Dark Eldar Tactica: General Tips and Tricks

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Quick Reference:
 Overview
 Army Variants
 Unit Analysis
 Armoury
 Wargear
 Sample Units
 Army Overview



Well... I've decided that it's time to write a tactica for my favorite army in all of 40k: Dark Eldar. I'll try to give my opinion on everything that I can think of, as well as counter-opinions. If there's anything that you feel that I've missed or that you would like to contribute, feel free to get in touch with me however you choose.

Overview

Dark Eldar are, as I said, my favorite race of all of 40k, but why? Well, they're fragile, which is a lot of fun; they're fast... It's rare for our army to have anything that moves less than 24" in a turn; they have some of the best anti-tank in the entire game-so much so that Land Raiders have become my friends; and they are absolute CC monsters!
Let's break that down a bit more:
  • Fragility: We've got some considerable problems with being so easy to kill, however, we more than make up for it with our CC power. You might kill some of us before we get there, but when we get there... Oh my. But, let's look at our fragility mathematically: We have Haemonculae with four toughness, and the Talos with 7 toughness (think Wraithlord, but different) So, if you max it out you can bring 9 units in an entire army with over 3 toughness. Then, we have our vehicles. Our toughest vehicle has 11 armor. However, both of our vehicles are skimmers, so if you play it right, you'll only ever have glancing hits against you.
  • Speed: Now, I said that we compensate with speed, so let's consider our speed: With a Raider force, it's considered slow by a lot of people to have anything that moves less than 24" in a turn, and the other kind of army, Webway Portal(WWP) armies can start reserves up to 30" from the table edge (Someone check me on that, I'm not sure that it's completely correct. I'm not completely sure with deployment and reserves and all the eccentrics of Webway portals. (The math being 12" deployment, 6" movement first turn, 6" fleet of foot, 6" movement 2nd turn, deploy portal))
  • Anti-Tank: With no other army will you be happy to see a land raider, or even multiple land raiders on the field. Dark Lances have a roughly 1/7 chance to destroy a land raider. Note: I said destroy. Not immobilize, not shake, not any of the other things that will otherwise remove a land raider from the game. When you take into consideration all of those things, 4 dark lances will be plenty per land raider, and you will probably have 8 dark lances in your army, at least. Therefore, bring on the Land Raiders!
  • Close Combat: Wow. This would take explaining the entire codex, so read my review if you want this explained!

Army Variants

Before we begin unit analysis, let's look at the different armies you can assemble. There are four major variants to Dark Eldar, but there can be about ten, depending on whom you ask.
First, you have two true codex options for your army list: Kabals and Wych Cults.

Kabals

These are the basic lists that explain how the codex is laid out. Now, in my opinion, the biggest advantage in using a Kabal is the Incubi. When you use a Cult, you can't use Incubi any more, along with Haemonculi, Talos, Grotesques, Dark Eldar Lord, and Incubi. Read the Incubi entry further down, as well as the Haemonculi entry (make sure you read their weapons, too. Destructors rock!)

Cults

I personally do not play cults, because I don't use more than three units of wyches, and I love my incubi. However, they biggest advantage to cults is that you don't put all of your eggs in the same basket. With a Kabal, you will generally end up with a 300+ point HQ, and some people don't like that. The other advantage that I would see is that you can bring lots of Warp beasts. I have toyed with the idea of a Horde Cult, but it would be quite expensive money wise (If I remember correctly, ~4$ a model! And when you start looking at 80+ models... Uh oh)
Now, from there, you have two deployment options. Raiders and Webway Portals (as well as footslogging it, but I don't recommend that... At all. 5+ armor doesn't hold up walking down the field very well...
Raiders are my choice. 24" movement, or 12" movement plus allowing for a full assault, and fleet for that matter. Dark Eldar have many units that are capable of a first turn assault (12" raider movement, 2" dismount move, 1-6" fleet of foot roll, and 6" assault. Heck, some units even have 12" assault! So you can end up with a minimum of 21" movement with 6" assault, and a maximum of 26", and with a 12" assault, you can have 27" to 32" movements)
Webway portals allow you to deploy reserves from wherever the portal is laid out on the table. I've never played one of these armies, but I imagine that they must rock at escalation, as they will deploy at the same rate as everybody else, but a LOT closer so that you can control the table easier. They also allow you to make use of some of the slower units, such as grotesques, Talos, and Wych units of up to 20 models.
Now, some of the more eccentric armies can include:

Army of the Shadows

These armies start with nine marker models on the table. That's right. Your opponent doesn't have anything to shoot at until about turn three if everything goes right. This army is a true theme army. It is a risky army to play, but if everything goes right, IE: no bad deepstrikes, etc, then it can be a fierce army to play against, with it easily claiming objectives, and the fact that it's essentially a three turn game, which makes for a lot faster games.

