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 Dark Angels 7th Edition Counter Tactics

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Ultra Magnus
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PostSubject: Dark Angels 7th Edition Counter Tactics   Sun Jun 28 2015, 22:26

As both a Dark Angels player and Dark Eldar player, I thought I might offer up a quick overview and perspective on the new DA Codex and get some discussion going on possible counter tactics.

The new codex will bring many a Dark Angels army off the display shelf and on to gaming tables as it finally given them a few playable combinations through some points reductions, new rules, and the long awaited redesign of their much maligned flyers and unique speeders. These benefits do not come without some serious drawbacks however as the DA received the Dark Eldar "blandening" treatment  and lost much of the unique war gear and flavor that they had in previous editions. These changes, along with some GW intentional and unintentional design quirks have left the DA playable but arguably still weaker than the Codex Space Marines from a Dark Eldar perspective.

There are essentially three flavors of DA lists you will see (individually or in combination) and need to be prepared for:

"Greenwing"

This once mythical branch of the Dark Angels will now see the table thanks to GW pushing their new Necron style formations on the space marines which the DA inherit in the new codex. Near identical in structure to the vanilla marines, the new DA get an upgraded Chapter Tactic "Grim Resolve" which boosts their overwatch shooting to BS2 and potentially up to full BS with formation benefits. At higher point levels the base Demi Company formation can be doubled up, giving them the added benefit of free transport vehicles and a strong ability to spam large volumes of MSU and light armor.

Overall this makes them tough to grind down, especially in larger objective games. That said there are some drawbacks we can take advantage of. The new formation structure makes it very difficult for them to bring in armor (besides transports) or flyers, or even some of their heavier infantry units (Terminators) due to locking them behind rigid or expensive formations of their own. This means you are basically facing a list of various versions of stock tactical marines without access to heavier units, effective anti-air or some of the special units available to their vanilla cousins. Also if they have gone "grav happy" then you will be looking at fewer flamers, less ignores cover, and special weapons that are less effective against our black leather jacket wearing troops.

Suggested counter tactics to this type of list is include making expanded use of our flyers and, at less than full battle company point levels, more disintegrators, and oddly enough assault. While they do get improved overwatch, the damage output of MSU marine squads is not horrifying and the Dark Angels are essentially worse in assault. Using our superior mobility, we can potentially gang up on their 5 man tactical squads and if fortunate use them as a form of shielding to hide out from their shooting while our assault troops get tougher with every passing turn. Also with the possible exception of their warlord, you are very unlikely to see any +2 armor so slap on that Agonizer or Husk Blade and go nuts. Net net, some good, some bad but overall not much different than typical space marines.

"Deathwing"
The all-terminators version of the Dark Angels has been a staple (if not necessarily competitive) build of the Dark Angels forever but is one that you will not be seeing much of baring a FAQ. The Deathwing are now locked in to formations that are RAW technically auto-lose to field and require your opponent to take a few garbage units to make work. Otherwise they suffer from the same challenges they always have had (expensive & inflexible) and have actually been made worse this edition with the potential loss of FNP and +1 Attack AOE banners that they had access to last edition. They also are essentially incapable of fielding land raiders, again due to their formation restrictions and lost the ability to Deep Strike Turn 1 so overall you are looking at a very immobile points heavy force that can't get into combat until Turn 3 at the earliest. At worst expect to see 2 5 man units as an add on to a Ravenwing force with Dissies, mobility, and volume of fire recommended for their removal.

"Ravenwing"
The biker army version of the DA is what you will be facing the majority of the time, due to its popularity, effectiveness, and the problems with fielding the other possible list combinations. The Ravenwing are boosted this edition with re-worked flyers, buffed speeders, and some new formation benefits that make for potentially devastating overwatch or charges. They have also been given a new special rule that allows for re-rollable jinx saves, which, when combined with their Dark Shroud speeder, gives them the potential of a 2 or 3+ re-rollable jinx save. Overall you are essentially looking at something close to a "mirror match" army; fast, cover dependent, MSU units with some hard hitting skimmers and flyers.

The new and improved Ravenwing come with some inherent drawbacks and losses however. 7th edition removed some major war gear from the Dark Angels (sound familiar?) including some that were staples to Ravenwing lists such as the Power Field Generator (+4 invulnerable save for the unit), The Standard of Devastation (4X bolter shots at 24" range) or the Standard of Fortitude (12" FNP bubble) making them less sturdy, less killy, and less able to maintain range and kite overall.

With the removal of these items, the Ravenwing are now essentially dependent on the new jinx save for their survival. A great ability for sure but one that is not without trade offs. First off, it is very easy to strip them of their offensive output by forcing jinx saves, with dark lances, blasters, disintegrators, etc. As a shooty army this is particularly painful, especially with their low volume of fire. The MSU nature of our heavy weapons allows us to potentially neuter a good portion of their shooting each round or start stripping bikers if they decided to sit and take it. Also if the unit jinxes, it explicitly doesn't receive the benefit to enhanced overwatch provided by "Grim Resolve" allowing you to potentially set up some mismatch assaults where, with the exception of their Black Knight units, they are pretty pathetic in assault.

Their heavy support options are also going to come on AV 10 (11 for flyers) which themselves are as fragile as our own vehicles, susceptible to jinx, and might come in a support squadron formation that allows a single forced jinx save to easily tie up 2-300 points of shooting a turn.

