Note that these lists can work for Chaos too, there’s not a lot of the uniquely chaos stuff in there but a decent paint job will work wonders for playing to theme!
Adeptus Mechanicus Titan Legions
The unstoppable might of the Titans can be fielded as an entire list that plays out in a very different way to basically everything else in Epic: Armageddon. It’s a great list and is well balanced able to win games whilst simultaneously being far from undefeatable. It is also great if you’re not confident of painting small 6mm figures (but you could be, Painting 6mm EPIC Armageddon miniatures) or just don’t want to paint that much stuff and 4 or 5 ‘centerpiece’ models is more your style.
The list has some breaks with standard Epic features, the biggest being that weapons/units named the same thing have consistent stats across every list that uses them. The AMTL Titans armed with the same weapons as an identical Titan in a Space Marine or Imperial Guard list will have a different weapon stat line. An even more powerful weapon stat line. This may be mildly confusing so make sure you are using the AMTL version of the units and weapons when playing AMTL and not the generic ones from the other Imperial lists. This break from standard to give more powerful versions of each weapon is because the titans needed the additional power to make sure they were competitive when used en-masse, otherwise they suffered from very low activation counts and needed to have the ability to utterly shatter an enemy each time they attacked. Hence the ‘upgunning’.
You also get to custom equip your titans with different weapons and load outs to alow them to specialise for different roles. This is essential when planning out what you’re going to do. You need to plan out how you’re going to score or defend the objectives that will give you a win and equip your titans to achieve them.
So, what do you see in Titan Legion lists? First up is a very small activation pool. 4-5 activations is very common which is dramatically fewer than practically everyone else. You need to leverage your activations when you can and you need to get a supreme commander reroll on activation if you can. While you default to 1+ once you pick up blast markers you can find yourself activating on a 2+ and having that fateful failure to activate when you only have 4 is huge. You also need to think about how you’re going to fight for the objectives, you really can’t spread out to cover lots of ground so placing yours in positions you can easily reach and contest multiple at once is recommended.
You’re also very slow, exacerbating the few activations and difficulty covering ground. You will need your objectives close to the center line of the table so you can reach them to contest them! The Reavers are better on the offence due to their faster ground speed so often these are used to double across the table to the enemy blitz and have a pair of heavily armed, upgunned, shielded, multi-DC titans standing on it at the end of turn 3 while Warlords tend to the more defensive roles, protecting the blitz and sitting on the two objectives you placed on the half way line at the end of turn 3.
There are some faster, smaller and cheaper elements available, notably aircraft and warhounds. These can be effective but you need to very carefully think about how you will use them. because most opponents will lack the equipment to reliably take on and destroy the full size battle titans but will have the tools to destroy these smaller elements you will likely find that your warhounds and planes get shot down swiftly before they can do a lot that is useful which leaves you with even fewer activations. Broadly you’re aiming to start with 4 activations and end turn 3 with 4 activations while your opponent has lost many of theirs as you blew them away. The smaller titans and formations run counter to this by making it far easier for the enemy to remove your activations and cripple your attack.
It is also worth remembering that all the titans have the Walker ability, giving a reroll on difficult terrain tests. This means you can stroll into and out of cover and should do so to cut the fastest route to your destination and to claim the -1 to hit cover bonus. You’re going to come under heavy focus fire so that -1 to hit is very helpful and you only suffer a wound on double 1s so 1 in 36 chance…Inevitably you will roll this at some point, roll to go critical on that single DC and then have a plasma reactor meltdown and explode horribly because you decided to walk through some trees but those are character building moments and worth it to have that story to tell! Don’t let that risk make you leave your titans in the open if they can avoid it! remember also that you can see through terrain features that you are inside (up to 10cm) so you can see enemy hidden on the other side rather than having your LoS be blocked.
Another hint is to keep your titans close together, within 15cm support fire range (but not too close, don’t get within 5cm of each other as that risks being intermingled and having multiple titans get broken!). Most people have a plan and tools to deal with one big super heavy on their opponent’s side. few have them to deal with 2 at once! You need your actions to succeed each time you commit to performing them (you might only get 12 activations across the entire game!) so sometimes having two titans in support of each other to make those ‘guarantees’ more guaranteed is worthwhile. Also apart from being destroyed having your titans broken (either by losing an engagement or through sheer weight of blast markers) is a very dangerous situation. You will have a 50:50 chance of having them fail to rally (Init1+, broken makes it 3+ and your opponent will make sure to get something within 30cm for another penalty for 4+ to rally) which takes an entire large chink of your army out for another turn! Use of the Marshal order (to clear blast markers and repair shields) is highly recommended and sometimes that means sacrificing the chance to shoot in favour of moving to where you need to be. You need to pay attention to how you will score the objectives and sometimes giving up the cathartic experience of firing away with your guns in favour of getting into range of the objectives is more important.
Generally you will probably find you are getting close wins or close losses and a good handful of draws. It’s difficult for you to score many of the objectives and difficult for your opponents to take your guys down. 2:1 wins or losses turn 3 are the most common result for Titan Legions and wily opponents will know this and keep elements hidden or in reserve to dash out and contest things at the end of the game to stop you scoring.
