Thursday, August 30, 2012

Deep Thoughts…Dark Eldar in 6th Edition!

“Boxing is like Ballet,
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?


Anonymous said...

I agree with almost everything you've written here except for:

a) too much anti-tank..... I really haven't seen a drop in the number of vehicles being used. I know I am still running 5 rhinos at 1500 points for my chaos marines - simply because the points spent there are still protecting me from small arms fire. The first game I played with marines on foot saw me get annihilated by tau.... TAU! Purely because those S5 shots were able to put a volume of wounds on my boys in pink... it takes 36 pulse rifle shots to glance a rhino with no cover to death. Those 36 pulse rifle shots will result in 4 dead marines.... net savings of almost 30 points....

OF course as a DE player, all those extra AT weapons that you're packign & not using are great for putting ID wounds on characters, hurting MC's and terminator hunting.

b) Flyers - as a knee-jerk reaction I bought a razorwing to add to my DE army in 6th. So far Ive only fielded it twice, the first game it met an inglorious demise at the hands of some tank-hunting terminators with assault cannons, game two it was a star. I really think that both are good value for the points you are paying, I personally would prefer the voidraven for the reasons you've mentioned, coupled with the fact that a DE army really shouldn't need help in the anti-infantry department.

I believe the best use of the voidraven is to a) prioritize other flyers, b) prioritize heavy vehicles and or heavily armored targets like terminators. If your opponent has a flyer & your void-raven turns up first, move over a valid target & drop your mine before boosting off the board in the shooting phase. This allows you to strike a high-value target & then reappear next turn to strike-down your opponent's flyer on your own terms. If you arrive second, obviously targets of priority as needed. Two strength 9 lances gives you a reasonably strong chance of causing meaningful damage to whatever you're shooting.

Anonymous said...

oh... anon@ 4.02 is Jon - doesn't have a "clever handle" - P.

Ghoulio said...

Hey Jon,

Thanks a bunch for posting this, lots of great points. My article is only based on some very limited play time with the article and what I have seen in 6th so far.

In regards to your two points I just wanted to comment on them quickly.

A) In regards to the too much anti tank I can totally see what you are saying. I think stocking up on Dark Lances is the way to go due to their dual use of ID'ing Characters and stripping wounds off of MCs in addition to the Anti Tank. I guess I was more referring to the alternate AT methods (Scourges) and dual purpose units like Jetbikes. I just found that I was never using my Haywire Blasters or Heat Lances. Same thing goes for the dark lances on my Razorwing as I was always firing at troops. So dumping these for more focused units would see the armies effectiveness go up without sacrificing anything.

B) I pretty much agree with everything you said. I don't find the Razorwing as useful as it was in 5th and if I was going to run it I would always do the dual disintigrators plus splinter cannon option and if I wanted the anti tank I would just do the Voidraven. I have been doing a lot of thinking though and you are right, this army has mountains of Anti Infantry which reduces the Razorwings usefulness even more to the point where why not just take a Disinigrator Ravager or a unit of 3 allied Eldar Scatter Laser War Walkers (155pts vs. 180pts)? They do the same thing (the Ravager helps cut down on heavier targets while the scatter lasers are overall much more useful) and cost either 50pts less (ravager) or only 25pts more (war walkers).

Ah well, looking forward to getting in some games with my Revised List and playing some more games with my new Necron army.

Anonymous said...

I feared your nids in 5th, I'm terrified of your necrons in 6th.


Travis said...

I like most of your ideas and built a quick sample list based on some of the changes... my only real difference here is that I don't see the need for blobs of troops as much.

Since DE got even MORE glass cannon-y every single game I play ends up as annihilation no matter what the game type is, thus the actual game type rules are nearly irrelevant except for deployment. I annihilate his troops right after anything particularly nasty dies, he then focuses on killing mine and whats left by 3/4th turn is that depending on rolls and army either he's going to table me or I'm going to table him. There don't seem to be any exceptions.

As such and due to the nature of anti tank still being useful I've taken to fielding a 6 venom list, 3x 5 wyches with nets 3x 5x trueborn with splintery goodness, 1x unit of 10 scourges with baron, and 9x reavers with Heat Lances.

The Wyches are great with 4+ invuln for tar pitting some tough units as well as combining them in assaults for 15 man wych-y death that gets you the enemies whole unit at -1 or -2 attacks. This is after they serve their primary purpose of assaulting vehicles that can't overwatch them with haywire grenades. 3 hull point vehicles will on average die in a single turn to a 5 wych squad charging with haywires. 4 BS ftw.

Baron in a unit of scourges is something I don't see very often and have no idea why. They move the same, baron provides some much-needed CC utility in case they DO get charged, and tossing baron in front to soak wounds is quite possibly the best thing since sliced bread. I've had opponents waste an entire turn for over half thier army and just kill off 3-4 shardcarbine scourges via Look Out Sir after baron fails his first Shadow Field save. At that point even if they die immediately on the following turn they've soaked way way more than the points cost(365) in incoming fire and probably paid for themselves in the form of 1-2 tanks or destroying a transport for the venoms to get at the delicious soft things inside. With 4 Haywire Blasters the unit is too dangerous not to wipe out immediately and are an excellent wound soak. If they choose NOT to shoot at them they become ludicrously dangerous in all aspects, whatever you need, they are. Plus they have fleet so charge range is pretty damn good and shardcarbines + pod + hammer of wrath + I5 and you may even have furious charge on top by that point will decimate most non-space marine units before they ever get to fight back. Even reduced strength SM units probably won't survive the furious charge variant. If you have say 6 space marines left in a unit somewhere(if it started at 10, thats fairly normal for one venom having shot at them already), 3 die to the carbines and pod, 1 dies to Hammer and the 2 that are left aren't going to stand against 10 scourges + baron.

Reavers with heat lances speak for themselves. Cluster Caltrops look good to me too but I value the versatility of heat lances too much. Moving in to 9" range then running away in the assault to mostly keep me out of assault range with them. Plus they can actually tar pit units that have been shot at by venoms already. Firing pistols and then charging in and decimating them.

Any thoughts?

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