Tuesday, July 23, 2013

The Journey of Allies

One of the major flaws that I fell prey to in the transition from 5th to 6th edition was relying too much on things outside the Troops slot.  In my 5th edition lists I regularly ran 5 or 6 troops, a couple squads of wracks, a couple squads of wyches, and sometimes even some warriors.  It was up close and personal units coming from a webway portal.  Because of various changes, the list wasn't viable any longer, those troop units didn't accomplish what I wanted.  With an even bigger emphasis on objectives, this left me further behind the proverbial eight ball.

This became overly apparent last month when I went to Sudbury for a tournament; a win, a loss, and a draw saw me place in the middle of the pack.  The problem with my list was I had two 5 man warrior squads in venoms, and allied wraithguard as troops.  The warriors were often focused and easily mitigated because of a lack of target saturation.

So this left me with a challenge, return to a troop-centric army that could be competitive.  My first thought was "I dont' know if I can do that with Dark Eldar for my playstyle."  Again, a very 5th edition reaction.  But I thought about why 6th is better than 5th, and one of the main selling points I've used to get people back into the game.  6th edition has Allies, so an army has a multitude more permutations to how it can be run; it is part of what seems to balance 6th edition in my mind.

So I'm going to take a page out of Skari's book.  I'm going to play a Dark Eldar Allied list for a series of 10 games, and then evaluate how they did.  I've already got some ideas on what I want to try, but here is my criteria for allies:

  • Allies must contribute something that the Dark Eldar list cannot already do.
  • Allies are not a bolt on, they have to provide some sort of synergy with the Dark Eldar list.
  • Allied lists will be judged on how the Dark Eldar performed and how the Allies performed and compared to how I have seen the Dark Eldar forces perform previously.
I'm considering two forces.

The first is going to try and resurrect the webway portal list using Eldar allies.  The force will consist of a small unit of Grotesques in a raider with WWP carrier, with 3 units wracks entering from the portal(s).  The key to this will be manipulating the reserves with an allied Autarch accompanying some Warp Spiders, with Rangers filling the troop selection and camping any objective it can.  I think this will be the most ideal list, fast moving with a lot of table control if I add a beast pack, and some Ravagers or Flyers.  I'm considering the Voidraven Bomber for this list just to finish up the conversion.

The second list will try and increase the effectiveness of a wych cult list.  We all know wyches are absolutely decimated by shooting, even if it's just overwatch, each hit is almost always a kill; so lets try and elminate that problem.  Looking at the Chaos forces, they both have ways to mitigate overwatch; Chaos Demons have psychic powers in the Slaanesh discipline that really hamper a unit and it cannot overwatch.  This would provide more control over what units can overwatch, especially versus Tau, but being a random chance to get the power isn't the greatest.  Chaos Space Marines bring the Dirge Casters on vehicles, giving a 6" no overwatch bubble.  The problem with this is they need to be closer, and not all vehicles can take them.

I think Chaos Space Marines will win out here for dependability.  Likely a two 5 man CSM units in rhinos with Dirge Casters, throw on a Sorceror who will hopefully get some debuffs from Biomancy.  I'd love if the Dread could still take upgrades, or even the Maulerfiend, but the only walker that can is the Defiler, and with 4 HP and a large blast template, it could be a good distraction to get the Raiders in closer.

I will likely start with the Chaos Space Marine list, because I have almost all the models I need for it.  The Eldar allies, need the Autarch and Warp Spiders at the very least.  They may just turn into a hobby project to convert some Dark Eldar versions.


  1. I like the portal idea, but I don't think slow assault troops are the best thing to come out of it. I think the idea will work better with shooting units or fast troops, eg. a large warrior squad with 2 splinter cannons & a haemonculus or reaver jetbikes.

    However it's probably worth trying having everything on the board as that makes your opponents target priority harder. Just make everything a threat, ie. all assault troops in raiders, and other units can fire well (eg. ravagers, small trueborn squads with splinter cannons, wyches in transports with haywire grenades).


    1. I was planning on running the wracks from the portals with dual liquifiers, possibly with another on a Haemonculus. Ideally, they would come in and template anything to near death. Maybe a liquifier wielding Talos, or a Cronos as well.

  2. Unless you can put the portal in a position that the enemy needs to approach (eg. near the relic in the relic mission) he could just stay away, and flamers would only have a roughly 14" threat range (6" move + 8" template). Faster units or units that shoot further would be able to damage the enemy at longer range (eg. 48" threat for reavers, 30" for warriors or hellions).

    Normally you have to put the portal down turn 1 to avoid the portal carier dying or reserves arriving before the portal is down, so I think in quite a few games the enemy could ignore wracks coming out of the portal for a turn or two by staying away. You never want to have enemy being able to ignore part of your army (unless it's 3 wracks or a small eldar troop choice sitting on an objective) because you make the enemy's target priority easier for him/her.

    The wracks would give a nice bubble (28" wide) around the portal that it wouldn't be a good idea for the enemy infantry to enter. However is it worth a portal, 10 wracks with 2 liquifier guns, haemonculus with liqifier gun (50+120+60 = 230 pts) to do this. In some games like the relic or an objective game where 2 or 3 objectives are close to each other it probably is worth it, but in others it may not be so good. Once you have a good plan B and the rest of the army can cater for the wracks and haemonculus not being too effective in some games then the tactic could still be useful.