Friday, October 29, 2010

A wide range of enemies

The best part about my gaming club is that there's a huge variety of players to play against.  I'm actually quite lucky to have a club of gamers that offers up so many practice scenarios.  When I get all my Dark Eldar kits next week, I know I'll have all the motivation I need to get the models assembled.  As much as I hate assembling endless amounts of models, I know that at the end of the day, I'll have plenty of opponents to sink my teeth into.

Here's what kind of players I have in my area and what kind of lists they take:

  • Mech Guard Steel Legion player
  • Eldar player that can play Seer Council, Jetbike, Mechdar and Castle Eldar
  • The same player also owns Thousand Sons and all kinds of Tyranids
  • Another Eldar player that plays Mechdar or Castle
  • Space Wolves player that takes a balanced list
  • Space Wolf player that likes TWC and Grey Hunters
  • The same player also plays Necrons.. but Necrons are bleh
  • Blood Angels player that plays balanced but can take all kinds of other lists
  • Ork player that can go hordes or Speed Freakz, the same player also has Ultras
  • Dark Angels player that can go Deathwing, Daemonhunters or normal Marines
  • A lot of Tyranid players that sports all kinds of lists and configurations
  • Lastly, I have enough Marines, BA, SW and Death Guard to lend out for practice

The list above is just players at my local gaming club.  I also live very close to the LA Bunker so I'll be able to get games there as well when I'm not at work.  The plan is to play against all of these lists and then BR back here so you guys know how my Dark Eldar are doing.  No tailoring allowed, I don't believe in sissy play.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Only the best will survive

I'm probably going to get thrashed for saying this; but I think Dark Eldar are going to be a master-class army.  I've read through the entire codex multiple times now and I'm convinced that only the best generals are going to have any success with them.  Dark Eldar, by design are going to be the hardest army to play in 40K.

Everything they have is paper thin and in this edition, paper thin is just dangerous.  Some say that Eldar is a delicate army to play but that's really just bullshit.  Eldar is actually one of the most durable races in the game.  They have access to 3+ re-rollable cover saves, Energy Shields on their transports and Holofields on their tanks.  T3 means very little when everything is well protected and taken care of with re-rolls or staying power.  Dark Eldar does not have this luxury.  Not at all.  They are built based on speed and precision.  Since there's no staying power at all; you have to make things happen in perfect unison or fall apart.  There's no sitting around and waiting for your opponents to make a mistake.  If you make a mistake in any of your phases, you will die.

Movement and positioning is absolutely critical for being successful as Dark Eldar.  You need to outrange your opponent's weapons, claim cover saves whenever you can, and know which units to move and which to commit.  How you move your units will be the only way you will keep them alive and keep them successful.  Two thirds There's no such thing as T4, 3+ armor saves or AV14 transports.  There's only AV10 open-top and a bunch of T3 girls wearing battle-thongs.  I know this more than anybody; I play Space Wolves, Blood Angels and Death Guard.

There is going to be a huge influx of Dark Eldar players, that I'm sure.  I'm also sure that most of these players will crash and burn and sell their models within a year.  I say this with confidence because that's exactly what happened years ago when Dark Eldar got their new book and players wanted to give them a whirl.  After getting stomped, beaten and destroyed by other armies, they jumped ship and went back to their boring MEQ.  How fitting that the weak get filtered out and only the most cunning, evil and arrogant remain.  Natural selection at its finest.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

BR: 1750 BA vs. CSM

Long table sides
6 objectives, terrain was medium

My list looked like the following:

11 kp

Mephiston = 250

10x ASM (PF/Infernus, 2x Meltaguns) = 250
10x ASM (PF/Infernus, 2x Meltaguns) = 250

2x Sanguinary Priest (JP, MB) = 160

Baal Predator (TLAC/HB) = 145
Baal Predator (TLAC/HB) = 145
Baal Predator (TLAC/HB) = 145

Predator (AC/LC) = 135
Predator (AC/LC) = 135
Predator (AC/LC) = 135

His army:

Chaos Lord of Slaneesh in TDA w/ Daemon Weapon
Flying DP of Nurgle
5x4 squads of Noise Marines with Blaster Masters
10x Khorne Berserkers in a Rhino w/ Fist and PP
5x Chaos Raptors w/ Meltaguns and Plasma Pistol
Possessed Vindicator
Chaos LR with CSM Termies w/ Fists, cbM
2x Chaos Dreads w/ Autocannons, Heavy Flamer

The problem with this list is how ridiculously few troops I have on the field.  If I wasn't a lazy bastard, I would probably have more ASM, but since I'm reluctant to build any, I just decided to field 20 of them.  In short, this is probably the worst case scenario for me since it was max objectives and he had loads of troops everywhere (Noise Marines) in min squads.

