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THIS POST HAS NOT YET BEEN EDITED FOT 6th ed. Hopefully, once I've got to grips with the new rules, I'll edit it, to make it relevant for 6th. This might take a while.


It must be true, Father Christmas must exist. I’m sitting in my home with a copy of a NEW Dark Eldar codex. Hmm, let’s check. No I am not very drunk, nor have a taken an array of recreational drugs. I am not delusional. So it must be real!

Open the cover, and here we go…

An Overview and Analysis of the units of the Dark Eldar (DE)

Please not that this post is not a Tactica, but does include information you can use when thinking about your strategy and tactics.

My first impression is that unlike the last batch of Codexs, ours is not a super-powered game breaking one. Don’t think you are getting a codex which is going to dominate Blood Angels, Space Wolves or the Imperial Guard, because you’ll be disappointed if you do.

What we do have is an up to date advancement of the last DE Codex. We have lost quite a few things, and gained a good few new things, the most obvious of which is Power From Pain. Whether this is a game breaker remains to be seen, and only time will tell how potent this turns out to be. My gut says than in a standard 5-6 round game, it won’t be the all singing all dancing power from hell, but will help.

A few things of note:

1). Our HQs have lost their Reavers and Hellions…… aaargghhh! I get that Reavers and Hellions are kinda Wych based, so Archons and Haemonculi losing them makes some sense, but why take them from the Succubus, a Wych cult leader?

So much for my patient conversions, for my Reaver Archon, Reaver Haemonculus and three Hellion Haemoculi.

The Eldar Auturchs, Fareseers and Warlocks can have jetbikes, and I thought that the Dark Eldar are supposed to be the kings of speed.

The lack of personal ‘transport’ for our Independent Characters (IC) is a real pain and will change the way some of us play. I used to use 2x squads of 4-6 Reavers with tooled up Succubi, each with a Reaver Drachon or Haemonculus. The Succubus + IC with reasonable armour saves and great Initiative were able to defeat many enemy units in Assaults. This tactic is no longer available to us.


2). Some DE players are going to be very disappointed as there’s very little in the new Codex which causes Pinning.


3). Even with a quick read through before I sat down to study and analyse the book, I can see a few paragraphs of rules that are badly written and may cause arguments. I just don’t understand how GW continue to let these things through. At the front of the Codex there are seventeen people listed as Book Design, Hobby Team and Games Development; surely between all these people they can recognise the potential for players to read different interpretations into the sentences they write. GW you need to give me a job!

I have noted these situations in the relevant sections below.


4). It would seem that, despite all the fluff in the codex saying what an organised bunch we are when we go raiding, compared to the Eldar, Tyranids and the Guard, we ain’t so good. What I mean by this is that all those armies have models which give +1 to their Reserve rolls, and hey guess what? Yep, you got it, we don’t. As the Guard have their chappie which gives us -1 to our rolls too, fighting Guard is going to be a pain in the donkey.


DE List Building
I will only make a few points in this regard:

1). You need as many DE models shooting and assaulting as possible. DE are fragile and die easily. Therefore you must not be tempted to pile upgrades on to your units. Take only what you absolutely need to make your plans work, and no more.


2). How does your army win? Essentially you have two options: the first is that in Objective games you will try to win by claiming Objectives; the second is that in Objective games you will try to win via a ‘Wipeout’ – killing ALL the enemy’s units. Choose before you write your list.

In the first I think you should have at least 1 Troops unit per 500 points, in the second you only need to field the minimum Troops and can then field anything you like.

The second choice is probably harder to achieve, but can be a hell of a lot more fun.


3). Rapid fire slaughters DE in droves as we have poor Toughness and poor Armour saves. This means that you will have to have a plan to deal with basic enemy infantry. You will not always win a shoot vs. shoot against the enemy. As we have very good close combat units, you should consider using these to remove enemy infantry.


4). As DE have poor Strength if you get involved in a close combat with an enemy unit of T7+ or 10+ vehicle armour you will be in trouble. Whenever possible take a close combat weapon which can wound T7+, Poisoned weapons and Agonisers spring to mind. Also you will need to be able to damage Walkers, so Haywire grenades can be a good idea.


5). Multiple Small Units (MSU). This is a concept well known to Fantasy Battle players, and means that your army is built of many small units. In some ways our new Dark Eldar could make good use of this way of playing, however there is a downside. In Annihilation games MSU is a disaster, as your small units will get blown away all too easily.

Here are examples of some very useful small DE units:
• 4-5 Trueborn with 4x Blasters, in a Venom
• 4-5 Trueborn with 4x Shredders, in a Venom
• 3 Trueborn with 2x Splinter Cannons in a Venom
• 4-5 Trueborn with 2x Splinter Cannons
• 4-5 Trueborn with 2x Dark Lances
• 3-4 Grotesques with 1x Liquifier Gun – as a bodyguard for an IC
• 5 Wracks with 1x Liquifier Gun – as a bodyguard for an IC
• 5 Incubi including a Klaivex with a Bloodstone, in a Venom
• 6 Bloodbrides with 2x weapon upgrades including a Syren with Agoniser, in a Raider
• 3-5 Scourges with 2x Blasters
• 3-5 Scourges with 2x Heat Lances
• 3-5 Scourges with 2x Haywire Blaster
• Beastmaster (Agoniser or Venom Blade) with 5 Khymerae
• 2 Beastmasters (Agoniser or Venom Blade) with 4 Razorwing Flocks
• 5 Harelquins including a Death Jester, 2x Fusion Pistols


Power from Pain (PFP)

On paper this special rule looks fantastic, but it comes with issues, primarily that your unit has to finish off an enemy unit to get a Pain Token. This means that you must think very carefully about the order in which you attack your enemy’s units, to make sure that the units you want get the Pain Tokens.

I think that PFP may change the way we play our DE, and that the ‘Wipeout’ rule (see main 40k rulebook pg90) may be very useful to us. It takes a lot of skill to achieve a Wipeout, but if your opponent is focussed on getting his Troops onto Objectives, you can focus on destroying his units. You better have a good plan if you choose this route to victory.

Don’t get so hung up on getting your units Pain Tokens, that you lose your games. Stay with the program and win the Missions.

On the sweet side of the fence, the ability for an IC to join and unit and then re-assign Tokens can be used very cheesily; and there’s nothing wrong the mighty cheese.

Fearless: there is a serious issue with gaining Fearless, namely ‘No Retreat’. As many DE units have very good Initiative we are much less likely to be destroyed by Sweeping Advance. With No Retreat we take extra Wounds, and most of our units have poor saves.

Feel No Pain: FNP can make the difference between success and failure during Assaults, and will definitely help against Rapid Fire, however for most DE units Feel No Pain will not work against S6+ weapons.

Remember to use your Feel No Pain when vehicles get destroyed and your guys take wounds from this.

Night Vision: I find it rather strange that we got Night Vision and all the Space marines don’t have some kind Acute Senses/Night Vision, considering that they have augmented senses and tech-enhanced helmet vision and audio. Anyway, I’m not complaining.

Remember that in the ‘Dawn of War’ deployment, the first round uses Night Fighting rules.


Poison

Because Poison ignores Toughness, enemy units with high Toughness are best dealt with by shooting at them with poison weapons. With our poor Strength, engaging them in close combat can be a bad idea. Of course poison close combat weapons and things like Agonisers work fine against them too.

Poisoned Shooting Weapons: Please remember that any Poisoned shooting weapons without a Strength do not get re-rolls to Wound.

Splinter Rifles are now very nice weapons, and the idea of destroying Tyranid monstrous creatures with Splinter Rifles is very appealing. In the previous codex they were very ineffective against T5+, now they rock.

At they end of the day 10 Warriors with a Splinter Cannon and Blaster, Rapid firing at MEQs will on average kill 2.75, so they aren’t exactly game breaking when they shoot. Note well, this is why you need to think carefully about which of your units will try to kill particular enemy units. Like the Eldar, DE work best when they work together, supporting each other.

10 Hellions shooting at a unit of MEQs will on average, kill 2.2, but can then Assault them afterwards.

The cool sounding 5 man Trueborn squad with 2x Splinter Cannons, in a Venom with 2x Splinter Cannons, shooting at 24” (assuming the Venom moved 6”) will have 23 shots, killing 2.5 MEQs. What I’m a bit concerned about, is that this squad costs 145pts. Is 2.5 MEQs a round really worth it. If they shoot not having moved, they have 27 shots = 3 Kills. In 5 rounds they might just make their points back, maybe….

I’m trying this out with a 3 man squad, and giving the Venom a Night Shield.


Anti-Vehicle

In the previous Codex we had really good cheap options for breaking up enemy vehicles, but things have got more complex now. We have lost ‘Sniper’ squads, Wych Blasters and mini three Reaver tank buster squads, though Ravagers are definitely better. Pity we didn’t get squadrons for them. Voidravens look good too, though the models are going to cost big time. It’s nice to see that Scourges got a much wider choice of weapons too.

The Lance Rule
Although Lance weapons are nice, they are hardly game breaking. GW have rebalanced the Blaster vs. Meltagun cost by giving the Blaster an extra 6” of range. I would have to disagree with them over the cost of the Blast Pistol though. The marine Infernus Pistol is a far better weapon for the same cost.

What I am very annoyed with, is the ridiculous cost of Dark Lances for our infantry squads.

A standard SM squad pays 15pts less for a Lascannon than our Warriors pay for the Lances, and their Sternguard pay 10pts less than our Trueborn. So is this because the Dark Lance is a superior weapon? I think not.

The Dark Lance has 12” less range than the Lascannon, but has the Lance rule. The Lance rule makes the Lance more efficient against vehicle armour 13 and 14, but against all other vehicle armour (i.e. most troop transports) it has no effect. The more limited range of the Dark Lance means that a defensive squad deployed deep in our deployment zone has much less chance of targeting enemies across the board.

The Dark Lance should have been 15pts at most. I can only assume that they have done this because our Raiders have Lances too. But they are 20pts more than a Rhino and have terrible armour, so they have well paid for their Lance.

Note that the Lance rule has no effect on the ‘Living Metal’ armour of Necron Monoliths, which is another reason that Lascannons are better than Dark Lances.

So how we kill Monoliths? Well our Melta weapons and Monstrous creatures are useless against it, and all our S8 shooting weapons need 6s to Glance. At least Void Lances can penetrate on 6, but how many of us will field Voidravens? Bizarrely it looks like Haywire Grenades and Haywire Blasters are our best bet. ( I especially like the bird men for mounting these)

The chance to Glance or Penetrate any armour with each Haywire Blaster shooting at BS4 is 55%.

Walkers in close combat
Walkers have anywhere between 10 and 13 vehicle armour these days. As our base Strength is 3, even armour 10 poses us serious problems. Walkers don’t care about our poison, and S3 power weapons, and even our grenades have a hard time against them; though mass Haywires sounds like a plan. Against 10 armour, our S4 weapons can Glance. What this means is that the second Pain Token is going to be very important to some units. It also means that it is very important that you kill enemy Walkers before they can engage our units in close combat.

While you need 6s to hit Walkers in close combat, each Haywire grenade has a 2.7% chance of Penetrating and an 11% chance of Glancing, so there is very little chance of Destroying the vehicle. Each successful Pen/Glance hit has a 33% chance of Stunned or Immobilsed; therefore each Haywire has a 4-5% chance of achieving this. If you Stun or Immobile it however in the next combat round you have a lot more chance to damage it. These odds aren’t good, but they are a lot better than none at all.


Webway Portals

There is one major change in the rules for Webway Portals, which very definitely changes how we can use them. We can still bring fast moving units out, which can Assault in the round that they enter through the portal. This means that Reavers have a 12”+6” ‘charge’ move from the outer edge of a Portal. Hellions are even better having a 12”+1d6”+6” ‘charge’ move as do Scourges. This totally changes the way we see Scourges even though they are probably still 2 points too expensive.

