Warhammer 40,000/6th Edition Tactics/Dark Eldar
- 1 Why Play Dark Eldar
- 2 Dark Eldar Rules and Wargear
- 3 Unit Analysis
- 4 Fortifications
- 5 Armor Penetrating notes
- 6 Building your Army
- 7 Allies
- 8 Tactics
Why Play Dark Eldar
Do you want to be a unique snowflake? Do you like drugs, excessive body modification, pillaging and raping? Do you like instilling fear into your opponent with lightning fast speed and devastating weaponry at the expense of armor? Then DE are for you. This is 40k on hardcore mode. If things don't go Just as planned you'll be going down like a ten dollar hooker. This is not a forgiving army and not for the faint of heart; it is riddled with drawbacks and is damned tough to play. If things go your way, however, your opponents will be torn to shreds in record time without even knowing what just hit him.
Welcome to the world's most elite club.
Penis jokes aside, the Dark Eldar are indeed one of the (if not the) least-played armies in games and table-top - and it's not hard to see why. Up until the recent edition upgrade, they were even more unforgiving of mistakes in gameplay than the Eldar were, had exceedingly fragile armor for the bulk of their forces, and focused almost entirely on a mix of blinding speed and raw, balls-out firepower. They packed dozens of ways to lower an enemy's morale and plenty of weaponry that sprayed massive barrages of undiluted rape in the general direction of their opponents, but this really wasn't enough to make them all that viable until more recently.
After 12 years (or 7, if you choose to count the revised edition), Games Workshop finally gave the Dark Eldar an update. And what an update it was.
The new codex, simply put, was a godsend, giving their forces much-needed staying power and considerably higher flexibility. Whilst most of the Dark Eldar remains pretty fragile, they can field significantly tougher army lists with much more durable troops, too - almost every unit, barring a few of their Special Characters, can find at least some use in a competitive Dark Eldar army, in no small part because of their ability to load anti-tank weapons in anti-infantry transports - and vice versa, backing this with versatile fast-attack and heavy support choices that can attack damned near anything to some degree. This compartmentalized army design means that the new Dark Eldar lessens how severe losses used to be for this army, and generally makes it more consistent (previously it was an army that either steamrolled you or got kerb-stomped).
Creating a solid Dark Eldar army is a balancing act, and involves setting things up so that you have redundant units and failsafes. The general gist is that this ensures that if you lose a squad, you're still in the fight. Paired with the Dark Eldar's heavy firepower, this makes them a daunting thing to face.
One last thing of note is the sheer quality of their models - Dark Eldar models of both Infantry and Vehicle flavors are amongst the best that Games Workshop makes, period, and they have some truly stunning and impressive designs. When contrasted to the ramshackle look of the Orks' vehicles, the boxy look of the Imperium's vehicles, or the simple elegance of the Eldar or Tau's vehicles, the Dark Eldar vehicles have sleek, predatory looks and their models have this cruel look that all but oozes with malevolence. Their army also offers a wealth of customization options, and just as many conversion opportunities. In a great many ways, this is the army for those who want to boast both a tough army to use and one that looks just as good.
Dark Eldar Rules and Wargear
Dark Eldar Special Rules
- Night Vision: Basically every model that matters (IE except Harlequins and a couple of the Archon's Retinue) have Night Vision. Since games start with Night Fighting roughly half the time now, this is a realllllly good ability to have, as it means you can take full advantage of the cover saves it provides with no downside. Slightly nerfed now due to Night Fighting getting nerfed, but not bad for a universal special rule.
- Power From Pain: Another VERY important ability, whenever you completely kill off an opponent's unit (non-vehicles only) you get a pain token. 1 Token gives you Feel No Pain, 2 gives you Furious Charge and 3 gives you Fearless (it stacks of course). You can also get it from other sources (Combat Drugs, Haemonculus etc.) and you should absolutely be trying to exploit those sources, because FNP is one of the best ways to make your DEldar not die to light arms fire.
- Combat Drugs: Combat Drugs are available to Wyches, Hekatrix, Hellions and Reavers, and can be bought as an optional upgrade for Archons (not a bad investment). Unlike last edition, where you got a roll per unit, you now get one roll for the entire army, which is both good and bad. With a good roll you can start with some of your most important units having a good stat bonus, or even a Pain Token, but on a bad roll...everyone suffers. The results are as follows:
- 1: Hypex Speed. You get to roll 3D6 for running and choose the highest. Utterly and completely awful.
- 2: Serpentin Cocaine. +1 WS. Good for hitting Marines and other Eldar on a 3+, but overall not great.
- 3: Grave Lotus PCP. +1 Strength. So you're saying we wound Marines on a 4+ instead of a 5+? Fucking awesome!
- 4: Painbringer Meth. Reroll failed rolls to wound. Either equal or a little better to Grave Lotus, IE fucking awesome.
- 5: Adrenalight Bath Salts. +1 Attack. Even TEQs are gonna start feeling the hurt when your Wyches pump out 4 attack each on the Charge.
- 6: Splintermind Heroin. Start the game off with a Pain Token and thus FNP. Amazing.
- Venom Blade: 2+ Poisoned Attacks. Good on a cheap Haemonculus or Archon, but odds are you can do better. The go-to option if you're tight for points and not versing heavily- armored opponents.
- Power Weapon: You know what it can do, but there are better options available.
- Agonizer: Like this. 4+ to Wound, AP3. If you're kitting out your Archon, this is one of the better options.
- Electrocorrosive Whip: AP3, guys taking an unsaved wound half their Strength. Funny, but at 20 points you'd be better off with an Agonizer or trading up for a Huskblade.
- Huskblade: AP3, Instant Death. At 35 points it's expensive, but Christ the look on your opponent's face when your Archon or Haemonculus stabs his Terminator Captain once and he drops is priceless.
- Blast Pistol: Meh. Short range and high price kind of let this one out.
- Blaster: At 15 points and BS7, this can be kind of priceless, but only if you have the points to burn, kitting your Archon out to go tank hunting is rarely cost effective.
- Haywire Grenades: If you've got 5 points to burn, there are worse places to drop it, although generally speaking Archons shouldn't be going up against vehicles.
- Ghostplate Armor: 4+ 6++. Most people prefer the Shadow Field, but it makes an okay backup for when/if that fails (assuming your Archon survives it.)
- Combat Drugs: 10 points to get in on the above. Rarely a bad investment.
- Soul Trap: Whenever you kill an enemy character or MC, you get to take an LD test. If you pass, you double your strength. With the advent of Challenges, this has become a pretty nasty way for Huskblade Archons to come out of a Challenge swinging for the fences. It's cheap too, so it's probably worth it. Probably not worth it for Haemonculus though, as it cuts into their Arcane Wargear allowance.
- Djin Blade: 20 points for basically 2 attacks that could rebel against you. Probably not worth it.
- Clone Field: Negate D3 hits. Funny, especially in a challenge, but most players prefer the more reliable Shadow Field.
- Phantasm Grenade Launcher: Unit counts as having both Assault and Defensive Grenades...Fuck. Yes. This can often be taken by Unit Champions too (especially the Helliarch) and should always be on the table for said units. Religiously useful, anything that can take this should.
- Shadow Field: 2++, goes away first time you fail it. If you're serious about having your Archon be something other than a cheap required HQ choice (which Haemonculus do better anyway) then this should be one of your first choices.
- Webway Portal: Once a staple, now it has to be more carefully considered. Probably most useful for having Incubi or Hellions pop out in the middle of the enemy lines, but since you can't assault out of them now it's a little more risky. They can still work of course, you just have to know what you're doing.
The following are available only to Haemonculus and each one can only take 2 of them.
- Animus Vitae: Every time you kill an enemy model, you can taken an LD test. If you pass, you get a Pain Token. Fun, but unreliable and generally counts on the Haemonculus doing well in CC which is a dicey proposition. It also eats into your Arcane Wargear allowance and is thus usually to be avoided.
- Casket of Flensing: Range 12, S:D6, AP:D6 Assault: 2D6, one shot. If everything goes Just As Planned this could be potentially hilarious, but the odds of that happening are basically nonexistent. Skip it.
