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Tactica: Dark Eldar

Zanos

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#1
Hey, hey, you two other people, slow down, I've been to 'ard boyz!

Anyway, Tactica Dark Eldar. Right. We're gonna start with the special characters, because that's what every 5th ed tactica should start with!

#1: SPECIAL CHARACTERS

Asdrubael Vect, Supreme Overlord of the Black City - "That's racist!"

Alright. Seriously. This guy is a wet dream. He's got the second highest weapons kill in the book, tied with succubi and falling only behind Lelith. He's got the standard Shadowfield, but also comes with ghostplate armor and haywire grenades. He also has an extra wound over archons. He comes with a blast that kills marines AND gives him wounds back, and has an agonizer on awesome sauce. He seizes the initiative easier, rerolls failed to hits, and against Eldar and Dark eldar, rerolls failed to wounds! What's not to like? He's also cheaper than the other super characters of say, Grey Knights. Unfortunately, he's still pretty expensive, but he can make up his points.

Rating: A+

Urien Rakarth - "What was that? The sound of progress, my friend."

Alright, Urien is a good character. He gives you some nice toys, and if you plan on using grotesques, he upgrades them again. However, you only get the most of his abilities if you use him in a haemonculus coven, and he takes up a full slot, but this will be explained later with haemonculi.

Rating: C

Lady Malys - "I'm totally not possessed by the laughing god!"

More of a support character than a combat character, she has her uses. She doesn't have a true power weapon, but does have a few attacks with the rule. She and her unit are immune to powers, and she can redeploy units. Solid character

Rating: B

Drazhar = "Yes, I'm a phoenix lord. I'm surprised it wasn't in the Grey knights FAQ"

Drazhar is your standard combat character. He can only join incubi, has their special gear, and a great statline. However, he is best on his own, so he can dart around a squad, avoiding any power weapons while tearing them apart. His main fault is lack of invuln, but he has the only 2+ armor save in the army.

Rating: B

Duke Sliscus - "Your ship is being stolen by a man you wish you could fight like."

Yet another support character, though he can still fight off enemies in combat. He gives a squad of warriors or trueborn better poisoned weapons, and lets you roll twice and pick your drugs. He also lets your transports and ravagers deep strike. Great for wych cult armies, and 3+ poison warriors is hilarious.

Rating: A

Kheradruakh - "Call me the Decrapitator"

Alright, what the frak was Phil Kelly thinking? He deploys like Sly Marbo, only he has no demo charge, instead it's a freaking bolter he comes armed with. He can't charge out of his deployment, and has no frag grenades anyway. Yeah he has a S 5 power weapon, but he probably won't even get to use it.

Rating: F

Lelith Hesperax - "I loooooove younger men"

Another character that sounds good on paper, but suffers from a few faults. She has a massive WS 9, and even comes with her own shardnet and impaler. She gets extra attacks based on the difference between her WS and her enemy's, which generally results in 4-5 extra attacks, and she always ignores armor. However, she suffers from only having S 3, meaning she will likely only kill a few marines or orks a turn out of her massive amount of attacks.

Rating: C

Baron Sathonyx - "I'LL GET YOU PETER PARKER!"

Alright, and here's an army changer. He makes hellions troops. However, it's still only worth taking one unit of them just for him. He gives his unit the stealth rule, and lets hellions with him reroll dangerous terrain and hit and run rolls. He also adds one to your deployment roll, and has a great strength on the charge. Overall, great character. Cheap too!

Rating: A

There you are, that's the first part. I'll do HQs later.
 

Zanos

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#3
Part 2 ladies and mentlegen! The HQ section! Today we're taking a look at the leaders of the kabals, covens, and cults!

Archon - "Blah blah masochism blah evil blah"

Alright, this guy is usually the standard HQ choice in a Dark Eldar army list. He's got very strong statline, the only thing bringing him down is his subpar strength and toughness. The strength can be fixed or augmented with combat drugs and other nasty tactics, such as the soul trap, but his toughness can't be fixed. However, he comes with a 2+ - that's right, a 2+ invulnerable save - atleast until he fails the first save, though if he does that he might be dead anyway. Another thing to point out is that with phantasm grenade launchers, he gives Incubi frag grenades, thus removing their one disadvantage. Solid character, I take him in all of my lists.
Rating: A

Haemonculus - "That's ok, ribs grow back! (no they don't.)"

