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Sunday, November 14, 2010

Featured Content: Dark Eldar Codex Breakdown (Part 1: Weapons, Wargear, Upgrades)

The following articles will cover all the uses of the units/abilities covered in the DE codex released November 6th. I feel we did our best in this article so that it's not a rules spoiler, but rather a in depth look at each subject of the book. So if you’re looking for a word for word description on what‘s in the codex, then please look else where. Another big part to this is that you will HAVE to have the DE codex in hand to understand what a lot of the points mean. It should also be noted that these opinions may not be exact truths to some people, but rather a stance on things from DeviantApostile and myself. So with that being said, take it all with a grain of salt and enjoy the read!

(Also feel free to comment on if you see another use, tactic, or conflict with anything mentioned below as this is a living document and will change as we go)

Special thanks to Chris_, Tratchenberg, Souleater, Saldiven, squeekenator, Blaqkheart, Krayd, Kalishnikov-47, refyougee, hungry hungry hormagaunt, Rabid Bunny 666, Archibald_TK, teleologica, and Cosmic_girl for input.

The first area we’ll cover is the Army Wide Special rules of the DE.

Acute senses USR- This allows you to re roll your spotting distance for any shots occurring during night fight. While this may seem like a lack luster ability, I can see it being a game breaker in scenarios like Dawn of War. The more shots that DE can throw into the enemy before the can respond, the better.

A good way to use this to your advantage during dawn of war is to hang your Raiders back around 24" the first turn and fire at the enemy tanks. This will mean that you will need a roll of a 8 in order to see any opposition but with the re roll you should be good to go. The main purpose of staying 24”away is due to the fact that the range will be high enough that a lot of the enemy’s return fire will fall short. Remember that barrage weapons may ALWAYS fire regardless if they see you or not (albeit at a additional scatter dice if they “miss“) so don’t think for a second that you will be immune to all enemy fire.

Power From Pain- Most people think that this rule set will make the DE so unbalanced that they will be the next Blood Angels or Space Wolves. All I ask is that before you get all crazy and think that this is the end all be all please think of when and how this rule will come into effect. The primary way to gain tokens is to destroy a enemy unit (excluding tanks). This said most of your units are going to get chewed up before the greatness comes to them. The problem with the old DE codex was that when most DE units ran low on men/women they became almost useless, so I honestly feel this addition is a big help to counter that set back.

With that being said, it should be known that there are other ways to gain Pain tokens then just destroying units. These will be covered in the units details respectively.

Combat Drugs- Unlike before one roll is done at the start of the game and that’s what anyone with the rule gets. I like the change as it keeps things simple, but hate the change as it may hurt some units (example being the Archon and the +1 weapon skill, see below). I’ll cover each roll in the following entries.

1- 3d6 run= The least appealing of all the drugs but comes in a good all a rounder. Only real unit that loses out here is Reavers, but they should be zooming around the table anyway. This ability is great for getting across the table to get to an objective in the late game and also making that 17” charge when your paper airplane dies short of its goal.

2-+1 WS= This roll helps everyone to a great degree in CC except it really only hurts the Archon which really isn't that bad seeing a roll of 3 hurts all Agonizer wielding men/women. A good thing to note though is that while the roll really does nothing for the Archon it does wonders for the succubus. Making her weapon skill 9 will mean that most marines will hit her on 5's thus helping to overcome her fragility a little more.

3-+1 STR= This roll helps everyone to a great degree other then chrs with Agonizers, which lets face it, is a lot due to it being our CCW of choice. Other then that the boost helps big time with the Soul trap/Husk blade combo described later. The trade off is worth it to me as long as you have at least one squad of Wyches, Hellions, or Reavers (which plan on getting stuck in) in your army so don’t feel down when you see the roll. There is a obvious reason as to why this makes our unit’s a lot more effective in close combat. It should also be noted that this not only affects combats against infantry as it will make your troops strong enough to damage/destroy enemy transports, which is something Wyches lack to begin with.

