Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Dark Eldar: Army building mistakes

Hi everyone I was meant to be doing an article on more desperate allies but due to myself being concussed (Long story…) todays will be a small blog about the common errors I always see in a Dark Eldar Lists

Now I’m not going to sit here and say that everything I do is correct or else.... I’m open to new theories, new ways of using my Dark Eldar. There are plenty more ways but there are some fundamental things I have learned in my 20 or so tournaments with these guys now (Not sick of them just yet!)


A fundamental error here. Dark Eldar have access to many cool and interesting upgrades that look useful and generally are. Splinter racks? Useful. Night Shields? Useful. However you start putting all these upgrades on your fragile av 10 open topped tanks you’re paying WAY too much. The classic example I like to use is the ravager. For your run of the mill ravage you play 105 points a bright lance. If you then put a Night shield and flicker field on it that’s 135pts

Now step back from this a sec.

One of Dark Eldar’s main strengths is there destructive capability, but ask yourself… why have I taken those upgrades? Yeah they are good and are ONLY 20 points but fact is 135 for 3 dark lances…. Is that really worth it? No is the answer.

You might say well 10 points for upgrade isn’t much and actually that brings me onto my next point…

Dark Eldar are an alpha strike army. To be truly successful with Dark Elder you must play to that strength. Any attempts at durability are a waste of points for me.

Take the night shield thing from above. You take 9 vehicles and put a night shield on each that’s 90 points. For those 90 points you get another venom. That’s 12 shots your missing and for what? A 6 inch reduced range. Useful against some things, a waste of 90 points against others. Putting in more guns means the opponent has more high threat targets to deal with and you have a better alpha strike… Sweet!


Actually I don’t see this that often really it’s hard to bring in a BAD unit from Eldar. The problem arises that by adding in Eldar your creating a mix of Dark Eldar/Eldar that dilutes the power of both armies that makes it more of a jack of all trades half durable half not…. Guess what dies first?

If your main is Elder you shouldn’t be using fragile Dark Elder units such as venoms and ravagers as that really doesn’t compliments the armies style. If you have 2 venoms and 2 wave serpents the opponent will shoot the venoms first as it’s an easy kill.

On the other hand you shouldn’t use durable units in a Dark Eldar army. As above these units won’t be shot and so their durability is totally wasted.  That means your fragile dark elder units of which you have less as you have spent points on allies. Synergy is key and this should be thought of when combining forces with the good guys.

For any of you going with distrustful allies the same applies.

The main point here is your allies must work with your Dark Eldar. That means they must be able to produce high damage and/or high threat from turn 1 and must be manoeuvrable.


Warriors with a blaster 60 pts.

Don’t do this, for 60 points you can have a unit of wych’s a lethal anti-tank unit. A better option is to save 15 points and go for a 5 man warrior unit which is a lethal anti infantry. By adding in a blaster you’re getting a below par anti-tank weapon… not so great.

Archons with anything

Maybe a little controversial here. But the temptation is to put an Archon in a transport give him a shadow field husk blade and venom blade he gets pricey, then in your opponents turn he shoots down that transport.

Having a backup transport is OK but then more than likely that will be the second vehicle. One of the key areas of the gaming at the moment is target priority. You give this to the opponent; you make their task ALOT easier.

Taking a haemonculus just so you can get wracks as troops

Another controversial one… well maybe. Haemonculus used to be vital for Dark Elder to boost the hellion unit. Now they do it to a lesser extent to beast packs and big units of grotesques (if your that way inclined). But if your just taking one to get wracks as troops consider the following….

1 Haemonculus, 4 units of Wracks = 170pts
4 Warrior units no upgrades = 180 pts.

Now for the price of getting the wracks in and 10 points your losing 20 splinter rifle shots. I certainly wouldn’t swap out here unless I really wanted the 2 pain tokens on the beast pack.

Raiders with more than 5 guys in it

Now I hate raiders but know there are a few people out there that like them and I can see why. However loading these vehicles with 10 guys is just asking for trouble. The unit is more expensive, the unit will lose a lot from its death as well and, coming back to target prio, what will the enemy shoot, the big unit in a weak vehicle or a weak unit in a weak vehicle. They go for maximum gains from shooting and maximum gains is shooting that bigger unit.


A lot of my points here is basically you have to maximise what the army is about. Focus at threat from turn 1. Don’t worry about durability unless it comes for free. People don’t go into a dark elder army to say… ooh that unit is hard to kill!

Maximise guns, maximise manoeuvrability and confuse target priority. You got to affect the opponent in their own turn as well as your own!

If you disagree with any of my points I'm happy to listen. I aint Sun Tzu and maybe there are other ways of successfully playing with the dark kin. If so comment away!

Hopefully I’ll have Daemon/Dark Eldar army to present to you next time! If not I’ll think of something else! Till next time!


  1. Interesting stuff. What common mistakes do you see when people are playing against your lists?

    1. People screw up target priority and people don't finish off wounded tanks.

  2. Any tips on going against Tau gun lines and not taking beast packs?

    1. That totally depends on your parametres, are you allowed allies? if so what allies? How about points values? lots of factors here that would effect that

    2. 1850 points and No allies attached. Very new to dark eldar so im trying to learn cool ways to play them

  3. Great article!

    I have come to a same conclusions as you have on many points. Unit durability differencies with allies I have not thought so much before. I agree that a Venom between Serpents and other durable tanks has a big first boold sign on it. But a serpent in the middle of 6 venoms workshop fine for me. Most of the time I had the serpent alive lategame when I needed my troops at distant objective. My venoms and Ravagers were shot but I don't see the differencies compared to having 2 more venoms instead of the serpent.


  4. What I disagree with:

    Archon's draw a lot of fire: A problem if you run him in a fragile unit like wyches? Yes. Run him with a cost effective damage sponge unit like grots, and suddenly you have a unit that is very cost efficient in terms of survivability taking the brunt of fire for the rest of your army.

    Squads of 10 warriors are bad: Only if you keep them in your raider at all costs, run them outside the raider in some area terrain, and you get increased saturation for your other non-mechanised models (reavers, beasts), get a reasonably survivable fire base (thanks to going to ground for +2 to cover saves, and splinter cannons being great even when snapshoting). Empty raiders are low on the target priority list, meaning they tend to stick around. So when turn 4-5 comes they can still be used to block enemies from contesting objectives, and move your warriors onto objectives.

    Units in an army need to have similar levels of survivability: Not necessarily. If you run units that are more survivable alongside fragile units, they need to be bigger threats and higher on your opponents target priority list. This allows units that are more cost effective in terms of survivability "tank" incoming damage for the rest of your army. The archon with grotesques is a good example of this, as your warlord and close combat threat, he is a high priority target, which helps ensure that your resilient unit of grots take punishment for the rest of your army. Same goes for Talos they are one of the most cost effective units in our codex in terms of resilience, whilst at the same time are a unit your opponent can't ignore as they can cause terrible damage if allowed to close in on his army. In short there is a place for more resilient units, if you can manage your threat saturation properly.

    Btw I can't post comments on your blog with firefox. Only Chrome seems to work? Blogspot Google conspiracy?