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From what I've heard, the Dark Eldar are a brutal enemy to face, but I wanted to know how one would go about fighting them. Nurgle bikers are the best thing I could come up with so far, but I'm sure there are other ways as well.
The standard guns of the Dark Eldar warriors are only S3 as far as I remember, so MoN would be a good option. Try taking a unit of havocs or something to pick off their bigger guns earlier, so they struggle against you at range, then bring in a unit of 'zerkers or raptors when they close to make sure they don't kick yo' ass in CC.
What Dark Eldar lack is big tough things. Even their vehicles, although fast, have very low armour value, and no weapon in the 'Dex has a range over 48" or more than S7 or 8
I would definitely look into some strong CC units. Deldar have some nasty options in this reguard (namely poisoned power-weapons which you'll see on most of their squad and army leaders). And they are capable of getting in combat before you have a chance to blink. (generally 2nd turn). Having some berserkers (give the champs power-weapons NOT fists) or just standard chaos marines would do rather well. Be weary though they DO carry lance weapons, lots, and lots, of lance weapons. So having high AV is pretty much a moot point they pen any armor you bring with on a 5+ anyway. I could see defilers as a pretty brilliant unit for suppression, or even just Acannon/Hbolter preds, their turret gun can knock down enemy skimmers in short order.
Chaos termies might be a decent call as well. Their Invi save will give you an edge, as will the heavy flamer. (again don't bother with power/chainfists) I would suggest Slaanesh units, but they are going to beat you on init almost no matter what you field ('cept maybe a daemon prince of slaanesh)
Range is also a moot point, their guns may not have super long range, but they move so fast it won't ever matter.
I play against Dark Eldar regularly, and I find that a couple of things are important to keep in mind.
1. Target Priority. Make sure you take out the right units quickly. Knocking down the skimmer with the suped up HQ can buy you a lot of time. And though their heavy support skimmers do carry considerable firepower I will generally go for the transports first.
2. Almost nothing in a Dark Eldar army will stand up to being shot at. Make maximum use of the fact that your regular marines have plenty of firepower.
3. Apart from HQ Dark Eldar units tend to kill rather slowly in cc. Keeping a counter charge unit close can be a good idea. You can NOT expect to get a round of shooting when combat is over due to the speed of say Wyches.
4. Cover saves are vital for you. Dark Eldar have so easy access to large numbers of low ap high strength weapons that you cannot expect your marine armor to carry the day. Keep in cover and use the very respectable range of the bolter to max effect.
Overall Dark Eldar are very tricky to field... usually the first round is vital to their success. If you can knock down a couple of their skimmers that will give you a huge advantage. If you fail that you will quickly be playing on his terms.
If the radiance of a thousand suns
Were to burst at once into the sky,
That would be like the splendor of the Mighty One...
I am become Death,
The shatterer of Worlds.
There are so few DE at my store that I really have only played against them once - but educational it was (as are all losses).
I found my thousand sons to do a nice job against their rapidly advancing troops (e.g. those guys on the flying blade like things crumbled).
I actually jumped my sorcerer into terrain (out of sheer desperation of getting away from their vehicles) along with his raptors and slaughtered a large unit holding an objective quite comfortably.
I was totally pwned by the vehicles! Everything was becoming swiss cheese too quickly. I dunno if the opponent was playing correctly, but the sheer number of shots from some skimmer was insane..
So I was worried over the vehicles in a DE army, but more confident about their troops. But that was from the days where my anti-tank was almost non-existent, now I have plenty of goodies that should do well. I say stand ground and just mow them down as they approach.
Be nice to your enemies, it will make them madder!
There are a few different options in the current edition of 40k that the DE can make use of, but the most popular one these days is a mechanised list; ie, lots of skimmers. Alot of DE also take "Sniper Squads".. which is a ten man squad with two S8 lance weapons that costs around 100 points.
