Dark Eldar Beastmasters: From the Tabletop to The Hobby

Hey all, Kevin from B2TW again to continue my discussion on Dark Eldar. Today I am going to discuss with you the one Death Star unit I didn’t talk about in my last post, The Beastmasters and their Packs.

First Lets start with how they will play. Now to those of you who do not know yet or haven’t read the codex Beastmasters themselves are basically Hellions except with just a close combat weapon and they aren’t jump infantry (But are on skyboards). They also do not have combat drugs. They get the splinter pod for shooting for what its worth as well as a 5+ armor from the board/suit and have Power from Pain as is typical in the army. Other than that these guys are just here so you have the beasts themselves.

The first beast we have a choice of is The Grizzly Bear we all have learned to love, the Clawed Fiend. The Clawed Fiend itself brings to the table with T5, 4 wounds and four S5 attacks and gets an attack each time they lose a wound. These guys follow the popular trend in the army of the more combat they see the better they get. These guys will soak up a whole mess of wounds for your unit and just bury most units in combat. The only downside is a 6+ armor save meaning any S7 weapons in mass will rip through these guys pretty easy. A maxed out unit of these guys will make the unit count as T5 but will fall to any high strength or AP6 weapons in mass.

Next in our selection is the khymerae, nothing special in combat about these guys coming in at S4 with 3 attacks each. The one thing these guys do is confer a 4+ invulnerable save to make up for that horrible 6+ armor although with only one wound. A couple of these guys makes a unit fairly survivable. A unit maxed with these guys will be very hard to kill but will be too weak in combat and most likely ignored for the better part.

Finally we have the most popular of the three, the Razorwing Flock. Although at S3 these guys rock out five wounds and five Rending attacks per unit. This beast (or these beasts really) will be seen a lot and can put a hurt on most units. They can even Penetrate some rear Armor with the ability to dish out a 12 on the penetrating roll with some ridiculous rolling. A unit maxed out with flocks will die to low strength ap6 weapons fairly easily, although it will be very killy dishing out 60 rending attacks, ouch!

Now when it comes to dishing out your Beastmasters and their pack you have to look at all of the options. Each of the 1-5 Masters you have is allowed to take one type of beast each up to the following values, 0-1Clawed Fiend, 0-5 Khymerae, and 0-2 Razorwing Flocks. As a side note I wouldn’t upgrade any of the Masters themselves with a special weapon since they have the beasts to do most of the combat themselves. I would always try and maximize the amount of Beasts so let us say you have enough points to take 5 Masters themselves. Here is the unit I would take.


1. Beastmaster 1: 5 Khymes

-Beastmaster 2: Clawed Fiend

-BeastMaster 3 : Clawed Fiend

-Beastmaster 4: 2 Razorwing Flocks

-Beastmaster 5: 2 Rzorwing Flocks

Total: 260 Points

Now for what you are getting 260 points is not all that bad. You would be getting, on the charge, 24 S3 Rending attacks, 10 S5 attacks, 10 S4 attacks, finishing up with 10 Beastmaster attacks. That’s 54 close combat attacks with basically half being Rending. This unit covers up the best of what the unit needs, you have 5 models with invulnerable saves to jump in front of fists and hammers for you, 24 rending attacks to put a hurting on any type of unit, and a decent amount of S5 Fiends to soak up wounds and put some pain down on any high toughness model. Now a fair point to be made is that only the Masters themselves benefit from PFP so there is little use trying to upgrade these guys. They are very much so a unit to just ram down your opponents throat right as soon as possible. Try to not hand over too many wounds to the Masters since the packs themselves are only Leadership 5, plus the clawed fiends get better when they take wounds anyway.

The one big thing these guys have going for them is the fact they are beasts. This gives them a 12” assault move. These guys will need to be portaled in but once they do come in they more than likely can assault right out of the gate giving other models time to set up while your opponent deals with this extremely tough and killy assault unit.

Now on to the hobby, this unit is probably the easiest conversion you are made to do in the book with good discriptions and lots of pictures scattered around. Lets start with the Masters themselves which is basically a Hellion without a hellglaive, just model on a CCW or whip for good measure. I would also give these guys some of the Kabalite Warrior helmeted heads since they are supposed to be wearing masks and it also helps differentiate them from Hellions themselves.

Next we have the clawed fiend. The first thing I would like to point out that there is already a picture of these guys out there from awhile ago, can anyone guess where? The Clawed fiend first showed up in the picture of other alien species in the 3rd Edition rulebook (along with the then just about to be released Necron Warrior, some other species, and a Kroot Warrior). The picture shows something very close to the Abominable Snow Man from that old Rudolph the Red nose Reindeer clay cartoon movie with Yukon Cornelius (who I probably would model a Master of one of these guys after for a good laugh, except the Fiend will have giant, lightning claw-like, claws. This actually was one of my favorite pictures in that book and I always wanted the Clawed Fiend to show up somewhere in the hobby, I am glad I get that chance now to field one. I would try some modified Rat Ogres made to look like they have hair everywhere and add some Lightning claw like talons and place on a terminator sized base for good measure.

Next we have the Khymes, these guys are shown on the picture in the book of the Unit and probably are the easiest to convert. This unit can be easily be made out of any bloodhound models as well as any Dire wolves or any already made (spelling hack) Fenrisien wolves you made for your Space Wolf army that I know you have.

Lastly we have the Flock, now I’ve heard of some people using hellbats but I just think that is a little off base. I can see these guys as literally a bunch of talons with wings. If you can find some tiny bat –like wings I would green stuff the together with any bits you have that look sharp. Any ideas on these guys would be helpful so if you converted any or have an idea leave it in the comments to share with the community. Also these guys, to go along with any other pack type unit, should be based on the large round bases.

Beastmasters are an excellent unit and offer some awesome conversions available. They are also one of the big tough units available in the codex for a relatively easy on the calculator points value. Please in the comments leave your experiences with the Masters and their packs, if you play them give your opinion. If you have a good conversion idea or have made a good conversion of them also contribute. Thanks for reading….more on this later….


Mizzrym said...

personally Im converting my razorwing flocks out of tyranid rippers; just adding some bat like wings and shaving down the carapace a little bit.

Gotthammer said...

Razorwings are from Rogue Trader - 'these are bird like animals, usually no more than 3 feet long'.

The illustration is an ugly looking eagle type bird, with serated blades on the leading edges of its wings.

No ideas what to use for a mini, but for a non-40k Clawed Fiend this Reaper mini would work well:

Cannonfodder said...

Nice writeup. But I think that this unit mustn even hide in a portal. 5 Bestmasters, 10 Kymeras, 6 Razorflocks will standup to a insane amount of fire simply because of the 45 wounds they have. You do not really need the fiend as soon as you mix in other beasts since then its major advantage (T5) is gone. Rending makes up for S5 because of its AP.
This 5/10/6 setup needs 16 wounds from S6 shooting before the need to give a wound to the flocks even arises. Have them in cover and look how all the fire they absorb. If something is in 12" range than it is either 50guardsman rapidfiring or dead as soon as it is your turn.

280 points toally worth it- best swarms in 40k so far and a real possibility to add numbers to your de

Shin said...

I've been playing Scarabs as Flocks. Multi-would little beasties strike me as larger base.

speedfreek said...

This is how I made my "quick sketch" of Razorwing flocks.

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