Hello everyone, Danny here with a bit of a departure from my schedule as Tommy stole my Wednesday slot, but here I am with another look at melee in 8th edition. Today, we are going to look at the Long-Ears and see what they bring to the table.
Again, I define a truly viable melee unit as one that can do at least two of the three things: get there, kill conscripts/brims en masse, or kill hard targets in a single round (or heavily cripple a Lord of War). Let’s see what we have here:
Avatar of Khaine: The Avatar of Khaine is still a beatstick, mostly for the fact that it has about as consistent damage as you can hope for Dmg D6. Both of its attacks roll two dice and take the highest for damage, so you are much much less likely to be stuck with a 1 or 2. At WS 2+ and 5 attacks, that’s a decent amount of damage, and as it is a character under 10 wounds, you can hide the Avatar from shooting until it needs to take something out in person. The only downside is that the Avatar is only S8, it is only wounding other hard targets on a 4+. Seeing as you are playing Craftworlds, Doom is likely not too far away, and it really helps the Avatar do what it needs to do. Sadly, one of its biggest hits is that it cannot be Ynnari, but you could always bring a Craftworld LoW detachment.
Shining Spears: This is my craziest bet, but I see a lot of workable angles here. First, they are fast at movement 14 and a 6 auto-advance, so they can get where they need to go, and with Fly, they are jumping chaff lines. They bring some short range shooting to soften up hard targets at S6 D2, and when they charge, their attacks are S6 D2. They have 2 wounds each, a 3+, and a 4++ against ranged attacks. That’s not too bad. They are a bit expensive, but they make great vehicle hunters or low-level character snipers. And let’s be real, as Ynnari, getting them to move twice to be able to set up a charge on a commissar or the Changling could be damn satisfying. This may be a bit crazy, and they are expensive, but hey, there is some hope, maybe?
Wraithknight: Just like the Imperial Knight, a Wraithknight is not a lightweight in the melee department. Packing a dmg 6 weapon that never degrades is real good for shredding heavy targets, especially at S16, meaning it wounds on a 2+ at -4 AP. With the Scattershield, a Wraithknight always has a 5++, and always has 4 attacks. It of course has dancing feet too, so the Wraithknight doesn’t suffer from being degraded as badly as other Lords of War in terms of raw melee power. It won’t chew through conscripts effortlessly, but it can at least do some damage, especially if you’ve sniped out the morale controlling characters. A Wraithknight is really best for ensuring that any hard targets dies terrible as with Doom and maybe a CP, a Wraithknight can one-round an Imperial Knight.
Succubus: A budget Lelith, this model can be great for being an annoying thorn in the side of a unit by latching on and keeping them from failing back. With the Arcanite Glaive, 4 S5 attacks hitting on 3+ isn’t bad with -3 AP. Really, the Succubus is to make sure units cannot flee, which is one of the rarest tricks in this game, so the Succubus is definitely worthy of notice. It is a roll off, but if nothing else, you can make your opponent spend CPs to try and win, which can help in the long run.
Lelith: The super Succubus, Lelith is a spit-fire of volume of attacks that also rocks a 3++ in melee, so it is even harder to shift her away from a unit. With her small base size, it is difficult to get too many attacks on her, and she pumps out enough attacks to do a bit of damage. If a character tries to get ahold of her, she is even more lethal. If you want to bring some heavy melee or even just help shield units from fire, Lelith is great at holding them in place to buy you a turn.
Hecatrix Bloodbrides/Wyches: Really, Bloodbrides are the better choice for more attacks, but Wyches are troops, so they get some special attention. They don’t hit that hard, mostly relying on volume of attacks, but when paired with other Aeldari tricks like Doom (and depending on a good combat drugs roll), they can be threatening. They are super squishy in shooting, so bringing a few rides isn’t a bad idea. The bench for Aeldari isn’t too deep, so you take what you can get.
Harlequin Troop: Here is the real money. While not exceedingly cheap, Harlequin Troupes are fast and pump out a lot of attacks. Each one has 4 attacks at WS 3+, and with a Troupe Master nearby, their low strength is mitigated a bit by rerolling to wound. Their various weapons are interesting: Caresses are good for solid S5 attacks at -2 AP, embraces for S4 at -3 AP, or the famous Kiss for -1 AP and d3 damage. When you factor in a small squad of 5 puts out 21 attacks, that all adds up quickly. Couple this with a decent speed, the ability to charge and advance, and the ability to fall back and act normally, Harlequins are hard to pin down. With a 4++ at all times, they can be annoying resilient if your opponent gets a hot hand, especially against any high value attacks, and they ignore terrain/intervening models, so they are great at jumping chaff and getting into the meat of an army.
Solitaire: A super Harlequin, the Solitaire is a great backfield sweeper that excels at getting deep into enemy lines and murdering small units camping far away objectives. With 8 attacks at WS 2+ and either a Caress or a Kiss, a Solitaire is going to put the hurt on most objective camping units, and with a 3++, the Solitaire isn’t exactly easy to hurt back. Even for tying up a high value target like a combat character, a Solitaire can charge in, do some damage, tank wounds, and force the character to sit and fight or fall back. Add in a movement of 12 and Blitz, and a Solitaire can fly across the board to snipe out a unit or a minor character like a Malefic Lord.
Well, there you go. Unfortunately, there isn’t a whole lot for Aeldari other than Harlequins. Still, between Wyches and Troupes, you can lock enemies in place, and really, Aeldari should be looking at combined arms armies to maximize their shooting. So yah know, play Ynnari.
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