Thursday, April 12, 2012

Latest Dark Eldar cravings

I haven't posted any games or battle reports of my Dark Eldar lately and I'm sorry.  Most of my games for DE have been quite short (delicious and sinister victory) so I don't think I needed to post.  I will, however, share with you some of my lists that I've been using.  One of the more fascinating things about playing DE lately is that I've noticed one important thing:  DE tend to be better at smaller games.  I think as the points go up, the stronger some armies get.  The best example of this would be IG, since their vehicles, armor and firepower seems to scale exponentially.  Another example would be Grey Knights, but that's because they can't fit in their Paladins combination with a full set of Psyflemen.  Most of my games as of late with DE has been 1500 and the occasional 1750.  I'm beginning to enjoy the smaller games a lot more now, and it's mainly because I find the tactical aspects a lot more challenging.  I also feel that I'm actually able to outmaneuver my opponents since they don't have a billion units on the field and I can take advantage of terrain more.

Shit, look what I've done.  Now that we're on the principle of smaller games vs. larger ones, let me share something with you guys.  I've played 40K for a very long at the 2K level.  In fact, that's pretty much the standard around here for years.  For me, I find any game of 40K tactically involved with specific armies.  Since Dark Eldar is a glass cannon in its purest, I have to use terrain, baiting, different scales of pressure and raw guile to achieve victory more so than any other army.  I am able to do this to higher levels of effectiveness at lower point levels than I am on higher ones.  The eliteness of some armies also start to sign through more at lower point games because there's a ton of models missing from the table.  Paladins weigh in a lot more at this level and the loss of a Psyfleman Dread weighs down anti-tank firepower considerably.

From my experience playing smaller games as of late, I must say that the two are completely different animals.  A lot of people say that lower point games offers a greater tactical challenge because every loss is critically felt and unit preservation is more important.  For me, I can see the point they're trying to make, but I don't think it's 100% accurate.  I always play to the fullest and I think a true test to someone's generalship is being able to lead armies to victory regardless of point range.  Sure, you have more to play with, but it also means you're also micromanaging more units period.  The stress of mental fortitude should increase and no general should view things as fodder.  Every unit should have a role on the battlefield.  This mentality probably stems from my RTS background where smaller battles and armies was actually a lot easier for me to manage, and where micro becomes even more important.  It is the larger games that taxes your macro more.  Think of your ability to take command of a army like the dough you use to make a pizza.  The larger the pizza, the thinner you have to spread the dough; this demonstrates your capacity to multi-task.

Eureka!  Maybe this is why smaller games has been more enjoyable for me lately:  Smaller games reminds me of micro wars.  In micro wars, you're given a handful of units and your sole purpose was to out-control/out-micro your opponent.  Every move, every unit, every action is important and that's what I loved more about micro wars vs. playing an actual game and progressing to late game where we threw armies into each other.  With that said, 1500 feels like a skirmish and 2000 feels like war.  Smaller games is simply using your generalship abilities on a smaller scale.. so less just less multi-tasking on the same brain piloting the army.

Anyways, I've gone on enough about that.  Let's talk about my Dark Eldar army lists:

14 kp

Archon (Agonizer, Blaster, SF, Drugs) = 135

5x Warriors (Raider NS, Blaster) = 130
10x Warriors (Raider NS/FF, Blaster, SC) = 195
9x Wyches (Raider NS/FF, Hekatrix/Agonizer/BP) = 215
10x Wyches (Raider NS/FF, Hekatrix/Agonizer/BP) = 225
10x Wyches (Raider NS/FF, Hekatrix/Agonizer/BP) = 225

Ravager (NS/FF) = 125
Ravager (NS/FF) = 125
Ravager (NS/FF) = 125

-10x Warriors in Raider, +5x Warriors in Raider
+2x 3x Trueborn in Venoms w/ Blasters

-Archon, for +Asdrubael Vect
+Add a Succubus w/ Agonizer for extra CC
-5x Warriors in Raider, +max out Elites with 3x Trueborn w/ Blasters in Venoms

As you can see, I don't take any Venoms until I start hitting games past the 1500 mark.  To most DE players, this seems very strange and it is.  No Haemoculi to spread FNP, no Blasterborns in Venoms, this guy must be nuts!  Well, I like the long range AT capabilities that the Raiders give me and I have enough CC in the lists to really put on the hurt to anything I please.  The objective is to get people out of their transports and then bring in the hurt with CC.  In order for me to achieve success with this type of list, I need to play near flawless and supreme tactical acumen.  To see what I mean, check out this link.


Frontline Gamer said...

I was brought here by Ledroit's Requiem artwork...

brilliant stuff!

the_raf said...

Clearly this is a good example of how different locales can have hugely different approaches to the game. I've never met players in person, for example, that would say 1750 or even 1500pts was a "small game", in fact 1750 is a rather large game of 40k in general. 1500 is considered standard in the places I've played in, which include Germany, England, the U.S. and Canada. 2000pts is simply massive and way above standard. The strategies and army list building at that level are completely different and 2000pts is very clearly weighted to actually advantage certain books over others (notably IG which can take squadrons of heavy vehicles in multiple force org slots). 

