Kirb your enthusiasm!


"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, December 28, 2010

Armies in 5th: Dark Eldar Part 5: Close Combat

Dark Eldar in the past have primarily been a shooting army (see old 3rd ed DL lance spam) even though they’ve always been identified as the ‘evil’ close combat army of the 40k world. Things like Shadowfield, Wyches, Incubi, Beastmasters, Talos, etc. have all created the fluffy image of DE being a combat army. Whilst this isn’t the full picture the new codex actually allows such a concept to be possible. Whilst an assault oriented army with no shooting just isn’t good, Dark Eldar are quite capable of fielding an assault based army with enough shooting and anti-tank to make it viable. The question is, how do you balance this within your army lists?

This is a question you come across with every army list so isn’t exactly unique to Dark Eldar but I’ve noticed a lot of lists either focus so much on assault units that their army is weak, assault is pretty much ignored (not a bad thing) or used as a deterrent (again, not a bad thing). This is not to say DE cannot make good assault lists but I think there is some confusion in relation to how DE assault forces work. DE are a highly aggressive army by nature. They are both a glass cannon and need to kill things to get stronger (Power from Pain) which both endears and repulses the DE combat army from wars of attrition. This is I think where a lot of the issues come in; how to use the DE assault force and what units to use for what roles.

Dark Eldar are generally well endowed for CC. Even without rules like Power from Pain and Combat Drugs, Dark Eldar generally have high WS and Initiative and a good number of attacks. Even the basic Warrior is WS4/I5. This is again a prime example of the glass cannon nature of Dark Eldar; they hit hard and fast but due to generally low T and Sv, can’t take much back. This is obviously improved by FNP from Power from Pain but with combat units you need to be aggressive to access this. Before we go any further though it’s important to point out DE don’t have any true rock units. Whilst Wyches are great tarpits with 4++ and FNP and Incubi are pretty survivable with 3+/FNP, no DE unit except Beastmasters is really capable of dishing out damage to everything and taking a ton of damage in return. Unlike armies like other armies which can simply throw a unit forward in an assault army and generally expect it to survive no matter the circumstances, DE have separate units for different jobs in terms of offensive and defensive assault roles.

So…, GW has done a wonderful job in creating a codex with a ton of options not only in general builds but within those builds as well. Every FoC is stacked with choices to do nearly anything you want and most units mix very well with each other to create both effective foot, hybrid and mech lists. How one aims to build their lists will make certain units better fits however. Putting Talos’ in a mech list without WWPs for example isn’t as effective as adding them to a hybrid or foot list with WWPs. This is where unit roles comes into play for a Dark Eldar army looking to be effective in combat. Rather than having super units like Command Squads on bikes, Seer Councils, Tyranid death-stars, etc. which can simply be applied to most situations and expect to come out ahead, DE combat units have quite specific niches. This is not to say they are specialists as they aren’t completely fail at doing other things (like Eldar aspect warriors) but rather generalists with a focus.

For example, Wyches are great torrent units and much better at dealing with GEQ type units or thanks to their shard nets, cheapness and invul in combat, dealing with expensive super units (point efficiency). Whilst they are quite decent against Marines due to FNP/4++ and number of attacks, their primary roles are tar pitting and torrent against weaker units. Beastmasters on the other hand are simply offensive focused. Although Khymeras, simple number of wounds and cover can make this unit quite survivable, it is the epitome of the glass cannon unit against other super-units. Get enough S6+ wounds in on that unit and it will crumble but generally not before it throws out 50+ attacks.

Etc. This will be covered more in the individual unit reviews but when running a combat army with DE rather than focusing or spamming a single unit such as Wyches or Beastmasters, take multiples such as an Incubi squad, 2+ Wyches and 2-3 Beastmaster squads. Again, this isn’t to say taking said single units isn’t a bad idea (see Venom spam) but they quite often have a specific role rather than being part of a general-purpose assault army. This same concept obviously needs to be applied to their shooting in terms of anti-tank, anti-infantry and the range of these guns which was covered in Part 2 and again isn’t exactly unique to Dark Eldar.

Follow us on Facebook!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...