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40kScribe
Hellion
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PostSubject: Dark Artisan Formation   Fri Feb 19 2016, 07:47

There's nothing I love more in 40k than the Dark Artisan Formation. So I'd like to know if you've been using it, and if so:

- What are your tactics or even overall game strategies for it?
- How have you been kitting out the unit?
- Do you normally deploy them on the field or usually deep strike via WWP?
- Also: are you for or against the idea that the Haemonculus can have two Diabolical Playthings? This seems to be a blurry point in the supplement.

Personally I think that it's acceptable to have two Diabolical Playthings, but if my opponent thinks it's broken or OP, I make an effort to be easy-going about everything.

Here's what I've been doing with mine:
- Haemonculus: Webway Portal, the Panacea Perverted, the Nightmare Doll and make him my Warlord
- Cronos: Spirit Probe
- Talos: Stock

It creates a pretty expensive unit, but since the rest of my army is balanced, I don't mind having one expensive tough-nut unit that's just fun to play around with (and feels very narrative). Plus I've never lost the Haemonculus when he's the Warlord, even if I'm throwing him right at the opponent's lines. Keep in mind that it's come close, but the key has been not to get too reckless

Basically my game strategy is to run my army as usual, but to keep the Haemonculus and friends in reserve until the dice decide that they can show up, at which point I usually put them right up in my opponents' face. My philosophy is that if I'm confident they can take on a unit (or group of units), then either they get assaulted, or I'll assault the opposing forces in the following turn. Either way the assault happens..


They can be used to tarpit elite units, Warlord-hunters, distractions or influence my opponents movements, for example to stay away from an objective or what have you. Lately I've been thinking of fielding multiple Dark Artisan Formations but haven't done so as I feel that having just one gives my army more character
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Count Adhemar
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Artisan Formation   Fri Feb 19 2016, 09:09

I've used the DA on several occasions and whilst I've never been that impressed with their offensive ability, they are an absolute beast to kill. They soak up enemy weapon fire like a sponge. As long as you give them a decent cover save to help out against heavier weapons that bypass their armour they will almost always either survive to get into combat or take an inordinate amount of firepower away from destroying your more fragile units.

As to the Diabolical Playthings, I'm really not sure what the argument even is against a character taking more than one. The only restriction is that there is only one of each per army.

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Squidmaster
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Artisan Formation   Fri Feb 19 2016, 09:43

The speaks true on Diabolical Playthings.

My favoured use of a Dark Artisan is to field them in the centre of the army, and to run them directly towards the enemy.
They are a great unit for hacking at things, but personally I think they are a lot better as a bullet sponge. They can soak a LOT of damage and STILL get into the enemy for a good bit of hacking.
I usually take them vanilla, giving the Chronos a Spirit Probe for the FnP boost, and MAYBE giving the Haemonculus a weapon of some kind.
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MHaruspex
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Artisan Formation   Fri Feb 19 2016, 09:48

The configuration I've used has been:
Haemonculus + WWP: 105
Talos + Ichor Injector + Heat Lance: 135
Cronos + Spirit Probe: 125

Sometimes I throw in a Scissorhand, Nightmare Doll, or both for the Haemonculus, points permitting.

I've used them a total of three times:

First time against a Daemonkin player. They showed up, popped a Skull Cannon by hitting it in the rear with the Heat Lance, then charged into a nearby ongoing combat the next turn. They subsequently all got chopped up by an Axe of Khorne.

Second time against a Guard/Marines player. They deepstruck onto an objective I needed for Maelstrom and toasted the Guard squad on it, then got charged by a Dreadnought and struggled to kill it over the rest of the game.

Third time against a Tau player. This time they actually did well, forcing a Hammerhead to jink on the turn they came in and then smashing through about half the Tau lines without taking a single casualty.

They're fun but based on the experiences I've had with them I'm not sure I'd say they belong in a TAC list. I do run an assault heavy list to capitalize on the Cronos too - Grotesquerie and Reavers are a common sight - but still haven't had amazing results with them. I think I'll stick to Medusae and occasionally Blasterborn as my deepstriking units of choice. What I like to do with a Haemonculus warlord is keep him in one Grotesquerie Raider while the second packs a Succubus and sometimes allied Farseer - which sometimes incentivizes the opponent to go for the Slay the Warlord point and pop his Raider first even if the other is the immediate threat.
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Count Adhemar
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Artisan Formation   Fri Feb 19 2016, 10:39

MHaruspex wrote:
then got charged by a Dreadnought and struggled to kill it over the rest of the game

This is worth picking up on. They really struggle against Walkers in combat. The Talos is the heavy hitter but he's still only S7 so will usually need 5 or even 6 to penetrate a Walker (something which has a very different meaning if you like a certain popular zombie TV show). The Cronos will usually need to Smash for a single S10 attack each turn. In response, most Walkers are going to be wounding on a 2+ and ignoring your armour. Avoid Walkers!

