Wednesday, June 7, 2017

8th Ed. 40K and Dark Eldar

Hell.. it's about time!

Man.. it's been a long time since I thought about Dark Eldar and 40K.  To give you guys an idea how long it took, last night I went through my entire garage frantically looking for them because I forgot where I put them.  After moving through a hundred or so boxes of random stuff, there they were, neatly tucked into various DE boxes remembering the distant glory days of 5th Ed.  Don't get me wrong, I've played the other editions of 40K, but after allies-mixing, Telepathy-driven, re-rollable invul save stacking deathstars started infesting the game, I knew it was time to take a break.  Let's not forget that Dark Eldar was basically the first book out in the new edition and they got the Tomb Kings treatment in terms of power-level and flavorless design.  Good thing that's all behind us now.

Can you believe it's been a year and a half since I made a post about Dark Eldar?  Seriously, take a look at this post back in Jan '16.  Since then, I've pretty much only played FFG games because I couldn't take GW seriously anymore.  First it was the Age of Sigmar stuff (when it was first released), and then it was all the 40K shenanigans that basically made me contemplate selling everything that I had GW-related.  The only thing I have now is my Dark Eldar, I just couldn't part with them just yet knowing that 8th Ed. 40K was around the corner.  Now that I've seen GW turn a new leaf time and time again, I knew it was time to get back into the game and see what the new edition can give me.  It's been a long time since I played 40K or anything that GW's made, but that hasn't made me soft in terms of army construction or list design.  No, no.. I think I've actually gotten a little better now I see things with fresh eyes in a new edition where every faction gets a complete reboot.  When was the last time GW rebooted every single army at the same time and balanced it around competitive play with the feedback from the game's most dedicated tournament players?  Never.  That alone has gets me pretty freaking excited.

Now that the preface crap is over and done with, let's take a look at what gets me excited about Dark Eldar in the new edition.  I'll just list out some of the stuff below, but keep in mind that if you follow me here that I have, and will always be a Kabal-only player.  I love Dark Eldar's ability to bring superior firepower through movement and that's exactly how I'm going to design my army lists.  Let me start with my "unit bucket"; which is essentially a list of units that I think I'll enjoy playing with and the pieces of what will eventually become my army.

Current bucket of stuff that caught my eye:
  • Archon, Agonizer, Blaster = 73
  • Succubus, Agonizer = 76
  • 5x Warriors, Blaster = 50
  • 10x Warriors, Blaster, Dark Lance = 105
  • 9x Wyches, Agonizer = 85
  • Raider, Dark Lance, Shock Prow = 116
  • Ravager, 3x Dark Lance = 155
  • Razorwing, 2x Dark Lance = 155
  • Venom, 2x SC = 95
  • 5x Trueborn, 4x Blaster = 115
  • Solitaire = 117
  • Crimson Hunter, 2x Bright Lance = 183
  • Hemlock Wraithfighter = 211

Keep in mind that in the last couple of days, I've been studying all of the units for all the factions.  There are some things in there that make me cringe, or standout as WOW!, but generally there's nothing where I'm like, holy hell this is completely and utterly broken.  There's a few strong synergies out there which is cool, but what's got me the most excited is that there's none of the shennigans that I saw in the previous editions.  It's almost like if you got competitive players together and said, GO BREAK OUR GAME, that they actually can.  Good, GW is learning, and that's a fantastic thing.

Rambling on:  I really like some of the costs here for the units that you get.  Archon with the Agonizer and the Blaster for example is a very nice buy for 73 points.  You get the same # of attacks now always, Agonizer is affordable and offers a bit of a punch, nothing crazy but wounding on 4+ on everything is still rock solid.  2+ to hit with a Blaster is also very nice, and he's probably my go-to HQ for shooty-based lists that takes advantage of a lot of blasters.  Succubus is also quite affordable, giving her a Agonizer to dual-wield with the Archite Glaive gives her flexibility in how she can fight targets.  Wyches also received a pretty decent buff, how hitting everything on 3+ with 8" move, and you can select the kind of drug you give to them to increase their killing potential (like +1 attack or strength).  Not to mention now they can keep things in combat if you roll decently.  With the price of the Agonizer being really cheap, I don't reason to not have one in every unit of Wyches.  Again, very happy with them.  When it comes to Trueborn, or Blasterborn the way I take them, they're still as powerful if not more powerful than they were before.  Whereas before a single Blaster had a chance to kill a Land Raider, this is no longer going to be the case.  However, Splinter weapons now have a chance to wound every vehicle on a 6+ and thus, increasing your overall lethality vs. vehicles in other departments.  As you can see with the setup that I run my Trueborn, I still believe that a healthy (or rather exaggerated) amount of Dark Lances is what's really worth paying for.  Just being to wound most things in the game on 2s, the most durable vehicles on 3s, and the mighty Wraithknight on 4s with -4 and D3 wounds per Blaster is worth every penny.

