Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dark Eldar - The Problem with Ravagers

This post should probably be on my Dark Eldar blog, Kabalite, but to be honest I'm going to scrap it soon and merge it into this one. The people who said "two blogs for one person doesn't work were probably right!

Anyway, as you may or not know I'm hopefully taking Dark Eldar to Blog Wars 3, mind you I said that for BW2 so who knows? If you've read any of Kabalite then you'll know that I'm trying to avoid taking a Venomspam list. I know they can be really effective but they just don't excite me. I'd previously considered a list with lots of raiders but to me this doesn't seem much different. Therefore it's webways all the way!

I've played a couple of test games, the most recent of which against Matt's Blood Angels. Now, I comfortably won the game but I think there was a lot of luck on my part. My ravagers made a disgusting amount of flickerfield saves and my dark lances did more than their fair share of damage. The problem I have with that list is that it largely relies on the ravagers for de-meching (well, and the trueborn). Contrary to popular belief Dark Eldar aren't that good at breaking vehicles with their dark lances. If you think about it your ravager will score 2 hits and against AV11 (typical transport armour) it will only penetrate once. You're then down to a 1/3 chance of actually destroying it. Not bad but not brilliant.

The other big issue with Ravagers is how easily they can be destroyed. Yes they're the same armour as rhinos but open-topped makes quite a difference. Any opponent with sense will target them early with his rifleman dreads/long fangs etc.

I've said in the past that I'm not a fan of automatic choices. Those things on the army list that everyone has. How many DE list do you see that don't have 3x Ravagers with flickerfields as their heavy support? We see the odd razorwing or voidraven but otherwise it's ravagers all the way! If I'm writing a pure webway list then the only things I want to deploy are the two venoms with the webways in them. Everything else should come on from reserve to give me the tactical options that style of play brings. With good webway positioning you can hit most of the board. It's also pretty easy to hide a couple of venoms if you go second but you can almost guarantee you'll lose your ravagers. That's 300+ pts down the pan for nothing.

However, let's stop being negative for a minute. There's a reason ravagers are so popular. Having 3 BS4 S8 AP2 shots on a vehicle that can move 12" and still fire all three is pretty nasty. Couple that with a permanent 5++ save and the ability to redeploy 24" for a 4++ save and you and we start to see why they're in most lists.

All that being said I'm determined not to take them which means I need an alternative. I'll discuss that in the next post.


  1. interesting. in a webway list why not defy convention and break out a Talos/Cronos or two?

    incidentally i just paid, having forgotten to do so until now!

    1. Well Andy it's funny you should say that!

      I assembled my Cronos yesterday and I've got a Talos on the way. I'd never take them in a normal list but they could be fun out of a webway. I'm all about defying convention (well to an extent!). I did take a tau sky ray to a tournament!!

      I've added you to the list for BW3 too.

  2. I see your point about why you may want to get rid of them however my problem when I thought something similar was I couldnt find anything as effective pound for pound to replace them with. Some say one of the only alternatives really is reavers however even though they can get in your face with a 3+ cover save then melta you which can be decent I dont find that even though they get 2d6 pen, the intial s6 can be problematic plus if you do kill your target you tend to be ripe for the picking the turn after.

    So what else is there? to be honest in my deldar lists I tend to take ravagers, reavers, jets and blasters, all 3 get their pound of flesh in roughly equal amounts and I think that can often be the answer to keeping your reavers alive, present other threats that are just as dangerous.

    1. Check back tomorrow and I'm discussing reavers as an alternative. S6 shouldn't be a problem because they have "lance" too which means it's the same as AV14 with a normal S8 melta. 2 heat lances from reavers have twice the chance of destroying a AV12+ vehicle compared to a ravager's 3 lances (give or take). Obviously you need to be in range but in a webway list that won't be a problem.

      Don't forget they're eldar jetbikes so once they've killed that tank use the 6" assault move to get clear (or charge of course).

      In my webway list I throw two venoms full of trueborn in their face which tend to take the fire for a couple of turns whilst stuff gets through the webways.


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