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Sunday, December 5, 2010

Email in: 2500 point Thematic Coven list w/Urien

"WARNING: Long e-mail ahead (I, too, love parenthesis).

Hey Kirby!

I want to start off like everyone does and say I'm a HUGE fan of the blog! You (as well as GW, Puppy, and everyone else) do a fantastic job of explaining your views and I love the amount of analysis you put into your posts. I've been playing 40k for almost two years now. My cousin got myself, my brother, and a friend of ours started around the same time, and we mostly play against each other (although we do attend tournaments occassionally). I don't want to tailor a list against them exclusively, but I do want my list to be effective against them. Whenever I try to make thematic lists I have a tough time balancing it for all-comers while still keeping the theme. For the record, they play Space Wolves with Logan and a few Drop Pods (also somewhat fluffy because he includes a token squad of Blood Claws), Blood Angels with Astorath, and my brother plays a Vulkan/Forgemaster list with a couple drop pods (I've shown him a couple of your articles here to help him strengthen it too). None of us play a whole lot of vehicles ever since we stopped using IG, so (other than Drop Pods) I'll probably only see 3 or 4 vehicles at the most at 2500 points (BA usually have a lone Storm Raven), although I did give it a slight boost for all-comers I think.

I had been collecting Dark Eldar for a year before the new book was released, and was already pretty unconventional (using Talos instead of Ravagers for instance). When the new book was released, I turned (somewhat) quickly to the Grotesques, Wracks, Talos, and of course Urien, and realized my regular list was going to be a Coven list. I will make an Ard Boyz list at some point that will be more balanced, but I've already begun conversions for my Coven and hope to have the army completely assembled and ready for painting in a month, but I wanted your feedback on the list. I've included notes about my choices/strategy at the end:

Urien Rakarth 190
Haemonculus #1, Venom Blade, Liquifier Gun, Webway Portal 100
Haemonculus #2, Venom Blade, Liquifier Gun 65
Haemonculus #3, Venom Blade 55

Uber Grotesques x10, Liquifier Gun, Aberration, Venom Blade 425

Wracks x10, Liquifier Gun x2, Acothyst, Agoniser 150
Wracks x10, Liquifier Gun x2, Acothyst, Agoniser 150
Warriors x20, Dark Lance x2, Sybarite, Phantasm Grenade Launcher 260
Warriors x20, Dark Lance x2 230

Scourges x10, Haywire Blaster x4 260
Scourges x10, Haywire Blaster x4 260

Talos, Chain-flails, Twin-linked Haywire Blaster 115
Talos, Chain-flails, Twin-linked Haywire Blaster 115
Talos, Chain-flails, Twin-linked Haywire Blaster 115

This puts me at 2490 if my math is correct, but I can't think of anything else besides a LG for Haemonculus #3 which isn't necessary (see below).


Urien starts off attached with his personal Uber Grotesques, Haemonculi 1 and 2 each go with a Wrack squad while #3 goes with the Sybarite Warriors. This gives me at least two tokens for both Wrack units (plus three Liquifier Guns) and possibly a third from Urien (who gives his bonus d3 tokens first to the Grotesques, then to the Wracks). The first Warrior squad starts in cover on an objective with FNP + Defensive Grenades and leadership 9. I'll typically deploy in a bubble wrap (Grotesques leading the way) due to the amount of deep-striking I'll usually face, and slowly move up to anything that enters play nearby. The Scourges and Taloi make some of the most effective stun-lock units in the game, and help my foot army stay up to speed with my opponents. With no vehicles + a T5, multi-wound wall, most of my opponents anti-vehicle weaponry will be wasted (and there is a whole lot of melta in my three opponents). As I move in closer, any immobilised/stunned vehicles get ripped apart by S7 charges from the Taloi and Grotesques (who, being 11 models wide, can multi-charge a decent amount when necessary). The Lances are slightly stronger than the Haywires for vehicle damage, and will typically go for penetrating hits, but also provide me with more suppression when necessary. The Webway portal is there as an added strategic choice but isn't really necessary and could easily be dropped. Possible applications would be to use it in DoW, keeping the Grotesques in reserve so that I have a few turns of fire and can drop them out in front of everyone to charge.

Biggest problem I think I'll face would be Dreadnoughts, as the Vulkan list usually includes an Ironclad and 1 or 2 regular ones, and the BA and SW can include one from time to time. These will instant-kill any Grotesques they charge, so the Taloi (or massive fire suppression) would be my only hope.

