Friday, October 16, 2009

Eldar: Prince Yriel

This is an update of a couple articles I wrote for Warseer's Eldar Tactica a while back. My original blog plan was to only recycle them here whenever I hit writer's block or got busy with real life. However, Master DarkSol of All Things 40K decided to write up a nice review on Eldar Autarchs. The one version he didn't cover was the special character, Prince Yriel...

Prince Yriel, Corsair Prince and Autarch of Iyanden Craftworld:
Prince Yriel is a touch more expensive than a tooled-out Autarch and is even with the Avatar in cost. This makes him the lowest priced Named Unit in the Eldar Codex. By background he's supposed to be unique to the Iyanden Craftworld, but his usefulness on the battlefield has spawned a number of "counts as" likenesses. He's basically a cross between a Warlock and an Autarch and this is supported by both Fluff and rules.

Stats: Yriel has the same stats as a normal Autarch, but at +1 Attack and Initiative. The biggest item worth noting that he is only T3; he's not too hard to wound and will Instant Death against anything S6 and above.

Master Strategist: Taken straight from the Autarch's rule, this gives any army he is with an optional +1 to any Reserves rolls. Additionally, this entry and his army list name are the only non-background places that mention him as an "Autarch". This is important to remember if you want him to benefit from Exarch Powers.
Doomed: At the end of every game he takes an auto-wound from his weapon but gets a 4++ save against it. This rule is really just an annoyance and many players tend to forget about it. I find Yriel rarely ends a game with only 1 wound left; typically he's either unscathed or died gloriously around Turn 4.

Forceshield: Gives a 4++ Invulnerable save to go with his 3+ armour.
Plasma Grenades: Allows him to charge into cover.
The Spear of Twilight: One of the biggest problems with Eldar CC is that they're usually S3, don't ignore armour saves, or don't hit at Initiative (especially charging into cover). Yriel with his Spear of Twilight is one of the few exceptions. Running a WS of 6, hitting at I7, carrying plasma grenades, throwing 5 attacks on the charge, wounding anything on a 2+ and ignoring armour saves... Wow. Yriel is happy chewing through Marines or cutting down the biggest of monstrosities. The weapon is also decent in CC against tanks and Dreadnaughts as it hits at S9. The downside is that this is serious overkill against light targets and horde players will probably be unfazed.
As if the CC weren't enough, it can also be thrown in the Shooting Phase like a normal Singing Spear. This is commonly Yriel's best way to drop a mobile tank due to his higher chance to hit.
The Eye of Wrath: This weapon is a hold-out bomb for when he's surrounded by the enemy. Being S6 and AP3, it is most effective against basic Marines. Note that it hits everyone in the area, be they friend of foe.

Basic Tactics:
Yriel's biggest drawback is that he's a mainly CC unit that's stuck on foot. Since you can't always rely on the enemy coming to you, he's best served with a bodyguard that both protects him and wants to close with the enemy.
On foot, he is well suited with Wraithguard, Harlequins, or a Warlock Bodyguard. His presence can be a great way to attract extra enemy attention, especially for a fire sponge like Fortuned Wraithguard.
Running a Wave Serpent offers extra mobility as well as protection. Complimentary units include mech Wraithguard, Scorpions, Banshees, Dragons, Storm Guardians, or Warlock Council. It's also possible to run him with Serpent of Fury Dire Avengers, but not optimal as they tend to prefer a bit more distance from the enemy.
In either of these cases he can provide a nice bit of normal CC power. However, The Eye of Wrath has created an amusing tactic known as "Yriel Bomb". Yriel is escorted by his bodyguard towards the enemy similar to a Goblin Fanatic. When close enough to charge he disengages from his bodyguard, charges in solo, lets the enemy surround him with Defenders React, and then sets of his explosion.
This will typically kill off the majority of any target squad. Downside is that the return fire is often an angry Marine Sergeant with a powerfist. Yriel has a good chance of weathering this on his own, but Fortune can minimize his risk of Instant Death. Then he'll often see the rest of the unit off with No Retreat! wounds. But even easier? Just Doom the target. A 2+ to wound with re-roll and no saves rarely leaves survivors to hit back.
Just be warned... opponents WILL remember a tactic that causes this much carnage. Expect Yriel and his unit to be a priority target or avoided by anyone who knows better.

Advanced Tactics:
Independent Characters don't have to get out of the tank when the rest of the squad does. Because of this, people often forget he's around or assume he's in a different tank. This can be VERY effective to get them to make a bad choice and close within charge range of Yriel.
Put him in with a mech DA or Dragon squad and advance them to a "vulnerable" position. Optimally this will be some place where the unit isn't assaultable that turn, it looks like they are over extended, and/or they would have a hard time getting away even if they got back into the Wave Serpent. Other options for luring the enemy close it to offer up the Wave Serpent as a charge target and/or threatening an objective.
The turn you move the tank, the unit jumps out and shoots while Yriel hides in the tank. Wait for the enemy to close on their turn, spring Yriel out of the tank on your turn, and then sit back and watch the fireworks.
Another fun twist to this is to run a second HQ in the same tank. If a FarSeer jumps out with the squad, people will often presume the tank is otherwise empty.

