Monday, 9 July 2012

The Art of Dark Eldar: a new edition - Mike Marlow

The Art of Dark Eldar: a new edition
Dark Eldar. You either love 'em, or you hate them. For me I love the manoeuvrability, the weight of fire the fragility. I’m an accountant and as such I love stats and probability and this is how I play the game and as you can imagine as a result Dark Eldar are a perfect fit.
I had a lot of success with them, winning and placing in several tournaments to the point that I was invited to play at the masters in January 2012 because of that success, an honour that I politely declined.
 Despite this Dark Eldar suffered. Poor against tanks, the army really suffered against Imperial Guard and to a massive extent Grey Knights arguably the best army in 5th edition.
However now 6th Edition has approached, I’m now going to explore what this actually means for my beloved dark denizens. I’m going to split this into 3 Blogs, HQ and Special Characters, The rest of the Army and my General feelings to how the army is changing. This Blog will cover the HQ section.
HQ Choices and Special Characters 
Independent characters in new 6th edition have changed. Look Out Sir, Precision strike and challenges have really made them better and the new wound allocation means they are harder to pick out in a fight. However to really assess the characters, you really need to have a look at each individually. Below I will go through each option and rate on the following scale
++: Much Better, +: Better, -: Same Old, x: Worse xx: Much Worse
Asdrubal Vect: x
Poor Old Vect. He’s taken quite a hit.  No longer can he ignore 2+ saves as his power weapon is AP 3. Any challenge is going to be
  refused and as a result he’s going to be hit until his shadow field explodes leaving him vulnerable. None of the problems he had before have been addressed, he’s still very expensive and if his transport is shot down he’s going to be in trouble and, as vect is in the transport, it’ll be target no.1. Probably an option to stay away from still and should only be considered in really large games.
Lady Malys: -
Was rubbish before and what do you know still is rubbish. At least she isn’t as bad as Decapitator.
Drazhar: ++
Drazhar has become a very very good choice. Alone amongst the Dark Eldar, he is extremely resilient. He’s T4 and a 2+ save and those people who can ignore that save are normally sergeants, people who he can challenge before a combat begins to either kill them or force them not to fight. He can either be strength 4 ap3 6 attacks or 4 strength 6 ap2 attacks. Drazhar can then move to where he wants in the melee meaning he can choose the first model that takes his attack and kill him at initiative step 7. The only problem is how does he get to combat? The venom/ raider he hides in will probably be the target of all enemy
 fire power turn 1 and he is still pricey. However his durability and combat ability is something that really should be considered.
Lelith Hesperax: +
Lilith ignores all armour saves which is good, but you can’t help feeling at T3 she’s still very vulnerable after her transport is blown up. She is also only S3 and doesn’t have combat drugs so realistically, She has got a little better however not enough for me to really considered as an option.
Urien Rakarth: -
I don’t think much has changed for Urien. His fnp has changed to 5+ but he gets it almost all the time as he’s T5. Too many Points for wh
 at he does so probably best to avoid.
Duke Siliscus: +
The Duke ignores 2+ armour on a 5+ meaning he’s great against terminators. Still very fragile after the 2+ save as gone but with combat drugs, could turn into quite a beast. Being able to shoot when going 12, give his poisoned weapon ability a buff (when used with splinter racks so the snap firing can be rerolled) Probably not as good as the baron due to the baron adding to that +1 to go first, however defiantly in strong contention for a start.
Decapitator: xx
Considering how bad this guy was before, it’s amazing how they managed to make him even worse. His cover save is probably going to be one less, his fnp is one less, his weapon is only ap 3 and now gives away victory points for dying. Awful.
Baron Sathoynx: -
Ah Dark Eldar's staple of 5th edition. However the unit he commanded has been ruined due to the new target priority rules which is a shame. However he now has a different option. He can join a beast unit, giving them stealth and separating off to hunt tanks when it comes to the combat phase. Still durable and still a good choice, although Drazhar and Siliscus are now giving him a run for his money.
Archon: x
You have to spend big to make a useful archon, but to a point where you might as well just use siliscus. No longer has the ability to AP2 without striking last. So pretty much useless.
Succubus: -
Same as before really a cheap option and better than the archon. A good option if your points pressured and need that little bit extra for a combat unit. Loss of anti ap2 not as critical as on archon due to larger variety of weapon choices.
Haemonculus: x
As good as they were, can still share the pain well enough and cheekily put in a shatter shard. The downside of them this edition is that you really shouldn’t have one on his own in HQ. Having this effectively throw away models as an extra VP for the enemy really isn’t a good idea.
The Conclusion 
I would rank the HQ choices as the following:-
Must Picks: Haemonculus
Good Choices: The Baron, Duke Siliscus, Drazhar
If you have the points: Succubus, Lellith Hesperex, Azdrubal Vect
Avoid: Archon, Lady Malyss, Urien Rakarth
Why did they make this Character?: Decapitator
Obviously these are my ideas and thoughts and maybe you find an archon useful or you like the doubt seizing the initiative on 4+ brings.
I hope this has filled you with ideas for your new look 6th ed dark eldar list. I’m going to be experimenting with a number of new Character combos to see how things are atm. Next time it’s the army itself that will get a grilling and until then don’t hesitate to ask any questions and good gaming to all of you!


  1. Good article but the font seems a little all over the place.

  2. thanks lad will get someone to review them more often, my grammer and presentation is often my achilles heel!

  3. Although I use the same HQ as you (Baron & Haemonculus) I have considered the Archon. Do you still think he's useless after the FAQ gave AP2 back to the husk blade ?

    I was thinking: Archon, Husk Blade, Soul Trap, Dijin blade, Blaster, Shadowfield, Combat Drugs (180-ish pts - I don't have my codex with me)

    In 6th edition he can now use the 2 special weapons together and get the +1 attack for 2 weapons (although only the rules for one), allowing him to pick up the blaster. The idea is that after he traps a soul he switches to the dijinn blade for 7 attacks on the charge with str6 ap2. It does have a 1 in 36 chance that he hits himself with he dijinn blade and fails his shadowfield to instant kill himself.


  4. The issue with a archoan is that its on foot and as such requires transport. I don't really want to rely on a unit that will inevitable be grounded if you go second. I've actually dropped the haemonculus now actually ive found with the rise of wych's with haywire grenades, the cheap wrack units just arent needed.

  5. Yeah it's a pain that Archons lost the ability to take a bike. However don't the Duke & particularly Drazhar have the same issue ? If I drop the dijinn blade and swap a blaster for haywire grenades the Archon is now 30 pts cheaper, and will probably do slightly less damage then Drazhar until he gets a soul where he will do 50% more damage (plus instant kills things).

    I still use a haemonculus because I have a big unit of wyches he gives FnP to (not really worth it on small units). Also I like wracks for their resilience, so I have 5 wracks manning a quad gun, 3 wracks coming on from reserve to hopefully capture an objective, along with a large wrack unit in raider to accompany the raider borne wych unit.

    5 wyches with haywire in a venom are brill, so I use a unit of those too :)


  6. Id still say Drazhars would be a better choice mainly as his 2+ save is permenant and with all his abilities he is a beast in combat. His ability to pick the first model to take hits is just silly. He has to either be on his own tho (or in a incubi unit)

    Just a thought if your taking a quad gun, why not stick a big unit of warriors behind it? , with the 4+ cover save there risiliant and can pour out some firepower? This is actually the focus of my next blog!