- Liquifier Gun: Flamer with AP:D6. Also available to Wracks and Grotesques. Should instantly be one of your first choices, as Flame Templates are always good and if you roll AP3 against some Marines in cover you might just cause your opponent to break down and cry. Also potentially lulzy in overwatch.
- Vexator Mask: Your opponent has to take an LD test to strike at the wearer. Could be a fun way of dicking over a challenge opponent, but practically it's on the unreliable side. A baby's first mindshackle scarab.
- Scissorhand: +1 Attacks (+2 with another weapon) with Poisoned 3+. If you're running a front lines Haemonculus, this will not disappoint.
- Archangel of Pain: Once per game, all enemy units within 3D6 have to take an LD test or be reduced to WS and I1. Not even remotely reliable enough to be worth it.
- Hexrifle: Sniper Rifle with AP4 and Assault 1 (as opposed to Heavy). If you wound someone, they have to take an Wound test or auto-die. Could be useful for dicking over IC or Nobs, but remains controversial. Can also be taken by an Acothyst, where it can be used to pick off wounds if you're camping in cover to hold an objective.
- Shattershard: Once use only Flame template. Everyone hit by it has to take a Toughness test or be Removed From Play, no Eternal Warrior or Saves allowed. Ho. Ly. Shit. This is one of the nastiest Arcane Wargear available. It will rarely disappoint and will occasionally do something completely crazy ("What's that? Abbadon rolled a 6 for his Toughness Test? Off he goes.") You have to get your Haemonculus pretty close to use it right, but when you pull it off it's AWESOME.
- Crucible of Malediction: Once per game, all Psykers within 3D6 must take an LD test or get pulled off the board, no Saves allowed. This requires a very specific setup and will more often than not be completely worthless. Could be worthwhile in casual, but leave it out of competitive play.Take one against Grey Knights ; Troll. However, with Matt Ward being Matt Ward, GK fags only need to take one leadership test and lose only one figure if it fails. Thanks 6th ed. errata.
- Orb of Despair: Range: 6, S10 AP1 Assault 1 Blast, once per game. Rolls against target's LD instead of T. It's short range and scatter could cost you dearly and it's hard thing to use right. Not really reliable enough for competitive play.
- Dark Gate: Range 12, S10, AP- Large Blast, one shot. In the hands of a really skilled or lucky player, this could be devastating, but it's too likely to bounce off Marines. Probably not worth it.
Dark Eldar Vehicle Upgrades
- Chain Snares: D3+1 S4 AP- hits on one unit the vehicle passed over during the movement phase. Meh. Maybe if you're moving flat out towards an objective on the last turn, but it is really worth it for that one shot?
- Enhanced Aethersails: Move an extra 2D6, although no disembarking and no shooting by anyone. If you can think of a specific scenario for it, it could be useful, but will probably go unused most of the time.
- Envenomed Blades: Enemies assaulting the vehicle take an S4 hit for every 1 they roll To Hit. Your Raiders/Venoms will probably be shot to death before any assault and if your Ravager is getting assaulted, something has gone terrible wrong. Pass.
- Flickerfield: 5++ save. Nice and straightforward, although muted somewhat by Jink. If you're worried about Ignores Cover hits, then go ahead. Also a flat out requirement for your Flyers, as it gives you a save without having to Snap Shot.
With the new rules possibly forcing troops in transports to Snap Shot if the transport uses Jink Saves, Flickerfields could be the go-to-option again.Nothing in the BRB indicates that passengers are affected by the vehicle Jinking. Still, these have become an extremely good for all purpose vehicle protection; Don't want to have to jink every time a Heavy Bolter looks at you funny. So, Flickerfields are basically the go-to-option again. Thank you Phil, for giving Dark Eldar the Flickerfield.
- Grisly Trophies: Friendly models within 6' can reroll failed LD tests. Not generally all that useful, as your army is mobile enough to not be within 6' of each other that often. Since Psychic tests now no longer require LD tests, the one paltry use we had for these is pretty much out. Skip it.
- Night Shields: Makes your opponents weapons have 6 inch shorter range. A must have on Raiders, Venoms and Razorwings, as the extra 6 inches could keep you out of range of those Bolters that could bring you down. Less important on Razorwings, Voidravens, Ravagers and vehicles carrying assaulting troops, but might not go amiss.
- Retrofire Jets: Lets you Deep Strike. You could man up, take the Duke and put on 'It's raining men' but if you can't for some reason (like your tournament doesn't allow Special Characters) this could be good on a Venom carrying Blasterborn or Suicide Wyches with Haywire Grenades. Bit too risky on Raiders though.
- Shock Prow: Lets you tank shock and ram with your Raiders and Ravagers, and count your FA as +D3 higher when ramming. A rather risky tactic that could allow you to turn your game into a giant, supersonic demolition derby match. This requires a lot of skill though, and is therefore only recommended for certain playstyles: Awesome ones.
Note: Taking an Haemonculus opens up Wracks as a troop choice (which is good). Taking Baron makes Hellions a troop choices (which is decent). Wyches are now an automatic troop choice (but are still meh at it).
- Archon - The core commander of many players' Dark Eldar armies. Low S and T, as befitting an Eldar, but absurdly high WS, BS and I. Extremely customizable and with the right loadout they can often go toe to toe with a lot of HQ choices. Be aware they can be points hungry and if you're not willing to put in the points to make them a close combat beast (Huskblade, PGL, Shadow Field, Combat Drugs, maybe Soul Trap) then you're probably better off with a Haemonculus. If you really want to you can add a retinue from the choices below - but you're often better off keeping him as an IC - bear this in mind.
- IMPORTANT: If you intend to give your Archon a retinue, he needs at least one of each type (for a total of 75 points). This is not inexpensive. It adds a lot to his survivability, however.
- Medusae - Assault flamers. Have randomized AP and strength but are very cheap as template weapons go for the Dark Eldar (and the one time you get S7 AP1 Flamers will be worth it).
- Lhamaeans - Basically Wyches with poisoned weapons. That's all it is; the Mistress of Poisons rule doesn't count for shit, since the only poisoned weapons in an Archon's arsenal are the Venom Blade and the Splinter pistol, and VB's already wound on a 2+. The rule does NOT effect agonisers as they are not poisoned weapons.
- Ur-Ghuls - Decent on the charge but fail in every other regard. Take them only if you need warm bodies and lots of regular attacks in your retinue.
- Sslyth - T5 Meatshields. Similar to Ur-Ghuls except they can carry shardcarbines, the only thing that makes them even remotely worth their exorbitant price tag. Also, if your Court has 2 Sslyths and no more than 2 of any other type, all hits against the unit are resolved against Sslyth's T5; save for precision shots. With 2 wounds each, they make excellent suckers for the Archon's Look out Sir! rolls.
- To sum it up: while the Court isn't a bad choice in the same sense Mandrakes are, for their points there are definitely far more better choices. What really hampers it is the one-of-each requirement, which forces you to pay extra points for shit you don't need when you just want to kit out your Archon's unit for a specific job. There's a rumour going on it might get FAQ'd out, but considering the Codex is already three years old, you probably shouldn't get your hopes up.
- Haemonculi - Cheap 50 point HQs that can be customized specifically for the troops you want them to lead. Not as cheap as their 4E equivalents, but they now serve the invaluable role of starting a unit with a pain token (and by extension feel no pain. You can also take 3 of these per HQ choice. So take 3 of them and put them in Warrior or Wych squads, increasing their survival rate by a little bit. Relatively tough and with access to some pretty heavy-duty wargear, they are especially valuable because they enable you to use Wracks as a troops choice. In shooty lists, it's not uncommon to see a single, cheap haemonculus with a liquifier gun or a hex rifle (or an otherwise naked Archon with a blaster) stuck in which a larger squad just to fill up the mandatory HQ slot, because the DE will not be winning by combat in this edition (damn Overwatch).
