It's an interesting thing, to see a new codex or army book come out. The internets all converge on that single thing, and talk it to death, until interest wanes or a new book comes out. It's overdiscussed, lists are thrown around until most people *think* they know what's good or bad, people buy models, find out their theoryhammer sucked, realize that the new army is going to be a lot harder to learn than originally anticipated, and promptly quit the army, or at least are a lot less vocal about it (cuz who wants to admit they aren't awesome?). It's an extremely hard thing to find consistency about a single subject on the Internets. It's not something I'm immune to either- quite the opposite.
And so, I'm going to be talking about the newest flavor: Dark Eldar.
I guess I should first state that I'm not 100% on what I think is going to be a great army. In my previous article I mentioned that I thought Dark Eldar were going to have trouble with 'parking lot' armies- especially Guard. While I still think they're going to have a somewhat tough time, I think today I'm going to address a similar topic- what is a winning Dark Eldar force going to look like?
Well, what does every army need to be successful?
- Something to kill tanks dependably
- Something to kill troops dependably
- Something to claim objectives
1) Something to kill tanks dependably
Lots of armies have two options: shooting, or assault. Dark Eldar, with their lack of power fists or Krak grenades, are essentially stuck with only shooting. Can a squad of Wyches w/ +1S for drugs concievably glance a transport to death? Yes. Is that actually something you should base a gameplan on? Hell no. Is there actually any Dark Eldar models that can actually kill vehicles in close combat easily? Not really. Harlequins can sort of I guess, if you make them ass-expensive w/ rending. Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong. /shrug
So, Dark Eldar are stuck with shooting, which as it so happens, they have lots of. Ravagers really are pretty decent for their points, and will wreck a vehicle or two a turn, if left unchecked. If you take Reavers, they can screen your tanks so that you get good shots, and provides your shooters with cover (after they themselves have turbo-boosted). The next turn they have melta-lance weapons which can potentially be good.
Min-sized Kabalite warriors w/Blasters or melta/lance weapons (can they even take them? I forget, lol) riding in a Venom are another option, and their reach is pretty long- move the Venom 12", disembark in terrain, and their blasters are 18"- giving you a reasonable standoff distance from the enemy, but also a mobile bunker. Scourges might be good to deepstrike in with melta-lances as well.
2) Something to kill troops dependably
Again, most armies are left with two options: shooting, and assault. Dark Eldar have this in spades, and it's really your choice on how to kill said troops. Personally, I think the poisoned BS4 Splinter weaponry is going to get the most milage. While perhaps not as efficient at killing MEQ as other combat choices, across the board they are going to do extremely well- Monstrous creatures and Thunderwolf Cav are going to go down as fast as marines are to splinter weaponry. My favorite thing about it though: it's cheap. A squad of warriors in a raider is going to be 150 points, 160 if you get a special weapon. Dirt cheap, if you ask me. Better than 200+ for a squad of (fragile, fragile, dependsonbeingincombat) wyches.
Venoms seem like they might be spam-worthy. They only carry 5 models, but that's still enough to load up 3 Elite warriors w/ splinter cannons and get them to where they want to be. The price for 3 trueborn w/ 2 splinter cannons in a venom with another 2 splinter cannons is going to be 121 (I got this number from a friend who has the book, from what he remembered the pricing was). Sitting still, that's going to be 24 BS4 poisoned shots. That equates to 8 wounds on whatever you want to wound, with a good range. And, the venom gets a free 5+ invuln. :)
Sure, Incubi are pretty scary in combat, and can kill MEQ pretty easy, but what's 5 of them+archon w/ grenades in a Venom going to cost? It'll be something like 300 (a really really quick rough calculation gave me 330). Is that really worth 72 splinter cannon shots/turn? My 800-point thunderwolf cavalry squad takes roughly 60 normal wounds to completely die, and 363 points of elite warriors in venoms will cause 24/turn. That many wounds also means 1.25 MC or 8 normal marines dead. Just sayin'.
3) Something to claim objectives
This is another awesome thing about Dark Eldar: they're super fast, and can get onto objectives in a hurry. Going to ground with 10 warriors is going to be tough to dislodge. Put a blaster or a cannon on them, and they'll plink away at the enemy all game.
In conclusion, I think Dark Eldar are going to have some somewhat annoying ability to shoot, and a sadly lessened ability to accomplish a ton in combat. It's not that I think they suck at combat- I just think they can be more efficient at shooting. But that's just my first reaction. I'm still going to attempt a good CC Dark Eldar army :) Hopefully the book will be that flexible!
What do you think? I'm interested to hear opinions- a codex this new (and different) means that nobody has it entirely figured out yet. What's the best powercombo? What breaks the game? Let me know!