Warhammer 40,000/7th Edition Tactics/Dark Eldar
- 1 Why Play Dark Eldar
- 2 Realspace Raiders Detachment
- 3 Warlord Traits
- 4 Dark Eldar Rules and Wargear
- 5 Unit Analysis
- 6 Weapon Delivery
- 7 Fortifications
- 8 Armor Penetrating notes
- 9 Building your Army
- 10 Supplements
- 11 Allies
- 12 Tactics
- 13 Formations
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/ rent-boy. 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 them.
Welcome to the world's most elite club.
Dark Eldar are one of the (if not the) least-played armies in games and table-top - and it's not hard to see why. They are even more unforgiving of mistakes in gameplay than the Eldar are, they have exceedingly fragile armor for the bulk of their forces, and focus almost entirely on a mix of blinding speed and raw, balls-out firepower. They pack dozens of ways to lower an enemy's morale and plenty of weaponry that sprays massive barrages of undiluted rape in the general direction of their opponents.
Almost every unit 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.. In addition to this the dark eldar boast some of the cheapest and yet best sets, with their troops costing $35 CAD and it being a beautiful multi part plastic kit. The Scourges are also worthy of note, costing only $30 CAD they are a great bargain (by gw's standards anyways). On the flipside though they have the absolute least forgeworld support, with only two kits on offer, one of which is a conversion for a plastic kit.
What's New With 7th Edition Dark Eldar
1) Wyches. I hope you have room on your shelf, because your Wyches are now likely to be residents of your favorite display case. their special weapons are changed to ap5 and giving you rerolls, the new Combat Drugs don't really make up for generic Eldar fighting stats with generic close combat weapons.
2) Flickerfields are limited to being a standard Venom upgrade, no one else can have them anymore. 100% shitty as well, while the Night Shields do boost your jink.
3) Webway Portals are now No-Scatter Deepstrike for the IC, his unit, and their transport. One of the good new things in the new Codex.
4) Reavers lost their turbo boost attacks, but got the equally good prize of improved Hammer of Wrath hits. With hit and run, and strength 4 rending HOW, with cluster caltrops now giving you D6 strength 6 rending HOW. Basically their role has changed but they still rock at their cheap cost.
5) Incubi got cheaper. They still don't have grenades, and no way to give them grenades either. Klaivexes lost their powers and now just get Rampage, plus 1 WS, I, A and Ld. Still, AP2 at Initiative 6 is awesome.
6) Hellglaives do not grant +1A, they are now +1 strength and AP5. The champion's stunclaw got changed to just a hellglaive that is one handed and has instant death in challenges. Very cheap though.
7) Splinter cannons are salvo weapons. Not much difference except range 18 when you move now, not a big issue in a gunboat configuration.
8) power from pain got a boost, with a few ways of buffing the pain making some units very scary late game.
9) The grenade launchers shoot actual grenades now. These just cause mini psychic scream at the end of the shooting phase, which Fearless models (so feel free to kill those pesky Daemons and remember that Zealot does not prevent this) and (most) Space Marines are immune to, which is pretty much everyone you'd want to shoot, but there are a few ways of reducing leadership to make these more effective.
10) We got no new units, just some new gear. Compared to the Grey Knights, we've actually lost little. Only 5 named HQs and the Harlequins, though only 2 or 3 of them were really used. If you know the old Codex, nothing in the new one will surprise you.
Fair warning, with the way newer 7th edition codices are going (especially the new release your Craftworld cousins got) and the shitty (albeit predictable) FAQ recently, Dark Eldar are one of the worst armies (alongside Orks) in the game as ignores/reduces cover becomes more common and the previous advantage of high speed and firepower becomes weak compared to everyone else. In fact, it has no advantage as your constant jinking and high speed means your precious models become shitty as hell at shooting (thankfully the final FAQ makes clear passengers in jinking transports do NOT need to snapfire. Rejoice and jink everything, all the time!). The Militarum Tempestus (Storm Trooper) Codex does everything you do but are better in every practical way. You can still win by everything going according to your plan but this doesn't let you tear your enemy to shreds as much as it does let you break even. On a side note however the Haemonculus Coven supplement is pretty good.
Realspace Raiders Detachment
The unique FOC for the Deldar, this runs like a plain FOC, but one FA is mandatory, and the other 5 (!!) are optional. Yeah, 6 troops AND 6 FA. Beastmaster and Scourge spam FTW! It also gives the mandatory Codex Trait re-roll and during the first turn and all Night Fighting turns afterward, all models get a 6+ cover save while troops get a 5+ cover save. Suck it Imotekh.
Unlike most of the other army-specific FOC this is actually pretty useful. If you're not using at least 1 Fast Attack choice with Dark Eldar, you're using them wrong and the extra 5 are nice to have, given how crowded the FA slot is currently. Plus, the cover saves are pretty nice and losing Objective Secured isn't that big a deal for Dark Eldar (sitting on objectives isn't really our thing). Be aware, no Fortifications or Lords of War though.
- 11 - Take Them Alive!: 1 VP for a destroyed non-vehicle model during your assault phase. Upped to d3 for an IC.
- 12 - Fear and Terror: 1 VP for a failed Morale, Pinning, or Fear test. Yeeeah, don't count on it. Unless the other guy's using Orks.
- 13 - Death From a Thousand Cuts: VP if you removed 3 models from differing units during your turn. d3 if you removed 6 from differing units.
- 14 - No Escape: 1 VP if you have an enemy falling back or if you killed a model with Stealth/Shrouded during your turn. Pretty nice idea to grab, if only you had something that ignored cover reliably.
- 15 - Pain, In All Its Forms: 1 VP if you destroyed a unit during your shooting/assault. d3 if you killed a unit during both phases, and d3+3 if you killed 3+ units during both phases.
- 16 - Trophy Hunter: The enemy picks one objective or character. You win 1 VP if you get the objective/kill the character, which ups to 2 if you did it the turn you drew the card. If you get this one pray your not facing an uber-deathstar, or Smashfucker, because you will lose that fight.
- Ancient Evil: Everyone within 12" of the Warlord has Fear. Meh. Fear is as useless as ever. Urien begins with it. Alright combo with the Armour of Misery.
- Labyrinthine Cunning: Re-rolls on Seize, Night Fighting, and Reserves. This is probably the best trait in the history of ever. HOPE YOU GET IT NOW.
- Soulthirst: Rage. Pretty useful on a Succubus or on a properly kitted-out Court Archon. Not so much on a Haemonculus.
- Hatred Eternal: Hatred, which is straight-up better than rage thus rendering Soulthirst pointless. They really should have put something different there.
- Blood Dancer: +1 WS. A good one for a Succubus, because the move from 8-9 is a big deal in a game where most things you'll be vaguely concerned with in close combat are WS4. Not much use on an Archon as the 7-8 jump doesn't really give much advantage unless you're up against another WS7/8 model, and the chances of getting into a fight with a Phoenix Lord, Hive Tyrant or another Archon are fairly low. Haemonculi aren't particularly interested, unless they get into a feel no pain bubble fight with a Sanguinary Priest. Lelith has this for WS10 when she's the Warlord.
- Towering Arrogance: All units within 12" of the Warlord have Fearless, which is also pretty awesome, especially if things go tits-up too soon. Useless on from turn 5 onward though due to PFP.
In Skies of Death, you now have a bonus rule allowing you to pay 35 points for one of 3 special traits for any Flyer or FMC (FGC is still debatable).
- Dance of the Dawn - +1 BS. Pretty nice grab.
- Dance of the Dusk - Fighter Ace can pivot 180 before moving. Pretty good to help bait with your planes, because you'll never take them on in a brawl.
- Symbol of Khaine - Fellow models within 12" of a Fighter Ace with the same codex gain Hatred. Not too bad on your guys, but not something to bring for a Warrior/Trueborn-heavy force or Scourges.
Dark Eldar Rules and Wargear
Dark Eldar Special Rules
- Night Vision: Basically every model that matters (except a couple of the Archon's Retinue) have Night Vision. This is fairly useful as the new detachment gives you boosts during night time.
- Power From Pain: Another VERY important ability with a MAJOR reworking, it gives all units in the army special powers as the rounds go by, and the Haemonculus now gives himself and his unit +1 turn to the turn for benefits on the pain table, so kinda useless in units of wracks, but useful on those wyches that fall over to a stiff breeze. This change means everyone gets tougher, not just your units that cause damage. The new version completely changes the way Dark Eldar play. Previously, they were an army that favored early aggression to earn those bonuses. Now you have to balance that with holding back long enough for the bonuses to accumulate.
- Feel No Pain (6+).
- FNP (5+)
- Furious Charge (Fun on Incubi!)
- Fearless (do not forget to Go to Ground on round 4)
Turn 6 charges are super nasty, and by turn 5 you're entirely fearless.
- Combat Drugs: Combat Drugs are available to Succubi, Wyches, Bloodbrides, Hellions, and Reavers. You have to roll for the entire army, which is both more and less risky than before now that poor ol' Duke is out. With a good roll you can start with some of your most important units having a good stat bonus, but on a bad roll...everyone suffers. The results are as follows:
- Adrenalight Bath Salts. +1 Attack. Even TEQs are gonna start feeling the hurt when your Wyches pump out 4 attacks each on the Charge. Good.
- Grave Lotus PCP. +1 Strength. So you're saying we wound Marines on a 4+ instead of a 5+? Fucking awesome! Great!
- Hypex Speed. +1 Initiative is usually fairly useless unless you're up against other Dark Eldar, everything with combat drugs is already I6 or higher. It is handy for Sweeping Advances though. So-so. (If you're going Reaver heavy, also helps you easily secure the breakaway on Hit & Run)
- Painbringer Meth. + 1 Toughness. You're Dark Eldar, T4 makes you not auto explode to bolter fire, and reavers go to T5. Worth noting that this stops S6 and S7 weapons from causing ID, allowing Feel No Pain rolls to be made against failed saves. Good.
- Serpentin Cocaine. +1 WS. Good for hitting Marines and other Eldar on a 3+. Statistically similar to getting another attack for most models. Not as good as just getting another attack and for their price and fluff Wyches should be WS5 anyway. So-so.
- Splintermind Tylenol. +1 Ld. Weak compared to the old codex. You want the drugs to help you kill more things, not soften the blow when you lose because your drugs didn't help. Putrid.
This table is nice overall, just remember your drugs during the game.
- Archite Glaive: A unique weapon with two profiles: A basic AP3 weapon or a Two-Handed S+1 AP2 weapon, this is one of our only AP2 weapons left, and it's for the Succubus only. Just demiklaives for a Succubus.
- Power Sword: Now the only power weapon available to Dark Eldar (aside from the Solarite's option for a Power Lance). It's none too frightening, and the loss of the maul is a bit sad. But fairly cheap and widely available.
- Huskblade: AP3, Instant Death. The loss of AP2 now makes it nothing like the auto-take it was. It's still rather good at killing, and a nasty surprise for those multi wound enemies with 3+ armour. It would be actually very good weapon against Wraithknights if only Archon was able to wound the aforementioned with his Strength. Fortunately, we have Agonizers for that...(sadly with the new wraithknights gargantuan status, agonizers are almost useless against it, but still more reliable than any weapon at S4 or below.)
- Ossefactor: A bizarre Wrack weapon, it's 24" assault 1 AP2 with Fleshbane. As a bonus, if a non-vehicle model dies, the rest of his unit must now take d6 AP- hits with Ignores Cover, the strength is equal to the toughness of the model that died as his bones shoot out and kill everyone nearby. The issue is that it's only Assault 1, which means that it'll probably only begin to frighten TEQ and MCs, and that if you buy a lot of them you're missing out on Liquifiers (which did get nerfed pretty hard, but are still among the best choices for a unit expecting to rush up and grab some objectives). If you're gonna have your Wracks hang out in the back to hold them objectives, then it's a good choice though.
- Blast Pistol: Meh. Short range and high price kind of let this one out. Most things that can take it can take Haywire Grenades, which are more reliable and longer ranged anyway (8").
- Alternate Opinion: People don't expect S8 AP2 Lance weapons in Pistol form. Giving this to a Succubus or Hekatrix (who should be as close as possible to the enemy anyway) can be a nasty surprise for your opponent and essentially a free kill/wound/hull point before you charge.
- 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, and you also lose the attack for two CCW if you drop your pistol.
Artefacts of Cruelty
- Parasite's Kiss: A cheap new MC Splinter Pistol with 2+ Poison. It'll give you back any wounds you inflict, which sounds nice, but for a pistol? You practically need to hit in combat to make it earn its worth back, and Overwatch will not be kind to you. Also AP5 is just not that good. But only 5pts, ask yourself "why should I not take this pistol?" Same cost and better stats than a stinger pistol too.
