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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, December 14, 2010

Dark Eldar: Venom spam

(Venom by BDubb) First, this list needs a stupid name. Gotta keep with stupid traditions :P. (Venomblower is too stupid; don't suggest it). Second, the name needs a list! I'll leave the naming to you and give you the list. This isn't exactly a ground-breaking list but is focusing almost exclusively on maximising the 'advantage' DE have with both good anti-tank and anti-infantry options in transports and the models inside and bringing some awesome combat to bear. In this list we're obviously using Venoms with their 12 poisoned shots of goodness (4 wounds on anything per Venom, at 36", whilst moving 12", ya. Eat it.) and therefore need anti-tank for whatever the Venoms are carrying backed up by whatever Heavy Support we are using. Again, not ground breaking but it's nice to put this out there and it's another list building excerise. Fun fun.

So we're obviously going with small squads since we are using Venoms. And we want anti-tank from those squads. Obviously Trueborn and Kabalite Warriors are our first port of call though Wracks as a more defensive oriented Troop are welcome, too (but then we'd use a Raider as the transport which for the moment we don't want). We'll start with the Warriors at 5 men each with a Blaster. We're also going to take a Sybarite with Blast Pistol. Yes they cost 25 points and will cost us 150 for the whole army (6 of them) but it essentially doubles the Warrior squad's anti-tank effectiveness and we're going to need that. If we're tight on points later, these can be dropped. We obviously then take a Venom with 2x splinter cannons and it's a round 150 per squad. 6 of these thanks and we're down 900. We'll then follow this up with Trueborn squads who can get more anti-tank weapons in smaller squads but don't score. This is another reason we want the Blast Pistol in the Warrior squad. The Trueborn are obviously better at taking out tanks since they have more guns and if they had 3-4 times the guns than the Warriors, easy target priority. Now your opponent has to pick having less (but still a significant amount) anti-tank hitting their lines by dropping the Trueborn or dropping the scoring units and having more anti-tank hitting their lines. Choices like these make armies. We'll take these guys as small as possible then with three guys and three blasters all in a Venom. 146 points for one and 438 for three (totaling 1338). Already we've used all of our Elites and Troops but have 15 blasters, 6 pistols and 108 poisoned shots (not to mention rapid-firing Warriors) across 18 units. Impressive.

What then do we want to support this mass of pewpew? We obviously need some long ranged anti-tank and this means Dark Lances and we've got three good and varried options in Heavy Support. The Ravager offers the most dedicated and point efficient anti-tank here with 3 lances for 105 points. The Razorwing is less effective in terms of direct anti-tank but adds an impressive amount of anti-infantry with four 5" blasts whilst the Void Bomber adds roughly equal anti-tank to the Ravager and the potential for a lot of anti-infantry but is the most expensive of the lot. For the moment I'm going to go with 3x Ravagers. We want ranged anti-tank and this gives us the most and is the most efficient on a per point basis. Whilst the Razorwing offers us great duality, our army already covers that with a lot of dakka. They can be used instead but that is a different army list as we need more anti-tank in our FA slot (think Reavers people!). Nightshields and flickerfields are good options here but we are likely going to be quite tight on points so for the moment we'll put aside 10 points per Ravager for one of these upgrades (night shields is probably the best option as there are a bunch of screening models out there already).

All up this leaves us with 317 points to play with and we come to one of the annoying issues with the DE codex in this type of list. Notice the bold, italics and underlining (and this sentence pointing them out). This is not saying the DE HQs are meh but rather the HQs don't really add much here. The Duke would be nice in adding the option to Deep Strike but is 100 points more expensive and you don't gain the most out of his abilities. He's an option of course but that's a different list where we don't utilise our FA as much. What HQ do we want in this type of list? An Archon can provide some impressive killing power but nothing for the army. Same for the Succubus. A Haemonculus is the obvious and cheap option but it just doesn't add much to the list outside of a FNP token and potential Liquifier. This would be great if there was a large 20 man Warrior unit but is going to cost too many points. For the moment then we'll take a bare-bones Haemonculus which leaves us 267 points to play with for our FA.

We have our anti-tank and anti-infantry covered pretty well with our anti-tank being stronger than our anti-infantry (30 total S8 lance shots across 12 units). We therefore want to improve our anti-infantry with our FA and...well every option is capable of that. However, since everything else is Mech'd, this unit needs to be pretty survivable. Hellions are very weak without FNP or Baron. Although I'm a huge fan, they aren't really justifiable without the Baron who makes them scoring and gives the main unit stealth and skilled rider. Scourges are also pretty weak with T3/4+ and are heavy bolter/autocannon bait even with FNP. Scourges are also geared towards special weapon duty in being able to take two specials per five and we've already got lots of anti-tank and tons of poisoned shots already so they don't really add a new dimension to the list. Reavers are similar to Scourges but more survivable with skilled rider and turbo-boost and more capable of bringing anti-infantry with their fly-over attacks. These guys are a possibility but again, not that much anti-infantry is being brought to bear (if taking Razorwing fighters I would take these guys, two Razorwings instead of two Ravagers and two units of six with two heat lances fits in at 2000 perfectly). Then we have Beastmasters. With some work they can be survivable (Khymera = 4+ invul, Clawed Fiend/Razorwings = wound soakers) and add anti-infantry through a ton of attacks in combat (with the added bonus of some mild anti-tank; <3 rending). Personally, I'm going to go with the Beastmasters on this one. a) because they bring something different to the army and can do it well and b) ...dude. Beasts!

