Dark Footdar: First Playtest

I finally had a chance to play test the Dark Footdar.

My initial impression of this list is VERY positive. I played against a standard Space Marine list at 2,000pts.

We played Pitched Battle, Kill Points.

Here is a copy of the list I ended up running.

Dark Footdar 2000pts
Unit Description Size Cost
Malys 1 130
Archon Agoniser, Blaster, Shadowfield, Haywire, Phantasm, WWP 1 190
Warriors Blaster, Splinter Cannon 10 115
Warriors Blaster, Splinter Cannon 10 115
Warriors Blaster, Splinter Cannon 10 115
Wyches Haywires, Shardnets x 2, Syren, Agoniser 10 170
Grotesques Liquifier, Aberation 10 370
Fast Attack
Beastmasters Master x 5, Kymera x 10, Razor x 6 21 255
Scourges Haywire Blaster x 2 5 130
Reavers Heat Lance x 2, Arena Champion, Venom Blade 6 171
Heavy Support
Talos Chain Flails, Heat Lance 1 120
Talos Chain Flails, Heat Lance 1 120
Totals 86 2001

I opted to go with the Malys/Archon combo. This gives me all the benefits of Malys, plus the Phantasm, extra hitting power, and Blaster of the Archon. You do lose the 2 extra Pain Tokens, although in this game it really didn’t matter. The Grotes didn’t need FA, and being immune to psychic powers, only tank shock was worrisome.

My opponent had a very vanilla Space Marine army.


Chaplain in Terminator Armor

Chapter Master with Lightening Claws


Tac Terminators in a LRC with x-tra armor

Dreadnought with M.Melta


Full Tac squad with all the kit in a Rhino x 3


Kitted out Vanguard unit



So, a very middle of the road list, but we did this on purpose as this is a good baseline to see how this army plays out. We will begin putting it through the paces against increasibly more powerful opponents and lists.

The game was quite fun. I got first turn and took it. The Grotes with Malys and the Archon advanced up-field and dropped the WWP a bit off center of the board. Some LOS blocking terrain kept me out of the firing sites of a Vindie (Malys’ redeploy is great for this).

My opponent adjusted his army to get ready to shoot me up, and took some opportunity fire at my unit of Grotes, doing nothing. That unit is crazy resilient.

Turn two, the Beasts, a Talos, Reavers and the Scourges came in. One thing I noticed immediately was that any more units than that coming out of the WWP would have been a nightmare. You run out of real estate fast, especially with giant units like the Beasts.

The flexibility of the Scourges coming in via deepstrike was really useful because of this. With Haywire blasters they were able to come down at a safe distance from the Vindie and managed to immobilize it in a terrible facing, effectively taking the biggest threat to my Grotes out of the game. Nice one! Those Haywire Blasters are great suppression weapons.

The Talos and the Reavers went after the Land Raider. The Reavers being skilled riders and able to move 12″ out of the WWP was also fantastic. You have a huge threat radius out of that thing, and with 18″ on those Heat Lances, really can strike deeply into your opponent’s lines. They failed to destroy the LRC, but they did stun it. The following turn the got hosed by the assault cannon, broke and ran for it. The Arena Champ in this unit may be wasted points for that reason. They are incredibly fragile. Had they had cover, it would have been much better, but often when you go for that all or nothing attack, you have to leave them exposed.

The Talos came in and popped a Rhino thanks to that surprisingly long reach on the Heat Lance out of the WWP. This allowed the Beasts to charge the unit that fell out along with the Chapter Master and even with terrible rolls on my part, destroy that unit with very, very light casualties. That unit has a HUGE range out of the WWP and a ton of damage output and resiliency with wound allocation tricks.

On my opponent’s turn, he destroyed the Scourges and took a few pot shots, but wasn’t able to do much to me. His Terminators, Chappy and Dread charged my Talos who put all his attacks on the Dread and Chappy, killing them before dying.

My next turn, everything else came in. I opted to have the Warriors come in off the board edge. With an effective 24″ range on their blasters, they were able to open a Rhino that had strayed a hair to close to my board edge. In subsequent rounds, one squad was eaten by the Vanguards who were in turn flaked down by the remaining warriors. I really like these squads’ load outs. 10 bodies is enough to hang around, and the Splinter Cannon and Blaster gives them bite to take on a wide variety of targets and do telling damage.