- Alternate Opinion: It may have a niche use and special ability that will probably never see the light of day, but it's only 5 points. Use it to fill an odd point gap when you've got 995 of your 1000 point army. If it heals a wound that helps you survive Overwatch, or gives you an extra wound for your next combat, it's already made its points back. Not to mention that it does replace your pistol or CCW when you take it - meaning you can fire both it and your other pistol in the shooting phase per the Gunslinger rule.
- Armour of Misery: 4+/6++ armor with Fear, it forces models within 6" to suffer -2 Ld. Alright in fights with flimsy Tau and Orks, where Fear will hurt. The Haemonculus will thank you for the extra armour, and this armour could be combined with the new grenades if you get close enough.
- If you have a nearby allied Hemlock or similar leadership-punishing units, this armour helps to lay on the pain.
- Animus Vitae: Once per game, you can fire this 8" S4 AP2 shot that grants all units +1 on their PFP (including enemy Dark Eldar) if it inflicts an unsaved wound. If you can actually score it, then good on ya! Problem being it isn't even a blast, so there's a pretty high chance that one S4 shot will just fail to wound or bounce off of cover, but for 20pts why the hell not? Try to use it on something as weak as possible, like a swarm or something. But 20pts is a lot for something that has a good chance to do fuck all.
- Alternate Opinion: Always take this. Always. Yeah it's not a guarantee but it combos EXTREMELY well with a Webway Portal (allowing you to drop the wielder close enough to an any enemy unit to use it, and someplace they might not get a cover save) and if it wounds, it'll benefit your ENTIRE army. That's worth 20 points I think.
- Archangel of Pain: Once per game, all enemy units within 9" have to take an LD test at -2Ld or take an unsavable wound per point failed. Pretty much nerfed against ATSKNF or Fearless by explicitly saying in the rules that wounds cannot be allocated to those models, so it's kinda pointless to grab in most cases. Why these units are immune isn't really explained. They just are, which makes it pretty useless.
- If you're up against castled guard/tau/eldar combine this, another character with the Armour of misery and a webway portal for a non scattering rapebomb, that'll make your opponent rage quit!
- Helm of Spite: Friendlies within 12" have Adamantium Will. Psykers within that range Perils on any doubles. Kinda okay, but it's kinda dodgy to make worth. Remmber that Perils can't be saved against and so it's alright against tougher pykers that that like to get close, like greater daemons and heralds. But it is a costly 25pts; you should just spend it on an agoniser or something.
- Djinn Blade: 30 points for basically 2 attacks that could rebel against you (Roll a d6. On a 1, it does an unsavable wound. An agoniser is better and cheaper. Probably the worst relic weapon in the game.
Arcane Wargear (Special-Issue Wargear)
- 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. I think these are must takes in everything that can take them. Everything, including some Trueborn units. Your initiative is higher than most Superheavies, or some don't have an Initiative at all (hello tanks) and Haywires no longer have reduced effectiveness on them. Pile on the Haywire hits and these just vaporize even Imperial Knights. Lances < Haywires in terms of absolute effectiveness...Just...you need to get into 8" range to throw them... It's cheap too, so it's probably worth it.
- Phantasm Grenade Launcher: This can often be taken by unit Champions too. It's only S1 AP-, but if someone gets hit they have to test Ld or take an unsavable wound per point failed. Of course, it's useless against ATSKNF and Fearless, meaning most armies. It also no longer grant assault and defensive grenades, meaning the Incubi now have no way of getting them as GW still didn't see fit to give their tormentors rules to that effect.
- Clone Field: Straight up 4+ invulnerable save. Unlike the Shadow Field, it doesn't go away when you fail it. Considering the Archon is still T3, the first time you fail either of these he'll likely be instagibbed. Shadowfield is just better.
- An alternate opinion: It is half the cost of a shadow field so if you are just going for a 'cheap as chips' HQ it can be helpful. Take and Archon with a clone field and a power sword (only 100pts) for a standard 5 attacks at AP3 and a great weapon skill.
- Webway Portal: The new darling of the codex, this once-dubious item can now grant the user and his or her squad/transport a perfect Deep Strike. This means that, if properly placed, you can finally give Wyches (and your Succubus) a damned fine way to finally get into the fleshy parts of the army. More importantly you can bring in things like Medusae with their S4 AP3 templates and a wall of tough and fairly killy Sslyth to protect them.
However, Wraithguard being bulky means they take up every slot in the raider.You can't begin the game inside an ally's transport, but thing is: why do you even need it in the first place? Deep Strike is given both to Character and his unit.
- Note on Notation: "WWP" is used frequently on this page to refer to the Webway Portal.
- Shadow Field: 2++, goes away at the end of the phase in which you failed the save (Consider using Fortune to both keep the Archon alive and really piss your opponent off). If you're serious about having your Archon be something other than a cheap required HQ choice (which a Lhamaean does better anyway) then this should be one of your first choices. Lasting the whole phase is a substantial upgrade letting you keep the invul against any powerfists striking later in the combat or indeed heavy weapons hoping to snipe you off, neither of which you can feel no pain. Superb choice
- Soul-Trap: Cheap upgrade for your Archon that says every time he inflicts an unsaved wound in a challenge on an enemy character, he gains +1 STRENGTH (up to 10). Might be worth taking but squad leaders will refuse your challenge to deny you the bonus (Meaning the Powerfist sarge cant fight you while you kill his friends)and enemy leaders will let your attacks bounce off of their 2+ armour (assuming they do have it, if not let your archite glave succubus handle em). useful against Chaos Marines and SW/Orks supplements as they have to accept challenges. But those 10pts can be spent better elsewhere if you don't intend on constant challenging, it is kinda situational. if you have given the Archon and agoniser (like a good boy/girl) it'll start letting you re roll to wound as soon as you require better than a 4+ to wound (6 ws bejesus attacks at AP3 with effectively shred? whats not to love!)
Weapons of Torture
- Mindphase Gauntlet: A basic CCW with Concussive. Not bad for a surprise hit, but it's not something to rely on.
- Flesh Gauntlet: A CCW that has Poisoned and can inflict ID on a 6 to-wound. Grotesques now have these as standard so are even better than before.
- Scissorhand: Poisoned CCW with Rending. Very decent cheap upgrade for your haemy.
- Venom Blade: 2+ Poisoned Attacks. Now can only be taken on Acothysts and Solarites because they're the only ones whose kits contain them, which is ridiculous because the Dark Eldar kits were all designed with compatibility in mind.
- You could argue that when it says "Acothyst only" it may just mean that Acothysts may only choose weapons with "Acothyst only" and everyone else can take it if they wish. It wouldn't be the worst rule to break/bend anyway.
- Electrocorrosive Whip: AP3, poison 5+, and Concussive. A bit better than before. Now confusingly exclusive to the Acothyst, though they can find uses for this, especially with a supporting Haem or Cronos for more FNP.
- Agonizer: Poison 4+ to Wound , AP3. If you're kitting out your Archon, this is one of the better options. The poison can potentially be used in conjunction with a soul trap if you manage to win a couple of challenges.
Tools of Torment
- Stinger Pistol: A S1 AP5 pistol that wounds on a 2+. There so you can dump a few spare points, but then could get you haywire grenade instead.
- Hexrifle: Sniper Rifle with AP4 and Assault 1 (as opposed to Heavy). Precision Shots gain Instant Death.
- Liquifier Gun: S3 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, 2 or 1 against some Marines in cover you might just cause your opponent to break down and cry. Also potentially lulzy in Overwatch. But only being strength 3, marines will laugh at your puny attempt to wound them ON A 5+.... (but then your BB's DOOM is a always a nice remedy, isn't it?)
- Alternate Opinion: At 15 points each, Liquifiers aren't worth it. MEQ's will laugh off the st3 hits even if you roll a good AP, and against lighter infantry you're paying three times as much as an Imperial flamer for something that's less effective. Save your points.
Dark Eldar Vehicle Upgrades
- Chain Snares: Essentially redundant now that the Shock Prow exists, as this only gives your vehicles Tank Shock, but not ramming. Venoms can take this, but they shouldn't be ramming in the first place. But seeing as how the Realspace Raider Detachment doesn't confer 'objective secured' to your troops, you can use them to shock enemy troops from the objective and potentially steal VPs with troops close by using Fleet. Decent with 4+ jink or the 5++ flickerfield.
- Enhanced Aethersails: Now makes Flat-Out moves 24", so it's only good for sprinting some key units somewhere to fire their payload next turn. This is not a great idea for dropping off transports, but then again doing that never is.
- Alternate take: Dark Eldar suck at holding objectives, but dominate at claiming them. Enhanced Aethersails means that when you draw a Take and Hold or Seize Ground card, you can make a mad 36" dash and often claim it in one turn. If you're not using Reavers (who can do this over 48") consider the Sails for objective claiming.
- 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 powers no longer require LD tests, our one paltry use for them is now gone. Don't bother.
- Shock Prow: "BEEP BEEP, MOTHERFUCKER!" Lets you tank shock and ram with your Raiders and Ravagers, and count your FA as 14 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. Still only a S7 hit, so you're going to have to pin-cushion vehicles with multiple Raiders, or use them to finish off whatever your ranges anti-armour weapons have almost destroyed.
- Night Shields: Grants Stealth. This is pretty kickass, enjoy 3+ jink, means rushing your wyches up and jinxing might give you a fighting chance to make assault. The Realspace Raid FOC gives your troop Raiders 5+ cover, plus NS for 4+ without jinking for the first turn and during night fighting. If you're in place you can sit still, jink for a 3+ and the passengers don't have to snapfire. Gold. Don't forget that even if you don't Jink, you still get a 6+ cover save from this. If you don't want your Ravager to be stuck firing Snap Shots, get 25% of it behind a ruin and enjoy your free 3+ cover save.
- Torment Grenade Launcher: harmless S1 AP- blast, but it forces anyone hit by it to test Ld or take an unsavable wound per extra point failed. Useless on ATSKNF and Fearless, so useless on most armies. Note, however that rules say that it doesn't affect models, not units, with the Fearless rule(Neat, but Fearless is conferred to a unit via one model, so...). Pair this up with the armor of misery or a coven detachment for better negative leadership debuffs on targets.
- Splinter Racks: Lets embarked models fire any splinter weapon as twin-linked, TL Splinter Cannons? Yes please. Brilliant but remember that the raider is there to give your troops better mobility while they kill. Still, it'll probably make back it's points the first time you fire it (it costs basically one MEQ) and it'll make any Flying Monstrous Creature in range weep.
- Note: Anyone who thinks this isn't worth 15 points is an idiot. At long range it'll get your Splinter Rifles an average of 2 extra hits, and at close range it'll get you an average of 4 extra hits (not even counting the Cannon). Over the course of a game that is EASILY worth 15 points. Plus the Twin-Linked Overwatch could save your vehicle in a pinch. The real question, then, is, "Why are you not taking this?" Unless you're going up against an entirely mech army, never leave home without the racks.
- Flicker Fields Gives the vehicle a 5+ invulnerable save. Sadly only available to the Venom, which is bad when our other vehicles are equally papier-mache in armor and would probably benefit from it more.
- Archon - The core commander of many players' Dark Eldar armies. Solid overall, with tons of Wargear options, including the Huskblade (an AP3 instant death weapon), which is more or less the nightmare of any unnamed character in the game (except a space marine commander that has taken a shield eternal, because space marines want to make you cry). Shadow Field is borderline-mandatory and goes in practically every Dark Eldar army list with an archon - almost everything else is up to you to pick, though power swords, as always, are good ideas (provided you want AP 3 and can't afford an Agonizer, Djinn Blade, or Huskblade; if you wanted AP 2 or Concussive, you need a different HQ). An Agonizer is also a good choice (and if you end up in a situation where it's not worth it, IE against Grots, you've used the unit entirely wrong). Still, if you're willing to put in the points and have a use for it, an Archon can be an excellent choice, and your opponent will HATE you when it kills Kharn in a challenge and then chops up half the unit with the rest of their attacks. If you're gonna take an Archon, be aware they can't be both cheap and effective, but if you're willing to put in the points, they can be a brutally nasty CC character.
- An Alternate Take Since the Archon can have a Venom as a transport, it could be used as a DISTRACTION CARNIFEX.
- Another Alternate Take Leave the close combat shenanigans to the Succubus, she's better at it anyway. Give your Archon a Blaster, stick him in a squad of Kabalite Trueborn also with Blasters on a Raider (hell, chuck in a couple of Splinter Cannons and slap a Splinter Rack on the Raider too if you like!) and go tank / MC hunting. This combo works delightfully with a Webway Portal, as you can surgically remove your opponent's biggest toy without worrying about deep-strike mishaps.
