Hey guys Cavalier commission painter for Frontline Gaming and Cohost of Splintermind the Dark Eldar Podcast. Today’s discussion is around Kabalite Warriors as the ideal choice for building a battalion core for your multi-faction, multi-detachment Aeldari army. For more, as always check the Tactics Corner for more great articles!
Since the end of 5th edition began I’ve been developing a Corsair themed army drawing from every faction in the overall Aeldari family. Craftworld, Corsair, Drukhari and Harelquin all are represented in my army. It was the revamped model range of Dark Eldar that inspired me to make such a heavily kitbashed army in the first place. Yet as 6th and 7th wore on the Dark Eldar were pushed further and further into the recesses of my hobby hutch, seldom getting any time on the tabletop. Yet when 8th dropped, they became far more attractive with the Index alone. Now that their codex has been unveiled I’m in love all over again.
While I was initially blown away by the improvement to Wych Cults, a far more subtle revelation hit me the more time I spent with the dex. With the improvement to Blasters (Going from Str 8 Ap-4 D3 Damage, to Str 8 Ap-4 D6 Damage) Kabalite Warriors might be the best troops choice of any Aeldari troop when looking to bulk your army out to Battalion strength. I think a Battalion with 3 units of 5 Warriors each with a Blaster, embarked upon Venoms with dual Splinter Cannon might be the all around best troops choice an Aeldarii player looking to establish a strong flexible to core for his army.
Lets look at the Kabalite Warrior.
Kabalite Warrior: M: 7” WS: 3+ BS: 3+ T: 3 W: 1 A: 1 Ld: 7 Sv: 5+
Sybarite: M: 7 WS: 3+ BS: 3+ T: 3 W: 1 A: 2 Ld: 8 Sv: 5+
Splinter Rifle: R: 24” Type: Rapid Fire 1 S: Poison AP: – D: 1
Poison: Wounds on 4+ against everything but vehicles and titanic units. Against those units they wound on a 6+
Blaster: R: 18” Type: Assault 1 S: 8 AP: -4 D: d6
The Sybraite may take a power sword or Agoniser. The Sybarite may take a phantasm grenade launcher.
For every ten models in the unit, one Kabalite Warrior may replace its splinter rifle with a splintercannon or dark lance.
For every five models in the unit, one Kabalite Warrior may replace its spliter rifle with a shredder or blaster.
Venom M: 16” WS: 4+ BS: 3+ T: 5 W: 6 A: 2 Ld: 7 Sv: 4+
Splintercannon: R: 36” Type: Rapid Fire 3 S: Poison AP: – D: 1 Poison:
Poison: Wounds on 4+ against everything but vehicles and titanic units. Against those units they wound on a 6+
Twin Splinter Rifle: R: 24” Type: Rapid Fire 2 S: Poison AP: – D: 1
Bladevanes: Range: Melee S: 4 AP: -1 D: 1
Open-Topped: Models embarked on this model can attack in their shooting phase, mesauring range and line of sight from any point on the model. When they do so any restrictions or modifiers that apply to this model apply to its passengers.
Flickerfield: Subtract 1 from hit rolls for attacks that target this model in the shooting phase.
Night Shield:This model as a 5+ Invulnerable Save.
For pure Dark Eldar players the value of the “Venom Mob” or MSU Warriors with a Blaster in Venoms is elementary. For more “Pan-Aeldari” Players or even non Eldar players it might not be so obvious. At 24” you are chucking out 10 shot poison shots from each Venom (including the guys inside). At 18” inches your Blasters are now involved and you are Rapid firing with the Splinter Cannons 16 shots. When within 12” you are absolutely unloading at 20 poison shots plus the Blasters. That is a very reliable amount of offense especially when each unit with their transport is coming it at a total of only 122 points. This leaves you a lot of points left over for all the specialist units available across the Aeldari range to make a warhost that suits your play style.
