Greetings prey-things, from the Kabal of the Twilight Wraith.
We come before you today to enlighten the lesser races of the glory that is the Dark Eldar Race, the True Kin of the Eldar, and Rightful Owners of the known universe.
In short, a collection of my rants and ramblings about the various units in the Dark Eldar Codex and their place in lists and on the battlefield. (more...)
Not being one to completely turn a blind eye to every trend known to 40k-ers everywhere, I figured in the land of 5th edition, Troops would be a good place to start. This also allows everyone to dip their toes into the pool (just watch out for the pointy bitz hiding down at the bottom) to get warmed up to the idea of non-aspect Eldar, as there's essentially one troops choice in the codex.
And so I present to you, the Dark Eldar Warrior.
In truth they come in two varieties (if you can call it that). Warriors in a Raider (Raider Squads) and those on foot.
There is an actual difference in composition, though. Squads on foot have a higher minimum and maximum body count (10-20), and can have twice the special and heavy weapons. Nothing to scoff at when said heavy weapons include (and are, in fact, limited to) Splinter Cannons (essentially two Storm Bolters glued together in terms of firepower) and Dark Lances (same as those wielded by our Craftworld kin, but much, much cheaper. And BS4. Cry, Guardians, cry).
Raider Squads, at the cost of a smaller max size (running 5-10) and lesser weapons (one of each, special and heavy) gain the ever popular and iconic Raider transport. Cardboard Coffins as they may be, sporting the weakest possible armor in the game (not counting the AV9 cult limousines), our open-topped missles provide a relatively cheap one-way ticket to wherever we feel like going (and non-slip strips across the runner boards to help us stay on mid-transit).
Taking a look at the statline will be the first indicator of why I'm perfectly happy choosing between "dudes on foot" and "dudes on a boat".
WS and BS to match a Space Marine, and an even higher I value make for a solid and versatile platform. Though many view S/T 3 as subpar, I prefer to think of Marines as elite units rather than "the norm". Though a Sybarite offers no Ld bonus, stock Ld8 is decent enough. The standard flak-armor save rounds them out to form a nifty little death-dealing package.
At this point you may find yourself questioning my love for the Warrior - afterall, it's still T3 wiht a 5+ save, isn't it just going to die as soon as a bolter looks at it? Well, yes. Yes it will. But you get all of that (namely BS4 and some of the highest base-troop Init in the game) for a mere 8 points. Looking at Guardians, you get higher WS and BS, I, and Ld. Sure they can grab a Warlock to tag along, but I can tack on a Blaster (short ranged assault version of the Dark Lance) for less than the cost of another Warrior.
Cheap (and good) weapon options, as well as the ability to tool a Sybarite for combat easily and effectively make Warriors an incredibly efficient and versatile troop (essentially everything a Troops choice needs to be). Add in a Raider and you've added speed and maneuverability into the mix - last turn objective grabs are a tried and true tactic, and while the variable game length of 5th makes things a tad trickier in that respect it's still generally the way to go with Dark Eldar.
I'll go ahead and finish this off with a few common builds that, if you have the misfortune to see Dark Eldar across from you, you may see hit the board.
The Raider Squad
10 Warriors in a Raider, Blaster and Splinter Cannon, Sybarite with Agoniser and Pistol
- There will be some variation... maybe only 8-strong, maybe a Dissintegrator instead of a Dark Lance on the Raider, but essentially the same. A (at least near) full squad of Warriors in a transport with big guns and a Sybarite geared for combat.
The Gun Boat
5 Warriors in a Raider, Dark Lance
- Often the idea with these is to start the warriors in cover, rather than in the Raider. A cheap way to get two Lances on the board, one of which being extremely mobile.
The Sniper Squad
10 Warriors on foot, two Dark Lances.
- 2 Lance shots for 100 points. Not something I do, as I steer clear of min-maxing as a rule, but I'm not going to say it's not effective (well, until they get shot at, anyway).