- Haemonculi Ancient - +1 WS, BS, Wound, Initiative, Attack, and Leadership for an additional 30 points. Worth it if you have the points to blow, since this succeeds in making him considerably nastier than the Haemonculus already was. Points-hungry, but overall decent, especially if you stick him in a close combat based unit. Like the standard version, its biggest advantage isn't even its wargear (though that is impressive), but the fact that it lets you field Wracks as a troops choice.
- Succubus - At a glance, the Succubus is kind of weird; she has poor armor, though with a damned fine statline befitting a Wych - but she has rather poor limited options, with the best ones being Agonizers and Electrocorrosive Whips (both of which are decent; agonizer preferable). Her biggest advantage, by far, is the ridiculously small amount of points she costs to get out; even fully-kitted out she's unlikely to break 100 points. Worth taking if you plan to use Wych cults, especially as Lelith costs roughly 3 times as much if you take a Succubus as-is. Also, unlike Lelith, she has combat drugs - on a lucky roll of a 6, she and her unit of wyches begin the game with two pain-tokens, becoming an absolute murder factory right off the bat. When her Raider Explodes, put two wounds on her to save a few Wyches. Also, Haywire Grenades and a Power Weapon on her is probably the best load out. A good HQ as well, but made of glass against shooting.
The following are special characters:
- Baron Sathonyx - The dark space elves' skateboard punk capo. Yea his statline is garbage, he doesn't have a power weapon, and doesn't get drugs. But on the other hand he's very cheap, gets a nice strength bonus on the charge, and gives out deployment and stealth bonuses like candy (Stealth applies to any unit he's attached to, not just Hellions, so try him out on a four splinter cannon Scourge unit and troll infantry from behind 3+ cover). He isn't terrible in assault, good weapon skill, and strikes at Strength 6 at Initiative. Stick him with his boys and win the claw game every turn. Also, with the new FAQ, he adds 1 to your first turn roll. Which is a pretty nifty upgrade. With Stunclaws. As an aside, he makes hellions troop choices. This is good for exactly one squad: The Baron's. For anyone else, it's mediocre. He's also hilariously good in a Beastmaster Pack, so he's worth considering in some situations.
- Lelith Hesperax - High Weapons Skill and an amazing special rule make her a giant fire magnet, which is mostly offset by her 4++ save (3++ in close combat!). She makes your opponent sweat, since any squad she reaches close combat with is comprehensively screwed - unless she starts hammering away on something she'll have difficulty actually hurting (such as Plague Marines)- Strength 3 isn't doing her any favors. On the plus side, her special rule makes her a great "fuck you" against tarpits and 2+ armor saves, meaning your Wyches will spend less time mulching conscripts and more time focusing on actual threats. Her lack of combat drugs is also irritating due to how useful those buffs would be on her...though it's all worth it when you split her off from her unit and send her into a Fire Warrior blob. The mental images are priceless. (And fap-worthy.)
- Kheradruakh - He's a T3 HQ killer that can't assault on the same turn he
deepstrikesGOES MARBO, guess how this is going to end? If you've actually got the ceramite balls to use this guy deploy him directly into cover and watch as your opponent dedicates truly retarded amounts of firepower to his removal. Or they hit him with a Dreadnought. He pretty much has to join a pre-existing combat too, since he doesn't get grenades... And the real deal-breaker is the easy-to-overlook lack of Independent Character, meaning he can't join a unit of mandrakes and make them playable. In short, skip him unless it's a fluffy game.
- Duke Sliscus - The ultimate utility HQ. Seriously. He gives
your dedicated transports ALL your vehicles(Thanks to the new FAQ, Razorwings and Voidravens can't deep strike anymore. Also 6ed means you can only have half your force deep striking) deep strike capability, allows your Wyches, hellions, himself, and anything else to roll twice for drugs and take your choice (never get a 1 again!), makes a Warrior/Trueborn squad's rifles wound on 3+ (fun for objective sitters/teabagging the shit out of units), has a Blast Pistol and a 2++ save, and has 2+ poisoned CC attacks and combat drugs. Oh, and rolls to wound of 5+ are AP2. Always bet on Duke.
- Drazhar - An expensive beatstick. If an Incubi Squad can get him and even a single pain token they will become all but unstoppable. Actually, he's better without the squad, or at least splitting from the squad prior to assault. The reason for that is his Darting Strike. It looks innocent enough, but the ability to wave-dash across the map is comedic. Play DBZ music as he jumps around, ganking models while avoiding anything which could realistically hurt him. Drazhar is now incredibly powerful in melee due to the power weapon nerfing making him more powerful - especially since his attacks ignore armor saves.
- Lady Malys - Another low cost special character with a vanilla Archon statline. She works best in a gunline DE army, because realistically, since going first means your opponent deploys second, being able to shift lance squads around so they aren't out of range on the first few turns is golden. Making squads pysker immune is situational.
- Urien Rakarth - A super-Haemonculus. He starts the game with a pain token, and lets you bring wracks as a troop choice like normal Haemonculi, and he regenerates one wound a turn. Only take in a Haemonculus themed army.
- Asdrubael Vect - Great in close combat, preferred enemy against fucking everything, rerolls wounds against both races of Eldar, and he seizes the initiative on a 4+, which is amazing...Seriously, there are reports of this guy beating entire armies on his own, he is one of those few who can go toe to toe with the Swarmlord,
Draigo, or Abaddon(he is only AP3 now) in melee combat and hope to win. I mean, I once charged this guy into a full squad of khorne berserkers and he slaughtered them all without much trouble. But Christ he's expensive at 240 points, and everyone who's heard of him knows how deadly he is, so he will attract fire as if he had the world's biggest bullet magnet on his head with a bullseye painted on his chest for good measure. Put him on the Dais of Destruction with a bunch of trueborns and bring him if you think you can somehow bring Dark Eldar to an Apocalypse game and win.
- Wracks - The article for these guys should really be written under "Troops" as that is almost always where you'll see them anyway. Cheap, extremely effective, and outright deadly if used right, they're almost as tough to kill as the standard Space Marine - and are a lot better at taking them in assault; the moment they grab their second token... Stuff is going to die in a horrible fashion. There are several ways to use them; either a minimal squad as a "scoring upgrade" for a Raider, as well as a token for an IC to gank, a 5-+Liquifier escort for a Haemonculus, or a 10-strong unit in Raider, going full-turkey. As a rule, the Acothyst is too expensive for his cost, especially since with dual poison blades, the assorted melee options are that much less attractive.
- Grotesques - 'Ogryn Syndrome' at its worst. They're slow, lack power weapons, clog up transports, and have chance to go full retard if you don't leave a Haemonculus to babysit them. In an Urien Rakarth led webway portal army they could hypothetically be of some use, but practically anything else would be a better use of your elite slots.
- An Alternate Take: You only need 3 of these guys and a Haemonculus anyway. The unit has a lot of high-strength attacks and the ability to double-tap a unit with Liquifiers, giving a secondary means to punch out tanks that suffer stuns/immobilized results against the lances in your army. The fact they can only take a Raider is not too much of a concern either, since they do opposing roles. Against the right armies (Chimera-spam Guard come to mind), while having them explode is a situational bonus, hilariously useful when it goes off according to plan.
- Another Alternate Take: These bastards are really just a squad of mini MCs. And they are hilarious against tarpits with that full retard ability in case you feel like throwing 5 out of a WWP and giving them free reign. Throw some on a tarpit of guardsman and watch as they mulch away at the guys. If they somehow manage to make it through that without the game ending after that they become a nice living wall of wounds, which could help your other guys immensely.
- Incubi - The best assault troops in the army, with the best saves, and power weapons that give them +1 strength and strike with AP2 at their normal (high) initiative. Unlike the old codex, they still have fleet despite their good armour saves, and though they lack the shooting capacity of the Tormentor Helm, they cost 3 less points, and you can get them locked in combat on turn 2. They are basically MEQs (and our best MEQ/TEQ-killers) and act like Eldar aspect warriors (Striking Scorpions with a bit of Howling Banshees thrown in, which is weird because Banshees will butcher Incubi IF THE BANSHEES CHARGE FIRST). Klaivex (the Exarch analogue) is good for assassination duty ("That Runepriest is going down!"), Onslaught can also be worth it for dealing with larger units, and the Demiklaive and Bloodstone can allow for some amusing combinations, but only if you have points to burn. Possibly the second best Elite choices for Dark Eldar, after Trueborns.
