40k TACTICS – How to Beat the New Eldar?


So the word on the street is that the Eldar are back and this time they mean business.

Welcome to another Jstove original, submitted via subspace transmission. 

Well, more business than a laser-locked infinite range serpent shield at least. The internet is all blowing up about the ancient space elves getting thirsty for the D, turning the volume up to 11 and busting the knob off, and dropping more big guns onto the table than we’ve ever seen in one place before.

Which makes sense to me, because if you’re the dying race that used to have a running turf war with the necrons a bajillion years ago, you’d think you’d be able to step up your driveby game after a couple bajillion wars against Space Egypt Skynet.

eldar battle
So there’s gonna be D weapons, and people are gonna cry.
But I ain’t crying. I don’t care. I learned to stop worrying and love the D.  Ahem, anyway, I ain’t scurred of no damn D weapon. You know why?
Because I actually think its good for the game. Here’s how its gonna go down.
In the good old days when you could hop out of a rhino and still assault, combat was king.Lately, not so much. As a chaos player with a thirsty demon weapon to feed, this naturally bums me out a bit, but hey, get with the times. The game got tweaked in 6e to get shootier, these things happen. Guess what though? You can’t get shot if you’re punching someone in the face, at least not in the 41st millennium apparently. So what now? Well, now you actually have to try, and now it actually has to matter. Before you could just drop D guns everywhere, you either swung for the fences or you didn’t. Having D shooting in normal 40k games is going to change the way people think about the strategic use of assault again, and that isn’t a bad thing. Is it still going to suck? Yes. Are you still going to get shot up on the way in? Yes. But it is it going to be such a huge no brainer decision, whether you stay home with the bolter or hop out and rev up the chainsword? No. You’re actually going to think about it now. That’s not a bad thing.
necrons eldar


Let’s get one thing straight here- 40k has been in a permanent arms race with itself since 4th edition. What I mean by that? Everyone has been getting more dakka, all the time, every year. Look at an old model like a dreadnought, or a landspeeder, or a predator… These guys have all had the same handful of guns on them since your uncle was playing Rogue Trader with pewter beakie marines. Now look at land raider crusaders, storm raven gunships, wyvern mortar tanks… The amount of boom the designers are willing to let you put on the table has significantly increased. We’ve gone from a rinky-dink rhino with an autocannon on the roof and some guns duct taped to the side to A-10 warthogs firing kitchen sinks at your army.

And what does the meta think about that? Well, Multiple small unit is looking pretty good again.

If your opponent has a giant death boat with 12 guns on it, and he can just erase a unit with it every turn, why give him 10 models when you can spread them out and make him settle for 5? This is what’s been going on lately- deflate your unit size and inflate your unit count to make him have to waste all his giant mega shooting on target priority.

And guess what, that works on D weapons. So if you have 5 guys, and a battle cannon eats them, or a D weapon eats them, who cares? You gave up 5, not 10. It’s wasted firepower, there’s no difference. If he’s gonna try to kill your stuff anyway, spread the butter out thin over multiple slices of bread, don’t let him get fat on the first thing that dings coming out of the toaster.

death star


Let’s take a look at everything that is no fun in this game right now.Space Wolf Pound Puppy lists. Yea, cute army. Boring as hell though, you’ve played one space wolf player with a handful of fleas and storm shields, you’ve played them all.Chapter Masters with the Shield Eternal. Oh, you’re a space marine player? Tell me more about your unique and wonderful HQ model that’s going to ride his bike down my throat and sit in the ass of my army for 3 turns just taking shots on the chin with his immortal 3++ save while I go grab a slice of pizza next door. Good game, bro.
Serpent Spam- D weapons won’t necessarily solve this, but what we’re assuming here is that in the fancy new codex, the serpent will not be as hot as it was in the 6e book, preventing abuse.

Jump Monster Shenanigans- Pick your poison, demon princes and bloodthirsters, flyrants, riptides, whatever new big box monster model GW releases this summer… In the hands of a player who knows when to flap the wings and when to touch down, these bastards can really suck the fun out of the game. I would know, I’ve been that bastard plenty of times to a lot of people.So, how do D weapons fix all these?Well, one hot roll on a D weapon followed by a followed by a few tragically failed saves will either put all of those models back in the foam where they belong, or at least get them so close to death’s door that a handful of lucky bolter shots will pick up the spare, and that’s not bad at all, there’s nothing wrong with that.The nice thing about hurling ranged D weapons back and forth at each other in a normal 40k game is that it will keep us honest. No more bullshit list building around the handful of invincible bully units in the game that show up and kill everything or can’t die. There’s no deathproof against the D, you actually have to think twice about buying an extra 6 thunderwolves or that second or third double-devourer flying hive tyrant. Too many expensive fat targets will be a recipe for failure against a gun that will just dunk anything it shoots at, and that’s not a bad thing at all.

Now I know what else you’re thinking…

“But only the Eldar get those ranged D weapons!”

No, only the Eldar get them in their fancy new codex. We’ve already seen them in melee on the imperial knight and the khorne skulltank skullaxe skull skull, so we know this isn’t a thing that’s going away anytime soon, and is probably only going to escalate.


So dust off your baneblade or get one of those sweet new Heresy legion super heavies, and shoot it out with the Eldar. Now I know that sounds counter-intuitive, why give him a fat target for his D weapon? Well, he gave you a fat target for yours, so fair is fair. It’d be much more fun to have a shoot out with the big guns, don’t you think? And if on the way, somebody’s thunderwolf cavalry gets wiped off the table and sent back to the pound where they belong, would that be so bad?

