Saturday, February 5, 2011

Dark Eldar: Missions, Mistakes and Lessons

So as mentioned in a previous post, while Dark Eldar generally have all the tools they need to win games, the army itself is so fragile that a small mistake can often result in a loss.  Over the past two tournaments I've made a fair number of mistakes, hopefully writing them out will help me (and you!) learn from them.

  • Spend the first 3-4 turns concentrating on the most threatening units to your army.  Pick up easy kill points if you can, but save that for turns 4-7.  At the Bunker GT I made the mistake of trying to pick off Rhino's instead of my opponents big biker squad coming strait for me (maybe I thought they would just die on their own?).  The Rhino's made their cover saves and the Bikers multi-assaulted some squishy Troop choices and sent them running.  With modified KP's in effect that one assault netted him 8 out of his 18 total KP's.  If I had neutered that bike squad early, instead of trying to pick up easy KP's, the game would have likely swung to me.
  • Eliminate units completely before moving on to the next unit.  I made this mistake during the final turns of my first round game at the Sprue Posse Grand Prix.  I felt like I controlled the game for the first 4 turns, only to get lazy in my target selection.  This combined with my opponent wisely picking up easy KP's from downing Raiders swung the game in his favor during the final turns.  There are exceptions to this rule; if you force a squad to go to ground or stun/shake a shooting vehicle, I think it's okay to move on if there are other juicy targets around.  However, late in the game it's essential to finish units off.
Capture and Control:
  • Balance is key.  You need to send out enough units to survive on your opponents objective, and still have enough defense for your own.  It's good to designate these units pre-game, but if the plan goes awry (as it sometimes does) you'll need to improvise.
  • Turbo is (usually) your friend.  If you're on the board, I think it's best to turbo towards your enemy's objective.  It's good to send 2-3 units up like this to ensure that in the following turn, at least one is still around.  I say usually because depending on the opponent, it may be beneficial to wait until the later turns to utilize turbo boosting.  If you're playing against an army that doesn't have a whole lot of shooting, it's good to wait it out - sweeping in for a last minute contest / control.  The downside to turbo-boosting is that you'll spend at least one turn in no-mans land.  Far from your objective, and far from your opponents.  If you get stuck out there, it's tough, but by utilizing target saturation (i.e. having some Trueborn not too far behind) you can minimize this risk. 
  • If you're scared of his shooting - reserve!  A shooty army with 48" range presents a plethora of problems for Dark Eldar.  While our reserves aren't perfect (no way to modify), it most certainly beats trying to go toe to toe against an army that can out-shoot and out-last you.  You're fast enough so that in 2 turns you can be anywhere that your opponent places an objective. 
  • If you're opponent is on your objective, send everything you have close by at him.  I failed to do this in my second Sprue Posse game.  I had 6 blasters around to drop Sammael, who was contesting my objective.  What I failed to do was move my Warriors and Trueborn in position to shoot at Sammael or (if he dropped early) join the nearby combat in which Wyches were attempting to hold off Terminators.  By not having the extra models locked in combat, after my opponent killed the last Wych he was able to consolidate freely onto my objective to contest.
  • A last strategy is to keep your firebase completely on your objective and attempt to eliminate any immediate threats to it.  Then starting on turn 4, make your moves towards your opponents.  There are risks to this (your mobility gets crippled early by his shooting or despite your firebase, he still moves in a position to contest).

Seize Ground
  • Seize Ground is probably the best draw for a Dark Eldar player.  We have access to cheap, efficient troops that can move around with ease.  What I usually try to do is keep my stuff on at least 2 objectives for the majority of the game.  Then during the last turns, it's time to fan out and attempt to contest and control my opponents.  With the amount of mobility Dark Eldar have access to, it's feasible to win by holding one objective, and contesting the last four.  
  • In your deployment, take the placement of objectives into careful consideration.  Before you put your first model down determine which objectives are going to be "yours" and which you'll try to sneak in to contest at the last second.
  • Aside from that, many of the same strategies for Capture and Control apply to this mission.  Reserve if your opponents firepower is too much.  Turbo-boosting during the last turns can be more effective than shooting.
There you have it.  I've got two more tournaments coming up in the following weeks (The Realm 2/19 and hopefully a Sprue Posse RTT 3/5), so I'm sure I'll be able to add to this list after that!

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