Imperium of Man (Founders, Adeptus Astartes [Chapters, Characters, Primaris Marines], Astra Militarum, Adepta Sororitas, Inquisition, Mechanicus, Other factions)
Forces of Chaos (Chaos Gods, Heretic Astartes) | Xeno Races | Aeldari (Asuryani, Drukhari) | Necrons | Orks | T'au Empire | Tyranids
In Warhammer 40,000, the Asuryani, commonly referred to as Craftworld Aeldari or simply Craftworlders, are the principal faction of the Eldar race, star-faring nomads who strive to avoid falling to the temptations that doomed their race.
During the dark days leading up to the Fall, many Eldar heeded their seers' warnings and fled the debaucheries of their homeworlds to start new lives on vast, self-sufficient, starfaring cities known as Craftworlds. To avoid falling prey to the dark desires that ended their empire, they live a strictly regimented and disciplined existence, focusing their attentions on one "Path" of life at a time, such as scholar or artisan, or as an Aspect Warrior dedicated to one facet of warfare. Many Craftworlds are concerned solely with survival as their race enters its final twilight, but others hope to overcome their decline, defeat Slaanesh and rebuild the lost Eldar empire, or die trying. There are even whispers of a nascent god of death forming from their souls that will bring doom to Slaanesh and allow the Eldar to be reborn into new and better forms, but as is typical for the Eldar, this rumour is little understood, even by their own kind.
The Craftworlders are guided by prescient Farseers, who read the skein of fate and manipulate galactic events to the Eldar's advantage. The Craftworlds also hold and sustain the majority of the Eldar population, as well as the remnants of their original culture and industry. As such, these Eldar are among those most commonly encountered by other races. On many occasions Craftworlders have unexpectedly fought alongside the Imperium of Man against common enemies such as Orks, the Necrons, or Chaos. However, these alliances of convenience should not be interpreted as benevolence—the Eldar consider themselves far above the lowly "mon'keigh", and have just as often waged war against humans, or used them as expendable pawns in schemes that trade billions of human lives to save a handful of Eldar.
If the Space Marines are an army of generalists, the Craftworlders are an army of extreme specialists—their Aspect Warriors excel at a particular battlefield role, but need to fulfill that role in order to be useful. The Craftworlders also make extensive use of skimmer units such as jetbikes or grav-tanks, allowing them to swiftly bring devastating firepower to bear and outflank their opponents, while their leaders' psyker abilities can help bolster their allies and swing the battle at pivotal instances. Appropriately for their race, success with the Craftworlders largely depends on predicting the enemy's battle-plan and countering it with the right combination of units and actions.
The primary Eldar force for many editions, some early Codex: Eldar books included rules for many of the non-Dark Eldar sub-factions, such as Harlequins and Exodites, alongside the Craftworld units. In 2015, Codex: Craftworlds was released for the 7th Edition rules with the Harlequins receiving their own Codex. The 8th Edition of the game renamed the Craftworld Eldar as Craftworlders with the Faction name of Asuryani and their rules can be found in Codex: Craftworlds released in October 2017 with additional rules released in the October 2019 supplement Psychic Awakening: Phoenix Rising.
- Ace Pilot: While all Crimson Hunter Aspect Warriors are skilled above and beyond the pilots of other races, the Exarchs that lead them are the true masters of aerial combat. Piloting their Nightshade Interceptors with the ease that a Dire Avenger handles their shuriken catapult or a Striking Scorpion wields their chainsword, Crimson Hunter Exarchs are capable of bringing down the aircraft of any lesser race with peerless accuracy while evading return fire with their near incomprehensible speed and agility.
- Craftworld Alaitoc had long believed that, should they return, the Necrons would prove to be almost as much of a threat to the Aeldari as She Who Thirsts and have expended more time and resources than any other Craftworld in countering this long slumbering threat.
- Due to their defence of the scattered Maiden and Exodite worlds, the Aeldari of Biel-Tan have come into conflict with the Orks and forces of the Imperium many times in an attempt to stop the colonisation of such worlds. The mere presence of greenskins or humanity on a Maiden world will inflame the blood of the Biel-Tan Aeldari and see the Swordwind descend upon the interlopers with righteous fury.
- Since their near destruction by the Tyranids, the Asuryani of Iyanden have clashed with the swarms of the Great Devourer many times to prevent further sorrow for the Aeldari.
- Agent Peacock: The Craftworlders as a whole fit this compared to other armies in the setting. Their seers wear voluminous fur-trimmed robes with elaborate designs, all their units have several polished gemstones set around their body, their species possesses an unearthly physical beauty and moves with a near-impossible amount of grace, most of their warriors dress in bright and bold colors in a variety of hue, their vanity and skills at manipulation are both legendary, and they are without a doubt one of the "prettiest" armies that can be fielded. This does not detract from their lethality in the slightest.
- Air Jousting: Some of the background information for Saim-Hann states that the Wild Rider clans of the primitive (by Aeldari standards) Craftworld settle disputes in this manner through ritualistic Combat by Champion with both participants mounted on the Craftworld's signature jetbikes.
- Amazon Brigade: Subverted with the Howling Banshees. Though the Banshee is considered a female spirit in Eldar mythology, males can technically join these Aspect Warriors, but adopt a female persona and female-formed armor while they wear their "war mask".
- Angsty Surviving Twin: Weaponized with Wraithknights, which are piloted by the surviving twin with the help of the fallen twin's spirit stone. This familial bond results in unprecedented Synchronization between the pilot and his or her Humongous Mecha... wait a minute...
- Animal Motif: Striking Scorpion Exarchs sometimes use a pincer-shaped hand weapon called the Scorpion's Claw, which functions like an Astartes Power Fist but doesn't have the limitations to speednote and has a shuriken catapult mounted to it.
- Animal Theme Naming: Many of the armoured vehicles used by the Craftworlders are named after animals from Aeldari mythology such as the Falcon grav-tank (named after the falcon Faolchú who brought the sword Anaris to the great Aeldari hero Eldanesh), and the Scorpion super-heavy grav-tank (whose mythical counterpart used its sting to kill enemies before they could get into range).
- Artificial Afterlife: In order to prevent their souls from being consumed by She Who Thirsts, the Asuryani constructed the infinity circuits that permeate each Craftworld. When an Aeldari of the Craftworlds dies, their soul is captured within a gem known as a waystone. These spirit soulsnote are then inserted into the infinity circuit and the soul released into a shadowy, dreamlike existence where they can watch over and advise the living.
- Awesome Personnel Carrier: The Wave Serpent, a fast flying transport protected with a force field, able to choose from an array of deadly weapons, and still roomy enough to carry a full squad of Aspect Warriors. But even the Falcon grav-tank has room for six passengers, and is thus able to bring a Farseer and their entourage where they are needed, or extract the survivors of a squad from the battlezone.
- Badass Normal: Eldar Guardians when compared to the rest of the army. Unlike the Aspect Warriors, Guardians are a civilian militia used to supplement and support the professional forces as infantry, weapon crews or vehicle pilots. Despite this, their inherent abilities and advanced equipment make them superior soldiers to Imperial Guardsmen.
- Becoming the Mask: Every Craftworlder chooses a particular Path, adopting a vocation and mentality to go along with it. After they feel that they have learned all they can from that Path, they choose a new one, changing vocation and assuming a new mentality. In this way, not only do they learn about particular trades, but also teach themselves various traits to develop their character and establish control over their own passions. However, occasionally an Eldar may become "lost" along a particular Path, no longer able or necessarily willing to adopt a new one, becoming locked into that Path for the remainder of their lives.
- In the case of those on the Path of the Warrior, these Eldar become Exarchs, who will have their souls absorbed into the spirit stones of the Exarch Armor rather than their own, so that their knowledge and guidance can pass onto a new generation, literally becoming the mask.
- In the case of Seers, they become Farseers, their dabbling into seeing the future eventually locking them into a Path in which they can do nothing else but continue. Their bodies gradually crystallize as a result of channeling the threads of fate, and they will eventually settle in the Dome of Crystal Seers, becoming a crystal statue that forms a new node in the Infinity Circuit.
- BFG: Many. Dark Reaper Exarchs are particularly notable, carrying handheld Tempest Launchers that fire clusters of missiles. Most of their heavy weaponry such as D-cannons can be seen as this as well.
- BFS: Start with the Witchblades and Biting Blades wielded two-handed by Warlocks and Striking Scorpion Exarchs respectively, then scale up through the swords wielded by Wraithlords to the Wraithknight's blade, which is fully as tall as a Tau Riptide!
- Blade on a Stick:
- Singing Spears, which channel a Farseer or Warlock's psychic power to devastating results. They can even be thrown to skewer tanks, and always return to their wielder's hand.
- The fearsome Executioner spear wielded by Exarchs of the Howling Banshees. It's a mighty power weapon capable of cleaving Space Marines in twain with a single blow.
- The Wraith-constructs known as Wraithseers are armed with ghostspears, large rune-etched polearms that the Wraithseer can channel their psychic abilities through to cleave through vehicles and armour. The 8th Edition rules represent this by giving the ghostspear a high Armour Piercing value and special rules when used against vehicles.
