Dark Eldar Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Part 2

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Hey everyone, Reecius back again to wrap up the Dark Eldar Codex review! Read part 1 here. Also, check out the Tactics Corner for more great reviews!

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So, last time we were plowing through the Good portion of the review and guess what? We’re still in the Good! While there are some definite turds in the Dark Eldar codex, most of it is actually really solid.

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Razorwing Jetfighter

I love this unit! I would marry it if it had Vector Dancer (which it should, really) but instead the DE flyers get Supersonic instead to show how fast they are compared to Eldar agility I guess? Eh, whatever, Supersonic is a rule that you will almost never use (flat out further) so oh well. What you do get, though, is an amazing weapons platform for a reasonable price in the fast attack slot. The Razorwing is reasonably priced at 130pts, and at 5pts a gun can upgrade its Disintegrators to Dark Lances which most folks will do, to give it lethal AA and AT punch. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg. It also comes with a twin linked Splinter Rifle which you can upgrade to a Splinter Cannon (not likely as it conflicts with the AT/AA role of the primary weapons). Lastly, it also comes stock with 4 Monoscythe missiles which are excellent. Strength 6, AP5, large blast makes these deadly to light infantry and vehicles. You can swap out to other missile types, which have strengths, but I would stick with the Monoscythe missiles for versatility.

These bad boys can come in and snipe MCs, other flyers and tanks, or lambast infantry with their missiles. Now that they are in fast attack too, they no longer compete with the excellent Ravager and now really appealing Talos and Cronos. Plus, in the Raiders from Realspace Detachment, you can take 6 of them! That is a really nice air force. In all, the Razorwing is a really solid air unit and I expect to see a lot of them in DE lists.

Scourges

Finally! Scourges may be the most amazing looking infantry units GW has put out, IMO, and now they are really, really good. Points reduction, and can take 4 special or heavy weapons in a unit of 5. Nice! These are an absolutely fantastic unit. They are also one of the few DE units to discover the joy of assault grenades, so you can invest some points into them to gear them for assault as a secondary role to pick on vehicles (Haywire Grenades) or weak units (Agoniser or Venom Blade) if you feel so inclined. Generally though, keeping them to units of 5 with 4 weapon upgrades is the way you will see them run.

While they have a wide array of options all of which are situationally useful, Heat Lances, Blasters and Haywire Blasters jump out as the best options. The reason why is that they allow the Scourges to stay mobile, and help to take out heavy tanks which DE can struggle with. Haywire Blasters especially, serve this role well and can help DE to kill Knights and Wave Serpents which are the bane of their existence. You could also run with 4 Shredders to keep them super cheap and while the range is short, that can be a brutal AI punch with all those stacked templates. Typically you won’t need this though, as the rest of the DE armyis so good at AI already.

Conversely, you can simply run them like a Devastator unit and give them 4 Lances or Splinter Cannons, but, you have other units that mount those weapons and are better at it (Ravagers). Combine this with their speed and ability to deep strike if you decide that is wise, and Scourges are an excellent unit.

Talos & Cronos

Everything counts in large amounts! With a simple rules change, these went from mediocre to really appealing. Both units can now be taken in units of 1-3, which is fantastic.

Talos can now reliably get across the table and wade into combat, doing some damage. Their middling MC stats are offset by having more of them. With the ability to get 5 attacks on the charge with shred, they will do a lot of damage. FnP, T7, and a 3+ means they are fairly resilient. They also pack decent firepower with a twin Splinter Cannon, Stinger Pod, Twin Heat Lance or Twin Haywire Blaster. All of these are solid options, but as with Scourges, the Heat Lance and Haywire Blaster jump out as top choices as they fill a role the rest of your army doesn’t do as well. You can absolutely keep them stock with the Splinter Cannon though, for additional AI/anti MC if needs be. A unit of 3 with twin-linked weapons packs a nasty sting of 18 poison shots. Not bad at all as they advance up the field. Splinter Pods too, are not bad as a unit of 3 would toss out 6 small blasts at ST5, AP5 out to 24″. That is pretty dang solid for clearing infantry.

