Saturday, February 2, 2013

Dark Eldar 6th Edition Tactica Part 5: Elites

Welcome fellow Archon's to the final installment of my comprehensive 6th edition Dark Eldar Tactica! It's been a lot of work but just as much fun writing these, and I've even learned a lot more about the book just by taking a closer look at all the units. Hopefully you are all finding these just as useful! Now, without further ado, here we go!

Kabalite Trueborn:
To preface, I would have to say that trueborn are not only the most used elite choice in my army, but they are often some of the most effective units in my entire army. At 13 points a model, you don't get much more than a standard warrior stat-wise (+1 attack and +1 Leadership) but where there true value comes in is their access to special weapons. The way I see it, there are two main ways to equip your trueborn, as it is best to specialize the squads for specific roles. One of the most effective is to take 4 (or 3, depending on your points) all with blasters in a transport (either a raider or venom) giving you four/five S8 AP2 lance shots at 18", for an effective range of 24" of vehicle/heavy infantry hunting power. I usually prefer taking them in a venom because of the lower target profile of the model, and because of the versatility of the two splinter cannons when targeting heavy infantry with the squad. The Dark Lance of a raider will keep the unit specialized for heavy target hunting, but either way the squad equipped this way will be able to do some serious damage. While taking multiple small squads of Blaster trueborn can doom you in kill point game types, the target saturation of such high damage capable units can certainly overwhelm your opponent. The second way to equip your trueborn is to turn them into premier light infantry killers with an onslaught of poison. All your trueborn can be kitted out with shardcarbines, which provide 3 poisoned shots per model at 18". I've had tremendous success with 4 shardcarbine trueborn and 2 with splinter cannons in a venom. The amount of firepower that this unit can unleash will literally astound you upon first use. In total, this unit has 32 shots at 18" which will likely make a significant dent in MEQ or other infantry, and can be the bane of high toughness units or monstrous creatures, which will likely be eating a face-full of a dirt after a few concentrated volleys. Overall, I usually prefer the heavy-hitting capability of the blaster trueborn squads, but be aware that they can really hurt you in missions involving killpoints, as they are often a primary target for your opponent (they can dish out some hurt, so they should be!). Either way, I almost always try to find room for trueborn in my lists, and I can guarantee you won't be disappointed once your blasters tear through an enemy heavy tank or your torrent of poison brings an enemy monstrous creature to its knees.

Hekatrix Bloodbrides
Alright, so if you've been following my tacitcas up until this point, you know that I am a huge fan of wyches. However, I cannot in good conscience put my seal approval on bloodbrides. Given my love of wyches, that may seem strange at first, but lets take a second and examine what you get. For 4 more points a model, you get +1 attack, +1 leadership, the ability to dump more points into more special close combat gear, and that's it. Oh wait, there's more, you also LOSE the ability to capture objectives. While these mean gladiators are slightly more effective in close combat, it definitely does not warrant and increased point cost to lose a scoring unit. Furthermore, the elite slot is already heavily contested in the Dark Eldar book, and if you're looking for a powerful close combat unit then check out Incubi, who play much differently than wyches and are quite a force to be reckoned with. All in all, I can't recommend bloodbrides, unless you plan on filling your troops up with wyches and just can't get enough of these lovely ladies.

While granted I don't have much experience with these elite close combat fighters, I am a big fan. I oftentimes simply don't have the points to shell out for a squad after all of my necessary units have been filled, but I always feel myself longing to include a unit as a bodyguard for my HQ of choice. My biggest hesitation with incubi, however, is their complete lack of anti-armor capabilities. I like versatility in my close combat units, because you may often find yourself stranded after losing a transport and need to be able to engage targets of opportunity. When it comes to non-TEQ infantry, however, Incubi have few equals. Sporting the best armor save in the book, Incubi are definitely appealing on account of their increased survivability, which couples nicely with the speed of a transport and their incredible offensive output in close combat. WS 5, S4, I5 power weapons with two attacks base will make very short work of any light infantry unit, and any models that aren't killed in the initial assault will be swept away when you inevitably force your opponent to flee. I usually recommend the Klaivex upgrade, as you get an additional attack and a boost in stats with access to some pretty awesome wargear (the bloodstone and Demiklaives are my favorite, but can put a steep cost on this single upgrade model). Don't fret if you don't have the points however, the unit can still be a significant threat without the help of the Klaivex. It is important to note, however, that Incubi have one glaring weakness: they lack grenades. It blows my mind how a unit that is completely dedicated to the assault phase can be written without assault grenades, but hey, nothing I can do about that! Furthermore, this weakness is easily mitigated by taking a Phantasam Grenade Launcher on an Archon to travel with the squad. While the Archon can take challenges and adds even more destructive potential to the unit, the pricetag begins to get fairly hefty with the PGL attached, which is the main factor that tends to turn me off to using a valuable elite slot for this unit. Overall, I know many who swear by Incubi, and I tend to agree on their offensive output and survivability (which is rare in our codex), but I am often caught weighing them against cheaper units that can do a similar job. If you have the points, they will be well spent on Incubi, but just make sure you aren't sacrificing anything essential.

