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Monday, February 15, 2010

Building a Dark Eldar Army List; Part 1: The Warrior Squad

Hello and welcome to The Dark Eldar Kabal’s exploration into the Dark Eldar codex. This will be the first instalment in a series of articles breaking down every unit in the current army book helping you build a force fit for even the most resilient of victims. Where better to begin, than with the bread and butter of every Kabal, the humble Dark Eldar Warrior.

In the current codex the Dark Eldar have two different troop choices; The Warrior squad and the Raider squad. For the first article let’s take a look at the former.

Consisting of ten to twenty Dark Eldar grunts armed with not much more than a stapler and a wetsuit these guys don’t look like much, but let’s see how we can bulk them out a bit.

The Anti-light Infantry Squad
10-14 Warriors (2x Splinter Cannons, 2 x Shredders)
Cost: 120pts-152pts (Depending on the size of the squad)

This squad is fairly mobile (for a foot slog unit anyway) being able to fire on the move but with a maximum range of 24” it’ll be getting up close and personal and therefore needs to be sitting in cover to improve its chance of survival. Nevertheless at rapid fire range these guys will be pumping out eight str4 ap5 hits, between twelve and twenty str3 ap5 hits and two str6 small blast shots. With BS4 this unit is a decent way to eradicate lightly armoured infantry such as Guardsmen, Ork Boyz, ‘gaunts etc. They need support though or they won’t survive long.

The ‘Sniper’ Squad
10 Warriors (2 x Dark Lances, 2 x Blasters)
Cost: 110pts

This is the cheapest and arguably most effective build. Plant them high up in ruins if possible and use the Dark Lances to take pot shots at vehicles, monstrous creatures, heavy-infantry or whatever else they can see. If they need to be on the move the Blasters will come in very handy.

Reader 'Robin de Tolens' advises keeping the unit cheap by dropping the blasters and spending the points elsewhere. This is a valid argument seeing as they will likely be sitting at the back for most of the game.

The Adaptable Squad
9 Warriors (2 x Splinter Cannons, 2 x Blaster)
Syrabite (Terrorfex)
Cost: 123pts

This unit is a good all round mix of anti-tank and anti-infantry a good unit to send chasing objectives in the later turns of the game. The Terrorfex wielding Syrabite will greatly improve the survivability of the squad and should buy you more time to whittle away at targets with the Splinter Cannons and Blasters.

How many squads should you take?
With 2/3 games being objective based I shouldn’t need to tell you that your warriors are absolutely essential for winning games. I would recommend taking a minimum of 4 troop choices in any games over 1000pts. With warriors on foot it’s a case of balancing squad size and points. I would personally rather take six 10 man squads than four 14-16 man squads but seeing how vulnerable a T3 5+ save model is, I could see a case for the latter. I wouldn’t bother taking the squad size beyond the 16 man mark though as the points could be better spent elsewhere.

Which of the squad options is best?
The ‘Sniper’ Squad is the most commonly employed. For a measly 660 points you could have 60 bodies with a whopping twenty-four str8 ap2 Lance weapons (twelve with 36” range). The others are not without their merit though, it all depends on how you want to run your list.

How can you help keep them safe?
‘Sniper’ squads should be deployed in cover at the back of the board. More than likely they will be left alone long enough to get a good few rounds of shooting in. A good tactic for Splinter Cannon squads is to use them in synergy with Wyches. The squad can get close enough to unleash its full firepower if the Wyches are assaulting the enemy in the same turn. Try to stay in cover at all times though unless it’s for a last minute dash to an objective.

'But you haven't mentioned...'
Have I missed something? Post below how you run your Warrior Squads. If it's good I'll edit it into the article and credit you for it.

Happy raiding!


  1. Really awesome guide for new players - you're tempting me to look into a dark eldar army!

  2. You've not talked about raider squads. I guess you are going to talk about it later?
    Aside from that, I do not agree fully with your sniper squad. Sure blasters are nice, but as your sniper squads will most likely stay at the back of the table, those weapons will be left unused most of the time. If you have spare points, why not, but they could probably be better spent elsewhere.

