Last time I spoke a little about close combat with the Eldar. Namely I spoke about target selection and keeping your troops in transports. I want to touch on alternate methods of deployment and equipping your units to deal with different situations. I also have been thinking about some different unit mixes in order to increase survivability and killing power. So lets look at deployment.
Some Eldar close combat geared units have varied methods deployment. Striking Scorpions and Mandrakes have the Infiltrate ability. This gives you the option of holding them in reserve and out flanking or you can place them well ahead of the army. This gives you some utility. It allows you to deploy differently depending on situation. Rather than your Wyches or Howling Banshees just sitting on a transport and deploying with the rest of the army or floating onto the board, these other units allow you to harass the enemy or at very least draw their fire away and force them to deal with the unit in close proximity. The Dark Eldar have two deployment options that their Craftworld cousins do not currently have access to. The first is the Webway Portal. Archons and Haemonculi have access to this piece of wargear. As you know you deploy the Webway portal and all units in reserve may enter the table from the Webway Portal as if it was your table edge. The only real trick is getting the thing deployed in a good position before you start rolling for reserves. You also can't bring vehicles in so your units will be exposed. This is why placement is crucial. If you deploy it to far away you will expose your wych units to fire which they cannot weather.
I am not a fan of webway deployment personally as you cannot reliably get the thing where you want it by the end of turn 1. I do like deep striking via retro fire jets. You have to do this carefully though as you can't get out and assault another unit with your wyches when you deep strike.
I am going to talk about Mandrakes next time as I think the unit gets a bad reputation and I am determined to take it back.
What you equip your Wych Squads with and who you attach to the squad can make a big difference in its survivability and killing power. I always include a Hekatrix with an Agoniser and Phantasm Grenade launcher. This cuts down on attacks the enemy gets when you get charged and gives you a power weapon that will always wound on a 4+. I also like to give the squad Haywire grenades. This is to deal with dreadnoughts and hit vehicles. This can be a risky proposition though with only a 6+ save. I like to include shard nets and impalers in the unit as well. I will mix it up sometimes and go for a razor flail as well. The razor flail is nice because of all the re rolls. It gives you a little more killing potential. Some people like to include a Haemonculus in the unit. Although this does give you a pain token right off the bat you have to separate the Haemonculus from the unit for it to be fleet. If they are crammed in a Raider you also only have 9 in the squad which means only one special weapon. I also don't like the extra squishy kill point just kind of floating around. 50+ points is kind of a lot to pay for a pain token. If you are adding any Independent Characters to the unit make sure they add something. Make sure they are also fleet. Adding a succubus or Archon to a unit increases the killing power by quit a bit. They can also benefit from the combat drugs.
I also have one quick tip that many people overlook. Two actually. The first is for the love of God shoot the unit with your splinter pistols if you are close enough to still charge. People either forget to shoot or they shoot when they are barely in range for the charge. If you don't have to run and can still make it if casualties are moderate from shooting then shoot. Smart players will pull models form the direction they are getting charged. You can avoid this little maneuver by making sure your unit is in good position. If you have the leader of the unit or a special weapon as the closest model many players are not willing to sacrifice the power fist to save the whole unit. Make sure your Special weapons and Hekatrix are up front so they get to use all their weapons and attacks. The second thing is take casualties from the back. You will get shot at. Don't let casualties cut your charge short. Wyches are at home in close combat so send them to their home as quickly as possible and keep them there. One thing though. Try not to get the last pain token if you can help it. A fearless wych unit is very bad in a quagmire combat. You will loose the unit to attrition very quickly with only a 6+ armor save. FNP can help, but don't rely on it.
Well next time I am going to talk about a very misunderstood and ill used unit. Mandrakes are the red headed step children of the Dark Eldar Codex. I think its time I took a long hard look at them and see if they are as bad as everybody in the inter webs claims they are. I think they have their uses and can be quite lethal if used correctly.
Blood Runs, Anger Rises, Death Wakes, War Calls!!!!!!!!!!!!!