Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Playing Dark Eldar: The Ulthwé Rapid Response Fleet (Revised)

The basics behind the list haven't changed much in the past few months, but there are some substantial changes in the details that affect gameplay a good bit. I have a long way to go before I hit the ceiling with Dark Eldar, so I should see marked improvement each time out. Right now this is where the army sits at 2000 points based on playtesting and my current ability to utilize the army.

HQ:

55 Haemonculus
- Venom Blade
- Splinter Pistol

Elites:

200 Kabalite Trueborn
- 5 Trueborn
- 2 Splinter Cannons
- 3 Blasters
- Venom w/ 2x SC & Nightshields

200 Kabalite Trueborn
- 5 Trueborn
- 2 Splinter Cannons
- 3 Blasters
- Venom w/ 2x SC & Nightshields

200 Kabalite Trueborn
- 5 Trueborn
- 2 Splinter Cannons
- 3 Blasters
- Venom w/ 2x SC & Night Shields

Troops

228 Wyches
- 8 Wyches
- 1 Hekatrix w/ Agonizer
- Haywire Grenades
- 1 Shardnet
- Raider w/ Night Shields & Flickerfield

140 Kabalite Warriors
- 5 Warriors
- 1 Blaster
- Raider w/ Night Shields & Flickerfield

140 Kabalite Warriors
- 5 Warriors
- 1 Blaster
- Raider w/ Night Shields & Flickerfield

140 Kabalite Warriors
- 5 Warriors
- 1 Blaster
- Raider w/ Night Shields & Flickerfield

135 Kabalite Warriors
- 5 Warriors
- 1 Blaster
- Venom w/ 2x SC & Night Shields

135 Kabalite Warriors
- 5 Warriors
- 1 Blaster
- Venom w/ 2x SC & Night Shields

Heavy Support:

175 Razorwing Jetfighter
- Splinter Cannon
- Night Shields
- Flickerfield

125 Ravager
- Night Shields
- Flickerfield

125 Ravager
- Night Shields
- Flickerfield

Total: 1998

As should be obvious, this army is MSU to the core, and relies on overwhelming firepower to deal with pretty much every situation. If I can manipulate firing lanes and cover appropriately, I usually ahve no problems with objective games. Kill points, on the other hand, have been a massive problem. For this reason I have added Night Shields to all my vehicles to allow me to still play aggressively. Without them, my general tactics have been almost reckless. I expect that as my skill with the army improves I will be able to remove some of the Night Shields and Flickerfields from the army and use those points on more efficient upgrades.

As for weapon breakdown, we have a pretty nice mix of weapons, relying mostly on our 2 basic profiles (SX AP5 Poison, or S8 AP2 Lance) with some Razorwing missiles thrown in for swarm and horde management. Here's the numbers:

12 Dark Lances
14 Blasters
20 Splinter Rifles
17 Splinter Cannons (11 Vehicle-Mounted)
10 Splinter Pistols
9 Haywire Grenades

My anti-tank firepower is meant primarily for suppression, as I lack AP1. I was having a hard time capitalizing with the Reavers, and they were really the weakest link in the kill point chain. The points were spent on adding Splinter Cannons to the Trueborn squads (to maintain anti-infantry firepower, and keep more around as the venoms drop) and the Night Shields all around.

This new level of coverage allows me to skirt weapon ranges a little more easily and make most infantry obsolete until they come within 18 inches. This means I can do a continuous retreat to thin numbers and mitigate my losses. Fewer losses mean I can win the Killpoint game or even more reliably wipe the opponent off the table.

I have also swapped out the original Wrack units for more warrior units. The extra blasters have been very helpful in dealing with terminators and armor, even if it is just a couple. The extra rifle shots let me maintain usefulness from inside transports when I need to pour fire into an enemy unit as well.

The Wyches continue to be an awesome unit, tying up the biggest threats to my army. Ideally I'd like to swap out one of the warrior squads for another unit as I remove my reliance on Night Shields. It's gonna take a lot of points to pull that off, and it might mean running less than full squads in those raiders. Community advice is appreciated.

My hardest issues to deal with right now are Hydras, Riflemen, and Broadsides. I would love to hear some tactics on how others deal with those threats in the early turns. Especially for tournaments with fewer LOS blocking terrain pieces than might be standard.

Overall I really like the feel of the open-topped transport army. There is a lot of versatility in tactical options that come from being able to hop out and assault when needed, or staying inside to not get eaten alive by bolters and the like, but still provide my full firepower. I'd like more durability on the units and vehicles, but then I might as well be playing Necrons. It's pretty much the same with them, except you have a couple less models on the table.

I'd love to hear some feedback on the list. This includes options for improvement both in the list itself as well as successful tactics and strategies for use on the tabletop. I will be posting up batreps from test games with the DE at various point levels and should be able to get some videos up from the Foundry's Twitch stream to boot. This year should be a fun ride.

1 comment:

  1. Got a friend starting 40k with Tau. Unfortunately, he has taken a liking to running 2x 3 broadsides with target lock on the leader. Four exploding ships before he has to shoot missile pods really hurts!

    Shield drones prevent using lances on them. The closest I got was one time a flat out incubi squad made it right to them before being blown out of the raider and then mopped up with plasma suits. Doah!

    I do run more witches than you 3x 8 so I guess the best strategy is to flat out all assaulting units turn one, take some TGLs to reduce leadership, and some EA's will help to ensure that you are in assault range turn two even if your ride goes down in turn one after flat-out. It's not like you were going to shoot with the incubi or that 8 splinter pistols is really going to be worth it if you are out of assault range.

    Hence, I believe that ethersails are under rated for a forward assault force.

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