Thursday, 25 October 2012

6th Edition Changes that Dark Eldar Don’t Care About

This post has come about as the results of my Dark Eldar 6th edition play testing. When 6th edition dropped I went back to the drawing board with my Dark Eldar but more and more I’ve found the armies I was using towards the end of 5th edition have made the transition almost whole into 6th.

As I was re-reading the rulebook I realised that it was because several of the changes in 6th have little to no impact on the Dark Eldar. Below I’m going to go through some of the rules changes that stand out the most to me.

This is also a good time to say that some aspects of 6th have massively affected Dark Eldar and I’ll be covering those in a later post.

Dark Eldar were always an army that were quite mechanised in the past. So the changes to the vehicle rules are a good place to start.

In 6th edition fast vehicles can now move at cruising speed and fire 2 weapons (at full ballistic skill) instead of firing one weapon. This is great or my Blood Angels LasPlas Razorbacks but Ravengers have aerial assault so could always fire up to 3 weapons at full ballistic skill.  The Raider and the Venom have 1 and 2 weapons respectively so also aren’t effected by the changes.

All skimmers now get a 5+ cover save when they move but Venoms come with flicker fields and most people bought them for their Raiders or Ravengers, so all this change amounts to is a points saving depending on how many flicker fields you used to purchase.

It is now impossible to assault from a vehicle that isn’t an assault vehicle or opened topped. All Dark Eldar vehicles with a transport capacity are open topped. Enough said.

The damage table is different; vehicles now only explode on a 6 after a penetrating hit. Thing is ap2 weapons now have +1 on the damage table meaning that for the majority of Dark Eldar anti-tank weapons the damage table is exactly the same.

One thing that my Blood Angels really enjoy is the randomisation of which weapon is removed when a weapon destroyed result on the damage table. Every time a storm bolter is blown off one of my vindicators instead of the demolisher cannon I let myself grin like an idiot. While this change is awesome for certain vehicles, I’ve never seen any Dark Eldar vehicles (flyers not withstanding) that have a mix of weapon options.

That’s most of the vehicle options covered I’m now going to go over some of the other changes.

Bikes now get a 5+ cover save when they move but with the changes to skilled rider, Reavers now get a 4+ cover save and can still turbo-boost to get a 3+. I used to always have my jetbikes in cover or turbo boosting so there’s very little difference for me.

The changes to power weapons (and for Dark Eldar, agonizers) were supposed to have great implications for everyone not just Dark Eldar. Thing is, I always shot terminators. Weight of fire did the job, taking them on in combat wasn’t often considered unless it was tar-pitting with Whyches or through weight of attacks from a full unit of Hellions.

We also only have the one model with a 2+ save that isn’t invulnerable, so the other side of the change isn’t really felt either.

Furious Charge has been nerfed a bit; you now no longer get the inititive bonus along with the point of strength. Being Dark Eldar out models have naturally high initiative anyway so this change hasn’t had as great an impact on Dark Eldar as it has on some other armies.

Night Fight is a pretty big deal for some people. It will make its presence felt in most games and you have to adjust. Thankfully all our units and vehicles have night vision and therefore completely ignore this entire section of the rules. I’ve found this drives other people mad.

That’s most of the basics out of the way. I’m now going to talk about three of the newest aspects of the game: Allies, Fortifications and Fliers

Allies: I’m saving this for another post but I don’t think Dark Eldar really want allies. Their play style needs units that can keep up and nothing really can. Taking allies should counteract one of your armies weaknesses (look at EYIG’s post on allies for Tau for great examples) but to counteract the major weakness of the Dark Eldar (fragility) you need to invest in durable units. These units tend to have quite a high points cost attached. They also tend to be slow and lack the raw aggression of a lot of the Dark Eldar war host.

Fortifications: Again these don’t fit with the Dark Eldar play style. I’ve never found staying still with my Dark Eldar an option so why would I want to hide behind a defence line or occupy a bastion. The Skyshield landing pad may have some potential as a Ravenger base but a lot of tournaments are disallowing them and given the ease that cover saves can be gained by vehicles (only 25% obscured to get the 4+) I can’t justify paying the points for one. The only person I can see using something like an aegis defence line is the Duke in a large warrior squad, or allies if they are taken. Unfortunately all of our vehicles are on anti grav bases so the ageis defence line is too small to offer our vehicles a cover save in the same way it seems to for everyone else. Now if Dark Eldar could get some kind of aegis badminton net I’d be all for it.

Flyers: Dark Eldar get 2 flyers, the Razorwing and the Void Raven. My preference is for the Void Raven over the Razorwing, as Dark Eldar already do anti infantry so well that I feel that using one of our heavy support slots on more anti infantry is a waste. The Void Raven comes with strength 9 lances which kind of make up for the missing shot compared to the Ravenger. That last sentence really highlights my problem with the fliers. They’re not Ravengers. For the price of 2 Void Ravens with flicker fields you could have 3 Ravengers. That’s another target to destroy and a total of 9 lances compared to 4. I may need to play test them more but I’m waiting to be convinced. One aspect of our fliers that is great however is the Flicker Field. I add them to every flier I take. The ability to still effectively gain jink without having to snap fire next turn is a great advantage in keeping your fliers alive and effective.

That’s it for this post. I’ll be adding the counter point; “6th Edition Changes That Dark Eldar Really Do Care About” next week.

As always c&c is welcome.



  1. Hi,

    That was a good summary. Three minor points I slightly disagree with are the damage table, defense line & allies.

    Although a lascannon kills our vehicles on a 5+ both now and in 5th edition, in 5th edition half the kills were just wreaks which didn't harm the occupants, now all vehicle kills put a str4 (rather than str3 in 5th edition) hit on the occupants. I find that in 6th it's best to be a bit more aggressive with any assault troops and get them into combat asap, rather than staying back for a turn or two on the vehicle letting firepower weaken the enemy first. The chance of serious casualties from vehicle explosions is just to great.

    Another point is the defense line. I think the ability to fill a section of empty no-mans land (on our side of the board) with some 4+ cover save for infantry is great, plus the quad gun helps against flyers and a small unit of wracks is great to man it. Deploying the defense line and quad gun 20-24" so units can run up to it on turn one (eg. beastmasters, warriors) gives some more resilience to our fragile foot troops.

    With allies you're completely right that they should fill in gaps in the main army. Although getting resilient troops is expensive, but their are other weaknesses that can be helped more cheaply. Psychic defense can be helped with a Farseer with Runes of Warding. He can either join pathfinders in cover or go on a jetbike and join hellions, reavers ot beastmasters. Troops can be aided by a small eldar jetbike unit to turbo boost and claim a late game objective. Firepower wise DE lack multiple mid strength shooting, which can he helped by a unit of war walkers. Overall I think Eldar allies can add something extra to a DE list.


  2. Thanks for the comment,

    Explosions are quite a major factor. I'm planning to cover them and other rules Dark Eldar players need to watch out for in another post.

    I must admit I'd never thought of putting the aegis defense line up field. It's quite a good idea though I'm not sure how suited it is for beasts as the changes to the shooting rules mean you have to have kymerae up front anyway and they come with a 4++. I've always thought the wracks and quad gun option a bit to fragile to be the only anti air option but could work quite well depending on army composition. How would you fit them in?

    I'll be doing a separate post on allies for Dark Eldar and Dark Eldar as allies in the coming weeks but what you've suggested are all viable options. I do have trouble justifying the points cost involved though. When I sit down to work stuff out for the post I might hit on a combo I really like but for the moment I'm still not sold. On the flip side of that, I think Dark Eldar can make brilliant aliies for other armies.