Saturday, 13 November 2010

[Dark Eldar] First Game with New Book

I was expecting to go down to my local club on thursday, but instead I was invited round my mates. I took my Dark Eldar to see how they would fair.

Since I made my initial list, I was thinking of going cheap on the HQ (by using a succubus rather than an archon) so I could fit in an venom, thinking that I could fit the incubi in it. My thinking was that as the HQ would be going with a large squad and the succubus came with a 4+ dodge save it would better to have the extra vehicle as everyone knows how easy Dark Eldar vehicles blow up under fire.

After finding out that the venom could only hold 5 rather than 6 models I decided that a basic raider would be better as I didn't want to reduce the incubi down to 5. So my revised list was:

Succubus - 85

Haemonculus - 55
Venom Blade

6 Incubi - 132
in Raider with Dark Lance and Enhanced Aethersail - 65

9 Wracks - 90
[joined by Succubus]
in Raider with Dark Lance and Enhanced Aethersail - 65

9 Wyches with Champion with Agoniser & Blaster Pistol - 135
[joined by Haemonculus]
in Raider with Dark Lance and Enhanced Aethersail - 65

10 Wyches with Champion with Agoniser & Blaster Pistol - 145
in Raider with Dark Lance and Enhanced Aethersail - 65

10 Wyches with Champion with Venom Blade- 115
in Raider with Dark Lance and Enhanced Aethersail - 65

10 Warriors with Splinter Cannon & Blaster - 115
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60

10 Warriors with Splinter Cannon & Blaster - 115
in Raider with Dark Lance - 60

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105

Talos - 100

Totals: 1742 Pts, 75 models

As I was 8 pts under I gave one of my raiders the ability to tank shock, but it didn't have any effect on the game.

I was playing against a Lysander army that had a drop pod contigent of Lysander with a tactical squad, and 2 dreadnaughts. The troops consisted of the drop podding tactical squad, another tactical squad with a lascannon & a small unit of scouts. These were supported by a landraider full of 5 assault terminators, a vindicator and a whirlwind.

We rolled up kill points, and spearhead deployment, plus I got to go first. On top of that I got the reroll to wound in close combat as the combat drug result. Rather than do a full battle report I'm going to go through the units I used and how I thought they performed.

A quick battle summary is that I lost 12-8 in kill points, when setting up I was careful to have my ravagers completely surrounded by raiders, but when I moved in turn 1 the two back raiders moved away to get shots allowing both dreadnaughts to deepstrike behind the ravagers on turn one. One went down then and the second shortly afterwards. Losing 6 dark lances early really hampered my tank killing (especially with 2 dreadnaughts in my lines).

So my first learning for the new codex compared to the old codex is the significant difference in the distribution of the dark lances. Before I had 9 dark lances spread between 6 infantry units, now in 5th edition vehicles are much tougher to kill so require more dark lances to destroy, plus nearly half my dark lances are concentrated in 2 armour 11 open topped vehicles so they must be hidden and protected as much as possible. Although I still use a talos (as I have a nicely converted model) it may be time for me to assemble a 3rd ravager, plus although the splinter cannons were nice on the warrior squads I'll have to spend the extra points to get extra dark lances. Doing both these chances would increase the dark lance total from 13 to 18.

Unit Performances

Succusbus: She didn't get an opportunity to shine, as when her raider was blown up she failed the pinning test and so her and her unit of wracks was charged by assault terminators the following turn. An archon or special character would have faired just as bad because even if they survived the attacks they would also have run away with the last 3 members of the squad and never been able to rally.

Wracks: These had the same fate as the succubus, so I'll to give them another try, but I did like the pain token they came with. I decided to start the succubus with the wracks and the haemonoculus with a wych squad so they both benefited from Feel No Pain, but I think I will have them swap on turn one. By embarking on their raider on turn one it does stop the raider going flat out, but with the Enhanced Sails I will still be able to go 12+2D6" if I don't mind not firing the dark lance.

Wyches: With the combat drug reroll to wound these girls did great. One unit went and wiped out the scouts and then sat in the ruin with Feel No Pain. Another unit with the haemonoculus survived more shooting than usual due to Feel No Pain, and then they charged the 3 remaining terminators and killed them. The last unit was charged by a unit of 6 tactical marines, and eventually killed them after a few turns, mainly due to the agoniser being able to reroll to wound which made the weapon absolutely disgusting.

Seeing how useful certain combat drug rolls are, I'm even tempted to use the Duke so I can roll 2D6 and pick which option I want to use.

The only thing that didn't seem worth it for the wyches was the blast pistols which I didn't fire at all. When your flimsy raider is blown up, normally the wychs fleet to get to cover or combat as soon as possible.