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Imateria
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Artisan Formation   Fri Feb 19 2016, 14:00

Count Adhemar wrote:
MHaruspex wrote:
then got charged by a Dreadnought and struggled to kill it over the rest of the game

This is worth picking up on. They really struggle against Walkers in combat. The Talos is the heavy hitter but he's still only S7 so will usually need 5 or even 6 to penetrate a Walker (something which has a very different meaning if you like a certain popular zombie TV show). The Cronos will usually need to Smash for a single S10 attack each turn. In response, most Walkers are going to be wounding on a 2+ and ignoring your armour. Avoid Walkers!
I think that goes for most MC's against Dreadnauts in general.

I like to run mine with a Spirit Probe on the Cronos, WWP and Sissor Hands on the Haemonculus and Chain Flails on the Talos. It'll never make it's points back but is an a amazing distraction unit, soaking up fire and offering up a threat to anything it can get in combat with.
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Count Adhemar
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Artisan Formation   Fri Feb 19 2016, 14:04

I've made my points back a couple of times by piling the DA into a big Necron unit (with attached IC), winning the combat by 1 or 2 due to their difficulty in wounding me, and then sweeping them with the added bonus from Freakish Spectacle.

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Imateria
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Artisan Formation   Fri Feb 19 2016, 23:57

Count Adhemar wrote:
I've made my points back a couple of times by piling the DA into a big Necron unit (with attached IC), winning the combat by 1 or 2 due to their difficulty in wounding me, and then sweeping them with the added bonus from Freakish Spectacle.
I played against my regular Necron opponent yesterday and had the same idea. Unfortunately he got wise and took the relics that let him move the unit across the board via deepstrike and brought in Deathmarks. In a stroke my main targets were across the board leaving me with the Deathmarks and a squad of Warriors to play with. Mind you that says how much people fear the Dark Artisan formation when they taylor lists around it.

On the upside I ran Drazhar who killed the Nightbringer, and got stuck in to the Lord and Lichguard squad that ran from the DA, killing the CC character (Oberyn?) and whitling down the Lord by the end of the game (whilst passing over a dozen 5+ FNP saves).
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Colej
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Artisan Formation   Sat Feb 20 2016, 03:35

Interesting stuff do you tend to run this hammer of a formation alongside fragile venomspam? or do you take more coven stuff alongside it typically?
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Imateria
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Artisan Formation   Sat Feb 20 2016, 14:19

Venoms, so far the DA is the only Coven units I own, though I'll be building up the Grotesquerie, Scalpel Squadron and Corpsthiefe Claw formations in time as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Artisan Formation   Tue Feb 23 2016, 23:03

It's a good psychological unit, and can sometimes make back it's points. It's tough as nails either way, and short of D weapons, will invariably eat a lot of fire. I would field mine almost exactly as @Imateria suggests, though I think the Ichor Injector is arguably a better choice than the Chain Flails.

Imateria wrote:
Venoms, so far the DA is the only Coven units I own, though I'll be building up the Grotesquerie, Scalpel Squadron and Corpsthiefe Claw formations in time as well.

Good choices, all of them.

As for synergy WITH the Dark Artisan (Cause you know you're going to pair fun stuff with other fun stuff!)

Personally, I think the Scalpel Squadron and the Dark Artisan with complementary Webway Portal are really good together when playing for a Null Deployment list. The list really needs something like an Autarch or Comms Relay to be reliable though.

Alternatively, Dark Artisans and Grotequeries tag team just about anything in the game. The Grots fly forwards into cover at full speed, and then the next turn the Dark Artisan plops down and gives them a boosted 4+ FNP. By turn 3, PFP is really starting to kick in for both formations, and if you have most of your Grots and both pain engines still alive, things start getting very fun for you.

The Corpsethief Claw already costs you your soul to field, so you probably don't want a Dark Artisan, which is another 350-400 point investment, in reserves. The flip side is that with some minor magnet work, you can use both the Cronos and Talos as part of your CTC, saving you from having to buy and assemble a further two Taloi.

