“Boxing is like Ballet,
Except the dancers where tutus
And hit each other”
- Jake Handey
Except the dancers where tutus
And hit each other”
- Jake Handey
After doing my first tournament here are a couple things in regards to Dark Eldar and 6th ed in general.
- Vehicle Durability: The main thing I have heard about this edition is how weak (durability wise) vehicles are. After reading the rules I figured that DE vehicles would be pretty much the same as we are 100% used to our vehicles blowing up when just looking at them. In fact, I would argue that DE vehicles are a bit more durable than the previous edition. The reason for this is last edition you would take real damage from glancing hits. I watched a couple times as a lucky glance from a bolter would drop or cripple a Raider and if that glancing shot happened to be AP1 you would lose it more often than not. The nice thing now is it just takes off a Hull Point, which I can 100% live with. Another amazing boost is that any skimmer that moves gets at worst a 5+ cover save. If you are playing Night Fights it’s at worst a 4+ but has the potential for higher which is fantastic. This saves you 10pts per model on having to buy Flicker Fields. The only times I would still buy flicker fields are on our flyers or on Raiders you want to keep still for a turn or two (like Dark Lance Trueborn shooting from a Raider). Overall the new vehicle rules are my favorite rules for this edition. I love them for both vehicles I am using and ones I am fighting against.
- Dark Lances: I figured with the change to Hull Points and AP getting +1 on the damage chart (net result being the exact same as they were before) would combine to make them one of the better AT options in the game, and I gotta say, I was right. The reason is just how many you can fit into one army. In 5th ed the reason they were sub-par is that it took like 12-14 dark lances just to kill one stupid Rhino. Now it’s just 3 Pens/Glances. All the armor I faced was gone before turn 2 that tournament (to be fair it wasn’t a lot).
- Troops: There was a huge push last edition on Troops grabbing objectives and that trend is even more important in this edition. I am 100% of the mind-set that at 1500pts for Dark Eldar you need at LEAST 4-5 troops to do well. The reason for this is two-fold. First is because all but one of the missions focus solely on grabbing objectives with Troops being the only units that can interact with them. Secondly is because the changes with shooting, specifically with cover, our army has the potential to just evaporate when it comes up against any resistance so you need the extra bodies/units. Another thing to consider which ties into that second point is you can no longer score from within a transport so you HAVE to get out which makes units like those 10 man warrior squads or blob squads that much more important.
- Anti Air: I would say that the Dark Eldar’s real Achilles heel in 6th is their extreme lack of Anti Air. Sure we have our Razorwings and the Void Raven (still no model). The big issue with these two though is the price for what you get in terms of AA and durability in comparison to their Imperial and Necron counterparts. The Razorwing starts at 145pts for AV 10 and 2 dark lances as you can’t fire the missiles at flyers. That is pretty rough when you consider that a Vendetta is only 130pts and has 2 more armor, 1 more AT weapon (all twin linked), troop capacity and the ability to “hover” not to mention that the IG player can take NINE of them to your at best 3. The Void Raven is the better option for AA in my opinion with 1 more point of AV and better Dark Lances but it still doesn’t compare to options from other armies. Then you start looking at Necron Flyers and it really feels like you have no chance as those Tesla Destructors will just annihilate you. After that there aren’t many other options. Sure you could invest in a defense line or something similar but does having a static piece of terrain in an army that is designed to appear from the Warp out of thin air, strike the enemy, then vanish just as quickly as it appeared make any sense? It’s a lot to swallow, points wise, when you consider how much you would have to invest just in hopes to kill one flyer (the defense line, the gun and a unit/model to man the weapon). To be fair this is true for most armies, just really noticeable for Dark Eldar.
- Wyches Aren’t Dead!: After reading rules on Overwatch and such I was sure that the Wyches place in the DE army was pretty much done as you will notice with my failed attempt at turning them into a shooting squad. One thing that became abundantly clear though is that Overwatch in 99% of situations is a complete gimic to the point where I question why it is even in the game. Like, take 20 Necron Warriors firing on Overwatch against 10 Marines. You get 40 shots, 6, maybe 7 hits, 3 wounds and 1 dead Marine…on FOURTY shots. I am finding with Wyches, who aren’t obviously Marines, just have to be a bit smarter on what you assault. Assaulting 10 Space Marines without a flamer? Great! Assaulting 15 Burna Boys? No, bad Wyches! After this tournament I ditched my two Haemonculi and threw the Succubus back in because the army needs some sort of assault counter punch.
- Haywire Blasters: Last edition I loved my 5 man Scourge Squad with 2 haywire blasters. They were great for locking enemy tanks down and limiting their shooting/movement while occasionally doing something awesome like blowing up a Land Raider. Over the course of that tournament I fired my 2 haywire blasters just once at a tank and didn’t do anything to it other than strip 1 Hull Point. It was to the point where I was putting the haywire blasters in front just to save my shard carbines that were much more useful over the course of 4 games. Unless you are taking the full squad of 10 with 4 haywire blasters there isn’t much reason to take them as the two can’t strip enough hull points to make them worthwhile. Hell, even if you do take that squad its 260pts, which is a heck of a lot of points for T3, 4+ save guys with no transport. It gets harder too when for the same price you can take 4 Splinter Cannons instead for a much deadlier and more focused squad (which is literally what I am going to do if I do anything with this squad).
