New Warhammer Dark Eldar

New Warhammer Dark Eldar.

When I am not building terrain as seen in my Tactical Terrain videos here at Frontline Gaming, I am a competitive Dark Eldar player.  For the past three years, I have endured all the snears, from “I am playing 40k on hard mode” to “competitive & Dark Eldar does not belong in the same sentence”. Regardless of the past, change is upon us. Change is a powerful force. Physics defines motion as a change position over time. Biology calls it the progression of an organism. In business, it is the means for survival. So if the popular sentiment is true, than Dave Mustaine may have wise words for the Archons throughout the community: if there’s a new way, I’ll be the first in line.

So let us take a deeper look at the changes to 40k from the Commoragh perspective.


There is much excitement over the new change to the AP system, as GW has shown us the profile for the humble bolter. I cannot make the assumption that every AP 5 weapon will now have a 0 modifier to the target’s armor save, but I am pretty confident any player is going to see a fair amount of bolter fire over the course of a few games.

Under the old system, most Dark Eldar armor existed only as a way to express themselves, as the all or nothing AP5 negated Wychsuits, Gnarlskin & Kabalite Armor. Under the new system Dark Eldar players will need to learn to roll armor saves. Even a 6+ save is an improvement over nothing, so resiliency seems to have improved army wide.

Of course the best way to make armor saves is to not get wounded in the first place. Looking at the new “to wound” table, Archons from far and wide have something to smile about. Previously, most Dark Eldar were wounded on a 2+ and faced instant death at ST6 or higher. Moving forward, Dark Eldar will be wounded mostly on a 3+ unless fighting opponents St7 or higher. With the removal of the Instant Death rule and added wounds, the pantheon of Dark Eldar Heroes such as Lelith Hesperax should move from the display case to the battlefield.

Lastly, when the dice disappoint, you can use your stratagems to avoid bad morale checks. Dark Eldar are mean, unrelenting, and cruel, but not that brave. Having some control in a crictical moment will make many Succubus happy.

Shot in the Dark

The idea of four Scourges with dark lances just got a major upgrade. Previously, the 4 models would wound an infantry unit twice with no armor save or inflict 2 penetrating hits on a vehicle. Moving forward, the vehicle rules are gone, so all targets will suffer a huge -4 penalty to their armor save and suffer 1d6 wounds per unsaved attack. Using the recently provided dreadnaught profile, the squad has a 42% of killing the walking sarcophagus vs the lucky 6 from days of yore. An added bonus is the dark lance now has a purpose against the larger monster units. Previously the maximum output was one wound each, which did little more than tickle a Hive Tyrant or Bloodthirster. Now each failed save does a solid d6 wounds to wear down the large threats.

Speed Kills

Dark Eldar in assault relied on speed and skill rather than the might of a clumsy power fist of the monkeigh. Plan on this to continue. The shooting phase update offers more with the use pistols close combat. The big upside for wych cults is those splinter pistols are poison, and improving their chance to wound against even the toughest opponents. GW also confirmed the Wyches retain their 4+ invulnerable save, adding more durability in close combat. What was a nice surprise was the No Escape rule. Just when we embraced the ability to Fall Back from close combat, along comes the the Dark Eldar to make that just a bit more difficult.

The possible opportunities fit well into the Dark Eldar style bait and trapping opponents. First option is to keep in opponent locked so the Wyches avoid a round of shooting from supporting units. A second option is the hold the unit to keep them from moving onto an objective. A third option is to buy time for the super fast units to move into position while your opponent is bogged down in assault. Games are won in the movement phase. Best way to win the movement phase is prevent your opponent from particpating in the movement phase. Lastly, use the wyches to hold down the unit until the harder hitting melee units arrive without the threat of overwatch.

A group of units looking forward to the new Warhammer are the Haemonculus Coven units and Incubi. Most were equal to a marine in speed and toughness, so getting to swing first on the charge is a large advantage. Crafty players can also use their stratagems to counter attack, unleashing Grotesques into your opponents best laid plans.

Another favorite model that will make a come back is the Ravager. The Raider chassis filled to the brim with heavy weapons was often hampered with the choice to minimally shuffle to one side and shoot all their guns, or move at full speed but lose a third of their shooting to snap shots. With the new Warhammer, heavy weapons that move and shoot suffer only a -1 penalty to hit.  But wait! Dark Eldar vehicles do not suffer the the -1 penalty! This makes the Ravager a gunboat with tons of speed to get into a vital position. The new Disintegrater pumps three shots at AP -3, each inflicting 2 wounds. This a great tool for taking out larger monsters and elite units like the new Primaris marines.

More updates as more information comes put. Please comment below with your thoughts

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About Tactical Terrain Eric

Longtime gamer who never saw a piece of foam he didn't like, Tactical Terrain Eric looks to push the boundaries of terrain making while still keeping the balance of being suitable for competitive play.

4 Responses to “New Warhammer Dark Eldar”

  1. melbards May 20, 2017 1:53 pm

    Nice article 😀

    After finishing up my tyranid army for 8th, I’m planning on starting either a Dark eldar army or Emperor’s children CSM army…Kinky stuff I know 😉

    I guess I will have to wait and see when the rules are released and which army will fit my play style more.

    I think Dark eldar will be a fun army to play using hit and run tactics. It remains to be seen which kind of tricks they have up their sleeves….Combat drugs, Webway portals ect. I really like the rules for the Disintegrator cannon (3x S5 2Ws, -3 ap) Seems abit more reliable than the dark lance at S8, D6 -4 ap) IMHO

    The Emperors children would be a more shooty army I suppose because of the noise marines. It would be a blast to paint evil pink marines with whips and chains and guitars. They would play much different than the Tyranids and thus I’m leaning more towards them at the moment over DE unfortunately.

    A tough choice indeed!….Third world problems I suppose..Will have to wait and see…

    • DirtyDeeds May 21, 2017 9:12 am

      The disintegrator will continue to be effective against what you used it for in the past, wrecking elite units. You’ll reserve dark lances for monstrous creatures and vehicles.

      I honestly feel like getting a third ravager and giving it the disintegrator cannons before the edition releases. Can’t wait!

  2. Tactical Terrain Eric May 22, 2017 5:56 am

    Ravagers do look promising for the new warhammer 40k!
    Lots more to uncover

  3. Zhodo May 25, 2017 12:54 pm

    Is Vect back?