I found myself against Sean Nayden this weekend at a tournament and knew I was doomed.

I know he packs one of the nastiest assault lists I have ever seen, and knew it could only get worse with allies. My first words to him were: "Let me guess, you added Eldrad and jet bike troops" Yup.

Lets start with his list:

Dark Eldar mother list:

Baron

Vect

15 Wyches- Haywires, hekatix, PGL, Venom Blade

15 Wyches- Hawyires, hekatix, PGL, Venomblade

20 Warriors- 2 splinter cannons, sybarite

5 Beast Masters- 5 Kymerra, 8 Razorwings

3 Reavers- Heatlance

3 Reavers- Heatlance

3 Trueborn- 2 splinter cannons

3 Trueborn- 2 splinter cannons

3 Trueborn- 2 splinter cannons

Eldar Allies:

Eldrad

3 Guardian Jetbikes- Shuriken cannon

3 Guaridan Jetbikes- Shuriken cannon

Aegis Defense Line- Quad Gun

First of all. This is not a gripe, it is a congrats to Sean for fielding an uber list.

I am not a Dark Eldar player so I don't know all of the ins and outs of this list. I only know it from my side of the table. And it is nasty.

First, the list does have some possible achiles heels. In order for it to be optimal effective, Eldrad has to roll Invisibility. But he has four chances to do so. So Sean has to be VERY unlucky to not get it.

Invisibility essentially gives his army a 2+ cover save to shooting.

We figured out that it would take 65+ bolter shots just to kill a single Razorwing, which costs 15 points a model.

The other weakness is STR 6 shooting, preferably templates, which preferably ignore cover, like Heldrakes I believe. A few of those could probably ruin his day.

In the assault, STR 6 hits hurt him as well. Mephiston vs his beasts for example. However, Sean is very good at not letting you do that.

Why STR 6?

Well that will instant kill his beasts. Otherwise they have five wounds a piece and absorb hits like a Detroit Lions quarterback.

Case in point:

I assaulted his beast unit with two 10 man assault squads, 3 priests, a librarian, five terminators (4 LC 1 TH) and Mephiston. While it took him a couple turns to take me out due to Feel No Pain and 2+ saves, I believe I managed to kill about a dozen bases of his. Mostly in the second wave as I focused my hits against his Wyches and their lowly 4+ invulnerable and the warriors.

It only lasted that long because Vect did not get into it until late.

Sorry I don't have any pics of the list but I did discuss the list with Sean on Video:

So there you go! If you can stomach playing this list, you now have the tools to have a shot at winning any GT you go to. Enjoy!

Jawaballs

## 34 comments:

Better yet, add in harlies from Eldar, include an Archon with shadowfield or the baron, cast fortune and you have a re-roll 2++.

Yah Donz0 it only gets worse I'm sure. This list was a 1991 and he did have the Baron. I don't think it even needs Harlies. I expect to see you Dark Eldar players spamming this list immediately!

Beasts are nasty, always have been, and cheap for their points.

There are lots of fun ideas floating around. I'm still building towards adding a Corsair prince. He could potentially make any one turn night fight. A real bonus to a race that ignores it.

Just a comment - you say he has to be "very unlucky" not to get invisibility.

My math, which might be wrong, seems to indicate that he should fail to get it one-in-three games.

Replacing four powers, you get 4 tries to roll a specific power.

Try one, you need 1/6.

Try two, you need 1/5, BUT, this is only relevant if you failed the first time, so you're actually looking at 5/6 * 1/5, which is another 1/6.

Try three, you need 1/4 but again, it's only relevant if you failed the first two times, so it's 4/6 * 1/4, so another 1/6

Try four is the same, and nets another 1/6.

1/6 + 1/6 + 1/6 + 1/6 = 4/6 to get the power, which means 2/6 he won't have it...

That's the same odds as not getting your preferred wave with daemons, and that's not really considered "really unlucky". In fact, in a three game tournament, you'd expect that he wouldn't have invisibility for at least one of the games.

"If you can stomach playing this list"...

...what's that mean?

I guess I could replace the word "really" with the word "sort of". Does it really matter the exact level of how unlucky he is? Is one word in an entire article worth debating?

He has four chances to get invis, rerolling any of the like tries from the first three tries.

I am no math major, but I think your math is wrong.

Try one is a 1 in 6 chance.

How can the odds of try four being successful be only 1 in 6 if three of the options are already removed? Try four is 1 in 3!

