour with ease, and also the mighty spinneret rifle, a gun that shoots a rigid strand of monofilament that punches through armour and uncoils in the target. Alternatively, they can take two deathspinners, mounted on their backpack, freeing their hands. At this time, there is no known Phoenix Lord for the Warp Spiders. It is rumored that the Lhykosidae is the Phoenix Lord of the Warp Spiders, but there is no proof of this.
The Autarch (the path of command) is a very demanding path. To become an Autarch, an Eldar needs to travel multiple Paths of the Warrior, and still be able to retain themselves from getting lost on the path and becoming an Exarch. The Autarchs of a craftworld are the commanders of their armies, the military foils to the Farseers' wisdom. They are able to use a wide variety of wargear, reflective of his or her experience with all aspects of warfare. They can use almost any piece of weaponry that the other aspects can, although not artifacts exclusive to the Exarchs.
The Autarch originally appeared in the Specialist Game Epic Armageddon with a slightly different background. The Epic description of the Autarch states that the Autarch followed the Path of the Warrior and was lost on it, becoming an Exarch. However, unlike most Exarchs who stay within their given shrine or aspect (Dire Avenger, Shining Spear, etc...), the Autarch traveled from aspect to aspect, becoming an Exarch in many different shrines. This background was ret-conned with the release of the 4th Edition Codex: Eldar in 2006.
Autarchs are second only to Phoenix Lords in terms of skill and reflexes; from directing the Eldar warhost to duelling with enemy commanders, Autarchs have the skill and wargear to cover multiple requirements. While not as strong as some other enemy commanders in hand to hand, their melee might should not be overlooked.
Autarchs co-ordinate the Eldar warhost with the skill and precision of a conductor conducting a symphony. The Autarchs are obsessed with the Path of Command, having a wide area of expertise and greater understanding of the entirety of the theater of war, that an Exarch, focused upon one facet of war, could ever hope to achieve.
The role of the Seers is to look into the future and discern the best path for the Eldar to take. This is done through the casting of runestones, fragments of Wraithbone, and other psychosensitive materials that react to the convoluted, probabilistic skeins of space-time. By reading the throw of these stones, the Seers can often determine what will be the most beneficial course of action, although it is rare that they can discern true results very far into the future. On occasion a powerful Seer will receive a portent of some calamitous event and be able to steer the Eldar away from disaster and doom. With so few Eldar remaining, the Seers attempt to preserve every Eldar life they can.
However, this ability to see the future and react upon what is seen has caused the Eldar to be distrusted by other races. Occasionally, a Seer will see that by attacking a certain world, fleet, or base, Eldar lives will be somehow saved from a future event; Eldar forces will then suddenly attack unannounced, and quickly withdraw as soon as their goal has been accomplished. This, along with the Eldar tendency to view all other races as inferior, has led other races to deem them as fickle, aloof, and untrustworthy. Also, the most powerful Farseers have even shown the ability to steer future events so that other races fight each other rather than the Eldar— one of the greatest examples being when the famed Farseer Eldrad Ulthran of Ulthwé (a Craftworld which places greater emphasis on the Path of the Seer) secretly facilitated the rise of an obscure Ork warlord named Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka, who would eventually become a significant enemy of the Imperium of Man.
The Farseers lead in times of war as well as peace. On the battlefield their powers of precognition allow them to foresee the enemy's attacks and movements and warn their comrades against imminent changes on the field of battle. While less capable of foreseeing events in such harried conditions, the Warlocks, especially those who have already tread the Path of an Aspect Warrior, will often serve as officers in battle, leading units of other Eldar, and helping to coordinate the overall battle, as well as to lend support by utilizing their considerable psychic powers.
As many Farseers age however, their bodies slowly turn to a form of psychically active crystal, a transformation caused by their constant exposure to the chaotic energies of the Warp. When the time has come, they will go to the Dome of the Crystal Seers and join the crystalline bodies of the Farseers that came before them.
In times of peace, rare as they may be for the Eldar, Farseers serve as political leaders, using their predictive abilities to guide the day-to-day activities of their Craftworlds in order to safeguard their racial survival.
