Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Eldar Avatars...There and Back Again

As we look to the future of Eldar, I have sitting in front of me three codex's, all bearing the name Eldar at the top.  The first is dated 1994, 19 years ago.  It is fun to flip through the tome and see the differences that have come before the dawn of this newest incarnation being released June 1 2013.

It speaks of the Exodites and pirate fleets in its fluff and even calls Wraithlords "Dreadnoughts" which I found an interesting reminder.

The seminal figure in the original codex and even now must be The Avatar.  It is fun to read how he worked in the beginning.  He was a BEAST.  WS and BS were 10 (consider what that would mean now!), STR and Tough 8, a whopping SEVEN wounds and 5 attacks.  The wailing doom did D3 wounds and negated Daemon saves!!!  He was ALWAYS the leader of any Eldar force he was taken in.  His molten immunities (and 2+ save, never worse than 4+) from the 1994 edition were very similar to the current "5E" codex.  That's noteworthy because he lost those immunities to fire in the intervening 3rd Edition codex.

Therefore the original Kaila Mensha Khaine reminds me of how much 2nd Edition was about Hero-Hammer.  Thinking back I recall how derisive some players of other systems were of Warhammer 40,000, speaking the words "Hero Hammer" as if they were spitting it.  Those who have played for a while will recognize the irony in how UNtrue that has become in 5E and 6E, a primarily troops based Editions.  And of course LIKE Warhammer Fantasy has forever, 40,000 used the terror mechanic and the 2nd Edition Avatar had that too.  Truly this 1994 version of the Avatar is the mightiest and none have even approached its awesome power.  It was 300 points compared to its far lesser 3rd Edition version.

Speaking of the 3rd Edition Avatar, he was no pushover.  Whereas the second edition Eldar codex claims perhaps the most devastating leader of all time, the 3rd Edition featured perhaps the best deal of all time.  3E Avatars had no ballistic skill at all, were STR6 and Tough 6, with 4 wounds and only THREE attacks.  Making matters worse, the Wailing Doom had vanished utterly as a ranged attack!  Oh how the mighty are fallen.  If you were an Eldar player, you were throwing FITS at this point and likely telling everyone you knew that you were "done with Warhammer", the sky was falling and if they even had Ebay back then, you might have sold your army on the spot in protest over having to buy more models to play.  See how little things change?  But this Avatar was a mere 80 points!  He was a value buy as leader went and there were FEW leaders as mean for the points as he was.  His 5+ save was nothing compared to before but if he got to you, it was 80 points to end a unit of 300 points at times.  His usefulness was greater because he allowed you to have an army around him that was more impressive thanks to the points savings.  As in current day, there were those who didn't really "appreciate" the opportunity to buy more models, but this was a break through in game design because it really set the stage for later 3E codex's and how they too would be priced.  Hero Hammers hey day was about to end.

The Eldar got an update and the Avatar rose from the ashes as he ever has.  As he rose, he brought the Wailing Doom with him.  Yet again he was changed, BS of 5 added.  Finally he was given a 4th Attack as well as his old invulnerability to fire and such.  Most significantly, he got a 3+ save, almost as good as the original (though better in some ways since the original could be modified by the weapon hitting him) and a 4+ invulnerable added as well.  This is the version we all know best now.  This ascension of power bodes ill for his enemies in the new Codex and it is with frightening dread that we await his return to full power.  Even his aura of inspiration returned in the current edition!  And now that 6E has returned the Fear special rule to use, it is quite likely we will see that rule applied to him assuming they are making an attempt to remember some of the ghosts of the past.  Will this newest edition show us the true Kaila Mensha Khaine, aspect of the Bloody Handed God?  You are mere hours away now from knowing that.  The cost of this behemoth went up to 150 points in the current codex.  I eagerly await the unveiling of his latest host.

5 comments:

  1. I for one have always loved the Avatar. He is a great symbol of how different Eldar are to the imperium and a symbol of the Eldars desperation. They hate daemons yet they keep a pet one themselves and will unleash it if they are desperate enough. Apparently the rumoured new points is 195pts with additional buffs.

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  2. That cost is confirmed. In addition I can totally confirm that he has BS 10, 5 wounds and 5 attacks! He is immune as he was before to fire and he has some nice options, though most of them look unnecessary really. Things like Monster Hunter might be nice and all but... He might be just fine without those.

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  3. Great! Im going to do a complete review of the new codex over on my blog when I get my dirty mitts on a copy :) by the way I realky like your blog and check back daily really. Do you mind if I add a linky on my blog to yours?

    Cheers

    John

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  4. Thanks, appreciate it.

    I should blog more. I get requests which are what usually spoawn my entries. I have a small followership so I can never tell if I just suck at promoting the blog or if what I say isn't interesting. Lol. Maybe both. Feedback like this gives me hope though. =)

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