Tuesday, October 07, 2014

7th Edition 40K - New Dark Eldar Codex Review - HQ

Normally I break the HQ section up into generic and special character posts. With the loss of a whopping FIVE special characters (Vect, Malys, Duke, Kheradruakh and Baron) there's a lot less choice though so I reckon a single post is sufficient. I can't really let that go without a comment either. Sure we won't really miss Kheradruakh or perhaps Lady Malys but I'll miss Duke Sliscus and I'm hugely disappointed we aren't seeing a new Vect and Dais model. Baron will mostly be missed by Eldar players but I'm kind of glad that little avenue for cheese has been closed off. It does have a dramatic effect on Hellions though but more on that later.

As I say, I'll be missing Duke the most as he featured in pretty much all my DE lists in the old book. Mind you I can't run the trueborn unit I used to put him with any more either! As I feel myself saying a lot recently, there's a lot of flavour that goes with these deletions and limiting options is rarely good in my opinion. It's not like in the Ork book where there was a little give and take either. The new succubus model is lovely but that archon is just plain awful and has no options at all. The voidraven was rumoured to have been done years ago (and that's believable) and the wracks are effectively recasts so it seems GW have barely created any new models for DE in the last 3 years. It's frustrating when Necrons got all of their SCs covered within a few months. Anyway, rant over, onto what we're left with. Must. Stay. Positive.

The Archon has remained the same cost and retains the same statline. His options are mostly the same too and similar cost. He can no longer take ghostplate armour, a venom blade or whip though and has finally listened to Mr. Garrison about taking drugs (mmmkay). Since the guy himself is pretty much the same it's more about the wargear he has access to.

The Huskblade is now significantly cheaper and still causes Instant Death. It's the same price as an agoniser (which is now poisoned (4+)) but ID is too tempting for me. Even at S3 it's worth the risk of an enemy character failing his invulnerable save and against units with multiple wounds it'll pay dividends. The agoniser is better against high toughness though as the archon can't hurt a wraithknight without it but with it he can cause some real problems (assuming he keeps passing his saves). The blast pistol is a little too pricey if you're taking a huskblade and I find the 6" range too restrictive most of the time. Haywires are a good choice though if you've got the points to spare.

I'd be tempted to throw in a soul trap with my huskblade/agoniser as it might make all the difference in the second round of a challenge or for combats later in the game and it's better than it used to be. The phantasm launcher is a massive disappointment even if it is much cheaper. It's hugely situational and I'd much rather have my grenades back so I can use my high initiative thanks.

It's a choice between shadow and clone fields as ever, the shadow field now lasts until the end of the phase if you fail which might just keep you alive but it's double the cost of the clone field. For such a flimsy model I personally think the shadow field is the way to go to help him be viable.

We have to talk about the webway now. Frankly I'm gutted I don't get to use my template any more but to be honest I haven't since 6th edition stopped assaults from it anyway. The new webway has HUGE potential for both DE and Eldar allies. It won't be long before people are coming up with dirty combos. I imagine most will take a plain archon and webway for just under 100pts to give another unit a non-scattering deep strike. D-scythe wraithguard would be fun for example (if expensive).

As I said in the first post the Kiss is a good choice if you've got the points but we're already making the guy expensive with a huskblade, soul trap and shadow field so don't bother with anything else from the artefacts unless you fancy the Helm. Finally, don't forget you can give him his own venom if you like but I'd personally want a meatshield riding with him!

Court of the Archon
I can't remember ever seeing one of these on the tabletop (except for the models as proxies for something else). That was probably because you had to have at least one of each. That's not the case anymore as you can take any combination. Hopefully we'll see more of them now since they're probably some of the nicest models in the range. Interestingly you don't need to take an Archon to unlock them now (although he does stop them using a slot).