While the Seer and the Warrior are two of the most visible Paths, there are hundreds of others. Many Eldar will choose the study of an instrument or art form as their Path, while others might devote themselves to the development of a science or the refinement of some technology. These Paths, while equally important to the survival of the Eldar, tend to be far more varied and far less consuming than the Seer and the Warrior. Notable among the other Paths is that of the Bonesinger; the title given to those that maintain and repair the psycho-active wraithbone components of the Eldar worlds. Also notable is the Path of the Mariner, the Path followed by those who devote themselves to crewing spacecraft.
By far the most common of the paths among the Eldar, though, is the Path of the Artisan. Whether it be crafting works of art or composing plays or symphonies all Eldar love the arts and the path of the artisan is walked by almost all Eldar at some point in their lives.
The Dark Eldar are a Kindred of the Eldar that revel in piracy, enslavement and torture, and are sadistic in the extreme. They are the remnants of the pleasure cultists that brought about the birth of Slaanesh, and believe that killing "lesser" races can forestall the effect of Slaanesh on their souls. They use the Webway to traverse the galaxy safely and far more quickly than most races are able to with their Warp jumps, launching raids against other species. Their entire philosophy can be summed up in, "better you than me".
Although no Exodite models exist (the group appearing only in the 40k background information), a number of players have converted their own Exodite armies.
Eldrad perished during the Eye of Terror campaign, when he was caught upon a Blackstone Fortress, or Talisman of Vaul, that he was trying to stop from destroying the Imperial world of Cadia. As he attempted to commune with the spirit of the Fortress, the Farseer learned it had been corrupted, and not by any random power. The machine had been corrupted by Slaanesh. Eldrad desperately tried to disengage, but his efforts came too late: his soul was dragged screaming into the Talisman's corrupted core for all eternity. The Talisman's current whereabouts are unknown but is likely to be somewhere in the warp.
The new Codex: Eldar (November 2006) features Eldrad as a historical special character. His background material, however, ends with a flicker of hope. It states that after Eldrad's soul was lost most but not all of the waystones, into which he had divided his consciousness before handing to his commanders, became lifeless and dull. So long as one stone retains its spark, Eldrad's soul endures.
He and his fleet saved Iyanden at its time of greatest need, at the height of the Tyranid invasion by the Hive Fleet Kraken. As the Craftworld was about to fall, Yriel and his Eldritch Raiders blew a sizeable hole in the Tyranid's fleet and reinforced Iyanden's forces. Yriel himself slew the leader of the hordes, a supposedly invincible creature, with the Spear of Twilight, a cursed artifact that contains the power of a Supernova. Yriel was then instated as an Autarch of Iyanden, and is currently searching for a way to restore his craftworld to glory before the spear kills him.
Yriel first appeared in early first edition as the "self-styled 'Lord Prince Yriel,'" where it is mentioned that Imperium fostered rivalries between Yriel and other pirate companies resulted in factional fighting; his conquest and absorption of two of these rival groups (Xian's Black Raiders and the Scarlet Command) making him the single most powerful Eldar pirate operating in the galaxy.
The spear's curse operates by draining Yriel's energy, which is represented by him taking a wound at the end of each battle he fights in, his forceshield allaying the worst effects of the weapon. The spear is a singing spear, the psychic weapons used by Eldar Warlocks, and each wound is able to ignore the armour saves of its enemies.
The Phoenix Lords are effectively immortal, when the occupant of the battlesuit dies their place is taken by another but their personality forms part of the developed personality of the armour which includes all the previous occupants.
Asurmen was the first Phoenix Lord. His name means 'the hand of Asuryan', and his children were the Asurya. 'Asur' means 'light' in the Eldar language. Following the fall of the Eldar, Asurmen founded the first of the aspect shrines, the "Dire Avengers". He travelled the craftworlds, teaching those Eldar who wanted to learn. The greatest of his students went on to found their own aspect shrines and became Phoenix Lords themselves. His ancient armour has vambraces with integrated shuriken catapults. He carries the first "Diresword", called the "Sword of Asur", which contains the soul of his long-dead brother, Tethesis, who was killed by a daemon.
