Monday, June 10, 2013

Dark Eldar units in a Footdar concept

Hellow and welcome back to the webway!

With the idea of Footdar being quite viable due to the new Eldar codex. I was wondering if the army as a whole could benefit from the inclusion of Dark Eldar units. The reason why I suggested this is because I noticed that as a whole the Eldar codex lacks an efficient close combat unit. In addition, it appears that Footdar lists requires that alpha strike as well in order to prevent themselves from being wiped out.

With this in mind, I decided to look around for an unit that serves this purpose for the Eldar army, and I have found a few interesting ways in which units could be buffed. Now do note that I did not include the ideas of Venoms in the army, as I find that Venoms are best taken in units of 4 or more, and for blasters I find that you do not need blasters in a Footdar army. Lances maybe, but if you have only limited lance shots, then why bother?

Now the main unit that you will be taking in this Dark Eldar detachment is Baron Sathonyx. He is cheap, he is effective and he provides something that Footdar really needs; creating a higher probability of having the choice to deploy. By having that +1, you can choose to go first or to go second depending on the list, and this also means that you can choose a better setup for your entire footdar. The phantasm grenade launcher would help in buffing certain units, and due to his speed, he could be attached to faster units if you so desire. Combine this with Eldrad and you can have countless possibilities for deployment and redeployment

There is also another reason why the baron is chosen; he helps you unlock other close combat options in the form of Hellions. They are troops due to the Baron and they do provide a mean punch that can be used to support the Warp Spiders as they rampaged on. I know that to use Hellions effectively, taking them in a large blob of 15-20 is a must and this could be annoying but think of it in this manner; Here I have an unit that can keep up with the Jetbikers, Warp Spiders and Farseers on Jetbikes and with the baron, they get stealth and other goodies and they can bash the brains out of most units without too much worry. It is a viable option that is underestimated.

This brings us to the other support for close combat units, I would say that taking in the Incubi and/or the beastmasters would be beneficial for Footdar. Incubi are essentially a mix between Scorpions and Banshees, and they complement both units beautifully and providing one of the few means for Eldar to counter Terminators in close combat. As for the beastmasters, the large ocean of beasts would also provide a very large and scary distraction that could take the pressure off the main Eldar detachment, and also provide a very formidable close combat element. The Baron can also sit with either units, depending on your choice and just be a happy sailor.

Of course, this brings us to the troop choices which must be filled. As I have stated before the Hellions is a viable option, but if the unit is not what you want then there are only two other options; Wyches and Kabalite Warriors. Wyches helps in the close combat department as well, and they are scoring troops. Combined this with Haywire grenades and you can have a very flexible unit that can help patch the weaknesses of Eldar. Kabalites Warriors could also be a solid troop choice for their capability to be a large blob of troops with poisoned shots that can deter many monstrous creatures from charging your lines.

Nonetheless, it must be noted that with every ally option, their inclusion is utterly dependent upon how they can synergize and also cover up the inherent weaknesses of the list. Doesthe parent list aims to spam as many guns as they could? Are they inherently mobile enough to not need counter-assault elements? This is also another issue of allying Dark Eldar units in a Footdar army, as some units may cause some inconsistencies in the way a Footdar list works. For example, if your army is comprised of Jetbikers in your foot list, then footslogging Incubi will be utterly foolish.

Another problem with Dark Eldar units in a footdar army is that quite a number of these units can actually be expensive, and sometimes you would want your allies to be cheap. For example the cost of a squad of wyches could cost about the same as two small squads of jetbikes or Rangers. Thus you will need to understand what you really want to do with the allied choice when you pick them for the job and how the cost justify the unit's role. In this capacity, I find that choosing Dark Eldar elements to support Eldar units needs to be a careful and deliberate choice, just as one would choose any unit in an Eldar codex.

In conclusion, I believe that Dark Eldar can be complimentary to the overall idea of Footdar, especially in the close combat department but one have to be careful not to dilute the list too much or you have a very weak list.

Saturday, June 8, 2013

First round of playing with the Dark-Eldar Eldar alliance

Heya all and welcome back to the webway!

Yesterday at my game store, fully half of the players are all playing Eldar in many incarnations (including myself playing them as allies) and I must say that there are a lot of things that sparked my interest.While I was waiting for a game, I managed to take a sneak peek at some of the capabilities of the Eldar against IG and Dark Angels Greenwing Dakka banner line.