- Blinded by the Light: The Shimmerplume of Achillrial is an ornate helm that is a relic of a lost craftworld. The plume of this ancient helmet is able to capture light and reflect it towards the wearer's enemies in a dazzling display of colour. The 8th edition rules represent this by giving all those trying to target the wearer of the Shimmerplume a penalty on their to hit rolls.
- Brain Uploading: This is how the Craftworlders save themselves from Slaanesh upon death — their souls are captured in Waystones for uploading into their craftworld's Infinity Circuit, which basically allows the Eldar's soul to become a part of their craftworld, allowing them to give advice to the living. While this isn't exactly a paradise, it's a heck of a lot better than being consumed by Slaanesh.
- Bullet Dodges You: The rune armor worn on the battlefield by Craftworld seers does not protect them by crudely absorbing or deflecting blows against them. Rather, it allows the seer to channel their power through it to alter the skein of fate such that dangers headed in their general direction just tend to miss for whatever reason. It would be like Gun Kata, except that rather than moving their body to fit the statistics, the statistics move to fit their body.
- Came Back Wrong: Craftworld Altansar was drawn into the Eye of Terror during the Fall and presumed lost, but during the 13th Black Crusade, Maugan Ra led an expedition that saw Altansar return to the material universe. However, its inhabitants are known to only speak in whispers and never remove their helmets, leading other Eldar to speculate how they changed over ten millennia in the Warp.
- Canon Immigrant: Il-Kaithe was a Craftworld invented for Dawn of War as a variant Eldar color scheme. It was subsequently included in Eldar codices, with a note that its Bonesingers were famed for their battlefield repairs — an allusion to how such units behave in the video game.
- Casting a Shadow: Some of the Aeldari psykers who fight alongside Wraith Hosts are able to use tears in the fabric of reality to create unnatural shadows to protect their follows. The 8th Edition rules represent this with the Twilight Gloom psychic power available to psykers from the Wraith Host Specialist Detachmentnote that allows a friendly unit to count as being in cover.
- Cavalry of the Dead: Wraithguard and the towering Wraithlords are an interesting variant, constructs given life by the spirit stone of a fallen Eldar warrior. They don't fade away after a single battle, though, and form the bulk of Craftworld Iyanden's armed forces.
- The Chessmaster: Farseers' main vocation. By studying the skein of fate, they select possible futures that are the most advantageous for their Craftworlds and then guide the military and political actions undertaken to see those futures come to pass.
- Chicken Walker: War Walkers, one-man Mini-Mecha known for packing serious firepower for the size as well as a protective force field.
- Combat Clairvoyance:
- Aeldari psykers can hold their own in close combat, as they literally know your every move, and apply those same skills which leading their forces on the battlefield. Enemies find themselves fighting a foe that reacts to their attacks before they've barely started.
- The Aeldari of Ulthwé are so attuned to the strands of fate that even their citizen militia have developed a limited form of prescience that allows them to avoid attacks during a battle. The 8th Edition rules represent this with the 'Foresight of the Damned' Craftworld Attribute that allows all Ulthwé models a chance to ignore Wounds that they suffer.
- The spirits of deceased Seers and Warlocks who reside within the wraithbone cores of the rare Warlock Battle Titans are able to foresee potential danger that could damage the might Wraith-Construct, allowing it to dodge and weave through enemy attacks with the fluid grace that Aeldari Titans are renowned for. Early editions of the Epic scale game system represented this with the Witch Sight Psychic Power that made the Titan harder to hit with both shooting and close combat attacks.
- Combination Attack:
- Fire Prism grav-tanks have sophisticated tracking and targeting systems that allow them to chain their lasers through each other's amplification crystals. An Apocalypse formation with six such tanks is capable of some awesome pyrotechnics.
- The Prism Rifles used by Shadow Spectres can do something similar, allowing the squad of Aspect Warriors to make a single Ghostlight attack that is more powerful depending on how many are contributing to it.
- Crippling Overspecialization: Both the weakness and the strength of the Eldar Aspect Warriors, whose units are often specifically equipped and trained to fight a certain opponent. It's said that if you pit six Eldar against six Space Marines, the Space Marines will kill all but one of their opponents but then be completely wiped out by the last Eldar.
- Crystal Spires and Togas: Life on a Craftworld. Reflected in a lot of the game artwork.
- Dangerous Forbidden Technique: Hemlock Wraith-fighters use their pilots' psychic powers and the spirit stones of the dead to terrify foes and rip their souls from their bodies to be hurled into the Warp. In Eldar mythology only the crone goddess Morai-Heg has the right to sever spirits in this way, but the Eldar feel their present circumstances justify the use of such a horrific weapon.
- Dark Is Evil: The Imperium's view of the Eldar from Craftworld Ulthwé, whose colors are black and bone, as it was the machinations of Ulthwé's farseers (especially Eldrad Ulthran) that led to the Wars of Armageddon.
- Dark Is Not Evil: On the other hand, Ulthwé in general is no more "evil" than the rest of the Eldar, and are active and committed enemies of the forces of Chaos. Same goes for the Dark Reaper Aspect Warriors.
- Deadly Disc: Shuriken catapults fire hundreds of small serrated ones every second.
- Death of a Thousand Cuts:
- The basic principle of shuriken weapons: shred the opponent by pumping him full of molecule-thin projectiles.
- Dire Avengers have the Bladestorm ability, where they pump so many rounds out of their shuriken catapults that they have to spend the next turn reloading.
- Death World:
- Ulthwé is known as "Ulthwé the Damned" due to its proximity to the Eye of Terror. In the (ancient) Inqusition War series by Ian Watson, its landscape and wraithbone arches are described as being ravaged by countless numbers of raids by daemons and Chaos Space Marines.
- Malan'tai was infamous for its people getting their souls devoured by the Tyranid known as the Doom of Malan'tai. Later it was overrun by daemons and Orks.
- Deflector Shields:
- Although the Aeldari prefer to use holo-fields to protect their war machines, some vehicles, such as Wave Serpents and War Walkers, are equipped with defensive shielding. How these force fields work varies by edition with the 8th Edition rules giving War Walkers an invulnerable save while the Wave Serpents serpent shield reduces the damage the transport takes with each hit.
- Individual, man-portable defence shields, such as the shimmershields borne by Dire Avenger Exarchs and the more powerful forceshields used by Autarchs and Wraithblades, are generated by wing-like bucklers worn on the forearm and, in game terms, give the wearer an invulnerable save.
- Guardians squads often carry celestial shields, psychically activated force field projectors that they can use to produce an instant, if short lived, barricade to weather enemy fire. The 8th Edition rules represent this with the Celestial Shield Stratagem that grants a Guardian squad a 4+ invulnerable save for a phase.
- Demolitions Expert: While Fire Dragons may be best known for their Kill It with Fire presentation, their actual battlefield role is as anti-material experts. Their fusion guns and melta bombs are ideal for destroying hardened targets at short ranges, and the Fire Dragons know just where to use them to best effect whether that be blowing up a tank, breaching a bunker, or bringing down the load-bearing columns of a building.
- Divided We Fall: Even as their race slides into extinction, the Craftworlders have on occasion gone to war with each other, usually over their respective Farseers having differing visions of the future and how to bring it about. One White Dwarf battle report had Ulthwé fighting to stop Alaitoc from massacring a human colony based on how they saw the resulting domino effect playing out. Craftworlds Dorhai and Kaelor have also had histories of warring with other Eldar.
- Dragons Up the Yin Yang: The serpentine dragon is a common Eldar glyph, while the yin-yang has seen less usage in recent editions. The Eldar are also noteworthy for having a yin-yang divided into three sections, commonly interpreted as representing the three moons of the Eldar homeworld, which were associated with one of their deities and featured prominently in Eldar folklore and mythology.
- Due to the Dead: Craftworlds will go to great lengths to recover the Waystones of the fallen and ensure their proper interment into the Infinity Circuits. This is driven in large part by some very practical concerns, since the Waystones actually contain their fallen bearers' souls.
- Dying Race: No more Craftworlds are being produced, and the Eldar are not reproducing quickly enough to replace those who die in battle or run off to be Outcasts, and their lore tends to put a lot of emphasis on their dwindling numbers and fading glory. More recent material implies that the Eldar might not be completely doomed, however...
- Emotion Eater: Warp spiders, the small crystalline lifeforms the Warrior Aspect takes its name from. They act like the Infinity Circuit's immune system, merging into it and reconstituting themselves elsewhere, and attacking and consuming stray emotional signals or daemonic influences. In this way they keep the Infinity Circuit purified, leaving the existence for the souls within one of peace and calm serenity.
- Empathic Weapon: Usually because there's an occupied spirit stone on it somewhere containing an Eldar spirit.
- Enemy Mine: On numerous occasions the Eldar have allied with Imperial forces against a common threat, and worked closely with certain members of the Inquisition. The most famous of these is Inquisitor Bronislaw Czevak, who was given access to the Black Library of the Harlequins, but Inquisitors Eisenhorn and Ravenor have had dealings with the Eldar in their respective stories, and in Graham McNeill's Forges Of Mars trilogy, an Eldar force is essentially forced by scheme and circumstance to team up with Space Marines, agents of the Mechanicus, and a Rogue Trader and his entourage.