Beyond that, the only upgrade I would consider is the Chain Flails for shred or the Ichor Injector for the potential for instant death and Fleshbane which makes them murder vs. things like Wraithknights and Gargantuan Creatures. Fifteen ST7, Fleshbane ID on a 6, WS5 attacks on a 3+, FnP chassis is no joke. The Liquefier Gun actually takes away a melee weapon for a ST3 template…not a good trade.

While on a straight points efficiency basis they really don’t stack up to the Ravager with whom they compete, they do provide a solid assault unit that also shoots well and can provide counter-assault to slow down enemy units that could otherwise disrupt your lines.

The Cronos is a cheap MC that is also a nice support unit. While he isn’t that impressive in terms of damage output with WS3, ST5. However, he is still pretty durable and has OK weapons. He comes stock with a ST3, AP3 flamer…meh, and can upgrade to a ST3, AP3 large blast….meh. The only real reason to take these ugly critters though is for the Spirit Probe. It gives all DE units within 6″ +1 FnP. Niiiice! So, for many lists, this will not matter as your units will be loaded up in transports and zipping around the table and at T3, who cares. You won’t be getting your FnP that often anyway. However, if you are running lots of  Grotesques or Talos, this is a great tool to improve your durability. And, the Cronos is still a resilient MC with 3 attacks, able to go in and beat up on most things in the game with impunity.

Ravager

Yeah, still a boss. The Ravager is a fantastic gunboat, pure and simple. Cheap, fast, hits hard. Yes, it got a slight points increase to run triple Lance, but, it needed to. It was underpriced before. It is still an incredible value. And now, running Disintegrators is more appealing and they are quite good. Not much to say about it beyond that. The Ravager is fantastic and many DE lists will have 3.

the bad

The Bad

There aren’t many units in this category, but those that are here are really bad.

Wyches

Woooooooow…these are terrible. So, so bad. Their invul save only works in combat, so shooting vaporizes them, over watch vaporizes them, their vehicle exploding vaporizes them…a stiff fart in their general direction vaporizes them. It would be something of a balancing act if they hit hard, but they don’t. Strength 3, WS4…yeah. They die like nothing and hit like a wet noodle. Combat Drugs and PfP can help, but still, they quite simply stink. Losing Haywire grenades was the last straw as that was the one thing they still did well: kill armor. I would not take Wyches in anything but a themed list.

Wracks

Now that they can’t be taken as troops, Poison got nerfed (no more reroll to wound unless your strength is greater than the target’s toughness), Liquefiers are only Str3, no grenades, and you can count these guys out. You can make a sort of half-assed sniper unit with an Ossificator and Hexrifle I guess. They do have poison attacks, so they can hunt MCs…kind of. In general, I do not think these fellas provide a whole lot.

ugly

The Ugly

Quite a few units are neither good nor bad, just sort of in-between.

Archon

So, the Archon is not bad at all, he’s just not that good, either. He is cheap, that is nice, and can get you a low cost WWP. He can also pack a Blaster which with his BS7 is awesome. I think an Archon with a Blaster, WWP and Haywire Grenade is a nice, cheap HQ. Or even just the Blaster and Haywire. You can kit him for assault to a degree, but with no AP2 options, T3, and S3, he really just struggles to compete. You can use him to hunt non 2+, non dedicated-assault units like Tac Marines, etc. but DE really don’t need any help in that regard. They could use a nice, potent assault character to counter things like Chapter Masters, but the Archon is not that. When he gets killed in one hit, and can’t get through a 2+ save, even with a 2++ from the Shadowfield, he quite simply can’t compete. He does though, give you a cheap HQ that can provide some utility and a potent little shooting attack.