Taking names.. or was it souls?

When it comes to vehicles, you guys should know that every Kabal player runs his Dark Eldar vehicle heavy.  The one caveat here is that in the new edition vehicles and transports specifically changed drastically.  They are both more expensive and a tad bit more durable at the same time.  Most importantly, they are now more accurate and lethal on the move, and they can move even further than before.  Having Night Shields for example on all my Raiders and Ravagers is beautiful.  That innate 5+ Invulnerable is basically the reason I took Flickerfields on everything back in the day.  Being able to stop damage is incredibly important, especially now that you just can't claim cover saves on everything.  On the Venom, you have both the -1 to hit Flickers and Night Shields to reduce the amount of damage you have coming in.  Having T5 with 6W and a mediocre 4+ save is really kinda meh, but having the -1 hit modifier and 5+ invul will really help keep this thing alive.  On a minus point though, not having cover in the majority of cases will hurt, especially against heavier weaponry.

A few things to note here on the vehicles in general:  Due to their price, I'm unsure on a couple of things, especially the fliers.  I'm not entirely sure if they're worth it this edition, even if they're usually at -1 to hit and have an invul save in the case of the Razorwing and Voidraven.  Let me know what you guys think about this, I'd really like to hear your reasoning.  I do like that being in-faction with Eldar and Harlequins now, I can take the Crimson Hunter if I really want a flyer, but again, the cost is a little prohibitive.  I do find the Crimson Hunter to be a little better value than the Razorwing though, since having 2x Bright Lances and a Pulse Laser is no joke, especially if you move the unit right with Wings of Khaine.

Alright, now the moment you've all been waiting for.  What the hell have I been tinkering with in the last couple of days?  Well.. as a preface, let me just say that overall, I'm pretty satisfied with the new edition and how it fits into my playstyle.  DE can now move and shoot with a lot of heavy weapons very well, and the innate 5+ invul on all their vehicles gives me a lot of flexibility in how I engage the enemy.  I can sit back and enjoy some range advantage with my Dark Lances, or I can really move my Raiders and Ravagers into good firing positions, advance even, and let loose with heavy weapons with a slight accuracy debuff.  What really gets me excited is that you can now move further, fire at full BS with heavy weapons with your vehicles, while the guys inside can get really excited now that they're in rapid-fire or assault range as well.  Overall, the threat range of all your heaviest weapons have increased by a ton, and your overall shooting damage remains one of the highest in the game.  These combine together to give you incredible reach in both shooting and melee, which makes you probably the premiere alpha-strike faction in the game (as the Eldar Gods intended).

With that said, here's the list:

Battalion Detachment - 6 CP

Archon, Agonizer, Blaster, PGL = 76
Archon, Agonizer, Blaster, PGL = 76

8x Warriors, Blaster, Blast Pistol = 81
Raider, Dark Lance = 115

10x Warriors, Blaster, Dark Lance = 105
Raider, Dark Lance = 115

10x Warriors, Blaster, Dark Lance = 105
Raider, Dark Lance = 115

5x Trueborn, 4x Blaster = 115
Venom, 2x Splinter Cannon = 95

5x Trueborn, 4x Blaster = 115
Venom, 2x Splinter Cannon = 95

5x Trueborn, 4x Blaster = 115
Venom, 2x Splinter Cannon = 95

Solitaire = 117

Ravager, 3x Dark Lance = 155
Ravager, 3x Dark Lance = 155
Ravager, 3x Dark Lance = 155

What you guys see right here is my classic Dark Eldar.  Go ahead and look at some of my posts dating back towards the early days of 5th and you'll see I'm pretty much playing the same way.  The only difference here is that the damage model has changed, vehicles went up in price for more survivalbility and application, and open-top vehicles are no joke in letting your guys rip while moving all across the battlefield.  Damage in general has spiked this edition so expect things to die a lot quicker than before.  This is both a blessing and a curse because while you're going to be doing a crap ton of damage to the enemy, he's going to be able to dish back the same amount to you.  Thankfully, you're a little more durable now than you ever were in the previous editions.