Maugan Ra is a Phoenix Lord from the lost Craftworld Altansar, which was sucked into the Eye of Terror after being just on the edge of it for centuries. After it succumbed to the massive warp storm, Maugan Ra was the only one to emerge from the Eye of Terror, wielding the Maugetar. His armour and weapon were a tortured black color. He played significant roles in the defence of Craftworld Iyanden from the Tyranid invasion and during the Eye of Terror campaign. In the 13th Crusade of Abbadon, Maugan Ra, along with several Dark Reaper Exarchs, returned to aid the Ulthwe Strikeforce against the forces of Chaos. It has been learned that during this time, Maugan Ra was successful in finding his long-lost Craftworld and helping it and its inhabitants escape the Eye of Terror. Unfortunately, many Eldar from other Craftworlds view the survivors of Altansar with suspicion after being immersed for millennia within the Eye.
Maugan Ra wields the Maugetar (lit. Harvester), a shuriken cannon with a executioner attachment, and wears a suit of armour of his now destroyed temple, morbidly decorated with skulls and bone shapes. His aspect, the Dark Reapers, use long range, rapid-fire missile launchers to attack those who oppose the Eldar.
The immortal Maugan Ra has fought countless battles throughout the centuries, and died and been reborn many times. He no longer requires a physical body within his armour. He came to the aid of the craftworld Iyanden, along with a bodyguard of one hundred Dark Reapers, who played a large role in the defense of the craftworld during the Tyranid invasion. More recently Maugan Ra contributed greatly to the Eye of Terror campaign, joining with the craftworld Ulthwé and creating the infamous Strike forces to stem the tide of chaos. It was Maugan Ra's determination to save the craftworld Altansar from the Eye of Terror that enabled the Eldar to rediscover the long lost craftworld and its people. Still more recently, Maugan Ra successfully battled to defend his species from what the Imperium named the Kith Campaign. However, his valiant efforts were not mirrored elsewhere, and the Eldar suffered greatly at the imperium's hands.
Legend has it that Slaanesh and The Bloody-handed God fought a titanic battle in the warp. Despite Khaine's divine might and mastery of war, Slaanesh, glutted on the power of the gods, eventually proved the stronger.
Exhausted from the battle, Slaanesh was unable to destroy Khaine completely. Instead, Khaine was rent into many pieces and driven from the warp forever. Each fragment eventually came to rest inside the wraithbone core of each craftworld, where they took root and grew into an Avatar, which under a sacrifice can be summoned to serve its craftworld in war. The Avatar carries "the wailing doom," a mighty sword that is said to be one of the 99 swords of Vaul.
Of all the armies in Warhammer 40,000 the Eldar stands apart as capable of fielding incredibly large numbers of specialists. Most Eldar warriors are spectacular when performing in one particular area of expertise but largely ineffective when used in another role. For example, Dark Reapers easily destroy heavy infantry, like Space Marines, but are mostly ineffectual against numerous light infantry, like Guardsmen. However, those self same guardsman could be torn apart by a squad of Striking Scorpions. If there is a battlefield niche, the Eldar have a unit that fills it. Effective play, then, requires above all else proper deployment and target selection for the various forces, as well as concerted efforts from all forces used together effectively. A good example is that of an assault on a transport vehicle. An effective method of doing this would be to use Fire Dragons (short-range tank hunters) to destroy it easily, then attack the survivors with another squad (or in some cases, such as a unit of very heavily-armoured Space Marine Terminators in a Land Raider, the same Fire Dragon squad), depending on the traits of the infantry emerging. A successful Eldar player must make sure it all evens out. To get the most out of an Eldar force every unit has to be used to their full ability. An interesting note is that Eldar weaponry does not overheat. In other words, it could fire for eternity with no penalty to its wielder.
With the advent of the newest update the Harlequins, an offshoot of the Eldar main army that hasn't been tournament-legal for two editions, make a return. They can now be fielded as a part of normal Eldar armies. Additionally, jet bikes, which are a signature Eldar unit, are moved to troops allowing a quicker playing style for Eldar. Many units such as Dire Avengers, Fire Prisms and War Walkers have had their rules refurbished making them more combat effective.
The old 3rd edition rules for different Eldar factions ("Codex: Craftworld Eldar") are no longer tournament-legal. However, some vestiges of the older rules can be seen in the new fourth edition Eldar codex (i.e. full squads of Wraithguard may be fielded as Troops in a nod to Iyanden players, and Jetbikes becoming Troop choices like the old Saim-Hann list).
†Cassern S Goto, Eldar Prophecy (Warhammer 40,000 Novels (Paperback)). Nottingham: Games Workshop.
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