Here it is, the complete "I don't have to search through endless posts" Dark Eldar Tactica. Now even though this was written by me, it was compiled a few months back by lululu 42.

This is a compilation of many of the Dark Eldar tacticas I have written put together in one place. While I have been working on several changes for this blog for months, the project has stalled, so I have decided to just post this. I will add a link and page to it as well when I get back.

Get Back? Yea, surprise December vacation. By the time most of you read this, I am already gone. I will be back on Tuesday, and if you are interested in Dark Eldar, this is a good read. Please note that these are raw posts, meaning have not been updated since I wrote them, and were not all published at the same time. You may see some evolution of thought as read through these. I also think the FAQ changed a few minor things in these posts regarding webway portals.


Dark Eldar Tactica Webway Portals
Dark Eldar have many options in the new codex, and it's a wonderful codex. Playing to the Dark Eldar strengths you have several directions to go, and one of my favorites.... Webway Portals.

While you cannot activate one while inside your vehicles, its pretty simple to fly forward, deploy, and activate during the shooting phase instead of shooting. The Webway portal is a 3" dia dome, that must be placed in base contact with it's bearer. Once placed, any non-vehicle units can use the Webway Portal. It acts like a board edge for bringing in reserves, and deepstriking and outflanking units can choose to come in via the webway. It's indestructible and Impassible.

So how far forward can you get activate your Webway Portal. Transport flies forward 12" + Deploy 3" + Activate 3". This puts your board edge possibly 18" forward and only 6" away from the enemy line.

Since only non-vehicle units can use the Webway Portal, lets look at units that make the most efficient use of our portals.

Wyches. We charge out of the webway with haywire grenades. 15 wyches charging into a chimera line should be able to disable pretty much the entire thing. Wyches move 6" fleet forward up to 6" and then assault 6". Yes that means it's possible to reach the opposite board edge.

Hellions and Beastmasters. Emerging from the Webway your reach is up to 24" in assault

Scourges and Reavers are able to move 12" and fire their 18" guns giving you up to a 30" death range. That means if your portal is dead center in the board, you can reach everywhere but the last 4 1/2" of a board edge. Correctly place your two Webway Portals on the board first turn, and there is nothing you cannot get to. Reavers turbo-boosting can absolutely reach anything out of a webway with it's bladvanes and caltrops.

Trueborn, Incubi etc can all move out of a webway, with easy to calculate ranges and effectiveness.

Cronos Parasite Engine and Talos Pain Engine. Want to get these units up quickly into the fray before heavy weapons take them down? The Webway allows an excellent means of getting to a forward position where you can do something effective. Who wouldnt cry as 3 talos come ripping through a webway into the core of your troops.

Using webway portals to quickly get your troops into forward positions for objective grabbing etc, and will be rather shocking for most opponents. Using three you could effectively create an 11" wall of them blocking objectives that you can use as a table edge for your reserves. They will be hard to block in and effectively disable, and multiple webways nearly impossible (even then you have a board edge). Dark Eldar strike hard and fast, the use of webways greatly enhance this, creating a very flexible and dangerous fast army that is able to reach anywhere on the tabletop they choose. Devil Nacht has truly arrived.

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Haemonculi, Grotesques, and Webway Deployment
I have been discussing in the past how I field my Haemonculi alongside my Grotesque detachment over the last few months. Well today I am going to expand on the unit composition and deployment of the webways.

To catch people up, I field a unit of 3 Grotesques. Upgrades include one liquifier, and an abberation upgrade with scissorhands. What this does is give you 3 models, each with different weapons etc, in order to take advantage of wound allocation.

The scissorhands on the abberation makes him a beast on the charge with 7 attacks on I5 (3 pain tokens with the two haemonculi additions). Since these are poison, and his strength is 6 on the charge, he automatically wounds on a 3+ with re-rolls if the toughness of the victim is 6 or less.

To this unit I add 2 Haemonculi, one ancient and standard. The standard takes advantage of a shattershard and webway portal. If you do not yet know what or how a shattershard works, follow the link. Secrets of the Shattershard Revealed.

The Ancient Haemonculi carries an agonizer (he has increased initiative, attacks and Weapon Skill). He also wields a Casket of Flensing and Webway Portal. The casket gives you a decent chance at doing some serious damage to a unit that is trying to stay out of assault range late game, and you are able to take advantage of the higher Ballistic Skill. 2d6 shots with random AP and hits on a 2+.

Now I also add Vect to this unit, as it is a great way to get him up to midfield without him taking any damage. This gives the whole unit 6 models that take advantage of wound allocation, is fearless with its 3 pain tokens, and is able to deploy two webways round 1 that are practically 12" apart. Vect typically leaves the unit and pushes into the enemy somewhere round 2. (your raiders need to be gone at this point, as losing a shadowshield to an exploding raider is foolish)

Webway deployment is as follows. Raider moves forward 12" and turn sideways. Deploy the length of the Raider with one haemonculi on each end. That keeps the Grotesques in the center of the unit line alongside Vect, and maximizes the distance for both webway deployments. If someone foolishly does try to come in and block, there are two portals that they have to deal with. Not to mention all the death that will follow.

Note that if an army is very fast (like all bikes). I will throw my ramming raiders into a V Shape to protect a webway, tank shocking my way into scouts or infiltraters that are in my way.

Give yourself maximum distance between models and you now have two webways that can support each other and give you great table access from the center of the board. This is how I move my 3 Talos on the table, alongside any other fast attack options that I have put into reserve.

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Dark Eldar Tactica - Raiders
Dark Eldar are overall the most fragile army out there. You have options to make yourself tougher, but you really cannot deny having your transports armor 10 and open topped that you are going to lose them. Probably all of them. When that happens you are going to lose your warriors and wyches on board, maybe not all of them, but a good number of them. worthy of a break test ( I have even lost 8 out of 10).

