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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-04-17, 04:23 PM Thread Starter
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Default Dark Eldar Tactica - basic List Bulding Advices

I'd like to talk about the basics from where to start assembling a list for pure Dark Eldar (master race) lists.

I see a lot of newby DE players asking for help in listbuilding and falling in what i think are small traps laid by the codex itself.

I'll try a simple and wide approach from where to start building your list.

First of all, CAD, Realspace Raiders or Kabalite Raiding party? And what about Coven Formations?

CAD has the great advantage of obsec on troops, while the raiding party has +1 to the Power From Pain turn count.
Realspace raiders lets you spam fast Attack (definetely our best slot).
Both the latter adds a nice cover bonus for the first turn and while Night Fighting is in effect.

I usually plan to build flexible armies and ObSec is that bonus that can win you a game. But if you plan to take objectives over the dead bodies of your foe, the Realspace raiders or Kabalite party are extra useful.

The realspace raiders lets you use a lot of scourges and reaver jetbikes, that are AWESOME.
If you plan to have minimum HQ and troops, while spamming fast and deadly small units of flying guys, this is for you.

The raiding Party, instead, has a fixed army composition, BUT... after a Faq, it has been clarified that the 6 units of Warriors in this fixed composition CAN be transofrmed into Trueborn and be legal (after all, being trueborn is just an option, an upgrade for the warriors).
So, if you plan to spam trueborns with special weapons and Venoms this list is for you. The nice part is that Kab. Raid. requires that you spam venoms...so, while it's pretty expensive both IRL and listwise, the venomspam is still one of our best tricks.

About the Coven Formations, i'd honestly consider building a list around the Grotesquerie and the Scalpel formation.

While the Scalpel is not-so-powerful, it is cheap and can provide a nice first strike on a small enemy unit. A small artillery unit or light, footslogging infantry can give you first blood and extra juice thanks to this formation rules. Also, the formation itself is THE way to deploy 0 units on the board and have a full reserve army.

Grotesquerie, instead, is not an "extra" or a "nice addition" to an army: it is the definitive core of a melee army. With the formation bonuses, their Homunculus and some raiders with Ethersails, this formation brings you a nasty group of psycho-monsters in turn 2 charge range. For 500-ish points you can have 2 raiders filled with multiwound pumped melee beasts that will shred anything apart (plus, an homunculus!).

This said, lets have a look at the various sections
HQ:
Archon and Succubus are meant to be melee beatsticks: with nice stats (barring thoughness..ugh) and some decent upgrades an archon can be tough and waste any Marine Equivalent. Succubus will make short work of any terminator equivalent. They will still be costly and fragile as hell.

Homunculi are fine, i guess. I honestly wouldnt take them outside the coven formations: they lose too many special rules that way.

The real King of Cheese (dark eldar cheese, so pretty small and lame cheese wheels, but still) here is the Chourt of the Archon. You can have any one of these buggers be your warlord and Hq choice. A Lhamean at 10 pts comes to mind immediately...and she will be able to ride her personal Venom too! Again with Venom spam eh? Cool. If you want to save points AND spam venoms, this is the way to do it, imo.

Special characters should never be used, imo. They just cost too much for what they do.
Urien can be ok thanks to his T5 and super FnP, i guess, but the rest is just meh.
Urien will just shine in a grotesquerie...

Troops:
First of all, all troopers need a transport. Only a true master could hope to field a walking troop and make it count. Too hard, too risky, too unreliable. Our juice is mobility AND firepower: be it raider or venom, transports give us both and simply complete two otherwise unremarkable troop choices.

Witches are the only melee troop we have and they are not so good at it: costly, frail and not hard hitting. They rely heavily on stronger units to kill stuff and will act as chaff / tarpits/wound absorbers while grotesques or incubi deal the pain. Very nice is the 10 witches squad on ethersail raider: two of these units are the perfect support fo incubi or a grotesquerie in melee heavy lists.
They also have drugs. Don't rely on that roll and just try to make the best out of what you get.

Bloodbrides upgrade is ridiculous and should always be laughed at. Seriously.
Upgrading one witch to hekatrix can work only if you plan to go MSU and need some way to deal with armour and sorely need an haywire grenades carrier. Still not worth it, imo.

Warriors are cheap and shooty and will last longer than witches, just for the fact that they will stay out of melee and have some semblance of armour... Their best use is to aid you spamming venoms.
Another nice unit is ten warriors with splinter cannon in raider with splinter racks for absolute antiinfantry power.

