Sunday, June 9, 2013
An open letter to my Dark Eldar playing friends:
As I go to many tournaments, the typical DE list I see is 3x ravager, some Trueborn in Venoms and as many other Venoms as possible. This worked very well a while ago when armies didn't always have an answer to this kind of firepower as you usually had a ton of S8 AP2 weapons and even more Poisoned shooting from venoms...However, I hardly see DE players winning tournaments or games and that breaks my heart. There are some things that need to be taken into consideration these days and Dark Eldar players will need to adapt or die. I want to discuss some ways DE armies should adapt in my view to the current meta and 6th in general. I'll primarily go over army composition, upgrades and what I call "playing your hand" or knowing when to commit your forces and where.
As I mentioned above, the typical army was all about Venom spam with as many Lance shots as possible and while it really is a solid, game-winning formula....is it enough?
Moar Raiders with bigger Troop units plz...
So rather than taking as many Venoms as you possibly can, try taking some Raiders, too. You can carry more models, have 3 HP rather than 2 and have access to not just a Darklance but also a Disintegrator and it is this latter weapon I want to focus on. The Disintegrator offers you 3 S5 Ap2 shots which can threaten light vehicles (and you are fast enough to even get side armor) in addition to medium/heavy infantry. I think that 3 S5 AP2 shots can be more effective than 12 poisoned shots in some cases. Therefore, instead of taking 6 Venoms in the troops section, why not take 3 Venoms and 3 Raiders with Disintegrators? You will broaden the way you can threaten other models while adding a slightly more durable transport to your army.
With that said, I think that a Raider or three with a larger troop unit will serve DE players well:
(1) Since you need to disembark from vehicles to claim objectives now, larger units will be helpful for claiming objectives in a more hostile area such as those in the enemy deployment zone or where the enemy can focus a lot of firepower.
(2) The Extra HP on a Raider also helps ensure the transport will get where it needs to go. Now you can survive an Extra glance/bad pen roll and skews the dice in your favor.
(3) The addition of a Disintegrator to your arsenal allows you to more effectively threaten a wider range of targets. No longer is it 12 poison shots or a single Lance shot per vehicle, you can also choose a middle of the road weapon for the right target. Specifically, 12 Poisoned shots can kind of be a waste against an opponent who simply will not fail his 2+ armor save while a Lance Shot might be overkill or wasted as you want to focus those on vehicles rather than infantry...The Disintegrator is the answer in this situation.
Anti-tank and anti-infantry:
Dark Eldar seem to have a great deal of options for both anti-tank and anti-infantry but building these things into your list and actually using them in a game can be a challenge. Yes, Venoms are great against anything with a T value and Dark Lances are good against vehicles, but sometimes that just isn't enough.
Splinter Cannons in Warrior Squads:
Yes, a Blaster or even a Dark Lance in a Warrior squad is nice, but you only get one shot and limited
Blasters/Dark Lances where you can spam them:
Therefore, please, do yourselves a favor and take Nightshields on everything that can...They are not the be-all end-all in terms of vehicle protection but they go a long way in helping your vehicles survive longer. Also, now that you can pre-measure, you have no excuse for ensuring you are in range while enemy models are not.
Playing your hand:
Therefore, this aspect of playing DE or even regular Eldar comes from experience. This concept is also focused on in Warmachine/Hordes as "Threat Range." Know the threat range of your opponent and manipulate it to force your opponent to play your game.
So putting all of this together, Dark Eldar players should have at least 1-3 larger scoring units in Raiders with Disintegrators and focus their anti-tank in Trueborn, Ravagers and maybe even Scourges while anti-infantry should be focused on from Raiders, Venoms and Warrior units with Splinter Cannons. Nightshields and proper positioning is another thing every DE player should focus on as well. Nightshields might not ALWAYS come in handy but proper positioning will. Just because an enemy spreads his army out doesn't mean you have to as well...Rather you should focus your army all in one side of the board and take stuff out one at a time from the part of the table you are on.