Stronger units, wracks incubi etc have a much better chance of surviving an exploding raider and as such can be used differently. Here I am speaking mostly of raiders attached to Warriors and Wyches.

I use a Raider for really only two things,

1. Transports: Getting your units where you can use them. Raiders are excellent for this, they are fast and open topped. Meaning I can fleet and assault out of each vehicle, giving me incredible assault ranges, and or rapid fire or blaster range. A raider takes a 18" blaster and turns it into a 33" shot.

2. A fast moving flat out block. Unless you are playing an annihilation game, and even then sometimes, I often use fast moving raiders to fly their full distance turning sideways to give the maximum blockage and line of sight denial possible. Remember line of sight is from a models eyes (or where they should be). What this does is slow the enemy down and allow for you take board control/flank or whatever it is you need. Also remember that if someone tries to Ram through your raider, you get a 3+ dodge, and if successful they stop where they are and do not get through. I have been known to do this until I run out of raiders, sometimes keeping units pinned into a little area for most of the game.

I do not think of a Raider as a weapons platform, because of what it is wielding. A single shot is not worth field control, or the chance of not getting my units where I can use them. The great thing is though, that once I deliver my troops, I still fire, so it is not like I am giving up on the usage of the gun. I still fire them, and if they live long enough they will keep on firing until I have another use for them.

So what do I do with them besides shooting once their troops have been delivered? Simple, they fire and move into position for the next unit that may need to get into them. This comes around for late game movement, or when you must get the hell out of dodge and somewhere else looks much nicer.

One load out I enjoy using, is aethersails, shock prow, and a flickerfield. I would not suggest this tactic for the squeamish. I simply turn roll my aethersail bonus distance and declare my Ram. This often gives a S10 hit. You simply need to get just over 24" of movement. An empty raider round 1 slamming into opposing transports works better than firing its gun. It stops your opponent dead in the water most of the time, and often they have a raider in their face getting a 4+ flat out save. I have done this several times now with 2-3 raiders ramming round 1. It's a ton of fun.

The Point: I do not think of raiders like I do using Razorbacks or Chimeras. Here my guys want to stay inside, while firing until they are needed to get out. With Dark Eldar Raiders we cannot afford to do this, as an exploding raider kills warriors and wyches faster for your opponent than if he had shot at them. Stronger units, wracks incubi etc have a much better chance of surviving an exploding raider and as such can be used differently.

Raiders go down fast, even in waves. Get what you can out of them.

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Dark Eldar Tactica - Poison
Here is something that most people I have noticed are failing to remember about poisoned weapons in close combat. I have had to remind people that I've talked to recently how poison weapons work in close combat more than once in the last week, so here it is.

Poisoned Weapons do not rely on Strength or Toughness to wound. They always wound on the fixed number given typically a 2+, 3+, or 4+. Everyone knows this part. What I see people forgetting is that if the strength of the wielder is the equal to or higher than the toughness of the victim, the wielder must re-roll failed rolls to wound in close combat.

Now this doesn't effect the poisoned shooting weapons of the Dark Eldar, but it does effect the multitude of poisoned close combat weapons that they get.

Now you simply look at something like Furious Charge. Furious Charge increases your strength characteristic by 1. So this would mean that Wracks with a second pain token charging into marines would get to re-roll every failed to wound roll. That is a 4+ with a re-roll the round you charged.

Now lets look at something a little more devious. Give your Haemonculi an Animus Vitae. This means that if he kills a model he has to pass a leadership test, and if he does he gains a pain token. I said model, not unit. Give him Flesh Gauntlet (poisoned 4+ instant death), or scissorhands (poison 3+ that grants +1 attack in addition to the +1 for extra close combat weapon).

Start your Haemonculi with a unit of wracks, and you instantly get furious charge. Now we have a Wracks assaulting on Inititive 5 WS4 and poison 4+ with a re-roll to wound. A Haemonculi Ancient with scissorhands is 6 attacks on the charge, wounds on a 3+ with re-roll and WS5.

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Dark Eldar Tactica - Reaver Jetbikes
Reaver Jetbikes seem to be a little misunderstood. Partially because at first glance their stat lines just seem "OK". What Reavers bring to the table is a very serious advantage on the table top, and capitalizing on it, is not all that difficult.

Reavers have that scary 5+ save everyone is afraid about. In close combat they look like they will get slaughtered, and have a hard time doing much of anything. So I hear a lot of "they might get one shot off before they die horribly to bolter fire or close combat". Well, lets leave noobie land, and get over to how reavers are supposed to be used.

Reavers are able to turbo-boost, and they get an amazing 36" to do so. When turbo-boosting, Reavers draw a line from their starting point to their finishing point. A single non-vehicle unit under this line is hit with D3 S4 AP- hits per Reaver. An upgrade on every third Reaver allows you to get D6 S6 hits. The unit is allowed cover saves as normal. However, if you are simply flying over a unit between armor, or just hidden and not in area terrain, they wont be receiving a cover save. So a unit of 9 Reavers would be delivering 3d6 S6 hits and 6d3 S4 hits. Averaging around 9 S6 hits and 12 S4. These hits are resolved immediately.

Don't forget that this is done during the movement phase. That means doing 25% casualties, combined with tank shocking raiders, can break units off the board rather quickly. If you do manage to break a unit during the movement phase, don't forget to shoot them and cause another 25% casualties so they will run again during the shooting phase without a chance for another moral check. Yea, that means they all just ran off the board.

Now that you've done your turbo-boosting, during your opponents next shooting phase, you get a 3+ cover save for turbo-boosting. I call that pretty durable. Yes, you might be vulnerable to assault, but don't forget that you get 36" to work with. If you came out of a Webway portal, you now just struck anywhere you wanted, and reached anywhere you want.

Reavers should be turbo-boosting most of the game. You do however have some great weapon upgrades, Heat Lances or Blasters. This makes your Reavers highly vversatile, able to break heavy armor and light infantry with amazing success.