Sslyths are interesting with two T5 wounds, a decent number of shots and plenty of attacks. With their reduced cost they'd be a good meatshield for an Archon and push his effective toughness up. Ur-ghuls now cause Fear (as much use as that is) but without a save (except FNP) they're a waste of time still. The Lhamaean no longer boosts the Archon's poisoned attacks which is a shame since the agoniser is now a poisoned weapon. Her weapon is still tasty though with poisoned (2+) and 6s to insta-kill, just a shame it has no AP. She's the cheapest option but I'm still not convinced. Finally, the medusae was the one everyone wished they could take in the old book. They've gotten significantly more expensive in the new book though. The template is now fixed at S4 AP3 which is probably the average of what you would've gotten. The cost is prohibitive for me and they'll die too easily.

It's all about the Sslyth then, unless I'm missing something. Even just two in a unit will be enough to make your Archon effectively T5. You could take a third and then throw one of the others in a venom with them for flavour if you wanted but avoid the Ur-Ghul.

Now more expensive but with a stunning new model and newly found access to a webway portal. The stats stay the same meaning you need her to be in combat to have a hope of surviving long. Still, give her an agoniser or the new archite glaive and she can be pretty potent in combat with 6 attacks on the charge. She becomes even better once she's received Furious Charge from PfP and benefits from pretty much every drug result. It's just tricky to decide where to put her. She's going to need a transport and is probably most at home with a unit of wyches but I'm not sure they're all that great nowadays.

She's a bit flimsy to be your Warlord but makes a decent secondary HQ choice I reckon.

Lelith Hesperax
A good deal cheaper than before but still suffers from the same problems namely S3 and T3. League Apart now gives re-rolls to hit and wound in challenges which could be useful and with I9 and ignoring armour saves she's got potential. Furious Charge late in the game will be a great help but even with a potential 10 attacks she won't be causing many wounds outside of a challenge. Her low toughness means she's unlikely to get a second chance against most things in combat even with 3++ as S6 and above simply vapourises her if she fails an invulnerable save. She's also lost her Shardnet to help protect her. Her Warlord Trait makes her WS10 but that's rarely more use than WS9.

She doesn't offer much in excess of the much cheaper Succubus and that, for me at least, is the deciding factor. By no means terrible but still not going to see action despite being one of the few combat answers to 2+ saves.

In the old book there used to be an option to upgrade to an Ancient. That's been rolled into the standard Haemonculus now who has the old Ancient's statline for a slightly lower cost. What it does mean though is you're paying more for the PfP benefits and you can no longer take three per HQ slot. There's quite a long list of things that've gone missing as options for the haemy, namely: venom blade, power weapon, electrocorrosive whip, huskblade, casket of flensing, soul trap, vexator mask, shattershard, dark gate and orb. The only one I'll actually miss is the shattershard though.

Onto what's left then. The Hexrifle stands out as a solid choice. The liquifier gun is now fixed at S3 but still has a random AP. Could be good but mostly sub-par. The agoniser is always good but expensive now which makes me tempted to just go for a scissorhand.

Personally I'd just keep him cheap and use him as a means of manipulating the PfP turn number. Perhaps an Animus would be useful in that regard. He's another chance to get a webway portal in too.

Urien Rakarth
He's been given a huge discount in points cost whilst retaining the same statline. With T5, 4++ and FNP 4+ he's probably the most survivable DE model going and IWND doesn't hurt either although Meld the Flesh used to be better. He's no slouch in combat with I5 and 3 attacks which wound on 2+ and can cause ID. His Casket of Flensing might be fixed at S3 AP3 now but get a decent roll and he could be killing a lot of MEQ with it.

The key to Urien is that he gives Master of Pain to every unit within 12" which means FNP 5+ on turn two for a good chunk of your army. His warlord trait isn't much use the majority of the time but I still think he'd make a good choice as warlord just because he's durable. He may be pricey but he actually offers a viable option I reckon.

As I've mentioned before Drazhar doesn't get a fixed Warlord Trait like Urien and Lelith. He remains the only Eternal Warrior in the book and is pretty durable with 2+ armour. He's a little on the expensive side despite a hefty price drop. With Rampage and his Demiklaives he can rack up a serious number of attacks that result in a pile of wounds even outside a challenge unlike Lelith. He's pretty lethal even on his own!

