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Thursday, November 18, 2010
Some new thoughts on designing a competitive dark eldar list
Okay so I have had some more time to think about dark eldar. I have been perusing the Internet on this subject the past couple of weeks and saw some really good ideas I'd like to share so let's start first with some potential staple units:
++ HQ ++
Archon* - Built for close combat and dropping the webway portal (WWP). The Archon is the best overall choice for an HQ since they have the most options and can best buff the army. You can spend a lot of points and create a monster or go for a lower cost version that still provides what you will need from an HQ. The Archon is your best melée fighter. Basically what I am currently designing is an Archon with shadowfield, ghostplate armor, phantasm grenade launcher, combat drugs and a WWP. I'm not sure yet which close combat weapons I want to take. The agonizer is always a solid choice but the Husk Blade and Soul Trap bring the possibility of S10. I firmly believe in having some S10 in your army and this looks to be your best bet. I have noticed the Djin blade is listed under wargear so you can take this in addition to an agonizer or Husk Blade.
Haemonculus - He is there primarily for the pain token so that your Archon and Incubi start the game with FNP. The Haemonculus also has the option to take the WWP. The Haemonculus has a lot of nifty options to select from and you also can take an Ancient. I don't see much value in taking the Ancient for the types of list I want to build but he is WS5 and I5. I am planning to keep mine relatively cheap and kit him with the liquefier gun. The hexrifle could also prove to be useful. The flesh gauntlet looks to be the best choice for it's melée weapon.
++ Elites ++
Incubi - This is your retinue for the Archon. They can fleet now which is a huge advantage. Incubi will provide your Archon and retinue with a transport. You can take either a Raider or a Venom. I really like the Venom since it has a small footprint so it's easy to hide but if you also decide to field a Haemonculus to attach to this unit then you can only take three Incubi. Even four Incubi and an Archon in the Venom is a small unit so I'm thinking the Raider is the better choice since you can take eight Incubi. An Archon, Haemonculus and eight Incubi is solid. Start the Haemonculus attached to the Archon and Incubi so they can take the pain token for Feel No Pain. One quick round of melée and you should be able to generate another pain token for Furious Charge. This will obviously be one of your heavy hitters in close combat so you've got to be smart with them. I tend to hold back my heavy hitters and engage them in melée around mid to late game. This unit is also your delivery system for the WWP.
Bloodbrides* - These are the elite version of the Wyches. You can take nine with three shardnets and haywire grenades. The Syren (squad leader) should have a phantasm grenade launcher and an agonizer. Mount them in a Raider with flickerfield. This unit is your tarpit - they can tie up units like assault terminators and thunderwolves for a couple rounds of close combat - this a big plus, if you can tie up the heavy hitters in your opponent's army it will let you get your other units into close combat versus their weaker units. If you think about it most MEQ armies will have one to two heavy hitting units for assault. Thunderwolves can't hide in a transport so they are always exposed. Wyches will beat down units like genestealers, lesser daemons and monstrous creatures. The haywire grenades give you the tool you need to take out a dreadnaught and slow down your opponent's armor.
Kabalite Warriors - These are your objective holders and anti-infantry. I am planning to run a squad of 20 with a blaster and two splinter cannons. Camp them out on an objective and blast away. They will murder units that can't hide in transports plus they are really cheap. This is a great unit to drop thunderwolves and monstrous creatures. I also want to run another two units of ten with a blaster and splinter cannon per squad, each mounted in a Raider with the splinter rack and nightshields.
++ Fast Attack ++
Reavers* - In my opinion this is the most versatile unit in the new codex and they are a real bargain for their cost. I am planning to run one squad of six with an arena champion (agonizer) - 2x heat lance & 2x cluster caltrops. They are an excellent unit for harassing your opponent and very good for tank hunting. I like a unit of six for the fairly small footprint and cost. You don't want to throw them into a big assault but with the agonizer they could help to win a protracted combat. Like I said this is definitely the most versatile unit in the codex and can be a game winner.
++ Heavy Support ++
Voidraven - I would like to run two of these with flickerfield and nightshields. Sure they are pricey when compared to the Ravager but I think it's worth it. You really need a pair to make them work to their full potential so it's an exercise in juggling the points to include them in your army. The S9 dark lance is a real threat to armor and with two of these per skimmer they can lay down a fair number of shots. I think most players will stick with Ravagers since they are cheaper and have three dark lances but the Voidraven is more survivable (closed top FTW), if it can hang around longer then it can inflict more damage. The void mine is nice too and when coupled with a squad of Reavers together it's the ultimate drive by attack on a disembarked enemy unit. Dark eldar don't appear to have any units that can stand up to a deathstar in protracted rounds of melée so you have to inflict as much damage as possible before engaging them in an assault.
My next tactical article on dark eldar will cover the use of the webway portal. It works differently now, if you take one you don't have to rely upon it to bring in your reserves so in a tournament setting it could work well versus one type of army and versus another you don't have to use it. Basically it's just there if you really need it and I can see it really being quite useful versus certain types of builds.
* All the units that have an asterisk beside their unit name are Wyche cult and/or have combat drugs.