8th Edition 40k – Dark Eldar / Drukhari mini-preview

Dark Eldar (or their new named Drukarhi – what is with the name changes!?); Changes summarsied below.

  • Dark Eldar vehicles have a 5++ (no more paying for Flickerfields);
  • Dark Eldar vehicles do not experience the -1 to hit when moving with heavy weapons (potentially something we will see on all fast options?);
  • Dark Eldar vehicles are still open-topped and allows you to shoot out of them with weapons, including pistols in combat;
  • Dark Lances are S8, AP-4 and D6 damage;
  • Disintegrators are three shots at AP-3 and do two straight damage;
  • Incubi get +1S and AP-3 melee weapons;
  • The leader of the unit does a further two damage if he wounds on a 6;
  • Wyches still have a 4++ and their combat weapon is AP-1;
  • Wyches have No Escape which is essentially a reverse Hit and Run but each player rolls off against each other;

Okay so – a lot of reference to durability increases on their vehicles which I hope is the case. I also really want to know how invulnerable saves are going to work still! It sounds like they still have poisoned weapons but I have no idea how that would work given what the old rule is. Will need to wait and see I guess. I’m glad to see open-topped still allows shooting hopefully debunking the firepoints rumor we had. Love the shooting Pistols in combat from them as well – vehicles are not so defenseless now! No news on assaulting from vehicles yet unfortunately.

Dark Lance weapon profile is to be expected and I’d be curious to see if the Disintegrator is automatically wounding given Frankie left out the strength.

The melee side of things is yawn. Incubi tear through MEQs still but they now get a t-shirt save instead of nothing. This makes them amazing how? Not crying about no grenades is obviously a big plus but a lot of fluffy adjectives without much rules oomph to back them up here (in the vacuum that is our iceberg of 8th edition). Wyches get a little buff in the AP-1 on their weapons but not having the 4++ outside of combat still hurts. No Escape is a nice benefit but really needs multiple units to be getting close to reliable which means larger units are necessary and Wyches aren’t exactly durable (though striking first will help alleviate that somewhat). I’ll need to see how this plays on the table a couple of times with every other rule before calling it a game changer.

Anyway, like what this says about Dark Eldar vehicles and will hold my judgement on their combat prowess.

Here’s the text in quotation:

Drukhari, also known as the Dark Eldar, are absolutely my favourite faction due to their background. They are like space pirates of the roughest sort mixed with a dash of maniacal arena combatants sprinkled with the bizarre and terrifying Haemonculus Covens. This forms a potent cocktail of evil which I’m sure we can all agree is awesome! They constantly fight amongst themselves for political power and to gain status by any means possible. When not stabbing one another in the back, they stage horrific raids into realspace for slaves and treasure. They must constantly seek ways to preserve their lifespans, as they do not have the protection of the infinity circuit used by their craftworld kin to shield their spirits from Slaanesh when they die.

Drukhari do not currently get a lot of attention on the top competitive tables. They can struggle to make it into close combat and often get cut down by overwatch before they get to swing. Their shooting, while potentially deadly, relies heavily on their Poisoned weapons which suffer against many armies.

What I want is Raiders flying around with guys shooting poisoned needles out of the back. I want close combat units that are feared and some cool (hopefully extra dirty!) tricks I can use to gain (unfair) advantage during battle as is befitting of a low down dirty space pirate!

In the new Warhammer 40,000, Raiders are exactly what they should be. They are blisteringly fast, open topped transports that deliver warriors where you need them but remain a little fragile. Open Topped vehicles allow you to shoot out of them still, which is a massive benefit. You can even fire Pistol weapons out of the vehicle when it is engaged in close combat! However, Raiders are nowhere near the paper thin deathtraps they could be in the past. Venoms, as well, are absolutely fantastic vehicles, and due to the changes to the core rules of the game, all of their weapons now have at least a chance to hurt even resilient vehicles on a 6 to wound (representing that lucky hit through a vision slit, or punching through a weakened section of armour).

These vehicles are restored to glory, allowing you to zoom around the battlefield and get your troops into key positions. They are also armed with strong weapons beyond splinter cannons. You can have a dark lance, which will give you serious punch to open other people’s transports or take down large creatures with a strength of 8, an AP of -4 and D6 damage. Or you can go with the disintegrator cannon, which has three shots that all do 2 damage at AP -3.

With a toughness value and wounds, these vehicles are also much more durable. Lastly, these vehicles have a 5+ invulnerable save versus shooting attacks which will help when getting blasted by heavy weapons, and they ignore the -1 penalty to shooting heavy weapons after moving, keeping them agile. You can imagine how potent Ravagers will be with these rules!

What about some of those iconic melee units, such as Incubi? They are my absolute favourite unit in the entire Drukhari range, and they are now truly frightening combatants. They have a klaive that hits at +1 Strength and AP -3… yikes that’s going to hurt! The leader of a unit is a beast as well, gaining +2 damage if he rolls a 6 to wound. This unit will be dominating their Fight phases in the new Warhammer 40,000. When you pair them up with some of the characters for added bonuses, such as the man himself, Drazhar, you will have a devastating combo. I am happily painting more for my army, now!