Please note that some players, especially those who played much earlier editions of the 40k rules, still keep on insisting that bikes are vehicles. They are not, so don’t let anyone convince you that your Reavers can’t deploy from a Webway.

Where to place portals: remember that 40k is now a game played in the round, with enemies regularly appearing on your flanks and deep striking all over the place. This means that there’s no harm in placing a Webway somewhere slightly closer to your board edge, than to the enemy’s. This can be used to move Reserve units out which can move towards the enemy or to protect your own Objectives etc. You would only want to consider this option if you have two Webways to place.

If you have units with dedicated transports, the transport can move on-board separately from the unit, so they can enter via a Portal and the transport can come on from your board edge or deep strike (if is it able).

There is a critical point to note with Webways.. , i.e. that if your deployment strategy is based on Webways, you must have two in the army list. If you only have one, and the model dies before deploying it, you are in trouble.

Note that you can not deploy a Webway if the model has Run during the shooting phase.

One of the benefits of Portals is that you can deploy units on foot directly from them, but I strongly recommend that you only use them for units with Fleet.

A very useful aspect of Webways is the fact you don’t have to tell your opponent before play starts, exactly which of your units will deploy out of them. As the only models in our army which can carry them are Haeomonculi and Archons, I assume that smart enemy players will just focus all their attention on them.

There are only two models that can have Webways, so we need to consider how to get them to where they need to go safely. In many Objective based games, it’s likely that you will need to place at least one in the middle third of the board. This is usually a very dangerous place to be because many of the enemy’s shooting weapons can reach out and touch you.

With this in mind I think you will need to have the Character with some kind of meat-shield, in a Raider or Venom with Night Shield and Flickerfield. If you are going first then you can usually set up your vehicle so it can move 12” straight towards where you wish to place the Webway, then dismount your Character + squad 2”, then place the Webway touching the Character. Theoretically this means you can place your Webway at 26” across the board (with the far side of the portal at 29” as the marker is 3 inches across). Remember though that your Character + squad is likely to get shot to pieces.

On way to protect them would be to move two vehicles up, so that they end their movement touching each other, with the Character using them as a wall to hide behind while he places his Webway. The reason I say two, is that if he uses his own vehicle as a wall, as our Raiders are wide, he will only be able to place the Webway at around 21” across the board.

If you are going second, deploy the ICs vehicle behind Cover, or use another vehicle to hide behind. Place the Webway if you can during your first round.


Reserves

It is a perfectly valid concept to begin with your whole army in Reserve, though you might not want to try this against armies which can mess with your Reserve rolls, Imperial Guard being the obvious example.

If you do fancy this idea, your whole army needs to be mounted in vehicles, and you should choose Skimmers for all your Heavy choices.

All in Reserve can be wonderful or a disaster. If the dice gods decide they hate you, you won’t see half your units till round4 and your enemy will blast the few units you bring on into little pieces. However, there is a fantastic advantage to all Reserves; you get to choose where to deploy all your units as the game progress. It’s true that this means that you are wholly reactive rather than being proactive, but it can work very well, and really irritates the enemy if they are going first, as they have nothing to shoot at in round 1 or round 2. Please note though that you opponent will be able to make great use of cover while you are getting going.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
UNIT Reviews

TROOPS and TRANSPORTS

Raider


Oh my gods, Raiders got more expensive…. Eeck!

Oh hang on, it’s o.k. we got Night Vision for the extra points <joke>. Raiders are too expensive! Rhinos are 25pts cheaper… as if SMurfs needed any help.

A major issue with running a DE army, is that our vehicles have quite a bit ‘footprint’ (i.e. how much space they physically occupy on the gaming board), and that trying to deploy 6-9 of them behind some kind of cover is very difficult usually. With the changes in deployment given to the Webway, Raiding just got even more complex.

November’s official FAQ (m1490286a) for the main rule book states:
Q: If a transport vehicle is destroyed in the same turn as it moved flat out what happens to any embarked models? (p70)
A: They are removed as casualties.

The term ‘Turn’ means Player Turn (pg9 40k main rule book). So this means we can only be removed as casualties in our own Turn. With this in mind, starting or ending our Movement phase in Difficult or Dangerous terrain and moving Flat Out sounds like a bad.

Anyway, we have loads of upgrades to play with for our Raiders now. However, be warned, spending a silly amount of points on something with armour made out of papier-mache, baking foil and old t-shirts, is really not a good idea. Never choose to upgrade unless you have a plan which really requires that upgrade. Think carefully on this and play test before you start modelling upgrades. Note that every one of your Raiders may have a different load out, which could certainly confuse and distract your opponents.

Raider Upgrades

Disintegrator Cannon: Hmm, Disintegrators were one of the best weapons in the whole game. Now this gun will happily kill MEQs (T4 units with 3+ Armour saves); but they will not kill vehicles. Do not choose these weapons unless you have enough anti-vehicle weapons in the rest of your list.

Torment Grenade Launchers: Remember that if you have 2+ vehicles with Torment GLs both in range of an enemy unit, the negative Leadership modifier does not stack. Things that reduce enemy Leadership can be very useful if played properly. Most obviously it could help our units with ‘Power from Pain’ to break enemies in close combat and then hopefully Sweeping Advance to destroy them. It can also reduce the Psychic capability of enemy Psykers. Used sparingly, this upgrade could be useful, but not essential.

Shock Prow: Some players love Tank Shock. If you like to use this as a deliberate strategy (for example: to push enemy Troops away from Objectives, or throwing your unloaded weapon destroyed raider into the side of a vehicle on the other side of the table as Raiders can easily achieve a Strength 10 ram especially with Aether sails) then Shock Prows could be worth choosing. However, are you sure you Raider will last long enough to get good use from this upgrade.

Having had a good read, it seems that Raiders can move up to 24” (i.e. Flat Out) when they Tank Shock. Whether we can also use Aethersails is anybody’s guess, though in theory I don’t see why not.

Equipping the Raider with both a Shock Prow and Torment Grenade Launcher makes for a better potential Tank Shock result.

Remember though that a successful enemy ‘Death or Glory’ can Destroy the Raider in our own Player turn (see above), and therefore you should not risk Shocking until the Raider has disembarked its passengers.

The latest rules FAQ confirms that any vehicle that can Tank Shock, can Ram too.

Retrofire Jets: See pg95 of the main 40k rulebook for Deep Striking vehicle rules, especially regarding Difficult Terrain and passengers Shooting and Assaulting after Deep Strike.

There are complex and difficult decisions to make if you Deep Strike with a Raider. Firstly, where can I put my Raider so it will not Scatter off-board or into an enemy unit etc? Because of the big ‘footprint’ of Raiders, using Retrofire Jets can be deadly to our vehicles, and their passengers.

Second, once you have successfully got your Raider in play, do you immediately Disembark in the same turn? Interestingly if you stay mounted, your Embarked unit will not be able to shoot <vehicle counts as moving at Cruising speed>, whereas if you Disembark you are no longer shooting as a passenger…..However, you are immediately exposed to enemy fire and Assaults.

Chain-Snares: As Raiders can move very quickly when they move Flat Out (see main 40k rulebook pg 71), you could easily fly over many enemy units in one Movement phase. Remember there’s nothing that states that you have to fly in a straight line, and that you only need to pass over the edge of a model’s body to count as having ‘passed overt he unit’. I think we will only discover whether this upgrade is good after we have played for a while. Again you need a deliberate plan in mind to choose these things. (Massive abuse potential to week save units for this rule imo)

Chain Snares would work well with Aethersails.

Grisly Trophies: This could be a very useful upgrade, and just like the Snares, might turn out to be a winner. Again, I think we will only discover whether this upgrade is good after we have played for a while.

Envenomed Blades: No, no, no. Leave this one behind; it is a true waste of points.

Splinter Racks: As our infantry have a good BS and Splinter Rifles/Pistols have poor Strength, I really can’t see the point in buying this upgrade.

Night Shields: Night Shields got cheaper and their rules a little tighter. To give an example of some of its effects, a). a Meltagun only gains its additional penetration dice when it is within 3” of the hull of a Night Shielded Raider, b). The sentence concerning enemy Rapid Fire is very poorly written, but I can only assume it is supposed to mean that this Rapid Fire can only be made at the vehicle by an enemy unit which is within 6” of the vehicle. This is very useful.

It can be argued that putting Night Shields on Raiders which intend to dash forwards is a bad idea. I still find it useful. For example, say a Raider dashes along one flank, say 12” in on a 6’ x 4’ board. Enemy units on his other flank are likely to suffer from the Night Shield’s effects.

I always used Night Shields in the previous Codex, and with the change in Webway rules will still always use them. Although the Raider got more expensive, the Night Shield got cheaper and so my Raiders will cost the same as in the previous Codex. That’s o.k. by me.

Flickerfield: This upgrade is a real tempter. Combined with Night Shields it can help our fragile vehicles to survive .. a bit. Don’t buy this for all your transports because you’ll just spend too many points. If your Raiders are moving Flat Out they already become Obscured, which is a better save than the Flickerfield. It might be worth trying for all your Ravagers though. Remember that Night Shield + Flickerfield = +20pts. If you have 10 vehicles, that is an additional 200 points. I may consider it for 1-2 Raiders which are transporting my most valuable close combat units.

Remember that if the enemy Assaults any of your vehicles with a Flickerfield, its Invulnerable save works during Assaults too.

Enhanced Aethersails: Now here’s another tempter. With an average of +7” of Movement, if you intend to move Flat Out to get across the board very quickly, these ‘sails could make a big difference. I can see me trying them out in some lists.


Venom

If you look at the picture of the Venom on pg43 of the DE Codex, it looks to me to be a modified Eldar Vyper. This makes its Footprint much smaller than a Raider.

Again, think carefully on this and play test before you start modelling upgrades.

The Venom has an extra layer of protection already included in its wargear. However this is hardly reliable, and will fail 66.6% of the time, so you can’t rely on it. For 5 points less cost than a Raider, we exchange the Dark Lance for anti-infantry weapons, lose 50% of the number we can transport, but gain the inherent ‘defensive’ upgrade.

Note that its Rifle is a Defensive Weapon.

Splinter Cannon: The Venom is already very expensive. However, I think this upgrade is probably worth it, mainly because the Splinter Cannon does not have a Strength score, and therefore it is a Defensive weapon for the purposes of moving and firing. This means 12 shots moving at 12”.

Retrofire Jets: Because of the smaller Footprint using Retrofire Jets is more viable. See pg95 of the main 40k rulebook for Deep Striking vehicle rules, especially regarding Difficult Terrain and Passengers Shooting or Assaulting after Deep Strike.

Chain-Snares: As Venoms can move very quickly when they move Flat Out (see main 40k rulebook pg 71), you could easily fly over many enemy units in one Movement phase. Remember there’s nothing that states that you have to fly in a straight line, and that you only need to pass over the edge of a model’s body to count as having ‘passed overt he unit’.

Grisly Trophies: This could be a very upgrade, and just like the Snares, might turn out to be a winner. Again, I think we will only discover whether this upgrade is good after we have played for a while.

Envenomed Blades: No, no, never no, no.

Night Shields: As Venoms are most likely to be used to carry small but important squads around, Night Shields could well be worth taking.


Kabalite Warriors

Gone are Raider squads and Warrior squads…. good, now we have Kabalite Warriors. Also gone are those heady days of the ‘Sniper’ squad of 10 Warriors with 2x Dark Lances. However, I found myself using these less in recent years, still fielding at least one though and sometimes two. Instead of 10 Warriors with 2x Dark Lances for 100pts, I can now buy 10 Warriors with 1x Dark Lance and 1x Blaster for 130pts. I’m not quite sure yet how I will replace these units. At least Ravagers got better.