He can only join Incubi units though making him no use to anyone who doesn't want to field them. I actually think they're a reasonable choice but Drazhar's cost is prohibitive. He's pretty powerful though so I'd like to try him at least once before I make my mind up. Fearless, WS6 Incubi are tempting that's for sure.

With a lot less options and some regular choices going from the book, Dark Eldar players will be forced to look again at the HQ section. I'm finding it pretty difficult to call actually. Archons, Succubi and Haemos all have their merits. Lelith is unlikely to see much action but Drazhar and Urien are reasonable choices if you can stomach the points cost.

I expect to see more courts simply because there are less options available and people will want to try out the nice models. I'm seriously considering an Archon with a court full of Sslyth as a meatshield to get him into combat.

It's certainly given me a lot to think about. I'm sure one option will emerge as the go-to for DE players but I think it's far from obvious at this point. Perhaps once I've looked at the other units it'll be clear. What is clear is that the rumours of bikes or boards for the HQs were false! Onto the Troops....


  1. Sigh! I am feeling more downbeat about this codex as time goes on. They have really nerfed units that were pretty poor in the first place. Goodbye archon! I loved you for a while. Can't see any other replacements for him. Succubus not worth it, haemy doesn't for my play style. Mebbe the few remaining characters might be worth trying. Damn you GW I loved playing this army!

    1. I still think the Archon can be good. The haemonculus is probably the most useful though in giving a squad +1 to PfP. Urien is pretty decent too.

  2. Why Archon and Sslyth as meat shields ... i will use their Shard Carbine to full extend 10 of them in Raider with Splinter racks ... as splinter racks give reroll to every splinter weapon ... that Deepstrinking 30 twin linked poisoned 4+ shot ... only downside is Ld3 if the transport goes kaboom you will fail your pinning check ... so i'm thinking 9 of them + heami with WWP and a flamer ?

    1. Because you want the Archon to make it safely into combat and they make him T5 (effectively). Their shardcarbines are handy but 10 of them in a raider is over 300pts which is enough for two squads of kabalites which put out more firepower.

      Personally I think Archon, 3-4 sslyth and a medusa arriving by webway is the way to go. sslyth fire off their poisoned shots and medusa flames. Then they sslyth let the archon survive a round of shooting and get into combat where he belongs.

  3. For me the best option is Urien Rakarth, the only one who boots your army, resistant and not much more expensive than a full kitted archon.

    But a plain haemonculus with 20 kabalyte warriors is something to think about. Not too expensive and if you put them in reserve they will be quite resistant when entering the table. By turn 4, with Fearless, they will be a very difficult unit to remove for their price. You can even use a webway portal and three blasters for trolling a bit.

    I think 5 incubi can make the same work and perhaps better than an archon or a succubus. Except, maybe, an archon with Sslyths or a succubus with grotesques.

    1. You're right, I'll be looking to use Urien a lot more than I did before. It's a shame you can't take a webway with him or he'd be a guaranteed choice.

      I ran 20-man kabalite squad with webway haemonculus today at it showed great potential. Since they're in reserve they start with at least FNP 5+ when they arrive on T2.

      Incubi for me have always been a glass cannon. They hit hard initially but don't last long after that.

  4. Just started reading your reviews and thoroughly enjoy them so far. Thank you for writing.

    On the topic of the post, I am pretty sure that you still can't take the court without an archon:
    "For each Archon included in a Detachment, the Detachment can include a Court of the Archon..."

  5. There is something I just can't leave unmentioned about the new Haemonculus model: Not only is the kit incompatible with bits from ANY other, making conversions all but impossible without Green Stuff, but it also has to be the single most fiddly and fragile one GW has produced so far. Some of the cables snapped before I even got them out of the spure!

    My solution was a rather odd looking proxy model, made with a Scourge's legs and torso and some spare Talos bits.

    1. Useful information, thanks for that. You put another good comment on another post but I deleted it by mistake. Sorry for that. Feel free to comment again.

    2. Okay, I'll post that one again.


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