- Mandrakes - Stat for stat, point for point, they're the worst Infiltrators in the game, and Infiltrators aren't that good to begin with. Unfortunately, their models are awesome, leading to the long running joke: "So what do your Mandrakes count as?" Independent Characters can't join Infiltrators during deployment, so despite early speculation, you can't attach a haemonculus or archon to a mandrake unit to get it to the front lines. And now Mandrakes can't even assault after coming out of reserves, so they're much worse than they once were. Even though they look awesome, we really have to stop trying to make Mandrakes work. They refuse to.
- If you're dead set on taking Infiltrators, use Allies. Eldar Rangers or Pathfinders are amazing Snipers, Striking Scorpions are better at the melee thing. Or take Shrike with a ton of Terminators.
- The trick to getting them their first kill is to bring Reavers or lots of Venoms and to hurt something before sending the Mandrakes in. Also, it helps to use full squads and to attack the far flank.
- Apparently you can outflank them and bring along a Haemy to provide them with a Liquifier Gun and a Pain token.
- Harlequins - Incubi are the same slot, same cost, have power from pain, and can actually take transports, but Harlequins have some uses - at least, if the 6th Ed Eldar FAQ is applicable to us (confirmed). They have Shrouded and Stealth now instead of the 2d6x2 check, so they have a constant 4+ cover save since Shrouded grants the 5+ save and Stealth improves it by 1, making them a decent Webway portal/IC escort. They can also take fusion pistols and come with Hit & Run, unlike incubi who are vulnerable to being tarpitted and crumped by a rampaging dreadnought or maulerfiend. Like with fielding them for Eldar, if you're just going to take the bare unit, don't bother. Harlequin Kisses, Troupe Master and Shadowseer are mandatory and a Fusion Pistol or 2 wouldn't go amiss.
- Note: Eldar Corsairs can stick these guys in Venoms, so taking Corsairs allies is worth considering if you have points to spare for the HQ/Troop tax.
- Kabalite Trueborn - At first glance their +1 attacks and leadership appear deceptively lackluster. The Trueborn's real strength is their access to some of the DE's shiniest bits. Take a small squad loaded for bear, stick them in a Venom, and let the hunt begin. Time has proven these guys to be the best of the elite choices, with only the Incubi and the Wracks (which are troops, anyway) as viable competitors. They really force you to ask yourself, "why am I taking _________ instead of trueborns?"
- Hekatrix Bloodbrides - Just what you were afraid Trueborn were. Ever so slightly beefed up Wyches with a slightly higher concentration of heavy weapons. Nothing that a Wych couldn't do cheaper or an Incubi couldn't do better. 6th edition changed wyches' role so heavily that this unit should never be used.
- An Alternate Take: Wyches often lack the oomph to kill off a unit unassisted. Bloodbrides tend to do pretty well when dropped off on someone's back lines and given free reign. Or let them escort your archon with clone field and take 3x shardnet and impaler. Then challenge a IC with your archon and watch the poor thing strike with 3 attacks less and if he hits you can negate D3 hits.Their lack of scoring can suck though.
- Kabalite Warriors - You know them, you love them. They're your cheap scoring, your anti-tank, and your source of Raiders and Venoms. Taking a Splinter Cannon and adding in the Duke can be fun too if you're facing Tyranids. The big question is whether to take them in 5-man Venom or 10-man Raider squads - the 5 man squad puts out 17 poison shots (and 22 in rapid fire range) and costs 110 points, while the 10 man puts out an effective 13 to 27 poison shots at 160 points thanks to Splinter Racks. Either squad can take a blaster, but the presence of the Raider's Dark Lance and their ability to take another Dark Lance makes the 10 man squad better at early game and emergency tank-hunting. Once you get within Splinter Rifle range it's wasteful to shoot at tanks. Venoms are better at Alpha striking infantry from far away, so keeping them hidden behind Ravagers or stationary cover for much of the game is a good idea.
- tl;dr If you want somewhat (we're talking relative to the DE here) more durability and objective-camping ability in exchange for less initial fire power, take a pair of kitted-out raider squads. If you want more initial firepower take Venoms instead. 2 Raider Squads costs approximately 3 Venom Squads.
- Running 10-man squads disembarked and in area terrain also helps troop survivability. This way when the raider goes boom, you don't lose half the squad due to S4 hits and bad rolls. Give them a splinter cannon, and let them pour out shots. If you get turn 1, you can move up with the raider, disembark into some cover around midfield, and get even more done with them than you ever could in the raider.
- Strictly speaking,there isn't really much point to the shredder. Even though it is S6, it has no AP, meaning even Ork boys can take saves against the thing. Just buy a splinter cannon instead. Much better and no finicky blast templates to mess with.
- Wych Squad - Good for tying up hard hitting combat units while a hekatrix murders them, though 6th edition's changes to power weapons have really hurt this strategy. Be sure to use these strategically (I always send them up against termies, and matching them against a previously stunclawed Special snowflake can be trollworthy) and send the wracks to do your grunt work as their weapons are pricey and they're quite fragile outside of CC (and in close combat), so make sure that they don't butcher a unit on the first turn in assault only to get gunned down the next turn. Hydra gauntlets are a standard choice for spamming attacks, shardnets are less useful in general combat but really shine in neutering elite enemy troops. However, 6th edition's changes - random assault rolls, weaker agonizers, worse feel no pain values, and overwatch, to which wyches are particularly and hilariously vulnerable - have really lessened the power of an already iffy squad.
- All is not lost, however - Wyches may be the best vehicle killers in the game due to haywire grenades, which are brilliant against tricky units like Land Raiders, even ones with Blessed Hull that are immune to the melta rule (rendering heat lances useless), and immune to lances (meaning that only the Void Lance can achieve a penetrating hit, and only then on a 6). Haywire grenades can absolutely spam glancing hits and score a penetrating hit on a 6. As nobody takes Bloodbrides, and it's rarely a good idea to take Trueborns in squads large enough to reliably roll a 6, Wyches are awesome against vehicles, with a 5 girl squad all but guaranteed to eat 3-5 hull points a turn. This is their new role on the battlefield- pop 5 suicidal wyches with haywire grenades in a 2-cannon Venom (a measly 125 points) and get what is essentially a guaranteed dead tank and a powerful anti-infantry vehicle. Also, one grenade per squad can be thrown in shooting phase - something many DE players forget to do, and when charging walkers this one extra haywire shot could be very handy. Remember though, the wyches are almost guaranteed to die the next turn, so make sure that the points trade off (60 points) is worth it - let the girls go after the heavy support choices, and leave the dedicated transports to haywire blasters and darklight weapons. Think of them as Fire Dragons that are twelve points cheaper and need to be 6" closer.
- It's also worth noting that plain, unupgraded Wyches will kill significantly more than their points cost in Terminators. That Invul save, combined with the low number of attacks terminators get means you can usually handle them. This holds true with any power weapon unit in the game. They struggle against equivalent points worth of generic dudes, unless you're packing a special character in there.
- If you're dead-set on using these girls to assault, one rather expensive and risky workaround exists for their above-mentioned overwatch vulnerability. Attach a haemonculus (preferably equipped for close combat) to ride along with them in a raider, but disembark your squad on one side of the vehicle and the haemy on the other side, splitting him from the squad and swiping his pain token while you're at it. Now send him charging solo at your desired target, coercing your opponent into wasting their one overwatch volley for the turn on him. Your wyches can subsequently assault the same unit unscathed, unless the enemy unit holds their fire and decides they can kill your haemonculus in combat. To avoid such a possibility, the flesh gauntlet or scissor-hand are recommended as wargear to help convince your opponent that he is somewhat of a threat and thus should not be allowed to get in close; huskblades are probably not worth their steep price for this throwaway usage. Vexator masks provide a slim chance of surviving challenges for a measly 10 points. Also note that one-use items such as a shattershard or casket of flensing won't be wasted if he gets them off prior to assaulting.
