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PostSubject: An Already Overlooked Codex   Thu Mar 17, 2011 12:34 pm

40K Tactics: An Already Overlooked Codex and the Mistress



I am going to talk about the new Dark Eldar codex. Grey Knights are right around the bend and we seem to have already forgotten about the last codex release.


Remember how often people on the internet would constantly bring up that it was the oldest codex EVER and had the MOST ugly models ?? I think I saw people post comments like that over on Dakka Dakka at least several times a day prior to the new release. I also remember attending a seminar held by Phil Kelly from GW at Adepticon three years ago – he said that GW would not drop the army as many had claimed they would… that the company would do them right… Well what he said came to pass in my mind and I think what I like best about that is I no longer have to skim through all the complaints on the interwebs about Dark Eldar players forever getting the proverbial shaft from GW and that the army would eventually be squatted. I find it so ironic now that the new Dark Eldar is finally out many of the veterans of Comorragh have stated they liked the original codex better. Let’s face it, most people just like to complain and the more you do for them the worse it gets…


So now that the new codex is out how many new players has this race actually picked up? The codex has been out for awhile and to be honest I have not seen a notable rise in the number of Dark Eldar players. There was a lot of excitement on the internet about Dark Kin just prior to the actual release and I think everyone loves the new line of models. I think that the bottom line is that the army still remains a difficult one to play well… for example, while Wyches are deadly in close combat how do you actually get them into an assault without dying first? I am very new to Dark Eldar as a player and it is my first real venture beyond MEQ. So far I am having some success with the army. What is funny to me is that I have always said any Space Marine army should have all the tools it needs to always beat Dark Eldar but now I can no longer divulge any of that information. Heh!




I think it’s actually better for someone like me to start off fresh with an army like Dark Eldar rather than switch over… there are no preconceived notions and you’ve got a clean white slate to start with as you craft your army. I like to run very exotic lists and the new Dark Eldar codex has lots of really neat new toys. Two of my favorite units are Reaver jetbikes (NEVER POSITION THEM WITHIN RAPID FIRE RANGE OF TACTICAL MARINES) and the most sublime Voidraven. Having played MEQ for over 15 years is actually good experience when it comes to playing xenos as eventually you learn all the tricks of the trade. I am also a big fan of both Vect and Lelith… they are both great HQ choices for building a competitive army.

It seems that Dark Eldar have all the tools to beat most any other army out there with the exception of mechanized Imperial Guard. I will be playing quite a few games versus IG over the next month to rack up some experience. Expect to see some tactical articles from me over the new few months as I build up more experience with this army.





So let's get down to some serious tactical discussion now. I first want to say that I am by no means a Dark Eldar guru by any stretch of the imagination and I have very limited game play with them. That said I'd like to start posting some tactical articles as I gain more experience with my army. I decided to run with Lelith over a Haemonculus for my second HQ choice after reading the recent White Dwarf batrep that featured Phil Kelly's Dark Eldar versus Matt Hutson's Blood Angels which incidentally coincided with the second wave for Blood Angels. Phil is a very competitive gamer and knows his stuff - he always writes strong codices and his Dark Eldar is no exception in my opinion. I always read his tactical articles and batreps as there is always something there to learn.

Ms. Hesperax weighs in at 175 points. To me that point cost is more than a great deal for what she brings to the table. Sure she has a few short comings (S3 being the biggest) but her pros heavily outweigh all the cons. I like to use Lelith with a small squad of Bloodbrides (including a Syren) mounted in a Raider. Here is my current build:

Lelith Hesperax
6x Bloodbride: 2x shardnet & impaler; haywire grenades
Syren: blast pistol & agonizer; haywire grenades
Raider: flickerfield

Bloodbrides versus Wyches
I prefer Bloodbrides over Wyches because they have higher leadership, more attacks, plus I can take two sets of shardnets and impalers in a smaller size squad. Wyches are an assault unit and as such you shouldn't count on them to hold any objectives. They are always safest when engaged in close combat. One flamer template and with no FNP they'll all literally go up in smoke. :'(( Bloodbrides only cost a tad more than Wyches and what you get for those few additional points are well worth it. Seven Bloodbrides can dish out an equivalent number of attacks to nine Wyches plus you can take two Wyche special weapons... The shardnets/impalers are very crucial to this unit!