Grotesques

These guys can be a lot of fun. 3 units of grotesques mounted in raiders with 2 haemonculi for each unit with destructors. Theoretically, you are going to get one of the two flamers that are going to pierce power armor and get you some good kills. Then assault and you have plenty attacks (generally around 30 if you can get them all into assault)

Jetbikes

These armies are just flat out fast. Everything in your army can move 24" inches and gain an invulnerable save, or move 12", fire, and assault 6 more inches. This can be further augmented by haemonculi on bikes with destructors.

Unit Analysis

Headquarters

Where else to start but with one of the most feared HQs in the entire game:Dark Eldar Lords. There are two different lords in the codex selection:Dracons andArchons. The major differences between these two guys is going to be the wound, as, in my opinion, the other changes don't play a very large roll. The wound will help with your combat drugs, in case you take a wound from them, you'll still have a couple wounds left instead of stressing that you might die from drugs (I hate when that happens. But don't worry, there's only a 1/36 chance that it will happen if you take 3 drugs every turn).
From there, there are two main schools of thought on what kind of lord to bring. Either completely tricked out, generally with gear to give his six strength, or getting a pretty minimized one. Generally the 'minimized' dracon will have an agoniser, shadow field, close combat weapon(or tormentor helm if he's on a bike) and combat drugs.
From there (Yes... There are a lot of choices with your HQ. Get used to it) you can either put him in a retinue, leave him free to join another unit during deployment, which will give you some more flexibility to adapt, or put him on a bike and jet him alone up the field alone, or put him on a bike and stick him with some other bikers.
Now, if you choose to trick him out pretty hard, here are my two favorite gear selections:
  • Independent: Archon with a Punisher, Tormentor Helm, Combat Drugs, Shadow Field, Animus VitaeThis set-up is pretty awesome, in my opinion. After you capture a slave, which is pretty easy with your initiative, you will be able to have 6 strength as well as attacks with a power weapon, and you will tear through your opponent. However, this unit will cost you 146 points. However, compared to your other choices, this may be considered cheap.
  • Biker (I equip my biker with a retinue and independently the same): Archon with a Power Weapon, Combat Drugs, Shadow Field, Animus Vitae, Reaver Jetbike. Sadly, you don't have the points for a tormentor helm, so you lose one attack compared to the other lord, however you gain toughness. Note: and I will argue this to death, the Dark Eldar Jetbike adds to the toughness characteristic, so your lord becomes a 4T character, not 3(4)T.
  • Retinue: Dracon with Agoniser, Combat Drugs, Shadow Field, and a Close Combat Weapon, with 5 incubi in a Raider. Now, a lot of you are probably screaming "Why can't I have an awesome lord AND Retinue!?" Well, it's too strong, and too expensive. Yes. I said too strong. If you charge a unit and you kill all of them in one assault phase, you leave yourself open to shooting... Not what you want to be doing with 25 point Incubi. These guys are Close Combat Monstrosities, and that's where they belong. You may even consider putting scaling nets on the raider for your HQ so that they can get back on they raider and get some better movement in and make 20" assault moves, instead of 12. How much does 8" mean to you?
  • Bike Retinue: Now... I've never used one of these, but I believe I would use about 5 bikes, two with blasters, and a succubus with a power weapon to add a little more power to the group. I personally think that these pale in comparison to the Incubi, but some people may choose to disagree. You choice, but I'm a bit biased on the issue as I've never tried one of these units, however they do sound pretty fun to me.
Wych Lords: For the sake of time, I'm not retyping all of that changed a little bit to change it to wych lords. I personally have never used a wych lord, because I have never played a wych cult, however, they are a lot like regular lords, and I believe they should be played a lot like them. I would stay away from retinues, and just stick to keeping them as an independent character, because if you bring a retinue, all you are doing is hurting you flexibility both in game and deployment. The one exception to this is going to be Lelith Hesperex's retinue. You should always bring a retinue with her, as hers get to choose what combat drug they want to use. Generally, you'll want to use +1 attack drug, as I have yet to find one that is better than that, except perhaps the 12" assault drug.
Haemonculi: Moving on to the third HQ choice, we have Haemonculi. Now, originally, I didn't like these guys all that much, but they've grown on me in the past few weeks. Consider this: 45 points gets you a flamer that has d6 AP. Yes, this mean 1/2 the time, you are going to have a flamer that penetrates Power Armor. If you get two shots off with him, chances are you are going to pay for himself with no problem. Also, for that 45 points, you pick up a weapon that always wounds on a 2+. Great deal in my opinion. Stick him in a unit of wyches that didn't get 12" assault drugs, and you've got a great addition to your unit.
Now, let's look at all of the Haemonculi only weapons, since this is the only logical point to look at them:
First, we'll look at their close combat weapon. There's not a whole lot of analysis to be done here, as there's only one choice:Scissorhands. Always wound on a 2+ and gives you an extra attack for incredibly cheap. There's nothing bad about this weapon, except that they still get their saves, however, he can really mess up a wraithlord if it comes down to it.
Next, we have thestinger. This weapon is fairly awesome. If you kill somebody with it you get a blast marker that has some pretty cool effects, and can easily kill a marine. However, killing one with the stinger shot is near impossible, and that blast marker will generally only hit one marine, maybe two if you're really lucky, and then you'll only kill one half of the time. Not exactly great application against a lot of armies.
Finally, we have my new favorite weapon:destructors. These have d6 ap, which is one of the coolest things I have ever seen. 50% of the time you are going to tear up some marines, and the other times you'll probably still get a kill.
Whew... Done with that...

