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 Hashmal Takes on the Universe: A Compendium for the Aspiring Archon to Destroy Every Army in the Game

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Hashmal
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PostSubject: Hashmal Takes on the Universe: A Compendium for the Aspiring Archon to Destroy Every Army in the Game   Tue Jun 07 2011, 05:38

Whether you’re a new player or a seasoned veteran, it’s daunting to go up against an army you’ve either never played or played that one time when you and your mates were a bit hammered and there was this cute girl in the room, so you weren’t paying attention and she had on the nicest top…

Wait, that never happens. As long as we’re talking about imaginary things, let’s put a dragon in the room too. Give him a Welsh accent.

Still, facing up against an army that you’ve heard only whispers of on the internet or never even seen is a challenge. What to do? What do different things do? What’s a threat to your army, specifically?

What follows herein is a detailed exploration of the strengths and weaknesses of every army in the game, as it relates to a Dark Eldar general. I aim to provide the information I’ve gained from playing far too many games of toy soldiers and critically reading far too many books about toy soldiers. I did the work so you don’t have to.

Posts will be laid out as follows:

Who Dat: Brief synopsis of the army and its play style. Sarcasm will be heavy here. Humor optional. Pants banned.
The Good: Quick overview of what the army’s good at.
The Bad: Quick overview of what you’re going to exploit.
Power Builds: If they have any, “internet lists” and other powerful army builds will be here, to be discussed later.
Down and Dirty: All force organization slots in the book will be discussed. I will review all HQ, Troops, Elites, Fast Attack, and Heavy Support selections in a given codex, providing the information that’s useful to a Dark Eldar general.
Break Their Toys: A summary of how the army comes together and how you can take it apart.
I Can Play Too: A discussion of power builds*, what makes them good, and how to beat them.

*note: I have a weird barometer when it comes to power builds. I don’t consider most of them overtly powerful and I definitely don’t care if a list came from the internet or someone’s fever-induced imagination. Here I rely on you, internet thrall that you are, to inform me in subsequent posts.

The Armies

Black Templars
Blood Angels
Chaos Daemons
Chaos Space Marines
Dark Angels
Dark Eldar
Eldar
Grey Knights
Imperial Guard
Necrons
Orks
Sisters of Battle
Space Marines
Space Wolves
Tau
Tyranids

I will eventually update every single army, but not necessarily in the order listed. Rather, it’ll be in the order of whatever book I have open at the time and whoever I feel like writing about at the time.

Why listen to me? Frankly, you do or you don’t. My ego is unfazed if you don’t and flattered if you do. I’ve played Dark Eldar since the year 2000, when I got introduced to 40k in general. They were my second game; my first was Eldar vs. Necrons, back when Necrons were actually not terrible. My first Dark Eldar game was versus a Chapter Approved tank company, which I almost won thanks to criminally cheap Dark Lance spam. I mech’d up my fleet when it wasn’t cool to do so (read: end of 3rd edition). I’ve dabbled in a few other armies since starting the pointy-eared pirates, but none have capitalized on the way I like to play: fast, surgical, and mean. I play Dark Eldar because, frankly, no other army in the game plays like they do – a point further reinforced with our shiny new codex. I’ve played against every single army in the game, some more than others (I lived with a Guard player for 3 years – talk about pain). While my involvement in 40k has diminished over the last year, owing to my gaming group moving to Warmachine/Hordes in a big way, I keep my tactical acumen sharp and my understanding of the game fresh.

I’m undefeated with Dark Eldar thus far, but such things don’t matter. In a game of dice, a fool can be undefeated. Hence, if you bandy your W/L/D record at me as a sole defense of an argument, I’m much less likely to take you seriously.

Common terms I use, so you will not be confused. Common understanding of the definitions of words is key to communication.
AT: Anti Tank
AI: Anti Infantry
Spam: The repeated inclusion of identical units.
Blocking: The art of using cheap, skimmer vehicles to sit in front of ground-based units or vehicles, milking the fact that models cannot move within 1” during their Movement to alter the trajectory of units and vehicles. Most notable use: park an empty Venom in front of a Land Raider and watch Mr. Clunky try to move around you. 250 points of busted mobility.
Duality: Multiple roles found within a unit – usually something you build around. Can also be expanded to a Force Organization slot instead of unit, but I note that as it occurs.
Venom Spam: A list that maximizes the use of Venoms as primary AI, with embarked Warrior squads armed with Blaster/Blast Pistol (optional) as primary AT.
Raider Spam: A list that maximizes Raiders as AT. Embarked troops are situational and will be noted (for instance, Raider Spam Warriors means that my Troops are mostly or all Warriors).
WWP: Webway Portal
DL: Dark Lance
ML: Missile Launcher. I spell out multilasers for this reason.
SC: Splinter Cannon
AC: Autocannon. I spell out Assault Cannon for this reason.
CC: Close Combat
MC: Monstrous Creature
HWG/DS: Haywire Grenade Delivery System. See also: Wyches.
Blasterborn: 3-4 Trueborn armed with Blasters.
Talos Bomb: 3 Taloseseses (Taloi?) in a WWP.
Cronos Bomb: See above, replace Taloseseseses with Cronoseseses (Cronoi?)
Warriros: My most common typo. As an acknowledgement of my inability to spell Warriors correctly, I sometimes also refer to them as Warri-os, a delicious addition to any list and part of a well-balanced army.

Patience is required; each one of these posts takes me about three hours to write, and I'm hardly made of time.

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PostSubject: Re: Hashmal Takes on the Universe: A Compendium for the Aspiring Archon to Destroy Every Army in the Game   Tue Jun 07 2011, 05:38

Reserved: Black Templar

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PostSubject: Re: Hashmal Takes on the Universe: A Compendium for the Aspiring Archon to Destroy Every Army in the Game   Tue Jun 07 2011, 05:38

Reserved: Blood Angels

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PostSubject: Re: Hashmal Takes on the Universe: A Compendium for the Aspiring Archon to Destroy Every Army in the Game   Tue Jun 07 2011, 05:38

Chaos Daemons

Who Dat: Daemons are an interesting army that, much like Dark Eldar, play unlike any other force in the game. Perhaps that’s why they’re my other 40k army, or perhaps I just like being different. Their unique style of play and disregard for many standard rules of 40k (Deployment, Armor Saves, Fearless, Instant Death) leave inexperienced players scratching their heads and crying foul when they get steamrolled by an army that doesn’t play like a 40k army. Fret not, young thrall; Daemons have serious weaknesses that can be exploited.

Frankly, though I love them, Daemons are not an extremely powerful army and often rely on opponent inexperience to secure frightening wins. Dark Eldar are more than equipped to rapidly show them the door.

The Good: Daemons thrive on assault and are scary good at it. Pound for pound, no army in the game matches the pure face-munching potential of a coordinated Daemon assault.
Though their shooting is minimal, what they have is excellent versus Dark Eldar in terms of destruction. Your standard Bolt of Tzeentch is S8 AP1, making a mockery of our Raiders and destroying them on 66% of all Penetrating results – and that assumes they don’t Immobilize you when you’re going Flat Out. In addition, their firing platforms are either accurate with BS5 (MCs), flood you with volume of fire (Horrors), or are Soul Grinders (laugh track).

Daemons are not a very synergistic army, so each unit is threatening. They lack for duality a bit, but make up for it in being a true horror at what they’re supposed to do. Anyone who’s ever seen a squad of Bloodcrushers charge… well, anything really… can attest to this. Even singular squads of Daemons must be taken seriously.

This all glosses over their strengths. Army-wide special rules include: Fearless, Invulnerable Saves, and Eternal Warrior. That’s right: everything always has a save, all the time, won’t take Morale Tests or run away, and can’t be IDed by anything outside of a Grey Knight list. Pack up your Huskblade; it’s a 35 point piece of jewelry against these guys. Also, these guys all Deep Strike into battle, but I don’t actually consider that a strength if the opponent is even remotely prepared for it – more on this later.

Did I mention a high portion of this army also packs ways to ignore Armor Saves? That it’s possible to field an entirely T5+ army? (I did for ‘ard Boyz last year and it was glorious) That you can field armies that frequently either move 12” or assault 12”? There’s a reason they clean house against people not ready for them.

As a side note, Blood Angels HATE fighting Daemons. Daemons are custom-tailored to murder the Marine statline, and Blood Angels like playing in assault – exactly where you don’t want to meet a Daemon.

One thing you'll notice throughout this tactical article is that my primary way for dealing with the brunt of Daemon armies is Splinter fire. There's a reason: it works very well, since everything has an Invuln save and likely a high Toughness. Wound flooding is one of the best answers to Daemon armies, or any army with high T, moderate Wound creatures (Tyranids hate it too, kids!) I may sound like a broken record at times, but try it and you'll see.

The Bad: Daemons have a few weaknesses – fewer than their strengths, to be honest. However, what they suffer from is absolutely crippling, especially versus the canny Dark Eldar thrall who’s looking to make a name for himself.

First, Daemons rely almost entirely on CC for their AT. This would matter less if they were a swarm or horde-based army, like Tyranids and Orks. They are not; they’re very much like Eldar in their specialization and cost. Fast-moving armies can kite their slower elements and shoot down their faster elements. Dark Eldar players get an additional AT middle finger to Daemons: their most effective ranged AT, the Bolt, is shortened to an 18” range versus Night Shields. This can seriously inhibit a Daemon player’s ability to be where they want when they sink one of your pleasure boats. If Daemons are hot and heavy in your local scene, I highly recommend Night Shields.

Second, Daemon players can’t plan. A Daemon plan is entirely reactionary: gauging your army and figuring out what to do when things go their way and what to do when things don’t. Though the entire army Deep Strikes, only half of it (we’ll pretend it’s half, for argument’s sake; there are ways to game this) arrives first turn – and it may not be the half the Daemon player wants. Further, Deep Strike is a blessing and a curse. Daemons cannot do anything to help the first-turn Deep Strike be more accurate. They have to position as best as they can, grab something sacred, and pray. A canny Daemon player will be able to position so as to minimize Mishaps, but they do happen.

Third, that lack of synergy I mentioned above is a blessing and a curse. The curse comes in when the Daemons are not lined up against their ideal targets. Bloodcrushers are scary as all get-out, but tend to bounce off of Land Raiders, Dreadnoughts, and C’Tan. Slaaneshi units are fast and brutal against a ton of targets, but get pounded by return fire owing to low T and saves. While Daemon units tend to be really good at one thing, they also tend to be really bad at all other things. The notable exception to this is found in Daemon MCs, who can be built or taken as true generalists, above average in nearly everything. They’re also above average in cost.

Finally, unlike other CC armies out there, Daemons lack resiliency, either through numbers (Orks, Tyranids) or special rules (Blood Angels). Their numbers are too few and when matched against things that can kick their teeth in, well… teeth get kicked. Taking out a Daemon player as a Webway thrall is little more than identifying what threatens you the most and lining up the appropriate counter. Counter them long enough, and the Daemon player falls.

Last note, when given the option, always go second versus a Daemon player. Daemons rely on second turn for two reasons: last turn grab for objectives (which is often determined by them having the final say in assault moves) and avoiding one entire Shooting Phase (facing a maximum of 4+ as opposed to 5+). If you’re forced to go first, get moving Flat Out and start making some saves – just stick together.

Power Builds: Fatecrusher, Cavalry Spam (I call it Ponycrusher, but there aren’t actually any Bloodcrushers in it).

Down and Dirty: Let’s get to business.

HQ

Ku’gath the Plaguefather

Hashmal’s Ranking: 3 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Ku’gath is the character Great Unclean One. The main reason to take a GUO is his overly low cost for a pretty decent, if slow, MC. Ku’gath is as good as a tooled out GUO, with a few nifty tricks, and is almost double the cost, thereby eliminating the main reason to take him. He’s easy to isolate and deal with and costs a boatload of points. Even in Epidemius lists (all Nurgle lists, for those of you who don’t speak Daemon), he’s laughed at. The only reason you might see him is someone’s taking a sweet GUO model and wants to show off.

If you must deal with him, just shoot DLs at him. They wound on a 2+ and ignore his FnP. He’ll drop like a sack of poo in no time flat. Really, though, there are other things you should shoot at first. Like, anything.

Fateweaver, Oracle of Tzeentch

Hashmal’s Ranking: 10 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 3 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Anyone who’s ever heard of Daemons has heard of Fateweaver (Fatey), and with good reason. Though his statline is strictly worse than the Lord of Chickens… er, Change… that he’s based off, he comes replete with all the Poultry Powers of the Bird God and also packs about the only synergistic rule in the Daemon codex: Oracle of Eternity, which allows for Daemons near him to re-roll their failed saves (note: that includes armor, invulnerable, and cover).

Naturally, this makes him a serious force multiplier and one terrifying foe. Since this impacts his own save too, he’s sporting a 3++ re-rollable. Gross. Obviously, I ranked him for the max: Fateweaver has a place in any army list that he’s allowed to be in, even a 500 point list (actually, especially one). Why’s he a middling threat, though? Dark Eldar don’t have to spend anti-tank firepower to reduce him. Our Poisoned weaponry wounds his T5 on a 4+ regardless. Bathe him in Splinter fire until he runs away (which happens rarely, so don’t bank on it) or until he dies. He only has three Wounds.

Please also refrain from belittling your opponent for taking him, too. Fateweaver is powerful, appropriately priced (over 300 points ye gads), and provides Daemon armies with what little synergy they get, which you automatically get for having a better codex. He’s a legal entry in the Daemons book, so including him does not make your opponent less of a man. It does make him a Big Chicken, though. *nyuk nyuk nyuk*

Skarbrand, The Exiled One

Hashmal’s Ranking: 2 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: A character Bloodthirster, sans Wings, which is what would make him threatening against us. Ironically, he benefits Slaaneshi units more than Khorne ones (see Warseer for the math). He’s not a terrible character, but anyone saying he’s competitive needs to lay off the absinthe. There isn’t much more to say about him, except that he’s a special character that also makes the enemy more effective. Good job, Sparky. Splinter fire will make short work of him, as will DLs and pretty much anything else you shoot at him.

He makes your Wyches better in CC, though, so he’s not all bad! You might actually want to leave him alive for a bit because of this.

Keeper of Secrets

Hashmal’s Ranking: 4 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: An entirely average MC, with a few nifty abilities that don’t affect vehicles. If he could assault off the Deep Strike, he’d be threatening. He can’t, so he’s basically 4 wounds of easy pickings for whatever you decide to shoot at him. If he lives to make it into CC, I’ll be surprised. Keepers can take some piddly shooting, but paying well over 200 points for 3 S5 BS4 shots is hardly impressive.

Assaulting it will hurt, though. Natural I10 will make even your Succubus stare at it like it has six heads. Coupled with an insane Attacks profile (6!), CC is definitely not a great route to go. Fortunately, it’s really weak to shooting, looking at only a 4++ to keep its head above water for the turn between a Deep Strike and an Assault. If you don’t want to shred it immediately, it only has Fleet to keep pace with your army, so it is kiteable. I don’t see a reason to delay, though. Blast this down and move on to the next target.

Great Unclean One

Hashmal’s Ranking 6 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Sporting a Wound above the standard Daemon MC statline, the GUO also comes standard with FnP, making him one tough ball of poo to pull down. Though he is Slow and Purposeful, he’s also an MC, meaning he’s rolling 3d6, take the highest, for those Difficult Terrain checks – so he’s not quite as slow as you’d initially think. That said, he’s still the slowest MC in the codex. You know what to do with slow things: kite, kite, kite. Standard Noxious Touch allows him to wound your Taloi on 2s, so be careful about what you charge in to deal with him. His lack of shooting (except for Breath, which is a Template) is really what does him in, as he just can’t keep up with most mechanized armies. You don’t take him because he’s great; you take him because he’s a 160 point T6 5W MC with FnP. The GUO is serious money versus other armies in small point games, but is at a disadvantage versus DE.

To kill him, just slap him with DLs until dead. Splinter fire isn’t recommended, as getting through a 4++ and FnP is… annoying.

Bloodthirster

Hashmal’s Ranking: 8 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 3 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Now we’re talking. A big, hulking, winged MC with an armor save, a ridiculous WS, a ridiculous S, a good number of attacks, and Furious Charge. Bloodthirsters are included in Daemon lists to handle heavy armor, and they do quite the job of it. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), Dark Eldar armies don’t have heavy armor. The Bloodthirster is still a nasty customer and should be dealt with in a hurry. Unfortunately for him, he can’t affect that many units over the course of a game, realistically looking at a maximum of 6 if he gets a charge every single Assault phase, if you’re not foolish enough to feed him squads in your own assault phase, and if the game goes until Turn 7. Realistically, he can expect about 4. It’s this limited affect that lowers his threat rating versus a canny Dark Eldar thrall who lines things up for him to charge, knowing that their loss impacts nothing. Of course, you can just kill him.

Killing him will require either DLs or Splinter fire. His armor save is negated by DLs, but Splinter fire works well, too. Drop him quick and move on – he’s a serious pain if left unattended, but he’s not target #1 as his true application is simply not going to be realized versus the Dark Eldar… that is, unless you’re taking Taloi. Then, he will eat them for breakfast.

Fun fact: for 5 points, the Bloodthirster can get a wargear item that provides a 2++ versus all psychic attack wounds – including those caused by a Force Weapon. Mephiston versus Bloodthirster fights are rarely hilarious for the Mephiston controller. Remember me saying Blood Angels just hate the hell out of Daemons? We have no psychic attacks, so this wargear item (Blessing of the Blood God) is worthless against us.

Lord of Change

Hashmal’s Ranking: 9 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 5 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: This MC packs a Bolt of Tzeentch, can split fire, can also open up transports with Demonic Gaze (unlikely, but can happen), is no slouch in CC, and sports a 3++. Yeah. Kill this quickly. If your opponent sports two birdmen, ask which one is Fateweaver and kill that one first. Then, kill this one. Versus a Dark Eldar player, Daemons cannot field a more destructive MC. The only reason that I ranked Fateweaver as less threatening is that this guy sports a better statline and is cheaper. Model by model, the LoC wins on pure damage to a Dark Eldar player.

Night Shields, as mentioned earlier, take the teeth off of Bolt and ensure the Daemon is in reprisal range. To kill the Laser Chicken, flood him with Splinter fire. Save your DLs for things with FnP, a lower Invuln save, or things that have an Armor Save. Venoms, in particular, can hang out of the bird’s effective range and paste the ground with brightly-colored feathers.

The Masque

Hashmal’s Ranking: 1 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Herald ICs can be pretty effective, and the Masque comes with some neat special rules. None of those special rules affect vehicle-bound units and the Masque also isn’t an IC. 2W T3 model with a 3++ save. Claim your easy kill point and move on.

Epidemius

Hashmal’s Ranking: 3 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: The guy that makes Nurgle lists possible. On his own, he’s not impressive, but he’s taken for the special rules he grants to Nurgle units as they kill more of the opponent’s stuff. In addition, he’s an IC, which makes killing him somewhat problematic. Your best bet against him is to take out the things that actually can damage your list and raise the tally – basically, his Daemon Princes and his Great Unclean One. If those die before the tally gets rolling, the rest of the game will be spent mopping up Plaguebearers.

Unless you’re absolutely sure you can waste him quickly, it’s rarely worth going after Epidemius directly, as anyone running a Tally list will have him well protected in a blob of FnP. Fortunately, Epidemius lists have serious AT issues, and you’re Dark Eldar. They also have issues with mobility and range. Again, you’re Dark Eldar. Use these to your advantage.

The Blue Scribes

Hashmal’s Ranking: 4 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 2 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Fun and flavorful, and little else, the Blue Scribes are a cutesy HQ choice that comes packing all the Tzeentch goodies, with a little somethin’ special. Occasionally, these guys will be able to machine gun off Bolts of Tzeentch, turning them into a platform that can (reasonably) sink a few of your transports. That’s why they have a threat rating above dirt. Add in their mobility, and they’re even a little scary.

Unfortunately, their survival is completely terrible, with only 2W. They’re ICs, which helps, but then their mobility suffers when stuck in with the only things that make them survivable (Horrors; remember, Heralds cannot join squads of a different god than theirs! No Blue Scribes hiding in Plaguebearers). Further, their AT is unreliable. 50% of the time you shoot a spell you didn’t care about and 50% of the time you fire off another Bolt.

Still, not terrible. Deal with these guys while you deal with their escort; they’re no more survivable than 2 Horrors. Get them in CC and watch them crumble.

Skulltaker

Hashmal’s Rating: 7 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: He gets a high rating purely because he’s so cool. Skulltaker is an Instant Death machine and (rightly so) the fright of many a non-Eternal Warrior MC. If he gets into CC with your Talos, he will murdalize it. If you let that happen, go back to training camp.

Skulltaker has three problems: 1.) His special rules are often unnecessary, as Daemons are so good at butchering the opposition that ID is rarely needed or can’t come into play (Eternal Warrior); 2.) He’s as expensive as 3.5 Bloodcrushers and doesn’t do the job of 3.5 Bloodcrushers; and 3.) He’s a slow Infantry model (though he can take a Juggernaught, in which case he becomes… a slow Infantry model with more Wounds). With how slow he is, you can deal with him at your leisure. He is nasty, no question about it, but against the majority of Dark Eldar players, his threat impact is minimal and his point cost is high.

He is a wicked cool model, though.