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Dark Eldar Tactica - Running Scared
The Dark Eldar codex really provides us with some very unique tactics that can be used in the game. While I've touched on this topic very briefly, it is time to expand on it. This combination is relatively reliable, although it will take some skill to pull off effectively on the table top.

Lets look at the Raider. A very fast open topped skimmer. Moving flat out we can easily move 24" with aethersailes that increases to around 30" reliably and up to 36". Load your raider up with Torment Grenade Launchers. Any enemy unit within 6" of one or more vehicles with torment grenade launchers has their leadership suffers a -1 penalty to its leadership. Next you will want to give your raider a Shock Prow to allow it to tank shock and ram other vehicles.

This allows you to tank shock enemy units and gives them a -1 penalty to their leadership roll. A good chance to break a unit. Remember not to drive through the models carrying the melta gun if possible. The trick here is to break the enemy unit. If this happens you have a very unique Dark Eldar tactic that I am sure people will start using in the next few months.

Once you have broken an enemy unit with your tank shock they will immediately run. We all know that if you are broken and are required to make another test you automatically fail. So multiple tank shocking is possible to break a unit off the table (making them run multiple times), but this is not what I was going to get at.

Reavers have the ability to turbo boost over units and do damage to them. Since any phase that you take 25% casualties you are required to test, once again you auto fail and immediately run again. Simply take your caltrops, turbo boost, kill 25% and watch them run again. Then during your shooting phase, don't forget to shoot them again if you need them gone so that they will run even a third time.

Dark Eldar are very easily able to break units off the table. While this isn't your primary tactic on the field, if you set up to do this, it will happen a lot. Your opponent will cry. Nothing worse than losing a unit from mid-field that runs or drives their bikes off the table.

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Secrets of the Dark Eldar - Shattershard Revealed
Earlier this morning I started up a post here on getting around wound allocation with the use of shattershard. The results really defined on how this piece of arcane wargear really work. Not only did I start the thread here, I also hit up some rules forums as well, to get other insights. Learning how something works and figuring out the ins and outs really can be time consuming. Here is what it is.

A Shattershard is a template SX* APX* Assault 1, One shot weapon. X* Any non-vehicle model hit by the shattershard must take a toughness test. If they fail this test they are removed from play with no saves of any kind allowed. It can only be carried by a Haemonculi and its use brings up several rules questions.

First off, it is a template, which means that you must hit as many models in the target unit as possible when used (pg29). You are dark eldar, so just move to get into a proper position to hit the special weapons and characters you want to make sure you get a chance to remove from the game.

Second. The shattershard does not cause wounds. Therefore there is no wound allocation. Meaning any model hit by it must take the toughness test. This is a characteristics test and is handled on page 8. A roll of a 6 is an autofail, meaning that even toughness 6+ creatures can be effected. A roll of a 1 always succeeds. This means that if a character is hit by the template, it cannot allocate this "hit" to another model, neither can heavy/special weapons etc be protected. Failure means the model is removed from play. Eternal Warrior will not protect you, this is "removed from play, not instant death"

Removed from play is not the same as "instant death". Instant death a rule on page 26, in which a model suffers an unsaved wound from an attack that has a strength double its toughness or greater is killed outright. Something like implosion missles use this rule, and use the instant death rule. Hence they are causing wounds that are considered double the toughness of the model hit, and must be allocated. (also in gw faq).

Now the issue comes down to the unit the haemonculi is firing from. What if his unit also fires other weapons. All shooting from a unit happens at the same time, so we resolve all the damage from it at the same time. This means that wounds from shooting can be allocated to models that are "removed from the game".

For example, you hit a unit of marines with a meltagun, sergeant, a librarian, and 3 standard marines. You rapid fire your splinter riles wounding 6 models. The shattershard when rolled removes from the game, the librarian, the meltagun, and one marine. With 6 wounds to allocate, every model that was in the unit must be allocated a wound. The librarians, meltagun are just lost wounds. The sergeant must make a single armour save, and the standard marines must take 3 (even though there are only two left).

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Secrets of the Dark Eldar - Denial of Wound Allocation
The Dark Eldar are insidious. In warhammer we are often trying to throw down enough wounds on a unit to take out either those special/ heavy weapons, or the leader/ independent character attached to the unit. As players to of this great game, we all know the basics of wound allocation, and how to use it to our advantages.

Once again I am normally rather slow at finding all the ins and outs of a codex, and how things work, so most of you probably already know how this weapon works. It took me probably 100 readings to read it correctly,

The Dark Eldar Haemonculi have figured out a way to get around the wound allocation with their Arcane Wargear, the Shattershard. You can only take one per army and it reads like this....

Any non-vehicle model hit by the shattershard must take a toughness test. If they fail this test they are removed from play with no saves of any kind allowed.

The big part of this is that the weapon does not cause wounds, so their is no allocation of wounds. Since you do not allocate hits in 40k, and it says "any model hit must take a toughness test", any non-vehicle model touched by the template is effected and removed from play if they fail their toughness test.

While this still gives most people a good chance of not going away (high toughness heroes), poor Eldrad only has a toughness of 4. Just the fact that independent characters cannot hide from this one shot weapon is amazing. I can see it continueing to find its way into my lists. Also please note that any roll of a 6 on a characterstics test always fails regardless of their toughness pg 8 rule book

Advantages could be placing the template to avoid the closest enemy model so that you can still assault, or taking out special weapons and characters.

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Tactics of Commorragh - Unique Opportunities Ravager/Razorwing
We all know that the Dark Eldar can blow up tanks, and do it well with most of us take a ravager with three dark lances in our heavy support choice for that part of the role. While I have fielded this vehicle many times and enjoy it, I truly believe the three disintegrator is superior. Now before you get your panties in an uproar, lets look at it.