- The Faceless
- The helmets of Wraith constructs, and appropriately enough those of the Spiritseers who guide them.
- Inhabitants of Craftworld Altansar never take off their helmets. Chaos influence is suspected.
- Fighting for a Homeland: Craftworld Lugganath want to start a new Eldar civilization safe inside the Webway.
- Fixed Forward-Facing Weapon: A number of Eldar vehicles, such as the Lynx and Cobra super-heavy grav-tanks, mount a single large weapon in a fixed forward position using their speed and manoeuvrability to keep their targets in their sights. The original Falcon grav-tank design for the Epic game system also had a fixed forward lascannon rather than the turret mounted heavy weapons of the current model.
- Form-Fitting Wardrobe: Justified with the bodysuits worn by Guardians and Aspect Warriors, which are made of psycho-sensitive material that changes shape to conform to the wearer's movements.
- Flaming Sword: The Firesabre is a relic weapon of the Asuryani said to have been forged from the fang of the great drake Draoch-var. The razor-sharp blade burns with the fury of the mythic dragon and its ethereal fire spreads like a living thing. In game terms, the 8th Edition rules represent this mythical fire by giving the weapon a chance of inflicting mortal wounds to those it strikes.
- Frickin' Laser Beams: The Eldar's lasblasters and scatter lasers are, of course, superior to similar weapons produced and utilised by the Imperium of Man. Special mention must be made of their heavy lasers, called Bright Lances, which lack the range of an Imperial lascannon, but are so efficient against heavy targets that armor beyond a certain thickness is rendered redundant, letting the weapons pierce even Land Raiders with ease. Then there's also the Mandiblasters wielded by the Striking Scorpions, and sometimes carried by Autarchs.
- Fuuma Shuriken: The triskele is a three-bladed weapon thrown by a Howling Banshee Exarch like a discus, after which it returns to its wielder's hand.
- Generation Ships: Craftworlds, of the "no destination" variant. They're spaceborn metropoli capable of housing entire fleets.
- Glory Days: The people of Biel-Tan believe that they can bring the Eldar back to prominence. Their rune even means "Revival of Ancient Days".
- He Will Not Cry, So I Cry for Him: The Path of Mourning, dedicated to expressing a Craftworld's collective grief so those on other Paths will not have their progress blunted by that sorrow.
- Heart Drive: Wraith constructs are basically this, warrior-forms animated by the spirit stone of a fallen Eldar soldier.
- Highly Conspicuous Uniform: Craftworlders at war tend to wear uniforms with bright colors proclaiming their allegiance to their craftworld or aspect shrine. Even the ones with darker uniforms usually have bright hues to provide sharp contrast. Possibly justified by their heavy use of holofields and chameleoline when they actually get down to fighting.
- Hover Tank: The Eldar are one of only two races to commonly use these. Based around graceful, bird-like chassis, they lack the armor of land-bound tanks, but are orders of magnitude more mobile, and can bring exotic and powerful weaponry to bear swiftly and where the enemy is most vulnerable.
- Humongous Mecha: Like many other races, the Eldar have their own Titans, from the agile Revenants to the mighty Phantoms, as well as the Warlock Titan, which boasts psychic powers. Incidentally, the Phantom is almost 2 feet tall◊ on the table, stretching the definition of "miniature."
- Implacable Man: Wraithguard and Wraithlords are supernaturally tough constructs able to ignore all but the heaviest of enemy fire, while responding with overwhelming firepower of their own.
- Jack-of-All-Trades: Unlike the other aspect warriors, Dire Avengers "specialize" in being as adaptable and flexible as possible. They're essentially professional Guardian squads, able to handle general dangers, but not specific threats like enemy vehicles or heavy infantry.
- Jousting Lance:
- The ritual weapon of the Shining Spear Aspect Shrine is the laser lance. This powerful energy weapon can fire a devastating laser blast at short range and that is usually unleashed just before the Aspect Warrior engages the enemy, that is then followed by a second piercing blast as the lance strikes. In-game most editions of the game these weapons can be used at range and in combat with the 8th Edition rules giving them a bonus on the turn that the Shining Spear charges to represent its increased effectiveness.
- The Novalance of Saim-Hann is a relic of the tribal craftworld said to be one of the most powerful of its kind ever created, able to unleash the power of a star when it strikes. The 8th Edition rules for this mighty weapon give it a superior stat line to other weapons of its type, along with a chance of doing extra damage.
- Kill It with Fire: Eldar have flamers and short-ranged fusion weapons analogous with the Imperium's, while the Fire Dragon Aspect Warriors specialize in using such devices to reduce tanks to molten slag.
- Killed Off for Real: The Craftworlds currently at large are merely the ones that were far enough away to escape the opening of the Eye of Terror. In the ten thousand years since then, more have been lost to alien aggressors, dwindled into extinction, fallen to Chaos, or simply passed into the dark reaches of space, never to return.
- Kher-Ys suffered the ignominy of having its Avatar of Khaine possessed by a Greater Daemon of Slaanesh. Similarly, Rogue Trader gives us Craftworld Lu'Nasad, which was corrupted by Chaos so that three "Aspect Shells" produced undead Dire Avengers, Warp Spiders and Wraithguard.
- Malan'tai fell prey to a unique Tyranid now known as the Doom of Malan'tai, which glutted itself on the psychic energy of the Craftworld's Infinity Circuit and single-handedly destroyed it. The place was later given a Viking Funeral when it was set on a course to the nearest sun.
- Last of Their Kind: Mymeara was a Craftworld built on the very fringes of the Eldar empire, so that for thousands of years after the Fall they thought themselves the only Eldar left in the galaxy.
- The Leader: After walking the Path of the Warrior multiple time as a member of different Aspect Shrines, an Aeldari gains a deeper insight into the myriad ways of war than any other member of their race. Such Aeldari are then able to walk the Path of the Leader to become an Autarch who is able to wield the military might of a Craftworld with the ease and skill that a regular warrior can wield a blade.
- Legacy Character: Exarchs adopt the name of the first who wore their armor; see Mind Hive below.
- Lightning Bruiser:
- Wraith constructs look like they ought to be Mighty Glaciers at best, but they're still described as blindingly quick by the standards of other races. Even Fulgrim, a Primarch, was shocked by the sheer speed and ferocity of a Wraithlord that attacked him in his titular book (and almost lost the fight were it not for the influence of his MacGuffin). Wraithlords and Wraithknights are additionally some of the toughest units in the entire game, having the coveted Toughness 8, meaning even Space Marines are unable to harm them without using special anti-armor weapons.
- Striking Scorpions move quite fast despite wearing the heaviest armor on an Aspect Warrior, tough enough to withstand bolter rounds.
- Love Ruins the Realm: Slaanesh destroyed Craftworld Kher-Ys by having one of his greater daemons seduce an Eldar girl into lowering its defenses.
- Magical Database: The Infinity Circuit of each craftworld is the repository of the souls of the dead, and that includes their knowledge as well. By placing a dead Eldar's spirit stone into the Infinity Circuit, not only are they saving them from being consumed by Slannesh, but they are also preserving that Eldar's knowledge and adding it to the craftworld as a whole. Living Eldar can interface with the Infinity Circuit, consulting the collective spirit of the craftworld for advice or information to better guide those who still live.
- Magic Knight: Warlocks are Seers who have formerly trod the Path of the Warrior, and their psychic powers are geared on battlefield destruction or enhancing the abilities of their squadmates. If a Warlock's spirit-stone is used in a Wraithlord construct, what is already a Lightning Bruiser becomes one with psychic powers as well.
- The Magocracy: While most craftworlds have Farseers involved in their governance, at least in an advisory role, Ulthwé in particular has a high council of Farseers as their de facto governing body. Given Ulthwé's proximity to the Eye of Terror, they are depended on far more than on other craftworlds, and the fact that they have survived as long as they have has given Ulthwé a well-deserved reputation for having some of the best Farseers among a species already known for its skill at reading the strands of fate.
- Make Me Wanna Shout: Howling Banshees aside, the Eldar also use Vibro Cannons as artillery, which in previous rulesets were one of the few weapons capable of hitting multiple targets with the same attack.
- Master of All: Autarchs are Four Star Badasses who have mastered multiple Aspect Warrior disciplines without becoming trapped on those Paths as an Exarch. This allows them to walk the Path of Command and wield the elements of the Eldar army with unsurpassed ease, as well as a variety of wargear options to bring into battle.
- Matriarchy: Craftworld Iybraesil is a highly matriarchal society with females taking up leadership roles as Farseers and Autarchs. The craftworld also has far more female warriors, such as Howling Banshees, than any other craftworld. This predisposition dates back to a pact the Aeldari of the craftworld made with the goddess Morai-Heg to provide handmaidens for the Crone Goddess.
