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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

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The road to .... - A Dark Eldar Project: Part 1

A reader, Danny (aka General Smoove), has decided to put together a Dark Eldar army and take it to a series of tournaments over the coming year and wanted to keep a log of it so to speak. He approached me to use 3++ as a place to post this and I was happy to oblige. Hopefully everyone can take from Danny's experiences and get greater insight into the Dark Eldar army. He's also promised pictures as this log wears on so you can see his models as well rather than random Internet pictures!

I’m embarking on a voyage, a quest some might call it, a journey beyond sight and sound. I’m hoping you’ll come with me on this purpose and maybe even enjoy it.

The Idea

I’m putting together a dark elder army and will write a series of articles from designing the list, prepping for tournaments, the performances, battle reps and ensuing tweaks with their associated reasonings. The end goal will be a big tournament in the summer. Which one depends on co-ordinating with my wife’s calendar (yes someone actually got drunk enough to agree to marry me, the real shocker is she was to stubborn to back out when she sobered up, she hasn’t drank since!). Anyway I will be happy to include any content that you would like to see and I might even include a few photos of the army along the way.

**WAACs welcome, there are headings so you can cut and jump to the bits you want.**


I love the dark elder always have but I haven’t played them for a long time. A friend put them in his attic when I went to the antipodes for a year and he only found them last June, so I lost the whole of the 4th Edition. Anyway I love the codex and think Phil has done a great job. There are so many ways to build viable armies even reasonably competitive themed armies. I love the fluff too though its questionable that GW should market it to such young ages but hey that’s the dad in me (you’re not the first one to be surprised that my semen functions properly). >.<

My Style

I like playing to win but I’m also a romantic and these two things clash very obviously when I build lists. I really like playing to win, I find it hard to not concentrate on the game and have easy going conversations. I obsess over lists and previous games thinking about how it could have been played better or what changes I could make. That said I like to do it with my own style. I like a list that has a little bit of flavour to it as well as a couple of twists. My lists generally start out very fluffy and gaming performance drag some more obvious and better choices into my list. When this happens I feel a little dirty and have the need to take showers every hour, but if I need something blunt and ugly to win, then it’s in.

On the table I like tactical options, some options and a few more options on the side. I want to have a myriad of choices for every potential scenario. It’s my comfort blanket. This leads to variation in my lists and suits the romantic in me. I do mathhammer though and do redundancy of functions and roles but try to avoid spam (the romantic remember). I find spam a bit boring on the table top and prefer to be somewhat unpredictable to my opponent and make them have to think of lots of things to think about.

The List

*****Warning this may cause serious raising of eyebrows*******
No responsibility will be taken for any injuries incurred due to reading this army list.

Please bare in mind, I have spent a long time putting this list together and while it may not work in the end and will probably change a lot in the course of these articles (at which point then you may give me a big “I told you so”) in my head it does work. So please hear me out as I explain it over the next while. I’m talking to you WAAC.

We are starting off with a 1500 pt list for a local tournament coming up. I’ll talk about the nature of the tournament in another article but it’s a good opportunity to sort stuff out.

Haemonculus, webway portal, venom blade, liquefier gun,
Haemonculus, venom blade liquefier gun

2 Grotesques, liquefier gun + Aberration with scissorhands + raider

Fast Attack
9 reavers, 3 Heat Lances, Champion with power weapon
4 Beast masters, 4 Khymera, 6 Razorwings

Heavy Support
1 Talos with Chainflails and haywire blaster
1 Ravager
1 Ravenwing JetFighter – with splinter cannon upgrades

Troops (very subject to change)
3 wracks with raider
3 wracks with venom splinter cannon upgrade
3 wracks with venom splinter cannon upgrade


I make some small tweaks to the troops section yet and have 50
pts to play with for upgrades and the like!

Reasoning for choices

As there is too much to cover in just one sitting I’m only going to tackle heavy support in this article. I think it gives the best feel for the way my army building works.


1) This boyo has access to single the best suppression weapon in the game for my money. A twin linked haywire blaster. With only a BS of 3 the twin-linking makes it worthwhile. Haywire blasters are great no matter who you are (winks at a landraider) it glances you on a 2, has a decent range and is an assault weapon.

2) With chainflails this monstrous creature is likely to toast a tac squad in 2 turns of combat and as for vehicles – you did remember to move 12 inches…..oh well.

