Friday, February 24, 2017

Astra Militarum Tactics: Initial thoughts on Ynnari

With the new Eldar faction introduced in the gathering storm comes a new enemy to fight.  This certainly won't be comprehensive, as this army really hasn't been "figured out", but there are some general rules to follow to mitigate its advantages that will help you out.
The Ynnari have some new rules, detachments/formations, and characters that change the way it will be played, but only to a slight degree.  I have seen some claiming ZOMG OP, but I don't find it to be true, Eldar were already powerful, this just tweaks its power to different spots and slightly changes how its powerful.

Its important to note that the only way to take Ynnari is in the new detachment and formations included in Gathering Storm II, so no CADs.  The Ynnari lose their faction specific special rules (ancient doom, battle focus, power from pain) and gain power from death.  What does this mean?  Well for Craftworld, not much, battle focus is good, very good, but so is power from death.  Really this helps buff Dark Eldar and Harlequins, which are hardly known as power Dex's.  Power from Death allows a non-vehicle unit with this special rule to move, shoot, run or assault if any unit within 7" is destroyed, but a unit may only Soulburst once.  The three new characters have an additional rule on top, which mostly just allows regaining of wounds and such, not going into great detail on them at this time.

Important note, all models in the unit must have this rule in order to use it.  So an allied detachment, CAD, formation, etc, that is not Ynnari and an independent character joins one of these units, they can no longer soulburst.  This prevents someone trying to combo units from other factions, so don't expect combo eldar armies with Ynnari and non-Ynnari to be too common.  The other important note is that while taken in these detachments and formations, they have the same faction(though retain their original as well for purposes of Hatred, preferred enemy, etc) so they can jump on each other transports during deployment.  So you Banshee/striking scorpion lovers have some Taxis now.

There are some formations that modify the soulburst, the dire-avenger based one increases its range, another allows two units to soulburst when a unit is destroyed (no unit can do it twice still, just allows an additional unit to do it at same time if in range).

There are full reviews of the Ynnari out there, so thats not what I'm going to do, this is just to give you a run down for the general characteristics.  The main thing that is going to change your tactics when fighting this is the soulburst ability.  It is a damn short range, so they are going to have to get close to really be able to benefit from your units being destroyed.

Tactically, early game you need to avoid focusing your fire on units.  Easier said than done, but first few turns you need to spread the love, this will limit their ability to soulburst from your own shooting, and at least the first turn, they will not be close enough to benefit from soulburst from their own shooting.  That being said, expect this army to be fast with lots of bikes and transports for infantry.  Its going to get up in your face to shoot and assault you.  Be prepared for this.

Instead of waiting for them to come to you, take the fight to them.  Against many armies, holding back and blasting away is a solid tactic.  However, eldar will be in your face by turn 2 no problem, and turn 1 is not outside the realm of possibilities.  If you hold your army back, you will lose board control and cede initiative to your opponent.  You don't need to full on charge, but a flank maneuver with faster units will force your opponent to react to you, not the other way around.  Just don't advance so far that your cannot support them.  Unless you have overwhelming firepower to alpha strike a significant portion of their army, holding back will make grabbing objectives very hard.  This is obviously situation dependent.  There will be no blueprint plan that will work every time.

Though I've said not to focus fire units, there are some exceptions to this.  One is your opponents model placement.  What is close enough to get to soulburst?  If its only vehicles, no big deal, but if there are two large bike units, have a plan to deal with the second one when it soulbursts.  High priority targets are assault units in opened topped transports, kill their transport as early as possible, thankfully these transports are easy to kill, even with jink.

Another tactical consideration is multi layer defense/offense.  If you only have one main line, you will struggle when they breach it, and they will breach it.  Having secondary units behind your main line will allow you to counter their units that break through.  Again, they will break through, this will happen, plan for it.

Now what units will assist in countering their strengths?  Armor is one, as transports will increase the survive-ability of your infantry.  Hydras and Basiliks, especially in the artillery company to get some ignores cover on them, will give you anti skimmer firepower and the basilisks will be able to deal with the jetbikes before they get close.  Leman russ eradicators and standard russes are not bad choices, and Bane wolfs as well, especially kept back to counter their units when they get close, or to drive forward with infantry in transports. You want weapons that are going to ignore cover, but also have the AP to get past their armor saves.  Bikes are going to be the same threat they have been, so have tools to deal with them.

That is my initial thoughts.  Its not comprehensive by no means.  Being eldar, the Ynnari will be a tough opponent to face, but their cheese has less to do with being Ynnari and really just that Craftworld is cheese.  It will be an up-close, fast army, flying up the field and deepstriking in your face.  Plan for it.

More will definitely come as time goes on and the army itself gets figured out and counters for it as well.

Cadia Stands!


  1. Another exception to focus firing: If they screw up, or get a bad Jetbike Thrust Move or something, and a Unit ends up outside of Soulburst range of anything else. If at all feasible, dump as much as you have into that to down it as possible.

    Assault is harder to manage, but if you can get a Blob tying up multiple Units, that will really cut down on their Soulburst possibilities. You can also sometimes use casualty removal and Pile-in Moves to pull a Unit that you're about to kill off away from something that would otherwise Soulburst off of it.

    The Ynnari are definitely very strong, but there are still ways to mitigate their strengths.

    1. Definitely, focus any units that get out of range. Also if you are pretty sure you can wipe squads out, it is worth some of the survivors soul bursting. Buddy ran an emperors wrath artillery company and was able to wipe/run off board 4 bike squads turn one.

      They have strengths but its mitigated by what they lose.