The trueborn upgrade is not cheap but is great to spam blasters and venoms. Deepstiking trueborn sucidal units can work wonders if you have some reserve manipulation and do it en masse (to assure target saturation and minimize retaliation damage).
Also, i strongly suggest NOT to give trueborns the darklance upgrade. Too many points, too low damage output, too frail and immobile to be effective.

Elite:
Incubi are excellent killers to unleash against the toughest unit the opponent has. They need a transport and usually a venom is fine. Give them a beatstick Hq and watch the world burn...until the enemy strikes back. Even with 3+ armour any serious opponent will wound you on 3+ or 2+. So don't expect them to survive long if touched in melee or shoot at. Small unit numbers are also an issue, hence the need for some support in melee and bubblewrapping (mostly in the form of witches. If you haven't figured out yet, witches are the incubi/grotesques's bitches)

Grotesques are tough, hard hitting and can cause instadeath. Truly masters of brutal melee.They should be always taken as part of a coven formation. The bonuses are too great to skip. Nothing to say here, just use them like incubi and support them nonetheless, knowing that they will attract even more attention than the former.

Mandrakes can be anice way to spend some points if you want to give your opponent some hard to shift unit from some key position. Infiltrate, shrouded, stealth, move trough cover, a nice shooting attack and minimal model count. Mandrakes can score points and harass the enemy flanks and you are almost guaranteed that anything shooting them will waste firepower and cause overkill...or maybe cause no damage at all! (2+ cover is sooo nice) This said, mandrakes are not my priority unit and they just fill those spare points i cannot invest in something better (like, say, reaver jetbikes...). They still have their place, though.

Wracks are bad. Even in a coven formation you cannot expect great things from them. Consider them witches with different equipment. They can support an assault i guess, but competing with incubi and grotesques just don't leave space for them. In a scalpel formation they can be useful for the special rules, but otherwise are an unremarkable elite unit, worse than mandrakes, imo.
They have some hefty special weapons but since it's hard to spam those, they will never reliably do what they should do.

Fast Attack
It cannot be stressed enough: this is where the magic happens. Fast attack is THE Dark Eldar toolbox.

Raiders and venoms are best used as dedicated transport but you can spam them as well from the FA slots. They are good, but will deprive you of the chance to field reavers and scourges, so think thruogh your battleplan and units synergy before committing slots in venoms or raiders.

Beastmasters are often overlooked but they can bring a lot of attacks and complete a melee heavy army. they are fast (unit type: beasts), relatively cheap and you can mix monsters to have high Toughness, rending attacks or some Inv saves. Two beatsmasters, 5 razorwings and a clawed fiend comes at 150 pts and is the perfect second wave to help those grotesques mop up the battlefield. They are, however, extremely frail. You could also use a bunch of Kymeras (9 + 1 beastmaster, 100 pts...) as T4, 5++ shields to bubblewrap something more important.

Reaver jetbikes are pure gold: fast, cheap, can pack a punch against any target. In my opinion you should never have mixed roles units: 3 bikers with blaster/heatlance are excellent antitank, while 6 reavers with dual cluster caltrops will kick the theet out of anyone thanks to the shitload of rending Str 4, hammer of wrath attacks. I always bring some, even just to score some last turn points, due to their amazing speed. They also have drugs. Don't rely on that roll and just try to make the best out of what you get.

Hellions are handicapped jetbikes. They occupy the same niche and should do the same stuff, but are less tough and less strong. they are useful only vs light infantry and just so much. I honestly never considered them useful. Where they troops..maybe! But not when you can take jetbikes or scourges instead.

Scourges, on the other hand, are the only unit that can have ghostplate (silly codex authors) and are the best way to spam heavy weapons in fast attack. They are quite cheap and should never use darklances, due to mobility issues. Mixing them with reavers with caltrops and trueborn with blasters in venoms gives us an amazing firepower and speed. Gold here too: it's hard to go wrong in taking them. About the solarite upgrade i ask you: why? Are you planning to bring them in melee? Are you drinking right now? Just skip it.

Razorwing fighter are the definitive answer to your horde problems. they should be kept as stock, since they are not cheap and are paper-thin. Expecting them to use reliably the two optional dark lances is a trap. Spending points in fancy missiles is a trap (maybe the Str 7 missiles can be situationally good: list tailoring shit right here, see below) They are anti horde. Period. Competing with Reavers is hard and the razorwing just falls in the "list tailoring only" units: if you play a lot versus guardsmen blobs or ork biker spam, they can do the job, but otherwise...meh.

