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Thoughts on the Aeldari Corsairs (Anhrathe)

anhrathe aeldari corsairs eldar corsairs aeldari pirates eldar pirates corsair fleets coteries outcasts

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#1
Ioldanach

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Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve no doubt seen the rumors about the corsairs being in the upcoming craftworld aeldari releases. Heck, I’ve been living under a rock (way too busy for the hobby lately) and I’ve seen the rumors. This rumor pulled me out from under that rock. I’m cautiously optimistic, but I’m going to maintain a healthy skepticism until I see something more concrete.
 
My purpose here is to discuss different hobbyists’ views of the corsairs. My personal objective is to figure out exactly how I want to represent them in my homegrown Kill Team (2021) rules. This isn’t a discussion to wish-list what anyone wants to see GW do. Imagine GW isn’t giving us corsair rules/minis (i.e., the rumors are false) and we’re just updating the corsairs for the current edition of the game. Different hobbyists are bound to have different outlooks, so I’m trying to find a happy medium. I’m just here to figure out basic concepts of their representation so that I can give fans of the corsairs a balanced and thematic set of homegrown rules for them. I’m specifically focused on Kill Team, but I think it would be impossible to limit the discussion to units that are appropriate for that game, so I’ll open the aperture to include Warhammer 40,000. I’m not necessarily looking at specific rules, but am more concerned with the units.
 
Here is their evolution as I know it (there may be some inaccuracies or gaps, for which I would welcome corrections/filling in):
  • The modern corsairs are the eldar as they were introduced in the 1st edition Rogue Trader book – raiders, pirates, and mercenaries.
  • The eldar were retconned later in 1st edition into what we now know as the eldar of the craftworlds, the asuryani.
  • The corsairs (called “pirates” at that time) were incorporated into the 2nd edition Codex: Eldar. They didn’t really have their own models, but could be represented using the larger eldar range (using the guardians and the 1st edition models). They were somewhat comparable with the guardians and used the same weapons as their craftworld counterparts.
  • The pirates/corsairs disappeared from the Warhammer 40,000 game (but not the setting) in 3rd edition, replaced by the Dark Eldar, who were much more twisted and evil. I suspect that the Dark Eldar were intended to be a replacement based on the image from the rulebook.

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    The corsairs remained in the setting in the Battlefleet Gothic game, however, as well as in the CCG. Yriel may have been a major factor in this as the long-established lore had this scion of a craftworld becoming a pirate before later returning to his craftworld. The Dark Eldar were incompatible with this, so the corsairs remained in the background to keep Yriel viable. Or maybe GW always meant to keep the corsairs around and I’m just mistaken in my assumption.
  • The RPGs from FFG also kept the corsairs and they were later reintroduced in their modern incarnation in the first printing of The Doom of Mymeara. This was later updated and expanded in the second printing of The Doom of Mymeara. This version essentially presented them as a sort of neutral mix between the craftworld eldar and those of the Dark City, using some of the weapons and vehicles of both of the more popular branches, but also having a lot of their own unique vehicles and wargear. The signature elements of the eldar corsairs became the Corsair jet packs, lasblasters, braces of pistols, and blades (called different things in different incarnations). Their forces were fastfastfast, but delicate – the quintessential “glass hammer.” Aside from the conversion kits, however, they lacked character models, leaving hobbyists to use existing eldar models (craftworld and dark, and even harlequin) to come up with their own characters.
  • Later editions of WH40K have largely ignored the corsairs, with their glorious The Doom of Mymeara rules pared down extensively in the Forge World updates (and the models/conversion kits no longer available except through recasters and 3D printing).
I view the corsairs (anhrathe) as the most independent of the aeldari. Most originate from the various craftworlds, but choose not to submit to the rigid paths of the asuryani. Some also come from the other factions (drukhari and exodite), and there are probably some anhrathe that were born among the corsairs, the offspring of other corsairs. I see the corsairs as aeldari who rebel against the strictures of the asuryani, but who try to avoid the dark paths of the drukhari (some fail in this, of course, but most try not to fall to shadow). While the anhrathe interact and trade with the other aeldari sub-factions, they don’t have ready access to most of the specialisms and nifty wargear that is distinct to the other sub-factions. The anhrathe, then, make use of the basic aeldari abilities and technologies, though they limit their use of their race’s inherent psychic powers.
 
