Sunday, 12 May 2013

Synergy review of the Dark Eldar Codex part 3: Fast Attack

You may have seen my earlier posts about synergy in 40k and how it influenced the creation of my latest army list. That idea also made me think about reviewing my current codices to pick out the synergistic elements (and therefore to see where my army lists are disjointed). This is Dark Eldar part 3 - fast attack

These guys are an interesting combination, with their splinter pods, hellglaives and as jump infantry, they're able to contribute to both shooting and assault and have as good a threat bubble as kabalite warriors. They have only minimal upgrade options however, all of which are attached to the sergeant character. 
Helliarch: The helliarch adds an extra attack and an extra point of leadership, so contributing to combat damage and resilience, synergising well with one of the tactical options available to the unit.
Phantasm grenade launcher: if you're planning on using your Hellions in close combat, then this is pretty much a must, and if you charge into cover is more than going to make up for it's point cost against all but the highest initiative opposition. On that basis, it synergises well with one option for the hellion's use.
Venom blade, power weapon, agoniser: these three options are all good for enhancing the combat damage of the unit, synergising well with the combat use of the unit.
Stunclaw: on the face of it, as with the above it enhances comat damage. What it also does however is enables the hellion unit to become a unit of assassins, synergising well with the existing tactical options for the unit, and expanding those options.

Conclusions: the Hellions have two basic tactical options, the biggest drawback being that all of their upgrade options relate to their close combat usage. Personally, if I were to be updating they codex, I would try to include options to increase the shooting abilities of the unit, for example one in five models being able to exchange their splinter pods for an underslung splinter cannon. The options available synergise well however, providing that the purpose of the unit is close combat.


Scourges are one of the real firepower units of the codex, but I personally think they suffer a little from a split personality. Their basic armament is the shardcarbine, which is an anti personnel weapon, and they have 6 weapon upgrade options, with a sergeant character that can arm themselves with a further 5 options. 
Shredder: this weapon is a blast weapon and relatively short ranged. Given the numb of shots the shardcarbine can unleash, and the fact that hits from blast templates can be minimised by model placement, it doesn't synergise well with the unit. 
Splinter cannon: its range is double that of the basic armament carried by the scourges, it increases the anti personnel damage of the unit nicely, the only drawback is that to gain maximum potential the models carrying them have to stay still, which can limit the shooting from the rest of the unit. On that basis, it has reasonable synergy with the rest of the unit.
Haywire blaster: very definitely an anti vehicle weapon, it does have some anti personnel ability but to use it that way is to waste it's greatest asset. For every two of these you can take, you're also having to take three normal scourges, who are likely to act as meat shields, which is expensive to say the least. From a purely synergistic point of view, it doesn't work particularly well with the unit, but on this occasion I'm going to depart from the main purpose of the article and say that in the case of scourges, it's worth wasting those extra shots to get the high quality anti vehicle shots.
Heat lance: the only melta weapon in the dark eldar armoury and with a better range than a meltagun, it's only drawback is its lower strength, an average armour penetration roll at close range not being hi enough to penetrate a land raider. As with the haywire blaster, as an anti tank weapon it doesn't synergise well with the rest of the squad, but this is lessened somewhat by the hi number of weapons you can take in a unit.
Blaster: the classic dark eldar anti tank weapon, it's available in most units and again, anti tank doesn't synergise with the rest of the unit.
Dark lance: possibly the least synergistic of the options available to the scourges, as its a heavy weapon, and thus limits the ability of the scourges to use their jump infantry move.

Solarite: the solarite provides an extra attack and an extra point of leadership, and can take one of 5 options of their own.
Close combat weapon, venom blade, power weapon, agoniser: these all add various methods of increasing close combat damage. The main reason for taking a solarite is to increase close combat damage and therefore the tactical purpose for the unit must include the potential for close combat. I would there consider that if you are taking a solarite, then these options synergise well.
Blast pistol: the range of the blast pistol is such that in order to be useful, the scourges have to be up close. Where the blast pistol synergises best therefore is if the scourges are equipped with heat lances, and its use is twofold, both providing an extra shot to potentially destroy any armoured vehicles the unit is shooting at, and by equipping the solarite for close combat it drastically increases the chances of your scourges surviving any retaliatory charge.

Conclusions: as I mentioned earlier, I think that the scourges suffer slightly from a split personality, through their ability to take powerful anti tank weaponry in a unit largely equipped for an anti infantry role. Almost all the options available have a synergistic purpose, though they depend very much on the tactical role and equipment of the rest of the unit. The only option that has no synergistic purpose is the dark lance.

The sole purpose of this unit is as close combat power, and the options available to only one beastmaster increase their combat potential, and as such, synergise well with the unit. Sadly with such a mono-tasked unit, there isn't any further analysis I can provide regarding its synergy.


The reavers have a dizzying array of options, and I know from personal experience, it's extremely difficult not to equip them with everything they can take.
Heat lance: as with the consideration of the scourges, the heat lance's main drawback is its requirement to be up close and personal. It's actually synergises well with the reaver (bear with me here). Reavers are equipped for anti personnel duties, with splinter rifles, their bladevane attacks, and one of the few bike units that actually carries two close combat weapons. Their main asset however is their bladevanes, used when turbo boosting. What this means, is that the reavers can place themselves ideally to take advantage of their heat lances the following turn by targeting the rear armour of any vehicles nearby.
Blaster: as an anti tank weapon, this option has certain similarities to the heat lance, the only exception to that being that the heat lance is statistically better at killing tanks than the blaster, providing it can get close enough. The blaster does allow the reaver to become a highly mobile anti tank unit, which is then adequately equipped to charge any transported unit, and on that basis the blaster is a synergistic option.
Grav talon: in damage terms, exactly the same as the bladevane attacks, the grav talon also imposes a pinning test on any units suffering unsaved wounds, and on that basis, it synergises well with the basic unit's abilities as it can potentially reduce the incoming fire following a successful attack
Cluster caltrops: these increase the damage done by the unit in a bladevane attack, in my experience these do equivalent damage to two normal jetbikes. The caltrop is therefore a very synergistic choice for the reaver jetbikes, particularly if you're maxing out on unit numbers and want to increase the damage further. 
The remaining options relate to the provision of a sergeant character, and three options to increase their close combat damage. Tactically speaking, combat may not be the ideal place for the reavers, but if you're using heat lances or blasters it's perfectly possible that you may want to charge the contents of a transport you've just destroyed, and as such if that's the purpose of your unit, these options synergise well.

Conclusions: all the options available to the reavers synergise well under certain tactical circumstances, however they don't always work best on the same unit, as there are anti personnel, anti vehicle and combat options available.