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BlackCadian
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Artisan Formation   Wed Feb 24 2016, 15:36

While I do like the formation I'm surprised grav weapons haven't been mentioned. Grav cuts through our MCs like a hot knife through butter, FNP or not.

That, and it's too slow after DSing.

I used to prefer it over the Grotesquerie, but have since changed my mind.

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PostSubject: Re: Dark Artisan Formation   Wed Feb 24 2016, 16:53

BlackCadian wrote:
While I do like the formation I'm surprised grav weapons haven't been mentioned. Grav cuts through our MCs like a hot knife through butter, FNP or not.

That, and it's too slow after DSing.

I used to prefer it over the Grotesquerie, but have since changed my mind.

A Dark Artisan is not a Bloodthirster. It's not going to rampage across the table in any case.
The key is to have it deepstrike in range of one thing you want it to kill. After that is done, it's best used as a distraction.
If the unit is shot by grav Devastors or Centurions before it gets into close combat, you'll have to prevent those from shooting before you move the Dark Artisan into position. Assaulting them with Reavers is a good option. Or even Wyches could do it. Grav wounds them on 6's.
The same actually goes for the unit's Haemonculus. You could put him in front of the engines in this case, especially if he has a Nightmare Doll. Wink

Also, the choice of ranged weapons, depending on the chosen target, can make a big difference. You may not be able to assault on the turn it arrives, but you can potentially fire 3 flamer templates, 3 small explosive weapons, 7 splinter shots or a twin-linked Heat Lance in the meantime. You might not even need to assault after that.
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Artisan Formation   Wed Feb 24 2016, 20:55

Rokuro wrote:
You might not even need to assault after that.

But if you kill your target before assaulting, you waste all the fun! I know strategicly speaking, killing a unit during shooting phase is the best because you prevent overwatch, but it's just... wrong...
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Artisan Formation   Thu Feb 25 2016, 07:28

Rokuro wrote:
BlackCadian wrote:
While I do like the formation I'm surprised grav weapons haven't been mentioned. Grav cuts through our MCs like a hot knife through butter, FNP or not.

That, and it's too slow after DSing.

I used to prefer it over the Grotesquerie, but have since changed my mind.

A Dark Artisan is not a Bloodthirster. It's not going to rampage across the table in any case.
The key is to have it deepstrike in range of one thing you want it to kill. After that is done, it's best used as a distraction.
If the unit is shot by grav Devastors or Centurions before it gets into close combat, you'll have to prevent those from shooting before you move the Dark Artisan into position. Assaulting them with Reavers is a good option. Or even Wyches could do it. Grav wounds them on 6's.
The same actually goes for the unit's Haemonculus. You could put him in front of the engines in this case, especially if he has a Nightmare Doll. Wink

Also, the choice of ranged weapons, depending on the chosen target, can make a big difference. You may not be able to assault on the turn it arrives, but you can potentially fire 3 flamer templates, 3 small explosive weapons, 7 splinter shots or a twin-linked Heat Lance in the meantime. You might not even need to assault after that.

I like the 'assault with reavers' idea! I plan on bringing more min sized squads of those in the future anyway.

If I do bring the DA I usually stick heat lances on the Talos, but a single shot is very hit or miss, in terms of doing a lot of damage I mean.

By the way the 'putting the Haemonculus in front vs grav won't work as the consensus has been that just like wounding units with different toughness values you should wound vs the majority armor save which would be 3+ unfortunately.

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PostSubject: Re: Dark Artisan Formation   Thu Feb 25 2016, 09:00

BlackCadian wrote:
By the way the 'putting the Haemonculus in front vs grav won't work as the consensus has been that just like wounding units with different toughness values you should wound vs the majority armor save which would be 3+ unfortunately.

I didn't know Grav works that way... The rule book entry says nothing about mixed armor targets though. study
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Artisan Formation   Thu Feb 25 2016, 14:24

The most reasonable way to do it does seem to be using the majority. Alas.
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Artisan Formation   Thu Feb 25 2016, 16:43

Well if one dies then it's 50/50 so I would say you pick at that point.

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PostSubject: Re: Dark Artisan Formation   Fri Feb 26 2016, 23:27

Jimsolo wrote:
The most reasonable way to do it does seem to be using the majority. Alas.

