Friday, 28 August 2015
Beasts & Bodyguards Part Three - What I think of Sslyth [Dark Eldar]
The Sslyth has to be the 2nd least seen Dark Eldar model (only beaten by the Ur-Ghul), ask any non Dark Eldar player (and even some Dark Eldar players) what they thought of the Sslyth (let alone the Ur-Ghul) and a significant proportion wouldn't even know it was a Dark Eldar model.
Sometimes this is one of the great advantages of playing a less popular army. As well as being told the stats and abilities of a unit sometimes it can take playing against it once or twice to know exactly how good and threatening it is. When a Dark Eldar army has a few units an opponent has never played against before it can lead to them underestimating and/or overestimating certain units leading to mistakes.
However lets gets back to why Sslyths are seen so little. First they are part of the Court of the Archon, which in the previous codex was a very poor unit to have, mainly because you were forced to have one of each of the four members of the Court. With the current codex you can now mix and match how you want, from having a single Lharmaean to cheaply fill up an HQ slot, to 5 Medusa in a Venom to deepstrike and flame something out of existance, or even a 12 Sslyth bomb, and any combination in between.
So now that the Court has models, this is another reason Sslyths aren't seen often. The model is a one pose expensive finecast model like all of the other Court Members:
Eye of Terror:
link to his blog post showing of his entire Court of the Archon with many more pictures of the Court members he has converted, included links to his work in progress blog posts. I advise anyone to stay and browse the rest of his blog it's a true inspiration.
Although the actual Sslyth model is no bigger than the Lharmaean model, even though it is on a bigger base:
But are they any good ?
Is it worth going to all the trouble of converting the official model to have different poses or converting your own Sslyths ?
Lets start with cost, at 12.5pts per wound they are the marginally more expensive per wound compared to Grotesques and Clawed Fiends (and are only 5 pts cheaper than the 3 wound Clawed Fiend), so what do we get for that.
For starters they are not bulky (surprising for a 2 wound, toughness 5 model) so you can fit more in a transport. You can only fit 4 Grotesques in a raider if you want to include a independent character to offset their awful leadership, where as you could fit 9 Sslyths in a raider.
Next the Sslyths have a gun each, and not just any gun, but one that fires 3 poison shots each with 18" range. Compared to Grotesques and Clawed Fiends they have the best armour, if only a 5+, and come stock with Feel No Pain, making each of their Toughness 5 wounds the hardest to get rid (outside of pain engines).
To compliment their 3 shots each on the way into combat they have 5 attacks str5 each on the charge. That's only 1 less a Clawed Fiend as they don't have rage, and while the same as Grotesques it not's poison and they can't get extra attacks if they are outnumbered (like the Groesques from Ramage).
Overall they are not quite as good as Grotesques in combat, and are marginally worse than Clawed Fiends on the charge, however they are the toughest to get a wound from.
When it comes to the baby sitting duties, all three Dark Eldar monsters need a baby sitter because they have very poor leadership. In this regards the Sslyth comes out on top. While a Grotesque need an expensive independent character, the Sslyths can take a cheap Lharmaean as an addition member for the Court and use her very good leadership 9, even better than the beastmaster's leadership 8. Also while the beastmaster adds little to the combat power of the Clawed Fiends the Lharmaean isn't bad for her points (but more on that in another article).
I have been using a unit of 5 Sslyths accompanied by 4 Lharmaeans. This unit costs 165 pts, and I also use a unit of 4 Grotesques accompanied by an Archon with no upgrades at all.
I find that because the Grotesques have a character (even one with no upgrades) and it's almost as if their reputation precedes them, opponents always go for the Grotesque raider first. This has normally meant that my Court normally makes combat before my Grotesques
The shooting option of the Sslyths have also been very useful to have, eg. in one game both my Grotesques and Sslyth;s raiders were shot down turn 1, and had to slog it accross the board with 2 wraithlords being the closest models, while the Grots had to run blindly towards the enemy the Sslyth were able to shoot once they got close (at the expense of running), but a volley of 19 shots from the Court took town a wraithlord (average wounds for the shot was 2.1, but the wraithlord rolled a bit bad on saves).
The fleet on the Court also makes them more reliable on the run and charge, making them marginally faster than Grotesques, and I'm be more ready to attempt a longer charge with Sslyth than Grotesques.
The Sslyths are just good as Grotesques at smacking non-walker vehicles, and mine have taken many landspeeders, rhinos, wave serpents in the games so far, and I look forward to them supplimenting my anti tank in future games. For reference 5 charging Sslyths should do an average of 5.5 hull points to rear armour 10 non walker vehicles, so they have to roll very badly not to do at least 3 hull points.
Sslyths have many similarities with Grotesques and Clawed Fiends, they all hit hard with str5 attacks, and for the points are the toughest Dark Eldar wounds available.
Sslyths have the toughest wounds, and have decent short range shooting, although the shooting is not what you would only take the units for (for pure anti infantry firepower see venoms) it adds flexibility to the unit that Grotesques and Clawed Fiends don't have.
Outside of a raider the Clawed Fiends are the fastest, but with the raider the Sslyths (with their Fleet piping the Grotesques) can cover the most ground for a turn 2 charge when you include a 1st turn 30" move with the raider.
So far in my games the Court (mine made up of Lharmaeans and Sslyths) is becomeing my favourite of my 4 assault units, although my beastpacks are a close second, apart from when all my raiders a blown up 1st turn, and then I love my beastpacks.
What's your experiences so with or against the Sslyths ? How do you think they measure against Grotesques and the Dark Eldar other close combat units ? Are you considering making your own, and which models/bits will you use ?
PS. Below's a pic of the painting I did for a recent tournament. The back three rows of Scourges, Sslyths and Clawed Fiends still need highlighting, but it was nice to get them up to this level. Better pictures will follow shortly.