Yet that is only the anti-infantry duties. Having a Blaster in each squad means you are zipping around with 18” Dark Lance for very comparable price, meaning your Venom Mob can help out with blistering anti-infantry fire, but also lend fire to anti-tank duties with one of the best anti-armor guns in the game. Whats more, unlike the Craftworld kin they can deliver this offense without need of disembarking. While their transports are fragile, they are elusive. Lets dive into that now
This is where things begin to get intersting. Firstly and most importantly the Venom comes stock with Flickerfields imposing a -1 modifier to hit on your opponents. This is absolutley huge. Anybody familiar with Alaitoc Craftworld armies knows how fantastic that benefit is. Yet unlike their Craftworld kin, this comes stock with your Venoms regardless of your Obsession (Chapter Tactic for the uninitiated). This is amazing! This allows you the freedom to choose an Obsession which suits your playstyle, but still protect your troops choices with one of the hottest commodities in the game. In terms of Balistic Skill this turns Space Marines into Guardsmen, Guardsmen into Orks and Orks into… well thats about as low as you can go! Anybody whose run into a lot of Guard players knows how devastating it can be to their game to hit you on 5’s instead of 4’s. This is huge as the Venom is fragile… but it may be tougher than you think because its got an invulnerable save.
So, the Invulnerable Save. Yep its got one. Its only a 5+ but combined with the -1 to hit and a respectable T5 with 6 Wounds thats actually surprisingly durable. I sure as hell wish I could get those kind of vehicle options on Vyper Jetbikes or worse yet my poor Hornets! While this may not scream durability, its the cheap, dare I say “spammable” nature of the Venom where all these little defensive perks really start to add up and make for a fleet of elusive skimmers that have some decent backbone.
Dark Eldar Warriors mounted in Venoms are cheap, fast with effective to down right deadly ranged offense that leave plenty of points left over to load up on all the exotic offerings the Eldar Codices have to offer.
Comparisons to other Aeldari Troop Options
To be clear, I think that all Aeldarii troops choices… with the exception of perhaps Wracks are very strong. Yet for the price point of the Warriors themselves, the cheap cost of their transport, offensive versatility and self-reliance in terms of command points I think Kabalite Warriors are the Go-To option for Aeldari players. Lets compare them to a few of the top contenders in that role.
Comparison to Eldar Guardians
So just in terms of price points a basic unit of Guardians coming in at 10 Strong without a support weapon is 80 points. They have the same Armor Save, Weapon Skill with slightly inferior Leadership. They have the option for Heavy Weapons which add to their offense and versatility. Eldar Guardians are a great unit. However they need considerable investment of resources to really bring all that they have offensively to the table as quickly as possible.
Because of 12” range of their guns these units require a Wave Serpent or the use of the Webway Strike stratagem to get them into position quickly. Because of their fragility and short range they usually have a small window of time in which to impact the game requiring either a vehicle transport or a stratagem. Utilizing them in a Wave Serpent is certainly not a bad approach. The Wave Serpent is an excellent transport with tremendous defense and considerable offense, especially when fielded in numbers. However you are typically paying 130+ points for each Wave Serpent when equipped with triple Shuriken Cannons. Using the Wave Serpent to get the Guardians into the fight is typically going to take at least 2 turn to get their guns into the fight. So unless your opponent is on top of you Turn 1 you are going to spending time and a hefty amount of points to get a very fragile unit into position to deliver an attack. In a game where the early turns are so important this investment of time and points can be costly.
Webway Striking big units of 20 Guardians with Heavy Weapon options is also a very competitive approach. With the right application of Doom from a Farseer and Jinx from a Warlock, a unit or two of Guardians can melt even Mortarion down to slime. However, this is a considerable amount of resource investment. Not only are you spending a lot of Command Points, investing psychic powers but you are also depositing these units into the teeth of your opponent. Cagey deployment and use of terrain on the part of your opponent can also greatly limit where you drop the Guardians as well, especially with their notoriously short ranged Catapults.
I think the Kabalite Warriors outshine the Guardians in a number of significant ways. The first being resource management. 5 Warriors with a Blaster in a Venom with dual Splinter-Cannons comes in around 120 points. Thats less than the cost of the Wave Serpent alone. Furthermore because of the Open-Topped rule the Warriors can bring their offense to bear without having to disembark, meaning that you can take advantage of the speed of the Venom at all times. The Venom’s 16” movement and respectable range of the guns means you are almost always going to be a position to bring offense to almost every area of the board- all without having to spend CP’s.
Furthermore the Blaster which is essentially an 18” (34” when factoring in the Venom’s 16” movement) assault Brightlance gives you great anti-tank, anti-monster while saving you 8 points in comparison to the Bright Lance, and because its an Assault weapon you will be firing at full efficiency while on the move.
So in the end the self-reliance in terms of Command Points, the lower points cost to get you to Battalion strength, the versatility and punch offered in terms of offense puts Kabalite Warriors over Guardians in terms of building up that strong Battalion level foundation for me.