Grav weapons don't work on the usual basis of Strength vs. Toughness though. And the rule book says nothing about majority Toughness against weapons that simply wound on a certain roll.

From a "realistic" point of view, the Haemonculus is not going to become heavier just from standing next to a Talos.
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Artisan Formation   Sat Feb 27 2016, 01:35

From a realistic point of view, he doesn't get tougher just from standing next to a talos either.... It's just the game mechanics.
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Artisan Formation   Tue Mar 01 2016, 10:42

In my last game I used DA to great extent. It was pricey tough; around 450!!!!
The game was 1500 pts.

The configuration I've used:
Haemonculus + WWP+Agoniser+Vexator mask+liquifier+SStump
Talos + Ichor Injector
Cronos + Spirit Probe

I played vs the Tyrannids, on my second turn deepstruck on their flank and started grinding to the middle (by the end of turn four it killed around 540 pts including tyranid prime). All the while not taking a single wound. It tanked quite a bit, however my opponent focused on my 2 units of reaver jet bikes taking off heat from DA (one unit survived till the end). They all harassed the same flank.

Opponent conceded at the end of turn 4.

I think that in my gaming community people have not yet learned to fear DA.. but soon they prolly will. Twisted Evil
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Artisan Formation   Fri Feb 24 2017, 20:35

Anyone have success footslogging their Dark Artisan?
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Artisan Formation   Sat Feb 25 2017, 00:10

Most of the time I footslogged them they got shot down (but It took a lot of fire away from my boats, so thats nice).

I had more success with wwp, however you need to carefully choose where you drop because the unit is easy to kite. Heat lance and templates are a trap: to place the 300+ pts unit shouldnt be biased by crappy flamers or a single heat lance shot!

I think DA is a good example of a well designed formation: fluffy, fun to play, strong enough to be used but in no way mandatory.
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Artisan Formation   Sat Feb 25 2017, 00:58

As a DA enthusiast, here is my $0.02

- Try to keep it cheap. Get the Spirit Probe and a WWP, all else is kinda a waste. As others have pointed out, the DA isnt supposed to be killy, its tough.

-Grav wounds on majority save (SM FAQ)

- Dont pair it with a Grotesquery. Both formations take up a LARGE chunk of your army, and if you are running DE (and not ynnari) you will need a bunch of ObSec venom gunboats. The more toys you put on it, the less venoms you get. The DA is about as killy as it can get stock. If you want a killy formation, get the Grotesquery. If you want a tough formation you go for the DA

-Always get the WWP, even if you dont use it. It FORCES your opponent to deploy castled up (which benefits our template Razorwing and Medusae units). 35 pts is more than worth the ability to control your opponents deployment. If they dont castle up, the DA will just rampage through their backfield unchecked.

The only time I played it deployed on the table was against a Khorn footslogging list (before the Legions release). It wasnt a fun game, he conceded after turn 3.
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PostSubject: Re: Dark Artisan Formation   Sat Feb 25 2017, 01:28

Count Adhemar wrote:
As to the Diabolical Playthings, I'm really not sure what the argument even is against a character taking more than one. The only restriction is that there is only one of each per army.

The most compelling argument I can think of on why you could only take 1 per character is this:

The covens supplement says that a character that could take items from the artefacts of cruelty list may instead choose from the diabolical playthings list.

The artefacts of cruelty list is, itself, limited to only 1 per character, leading to the question of whether or not that limiter follows the character who is instead choosing from the diabolical playthings list.

Furthermore, if you look at it as a "check", each time you go to purchase an item from the diabolical playthings list, it would fail after purchasing 1 due to how the permission to purchase them at all is given. Here is a simple flowchart to illustrate that argument:

I want to buy an item from diabolical playthings list. May I do so?
Are you able to purchase an item from the artefacts of cruelty list? If so, you can take a diabolical plaything instead, yes. (Then you purchase one.)
I want to buy another item from the diabolical playthings list. May I do so?
Are you able to purchase an item from the artefacts of cruelty list? No, because you've already chosen to purchase an item from diabolic playthings instead.

So because you no longer qualify to take an artefact of cruelty after purchasing a diabolical plaything, and qualifying to take an artefact of cruelty is the prerequisite to take a diabolic plaything, that limits diabolical playthings to 1.

Is it a bulletproof argument? I'd say fairly close, but because of the complexity involved in coming to that conclusion, it's also not easy to explain to people in person without losing them. Or online for that matter, haha.

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