Friday, July 5, 2013

6th Edition Eldar HQ: Asurman

Asurman is the origianl bad ass of the Eldar.  Whilst the Avatar is brought forth in times of great need by distant Craft Worlds, and the ever present vigilance of the Farseers is pervasive and commonplace in the society of the Eldar, the Phoenix Lords are something altogether different.  They form not just the defense of the Eldar way of life, but indeed DEFINE what it is to BE Eldar.  None are older than Asurman and he is like the Silver Surfer was to Galactus:  a herald of Asuryans will.  His most recent exploits in the Eye of Terror mark him as an enemy to Chaos forever.

Asurman grants Counterattack to his unit.  Where does this help most?  Well since he is likely to be leading the charge, and often riding a transport to hasten his coming, this will come up a lot.  He is likely to be charged first much of the time unless he foot slogs it.  That is not his strongest suit, and given the speed of the Eldar, what point is there in slogging?  Counterattack is very useful for when he is victorious over an enemy on the charge and sweeps them, leaving Asurmans unit open to fresh assaults.  He is no slouch in close combat.

Eternal Warrior is ALWAYS a powerful ability.  The game is filled with ways to kill people outright and it should be deadly to lead from the front!  That is small comfort to a very expensive character!  Thus the inclusion of this ability for him makes you very confident in challenges and very willing to take all comers.  His 2+ armor in 6E is a really significant shield for his unit if need be for a round like some Space Wolvesd utilize Terminators.

Asurman is STR 5, with an AP 2 weapon going on I7 and doing sweeping advances on 7's!  That is awesome.  His weapon is Mastercrafted and it can actually kill Eternal Warriors outright!  While it's not likely to happen to braver units (as it relies on the ENEMY to fail an LD test instead of the way Force Weapons work), the mere chance to sidestep Eternal Warrior is powerful and will turn games on occassion, though of course it is not to be counted on.

Shield of Grace is GREAT for protecting Asurman when the chips are down and the enemy is on the verge of getting the Slay the Warlord Victory Point.  A 3+ invul could really be the difference.  As it is, Asurman  comes with a 4+ invul save, but the added protection in an emergency end of game kind of situation is potentially vital.

Above all this stands his Hand of Asuryan ability to take not one but THREE of the Eldar Warlord Traits!  The most useful of these are the Fates Messenger (re-roll save results of 1), An Eye on Distant Events (12" Stealth Radius once per game) and Ambush of Blades (Re-roll 1's to wound for a round).  The combination of all this would make him a beast.  Other abilities he can have would also be useful for certain builds.

Asurman is not inexpensive.  But he averages 3 unsaved wounds on the charge against MEQ targets on his own without any additional help, and that is a tide turner in a close combat fight.  He'll kill normal HQ's on the charge.  There aren't many challenges he will lose.  Mephiston Can't auto-wipe him. Asurman actually only needs 5's to wound the beast that is Mephiston.  If the Seer Council uses Horrify on Mephiston (and his Psyker hoood doesn't bounce it), Asurmans ability could be straight up ridiculously good.  As in many lists, Asurman alone is never as impressive as when you view him through the lens of synergistic possibilities.  Still, he's pretty darn impressive on his own!

Empowering his unit and those around him like he can makes him a strong choice as an HQ.

His disadvantage is that he is best in melee and he and his unit will do the most damage on turns 3-5.  Understanding that, you need to give him the right supporting cast to make sure the rest of the army is angling to take advantage of his synergies until then.  His contributions may be very significant in the end, but making sure he can fulfill that destiny is work and the list has to kind of reflect it.  His cost as aforementioned is as high as that of a Chaos Land Raider as well so you must gauge how much "give" your list has for its HQ.
The units that he compliments well starts with Dire Avengers.  His Twinlinked Avenger Catapult fits right in, and it is very possible that the unit jumping from their transport in turn 2 is going to lay down a serious amount of firepower; but also be able to absorb return fire long enough to get their champion into the action at a relatively decent cost.  However, becaus of his access to different Warlord Traits, there is a pretty big number of units he can be useful in.  So that is really going to be a game time decision and it would be tough, not knowing which Traits he will get, to tell you which unit he will fit best in.

The question for Tournament players is: Is he good enough to spend the points on?  I'm inclined to think that he is.  My only caution is that he is a more advanced character to try and use and you do need to be pretty comfortable with the codex and what it can do before using him to his full potential.  I do think he is an X Factor and can be of serious assistance to most Eldar units though, both as a protector and then as lead attacker.


  1. It's been sooo long since I saw Asurman fielded. I had nearly forgotten he existed. It's been that long.

    Anyone got a list that can use him? Could he take on a Chaos Lord? Trygon? Is he more of a shooting guy that happens to fight? Or a fighter who happens to shoot?

    He seems like an inbetween character that is good, but you never really know how to use him. Looks like he's a lot cooler now though.

  2. He's a melee character that shoots. He can take a fair variety of opponents, and may be FORCEd to be an answer to big boys like Trygons, though tough 6 monsters in general are bad news in melee to anyone really. But as an Eternal Warrior, what a great way to save scoring units. He's a bulwark and really not that easy to take down.

  3. Just a brief check in on this thread. My friend Nathan has been using Asurman in his games and with expectedly high levels of success. There just aren't many characters that can punish you the way he does, and he DOES. Got to be on the receiving end of it yesterday in fact. =). Though i was, I am very gratified that the advice is paying off for him. He gets basically ZERO attention on any forum, but I think that's a mistake. He uses Asurman alongside Eldrad. net result: he can redeploy Asurman to EXACTLY where he needs to be, even when deploying and going first. This is of immense value even if we completely overlooked Eldrads other fine qualities (and I don't suggest you do). Asurman for the win.


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