|  Home  |  News  |  Tactics  |  Battle Reports  |  Contribute  | 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Building a Dark Eldar Army List; Part 2: The Raider Squad

In this article we’ll discuss the benefits and downfalls of the quintessentially Dark Eldar, Raider Squad.

In the current codex the Dark Eldar have two different troop choices; the Warrior squad and the Raider squad. We’ve already covered the Warrior Squad so let’s move on to the Raider Squad.

A Raider Squad consists of 5 to 10 Dark Eldar Warriors mounted in a Raider.  As usual they can be led by a Sybarite, who can be given all the usual goodies however unlike their foot squad counterpart they can only take up to 1 Heavy Weapon (Dark Lance/Splinter Cannon) and 1 Special Weapon (Blaster/Shredder). 
So let’s look at a few combinations of how you can kit out your Raider Squads.

5/9 Warriors (Splinter Cannon, Shredder)
Raider (Horrorfex, Dissintigrator)
Cost: 125pts/157pts

This is a very specialist build. I would only recommend using this if you find yourself consistently facing Horde armies. If you do then 6 squads like this flying round the board are sure to cause some carnage.

The Gun-Boat
5/9 Warriors (Splinter Cannon, Blaster)
Raider (Horrorfex)
Cost: 115pts/147pts

This is a failsafe combination as both the Splinter Cannon and Blaster can be fired on the move. Sit in the Raider and fire-away. Its well rounded nature means that wherever it finds itself in the battle it will have something to do.

The Sniper-Lite
5/9 Warriors (Dark Lance)
Raider (Horrorfex)
Cost: 110pts/142pts

The cheapest squad build. Deploy the unit in cover at the start of the game and they will take Dark Lance pot shots at enemy vehicles, independent characters, monstrous creatures etc. All the while the Raider flies around as a mobile Dark Lance or as a taxi for other units.

Reader Thor665 shares a very effective tactic; The super-gunboat. "The Super Gunboat entails buying a mini sniper Raider squad which you deploy into terrain or another sniper spot. You also purchase a 10 man Warrior squad with 2x Splinter Cannon and 2x Blaster/Shredder to taste. During turn 1 they embark onto the empty Raider and provide you a 'super' gunboat."

Why only 5 or 9 Warriors per unit?
A morale check is caused when a unit loses 25% of its members in a single turn. For a 5 man squad this is two casualties, to increase this number to three we have to take 9 Warriors. So anything in-between these numbers is doing very little to increase the squads survivability.

Warrior Squads or Raider Squads?

Most would say Raider Squads. When you get a fast skimmer transport with a Dark Lance it’s easy to understand why. Warrior Squads are still worth considering though, think about what you need from your troops and mix and match accordingly. Personally I take all Raider squads (3 ‘Gun-boat’, 2 ‘Sniper-Lite’).

Is it worth taking Sybarites?
For a Raider Squad I don’t see any point. Keep the cost down and spend the points elsewhere.

What about taking vehicle upgrades?
I’ve put Horrofexes in as they are fantastic for the cost. Any other upgrades I would say are too expensive or not useful enough for the Raider. Keep the cost down because your Raiders are too fragile to be considered anything other than expendable. Just let them do their thing for as long as they can.

Reader Thor665 disagrees and advises considering Night Sheilds. "If you're fielding gunline DE they become invaluable in helping to control the dynamic of who can target you with what. They can also be good for helping to protect a Lord or Wych Raider from turn 1 sniping."

How can you keep your armour 10 Raiders from exploding?
It’s not easy but luckily they are cheap enough for us to take lots of them. In my 1500pt list I have 7 and really I’d like to increase that number to 8. Having a large amount of Raiders on the table gives your opponent too many targets to take out. Something I’m starting to learn is to know when to stand and shoot and when to fly away. Remember that you get a 4+ cover save for moving flat-out, it can make all the difference in game. (Remember to use your Horrorfexes too when the going gets tough).

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


  1. Hi,

    Is it worth mentioning that in 5th edition you can't move the raider 12" and fire from the passengers on board. It's makes the gun boat squad a bit slower than it used to be.

    As the game points size rise (eg. 1750+) Dark Eldar quickly run out of force org slots (well the useful ones anyway). Would you recommend expanding 1 or 2 gunboat units into a light assault unit with the addition of a sybarite with agoniser.

    Overall great article, I'm looking forward to the rest.


  2. @Rathstar

    Yes it's a shame you can only move 6" and shoot in 5th edition but I don't think it affects the unit too much. Like I said in the article it's just a case of knowing when to sacrifice firepower for manouvrability.

    I suppose if you really have the points spare you could double your gunboat squads into assault squads but really you'd be sacrificing them against most things in the game. I'd rather take a Warp Beast Pack or something with the points. (They don't take up a foc slot) I think we have enough good stuff to take us to around the 2000pt mark. Above that I think we start to struggle.

    Thanks for the comment, glad you're enjoying it.

  3. I really enjoy reading this series, as I am just starting DE as my 3rd army. But I'd have to say keep the shameless plugs at home though, and those arent very discount price anyway....

  4. @Mizzrym

    Always good to see a new Dark Eldar player. I hope you're getting something useful out of these articles.

    If you know any cheaper North American 40k sites feel free to recommend them. I'm in the UK so i'm a little less savvy on $ prices. I do know that mwg are a fair bit cheaper than GW though.

    As a reader I prefer my plugs to be shameless. They're easier to skip if you're not interested that way.

    Happy Raiding!

  5. The warrior squad is the bread and butter of the DE list and the raider squad even more so. I never load up with a Syabrite on the squad and an agoniser being able to polish off a MC after darklance shots is great.

