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

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Army Comparison: Tyranids & Dark Eldar

<-- It's from Kennedy!

To kick start the Army Comparison series we'll take a look at Tyranids and Dark Eldar. With the release of Dark Eldar a lot of people moaned (even more) about Tyranids being crap. This is due to the unique advantage Dark Eldar have in having anti-infantry and anti-tank which is very effective in dropping Tyranid T6 creatures. Luckily for Tyranids though, all is not lost for them.

This match-up is one of the most likely to result in gutted armies on both sides. Both armies have strengths which focus on their opponent's weaknesses as well as nullifying their strengths and games between these armies can often come down to who strikes the first telling blow. This may not necessarily be who goes first but reserve denial for protection against damage on both sides may be quite important. So let's break down the advantages and disadvantages for both lists and major build archetypes which might be better or worse off compared to others.

Advantages - Tyranids:

Tyranid firepower removes one of Dark Eldar's key survival characterstics, FNP. Combined with often durable units through numbers or high toughness/wound numbers, Dark Eldar have to really work to get benefit from their Power from Pain special rule. Dark Eldar obviously benefit quite well from Power from Pain against the hordes of Tyranids but with adrenal and toxin and potential FNP themselves, the gribblies of Tyranids are quite happy against T3 Dark Eldar. In the end however the general high strength of Tyranid firepower makes Power from Pain less useful at improving Dark Eldar survivability which means Dark Eldar are not being rewarded for their aggressive nature as much across the board.

The same firepower which is great against denying FNP is also great at dropping Dark Eldar vehicles. Lots of S6 firepower backed up by multiple S10 and S8 shots is going to get through the 5+ flicker and generally penetrate. Combined with the +1 from open-topped, Tyranids have minimal to no issues in dealing with Dark Eldar mech (assuming they can get in range) like they can sometimes experience against the Imperium armies. The S9 blasts of Tyranids aren't so useful here with the small chassis sizes but still useful in terms of suppression and being S6+.

Tyranids are one of the premier combat armies of 5th edition and they are exceptionally well equipped to deal with Dark Eldar in combat as well. Their high toughness in combat is more of an issue as there is less poison there and S3 has obvious issues wounding them. Add in good WS and intiative statistics for Tyranids as well and Dark Eldar aren't always striking first. Backed up by units like Raveners and Warriors who are hard to kill without instant death (S8+), cheap throw away units which re-roll wounds in prolonged combats (thanks T3) and Lash Whips which can render even the fastest Dark Eldar to a slow Terminator and Tyranids can go toe-to-toe with Dark Eldar in combat and often come out ahead.

Advantages - Dark Eldar:

Dark Eldar weaponry is...well it's perfect for taking out Tyranids. Lots of S8 firepower is needed for DE to deal with tanks effectively so it's not too unusual to see 20+ S8 shots. This is great for taking down MCs and T4/W3 creatures a like. Add in the plethora of poisoned weapons as Dark Eldar's primary anti-infantry and the premium cost Tyranids pay for their T6/W4+ MCs looks pretty foolish. Whilst FNP can help mitigate the effect the poisoned weapons have, Dark Eldar are uniquely capable of taking down lots of MCs.

Whilst Tyranid firepower is also quite effective at taking down both Dark Eldar infantry and vehicles alike, Dark Eldar are exceedingly more mobile and able to strike where they desire more readily as well as out-range the Tyranid army. The combination of flickerfields and nightshields can make the shorter ranges of Tyranid guns (Zoans, Brainleech Devs, Hive Guard) can make getting to grips with a Dark Eldar army very difficult and can give the Dark Eldar great board control.

Whilst Tyranids can go toe-to-toe with Dark Eldar in combat, the same can be said in reverse. Whilst dealing with their MCs in combat is a little more difficult for Dark Eldar, Wyches are excellent tarpits against them and hidden Agonisers can simply whittle the wounds of the big guys down and whilst the horde aspect of the Tyranid army can often be disgustingly price efficient against Dark Eldar, Dark Eldar units gain quite handily from the benefits of Power from Pain against them.Wracks are quite capable of putting lots of wounds on MCs in combat as well but don't have great defenses or staying power against them either.

Overall Thoughts:

The key to success with each army when facing each other is capitalising on the advantages in the match-up which are not necessarily the army's usual strengths. For example, Dark Eldar can benefit significantly from playing a passive keep-away game where they aim to snipe down as many MCs as possible before committing their forces. Whilst some DE lists operate like this normally, even a combat oriented list would gain significantly from steering away from the usual aggressive gameplan. This plays to the Dark Eldar's mobility and board control advantage and maximising the potential of their firepower against the tough Tyranid targets. On the other hand Tyranids are still quite durable despite the firepower often heading towards them. With no psychic defense Tervigons and Hive Tyrants can cast things as they wish and Zoanthropes in Spores become very reliable. Onlsaught can help the shorter ranged Tyranids get into range with the Dark Eldar whilst Catalyst can defend the big bugs against poison spam. Hive Commander also gives Tyranids the edge in reserve denial by bringing things in on a 3+ and Tyranids still have fast options available to them.

In the end lists like Venom Spam will do very well against slow midfield dominating lists, especially if equipped with night shields but as usual, if the Tyranids can survive through midfield they can put a lot of pressure on the Dark Eldar army even with their mobility advantage. A faster Tyranid army (spores, Harpies, Raveners, etc.) or one built around lots of S6 firepower (Fexstars, Dakkarants, etc.) can put a lot of hurt on Dark Eldar and quickly. Aggressive Dark Eldar lists may also find themselves outside of their comfort zone in playing defensively for the initial stages of the game to maximise the advantage of their speed, range and firepower.

In the end Dark Eldar may have a slight edge against Tyranids simply because poison and darklight weapons combine so well to cause virtually no target priority issues. At the same time, Tyranid firepower and combat is just as devastating to Dark Eldar. As said before, it comes down to who can land the most telling blow (...ground breaking right?) and may come down to reserve denial where Tyranids have a slight advantage. In the end though the Dark Eldar mobility is too good to overlook and gives them that slight edge when full or semi-mech is being employed.

P.S. thoughts on layout of post? Anything else you'd like to see/not see?

Follow us on Facebook!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...