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40K List Tactica: Dark Eldar FTW

9 Minute Read
Nov 21 2016


Dark Eldar – let’s go over fun and competitive lists, and how to play them to crush your foes and make your friends cry!

Hey everyone, DustyK here with a new segment called Lista Tactica going over fun and competitive lists and detailing how to play them in order to crush your foes and make your friends cry! As always, for more tactics articles, check out Tactics Corner!


Lista Tactica is here to tackle lists and tell you how the lists worked for me, and how they didn’t.  With that information you can take fun lists to your local shop and be competitive with them!

First up is the Dark Eldar.  Yes I said Dark Eldar, and no this isn’t a painting competition.  The Dark Eldar have been bad in the meta for so long that everyone makes fun of them but no one remembers how to play them or, more importantly, how to play against them.  This current meta is based so heavily around immovable objects and alpha striking firepower that everyone has forgotten about the sick and twisted skimmers.

A disclaimer: once the FAQs go live, Dark Eldar will almost be unplayable in any fashion.  The ruling on passengers in a jinking transport has really hurt the Dark Eldar.  I’ve tested this list a handful of times using the new FAQ rules and it makes this list utterly useless.

The Dark Eldar List

Without further delay here is the list, which comes out to 1847 points, using a basic CAD:




  • Drazhar, Master of Blades


  • Incubi: 3x Incubi, 1x Klaivex, Venom
  • Kabalite Trueborn: 5x Trueborn, 4x Blaster, Venom: Splinter Cannon
  • Kabalite Trueborn: 5x Trueborn, 4x Blaster, Venom: Splinter Cannon


  • Kabalite Warriors: 10x Warriors, 1x Splinter Cannon, Raider: Nightshield, Splinter Racks
  • Kabalite Warriors: 10x Warriors, 1x Splinter Cannon, Raider: Nightshield, Splinter Racks
  • Kabalite Warriors: 10x Warriors, 1x Splinter Cannon, Raider: Nightshield, Splinter Racks
  • Kabalite Warriors: 10x Warriors, 1x Splinter Cannon, Raider: Nightshield, Splinter Racks

Fast Attack

  • Scourge: 5x Scourge, 4x Blaster
  • Reavers: 6x Reaver, 2x Blaster, 2x Cluster Caltrops
  • Reavers: 6x Reaver, 2x Blaster, 2x Cluster Caltrops

Dark Eldar Horz

As you can see this is a fairly straight forward shooting Dark Eldar list.  I mix in Drazhar and company as well as some Reavers for additional fun.  This list is built to shoot anything on the board and do a decent job at killing it.  You’re going to have issues with GMCs and the most competitive death stars, but who doesn’t.  Also, if you’re playing against Tau you have to really be on your game; find ANYTHING with ignores cover and kill it first (anything with smart missile systems or markerlights are top priority).

The thing that Dark Eldar do well is mobility.  Their mobility is incredibly powerful and their guns are pretty good as well.  Not as strong as their more “noble” cousins but they get the job done.  I’ll just go down the line and explain what each unit is meant to be doing in an army like this.



CAD or Real Space Raiders

A lot of folks suggest the Real Space Raiders detachment instead of the normal CAD.  I can see their point, however with this list we are running a lot of vehicles and if you are being shot by anything above an s4 you’re normally going to be jinking (we only get av10!).  I personally have found that the Objective secured rule on all four units of Warriors to be more useful than the early cover save.

Power from Pain

Power from pain is a shared special rule that every non-vehicle model in the codex gets.  As the turn progresses so do the bonuses from Power from Pain.

  1. Nothing
  2. Feel No Pain (6+)
  3. Feel No Pain (5+)
  4. Feel No Pain (5+), Furious Charge
  5. Feel No Pain (5+), Furious Charge, Fearless
  6. Feel No Pain (5+), Furious Charge, Fearless, Rage

This rule is a bit tough against any alpha strike armies, however if you can last to the end game it really gives you a bit of power to secure those final objectives.


Drazhar and Incubi

I combine these two units because frankly they should never be apart.  Drazhar was a character I knew little about until three months ago when I bought him because he looks a bit like a hormagaunt and I thought that was cool.  Drazhar can only join Incubi and when he does he buffs their WS by 1.  This puts the normal Incubi at WS6 and the Klaivex up to a WS7, that’ll make sure you’re rolling 3s against almost any non-IC in the game with the whole unit.

All of them get Klaive melee weapons which are +1S and AP2, Drazhar can break his up into a duel wield version but loses the +1S and goes to AP3.  Due to their base strength only being 3, that +1 certainly helps.

I throw these guys in a Venom to get them to the back lines fast.  They specialize in taking out those backline units that the enemy is trying to protect.  They are fast and powerful with an open topped transport.  9/10 I’m going flat out first turn with them to set up in position for a second turn charge.