Lelith Hesperax

She’s definitely better than before, but still not good. While yes, she does get a nice boost in challenges (reroll to hit and wound), and can get 9 attacks, with strength 3 she needs 5’s or 6’s to wound most things which is just crippling. Even with WS9 and a 3++ in combat, all it takes is one Str6 hit and she’s dust. She just can’t hang with the really powerful assault units. So again, she’s solid for her points, but simply falls short of being a truly useful assault unit in a TAC list. Oh, and her Warlord trait is straight Lols!

Urien Rakarth

A lot of folks disagree with me on this one, and that is fine as I agree he flirts with good status. Urien is a solid HQ, provides a bubble of PfP boosting, has 4+ FnP, IWND, T5, 4++, and an Ichor Injector, I don’t see taking him over a generic HQ. He is good, and the most resilient HQ by a mile which makes him a good choice for Warlord. If you are running a lot of Grotesques and Talos, he definitely belongs in the good category, but if you are running a typical mech spam DE list, he doesn’t do much to boost your army that a cheaper HQ could add in other ways.

Drazhar

Ooooh, Drahzar. He could be amazing, but he has no grenades, and can only join Incubi. He does pack a serious punch once he gets into combat though, with St4, PfP, Rampage and Demiklaives, but, he has no invul. The 2+ save helps a ton, and boosting the WS of Incubi is slick, but with the limitations placed on him through his special rules he struggles to compete with the other HQ choices for his 190pt price tag.

Incubi

Well, it’s a theme. No grenades stinks. At least they have a 3+ and powerful AP2 Kalive attacks. With a 2pt decrease per model, that helps a ton, but, they just struggle to deliver the goods on a consistent basis. At T3, assaulting a smart player who is in cover, they will take heavy casualties before swinging on a unit that really needs to swing first. While they can be very powerful, their limitations keep them from being a consistently awesome unit.

Hellions

Yet again, no grenades on a unit that is T3, with a 5+ save is just devastating. They do have PfP and Combat Drugs to mitigate this, but when facing over watch and getting punched before punching, they simply melt doing what it is they are meant to do. They do shoot very well, though, but the entire DE army puts out great poison shooting and you really don’t need more of it. Hit and Run is nice though, and those two factors save them from going into the Bad category. Yet another unit that with just the addition of Grenades, becomes good.

Voidraven Bomber

The Voidraven Bomber feels like it could be good, and it’s sexy as hell, but it’s so expensive. At 160 base, on an AV10 chassis, that’s pushing the limits of value. But with missiles it can go up to 220! Wow, that’s WAY too expensive for a unit that flimsy. But, assuming you just run it with lances and mine, it packs a nasty sting. The mine especially rocks, as a large blast, ap2, lance weapon that only scatters D6″ means it is extremely accurate and can snipe models out of a unit like a boss. Combine this with 2 strength 9 lances, and you have a powerful offensive tool. You can look at Tue scythes, which gives you two small blast strength 8, ap2 lance weapons. Not bad, but it means he can’t shoot other flyers. I’d stick with the lances which give you excellent AT. So, this is a unit that rocks apart from its exorbitant cost.

Well, there you have it! The Dark Eldar book has a few stinkers, losing the special characters, especially Vect, is super lame, but in general this is a very good book. With the Raiders from Real Space Detachment, tons of cheap, powerful units, and multiple, viable ways to play the book, I think the Dark Eldar codex has a lot to be excited about.

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About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

51 Responses to “Dark Eldar Review: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Part 2”

  1. Thomas October 10, 2014 1:43 am
    #

    What’s your take on beastmasters compared to hellions? 3 pts cheaper, access to melee weapons, beast not jump infantry. Worth considering?

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 10, 2014 8:49 am
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      Hellions are a shooting unit, beast masters assault. So, depending on what you need, either unit can work.

      • Thomas October 10, 2014 9:07 am
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        A beastmaster unit of only beastmasters (you can now any way you like when building the unit, so 12 masters are legit) bring the same fire power as a Hellion unit but at a 3 pts discount. The beastmaster skyboard and the Hellion skyboard both got splinter pods. The big difference is their unit type.

