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Dark Eldar Review: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly Part 2

10 Minute Read
Oct 15 2014
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Today my fellow Archons we wrap up the “other” units in the Dark Eldar codex.  Get out your whips!

Hey everyone, Reecius back again to wrap up the Dark Eldar Codex review! Read part 1 here. Also, check out the Tactics Corner for more great reviews!

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So, last time we were plowing through the Good portion of the review and guess what? We’re still in the Good! While there are some definite turds in the Dark Eldar codex, most of it is actually really solid

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Razorwing Jetfighter

I love this unit! I would marry it if it had Vector Dancer (which it should, really) but instead the DE flyers get Supersonic instead to show how fast they are compared to Eldar agility I guess? Eh, whatever, Supersonic is a rule that you will almost never use (flat out further) so oh well. What you do get, though, is an amazing weapons platform for a reasonable price in the fast attack slot. The Razorwing is reasonably priced at 130pts, and at 5pts a gun can upgrade its Disintegrators to Dark Lances which most folks will do, to give it lethal AA and AT punch. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. It also comes with a twin linked Splinter Rifle which you can upgrade to a Splinter Cannon (not likely as it conflicts with the AT/AA role of the primary weapons). Lastly, it also comes stock with 4 Monoscythe missiles which are excellent. Strength 6, AP5, large blast makes these deadly to light infantry and vehicles. You can swap out to other missile types, which have strengths, but I would stick with the Monoscythe missiles for versatility.

These bad boys can come in and snipe MCs, other flyers and tanks, or lambast infantry with their missiles. Now that they are in fast attack too, they no longer compete with the excellent Ravager and now really appealing Talos and Cronos. Plus, in the Raiders from Realspace Detachment, you can take 6 of them! That is a really nice air force. In all, the Razorwing is a really solid air unit and I expect to see a lot of them in DE lists.

Scourges

Finally! Scourges may be the most amazing looking infantry units GW has put out, IMO, and now they are really, really good. Points reduction, and can take 4 special or heavy weapons in a unit of 5. Nice! These are an absolutely fantastic unit. They are also one of the few DE units to discover the joy of assault grenades, so you can invest some points into them to gear them for assault as a secondary role to pick on vehicles (Haywire Grenades) or weak units (Agoniser or Venom Blade) if you feel so inclined. Generally though, keeping them to units of 5 with 4 weapon upgrades is the way you will see them run.

While they have a wide array of options all of which are situationally useful, Heat Lances, Blasters and Haywire Blasters jump out as the best options. The reason why is that they allow the Scourges to stay mobile, and help to take out heavy tanks which DE can struggle with. Haywire Blasters especially, serve this role well and can help DE to kill Knights and Wave Serpents which are the bane of their existence. You could also run with 4 Shredders to keep them super cheap and while the range is short, that can be a brutal AI punch with all those stacked templates. Typically you won’t need this though, as the rest of the DE armyis so good at AI already.

Conversely, you can simply run them like a Devastator unit and give them 4 Lances or Splinter Cannons, but, you have other units that mount those weapons and are better at it (Ravagers). Combine this with their speed and ability to deep strike if you decide that is wise, and Scourges are an excellent unit.

Talos & Cronos

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Everything counts in large amounts! With a simple rules change, these went from mediocre to really appealing. Both units can now be taken in units of 1-3, which is fantastic.

Talos can now reliably get across the table and wade into combat, doing some damage. Their middling MC stats are offset by having more of them. With the ability to get 5 attacks on the charge with shred, they will do a lot of damage. FnP, T7, and a 3+ means they are fairly resilient. They also pack decent firepower with a twin Splinter Cannon, Stinger Pod, Twin Heat Lance or Twin Haywire Blaster. All of these are solid options, but as with Scourges, the Heat Lance and Haywire Blaster jump out as top choices as they fill a role the rest of your army doesn’t do as well. You can absolutely keep them stock with the Splinter Cannon though, for additional AI/anti MC if needs be. A unit of 3 with twin-linked weapons packs a nasty sting of 18 poison shots. Not bad at all as they advance up the field. Splinter Pods too, are not bad as a unit of 3 would toss out 6 small blasts at ST5, AP5 out to 24″. That is pretty dang solid for clearing infantry.

Beyond that, the only upgrade I would consider is the Chain Flails for shred or the Ichor Injector for the potential for instant death and Fleshbane which makes them murder vs. things like Wraithknights and Gargantuan Creatures. Fifteen ST7, Fleshbane ID on a 6, WS5 attacks on a 3+, FnP chassis is no joke. The Liquefier Gun actually takes away a melee weapon for a ST3 template…not a good trade. 

While on a straight points efficiency basis they really don’t stack up to the Ravager with whom they compete, they do provide a solid assault unit that also shoots well and can provide counter-assault to slow down enemy units that could otherwise disrupt your lines.

The Cronos is a cheap MC that is also a nice support unit. While he isn’t that impressive in terms of damage output with WS3, ST5. However, he is still pretty durable and has OK weapons. He comes stock with a ST3, AP3 flamer…meh, and can upgrade to a ST3, AP3 large blast….meh. The only real reason to take these ugly critters though is for the Spirit Probe. It gives all DE units within 6″ +1 FnP. Niiiice! So, for many lists, this will not matter as your units will be loaded up in transports and zipping around the table and at T3, who cares. You won’t be getting your FnP that often anyway. However, if you are running lots of  Grotesques or Talos, this is a great tool to improve your durability. And, the Cronos is still a resilient MC with 3 attacks, able to go in and beat up on most things in the game with impunity.

