Spacecurves’ Tactics Class: Night Shields
Hello everyone, and welcome to another Spacecurves’ Tactics class. This week I’m going to talk about tactics involving a specific piece of Dark Eldar wargear, Night Shields.
Night Shields, for those who are not familiar, are a Dark Eldar vehicle upgrade that makes enemy weapons count as being 6 inches further away than they really are. If a weapon is out of range after this modifier, it misses automatically.
The first thing that comes to mind when you consider this upgrade, is attempting to get beyond the maximum range of the anti-tank weapons that will frequently threaten your troop transports. Missile launchers and autocannons are everywhere these days, and both will shred Raiders easily. However, these, and most other anti-tank weapons have a range of 48 inches. Now with Night Shields on your vehicle, this effectively drops to 42 inches, but that will rarely make a difference. It will be a rare situation that you can get beyond 42 inches of all the enemy heavy weapons.
The only time I find this to be practical, is to stay out of range for the first shooting phase. If the enemy deploys first, and doesn’t place their heavy weapons on the front line, you may have an opportunity to huddle in the corner and be out of range for their first turn. If their heavy weapons are on vehicles, be sure to factor in the vehicle’s movement when calculating the “safe zone”. You let the enemy take the first turn, and let them waste their first shooting phase. Then its your turn, and you can start zooming around the battlefield doing what you do best. Even if you start in the corner, aether sails (which you should always have) can still get you close to the enemy with a single move. You really only need to get one move out of your Raiders, and Night Shields can give that to you.
There is a second situation that happens more frequently. It is your turn, and you have a bunch of Raiders full of assault troops approaching a wall of transports full of meltaguns. Now, you could move your transports as far as they can go, to get right next to the enemy transports so there is no way they can get out of charge range the next turn. However, Night Shields give you another option. You move your raiders up, and stop about 15 inches away from the front of the enemy transports.
Now consider the situation the enemy is in on their next turn. Their meltaguns are out of range, and even if their transport vehicles move up 6 inches the guys inside will still be out of range. (because with the night shields meltaguns effectively have range 6 inches) The only way to get shots off with the troops inside, is to move the vehicle up at cruising speed and then disembark right next to the Raiders, and that is precisely what you want them to do. Even if the meltaguns destroy the raider, they can’t charge your squad that disembarks (because their transport will have had to move over 6″). You should always have every squad start with a pain token, so even Wyches should only lose a couple models if their paper airplane explodes. Then the enemy guys are out in the open and you can pounce on them next turn.
I find that my Raiders are either moving flat out, or are dead, so Flicker Fields don’t make sense on them. Night Shields on the other hand, are really useful. They force the enemy to re-calculate all their mental threat ranges, and often cause them to make mistakes. Also, as detailed above, they give you some useful deployment options. So to all you Dark Eldar players out there struggling to keep your Raiders alive, I recommend buying some Night Shields and playing enough games to become proficient with them. After 5 months of playing with the new codex, Night Shields have turned out to be vital to how my army functions.
As always, I hope this class taught you something you can use in your next game. Please direct any questions or comments to me at [email protected]