I saw how two Wraithlords ignored an IG gunline and just bashed their brains out senseless while in the other game I saw how the scorpions literally shred the Greenwing lines before they could even strike back, collapsing the entire formation. Also in both of those games I saw how amazing Warp Spiders were as they jump, Battle Focus, and then jump some more and how Wave Serpents literally became the bane of transports with their weird shield weapon + scatter laser combo. So far I have not seen any of the new toys except the Spiritseer, and even then I can see that the Spiritseer could work in certain builds.

As for my own experiences with Eldar; 

1) Prescience and Guide are the shiznit for Dark Eldar! in my game against a Footdar, I never seen my ravagers shot so beautifully, and 24  BS 4 twin-linked scatter lasers is just outright brutal.

 2) Scorpion mandiblasters are a very big annoyance towards my Incubi squad. Those things could potentially whittle me down little by little as the combat drags on. Luckily for me, I managed to kill two squads of 10 -men scorpions with my squad of 6 Incubi and kitted-out Archon with a venom blade.

Unfortunately attrition is such that only my Archon is left with a single wound and three pain token.The main reasons why I survived the way I did is all thanks to the pain tokens and the fact that my Incubi strike at the same initiative as the Scorpions, but with a better WS and a Str 4 AP2 weapon.  The FNP bonus from the Haemonculus' pain tokens also helped in surviving the Mandiblaster shots. Have to be more careful when facing against Scorpions again.

3) Battle focus makes Footdar even more viable than before, and makes harassment tactics even more painful than before. Throughout my game, my War Walkers and my Eldar opponent's Warp Spiders have been harassing each other's flanks to hell and back.

Allthough I feel that the book has some issues with external balances, but overall the book is good for Dark Eldar if you know what you really want from your allied detachment. In my case, mine is more to have a force-multiplier to make my Dark Eldar function in a more consistent manner. I will be testing it out further to create a fun but at the same time strong list.

Monday, June 3, 2013

New Eldar and which unit will mesh well with my Dark Eldar

Welcome back to the webway my readers!

With me graduating by mid-June, I am happy to say that I am very proud of myself. What other way that I could do to celebrate this by having what is perhaps the race that is arguably considered to be the perfect Xenos Ally?
Ah....the new Eldar codex.

As a Dark Eldar player, this is essentially a very important release as they are essentially the only faction that I can have a true Battle Brother relationship with. I will personally not bother with the first impressions that I have got from the book, as I am not planning to use it as a main detachment. Instead my review here is more to how some units would make sense in my mind's eye when used in tandem with Dark Eldar. I will mention some rules that will inform my choices, but will not go into detail about the more intricate rules that are interesting but does not have anything to do with my Dark Eldar army whatsoever. This is my honest disclaimer, and thus I hope that everyone would respect this choice of mine in this review.

Now first things first, the HQs.

The most important HQ for my plans with them, Farseers, have a certain buff to them, and yet there are subtle nerfs in them. They are inherently cheaper due to them essentially 'knowing' all of the powers, and also that their wargear have gotten cheaper. However, the nerfs are that their psychic defense is kinda bad now, and their powers are randomized. To be honest I am not bothered with the first nerf, as I am already playing with a force that takes psychic powers like how a convict takes shit in a prison. As for the second one, I am more interested in how the powers will relate to my force, which is primarily a fast and firepower heavy army. Luckily for me, my initial idea about using them has not changed and indeed have improved for the better. The primary reason for that relates to how I see the psychic powers.

The most important power that works for my army, Guide has a significant buff to them with the range of 24" and it is a primaris power. Since my army is rather light on assault, I am not too bothered about the rerolls in close combat that Prescience in the Divination discipline provides and being a Primaris power as that of Prescience, that means that I can always automatically get the power. In fact the 24" range means that my army does not need to get too cozy with the Farseer and are able to do whatever that is needed.

The second most important power for me is essentially Doom, as mmy army is heavy upon the lances and also splinter cannons. With the buff of Doom now allowing me to reroll armour penetration, I could only be happy about this. The only gist is that now I have to roll low to get the power and I would not get this power all the time. No matter, a 1 out of  6 chance is better than no chance at all.