Dark Eldar can take so much anti-mech firepower in their lists, it is one of the most unique things about us. We are not short on it. At 105 points the ravager is a very efficient hunter on the tabletop. The problem is, anyone with any long range support is going to take it out. Facing 48" weaponry means night shields will not save you enough to matter. You are armour 11 and open topped. So technically an opposing anti-tank unit opens up fire, and there goes three of your lances. It is a very efficient target for your opponent to destroy.

You can deepstrike it or reserve it. However, if you have three lances you need them to do their job, and that is killing tanks. While killing tanks late game happens, you need to be able to get rid of high priority mechanized targets as early as possible, which clearly reduces the effectiveness of the Ravager put into reserve.

We are so loaded with anti-tank, and when list building if you concentrate on making sure your anti-tank weapons get maximized in your units, it can free you up to not only reserve your ravagers, but to change out their weaponry to Disintegrators. I mean there is nothing like moving 12" and firing 9 times at 36" with S5 AP2. With that 12" movement a ravager coming in from reserve can strike anywhere on the table and still tactically come in from an ideal location to limit incoming fire after it unleashes. Do this with 3 ravagers, and you have very surgical anti-troop killing machines that deny feel no pain, so they can handle shooting at heavily protected infantry.

I have been fielding both with lances and disintegrators now for quite a while, and also notice that if your opponent has tanks on the board, they are often not as concerned about a ravager with disintegrators, freeing it up to do its work. I have been amazed at how well my disintegrator ravagers have been doing on the tabletop and utilizing three of them from reserve, means pinpoint strikes, hopefully late game so they can do their best at key points on the field.

The Razorwing takes this tactic much further. Replace it's lances with disintegrators and upgrade you mounted rifle to a Splinter Cannon. Oh yea, you get 4 missiles. The missiles can all fire, so lets look at what we can drop if we come in from reserve for a surgical strike. 6 S5 AP2 shots, 6 S- AP5 poisoned (4+) shots, and 4 large blast templates S6 AP5. Everything can fire, and if you come in and launch everything (all the missles), that should destroy most units. Razorwing x3, and at some point late game, you should be able to wipe 3 units off the map as you come in. That to me is amazing.

Whether you use the Ravager or the Razorwing like this, 105 and 145 points respectively, you are dealing some late game damage when you need it and where. Using these vehicles like this can also warrant nightshields, since you are in so much control of where they are going to be, but that is only if you have the points.

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Tactics of Commorragh - Unique Opportunities Anti Infantry
While there are many things that make Dark Eldar unique amongst Warhammer 40k, today I want to talk about shooting, and not about your average every day lance.

Against infantry, it is the range and rate of fire that sets the Dark Eldar apart guns apart. It is very easy for an army to be set up with 30-40 anti-tank weapons, and still maintain a ridicules amount of anti infantry, even going over a 100+ shots a round without counting rifles or pistols.

To match the marine equivalent weapons, you could look at Heavy Bolters or Assault Cannons as your anti-infantry. The rate of fire on that heavy bolter makes it a heavy 3 S5 AP4 at 36". While we all know that the Assault Cannon fires 4 shots at 24" with S6 AP4 rending.

Lets compare.

Splinter Cannon is 36" Poison weapon (4+) AP5 Assault 4 or Heavy 6. Many things like Venoms or Trueborn, or Scourges can carry them in Multiples, Scourges of which can carry 4. Being a Heavy 6 on Venoms, you have two splinter cannons that fire defensively. This means 12" movement and 12 shots per venom 36" away. Even scourges who will get 16 shots when they move, get 24 when sitting still (then they also have carbines).

It doesn't matter if marines are in cover, because they will get their armour save anyways, so this is the gun for them. Pelt them and watch them crumble. Monsterous creatures? lol, who cares we always wound on a 4+. Splinter Cannons have the range and flexibility that no other gun has. In general Splinter Weapons get the guys in cover, while Disintegrators get the guys without cover. Which leads us to Disintegrators.

Disintegrator. Ever wish your heavy bolter was AP2 and mounted on a fast skimmer? Disintegrators are S5 AP2 36" Heavy3. The only come on your heavy support vehicles or Raiders, and are amazing weapons in how they compliment the splinter weaponry in your list. Heavy infantry already has a 2+ save or has Feel No Pain and since lances are single shot,

we have the perfect weapon for you.

I have found ravagers with 3 disintegrators often get ignored often during the firefight, until that is they unleash the first time. I have been fielding two Lance Ravagers with 1 Disintegrator Ravager. It is amazing when you fly your ravager 12" to work your way around cover and then unleash 9 Disintegrator S5 AP2 shots at that unit that just came out of their transport.

Most people do not like the Disintegrator. Most of it due to losing S7 plasma cannon like fire. I personally am still in love with it. It has a role, so you do not need as much of it. However don't worry, because there are only so many places you can take them. In vehicle heavy lists, I generally will use 1 or 2 raiders with them, and like I had said, 1 out of the 3 ravagers.

The Point. These two guns can be found throughout your army, and while most of the dark eldar ranges are set at 18" or 36", we can move and still get those ranges. With so many lances available in your lists, you can match things up perfectly with your anti infantry to truly provide a well combined force, able to take down those vehicles and kill everything inside all within your shooting phase. Splinter Cannons taking down those in cover and forcing armour saves, and Disintegrators for those heavily armoured infantry and those stuck out of cover.

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Secrets of the Dark Eldar- One shot, two vehicle damage rolls
Every once in a while, you read something and then re-read and discover something you hadn't seen before. With the Dark Eldar I have been making discoveries like this for my own personal list, and as of this morning discovered yet another one.

While discoveries do not really change my army lists, sometimes they fall right into sync with what I was trying to achieve with a unit in the first place.

Haywire Blasters. Their stat line goes something like this. S4 AP4 24" assault 1. Overall a decent weapon for scourges, as it an assault weapon that gives their 12" movement a great threat range. Combine their effects with the fact that they act as haywire grenades when they hit. Meaning that if you hit the vehicle, roll a D6. One a 1, it does nothing. 2-5 the vehicle takes a glancing hit, on a 6 it takes a penetrating hit. We all know this, and this how I was first reading it.

