Wednesday, 16 January 2013

lamenting the fortunes of the dark kin.

Im trying to make this a constructive deconstruction and not a whinge, if it reads like a whinge, sorry! No-one likes a bad beats story.

So! Had a game last night against the new dark angels, got pasted pretty bad again. thus here follows some thoughts, input from the comments is more than welcome, nay encouraged! 

In fact, as a brief aside, its handy to have a view from the oppositions point of view and you chaps are my regular opponents, another thing that would be handy: what are the dark eldar units that worry you the most when you seem them plonked down across the table? Answers in the comments please!

Anyway, on to the meat.
I picked apart my list on the way home, and tried to pinpoint which units just arent pulling their weight and came to the conclusion its sadly most of them to some degree. and i cant put my finger on which units have suffered most.
My first impressions of 6th were that a few changes had hit the dark kin slightly for the worst but it shouldnt make too much difference, however in practice it appears theres so many little things that add up to make a hell of a difference. 
Off the top of my head i can think of the obvious ones: feel no pain getting worse, cover saves often being worse, wyches pretty much dying on 3's rather than 4's when their vehicle explodes, overwatch reducing the effectiveness of assault, reduced movement rates for disembarking and assaulting, fleet providing no extra movement, no charging from reserve, no scoring an objective while inside a vehicle (when the codex has zero troops with any staying power)
the list goes on and on. It feels like a death by a thousand cuts.

So im trying to completely disregard everything ive so far learnt about dark eldar as its mostly all a hangover from 5th and start again from scratch and just try out different stuff. Right to the core of everything involved in my building of lists.

First thing to figure out.
Having been blessed for choice under 5th, are all the troop options available to dark eldar now quite bad?

Under 5th i was fond of wyches and their ability to get early charges off and tie up or wipe out units, get their pain token and be really tough to shift. Now they can hardly ever pull off a first turn charge without risking getting stranded in the open and if the unit theyre charging has a flamer theyre really going to suffer some wounds from overwatch. I've tried morphing them into small generic haywire grenade delivery machines but even then, if the opponents vehicles dont advance, they dont tend to make it in those flimsy 2 hull point gunboats.

The warrior gunboat strategy seemed like a winner under sixth, 8 splinter rifles shooting out of a raider with re-rolls to hit at max range even if they moved seemed like it could chuck the pain out and could score later. but in practice they put out about as much damage as a venom and die just as much too, for more points than a venom too.

Hellions are still hellions, except now they cant even assault when they arrive from reserve.

Wracks are still the most resilient of the available troops, but ive never been convinced by them other than as the cheapest way to get venoms, but now that they have to get out to score theyre worse. And whats the point of choosing a somewhat resilient troop unit to objective grab if they havent got any guns? 
For me, they just dont seem to know what they want to be doing as a unit.

Solution A, if the troops are bad, do i just take a token amount of them?
The first list im going to try is a bit min/max, but it should have some units that drop pain and some that stay around.

archon, blaster, shadowfield.
10 warriors, blaster, splintercannon, splinter rack raider
9 warriors, blaster, splinter rack raider
all 3 of my flyers.

allied with the farseer and 10 troop wraithguard with warlock.

1500 points.

for 1850 (which i must admit, in the 1850 game we played last night, that extra 350 made for a very different feel, that eldar ally that was a 3rd of my points was now nearer a quarter. Id definitely recommend people to give that points total a try at least once)

swap the archon into a huskblade machine in a squad of  grotesques in a raider

make the 2nd warrior squad same as the first

add a wraithlord.

and that seems quite a cool list.

3 flyers is a douche move, but at least they arent vendettas, though they will still be a pain for anyone i think.
the archon and grotesques can easily survive an overwatch to make it into combat (unlike small wych squads) against anything and there wont be many units that would like to be in combat with them. and theyve got staying power
and the eldar detachment is a great area denial unit that can soak up fire and also seems to be able to stick around in combat with anything other than power fists/thunderhammers and the like.

This is definitely a list i want to try soon.

Alternatively is it just that im not saturating my troops choices enough to compensate for their increased vulnerability in 6th? 

should i just stop taking the hellions (the answer is yes. i know. that makes me slightly sad though)
and load up on various forms of gunboats?

List #2 
Succubus tooled up in a raider with 6 haywire wyches
10 man warrior gunboat
4 x 5 haywire wyches in venoms (splooge!)
As a base that comes to 902 points. 4 venoms and 2 raiders is a lot of targets for 1/2 to 2/3s of the army.
Cant decide what else to include in this one, possibly a few squads of reavers, probably a ravager or 2.

