Monday, 5 February 2018

Dark Eldar- things I'd like to see

So, the Drukhari codex is bearing down on us, and this is one I'm particularly looking forward to. Let's take a look at a few things I think they need.

NOTE: This is all personal opinion, not any sort of leak or rumour. I wish I had those sorts of connections, but I don't.

Lancing the Boil
To begin at the beginning, the Dark Eldar currently have a bit of an issue with anti-vehicle firepower, and for a long-time player of the faction the fact that that sentence is even a thing is a worry. With 8th Edition, Lance weapons currently, well, aren't. The old Lance rule, of always doing damage on a 4+, is long gone. This isn't the massive nerf it immediately appears to be, since due to being S8 Lances still damage all but the toughest Lord Of War on 4+ at worst, but it does leave the Dark Eldar short on options against such targets. Only the Void Lance on the Voidraven can realistically threaten something like a Fellblade. I'd like to see the Lance rule make a comeback. Now of course Craftworlders don't have it on Brightlances, but they have other, high strength options, as well as melta. The Dark Eldar have other options too, but...

Blasted Haywire
On a similar note, both Blasters and Haywire Blasters need sorting out. Blasters, despite being sawn-off Dark Lances, inexplicably only do D3 damage, meaning even a suicide Scourge squad with four can't expect to kill anything much in a single volley. Haywire blasters, on the other hand, are possibly even more pathetic, only inflicting a single Mortal Wound on a 4+ against vehicles. Yes, they do D3 on a 6, but still the fact remains that for a glass cannon faction, there's very little bang for your buck. Let's also not forget the Heat Lance, the closest thing that DE have to an actual melta weapon with a pathetic Strength of 6. In general, the Drukhari anti-vehicle weapons need a bit more lethality, especially the Haywire which is just sad at the moment.

There's no I in TEAM, but there is in DRUKHARI
The current DE are very lacking in synergies. The worst example of this is the Court of the Archon- rather than improving their master, the various retainers just improve themselves for being around him. The Lhamean does basically nothing (she doesn't even get a bonus attack despite the model having two blades), the Medusa has a ranged attack specifically designed to be useless out of a Webway portal with its 9" range, and the Sslyth and Ur-Ghul both have a 'feel no pain' type ability that gives them an Invulnerable save rather than a wound ignore, which is especially irritating with the Sslyth since it has a Bodyguard rule. I feel that the Lhamean should either become a lot more lethal, or should boost all poison weapons within a radius, the Medusae should gain a little range, and the other two should at least get a 5+ FNP. The Archon should also get bonuses for having his retainers around.

Which Wych is the worst Wych?
Wyches really need sorting out. For one thing, their complete lack of durability outside of combat makes them extremely annoying to use. I think at the very least their 6+ Wychsuit save should become an Invulnerable to reflect them at least trying to dodge incoming fire, which coupled with the 6+ wound ignore from Power From Pain might at least allow some of them to survive. They also really need some way to affect vehicles. With EMP grenades apparently no longer existing, Drukhari currently can barely damage vehicles in combat. One possibility might be some sort of shock gauntlet weapon for the Wyches, or maybe bringing back the grenades as a stratagem. Wych weapons also need sorting out- at the moment, only the Hydra Gauntlets, with their re-roll to Wound, are worth bothering with. The hit re-roll from Razorflails is pretty worthless since Wyches hit on 3+ most of the time and through drugs or PfP frequently hit 2+, and the Impaler... well. The Impaler is actually ok, with its -1 AP and 2 damage, but the Wych doesn't get a bonus attack and the Shardnet it's paired with does literally nothing. Razorflails could perhaps switch to being a re-roll of 1s to hit and wound, which I think would be an improvement. As for the Shardnets, assuming GW are determined not to bring back their old Attacks-reducing ability, there would seem to be a couple of possibilities- either give the Wych two additional basic Attacks like Lelith's hair does, or represent an entangling effect by adding +1 per net to the Wyches' No Escape roll. I have to say I really like the latter idea, since No Escape is one of the best things Wyches have going for them.

Top That
I really hope that Open Topped keeps being a thing, because it really is central to how Dark Eldar play. I'd like to see it improved a bit, at least for Wyches, to allow them to either jump out after the transport moves, or use a Pile In move to disembark into a combat that their vehicle has charged into that turn. Both of these might be considered powerful enough to be a Stratagem, which would still be an improvement. Also bring back Splinter Racks, pretty please.

Sneaky spiky pixie tricks
So let's talk Stratagems and Warlords. Chapter Approved was a good start, though I think DE should also get their own version of Cloud Strike to go with Webway Portal to allow Raider drops. The Crucible of Malediction should probably also be a Stratagem, so Psykers would have good reason to fear Dark Eldar armies. I'd really like to see some abilities where the Archon can punish his minions to inspire the rest- for example, inflicting Mortal Wounds on a nearby unit that fails to wipe out the enemy with a shooting attack in order to buff other nearby units with re-rolls, and of course it should be called "You have failed me for the last time.."

It'd be nice as well to bring back Duke Sliscus, Baron Sathonyx, and the other missing DE special characters, though Lady Malys might be tricky since despite still existing in the background she seems to have been basically replaced by Yvraine. (Same weapons- a fan and a blade, met a mysterious entity in the Webway, has unusual powers etc).

Anyway, this is all a bit wish-listy I know and I've barely scratched the surface, but I'll wind this up here. Tune in soon for the inevitable DE codex review in which I'll do my best not to whinge. Much.

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