- A Million Is a Statistic: At their most benign, this is the Craftworld Eldar's view on the Imperium (and part of why they have such a bad reputation). Considering the extreme birth-to-death difference between the two factions, the Eldar can't afford the same level of losses the Imperium can and have to resort to tactics that favor a single Eldar life over a million Imperial lives. The less benign Eldar simply don't care.
- Mind Hive: An Exarch's armor is basically a self-contained Infinity Circuit, and instead of joining with the rest of the Craftworld, the spirit stones of all who have worn the armor are left on it. When a new Exarch dons the armor, the minds of the previous Exarchs will combine with that of the current wearer.
- Multiple-Choice Future: The Seers of the Craftworlds are often depicted in the background material and novels as seeing the future as myriad strands leading to different futures with each action spawning multiple new strands. It is the seer's mission to sort through these countless possible futures to find the most advantageous and steer the course of events towards this future.
- Necromancer: Spiritseers don't animate corpses; rather they're psykers able to commune with the spirits in the Infinity Circuit, and guide the departed souls as they take to the battlefield as Wraithguard or Wraithlords. The Eldar still regard the practice as abhorrent, but Necessarily Evil given these desperate times.
- No One Gets Left Behind: Much like Space Marines will take great pains to recover the gene-seed of fallen battle-brothers, the Craftworlders will be sure to recover fallen comrades' waystones to be placed within the Infinity Circuit.
- Our Elves Are Better: Worth repeating here, even in contrast to the other Eldar groups. No matter how good you think you are at something, there is a Craftworlder who has walked further down that Path, and devoted more time and energy to mastering it, than you ever could. Of course, whether they can do anything else well is another matter entirely.
- Out-of-Genre Experience: Craftworld Kaelor's stories of intrigue and war among noble houses feel like something out of A Song of Ice and Fire rather than the Cosmic Horror Story expected from 40K.
- Planet of Hats: The notable Eldar Craftworlds embody aspects of the elf racial archetype.
- Ulthwé boasts a disproportionate number of Farseers and Warlocks, emphasizing the Witch Species aspect of elfkind.
- Saim-Hann is home to clans of Air Jousting jetbike riders who have been known to feud with each other, thus epitomizing the elf as a fey barbarian.
- Biel-Tan is the most militant craftworld, ruled by a council of Aspect Warriors out to rebuild the Eldar empire.
- Alaitoc's conservatism leads many of its citizens to take up the Path of the Outcast as Rangers, reflecting elves as woodcrafty snipers.
- Iyanden was so devastated by battle that most of its armed forces are constructs piloted by the souls of the dead, ramping up the "ancient race in decline" elven motif.
- Planet Spaceship: Some sources describe Craftworlds as the size of dwarf planets.
- Power Crystal: Besides the ever-present spirit stones and other accessories, the Fire Prism grav-tank stands out for its two-stage weapon system, in which a laser is focused through an enormous crystal that greatly amplifies its effect.
- Power Fist: The Eldar prefer more elegant weapons, but make some use of these, such as on Wraithlords who aren't wielding enormous swords. Of particular note is the Striking Scorpion weapon, the Scorpion's Claw, which has an integrated Shuriken Catapult.
- Precision-Guided Boomerang:
- The Dark Reaper weapon the Web of Skulls, from early editions of the game, was a bolas-like weapon consisting of a trio of crystal skulls connected by lengths of chain. When thrown, the Web of Skulls could hit up to three models before returning unerringly its wielder's hand.
- The triskele is a large, three-bladed shuriken-like weapon used by Exarches of the Howling Banshees between 3rd and 7th Edition. The Exarch could throw the triskele at an opponent, its razor-sharp blades slicing through the flesh of multiple targets before returning to the thrower.
- The Protagonist: Craftworld Iyanden seems to have the role among the Eldar as they have the densest back story.
- Protectorate: Steal, or heavens forbid break, some spirit stones, and the Eldar will be very upset. You're dooming their kin to being consumed by Slaanesh, after all.
- The Remnant: Biel-Tan Craftworld is the most militaristic and is trying to reconquer the galaxy.
- Resurrection Sickness: Wraithguard and Wraithlords' condition lets them view reality as an "ever-shifting image of spirits," which can prove distracting. In previous editions, such units had a one-in-six chance of missing a turn, unless guided by a psyker.
- Robe and Wizard Hat: Eldar psykers are easily distinguished by their elaborate robes, lightweight rune armor, and tall, ornate helms.
- Screaming Warrior: Howling Banshees vent their destructive rage in a scream amplified by their war masks, projecting a psychic shockwave that stuns foes while the Banshees slice them apart.
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: Craftworld Lugganath plans to abandon the galaxy to start a new civilization in the Webway, and thus fosters close ties with Harlequins.
- Sealed Badass in a Can: Craftworlders effectively do this to themselves, mentally putting away their identities as warriors when they aren't needed, lest they become trapped on a Path of eternal bloodshed.
- Seers: The most treacherous Path is the that of the Seer, where the Craftworlders cultivate their psychic potential. Those who walked the Path of the Warrior go onto to become Warlocks. Those who become lost on the Path become Farseers, who can see extremely far into the future and thus predict which path is best for the Eldar. While leadership practices vary from Craftworld to Craftworld, Farseers are always party to it.
- Shoulder Cannon: Many of the larger humanoid constructs of the Asuryani mount weapons on their shoulders so that they can increase their firepower, or to leave their hands free to wield close combat weapons. Wraithlords and Wraithknights will often sport heavy weapons more commonly seen on Guardian grav-platforms, while the larger Titan-class constructs will often have powerful missile launchers and other weapon systems built into their holo-field projector fins.
- Skull for a Head: As part of their Grim Reaper theme, the helmets of Dark Reaper Aspect Warriors are typically fashioned into the morbid visage of a skull.
- Soul Jar: Every Eldar wears on their person a gem or polished stone known alternatively as a soulstone, spiritstone, or waystone, designed to capture their soul at the time of their death, anchoring it to the material universe and denying it to Slaanesh, who would consume it otherwise. Typically that soulstone will be brought to an Infinity Circuit, allowing the soul to join with others stored there in a sort of afterlife where the living may consult them and seek their collective knowledge.
- Space Fighter: Even among all the examples in 40k's Standard Sci-Fi Fleet, the Nightwing fighter-interceptor stands out for being faster and more maneuverable than anything else in the skies. Imperial fighter wings who go up against these Eldar craft can expect to take 75% losses in a matter of days, while in the first week of a campaign against Chaos forces, a mere four Nightwings accounted for 66 Hell Talon fighters without taking a single casualty.
- Space Nomads: Craftworlds don't really have a destination, but know better than to stay put.
- Space Romans: The Craftworlders are a grab-bag of different cultures, combining Greek, Japanese, medieval European, and Commedia dell'Arte influences with good old-fashioned Tolkienesque elvishness. Various non-visual aspects of Eldar culture such as names and mythological themes seem reminiscent of Celtic Mythology, while it having a few Japanese customs like a "Path of the Warrior" and the use of "masks" to dilute a person for the betterment of society.
- Split Personality: Actively cultivated as Eldar travel down a Path, enough so that an Eldar who changes career in many respects becomes a different person.
- Squishy Wizard: Farseers invert this; as their psychic powers advance and their minds link with the wraithbone cores of their Craftworld, their physical bodies deteriorate and slowly crystallize. The oldest seers are taken to the Grove of Crystal Seers, where they fuse directly into the Infinity Circuit amid wraithbone trees.
- Stealth Expert: With such a high proportion of its citizens who have become Rangers at some point in their life, even the Guardians of Craftworld Alaitoc have acquired considerable knowledge of stealth and concealment. The 8th Edition rules represent this with the 'Fieldcraft' Alaitoc Craftworld Attribute that makes units from the craftworld harder to hit while in cover.
- Teleporters and Transporters: Warp Spiders are Aspect Warriors equipped with short-ranged teleporter backpacks. They're considered the bravest of the Eldar's soldiers, as they spend a brief moment in the Warp with every jump. On the tabletop you can have the unit take two such jumps in a turn, but run the risk of a Teleporter Accident in which one doesn't return.
- Took a Level in Jerkass: Around 2nd Edition, some players got the mistaken belief that the Eldar were "good guys" because they fought Chaos like humans and had a sympathetic backstory. Ever since, game designers have taken pains to show off their callous, manipulative nature.
- Twin Telepathy: How the Wraithknight pilots function; one's (mostly) dead and one's (mostly) alive, they work in tandem to control the giant vehicle.
- Unusual Weapon Mounting: Striking Scorpions go beyond Dual Wielding a chainsword and shuriken pistol, but are also equipped with Mandiblasters on their helmets' cheeks, which fire superheated needles that conduct a powerful, short-ranged laser "sting." This allows a comparatively small squad of these Aspect Warriors to cut down huge mobs of enemy light infantry.
- Vertical Mecha Fins: Present on some Eldar units, which have curved fins protruding from the back behind the shoulders, such as Guardians and Wraithlords. Certain other units have only a single fin mounted from the spine, such as Wraithguard and Eldrad Uthran.