Raiders and Ravagers, these are a few of my favorite things.

First, let's look at the HQs choices.  I took two Archons that are exactly the same, but they're your basic Blastercons with PGLs and Agonizers.  Like I said previously, I don't really see a reason why you shouldn't take Agonizers on these guys because quite frankly, I don't like how the Huskblade has been represented.  The threat of ID isn't there anymore so why bother?  For 4 extra ppm for a better weapon IMO, why the hell not?  2+ to hit with Blasters is great and Shadowfields will take shots all day because they're a minimal investment for the points spent on them.  PGL because I have the points and it can be entertaining later on once Power from Pain kicks in full gear, and both of these guys will be riding shotgun in the Raider with 8 Warriors.  All in all, I've loaded up with Raider gunboats and gave them Dark Lances so they can play the ranged game while being portable lanceboats moving and shooting all the way.  I mean, being able to shoot open-top while moving with a heavy weapon only imposes a -1 hit on the dude inside.  Oh no!  Not 4+ to hit!  It's honestly a non-factor considering that 4+ is still a very solid way to deal out S8 -4 D6 damage shots, even on the move.  Rest of the gunboats need no introduction, being able to deal out both lance damage and Poisoned shots that are now capable of pinging vehicles to death.

Venoms are there carrying all the Blasterborn, complete with 4x Blasters per unit for maximum firepower.  The 2x Splinter Cannons is not as silly as before, but keep in mind that their fire range is still 36" and you can claim the same 12 Poisoned shots as before at 18".. which is conveniently your kill zone with Blasters as well.  Speaking of kill range, let's look at something really quick when it comes to overall firepower before we dig into the rest of the list.

Let's talk firepower really quick:
  • If you're not moving, you're going to get 9 Dark Lances from the Ravagers, 3 from each Raider, 2 from the guys inside two of them.  That's 14 Dark Lances at 3+ to hit at pretty freaking far range.  If you move let's say 14" with everyone for a combined threat range of 50", you will still have 12 Dark Lances at full BS and 2 firing at 4+ to hit.
  • The real fun begins once you realize that your Blasters join in on the action with the Venoms and Raiders pouncing on the enemy.  Venoms have 16" move, 18" from the Blasters for 34" threat range, Raiders with slightly lower at 32", all of which drastically increases the killing potential of your entire army many times over.  Sure, Blasters are not as powerful as Dark Lances, but it's the S8 AP-4 with D3 wounds that really matter.  It's still enough to eat MEQ alive, overkill on GEQ, and the sheer # of them hitting on 3s will melt vehicles.  If your entire army is within 18" of the enemy, you will throw out 16 Blasters, 2 hitting on 2s and the rest hitting on 3s, in addition to 14 Dark Lances.  That's 30 S8 AP-4 shots people, and that's not laughing matter (to the enemy that is).
  • Poison shooting is not as outrageous as last edition to missing Splinter Racks, but having 28" threat rapid-fire range compared to what, 18" as before is absolutely tremendous.  That means your alpha strike potential is much larger, and your ability to maintain a safe distance and whittle down the enemy with heavy weaponry, before jumping into his face to riddle him with Poison fire is greatly increased.

Lastly, I have the most flexible part of my list and the ultimate sign that I'm probably a casual player now:  I have a random Solitaire in my list because I have absolutely no CC components and I think this is one of the coolest models ever made.  For 117 points, he's actually not that bad.  The idea is for him to get into CC to support the dual-Archon team and to literally start punching through people, mainly MEQ or lower.  He pops his Blitz, comes flipping and dancing across the battlefield with 30" threat and piles in on whatever combat he feels like doing.  Otherwise, he just stays out of sight and hides behind some cover or something.

If I want, I can also cut a few things here and there (mainly the extra SC on the Venoms) and take a Crimson Hunter instead.  I get a little more anti-armor potential and my list turns purely shooty, and plus I get to play with my favorite air unit the game.  Again, a random casual idea but very fulfilling for me.  Hell, even the Hemlock Wraithfight is starting to look pretty freaking incredible (it actually is).  I might even convert this entire army into Ynnari so I can take advantage of Strength from Death on all of my shooty infantry units after they've been shot out of their vehicles.

Alright, this is what I have for now.  I'll probably end up spamming this blog for a while and let you guys know how the list does, how it evolves and what other kinds of things I can think of for DE.

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