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Blood Vow

Happiness is success... (Buddha)

Monday, June 20, 2011

My 2000 point dark eldar list and why it works for me

I am a long time Space Marine player... I know... boo hiss... heh!

Over the course of my time in the hobby I have played all of the following armies:

Blood Angels (3ed, 4ed & 5ed)
Dark Angels (3ed incl. Deathwing & Ravenwing)
Grey Knights (3ed - as allies)
Space Wolves (3ed & 13th Company)
Ultramarines (4ed)

Chaos Space Marines
Black Legion (3ed & 4ed)
Deathguard (4ed)
Emperor's Children (4ed)
Thousand Sons (used the Lost and the Damned rules)
World Eaters

Chaos Daemons (5ed)
Dark Eldar (5ed)
Sisters of Battle (3ed - as allies)

I also have experimented with Necrons and Orks but never owned an army for either race. So I see the world of 40k mainly from the point of view of a Space Marine, that is I learned the strengths and weaknesses of other races while fighting them with my Space Marines.

It is often said that Space Marines are a jack of all trades and master of none but I think that's untrue. For instance Blood Angels excel at melee and can beat armies such as Tyranids simply by out slugging them over the course of swift and intense protracted assaults. What is true is that generally speaking Space Marines have access to solid units for just about every aspect of the game. To me their best attributes are ATSKNF, T4, 3+ Sv, WS4|BS4 and the ever ubiquitous bolter. Assault is my favorite phase of the game but it's important to incorporate other elements into your armies and this brings me to the subject of this article... dark eldar. Some friends encouraged me to give them a try when the new codex was released so on a whim I picked them up for something different. I expected to have to undergo a long and steep learning curve but it turned out not to be the case and I even won my first game, which was versus Space Wolves.

The main strengths of dark eldar are speed, firepower and awesome melee. People love to say a stiff breeze will knock them over but it's not true anymore at all especially now that dark eldar have access to pain tokens. Once a unit of T3 dark eldar have gained FNP they can stand up to some shooting if they are in cover. I'm a big fan of wargear - at first I used options only very sparely when designing my lists such as flickerfield for all my skimmers but over time I started to add in more options such as haywire grenades, agonizers and blast pistols.

Of course there has to be a balance between taking options versus fielding more units. Some people love to min|max their dark eldar fielding the race as an MSU style army and it's very easy to do - especially with the introduction of the new venom. I've seen my share of lists that feature lots of five man Warrior squads with a blaster each riding in venoms with dual mounted splinter cannons plus three man squads of Trueborn with blasters riding in venoms as well and of course the mandatory three ravagers all armed with dark lances. I'm not here to say that's a bad approach but in all honesty I think there are better ways indeed. Remember the following:

  • Splinter (poisoned) weapons are harmless versus armor, and
  • Blasters/dark lances are not so good at killing lots of infantry

So a smart player should try to create a mismatch versus dark eldar as follows - give the splinter weapons nothing to shoot at except for armor and force the dark eldar player to shoot at their infantry with blasters and dark lances. It sounds simple enough but may require some practice to perfect.

Here is my most current 2000 point list:

Succubus - blast pistol, agonizer and haywire grenades

4x Incubi incl. Klaivex - demiklaives
Venom - dual splinter cannons & grissly trophies (flickerfield is built into the base cost)

9x Trueborn incl. Drachon - 3x blaster, splinter cannon, 5x shard carbine; agonizer & blast pistol
Raider- flickerfield

9x Wych incl. Hekatrix - haywire grenades, hydra gauntlets; agonizer & blast pistol
Raider - show prow, enhanced aethersails & tormentor grenade launcher

10x Warror incl. Syrabite - splinter cannon & blaster; venom blade & splinter pistol
Raider - flickerfield

10x Warror incl. Syrabite - splinter cannon & blaster; venom blade & splinter pistol
Raider - flickerfield

Fast Attack
6x Reaver jetbike incl. Arena Champion - 2x melta lance; agonizer

Heavy Support
Voidraven - flickerfield
Ravager - 3x disintegrator & flickerfield

Unit Analysis & Army Breakdown

Kabalite Units - Trueborn & Warriors
This is my main firebase and is there for mainly anti infantry. Each squad of Warriors can generate up to 19 poisoned shots per turn. If I were to focus both units on one target that totals 38 shots. Seeing that they are poisoned (always wounds on 4+) they can demolish a squad of Thunderwolves with no problem. These units also do quite well in melee versus guardsmen... They're not going to beat down a squad of Marines in a fist fight but they can cut right through the scrubs of 40k and I think that's worth remembering.

