Monday, 23 July 2012

The art of Dark Eldar Part 2: a new edition - Mike Marlow

The art of Dark Eldar Part 2: a new edition

Last time I had a look into each of the Dark Eldar HQ choices and how the new rules have affected them. Today I’m looking at the Elites and Troops (including the archon’s court).

Elites and troops were probably the most important part of the dark Eldar army as this is where the Venom options came from. I always filled out elites with my arch nemesis; ‘Blasterborn’ but now this option may have become a lot more complex.

As for troops, Wychs,warriors and even hellions and wracks were all very common. Units such as Hellions that move to troops because of a choice I have left in there section. So without any further waffling….

The same ranking from last time has been used to assess each unit.

(++: Much Better +: Better -: Same x: Worse xx: Much Worse)


Archons Council: -

Cursed with being over pointed before and cursed with having to taking 1 of each type, this is sadly still the case and with the weakening of the Archon, I can’t see these being used. At 85pts for a basic unit, a kitted out wych unit would do a much better job for the same price.


Incubi: -

The usefulness of incubi has now decreased due to them being only ap3 however in reality not by too much. With Demiklave being probably the fastest AP 2 Weapon in the game. A normal model can take; maybe people now would be more tempted to take units of 3 Incubi with a sergeant. Overall I don’t think their roll has been that adversely affected by the new rules however they may decline in popularity due to the rise in other choices.

Grotesques: x

Not a lot to say here really, the nerf in fnp has hit them hard and unless they are a relatively small unit of 3, they’ll have to run on foot. If they aren’t accompanied by a character they may also explode, wasting the points spend on the unit. A little worse and still a unit id stay away from.

Wracks: x

I’ve put an x down here because of feel no pains not as good and wracks explode easier if a transport blows up but frankly who cares? They objective holders and get you more venoms cheaply that’s all and they remain very well pointed for it. There’s a temptation to put a hex rifle in the unit a potentially nasty surprise for any independent character or Grey knight paladin, however I’d still not bother as it makes them a target. Still a great choice but maybe not now if you want to use them as an offensive unit but why would you do that anyway when you can use Wychs or incubi?

Mandrakes: xx

I’m not going to go into too much here as I ranted about decapitator last blog. Suffice to say they are still very very bad and now with most cover being 5+, they’ve gotten even worse.

Harlequins: +

A bit of a winner in the new edition for dark Eldar at least. Harlequins can have rending for 4 points. This makes them the same points as incubi, however rending (when it rends) is AP2 meaning they can kill those annoying Terminators, a feat incubi can no longer do. Their higher leadership (even without a sergeant) and ability to field melta weaponry makes them into a more attractive choice than before. Shadow seers, now they give Shrouding and Stealth (+3 Cover) mean that although they’ll be shoot if there out of cover, they’ll be receiving a 2+ cover save (if in any area terrain) without having to go to ground. Unfortunately the unit makes the cardinal sin of costing too many points to sit in a fragile vehicle, but I think they’ve become an interesting option to consider, much more so than before.

Kabalite Trueborn: +

Not much has changed for the trueborn, they can still have blasters can still ride in a venom and shoot ineffectually at vehicles. The difference now however is that they can have haywire grenades. As a result a trueborn unit has now become a much more reliable tank hunter. If a unit of 3 (87 points) jumps from its venom shoots 3 blasters and then charges with 3 haywire grenades, the chances are even if you only glance 3 times the vehicle will die. The boost of haywire grenades however doesn’t make these guys an automatic choice now with anti-tank being a lot higher, however still a very competitive unit.

Hekatrix Bloodbrides: +

These often overlooked because they were little better than Wychs but weren’t a troop. Now for 45 points you can have a unit of three models with haywire grenades. Anyone who loves venoms to an unhealthy degree will love this and then 3 models inside it will still be pretty useful with their haywire grenades ripping through tanks. Certainly an option to think about.



Very much still the same as before but with increased tank punch. A little worse off by the agonisers AP of 3 however still a very capable tarpit unit. This unit is, and I cannot stress this enough, not an offensive unit in terms of close combat potential. Yes they ruin dreadnaughts now. Yes they blast through tanks however they will still dish out pain slowly due to strength 3. I would therefore use them in units of 5 relatively cheaply (the ones I’m going to trial out are 85 points)

Kabalite Warriors: -

These guys certainly didn’t get any worse, however with the rise of the haywire grenade, a unit of 5 with blaster, while cheap, has probably been surpassed by the cheap wych unit. Still not a bad choice though.

The Conclusion

I’d rank these options as the following:

Must Picks: Wracks (Troops)

Good Choices: Kabalite Trueborn, Wychs, Incubi

If you have the points: Kabalite Warriors, Hekatrix Bloodbrides, Harlequins

Avoid: Wracks (Elites), Archon’s Court, Grotesques

Why did they make this unit?: Mandrakes

As much as some units have gotten better, If you’d have asked me to do the same list in 5th edition it may be very similar maybe bloodbrides dropping down to Avoid and harlequins probably heading that way too.

Obviously again this is my decisions and thoughts and you may disagree with me and that’s fine. Different units play differently for each person; I just hope you have found my analysis useful!

Next time I will assess the remaining 11 choices in the book, those sitting in fast attack, heavy support and dedicated transport section of the codex. For now good bye and have fun!



  1. Considering the most recent FAQ released today I would probably reconsider the incubi up to must takes being one of the only units in the game now to strike at initiative order and AP2, as well as the archon now that e husk blade has been made AP2. In a game where the 2+ save is king these units just got incredibly potent.

  2. Totally agree there Varaken, theyve gone from a alright choice back to a very good choice... good that i got a few units painted up!