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Friday, February 5, 2010

Dark Eldar; A beginners Guide: Part 1

Do you enjoy kidnapping, slavery and torture?

If the answer is ‘Hell yes!’, then you are legally insane and should probably hand yourself over to the authorities immediately. If the answer is ‘yes, but only in the confines of the fictional universe of Warhammer 40,000’ then you should read on, because this article will tell you how to go about starting your own Dark Eldar Kabal!

‘Should I start a Dark Eldar army?’ Is a question I’ve seen crop up a lot lately. The general response consists of scores of naysayers proclaiming that ‘It’s not worth it’ and to ‘wait for a new codex.’ My answer is always ‘Definitely, yes!’ and I’ll explain why.

The Dark Eldar are without doubt the coolest army in 40k. They’re quicker than the Craftworld Eldar, more despicable than the Chaos Marines and they have close combat units that can make a Tyranid player weep. But what they do best is kill Marines, and luckily for us Space Marines are in abundance. Of course I don’t need to tell you all that, that’s why you want to collect them, right? And there’s never been a better time to start...

(Okay, okay, I understand that a new codex is due. But we now know that it won’t be released until 2011 at the very least. That gives you a minimum of a whole year of pillaging, slaughtering and generally being the wickedest army in the galaxy. At least then when the new codex does finally get released you won’t be accused of jumping the bandwagon. Your old school Kabal will rock up and put the n00bs in their rightful place. If you do decide that you want to replace the old models with the new range then eBay will be your best friend as Dark Eldar fever soars! That’s my plan anyway, and it’s a hell of a lot more fun than waiting.)

So where to begin? Well that’s easy of course, go out and buy yourself the all essential Dark Eldar Codex. But make sure you get the right one! You need to make sure the one you get has a skull stamp motif in the upper right corner on the front cover. It should say ‘Second Edition.’ (Don’t worry, that means ‘2nd ed codex’ and not ‘for use with the 2nd edition rulebook’...The codex is old but not that old) If you absolutely must get some miniatures I recommend starting with the battle-force, but I’ll go into that in the next article.

Okay, got the codex yet? Good. Now sit down with a cold beer and some nachos and familiarise yourself with the fluff, stats, and special rules of your new army. Enjoy!


  1. Liking it Sean. Brilliant writing style! A few more posts and you should get in touch with From The Warp and get on their listings.

  2. Good read, I'm intreted in the Dark Eldar so your thoughts are appreciated.

  3. As a budding DE player I like what I see.

  4. I am currently playing craftworld eldar and I am starting to think that a small force (2000pts maybe) of the dark kin would make a nice 2nd army. Maybe I am getting in touch with my darker side, who knows?

    Anyway, the only problem I have is that most of the current dark eldar models are absolutely horrific (and not in a good dark eldar way!).

    Do you have any suggestions for kitbashing eldar and dark eldar models to make them look better (still evil and spiky but more like an eldar than an s&m bondage freak like they look now)?

    The only models I would probably leave untouched in the dark eldar range are the raiders, ravagers and incubi (as the vehicles in the eldar range are totally different to the dark eldar ones, and the incubi models are just plain awesome anyway).

    Do you have any ideas to help a budding member of the dark kin?

  5. Hey Dave

    You are not alone in thinking the Dark Eldar kits need a facelift. Personally I think they look okay but I know it's something that puts a lot of people off.

    I've seen many Dark Eldar kitbashes on various forums. For Warriors most seem to use Eldar Guardians and/or Dark Elf Corsairs combined with the Dark Eldar Warrior kits. Dark Elf Witches make a good alternative to Wyches though I've also seen Slaanesh Daemonettes in the same role. Vampire Counts Ghouls make good Grotesques and Chaos Warhounds are a perfect stand in for Warpbeasts. So as you can see Warhammer Fantasy Battle mini's are a good source to look into as are the craftworld Eldar. I've seen a few cool Harlequins in Kabals too.

    Hope that helps.

  6. Hmmm, good ideas there. Maybe I will pick up a few sprues of corsairs and dark eldar warriors and look to put a squad together (I have a squad of guardians on the sprue at home which won't ever see life as a defender squad - only some of them to build up a storm squad) so will use the bodies and maybe heads from those.

    I will send you pics when they are finished if you want?

  7. Definitely, i'd love to see how they turn out.

  8. just started i like it but thay die to fast a bit of help plz?

  9. Haha thats a good question...Every Army in 40K has some kind of balanencing force to it. And our balance is survivability We pack a hell of a punch for our points cost, and considering how dated the codex is. So really the answer to your question is simply is how you play the army.

    Since you put no infomation on what your using pretty much all i can give you is simple advice that can pretty much be applied to any army Dark Eldar army.

    First lets start with our bread and butter, the Raider/Ravager. Weak open topped armor, and no upgrades to make them tougher or give them a cover save(Damn you Tau Disruption Pods you've ruined me.(Orginally and still very much a Tau player)) So what you can do is make use of the cover on the table any army can do this and I can't say Dark Eldar are especially good at this. If your like me you are playing 8+ of these not so small skiffs.

    Secondly use your reserves. Most of the time your stuff is safe in reserve they can't really shoot at whats not on the table. Especially if your playing against an army that needs to advance down the table to be more effective by the time your reserves come in they have advance enough downfield they are in range of all your weapons, simply take em piece by piece. This tactic can be effective sometimes really its just knowing when to use it. I typically use it with Wych Squads, since they have less firepower than a raider squad and a ravager, and can move 12in and bring full power still. By the turn they arrive, You simply move 12 in on the board, unload, fire your weapons, and charge into the safest place for a wych close combat.

    Whilest on the subject of wyches if its not the enemies guns that are killing but instead their super fast feel no pain close combaty guys, Wyches preform a simular role that my Kroot do in Tau. That is the Counter Charge. Whilest Kroot simply get charged and die, My Wyches Charge and tie up. I don't expect 5 them to win a combat against 10 Assualt Marines even if they have the Agonizing Succubus, but with Wych Weapons, and a +4 Dodge, they should buy you a turn or two keeping the rest of your army safe. Those are the two ways i typcially use Wyches.

    As for your raider and ravager squads they can't move to their fullest and fire at their fullest. So we Dark Eldar have nifty little upgrade that no other army has. (Even those sneaky craftworld Eldar and Tau with auto +4 Coversave.) The Nightshield. If your out of range to begin with they can't hurt you. It will make it hard to bring your fragile kites of death down armed simply with bolters. First turn of the game and you deploy second, you should be safe from Auto and Las cannons. And Melta weapons have no chance until you swoop in which with good target priority they should be long dead. If they spread their forces out and theres no place to hide sure you will prolly lose somethings but their firepower will be diluted and this means you simply destroy one of their flanks with the full force of your army.

    I generally use my Dark Eldar as a very shooty force until the later turns of the game where pretty much anything too nasty is already brought down by spammed Lance fire. Really the main weakness of my forces seems to be horde armies like Orc and Nids but even that can be offest with Wyches and 'cons in CC, and 3 Ravagers with 3 disentagrator

  10. I have been thinking about 40k for last 3 years
    and my friend recommended dark eldar.

  11. Your blog is an incredibly fun read. I am a Dark Angels (For the LION!) player looking to add a second army and can not WAIT for the DE codex to come out. I am still a pretty new player, so I am in the "learning" phase on Dark Eldar.
    Your blog is a very entertaining way to learn. Thanks!