4- Re roll to wound= Again another close combat buff but this one really doesn’t have a draw back unlike the former options. In some ways it could almost be considered better then a roll of 6 on the chart due to the shear CC greatness it invokes right away!

5- +1 Attack= For the last time, another ability that will help your men/women get the job done better in CC. No brainier here why it’s a good roll, but almost seems not as appealing as the +1 STR due to not being able to harm transports. Other then that though it helps everyone to a great extent.

6- 1 Pain Token= Great ability as it will make most of your army a lot harder to kill. If they already had a token then why not gain furious charge thus making them a lot more nasty in CC as well. Only problem I see with this result is that most of the list I build the units that I really want to live have a homunculus attached to them from the get go. It really doesn’t hurt to leave him there so they get the Furious charge but the best tactical option is to disengage him and put him some where else where they can gain the FnP as well. All and all though, the fact stands that it will make your army as a whole a lot more survivable, which is something we’re lacking compared to other army's troopers.


The DE have a vast a large array of weapons to use at their disposal due to the slaves working daily to appease their masters. Here is a break down of what these nasty toys can do. As a side note some weapons or gear will be addressed with the respective unit.

Blaster, Blast Pistol, & Dark Lance (DL)- Putting these guys in the same groups as they’re about the same thing. Great anti tank weapons all around that is in abundance to us and will be our main stay to kill enemy armor. These weapons are really the poster child for our book and always have been. If you ask some one what DE do game wise people will say STR8 AP2 Lance. The fear is justified as they things smash enemy tanks into dust.

Disintegrator Cannon- Massive anti marine weapon. In some ways makes you miss the old “plasma cannon” that we used to have but against smaller units it fairs much better. Best reason to have these is the Ap 2 on it. Due to the massive amount of FnP (feel no pain) all over the game now these guns make mince meat out of hard troops.

Splinter guns- While most players are going crazy that our whole army wounds on 4+ all the time tough 3 armies should be laughing at us. Our guns always wounded GEQs on 4s anyway but now our splinter cannons need 4s to down the little bastards, compared to the 3s we used to get. Still, for losing out against our weaker kin the fact that we can hurt MEQs a lot easier makes it a nice addition to the book.

Heat lance- Only usable with our Talos, Reavers, and Scourges. While it looks great on paper I feel that the units that can take them just don’t fit the bill. The Scourges are better at killing infantry, if the Reavers ever stop to shoot they'll die (for the most part), and the Talos is to slow to get there to use it. Now out of all the units that can take them, the one best suited is the Talos coming out of a web way portal. It’s twin linked on the big guy and the portal jump negates the slowness of him. It can also be used to okay effect on Reavers as well as the jet bike move can help you glide safely into cover and out of assault range, but the questions stand. Do you need the heat lance with all the dark lances and blasters all over? And is a blaster a "safer" bet for for Reavers as it's range allows them to get 24" away after they fire?

Haywire blaster- Very good at slowing tanks down. But all and all the things that can take it can take better anti tank then it. The only unit that can use it to good effect is the Talos and that being said I would only recommend it if he’s fielded without a web way, as his main purpose is going to be a bullet magnet.

Shredder- For the points it’s one of the best things in the book IMHO. Great at shooting a hordes and can do quite a bit of damage to most transports. DE have a good BS so don’t worry to much about the scatter. In most cases people will shun this though due to the fact that it’s either this or the Blaster but my look on it being two options 1) if the unit is meant to shoot tanks then blaster 2) if the unit is meant to kill infantry then shredder. Some people swear on mixing up their squads to deal with all approaches but I feel specializing is the best route possible. If you are shooting your squad of warriors at a tank then you are losing those 8-32 poisoned shots at infantry. Something to think about. Last note to say about it though it that if you shoot it while it's to close to ally squad then you could lose a lot of guys (double T so no FnP).

Stinger pistol- Bottom line is that with the low AP makes this thing a should be free piece of gear for homunculus. Not worth it’s weight in gold. Man I miss the old one. Exploding people was so much fun!


