Welcome to Librarium Online!
Since the new edition of the rules has come out I have heard some enquiries on a new tactica for the new edition and although I am no expert I Thought I should at least get the ball rolling with presenting the format for a unit analysis and after this we look at the items/upgrades before looking at overall army strategies.
The Archon is your ultimate heavy-hitting close combat presence, but he is very expensive when compared to the Dracon. The main perks involved are his WS, extra attack, initiative, and extra wound. All these perks make him almost twice the price, but his output is really only slightly more than the Dracon. Despite this, the Archon has a few differing roles he can play effectively:
Jetbike Beast (172 points)
Wargear: reaver jebike, tormentor helm, combat drugs, shadow field
Beast has a few connotations with this nickname, and they all fit. Beasts in WH40K have an effective assault range of 18", and since this Archon doesn't have a joined squad who wants to shoot, he is free to use his fleet ability for an even larger assault range of 19"-24". Add in the ability to turbo boost into a threatening position in the previous turn and this Archon plays much like a beast stalking its prey.
That prey is your opponent's rearward units, relying on distance and ranged firepower to ensure they will not see a lot of enemies up close. And they certainly won't be expecting an assault within the first two turns of the game. The combination of reaver jetbike, punisher, and combat drugs can boost the Beast's strength to 6, which ensures an average of 4-6 reliable kills when you add re-rolls and/or an extra attack from the drugs. You don't usually need such offense against units like Devastators or Havocs since the immediate aim is to tie up the squad so it no longer shoots, but it is still important to minimize return attacks and be able to finish the target off in two rounds so he can hit the next target. That shadow field can be great, but don't think that it's going to save your Archon against any more than about 5 wounds.
You also don't want to risk him getting shot at during his approach, should it take two turns or more. One lucky volley can mean your 172 points were pretty much wasted. Since he's a single moderately sized model with lots of movement, he should be able to find a good position to deny line of sight during his hunt. If that's not possible, turbo boost him down a flank and keep him out of range of the units with lots of shots (like troops choices). It's better to gamble on the fleet distance than to put him in harm's way just to ensure a charge. The 3+ cover and extra toughness can help keep him alive a little longer if his shadow field fails.
If you manage to hit the enemy's rear units, he's going to have a tough time deciding which way to go. Forward or back? Most likely he will split up his forces (or will have already done so with reserves). Your Archon just made things a lot easier for the rest of your forces! And let's also mention that his speed is invaluable if you need to support another unit against particularly nasty combat squads like Assault Terminators, Ork Nobz, or Khorne Berzerkers.
He can be a liability in Annihilation missions because of the lack of protection compared to a transport & retinue, so it will be important to use the points saved on such things to help field more threats to your opponent. The best defense is offense, as they say.
Also note that a strength 6 model can be useful even against most vehicles (excluding Land Raiders, Monoliths, and Dreadnoughts), so he is still a good choice if the opponent has tanks instead of heavy squads. Monstrous Creatures, like the Carnifex, are less optimal targets since they can end up doing too much damage in return (unless you've weakened it with dark lances first).
Prize-Hunter (117 + 92 + 60 = 269 points)
Weapons: agoniser, splinter pistol
Wargear: combat drugs, plasma grenades, trophy rack
Retinue: 9x Warrior w/ 2x splinter cannon
Transport: Raider w/ horrofex
This role is all about going straight for the opponent's main character or monstrous creature in close combat and bringing back its head as a trophy! This is where the Archon's amazing stats really come into good use. Very few targets can contend with his initiative and WS. With a retinue & transport, more points can be used on maximizing your Archon's close combat abilities against the unsuspecting character/monster.
Again, multiple combat drugs are a useful gamble. Particularly in this case, since the target is going to be doing a lot of return damage if you don't kill it quickly. Re-rolls, extra attack, and maybe even extra WS will be useful. Only take the extra WS if yours is currently the same as your target's. You should normally get 6 attacks on the charge, most will hit thanks to re-rolls, and the agoniser makes it relatively easy to wound even something as abominable as a Hive Tyrant, Carnifex, Avatar, or a Great Unclean One.