Warriors: These did ok, it was nice to rapid fire at a combat squad of approaching marines and say 1 blaster shot and then 22 poison shots, but I don't think the splinter cannon adds much, and it may be better to spend the extra points for a dark lance. However I loved the extra range on the blaster, as it was great to be able to fire it while being out of assault range.

Incubi: These went forward behind the wyches. The turn after the wyches got charged they tried to help out, but failed their differcult terrain role. The following turn the vindicator tank shocked them and placed itself so that they would have to take a long detour round to the other side of the building to get up it, so instead they charged the stationery whirlwind that was in my opponent's far corner. After immobolising it and taking the weapon off on the charge it took them until turn 5 to kill it. Unfortunately this left them open for a vindicator shot which killed all but one. However they passed their morale test so they didn't give away a kill point.

An alternative use for them could have been to act as a mobile reserve to combat the tactical squad that was coming down in a drop pod. I will definetely keep the incubi in the list as their are some units (such as marines with Feel No Pain) that would strug off any non-power weapon attacks. The fact they have fleet now also extends their threat range compared to the previous incarnation. I'll keep them at 6 strong for the moment, and consider upping them to 7 or 8, but I won't reduce them to 5 to fit in a Venom as I think that's too small to have much of an impact (plus having a raider allows a character to join them).

Ravagers: These died early, but losing them early showed how important they are in adding anti-tank firepower to the list. Even though the talos had a good game (see below) I'm thinking that ravagers are too essential and therefore having 3 would be better.

Talos: Even without any upgrades to make him better the talos showed what it can do. It moved forwards first turn, then charged back against one of the dreadnaught's drop pods and killed it. Then after Lysander and a tactical squad dropped in nearby it charged the combat squad that Lysander wasn't attached to, and killed it just before Lysander killed the Talos. If there wasn't a character such as Lysander around to kill it, the Talos could could easily have taken the other combat squad as well. It really seems a shame to say goodbye to such a nice model that has killed so many MEQs and TMCs in it's time, but the extra firepower of a 3rd ravager seems too important.

Raiders: Even with the new damage tables of 5th these still go down very quickly, just not quite as quickly as 4th edition. After 6 turns I did have one alive, and having a 3rd ravager around to draw firepower and playing slightly better with them may mean I have one or two left for the late game objective contesting that Eldar armies are so well known for. Especially as most of my raiders go a minimum of 26" and a maximum of 36" at max speed.

So losing the blast pistols from the list I have 38 points to spend. An easy change would be to upgrade the talos to a ravager and upgrade the splinter cannons to dark lances.

Another option I'm considering is upgrading one of the wych units to a Bloodbride unit (30 pts), and to get the 6th troop choice back swap one of the warrior squads' raiders for 6 wracks.

For my first idea I'll have to go back to painting table (I haven't painted any dark eldar in at least 3 years). Luckily I have a spare raider on sprues, but I'm scouring ebay for one of the old ravagers :)

Have you seen the Dark Eldar in action yet, what are you thoughts on army make-up that will work ? What do you think of mine ?



  1. Great but what about the Incubi? Were they so insignificant that you forgot to talk about them?

  2. Opps, I missed the incubi, I'll just update the post to include the Incubi. In summary I could have used them better, but they'll definetely stay in the list for their anti-MEQ threat.


  3. Sadly, the only experience I had with Dark Eldar was in a team battle against them, and because of metagame hysteria (Oh Jesus! They're up my arse on turn one for sure! They're faaast! KILL 'EM ALL!) the foe could barely make a proper show of his strength before the team I was on eradicated it with high priority. On paper though, it is undeniable that the DE are just the same thing play-wise as before: glass cannons. Now they are simply more extreme and more wacky mobile, which definitely provides players with a fun time. I, for starters, hope you had an equally fun time playing them, and if I weren't blocked by monetary issues and my unpainted army, I might have started them too thanks to the great reboot with fabulous miniatures.

    I guess a skilled and above all, experienced player as you can achieve much with the DEs.

  4. lol, yeah DE are fragile, so if multiple players all concentrated on them they wouldn't have lasted long :)

    I definetely did enjoy my game, and I think the book is a lot better, as I think at the end there was only 2 effective builds; heavy dark lance & disintegrator spam with a little counter attack, and wych spam with ravager support. The new book has made the lance spam less effective (as dark lances cost more on infantry) and gives us alternative builds that are as competitive.

    I think the big issue for the experienced player is developing tactics that work if the DE have 2nd turn and there isn't much cover. With no way to manipulate reserve rolls (like Guard or Eldar) the glass hammer DE risk coming on piecemeal and getting taken apart easily if everything is put in reserve. It's another reason I'm considering the Duke (as he allows all the raiders and ravagers to deepstrike).


  5. lady males an be useful for reserves and her crystal heart is great against grey knight librarians



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