The other powers are essentially very situational for my own good, and personally I can always do without. Among all the other powers, Fortune would be the most applicable due to me having to protect the Farseer himself whenever possible. But even thenn that is a very big stretch

With all of these in mind, they proved to still fit my original purpose with them, and at a cheaper price to boot. Nonetheless I am still tempted to take the Mantle of the Laughing God, as it actually solves the problem that I have highlighted when I talked about Fortune.I will not even talk about Warlock council as they can only be taken in a main detachment for the Eldar army.

The Autarch would not fit my army for the sole reason that he does not help boost my army too much, and since the reason for taking allies is to have something that your army lacks the Autrach sadly will have to stay home.

Spiritseers are cool in their own way, as they could provide me with an interesting option in the form of Wraithguards/Wraithblades. But due to the prohibitive cost of having wraith constructs and how the spiritseer is quite lacking in mobility and also powers that would help benefit my Dark Eldar it will have to stay home as well. Surprisingly enough, this guy is a Warlock on steroids, but yet a budget seer if you can't take the Farseer. But for the sake of this post, he is found wanting.

I will lump the Phoenix Lords and other HQs in one go, as these HQs provide their special thing to a Dark Eldar army, and I do agree that in other builds of my Dark Eldar they might be helpful. But in line with my original concept, these guys are only sitting on the bench as a result of mobility issues and they do not synergize too well with my army.

For the elites choices, I feel that most of  them pale in comparison to the choice that I have in my Dark Eldar list and/or does not synergize well with my army. Incubi are like a combination of Banshees and Scorpions in one go and are superior combat choices than either in its role as an assaulter. Trueborns with blasters and Fire Dragons share similar goals in my army, but the trueborns won out as a result of them being significantly cheaper. Combined these with the superior Dark Eldar vehicle options for both units and one can see why I did not consider them in the mechanics of my army.

In this extension, this is also how I feel about the Wave Serpents in general. I like what it does, but my Dark Eldar vehicles does its job much better and cheaper. In this way I am a min-maxer. This philosophy also goes to my troop choices as well.

For the Eldar troop choices, I find that the Guardians and Dire Avengers perform the roles similar to my Kabalite Warriors, and thus forcing me to look elsewhere. I do understand the concept of ann infantry blob with the Guardian defenders, but for an allied contingent I want something cheap so that I can play around with the toys. Rangers are awesome, but I would rather have something else that can help my army in a more active way.

This leads us to the Jetbikers. Jetbikers are amazing and they mesh well with my plans as I do need something scoring but can also move with the army. Although they are essentially guardians on jetbikes, but it is the jetbike part that won out for me. Mobile, durable enough, and also small enough to hide is a winner in my book.  Not to mention that they are cheaper than rangers really say something about why they are the best troop choice for an allied contingent in my Dark Eldar army.

Fast attack is a very competitive slot for the Eldar codex and I could see many units that have synergy with my own units. For this I will take a moment to talk about them in very simple terms and why I believe that  they synergize well with my army. Only issue here with most of these slot is that some other unit in the force organization slot does their job better, or that their cost is quite prohibitive.

Swooping hawks helps my army in that they can deepstrike reliably without scattering and with that haywire grenade that they are armed with, they can do quite some damage behind enemy lines against those pesky gun platform such as the manticore. With Skyleap, they will be a pest for my opponents.

Warp Spiders also fill this role for me as they are premier harassment units and that monofilament weapons of their would help me against Imperial Guardsmen whom I am not fond of facing against. Their mobility is also something that I am really fond of.

Shining Spears......well, I will be honest and say that I love outflanking units that have Skilled Rider. They also help me in hunting down pesky nonsense that always plague my Dark Eldar such as Manticore platforms. Guns may be short-ranged, but their movement covers up for that.

Vypers also fit well with my army as they provide even more vehicles for my opponent to shoot down, and due to their rather elongated profile they could become mobile cover saves for my other units. Their guns are also nothing to scoff at.

The Crimson Hunter is what I honestly need in my list; a flyer with heavy anti-air weapons that can reliably kill an aircraft with a secondary role in destroying vehicles. Sure the armor is a little thin, but then I am playing with an entire army of paper-mache vehicles so that defect did not hit me as hard as other people. Also it is the first unit in the game with Vector Dancer. On the other hand, the Hemlock is a very bizarre unit for me, as it scares both my units and my opponents, and that flamer of theirs is rather interesting but short-ranged. I would not want an unit that will scare my units away, hence why I am reluctant to even take this unit. And seriously I really wished that the flamer is at least a Str 5-6 so that it could justify the cost of the Hemlock.