My Wyches did nothing. They flubbed all of their fleet rolls and never made it anywhere. They didn’t die though, so there’s that.

The Second Talos also popped a Rhino allowing the Grote squad to crash into the Tacs inside, wiping them. Massive overkill. That unit just rapes MEQs.

The Beasts then went into the terminators, easily killing them.

We called the game at this point.

WWPs are fun!

So what did I take away from this game?

This army is FUN to play! You have so many tricks you can pull out of your hat that it really is an army with a lot of tactical depth. It is also very reactive, which is the way I like to play. You can sit and see what your opponent is going to do before committing to anything. In a game like 40K with no reactionary actions, this is really big. You can effectively take turns away from your opponent and dictate where the action happens. You can pounce on any deployment/movement mistakes. This is also hugely beneficial as you can effectively force a flank, castle, or bum rush as the situation demands, after you determine which is the best way to play.

The army hits very hard. The Beasts, Taloi, and Grote squad are straight wrecking balls. Really powerful units.

The auxiliary units are also very good. The Scourges and Reavers add a lot. I wish I had another Fast Attack Slot to add some more in. I think the Scourges are the better buy on a straight points efficiency comparison as the deployment abilities really opens the board up to them. The Reavers are so fragile that they may not be worth the points. However, they do have tremendous speed. More play testing will tell.

The troops didn’t have a chance to do much this game. They were more than enough to get the job done, though and had it been objectives, I would have felt fine. I like the load out on the Warriors a lot. They remind me of the Dire Avengers I use in my Footdar with what I wish they always had: a tool for popping tanks. That Blaster makes them a really well rounded unit. They can’t assault after shooting their Rifles which stinks, but I think it’s a fair trade. You should play them conservatively though. Don’t risk them unnecessarily just to take a pot-shot with their blaster. Remember that their purpose is to take and hold objectives. In  KP mission they’re more expendable, but you don’t want to give them away, either.

The Wyches didn’t have a chance to do anything this game, but I could see them being a great combo unit to go in with a Talos or the Grotes to soak up attacks. Being an aggressive scoring unit, they have good odds of being the unit that will take enemy objectives for you.

I am a bit torn on the HQ choices. I think you really need that second WWP or change the list a fair bit. You could do it with 1, but things could get really crowded, really fast. I was feeling the crunch even with poor reserve rolls turn 2.

Malys and 2 Haemis or an Archon and 2 probably is the best bet. It gives you a LOT more flexibility and you can cover a lot more of the board. The Baron probably isn’t necessary. That Grote unit is so though there isn’t much apart from a triple Manticore list or such that can realistically take them down and as such the Stealth isn’t as great. I’d rather have the increased hitting power an Archon offers.

I do really like this army though. It plays a very unorthodox game which is fun, and it is extremely flexible. It is a bit dependent on luck, but not terribly so. I think so long as you play on a table with decent terrain, this should be something that is pretty easily mitigated.

Lastly, 12 KP in a DE list was pretty awesome. I had less than my opponent! Not often that happens with DE.

More play-testing is in order against some tougher opponents, but my initial reactions are very positive. I think this is an army that has a ton of potential and I am excited to try it out more.


About Reecius

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

28 Responses to “Dark Footdar: First Playtest”

  1. xzandrate May 14, 2012 4:15 am #

    Glad it played well for you. It doesn’t take much to get a convert to the WWP, when it goes well you just dominate the board and it really does a number on opponents. One of my games against an Eldar Corsair list consisted of his entire army staying 24″+ away from the portal.

    The ‘bit off center’ deployment of the WWP seems optimal especially when you only take one. As you can see with the blasters from the warriors if you run into the smart guy who decides to ‘surround the portal’ stuff can come in on your board edge and hit the units on your half of the table around the portal. I prefer having the beasts line up and hope for a decent fleet move and flex the threat range of the army, portal or not.

    I wish I could give you something on the reavers, but I’ve only had any success with them going flat out over people for the wounds and then taking potshots on rear armour. But 9 times out of 10, they all die the turn they don’t move flat out. So they come down to a gimmick harassment unit, or replaced by scourges or beasts.