Upon closer reading I my tiny brain finally enveloped the full effect of this weapon. First off it reads like this.

Haywire Blaster Range 24" S4 Ap4 Assault 1. If a haywire blaster hits a vehicle, resolve its effects as normal. Then roll a further D6. On a 1, nothing happens. On a 2-5, the vehicle takes a glancing hit. On a 6, it takes a penetrating hit.

So when fired at a vehicle, resolve its effects as normal. Meaning roll S4 against the armour value of the vehicle. Once you do that, roll another dice and apply the haywire effects. Essentially if you are facing the rear armour of a vehicle or the side armour of a chimera, you have a chance to glance the vehicle from the normal effects of a S4 weapon. Then you roll again and apply the effects of the haywire. Meaning that it is possible to get two damage rolls against a vehicle with a single shot. A glancing hit with a S4 + a roll of a 6 on the armour penetration roll, and then one with the haywire effect on a 2+. Not likely but possible.

I'm sure most of you already knew this, however, sometimes I am a little slow.
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Dark Eldar Reserve Tactica- Why Reserve?
Dark Eldar forces are like paper. Brittle paper. Not only are they brittle, their point cost is expensive. I mean really how long can you expect your Dark Eldar to survive head on heavy fire and still win the game without getting decimated.

The answer is, you cant. Dark Eldar work best when they can strike hard and fast. It is after all why we have so much speed on our side. The longer we stay on the table vs a good opponent with a good list, the worse off we are.

One solid answer is designing your list around reserves. While reserves are not my most favorite thing in the world, Dark Eldar can do it with style. Aerial Assault rules, Aether Sails, turbo boosting Reavers, Webway Portals, and Duke Sliscus make lists that can capitalize on a reserve list.

Why a reserve based list? Dark Eldar hit hard, and die to a protracted engagement. Lets shorten the game, hit the enemy where we choose in a surgical strike and criple the enemy, before we loose too much of our force. Dark Eldar are arguably one of the strongest hitting forces in the game. When they hit they wipe out sections of the board consistently. Reserves take advantage of this nicely.

Deploying: I played so many of my early games deploying all my forces and trying to survive long enough to deal damage to my opponent. Night Shields and Flickerfields, while helpful, are not the answer. Not that I wont use them, but their use alone will not save your vehicles. I have found that even trying to set up out of range of the enemy can very quickly turn against you, and most of your precious army get shot to pieces.

Pain Tokens: Pain Tokens are nice, and help you survive in late game, however too many people are making their lists counter productive to getting pain tokens, but that is another topic. Pain Tokens will carry you through, as long as your units capable of getting them, are the ones killing the non-vehicles units. Do not rely on getting pain tokens to keep your units alive. They are a secondary tactical design element.

Control: Dark Eldar have many options when it comes to reserves, and can literally strike from so many locations anywhere on the board. This gives you a very nice sense of control on the tabletop. Not only do you get to take control of the table top, your forces get to engage first, get shot later.

So Many Options. As a Dark Eldar player you have so many options at your disposal for reserves. Even then, with a webway or two, your flexiblity on the table top increases exponentially. This much speed, and not knowing where the Dark Eldar will strike, often puts players into a defensive mode right from the start. This is ideal for many play styles, especially mine.

The point is, Dark Eldar really take advantage of reserves. They suffer from prolonged games because of how fragile and expensive they are. Strike hard, strike fast, and leave the enemy crippled wondering what the hell happened in the aftermath. Giving the enemy only 3 rounds in a 5 round game to deal with you is advantage that Dark Eldar can capitalize on better than almost any other army out there.

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Portal Block- Preventable?
The infamous portal block is a bane for quite a few Dark Eldar players. I am going to say apparently, because I haven't yet had someone successfully stop mine yet. There are some very good ways to block a portal, and I figured doing a post might just get some of these methods people are using out on the table. I will do a quick one on how I tend to deploy my portals, and then by all means if you have had someone block your portal, speak up and tell us how.

What I don't want to hear is theorised counters, or "I would do this to your tactic". I want to hear from Dark Eldar players how their portals have actually been blocked in a game. This means that they must block it in the first two rounds of the game. Later blocks mean nothing really.

First things first. If you really fear a portal block, there are many pre-emptive things you can do to prevent it. 90% of all players will simply not attempt it, if you remind them of what will happen when they fail. Having something inside your webways that can actually rip apart everything that comes near it is one. 3 Talos is generally enough for people to want to stay over 12" away from a webway. It is important to know what the enemy is capable of before deciding how you are going to place your webways.

Round 1 multiple portal deployments. Deploy multiple portals within 12" of each other. This common sense approach is called supporting each other. You block one, and my scourges or reavers can still use it, while my Talos or multiples there of, come out from the other one, and get to kill a ton of your models. I am a 3 portal user in my lists, and my third is often set on a flank in round 2 in vital vulnerable location elsewhere. The third portal is flexible, place it when and where you need it.

Vect is also with the unit that I have been using to deploy two portals. Sideways raider, wide deployment of the grotesques with a haemonculi on each end as far out as the deployment from the raider reaches. This means that Vect can eat anything that comes in too close and you have two portals in support of each other.

Blocking units. Hey, we have fast raiders. Use them to fly out into the path of potentially blocking units. Make it so they cannot get around to your portals.

In case of an complete deepstriking list, deploy your portals closer to your board edge, or within assault range encase the portal does get blocked.

Also, use your beasts as deployed behind where your portals are going to be. They will be in immediate assault range of anyone attempting to block them in. Also remember that if your portals are 24" away from your board edge, its not a bad thing to have to use beasts from your board edge if the enemy really is trying to block your portals.

Above all else, when playing a webway list, I prefer to go first. Webway placement is the most important thing early game as it controls deployment of my reserves. Vect is my biggest tool when playing the webway game. Go first, chances are you will control the flow of the portals, Go second deploy making sure that any blocking threats are dealt with, and then attempt to seize.