Agonizer- I figured this gizmo would have to go first on the CCW list. Hands down the best weapon we have (CC wise) for the points. Only downfalls being that it is almost worse then a Power Weapon against guard, and the combat drug roll of 3 feels wasted when you have this equipped. Other then that, the fact that it can be double armed and it murders everyone on 4s makes it just crazy.

Husk Blade- If you roll the +1 STR, re roll to wound, or you have furious charge then this thing will destroydicate (so great it gets it’s own word) anything in your path. Most used combo in the game for it will be Husk Blade with Soul trap. Thus resulting the model getting STR 6 in no time if you go head hunting. Only real down fall is it's cost. If you need to trim points switch this out for the DDjin blade or the Elctrocorrosive whip.

Djinn blade- Cool if you have the points laying around but random and scary if you roll doubles. Most people will use this thing wrong thinking it's just a piece of war gear that gives you two Power Weapon attacks when in reality it is a power weapon that just throws in two extra STR 3 swings. I will say though that the fact that it's only 5 more points then a power weapon (PW) means that if you want a PW then just take this thing. Only downfall is if you roll a double then you have a chance to drop your shadow field before you're enemy gets to swing.

Venom blade- Won’t shine as bright as the Agonizer on most units but good if you need to trim some points. Will insure you force a lot of saves vs. anything and is really better then the Agonizer against horde type units. Only really recommended on Hammies and Sarges rather then Archon. Also remember that if your STR is equal to the T of the majority T in CC then you will re roll to wound. Once your units start getting furious charge this can really start to pile up the wounds.

Electrocorrisive whip- The problem with this thing is that the Agonizer and the husk blade shine so much that they kind of put this in the dark. If you want a very hard to kill lord though then this weapon combined with a clone field is what you want. Don't forget that it's a power weapon as well so if your thinking about taking that to begin with you might as well spend the extra 5 pts.

Mindphase gauntlet- In the words of DA “The goal is to kill the opponent not slow him… so wtf is this in the book for?!" Only use I see for it is with a grotesque Sarge canceling out I 3/4 or less chrs (3 with out furious charge 4 with it). With that being said, the flesh gauntlet is a better choice even by those standards. Taking it on a Homunculus will allow you to make a better tar pit unit for Wyches but again it's very situational as it only really works on I4 or lower models (which includes power fist & thunder hammer wielding chrs like Lysander).

Flesh gauntlets- Great on the Grotesque Sarge and some may like it for homunculus. This thing is great against anything with out Eternal Warrior/multi wound models Most people forget that any form of instant death also cancels the use of FnP so that's another good thing about this weapon. Other then that I don't see why you would ever want to put it on a Archon or Homunculus as they have better options.


Arcane War gear

Commonly known as the wacky and weird section of the book. The main thing to look at with these gadgets is the bang for the buck. I think the best way I can describe these is by categorizing them according to points value. So hold on to your seats as we take a in depth look at what these gizmos can really do!!!

Expensive toys:

Webway Portal- One of the most destructive things in out book. Throw a homunculus in a raider and zip in 12” first turn and drop this bad boy on the field. People will think twice about charging him as well seeing as the unit that comes out will almost always be enough to prove their demise. Best use for this thing is to get Talos, beast squads, 15 man/woman Wytch squads, Incubi, and Hellions into the fight ASAP! Last thing to look at is it counts as impassable terrain so you can get cover and block enemy movement with it as well.

Dark Gate and Orb of Despair: Sure they does a big boom but these facts remain. Dark gate has no AP, the Orb of Despair has short range, and the homunculus shoots as bad as a Space Marine (yeah I said it) makes these not worth it to me. If you deviate back then you could hit your own squad and with double your toughness or AP 1 you could be watching your FnP guys going to see the Dark Prince sooner then expected.

