As everyone that hasn't been living under a rock knows the Dark Eldar FINALLY got redone in Novemeber. I had a 3rd Ed Dark Eldar army which I took the Grand Tournament in 2005. The only reason I did this was on a dare/as a joke. What I mean by that is I was working at Games Workshop for 10 months at the time, saving up money for school and my Manager and I were sitting around on a slow day both making fun of the Dark Eldar models and how they were the worst thing that GW has ever produced (still true to this day, other then maybe the Pumbagor..maybe). He said that if I was willing to paint the army he would give me the models for free. Done! While, I did have a bit of fun playing the ugliest army ever greated there was definitely something really missing from the army.
Which brings me to the new Dark Eldar codex. Simply put, in my opinion this is the best Codex/Army Range that Games Workshop has ever produced. Virtually everything has been done right for this release, including how they actually released the army itself. Everything from the interviews with Jes Goodwin and Phil Kelly talking about the model range, to how they previewed the models (including all the concept sketches) to the models/rules themselves. Basically, 100% the exact opposite on how the Tyranids were handled lol. What I mean by this is in the interviews one of the things that both designers commented on is how they wanted to make sure that everything in the 3rd ed codex was improved and brought up to speed with 5th edition and all the new entries were designed to help fill out the book. It show's a huge amount of respect to all the long time fans and it is how ALL the books should be handled, not changing everything for the sake of blatant cash grab (*cough..Tyranids..cough*). I am not meaning for this article to be a "Tyranids suck!' type article, I am only using them as an example to illustrate how GW SHOULDN'T be releasing new books and how I want all the future books, regardless of which army it is to be done like the DE.
The Codex: What makes this codex so good in my opinion is that virtually EVERYTHING is viable and incredibly useful. Pretty much nothing in this book I look at and think to myself "man, you would have to be high off your A$$ to take that (*cough..Pyrovore..cough*)". Sure there are a couple things that are a little weaker then others (Mandrakes come to mind, although depending on how they are used could be really really good) but 95% of the book boils down to your playstyle, which is how it should be. The new special rules are super fun too. Power Through Pain is one of my single fav rules in the game. It is so much fun watching your units "Power Up" as they kill stuff. It really gives this army a completely unique playstyle. I also like the complete lack of a "Death Star" unit. There are no incredibly undercosted Thunder Hammer/Storm Shield terminators that you see in every list. I also love how this army is a true glass cannon and takes skill to use. Having almost nothing but T3, 5+ to 6+ save guys that ride around in AV 10, open topped skimmers means you really have to think about tatics and how to maximise your terrain, which is great.
There is only one negative element in my mind and that is there are no rules/options that allow you to alter your reserve rolls. I know it doesn't sound like much but oddly enough it really does bother me, especially when you consider this is an army that appears out of no where, does a lightning fast raid, then disappears as fast as it appears. If there is any ONE army in 40k that screams deployment shinangans, it is this one. Alas, that isnt the case.
The Models: Well...what can really be said about them that already hasn't been said somewhere else. Best model range GW produces...period. There are so many extra pieces to every kit, so many details it makes me not want to convert anything because I know I simply won't do it justice. Another nice thing is that Jes Goodwin has gone on record to say that 90% of the entire model range will be out by June as the DE players have already waited 12 years for their revamp he doesnt want them to have to wait too much more (that and DE are selling like nuts). The two big ones I am waiting for are the Groteques (the art in the book is incredible) and the Jet Fighters as they also look "hella pimp".
How The Army Plays: Well, I finally have 5 games under my belt. Played IG twice, Orks once, Nids once and Blood Angels once. My current record is 4-1 (2 massacres, 2 minor victories and a minor loss). The really strange thing is in 5 games I have literally NEVER WON THE ROLL TO GO FIRST! Which is like the most important roll in each game to make for a DE army lol. The thing that is even stranger though is I have stolen the initiative 2 out of the 3 games where I had to go second lol (the Nids and BA made me go first). My two massacres came against Tyranids (My Archon killed a Mawloc, Tervigon AND Hive Tyrant by himself in hand to hand...I *love* the husk blade lol) and against an infantry heavy Imperial Guard army. These were the last two games I played and were by far my best played games. Target priority and focus on the objective won me these games as well as maximal use of cover in the IG game. My only loss came to Blood Angels and that was due to the fact that I shot every last anti tank weapon in my army at a Dread with Blood Talons and did nothing then it proceeded to do 17 (yes...SEVENTEEN) wounds in hand to hand on my Warrior Blob Squad. Not bad for a 125pts dread :P. This was my worst played game as it was kill points and I let my tyranid blood lust get the better of me. By the end of turn 6 we were tied in Kill Points (8 each) and instead of just throwing the remainder of my guys into cover and going to ground for the tie I tried to get a kill point or two (only vehicles left for him at this point and no anti tank weapons left for me). He then got a lucky shot on my Archon with an assault cannon (he had already made more then 15 x 2+ saves at this point, so I was feeling cocky) and then he blasted my last jet bike to get 2 more kill points in total. Ah well, live and learn. Biggest weaknesses defintely are dealing with Dreadnoughts. You have virtually NOTHING to kill them in hand to hand, so if they get there you are toast. I have played around with Night Shields and Flicker Fields and so far I have never made a flicker field save (in 5 games) and I have never had a weapon be out of range due to Night Shields, so I am thinking of dropping all of it which would net me another 60pts.
This is the current 1500pts list I have been using:
Haemonculus - Liquifier
Raider - Night Shields
Kabal Warrior Squad (20) - Sybarite w/ Venom Blade, 2 x Splinter Cannons, Blaster (just in case, but has literally done nothing so will be dropped) - Haemonculus goes here
Wyches (10) - Hekatrix w/ Agonizer, 2 x Shard Nets/Impalers
Raider - Night Shield
Wyches (10) - Hekatrix w/ Agonizer, 2 x Hydra Gauntlets
Raider - Night Shield
Reavers (6) - 2 x Heal Lances
3 x Ravagers - Flicker Fields
In my last game against guard my Reavers killed 2 Leman Russes with their heat lances and ALL THE DARKLIGHT WEAPONS COMBINED killed ONE Leman Russ (this is 9+ every turn lol). So, I am seriously thinking of dropping one of the Ravagers for a 2nd unit of Reavers. Plus, they are stupid fun to use :). I am still experimenting on builds and units. I also have 20 hellions that are currently being built and I will be looking forward to trying them out :)
After getting in some games, realizing that this is the most fun I have pretty much ever had playing 40k has sadly put my speed painting project (the orks) on hold...again lol. What this does mean though is I have finally put a bunch more work into my Dark Eldar. Aside from building almost everything I own now apart from the Hellions I have also recently finished off my 20 man warrior squad (pictured below). I have also put in a bunch of work on the Incubi which will be my next squad finished after that. The goal is to finish my 2000pts army by May 7th which is the next big 40k tourney I can participate in (I am working the other 2). Now that the holidays have calmed down I will be posting more regularly again with new army updates.