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Harlequins in the Dark Eldar Codex
Harlequins are one of those rough subjects for me. They are a unit that I pretty much dismissed from the get go. However I have recently found that they really do give Dark Eldar a unique position in the elite slot. I think to figure out where they stand, and their role, you really have to get on the tabletop. Not just with the harlequins, but with the other units that are also in the elite slots of your list.

Play with Incubi for a while, fire up your trueborn and send in those bloodbrides. First off, I am not going to talk about the one way people tend to validate Harlequins in the codex. That as a simple webway delivery system that cannot be shot at. It has valid points, but its a waste of the harlquins unless your archon is carrying the webway, which I also do not think is the most efficient use of an archon.

Harlequins do not like transports apparently. So they should be using the webways to get where you need them. In fact, I now enjoy using harlequins out of a webway. Here are the facts on them that I believe make them a valuable asset in your lists.

1. They ignore difficult terrain. Woot, no need for grenades here, as they ignore it. (people forget this one often when you assault).

2. They have Melta. S8 AP1. Now this is cool, even though it is only 6". Harelquins are the one unit running around in your army that is not afraid to get in close to dreadnaughts. Where else do you find melta in the Dark Eldar? clue FA slots only.

3. They have Rending. Yes, if you are deploying them into the lines of the enemy, give them rending. You will need it. I know 22pts a model makes people cringe when they think equalling the cost of incubi is wrong. Bull. Harlequins can go through cover, incubi strike last in cover. Harlequins can break a dreadnaught, or hit and run if it fails, Incubi just get stuck and die.

4. Hit and run. You want to see how freaking fast you can hit a unit, and then be up to 18" away. Boo yah!. Look, I just moved 3d6" at the end of your assault phase. Now I get to move my 6"+ fleet+ 6" assault somewhere else. If there are still a couple models left alive after your close combat, good, leave them. Let someone that can use a pain token get the kill.

5. Finally, Veil of Tears. The one thing that Dark Eldar Excel at, is wiping out all units where they hit. The next problem is always, now that I killed everything here, how do I survive getting to my next target. Normally its called "I don't". Harelquins excel at surviving because you roll 2d6x2 in order to be able to see them during shooting.

Lets look at the role of the elites and compare.
Hekatrix. Cannot survive a shooting phase of bolters, WS4 (harlequins are 5)

Incubi. OMG there are bushes over there. Assaulting in cover is trouble, no grenades. No high strength weapon to deal with that dreadnaught.

Mandrakes. Oops not an assault unit (no grenades), still a shooty unit without the guns til the Haemonculi brings them.

Trueborn and Grotesques. These are completely different roles, and not really comparable.

Use your harlequins as shock troops, especially when coming out of a portal into enemy lines and flanks. They will exceed your expectations. Especially if they are backed up, and supported. For me that support comes in the way of Talos, Grotesques, and of course my favorite HQ Vect.

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Dark Eldar Nuances
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.

Venoms.
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.

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Dark Eldar Relevancy
Very often when I see Dark Eldar lists there is one re-occurring theme, the troop choices are irrelevant. What I am getting down to is that the small MSU troop units are cut down to the point where they are completely inefficient on the table top. I have played most of my games with these styles of units, bare bones, minimized, with a single blaster carried by a Raider.

These are the most common units I am seeing sitting down on the troop units when seeing dark eldar. All three of these choices clock in right around 120pts each.

Warrior MSU
5 warriors with a Blaster riding on a Raider/Venom

Wrack MSU
3-5 Wracks possibly with a liquifier or hexrilfe riding on a Raider/Venom

Wych MSU
5 Wyches with once special assault weapon of choice on a Raider/Venom

This is the problem I have been running into for quite some time. The rest of my army functions well, while the troop units are simply there to overwhelm opponents with targets, but manage very little to nothing during the game. Now I believe that if you really are going this route, that the venom is the better of the two transports, but you had best be carrying lances or something elsewhere to deal with armour.

What you run into with a list that does this, is that your opponent simply is able to take down the raiders as first priority, since the troops are not able to effectively do much. Then the opponent simply guns down grounded warriors. Raiders go down extremly quick and easy when compared to other mech style MSU lists.

Now I know that by playing well, you can win with these lists ( I generally do). Flood your opponent with waves of sleek Raiders and units, disabling where necessary, and moving around him with such speed that they cannot cope. 12 raiders/Ravagers with the appropriate forces is a fun list to play.

I am just getting to the point where it is not the most effective or efficient use for our Dark Eldar. In lists like these, I have had entire games where I won, but did not generate a single pain token. (broke a ton of vehicles, made some run, but never wiped a unit to a man with infantry units).

Now part of this issue I have been facing is becuase I generally play larger point games. 2500pts most of the time with some that dip down to 2000pts. At this level, the opponent is carrying enough units with decent range to do some serious damage. I believe that Dark Elar MSU lists work best at smaller point levels.

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Dark Eldar Tactics - Surviving the Fire
There are a lot of things that kill dark eldar, especially when they shoot. Thats my humor for the day, because in reality everything that can shoot kills dark eldar. That tiny combi-bolter on that Chaos Rhino..... "You got to be kidding", as it downs its second raider of the day.

I tend to play aggressively, with that in mind, I can lose more dark eldar in a round, that most people have models for. Keep that in mind, and give that I enjoy playing with webway portals. This leaves a big dilemma. If you go first, you got to get them where you want them, which is often not too much of a problem. If you go second, or you just want to drop that extra portal right into a flank or even the front line of the opposition (me), you have to survive. Here is how to do it.