So, as said, comments welcome (even if its "those lists look dirt! aint playin!")

Also, has anyone else found themselves struggling under the new edition so far?


  1. The reason I've decided to play more games with my Guard is that I need to paint new units for my Blood Angels (Including a new Captain as a pair of Lightning claws are dump now) to try to get a fix on what I want to do with my army as it just doesn't work any more in 6th. Too expensive and due to the move to make the game far bloodier units die a lot quicker. I think you are finding this with your Dark Eldar as well.

    I think the new edition works best when you have more models. That is not advocating the increase in points cost of armies as I prefer having to write a list knowing I can't have my cake and eat it, as it forces me to think about how my list should function (not that I'm any good at this but it is a challenge). Once you expect your units to die you begin to use them for a specific function (like your Wyches) and then if they go beyond this you are in bonus territory. With this in mind I would say your list with the wyches looks best to me as it is giving you more options on the table but I hate the poison weapons on the Venoms!

    One of the shifts in the game has been the ease with which you can place objectives in the areas you want (you know your table half before they are placed and can go within 6" of the board edge). So if you are struggling to claim objectives maybe think about your placement at the start of the game and see if you can make your late game easier on your units.

    Hope that helps.

  2. Cool, some interesting points there, i suppose from my viewpoint i just hadnt noticed the 'bloodier' aspect of 6th in general, im used to losing lots of units but taking a lot with me.
    I think the fact that you'd rather see 4 venoms than 3 flyers says a lot also!
    I think i'll try both of these out (partly because i already own the first list, #2 i'll have to proxy a bit.)
    I do quite like the increased flexibility in objective placing, but it does you little good making the objectives awkward for your opponent if youve got nothing left to score it yourself after 4 turns :)

    1. Indeed it is hard to hold objectives with no troops, as you showed me when I got smashed by your DE in three turns ;-)

      I feel 40k is becoming more 'rock, paper, scissors' like than in previous editions (and intentionally so) leading many players to finding that their armies do't 'feel right' when they play them. My BA army certainly didn't during the summer.

    2. if its any consolation, i havent won a game since that weekend, and that was mostly due to the twin disintegrator razorwing ripping those bikes to shreds :D

      I do agree with you on that R/P/S point somewhat, hard counters for specific strategies are all well and good in something like magic where you play a best of 3 in an hour and the only investment is having picked up the cards.
      But when that awesome looking unit you spent a fortune on and hours painting it to look badass and every time you use it it gets blown up straight away by some trump unit...not fun.
      Oh youve got a shiny storm raven? well...ive got 2 vendettas. oops!
      Although on a tangent, i think i need to stop using vendettas as the standard reference point for flyers. Theyre so clearly more ridiculous and underpriced than every other flyer you arent gaining anything by using them as a comparison.
      and there goes my train of thought. oh well.

  3. I have been following this guys battle reports for a few months and he seems to do quite well with his 18 reavers (sounds a lot, but he started off with 27!)

    his post battle musings seem quite valid aswell.
    warriors in raiders > blaster warriors in venoms as its maximising the armies strengths, warriors in raiders gives you anti tank on the transport and anti infantry on the occupants rather than the other way round, which makes sense as the occupants are the only ones that can get pain tokens from killing infantry.
    So ive got a stage 3 to investigate after venom spam. 2 raiders full of warriors never impressed too much, but its quite possible 2 was too few.

    1. A lor of the issues I see others having with 40k seems to spring from their desire to win rather than to just play the game. I understand that no one wants to lose all the time (I'm giving it a good go though!) but I have always wanted to feel I could compete first and wory about the result second. Most of the games that I have lost with my Guard I've felt confident that had a few things gone another way it would have been a big win to me instead.

      Now with this type of easy swing in games it may lead to people feeling that they need a list which gives them almost complete statistical probability of winning any given pairing but that just can't happen with the crazy amount of random rules now in 6th ed.

  4. timely:

  5. had 2 more 1500 point games saturday afternoon while snowed in. dark eldar vs petes grey knights -16 terminators, 2 dreadknights, land raider. Got mushed.
    My blood angels emps children vs daves dark angels (15 terminators, 2 terminator characters, dreadnought, some tac marines)
    got mushed.

    i think i need some terminators. only managed to kill about 5 of em in 2 games.