Eldar have been my favourite faction in Warhammer 40K. I played Eldar all throughout the heyday of the 40K CCG, and during that time, one of my close friends played Chaos. Every day for a year I played against Chaos, and in the process I damned near tore my hair out. If you know anything about Chaos and its unrelenting reactions, die roll reductions, and infiltrations, you’ll know that playing against Chaos is…a test of patience, to put it lightly.
Over time, I realized that an Eldar deck overly reliant on synergy would quickly fall apart against Chaos. I initially loved support units like Erichnia (firepower bonuses) and Khainazahil (dice rolling bonuses), but lamented the fact that with 1/2/1 statlines, they could do nothing on their own. Against Chaos, I wanted units that could pose a threat on their own, and build deck synergies on top of them.
Unfortunately, many of the best Eldar units in the game are rares, and by some forgotten feat (probably online trading) I was able to acquire all the cards I needed for my Eldar deck. I call my deck Eldar All-Stars, but in reality it’s Eldar Pay to Win. But I know that many of the cards in this deck will be forgotten over time, so this deck tech is to share what Eldar are truly capable of.
First: a bit about the Eldar fleet card. A lot of times you will be cursing the abysmally low First Wave number. In the majority of games, this is the main disadvantage you are struggling to overcome. That’s why I think it’s so important to play the long game and avoid rushing to take sectors in the first turn. You can’t afford to lose units early on, and you will get exponentially stronger over time.
Recycling your command hand will also be crucial to keeping your units alive in the early game, and sending them to the sectors where they are needed. You’ll mainly do this through BAs that move units, or BAs that lock down enemy units.
Earlier sets such as Pandora Prime (PP) laid the foundation for the traditional Eldar playstyle: shoot and move, take advantage of infiltration and movement to overcome numerical disadvantages and dictate the terms of battle.
Lockesis – A common and a lynchpin of Eldar movement strategies. Opponents should and will try to kill this unit on sight. Left unchecked, Lockesis will let you redistribute your army at will.
Kaura – Another common with above-average stats that punishes opposing infiltration strategies. Even better, you can trigger Kaura yourself with your own infiltrating and sector movement!
Jetbike Squad Asurilyn – A unit that repeatedly punishes opposing assault units while serving as a blocker in a pinch.
Vyper Squad Tueren – Arguably one of the best shooting units in the game, with a movement reaction and a unit-locking CL. Is your opponent trying to sneak a sector away from you? Deploy Tueren, kill a flag and run away!
Jainan – As an honourary Avatar, Jainan’s assault ability is on a power level you can’t ignore. The negative CL means running more than 2 can be risky, but you do you have the Eldar fleet ability to help mitigate that risk.
Morlenn – Although it’s a weak Guardian unit, Morlenn overcomes that weakness by serving a variety of roles. It can assault, but more importantly, can dissuade opposing assault units merely by existing, from Stompas to Greater Daemons. Morlenn is essentially the Royal Assassin of 40K CCG. Its CL also ranges from convenient to devastating.
Morgaan – A Warp Spider unit that checks a lot of boxes out of what you want from a unit. High die roll, speed, armor, and assault, with a movement BA built in. Its CL can be quite situational and can require some setup, and some sectors that prevent extra BAs can cancel its movement ability, but Morgaan is a solid unit.
These units, as great as they are, just weren’t enough for my taste. The final set of the 40K CCG, Siege of Malogrim Hive, brought an arsenal of units that amped up the power level of Eldar to insane heights.
Avatar of Khaine – Craftworld Biel-Tan – The last Avatar to be printed is also one of the strongest while maintaining some semblance of balance. At minimum you will destroy 2 units, with the ability to nullify more. The CL is also absurd for redistributing your army across an entire planet.
Asurmen, the Hand of Asuryan – A massive improvement compared to his original PP iteration, Asurmen is a shooting monster with Space Marine stats that can make your all your shooting units – including himself – unblockable. The ability to infiltrate him on a 3+ as a flag unit is also invaluable.
Karandras, Shadow Hunter – Despite being a non-flag unit, the new Karandras infiltrates with no test required, comes with counterattack and a high assault value, and can mop up a sector if your opponent lets him. Extremely versatile unit.
Farseer Bilgaedrin – I covered Farseer Bill in a previous SCD, but the TL:DR is that he solves all of your dice rolling issues, while granting Chaos-like debuffs to your opponent. Well worth the character slot.
Eldrad Ulthran, the First of Ulthwe – Another revamped character from PP, Eldrad lives up to his name as a deadly assault unit that can fix your dice rolling, with a CL that (again) locks down opposing units.
Endym’Tor, Black Library Guardians – This unit was made to hate on Chaos, and it is amazing at what it does. For every Chaos reaction that lets them infiltrate or rally a unit, Endym’Tor charges and punishes them for it with a hefty assault value of 5 – perfect for killing Greater Daemons. Plus, the CL is a second copy of Morlenn’s for Chaos units – absolutely devastating.
Death Jesters – An awesome shooting unit especially when paired with Asurmen, these guys will troll your opponent’s shooters while threatening to kill multiple units at a sector.
As you can see, all of the above MH cards are rares. In my opinion, this set truly pushed Eldar over the top. I don’t know if they’re the strongest faction, but I think they have game against most opponents.
Miscellaneous card choices:
Planetary Defense Cannons are a concession to Orks and other races that rely on extra BAs, as we run very few extra BA cards. In addition, they’re a 6-die card, a flag that is hard to remove, and can add an extra unit to the board if it survives the battle. Drathachal is a flex slot that adds some shooting support. Evanaeroth is similarly a flex slot with a very potent CL to straight up remove a unit on a 3+.
In the first turn, keep as many units alive as possible while disrupting the opponent. Assemble unit combinations where you can (e.g., Kaura and Lockesis). Provide high speed units as blocking support to protect your more fragile units. If you have multiple movement units (Tueren, Morgaan) in your hand, consider dogpiling one sector to throw off your opponent’s deployments, or conversely, spreading them out to harass your opponent.
Keep units alive on the table to assemble combos throughout the game. There are as many as 12 unit-locking CLs in the deck, so rely on them to disrupt your opponent’s units early and often. As you build your forces over turn 2 and 3, you will amass large enough armies to crush opponents and move the remnants to remaining sectors, creating a snowball effect that will overwhelm them.
With strong reactions, shooting, assault, die manipulation and sector movement, I believe this deck can hang with the best of them. Then again, with 40 rares in the deck, it probably should!