I see it as this:

Try one, 1 in 6= 16%

Try two, 1 in 5= 20%

Try three, 1 in 4= 25%

Try four, 1 in 3= 33%

Total= 97% chance that you will get it! :) See my math is awesome.

I don't know if it is 97%, but I do know that try four, if you go that far, is a 33.3% chance of success.

A 2 out of 6 chance that he won't get it implies that the odds of success do not change after the first three tries.

Can some one smart give the answer?

Bob I sure couldn't! :) To set the record straight, Sean is a friend and he and I laughed about the absurdity of his list and he was the one who suggested that you need to be able to stomach playing it! After I called him all sorts of names of course. :)

I for one only like playing Imperium, and really only Blood Angels. I could not play a list I didn't really like just because it wins tournaments. Who really likes Demons for example? Sean admitted himself that he would rather play his dread list, but plays the Dark Eldar because it wins.

The smart answer is he doesn't even need Invisibility, and depending on matchup he'll not even bother rolling Tele at all, but divination. Making folks reroll their saves; giving a unit a 4+ ward; and rerolling those terrible mysterious terrain rolls is really nice.

Invis is nice, but not required.

Roger that. I said "in order for it to be optimal effective". Not getting invis certainly does not render his list ineffective, but it is most uber with it.

Ok, I just spent an hour with the math department in my middle school doing experimental and theoretical probability, and the chair of the department said the chances of getting invisibility are 96%. Our experimental probably, where we tried the result 100 times, had an outcome of 86% however.

SO I think it is safe to say that yes, he would have to be REALLY unlucky not to get invisibility!

But the math guys are looking for actual formulas that prove the theory.

Found this one interesting and wanted to throw in my hat! :)

The probability (%) of getting Invisibility in 4 rolls would be equal to (1 - < probability of never rolling it >)

So, I set it up like this.

First Roll Odds of NOT rolling Invisibility (5/6)

Second Roll Odds of NOT rolling Invis (4/5)

Third Roll.... (3/4)

Fourth Roll.... (2/3)

So, using the multiplication rule, you can determine the exact probability of NOT rolling Invisibility in all 4 rolls by multiplying all those rolls together...

(5/6) * (4/5) * (3/4) * (2/3) = 120/360

This is exactly 33.33333%. So, that's the probability of NOT rolling Invisibility in 4 rolls.

So, the probability of rolling Invisibility then is 1 - 33.33333 = 66.66666%

What's more interesting though is that you can swap down something you roll for Prescience at any time. Doing so actually makes your odds of rolling Invisibility WORSE, believe it or not. However, your total odds if you include a Prescience swap actually slightly changes depending on which roll you make the swap in.

For example, if I were to make my first roll (5/6 to not roll invis), then decide to swap that for Prescience, my second roll now again has 5/6 odds instead of 4/5 yielding this:

(5/6) * (5/6) * (4/5) * (3/4) = 300 / 720 = 41.66666% chance of NOT rolling invis.

Likewise, I can produce a range by stating that I swap my very last roll for Prescience (assuming I still haven't rolled invisibility yet)... we already calculated that answer and it's 33.3333% of not rolling invis.

So, the nutshell is, best case scenario of never swapping for Prescience or swapping for Prescience only on the last die roll, you end up with a 66.6666% to get invisibility.

Worst case scenario is you swap for Prescience on the very first dice roll. In that case, you have a 58.3333% chance of rolling Invisibility.

So, the actual answer depending on when you swap for Prescience (or not at all) will be between

58.3333% - 66.6666% of getting invisibility in a game.

I was expecting the discussion of the "uber"ness of this list to be around the combination of Eldrad, Vect, and the Baron all in one list; not necessarily on Beasts. Beast packs have always been good, especially Razorwing flocks, but to be fair, that unit costs 240pts. Then you need to add in 105pts for Baron giving them grenades and hit & run; then 210pts for Eldrad's crazy psychic buffs; and last but not least, 240pts for Vect's Fearless and Preferred Enemy buffs. That's a 795pt deathstar!

The cheesiest part of this isn't the beasts, it's the 555pts spent on 3 HQ's. But outside of that, I must applaud him for taking 3 full-sized Dark Eldar troop squads and NO Vehicles! Can't remember the last time I saw a DE list that didn't include blasterborn or venom spam ;)

@ Jawa:

"Who really likes Demons for example?"

