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Saturday, January 8, 2011

Email in: Dark Eldar Alpha Strike

"Recently I have been challenged by the TO for our FLGS to make an Alpha Strike list with Vect for our upcoming 1850 tournament, as I am the most consistent DE player. I am wondering what is the best method for achieving this. Shooting or Assault? Dais or No Dais? Use Lady Malys for even more deployment mind games?

I have a tendency to under preform when opening tanks (especially when using anything shy of 3 Squads of 3 Broadsides). With local armies I need to handle probably a LR equivalent, 3 transports, 2 gunships and a Dev Squad.

Any help would be appreciated, and any other things like what makes a "good" alpha strike"

Rightio then. Vect gives DE a much better chance of screwing over an enemy's perfect deployment which is likely to make them deploy very defensively. You therefore want as much firepower as possible to really force their hand and counter their defensive measures if possible. This means lots and lots of shooting which needs to be able to drop tanks and infantry alike from the get-go. Remembering Dark Eldar are very fragile in return though we don't want to make our list focused on the alpha strike and completely useless if the list doesn't go first. So let's start with Vect who gives us some nice army choices and a good choice in combat. We're not going with Dias because that's a lot of points and whilst AV13 is nice, it's not hard to shake/stun.

Let's go straight to Heavy Support then because that's where the majority of our firepower is going to come from. Once again, Ravagers or Razorwings are our best choice. Ravagers are going to give us our best bang for buck in terms of anti-tank; 3 lances is just plain deadly. The Razorwing sacrifices some anti-tank for a lot of anti-infantry which is important for forcing all lists to be afraid of a seize. This type of anti-infantry capable on the first turn is hard to replicate in the rest of the army so we'll take 3x Razorwings w/flickerfields. That's 6 DL shots and 12 5" blasts. Gimme gimme gimme. However, these are more expensive than Ravagers so we don't have as many points to play with. So far we've used 705.

We need to obviously follow up with Troops. Warriors are our best bet here as they can take Dark Lances but their blaster/blast pistol combo is also a potential choice and gives the army more mobility on T1 as the Raider can fire and move. We can also take a large squad of Warriors for two lances and an excellent midfield protecter/objective sitter. For the moment we'll take a large Warrior squad and 3 smaller squads in Lance Raiders. This uses 230 + 465 points and uses 1400 total whilst adding 5 more Lances and 6 close ranged anti-tank shots. So we've got some pretty decent ranged and mobile anti-tank with 17 darklight weapons backed up by some decent anti-infantry with a fair amount of poison and large blasts. From here we have Elites and Fast Attack to work with to increase this and add some combat ability to finish units off. Because we want to strike hard and fast I think Beastmasters are the best bet with their Beast status (19-24" charge please!). If we could fit in some Trueborn as well to provide further in your face darklight weapons, the better but at 1850 we're pushing it. For now, let's get two Beastmaster units.

We've discussed Beastmasters before and I won't go into too much detail here but Razorwings are where it's at in terms of damage output and Khymeras help with survivability, not needing cover and add weight of I6/S4 attacks so we'll go with this basic setup. With 3 Beastmasters we can get 5 Khymeras and 4 Razorwings for 156 points each or 312 total. This takes us to 1712 points and not enough points for multiple Trueborn squads. We could squeeze in one squad or another Warrior squad but let's add some more combat punch with Incubi. Four Incubi in a Raider costs 158 and adds a lot of scary combat power, another DL and a great place for Vect to go and create a very, very potent combat unit but we need to drop 20 points so we'll drop two Khymera. This leaves us with:

4x Incubi w/Raider w/FF
3x5x Warriors w/blaster, Syabrite w/Blast Pistol, Raider w/FF
20x Warriors w/2x DL
2x3x Beastmasters w/4x Khymera, 4x Razorwings
3x Razorwings w/FF

Totals: 1846 points
7 vehicles
22 beasts
40 infantry

This list can put out 12 ranged lance shots at 8 different targets backed up by 6 close ranged blaster shots and a fair amount of poison and 5" blasts. Backing all of that up is two beater units with Beastmasters and a very scary Incubi unit which can decimate most units on the charge. Vect can play tag with the Incubi or run along with a Warrior squad. Due to flickerfields and the speed of the army, the list isn't banking on getting first turn and if it does, is very mobile and in your face quickly and has the power to drop whatever you field and get across the field.

There are a lot of options with this list obviously. I've gone for shooting with combat mop-up so that combat mop-up could be minimised to smaller Beastmaster units and no Incubi. Further, the large Warrior squad isn't necessary but losing it for another 5 man squad leaves you a bit light on scoring. Trueborn with Blasters also fit the list style very well and if taking this to 2000 I would take them in a heartbeat and if you wanted less combat punch, they could be fit in at 1850 as well.

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