At first the points for each Kabalite Warrior seems maybe a little expensive, but as we have better WS, BW, I and Ld + 3 special rules than a typical Imperial guardsman, and we have a Poisoned weapon, the points cost is reasonable.

So what are we going to use Warriors for?
Two in three of the standard 40k games require that we claim Objectives using Troops. We have four options for Troops choices: Warriors, Wyches, Hellions (re the Baron) and Wracks (re Urien and the Haemonculi). Warriors are the worst of these four Troop types in Assaults, but are by far the best shooters. Wracks can handle being shot at by most S3/4 things, none of the others can.

With the assumption that you might have to take enemy Objectives and hold your own, Warriors are likely to be the most useful choice for holding your own Objectives, and those close to your own Deployment zone. Units that do this often have to deal with enemy Deep Strikers and Outflankers too.

With this in mind, I think that a 10 man Warrior unit with a Dark Lance and a Blaster makes sense. If you have the points you could add a Sybarite (maybe with a Venom blade and Pistol) for the increase in Leadership. You don’t need a Raider for this unit, as hopefully you’ll find some cover for it to hang in, while it helps protect your rear and claims your Objective. At 130-145pts one of these units is likely to be very useful. If you decide that you may play with your whole army in Reserve, buy them a Raider with Night Shield too. Alternatively, if you want to be really cheesy, buy them a Venom with 2 Cannons. I know they can’t fit in, but it is still dedicated transport.

If you intend to win by ‘Wipeout’ this Warrior unit is likely to be useless.

If you want to field a unit of Warriors that can shoot from a Raider, you need to give them Rapid and Assault weapons. The Blaster and Shredder are both viable choices, and you should definitely take a Splinter Cannon. If you want this squad to be able to join in Assaults, which can be a good idea, give them a Sybarite with an Agoniser or Venom Blade. Do not consider Power Weapons as the Sybarite does not have S4+.

Do not be tempted to give a Sybarite any of the following as they are all points heavy, and your Warriors die too easily to over equip them: Blast Pistol, Ghostplate, Phantasm Launcher.

A risky squad is the 5 man unit with a Shredder or Blaster in a Raider or Venom with 2 Cannons. As it is a Troops squad it could be useful as a late game grabber, but their vehicle gets Destroyed, they are dead meat.


Wyches

The previous Codex’s Wych weapons have now gone, and that is a real drag, however Wyches as still going to do exactly the same job in exactly the same way as they used to. Their Dodge save keeps them alive far longer than they should last, and one Pain Counter will really help this too.

With poor Strength, individual Wyches really don’t do vast amounts of damage, especially to MEQs. This makes the Hekatrix very important, and she should always be given an Agoniser; don’t think about it, just buy it. What you should not buy is the Phantasm Launcher, it’s a waste of points, unless your Wyches are acting as a bodyguard unit for an IC. In which case it could be a really good idea. Combined with Shardnets the defensive grenades could really spoil someone’s day.

So what about the weapon upgrades for the normal Wyches. Each costs as much as an individual Wych, and so needs to be at least as useful as buying another Wych.

Shardnet and Impaler – I really like this. The capability of removing Attacks from enemy models that are very dangerous in close combat is very useful indeed, especially as you can help protect any ICs in your unit by placing the Shardnet Wych next to it. If you have the points, try this out. What appeals to me is the ability to reduce the amount of enemy Attacks which ignore armour saves, because Feel No Pain can’t be used to save against them. Also by reducing an enemy ICs Attacks, it has less chance to kill the members of your unit that you have chosen to attack it. For example, maybe you have a Haemonculus base-to-base with an enemy IC. Their IC is likely to strike first as Haemonculus Initiative isn’t high, so we give our IC a better chance to survive by removing the enemy’s hits.

Hydra Gauntlets - The question is, are the Gauntlets better than buying another Wych. The Wych has 1 base attack + 1 for an extra weapon = 2. So for 10pts you get 2 base attacks + 1 if you are Assaulting. Now the Gauntlets get an average of +3.5 Attacks, regardless of whether you are Assaulting or not. What they don’t give you is another body. I think that if you have some points to spare the Hydra Gauntlets may be worth a try, but they really aren’t necessary, and I think I’d rather have more Shardnets.

Razorflails – Like the Hydra Gauntlets I think they might be worth a try, but they really aren’t necessary, and I think I’d rather have more Shardnets.

Although Wyches are all about close combat, they can’t hurt Walkers. With this in mind, give them Haywire Grenades, which also means they can Assault vehicles too. The grenades are more important than all the weapon upgrades except for the Agoniser. Yes, I know that Wyches shouldn’t be Assaulting vehicles, but there are times in games when a vehicle is the only target, or maybe it’s causing you so much trouble that you just need too Destroy it anyway you can. Our army is filled with close combat units but not many can have a go at vehicles.

So what impact will the Combat Drugs have:

- Drugs – Run: of course this will be useful, as it might make the difference between being able to Assault, and being left out in the open waiting to be shot to pieces.

- Drugs – WS: Means that we hit on 3s vs. most of our opponents, which is very nice, especially for the Hekatrix. It also means WS5 hit us on 4s not 3s.

- Drugs – S: Well hell yeh! We get to wound MEQs on 4s, and get to Glance vehicle armour 10 <Though you should have Haywires>. It is useless for the Agoniser though.

- Drugs – Re-rolls: I like this better than the +S. It is better vs. T3 and better for the Agoniser.

- Drugs – A: Who doesn’t want more Attacks.

- Drugs – Pain Token. This is a very good result for Wyches, making them much better at taking hits.

Wyches need a Raider or a Webway to deploy from. Don’t even for a second consider walking them across the board. Their armour save tells you everything you need to know about this.

I will definitely be fielding Witches, with Haywires, Shardnets and a Hekatrix with an Agoniser. I will definitely be trying out 9 Wyches + Haemonculus (Liquifier gun and Flesh Gauntlet).
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
ELITES

Kabalite Trueborn


I very glad that we now have a lot more Elite choices, and that the ones we had have been re-structured. When I saw that there were elite Kabal Warriors, the Trueborn I was really pleased.

Because of their decent Leadership they don’t need to take a Dracon, which is very useful.

There are many different ways to field these guys, and their wargear options are excellent.

Although the cheap 100pt Warrior ‘Sniper’ squad no longer exists you can use Trueborn to build a version of it, though I’m still not convinced that infantry Dark Lances should be such a high cost. 4 Trueborn with 2 Dark Lances comes in at 98pts and gives you a simple effective anti-vehicle unit. The issue of course is that they can’t move, they’re a very easy Kill Point, and that for a few points more you can have a Ravager. There’s little point is this unit in standard 40k games, though it might be very useful in Apocalypse games.

You can build good ‘gunboat’ squads by equipping Trueborn with Blasters, Shredders, Splinter Cannons and Shardcarbines. Don’t mixed and match without thinking about what each weapon does. Gunboat squads means that the unit stays mounted in a Raider which moves close to the enemy, then only moves at Combat Speed while the embarked unit blasts away with their shooting weapons. Their Shardcarbines are perfect for this role.

Splinter Cannons can be used with Shredders and Shardcarbines – use them to splatter non-vehicle units.
If you take Blasters, take all four and use them against high toughness targets and vehicles.

As all these shooting weapons are Assault, you could field a Dracon with a Venom Blade or Agoniser, so the unit can assist in Assaults. Do not be tempted to give a Dracon any of the following as they are all too points heavy: Phantasm, Blast Pistol.

Small gunboat squads could be fielded in a Venom, which will be easier to keep behind cover until you need to expose it.

5 Trueborn, 4 Blasters, Venom = 175pts. (Anti-vehicle squad)
5 Trueborn, 2 Splinter Cannons, 3 Shredders, Venom = 150pts. (Anti non-vehicle squad with a good mix of firepower)
3 Trueborn, 2 Splinter Cannons, Venom with additional Splinter Cannon = 121pts.
All these squads are very fragile but very dangerous.

You might want to give a gunboat Raider a Flickerfield and Night Shield, and consider Night Shield for the Splinter Cannon squad.

Another unit worth considering is 8-10 Trueborn with 4 Shredders and 2 Splinter Cannons in a Raider, making a classic ‘gunboat’ squad.

For the 5 Trueborn (2 Splinter Cannons +3 Shredders, Venom) squad moving 6” then shooting at 12” range, including the Venom’s shooting, the SplinterC/Shredder squad is shooting with 14x S4 shoots and 3x Small Blasts. On average, against armour save 4/3/2+ the 4 Blasters kill more. Against armour save 5/6 the Shredders/Splinter C kills more. Against Cover the Shredder/Splinter C is also more effective.

Moving 6” then shooting, the 2x Splinter Cannon + Venom with 2x SC squad can still shoot 20 shots at 36”. If they don’t move this increases to 24 shots.

My buddy Dominic likes the idea of giving the 4 Blaster squad Haywires, arguing that as Blasters are Assault shooting weapons, you can go on to Assault a vehicle with your Haywires after you shoot at it. Sounds reasonable to me, though they squad are likely to be shot to shreds in the enemy’s next turn.

The reason why I am considering small squads of Trueborn, is that they have the same BS as standard Warriors, and as Warriors are cheaper, if I am to shoot with Splinter Rifles, I might as well have Warriors shoot them. Remember also that though the idea of Trueborn with Shardcarbines is very pleasing, you can have two Warriors for the cost of one Trueborn with Shardcarbine; and Trueborn die as easily as Warriors.

I not convinced that giving the Trueborn Haywire grenades is a good idea. It’s unlikely I would field large units of them, and the idea of them running very close to vehicles sound like exposing them too much to me. Also it yet again adds more cost to an already very expensive but fragile unit.

Don’t even consider Plasma grenades, there are much better close combat units than Trueborn.


Hexatrix Bloodbrides

What a disappointment this lot are. I was hoping for a little more creativity for these masters of the arena. As they can’t claim Objectives and are otherwise just slightly advanced Wyches, I can’t see me ever fielding them.

O.k. I can have three weapon upgrades in a 9 girl squad, which is nice; and the Syren has more Attacks for her Agoniser, but as Wyches are Troops and do exactly the same job, they’re are no no for me.

See the Wyches section above for further info.


Incubi

These guys are (to quote) ‘totally awesome’ except for one thing. For some gods forsaken reason they don’t have Assault grenades. Come on GW, how many Assault based units in all the new Codexs don’t have Frags or similar.
Of course, we would have paid one extra point to give them the grenades if needed.

So how do we fix this?
There are two basic logics: 1). Don’t use Incubi to Assault into cover. Therefore make sure you have some other close combat units with Grenades – Wyches spring to mind. 2). Use an IC to give them the grenades they need, i.e. an Achon or the Baron with a Phantasm Grenade Launcher. But this means adding a silly amount of points for unit which really doesn’t require any help during Assaults.

In the previous codex Incubi could buy grenades as an upgrade. I can only assume that this is yet another oversight on GWs part. If it isn’t, it is a very bad way to balance the Incubi.

Aim your Incubi at your enemy’s heavy armoured or high value targets. Their great Initiative means they will go first most of the time. Avoid Banshees like they had plague, and only Assault I5 enemy units which are very poor in close combat.

Klaivex upgrades
- Demiklaives; Something that I really don’t understand with GW is that sometimes they will allow a weapon upgrade and cost it appropriately, as in this case. But what they don’t do is take the cost of the original weapon off this upgrade cost, as in this case. Demiklaives should be at most +15pts. Anyway, should you take it? I don’t think the high points costs justifies this weapon, though the increased Strength could be very useful.

- Bloodstone: Now here’s a weapon I like. Although it’s hardly a must have, I think it could turn out to be very useful in helping the Incubi thin out enemies and to gain their Pain Tokens.

