Friday, November 12, 2010

40K: First Game With the 'New' Dark Eldar - 1500 pts vs. Sam Hain

It's been months since I've played, but the new Codex finally got me excited to bring some pain, True Kin-style. With so many new options and cool weapons, it took me FOREVER to pare things down to the standard 1500 points that we generally play at my FLGS that would require the smallest amount of proxying (I pride myself on having an army that is both attractive and accurate in its visual representation).

My List

Archon: Agonizer, Shadow Field, Combat Drugs, Ghostplate Armor, Phantasm Grenade Launcher
Haemonculus: Liquifier Gun
3 Incubi

Venom: 2nd Splinter Cannon, Night Field

Haemonculi: Liquifier Gun, Scissorhand
9 Wyches: Hekatrix w/Agonizer, Haywire Grenades
Raider: Flickerfield

2 x 9 Kabalite Warriors: Splinter Cannon, Shredder
2 x Raiders: Flickerfield, Splinter Racks

5 Scourges: 2 x Splinter Cannons

2 x Ravagers: 3 Dark Lances, Night Shields

1 x Talos: Ichor Injector, Chain Flail

Eldar Sam-Hain List (to the best of my understanding)

Autarch: Jetbike, Laser Lance

5 Fire Dragons: Exarch w/lance
Wave Serpent: Holofield, TL Brightlance

Dire Avengers (unknown # - they never disembarked)
Wave Serpent: Holofield, TL Brightlance

2 x 4 Jetbikes

4 x Vyper: Plasma Missile/Rocket (?)
2 x Fire Prism
1 x Night Spinner

Table Setup & Deployment - Sorry, no pictures this time :-(

I rolled up a Capture & Control scenario. My opponent won the deployment roll and opted to let me go first - usually not something you want to let Dark Eldar do, but I would realize in short order he chose to do this. The table was open plains, dominated in the middle by a Fortress of Redemption (sans guns) with simply-constructed Imperial ruins - approximately 12" x 12" - in each of the four corners.

I set up in the center of my DZ behind the Fortress with my Raiders and Talos lined up in front, Scourges to their right and Ravagers close behind.

My opponent did not put anything on the table.

Turn 1 - Dark Eldar: Charge?

Movement: The Raiders boosted to the opposite side of the Fortress, while the Ravagers circled 12" around the left side of the structure. Scourges jumped 12" around the right side. The Talos creeped onto the base
s vacant gun platform.

Shooting: Nothing to shoot.

Assault: Nothing to assault.

Turn 1 - Sam-Hain: I think not

His army couldn't do anything on the first turn, as it was held in reserve.

Turn 2 - Dark Eldar: Um, hello?

Movement: The Raiders drifted back towards the center of the table, putting about 6" between them, as did the Ravagers. The Talos stayed put and the Scourges moved towards the right corner of my opponent's DZ, where he'd placed his objective.

Shooting: Nothing to shoot.

Assault: Nothing to assault.

Turn 2 - Sam-Hain: Fashionably late

Movement: Using his Autarch ability to improve Reserve rolls, the Autarch appeared on the left edge of the table along with 4 jetbikes, all of whom turbo boosted into position. Following them 12" in was a Fire Prism. On the right flank, a Night Spinner appeared in the objective-bearing ruins along with a Vyper. Two more Vypers and a Wave Serpent appeared in the center of his DZ, drawing a bead on my Raiders, as did the Fire Dragons disembarking from it.

Shooting: The Frie Dragons made short work of the Wych Raider, taking out three Wyches in the process. The Night Spinner fired on the Talos, leaving it unharmed, but bogged down on it's perch on the Fortress. One of the Ravagers was Stunned by a Fire Prism. Other shots either missed or were turned aside by Flickerfields.

