Link to part 1Link to part 2This is how the world endsIntroduction
So if you're still reading, you're probably still intrigued by the idea of a Freakshow list. But Jim
, I hear you saying, surely [X] will mash my face into the mud?
And you might be right. Warhammer 40k is not created equal. All armies have an Achilles Heel (and most have more than one), and the Freakshow is no exception. Fortunately, with such an allies-heavy build, we can easily patch up the cracks. So in this article we're going to explore the most likely places for your boat to spring a leak, and what to do when it happens.Vehicles
Long ago, the world had never heard names like Mat Ward, and in those days Rhinos ruled the earth. For the longest time, no competitive player would dream of fielding an infantry unit without a Dedicated collector's tin, but each edition since 5th has changed that more and more. While you don't generally see the walls of omni-14 vehicles across the table (and thank goodness--I still wake up screaming from nightmares of Monolith curtains!), some armies can still confidently field vehicle-heavy lists.
Now, because there aren't a lot of definite terms in this particular glossary, I'd like to clarify what I mean when I say certain things.Light armor
means vehicles with omni-10 armor. Maybe an 11 in front.Medium armor
means vehicles with at least a 12 in one facing, and potentially in all.Heavy armor
means a vehicle with at least a 13 somewhere, and at least a 12 everywhere else.
Freakshows with Dark Eldar or Covens at their core can suffer tremendously against vehicles. With a default weapon incapable of glancing
light armor, and a strength too low to even assault them, even AV 10 vehicles can run around a table with impunity against DE infantry.
The Dark Eldar themselves have a few units that can help out. Grotesques can tear apart most vehicles, and with a Scissorhand on your Aberration (every time!), you can even threaten AV 14. The fact that all of your Raiders can take a S8 AP2 Lance for a measly 5 points also helps a good deal. Scourges of either Heat Lance or Haywire Blaster flavors are devastating to armor. The Ravager suffered quite a bit in this codex, but can still earn its biscuits occasionally. Although they, like the Grotesques, suffer from a slow movement, meaning Fast vehicles can easily outpace them, Taloi and Cronos can rip vehicles asunder with impunity. Still, not a lot of great options, especially against heavy armor.
Fortunately, Eldar and Harlequins have them covered. From your craftworld kin we can take Crimson Hunters, psyker bikers with Singing Spears, Fire Dragons, Wraith units with D-weaponry, and Dark Reapers, not to mention Falcons, Night Spinners, and Shadow Weavers. Fire Dragons are my personal favorite. From the protective comfort of an Open-Topped Raider, they can easily destroy most vehicles, and if accompanied by a DE HQ toting a Webway Portal or one of the Freakshow-friendly artifacts (or any Covens HQ), can also contribute to the Freakshow focus. With the changes to D-weaponry, Hemlocks might also be a good fit here.
Harlequins are great (nay, wonderful) second string vehicle hunters to a man. Each and every one of their units can take out light or medium armor, and Skyweavers, Voidweavers, or Caress-equipped Troupes can even threaten heavy armor. The downside is that they can rarely do it in one turn via shooting. (Unfortunately, as a player who cut his teeth with Drop Pod Salamanders, I have an tragic prejudice in this regard, and tend to view any anti-armor unit that can't drop a Land Raider in one volley as second-string.) Full squadrons of Sky or Voidweavers would fare better, but the price is astronomical, with no contribution to the Freakshow focus.
Something to remember: if you deploy a Raider staffed with anti-armor types via a Webway Portal, you can even take out Knights without having to worry about their shield. You just deploy the Raider across two fire arcs, and once the player declares where his shield is your dudes all cram onto the other side of the Raider and go to town on the relatively defenseless side.Flyers
This is where we get hurt. Covens and Harlequins have zero anti-flyer options. Dark Eldar and Corsairs have one. If you want dedicated anti-flyer, the Eldar are your only options, and pickin's are pretty slim there, too. Crimson Hunters and Dark Reaper exarchs, that's about it.
