Monday, October 25, 2010

Dark Eldar: The Army #3 (Fast Attack)

Well after an article on troops and on pre-game shenanigans we're going to move onto the least used portion of force org from the previous codex: Fast Attack

There are 4 units in the Fast Attack section which include Scourges, Beast Masters, Reavers, and Hellions. This is twice the number of units that were previously found in this entry and all of them can be used effectively unlike before. So let's get started:


We covered these in the troop section as well but we're going to look at them purely in their role as a fast attack option. Purely as a fast attack I actually think this is the worst unit of the group. Now that isn't to say they are a bad unit at all but just that they are the worst in what is now a moderately competitive slot. The pro's they have going for them include a high rate of fire, the possibility of st6, high mobility, hit-and-run, and a cheaper agoniser. The negatives though include high point costs, fagility, lack of grenades, and lack of expert rider making terrain a threat to them. I feel like they make an amazing troop choice but that without the Barons upgrades, ability to buy haywire grenades, or counting as scoring that they just don't cut the mustard in comparison to some of the other options.


So Scourges are the first unit that is new to the fast attack section and the basic squad changes mean you might actually see Scourges on the table. Their weapon options have been rounded out to make them more usable based on what you're lacking in your list. The new options include a Haywire Grenade Launcher which works just like the grenades but can be fired 24" and it's virtually guaranteed to slow down an enemy vehicles. The Heat Lance is also a completely new weapon and isn't priced to high. Blasters and Shredders have been added and the cost of Splinter Cannons and Dark Lances have been altered. Basically it's a whole new unit.

Can I see this unit being used? Maybe as a filler unit if you feel like your army is missing something. I like the idea of 10 of them putting out 30 poisoned shots that have the equivalent of a 30" range but you can get those shots elsewhere. Another option is to use just 5 of them with 2 Haywire Launchers to keep pressure on mechanized units. Overall their survivability went up and so did their damage output but I don't see them as a unit to build lists around.

Reaver Jetbikes:

Reavers, Reavers, Reavers. What to say about Reavers? This is my second favorite unit in the fast attack category. It has speed, firepower, expert rider, and cool special rules. The fact that you can lay a pretty decent amount of St4 hits on a unit as you pass over them is a nice, unique rule that opens up some seriously cool opportunities. The fact that you can put pressure on the enemy in one turn even from reserves make me like them even more. I would avoid CC like the plague as you will see your bikers drop like nobody's business if someone can get their hands on them. My preferred unit is a unit of 6 w/2 heat lances. Heat Lances aren't amazing but I like having the option there if I'm not turbo-boosting. I'd avoid giving them a sergeant upgrade or an agoniser since that would encourage you to attempt CC. It's a pretty solid all around unit if used correctly and definitely has a place in the new codex.

Beast Masters:

Finally to my favorite unit..(cue the organ music)..Beast Masters! This unit is an amazing unit and hands down the most useful, at least for my play style. It has 3 different beasties that individually are pretty good but when mixed in all together they get just plain nasty. First up is the Flockwings which are great wound sinks and put out an insane number of rending attacks as well. Add in a Kymera which has a decent number of St4 attacks on its own and then add in a 4++ that can protect the Flockwings from St6 attacks with wound allocation and your really on a roll. Lastly we've got Clawed Fiends which get stronger as you wound them. They're St5 and T5 w/4 Attacks and Wounds which can end up with 7 attacks when they get down to 1 wound. It's questionable whether or not the squad as a whole will get the power thru pain rule from the beast masters but if they can this unit just gets even crazier. This unit can be tailored to your standards and can cost as little as 24pts and goes up to 360pts depending on the beasts you attach to it. I like to keep them reasonable around 150-200 and they are very fast, deadly unit designed to drag down the passengers of the vehicles your other units are opening up.
So there you have the Fast Attack section. Are we going to see Dark Eldar fast attack? I think so once people get over the initial MSU craze. I think that they'll be one of the sleep units in the codex and you'll see some very, very nasty combos out them. Especially if it's FAQ'd that the beasts receive the benefits of PtP (not that I expect this to happen). Jetbike will be popular for the following two reasons; gorgeous models and they are a pretty damn nice support unit. Hellions you'll normally only see as troops honestly as they are lackluster in comparison to the other choices. Scourges can and will be used as a tool box unit and by diehards. You'd probably see more of them if they had new models but until then don't expect to see too many of these running around. Just my opinions on the new units. We'll break everything down in depth when the book is actually out.
Next up: Heavy Support!


fluger said...