Elites

Wyches: The most commonly used are the Wyches. These guys are flat out awesome. Depending on where you play, all the combat drugs are all great, however some are better than others. Let's compare them all:
  • 12" Assault - This can be absolutely devastating if used correctly. First turn assault anybody? (12" raider, 2" dismount, fleet, 12" assault. 27-32" movement. Or 26" plus blaster shots if you brought them)
  • Always strike first - This can be very useful if you play with a lot of cover, and can save you a few casualties if you have to assault someone in cover.
  • Weapon Skill - This is pretty interesting, because against 4WS it will make your opponent hit on a 5+. Not as great as you'd think, however it's pretty demoralizing to your opponent.
  • Attack - From the math that I've done (At least for straight out assaults) this is the best one that there is.Re-roll misses - Decent, however since you will generally be hitting on threes, this is a fairly weak drug, IMO, and pales to other drugs, unless you are a really unlucky roller
  • Strength - This can be pretty good in a lot of cases, and will gain you 16% more wounds, however, with power armor, this is a pretty weak drug, and only gains you about 5% combat effectiveness
Now, when you bring wyches there is a general school of thought that I've always been taught: Bring an agoniser, and it's going to be the only thing that is going to get you many kills with your wyches, and you're just going to fight a battle of attrition and pray that you outlast your opponent. Blasters are a personal thing, as some people feel that you will be fleeting almost every turn anyways, so that they can be wasted points, however you will generally get a kill from shooting them, so they can pay for themselves quite easily.
Now, let's consider the actual unit. Normal weapon skill, although wych weapons make that a good deal better (always take wych weapons.... 1 point a model is absolutely worth it 100% of the time), normal BS,Definition: Battle Sister or Ballistic Skill lower strength and toughness, normal troop wound, Oh wait, these guys are FAST. Use that to your advantage. Make sure you can get your opponent to a level that you're comfortable with him striking back at. Your succubus with an agoniser will kill one marine, but from there it takes about 14-15 attacks for an extra wound from your normal wyches. So don't count on too many kills on the charge, maybe 3. These are also very good for assaulting units with power weapons so that you can nullify their biggest advantage. Generally, you are going to want to fight a battle of attrition with your wyches, as you are better that you can kill a couple per turn, but that they won't be able to kill many of you pre turn, and you should just throw these units to take care of more expensive units that you don't want messing up your good units, until you can assault them with a force capable of destroying them.
If you bring Wyches, you get the choice to bring Warp Beasts. 75 points gains you 3 agoniser attacks(.75 MEQ Definition: Marine Equivalentkills) and 20 s4 attacks (1.66 MEQ Definition: Marine Equivalentkills) so you kill about 2.4 marines on the charge. Not too shabby, about 36 points worth of dead marines, so if you can finish off and a unit and assault another you can probably make your points back. However, these guys are FRAGILE. There are numerous ways to kill them: It's not that much to kill. In fact, 14 bolter shots are going to kill the entire unit! Although, played well, you can get them into combat untouched, or better yet, get your opponent to focus a lot on them and ignore another unit. I think these fall greatly to personal opinion. Besides... The models are freakin' ugly.
Mandrakes: From there, the next elite is Mandrakes. Overall, these guys are like a warrior with an extra attack, a cool cover save rule, and cool deployment rules. The easiest opinion on these guys is that they are cool in a fluff army; however, they are not very effective. If a squad of 10 charges a squad of space marines, less than two marines are going to die. Then, when the marines strike back with, let's say, five attacks, they still kill 1.5 mandrakes. Then, you lose your charge advantage and you need to be outnumbering your opponent 2:1 to be able to hold onto the combat and win it each round. Overall, cool, but weak. I'd stick away from them.
Grotesques: Finally, we have Grotesques. These guys are pretty sweet, in my opinion. I never played them for a long time, but after playing a couple games with them, I might just have to change my mind. Their rules are pretty fun, admittedly, stupid is a pretty crummy rule to have, but the way that I play them they always have Haemonculi with them. 7 Grotesques in a raider with two Haemonculi with destructors and scissorhands in a raider costs 250 points. Dismount, fire both destructors. I average about two to four kills, depending if my enemy is expecting it. Then charge, if everything can get in, you have a TON of attacks, however, you will strike a bit slower. But! You have more wounds than most, although your save is... non-existent.
But we consider their second special rule: Feel No Pain. In a Raider force, this is wasted. In a WWP army... This could be amazing. Pop these guys out and use them to screen your expensive units and get them into combat could be a pretty useful choice.
Terrifying Opponent can either be amazing, horrible, or a combination. It's truly a mixed blessing. One idea that I have toyed around with is bringing an archon in their unit, so that when you get the chance to make your sweeping advance, you're doing it on a fantastic initiative, instead of just the Haemonculi's. Against a fearless army this ability is lost, and you have to choose your combats more carefully. However, against an army that is not fearless... This ability can be amazing.
Last we consider some of their best uses. First thing that comes to mind is fighting power weapons. "Ha! I ignore your save!" "What save?" "Oh." Take their best power away from them by making it do nothing! Second, it's one of the few units in our army that has above 3s base. Use that to your advantage any place that you can. However, be careful. Their poor initiative is going to hurt you sometimes.
Finally done with the Elites... Guys! We're only on page seven! Just wait, there's much more to come! For now, we have our troops.