  6. Good points all.

    Personally, I prefer taking two sniper squads for four Dark Lances to sit on home objectives rather than the two that come with Sniper-lite and leave the rest of my force mobile, i.e. Raider Squads. Not to mention giving them blasters means that you've got 8 s8ap2 Lance and minimum 24 s3ap5 shots for anything foolish enough to come within 12" and not assault you that turn. Although the mobile Dark Lance on the Sniper-lite's Raider does come in handy... But each Archon to his own, eh? :)

  7. Greetings,

    A nice writeup overall but I have a few thoughts that you might wish to consider; First off mini sniper boats can and are quite formidable if you leave the Warriors embarked on the boat with their lance (it basically becomes a sniper squad that you can move up to 24" if you need to reposition them). Mini Sniper boats used in this way, because they often serve as psuedo-gunboats in certain cases, can benefit from a Blaster (though my experience with that particular tactic is only apocryphal.

    The second major point is, that between Raider and Warrior squads is the odd stepchild of the Super Gunboat - which is a quite viable tactic that you really should at least discuss.

  8. @Thor665

    I've never been keen on leaving a Dark lance squad in a Raider but each to their own.

    As for the super gun-boat tactic , i'm not sure i'm aware of it. Is it where you drop off a Raider Squad and then use the Raider to pick up up a tooled up Warrior squad which then becomes a gun-boat?

  9. I personally like having a light sybarite on the raider squads. Poisoned blades and splinter rifle. This way I can still kick a bit when (if) I get in cc. Of course he's dispendable, and I take him only when I have the points =)
    I haven't been able to test horrorfexes for now, but I can say that Night shields have saved a raider more than once ^^
    Ah by the way, last thing : you can move your raider 12" and move, but you have to disembark your warriors. Heavy weapons won't be able to shoot, as you'll be considered moved, but it could be useful for, say, a last turn.

  10. That's an excellent point about disembarking, Robin de Tolens. One I'd actually overlooked!
    Night shields seem useful but I wouldn't put that many points into a Raider. I would use them on Ravagers if I had the points spare though.

  11. @Cuchulain84

    You are correct. The Super Gunboat entails buying a mini sniper Raider squad which you deploy into terrain or another sniper spot. You also purchase a 10 man Warrior squad with 2x Splinter Cannon and 2x Blaster/Shredder to taste. During turn 1 they embark onto the empty Raider and provide you a 'super' gunboat.

    Night Shields are situational depending on your army type and goal. If you're fielding gunline DE they become invaluable in helping to control the dynamic of who can target you with what. They can also be good for helping to protect a Lord or Wych Raider from turn 1 sniping.

  12. @Thor665

    Thanks very much for the description. I've edited it into the article.

    As for nightshields, I would consider them if they were 10pts but I never seem to have 20pts spare. Maybe in games above 1850pts they'd seem a lot more attractive. I'll edit it into the article though.

  13. I used to use Nightshields, but found that sitting 36" away from my opponent (42" for his range" it is just to easy for any kind of mobile opponent to move into range to shoot you with something that can hurt you...the points are a bit much in my opinion, in my typical 1850 force I have 9 skimmers, if I used Nightshields that would be 150 points (60 points on 3 Ravagers, 90 points on 6 Raiders) spent; that is the cost of one more Raider Squad. I choose more bodies over upgrades.

    Another Raider Squad upgrade to consider is use a Syrabite with Terrorfex instead of a Raider mounted Horrorfex. Per the FAQ the Horrorfex is not a defensive weapon, despite having no S value, and you fire it (per the Codex) in place of the vehicle's weapon.

    Most times, the squad within the Raider does not fire as I am moving 12" a round, but once the Raider is destroyed (yes it will happen), or when you have the opportunity to use it it would be great...destroy a Rhino with DL, then Terrorfex the squad, Yes please!

  14. Hey i am thinking of getting D.E but im new to 4k and i have heard they are hard to start with, do you think that i should start with something else and then move onto d.e afterwards?

  15. Hey there,

    You are right, Dark Eldar are a difficult army to start with. They require finesse and clever tactics which does take a little while to get used to. I would say start them if you really, really like them above all other armies, and/or if you don't mind losing games for a while until you get used to them. If not then maybe looking into an easier to use army such as Space Marines is best and then as you say come back to them when you're a bit more experienced. Good luck with whatever army you start though! Let me know how it works out.

  16. I started with Dark Eldar, and i haven't found the learning curve too bad. They are fairly effective against Marine armies which put you in good stead to be effective.

    I just wanted to put forward the advantages of Raider Assault Squads. Just 5 man squad with Blaster, Splinter Cannon and Syrbiate with Agoniser and Plasma grenades for 83 points.

    The way i normally use this is as support for a wych squad, or for a lone Dracon on Jetbike in smaller points games.

    I find in larger points games i can either take two incubi squads and 1 Wych squad, or 1 incubi and 2 wych squads (1 with extra dracite for more damage).

  17. 5th Edition does allow for a 12 inch move and shoot for passengers on the Raider. Fast Vehicles are capable of a third speed called flat out. This represents the fast vehicle moving at top speed, without firing its guns and is treated in all respects exactly as moving at cruising speed for a vehicle that is not fast(except where noted otherwise). Fast vehicles treat 12 inch movement as if moving as Combat speed.

  18. Wow! thanks for this site, man! This is great for a budding dark eldar archon like myself...

  19. No, having 3rd flat out speed doesn't change your second speed from Cruising to combat speed.

    You can get out and then shoot with the squad (I do that as it doulbes the number of targets your opponent has to consider, and you get additional "2 during disembarking for your blaster guy to be happy) but you can't shoot out of transport after "12.