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Everyone seems to be crazy about dark riders, saying that they are the best light cavalry in the game and absolutely devastating. For me they just seem easy victory points for my enemies. Hence my question:
What am I doing wrong?
I play mostly against wood elves and dwarves.
Against wood elves, the dark riders are the number one target for his HodA and glade guards, and most of the games I find myself screening the DR the entire battle. In close combat they seem worthless against the likes of dryads and wardancers that my opponent usually field, and their shooting seems to weak for the points.
Against dwarves they get shot to pieces again, and even if I get them forward they completely lack the punch to win battles against t4 high as troops.
Harpies and shades however never disappoint me, so for now I will stick with those. But I really would like to use my horsemen if possible, so if you know a way to use DR against dwarves and WE, please do tell me!
Well, you have to consider what you are going up against when you use your Dark Riders.
Vs Wood Elfs, or Dwarfs, they are not going to be as advantageous as they might be against other armies.
I think that Dark Riders show their best when they are going up against low WS, low mobility armies. Vs the Skaven, Dark Riders/Ellyrian Reavers were so lethal when used in combination with everything else, that as much as everything else on a DE list, the Dark Riders were the worst (from a Skaven standpoint that I used) things to see.
Stay in skirmish mode vs Wood Elves or Dwarves would be my advice.
The biggest compliment a unit of fast cav can get is your opponents attention. If they shoot at them, at least they didn't shoot at your main units. If you are facing only shooting armies, it might just be best to run harpies and shades though. In a more combat oriented meta, dark riders frustrate block hammer players.
A couple units of dark riders or so should draw a shooty opponent's fire, thus allowing you time to get your mean mashing mauling units down the field and pound the life out of his silly guns. Now, against another opponent, you'll have more fun march blocking and pecking him to death with those bows, but against shooters, you're drawing fire.
Dark riders should never get in combat with dryads and Wardancers. They are some of the WE best combat units so they should be getting eaten by them every time. Dark Riders greatest strength is there speed and fast calvery rule. Try taking them around his army, making sure that they dont get charged by the wardancers and dryads, and use them to charge the flank of his archers. With a little luck you should be able to break them and run them down. Even better if they have a mage in the unit.
In other games use them to get behind your opponents battle line. You can park them behind a enemy unit with the hope that they will break, run through them, and be destroyed. They will also work for taking out war machines, march blocking, or draging someones frenzied unit around the board. It also serves to un-nerve your opponent as they spend time worring about the riders in his back field and less about the army across from him.