If you're new to this series, you can find links to the previous installments, as well as several other wonderfully written Dark Eldar guides, by going right here.Freakshow Pt 6: Strange BedfellowsIntroduction
While Battle Brother allies provide the most useful sort of team-up, the factions of 40k offer numerous other combinations, many of which are advantageous to a Freakshow list. I apologize for the delay between this and the last article, it's taken me a bit to scour the codexes of armies I don't play.
While the primary forces we've talked about up to now have all been Battle Brothers, the armies we're going to talk about in the next few installments are not nearly so friendly. Levels of alliance are noted as follows: Allies of Convenience (AoC), Desperate Allies (DA), and Comes the Apocalypse (CtA).When the enemy of your enemy is your enemy
Allies of Convenience require very few special strategies. They work together like any other units, they just don't benefit one another. Players used to armies with little to no synergy between units shouldn't even notice a difference.
Desperate and Comes the Apocalypse allies require a bit more planning. Since they cannot move within 6" of one another without risking locking up for a turn, you need to take some caution with your strategy. I recommend one of two paths.
The first is the wave attack
. With this strategy, you let one faction take the lead, either charging forward, infiltrating, or arriving from reserve (preferably with Outflank or Deep Strike) to harass the opponent at close range, while the rest of your army stays at a greater distance to take advantage of their ranged attacks.
The second tactic is the pincer attack
. Going this route, both your armies start on opposite ends of the table and flank your opponent's army. This strategy can be a little easier to counter, especially if one of your forces is slower than the other.Necrons (CtA)
I admit, the biggest problem I have with Necrons is the fluff. While there are a few Eldar of various factions old enough to remember the fall, there aren't any old enough to remember the war in heaven. Still, there is bound to be enough lore surviving among them to piece together the truth. Most races can't pin down a concrete answer to 'why do we exist?' Eldar can: destroy the Necrons. It feels a little disingenuous to me to run them together.
Still, it's a harsh universe. In the face of Tau thieves or human barbarians, it's remotely conceivable to me that some Eldar might decide that allying with an ancient nemesis is preferable to ignominious destruction at the hands of a child race.
In any event, the Necrons are actually my favorite pick for a non-battle brother ally. Their units and abilities that are useful for Freakshows are all available as little detachments, that do not necessitate the inclusion of HQ or troop units.Nightbringer (Attack type) -
Still one of my all-time favorite models, the Nightbringer is one of the most intimidating things you can plunk down on the tabletop. It pleased me when the new codex brought him back to a semblance of badassery, as it should you.
The Nightbringer's attack seems at first like a Psychic Shriek that's limited to 12". However, unlike Shriek, the Gaze of Death functions when the Nightbringer is locked in melee, when the target
is locked in melee, and isn't subject to Deny the Witch. Of course, with the negative modifiers of a Freakshow, this can get even nastier.
That doesn't even take into account the ugliness that is the rest of his profile. With Smash and Fleshbane, he's a beast in close combat, and although the Powers of the C'Tan aren't as reliable as we might like, they are almost never going to be completely useless to you.Deceiver (Penalty type) -
Slightly less fearsome than the Nightbringer up close, the Deceiver makes up for his (comparative) lack of close combat might with a superior intellect. He generates his own 12" bubble of -2 Leadership, which is lovely in it's own right, but he also allows himself and D3 friendly units within 12" to redeploy after Scout moves (potentially changing the game dramatically). Conclave of the Burning One [Formation] (Attack/Penalty type) -
In case you've been living in a cave in outer Mongolia with your fingers in your ears since the Necron 'dex dropped, here's the skinny on the Conclave formation from Shield of Baal: Exterminatus.
Take one C'Tan shard, add two Crypteks. The malevolent synergy gives the C'Tan shard Feel no Pain, and lets the whole unit use the C'Tan's Toughness for wounding purposes.
But wait! It gets better! In addition to this particular gem, the Mephrit Dynasty add-ons from Shield of Baal also gives you access to a new slew of relics, which can be taken in addition to
(rather than in place of) the relics from the main Necron codex. Chief among those? The God Shackle.
This handy beaut allows one Cryptek to give his C'Tan pet a +1 boost to Strength and Toughness both. Of course, the Solar Thermasite
is delightful too, letting it's bearer reroll saves of 1, and adding +1 Strength to all his weapons. The Nightmare Shroud
is another worthy mention: granting Fear as well as the one use ability to yell 'Boo' and force a Morale test, just 'cuz, is almost as cool as the 2+ armor save it grants (yes, that coupled with the Thermasite is as ugly as you think it is). Mindshackle Scarabs
might seem like a good idea, with their enhanced Fear, but since your Conclave will have Fear anyway by virtue of having a Monstrous Creature, it isn't giving you that much (and the heavy leadership penalties of a Freakshow list play into this as well). Still, one set of MSS per Conclave can't hurt.
What's better than one Conclave? Two! Since the two C'Tan play off of one another (and they both enjoy good synergy with all of our other nastiness) there's no reason not to keep them close enough to benefit from each other's horrendousness. They can potentially destroy up to five units a round between the two of them, which is nothing to shake a stick at! What's more, regardless of the D3 roll, if two Conclaves are all you brought, the Deceiver can redeploy them completely!
They're points-heavy, though, so keep that in mind. You won't have a lot of room for deadweight with your Eldar forces, so pick and choose wisely what you'll bring along.Deathbringer Flight [Formation] (Penalty type) -
Gone are the halcyon days of targetless, Invisibility-popping Death Rays. Still a formidable weapon, the Death Ray has become a S10 AP1 Blast with the Lance rule. Taking 2-4 flyers that can sling such a weapon is no joke, especially since their Ballistic skill rapidly approaches the 'twin-linked' level of supremacy since they get +2 BS for each other Doom Scythe that fired at the same target. Although they lack any anti-flyer capacity, they can wreak havoc on ground targets, and the -1 penalty enemies within 12" of two or more of the flyers suffer is a nice added benefit to the Freakshow. Since they aren't a squadron, it's quite possible to spread these flyers out nice and wide to take full advantage of the effect. Final Thoughts
Necron-enhanced Freakshows tend to suffer from a bit of points-bloat. Since the Dark and Craftworld Eldar can both throw some amazing MSU builds, you can compensate for this a great deal and still have a viable list, but you'll need to be cognizant of how many points you've invested in your Necrons.
The units listed here aren't regarded as the best by competitive standards, but with the addition of the Freakshow buddies, I think they can rise up to a much higher level. If nothing else, the unusual nature of the alliance is sure to bring some surprise factor your way.
In the coming segments, I'm going to talk about a few other Strange Bedfellows, including various types of Marines, Chaos Daemons, and the Tyranids. Until then, stay freaky!