Heavy Support

Talos & Cronos are nasty beasts and if you manage to get them in melee they can eat things alive and buff your guys. Taking them into coven formations is the right way to do it, in my opinion. i wuldn't spend too many points on upgrades since they will attract lots of firepower. If you plan to have a full deepstrike army, taloses can be the table holders for the first turn. Easy to hide, T7, 3 wounds FnP and 3+ armour means they will survive a lot of shooting. After that you can walk them onward and aim for a turn 4 charge to endthe game with slaughter (as it should always be)

Ravagers can add some serious firepower to your list. Dark lances can be tempting but for 125 pts you can field more shooty stuff in fast attack slots. Ravagers should be the vultures that finish off a prey and should use their AV 11 to resist retaliation. Try to go "hull down" as much as you can since there is no point into jinking this vehicle, unless the opponent is shooting at you with some overcosted unit.

Voidravens are one trick ponies that cost like a useful unit. While the voidbomb can be nice it's one use only and can scatter badly. Void lances are just glorified lascannons and as you know, two lascannons (even with the lance rule) are not going to be gamebreaking. Consider this unit only if you expect to face enemy flyers. Against flyers 2 glorified lascannons CAN be good! Just remember that any flyer that shoots back will kill the voidraven even with heavy bolters ( 10 HB shots at BS 4 have a fair chance to kill it unless you jink.) I honestly dislike this unit.

This said, let's round up some concepts:
-be fast
-hit hard
-be redundant with your units (one will just be killed, two will get shit done)
-support each other unit

more specifically:
-use cover a lot and move out of charge range ( you don't want to be charged: YOU have to charge!)
-bring a lot of special weapons
-never expect a single unit to do it alone: DE are frail and die in droves.

Some list themes are the following (roughly at 1500 pts)

Shoot 'em up! (Realspace Raiders Detachment) Lots of blasters, lots of poison shots, msu spam

Lahmean
Venom with dual cannon

10 warriors, splinter cannon, sybarite
raider with splinter rack
10 warriors
raider with splinter rack

5 trueborn, 4 blasters
Venom with dual cannon
5 trueborn, 4 blasters
Venom with dual cannon

3 Mandrakes

3 Reavers, blaster
3 Reavers, blaster
3 Reavers, blaster
3 Reavers, blaster
3 Reavers, blaster
3 Reavers, blaster

Ravager, 3 darklances
Ravager, 3 darklances
Ravager, 3 disintegrators

Kill 'em all! (Realspace Raiders Detachment + Grotesquerie) Turn 2 assault is key. reavers and ravagers kill armour while reavers and beastmaster protect the witches + grotesques charge.

Succubus, Glaive

10 witches
Raider with ethersails
10 witches
Raider with ethersails

3 Reavers, blaster
3 Reavers, blaster
3 Reavers, blaster


6 reavers, 2 caltrops

Beastmaster, 8 kymerae

Ravager, 3 darklances, night shields

---Grotesquerie----

Urien Rakhart

4 Grotesques
Raider with ethersails

4 Grotesques
Raider with ethersails
----------------------

As you see, DE will have little problem seizing objectives, but will quail and tremble in a kill point mission. Any DE list assume that you overpower enemy unis and never try to win a fair fight. If the enemy has a knife, bring a gun.

I'll post more list ideas later, with different strategies and themes. For now i'd like to hear c&c from our fellow DE players.
Cheers!

The Legion of Perfects Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lux View Post
The calls of Slaneesh stir so deeply within me, as if I was birthed from the very essence of it. For my ambition to infinitely ascend above all is never ending, like fire within it burns me to ever cindering ash. Lord of light and ascension is who I am, realities burn to ash at my very passing. My luminescence is unparalleled for I am luminosity itself, all light is but a shadow of my silhouette

Last edited by neferhet; 04-04-17 at 07:14 PM.
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-05-17, 03:47 PM Thread Starter
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Another list idea, using the 0 deployment trick.
Basically, if your opponent has a nasty alpha strike army (drop pod army, for instance) you should be able to hamper his plan just by letting him have 0 targets in turn 1.
There are 2 variations of the list. List A has actually 0 units on the field and thus is greatly at risk of evaporate in turn 2: at worst you can deploy the lahmia (or the jetbikes...) in a corner far away, out of sight and out of deepstrike/drop pod reach; List B takes this into account and deploys a hidden unit of mandrakes, possibly out of sight and far away.
The rest of the plan is ludricous: come in from deepstrike with everithing (barring the jetbikes) and pewpewpew! The scalpel formation should be able to give you two victory points due to lots of poison shots and the two ossefactors. In any case they just die in a funny way.