Nice jab there! :) I like playing Daemons. I've had Daemons since my first foray in to the hobby in 1989. Many of my models are older than many of the people I play against! I've got a sizeable Fantasy Daemon army, from which I've grown a nearly as sizeable 40k army (why oh why do people care what shape my base is?!). I enjoy the Chaos fluff, the models, and the gameplay. That they win now is a huge bonus, and actually motivated me to paint some things! So the answer is me...I enjoy playing Daemons! I enjoy the Bad Guys! I don't think I have any good guy armies at all, in any game system! And Daemons are the baddest of the bad, right?

@ joe:

"I must applaud him for taking 3 full-sized Dark Eldar troop squads and NO Vehicles! Can't remember the last time I saw a DE list that didn't include blasterborn or venom spam ;)"

Nice to see some positive here instead of the barrage of negative.

He's taken a "good" unit, combined it with things that make it incredible, and packaged it with some atypical elements that combine together in a tasty whole that's greater than the sum of the parts.

Bigger picture, he's embraced the changes that 6e has offered and evolved his army concept and build to accomodate. I congratulate him for pushing us all to find answers to the new puzzles he's made with this army!

"Can someone smart give the answer" - that's kind of insulting. I gave you the right answer, and Neil's math is a duplicate of mine.

As for whether the word VERY is important, I think it is. If you were playing in 3rd/4th, you might remember the old minor psychic powers, where the slaanesh variant has Siren as a power. Spending 60 points to buy multiple rolls on that table would result in a really unlucky roll to not get it (and that really bad luck still bit someone in the finals of the adepticon gladiator that year).

Point is, 33% isn't really unlucky, and IF the list relies on getting invisibility, then failing to get it an average of 1 game per tournament (day) pretty much means the list can't win a tournament.

If it is winning tournaments, in spite of being without a key power for a game, then it's the overall analysis that this power is needed that's flawed.

hey neil you know invisibility cant swap for prescience thats the wrong lore right? lol

Brain farted up there because Invis isn't in the Div tree for Prescience, but the point still stands. Sub in appropriate primaris power where applicable. :P

Sorry Redbeard I was referring to myself as not being smart. No insult intended! Neil's answer sounds a lot more official and yours just confused me, but I am still not convinced that you guys used the right formula. Any one want to offer another answer?

And Bob, I thought you would like that jab! It is all in jest! Bob just won the same local tournament three times in a row with the same Demon army. :)

Hey Chris thanks for the love. Man I look sexy on camera, must be the beard. We will have to get another game in soon.

To be clearer I love foot combat based dark eldar, probably equally with my marines of old, been playing them more then my marines for even the last 2 years of 5th edition. My stomach is super solid with my choices.... BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD...errr Pain for the Pain God... which deity do us depraved house elves worship anyway?lol

Sadly with 6th edition GW chose to both shoot my new favorite list (webway full reserve dark eldar) and my old list 7 Drop pods 5 dreadnoughts with merely 5 marines and 5 scouts.

Of those two ideas I was able to rise up with the dark eldar thanks to the inclusion of the wonderfully cheesy Eldrad, while the inability to contest objectives with vehicles was the true demise of how I enjoyed playing marines. Loved landing empty pods all over the place to really muck up the board.

The thing I love most about dark eldar close combat is that its so much more dynamic then imperium on imperium combat. In 3rd edition I ran all foot combat oriented regular Eldar(Banshees FTW). With high initiative and crazy cool combat stuff I feel much more that I am killing opponents rather then simply slap fighting with my opponent at our equal initiative 4 statlines. Where I feel this most is with the characters, Archons and their special character equivalents just feel so much more manly then space marine captains.

As to the invisibility math... I tend to say I get it 50% of the time(or less). And that may be also because I only roll 3 times on telepathy at most, at least one roll is always on divination to either see what I can get or simply drop for the ubiquitous prescience. And against certain matchups I benefit much more from simply ignoring rolling for invisibility and going for 4 divination powers. Invisibility isnt really necessary all the time, against some things it might be. In reality what invisibility represents is a gamble. If I go for it and get it then the game is over in my mind, now that may not be true all the time but pretty close.

And Joe m thanks a lot for the kudos. I havent owned a vehicle for my dark eldar army since I sold my 3rd edition vehicles to my friend and have refused to play with one in the army since rebooting them in 5th. And I love me some beefy wych units.

I've long been against the extensive use of special characters especially those that are a little too good for their points costs, but a lot of these problems with the uber lists seems to me too many points on too small of a table.

