Friday, October 3, 2014

Codex: Dark Eldar First Look Review

The new Dark Eldar book is out, and while the internet rumbling seemed pretty negative and hopeless, I'm still pretty excited about the new book. I'm not going to say they're a new powerhouse or anything yet, but they still have wonderful models and a sinister feel.

I mean, good lord that's some nice cover art.
For now, let's look at the rules, since that's what we're all curious about. I'll go through the units and then look at wargear and army special rules.

First up is the Archon, who remains the same base cost. Of his dedicated options (aka, outside the wargear lists), his Huskblade came down 10 points. He also independently has the option to take a Venom as a dedicated transport.

The Court of the Archon is next, and has no limits on which type of model it contains. Medusae went up 10 points each, while the Sslyth came down 10 points. Their profiles and wargear are mostly the same, though UrGhul now cause Fear.

The Succubus is next, and she went up 10 points, with no other real changes. Her named counterpart, Lelith Hesperax, however, dropped 25 points. She simply has two close combat weapons now, but has the option to upgrade to an Impaler for 15 points, and also gained the Rampage USR.

Haemonculi are next, with the Ancient role being removed, though the standard Haemonculus has the Ancient's statline, for a 10 point decrease. They come with Feel No Pain standard, and give themselves a bonus when referring to the Power from Pain chart.

Urien Rakarth comes in at 50 points lower, gained Feel No Pain (4+) and It Will Not Die, and his Power from Pain bonus is a 12" Aura, giving bonuses to nearby units and not just his own.

Drazhar is next, at a 40 point decrease. He gained rampage and Muderous Assault (bonus attack for each 6 to wound), though he lost Riposte.

Moving on to Troops, Kabalite Warriors dropped a point. Trueborn are in the same entry, though upgrading to Trueborn changes their role to Elites. Trueborn come in at a point cheaper, but must be 5-20 in total unit size. Trueborn also lost the Shardcarbine option. 20 man units of Warriors gained an option for a second Special Weapon.

Wyches are largely the same, with the option to upgrade to Bloodbrides in the same way as Warriors. Only a single Wych can take Wych weapons unless the squad is 10+, in which case 3 can. The unit also lost the option for haywire grenades, though a Hekatrix or Syren can take them.

The Elites section begins with the Incubi (3-10) who dropped 2 points each. The Klaivex upgrade dropped 5 points and gains Rampage. Demiklaves are also 5 points cheaper, but all other options were lost.

Next are Mandrakes, who dropped 3 points per model. They gained Fear and Shrouded at the cost of their Invulnerable save. Their Baleblast is also now standard, rather than requiring a pain token, and gained Soulblaze at the cost of Pinning.

Wracks are next, at the same point cost though increased unit size of 5-10. They also come with Feel No Pain standard. Liquifier guns went up 5 points, and they also gained the option for the Ossefactor for the same cost.

Grotesques are largely the same, though they come standard with a Flesh Gauntlet in addition to their Close combat weapon.

Moving on to Fast Attack, this section is lead by Beastmasers, who ironically, are not required in the unit. Beastmasters and Khymera are 2 points cheaper, the Clawed Fiends are 10 points cheaper, and Razorwings are 5 points more expensive. The unit is capped at 1-12 of any combination of those models. Khymera also gained a point of toughness.

Next is the Raider, which now has to pay to upgrade its standard disintegrator cannon to a Dark Lance for 5 points, but comes in 5 points cheaper to begin. It can also Deep Strike. Venoms also gained Deep Strike, and begin at the same price as before, with the same cost to upgrade the second Splinter Cannon.

Reavers are next, at a 6 point drop per model. They gained Hit & Run. Grav-talons and Cluster Caltrops are down 5 points each, and the Heat Lance and Blaster both come in at 10 points.

Hellions are next with a 2 point drop. The Helliarch's upgrades went up 5-10 points each, though the Phantasm Grenade Launcher is 5 points less (also does something completely different now).

The Razorwing moved to Fast Attack and dropped 15 points. though like the Raider, has to upgrade from Disintegrators to Dark Lances. Necrotoxin missiles are now free, and Night Shields are 5 points more. Flickerfileds are no longer an option.

Last of the Fast Attack Options are Scourges, which dropped 6 points a model. Four models per unit can take Special or Heavy weapons, regardless of squad size.

Moving on to Heavy Support, this section is lead by the Talos, at 20 points more per model. The Talos had its attacks standardized at 3, rather than D6, and has two close combat weapons. Two more Talos can be added to be a squad of up to 3 monstrous creatures. The Cronos also went up 20 points, can have a unit of up to 3, and gained an attack.

Ravagers came in at 5 points more expensive, and again, lost standard Dark Lances while gaining Deep Strike. It also lost the Aerial Assault rule, meaning it can no longer fire all weapons at full BS while moving full speed.

The Voidraven rounds out Heavy Support, coming in 15 points higher than before. The missile options are grouped together, with either 4 Shatterfield, 2 Shatterfield and 2 Implosion, or 4 Implosion missiles. The shatterfield missiles are essentially 10 points each, but the Implosion missiles are about half the cost.