At broadest brush the Imperial Knights are kind of like Titan Legion-lite. Fewer formations of very potent models. However this translates to a very different army in practice. They lack the formation destroying firepower, are more vulnerable to the weaponry of your opponent and need to operate with support in engagements to defeat your opponent. In return they are more numerous, faster and bring along some fantastic cheap support elements.
The core of the list is the Knights (of course) which come in a few varieties, from long ranged fire support (with both Macro cannon and Barrage weapon options) of the Castellan and Crusader to the firefight specialist Lancers and the more standard Paladins who excel in both roles. The individual Knights are pretty tough, shrugging off light fire but they need to keep a careful eye on where the opponent has massed firepower and will want to take advantage of line of sight blocking terrain or claiming cover if they need to because they don’t want to be subject to enemy fire more than they need to be. DC2 is good, but won’t handle sustained anti-tank firepower, especially from the opponent’s dedicated anti-tank or anti titan weaponry!
Luckily you have a lot of mobility at your disposal, 25cm moves on small model count formations means you should be able to dart from cover to cover and only expose yourself to enemy fire if you want to (for example to take your own shots first!). Getting forward with your Paladins with some Lancers nearby to engage or support is recommended. Put pressure on your opponent’s forward elements and remove scouts or other mobile elements when you can. You want to strip away any activation count advantage they have by bullying the cheaper, smaller formations they have taken to bulk them out whilst avoiding getting tangled up with the core combat formations of their army. You want to be setting up late turn 2 or turn 3 engagements with supporting elements to break your opponent’s main combat elements and avoiding them otherwise.
Your more ranged firepower focused Knights (Castellans and Crusaders) should be weakening these core combat formations or taking out bigger, stronger elements and ideally preventing them from being able to hunt your Paladins and Lancers. Later game sacrificing these shooting focused Knights to set up your Paladins and lancers for decisive engagements is worth it. Your other knights still carry battlecannons and so are capable of blowing up lighter troops at long range reliably.
Aside from the Knights dashing about the place bullying your opponents troops before engaging en-masse for the hammer blow you have access to the various imperial militia, planetary defence forces and other less ‘famous’ units that form the core of imperial forces away from the guard, marines and the like. These elements are not exactly stellar but they are cheap and have some great uses alongside the knights. The highlight is the imperial light artillery, the 90cm indirect firing guns and tractors for a mere 150pts is exceptional value. Deploy these in cover and out of sight somewhere they can shell deep into the enemy half. Then just keep firing, even if they don’t deal much damage their ability to reliably and safely put blast markers on the enemy formations means you can ‘prep’ the enemy for an engagement without having to ‘waste’ a knight formations on that job. 8 models too makes them decently capable of absorbing a bit of fire and holding objectives or ground and with their tractors they can be surprisingly mobile. Sadly the rapier light guns are less impressive, basically being the opposite of the light artillery but critically missing the indirect fire capability they are just much more vulnerable and the anti-tank duties can be covered by your knights more efficiently anyway.
Siegfried light tanks are extremely useful as a tougher scouting formation, use these to make sure you have room to advance up the board with your knights early and to deny good ground to your opponent’s garrisons. it can be worthwhile keeping these guys fairly close to one another rather than spreading out like other scouts because they can be an effective engagement tool to drive away strung out enemy scouts. Many scouting units lack anti-tank weaponry too (lots of AP, not so much AT) so you can use the fact siegfrieds are armoured vehicles to draw out overwatch shots or get into shooting matches with scouts and come out on top. Don’t overestimate these tanks though, 6 scout tanks is not a match for anything that is a real combat unit, leave them to focus on normal scout duties and to bully other scouts.
There is less of a need to worry about being laser focused on objectives like the AMTL. The Knight army plays more like a conventional Epic army with just a few more hammers than anvils so many of the lessons learned from other armies can be applied here. The biggest thing to watch out for is psychology (both human and game rules!). Your army has a real lack of leaders and few models despite DC2 being common. This means that once you start losing models you lose a lot of ‘bulk’ and can break quickly and getting rid of the last blast markers on your formations is tricky because you don’t have easy access to leaders without making trade offs for more models or formations. The human psychology element is to be careful not to get overconfident in your knights. They’re better than normal formations but their stats are not crazy high, lots of 4+ and 5+ values amongst their attacks so it’s not unlikely to find an attack stalling out once a few models are down because you can find yourself making only a handful of 5+ attacks. You can, of course, play up the intimidation factor of smashing 6 war engines into your opponents to try and make them be more conservative in fear of your armoured reprisals though! Talk up your knights while no forgetting you need to be careful about exposing them to harm!
Like the sound of Heavy Metal Thunder? Welcome to the Skitarii.
You can have massive armoured warengines carry bizarre weapons plucked from the mad minds of the tech priests of Mars, infantry wrapped in steel and mounted in even more steel. You can have a lot of scary offensive firepower, can absorb fire on your void shields and deliver strong infantry formations into the enemy from the safety of Gorgon transports. Few opponent’s will have the raw firepower needed to deal with this large a number of ough war engines and you can use this to pressure them hard and early, striking from range with your specialist weaponry. Look to be on the offensive, you want to be on the halfway line ASAP to block your opponent’s ability to move around and set up their attacks while giving your the initiative to launch yours.
