The rumour mill has spoken: I guess Dark Eldar will be my casual army now.

The Dark Eldar codex is just 2 days out by now and most of it has been spoiled on various sites, such as Belloflostsouls.org: http://www.belloflostsouls.net/2014/10/dark-eldar-11-hour-rumors-emerge.html

 

And things are looking grim. Now I am usually trying not to be a naysayer and I am aware that GW is trying to tone down codicies, but they still seem to have gone really far with the toning-down for Dark Eldar, or rather, they failed to address the existing issue and added some new ones. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote up a short list of the main issues in the old book. Here is the link: https://wargamer31married2puppies.wordpress.com/2014/09/21/a-dark-eldar-wishlistneeds-analysis/

So let’s see which one of these were actually addressed in the new codex:

1) Hellions: Ok, so Hellions did indeed get a 3-points discount. However, they got no other rules change and are thus now unable to jump into terrain without risking losing a sixth of the unit going in and then another sixth going out as their 5+ armour save is not really doing them any favours here. In addition, they are completely unable to charge anything in cover, as they have lost the access to assault grenades. In fact, the whole codex seems to be utterly bereft of assault grenades, meaning GW has yet again published a Xenos list that can be defeated by the high-tech solution of WALLS. Right now, Eldar have little to no grenades, Necrons have none (though at Ini 2, they don’t really need them), Tyranids only have them as an expensive option on two units and the only Xenos armies that have wide access to grenades of some type are Tau (though only defensive and again your close combat units did not have them, because fuck you, that’s why) and Orks, with their amazing Ini of 2. Seriously GW? The most advanced races in the galaxy and the hyper-adaptive predators from beyond the galactic rim have all been unable to find a solution for a bit of gravel? Right now, Hellions are a write-off.

2) They need to still have a way of getting Turn 1 more consistently. Nope. In fact, they removed both the Baron and Vect, so you are stuck with the same odds of getting first turn as all other Xenos factions. Imperials of course have Coteaz, because again, fuck you, that’s why. Add to this that Power From Pain is now a turn-based effect and you can see that Dark Eldar needed that first turn even more than before. If your opponent starts the game, they will have 3 turns of shooting and/or close combat before the table gives you a half-way decent upgrade in FNP 5+, which is not even that great with Toughness 3 guys without armour. By the time you get Furious Charge, they will have had 4 rounds to kill you. In fact, some players have already speculated that Dark Eldar might need to go the all reserves way or at least mostly reserve way and hide for a couple of turns just to get an OKish save. Yup, the lightning fast raiding force now needs to hide in a corner for a few turns before they can start their raids. Makes sense much?

3) Reshuffle the Force Organization Chart :Ok, so I called the change of the Razorwing to Fast Attack, but Wracks are still in the over-crowded Elites slot (though I expect that Covens might change that, so feel free to use your Wracks as Troops once you have paid the €30 tax to pay the supplement, yay!). This means that running Dark Eldar without using double primaries will be even more difficult.

4) Make the Raider cheaper: Yes, it got 5 points cheaper. But it now comes with a Disintegrator, which as an anti-infantry weapon is not that useful in an army full of anti-infantry guns, and upgrading it to a Dark Lance costs you 5 points, so you are back to square one. No Flickerfield means no way to get round Tau Ignore Cover spam and Night Shields are now 15 points instead of 10, so you will be forced to pay 75 points for an acceptable transport that will still fold like the paper plane it is against Tau, Eldar or Guard. Or Marines with Tigurius or any Imperials with Coteaz. Yes, they can now deep-strike, but why would you want to deep-strike a transport with a 30″ move? So your passengers are guaranteed to be pointless until turn 3 and even turn 4 a third of the time?

 

Other grievances:

There is still no reliable way of taking out flyers and flying monstrous creatures beyond your own, extremely fragile flyers (so it becomes in essence a game of who blinks first or maybe it should be who jinks first?). You could of course add a Firestorm Redoubt, because it should be easy to find 200 points in an overcosted army like Dark Eldar and fortifications are really fluffy for a lightning-fast raiding force, aren’t they?