Yet another character that is not truly a combat character, but a support character. He can be equipped with a massive arsenal of wargear and arcane equipment, including the dreaded shattershard. But his main use, aside from another template or extra agonizer attacks, is that he gives the squad he is with an extra pain token (this goes from feel no pain to fearless) and unlocks wracks as troops. Haemonculi can also be taken as three for one HQ slot. His main downside, is that he is rather squishy, and as such can often be a free kill point.

Rating: B

Succubi - "I'm more than extra attacks, I swear!"

Right, well, this is a disappointment. She's got a rather nice statline, but she can't be tricked out nearly as well as archons can. She also can't take a shadowfield, leaving with her to rely on her standard 4+ invuln in close combat. At the end of the day, she really is just extra attacks.

Rating: C

That's the HQ section folks! Coming up, elites!
 

Zanos

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#5
Hey, blame Phil Kelly for the small amount of normal HQs and large amount of sub-par characters - not me!
 

Bishop

Master Necromancer
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#6
Zanos said:
Hey, blame Phil Kelly for the small amount of normal HQs and large amount of sub-par characters - not me!
Seems to be the way... just wait for Craftworld Eldar. There's a disproportionate amount of special characters there too :D
 

Count Darvaleth

I <3 marmite
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#8
A good read for somebody considering starting Dark Eldar. I'm glad to see my initial thoughts on the characters at least are in alignment with other people; Archons rock, all those special characters...meh. xD
 

Danceman

The Devil in Pale Moonlight
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#9
The Duke and Baron is very useful. Especially the latter one. Using him with a hellion, venom TB spam, Ravager-list makes for some good fun. Extremely fast and a firebase which would make a Tau-player blush. The Duke's 3+ skill does great deal in the right unit and makes it more probable you get the drugs you want. The rest of them are pretty meh. Asdrubael while look badass is just too many points into a single t3 HQ unit.

Vanilla HQ you are pretty much spot cept I always try to get 1-2 haemies in there due to their token-giving capabilities(usually lent to my TB's riding venoms). Succubi is only an option if you're strained for points but as Zanos says an Archons affords you PGL for your incubi which they need in order to be effective.
 

Sweeney Todd

Master Vampire
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#10
I think Drazhar is overrated in this review TBH. Like the Penis - I mean, Phoenix Lords, he has no invulnerable save. A 2+ armor save alone is no big deal due to how commonly AP1/2 guns are taken. A decent invulnerable save really is a must have for an independent character meant for CC. His ability to reposition himself in CC is not a true substitute for a shadowfield or a dodge save as you cannot always avoid enemy power weapon attacks.

I'll rate him C at best, if not D.
 

Zanos

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#11
You bring up good points about Drazzy, and yeah the lack of invuln *really* annoys me. Especially with how they talk about how fast he is. He definitely isn't a character I'd take in a truly competitive list, but he's fun, and he isn't innately bad. To be honest, any combat HQ nowadays without a 3++ or better isn't that good, but apparently GW thinks we like our awesome combat heroes with no invulns whatsoever! Still, I reeeeally want to use him to troll an ork player. Anyway, elite section will be coming soon, as will updates to my WFO games, I promise!
 

Zanos

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#12
Now we're getting to the fun part. Elites. We're going to start off with a personal favorite of mine, the Incubi.

Dark Eldar Incubi: These suckers are pretty expensive for being weedy little dark eldar, though their statline comes across showing the reason. They're strong and fast enough to take down entire squads of space marines before they can even attack due to their klaives, which are essentially power weapons. One of them can be upgraded to a Klaivex, with weapon skill on par with a marine captain and even better initiative, as well as unlocking powers for them in the style of eldar exarchs. However, For the points spent on them you could easily get more incubi. Overall, the main fault of the incubi are their lack of frag grenades, and the overkill factor. Too little of them and you may lose too many in an assault into cover, and too many and you overkill a squad and get shot up next turn.
Rating - B

Grotesques - Literal monsters, these things are pretty pricy. 35 points a model, but they're multiple wounds, high strength and toughness, and come with feel no pain (their first pain token) standard. You can also upgrade one to have a liquifier gun, and upgrade one to a unit champion with various upgrades. Their disadvantages are taking up two spaces each in transports, meaning they can't ride in venoms and only can have a max of 5 without characters in a raider, as well as costing a fortune in fineca$h models. They also explode on a 1 if a character isn't with them. Still, excellent shock unit
Rating - C if alone, B if with a character.

