Thursday, March 29, 2018

DE: My picks for Kabal

Finally.. they are here.

I haven't been this excited about Dark Eldar since their 5th Ed. book came out so many years ago.  Story time:  Weeks before the 5th Ed. book got announced, I had a co-worker at that time that visited some of his old co-workers at GW proper (Nottingham) and I got some very strong hints that Dark Eldar was right around the corner.  I called up my friend (who I lent the old army to) and had him sell absolutely everything that I had that.  Sure enough, a few weeks later, the new revamped DE got announced and I picked everything up from scratch.  I built the entire army with the new aesthetics and absolutely everything is plastic.  That was one of the happiest times I had in the hobby:  Putting together all those brand new plastic kits and playing the army book that Phil Kelly himself wrote.

Years later, here we are.  We're in arguably one of the best editions of 40K and a brand new GW to run it.  I honestly didn't think this day would happen, and it has been happening for a while now that I think about it.  The old leadership of GW took a hike and now we have some competent, modern people who understand the importance of community and social media.  Look at all these previews?  Look at all the forums and facebook pages dedicated to Dark Eldar absolutely bouncing off the wall with excitement?  It's an indescribable thing to see and I couldn't be happier considering how long I've been playing this damn game.  I grew up with it, it's part of my life and it's one of those things I'll enjoy for the foreseeable future.

Alright, enough o the sappy shit, let's talk about what's good in the new Dark Eldar book.  As you guys know, I'm a Kabal player first and foremost and my army is absolutely loaded with lances.  That's how I like to play; through crazy amounts of overwhelming firepower at precise locations on the board.  My army moves fast, shoots a lot, and I only really embrace CQC if I know I can win it.  Let's dive right down into which Kabal I'll be playing and why:

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Before I go talking about everyone else, I'm going to be focusing on these guys because that's what my Kabal-only army is going to be.  First of all, their bonus gives every single model with the Fly keyword 3" additional movement.  Movement in this game is king:  It dictates your range of engagement, it enlarges your threat, it can threaten scoring objectives, it can get your melee components into battle faster, the list goes on and on.  There are countless applications to this alone, but the ones that should stand out the most of any Kabal player is the threat range increase.

Not just that, there's more:  In addition, enemy units do not receive the benefit of their saving throws for being in cover against models with Fly, or that are embarked upon a transport that can Fly.  This instantly creases the value of all your units when shooting at units in cover.  Cover can be a serious pain in the ass sometimes, turning those 3+ saves into 2+ which can be an absolute killer to remove.  With this, you just flat out ignore this armor bonus which means that the damage you do now has consistent results.

Lastly, you can now re-roll hit rolls of 1s for such models when attacking with Rapid Fire weapons.  This one is big because of the announcement of Splinter Racks returning to the fold, essentially treating all 6s to Hit as 2 hits instead of 1.  When you run through some quick numbers, you'll find that this nets you the same amount of damage as the bonus for the Kabal of the Poisoned Tongue with most weapons as long as they're shooting Rapid Fire.  Sure, -1 to Hit can mess this math up real quick, but the big kicker here is that you're getting movement, ignore cover, and a damage increases all from the same Kabal.  For a DE player that literally has all of their Warriors riding in transports, this is the go-to Kabal to take.

One of the biggest boons that was mentioned is that the Blasters and Blast Pistols have been increased to D6 damage instead of D3.  They will probably still stay at the affordable price of 15 points a pop, but this finally means that you can put consistent heavy damage into something for cheap.  I used Warriors with Blasters before because of their amazing price point, and I can hope that they can only get better from here.

Kabal of the Black Heart just doesn't really do it for me unless you're banking on exposing a lot of your units to Power From Pain.  At this point, I don't even know what the PFP table looks like, or if it has changed at all, but this looks to be the least attractive option.  At least I know that with Poisoned Tongue I'm getting extra damage with Poison weapons and with Kabal of the Obsidian Rose I'm getting superior weapon range, but I'm really disappointed with Black Heart.

I did want to mention that Kabal of the Obsidian Rose really caught my eye:  The 6" increase to range for Rapid Fire, Assault and Heavy Weapons is no joke.  If it wasn't for Flayed Skull, I would be all over this Kabal for sure.  The increase in range automatically increases the threat range of nearly every weapon in a Kabal army.  This also means that you can outrange some of the more stationary 36" heavy weapons with 42" Dark Lances, or engage much more comfortable with 24" range D6 damage Blasters instead of having to commit in your engagements.  This makes it so that you can kite and range-out melee units better, and force much better damage with Rapid Fire weapons because you technically increased the double-tap potential by 3".  Assuming that Warriors with a Blaster in a Venom doesn't change in terms of loadout, you're looking at 24" Blaster Range, 21" Rapid Fire range for your Splinter Cannon, or 15" Rapid Fire for your Warriors inside.  At that point, you have to take a look at what kind of enemies you're engaging, what their melee choices are, and see how to zone them out to make their play experience miserable.  After all, that's what we do.

Alright, it looks like I'm going to have to break apart this up into a multi-part review.  I definitely didn't plan for this to go this long already.  Now that we know Coven and Wych Cults do, I'll make sure to do them tomorrow!

What do you guys think about Kabals and which one is your favorite?

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