The retinue is needed, rather than just having him join a squad. Otherwise, the target will end up picking out your Archon and killing him before the job is finished. Incubi are unnecessary for this role, since most characters & monsters have get an invulnerable save, and will not offer a chance to use that expensive 3+ armor. The Warriors probably won't do much, but their cannons will hopefully score one or two wounds on the target before they charge in. The Dark Lance on the Raider can also help out with this if it doesn't have other priorities. The horrofex is useful in preventing another close-by enemy unit from counter-charging while you take down the big cheese.
The main weaknesses of this Archon are large squads with lots of attacks and dreadnoughts, so steer clear of those. This unit is still fairly good against basic troops, however.
Meat Grinder Extreme!! (145 + 194 + 70 = 409 points)
Wargear: tormentor helm, combat drugs, animus vitae, xenospasm
Retinue: 6x Incubi, 3x Warrior w/ 2x splinter cannon
Raider: disintegrator, scythes
This role is labeled Extreme!! for a reason. It is your ultimate choice in really large games where you know you've got a massive troop of angry ninja monkeys (or Orks/Tyranids, I suppose ;-) bearing down on your poor little Raider Squads. So many, even, that there will soon be nowhere for your speedy paper planes to go! So charge in with the MGX!! (patent pending) and clear some space dude!
The Archon is mainly in there (as opposed to the Dracon) for his extra attack and ability to go crazy with the drugs (+strength (if needed), re-rolls, +attack). Splinter cannon and the disintegrator will soften the target nicely before you charge in with a glorious 24x S5 & S6 power weapon attacks, hitting on 3-ups to boot. The animus vitae will kick in quickly, pumping your Archon up even more just for kicks. If you charged a single squad, you'll probably find your MGX!! is now all alone and waiting to get shot to bits, but if you were smart and charged two or three big squads, there will probably be a few stragglers. This is what you want. Take some minor losses from them and finish them off in the opponent's turn. Then charge again!
The Raider is a cute little addition, blocking off immediate counter-charges that might overwhelm your unit before they've cleaned up their current targets. We wouldn't want some Genestealers joining the party while our Archon is still trying to whip through those Termagants. Will they attack the Raider? Probably, but they'll lose a good number of models to those scythes. It might not even go down since the attackers will need 6s to hit if you moved your Raider over 6".
Obviously, this role requires a lot of points and is overkill in any other type of game. It is a good answer to those accursed Nurgle armies though. They never expect to see their Plague Marines/daemons wiped out so quickly! Sure your squad costs twice as much, but if you can rip through a couple of squads, you will either have opened up objectives or scored those much-needed kill points when a less Extreme!! force would be struggling. How can you put a point limit on that?
If you're making a tournament-style all-comers list, the MGX!! is not cost-effective enough against enough armies to be worth taking. Try a more modest version using the Dracon instead.
Last edited by Krovin-Rezh; April 28th, 2009 at 08:28.
The weapon options on the Archon don't count towards the 100 point wargear limit, you can therefore have the following:
For 172 Points. This gives you strength 6 with drugs and the extra attack for having a pistol.
Also, jetbikes only assault 6" giving this guy an 18" assault range. However, you do get the 6" move in the assault phase when not assaulting to get him there faster.
I like this guy, although mine always seems to die to devastators and the like in close combat.
Last edited by Dracon Bob; April 28th, 2009 at 04:18.
Kabal of the Twilight Blade - Host of Tecpatl - Salamanders 3rd
Cool, I'll give that an edit then.
Actually, I just remembered that jetbikes can't use the 12" assault from drugs, so I'll have to change the entry to make use of the fleet ability instead.
Last edited by Krovin-Rezh; April 28th, 2009 at 07:52.
Time for something a little different-
Dawn of War
The Dawn of War deployment method is an odd one to be sure, but DE can capitalise upon it's advantages while having virtually no disadvantages, the best DE force to do this is typically a fully mechanised no portal force. Webway portals dramtically shift the gameplan within themselves thus not really being affected by dawn of war itself and hybrid forces (a mix of foot based units and mechanised) will often lack the mobility to really shine in this method of deployment.
Now, how does this work?
