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merzbau
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PostSubject: Starting army size & new player advice?   Sun Mar 15 2015, 14:51

Hi- I'm a former player (well, kind of- I lived in a small town in the south, so I really only ever played a handful of proxy games against a single friend on an undersized table) trying to get back into the game and I had some questions about how people would approach starting a new army.

Right now, I'm finishing up a backlog of Chaos Space Marines I bought at an old, better-paying job; I'm not worried about being able to piece together a decent list there, since there's enough variety to have plenty of options for lower point totals. I fell in love with the redone Dark Eldar range, though (dem Scourges yo) and I'm looking to put together a secondary army. However, since I'm back in school, my budget is tighter, so I'll have to put it together fairly slowly and carefully.

Here's what I have so far, mostly found as one-off deals through hobby shops' Amazon marketplace listings. If you watch them like a hawk, occasionally they'll fall well below MSRP into the range of discount retailers (like my previous go-to, Atomic Empire) only without a minimum purchase for free shipping:

A Haemonculus. Not planning on having him as my primary HQ, but he was too cheap to pass up; set aside for a Coven detachment/formation, or to pop in with a 9-man Warrior squad if I ever have enough spare points for that to seem like a good idea.

An Archon. I'm modeling him after the Vraesque Malidrach conversion in the Raiders of Comorragh book; I might mess with the weapon loadout a bit, since it seems like a blast pistol is a silly thing to have versus a full-fledged blaster, and while the spear looks badass, it's an awkward counts-as situation- I might just have him one-handing a blaster if that's not too difficult to kitbash, and count the spear as a vanilla CCW.

A box of Warriors. I'm thinking gunboat crew for this first Troop slot- just splinter rifles and one cannon. I'll probably model a Sybarite, because squad leaders are always fun to build and paint, but have him toting a rifle and just count him as a regular Warrior if the points are tight.

A Venom. I'm not sure who this is for, yet, exactly, but right now I'm leaning toward filling out a Court for a shooty Archon and popping them in there? I've seen a lot of advice to pick transports that do what their squad can't- so 5 Blasterborn in an infantry-shredding dual cannon Venom, or a Raider/Warrior gunboat with a dark lance.

3 Reavers. Cluster Caltrops seem mandatory on one- and I admit I'm struggling to see the utility of the grav-talon on a unit with hit & run- but what are people's thoughts on running special weapons like heat lances?



My questions, I guess, are the following:
In your experience, what kind of point totals do most pickup games use? I know this will vary from place to place, but unfortunately I won't be able to check out the 40k pickup night at my FLGS (Redcap's Corner in Philadelphia) until the semester is over, since it clashes with a night class.

Is there anything you wish you'd been told when you were starting your DE army? What do you think of as absolutely necessary units? I'm not really interested in a competitive list if that mean being monotonous or spammy; I'm a relative n00b playing an army that takes a lot of skill, so I'd rather have fun, make a characterful, fluffy army and get my ass handed to me while I learn the ropes than field something that's no fun to paint. See above re: Court of the Archon, I guess Smile

Is the Realspace Raiders detachment worth it? I see a lot of back and forth on whether DE need ObjSec, and while those 6 Fast Attack slots are sexy as hell, is the Warlord Trait table as underwhelming as it seems, except for Labyrinthine Cunning?

Right now, my next few planned models are a Raider (duh), another box of Warriors, and a Medusae if I can find one at my FLGS (now that I know there are two heads in the clampack, I'm more than willing to sacrifice a Warrior to make room in his squad for an IC and slap a brainlaser headcrab on him). The Medusae- wait, how do I pluralize an already plural noun? Medusaeae?- won't be seeing much action until I've had a chance to pick up a couple of Sslyths for that T5 hotness, but it's a cool enough model I'm bumping it up a couple of spots on the priority list.

A second Raider for the second unit of troops also seems like an obvious choice, but where do you think a starting player should go from there? I guess this ties in with my RSR question above. I'm also not terribly interested in allies at this stage, either. Partly because I'd like to get used to "my" units first, but mostly because I'm old enough (30; oh, me weary bones, etc) to remember 2nd edition, and the whole idea of allies as a standard thing and not an exception that your opponent has to consent to seems deeply strange to me, with a couple of exceptions (like CSM/Daemons, or either flavor of Eldar with Harlequins).
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Mr Believer
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PostSubject: Re: Starting army size & new player advice?   Sun Mar 15 2015, 17:12

It's unfortunate that the battleforce is no longer available, and that what they've replaced it with is a little wych heavy for most tastes. The battleforce represents an excellent way to expand on a force, so personally I'd suggest getting the stuff from that - at least another box of warriors and either a Venom or a Raider. I'm not too sure about the Reavers as of yet, I still haven't got used to them and how different they are these days.