Troops

Warriors... Many will argue that these are some of the best troops in the entire game, and I'm inclined to agree. Why? Because they're cheap, they're faster than a space marine, and they get awesome weapons and an awesome transport.
So, you get them in two ways, footsloggers or raider-mounted. First, let's cover the footsloggers!
Sniper squads: First up, we have sniper squads. These are essentially 10 warriors with 2 dark lances. Great tank busting unit, and they are only 100 points, too! They have about a 1/4 chance of destroying a land raider on any given turn. Pretty cheap consider what they can do, eh? They are also great for dropping ICs, termies, etc. The alternative of this unit is a ghost ship unit. 5 warriors in a raider, one with a dark lance. 105 points, however you pick up a mobile Raider with a Dark Lance on it to do whatever it so pleases.
Next, you can take a larger assault squad. Generally you want two blasters and two splinter cannons in this squad, along with a sybarite with an agoniser. These will generally do fairly well, provide some fire support as they move down the field, and be able to do fairly well once in combat. However, they are going to be fairly slow if you plan on using their weapons every turn.
However, for combat, you are going to want to use raiders. 8-10 warriors in a Raider with a Sybarite, splinter cannon, and a blaster, although the shooting stuff is optional, as you may want to fleet to get into combat. Once there, a sybarite is going to get you one MEQ Definition: Marine Equivalentkill on the charge, but your warriors may have a bit of trouble from there. Always try to outnumber your opponent at least 2:1 when you assault him!
Raiders: Now, I keep talking about Raiders, so let's look at them individually for a bit. Raiders have the lowest armor you can get, but it carries a dark lance standard, and is FAST. Plus, your guys can dismount and assault in the same turn. Heck, they can even fleet if they want! With a perfect fleet roll, some of our units can move up to 32 inches. Thirty-two inches! Anyways, let's look at all of our vehicles upgrades:
  • Horrorfex: I personally love these, however their purpose is lost on fearless armies. Good range, very cheap, and can pin down a really expensive unit. Good if you play a lot of non-fearless armies, but if you play a lot of fearless armies... Leave it at home. Great if you are looking to fill up some extra points. Remember: Space Marines aren't fearless. I can't tell you how awesome it is to pin a Space Marines Command Squad!
  • Night Shield: On Raiders... This just isn't going to be that effective. You might save yourself from getting shot on the first turn if you lose the first turn, however, from there, it's going to be completely useless as you are probably going to boost 24" up the field anyways.
  • Scaling Nets - This can be a pretty fun upgrade. It allows you board and unboard at any point, instead of just at the start. The way I have interpreted it allows you to move 12" using the Raider, but I'm not sure if that is correct. It also makes it easier for people to hit the raider in close combat, but I'm not sure I'd ever even worry about that...
  • Screaming Jets - I think that these generally apply more to theme armies, but I don't think that they have much of a place outside of that. Raiders are so fast that you can essentially do anything with their speed that you can do with deepstriking. I think that it is a waste of points, but some people disagree. If anybody has a good idea on how this can be use on raiders, please PM me or post it up!
  • Scythes - Raiders are fast enough that they shouldn't really be getting attacked by a CC attack, and at 10 points...These are just too expensive to be justified. For a big modeler... I could see how these could be a pretty awesome thing to model...
  • Slave Snares - A very fluffy choice. Again, at their point cost, I don't think that they are justified, however, they are a lot of fun, and if you are making a fluff army, I would consider these as a top choice. As well, if you are into modeling, bring these, too! They can be modeled pretty awesomely. I've seen some really nice ones.
  • Torture Amp - I could see how these could come in handy. A raider can tank shock a pretty long distance, and could catch a unit off-guard. However, it still stands that most armies aren't going to be too highly affected by a tank shock, and will only put your raider in a position to be destroyed. Could come in handy, but I don't think that it is worth it for the points.
  • Trophy Racks - This could work in tandem with the Torture Amp to get some results, however, I still don't think that it is going to win it's points back. However, these could be pretty awesome to model, like scythes and Slave Snares.
  • Disintegrator - This can be a pretty cool option to bring. It is going to be able to kill more heavy infantry than a dark lance is, so it falls to your army: Do you need more anti tank, or do you need more power to kill infantry?