Crucible of Malediction- SO you hate Pskers… well do I have a treat for you! Against most armies this thing will do sub par but against Nids and Eldar (stacking Psykers that is), then it could mean game over. This combined with the Torment grenade launchers (TGL) can cause the enemy some big problems. The main problem with Pskers though is that they have a high leadership. To over come this zoom a Raider with a TGL in the middle of their army and watch even the most resolute casters fail some test. For best effect I would make sure you have at least two raiders with TGLs to make this thing more effective then once per game.

Medium toys:

Archangel of Pain- At first glance this may not appear that great. It has incredible ability to ruin even the hardest enemy troops once you hit their lines but the fact they have to make a leadership and random range is ehh. Use above tactic mentioned in the Crucible of Malediction with Raiders to get best effect.

Shatter Shard- For the points this thing really is pretty great. Good way to thin out a lot of tough opponent that are in high number even if they are T4. One shot of this could be the deciding factor when you shoot at a unit of nobs or Nid warriors and if you really have to you can use it to thin a horde VERY easily. Only issue with it is that it’s just one shot as to where the Liquifier gun can do it over and over again and is cheaper. Up to your play style really.

Hex Rifle- This thing is great for a homunculus that is going a shooting squad to make sure they don't fall back or die that easy. Aim it at a big guy and let it rip. Try to realize though that this gun wont be a show stopper or anything but it fun and for the points I don't see why not to if you have him sitting back anyway. On top of it all it's a Assault.

Cheap toys:

Scissorhand- Very cool weapon of dealing out sheer number of wounds. This coupled with the fact that it gives the low number of attack homunculus more swings is going to be the go spot for these guys.

Liquefier gun- Great weapon as it’s a flamer and it has a random AP. You have a 50% of getting AP 1-3 so bye bye MEQs. Bottom line is it’s cheap on the units that can take it and will help thin hordes if there are no heavily armored guys present.

Vexitor Mask- No real need for this thing, seeing as for the points it's not that effective. If you really don’t want your master of pain to go then throw this on him and it could just save his live! As said above to use it to best effect then I suggest that using a raider with a TGL to knock down the enemies leadership.

Soul trap- So if I take out some of their big dogs I end up as strong as a demolisher cannon? YES PLEASE! This is a must if you aren’t taking a Agonizer on your Archon or homunculus ancient. As said above take a Husk blade with this at all cost unless points don't permit. In which case look at the Electrocorrosive whip.

Casket of Cleansing- Some people will say this thing is garbage, but the bottom line is that it has it’s uses. If you’ve ever played orks and don’t mind the randomness of things at all this is where you want to go with DE. Your average results are going to be 7 shots with either STR 3 / 4 or 1 / 6 and AP 3 / 4 or 1 / 6. That may sound confusing but the bottom line is that for the cost why not take it. It could just kill a whole squad of anything in your way or be as effective as a cap gun, but either way it will be fun.

Animus Vitae- You can’t use anything other then your base STR (3/4 depending on furious charge or not) but if you do manage to kill a model or two the rewards are well worth the cost. I see this thing as the ultimate points filler in any army that has a homunculus with it.

War gear:

This section will really just cover all the junk missed that all squads can take and were missed in earlier sections.

Plasma grenades- Assault grenades. Remember that assualt grenades count as STR 4 vs tanks so Wyches can always hurt a Rhino (although weakly)

Phantasm Grenade launcher (PGL)- A great upgrade for your Archon if you have a squad of Incubi and don’t want them to die because your armies best equipped squad doesn’t have grenades. Other then that it’s a okay upgrade for some squads and a waist for others, but far better then taking reg grenades on warriors. Only advantage to taking the reg grenades is that if the Sarge dies to torrent of fire then they all lose the ability. I would really recommend against taking both this and the reg grenades. Wyches to me scream waste because most people wont want to charge them at all, but rather shoot them do death.

Clone field- Makes you far more survivable but also doesn’t help you is one force weapon attack makes it though. I like the shadow field better, but this is a cheaper option for you lord.