Firstly in dawn of war the DE player will want the second turn in virtually every game - there will be a few unique forces that promote taking the first turn but these are fairly rare - mobility is key here forcing your opponent out of position is not to be underestimated.
Now, while the DE player will want/have the second turn, you will not want to seize the initiative - doing so puts you at the disadvantage just as badly as your opponent - perhaps moreso given the fragile nature of a DE force.
So, we have the second turn and your opponent has deployed their army, what will you deploy? Nothing - thats right nothing. Since anything not deployed (and not placed in reserve) will coem on the first turn, we will use raider (and to a lesser degree ravager) movement to cut down the distance between our frontline and the enemies' as well as the distance need to see thanks to night fighting.
So hopefully when the opponent takes their first turn they will advance some (if not all) their units to get into range - as well as the fact that any units they have moving onto the board will typically be lagging behind create a 2 wave frontline.
Obviously with nothing on the board your opponents shooting will be nonexistant - any run moves will typically serve to further our goal rather than our opponent's.
Now it is time for your move - assault raiders will probably want to turboboost along flanks given that they will still probably be just out of assault range depending on how your opponent deployed - if they deployed (and then moved) aggressively a first-turn charge is a very real possibly. Any warriors in raiders will want to use the lance or disintegrator for now - they will get to do their damage on in the next turn (so, game turn 2) where they can get into range after a single move. Ravagers will be the ones that struggle to do much this turn and are put at the highest risk, if you only move 6" on to maximise firepower you may struggle to actually see anything worth shooting - you also have to be considerate of where your raiders plan to be next turn so as to not kill your own ability to get into assault.
Hopefully with average night fighting rolls you can supress the enemy behind the first (and somewhat crucial) first strike and set up a hammer blow for turn 2 that your opponent simply cannot recover from.
As ever marines (of any flavour) are the ideal target given low squad count and very obvious assault units, but this can work just as well against shooting forces, though you have to be far more carefull on approach.
Last edited by The_Outsider; May 14th, 2009 at 10:44.
I thought this could be a preface at the start of the tactica.
5th Edition 40k brings some interesting changes to the Dark Eldar; some good,some bad.
The Dark Eldar are one of the least played armies in 40k due to the lack of codex and model updates, and the perceived difficulty in play style. This actually increases the strength of DE. Our opponents will not have as much experience playing against us, and in tournament settings will not have designed his army to counter us. Currently (spring 2009) the tournament meta-game is turning from armies designed to be Anti-MEQ to armies designed to be Anti-horde – with the perceived dominance of the Ork codex and now the release of the new Guard codex.
'Codex-creep', ie the gradual lowering of points cost across the board also means that every year we face armies with more and more models in them.
Therefore a Dark Eldar Archon should be thinking of ways to counter more horde-style armies, rather than high armour.
The Dark Eldar remain as one of the fastest armies in 40k, and hitting incredibly hard in close combat. The army as a whole also has access to massive amounts of anti-tank weapons, all hitting on 3+.
No Consolidation; the general tactics of Dark Eldar have always been to find ways of getting into close combat as quickly as possible, using superior speed to eliminate one part of your opponent's force before he can react, then roll up the rest. 5th edition has made it harder for assault armies to survive retaliation because the assault winners cannot consolidate into the 'protection' of another combat. Also, 5th edition rules have been adjusted to make CC more vicious, so now almost all combats are decided in a single turn. Therefore to survive, the Dark Eldar must assault (with) multiple units, or at least find a way to tie up surrounding enemy.
Cover Saves/Going to Ground; the increase of cover saves is an obvious massive benefit to foot-slogging DE warriors. Raider-rush armies that have lots of raiders can also benefit getting 4+ cover saves, by sacrificing one raider as a floating wall. Going to ground benefits our warriors who now have to camp out over objectives.
Everybody can run; If they are running at you then they are doing your work for you. If they are running away from you, then they are not shooting at you. If your opponent is running his troops, remember to thank them after the battle. Buying them a small gift such as a Terry's Chocolate Orange is also appropriate.