- Onslaught: How effective might this be? Let’s say we have 6 Incubi including a Klaivex and they get Assaulted by some Assault Marines. Incubi go first, with the Klaivex before his men.

The chance of the Klaivex hitting is 0.666 x 3 = 2. So he will roll twice to try and Wound, and therefore has a 33.3% chance of rolling a six.

Then we calculate 5 Incubi. There chance to hit = 0.666 x 10 = 6.66. So they will roll 6-7 dice to try and Wound, and therefore have a 100% chance of rolling a six.

Overall chance to roll a six = 1.33. So this is on average, how many extra Attacks you could get. Of course this improves if you Assault them. However, as Onslaught costs nearly as much as another Incubi, buy the model not the upgrade. Models = bodies that have to be killed by the enemy.

- Murderous Assault: I really think this is a total waste of points. There’s no guarantee you will be able to get your Klaivex in base to base with an enemy IC. Leave this one alone too.

Losing their shooting attack is a small drag, but I still really like Incubi, and having PFP and Fleet is a fantastic bonus, as is not having to be Retinue. Give them one Pain Token asap, and then the next whenever possible, though it is not critical to their success.

Should you bother with a Klaivex. Generally speaking yes you should. Although the upgrade is very expensive his Leadership is important, and his other stat increases are very useful too. Interestingly he seems to have a great BS for someone who can’t have any weapons requiring a BS.

Incubi need a Raider, Venom or a Webway to deploy from. Don’t even for a second consider walking them across the board. If you intend only to field a small squad choose a Venom. Venom + 5 Incubi = 165pts

I can definitely see me fielding Incubi, probably with a Haemonculus.


Grotesques

As Haemonculi do not have Fleet, Grotesques are in the running to be meat-shield for them. There’s no doubting that a well tooled Heamonculus with 3-4 Grotesques could be a nasty proposition for the enemy.

Grotesques are difficult to damage with most shooting weapons though watch out for AP1&2 and S10. Using Multiple Toughness rules this means that even with an IC leading them, the enemy rolls against the Grotesques Toughness not the ICs. There is a problem though with using Grotesques as a meat shield for ICs, i.e. wound allocation. The maximum Grotesques you can fit into a Raider with an IC is four. This means that every time the enemy shooting causes more Wounds than the small number of Grotesques in the unit you will have to assign one Wound to the IC. Admittedly their Toughness really does help in this regard.

When they get their second Pain Token they will be much more effective when Assaulting.

So should you use them in a standard competitive list? Grotesques do one thing well that most of our other units don’t, they soak up enemy shooting. The Talos and Cronos also do this, especially when they have a Token. Grotesques can penetrate vehicle 10 armour, and do this even better if they have a second Token – which they already will have if they are bodyguard for a Haemonculus.

As they have no shooting attack they are an obvious choice as a meat-shield for a Heamoculus with a Webway, but so are Wracks, who would be a Troops choice too.

You shouldn’t field Grotesques without an IC just in case they Rampage, though maybe you can plan for this and deliver them well away from the rest of your army, where their Rampaging could kill plenty of enemies and no friends. Remember though, that you’ll lose your unit after the Rampage = 1 kill point down.

Should you field an Aberration? If you are taking 4 Grotesques + a Haemonculus in a Raider, and have a few points spare, take the Aberration and give it a Venom Blade so it gets even more Attacks and a good chance of To Wound re-rolls.

And what about the Liquifier Gun? Yes, just take it. With a 50% chance of getting AP1-3, they are a bargain. This will work even better if you have a Haemonculus with a Liquifier too.

I’m not sure about these guys, and once again, playtesting is going to have to be done to see whether they stack up. I must admit though, units that get FNP against most Guard artillery are very appealing. I will definitely be using them in Apocalypse games.

Grotesques need a Raider or a Webway to deploy from. Don’t even for a second consider walking them across the board, they’ll get blown to pieces.


Wracks

Oh my, I like this lot. Despite their desperate armour save I think they are well worth their points, especially the Acothyst. Negatively, they do not have Offensive grenades, so try and stay away from Assaulting into Cover.

- Liquifier Gun: Just take ‘em, right now. 10 Wracks = two of these, with a very good chance of rolling AP1-3, and therefore slaughtering MEQs. These guns will definitely help you get your Pain Tokens.

- Stinger Pistol: Although this is quite nice, there are more important things to consider because Wracks are close combat units.

- Venom Blade: Don’t bother, as there’s better weapons.

- Mindphase Gauntlet; Nice weapon, but the Flesh Gauntlet is better.

- Hexrifle; This is a lovely weapon, but how often will I get to fire it. If my Haemoculus is Raider borne, its likely to be going Flat Out or delivering a unit ready to Assault. I think with the amount of poisoned shooting weapons we have, this weapon is not required.

- Scissorhand: Don’t bother, as there’s better weapons.

- Flesh Gauntlet: This is a fantastic weapon, and can happily take out enemy ICs and monstrous creatures etc. Make sure the Acothyst is in base-to-base if fighting an IC.

- Agoniser: Take the Flesh Gauntlet rather than this.

- Electrocorrosive Whip: It’s twice the cost of a Power Weapon, so does it special rule make up for this. No not for me, as the Acothist does not have enough Strength or Attacks. I’d rather use Poisoned weapons or Agonisers to fight things with high Strength.

Wracks need a Raider to deploy from. Don’t even for a second consider walking them across the board. I wouldn’t use the Webway for them as they don’t have Fleet.


Mandrakes

Nice one, there’s a unit leader for the Mandrakes. Now let’s check out his upgrades and wargear…. Oh great, there aren’t any. It would have been nice to see him have a couple of optional special powers, in the same way the Klaivex does, and Eldar Exarchs have.

Having read the opening paragraph of the Mandrake’s fluff on pg33 of the codex, Deep Strike would seem a very appropriate ability for them to have.

You better make good use of their Stealth as they will be shot to pieces if you leave them out in the open.

Mandrakes can Outflank, which is always handy, but that means coming from Reserve which could be late in the game, with no shooting weapons and no transport.

On their own I really doubt a Mandrake unit’s ability to get Pain Tokens when fighting against MEQ armies. With that in mind, I’m not sure that they merit a place in Tournament armies or in armies designed to take on all-comers. Of course, if you have a plan that includes their particular capabilities, that’s fine.

I don’t like these guys. 4/10 GW – more attention required next time round.


Harlequins

Some Eldar players swear by these guys, though I have seen a shift away from them in the last few years, and I applaud GW for including Harlequins in the codex for fluff reasons.

Rending means that the unit can attack vehicles, but in truth, you really don’t want this lot Assaulting vehicles. With their high WS and good number of Attacks when they Assault, there is a good chance of Rending hits. On average when fighting against WS4 or worse, each Harlequin using a ‘Kiss’ will roll 2.6 Wound dice, which equals to a 43% chance of a Rending wound. Roughly speaking 5 Harlequins = 2 Rending wounds. The Troupe Master (with Power Weapon) is a nice addition, but not vital.

As an Eldar player (heretic), I have never been a fan of Harlequins because they tend to get shot to bits while they cross the board to reach the enemy. For us, there is a vital difference in the way we can deploy this unit, because we have Webways and vehicles which they can ride in. All Eldar players field the Shadowseer in an attempt to protect the unit from being shot to pieces, and this is probably a good idea even if you will deploy the unit from a Webway Portal. Remember that if you use their Hit & Run they need protection.

Though the Death Jester is very good value for his upgrade points, I wouldn’t bother as your unit needs to be able to Run to be able to Assault as quickly as possible. However, there is a case for a very different version of Harlequins, as they have the best anti-vehicle weapon in our army – the Fusion pistol. You can make a reasonable case for a 5 man Harlequin squad with two Fusion pistols and a Death Jester, mounted in a Venom (lent to them by another unit).

Having said all this I really don’t see the need to field this unit and prefer the DE close combat units. For example, each Harlequin is only four points cheaper than an Incubus, and I know which unit I prefer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
FAST ATTACK

Hellions


I really want to love these guys. Jump Infantry with Fleet and Hit & Run, sounds good. But they are just so fragile that they worry me. They will get shot to pieces by anything. Small dogs barking loudly will damage them. Oddly this means that Hellions are about as safe in close combat as they are exposed to enemy fire. Of course, running Baron Sathonyx helps with those all important cover saves.

You must take the Helliarch and give it an Agoniser or a Stunclaw.

They need their first Pain Token as quickly as possible if you want them to survive. The second token will of course, make them much more effective when they Assault.

I think if you want to use a lot of Hellions, learning to use Webway Portals is probably the way to go. If you do use a Webway, then any Hellions in Reserve will have three different ways to deploy – via the Webway, moving on from your base line, and Deep Striking. Remember though that if you DS you can’t Assault that round, whereas from a Webway you can.

Like all close combat units please remember that if you shoot at the unit you wish to Assault, your opponent may be able to remove models which will leave you out of range to Assault. Be careful because you’ll just die to enemy firepower.

Hit and Run is a double-edged power. So you Assault a unit in your Assault phase, hit it some, then Hit and Run away. Next round it moves 6” and Rapid Fires your Hellions into ground meat paste. Think before you bounce away.

Try this, it’s the enemy’s Assault phase. Your Hellions are already locked in combat, hit the enemy some, then Hit and Run away. Then it’s your turn, so they and maybe some friends merrily shoot away at what is left of said enemy unit, then Assault it again if needed.

The Stunclaw is a very funky item, but of course, leaves your Helliarch with no Poison or Power weapon. As Hellions have a very good Initiative, even if you do ‘claw’ an enemy IC, the chances are that your Hellions will get their Attacks against the IC before they die. I think that if you want to get into Stunclaw stuff, you’d better take the Baron with the unit. Don’t ‘claw’ enemy ICs with S6+ as they can Instant Kill the Baron.

I’ve seen quite a few posts talking about the deployment of Hellions and their use of cover. Please don’t forget that if you start or end your Movement phase in Difficult terrain, you have to take a Dangerous terrain test for each model. In general this means that they can’t make best use of area terrain, having to hide behind it and then fly over it. It’s a good job they have Fleet, so the Run can help compensate for this.

So what impact will the Combat Drugs have:

- Drugs – Run: of course this will be useful, as it might make the difference between being able to Assault, and being left out in the open waiting to be shot to pieces.

- Drugs – WS: Means that we hit on 3s vs. most of our opponents, which is very nice, especially for the Hekatrix. It also means WS5 hit us on 4s not 3s.

- Drugs – S: We get to wound MEQs on 3s, and get to Glance vehicle armour 11 and Penetrate 10. It is useless for the Agoniser though.

- Drugs – Re-rolls: I like this better than the +S. It is better for the Agoniser.

- Drugs – A: Who doesn’t want more Attacks.

- Drugs – Pain Token. This is a very good result.


Reavers

The first thing to note is that we lost a point of Strength, and loads of armour save.. aarrgh.

And my fantastic Reaver Champions have been nerfed. You remember, Punisher, Tormentor Helm, (Animus Vitae), and sometimes Haywire Grenades…. , what a combination!

And my Reaver anti-vehicle squads have been nerfed too. Now I need 6 Reavers to get 2x Blasters.

And, as I can’t have a Reaver Archon or Haemonculous, I can’t build really great fast attack close combat units.

So I’ve got 16 bikes. What to do with them?

Well, we’ve been given a very fancy Turbo Boost speed, Skilled Riders and an interesting overfly rule. Turbo overfly can be very useful, allowing you to attack enemy units deep in their own deployment zones, infantry heavy weapon squads being an obvious choice (Lootas, Long Fangs etc!). With this in mind should we take Grav-Talons or Cluster Caltrops.

