Eldar (anti) tactics: How to beat the Seerstar/Jetbike Seer Council

I think I've said before, but I'll say it again, but I don't like Deathstar units. Units that are *so good* that they don't have reliable counters or weaknesses, that there's nothing they can't obliterate on their own.

Wait - there is no exhaust port?!

I feel having units with no obvious limitations is against the spirit of the game. In Chess, a pawn can still take a queen, if you play well. Granted, 40k isn't Chess, and Deathstars rise and fall and if they can be built, someone will bring one to a tournament. This is the danger with spammable units (i.e. Wave Serpents) and units that are massively over-powered on their own, or Deathstars. 

With that in mind, the current most powerful Deathstar in the game is the Jetbike Seer Council decked out to be a "Seerstar."

What is it?
It's a large unit of Warlocks on Jetbikes with two Farseers on Jetbikes and the Allied Dark Eldar HQ Baron Sarthonyx.
That means 6 powers (usually off of Runes of Fate, Farseers), up to 10 powers off of Runes of Battle (Warlocks), and anywhere between 8 and 12 Eldar Jetbikes (I don't need to explain why those are scary)

What makes it so dangerous?
What players try to do is get Fortune (Runes of Fate #5, "Re-roll failed saves"), Conceal (+Shrouded), and Protect (+1 Armor Save). With Jink saves, the combination of these gives the entire unit a 2+ Armor, 2+ Cover (if they move), and 4++ save, all with a re-roll.
They also have an unusually high (for Eldar) Toughness of 4, and Singing Spears - which give every model in the unit (except the Baron) a S9 weapon at 12" (probably with Guide for a re-roll to hit), and a Fleshbane weapon in CC (probably with Prescience for a re-roll to hit).

The Baron adds a +1 to Seize the Initiative, Hit & Run, a 2+ base save (for if they don't get the Protect Warlock power) and "Grisly Trophies" which allow the unit to re-roll Psychic tests. He also adds Offensive/Defensive grenades, allowing the unit to assault into Cover without losing Initiative.

Here is a more detailed breakdown of what it is and how people use it, although this is an old post so for whatever reason the original poster didn't realize that Singing Spears make the unit far more dangerous.

With that on the table, this mouse is your army. With a lot of preparation, it might be two rats. Still a tough fight.

It's quickly apparent why a unit like that is a problem for any army that doesn't have Eldar or Dark Eldar as their Primary Detachment. It can tackle any unit in the game and beat it, easily. It can move quickly enough to catch (or get away from) anything. It's deadly in CC, deadly at range, and Warlocks can do things like make a Riptide or unit of Terminators suddenly have a 3+ save, -1 WS/I, unable to Run, S3, etc. It's not pretty.

My biggest problem with this unit is it's massively unbalanced. Not just a little, a LOT. My secondary problem is it's an Eldar unit frosted with Dark Eldar just to make it unfair (and kind of un-fluffy, which bugs the crap out of me). Giving Warlocks a Psychic test re-roll almost completely negates the issues with their middling Leadership 8 (which was written to make their powers a little less absurdly powerful).

It also comes down to the fact that the only way to counter the thing is at range (because of Hit & Run, so locking them in combat is unlikely) and with weapons that both Ignore Cover AND are AP2. That's crap. The only thing in the game that reliably combines that is Tau Buffmander units, which again, non-Tau players can't take.

How to Counter/Beat a Seer Council
Keep in mind that first and foremost, a Seer Council is a giant blob of Psykers. The single best way to counter them is with Psychic defense, boost those Deny the Witch rolls and/or throw in some Psychic Hoods (or whatever the equivalent for your army). Nullify their powers, and they become much less dangerous. Grey Knights, Black Templars, Tyranids, Rune Priests, Inquisitors.

To beat a Seer Council, take away their strengths. Use Ignores Cover weapons to get through that 2+ Cover. Whenever possible, hit them with AP2 weapons as well to drop the Baron and cut through their armor. Ignores Cover weapons or abilities are key (Heldrakes, Wave Serpents, Tau Commander upgrades, Flamers, Legion of the Damned, Grav Weapons, etc.)
Flyers, Barrage Weapons, and other units/weapons that are fast enough to keep up or ignore LoS are always good against these guys.

The tricky thing about a Seer Council is that they will always get a save. There's nothing you can do about that. What you can do is do your best to bring it down to a 4++, with a re-roll or not, and they will start failing. If you can fit in someone like Astorath the Grim, who forces his opponents to re-roll successful saves, do.

