Dark Eldar Army Building – Wyches Vs Incubi


As regular bleaders (blog-readers?) may no doubt remember I got to take my Dark Eldar out for their first trip to the carnival a few weeks back and I posted then on how the various parts of my army list performed.

When I originally came up with the list I had spent some time umming and ahhing about whether to take the 5 man squad of Incubi or another squad of Wyches. What it came down to in the end was that I already possessed the Incubi and would need to buy another box of stuff to get that second Wych squad. In the next game I fight that squad of Incubi will be replaced by the Wyches and I thought I’d spend today’s post going through the Theoryhammer behind the move. Due to recent events in my personal life this post is about 2 weeks behind schedule in when I wanted to post it, hopefully it was worth the wait.

Force Organisation

Obviously these two units appear in different places on the FOC, with the Incubi we are looking at Elites, while the Wyches are now in the Troops category. Before we even consider the points cost difference between the two units I think this is a valid area to look at first. The Wyches can take and hold objectives, while I am very much aware that their Wychsuits aren’t going to be doing much to protect them against damage objectives are normally in ruins or woods or something that will provide a cover save. While the Incubi have the armour to survive getting shot at they’re still T3. Incubi are a little too expensive to be sent to camp objectives but in those final few turns being able to hold rather than just contest is a useful ace in the hole.

Cost and Optional Extras

Due to the various locations on the FOC an Incubus is over twice the price of a Wych, even an Hekatrix Bloodbride provides a substantial cost saving over your regular Incubus. For the cost of 5 Incubi with a Raider you can get a squad of 8 Wyches with upgrades in the same transport. While the Incubi have power weapons to start with and a better armour save the Wyches have access to various special weapons and the ever useful Agoniser and that’s before we think about the bonus that can be gotten from Combat Drugs. More bodies means more wounds which can almost be an offset for the poorer armour of our ladies but that save obviously improves dramatically once they get into combat.

Roles and Responsibilities

This was the part that I thought the longest about. On paper you just seem to get a lot more mileage out of the Wyches; Plasma Grenades, special weapons, combat drugs, Invulnerable saves, cheaper, troops etc… However, and while it may seem obvious to others, the one thing that I sort of had an epiphany over was the fact that Incubi are designed to be sent against higher toughness opponents than the Wyches.

Their weapons allow them to strike at Strength 4 something that make a rather big difference compared to the normal Eldar S3, this puts them on a par with Striking Scorpions with the same armour save but the advantage of having power weapons. Take Marines are the benchmark, a Wych will hit on a 4, wound on a 5 and then go up against the 3+ save. This is not taking into account any Combat Drug bonuses, which vary game to game, nor Hekatrix upgrades. On the charge the Wych will gain 3 attacks, so, 1.5 hits equates to 0.5 wounds, which becomes 0.16 chance of a wound from those attacks against a space Marine. Charging the Incubus will have the same number of attacks but has a higher WS than the Marine, so we are looking at 2 hits with 1 wound and no armour save due to the power weapon.

From this mathhammer you’re looking at the Incubi as being a really useful unit and I am not saying that they are not. The problem for me is when you look at the attacks coming back. I’m not going to go into the maths this time but in general you rarely face an opponent that doesn’t have some kind of squad leader with a power weapon or a power fist. You have Space Marine Sergeants, Power Klaw Nobs, Scorpion Claw Exarchs etc… etc… you expect this and because of that need to plan for the eventuality, especially with a close combat oriented army. Crappy Eldar T3 is no protection against these weapons, especially the fists and you are unlikely to wipe the squad in one round of combat, as Dark Eldar you are planning not to in fact. You want to charge in your turn, slap down the resistance, stay in combat so on your opponents turn you beat them allowing you another charge in your following turn to keep you safe from shooting.

With this in mind you are planning to take some retaliatory attacks and whenever I think of this scenario I can’t help but think the Incubi lose out. Their low toughness is a traditional weakness but their armour save is of no use now, even a Pain Token will not help them out against things that ignore their armour. Their expense suddenly becomes a liability as they will get hit back and can be pretty easily wiped out over a few turns of combat. Wyches on the other hand have more wounds in the squad and their invulnerable save will stop those power fists, add in the Hekatrix with an Agoniser to the squad and you are looking at a fight going more favourably in your direction to start with.

Perhaps looking at the targets in this manner means I am throwing Incubi at the wrong targets, but I cannot think of any instance where you wouldn’t be better off using Wyches due to the Agoniser Hekatrix. I think an Archon with that Incubi retinue would be a completely different prospect and I do think that you are better off throwing Incubi at something you want gone in a turn or a combined charge with something else of course. Obviously the Incubi can weather being shot at better than the Wyches, especially when out in the open but for the cost I think you get more mileage out of the Wyches. My 1500pts list includes the Archon with the Incubi but for my smaller games, 1k and below, I don’t think the Incubi really can bring that much considering the other bases I need to consider when filling out a force.

The Dark Eldar have a steep learning curve so it is not surprising that some units need to be figured out more than others and I think Incubi certainly are one of the more interesting units to find a spot for. While I can see their potential it’s all theory at this point until I can try things out more than the one battle where they got wiped by a power fist.

I know that both units can find a spot in an army but for me right now I can see few compelling reasons to take the Incubi over a squad of Wyches for the options and points values.

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3 thoughts on “Dark Eldar Army Building – Wyches Vs Incubi”

  1. Thats why you put an archon with shadow fields that gives him a 2+ invul save to take the powerfist. you can also give him a grenade launcher that gives the whole unit assault grenades.

    1. I agree, my 1500pts list includes the Archon but you shouldn’t have to add another 150pts+ to a unit to make it successful. I find Wyches just have a greater overall utility unless you are taking an Archon and therefore want a retinue for him.

  2. Yes, Incubi definitely need the Grenade launching Archon.

    Otherwise you watch them die horribly when charging into cover.

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