Monday, 25 November 2013

Dark Eldar Challenge Army - 1850

My DE back in 2011 - The Kabal of the Pink Fuckers!
Morning all,
Local gaming is fun. Or at least it's supposed to be isn't it?
But so often it is not when the expectations of the two players are misaligned.
I often fall into this trap and even when, as a competitive player, I am spouting crap like the Tau Triumvirate I feel I am building an army that will not provide fun to both parties.
There are, of course, players that share my competitive philosophy at the club...but when you are not playing those guys it would be nice to have an army to hand which isn't hardcore.

Just as a quick background, I have a lot of my 40k stuff packed away for this year as I'm working on a property project and have little room spare...I'm limited this year to Nids, Tau, Eldar and Bike or Foot Marines inc my beloved Space Wolves.

What I'd like to do is pick an army that hasn't seen the light of day at the club for some time.. Now, this could be my Nids... or it could be Dark Eldar. Other armies we see at the club with reasonable regularity - even Sisters. Following this year and the ETC, I am not quite ready to pick up the Nids again (when the new book hits, I'll ask the Hive Mind to respawn the Swarmlord and we'll go to war once again...but not before) so it looks like Dark Eldar will see some play time..

A clinical raid on the Nids invading a pirate outpost in 2011 ...forging the narrative FTW lol!
Let the raids begin! Question is... in the current meta what should the Dark Eldar be running?
Night Shields for sure! Enjoy that maximum range dance with their mobility and NS should produce some sort of a safety net for DE.

Think about that.. Eldar have a limited range for Twin Linking with their Scatter Lasers on Serpents...although the Shield can reach far and are of course strong enough to smash through the paper thin armour of DE :(
Tau are generally a 36" to 42" effective army. Of course the Riptide operates at longer ranges as does the Skyray... but these are typically unsupported over the mentioned ranges. This is bad in the case of the Skyrays...they'll utterly mess you up! As well the Riptides with slightly less accuracy. I played a Dark Eldar vehicle flotilla/fleet at the October Battlefield Birmingham and getting into range of my weaponry was an awful decision! On the otherhand, I had 2 Riptides and 2 Skyrays.. so he was gonna get it in the face at some point... Most armies lack the speed and mobility. The problem is, as highlighted by my "Obnoxious Armies" series of posts (EDIT: more this week loyal reader!) - many Tau and Eldar armies can combine both mobility with longer range firepower.

The DE player in this day and age needs to be able to alpha strike the shit out of appropriate targets FIRST. This is of course, not a possibility in every game and for the most part includes using Baron for his +1 to 'goes first' roll.. a bargain for 105 points.

Best 105 points in the game? Maybe. 2 units of Eldar Jetbikes come damn close to that though for game winning.

But what about the "Seize Machine"? Vect! 200+ points of "4+ to seize" goodness! Combine with the Baron and you have a VERY good chance of going first. Consider... you roll a '1', 83% chance the enemy is going first, remove 16% from the Baron.. down to just 66% likely the enemy goes first.. .then you Seize 50% of the time.. 33% the enemy goes first... in this case, when you roll the worst possible dice result... you will still go first in  2/3 games! This gets stronger to you for every value above '1' you roll... I fail at the maths where we get to the point where we roll a '6' and force a reroll... surely Baron doesn't give it a '7'? lol... so we reroll and the same results apply again except having come through the probability filter of 1/6 followed by... a whatever..if you roll a 5 or 6 you are basically going first. The maths is wonderful for this and it only costs so 345 points! Sweet mother of God!

More dastardly, daring and downright dodgy plans after the cut..

What else does Vect add? Fearless. Preferred Enemy. A CC beast himself with 8 attacks on the charge hitting on 3's with rerolls and wounding anything on a 3+ AP3... Wraithknight? Fuck off! 3+ save character? Dead. 2+ character? Ah.... problems! lol He also has a 2++ save which he can tank a few wounds. Now, tanking really does rely on a reroll..

Eldar Allies to grab a Farseer. Realistically this Farseer is going for accuracy though via Divination and Fate though. Question, is Eldrad worth it for the extra roll? 3 rolls on Fate for Fortune? Then one on Divination for Prescience? Wow.. that's alot of points in really static characters (well, Baron sure can move).. so probably not used for tanking due to unreliable fortune.

The question really then needs to be where can you put Vect? In a beastpack? Perhaps. Guardian blob or Warrior blob? Maybe the most likely place. or just there to seize then die? Grotstar? Nah.

Bearing in mind what I own.. Venoms and Ravagers filled with Baron, Vect, Farseer. I think this army needs a lot of troops or it will flat out DIE in objective missions and have nothing to claim. This almost screams maxed out troop venoms, Eldar jetbikes and Swooping Hawks with a Farseer on a jetbike JUST to ensure I have something left at the end of the game to contest objectives.