Herald of Khorne

Hashmal’s Rating: 2 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Suffers all of Skulltaker’s drawbacks, but isn’t as cool and can’t chop heads like his character brother. Again, it’s a question of why take this guy and sacrifice a LoC/Bloodthirster slot when you can just take 2-3 Bloodcrushers that do his job better for the same price?

I’d say you should only see him in a mono-Khorne list, but I’d sooner recommend 2x Bloodthirsters – because you haven’t seen a look of fright until you plonk two of those bad boys on the table.

Herald of Tzeentch

Hashmal’s Rating: 7 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 3 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Cheap models that can upgrade to 5W Jetbikes with Bolt of Tzeentch, all for about 100 points. Oh, you can take 4 of them. A staple of Cavalry spam lists (along with the Herald of Slaanesh) and a good AT platform. These guys sink Raiders and are fast enough to keep up with you, young thrall. Fortunately, as a Jetbike, they’re not ICs. Kill them quickly from range (Splinter weaponry; DLs are blunted by 5W of 4++), or just launch some Wyches into them. If your opponent is dumb, tie up two of them with one charge; that 4++ can keep them alive longer than you’d think.

Did I mention these guys get Daemonic Gaze for free and the good Tzeentch powers for dirt cheap? Yep. They’re really awesome for their points.

Herald of Nurgle

Hashmal’s Rating: 0 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: -15 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Hyperbole aside, this is the worst choice in the codex, and one of the worst in the game. They’re survivable like Plaguebearers, can’t kill squat like Plaguebearers, move like bricks through molasses like Plaguebearers, and can’t score… which is the reason you take Plaguebearers to begin with. Their combat stats are awful and their powers are unimpressive. If you see these guys, give yourself a high five: you’re probably going to win.

Deal with them… however you do. Like Plaguebearers, except less important.

Herald of Slaanesh

Hashmal’s Rating: 6 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 2 (of 5); 3 (of 5) versus WWP lists
Nitty Gritty: Their threat is low because they can’t shoot and are middling at CC. However, they have a serious threat range and can easily keep up with your army. If you’re playing WWP lists, watch out. These gals astride horrible steeds can easily pounce on your stuff coming out of the portal, since they’ll move exactly like your Beastmasters, but with Grenades. They’re also cheap as dirt.

Their big downside is an over-reliance on Rending to do damage, but you’re not MEQ: standard attacks can hurt just as well. They’re also fragile, which affords you multiple ways to deal with them, whether it be through CC or shooting (Splinter weapons!).

Assault them only with Wyches; with I7, you’re going to need the Invuln save.

Elites

Fiends of Slaanesh

Hashmal’s Rating: 9 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 3.5 (of 5); 4 (of 5) versus WWP lists
Nitty Gritty: Now I start wondering who was pricing things in this army. Fiends are insanely good and positively brutal versus the Dark Eldar, where their lack of power weapons is less important owing to the lower average save amongst DE units. Cavalry units with Fleet and Hit & Run as standard, these guys are no joke. Let’s add some S5 Rending attacks, with 6 per model total on the charge, and can you start getting scared please?

Fortunately, at T4, they’re easier for our assault elements to wound and slower than our Wych assaults at I5. A 5++ is the real selling point here, as Splinter weapons work decently and aren’t stymied by a high save. 2W per Fiend complicates matters somewhat, but the lack of wound allocation wargear minimizes that impact. Deal with them quickly, as they’ll sink your transports in a hurry and devour the squads within, assuming those squads don’t obliterate them with rapid fire.

As a WWP army, you’re inherently less mobile and these guys have great reach-out-and-destroy-you potential. However, they don’t have grenades. Exploit the hell out of this. Fiends charging are not kind and must be dealt with in a hurry, as each time they charge, you will lose a squad.

Flamers of Tzeentch

Hashmal’s Rating: 5 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 2 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Everyone lets these guys fire once, and then never again. They’re more expensive than Fiends (see pricing comment above), have terrible combat stats, and are a hair more survivable than standard Tzeentch troopers, which isn’t saying much. What they get is a Template weapon that wounds everything on a 4+ and denies Armor Saves. Brutal. However, standard Flamers were probably doing that to you anyway. These guys threaten MEQ armies more than Dark Eldar armies, since Flamers and Heavy Flamers are about as effective (or moreso) and cost many less points. Rapid Fire them, SC them, or just assault them.

Bloodcrushers of Khorne

Hashmal’s Rating: 9 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 3 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Seriously, who thought that these guys were only 5 more points more valuable than a Flamer of Tzeentch or Beast of Nurgle? I want words with that idiot.

Bar none, this is quite likely the best CC unit in the game. WS5, S5, T5, 2W each, and an armor save on top of all that. Oh hell, I’m feeling generous, so let’s also give them Furious Charge and Power Weapons. Wait! Not done! Let’s also give them the ability to kit for wound allocation shenanigans! The pricing on this squad is a perfect example of “We have new models and want to sell them.”

They have one, and only one, downside: they move as standard Infantry. This is why I rated the Fiends as more threatening to a Dark Eldar player, as Bloodcrushers are more threatening against… oh, I don’t know, EVERYONE ELSE. We can move fast enough to steer clear of these guys, and steer clear you must. They will mulch whatever they touch; I don’t care what it is.

To deal with them will require a combination of Splinter fire and DL fire. You need to cause 5 wounds to start removing models; don’t get discouraged and don’t spread your fire. If you’re going to assault them, do so either when you’re almost certain you’ll finish them off or you’re just tarpitting them for a very good reason.

WWP players, smart placement of the portal is paramount. If you go second, you’re okay. If you go first, be careful. Placing the portal first turn invites Bloodcrushers to drop all around it, just waiting for you to emerge. Flying into CC with them right out of the portal, without softening up the squad, will end very, very, VERY poorly. You might not want to delay dropping the portal, but remember this: the Daemon player does not have to roll for his preferred wave (or even designate it) until the start of his first turn. That means you’re never going to know what he’s dropping on you until after you plonk the portal down.

Hashmal Fun Fact: Originally, these guys were switched with Flesh Hounds in the Fast Attack option. Someone wisely saw that taking both Fiends and Bloodcrushers in the same list would be beyond retarded. I’ve also heard rumor they used to be Cavalry. Now that’s pants-wettingly frightening.

Beasts of Nurgle

Hashmal’s Rating: 1 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Someone thought these sacks of poo were worth more than Fiends? I want whatever he was smoking.

Beasts are, frankly, terrible. Slow and Purposeful (yay Nurgle!), same T as a Bloodcrusher, Poisoned attacks that are randomly generated, and a middling save. Oh, they’re Infantry too. Nobody cares. You won’t see them outside of an Epidemius list, and even then, 2 Plaguebearers are better than 1 of these guys.

Kill them at your leisure, much like the rest of Nurgle units past the big guys.

Troops

Bloodletters of Khorne

Hashmal’s Rating: 5 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 2 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Assault units that lack grenades. I’m sure a few of ours can relate. Poor guys.

Largely, their special rules are wasted on us. Furious Charge hurts, but they’re as easy to kill as Daemonettes thanks to Poisoned shooting. They have no mobility buffs and are allergic to rapid fire. If they get into CC, they’ll wreck a few things up, but getting them to CC in one piece is a daunting prospect. So many other Daemons do face wrecking so well; what you need from your Troops is scoring prowess. Bloodletters are a decent choice, but ultimately don’t bring enough to a competitive list.

If you see them, just rapid fire until dead. It won’t take very long. For instance, one Venom firing kills about 3 of them.

Daemonettes of Slaanesh

Hashmal’s Rating: 3 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 2 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Daemonettes, surprisingly, are more effective against Dark Eldar opponents than any other opponent in the game. That’s because our primary shooting attack wounds on a 4+, always, making it less points efficient as Toughness decreases. Daemonettes dying at the same rate as Bloodletters would probably make more people take them.

They’re a decent assault unit, packing Grenades and Fleet, with 3 Rending Attacks each and an Initiative of 6. Survivability is their biggest issue, less so versus Dark Eldar. Still, they’re foot-based non-horde troops. Judiciously apply shooting until they’re thinned out. If you assault them, prepare to take a couple of casualties thanks to their high I and decent A profile. Honestly, if your opponent is tailoring a bit, this is a good Troops option versus DE, especially compared to Bloodletters.

Plaguebearers of Nurgle

Hashmal’s Rating: 7 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5) off objectives; 4 (of 5) on objectives
Nitty Gritty: Let’s get it out of the way. Plaguebearers hit like wet socks. They can’t kill butterflies. They’re slow, don’t have defensive grenades (a real shame, since so many other Nurgle units get them but the ones that can really use them), and have pathetic combat stats. They’re survivable… and it finally matters, because they’re scoring. T5, 5++, and FnP makes these bad boys hard to shift once they start hitting objectives in cover.

Fortunately, Dark Eldar minimize the impact of natural T5 through Poisoned weaponry. Liquifiers also do okay against them and have a 1/3 chance of neutralizing FnP, which is great. There are two ways to approach Plaguebearers. In Kill Points games, ignore them until things that are actually scary are dead. In Objectives games, shift them off objectives as you ward off the big scary stuff. They are vulnerable to tank shock.

If you’re going a big CC route, only assault them with Incubi. Beastmasters, or combat characters/MCs. Otherwise, you will be there forever. The only thing Plaguebearers do well is survive and sit on objectives – and they do it very well.

Pink Horrors of Tzeentch + The Changeling

Hashmal’s Rating: 6 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 3 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Though their combat stats are anemic and their BS is sad, they each sport a 3 shot, 18” AP4 gun that will scythe through Dark Eldar units like butter. MEQ armies fear little from Horrors, but the rest of us out there should definitely respect them. They’re on average as survivable as Bloodletters versus the majority of weaponry, but are the only Troops with an actual ranged attack. Unfortunately, they’re expensive. They can also take a Bolt of Tzeentch, but it’s pretty inaccurate and you waste the rest of the squad’s shooting when using it on a tank.

Dark Eldar sans vehicles need to respect these guys, as those guns hurt quite a bit. Fortunately, like other Daemon shooting, Night Shields are great and relegate them to front-line support – exactly where they don’t want to be.

Deal with them via rapid fire or CC. Their combat stats will show them the door.

As a note, the Changeling is neat and somewhat effective against foot-based or de-meched squads. With an average Ld8, prepare for this guy to throw a wrench in your works. As a 5 point upgrade to a squad of Horrors, your opponent needs a very good reason to not take him if they’re taking Horrors.

Nurglings

Hashmal’s Rating: 100 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: I gave them a high rating because they make me laugh. Nurglings are silly awesomeness, but on the table are only a paltry threat. They’re a Troops unit that can’t score – that should tell you what their place is in a Daemons list. They’re mostly used as a tarpit, occasionally as a tarpit with teeth in an Epidemius list, but that’s about all. They’re slow (but not SnP!) but lack FnP like other Nurgle units.

Deal with them last, unless they’re contesting something you want. Do it however you want. Liquifiers, as an example, make mincemeat out of these guys, since they’re a Swarm unit.

Fast Attack

Flesh Hounds of Khorne + Karnak

Hashmal’s Rating: 1 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 3 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: I hate them. Tons. However, S4 with Furious Charge cavalry has to be respected as something that can keep pace with the Dark Eldar. Fortunately for you, they lack power weapons, so charge them with abandon. At 1W apiece, they’re not very survivable.

Karnak, on the other hand, is not respected. He’s terrible. 35 points grants you S5 with Rending, an instrument, and Move Through Cover on his squad. Not quite enough to make this squad worth its points, since they compete with Seekers for the Force Org slot.

Seekers of Slaanesh

Hashmal’s Rating: 8 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 4 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Take all the nastiness of Fiends above and put them in a 1W package with S3. Now make them almost half the points. Yeah. Fast-moving Beast Rending boats with a serious number of attacks, except these girls have grenades too. They’ll sink your transports, die to return fire, and then the really scary stuff will eat your squads. Annihilate immediately. Prime options for doing so: Splinter weaponry, Wych CC.

As a note, many Daemon players use these gals as a second-wave force, since their fragility leaves them an easy target in the first wave. Should they land first, killing them with long-ranged SCs shouldn’t prove a terrific challenge. Watch for them; when they drop, get rid of them before they can cause any real damage.

Screamers of Tzeentch

Hashmal’s Rating: 3 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 2 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: They’re jetbikes with Melta Bombs. That’s it. Really. They’re terrible at anything else.

Here’s the question: do you have vehicles? If so, these guys are annoying. Move over 6” so they’re always hitting on 6s with their one attack. If you don’t have any, ignore them. If they do hit, it hurts, but it’s like a melta gun versus a Raider: way overkill.

Kill them at your leisure.

Furies of Chaos

Hashmal’s Rating: 1 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 2 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Cheap Jump infantry, except they’re only 2 points cheaper than Seekers, who are miles and miles better. Terrible WS and I means these things get creamed by whatever they engage in CC, aside from Tau or Guard. They’re the same price as Flesh Hounds and strictly worse – the only reason they get a threat rating at all is because they can actually keep pace with a Dark Eldar army.

Kill them as you would any standard infantry.

Heavy Support

Soul Grinder of Chaos

Hashmal’s Rating: 6 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: In any other army, these guys would be really good. Unshakeable/stunnable firing platforms that, when they lose their main gun, can go rip it up in CC. Their main gun is more than a little scary, too.

Problem is, they’re the only vehicle in a non-vehicle army. Guess where all the AT weaponry goes? If you guessed here, that’s right. They’re susceptible to the one-shot-and-dead approach vehicles suffer, which Daemons simply don’t have the resiliency to soak. Also, they positively HATE melta, which is fielded in abundance.

What to do against them? Dark Lances until they’re not shooting the Maw Cannon anymore. If they’re immobilized too, awesome; you don’t have to target them again. With the prevalence of Dark Lances in a standard Dark Eldar list, these guys are almost a non-issue.

The Talos can also rip one apart in CC, since it goes first and has a better WS!

Daemon Prince of Chaos

Hashmal’s Rating: 9 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 5 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Depending on the mark these guys take, they’re either righteous terrors or pillow-fisted kittens.

Khorne: Oh look, another MC that charges, but doesn’t gain any of the cool Khorne things from the book, like Furious Charge. Easily the worst choice and something you don’t have to fear – kill it as it becomes a problem.

Slaanesh: Yet another charging MC. Here’s the twist: I6 takes it above most character initiatives, making it better than you’d think at striking elite squads. Additionally, it doesn’t get Fleet, which sucks, but means it’s the only realistic Pavane platform. Unfortunately, Pavane is a worse Lash of Submission, which is already not great in 5th edition. Not a great choice, but not a Khorne DP.

Nurgle: Taking your MC to T6 is normally great, but against DE, well, we just don’t care. However, Nurgle Daemons are fantastic at blasting apart squads through Noxious Touch. Unfortunately for these DPs, they already wound the majority of our troops on a 2, so Noxious Touch is somewhat redundant (rerolls notwithstanding). Normally a solid choice, they’re actually not much scarier to us than a nekkid DP with Wings.

Tzeentch: The previous 3 DP configurations are basically a net zero versus a Dark Eldar player. Khorne provides an attack, which we don’t care about because we shoot it dead; Slaanesh provides an I bump, which we don’t care about because we shoot it dead; and Nurgle provides a T bump, which we don’t care about because our Poisoned weapons shoot it dead. Tzeentch DPs are a different ball of kittens. First, the 4++ bump actually affects their survivability versus our shooting. Second, they get access to Tzeentch shooting powers, and I’ve covered how good those are previously. They act like mini Laser Chickens, except cheaper and with the option of working as static firing platforms. These guys need to die asap, as in concert with the rest of Daemon shooting, they’ll put your vehicles in the ground with haste

Thus ends the force organization breakdown of the Chaos Daemons codex.

Break Their Toys: So how does it all come together? Daemons will wave in, half their army arriving on the first turn and the rest arriving as Reserves rolls dictate. Daemon armies, generally, will be low on scoring models, which should be given an eye in Objectives missions. I say given an eye, as Troops are, point for point, the least killy parts of a Daemons army. If you don’t silence the big guys in a hurry, your army will be in disarray before you can blink. Deal with the big things as they wave in, then focus down, based on the target priority outlined above.

One thing about Daemons, they’re straight forward. They will try to assault you. Prevent that. Circle the wagons as your deployment, keeping things close together as the game progresses, but not too close together that multi-charges are possible. Use the fact that Dark Eldar can redress their lines quickly with fast vehicles and prevent the Daemons from establishing a solid one of their own. Additionally, don’t leave your squads out to dry, separated from your army, as Daemons excel in demolishing isolated elements of an army. If you’re just feeding them things to delay them (blocking and such), then you’ve probably got a good game plan going.

I Can Play Too: The two big power builds, as noted above, are Fatecrusher and Cavalry Spam. Both have strengths and weaknesses against Dark Eldar that should be addressed to lead you to great victory. Neither of these strategies are very long, because fighting both is pretty straightforward.

Fatecrusher: Ol’ faithful, this build relies on Fateweaver +1 HQ MC (either a LoC or a Bloodthirster), 2-3 squads of 4 Bloodcrushers kitted for wound allocation (depending on points level, and a few Tzeentch DPs to round things out. Plaguebearers will take up the Scoring slack, and Seekers may make an appearance.

The obvious lynchpin of the army is Fateweaver. He’s a big force multiplier and should be killed ASAP. The biggest loss people have against Fatecrusher is shooting at Fatey a little bit, getting discouraged, and moving to another target. This is exactly the wrong thing to do. Until Fateweaver dies, spreading damage around is the last thing you want to do, and is generally a bad strategy versus Daemons in general.

Don’t make the mistake of thinking the army loses its teeth when Fateweaver dies. Fateweaver’s friends are the hammer of the army; he’s merely the anvil. Drop Fatey, then reduce the other MCs, mopping up the Seekers when they drop (if they’re a threat the following turn; they may not be), then dealing with Plaguebearers and Bloodcrushers as you need to.

Cavalry Spam: a newer build, less competitive than Fatecrusher in my opinion owing to its lower survivability. Cavalry spam floods you with wounds, saving points on HQs by taking a combination of Slaaneshi and Tzeentch Heralds or, the best in my opinion, entirely Tzeentch Heralds on Chariot. With HQs amounting to ~400 points and ~20 wounds total, it’s an impressive figure. Elite will be comprised of Fiends, with Fast Attack featuring Seekers. Troops again will be Plaguebearers and Heavy Support varies, though I am fond of Tzeentch DPs for everything.

With this force, it’s all about killing what appears first and threatens the most. Bolt platforms must die, assuming they move 12” and can keep pace. Tzeentch DPs are most deadly as they can explode a transport, then assault the now disembarked squad and do horrible things to them. Tzeentch Heralds are more annoying than anything, but when they Pen with their Bolts, Raiders will die. Once Bolts are dead, focus on the cavalry that lands first. CC AT elements are strictly second to Bolt platforms, since they can only affect one unit per turn and can rarely destroy multiple targets at once. Once the fast moving things are dead, there really shouldn’t be much more to the army. Mop up as you see fit.

_________________
Tactical ponce.

I has a mod piggy. pig


Last edited by Hashmal on Tue Jun 07 2011, 06:02; edited 3 times in total
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Hashmal
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PostSubject: Re: Hashmal Takes on the Universe: A Compendium for the Aspiring Archon to Destroy Every Army in the Game   Tue Jun 07 2011, 05:38

Chaos Space Marines

Who Dat: Ever have a moment where you opened up a codex and thought to yourself “Man, I can’t believe they used to look like this! And I thought the layout was good!” I just totally felt that opening up the CSM codex. Thought I’d share it with y’all.

Chaos Space Marines, or CSM, are the perpetual bane of Gav Thorpe’s existence. What was once a flavorful, completely over-the-top, and fluff-laden codex was stripped of its guts and its soul, left a shell of a book about raiding parties of Space Marines, with completely inferior rules to their loyalist brethren. It has defenders up and down as it has detractors, but let’s lay it plain for all to see here.

The Chaos Space Marine codex is a bad codex, and it was bad when it came out.

It is not the relic of an old edition like the Necrons or the Sisters of Battle; it was a worse book in many respects when it launched than its predecessor. CSM used to be all about options, with so many varied builds it made your head spin. Wanted to play a Daemon army with marines? You could! How about decent tank spam with a Chaos twist? Sure! All-infiltrating Alpha Company? Why not? Now, it’s relegated to one build and stripped of all the special rules that made it a nightmare for CSM opponents to figure out on the fly. Options, variety, and flavor have come back into vogue in a big way with GW; CSM players have but to wait for their poor book to get its much-needed revamp. People still defend CSM as a very competitive and hard-as-nails army, and I sympathize. The army has a long, storied history, being one of the oldest armies in the 40k universe, so it’s got a lot of old fans. However, a fervent fan base does not make a book good.

All that aside, they’re still an MEQ army, just without a lot of the goodies that make most MEQ armies… good.

The Good: They’re MEQ. That’s something, right?

Okay, fine, I’ll be good. I have a soft spot for CSM and played them for several years, so I’m bitter over the fact that they’re basically an army my Dark Eldar can table without even trying. I hate beating up on my friends because my book is newer and better.

CSM can field MCs cheaper than most other armies, and those MCs, should they make combat, are scary dudes indeed. Unlike Daemons armies, CSM Daemon Princes are HQ choices and miles cheaper for what they do.

