Thursday, 29 November 2012

Dark Eldar Thoughts - Archon Wargear

Past few weeks I've been playing Dark Eldar pretty exclusively in 6th edition. At the moment they're the all around package for me, I love painting them, building them and using them on the table as it's always been a fun game when I've used them (even when I've had everything shot down in 2 turns and no way to kill vehicles from then on).

Playing a 650pt game on Monday made me think more about what wargear I give my Archon as I used to stick to the same combo I liked. And I also found myself in posession of another Archon model in my 2nd hand Dark Eldar stuff who I had to decide how to equip if I were to use both in the same list.

Now personally, I really like Archons as my HQ choice, the self-centred lords of Kabals are one of the highlights of the fluff of the Dark Eldar army and I always like to try and include one, rather than a Wych or Arena themed Succubus or Haemonculi coven.

So, to help me think about Wargear and choices, I thought I'd write this post to get me thinking and to discuss with anyone interested.

Venom Blade
Cheap and handy to have. Dark Eldar's low strength is offset thanks to a lovely 5pt spend on top of your normal close combat weapon. The 2+ to wound really scares people and against lots of bodies like Guard, Orks and Nids it can help maximise the damage you do in a combat. It also helps against higher toughness things and Monstrous Creatures too - although they're pretty likely to make their (usually good) saving throws.

Blast Pistol
Handy for an extra bit of shooting against vehicles, especially if the Archon is in with Incubi or another unit that lacks a bit of firepower. Even handy just to try and pick off a Terminator or such on the way into combat. However, 15pts is a bit expensive for me to take one regularly.

Power Weapon
For most people and codexes, a power weapon is pretty much par for the course. In Dark Eldar however I tend to shy away from using them and either go up to an Agoniser or keep it cheap with a Venom Blade. The strength 3 really hurts the power weapon, as does it now becoming AP3. Lots of people still use them, it's just that I'd rather save myself 10pts or spend the extra 5pts.

I'd actually never realised an Archon could take a blaster until I re-read the codex the other night and it got me thinking why anyone would ever take one? 99% of people will tool themselves up for close combat with an Archon to take advantage of his high WS, I and A. But we're forgetting that the Archon has BS7 alongside his WS7 meaning hits on a 2+, and a chance again if it misses. I think it's something that's worth considering if you play a shooting heavy Dark Eldar army or want to put him in with Trueborn or Warriors.

One of my favoured close combat weapons, all the benefits of the power weapon but always wounds on a 4+. I would always spend the extra 5pts on top of the power weapon to get the fixed wounding value. I tend to give my squad leaders these, just incase they get stuck in combat with anything tough or a monstrous creature.

Electrocorrosive Whip
Really not keen on this one, especially when compared with the Agoniser. The extra 5pts over the Power Weapon allows you (if you cause an unsaved wound) to make the opponent be half strength for the rest of the combat. 3 times out of 4 an unsaved wound is going to have killed the enemy that you're fighting. I suppose it would be handy against things like power-fist weilding opponents, Monstrous creatures etc. but the downside then is you're using your basic S3. Not one for me personally, but I can see the merits of it.

I do like this weapon, partly because it's AP2 and the other part for it's insta-killingess. Admittedly it's more than double the cost of a power weapon and an extra 15pts on top of the Agoniser but it's just a cool bit of gear. The fact it's AP2 helps when fighting Terminator armoured foes and such, but the downside is you're striking at S3 again. I like to give my expensive Archons this bit of gear just for some fear factor.

Haywire Grenades
Got 5pts spare at the end of your list? Give your Archon some Haywires. It'll help massively incase the unit gets stuck in with a Dread or other walker, when they could be out dealing with  other units. Striking at I7 means most of the time they'll be going first. WS7 means generally hitting most stuff on a 3+ and then likely to take at least 1 hull point off it. It also helps add that extra bit of oomph if you assault a vehicle with a squad too.

Ghostplate Armour
For 10pts this is the token armour upgrade to keep things cheap. Gives your Archon an invulnerable save (albeit a rubbish one) and ensures he'll get a save against small arms fire which is always good in the world of Bolters.

Combat Drugs
I like to take this just for a little boost. There's only 1 particularly useless result (Hypex) for the Archon, since most of the time he'll be in a unit that doesn't have combat drugs itself. Pretty much everything else is cracking for an Archon. +1WS, +1S, Re-roll failed To Wound rolls, +1A or start off with a pain token all mean the Archon gets a nasty boost. It's a gamble since you could pay 10pts and get 3D6 and pick highest for Run moves, but at the same time anything else means your Archon gets even nastier.

Nifty bit of wargear but quite limited since it can only be used on Independent Characters and Monstrous Creatures, and there's not always tons of them wandering around. But it can be cool to get the boost off of this up to S6 (or S8 if you rolled well on your combat drugs!) means the Archon then becomes even more of a beast after that.