My personal preference with the corsairs is that, though they have a few things from their craftworld and Dark City cousins, they should be distinct. I suspect that this will be an unpopular view. The benefit of not being distinct (i.e., being able to use a lot of the weapons from both the craftworlds and the Dark City) is that players can then represent their corsairs using existing models. The conversion kit from Forge World included some man-portable weapons and pistols that were clearly of craftworld origin, different only in that they were carried by corsairs rather than being mounted on platforms. I think that the lore allows for the corsairs to visit both the craftworlds and the Dark City, however, so there should be some representation of weapons from both. I think that these should be few and far between, however.
 
My personal take is that the corsairs focus on the other technology for which the aeldari are known – las weapons. In this, instead of the shuriken cannon and splinter cannon as heavy weapon options, I’d much rather see a (nerfed?) scatter laser.
 
I’m also not a fan of the ghostwalkers-as-rangers. I can see why Forge World did that, but rangers are another type of outcast. I’d rather just see rangers as rangers (with the OUTCAST keyword). I’d like to see the sniper rifles given to the balestrike squads – basically turning those squads into the heavy weapons squads for the corsairs. The ability to take corsair jet packs sets them apart from the rangers (who rely more on stealth). I’d love for corsairs to be able to include rangers, with the ghostwalkers being differentiated from the rangers (in my head there is an image of a very watered down version of the drukhari mandrakes as a replacement for the ghostwalkers). These might be a good way to revisit the old eldar assassin concept that Jes Goodwin drew.
 

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I mostly like the rules from The Doom of Mymeara otherwise. They’re in need of an update for the new edition, but the basic concepts were, I think, pretty good. If the corsairs are just part of the craftworld rules, then I expect to see their weapons and wargear limited to the corsair-specific stuff and some asuryani stuff. If, on the other hand, we also see them in the drukhari codex, I could see how they might have access to weapons and wargear from the Dark Kin, too. If we really get corsairs in this edition, however, they need dedicated plastic kits – not conversion kits. I could see them as small add-ons to the craftworlds/Drukhari codices, with a possible dedicated codex later. That’s in the realm of (really) wishful thinking, though, so right now I’m just expecting rules for squads and leaders as auxiliaries for the asuryani. I could easily see those being very limited (but the leaders – corsair princes/nobles or whatever they end up being called – had better be distinct from autarchs and archons). I can see them in a few variants as part of the craftworlds codex: barons (low level/lieutenant type characters – infantry/jet pack/jetbike variants), reaver squads (with/without corsair jet packs), jetbike squads. I’d love to see more, but just having those three (actually, that would probably be six) units would be sufficient for now. Okay, maybe hornets would be great, too (a better conversion kit than Forge World gave us, though).
 
Note that I’m not fanatical about my preference for the corsairs being distinct. I can see the benefits of being able to use the asuryani and drukhari weapons and wargear. Admittedly, the eldar [corsairs] had shuriken weapons in every edition in which they’ve had rules, so there is a weakness with my argument. I just lean towards making them truly distinct. I’m sure I’ll be able to stomach it if GW gives them asuryani/drukhari stuff.
 
I really see the corsairs as a variant on an all guardian/all kabalite army, with lots of fast and light units. This isn’t the type of army that has large tanks, but will see lots of infantry (possibly with transports), jet infantry, small walkers (I love those hornets), jetbikes, and small vehicles. I loved the rules update they got in the second edition of The Doom of Mymeara – I thought the rivalries between the coteries and the wild psyker rules were brilliant.
 
Regardless, if GW brings the FW corsairs back in plastic, I’m going to be spending an awful lot of money.
 
