Monday, December 13, 2010

Dark Eldar Vehicle Upgrades: Are They Worth It?

Well it's been going about the interwebz lately: are dark eldar vehicle upgrades worth it?  Some say that they're filigree and gemstones hung on paper airplanes, while others swear by them as a way to make these tin foil skimmers more survivable.  So, what with this being my personal soap box, I thought I'd throw my thoughts out there.

Flickerfields: I love 'em.  Now I know some people will claim that 10 points isn't worth it for a 5++ save.  You should be screening them, hugging cover, and going flat out with them they'll say.  Well I say, "what if?"  What if your opponent seizes the initiative on you?  What if your opponent brought hydras?  What if he manages to get the angle on your raider you thought was in cover?  The truth is: you can't plan for every eventuality.  Yes, raiders, venoms, etc. do tend to spontaneously combust when sneezed at, hit with a small rock, or glared at threateningly.  However, this can only happen if the penetration gets through that save.  You didn't take flickerfields and your opponent managed to get the jump on you?  Now your raider is nearly auto-essploded.  Well, maybe not exploded, but on a 3+ its primary function is nullified: mobility.  While that 5++ isn't a storm shield, it's nothing to sneer at.  Some games, you won't make a single save, and others, your paper mache has turned into a tank made of adamantium 3 feet thick.  My vote?  I like redundancy, and having a safety net for a tactical error, the ire of the gaming gods, and "Oh Sh!t" situations.

Nightshields:  Now this little gem was a sure thing in the previous codex, and yet a number of folks are very much against these.  "Why would I sacrifice 10 more points into a vehicle that's gonna get gunned down by those 48" autocannons and missile launchers anyways?"  Well, I'm glad you asked.  The fact of the matter is that most people only bring so much ranged antitank.  Yes, those missile launchers, lascannons, and autocannons will still have their range on you.  Just like they do on nearly every opposing piece of firepower in the game.  The place where Nightshields make the biggest difference is versus the difference makers.  That's right folks, in 5th Edition, melta is king, and with nightshields, you straight up cannot shoot our vehicles from outside 6".  At all.  And, to mention it, you are NEVER in melta range.  Plasmaguns are also rarely within double-tap range.  Only one S7 shot instead of two?  Yes, please!  The same goes for bolters, as if they are within double-tap range, they're also very much within charge range of whoever comes out of your vehicle.  Additionally, they allow you to dance with heavy bolters you may begin to come across.  Now, they are not the auto-win button either, but they give your vehicles a chance at equality in this highly-mechanized metagame.  I know my vehicles will have them.

Splinter Racks:  Likely the last upgrade I'll purchase for a raider.  Yes, you get to reroll to hit with splinter weaponry.  Sounds pimp, particularly in, say, a squad of shardcarbine trueborn with the Duke.  Then you realize shardcarbines aren't technically splinter weapons.  Until and unless this is FAQ'ed to include shardcarbines, count me out.  My warrior squad already costs enough for what it does without adding an extra 10 points for maybe 1-2 extra poisoned wounds within 12".  In my opinion, there are better things to spend points on, but they certainly aren't a BAD choice, very little in this Phil Kelly masterpiece codex could be listed as bad or useless (Mandrakes, I'm looking at YOU!!!).

5 point upgrades:  I'm going to give a quick rundown of this plethora of nonsense as I see it.  I'm not overly impressed by most of them.  Sure, they could be effective, maybe, sometimes, but just not often enough to suit my fancy for the most part.  As a caveat, I will throw out some support of both Shock Prow and Tormentor Grenade Launchers.  Shock Prow can prove to be a game changer, as your raiders/ravagers/etc are now able to tank shock and ram enemies.  This is huge for late-game objective contesting, and making some use out of your lance-less empty raider that otherwise would just be hanging around waiting for somebody to thumb a ride.  The +d3 AV for the ram is nice as well.  The TGL I see as being situational for your army.  If you're running haemonculi with their bat-sh!t arcane wargear, these can suddenly become very useful.  As the rule is currently written, I don't believe the -1 Ld stacks for multiple TGLs, but if it is FAQ'ed to allow this, my haemonculi with Crucible of Malediction and other such silliness will be firing away from the railings of their raiders.

Well, that's all for the moment.  I hope you enjoyed my take and please feel free to add a point, tell me to STFU, or bow to my eternal visionary wisdom.  Just go with what you feel.


  1. I'm taking the easy approach and taking both fields on Ravagers and only the Flicker on Raiders. I plow Raiders forward as soon as possible to claim the 4+, but the Flicker's great when it begins its secondary task of gradually retreating lance platform.

    Shock Prows are...interesting. In a game of Spearhead, the Dark Eldar can theoretically kill any enemy unit using only the Movement Phase, something only Reavers can accomplish. I'd love to do a game where that's all I do.

    Oh, and can I ask what you have against Mandrakes? Yes, Incubi are theoretically better in some points, but I see both as having different purposes.

  2. To be honest, I like the old mandrake rules better! At least they were more interesting and quirky. Now, my issue with them is that they are an infiltrating unit that can't really do its job. I'll likely write another post venting about my opinions on them, but I feel that they aren't nearly enough of a threat to truly hold your opponent's attention. Not to mention the fact that they reside in arguably the most competitive FOC slot in the codex. Maybe if they got their shooting attack to start so they could at least harass an enemy unit, but they don't.

    On the other hand, I very much like Kheraduakh. He's not necessarily the most points-efficient buy, but has some very unique and interesting rules and IS badass enough to make your opponent pay attention.

    Besides, he's called the Decapitator. How cool is that?

  3. And so the hardcore gamer in you makes an appearance to the public. Just be careful Ahrimaneus - you don't want the fluff bunnies killing you in your sleep.

    Excellent analysis. I look forward to seeing more from you. Maybe some thoughts on "focused" lists?

  4. Fluff bunnies....with BIG SHARP POINTY TEETH!

    And by "focused" you wouldn't happen to mean "all hellions and reavers" would you? =P

  5. Well yes that is what I meant but also I'm seeing a real lack of folks coming up with "alternative lists." There should be more solutions for those of us that can't stand to see any other army play the same as ours.

    Btw I'm adding up the cost of making an Eldar Jetbike army out of nothing but Reaver models. Dual Seer Council and 6 3-man jetbike guardians.

    Are you not entertained?