- Hellions - The street gangs of the Dark Eldar. They pretty much require hopping from cover to use, for they're fragile as all-get. If they do get into melee, they hit about as hard (arguably harder) than the average Blood Angel assault marine. They also die rather quickly if you don't give them cover and/or Feel No Pain. The Baron turns one of his units into a proper cover-generator for any further units you wish to take. As Fast Attack, they're passable though fairly underwhelming, though the new Hammer of Wrath rules has made them much better hitters. And since you can't hold objectives in vehicles any more, Hellions are the go to late game objective grabbers with the Baron.
- Scourges - Formerly one of the most inefficient Heavy Support choices in all of 40k, Scourges have gotten pumped up considerably and moved to fast attack where they can see some actual use. They're quite versatile; they can easily shred lighter units with their default weapons, and can be deployed in smaller squads with Dark Lances or Splinter Cannons for troubleshooting vehicle, infantry, or independent character targets. As tempting as it may be to take dark lances, they should be ignored. Point being, take the heatlances or blasters for tankbusting (and their mobility and good accuracy does support this), but the short range of these weapons mean that you will be quite vulnerable - and at the points-cost Scourges are, that's not a risk you really want to take. On the plus side, they've got excellent armor for Dark Eldar, with a 4+ armor save and 6+ Invulnerable save due to their Ghostplate armor. With their mobility, they can be complete pains in the ass - just bear in mind that they are expensive at 22 points a piece.
- Haywire blasters are now unbelievable, unlimited vehicle-rape, and are better at taking down vehicles than Dark Lances. Haywire Scourges are also one of the few Dark Eldar units that don't have to specialize in anti-tank/anti-vehicle to be good - a first turn salvo of 4 haywires from a 10 man unit has a decent chance of cracking a vehicle (or letting a raider's lance finish the job with a glance), and then the Scourges can mow down the unit inside with 18 poison shots and 4 Strength 4 shots. The main problem with such a build is is inefficiency - 260 points for only four guys who can do vehicle damage is rather wasteful, and it does hurt its anti-infantry role due to taking up the space of those four splinter cannons.
- Beastmasters - Cool and deadly. As beasts, they move 12" and aren't slowed by difficult terrain when moving or charging. They are a bucket of wounds, loaded with rending attacks, and most importantly are one of the few Invulnerable saves you get. Need mobile cover? This is your unit. Need to discourage people from exiting their metal boxes? This is your unit (among many others of course). Do you want to go to town converting monsters? This is your unit again. Also, think about joining the Baron onto the squad to grant the squad stealth alongside both assault and defence grenades, not to mention a front end 2++ save to troll your opponent with.
- Clawed Fiends are OK, decent at dishing out strength 5 attacks and absorbing wounds (but only take one at most, it's an expensive beatstick), Khymerae are decent filler, not bad on the charge, and can usually eat daemon prince face, but the MVP of beasts are the Razorwing flock - 5 rending attacks and 5 wounds are amazing when taken in large numbers.
- This unit can also be used as a cheap fire magnet. Two Beastmasters with 4 Razorwing Flocks comes to 84 points, 22 Wounds, and 24 Rending attacks on the charge. Doesn't make a bad for a throw away unit.
- Reaver Jetbikes - ZOOOOM! These guys move 12", then can turbo another 36" in the shooting phase and Bladevane the crap out of anyone they pass over, which is a risky tactic that can be greatly rewarding in the hands of a skilled player. Reavers with cluster caltrops are extremely fragile for their price, but can hit hard. Out of their anti-tank options, the Heat Lances are cheaper and, being a melta weapon, have the potential of doing lots more damage to vehicles, but having to get your bikes within 9" to do so makes them much more vulnerable to an enemy counterattack if not done correctly (Don't forget your extra 2d6 inches of movement in the assault phase due to being an Eldar jetbike). The boring-old Blasters are safer, the extra effective range letting you pop in and out of cover to fire more easily. Squads of 6 or 9 with 2 or 3 Lances/Blasters are ideal, with 3 Reavers being both unreliable and extremely fragile. The Arena Champion is optional but nice, the extra leadership being useful for standing versus tankshocks, and for the extra Venom Blade, though you should find a way to get a pain token before you consider assault with them. Remember they get 3 attacks on the charge per model, 4 for the champ, because they remembered to bring their knives.
- Raven - An old as balls FW Flyer, now with strafing run and +1 cover on evade (to 4+). It can reroll the scatter if it's within 12" of another skimmer or flyer. Mounts two dark lances and a heavy 10 splinter cannon. Way overpriced at 205 pts (the much better Razorwing will be 195 when fully kitted out), but hey, it's fast attack now, freeing your HS slots - which would mean something if we didn't already have four good-to-great Fast Attack options. Despite strafing run USR, this flyer can actually do good as AtA fighter, especially against flying monstrous creatures - those flying Tyrants and Bloodthirsters would explode from the sheer amount of poisoned and lance shots this bird deliver. Air-to-Air may be its best use, since we're not exactly lacking anti-infantry fire (and Scourges do it much better for only a little bit more).
Both transports are open-topped, and meant to take on one type of target. Raiders provide an anti-tank shot, Venoms provide a lot of anti-infantry shots. Venoms get their Flickerfield for free, while Raiders have to buy them so in the end, they cost about the same. The rule of thumb is to take transports not based on squad size, but based on what your passengers are doing. For example, a mech army can ignore Wracks in a Venom, but not if they're in a Raider. They can't ignore Blaster trueborn in a venom, for similar reasons. Aside from that, there are some additional notes. Oh, and never forget that these are pretty much the most fragile vehicles in the game. Now that glancing hits send vehicles to smithereens, pretty anything with S4 will take your spiky flying ships down, so neglect cover saves at your own risk. Also, there's nothing in the BRB that says that passengers are affected by Jink, so don't be afraid to jink to protect your Raider; Your Warriors inside can still fire as usual.
- Raider - You'll want these for assault troops for one simple reason. Raiders are *long* models. What this means is if you deploy them parallel to your table edge, you can rotate them at the start of your turn for an extra 2" inches of "free" movement. That, and most DE assault units are primarily anti-infantry. Of the upgrades they get that Venoms don't, Shock Prows are the most general-purpose, as tank shock has a lot of utility. Another one good upgrade is splinter racks, perfectly good for the warrior shooting platform (especially with Duke).
- Venom - In addition to their normal AT bits, that they're smaller makes them better for Sliscus lists. Less chance of mishap and whatnot. Always pay the points to jack up your Splinter Rifle to a Splinter Cannon. It must be said, the look on an Ork players face when your Transport pumps 12 Poisoned Shots into his unit is priceless. The Venom did get hurt by 6th Edition's assignment of 2 Hull Points to it instead of the average 3 (which the Raider has).
- Dais of Destruction - In case you want an HQ that takes up half to a quarter of your points (and who doesn't!) Vect can take this as a dedicated transport. Round armor 13 and three lances is potent, but will probably be a waste in all but the largest games. If you really want to give Vect an insane clown posse, one should note that this is the only dedicated transport that you can load up with Harlequins, and the Vail of Tears is pretty nice to have with Vect. Fire magnets, how do they work? But if you really think it's worth it, and to see your opponent just cry, pair Vect with the Duke and deepstrike this monstrosity right behind his lines. Guaranteed to kill a good chunk of their army on turn 3, and almost all of it if he clustered them together.
- Here's a fun tidbit that a lot of people won't expect - as Raiders are oddly shaped (compared to a standard METAL BAWX), their front armour and side armour really flow together. Keep in mind that you draw an X across the 'corners' to determine where these facings are. In short, raiders can easily poke their nose out to get a shot at a target, while still covering their side armour completely (and getting a 3+ cover save for their trouble a lot of the time). Clever movement and positioning will go long way to making your paper boats more survivable.
- Ravager - The old reliable Ravager can move at cruising speed and fire all its weapons - but with a 36" range, you don't need to move that deep in the field. If you're taking a Raider/Venom/Fast Attack heavy army, these are the preferable Heavy Support option, unless you're in a game with high enough points that a Voidraven becomes an option. Disintegrator cannons got nerfed hard because they killed the shit out of Space Marines, and we can't have that. Splinter cannons are better for infantry murder, anyway.
