Rules Review: Can Dark Eldar change the game?

In short:


At length:

Warseer’s the Dude has got a fairly comprehensive post enumerating everything that is thus far confirmed to be in the codex of the Dark Kin. Much was gleaned from the presentation at Gamesday UK just a few days ago leaving the more competitive players among us with a lot to consider.
First off, the question on everyone’s mind: Will the Dark Eldar be the end of Mech? The answer from my point of view is “to an extent.” With Ravagers firing all of their weapons at cruising speed and possible options for melta weapons on jetbike squads vehicles will not escape the hail of anti-tank firepower that the Dark Eldar can deliver to any part of the table top. Not to be underestimated also is the possibility of melta toting units (like Harlequins) firing their microwave weaponry from inside their transports. This is nothing new, of course since many transports have firing points but the speed (and presumably cheap cost) of the Dark Eldar rides can force even the most reckless close-combat list into a defensive line.
I also foresee a game changer in the cheap invulnerable saves to be found with Wyches. These units haven’t changed much but a new set of rules (and amazing new models) does mean that their popularity is likely to skyrocket. No longer will hammer units be able to wiz through an army. Power Klaws and Thundehammers are going to have a hard time against 40+ 4+ Invulnerable saves. To make matters worse Wyches and other units in the codex are likely to feature an absurd amount of high Initiative attacks. Combined with a healthy sprinkling of Furious Charge and Poison attacks we may see 5 man TH/SS squads going down before they can even swing.
In general the Dark Eldar will, just as they always have, hunt those small, elite forces. Land Raiders will be laughed at, uber characters with Initiative <7 will be laughed at, Grey Knights will… continue to be laughed at. At least until their codex drops in January.
I expect the Dark Eldar are going to change many things about the way we design our lists. Players already favor autocannon and missile launchers over lascannons but we may see Heavy Bolters make a comeback with each tournament list adjusted to include at least a few of these weapons. Strength 5 and 6 – normally left at home for their inability to deal with AV11 and 12 will be more than adequate deal with the AV10 Raider spam and the 4/5+ saves they contain.
The game needed a jolt - something to get players to think about more variety in their lists and new kinds of opposition that down keel over to AP2 and 1. If you are bored with the so-called metagame it might be worth sticking around till November. Something tells me we’re in for more than few surprises and come December we may be playing a whole new game altogether. 



Max said…
That sounds like a fair assessment, but we'll have to see how many players pick up DEldar before we know if there's going to be a metagame shift. Probably quite a few given how sweet the models look, but some people just like power armor...
Atrotos said…
It'll be hard to deny the pull of the Dark Eldar. There are so many players that are looking to play the game in a totally different way.

Never mind that we'll all end up with the same "unique" armies eventually. lol
AbusePuppy said…
I don't think DE will change mech- hunt it well, yes, but a foot army is not going to have great luck chasing down a bunch of Fast Skimmers; at least buying the vehicles at least protects you from the initial barrage of shots and potentially gets you closer to them (depending on 1st/2nd turn.)

TH/SS may not like those 4++, but their PWs are going to scythe through most other kinds of unit, so I expect that TH/SS will still stick around. The solution to Wyches will be the same as most melee units: shoot them before they get there.

Heavy Bolters net .65 hits and .65 glances against AV10; an Autocannon is .33 glances and 1.0 penetrations expected. That makes them marginally better overall and MUCH better for destroying (or otherwise meaningfully affecting) them. Heavy Bolters, sad to say, are still pretty trashy,

DE are going to drastically change the game though, in my opinion. A fast-moving, vulnerable army that specializes in alpha strikes and can punish other people for deploying poorly and threaten dangerous assaults on T1/2 is a big deal. Just as BA, 'Nids, and SW, DE are going to introduce a major change into the metagame.
Atrotos said…
If the popularity of H. Bolters goes up it'll be because it can be used against the Troops better than autocannon can. We are used to glances being meaningless against things like chimeras and rhinos but glancing hits against open-topped gunboats count for a lot.

I think hybrid armies will move to the top eventually for their ability to merge tons of heavy weapons (Long Fangs)with mobility and blocking units.
AbusePuppy said…
Autocannons ID their characters and punch through FNP (which seems to be abundant), though; Heavy Bolters do not.
Max said…
That sounds like a fair assessment, but we'll have to see how many players pick up DEldar before we know if there's going to be a metagame shift. Probably quite a few given how sweet the models look, but some people just like power armor...