Aspect Warriors are those Eldar who specialise in certain aspects of combat during their time on the Path of the Warrior. The Eldar are known to pursue any task they set out to do with an intensity that makes human efforts pale in comparison. When an Eldar feels called to the Path of the Warrior, he or she will join an Aspect Shrine, a cult of warriors who train themselves to embody some aspect of the Eldar War God Khaine or ancient Eldar myths and legends. All Eldar Craftworlds maintain at least some Aspect Shrines, although some, notably the Biel-tan Craftworld, have more than others and place a greater emphasis on the Path of the Warrior. The following table lists all known Eldar Warrior Aspects and their roles in the Eldar order of battle:
|Aspect Name||Phoenix Lord||Battlefield Role|
|Dire Avengers||Asurmen, the Hand of Asuryan||General Combat|
|Howling Banshees||Jain Zar, the Storm of Silence||Melee Combat|
|Striking Scorpions||Karandras, the Shadow Hunter||Melee Combat, Stealth|
|Dark Reapers||Maugan Ra, the Harvester of Souls||Long-Ranged Fire Support|
|Fire Dragons||Fuegan, the Burning Lance||Anti-Armour, Anti-Structure role|
|Swooping Hawks||Baharroth, the Cry of the Wind||Airborne Infantry|
|Warp Spiders||Unknown||Hit-and-Run Attacks|
|Shining Spears||Drastanta, the Tempest of Starlight||Hit-and-Run Attacks|
|Crimson Hunters||Unknown||Air Superiority, Combat Pilots|
|Eagle Pilot||Amon Harakht||Eldar Fighter Pilots|
|Slicing Orbs of Zandros||Unknown||Unknown|
|Shadow Spectres||Irillyth, the Shade of Twilight||Highly Mobile Warriors with powerful Anti-Armour Weapons|
Each Aspect Shrine is led by an Exarch, an Eldar fallen to the curse of inability to leave the Path of the Warrior. These Exarchs are powerful warriors, doomed to either die on the battlefield, or to eventually be chosen to become the Avatar of Khaine. The first member or founder of an Aspect Shrine is called a Phoenix Lord. When an Aspect Warrior becomes an Exarch, they will don one of the ancient suits of Exarch armour that belong to that shrine, and this suit will bond to their flesh permanently. This means that the new warrior's soul merges with those of the previous wearers of the suit, which is essentially a compact and mobile version of the Craftworld's Infinity Circuit.
Leaving the Warrior's Path
Once an Eldar warrior finishes his time as an Aspect Warrior, he or she moves on to other occupations, as called for by the conventions of the Paths of the Eldar. Since the population of the surviving Eldar race is so low, all Eldar are expected to serve if called to fight. Thus, if a Craftworld subsequently goes to war, these former Aspects will frequently be called upon to serve as Guardians, a type of citizen-soldier serving as part of a militia to defend the Craftworld.
The Dire Avengers are the oldest and most numerous Aspect Warriors. They are armed with Shuriken Catapults, an effective if short-ranged weapon, and perform as elite troops. The Exarch can be equipped to improve the squads' close combat abilities. The Phoenix Lord of the Dire Avengers is Asurmen, the Hand of Asur. He was the first of the Phoenix Lords and the greatest, who instructed all the other founding Phoenix Lords in the skills of combat.
The Dark Reapers represent the Eldar War God Khaine in his aspect as a destroyer, and specialize in long-range firepower. Their standard weapon is a Reaper Launcher which is a powerful, long ranged weapon that fires several small missiles at the target. Their Exarch can be equipped with more powerful weapons, such as a Missile Launcher or Shuriken Cannon. The Phoenix Lord of the Dark Reapers is Maugan Ra, the Harvester of Souls.
An Eagle Pilot is an Eldar Aspect Warrior who follows the Warrior Path of the Phoenix Lord Amon Harakht, of whom almost nothing is known. Like their fellow airborne Aspect Warriors, the Swooping Hawks, the Eagle Pilots take exultant pleasure in the arts of aerial combat. These Eldar are superb pilots of any type of Eldar aircraft or spacecraft, but especially excel in the aerial arts of war. Their skill and artistry in flight is nearly unmatched by the combat pilots of any other species, as they take to the skies in their Nightwing interceptors or Phoenix strike aircraft.
The Fire Dragons specialize in short-range firepower and anti-tank warfare. They carry a Fusion Gun and Melta Bombs, both excellent weapons for dealing with vehicles, and have grenade launchers built into their armour. The Fusion Gun is also very effective against heavy infantry such as Space Marine Terminators, but is limited by its short range. The Exarch can be given a Fire Pike, a stronger Fusion Gun with better range, and skills to make him an excellent tank-killer, as well as a highly dangerous melee combatant. The Phoenix Lord of the Fire Dragons is Fuegan, the Burning Lance.
