A couple comments, one here on the blog and several lately at the gaming tables has made me pause and reflect back on how I build and create my armies. Now, when it comes to armies I do not intend to be primary armies, I find a build and just buy it. Otherwise I am spending quite a bit of time figuring out how I want to play.

My Imperial Guard took me months to settle on how I like to play and even more months to develop and refine my lists While it is considered a easier codex, it is quite complex building the relationships between units on how they will function on the tabletop. Several people I have talked to seem to think that I just put together the toughest list I can come up with, and play it and that I can throw these lists down rather quickly.

Now its hard for me to get a game in with my Imperial Guard. Thankfully the Dark Eldar arrived.

I have spent so much time analyzing the options and playstyle of the Dark Eldar, and gotten in quite a few games. However, I am still learning and experimenting, but I am starting to feel comfortable with them on the tabletop. I haven't gotten anywhere close to 100 games in yet, which I feel is my approximate refined magic number.

Couple revelations.
Dark Eldar have a hard time blowing up vehicles.
What? with all those dark lances? Yes dark eldar can carry a lot of lances, and they are good, but they are good at damaging vehicles. Their rate of fire is 1. They tend to damage vehicles all day, but unless you are lucky they tend to damage the vehicles all day. There is no S6+ high rate of fire weapon for dark eldar to shoot with a single unit to guarantee a transport kill statistically. This shows itself on the table top. They are no Hyrdra Autocannon, no Psycannon. You need a lot of Lances.

Blasters count, but hey, putting your Dark Eldar in an 18" range of an army is dangerous. So tons of Darklight Weaponry is good, but it is difficult to actually destroy the enemy with them.

Melta. Where are they? Lets look, none in the heavy area, none in the troop area. We only get melta (which is the best way to blow up armour since they are AP1), in two areas. Harlequins, and your fast attack slots. Oooops. Hey none of your melta can take a dedicated transport. Yes its fast, but exposed. You can also get a heat lance on your Talos.

Answers, the most common I have seen is that people are taking a ton of Darklight Weapons over many units. MSU (multiple small units) seem to the be easiest way to go. You can get a staggering number of blasters and lances if you dedicate yourself to it. Attack smartly in a massive wave. Hope you are not playing another MSU style shooty list and attack the enemies weak spots.

While I dont mind these lists, and they are good, I don't believe they are the most efficient means of destroying the enemy with Dark Eldar. I think having something with melta in it is almost a necessity. That makes me lean towards scourges or reavers in my armies. Then you have to figure out how best to use them.

I love venoms. I have seen list after list of venom spam. Here is the issue I have come up with after so many games. They are the ones getting the kills. Once again, no pain token generation. Give your infantry tank killing weapons, and their transports anti-infantry, and you spend the entire game generating no pain tokens. Its quite sad, and not the best route for a dark eldar player. To survive to the end against a tough opponent, your non vehicle units need to be able to generate pain tokens. I still use venoms, however I generally limit it to two now.

So this means you should be using your vehicles to break armour, and your other units to kill them. Its quite simple really, but quite a few players I have seen are still drooling over the venom, and rightfully so. Its so cheap for those 12 splinter cannon shots, so the tendency is to spam everything like this.

This is getting too long, so its time to end it and get to work.


  1. Great thoughts. I agree that I have been rather disappointed with my ravager's and raider's abilities at dropping tanks. Melta is the only way to go. I am building some scourges to augment my reavers for heat lance love. I used to like caltrops, but now like heat lances on the reavers. Scourges would be great to deep-strike in.
    I have been loving my 9 trueborn squad, with the duke, 4 blasters, 4 with ccw and pistol, and a dracon with agonizer in a raider. The blasters destroy the transport, then the duke, dracon and remaining close combat armed trueborn go to town on the models inside. The duke is actually very competent in cc.
    I could see heat lance scourges working well in conjunction with wyches/incubi double teaming a transport. Making scourges tonight.

  2. Hi,

    I haven't tried reavers or scourges so far because I'm worried that if getting within 18" is bad (trueborn with blasters) then getting within 9" to use the melta must be just as bad (if not worse). If the heat lances were str 8 (without lance) I'd be more tempted to take them because they would be much better at killing light tanks, eg. av11-12 (which to be far is the majority of tanks faced).

    I just find 3 trueborn in a venom better, because they have 3 18" range anti-tank shots plus the venom shots, and the enemy has to kill the tank before they can get to the trueborn, compared to 5/6 guys for simular cost which only carry only 2 anti-tank guns which need to get closer to the enemy.

    A tactica on how to get the best from your melta weapons would be good.

    Even with my adverse views on reavers and scourges I found your article well written, informative, and challenging. Thanks for writing it.


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    seem to get there! Many thanks.


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