Many DE players seem to favour units of 6 Reavers. With 6 Bladevanes we will do an average of 12 hits. This would Wound 6 MEQs, killing 2. If we add one set of Caltrops this becomes 2.6 kills on average. Adding two sets of Caltrops makes it 3.2 kills. The problem with 2x Caltrops is the horrible points cost for their killing power. So we could argue the case for taking two Grav-Talons instead of Caltrops, which would increase the kill rate by 0.66 MEQs. Now the chance to force MEQs to take a Pin test is small, but for T3 with Armour 4+ or worse, or T4 with 5-6+ it is much better.

To comparing flying over T3 with 4+ armour saves:
- 6 Bladevanes we will do an average of 12 hits. This would Wound 8, killing 4.
- If we add one set of Caltrops this becomes 4.75 kills on average.
- Adding two sets of Caltrops makes it 5.5 kills.
- Add two Grav-Talons instead of Caltrops, which would increase the kill rate by 1.33.

Remember that Grav-Talons give you additional attacks as well as your Bladevanes.

I think both Caltrops and Grav-Talons are probably worth play testing, but my gut says try the Talons first.

To get the best of this kind of unit they need to be Turboing every round. At least then they have a useful save. Don’t forget that you can’t use the free move in the Assault phase if you Turbo, nor can you start or end in Cover.

Alternatively, 4-6 Reavers with 1-2 Heat Lances or 1-2 Blasters, maybe including an Arena Champion with an Agonsier or Power Weapon could be the way to go. In particular Heat Lances fired at 9” or less look good against the side or rear of enemy vehicles. For this kind of unit you can use Webway Portals or deploy on-board in or behind cover and Turbo round 1. The Combat Drugs result can really help here.

Let’s have a look at the Heat Lance vs. Blaster debate. Both have the same range, so no worries there. Both wound standard MEQs on 2s, also good; however the Blaster wounds T5 & 6 on 2s too, and Instant Kills T4. Blaster 1 Heat Lance 0. The Blaster has a much better Wound rate vs. Monstrous Creatures: Blaster 2 Heat Lance 0. At 9” the Heat Lance has 6+2d6 Penetration vs. vehicles and AP1. Blaster 2 Heat Lance 1. Heat Lance is a little cheaper points cost. Blaster 2 Heat Lance 1.5.

So overall the Blaster just wins, however if you need anti-vehicle units I’d use the Heat Lance.

-From a purely shooting perspective, we can move 12”, shooting 18” with Blasters/Heat Lances, and then move 6” in the Assault phase, and make great use of Cover via Skilled Riders. Is the shooty squad going to work? I’m not sure. Then again, I’m not sure that the Turbo squad is going to be worth its points either. Only playing games is going to show this.

Finally, Turboing Reavers can be used to screen a Raider giving it a Cover save too.

Combat Drugs:
- Drugs – Run: Totally and utterly useless. Well done GW.

- Drugs – WS: Means that we hit on 3s vs. most of our opponents, which is very nice, especially for the Arena Champion. It also means WS5 hit us on 4s not 3s.

- Drugs – S: We get to wound MEQs on 4s, and get to Glance vehicle armour 10. It is useless for the Agoniser though.

- Drugs – Re-rolls: I like this better than the +S. It is better vs. T3 and better for the Agoniser.

- Drugs – A: Who doesn’t want more Attacks.

- Drugs – Pain Token. This is a very good result indeed.


Beastmasters

Let’s face it, barring the Beastmaster you can upgrade, the rest of the Beastmasters themselves are useless in close combat. This is annoying as the unit is a close combat unit.

Of course Beasts are very fast, so how can we best use them?

Each different kind of Beast in this unit brings differing qualities, and deployment considerations. All can deploy well from Webway Portals.

If you want to start off with Beastmasters deployed on-board at the start of the game, you have to use Khymera. Their save will help keep the unit alive until you get them into close combat. I must admit though, that I don’t like the idea of using them without a Portal.

With Clawed Fiends, as soon as you have more Fiends that Beastmasters, the unit acts as if it is T5 in certain situations, which is nice. Deploy from Portals.

Razorwings will die incredibly easily but have a silly amount of Rending attacks for their points cost. Deploy from Portals.

Once again take an Agoniser or Venom Blade.

For the points I prefer the Khymera and Razorwing Flocks. Although Khymera won’t kill a lot, they have a great save.

Beastmaster with Venom Blade + 5 Khymera = 77pts. Bargain!
Beastmaster with Venom Blade, Beastmaster with CCW, 5 Khymera, 2 Razorwing Flocks = 118pts. Also a bargain!

It will be interesting to see how well these kinds of squads stack up against Hellions.


Scourges

I don’t believe it! GW have screwed us for points again (and again it’s an oversight presumably due to lack of proof-reading). It goes like this: Scourges are expensive in part, because they have Shardcarbines (which Trueborn pay +5 points for). The Solarite can replace his expensive weapon for other weapons, but still pays full cost for them. If you look at the Helliarch, it pays 5pts less for its upgrades because it loses its Hellglaive. Duh! Just another reason to prevent people from playing their Scourges.

The same applies for the cost of the weapon upgrades for the Scourges themselves.

A Scourge is 4 points more expensive than a Blood Angel Assault marine, who has +1S +1T Power Armour, Krak grenades, And They Shall Know No Fear, and Red Thirst. Yes, Scourges have Fleet, PFP and are better at shooting but much worse at fighting in close combat. So why are they so much more expensive? I’d love to know.

To make matters worse, Scourges have Plasma grenades. Maybe they can lend theirs to the Incubi, who seem to have left theirs back in the Webway.

Rant over, back on with the Codex info:

If you are going to field Scourges you must field at least 5 so you can upgrade their weapons.

- Shredder: Nice but best left to Trueborn in Venoms.
- Splinter Cannon: Nice but best left to Trueborn, Warriors and Venoms.
- Haywire Blaster: These weapons will always Glance or Penetrate on a 2-6 roll and have a decent range. They are worth considering if you need anti-vehicle units. Against non-vehicle units I prefer the Blaster or Heat Lance.
- Heat Lance/Blaster: For the Blaster vs. Heat Lance debate see the Reavers section above.
- Dark Lance: Don’t go there, it isn’t an ‘Assault’ shooting weapon.

Should you bother with a Solarite? Normally no, unless you intend to have the Scourges join in your Assaults, in which case yes, with an Agoniser. If you have points to spare you could consider the Blast Pistol.

How to deploy them? We have three options: start on-board, deep strike from Reserve, and via a Webway from Reserve. Starting on-board exposes their fragility, but means they pose a round2 threat and therefore should draw fire. They must hug cover without entering it. Deep Striking can deliver them into your enemy’s rear, but is likely to leave them very exposed. The Webway is safe, and will bring them into play where you need them. Now as always, if your Reserve rolls are bad, you may only see the unit on Round 4 or 5, and they will be wasted points.

I like these guys just because I do… but as Jump troops don’t get on with area terrain, and they are silly expensive and still fragile despite having half decent armour, I can’t see me fielding them in competitive lists. They’ll be nice with Flank March in Apocalypse. Then again so’s most of the DE army.
 

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Senior Member
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860 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
HEAVY SUPPORT

Ravagers


The Ravager is the most important component in our anti-vehicle armoury, and Aerial Assault is awesome. Don’t leave home without some.

Ravager Upgrades

Disintegrator Cannon: You really need your Ravagers to kill enemy vehicles, so I would not even consider taking Disintegrators.

Torment Grenade Launchers: If enemy units are within 6” of your Ravagers you are in trouble. This is another upgrade to ignore.

Shock Prow: If you are Tank Shocking with your Ravagers I would think something has gone badly wrong with your strategy and planning. I don’t think this upgrade makes any sense for Ravagers.

Retrofire Jets: I would only consider this upgrade if you have a plan to deep strike all your vehicles or for another very good reason. Otherwise just don’t go there.

Chain-Snares: No, no, no.

Grisly Trophies: This upgrade could possibly be useful if you intend to play with a number of your non-vehicle units staying close to their starting deployment area, for example, maybe you will have one or more of your units protecting Objectives. Think carefully before you buy this though.

Envenomed Blades: No, no, no. Leave this one behind; it is a true waste of points.

Night Shields: Just buy it, right now! Don’t field Ravagers without Night Shields.

Flickerfield: I think that this is well worth taking for Ravagers. If you are tight on points choose the Night Shield first.

Enhanced Aethersails: No, don’t bother, the sails screw up shooting.

I can’t imagine fielding a DE army without Ravagers and will definitely field mine with Nightshields and Flickerfields. The reason for this is that I really need to give them every chance to survive for as long as possible. 5th edition 40k has seen most players using plenty of vehicles, so I need my primary anti-vehicle units to keep shooting late into the game.


Razorwing Jetfighter

Now here’s a vehicle that really suits Disintegrator Cannons as most of its weaponry is designed to trash non-vehicle units.

I would always give this jet a Night Shield, and replace the Lances with Disintegrators. If you have the points, replace its rifle with the Splinter Cannon. The Flickerfield is well worth considering too.


Ignoring the Splinter Rifle which is truly irrelevant for these skimmers, the rest of their weapon have 36”+ range. Make sure you use this range to stay away from enemy fire. This makes best use of the Night Shield too.

Aerial Assault means they can move a good way and still fire all their weapons. This is very useful so don’t forget it. Being able to move faster than Combat speed really does give you the edge.

Missiles
Monoscythe Missiles: I like! With a decent strength and large area of effect these missiles are very good against all T2-4 units, and good against T5-6. Very nice. They instant kill T2-3 too. Although though they can damage vehicles you should not waste them on this.

Necrotoxin Missiles: Against T2-4 these missiles To Wound roll is the same as for Monscythe missiles, so in this case the only advantage is Pinning. Against T5+ this missile is much better that the Monoscythe, so what have to balance up is, will I fight enough enemies with T5+ to make it worth buying them. In an all-comers list I don’t think they are worth it for Razorwings.

Shatterfield Missile: I like these missiles, especially the re-roll. Again, don’t hunt vehicles with them. damage T2-4 as well as the other missiles, and T5-6 as well the Necrotoxin. The Necrotoxin is better vs. T7+. Shatterfields instant kill T2-3. Note that the re-roll does not apply against vehicles. Is it worth replace any Monscythe missiles with Shatterfields? Maybe. If you have points spare they are worth looking at.

All these missiles like Ork and Nid mobs!

I would never consider using the Ravonwing as an anti-vehicle unit.

The question you have to ask yourself is, am I going to get better use from this than from a Ravager or Voidraven?


Voidraven Bomber

The Razorwing and Voidraven are the same base points cost, so what’s the difference. Simple, the Razorwing starts off with more weapons, and the Voidraven with less but better weapons and critically, better armour. I think this is very important as the Voidraven can only be damage by S4 weapons from the rear.

Definitely take the Night Shield, and the Flickerfield too if you can.

Once again there is an inconsistent points cost which makes no sense. The Voidraven pays the same points for Monoscythe Missiles, Necrotoxin Missiles and Shatterfield Missiles; whereas the Razorwing pays 5 points more for the Necrotoxin Missiles or Shatterfield Missiles.. duh. Why! It beats me. GW please please please have someone proof read your Codexs who isn’t a still warm corpse. Apologies but stuff like this makes me (AAAAAARGGGHHH) a little irritated.

Aerial Assault means they can move a good way and still fire all their weapons. This is very useful so don’t forget it. Being able to move faster than Combat speed really does give you the edge.

The Voidraven’s weapons have 36”+ range. Make sure you use this range to stay away from enemy fire, because at the end of the day the best armour they have is only as good as a Rhino’s.

Missiles
Implosion Missile: This is one expensive dude, but is it worth it? Possibly yes, only if you can use it against expensive enemy units with 1 or 2 Wounds max for each model hit. Remember that the enemy’s armour save doesn’t count. I’m not sure they are worth it for normal 40k games, but may have a place for 1-2 in Apocalypse. However, I really think that the Voidraven is best used against enemy vehicles, and therefore would not use these missiles.