CSM also get access to one of the hardiest and best Troops choices in the game: Plague Marines. T5, FnP, Scoring, and can pack 2x BS4 Melta Guns. I’ll take four, thanks.

The Bad: Where do I begin? CSM are the same price as tactical marines, but worse in every way except for the fact that they can pack two special weapons, as opposed to one special, one heavy, and they have two CC attacks instead of one, which lets you think for a second they’ll actually beat a dedicated CC squad in combat – which they won’t. Oh, their leadership is higher too (oddly), and you’re going to need it, In exchange, they lose And They Shall Know No Fear and get… nothing. That’s right! It’s Space Marines that you can Sweeping Advance! Dance for joy, young thralls! I know you’ve always wanted to do it – well, now you can.

Let’s not forget their AT capabilities. 5th edition is rightly known as the mech edition. Vehicles are good. AT firepower is, therefore, important. CSM have… expensive melta platforms. Suppression fire? We’ve heard of it, but it costs an arm and a fist, can only be taken on Havocs, and precludes the use of the best unit in the codex.

Hooray.

I can go on, but let’s just get down to brass tacks.

Power Builds: There’s only one build that even has a prayer. I’ll go into it below.

Down and Dirty: Welp, I’m already feeling dirty.

HQ

Abbadon the Despoiler

Hashmal’s Rating: 6 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Oh he is hell on wheels. Talk about a close combat character. Abbadon has it all. All the Marks of Chaos, which apparently when combined turn Chaos independent characters into something that can actually fight in CC, a Power Fist that strikes at Initiative, D6 additional attacks whenever he fights (though a roll of a 1 means he slaps himself, the git), great T, great WS, great Initiative, Terminator armor, and a real Invuln save. Oh, he’s also an Eternal Warrior. Sheesh!

He also costs more than a Land Raider. Sheesh.

Dark Eldar thralls and Archons alike love, and I do mean love death stars, since our Lance and Splinter weaponry are ideally suited to pick them apart. Abbadon is the start of a CSM death star; if you see him in a list, look for it, then do what you do against death stars: cripple their ride early so they have to walk across the board, then kite the ever-loving hell out of them, using attrition fire to whittle them down to a polished nub.

Abbadon is a serious character. If you’re a serious general, you won’t engage him in combat. Outside of combat, he has a BS5 twin-linked Bolter. The stuff of nightmares, indeed.

As a note, he might Deep Strike instead. If he does, leave, then attrition as above. If it costs a few squads a turn of shooting, no big deal; he’s far too many points to be effective as a one-turn disruption device.

Fabius Bile

Hashmal’s Rating: 7 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Bile himself isn’t a threat to a Dark Eldar player. His combat stats are decent, but not overwhelmingly impressive. His Attacks profile and his Strength are nice, he causes ID, but he doesn’t have any way to ignore armor saves. He does have FnP, but we have Dark Lances to take care of that, assuming you can isolate him. He also has no Invulnerable save and no Eternal Warrior. Archon, Huskblade away! (note: Hashmal never recommends the Huskblade except as silly fun, for, in fact, it is silly, silly fun)

Okay, so he’s pretty pants as a combat character. His shooting must be good, right? Err… an 18” 2+ Poisoned Assault 3 gun with AP6? BS4? Okay, not really.

The reason I rate him high but as no threat whatsoever is because, by the time you see him, he’s already done what he’s been bought to do: augmenting Space Marines. Since that’s done in the list building part of the game, there’s literally nothing you can do to stop it! His augmentations won’t drastically change how you play against a Fabius Bile army, but they will hurt you a bit more in CC and remove your ability to Sweeping Advance the squads. Not bad. I find him interesting, but at 18 points a Marine, not competitive.

You don’t really need to do anything about him should he hit the table, since he’s pretty weak overall. Worry more about whatever he’s escorting, watch for augmented squads, and understand that those squads are going to hit harder in CC than you expect. That said, you can still shoot them just fine.

Huron Blackheart

Hashmal’s Rating: 2 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: You’re going to see a recurrent theme here. We just don’t fear big, bad combat characters because our Archon is easily a match for them (unless they’re the C’Tan, in which case, prepare to wet your Ghostplate). Huron Blackheart is 170 points of milk toast. He’s got a good psychic power (Warp Time, which is amazing) and a piddly 5++. He’s got a Power Weapon, a Power Fist, and a Heavy Flamer. This guy couldn’t get more boring if he tried.

That’s all there is to him, really. He’s like a beefed-up Space Marine Sergeant.

Honestly, do I even need to write this? Strand his ride, kill his escort, then kill him. Alternatively, send your Archon in and show him what a real combat character is made of. Preferably, name your Archon something like Captain Sparklepants or something, just to rub it in that your aptly named Mr. Blackheart is about as threatening and sinister as this dastardly duo:



Typhus

Hashmal’s Rating: 8 (of 10; Scythes are cool)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Oh look, another combat character. At least he’s got two not-terrible psychic powers (Daemon players wish they had Nurgle’s Rot) that he auto-passes; the fewer tests taken, the better. Mark of Nurgle makes him tough and the Manreaper is a Force Weapon that can be used even if he already used a psychic power. In addition, he’s got Assault and Defensive Grenades, so he can chill out and take a charge.

However, that’s all there is to him. He’s a wicked-cool model with totally boring rules and a completely ridiculous point cost for how little he does. Noticing a theme here?

Strand his ride, Archon to the face, NEXT.

Kharn the Betrayer

Hashmal’s Rating: Over 9,000
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5); 20 (of 5) if you let him get close
Nitty Gritty: No lie, Kharn is my favorite character in Warhammer 40k. He’s insane, he murders anything and everything, and I have an affinity for anybody that spawns threads titled “Today Kharn Killed…”

He’s a little nerfed from his former incarnation (see wut I did thar nyuk nyuk nyuk) but not much. The big change is his survivability: he lost a 2+ and Eternal Warrior and gained a 5++. In some cases, that’s a survivability gain (read: Incubi). In others (Lascannons, Dark Lances, Power Fists, et cetra), it’s a hit. He’s also not *quite* as killy as he used to be, but that’s like saying a two-floor blender got set on “Finely Chopped” instead of “Puree.”

What does he do? Laughs at your Weapon Skill. Kharn always hits on a 2+ in CC. With his natural S5, he’s also wounding on 2+ against most Dark Eldar units. Oh, what the hey, he can have Furious Charge too. Oh, and 6 Attacks, 7 charging. If he charges, he’s also I6. This jerk will cleave through pretty much whatever you hold dear. Wyches tie him up a bit, though, but he can still easily hit them.

Standard army answer is to throw a Dreadnought at him. That won’t work for Mr. The Betrayer, though. See, he rolls like an MC against vehicles – 2d6 armor penetration. This is what leads to threads about what he’s killed – the man can literally sink a Titan in CC.

If that wasn’t enough, he and any squad he joins are immune to any and all psychic powers and effects, much like Lady Malys. Further, he entirely ignores the effects of psychic powers himself, so he’s ideal for chopping through Eldrad’s Fortuned head. Sadly for Chaos, this is their only real anti-psyker option. Double whammy, we have no psychic powers.

As a hilarious middle finger to Chaos players, he’s approximately 25% cheaper than Typhus. Who prices things in these books?

Treat him like any other Chaos CC character: strand ride, kill escort, kill Kharn. Be very careful in CC with this monkey, though, as he can generate a surprising number of kills and if he gets hot with his Invuln… well… it won’t be pretty.

Ahriman

Hashmal’s Rating: 6 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 2 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Ahriman is less of a CC combat character and more of the standard spell-slinging wizard character. He’s got access to every psychic power a Tzeentch sorcerer can take, the ability to make a stunning three psychic tests a turn, a Force Weapon with better-than-Librarian combat stats, and an AP3 Bolt Pistol. Ahriman’s strength is obviously in shooting. It’s also his weakness.

See, lacking the ability to fire more than one gun per turn, Ahriman can only zap off one of his Psychic Shooting Attacks per turn – and he has access to three. This restriction heavily limits how much damage he can do; if he could zap off three Bolts of Change per turn, for instance, this guy would be on the short list of things Dark Eldar have to kill immediately. He can’t; he only shoots one.

That said, Bolts of Change hurt Dark Eldar vehicles nicely, so he’s still more threatening than most CSM characters. Night Shields on vehicles blunt his range (and are super-effective against Chaos in general owing to their over-reliance on melta for tank pop). He’ll be in an escort squad, likely in a vehicle he can fire out of, so pop his ride, pop his squad, and pop him. He’s not very strong in CC, boasting a very standard Space Marine Captain statline, so you can deal with him there. I recommend Wyches, as he’ll likely be escorted by Thousand Sons (since he usually only shows up in themed lists as he’s pretty pants) and your Incubi will bounce off those 4++ saves running around.

Wicked model and the one that got me to play CSM in the first place.

Lucius the Eternal

Hashmal’s Rating: 4 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Oh look, another combat character with no mobility buffs. I’ve been over how to kill these guys before, multiple times. Do that again, please.

A bit more care needs to be taken in killing Lucius in CC. His armor can cause unrequited S4 power weapon hits against the attacking squad, so I don’t really recommend killing him with melee.

Somehow, this guy is only 5 points cheaper than Kharn. Someone explain that logic to me, please.

Daemon Prince

Hashmal’s Rating: 8 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 3 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Finally out of the characters and into the real meat of the codex, the first we reach is the Daemon Prince. He’s the MC every army wishes they could have: for the bargain-basement price of 155 points, you can have a psychic MC with Wings, S6, T5, and 4W that re-rolls all hits and wounds in each round of CC thanks to Warptime.

For those of you who can’t do math or are busy chasing butterflies, that’s very, very good.

The Prince can also take different Marks. Khorne is all but worthless, since it locks out Warptime (which is one of the main reasons to take a DP) and only provides an additional attack. Nurgle provides a +1 Toughness boost (which we don’t care about), is tied for the most expensive Mark (and it is expensive), and provides access to Nurgle’s Rot, which isn’t that amazing. Tzeentch bumps his standard Invuln save to 4++ and provides access to Bolt of Change, but doesn’t quite turn this guy into a Tzeentch DP from the Chaos Daemons book – and that outfit is pretty expensive. Slaanesh is the most well known, being a cheap mark (the cheapest, in fact) which takes his Initiative to above most CC specialist squads at 6 and gives access to the dreaded Lash of Submission. I’ll go into Lash further below.

The DP is hamstrung by a couple of things: total threat to an army and LoS. He’s deadly and the opponent knows it. Screening him is difficult and preventing him from getting shot to ribbons is also a challenge. This is how you should deal with him. The DP is allergic to Splinter fire and will quickly drop when you pay attention to him. Killing him is the equivalent of killing 4 Space Marines. DLs should be saved for harder targets, but if those aren’t present, train them on him too.

Though he’s nasty in CC, he’s not the scariest thing out there. Incubi will get creamed for little return, but Wyches can hold him up and nickel-and-dime him down or finish a wounded DP off.

All told, he’s a mobile, cheap MC that can wreck a lot of faces. The turn you draw LoS and have range, drop him like a sack of month-old potatoes.

Chaos Lord

Hashmal’s Rating: 3 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Oh look. ANOTHER COMBAT CHARACTER. Keeping with CSM law, he’s got no special rules to speak of besides being an IC and having an Invuln. Hardly impressive. At least he can kit to have mobility buffs.

The Lord can take an impressive array of toys, from Marks to weapons to armor. Problem is, none of it is very exotic and little pulls him ahead of some of the more elite options in this book for CC. Also, his options are insanely expensive. 40 points for a CC weapon that eats you 1 out of 6 times? Who thinks up this garbage? Marks continue to be expensive. At least he can take a Combi weapon and Melta bombs, along with a mobility buff. As a suicide bomber, he isn’t half bad. Not half good, but I’m trying here.

He can also take Terminator armor if you want a 160+ point HQ option that dies to pretty much everything we can throw at him and loses all mobility options save a Land Raider. Not impressed.

Deal with him as you would any other combat CC, as above: sink ride, strand squad, kill squad, kill dude. The end.

Chaos Sorcerer

Hashmal’s Rating: 4 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 2 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: In a hilarious turn of fate, the Sorcerer is better in CC than the Lord, thanks to having a Force Weapon and access to Warptime. Monkeys wrote this book. I swear.

The Sorcerer isn’t half bad, but if you want him to do anything besides waste space, he’s going to get pricey. Primary uses for one: Tzeentch Bolt platform (BS5 is not bad!) and an IC sporting Lash.

His threat to you largely depends on his kit and his ability to keep pace with your army. If he’s sporting Tzeentch, watch for Bolt as it’ll reliably sink your Raiders. If Slaanesh, it’s Lash time – treat as the DP, which I’ll get to. If Nurgle, he’s CC or close-range, so deal with him as with any other CC character. If he’s got Wings or a Bike and a squad with him that can keep up, pay attention and eliminate quickly.

Only the Mark of Tzeentch is threatening, and you’ll only usually see this outfit in a Tzeentchian army, which has grave weaknesses against Dark Eldar.

On a whole, there’s a reason everyone takes Daemon Princes – Lords and Sorcerers are not good options.

Summoned Greater Daemon

Hashmal’s Rating: 7 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Talk about removing flavor. If you’re thinking that CSM get Bloodthirsters, Lords of Change, Keepers of Secrets, and Great Unclean Ones, you’re right! …well, they get to use the models, anyway.

The Summoned Greater Daemon is a completely average Monstrous Creature, with a great WS, no BS (and no gun, so who cares), good S and T, standard MC Wounds profile, middling Init, good Attacks, and a 4++. His biggest selling point is his cost, since he’s only 100 points – a great bargain! Problem is, he always begins in Reserve and, when arriving, kills off a squad upgrade or Chaos Lord/Sorcerer, so you have to add them to his cost. Additionally, if your opponent only takes one squad upgrade and it dies before the big dude here arrives, he also dies. Yay.

Still, bargain MCs aren’t bad. DE players have little to fear, since this guy doesn’t have any mobility buffs. Splinter fire him down as you get the chance; he’s not terribly threatening.

Elites

Chosen Chaos Space Marines

Hashmal’s Rating: 5 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 2 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Think Trueborn and you’re halfway there. Chosen are the toolbox unit for CSM, able to take a variety of implements to get the job done. Their only problem? Cost. They’re very, very expensive for what they do, which is essentially suicide AT, since AT is scarce-to-nonexistent elsewhere in the army. They do have the ability to pack up to 5 special or combat weapons. If combat-armed, do a happy dance; they’re as durable as standard Space Marines and will likely die once they hit a real combat unit. If armed with ranged weapons, take them a bit more seriously: they’re likely armed with either Melta or Plasma weaponry.

Fortunately, it’s just a squad of Marines. Focus Splinter fire until dead. Pay attention to where their Rhino is and blast accordingly. Night Shields are again extremely useful at taking all the punch out of these guys. They’d be threatening if they could set up at a decent range and haul off.

Note: they Infiltrate, so they’re likely the first infantry you’ll have to deal with. Be prepared for that.

Chaos Terminators

Hashmal’s Rating: 8 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 3 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: They don’t have Storm Shields, they can eat a Sweeping Advance, and they don’t come standard with Power Fists or Storm Bolters. Why do I rate them so high?

Cost. 30 points a Terminator with twin-linked Bolter and Power Weapon? Yes please! These guys make for a great heavy assault unit that you don’t feel too bad about losing. Unfortunately for Chaos, they’re often relegated to Deep Striking Melta weaponry, because the Chaos codex lacks good anti-tank firepower.

For Dark Eldar, they’re painfully easy to clean up. Our CC units will have a field day with them, either torrenting them down (Wyches, Hellions) or cleaving straight through them (Incubi, Beastmasters). Our standard Splinter fire works well, too – they can only pass so many saves. They’ll arrive in one of two ways. If in a Land Raider, strand that thing ASAP with Dark Lances. If they Deep Strike, button up a bit and wait for them to land. Night Shields again work well against Termicide Melta squads, since they’ll have to be within 3” to get double dice against your vehicles and 6” to hit them at all – a dicey prospect.

Once they land, the Terminators can still be a pain. They’re not top priority if they’ve unloaded all their combi weapons, but if they DS out of range, paste them before they move back in.

Possessed Chaos Space Marines

Hashmal’s Rating: 2 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: These guys go against the grain with the standard assumption that GW writes rules to sell new models. These were brand-new with the Chaos codex and they, frankly, suck. The Chaos Spawn also falls victim to this (more later). A CC unit (whodathunkit) with an in-built Invuln save, a more-than-ridiculous price tag, and a randomly-generated rule that the Chaos player won’t know until after they’re deployed. Yep. Pile of trash, here.

On the off-chance you see these guys, deal with them like any other MEQ Assault squad: shoot from range, assault the remnants. They do have S5 going for them, but lack any ranged capability, so they should get pounded before they ever get close to you. They’re an extremely low threat to the DE player. Shame; the models are nifty.

Chaos Dreadnought

Hashmal’s Rating: STOP SHOOTING MY OWN GUYS! -55 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 3 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Dreadnoughts. We know them. We hate them. AV12 negates the benefit of Lance weaponry entirely. These Dreadnoughts can pack long-ranged firepower and are the only place a Chaos player can access a multi-melta. The firepower is why they’re a threat, since it’s accurate and high-strength, long-ranged firepower is something we have to shut up immediately. We can’t count on poor dice when our vehicles are AV10.

HOWEVER.

While the Dreadnought is a threat primarily for its ranged capabilities, it can’t take what its loyalist cousins can (2x ACs. YUCK), so its volume of fire isn’t amazing against us. Further, 1/3 of the time it goes crazy and doesn’t act like the CSM player will want it to. Sometimes it just charges forward. Sometimes it fires twice and obliterates a Raider. Sometimes it blasts its own guys. It’s this pile of garbage rules that prevents the Dreadnought from being featured as a credible AT threat in a Chaos list.

If you see one, plink at it with Dark Lances until it stops shooting, then ignore it. Like Dreadnoughts, it’s slow. Stay away from it in CC.

Troops

Chaos Space Marines

Hashmal’s Rating: 3 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 2 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: The sole bonus of CSM over loyalist marines is their ability to pack two special weapons in a squad. 2x Melta is popular. Alternatively, they have access to one Heavy Weapon per 10 guys. Unlike loyalists, however, they have to pay for them.

CSM can also take Icons, which means one flag bearer grants the entire squad the benefits of one of the Marks of Chaos, or a re-roll to Leadership if you take Glory. At 2 CC attacks each, it seems like CSM are in a good spot, right?

Wrong.

CSM can be swept, unlike their loyalist cousins, which opens up all manner of nasty things you can do to the army. Dedicated CC squads have a field day with these guys, who like to play forward with their rapid-fire weapons. Ours are no different.

To kill them, engage with Splinter fire from vehicles, preferably with Night Shields. As CSM move to retaliate, launch your CC squads into their midst. Incubi have a field day with these guys. Kill them a lot, take few casualties, watch them fail and re-fail their Morale check, then run them down. Each squad you kill will likely be nearly 200 points. Rinse and repeat.

The only weapon I don’t really recommend using against them is the Dark Lance, simply because it should be going against more appropriate targets. Everything else is extremely effective versus these duds.

Chaos Rhino

Hashmal’s Rating: 7 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 3 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: It’s a Rhino. Nothing special. The loyalist one is better, but that’s because a Storm Bolter > Twin-linked Bolter on the approach. Still, this does its job well enough, which is transporting troops to where they need to be. Shame that so few troops are good enough to merit a transport.

DE win through mobility. This is enemy mobility. Apply Lances until dead. Heat Lances, in particular, are good at stranding the embarked squads out in the middle of nowhere.

Plague Marines

Hashmal’s Rating: 8 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 2 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: T5 Fearless Troops with FnP and a 3+ save? Sign me up. Though a little expensive, Plague Marines are the best Troop in the codex and will likely make up a significant number of your opponents’ Troop selections. They’re close range, though, which gives us options.

Splinter fire is a good teaser opener against Plague Marines, but FnP on top of the MEQ armor save is annoying. Disintegrator cannons can work here, but I do not recommend taking them at all, so they’re out. Night Shields cut the teeth out of this squad, as their weaponry caps at 24” range – and that’s only if they hold still. They can be ignored for a bit while your Lances go to work on CSM’s few long-range elements. Then, focus these guys down. Wyches will tend to bounce off owing to T5, but Incubi and Beastmasters should make a pretty sizeable mess.

Basically, kill the ranged elements, then focus these down.

Noise Marines

Hashmal’s Rating: 6 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 3 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Longer range than standard Troops choices, Noise Marines employ Sonic Weaponry to do their damage – and that weaponry is downright excellent against us. It’s long-ranged, middling strength, and high volume of fire, which culminates in being a perfect storm of bad things for us. Their biggest flaw is that they don’t come standard with said Sonic Weapons and quickly ratchet up the points cost by equipping up. A squad of 10 with Sonic Blasters and a Blastmaster plus Rhino for mobility easily tops 300 points. Yikes.

Noise Marines, to fire to full effect, work like our Splinter Cannons and thus are best suited to being stationary. Aside from an Initiative bump thanks to the Mark of Slaanesh, they’ve got nothing going for them in CC. Focus on them quickly, before your Raiders sink from the sky. Fortunately, there should only be 2-3 squads of these guys; your opponent just can’t afford more.

