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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

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Dark Eldar Mech MSU - 3rd ed Lance spam re-vitalised

So we all know what old DE used to look like. You'd spam Blasters and DLs in HQ/Elites/Troops on units and Raiders and then use your Ravagers for anti-infantry where disentegrators were ridiculously good. You'd have a lot of anti-tank, anti-infantry, good mobility and a fair amount of infantry and vehicles on the table. The new codex killed that specific style of list though as disentegrators were nerfed and lances become more expensive overall. However, you can still bring a bunch of lances to the table whilst having a balanced list using some of the new units and rather than rely on disentegrators, we have poison, templates and blasts to call upon.

So what we are trying to do with this list is get as many vehicle hulls on the table as possible (12 ish) whilst having an extensive amount of anti-infantry and anti-tank akin to the old 3rd edition list. Rather than mirroring it directly (which leads to a bad list) we need to utilise the changes in the codex to our advantage. This is going to seem like an odd list in that it doesn't take advantage too much of Power from Pain, Combat Drugs or have much combat ability. Rather it plays very much like the older list but with more options and general killing power.  We also have the issue of DE vehicles being relatively expensive in relation to their survivability. Although they can put out horrendous firepower, AV10 open-topped only goes so far so the new flickerfields and layered screening will be important to getting the best from this list.

So we're going to start with our Troops. We've got some options here but let's stick with min-sized Warrior squads. Unfortunately we can't take DL with smaller squads which means our squads are going to be running around with Blasters because GW doesn't like Xenos :P. In case you haven't noticed yet, you cannot buy a transport for a squad if that squad cannot actually fit into said transport. So no 10 man squads on foot with DL and buying a Venom and no 20 man squads on foot with DLs and any transports. Lame but that's GW...; hopefully this will be errata'd but don't get your hopes up. So yes, blaster Warriors. We'll also add a blast pistol Syabrite to improve our reliability when the Warriors are called upon. Keeping them 5 strong makes them weak but more spammable and allows Venoms which crucially put out a lot of posion. Compared to a 10 man Warrior squad in a Raider we have roughly equal firepower for less points. These set us back 150 points each and we'll take six of them giving us 72 poisoned shots at 36" on the move, 6 scoring targets and 12 point blank lance shots if needed. This sets us back a solid 900 points and we don't have much ranged anti-tank at all.

The obvious answer to this is ravagers but the problem with that is anti-tank infantry. In the end Ravagers are pure anti-tank and not much else. Instead we'll run with Razorwings with flickerfields and night shields. They are pretty expensive for an AV10 vehicle but aren't open-topped, still have two dark lances and pack 4 large blasts. Suddenly your anti-infantry is looking very impressive. Three of these sets you back 495 points and we've got a lot of anti-infantry out there atm but no cover busting so we're relying on torrent. Time to add to the anti-tank aspect.

We're going to be pretty tight on points so we're going to be keeping the squads small and pack as many weapons in as possible. We'll start with Trueborn and put them in Raiders with flickerfields and night shields. This gives us another vehicle and importantly another DL. Trueborn can take up to four specials or two heavies and we are going with heavies here as we need more long-ranged anti-tank as the Warriors have our last-ditch effort covered. DLs are expensive on Trueborn but being able to fit two in a small squad is worth it. Let's take them at 4 men with two DLs and a Raider then which sets us back 178 points. Expensive but three lances with an invul save which can split fire so not too bad but I don't think we're going to be able to get three into the list and actually use the rest of our points well so we're only going to take two. This leaves us just under 250 points to play with and we still need an HQ which means we're going to need to shave some points. We also have issues with cover busting even though we've got a ton of poison and large blasts.

Let's re-visit the Troops then and take a Haemonculus. This opens up Wracks as an option who can gain liquifiers. Joy. Two tiny squads of Wracks with a liquifier and a Raider w/flickerfield provides us with another solid scoring unit (T4, FNP), ranged anti-tank and some cover busting and importantly saves us 40 points in comparison to the blaster Warriors. Taking two of these squads gives us enough points to buy some significant support in Fast Attack whilst filling a niche in the army.

We've now got 279 points to play with, 3 FA slots, 1 HQ and an Elites. We can always add another Trueborn DL squad and then get a buffer HQ(s) but more squads with guns is what we are after. So let's go with some Fast Attack and we'll revert to two of my favorites; Reavers and Scourges. Both of these units can take a variety of neat weapons and importantly heat lances. For this list we're going to go with Scourges as we can get 2 guns per 5 models rather than 2 per 6. Why heat lances? AP1. We've got a bunch of anti-tank already with 14 lances and 8 blasters/pistols but it's all lance based; getting some AP1 in there will be very beneficial in dealing with the vehicle damage chart. Scourges also have the benefit of deep-striking. Although they don't have any reliable means of coming in or limiting scatter, this added flexibility gets them the nod over Reavers even though Reavers have better anti-infantry and mobility. They can however be added in but points need to be tweaked. Regardless, 5 Scourges with 2 heatlances sets us back 134 points so we've got enough points for two squads and a bit left over. Add a liquifier to the Haemonculus and we're set!

Let's see what the list has turned out to be...

Haemonculus w/Liquifier
2x4x Trueborn w/2x Dark Lances, Raider w/flickerfields, night shields
2x3x Wracks w/Liquifier, Raider w/flickerfields
4x5x Kabalite Warriors w/blaster, Syabrite w/blast pistol, Venom w/2x splinter cannons
2x5x Scourges w/2x heat lances
3x Razorwings w/flickerfields, night shields

Totals: 1999 points
45 infantry
11 vehicles

Not as many vehicles as we'd initially have liked but a lot of firepower. Compared to the old 3rd ed style DE list we've got less vehicles but they are more survivable with flickerfields. Less lances but more anti tank overall (21 lances to 14 but 21 anti-tank guns to 26) and a lot more anti-infantry with 12 large blasts, 3 templates and poisoned weaponry. However, compared to the old codex list a lot of our units are pretty high on duality with only the Trueborn lacking in that area (mostly anti-tank). And importantly, there are a ton of changes we can do.

Scourges can become Reavers, all Troops Wracks which saves enough points for another Elite or Fast Attack, multiple Haemons and increasing Wrack sizes for tarpits, change HS to a mix of Ravager/Bomber/Razorwing for increased anti-tank or anti-infantry (depending on rest of list), Lances on Scourges, Blasters on Trueborn, etc. And that is the mark of a good codex, even using a 'netlist' there are a ton of options to personalise it to tastes whilst still maintaining a good list.

So, problems with the list? Like all DE, they are fragile and although our vehicles are pretty survivable since with flickerfields and a lot of nightshields, when they go down our small infantry inside won't be liking us either and on average we're going to lose a model for every 6 who is inside a transport that explodes. That's part of being Dark Eldar but we've only got 45 infantry so not doing too flash there. This is of course compensated for by a lot of firepower and mobility but we aren't taking advantage of Pain tokens. Any unit which gets them is basically a bonus but the majority of our infantry killing is going to come from the Razorwings and Venoms hopefully (though the Liquifiers will also be of obvious use). This heightens our infantry vulnerability as our guys aren't going to get FNP anytime soon. We also don't have any good combat units or tarpits. Whilst the Wracks would make great tarpits, they are small in squad size (that's an option if you wish), otherwise combat units will generally roll right through our army. This means appropriate movement, blocking and sacrificing will be important to make sure your units don't get mowed down in quick succession. Again, this is mitigated by your significant firepower and nightshields but DE can fold very quickly when mistakes are made.

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