The Voidraven’s Lances are the best long range anti-vehicle weapons we have, and it has the best vehicle armour (ignoring Vect’s Raider).

The Void Mine – do not be tempted to overfly a unit just to use this weapon, if you are going to bring yourself closer to plenty of enemy fire. Use the mine against vehicles or high T units with 2/3+ armour. Try to avoid 4+ Invulnerable saves.

Now, do I choose the Razorwing or the Voidraven? For me this is an easy choice, DE have masses of Raider mounted foot sloggers for killing the enemy’s foot sloggers; what I need, is to crack open his vehicles. I choose the Voidraven with Nightshield + Flickerfield and no other upgrades.


Talos Pain Engine

Let’s get something out of the way immediately. There are two ways to deploy Pain Engines, both with very different reasoning.

1: Deploy via a Webway. This is probably the most efficient way to get your Pain Engine close to the enemy. Also it stays safe while in Reserve. Negatively if you only get it on round 4-5 it will achieve little or nothing.

2: If you walk it towards the enemy from your Deployment zone. It will draw fire, and in fact is likely not to make it to the enemy’s units. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. There is an odd balance in the DE army not really seen so much elsewhere. This is that the enemy can destroy our vehicles quite well with S4-7 weapons. This leaves his S8+ shooting free to some degree. We can’t depend on him to shoot his high Strength weapons at our vehicles if we have a Monstrous Creature in play. However, this is very good thing. His S8+ will trash our vehicles, so it’s cool for him to waste fire on a Talos or Cronos.

For the love of gods, give Talos its first Pain Token as fast as you can, as gives it FNP against a lot of enemy attacks – watch out for AP1 or 2.

Please note that if you are using your Pain Engine as bait so the opponent shoots at it, the chances are you will be Running at him, and not make it. Do not upgrade anything because these will be wasted points.

This means that you have to view the upgrades relative to deploying from a Webway:

As a Monstrous Creature does not require a close combat weapon to be able fight in Assaults, we can replace the CCW. But should we replace it?
- Liquifier Gun: This is a very nasty weapon and could be very dangerous to almost any T3-5 enemies.
- Ichor Injector: Because of the high Strength of the Talos, this is a very nice upgrade. Great for targeting multi-wound models with T4 or less.
- Chain Flails: This changes the chance for 6 Attacks to 33%, 5 Attacks 33%, 4 Attacks to 33% etc; so on average you will get between 4-6 Attacks, which is very nice. Without it the chance of 4-6 Attacks is 50%.

Splinter Cannon replacements: You need to look at how well you are equipped to destroy vehicles before you choose to replace the Cannon.
- Stinger Pod – nice weapon, great for killing T3-5.
- Haywire Blaster – odd weapon, but for its points, it’s very reliable at Glancing vehicles.
- Heat Lance – At 9” on average you will have a Penetration score of 13. The chance to get a Penetration roll of 15+ is around 17% (i.e. 1 in 6). Because you need to be within 9” to achieve this, I don’t think this weapon is as useful as the Haywire Blaster.

For their points the Haywire and Stinger are both very good value.

Until I get to play more games, I really can’t tell how useful Talos will be. In the past some DE players loved them, while most ignored them in favour of speed and mobility.


Cronos Parasite Engine

There are two ways to deploy Parasite Engines, both with very different reasoning.

1: Deploy via a Webway. This is probably the most efficient way to get your Parasite Engine close to the enemy. Also it stays safe while in Reserve. Negatively if you only get it on round 4-5 it will achieve little or nothing.

2: If you walk it towards the enemy from your Deployment zone. It will draw fire, and in fact is likely not to make it to the enemy’s units. Is this a bad thing? Not necessarily. There is an odd balance in the DE army not really seen so much elsewhere. This is that the enemy can destroy our vehicles quite well with S4-7 weapons. This leaves his S8+ shooting free to some degree. We can’t depend on him to shoot his high Strength weapons at our vehicles if we have a Monstrous Creature in play. However, this is very good thing. His S8+ will trash our vehicles, so it’s cool for him to waste fire on a Cronos.

As the Cronos is cheaper than the Talos, but just a tough, it may seem logical to buy a Cronos to use as a sacrificial walking monster, attracting fire. But, there is a small problem with this. The Cronos does not come with a decent ranged weapon, so you opponent may ignore it for a while. In actual fact you should be Running at him, and hopefully this will be persuasive enough.

Give Cronos its first Pain Token as fast as you can, as gives it FNP against a lot of enemy attacks – watch out for AP1 or 2.

Please note that if you are using your Pain Engine as bait so the opponent shoots at it, the chances are you will be Running at him, and not make it. Do not upgrade anything because these will be wasted points.

This means that you have to view the upgrades relative to deploying from a Webway. Should we take a Spirit Vortex?
This is a nice weapon, with a decent enough range if you are popping out of a Webway. Because of the Cronos’ special Pain Token ability, I think this is a worthy upgrade.

Should we take a Spirit Probe? Because of the Cronos’ special Pain Token ability, I think this is a worthy upgrade too.
However, I’m not sure I would take both upgrades, purely for a points concern. Maybe I will be proved wrong with this, and experimentation is a good idea.
 

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HQ

The Court of the Archon


Note that you must take a minimum of one of each creature type in the Court. I wish I could just take Sslyth.

Once again GW have lumbered us with a stupid rules problem. On page 25 of the Codex Power From Pain: it says that “Whenever a Dark Eldar unit with this rule…….” Now here’s the problem: Lhamaeans and Medusae have PFP but Sslyth and Ur-Guls don’t. Fantastic.

What GW presumably intend is that the unit will gain Pain Tokens, but their effects will only apply to the Lhamaeans and Medusae. Now this is o.k. for FNP and Furious Charge, but when we get to Fearless…… oh dear, what do we do now. Probably the best thing to do is to talk to your opponent before you get to this point, and suggest that when they gain the 3rd Token, use the time honoured system of rolling a d6, and on 4+ the whole unit is Fearless, 1-3 the unit doesn’t gain Fearless.

If you field the minimum unit of 4 models in the Court + the Archon, enemies attacking you will roll against T3, and so this means that the Sslyth’s great Toughness will be worthless. If you take 6 models including 3 Sslyth + the Archon, once one of the T3 models have died, the Toughness in the unit will be that of the Sslyth, who are very difficult to instant kill.

The Medusae’s Eyeburst is so random that it could struggle to kill a few Guard, or equally it could mow down ranks of MEQs down with ease. Try to keep it alive.

The Ur-Ghuls are simple close combat dudes. They should be used to assign Wounds against as long as they aren’t caused by AP1&2 or Power etc (see FNP).

Within the Court the Lhamaens are the cannon fodder. Sacrifice them first.

The Sslyth are a much higher points cost than the others, but definitely have advantages. Their high Toughness makes them difficult to Instant Kill, and they have a goodly amount of high Strength attacks.

So what makes the Court better as a meat shield for ICs than Wracks or Grotesques?
1). The Court has Fleet, so it works well with the Archons.
2). Sslyph and Grotesques are the same points cost. Grotesques have one more Wound than the Sslyph. Sslyph have one point better armour, a great shooting weapon and an extra weapon for Assaults. They also don’t take up two transport slots.
3). Medusae’s crazy Eyeburst.
4). The fluffy coolness of the Court.

And what makes the Wracks or Grotesques better as a meat shield for ICs than the Court?
1). Start with a Token which helps to protect the IC.
2). Grotesques Toughness.
3). Wracks are cheap points.

I quite like the idea of this lot, and will playtest them with proxies before I start building proper models for them.


Archon

Archon’s have one hell of a profile for their base points cost. Even if you just add an Agoniser and Shadowfield you get a great close combat character for 110pts.

Like all DE ICs Archons need a meat shield to protect them. The Court and Wyches have Fleet, but Wyches are a disaster if their Raider is destroyed before they reach their close combat targets. Wracks are a possibility but don’t have Fleet.

To stand any chance of surviving, Archons must be fielded with either a Clonefield or Shadowfield. For me there is just no issue here, take the Shadowfield every time, and take Ghostplate too if you have the points.

Some Combat Drugs results are very beneficial for an archon, dependent on which melee weapons he is armed with. If you choose any form of Power weapon definitely take the Drugs.

Combat Drugs
- Drugs – Run: This might not seem useful, but it can be. If you are attempting to move the Archon from one unit to another, this can help facilitate that.

- Drugs – WS: No use, other than against WS7 enemies, and there aren’t so many of them.

- Drugs – S: Great for all the Power weapon variants. It is useless for the Agoniser though.

- Drugs – Re-rolls: I like this better than the +S. It is better vs. T3 and better for the Agoniser.

- Drugs – A: Who doesn’t want more Attacks.

- Drugs – Pain Token. This is a very good result for him.

If you have the points take the Haywire Grenades (See Wyches above for the reasons why).

Phantasm Grenade Launcher: Ye gods this is expensive. It can be very useful though, and is worth considering, but again is very dependent on how many ‘spare’ points you have.

If you can afford the points, Archon’s have a very good BS, and therefore it could be worth taking a Blast Pistol. Killing one MEQ with it will cover its points. It is not an essential piece of kit though.

Blaster: Archon’s are primarily close combat dudes, and therefore need all the Attacks they can get. Therefore, don’t take a Blaster, leave them to the grunts.

Archon’s close combat weapons:
- Venom Blade: Don’t bother, Archon’s need better weapons.
- Power Weapon: If you are considering this, then go for the Huskblade or the Whip.
- Agoniser: Here we have the same old argument. The Agoniser is a safe bet against all opponents with a Toughness score, but are not improved by Strength gains.
- Djin Blade: This could be a very good weapon, once the Archon gains at least one additional Strength. The problem is that there’s no guarantee of achieving this.
- Electrocorrosive Whip: This could also be a very good weapon. The Archon has enough Attacks and a great Initiative, and with the Whip should be able to land one unsaved Wound on most enemy HQs before they are able to strike back.
- Huskblade: I’ve seen a few posts already suggesting that arming your Archon with a Husk Blade and Soul Trap is a very good option. In principal they are absolutely correct. You only need to get 1 unsaved Wound on an IC or MC to trigger the Trap. Is this going to happen?

Archon’s have poor Strength, and at the end of the day Husk Blades are Power weapons. Archons Assaulting will need to go base-to-base with an enemy IC or MC. They’ll usually get 6 Attacks, hitting on 3s = 4 Hits.

Assuming the Archon does not have +1S from Drugs:
- If enemy IC/MC has T3, this equates to 2 Wounds.
- If enemy IC/MC has T4, this equates to 1.33 Wounds.
- If enemy IC/MC has T5 or T6, this equates to 0.66 Wounds.
- If enemy IC/MC has T7+, the Archon can’t hurt them.

Then as we ignore the enemy model’s armour, they have to fail an Invulnerable save. So for enemy T3 or T4 there’s a reasonable chance of success. As most enemy ICs come under this bracket, Husk Blade and Soul Trap looks quite good, and can be improved by Combat Drugs (results: 3, 4, and 5) and by Furious Charge. The downside is the 45pts cost for the Blade and Trap and is that the Archon is useless against T7+ (Luckily there aren’t so many of those these days).

- Soul-Trap: Only use with a Husk Blade.

Overall I really like these guys and will try them out.


Succubus

Succubus have a very good profile for their points cost. If you just add an Agoniser you get a combat monster for 85pts.

Of course she is ridiculously fragile, and requires the obligatory meat-shield to protect her, but she will kill plenty for her points cost. I think Wyches are her best bet, though if their Raider gets trashed and they have to disembark they will be in serious trouble. Wracks would be good too, but don’t have Fleet.

