The 9th Edition Codex for Aeldari has been released! Today we’re covering the Top 5 Aeldari Tactics Warhammer 40k. Below you will find a ton of background information, lore, and a huge FAQ to bring you up to speed if you’re rusty on the Aeldari. And of course the Top 5 Aeldari Tactics Warhammer 40k!
The Aeldari (formerly the Eldar) are one of the most infamous factions of Warhammer 40k. They were once the greatest empire in the galaxy, before falling to excess and debauchery. The great complication of immortality is that it gets boring after the first millennia or so. The depths of their debauchery were so great, their combined psychic power did something seemingly impossible, giving birth to the Chaos God Slaanesh.
The ensuing warp storm consumed the vast majority of the ancient Aeldari empire. This created the original Eye of Terror, formerly guarded by the Imperium with the Cadian Gate before its destruction. Though the Eye has since expanded into the Great Rift, it remains an enormous reminder of the sins of the ancient Aeldari.
The gods of the Aeldari
Their gods were slain by Slaanesh, with a few exceptions: Cegorach, who hid, Isha, who was captured by the Chaos God Nurgle, and Khaine the god of war, who was shattered into pieces. Being shattered, Khaine can now have avatars of him manifested using the remaining shards.
The surviving Aeldari in their craft worlds, what were effectively ancient traveling merchant vessels, are now the remaining bastions of their people. Various members have become the Anrathe, outcasts who’ve left the Craftworlds to pursue their own paths. Then of course, there are the most extreme of outcasts, the Corsairs: deadly space pirates of the galaxy.
And depending on your composition and the bonuses you want, you can unleash all of them if you want to. They fight for survival, they fight for meaning in a galaxy that has moved past them, and they fight for redemption. Whether or not they can find it is anyone’s guess, but one thing is for certain: they are a deadly force to be reckoned with.
This is how to play Craftworld Eldar in 9th Edition.
How Are Aeldari Organized in the 9th Edition?
The Aeldari have a ridiculous number of keywords, smaller factions, and therefore an unparalleled number of options. They have more hero character HQ choices than any other army in the game. They are an army composed of storied, thousand-year-old characters and various aspect warriors who are focused solely on a single skill on the battlefield. You run all the usual list options of HQ, Troops, Elites, Fast Attack, Heavy Support, Dedicated Transports, Fliers, Fortifications, and Lords of War. However, your army is built of specialists: if you don’t figure out what your specialty is going to be, you’ll find yourself at a serious disadvantage.
Weaknesses of the Aeldari
A big weakness in tournament play is that if you do find your specialty, and it is the wrong one for fighting your enemy’s army list, you will struggle. But keep in mind: you have the army with some of the best maneuvering options in the game. And if you pick the right specialists, you will dominate the field. However, your units are incredibly fragile. Move fast, hit hard, try to make sure that there’s nothing in your wake, because any hits from the survivors will crack you wide open.
Let’s be clear: You have at least 15 different HQ choices to choose from, and they’re all highly effective and specialized for specific kinds of armies. Your ability to be an army of specialists is taken to an extreme based on which HQ option you pick to push your army in that direction. A group of outcast Alaitoc Rangers and Shroud Runners led by Illic Nightspear could be a highly effective skirmisher group, which you could then add a Farseer HQ choice for Strands of Fate support and some Shining Spears for high-speed offense.
It’s almost inevitable that you will pick a named hero as part of your HQ selection, because they all focus on a specific keyword and stratagem balance that will suit your army. In the above example: Illic, the Shroud Runners, and the Rangers all count as Rangers with appropriate weapons for Ranger stratagems. Watch your keywords, and build your HQ based on what suits your battle plan.
One note is that it’s almost inevitable that you will take a Farseer if you have an Asuryani force: their Runes of Fate interaction lets you alter the meta-rules by which the game operates in ways that will be utterly devastating to opponents, and they give you the option to reroll a Strand of Fate.
Eldar Units & Troops
You have 4 troop choices in your army that are wildly different in their use. Corsair Voidreavers literally have every Aeldari and Dark Aeldari keyword needed to add them to an army as a bit of connective tissue. However, unless they’re in an Anhrathe deployment, they cannot be the only troop choice you pick. Guardian Defenders are a unit built to hold a position. If you have an objective marker you want to hold, drop them down and just let them fire at distant targets until they stay dead.
