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40K Op-Ed: Fixing the Drukhari

5 Minute Read
Jan 31 2018
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The Dark Eldar are almost an invisible army in 8th. Here’s what they need to regain the respect and fear of other factions.


First of all, take a look at the Drukhari in Index Xenos 1. These days you only ever seen them as low costed minimum sized units of Kabalite Warriors to fill out TROOPS slots in Ynarri Battalions.  Oh how far they have fallen since they made their dramatic reappearance in the game with their 2010 5th Edition Codex:


With an entirely reimagined and updated line of miniatures – folks could hardly believe their eyes. After all the army had been out of action for 12 years since their original 3rd Edition codex from 1998!

In 8th Edition the army is hampered by overpriced units that die in droves to hard glances, much less average firepower. Faction hallmark units such as Wyches have no effective way to survive to make it into assault, and their vehicles are incredibly easy to destroy, while not being particularly cheap.  All in all it’s an army without a lot of tricks to protect them from an Alpha Strike and once they take a punch – they are out for the count. They struggle to deal with enemy vehicles, especially at range, and their heavy weapons are again quite pricy for how easy they are to take out.

They are pretty fast, but then again, in 8th Edition everything is relatively faster compared to 7th Edition, so their speed isn’t so exotic anymore.


The Power From Pain table is cool in theory, but when your army is crippled by turn 2 – how much does it really matter?

What the Drukhari Need

Faction Rules

I’m sure we will see 6 factions at least, probably 2 Kabals, 2 Wych Cults, and 2 Haemonculi Covens. Who knows if GW will feel generous and toss in something exotic like a Incubi Cult – that would be cool!

I’m sure these will follow along the lines we’ve seen from other armies, borrowing perhaps more from the Craftworlders. In particular the Drukhari need things to keep them alive on turns 1-2 when they are closing with the enemy. Thing like these would be most useful:

  • Minus to be hit either at range, or when moving.
  • Cover bonuses.
  • Bonuses to armor saves, or invulnerables.

Sure it would be nice to get lethality bonuses, but first let’s keep the army alive.



I assume we will see the Drukhari borrow heavily from the Craftworld list, and why not. If anything, they should be MORE at home with striking from the webway – it’s kind of THEIR thing after all!  Again the army needs to be able to cheaply keep key elements of their army off the table, ready to strike where needed, and they need it without costing them most of their command points.  While all the clumsy races have to deep strike outside the 9″ making charges risky, the Adeptus Custodes can drop 3″ from you. I could see the Drukhari getting some way of dropping a little closer (say 6″).

I could see the Army being allowed to use the equivalent of BOTH the Cloudstrike and Webway Strike strategems used by the Craftworlders.  The Dark Kin are known for their cunning raids that shatter their foes and leave them reeling as the Kabals strike in force from seemingly out of nowhere. What an army consisting of piratical raiders shouldn’t do is deploy like a Napoleonic force and sit there waiting for their enemy to shell the tar out of them.

Look, they blotted out the sun – THEN attacked!

Environmental Effects – Relics

I classify the Dark Eldar in the “seed the battlefield with fear” camp along with folks like the Night Lords, and arguably Tyranids, Necrons, and Raven Guard (maybe). This an army that should have plenty of ways to heavily modify morale tests, mess with deployment, and even do stuff like force Night Fighting or other environmental effects that benefit them. Go crazy GW design studio!

Fire Sale on Prices

Last but not least – most armies have seen fairly decent point decreases as they moved from Index to Codex, and the Drukhari REALLY need the help.

The Big Picture

Overall a lot of armies in the 40K universe are fairly similar. They have fleets, lots of dudes, huge galaxy spanning supply trains behind them, show up to a place to fight, set up their camps, go to bed, wake up, eat a solid breakfast, do some PT, and THEN go after their foes.  The game’s general rules support that big picture. But the Drukhari aren’t that at all. This is an army that should feel like fighting phantoms. You can’t every get your hands on them because you can’t find them. They strike their targets 99% of the time, and if they ever get caught out in the open are doomed. It’s an army that thrives on generating fear and shock an uses them as well as any other weapon they possess.  The army’s special rules, strategems and relics should reflect that.


~ What do you think GW needs to do to get the Drukhari back to top tables?

Author: Larry Vela
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