Haemonculi might have dropped 5 points in cost as they now automatically have the improved profile of a Haemonculus Ancient, but I liked having the choice of running a dirt cheap one or a more expensive one. Also, as there are no pain tokens anymore, they actually need to stay with a unit to give them the +1 turn to Power From Pain, so they are only able to join infantry (or slow down the other units).

Warriors dropped by a point. Woot! (That was an ironic Woot! in case you didn’t notice). Given that Venoms got 5 points more expensive, that is not really a change. Incubi also got cheaper, but again, not really by enough to compensate the lack of grenades and the inferior PfP table.

Helliarchs and Sybarites can no longer take Venom Blades. I am a sad panda now as that option was fluffy and a good deal at 5 points without being over-powered as S3 or even S4 models rarely got the re-roll for having a poisoned weapon and higher strength than the target’s toughness. Also it had no AP.

 

So what would have happen if I took last week’s list and updated it to the new book?

 

The Baron gone, so that’s 105 more.

14 Hellions: Helliarch with Venom Blade  – 42 points due to the discount

1 Haemonculus: Liquifier, Scissorhands + 20 points assuming options stay the same cost

1 Haemonculus: Liquifier, Scissorhands +20 points

4 Incubi: Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons -3 points as Incubi got 8 points cheaper and the Venom 5 points more expensive. This actually assumes Incubi can still be run in 3+ units

1 Haemonculus: Liquifier, Scissorhands +20 points

4 Incubi: Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons – 3 points

5 Kabalite Warriors, Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons no change

5 Kabalite Warriors, Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons, Blaster no change

5 Kabalite Warriors, Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons, Blaster no change

5 Kabalite Warriors, Venom with 2 Splinter Cannons, Blaster no change

10 Wracks: Acothyst with Scissorhands, Raider no change but no longer Troops

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances +15 points

Ravager with 3 Dark Lances +15 points

Ravager with 3 Disintegrators  no change

Razorwing with Splinter Cannon and 2 Dark Lances -20 points

 

So that would be a total change of 83 points. Which sounds like something, but once you realise that losing the Baron already gave you 105 points, you see that you actually pay more to get the same. Granted, it would be illusory to think that you could simply port over an army from one codex to the next, but actually raising the points of an already overcosted codex just feel wrong.

I guess it is possible to retool the list by adding more Razorwings and go all in on flyers, but right now I do not think I wish to invest money into making a weak codex borderline-playable.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not rage-quitting the game or flogging the army on eBay immediately (if only because eBay is already full with Dark Eldar armies right now). But I had hopes that the Dark Eldar would be playable again and none of this makes me think that that’s the case right now. I also think that GW should really re-evaluate their policy of vascillating (your word for the day) between increasing the power level of books in one edition and then dropping it again in the next. We went from Uber-Hammer in 2nd edition where some options like Virus Grenades could wipe out entire armies in one shot to the blandness of third edition where everyone was crap, but it was ok because so was everyone else. Then we had the arms race of 4th edition with the absolute cheese-fest that was Codex Chaos Space Marines with its millions of custom options back to early 5th that toned it down again, before amping it up to 11 with Grey Knights and Cron Air, moving over to Eldar and Tau and now we are back at the bottom again.

So looking at my 5 40k armies right now, the situation is this:

Eldar: unplayable in casual games as they make just about everything else look like the fat kid in gym class (yes, I can say that because I was that fat kid).

Dark Eldar: possibly unplayable in any kind of games.

Necrons: boring to play and not even that great to be honest.

Blood Angels: unplayable until their costs get dropped to 6th edition Space Marine levels. I mean right now I pay 80 points more for a Vanguard Assault Squad and even regular Assault Marines are 20 points more for a full squad. The one army I have hopes for.

Chaos: a codex without internal balance. Either I go all-in on fast Nurgle stuff and the game becomes frustrating for my opponent or I end up running a sub-par version of regular Marines.

 

I guess I will have to play more Warmachine. Because they got it right, don’t make stuff weaker, make everyone’s stuff broken and nobody feels left out.

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