Storm Guardians act as further connective tissue with the option to give them special weapons based on the role you want them to play. Coming in units of 10 to 20 models, with the option to add flamers, fusion guns, and power swords, as well as a Serpent’s Scale platform, they’re an excellent all-purpose troop choice. Both Guardian model types have access to Heavy Weapons Platforms, allowing you to convert an objective area into what is practically a fortress.
Rangers are snipers who shoot out to 36” with a ridiculous ballistics skill and the ability to ignore the “Look Out, Sir!” Rule. Your Troop Choices are usually the answer to the question of “when my force isn’t fulfilling its specialist role, what do I have to clear objectives?” And they’re very good answers.
Your elite choices define your army. Corsair Voidscarred are once again, perfect connective tissue like Corsair troop choices, with psychic options. Also once again, unless they’re in a purely Anrathe army, you need to have at least one other Elite choice on the field to take them. Many of your other elite options are the infamous and excellent Aspect Warriors. These include: Striking Scorpions, Fire Dragons, Howling Banshees, Dire Avengers, all are defined by a specific role on the battlefield, and a specific choice of targets.
Furthermore, their exarchs can all be upgraded, and if you’re willing to spend 50 points on these models, you can have what is practically a named character in an aspect warrior squad. This also includes your combat psykers with Warlocks, Warlock Skyrunners. Lastly, it has all of your Wraith Construct type units.
What do you want to define your army with? This is where you answer that question. Anti-armor units? Psyker attacks? A series of Wraithblades, Wraithguard, and Wraithlord units? One thing is certain: it is very rare for two Aeldari armies to be the same.
Aeldari Fast Attack
Swooping Hawks, Warp Spiders, and Shining Spears are represented among your Aspect warriors here. This section also includes your Windriders and Vypers. The Eldar have always focused on flying Biker units in this section. However, light fighter craft are represented here, where in other lists they’d be relegated to the Flyer section.
Heavy Support for Aeldari
Dark Reapers, Falcons, Fire Prisms, Night Spinners, Support Weapons, and War Walkers are all represented in this category. A point of note: almost every unit in the Aeldari codex is in some way devoted to maneuvering, and your heavy supports are no exception. The last aspect warrior, the Dark Reapers, are shockingly effective artillery for a 5 model squad, with the option to use a Tempest Launcher as a Heavy 2d6 indirect fire blast weapon on their exarch. If you don’t want to paint a large, intricate vehicle, they are an excellent choice.
Falcons are big, fast, and hit hard. Fire Prisms are lightly armored, but their focused lance is almost guaranteed to one shot a large number of vehicles, and its dispersed pulse is almost guaranteed to take out most infantry squads with a single shot. The general theme of Eldar remains the same: fragile speedster glass cannons who can dish it out, but are not necessarily suited to taking hits.
Aeldari Dedicated Transports
Wave Serpents are your dedicated transport, and are much better armed than nearly any other dedicated transport. They’re also one of the rare transports that can get a 5+ invulnerable save with a Wave Serpent Shield upgrade, which is one of the first upgrades you should make. It’s a very survivable transport as a result, and if you can drop a group of Fire Dragons on enemy tanks, or Striking Scorpions in the middle of enemy infantry, you will devastate.
It’s also a rare transport with S8 weapons, making it a real threat to enemy Heavy Support options. You can really change the game with a proper deployment, so you should deeply consider adding them to your army if you want to break your opponent with a sudden blitz. This army is better than nearly anyone else at it with this transport and the right Aspect Warriors.
Crimson Hunters are your last remaining Aspect Warrior choice, and Hemlock Wraithfighters are your classic fighter craft. They’re devastating, but again, fragile.
The single greatest improvement to Aeldari maneuvers comes from the newly upgraded Webway Gate. Previously it could be destroyed. Now, it’s indestructible, and you can halve the CP cost to place Aeldari into reserves. You can drop your reserves anywhere within 6” of both arches, and within 9” of enemy models. The unit counts this as their charge, and can attack anyone in engagement.
You get something that is beyond ridiculous if you can pay the cost: your reinforcements can drop from the gate nearly anytime, anywhere, on top of enemies, they can immediately attack, and it counts as cover if it is between your units and your enemies. The Aeldari weren’t hurting for movement options before, but now you can practically drop an ambush unit from your reserves every single turn.
The implications are vast: Striking Scorpions can immediately drop on top of troops that might otherwise shoot them down, Fire Dragons immediately appear on top of the enemy heavy support they need to destroy, Wraithguard can immediately smash into enemy units, the possibilities are endless.