- Vision Quest: The Path of the Dreamer is devoted to this, and composed of those with a need to understand their own subconscious and discover what it is that they most desire. Such dreamers often put themselves in a particularly vivid dreamlike state through use of a hallucinogenic plant called dreamleaf.
- Warrior Monk: Not only are the Exarchs teachers and leaders of the Aspect Warriors, they are also the priests of Khaine. Those Eldar who join the Aspect temples do so most often to fulfill a spiritual need, to learn to confront and control the more destructive urges in their souls, making them lay-members of the temple.
- Warrior Poet: Probably a fair number of literal cases, in which one who walked the Path of the Poet later takes up arms. Less literally but more commonly, Aspect Warriors are recruited on the basis of those Eldar who have a spiritual need to express themselves through violence, learning to control that expression so it does not control them. Each Aspect is as much a reflection of the meaning in the spirit of the Warrior as it is a way of doing battle. Those who would hide from their darker selves become Striking Scorpions, those who want to scream in rage become Howling Banshees, those filled with aggressive pugnacious energy become Fire Dragons, those who simply want to see the world fall to pieces around them become Dark Reapers, etc.
- We Used to Be Friends: Craftworlds Biel-tan and Iyanden were once close allies, but they drifted apart after differences in goals. Biel-tan wants to reconquer the galaxy, while Iyanden wants to defeat Chaos.
- Weaponized Teleportation: Distortion weapons, such as those wielded by Wraithguard, D-cannon artillery, or Warp Hunter grav-tanks, are Teleport Guns that tear apart reality to send parts of the target area into the Warp.
- Weapon of X-Slaying: The Biel-Tan relic weapon the Burnished Blade of Eliarna was commissioned by one of the Aeldari's greatest pre-Fall warriors to be the bane of the greenskins. Imbued with eldritch energies that are anathema to Orks and their kin, the Burnished Blade is said to hum when greenskins are near and can kill the barbaric but hardy aliens with ease. The 8th Edition rules represent this deadliness by boosting the Strength and Damage of the weapon whenever it is used against enemies with the Orks Keyword.
- Winds of Destiny, Change: An ability of Farseers, carefully selecting the strands of fate to pull on to alter the skein to benefit their own forces and detriment the enemy's.
- Winged Humanoid: Swooping Hawks function as jump infantry, but use feather-like gravitic lifters supplimented with tiny thrusters rather than the crude bulky thrusters of the lesser races.
- A Wizard Did It: If the Craftworlders do anything which seems, either overtly or on reflection, to be perhaps against their own interests or just an inefficient way of securing those interests, then it is because a Farseer determined through precognition that was the best way to secure their future. They need not explain the complexity of their visions or their gambits to you.
- Worf Had the Flu:
- Given that they're a psychic race that can see the strands of fate and the future and act accordingly, a few supplementary stories have attempted to explain some of their larger disasters this way: the Emperor's Children only pulled off their attack on Lugganath due to Harlequins surreptitiously aiding them to stave off a future loss of even more Eldar lives, while the Imperial attack on Alaitoc depicted in the Path of the Eldar novels only came about due to their Seers dismissing the confluence of events needed to bring it about as too minor to even consider.
- The 5th edition rulebook stated that the Imperium had given up on attacking craftworlds directly because of the horrific losses the last time they'd tried it (losing an entire battlefleet), so the destruction of Idharae being carried out by a single Space Marine Chapter in the 5th edition Space Marines Codex (released only a few months later) came in for a lot of this retroactively. One supplement stated that the Eldar were severely depleted after the very costly battles against Hive Fleet Naga, while another stated the Space Marines still would have been defeated if it hadn't been for the last minute intervention of the Legion of the Damned.
The dying and scattered Eldar race has nevertheless banded around a few particularly impressive individuals:
The Avatar of Khaine, Incarnation of the Bloody-Handed God
Aeldari tradition holds that, at the climax of the Fall, Kaela Mensha Khaine, the bloody-handed god of war, battled the new-born She Who Thirsts but was defeated and broken into fragments. These divine shards came to rest at the heart of each craftworld, where they grew into the iron statues known as Avatars. Sealed within a shrine to the Bloody-Handed God, an Avatar waits silently until war nears, the growing battle-lust of the Aeldari pulsing through the world-ships infinity circuit kindling the burning blood of the deity's iron body. With arcane rituals and the sacrifice of a worthy Aspect Warrior, the divine spark of life is returned to the physical embodiment of Khaine and it strides purposefully out of its shrine to lead the Asuryani to war. The Avatar's fiery form inspires the Aeldari warhost, filling its warriors with visions of bloodshed as it brings flaming ruination to their foes.
- BFS: The Wailing Doom, which sometimes takes the form of a spear or axe.
- Burning with Anger: It constantly smolders with Khaine's rage and Blood Lust.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: In one of the Avatar's many defeats, the Legion of the Damned engaged one. Upon realizing that their flaming bolt shells were useless, they opted to instead literally bring down the roof on top of it.
- Flaming Sword: It can even make a short-ranged melta attack.
- Footprints of Muck: It leaves flaming footprints in its wake. You can tell where an Avatar was been by the scorch marks its feet leave.
- Four-Star Badass: In-game, the Avatar was made a Lord of War in the new Craftworlds codex.
- Human Sacrifice: In times of dire conflict, an Exarch is designated the "Young King," adorned with a crown of wraithbone thorns, has his naked body painted with runes of blood, and is led into the Avatar's throne room. After several hours of roaring flames and screaming, the awakened Avatar walks out. The optimistic take is that the Exarch's soul becomes one with Khaine, but it's more likely that it's consumed utterly as a sacrifice.
- Large and in Charge: Stands two or three times the height of an Eldar, and is inevitably the tip of the spear in any assault.
- Lava Adds Awesome: The Avatar's "body" is the solid crust of a bunch of molten iron.
- Legacy Character: Of a sort. Any Craftworld can awaken the Avatar, but there's no example of two fighting at the same time, and while the Avatar can be killed it can always be reawakened later.
- Living Statue: The Avatar is a statue of living iron animated by a fragment of Khaine and the bloodlust of the Aeldari.
- Magic Enhancement: Curiously enough, one Avatar of Khaine looted by the Overfiend of Octarius had this effect on da Orks. The Avatar fought alongside da Orks while its very presence somehow made them bigger, stronger, and smarter.
- Meaningful Name:
- The Wailing Doom is named for the terrible sound it makes as it is swung.
- Khaine's 'Kaela Mensha' title was given as an epithet meaning Bloody-Handed after he brutally slew Eldanesh and was cursed to have his hands constantly drip with Eldanesh's blood.
- Morph Weapon: The Wailing Doom is commonly seen as a sword, but in fact it can appear as any melee weapon, be it sword, axe, spear or otherwise. The exact appearance is said to be subjective, appearing differently depending on the person who sees it.
- No Body Left Behind: If battered beyond that point that the Avatar's physical form can no longer be animate, the psychic rage of Khaine will melt the remains into literally nothing, leaving nothing left behind for his foes to claim.
- There are a few incidences of the Avatar's remains failing to disappear, and then the pieces being collected. One must wonder what they would be used for...
- No-Sell: Due to its fiery nature, the Avatar is often depicted as being utterly immune to flame based weaponry. Whether this is fully represented in the rules of the game varies by edition with some making the Avatar totally immune to such weapons, while 8th Edition gives it a chance of ignoring damage from any weapon.
- Not So Different:
- The 5th edition Necron codex gives the C'tan several similarities to the Avatar: broken shards of ancient gods held by their chosen races and awakened for battle in times of great need.
- The Avatar is woken with a process of ritual and blood sacrifice, is made of the stuff of the Warp, feeds on and invokes the psychic emotions of those around it, and is affected by force weapons and rebuked by hexagramic wards, much like a Chaos daemon. In fact, it is a daemon, just a very rare example of one not associated with Chaos.
- Physical God: The incarnation of a War God.
- Red Right Hand: Its hands constantly drip with gore, said to be the blood of the legendary hero Eldanesh.
- Respawn Point: The Avatar's throne at the heart of each craftworld, where the iron statue of its body sits inanimate until awakened. It is here that the Avatars first appeared, and it is here that they regenerate if ever destroyed.
- Resurrective Immortality: An Avatar can never be truly "killed". Destroying its physical form is only ever a banishment, as a new physical form of the Avatar will grow on its throne at the heart of its respective craftworld. This does take time though, and losing an Avatar can be quite a setback.
- Sculpted Physique: Goes hand-in-hand with being made out of seemingly raw iron, its body a mix of black and red both from its iron material and its scorching presence.
- Sword Beam: Though it can appear as weapons other than a sword, the Wailing Doom is capable of projecting a short-ranged beam of psychic destruction.
- Unstoppable Rage: The Avatar's mere presence renders nearby Eldar fearless with bloodlust.
- Volcanic Veins: White-hot flames are visible in the gaps between its armor.