This is the layout I use for one of my webway carrying units.
2 Grotesques @ 200 pts Unit Type: Infantry; Night Vision; Power from Pain; Altered Physique; Berzerk Rampage; Bulky; Gnarlskin; Close Combat Weapon; Liquifier Gun)
1 Aberration (Close Combat Weapon; Scissorhand)
1 Raider ((C:DE, pg. 91); Unit Type: Vehicle (Skimmer, Fast, Open-topped); Transport Capacity: 10 models; Night Vision; Dark Lance x1)

Then Add the Independent Character:
1 Haemonculus Ancient @ 150 pts: Unit Type: Infantry; Night Vision; Power from Pain; Independent Character; Altered Physique; Gnarlskin; Splinter Pistol; Agoniser; Shattershard; Webway Portal x1)

This unit is extremly tough. The best way to defeat it really is to assault it. This is the tactic...

Round 1. Fly flat out in your raider with aethersails 24" + 2d6" to get the position you want. Flanking has worked best for me so far, but I am not above throwing them right down someones throat. They have to down you with your 4+ cover for going flat out. Afterward the raider dies, you will be in cover from everything else.

Round 2. I open the portal. Note that I already have another portal or two in the army that do not get shoved down someones throat.

Why is this unit so tough? It is 4 models with different stat lines and weaponry. It is the cheapest and most efficient use of this type of unit. 4 models with 12 wounds, toughness 5, and feel no pain. So once you are downed, that is a 4+ cover save, followed by a 4+ feel no pain save against every wound. It will take 9 unsaved wounds before you lose a single model.

Distribution of wounds will be your opponents nightmare against this unit, and the fun part is, they must deal with this unit and quickly. For you, while they are dealing with this unit, what is the rest of your army doing? I use this with multiple Talos sitting in reserve, along with Scourges set to deepstrike with heatlances (that can choose to use the portals). My closest secondary portal to the Grotesque unit is normally within assault range meaning that Talos coming in round 2 can reach anything assaulting into the grotesque unit.

Now comes the funny part of the equation, which I saved for last because it is the most devious. The last game I played, my opponent didnt really have any strong dedicated assault units (meaning no Assault Terminators), so I attached Asdrubael Vect to this unit. This took away the units vulnerbility, and made my opponent desperate to kill it. It was immensly entertaining, and when Vect left the squad in round 2, he was joined by secondary webway opening unit, which happened to be my Incubi with feel no pain.

This unit is extremly tough. You can add in another grotesque, but it does work against the point effiency. Adding in an archon to it, adds to the rediculas-ness of it, but makes you more vulnerable to a heavy and lucky round of plasmas, and do not forget that S10 weapons can ruin the day of this unit (but your going to get cover from your wrecked raider). Typically I take things like this into account, but I prefer to play my game, and tend to play aggressively. My defensive thinking during a game is simply "what can my opponent do, where is he going, and do I need to spread out the models in my units vs blast templates.
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Dark Eldar Dangerous Tactics "Ramming Raiders"
This is probably something most people will not want to do. I will be the first to tell you, it is a ton of fun, and the suprise on your opponents face is priceless.

First off, there are several advantages to doing this. Lets knock those out quickly. Popping smoke, or being mostly behind another vehicle will not give you a cover save. Second its possible to fly over units or vehicles to do this and deliver a priceless S10 hit where it hurts. While doing this is situational, I have been doing this now for awhile, and can tell you it is effective. Here is the load-out I use.

Raider: Shock Prow, Aether Sails, and Flickerfield. = 80pts. Ive considered Grisly Trophies, but it seems a little overboard. (this would be used when people place their troops in front of the vehicles. Around here Terminators in front of valuable vehicles is common. The models are big enough to grant cover.)

Here is how it works. Deploy them properly spaced in your deployment zone. I also use them to shield other raiders that are carrying assault units at deployment since the raider will be getting a 5+ invul. Give yourself enough room to rotate your Raider. You will need to do this in order to ram round 1.

1. Declare moving flat out and your Ramming Target and roll your Aethersail bonus movement.

2. Rotate and point towards your opponent.

3. Move the distance needed to hit your target. You only need 24" to get a S10 hit.

4. Place your model in contact with the target.

5. 24"/3 = 8. Then roll for your bonus (shock prow) front armour D3 and add this number to the Strength of the hit.

6. Resolve the damage to your opponent and then to yourself. Don't forget that you are moving flat out, and an immobilization will wreck you. (do not have units on board for this reason or they are lost).

First off it is amazing when you end up with a front AV13 vs the ram and you survive. If you don't make this, you still have a 5+ invul to keep yourself together.

Even though it is possible, I have not yet attempted to break Land Raiders or other heavy armour this way. My goal is simple, to break and disrupt enemy transports. Get them out of their tanks so my incoming Archon/ incubi/ talos/ or other can rip them apart. If I want to slow a Land Raider, I will park a flat out Raider in front of it.

Any game where kill points are not the issue (2/3rds of all games are objectives) I am generally ramming if I get the chance. If I lose my raider, and don't damage the opponent, then I missed out. Most often I did something though, a stun, destroyed a Weapon, or immobilized a transport, or even a wreck.

I go into games knowing that my raiders are going to get blown out of the sky. I have lost many to bolter fire (which is irritating), so when I get to choose how to lose my raiders over my opponent I am taking charge of the game. I have wrecked a Raider in front of a Vindicator before that I immobilized. The rest of the game, it had to shoot through my Wrecked Raider, and did very little damage to me.

I don't have to roll to hit, there are no cover saves, it is S10 compared to my S8 lance. It offers me more opportunities on the table top. Even just using the aethersails to move my raider into a blocking position to hamper enemy movement makes it worth while. It suites my playstyle, and is fun.

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Dark Eldar Tactica - Dealing with Heavy Armour
It seems simple right? Take a bunch of Darklight Weaponry and boom, heavy armour means nothing to you. Land Raiders, Predators, Leman Russ's, Monoliths, and Black Templar Land Raiders..... Oops.

Hey look, that land raider is rampaging through your army because lance weapons mean nothing to it. That necron monolith pretty harmless? lol. Nothing says die to dark eldar MSU like a monolith in your face. (yes, just faced that the hard way). Yea yea yea, you can always just run circles around them, but do you remember that we play objectives in this game?

