Monday, 9 May 2011

Its about damn time!

First of all I'd like to thank Ven for letting my post even if I am a few weeks late, can't resist a good metal show to take up my weekends.
            Welcome to my all things Dark Eldar blog, DE are seriously unrepresented. For being a new codex, lots of new units and lots unreleased - It’s very rare I see a Dark Eldar army, much less one that can put up a fight. 

So I'm here to shed some light and strategies on (in my opinion) the best army in the game.

 I'll cover all things from individual units to using your army to pick apart the weaker races in a hail of lance fire and slashing blades, with lots of sarcasm and probably a rant or two, even throwing in some painting and fluff now and again. 

Little about myself, been playing 40k for about 7-8 months now, and my main focus has been Dark Eldar, I painted some Blood Angels before then but never filled out the army properly. 

I Picked up DE about the time they were released and fell in love. They're malicious, brutal, and extremely pissed off. The grittiest of the gritty, drugs, sex, and disemboweled space marines. So here goes, keep a strong stomach and the wits of Vect and you may make it out alive!! 

Army Overview
                I'll be mostly talking about units and the army as a whole, and how I've played it. Because as much as you can go over stats and builds for models you can't give real advice until you've played them as a whole. I've given every unit that’s currently released except from Beastmasters playtime. As well as venoms and a few of the unreleased HQs.
                First and foremost, Speed! We are fast! And that needs to be used to your advantage, none of our vehicles touch foot on the floor, everything is skimmer, fast.  Making it great for switching targets in a turn, getting troops in assaults second and possibly first turn if you’re crafty, but that’s for another topic. Our vehicles are not only fast but most of our CC units have fleet barring the Haemonculus' and his pals. Jetbikes that can blast 36" across the map and wreak major havoc along the way on infantry. That speed needs to be used to control the game. With a proper list you can keep an army back pedaling or locked in their deployment zone. Though for all your speed and tricks you are the most fragile army in the game, when played foolishly. AV 10 transports and AV11 HS are not resilient. Get used to losing them and make sure you make them worth their points before they drop. The best way, use EVERYTHING to your advantage, positioning, reserves, pain tokens, drugs and most importantly, Target Priority. Which will all get covered here.(...surely not in one post! lol Ed.)
                Let’s get started with our troop choices. You have your 2 stock troop choices as well as others that can be taken as troops with certain HQ choices. I'm just going to cover the 2 basics today to pop my blog cherry, as it’s been so eloquently put. Lol.
                First and foremost, your Kabalite Warriors, the best of the best, the vicious, ruthless, moral degenerates that have been purging worlds and snuffing out suns before most Imperial "Heroes" were a glint in their daddy’s eye, and of the some of the best point for point shooting troop choices in the game, if not the best. BS4, WS4, LD8, I6, and best of all, AP5 poisoned 4+ shots. Cheap, reliable, good weapon options. Great transports! One thing they are not, like most DE, is hard. Still T3, Ar5. So, how do we run them? I run them 2 ways, the first 10 man strong with a cannon and a blaster, toss them in a raider w/FF and Racks to reroll misses and you have a unit that can punch holes in squads from range and staying still, or get them in close early, and have 20 poisoned shots w/RR to hit, and 2 S8, AP2 Lances from a raider. 

Power armor or hordes, not many units will stand up to that fire power. Or the more preferred way of running them from a competitive edge, 5 Warriors w/ a Blaster or Shredder in a Venom w/ an extra Splinter Cannon. Squeeze 4 of them into a 1750 list and sit them back, 12 shots at 36" per venom make them great from killing MCs, Longfangs, troops on home objectives, etc. 

You can also sit the squad on a rear objective and let the venom push forward, moving around 12" and firing its payload.  The blaster in each group isn't much an anti-tank as much as an easy kill on any armor and a deterrent to TS from most armor. There are a few other upgrades on that can be swapped around depending on your list and preference.