Assault: None

Turn 3 - Dark Eldar: Webway living is bad for your eyesight

Movement: The surviving Wyches passed their pinning & Ld. tests and moved towards the Fire Dragons, who suddenly looked very nervous. One of the Warrior Raiders moved a little closer towards the center, while the Scourges, realizing they could do nothing against the Night Spinner sitting on the Sam-Hain objective, headed back towards their objective in the center of their DZ. The unstunned Ravager moved 12" to gain line-of-sight on the Fire Prism. The Talos shook off the effects of the Spinner and crawled off the Fortress, headed for the jetbikes.

Shooting: The Wych Haemonculi unloaded his Liquifier Gun on the Dragons, killing all but the Exarch with an AP roll of 2. The Ravager managed to stun the Prism, while the Raiders lances failed to do anything to the Wave Serpent sitting right in front of them. One of the Warrior squads manged to take down a Vyper with their Shredder (the other Shredder shot having scattered off). The Talos managed to wound two of the bikers, but the saves were easily made. The remaining Warriors and Scourges could do nothing against the vehicles with their splinter armament.

Assault: Despite the Exarch breaking and running, he could not outrun the Wyches, who easily overtook him. The Talos was too far away to assault the jetbikes.

Turn 3 - Sam-Hain: Things turn ugly

Movement: More reserve rolls resulted in the remainder of the Eldar force arriving: a second Fire Prism, 4 more jetbikes, another Vyper and a Wave Serpent packed with Dire Avengers appeared on my right flank, headed for my objective. The first Fire Prism on my left flank moved across the ruins towards the Wyches. The left flanking jetbikes boosted strait towards my objective in the rear center of the table, while the Autarch took a postion directly in front of the nearest Ravager. One of the central Vypers moved up near the Talos, while the other Vyper and Wave Serpent milled about in near the Raiders.

Shooting: The Night Spinner unloaded on the Wyches, slaying all but three (and the Haemonculus), pinning the unit in the process. The Archon's Venom was immobilized and lost a Splinter Cannon, while one of the Raiders lost its Dark Lance to a Vyper. The Autarch immobilized a Ravager. Other shooting either missed or was turned aside by Flickerfields.

Assault: Despite taking advantage of an immobilized Ravager, the Autarch could not land a single blow with his lance!

Turn 4 - Dark Eldar: Payback time

Movement: The Scourges, finally having something squishy to shoot on their side of the table, stayed put in order to maximize their Splinter Cannon shots, while the two functional Warrior Raiders moved to flank the Avenger-bearing Serpent. The Talos stalked the passing jetbike squadron and the Archon and his gang abandoned their useless Venom to move onto the Fortress and run back towards the DE objective. They Wyches recovered and passed their Ld. test, moving against the nearby Fire Prism, haywire grenades in hand. The still-mobile Ravager moved back towards the DE table edge, keeping the Autarch, Fire Prism, jetbikes and home objective in his sights - he would be batting clean up.

Shooting: The Scourges layed an unholy amount of poisoned firepower on the fresh jetbikes, slaying all but two of them. What they left behind, the Raider-bourne Warriors finished off. Unfortunately, their Raider's Dark Lance was not as effective against the Wave Serpent, doing no damage. The Talos brought down one jetbike with it's twin-linked Splinter Cannon. The Autarch avoided the shots made by the downed Ravager, but was vaporized by the second Ravager behind it.

Assault: The Wyches charged the Fire Prism, but were unable to do anything with three grenades. The Talos, on the other claw, managed to roll a staggering seven attacks against the jetbikes and brought the unit crashing down in one fell swoop!

Turn 4 - Sam-Hain: Stay focused!

Movement: The Avenger Wave Serpent boosted over to the DE objective, spinning it's rear armor to the DE table edge. The assaulted Fire Prism moved up, away from the Wyches and the Vyper next to the Talos drew near to the Archon and his unit on the Fortress. The Vyper and Fire Prism on the right edge of the table moved up to provide support as well, bearing down on the Scourges standing between them and the DE DZ (say that ten times fast).

Shooting: The majority of the Eldar shooting was against the two Raiders, still carrying full squads of Kabalite Warriors, with some of the attention getting diverted to the backfield Ravager. The majority of the Eldar shooting was thwarted by Flickerfields, much to the consternation of the Eldar player and the delight of yours truly. The Scourges did take some casualties, but passed their Ld. test.

