|Class is back in session!|
I'm going to try something different with this BR, and hopefully turn this into a tactica like I did in the past. For those long-time fans that remember that tournament, that was the first time I used a picture system like this one to capture my thoughts and tactics.
Alright, so what did I have here. Mission was The Relic (deployed long ways) vs. my buddy Scott at work who was piloting the CSM vs. my pure DE list. You guys should know what that looks like by now, but if you don't, here's a picture of the army!
|The Kabal of Grey Death ready to ravage!|
For those of you cringing at the fact that models are not painted, I know, it's pretty shameful. Or is it? Because all the time I could be painting, I have dedicated to strategy, tactics and building new models so I can actually apply these strategy and tactics. All of the time I have for the hobby, I put into improving myself as a player. Luckily, the places I play at around here do not require painting, and when they do, I forfeit my painting score because I only care about Best General.
The list that my friend was piloting was:
Chaos Sorc using Lore of Slaanesh
in a big unit of Noise Marines in a Rhino with Blastmaster and FNP banner
2x units of min cultists for scoring
a min unit of Noise Marines hiding in the buildings with a Blastmaster
a big unit of Havocs with 4x Autocannons
a MoNurgle Soulgrinder with Skyfire and the large template
a Lv.3 Keeper of Secrets with Telepathy, 2 Greater Gifts (which got Invis, Shrouding, Scream and Terrify)
a Heldrake waiting to eat my face from reserve
and a unit of min Raptors with meltas
|Dark Eldar - Turn 1 - After movement.|
So here's what the terrain and battlefield looks like on the end of my turn, you can see the Relic starring down both of us while we wait for the battle to unfold. Even with my re-roll on the Strategic tree, I got 6, which resulted in nothing happening for me. I can't remember his Warlord trait, but my WWP Archon and his Blasterborn sit in reserve alongside my 2x Razorwings. First turn goes to me and Night Fighting is on.
|Dark Eldar - Turn 1 - Strategy.|
I don't know how to name this slide, but I called it "strategy". The reason why I called it that is because I wanted to talk about the principle strategy behind playing Dark Eldar, which is to: Inflict as much damage as you can while receiving little damage in return. I'll start with the green star as it shows that the Ravager on top, on the side, and the Venom shooting the door (inside the house) are all pretty much hard covered from the shooting options on the blue and yellow X. At the same time, the 3 ships on the far left which is marked as the blue star, receives almost complete shooting immunity to the pink min Blastmaster squad while still having firing opportunities at the leftmost infantry, and the Keeper. This means that the Soul Grinder and the Havocs need to reach long and far at the far left, shooting into cover on far right, or shoot at the middle which is to be expected. I figured that was a good trade because I needed to range in on his Keeper for the extra shots, and I have the momentum with Night Fighting on.
|Dark Eldar - Turn 1 - Shooting.|
Scott makes the mistake in leaving his Keeper of Sercrets behind some buildings and my entire army jumps on it like a pack of wild dogs. What you don't see here is that on the far right, a Venom is shooting out of a doorway that's under the Ravager. You can see from all the lances and poison shots converging on the Keeper, that the dude did not have a good day. He drops dead on Turn 1 (far left star) and my last lancer gets a side shot that blows up his Sorc unit's Rhino.
|Dark Eldar - Turn 2 - After movement.|
His reply back was short and violent as he pops one of the forward Raiders and force 2 Ravagers to Jink. He also ends up annihilating the 3-man unit of Kabalite Warriors that you see there, which is only reduced to that because of the Raider exploding and killing 7 inside. On my turn, everything comes on to do their dirty business.
