Time to whip out the Alice Cooper picture again! The last post where I explained my undying love for the charming torturers and murderesses of the Dark Eldar was meant to go into more detail about the new Codex, however, as I managed to ramble on (pointlessly it could be argued by some) for a thousand words I figured that you, dear reader, would rather read two 1 thousand words posts that one 2 thousand word post. Hence you get to enjoy another screenful of waffle this week!
After having savoured reading through the Codex from cover to cover and then having to wait three nights before finally getting the time to sit down and hammer out an army list I have come up with the 1500pts that I like. There is a decidedly Wych-y theme to it as well as the army is packed full of Combat Drugs and close combat nastiness. It should also be incredibly fast and tear through your deployment zone in turn two! Just the kind of alpha strike offensive that appeals to my gaming sensibilities.
So, let us journey together through the labyrinthine passageways of the Webway to explore the dark realm of Comorragh just like every other 40k blog did weeks ago!
The new Codex is substantially larger than the old one and fleshes out the background of the Truekin to give you a better view of the horrifying existence that the Dark Eldar revel in. I’m not going to spoil too much of it in case you fancy a read yourself but the main thrust is that in order to stave off the perverted predations of their debauched nemesis Slaanesh they must inflict suffering upon others as they literally feed on that pain. This rejuvenates the Dark Eldar, so whereas the Craftworld cousins die and capture their souls in the Soulstones they wear the Dark Eldar get the equivalent of a Big Mac and fries from kicking you in the nuts. They don’t die unless killed and therefore constantly gorge themselves on a gourmet of death and bloodletting. Your average Dark Eldar was around at the time the Eldar fell from grace and are more than happy carrying on in the same fashion that birthed their doom.
This background manifests itself in the special rules for the army. As units are wiped out the unit that did the reaping qualifies for a token that grants one of the Universal Special Rules to that unit, their starter for ten is Feel No Pain, followed on by Furious Charge and then Fearless. While you are bound to lose some guys throughout a game by turn 5 or 6 your dudes are so high on their exploits they are much tougher than they were at the beginning. Some units can even start with a pain token, yes they are Toughness 3 Eldar but don’t let that fool you once they have a few kills under their belt. While looking at special rules it should also be noted that a big feature of basic Dark Eldar weaponry is that it is poisoned.
The Splinter Rifle is now a Rapid Fire weapon with Poisoned (4+) and AP5 – sure it’s not exactly MEQ shredding but against anything that is Toughness 4 or higher these guns are fantastic. Coupled with a BS of 4 your warriors are putting an average of two wounds on a Carnifex at 24″ range. While the Shuriken Catapults of the Craftworld Eldar are pretty good the Splinter Rifles effectiveness scales the tougher the opponent is. Include a Splinter Cannon in there for the extra shots and you have a formidable firebase to work with that has the potential to decimate units at range while the rest of your force manuevers into position.
While your Kabalite warrior is the same as before the rest of the list has been expanded, some units have been renamed while new ones have appeared and it is now possible to theme your list depending on what you want to take. Archons are still there although there is no Dracon option anymore, likewise Archites are now referred to as Succubi and Wyches are a Troops choice from the start irrelevant of HQ taken. There is a lot of choice in the Elites arena and Incubi are not just a retinue for your Archon anymore but are a distinct unit capable of doing a lot of damage and with their 3+ save are among the toughest units in the army list. With Wyches now being a Troops choice you have greater variety in how you fill those slots, although I’d still consider that Wyches are best in combat so you’re not going to want them sitting at the back of the board defending your deployment zone objectives! But, with their move from Elites, you are then freed in what else you can take. The Fast Attack selection provide access to the awesome Reaver Jetbikes who can get where you want them, when you want them thanks to a 36″ turbo-boost potential and they can also pack Heat Lances, an 18″ Lance, Melta weapon that people are not going to find funny when their tanks pop at the beginning of the second turn. Hellions are back and are much better (in my opinion) than before and provide another combat option to support the Wyches. Heavy Support is rounded out by the usual customers and expanded with some new toys such as the Cronos engine which can kill stuff off and then pass pain tokens to allied units in range!
Webway portals are still in the armoury, they are cheaper than their previous incarnation but can only be taken by Archons and can no longer accommodate vehicles. An army mounted on Raiders can easily be brought to bear and is one of the options I think we’ll be seeing a lot of with options like Retrofire Jets allowing them to Deep Strike and Flickerfields giving them a 5++ save.
Armour saves are predominantly 5+ or 6+ so you’re going to have to use cover effectively if you want your Dark Eldar to survive on their trek across the table and Raiders are still open-topped AV10. However, if you can get your troops where you want them you will lay down a lot of hurt. The strategy for Dark Eldar is all about applying pressure on one area of the battlefield, stretch your line out too thin and you are likely to be beaten, but consolidate your force and you can cripple that area before moving on to someone else. If a battle is dictated to you I don’t think the DE are going to cope well, they need to be the ones setting the pace and a war of attrition will not go their way unless they are already gorged on pain tokens.
I’m slowly collecting the parts of my force to get them ready for an inaugural game, I imagine it’d be against Gribblin with one of his armies (Eldar on Eldar could be a fun battle).