Fast Attack

So there you have it. Your troops, and your transport. Next, Fast Attack! Now, our army is already really fast, so our fast attack fits into our army very well.
Jetbikes: First, we have Jetbikes. Jetbikes can be used in many, many ways, and this is by no means an extensive list. Allow your mind to wonder some and come up with a great use.
First, it can be used as a retinue to your bike lord and be able to carry a lord to combat on turn two with no worries about a raider falling out of the sky.
Second, it can be used for anti-tank. Two blasters do a pretty good job of taking care of tanks.
Third, it can be used as an assault unit to take care of heavy squads and lock down some big weapons that you just don't want firing.
From there, we consider the unit. One thing you may notice is that they have combat drugs. The only difference from wyches that their combat drugs have is that you can't get a 12" assault, as drugs can't change to power of a bike! Instead, we get the chance to ignore all fall backs so that they can make sure they get some work done! A decent think to have on your combat drugs. I wouldn't complain if I got it.
So we look at the actual unit, and we see that it is a lot like a space marine, but wait! It's faaast. Both initiative wise, and the fact that these guys can cover some ground! 24" movement and pick up a invulnerable save. Not too shabby. They're save is a little worse, but they'll pretty much always strike first, accept against genestealers and the like, but oh well.
So let's look at what I said they could do:
  • Retinue. What's better than delivering a 170 point combat monster into combat so that he can do some damage to your opponent's army? Nothing wrong with that, a great use. I think I would just stick to a couple bikes for meat shields, a couple blasters to lighten the unit up before the assault. I think I would have to skip away from a succubus, but if you chose to, I would lean towards a power weapon and a tormentor helm.
  • Anti-Tank - Pretty simple, really. Couple bikes, two with blasters, boost up, shoot some tanks. Easy enough. Although, they can also be used to take care of a couple heavy infantry. I've never been a huge fan of this unit, and always thought that blasters should just be an accessory on a unit designed for assault.
So, for an assault unit, it's fairly simply. I would bring about 6 bikes, one as a succubus with a power weapon and a tormentor helm, and two of the bikes having blasters. This unit is going to run you 206 points. It will kill a marine or two from shooting, then the succubus will kill a marine or two if you're lucky on the assault, and his comrades should kill another one or two. This unit will kill about 3.3 MEQs between shooting and assault. Mind you, this is without any combat drugs. Depends on your combat drugs, you may end up killing close to five MEQs.
Hellions: Hellions are a unit that are generally overlooked. Most people feel that there is aways going to be another unit that can do it better and faster than Hellions, but I believe that they can be a truly powerful unit if made properly. The tactics behind them are not very complex. With an 18" assault move you can constantly be ping-ponging between assaults and never be in the same place for very long. You'll always want a Succubus with a Punisher and Tormentor helm to deal out most of your damage. A lot of players who use their Hellion unit for a lot of power will include either Dracons with punishers or Haemonculae with Destructors for some extra power so they can really rip through assaults. Always bring the Blaster with you. It will easily make its points back.
I do not recommend deep striking them because they are not a very good shooting unit unless you are playing against Guard or another GEQ Definition: Guard Equivalentarmy. One thing that I would like to point out is that their save is one better than what is listed in their profile. It does NOT say that the bonuses have already been added to the profile, so they will indeed benefit from the bonuses of a Skyboard.