Lords of War
The chief Aeldari lord of war is the Wraithknight. Packing 22 wounds and 4 attack base, it is able to charge in the same turn it fell back, and can completely ignore other models while it’s moving. It hits hard if you stick with its massive melee weapon. Alternatively equip it with terrible weapons and depend on its titanic feet to do the job during the Fight phase. For 400 pts base, you can expect it to pay back its point cost on the field if you make use of your ability to ignore other units while moving, and just drop it from shooting phase, to charge phase, to fight phase, and keep it engaged at all times.
Special Note: Exarchs
Other armies have Sergeants, Shas’vres, and other squad commander units. The Aeldari have exarchs. Exarchs can be upgraded individually depending on which Aspect Warrior squad in question is getting the modification. This is important because a Dark Reaper Exarch who spends +15 points on Reaper’s Reach allows their unit to fire heavy weapons without penalty while moving. It also gives them an extra wound and a better Ballstics skill.
Choosing the right Exarch upgrades for your Aspect Warriors can suddenly change the entirety of how they function, and effectively turn your Exarch into a powerful combat character in the middle of a unit. Again: the Eldar, now the Aeldari, were always defined by how they specialize. This is yet another way to enhance your specialization. Choose wisely.
Key Features of Aeldari Tactics in 9th Edition
The Aeldari have a complicated army that depends heavily on a series of interlocking systems and stratagems. Their greatest advantage is that they’re incredibly mobile and they hit hard in every phase. Their greatest disadvantage is they have very few ways to absorb enemy wounds compared to other armies. You hit hard, but you get hit hard. So your most important phase is your movement phase: deciding where to stand and when you take hits is always important, but it’s doubly important for you.
Fortunately, you have a number of stratagems to enhance your mobility. Keep in mind, your Craftworld will define a lot of your strategic choices. Each comes with a Craftworld Attribute, a Warlord Trait, a Stratagem, and a Relic. Each one can help define how your army operates.
Try to remember: everyone loves Clowns and Pirates: As long as you have one other core Craftworld or Aeldari infantry unit, you can also deploy Corsair Voidreavers. As long as you have at least one other Elite choice, you can deploy Corsair Voidscarred. And you can always deploy Harlequins as an allied detachment. If you’re not happy with a weakness in your army, just use those Clowns and Pirates to fill the gaps. [Link Tara’s Article on Harlequins here].
You also have Strands of Fate, Battle Focus, and Favoured of Khaine, and nearly every unit in your army has a combination of 2 to 3 of them.
Strands of Fate
If you’re playing Asuryani models from a Craftworld, Strands of Fate are your way to flip the script if your specialized troops end up in a situation they’re not ready to handle. You roll six dice before the start of fate, keep two, and record the result. The reason: you have 6 options from Strands of Fate that let you decide that instead of rolling dice, you just take a 6.
An example might be getting a 2 during that pregame result: that gives you the Charge roll option, and now you can pick to take a 6 instead of one of your Charge rolls. You only get to keep a number of dice for this dependent on the size of the game you’re playing. So having that start-of-game roll can redefine your tactics and where you’re strong. Your Warlocks are advantaged if you get a bonus 6 to one of their rolls, your regular forces get a major advantage if you can take the biggest gun on the field, and decide instead of rolling it just gets a six. Your Strands of Fate could decide the game depending on where they are and when you use them.
Aeldari Tactics Warhammer 40k: Battle Focus
You are running one of the most mobile armies in the game. This is a key to making that happen: under the right circumstances, you can move, attack, remain stationary for purposes of your shooting phase, and then move again. This is possibly the most important ability in your army: your units are fragile, but free movement while you’re moving and shooting can take you out of enemy range and let you break line of sight during battle rounds.
By far the best defense is always making it so your enemies can’t shoot you at all, and not much is better than shooting and then leaving your enemy unable to hit without taking complicated steps. Identify which of your units have Battle Focus, and get ready to shoot and move. Be the biggest headache on the battlefield!
Favoured of Khaine
This unit becomes as close to indestructible as a unit can be short of having a bonus Feel No Pain save. A +4 invulnerable save, a limit to how many wounds it can take per phase, your enemy’s best attack only has a 1 in 2 chance of hitting, and even if they do hit you can point to the wound limit and say: “you’re out of chances to wound.” Your Favoured of Khaine models are some of the most important in your army, because they are as tough as many of your other units are fragile. Set them up to hold the line while the rest of your force dances through the battlefield.
