Thursday, December 1, 2011

Let's talk some Dark Eldar (Part 1?)

Hey folks, how goes the lifes?  Lives?  Maybe I should make it singular.

Hey folks, how goes the life? hm.  Sound wonky.  Maybe everything singular?

Hey folk, how goes the life?  Can you have a single 'folk'?

Wow, this is getting dumb.  Instead of worrying about grammar stuffs, let's instead worry about Dark Eldar, and how awesome they either are or are not.

It's fair to say I've played
a full buttload and half of games with the DEldar thus far, and I guess it's time to start trying to draw some conclusions about the lists I've been running.  There have been some awesomenesses and some failures that need pointing out, and I figure this can also act as a sort of codex review as well, albeit a somewhat awkward, meandering one.

Alright, well, here's the list I've been using, consistently, though with a change here or there:

2000 Points of Dark Eldar (Kabal of the Awesome Sauce)

Baron Sathonyx

20 Hellions w/ Helliarch w/ Agonizer
3x Wracks // Venom w/ 2x Splinter Cannons, Grisly Trophies
5x Warriors w/ Blaster // Venom w/ 2x Splinter Cannons, Grisly Trophies
5x Warriors w/ Blaster // Venom w/ 2x Splinter Cannons, Grisly Trophies
5x Warriors w/ Blaster // Venom w/ 2x Splinter Cannons, Grisly Trophies
5x Warriors w/ Blaster // Venom w/ 2x Splinter Cannons, Grisly Trophies

6x Reaver Jetbikes w/ 2x Heat Lances
6x Reaver Jetbikes w/ 2x Heat Lances
6x Reaver Jetbikes w/ 2x Heat Lances

Ravager w/ Flickerfield
Ravager w/ Flickerfield
Ravager w/ Flickerfield

You can see that the list has turned into a spamtastic Killpoint-fest, with as many ways to kill vehicles as possible in there.  So, let's talk about that part of the DEldar first:

Specifically, Killing Vehicles

I somehow won this game.
It's no secret that Dark Eldar struggle to kill vehicles.  Not really any one vehicle - they have enough to kill one every turn at least.  Mostly, when people have 14+ AV12 vehicles on the table, Dark Eldar get real sad.  There's simply no way to stunlock all of them in a single turn, and our AV10-11 really suffer from the S6 return fire.

I've managed to help the situation a little bit by adding the Hellions, so that their multi-assault can kill tanklines, but this isn't quite as effective as I want it to be.  Sure, they kill like 3 tanks in a turn, and stun/shake others, but in response, they get shot up because they're outside of cover.

In the end, the mech I've struggled against the most include:
  • Storm Ravens (most specifically GK Storm Ravens, with a 3+ cover save)
  • Grey Knight vehicles in general
  • Guard tanklines
Never came close to winning this one.
Guess this probably doesn't surprise most of you, though it's a little disheartening to me.  Grey Knights are everywhere, and if we can't stop their AV12 Dreads in cover from shooting every turn, how can we win?  Fortitude makes me the saddest panda of all. :(

In retrospect, no army has come close to messing with me nearly as much as IG and GK.  This is an issue every single time I play them, and pretty important, because IG and GKs are two of the most common armies out there right now.  If I can't somehow deal with their vehicles with my current setup, then my list fails epically as a take-all-comers list.

We can discuss this more later, but as it stands, there aren't a whole lot of options for Dark Eldar to deal effectively with a good GK or IG player in a straight-up brawl.  Gotta be sneaky :-p

I guess this leads into the next topic then:

Dark Eldar Vehicle Survivability:

Know what's awesome about Dark Eldar tanks?


Well... there's flickerfields?  Because a 5+ invulnerable save is something you can depend on?

I'll tell you one thing:  Flickerfields have seemed to win me games, and seemed to lose me more.  Don't get me wrong - I think they're probably worth their points.  However, they aren't the awesome some proclaim them to be.  Oftentimes I'm either playing against a volume-fire army, and me saving 1/3 of the time doesn't actually matter much, OR my opponent can't shoot a lot anyways, in which case I sort of auto-win.

This is right before it got ugly.
Otherwise, sure, you can move 12" and shoot all the weapons.  And the guys inside can shoot from inside.  I guess that's good?  Blasters have been known to help me out quite a bit.

In the end though, I know I've lost far too many games simply because my opponent rolls slightly above average, and kills like 3 venoms in a single turn, then kills all the T3 troops inside the craters, and gets an easy (easy, easy) six killpoints. 

The point?  Dark Eldar vehicles die horrible deaths, more often than not.  Depending on them to win you games is a fools errand.  Seriously, depending on the survivability of a Dark Eldar vehicle is akin to depending on a six-year-old surviving in a System of a Down mosh-pit.  Probably not gonna happen.

On the plus side, I've never lost to Wolf missile-spam. :)
Thing is, sure:  they're great against some builds.  Nids really have a tough time dealing with Dark Eldar vehicles, but that's mostly their own fault.  They're even alright against most space wolf lists, because everyone takes Long Fangs and possibly Thunderwolf Cavalry.

They're awful against a GK list with no weaknesses to DEldar shooting.  They're awful against IG Tanklines.  When your army is awful against two of the most prevalent lists out there, you need to face facts, and try to do something about it other than whine (which, believe it or not, I'll eventually get to).

Is my point made yet?

Let's rehash it just a little bit, so we're all on the same page:

Never lost to bugs with this list either.  Lulz.
When your list auto-loses to (or at least, is severely handicapped by) certain other competitive lists, it means that your list isn't as balanced as it should be.  How can you expect to win a big event without playing either Guard or gunline GK's?

The answer is simply that you can't realistically expect that.  Making a good take-all-comers list is vital to winning a big event, and if we're being honest, venom spam of my specific variety just isn't really working out.  On paper, I keep thinking I have an alright chance, but experience now says otherwise.

So, we need to look for other ways to make the list competitive, that makes us capable of winning against these other lists.

Namely, I'm really, really tired of getting full points against certain builds, and getting hammered by others.  Seriously, though it doesn't feel like a "Rock" army, experience tells me that it is indeed one.  My own skill with them helps me out of some sticky situations, but some of them are simply too sticky.  Add this 'sticky' factor in with a skilled opponent, and I have as solid a "Rock" army as the next guy.

As embarrassing as that is for me to admit, since I generally think of myself as a good player with balanced lists :(

(as humble as that sounds)  :-p

Here's my "Rock" pounding his "Scissors" apart.
Alright, I'm tired, and this seems like a properly depressing place to leave everyone. 

Next time I'll talk about more hopeful things, and some ideas I have to make Dark Eldar do better against Grey Knights/IG, since they seem to be the bugbear for most DEldar players.

Any thoughts?  I'm interested to hear what you have to say. 

And no, I'm not very interested in hearing your anecdotes about 'this one time' you beat an IG list with Dark Eldar.  Tell me about consistently beating good players with good IG lists with Dark Eldar in a competitive setting, and I'll listen.  Maybe ;)

Lol, and maybe I'll just make fun of you.

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