A few days ago, one of my commenters asked about effective Dark Eldar units in sixth edition. This was exactly the kind of proverbial kick I required to get writing again and it’s a nice topic for a bit of focus. I know I have been guilty of dwelling on my new armée de jour and all the new and shiny in this most recent of editions, and I really should go back and look at some older stuff. So, how do the DE fare in this new era or foot troops, flyers and brittle vehicles?
First, a little disclaimer: I haven’t played Dark Eldar since the new edition hit the shelves. In fact, I’ve barely played them since becoming knee-deep in Necron last year. So everything I talk about should be viewed through the lens of theory. I do not have practical experience of playing the twisted kin in 6th. There. Done.
I’ll do a brief overview of the army now and then work my way through the codex units throughout the rest of the week. That should keep me occupied during the end of year/beginning of year doldrums at work. I‘m of the general that sixth edition has worked to the benefit of nearly all the armies. This may seem a little paradoxical, I realise, but some armies have improved more than others and this has resulted in a more balanced and even battlefield, particularly with the advent of the ally system. Anyway, the Dark Eldar are in a very similar position in this edition as they were before. They are tricky and the new edition hasn’t made them much less fragile.
The new edition has made quite a splash in how much more brittle it has made vehicles. This has caused understandable consternation among those who depended on mechanised armies and that damn vehicle damage table, but how has affected the DE? Has it made their vehicles more fragile or less fragile? The answer is ‘yes’. They rely on speed and movement as much as ever, but the addition of hull points does mean that that advantage cannot be taken away on a glancing hit, which makes them more durable against glancing hits and the rejigging of the damage table makes them more resilient when penned. As they were pretty much dead when shot during the last edition this change is to the good. However, this does mean that they can be more easily downed by small arms fire than they used to be and the change of rules in assaulting moving vehicles is a major concern. Changing being hit on a 6+ to being hit on a 3+ is a big deal for vehicles which are mainly there to get your guys into combat. Although, on the other hand, they didn’t last much longer than that in 5th anyway, so it probably makes no odds. At least you can still assault out of them, even if you have to move slower first (which I think makes total narrative sense). The addition of the Jink rule for vehicles hasn’t changed things too much for the Dark Eldar, as most of their stuff was packing Flickerfields anyway. I suppose you can save 10 points per vehicle by not bothering with that now. Or at least change the upgrade to a Night Shield and cut out some of the incoming fire. Night Shields have now surpassed Flickerfields in usefulness, I feel. Next up; foot troops and flyers!