Because the downside to all of this armour and firepower is psychology and initiative. You’re definitely tough, but you’re not impervious to harm and you’re not especially abundant. Weight of fire and positioning can leave your armoured formations reeling and broken and carrying blast markers even if they do rally and if you’ve spent your points on this heavy armour then you probably have notably less of the foot slogging grunt infantry to absorb the enemy and launch attacks of your own. Raw firepower in the shooting phase rarely wins Epic games outright so you need to be prepared to engage. Exacerbating the psychology issues is the lack of ready access to leaders on the war engine formations. A pair of Minoris sets you back 300pts, is not great in an engagement (4×5+ attacks) and only really excels in the shooting phase when it can bring its big guns to bear…but if one gets destroyed then the other one breaks immediately and, even if it rallies later will be carrying 1 blast marker…it only has DC2 so if it gets shot at at all (even if no damage is dealt) it will break again. Going for 3 strong formations is a viable alternative but this quickly racks up cost, especially if you upgrade their weaponry. 425pts to 500pts if fully upgraded is a lot an won’t leave much room for the rest of your army if you go too heavy on these!
You need to be preventing your opponent from getting the initiative, force them to be responding to your attacks. Identify when they are setting up their attacks, what they will attack with, etc. and either move to make this difficult or blow it away under a hail of fire. This is why going too defensive early on can hurt you – you can lose the room you need to escape into or find yourself unable to get your forces into blocking positions and also you give your opponent the time they need to set up their attacks behind cover. The abundance of Void Shields and poor handling of blast markers combined with potent long ranged weapons and many Slow Firing guns means that the Marshal order to clear blast markers and repair shields (and shooting or moving if you have slow firing) is a good option. This again works better if you have pushed up the table to the half way point. marshalling turn 1 leaves you a long way from the action and objectives but doubling up turn 1, then marshalling turn 2 can keep you strong, shielded and present right in the thick of the action.
All this talk of warengines however may have distracted you from your infantry. These guys are good. Maybe not mind-blowingly standout compared to other factions out there but the core Hypaspists are reliable and come in large formations for relatively little cost. 10 stands mounted in a gorgon is 300pts and can absorb a lot of punishment, has a leader and can carry a lot of blast markers before succumbing. You have to take some of these to unlock your other formations anyway so it’s worth considering what you’ll do with them. Having them drive alongside your main armoured thrust and dismount to block enemy attack routes or be in support fire positions is one such use. The Sagitarii mounted in a Gorgon are 250pts (300 if you add the rapiers) who can perform the same role or be your offensive spearhead. The alternative to mount in Chimera gives you more speed and, despite these transports being more vulnerable to enemy fire than a Gorgon can be easily protected by hiding behind the other war engines you have brought – remember, war engines block line of sight so placing the chimera behind a minoris means they can be seen to be shot at!
You may have noticed a lack of scouts or cheap stuff so far – 300pts is a common number. You do have options here though. Taking Sagitarii without transports is 175pts for 5 decent models who can garrison forward. The Robots formation similarly is able to garrison and take some punishment while there as well as pour out respectable fire. Robots especially are good for dealing with enemy garrisons or scouts.
Broadly you play Epic like other armies, just with a particular set of idiosyncrasies. Powerful war engines and guns backed up by competent infantry but, maybe, just lacking that one killer attacker.
One other bonus for the Skitarii is the mad-science of the tech priests of Mars themselves. You can guarantee that someone, somewhere can made their own variant or version of any given vehicle so you can convert, scratch build and proxy in all manner of things to be whichever mad creation you want to field, perhaps only the Orks have more carte blanche to make their army their own!
Hopefully there’s something to entice you to one of these lists or maybe just as helpfully helped you chose not to pursue one of these.
This week we’ll take a look at the various Eldar lists in Epic: Armageddon, from the Aspect Hosts of Biel Tan to the cruel raiders of Commorragh.
The Craftworld Eldar are a powerful and competitive set of armies in Epic: Armageddon with fantastically potent engagement troops, huge amounts of mobility, a whole array of movement and deployment tricks, titans, spacecraft and powerful shooting attacks. They aren’t the toughest troops out there but they’re not all that fragile if you make use of good positioning and some of the tougher units available to you. They do however have a variety of special rules from Webway Gates to Farseer retaining and require a good deal of practice to get your head around the different rules and how to make the different elements work in concert with one another to bring you victory. You’ll need to be comfortable with moving troops into supporting fire positions and how to prep your targets for your scalpel cuts and when to dash away for cover.
The Dark Eldar are in many ways an even more extreme version of their Craftworld cousins. With some faster units, even more deployment tricks and even less durability. Knowing when and how to use your resources and when to sacrifice them to the Archon’s will is paramount. They are an extremely flavourful force, feeling like both pawns to Archon’s schemes for victory as well as sudden raider forces appearing from nowhere.