All of our typical lists should play well against the Ravenwing as we will benefit from the lack of heavy armor, poison ignoring their increased toughness (T5 bikers), and the ability of our kabalite raider squads to continue to fire through jinxing while they cannot.

The last point I will close out on with regard to the Ravenwing is that, due to formation restrictions which desperately need a FAQ, The Ravenwing formation can only be taken with their named HQ and no other HQ units and has an inability to field flyers due to forcing their entire formation into reserve (and auto losing first turn) so use those to your advantage until GW sorts it all out.

Hope this post helped a bit and look forward to some good discussion on the topic.
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Jimsolo
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Angels 7th Edition Counter Tactics   Mon Jun 29 2015, 02:46

Dark Angels tend to be very bike or terminator heavy, with less reliance on vehicles. Although their flyers give me pause, I think Freakshow lists will be in a good position against them. "Greenwing" perhaps presenting the greatest difficulty.
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JackKnife01
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Angels 7th Edition Counter Tactics   Mon Jun 29 2015, 07:37

Dark Lances and Diss cannons will aid in that quest. I used pure anti infantry flyer and it did well honestly. I think it will come in handy.
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Skulnbonz
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Angels 7th Edition Counter Tactics   Mon Jun 29 2015, 13:11

So, I wonder if Space Marine, Eldar and Dark Angel forums have tacticas up on how to beat Dark Eldar?
Somehow, I am not thinking they take us as a threat...

Sad state of affairs.

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JackKnife01
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Angels 7th Edition Counter Tactics   Mon Jun 29 2015, 13:13

Maybe one or two might but doubtful. Mostly have ways of performing a strong alpha strike.
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CptMetal
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Angels 7th Edition Counter Tactics   Mon Jun 29 2015, 13:16

We are going to crush them, regardless of being seen as a thread or not. This is the dark city! Not a bunch of whining kids! We are the true kin!
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FuelDrop
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Angels 7th Edition Counter Tactics   Mon Jun 29 2015, 13:17

@Skulnbonz wrote:
So, I wonder if Space Marine, Eldar and Dark Angel forums have tacticas up on how to beat Dark Eldar?
Somehow, I am not thinking they take us as a threat...

Sad state of affairs.

They overlook us, and we can take advantage of their ignorance.
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JackKnife01
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Angels 7th Edition Counter Tactics   Mon Jun 29 2015, 13:22

Unless it is Lysander, a dark Lance still kills one of their HQs. Not to mention any of their normal marines. I did have a new ce bit of happiness when Trueborn- killed a blood angels chappy with fnp and a 2+
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FuelDrop
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Angels 7th Edition Counter Tactics   Mon Jun 29 2015, 13:33

I remember a Necron Lord. He decided that my Archon and his Wych escort would be no match for his arcane wargear and his Lychguard. The duel began, only for him to fail to so much as touch my Archon and his Lychguard likewise failed to harm the Wyches, who took a casualty of their own. The Lord and his entourage decided to beat a hasty retreat, only to realize too late that Wyches excel at one thing alone: running down those foolish enough to flee.

A 'Cron lord kitted out with (according to the player) near 300 points worth of gear, armed specifically for killing heroes. Elite bodyguard unit, call it another 150 points. Curb. Stomped. By Wyches.

The look on the player's face was priceless.
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JackKnife01
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Angels 7th Edition Counter Tactics   Mon Jun 29 2015, 13:36

Dark Angels Sammeul has eternal warrior. Their cover saves will be a pain. Expect to see raven wing
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Ultra Magnus
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Angels 7th Edition Counter Tactics   Mon Jun 29 2015, 19:28

@Skulnbonz wrote:
So, I wonder if Space Marine, Eldar and Dark Angel forums have tacticas up on how to beat Dark Eldar?
Somehow, I am not thinking they take us as a threat...

Sad state of affairs.

I think this has less to do with our competitive strength (or lack thereof) and more to do with the smaller Dark Eldar player base. I don't think DE is just that prevalent in most people's gaming groups. It's like Sisters of Battle; there are some die hard SoB players out there but you could go your entire 40K "career" and never see one.
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sweetbacon
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Angels 7th Edition Counter Tactics   Mon Jun 29 2015, 19:54

@Ultra Magnus wrote:
@Skulnbonz wrote:
So, I wonder if Space Marine, Eldar and Dark Angel forums have tacticas up on how to beat Dark Eldar?
Somehow, I am not thinking they take us as a threat...

Sad state of affairs.

I think this has less to do with our competitive strength (or lack thereof) and more to do with the smaller Dark Eldar player base. I don't think DE is just that prevalent in most people's gaming groups. It's like Sisters of Battle; there are some die hard SoB players out there but you could go your entire 40K "career" and never see one.

I agree. Most people's only exposure to DE, unless they actually play them or play against them regularly, is the Beast Pack from last edition and/or as taxi drivers for Craftworld Eldar in this edition, particularly at the tournament level.
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JackKnife01
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Angels 7th Edition Counter Tactics   Mon Jun 29 2015, 20:00

I know I catch a few off guard with it and they generally don't know what I am using.
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FuelDrop
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Angels 7th Edition Counter Tactics   Tue Jun 30 2015, 00:50

It's generally hilarious when something that looks scary but is actually useless (EG Wyches) acts as a fire magnet because no-one knows any better.
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