A Haemonculus definitely isn't a bad HQ choice, you just can't use one in the same way that you might use something like a Succubus. It depends if you want a character that buffs your unit or one that can go toe to toe with other HQs in close combat. As much as I love the Succubus and am tempted by the Archon in this edition, I will probably end up just running a Haemonculus because I don't see the need for my HQ to get involved in the messy business of close combat.

The Realspace Raiders detachment is a lot of fun, but I think it's more useful if you want to go aircraft heavy or do really, REALLY obnoxious Venom spam. The other choices are either sub-optimal or not needed in vast multiples. Field it when you have more units, by all means, but it's perfectly possible to craft a very destructive, fast list that is just a regular combined arms detachment. To that end, I'd suggest a Razorwing and five Scourges with either heat lances or haywire blasters. After that you can add more of what you like, but some aerial presence is definitely needed. Ravagers, whilst not as good as they were, are still a great way to get a load of lances on the table, so they'd be a good one to look at too. Hope all that helps!

Oh, and for pick up games, 1750/1850 are the most common ones I've been challenged to!

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PostSubject: Re: Starting army size & new player advice?   Sun Mar 15 2015, 18:31

Thanks! Scourges and/or a Razorwing were definitely on my to-do list, so it's good to see them recommended. A Razorwing might be more fitting for the Kabal of the Flayed Skull fluff (though honestly, it's not a whole lot deeper than "we sure do like flimsy airplanes covered in knives, mmmyup, boy howdy"), and that does free me from having to deal with kitting out the Scourges- it's kind of amazing to me that GW still hasn't sorted out the issue of arming heavy weapon squads, made even worse now that they no longer have a bitz service and the weapons generally don't even come on a separate sprue. A shame, though; they really are lovely models... And a Razorwing does get me anti-air, which I understand is hard to come by elsewhere.
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PostSubject: Re: Starting army size & new player advice?   Sun Mar 15 2015, 18:57

I recommend starting small anyway, not building as a 1850 net list and go trying your luck. Pick the ropes, learn the rules, figure out what you like best and then expand. Start with 1000 or so, probably guys at club, if you are planning go there will agree to play 1k game with a newbie.

Quote :
Is the Realspace Raiders detachment worth it? I see a lot of back and forth on whether DE need ObjSec, and while those 6 Fast Attack slots are sexy as hell, is the Warlord Trait table as underwhelming as it seems, except for Labyrinthine Cunning?
Warlord table is ok, not great, but ok. You can roll it. Or strategic. RR detachment kinda let you take more killy, but less durable army that aimed more at damage dealing. For me its - ok, im taking 2 Razorwings, what else do i want in fast atack...

Quote :
Is there anything you wish you'd been told when you were starting your DE army? What do you think of as absolutely necessary units? I'm not really interested in a competitive list if that mean being monotonous or spammy

Kabalite Warriors are absolutely necessary units ) To make it less spammy you can divide them between Raiders and Venoms =). Have a solid core, about 4 units of of them and then add character. You cant go too wrong with this aproach. Oh, and dont pack 10 man Kabalites squad with bunch of upgrades in Raider, that isnt to wise, spread your threat around the army.

I also notice you plan to pick single small different units, understand this - if you are not taking super tough units and taking lots of fragile units, you have to back up units.

Craftworld Eldar - they take specialised costly units that do the job and do it very well. Like Fire Dragons, ride in durable grav tank, disembark, shoot 6 meltas, pooh - dead Land Raider.

We dont play like that - we take swarm of units, and no matter which individual unit enemy kill, we still kill more. So if you dont like spam, instead of duplicating units, duplicate their roles. Thats why it is so popular to take 5 man kabalites in venom with blaster, they can do anything. Dont go false route of specialised units.

