Sunday, 6 August 2017

Power from Paint: Wracking my brains

Once more we stride into the Web Way brave readers! Following on from our last visit to Commorragh where we discussed the value of Command Points and how these can be gained from the Battalion detachment, this time I'd like to spend some time musing about those compulsory Troop choices we need to take!

Guess which trooper is new to my collection?
For the purposes of this article I'm considering a single faction Dark Eldar force; we can play mixed force games with our Craftworld and Harlequin chums, but that is perhaps a discussion for another day. The Index therefore gives us 3 choices for our Troop slots:
  • Kabalite Warriors
  • Wyches
  • Wracks
Kabalite Warriors
Kabalite Warriors have always been my go to Troops choice; usually running 5 man squads armed with splinter rifles and a blaster in a Venom Dedicated Transport.  In 7th edition they had the (IMO) powerful Objective Secured rule, allowing them to sneak objectives away from non-Troop slots, but they have lost this particular ability in 8th edition.

At 10 or models strong, a unit can take a heavy weapon, such as a Splinter Cannon or Dark Lance. This can be a good choice for back field objective camping (stick the unit in cover), or at 10 men they can run around in a Raider Dedicated Transport conducting drive by shootings with all their splinter rifle shots.

Shooty Troopy
The Sybarite (unit leader) upgrade is free for each unit, and the Sybarite has a few upgrade options. The Blast Pistol looks quite attractive as another high strength, low AP weapon to complement a Blaster. It has a short range, but this could be mitigated by mounting the Warriors in a Transport.

A final point to consider is how well the troops are complemented by their corresponding HQ's buff. Kabalite Warriors benefit from an Archon's Leadership buff (a 1 to 2 point bonus); to me this seems pretty underwhelming.

So for the meantime I will continue to play with Warriors as I have in the past; cheap Blaster caddies and objective nabbers.

Just as primary role of the Kabalite Warriors is easy to determine (shoot stuff), so is the main use of the Wyches; stab stuff.  In previous editions they were actually pretty terrible to be honest (primarily because of their fragility), but I would occasionally take them for their Haywire Grenades which were good Anti Tank weapons.

Wyches received some really good buffs in 8th edition:
  • The Power From Pain table suits assault units
  • Being able to choose which Combat Drugs to snort before each game
  • The No Escape rule which potentially tar pits units in Combat.
The various Wych weapons such as Hydra Gauntlets and Razor Flails have some nice buffs including re-rolls and additional attacks as well.

Stabby Troopy
The Wych Cult HQ choice, the Succubus, provides a really nice buff for the Wyches, allowing re-rolls in the Fight phase which is exactly where our murdery troopers want to be.

I  think Wyches want to be taken in decent size units to allow them to soak a few casualties on the way into an assault, and need to be given a Dedicated Transport such as a Raider.  Wyches are still really really fragile, particularly to shooting; a 6+ save followed by 6+ Feel No Pain is not a lot to rely on. The Raider lets the Wyches get across the battlefield quickly, and in relative safety. Importantly the Raider can also charge and soak any Overwatch before the Wyches get stuck in.

Again the unit leader upgrade, the Hekatrix, is free and has some wargear options. I think a power sword or agoniser is well worth the investment to add some decent AP to the unit.

I'm still on the fence as to whether Wyches are worth taking; they are more powerful than in previous editions but they still feel too fragile. Allowing their Dodge save against Overwatch would have been great!  

I have to confess I've never really looked at Wracks before. I'm pretty sure they were Elites, but could be taken as troops if you had a Haemonculus HQ. But they were stabby in an edition when shooty was king. Coupled with the fact the models were Finecast (bleh!) and I decided to pass on them.

However, now we have a lovely plastic kit! I flirted with the idea of making and taking some for Mayhem, but they didn't make the cut in the end.  Are they worth it now?

Another Stabby Troopy
So the picture above gives a good idea what these guys are all about; stabbing stuff with outrageously oversized rambo knives. Where the Wyches embody gymnastic training, agility and taking dangerous amounts of designer drugs, the Wracks have been surgically enhanced and altered by the Haemonculus surgeons to make them inured to pain.  Their main benefits as I see them are:
  • Tough (for Dark Eldar); T4 and an invulnerable save!
  • A decent attack profile 
  • The ability to put out reliable wounds in assault (as they always wound on 4+)
They don't come with any shooting attacks as standard, but can take some interesting special weapons in the unit:
  • Liquifier Guns: Low AP flamers; this makes Wracks one of the few Dark Eldar units with flamer weapons.
  • Ossefactors: These are really sneaky as they can deal Mortal Wounds! Definitely worth trying out.
The unit leader upgrades, the Acothysts, can also take these special weapons, as well as a bewildering choice of melee weapon upgrades! The Acothysts can also take sniper rifles, but these seem an odd selection for an assaulting unit. If Wracks were used as a "tough" back field objective camping unit I suppose the rifle might be useful.

Wracks also make good use of the corresponding HQ buff; the Haemonculus provides them with +1 Toughness. A sneaky trick is to make any Dedicated Transport they take a Coven unit as well, and it can benefit also from the +1 Toughness. Very cool.

I have yet to try Wracks out on the table top, but I'm looking forward to see how they perform.

In summary:
The three Dark Eldar troop choices each have a distinctive role and character, and whilst there are merits to "spamming" one over the others, I believe a Take All Comers list could benefit from choosing more than one of the options. 

Elsewhere in the Vault...
My attempts to take part in the Fall of Konor campaign have been fairly miserable. A busy period at work has limited my hobby time, and my attempts to organise a game have failed!  Undaunted I've been clipping and sticking as and when, and built some Wracks (which was what started the speculation in this article!), and as a Troop choice they are tenuously related to Konor Week One (Start Collecting).

Wracks, with a variety of "tools"

Wracks with Liquifier Guns

Wracks with Ossifiers
Konor Week Two is all about Elite choices, and I've been thinking about Mandrakes. These are another unit which suffered from crap rules in previous editions but look quite tasty in the 8th edition Index. They also suffer from the Finecast problem (which is a shame as they are nice looking models), but haven't had a plastic kit release for them.

Undaunted I've kitbashed a unit of Mandrakes using a variety of pieces:
  • Spare Dark Eldar heads from a Hellions sprue
  • Spare arms with knives/choppers and "spell casting" gestures from the Wrack Kits
  • Rag dressed bodies/legs from the Frostgrave Cultist set.
This is a very simple conversion to make; the most complex part being cutting down the necks of the Hellion heads to fit onto the cultist torsoes.

Mandrakes on a budget!
I'm pretty pleased with how they've turned out, a lick of paint will really enhance them, and again I'm looking forward to trying out on the tabletop. (On a side note between these guys, and the 2 HQs I made in the previous PfP article that's about £45 of "official" models I've bitz-boxed on this project; never throw the spare stuff away!)

That's it for now! Thanks for taking the time to read once again. I'd be interested on hearing your thoughts on the Dark Eldar troops, and the joys of kit bashing; feel free to drop a comment below.


  1. Nice kitbashes!

    Objective Secured for troops looks to be returning soon with the 40K Equivalent of the General's Handbook. Is it Index Astartes? Possibly.

    Anyway, as with the Age of Sigmar version, it seems to expand upon gaming options and the GW site has dropped a few bits of information about what it will contain.

    They describe it as optional rules for matched play, but reading between the lines it looks a lot like rules that are expected to become standard.

  2. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

    You are correct, Objective Secured seems to be returning and that's a good thing; the game should be about Combined Arms and controlling the table, not just spamming cheap killy stuff.