Ravager

Yeah, still a boss. The Ravager is a fantastic gunboat, pure and simple. Cheap, fast, hits hard. Yes, it got a slight points increase to run triple Lance, but, it needed to. It was underpriced before. It is still an incredible value. And now, running Disintegrators is more appealing and they are quite good. Not much to say about it beyond that. The Ravager is fantastic and many DE lists will have 3.

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the bad

 
The Bad

There aren’t many units in this category, but those that are here are really bad.

Wyches

Woooooooow…these are terrible. So, so bad. Their invul save only works in combat, so shooting vaporizes them, over watch vaporizes them, their vehicle exploding vaporizes them…a stiff fart in their general direction vaporizes them. It would be something of a balancing act if they hit hard, but they don’t. Strength 3, WS4…yeah. They die like nothing and hit like a wet noodle. Combat Drugs and PfP can help, but still, they quite simply stink. Losing Haywire grenades was the last straw as that was the one thing they still did well: kill armor. I would not take Wyches in anything but a themed list.

Wracks

Now that they can’t be taken as troops, Poison got nerfed (no more reroll to wound unless your strength is greater than the target’s toughness), Liquefiers are only Str3, no grenades, and you can count these guys out. You can make a sort of half-assed sniper unit with an Ossificator and Hexrifle I guess. They do have poison attacks, so they can hunt MCs…kind of. In general, I do not think these fellas provide a whole lot.

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The Ugly

Quite a few units are neither good nor bad, just sort of in-between.

Archon

So, the Archon is not bad at all, he’s just not that good, either. He is cheap, that is nice, and can get you a low cost WWP. He can also pack a Blaster which with his BS7 is awesome. I think an Archon with a Blaster, WWP and Haywire Grenade is a nice, cheap HQ. Or even just the Blaster and Haywire. You can kit him for assault to a degree, but with no AP2 options, T3, and S3, he really just struggles to compete. You can use him to hunt non 2+, non dedicated-assault units like Tac Marines, etc. but DE really don’t need any help in that regard. They could use a nice, potent assault character to counter things like Chapter Masters, but the Archon is not that. When he gets killed in one hit, and can’t get through a 2+ save, even with a 2++ from the Shadowfield, he quite simply can’t compete. He does though, give you a cheap HQ that can provide some utility and a potent little shooting attack.

Lelith Hesperax

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She’s definitely better than before, but still not good. While yes, she does get a nice boost in challenges (reroll to hit and wound), and can get 9 attacks, with strength 3 she needs 5’s or 6’s to wound most things which is just crippling. Even with WS9 and a 3++ in combat, all it takes is one Str6 hit and she’s dust. She just can’t hang with the really powerful assault units. So again, she’s solid for her points, but simply falls short of being a truly useful assault unit in a TAC list. Oh, and her Warlord trait is straight Lols!

Urien Rakarth

A lot of folks disagree with me on this one, and that is fine as I agree he flirts with good status. Urien is a solid HQ, provides a bubble of PfP boosting, has 4+ FnP, IWND, T5, 4++, and an Ichor Injector, I don’t see taking him over a generic HQ. He is good, and the most resilient HQ by a mile which makes him a good choice for Warlord. If you are running a lot of Grotesques and Talos, he definitely belongs in the good category, but if you are running a typical mech spam DE list, he doesn’t do much to boost your army that a cheaper HQ could add in other ways.

Drazhar

Ooooh, Drahzar. He could be amazing, but he has no grenades, and can only join Incubi. He does pack a serious punch once he gets into combat though, with St4, PfP, Rampage and Demiklaives, but, he has no invul. The 2+ save helps a ton, and boosting the WS of Incubi is slick, but with the limitations placed on him through his special rules he struggles to compete with the other HQ choices for his 190pt price tag.

Incubi

Well, it’s a theme. No grenades stinks. At least they have a 3+ and powerful AP2 Kalive attacks. With a 2pt decrease per model, that helps a ton, but, they just struggle to deliver the goods on a consistent basis. At T3, assaulting a smart player who is in cover, they will take heavy casualties before swinging on a unit that really needs to swing first. While they can be very powerful, their limitations keep them from being a consistently awesome unit.

Hellions

Yet again, no grenades on a unit that is T3, with a 5+ save is just devastating. They do have PfP and Combat Drugs to mitigate this, but when facing over watch and getting punched before punching, they simply melt doing what it is they are meant to do. They do shoot very well, though, but the entire DE army puts out great poison shooting and you really don’t need more of it. Hit and Run is nice though, and those two factors save them from going into the Bad category. Yet another unit that with just the addition of Grenades, becomes good

Voidraven Bomber

The Voidraven Bomber feels like it could be good, and it’s sexy as hell, but it’s so expensive. At 160 base, on an AV10 chassis, that’s pushing the limits of value. But with missiles it can go up to 220! Wow, that’s WAY too expensive for a unit that flimsy. But, assuming you just run it with lances and mine, it packs a nasty sting. The mine especially rocks, as a large blast, ap2, lance weapon that only scatters D6″ means it is extremely accurate and can snipe models out of a unit like a boss. Combine this with 2 strength 9 lances, and you have a powerful offensive tool. You can look at Tue scythes, which gives you two small blast strength 8, ap2 lance weapons. Not bad, but it means he can’t shoot other flyers. I’d stick with the lances which give you excellent AT. So, this is a unit that rocks apart from its exorbitant cost.

Well, there you have it! The Dark Eldar book has a few stinkers, losing the special characters, especially Vect, is super lame, but in general this is a very good book. With the Raiders from Real Space Detachment, tons of cheap, powerful units, and multiple, viable ways to play the book, I think the Dark Eldar codex has a lot to be excited about.

~Good Hunting my fellow Archons!

Reece Robbins
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