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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

GWvsJohn talks Dark Eldar: HQ, part 1, the Archon

Deep down, despite all our talk of utility and FOC swapping, we all want a killy HQ. The Dark Eldar are lucky enough to actually have one. The problem with most CC HQ choices is cost and while an Archon will usually get above 100 points, he starts cheap and his upgrades are appropriately priced (ie, if you pay a lot, you get a lot). Let's start with stats. I7 is amazing. With his plasma grenades, you'll be striking first against almost everyone, which is very important for a T3 character. WS7 means he hits on 3+ most of the time and unlike many HQ, he can actually make good use of that crazy BS7. S3 is garbage, but he has many ways to ignore or mitigate it. W3 is standard HQ stuff and 4 base attacks is ok, but not amazing. 5+ save is terrible, but he's a Dark Eldar, it's sorta their thing.

As for upgrades, he has a ton of choices and, amazingly, I think every single one is (almost) a viable option. I'll run through each as they appear in the book and give a quick opinion, then gives some sample builds/recommendations.

Venom blade - cheap 2+ poison can be a very, very good choice. Yes, it means no power weapon, but it makes your S3 go away and you terrify MC. I like it a lot.

Blast pistol - a very decent pistol. The +1A for extra CCW is tempting, but there are better shooting options.
Power weapon - the worst choice. For 5 points more, you get an Agonizer. 4+ "poison" is worth 5 points on a power weapon.

Blaster - seriously? A real Blaster? Umm, yes please? Take it every time. The equivalent option would be a SM captain with a meltagun. If that option existed, we'd probably see more SM captains.
Agonizer - same as before and still an excellent choice.
Electrocorrosive whip - I know VT2 likes them, and I think they're decent. However, I think the fake poison on the Agonizer is better than stopping attacks for the same cost and if you have points, the Huskblades ability is better if you go the non-poison route.

Huskblade - ID is good. S3 is bad. Expensive, but a good option.

That's weapons. I think Blaster/Agonizer is the best choice. For cheapness, Venom blade/Blaster is probably my second favorite. Huskblade/Blaster is the priciest and has some limitations. You can counter some of them with options below, but that only increases the cost. Still, like I said above a fully decked out Husk Archon is scary and very good for the cost.

More options, yay!

Haywire grenades - if you guys haven't learned from the BroLo battle report Dreads are my nemesis. I think you need these to avoid being locked down by a Rifleman

Ghostplate armor - 4+/6++ is bad, but your Shadowfield is going to fail at some point and 4+/6++ crushes 5+. I think it's a very good choice, but not a must-have (like the Blaster)

Combat drugs - I think if you're taking something that relies on your S (like the Huskblade) or you have the Duke, I'd bring them. If you're rocking an Agonizer, you have a 1/6 chance of it being worthless.
Soul-trap - doubling your S after an IC or MC kill is pretty sweet. I think it's a must-have if you're rocking the Husk and synergizes well with ID.

Djin blade - what's this, a weapon in the options list? Interesting. I wonder if I can exploit that (quick answer: yes). I hope it doesn't get FAQ'd. +2 attacks is sweet, 1/6 to hit yourself is bad, but you still need to wound and you get your Shadowfield and you still get to attack unlike some other self-mutilating weapons (screw you CSM)

Clone field - a very interesting piece of kit. Not quite as cheap as it seems, because Ghostplate becomes mandatory. I'd consider it in a Huskblade IC/MC hunter type Archon, but getting mixed up with even a Tactical Squad becomes scarier with the Clone over the Shadow. So, not terrible, provides variety, might be useful in some builds, but overall, worse than the Shadowfield.

Phantasm grenade launcher - he already has plasma, and DE should almost always be charging. Pass. One of the few almost useless options.

Shadowfield - same as before, still awesome. I'd say it's the 2nd most important/must include options after the Blaster.

Webway portal - same as the Haemonculus option. I think the Haemmy is a better carrier, but if you need another portal, your Archon can do it.

That's a long list of options and I only count 2 bad ones (PW and grenades). Now I'll run through some builds (from cheapest to priciest) that I think can be viable in a competitive list. A quick note, any build which doesn't rely 100% on poison or set wound roll should consider combat drugs, especially if you're planning on running him with Wyches. I won't include drugs in any of the builds below, but keep this is mind. Haywire grenades are also an option for any build and should be taken based on how much you fear dreads. I'm probably bring them on most builds. Finally, Ghostplate is a worthwhile, but not mandatory upgrade for any build with a Shadowfield. I'm +/- on it and will probably leave it at home more often than not.

Simple - venom blade, blaster, shadowfield - brings true duality and since rate of fire is the new AP, the venom blade will force a lot of saves.

Efficient - blaster, agonizer, shadowfield - scares everything on the field. A very, very good build. Will probably see a lot of play in my lists.

Exploit special - venom blade, blaster, djinn blade, shadowfield, soul-trap - 4 2+ poison or 6 S3 PW attacks let you choose the best option every combat round. A true CC beast. Ideally, you can finish off an IC/MC early with the venom and then the soul-trap kicks in and the djinn really shines. It's quite possible djinn as "wargear" and not a weapon will be errata'd, so don't get too attached. Until then, I think this is the best choice.

Blinged out - blaster, huskblade, soul-trap, shadowfield - everyone has probably heard about this guy already. The huskblade is a scary weapon, but S3 can be a real downer and the soul-trap is hardly reliable. If you can hold out of CC until that 2nd pain token, or really try and activate the soul-trap precombat (blaster at a lone IC, yummy) then he is a rockstar. Probably takes a little more thought than some builds.
I'll go over the Court in a later post. Short answer, as is, they suck. Questions and comments always appreciated.

Note: Kirby, please add an amazing picture and delete this line :) I cannot delete! Way to post 2 hours after me :P.

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