There is only a single Dark Eldar list and 6 Craftworld Eldar from most of the ‘core’ named Craftworlds and each of these has a different style and emphasis allowing for plenty of choice in your preferred flavour and playstyle. There isn’t really a generic list that would thematically cover what the others can do (you just won’t get enough jetbikes in Biel Tan to satisfyingly mimic Saim Hann for example) so it’s a good idea to work out what interests you and spend some time fiddling with the lists to see if you can find one that suits what you want.
The aspects hosts of Biel Tan are a sight to behold, sweeping rapid attacks rolling from one engagement to another with potent aspect warriors leading the charge backed up by skilled vehicles and reliable guardians. The intended focus here is on using the support elements to deliver your Aspect Warriors right into the heart of your enemy and through a few decisive activations (that are usually Engagements) breaking the back of their resistance.
The aspect warrior formations of Biel Tan are quite large and can be expensive if you mount everyone up in transports but they are also incredibly flexible. You can mix and match the aspect warriors freely so a formation with 2 firedragons, 2 striking scorpions, 1 swooping hawk and 3 shining spears with 2 wave serpents is perfectly fine and this flexibility allows you to both tailor them to a specific role and to control your point expenditure on them (hint: Wave Serpents can be costly to transport the slow infantry aspects but taking a few infantry and wave serpents and mixing in the faster hawks or shining spears to fill in the rest of the formation means you can be both fast and cheaper than fully mounted). The general use of these formations can vary based on what you put into them – 8 Swooping Hawks is a very different formation to 8 Fire Dragons but broadly these are what you use to crack the hardest enemy formations so need to get there in one piece. Wave Serpents are one way of doing this but can be comparatively vulnerable on the approach. Instead making use of the fantastic deployment options in the Eldar can deliver these guys where and when they are needed. Using the Webway to be able to come onto the table from further up than the deployment zone or using the Webway gate on a Storm Serpent to appear anywhere or using the Vampire Raider to fly and air assault from safety.
Typically the CC focused aspects are less popular – Banshees and Scorpions – while the Firefight focused ones are seen more often. This is mostly due to the huge rolling engagement potential of the Eldar with their hit and run rule meaning that Firefight focused formations can deliver all of their specialist attacks multiple times over a single turn while a CC formation is far less effective at delivering its specialist threat multiple times a turn. Of these the Firedragons and Dire Avengers (with exarchs!) are popular and very common and entire formations of Warp Spiders are frequently used in Vampire Raiders. Because Warp Spiders have the Infiltrate ability they can land in a vampire, wipe out a foe and remain a threat out to 45cm meaning they suffer considerably less from the lack of transports that air assaulting necessitates. This is not to say the CC aspects are bad, just that they don’t play as much to the strengths of the rolling engagement style play.
Another key point of the aspect formations is the Exarchs. You can have up to 2 per formation and – unless you have a very specific plan that doesn’t need them – you will be taking 2 every time. They increase both the attack power and also provide the Inspiring ability twice to their formation which can be a huge advantage when it comes to combat resolution and seeing as you will mostly want these guys to be Engaging that helps a lot.
Outside of aspect warrior shenanigans the list has a set of other strong options. Rangers are great scouts (keep them cheap at 100pts, you’re better with 2 4 strong groups than 1 8 strong group), falcons with firestorms for air defence and for destroying enemy vehicles (key targets are rhinos, chimeras, etc. that transport infantry as destroying one can slow the down the entire parent formation or the enemy risks leaving troops behind to keep up their speed). Void Spinners and Night Spinners for barrage and the ability to put blast markers where you need them or to break smaller enemy formations. Your aircraft are among the best in the entirety of Epic, they pay for it but they can lock down enemy air assaults or cause punishing damage on the enemy. Using your ground troops to eliminate (or suppress) enemy ground based AA weapons to give you freedom of the skies is advised. Guardians are also great – if they have some cover to hide in! – and bring the critical Farseers to enable some of your nastiest tricks. jetbikes also work great for support fire and bringing along one Vyper in the formation (so it can shoot and put blast markers where you want them) is a good idea too.
Tactically you need to get comfortable with how the supporting fire rules work and how you can use the fantastic Hit and Run rule in concert with the triple retain capability of your Farseers to allow you to keep reusing your troops combat ability in a single devastating attack. A common example would be if your opponent has two formations within 15cm of each other A and B. You double some jetbikes (with their Vyper) to sit between both A and B within 15cm of both, they shoot the Vyper at formation A (dealing no damage but placing the blast marker). You retain initiative and assault A with your Firedragons, their pair of exarchs and their Wave Serpents making sure to get at least one member of enemy formation B within 15cm of your firedragons (so that they receive a blast marker when A loses), the firedragons (with the jetbikes support firing as they are within 15cm!) shatter formation A (and this places a blast marker on B) then the firedragons use the hit and run rule to move up to 15cm to make sure they are within 15cm of B with as many models as possible. You then retain a third time (which only the Eldar can do!) and engage B with a formation of guardians (or something, anything really) and this time you get the jetbikes, firedragons and your third formation all attacking B (because you have the jetbikes and firedragons in support fire positions) to annihilate B too. Using three formations to annihilate two enemy ones and getting to use those jetbikes guns three times in a row, the firedragons get to use their twice in a row (which CC focused aspects could not do) and your third formation got to use their once…but could use hit and run to move to another good position to support an attack elsewhere on the table (or just duck for cover!).
