Guest Article on Dark Eldar by Skari


Skari liked my Dark Eldar article yesterday and offered some content he’d written on the subject which I am passing along to you all as it makes a nice follow up to yesterday’s post! Check out his blog and podcast for more of this type of content.

From the Depths of the Port City rise the most unlikely of Archons. This is the road that I have travelled to become the Dark Eldar general that I am today. From the start till the finish, with a glimpse into the future. These will be my Tales From The Dark City. People wonder how it was that I came to play the Dark Eldar. In this series of editorials I will explain the evolution of my Kabal, from the begginings (before the Codex was “cool”) until now. This will be a multi part article, so sit back and enjoy your ride on the Pain Train.

And we Begin. Part 1 – “You play Dark Eldar?.. Hahaha… uhm, OH… Sh*t”


In the Beggining there were only raiders… many many raiders.  This was the way that I originally learned to play the game, and the spam game worked wonders for the original Dark Eldar army. But how did I even get started with these xenos forces? I played Black Templars for the longest time, they are my original army and I still have a soft spot for them. I went to countless tournaments with them back in 3rd and 4th edition and did very well with them… but why change it up? Well someway through 5th ed I needed a switch from the slogging boots of my Space Marines, yes, they became Space Marines… everyone and their mothers played space marines and I wanted not to have 3+ in my army… well (other than incubi, that became true). I also wanted to take an army that was on the fringe, and show people through generalship that it was possible to make anything work… and what army did no one play? Like, NO one…? Dark Eldar.

The Gathering

I started the Dark Eldar with the throw away models that various members of my Gaming group at the time had. People were very eager to get rid of their Dark Eldar models, and this made it quite easy for me to amass models. I had a fairly ad-hoc army list with a bit of this, and a bit of that but I began to find that the Dark Eldar had a lot of potential and were very dangerous both in close combat and in ranged combat. Something that amazed me was the ability of the Dark Kin, to break the back of an opponents army in a matter of a few turns. Now, the key to me overcomming the steep learning curve were many, many games… I had the luxury of being able to play 3 maybe 4 times a week and this allowed me to try and try and try and then really get a feel for the army as it was developing.

Now, starting with this army did have its challenges. Everyone said I was nuts about trying to play with a “fringe” army. Slowly but surely I began to show people just how deadly the Dark Eldar could be. I just needed more raiders!

The Buildup

So, to continue to build my Dark Eldar I went to a lot of tournaments. And the winnings fueled my army size, the store owners loved the fact that I was picking stuff off the shelves that they had given up on selling, the dark eldar warriors, the ravagers, the jetbikes… I was taking it all and incorporating it into my lists. It culminated in lists that had 12-14 tanks… and many many darklance weapons. Once I had ammassed a good number of games, and had the experience with the list and most importantly (had it painted), I went to a major event with the army.

Game Showings

The first big Provicial Event that I went to was the Warmasters Challenge in 09 – Some of the best generals of Ontario in one spot. I was happy with my performance and was most pleased with the looks that I got from people when they would find out what army was mine. In this game for example, I was playing a dual lash DP chaos army. Very competitive at the time, and I lost by one kill point. But I was very pleased that the Dark Kin were toe to toe with the best.

The next year I also went to the Warmasters Challenge, this time just the doubles event, and my buddy Mike and I took Best General (2 pts away from best overal) with a Blood Angel/Dark Eldar alliance. The cycle was comming to a close and the old DE book was working its charm I was becomming comfortable with the spiky bits. My templars slowly falling to the wayside.

Pt1 Conclusions

So I had taken a fringe army, had amassed a fleet of raiders and had gone toe to toe with the best and shown that the Dark Kin, in the right hands, were a great tool on the tabletop. The games that I played in this stage of the development of the army were many and all very enjoyable. The best times were when my opponents would mock me, and after being tabled in 3-4 turns they would stare blankly at the table and wonder what had gone wrong.

And as this was going on, there was an unease in the webway… the Denizens of the Dark City were restless, and on the horizon the legend of Phill was about to begin. A new book and the start of a new era with the Dark Kin.

Join me in Part 2 when I talk about the changes that came about with the new book and how the sense of Pain was intensified, transformed and enjoyed all the more.

Thanks a lot for Reading! Do you have any thoughts? I would love to hear them.