Monday, October 25, 2010

1750 Dark Royalty

I think this list will do solid in terms of competitive play.  First, you'll notice that I swapped out the combat Archon for Baron Sathonyx and a bunch of Hellions.  In terms of mobility, jump troops with shooting weapons are very good at picking away at the enemy.  I can dictate which combats I want to be in (a theme with Dark Eldar), shoot whatever is outside of transports and assault the leftovers.  By hugging as much cover as I can, I get 3+ cover all around on my Hellions and await for the rest of my army to pick away at my opponents.  I then use my Hellions to swoop in for the kill, obtain a PT for FNP and then get back into cover.

I see Hellions like vultures.  They are fantastic at picking away at lesser targets and since they're troops, they can score as well.  To correctly use these guys, you must hug as much cover as you can and set as many objectives in your back/mid field as possible.  Your hellions will be able to defend these while the rest of your army contests and captures his.  Don't be afraid to leave cover every now and then to obtain an easy Pain Token for your dudes.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

None will survive my cunning

Since list building is a hobby of mine, I can't help but notice all the different kinds of lists you can build from a well-written army book.  The Dark Eldar codex is a thing of beauty, really.  There's loads and loads of synergy between the units in the book and I find that to be extremely attractive.  I mean after all, variety is the spice of life!  If a codex supplies the player with a lot of options, he'll be more intrigued to try new things and buy more minis.  This is a good thing for the hobby.

So exactly what kind of units will Dark Eldar players take in their lists?  Let's take a look:

  • Combat Archon with his Kabal in Raiders
  • Min-maxed squads in Venoms, Trueborn with Blasters
  • Pirate themed army with the Duke
  • Wych-cult armies with Lelith and Wyches
  • Hellion themed army led by the Baron
  • First strike army based around Vect
  • Haemonculi based army with Wracks and Cronos

Every single one of those list components have their own strengths and weaknesses.  Not only do they compliment each other very well, but they can be mixed and matched with the other elements in the list to form really powerful armies!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Dark Eldar's Power Rating

My favorite aspect of this hobby is analyzing army potential and building army lists.  Some like to paint, some like to model, but I like the game for its core mechanics more than anything.  I am first and foremost a gamer.. and a competitive gamer at that.  Every time a new book comes out, I go into my LGS 3-4 times a week and analyze the book to its core.  I read, I ponder and I write a ton of articles to catalog my thoughts and keep track of my predictions.  I've been doing this for the last 10 years.

It's been a long time since I was wrong about a codex or army book.  Every single army book that I've done research on has fallen on the scale of what I predicted months ago.  I predicted the latest CSM book would be stale with very limited builds, Eldar will be good even past their 4th Ed. dominance and that the new IG will simply roll face.  Of course when I talked it over to my friends at the LGS, it was a little more analytical than that (more in lines of what you see here), but the overall gist of it has been the same.

Enough of the history lesson and ego-stroking, let's get down to business.  How would I rank the Dark Eldar book?  Let's see.  This is my first internet blogged entry for a successful prediction (even though I have evidence I said Tyranids would suck), so let's make it accurate.  I think Dark Eldar will have a army power rating of 7/10.  It will be on par with what Blood Angels are right now.  Of course, certain power builds will have a increased power rating, but overall I think they'll fall on the fairly average scale.  The book is very well balanced internally with a lot of acceptable and fair options.  Nothing stands out as wtf-broken and nothing is a auto-include from what I can see.  What puts Dark Eldar down is the fact that none of their troops can reliably hold objectives unless you take Wracks.  If you take Wracks as troops, then you must take Haemonculi and thus you go into this slippery slope of fixed army lists.  The mass array of AV10 open-top vehicles in this current metagame is also quite tricky since there's a lot more spammable armor now with heavy weapons.  Despite how well the book is balanced internally, external factors will limit its power.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

My 1750 list vs. the metagame

So I'm pretty satisfied with this list I'm building.  The theme of the army will be a mix between the Archon's Kabal and the Duke's horny drugged-up wyches.  That in itself is motive to go this army.