- Court of the Archon: 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. The new codex now allows you to better kit this out to your advantage, as you're no longer required to stick to one of each into the court. They also can grab the Archon a Raider if you feel like keeping one just to spam Sslyths or something. The Lhaeman and Medusae both benefit from PFP. The Court can double as a cheap HQ option for budget lists, as the Retainer rule no longer requires an Archon for the unit to be taken at all, it just allows you to take a Court without using up a slot if you do have an Archon. None of the Court are Characters, so if you do go this route some other model in your army will likely end up being the Warlord, just keep that in mind. Great option for a secondary detachment, though.
- Medusae - Assault flamers. Have Str 4, AP 3. The loss of the random AP, while statistically better, really only gives him one purpose: auto-overwatches. Just to add to the buckets of Chaos Player tears everywhere. Also can work surprisingly well with Webway Portal.
- I've got another purpose for you: You know how Space Marines love roasting your asses with flamers, and then laugh it off in their power armour when someone does the same to them? Grab a couple of these and let them gaze into Medusa's unblinking brown eye of doom.
- Lhamaeans - Basically Wyches with poisoned weapons that wound on 2 and ID on 6. That's all it is. There's really not much reason to grab them compared to the others, other than to pad out the list and some bonus poison. Nice, cheap and great 2+ poisoned attacks though so don't be afraid to take one or two if you are looking to fill up the last seats in your Archon's party bus. Woah, hold on a sec, they have 2 attacks base (pistol + non specialist weapon) with 2+ poison, take ten for 100 points, put them in a raider and launch it at a something you want to die. Enjoy your 30 attacks on the charge that wound on 2s. For 100 points you could do far worse.
- Ur-Ghuls - Decent on the charge but fail in every other regard. Take them only if you need warm bodies (they have FNP, so they'll last) and lots of regular attacks in your retinue.
- Sslyth - T5 Meatshields. Similar to Ur-Ghuls except they can carry shardcarbines. Also, if your Court has a majority of Sslyths, all hits against the unit are resolved against Sslyth's T5; save for precision shots. With 2 wounds each with FNP, they make excellent suckers for the Archon's Look out Sir! rolls. (Tip use these guys to eat wounds while you get your Archon pumped with the soul-trap). If you haul a couple Sslyths along in a Raider with Splinter Racks, you'll have some fun as you shoot things to utter shit. With CCW and pistols and 3 attacks base, these guys will put out five S5 attacks on the charge. Great for finishing whatever survives your archondrop's shooting.
- 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. With the abolition of the one-of-each clause, you can now give some good meatshields if you really feel uncomfortable alone.
- Medusae - Assault flamers. Have Str 4, AP 3. The loss of the random AP, while statistically better, really only gives him one purpose: auto-overwatches. Just to add to the buckets of Chaos Player tears everywhere. Also can work surprisingly well with Webway Portal.
- Haemonculus - HQs that can be customized specifically for the troops you want them to lead that got slightly pricier at 70 but have the Ancient's statline by default. These guys serve a critical rule by granting the unit he's in as having a bonus turn for PFP rules, meaning free FNP. Relatively tough and with access to some pretty heavy-duty wargear, including the Crucible of Malediction, which gives all psykers within 3d6" an unsavable S6 hit, and your only source of HQ-level Concussive, via the Mindphase Gauntlet, which is unfortunate, because Reavers and Acothysts with Electrocorrosive Whips are better at making Concussive attacks stick. 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 with 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).
- In the Covens supplement, these guys become your ONLY HQ choice. This makes bringing them even more critical, as their PFP boosting is the only way the Grotesques can last despite their shit Leadership. Keep them as cheap as possible, and keep the relics you grab from the covens as low as possible, because most of them kick ASS.
- Using the Parasite's Kiss coupled with a splinter pistol or a stinger pistol lets them gun-sling very efficiently
- In the Covens supplement, these guys become your ONLY HQ choice. This makes bringing them even more critical, as their PFP boosting is the only way the Grotesques can last despite their shit Leadership. Keep them as cheap as possible, and keep the relics you grab from the covens as low as possible, because most of them kick ASS.
- Succubus - At a glance, the Succubus is kind of weird; she has 6+ armour (4++ Dodge during the Fight sub-phase), though with a damned fine statline befitting a Wych - but she has rather poor limited options, with the best ones being Agonizers, Power Swords, and the Archite Glaive, her only AP2 weapon. It may be a good idea to give her the Armour of Misery to increase her out-of-CC save to 4+/6++, and the combination of Fear and -2 Ld debuff makes it easier to decimate and scare away the opponents. 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 reach 150 points. Worth taking if you plan to use Wych cults, especially as Lelith costs twice as much if you take a Succubus as-is. Also, unlike Lelith, she has combat drugs, which can definitely boost her combat potential. She won't last long outside of a combat so either hide her in a big unit of wyches or have her deep strike with them. She also makes a great secondary HQ due to her low points cost. Let your primary commander (the archon of course) go with the incubi or banshees while the succubus just sticks with the wyches to help tie down units until the archon arrives.
- One interesting idea might be to put a Succubus with the Archite Glaive and the Armour of Misery (the rest is optional) in a small team of Incubi (preferably with Klaivex). Not only do you get to mix "horny daemons" of both sexes but the entire team ends up with a number of high WS, high Initiative S4 AP2 melee attacks. Get them a dedicated Venom and skim around the map to remove distant objective holders, whether a squad of Cultists or Tac Marines. The FNP and Furious Charge the team gets as the game progresses significantly increases their effectiveness.
- 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 armor-ignoring 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.) To add insult to injury, she also can re-roll to-hit and to-wound in a challenge. If you've gotten Lelith into close combat with a vehicle, you are using her entirely wrong. If you really feel uncomfortable on taking tough things in combat, you can buy an Impaler - her special rule overrides the AP5, and she gains re-rolls 1s to-wound. (One word: Wraiths)
- Of note here is that Lelith has lost her ultra-cool super-special-snowflake rule from 6E that allowed her to generate more attacks if her WS was higher than her opponent's. A League Apart now only allows re-rolls To Hit and To Wound in challenges, because GeeDubs really, really hates Dark Eldar - especially their special characters. In exchange she now gains Rampage and the WT Blood Dancer (+1 WS) automatically. Meh.
- Drazhar - An expensive beatstick with the ONLY 2+ in the army. He has seen a little bit of rework, like Lelith, but in his case not all the changes are for the better (also like Lelith). He has lost, like the klaivex, his special powers and in exchange he got rampage. That is not terrible, but is quite situational at best (you should try to take advantage of it by putting him in a little elite squad...just like how Incubi are suppose to work!). He has also lost his Dragon Ball-like ability to teleport himself in whatever spot he liked in close combat and riposte, that allowed him to kick in the balls every enemy unit was attacking him if he rolled a 6 when taking an armour save. In exchange for that he now gains an additional attack in close combat every time he rolls a 6 to wound, made at the same initiative step, which is arguably better than riposte, and he's a bigger boon for Incubi, as he gives +1 WS for the unit he joins, which is rock. He can still do his job quite well, especially in the late game when he could possibly unleash a grand total of 9 Strength 6, AP 2, Weapon Skill 7, Initiative 7 attacks, which can generate more attacks on a 6 to wound roll. He and his squad still lack grenades though, so take care not to charge enemy in cover if you want to make the most of their high initiative. Put him in a venom with 4 incubi for maximum Carnage. He also suffer, like Klaivexes, from the nerf to Demiclaives, sadly.
- On a side note, he doesn't come with a pre-established warlord trait. If this was an error or on purpose it's unknown, but it allows him to be a little bit more flexible (although not a lot: he is still a beatstick and can't do nothing other than kill units in assault). A good warlord trait for him would be Hatred Eternal, giving him hatred and making him even a stronger rape machine, but Labyrinthine Cunning is simply too good to pass on so you should take it if you roll it.
- Urien Rakarth - A super-Haemonculus. Has T5, 4++, 4+ FNP and IWND, which is sweet and makes him one of the tougher Dark Eldar HQs. He also gives ALL units within 12" +1 PFP, which makes him a lot more welcome in a Kabalite army. His relic is very meh, though, as it's a single use 12" S3 AP3 Assault 2d6 shot, which isn't terrible, but hardly something to take him for. In the Coven FOC he becomes a much bigger deal with the altered PFP makes more fearless minions to work with. Important to note that his Father of Pain special rule does not stack with master of pain on a Haemonculus
- Kabalite Warriors - You know them, you love them. They're your cheap scoring, your anti-tank, and your source of Raiders and Venoms. 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 - Unfortunately Wyches can no longer take Haywire grenades. (Re-read the book) One of our few methods for close range anti-tank is gone, but with the new Combat Drugs and the new way Power From Pain works, just pray your Wych squad lasts until they get Furious Charge. This combined with a lucky Combat Drug roll will still mean these Wyches mulch through Hordes with a bunch of high initiative attacks. Give them a Raider to improve their mobility as always, and consider deepstriking them to avoid their useless first turn.
- With all of their previous tricks taken from them such as Haywire or Wych weaponry that reduces numbers of attacks. Wyches best function now seems to be as delivery vectors for your Succubus, since they can hold high value units such as Terminators in place while Lilith/Succubus steadily dismantles them. As mentioned above they also function against low value Hordes by striking first with massed attacks, but other Dark Eldar units such as Beastmasters can do that better.
- All three Wych weapon choices are AP5, S-, and 5 points each. It should be noted that ALL weapons mentioned are taken on both hands, meaning that they'll always get another attack for having a second melee weapon. Each grants a particular type of rerolls.
- Shardnet and Impaler: Reroll 1s both To-Hit and To-Wound
- Razorflails: Reroll failed To Hit
- Hydra Gauntlets: Reroll failed To Wound
- At first glance, these three choices seem roughly identical. However, Weapon Skill 4 means that Wyches will only hit on 5s against WS9 and up. To be honest, if Wyches are against something with WS9, they're there as a tarpit, not to do damage. Razorflails, thus, are mostly trash. The Shardnet and Impaler, condoning rerolls of all 1s in close combat, seems useful. However, it quickly pales in comparison to the last weapon. Hydra Gauntlets, thanks to the Shred rule, re-roll ALL to-wound rolls. This is a much bigger boon than any of the competition. Wyches are Strength 3, meaning they'll wound Space Marines on 5s. Re-rolling this is much more important than rerolling the 3s to hit, since there are simply more chances to fail. The benefits against Toughness 3 units are also notable; most Toughness 3 models are also WS3, meaning the Wyches already hit them on 3s, rendering razorflails relatively redundant.
- Another take - There is a lot of negativity surrounding Wyches in the 7E codex, but consider this: While you are unable to spam ungodly amounts of Haywire Grenades as before, you can still give them to your Hekatrix and the rest of the ladies do still have Plasma Grenades which are more than sufficient for cracking open light and some medium vehicles. If you get lucky with your Combat Drugs and last until Turn 4, then you will be Strength 5 on the charge too, which is even better. Couple this with the large number of attacks, FNP and the 4++ Dodge and you have a really nasty melee unit that can comfortably hold its own against any other Troops choice out there, seriously threaten anything with T6 or lower, and can also function as a tarpit or character delivery squad as required. The one thing they can't really do is hold on to objectives, and obviously keep them away from units with multiple flamers. If used correctly though, Wyches can be absolutely terrifying to your opponent. Don't underestimate them.
- Another take Part 2 - 150 Points gets you 10 Wyches with 3 Hydra Gauntlets and Hekatrix with an Agonizer. You're killing almost 3 MEQ at Initiative 6, and that's not even factoring in Combat Drugs. As long as you roll one of the good ones (Attack, WS, or S), pump that up to almost 4. Do they have furious charge from PFP? That's now MORE than 5 MEQ dead. This doesn't even count their pistol shots. Yes, that means you can mathematically wipe an entire Sternguard, Devastator, or objective-camping Tac squad in one turn of combat! Deepstrike the Raider, jink like your life depends on it (it does), and send the ladies in against anything MEQ or worse and you WILL see your enemies die horribly. Of course Incubi could also do this (and do it against TEQ), and they have a 3+ save, but the smaller squad size and lack of grenades really hurts. Think about it -- where else can you get 3 attacks on the charge at WS4 (maybe 5!) and I6 with assault grenades and a 4+ invul in close combat for 10 points per model? The hekatrix costs 55 points but puts out 4 Poison 4+ AP3 CC attacks at I6. They're not that bad!
(Raiders and Venoms are now Fast Attack choices! Eldar Allies highjinks (huehue) commence!)
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 get access to more stuff, including splinter racks and Nightshields. 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 much anything with S4 will take your spiky flying ships down, so neglect cover saves at your own risk.
