Having just found this site, and noting that it's full of helpful information and, on the whole, vastly outshines most of the other sites out there as far as useful tactics, interesting army lists, and insightful/well-organized battle reports, I'd like to ask for some advice. Unfortunately, I don't play Dark Eldar, and have never had the opportunity to pilot a list. However, I do have quite a lot of experience playing against them (in the current codex' incarnation in both 5th and 6th ed, as well as against the former codex all throughout 3rd and 4th), and thus will try to make my posts relevant to the denizens of The Dark City. Feel free to point out where I'm wrong, correct what you can, challenge what you can't, and let me know what you think! (I primarily play Chaos Space Marines, but have a large collection of Tyranid models from 3rd and 4th ed).
This thread is going to try to sum up the units that work best against various units in the chaos codex that you might see in a game, and reflect on the Dark Eldar matchup versus the new Chaos Codex as a whole(influenced by Mushkilla's recent battle report found here
, and through my own experiences). I'm also going to try to build a balanced Chaos list built to be ready for Dark Eldar, and then try to use feedback to build a Dark Eldar list that will be able to threaten the strengths of the Chaos codex while still performing well in an all-comers setting. The following is my most successful list so far with the new chaos codex, set at 1750 points. Most of my 6th ed lists share several ideas in common with it, so I figure posting it is relevant to my experience:
are a problem for dedicated specialist combat units in many codices, as they pose a fast, resilient statline in close combat that can nonetheless threaten even terminators and multiwound characters with high amounts of attacks for the points spent on them. They almost always have the advantage of the faster transport (which can, importantly, allow them the assault), and often have combat drug boosts by the time a serious combat unit is facing them down. The downs
: The chaos codex mitigates Wych squads' danger in ways normal Space Marines don't, however. The prevalence of flame templates available in a chaos list outweighs normal space marines, though, since normal squads can take up to three of these per 10man squad, and have several versions of wargear, flyers, and psychic powers that can be used for similar purposes. Psychic powers, naturally, can't overwatch, so we'll ignore those for now. There is also the case that Chaos terminators, while less efficient in close combat as their loyalist counterparts, have meaningful shooting attacks (least of which to mention is that every single one can take a combi-flamer if they want), and can blow apart transports, flush squads from cover (or hose them with high strength, FnP-ignoring shots in the open) AND overwatch semi effectively, though not all at once. The codex can also take t5 on several units, which can mitigate some of the damage wyches are able to put out. The ups
: It should be mentioned, though, that chaos transports are almost completely limited to Rhinos. No Storm Raven or Land Raider variant will show its hide to a Dark Eldar opponent and, in the case of the classic Godhammer Pattern, is a victim of role-crisis and is an unusual choice as anything besides a Heavy Support slot, given that Chaos Terminators can be taken in smaller squads than loyalists (thus usually deep striking), and are generally more efficient in a shooting role, negating the need for an expensive assault transport. In this case, Heavy Support slots are in high demand. In regards to characters, most of the characters in a Chaos list will cap out at i5, with exceptions to slaanesh-marked lords at i6 and the rather expensive Daemon Prince at i8 (or 9). This is generally enough in their fight against Marines (who, it should be mentioned, will be eating points passively from most chaos lists with the purchase of Veterans of the Long War, that rarely effects Dark Eldar players in any way), but is only passable against DE units. The unit
are some of the fastest and deadliest units in the movement phase, and have a limited amount of resilience and firepower to match their almost peerless maneuverability and their wonderful ability to bladevane hidden backfield units. Reasonably cheap enough to be taken in full squads, Reavers can dictate where and when fights take place, and often are able to pick any part of the board and any turn to do it at a moment's notice - something that can be game-winning if played correctly, especially if enemy transports are taken down early enough. The downs
: Reavers can be caught by things after bladevane attacks that they would otherwise avoid. Once again, the prevalence of flame templates in the chaos codex can be a problem, though is less of one than in the case of wyches, where overwatch is the primary danger. Reavers do, however, suffer from tarpit problems, a thing that the new Chaos codex can really push to extremes with plague marines, mutilators, and spawn. While t4 protects against the baleflamer's fnp-denial, a Heldrake is still going to be able to chase these guys all over the board with murderous intent, something that most armies cannot boast and, moreover, the relative scarcity of more than one squad of incubi in many DE lists is going to mean that a Drake will often not have a better target to be chasing with its flamer, though if it decides to stay zooming, many squads will be able to dance around its line of sight and turn radius. Finally, the Maulerfiend presents a huge threat to reavers that stray too close to the juicy center of a Chaos list, who can easily pull off a horde of power armoured (or otherwise) models that may or may not present problems, depending on how dependent a Dark Eldar player is on large numbers of raiders and ravagers with lances (instead of the ultimately more threatening [to hordes] Venoms). The ups
: Reavers have the ability to pick any single unit on the board and make sure it takes a ton of saves. In the case of Chaos lists, the first target that comes to my head is their vulnerable units of objective scorers: Cultists. Unlike many lists that are going to have to wade through cult troops and hqs at the head of super resilient squads to meet the t3 units taking objectives, Dark Eldar can easily bring the fight to a squad of cultists and, in the case of a driving spear or flanking move by the Chaos player, may catch a squad or two of these away from the main fight, where nothing can support or enact revenge. Reavers especially can threaten these units (even 20-30 man zombie squads, but certainly 10mans in cover) at almost any point in the game, including when these squads break cover on turn 5, and need not risk chancy leadership rolls, overwatch fire from the ever present flame templates these squads can take (see above!), or the chance of being tarpitted by 35 models, due to their blade vane attacks. It should also be said that Reavers can outmaneuver and help destroy Rhinos just like many other fast units in the DE codex, helping to support the whole army's effort against a mechanized (or elite) CSM army.
This is probably long enough for a first post. For now, does this help anyone?
PS: In hindsight, this probably isn't appropriate for the Army List section. Would a moderator move it to the Dark Eldar Tactica forum, please?