Archon (SF, Husk Blade, Drugs, Soul Trap, Haywire) = 150
Duke Sliscus the Serpent = 150

9x Warriors (Raider NS/AS/SR, Blaster) = 181
9x Wyches (Raider NS/AS, Hekatrix/Agnoizer, Shardnet) = 205
10x Wyches (Raider NS/AS, Hekatrix/Agnoizer, Shardnet) = 215
10x Wyches (Raider NS/AS, Hekatrix/Agnoizer, Shardnet) = 215

10x Trueborn (Raider NS/AS, 4x Blaster) = 255

Ravager (FF, NS) = 125
Ravager (FF, NS) = 125
Ravager (FF, NS) = 125

Like I said before, I find the Duke to be one of the best buys in the book.  To recap, the guy's 150 points and comes with a Shadow Field and Blast Pistol.  In addition to this, he gives the entire army Contraband that allows you to roll 2 dice for your combat drugs and pick one.  He also provides the entire army with the option to Deep Strike your Raiders, Venoms and Ravagers.  Sure, you might not want to do this, but the option being there is always a good thing.  Even though he's not as beastly in combat as the Archon, he can still wound things on 2+ and on 5 and 6s, he ignores armor saves.  Besides, he'll be riding shotgun in the Warrior squad with Splinter Racks.  This allows them to re-roll their poisoned shots and wound on 3s.  MCs beware.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Need more pain please

Took a nap earlier in the day and now I can't sleep.  That's OK, I have some thought provoking questions on the Haemonculi option in the DE book.  Well, for one, they cost something like 50 points per pop with the Ancient costing 80 instead.  They can be fielded in a 1-3 slot choice similarly like the BA Sanguinary Priests and they come with Pain Tokens to add to your army.  They can also carry Arcane Items that boost their effectiveness.

The thing about these guys is that they can be spread out everywhere in your army and provide your units with FNP.  That means the second these units kill something, they'll end up receiving Furious Charge.  I guess if you want these two right off the top, you can take a unit of Wracks that start with a Pain Token and take a Haemonculus in the unit for a cheap FNP/FC unit.  Personally, I'm a big Kabal/Wych fan so I'll probably stick to those even though FNP/FC Wracks are pretty deadly with their WS4, I4, 2 attacks each with Poisoned attacks.

So the question I have is:  Are Haemonculi worth it?  They're fragile as all hell, have below average combat stats (WS/BS4 for the Haemonculi and 5 for the Ancient) and act as ICs.  Sure, they have 2W and 3W a piece, but they die really easy when swung at for an easy KP.  Don't get me wrong, the FNP is great to have in any army, but is having him in a squad of Warriors or Wyches or something else really that needed?  On the first kill, regardless of whether you shot something to death or ripped its head off in melee, you get a Pain Token.  Would it be worth it just to have a Haemonculi in a unit for that extra FNP bonus at the start of the game?  A Warrior squad with 9 dudes can't take a Splinter Cannon or Dark Lance.  The same applies to a unit of Wyches since they miss out on their second special weapon.  The only reasonable unit I can see them accompanying (outside of Wracks of course) is a 9x squad of Trueborn with Blasters.  Give the Haemonculi a Liquidfier and call it a day.  In fact, how would you equip yours?  Another weapon layout can be Venom Blade (2+ to wound) and Animae Vitro (or something?) that turns each unsaved wound into a Pain Token.

Someone on another forum brought up the fact that you can take some Haemonculi with Incubi, an Archon and a unit of Wracks and play token games.  I guess if you like deploying on foot and miss out on an entire turn's worth of movement, this is cool, but the gist of it is this:  The Archon is in a unit of Wracks at the start of the game that has a Pain Token already attached.  He leaves the unit, taking the Pain Token with him and then join a unit of Incubi or something.  Since the Incubi already have FNP because of the Haemonculus, the Archon joining will give them FC.  On your second turn, you can drop the Haemonculus from the Incubi's unit and they can go ride a Raider into victory.  Will this work wonders?  I doubt it.  I'd much rather take a Raider with Aethersails and get these Incubi into charge position for turn 2.  Killing is my method of getting Pain Tokens, no matter how attractive (or unattractive) Haemonculi can be.