How many points was this tournament? More than 1500 points a side on a six by four table seems to be too much. Keeping army list points smaller forces tougher decisions and less models on the table means target prioritization and using the space between the models is more important. Now a days half an army flies or deep strikes so 6th Edition is a lot different than 1st or 2nd edition, but it seems to me a lot of these uber lists with 2 or 3 special characters don't work in smaller games. In smaller games actually using your basic troops matters more than how many specialized units you can squeeze in with carefully chosen upgrades.

Which missions and mission design in general can also limit the lethality of killer combos...

Okay, let me try any explain where I got the answer from.

The odds of getting the power are equal to the sum of the odds of getting it on the first roll plus the odds of getting it on the second roll, plus the odds of getting it on the third roll, plus the odds of getting it on the fourth roll.

You're with me at this point, because this is what you did. You added 1/6 + 1/5 + 1/4 + 1/3, and came up with 95%.

But that's not right.

The odds of getting a specific power on the second roll are not 1/5, because you have to account for whether you got them on the first roll too. If you got the power on the first roll, the odds of getting the same power on the second roll are zero - you have to re-roll that.

So, while the odds of getting a specific power on the first roll are 1-in-6, the odds of getting the specific power on the second roll are equal to the chance that you didn't get the power on the first roll (5/6) times the odds that you'll get it on the second roll (1/5) (Plus, if you're keeping track at home, the odds that got it on the first roll (1/6) times the chance you'll get it on the second (0/6, cause you have to re-roll).

So, the math for this looks like:

5/6 * 1/5 + 1/6 * 0/5

We can factor out the second half, because anything times 0 is 0, and we're left with:

5/6 * 1/5

The 5's cancel, and you're left with 1/6.

That's the actual chance that you get the power on the second roll. Not 1/5, but 1/6, because you have to account for what happened on the first roll.

The third roll, similarly, has to account for what happened on the prior two rolls. If you don't have the power yet, it means you'll be re-rolling two possible results, leaving only four possible options (1/4), but if you got the power on the other rolls, you have a 0% chance to get it again with the third roll.

The odds that you got it on the first roll were 1/6, and the odds that you got it on the second roll (from above) were also 1/6. So, that means that your 1/4 roll is only important the remaining 4/6 times, and the other 2/6 times, you're adding a meaningless 0% chance.

4/6 * 1/4 + 2/6 * 0. Again, we simplify this and get 4/6 * 1/4, cancel the 4s, and get 1/6 as the actual chance of getting the power on the third roll.

See a trend here?

You can go through the same gyrations for the fourth roll, and you'll get 3/6*1/3, again giving the chance of scoring the power on the fourth roll... 1/6.

Add those discreet events together, and you get the total chance of having the power:

1/6 + 1/6 + 1/6 + 1/6 = 4/6, or 66%.

What's neat about this is that it's not the only way to approach the question. Neil showed the other way. He took the odds that you wouldn't have it, and subtracted that from 100%.

Using the method that you don't have it, you multiply the odds of each discreet event together, so, as he showed, 5/6 * 4/5 * 3/4 * 2/3. It's neat that you can rewrite this as 5 * 4 * 3 * 2 / 6 * 5 * 4 * 3, and then just cancel the 5, 4 and 3, leaving 2/6, which simplifies to 1/3 (33%) and then subtracting from 100% leaves the 66% chance that you do have it.

Two different approaches, both valid, both produce the same answer (and that's a good way to note that it's the right answer, because both methods agree with each other).

Hope this explanation makes a little more sense.

OH MY! Head... short... circuit...too much math...

I was talking to the math teachers again and they also agree with you and Neil. Thanks for the VERY thorough response!

Muskie Id have to disagree that dropping from 2000pts to 1500pts would neuter this list at all. In fact quite the opposite. I can still pack in the death star with its buffs, and probably 2 of my large scoring blocks along with the cheap scoring guardian jetbikes.

Then my opponent simply has less guns on the table to try and shoot me before I pulverize his smaller army. Unlike a death star made up of terminators or Paladins or whatever, this thing is fast, and fast in its own right without need of transport or turns spent getting in or out of landraiders. And with hit and run you simply cant speed bump it to limit its turns.

I would still fit it in at 1000pts if I wanted to, though at that level Id drop Vect. And its effects would still be hard to marginalize.

I don't get the point how invisibility should give him a 2+ cover save and why the razorwings needs 65 bolter shots to be killed. Could anyone explain that?

