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I've been working on making a list as competitive, but also fun and different, as I can, using almost all of the dark eldar I have. I'm waiting to get some of this in the mail, and I haven't built it all yet. For example, on the modeling side, I don't have a haemonculus with a shattershard, but I have ideas on how to make one. I'd like to have my list down pretty well before I finalize how they're built (in case I want to try to go to tournaments - not with plans to win, but with plans to have fun and seem competent). Without further adieu, here's the list:
1 X Archon w/ Huskblade, Soul-trap, Shadowfield, Combat Drugs 145
1 X Haemonculus w/ Liquifier Gun & Webway Portal 95
1 X Haemonculus w/ Shattershard & Webway Portal 100
2 X 9 Hekatrix w/ 3 Special Weapons, Syren, Agoniser, PGL, HWG, Raider, Flickerfield, Shock Prow 290 each
1 X 3 Trueborn w/ 2 Dark Lances
1 X 15 Wyches w/ 3 Special Weapons, Hekatrix, Agoniser, PGL, HWG 250
2 X 10 Warriors w/ Splinter Cannon, Shredder, Sybarite, Venom Blade, Blast Pistol 135 each
3 X 5 Warriors w/ Blaster, Sybarite, Blast Pistol, Agoniser 105 each
1 X 3 Reavers w/ Heat Lance 78
1 X 3 Reavers w/ Blaster 81 2,000 Even
The setup would involve placing everything in the webway (unless I notice a good reason not to), except for the haemonculi and hekatrixes who would be buddied up. If the opponent placed on the deployment line and I get first turn, then I can get the webway out *and* probably get a first turn charge with FNP wyches. I would do this by getting a few extra inches by rotating the Raider first, then moving 12", deploying the squads, keeping the haemy and wyches just about 2" apart so they separate, and then running the wyches at the enemy. I'm hoping that by being cover-conscience, I can prevent blowing up before getting to go (which would be terrible, and I see that as a big risk with WWP armies).
So, any comments on the effectiveness of this list? As a side note, anyone have thoughts on modeling shattershards?
Thank you for reading and have a great day.
WWP theory and list building is something that gets overlooked by many as it currently stands, is not competitive by the tournament meta (thus it is “unproven”). I for one, favor wwp style of play and thus am always looking for a way to bridge wwp with being competitive despite the inherent draw back dealing with “reserves” – it is unreliable and thus, not competitive.
As I look at wwp lists I am looking at “synergy” between your portal deployers (units starting on the board) and the units that are in reserve that can and cannot use the portal. There is a balance that one must consider and the “worst-case” scenario that for some reason always rears its ugly head when you really do not want it to. So instead of doing a unit by unit suggestion, I just want to look at your overall plan and the units that are starting on the board (assessing your likelihood of getting the portal out without a hitch and in a good location).
First and foremost, and I cannot stress this enough, you have to take a personal approach to setting up the terrain on the board. If you want better conditions to execute your plan, you need to take the setting of terrain as seriously as deployment of your army. After both of you place some terrain and before you place the next piece, put yourself on both sides of the table and ask yourself, “is there a spot for my portal deployers to setup that they can at least get a cover save if you do not win 1st move. This is the same for those that like to go 2nd in a turn, you better not be setting up in open terrain for an entire opponents shooting phase. Next would be to ensure you have a piece of terrain centrally located that your deployers are going to land next to and disembark into – from there they will drop a portal in open terrain (or partially in terrain, your choice) and give your deployers a chance to survive the ensuing shooting phase while being in cover (and even utilizing FnP if you have it).
Next, your deploying units are a factor too. You are using Haemys with are a natural choice and they provide a token to whomever wants to escort them – not usually investing in but they are a kill point and the default liquefier can actually do a lot of damage so I am not of the opinion that Haemys are disposable or sacrificial, I like to preserve them and count on them to execute secondary goals (like getting at least one template down) so I do not just forget about them. As for the escort, I like to use wracks as they have the toughness and additional pain token to survive a turn of enemy shooting. Warriors and wyches are fine to and even Grotesques make good escorts as well but the Wrack squad is just nails (the toughest troop choice) and can deploy in “Dawn of War” as to provide an escort service that you can rely on no matter what the mission is. Wyches, they are ok however, I am not sure their ride will last a turn as the opponents shooting phase is, “Either I shoot at the Haemy that already put the portal down or I shoot at the wyches on a raider and make them pedestrians – obviously, the prime choice is shoot the wyches and the Haemy will simply be forgotten about, he/she is a short range threat that isn’t dangerous as of yet. Disembark the wyches with the haemy and pretty much the same thing ensues, they will blow up the raider or focus on the wyches. Good luck preserving wyches for a turn, their chance of assaulting anything goes way down when used as an escort – I would rather them not have the token and save them from getting shot at than giving them a token and see if they survive.