Standard Splinter fire and CC options work very well against them. They get no survivability bonuses.

Khorne Berzerkers

Hashmal’s Rating: 7 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 2 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Insane volume of attacks CC unit with Furious Charge. Nothing else to them. They also have pistols. Whee.

If they charge, they’re going to eat whatever they hit. With each Berzeker charging at 4 attacks, stuff dies. Unfortunately, aside from mulching squads in CC, these guys don’t do anything worth talking about. Further, they have no mobility buffs and no survivability buffs.

You can take them out in CC, but you’re going to want to weaken the squad first. Even six Berzerkers milling around still poses a problem for most of your CC units (sans Incubi, who love embarrassing these guys). Splinter fire them down, then charge. Ideally, you should strand their ride and deal with them as they become a threat. Being as easy to kill as an MEQ is not survivability for your opponent to bank on.

Strand, weaken, then kill. If you charge headlong into combat without thinking, these guys will eat you for breakfast.

Thousand Sons

Hashmal’s Rating: 3 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: So cool looking and so utterly unsuited for challenging Dark Eldar. Relentless Bolters can be annoying, but we don’t give a fig about the fact that they’re AP3, which is the Thousand Sons’ claim to fame and what they pay most of their point cost to attain. They also sport a 4++, but since we tend to kill standard troops with AP5 weaponry… we again don’t care. As a downside, they’re insanely expensive, must take a squad upgrade of questionable value, and are Slow and Purposeful. Thus, they absolutely need a Rhino.

The Sorcerer isn’t terrible, as he can take a Bolt of Change. Problem is, with that loadout, the Sorcerer is then 85 points and still has to take a Psychic test to use his shooting weapon. Yiiiiiiiiikes.

Deal with these guys either through massed Splinter fire (my preferred choice) or launching Wyches at them. Incubi will bounce off the 4++. Strand their Rhino early, then watch them struggle to move around.

Summoned Lesser Daemons

Hashmal’s Rating: 5 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 2 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Entirely average squad with a basic Marine statline, except sporting a 5++ as opposed to a 3+ and no gun. They always arrive via Deep Strike and are always Reserved. Their big claim to fame? Unlike their Chaos Daemon bretheren, Lesser Daemons can assault the turn they arrive, which means that a few squads of them can serious monkey-wrench up your plans. Fortunately for you, they don’t hit terrifically hard. Unfortunately for you, they’re not very expensive.

Deal with them however you please, as shooting and CC are both effective. They need Chaos Icons to arrive, so if your opponent only has a couple and quite a few Daemons in Reserve, it may be worth your while to kill them. Without Icons, the Daemons never show up.

Fast Attack

Chaos Bikers

Hashmal’s Rating: 6 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 3 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Access to Melta guns! Yay! More close-ranged support. Each Bike sports a good Toughness, which can be further modified with an Icon of Nurgle if you feel like selling a kidney to pay the cost. Their high T allows them to be a halfway decent CC squad, but each biker, base, costs more than a Chaos Terminator. Yowza. The only reason they rank as a threat is that they’re Bikes, which allows them to keep up with your army. Remember: we win through speed and the opponent not having any.

Splinter fire is king here, as it trivializes their high T. CC is okay, provided you’ve weakened the squad prior. Else, you’ll be there for quite a bit.

A squad of 10 of these guys costs almost 400 points. You likely won’t see more than one squad of these guys.

Chaos Raptors

Hashmal’s Rating: 5 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 2 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: They’re Assault Marines that can take Chaos Icons and Meltaguns. That’s it. Nothing special. Again, they rank on the threat meter because of their increased mobility.

Neuter their shooting through Night Shields, then kill them as you would any Space Marine. They may Deep Strike to Melta you, but hey, that’s why you take Night Shields.

Their assault power is, no joke, as damaging as any standard squad of CSM. I’m trying to think of more things to write about them, but there’s really nothing to them!

Poor Night Lords.

Chaos Spawn

Hashmal’s Rating: 0 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 0 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: If your opponent paid points for this… thing… then I’m going to be very sad indeed. You should only see a Spawn as a result of a successful Gift of Chaos Psychic power test. Slow and Purposeful, must always move towards the nearest thing, random attacks, and 40 points. Just. Terrible.

These guys aren’t a threat at all. Kill them when you’re bored or have tabled the rest of the opponent’s army. Use whatever you want: they don’t have a save.

Heavy Support

Chaos Havocs

Hashmal’s Rating: 6 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 3 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Sort of like Long Fangs, except they can break and never regroup. Standard heavy weapons squad. Problem is, they pay a premium on their weapons, much like Devastators of old. This is the only place you’re likely to see suppression fire in a CSM list, as only these guys and Terminators can field a halfway decent number of Autocannons. However, each squad of 4 ACs will set the CSM player back nearly 200 points and preclude their use of Obliterators, who are amazing for their points.

Not a terrible option, though, and certainly a threat versus Dark Eldar. If you see them, they’re likely kitted out in ACs or MLs and must be dealt with quickly before your vehicles start leaving. Venoms, Splinter Cannons, or early Bladevanes attacks with Jetbikes will shut them up right quick. Don’t be afraid to paste these squads with Razorwing missiles either. The faster they die, the longer you live.

Obliterator Cult

Hashmal’s Rating: 8 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 4 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Relentless weapons platforms that can field a bevy of options, picking whichever they want per turn. Can also teleport if your opponent is foolish. Obliterators sport Terminator armor and 2W each, making them resilient to small arms fire. Their ability to field a wide variety of devastating weapons that are great against troops and vehicles makes them kill priority number one.

Killing them, sadly, is easy for us. Other armies who rely on short-ranged AT coupled with long-ranged suppression struggle. We mass Lances, which gets around their armor save and IDs them. All DLs go here. Repeat until no Obliterator is left standing. Use Splinter weaponry on other targets.

Chaos Predator

Hashmal’s Rating: 6 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 3 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Long-ranged gunboat that can take its standard kit and do well versus DE. Predators can also take Daemonic Possession, which lets the vehicle ignore Shaken and Stunned results but loses them a point in BS – a very costly trade. Though not as cheap as their loyalist cousins, CSM Predators armed with AC and Heavy Bolters clocks in at 100 points – not too shabby. Heavy Bolters are also great weapons against us. You should do something about that, mister.

What to do? Dark Lance until it stops shooting. If it’s Daemonically Possessed, it won’t hit as often, but it’ll take longer to shut up. In that case, I’d almost recommend doing a first-turn purge of all other mobile elements in the opponent’s army while the CSM Predators struggle to hit.

Chaos Vindicator

Hashmal’s Rating: 6 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 2 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Vindicators are a mixed bag. They sport an absolutely devastating gun whose only downside is its short range. Ordnance S10 AP2 guns are no joke, but 24” isn’t threatening, especially when an entirely-mechanized army with Night Shields laughs at the little tank trying to get close enough to matter.

Vindicators, typically, suffer from the One Gun syndrome – meaning, if you Shake, Stun, or Weapon Destroy the vehicle, it’s pretty much scrap. Chaos Vindicators have access to Daemonic Possession, like the Predator. Unlike the Predator, the lower BS matters less, since it’s an Ordnance weapon, and immunity to Shaken and Stunned is a decent buy on a gunboat. Still a questionable purchase for the Chaos player, but that’s neither here nor there for you!

These things can be entirely ignored for a turn or two as they close range. Once they’re close, nuke them with Lances. A Weapon Destroyed result or an Immobilized result go a long way to taking the teeth out of a Vindicator. Basically, as long as you get a result that’s not Shaken or Stunned, you’ll be fine. This doesn’t matter if the opponent takes regular Vindicators, but I can’t imagine why he’d ever do that.

Chaos Defiler

Hashmal’s Rating: 7 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 2 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Well, you don’t have to worry about your opponent taking Daemonic Possession on this vehicle – it comes standard! Defilers pack a bit of everything. They’ve got a long-ranged Battle Cannon, twin-linked Autocannon, and two close combat weapons. They can take additional weapons, but I’ve only ever seen someone take more CC options – I didn’t even know the Autocannon could be switched for a twin-linked Lascannon!

Obviously, as a ranged option, you have to dedicate a bit of focus to it. However, it cannot fire the Battle Cannon and the AC at the same time, thanks to the Ordnance rules. Your opponent will likely choose the Cannon, which is the wrong choice against DE players sporting slim profile vehicles.

Unlike most ranged vehicles, you can’t shake or stun your way to victory, since it’s Possessed. The results you’re looking for here are Weapon Destroyed results (Wrecked or Explodes works fine too!) as you need to shut up its AC and its Cannon with some expediency. Focus Dark Lances on it and pound away. Don’t be afraid to Heat Lance it too; if the blasted thing charges your bikes or Scourges but you nailed a Cannon, that’s okay.

Once those weapons are dead, keep an eye on it. It still has Fleet, making it fast for a Walker, and the ability to wreck things in CC. Personally, I just focus Dark Lances on them until they die, but usually cripple the Rhino Wall first.

Chaos Land Raider

Hashmal’s Rating: 2 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 3 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Someday, people are going to stop being scared of Land Raiders. They have a serious stigma about them. Everyone remembers that one game where the Land Raider disgorged a scary CC squad that ate half your army, or the game where the Land Raider sat unopposed on a capture point.

I’d like Land Raiders to actually be good. They’re not. Everyone should bring the tools to deal with AV14, as every single army barring Orks has them. We do too. Unlike the loyalist variant, the Chaos Land Raider cannot split targets through Power of the Machine Spirit.

Still, a vehicle with two twin-linked Lascannons needs to be addressed, if for nothing else that it can sink your Raiders quickly. Dark Lance or Heat Lance this into the ground. Haywire Blasters work wickedly well here too, as long as it’s not transporting something or Daemonically Possessed.

If being used as a transport, the Land Raider jumps up in priority, because it’s likely carrying about a third of the army’s points within it. Taking that much of an opponent’s army out of the game immediately is huge. Immobilize or Destroy it posthaste.

That’s a wrap. I need a shower.

Break Their Toys: Boy, I’d really like to pull something out of left field here. Something that justifies this space. Sadly, CSM are a painfully straightforward army to play and are just as basic to beat. Chaos armies will include few long ranged elements, because they’ve got practically nothing with serious ranged potential – and most of it is in Heavy Support, so they only sport three of those choices anyway. CSM will also have short-ranged nuking elements, designed for busting tanks, since their ranged firepower is not sufficient for the task.

Blast their long range elements first to dominate the range game. Then, hamstring their mobility. Pop Daemon Princes as they appear. Once everything is de-meched, or close to it, launch your CC elements and/or Splinter down the rest of his army. Congratulations. You’ve tabled him. The only way to really throw this game away is to do things entirely out of order, charge dangerous squads when you haven’t weakened them, roll badly, and go second on a terrain-less board within firing distance of most of his army.

I Can Play Too: The lone power build out there is Lash Spam, where you run into two Daemon Princes with Lash of Submission and 3x 3 Obliterators. The DPs use Lash to move squads out of cover, where the Obliterators will plant three Plasma Cannons on the unfortunate suckers, pretty much annihilating them. The Troops are likely Plague Marines and Elites, if any, are Terminators Deep Striking with Combimeltas. Unfortunately for this “power build,” Lash doesn’t work against vehicles, which means that against a standard mechanized army, it’ll struggle to do anything meaningful until the Obliterators are dead. The other problem is that it’s not much different than any other build you’re likely to encounter, so beating it is much the same as beating the army as I explained above: drop the Obliterators, kill their mobility, drop the Daemon Princes as they close, then mop up the Plague Marines.

Sorry, Chaos! I want to like you. So badly.

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PostSubject: Re: Hashmal Takes on the Universe: A Compendium for the Aspiring Archon to Destroy Every Army in the Game   Tue Jun 07 2011, 05:39

Reserved: Dark Angels

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PostSubject: Re: Hashmal Takes on the Universe: A Compendium for the Aspiring Archon to Destroy Every Army in the Game   Tue Jun 07 2011, 05:39

Eldar

Who Dat: Our pointy-eared cousins from across the galaxy, the Eldar are a weak and feeble race, ripe for domination, despoilment, and destruction as a result of their adherence to a dying, silly tradition.

Sort of like that. Was I suitably in character?

Eldar armies consist of units quite similar in stats to our own: WS 3-4, S3, T3, Initiative 4-5, standard attacks, and saves ranging from 3+ to 5+. They’re also the proud owners of Fast Skimming vehicles as the mainstay of their mechanized contingent, and in fact are the only other race besides the Eldar who rely on such vehicles. The Eldar also make wide use of the Fleet rule, allowing their assault elements to reposition quicker than other armies and still get a charge off. They hold the silver medal in the Fastest Army category for Warhammer 40k, coming in second only behind us – and they’re not much slower, believe me.

Despite their similarities, Eldar and Dark Eldar armies do not play the same way and share very few strengths. Dark Eldar armies rely on larger numbers of soldiers and vehicles, owing to the inherent fragility of everything in the army, with nearly all unit options in a Dark Eldar list geared towards incredible offensive output at the cost of middling to almost nonexistent defensive capabilities. In addition, Dark Eldar armies can also increase their resilience through Pain Tokens as the game goes on. Eldar, being a 4th edition codex, have no such analogue.

Eldar armies are all about quality specialist units in the right place at the right time. This is somewhat of their Achilles’ Heel – because their units are so concretely defined in their role, they make target priority for their opponents easy. Do I have an Ork horde? Don’t care about Fire Dragons. Do I have a Chaos mech list? I care about Fire Dragons. Eldar units, on average, are more survivable in baseline statistics or upgrades than Dark Eldar units. Their vehicles too are also more survivable, being closed-top and boasting higher average AV. This all comes at a cost, though – Eldar armies sport fewer numbers of troops and vehicles than Dark Eldar armies, as many of their specialists don’t come cheap and their vehicle options reach nearly double the cost of ours. Their shared strength with the Dark Eldar is speed, and we’re going to get into that pretty hot and heavy. Often, games between Eldar and Dark Eldar armies will come down to who was more effective at crippling the other’s mobility.

Unlike some “nemesis” match-ups out there (namely, Grey Knights and Daemons), Eldar vs. Dark Eldar games are always a treat to watch. Neither army is very forgiving to mistakes and both are more reliant on positioning than most other 40k armies. A good Eldar player squaring off against a good Dark Eldar player is rarely dull and can get quite intricate quite quickly – until I fluff all my armor pen rolls, as is normal.

The Good: Let’s look at the best part right out of the gate: Jes Goodwin and Phil Kelly wrote this codex and designed the model range. The only other army that received such star treatment? The Dark Eldar codex and new model range. We’re talking quality right here.

Eldar strengths are a bit different versus other armies as compared to Dark Eldar armies. For one, their lower Toughness hurts the efficiency of our guns, as we’re still wounding them on a 4+. However, lacking higher toughness targets (for the most part), we can look past this.

Eldar accomplish AT and AI fire in different ways as compared to Dark Eldar armies. We are reliant on vehicle-mounted Dark Lances for much of our AT, with Venoms and troops pulling up the AI slack. It is not uncommon for Eldar armies to use troop-mounted AT to nasty effect (Fire Dragons) and a mix of vehicle-mounted AT (Bright Lances, Missile Launchers, Pulse Lasers) and AI (Shuriken Cannons, Scatter Lasers) to topple enemy armies.

The big thing Eldar have going for them coming against Dark Eldar players? Their vehicle AI mentioned above is medium-to-high volume S6 firepower, making it excellent versus our vehicles AND great AI weapons that deny our average Feel no Pain option (Coven units excused). If you’re building a Wych or Warrior army around Pain tokens, Eldar armies packing a good amount of Shuriken Cannons and Scatter Lasers will put sadness in your hearts. This firepower also comes in the 24” and 36” variety – double plus ungood. Eldar get suppression fire; we get massed Dark Lances. They work differently and it’s really hard to say which of us came out better for it.

Another notable strength of the Eldar armies is the resiliency of their vehicles. You’d never think 12/12/10 Skimmers could be so rugged, but then you’ve clearly never fought an Eldar player using Holofields on his Falcons. True, you’ll be able to stop them from shooting, but stopping them from moving? Good luck. Eldar vehicles will be late-game players, I promise.

Finally, one of the greatest benefits of the Eldar is their array of Psychic powers, which we have very little to nothing to use in retaliation. Though they’re not as flashy as some of the new psychic toys other armies are getting, the Eldar powers rank among some of the best in the game, acting as huge force multipliers that turn average squads of grunts into frothing-mouthed killing machines. You’ve never seen a unit disappear until you’ve witnessed a full squad of Dire Avengers Bladestorming while under the effects of Guide and Doom. Your jaw will hit the floor, I promise.

Add in some of the best reserve manipulation in the game, so that Eldar armies can stay off the board in Reserve until they want to come in, and you might be asking yourself: how the hell can I beat these guys?

The Bad: This amount of pants-wetting awesomesauce comes at a price. A steep one, in fact. Remember how I said Eldar armies won’t field as many units as you? Well, when your army’s standard transport option is 100 points in its cheapest (and suboptimal) configuration, you won’t be fielding so many either.

Second, though Eldar armies can field some pretty withering volume of fire, the average BS of squads shooting those guns is a 3. Yes, they do have a way around this in the form of a Psychic power, but that power can’t be everywhere at once.

Third, this is an older codex, from another time in the game when things were priced differently. Though often twin-linked, Bright Lances (perfect analogues to Dark Lances as they’re the same freaking thing) are almost double the cost of their twin in the Dark Eldar book – especially rude since their platforms are almost universally BS3. Additionally, many troops are a bit more expensive than you’d like, many weapon options are pricey, and multiple units include mandatory upgrades before they can be taken.

Fourth, while the Eldar field some wicked S6 suppression fire, their long-ranged AT is still accomplished through Lances, and they won’t be taking a third the number we do, owing to high costs and limited options to field them. For true AT, Eldar usually prefer to get up close and personal with Fire Dragons and (occasionally) Fusion Pistols – two things our use of Night Shields neuter.

Fifth, Eldar armies, since they’re smaller, feel casualties more poignantly than a Dark Eldar army. I cut my teeth on DE armies where I fed my guys into the meat grinder, knowing more were coming. This isn’t a strategy you can get away with when playing Eldar.

Finally, since so many of their suppression fire is vehicle-mounted, they keenly feel the results of Vehicle Shaken, which they’ll experience often thanks to AV12 as their maximum armor value.

There’s more, but it’s more valuable to explore later.

Power Builds: Thanks to 5th edition, there’s really only one build that keeps the Eldar viable as a competitive army: Mech Eldar. Fortunately for the Eldar, this is still a hard army to beat. Mech Eldar armies can take a few forms, which I’ll outline below.

You’ll note the absence of Seer Councils here. There’s a reason for that.

Down and Dirty: Let’s get into it, Eldar style.

HQ

Autarch

Hashmal’s Rating: 5 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Autarchs are kind-of combat characters and my love for combat characters knows no bounds, since our Archons are usually their equal or better for fewer points. However, Autarchs can also kit for shooting, having options to take the standard wargear available to any of the Eldar Aspects – but not their Exarch gear. As a combat character, the Autarch is underwhelming, sporting a low Toughness, standard Eldar Strength, and a not-terribly impressive Armor or Invulnerable save. You don’t take him for that, though. Best kits for the Autarch are ones that complement the rest of your army, either as a minor CC character or a shooting character (BS6 Fusion Gun is not bad, gents).

Your opponent will only take an Autarch in the event they want to use the Autarch’s Master Strategist special rule, which allows the Eldar player to modify his Reserve rules as he sees fit: + or – 1 to the roll for every Autarch the player controls. This makes the Eldar army able to play Reserve denial games extremely well, since they can ensure that things don’t really come in until they want them. As the Autarch can use this special rule while off the board, there won’t be much you can do to shut it down. It’s a different game and is occasionally found as part of a Mech Eldar build.

Since the Autarch is a middling character otherwise, killing him’s pretty straightforward and can be accomplished by multiple elements in the DE army. Eldar units, while more resilient than ours, ain’t exactly ceramic defecatoriums. He’ll be linked with a squad, which you’ll kill pretty quickly, and take him down too. Shooting or CC will work just fine. He falls over to pretty much any of our CC elements, hence why he’s not really a threat.

Farseer

Hashmal’s Rating: 9 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 5 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Finally – a non-combat character. The Farseer is the Psyker extraordinaire of the Eldar army and applies multiple layers of threats through his Psychic powers.

Most other armies out there employ Psychic powers to debilitate the enemy’s mobility or deal damage. Half the Eldar powers are focused on making Eldar units flat out better. Depending on the loadout will determine how threatening the Farseer is to your army. Here are the powers:

Doom: The best of the big baddies, this spell can be cast against any target within 24”, is not a shooting attack, is cast at the beginning of the Eldar turn, and does not require LoS to use. All Wound rolls the target unit suffers may be re-rolled. This hurts, seriously increasing the effectiveness of all Eldar attacks. A lesser-known but cunningly-used tact for this power is to re-roll successful Wound Rolls to keep an Eldar squad in combat longer. The power doesn’t specify re-rolls only for failed Wound rolls, after all. This is a solid ability and a Farseer packing this spell will cause your disembarked squads a world of pain. Does not work on vehicles.