- The Worf Effect: Holds the dubious honor of being the most Worfed thing in the universe, and an embarrassing number of heroes can put "defeated an Avatar in close combat" on their resumes. The Blood Ravens killed an Avatar four times over the course of the Dawn of War series (though only through the combined efforts of the player's entire army in the case of Dawn of War 1, and four entire teams of crack commandos in Dawn of War 2). Even Maugan Ra has killed one! Despite the fact that it's become the butt of a joke in the fluff, it remains quite powerful and hard to kill on the board. The bad news is that some of the heroes who managed to kill one can still do just that. Also, its only slot in an army is shared with the Wraithknight.
- Wreathed in Flames: As a bonus, this renders the Avatar immune to flamer or melta attacks.
Eldrad Ulthran, Exiled High Farseer of Ulthwé
Formerly the head of the Seer Council of Ulthwé, Eldrad is perhaps the most gifted living psyker amongst the Asuryani. The ancient Farseer's foresight has saved countless Aeldari lives, often at the cost of other races such as when his manipulations caused the rise of the Ork Warlord Ghazghkull Thraka rather than a rival Warlord who would have turned his Waaagh! towards the Aeldari. While his resilience and power has been a rallying point for the people of Ulthwé, his unsanctioned and only partially successful attempt to awaken Ynnead, the Aeldari God of the Dead, caused his fellow Council members to exile the gifted Farseer. Despite his fall from grace, Eldrad continues in his attempts to find the best fate for his people and avoid the final battle of Rhana Dandra for as long as possible.
- The Archmage: One of the most powerful psykers in the whole setting, and considering the Eldar is a highly psychic race, that's saying something.
- Badass Long Robe: As befitting a Farseer, but his in particular is quite a sight.
- Big Good: Eldrad is considered this for Ulthwé.
- Cassandra Truth: He tried to warn the Emperor about Horus, but was ignored. He tried to warn Fulgrim about Slaanesh, but was too late.
- The Chessmaster: It was he who manipulated the rise of Ork Warboss Ghazghkull Mag Uruk Thraka, who went on to wage war against the planet of Armageddon. Though millions of humans and Orks died in the resulting war, the Eldar of Craftworld Idrahae were saved.
- The Exile: In his attempt to awaken Ynnead, the God of the Dead, Eldrad and his allies stole dozens of the petrified Crystal Seers from Craftworlds across the galaxy, and performed a ritual that, when it failed, put every Infinity Circuit in grave danger. For this heinous crime, and for his arrogance in attempting to unilaterally dictate the fate of the entire Eldar race, Eldrad was exiled from Ulthwé on pain of death.
- Magic Staff: The Staff of Ulthamar. Not only is it a formidable weapon, it contains the soulstones of Ulthwé's first Seer Council, giving Eldrad a link to Ulthwé's Infinity Circuit and thus nigh-unlimited fuel for his psychic powers.
- I Know Your True Name: It is implied in at least one book that some Imperial scholars believe Eldrad was on a first-name basis with the Emperor himself. However, Eldrad has never been shown to volunteer what the Emperor's name actually was.
- I Was Quite a Looker: Was noted several times to have been especially handsome in his youth, which would have been quite a long time ago.
- Psychic Powers: He's a master at it. To give you an idea: in the run-up to the 13th Black Crusade, Eldrad met with Ursakar E. Creed. To even the odds, Creed brought a large number of sanctioned psykers with him. Every sanctioned psyker was floored by the sheer amount of power radiating from Eldrad.
- Power at a Price: His psychic might is possibly the greatest out of any current 40k character out there, with only the likes of Ahriman possibly matching him. That said however, due to his age and his frequent use of his abilities, his body is slowly but surely turning into crystal because of it.
- Retcon: His Not Quite Dead status has been confirmed, since his fate during the 13th Black Crusade has undergone this. He has returned with a vengeance facing off against the Death Watch with a troupe of Harlequins at his side in the Death Masque boxed set.
- Super Toughness: Farseers Live Longer, gradually turning their bodies to tough crystal as they do so, and Eldrad has lived longer than most. As a result, he has an incredibly high toughness score for a model on foot.
- Time Abyss: He tried to warn the Emperor about Horus and was active during the Horus Heresy ten thousand years ago.
- Well-Intentioned Extremist: Is willing to do a great deal of horrific things if it means doing what he feels is best for the Eldar race. If any other race is caught with the shorter end of the stick, then so be it.
- What the Hell, Hero?: He gets chewed out by the rest of the Craftworld Farseers after the events of Death Masque, both for stealing the bodies of dead Farseers and deceiving his allies so that he could attempt a dangerous ritual, and for trying to personally determine the fate of their people countless times in the past.
Prince Yriel, Autarch of Iyanden
The illegitimate heir to the House of Ulthanashnote Yriel has always been a brilliant commander but in his youth he was also arrogant and headstrong. These character flaws came to the fore when the young Autarch was given command of Iyanden's fleets and his pre-emptive strike against a Chaos fleet left the Craftworld undefended. Reprimanded for his actions, Yriel, along with much of the craftworld's fleet, took to the Path of the Outcast and founded the Eldritch Raiders Corsair fleet. When Iyanden was invaded by Hive Fleet Kraken, Yriel and his followers returned to save their beleaguered craftworld but, in order to ensure victory, Yriel was forced to take up the cursed Spear of Twilight. Although Iyanden was saved and Yriel hailed as a hero the spear is now bound to the Autarch and slowly absorbs his life force. In the wake of the fracturing of Biel-Tan, Yriel gave his life in defence of Iyanden only for him to be resurrected by Yvraine, the prophet of Ynnead. With much of his life energy restored, Yriel has rededicated himself to the defence of Iyanden and its people in an increasingly perilous galaxy.
- Artifact of Death: The Spear of Twilight inevitably burns out its bearer's soul. Yriel almost succumbed to it, but was mysteriously rejuvenated. He regularly uses a personal forcefield which dampens the spear's effect on him.
- Back from the Dead: Yriel was killed by the Nurgle Daemon Prince Garagugulgor during the Gathering Storm II: Fracture of Biel-Tan storyline only to be resurrected by Yvraine, the Emissary of Ynnead, when she used her mastery of necromantic energies to force the Spear of Twilight to return the life force it had stolen.
- Big Damn Heroes: Iyanden was on the verge of being overrun by the hordes of Hive Fleet Kraken when Yriel led his corsair fleet back to his former home, shattering the Tyranid ships assaulting before engaging those creatures that had invaded the craftworld itself.
- Blade on a Stick: The Spear of Twilight, a weapon of such incredible power that it had to be contained in a stasis field in the Shrine of Ulthanash.
- Cool Starship: His personal ship, the Flame of Asuryan.
- Eye Beam: The Eye of Wrath, a device Yriel wears over his left eye which can unleash a powerful lightning attack.
- Fatal Flaw: His pride.
- Four-Star Badass: As an Autarch.
- Heroic Bastard: He's a bastard son of a princess of the House of Ulthanash. Tons of rumors in-universe abound as to his father, with one of the most controversial being that his father was a Dark Eldar.
- Jerkass: Even by Eldar standards, supposedly.
- Insufferable Genius: He's very stuck-up, but he's also a brilliant commander and warrior.
- Military Maverick: Notably, he holds the title of Autarch despite having no experience in the Path of the Warrior.
- Screw This, I'm Out of Here!: His reaction to being stripped of his rank of Autarch? Leaving Iyanden and forming a Corsair fleet.
- Undying Loyalty: Receives this from his subordinates. When Yriel left, many of his men joined the Eldritch Raiders with him.
- Unwanted Revival: Yriel does not appreciate Yvraine reviving him, considering his second life to be a cursed one.
Iyanna Arienal, the Angel of Iyanden
Iyanna Arienal was always a talented psyker, but after her entire House was killed in a Chaos attack, she turned her considerable gifts towards communing with the spirits of the dead and is now considered to be one of Iyanden's most gifted Spiritseers. Able to easily commune with the fallen in the Infinity Circuit, Iyanna spends much of her time, both on and off the battlefield, surrounded by Wraith-constructs possessed by the spirits of her lost House. A fervent believer in Ynnead even before the God of the Dead's partial awakening, Iyanna is a dedicated supporter of the Ynnari and has come to the aide of the Reborn a number of times.
- Big Damn Heroes: Iyanna led a force of Iyanden Ghost Warriors to the Crone World of Belial IV to save Yvraine and the Ynnari from a horde of Slaaneshi Daemons.
- Blade on a Stick: The Spear of Teuthlas, a superior singing spear.
- Demoted to Extra: Although no longer a playable model, Iyanna still makes appearances in the background material and plays an important role in the Ynnead storyline.
- Gotta Catch Them All: Currently seeks the Tears of Morai-Heg, gemstones with the power to speed Ynnead's birth.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: She's rarely seen without her bodyguard, a huge Wraithlord which houses the spiritstone of an Exarch.
- Necromancer: As a Spiritseer, Iyanna uses her psychic abilities to guide and summon the spirits of dead Eldar from the Infinity Circuit.
- Orphan's Ordeal: Lost her entire family in an attack by Chaos, hence her interest in connecting with the dead.
- Put on a Bus: Iyanna was removed as a playable model in the 5th edition codex. Bizarrely though, the fluff made her pivotal to Iyanden's story since her reintroduction in the 6th edition Iyanden supplement,.