        • Reecius
          Reecius October 10, 2014 1:30 pm
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          Ahh, nice catch, I missed that.

  2. Greggles October 10, 2014 3:35 am
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    I’m betting the reason the razorwing doesn’t have vector dancer, is because it’s being removed from the game. (Eldar will lose it too).

    Great roundup and review Reece!

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 10, 2014 8:47 am
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      Vector dancer is legit, so good. Glad you liked it!

  3. Shane October 10, 2014 3:43 am
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    Thanks for a great review Reecius,
    It’s very refreshing to see someone actually focus on the good points of the new codex rather than simply be blinded by all the things that were lost from the old one like most reviewers have been so far.

    I really think GW missed a trick not giving the Arhcon/Sucubuss access to a jet bike or sky board. That would have opened up many more interesting options in the HQ section, which to me just lacks viable options outside of the WWP.

    Still unlike the ork codex, this one has enough appeal to get me to actually start painting the models I already have and probably purchase a lot more.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 10, 2014 8:56 am
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      Glad you liked it! And yeah, I agree, no bikes and no slyboards for HQs stinks. That would have been awesome.

  4. Fagerlund October 10, 2014 3:50 am
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    I think you forgot the Voidraven Bomber? Or is it so insignificant that it doesn’t belong in any category? ^^

    And it really is too bad about the lack of grenades… it must be some kind of oversight…

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 10, 2014 8:52 am
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      Added voidraven, thanks! And yeah, no grenades is crippling.

      • fluger October 10, 2014 1:18 pm
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        I’m confused as to why spending 20 pts more on the Voidraven makes it exorbitant compared to the razorwing?

        • Reecius
          Reecius October 10, 2014 5:15 pm
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          No missiles. Really, you’re comparing a 220pt model to a 140pt model.

          • fluger October 11, 2014 7:45 am
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            Ahhh, gotcha. I’m still digesting the dex. I guess instead of missiles, one gets void mines. But I think the missiles are better. Cool.

          • AbusePuppy October 11, 2014 8:20 pm
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            Instead of four Missiles, it gets one Mine (and a significant price hike.)

            Yeah, the Bomber is kinda garbage.

  5. Caldria October 10, 2014 3:57 am
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    Man, over the last year I’ve been trying to sell my few Dark Eldar models I have (the army i started 40k with) as I just really got into Eldar and Dark Angels more and hated having “too many” armies to focus on.

    Then the news/rumours of this codex came which made me want to sell them even more, with the loss of the cool special characters etc, and wychs (who are some of my favourite models with their awesome dynamic poses) getting hit hard.

    But spending some time looking at other peoples opinions and then reading this review – I all of a sudden got excited about them again, and I’ve decided to keep them. Can’t wait to buy some talos/taloi? and scourges! Thanks for an awesome review Reece.

    • Jason Brown October 10, 2014 7:43 am
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      We are getting some super powerful formations with the Covens book. Having seen the thing I can with 100% say we are getting everything the rumors are saying. For me two really stick out: (these go torwards your Talos/Cronos fetish) a)Corpsesomething Something is five talos in a single unit that have SCOUT and an extra VP for killing units that have a T, b) Master BLAhblahblah is a talos a cronos and a heamey. The MCs get one I and WS. That second one the Haemey can get a WWP and if you have another groteque bomb you have a very reliable FNP+4 for a lot of units.

      Just saying…

      • Reecius
        Reecius October 10, 2014 8:53 am
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        Those sound so awesome! I’ve been hearing that, too. Can’t wait.

        • Jason Brown October 10, 2014 9:00 am
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          I know. Its a tough call, 5 scouting talos or my Eldar detachment.

          • Reecius
            Reecius October 10, 2014 9:05 am
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            I agree, that formation is rad!

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 10, 2014 8:54 am
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      Happy to help! Frankie and I are pumped for DE.