3) Finaly as he is not a vehicle he can support any webway shenanigans I want to do.

So why take a Talos over a ravager. In a word, survivability. The talos has 3 wounds which is key. Lets shoot 3 krak missiles at them which negate the talos’s armour save but we’ll give them both a cover save. Now the ravager has a 25% chance of being destroyed, the Talos has a 0.0109% chance of being killed. Putting it another way on average the ravager will be destroyed one in every 4 times three missiles are shot at it whereas the talos will die 1 in every 91 times 3 missiles are shot at it. Now this figure is at the extreme level. I could have chosen some figures which show a narrower margin of survivability but I wanted to make my point clear. The talos is a lot more survivable. Furthermore the ravager is stunned or destroyed 38% of the time (that’s an average of 1 in 2.6 times) that 3 missiles are shot at it. Where as a talos will continue without loss of functionality 90 out of 91 times 3 missiles are shot at it. So you can count on it functioning and surviving a lot more than your Ravager after your opponents first turn.

We can take this further and compare the damage table to the talos save but that gets complicated for not being the singular focus of the article, its also potentially impossible to mark and hard sense of. Suffice it to say for now the Talos is a lot more survivable.

So why don’t you take 3?


The ravager has a much greater mobility. The talos plods forward stunning vehicles in the main firing lanes. It’s kind of the George Foreman of DE heavy support. The ravager with 12 inch movement and with aerial assault, it floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee. A talos can do very little about that typhoon hiding behind the Landraider or the exorcist hiding behind that corner building. The ravager though well he/she can move to try and clip the side. Also the insta killing ability of 3 st 8 weapons is handy against multi wound thingys(I hate Obliterators).

Now 1 Ravager I can condfidently say I can completely hide if necessary and so increase its survivability. Anymore depends on terrain and how much resources I’m willing to commit to hide it. So we’ll pop one of them in.

If you can only hide one – why the be jay zus are ya taken a razorwing?


This thing only needs one turn to justify itself. If I go first then any long fangs or devastators are getting hammered by 4 strength 6 pie plates, 12 splinter shots and 2 dark lances. I really want to get rid of them first turn. If I go second I’m happy to reserve them (though I’d prefer to deploy). With aerial assault it can dish out its full payload on the turn it comes on. With dark eldar these targets are top priority for me. In kill points its not hard to justify it. There aren’t many shooting choices that can kill a unit so reliably. It’ll laugh at IG blobs and boyz. coversave and FNP genestealers will feel the heat too and gaunts will evaporate. After that it has 2 dark lances for mech and add 12 splinters to that for anti infantry. Pretty decent on both accounts but for me that’s the gravy not the meat and potatoes but boy isn’t it a nice sauce. This guy is a unit assassin.

Ok well why not take 3 – well there will only be so many of prime targets available (other units can tackle them too if necessary), these guys are as survivable as a landspeeder (not very survivable), they are also 155 pts at this set up and I want those points for other things.

Things that nearly made it in

I was sorely tempted to go down the cronos and 2 talos route. A talos with FNP is a tasty option but it lacked the movement options this list does. I think this list also has a vertain lethality to it that the 3 monstrous creature option doesn’t. That said it lacks the survivability.

Shatterfield missiles on the ravenwing: I would really like to squeeze them in. ST against chimera side armour would be great and the re-roll to wound would make the missiles that bit more reliable against meq. I can’t justify bringing such a vulnerable target up to the 175 point level. Can I ?

Heavy support summary

All 3 choices have a duality, they can suppress mech and tackle different types of infantry. They compliment each other’s weaknesses very well and have nice variety of options for me to choose from in both deployment and in game action. Furthermore they force my opponent to think about a lot of different factors and make choices making his/her game all the harder.

So that’s the first step on our journey next time I’ll be justifying fast attack (particularly a nine man reaver squad at 1500) and talking about the tournament I’m going to next week. If there is anything you would like to see in the articles please let me know and I’ll see you all soon.

Oh I’m going away for the weekend so its unlikely (but not impossible) that I will be able to reply to your comments for a little while but I will when I come back.

Be careful out there.

Well that’s the first one I’ll be back to talk about the other selections later and the little add on-s I’m thinking of as well as the prep for the first tournament next week.

- general smooth

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