Friday, October 15, 2010

Dark Eldar: First turn or lose?

So I ran into a pretty interesting conversation today with an experienced gamer on how Dark Eldar will play.  I can't say I was happy to hear what he had to say.  Hypothetically, Dark Eldar will be the strongest if they take first turn and get to apply pressure early on.  What if they don't?  If they don't or if someone manages to seize the initiative from you, then you've got yourself a serious problem.  Let's quickly examine some common lists we see on the table.

Take these 3 armies for example:

  • IG Mech list with Chimeras.
  • Space Wolf RB spam lists.
  • Blood Angels 3/3 Baals and AC/LC Preds

All of these armies are capable of putting out an incredible amount of shooting in their first turn.  Mech IG can shoot out of their hulls and their basic Chimeras can put a serious amount of hurt on AV10 open-top vehicles.  Space Wolf lists can put out 15 S8 rockets per turn and a obscene number of Lascannon/Plasma shots.  Then there's Blood Angels:  Their vehicles are Fast so their AC/LC Preds can move 6" and shoot everything and their Baals can also blow their load at 6-12".  In terms of firepower, these armies are no joke since their purpose is to deliver game-changing results with their first round of shooting.

So how does this effect Dark Eldar?  Well on paper, it looks like DE will just fold over and die.  Everything on their side of the table is more durable than yours and all their firepower is arguably stronger vs. your armor.  In a way, I agree with them.  If your enemy is fielding a strong shooting list and they take first turn, the odds is heavily against you.  You must make positioning top priority and abuse Night Shields as much as you can.  Out-range the enemy guns while maintaining cover will minimize a good amount of damage.  If I take Vect however, I can play a little more ballsy and rely on my opponent's greed be his own downfall.  With 3x Ravagers and a healthy number of Raiders and Bikes, you can Seize that Initiative on a 4+ and roll him over.  Sadly, if he Seizes the Initiative on you and you've deployed in open space, there's going to be a problem if he has long range guns (and most anti-armor has pretty good range).  Maybe that's why Aethersails are 5 points lol.

The conversation goes a little further into mid-late game and this time, it's time to capture some objectives.  With most of your transports down or out of the game, how much chance will T3 5+ units have at securing objectives?  My philosophy was simple:  I kill all their chances to score and contest whatever else.  By killing his units, I get Pain Tokens that can give my troops FNP.  Sure, the 5+ armor save is going to suck, but at least I have a 4+ FNP to cover my ass.  Not the best and not the worst.

So what do you guys have to say about this?  I know damn well that Dark Eldar is going to be a glass cannon and I know a swift breeze will blow them over.  Do you think this bothers me?  Hell no.  But it sure will be a different game than 3rd and 4th Ed.


Kinsman said...

The concept of the alpha strike is something that worries me about the Eldar, as well. I want to outplay my opponent, not win simply b/c I went first. That doesn't take any skill, simply a lucky roll.

I'll still play them, but it sure would be annoying to win/lose that way.

Anonymous said...

I do not believe that the first turn will make or break DE. Its all about reserve strategy and the last turn grab/contest. In kill point missions tho... I like to go first to try and kill or "soft kill" as many IG chimeras as I can before they down my raiders.

Anonymous said...

Seems that craftworld eldar will have more reason to spam S 6 shooting, negate that pesky FnP on T 3 models while shredding AV 10 skimmers.

Unknown said...

I don't believe not going first will break you. I've been playing dark eldar for a little over a year.

1, you have vehicles that can actually move and fire and have a 1/3 of a chance to negate hits, old codex, it was flat out and hope that your night shields put you out of range.

2, FNP.. I can not tell you how many times my opponent has used FNP to his advantage.. Sure str 6 stuff will negate it, but with the massive amount of cover going around, that's double chances to save a squad that would otherwise be eating the barrel of something hot.

3. Depending on the opponent you can reserve your stuff, you do not have to put everything out there. There's been several times I've been facing an all vehicle IG army and I knew I was going second. I plopped my 2 foot warrior dark lance lawn chair squads in cover and reserved everything.

You have to be smart, unless your running vect I wouldn't expect to seize the initiative so why set up like your going to, even then you have a 50% chance to. It requires a little tactics now and I like it. no more, oh look I go first with my 5th edition codexs and pwn you.

HERO said...

Yeah.. I'm pretty scared about Craftworld Eldar. They have some serious S6 shots per turn and all of which are devastating against Dark Eldar: Vehicles, bikes, units, everything. Since most of your units are T3, they even get to negate your FNP so that kind of sucks.

Zheilt said...

I agree with Sean on this one. Yes DE are going to have it tough if they have to receive a whole turn of shooting before they get to do anything else, but that's just a part of the army's design. The codex itself basically says they are not a beginner's army and that they will be hard to play.

If you lose the roll-off, there are things you can do to mitigate your opponent's alpha. Reserving, deploying in cover, etc. These are things the DE excel at, by the way, because of how fast they are. Deploy everything out of sight behind cover or off the table turn 1 and turn 2 you can move everything into position and still be able to shoot thanks to that 12" move.

In a lot of cases, I would actually prefer to go second as DE. If someone drop pods in against IG, they at least get AV12+ and bubble wrap units. What do DE get?

Moreso than alpha strikes, that T3 is what worries me the most. FNP is awesome, no doubt, (it makes T3 5+ nearly as durable as T4 3+) but it doesn't really help against like every gun in the game.

PrimeMinisterSinister said...

I think you're going to see reserves become more popular again, just as when the 'Nid codex came out. I'm not worried. I'll lose some games and then get wise. It's called learning.

Artemi said...

Man, I just hope this WORKS. I really, really want DE to be a viable army. Not because I want to play them, because honestly I really don't feel the need, but because I want something not Imperial around. Tyranids kind of, though not totally, failed at this, and I hope that whatever lessons were to be made from that codex, GW learned well here.

I don't want them overpowered, knocking the IG out of thier throne or whatever. Just something that gives more options then 3+ Marines or 14+ Chimeras/Valks/Russes.

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