7th edition hit them hard. Not only they lose 5+ jink for just moving, but now flamers and other template weapons deal D6 hits to their passengers, which, considering they're mostly T3 Sv5+ is BAD news. HOWEVER, with the way the new Jink rules work, Raiders have become a fair bit more useful. Reason being that while Jinking forces the vehicle itself to snapfire in the following Shooting Phase, nothing is said about the passengers (the Jink rule is worded that only the model with said Jink rule benefits from it). Therefore, while Jinking with Venoms makes your 12 shots snapfire, Jinking with your Raider only makes the Dark Lance/Disintegrator snapfire, and the passengers are free to shoot at their full BS. So that's about 10 (bare minimum) to 30 (absolute maximum) poisoned shots coming from one unit, plus rerolls for Splinter Racks, and a 4+ cover save. Have fun.
Objective Secured/New Scoring rules also sheds new light on these good ol' Transports. Keep your Venoms as your backfield scoring or last minute grabbing if you're using Combined Arms Detachments. Your infantry that was inside/could be inside being elsewhere scoring more objectives. Bring a spare Venom for your buddy Autarch, a WWP HQ, and a few special buddies and drop right where the enemy is most vulnerable. The value these guys have as delivery mechanisms is priceless, and if you use BB and Realspace Raiders, they become even more critical.
- Raider - You'll want these for assault troops for one simple reason. 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 any shooting shooting platform now that it makes any splinter weapon TL. Night Shields are pretty much an auto-take, as this is the only protection they can get, and even then they need cover. Something to note regarding allies - these are the best assault vehicles for ALL Eldar factions (craftworld, harlequins, deldar). With a capacity of 10 and a 3++ jink save this can deliver a harlequin troupe or a unit of wraithblades wherever you need them, quickly.
- Venom - In addition to their normal AT bits, that they're smaller makes them better for speedy assaults. Less chance of mishap and whatnot and now come with Flickerfields by default. Always pay the points to jack up your Splinter Rifle to a Splinter Cannon. It must be said, the look on an Ork player's face when your Transport pumps 12 Poisoned Shots into his unit is priceless. The Venom did get hurt by 7th Edition's assignment of 2 Hull Points to it instead of the average 3 (which the Raider has).
- 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 (not that it matters because 10 all-round). 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.
- Wracks - With the removal of FOC alterations in 7th, these guys can no longer be the kings of Troops, not that it matters so much with everything being Scoring and no Objective Secured in the Realspace Raiders Force Organization Chart. They've taken a few hits since the last codex, as alterations to FNP, FC and Poison have all lowered their offensive and defensive potential. Still they're cheap, reasonably survivable and can still put in a nasty charge if needed. 10 Wracks (not incl Acothyst) vs. SMs in 7E: 30 Attacks, 15 Hit, 7.5 Wound, 2.4 Dead Power Armoured Space Marines. There are several ways to use them; either a minimal squad as a "scoring upgrade" for a Raider, a 5+ Liquifier escort for a Haemonculus, or a 10-strong unit in a Raider, going full-turkey - a decently kitted Haemonculus can help here, giving them Furious Charge a Turn early with his power. If you're making them anti-infantry, the Ossefactor is another option, as it can spread the pain around if someone dies.
- 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, although if you've got the points to burn (and/or your Wracks are footslogging) a Hexrifle can be useful.
- The Covens make these guys the cheapest troops you can find, and they'll probably find the most use as they're the least likely to break. The issue is that they have very few guns to work with, and what they have is either unpredictable or unimpressive. Keep them with a Haemonculus to make sure they survive.
- (Another take) a 10 man squad of these guys in a raider with 2 Ossefactors is a great MC hunter If they fail to shoot it to death they can charge it (unless it has 2+ armor then only if your desperate) With 2 AP2 Fleshbane attacks this cheap(ish) unit will take the opponent's attention.
- Grotesques - Grotesques are another melee elite for Dark Eldar and probably their toughest unit point-for-point. With Toughness 5, built-in Feel No Pain and three wounds apiece, their lack of armor is almost unnoticeable. However, they're slow and have a comically low Leadership of 3 (or 4 if you upgrade one to an Aberration); that last part means that you need to babysit them with another Character or else they're very likely to break on the first Morale check, get Pinned down once their transport is shot down, are ironically one of the most vulnerable units to Dark Eldar Phantasm Grenades (and are especially vulnerable to Psychic Shriek)...but provided the player can work around that, they will be potentially rewarded for their efforts. Each Grotesque gets three attacks base, plus an additional attack for two melee weapons, plus Rampage, meaning 5-7 attacks per model. Though they do not ignore armor saves, these attacks are Poisoned and inflict Instant Death on 6s, letting them shred through most rank-and-file units in the game since they wound anything below T5 on a 3+ with a reroll.
- That said and done, this unit is 'best' taken by Covens. Their Power From Pain table 'fixes' most of the issues with their Leadership by granting them Fearless from the second turn onwards, while several formations improve their overall durability and output such that these guys will inevitably fuel your assault game. A Haemonculus is going to have to be kitted to help them here and sadly, this usually won't do without an artefact helping some. If you roll the WT that gives them IWND (or the similar formation), rock out. You now have regenerating monstrosities that will inevitably become even deadlier.
- Pain Train Covens Edition: Throw 10 of them with a Haemy equipped with a WWP and go to town. 10 of them will have 30 Fearless T5 FnP5+ wounds turn 2 and get IWND turn 3. Bonus for taking the Haemy/Talos/Cronos formation with a WWP and Spirit Probe. 4+ FnP on 30 T5 wounds is a lot to surmount. Especially with the two Engines right next to them.
- Alternatively you could take the Grotesquerie, take the Aberration as your warlord and put a kitted out Archon (both Combined Arms/Realspace Raiders) in the unit with Webway Portal to fuck around/deny challenges/bump up PFP/-2 Leadership/look like a cowboy/tank everything at 5 T with 2++/do the same with 4++/Make up for the loss of fearless for zealot with his own fearless. We could take cheap Lhamean HQs already anyways, so crank the fluffrape and cheese up to eleven doing this (remember to put space marine pauldrons on the Aberration).
- Incubi - Incubi are the army's "can opener" unit. Though they are the only non-Talos/Cronos unit in the army with a 3+ Armor Save, their main ability is that each model has WS 5, two attacks base, and is armed with a Klaive, which equivalent of a Power Axe that strikes at Initiative. Despite their armor save, they are still only Toughness 3, and pricey at 20 points a pop. They hit hard for their but will not stand up to sustained aggression. Finally, while Incubi have high initiative, they still lack assault grenades and will strike last when charging through cover, though their armor means this isn't as disastrous as it is for Mandrakes (discussed below). Grotesques are ultimately still the most "well-rounded" melee choice for this army.
- That said and done, Incubi "can" serve as a roaming "hunter-killer" unit. Incubi can be taken in squads of three models, for 60 points a pop, while 10 points upgrades a model to a Klaivex, a Character with +1 WS, Initiative, and Attack, and Rampage on top. Consider that this is the same cost as a unit of five unupgraded Tactical Marines (and that Marines will generally take Grav Cannons wherever they can fit them), and ask yourself which unit would win in a melee (hint: The ones with the Klaives). On the charge, the Incubi and Klaivex average 10+D3 attacks, hitting on 3s and wounding on 4s, killing four of the five in one go. The Marine player either has a dead Sergeant from a challenge, or does not get the ability to attack back. Assuming the Marine player then fails their Leadership check, the unit would attempt to fall back, but the Incubi would have Initiative 6 versus 4 to catch the unit in a Sweeping Advance, locking rather than destroying the sole survivor "thanks" to ATSKNF. The Incubi finish off their assault in the subsequent turn, Consolidate, then look for a new unit to murder. However, move outside the realm of pure theoryhammer, and this scenario falls into the issue that MSU marine armies take lots of transports, and that two of the most notable variants either get Hit & Run (White Scars), or Overwatch at full Ballistic Skill (Dark Angels). A more feasible scenario would be to use the Klaivex as an assassin, to go after key enemy characters; though the Klaivex will bounce off a Smashfucker, they will reliably blender a Librarian or other support HQ in one go.
- Mandrakes - Your sole Infiltrators, Mandrakes are essentially the Dark Eldar equivalent of Striking Scorpions but worse in every way. They lack a save though they get Stealth&Shrouded. Thus, while placing them in a forest or ruins means they can get a 2+ save, they die to melee or any cover-ignoring shooting; a single order is all it takes for this unit to be mowed down with lasguns. Adding insult to injury is the fact that despite having Move Through Cover, they still lack Assault Grenades, and so the aforementioned unit of Guardsmen could strike first and kill off a good few Mandrakes (not to mention Overwatch). Minimum-sized units "are" cheap, and Infiltrate combined with 7th ed shooting rules means that they "can" have a reasonable chance to snipe a hidden Marine Special weapon...save for the fact that the 'default' Marine army is a Gladius Battle Demi-Company, thus getting free Transports. In short...Mandrakes are a unit without much purpose, in an army where every point counts.
- If you're dead set on taking Infiltrators, use Allies. Eldar Rangers are amazing Snipers, Striking Scorpions are better at the melee thing. Otherwise, just skip them and grab a WWP.
- 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, most commonly blasters (the blasterborn build). They can take an anti-infantry build, but the gimping of Ravagers, the loss of haywire, and our meh flyers and monstrous creatures means you really need these for anti-tank, unfortunately. Take a small squad loaded for bear, stick them in a Venom, and try to keep these guys out of trouble - a quick deep strike with a webway portal archon will help you take out a high-priority target, but they'll be at their most vulnerable. Sadly, the change in decent codex fixed minimum amount of this guys to 5 so no webway portals in Venoms. Use Raiders instead. Time has proven these guys to be the best of the elite choices, with only the Incubi as viable competitors. They really force you to ask yourself, "why am I taking ___ instead of trueborns?"
- Trueborn Big Game Hunting Party: 5 Trueborn - 3 Blasters, 2 Splinter Cannons, riding a Venom also with dual Splinter Cannons. This provides what is commonly referred to as a METRIC FUCKTON of firepower and is pretty much a hard counter to things like Riptides and Dreadknights. It can even make tanks suffer critical existence failure if you're lucky. For best results, keep this in reserve to avoid having it blown to pieces on turn 1, and deep-strike to cause havoc in the enemy backfield. And the best part - it will set you back only 195 points. Have fun!
- 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 Incubus couldn't do better. They don't even get more wych cult weapons than the standard byches do. To get more that 1 wych cult weapon they need 10 models. Don't bother with these ladies.
- 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. The primary value with Bloodbrides is their cost. Each Bloodbride costs only 3 points more than a standard Wych, and the extra attack per model actually means something in this case compared to Trueborn. A unit of 4 Bloodbrides with a tooled-up Syren in a Venom will cost you only 170 points, and will give you 21 attacks on the charge (5 of which are AP3 with 4+ Poison, because of course you took the Agonizer didn't you?), and of course you can soften your target up with the Venom's Splinter Cannons first. That is a staggering number of attacks generated by only 5 models, and is bound to make any opponent sweat, without even taking combat drugs or Power From Pain into account. Now whether this is worth using up an Elite slot or not compared to more expensive options depends on individual taste, but for those who run themed Wych Cult armies, or want a cheap Elite unit to cause chaos in the enemy backfield, a unit of Bloodbrides can be very handy for taking out things like Imperial Guard command squads, Devastators, Assault Marines or even Terminators and Centurions in a pinch. All it takes to make this unit work is a little imagination and the brass balls to see it through.
Dark Eldar fast attack! Fuck yeah!
- Hellions - The street gangs of the Dark Eldar. Unfortunately, these are the wyches that weren't good enough to ride jetbikes in Commorite Death Races. Hellions are inferior to Reavers in almost every way. They're slower, pack less of a punch, have a worse Toughness and Save, must move 6" to use their Hammer of Wrath (which hit like noodles compared to Bladevanes), can't take any anti-tank weapons, and the Arena Champion can take every upgrade that the Helliarch can (minus the Phantasm Grenade Launcher and Stun Claw). On the plus side, Hellions have 18" splinter pods (which is a moot point, because if you want to shoot with your Reavers, you can shoot and then Jetbike Move during the assault phase), and you can take Hellions in units of 20 (don't). One important note is that the hellions' helglaive is AP5 which makes them very effective horde sweepers, combined with their splinter pods, you can expect around 10-15 kills depending on the enemy you fight and the combat drugs you roll. So while not competitive in the least, they're fun and great against nids, orks and guard.
- Scourges -Versatile units that 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. 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 and now have Trueborn-tier levels of options for weapons. With their mobility, they can be complete pains in the ass - they are now just 16 points a piece. Try to keep them out of melee, though - with one attack each and no pistol they're not all that good unless you splash out for the Solarite. However, since you get Hammer of Wrath if you moved 6" the turn that you charge, you might get enough volume of dice to polish off weakened units.