Wyches will be seen in greater numbers too. Honestly, this might be one of the top 3 most improved units in all of the new edition! They get the 4+ invulnerable save in the Fight phase, just like before, and can now dish out some damage in combat. Their hydra gauntlets and razorflails are fantastic, giving their attacks -1 AP. But their real talent is in the No Escape special rule.

When an enemy infantry unit in melee tries to Fall Back out of combat with Wyches, they can only do so if they win a roll-off with you. That is so incredibly powerful because it will protect your close combat units from getting shot and allows you to kill whatever you are locked in combat with. Units like the T’au Crisis Suits I was telling you about last time will no longer be able to simply leave combat and shoot you to bits! The Wyches have been a lot of fun to play with and will be accompanying my Incubi on the tabletop for a vicious one-two combo.

I hope all you Drukhari players are as excited to put your armies on the tables as I am. There are so many more exciting developments to talk about with this faction but so little time. I didn’t even get to touch on Haemonculus Covens! But all of that will come in time.

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22 responses to 8th Edition 40k – Dark Eldar / Drukhari mini-preview

Of all the switches to more T’Rademark friendly names, this one is the silliest. I will never be able to say “Dru Khari” without picturing the chubby, bespectacled host of the ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway?’ remake.

I am worried that there have been several references to combat being better, but now we get to some info about actual combat units they don't really seem to have been improved much at all. Makes me think that after all the excitement it is still just going to be same old gw, no real idea what stuff is actually good. But worst case scenario, I'll just steal my brothers tau (sorry, t'au)

If their transports really are more durable, and they can assault out of them, guaranteeing them first strike, they are certainly better.

Of course, it will all come down to point costs.

I think the big thing will be the general decrease in firepower. If we're no longer seeing 81pt Scat Bike squads everywhere (as well as other, similar things) Dark Eldar have a much better chance of getting stuck in, or of being on the table long enough to actually get shots off.

Changes to mobility will also be big, since that's theoretically something they are good at. If Raiders are tougher and moving 12" with no penalty while everyone else is moving 6" with a -1 to hit, that's a big shift.

Been winnin' tournaments, so that counts for somethin'! I'll probably be doing articles now and again for Kirbs, so you've got that to look forward to. Glad to see a lot of the old crew is still around.

Back on topic, @vaguelycertain I agree with AbusePuppy's reply; it's not simply a matter of the combat stats needing to be improved.
It is the many aspects of speed, durability and likelihood to survive and reach assault that will hopefully redress the balance between the significance of the shooting phase and the combat phase.

Sure, my issue was that for a piece trying to play up the dark eldar as a combat threat, they didn't mention clear improvements to any of those areas but just their combat stats which aren't anything terribly impressive. Obviously it's not a serious tactics article or anything but it doesn't really leave me clear that I should actually expect melee to be genuinely improved in the new edition.

Maybe. Scat bikes weren't even a thing last time I played, I still don't remember ever being particularly scared of dark eldar's melee ability. What does make you say there's going to be a general decrease in firepower, just expecting rebalancing or something in the actual rules releases?

From the point of view of heavy armoured vehicles, the maths I've seen appear to show that it will actually take similar levels of firepower to kill them in 8th, but that they will be *much* less likely to be destroyed by a lucky single shot or two.

From the point of view of Dark Eldar's light vehicles, we don't have anything solid at the moment, but the change to the new wound and save approach plus the 5++ should increase their resilience.

"With a toughness value and wounds, these vehicles are also much more durable," isn't the access to statlines and details that we want, but if it's based on playtesting it should be a good indication.

That sounds in line for what I'd seen for heavy vehicles so I guess my concern is that if light vehicles are similarly more resistant to single shot kills but about the same resistance to being torrented down, well, that's still going to leave a lot of wreckage on the dark eldar side. A crisis suit with 3 missile pods doing d3 wounds is moderately terrifying even if it is hypothetical currently. With appropriate points costs we'd largely be fine, but that was always the case.

None of this means that dark eldar won't be good in the new edition of course, I'll just yawn a bit if the army of sadistic, soul stealing pirates spends the battle kiting 24-36"

If that's what makes Incubi "now truly frightening combatants" when that's exactly what they did before just in an edition port, that's not exactly frightening.

As referenced above by several posters – the units aren't exactly that buffed. We know RCL has been increased and attacking first is huge, particularly for squishy models that aren't MEQs and don't always carry around assault grenades (which Incubi certainly fall into). Their issue was more about being able to get into combat and then not dying the next turn to mass shooting. Wyches at least have something that works 58% of the time to avoid the latter.

They murder things. They have never NOT murdered things. Str +1 and Ap-3 is about all you need to do that. The entire question is of delivery and how many die before getting into combat, which is not going to be answered within their own statline.

For the combat units…it's sort of looking like GW hasn't realised why they weren't great. It's not because of their damage potential, it's because they couldn't get there to do that damage.

Yeah, I want to get excited about this edition but I'm not going to be laying any bets on my ba becoming an actual assault force just yet

I think it's worth noting that there is no reference to infantry movement. To me, this is strong evidence that DE infantry will be no faster than marines.

What's more, it looks like they'll get nothing whatsoever to replace the loss of their high initiative values.

Given they've already said eldar are faster than marines, it would be bizarre for dark eldar not to be. They possibly just didn't feel they needed to, given it's been said already?

"it looks like they'll get nothing whatsoever to replace the loss of their high initiative values."

I seriously, seriously doubt that will be the case.