It is based on probability. First, he uses an Aegis Defense line which he places in the middle of the table. Or uses ruins, both granting a 4+ cover save. Then he uses invisibility, which through the combination of powers it grants, bestows a +2 bonus to that, bringing it up to 2+, or at worse a 3+ if there is no ruins or aegis to be had. Usually there is at least a 5+ save where he needs it.

65 shots comes from the probability of an average shot, the Space Marine bolter causing an unsaved wound.

A marine shooting a bolter will hit 4 out of 6 times. So in 18 shots we will see 12 hits. Against toughness 3 birds, he will wound with the same odds, so with 18 shots he will wound 8 times. That is pretty good.

But then Sean places the razorwings in a line at the front of the pack if he expects incoming bolter fire. If a marine shoots 18 shots at them, he will have to make 8 saves on a 2+. The odds are that he will make 1.33 saves or so. To make the number easy, we will say the marine fired 15 total shots, leavng Sean only making 6 saves on a 2+, thus failing just one save.

This means that the marine fired 15 shots to cause one wound. The razors have 5 wounds, SO 65 shots are required just to cause 5 wounds and remove a single base.

I have seen guys take this a step further and spread the wounds around. Sure it is supposed to be the closest model first. But what happens when there are five equidistant? The guy will place wounds on unwounded bases. It happened in one of the other games I played on Sunday.

I would need to break out the book to see what to do in that case.

Thank you for the explanation.

bob brings up a good point its a different list that really makes you think how to deal with it. i would actually prefer to see discussion on how to counter such a list effectivly with different armies than discussing math probabilities

Right Ed! That is the next part. I am going to write a follow up post discussing tactics for countering this monstrosity.

TO answer the who is closest question:

To shooting if there are several models that are completely equidistant then you randomly determine who the closest model is to each units shooting.

For combat since all models in base to base contact are considered equally close the player who owns the models determines who to start with with the caveat that all the wounds at an initiative step go on that model until he dies.

And the thing to remember is that its really hard nigh impossible to get all your shooting elements to be closest to the same models in an enemy unit, this means that with several 5 wound models the de player(me) can end up with several wounded bird bases. This is then compounded if in subsequent turns I shuffle the hurt birds back and the unwounded birds forward. And furthermore at each initiative in combat I weigh the probability of wounds getting through relevant saves and start with lightly wounded or unwounded birds when there are a bunch of wounds and when only one or 2 put them on wounded birds.

Wouldn't the best way to stop this to be kill/Tarpit Eldrad so he can't use the ability? Perfect timing would also come in handy here, since it ignores cover.

If you had a butt load of shots, you may get a chance to kill Eldrad. He had him attached to a squad of Wyches manning a quad gun behind an Aegis.

It will take at least at least 48 bolter shots from Space Marines before Eldrad even starts making save. Wait... scratch that. He can give himself a 2+ cover save. It could take upwards of 120 bolter shots before he starts making saves. Adjust up and down for your cover save counter of choice.

Assault him? He was behind the mass of beasts. Good luck getting to him.

Finally reach him in assault after hacking your way through the unkillable beast squad? Challenge him with a character killer IC? He can accept with another character. Or just fight with his rerolling invulnerable saves.

In other words, unless you have a serious amount of shooting that denies cover saves, forget killing Eldrad!

It's a decent list, but by no means unbeatable. Though in assault it is quite good, but then again, not everything is beatable in assault or should be handled with assault.

One word - whirlwind! They're an excellent choice again nowadays, ignoring cover saves, line of site, wounds coming from the center of the blast - a great solution to a lot of annoying units (harlie star, beast stars)

I did say unbeatable IN ASSAULT Andrew! :) Yes it has weaknesses to STR 6 Templates. What would do it? 20 Deathwing Terminators with TH/SS and FNP? At least every wound given to a base would be an instant kill.

Whirlwinds? Do their templates give beasts double wounds? Does the hole matter? Would that deny cover saves to a squad behind an Aegis?

The problem with this math is it is relevant whether you rolled it earlier or not for discovering the probability of getting it on each roll: however, the point is to get it once. Only once. So roll one the probability is 1/6. Ok. We agree. Second roll assuming you didn't get it the first time the probability is 1/5. It does actually matter that you failed the first time because it restricts the options. What you were doing was figuring out the probability of each roll independantlu assuming that there is no change. But there is... If you still have questions let me know I can clarify more I'm rushed now but jawa did a pretty good job already

:) This one has been hammered out pretty well Johnny come lately!

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