Second-tier choices seem to be your best bet. Dark Reapers come to mind first, although their limited mobility is a hindrance (and can't be fixed with a transport). Ravagers or massed Raider fire can sometimes do in a pinch, as can mass fire from your Voidweavers, Windriders, or Skyweavers.
In my games thus far, I've come up with one go-to for fighting flyers: don't. With the extremely rapid movement of Eldar forces, most of the units we have can out-maneuver the flyers, given their limited travel paths, and our units that can't are often our most resilient (DE Engines, Grotesques). If you've got a unit that can spare the snap shots, you can always roll the dice, but many times flyers are an annoyance that can be ignored, with the damage they inflict chalked up to 'acceptable losses.'
Flying Monstrous Creatures are another story, and to Dark Eldar it's a pretty damn hilarious story. Raider gunboats (my personal choice for troops, where possible) are throwing out 12-24 poison shots with re-rolls to misses. Windriders can also throw out a pretty decent stream of firepower. All the Eldar anti-flyer defense works just as well against FMCs, of course. This is significantly less of a threat than flying vehicles are.Ignorance
Or, if you like, forgetfulness; the third largest threat to a Freakshow is you!
If you're like me, you try to balance the Freakshow lists as best as possible in order to maximize your benefits. (Or,
says Terry the Troll, to cherry-pick the best parts of each codex.
) The problem with this is that you wind up juggling 3-5 rules sets in a single army, which can get damn confusing.
The list of rules I've forgotten so far is impressive. I frequently forget that Solitaires can move 12" normally, not 6". I usually forget the 4+ cover save for Heroes' Path characters. Having played Dark Eldar for so long, I sometimes forget that Windriders actually have
a functional armor save. Combat drugs, Warlord Traits, and the Latest Experiments buff are all things I've forgotten to roll. Remembering where all your Ld negatives are at can get confusing too; I've had several games where I've realized too late that a passed Leadership test should have failed, or that a unit should have taken more wounds. Remembering to disembark your HQs so that their bubbles (from the Armor or Mask, for example) will still come into play is something I've screwed up. After playing Dark Eldar for so long, I've skipped my psychic phase entirely on more than one occasion!
Even worse, for a competitive player, is the potentially disqualifying possibility of doing something illegal (entirely by accident) and being penalized for it. So far I've never done so in a competitive event, but in friendly games I frequently forget that Heroes' Path characters in a Venom cannot Outflank because of their Infiltrate (that requires the transport be a DT), and have just recently realized I have been casting Terrify from transports (Witchfires only, remember!).
For a friendly player, I recommend keeping your rules on hand at all times. Look them up frequently if you forget something. If you are waiting on your opponent to pee/smoke/grab a drink/look up a rule/move/etc, grab your book and refresh your memory on the unit/weapon/rule you plan to use next. You'd be surprised how often you find something you forgot.
For the tournament players: study your books exhaustively. Bring one to the bathroom if it's a deuce. Seriously. I know it may sound crass, but you're all about the prestige and the prizes, right? Depending on fiber intake, career, and family size, that's 5-30 minutes each time where your hands, eyes, and brain are largely unoccupied. Sitting on the bus/train/subway, standing in line, or eating are also good times to flip through a rulebook. (Do not ignore loved ones. I will not take the fall for your spouse coming after you with a spork, amigo.
) For competitive play, if you cannot recite the stat line of every unit, list their wargear and special rules, and then recite the rules for each piece of wargear, unit rule, and army rule, you don't know them well enough. (I love friendly games, but when I get competitive I tend towards get a cut-throaty kind of tunnel vision that in non-hobby settings tends to lead to war crimes, so feel free to mitigate this advice with temperance, if you possess more than I do.)Conclusion
No army is perfect, folks. Still, forewarned is forearmed. If you can think of an obvious weakness of the Freakshow lists, please feel free to shout it out so I can include it! My next installment is going to discuss some army lists, some theoretical, some with actual real world experience I can contribute. Until next time, stay freaky![/quote]Note - fixed a couple of formatting issues - Count Adhemar