What do you guys think?  Haemonculi or gtfo or what?

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Must-takes and configurations

I have a confession to make:  I am going Dark Eldar when they come out.  Not because I'm a band-wagoner thinking they're going to be amazing, but because I have "space elf" roots.  I used to be a Eldar player back in 4th Ed. and they were utterly ridiculous.  In a way, I feel cheated of my experience because they were so good.  That pissed me off, so I sold the army and picked up Space Wolves.  Now that Dark Eldar is here, I think it's time to feed my heart's dark side and mental perversions and just go for it.  I always wanted to play Dark Elves in Fantasy, and now I finally get that chance.. in space!  To be honest, I think Dark Eldar are going to be the perfect balance between deadliness and expertise.  Only the best generals will be able to win consistently and I personally see this as a skill test to myself.

So now the cat's out of the bag, I'm going to go through some must take units and weapon configurations.  Below is my updated unit bucket with units that I like.  Keep in mind that even though the units I like are normally based on cost effectiveness, I also like to preserve a certain theme.  For that reason, I'm missing Haemonculii and their furry friends in the list below.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dark Eldar: First turn or lose?

So I ran into a pretty interesting conversation today with an experienced gamer on how Dark Eldar will play.  I can't say I was happy to hear what he had to say.  Hypothetically, Dark Eldar will be the strongest if they take first turn and get to apply pressure early on.  What if they don't?  If they don't or if someone manages to seize the initiative from you, then you've got yourself a serious problem.  Let's quickly examine some common lists we see on the table.

Take these 3 armies for example:

  • IG Mech list with Chimeras.
  • Space Wolf RB spam lists.
  • Blood Angels 3/3 Baals and AC/LC Preds

All of these armies are capable of putting out an incredible amount of shooting in their first turn.  Mech IG can shoot out of their hulls and their basic Chimeras can put a serious amount of hurt on AV10 open-top vehicles.  Space Wolf lists can put out 15 S8 rockets per turn and a obscene number of Lascannon/Plasma shots.  Then there's Blood Angels:  Their vehicles are Fast so their AC/LC Preds can move 6" and shoot everything and their Baals can also blow their load at 6-12".  In terms of firepower, these armies are no joke since their purpose is to deliver game-changing results with their first round of shooting.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Tough Dark Eldar decisions

So let's look at a couple of debates floating around the interwebz for what's the most cost effective option for Dark Eldar in a all-comers list.  When I build my lists, I always build for all-comers because I think the strongest list is also the most flexible.  I don't believe in list tailoring but I do believe adapting to your metagame.  There's no point taking the same crappy list, getting your face-rolled, understanding why you lost and what you need to do, but too stubborn to change.  That is doing it wrong.

Anyways, let's start with heavy support choices!  For simplicity sakes, let's talk about a direct comparison between two of the best choices for anti-armor.  In one corner, we have the Ravager and in the other corner, we have the Voidraven Bomber.  Here are some stats:

- The model kit is coming out in the near future.
- Has 3x S8 AP2 Lance weapons that can move 12" and shoot all.
- Can swap all its Dark Lances for Disentagrators for free.. so 9x S5 AP2 shots from each.
- Costs 105 points stock so it's 40 points cheaper than the Bomber stock.
- AV11/11/10 open-top, making it slightly less armored than the Voidraven.

Voidraven Bomber:
- No model at all.
- 2x S9 AP2 Lance Weapons that can move 12" and shoot all.
- Has a S9 AP2 Lance 3" blast mine but you can only drop it when moving 12".
- Can take some pretty killer missiles but further increases the cost of the bomber.
- AV11/11/10 closed top, so slightly more armored than the Ravager.
- Supersonic, can go flat out at 36".

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Asdrubal Vect: Worth it or not?

First, let's look at Vect's combat stats.  He's WS8, BS8, I8 with 4W, 5 attacks base and comes stock with a Shadow Field.  Not only that, but he has Preferred Enemy vs. everyone, re-rolls to wound vs. Eldar and Dark Eldar and have a power weapon that always wounds on a 3+.  For shooting, he has a cube that shoots out a S10 AP3 Assault 1 Blast from 12" and each wound it does restores his wounds.  The thing about this weapon is that for wounding purposes, the S10 is matched against the target's leadership.  That means it's utterly worthless against vehicles.

