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I will kinda retire from trying to correct everone on what 5th edition rules are – I don’t have the energy especially when the rule book hasn’t be distributed to everyone. So with that in mind I thought I would share some scary observations with just the art of war in 5th, the Dark Eldar Codex and the other newer codices (chaos, orks, daemons, etc.,). I don’t want to fixate on the actual interpretation of specific rules but how the Dark Eldar are going to fare in the future with the game mechanics of 5th in my opinion.
First let me say in 4th that I fear no army. I know how the game works, I know how the DE work (to match my style of play) and even with our 2nd edition codex made for 3rd and patched for 4th (barely) that I found balance and peace with my strategies and tactics were “one”. Simply in a nutshell, hide the raiders, shoot what you can, get your close combat troops into CC and “roll the line” (CC being our safety measure). For me, warriors shoot, they lay the portal, then all heck breaks lose in the 3rd turn when the wyches and ravagers pour out. I would say that if 4th edition had 3 dimensions, the Dark Eldar only really needed 2 of them to win – shooting, and assault. Sure we “flavored” these 2 dimensions with odd choices like mandrakes and grotesques and even bikes but spice doesn’t make a meal, let’s face it, our meat and potatoes is warriors and wyches (one shoots, the other assaults). Kinda like chicken, you can probably make 100 recipes from warriors and wyches and perhaps have a crazy combinations but they are pretty much made from the same basic ingredients.
So now comes 5th edition – the game has changed and there a disturbance in the force. Most of what I depended on in executing a game plan has changed dramatically. I was fortunate enough to play a full 5th edition with a friend who is also going to the GW GT in Vegas. We wanted to try out some 1750 point ideas and exercise the 5th edition rules so we can get a handle on what expect – missions, setups, victory conditions and of course, the changes in the rules. He was going to use his Orks and I was going to play Dark Eldar of course. It would be friendly game that didn’t have armies geared up to kill each other but rather units that we thought we would try out because of 5th. So here are my thoughts as we go through each nuance of the game:
Starting the game:
We set up the terrain normally – no change here really, I still pay particular attention to where the building and forests go and I still make sure each part of the table is balanced. There are no benefits or strategies here that “stick” out at me but after playing a game and a half I get the feeling now that I want cover to be a little more central – concentrated in the center but still not obviously or overly cluttered. At this time, I think cover placed on the extreme edges of the board (other than your deployment edge) can be a waste (never used). Making sure at least one piece of cover is each deployment edge might be a good decision.
I let my friend roll, he rolled the first mission which was almost identically the same as “loot counters”. 3 + D3 objectives and we ended up with 4 objectives, not bad, I got my 4 troop choices that can claim, nothing minimized and somewhat mobile (they can all run and shoot, no sniper squads). However, when I look at my opponents 104 orks that can claim an objective (5 troop choices) – I am feeling quite small and fragile. Luckily, this mission is not about kill points its about claiming objectives – I just need to hold 2 of them and try to contest a 3rd. I don’t need to claim all 4, there are no victory points to worry about – its very much like “Alpha”, you just need to claim more than the other person to flat out win. One additional change to all the objective based missions is that now you need to be within 3” of the objective to score or contest.
Looking back at this now I would say that most Dark Eldar players would want to place the objectives from either mission into difficult terrain. Placing an objective in the open or away from cover more than 3” is asking for hardships, why? Because we really do not have anything that can endure hiding in the open – maybe mandrakes who dive for cover in the open would have a 4+ save or the grotesques if they keep the old “FnP” rule but they can only “contend” an objective, not “claim” it. I realized that both our scoring units (warriors or wyches) are in no condition to claim an objective in the open so my mind says whenever possible, place all objectives into cover. If we need to “contend” an objective (which means there are enemy “troop” choices there) in cover than who better than a squad of wyches, a good raider squad or Haemoculus.
Deployment setup and 1st turn.
So I got to roll for setup – there are 3 different methods and I rolled the one that made you setup in “quarters” like cleanse. You pick a table edge to defend and on that table edge you got to pick which half to deploy – it’s a very similar to “cleanse” except you have to stay away 12” from the center. I don’t mind quarters, looking at the other objectives it would be obvious that I would naturally claim 2 of the objectives easily and he would claim the other 2. So it’s a matter of how I am going to get to the objectives and live long enough to either contest or claim.
Setup roll and first turn.
If you haven’t heard, the game changes here dramatically. You simply roll to see who get to decide who is setting up first AND the person who sets up first gets “First move”. Sounds weird? There is more. The person who gets to setup first and gets first move has to setup his entire army, all of it. The other player gets to setup 2nd and get the perk of seeing how the other player’s setup AND has the chance when everyone is done setting up to try and “steal” the first move. I do not know what the copyright law is so I will not quote what it is called or what is needed but the second player has a chance if he rolls well to steal the first move away from the 1st player.