Engaging Enemy Models in Base Contact during Assaults
You should always engage enemy units in base contact during assaults such that the two Bloodbrides with shardnets are on either side of Lelith. Lelith also counts as having a shardnet and impaler so you can reduce so those enemy models in base contact with her by a considerably number of attacks... Up to three versus a single model which is very defensive such as independent characters, unique characters and even monstrous creatures should have to engage them... Look at it this way, often it's better to tie down a powerful enemy model rather than letting it run ramshackle through your Warriors.

Lelith has WS9 so any model fighting her with WS4 or less is hitting her back on 5+. The combination of her unusually high weapon skill, shardnets plus her 3++ invulnerable save means that she is practically impervious in close combat versus the vast majority of other enemy units! It's actually better to place her in base contact versus a Marine with a power fist since her shardnet will most often reduce the Marine's number of attacks to only one in return. If the Marine simply piles in behind others then the shardnets have no effect. Here are the odds for one power fist attack to insta-gib Lelith:

0.333 (to hit) * 0.833 (to wound) * 0.333 (failed invulnerable save) = 9%
I'll take those odds any time. Also the Marine is striking last so there is a good chance you'll wipe out his unit before he can strike back.

Targeting Enemy Units
I use Lelith and her Bloodbrides primarily to destroy enemy units such as Long Fangs and Tactical Marines as they can quickly reap through these units and generate pain tokens. Once they have FNP that's a 4++ invulnerable save followed up by another 4++ versus attacks that aren't S=>2xT or ignore armor saves... That's pretty darn good and why I said earlier Wyches are safest when engaged in close combat. I also have Vect attached with a squad of Incubi to tackle harder units such as assault Marines... But that's another story I'll tell you all about at a later date. ; )

The Syren, your Support Character
The Syren has an agonizer, combined with Lelith versus a squad of ten tactical Marines on the charge that equates to around five unsaved wounds. Add in the other failed saves due to the Bloodbrides and you are going to be winning the majority of these assaults quickly while raking up those pain tokens. If and when Lelith buys the farm you'll still have her second in command to run the crew - the attacks from the agonizer then become even more important. My Syren also has a blast pistol as an insurance policy... It's much better if you can first pop a transport in the shooting phase then charge the contents spilling out of the burning metal box rather than rely upon your haywire grenades to only take out the transport... If you only manage to wreck/destroy the transport then most likely your Wyches are going to be looking down the wrong end of some lasguns or bolters.

Haywire Grenades
Always take the haywire grenades. On average for the squad I've listed above you'll generally generate one penetrating hit and three to four glancing hits on a vehicle that has moved six inches or less. It's an important part of your tactical acumen to stun or immobilize the transport first with your vast arsenal of lance weapons before you charge in chucking all those grenades. It's probably not worth the charge versus a vehicle that has moved over six inches and is undamaged since you'll only be hitting on a 6+... You are practically throwing away the squad under those circumstances and it's just not worth it unless you're really between a rock and a hard place.

Transportation
At first I wanted to run a webway portal army but then I decided to field Vect as my first HQ choice and with Lelith as my second HQ I couldn't fit it into my list. So I have come to rely upon the Raider. The newly released Raider has a much smaller footprint and is much easier to hide, combined with it's speed you can easily get into assault on the second turn in most situations barring a barren tabletop devoid of any terrain - and who wants to play under those conditions with dark eldar anyways? Not me! You can launch an assault from a Raider that has moved 12" or less since it's open topped... Two more inches to disembark plus up to six more inches for fleet and you are looking at a charge arc of up to 26"... Not much can hide from that reach.

Raiders are tricky though and all it takes is one decent shot to bring them down - you can lose all your Bloodbrides and Syren when spilling out of a destroyed raider if they don't have FNP, so you have to be very very careful with your placements. Flickerfield is well worth the ten points for the 5++ invulnerable save. Make sure to move flat-out if you have to expose the raider then turn prior to the charge. Nightshields I'm not yet sold on... It only reduces enemy range by 6" which is practically nothing if your opponent is packing lots of long range heat. If you start tacking on a lot of options for your Raiders it can quickly add up in cost and that's less points to spread around the rest of your army.