- Talos Pain Engine - The classic Dark Eldar Monstrous Creature. Upgraded from its previous edition with a nice slew of customizable options, the Engine can be kitted out for infantry-hunting, tank-slaying, or any variant thereof. However, it's slow...in a Dark Eldar army. It's *tough* as far as Dark Eldar units go, but unlike most of the other Heavy Supports, does not pack lances. If you do take these guys, bring enough Jetbikes or similarly-sized models to keep them able to claim cover, as they don't like being hit by anti-tank weapons. Since you are taking a hit anti-tankwise when bringing these models, and are not fast enough to really benefit from the Heat Lance, the Haywire Blaster is a fair prospect for this torture-device.
- Chronos Parasite Engine - A mini-Talos that distributes pain tokens to nearby units. Good, but all your other units may be out of range by the time this monstrous creature starts feeding on souls. Like its big brother, the Talos, one of the best ways to get it into place quickly is in a Haemonculi Army with a webway portal carrier.
- Razorwing Jetfighter - Two Dark Lances and an available Splinter Cannon make the jet a very strong option for both tank and infantry hunting, and the four free Large Blast missiles are excellent against infantry squads; the Necrotoxin missiles are recommended against simply because the cost doesn't really increase the effectiveness(a strength 6 shot from the basic missile is usually good enough and pinning is iffy). The disintegrator upgrade is recommended, because this vehicle works best as an infantry killer. Deploy it quickly against footsloggers and horde armies - four basic missiles, a splinter cannon, and 6 disintegrator shots supporting swarms of trueborn and warrior venoms can cripple an Ork or Tyranid army in one turn and table them in two. For the cost, it's a rather flexible model and you should always take at least one against horde armies.
- The major downside is that you can't blow all four of your missiles on the first turn it arrives - you can only fire two bombs and two weapons a turn, so carefully consider what kind of weapon upgrades you will bring to the battle: two disintegrators will usually beat the lone splinter cannon when facing heavily armored infantry - they have six shots with better chance of wounding against Toughness 4, and the far superior AP 2, liable to melt about three or four marines - but if you are facing swarms of poorly armored infantry, go with a Splinter Cannon and a single Disintegrator shot and take out about six guys a turn, or use Dark Lances (anti-vehicle)?
- It also might be worth your time to leave the Dark Lances on to go Flyer Hunting, a role that's not very well filled in the Dark Eldar codex as of right now.
- Voidraven Bomber - AV 11 Flyer on front and sides. Two strength 9 Lance weapons. A one-use Strength 9 Lance blast. This thing's going to draw a lot of fire very fast, and for good reason. For added fun, toss on Implosion Missiles and watch Terminators weep. Note that there's no logical reason for you to take Monoscythe Missiles with it, because Necrotoxin or Shatterfield Missiles cost the exact same and are so much better it's actually crazy. Due to the new Blast Template rules, monoschythe and shatterfield missiles are nasty against parking lots, since large blasts inflict full strength on all vehicles under them, and glancing hits are so much more important now. The Voidraven is pretty much king when it comes to blasting other Flyers, so there's that to consider. If you're not versing horde armies, slap on some missiles and take this over the Razorwing.
- Note: Implosion Missiles are, according to the FAQ, ridiculous for blasting units with characters in them. You determine how many hits the unit takes, then take that many wounds tests on the MAJORITY wounds profile for the unit (IE if you have a Chapter Master with 4 Wounds at the front and 4 dudes with 1 wound behind him, you take the wounds tests at 1) and then assign wounds based on who's closest. This can be fantastic for sniping characters out of units.
- Reaper ([Forgeworld]) - Forgeworld made a model for the Dark Eldar. And now the Horsemen are riding. At 135 points with a built in aethersail, this heavy support option is halfway between a Ravager and a Raider - no transport capacity, but a single heavy weapon that functions like a cross between a 3rd edition Disintegrator canon (2 firing strength options) and a haywire blaster. It also has a rule that functions somewhat similar to rending. It is an interesting variant, but probably not worth the price (both points and pounds) compared to the more-likely-to-hit Ravager option.
- Tantalus - our second horseman of the Forgepocalypse, and apparently the last Dark Eldar model that FW will be putting out for the foreseeable future due to sculpting difficulties (Dark Eldar vehicles made from the standard Citadel plastic are fragile, so one made of Forgeworld resin must be about as sturdy as a rice cake), the Tantalus is a gigantic dual-hulled raider. With Av 12 12 10 and a flickerfield, it is a little bit more survivable, but only a little bit, probably not enough to make up for a 200+ point investment. It is able to put out a respectable 12 disintegrator shots, has aerial assault, and has the reaver-like ability to do D6 S7 AP2 hits to a single unit with a toughness value or a single S7 hit to a vehicle it goes flat out over. It also has a very awkward Transport capacity of 16, ruling out what could have been a strong 20 Warriors with 2 Splinter Cannons/Dark Lances unit. 15 Warriors and the Duke still sounds tempting, but 14-15 Wyches with Lelith/a Succubus/an Archon, and/or a Haemonculus may be preferable. Want to put all your eggs in one expensive, open-topped basket? Go ahead. Or fuck all reason and have fun with a Haemonculus and 7 Grotesques.
- It can also be taken as a dedicated transport for a Court of the Archon, which is actually a pretty solid choice for a fully decked out Court (if you're willing to throw that many points into 1 basket).
Lord of War
- Revenant Titan - A titan with holofields and able to move 36" per turn. Aside from the fact that the fluff has never mentioned Dark Titans, how much more Dark Eldar can you get? Seriously, the thing hits like a ton of bricks, is fast as hell, and if it wasn't for the holofields would die like a chimera. The only reason that you've not taken one is that it is 900 points. That and you might lose your friends. But what is better than drinking their tears?
- Aegis Defence Lines: Meh. We don't really need stable cover. However, depending on the power and ubiquity of the new fliers, it might be a good idea to drop 100 points on a Quad-gun Aegis. These can be put down anywhere on your table half, which would give rushing Hellions a nice bit of cover on turn 1. Also, if you're taking Eldar allies for a Farseer/Eldrad, this is the perfect depository for your mandatory troop choice - Rangers/Pathfinders love these things.
- Skyshield Landing Pad: 75 points for a bit of terrain that gives your guys a 4+ invulnerable save against shooting and non-scattering deepstrikes to Jump units and Skimmers that land on the pad. This faces the same problem as the Aegis Defence Line, as this isn't an army that likes to drop down units into cover and have them sit there, and deep striking is about striking deep, not behind your lines. Well actually given how rules state that you deploy it in your HALF of the table and not specifically in your deployment zone it means you can set down a deepstriking spot for 3 venoms or 2 raiders just 12" away from your opponent's frontline units, perhaps 2 raiders with full complement of warriors splinter cannon and splinter racks because after all you'll be shooting at bs1 that first turn you arrive, and of course dark lances to pop those metal bawkses so you can kill some infantry with the guys inside. Also if you have the stronghold assault book the updated datapage says you can start a flyer on the skyshield so this could be useful to have your voidraven doing damage on turn 1.
- Imperial Bastion: A stolen bastion might be good - Armor 14 supporting a Trueborn or Scourge gunline is downright cruel, but it's not fluffy at all, unless of course you hang corpses all over it. Since it's a medium building, you can cram 20 models into it. It gives 3+ cover to your skimmers hiding behind it, at 75 points this makes it strictly better than the landing pad at protecting your Raiders.
- Fortress of Redemption: Huge, expensive, and totally against the way that Dark Eldar should be played. It's powerful, but it has very little synergy with the rest of the army. And the fluff...The poor fluff. Well, in the words of Avitus: "More corpses".
- Vengeance Battery: An av 14 turret for 75 points. You can cram two into one force org slot. for 10 more points you can give it a battle cannon, which is nifty.
Armor Penetrating notes
The following models have AP2/"ignore armor saves" melee attacks:
- Lelith Hesperax
- All Incubi (thank you, thank you so much FAQs)
- Archons/Haemonculi, if upgraded with a Huskblade (again, thank you so much FAQ!)