Part 2

From the Depths of the Port City rise the most unlikely of Archons. This is the road that I have travelled to become the Dark Eldar general that I am today. From the start till the finish, with a glimpse into the future. These will be my Tales From The Dark City. If you have not already, go check out part 1-origins of this article. In this part 2, of 3, I will discuss the release of the most recent Dark Eldar Codex and its effect on the way my Kabal Waged War, from its humble start to the dynamics that I found worked.

And We Continue: Part 1- Its not about vampires, but a bit about shapeshifting

The release of the Dark Eldar book in november of 2010 really changed many peoples perspective on the book and the army itself. From a players perspective, the new rule dynamics and the ability to include so many neat options and tools saw the number of people that played the army rise significantly. Although the army showed it had the tools for the job, and was well written, there was one small aspect that threw many new archons under the proverbial bus… this army was not and was never going to be a Space Marine army (insert flavour here).

This was because  the learning curve was steep. The dark eldar tanks continued to be very very fragile. Their infantry fell over to a stiff breeze last but not least the release of the Grey Knight book in april of 2011. So a lot of players that had shown potential at learning the ins and outs of the Dark Eldar book did not give it enough of a run to really soak in all the juice that it provided on both a hobby and tactical level (requiring a veteran skill in both categories).

This saw the rise and fall of the ‘new archons’. Other ancient archons like myself watched the clock tick down and when the time was right prepared to release a new wave of pain, for the new book was not as different as the old, the changes were good and the wolf in sheeps clothing was about to be unleashed!.

Part 2: Still About The Raider, All About the Poison.

In the beggining… of the new Dark Eldar my army remained mainly unchanged. This was because I lacked any new models and because I was really wondering how my army would do under the new rules, testing the viability. I really liked the fact that my elite wyches were now troops! and that the new combat drug mechanic was a lot simpler. My ravagers were still as good and the warrior units in raiders still provided a great number of support numbers and the poison was fantastic at wiping out enemy units, MC’s and the lance weapons although less prevailent were just as good. My ravagers went from 1 with tripple lances and 2 with dissies, to two of them having lances and one with dissies. This was also given the migh mech environment in 5th edition. I never really min-maxed the 5 man warrior units with lances so this change was not an issue for me.

I had gained troops, I had gained power vs the dreaded thunderwolf cav… (yes Shawn thats meant for you!). But there was something missing in the new/old army. New models. The Dark Eldar were released in “waves” (I hate you GW…) the new models were (and are) amazing, to drool over. I could not wait to have some of them to build up my army. I also dived into the characters in the book and thought about something completely different that I thought would be fun.

Part 3: The Dregs of the Dark City

The unit that caught my eye the most out of the new book were the Hellions. The skyboarders really gained a lot from the new book and because I had never used them in the old army (because the rapid fire rules made them hard to use). I also fell in love with a 105 pt character called the “Baron”… one of the best point for point characters in the game! He made my hellions better (way way better) and helped me go first (or second), What was not to like?

So that was the first thing I began working on. I left my archon on the sidelines and began the work on the Hellion unit.

This would be my new found love and I embraced the unit whole heartedly. I realized that they required a good way to get into combat quickly and the Webway portal became a mainstay in my army.  The pain token dynamic also touched a spot in my gaming feel and I started to look at the coven units as a way to realy add a new feel to the list as well as an excuse to add different things in. What better than the grotesque! a new unit to the book that was like an ogryn but better, thanks to wound allocation and FNP. This quickly became my WWP delivery unit and the shift from poison kabalites to coven beatstickness was one that I ran with for about a year!

Conclusions of Part 2:

And that was the start of the new book. I slowly began to change out my old raiders and ravagers for the new models. And my collection of models grew and grew. This was thanks to the odd tournament winnings or campaing winnings or just plain ol’ spending the money. I was happy raiding and taking slaves. Little did I know the Archon was looming in the shadows waiting… watching and planning his return. And he did, in style.

Join me next time. When I talk about the changes that the kabal went to after the Baron had had his fun. With the end of 5th edition, 6th looming in the horizon and the new model releases that transformed the way I played the Dark Kin.

Thanks for reading!

Part 3

From the Depths of the Port City rise the most unlikely of Archons. This is the road that I have travelled to become the Dark Eldar general that I am today. From the start till the finish, with a glimpse into the future. These will be my Tales From The Dark City. If you have not already, go check out part 1 and part 2 of this article. In this part 3, of 3, I will discuss the way that some of the new model releases affected the Kabals development. And lastly the subtle changes that had to be made with the advent of a new edition.