These skimmers can all go 24" and jump over terrain, as well as being able to move 12" and allowing their troops to disembark, use fleet of foot and then still charge you (and some units, namely Wyches and HQs may have a 12" charge). Watch out for DE players looking to contest terrain on the last turn by zooming a skimmer or jetbikes into proximity.
Your first priority should be to take out any Raiders transporting either HQs or Wyches. If he has Incubi, kill them first as they are init and WS 5, save 3+ and are toting S4 power weapons. Plasma guns, Autocannons and Missile launchers are the best things for taking out their transports, but massed Bolter and Heavy Bolter fire can do it quite well, too and have the added benefit of being very deadly to their troops. Since the basic DE transport comes equipped with their equivalent of a Las Cannon, taking them out will also reduce the amount of AT fire you take from them, as well.
Second priority should be taking care of his Ravagers (those are the gunboat skimmers). As they can carry 3 S8 lance weapons, or 3 Disintegrators (which either work like Plasma Cannons, or fire 3 S4 AP3 shots each), they can do a lot of damage to either your troops or your vehicles. They're not heavily armored, so any of your S7 weapons should be able to take them out pretty reliably. If you have Bikes or Raptors, jump them in close and unload with your special weapons.
If Wyches or an HQ assault one of your units, unless you have a numerical advantage, there is a pretty good chance that you will lose the combat. Keep a unit in rapid fire range to take them out after the combat. If you ever see any Wyches in the open, shoot them. They die very easily to weapons fire and are a real pain to kill in CC. Your bolters are good weapons in this fight.
DE Warriors, although great for their points, won't inflict a lot of damage to CSM in CC. Unless they have you vastly outnumbered or have an IC hiding in the squad, you should be just fine charging in to CC them.
Don't sweat too much about Hellions, Mandrakes or Scourges.. they are sub-par units and shouldn't present too much of a threat to your well-armored troops. Take them into strategic consideration, but realize that they won't do much damage on their own.
Keep your powerfists! You're not going to out init them anyway and you may need that PF on the off chance that he brings a Talos.
Lastly, don't send your Lord or DP into a one on one fight with his Archon. If the Archon is kitted right, he can probably butcher your HQ without even getting wounded. Either pile a squad on him in assault, or, better yet, pepper him with bolter fire.
Last edited by Psyan; March 24th, 2009 at 01:44. Reason: Darn typo!
"Is Archon Braigh-Dee going to have to choke a Wych?
Courtesy of Wicky: D.C.S.S.E.P.C.I.C.B.
I've found lesser daemons are great at getting stuck into the dark eldar.
I tend to keep a fair bit in reserve if I can and try to close with them quickly before those "sniper squads" chew my army up.
Mirage Arcana Podcast
The "A Smart Player Will..." theory is a complete paradox. If we make an assumption that everything we do is outsmarted, then theoretically we can never win.
Take down the raiders and ravagers a.s.a.p. And remember, always assault first if possible, but stay shooty for as long as possible!
all of this things are good tactics....i will need to say kill the archon whit shooting he is a pain in the **** to kill in cc. he killed my lord whit deamon wep and my DP in 2 turns and i didnt do one single wound on him. (note i got a daemon wep of Khorn and i rolled doubble 6 so i had 17 attacks from my lord and 8 berzerkers, whit skull champ whit PF i lost the CC and the game)
Dont let them get in to combat is always a good idea. If the Archon is in combat then its probably not going to go to well for you unless you isolate him and drag him down with weight of attacks. Not easy as he will normally have Incubi with him. Easiest way of getting rid of that 2+ inv save is shoot the bugger. Once he fails that he shouldnt last much longer.
The cool thing about Dark Eldar is that every weapon we have kills them easily. Lots of anti infanty firepower is a good idea.
Target the Raiders early on will make life a hell of a lot easier-thinning down scary units like Wyches needs to be done as you will be in a world of hurt if they reach you intact.
Currently play: 4000+ of Black Legion