Objectives and Kill Points; Dark Eldar elites have become tactically weaker in 5th because they can not capture objectives. The only troops that we have that can capture objectives are Warriors. This is not too bad though since the majority of DE builds include warrior sniper squads with Dark Lances etc. Now all they do is camp out near or on the objective(s) and go to ground. Any raider squads still alive on turn 5 can also swoop in for end-game objective grabbing.
Dark Eldar do not like kill point missions. Because the way most DE armies are constructed, a lot of smallish units are required to work in tandem with each other. An Archon should look at an Annihilation mission as just that – a chance to collect as many souls and slaves as possible. Let those pathetic mon-keigh worry about counting kill points.
Template/Blast Weapons; Template and blast weapons have become much more powerful in 5th edition because they ignore the cover saves everyone is now getting, and now models are automatically hit if they are even partially under the template. Therefore if fired at a squad, it is reasonable to assume you will be hitting 3 models with a template or small blast. This makes the Destructor and the Shredder much more effective than in previous editions.
Reserves/army Speed; Dark Eldar have always enjoyed being the fastest moving army in 40k. At the start of 3rd edition, their jetbikes were the only bikes that could turbo boost. Almost everything could fleet, those that couldn't could arrive from a web way portal.
Over the last 10 years other armies have slowly increased their speed, ie now all bikes can turbo boost, everyone can run etc. Also, everybody now has the choice of staying in reserve or deep striking. This has meant the DE have grown progressively weaker in comparison as one of their key strengths has been eroded away.
The changes to the standard mission objectives and deployments mean budding Archons have to be even more cunning in their list building and deployment.
The Dracon is similar to an Archon, with more moderate stats. The beauty of this choice is that he can still be almost as powerful in close combat as his superior. His main weakness when compared to the Archon is having one fewer wound. In combination with slightly lesser initiative, this makes the Dracon less useful against the really nasty characters and monsters in the game. The Dracon's best role is as a more affordable leader for a more balanced use of the most amazing retinue in the game: Incubi.
Dracon Mixer (43 + 134 + 60 = 237 points)
Weapons: agoniser, splinter pistol
Wargear: plasma grenades, trophy rack
Retinue: 3x Incubi, 4x Warrior w/ 2x splinter cannon, plasma grenades
Transport: Raider w/ horrorfex (or disintegrator)
Mixer party! The mixed retinue is the key to proper balance in this unit. The Incubi are so hard-hitting in close combat that you will rarely need more than 3 to win the assault. In fact, taking more than that is not only really expensive, but you're likely to end up wiping out the targets too quickly. That means they'll be standing around after the fight and taking lots of boltguns & flamers to the face.
So the small number of Incubi is intentional, but a retinue of 3 is kind of lacking in protection. Taking any losses in such a squad is unacceptable. That's where the Warriors come in. They add cheap bodies to the mix. Soaking up damage with minimum effect on the usefulness of the party as a unit. The extra bodies are also important so that multiple wounds are less likely to be allocated to the Dracon's weak armor. It entirely plausible to take 2 more Warriors for this reason, making the total points cost 255.
Although the main targets for this unit are basic as well as combat specialist infantry, the Dracon himself usually takes the agoniser. It's not only slightly cheaper than the punisher + tormentor helm combo, but it also serves as a fall back option just in case they get locked in combat with something where strength 4 just isn't good enough (Nurgle guys, for example).
Why pay for splinter cannons on a squad that is plenty good in assaults? Well, they are not only useful if you find yourself too far away to assault another target after the first. Remember that Incubi do not get fleet like other units. Sometimes you may also think you'll need even more power in an assault. At those times, 8 extra shots from assault weapons will be much welcomed. Opting for the disintegrator option on their Raider transport can also help a lot in this situation. The more common layout for the Raider is the dark lance + horrofex though. The horrofex helps ensure nearby units do not crash mixer party until Dracon & friends have a chance to get off another charge.
If you can comfortably accommodate two of these units in games of 1,500 points or more, it's a good idea. There are few choices that are as effective for the points on your HQ slot. Haemonculi are another good option as well, since we could really use one or two flamer weapons in certain games. They are more hit-or-miss than this unit, however.