Don’t think about any other weapon than an Agoniser or Electrocorrosive Whip. The Succubus has enough Attacks and a great Initiative, and with the Whip should be able to land one unsaved Wound on most enemy HQs before they are able to strike back.

Note that the Whip can take advantage of Furious Charge and the Drug result which increases Strength, whereas the Agoniser can’t. However, the Agoniser wounds any Toughness, whereas low Strength obviously struggles against high Toughness. If you like safe, take the Agoniser.

Take the Haywire if you have the points (see Wyches above for why).

If you can afford the points, Succubi have a very good BS, and therefore it could be worth taking a Blast Pistol. Killing one MEQ with it will cover its points. It is not an essential piece of kit though.

Combat Drugs
- Drugs – Run: This might not seem useful, but it can be. If you are attempting to move the Succubus from one unit to another, this can help facilitate that.

- Drugs – WS: If you think this is useless you’re wrong. It makes WS4 enemies hit her on 5s.

- Drugs – S: She gets to wound MEQs on 4s, and gets to Glance vehicle armour 10 <Though you should have Haywires>. It is useless for the Agoniser though.

- Drugs – Re-rolls: I like this better than the +S. It is better vs. T3 and better for the Agoniser.

- Drugs – A: Who doesn’t want more Attacks.

- Drugs – Pain Token. This is a very good result for her.

I like this HQ a lot, and will definitely consider it.


Haemonculi

As Haemoculi are cheap, begin with a Token and come in threes if you so choose, Token exchange during your first round, to give some of your units Tokens, shouldn’t be an issue.

I like the fact that I can join a Haemonculus to Assault units in Raiders, so that if the Raider is destroyed the whole unit gets FNP against potential damage from the crash. This makes a huge difference to Wyches and Warriors. Assuming that the Raider arrives at its destination intact, if the unit needs to Run then Fleet, the Haemoculus can stay in the Raider having given the unit its Token, joining with a unit at some point later.

Haemonculi has a very negative aspect. As they are relatively poor in close combat they are easy Kill points for your enemies, though the Ancient is much better. Be careful how you position your Haemonculi when you Assault.

- Venom Blade: If you are very low on points give your guy one these, otherwise definitely choose a better close combat weapon for him.
- Stinger Pistol: Nice, but not as nice as a Liquifier gun.
- Power Weapon: No, don’t both, there are better combat weapons.
- Mindphase Gauntlet: Most Monstrous Creatures have good Strength, but not all have good Leadership. Most ICs have good Leadership but not all have good Strength. So, there is a chance that this weapon will work. However, as Haemonculi aren’t exactly blessed with super high Initiative, against many enemy models it will be a waste of time. I think you should forget this.
- Flesh Gauntlet: This is a fantastic weapon, and can happily take out enemy ICs and monstrous creatures etc.
- Agoniser: Nuff said, good weapon.
- Electrocorrosive Whip: Haemonculi aren’t exactly blessed with super high Initiative, against many enemy models it will be a waste of time. I think you should forget this.
- Huskblade: Lovely weapon, but Haemonculi just don’t have enough Attacks to guarantee success with this.

- Animus Vitae: If you have a few points spare this could be a good buy. My concern (outlined above) is about our units becoming Fearless. I think this might work best if your Haemonculus is attached to a unit of Wyches then if they lose a round of close combat, as a Fearless unit they will take additional Wounds (see No Retreat pg44 of the main rule book), but will get their Invulnerable and FNP saves.
- Casket of Flensing: This can be great if you don’t roll a 1 or 2 for its Strength. Why couldn’t they have made it S2+1d3? With a 50/50 chance of rolling AP3-2-1, and an average of 7 shots. At BS4 this would mean 4.6 hits, so you could kill 3 MEQs or none. Given that one MEQ/Elite etc is going to cost at least 10pts maybe its worth a go. As usual, please don’t forget that when you shoot the enemy, you might end up at out Assault range.
- Liquifier Gun: Simple excellent weapon!
- Soul-Trap: What you have to ask yourself is, can my Haemonculus kill an IC or MC? My intention is to field my Haemonculi with Flesh Gauntlets which give it a chance of killing said models. However, Haemonculi will get trashed by your average IC who is likely to be on a higher Initiative.
- Vexator Mask: Nice, but… most armies have decent Leadership. Worth a punt if you really need your Haemonculus to survive for a particular reason.
- Scissorhand: Nice enough but I think there are better weapons for the points cost.
- Archangel of Pain: Against most armies this will be almost useless as their Leaderships are too high, though it will work better with a Torment Launcher close by. It certainly has a nice effect and will cause enemy units affected problems if you can Assault them straight away. The Archangel will have an average range of 10.5”, which is a 21” radius. You will have to be skilled to get best use from this, but it could work very well. Note that WS1 needs 5s to hit WS3+.
- Hexrifle: This is a lovely weapon, but how often will I get to fire it. If my Haemoculus is Raider borne, its likely to be going Flat Out or delivering a unit ready to Assault. I think with the amount of poisoned shooting weapons we have, this weapon is not required.
- Shattershard: This is a dangerous weapon, especially against T3 opponents. With a 33% chance to remove T4 HQs with no save, maybe its worth a punt.
- Crucible of Malediction: With an average range of only 10.5” and requiring a Leadership test from models which usually have Ld9 or 10, I really don’t think this is worth taking. Would work better with a Torment Launcher close by.
- Orb of Despair: I just don’t see this weapon, mainly because Haemonculi don’t have BS5+.
- Dark Gate: It’s expensive, its Strength Instant kills T5 or less and has the potential to penetrate Landraiders, Monoliths and Leman Russ. Are the points worth its one-shot rule? I’m not sure. If the Scatter gods love you, maybe it is.

Haemonculus Ancient
Nice profile, except for the Armour save. He’s much better in Assaults than his little brothers, and his points difference is reasonably costed. I think though, that unless you have a good reason for wanting this guy, you might as well just field the normal Haemonculi. For the points difference you can have three Wyches or Wracks.


Asdrubael Vect

I must be missing something because I think Vect just costs too much for what he will achieve, to consider fielding him in standard 40k games. If you really prefer to go first, his Master Tactician rule is very useful and could justify his points cost. If like me you usually prefer to go second, it is useless. It’s likely that he’ll make it into my Apocalypse games, as stealing the Initiative might be more useful.

Don’t even think about fielding him without some kind of meat shield (unit) wrapped round him to soak up casualties. What kind of meat shield you choose, will be wholly based on the overall strategy four your list. Remember that he can have a Court of the Archon.

To get anything out of Vect he needs to be in close combat, and he needs at least some of his meat shield to survive long enough to keep him safe. With this in mind Wracks, Grotesques and the Court of the Archon (3 Sslyth) all look good choices. Remember though that Wracks and Grotesques are not Fleet.

With enough points, I would deploy him with a Court and an Heamonculus too.

Vect certainly is a combat monster, but like all DE is very fragile, even with his Shadow Field. As an IC Vect can be picked out in close combat. If you want him to survive, you’ll need to kill most or all of any enemies you are fighting in an Assault, before they get to hit back.

On average he will kill 3.5 standard MEQs when he Assaults, assuming they have no Invulnerable save.

If for some reason he leaves his meat shield, only give him one Pain Token, as Furious Assault is useless to him, and he already covers the third on his character profile. Give any other Tokens to his bodyguard.

As he takes Wounds it is very important that you make use of his Obsidian Orbs to rejuvenate him. There is a potential down side to the Orbs. It is often the case that you don’t want to shoot at a unit you wish to Assault, because the opposing player will remove casualties in such a way that you will end up out of charge range. So make sure you are close enough to a unit before you shoot with the Orbs, which is very unlikely to Scatter due to Vect’s silly BS.

The Dias
What can I say… it’s very nice, has decent enough armour, and is far far too expensive. Somewhere round 170pts would be fairer for its profile.

Of course you must give it Night Shields and a Flicker Field.

I can see so many enemy units Assaulting it because of its very pleasant rear armour. Obviously the big Strength ones will still have a go though.

Because of its special rules regarding how many models it can carry, it can not begin the game carrying Grotesques.

Once again this is an Apocalypse only model for me.


Lady Malys

Don’t even think about fielding Malys without some kind of meat shield (unit) wrapped round her to soak up casualties. What kind of meat shield you choose, will be wholly based on the overall strategy four your list. Remember that she can have a Court of the Archon.

To get anything out of Malys she needs to be in close combat, and she needs at least some of her meat shield to survive long enough to keep her safe. With this in mind Wracks, Grotesques and the Court of the Archon (3 Sslyth) all look good choices, though only the Court have Fleet.

Like a number of other DE HQs she has a silly amount of Attacks which will benefit a great deal from the second Pain token. Until she gains more Strength she still isn’t a huge threat to T4 enemies, and on average will kill 1.7 MEQs if she Assaults, assuming they have no Invulnerable saves.

Once again we have a model with a silly good BS and no shooting weapon. Doesn’t she deserve a pistol of some kind.

In standard 40k games I think I will only field Malys if her ‘Precognisant’ ability is to be part of my strategy. Even then, if you roll a 1 for it, you aren’t exactly going to change much. This ability is likely to more use if you are going first.


Drazhar Master of Blades

Page 52 covers Drazhar’s special power called ‘Darting Strike’. The paragraph defining this rule begins “At the beginning of any round of close combat in which Drazhar is involved……”

There is a big problem with this statement: just what is the beginning of a round of close combat?

In fact, GW have already had to correct the same kind of language used in another Codex – i.e. Blood Angels. The FAQ m1240365a_FAQ_BloodAngels_2010 corrects the text for Mephiston relating to “At the start of the Assault phase.”

It says “At the start of the Assault phase, after assault moves have been made, but before blows have been struck…”

November’s official FAQ for the main rule book (m1490286a) states:
Q: For multiple combats there are two extra rules under the heading ‘Attacking’. For these rules, at what point is “at
the beginning of the combat”? (p41)
A: It is after defenders react when you pick the combat but before any attacks have been rolled.

Now these statements aren’t wonderful, but they are clearer than Drazhar’s sentence on its own. It is obviously supposed to mean that he can re-locate during close combat, but the language is not well defined. It would be so easy to write a clear precise sentence which covers this.

All they needed to say was, “If Drazhar is Assaulting move him as normal or, if he or his unit is being Assaulted move the enemy units concerned, then after all other models have moved and before any To Hit rolls are made during each round of close combat Drazhar can ………….”

It’s no wonder some of my friends call GW the joke shop. Writing codexs obviously is rocket science.

Interestingly Drazhar has an extremely high BS but no shooting weapon. Sadly it is very likely that this high stat will have been factored into his points, which are very high for what he can achieve in game.

Tragically he does not have Offensive grenades, which for someone who is supposed to be one of the finest close combat specialists in the 40k universe, seems rather naïve.

Do not field him without a meat shield unit for him to hang with. As he has Fleet, Incubi or Wyches would seem appropriate, though he would make an interesting addition to a unit of Wracks, where his Toughness fits better.

Drazhar needs two Tokens as fast as you can give them to him. Of course that applies to his unit as long as he hangs with them.

To be honest, I can’t see me fielding Drazhar at all, which is a pity, because I loved fielding him in the previous Codex. For his points I can have a unit of 9 Incubi including a Klaivex with a Bloodstone.

As I won’t be using Demiklaives for my Incubi Klaivex, I guess I’ll just convert my Drazhar model to a standard Klaivex. At least the model won’t completely go to waste.


Lelith Hesperax

Lelith needs two Tokens as fast as you can give them to her. Of course that applies to his unit as long as she hangs with them.