I tend to work a list to play vs everyone. So my list does not change vs different opponents. No I did not lose my game to necrons, but losing so much of your army to a two monoliths was ridicules. The same craziness can happen to a Blessed Hull Land Raider running around. While not popular yet, Black Templar are something I expect to start seeing since the new FAQs. Necrons with a new codex coming will explode the number of necron players around this fall.

It is simple really. Make sure you are carrying enough Haywire. We have several places to get it. Wyches, Bloodbrides, and even Trueborn can carry them. Your Archons can as well, however a single haywire is not enough in my book. You also get something I have just started using, and that is Haywire Blasters in your scourges.

Haywire Grenades. Round 1. 5 wyches are only 60pts with haywire, they need a raider. With Lady Malys you are always able to make sure you are able to get that great positioning across the board from that Land Raider, so get them round 1. Raider turn 3", move 12", disembark 3", run D6", and assault 6". Almost up to 30" in reach. I have been taking two such units. This gives me enough punch to disable a chimera wall, predator, land raiders, and anything else in armour. Yea, you might lose them, but no armour will be taking shots at them, and with the wyches right in front you really plug up their lines. What this does is really free up the rest of your shooting to take out other targets.

Haywire Blasters. 5 scourges with two haywire blasters takes you up to 130pts. The gun is set at 24" assault 1 S4 SP4. So what you end up with are units able to disable mech, and shoot down infantry units with 11 shots at up to 30" away with their carbines and 2 haywire shots. With as much mech as we see, and so many tournaments not geared towards win/loss but battlepoints instead, you need to wipe your opponent to do well. Haywire disables your opponents army. It doesn't care what it is, any armour value will do. With two blasters vs Haywire blasters: One missed, the other blaster bounced. Haywire, one missed, the other shot glanced. Target neutralized this round.

Haywire does something special in the Dark Eldar army. It disables your opponent, its like grabbing and pinning his arms, so that you can gut him. While Darklight weaponry is awesome, and it will blow stuff up, it is not reliable enough to destroy large amounts of armour on the field. Armour should be something you that fears you, with haywire, darklight weapons, and extreme close combat squads in your midst.

Sorry if I seem a little incoherent this morning, yesterday was long and the caffiene just isnt helping. There is a point though, so hopefully I got to it. No real time for editing.

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Tactica of Commorragh - Wracks
The biggest problem I have had with wracks is their inability to shoot. While they are good at standing still, and absorbing small arms fire, they really did not shine on me until they hit the table a few times.

There are a few problems when trying to get special characters into wrack units. It really is one of the biggest efficiency problems the wracks have.

A razorback for instance is set up perfectly for a 10 man tactical squad to combat squad with just enough room for the independent character. Wracks on the other hand, can only get a special weapon every 5 wracks. If you only want 5 wracks for a venom transport, that precludes any special character. The same goes for a raider with 10 wracks with 2 special weapons.

I am not a fan of the Hexrifle personally, and giving an acolyte a special weapon does not grant an extra attack. This limits an acolyte in my book to a +1 leadership for the unit.

With these limitations in mind, (my mind), I have been using 5 man wrack units with a raider transport. I have seen marginal success this way, however, I did discover a very excellent tactic for using my wracks on the tabletop.

Wracks in 10 man units are extremely durable. Unlike Warriors or Wyches that tend to lose every wounded model when the raider goes up in smoke, Wracks are extremely durable enough to remain in raiders while in play. Not to mention that with dual liquifiers you can flame from any point of the hull on the raider as long as you do not move over 6". Also wracks in cover recieve a 4+cover save and then their feel no pain.

Dark Eldar can throw down a lot of anti-tank fire, and having a couple raiders filled with wracks in your troop choices with dual liquifiers is an excellent tool. Remember that wracks do not come with grenades. Wracks deal with units in cover with liquifiers, and ones not in cover with assault. (technically both, but efficiency means you do not want to assault into cover unless you have to or overwhelming odds.)

Round 1. Move in 12" and fire off your lance, or go flat out to get into the enemy or its flank close to a targeted transport.

Round 2. Move 6" double flame away from any point of the raiders hull

The primary points: Wracks can stay in their transports, and dual liquifiers from any point on the hull are nice. Not to mention you are moving objective claiming units forward to claim objectives later. Wracks in cover can be hard to remove, and in general Independent characters should probably be travelling with someone else.

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8 Comments:

  1. Great article!

    As a veteran DE player it's nice to see some astute observations other than just suggesting MSU lance spam.

    One quibble: the suggestion regarding the Animus Vitae. It is a separate special assault weapon so it's abilities can't be combined with the bonuses conveyed by a Scissorhand or Flesh Gauntlet. If you choose to utilize the Animus Vitae any other assault weapon merely grant you an additional attack. The furious charge from a pain token is still nice though.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Great article! I have some great new ideas/tactics to try out, thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  3. As a SoB player I don't mind the poison weapons (I ususally get wounded on a 3+, so 4+ is nice).

    Flamers and assaults do really ruin a reaver's day also.

    I have also seen a unit of DCA with Uriah Jacobus wipe out a unit of Grots with Vect and Homoculi, then bounce a unit of wyches off into retreat. All with only 4 DCA dead, so 5 DCA left with Uriah. That was some good dice rolling saves though and optimum setup.

    ReplyDelete
  4. just so you know a new Sisters FAQ is up

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yes, all two (2) lines of it!

    LOL

    ReplyDelete
  6. Be fair:
    3 errata and 2 Faq

    I could of said what 2 errata and 1 Faq was going to be before that even. The power weapon thing makes sense since some models get power mace/mauls. The St. Celestine coming back from absolutely anything is nice too.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks again, I played my first game tonite and puled out some of these tricks. Decisive win! It was really strange, as primarily an Ork player, to actually hit and wound...

    ReplyDelete

 
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