The legendary chieftain of the Fireheart Wildrider clan, Nuadhu is renowned for both his reckless bravery and martial prowess. Fighting from the back of Alean, a converted Vyper jetbike named after the legendary mount of Khaine, Nuadhu has led the forces of Saim-Hann into battle many times and, since the opening of the Great Rift, has assisted the Ynnari with their search for the Croneswords.
- Air Jousting: Perhaps a purer example than the Shining Spears.
- Blade on a Stick: Wields the Celestial Lance, which he most famously drove into the heart of a Greater Daemon of Slaanesh.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?: See above.
- Fearless Fool: Has the Reckless rule, allowing him to ignore Crew Shaken or Stunned results on the vehicle damage table. This spreads to any Jetbike squads he joins, making them Fearless as well.
- Put on a Bus: Nuadhu hasn't appeared as a playable model since the 3rd edition codex .
Illic Nightspear, the Walker of the Hidden Path
Illic Nightspear has wandered the Path of the Outcast for thousands of years, exploring the unknown regions of the galaxy. Illic's knowledge of the webway is second only to that of the Harlequins themselves and the famous Ranger has used this knowledge to aid his people time and again. A marksman without compare, Illic's ancient long rifle, Voidbringer, has end the life of countless threats to Alaitoc and the Aeldari race as a whole. Since the opening of the Great Rift, Illic has turned his skills to the defence of the webway from those who would usurp and corrupt its labyrinthine pathways.
- Cold Sniper: Illic is without peer in this function, and high-ranking figures in multiple armies have fallen to his Ranger longrifle.
- Enemy Mine: With Kor'sarro Khan of the White Scars, during their escape from Necron captivity.
- Enigmatic Minion: It's rumoured that he's following some hidden agenda to delay the Rhana Dandra.
- I Have Many Names: Illic has many different titles, depending on which Ranger band is talking about him. Among them are the Sentinel of the Stars, the Wayforger, and the Shield of Alaitoc.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: In-game, every shot he fires is a Precision Shot, so you get to choose which model dies when he shoots something.
- Walking the Earth: Illic has traveled all over the galaxy, assisting Eldar armies wherever his gun is needed.
- Weaponized Teleportation: Illic's unique long rifle, Voidbringer, creates a miniature warp-hole within the target, ripping their body apart as parts of their body are transported into the immaterium. In the 8th Edition of the game this is represented by a fixed to wound roll, and the chance of inflicting mortal wounds.
The Phoenix Lords, also known as the Asurya, are the founders of the Aspect Shrines that produce the elite religious warriors of the Asuryani. The oldest of Exarchs, the warrior-priests of the Aeldari War God, each Phoenix Lord has become the ultimate embodiment of one facet of Khaine's nature. No longer truly alive, the soul of a Phoenix Lord is bound to their armour and each Aeldari who inherits their wargear is absorbed and subsumed by the Phoenix Lords powerful will so that their original personality can continue to fight the enemies of their race. While many of the Phoenix Lords have disappeared for millennia at a time, the opening of the Great Rift has seen more Phoenix Lords walking the pathways of the galaxy at the same time than ever before as the Rhana Dandra, the prophesised final battle against Chaos, draws nearer.
- Animated Armor: As Energy Beings, they no longer "wear" their armour so much as "inhabit" it, with the armour serving to simply contain and channel their will.
- Bling of War: Phoenix Armour is much more ornate and advanced than regular Aspect Armour.
- Energy Being: Phoenix Lords are no longer physical beings, their bodies having long since transcended into a state of pure psychic energy, contained by their armour. In Path of the Warrior, when Morlianith-Korlandirl looks at Karandras' corpse, he sees no blood or organs, despite a cut down the center of his armour. When Karandras is resurrected after Morlianith-Korlandirl merges with him, the armour just seals up.
- Foil: The Phoenix Lords and the Aspect Warriors are analogous to the Primarchs and the Space Marines.
- Legacy Character The Phoenix Lords are the epitomes of the Aspect Warriors, and if slain will simply reincarnate into the next person to wear their armor. For this reason, Phoenix Lords contain the souls of untold thousands of Eldar.
- Living Legend: The Phoenix Lords are the most famous heroes of the Aeldari, having fought in defence of their race for millennia. Their fame has even spread to some of the races of the galaxy with the records and mythology of these races speaking of their continuing war against the forces of Chaos.
- Many Spirits Inside of One: While the spirit of the first Phoenix is always the most dominant, all those who have been absorbed by them have their psychic power and memories added to the gestalt.
- The Red Baron: The Phoenix Lords all have an appropriately badass nickname.
- Soul Jar: If a Phoenix Lord is killed, their soul will lie dormant in their armor. When a new Eldar takes up the armour, the soul of the Phoenix Lord will merge with the new Eldar's and essentially overwrite it.
- Super Prototype: The weapons and equipment used by Aspect Warriors are based on those used by their Phoenix Lords. These originals, such as the Scorpions Bite used by Karandras and the Mask of Jain Zar, were often hand crafted by the Phoenix Lords themselves and are far superior to the copies made by their followers.
- Voice of the Legion: They are described as speaking this way, since they no longer have throats they communicate by the resonance of all the psychic voices of their many spirits.
- Walking the Earth: All the active Phoenix Lords spend their lives travelling across the galaxy and through the webway to teach their followers, fulfil their own inscrutable missions and assist any Aeldari they feel require their aid.
Asurmen, the Hand of Asyuran
Born Ilaithin, Asurmen is the first and greatest of the Phoenix Lords, the ultimate founder of the Path of the Warrior, and the immortal agent of Asyuran, king of the Aeldari Gods. It was Asurmen who gathered and instructed the Aeldari who would go on to become the other Phoenix Lords in the arts of war. After the fall of the original Shrine of Asur, Asurmen created the noble Dire Avenger Aspect Shrine and has spread his teachings to every craftworld in the galaxy.
- The Artifact: During 2nd Edition, Asurmen was armed with a shuriken pistol alongside his diresword and shuriken catapults and this is sculpted on his model. The pistol was removed from his in-game equipment by 4th Edition but as it is still present on his model it has become nothing more than an Ornamental Weapon.
- Big Brother Instinct: Asurmen became this to Faraethil, who became Jain Zar.
- Dragons Up The Yinyang: The yin-yang symbol, said to represent the balance between fury and skill required to be an Aspect Warriors, is the personal rune of Asurmen.
- Guns Akimbo: Asurmen has a shuriken catapult mounted on the back of each of his vambraces.
- Empathic Weapon: His Diresword, known as the Sword of Asur, contains the spirit stone of his brother, Tethesis, who was slain by a Daemon. This way, Asurmen and Tethesis can symbolically fight together against the Great Enemy.
- Knight Errant: Asurmen is a teaching variant, as he has traveled to many craftworlds teaching the ways of war.
- Primary-Color Champion: Asurmen and his Dire Avenger students are considered to be the noblest warriors of the Aeldari and traditionally were blue as their primary colour with highlights of red gold and white to display their heroic nature. In Asurmen's case, the red is greatly emphasized thanks to his red helm and Badass Cape.
- Rage Helm: The faceplate of Asurmen's great crested helm takes the form of a snarling face that, when painted with the official colour scheme, resembles an angry Noh mask.
- Small Town Boredom: Ilaithin's life in his home planet is described as boring and uneventful.
- Staking the Loved One: Ilaithin was forced to kill his brother Tethesis who was possessed by a daemon. This pushed him to the Despair Event Horizon for a while.
Jain Zar, the Storm of Silence
The first student to study under Asurmen, Jain Zar (born Faraethil) had always been a deadly and passionate swordswoman, and the tutelage of the Hand of Asyuran greatly increased her lethality. The most active of all the Phoenix Lords, Jain Zar has spread the teachings of the Howling Banshee Shrine to more craftworlds than any of her fellow Asurya except Asurmen himself. Since the partial awakening of Ynnead, the God of the Dead, Jain Zar has been a vocal supporter of the Ynnari, aiding the Reborn in battle on numerous occasions.
- Action Girl: She will jump into battle without hesitation, as is to be expected of a Phoenix Lord, and will lead armies of Howling Banshees.
- Big Brother Worship: Looks up to Asurmen as this after daemons killed her own brother.
- Blade on a Stick: Zhai MorennTranslation , a light polearm with an incredibly sharp blade.
- Dance Battler: To see her fight is compared to seeing her dance, and she performs many a leg sweep, dodging twist, and graceful pirouette while cutting down her foes.
- Horrifying the Horror: When she faced the Night Lords in Void Stalker, the Night Lords heard a sound that they thought at first was rain. They entered a state as close as an Astartes can get to panic when they realized it was her feet hitting the ground from running.
- Magnetic Hero: She has often assembled Howling Banshees from multiple Craftworlds in the call to war.
- Precision-Guided Boomerang: Jainas MorTranslation , a warp-forged three-bladed throwing weapon.
- Screaming Warrior: Her Banshee Mask's psychosonic power is even more effective than that of the Howling Banshees' Masks.
- Terror Hero: Anyone who can make the Night Lords crap themselves deserves this title.
