Saturday, 21 May 2011

List Design for Beginners - Part 3(b) - What Army to Choose?

Part 3(a) can be found here.

Leta great straight to the next three then shall we?

Dark Eldar.

Dark Eldar have always been a bit squishy and their vehicles are also for the most part made of cardboard. This makes them somewhat of a 'Glass Hammer' as they have the ability to dish out a lot of damage but don't take the hit back so well themselves should their victim survive the first attack. This doesn't apply to all their units, however...

Mech - Dark Eldar are for the most part poorly armoured and of low toughness so putting them in a vehicle is usually a good idea. They work well using the 1+1* concept particularly well and armies with ten or more vehicles are not uncommon.

* For those of you that are unaware of the term, it is the basic theory that the transport can be considered part of the unit for the purposes of giving the unit duality. So the vehicle can be anti-tank while it's passengers are equipped for anti-infantry duties or vice versa. We'll talk about it more in a later article in this series ;-)

Carnival of Pain -With the ability to take Wracks as Troops by virtue of having a Haemonculus combined with several units of Grotesques it is possible to have an army that is far tougher than one would normally expect from Dark Eldar. Multiple wound, T5 creatures are a pain in the arse to shift if there's enough of them combined with the liberal distribution of Pain Tokens (Grotesques units come with one as standard) dishing out 'Feel no Pain' to those same units. Watch Space Wolf players get annoyed when their fifteen Missile Launchers only manage to kill one Grotesque and mildly wound another...

Beastmasters - With the wide variety of beasts available it's possible to make a Beastmaster unit that's a wound allocation nightmare for your opponents. Khymerae have a 4+ invulnerable save, Clawed Fiends have 4x toughness 5 wounds and Razorwing Flocks have a whopping 6x Rending attacks each on the charge and as everything (including the Beastmaster) are classed as 'Beasts' (hardly a surprise) the unit has a considerable threat range.

Others - There's a lot of interesting stuff in the Dark Eldar Codex and it's easy to get carried away with some of the more exotic units and war-gear upgrades. Just make sure you've got the basics in your army sorted before you start taking too many of them though ;-)


Eldar are the ultimate specialists. Their units are usually excellent in their particular niche and average to shitty at everything else.

Mechdar - The most common build around in most places. Lots of specialist units in their over-pointed (Well maybe not when the codex was written but most certainly when compared to the newer codices) transports. Fire Dragons are one of the most common elite choices with Dire Avengers being the most common troop one. Many lists also have a unit of pathfinders for objective camping as well.

Footdar - Several internet personalities have recently been talking about how it's possible to build a viable 'all foot' Eldar list that remains competitive. I personally believe that a decently balanced mech list will kick the fucking shit out of a 'footdar' list nineteen times out of twenty and am yet to see a list that makes me believe otherwise...

Eldar MC - The basic template for an Eldar Monstrous Creature list is Eldrad (dishing out Fortune, Doom and Guide where necessary), an Avatar, three Wraith Lords and unit of ten Wraithguard  with an obligatory unit of Pathfinders and a few other bits and pieces to fill out the points and provide some extra targets for the enemy shooting.

Dual Seer Council on Jetbikes - Two Farseers, Two units of Warlocks on Jetbikes and some Troops. It used to be one of the few lists that was genuinely regarded as 'broken' in 4th edition. Fortunately the proliferation of Psychic Defence and torrent of fire armies has made this sort of army much less viable.

Grey Knights.

The new kids on the block. Due to the (generally) higher quality of writing in the newer codices grey Knights are fortunate to have a number of viable army options.

Razorback Spam - Yes, they (like the other Marine Codices) can field an army with a shit-load of razorbacks in it. Unlike the other Marine codices they tend to get out of theirs as Grey Knights are an army that likes to dominate midfield **. Giving a standard Razorback some Psi-Bolt ammunition gives you three twin-linked shots at Strength six at a bargain price.

** Optimum threat ranges is something we'll cover in more detail later.

Terminator Spam - With Terminators available as troops for the same points as a normal Marine Terminator and getting a whole host of extra war-gear essentially for free these sort of armies are bound to crop up (at least two of my friends are using them currently with fairly good results). Thirty Terminators (three units of ten) with six Psycannons between them, accompanied by a Librarian can actually be fielded for 1500 points exactly.

Purifier Spam - By taking Crowe as your HQ you can unlock Purifiers as troops and their pretty damn good. For less than 200 points you can take a 5-man Purifier unit with a pair of Psycannons in a Razorback with Psybolt Ammo. The main weakness of the army is Crowe himself who is unable to join units and is therefore a walking Kill Point for your opponent.

Inquisitorial Warbands - Coteaz allows you to take Inquisitorial Henchmen warbands as troops so you can have a Grey Knight army without any actual grey Knights in it if you feel so inclined. However these work best as part of a more hybrid build in my opinion.

The Others - Draigo unlocks Paladins as troops and Mordrak can take Ghost Terminators with him but I wouldn't recommend either of those concepts to a beginner (or anybody else for that matter).

Okay then, that's the overview of three more codices covered. Next time we'll look at the sort of army lists we can produce using the Imperial Guard, Necron and Ork books.

Thoughts and comments are (as usual) most welcome.


  1. Hey G- Great article series (as usual) just wanted to throw my 2cp in regarding Grey Knight lists. One that you may want to add is Psycanon Spam. Using Crowe, you can shoehorn 28 Psycanons into a 2k pt army. Looks something like this:

    3x 5man Purgation w/ 4 Psycanon @180

    4x 10man Purifiers w/ 4 Psycanon, 5 Halberds and Psybolt ammo. @ 315

    Crowe @150

    1950 pts.

    Everybody walks. Just a creeping firing line of deth... Plus they're all purifiers so, if you charge them, you get flamed then Halberded before you get to strike...

  2. Crowe is decent in combat if you can get him there. He can steal a transport, the main question is from whom? The cheap answer is get the Inquisitor and kick the henchmen out to walk (or cower in terrain as a firebase).


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