- Duke Sliscus (on to wound rolls of 5+)
- Beastmaster Razorwing Flocks (Rending)
- Harlequins w/Kisses (Rending)
- Talos & Cronos (Smash)
Building your Army
- If you’re not giving your Archon his own retinue (and you are not), put him in a squad of Incubi (do this anyway). Or Wyches. Or Bloodbrides. Or Trueborn, if you just get him a blaster. If you want to give him a Retinue, just buy some Vampire Count Ghouls to use as Ur-Ghuls and sell the extras, you'll get 5 Ur-Ghuls for the cost of 2 Finecast Ur-Ghuls.
- Cover is your best friend. Leave cover, get chopped into haggis.
- Fleet is somewhat useful, but you better have either a Webway portal or vehicles for moving your troops around. You know how everyone is saying that 6th edition will herald the return of infantry? Fuck that noise, we were mechanized before mechanized was cool, and we still have to be. Maneuverability is what makes this army work.
- A good way to get Blasters for your Blasterborn is to replace the tip of a Splinter Rifle with a Torment Grenade Launcher from a Raider or Ravager kit.
- A cool thing about Raiders and venoms is that they come with a decent amount of crew. Giving some creative modeling techniques you can turn these crew into even more Kabalite warriors/wyches (unless you want your raiders and venoms bristling with soldiers, thats fine too)
- The guy who made the new Dark Eldar models also works on the Dark Elves from Warhammer fantasy. Take this as a hint for conversions.
To the Dark Eldar all life is equal... equally worthless. These are all meant to be temporarily allied with, and then stabbed in the back when it's worthwhile.
- Eldar: Without a doubt, Eldar is the best choice, not just because Eldar is the new hotness right now. In particular, you benefit from being Battle Brothers, so the Craftworlders won't just spend the entire game looking at you funny. Farseers aren't necessarily as powerful anymore, but they're still an excellent support unit that can now use Guide on your Dark Eldar. Wave Serpents are also amazing, especially thanks to the Serpent Shield, which enables them to annihilate enemy transports. This is incredibly powerful when Craftworlders are the primary detachment, but doubly useful here, as they don't take up one of the precious allied FoC slots and they make up for the Dark Eldar's striking deficiency in killing enemy transports (come on, blasters and dark lances have never been a good deal). But what to put in them? Wraithguard, clearly. Sure, you probably don't want to waste your allied HQ slot on a Spiritseer (although that's not necessarily a terrible idea, especially since Wraith units are much better at capturing objectives than Dark Eldar Troops could ever hope to be), but even a single unit of Wraithguard in Wave Serpents can make a huge difference. If you want to be a truly terrible human being, you could take the Iyaden Supplement as Allies and take 5 Spiritseers and 2 units of Wraithguard for your troops (allowing you to spread your Spiritseers around both armies). You can also take the ever-useful Windrider Jetbikes as Troops (which works well thematically with Reaver Jetbikes), although this also cuts down on the number of Wave Serpents you can take (and trust us, you want to take as many Wave Serpents as possible). Still, this is a viable tactic that should be considered. And, of course, Wraithknights are awesome. The only unit to avoid (besides all the shit the Eldar Codex normally puts up with, like the flyers and the Howling Banshees) is the Autarch. Sadly, the FAQ says you can't apply the Reserve roll modifiers if he's in an allied detachment, which severely limits his utility. You might also want to steer away from the Avatar of Khaine; he's a great unit, make no mistake, but he's an expensive, slow, footslogging model that primarily buffs Craftworlders, and so his utility is also greatly cut.
- Eldar Corsairs: The "other" Eldar force, introduced in Imperial Armour 11, the Eldar Corsairs lack the excellent psykers, Wave Serpents, and Wraith units of the Craftworlds, but they more than make up for that with their jet packs and Deep Strike dickery, combined with impressive amounts of firepower. Also, the Corsair Prince's ability to cause Night Fighting once per game works well with the Dark Eldar's innate Night Vision. Additionally, Corsairs can take up to five Fast tanks, all with actual armor, rather than the wet cardboard the Dark Eldar are known for.
- Adepta Sororitas: Coming soon.
- Black Templars: Coming soon.
- Chaos Space Marines: Coming soon.
- Chaos Daemons: They offer you anti-air, albeit not necessarily as efficiently as Tau. Firstly, there's the Soul Grinder, especially with the Mark of Nurgle; he's pretty amazing in Chaos Daemons and he's just as good here. Just park him in cover and blow up anything that moves, while laughing that the enemy can't get past his 2+ cover save, and, of course, you can hide a Herald of Tzeentch behind it and hit it with Presience every turn. The other (hilarious) option is Bloodletters. You see, they get BS 5. And Heralds get BS 7. So, just park them behind a convenient Aegis Defense Line with Quad Gun, and watch as you get a unit that can shoot down enemy aircraft, weather tons of enemy shooting, and, of course, slaughter in close combat anything that gets too close. Finally, you could always take a Bloodthirster and swat enemy fliers out of the sky. It's not really that effective (especially at 250+ points), but it's certainly funny, and that's every Archon's second-highest goal (after inflicting pain, of course).
- As for fluff, there's a few options that actually make a modicum of sense. First off, Khorne hates Slaanesh almost as much as the Dark Eldar do, so perhaps a rogue Archon stuck a deal with a Bloodthirster so they both get to slaughter the minions of the Dark Prince. You could also say the Archon is the best Beastmaster EVAR and say he captured some Daemons for his amusement; it might not be a great explanation, but, hey, there are worst things in the actual fluff. And, finally, there have been some slight mentions to Dark Eldar that actively courted the attention of She Who Thirsts, believing that, if they served him/her/it well enough, he/she/it/ might grant them Daemonhood instead of eating their souls. This is probably a bad idea, but then, whatever works...
- Astra Militarum: Coming soon.
- Inquisition: Coming soon.
- Orks: A Kult of Speed list is pretty nice. Go with either a Warboss with Biker Nobs - expensive but synergistic - or a Warboss/Big Mek with Kustom Force Field with one or two mobz of 30 Boyz (possibly 'Ardboyz for added staying power, but then the price tag skyrockets). Dark Eldar can really use a tough, huge horde like that, and the Dark Eldar can press so deep into the field so early that a Mob won't be a high priority target until it comes crashing in, as well as ameliorating the effects of One Eye Open. Orks also offer large hordes of T4 models and thick armour from Meganobz, drawing some fire from your more fragile troops, and some good anti-light vehicle fire (hello Deffguns and Flash Gitz). If they can use a Webway portal it would be very worthwhile. From a fluff perspective, maybe the Dark Eldar promised the Orks lots of dakka if they help them kill some guys (DE are about taking captives), or the Orks were attacking already and the Dark Eldar joined in and took their side, use your imagination.
- Space Marines: A Biker Captain and a Bike Squad would work well, for much the same reason as a Kult of Speed list.
- Space Wolves: Coming soon.
- Tau Empire: Dark Eldar are very much a shooting army (at least in 6th edition), although in a very different way than Tau. As such, Tau have little we actually need; they don't have any infantry units with actual staying power, nor are their tanks so radically better than ours that we might be tempted to take one (and remember, you would only be able to take one). The one thing they do have is easy access to Skyfire, which Dark Eldar absolutely lack. Also, Riptides. And Riptides are so absolutely amazing that you might be tempted to ally with Tau just for one of them. In any case, the best option is probably a Commander with a Crisis Squad, kitted out to fill any holes in your shooting firepower (and if you ally with Farsight Enclaves, that Crisis Squad can be Troops!), with a Riptide as a DISTRACTION CARNIFEX of sorts (after all, who'll shoot at your Raiders and Venoms when there's a Riptide over there?). You could also try a gunline detachment with a Cadre Fireblade and a squad of Fire Warriors (and maybe some missile-packing Broadsides), although they probably won't last much longer than regular Kabalite Warriors. Perhaps you could have a few Dark Eldar combat units to make people think twice about attacking the Tau in combat (Fire Warriors are a less promising target for CC if there's an allied Beastmaster pack or Incubi unit next to them). In any case, you don't have to worry much about One Eye Open, since your Dark Eldar are more than able to range far ahead and away from your Tau allies.