Assault: Despite the Archon's attempts to coax them out their armored shell, the Dire Avengers were not setting foot outside the Wave Serpent.

Turn 5 - Dark Eldar: Futile Fusillade

Movement: Anything mobile that still had a Dark Lance (one Ravager and one Raider at this point) made a 12" bee-line for the Wave Serpent. The Talos, still buzzing off its jetbike kill, turned to face the Vyper harassing the Archon (it was too far away to reach the WS). The Wyches tried to chase after the Fire Prism, but simply could not keep up.

Shooting: The Dire Avengers 'ooh'-ed and 'aah'-ed at the nice light show their enemies put on for them, safe and content within their floating, armored womb. No other Dark Eldar armament had a chance of putting a scratch on any of the tanks.

Assault: Channeling the frustration generated by the rest of the army, the Talos charged and landed two blows against the Vyper - immobilizing and stunning it.


Before taking his last turn, the Eldar player asked me to roll and see if the game would end on this turn. Unfortunately for me, it did. I had no models within 3" of the Wave Serpent and the Dire Avengers inside it. Additionally, his Night Spinner sat uncontested on his own objective in the distant corner ruins. The Sam-Hain had won. Had he taken his turn, his shooting would have likely taken out the remaining Dark Lances, leaving me completely unable to destroy the Wave Serpent.

Despite winning by objectives, the Sam-Hain had only completely destroyed one Raider; immobilized a Ravager and Venom; caused 3 casualties on my Scourges, 6 on my Wyches; and taken two guns off of vehicles - a Dark Lance off a Raider, Splinter Cannon off the Venom. For the Dark Eldar, that's pretty amazing.

In return, they suffered the loss of their Autarch, two squarons of jetbikes, a unit of Fire Dragons, and one Vyper. A second Vyper was immobilized.

Quick Thoughts About the Updated Dark Eldar
  • The Dark Eldar are going to masscre horde (infantry heavy) lists.
  • The Dark Eldar are going to struggle against mechanized lists, unless they are tailored to anti-mech - or happen to be consistently lucky with the Lances (I'm not).
  • Pain Tokens are pretty cool. I used red acrylic gem counters to keep track of them. ($5 at my FLGS)
  • It was nice to dust off the Scourges and use them again, but I'm dropping them for Reavers w/Caltrops in my next list. Maybe I'd feel different if I'd played against Orks or Tyranids.
  • If you take a Talos, the Chain Flail upgrade is a must.
  • Enemy ordinance has been, and will continue to be, a huge problem for Dark Eldar. Indirect, pinning pie plates that travel 70" are scary.
  • I can't imagine taking a named character at 1500 points. Of course, I don't like to take them anyway, so that may not mean much.
  • Flickerfields - don't leave home without them. They are the reason this game was so close.
Got any thoughts or advice on what I should do to improve my list? Let me know!


  1. Cool sounding game! Consider taking a Kabalite Trueborn in an Elite slot. 3-4 man in a Venom equipped with Blasters, since Trueborn can take up to 4 Blasters/squad. Good mobile anti-mech unit.

  2. Y'know, it never occurred to me to take them as a 5-man squad. I tried working a full-10 man squad in, but it was just too expensive. I'll definitely keep that in mind for my next game. Thanks!

  3. I suggest trying some wracks. Starting the game with them in cover by your objective with feel no pain and toughness 4 is crazy good and as troops with a haemonculous is such a deal as the haemonculous are such great HQ. I kind of hate warriors... not that they are bad...just that there are such better options in the codex. Which kind of sucks as I have 6 units of twenty assembled and painted.

  4. Warriors have certainly become a bit less attractive in this edition - mostly due to their inability to take two cheap Dark Lances at bargain basement prices. I, too, have a bunch of Warriors that don't see the table top in the new lists I've been concocting.

    I would like to try Wracks and Grotesques - but don't have any models for them. I hope GW puts out the second wave of DE models soon. Especially the Venom.