This aggressive strategy will do a couple things.  Firstly it will cause some chaos in your opponents plan, because who expects the DEldar Dakka list to be up in their face like that.  Secondly it’s going to force early firepower on this unit, freeing up your blasterborn and warriors to get into better position for second and third turn shooting.  If they ignore this boat, then all the better to slice them up with such a powerful melee force.  This unit is a win/win if you play aggressively with them.


Kabalite Trueborn (Blasterborn)

The Blasterborn here are fairly standard.  Load them up with four blasters in a Venom and take them after anything with armor or a 2+ save.  They are only 18” for range so placement is key.  Like mentioned above, the Drazhar and Company unit is a great distraction to get your Blasterborn in position to take out key vehicles or MCs.  They are especially handy against high AV since blasters are all lance weapons with s8 giving them a chance to pen on a 5 or better each time.

If you are facing off against an IK list make sure to hide these guys at first.  Any enemy who has read your list will know to come after them because they are all you have against those giant walkers (besides your Sourges).  If you can manage to position both units on opposite sides of an IK to avoid too many inv saves you can easily watch them melt under your fire.

Kabalite Warriors

The Kabalite Warrior units are your bread and butter in this list.  Getting objective secured with the CAD makes them incredibly useful in getting those much needed objectives.  However keep in mind the boats only have AV10 so make sure to shoot things off the point instead of contesting them.  The Objective secured rule is mostly to deny your opponent the ability to run and contest an objective to ensure you don’t score it on your turn (using ITC rules here).

The Raider transport is kitted out with a Nightshield to get a 3+ jink save, and splinter racks to give your warriors twin linked on all splinter weapons (all the weapons they have).

This boat can shoot out anywhere between 9-24 shots while re-rolling to hits and almost always wounding on at least 4.  With 4 of these boats that gives you a potential of 36-96 shots in one turn of shooting!  That’s some seriously high levels of dakka when you are sure you’ll be hitting and wounding 50% of the time or better.

When facing a deathstar list of any sort these warriors will be your best chance to get through them.  You just throw dice at them and hope to get some through.  Positioning is key when facing off against a deathstar list with the Dark Eldar.  Use the full 24” range shooting even if that means not getting your cannon shots and keep moving.  If they can’t catch up to you they can’t kill you and you’ll get more objectives.

Keep in mind if you move the cannon’s range lowers to 18” and 4 shots instead of the 36” and 6 shots normally.  Also once the FAQ comes in and the jink rule applies to Warriors, this unit will be very hard to keep alive and efficient with its shots.




Scourges are basically just a jump version of the Blasterborn.  Make sure to use all 12” of their movement when you can to get into position and throw those blaster shots into anything you can reach.  The Scourges are normally overlooked because they aren’t in a vehicle and that can play into your advantage with their mobility outside a vehicle.  Like all Dark Eldar, keep them moving and watch your positioning to maximize their effectiveness.



The Reavers are the Mavericks of this list.  They have Combat Drugs (don’t forget to roll these before the game!) which give them one of six buffs.  Some of the buffs are a bit useless for them, but the WS or T buff will help them quite a bit in combat.  They have two blasters to soften up whatever they are going to charge, then two sets of Cluster Caltrops.

All the normal Reavers have Bladevanes which make their Hammer of Wrath hits s4 with rending.  The ones with Cluster Caltrops get d6 hits with strength 6 and rending.  I like to put my Cluster Caltrops on the blaster models and make sure they are surrounded by the others to protect the upgrades.

These guys are built to cause havoc and make your opponent second guess their target priority.  If you hit with these guys once and get some good rolls you can wipe out entire units with just Hammer of Wrath.  This, much like the Incubi, will cause your opponent to switch focus which frees up your shooting units to get into position.

Also keep in mind these are ELDAR JETBIKES!  That means we get the extended turbo boost and the assault moves!  They also get skilled rider (unlike their cousin Eldar) which gives them a 3+ jink save and move through cover.  The skilled rider perk on a jetbike provides so many bonuses to mobility and attack angels.  You can hide in a forest behind trees then just pop out and charge someone!  My personal favorite is to stick them in buildings then surprise whatever comes relatively close.



With this list you want to use your Reavers and Incubi units to provide space for your Warriors and Blasterborn to move into the positions they need to unload their firepower.  Both the Reavers and Incubi are a huge threat to many units so make sure to use that fact to your advantage and get in the mind of your opponent.

Dark Eldar are all about finesse play, if you make a mistake you will likely lose a unit or two without much of an effort required from your opponent.  Playing Dark Eldar requires ice in your veins and great situational awareness.  However all of that is worth it to see the Battle Company player’s face after he/she loses to the Painting Competition Champions!

~What do you guys think about the Dark Eldar?  How would you play this list?  How would you beat this list?  Want me to do a Lista Tactica for your list?  Tell me in the comments below!

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