- Tip: BEWARE SCENERY! Scourges have an unfortunate habit of failing Dangerous Terrain checks (1 in 6, same as everyone else unless your dice hate your guts), and when they do, they only have 4+ armour to save them. There's nothing more frustrating than Deep Striking a unit of Scourges behind a nice juicy tank, only to have two of your avian horrors skewer themselves on a nearby ruin on the way down, or faceplant into a wall when leaping up onto the roof of a building to get better line of sight! Only use their jump move if you are feeling lucky or when moving them across flat terrain. If you want to move them into cover, then consider just running them into it like normal infantry instead unless you want to risk embarrassment.
- Weapon Analysis:
- Haywire Blaster: Hell on wings against vehicles. Better against all but the squishiest of vehicles compared to Blasters or Dark Lances, and better than Heat Lances except at extreme close range. Unfortunately, it's of limited value against most anything else, being just an Assault 1 AP4 bolter.
- Blaster: Overall a good choice combined with Scourges' high mobility as Jump Infantry. Blasters are by far the best choice for hunting Monstrous Creatures, while being fairly effective anti-tank. Since you can take four, that's enough volume to be a threat to heavy (TEQ) infantry, and utterly unfazed by the high toughness of things like Wraithguard, Tyrant Guard and Szeras-enhanced Immortals, and at S8, they deal Instant Death to T3/4 multi-wound guys.
- Shredder: These would be awesome if they launched pie-plates, but with only muffin-tins, they're marginal compared to Shardcarbines. Shredders have the shortest range out of all the possible scourge weapons (only 12 inches) meaning that you have to get really close to even shoot. They're good for hordes while also having the capability to glance transports to death, but if that's what you want, the codex offers lots of better options. They are also the cheapest of all the scourge weapons so keep it in mind if you going for a cheap anti horde unit.
- Heat Lance: At close range, the combination of Lance, Melta and AP1 eats vehicles for lunch, but outside of Melta range they're less reliable than Blasters. Lower Strength makes them less suitable against MCs, but they're by no means bad weapons. Generally speaking they're just as good against heavy infantry as Blasters, except against the few T5/T6 guys, and even then, they still work fairly well. In short, Heat Lances are far more versatile than Haywire Blasters and cheaper than Darklight Blasters, so they're a good option for a TAC army.
- ALTERNATE TAKE: Not that they're an option in this army, but these are directly inferior to the Melta weapons. At best the Lance quality will reduce armour 14 to 12, an increase of 2... making the 6 strength equivalent to 8. In NEARLY (AV 15 also exists, if you want to get even more niche) every other case (Creatures, lower armour vehicles), a melta would be better. That being said, they will out perform Blasters vs Vehicles at close range, but it's hard to justify it. Take if you know you can get close enough to the enemy vehicles to grind on the windshield.
- Dark Lance: A Blaster with twice the range? What's the catch? Heavy weapons on Jump Infantry? Oh. I suppose these could be nice if you plan to castle up in a ruin and pretend to be Devastators, but with Jump mobility and better armor than most Dark Eldar, why in the nine hells would you do that?
- Splinter Cannon: See the main objections to Dark Lances above, though slightly less so. Salvo rather than Heavy is a bit less bad, but now you're firing four shots at 18" - 10 points for a slightly faster Shardcarbine that stops you from charging? Nope.
- ALTERNATE TAKE:: You aren't going to want to charge a squad of scourges into anything (except maybe Tau or IG) when they only have strength 3. Take 4 splinter cannons, and you can shit out 30+ poisoned shots on the move, and 39 staying still (why would you stand still?). Capable of killing just about any high-toughness things that get in your way, both via the poison and the sheer number of shots that will get through their armour.
- Final Analysis: If your main target is tanks, and only tanks, the Haywire Blaster is unreasonably effective, but it stinks on ice against pretty much anything else. Heat lances tackle tanks, heavy infantry and MCs in that order, while Blasters are good for hunting MCs with heavy infantry and tanks as targets of opportunity - deciding between the two comes down to which of the three you'll see the most of. Shredders might be good for hordes if your luck with small blasts is better than average while Dark Lances and Splinter Cannons are generally best avoided unless you're using them for long-range fire support. The default Shardcarbine is pretty effective for mobile anti-infantry, and if that's your intended use, it probably pays to keep it cheap rather than splashing out for Splinter Cannons.
- Solarite Weapons: If the Solarite trades out his shardcarbine for a splinter pistol or a blast pistol, he can take one of three upgraded melee weapons.
- Venom Blade: 2+ Poison, but no AP. Possibly a reasonable choice for dealing with high toughness models, but since you only get the one, it's not that impressive. It is cheap though.
- Power Lance: S +1 AP3 on the charge, S user AP4 thereafter. Possibly interesting for challenge-sniping MEQ characters, but mostly useful because it's cheaper than the Agonizer.
- Agonizer: The same weapon the Reaver Arena Champion, Hekatrix and Archon can take, and just as useful here as there. Easily the best choice you have, but also by far the most expensive.
- Blast Pistol: As with everyone else who can take it, pretty marginal.
- ALTERNATE TAKE: It's not exactly elegant, but one way that Dark Lances can be useful for Scourges is for IC hunting and ripping open transports. Dark Lances are meaty enough to threaten most units with instant death, and their range is infinitely better than either the Haywire or Heat Lance. If you want a slightly more flexible option, they're worth considering.
- ALTERNATE TAKE: In the new Eldar codex, Baharroth, the Swooping Hawks phoenix lord, got a point reduction and now makes any DS unit he joins not scatter. Join him to a unit of heat lances scourges and finally get rid of the one thing that made me personally never run them: scattering away from the vehicle you want to blow up. He can tank shots for your Scourges with his 2+ armour and wounds, making them far less of a throw-away unit, and is even faster than they are. Whether they're attacking tanks or MEQ, he can participate using haywire grenades, plasma grenades or his S5 AP5 Assault 3 24" weapon.
- Beast Packs - A surprisingly flexible choice, that sadly usually gets edged out by Reavers. The entire unit is composed of Beasts, so they move fast and aren't slowed down by cover, though you will notice the lack of Grenades. You can have anywhere from 1-12 models in this unit, mix and matched from the below options.
- Clawed Fiends are OK, decent at dishing out strength 5 attacks and absorbing wounds, but they're expensive. That said, a solo Clawed Fiend makes for a surprisingly passable DISTRACTION CARNIFEX!
- Khymerae are decent filler, not bad on the charge, and can usually eat face.
- The Razorwing Flock is arguably the real MVP of this formation - 5 rending attacks and 3 wounds are amazing when taken in large numbers, even if they're WS2.
- This unit can also be used as a cheap fire magnet. Two Beastmasters with 4 Razorwing Flocks comes to 100 points, 22 Wounds, and 24 Rending attacks on the charge. Doesn't make a bad for a throw away unit as long as there's no pie-plates or templates out to ruin you, as the Razorwings are now Swarms.
- Mathhammer dictates you to always use Khymerae over Razorwing flocks for sheer damage output. Against MEQs and TEQs they are much more effective on the charge (and even slightly more afterwards) and more than double the effectiveness against GEQ. Only against vehicles with Rear AV 11 or 12 it's better to take Razorwing. Also your Khymerae are harder to kill with templates and (nearly) always have their 5++.
- New rules for the unit no longer actually require you to take beastmasters at all, just 1-12 models chosen from the list. So while you can mix it up to create nicely utilitarian squads, you may be better served by taking big units of a single type to fill out a certain role, such as tar-pits of fiends or mass rending attacks from razorwings. The beastmaster need only be added to bump up the LD of the rest of the unit.
- Hilariously, you can also take nothing but the Beastmasters themselves, resulting in essentially cheaper Hellions. This isn't good as such, but it's a barrel of laughs. For even more lols, you can give all the beastmasters agonisers, making them the same price per model as a clawed fiend. Pretty pricey, but absolutely hilarious.
- Razorwing Jetfighter (Fighter) - Two Disintegrator Cannons 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; Necrotoxin missiles have fleshbane while Shatterfield are strength 7 with shred. Both lose the AP 5 that the monoscythe missiles have, so those guardsmen and gaunts are getting their armor save, but these kill non-GEQ units better. Generally Shatterfield missiles are better because they make sure things get wounded with shred, whereas the fleshbane on necrotoxin missiles is largely useless except in rare cases of blobs of high-toughness units, since the base option is already strength 6, and even then shatterfield missiles still have a great chance at wounding. 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.
- It also might be worth your time to purchase 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.
- New Information: now that 7th Ed has landed, flyers are no longer restricted as to the amount of missiles they can fire - up to four. The Razorwing is back! Also sporting supersonic, just because, fly on, blast the hell out of a unit with four S6 large blast templates, then spend the rest of the game flyer/vehicle hunting with the dark lances!
- Your weapon choice is going to be based around what the rest of your army is doing. Typically you'll be looking at blasterborn as your anti-heavy infantry because they're just so damn good at it while your anti-armour and AA choices are less easily filled. In that case a platform that handles both well is nice and you get missiles too to support against infantry. The blaster cannons are really nasty guns against the right opponent but your army is really well served by a unit who can threaten vehicles like artillery and transports who are likely manoeuvring to deny your typically short ranged AT weapons a good shot.
- Reaver Jetbikes - With the removal of the hax Bladevanes, these babies are now nothing better than a pack of HoW (Hammer of Wrath) goons to distract someone with, especially if you buy a Grav-Talon that gives them Concussive. They lost their former uniqueness and anti-FMC utility. However, they are still Dark Eldar Jetbikes that might take a few AT special weapons. Moreover, their Rending HoW starts to aggravate quickly when you upgrade them with the Cluster Caltrops. It's nothing to scoff at, really. Also, don't forget the improved Combat Drugs chart that may buff them noticeably. Of course using HoW requires them to get stuck in combat, but with Initiative 6 and Hit & Run it's easy to withdraw when necessary. Also don't forget to declare your 3+ Jink save against Overwatch.
- Loadouts: Cluster Caltrops are strictly superior to Grav Talons. Heat Lances versus Blasters are more debatable. On one hand, Heat Lances are undeniably superior versus vehicles, especially given the ease of getting in Fusion Blaster Range then moving to safety. On the other hand, Blasters don't depend on closing the gap, and are better at stripping wounds off Monstrous Creatures, including Riptides and Wraithknights.
- Squad Size: The big question usually ends up being "squads of 3, or squads of 6?" MSU is fine and dandy, but the difference between 2 bullet catchers and 4 is dramatically noticeable, and chances are you will want to fire 2 AT weapons at a time anyway, since you don't get easy access to BS boosts.
- Alternate Take: 6 Reavers, 2 Caltrops and 2 AV weapons, with an Arena Champion with an Agonizer, and you have a toolbox unit for just about the price of old reavers with just the caltrops.
- Another Alternate Take: Unit of 6 with the aforementioned Caltrops and 2 Heat Lances will WRECK vehicles. S4 HoW with Rending, plus 2D6 S6 HoW on the rear armour facing in base contact = excellent tank hunting unit. Chuck in the 2 Heat Lances for insurance.
- Yet Another Alternate Take: If you get lucky and end up with Painbringer for your Combat Drugs roll, you now have a pants-shittingly fast T5 unit that ignores dangerous terrain tests end enjoys a 3+ Jink save due to Skilled Rider, and gets the Power From Pain FNP against everything except S10 weapons. Combine this with Cluster Caltrops and you have one of the deadliest assault units in the codex!
- One Last Alternate Take: You know who can take a jetbike as wargear? An allied Autarch. You know who can take a Banshee Mask as wargear? An allied Autarch. You know what Banshee Masks do? Yeah, they cancel Overwatch. That's right - no more Overwatch on your Reavers. HHHHHHHHHHHhhhhhhhnnnnnnngggggg-
- Raider - See Dedicated Transports. Use this for allies if you want some big pack of Banshees to get into battle with your WWP Succubus.
- Venom - See Dedicated Transports. Grab for small squads, like a Farseer and maybe a small retinue.
- Raven (Forge World) - An old as balls FW Flyer, now with strafing run and +1 cover on evade (to 3+). 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).
- Ravager - Slightly less effective than before, due to a slight hike in base cost, the fact you have to pay for the Dark Lances now (assuming you want to go full anti-tank) and the loss of Aerial Assault, the Ravager is still one of the DE's best heavy support options. Triple Dark Lances will ruin any tank's day, while Disintegrators are still pretty useful if you expect to be up against a lot of 2+ saves. If you're taking a transport-heavy or Realspace Raider army, these are the preferable Heavy Support option, unless you're in a game with high enough points that a Voidraven becomes an option. Can now Deep Strike, for some reason. Be sure to take Night Shields for these every time, we can't afford to snap shot these every time an Autocannon looks at you funny.