DE specific "Spheres of influence" tactica
Firstly, what is a sphere of influence? Every model and every unit exerts a sphere of influence on the battlefield which dictates its potential threat radius. Long range units (like say, devastators or a basilisk) have massive spheres of influence when it comes to shooting, the their sphere regarding movement and assault is often very very small.
Conversly, a unit like hormagaunts or ork boyz have a small sphere for shooting but a medium to large sphere for movement and assault.
So a unit that packs both long range shooting, fast movement and assault potential will have 3 large spheres that will dictate what it can and cannot do on the table.
Now, lets look at DE sphere specifically, obviously different wargear and weapons can dramatically shift the balance of spehres, but that is more related to an indepth analysis of the unit in question and is a bit too specific for this tactica.
I will break this into 2 categories: movement/assault and shooting for easy formatting.
Movement and Assault
A unit need not be able to kill their enemy to be brutally effective, sometimes just being able to move is a big enough threat - the infamous last turn objective denying raider rush is a perfect example of this.
Now 12" is pretty good movement, so units that can move that will have a pretty big sphere and would naturally give one options of where they can use such high movement and influence the flow of the battle. For most armies 12" would be good enough, but for DE 12" on it's own just does not cut it - this is where run (or specifically fleet) starts to shine.
A unit jumping off a raider has a minimum movement sphere of 16" and a maximum of 21". 21" covers a huge amount of ground - this ties in nicely with assault spheres - a unit (such as wyches) will be able to potentially tie something up nearly halfway across the board, this enables you to conceal your assault route behind feints and unusual movement directions - when you can cover so much ground why bother running into enemy guns? It also enables you to potentially assault units your opponent thought were safe behind that building, over that hill, behind that tank etc.
Now the humble raider will play a big part in the movement of a DE army - this isn't to say that DE cannot function without them, but the raider merely turns a sharp knife into a flesh shearing scalpel.
Hellions, reavers and warp beasts all have very similar movement spheres, hellions have traditional movement and warp beasts focus on assault range and reavers sort of do both (though pay a preimum for it). All enable the units to massively outpace most infantry but one should be carefull of this - none of unit exerts a big sphere in an overall sense meaning they will need support from other units to capitalise on their own speed.
Though reavers do get a special mentions for being bullet shields for a bike archon, this dramatically increaces their movement sphere given the raw killing power of the archon, but in general they are more of a harassment unit rather than a frontline unit like nearly all other bikers.
Squads on foot naturally have very small spheres when it comes to movement, however they will generally be aimed at shooting (like a dark lance warrior squad) or being slow moving and late game objective claiming (like a splintercannon warrior squad is want to).
I have not included the talos as it is a very random and mutuable unit depending on the game in question and it's wildfire rule messes with the sphere of influence system quite a lot. Generally speaking it is best thought of as a slow warp beast unit, but as the talos fills a niche roll within the DE army I will leave it upto you to find where it sits in your own army.
1) A large sphere in movement is good
2) a large sphere also gives you options thus enablnig you to be unpredictable
3) Overlap your spheres so your army cannot be isolated
4) Get as many of yoru spheres to touch opposing model's spheres will they in turn only have a few spehres that make contact with yours
The sphere of influence a shooting unit exerts will typically be be equal to the longest range weapon in the unit and usuing it generally is "point gun, pull trigger, watch target die".
This works fine and dandy for ravagers (who typically won't be moving far) and lance squads (who will be static) but for raider squads and scourges this is crucial.
Lets look at scourges first. Now their ability ot take dark lances is pretty much pointless, we don't need to waste that amount of points on a unit that will be static for the majority of the game - give thel ances to your warriors. However splintercannon scoruges are an entirely different beast.
Splintercannon scourges have massive spheres of influence both for movement (those jump packs really help) and shooting (though their assault spehre is low given the unit's role). Though they are a heavy support choice scourges with splintercannon should be used and thought of as a harassment unit - they lack the durability to truly duel with the big boys. Now, with an effective sphere of 36" (12" move plus 24" for the cannon) they can very easily cover huge swathes of the battlefield in splintercannon fire and not fall prey to the problem nearly all heavy weapon squads do - being confined by LoS from initial deployment. A good deployment of courges helps, but they need not be in LoS to anything at all when you put them down - the jump packs will solve that issue for your and the side effect of this is their durability will increase via target denial.