How do you see the corsairs? Do you prefer them as a sort of mix between the asuryani and drukhari (as presented in The Doom of Mymeara)? Would you prefer them to lean more strongly in one direction or another? Or would you prefer them to be truly distinct from both the asuryani and drukhari?
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Anhrathe (Eldar Corsairs): KT faction rules
Ynnari: KT faction rules

#2
Lord_Ikka

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The las-weaponry idea is a good one, more in that direction would make them distinct aesthetically from either the crafterworlders or druks as far as basic weaponry goes. If we're going to get Corsairs, just give them their own identity, rather than just conversion kits. Have the basic Corsairs using either a las-carbine type weapon or pistols/sabers with an option of a few heavy weapons that would include something from their cousins (like a haywire blaster from Drukhari) to represent that the Corsairs use the "city folk" for heavier weaponry production.

 

If GW were to do a codex that included Corsairs, I'd like to see them roll Harlequins and Exodites in there as well. Go all-in for an "Alternative Aeldari" codex. Make it similar to how Drukhari raiding parties work, so you can have detachments of any of the three working in the same army together. As far as new units, Harlequins wouldn't need any new units as they've got a decent amount with eight datasheets. Give the Corsairs and the Exodites five to six each, 1-2 HQs, 1-2 Troops, 1 Elite, 1 Fast Attack, 1 Transport. Gives enough versatility without overloading the codex. 

 

Corsairs:

HQ- Pirate Prince, close combat/buff unit similar to an Archon

Troops- Reaver band, selected either ranged weapons or pistol/ccw, heavy weapon options

Elite- Outcast Assassin, Vindicare-style "ranger"

Fast Attack- either bikes or jetpacks, my preference would be some sort of jetpack unit

Transport- Venom/Starweaver-style 6-man transport, laser weaponry

 

Exodites:

HQ- Pathsinger, buffing psyker character

Troops- Exodite Defenders, ranger-style infantry

Elite- Dragon Knights, las-lancers riding on reptile mounts

Fast Attack- Skyriders, flying dragon riders with ranged weaponry 

Heavy Support- Megadon, heavy weapon toting giant reptile

 

Something like that, along with the Harlies, would be really fun. Not going to happen, but still a dream to see some new stuff put out.


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#3
The Blood Raven

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I wouldn't mind corsairs essentially replacing guardians in the codex. Agree with Lord_Ikka that I'd prefer a different weapon load out, a better longer range with potentially keeping special/assault weapon options. I don't need a full faction list; just 1-2 kits with some options.

 

edit: spelling


Edited by The Blood Raven, 05 December 2021 - 10:08 PM.

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#4
Brother Tyler

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The primary thing I really like about the Eldar Corsairs is that, as with most factions in the game, the Eldar Corsairs provide a lot of freedom for players to make them their own. The Eldar Corsairs can represent a wide variety of organizational types, from adventurers to mercenary parties to murderous ravagers on the path to joining the Dark Kin. This allows different players to choose from a wide variety of representations that both suit their preferences and maintain consistency with the lore.

While there are no true good guys or bad guys in the setting (it all depends upon your point of view), the Drukhari come off as decidedly "bad" and the asuryani as decidedly "good." The Anhrathe (assuming GW keeps that term), meanwhile, are somewhere in between and can lean in either direction. Two competing options I'm considering for my own Eldar Corsairs, for example, are a quasi-good mini-empire (some backwater Eldar noble bastion on the fringes of the old Eldar Empire that somehow survived) and a group of ruthless pirate mercenaries. I might do both, exploring different aspects of the Anhrathe. Similarly, I've seen other hobbyists do a wide variety of things and I think this is good. The ability to contrast the disciplined Asuryani Guardians with their wild Corsair cousins will be interesting (if it happens).