Commentary here is provided by StevekCole from the Taccomms forum:
This list is all about speed and the 35cm consolidate move. Saim Hann look great on the tabletop with wave after wave of jetbikes screaming across the board. They need to make maximum possible use of hit and run tactics by hiding behind cover and engaging units from up to 50cm away then consolidating 35 freaking cm to lend support fire to another assault. When they’re played right they can use the elder rolling assault like no other army in the game. They’re also great at picking off isolated units and using their 35cm consolidate to redeploy and threaten somewhere new or get back to a place of safety.
Key units are the Wild Rider hosts with 9 jetbikes and the potential to add 3 more plus a mounted farseer and a single wild rider chieftain per army. Both characters are must haves in order to give you the all-important supreme commander reroll plus farsight and the ability to summon the avatar. While the latter isn’t as strong as in Biel Tann he can really tip the balance for your big jetbike units when assaulting tougher targets like dug in imperial guard or big units of tyranids. You can (and should) add vipers for the all-important ability to place blast markers and their better 4+ armour. Wild riders will make up the core of your army.
Aspects are a little different, basically they have to be fast (ie hawks and spears) or mounted up in wave serpents. If you’re mounting up you gain access to stronger aspects like dire avengers and fire dragons but only a maximum of 6 with one exarch. If you’re spears or hawks you gain 8 and the excellent double exarch (so double inspiring) and they become a core choice. Spears give some much needed armour busting capability to the list with lance. Hawks I find less useful as their key strength is speed and the ability to strike almost anywhere and the whole of your army can already do that. The mounted aspects are always solid and give you a slightly tougher BTS than a wild rider unit.
Saim hann get access to all the usual eldar support units including the wonderful rangers for screening, stall activations, late game objective grabbing and sneaky sniper shots on enemy characters. Falcons with firestorms are a must as always. Saim Hann are fragile and need AA cover plus they lack long range shooting so falcons ago-go.
Eldar aircraft with Macro-weapon? Yes please! At least one vampire hunter is a must they’re great for dealing with better armoured targets but also for sniping out small fragile units such as scouts.
So why aren’t they trouncing all comers at tournaments? Well… even by eldar standards they’re fragile. The bike units are 9-13 strong with 5+ armour, they can’t make use of cover like infantry and (unless you’re running storm serpent webway gates) have to start on the table so they’re extremely vulnerable to artillery, air assaults and ranged shooting in general. Their assault power and ability to activate reliably dies away quickly with blast markers and casualties. On the subject of assault power, Saim Hann lack numbers, macro weapon, and good armour in assaults so can struggle to take down really solid targets (tip using commander from your farseer or chieftain to combine an assault can help). Lastly, they struggle to have a sturdy BTS. Essentially, you have 3 options; bikes, mounted aspects, or revenant titans. Of these the latter are the toughest but by far the most expensive and give you great shooting but less on the assault front. The aspects are always on the board, and once the jetbikes are on board (if they deploy via a gate) they are also always on the board (lacking the Biel Tann BTS safety in vampires option) so very vulnerable to being broken and then, due to not being fearless simply picked off.
All in all, a really fun, really thematic army that are hugely enjoyable and occasionally very frustrating army to play.
The wraithhosts of Iyanden are different from the other eldar in that they are absolutely rock solid and very difficult to destroy. They pack a huge punch and can almost look after themselves with much less need for supporting formations in engagements (though you should bring those along anyway). However they are a list that really suffers at lower point games and only really come into their own at closer to 4kpts where they have the points to buy both the wraith formations and the transports to deliver them to the enemy.
You can rely on your core Wraith formations to win most battles. They benefit from having support fire and want to see their targets prepped with blast markers before going in because – while tough and powerful – an engagement has a lot of dice being rolled both for and against you and the end result is usually pretty decisive so don’t take a risk if a little bit of support can cut that risk dramatically. A lot of the time you’ll be looking for suitable ways of delivering these guys to the table – Storm Serpents, Webway Gate, Vampire Raider are your best bets – and getting them stuck into the fight. Slogging across the table with a 15cm speed is not recommended and will likely leave them unable to every actually fight as they can be easily delayed with scouts or enemy maneuver. Unfortunately this transport requirement can get costly.
Luckily you still have access to the cheap core Guardians (in a less attractive configuration with the heavy weapons by default) to bulk up your activations and the great Eldar support formations like Falcons (with firestorms!), Jetbikes, Rangers, etc. while also having access to the cheaper (and smaller) aspect warrior host. These aspects lose the ability to take double Exarchs (take the single!) and generally you’ll want to choose the aspects that are faster by default – swooping hawks for example or Warp Spiders (due to their Infiltrate ability) that allow you to remain combat effective whilst not having to invest in a lot of supporting mobiliy infrastructure (remember also that you can only have 3 formations in the webway and each gate can only be used once per turn so there is a limit that can’t be overcome with just more points and if your Wraith troops are in there then less room for your aspects in the first place).