Wracks - An actual tough unit that aren't grotesques or pain engines, wracks are T 4 dark eldar with lower initiative but poisoned close combat weapons and a pain token. They can take liquifier guns, which are always a good choice. However, with a haemonculus, they can be taken as troops, and compared to the other elite choices they just aren't that good. Great as troops though
Rating - D as elites, B+ as troops

Mandrakes- Nothing special here, just your standard infiltrating disruption unit. They get a special shooting attack after gaining their first pain token, and it's kind of sad because the shooting attack generally tends to be more effective than their actual close combat. They also count as daemons for Grey Knight purposes.
Rating - C

Harlequins - Yes, those harlequins. They're the exact same as craftworld harlequins, with the differences being they don't have falcons to ride in, and I believe craftworld harles can take pure power weapons, these ones can't. Solid assault units, they can and always will cause pain.
Rating - B

Kabalite Trueborn - At first glance, these seem to be simply better Warriors, but the truth is far different. The main thing abotu trueborn is their ability to take enough firepower in every squad to make imperial guard players blush. Great unit, These generally form the elites of most dark eldar armies
rating - A

Hekatrix Bloodbrides - Unfortunately, these are what Trueborn seemed to be at first. They are just wyches with less models needed for wych weapons and an extra attack. Your points are better spent elsewhere.
Rating - D

There's the elites, next up I'll be doing troops, which I'm sorry Don, it will be painfully short.
 

Dogmar

Varghulf
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Aug 3, 2010
Messages
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#13
I agree with most of what you say, I'm not sure if the Harlequin's rules are really different from the ones the CWE can use. Last time I had a glance at the CWE dex it seemed to be just about the same, except that they were allowed to have a transport.

Incubi should turn A when accompanied by an Archon with PGL imo, because that basically negates one of their two weaknesses (the other one being the lack of an invul). Still, nothing shreds through power armour like these guys just pick your targets carefully so you don't get stuck with something like Thunderwolf Cav or TH-SS termies.

Mandrakes - I have never used them but on paper they do not seem to be able to kill anything in CC without power weapons or other weapon special rules. I mean in CC they're worse than wyches even though they have S4 base. The only way for them to become viable is to give them a PT which you could do with a haemi or through killing something. The former foregoes their special deployment rule and is pricey and the latter is quite hard to do unless you have something really soft against you.

One thing to mention about Grots: you can create a lot of wound groups with all the upgrades available to them so they are really durable unless someone drops a demolisher pie-plate on them.
 
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#14
On harlequins, the rules are exactly the same. Only Harlie who can take a nilla power weapon is the Troupe-master, and although they can get in transports, they don't get dedicated transports, so they would have to hop in first turn.
 

Danceman

The Devil in Pale Moonlight
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#15
Dogmar said:
Mandrakes - I have never used them but on paper they do not seem to be able to kill anything in CC without power weapons or other weapon special rules. I mean in CC they're worse than wyches even though they have S4 base. The only way for them to become viable is to give them a PT which you could do with a haemi or through killing something. The former foregoes their special deployment rule and is pricey and the latter is quite hard to do unless you have something really soft against you.
They're very similiar. Both have invul save in combat but the mandrakes' save is a true invul. Infact, in a way they're one of the few self-sufficient units. Need no transport, annoying has hell to shoot at and have an invul.

Like any unit in DE it needs a defined purpose(which is why I don't really like this grading system at all). Mandrakes were made for a WWP list. Put your haemie in a venom, land with mandrakes, pop WWP and voila. A deployed WWP and Baleblast ready to go.

Same with Incbui. Which is kind of ironic since used to be a part of the archon's retinue and now they aren't, yet they need an Archon for his PGL which forces them right back together. Don't field too many of these guys, you don't need to. You have an archon and incubi in the same unit!

