Rearming for a New Meta

Hey guys Cavalier here, co-host of Splintermind the Dark Eldar podcast and commission painter for Frontline Gaming. Sharing my approach to re-tooling for a new meta.

Throughout most of 8th edition its been smooth sailings. I’ve felt little need to make any kind of radical changes in my approach to the game. I’m a die-hard Aeldari player and have never dabbled outside of the pointy-ears since back in the day. Asuryani is my flavor of choice. They are in a rough spot right now outside of a number builds I have no interest in pursuing and thus have decided to shift gears.

Back in 5th edition I found myself in a similar place. Asuryani were holding on for dear life with a 4th edition codex until about a 1/4 of the way through 6th edition and I had no interest in trying to make it compete. So I made the decision to get into the workshop and hammer out exactly what I wanted to do.

Hit the Breaks on Games
For me simply acknowledging that I’m frustrated and taking time figure out a new approach is always the most difficult step. A non-gaming example of how I roll is, In the past I was the guy in the gym grinding away with a hundred nagging injuries when I should be recuperating so I can get back to business-as-usual. I’ve long since learned better and when it comes to gaming, its best to take a break from actual games and formulate a plan as to what you need to do get back in the ring in fighting form.

Identify Your Issues

Figuring out exactly what is frustrating you on the tabletop is the next key. With my Asuryani its that they feel like just a random assortment of odds and end. Also jumping through a thousand hoops to get my core units to do what other armies do naturally is a game of mental gymnastics I’m just tired of playing at this point. So I’m shifting focus to my Drukhari. They’ve been a stalwart for me all edition and are still going strong. They have a coherent, streamlined playstyle, modern self-sufficient units and a variety of competitive options on the tabletop that keep things from getting boring.

Make and Execute Your Plan

The next most important lesson I’ve learned over the years, is when you need to do a drastically different approach to Warhammer, is you need a plan. My method of planning is very simple. Create a Take-All-Comers list and dont stop hobbying till its 100% done. The first step in that is identify your foundational building blocks that you think will carry you forward regardless of shifts in the meta and hammer out those first. Its impossible to predict everything, so lock down in your mind the core of your army that you are not going to change for love nor money. For me that is Venoms. Venoms to me are the workhorse of the army and I dont foresee that changing anytime soon. For awhile I was rocking only 3 (in support of my allied Asuryani), but I want to get 6 now bare minimum as I’m designing a pure Drukhari army.

The Melusai is my counts-as Grotesque alongside my Incubi

Secondarily, I’ll identify the other tools I think that will help me deal. One of my goals is to have an army that functions in all phases of the game. Its a toss-up between to ideas- Drazhar and Incubi in Venoms (to keep the Venom theme rolling), or a Prophets of the Flesh detachment with a Vexator mask Haemonculus and Grotesques. One is just an accent piece (the Incubi) while the Coven detachment is a major investment. The way I handle these areas of indecision is to put them on the back burner while I churn through the foundation of my army (the Kabal core), study the meta, dip into games occasionally and get a feel first hand, but treat it purely as an experimental phase.

No Half-Measures

My final bit of advice is no half-measures. Take the project from start to completion. For myself this means painting the units to the standard of the rest of my army and not skimping out on the paint jobs or modelling as I know I’ll be kicking myself for not doing it when I had set aside the time to focus on a rebuild project. The painting aspect is something that is very important to me, so taking those paint jobs, kitbashes etc. all the way will give me a great sense of satisfaction even if the list in the end doesnt perform the way I want to.

In regards to tabletop action, dont judge the list till you’ve fully assembled, painted and played the list as you conceived it against multiple factions with a decent amount of reps against each of those factions. It can take a lot of time to get the hang of a new list, especially if you are missing pieces testing the list at various stages of incompletion.

In totality I’ve found that when both myself and my friends have abandoned a rebuild project before its been taken to completion have almost always regretted it.


I find these period of workshopping a new army or a new list incredibly refreshing. Its nice to take a break from grinding to victories on the tabletop with a list you dont enjoy anymore, to sit back do some studying on the meta while I focus on hobbying up a spiffy new army/list to unleash upon the world. It allows you to stay in touch with the game, without being frustrated by a list or codex you dont enjoy anymore.

If you are interested in Aeldari discussion check out our podcast: Splintermind for exclusive Drukharii and all things Aeldari news and discussion. If you are interested in following my painting exploits check me out on Instagram! Thanks for reading and stay tuned!

And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!



About Cavalier

Commission Painter for Frontline Gaming + Co-Host of the Splintermind: The Dark Eldar Podcast

5 Responses to “Rearming for a New Meta”

  1. Bearclaw November 23, 2019 5:26 pm #

    Hey Cavalier – love your podcast! Keep up the great work!
    I’ve been in a similar boat as a long time Aeldari player, and since Phoenix Rising I’ve committed to Dark Eldar for the foreseeable future. If you’re running a Coven detachment, as well as Venoms, I can highly recommend the Dark Technomancers trait – the +1 W and D really dials those splinter cannons up to 11 on the Venoms as well as any disintegrator raiders or haywire Talos you have. For real – it makes Marines cry, and I actually don’t miss Prophets of Flesh at all for it! The trait that lets you heal D3 wounds for every melee kill is also so clutch for your CC monsters like Grotesque and Talos, and so Dark Eldar – it also makes up for the loss of the 4+ invul and wounds lost from Technomancing. The past few games have been very dark days for my opponents with these new rules, I’m loving it.

    • Cavalier November 24, 2019 7:16 am #

      Hey Bearclaw thanks man, glad you are enjoying the show too.Yes I’ve had my eye on Dark Technomancers for awhile since it really pairs well with the Venom theme I’m going for too. It is really, really good. I’m new to Coven so will def. be experimenting quite a bit. Brian is in love with the Dark Harvest (healing one) and Dark Technomancers. Great stuff and thanks for listening to the show too!

  2. Charlie November 24, 2019 5:17 am #

    Good read. I think you really identified the same frustration I am having with Craftworlds. In fact, I’m looking at my current army and it is eerily similar to what I ran in 5th edition: mechanized Eldar (Mechdar).

    It has a new flavor due to the nice flier kit, but I’ve been eyeing a new army to build as it just feels so much like I’ve gone down this path before.

    Your article is also very pragmatic as it would be easy to buy a load of stuff, then have it sit at home unfinished while I’d go out and game with the existing army. Like many, I have limited amounts of time in which gaming or painting can be a choice between the two.

    You can’t go wrong with the Drukhari. Designed by Jes Goodwin alone is enough to start a Drukhari army.

    • Cavalier November 24, 2019 7:21 am #

      Thanks Charlie. Yeah its been a rough road for Asuryani and it def feels like those 5th ed days where you lived and died with your Wave Serpents. Its such an expensive build in points and not very dynamic because so much of your points are loaded into those Serpents. I may return to it in the future, but I need a break for now.

      Glad you liked my approach. Its best to take it chunks and really just enjoy pushing each small cluster of models to the max, all the while analyzing and discussing with friends the merits of your expanded options outside of your core. I find it super chill, as you have a certain set of models you dont need to anguish over, while have fluid options you can expand out into so that things dont feel too set in stone.

      Yeah I know those Drukhari models right? Im glad Jes Goodwin designed those before the recent wave of mono-pose (gorgeous as they are) you just cant beat the versatility of the new kits! Thanks man!

  3. kurt hayes November 25, 2019 12:08 am #

    Just gonna put it out there…..

    Vibro cannons.

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