- Talos Pain Engine - The classic Dark Eldar Monstrous Creature, now subscribing to the Carnifex model of squadding. 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. Sadly the poor Talos got slapped pretty hard in the new book, it took an arbitrary 20 point base price hike while getting nerfed in the form of losing random attacks for a baseline 3(4 with 2 CCWs) and no longer being able to buy a second melee weapon to be able to strap on a Liquefier(Not that you would anyway this edition). The ichor injector is great against other, non eternal warrior, monsters. Fleshbane from the injector allows the Talos to deal with wraithlords with ease.
- The Coven places a lot of hopes upon this. As the only non-transport weapons platform usable, it becomes vital that you pick the proper guns to cover vehicles, as your mobs of reassembled freaks will cover Infantry.
- It goes without saying, but the Talos makes an outstanding DISTRACTION CARNIFEX if you have points to blow, if you want to troll your opponent, or if you bought one because you thought it looked cool and then realized it was only sort of meh. Make it look absolutely terrifying (via liberal use of the blood technical paint), take the haywire blaster and chain flails, and make a point of cackling whenever you move it toward your enemy. With T7, stock FnP, and a 3+ save, the Talos is dead hard as far as DEldar go, and the look on your opponent's face when you pop a transport with haywire and then Shred the shit out of the little fleshlings inside is pure gold. As mentioned above, keep things in front of it to allow it to claim cover. That, and/or take Harlies as allies and continually cast Dance of Shadows on it. DISTRACTION TALOS is a bit pricy, but very worth it when everything goes Just As Planned.
- Cronos Parasite Engine - A mini-Talos that can now buy FNP for allies within 6", boosting it up to a max of 4+. Still sorta good, but all your other units may be out of range by the time this monstrous creature starts feeding on souls. Keep them to protect some backfield campers in cover. Just like the Talos, this bad boy got slapped around in the new codex, it's more expensive base, the Spirit Syphon was nerfed to S3 and you are no longer allowed to take both the Probe and the Vortex.
- One thing above all else for Covens: Take the soul probe. That FNP is so good, and it's the only thing that can boost it for everyone. Bring him on the frontlines along a Haem, and keep him behind his ablative wounds so that he can keep living and keeping them alive.
- Voidraven Bomber (Bomber) - AV 10 Flyer part 2. 2 S9 lances. A one-use Strength 9 Lance Large 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. Depending on your enemy, you might want to choose between either mixing up the Necrotoxin and Implosion Missiles or dedicating yourself to one. The Voidraven is almost king when it comes to blasting other Flyers, so there's that to consider - obviously, the only real competition is the superior in every way Crimson Hunter. If you're not fighting horde armies, slap on some missiles and take this over the Razorwing.
- Be aware: Being AV10 you're made of paper. Paper that will either: 1. Jink due to a single Quadgun behind an Aegis, thus rendering it useless. 2. Get shot down thus rendering it useless and destroyed or 3. Suffer a stunned/shaken result anyway, thus making it useless. Taking multiple can help mitigate this, but they aren't cheap, especially with added missiles. So be very sure you want this over a RWJF or three.
- Be aware that you can drop the Bomb before they fire Interceptor, so you'll get that at least. Plus you can shoot a Quad Gun to death pretty quickly (Oh it's T7? How cute.) so try to kill it before your Voidraven arrives.
- It may be possible to use RWJF to obscure a VRB to give it a 5+ intervening model save, 4+ if it's mostly obscured and with night shields for a 3+ without jinking.
- Be aware: Being AV10 you're made of paper. Paper that will either: 1. Jink due to a single Quadgun behind an Aegis, thus rendering it useless. 2. Get shot down thus rendering it useless and destroyed or 3. Suffer a stunned/shaken result anyway, thus making it useless. Taking multiple can help mitigate this, but they aren't cheap, especially with added missiles. So be very sure you want this over a RWJF or three.
- Reaper (Forge World) - 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 cannon (2 firing strength options) and a haywire blaster. One option is a S5 AP4 Pinning large blast with Haywire and Concussive. The other is a single S7 AP3 shot that inflicts D3 Haywire results on a Vehicle, or might insta-kill a model with Toughness value on 5+ to wound. All in all it's a fairly versatile vehicle. While it might suffer from One Weapon Syndrome it still has the ability to take Flickerfield, and given the significant nerf of the Ravager that came with the new Codex the Reaper is worth considering as a replacement.
- Tantalus (Forge World) - 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, 5 HP and a built-in Flickerfield it is quite durable for a Dark Eldar vehicle, but it's arguable if it's worth a 200+ point investment. It is able to put out a respectable amount of 12 disintegrator shots, has Aerial Assault, and has the ability to do D6 S7 AP2 hits to a single unit with a Toughness value or a single S7 AP2 hit with Armourbane 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. 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 Titansthey're mentioned in The Path Of The Archon,( they're called Castigatorsnope) , 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?
- Splinter Weapons: The most common and easily spammable type of weapon in the army, given that most things with guns carry these as standard. Everything is Strength 1, Ap5, Poisoned(4+).
- Shardcarbine: Sslyths and Scourges only. Assault 3, 18 inch range. Decent, but if you're taking Scourges, it's probably for their bulk access to heavy weapons.
- Splinter Cannon Salvo 4/6, 36 inch range.
- Kabalite Warriors can take one for every ten in order to bump up their volume of shots. If you're bringing them in Raiders, grab Splinter Racks and the Cannon for 6 shots at 36", 15 shots at 24" and 24 shots at 12". All twin linked.
- Kabalite Trueborn can take two in a squad. Four cannons on a Venom could be interesting, but for that price you could have two Venoms.
- Scourges can take up to four in a squad, which is 10 points shy of two Venoms with the same number of Cannons. And Scourges have a much smaller threat radius than Venoms. Besides, Salvo Weapons on Jump Infantry just seems foolish.
- Each Talos can take a twin linked Splinter Cannon. This certainly gives them a much larger threat radius and, happily, they can fire it to full effieciency. But this is one of the most expensive ways to bring a Cannon and gives the unit less versatility against enemy Armour than it's other options.
- Razorwing Jetfighters can upgrade their twin linked Splinter Rifles to a Cannon. This is certainly a great way to spend an extra ten points, but it is also the absoloute most expensive way to field a Splinter Cannon.
- Venom the most cost effective and efficient way to field Splinter Cannons.
- Splinter Pistol 12" Pistol. Pretty straightforward, most characters either carry them or can exchange their standard, non-character gun for one with no cost.
- Archon comes with one standard.
- Succubus comes with one standard.
- Lhamaen comes with one standard.
- Haemonculus comes with one standard.
- Kabalite Warriors Sybarite can exchange his Splinter Rifle for one at no cost.
- Kabalite Trueborn Dracon can exchange his Splinter Rifle for one at no cost.
- Wyches all carry one in their off-hand as standard.
- Hekatrix Bloodbrides all carry one in their off-hand as standard.
- Reaver Jetbikes tend to keep them in their holsters, but they come with them as standard.
- Hellions a Helliarch can exchange his Hellglaive for a Pistol and a different melee weapon at cost.
- Scourges a Solarite can either swap his Shardcarbine for free, or pay for a Splinter Pistol and another melee weapon. Of note, he cannot take a melee weapon and keep the Shardcarbine.
- Splinter Pods Assault 2 at 18 inches. Mounted exclusively on Skyboards.
- Beastmasters standard as a part of a Beastmaster Skyboard.
- Hellion everyone comes with them standard as part of their Skyboards.
- Splinter Rifles Rapid Fire, 24 inches. The standard Dark Eldar Gun.
- Kabalite Warriors all carry one as standard. Most effective in a transport.
- Kabalite Trueborn all carry one as standard, most should be exchanged for punchier guns.
- Reaver Jetbikes come with standard underslung Rifles, one in three can be exchanged for anti-tank guns. Useful to have, but not the reason you would bring Reavers.
- Venoms come with an underslung twin-linked Rifle, usually (read: Always unless you're silly) replaced with a Splinter Cannon.
- Razorwing Jetfighter comes with a standard twin-linked Rifle. Can be replaced with a Splinter Cannon, but not always worth the points.
Be aware that in the Realspace Raiders detachment doesn't actually allow you to take a Fortification, so if you want to take one you're gonna have to take an allied detachment with at least 1 HQ and 1 Troop choice.
- 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 in your deployment zone, 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. (This is your best friend for anti air. For free it can come with a quad-icarus lascannon and for another 25 points the void shield generator, if you take two (one with AA and one with the battle cannon) you now have something nigh-invincible that the enemy WILL want gone and give you the much needed AA)
Armor Penetrating notes
The following models have AP2/"ignore armor saves" melee attacks:
- Lelith Hesperax
- All Incubi
- Succubus with Archite Glaive
- Haemonculus with Scissorhand (Rending)
- Aberration or Acothyst with Scissorhand (Rending)
- Beastmaster Razorwing Flocks (Rending)
- Talos & Cronos (Smash)
- Reaver Jetbikes (Rending HoW)
Building your Army
- If you’re not giving your Archon his own retinue, put him in a squad of Incubi (do this anyway). 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 Shredder with the tip of a Blast Pistol (Because we use pistols so much)
- Scourges only come with one Haywire Blaster per box. To make another take the Heat Lance, lop off the top, and glue some warrior blade bits on. The Twin-linked Haywire Blaster barrels from the Talos / Cronos kit also fit nicely on the Dark Lance body for a cool snipery look.
- 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.
- Power From Pain: The Covens lack a lot of units to use it. Thus, it got a bit of a change-up to help the Coven Units, which tend to run a bit differently from the others with their stock FNP.
- Fearless (do not forget to Go to Ground on round 1)
- Replace Fearless with Zealot
- Eternal Warrior
Covenite Coterie Detachment
A radical shift from Champions of Fenris and Waaagh! Ghazghkull, this detachment does far more than just change up FOC. This one also locks in what you can pick to the following: Haemonculi, Urien, Wracks, Grotesques, transports, Talos, and Cronos. You are also locked into taking 2 Elites and 2 HQs, with options for 4 more HQ, 6 more Elites, and 4 HS slots. For following along, you get a re-roll on the new warlord traits and anyone within 12" of any unit in your army gets -1 Ld.
- Master Artisan: Talos and Cronos within 12" re-roll FNP rolls of 1.
- Master Regenesist: Warlord and the Grotesques he joins get IWND. OH FUCKING HELL YES.
- Master Symphoneus: +/-1 from Reserves. Not bad, but...not that astounding. I mean, the other book gives you re-rolls on everything meta.
- Master Epicurean: If your warlord dies from AP2/1/ID, you get d3 suicide victory points to troll around with. If you join a transport and get blasted by melta or flamers, then laugh at their confusion and rage as they begin strangling you from across the table. Especially if you use this against Fire Dragons that total it without blinking.
- Master of Apotheosis: Warlord and his Wrack squad get 4+ FNP, which is pretty cool.
- Master Nemesine: Warlord gets Preferred Enemy. A definite step up from the original WT with Hatred.
- Syndriq's Pump: The Ymgarl Factor for Haemonculi, you gain one power per turn, with options for spammage: Fleet, IWND, Poisoned (4+), or Rampage. Pick the one that doesn't belong and choose the other three (HINT: You can't grab Incubi). Funny thing is that the rules don't force you to take a different rule each turn or limit to once per game. Spam like fuck.
- Vexator Mask: A massive threat in challenges, this nerfs anyone in a challenge by -5 Initiative! Jeez, this is awesome! Sad thing is that Haemonculi are just not meant to be in challenges as most duelist HQs can handily deal with them and anything with Unwieldy (like a Powerfist/klaw or a Thunder Hammer) won't give a shit. But good against other eldar and Slaanesh characters who need their high initiative.
- Orbs of Despair: Special S1 AP2 grenades that inflict ID on wound. Expensive and risky to throw, but awesome to see working.
- Khaideshi Haemovores: You get d6 bonus S3 AP- attacks at I10 that gain no other rules and give you a bonus pile-in. Nothing too remarkable.
- The Panacea Perverted: Copied from Lady Malys' bedroom collection, this gives the user 4+ IWND. FUCK YES! As a bonus, it forces any poisoned attacks against him to wound on a 6, which makes him a total nightmare against other Dark Eldar or Nurgle armies
- The Nightmare Doll: A frighteningly expensive tool, this gives you a +1 on FNP. It also gets to negate the first ID wound you don't save, but breaks after that. Decent security, but if you're getting hit that hard by something, chances are that you're fucked anyway. It is however hilarious against models with rules like "6 to wound is ID" (use it against Kos'arro Khan and laugh hysterically)
To the Dark Eldar all life is equal - that is, equally worthless. These are all meant to be temporarily allied with, and then stabbed in the back when it's worthwhile. Except for Harlequins. Nobody fucks with Harlequins.
