Evening all. I thought it would be an opportune time to assess the shape of my army as it is at the 1,000 point mark and to hammer out what’s been working and what hasn’t with each unit. This has the virtue of perhaps edumucating me on how to fiddle with the force or what new toys to add as we cross into the 1,500 mark and beyond.
Archon- The boss man himself, Prince Jeremarkus, Archon of the Kabal of the Weeping thorn. I can honestly not think of a game that has passed where he hasn’t cause a significant amount of damage. He is fast becoming my favourite HQ i have ever fielded. Stunningly quick, fantastic weapon skill and an array of brutal wargear to choose from, all for 60 points to begin with. He does have his flaws however- the eldar toughness value of three means he can be insta killed by any weapon with a strength of 6 upwards. Luckily this is off set somewhat by his shadow field- a fantastic piece of kit that grants him a 2+ invulnerable save (the field is destroyed as soon as you fail the save sadly, but the odds of that happening before he’s gotten stuck in, are slim at best).
His strength is absolutely pitiful aswell, putting him on an average with human troops. The dark eldar wargear seems to be geared towards cheating these limitations however, which is why i always field him with an agoniser- a power weapon that always wounds on a 4+. Suddenly your strength 3 weakling boss man can merrily slap down wraithlords as if they were nothing more than a french cut steak. Combat drugs are an absolute must aswell. Granting you a range of mix and match benefits such as +1 attack, re roll hits and a 12 inch charge range, theyre essential for the discerning raider. Sure he might occassionally wound himself in the process of shooting up, but it’s totally worth it.
Incubi- As fantastic as my archon is, he is still a tad fragile to be wandering around on his own. That and Dark eldar society practically demands someone make an attempt on your life every 5 minutes, so it would be a prescient idea to hire a retinue of trustworthy (or relatively so) warriors to guard you. The incubi are absolutely devastating on the table. A high initiative, great weapon skill, the best armour Commoragh can afford (3+!) and every one of them is armed with a power weapon (all of them!) Their tormenter helms also count as pistols which grants them an extra attack in combat. Coupled with the ability to give the incubi master combat drugs (whos effects are passed on to the squad) means they hit with as much punch as the Archon, whilst at the same time acting as ablative wounds for the boss man. They do have their downsides- their bulky armour means they lose the fleet of foot ability, making them slightly less fast than their lighter counterparts. This is offset by mounting the squad (and Archon) in a raider transport. That and giving the master a 12 inch charge range means the squad can in most cases get a first turn charge in, which you know, doesnt suck.
Wyches- Ah, the ladies. Another done deal in terms of must haves in any Dark eldar army, these bloodied gladitorial hell wenches are a joy to behold on the battlefield. I’ve only managed a few games with them so far but they’ve certainly made a big impression. They bring the high initiative expected of eldar units, combined with a multitude of attacks and a handy 4+ invulnerable save in combat to round them off as a brutally effective close combat unit. They even have their own flavour of combat drugs which gives you a randomly determined upgrade at the beginning of the game, Not to mention Wych weapons- a 1 Point upgrade that negates an attack off each enemy model attacking them.
There are negatives of course, chief of which is their meagre 6+ armour save against shooting which will offer no protection against 80% of the weapons in the game. This coupled with their relatively high points cost, means you need to be careful to make sure the ladies make it into combat. As always, this is aided by mounting them in a raider transport, significantly reducing the time it takes for them to reach the enemy. A slight area of consternation is the random nature of their combat drugs that sometimes leaves you with a fairly useless upgrade (for example, i rolled “Always strike first” when fighting orks). Their low strength sometimes means they might bounce off harder units as opposed to ploughing through them so i find it’s best to use them in concert with warriors, letting the splinter rifles thin the ranks before the Wyches charge in to finish them off.
Raider squads- The work horses of the army. Astonishingly cheap with an excellent ballistic skill and a nice variety of weaponry to kit them out with. The warriors normally work in concert with the Wyches and the Archon’s squad, jumping out of the Raiders next to them and whittling down enemy squads in preparation for the assaults. The key to an army with lots of fragile elements is to only fight battles on your terms and if some well placed firepower can tip an assault heavily in my favour, then so be it.
Now for the bad- Like all dark eldar, their toughness value is pathetic, their 5+ armour save leaves a lot to be desired as it means they fall like wheat to Marines or equivalent firepower. The raiders are a big pain aswell; although absolutely necessary to make the force effective, the amount of games you come across that rely on kill points to win (especially with the new battle missions book) means these cheap transports can end up biting you in the foot. I can count half a dozen games where a clear cut victory for me has been turned into a draw because my opponent has (and rightly so) taken out the raiders for some easy victory points.
My advice would be to keep the Raiders around only as long as you need to, incase you need to make a quick extraction of units. However, there should come a point in the battle where you have the enemy entangled or have at least incapacitated their heavy firepower. Once this point comes that the game is clearly under your control, send the raiders back into your deployment (they can shift 18 inches a turn) try to get them out of range of most of the enemies guns and avoid giving them some easy kill points.
Talos- Ah he’s a weird bastard. My floating torture scorpion thing. The only issue with this chap is explaining the thing to my opponents. Counting as a skimmer means the chappy can float over to the enemy fairly quickly and it’s respectable toughness and armour saves means it’s proof against all but the heaviest of weaponry. In terms of firepower, it has an average Ballistic skill and a 6 shot gun that is sadly wasted by having to split the shots among the nearest enemy models. The strength of the Talos lies in close combat however, with it’s attacks counting as a monstrous creatures, meaning it can slice through armour with impunity. Sadly, the unit is marred by an inherent random nature. It’s attack value is determined by a roll of a D6 (adding one if it has charged) This can sometimes lump you with a single attack, which is frankly less than desirable if it leaves you facing down an angry marine with a power fist. Should you roll high however, the Talos is frighteningly effective. I would suggest using it to take down pesky space marines or elite troops of other armies. As for the weak rank and file, the high toughness means that you can merrily wade the Talos in without fear of harm.