Trueborn are the Sternguard equivalent of dark eldar with their vast arsenal of guns to choose from their armory. I prefer a mix of blasters and poisoned weapons so that they are a real threat to any enemy unit. The splinter cannon can lay down four shots on the move (assault mode) while the shard carbines can lay down 3 shots apiece up to 18" range and are assault weapons as well. So that's 15 poisoned shots at 1.5 times the rapid fire range of a splinter rifle plus four blast weapons. Trueborn have 2 base attacks and are I5 just like the Warriors so they can put up a decent fist fight say versus a Space Marine combat squad. I use mine primarily for shooting just as they are intended but I wouldn't hesitate to charge them into a squad of depleted Tactical Marines following a solid round of shooting to root the enemy off an objective and finish them. The Drachon has an agonizer just for that reason and she's taken her fair share of enemy skulls in melee. Trueborn are definitely one of my favorite units... Period.

Melee - Vect|Incubi & Succubus|Wyches
Vect and his Incubi are street fighters bar none. The Incubi are basically ablative wounds for Vect plus they are very nasty in close combat as well. Basically you want to limit the number of saves Vect has to take on his shadowfield... once it's gone it's gone for good. It's very easy to hide the venom and the unit has a large charge arc (up to 26" if you roll a 6 for fleet). While the Succubus and her Wyches are an excellent and often underrated melee unit Vect is the real deal and makes a fine addition to any army at 1850 points or more.

Players tend to greatly underestimate the strength of wyches - they can fight just about any enemy unit and often come out on top. I've got two agonizers and two blast pistols in my combined unit plus hydra gauntlets... That's a lot of high speed hitting power. Like I said they are underestimated by many. Mine have gone right through the flank of a Tyranid army that included a Mawloc, two squads of genestealers and a brood of gaunts. I'd say that's fairly impressive indeed.

Tank Busting - Voidraven & Reavers
My Voidraven and Reavers are there for when I need an enemy tank to die. They can both nuke AV14. The Voidraven is another unit that is often underrated - in fact I'll go so far as to say I am the only person I know of that uses one. Sure a Ravager is cheaper and has three shots as opposed to two but when you compare a S9 lance to S8 you'll find that basically this is the dark eldar equivalent of a lascannon plus it's a lance as well. A game can hinge on destroying one big enemy tank and that is why I run both of these units. If one doesn't get you then the other will. It's important to have some redundancy built into your army. The Voidraven also comes with the void mine... it might not last long enough to ever drop the mine but when it does it's really nasty (S9 AP2 small blast). If you are sneaky you can drop the mine such that the center is over an enemy tank and the outer part of the blast circle covers some enemy troopers trying to hide behind their tank. The Voidraven can move up to 36" flat out so not much can hide from it.

My Reavers are primarily intended for popping enemy tanks with their melta lances but they are not bad at shooting enemy infantry if you find yourself in a tight spot. They are T4, 2 attacks base and I6 plus have combat drugs so you can throw them into an assault if things are getting really desparate and that is why my Arena Champion has an agonizer. I don't want them in an assault unless it's absolutely necessary. They can actually do some decent damage versus genestealers if they have FNP (shoot first then charge of course).

Killer of the Elite - Ravager
I have learned from experience that sometimes it pays to have one unit that is good at killing terminators and that is the primary purpose of my Ravager, as such it's armed with three disintegrator cannons. Sure it's pretty darn good at shooting just about any infantry unit but when you need to kill some terminators in a hurry look no further.

So can you see any apparent parallels between my army and Space Marines? I'm curious.

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