Heavy Support

Talos: Aright... Let's start with the Talos, the least contested of the three units. Analysis of a Talos is pretty easy: He's slow, and he works either as a fire magnet or in WWP armies. I have seen WWP armies that use three Taloi with great success, just because if you get these guys into CC... They are a BEAST. They average 2.5 kills per assault. Not too shabby... Remember, firemagnet or WWP. Don't count on these ever seeing a useful assault in a raider army!
Scourges: Next, we have scourges. These are fairly interesting units, but the same consensus comes back every time: Expensive and easy to kill. They can, however, bring some pretty good weapons. Against horde armies, these guys can cause some havoc. Five scourges with 4 splinter cannons will cost 160 points, and will get you 5.3 ork kills per turn. I don't even compare these against Space Marines, because they aren't going to do very well... About 1.8 kills. I personally think that these are just too expensive for too little output. Their other use would be to takeout some tanks, but we already have the best anti-tank in the game, so why bother?
Ravagers: Ah... Ravagers, my favorite heavy support unit. Average 2.8 Terminator kills per turn. Problem is... You don't average too much higher against normal troops, with only 3.3 kills. So if you play against a lot of stuff that has 2+ saves, this is the choice for you, in my opinion, at least. 3 7/2 templates for 120 points never hurt your cause!
The two most common set-ups that you will see are going to be one dark lance and two disintegrators, and three disintegrators. 3 dark lances is rarer, but you will see it sometimes, but you should probably already have plenty of anti-tank weaponry in your army, so you shouldn't be hurtin' too bad for more anti-tank. Also, if you bring disintegrators, you can fire them on sustained and they count as defensive weapons, so you can move over 6 inches and gain the advantage of not being able to be penetrated.
From there, we compare all of the vehicle upgrades for ravagers:
  • Horrorfex - I can't come to a clear answer if you can fire all this when you move and shoot as well as firing all of your other weapons. Generally I like to stay out at a longer range with my ravagers, so I have gotten away from using these, as they have just been a point sink. If you have a few extra point, you may wish to throw one on here, though.
  • Night Shield - This is an argued upgrade for the ravager. It keeps you out of range of 36" weapons and can help you to be able to move around a bit more. However, a lot of your safety is going to come in being a fast skimmer and only allowing glancing hits, so this may not be a great choice in some people's eyes. I personally love it, because it essentially removes the chance of a 36" weapon ever killing my ravager.
  • Screaming Jets - I prefer to have my ravager in the game as soon as I can, and there is no real need to deep-striking a gunship. I have yet to see a time when I sat and thought "I wish I could deepstrike my ravager right there." Because, well, if you plan ahead, you probably already have a ravager right there.
  • Scythes - Please... Please don't let your gunship be put into CC! If you ever really need this... Learn some tactics.
Wow. We're finally finished with the army! :hears voice in the background: "What about the armoury?!" I hate you... Fine! Let's do the armoury!

Armoury

Aright... We begin with Weapons. We've already covered Haemonculi weapons, so I'll skip over those.
  • Agoniser - This is a great weapon. Depending on who is using it, you are generally guaranteeing yourself a kill on the assault. A wych succubus or a reaver succubus or a warrior sybarite will average a kill on the assault, as well as everything that your lord is capable with an agoniser, but I talked about that earlier. Great weapon all-in-all, well worth the points. Will pay for itself within two assault phases, if not one!
  • Close combat weapon - What am I supposed to say? It's a close combat weapon...
  • Poisoned Blades - This can be a pretty cool weapon. You will always wound really easy, but I think I'd leave this alone. Agonisers are going to pay for themselves no problem-so unless you have a major points crush and you have to free up some points, stick to the agoniser. Good weapon, but over-shadowed.
  • Power weapon - It's a power weapon! W00. Generally reserved for reaver succubi, as all of the other units are going to want to bring agonisers because of lower strength, or the fact that they can bring a punisher(generally for lords that you want to have 6s) On a reaver succubi, bring this and a tormentor helm for an almost guaranteed kill on the assault.
  • Splinter Pistol - It's a pistol...
  • Hellglaive - Has to be used with a hellion skyboard... I don't recommend these at all... These are probably one of the worst options to give to your character. Skyboards can be cool, but Hellglaives are not good at all.
  • Punisher - Very cool weapon, very cool fluff. Allows you to have a lord with 6s, what's cooler than that!? If you have the extra five points, this and a tormentor helm will generally trump over an agoniser based on effectiveness against 3t enemies, although for a few more points.
  • Splinter Rifle - If you have a character that you are even thinking about bringing a splinter rifle on... Just... Don't. Okay? Just don't.