    • Reecius May 14, 2012 12:15 pm #

      Yeah, I agree. I was thinking that with Malys and going first, you can put the Beasts on the board and then fake your opponent out with deployment tricks. If he counter deploys, you put them back in reserves.

      The Reavers are an odd one. They have tremendous reach and versatility on paper, but they just evaporate to any fire at all. Time will tell, I don’t want to give up on them, but honestly, Scourges look to be the better option. That extra range and versatility make them excellent for the points.

      The army is a lot of fun to play! I am very excited to put it through the paces against tougher opponents.

  2. BigToof May 14, 2012 5:09 am #

    Hi Reecius,
    Glad to hear that the Malys-Star has impressed you.
    I’d love to see a full Battle Report with the list, and especially if it could be versus Grey Knights! (Purifier or Paladins 🙂 )
    I’ve always been skeptical of Scourges, and I’ve used small units of Reavers to deter the enemy (going 36″ out of a portal to sit right in the path of a nasty hammer unit is great). But to use a Fantasy-type terminology, they’re mostly there for harassment and limiting movement. If they can pop tanks, that’s great too.
    I also noticed that your beasts are much larger than the “standard” beastmastersx3, birdsx4, khymaraex5. Did the larger unit size help?
    Also, don’t give up the Wyches! The little tar-pits are great when used to stall things up until the Malys-Star can get over there and beat heads.
    Hope to see more.


    • Reecius May 14, 2012 12:20 pm #

      Yeah, the giant Beast unit was honestly a bit overkill. They obliterated anything they hit, but the increased size made them very resilient. I was taking wounds and not caring at all. It just destroyed everything it touched. It does take up a lot of space on the board, which is a bit of a bummer. I think I will stick with the big unit though as it has a lot of staying power to go and hit multiple targets and wreck them, or pull of multi-charges effectively.

      I like the Wyches, I think this was just as off game. Things were getting in the way of each other and I rolled poorly. I could easily see them playing an important roll.

      At any rate, I am really excited to try more games with this army! We will do a full report soon, the main thing stopping us from doing a video report is the fact that we don’t have the models.

  3. Zid May 14, 2012 8:11 am #

    I think my sole issue is malays doesn’t prevent those str 10 hammers from smashing through the grotesques… Great rep tho! Get some games against more str 10 weps reece

    • Reecius May 14, 2012 12:22 pm #

      Str 10 hammers? Do you mean with Hammer Hand?

      It is debatable and largely a semantics argument, but I think Malys stops them from being effected by HH. Her rules stops the effect of a psychic power, and HH’s effect is to increase the strength of the GKs. Therefore, the Str bonus wouldn’t work against her or her squad.

      That is the kind of thing to ask a TO in advance, but I honestly believe that is the right interpretation.

      But yes, playing against more str10 is a good call.

  4. chipstar May 14, 2012 9:58 am #

    I’ve been doing some testing with a list also. I’ve played 6 games, all NOVA-style, with 3 at a local Bunker tournament. If you want to read some analysis from the games, let me know. I didn’t want to spam links without permission.

    The short version is that the list is incredibly fun, very versatile, but will need tweaking. FNP marines and bikes are the biggest issues I’ve faced so far.

    • Reecius May 14, 2012 12:23 pm #

      By all means, share the link! I am eager to gather more data.

      I have not played FnP marines yet, but I will have Raw Dogger bring his BA’s around to give it a go.

      • chipstar May 14, 2012 1:18 pm #

        Here’s the thread where I’m tracking games. Feel free to ask about any of the game specifics if interested.


        • Reecius May 14, 2012 1:36 pm #

          You tried out a lot of lists there, which is awesome. Which do you think worked best for you?

          • chipstar May 14, 2012 2:00 pm

            Only two different lists, more of an evolution. I really really love hellions. I want to drop the Baron real bad, because his not having a power weapon is meh, but hellion troops are so huge.

          • Reecius May 14, 2012 2:24 pm

            I have considered the same options. I love Hellions both as a troop and for the rad models, but they are very expensive points wise. The Baron is a boss, but like you said, against anything other than light tanks he isn’t super reliable in combat.

  5. Ben May 14, 2012 11:14 am #

    Thanks for this series. I’ve just been tempted to try DEldar, specifically Dark FootDar, so I’ve followed these posts with interest. I look forward to reading more.