- Also, don't Kroot just feel like a Dark Eldar unit? Wouldn't it be great if there was a Master Shaper HQ and you could just take an all-Kroot allied detachment? Oh well...
Oh, sorry, actual tactics. Take as many Warriors as you can, stuff them in as many Raiders as you can, have an Archon and some Incubi or Trueborn in a Venom (or two), and add Haemonculi to taste. Normally you don't need to worry about objectives (you're playing Dark Eldar, you're here to kill), but if you feel it's absolutely necessary, then take some Wracks in a Raider with a Haemonculi leader, and you'll have a decently hard-to-kill and hard-hitting unit to sit on an objective and distract the opponent from the rest of your army.
Zoom around the table, shooting the tanks with dark lances and the troops with splinter weapons. Destroy everything. Bathe in pain tokens. Rinse. Repeat.
- Take this one step further: Add the Duke to your list, a bitch barge of Shardborn, and put them together. 27 poisoned shots to hatefuck your opponent with. Oh and they wound on a 3+. Fuck yeah.
In 6th Edition: you can't assault out of a Webway Portal, allies can't use it, and you lose whenever you have no models on the board. Also, you've got to keep 1/2 of your army on the table and units that have to be reserved (like Fliers and Drop Pods) don't count.
Used to be, you could assault directly from the Portal, meaning that you were lethal the turn you came onto the board. Now? You've got to eat a turn of fire before you can be useful.
The only remaining strength of a webway portal list is uncertainty. That and skipping a turn or two of the opponent's shooting.
- Ally in Phoenix Lord Karandras, and attach him to your unit of choice, be it Harlies, Grotesques, or Beasts. Add in one or two haemies with Webway Portals and whatever other wargear you like. This unholy pile of fearless, powerfisting rape will now Infiltrate. This will work now with the eldar 6th ed codex.
- Hellion blobs, Reavers, and Talos Pain Engines are all nice coming from a portal. Some people also like large blobs of Kabalites or Wyches on foot.
- Keep in mind that you really need a fast moving scoring unit with this.
- Consider plopping your shooting units behind an Aegis Defense Line with a Comms Relay, so you can reroll your reserve rolls.
Haemonculi, retarded amounts of Wracks, portals, Beastmasters for wound allocation shenanigans, Scourges. It's dead hard with all the FNP, immune to anti-tank with WWPs, and actually more effective than you'd think.
Venoms: Fuck The Win
Simple list design, a single Haemonculus for HQ requirements, then get 3 units of 5 Trueborn with Blasters mounted in Venoms with Double Splinter Cannons, 6 units of 5 Warriors with a Blaster mounted in Venoms with Double Splinter Cannons, 3 Ravagers with default Triple Disintegrator Cannon setup and Nightshields. After that you should probably get any of the following: the Baron for the deployment advantage, Beastpacks for a "powerful" Assault unit that can nearly keep pace with the boats, 10 Scourges with 4 Splinter Cannons because nothing says asshole like unit that will hose IG power blobs and MCs in a single turn, 10 Scourges with 4 Haywire Blasters to completely rape vehicles, or Reavers if you're playing in a tournament where comp is taken seriously (applies only to Aussies and Kiwis because of whining players and TOs being too weak to let half-good armies hit the table without being penalized to the point of being unable to possibly take a top 20 spot). You have no idea how much this list rapes ork boy spam lists. Seriously, its completely retarded. The only disadvantadge with this list build is kill points where it can be crap, but you don't have to worry about it in most games.
An Alternate Take'" The Court of the Archon can also take a Venom, bringing you up to 11 Venoms per force organisation chart. Kit your Archon with a Blaster and possibly Haywire Grenades if you want to.
This list includes anything that puts your opponent's smile upside down as he sees his tanks being blown up by a lone squad of reaver jet bikes. Take an archon with a full court, a kabalite squad with a dark lance, a wych squad with a venom as a transport vehicle, a squad of six reaver jet bikes with two heat lances, a squad of hellions with a stun claw for extra trolling because it pulls independent characters away from any squad it was with, and a squad of scourges. Because they're dark eldar and because it fucks with any and all armies that attempt to draw line of sight or even assault, abuse the living FUCK out of the rule known as Fleet. Turbo boost your jet bikes to get within range of assaulting or to run away after successfully blowing up a tank. Hellions should just keep fucking with squads of infantry and keep attacking any lone HQ choices just to hear your enemy scream Motherfucker as you constantly drag his precious baby across the terrain. Scourges are there to take out any remaining tanks that the reavers missed the first time around. Kabalite squads should do the following: run, shoot, laugh, run, shoot, laugh. Wyches should follow the kabalite squad, assaulting anything that comes within 6' of them and with haywire grenades for only two points per model should make tanks run in fear. The song known as trololo is required when using this list. And remember the power from pain rule, because who doesn't want fearless and feel no pain rule on Wyches?
Most smarter players will be able to see this coming and it can be tricky to maneuver, but if you pull it off you can steamroll even the strongest opponents. It usually only works if your enemy has vehicles in the rear. Take Sliscus and a whole force of raiders and ravagers. Gunboats are best but assault wyches in raiders dont hurt either. I like to take at least one raider with shock prows and haywire wyches. Take a talos and a beastmaster squad, along with maybe a couple raiders. Lead this force to flank the enemy from one side. They will panic and focus on them. Meanwhile, move your gunboats and ravagers to the either side of the map and try to get some shots from good angles at their vehicles. At the last second, move your raiders from the beastmaster squad over to your main fleet. You should have most of the enemy assault troops tied up with the beasts and talos. Now deepstrike some raiders from the Dukes ability behind their vehicles, move your fleet into position and wipe them out from behind. By the time they kill your beasts and talos, they'll have tons of burning wreckage to keep them trapped so your raiders can flee and prepare to kill the infantry.
Do it at your peril.
6th edition is all about bringing the right tools for the job. Don't bitch when only bringing Lances doesn't work. Neither does only bringing melee or only bringing poison.
The truth is, Dark Eldar do pretty well. Use Lances to pick out the killiest targets. Use Splinter Cannons to deal with the killiest troops. Assault their shooty stuff.
Things you should note about 6th edition
- Random movement, cover and feel no pain decrease to 5+, fleet's weirdness, the minor weakening of Furious Charge (did we really need a +1 Initiative bonus anyway? No, but our enemies COULD have used it BWAHAHAHAHA!), changes to assaults from vehicles (though open-top vehicles are assault vehicles, so we're cool), the power of overwatch vs. 5+/6+ armor, and the power weapon nerf really, really hurt assault based DE armies. Seriously fucked us in the face with a chainstrap-on. Assault sucks. Bring more guns. However, shooty DE got stronger than ever.
- Wych suicide squads are amazing anti-tank, which is their only redeeming quality.
- Most mission types have a 50/50 chance of being nightfighting now. We can see in the motherfucking dark. We are also some of the best alpha strikers in the game. Do the math.
- Also, alpha striking while going second is safer now due to Nightfighting and the more forgiving deep strike rules.
- The 5+ Jink save makes Flickerfields less of a must have than they once were, but are still nice in combat due to it being an an Invulnerable save, which is key on the first turn, and mandatory on our fliers if you can spare the points.
Your models can disembark after a 6" move, butraiders and venoms can now flat out 18" and get 4+ save. They aren't as great as they used to be for assault delivery, but you can't play DE assault anymore anyway.
- Wound allocation made the Shattershard downright evil. Check its entry. Now check the new wound allocation rules. Engage trollface. The Shattershard just affects the particular models hit, meaning that they can't allocate those hits to any weaker models. You can wipe out special and upgrade characters with ease.
- Everything that applies to Shattershards applies to Implosion Missiles (an upgrade for the Dark Eldar Voidraven). The wounds test is taken on majority wounds, so a character in a unit will be removed from play (Eternal Warrior won't save them) on a 2+ (it allows invul and cover saves, but it's still damn good).