Monday, October 29, 2012

Random Update with Ponderings on Dark Eldar

As you can see from the dates between the present post and the previous post, I went on a rather long hiatus.  This was mainly due to a combination of job related and personal issues that left no time for blogging. Now that those issues seem to have been mostly overcome, I have been having an itch to return to the blogosphere, especially with the release of 6th edition.  The focus of this article will be on dark eldar.  I will start by giving an update on how my dark eldar have done since the last article posted in January.  I will then transition into having a tactical discussion on my current 6th ed dark eldar list.

The Heroic tale of Hebbish's DE

When I left the blog, I had achieved a fairly good understanding of how to use the dark eldar in 5th edition.  I feel I demonstrated this by writing the report where I had placed 2nd in a tournament.  I continued to place in tournaments, and after making some minor tweaks to my list, I began to consistently win tournaments.  Granted, I wasn't uber good as none of these events were GT level, but I was good enough to be the terror of several stores in the Denver area.  This drastically changed when the 6th edition rulebook hit the shelves.  I pretty much went from winning tournaments to getting tabled in every game I played.  This is not surprising, because the old dark eldar playstyle got severely nerfed.  I won't go into details, as there are enough dark eldar nerd rages on the internet that have made my case.  To be honest, the only reason I didn't rage quit the army was because I have this terrible habit of continuing to stand up regardless of the amount of times I get punched in the face.

It was around this point in August of 2012 when I found myself at a feast of blades qualifier.  I went into the qualifier expecting to come in last when I found that the majority of the entrants had come with a bunch of high toughness daemon lists that hadn't yet incorporated the white dwarf flamer/screamer retardedness.  Since dark eldar are a good matchup for these old style lists, I was able to claim best general, and qualify for the feast of blades invitational tournament.

After I won this tournament, I attempted to perform a list optimization to adapt the DE to sixth ed.  Said attempt was a bit half-assed, as I spent most of my miniatures time being heretical by playing Warmachine.  My half-assed optimization was able to yield the following list, which I used in the feast of blades invitational, that occured last weekend.  The list format for the tournament was 2000 points, single Force Org.

Baron Sathonyx

Eldrad Ulthran

4 Trueborn with Blasters
Venom with Splinter Cannon

3 Trueborn; 2 Dark Lances, Dracon with Venom Blade

2 x 10 Warriors, Blaster, Splinter Cannon

5 Pathfinders

8 Hellions, Helliarch with Agoniser

Fast Attack:
6 Reaver jetbikes with 2 Heat Lances

2 Beastmasters, 5 Kymerae, 4 Razorwing flocks

Heavy Support:

Razorwing with Splinter Cannon, Flickerfields

Talos Pain Engine with Chain Flails, Heat Lance

2 Warwalkers with Scatter Lasers

Aegis Defense line with Quad Gun

Theoretical List Discussion and Practical Findings

The main strategy behind this list is to have Eldrad use his 4 divination powers to force multiply the list to generate a massive amount of "pew pew."  I have him man the quad gun with a kabalite bodyguard, and the rest of the fire-base more or less deploys around him  The purpose of the Baron is to get first turn, so that the "pew pew" strategy can be used to greatest effect; he then spends the game flying around with his hellions, picking on people that are smaller then him and seizing objectives.  The talos and the beasts mainly tie up whatever gets too close.

I ended the tournament with 4 wins and 3 losses.  Considering that I didn't get in many practice games due to my heretical warmachine playing, I would say that the list performed very well.  It is very good at attritioning shooty or assault armies that approach you from the other side of the board.  I found that the list struggles against drop pod style armies.  I originally had not anticipated this to be a problem, as no one brought drop pods in 5th edition.  However, with the nerfs to transports lots of marine players have been using drop pods to get their fire fight units into the fray.  Most of these units were packing flamers, meaning that they negate the cover save offered by my fence.  I think further list optimizations will have to incorporate a failsafe strategy to deal with this problem.  The top 4 players played daemons, so deepstrike lists are most likely here to stay.  I'm kind of at an impasse with coming up with a strategy.  I thought of exchanging my fence(aegis) with a bastion to negate the flamers.  I don't really think that solves much, though since they'll land their melta squad next to the bastion; If they roll a 5+ on the damage table, a lot of elves will die in a blaze of glory.

The main other thing I learned is that the list could use more jetibkes. (Eldar and DE)  I think at the very least, I'll get a second squad of reavers and switch the pathfinders with eldar jetbikes.  This will allow me to sieze/contest more backfield objectives in late game.  Well, that's all I got for now.  In the next post, I will likely write short summaries of each battle that was fought, and analyze them on single basis to see if I can further develop my strategy.



  1. Great to have you posting again. Congrats on the tournament wins.

    First impression on your new list is that I have come to simular conclusions n what works now, but we do have differences. I still use wyches in raiders for the moment. The hellions squad seems small (but they are expensive), and I suppose if the enemy is coming towards you the talos is better.

    I'll post some more thoughts after I get home.


    1. On reflection the list combined with the tactics look very good.

      The only odd point is the foot trueborn squad. I assume they man the quad gun, but they are very expensive at 96 points and very very small. You could have 10 warriors with a dark lance for 19 points more (who Eldrad could join to man the quad gun or a basic warrior if Eldrad wanted to use a shooting power).

      I like the force multipliers that Farseers/Eldrad brings. Rather than Eldrad I was going to use a cheap farseer on a bike. I was going to use the basic divination power (the better Guide power), but I may consider the Eldar Doom power. Your line about using Eldrad to generate lots of pew pew, made me consider that Doom & Poison shots would be rude.


    2. The trueborn squad do well, though I do agree that I may be able to get more bang for my buck with another unit. The main problem with that was there was a painting requirement at the tourney, and I didn't have the time to paint up 10 more dudes.

      I always liked the potential of doom and poison, but I wasn't sure what to cast the other two Eldrad powers on, since I can't buff dark eldar units per the faq. Furthermore, divination is such a good tree and Eldrad gets four powers from it. However, a jetbike seer with just doom, could do wonderful things. One other force multiplier that a farseer/eldrad brings is psychic defense. Most of my opponents didn't even bother to cast psychic powers and that was huge.

      You still use wyches? I used them heavily in 5th, but in 6th they just seem to die too fast. Maybe I'll give them another shot this weekend.