Lelith is a combat machine and must be given a meat shield to protect her. Wracks and Grotesques would be good but are not Fleet. Also Lelith can not have a Court of the Archon. Don’t be tempted by the Bloodbrides. Instead just use a unit of Wyches as her retinue as the Bloodbrides are too expensive to be used to die protecting her. If you get involved in a close combat with an enemy unit of T7+ or 10+ vehicle armour you will be in trouble. Consider taking a Hekatrix with an Agoniser, and Shardents + Haywire grenades for the Wyches. With her Shardnet and Wych Shardnets you could seriously reduce the amount of Attacks some of the enemy models have.

Lelith will tear T3 enemies to bits, be o.k. against T4 until she gets 2 Pain Tokens, and will seriously struggle against T5+. Because of her weapons and great close combat save, she should be able to survive for a while as long as you are not stupid with her.

Just remember that despite her rockin’ stat line and bonus Attacks, she is not going to kill whole units of MEQs every round.

On average, when she Assaults T4 (and she doesn’t have +1S) she will have 11 Attacks hitting on 3s = 7.2 Hits = 2.4 Wounds = 2.4 Kills unless they have Invulnerables. Against a typical SMurf Captain with 4+ Invulnerable she will only give them 0.85 unsaved Wounds. A Hekatrix with an Agoniser will do 0.5 unsaved Wounds to the Captain. An Archon with an Agoniser will do one unsaved Wound to the Captain.

On average, when she Assaults T3 WS3 (and she doesn’t have +1S) she will have 12 Attacks hitting on 3s = 8 Hits = 4 Wounds = 4 Kills unless they have Invulnerables.

Is she really worth her points? I’m not convinced. I can have a whole unit of Wyches (2 fancy Weapons, Haywires, Agoniser) for her points cost.


Kheradruakh the Decapitator

Hmm.. this guy is so fragile it hurts. Once he has arrived, which could only be on turn 4 or 5, he has to spend that turn only moving + shooting or running. To stand any chance of survival he will have to arrive or end up in cover, which potentially limits his activities the round after.

As he isn’t an IC he can’t join units and therefore has no possibility of a meat shield. Quite why he can’t join a unit of Mandrakes seems a bit odd for me. Even his fluff on pg50 implies that he and the other Mandrakes have some kind of relationship.

As he can be picked out in close combats (by enemies in base-to-base and within 2” of them), even if he joins in with another DE unit in an Assault, he will still die very easily. As for enemy shooting …., he will die in seconds.

To be honest I think he is a waste of points. I’d rather have had a lesser two Wound version for a lot less points, which could have led a unit of Mandrakes.

If you do want to try him out, play test him first with a proxy model.

Does he have a place in Apocalpyse games? Maybe. If you will use Flank March, he could be used to support that attack. Remember though that Disruptor Beacon can really spoil his day and that of your Flank Marchers.

I really can’t see me ever fielding this guy, as there are just so many better options available.


Duke Sliscus the Serpent

At last, an HQ choice I like. Once again he needs a meat shield, and as he needs to be fighting in close combat to be truly worth his points, maybe Wyches are your best choice as he can’t use the Court of the Archon. Using Wyches works well with his Contraband rule.

Give him two Pain Tokens as soon as possible. Of course that applies to his unit as long as he hangs with them.

- In Assaults each Attack he makes against T5/6 with WS5 or worse has an 11% chance of ignoring Armour saves
- In Assaults each Attack he makes against T4 with WS5 or worse has a 22% chance of ignoring Armour saves
- In Assaults each Attack he makes against T2/3 with WS5 or worse has a 27% chance of ignoring Armour saves

Of course, his Drugs result may change this, so I put it here to give you a general idea of what he can do.

If he gains one more Strength from his Drugs or Tokens this changes to:
- In Assaults each Attack he makes against T6/7 with WS5 or worse has an 11% chance of ignoring Armour saves
- In Assaults each Attack he makes against T5 with WS5 or worse has a 22% chance of ignoring Armour saves
- In Assaults each Attack he makes against T2/3/4 with WS5 or worse has a 27% chance of ignoring Armour saves

If you field him, field a unit of Warriors or Trueborn too, to make use of his Serpent’s Venom power. Give that unit Splinter Cannons. That means they’ll make a decent gunboat squad, but be useless against vehicles. It also makes the 4-5 Trueborn with 2 Cannons very deadly for 68/80pts. They can be fielded with or without a Venom. My choice at the moment is to field them on the ground in cover.

If you will field the Duke, you really should be fielding quite a few units with the Combat Drugs rules:
- Archon
- Succubus
- Hekatrix Bloodbrides
- Wyches
- Hellions
- Reavers

So if you are making a Wych based list, the Duke makes a great HQ choice.

Because of the Duke’s Contraband rule, you have a 33% chance of each Drugs result. If you have quite a few units with the Combat Drugs rule, if the ‘start with a Pain Token’ result comes, take it.

Using the Duke and 1+ Haemonculi gives the potential for serious Pain abuse.

His Low Orbit Raid power gives you options. If you will keep any of the vehicles mentioned in Reserve, you can choose how to deploy them during the game, which certainly adds a good layer of flexibility. Just remember that your units will not be able to Assault from vehicles using Deep Strike.


Baron Sathonyx, the Lord Hellion

If you like Hellions, definitely take the Baron, and make sure the Helliarch has an Agoniser, Venom Blade or Stunclaw. If you use the Baron and his Hellion meat shield wisely (using cover!), you should be able to get them stuck into close combat successfully. If points are an issue, take the Baron rather than making the Hellion unit massive, he needs 10+ to fly with.

Remember that he and Hellions can deploy from a Webway Portal, giving them a 12”+1d6”+6” Assault range from the edge of the portal.

It seems odd that he doesn’t have the Combat Drugs rule as he is a Hellion, but what would I know … ?

What does concern me is that although he really ramps up the unit he is with, alters our Troops choice options and has the very useful Bones of the Seer, he is an IC without a Power weapon. Admittedly he does have great Strength though.

Bizarrely, he could be a great choice to lead a unit of Incubi or Reavers (not the Turbo kind), where his grenade launcher, decent shooting and Stealth, high WS, BS and I, and high Strength are all very useful.

Don’t forget that although he may deploy with a unit of Hellions, he can easily Jump/Fleet into Assaults with your other units.

I wonder why he has a Splinter Pistol? The Skyboard contains a much better shooting option, and his Hellglaive is a two-handed weapon.

For his points he is quite a good character, and I think that only playing games with him will really show us whether he is really worth fielding or not. I kinda like this guy… pity I don’t own any Hellions yet.


Urien Rakarth

My interest is what can I do with this guy that I can’t do with a basic Haemonculus? Well, as long as you can keep one Wound on him, he can last forever, and his high Toughness and FNP definitely help. Basic Haemonculi are fairly easy Kill Points for your opponent, whereas, if played smartly, Urien should survive.

Remember that while he is attached to a unit with less Toughness than him, unfortunately when they are shot at, he counts as having their Toughness for purposes of rolling To Wound. Having him lead Grotesques takes advantage of his and their high Toughness. The problem is that this unit costs a lot of points… too many for standard 40k games.

With his high BS, the Casket of Flensing could be great, that is if you don’t roll a 1 or 2 for its Strength. Why couldn’t they have made it S2+1d3? Anyway, you can’t rely on it. Given that this is his only shooting attack, his high BS is a waste of points. Why doesn’t he have a Splinter or Stinger Pistol instead a close combat weapon? I’d rather have a Haemonculus with a Liquifier gun.

His Ichor Gauntlet is nice, but is hardly game breaking. As the Haemonculus can take Flesh Gauntlets, the Ichor really doesn’t make enough difference between taking Urien over two basic Haemonculi.

Father of Pain: Nice, unless you roll a 1.

Master Haemonculus: The only time I can see us giving Grotesques improved Strength, is in Apocalypse games. So yes it’s nice, but no big deal. Urien leading an increased Strength 4 man Grotesque unit, with their two combined Tokens and a Raider with FF and NS does look good, and very different for DE armies. Don’t give this unit a third Token from Father of Pain, as they can earn their own Token in game.

I’ll be frank, for standard 40k take on all comers lists, I’d rather have two normal Haemonculi than Urien; though his survivability is appealing. Apocalypse – yes. Standard 40k – no.

- - -


In Conclusion

There are some very nice aspects to our shiny new codex, which I really like. The downside is that I will have to buy a lot of new models, while most of my old DE sit on the shelves.

I hope this post is of some use to you, and look forward to everyone’s opinions.

Lord Ramon
 

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You might want to change the part on Drazhar. As he can only join units of Incubi, he has no option to get meatshields.

Also, Darting Strike is (to me) quite clear: "at the beginning of ANY round of close combat", which means that every time close combat starts in whichever player's turn, he can relocate. The strength in this seems to get Drazhar either into or out of a combat with an IC. How awesome is it
to leaven an enemy IC hanging dry?
 

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Good point Kantoken, I'll edit up soon.

The sentence for Drazhar was clear for me too, but that doesn't make it so everyone. I've seen far too many arguments to know that all is well just because I get something.

Thanks for the reply
 

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I think Duke Sliscus makes it reasonable to go with a larger unit of trueborn. Sliscus with 9 trueborn in a raider, 7 with shard carbines and 2 splintercannons, while a bit expensive, would cause quite a bit of damage, thanks to all those shots wounding on a 3+. Though of course as you pointed out it also works for cheaper on a venom. Good guide!
 

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Very good post. A nice overview of the codex.

A couple of things I'd like to offer an alternate/aditional opinion on though:

Giving a Beastmaster an Agoniser is a waste of points. They need to swap their close combat weapon for any of the upgrades so the most attacks they can get is 2 when assaulting. Venom Blade is so cheap it might be worth it but I'd probably just leave them as is.

Depending on the kind of armies you see, taking a Fleshgauntlet (esp. on Wrack Acothysts) can be a waste of points. If you don't get into combat with an IC/MC/multiwound unit (who doesn't have EW) you're paying all those points for nothing at all. The reason I think it's especially bad for Acothysts is that they have an entire squad of 4+ poison weapons backing them up so they can handle MC's decently well. For me the agoniser or scissorhand is a better choice as they are much less situational. If you know you're playing Nidzilla I'd consider it but otherwise I'd prefer the utility offered by either of the others. For Haemonculi that are joining units that struggle with MC's, like incubi, it's a better choice, esp. since incubi have plenty of power weapon attacks anyway.

Vect's Dais is described as "following the rules for raiders (on pg 44.)" but this isn't the army list and the Dais itself doesn't have any upgrade options listed in the army list. So unless you get your opponent's approval you can't give it a night shield, flicker field, etc.

If your opponents like to field certain "Deathstar Units" the Haemonculi have some very nasty options in the form of Dark Gate and Shattershard. Darkgate is more unpredictable and can potentially scatter back onto you, but if you know you're going to face Nob bikers/ogryns/Grotesques/etc. it'll more than earn it's points back. Similarly the shattershard is great for Seer councils/TH+SS Termies/FnP Marines, it can pick models out of squads, and bypasses Eternal Warrior. It's so cheap and has such a wide range of applications that I think it's worth taking even in tournament lists.
 
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Lord Ramon
A very nice writeup that must have taken you quite a while. I'm new to DE and you've given me some good advice. One thing I think you missed though. Reavers that take cluster caltrops get more hits from the caltrops than from bladevanes, making them good for more than just the higher strength.
 

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Read from start to finish and was thorougly impressed! I also felt the same about DL costs, the loss of Wych weapons, the still not quite there summary of the mandrakes. Overall the new dex is a great read and very balanced and I am happy. I just wish that this second wave of model releases could have had the wracks/grots, haemys and the pain engines.

I think the Haywire blaster is phenomonal though and will argue for them on the scourge unit. If the S4 does jack, then the follow up EMP should get a satisfactory result. All those accumlating glances will lead to goodness. I am trying to hunt down my scourge wings now, they had been warriors for so long.
 
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