- 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 (for some reason...), 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 solid though not as great as they used to be, but twin-linked scatter lasers plus a shuriken cannon is still a reasonable transport wrecker. 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, for one troll-tastic option. Sure, you probably don't want to waste your allied HQ slot on a Spiritseer, but even a single unit of Wraithguard in Wave Serpents can make a huge difference. 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. Falcons, Fire Prisms and Night Spinners now come in squadrons - that's an efficient use of an HS slot to get long-range fire support with more staying power than a Ravager. Depending on your target, the Falcon's pulse laser/brightlance/shuriken cannon combination might even do better than three dark lances. Falcons get to do double-duty, too, schlepping around Fire Dragons, Dark Reapers or maybe even Blasterborn. There is no longer anything that prevents the Autarch's Reserves shenanigans from benefitting your army, so consider taking him to accompany your Reavers and help the Flyers/Deep Strike stuff come when you want them. Wraithknights and the Avatar are Lords of War now, so
they're pretty much out of the runningjust take another troop choice and your good to go. Howling Banshees no longer suck, since they ignore charging through terrain and the new Banshee Mask is made of win, but Incubi are deadlier and a little more durable, so it's kind of a toss-up. Crimson Hunters aren't bad at all, but they're not clearly superior to the Razorwing for anything other than air-to-air. Also, while taking Divination is usually a good choice, for Dark Eldar allies, it might be a good idea to grab Runes of Fate for your Farseer; The boosted range on things like Guide and Doom is important for hyper-mobile armies like Dark Eldar.
RISKY GORGONZOLA - Farseer on Jetbike with Windrider Jetbikes for ablative wounds, can be a terrible addition to most Dark Eldar forces. Rolling all your dice on Telepathy to gain Shrouding is amazing. All units within 6" gain Shrouded (never saw that coming). That means turn one your Warrior stuffed Raiders, are looking at a 2+ cover save on the first turn, and any turns involving Night Fighting, that can't be canceled by Flash Lights, Tau trickery or other Night Fighters (3+ cover save for everything else). It breaks down like this, Hunt from the Shadows (5+ cover save for Troops/6+ for non-Troops), Nightshield (Stealth), Shrouding (Shrouded). Risky tactic will involve you hugging your force around the Farseer. If it pays, drink your opponents tears, if not, well.....
- 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.
Supporting Arguments: Corsars are great and they fit the Dark Eldar playstyle very well, but other than access to Eldar vehicles (for which you should just bring Eldar) they don't offer you much that other armies can't do better. If you want assault, bring Harleuins. If you want tankiness, then as earler, bring Eldar. If you want to have Night Fighting EVERY TURN then bring Imperial Armour 11, a Corsair Prince and some Jetpack Troops in an allied Detachment. Oh, and a cup. You want a cup for your oponents tears.
- Harlequins: Now with their own codex, the harlequins can return as the "good" guys. They bring a fair amount to the table, with some nice tricks. Although they are comparable to your units, they are a little more durable and just as deadly - plus which, standard Troupes do the job your Wyches should be doing. They are also perfect as supports for your more squishy things, such as the new Shadowseer and her bag o' tricks, giving some real protection to your more vulnerable units and possibly giving -4LD when in 6" when used with the Armour of Misery and Mask of Secrets. Engage Troll face if you wound with a death jester, as non-Fearless units now take a morale check at -6(!)LD, then send them towards a unit for butchering. Yep, even sticks to Marines! Rinse. Repeat. Laugh like a maniac. Harlequins also work excellently with Haemonculi Covens, because the two armies complement each other and each covers the other's weaknesses. Opponent packed lots of bolters and flamers? Send Grotesques his way and leave your Troupes free to hit other targets. Take a Cast of Players Formation, give them a Haemonculus with Webway Portal for Death Jester damage at -5 and Psychic Shriek at -3.
For Titan Hunting, nothing in the game beats Wraith guard + Archon with Blaster and WWP.
One bit note going into this section: Dark Eldar may seem to be problematic allies due to the limited selection of Battle Brothers, but they very,very good at overcoming the distance restrictions. They can outpace anyone, or come in to play deepstriking, so don't pay that Desperate Allies shit no mind, OK? The Dark Eldar are great FRIENDS.
- Adepta Sororitas: Sisters aren't the fastest force in the galaxy, but they do pack some nasty horde shredding with their flamers, and Dominions can crunch any vehicle in the game with their cover-ignoring meltas. There are some options here, especially since Sisters do have a lot more staying power than your guys, but it's not the most efficient pairing. RIP fluff... than again think of those orgies.
- Black Templars: They're the same as Vanilla, although they aren't as effective since BT mostly prefer to RIP AND TEAR. Go with a different chapter tactic, as we don't need close combat units.
- Chaos Space Marines: The spikey ones offers anti-tank and cheap tarpits. Take Typhus with Plague Zombies or have some Chaos spawns (Perferable with the Mark of Nurgle- AH SHIT!!! GAAAAA- (BRRRLGRABRAGHABRRRRR))) act as a routine for the Sorcerer. Bikers can have two Meltaguns no matter what the size is, although it's better to take more since Jinking will make them snap fire on their next turn. Give them either the Mark of Nurgle or (I dare say it) Slaanesh with an Icon of Excess so they'll survive longer. Terminators with Combi-Meltas and a Chainfist can deep strike and eat a couple of tanks before they inevitably die. Or if you're looking for something to destroy light-medium tanks and a bit of anti-air, the Forgefiend doesn't disappoint.
- 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 happened in the fluff thought it bit the DE in the ass, but, hey, there are worse 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... (Definition of worship is performing a ritual to earn the attention of a god/deity. So performing torture(ritual)is worshipping Slaanesh. Every Dark eldar is said to hate he/she/it. They hate themselves too...)
- Imperial Guard: Tanks are good addition when you need something that can take a hit and survive: not something that is easily or cost-effectively found in DE codices. Plant Leman Russ Executioner or few Hydras to home objectives to snipe and/or keep airspace clear. Beware artillery and large-blasting Leman Russes since it is extremely easy to mistakenly scatter over and accidentally blow up your own Raiders/etc. All in all, IG is good ally to provide staying power and cheap, warm bodies to fill your home objectives. Just dont expect to see the earthshattering blast barrages from AM. Also also Infantry blobs and weapon teams combined with Company Command squad mean that you can order "Ignores Cover" to your blob, giving your army some well-needed ignores cover weapons to counter those pesky Venomthropes and Malanthropes.
- 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). 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?). Don't forget that a Riptide with the Heavy Burst Cannon and a Velocity Tracker is a pretty scary AA unit (12 Skyfiring Rending S6 shots? OW.) in addition to a fire magnet. 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...
6E Tactic that can work in 7E
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. Now comes with Deep-striking goodness for even more mobility.
Venoms: Fuck The Win
Simple list design, a single Haemonculus for HQ requirements, then get 3 units of minimum Blasterborn 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 Triple Dark Lance setup and Nightshields. After that you should probably get any of the following: Beastmasters 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. You have no idea how much this list rapes ork boy spam lists. Seriously, its completely ridiculous. The only disadvantage with this list build is kill points where it can be crap, but you don't have to worry about it in most games. You may also congratulate yourself on buying twelve vehicles with the same armour value as a birthday balloon and becoming That Guy.
- An Alternate Take
- The Court of the Archon can also take a Venom if its 5 models, bringing you up to 14 Venoms per force organisation chart. Kit your Archon with a Blaster and possibly Haywire Grenades if you want to do this.
- An Alternate Alternate Take
- Here are the real issues with this list.
- Dark Lances are not as good as everyone thinks they are. Yes, they lower 13 or 14 AV to 12. They are also only S8. This makes a Lance only slightly better at killing heavy vehicles than a Lascannon, and slightly worse at killing light vehicles. This does not mean they are bad, but Heat Lances and Haywire are so much better that if you aren't taking at least one unit of Scourges with Haywire Blasters or Heat Lances, you are doing it wrong. Splinter Cannon Scourges are great - just not when you're running the frankly ridiculous number of Venoms this tactic calls for. Use Scourges for AV here, because your Dark Lances aren't nearly as reliable.
- Ravagers have seen some serious nerfs over the years, culminating most recently in a paper boat that is more expensive and has lost Aerial Assault. Ravagers are now best used as Disintegrator Cannon barges - which, obviously, will be better against MEQ armies. The sad fact, though, is that anymore, Ravagers really aren't worth the points most of the time. They're a situational pick, and a better idea would be to field some allies if you're dead set on taking some Heavy Support options. But really, why bother? With six Troops slots, three Elites slots, and six objectively better Fast Attack slots if you're running Real Space Raiders (and why the fuck aren't you?), you can safely ignore the poor, forgotten Heavy Support section of Codex: Dark Eldar.
- Here are the real issues with this list.
- So here's a different take on the Venom Spam list (2000 points). Archon + Blaster + WWP (110 points). 3 units of 5 Trueborn + 4 Blasters + 1 Splinter Cannon, and a Venom with a Splinter Cannon for a Dedicated Transport (450 points). 6 units of 5 Warriors + 1 Blaster, and a Venom with a Splinter Cannon for a Dedicated Transport (720 points). 2 units of 6 Scourges with 4 Haywire Blasters/Heat Lances, tailored to your enemy (272 points). 1 unit of 5 Scourges with 4 Splinter Cannons (140 points). 1 unit of 6 Reavers + 2 Heat Lances + 2 Cluster Caltrops (148 points). 1 Razorwing + Splinter Cannon + Night Shields (155 points). The grand total, then, is 9 Venoms (Venom Spam, see?) in a very fast, very versatile, and very Deep Strike-y force that can take on literally any unit in the game if you use it right, all for 1995 points. Attach your Archon to one of your anti-vehicle Scourge squads, and you can Deep Strike exactly where you need to be with your WWP, ready to unleash a veritable shitstorm of anti-armor fire. Unless you are very, very unlucky, you will pop a tank in one turn. Having a sixth Scourge in each of your anti-vehicle units also gives you three more poisoned shots, which is helpful if you're transport hunting - doubly so if you took Haywire over Heat Lances. Your Razorwing provides air support, your Warriors provide DISTRACTION CARNIFEXes for your Trueborn while also bringing rapid-fire poison, and your Reavers can zip around the battlefield wreaking havoc wherever they can. Something to note about Reavers is that not only are they deadly when kitted properly, people are scared shitless of them (probably due to 6E's Bladevanes). If the Reavers aren't murdering something or tying it up in CC, your opponent will most likely do everything in his/her power to wipe them off the field. This is good. So if you're going to try Venom Spam, try this list instead. I guarantee it'll work better for you.
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 (court optional), a Succubus with an Archite Glaive to give TEQs something to worry about, a kabalite squad with a dark lance, a squad of six reaver jet bikes with two heat lances and cluster caltrops, a squad of hellions with a stun claw for a possible ID dickpunch and a squad of scourges with haywire weapons. 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. 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 be performing turn 3 deep striking to get FNP to lessen the sting of overwatch while Haywire Grenades on the Hekatrix will give tanks second thoughts. Using this as a Raiders from Realspace detachment makes this army really lulzy. 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?
Do it at your peril.
7th 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.
Let The Poison Flow Through You(r enemies' veins)
A possible idea for anyone who decides to go multi-force-org-chart with their Deldar. You crazy Crazy person, we salute you.
- Take a detachment of Realspace Raiders:
- HQ Can be a single Lhamaen footslogging in the background for purposes of being cheap. (10 Points)
- Troops will be two non-upgraded units of Kabalite Warriors jumping in Venoms with Splinter Cannons. (210 Points)
- Elites will be three units of Kabalite Trueborn, each unit taking four Splinter Cannons and then jumping in Venoms with their own Splinter Cannons. (510 Points)
- Compulsory Fast Attack could be a single Venom with Splinter Cannons (Possible as somewhere to put Your cheapskate HQ). (65 Points)
This comes in at 795 points and gives you two Venoms pumping out anything from 9 to 24 Poison shots a turn, three Venoms Pumping out anything from 21 to 38 Poison shots per turn and a Single Venom peppering another 4 to 13 (Depending Where your HQ is) Poison shots per turn.
Clearly this would fall apart against armour and would not be ideal for Assault in any way shape or form. What it may be good for is swamping hordes with poison, what with your combined firepower of 175 dice in an optimal shooting phase.
Given the low points cost, another, slightly more anti-vehicle or assaulty, detachment could be expected to fit on the table alongside this spiky, venemous mess. More Dark Eldar, perhaps even some of those delicious formations the Haemonculous Covens book offers us. Harlequins could also work well for assault and if we want psyking, then Craftworld Eldar would be the way to go.