|Dark Eldar - Turn 2 - Strategy.|
The strategy here is that the placement of the Archon's unit made it so nothing in his army can reply to it except for the Oblits. The yellow X shows where the Blastmaster is, and while it Ignores Cover, he didn't really get as much damage as he wanted from it. If he re-positioned to get a shot on the Archon's Raider, he would only be shooting S5. That was a chance I was willing to take. I think the results on one of the Raiders in the front was a hull point off after the pen. If you look carefully on the left and how the Raiders and Venoms are placed, you will know that red X will not be able to do solid damage thanks to the slight occlusion of the ruins, and I'm offering nothing for his blast opportunities because the units are spread out well. Likewise, his answers to reply on the far right is mediocre at best. My green star unit and the Venom that's still hiding inside the broken building knows that his answers are limited, so they're feeling pretty safe, especially now since I have the Blasterborn unit floating around in his back lines.
|Dark Eldar - Turn 2 - Shooting.|
DE shooting was extremely bloody this turn as the Razorwings opens up with missiles and lances onto the top area of Havocs. They kill everyone but one guy who later runs off like a pansy. The Ravagers on the right move over to hit the Soul Grinder who is now out of cover, and though one is snapfiring, I still manage to put 2 hull points on the damn thing. Focus fire into the exposed squad does almost nothing as my opponent makes more armor saves than I have seen in my life playing against Space Marines, and most of my lances miss or fail to wound. The two gunboats on the left move up and erase a squad of Cultists and continue shooting at some Nurglings who scouted their way into the ruins a turn before. They literally just sat there and looked cute, and also soaked up fire from my gunboats the previous turn. Damn you Shrouding and Ruins.
My Archon came in from the back to shoot at the Obliterators who was responsible for killing a Raider, but completely wiffed on his attempt as the entire squad either missed or did no damage. Out of 6 lances, I put one wound on the unit of 3, which didn't kill because he was T5 thanks to Mark of Nurgle.
|Dark Eldar - Turn 3 - After movement.|
So his Chaos chicken comes on and doesn't really do anything. I think it glances a few things here and there but it's nothing important. His reserves didn't come in and he was kinda bummed about that as well. By now, things are looking really grim for the CSM as my ships are surrounding the remnants of his army and I'm inflicting horrible losses to him as the turns drag on. He kills my Archon's boat with the Oblits, but now I'm running around with a few leftover Blasterborn harassing his back lines.
|Dark Eldar - Turn 3 - Strategy.|
The main thing to take from this picture is that I moved full speed with my Razorwings in hopes that his Heldrake won't be able to hit them. This way, I'm still able to maximize on my damage potential on the targets in front of me. At this point, the Soul Grinder is just overwhelmed and I'm on cleanup duty. My yellow star marks where the Archon and his unit is, basically hiding for their lives until reinforcements can reach them.
|Dark Eldar - Turn 3 - Shooting.|
Shooting here is as expected. A ton of shooting goes into the unit in the middle and they just get wiped off the face of the map. Now that my Venoms are closer, I'm able to shift the majority of my firepower from poison to heavy lances, therefore killing any and everything that's T4 FNP. Since his Sorc is in the back of the unit, I use poison shots first to strip off what I can before saturating the unit with lances until there's nothing left. A single shot at the Soul Grinder ends up doing nothing thanks to Shrouded and Cover, and I choose to move max speed with my Razorwings so I can channel the remaining airpower into the Oblits. With the help of a couple of Venoms and some stray lances, I put them down like a wounded animal.
Alright, so that wasn't the most exciting game, but hopefully the pictures and drawings I made helped you understand Dark Eldar a little bit more. The army itself is just extremely fragile, but it hits hard enough to threaten a lot of things in the game. When it comes down to it, the only way Dark Eldar can win at this game is being able to inflict a lot of damage while denying damage in return. You can apply all kinds of cover mechanics, blocking LoS and utilizing the surrounding terrain, shoot through windows and open doors, and even shooting through cover when you know your opponent will receive the same degree of cover.
At the end of this game, I had a few people ask me if I still think Dark Eldar are bad. Yes, I do, because while they can play decently at casual levels, I'm unsure about their performance on the competitive plane. I guess being an Archon for 14 years also helps, since Dark Eldar is not the most noob-friendly of all armies.
Let me know how you feel about this battle report!