Let me preface this with a disclaimer that everything that follows is wishful thinking. I don't have any insight into what GW plans on doing, so none of this should be taken as rumor-mongering. This is simply a best-case scenario (in my opinion).
Bottom line up front: It would be great to see GW round the series of Aeldari codices out as three books (Craftworlds, Dark Eldar, Exiles).
The Craftworlds and Dark Eldar (or Drukhari, if you prefer) codices go without saying, so I'll focus on the "Exiles" codex.
Way back in the heady days of 2nd edition, the Eldar codex included rules for the Craftworld Eldar, Harlequins, Exodites, and Pirates. The Harlequins have enjoyed some degree of support ever since and will doubtless continue to be supported. Exodites, though still extant in the lore, have not been supported in rules from 3rd edition through the present. The Pirates of 2nd edition have split, first with the darker side developing into the Dark Eldar in 3rd edition, then with the later development of the lighter side into the Eldar Corsairs. Battlefleet Gothic (the tabletop miniature game, not the electronic game) included rules for the Eldar Corsairs via Yriel's Eldritch Raiders; and this was continued in the electronic version of the game. The Fantasy Flight Games Rogue Trader
game also supported the Eldar Corsairs. And 6th edition saw Forge World gift us with The Doom of Mymeara
, first giving us the WH40K rendition of the Eldar Corsairs as a throwback to the 1st edition rendition of the (pre-Craftworld rules) Eldar; and then bestowing the second printing of that book and fleshing out a great set of rules for the Eldar Corsairs.
Then came 8th edition and Forge World stopped producing the previously extant range of campaign books, minus the Horus Heresy series; and they instead gave the Eldar Corsairs lackluster rules in the form of the Index: Xenos
However, the 8th edition Codex: Craftworlds
, though lacking rules for the Eldar Corsairs, gave us a stronger description of the Eldar Corsairs than any previous version of the Eldar codices, including the 2nd edition codex in which there were actually rules. Those mentions of the Eldar Corsairs (see page 11) give me hope that the Eldar Corsairs will be supported to some degree, either in mainstream WH40K by GW, or via FW.
Another momentous creation was, naturally, the Ynnari. While they are mentioned in the lore of the 8th edition Codex: Craftworlds
, they are not given any rules.
These two Aeldari sub-factions, the Eldar Corsairs and the Ynnari, share one very important feature. Each of these sub-factions has significant crossover with the other Aeldari sub-factions. The Eldar Corsairs (or Anhrathe, if you prefer) utilize many of the same weapons, wargear, and vehicles that are used by the Craftworld Eldar. They also utilize some of the weapons and wargear that are used by the Dark Eldar. Moreover, units from both the Craftworlds and Commorragh occasionally appear in Eldar Corsair forces (the mechanic for this happening depends upon which printing of The Doom of Mymeara
you are using). Similarly, the Ynnari are composed of Aeldari from all of the various Aeldari sub-factions. The Harlequins, too, ally themselves with all of the Aeldari sub-factions (though apparently least with the Eldar Corsairs).
As we've seen, the Harlequins can support their own codex, albeit a small one.
The Eldar Corsairs, if they were ever transferred over from Forge World to Games Workshop proper, could also support their own codex. Such a codex could be larger than a Harlequin codex. Much of such a codex, though, would be nothing more than duplication of unit entries and rules from the Craftworld and Dark Eldar codices. We've seen some other lines transfer over from FW to GW, such as the Horus Heresy marks of Space Marine armor, the Contemptor dreadnoughts, and (most clearly) the Adeptus Arbites. Admittedly, these are all much more popular than the Eldar Corsairs, but they nevertheless demonstrate that such a transfer is possible
. From an efficiency standpoint, I'd want the core Eldar Corsairs units to be included in the theoretical codex (i.e., those units, weapons, and wargear that are essential to and representative of the Eldar Corsairs).
The Ynnari wouldn't support their own codex, not even a very small one, unless they simply duplicated all of the rules and unit entries from the other codices.
However, all three of these Aeldari sub-factions could be consolidated into a single codex, either a medium-sized one that points to the two "main" Aeldari codices (Craftworlds and Dark Eldar) for relevant units or a very large one that duplicates relevant rules and unit entries from the two main codices.
There are two sides to the question of efficiency. In terms of version of rules, having a single codex that points to other codices means that the rules for the units, weapons, and wargear from those other codices are consistent and future Chapter Approved and FAQs only have to point to the parent codex. The converse of this is that players would need two or more codices (i.e., the theoretical Codex: Aeldari Exiles
and either Codex: Craftworlds
or Codex: Dark Eldar
At the very least, we can expect to see the Harlequins and Ynnari supported, but it would be a gift to see the Eldar Corsairs supported.
I'm on the fence about the Exodites. They could
be supported, but their presence in the lore seems to be more of a defensive nature. I wouldn't be at all opposed to seeing them included in my hypothetical (and wishful) "Codex: Aeldari Exiles," but I'm not sure if GW will commit to this.
The weak spot in all of my arguments (okay, the most significant weak spot - there are probably many weak spots
) is that GW won't support a (sub-)faction in the rules unless it has miniatures for the sub-faction. That's not a problem for the Ynnari. The Eldar Corsairs would require a bit of work. The Exodites, if they were supported, would require a bit more work (perhaps a re-working of the WHFB/AoS Dark Elves models). The conversion kits from FW satisfy many of their needs (though the main conversion kit, or a redone version, would have to be made available again). Eldar Rangers work well enough for the Ghostwalkers. The only real need would be for the Corsair characters (Corsair Princes might be comparable with Autarchs and Archons in terms of potency, but should have their own distinctive look, and the models should be capable of accepting the Corsair jump pack bits).
Now all of this is highly unlikely. We'll probably see the Harlequins given their own updated codex; and the Ynnari will probably get something of their own.
So if there isn't a consolidated Codex: Aeldari Exiles
for the Harlequins, Ynnari, and Eldar Corsairs (and maybe the Exodites), I wouldn't be at all averse to the Eldar Corsairs getting their own dedicated codex. That's pipe-dreamy, too, though.
The most likely scenario is that we'll be left with continued support for the Eldar Corsairs (and potentially the Exodites) via Forge World, which wouldn't be a bad deal at all. The Eldar Corsairs would be easily supported via an update of The Doom of Mymeara
(which would also support the other Asuryani units presented in the previous books). Alternately/additionally, I'd love to see a dedicated campaign in which an Exodite world is attacked, and the other Aeldari factions come to their aid. I'd love to see it focus on the Exodites and Corsairs, but practicality requires that a mainstream WH40K faction be represented in order to garner sufficient interest, so I presume that the Asuryani would also show up. The opposing faction could be pretty much anybody. While I'd love to see a xenos versus xenos campaign, FW's pattern seems to be that the Imperium must feature as one of the antagonists. I won't be picky here, other than to say that I'd like to see the Exodites survive the campaign. However FW does it, sooner would be better than later (which is pushy of me, I know).
Okay, that's a load off my chest. I admit that the "Codex: Aeldari Exiles" idea is a pipe dream (I'd still like to see it - it ranks right up there with stopping war and ending world hunger
How would you
like to see the lesser Aeldari sub-factions supported?