Personally, though the rumored inclusion in the Craftworlds codex is great, I'd love to see the Eldar Corsairs in their own codex eventually. The lore indicates that they are the most active sub-faction of the Aeldari in the galaxy (in terms of their conflicts with the other races), so I'd like to be able to eventually field a viable force on the tabletop. In this, I'd like for them to have sufficient options to make them a credible threat. A few key units in the Craftworlds codex is fine as a gateway to something bigger down the road. I liked the representation in Imperial Armour Volume Eleven - The Doom of Mymeara, but I'm limited to the first version. From what I've seen and heard, the second version is much better. "Traditionalist" that I am, I'd like them to retain both the las and shuriken weaponry since we can trace that back to 1st edition. I don't mind the inclusion of Drukhari weaponry, though I'd like that to be an add-on rather than a replacement for las/shuriken stuff. Visually, I'm fine with the Anhrathe being a sort of modification to Asuryani Guardians - swapping heads, weapons, and backs if an updated kit makes that possible. If GW retains the Corsair jet packs, though, I want dynamically posed models that look like they're using those jet packs - so Anhrathe that look like they're running/jumping/flying (a lot like the Swooping Hawks, I suppose). What I really want are some nice character models. I don't want just named characters, however (like the current rumor about Yriel). Players should be able to take their Corsair Prince/Princess/Noble and make them their own (though this will be severely limited by combinations under GW's current rules/model requirements). I really hope GW keeps the Corsair jet packs. Those were a great call back to the image in the Rogue Trader book and a great way to distinguish the Corsairs from their Craftworld and Dark Kin cousins (as well as the Harlequins).


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#5
thesilverback

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I think the Corsairs are a great way to add variety to a faction, that really has been in a rut for a long time. The last real change to Eldar was the addition of Aspect Warriors.


Edited by thesilverback, 06 December 2021 - 02:26 AM.


#6
TheMawr

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At least for Jes goodwin the dark eldar hadnt replaced the pirate concept for regular eldar. His 2005 concepts for the Autarchs described them as nobles and pirate princes, in september 2006 (or less likely 2016..its hard to read) he designed corsair banner concepts for use on the plastic banner. wich corsairs didnt have... nor plastic miniatures, or any miniatures. It doesnt reference yriel as he makes a specific reference to him and his concept as well. I think its possible for him craftworlds and corsairs were never really meant to be seperate entities on their own.

 

For my own taste the (mortal) Ynnari were exactly what I expected/wanted from corsairs (and/or exodites.. I personally see the two as aesthically similar apart from the dinosaurs.) as elaborate and detailed as dark eldar, but more exotic and less edgy... basically what one expects of prefall eldar. And I was convinced they would just be the "postersubfaction" ala mars and our martyred lady etc. for a corsair codex or a codex that cointained corsairs (and the other exiles etc... but codex exiles sounds weird.) I would see a corsair army as being closer to their nature.. so, in contrary I would see it psyker heavy (or potentially psyker heavy) I could see corsair nobles having a daredevilish attitude against the danger that is slaanesh. To compensate they make use of familiars/pets ( for that classic spacepirate vibe...wich most people hate.) I could see a select crossover of the 2 big factions; I can imagine rangers to be included as they are even described as temporarily roaming with corsairs, likewise on the dark eldar side I can see Incubi and Sslyth functioning as recruitable assets for corsairs as well. (and zoats!) but preferably corsairs have their own armory... the forgotten eldar lasfamily and the handheld vibroweapons sound like good places to start.

 

As for the forgeworld jetpacks.to me the forgeworld corsairs are not unique enough, they look like a boring extra aspect warrior type. The more insectlike jetpack concept however I do love.



#7
Anhrathe

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I haven't frequented this forum before, and I think I should be. Have any of y'all seen my codex on Reddit or the corsairs Facebook group?

https://drive.google...ew?usp=drivesdk

You are certainly making some of the same points that I tried to iterate when I wrote this codex. In my view well the corsairs have access to many of the same weapons and vehicles as their craft world and drukhari cousins, they use them in different ways. At least I tried to emphasize that in my codex. I also tried to really emphasize speed and repositioning. My proj ect started out as a direct translation of the seventh edition army list from forge world, but as the additions have progressed from 8th to 9th it's diverged somewhat from that original seed.