Remember though that your support formations are also actually pretty strong in a fight. This isn’t a case of shepherding your wraith troops in as your only attack options. There are a lot of useful formations and attack stats mixed amongst those support formations so you can build a good attack with just those while you wait for the opportune moment to launch your Wraith troops into the fray. They just take a bit more finesse to use to that effect.
All in all this list really there if you love the Wraith troops. It revolves around them and has a lot of powerful options with them. It’s competitive but struggles at lower point totals whilst coming into its own at slightly higher than normal (3k is normal, 4k is where this list really shines).
A pretty different experience here, focused heavily on scouting forces and relying on the smaller (smaller than Biel Tan anyway) aspects and support formations to do the work of actually breaking the opponent’s forces. They also sacrifice the flexibility of being able to drop lots of small 100pt ranger formations for the larger ones (which normally you’d not take in the other lists). In return you’re gaining access to Ranger and Ranger+War Walker formations (11 scouting models with mostly anti infantry guns for 275pts) as well as Pathfinders.
Remember, your rangers and War Walkers can garrison forward near the midway line so they can be right in the thick of the action immediately and u to two garrisoned formations can go onto overwatch during deployment.
The ready access to so many scouts gives you huge area control, able to spread out and have layers of scouts rendering any possible advance or landing point for the opponent a slog to fight through. This gives you the ability to dramatically slow your opponent for your more impactful elements to get into their supporting positions and destroy the enemy piecemeal while they have little ability to coherently organise a response. It also means that you can contest and block enemy contesting of objectives extremely well in the later stages of a game. Played well this means you can r=turn a loss on turn 3 into a turn 4 and a draw by just being extremely frustrating and not allowing them to score their objectives.
The unique unit here is the Pathfinders and they’re fantastic…in a different army. Being teleporting scouts is hugely potent, able to utterly stop an enemy critical attack or break up a firebase in a way that’s almost impossible to stop. (Hint: if your opponent has weapons that fire indirectly you can teleport a Pathfinder so that the enemy formation has a model inside your 10cm zone of control, this means those indirect fire units can’t sustain to fire indirect as they have to move out of your 10cm zone or engage you, either way you can silence those big guns for a turn). The first strike is also helpful, especially considering their low armour and limited attack stats (6 stands, 5+ to hit, average 2 hits). The issue they face in the Alaitoc is that…do you really need more scouts considering how many you’ll have from your core formations?
Broadly just by taking your core ranger formations (and some Pathinders, they’re still useful, just notably less so than they would be in other armies) you should have a massive ability to control the board, but generally lack the hard hitting elements to actually attack the enemy effectively. That’s where your selections in the support slots come in to give you your attack power. Pick formations that will be able to get into position to attack and support each other to take advantage of your scouting ability to cut the enemy table positioning apart and then retreat to safety. Don’t neglect your air defence – having someone air assault a formation into your scouts, break them and punch a huge hole in your defence field is not advisable. This also gives you the benefit of being able to use your own air assaults more freely.
Two things to pay careful attention to due to the abundance of scouts. Spread out into a long string scout formations can be very vulnerable to clipping engagements where only one of your stands can fight against a whole enemy formation, making a defeat very likely. Pay attention to your opponent setting up for clipping engagements (usually by placing a blast marker on the scouts and engaging them with a formation of their own that doesn’t have any blast markers, especially if the enemy formation outnumbers your scouts and/or has Inspiring). Second thing to pay attention to is intermingling your formations – if your formations have models within 5cm of each other the enemy can engage one formation and force the other to fight and break as one which you might not want. This is double the case with stringing out a scout formation. Having the enemy engage one scout on the far end of the tail, intermingling a formation 60cm away that you left too close to the scouts and watching as that one clipped scout breaks a core part of your army is eminently frustrating.
Overall a very different army to play. Not necessarily the strongest you’ll see, especially as the point totals increase but at lower values (1k-2k) it is very difficult for an enemy to deal with so almost the opposite of the Iyanden. Better the fewer points there are!
Guardian focused and potent (because Guardians are a great unit) due to shenanigans with Strategy Ratings. Your Guardians are slightly more expensive than normal as you get a second farseer unit in the formation, this is mostly a good thing. Looking at the list on paper and there’s not a lot that jumps out as particularly exciting. The unique unit is having an extra farseer stand in the Guardian formation and 6 aspects is not a stand out unique thing as the non-Biel Tan all have that too.
The selling point for Ulthwe is the combination of fairly cheap core Guardian formations, not losing access to the general tools of the Eldar (rangers not forced to 8 man units, guardians not forced to use heavy weapons), cheap (due to 6 stand units) aspects (remember mixing in infantry ones mounted in wave serpents with fast movers like hawks or shining spears to keep costs down and mobility up) and the ability to get the equivalent of strategy 5 for one turn (and strategy 5 for deployment tricks like teleports and spacecraft).