Now once the portals are down, you are waiting for the units to emerge on the second turn. Depending on your prediction of the enemy forces, the objectives and the terrain you should be in range of any of those 3 however every game is different and how your opponent reacts is totally random as well. For me, something is almost always within range to be charged or I got a good staging area where my assault units can make it to cover. There is no hurry in my eyes to get a charge straight out of the portal (it is nice but not necessary). If you are investing a lot of points to participate in a WWP list then you are not looking for a “first turn charge”, in fact, that would bad, your goal is to have the advantage, ensure you will win an assault and have support in case the assault flounders. First turn assault or any assault where you are relying on the assault unit to act alone and need them to win is too risky a plan and with the random nature of reserves arriving on the 2nd turn you just may not get any support to your now committed assault with little to no help to ensure you win. In other words, the earliest charge you should be looking at is the 2nd turn if not the 3rd – even if you can pull off a 1st turn charge I would strongly encourage you not to over extend yourself unless you are absolutely sure you will win and/or have immediate support. First turn charges are for “rush” lists and even then I think they are a fools folly as usually only 1 unit makes the charge (and now they are on their own) and this gives your opponent a chance to counter charge you before you can give help to that unit. Even if you wipe the target out you are now stranded and ready to be shot at (as well as of those who failed the charge and are now in range of medium to short range enemy fire).
So how are the portals getting out into a good position is also critical, making sure one portal is on a raider for an aggressive position is important but even more so depending on the units that are using it. For example, just about any of the “Fast Attack” choices are prime portal users and can even fare well with a conservative drop (like walking 6” forward and then dropping the portal) – they are forgiving in where the portal is because either their move or their charge is 12”. Most troop choices are little different (except hellions) as they will definitely need an aggressive spot – they need to be close as taking more than turn to get into range (of either shooting or assault) is going to be feeding your opponent piece meal and be rather ineffectual. I have used wyches out of a portal but due to their charge range I do not like putting more than 1 in the portal as they tend to fight for the same target. However, units like Hellions tend to not be affected by that problem as both their 12” move, fleet move and charge move can get them just about anywhere out of a portal and can hit pretty hard. I have tried warriors also but strictly in a shooting build – they just move towards an objective and just shoot along the way.
Looking at your list, my concerns are:
The one raider that is available (the only raider in the list) belongs to an “elite” choice and a unit that the enemy will have no hesitance in pouring 2,000 points of shooting into. If you are moving 2nd in a “Dawn of War” then you are a little behind the 8 ball as the raider is starting off the board and your best chance is to move 12” from your board edge and then drop the portal (worst case scenario).
My 2nd concern is the troop choices in the portal, charging or shooting they will need an aggressive spot for the portal otherwise you might as well just move the warriors from the board edge to an objective and just start the wyches on the table with a haemy. Out of 4 or 5 times I have tried wyches in a portal, there was at least once where it was just better to use the board edge rather than portal – the portal can work against you and that is what I am trying to relay. I think your list needs another raider or that the raider you do have goes to one of the troops. This may cause a list overhaul as even I would be a little shy of putting both Bloodbrides and the Wyches in the portal unless I had both portal haemys on a raider. I do remember seeing Trueborn used as escorts and although that is not my style of unit there is something to be said of Trueborns starting with a token, sitting in cover while the Haemy drops the portal – at least the trueborn can sit and shoot and their ride can too (venom or raider). Not sure what your plans were with your Trueborn but I would rather they start on the board somehow and start shooting ASAP versus putting them in the portal and getting them to shoot until a turn after they arrive (earliest 3rd turn, 4th turn most likely and that is a little late).
Hope I got some of the theory down with the portals – it isn’t just something you can flop down and expect everything to work right. I know most players that do not have enough raiders or transports opt to use the portal because of that and that is very hard to use for beginners that have never used it before. So even if you do have some tough games because of it do not give up on the Dark Eldar as it does get easier once you got a good number of transports in your army (yes, even wwp lists need at least 2 raiders to work in my eyes).
Good luck and happy hunting!
"On a hunch, I melted them down and inhaled the fumes and read the dark eldar codex again, AND FOUND A BUNCH OF NEW RULES HIDDEN BEHIND THE OTHER WORDS..." [Gardeth on modelling & interpreting the DE Codex]
I really appreciate the in depth analysis of portal usage. There were some good insights in there that I will have to consider in the future. I've noticed how important terrain can be. I can see some potential flaws in the list, but before I go on I should mention a few things. There are indeed two raiders in the list as there are two hekatrix squads with raiders that the haemys join. The trueborn squad is meant to be as something of a cheap ravager that I would definitely not deploy through the portal. I was thinking that I might try giving the raiders to warrior squads instead to avoid having that problem of attempting a raider rush in a WWP list. I could see how I might have too many wyches then. They would definitely be fighting over targets, and if they're doing their job then the warriors might be a little overgeared with the agonisers. I sort of asked myself the question with each warrior squad "will this statistically buy its points back if i had to use it on terminators." The answer I found was generally yes, but why should I worry about terminators if I have a bunch of wyches?
In any case, I think I might put wracks on my potential to-buy list, as I see your point when it comes to their quality as escorts. Also, perhaps venoms, since a venom would be a cheaper transport that would be easier to hide - perfect for WWP deployment. I'm also thinking that I should replace the trueborn squad with a ravager, or supplement it.
As for changes I can make right now, I have more warriors, so I could make the squads bigger and shootier with more splinter cannons.
Ultimately, I think I'll be trying out this list eventually, and I'll let you know how it goes. I eagerly await the challenges that running a DE army are going to pose for me.
Thanks once more, and happy hunting to you as well!