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Warhammer 40K
Dark Eldar Archive

Army Overview
After long being discussed in the backstory, Games Workshop finally produced a Dark Eldar army for 3rd edition. In fact, they went whole hog and included them in the main boxed set alongside the ever present Space Marines. However, after this big release, they were not updated for 4th edition. Now that 5th edition has been released there are rumors that a new codex and Dark Eldar models will be released in 2009.

Like their Eldar cousins, the Dark Eldar are an elite force. They suffer from the same low toughness and armor save of the regular Eldar. However, they have some great fast attack craft and hand to hand troops, as well as inexpensive troops. The Raiders should be more viable in 5th edition than ever before, as troops are much more likely to survive a crash in the new rules.

Archons are the elite leaders of Dark Eldar forces. With their high initiative and weapon skill they are deadly in hand to hand combat. However, they are expensive and take up too many points in armies that are less than 2000 points. Thus I advise you to take a Dracon and spend the extra points on troops. People generally equip them with an Agonizer and Combat Drugs. An alternative to this is to give them the Punisher and Tormentor Helm. Some people also add Shadow Fields.

Dracons are the basic commanders of Dark Eldar forces. They are less expensive than Archons, but are also less deadly as they have fewer attacks. They are given the same equipment as Archons.

Incubi are some of the only troops in the Dark Eldar army with a good armor save. This alone makes them worth taking, as it gives you a squad that can take some punnishment. As you would expect they are very expensive. Squads of 3 to 5 Incubi seem to work best. They can be accompanied by 2 warriors with Splinter Cannons.

Archites are the uber Wyches, and are even more deadly in hand to hand combat than Archons. However, their high cost makes it impractical to use them in games that are less than 3000 points.

Drachites are the standard Wyche HQ. They are a good additional HQ choice. However, it is still generally advisable to choose more troops over an additional character.

Haemonculi are tougher than most Dark Eldar. For this reason they are generally assigned the task of deploying the Web Way Portal. Destructors and Scissorhands are their preferred equipment.


Urien Rakarth

Lelith Hesperax
Lilith is an economical version of a Archite. She lets you take an entire army of Wyches. Her one downside is that she is somewhat limited in the equipment that she can be given.

Kruellagh The Vile

Asdrubel Vect

Dark Eldar Warriors
The Dark Eldar Warriors are good troops for their points cost. They are fairly inexpensive, and have a good ballistic skill and initiative. Further, each squad can take two heavy weapons and two special weapons. It goes without saying that most forces will take several squads.

Smaller squads of about 10 warriors are used as heavy weapon squads. They set up in a position where they have a good vantage point of the battlefield. They then sit there and rain down destruction with their 2 Dark Lances.

Medium sized squads of about 15 warriors are used for general purposes. They are given two Splinter Cannons, and Two Blasters. This lets them take out hordes of troops, as well as armored targets at close range. They are led by a Sybarite with an Agonizer.

Large squads are used to assault the enemy. Do not underestimate the effectiveness of large numbers of troops with high initiative.

The Raiders serve as troop transports. They do not provide much protection, and are likely to get shot down. However, since they are open topped, they allow troops to assault after disembarking. This is critical to many Dark Eldar Forces.

These hand to hand terrors make their way into most Dark Eldar armies. Their ability to negate their opponent's hand to hand combat special rules allows them to rip most opponents to shreds. However, they are fragile and need to be protected from shooting. This is partially accomplished by putting them in a Raider. Further, they are not the best troops to assault normal squads, as they are overkill. What usually happens in such circumstances is that the Whyches kill the squad that they assault, only to be shot to bits by another inexpensive squad. Thus, leave the cheap squads for the Dark Eldar Warriors and let the Wyches handle the elites and HQ.

Mandrakes are stealthy troops geared for close combat. They are not nearly as deadly as Whyches, and they do not have leaders who can take power weapons. However, their stealth rule can be useful, as it makes it difficult for your opponent to deploy and move his troops effectively.

Grotesques are also close combat troops. They have a higher strength than most Dark Eldar, which is useful for wounding orcs. However, they are not nearly as fast as their brethren. They are generally used in squads of 10 to carry the Web Way Portal.

Reaver Jetbikes
As you would expect, one of the weaknesses of the Dark Eldar army is the toughness of its models. Reaver Jetbikes are an exception to this. Small squads of 3 or so bikes are used to hunt tanks. Larger squads of 5 or more are used as fast cavalry to take out troops.

Beastmaster and Warp Beasts
Warp Beasts are great fast assault troops. However, they are glass hammers, and are really only good for an initial assault. They usually get shot to bits after they hit.

Hellions look cool, but just arn't worth the points.

The Ravager is as close to a tank as the Dark Eldar get. This being said, its armor is still paper thin. They are usually equipped with 3 disintegrators. To save on points they are sometimes given 2 disintegrators and a Dark Lance. Night Shields are used to make them more durable.

The Talos is the Dark Eldar version of a Dreadnaught. Its high toughness makes it fairly durable. It can turn the tide of a battle if it functions right. However, it is liable to shoot your own troops. Moreover, even when it is in hand to hand combat it does not always perform up to snuff, because of its random number of attacks.

These are the Scourge of the Dark Eldar. They look cool, but are not really effective enough to put in a playable army. The idea of a modile squad with heavy weapons tempting, but they are expensive and tend to get shot to bits. They work best with Blasters.

Sample Army Lists

Warhammer 40k Dark Eldar Warriors

Warhammer 40k Dark Eldar Warriors

Warhammer 40k Dark Eldar Mandrakes

Warhammer 40k Dark Eldar Mandrakes

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