Underplayed & Overlooked: Codex Dark Eldar
Welcome back to Underplayed and Overlooked. Today we look into the hideous darkness to find the merit of those that call Codex: Dark Eldar their home. Lets begin.
- Cost: 4
- Offense: 4
- Defense: 3
- Support: 4
Starting with her Cost I compared her to an Archon whose role she would be taking in an army. Initially the cost difference over a base Archon was disparaging considering that they have the same base stats but to my surprise after wargear and factoring in her abilities she is well worth what you pay for.
Offensively she lacks a Ranged Attack so it can be skipped. Which is fine because she is quite decent in Close Combat. Like an Archon she has WS 7, Initiative 7 and 4 Attacks base at Strength 3. But unlike an Archon her Power Weapon adds +2 Attacks every round of combat unless she rolls a double on those two dice in which case they miss and you lose the ability for the rest of the game.
That is not a huge loss in my opinion for the +2 Attacks you are likely to enjoy for at least a couple of rounds. In addition it doesn't say it replaces the Bonus Attack for Charging which means she has a whopping 7 Attacks on the Charge. This makes her much more stabby than an Archon could ever hope to be.
Defensively she has a 5+ Armor Save which is quite weak especially with Toughness 3 and no Eternal Warrior. But fortunately she at least as a 4+ Invulnerable save but compared to the options available to an Archon I had to rate it just average.
Support wise she offer a lot. Aside from being immune to the effects of Psychic Powers she confirms that immunity to her unit as well. In addition she allows you to redeploy D3 units after both sides have deploy including moving things into Reserve.
This means you can feint at least one unit reliably by placing it in a position where your opponent may deploy to react to it and then simply making that deployment pointless. This is also an ability that may work better when your opponent knows to expect it because then they will have to consider your entire deployment in this regard.
- Cost: 2
- Offense: 4
- Defense: 4
- Support: 3
Starting with his Cost I had to compare him to a Klaviex and unfortunately he is well over double the cost. While it is true that he is better in almost every way he is still the cost of 10 base Incubi and for that I had to score him the way I did.
Offensively he is better than a Klaviex in almost every way. His only negative is his inability to take a Bloodstone which would give him a ranged attack he instead just lacks one so we will move on to Assault.
In Assault he is WS 7, Initiative 7, with 4 Attacks hitting at Strength 5. Wait, you say. Strength 5 Dark Eldar? It appears so. He has a base Strenght of 4 and is armed with Demiklaives which are Power Weapons that add +1 Strength. As it doesn't say anywhere in his entry that this is already included we can assume that this ancient badass is Strength 5. Truly a giant among (evil space) elfs.
Because he also has Onslaught any roll of a 6 to Wound causes an additional Bonus attack that cannot be used to generate more Bonus Attacks. Also he has two abilities that synergies well together. Murderous Assault and Darting Strike. With these two abilities he can nominate an enemy Independent Character at the beginning of each round of combat and he gains Preferred Enemy when attacking that model. In addition he can also at the beginning of any round of Close Combat reposition himself in the combat so long as he is base to base with an enemy model and in coherency. Also consider that he is an Independent Character meaning he could leap away from his squad into a completely different combat and once in combat he can then reposition himself into an ideal position. Truly a character assassin if there ever was one.
Defensively he has a Toughness 4 and a 2+ Armor with 3 Wounds and Eternal Warrior. The only thing he lacks is an Invulnerable Save but as far as Dark Eldar go he is damned tough to kill. Also if he rolls a 6 on his Armor Save he gets to make a free attack as soon as he makes the save. While not necessarily a game changer it is a nice bonus.
For Support he makes his Incubi unit Fearless as well as providing the Onslaught ability to them as a similarly equipped Klaviex would. Also he can only join units of Incubi so that is a limitation as well. So I am left to ask is Fearless worth a 130+ pt difference? Im not so sure but he isn't hurting you otherwise for taking him so he gets an Average Score.
- Cost: 2
- Offense: 3
- Defense: 2
- Support: 2
Starting with his Cost he was perhaps the hardest of the three to score. He cant really be compared to the a Mandrake Nightfiend because they aren't really doing the same job. But nor is he an Archon. But comparing him to Drazhar who definitely is doing a lot of the same things and it is clear to see that he is no Drazar in spite of costing 70 points less.
Offensively he does have a Ranged Attack which is an 18" Srength 4 AP 4 Assault 2, Pinning attack hitting on 3s. His super Storm Bolter is not much of a game changer but it is better than nothing.
For Close Combat he is WS 6 with 4 Attacks hitting at Initiative 6 with Strength 5 . Not bad but aside from his Strength he doesn't quite meet up with other characters at his points level and is only one more than a Nightfiend. However it is a Power Weapon which has a form of Rending which causes Instant Death regardless of Toughness which is nice.
For Defense he is T3 with 3 Wounds and a 5+ Invulnerable Save as well as Feel No Pain. This should not be expected to keep him around very long especially as he is not an Independent Character and cant join a unit. As an aside like all Mandrakes he does have Stealth so he benefits from a better than average Cover Save but what is the point if he is made for Close Combat?
Support wise he comes in the board from Reserve (where he must start the game) and is placed anywhere he likes so long as it is an inch away form an enemy model. He cannot assault on the turn he arrives but he can still shoot. Oh boy.
He, like Drazar, can nominate an enemy Independent Character to get Preferred Enemy against. However unlike him he can only do it once per game at the start of the game and not every turn. In addition he is not Fearless and is Leadership 9 so there is a chance he might run which doesn't help his cause. Lastly, to state again, he is Infantry and cant get join any friendly units so he is literally a single model running around and hoping for the best.
Note: It occurs to me later that he actually could serve a purpose similar to DeathLeaper in the Tyranid Codex in regards to objectives. He can reliably appear to contest an objective as soon as he pops out meaning he is quite reliable at nesting himself in cover and threatening an overlooked or under defended objective mid to late game. That reliable ability does have some intrinsic value and shouldn't be overlooked.
Stay tuned next time as we take a look at the Imperium's own (sparkly) Space Vampires in Codex: Blood Angels.