Dark Eldar: Attack, Support, Defend
Welcome Dudes and Dudettes to the wonderful world of Dark Eldar tactica. In my previous post I addressed how to design an army list using some of the strongest units the Codex has to offer. In this post I lay out my thoughts on how Attackers, Defenders and Support units are utilized within the Dark Eldar codex. Now when I talk about Attackers and Defenders, the first image that may come to mind is a divided army with rigid guilde lines of which units go where. This is not my intent or vision for Dark Eldar. I do have pre-determined niches for units in my army to fill, but the army is mobile and flexible enough so that units can change roles on the fly. Did 2 of my 3 Trueborn units get shot down? That's okay, I have the option of sending a Ravager up to midfield, or I can just offer supporting fire from the backfield. Did all of my attacking Troops choices get shot out of their vehicles? That's okay I have still have a handful of transport vehicles available from my defenders and support units. I guess what I'm trying to say is that while different units have different roles, the army still acts (and largely moves) as a whole.
The other key area in which Attackers and Defenders come into play is objective based missions. Simply stated, Defenders will focus on capturing / contesting objectives near my own deployment zone. While Attackers will focus on the other objectives.
Key Attacker Units:
Wracks (5-10 with 1-2 Liquifiers in Raider)
Wyches (9 with Haemonculi + Haywires / Agonizer in Raider)
Warriors (5 with Blaster in Venom)
What do "Attacker" units do you ask? Well, they attack! But they do so in a way unique to Dark Eldar. Other codices have durable units that they can drop off into the middle of a battlefield and have some confidence they'll still be there in a couple turns. Dark Eldar don't exactly have that luxury. Attacker units in the Dark Eldar codex just need to be in a position to attack, so that if the enemy makes a mistake assaulty units can assault, or shooty units can shoot.
Since most DE guns have an 18-36" range, it's okay for Attackers to stay at range for the majority of the game. The key is to have them in position to grab objectives come turns 4-5. In games above the 1,500 point level, I think it's essential to have 3-4 Attacker units.
Support Units for Attackers:
Trueborn in Venoms
The Trueborn offer great mid-field support for the attacking units. They can handle both anti-infantry and anti-AV with relative proficiency. The other nice thing is that the Trueborn will be okay if they need to bail out of their transport in order to give it up for a fledgling Troops choice that's trying to stay alive. Sticking them in cover at strategic mid-field locations allows them to have a large threat radius. Alternatively, their Venoms can be used to contest enemy objectives when the game is winding down.
Key Defender Units:
Warriors in Raiders (5 with Blaster in Raider)
Warriors on Foot (10+ with Dark Lance - preferably with Haemonculi and Baron)
Defending units are utilized to capture objectives close to your home deployment zone. They should be placed in or around cover, and keep a relatively low profile. I prefer a Raider / Warrior squad because people tend to notice you rolling 12 dice to wound a lot more than just one or two pot shots from a Raider and the squad inside. The Warriors on foot take a similar role, just hunkering down, getting a nice cover save and FNP and taking pot shots. The major downside to the Warriors on foot is their inability to cover ground if they need to get out of dodge, so to speak.
Support Units for Defenders:
Ravagers are the perfect supporting units for Defenders, and Attackers for that matter. Their 12" movement and 36" range gives them a very nice threat radius. Since they also have the ability to move 24", they can move to contest enemy objectives during the last turns of the game.
What do you think? Do you find yourself employing attack and defend strategies with your army or do you operate more on the fly?