Top 5 Aeldari Tactics Warhammer 40k 9th Edition
Our Experts at Nights at the Game Table have put together the following Aeldari Tactics Warhammer 40k in 9th Edition:
Aeldari Tactic #1: Never stop moving
Any unit with Battle Focus can move again after firing a pistol. When in doubt, skirmish and reposition. This is particularly deadly on Warp Spiders with their powerful weapon, and their special ability to battle focus 2d6” away.
Aeldari Tactic #2: Rapid Scoring Rangers
Your basic troop choice, the Aeldari Rangers, can ignore the “Look Out, Sir!” Rule with every attack. Abuse this as best you can. Hit their characters and commanders with impunity. More importantly, their forward deployment ability lets you get early victory points on action secondary objectives and battlefield supremacy secondaries that might otherwise be unavailable. Remember: scoring is how you win.
Aeldari Tactic #3 Choose your Aspects
Aspect warriors are expensive, but to paraphrase a certain yellow spandex wearing comics character: they’re the best they are at what they do, and what they do isn’t pretty. Decide ahead of time what you think your army needs the most, and that will decide your aspect warrior choices. It’s best to pick 1, maybe 2 things you need to cover. Howling Banshees will be particularly great for close combat, and Swooping Hawks and Warp Spiders are great for mobility.
Aeldari Tactic #4 Glass Cannons
Most of your army that doesn’t have the Favoured of Khaine keyword hits very, very hard, can move very, very far, and cannot make saves on a good day. Position carefully, and figure out how to use cover and terrain features as best you can. You have access to the best defense of all: being in a position where your enemies can’t shoot you.
Use that as best you can. Case in point: if you Linked Fire with multiple Fire Prisms, you can pick one to make additional attacks per additional Prism that ignore Invulnerable Saves. There are very, very few things in this game that can ignore an Invulnerable Save, and while Fire Prisms may not take hits well at all, they have ridiculous firepower as a unit.
Aeldari Tactic #5: What Tangled Webways We Weave
Webway Gates are frighteningly cheap., You get the best unit positioning options in the game. If you’re playing with reserves, it gives you the best deployment options in the game, appearing within 9” of enemy models coming out of the gate, and it makes the CP cost of placing units in reserves cheaper.
You can appear anywhere and everywhere, and unlike earlier editions where a Webway Gate could be destroyed, it will remain on the field the entire game. You will just take Primary Points from positions on every round, purely by being able to drop troops on all of them as you see fit. As much as people want units that can destroy other units, getting points is the real way you win battles.
Aeldari Tactics Warhammer 40k 9th Edition FAQ
What is the Best Eldar Craftworld?
There is no good answer to this question. Which Eldar Craftworld are you going to play is dependent on three things: what strategy do you want to use, what aspect warriors do you intend to play, and what objectives do you want to achieve in a battle? The answer to those questions will decide which is the best Eldar Craftworld.
Craftworld Eldar vs. Dark Eldar: What’s the Difference?
The key difference is that while the Craftworld Eldar abandoned the terrible excesses of the ancient Aeldari empire, the Dark Eldar chose to embrace them fully to survive. The Drukhari function very differently, brutalizing everyone around them to maintain their existence. The Craftworld Eldar try to follow focused paths without excess to make up for their ancient sins.
Are there more Eldar or Dark Eldar?
This is a question that’s been argued in canon for as long as both the now named Asuryani and Drukhari have been deployed on the field. As of 8th Edition, it has been openly declared that there are more Craftworld Eldar (Asuryani) than there are Dark Eldar (Drukhari). Especially since the Gate of Khaine was breached in Commorragh, filling it with Daemons and slaying countless Drukhari in the process.
Do Craftworld Eldar Hate Each Other?
In the Grim Dark Future of the 42nd Millenia, everyone hates everyone else. There are countless feuds between Craftworld Asuryani, Drukhari, and the Corsairs inbetween. You could throw a rock and hit two feuding Aeldari in the stars if you were in the right part of space.
Do Eldar have allies with the Imperium?
The Aeldari, specifically the Ynnari, were responsible for the return of Rouboute Gulliman to the Imperium on Ultramar. With their help, Gulliman was resurrected, and began a series of reforms and plans that allowed the Imperium to survive the destruction of the Cadian Gate. The Ynnari are therefore tenuous allies with the Imperium.
Can Humans and Eldar Interbreed
The last recorded Human/Eldar mixing was during the Rogue Trader days of the setting, some 30 years ago with an Ultramarines Librarian. She has not existed in decades. Since that time, the topic has not been addressed in the canon material of Warhammer 40k.