Which is why when you said you've been playing "smaller" games at 1500 and 1750 a part of me thought you were joking at first. There's just less and less decision making that matters at the 2000pt level compared to 1500 because each decision means that much less, as when you make the wrong choice with one unit, well hell you've got 5 more units that can do the exact same thing you should have done with the first one. The effect of terrain also shrinks horribly at 2000pts, something you have noticed as well (it's much harder to actually have any level of "out maneuvering" someone at such a massive pts level since while the terrain percentage stays the same, the number of units skyrockets).

You've also touched on one of the bigger, more fundamental game balance issues with 40k overall and that is point totals. At 1000 pts or less, certain codexes/units dominate brutally (ex. Holo-Falcons, MSU Dark Eldar) while other codexes can barely field a servicable list (ex. IG); at 1500 most armies can field a carefully constructed list that focuses on a few strengths but has at least one or two weaknesses; at 2000+ certain armies just run away with options while others are left in the dust. For example, at 2000, or 2250, or 2500pts an Imperial Guard army can still easily fill out their Heavy and other slots - they just add a few squadrons (without raising their KPs at all!) while an Eldar army maxes out at three heavy vehicles (Falcon/Spinner/Prism) rather easily at 1500 and have little space left to actually add anything strong, not counting Warwalkers (which themselves are increasingly easier to deal with at higher point totals and are too cheap anyways to close the "extra points gap").

I do agree with you that 1500 can feel more like a skirmish but the semi-Apocalypse feel of 2000pt and higher games dumbs the game down quite a bit in my opinion. This is the reason why you have been enjoying 1500 and 1750 pt games recently Hero, it's because those formats are much closer to how a truly strategic version of the game is intended to be played. Decisions matter more, army building is tighter and terrain has a greater potential for strategic effect. Just my thoughts!

Skari said...

Skari here: 
Great post, I have recently moved to a location where 1500pts seems to be the norm and it has been an interesting switch from 1850... I am having a hard time dealing with the restrictions imposed but I love the choices that you have to make at 1500. 
A list that I have been pondering and I would love any comments:

Archon- 145pts Shadowfield Agonizer, PGL
Heamy with liquifier
4 Incubi in Venom
5 Warriors in Venom Blaster
3 Wracks in Venom
8 Wyches in raider
10 Warriors blaster in Raider
2 x 3 man Heatlance Bike units
2 Ravagers lances and FF
1 Razorwing with FF (or cannon)


But a very high KP total.

you can email me at skaredcast at gemail dot com.

HERO said...

Don't worry about the KP, you play Dark Eldar, high KP is a given.  Which is why I think the KP mission rules should change next Ed. because it completely bones DE specifically.

As for the list, it looks pretty good.  It has nice coverage of all threats and it's pretty balanced.  GL with it!

HERO said...

Good post there man.  I agree that the "norm" is definitely different from region to region.  The standard that I used to play at my shop in Jersey was 1500.  When I moved to Cali, the standard here is 2000.  Personally, I'm fine with playing whatever, but I like the 1500 or 1750 games a lot better.  I think 2K just puts too much stuff on the table, but like people have said in the past, they get upset playing anything lower because they "dont get to play with all their toys."

the_raf said...

Thanks for the reply, that's too bad about 2000 being standard around you, it's really not my favourite point level at all and games just take much longer despite being less interesting. But hey, playing is playing right! If you're ever bored I have a channel at youtube under the username EldarCorsair where I post battle reports and vids, 98% of my games are 1500 and 1750. People just don't ask to play any higher usually. Cheers and take care Hero.

Kristwithak said...

Good article, although I think the points level thing is subjective and army driven.
I know most of my friends who play like large games, even up to 2500 where they can put almost every model they own on the board.
That being said it seems to be a common theme with marine or guard players.
Playing Xenos I like the opposite, 1500 is a nice points level because even though I make hard choices to get a fun list on the table I know my opponent makes those hard choices too. At 2000 some people have all their cake and eat it, while as other commentators have stated some armies just run out of viable choices.

I think its a failing of the game system to be honest that some armies like guard and marines with squadrons and combat squad-ding can really take advantage of large games, almost to a point where they aren't even on the same level as other codexes who have major FoC restrictions.
Using a max% based system for FoC choices would be more ideal in many cases.

I think the fodder mentality is again marine and IG based, those armies can just fit so much stuff in at 2000+, they have so much redundancy that they can afford to lose units. Other armies on the other hand might get 3 or 6 slots across an entire army for anti tank, and there is no scaling once you pass the 1500 point line when they are already maxed out.
So if you play xenos you'll likely never be in a fodder situation, whereas as a marine or IG player its more likely (particularly for MSU builds)

SkaredCast said...

Sadlu KP did not change for 6th eh? Hehe, but im finding DE with Eldar are fantastic in 6th.

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