Eldritch Storm: Psychic attack used in the shooting phase (note: I see nothing that says this thing scatters or that it is fired like a weapon) that lobs a S3 AP- Large Blast at something within 18”. Only selling point is that vehicles eat a 2D6+3 hit if touched and get spun in a random direction determined by a Scatter Die. Only time you should see this is on Eldrad. Amusing on car parks of Guard with vehicles touching each other, but otherwise a very meager ability.

Fortune: The utter bane of my existence, Fortune allows the Farseer’s nominated squad (6” range, no LoS needed) to re-roll all saves until the next Eldar turn. Ew. Since it affects cover saves, it often finds its way onto vehicles as well (yep, they’re eligible). This power is a staple of Eldar survivability, though the 6” range lowers its usefulness dramatically. Still, with careful positioning on the Eldar player’s part, you too will curse your way through a heavily armored squad. Shooting at a squad of Striking Scorpions sporting a re-rollable 3+ with Splinter weapons is the height of unfun. It’s like a squad of Fateweavers. Things with Stealth? Fuggedaboudit. Use of this ability will determine a lot of your target priority choices. Normally, if Fortune is on a squad and you can’t ignore their save somehow, you ignore that squad or tarpit it.

Guide: Grants the twin-linked ability to a squad within 6” of the Psyker. Again, limited in usefulness because of overall range, but can be used in tandem with Eldar BS3 vehicles to pump out some horrifying amounts of fire. Guide/Doom is a popular combo: grant re-rolls to hit to one squad and re-rolls to Wound against the enemy squad and watch the enemy squad get cut to pulpy ribbons.

Mind War: 18” character sniping power that counts as a Psychic shooting attack (so no Eldritch Storm + Mind War combos), this power pits the Farseer’s leadership against your own in a d6 dice off, with your model losing an equal number of wounds to the amount he lost the dice-off by. Since Farseers are Ld10, this can be daunting for things carrying a special weapon or some prized piece of gear. Invuln saves can damper this, as can LoS. Further, the power can’t be used against embarked units. Situational utility, you’ll again probably only see this on Eldrad, as Farseers are paying points for better powers.

If their powers weren’t enough, Farseers come with wargear that greatly aids them in passing Psychic tests and wargear that allows them to nullify Perils of the Warp, all but ensuring the power they want to occur does, in fact, occur. Since we have very little to mess with Psykers, Farseers are dangerous foes indeed.

As icing on the cake, Farseers also flip the biggest middle finger in 40k to opposing Psykers in the form of Runes of Warding. The Runes affect the entire battlefield (good GOD in an Apocalypse game) and make it extremely difficult for the opponent to get off a Psychic power as all Psychic tests must be taken on 3D6, added together, with Perils occurring on a roll of 12 or higher. Since the average roll on 3D6 is approximately 10.5, a Ld10 Psyker will fail more than half of their Psychic tests and eat a Perils of the Warp about 40% of the time – and not all Psykers are Ld10. This ability is the absolute and utter bane of Grey Knight players, but gets only a smug nod from Dark Eldar thralls and their lack of Psychic powers.

If this wasn’t enough, Farseers can also take an entourage of Warlocks and form what is lovingly referred to as the Seer Council, a squad of psychic power-wielding, 2+ wounding, Invulnerable save rolling maniacs with a pretty impressively low number of attacks. Further, these jerks can take Jetbikes. Your HQ just got jealous, didn’t he? I’ll get into how to deal with Seer Councils later.

Depending on what the Farseer’s role in an army is will determine how to deal with him. Engaging him in CC does not shut up his ability to cast spells; you have to kill him to stop that, and you can bet that if you engage him and don’t kill him, the Eldar player will make mighty sure you don’t live through the following turn to try that again. Guide/Doom Farseers are nasty for their ability to point at your squads and make them dead. Fortuneseers are annoying as all get-out to take down, as all Farseers come with Invulnerable saves. Further, since they’re usually quite integral to how Eldar players use their army, the Farseer will be generally well-protected, so taking them down will involve multiple layers of frustration – usually a vehicle (they can cast while embarked as they don’t need LoS for their good abilities) and a supporting squad.

The biggest thing you can do is limit his mobility. Sink his ride as quickly as you can so that the only power he can reasonably use is Doom. If you can strand the Farseer away from his army for a turn or two, you can do enough damage to the Eldar to make his inclusion feel unnecessary.

Lacking that, try to pummel him down as quickly as possible, or demolish the squads he’s keen on supporting. If he’s a Fortuneseer, that’s a lot easier said than done. Kill him with Splinter fire or CC; for all of his amazing support elements, the Farseer is a kitten in CC and cannot ignore Armor Saves (though he does wound on 2s).

Warlocks

Hashmal’s Rating: 7 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Warlocks will be found peppered into a couple of Eldar armies in different places. They’re in the HQ section because each Farseer can take a squad of 3-10 of the little buggers. At a minimum of 25 points, they’re not a terrible buy. 2 CC attacks that wound on a 2+, 4++, and the ability to ride Jetbikes and/or to take a short-ranged S9 AT shooting weapon (Singing Spear). Additionally, their available abilities all have their instances where they’re useable. Conceal grants a Cover save (useful if you’re taking Wraithguard or Guardians), Destructor is a 10 point Heavy Flamer, Embolden grants re-rolls to Leadership (usually the worst, but it’s cheap), and Enhance boosts the squad’s WS and I – useful for Seer Councils and not much else.

Warlocks will be discussed later in this tactica, as they’re integral to a build which scares many a player: the Seer Council. As a squad upgrade, though, they’re usually just another body that provides a wound, some minor CC potential, and a psychic power that’s often Conceal.

The Avatar of Khaine

Hashmal’s Rating: 7 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: In other armies, the Avatar would be a solid choice. Cheap MC with a ludicrous WS, a very high Init, 4 Attacks, and standard MC S and T. In addition, he’s immune to Melta and Flame weapons, so if your opponent was going to rely on Meltaguns to pop his T6 hide, they’re going to have to think again. Further, he provides a bubble of Fearless to all Eldar troops around him – not bad. Oh, he comes with a BS5 Meltagun too. All on a reasonably priced platform.

So, why won’t you see him? He’s an MC and thus cannot be transported and also competes with Farseers for an HQ slot. The Avatar, like many MCs outside of Tyranids and Daemons, is only really good at walking forward and hitting things. Unlike the rest of the Eldar army, he’s kind of slow, getting no movement bonuses at all.

Dealing with him is much like dealing with any other T6 4W MC out there: Splinter fire until dead. His WS is extremely high, so if you charge him, you’re going to be hitting on 5s. Plus, he might have Fortune hanging around. If he does, just ignore the git – his threat range is laughable and he’s not scoring.

Prince Yriel of Iyanden

Hashmal’s Rating: 10 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 2 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: He has a monocle that lights things on fire. Go ahead, find me another character sporting something half as cool. Take your time; I’ll wait.

Yriel is a solid choice if you’ve decided to pull Reserve shenanigans with an Autarch. He’ll come in slightly more expensive, but is much killier in CC, able to bathe squads in flame and wound everything on a 2+ and deny Armor Saves. Sadly, he doesn’t have two CC weapons, so his attacks are a bit lower than you’d want. He can, however, punk transports with his throwing spear. Respect him a bit, will ya?

Yriel’s biggest downside is his lack of personal mobility, necessitating a transport option, which is only a downside as they’re not precisely cheap and they’re not Open Topped or Assault Vehicles. Also, he may give up a kill point at the end of the game by offing himself, but we really don’t care about that – it’s neat if it happens.

Still, he’s not break-the-bank expensive. If you’re committed to playing Reserve denial games and want an Autarch that can hit things in CC, Yriel will outperform the standard Autarch you just built.

Kill him like a regular Autarch, but watch out for that flaming monocle of his – it bakes squads wholesale.

Eldrad Ulthran

Hashmal’s Rating: SCREW THIS GUY (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 6 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Hey, ain’t he supposed to be dead?

For my analysis of Eldrad, please go read the Farseer entry above first, because that’s what Eldrad is – three Farseers rolled into one. He sports every Eldar Psychic power in the game and can machine-gun off three of them a turn – two of which can be identical. Yes, that means he can cast Doom on two squads a turn. He also comes with every single piece of wargear a Farseer can take and sports a better CC weapon (though it’s not a Singing Spear so he can’t throw it).

That enough? No? He also has the ability to redeploy D3+1 Eldar units at the start of the game. Oh, and he has a 3++ save, so with Fortune up, he’s a mini-Fateweaver that can hide in squads.

My biggest beef with Eldrad is that he does absolutely everything a Farseer does, and does it much better. Were you to take a Farseer with Eldrad’s kit (you can, minus the Staff of Ulthamar), he ends up being more points than Eldrad – and Eldrad has special rules on top of that!

Against a Dark Eldar player, Eldrad is a nightmare. The ability to rattle off Dooms means your de-meched squads are going to get demolished. He has every Psychic power standard, so can always choose what he wants to do. He’ll be extremely well-protected, hiding in a squad in a transport. Also, when you do finally corner him, he’ll Fortune himself, Doom you, and then watch as you eat a re-rollable 3++ until you are quite literally ready to cry blood.

His downside? He is not cheap, especially considering that anti-Psyker gear shuts him down hard. However, we don’t get that.

Dealing with him will be very hard and will depend on how your opponent is using him to bolster his army. As with a Farseer, if you can strand him away from the army for a turn or two, that’s huge and should be done. The last thing you want to do is overextend and try to nuke Eldrad. It’ll take a ton of focus and probably leave you in a bad position, since he’ll be hiding within the army and force you out of position to deal with him.

Another way to deal with him is his escort. Find the squad he’s with and assault it. Mulch it in CC and kill him via Sweeping Advance. Archons and Succubi are ideally suited to running him down with their high Initaitives.

Asurmen

Hashmal’s Rating: 2 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: All Phoenix Lords sport the same stat line (which, by the way, is the exact same statline as Drahzar… HINT. HINT.), but differ in their rules and wargear. I’ll keep them brief, as they’re all of questionable to negligible value.

Asurmen is more expensive than Eldrad and way worse. He’s got some decent CC potential, all Dire Avenger powers, and makes Dire Avengers Fearless. That’s it. All your points, please.

He’ll be in a squad of Dire Avengers. Rapid fire them down and charge the remnants. For his cost, he dies extremely quickly, though his Phoenix Lord Initiative means you should match an Archon with him. Easily the worst Phoenix Lord, he does nothing for Dire Avengers they can’t do themselves.

Jain Zar

Hashmal’s Rating: 5 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Combat character (tee hee) that actually hits much like a truck in CC at S6. Further, her Triskele actually hurts, unlike the normal Howling Banshee one. Jain Zar is in her element charging into Tactical Marines and wiping the floor with what she leaves behind. We’re not Marines. Shoot her and whatever she’s with until dead. Be careful of assaulting her: the Banshee Mask ensures you’re definitely not striking first and Acrobatic gives her a charge-level number of attacks.

Baharroth

Hashmal’s Rating: 2 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Poor Bird Lord got nerfed from his old Sustained Attack iteration. Baharroth, ironically, works best as a HWG/DS, but costs a staggering number of points. His gun is okay, he has a Power Weapon, and can Hit & Run and do the Swooping Hawk rubber band through Skyleap. Basically, he’s a super Exarch for about six times the cost. He does nothing the Hawks don’t already do.

Kill him at your leisure. He’s as threatening and exciting as a bowl of warm pudding.

Karandras

Hashmal’s Rating: 5 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 2 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: This guy can actually fight in CC, so that’s a bonus. Further, with Stealth, Infiltrate, and Move Through Cover, he and a group of Striking Scorpions are ideal cover-hoppers, hunting down Long Fangs with abandon. Too bad they can’t fleet (soon guys – soon!)

However, he’s a boat of points for what’s essentially a Power Fist with 6 charging attacks and no Invuln save. Questionable, really. Try and engage him out of cover, since shooting him with Stealth up will turn annoying super fast. Assaulting him can hurt, but at least this guy’s tempted to use his Claw for I1 attacks, and with no Invuln save you might chop him down before he gets to swing.

Fuegan

Hashmal’s Rating: 7 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 3 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Fuegan’s interesting. He sports the ability to absolutely demolish vehicles with a Fire Pike (18” Melta Gun can I get a HELL YEAH) Melta bombs (which you’ll rarely use) and the ability to strike as a S5 MC in close combat. Further, his Warrior powers augment his tank-busting prowess through Crack Shot and Tank Hunter. What’s more, he’s a 2+ save with FnP. He’s actually not bad! Night Shields neuter his shooting, though.

Of course, that means he’s over 200 points (Asurmen costs more, though, the git). Still, if you’re determined to use a Phoenix Lord, Fuegan’s your man.

To kill him, strand his squad and shoot him a lot. If you attack him in CC, prepare for some pain. Fuegan hits like a truck. Use Wyches with Agonisers on the Hekatrixes, as Fuegan’ll rock Incubi and Hellions with his I7. Beastmasters also work, since Rending attacks ignore FnP and he can’t instant-death the Razorwing Flocks.

Sidebar: His model is sweeeeeeeeeeet! Then again, most of the Phoenix Lords look great. Asurmen looks dorky and Jain Zar looks like she got mauled by a bear, though.

Maugan Ra

Hashmal’s Rating: 8 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 3 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Maugan Ra, aside from being an excellent name for a metal band, is much better than the Dark Reapers he purports to lead. His signature weapon, the Maugetar is a 36” Assault 4 S6 AP5 Pinning Rending gun – somewhat scary versus other armies, horrifying versus DE. If the Dark Reapers carried this gun around, we’d be quite scared, indeed. In addition, his gun also works as a +1S Power Weapon too, so charging him isn’t fun either! Some genius thought it was a good idea to make him the second-cheapest Phoenix Lord, which isn’t saying much.

Fortunately, his powers are a bit schizophrenic, since he can only benefit from one per turn. Unfortunately, they’re both really good against our vehicles, with Fast Shot turning that gun of his into an Assault 5 (yikes) and Crack Shot allowing him to ignore Cover Saves (YIKES).

Maugan Ra will prove to be a thorn in your side until killed. Similar strategies to dealing with other Phoenix Lords: splat his escort, then splat him. If Harlequins were cheaper, you’d probably see him hanging out with a Shadowseer more – and that would be a very bad thing, indeed.

Elites

Striking Scorpions

Hashmal’s Rating: 6 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Power armored Eldar assault specialists that can Infiltrate and love to spring from cover. They’re half decent at hunting down fire support squads. However, the lack of assault vehicles in an Eldar list hurts their mobility (Infiltrate helps) and they can’t Fleet, since this is before the days when 3+ Armor Save Eldar units could Fleet (Incubi are that much better now).

Incubi and Striking Scorpions are paired against each other, largely for fluff reasons as the Incubi temples were started by the fallen Striking Scorpion Phoenix Lord, Ahra. They apparently hate the crap out of each other and often find reasons to hunt each other down. On the table top, it’s no question who comes out ahead: Incubi scythe through the Scorpions, leaving little more than puddles. Scorpions lack any kind of Invuln save and struggle getting through heavy armor, though they are excellent at mopping up light armored troops. Against DE, they’re ideally suited to assaulting… Warriors. Not a strong selling point.

Scorpions are allergic to Power Weapons and/or Rending attacks. Additionally, they hate things that strike before they do. Wyches, Beastmasters, and Incubi are renowned for embarrassing these guys in CC. Hellions should hang back until the squad’s weakened. Though they’ll strike at the same time, the Hellion’s low save will make them vulnerable to the Scorpions’ high volume of attacks (3 per Scorpion).

This is one of the rare times I advocate CC over shooting as the optimal way to take out a squad, but that’s because DE CC is very excellent versus many of the Eldar options. Of course, you can just Splinter them down – it’s much like shooting a squad of Space Marines.

Fire Dragons

Hashmal’s Rating: 10 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 3 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Fire Dragons constantly rank among my examples of some of the best units in the game. Roughly a Tactical Marine in points for a BS4 dude in 4+ armor carrying a Melta gun. Not shabby at all. Their Exarch can also provide excellent powers that enhance the squad’s ability to kersplat tanks and can take a Heavy Flamer, providing some pretty amazing duality (though it’s usually the first thing I drop when list building). Fire Dragons are great: amazing AT potential with solid AI backup fire.

Naturally, as they’re carrying tank-busting AP1 weapons, they’re a big threat to a Dark Eldar army. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to neutralize them: Night Shields reduce their effective range to 6”, requiring them to get impressively close. Killing them is easy: 4+ armor save isn’t exactly like busting through a fortress and their CC abilities are nonexistent. What you need to do first is to sink their transport. With their close engagement range and lack of mobility themselves, Fire Dragons are at their worst hung out in the middle of nowhere.

Against other armies, Fire Dragons are more threatening – but, then again, S6 firepower isn’t so frightening against those armies. We have other problems.

Wraithguard

Hashmal’s Rating: 2 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Monopose, GO! Static and dull, Wraithguard sport an amazing Toughness and good armor save. Further, they can be taken as Troops, which is definitely nifty. Their gun is incredibly destructive, too!

HOWEVER.

They’re slow as molasses, take up 2 spots in a transport (so cannot be Troops and have mobility…), their excellent T6 is ignored by our Poisoned weapons, and they are positively terrible in CC. They’re also Stupid… er… have Wraithsight, which means if the Spiritseer dies to a lucky shot, your squad has a 1/6 chance of standing around, drooling. As if that wasn’t enough, they’re also extremely expensive.

Night Shields entirely neuter their offensive capability. Splinter fire them down, or assault with Power Weapons/Poisoned Weapons, as your S3 models will bounce off that T6. Beware of the sneaky Fortuneseer who likes to protect these guys and bring power weapons. If you can get Furious Charge on your Incubi, go Wraithguard hunting.

Howling Banshees

Hashmal’s Rating: 6 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Why does it feel like, to me at least, that Dark Eldar CC is the perfect Yang to the Eldar’s Ying? Incubi and Scorpions run at each other; Scorpions explode. The two female-oriented Space Fairy CC squads, Wyches and Howling Banshees, run at each other and the Wyches take all the teeth out of the Banshees.

Banshees sport power weapons. With Doom cast on an opposing squad, they’ll blend it apart. Problem is, unlike Incubi, those Power Weapons are only S3. Banshees are 25% (roughly) cheaper than Incubi, so such things are to be expected. They’re lower survivability at a 4+ save and lower WS, but sport SUPER ASSAULT GRENADES through the Banshee Mask, which all but ensures they strike first in the first round of any assault, charging or charged. If you have delusions that you’re going to get the jump on Banshees, pack that in now. You have to be a Keeper of Secrets to reach those levels naturally.

There are really two ways to deal with Banshees: sink their ride and then sink them either through Poisoned firepower or Wych CC (yay Invuln saves). Banshees will make a mockery of your Pain tokens, so Coven units are not recommended. Beastmasters can do okay, but volume of wounds may be threatening, especially if the Exarch took Acrobatics (most don’t). Hellions will get the stupid knocked out of them should they charge, as will Incubi.

Eldar hurt for assault vehicles of any kind, so Banshees eat a double whammy of not being able to assault out of a moving vehicle and competing for space with Fire Dragons.

Harlequin Troupe

Hashmal’s Rating: 6 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: These clowns should look familiar to you. They’re the exact same ones the Dark Eldar can take, except the Dark Eldar’s are better because they can come out of a WWP. Elite CC specialists (WS5 yay!) with Rending attacks, the ability to get melta pistols, and a 5++ save, Harlequins excel in moving up the field and killing things in CC. They’re very strong against gunlines through the Shadowseer, who can prevent nearly all but a few lucky shots from making it to the squad – a very wise investment. Further, Death Jesters sport improved Shuriken Cannons, though you probably won’t see them much.

Their downsides: overall fragility means that Harlequins can get dead pretty fast if they don’t Rend a lot in CC and their point cost is a bit higher than you’d normally like to pay. They also have no transport options and are stuck hoofing it until they jack someone else’s ride.

Dealing with Harlequins in a DE list is much like dealing with Banshees: tie them up with Wyches. Beastmasters work extremely well, as their high volume of attacks can overwhelm the Harlequin’s fragile Invuln save, though you’ll definitely eat damage in return. Harlequins are fast and have many attacks – respect that. If you’re going to shoot them, get into Rapid Fire range and unload. Further out and you’re quite likely to miss them altogether.

Wave Serpent

Hashmal’s Rating: 8 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 4 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: While Eldar troops tend to fall lower on the power curve versus our clearly superior army, their vehicles are rock-solid terrors Wave Serpents are Fast Skimmers, sporting a 12/12/10 AV rating and the ability to pack two S6 guns on their chassis. Additionally, they come with an Energy Field that treats all weapons above S8 as S8 for the purposes of penetration and ensure that Melta never gets the additional D6. Since the mainstay of our tank pop is S8 and since Wave Serpents can’t take Holofields, we don’t care, though that does make Heat Lances practically useless. Wave Serpents can manifest as S6 boats or as twin-linked Lance boats. In addition, a cheap upgrade lets them downgrade Stunned to Shaken results and they can take Star Engines to move up to 12” further a turn (less random than Aethersails; cannot be used for Ram results, though while our sails can).

Their big downsides: overall cost and standard BS3. I wonder why the Eldar make the scrubs pilot their vehicles.