Escalating firepower has been a trend in this game for a long time. The boys in Nottingham have been inching us towards playing with the big toys with not-so-subtle shoves since they started making plastic baneblades.

The solution? Embrace it. Your opponent didn’t already have any trouble wiping your favorite unit off the table anyway. Do unto others before they can do unto you.

I’m not scared… I own a Typhon. Just give me an excuse to put that big resin sledgehammer on the table. What’s the worst that could happen, someone has fun?

Hope you enjoyed another Jstove original. Checkout what else he has to say about the game we all love to hate sometimes, HERE!

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About Rob Baer

Virginia Restless, Miniature Painter & Single Father to 3 Cats. I blame LEGOS. There was something about those little colored blocks that started it all.. Twitter @catdaddymbg

  • ShCpt Shrike

    I’m cool with the D being everywhere I turn, cause my high flying thunder hammers can still take it to the red zone. All it does is make you re-think those units you’ve shelved for years cause they were deemed unusable. I see my Raven Guard Vanguards getting to stretch they’re legs again.

  • Miles

    This article gave me a good laugh. I do think that some Eldar players who think that they have the game in the bag before they even roll of for table ends will get a few nasty surprises. I really want to see some ultra-high model count armies take on some Meta-OP Eldar lists. Imagine 100+ Guard (10+ squads) all with a melta stuck in charging straight at the Eldar gunline. yeah they are flimsy but very cheap. its something like 600 pts for 10 guardsmen quads with a melta in each. that still leaves loads of points for a Baneblade or other nasty stuff. Im sure a Nid player could do an Guant equivalent. Hell I could mechanize 10 5-man marine squads with meltas for 1150 pts. I know these are odd sniping lists but still the look on your opponents face when his D weps or wasted against 50 points worth of models would be worth it.

  • Frank O’Donnell

    I’ve been saying the very same thing, GW designs the game with everything in mind we ban stuff & then blame them for imbalance, now I’m not saying the game will be balanced but at least people will be able to use all their toys.

  • Sledge

    Can we please hear another D joke. I haven’t been sure if all the bloggers have been talking about penises or not for the last year and half…

    We get it.

  • Pascalnz

    also, playing maelstrom forces eldar into bad positions so they can’t just hide their bikes, and for the love of god, buy some good LOS blocking terrain, the more the merrier

  • Brutal

    I find the author’s idea of “fun” to be awful. MSU is not fun. It’s tiny units hiding for their worthless lives and contributing nothing to the game. Determining the game by who gets turn one and D’s his opponent’s D off the table sounds awful as well.
    Also, the argument that assault is terrible, but Thunderwolves are overpowered is contradictory.

  • Conrad_Dakarn

    I keep seeing big fuss being made about D weapons but I’m not sure people are really looking at them in the right way.
    Hear me out here….
    A Str 10 AP 2 weapon is pretty much the same effectiveness as a D weapon. It wounds on 2+, has Str 10 for insta death purposes and has AP2. This is a Demolisher Cannon…which also rolls an extra D6 for armour pen. Ok…so the D weapon does D3 wounds or Hull points, etc, on tanks….but here’s the kicker for me, you still get your saves unless the roll is a 6.
    For the points, however, the D weapon takes up 3 to 4 times as many points as the Demolisher in most cases and again the “average” model they do exactly the same job.
    So…as the author says…the D weapon just means people have to start thinking more tactically about their “big stuff”. They can’t just throw a Bloodthirster at the enemy line and expect it to do the job. However, this was always the case when anyone thought about how to deal with these things.
    Mass fire power can deal with a ‘Thirster just as much as a D weapon and the odds increase in favour of mass fire power in comparison to the points for the D shots.

    For me….the current “big bad” of the Super Heavy world is the Hellhammer. It’s Str 10, AP1, 3D6 pick the highest for armour pen AND ignores cover with a 7″ template! Why we’re not seeing more of these on the field boggles me at times. Add in a Demolisher cannon on the basic tank and you’ve got a great deal for it’s points and a number of players who are suddenly sweating at your deadly pie plate. “But a Str D weapon can kill it”…yeah….but if you’re going to do a direct comparison you’re missing the point of 40k. You never have a straight up 1v1 fight in these games. You don’t throw your Baneblade at a Lord of Skulls, etc….you use them in your army as part of a more balanced force and take advantage of their specialities. After-all, a squad of Grav Centurions in a Wolf drop pod can, pretty much, obliterate any unit it chooses to on the turn it hits the board….as long as it’s got a good armour save or is a vehicle….or you could take a squad of Sternguard with combi-melta’s….

    There is always something nasty in the game and always people going to say “this beats this” but the game isn’t about direct unit comparison. It’s about building your -entire- army and using it effectively. D weapons have their place and it’s a good one, in my view, but they’re not going to be the be all and end all of the game.

  • Mr Torgue


  • Shiwan8

    Ok, sure, until you realize that the way they get units prevents alternative tactics also. Horde will not work, monsters and tanks will not work, herohammer will not work against them. So, what is the point of playing against them?

  • yup

    Someone if bitter about Space Wolves…

  • Docrailgun

    So, the OP isn’t worried about jetbike troop choices that all have 4 36″ S6 shots each and dodon’t cost much more than a Death Company marine?

  • Olly Tsimosh

    The OP:

    “Stop worrying about D-weapons, they make it easier for us the already overpowered and gamebreaking Eldar to deal with the handful of good units from OTHER armies”

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