Part 1 – Fly Like A Hummingbird, Sting Like a Lion :

The addition of the Venom to the list of things in the Kabal arsenal really changed the way that I played the game. The guns on the venom are its bite. The challenge was to not rely too much on the venoms guns and although many DE players in the “meta” began running 6-7 of them I only ever took 1 per 500pts on average. Even in these small numbers they have been deadly. It also meant that points were spent more efficiently within the other aspects of the list.

This immediately changed the way that I played the army. I was able to lay waste to entire units of infantry with little difficulty. This was just one of the units that changed the look of my ad-hoc kabal-like list. The baron was soon replaced and in came the main character. The leader of my Kabal, the almighty Archon.

Part 2: A True Leader

The Archon was a great addition to the army. Once I had chosen (in 5th edition) the agonizer as his weapon of choice he was quick to make a comeback. The venom was very small, easy to conceal, and I finally painted up my new Incubi to run with him. This made for a small, elite and killy unit.

The Kabal was slowly making a full circle. The list that I saw myself playing was once again almost identical to the army I had been playing with the old book. This was quite interesting, as it shows the subtle choices that I made as a commander but also the way that the army played. The only real change was the increase in venom firepower. The wych units has swolen to 8-9 man units rather than the small 5 man units and the incubi remained. The only thing that was missing were the jetbikes. The archon has proven to be a great addition to the army, for his point cost he is one of the most efficient characters in the game. But being an archon can prove to be a bit tricky and if that shadowfield were to short out too early, you will find yourself in a pinch. (and with a dead archon to boot)

Part 3: The Rerutn of The Reaver

One of the units that I had originally used but was lacking, were the reaver jetbikes. They had received an overhaul in the new book. All that was preventing me from using them was the lack of the new models (that are really awesome looking).  I was able to get my hands on the very large Dark Eldar Holiday Box Special a few years back! And that was it, it cemented the bikes within my army.

I love the reaver jetbikes. I have another three that I am waiting to paint in order to run 9. Within the kabal they provided much needed mobile pressure and extreme contesting speed! The enemy would have to pay close attention to their location and deal with them accordingly. As a Dark Eldar commander, I love forcing my opponent to reconsider movement and to pressure his choices. This unit is the embodiment of such mentality. In the new book, their role had changed, no longer a wound pool for my Archon to get into combat (with his own jetbike) but as a support, and scalpel unit striking the enemy at their weakest point.

This brings me to my final point.

Part 4: 6th Edition

The rise of the new edition, once again saw the core of the Dark Eldar army shaken. I am still working on learning the core of the army and the synergy that it has within the new ruleset. There are a lot more tactical layers that have not been discovered for the new edition. Allies, Beasts, Venoms, all remain nasty and have been used to their best effect. I have played many a game with the DE and the new edition. I am writing a comprehensive tactica, in depth and full of knowledge on what I have learned about the Dark Kin over the years.

Well. Thanks a lot for reading. Your thoughts are greatly appreciated.


Skari – out


About Reecius

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

7 Responses to “Guest Article on Dark Eldar by Skari”

  1. skari May 12, 2013 5:58 am #

    Hope you all enjoy them 😀

  2. Elfy May 12, 2013 7:10 am #

    It was nice seeing how things changed over time. Are you still working on your DE tactica article?

    • skari May 14, 2013 3:06 am #

      Yes the DE tactica is something i am picking away at.

  3. Gregorius42 May 13, 2013 2:55 am #

    I am building a DE army and struggle with surviving the first turn if I do not go first. Transports are so fragile. I am thinking of getting a sky shield and crapping it up but retaining the awesome save and LOS blocking ability to hide reaves . Etc.

    • skari May 14, 2013 3:07 am #

      Skyshield can be fun. Also terrain placement, look for some forcefield generators :D. Good way to have free 3++es.

  4. Eric May 13, 2013 5:16 am #

    I started dark eldar at the begging of 6th and unless I missed something in a FAQ…. night shields are the greatest DE tool ever. With armies shifting to 24″ and 36″ range weapons, night shields will help give you a big edge. Keeping your enemy in range and safely keeping youout is great. And no one expects them. Spread out your army to be a natural deep strike defense and watch your opponent crumble as he comes toward you. At least …. it works for me

    • skari May 14, 2013 3:08 am #

      Night Shields are pretty cool. I find that they are great on ravagers… but dont really use them on anything else (since i play mostly 1500pts) the value is in the few units you have and spenging 60+pts on shields when you could take another raider is not a contest, other raider wins.

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