The backbone of any Dark Eldar force is going to be made up of 3 different units. It all depends on the theme of the list. Kabalite Warriors, Wychs and Wracks all are troops choices the later when you have a haemonculis leading the army or what I like to call the “freak army”. Wychs are the core of a Wych army. We will be talking about Kabalite Warriors though. They are the backbone of a Kabalite army.
I have never been a huge fan of the wych cults. I use them occasionally, but Kabal based armies have always been my preference. The Kabalite Warriors have not changed much from their last incarnation. They have increased in cost form 8 to 9 points. Squad size has stayed the same and the stat line is the same. The changes to their wargear and transports as well as the Addition of the “Power From Pain” rule is what has made them deadlier.
The “Power From Pain” rule is what has really upped the ante in the Dark Eldar army. Being an alpha strike army this gives Dark Eldar a chance to gain some robustness on turn one. Letting loose a volley of splinter fire from your warrior unit on a very small soft target gives them “Feel No Pain” as long as they destroy the unit. Having the pain token generating Chronos Parasite Engine close at hand or even putting a haemonculis in the unit gives them some very good survivability. This somewhat offsets the fragility of the basic Kabalite Warrior unit. This increased survivability is one of the aspects that has made the basic warrior unit a major threat. All of a sudden bolter fire does not mow down the whole squad.. You can hold objectives with more confidence, especially in cover. My opponents have been having nasty flashbacks to my Fortuned units when facing warriors with FNP holding on objective in cover. The best part is you don't pay any additional points.
The special and heavy weapon options have not changed. The weapons themselves have changed. Many armies, especially tyranids, are living in fear of a basic troop that can shred their monstrous creatures with ease. The 4+ wounding poison splinter rifles have increased the deadliness of the basic warrior. Combine that with the fact blasters are now an 18” range and you have some nice hitting power at range. The splinter cannon having two firing options, assault 4 or heavy 6, make taking a heavy weapon worth it. The main issue I faced in the old edition of the codex was that one warrior was useless if the unit stayed mobile. You essentially wasted points on a dark lance if the unit did not remain stationary. This was an issue for anybody who played the army as it was meant to be played. Fast, hard and mobile. This is not an issue with the extended range of the blaster and the duel mode of the splinter cannon. I will however give a unit a a dark lance if they are going to be set up outside a transport and the squad size is larger than 10. I am kind of intrigued with running Kabalite Warriors Like I run my Guardians. Squads of 20. This means a blaster and 2 Dark lances. When in cover holding and objective, they may be very hard to remove from said objective.
The Sybarite has been contained and its options limited now. Although you can make them expensive, they don't have to be, but the cost is worth it for some gear. The Phantasm grenade launcher is one. Having both offensive and defensive grenades is very nice especially when it was not an option before. Having access to a blast pistol is also nice.
My standard squad now consists of 10 warriors with one upgraded to a Sybarite. I have a blaster and Splinter cannon for my special and heavy weapons. The Sybarite has Ghost Plate, a Phantasm Grenade Launcher and an agonizer. I mount them in a raider with Flicker fields and Night shields as well as Grisly trophy’s and Tormentor Grenade Launchers. The unit comes out to 265 points This is roughly about the same as a Dire Avenger unit mounted in a wave serpent with minimal weapons. The bonus is they can wound anything, have an invulnerably save while mounted on the transport, they can all fire from the transport. The transport supports the unit in leadership tests and affects enemy units leadership tests and the transport comes with a Dark Lance. You could even add splinter racks to the Raider and make all their shooting twin linked. Now if only GW would FAQ fast vehicles passenger shooting rules. As is the unit cannot fire if it moves at cruising speed. This is a major hindrance for Warrior Units. Granted they could only rapid fire 12 inches if the moved, but the blaster and splinter cannon could still fire at a distance.
I have been experimenting with dropping a warrior and the splinter cannon and putting a haemonculis with an agonizer and liqufier gun just to give them a pain token to start off with. The only downside is you can't drop the sybarite as you need the 9 leadership score. This can be bolstered if you keep them close to a raider with Grisly Trophy’s so they can re roll failed leadership.
All in all I am really happy with the changes as the Warriors themselves have not really changed. Its just their equipment changed and made them better by proxy.
Next time I will be discussing a concept I have been toying with. I am going to be trying out today ,after the homework is done, in the secret gaming lair of The Stormlord. I watched “Hell Raiser” the other day and now I am intrigued with the concept of the “Freak” or Xenobyte style army. SO next time we will look at the Wrack based Haemonculis army.
Blood Runs, Anger Rises, Death Wakes, War Calls!!!!!!!!!!!!!