Dark Eldar Overview

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve been summoned by the Jawa master himself to ignore my mostly procrastinated term paper and focus solely on Warhammer 40k. I do not pretend to have many years of experience or a vast amount of wins under my belt. However, I do believe that I can concisely explain my impressions on how certain units work in 40k and how overall effective they will be.

Many of you will disagree which is one of the main reasons I’m doing this, to stimulate your mind with ideas as well as for your responses to stimulate mine. So where do I begin? There seems to be many conflicting opinions about the Dark Eldar codex. I guess I’ll begin with a brief rating system of what the Dark elder codex has to offer in certain aspects of the game. It will be a simple 1-10 rating system with 10 being the most proficient in an area and 1 being the least. Here it is:

Shooting (anti tank): 6

While not guard, or space marine levels, they are able to adequately get by. The number of dark lances that you can take is still impressive, although more reliable anti-tank choices are few in number and shorter ranged. As before, the smaller and more elite your opponent’s army is, the more effective your shooting will be.

Shooting (anti infantry): 10

In the whole codex, nowhere is it more apparent that the dark elder have impressive anti-infantry firepower than in the Kalibite Trueborn and the Venom transport entries. Trueborn if loaded up with max shardcarbines and splinter cannons will unleash 36 poisoned shots if not moving or 32 when moving. Venoms, loaded up with a splinter cannon upgrade and nightshields come out to have a minute cost of 75 points and are still able to move 12 inches and fire 12 poisoned shots at a 36 inch range. In combination with other units in this book, dark eldar will melt their way through infantry.

Assault: 9

Dark eldar are absolutely deadly in the assault. Wyches are not nearly as beastly in the assault as the last codex however they have been replaced by improved hellions, beast units, wracks, and cost reduced incubi. There are a great deal of special characters that are also deadly. The one thing that all of these units lack (with the exception of beasts) is durability. While this problem can be slightly reduced with the proper use of pain tokens, it still becomes a problem when facing assault oriented armies such as orks and blood angels. These units have a lot of synergy. The best example is that of wyches and incubi. Lets say you are playing marines and you have an incubi squad and a wyche squad. Those incubi want to be going after normal power armor units such as tactical marines, sternguard, and assault marines. Those wyches want to respond to any assault from terminators or assault terminators due to the wyches invulnerable save. This army will be deadly in close combat as long as you assault on your own terms.

Flexibility: 4

Each squad has a particular purpose. Use them the right way and you will win. Use them the wrong way and you won’t. While you can dilute the effectiveness of a unit by giving them mixed weapon choices (trueborn with shard carbines and blasters) these choices will be point inefficient due to the likelihood that these units may only fire once.

Durability: 5

There is no doubt about it, a mech dark eldar list is really fragile. Av 10 open-topped will not last long against anyone. This would be slightly nullified if dark eldar could control their reserves at all, then they’d be able to reserve everything and not have to risk coming in piece-meal. Their real durability lies in the fact that, with the right list, you can have feel no pain on all of your infantry units. Some units are very durable, such as beast units. These units can take a pounding and still demolish in the assault.


I believe that Dark Eldar will be a very interesting army to play. In this day and age where crazy rocket-vomiting, counter-charging, tin-can hiding, power armored Space Yetis are the normal occurrence on the battlefield, Dark Eldar seem very refreshing. They also seem that they will be relatively competitive in most aspects of the game.

Well that’s it! Leave your comments and criticisms as normal. Especially give me feedback on how I could be better. Next time I will be moving onto unit reviews, so leave your opinion one which one I should cover first. I think it’s time to get started on my term paper. Good night and good luck.


Woah, OldChiZOne opens up on my blog with guns blazing and offers up some nice gritty grizzle to be grized. Welcome him in as I invited him to help make you guys think a bit rather than just absorb blog info while you stare blankly at your monitor counting the minutes until quitting time.  Looking forward to seeing where this one goes!  Be looking for a couple more guest writers soon, including every one's favorite blogger whore Brent!  



GDMNW said...

You know, I think the whole Feel No Pain thing is a bit of a white elephant for the Dark Eldar. It leads players to think about how to go about making their units more durable, which is an error.

Dark Eldar become more durable by killing their opponents first. If there's not much to shoot you then you're pretty tough.

You see a lot of folks tailoring their lists to grab those tokens for FNP when I think the real path is to tailor them for maximum enemy destruction. That's the real road to victory...

Well, that's what I think anyway.

Michael said...

I'm in agreement with GDMNW. I'd rather focus on obliterating my enemy than trying to use work arounds to make my very fragile troops only semi-fragile.

Because I have no DE experience I will probably be proven wrong, but it seems like speed and surgical strikes are the key with these guys. Hit hard and fast, and then run away.

I think they will be a strong codex, but not game breaking. I'm anxious to see.

mordihim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
mordihim said...

can some one please explain on how DE have feel no pain, yet orks which right in there own codex say orks WILL fight when very badly wounded or even dead. some one explain that, at the very least a waaaagh turn should give orks FNP

alex said...

@ Mordihim

During one of Phil's interview regarding the Pain Token, he stated this is a new system they are trying with 40k. If everything goes well, who knows, maybe next Ork codex will have Furious Tokens that offer similar upgrades.

It's hard for some army dealing against Ork horde at the moment. If all Orks have FNP, every topic will be talking about Orks being unfair some how.

Dinobobicus said...

@ Mordihim

I prefer to think of an ork's "armor" save as more of a "Hah! I didn't even feel that!" save, because honestly, what armor? The FNP they get in the presence of a doc is "Okay, that hurt, but we can superglue your head back on."

breng77 said...

I think people are making too much out of DE Feel no pain, while they are more durable with it that without it. For the most part it is the same as if they had a 4+ save as their regular saves are bad enough to be ignored by most shooting. Also remember that against any S 6 + shooting they lose that feel no pain (except things like Wracks).

mordihim said...

@ Dinobobicus
lol true. the thing i hate the most tho is eldar have str 3 which is the same as a ork witch is like 3x its size thats what annoys me

OldChiZOne said...

I agree with most of you to a certain extent. Giving some units feel no pain will be huge mis-allocation of resources. First of all, wracks get it for free and are T4. They will also be relatively deadly in the assault. Therefore they REALLY benefit from that pain token. However, in other instances, pain tokens should be given to that one deadly close-combat unit in your army. One issue with dark eldar close combat units in the past was that they would obliterate the first unit that they assaulted, and then get shot to pieces on the next turn. I doubt that feel no pain is in the codex to make units durable. Rather, it is there to make units able to make more than one assault. Finally, once you have that first pain token, you're only one kill away to having furious charge on your unit as well which means that you will be more deadly than if you haven't given that unit FNP.

Minijunkie said...

I'm no expert by any stretch, but 6 for anti tank surprised me a bit. I would have thought 7 or 8...with a few ravagers and raiders aren't DE able to put out a lot of strong AT shots?

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