Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Vehicle Saturation [Dark Eldar]

[My 1500 Point army at Rapid Strike
The Razorwing Flocks were borrowed from a friend while I paint mine up]
In the current meta of 5th edition, vehicles saturation is very good. Not only are vehicles hard to kill, due to the vehicle damage table, but they also protect squishy troops and give them better mobility.

If you have too many vehicles for the enemy’s anti tank guns, you ensure than some of them will survive till late in the game, regardless of how weak they are. This is particularly true of Dark Eldar.

However as you increase the number of vehicles you normally are taking points away from the rest of your troops making them weaker, so in terms of kill points you have an increase because you have more vehicles and your other troops are weaker and easier to kill.

Dark Eldar vehicles are notoriously fragile, and at one point I used 12 at 1750 pts. I have since gone down to 10, and I’m now considering using only 9. This was done by using less kill point intensive options, eq. beastmasters rather than incubi in a transport, reaver jetbikes rather than another troops choice in a transport, and even losing the transport for a unit of 3 wracks that mainly hides at the back on an objective. However sometimes I still lose all the vehicles early, in my last 2 games against Grey Knights there were taken out extremely quickly.

Now the question comes should I weaken my troops further to put another vehicle in, with the idea that my vehicles will last a bit longer, or should I settle with 9 vehicles. In all things it’s better to look at an actual list:

Haemonculus Nalix Soulseer - 55
  with Venom Blade

4 Trueborn with 4 Blasters - 108
  in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons - 65

4 Trueborn with 4 Blasters - 108
  in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons - 65

4 Trueborn with 4 Blasters - 108
  in Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons - 65

10 Wracks with 2 Liquifier Guns - 120
  in Raider with Dark Lance - 60

9 Wyches incl. Hekatrix with Venom Blade - 105
  in Raider with Dark Lance - 60

3 Wracks - 30
  in Raider with Dark Lance - 60

3 Wracks - 30

4 Beastmasters - 198
  accompanied by 5 Krymerae and 6 Razorwing Flocks

6 Reaver Jetbikes with 2 Heat Lances - 156

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances - 105

Razorwing Jetfighter - 145
  with 2 Dark Lances, twin-linked Spinter Rifle & 4 Monoscythe missiles

Total: 1748 Pts, 19 Kill Points

The last wrack squad is crying out for a raider or venom to hide in, and give them some mobility, however all the infantry squads are nearly cut to the bone already. I could lose: a trueborn with a blaster, the wrack’s liquefier guns, 2 krymera to get a raider (or a venom if I lose the haemonculus’ venom blade as well), however each change slightly reduces the effectiveness of the squads affected:
  • I have found 4 model trueborn units to be much more effective, because they remain more of a threat when their vehicle blows up
  • Krymerae are essential not just for their multiple str4 attacks, but to intercept str6 shots that would otherwise instant kill a razorwing flock
  • Liquifier guns are helpful against hordes, and help the wracks flush out units in cover or at least weaken them before they charge, as the wracks have no grenades
So how far is too far in trying to put more vehicles in, I currently have 730 points tied up in very fragile vehicles, is this too much already ?  What do you think is a reasonable ratio between vehicles and infantry to get the vehicle saturation to work ?
For my next tournament I will look at the performance of the tweaks I can make to fit in another vehicle, and consider whether I think it’s worth it.  I'm itching to put my 4th Venom into the list, but will it hurt the list overall ?


A quick note on kill points: Having a list 1 or 2 kill points less would have little if non effect on the result of the Annihilation games I have played. Although my list is more resilience than I used to play (eq. Feel No Pain on all troop choices) it is still a glass cannon. To significantly reduce the kill point total would require a rewrite of the style of the list, probably to Baron with WWP, which unfortunately I do not have the models to do that at the moment.


  1. I really like the list. I have found that an even mix of venoms and raiders, with a razorwing are a great combo. I would leave the last venom out of the list. It does really cut the productivity of the other units (losing the blaster, khymera, and liquifier) for one more venom. I like having units that can do what I ask them too. If you strip them down further, they start to turn into a glass water pistol, not able to do anything effectively.

    I like the list the way you have it, try it out and let us know what you come up with.

  2. (Pete from Spiky here)

    I think with Dark Eldar the vehicle saturation either works or doesn't...there never seems to be much in the way of slow attrition (I once again apologise for our Rapid Strike game!)

    I personally really noted the lack of 5++ flickerfield saves when shooting at you... I think the Ravagers suffer most, as they tend to be slower moving, and easier opportunities for snipe shots. I've had games vs DEldar where it seems that every shot is bounced by them (though of course you always remember the saves!)

  3. eldaraddict: Thanks for the compliment. I don't mind losing the liquifier guns because I have rarely got to fire them, but they may be because I'm not aggressive enough with the wracks to get them close to the enemy to use the liquifier guns. However on the krymerae and trueborn I know they are useful in pretty much every game, and I wouldn't want to weaken. I'll definietely post up how the army gets on.

    Pete: Don't worry it happens. However as well as your great shooting and my bad luck, I also though back on the game and noticed there were a number of key tactical mistakes I made in the game (an upcoming post will explain my ideas on how I think could have done better).

    I have always considered flickerfields. To give all my vehciles flickerfields costs 60 pts which is a significant cut into one or a number of units. However, as you say, the ravagers need it most, and that could be done by losing the wrack liquifier guns.

    Normally I'm good at hiding them in terrain or behind other transports, but sometimes, such in your game they was not the terrain, and you were so fast and had such range with the dreads that you could easily come on and get LOS. Plus in our game it wouldn't have made a difference because my ravagers were moving fast and had a 4+ save.

    So I have a day to decide before my next tournament, liquifier guns for the wracks or flicerfields for the ravagers ? Protection for the ravagers, or the threat of flamers which are marine killers 50% of the time (AP1-3) ?

  4. I think you'll get more bang for buck with the flickerfields...Ravagers attract fire like nothing else (they are always top of my hitlist!), while liquifiers are very situational.

    How often do you actually shoot the liquifiers? How often do your Ravagers get shot?

  5. ..or more accurately how often do the ravagers get shot and the flickerfield does nothing. Even in our game they had a 4+ cover save for moving fast and it did nothing. In other games I've used venoms and raiders in front and/or terrain to give them cover from what killed them.

    I'm not saying no to flickerflields, and ravagers would be the first to get them if I did use them. I'm going to be keeping more of a check on how the lack of flickerfields and liquifier guns do in my next few battles. I'm also going to try to be more aggressive with the wracks so they should get to fire the liquifier guns more (a flamer than goes through MEQ armour half the time sounds so good on paper),


    PS. Did you sell your KR case that you put up on the spiky website (I only saw it today) ?

  6. Yeah...Garfield picked it up. I've picked up a Racksac2, which is far better for the motorbike, and no point having a new bag sitting round not being used...

    To be fair your some of your Ravagers went down after sitting still for a turn to shoot the 'Raven (who was stupidly lucky with his cover saves!)... From my experience Flickerfields always seem to stop the single shots (lascannon, multimeltas)...still struggle with the high volume S8 that Grey Knights can throw out though (Psyrifles are simply undercosted IMHO, as you can see with what I've done for Starsmash).



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