Lastly is (given all the above information) their ability to support warriors and help whittle down those massive gaunt broods and ork mobs - they won't be relegated to shooting anything that enters their LoS - they can go hunting for targets themselves thus they have a gargantuan supporting effect on frontline units that is second to none in the DE army.
Back to the raider! The raider is great, we all know that, but it becomes that something special when it has a unit of warriors hanging off it. Warriors typically have short and medium range weaponry - the raider helps get around such a disadvantage (which can be pretty big) by granting the warriors the ability to quickly get within weapon range (and capitalise upon their exceedingly cheap heavy and special weapons).
Then we have the raider as a gun platform itself - as it only have one weapon (and the horrorfex stops you firing the lance/disintegrator) means it has no disadvantage to moving 12", this coupled with it's 36" gun makes it a supreme gunboat and transport, it can help get to those out of reach units and vehicles a ravager will struggle to reach given its slow movement (who can really turn down firing 3 lances at one target?) and lastly - it is dirt cheap!
So, to summarise this section-
1) Long range is the most typical way of having a large sphere
2) Short ranged weaposn require mobility
3) Mobility helps you deny LoS to your opponent while keeping your sphere intact
4) Long range weapon plus high mobility gives unprecedented flexibility and a massive sphere.
Last edited by The_Outsider; May 15th, 2009 at 11:34.
Hey guys, I'm a long time multi-forum dark eldar lurker, first time Librarium poster
Thought I would post in this thread because it seems so awesome (i like it when tactics get past the point of - take X army list )
Ok to follow up The Outsider's talk of Spheres of influence...
As said by The Outsider you want you spheres of influence over lapping so your units don't get isolated from your army as a whole. As we all know dark eldar aren't the toughest bunch and any unit left out on its own will quickly become bolter fodder. But in terms of offensive power you also want to get your army into a position where multiple spheres are over lapping the enemy units you want to destroy. This can be a combination of assault/movement and shooting spheres (and will often need to be as the DE usually rely on multiple units combining to bring down enemy squads and vehicles). This will allow all those units to focus on destroying the enemy systematically. Once that unit is down rinse and repeat, all the time attempting to stay well away from the enemy units spheres of influence. This can be tough but DE are very good at if as they can hide behind sight blocking terrian etc before they go for the kill.
So what are the best targets in the enemy army? well obviously what specific units to target will vary with your opponent but it is possible (as long as you have a rudimentary understanding of the opponent your facing) to identify the enemies 'centre of gravity'. The 'centre of gravity' is the glue that holds your opponents list together and will usually be a collection of his most powerful units and it will also be the part of his army that will hurt him most to lose. For example agains't a tyranid army the centre of gravity may his dual hive tyrants that supply most of his synapse, or agains't Space Marines it could be a collection of devestators with a predator, or agains't other DE it may be the raiders carrying his Archon with Incubi and Wyches. After you have taken out his centre of gravity you should be able to pick apart the remain units relatively easily (don't forget those objectives tho! )
Another viable method of attack that exploits the spheres of influence of the enemy is to go for a flank or pincer movement. If you have gone second, or are bringing a lot of your army on from reserve/dawn of war reserve, then you can see how your opponent has deployed his army and unless he has castled up completely there should be units on the flank of his army. These units are the most isolated because, unlike the central units which can rely on the support from the most units (ie. they are covered by the most friendly sphere's of influence), the flank units are covered by relatively fewer allied spheres of units and therefore more vunerable to attack especially if you can bring multiple untis to bear on them. This can be done on each flank of the enemy at the same time if you use a 'pincer' attack, meaning splitting your army in two and attacking both flanks of the enemy simultaneously. This can go two ways, 1) you devestate the enemy as his central units split their fire and fail to bring enough to deal with either flank and so his army crumbles, or 2) Your army being split in two means that each flanking force can't support the other and your opponent manages to isolate and destroy each in turn. So as you can se the pincer is a tough one to pull off, but the flank attack is a very powerful strategy for DE.
Ok that me ... hope that made sense