Comparison to Dire Avengers
Much of what I detailed in terms of resource management also applies to Dire Avengers. Dire Avengers in my opinion are a very underrated unit. I think their range, armor, leadership combined with the Biel-Tan Craftworld traits and the presence of Asurmen making them a fantastic tool.
Yet a unit of 10 cost around 120 points, which is roughly the same cost of 5 Warriors with a Blaster in a Venom with dual Splintercannons. When you factor in the time spent getting them into position whether on foot or by Wave Serpent, or the cost of Webwaying them in I’d look to still look to Warriors to bulk out my army to Battalion strength. I would certainly not be averse to including Avengers in my lists but for the sake of flexibility, points saved and Command Point management I think the Warriors are still the way to go as far as building a central battalion for mix and match army of different Eldar themed detachments.
In Comparison to Rangers
Rangers are a very popular choice in terms of bulking out an Aeldari army to battalion strength. Rangers are cheap as dirt, difficult to dislodge via long range shooting and have that all important “pseudo-deepstrike”. They are great screening units, resilient to long range shooting are -1 to hit (-2 in the popular Alaitoc theme) and can deal out mortal wounds.
However they do not put out a lot of fire power. In terms of offense they are a supplementary type unit, that when fielded in numbers work well together to bring down a variety of targets especially with their mortal wound potential but you can’t expect them to provide any kind of solid firing base for your army.
While they are cheap enough (almost half the cost of Warriors in a Venom) to be fielded at battalion strength alongside Kabalite Warriors (which is something I’m going to do in my lists), Warriors give you all around better and more versatile offense. Furthermore when mounted in Venoms actually replicate that attractive -1 to hit penalty like standard Rangers have, all while remaining highly mobile. Rangers are a very strong contender as the primary target for building a battalion, yet I still prefer Warriors for their more aggressive and versatile offense, speed and the fact they replicate one of the Rangers most desired abilities: that all important -1 to hit imposed on your opponent.
In Comparison to Harlequin Troupes
Harlequin Troupes are another fantastic option available to Aeldari players. They hit like a freight train when they connect, are blisteringly fast, have an elusive -1 to hit transport like Kabalite Warriors, and have deadly versatility with their Fusion Pistols and exotic melee weapons. I actually think they make a great choice for Battalion building. However they do need to be supported. Warriors are perfect for this role. You couldn’t ask for a cheaper, faster or more complimentary ranged support to balance out a heavy points investment in Harlequins. Troupes of Harlies in Starweavers alongside Warriors in Venoms offers some great symmetry in terms of movement, range and rate of fire and both even share the imposed -1 to hit on your opponent, all combining to give Aeldari players a fast, fluid and synchronized force that is difficult to land shots on and hit extremely hard.
In Comparison to Wyches
Wyches are another great troop choice available to Aeldari players. I recently detailed my abiding love for them in a previous article about Cult of the Red Grief. However like the Harlequins, Wyches are another unit that benefit greatly from having cheap ranged support that can assist them as they run headlong into the enemy. Wyches are another great choice as a second battalion but a battalion of Warriors are absolutely fantastic compliment to them that’ll round out your force nicely giving you fast, versatile units that operate well in tandem in both shooting and combat.
Dark Eldar Kabalite Warriors are cheap, fast and offensively versatile. They are also self-reliant in that they do not need the benefit of psychic powers, Command Point intensive stratagems, expensive transports or multi-turn maneuvering to get them into the fight. This lack of resource investment means that you can load up on all the exotic goodness the Craftworlds, Harlequin, Drukhari and even Forgeworld offerings available to you, enabling you to have plenty of points to craft a warhost that perfectly matches your playstyle. Whether it be deadly Saim-Hann or Y’nnari Shining Spear heavy force, fast and furious Harlequins or Wyches, or a fully dedicated Kabal themed army, Kabalite Warriors are a fantastic option for Aeldari players looking to a reliable, elusive and offensively minded Battalion to form an army around.
If you are interested in more Aeldari exclusive tactica, reviews, Black Library author interviews and a healthy amount of painting and hobby advice check out Splintermind the Dark Eldar podcast, where myself, Brian and Thor break it down for you. Thanks for reading and let me know your own thoughts and opinions down below. I’m always fascinate to see what other Aeldari players are up to!
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