Warhammer 40,000 Gladius – Relics of War (opens in new tab) is not our favorite WH40K game of all time: We called it "a plodding and predictable 4X strategy game that's relaxing in its own way, but rarely challenging" in our 61/100 review (opens in new tab), and placed it 25/39 in our comprehensive ranking (opens in new tab) of every Warhammer 40,000 game. But Proxy Studios and Slitherine have stuck with it, releasing multiple DLC packages including the Tyranid (opens in new tab), Chaos Space Marine, and T'au factions, and next week the Craftworld Aeldari will join the fight.
The Craftworld Aeldari bring 19 new and "extremely versatile" units to the game that are highly mobile and effective at both ranged and close combat. Their one weakness is their relatively small number and slow growth rate, which makes recovering from losses difficult: "Aeldari lives are rare and precious and any loss will be felt greatly," Slitherine said.
Naturally, because this is Warhammer 40K, there is also lore, much lore, which I will include below for the benefit of those who enjoy such things, and also just because it's some quality grimdark table-setting:
Eons ago the Old Ones and the Necrons fought The War in Heaven. The Old Ones lost, but their mantle was inherited by one of their creations—the Aeldari, a psychically-powerful race of immense sensitivity. Over the subsequent millenia, they ruled the galaxy, slipping over time deeper and deeper into depravity and arrogance.
Their golden age ended with the birth of Slaanesh, the Chaos God of pleasure. At the moment of her birth, the core of the Aeldari civilization was utterly destroyed, its citizens’ souls and even its pantheon all but consumed by the nascent god. Where the Aeldari homeworlds once were, now there is only the Eye of Terror, a massive rift into the Warp. Only a few Aeldari survived: the hardy Exodites; the degenerate Drukhari and mysterious Harlequins, hiding in the Webway; and the restrained Aeldari, on enormous ships known as Craftworlds.
Doomed and declining, the Aeldari seek to avoid their own consumption by Slaanesh at all costs. They find themselves on Gladius Prime, chasing a Farseer’s prediction that this planet is key to the survival of all Aeldari...
The Craftworld Aeldari will also have their own unique mechanics: They can move swiftly across the battlefield with Webway Gates, gain a loyalty boost by focusing their spiritual consciousness, move after using their actions, and gain an accuracy and damage bonus when fighting the forces of Chaos. But, reflecting their downfall at the hands of Slaanesh, they suffer a reduced city growth rate, hampering their income and unit production.
Warhammer 40,000 Gladius – Relics of War will welcome the Craftworld Aeldari to the fray on November 12. You can find out more about the faction on Steam (opens in new tab) or at slitherine.com (opens in new tab), and if you want more of that sweet lore you can learn all there is to know at the Warhammer 40K Wiki (opens in new tab).