It’s not a particularly exciting list one must admit, more fiddling around the edges but the overall effect is to allow you to often squeeze in another formation or a few more upgrades and by using the core tools of the Eldar and their skill at rolling engagements you can often win fairly healthily.
The biggest advantage you have is consistency on Turn 2 Strategy. For most lists going first on Turn 2 is a fairly major advantage – you’ve spent turn 1 getting into good attacking positions and weakening your opponent for your attack to start – and the Strategy 4 with +1 from summoning the Avatar (which should be in range to attack effectively on turn 2) means you have a very good chance of getting to go first and launch your attack decisively before your opponent can launch theirs. It’s a small difference but it can be game winning.
I have never played with nor against this list so I have only limited insight, though from those who have played it I have heard it suffers from lacking a decisive attacking element.
Yme Loc gives you all the vehicles, all the time, flights of elder skimmers hit and running into range, firing and withdrawing back out again, swift moving mounted infantry and access to a few units no other eldar have (Hornets, Lynx, Warp Hunters, Large Webway). In return though you’re losing flexibility in your formations make up, lose the ability to have cheaper foot based infantry and thus losing many of the special table entry options – no teleports, planetfall or air assaults with the units you’d normally want to do that with.
At first glance the weight of firepower you can bring is fearsome, able to badly damage formations at medium and close range while you then move your mounted infantry into position to launch your finishing blows. The intention for the list is a combined arms style with the vehicles doing a lot of the heavy lifting early on to be followed up by the mechanised infantry forces to defeat the crippled enemy and seize the objectives at the end.
However. The essentially skirmishing your vehicles are doing early on, relying on hit and run, means that you’re frequently doubling your vehicles (not always, but often if you’re not doing that you’re leaving yourself vulnerable to return fire) which can dramatically cut your firepower effectiveness, especially against infantry due to the ease with which they can claim cover. Remember a 5+ to hit on a double becomes half as effective. 5+ is 1/3 hits, while 6+ is 1/6 hits.
For the Yme Loc I suspect you’ll be taking on a challenge. Forced mechanisation costs more points and limits your deployment options and the fragile nature of your vehicles means that you can be forced to use double orders a lot to keep them safe, which cuts your effective firepower. You’ll probably look fantastic on the table though!
The dark pirates of Commorragh. Fast, deadly and oh so squishy. I love the Dark Eldar, it’s an extremely well designed list from a thematics point of view and plays in a pretty unique way but suffers from some fairly major weaknesses and has a larger than normal contingent of questionably useful formations.
Broadly the list shares many of the features of the Craftworld Eldar just turned up to 11. You’re blisteringly fast, have some powerful (though CC focused) shock troops and die when someone looks at you funny. You can have an entire army that is only on the table in the place and time it needs to be there to maximise its offensive potential (and then dies once it has done its job).
A big contributor to this is the Raider. A 35cm move light vehicle skimmer transport. It’s really quick and quite vulnerable as being a light vehicle anything can hurt it (so a passing scout formation with heavy boaters for example can blow it out of the sky and cripple the speed of your formations). One thing that is special though is that being a light vehicle means it can use the Webway Portals (and note the plural!) that you can bring. This means your 35cm movement skimmers can enter the table form a portal that is potentially all the way up on the half way line of the board (or even deeper on with the portable one). Raiders in the web way should give you the ability to reach almost anywhere at almost any time and deliver your troops where you want them.
Some people consider the list restriction that requires you to have the Archon’s Kabal as the BTS a disadvantage but personally I’ve always ended up with that Kabal as the most expensive formation anyway so it barely registers. The Lord’s Kabal has Incubi and can run with 6 of them (and some warriors too) for a healthy 12 CC 3+ attacks and a 3+ MW CC attack from the Lord, has inspiring and 4+ saves and the speed and deployment options of your army mean that you can usually guarantee these guys arrive on target when you want them and never be vulnerable to enemy attacks until that point. These guys are the best your army has to offer in the shock department. They do however only work on the offence due to their CC focus (they’re terrible at FF) so expect to see them suffer badly if the opponent counterattacks them. They’ll want to make their attack and then run to hide as they will be a key target for the opponent to finish them off.
Your ability to deploy on the table from off table is second only to the Necrons, meaning your pirate raiders can literally come from nowhere, launch their attacks and then run to hide to enjoy their stolen prizes. This is achieved by having the Webway (which means up to 3 formation off the table), Scourges (a fantastic FF unit with great mobility) can teleport onto the table, Mandrakes (great at seizing ground, blocking movement due to being scouts, CC and FF) can teleport in and you have the absolutely fantastic Slavebringer to do either planetfall or air assaults. I commonly leverage these heavily and will have maybe 2 formations on the table at the start of turn 1 (both of which are Vessels of Pain as they’re able to do useful work and keep themselves safe while doing so) and then bring units onto the table as and when they are needed.
When playing a list with this much off table materiel your early work should be to clear the way for your formations to enter the table. Find and destroy or suppress ground based AA, fight their aircraft out of the sky (and if you can’t manage that the Slavebringer is still pretty tough due to the Shadowfields making it hard to hit and ablating the first hit anyway) and with anything spare place blast markers on your targets (to make your attacks when you launch them more likely to succeed) and get into supporting fire positions.
