Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Eldar Review: Runes of Fate

The Runes of Fate include most of the old Farseer powers, and many of them are just as good as they used to be. The big change is that four of the seven powers use two warp charges. No other psychic discipline has so many expensive powers, which kind of removed the advantage of having psychic mastery: 3.

The Primaris power is the old standby, Guide. It allows one squad within 24” to re-roll missed to hit rolls when shooting. Simple, effective, and extremely useful. The main change is that it went from a 6” range to a 24” range, which means that the Farseer can Guide your frontline units without putting himself in danger. This will really expand the pool of units that you can guide, meaning that Warp Spiders and Dire Avengers can easily get the benefits that used to be reserved for War Walkers and Dark Reapers.

Next up is a new power, Executioner. It’s a focused witchfire with a 24” range, which means that there is a small chance it can target specific enemy models, but most of the time it will hit random models in the unit. The chosen model takes three hits that wound on 2+. If it dies, another model takes two hits. If that model dies, a final model takes a single hit. Overall, this looks like a pretty lame power. It won’t kill many models with a decent armor save, and while it will likely kill three Orks or Guardsmen, that’s not much of a return. However, I see it being useful in hurting monstrous creatures. Automatically doing three hits that wound on a 2+ to a Hive Tyrant is pretty good, even if it will probably make the saves.

Next is another old favorite, Doom. It is cast on an enemy unit in 24”, and allows you to re-roll any failed to wound or armor penetration rolls against the target. Once again, it’s simple and powerful. Put it on an enemy unit, shoot it until it dies, and repeat again next turn.

Those are all the warp charge: 1 powers; the rest all require two warp charges.

Eldritch Storm is the first of the expensive powers, and thankfully, it has finally been made substantially dangerous. It’s still a S3, AP –, large blast with 24” range. However, it now has Haywire and Fleshbane so it can actually hurt any models that it hits. Nothing exciting, but it will reliably put lots of wounds on the target.

Death Mission is the most confusing power, as it attempts to turn your Farseer into a close combat killer. The Farseer gets 5 extra points of Weapon Skill, Ballistic Skill, and Initiative, and an extra two attacks. Nice, but hardly enough to make a Farseer particularly dangerous. Place D3+2 counters next to the Farseer, and remove one at the end of every phase on a roll of 1-3; if the Farseer runs out of counters, he dies. The Farseer can’t cast any other psychic powers while it’s in effect, but can cast Death Mission again to add more counters. If you think all that adds up to an underwhelming  power, especially for one using 2 warp charges, you’re not alone. I really don’t see any good use for this power at all.

Fortune is pretty much the same as before: a unit within 24” can re-roll all failed saving throws and Deny the Witch rolls. It’s still extraordinarily useful on any of our high armor save units, as well helping even weaker units with good cover saves. Warp charge 2 is expensive, but absolutely worth it in this case.

Mind War is similar, but is now a focused witchfire, which means that it usually won’t target a model that you want to kill. The target model and Farseer both add D6 to their Leadership and compare their results. The loser is reduced to WS and BS 1, and, if the Farseer wins, the target takes 1 wound for each point the Farseer won by. No armor or cover saves can be taken, but Look Out, Sir! still works, making this power even less useful to for taking out enemy characters. Like Executioner, it seems like it would be useful for targeting single model units. At the very least, you can drop that monstrous creature to WS 1.

The Runes of Warding powers are very hit or miss. Guide, Doom, and Fortune are amazing powers for buffing your army. Eldritch Storm, Executioner, and Mind War all deal damage to the enemy with varying efficiency. They’re hardly great powers but you could do worse. Death Mission would be my choice to drop for Guide. In my mind, I would roll on Runes of Fate first. If I get Doom, Fortune, or Eldritch Storm, I’ll keep it and roll again on the Runes of Fate. If not, I’ll drop it and take Guide and roll the rest of my powers from Divination. My goal is to end up with Guide, Prescience, and one other (hopefully useful) power.

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