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40k: Dark Eldar – Army List and Game Play Thoughts

4 Minute Read
Oct 12 2010

The first thing I do when looking at new codex is look for the units that I think will be the most fun to play.  I then get out a sheet of paper and start to make a ‘dream army.’  After I have everything listed on the page I add it up and it never fails that I am at least 500 to 1000 points over any commonly played army sizes.

Then I start to trim the fat and get rid of things that I just don’t think will play well on the table or may not have the army list synergy that I’m looking for.  Eventually, after probably at least an hour of scribbling and fevered calculator button mashing, I come up with a list that I think will be both competitive and fun to play.

Below is my first crack at building a Dark Eldar list.  I did use a couple of special characters but I didn’t go right for Vect like some may do.  So, without further ado here is the army list:

The List
Duke Sliscus – lets you roll twice on the Combat Drugs chart and lets you have the option of deep striking your raiders and venoms.

Baron Sathonyx – +1 on the roll to see who goes first, gives his hellion unit Stealth, gives himself +2 str on the charge. Has a shadow field and lets you count hellions as troops.

True Born
4 Man
Blaster x 3

Hellions x 20
Stun Claw

Reaver x6
Heat Lance x 2

Reaver x6
Heat Lance x2

Wythces x 3
10 man
Hydra Gauntlets x 2
Hekatrix w/ Blast Pistol and Agonizer
Raider w/ flicker field


Wyches x 1
9 man (thought is that the Duke can dip and join these guys if needed)
Hydra Gauntlets x 1
Hekatrix Power Weapon and Blaster Pistol
Raider w/ flicker field

2000 Points.

Almost every unit in the list gets to take advantage of the combat drugs.  With getting two shots at rolling whatever number you’re looking for this could be huge – including letting your entire army start with feel no pain.  The list also seems to allow for some Pain Token Shenanigans (PTS) by starting with one of your characters detached from a unit and then joining up with a squad to give them 2 pain tokens right out of the gate (this gives the 20 man hellion unit Feel No Pain and Furious Charge.  It allows for the Duke to drop his Trueborn unit and join up with the 9 man Wych unit and give them the same.  (you’d have to start the True born and the Duke outside of their transport to make this happen since a unit can’t leave a vehicle and board another in the same turn.)  Of course since the Baron does not have combat drugs for some reason you have to attach him to a Wych unit and then steal their pain token to go join the Hellions with. More PTS.

The Stun Claw in the Hellions is nice.  I think this unit with Stealth is going to have enough staying power and range to make it to any troublesome Independent Characters (ICs).  They are also a scoring unit.  Late in the game you could conceivably hunker them down on an objective with a 2+ save.  They are going to have enough punch and battlefield presence to be able to charge multiple vehicles at the same time.  This is going to be tough for IG or Razor Spam to deal with.  When backed up by the special character these guys are going to have a lot of close combat punch.  I really prefer to think of these guys as Green Goblins instead of the dorks from Highlander 2 – because wall know Highlander 2 didn’t exist.

There can be only three (sculpts)

Snatching an IC can be risky since any IC worth its salt is going to continue to beat face on your Hellions.  However, there are some ICs though that are just ripe for the picking. Taking a calculated risk to yank an IC out of a unit protecting it from shooting is still viable and it is nice to have the option.

The Reavers are the actual reason I took a second look at the Dark Eldar. I love these models.  They are such a progressive leap from previous Eldar (dark or otherwise) jetbike models.  It is nice to see that they also got good rules.

I think the Reavers with or without caltrops will cause a problem for Long Fang and Loota  units. On turn 2 (maybe even turn 1 with the impressive 36 inch move) you’ll be able to wreak a lot of havoc on them with your fly by attacks.  A small unit will not be able to take 5+ d3 or d6 str 4 and str 6 attacks without suffering some critical casualties.  The loss of the Long Fangs will greatly increase the survivability of your Raiders and foot troops.


This army has a lot of close quarter fighting potential with the ability to get the troops there to do it.  Worse case if you lose the roll to go first (with your +1) and don’t feel lucky enough to Seize then you can hold your army in reserve and deepstrike most of it.

There is still a little room to play around with the point cost in the list above.  I am not sold on the Hydra Gauntlets.  Dropping them frees up some significant points that can be spread around to other weapon options or to beef up the True Born or the Reavers a little more. One could also drop down the Hellion Squad to 18 to free up some points for unit upgrades.

So what do you guys think of the list and the options the Dark Eldar give you on the battlefield?

Paul Murphy
  • 40K: Dark Eldar First Thoughts