Sunday, October 10, 2010

Dark Eldar: The Army

So this will be my first post in a series on the Dark Eldar. Today we're focusing on some of the things a lot of people seemed to have brushed over. Bear with me, I'm getting there and it's my first time (that's what SHE said).

Let me start by saying this book is probably one of my favorite so far but to be fair that's expected when you get the "perfect storm" of creators that went into this. Phil Kelly, Jes Goodwin, and Juan Diaz (probably some others :P) are what made this codex great from the get go. Thanks guys!

I see this book as a dream come true. Why? Because it's got all the tools I'll need to take down almost any build out there and I can fit them all inside one list. Balancing your list is going to be crucial and this is where a lot of people will drop the ball and either quit the army entirely or really buckle down and get started on that learning curve.

The book has multiple ways to influence the force org. chart, affect the roll to go first, and enhance units from turn 1. Let's talk about a few of them.

Influencing first turn/deployment: You've got 4 options off the bat.

1) Vect: 240pts but one of his abilities is the chance to seize on a 4+. This means you going first 75% of the time. Not his only ability but the one that matters for this. I'm not a huge fan of this guy but we'll get into that in another post.

2) The Baron: Weighing in at 105pts this character adds a +1 to your roll to pick your deployment zone (i.e. go first). Cheapest option out there to affect the game before it starts. He has other abilities like making Hellions troops all of which we'll hit up later.

3) The Wife: This chick doesn't help you go first but she does mess with your opponents head by allowing you to re-deploy d3 units including putting them in reserve. Again not a huge fan overall.

4) The Duke: Homey has some truly amazing abilities but the one that affects deployment is giving all Raiders and Ravagers the ability to deepstrike for free. Nowhere is safe. I like everything this guy does for you and he does it fairly cheaply at 150pts.

So any of these can immediately put you in your opponents head or start the game off in your favor. The ones I think you'll see most are Vect and the Duke. Mostly because people will underestimate the Baron due to his lack of power weapon. Used in conjuction with each other you can virtually ensure first turn with your glass cannon though it will cost you.

Now for pre-game unit buffing: 2-3 Options are available to you.

1) The Duke: He allows one unit with poison weapons to wound on 3+ instead of 4+. This is huge if you use the ability on a) Scourges with Splinter Cannons or b) Trueborn w/Carbines and Splinter Cannons. The sheer number of wounds these units will put out will astound you. Both of these units also benefit from FnP once they kill a unit or if you start out with a Haemonculi attached. Which brings us to:

2) Haemonculi: These guys start with a pain token. With the special rules allowing a character with a pain token to bestow the powers on the unit they join this is an amazing tool. Start the game attached to a unit you really want to have FnP. Even if they leave the character in the dust the way it's currently worded they can keep the power and leave the Haemon w/no pain token. Any Haemonculi also allows you to take Wracks as troops which we'll get to later but it's another huge bonus for the army. Oh, and Haemonculi are 3 to a HQ slot.

3) Urien: Has d3 extra token he can bestow on other units at the start of the game. These are limited to Wracks and Grotesques but it's still a way to buff up some units before you start. Not sure if he's worth the points as you can't take extra Haemonculi in the same spot you take him like you can normal Haemon's.

So that's the start. Ways to enhance your army before it starts and ways to start the game off in your favor. Yes they are heavily reliant on special characters but that's 5th Edition for you. Don't be shy about using them and you'll find most of them well worth it for what they bring to the table. Thanks for bearing with me!