    • Reecius May 14, 2012 12:26 pm #

      Glad you have enjoyed it! We’ll get some more data soon.

  6. Red Corsair May 14, 2012 12:50 pm #

    Great news bro! Reading your list I am not a fan of the archon though to be honest. I saw this as less optimal from the start only because Haemis are such a steal at 50, 1-3 per slot. Having the extra portal and the flexibility to move pain tokens is huge. Beast pack seems large but honestly I wouldn’t change it until it becomes a problem because it allows them to take some damage and still have an impact. Smaller packs in my experience, will be shot just enough to reduce their effectiveness by a smart player.

    I’m glad that you finally got to try those Grots, they are addictive once you play them. Hands down one of the most over looked, terrifying units out there.

    • Reecius May 14, 2012 1:32 pm #

      I tend to agree with you on the Archon now that I have tried it. In theory, it sounded like such a boost. But the unit hits so hard anyway, it really isn’t that big of a deal to add the Archon and the Grenades aren’t that much of an issue, really. I think it comes down to your meta. If you will or think you will be playing lots of GK/Psykers, then Malys is the right call. Otherwise, the Archon is the man. I agree that the Haemis are most likely the right tool for the job. They add too much versatility to overlook.

      Grotes are awesome! Very powerful and resilient and they look rad.

      • Red Corsair May 14, 2012 1:57 pm #

        Welcome to the darkside! This rabbit hole leads deep 😉

  7. Kralizak May 14, 2012 5:06 pm #

    This list looks awesome, and I would probably build it since Dark Eldar are going to be my next army…but to buy this army would be a grand total of about $850 retail or $680 at Frontline…ouch to the part-time employed high school student who needs to maintain a 4.0 :\

    I would think it would be prudent to run a group of Harlequins somewhere in there.

    Good luck with future playtests Reece!

    • Reecius May 14, 2012 5:21 pm #

      Thanks, glad you liked it! However, I wouldn’t recommend actually using GW Grotesques. You can use Ogres or Warmachine/Reaper models, too.

  8. NJDE May 14, 2012 6:36 pm #

    Nice read, thanks for posting it up. Like a lot of DE players I’m also getting a bit bored of Skimmer Spam and have been playing around with a bunch of different WWP lists. My current 2000 point list looks a bit like chipstar’s:

    2 Haemies w/WWP, VB, LG
    4 Trueborn w/Blasters
    4 Trueborn w/Blasters
    10 Harlies w/Kisses, 2 FPs, Shadowseer
    20 Hellions, Helliarch w/Stunclaw
    10 Wyches w/Haywires, Hek w/Ago
    10 Wracks, w/2 LGs, Aco
    10 Wracks, w/2 LGs, Aco
    5 Warriors w/Blaster
    5 Warriors w/Blaster
    6 Reavers w/2 HLs, Champ w/VB
    6 Reavers w/2 HLs, Champ w/VB

    I’ve been playing NOVA missions with as close to NOVA terrain as I can. I use 10 Wracks with the HQs to deploy the portal (T4, FNP, Stealth, and Fearless make them tough to move), with the option of using the Harlies if needed. I tried out the big guys (2 Talos + a Cronos) but I felt like it just gave my opponent an obvious target for his Lascannons, multi-meltas/meltas, etc., and they were a bit too slow for my liking. My experience with the Reavers has been the opposite of yours, with decent LoS blocking terrain and Skilled Rider they are often able to Jump-Shoot-Jump and stay completely out of LoS (and if not, always in cover). Just watch out for flamers and they’re more durable than scourges (T4 and possibly FNP from drugs) and can hold their own in CC (my favorite story so far is them being charged by 6 Fiends and coming out on top, yes I rolled well but I can’t see scourges ever pulling that one out). If you haven’t tried a big Hellions unit I suggest you give it a go. Once they’re fearless (shouldn’t take long since Baron can give them 2 tokens when they arrive) they can abuse Hit and Run to cover ground really quickly. Also since they’re JI they help with real estate problems around the portals.

    Just thought I’d share a few of my thoughts on WWP design. Good luck, looking forward to more reports.

    • Reecius May 14, 2012 7:53 pm #

      Do you find the Wracks are resilient enough? I would think that concentrated firepower could smoke those guys.