Wave Serpents, like other Eldar vehicles, must be neutralized or suppressed quickly. Massed S6 firepower will tear your army apart. Hit Wave Serpents with your Lance weaponry or Haywire Blasters until you at least achieve a Shaken/Stunned result. Over the course of the game, the design will be Immobilized/Wrecked/Explodes results, but at a minimum ensure these awful vehicles are not clear to fire on you whenever they feel like it.

Suppressing Eldar firepower should be the first thing you do every turn with your weaponry.

_________________
Tactical ponce.

I has a mod piggy. pig


Last edited by Hashmal on Wed Jun 15 2011, 06:32; edited 3 times in total
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Hashmal
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PostSubject: Re: Hashmal Takes on the Universe: A Compendium for the Aspiring Archon to Destroy Every Army in the Game   Tue Jun 07 2011, 05:39

Troops

Dire Avengers

Hashmal’s Rating: 6 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 2 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Dire Avengers are the first Troop choice available in the codex and the only Aspect Warrior Troop choice for those of you looking to field a Biel Tan Craftworld list. Dire Avengers both succeed by, and suffer from, being extremely straightforward: 4+ save, BS4, and an 18” Assault 2 gun with Bolter stats. The Exarch brings the focus of the squad home: either tarpit or infantry annihilation. Exarchs can take two Shuriken Catapults (how awesome is that?!), a Diresword and pistol (crap S3 power weapon that causes ID), or a power weapon and Shimmershield (5++ save to the entire squad, note: does not give him extra attack). In addition, he can take two powers: Bladestorm and Defend.

The powers he takes and the size of the squad will ultimately determine what it does. If Bladestorm, prepare for a fusillade of shots as each Dire Avenger is able to fire an additional shot when he activates this ability. Caveat: they can’t shoot the following shooting phase, giving you effectively two turns of reprisal against the squad. If Defend, prepare for silly tarpit as any models in CC with that squad have all of their attacks reduced by 1 (15 points for unit-wide Shardnets, oh how sad I am), to a minimum of 1. Defend is often coupled with the Shimmershield to take the teeth out of power weapon assault squads – and it works like a charm. If MSU sized with no Exarch, they’re going in a Falcon or Wave Serpent and staying there.

There are three distinct ways to deal with the Dire Avengers, depending on what they’ve got. If Bladestorm, try to bait an early Bladestorm, where he doesn’t really kill much of what you have or anything you’re going to miss. Alternatives are to use vehicles with Night Shields to close, then jump into assault before they can shoot. Bladestorm + Doom is a surefire recipe to lose a squad, so you want to be mighty careful with what you send in. If Defend, kill them by shooting, as I can tell you from experience that sending in pretty much anything but Razorwing Beastmasters will lead to a squad sitting in combat with these jerks FOREVER – especially if you send Incubi. They may have Bladestorm and Defend, but this is pretty rare as you’re starting to get expensive.

Commonly, Dire Avengers are taken MSU as a way to make one of their vehicles a scoring vehicle. Eldar vehicles are noted for resiliency, so making a vehicle that won’t die scoring is a pretty good thing. In this configuration, especially for objective games, sinking these vehicles while suppressing the rest is of paramount importance. I’ll get into this more below. Dire Avengers traditionally ride around in Falcons – you may have heard the phrase DAVU Falcon floating around the internet, but it can apply to any transport vehicle as DAVU stands for Dire Avenger Vehicle Upgrade. MSU Dire Avengers may be taken in Wave Serpents too, especially at ‘ard Boyz level where they’re looking to hull spam you.

Eldar vehicles are great. Eldar troops are usually left wanting, with a few exceptions. Dire Avengers are not that exception. Their downfall is a lack of role in an army that can spam S6 AI/light AT fire, as Bladestorm is then redundant and Defend isn’t valuable when your entire army can play keep away from scary assault things. Further, they’re about 2 points too expensive for their statline. Kill them with standard AI weaponry – there’s no mystery here.

Rangers

Hashmal’s Rating: 8 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 2 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: I’ll admit: I’m an unabashed Alaitoc fan and were I to play an Eldar army, this’d be my craftworld. I love the look and the fluff of Rangers. Too bad they’re crap against nearly every 5th edition army. They’re better against us, thanks to AV10 open-topped vehicles that Rangers can actually sink.

Rangers sport Sniper Rifles that count as AP1 on a to-hit roll of a 6. With the Pathfinder upgrade, that roll is a 5 or a 6. This can lead to dead transports if their dice get a bit hot. Further, Rangers Infiltrate, Move Through Cover, and have Stealth. What’s more, they can upgrade to Pathfinders, improving their AP rule as above and also granting them a +2 bonus to cover saves through Stealth, instead of the normal +1. A Fortuneseer near these guys in a woods makes them all but impossible to shift via shooting. There’s little reason to avoid the Pathfinder upgrade as an Eldar player.

However, there’s plenty of reason to avoid Rangers overall. Their Sniper Rifles are heavy weapons, making them a static firebase (Infiltrate helps them here). They’re also absolutely pants in CC and will die to a squad of Warriors assaulting them (Infiltrate hurts them here as they’ll likely start closer to your CC elements than they would otherwise, so that they can shoot sooner). As they’re entirely reliant on a cover save, they’re allergic to Template weapons – Heavy Flamers in particular evaporate the squad. Finally, they’re more than a Necron Warrior in points cost a piece, and that’s before the Pathfinder upgrade. Way too expensive for a standard Troop option that lacks any and all mobility (can’t even take a transport).

Their guns and their scoring status, coupled with their impossibility to shift while camping an objective, means we have to deal with them. If they’re in cover, shoot them only if you have no other infantry targets for your Splinter weaponry. Additionally, Deep Striking something near them usually works, as it gives them all of one turn to respond before the Rangers/Pathfinders are putty to anything that assaults out. Otherwise, maneuver your army up against them and charge at the first opportunity. Even if you go last, the Rangers are unlikely to win.

As they’re cover fiends, Liquifiers work wonders (the Shattershard is waaaaay overkill). Ideal way to deal with them: Duke army, Deep Strike a squad of Wracks with a Liquifier or two in there, hit, disembark, bathe squad. It’s a gamble, but when it works, it works big.

Guardians

Hashmal’s Rating: 3 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: I’ll be surprised if you ever see these guys. BS3 troopers with worse weaponry than their DE counterparts, worse overall statline, and only a hair cheaper. Guh.

They’ll be featured in one of two configurations: support weapons or Storm Guardians. Support weapon platforms are mobile heavy weapons (except for the Shuriken Cannon), which is good as the squad can reposition and not lose heavy firepower support. However, the support weapons are BS3 and ridiculously expensive (20 points for a Missile Launcher Space Marines get for free).

Storm Guardians are a bit different, eschewing the Shuriken Catapult for a pistol and sword. Storm Guardians are taken for one of two reasons: Template SPAAAAM or Fusion guns. With a Warlock sporting Destructor, Storm Guardians can pump out 3 templates per squad for under 130 points. Not shabby. Fusion Guns are also cheap for a Melta gun by another name, but BS3 hurts.

That’s really all there is to them. They’ll usually feature a Warlock giving them Destructor or Conceal. They’ll be MSU, as MSU for them is 10 strong, but they won’t be featured as a vehicle upgrade as Dire Avengers do it cheaper. All in all, not terribly impressive.

Use anything in your army to deal with them – Guardians are exactly as resilient as Dark Eldar Warriors, but have a worse CC statline. Charges by Warriors, mathematically, should win. Shooting works just fine, too. Save AT for the tanks. As far as Troops go, these guys are bad.

Also, why are these yum yums piloting all the Eldar vehicles?

Guardian Jetbike Squadron

Hashmal’s Rating: 6 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 3 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Eldar armies can take Jetbikes as Troops! Seethe with envy, DE players! Where DE bikes are fast and brutal, Eldar Jetbikes are… also fast (not as fast), but resilient. Their statline is similar to the Reaver Jetbike, but with worse WS, BS, I, and a better 3+ save. Thus, it should be pretty clear that these bikes don’t fight in CC. Further, every third Jetbike can take a Shuriken Cannon, which is what actually makes these guys a threat as mobile S6 firepower squads. They can also shoot and move, just like ours (hey, Eldar jetbikes! Who knew).

Problem for the Eldar is that their Jetbikes have an entirely underwhelming BS, though the rate of fire on the Cannons compensates somewhat. They’re also allergic to CC and tend to get their heads stoved in. They’re exactly as resilient as Space Marines versus shooting and that’s the best way to deal with them – exactly as you would any Space Marine. They’re just as expensive as our Jetbikes, too, so casualties hurt. You might see this squad in an MSU formation, but it’s pretty fragile. They can take a Warlock, but you won’t see it usually, as Warlocks on Jetbikes are a modeling nightmare and usually reserved for Seer Councils.

S6 firepower is the fear here. Drop these guys quickly with AI shooting before they decide your transports are lunch.

Note: Eldar Jetbikes are monetarily a lot more expensive than ours. Console your fellow Space Fairy player.

Fast Attack

Shining Spears

Hashmal’s Rating: 1 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Jetbikes with the profile they should’ve had all along. Further, all riders carry Laser Lances, which can work as (extremely) short-ranged tank pop. What’s more, the Exarch can carry what amounts to an AP4 Bright Lance at short range and can give the squad Skilled Rider and Hit and Run, letting them both take advantage of terrain and remove themselves from combat. Finally, charges from these guys hurt, as Laser Lances are S6 power weapons.

They sound amazing. Why did I rate them so low and say they’re not a threat? Multiple reasons. First, cost. Each bike is more than a Chaos Terminator in points, with the Exarch and his abilities skyrocketing that price tag. Second, each bike comes with one attack each. For a CC squad, that’s terrible – I don’t care how good your weapon is. Finally, the most number of Shining Spears you can have per squad is 5. So, they can’t mass attacks, they’re hideously expensive, and they can’t afford to take casualties. Why should an Eldar player field them?

That’s the exact thought process behind why you probably won’t see these guys on the battlefield.

Should you manage to see these flying pieces of crap, be aware that they do have Jetbikes, so can get close. Night Shields will remove all threat of their anemic shooting, and Splinter fire will spell their doom quick as a blink. For the minimal effort of killing five Space Marines, you too can blow a squad that can easily top 200 points off the table.

Warp Spiders

Hashmal’s Rating: 9 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: I can hear what you’re saying. “Hashmal, you delicious stud of a man, how can you rate the threat of Warp Spiders so low? All that S6 firepower! Is it because it’s AP-?”

No, that’s not the reason. Warp Spiders are an excellent unit that cost too much for what they do, though not a ton. Sporting jump packs and a 3+ save, Warp Spiders excel at jumping in and frying the enemy with a hail of S6 firepower (at least two shots per dude!), then using their special rule to teleport out in the Assault phase. Very spiffy. The entire aesthetic behind Warp Spiders, as well as how they play on the tabletop, leads me to love them very dearly. Additionally, they can take the necessary abilities to hit and run out of CC, so if you’re assaulting them, it had better be with something that kills them instantly – tarpits won’t work. Their power Surprise Assault is actually worthless now, since all jump infantry can Deep Strike, so if your opponent took this, he’s taking a handicap against you.

So what is it? Why do I discount them entirely? Easy answer: range. Night Shields completely neuter Warp Spiders, giving them only a 6” range on their weaponry. Warp Spiders like attacking from approximately 10 or 11”, then teleporting away. Against the Dark Eldar, it’s highly likely that a squad of Spiders that is close enough to shoot at your Night Shielded vehicle is not going to get far away enough to clear a deadly reprisal.

I love Warp Spiders against other armies, but against DE, they get splattered and are rarely in range to get anything vital. Deal with them using long range Splinter fire and deadly CC when close. Incubi, in particular, scythe through these guys without realizing they hit something.

Swooping Hawks

Hashmal’s Rating: 1 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Jump Infantry and their goodness pretty much ends there. Swooping Hawks sport average Aspect Warrior survivability, a pretty terrible but high rate of fire gun, and Haywire Grenades as standard kit. Their Exarch can allow them to leave the board and re-enter play via Deep Strike the following turn, and allow them to hit all vehicles on a 4+ in CC, regardless of how fast they moved – important for Haywire Grenades. Further, when they leave and re-enter play, the Eldar player can put a S4 AP5 large blast down that only scatters D6”, anywhere on the table. This might be their only use, and it’s pretty expensive at about 150 points once all relevant abilities are bought.

Dark Eldar, and most other armies, just don’t care about these guys. We have Haywire Grenades too and know they are at their least efficient versus our vehicles, since it’s so easy to blow ours out of the sky and Haywires focus on suppression. Please – suppress our vehicles! Further, a single S4 large blast per turn doesn’t exactly inspire fear – nor should it if you’re entirely mech’d up.

Kill them with AI firepower. These guys are turkeys.

Vyper Squadron

Hashmal’s Rating: 8 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 4 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Vypers get a bad rap. They’re lauded as overpriced and too fragile.

“Oh, really?” sayeth the Dark Eldar. We’re the kings of fragility, though our costs are reasonable. What does the Vyper bring? It’s a small profile vehicle, Fast Skimmer, 10 AV all around and open-topped. Under a Chimera in cost base and it must bring another weapon – cheapest being 5 points. What does that buy you? 3 S6 shots and 2 S4 shots. That’s… not terrible. Explore it a bit more and you’ll realize the subtle sexiness of the Vypers. For just above a Venom in cost, you can throw 7 S6 shots downfield – 4 from 36”, 3 from 24”.

That’s approaching Venom spam levels of good for AI firepower, and S6 can also pull double duty against AV10-11 vehicles, which is, oh, our entire army.

Vypers are excellent vehicles to use against us and should be a mainstay gap filler in a mech Eldar army. They might die quickly, but they can pump out a volley of fire that should put fear into many an army. The vehicle upgrades are a trap for the Eldar player given this vehicle’s glass cannon nature, so they shouldn’t be seen on the Vyper. Also, squadron rules suck, but your standard Mech Eldar list should include 3 of these solo, using up all Fast Attack options. Honestly, in my opinion, their only downside is a BS3. They should have BS4 for their price – but, then again, being only a few points above the mark is pretty much the theme of the Eldar codex.

Versus us, Vypers are bad news bears. They cannot be used for blocking, since our vehicles just fly over them. This makes suppressing them highly important as you remove a large amount of their usefulness and relegate them to objective-grabbers late game, should they live. They’re fragile platforms and should be focused down early, since your Lances operate at a high degree of efficiency. Do not waste precious Heat Lance shots here.

In my opinion, the Venom is a superior vehicle to the Vyper, but only barely. The Vyper is too expensive, but only by about 5 or 10 points. That’s not enough to make it a bad buy. Though the Venom has a higher BS, a higher rate of fire, a longer range with weaponry, an Invuln save base, and transport capacity, the Vyper has *much* better weaponry except against T8 MCs (who cares), gets the same cover save as a Venom, and is approximately the same size. As it doubles as a transport-killer, the Vyper skyrockets in value against the Venom, nearly making up for its deficiencies on that strength alone.

Heavy Support

Support Weapon Battery

Hashmal’s Rating: 1 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: I forgot these guys were even in the codex – that’s how bad they are. Support weapons crewed by 2 Guardians per weapon, which means BS3 artillery. Awesome. Further, unlike Guardians, these weapons cannot move and shoot. Okay…

The weapons they can take range from nifty to garbage. The D-Cannon hurts like bloody hell, and would be great, except it’s a Terminator in points a platform and is a regular Blast weapon, meaning that BS3 is keenly felt. It also has a pitiful range, though it can fire Indirect. The Vibrocannon is amusing and good for suppressing vehicles, but it’s the only weapon that needs to roll to hit – again, BS3. The Shadow Weaver is a Blast, 48” weapon that fires Indirect, but it’s only S6 AP- and, again, BS3 on a regular Blast is pretty pants.

All of the weapon options are terrible against the DE, who either outrange the gun or don’t care about it. Splinter fire these jokers down. If you get close enough, just assault them – they’re Guardians. Frankly, only shoot at these guys if there’s nothing else to target. Their threat is pitiful against any good army.

Dark Reapers

Hashmal’s Rating: 3 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 2 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Devastators and Long Fangs, these guys ain’t. Dark Reapers are immobile fire support squads, sporting heavy infantry-annihilating heavy weapons. The Reaper Launcher hurts: 48” S5 AP3 weaponry, designed to cut through MEQ like butter.

We’re not MEQ. Their guns, as a result, take an immediate efficiency hit. Fortunately for them, Dark Reapers are slightly better against DE than almost any other race in the game, as they can pull double-duty on our vehicles.

Dark Reapers rely on catching standard Marines out in the open to do real damage, something that doesn’t happen often in 5th edition, so you’re not likely to see them. Couple that with a steep points cost and Dark Reapers are hurting. The Exarch is a boss, though, and will sink your transports with his BS5 Eldar Missile Launcher.

Should you see Dark Reapers, shoot them a bunch. It’s 5 guys, likely in cover. Splinter fire wins here. Dedicate CC elements elsewhere. Just Cannon them down. Since they can sink your transports, you’re likely going to want to deal with them sooner, rather than later.

Wraithlord

Hashmal’s Rating: 5 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 or 3 (of 5); depends on loadout
Nitty Gritty: The bane of editions past, the Wraithlord is a feared MC. S10 T8 is not something that screws around, and a 3+ save ensures that Autocannon spam isn’t likely to take him down (suck it, Lootas). He’s also pretty cheap when kitted for CC. Our Talos is a bit jealous.

However, past his absurd S and T, the Wraithlord isn’t impressive. Totally average WS and BS, smallish Wounds profile for an MC, slow I for Eldar CC, and only 2 attacks, which he cannot increase.

However, as he is BS4, he’s one of few things in the Eldar codex that likes things like Bright Lances, and being an MC, he can fire two guns at once. Good thing he can take two guns! However, this configuration makes him cost about as much as a pimped-out Falcon, far from the bargain he was only a minute ago.

The Wraithlord is extremely easy for DE to deal with: T8 is the highest it gets in 40k and we couldn’t care less. Splinter the Wraithlord down. AT firepower is always more valuable versus tanks – only use against this guy if no other targets present themselves or if he’s just hovering at one wound remaining and is armed with guns.

I gave the Wraithlord a variable threat rating because he can field a fair few number of weapons. If he’s just packing a Wraithsword, you can probably ignore him nearly all game. If he’s packing two guns, though, pay attention: he can field a decent amount of S6-8 firepower and should be dropped quicker. His guns are twin-linked if he packs a pair, so his volume of fire from identical guns isn’t that great

War Walker Squadron

Hashmal’s Rating: 9 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 5 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: War Walkers are not impressive by themselves. They’re 10 AV all around, BS3, Walkers, and have Scout, which does allow them to outflank (much nastier against armies with Armor Values that aren’t 10s and 11s all over the place). Their only available vehicle upgrade is Spirit Stones, which is entirely worthless in a squadron as it does what the squadron rules do already.

What’s so good about them? Well, anywhere else, when you pack two guns of the same type, they’re twin-linked (thanks, Eldar codex). Not in this case. Two of the same gun means twice the firepower. Their natural BS3 limits them to only a few realistic options, and I guarantee you that your competitive friends will gravitate to the best bang-for-buck gun that the chassis can support: the Scatter Laser. With two of these, at 60 points a model, the War Walker will be pumping out 8 S6 shots at 36”. Do I really need to tell you how bad this is?

War Walkers are horrifying AI and pull double duty against us, capably sinking our transports under a fusillade of firepower. These guys have to be shut up in a hurry.

Fortunately, if you see War Walkers, you’re not as likely to see Falcons, so Heat Lances can be applied against these guys. Further, I *highly* recommend tying these guys up in CC with something. Their stats are pitiful when engaged, so it doesn’t matter that you’re not doing damage against them – you’re just shutting their guns up.

Otherwise, pour Lance fire into these jerks until they can’t shoot the next turn, then move on. There’s likely to be another squad or two that require your attention. If there’s only one squad of these guys supporting two Falcons (possible, but unusual setup), save the Heat Lances for the Falcons.

Their one weakness is mobility, and that’s where you can get them. Also, Squadron rules are pretty terrible and can lead to some early deaths amongst these guys, thanks to the ability to kill via Glancing (Immobilized results kill).

Falcon

Hashmal’s Rating: 10 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 5 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: If a tank comes standard with a gun that fires two S8 shots at 48”, it’s bad news against us. The Falcon is no exception. You’ll likely see the Falcon sporting a S8 gun to complement its Pulse Laser, and it’ll likely be a Missile Launcher, as the Bright Lance is more expensive and the Falcon is BS3. The offensive output of the Falcon is not as high as War Walkers, which is a blessing to us. Frankly, the Falcon is suited more to destroying Rhinos and Chimeras than Raiders, though it does the job just fine.

What the Falcon lacks in offensive output it more than makes up for in survivability and game-changing threats. First, the Falcon sports a transport capacity of 6 models. Remember me talking about MSU Dire Avengers? Well, this is where you’re likely to find them. The Eldar’s tank is now scoring. Combined with its firepower, it must be dealt with, which means it should be sunk as soon as possible.