    • Km October 10, 2014 12:00 pm
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      Taloi…
      I thought i was the only one on here who knew greek!haha

  6. Pascal Roggen October 10, 2014 5:46 am
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    love the article, just need a quick edit on the cronos paragraph, you start using the word talos instead of cronos at the start:)

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 10, 2014 8:44 am
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      Typo fixed, glad you liked it!

  7. Novastar October 10, 2014 6:16 am
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    I think the 10 ten points to give the razorwing a splinter cannon is worth it, it helps kill any non vehicle and when you face off vs flying MCs you will be very glad you have more shots to poor into them

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 10, 2014 9:05 am
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      Good point.

    • AbusePuppy October 11, 2014 8:21 pm
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      The anti-infantry Razorwing setup may actually be fairly legit- four missiles, two Dissies, and the Splinter on the front lets you hose down anything with a toughness value pretty effectively and can even put a fair amount of threat on FMCs. Of course, at that point your AA is basically nonexistent, but that’s less of an issue these days, so it’s something to possibly consider.

      • Reecius
        Reecius October 13, 2014 7:29 am
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        Some guys at feast we’re talking about that load out, too. That is a shit ton of Dakka.

  8. Morollan October 10, 2014 6:24 am
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    Not sure why you feel Ravagers are so good? Loss of Aerial Assault means they can only fire 2 of their 3 weapons at full BS and loss of Flickerfields means they’re going to be Jinking permanently so the other 2 weapons will also be snap firing. Coupled with a points increase and a lot of DE players are suddenly wondering what the point of having any Ravagers is, let alone 3 of them!

    • D-ManA October 10, 2014 8:39 am
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      First of fast vehicle can fire all weapons at full bs if they move combat speed and fire two weapons at full bs if they move cruising speed. if you give it night shields they gain stealth and if you use cover to your advantage then you don’t need to jink. I feel that the ravager is still a good workhorse for anti-tank or anti-2+ armor. they will still remain in my list though I will give up a slot to the talos now 🙂

      • Reecius
        Reecius October 10, 2014 8:46 am
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        Exactly. I understand why folks are upset, but for the points, the ravager is still fantastic , mobile, firepower. They give you something you need in the book.

        • Morollan October 13, 2014 3:17 am
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          For 5 points less than a Dark Lance Ravager with Night Shields I can get a Wave Serpent with Scatter Laser and Holo-fields. Which is kind of the problem with the Dark Eldar. Pretty much anything they can do, the Eldar can do better and/or cheaper. Combine that with the lack of grenades, complete inability to deal with enemy flyers (Razorwing and Voidraven are laughable AA platforms) and the lost opportunity to actually create a balanced and flavorful DE codex and I’m left feeling distinctly underwhelmed by the new book.

          • Reecius
            Reecius October 13, 2014 7:23 am
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            Nothing compares favorably to the wave serpent, though. It’s far too good. And I am actually in disagreement about Tue razorwing. I think it looks quite good for the points, especially in large numbers. The voidraven I’m not sold on, yet.

  9. fluger October 10, 2014 7:22 am
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    I love what my buddy said on a different forum in regards to grenades.

    “It has been a long standing tradition to give grenades to units which have little use for them and none for units which desperately need them.

    IG heavy weapon teams? Frag out!

    Howling banshees? A fist full of nothing”

    I hadn’t realized the monoscythe missiles were so good. Razorwings FTW!

    As to wyches. I agree that they are pretty much hot garbage, but they at least DO bring grenades to the party at I6 (1/6th of the time at i7!). I found a way to make them at least approaching respectable, get them near Urien and a Cronos. Bam! 5+ FNP to start and then 4+ next turn. Do the raiders detachment and they get 5+ cover as well. Sure. You put enough MCs near by them to threaten and diffuse target priority, and maybe some Grotesques? I dunno, it’s obviously not perfect by any means, but I feel like that’s about the best bet for getting any use out of ’em.

    • fluger October 10, 2014 7:23 am
      #

      Oh, and dual hydra gauntlets and 3 of them in a 10 strong unit is decent. Sure they are only S3, but those attacks basically have shred. Helps a bit and at 5 pts each…not too ‘spensive.