Baharroth, the Cry of the Wind
The youngest and most gifted of Asurmen's students, Baharroth is said to retain the vibrancy of youth despite his long existence and many deaths. The first warrior to truly master aerial warfare, Baharroth founded the Swooping Hawks Aspect Shrine, teaching the art of fighting with the subtlety of a gentle breeze while striking with the force of a hurricane. At the disastrous Council of Coalition, a doomed attempt to unite the Aeldari factions, Baharroth stood with Asurmen and Jain Zar against Karandras and Maugan Ra in a brief but bloody conflict.
- Blinded by the Light: Baharroth's sword, the Shining Blade, is said to have been forged in the heart of a supernova. When it strikes an enemy, the energies of this lost star are released, burning the eyes of the impure. The 8th Edition rules represent this by giving enemies wounded by the Shining Blade a penalty to their to hit rolls in close combat. In previous editions, this was also an ability that Baharroth inflicted on nearby enemy units whenever he joined the battle from Deep Strike.
- Death from Above: Like the Swooping Hawks he created and trains, Baharroth's specialty is swift airborne attacks.
- It's Personal: He really hates the Forces of Chaos because they destroyed much of his home craftworld, Anaen.
- Sword and Gun: Baharroth typically wields a lasblaster and power sword in battle.
Karandras, the Shadow Hunter
Uniquely amongst the Asurya, Karandras isn't the founder of the Striking Scorpion Aspect that he represents, instead being one of the most talented students of Arhra, the Father of Scorpions, who was lost to Chaos and betrayed his people. A master of stealth and patience, Karandras is an exceptional hunter who will burst from the shadows to slaughter his pray before silently disappearing into the darkness once again.
- Animal Motif: As would be expected of the Phoenix Lord of the Striking Scorpions, Karandras' armour and wargear are modelled after that of a scorpion, with his scorpion's claw resembling that of its namesake and the overlarge mandiblasters of the Scorpion's Bite resembling the mandibles of a scorpion far more than those of the Aspect Warriors he leads. Even Karandras' tall helm is modelled to resemble the segmented tail of a scorpion.
- Chainsaw Good: Wields a Biting Blade, a Chainsword unique to the Striking Scorpions.
- Frickin' Laser Beams: His Scorpion's Bite is a modified set of Mandiblasters that is more powerful than the standard model. It can penetrate a Space Marine's armor and send him flying, and is more than powerful enough to damage Terminator armor.
- Stealth Expert: Despite his and the Striking Scorpions' Highly Conspicuous Uniform and their Blood Lust.
- Legacy Character: He is not the first Striking Scorpions Phoenix Lord. The first one, Arhra, fell to Chaos and went missing.
- Power Pincers: Has a Scorpion's Claw on his right hand with an integrated Shuriken cannon.
Fuegan, the Burning Lance
The founder of the Fire Dragons Aspect, Fuegan is a powerful and deadly Phoenix Lord. Utterly dedicated to the art of destruction, Fuegan teaches his student to bring total annihilation to the enemies of the Aeldari but to also harness this destructive power with wisdom so that they can bring harmony to the galaxy. When conflict breaks out within the ranks of the Asurya, Fuegan typically maintains a neutral stance and it is prophesied that he will bring the Phoenix Lords together for the final battle against Chaos.
- The Big Guy: Shares this with Maugan Ra.
- Determinator: When Arhra betrayed the Phoenix Lords and led the attack on Asur, Fuegan refused to retreat. He was feared dead for some time after that.
- Hot Blade: Fuegan wields the Fire Axe in close combat, an ancient and powerful weapon that still glows with the heat of its forging millennia later. Such is the heat of its blade, the Fire Axe can cut through almost any armour, something that is represented in all editions by a high Armour Penetration value and, in some editions, special rules.
- Putting the Band Back Together: When the time comes for Rhana Dandra, the final battle against the forces of Chaos, it is prophesised that it will be Fuegan who will gather the scattered Phoenix Lords to fight as one for the first time since the fall of the Shrine of Asur.
Maugan Ra, the Harvester of Souls
Hailing from the once lost craftworld of Altansar, Maugan Ra is a true master of ranged combat who teaches his Dark Reaper followers to wield their weapons with the cold precision of a scalpel. Towards the end of the 41st Millennium, the sinister Phoenix Lord travelled into the depths of the Eye of Terror to singlehandedly save his lost home from the clutches of Chaos. While he has always despised the Great Enemy, the suffering of Altansar has only intensified the cold anger that the Harvester of Souls holds for the forces of Chaos and takes great satisfaction in the slaughter of his hated foe.
- Anti-Hero: Maugan Ra is the least heroic Phoenix Lord.
- BFG: The Maugetar, a custom shuriken cannon.
- The Big Guy: Shares this with Fuegan.
- The Grim Reaper: Maugan Ra and the Dark Reapers base their appearance on Khaine after being possessed by a piece of The Nightbringer.
- Human Sacrifice: Maugan Ra sacrificed an Exarch as one of the quests to build the Maugetar.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Maugan Ra is the most proficient of all the Phoenix Lords with ranged weaponry, his supreme marksmanship renowned across the galaxy. In the 8th Edition ruleset Maugan Ra's preternatural skill is represented by ignoring all negative to hit modifiers and the ability to reroll any 1s to hit
- Mix-and-Match Weapon: Maugan Ra wields the Maugetar, a massive shuriken shrieker cannon that incorporates a deadly powered scythe blade into the barrel. With this arcane weapon the Phoenix Lord is able to slaughter his enemies at both range and in close combat with equal skill.
- One-Man Army: According to various materials, he stood alone against a Tyranid invasion of the planet Stormvald and triumphed.
- Shoot the Builder: While he didn't kill him, Maugan Ra crippled Kaeleth-Tul, who taught him how to make the Maugetar, so that the master Bonesinger couldn't make a greater weapon.
- Sinister Scythe: His Maugetar has a blade on the end of the barrel that curves downward.
- Terror Hero: When the Harlequins are implied to be afraid of you, you qualify as this.
- To Hell and Back: He went into the Eye of Terror and rescued Altansar, his home craftworld. Many Eldar question whether they may have made some sort of pact with the Chaos Gods to avoid being consumed, but never while Maugan Ra is present, mostly to avoid repercussions.
Irillyth, the Shade of Twilight
Once thought lost to the galaxy, the founder of the Shadow Spectres Aspect was rediscovered and resurrected in the final centuries of the 41st Millennium. Based on the minor craftworld of Mymeara, Irillyth's teachings were never as widely spread as those of his fellow Asurya, but his return has led to a resurgence for the Shadow Spectres.
- The Bus Came Back: His armour was found on the ice world of Betalis III. After an Eldar assault successfully retrieved the armour, Irillyth was reborn.
- Disintegrator Ray: His Prism Rifle is basically a scaled-down version of the weapon found on a Fire Prism.
- Put on a Bus: After founding the Shadow Spectres Aspect on Craftworld Mymeara, he went with a vast war host to an obscure ice world, Bethelmae, to eliminate a mysterious race that would one day rise to threaten the Eldar. He and the war host were never seen again.
Drastanta, the Tempest of Starlight
The overly proud founder of the Shining Spears Aspect, Drastanta has been missing since the fall of the Shrine of Asur. The only relic of the Phoenix Lord to be found is his mighty Celestial Lance, a powerful weapon that has been passed between Shining Spear Shrines since Drastanta's disappearance.
- Ancestral Weapon: When he went into exile, he left his weapon, the Celestial Lance, behind, and it has since passed from Craftworld to Craftworld.
- Blade on a Stick: His weapon, the Celestial Lance.
- Badass Biker: Judging by the signature qualities of his Aspect, it's likely that Drastanta was a master of the jetbike.
- My Greatest Failure: He went into exile because of his failure to aid Asurmen.
- Pride: His Fatal Flaw, which led him to engage in over-long battles. Because of it, he was unable to save Asurmen during the Fall.
- Unstoppable Rage: When he discovered the fallen Asurmen, he one-shotted the Keeper of Secrets responsible in his fury.
Arhra, the Father of Scorpions
The sinister founder of the Striking Scorpions Aspect, Arhra betrayed the other Asurya by leading the forces of Slaanesh to the Shrine of Asur. Now known as the Fallen Phoenix, Arhra is said to burn with the dark light of Chaos and is said to still teach his murderous skills in the darkest reaches of the Aeldari civilization.
- The Exile: Arhra fled after his loss to Karandras and has never been seen again. There are some hints that he's hiding in Commorragh as either Drazhar or the Dark Father, founder of the Order of the Incubus.
- Fallen Hero: Arhra was a great Eldar hero before his FaceHeel Turn.
- Light Is Not Good: Arhra is called the "Fallen Phoenix that burns with the light of Chaos".
- Our Founder: The Father of the Striking Scorpions.
- Satanic Archetype: Arhra has a lot in common with Lucifer.
- Token Evil Teammate: Among the Phoenix Lords.
- Unstoppable Rage: During their last battle, Karandras used his stealth to goad Arhra to such rage that he accidently killed his own students.