The Howling Banshees are a close combat Aspect made up primarily of female Eldar. The Howling Banshees are equipped with a Shuriken Pistol and a melee Power Weapon, usually an Eldar blade. As the Power Weapon can easily slice through armour, the Banshees are very effective against well-armoured opponents like Space Marines in close combat. They also wear a Banshee Mask, which alters their already naturally-piercing war cries into sonic screams that can burst eardrums and incapacitate foes, leaving them open to attack. This scream, when focused at a single target, can also be deadly on its own. They can deliver a devastating first strike, but if they get stuck in combat, attrition will work against them. The Exarch can be armed with an Executioner which boosts her strength. The Phoenix Lord of the Howling Banshees is Jain Zar, the Storm of Silence.
Once a disciple of Asurmen, the first of the Eldar Phoenix Lords, the Shadow Spectres' Phoenix Lord Irillyth, the Shade of Twilight, founded the Shrine of the Shadow Spectres on the Craftworld of Mymeara. Drawn to the small Craftworld in response to a vision of doom and horror, Irillyth gifted the skills of stealth, swiftness and all-consuming firepower to the warriors of Mymeara. After many years, the Phoenix Lord led a great war host to the legend-shrouded world of Bethalmae to destroy an alien race that would, many thousands of Terran years later, arise to threaten Craftworld Mymeara. Neither he nor any of his warhost ever returned to the Craftworld, and with the loss of their Phoenix Lord, the Shadow Spectre Aspect fell into decline until just recently. The Shadow Spectres specialise in the deployment of highly-mobile, infantry-based anti-armour firepower and are experts at striking at enemy vehicles from concealment and extreme long-range. Armed with Prism Rifles, each a potent anti-tank weapon, and equipped with Jetpacks, their mobility allows them to hunt down their chosen targets with the implacable patience of the dead, materialising seemingly from the very air to unleash their overwhelming firepower. The Shadow Spectres represent the Eldar God of War Kaela Mensha Khaine in his aspect as the bringer of unexpected death on the battlefield.
The Shining Spears are a fast-attack Aspect. They ride Eldar jetbikes and are armed with a Laser Lance, giving them high mobility and a strong charge attack. They are limited by their small squad sizes. The Exarch can be armed with a Bright Lance, providing an accurate but very expensive anti-tank unit. The Phoenix Lord of the Shining Spears is Drastanta, the Tempest of Starlight.
The Striking Scorpions are another close-combat Aspect. They are armed with Eldar Chainswords, Shuriken Pistols and Mandiblasters. They have better armour than the other Aspects, and are generally physically stronger than most Eldar. These characteristics allow them to work very well against a large number of weaker opponents. The Striking Scorpions are also effective against stronger opponents, but their relative physical fragility works against them in that situation. The Striking Scorpions Exarch can be armed with a Biting Blade which is effective against a few enemies, and a Scorpion's Claw, which combines a Powerfist and a Shuriken Catapult. The Phoenix Lord of the Striking Scorpions is Karandras, the Shadow Hunter.
The Swooping Hawks are a highly mobile Aspect who serve as the Eldar equivalent of airborne infantry. Equipped with an anti-gravity Jump Pack crafted with stylised wings, they can move rapidly across the battlefield, dropping grenades upon the enemy before swooping in for the kill. Their weapons are not that powerful, and they are best employed as a flanking unit. The Exarch can be enhanced with certain melee weapons and powerful, close ranged weapons to become devastating in close combat. The Phoenix Lord of the Swooping Hawks is Baharroth, the Cry of the Wind.
The Warp Spiders are another highly mobile Aspect, equipped with a Warp Spider Jump Generator which allows them to jump into and out of the Warp, avoiding any obstacles in their way in realspace. This Warp-jumping is considered extremely dangerous, as it might attract the attention of daemons. Since they do not have to run all over the battlefield, the Warp Spiders make use of stronger armour than most other Aspects. Their armour makes use of built-in Warp shielding similar to the Imperial Gellar Fields that protect them during their Warp-jumps and, as an added bonus, makes them highly resistant to psyker attacks since they use Warp energy. Warp Spiders are armed with Death Spinners, which fire a net of monomolecular threads which slice into the flesh of the foe even as it entangles them. The Warp Spider Exarch can be given the ability to withdraw from combat, enhancing the Warp Spiders' survivability. The Warp Spiders have no known Phoenix Lord.
- Codex: Eldar (4th Edition)