There’s a catch, though. Eldar vehicles (most of them, anyways) have access to an item I haven’t discussed yet: Holo-fields. Until now, it hasn’t been worth putting on a vehicle as the only one I’ve mentioned that can take them is the Vyper, which is just too fragile to pay the severe points cost for one. The Falcon, at 12/12/10 close-topped, is not. The Holo-field makes you roll two dice on the Vehicle Damage table and pick the lowest. It’s like Venerable++ in effectiveness and leads to Falcons taking an insane amount of punishment to put down as each Penetrating result you get has a paltry 11% chance to put the vehicle down. That’s right – Holo-fields basically third the chance a vehicle is destroyed by a Penetrating result. Glancing results? Good luck.

Falcons are likely to be a staple in most Mech Eldar lists. The way to deal with them is Heat Lances primarily, as AP1 raises the chances of killing on a Penetrate from 11% to 25% - a big jump, which is nearly on the level of what a Penetrating result should be getting to begin with. If Heat Lances are not in position, suppress the vehicle and move on. Falcons do need to be dropped when carrying scoring units inside, but the best way to ensure that happens over the course of a game is to also ensure that the Eldar army cannot hose you with firepower, sinking all your AT weaponry. Suppression matters.

I promise you, if you haven’t faced one before, you will pull your hair out dealing with Falcons. They keep the Eldar alive and kicking with an old codex, even though they’re pretty expensive.

Fire Prism

Hashmal’s Rating: 7 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 4 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: BS4 (FINALLY) tank that’s undone by the fact that it shoots a small Blast marker, making it only so-so for vehicle killing. It’s a Falcon in all other respects, except it trades the available weaponry for a high-powered Lascannon. In addition, it can “link” its gun with other Fire Prisms, causing them to sacrifice their shooting to provide the linked tank with a more powerful shot and twin-linked on the gun. Also, the Fire Prism can fire in a sustained move, raising the marker to a Large Blast, but lowering the S and AP of the shot. Finally, the Fire Prism can also take Holo-fields, making it just as resilient as the Falcon.

Where the Fire Prism falls down is its point cost for its effectiveness. It’s a one-shot tank entirely undone by a Weapon Destroyed result, and suppression is very effective against it as it cannot transport a scoring unit like the Falcon. Though it can still aid other Fire Prisms should you stop it from shooting, if you stop them all from shooting (not exactly hard), then the Eldar player’s Heavy Support will be sitting there, twiddling its thumbs.

Still, that gun can open your transports, so suppressing these things should be the order of the day. Heat Lances go here if the vehicle has Holo-fields (it likely will).

Eldar force organization, complete!

Break Their Toys: The Eldar, specialists that they are, rely on uniquely-outfitted units to bring answers to their opponents. Unfortunately, this is a major downside to the Eldar’s army design, shared with Chaos Daemons: Eldar super-specialists are often one-dimensional, making target priority choices pretty easy. Are you an army with lots of vehicles? You’re going to care about things packing S6+ firepower and Fire Dragons, but not likely about any of the CC elements the Eldar are bringing. Did the Eldar army bring a lot of AI? Nuke their lowly AT elements and then isolate and destroy the rest of their army. Follow my threat assessments above to see what you should be targeting first.

The Eldar also rely on mobility, just like us. Often, games between Eldar and Dark Eldar armies come down to who was more successful at limiting the other’s mobility. Both armies have very similar threat ranges, with the Dark Eldar retaining an overall edge in mobility. I cannot stress enough: to appropriately defeat an Eldar army, crippling the mobility of their scoring units is paramount. Eldar scoring units are fragile, like ours, and do not like having to camp on objectives or walk across a lot of space to reach one – they likely won’t last.

Two specific subsets of armies exist that I’ll call out here. People like to think these are both power builds; I do not, and I’ll go into why.

Reserve Denial: No doubt this can throw people for a loop. Eldar armies excel in keeping their stuff off the board in Reserve until they want it to come in. The reason people hate Reserve Denial so much is that they get overwhelmed by an entire army suddenly appearing and make poor target priority choices. Keep your wits about you and just understand it’s like any other game versus the Eldar, except you’re likely on a time crunch. If the Eldar player is doing late-game denial (where he delays bringing his stuff in until Turn 4+ as a way to minimize his own casualties and risky, as things will trickle in), fortify objectives and wait, or get your vehicles zipping back and forth to keep up the 4+ cover save. If he’s going for a Turn 2 bomb, just make sure your cover saves are in position.

Reserve Denial in and of itself is not a power build; it’s only a power build when combined with a Mech Eldar army, as it pretty much guarantees they’re going to be shooting at you for a turn. Mech Eldar discussion is later and is similar in how to deal with a Reserve Denial army, except you’ll just have fewer turns to do it in.

Reserve Denial armies suffer from a few critical weaknesses. To me, these are the following:

Lack of Farseer: The Farseer is really, really good. Reserve Denial armies require two Autarchs to reliably work – otherwise, they’re just manipulating Reserves in their favor, but not building a strategy around it. Farseers bring so much to Eldar armies that leaving them at home for what amounts to an HQ Exarch is a big hit. Farseer powers are amazing and game-changing, and their level of psychic denial is entirely without equal in 40k – important as more and more competitive armies (sans ours!) includes Psykers. Though this isn’t as big a deal against us, imagine not having Runes of Warding against a couple of Rune Priests or a Grey Knight army. Actually, imagine having Runes of Warding against the Grey Knights. Go on, imagine it. It’s okay to get excited. Now you see why Farseers are such a big deal.

Fighting For The Tie: This mostly applies to late game-arriving Eldar armies, commonly referred to as Ninja Eldar (much like Ninja Tau, who can pull similar shenanigans). The problem such armies face is being able to deal enough damage to defeat their opponent in a short amount of time. While they stay hidden for a while, and thus don’t take casualties, their opponent doesn’t take anything either. Though they can pump out a lot of shooting when they arrive, there will likely be too many targets to reliably defeat. Such tactics usually resort to last-turn tank shocks and gambits on the Eldar player’s part to claim a win. Victory point-based tournaments highlight this weakness even further.

Board Control: This is quite like the second weakness. By playing Reserve Denial in any capacity, you sacrifice one entire turn of movement to your opponent, giving him all the time he needs to adequately prepare for your arrival. For DE players, that means a turn of Moving Fast to get the cover save for your vehicles. For others, it’s setting up firing lines, planting on objectives, controlling the middle, what have you. The Eldar player will always have to arrive from Reserve and take the flow of the game from you. Some bad reserves rolls (uncommon but they do happen) or a weak turn of shooting can almost assuredly take the game away from them. Using this strategy, Eldar armies will always be fighting uphill. Sometimes they succeed, but other times they hit a wall and are then dealt with.

For these reasons, I do not believe Reserve Denial armies to be power builds. Within my criticisms, I have also outlined how you are to deal with them, should you encounter one.

Seer Council: The bugbear of the Eldar army. The Seer Council is your classic Death Star: two Farseers accompanied by 10 Warlocks. The squad will have a variety of Psychic powers, including Embolden, Enhance, multiple Warlocks with Destructor, Fortune, Doom, and the occasional Mind War. Guide may make an appearance, as Singing Spears are likely to be prevalent for anti-transport. The squad should be mounted on Jetbikes, allowing for excellent mobility as the Eldar do not have assault transports.

12 models that all wound on a 2+ in CC, all with re-rollable Invuln saves (thanks, Fortune), all T4 thanks to the Jetbike, and all moving 12”, blasting 24”. In addition, this sports two Farseers, providing you access to all the goodness that Farseers bring.

Sounds really awful, right? It is. However, Seer Councils have crippling weaknesses, taking them right out of the power build status.

Cost: My biggest problem with all Death Stars is how much of the army’s total cost they eat in order to achieve their vaunted threat rating. The Seer Council is no exception and runs into problems earning its keep (I don’t use the phrase “making its points back”) against a balanced army. There’s only so much they can do over the course of a game. In the best-case scenario, they can eat 7 transports and 14 units over a 7 turn game. That’s a lot, true, but that also assumes that they’re being charged every one of your opponent’s turns and clear to shoot and charge on their own. This also assumes your opponent is a blithering idiot, or has a side bet going to see how much they’ll kill. In reality, it’s hard for the Seer Council to impact the game enough to justify its steep price tag – this squad gets north of 600 points quickly.

Undone By Grots: As with all Death Stars, they rely on an imbalance to achieve their horror. If your opponent’s fielding a Storm Shield Terminator spam list, he’s going to hate the holy hell out of the Seer Council. If they face a Green Tide, however, they’re going to get bogged down. That’s really their issue. They have no way to leave combat once engaged and are susceptible to being tarpitted. 600 points tied up by 30 Grots will leave a bad taste in the Eldar player’s mouth. You don’t have to kill them to defeat them. You just have to stop them from doing what they’re designed to do.

Psychic assault: Every model in the Seer Council is a Psyker. The Warlocks don’t much care about that, but the Farseers do. Standard Psychic defenses cripple the survivability of this squad, as it requires Fortune to stay alive. Psychic Hoods and Rune Priests will make the Seer Council cry. There are an increasing number of psychic counters in this game. Although DE didn’t get any, the prevalence of them elsewhere knocks the Seer Council down a few pegs in power, lowering your chances of encountering one.

Everyone Saves: Fortune sucks, and makes it so that the Seer Council can’t be killed easily. Unfortunately, in CC the Seer Council does not ignore armor saves, which means you’re saving at your full ability to do so. Further, with FnP becoming more prevalent in the game, the casualty output of Seer Councils drops further. Seer Council combats versus FnP Blood Angels usually don’t end. Ever.

There are a couple more, but those are the really big ones. Why would someone field a Seer Council, then? Simple answer: Mech Guard. For all of its strengths, the parking lot list of Mech Guard is extremely weak to the Seer Council, who can multi-charge their slow vehicles with S9 attacks. Following up on that, the now de-meched squads won’t be able to plow through Fortune (Mech Guard lists don’t have as high a volume of fire in their infantry squads) and lack the psychic defenses to stop Fortune from going up. Once the de-meched squads fail to kill the Seer Council, it will summarily multi-charge them and eat them alive – after Heavy Flaming everyone, that is.

If your local area is rife with parking lot Mech Guard lists and you know an Eldar player down on his luck, suggest the Seer Council.

Dealing with it is simple for DE. Play a game of keep away and tie it up on the last turn, preferably with something that has FnP, to stop it from contesting an objective. Game, set, match. You’re not likely to kill it, but you don’t have to in order to win the game.

I Can Play Too: Rounding out my tactica for the Eldar (finally!) is my view of the only competitive army the Eldar can field: Mech Eldar.

In my opinion, a good Mech Eldar army is going to field the following:

HQ: 1-2 Farseers, Eldrad, possibly an Autarch (2 if going full Reserve Denial)
Troops: MSU Dire Avengers, possibly some Storm Guardians in Wave Serpents. Dire Avengers either in Serpents or Falcons
Elites: 1-3 Fire Dragon squads, possibly with Exarch w/ Flamer, in Serpents
Fast Attack: 1-3 Vypers with Scatter Laser/Shuriken Cannon, all in own squads to avoid Squadron rules
Heavy Support: 0-3 Falcons, 0-3 War Walker Squadrons, 2-3 Fire Prisms (less competitive IMO, but people seem to love these)

Standard Loadouts:

HQ: Farseer, Runes of Warding/Witnessing, Fortune, Doom, possibly Guide. Singing Spear only if 3 points left for it (hey, it’s cheap)

Elites: Fire Dragons, 5-6 per squad, if Exarch he should have Dragon’s Breath Flamer and Crack Shot. Exarch is not needed and should only be used if points allow.

Troops: MSU Dire Avengers with nothing added as scoring options for vehicles. Guardians will be Storm Guardians either with Fusion guns or Flamers. If Flamers, Warlocks w/ Destructor likely (this is less competitive, but is FUN FUN FUN). Jetbikes w/ Cannons may appear here, but unlikely.

Fast Attack: Vypers will have Scatter Lasers and Shuriken Cannons. No good reason aside from points to have a different loadout. May have 2x Cannons if points are tight.

Heavy Support: Falcons should have Missile Launcher and Pulse Laser, underslung Cannon if points allow, Holo-Fields, Spirit Stones. Everything else strictly optional. War Walkers should be armed with 2x Scatter Lasers each; Spirit Stones worthless. Fire Prisms should have Spirit Stones and Holo-fields.

Transports: Wave Serpents will be armed with a variety of firepower, likely either S6 spam boats with TL Scatter Laser/Shuriken Cannon or TL Bright Lances. Will likely have Spirit Stones to keep moving.

Take the Bolts Off: The key strength behind Mech Eldar will be their ability to pump S6 firepower into you, destroying your vehicles and denying (most of) your FnP. This needs to be the absolute first thing you stop and against which you should direct the brunt of your efforts. Vehicles sporting Scatter Lasers are the most deadly of the S6, owing to a longer effective range.

Suppression is key against Mech Eldar. Fire at a vehicle until a Vehicle Shaken result pops up, then move on to the next one. Don’t pump additional shots into an already Shaken vehicle until the rest are likewise suppressed. Sinking one while 5 others can still fire gets you a lot of destroyed vehicles in the next Eldar turn.

Heavy Support for Eldar forces largely determines what you should be firing at. Falcons are extremely dangerous, as they also hold scoring units, so efforts should be made to blast them first. War Walkers thankfully compete for space with Falcons, so deal with them at the same priority level as Falcons. If the army features both (possible), Falcons first is usually my credo, but take care to pump single Dark Lances into the Falcon first. Getting two Shaken results from a Ravager, for example, is a waste of a Dark Lance. Fire Prisms are inferior to both and other vehicles pose more of a threat, namely those that can reliably hit your thin vehicles.

Vypers are next. If you ignore them for a game, these guys will rack up surprising amounts of kills against your transports. Your Lances are at optimal efficiency here – splatter them.

Wave Serpents are a mixed bag. As S6 boats, they’re a big threat, but as Lance barges, their one shot that misses 25% of the time isn’t the scariest thing out there. Again, it’s usually their precious cargo that you want to strand (Fire Dragons, likely). Still, once the Falcons/War Walkers/Vypers are shut up, you’ll be looking to these dudes before the Fire Prisms. Prioritize the Serpents based on what they’re carrying: stranding a squad of Fire Dragons is infinitely more valuable to you than stranding a squad of Guardians.

Once the Serpents are shaken up, look to Fire Prisms, if any (shouldn’t be any). Anti-infantry fire goes against what little may be available.

Heat Lances: Heat Lances should primarily go against Holo-fielded vehicles, as they’re damned hard to kill with anything else. Energy Fields on Wave Serpents make them immune to the Melta rule, which means unless you’re getting Rear armor shots, Heat Lances have no place going up against Serpents. If Holo-field vehicles are dead/not present, just take them wherever you want. Vypers also make for good targets. War Walkers are less than ideal, but if you fluff the shooting attack, you can always charge them.

Eldrad’s Ride: This also applies to a Fortuneseer or two, but Eldrad’s ride will likely have Fortune placed upon it, then be set to move fast. If your opponent is a true bastard, this will also be a Holo-fielded Falcon. In all honesty, this is the one time you break my listed target priority. If the vehicle has a Cover save and Fortune up, save it for last. 75% of your Glancing/Penetrating results will do NOTHING to it. Honestly, I’d almost ignore the vehicle entirely, if I can get away with it. One vehicle that can’t split shots firing per turn isn’t the end of the world.

Mobility: Eldar armies, much like Dark Eldar armies, rely on mobility. Shaking their gunboats and sinking their transports are the keys to demolishing them. Things designed to shoot need only be suppressed for the duration of the game. Vehicles with scoring dudes inside need to be sunk. There’s little to say about the army once the vehicles go down, as there’s little it can do. Once the transports are dead, dismantle the infantry within. Likely, you’ll outnumber them. Be aware of later game tank-shocks if you’re one of those guys that likes camping objectives with a single squad – all the Wave Serpents and Falcons are tanks.

There’s no real secret trick to beating Mech Eldar. You’re going to need to bring a balanced army that has good-to-excellent answers to vehicles. If you’re lacking Heat Lances, Holo-fields will be the bane of your existence. Your anti-infantry does not have to be as pronounced, but should still be present, since I don’t believe in list tailoring in tournament-caliber armies.

Here’s a short list of things I like when facing Mech Eldar:

HQ: Archons w/ Blasters, pretty much any other configuration is overkill vs the paltry Eldar forces; Haemonculi with whatever, likely a Liquifier, and only one.
Elites: Trueborn w/ Blasters in transport.
Troops: Warriors w/ Blasters, Wyches with HWG in a pinch, but they’ll get shot to pieces.
Fast Attack: Reaver Jetbikes as AP1 is vital vs. Holo-fields and Reavers are the best platform for it; Beastmasters are okay coming out of a WWP, but will get demolished vs. S6 firepower. I can’t stress it enough: expect Holo-fields.
Heavy Support: Ravagers are kings; Void Ravens can also work, but missiles are quite overkill vs. units and underwhelming vs. vehicles. Talos is too slow to keep up.
Transports: Obviously, the Raider is king, but the Venom is good if you’re doing a Venom spam army or if you’re carting around Blasterborn. There will need to be *some* infantry cleanup, after all. Night Shields are decent at taking the teeth out of Shuriken Cannons and Fire Dragons and also ensuring Eldar vehicles stay within reprisal range.

Note: Venom Spam, while good against many armies, does have challenges against Mech Eldar, owing to the shorter range of its tank pop. Prepare for this in deployment and stack the line. Otherwise, you’ll spend too long gaining position, allowing the Eldar player to pick you off piecemeal. Remember: if he wants to maintain full firing efficiency, he can only move 6”. You can move 12” and dump dudes if you need to. He can’t run forever. The main advantage Venom Spam has vs. Mech Eldar is average higher volume of vehicles and units you’ll have at your disposal. Your Venoms will cost literally half the points of the Eldar’s vehicles.

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PostSubject: Re: Hashmal Takes on the Universe: A Compendium for the Aspiring Archon to Destroy Every Army in the Game   Tue Jun 07 2011, 05:39

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PostSubject: Re: Hashmal Takes on the Universe: A Compendium for the Aspiring Archon to Destroy Every Army in the Game   Tue Jun 07 2011, 05:39

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PostSubject: Re: Hashmal Takes on the Universe: A Compendium for the Aspiring Archon to Destroy Every Army in the Game   Tue Jun 07 2011, 05:39

Necrons

Who Dat: Down but not out, Necrons are an army in dire need of a codex update. Their shtick is to plod down the field, weather a pretty decent amount of firepower, and return with horribleness of their own. In addition, a few teleport functions in the army lend them surprising mobility and the option to extract themselves from close combat.

Necrons are a tough, slow(ish), and pillow-fisted army. They do not like doing CC, pardoning a scarce few exceptions, and their shooting is of moderate to short range. They’re a cross between Robots in Space and Zombies in Space.

That’s it. Since they’re a 3rd edition codex and were a new release back then, they’re extremely straight forward. That’s probably the reason I’m writing this one next – I have things to do today.

Side note: I find the fluff to be of above-average quality. If you haven’t read the Necron codex, I recommend the stories. Get them now before they completely retcon the entire race!

The Good: The best thing going for Necrons is their army-wide (mostly) special rule We’ll Be Back (WBB). It works like Feel No Pain. Kinda. Well, it’s denied similarly to Feel No Pain. See, when you kill a Necron unit (must be called out as such in its unit entry), at the start of the Necron player’s next turn, those models stand up on a 4+, assuming there’s another model of the same stature within 6” (i.e., Warriros standing up need a like model of Warriros). WBB is denied by things that deny armor saves in close combat (Power Weapons, MCs, Catzilla stomping on your gaming table) or things with a Strength that’s double the Necron’s Toughness. The important distinction here is that, unlike Feel No Pain, WBB is not ignored by AP2 and AP1 weaponry. I see even experienced Necron players get this one confused.

Aside from WBB, Necrons sport a decent profile – standard MEQ with a Ld 10 on their Troops, and multiple things in the army are T5 or above. No question about it: Necrons are tough.

Additionally, all Necron shooting benefits from the Gauss special rule, allowing anyone with a gun to wound anything in the game on a roll of a 6, no matter their Toughness (note: doesn’t deny Armor Saves like Rending) and also allowing anyone with a gun to Glance any vehicle, regardless of Armor Value, on a roll of a 6. This is a great standard rule that, admittedly, was better in editions past. Were it not for one of their crippling weaknesses, this rule would be solid gold, as shooting AT weapons at vehicles would not waste the squad’s shooting.

Hey, speaking of that, we’re led to…

The Bad: Possibly the most glaring downside to a Necron army is their entire lack of AT firepower in their squads. No squad leaders, no melta guns, no long-ranged weapons. Nothing. Necron units get their standard loadout and that’s it. Necron guns also all aren’t S7+, so this gives them problems against massed vehicles. Serious problems. A couple Glancing results per squad, at best, will not carry the day. Unfortunately for you, young thrall, Necron shooting is still decent against your vehicles. Key word: decent. We’ll get to this.

Funny that I didn’t lead off with this weakness, but that’s because you can build to avoid it, where you can’t build to get around the lack of AT weaponry. The second big, big, BIG weakness of Necrons: Phase Out. When a Necron army is reduced to 25% or less of its starting number of Necrons at the beginning of the Necron player’s turn, after WBB rolls, they automatically lose the game and award full points to you, the opponent. That’s right, if you’re in a tournament using Victory Points and you Phase Out a Necron player, congratulations, you get every Victory Point that army can give you. This army actually kicks you in the jewels for losing. Nice, isn’t it?

