Eldar Tactics: Eldrad Ulthran, the Beatstick Farseer

Hello folks!

Today, let's talk about Eldrad Ulthran. In my humble opinion, the single greatest hero of the Eldar, and one of the strongest leaders an Eldar army can field.

Anytime you talk about a Special Character, the comparison has to be against the vanilla version of the hero. In this case, Eldrad is a Farseer, and right off the bat it's clear that you can get two barebones Farseers (TWO, both powerful characters in their own right) for less than his cost.

So, is he worth it?

What you get:
-- +1 T/Mastery Level
-- A 3++ save,
-- All Farseer upgrades (one-time bonus to Deny, one-off re-roll Psychic Test)
-- Guaranteed Warlord Trait
-- AP3, Fleshbane, Force Weapon (!) that can restore used Warp Charge Points.
-- Ability to re-deploy D3+1 of your units after your opponent deploys Infiltrators (handy!)
-- 4+ Deny the Witch (because really, there isn't a lot of Mastery Level 4 out there)

What you don't get:
-- Any access to a Jetbike :(
-- Remnants of Glory
-- A shot at the more interesting Warlord Traits (a gamble, that is)
-- Significant points savings.

On spec that looks like a much shorter list of "What you don't get," but not having any option to take a Jetbike hurts a lot in terms of where you can put him. However, having both Fleshbane and any AP (3, no less) is pure gold against a huge number of enemies in the game - especially paired with a Farseer's already high WS/I. Not to mention Force!

Really, whether he ends up worth the points or not depends on how you play. A Jetbike-heavy army kind of needs mobility to keep up with itself, in which case a footslogger HQ is a bit of a waste. You can put him in a transport, but every turn he's in it is another turn where you don't use his slew of Psychic Powers (thanks to all of our transports having no Fire Points).
Also, he needs to be put in a unit. Ideally a unit that can benefit most from his powers (4x Divination rolls on Dark Reapers) or that can give him a speed boost (a medium unit of Warlocks can get the +3" run move at least once, which with Battle Focus adds a lot to his speed over the course of a game) or a unit that can rush into the thick of things and get the best out of Eldrad's beatstick-ness (Wraithblades are perfect).

Eldrad's rules give him far more reliability in casting, allowing for more Charge Points in case you need to expend one to prevent a Perils, and he gains a single free re-cast for that one time a critical power doesn't go off. You can add those bonuses to any Farseer, but adding any upgrades reduces the points difference between vanilla and Eldrad, making Eldrad all the better of a choice. Also, Eldrad regains a Charge Point after any successful cast on a 5+, making it even less likely he'll ever run out.
You want the best powers, and you want them to go off, and you don't mind not being able to make a Seerstar? This is your guy. 

Any army could benefit hugely from taking Eldrad. Four rolls on any table is significantly better than even three if you're looking for a particular power (*cough!* Fortune! *cough!*) and being able to cast up to four powers/turn rapidly makes any army more dangerous.
Not to mention, this guy is a Monstrous Creature's worst nightmare. With an often re-rollable 3++, WS/I5, AP3, and Force in his scabbard, he can waltz up to a Wraithknight and slap it down in a single round of combat.

Eldrad is also the only HQ who can benefit your army in every single phase of the game. His re-deploy is pure gold for getting the best possible position against your opponent(s) (Deployment). His powers bless the heck out of everything in sight, and often come with a truly nasty gun of his own in the form of Eldritch Storm or Psychic Shriek (Your turn). His Warlord Trait, although situational, can really be handy in a pinch (Enemy's turn). He is also alarmingly tough, and so potent for taking down enemy HQs in challenges that he tends to get (and doesn't give up) Slay the Warlord easily (Victory Points).

So, how to use him?

I have two favorite ways of running Eldrad:

First, in a unit of on-foot Warlocks. It's no Seerstar, but it's quick, it's cheap (ish), can challenge any enemy, (with a decent chance at Fortune) soaks absurd amounts of fire, and has Warlock Powers up the wazoo to make a mockery of any carefully-crafted assault force. Just because it's not a Seerstar doesn't mean you can't have 3+ save Terminators! These small space-elf champions are especially good with Singing Spears against tanks and Dreadnoughts, and do horrible things to small high-toughness units.
This build is better if you use Eldrad as a support HQ, and intend for him to be your Warlord, with the best possible combination of mobility, durability and utility. This same field role fits well with him in a decent-sized unit of Dark Reapers or a large Blob unit.
The Warlocks are especially fun because their S9 ranged shots and Eldrad's own Psychic pew-pew combo beautifully with Battle Focus (especially with the beefed-up Run moves). They're no Jetbikes, but they've got it where it counts, and are significantly cheaper.

Second, in a unit of Wraithblades with Axes and Shields. This unit is absurdly tough, and can go toe-to-toe with any firing line or assault unit in the game. Even most mobs have trouble dragging these guys down, especially if Eldrad gets off Fortune and can take those precious Challenges (such as picking off that Power Klaw Nob). Throw in a Spiritseer and they're both scoring and gain a Warlock power or two.
However, I tend to use this build if I don't want Eldrad to be my Warlord. This build abuses his Close Combat prowess and makes him more likely to get his points back in terms of actual kills, but also significantly increases the chances he'll be killed himself.
This is also the best possible argument for Death Mission. Take another HQ (so you don't give up Slay the Warlord) and watch Eldrad's greatest weakness - his laughable 2 attacks (1 + 1 for two weapons) - turn into a whirling blender of AP3 Force-Weapon death. He (and his unit) lose future access to Fortune (if you had it), and he'll give up the Kill Point, but do this at the right time and he'll chainsaw through just about anything and likely make it worth the trade.
This second build can be deployed in a Wave Serpent, but I would only do that if you move it flat-out into enemy lines turn 1, otherwise you lose too many turns of Eldrad's mind-bullets. Otherwise, footslog. Walking isn't so bad against most armies that will tend to come to you, although it does limit your control of who he tackles when - that said the point of this build is to have a big juicy target that's nigh unkillable and likely to win against anything that attacks it. Call it a poisoned honeypot.

Those are the arguments for Eldrad. Of course, for nearly the same cost, you can slap two basic Farseers in Jetbikes, giving them a huge speed (and utility) boost, gaining six powers/turn, and the ability to reliably Guide/Presience four units per turn. You also don't have that niggling temptation to throw your pricey HQ into nasty combats, which, although fun, is always risky.

Eldrad plus a unit of bodyguards totals up to around 400 pts. That's a big chunk of any army, and into a unit that's fairly slow compared to most Eldar units. Eldrad is a powerful asset, but always be aware of what else you could take with those points.

That said, it's rare for me to field an army that doesn't include Eldrad, because I've found his re-deploy, shocking un-killability, and tendency to one-shot far nastier Characters in combat both incredibly invaluable, and simply charming.

Good luck, and Happy Gaming!


  1. Nice read. There is a lot of fun that can be had with him


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