      • Jason Brown October 10, 2014 7:45 am
        #

        FNP+4 is great, but on a T3 model it suxxors. Grotesques and Talos…..hells yes!

        • fluger October 10, 2014 7:55 am
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          Sure, I’m polishing a turd here, I get that, but if you’re going to run heavy coven units (grotesques and talos/cronos), then you need troops. Wyches suck, but at least they move up with the other units and at least do something.

          • fluger October 10, 2014 7:56 am
            #

            Then again, you could just take 2 units of 5warriors with blaster in venom and call it a day.

    • Km October 10, 2014 12:05 pm
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      I think the point is that all imperials get them as standard issue… Also for their points, heavy weapons teams are probably as useful for assaulting as banshees!

  10. HERO October 10, 2014 8:39 am
    #

    As someone who has used Ravagers forever, I’m not sure how you can label them as great. They were GOOD back when they were 105 stock with Aerial Assault, but now they’re 125 and lost that rule. They got worse in every single way: Losing maneuverability, Flickerfields and costing more for the same guns. I don’t know a single person who played competitively who thought Ravagers needed a change. but apparently GW did.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 10, 2014 8:43 am
      #

      Try not to think about them in terms of what they were but what they are. I know its tough, but what they give you is great, mobile, cheap AT. They were underpriced before, and when you took 6 in double CAD, it got crazy. I think they now give you a great value for their points, YMMV.

      • HERO October 10, 2014 8:55 am
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        But when you didn’t take 6, they were decent at best. I don’t look at double FOC as a thing in the game because that’s a force multiplier condition rather than commonplace. What I see right now is an AV11 open-top dedicated anti-tank vehicle that has to Jink to get any save, that shoots 3 lances, doing less than 1 average hull point on an AV12 target and even less when there’s cover, for 125 points. That’s just.. not good. The loss of Aerial Assault is huge, because that’s the difference between front vs. side, cover or no cover.

  11. iNcontroL October 10, 2014 9:28 am
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    nice article reece! Glad there are things for the DE to be excited about.. and it NOT just being venom spam 🙂

  12. colinsherlow October 10, 2014 11:30 am
    #

    I hear that you Frontline fellows have a podcast about dark elder tactics?

    I can’t seem to find it.

    Help a guy would ya

    Thanks

  13. ligolski October 10, 2014 4:27 pm
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    I’m incredibly surprised you put Urien in the Ugly side. Sure he fits a certain play style, but it is a very valid and extremely potent play side for the new codex..coven supplement especially makes this the case. I think he’s super solid for his points cost and his bonus to PfP will be useful (especially for the coven specific stuff). Just my 2 cents.

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 10, 2014 5:16 pm
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      Yeah, you make very valid points. He’s a solid HQ, I just don’t think he’s an all around A+. However, if you plan on playing a coven list, then he’s your guy.

  14. Alan October 10, 2014 6:16 pm
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    Nice review, Reece! Ravagers are awesome, I think! The sort of epitomize DE to me: really hard hitting and mobile but paper thin. Love FLG reviews.

  15. BC October 10, 2014 8:56 pm
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    So is MSU likely the strongest build? Honestly, I am thinking about a break from Nids and might try my hand at DE.

    WWP fire dragon bomb might be fun too.

  16. JC October 12, 2014 7:55 pm
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    I think DE new AT is through haywire blasters and CC attacks. At this point I’m struggling to want a ravager over a void raven or set of taloi with haywire blasters…

    • Reecius
      Reecius October 13, 2014 7:31 am
      #

      The haywire scourge will definitely be a thing.

  17. T2-Keks October 13, 2014 11:48 am
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    Looking forward to some DE batreps! 🙂

    Glad you see some hope for the sado maso space elves.

  18. Bdub October 13, 2014 5:45 pm
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    I’m not sure if having 6 FA slots available will be enough lol!