Quote :
A second Raider for the second unit of troops also seems like an obvious choice, but where do you think a starting player should go from there?
Again, build a solid core, a.ka. Kabal, then add some flavor, mercenaries.

Soild core in my opinion is at least 20-30 models of Kabalites in various units, couple of Raiders, 2-4 Venoms, couple of Ravagers, HQ choice and Elite unit it accompanies.

You can chose to compliment them with Scourges, Reavers, Grotesques, Incubi, Razorwings, Talosi. All of them are good choices.

If you want to look Haemunculus way - there are 2 great formations to include in any army.
Dark Artisan - 2 Monsters and 1 Haemy in a single unit.
Grotesqury - 2 units of meathulks Grotesques

They will draw fire on them and allow another builds.

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PostSubject: Re: Starting army size & new player advice?   Sun Mar 15 2015, 19:27

I'm not sure if I can say this here but if you're looking for scourges I've got some I'll sell at a decent price (15 to be exact, 10 with no damage and 5 new in box). I also live in the south (east) and build on a budget so I know the struggle.

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PostSubject: Re: Starting army size & new player advice?   Sun Mar 15 2015, 20:52

@Azdrubael- thanks for the advice! I'll have to try and put out feelers to see what pickup nights are like at Redcap; if people are willing to play at lower point totals, that would be fantastic. I have a good grasp of the (current) rules, but I'm definitely rusty and missed out on several editions' worth of added rules, so I've never seen flyers used, to name just one example.

I'll crack open the codex later this evening and try to put together a nice core force that covers the bases and leaves me plenty of room to expand. I especially appreciate your comments on overwhelming force and troop distribution; I have to say that's been at the back of my mind when I think about lower point total games. There are definitely some embarrassingly one-sided games in my past pitting the 3rd Edition Dark Eldar from the box against their Marine counterparts; we didn't really set up the table, terrain or deployment properly, but even if we had, it would have still been a bloodbath.

I understand there's been a lot of downwards point creep in the last few iterations of codexes, and looking at army lists, it seems like DE armies can put a hell of a lot of bodies (and splinter rifles) on the table. And I do like the idea of building and fielding a lot of basic troops- one thing that put me out about the latest Chaos Space Marine codex was the devaluing of, well, Chaos Space Marines; while I dearly love Cultists and am glad to see them back in the game, there's something deeply wrong with the army list if they're everyone's favored Troop choice.

And as far as Haemonculus detachments, you read my mind- the Dark Artisan formation looks amazing, and I'd been thinking about it as an eventual role for my Haemonculus once I have the basic Kabalite force at a respectable level. I'm a little leery of the Grotesquerie, and Grotesques in general, both because the models are so expensive and unposeable, and because I'm not really too excited about working with Finecast. What's your opinion of the Wrack-centric formations, like Scarlet Epicureans and Scalpel Squadrons?

And do you think there's ever a place for footslogging units of Warriors for backfield cleanup/objective camping, or should they be transported at all times?

@The Red King- Thanks for the offer. I'll definitely consider the in-box ones, though it might be some time until I'm ready to build and add them, so please don't feel like you need to hold back from selling it if you find someone sooner. Out of curiosity, roughly where are you in the southeast? I'm in Philadelphia now (thank god), but grew up in Mobile, AL.


Last edited by merzbau on Sun Mar 15 2015, 21:39; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: Starting army size & new player advice?   Sun Mar 15 2015, 21:10

Oh, and another thing I forgot to mention that might be worth its own message:

I crunched the numbers, and the Wych Cult Shardstorm box set looks like a much better deal than the old Battleforce, even without fielding Wyches. I can't reliably find pricing for the old Battleforce, but it looks like it's more or less $140 MSRP of models. The Wych Cult box is $160 for $200 MSRP; that's the Wyches free, and almost half off the Succubus, who at least isn't terrible. With the quality of the Wych models for conversions, I might set aside money for a bit and make this my next buy. It would get me my first Raider, another Venom, enough Reavers to add to my existing 3 that I could field them in a huge squad of 9 or split them up into two respectable-sized units in a larger FOC somewhere down the line, and from the Wych box, plenty of bits to customize Warriors.