So I won the choice of setting up first. I didn’t have a wwp list but I did put in a couple deepstrikers in because I thought it was cheaper than a portal and I wanted to try the new deepstriking rules. Looking at 130 orks in 1750 was intimidating to say the least – he had me outnumbered 2 to 1 easily and I felt he would be coming at me full throttle so I decided to setup first and try to take better positions to defend the objectives that were near me and to get into position to contest the 3rd objective. I chose a side that had a building (6”x4”) and a fortified barricade. Both pieces of terrain were about 4” away from the 2 objectives and felt they would be easily defended (I was wrong, as I later felt putting the objectives into cover would have been way better). One other factor that made me take the first turn (and probably for forever whenever I get it) is the fact that you cannot hide a raider – there is no level 3 terrain to ensure your raiders are safe.
One last note on setting up the Dark Eldar, true-line-of-sight has to be tattooed on your brain when you are placing your starting forces down. I don’t mind exposing foot troops, they were beefed up to 14 man warrior squads and I was used them getting shot at, in fact, I hope the enemy does. But the raiders! Oh my, there is little space anywhere that the enemy can’t see our ridiculously large raider sticking out. No more class 3 terrain to hide yourself, if they can see the raider through the window of the Cities of Death terrain (which were so wonderfully useful all these years to hide my raiders) were now a mere 4+ cover save. A ravager, raider squad, wych squad whatever you put down will get shot at. I was going against large Loota squads and that Mek SAG (shock attack gun) that seemed to always have range and get line of sight throughout the game. Thank gosh I got a good chance to have first move! Everyone of my raiders could have been shot at, everyone of them were visible from one angle or another so my other saving grace was that it was the orks, their range is generally short – if it had been the Tau and a good Tau general could easily ground my starting forces if he had 3 or 4, 48” range guns on vehicles.
I will break here, I have more installments about the game and our codex but here is a chance to get some comments from you guys. I will continue with the analysis later today.
"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 totally agree with you on how DE plays in 4th Ed and the “roll the line” quote sums up Wych /Warpbeast combat beautifully, once this machine gets a full head of steam all the enemy can usually do is pull back or count the casualties.
The interesting thing that I see in 5th Ed is true LOS and the time it would take to determine all this, especially so when looking at 130 Orks! Did it take long in practice and how exactly do you do this without a laser pointer?
The Raiders being unable to hide I assume is bad because of their large size and I know we have all seen sneaky peekies of the supposed new one and maybe its going to be physically smaller or the FAQ may allow some new rule to alleviate this – who knows?
Looks like Screaming Jets might get a revisit in my army lists.
Nice work Kwi and thorough as usual.
In a controversy the instant we feel anger we have already ceased striving for the truth, and have begun striving for ourselves.
What you say about true los is a good point, I'm just wondering if there's any way of "downsizing" the raider a little, maybe take the silly aerial type thing off the back, positioning the pilot a little lower- ooh, or maybe combining it with a rjb somehow!
if eldar can have crouching wraithlords...
(then also thinks about creating a massive, slide-out boarding ramp on the underside of his raider to allow his archon those extra few inches of charging... "but its all part of the same model, it just grew!)
(yes, I realise that last bit is totally illegal. I'm just enjoying imagining the look on your opponents face as you try it for the first time- that mix of bewilderment, horror and "he can't do THAT! Can he?") _CC
Well it is sort of legal. It is a WYSIWYG conversion, but at the same time it is modelling for advantage and it doesn't say that you can't have moving pieces on your transports or that they can't transform, give that they were modelled like this in the first place.
For the deep strike. You get bummed if you land too close to someone. What does anyone think about making raiders thinner so that if you get close to an enemy you can simply rotate out of trouble unless you are right on top of them?
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WWP and other Dark Eldar how to
TLOS is only crippling because DE only work as a mech force really. I never thought i'd say this, but TLOS is the single biggest reason ever to why night shields need to be cheaper and/or we need something akin to holofields.
As it stands the raider is fairly low profile, its only the fins (which are hardly the hull) pose a problem. Personally without re-reading the TLOS rules again its a bit dodgy to penetrate the tank because you can see the gunner's ponytail (or in this case, literally paper thin fins).
Going by the 5th edition rules as this pertains to them, the vehicle can get a cover save from being obscured if it's atleast 50% behind cover, if it were JUST the fins poking out I would consider the raider to be in cover. it also says if you are unsure if it's atleast 50% you should give it the save modified with a -1 (i.e. 4+ becomes 5+).
As such, and keeping in mind I'm no expert on Raider proportions, I would think a raider would be entitled to a cover save behind all sorts of different cover, the problem for us doesn't seem to be in the raider model but rather the fact that all we are getting is a cover save, not being totally blocked.