Djin Blade
I'm not entirely sure why the Djin Blade is part of the "other wargear" bit rather than the "replace pistol / CCW with..." section as it's not an upgrade to an existing weapon, rather a stand alone power weapon. Anyway... it's similar to a Daemon weapon in that it gives bonus attacks but at a risk to the user. 2 extra attacks but if you roll a double on those 2 extra dice it rebels and auto-hits the weilder. Nasty if it comes off for you, but also incredibly nasty if  not as it'll be 2 auto-hits with your own weapon. Not keen on it myself, but for those who like a gamble - go for it!

Clone Field
Reducing enemy damage by D3 is always good against particularly powerful enemies like characters, power fist weilder and monstrous creatures that have a lower number of attacks but are much more dangerous. I've never personally used the Clone Field as I prefer the Shadow Field. I can imagine with the new challenge system in 6th edition, a clone field would be particularly good if you can roll well enough.

Phantasm Grenade Launcher
Really handy this one, although pricey at 20pts. When Dark Eldar are in combat you need to get the most out of their high initiative to do the damage first. They can't normally take a pounding and then hit back quite so well, so the Phantasm comes in handy here, especially if you attach the Archon to a unit like Incubi, who can't normally get grenades.

The other nice thing about the Phantasm is that it also gives the bearer and their unit defensive grenades, but I'm not entirely sure how they work in 6th and I haven't got access to the 6th ed rules. Something to do with Stealth now I think? But still, that's pretty decent either way. Not as good as it was in 5th, but if it saves your units getting shot to death then it's cool.

Another bit of my favourite wargear, 2+ invulnerable saves are mega annoying for opponents to play against. Only thing I find with my luck is either the Shadowfield never drops and I roll 2+ constantly through the game, or the very first attacks made on him make the field drop. Depends if you're willing to pay the 30pts for this and lose out on option of having a clone field. Me personally, I am more than happy to pay it.

Webway Portal
Another piece I've very rarely used in games as I don't tend to require the Webway. If it was me personally, I'd only give him this if he was very cheap and in a Venom, just to get it down on the table. However, with changes to disembarking you now can't get as far forward and get out which doesn't help this so much. I'd rather leave my Archon to do what he does best (fighting) and let the Haemonculis carry the portal, especially since the person who drops it is going to be out in the open for a turn then or the turn prior.

Example Builds:
That's it for wargear, but I thought I'd go on with some example weapon and wargear combinations for Archons depending on points and role in the list.

Cheap and Basic:
  • Venom Blade
  • Ghostplate
  • Haywire Grenades
  •  - 80pts
This guy can go in a Warrior squad, on his own, trueborn etc. He's pretty much as cheap as you can get him and still be equipped to deal with a few threats. I wouldn't go any lower than this personally because he'll most likely be your Warlord and an easy kill and therefore Slay the Warlord bonus point. He adds a bit of extra oomph rather than a Sybarite or Dracon anyway.

Mid Range Dueller:
  • Agoniser
  • Soultrap
  • Ghostplate
  •  - 100pts
Easy character hunter, don't bother sending him against the likes of Abaddon, Kharn and Draigo but he can happily slap guard commanders, ethereals, battlesuit commanders and such (anything that he can strike first at and doesn't have a power fist) - provided you can catch them of course. This is around the level I normally keep my Archon at, anymore and he's a bit too fragile to hold his points.

Trueborn Support:
  • Venom Blade
  • Blaster
  • Haywire
  •  - 85pts
One off the top of my head here, to try and get the Blaster involved somewhere. Forget about upgrading and equipping a Dracon and have this fella in instead. The Blaster gives you the extra blaster shot in a Trueborn squad and also allows him to precision shot characters and snipe Terminator captains, Wolf guard, etc.

Expensive Combat:
  • Huskblade
  • Soul-Trap
  • Combat Drugs
  • Shadowfield
  • Phantasm Grenade Launcher
  •  - 165pts
This guy is pretty expensive, but he's nasty. This is the level I like my Archon to be in bigger games and the Phantasm is something I've added on top to use in future games to support my Incubi. But yeah, the combat drugs hopefully give him an extra boost to his stats, the shadowfield stops attacks coming in from whatever and the huskblade / soul-trap combo means he can chance to insta-kill people and get the Soul-trap going a bit faster. This is better than he was in 5th thanks to challenges being able to call out ICs in units (or at least kill the sergeants).

So that's it for my Archon post. It's given me a bit to think about for the coming weeks whilst I paint my 2nd Archon and what to take for an 800pt game on Monday night.

Let me know your thoughts on the wargear - what do you use as a DE player? What do you hate to play against as a non-Dark Eldar army?



  1. Agonizer is not a poison weapon. You Don't get the re-roll against t3.