So with 267 points remaining we only have 133.5 points per squad to use. Not much but we will make do! Clawed Fiend will help seriously stave off mass S6 wiping these squads out as 4++ Khymeras and T3/W5 Razorwings only go so far. The combination of Fiends and Razorwings also allows a lot of wounds to be lost before the squad actually decreases in effectiveness (hell it even goes up). However, Khymera give the squad a save to take pretty much all the time. You don't want to be limited by cover if you don't have to be. They also add an impressive number of S4 attacks at I6. Outside of juggling Khymeras and Fiends we want to maximise the number of ...well everything else. Beastmasters for Ld. Razorwings for lots of Rending attacks (this is the reason we take BM units; 15 points for 5A with rending...15....points?). That's going to be tough to fit in with only 133 points per squad. Let's see if we can free up some points. Since we're running a Haemonculus, let's replace one of the Warrior squads with Wracks. A five strong squad with Liquifier and Raider w/DL, flicker field will save us 20 points so no real gain there (can't buy anything for 10 points!). Instead it looks like we'll have to drop two blast pistols which gains us 25 points per squad (158 total) and remember, each BM gives access to only one of the Beast options and with our limited points, we're going to have to make do with only two Beasts (remembering we want to maximise Razorwings). We could always completely drop a Warrior or Trueborn squad to give us a very impressive 206-208 points to play with but for the moment we'll leave it as is.

So what to drop: Khymera's or Clawed Fiends? Khymera's are more point efficient in terms of offensive firepower and can be taken in multiples by one Beastmaster which is important. They also offer up 4++ saves at any time which is very important in combat and allows you to not rely on cover during movement. I6 and S4 helps in torrenting down units as well. However, each one which dies loses you offensive firepower. The Clawed Fiend is great for soaking up S6+ wounds which would normally instant kill the Razorwings and will improve the squad's output as it gets weaker (how ironic). Combined with four Razorwings, a single Clawed Fiend can enable a BM squad to take 7 wounds before any offensive firepower is lost. However, I think the Khymera's win out here simply because of their 4++ and efficiency. The unit is essentially a deliver unit for the Razorwings and the Khymera's offer roughly equal survivability based upon points to the Clawed Fiend in cover and far superior survivability when in combat or not in cover. With that in mind let's build these damn units!

We'll take three BM (122) and four Razorwings (62) leaving enough points for four Khymeras (2) which puts out an impressive 40+ attacks on the charge. And we've got two.

Let's look at what we've got then:

3x 3x Trueborn w/3x Blasters, Venom w/2x splinter cannons
4x 5x Warriors w/blaster, Sybarite w/Blast pistol, Venom w/2x splinter cannons
2x 5x Warriors w/blaster, Venom w/2x splinter cannons
2x 3x Beastmasters w/4x Razorwings, 5x Khymera
3x Ravagers w/Nightshields

Totals: 1996 points
12 vehicles
40 infantry
24 beasts

That's 28 lances (9 dark, 4 pistols, 15 blasters), 108 poisoned shots, 20-40 rapid fire poisoned shots, 12 chassis, ~100 attacks in close combat from two units and a very mobile army.

Again, there are some changes we can make. We ran run one or two Wrack squads instead of one or two Warrior squads for more reliable scoring and more points to put into the Beastmasters (potentially three smaller units; drop blast pistols to do this).

You could combine two of the MSU Warriors into one big mommy of a squad w/2x DL as well as grab a WWP for the Beasts to run out of (drop the two Warriors w/o Blast Pistols, grab 20 warriors, 2 DLs, drop a further blast pistol and add a WWP and you're bang on target). This loses a bit of flexibility/mobile anti-infantry and two vehicle chassis but is roughly the same with anti-tank (27 lance weapons across 11 targets), makes the Beastmasters far scarier, is a brilliant place for the Haemonculus and is a great scoring unit. (I like this option). The WWP is of course optional but adds a bit of flexibility in terms of deploying the Beastmaster units. The main issue with this change is the loss of two vehicles as the list develops a distinctly Hybrid feel. However, the Warrior unit is very sturdy with 20 guys and FNP (and cover one hopes) and the most effective weapons against it (lots of S6/7+ shots) are also very effective against your vehicles which provides your opponent with another tough target priority choice.

The Duke is also an option to run some deep-striking options though I think another list might do this better but it does add some flexibility. Finding 100 points however is difficult.

Changing two of the Ravagers to Razorwing Fighters w/night shields and replacing the Beastmasters with a unit of 6x Reavers w/2x Heat Lances is also a good option which keeps the feel of the list but lacks combat punch. You also get greatly improved anti-infantry shooting and shore up the loss of Dark Lances with Heat Lances.


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