IMHO Corsairs should emphasize las weaponry, as such weapons would not require physical ammunition, which corsairs would likely be at a limited capacity to manufacture.

Edited by Anhrathe, 10 December 2021 - 10:41 PM.

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#8
Ioldanach

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I had not seen your rules before, but I've downloaded them and will definitely read them closely. Have you considered translating your version into the structure of Kill Team 2021? I'm limited to the Kill Team game since I don't have time for larger games (aside from getting the aeldari codices for their lore), so I'm interested in seeing how others with a passion for the anhrathe would render them in Kill Team.

Naturally, I've been thinking about my position a bit more since I last posted.

While the corsair jet packs became de rigueur for the anhrathe since Forge World created the conversion kit. However, there was only one image of the jet packs in the Rogue Trader book and none of the Space Elves models had the jet packs (of course, there weren't really any jump/jet infantry at that time, either). In this, I'm comfortable with the corsair jet packs being an equipment add-on and not default for the models. I'm tempted to adjust the images to use the old Space Elves models, though (and maybe the original Eldar Scouts models in place of the ghostwalkers).

I was really debating the las weaponry and the capabilities that the anhrathe have at their disposal. We know that the pre-Fall aeldari used their psychic powers to shape wraithbone and nature around them. The anhrathe probably have access to psykers willing to take that role on. I'm guessing that shaping wraithbone is probably on the lower end of the risk spectrum (with regard to drawing the attentions of the denizens of the Warp). Either that are the anhrathe are forced to trade with their asuryani and drukhari to get a lot of the stuff that they can't manufacture on their own or acquire through trading and raiding. It's possible that different groups of outcasts have different leanings in this, with some being willing to heavily use their wild psykers to craft wraithbone stuff, others almost exclusively raiding/trading, and the majority distributed across the spectrum. In this, I think that giving players options probably satisfies the allowances of the spectrum (or at least the majority of it). I definitely like the idea of the anhrathe favoring las weapons, especially since the aeldari are known to be masters of this technology. Using some sort of las weaponry that is a viable alternative to shuriken/splinter weapons certainly would give the anhrathe a bit more distinctiveness. Such las weaponry wouldn't need to be better than the shuriken/splinter counterparts, but it should be roughly comparable (otherwise players will just favor the best weapons). I think that the las weapons should be the default choice for the anhrathe, however.

Ultimately, I hope that [if GW gives us corsairs in this edition] we'll see them as a middle ground between the guardians and kabalites.


Edited by Ioldanach, 15 December 2021 - 08:00 PM.

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Anhrathe (Eldar Corsairs): KT faction rules
Ynnari: KT faction rules

#9
Brother Tyler

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It's interesting that GW says that the Corsairs have been "reinvented" in their upcoming version. (Warhammer Community article)

Right off the bat, the armour looks heavier than that worn by Guardians/Kabalites, and it evokes elements of both sub-factions of the Aeldari. Also, the Corsair shown in the drawing is wielding a blade (predictable) and a pistol weapon of some sort, most likely a laspistol of some sort.

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Curiously, the intro to the video shows the cutesy Ven diagram combining pirates with ninjas (?) and aliens to result in the [new] Corsairs. I'm not sure exactly what that means, but my curiosity is definitely piqued.

Disappointingly, the model doesn't have the Corsair jet pack; and the back of the model doesn't look like it can be reconfigured to have a Corsair jet pack (unless you're willing to cut and convert). The glimmer of hope here is that this rendition represents an infantry squad whereas a future release might include another squad type (or wargear) that gives models a Corsair jet pack.

Part of me is very happy that we're seeing the Corsairs return to their 2nd edition roots. The Doom of Mymeara version, ultra-cool as it was, was a smooth reinvention that was a lot more Asuryani-like, lacking the wildness [in appearance] implied by the 2nd edition lore.

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