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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 12, 2010

GWvsJohn talks Dark Eldar: Troops

The Dark Eldar are coming/here and GWvsJohn is going all in. I couldn't get excited to collect and play BA or Vanilla Marines and for a long time I couldn't figure out why. Then it hit me. I'm a villain at heart. Darth Vader, the Nazgul, FOX-HOUND, I always find myself more drawn to the bad guys. They're just cooler. In 40k, this should mean Chaos Space Marines, but they suck. Nids, Orks, Crons? Too mindless. I want cunning, evil bad guys. I've always found the Dark Eldar interesting, but they've been a back shelf army for so long. Not anymore. They're back and I'm on the bandwagon. Since this is a new army for me and a new codex in general, I'm going to go through it step by step and post my thoughts, building a cohesive picture of the army, how it plays and prospective lists. When better 40k minds do the same (there are many, but Stelek and Kirby are my personal faves), I reserve the right to change my mind. We'll start with Troops, since they're the basis of any army and needed for victory in 2/3 of missions. This post will analyze the two basic troops choices and the two dedicated transports.

Kabalite Warriors
The "standard" Dark Eldar troop. What do we get? BS4 and 4+ poison rapid fire gun, so good anti-infantry regardless of toughness. I5, a very underrated stat in CC. T3, 5+ so we fear flamers of any sort (except silly hand flamers). One special and one heavy/10, pretty standard. Overall, I think you get a lot for what they cost, just avoid flamers. I see 3 ways to run them:

5 man, special, transport. If it's a Venom you get the cheapest scoring possible with ok anti-troop. If it's a Raider you get the DE version of Razorspam. Open-topped means they can fire the special fairly often.
10 man, special, heavy, Raider. A scoring unit with duality. I think it will see a lot of action in a variety of DE lists.
20 man, 2 Dark lances. Over 200 for 2 Dark Lances? I'm not impressed. 20 guardsmen aren't that hard to kill. Still, I've seen worse objective campers.

Now the question of what weapons. Special is easy I think. I'll take an 18" Lance over a 12" small blast any day. The Blaster gives the unit duality, the Shredder gives it nothing. Heavy is more difficult. For foot, Lance, obvs. For the 10 man, it depends on your expectations I think. If you expect the Raider to stay alive for a while, the Cannon increases the anti-troop output and range, keeping duality with the Raider's Lance. If you expect the Raider to die, the Dark Lance makes the survivors a threat. Personally, I'm going Lance despite the extra cost. Forcing a few extra saves doesn't have anywhere near the potential a s8 Lance does.

Finally, is the Sybarite worth it? I'm torn. 3-4 I5 agonizer attacks is pretty good, and without any special morale rules, Warriors are very vulnerable in CC (ie when they break, they break for good). +1Ld is very, very good as well. I'd really like a haywire grenade option as the squad gets pwned by Walkers. The armor option is worthless, the grenade option is overpriced and the Blast Pistol is interesting but probably not a great buy. Overall, I think he's worth it, but if points are tight, those 30 can be dropped.

The CC choice, good to see these girls in Troops, gives the army more flavor. 1 extra point gives you +1A (double ccw), +1I (although the jump from 4 to 5 is much more significant than the jump from 5 to 6), Combat Drugs, 4++ in CC, Haywire grenade option and a bunch of shitty "special" CCW. You lose a point of save (no big deal, flamers kill you both) and all shooting. The agonizer Hekatrix is mandatory, as is the assault/defense grenade option (cheaper for the better CC troop, oddly). Haywires I'm torn on. Without them, the unit is Dread-lock bait, but they're kinda pricey. I'd lean toward yes for an assault unit, but no for a defensive unit. Wyches have a place in most lists I think as an anti-super unit (think Vanguard in more revealing armor). They make a great escort for your HQ (I can easily see an Archon fitting here), so 9-10 in a Raider or 5-15 out of a portal are a nice unit.

Which to choose? For fluff and models, I think it's the Warriors hands down. Rules-wise, I think they both have their place. Warriors put out decent shooting for their cost and will probably be low-priority, making them good to score while Wyches can tie up units like TH/SS Termies, Sang Guard and the like which can tear through the rest of your army. I like a list that has both. Dark Eldar troops are pretty good and fragile, so I think most lists will bring more than 2 and both Warriors and Wyches have a place.

Now transports:

Took a slight points increase and all it gained was the option to become more expensive. Weapons, keep the Dark Lance. Other upgrades? Flicker is mandatory. I like the Night Shields for your expensive, CC Raiders (Archons, Incubi). They should be hiding behind Warrior/Wrack/Wych Raiders for a 4+ and that extra 6" can make a big difference when you're armor 10 open topped. None of the other upgrades jump out at me. So 55 to 70 and a perma-5++? I kinda like it. I doubt you'll see so many 10+ Raider lists, but 6 might be a common number.

Only 5 capacity, but comes with a Flickerfield standard. I don't see any CC unit that hits hard enough at 5 men to make this a Harlie/Incubi delivery vehicle. The best (and probably only) use is as a blast-car for a 5 man Trueborn squad. The 2nd splinter cannon is a +/- upgrade in my opinion. Gives the Venom/Blaster-born unit duality, but is an easy drop if the points are tight.

Overall, I'm happy so far. The Dark Eldar take the whole fragile but deadly thing to an extreme. Their Troops have a decent shooty options and a decent CC option, something few lists have. Their transports are a little on the pricey end (or, more accurately, Rhinos/Razorbacks/Chimerae are a little on the cheap end), but they put out a lot of firepower and you control the flow of the game with their speed. I can see a lot of lists using all 6 troop slot, which is refreshing. I would leave to any comments on my opinions and fresh opinions out there. It's going to take a while to fully digest the book, this is just my first try.

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