There's another Reaver-style dome helmet with some kind of HUD or glyph on it to save for Trueborn, some bare heads that would work well (with the Archon Malidrach's background as a Reaver pilot, it would make sense aesthetically to mix it up a little), and another couple of those CCWs that look like bladed pendulums or grappling hooks on a chain, which would look pretty great as rappelling hooks for some of the Raider-bound Warriors to carry. And then, barring some unforeseen calamity that makes Wyches useful in this edition, I had thought about modeling some of them as Lhamaeans later, with the poison blades that come on Scourge sprues or just whatever large and/or ornate knives I have left in my bits box. I like the GW Lhamaean model, but unlike the Medusae or Sslyths, it's such a cheap, easily killed unit I can't justify spending money on it. And has even less customizability than the other two, with the spare Medusae head letting you build a second one's body from the ground up, and the Sslyth at least having separate arms and a poseable head.

It can wait until I've picked up the second unit of Warriors to at least fill out a CAD, but it seems like a pretty good buy.
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PostSubject: Re: Starting army size & new player advice?   Sun Mar 15 2015, 22:29

@merzbau wrote:
it's kind of amazing to me that GW still hasn't sorted out the issue of arming heavy weapon squads, made even worse now that they no longer have a bitz service and the weapons generally don't even come on a separate sprue.

I miss their bitz service so much - I only appreciated just how useful it was when I started playing again with a more competitive mindset! There are plenty of threads on here regarding getting the most out of a box of Scourges - I went with Talos haywire blasters on the end of Scourge heat lances to get two squads of five Scourges, each with four haywire blasters, for not too much money (ebay is my friend).

If there's one thing I wish I'd been told about Dark Eldar, it would be the same thing Azdrubael has touched on. Kabalite Warriors are essential. Even in the last book, where wyches ran around wrecking vehicles left and right with their haywire grenades, warriors were still a safer choice, simply because they had less of a huge"Hur hur, we gonna blow up your tanks" style bullseye painted on their heads. Basing an army around warriors is an even more reliable prospect than it was these days, not because they've got better but because wyches have gotten worse. Before, you could justify either, probably in a 50/50 split if you really wanted to. Now, you're a bit kooky if you take some wyches, and probably need to be sectioned if they form the majority of your troops choices!

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PostSubject: Re: Starting army size & new player advice?   Sun Mar 15 2015, 23:21

I'm in Bama and no one is biting on the scourges so just let me know whenever.

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PostSubject: Re: Starting army size & new player advice?   Sun Mar 15 2015, 23:44

I've just started diddling around with the Codex, and here's what I've drafted up as the core of an army at 600 points:

HQ
Archon with blaster and webway portal (110)

Troops
9 Warriors with splinter cannon (87)
-Raider with dark lance, enhanced aethersails and splinter racks (95)

10 Warriors with splinter cannon (95)
-Raider with dark lance, enhanced aethersails and splinter racks (95)

3 Reavers with Arena champion, heat lance and cluster caltrops (83)

This is a combination of most of the models I already have, with the addition of another box of Warriors and two Raiders. Stuff I haven't used so far is the Haemonculus (I'm just not sure what his battlefield role is in a smallish list; I'd rather spend the points on more Warriors or some heavy weaponry) and a Venom (likewise, I'm not sure what unit it could carry).

If I do pick up the Wych Cult Shardstorm box at some point (Atomic Empire has it for $136 with free shipping), that would cover one of the two Raiders, add another six Reavers, and a second Venom, at which point I'd seriously consider splitting up the squad of 10 Warriors, ditching the second Raider, and popping both squads of 5 in Venoms.
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PostSubject: Re: Starting army size & new player advice?   Mon Mar 16 2015, 17:19

Quote :
What's your opinion of the Wrack-centric formations, like Scarlet Epicureans and Scalpel Squadrons?
Scalpel Squadron is unique, it lets you start with nothing on board T1 and its auto-deepstrike T1. Not fun of Wracks at all, but 2 Venoms cant be bad.

Quote :
And do you think there's ever a place for footslogging units of Warriors for backfield cleanup/objective camping, or should they be transported at all times?
I prefer at all times. Dont like to have troops that cant move with the rest of the army.

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PostSubject: Re: Starting army size & new player advice?   Tue Mar 17 2015, 21:47

In regards to your list, I'm not a huge fan of Splinter cannons in warrior gunboats this edition. They just don't make up the cost unless you stand still. You're paying 15 points for 1 less splinter shot at 24", 2 more at 18" and 1 more at 12".