Wargear

Note: a * means I have no field experience with the item.
  • *Crucible of Malediction - If you play against a lot of psykers this could be fairly cool. However, I think that it is going to be a point sink much of the time. However, if you consider the long/tournament prospective, if you kill one psyker, you've paid for itself for the entire tournament. I personally would not bring it, but others may disagree. Could be interesting if you play ulthwe a lot. One of those council members is bound to fail!
  • Combat drugs - Fantastic! Second favorite armoury choice, behind shadowfields. The 12" assault can come in handy in making a 32" move, +1 WS is usually wasted on your lord, his weapon skill is high enough, +1 strength can be fantastic and get you up to that 6s mark some people yearn after, always striking first can help you sometimes, but I think it might just be better to bring plasma grenades and be done with it, they're cheap enough, re-rolling misses is pretty awesome, and so is adding an attack. I generally take three to maximize effects, although it carries a 1/36 chance of killing yourself. It still makes for great conversation when your lord ODs though. Then you can blame your loss on the druggie leading your army!
  • Gruesome talisman - I generally don't worry about outnumbering my enemy enough to spend points out of the army to bring these, but they can be pretty fun to model, and for four points, it's worth it to me, sometimes.
  • Haywire grenades - One haywire grenade ain't gunna do you too much good. I'd leave haywire grenades for your tank-busting wych unit(covered later)
  • Hell mask - Can be interesting. However, it will generally not have a great effect in the battle, but it can turn a combat around that you may have otherwise lost. Decent investment for the points if you don't have anywhere else to spend them
  • Hellion skyboard - If you choose to field Hellions you will probably want a Haemonculae or two; or a Dracon on a skyboard to accompany the unit to make it more powerful. Mandatory upgrade so that he can keep up with the unit. Can also be very useful by adding a 'jink' save and helping the base save of the unit.
  • Reaver jetbike - This can completely change how effective your lord is. See the HQ entry to see what you can do with it. Completely worth the high cost if you can use him right
  • Plasma grenades - Two points to ignore cover... Sure, why not, unless you got something better to do with two points
  • Shadow field - If you make an army without one of these... The Dark Eldar gods shall feast on your soul. Our gods gave us a prize, CHERISH IT
  • *Soul seeker ammunition - Pointless??
  • Terrorfex - Can be useful, however, most of the characters that you are going to put it on are going to waste it, as they are a combat unit anyways, and they are going to want to be in combat. Useful if you can find a place for it, but I would rather bring 3 horrorfexes and get good use instead of one terrorfex
  • Tormentor Helm - Allows you an extra attack with a punisher or on a bike, what's not to love for the low cost? Besides, what other army can fire a pistol with it's head?
  • Trophy Rack - Can be very useful if you worry about your unit running away, also very cool to model if you want to spend 5 points on it.
  • Webway Portal - This has a section to itself in the beginning of the tactica, see there
  • Animus Vitae - Part of your 6s gear! Wonderful piece of equipment for anybody
  • *Archangel of Pain - Can be very useful if you need to pin some units ASAP, however it has a short range, so it may be a problem there. If you think you can make good use out of it, bring it, could be great. Put yourself between 2-4 squads and whichever one isn't pinned, assault that one
  • Goblet of Spite - Can be used in a tank-busting wych squad, covered later
  • *Mask of the Damned - Could be useful, but most good assault armies won't fail a LD test often, and you should be defining the assaults, anyways, not allowing people to assault you!
  • *Nightmare Doll - Pretty useful, as choosing sides is a huge deal in some battles. A good idea would be to put a sybarite in a sniper squad and give this to him if you want to have it, seeing as if he dies, who cares??
  • *Vexanthrope - I don't think it would come in that handy, seeing as you character is a lot of times wearing a shadowfield, and you want attacks coming at him. Again, most good CC armies won't fail an LD test readily.
  • Xenospasm - Can be a great shooting gun, even not considering the pinning. You can generally kill a marine with it in shooting, so it comes out as a pretty good shooting weapon. I've seen it touting more a shooting weapon than a pinning weapon anyways, which makes good sense. If you need more pinning, buy four horrorfexes, not a Xenospasm.