 The Sybarite is a good choice if you can spare the points but is in no means necessary. Ld9 can keep them from running. The only melee upgrade worth it if you NEED somewhere to throw points is the venom blade. 5 points for a 2+ wound, but your warriors should not ever make it to CC, though with a pain token they can hold their own for longer than expected. Warriors are great, cheap units to hold down an objective or slaughter squads.
 And the second, the seductive sirens that are the Wych Cults. Groups of drop dead gorgeous bombshells of xenos that will take the heads of a squad of guardsmen without breaking a sweat or putting a foot on the ground, and lock your 400 point units up for as long as we please, looking to you halberd knights!. Wyches are fun. 

They should be run in squads of 7-10, any fewer and you won’t have the attacks or wounds to do your job, I like running 10 strong with an Hekatrix, Agon, Shardnet and HWG. Do all you can to make sure your Shardnet is in base with the power weapon in the squad or IC to drop those FNP ignoring blows. And when you go after a transport with you haywires use fleet to setup your charge to block off the hatches on your target, stunning or immobilizing them before the charge is a huge help but not necessary. 

Getting 1-2 pens and 7-8 glances on a transport is sure to be enough to immobilize and destroy a vehicle. And keeping wrapped around so they can't deploy and enjoy the screams of the dying as they burn in their rhino. And collect that pain token.

 Next, your Hekatrix, the leader of these lovely maidens. She has a few prime options on her, first being the blast pistol. 15 points for a 6", S8 Lance shot is pricey, and IMO should only be taken in small lists and only if you have the points to spare, a lot of the time your witches will be fleeting into combat and not get to shoot. Second, you Phantasm Grenade Launcher, again, another very situational upgrade. Your wyches come with assault grenades stock so there goes half its usefulness. And 20 points for defensive grenades is also pretty expensive. If your using your wyches as a home unit holder or running out of the webway, then I can see it make up its points but YOU should be the one charging, never getting charged. Again, you have the mobility to control that and you need to use everything to your advantage. 

As far as close combat goes, you have 2 real choices, Venom Blade or Agonizer. There is the power weapon but a S3 power weapon isn’t going to hurt much. Venom Blade is your cheap option, 5 points for a 2+ poison wound, is good if you tight on points.  But it isn't a power weapon. The Agonizer is a power weapon the wounds anything on a 4+, so your guardsmen to your daemon princes, all are equal to the Agon. If you can afford it get it, if not, find a way! Because in the long run, this weapon will see you winning combats in the tar pit. 

My last point for the day. Forget what your mother told you! Forget the ads to scare your straight! Say YES to DRUGS! Damn right say YES! They are your friend, they will be there for you, and they do make everything all better! We're talking Hypex, Serpentin, Grave Lotus, Painbringer, Adrenalight and Splintermind. These little red pills do exactly what you would expect, make you faster, stronger, and increasingly more violent. At the start of your game you'll roll a D6 and depending what you roll you'll have 6 options. Roll 3d6 for fleet, +1 WS, +1 STR, +1 Attack, Reroll wounds in CC, or a free pain token. ALL of them are good, certain ones are much better than others but all give you a significant bonus. The first, 3D6 fleet gives no real in combat boost that the other ones do but it does give you the confidence and balls to go for that long fleet to get into combat. The second, +1WS is great in that you'll be hitting marines on 3's. The third and my favorite if not that best, +1 Strength, making your wyches S4 and once you get that 2nd pain token a monstrous S5 on the charge. +1 Attack, 4 attacks on the charge each, nuff said. Reroll wounds in CC, great for going up again those high toughness pricks like plague marines, bikes etc... And an extra shot on dropping those MCs with your Agon. And my second favorite, free pain tokens! FNP from the start and 1 closer to FC. Give em a pain token form a Haemonculus or your drugged up Archon and your set to destroy!
Hope that gave some personal insight and there will be many more to come. Keep it DARK!


  1. "Keep it DARK!" - great sign off...