While I am absolutely in love with their models, Harlequins are another unit that are very expensive for how fragile they are. With that being said, there are ways in which you can make up for this weakness, and harlequins are indeed a versatile, effective close combat unit. The first upgrade that is absolutely necessary in my opinion is the Shadowseer. To the unit, he grants both stealth and shrouded, for a 4+ cover save always, and a 2+ when in cover. Couple this with their ability to ignore difficult terrain, and your best bet is to hop from cover to cover until you can lock into assault with the enemy. While they bring a ton of attacks on the charge, I would recommend taking at least a few of the harlequins kiss in order to ensure that you are taking out armored targets. This is especially important because they only have a 5+ invuln so you want to make sure to do as much damage as possible to keep them safe. Another pretty big weakness with Harlequins is that they can't take a dedicated transport, which means you're stuck hoofing it across the board since webway portals are no longer an option. As far as the troupe master goes, I tend to think he's too overpriced and sort of detracts from the job that harlequins want to do, which is assaulting and not shooting. With that being said, however, I think a couple fusion pistols can go a long way by adding versatility to the unit in the form of anti-vehicle capabilities. While I think Harlequins have their place, it's tough to justify the cost when they are generally slower than the rest of your army and are extremely vulnerable to template weapons. Use with caution!

Initially, I wasn't a huge fan of these hulking meat monsters. With the death of the webway, it became difficult to take large units if you wanted them to get into combat. Also, 35 points a model is a lot to shell out for a unit with only a 6+ armor save and FNP. Sure they're T5 and 3 wounds a piece, but that can end quickly with concentrated fire. Once in combat, however, the fury of flesh is truly unleashed, and since they will generally have furious charge (they will go berserk without a character, such a haemonculus, in the unit) they can do significant damage to both vehicles and infantry. In case you couldn't tell, assault versatility is very important to me, and grotesques definitely fit the bill. However, there is always the chance that they can go berserk if the character is killed, or that they can die to massed fire without cover. However, as of late, I have discovered an interesting use for them. I love using a challenge Archon with a shadowfield, huskblade, and soul trap to hunt down enemy characters. However, he suffers from his unit and the ease in which they are wounded. However, an Archon with a body guard of 4 Grotesques and a Haemonculus with a liquifier in a raider give the unit majority T5 with FNP and furious charge, which is a tough nut to crack! The grotesques basically serve as a shield to get the Archon into combat, where he does some serious damage. I love the abberition upgrade for look out sir advantages, and taking another liquifier gun gives you two in the squad which can be devastating with the right rolls. The raider, while you only can fit four models with the characters, provides reliable speed to rush these guys forward and have them start crushing vehicles and infantry alike. I genuinely believe that Grotesques can provide a unique role for the army and you will be pleasantly surprised with the results.

I'm sorry, but mandrakes are absolutely, without a doubt, the worst unit in our codex, and make a strong case for worst unit in the game. They are so weak (even with stealth) that infiltrating them will often just get them annihilated, feeding your opponent an easy first blood. They're only S4, and WS 4, meaning they don't put out much damage even if they do manage to stumble into combat, especially with no power weapons. Don't get me wrong, their models are some of my favorite, but please save yourself the time and trouble by finding a use for these pathetic half-daemon weaklings.

Well folks, that's it for the elites, and the entire Dark Eldar 6th Edition Tactica is now complete. I plan on continuously updating with new FAQ's and erratas, and as always I would love your feedback and suggestions! Don't forget to follow!


  1. Great read! keep them coming.

    one point to mention is that the Klaives are no longer power weapons, so they attack at model initiative the same as the Huskblade thanks to the recent FAQ.


    1. I just about jumped for joy when they got the bump to AP2!

  2. I like your outlook. I would like to note I personally have great experience with Incubi and Grotesques and love them both. But conversely I have very little with the blasterborn or splinterborn.

    1. I got a suggestion on another article, and I think I'm going to use some Crypt Horrors to convert into grotesques using spare bits from the Talos kit. The main problem keeping me away from grotesques is the fact that their models cost so much!

  3. What are the chances of seeing some list builds in the future? Ie general use, v nids, v orks

    Big fan of your work by the way man these tactica have been a huge help!