|Here I go again!|
Anyways, let's talk about the cheap HQ route. I like the combat route for my characters so I never take any Haemonculi in my lists. The HQs I like to concentrate are Archons and Succubi.
Archon (Venom Blade, Blaster, Drugs, SF, Haywire) = 125
Archon (Agonizer, Blast Pistol, Drugs, SF, Haywire) = 140
My philosophy behind the Archon is quite simple: Do things that your Succubus cannot. The Succubus cannot take a Shadow Field for that wonderful 2++ save, so that's where your Archon must shine. He also has +1Ld and makes better use of ranged weapons because of his BS7. For this reason, I see no reason not to take a Blaster or Blast Pistol (personal preference) for ranged superiority. One nets you better CC performance and the other gives you more range while still giving you a S8 AP2 Lance. It's really up to you. Unfortunately, there is a tax that you must take on the Archon and that's the drugs. In actuality, the Archon starts at 70 points because I see Combat Drugs as a must have. He has a 1/6 chance to grant a unit FNP and the rest of the bonuses are just too good to ignore. There's some talk around with people wanting to take the gunslinger Archon and I think that's just outrageous. Why would you spend 30 points on 2 short ranged Blast Pistols when you can also make him competent in CC?
Before we go any further, I want to talk about the Huskblade. I'm going to ignore the Huskblade entirely right now because I don't think it's worth the points. The first reason for this is because my meta is filled with 2+ armor. The second reason is that the only saving grace it had over the Agonizer is that it ignored armor last edition. Now, that S3 AP3 attack just doesn't look anymore no matter what you're fighting. The threat of ID is nice, but I'm finding the points better spent on other things.
By better points, I'm talking about the Agonizer and the Venom Blade. When fighting against a lot of 2+ AS targets, you might as well roll more wounds from the 5pt Venom Blade. The Agonizer is also a solid choice still because it's relatively cheap, does AP3 damage on a 4+ to wound regardless of toughness. When you look at the direction the current meta is going, T6 MCs, Nurgle Bikers, Ork Warbosses and whatnot, the Agonizer is always going to be strong. It's also a challenge monster vs. the likes of Space Marine Sergeants because you'll be going first with a weapon he can't possibly deal with. The big difference between the two whether or not you're willing to spend the points on AP3 vs. inflicting more wounds on an enemy.
As for whether or not you want to include a Haywire, you have to think who your Archon is traveling with. For me, he always travels with Wyches, hence why he has a Haywire grenade.
Succubus (Venom Blade, Haywire) = 75
Succubus (Agonizer, Blast Pistol, Haywire) = 105
Now when looking a the Succubus, you have to think cheap. She's not as protected as the Archon, but she's equally deadly because of her stats and cost. The Succubus has a built-in 4++ and Combat Drugs. She's also WS8, which can turn into WS9 if you roll a 2 on the chart. This, in combination with her 4++ can be a real nightmare for WS4 or less to fight against. Personally, I think the Succubus is the best choice for the player looking for the best bang for your buck. She's cheap enough that you won't feel bad for losing her, and her combat abilities are unheard of for her point value. At 75 points, you're looking at a WS8, I8 HQ with 6 attacks on the charge that wounds on 2+ with the Venom Blade. You always want to maximize on her combat potential in CC, so you're either in the Venom Blade boat or the Agonizer boat. Either boat is great, it's really up to your meta which one you want to take. With Haywires being so good, there's absolutely no reason not to take a Haywire grenade with her, especially because she has BS6 so she's one hell of a great shot.
Before moving onto the honorable mentions, there's one more thing that's really badass. You know what that is? It's the fact that the Plasma Grenade is now a S4 AP4 Blast weapon that can be thrown from 8" away. Combine this with the fact that your Archon and Succubus is BS7 and 6, you're in for hell of a ride.
As for honorable mentions..
Haemonculi are still good because they're primarily template based killers. Don't worry about wasting any points in CC except for the Venom Blade, instead look into the Liquidifer Gun, Hexrifle and Shattershards. With AP2 being extremely rare in our army, the Liquidifer and Shattershards usability went up dramatically.
Vect is still good despite his weapon being AP3 now. It's just a glorified Agonizer and now he can provide his entire squad with Preferred Enemy. The 4+ to Seize is still amazing, I think he's one of the better priced 200+ point characters. Sadly, Vect can no longer fight confidently against characters with 2+ AS.
Lady Malys, still good for the points. Drazhar got better with his 2+ AS and Demiklaives, but I'm still not convinced that he's worth the points. Lelith got much better because of her weapons actually ignoring armor, but I'm not convinced that she's worth 100 points more than my suggested Succubus build. That's a whole 'nother Succubus if you know what I mean. Urien Rakarth got better as well, but his price tag and playstyle keeps me away. The Decapitator guy is still trash while Baron Sathonyx is still worth taking every time you plan on running Hellions.
Duke Sliscus was always worth the points, and now he's even better! He's basically an Archon with all the goods I listed above but his weapon now ignores armor saves on a 5+. It's essentially a mix between the Venom Blade and the Agonizer, despite having a lesser combat profile than the Archon. His Contraband rules are great if you're running Reavers, Wyches and Hellions, and his Low Orbit Raid is great with improved Reserve rolls.
Last, but certainly not least, I want to talk about Warlord Traits.
Even though I find uses in all of the trees, I enjoy the benefits from Strategic Traits the most. The only weak for me is Master of Ambush. I don't really have any Outflanking units, but I can see Acute Senses working very nicely for those that do. Being able to moderate reserve rolls is a free Astropath or Officer of the Fleet and that's perfectly fine with me. Night Attacker is probably my favorite one out of the list and it's fluffy as well. Overall, I find Strategic to be a good fit for the Dark Eldar playstyle.
I'll go over Allied HQs and units another time. Happy 4th of July everyone!