In regards to the heavy support, I also see a lot of competition here, but not for the same reasons that I have for the Eldar fast attack slot. Over here I see that the competition is mostly about the guns that this slot can pack.

For the two main battle tanks of the Eldar, I find that they are quite impressive in their own way, but there are reasons why I do not plan to take them in my Dark Eldar allied contingent.

With three modes of fire, the Fire Prism will be well-loved by every Eldar player. Seeing that I am not an Eldar player, I will honestly say that this guy may be useful but my list already does its job with flying colours so it is not as useful to me. Falcons are alright, but if I am not taking Dragons, these guys are not a first pick for me. As for the Night Spinner, the loss of the monofilament rule in causing difficult and dangerous terrain is a big blow for the vehicle, and the Heavy Weapon battery does its job better. However, I honestly believe that one must commit when one takes their main battle tanks (With two Prisms and one Falcon being the best ratio in my opinion), and as an allied contingent this luxury is lost on me.

Dark Reapers are interesting, as they are essentially the Eldar version of Devastators and this is  rather interesting for me. However, their cost is quite prohibitive and also I find that their Eldar toughness of three prevents me from taking them in my Dark Eldar army. The lack of mobility only serve to enforce my opinion about them. Nonetheless I find that if I am playing a foot version of Dark Eldar they will be a strong choice to consider.

The Wraithlord and the Wraithknight are quite interesting as they are inherently better in my opinion than the Dark Eldar monstrous creatures, as their weapons are more effective and their toughness is amazing.  However both have interesting things about them that I can't seem to get off my mind when I see them.

For the Wraithlord, the simple reason that he is slow as hell is the thing that killed it for me. For the Wraithknight, it is the fact that the model is a bloody giant. How am I going to hide it? Even with that invulnerable save, the Wraithknight is a tough model to justify other than being a huge fire magnet. It may be able to fly, but that flying ability is more the reason for it to be shot down. Oddly enough, it is for that reason that I think a Wraithknight may work well with a Dark Eldar army, but I seriously do not want to invest so much on fire magnets.

The Support Platforms Battery is interesting for me as I honestly like the idea the Shadow Weaver, as it would be able to solve my problem of killing lots of horde infantry in one go especially those pesky Imperial Guardsmen. Both the Vibrocannon and the D-cannon are strong anti-tank weapons, but the former suffers from the fact that if even one of the platforms were destroyed its effectiveness goes down significantly while the latter suffers from a very short range. In other words, if I am going with these guns, I am going pure vanilla with the Shadow Weaver. Only thing that I am not fond about them is their static nature, but that barrage, monofilament large blast is a good one on this guy.

The War Walkers are also a solid choice for me, as the buffs in their offensive capabilities only serve to make them much better. Battle Focus is beautiful on this unit, and the new rules for scatter lasers means that mixing weapons could be an option for this unit. However, I still am of the opinion that a full squad of War Walkers with Scatter Lasers is still the choice to go, as they perform the task of anti-light vehicle, anti-air and anti-infantry in one amazing go. That invulnerable save of their is a nice touch, but as my Dark Eldar days have told me about the flickerfield, it is not something that you rely on. Oh did I mention that they can scout? This unit is a very flexible unit indeed.

With this in mind, I have narrowed down the top units that I would like to use in my Dark Eldar army ;

1) Farseer (D'uh!)
2) Jetbikers ( A solid choice here, but can be taken off for the sake of Rangers)
3) Rangers (They are lovely, but the lost of them being able to become Pathfinders without the help of Illic Nightspear is sad indeed.)
4) Crimson Hunter (This will play ball alongside my Voidraven, or become the only flyer in the list as I drop the voidraven for another Ravager)
5) Support Battery Platform (Dat Shadow Weaver!)
6) War Walkers (The utility is just amazing, and I honestly am impressed by their firepower)

The Dark Eldar side of things will become a little smaller as a result of accommodating these clowns, but hey at  least I will be able to get an army that is even more consistent than before. I will  have to see the perfect balance before I finalize my Dark Eldar/ Eldar list now and figure out some ideas to convert these dudes to my Dark Eldar aesthetic.

Cya next time!