Ghost plate- Great on your Archon if you take a clone field so he doesn't die to reg tac marines. If you have a shadow field though I feel that taking this is just over kill, but your choice really. Just remember what I said earlier in cost and effect. This cost a little more then another warrior and I think he will get more work done then just armor.

Shadow field- Time tested and mother approved. This thing will make your Archon unstoppable one game and a punk the next. Just try to limit the saves coming at him so he doesn’t lose it.

Vehicle Upgrades

DE vehicles seem to be as tough as a paper air plane, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be as decked out as Mr. T! The main thing to remember here bout Raiders and Venoms is that they are going to die fast once the enemy can see them so the cheaper the better. I think the best idea to consider these the most ultimate point fillers! The following section will cover DE vehicle upgrades and what you may want them for.

Night shields- Put this on here first because it will be the most used upgrade in the book hands down. It’s main purpose is not to take you out of range of anti tank but honestly out of bolter fire range. With this bad boy a marine unit can only rapid fire your transports if they are within 6”! The less shots the better as a glance will still kill it on a roll of a 6 due to it being open topped.

Best tactic with this is to stay around 19” away as this will keep you out of bolt gun range. If you wither the storm (best way to do so is by going at least 18” in your movement phase to get the 4++ cover save) then next turn go 12”,disembark, fleet, and charge. Another good thing to note about this is that it with the two new flyers in out army makes for a deadly combination. As almost all the missiles are 48" so you can hang back there throwing one a turn with no return fire coming back.

Flicker fields- Another high use item, that I hope to see less often in the future. It’s a 5++ save. Yeah you get it in hand to hand and all but a boy scout throwing a rock at a raider might kill it so a crappy save wont help. To close on it, think of how many times your terminators make that invulnerable save…..yeah…..

Splinter racks- A great way to get your warriors rapid fire guns to mow some infantry. Other then that it’s an okay upgrade and you have to know that all your raiders will die by the end of the game so do you really want to put to much on any of them?

Retrofire Jets- Kind of cool but really starting on the table and going 24” in where it’s at. Save the points for elsewhere.

Envenom blades- A okay upgrade but again, it’s better to save the points for else where. Could be great against units with the Rage USR.

Rams- Kind of like the idea of this as tank shocking in a 24” line can catch people off guard and maybe break half their army off the table. Best used with the TGL upgrade.

TGL- Great for the said reasons listed above, but again can be a points sink.

Aethersails- I hate these things. Most people don’t use Star engines and for good reason. There are two real uses I see here. First being that you can make a uber tank shock raider with the TGL, Ram, and this. Second idea being to use this and Chain Snares and to go an average of 12" +2d6 more and hitting a lot of units with this. Problem again with this idea is if you get to many points into the transport then is it really worth it seeing that it's still a card board box?

Grisly trophies- Good if you have a stand and shoot army. Hide your raider with your counter assault unit behind a building and make sure your men don’t run. If your list isn’t really a stand and shoot list though I really recommend leaving this at home.

Chain snares- For the most part, if I wanted to do this I would take Reavers. It should be noted though that unlike their smaller biker cousins the snares hit EVERY unit in its path. On several raiders can make for a scary mess. It could be quite a few points but with a TGL, Ram, and this upgrade you could tank shock fear into a whole army of guard. Through and through though our Raiders are expensive enough, so I'd rather leave this at home.

Part 2 coming soon. Many thanks to Christopher (The Bear) for sending this in. If you have an article to you'd like to send in email me at: cuchulain84@gmail.com. Happy raiding!


  1. Isn't this the same article that Fritz posted? Or a near enuff copy? o_O http://saimhann.blogspot.com/2010/11/only-dark-eldar-strategy-guide-you-will.html

  2. I would actually think a heat lance would be good on a scourge squad as its assault and they can move 12" giving you 30" range, but only if you decide to make your scourges anti tank and if you dont quite have the extra 3points each for blasters its definitely a good option

    and by the looks of it it is a copy

    and anon, by the looks of it, it is a copy of it but any way

    also flesh gauntlets are arcane wargear too, so they should be moved into that section...if archons could use it, which they cant, having a lhamean in with him would make it awesome, as 2+ ID weapon would be nice, but still as most multi wound things have 3+ or better armour save its kinda meh.