  3. Yep, Raider Squads will be next. This is specifically for footslogging warrior squads.

    My thinking begind it was to spam as many lances as possible. I think it would make the warriors at the back a little less vulnerable to assault and to give the Lance squads a little bit of flexibility in movement. I figured this was a fair trade off for 10pts a unit but you do raise a good point and I'll edit it into the article.

    Thanks for your comment!


  4. Great blog! I'm starting up a DE army in the near future-- keep these posts up, they're much appreciated

  5. What I want to try the next time I'll play is:
    2 twenty man squads equipped each with a sybarite with agoniser, 2 splinter cannons and two blaster. I will try to squeeze them trough a webway portal. Moving out like entering from resurve (thus they will have all options left afther the movement). Walking 6'' from the portal. then the havoc starts, shoot within 12'' and you will have 15 rapid fire shots 1 from a pistol 2 from blaster and 8 from the splinter cannons. Even terminaters will take some wounds from that. then if you are standing within charge range you could charge. Even our warriors have a high initiative so most of the time they will strike firsth. If the enemy is in cover, you could use a plasma grenade.

    I try practicing rolls against necrons, 10 out of 15 will die. (before the will be back roll)


  6. I've been playing for a few months as the dark eldar. My favorite model has to be the sybarite. He's bad ass and has two base attacks, plus a poison blades/agoniser attack, plus a Tormentor helm attack, and possibly plus one for charging. So he can jump in with five vicious attacks on top of the rest of the squad's attacks. My 29 point sybarite almost killed a culex-something assassin last night that was worth well more than 29 pts.

  7. @ Javz:

    Just a couple nitpicky things:

    1) If you've already got a pistol and CC weapon, the tormentor helm doesn't give you another attack.
    2) You don't get a bonus attack if you're using poisoned blades.

    And I agree with Robin above. I don't think my sniper squads have ever shot anything other than their lances, so I'd drop the blasters.

    Liking the blog so far!

  8. The Sniper squad with 2 DLs is by far the most effective build for several reasons:

    1: It scares everyone, 36" mech death, just like everything else in the Codex.
    2: It will probably be ignored while they focus on your Raiders.
    3: It will sit in cover having a nice 4+ save.

    Warriors should not ever be moving across the board on foot. A 5+ armor save that most every weapon will ignore, they will be shot and killed before they can do much damage. Plus having the majority of weapons being S3, even with Rapid Fire you will not kill enough in turn for what you will lose.

    The only other Option I would suggest now, after the Tyranid Codex, is to place a Syrabite with Poison Blades in the squad, just to get the 2+ wound when you get assaulted.

  9. I use 3 sniper squads on foot with the blasters, and a raider squad in 1500. I find the blasters very useful and worth the points. When an opponent advances against the sniper squad ( which should be sitting in cover ), you are left with 2 choices:
    1. stand and shoot, and then die when they reach you,
    2. back away and keep shooting.
    The splinter rifles just don't do the business against MEQ, so you need the extra punch from the blasters. If you choose option 1, your warrior squad needs to kill enough stuff to make their loss worthwhile. 7 dead marines or 3 dead terminators just about pays for them. Usually you can make more than this. If you choose option 2, once the squad starts moving it loses the effect of the dark lances because they are heavy. You then need the blasters to keep putting on the hurt.

    One last thing: beware of fast moving flamers, eg landspeeder with heavy flamer, jump marines, ork skorchas etc. If you let them reach your warrior squad in cover, they will burn you out in no time!


  10. Will you be putting up the raider squad stuff soon?

  11. Im new to collecting Dark elder and I hope you will help me.

  12. What it think would be a good idea is having two squads both armed with two dark lances and two splinter cannons

  13. i like the idea just starting is there a way to make them more bad ass?

  14. I have to say that warrior squads with splinter cannons and blasters make squads ideal, versatile and well suited to deal with both infantry and vehicles. Also if you want raider squads you should includes blasters for the role of tank hunting and splinter cannons for anti-infantry basically raider squads are those of the ones described first, only smaller. =)