Beastmasters are pretty snazzy, gotta agree. I'm still of the opinion that Claw Fiends are pretty super, but we'll have to agree to disagree. :)

Agree that Hellions are pretty much only going to show up with the Baron. In the list I made up off the top of my head for DE, I had the Baron with Hellions and then two units of 9 reavers with 3 heat lances. I think you're underestimating their combat potential, especially if they have FnP from PfP and maybe furious charge or +1 S from combat drugs. Only thing that REALLY bites about reavers is that 1/6 of the time you'll get a useless combat drug benefit (the running one).

hyv3mynd said...

Good review. My biggest problem with FA is picking which ones to use. I like reavers, scourges, and beastmasters a lot also.

I almost feel like scourges will only have uses in WWP lists, but will they pull their weight coming in mid game? At least with the built in duality, you can hammer infantry or vehicles when they arrive, even without having a transport.

Beastmasters also mesh with my playstyle best. The most imtidating factor with this unit for me honestly is the conversions. Behing savvy in the comission world, maybe you could make recommendations for beast models. The thing I like even more about them is if you saturate the field with venoms and trueborn, who's going to shoot beastmasters? I think they'll advance into assault range unmolested by shooting. The WWP calls me here also. The problem is how much will the rest of your army suffer if you reserve enough points to make WWP assaults effective. Don't bank on these guys in cityfight games.

Reavers probably have the most flexible utility and could be a really hard hitting unit. Fly over one unit and cut them/drop caltrops, shoot another unit or transport, then assault he remainder. That's damage output in 3 phases which only a few units in the game can do, but DE will do better. I know, you say avoid CC with reavers. But they get combat drugs, PtP, high init, and an agonizer right? My biggest problem here is survivability versus cost. If you play on good tables, you can stay in terrain with skilled rider and hop areas. They actually could be one of the first units in the army to score a PtP token without having to borrow one, so I guess cover + FnP isn't bad. Being able to lance with melta bonus up to 33" on t1 is pretty scary too. Bringing these through a WWP also, yeah... With 2 WWP's on the table, you're guaranteed to get these exactly where you need them without getting shot down first.

So many hard decisions...

hyv3mynd said...


I like the clawed fiends also, but I feel the unit may peak out with a mix of each. 1 Fiend, 5 Kymera, 2 flocks. You get invulns if you should take str10 hits. You get 4w at t5 to take missiles, which also happen to make the fiend stronger. You get mass wounds on the flocks for small arms fire. High init, str5 and rending can pen vehicle rear armor. Build a "beast star" with 2 fiends, 4 flocks, and 5 kymera and you have a unit that with proper placement can milti-assault and decimate multiple units a-la Fiends of Slaanesh.

Hulksmash said...

I like the "beast star" Hyv3mynd. It's only 250pts and it's a pretty solid unit. I'm just not sold on Claw Fiends in a smaller squad than that.

The main reason I say avoid combat like crazy is even w/FnP, 9 models, 4 St (Drug), and an agoniser your still only looking at killing 2 Marines. The unit lacks the quantitiy it needs to go with the quality of the attacks that it has. Against anything with more than A1 or 6 models in a unit and they will go down hard and fast....

Just realized they are only 264pts. That 9 man squad might not be such a bad idea. It's not nearly as good as the beast units in CC for that cost but it can shoot and is far more manueverable.....damn you Fluger! More stuff to think about and now I want to build a list with 2 of them.

hyv3mynd said...

Yeah 9 reavers with melta lances and some caltrops can be brutal. Getting 264/528pts denied a useful combat drug result cuz Phil thought running drugs would be fun in a tournament wcould be bad. May want to take the Duke if you're investing in 2x9 reavers for the extra drug roll. You can always use some PtP/IC shenanigans to start them with FnP also. God forbid they end up with FnP, FC, Fearless, and a good drug result like reroll to wound.

Clawed fiends need to be used to get up to 7/8 attacks each. Unfortunately, because they can't be diversified, you can only ever have 1 wounded Fiend in a single unit.

fluger said...

I do what I can to offer alternative ideas! :)

The cool thing about them is that you don't have to get into combat to do damage in combat. Simply awesome. I was also planning on using them as turbo-boosting screens for the Hellions moving up. So both have 3+ cover (I"m assuming the Baron is in the Hellions).

Frankly, I think the Beasts are a gold mine. The Beast-star is awesome idea, and I love the modelling opportunities (been mulling over how to make a claw fiend for a while. Rat Ogre body with Chaos Hound head, flock glued on for fur? Plasticard claws?).

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