    Worth the wait mate, easy and fun reading style and I know from experience that it is well thought out stuff..

    Now, should I break out the Dark Eldar and give them another shot...? It's tempting everytime I read DE stuff...still have a 'Venom How To' to put up..maybe we could have a Dark Eldar month in the lead up to Blog Wars...not that I'll be running them lol!

    I think that is how some of the SoS guys and the readers see DE, a wickedly fun army but not as strong competitively...

    It's time for a change....lead us into the darkness Kabalite!

  2. I like it, it's great to hear about the experiences and thoughts of another DE player.

    I went to 50 person tournament last weekend and I was surprised to find out I was the only DE player.


  3. How did you get on Rath? On your blog yet? Those sexy venoms do you proud?

    It is shocking that they've not got better presence at tournies? Whts your opinion on that?

  4. i believe the answer to that is threefold.

    MOST people prefer either one or both of the following:

    1) playing the good guys
    2) playing humans

    additionally, those who picked up the DE on release have likely found that their playstyle is vastly less forgiving than that of most other books.

    regardless, great article, thanks :)

  5. Really like the article.

    I have a host of DE models from 3E release sat in a case at the bottom of my wardrobe - I could see them making an appearance on the table top later this year I reckon - end of the day AV13 and AV14 to me feels like AV10 and open topped, might as well just play that anyway lol. Especially since I had a wicked idea of a kabal today, and the raiders / models are perfect for it (with slight modifications) - I actually think I had the same idea 10 years ago and thats why I bought the DE lol.

  6. @Atreides...agree on all three points. Personally, I'm not too bothered with the 'playing humans' bit, but know others for being the good guys...absolutely love it... but it's good to let the Dark Side take you every now and then!

    @Bully - half my DE are currently built from the old models! Nothing wrong with it! lol

    What do you guys think of this list? Similar to the older Baron lists I posted but tweaked slightly...

    Haemo - Shattershard
    5 Incubi, Venom - Cannons
    3 x 5 Warrior squads - Blaster, Sybarite w. Blast Pistol. Venom - Cannons
    2 x 3 Wracks, Venom - Cannons
    18 Hellions, Helliarch -Agoniser
    1 x 6 Reavers - 2 Heat Lances
    Ravager - Flickerfields
    Ravager - Flickerfields
    Voidraven - 2 Void Lances, Void Mine, 2 Shatterfield Missiles, NightS, FlickerF

    Baron starts with a 3 man Wrack on foot, Haemo starts wth Reaversand leaves first turn, Baron leaves and joins Hellions...that way both units have FNP from the word go... Haemo is joined by the the second Wrack unit, regenerating his pain token...he then pisses off turn 2 and joins the Incubi...who then bugger off on the rampage...

    Voidraven is in after some talk with Kabalite...Nightshields work cause it can hang in a corner somewhere and use range to advantage, FF there for when a Hydra can still reach you! The idea is this bad boy has the right height and angles to get clear shots on dreads in cover behind rhino's....GK's, Wolves and Vanilla are catered for here...

    118 poison shots per turn...results in 39.3 wounds per turn on anything...this (rounding up) 13 dead MEQ or Monstrous Creatures... or even a MC with a 2+ like a Tyrannofex or Dreadknight (? lol)

    only 7 anti tank though...multiple shots on each of those units though and speed is a massive factor to focussing on one area of the army at once...

    Thoughts? Not derailing too much Kabalite..merely a suggestion based on your writing..

  7. nice little article, makes me hate the little witches even more ;)
    good to see Rob 'rathstar' at ASMOH on saturday, he was using Tau last year IIRC and come 3rd?
    did pretty well this year too with 3 wins..
    Sadly my scouts got owned at 1250, which meant i was bottom of the pile come midbreak, 2 good wins with 1750 got me to 26th though.. a far cry from last years 10th

    @rathstar im just starting tau myself, perhaps you could point me to some decent 'how tos'?