When selecting your targets you need to think about how attacking it will secure you objectives at the end of turn 3. A sad fact of the way th list is designed is that you need to be laser focused on those right from the off if you want be winning. That does’t mean start standing on the objectives on turn 1. That means think ahead about how what you’re doing will secure the objectives you need to win. Sometimes that means not attacking a powerful enemy at all or isolating them so they can’t stop you scoring. For example you might see a potent enemy formation that could move to contest an objective and thus stop you scoring it – teleport those Mandrakes in to block their ability to move like that, even if that means the mandrakes die or never get to fight anything at all, if they secure that objective by blocking a key enemy unit for a few C centimetres then they’ve done their job.
The Mandrake example above also leads to another key point. Everything is sacrificial to the goals of the Archon. Any formation can and should be thrown into the jaws of death so long as they achieve what you needed of them first (which is eminently thematic for a Dark Eldar Lord!). A good example of this is Wyches+Warp Beasts+Succubus in a Slavebringer (that’s two formations for 500pts). These guys are great, able to surgically strike a target, land 6 CC3+ first strike, 4 CC4+ first strike and 1 CC3+ first strike macro attack (plus shots from the slavebringer) and hopefully win before the foe even gets to strike. These are almost a suicide missile, find your target, destroy it and run! They are a premier strike force and if you’ve done things right they come swooping in on a target that has blast markers already and your guys come in without them giving you a +3 to combat resolution right from the start (the succubus is inspiring!). They’re almost certainly going to die afterwards though and because they came in from the sky don’t have their raiders to rapidly move elsewhere to help out other fights.
Now onto the downsides. There are 3 main ones. 1. CC focus, 2. you die super fast and 3. uncompetitive units.
The CC focus on your shock units means that they can’t do a lot of supporting of each other as their support fire attacks aren’t all that great it also means that on the defensive they will never get to use their CC values unless they’re worse than their opponents. I.e.: if an opponent engages your CC troops they will FF them and position to make sure you can’t get into CC so your super elite Incubi will be stuck in a firefight with a guard infantry company or space marine devastators or fire dragons or something (look at the Haemonculi coven, if the enemy engages it in a FF the bulk of the units literally cannot fight as they don’t have a FF value!). The other major issue they will face is an opponent with Skimmers. You can never CC a skimmer unless the owner wants you to (which will only be when it’s to their advantage!) and canny players of things like Eldar will hide their troops behind a screen of skimmers forcing you to get at least a few of your models engaged with those first, wasting their CC potential.
Dying really fast is a fairly major weakness! It’s an exaggeration to say it but it can at times feel like if your units are on the table they’re dead. If your formations are in a position close to the enemy they can easily come under attack and if they do they will die or lose effectiveness very quickly. The CC focus above compounds this as the units can be very mono focused and thus can have their ability to do their focus degraded rapidly making the formation very little use except as fodder, blocking or contesting. Frequently your formations making their surgical strikes will kill a lot of enemy and take crippling casualties afterwards (another reason the Incubi with their 4+ armour and Wyches with First Strike are so good, they’re less likely to suffer this!) making them one use only. You have to choose when and where you expose your formations to danger because if they are in danger they will likely collapse under the weight quickly. This weakness also manifests in the base of Dark Eldar everywhere. Overwatch. An enemy formation on overwatch is a thing of fear – able to place blast markers on your engagement troops weakening them in the fight resolution at best or destroying many models before they ever get to attack at all at worst a few well positioned formations on Overwatch can stymie your attack entirely. Overwatch combined with the light vehicle nature of Raiders is also a nasty double whammy. Random scouting forces on Overwatch can shoot your Raiders as they pass and stand a not insignificant chance of blowing one out of the sky in passing, potentially killing the guys mounted and even if they don’t stranding the infantry on the ground slowing the rest of the raiders in the formation. You may want to carefully plan your moves to avoid this happening to you.
Number 3 is not a unique problem to the Dark Eldar. Everyone will have a few duds in their list or units that just don’t do their job as well as other units. It however feels a bit more extreme for the Dark Eldar as so many formations have the same use – CC shock units. This means you’re often selecting your units for a role critical to the Dark Eldar way of war and then ignoring many of the units supposedly for that role. I know I only use Incubi and Wyches for this role and when trying the Haemonculi and Talos out they always disappoint. The Kabal Flotilla with the Ravagers is scary on paper but usually does very little of use and competing against the excellent firefight support capability (something the list sorely needs) of the Warrior Kabal (which is also cheaper!) it’s hard to justify. It’s unfortunate but many of these characterful formations are just not making their way into armies that see the table.
Overall the Dark Eldar are great fun to play, tense and cautious play until you unleash havoc and suicide your way to victory. You will need to know how to handle placement and movement routes, how to block and corral your foe, when to sacrifice something for victory and when to conserve your strength. Pay attention to supporting fire form your own formations and those of your enemy, know how you’re going to get into CC and above all focus on how you’re going to score objectives on turn 3!