Do you need the Iyanden Supplement for the Eldar Codex to play an Iyanden army? To play a “fluffy” Iyanden army? To play an “effective” Iyanden army?
The short answer to all three questions is: No!
#1 – Five Optional Iyanden Rules
I’ve had the new Iyanden Supplement for the Eldar Codex for a few days. Overall, I enjoy reading it and I have collected notes to get something akin to a review of the book out there.
There is, however, one issue that appears to be (nearly) the only thing (nearly) everyone talks about on the Iyanden supplement: Pages 50 and 51 in the (dead tree version of the) book.
Pages 50 and 51 make up the “rules-section” of the Iyanden supplement (not counting the Cities of Death and Planetstrike stuff). In total, they are five rules over and above the regular Eldar Codex.
- Heroes of Iyanden - Allows you to designate a Wraithlord or Wraithknight as Warlord for your army. No FoC-swaps though.
- Shadow Council - Allows you to take more than one Spiritseer from a single HQ-slot.
- Gifts of Asuryan - Optional access to an alternative list of unique items, replacing the Remnants of Glory.
- Spiritseer Psychic Powers - Allows swapping the Primaris Power for the Runes of Battle for Spiritseers.
- Warlord Traits - Optional access to an alternative list of Warlord Traits.
#2 – Why you Don’t Have to Use these Rules!
People don’t like to give Games Workshop a lot (or any) credit for trying to improve/change to past experiences and feedback. Yet, sometimes, even Games Workshop can improve.
Yet I have read these two pages over and over and over again, and the overwhelming impression I get is that the writers tried – very hard – to avoid putting players wanting to play a certain army or model into a “must-buy” dilemma comparable to Death from the Skies.
There are absolutely no restrictions to playing Iyanden straight from the Eldar Codex.
- Iyanden Special Character Yriel is in the regular Eldar Codex
- Iyanden’s trademark Wraith-type units, both old and new, are all in the regular Eldar Codex
- The Spiritseers’ ability to make Wraithguard/blades troop is in the regular Eldar Codex
- All the Warlord Traits and unique Remnants of Glory of the regular Eldar Codex work perfectly fine for an Iyanden army
#3 – Why aren’t these Optional Rules in the Eldar Codex?
By and large, the Iyanden Supplement feels more like a variant of the Crusade of Fire supplement released last year along the 6th Edition Chaos Space Marines Codex, an less like a “Codex” in a traditional sense. There is a strong emphasis on campaigns, alternative missions that tie into the background of the Iyanden Craftworld, etc… .
With this in mind, there are (I believe) two reasons the five rules noted above are in this book.
First, these rules help represent very specific Iyanden armies that appeared in very specific battles in the history of the Iyanden Craftworld. For example, the Shadow Council rule (see above) is a rule you must (!) use in the Echos of War mission “The Cleansing of Menimeshemash” (p. 56).
Crusade of Fire, as well as other campaign-rules such as the “boarding assault” rules in Forge World’s Badab War series, likewise tend to change up 40K armies in new and different ways.
The only difference here is, the Iyanden special rules are based around the history of a particular Craftworld, and not around the history of a particular conflict such as the Crusade of Fire.
Second, these rules would simply suck in the main Eldar Codex. If there were Warlord Traits or a Primaris Power for a key Eldar discipline, which only affect Wraith-type units, we surely would’ve seen a great outcry on how Games Workshop “forces” people buy the new Wraith-themed miniatures, or how Games Workshop is actively making life a living hell for Eldar players with, for example, an Aspect Warriors-themed Eldar army.
These rules are nice-to-have (though certainly not needed) if you have Wraith-constructs in your army. They’d be dead weight if you don’t.
#4 – What to Expect from Future Codex Supplements?
If the Iyanden supplement proves to be a success (in ways that the Crusade of Fire for Chaos Space Marines was probably not), there is a good chance we will see more books in the style of the Codex: Eldar Iyanden supplement.
An internet rumour-favourite is a White Scars supplement for a possible future 6th Edition Codex: Space Marines. Whether or not this rumour is credible, it would certainly offer a good mirror to the pattern seen in the Iyanden Codex.
- The ability to turn Space Marine bikes into troop and trademark-characters such as Kor’sarro Khan would stay with the regular Space Marines Codex.
- Specific army-formations that tie into a particular even in the White Scars’ history, as well as “bike-specific” Warlord Traits, Psychic Powers, etc… that would be out of place in Codex: Space Marines (which, after all, may be used by people for Space Marine armies entirely without bikes), will likely find their way into a possible White Scars supplement.
#5 – Who Should By Codex Iyanden?
If you think you need to have these two pages of rules to play Iyanden, think again! You don’t need them any more than you need the Crusade of Fire book to play Chaos Space Marines.
Don’t buy a £30.00 supplement for 2 pages of rules. Unlike Death from the Skies, Games Workshop isn’t forcing you to buy this to use specific models or certain types of armies.
Quite the opposite, they seem to have made an effort to avoid this.
If you are interested in a more detailed history of the Iyanden Eldar, including a bunch of add-ons like Planetstrike Stratagems and “historic” missions that allow you to re-play key events from the history of Craftworld Iyanden, including a few optional rules to better capture these specific narratives battles, Codex Iyanden may be something worth looking at.