The aether sails are likely overkill, unless you play on very long tables. Your gun boats will likely spend most of the game moving ~6" and jinking allowing the warriors to shoot.

If it was my list, I'd drop the sails and both cannons, give the 9 man squad a blaster, and keep the 10 man squad basic. Any left over points would go into protection and a close combat weapon for the archon, just in case of close encounters.

It sounds like you're on the right track for expanding, more bikes and more warriors in cardboard boxes.
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PostSubject: Re: Starting army size & new player advice?   Wed Mar 18 2015, 23:49

Thanks for the feedback. Are you sure it's worth kitting out the Archon for close combat? I understand it would be in case of emergency, but it would mean giving him a a last pistol and cutting the range he can use that high BS dramatically.

I think I've also decided to drop the heat lance from the Reaver squad. I can always add it back in with the extra Reavers in the Wych Cult box set, but it seems like a single heat lance isn't as likely to make its points back if it's in a CC/HoW oriented unit. On the other hand, I'm wondering if it's worth giving the Arena Champion some manner of special close combat weapon, or maybe putting the cluster caltrops on his bike if that wouldn't be too much a case of putting all my exploding death eggs in one basket.

After the Wych Cult box (which I should be able to afford in a few weeks), I've decided that my priorities are the second box of Warriors and a Razorwing (for anti-tank/anti-air/fluff reasons) and yhen work on getting them built and painted for summer, when my work hours should be MRR accommodating to Thursday night gaming Smile
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PostSubject: Re: Starting army size & new player advice?   Wed Mar 18 2015, 23:51

Ugh. Sorry about the typos- typing this on my phone while I wait for a Björk show in Brooklyn to start..
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PostSubject: Re: Starting army size & new player advice?   Thu Mar 19 2015, 19:09

So here's a slightly updated list core, based on some of the feedback above and the assumption that the Wych Cult box will be my next major purchase. With some comments, thinking out loud, and rationalizing:

HQ:
Archon- blast pistol, huskblade, webway portal, the Armor of Misery- 125 points
I'm a little concerned this may be too expensive, but the Armor of Misery is a decent savings over a shadowfield, synergizes nicely with a cheap phantasm grenade launcher on the squad's Sybarite, and in general seems like it would work acceptably well in a unit designed to suddenly pop out of a black hole in a space-barge, shoot something all to s#!t, and only engage at close range if absolutely necessary. The huskblade seems like a clear choice over an agoniser, and a slightly less silly counts-as situation with the converted archon's spear.

Troops:
9 Kabalite Warriors- blaster, Sybarite with phantasm grenade launcher- 35 points
This will be the Archon's unit. I'm aware that putting the grenade launcher on a Sybarite instead of the Archon himself is probably a bad idea from a gameplay perspective, honestly (a 10 point tax for the Sybarite, whose Ld boost will be totally unnecessary, and a less survivable model to lug around the grenade launcher) but it's my WYSIWYG compulsiveness showing through again :/

Raider dedicated transport- dark lance, splinter racks (75 points)
The Archon's ride, for WWP dickery. Spoo was absolutely right that the aethersail on this thing served no purpose whatsoever- it'll be deploying right into the enemy lines, after all.

5 Kabalite warriors- splinter cannon (55 points)
Venom dedicated transport- splinter cannon (65 points)
Guns and poison and whatnot, whee!

5 Kabalite warriors- blaster (55 points)
Venom dedicated transport- splinter cannon (65 points)
Or possibly a blaster, whee! This will probably perform better, but I'll be running low on blasters at this point and I'm not sure I want to convert my own.

3 Reavers- Arena Champion, cluster caltrops (73 points)
I'll have a total of 9 at this point, but I'm not entirely sure how to equip and deploy them- specifically, if it's worth including a grav-talon, if it's worth giving the Arena Champion a special melee weapon, if it's worth running heat lances...I'd be inclined to split them up into a purely CC squad and a less focused one that included a couple of heat lances, but due to the way their equipment is doled out based on blocks of three, that would mean a 6/3 split, which might help out the opposing player a bit too much with target selection. A 5/4 split would lock out a special weapon and a melee upgrade, and I'm inclined to take all the cluster caltrops I can get.

This comes to a total of 620, leaving me plenty of room to expand.
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