With Serpent of Fury DA, there's an extra subtlety you can pull against players more experienced with Eldar: don't Bladestorm the turn you get out of the tank. People who play against DA Serpent of Fury tactics often expect to see them jump out, Bladestorm, and then jump back into the tank and fly away. When the DAs don't Bladestorm, it is either because the player forgot about it or the unit is planning on hanging around the area for another turn or two. Since Bladestorm is so integral to the squad's function, most people will figure that you didn't forget it... so they'll close units on the area thinking your DA want to stay there.

Last, try attaching Yriel's with a squad that doesn't want to get out of their Wave Serpent after it moved; such as a CC squad like Warlocks, Banshees, or Scorpions. Move the Serpent into a threatening location like normal. But when the unit get out of the tank the next turn, Yriel doesn't have to stay joined to them. Just deploy him out of coherency from them such as on the other side of the tank. He can then move and assault a completely different target. This can be a great way to hit multiple targets with one Wave Serpent's cargo, especially against players that have given you a bait unit and intend to shoot you with the second. This tactic is little harder though. Most opponents usually want to get away from the unit inside the Serpent, rather than closing like they might for the tempting bait of DAs.

Cheers and hope you've gotten something useful from the read!

**Image grabbed from GW.


  1. Awesome review, and quite timely ;) I know you offered, but I still hope you don't mind I did use a significant portion of this in the Autarch review. Thanks.

  2. It helps that I'd already written this article a while back. (July '08 and Jan '09 for the big ones.) So it was just a matter of a some quick reformatting and updating.

    Feel free to grab any or all of it as you wish. :-)

  3. The Yriel bomb is HILARIOUS.

    First time I did it? Ate a whole doomed chaos marine squad.

    Second time I played that guy? He KO'ed Yriel's transport, then dropped Terminators in there with combi-plasma, and turned Yriel into an expanding cloud of crispy, fleshy debris.

    I think you more or less covered the devious uses for him. Most folks recall him for the Yriel bomb, but he's no slouch with just regular melee either. Mmm, power-weapon/singing spear hybrid.

  4. Nice tactica. I'd never seriously considered using Yriel in the past, but you've brought up alot of good points. I'll give him a go in my next game and see how he holds up.


  5. I told Dverning about this before but I think it is a fitting add on for this thread.

    At Ard Boyz this year I ran Yriel with Eldrad and a full warlock squad. In my second game of the second round, I faced off against an ork player with four full boy mobs and Ghaz plus others. My first move was to plop the squad with both characters out in front of one mob and destructor the entire thing to ash. My opponent then moved in to try and kill my deathstar and charged it with Ghaz and two mobs. Having hiden Eldrad and Yriel behind the front line he couldn't get to them with the PFs, but the insane number of attacks he dumped on me left me with only a warlock and the two characters, but I won the first round of combat.

    My plan was to use the Bomb, but because of the location of a few of my units he didn't have to croud in around him. So I moved those units away, and then charged the other end of his force with a 6 strong dragon squad. The set-up was perfect and Yriel fried 14 boyz. Eldrad, the warlock, and the dragons only added two more, but the orks only killed the dragons leaving each of the two mobs to take 10 more saves of which he failed 17.

    Shortly after, he got a warboss into combat with Yriel, and Ghaz took out Eldrad, but this left a total of less then a dozen orks from both mobz together.

    I won the game and couldn't help but laugh at Yriels 34 model kill count from two rounds of combat....

  6. @Raptor1313: I'd actually used Yriel and his Eye of Wrath a couple times in 4th and been underwhelmed. He was decent, but just not worth the investment. I'd actually traded off my Yriel model to a friend as I didn't think I'd ever play him.
    Then 5th rolled around and I thought nothing of it again... until the day I was writing this article. I tried out Yriel-Bomb the very next day... oh, how the cries of "CHEESE!" echoed. He swiftly went from "amusing" to "OMFG, buy Yriel".

    @Warhammer39,999: Thanks! I think that's one of the highest compliments you could pay my article.

    @mchmr6677: Ah, thank you for sharing that tale. I remember you telling me about that game but didn't have the specifics. It's one of the better examples I've heard of using him to his fullest.

  7. Also, I thought of one other thing to add on Yriel. I added him to my Ard boyz list for the second round because a warlock council with Eldrad have two major problems they are not good at dealing with: Terminators and Plague marines. These two units are so resilient that they can withstand the wound output of the warlock squad without much trouble.

    Yriel adds an additional 4 PW attacks to Eldrad's 2 thus basically nullifying plague's chances and heavily dropping non-thunderhammer terminators chances of holding the council in place.

    In my first round games as well as in several test games before round two, this was a major problem that I didn't think a squad of banshees was enough to handle.

    I should also say that while in the first round neither of my councils were killed, that Eldrad, Yriel, and the council died in every single match of the second round, just not before attracting the vast majority of each of my opponent's armies. My 2-0-1 record should speak to have attention consumming for one's opponent a council with Yriel backup can be.