If you can move the Raider close enough such that your Wyches can assault the following turn without the 12" Raider move then it's probably best to disembark them if you can do so in such a manner to keep them hidden prior to the next turn. Also be very careful if your opponent has guns which ignore intervening terrain such as barrage, Hive Guard or the soon to be released Grey Knight Purifiers.

Conclusion
So that concludes my first substantial tactical article on Dark Eldar. Like I said I'm a newb so feel free to constructively comment if you have something positive to add. Comments can be a great thing for sure. I've gone into greater detail to cover her support unit (Bloodbrides) plus touched on using the Raider to reach your first assaults... And I didn't even mention combat drugs... Heh

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Wayno

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PostSubject: Re: An Already Overlooked Codex   Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:09 pm

I have not played against anyone with the new DE book. I did have a DE army when they came out in 3rd edition so I am kinda familiar with certain units. Since then, I have only really heard of Monger getting a DE army together. They sound very tricky to deal with on offense and defense. And they certainly don't sound like any fun if they charge you in H+H combat.

Thanks Mack, that is some good stuff.
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PostSubject: Re: An Already Overlooked Codex   Thu Mar 17, 2011 7:33 pm

They are a bit tricky to play thats why I haven't just jumped right in and started playing with them. I want some more casual type practice games first. The codex really has a lot of good options, it's just overcoming the low AV of their vehicles and toughness 3 with little armour protection. But once they get ramped up they start getting pretty scary.

Edge is getting one together. He is waiting on the Venom transport to come out to complete his army before he starts using it. I'm currently building a Kabal army but am really interested in a Haemonculus coven list. Those models will be out soon. Very Happy

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PostSubject: Re: An Already Overlooked Codex   Thu Mar 17, 2011 8:26 pm

Putting together a Wych Cult.
I need 4-6 Venoms and 1-3 Razorwing.

Mine won't be up and tourney ready till after summer/fall. I have played with/against a few test games.

The Beast units are ridiculous for the pt cost. It is a strong consideration to take a unit or two. They wreck non Deathstar and Mech lines.

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PostSubject: Re: An Already Overlooked Codex   Tue May 03, 2011 4:55 pm

Not to bump an older topic, but HoD's comments (and title) about the 'already forgotten' is spot on.

I think there was more to it than just difficulty, BUT...it does stem a bit from GW Xenos-hate.

The post 'dex release fervor was also a bit overshadowed by some FAQ lovin on Dark Angels and Black Templars. With the first event I ran (post DE) having 2 Dark Angels and 1 BT player(s)...and NO DE.
Let's face it, everybody luvs MEQ...and that was a MOST telling example.

As far as the 'dex itself, it suffers from some glaring innate flaws that require concerted effort to overcome.
Your comment about 'tricky' is quite accurate. It will keep the kids off the wagon, which (IMHO) is good and bad. Good, in that (a year from now) if playing them, you won't be amidst a sea of like armies...bad in that, without the newer blood/sales...well, you may be subject to the years and years of whining that we experienced once already.
Tricky is as tricky does, so to speak.

(and finally, some KEY models not released yet...damned venoms/razorwings/voidraven)

This is my first shot out of the box with them since 3.5. I just could never finish an army for the ugly.
I like the fresh perspective and 'newness' of it, makes me Very Happy

S/T-3 and poor SVs is generally a shot in the groin. Combined with MOST of the 'trixy' stuff reducing your model count (compared to IG etc)...well, you see where that is going.
Add in Open Topped av-10 (primarily) AND NO upgrade characters(or elite characters)...something spammed to great effect with prior 'dexes...and it gets even harder.

HQ's are pain, pure and simple. For the 'good', you pay out the arse...


I've found my preferred configuration for characters to be;
Archon (Shadow Field/Agonizer and maybe phantasms)
2x Haemoncs.

The haemonculai deliver Webways, and with the advent of Grey Knights, I am including a Crucible at all times now (as opposed to the occasional build).

Roughly 2k for me has been,
Archon
2x Haemies
2 3x blaster-bombz (trueborn) on venom(with Haemies)
4 5x Warriors on Raider
2 9x Wyches (archon goes with one)
Beasts (either one or two units with many Khymerae and Razors)
Reavers (if only one big beast block)
2x Ravagers

When the flyers come out, I'm going to experiment with those in place of one FA and both Ravs.