Going first is nice and all... but you really do need to be able to do something about it. A trio of Ravagers and half a dozen venoms can definitely put a dent in things... but we need more anti tank to open stuff up reliably. Lance weaponry in the Vect-carrier unit for sure. Reavers with Heatlances perhaps? Or the Beastpack.. but the Beastpack simply can't cut it without Fortune.. or do you just run a little pack as a distraction unit?

Baron 105
Vect 240
Jetseer 115
6x 5man Warriors in Venoms, 2 Cannons, Night Shields - 810
3x Ravagers - 315

and some sort of mandatory Eldar troops..
2 x 3man jetbikes is an easy and cheap one
6 Hawks as well
Those are ~200 points of awesome contesting and troop killing (Hawks).

Hmmm.. scrap the Hawks. Let's get somewhere to put the Vectinator.
He is slow moving but could keep pace with Guardians, Hellions, Beastpack... well.. Guardians really if we've grabbed all 6 troop slots in Dark Eldar.

So let's grab more anti tank (like I mentioned earlier) and run a blob of Guardians.. these guys will be Fearless and have Preferred Enemy. They will be decent in combat and quite mobile with Fleet and run/shoot antics.  The option to grab a pair of Bright Lances will also be marvellous to add to the long range, high strength shooting of the list - with Prescience or Guide these will be accurate as hell. Who knows, I may also get Ignores Cover...although a 4++ is preferably...and Fortune even more so than that! Are we sure Eldrad is out of the question!!

Night Shields and Flickerfields for the Ravagers? Hmm... I like to think these are worthwhile, but can generally claim a Jink 5+ all the time...except vs Tau. The Night Shields are surely worth it though... reducing range by 6" is so great when combined with mobility, tight play and pre-measuring.
Although it is 60 points for both across 3 Ravagers.

What do you think?
Vect - Warlord
20 Guardians - 2 Bright Lances
6 x 5man Warrior squads with Blaster (1 squad doesnt have a blaster), Venoms w NS, 2 Cannons
3 x Ravagers - NS/Flickerfield

Now, Mike Marlow (a reknowned DEldar and DoGger (that's Death or Glory blog/podcast) dude in case you are unfamiliar) really rates the Blaster as a MISTAKE in list building for DE. I tend to agree...but am not sure what I'd get for my money? A 3 man Eldar Jetbike squad is always a solid choice right? Could do that? Although with 5 S8 blasters, combined with is not a bad choice I feel. Wyches with Haywire are a far more effective unit once in combat.. but I'm not sure I can get them there!

Lots to think about and work on over the coming weeks. I think I will just bust out the models and have a play around.. If I get bored, oh well, Nids will be out soon! Plus, with Caledonian Open in just a couple of months....I'll be looking for tougher games wherever I can find them!


  1. As a tweak to that.. what about stripping all the points out of the Ravagers and Blasters from Warriors... This means I can then do:

    Farseer - jetbike
    3 Windriders
    3 Windriders
    6 x 5man Warriors in Venoms - 2 Cannons, Night Shields
    Beast Pack - 4 Beastmasters, 17 Kymaera
    3 Ravagers

    I feel this is still essentially the same army, but lacks the reliability in the Beastpack to be truly deadly.. this makes it a lot more killable and therefore suitable for local play.
    Without Fortune the Beastpack is simply not as killy. Sure, it'll have Prescience so when it hits, it hits hard, but it'll be mostly dead I think by the time it reaches people...slowed by the on-foot Vect.

    I do get the Guardian Wind Rider units which are just superb and means I can use the beautiful DE Reaver models to fit with the rest of the army.

    I'd still like to have Swooping Hawks in there... but I can't have it all.. well, actually I could:

    Farseer - Bike
    1 Jetbike unit
    20 Guardians - 2 Bright Lances
    6 Hawks
    6 Venom units
    3 Ravagers

    Thoughts guys?

  2. I know they're desperate allies which presents it's own set of challenges, but have you considered a Baron/Coteaz tag team for a 4+ rerollable sieze? Both Inquisition and GK varieties could bring some interesting toys to shore up list deficiencies, but (points allowing) the inquisition codex would allow you to bring 3 Valks, 3 more highly customizable scoring units, and another cheapo inquisitor w/servo skulls.

    That adds to your mobility, more scoring, and keeps scout armies from closing in on fragile DE stuff for one extra turn.

    1. Vect/Coteaz I assume you mean.. Can you stack rules like that with Desperate Allies? That'd be insane... as long as you could build to capitalise on it.

      Grabbing 3 Valks is nice.. but I'm not too sure what they add? anti infantry can be covered very well by DE.. Now if it was Vendettas.....

      Land Raiders would be interesting.... :)

    2. Well I don't see why you can't, but I suppose it all depends on how they're worded.

      I suggest Valks because they offer mobility and allow you to play keep away from your DE (Vendettas would be sick) and don't break the bank on points. If you're willing to pay the points for land raiders then...yeah...that could be interesting too!

    3. Dude, I'm basically never willing to pay points for the land raider!