Next, Necrons are, for the most part, absolute pants in close combat. Lacking the Fearless or Stubborn special rules and sporting an Initiative that makes Orks and Guardsmen look speedy, Necrons strike last and don’t hit very hard. Many of their units have a low number of attacks, an average MEQ statline, and no power weapons, to boot. Salt in the wound, really. Hitting like kittens, they get rolled over, fail Morale checks at the end of combat, and then are wiped out to a man by Sweeping Advance because they’re slow. The kicker: when they’re wiped out by Sweeping Advance, those remaining models caught in the sweep are entirely removed – no WBB roll for them. CC is normally not my advocated weapon of choice, as I view shooting to be simply superior in this game, but against Necrons, it’s painfully effective since it negates a rule the codex is basically built around. It’s like saying that you’d be denied Pain Tokens on a semi-random basis – except a lot worse, because Dark Eldar units are priced correctly (for the most part) and Necrons are artifacts from a former edition, priced by a blind monkey.

Finally, Necrons lack for transport capability. That’s not necessarily a bad thing (jumper Blood Angels lists can work quite nicely, and Tyranids get along without them), but Necrons don’t have sufficient mobility buffs to get around that. They rely on Monoliths to provide any mobility to their army – and if the opponent brings something that can actually shut the obsidian pyramids up, the Necron player’s mobility is, in effect, screwed. Plus, they get pounded even harder in CC, now that they can’t teleport out. YAY.

Power Builds: Dashofpepper’s Wraith Wing, Sekhmet’s List (<3 Sek)

Down and Dirty: Enough jibber jabber!

HQ

Necron Lord

Hashmal’s Rating: 6 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 3 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: The Necron Lord is a cross between a support character (so few of those exist in 40k, so it’s really nice to see one) and a combat character. He’s got a good statline, with natural S5 and T5 – which can be augmented to a natural T6 with a Destroyer Body, which makes him immune to double-Toughness Instant Death, not to mention making him move as a Jetbike. His WS and BS are low for a combat character, though, and he comes with the standard Marine commander Attacks profile. His standard weapon is a Staff of Light, a Power Weapon that can also shoot 3 S5 AP3 shots at 12”, and can be upgraded to a War Scythe, which drops the shooting attack but gains the ability to ignore ALL saves and roll 2d6 penetration versus vehicles. Also, the Lord can take a Veil of Darkness, providing him and a lucky squad with the ability to Deep Strike at any point, even out of combat, and a Resurrection Orb, which allows him and all Necrons within 6” to ignore the things that normally deny them a WBB roll (except for Sweeping Advance – ouch).

On a whole, the Necron Lord is a good IC, but he gets expensive fast. He’s threatening to a Dark Eldar player only in what he brings to the army. Though he can cut through your Archon’s Shadowfield like butter, his low Attacks profile makes that a slightly more challenging prospect than you’d think.

If he’s attached to a squad, launch some Incubi or a nasty CC unit into that squad and kill him with Sweeping Advance. Otherwise, just Splinter down the squad until there’s nothing left but char.

The Nightbringer

Hashmal’s Rating: 3 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: C’Tan are no freaking joke. Sporting a Toughness of 8, the ability to deny ALL saves with their close combat attacks, complete disregard for difficult terrain, and a wicked explosion when they die, you get quite a lot and pay quite a lot for it. The Nightbringer, in particular, is a close combat monstrosity and will capably eat nearly anything he gets in contact with. Want to tarpit him with gribblies? No. He can just blow them away when he feels like it or center a large blast on himself, frying everything underneath. There’s no tying this guy up.

For fun, my friends and I mathhammered a fight between the Nightbringer and Ann’grath the Unbound – y’know, the 888 point Forgeworld Greatest Daemon of Khorne. Ann’grath won. Barely. For someone under half the Daemon’s points, the Nightbringer did more damage than anything else in the game, entirely owing to his ability to ignore Invulnerable saves and hitting with a whopping S10, while Ann’grath couldn’t ignore the Nightbringer’s save.

For all his clear benefits, the Nightbringer only has a few downsides. Problem is, they’re his unmaking. First, he is big, meaning he is going to get shot. A lot. Second, he is slow, meaning he is going to get shot. A lot. Third, his Invulnerable Save isn’t that great, which means that all that shooting will hurt. Fourth, with very few things for enemy AT to focus on and the clear and present threat the Nightbringer poses, expect the big honkin’ grim reaper to be plugged up with more missiles than a SAM site. If he were smaller or faster, the Nightbringer would be good. As it is, he’s a 300+ point target practice dummy for your ranged AT. Some Star God.

Against Dark Eldar players, he eats a double whammy. Poisoned weapons work GREAT against him, entirely denying his T8! When your anti-infantry fire is as effective as Missile Launchers, you know you’re operating at peak efficiency. My advice? Splinter Cannon him down and save the DLs for things like Destroyers. Venoms, in particular, have a field day with this guy.

The Deceiver

Hashmal’s Rating: 4 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 2 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Another C’Tan, another host of the same strengths and weaknesses. The Deceiver brings a different kit, able to redeploy portions of the Necron army, force Leadership checks with the flick of his wrist (which can be done while running!), and generally be a pain. His true power comes into force when he charges an enemy unit or one charges him. At the start of a combat phase, he can just decide to leave. Bam. He moves 2d6” in any direction he wants. It’s like Hit and Run, but way better because it happens before blows are struck.

However, dealing with him is much the same as dealing with the Nightbringer. The big difference is that, should the Deceiver reach combat with a unit, he gains a big mobility buff. Shoot him dead before this happens. It matters more against armies with static firing emplacements or limited mobility, of which we likely have neither, but why give him mobility when you don’t have to?

Under no circumstances should you charge him, as you’re doing his work for him. Here’s a hint: if even Fearless units still have to test to even be able to charge something, it probably isn’t worth charging.

Elites

Pariahs

Hashmal’s Rating: 1 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: The only things these guys have going for them is a wicked good weapon (24” S5 AP4 Assault 2 with a Warscythe that allows them to ignore every save ever) and a T5. It’s all downhill from there. They’re not Necrons, so no WBB and no teleporting. They’re only a 3+ save, so not survivable. They’re slow, especially without the teleport. They also only have one attack each, standard MEQ WS, and a crap Initiative. Oh, and they’re a 0-1 choice AND 36 points a model. Someone clearly feared the Warscythe. If you see them, high five your way to victory. They’re terrible, though, so you likely won’t see them.

Yes, they have a neat Leadership special rule that never matters because they can’t get close enough before getting dead to use it. They also have an effect on Psykers. We have none. Grey Knights care; we don’t.

To kill them, liberal application of Splinter fire until dead. For lulz, you can charge them and embarrass the squad. Their low number of attacks should ensure you take minimal casualties as a result, but that T5 could be annoying.

Immortals

Hashmal’s Rating: 6 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 3 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Oh look, the one Elites option that doesn’t suck wind. They have the same gun as Pariahs without the built-in Warscythe, which relegates them to the role of fire base. At least they’re Necrons and don’t have delusions of combat grandeur. Natural T5 lends resiliency against other armies, but again, we don’t care. That gun has to be respected, though, since it can tear up our units and our vehicles with ease.

They suffer against Night Shields, as that puts them in Dark Eldar kill range if they want to engage our vehicles, making Night Shields quite effective. To kill them, judicious application of Splinter fire works great, as with most Necron things. You can charge them, but be warned: that T5 will make a few of your attacks dink off their hides, which means they’ll likely not suffer enough casualties to fail their Morale check. If they stay put, WBB will ensure you’re in that combat for a good long time. Fortunately, they hit like a sack of wet kittens.

Flayed Ones

Hashmal’s Rating: 2 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Assault Marine statline, except Necrons, with no gun whatsoever, the ability to Infiltrate and Deep Strike, and only Move Through Cover as their mobility buff. Terrifying Visage is a semi-useful rule and applies against Fearless units (yay it’s a Leadership test!) The reason I rate them low: these guys should be Troops. If they were, they’d be halfway decent and Necron players wouldn’t ever take Warriors. They work somewhat like Mandrakes, but are slightly better (burn!) owing to their special rules and improved Armor Save. They’re decent at hunting down things like Long Fangs.

Against the Dark Eldar, we could give a fig about infiltration, as we can just move far away, stranding these guys out in the middle of nowhere with nothing to do. Most opponents won’t take them, as the things in the army that are actually good are too expensive to allow for Flayed Ones. If they do, kill them like you would any MEQ: Splinter fire and pounding CC.

Troops

Warriors

Hashmal’s Rating: 1 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 1 (of 10)
Nitty Gritty: Can’t take any upgrades except for Disruption Fields, which help them in CC (???) and make them 20 points a pop. MEQ statline except a better Ld and a much worse Initiative. Their Reserves rule is one I’ve never seen enforced, as it’s dumb. Plus, nobody ever takes more than the minimum required number of Warriors. They’re the only Troops choice Necron players get and they’re overpriced and underwhelming. You pay for a super-powered bolter and modified FnP. In exchange, you get no weapon options, squad options, or mobility options. Hooray. Oh, and you have to take at least 20 of these idiots.

Night Shields take all the teeth out of these guys. Soften them up with Splinter fire, then hammer them home with CC. Alternatively, just launch Incubi galore into their lines and watch metallic limbs fly.

Fast Attack

Wraiths

Hashmal’s Rating: 6 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 3 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: More Necrons with delusions of CC grandeur, Wraiths aren’t half bad at it. They’re brutally expensive at 41 points per model, but come with a great Strength, a fantastic Initiative, ignore Terrain completely, come with Grenades, and have a 3++. Their biggest downside is that you can only take 3 to a squad.

They lack Power Weapons, so are fishing for a little bit of that vaunted CC punch, but that’s not why Dark Eldar generals have to respect them. S6 is a good option versus our Raiders, and Wraiths love to multi-charge. Wraiths make for a decent AT CC option and also excel at ganging up on isolated squads, picking them apart. Unlike the other options in the Necron book, Necron Fast Attack are all Jetbikes, which means that they can actually keep up with our vehicle fleet.

To deal with Wraiths, Splinter fire them down, as Lances are all but worthless against them. Make sure to take them all down; even one Wraith near his buddies can lead to a chain of WBB rolls you’d rather they never made. Fortunately, at a max of 3 wounds a squad, killing them isn’t exactly hard.

Destroyers

Hashmal’s Rating: 8 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 5 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: A Heavy 3 S6 AP4 36” gun on a Jetbike that can move 12” and fire. Yep. Respect that or die. In addition, Destroyers are also T5, which matters more against armies that are not Dark Eldar.

These guys are, in my opinion, the best unit the Necrons can field and boy howdy can they rip your army apart. Their gun is a high enough Strength to frappe all of our vehicles, a low enough AP to mutilate most of our squads’ armor values, a high enough Strength to ignore FnP on everything but Coven units, high enough rate of fire to score results on vehicle targets, and long-ranged enough to hit what it needs to hit. In summation, these things are a barrel of pain. The only reason I didn’t rate them at maximum: 50 points a pop makes this one expensive squad.

Here’s what you’ve been saving your Dark Lances for. Light ‘em up. Splinter fire and DLs should be directed here, as soon as you can. CC can work, as they have anemic Necron CC stats, but expect a Veil of Darkness Lord or a Monolith to remove them should you fail to Sweeping Advance them off the board – hardly a guarantee with their T5. With a threat range that outstrips the rest of the Necron army and a very high efficiency versus Dark Eldar, these are the first guys you shoot, every time.

Scarab Swarms

Hashmal’s Rating: 8 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 3 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Fast moving tarpit squad that can Turbo Boost for a 2+ cover save, Scarabs are awesome at screening units behind them, blocking against ground-based forces, and bogging down your assault units or your front lines. They hit like wet socks, but they make up their point cost (which is pretty reasonable!) in the aggravation they cause Necron opponents.

Again, as they’re quick, they can move to surround and engage your assault units as transports drop. While they won’t hit very hard, they will keep you there for a good long while. They’re Fearless, which means the standard beat ‘n sweep isn’t going to work this time. A 120 point squad of these guys can pack 30 wounds – be prepared.

Fortunately, they compete with Destroyers and Wraiths for the Force Organization slot, but Necron players rarely take more than one. Deal with them as you need to with whatever you have on hand. In particular, Liquifiers and Razorwings massacre these things, as the Razorwing missiles will ID them and Liquifiers cause 2 wounds per wound inflicted (Vulnerable to Blasts). It might seem like overkill to turn your missile boat on them, but if it removes an ace in the hole your opponent was counting on, how’s that a bad trade?

Heavy Support

Tomb Spyders

Hashmal’s Rating: 4 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 2 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: Necrons get an MC! Not a great one, mind you. They can take the Staff of Light as an upgrade, but they have a terrible BS and they lose an attack. Not a big deal on the attack, though: their WS is just as terrible. Tomb Spyders (hate that spelling) have two things going for them. First, Tomb Spyders increase the range which friendly models need to maintain in order to be eligible for WBB, which allows for more forgiving formations amongst identical units, especially when teleporting gets added into the mix. Second, Tomb Spyders can create Scarabs, though unlike a Tervigon pooping out Termagants, the Scarabs form a unit with the Tomb Spyder, so basically acting as ablative wounds until the Spyder is dead (which, if you get a lot of Scarabs out with 3 Spyders, you want to occur so the Scarabs can actually move quickly and be annoying).

Overall, this is a good squad, but competes with necessary things in a Necron list. You may see one squad of 3 of these guys. Deal with them the same way you would any MC – Splinter fire until dead. Dark Lances should come into play once Scarabs are out, as if they want to shrug those hits off onto Scarabs, they lose an entire base or are forced to Go to Ground, which means they won’t be making new Scarabs next turn. Either way, that’s a good win, since each Spyder can only create one base a turn.

Heavy Destroyers

Hashmal’s Rating: 7 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 4 (of 5); 1 (of 5) versus WWP
Nitty Gritty: A Lascannon that can move 12” and fire. There’s little more to say. They work like Destroyers, except are dedicated solely to big targets and vehicles, thanks to their weaponry. They can’t take as many in a squad and cost a prohibitive amount of points (65 per).

They’ll sink your vehicles with abandon, so make sure you blast them quickly. Venom fire and Dark Lance fire should go here. If your vehicles drop or you’re fielding a WWP army, you can all but ignore them, as their guns cease to matter, lacking any and all appropriate targets. They might put a crimp in your Taloi’s style, though.

Monolith

Hashmal’s Rating: 8 (of 10)
Dark Eldar Threat: 3 (of 5)
Nitty Gritty: It has a page of special rules and a further page in the Necron FAQ, so it must be good, right?

The Monolith is one of the most iconic vehicles in 40k, clearly defining the Necron army in a single force organization entry: slow, tough as a nail-covered brick, and of middling danger. It is the lynchpin of Necron mobility, able to teleport Necron units anywhere within 18” of it through the vehicle’s portal, which also grants them an additional WBB roll. How annoying is that? Further, the portal can also teleport units out of CC, so unless you Sweeping Advance your target, don’t count on using CC as a safety net versus shooting the following turn.

Did I mention shooting? The Monolith, through the Guass Flux Arc gets d6 shots against every target within 12”, every turn. D6 S5 AP4 shots. Ow. Alternatively, if it didn’t teleport that turn and doesn’t feel like Gauss Fluxing one Warrior just hanging out, it can launch a 24” S9 AP3 Large Blast, which is AP1 against any target the small hole of the template hovers over (note: no character sniping; they never let you have any fun). Fortunately, it can’t Particle Whip and Gauss Flux on the same turn – the Particle Whip is Ordnance.

Moving to tough, yes, we have tough! AV14 all around, for start. Normally, we laugh at AV14 and line up our Dark Lances. Not working this time; the Monolith’s Living Metal special rule blatantly ignores the effects of Lance weapons, bonus dice from Melta weapons, and bonus dice from MCs beating against its hull. Basically, if a weapon lowers its armor value or gets bonus dice against vehicles, it doesn’t do so versus the Monolith. This takes the Monolith from the “annoying but deal-able” range to “you’ve got to be kidding me.” It takes an average of somewhere near 128 Dark Lance shots to reasonably expect to kill one Monolith. Good luck with that, Sparky.

For all of its amazing benefits, the Monolith is expensive and slow, moving a max of 6” a turn. Additionally, its overall damage output is minimal considering its cost – our Venoms are deadlier and almost ¼ the price.

How do you deal with it? Weird advice time: you don’t, for the most part. You ignore it and focus on the rest of his army. Phase the Necron player out and claim victory with all three Monoliths intact, should you so wish. Dark Eldar are in a terrible position, unable to do much of note to this gigantic beast, so don’t waste your time. If you absolutely must do something to it, the only weapon we have that’s remotely worthwhile is the Haywire Grenade. It generates more reliable results versus a Monolith than anything in the game. Remember, even Shaken and Stunned results stop the Gauss Flux Arc from firing.

That’s a wrap for the Necron codex!

Break Their Toys: Necrons are an easy army to take apart, mostly. They can come up with surprising resilience, but Splinter fire applied in an overwhelming fashion to a point can reliably wind up with dead, dead Necrons. Start by addressing things that must be addressed first: Destroyers and Heavy Destroyers must die. Next, address fast-moving elements, like Wraiths, or elements with longer-ranged fire, like Immortals. Finally, mop up the Warriors, since they’re as threatening as tapioca pudding. Collect your Phase Out victory, apologize to your opponent, and hope that he gets a new codex soon.

Typical Necron armies will include the following. Use what I said in their respective unit entries to deal with them, in the order I describe above.

HQ: 0-2 Lords, likely one on Destroyer Body with Warscythe, Veil of Darkness, Resurrection Orb, maybe another goodie; 0-1 C’Tan, they do sometimes appear.
Troops: 2 10 man Warrior squads.
Elites: 0-2 5 man Immortal squads. May sometimes be 10 man squads, but there’s no good reason for that.
Fast Attack: 0 or 3 3-man Wraith squads; 0-1 Scarab squads, 0-3 Destroyer squads, either 4 or 5 man.
Heavy Support: 0-3 2-3 man Heavy Destroyer squads, 0-3 Monoliths (likely 2 or 3). If Monoliths are present, there will likely be no Heavy Destroyers. Occasionally you will see one squad of Tomb Spyders.

I Can Play Too: What follows is a glance at the two power builds mentioned above, and how to destroy them.

Wraith Wing – Dashofpepper

A brief rundown of the list. (2,000 points)

HQ: Deceiver; Necron Lord w/ Destroyer Body, Phase Shifter (4++), Rez Orb, and Warscythe
Troops: 2x Warriors, one 11 strong, one 12 strong. It’s obvious this is where spare points went.
Fast Attack: 3x 3 Wraiths
Heavy Support: 3x Monoliths

I’ve read his tactical approach, but even without reading it, the army works in a very obvious way, assuming you’ve played against Necrons before: Wraiths stick together with the Destroyer Lord milking the Rez Orb, launching assaults and being teleported out, sort of like a mechanical yo-yo. Monoliths block LoS to the Deceiver, who’s used as a counter-assault unit. Wraiths and unkillable Monoliths bait the opponent forward, where the Deceiver can pounce and wreck faces.

Fact is, a well-tuned Dark Eldar army will rip this to shreds. The key is not to fall for the bait, which is the Warriors. Opponents going for a quick Phase Out will be sorely disappointed by the resilience of Warriors teleported through Monoliths – and often caught with their pants down for a well-placed Particle Whip from the other Monoliths (no consolidation when the Necrons teleport). To dismantle this list, you need to remove the teeth. Demolish the Wraiths first, then close on the Deceiver and blast him apart. You’ll move within Monolith death range, but so what? Their offensive output just isn’t that impressive. Finally, dismantle the Warriors and claim victory.

Killing 9 wounds of Wraiths in one turn is more than doable. Have you ever killed 9 Space Marines with Poisoned weaponry in one turn before? I thought so. Don’t get baited in by the Necron player, blast the Wraiths early and hard, and coast.

Sekhmet’s Destroyer Wing

A brief rundown of the list: (1,500 points)

HQ: Deceiver
Troops: 2x 10 Warriors
Fast Attack: 2x 5 Destroyers; 9 Scarabs w/ Disruption Fields
Heavy Support: 3x 1 Heavy Destroyer

The big downside to this list is the vulnerability of the Deceiver, but the Destroyers will put early pressure on your anti-tank firepower, making you make bad choices early. Additionally, that’s 30 S6 AP4 36” shots in a 1,500 point list, with a screening unit. Not too shabby. Warriors continue to suck, and the Heavy Destroyers get themselves on light vehicle duty ASAP. Scarabs tarpit, kill light gribblies, or harass vehicles.

Problem this list suffers against Dark Eldar: our anti-infantry guns are just as effective versus Destroyers as versus Striking Scorpions, or other low T but high Save models. For us, the Destroyers must die in a hurry, with all Dark Lance firepower drilling them down. Once that’s done, you can basically mop up the rest of the list at your leisure. Heavy Destroyers should be next, but as they’ll take a bare minimum of 3 squads of shooting to deal with, they’re a secondary target you address as you can.

Be cautious of launching assaults near the Deceiver.

Note: in both of these examples, I discounted the Deceiver’s ability to let the Necron army redeploy. The redeploy rarely matters; Dark Eldar can reposition on a dime. Deploy a bit conservatively if you’re worried about it, but frankly, I wouldn’t be.

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