Welcome to Top Warhammer 40K Lists, where we take a look at three lists for a given faction and break down what makes them tick and how they fared. Every entry will be pulled from a recent GT, and we’ll be going over everything from who played the army to how likely the army in question is likely to continue to perform as the game evolves.
Today, we’ll be looking at Aeldari. Aeldari have been a mainstay in competitive 40K for most of 8th Edition, as they combine very powerful psychic synergy from Craftworlds with the flexibility of Drukhari and mobility of Harlequins. They’re a high finesse faction with a strong floor on how well the army can perform. Without further ado, let’s dig in!.
First up, we have Tony Grippando with a solid 4-1 finish at the Circle City GT. He took 4th place as part of Team Happy. Happy had a very strong showing at this event, as they took 1st, 3rd, 4th,and 5th out of the 51 man event. Let’s look at his list!
Tony took 2 Airwing’s and a Battalion. The 6 planes give him unparalleled control over the board due to their incredible mobility and the fact they generally can’t be charged. They’re all at -1 to hit due to being Airborne, and the Craftworld planes are usually at a -2 thanks to Alatoic. In addition, by boxing in the rest of his list with the planes in deployment, he actually becomes unchargeable. Even in the post FAQ world where you can move over the planes bases, you still can’t charge him because you can’t physically put your bases down since the planes are in the way.
This gives him a huge amount of tactical flexibility, and each plane brings something to the table. The Crimson Hunters are dedicated big game hunters, the Hemlock provides easy and consistent access to Jinx along with 2 D-Scythes, the Razorwings can engage with most targets in the game profitably thanks to their flexible selection of Missiles and Disintegrator Cannons, and finally the Voidraven brings some Void Lances to help out against Knights and other large targets while also bringing a once per game bomb to dump a bunch of Mortal Wounds on a unit.
This set of planes cleanly covers him against most bigger models in the game, but leaves him rather weak against hordes. This is where his Battalion comes in. He has some HQ’s to cover the rest of his Psychic Powers, namely Guide and Doom, some Rangers for objective play, and finally a large unit of Shining Spears and a large unit of Windriders. The Spears and Windriders bring a ton of bullets to the table. Each Windrider makes 4 Strength 6 AP0 shots, and each Shining Spear makes 4 Strength 4 AP0 shots with a chance to become AP-3. The Spears are also very respectable in melee as they are making Strength 6 AP-4 Damage 2 attacks in melee.
Where this list gets pushed to the max is it’s psychic support and Ynnari abilities. Guide, Doom, and Jinx combine to ensure any target dies, as it’s an army wide re-roll to hit and wound against that unit along with reducing their save rolls by 1. Because the bikes are Ynnari, when units near them die they get bonus actions. These two factors combine to push the army completely over the top. It should be noted that these powers and Ynnari have seen large changes in the most recent FAQ, but these options still have plenty of game.
Next, we have Carter Leach who took a respectable 4-1 finish at the Armageddon Series GT. He took 4th out of 41 people, which is a very strong finish. Let’s see what tools he used to get himself there.
Carter’s list is actually very similar to our last list, so his recap will be brief. We’re just going to look at what new elements he brings to the table. To start, he has a Ulthwe Battalion with some interesting tech in it. For starters, he has Eldrad for some powerful psychic powers. Eldrad knows and casts 3 powers, and every power he casts after the 1st gets +1 to cast. Coupled with the usual Farseer ability to re-roll one Psychic Test a turn, you’re all but guaranteed to successfully cast all of your powers.
He also has a Guardian Bomb. This large blob of Guardians drops in and spits a ton of Shuriken Fire, and when combined with Guide/Doom/Jinx, whatever they shoot dies. On defense, the unit is very difficult for some armies to handle. The regular Guardians only have a 5+ save, but the Weapon Platforms have a 3+. If the unit drops into cover (which it basically always does), that moves up to a 4+ or 2+ save. Normally, small arms kills Guardians easily, but with a 2+ they can soak a lot of small arms and pass off more damaging weapons to regular Guardians. As long as a Weapon Platform isn’t injured, he can play a sort of “musical wounds” game with attacks on the unit by choosing who takes what save.
He also has a large unit of Wraithblades. Wraithblades are a total lawnmower of a unit, since they make 3 attacks each, 4 on the charge, at Strength 6 AP-3 Damage 1. Combine it with the psychic powers we previously mentioned, and they’ll kill most units dead if they make the charge. They’re also fairly durable at Toughness 6, 3 Wounds, and a 3+ save. Finally, Carter brings two Hemlocks and two Phoenix’s for his planes. The Phoenix’s fill a similar role to the Crimson Hunters in the previous list, but these bad boys have a whopping 16 Wounds, which is very high for a Flyer. Overall, Carter’s list hits on a fairly similar note that Tony’s list did, although interestingly Carter’s is pure Craftworlds while Tony’s is a mix of Ynnari, Aeldari, and Drukhari.
Let’s move on to our last list of the day. We have Raymond Ahumada with a very respectable second place finish out of 49 people. He went undefeated and lost to his teammate Geoff Robinson by literally 1 point, as Geoff scored a total of 159 points over his games to Raymond’s 158. Talk about a close event! Let’s look at his list.
Raymond’s list is a little different than the other lists we’ve looked at today, as his doesn’t rely on any Flyers. Instead, he has 4 Wave Serpents for the bulk of his mobile firepower. Wave Serpents are extremely durable Vehicles thanks to their Serpent Shields, which make them take 1 less damage (to a minimum of 1). This makes most weapons very ineffective against them other than D6 or flat 3 damage weapons, both of which are fairly rare. They are vulnerable in melee since the Serpent Shield doesn’t apply there, but they’re very fast since they move 16” and have a 24” range on their main gun. These factors come together to create a mobile fire base that can chip out most players over the course of a game.
His next Battalion is built out of Ynnari, and it’s pretty brutal. He has a Guardian Bomb and a full unit of Dark Reapers. These guys have a lot going on, so we’re just going to look at their full information.
First, these guys are brutally accurate thanks to Crack Shot and Inescapable Accuracy. When you combine this with Guide/Doom, they really pour on the damage to any target in the game. Then, Yvraine allows them to shoot twice with her Word Of The Phoenix psychic power, basically doubling the value of the Dark Reapers. While most of the Reapers are plugging away at the opponent’s main threats, the Tempest Launcher starts picking up entire Infantry Squads by his own. If you try to move up on the Reapers, you have to get through all 4 Wave Serpents and the Guardian Bomb disrupting you and putting a hole in the side of your army. Finally, Raymond took a small Patrol of Drukhari just to unlock Agents of Vect for his army, as blocking a key Stratagem or two can be game winning.
This wraps us up for today! Aeldari are a very strong army and they have a lot of flexibility in how they can be approached. Although they weren’t featured today, there are builds that are heavily Drukhari based, and occasionally Harlequin’s even make their way in. Even though Guide/Doom/Jinx and Ynnari have both recently seen changes along with some nerfs to Flyer’s, Aeldari are going to continue to be a dominating tournament force for the foreseeable future.
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A big thanks to Games Workshop for the featured image used in our article.