The book's formation is the Kabalite Raiding party, which consists of an Archon and Court, a unit of Incubi, a Ravager, 6 units of Warriors, a unit of Scourges, and a unit of Hellions. The formation counts the turn as one higher for Power from Pain, and Troops get a 5+ cover save on turns with night fighting, other units getting a 6+ cover save.

The book also has a DE specific Detachment - Realspace Raiders Detachment - which is 1-2 HQ, 2-6 Troop, 0-3 Elites, 1-6 Fast Attack, and 0-3 Heavy Support. The detachment benefits from the same cover saves during night fighting as the Kabalite Raiding Party formation.

Next are the army special rules and equipment. Combat Drugs effects apply with one roll for all units that have them, and give +1 to A, S, I, T, WS, or Ld. The Power from Pain rule gives a bonus based on the game turn, which can be modified by wargear and Haemonculi characters. Units with this rule gain benefits starting turn 2 with FnP(6+); FnP; FnP and Furious Charge; FnP, Furious Charge, and Fearless; and finally FnP, Furious Charge, Fearless, and Rage.

The DE warlord traits give the warlord and all DE units within 12" Fear; reroll to Seize, determine Night Fighting, and for Reserve Rolls; warlord gets Rage; warlord gets Hatred; Warlord gets +1 WS; and the warlord and DE units within 12" get Fearless.

There are a bunch of minor changes to how various wargear items work, so I will probably miss some. One new item is the Archite Glaive, which looks to be for the Succubus, and has two profiles - double handed, which is +1S, AP2; or single handed which is a power weapon. Chain-flails give a Talos shred, while the Flesh Gauntlet is Poisoned (4+) and Instant Death on 6s to Wound.

Phantasm Grenade Launchers now don't confer grenades, but instead are actual grenade launchers with S1, but any unit hit takes a Ld test and suffers a wound with no armor or cover save for each point they fail the check by. However, Fealerss units and those with And They Shall Know No Fear are immune.

One new gun is the Ossefactor, which is an assault 1, AP2, Fleshbane gun. If a non-vehicle model is removed by a wound from an Ossefactor, the unit takes D6 additional hits that ignore cover at a Strength equal to the Toughness of the removed target and AP-.

Splinter Cannons became Salvo 4/6, which is a bit of a nerf.

Clone Fields are now a 4++. The Crucible now simply deals a S6 hit with no saves of any kind to any psykers in range that fail a Ld check on 3D6. Webway Protals, which I think we'll see a good bit, allow the bearer and any unit or transport he is with to Deep Strike and will not scatter.

Grisly Trophies now specify only Dark Eldar get to reroll failed Leadership tests. Night Shields now give Stealth.

The Artifacts are the Animus of Vita, the Archangel of Pain, the Armour of Misery, the Djin Blade, the Helm of Spite, and the Parasite's Kiss. The Animus Vitae is a single shot, 8" assault 1, S4, AP2 gun. If it inflicts an unsaved wound, all units with Power from Pain treat the turn as one later for the remainder of the game.

The Archangel of Pain is a single use 9" aura; all enemy units in range must take a Ld test at -2 and suffer a number of wounds with no armour or cover saves for each point the test is failed by. Fearless and ATSKNF units are immune.

The Armour of Misery is Ghostplate that confers Fear and a -2Ld penalty to all enemy units within 6". The Djin Blade is a power weapon that grants +2A. After attacking, roll a die, on a 1 the wielder suffers a wound with no saves of any kind.

The Helm of Spite gives the bearer and friendly DE within 12" Adamantium Will. Additionally, psykers within 12" suffer Perils on any double. Finally, the Parasite's kiss is a splinter pistol with Poisoned (2+) that restores a lost wound for each wound it deals.

Finally, the DE get 6 unique Tactical Objectives to replace 11-16 on the normal chart: 1VP for destroying an enemy non-vehicle unit in assault and D3 if an IC was removed in the Assault Phase; 1VP if an enemy fails a Morale, Pinning, or Fear test; 1VP if a model was removed from at least 3 enemy units, and D3 if it's from 6 or more units; 1VP if an enemy with Stealth, Shrouded, or that was falling back is destroyed; 1VP if an enemy unit was destroyed in the Shooting or Assault phase, D3 if an enemy was removed in both phases, and D3+3 if 3 or more units were removed in shooting and assault;and finally, the opponent declares an objective marker and one of their characters and the DE player scores 1VP if they either control the nominated objective or kill the nominated character, and 2VP if the DE player does both.

That wraps up my first look review. Personally, I'm still looking forward to giving the Dark Kin a try and brushing off my minis. I think Reavers and Scourges got interesting with their discounted price. The Coven units look like they will work well, particularly with bonuses from the upcoming supplement.

What do you think of the DE book from what you've heard? Any questions or units catch your interest? Let me know in the comments!