What is the best thing about Vect?  He gives Dark Eldar the ability to Seize the Initiative on a 4+.  Just in case you roll low and your opponent thinks he's going first, Vect makes you take away your opponent's first round of shooting and passes it onto you.  Not only that, but he he can take a AV13/13/13 Raider that's open-topped so he can load 9x Trueborns in there and have 4x Blasters.  The Dais of Destruction also comes with 3x Dark Lances.. but it's a damn shame that it can't move 12" and fire everything like a Ravager.  Oh well, it's still a pretty solid firing platform once you go flat out on turn 1 and plant it close to your opponents.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My 1850 Dark Eldar list

It's time to write out my Dark Eldar list.  I'm gearing it for 1850 points for now, but I'll most likely go back here and tweak it up to 2K in the future.  The thing about this list is that I'm not running Vect yet.  I probably will in the future because I think he can offer a lot of 1st turn potential.


Archon (SF, Husk Blade, Drugs, Soul Trap) = 145
Duke Sliscus the Serpent = 150

9x Warriors (Raider NS/SR, Blaster) = 176
9x Wyches (Raider AS, Hekatrix/Phantasm/Agnoizer, HG) = 205
10x Wyches (Raider AS, Hekatrix/Phantasm/Agnoizer, HG) = 215
10x Wyches (Raider AS, Hekatrix/Phantasm/Agnoizer, HG) = 215

10x Trueborn (Raider NS, 4x Blaster) = 250

Voidraven Bomber (FF, NS) = 165
Voidraven Bomber (FF, NS) = 165
Voidraven Bomber (FF, NS) = 165

The Archon here is the Archon I would take if I wanted something really killy.  The Husk Blade is a power weapon that causes Instant Death and with the help of the Duke's Contraband, I might get the drugs I want.  I see Duke as an auto-include in most lists simply because he offers a ridiculous amount of benefits to the army.  Notice the amount of Combat Drugs I have floating around - that's because Contraband allows everyone to roll two dice when selecting drugs instead of 1, and you get to pick which one to take.  Wyches just got hell of a lot scarier and re-rolls to wound with a Husk Blade is no joke.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

More Dark Eldar stuff

Alright, so I went into my LGS and spent a ridiculously good amount of time with the Dark Eldar book.  I basically barked and bit anyone who got close to me so all this info I'm about to tell you is pretty good.  First, I'd like to correct a few things from my previous post.  Well, not really correct, but to confirm on a few things:  Razorflails are indeed that, Shatterfield Missiles are the missiles that I liked and Flickerfields are what the 5++ invulnerable upgrade on vehicles are called.

So I didn't get to look too indepth into the FA choices last time I had the book, but this time, I analyzed them to the bone.  Out of all the FA choices, I'm only sold on Scourge.  They are Jump Troops and have ridiculous options for weapons.  At 22ppm, for every 5 models, 2 of them can replace their Shard Carbines with special weapons.  That means in a squad of 10, they can have 5 special weapons ranging from Splinter Cannons (yes, Cannons), Haywire Blasters, Heatlances, Blasters and Dark Lances.  Imagine a full squad of 10 running around with 4x Haywire Blasters or Heatlances messing around with vehicles.  Now imagine 10 with 4x Splinter Cannons pouring out a ridiculous amount of poison shots per squad.  Start the game with an attached Haemonculus with a Hexfire Rifle just so the squad can get FNP (along their 4+ save) and then run off to do his own thing.  With enough targets to saturate the field, these guys might actually get some field time.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

What's good in Dark Eldar

I know.. I haven't posted in forever.  If you worked as much as me you'd understand, but thank god most people don't have to.  Anyways, I finally managed to drag my ass into my LGS and check out the Dark Eldar codex in person.  I have to say; I'm impressed.

First, I have some notes I want to share with you.  Like most of you already know, my brain only works one way:  I go through a codex and point out what I consider to be the best, top tier, the most cost effective yata yata and discard the rest.  Well, I didn't get too much time with the book since there was a good number of people in there, but I do have what I consider to be the "gist" of it.  In short, the entire army is fast -- much faster than Blood Angels.  That's perfectly fine, I mean for god's sakes they're elves.  I can't imagine my High Elves being slower than Empire, hell no.