For going against vehicles Ravagers are no longer the kings of anti tank. 4 Haywire Blaster Scourges are point for point the best vehicle poppers in your army, as you can expect to strip two hull points a turn from any vehicle, armor be damned. Against anything with a toughness value just overload 'em with poison fire. A venom loaded with 5 Kabalites can expect to inflict 7 wounds on anything T3 and above for the low low price of only 105 points. A venom with 5 trueborn with 2 splinter cannons will kill those pesky guard/cultist/gaunt blobs. Against MEQs an Archon in a unit of Incubi with either a Huskblade or Agonizer will wreck faces. Against TEQs a Succubus with an Archite Glaive in a unit of Incubi will similarly wreck faces, probably killing 5 Termies barring invuln saves. You are a highly specialized highly mobile army. The trick is finding what works for your playstyle and local gaming community.
Things you should note about 7th edition
- Assaults are still random, however charging through cover has become more forgiving. This is not anything close to enough for Dark Eldar assault armies to become good. Stick to shooting.
- On the bright side, you can now take Harlequin allies to do what your Wyches should have been doing all along. Yay. Also on the subject of allies, Banshee Masks now cancel out overwatch. You mad, Tau?
- Pinning cancels out overwatch, Dark Eldar's Craftworld Battle Brothers have many pinning weapons and you have leadership shenanigans. Hello there, Tau player, heh heh heh...
- 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. Though Night Fighting was nerfed hard, taking some of the edge off DE Night Vision.
- Also, alpha striking while going second is safer now due to Nightfighting and the more forgiving deep strike rules.
- Using Jink saves causes the vehicle to fire snap shots in the next shooting phase. However, this doesn't affect the embarked unit. Put Night Shields on your Raiders and Jink like there's no tomorrow for the delicious 3+ cover save, protecting the squishy troops within. (**The new FAQ states that a unit embarked on a transport that Jinks does not count as having Jinked.)
- The new damage table makes it significantly harder to explode a vehicle. This might sound good at first given how many transports dark eldar armies tend to run, but it's not. Your boats still get glanced to death by bolters, and enemy tanks are harder to kill. Worse, your transports are open-topped so flamers will barbeque your infantry through the transport anyway.
- Ignores Cover weapons are your archnemesis. Besides Tau, an army of particular note are the Grey Knights and their Interceptor/Cleansing Flame/Incinerator shenanigans. Beware: Grey Knights are basically faster than you (teleporting and deep striking) and on turn 1 they can deep strike all of their dudes onto your paper boats without scattering if you deployed close enough (e.g. not on the edges of the table). They will annihilate you in one turn of shooting/psychic burninating. Play smart, stay the hell away, and unleash the poison storm.
- Kabalite Raiding Party (Codex): An archon has to take a court, a unit of Incubi, Scourges, and Hellions each, a Ravager, and 6 Kabalite Warriors squads. Everyone but the Archon needs a Raider or Venom
- If the Archon's the Warlord, he gives a +1 bonus to all PFP. During the first turn (and all Night Fighting turns after), the Warriors gain a 5+ cover bonus while the rest gains a 6+ cover bonus from night fighting natural bonus, and they can re-roll for their codex Warlord Trait.
- Upgrade any or all of your Kabalites to Trueborn for a modest sum thanks to the FAQs. Blasters and Cannon just got more useful.
- Purge Coterie (Start Collecting!): An Archon takes a Raider with a squad of Kabalites, and they have a unit of Reavers backing them up. The Archon can pick an enemy unit within Line of Sight (distance is irrelevant as long as the Archon can see) at the start of a turn, and all of the units in this formation gain Preferred Enemy against the target. Have a critical target that needs to go down? Look no further, just send the Purge Coterie at them.
- Also (arguably) can do the same Trueborn trick the Raiding Party can do. That shared entry has its perks.
- Carnival of Pain (Apocalypse) - A Haemonculi Ancient/Urien must take 3+ Talos or Chronos. He can also opt for more Haemonculi, Wracks, or Grotesques.
- Enemies within 12" of the engines get -1T, which can be helpful when you mass up your fire. Also, fellow Spiky Elves with Pain Tokens within 12" of any member get to raise their FNP by 1 (Usually 4+). If they got 3 tokens, it's upped by 2 (usually to 3+). If you leave the engines out front and get the Haemonculi a safe distance away, it'll do more to help your forces.
- Dark Olympiad (Apocalypse) - A Succubus/Lelith has to take 2+ units of Wyches and 1+ units of both Hellions and Reavers. They then have choices for Beastmasters and Bloodbrides (though who would want these?)
- The first bonus is that the entire army gets to roll for another drug (which stays at two even if you bring the Duke), which the beastmasters can now bring along. Also, if anyone here gets a pain token, then they can choose to give someone else within 24" a token as well, just to keep the party going. Seriously, if you're taking Dark Eldar to Apoc, this is the one you want.
- Kabalite Web Strike (Apocalypse) - An Archon must take 1+ squads of Incubi, 1+ Ravagers, and 2+ squads of warriors, with options for Trueborn. Everybody must be in Raiders or Venoms.
- The lifeblood of this unit is their mandatory use of a special Arterial Webway Portal, represented by a Large Blast. It can be deployed outside of the enemy's deployment zone and can take vehicles, hence all the transports. They also get to re-roll missed hits the turn they arrive. This one can be kind of funny, since you can place your Webway portal (which, I remind you, is impassible terrain) ANYWHERE and can therefore use it as a giant obstacle to keep your opponent from getting downfield. Oh and I guess some truly nasty turn 1 Alpha Striking is good too.
- Ravager Titan Hunters (Apocalypse) - 3-5 Ravagers, meant to kill Titans.
- When using the Arrowhead pattern, any Ravagers within 6" of the leader get Shrouded, which helps them survive a little longer against superheavies. The leader also gets a special ray that always fires first with 36", S4 AP-, and Assault 1. This weapon literally allows anyone else that fires on the thing it hits to ignore any force fields for the rest of the turn. Quite literally, this is a markerlight powered by torture and drugs.
- Sickle Squadron (Apocalypse) - 3-5 Razorwings.
- These jets get a special Sicklewing Field. During movement, these jets can fire a non-vehicle enemy that passed under them with d3 S8 AP3 hits per member it moved under. Among those wounds, you can allocate one wound per Razorwing they went under, which will give them plenty of breathing room to fire.
- The Murderflock (Apocalypse) - You need at least two squads of both Scourges and Hellions at max sizes.
- This is an ambush unit, plain and simple. The Unit starts in reserves and, once one unit Deep Strikes without scattering, the others can join in within 6" of that first unit without scattering. Meanwhile everyone else takes 2d6 S4 AP5 hits with Rending and, for every group of 5 unsaved wounds, you get a pain token for every unit (Meaning dealing 11 wounds gives everyone 3 tokens).
- Storm of Blades (Apocalypse) - An Archon can take 3+ units of the following: Reavers, Scourges, Hellions, Razorwing Beastmasters, Warriors, and Trueborn. The latter two (and the Archon) have to be in transports, and if Raiders are taken, they need Aethersails.
- Any unit may elect to gain the Skyfire USR at the start of the controlling player's shooting phase.
- This formation is meant for speed and as such, nobody can voluntarily disembark or go to ground. If they are forced to disembark for any reason, they have to give up a Pain Token or test for pinning if they have none. However, everyone can use Skyfire during their shooting phase. The raiders can also fire at the same time as they use the sails, and they can can move Flat-Out afterwards.
- Jump Shoot Jump Sail-Raiders are awesome. This cannot be understated.
- Take Trueborns in Venoms. Trueborn can quite effectively drop a flier, the Venom can drop FMCs. Or alternatively mount them up in Raiders with sails and use the Flat Out move to hide back into cover after shooting. Give the Raider a lance to make most of its skyfiring capabilities.
- For a comically expensive build that taps in at over a thousand points for three Raiders with optional Skyfire, perfect Deep Strikes, Jump Shoot Jump stupidity and Dakka for Days; Take three Units of 6 Kabalite Trueborn, 2 Dark Lances and 4 Blasters in each. These each buddy up with an Archon carrying a Blaster and Webway Portal. The Trueborn take Raider's as Dedicated Transports, kitting them out with the compulsory Advanced Aethersails and adding on Night Shields and a Dark Lance. This totals at 356 points per Raider, but you effectively get a skyfiring Ravager with perfect Deep Strikes and five extra S8 AP2 Lance shots at half range. For slightly more reasonable prices; drop the two non-compulsory Archons and just fly the Raiders on normally.
- Grotesquerie - A Haem/Urien joins 2 Grotesque squads.
- A cheap team that gives a new variant of Combat Drugs. Now the hulks get either: +1S, +1T, Fleet, Shred, Rage, 4+ FNP. All of them have their days, but that FNP and Fleet sound DELICIOUS.
- Scarlet Epicureans - Haemy, Cronos, and 2 Wrack squads all teamed up.
- A shocking unit, this gives all Wracks within 12" of the Haem Precision Strike AND +1 on PFP (Before factoring the Master of Pain, so attaching gives you IWND by Turn 2), meaning immediate Fearless. In addition, if the Haemy is Warlord, then he automatically gets the WT giving suicidal victory lols. Pretty clear what you're supposed to be doing with everything.
- Scalpel Squadron - 2 Wrack Squads in Venoms. Wait, that sounds way too easy...
- Its simplicity belies its goal as alpha strikers. If they win First Blood, they win d3 VP. The issue is that they DS on turn 1, meaning that they need to make sure that the thing they kill is not going to take too long to steal the kill.
- "Alpha strikers" doesn't quite cover it. Because these automatically arrive at the beginning of your first turn, it's entirely possible to leave the rest of your army in reserve and give the opponent the first turn, thereby forcing them to waste a turn shooting at precisely jack shit.
- This is basically the DE version of Drop Pod Assault, except you aren't forced to hold half of them back for a full turn in exchange for no deepstrike insurance.
- Its simplicity belies its goal as alpha strikers. If they win First Blood, they win d3 VP. The issue is that they DS on turn 1, meaning that they need to make sure that the thing they kill is not going to take too long to steal the kill.
- Corpsethief Claw - 5 Talos in a single squad. Their first bonus is they gain Scout. 6" of additional movement after deployment helps alleviate their mediocre mobility. The other bonus is that for every non-vehicle unit they destroy in Assault they gain a VP.
- This formation grants you a Dark Eldar deathstar. 15 T7 3+ wounds with FnP and the ability to redeploy that advance toward the enemy like a giant wall of fleshy doom. With 5 TL Haywire Blasters (fairly expensive but recommended upgrade) they own Vehicles (particularly transports) and rip and tear everyone who gets in their way with S7 AP2 attacks at WS5 and Init 4. Have to fight a Walker? TL Haywire Overwatch and 5 S10 AP2 attacks with re-rolls to pen. The only things that the Corpsethief Claw is vulnerable to is massed Poison fire (so, other DE), Grav-guns and Instant Death. Other than that, feel free to advance across the board and wipe the enemy out; this formation is great for competitive play as it can punish extreme MSU by racking up VP for science. You should strongly consider starting on the table and using Scout for the pregame move rather than Outflank, so you get a turn 2 charge rather than turn 3+. A Void Shield doesn't hurt either.
- Dark Artisan - A Haemonculus, Talos and Cronos join together in a single unit. The Haemonculus cannot leave the unit, and no other character can join it. However, doing this gives the engines +1 WS/I. If he's Warlord, he also gains the FNP re-rolls OF 1, which becomes useful for the retinue.
- The real advantage to this formation is that it counters one of the major disadvantages of either Pain Engine, that they're slow as fuck. You want to get your torture devices in the fight? Grab a Webway Portal and you can drop these guys in your opponent's backfield or just start denying objectives.
- Give the Cronos the Soul Probe and the Haemonculus the Nightmare Doll, stick the Haemonculus up front and watch him eat all those hits at T7, then take his saves at 3+ Feel No Pain. Oh someone fired a lascannon at it? Look Out Sir, clownbucket!
- Tired of slogging across the board? That Haemonculus can still take a Webway Portal for some precision deep striking hilarity...
- Covenite Fleshcorps - Haem joins 3 Wracks with Raiders, but doesn't NEED to join a Raider.
- A basic formation that has a main goal of protecting the Wrack with the Haem's PFP boost spreading to all members within 12". This also gives him and the Wracks he joins the 4+ FNP WT if he is Warlord, which is a good bonus.
- Carnival of Pain - Every formation in the book slapped together. All of them.
- Aside from everything coming at once (Phrasing!), Urien (or his Formation's replacement) spreads his PFP boost to the ENTIRE FORMATION. Everyone out of a vehicle also gets to re-roll 1's to-wound in combat.
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