The beasts are flat out SICK against a motor-pool, and a good game-turn tarpit...delivered via webway, they can reach out and touch someone.

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PostSubject: Re: An Already Overlooked Codex   Tue May 03, 2011 6:40 pm

This is the current configuration of my DE list at 2000 pts. I used it last month at DBCC with alot of success (see battle reports) and if not for one failed leadership test in turn 4 silent could have made the difference from 3rd to 1st. No


Duke
Haemonculus w/ wwp
Haemonculus w/ wwp

4 Trueborn w/ 4 blasters, raider-ff
4 Trueborn w/ 4 blasters, raider-ff

11 Warriors w/ blaster, sc
10 Warriors w/ blaster, sc
10 Wyches w/ hg, haywire, Hekatrix-agoniser
9 Wyches w/ hg, haywire, Hekatrix-agoniser

4 Beastmasters w/ 5 khymeras, 6 razorwings
9 Reavers w/ 3 heat lances

3 Ravagers w/ ff

Currently working on a second beastmasters unit ( damn things are expensive) and kind of hard to get, thanks GW Suspect


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PostSubject: Re: An Already Overlooked Codex   Tue May 03, 2011 7:41 pm

As no one can really argue (as they are GW models...and Beastmasters love capturing interesting gribblies)...
I'm using Ripper Swarms as my 'Razorwings'.

I've been varying my mix, but 6x Razors, and 8-10x Khymerae works well.

I like sliscus, but I'm going for points efficiency. at 105(? IIRC), an Archon w/Agon+SF is nasty point for point.
My points in vs results seem to be a bit better with the 3x Blaster-Bombz...again, a points efficiency thing.
The main reason I'm running those on Venoms vs Raiders...12x cannon shots on the move is flat scary to anything that's been de-meched.

I'm still not sold on FlickerFields for Raiders...def on the Ravagers (as my list has them), and the Venoms have them for free. The bump, and reason I keep toying with them, is that it's an invuln, not just cover...so a buffer in CC.

Haven't solidly committed to my Reaver config as yet...but that's due to the wait for the flyers. Do you find 6 are that much inferior to 9?
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PostSubject: Re: An Already Overlooked Codex   Tue May 03, 2011 7:47 pm

I like 9 due to survivablity the extra ap1 shot and I just seem to roll better with my Bloodvanes at 9.
The Duke isn't mandatory in my list but I like him and he filled in my 2000 pts list nicely from 1850. He really did pretty well and got me a pain token 2 out of 3 times for the combat drugs.

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PostSubject: Re: An Already Overlooked Codex   Tue May 03, 2011 7:49 pm

I've actually been buying into the Caltrops...
smaller footprint unit that SHOULD produce as many (or more) hits as the 9x.

Though I'm using them less as an armour threat, and more of a screaming late objective contesting/flaying/maneuver threat.
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PostSubject: Re: An Already Overlooked Codex   Tue May 03, 2011 7:55 pm

I like them also but where to get the points. Got to give up something to get them and I haven't played enough games yet to decide what works for me.

Exitus wrote:

Quote :
Though I'm using them less as an armour threat, and more of a screaming late objective contesting/flaying/maneuver threat.

Same here but I can't seem to get rid of the lances yet just in case. It's probably where I will trim some points but not just yet. Need to play some more find my comfort zone. I'm taking them to CagBash and we'll see what happens.

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PostSubject: Re: An Already Overlooked Codex   Tue May 03, 2011 9:11 pm

Points for the caltrops could come from the blaster-bombz...drop to three, from four?
I have the heat-lances in there, but with only 2 they are a drop back and punt unit for anti-armour...I keep them as a primary 'exposed unit' or 'late objective' threat.

I'm also waiting to see the models for scourges...if they're nice looking, they will be replacing either reavers OR trueborn when building for WW primary delivery.
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PostSubject: Re: An Already Overlooked Codex   Fri May 06, 2011 1:04 am

After playing against Monger's list, I have to say wow! They are very tough in hth and they will shoot the crap out of you the whole game.

After that game someone asked me, "How were those Dark Eldar". My response was, "I would have been punished if I brought anything other than Daemons". I like the the Darkies!!!
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