- How Much the Meta Has Changed: This I was surprised about, especially in regards to how fast it happened here in Calgary. I am used to seeing seas of armored boxes daring me to try to open them up to get to their delicious meaty insides. I will be the first to admit that I was REALLY surprised to see people’s lists change as fast as they did moving away from armor. I had BY FAR the most vehicles at that tournament with 8 and I brought the most anti tank expecting to see lots of tanks. In my mind this is nothing but good for the game. How many times when building a list do you end up not taking something super fun because you need that space for more Anti Tank (*cough* hive guard *cough*). The idea of taking 10 Reavers with 3 cluster caltrops is a real and potentially devastating option now. Eventually it will even out though and I think soon you will see Hybrid Armies (so a good balance of tanks and infantry) which is perfect.
- FNP: One of the bigger surprises for me is how the change to FNP has greatly diminished this army’s durability. Sure, it works on AP1 and AP2 but how often are you being hit by those APs were the strength of the weapon isn’t over 6? The fact it is still negated by anything that instant kills you means that in all honesty the places where I can use FNP is almost totally unchanged and instead I only save 33% of my guys instead of 50% of my guys. Models that are T4 or higher greatly benefit from this change as almost nothing removes FNP (the monstrous creatures for my Nids LOVE this change lol).
- Fortifications: No one took any which really surprised me. Until I get in some games I can’t really comment on it.
- Allies: 2 of the 4 games I played in featured Allies. When playing Jason they felt very natural, like that is how his army was supposed to function. Everything he took played off of each other (Nurgle Marines with Nurgle Demons) which was great. It reminded me of the glory days of the 3.5ed Chaos Space Marines with real Demons. Derrick’s army on the other hand is a good demonstration as to what is really stupid about allies, and that is the actual allies chart. I mean, have you guys even looked at it? I mean REALLY looked at it? Orks can be allies with Imperial Guard. So that means you can have Yarrick and Ghazgull IN THE SAME ARMY! What?! lol. Why Grey Knights would ally with ANY non-imperial army is beyond me as they are supposed to be incredibly rare that most Imperial armies would never ally with them or even see them. I really like the idea of allies and what it offers us the gamers as well as possibilities for Games Workshop to expand this game. A good example is the new Chaos Marine Codex that is on the horizon. Now, instead of filling it with crappy generic Demons or re-hashing and re-printing what is in the Demon Codex they can just leave demons out and have them as allies in their own codex. That way when the Demons get redone it doesn’t impact the CSM. Stuff like that is fantastic.
The State of Dark Eldar according to Ghoulio: For the most part I would say the play style of this army has probably changed the least of any army I can think of. All the stuff that made them good last edition is still good or better and all the stuff that made them bad is still bad or worse. The army design of being a “Glass Cannon” is truer now than ever. If you noticed in my Tourney report 2 of my 4 games I tabled my opponents (or close to) and the other two I was struggling to keep up. I actually did BETTER in the game that I lost than the 1st game I won lol. Once Fateweaver and his minions got in on my troops he effortlessly killed my army.
Moving Forward: This tournament gave me lots of things to think about in regards to moving forward with my Dark Eldar. I realized when looking back on it that I never really used my Scourges or my Reavers. They just ended up being Victory Points for my opponents. I am removing the Scourges from my list and shelving them for the for-seeable future. As for the Reavers I am removing the Heat Lances and throwing on a pair of Cluster Caltrops to just blade vane my opponents as that is literally the only thing they did all tournament anyways. Next up I am trimming down the anti tank I never used by removing my Razorwing (it did almost nothing all tournament) and removing the Dark Lance from my 10 man Warrior Squad (literally never fired it at full BS in 4 games). I am also removing the two Haemonculi as they did nothing all tournament other then flail all over the board. Replacing those (Razorwing, Scourges, Dark Lance in Warrior Squad and the Haemonculi) is a Ravager with 3 Disintigrators, a 5 Man Trueborn Squad with 2 Splinter Cannons and 3 Splinter Carbines in a Venom (160pts for 33 shots and bringing my splinter cannon total to 11), replacing the Dark Lance with a Splinter Cannon and adding in a Succubus to the Wyches and filling out that squad. I also want to add in some Eldar Allies for the Psychic Defense and combining Doom with my Poison Weapons. So I am going to paint up a “Doom-Seer”, a 10 man unit of Dire Avengers and a Wave Serpent. For all the Eldar units I am making them Space Pirates (combining Eldar and Dark Eldar kits) so they are just part of this army. The paint scheme will just be an extension of my DE force but with more reds. Going to be an exciting year for the Dark Eldar!
What things have you guys noticed about 6th ed and how are your armies changing as a result?