If you get the chance to go first, and/or take Intercept, do both. They're weaker before they've moved/cast any powers (no re-roll until after Fortune is cast). Also, if you can get them to either not roll Fortune, or get the Farseer to fail the test, you'll have a much better time. Snipers/Precision shots aren't wasted here, because any chance to pick the Farseers/Baron out of the unit, however slim, are worth it.
Also remember that none of the models in this unit have Eternal Warrior, so get the Baron/Farseers to fail a single save to S8 or higher, and they're toast. They also aren't Fearless, so you can make them run, although with a re-rollable Ld 10, it's unlikely.

*Update: the new Astra Militarum Codex includes a shocking number of Barrage/Ignores Cover weapons, some of which are also AP3. Good in any round, excellent if you get in the shots before the Council gets any powers up!

With all their strengths, they're still not the best melee fighters, so if you do manage get them into combat with a heavier unit, they're in trouble. A "Heavier Unit" means Terminators etc., something with solid S8/AP2 CC punch and a top-notch save. OR, a huge blob unit. Sheer volume of attacks gives you a solid chance as well. Buff those units with Psychic defense though, if you want them to have any chance.
A Wraithknight or Great Unclean One - or any single model, really - is hosed. Also, don't rely on Offensive Psychic powers (witchfire, malediction, etc.) because a Seer Council gets an absurd Deny the Witch. It can work, they don't get a 2+ on that roll, but they have a solid save against it.

Also keep in mind that a proper Seer Council is in the range of 700 points. They will be horribly outnumbered no matter what, and it is possible to overwhelm them with volume of shots/models/units.

I hope all of that helps! Good luck, and happy gaming


  1. not all your ideas really Work. I know, I play the council.
    if the council gets cc aagainst hard targets they'll hitnrun away, debuff, shoot and charge Again or go kill something else. Shooting ap2 at them only works if it also ignores cover, the council doesn't tank everything on the baron or the farseers and even then 4++ reroll is pretty good. You need ALOT of sniping to kill fortune (2+, cover, 2+ armour, 4++ rerollable 2+ lookoutsir times 3) Helldrakes and waveserpents does nothing to a council. psy-defence only works on debuffing powers and runepriests/tyranids needs to be close to the council to nullify... dangerous place to be.
    oh, and remember they have armourbane and fleshbane in cc.


  2. All of that is exactly why I have problems with the unit in the first place. I believe I mentioned that Ignores Cover will only help if it's also AP2 or the Council somehow failed to get Protect up for the 2+ armor. Tau can do that combo with enough Markerlights, but also anything AP3 that can shoot the Council before they get Protect up will benefit a lot from Ignores Cover.
    It was just an example of tools a player should have on hand to make beating the Council easier. The problem is, there IS no true counter to the Seer Council. Massive volume of shots will do it, maybe, some of the time. Flooding the board with Troop blobs can win on Scoring missions just by having too much to wipe out (but will lose horribly in Kill Points missions).

    Flyrants are still a possible answer, because they can get Shadow in the Warp in range quickly. However, a Seer Council is more than capable of grounding any FMC with minimal effort.

    The short answer of "How to beat the Seer Council" is to take four Riptides and as many Markerlights as you can - but that's a *terrible* list, and something the vast majority of armies can't do.

  3. Try now with Invisibility, snap shots only means good bye to ranged blast weapons (D-weapons) or templates, and lascannons need 6's to hit...

    1. Yes, but now Psychic defense actually works. A Grey Knights army can obliterate a Seer Council list by denying those critical powers - the Seer Council is no longer completely unstoppable

  4. I play eldar but hate deathstar unites for all the reasons you've namend. Some armies can do something aagainst them but mmost don't.
    I can see the fun in playing a auto win army.

    If you steal the ini. Or can go first you have a good chance of greatly reducing the counsel. And the it becomes a auto loss army. hit it with all you have, and hope to kill the baron and farseers.

    1. I play sisters, my only chance at this is outflank with a swuad of dominions carrying meltaguns, priest with plasma gun, sister superior with plasma pistol, use act of faith to ignore cover, thats a small ammount of ap2 ignore cover instant death, hoping like hell they fail at least a couple 4±±, otherwise my best unit is gone next turn and no chance. I also take a vindicare if i know i am playing eldar with psykers on jetbikes.

      All your advice is good, but i too am not a fan of deathstar armies, if you auto win, why are you playing? Thats not fun for anyone. Thats why i havent played my necrons in months, my local group cant beat them.. (didnt play the seerstar & dont want to)


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