I realize a lot of people are fans of Heat Lances and Blasters for Scourges, but Haywire Blasters give me an effective 36" range, and don't leave me as exposed as Heat Lances. With no other fast moving elements to protect them, if I were to give them HL's they would turn into incredibly expensive suicide units, whereas now they provide me with another suppresion fire unit. Possible changes I might consider would be to exchange the second Warrior sqaud (and drop the WWP) for a third Scourge unit. I lose out on vehicle penetration power but gain more reliable suppression. However, this will take me down to only three scoring units, so I'm not sure how well that will work out. Another option (one that I saw on a forum with a similar idea) is to drop a Taloi for a Cronos with Spirit Vortex, who can, after a few turns of shooting, provide the in-cover Warriors with two more pain tokens, giving them Fearless (and who wouldn't like a Fearless 21-man sqaud with FNP and defensive grenades?). However I lose a Haywire unit in the process, which is what makes this list actually work.

Also, like I said in the begining, this is a themed list and I'd like to keep it along the same lines without too much variation (i.e. Incubi, Wyches, etc.) The only things that don't quite fit right now are the Warriors, who I figure as aspiring Scourges.

Anyway, thanks for any help you can offer. I know you're usually flooded with e-mails, and I (as well as everyone I'm sure) really appreciate all of the work you put into this blog.


Who doesn't love parenthesis. DE is a great codex in lists like this can work as I don't really consider any of the normal unit choices terrible. However, some of the SCs are and although Urien isn't the worst, he certainly isn't great. If he gave out a guaranteed 2-3 pain tokens, maybe or if any Wrack/Grotesque unit he joined gained +1S, maybe... but anyway, if you're set on using him that's fine but for taking this to 2000 points, he'd be the first thing to go IMO. Otherwise the list is pretty solid and only minor changes are really needed. I'm going to keep with your local meta in that there are few vehicles for but anyone wanting to extrapolate this list to balanced play, will include options (which are pretty self-explanatory) for increasing anti-tank output.

First step, you need at least two WWP and at 2500 points three might be highly advisable. For this list I'd just go with two as you should be starting a Haemon with each Warrior unit as with 20 guys and FNP, they are just plain tough and you're going to be dropping at least one portal in an advantageous position (i.e. at least 12"+ from your normal board edge). From there things look quite solid. The Talos have good setups and can shake-lock tanks and wreck things in cc whilst the Wracks are great tarpit/torrent units and will keep your opponent off your DE Warriors. Problems however revolve around number of units. Not running Mech is fine and a workable concept but at 2500 having only 10 real units isn't too good. So I think we need to split up the Scourges into three squads of 5. You lose some guns this way but 4x Haywire blasters (or Heat Lances if you're looking for more anti-tank) is a bit over the top. Haywire blasters aren't killing things but rather knocking off weapons and suppressing them. Alternatively you could add Splinter Cannons to these guys and have them pump out massive anti-infantry but they become very uni-dimesnional.

The other unit which can be split up is the Grotesques. These guys have one major drawback in needing an IC babysitter (though you can use this to your advantage). It's annoying but doesn't make them useless especially seeing as they are base S6 and S7 on the charge (seriously; what?). You've got two ICs spare in Urien and the 3rd Haemon so splitting these guys into two units of five stops your army from suffering egg basket syndrome and doubles your chances of getting a very strong combat unit in on T2 rather than 10 beastly dudes hiding in the Webway. This also allows you to take two Aberrations to improve combat output.

This should leave you with some free points from down-sizing the Scourges even though you've spent more points on a second WWP and splitting the Grotesques up. This can lead to increasing Wrack unit numbers (potentially going for 1x10xWracks and 3x5x Wracks for more units) or add some Trueborn with specials for extra anti-infantry or -tank duty (I'd particularly lean to this route in adapting the list to a more balanced style). For what you want the list to do however, more Wrack units might be a good idea as it gives you that much more flexibility in assaulting and moving.

So with those ideas in mind we get the following at 2500:

2x Haemon w/Venom Blade, Liquifier, WWP
Haemon w/Venom Blade, Liquifier
2x5x Grotesques w/Upgraded Strength, Aberration w/Scissorhands (+2A? okay even if we do wound on 3s)
3x5x Wracks w/Liquifier
10x Wracks w/2x Liquifier, Acothyst w/Agoniser
20x Warriors w/2x DL
20x Warriors w/2x DL, Sybarite w/PGL
3x5x Scourges w/2x Haywire
3x Talos w/TL-Haywire, Chain-flails

Totals: 2500 points
97 infantry (15 jumpers, 3 mini-MCs, 10 big-arsed dudes).

Again, for a more balanced list include some Heat Lances on the Scourges and potentially add some Trueborn but have issues with theme. This can also help you deal with Dreads if you have issues but Talos should be quite capable there. Yes they can be expensive sacrifical squads (less so than the 10 strong) but sometimes you just need to take something down (like a Dread). The two warrior squads are good as they give WWP bases, a lot of midfield poison shots (I mean a lot) and 4 lances across two vehicles. You don't need a Cronos either as you're handing out D3 pain tokens and your Grotestques and Wracks all start with one which means you've got anywhere from 11-13 pain tokens to begin with; you don't need too many more lol. Anyway a pretty good list concept and themed to boot :).

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