    The dark gate and orb of dispair are best used on a haemonculus ancient as they bs5 so needing so max they can scatter is 7" with double 6's, best used as a secondary weapon for when using them as shooty haemonculi with hexrifles, while keeping them inside a raider, this is same deal with shattershard(when hexrifle dont work and you got guys closing in blast away with your big gun, especially if your not geared for cc at all)

    also with your TGL things i dont believe they stack so having multiple raiders with them is just to extend the range

    depending on how you build your army splinter racks can work wonders, like if you take duke and have a single raider with 10warriors thats 20 3+poisoned shots with rerolls....but your mostly better using slicus buff on something bigger like trueborns with shardcarbines and splinter cannons)

    also i agree with retro fire jets, why take them as an upgrade when slicus makes them all able to deepstrike for free

    you seem to be excluding the fact that rams allow you to ram....they can basically garrantee you a S10 hit on enemy vehicles, and if they too far away combine them with a aethersail to give you that extra distance, sure you have a good chance of blowing up your raider as well but if you stick a cc squad in it and all you buy is the ram and sail thats only an extra 10points for the both of them.

    with either sails only being 5pts they can easily get you into assault range in the first turn if playing on a 4ft table like the ones at the GW i play at...with the help of them i was able to make a guy forfeit after the end of the 2nd or start of the 3rd turn(cant remember) as all i had lost was 1blood bride, 1 wyche and 1 raider wheras he had lost a dark reaper squad, a guardian squad, a couple of fire dragons and was about to lose uldrad to my 4incubi klavex and drazhar(i have since altered my list as my archon and his bloodbrides did nothing as they were on foot and i kept rolling 3s for their run, so i moved the arhon into one of the raides and replaced the bloodbrides with some further upgrades to my wyche squads)

  3. (oops some of my editing messed up my post a little, the comment about this being a copy was meant to be at the end and only once...oh well)

  4. It's definitely been around. I first saw it on Warseer and asked the OP if he wouldn't me posting it on blog. He was more than happy, so here it is.

  5. Reposting articles that can be found elsewhere from earlier dates is kind of lame....
    Better to post a link to the original in my opinion at least.

    It probably does belong here since this is the primary DE blog, but still......

  6. Hi Kris

    As always I welcome reader's articles and The Bear (the author of this article) sent this article in (after I asked if he'd like to put something up). Having it on this blog makes sense because it will be easily accessible for new Dark Eldar players now and in the future.

  7. I told him to post the guide here as well in order to save Dark Eldar players some time from bouncing from blog to blog.

    Other then that I hope you enjoy the read!

  8. Splinter racks: Think twice before taking them. Remember you can only move 6" and fire all weapons off a transport vehicle. However, I was considering taking an army which just had 10 Warriors, Raider with splinter racks for relatively low points cost.

  9. comradeDa, theyre fast so you can move 12" and shhot so splinter racks are quite useful,
    also i am new to using weapons and things like bonus attacks and how it all works because i used to play nids, and i was wondering about the djinn blade and whether attacks made through it would work with say, the effect of an agoniser/huskblade, sounds a bit OP but just wanted to check, thanks

  10. Djinn blade is a weapon afaik, not a wargear item akin to a servo arm that give extra attacks, so you could use it, or the husk blade, but not both in a given turn...also i believe you would lose out on the +1 attack for ccws...such is the penalty for weilding too many complex weapons" or some such

    basically the Djinn blade appears to be a weaksauce Daemon Weapon to me

  11. The Djinn blade is taken as a piece of wargear....but used as a weapon....they say about that in the faq where someone asks about using two special close combat weapons and the example used was an haemonculi with a huskblade and an animus vitae has to choose between the two....