Furthermore, let's not forget the grots capabilities to bring down vehicles. Since you should have a haemonculus with them you'll have FnP and FC... That's a lot of S6 attacks. Remember, you do not have to beat the high armour value front but usually a very squishy rear of 10-11. Assuming you brought 4 of them with a haemonculi(ignoring the haemie attacks for a moment) then you're sporting 16 S6 attacks.

Kabalite trueborn. Now these guys are ruthless. Want to pop vehicles, bring 4 blasters. What more Anti-personel, bring splinter cannons. The transport is a no brainer, a venom with extra splinter cannon and grisly trophies(you realy want these guys to say their ground). With X-SC the unit sport 4 splinter cannon among themselves... That's 24 shots from a single unit(but usually 20 since you're on the move).

Agreed on the bloodbrides. I want to take them but honestly you're better of with Harlequins.

So Harlequins, another self-sufficient unit. You ignore cover so you're fast, you should have a shadowseer so you won't get shot. Just like mandrakes they can get there on their own. Personally though, I perfer them in a WWP list. They're also unique in the sense they got a very useful anti tank gun(short ranged though, which again players into WWP). These guys completely outclass wyches in combat. A massive output of attacks and you have Furious Charge. Always get a PW on the troupe master IMO.

Since we're on the topic of 'Ard Boyz. I've heard most of these do not have much in the ways of terrain, is this true? Indeed, overall the 2500 limit makes for very different games than those of 1500-1850.
I think this worth mentioning since you cannot afford the same level of redundancy.
 

Dogmar

Varghulf
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#16
For the points they cost I don't see mandrakes as so powerful, I'd rather take another wych squad to add more redundancy to the list. On the topic of WWP lists they seem interesting. So you want to infiltrate them right where you're going to put the WWP so you get the portal done, your haemi protected and the baleblast unlocked? Good idea.

As for the Grots: These things are beasts, I'd love to try them but the models totally put me off. Expensive, ugly and only one pose. I might convert my own guys one day to give them a go on the battlefield.

Harlies are fast, but not fast enough to keep up with the rest of the army if you play fully mechanized. Again, in a WWP list it could work out. Definitely annoying though because of the "you can't see me" power.
 

Danceman

The Devil in Pale Moonlight
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#17
Infiltrate, zoom up with a haemie in venom and pop the WWP. Essentially killing two birds with one stone, deployed the WWP and given the mandrakes their shooting attack. I don't see why people think mandrakes are so expencive, tons of special rules and a unit which gets boosted massively with a pain token. Harlies are deceptively fast and hard to shoot.

I do not use a full WWP army. I don't like it, its more of a 70/30 divide with the majority starting on the table. The units that are starting in the portal are beastmaster packs and Talos. The rest is a very fast and shooty army. Some have said that this makes it easy for my opponent to pick me apart piece by piece but they're forgetting that with fewer models means I can protect more of them through screening my units using terrain to mitigate the biggest threats and often enough remove them from the picture altogether. The effect is that the army my WWP units emerge from is not intact, it's already under pressure. Some armies is going to have a really hard time keeping up and night shields and Flickerfields makes a big impact. If you do not use Nightshields, then make a note of every time a unit would have been out of range when fighting upon your vehicles.

So basically, the army that starts on the table is your standard kabalite list with tons of venoms, two Ravagers and the mandrake unit(usually 8 strong). For characters I use baron and a haemie, this is a 1.5k list. If I get around to 1750-1850 games I believe it will be even stronger as I can deploy even more trueborn and increase the size of the beastmaster packs.

You don't have to go full WPP or mech to be competitive but I would never advocate a 50/50 split. I prefer the WWP to complement, rather than become, my army.

EDIT: I forgot to add why I prefer mandrakes. It is mostly due to a 2nd token, which will not take long after you get your 1st. They become a real meat-grinder. Let's say I start with 8, get the haemie up and add his token to them. Now they're resilient and packs a deadly shooting-phase. With a second token, you get the lovely furious charge. That's 3 S5 attacks at I6 each. Enough to actually take down vehicles but crusially, they'll wound on 3s versus T4 opponents. Effectively a very deadly charge against any unit your opponents sends after them. So what I'm saying is this is very much a unit that pain tokens do a lot for.
 
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