Sample Units

Aright, well, we're done with everything in our codex, so the last thing I'd like to do is just show a couple of good units that people may want to use:
  • Wych Tank Busting Unit - Take a normal wych squad, then give them haywire grenades, and then give the Succubus a Goblet of Spite. Charge a vehicle that is hard to kill (IE: monolith!!) and smack some grenades on that thing. Easily killed, because we have a hard time killing av14, as we can only ever glance it, otherwise.
  • Headquarters - Dracon with an agoniser, CCW,Definition: Close Combat Weapon shadowfield; 5 incubi; raider 261 points for 6.3 MEQ Definition: Marine Equivalentkills. Not bad, eh?
Nothing amazing, just a couple units that I use a lot that I wanted to share. Anything else that anybody wants to contribute/change/disagrees with, feel free to contact me in whatever way you so choose. I check my e-mail fairly often, as well as my PMs, and I'm generally on somewhere between 3pm and 3am Central US time.

Army Overview

Note: Pretty much all of our units are bad at fighting Monstrous Creatures. You should be shooting them, anyways, so I'm going to leave that out on all of the entries. This is meant to be unit specific, so I'm not going to say "Low Strength and Low Toughness and Low Save" for every model. You can pretty much expect that from Dark Eldar.

HQs

Dark Eldar (Wych) Lord:
+High Weapon Skill
+High Ballistic Skill (with one of the worst weapons in the game...)
+High Initiative
-Expensive

Good Against: Pretty much everything
Bad Against: Hordes
Incubi
+Good Weapon Skill
+Good Initiative
+S4 Power Weapons
+Power Armor
-Expensive
-Can't fleet

Good Against: Infantry, the more expensive, the better they are
Bad Against: Hordes
Haemonculi
+Cheap
+High Toughness for DE
+Awesome Weapons
-Can only choose between three weapons
-Comparatively low Initiative
Good Against: Pretty much everything... He can fill in a roll in almost any army.
Bad Against: Terminator Armour
Grotesques
+Higher Strength
+More Wounds
+More Attacks
-Lower Iniative
-No Save
-Need an IC to accompany them

Good Against: Units with Power Weapons, non-fearless units
Bad Against: Snipers, Fearless units, s6 opponents (CC or shooting, wraiths/Autocannons come to mind)
Mandrakes
+Lots of attacks
+Cool Deployment
+Awesome cover saves
-Hard to get wounds with them (18 attacks per MEQ Definition: Marine Equivalentkill)

Good Against: Cheap Troops, the guy on the other side of the table
Bad Against: Most things. Their power is in mind-games, not fighting.
Wyches
+Combat Drugs
+Wych Weapons
+High Iniative
+Invulnerable save
-Fall in droves to shooting

Good Against: Power Weapons, Initiative 5 troops
Bad Against: Shooting
Warp beasts
+Fast Movement
+High Initiative
+High Strength
+High Attacks
-Bad save

Good Against: Hordes
Bad Against: Snipers, Shooting
Warriors
These guys are what DE symbolize through and through
+Cheap
+Initiative
-Strength
-Toughness
-Save

Pretty average against everything.
Reaver Jetbikes
+Fast
+High Initiative
+Strength
+Toughness
+Combat Drugs
-Expensive
-Relatively easy to kill

Good Against: Pretty good against everything
Bad Against: Heavy Bolters if you didn't move over 12"
Hellions
+Great for tying together assaults
+Very powerful when combined with ICs
-Expensive
-Has the potential to tie up multiple force organization slots for one unit (HQ+FA)

Good Against: Low armour enemies
Bad Against: Big enemies (Wraithlords, Tyranid Monstrous Creatures)
Scourges
+Weapons
+Jump Packs
-Expensive
-Very easy to kill

Good Against: DLs - Tanks/MCs/Heavy Infantry | SCs - 5+/6+ armor saves
Bad Against: DLs - Hordes | SCs - Big stuff
Ravagers
+Fast
+Nice Weapons
-Easy to Kill

Good Against: Heavy Infatry, Tanks
Bad Against: Hordes
Talos
+High Strength
+High Toughness
+Good save
+Good Weapon Skill
-Slow
-Randomized Attacks

Good Against: Anything that it can reach
Bad Against: Anything faster than it




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