      I like your list though. We have been big proponents of the giant Hellion squad for a while now.

      I can see why Taloi didn’t work in your list as they would have been the only hard target. IN a Grote list they are still better targets than the Grotes but it is still a choice that isn’t totally obvious, especially if all of them are bearing down.

      I will have to try the Reavers again, using them to JSJ is a good idea. In the game I described I just wanted to take the shot at the Land Raider while it was un-smoked.

  9. hyv3mynd May 15, 2012 4:29 am #

    Great start man. I’ve also found that this type of army can be a lot more fun that any of my others.

    I think you’ll find that one WWP just isn’t enough, especially once you start playing the same opponent more than once. People will learn quickly and it’s a lot easier to counter one entry point. As you discovered, space also gets really tight. I like the double portals for bringing out my assault units right into the mix and using a flank portal for side shots.

    Starting the grots without fearless just makes me too nervous. God forbid you take a fast tank shock on t2 and fail, or a really fast assault blitz out of a land raider or storm raven and lose the unit to a leadership test.

    BTW, I heard about some wager you had with my friends Shaun, Jay, Courtney, and Hobin? I live in the same city as the first 3 and they taught me just about everything I know about 40k. I didn’t get to hear the full story about adepticon, but it sounds like it was a blast.

    • Reecius May 15, 2012 8:48 am #

      A bad tank shock would be awful! That was the only worry I had.

      2 wwp’s does seem to be necessary in this list. 1 is just too limiting. The goal is flexibility and options, 1 portal really doesn’t fit this ethos.

      And yeah, haha, we did make a bet….and lost! At the team tournament at adepticon, we bet that the team that did the worst out of us, thewm, bols, Toledo and a few other guys got to pick the winning week’s army for next year. We lost, haha, and chose for tau or vanilla marines as their army. It was a fun bet.

  10. Zid May 15, 2012 5:41 am #

    @reece: I think its highly debateable about which powers affect the grots and which affect the attacking unit. I would think things like HH and unleashed rage would affect the unit that the libbys in, while things like jotww and smite would directly affect your unit.

    • Reecius May 15, 2012 8:39 am #

      Well that’s the thing. Her ability doesn’t indicate that either she or her squad must be the target of a power, only that they are effected by it. NFWs target the gk squad, not the enemy, but the effect of id is ignored. By the same logic, hh and such, which while not targeting the enemy, still effect them.

      • Zid May 15, 2012 2:27 pm #

        Interesting take… I smell a faq being req’d, never thought of it that way!

  11. Erich June 8, 2012 6:04 am #

    What would your 1500pt list look like? So far mine looks like this:

    Hammy X2 with WWPs Agonizers
    8 Grote unit with Aberration, Liquifier
    10 man wrack unit
    3 man wrack unit
    3 man wrack unit
    3 man trueborn unit with 3 blasters
    5 man scourge squad with haywire blasters
    5 man scourge squad with haywire blasters
    2 beastmasters, 1 venom blade, 5 kymerae, 2 flocks
    1 talos with chain flails, TL haywire blasters
    1 talos with chain flails, TL haywire blasters


    I have been having much better luck with haywire blasters than heat lances in my other builds. Most of the meta in my area is stormravens or landraiders for marine delivery. There are a few GK’s players, but fortitude only really matters if you are only putting one glance per turn. I’m debating whether Malys is worth it at this points value. I plan on trying this list out in a 1500 RTT this weekend. I’m curious what people’s thoughts are on this kind of a build at 1500pts. It seems to me that it’s much harder to apply this kind of strategy at 1500pts.

    • Reecius June 8, 2012 9:32 am #

      I responded to you on Dakka, but I will repost here for completeness.

      I like your list!

      I think for 1500 you are solid. The only weakness I see is the vulnerable troops, but if you play the reserve game right, I think you can keep them safe. You have so many other threats that they may fall on the target priority list fairly rapidly.

      If you don’t have lots of Psychic foes in your area, maybe a regular Archon would serve you better than Malys? The Archon adds a lot of utility with the Phantasm and Blaster, but Malys just shuts down powers that can scare the Grotes.

      I agree about Haywire blasters, I have liked them a lot more. Frankie swears by the Heat Lances though, so hey, it may just come down to play style.

      Good luck with the list! Let me know how you do with it,


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