LIST A

---Scalpel Formation---

5 wracks, ossefactor
Venom, dual cannon

5 wracks, ossefactor
Venom, dual cannon

(260)

--CAD--
Lahmia
Venom, dual cannon
(75)

10 warriors
Raider, splinter racks
10 warriors
Raider, splinter racks
(300)

Razorwing jetfighter

5 Scourges, 4 heatlances

6 jetbikes, 2 cluster caltrops, arena champion
(386)

5 trueborn, 4 blasters
Venom, dual cannon
5 trueborn, 4 blasters
Venom, dual cannon
(360)

Ravager, 2 dark lances
(120)

LIST B

---Scalpel Formation---

5 wracks, ossefactor
Venom, dual cannon

5 wracks, ossefactor
Venom, dual cannon

(260)

--CAD--
Lahmia
Venom, dual cannon
(75)

10 warriors
Raider, splinter racks
10 warriors
Raider, splinter racks
(300)

Razorwing jetfighter

5 Scourges, 4 heatlances

3 jetbikes, 1 blaster

5 mandrakes, nightfiend
(385)

5 trueborn, 4 blasters
Venom, dual cannon
5 trueborn, 4 blasters
Venom, dual cannon
(360)

Ravager, 2 dark lances
(120)

Without reserve manipulation (unless you roll Labirinthine Cunning warlord trait) and scatter mitigation from deepstrike, these two lists are not suited for competitive play, but can be quite funny especially against static gunlines or small elite armies.

The Legion of Perfects Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lux View Post
The calls of Slaneesh stir so deeply within me, as if I was birthed from the very essence of it. For my ambition to infinitely ascend above all is never ending, like fire within it burns me to ever cindering ash. Lord of light and ascension is who I am, realities burn to ash at my very passing. My luminescence is unparalleled for I am luminosity itself, all light is but a shadow of my silhouette
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-07-17, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Another classical take i used in friendly games against elite marines armies (with admittedly mixed results) was a variation of the full deepstrike army.
Using the a deepstriking raider to deliver a neat bunch of medusae onto some big meaty unit is absolutely hilarious! remember that you can disembark after deepstrike, so you should be able to mitigate any bad DS roll...
When you couple this with a webway portal delivering some heatlance scourges, there is just one thing that vahicles and elite models can do: DIE!
Of course the opponent will retaliate, hence we bring in the Dark Artisan formation with a portal: the DA is hard to kill and works perfectly fine if you use it aggresively but not recklessly. Two monsters arriving besides 2 or 3 other damage dealing units will force the opponent to either split his firepower or eat templates or a gruesome assault. Also, the knowledge of this double portal deepstike will force a different deployment approach for the opponent, maybe making him bunch his guys togheter for bubblewrapping: this is good, because a razorwing and his 4 blasts can make short work of any bubblewrap.
Mandrakes are there to hide during first turn, helping the (hiding, too) jetbikes weather the first turn...
Warlord can be the Haemy to buff the dark artisan or the archon, to hope and roll Labirinthine cunning warlord trait.


---Realspace Raiders Detachment---

3 Medusae
Raider
(130)
2 Medusae
Raider
(105)

Archon, blaster, webway portal
(110)

5 warriors, blaster
Venom, dual cannon
(120)
5 warriors, blaster
Venom, dual cannon
(120)

5 Scourges, 4 heatlances
(120)
5 Scourges, 4 heatlances
(120)

3 Reaver jetbikes, caltrops
(63)
3 Reaver jetbikes, caltrops
(63)

Razorwing, disintegrators, 4 stock missiles
(130)

3 mandrakes
(36)

---Dark Artisan Formation---

Haemunculus, webway portal
(105)

Talos, ichor injector
(130)

Cronos, spirit probe
(125)

-1500 pts-

The Legion of Perfects Project

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lux View Post
The calls of Slaneesh stir so deeply within me, as if I was birthed from the very essence of it. For my ambition to infinitely ascend above all is never ending, like fire within it burns me to ever cindering ash. Lord of light and ascension is who I am, realities burn to ash at my very passing. My luminescence is unparalleled for I am luminosity itself, all light is but a shadow of my silhouette

Last edited by neferhet; 04-07-17 at 02:50 PM.
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