Per my recent discussions w/ ForTheEmperor, I’ve been doing some thinking on how to keep infantry alive vs. Eldar & Dark Eldar forces.
This is a bit challenging in terms of list design, because there are some units in both army lists that are extremely effective at removing models en-masse from the table, have extremely high mobility, and can deliver troops in very vulnerable positions in your lines by the start of Turn 2.
Eldar feature Wave Serpents, which ignore your aegis defense line’s cover, and can put out a surprising amount of firepower each turn. They’re also fantastic for late-game objective grabs. They should be very high up in your priority list for directing fire. Similarly, if the Eldar player is foolish and leaves their jetbikes in the open, you should make him regret that mistake.
Dark Eldar feature Venoms, which at a very modest price tag can put out 12 shots that wound *ANYTHING* on a 4+, but cannot do anything against armour. The troops in the back however, are typically armed with the Dark Eldar equivalent of meltaguns, however these can get pricey en-masse. More typically you’ll get a nice mix-and-match of blasters & assault troops. Intuitively, these should be very high up on your priority list as well.
With the onset of 7th edition, skimmers took a bit of a hit in terms of firepower distribution. Gone are the days when you could leave them in the centre of the table and jink to your heart’s content with cover save bonuses and still shoot effectively the next turn. If the (Dark) Eldar player wants to shoot the next turn and still have their transports alive, they have to take advantage of the terrain available, because the massed heavy weapons of the Imperial Guard are going to make them hurt in a big way.
With this in mind, I present the following list for discussion. Please keep in mind I’m usually playing fairly heavily mechanized lists, so this is stretching my usual thought patterns a bit. =)
Knight Commander Pask in Punisher Russ, Heavy Bolter Sponsons
Company Command Squad: Vox-caster, Chimera (Hull Heavy Flamer)
Ministorum Priest (35 pts)
PCS: 3x Flamers, Heavy Flamer (55 pts)
Sq 1: Flamer, Lascannon, Vox-caster (80 pts)
Sq 2: Flamer, Lascannon, (75 pts)
Sq 3: Flamer (55 pts)
HWT: 3x Autocannons (75 pts)
Veterans: 3x Plasma Guns, Lascannon, Vox-caster, Forward Sentries (140 pts)
Vendetta Gunship (170 pts)
Armoured Sentinels: 3x Autocannons (135 pts)
Hydra (70 pts)
Aegis Defense Line: Quad Gun (100 pts)
Tactically, these units should all work together. The blob squad should be dug in behind the Aegis Line, being careful not to leave your flanks exposed. The Veterans are a bit more flexible, you can position them independently, but try to keep them within barking range of the Company Command Squad, which will be pouring out buffs in the form of orders. The priest is there to make sure that the blob sticks around in the event of casualties or an assault. Bubble-wrapping your infantry would be the armoured sentinels, which would be a relatively tough nut to crack at range, tougher in assault (by most units) and would potentially distract lance weaponry away from the heavy tanks. Tanks would be positioned around the mid-field, due partially to Pask’s relatively short range and slow mobility, but also because he is an absolute wrecking ball if something is left in the open (or even if its not).
The one twist here is that the PCS would be lodged in the Vendetta, for a late-game objective grab, or to clean a point of some dug-in xenos.
At 1,500 points, you have a pretty formidable number of heavy weapons. 10 Autocannons (4 of them twin-linked w/ Skyfire), 6 Lascannons (3 of them twin-linked w/ Skyfire). Even the threat of these weapons should be forcing the Dark Eldar player to be making some very tough decisions on whether or not to jink their transports if they were left in the open.
Establishing target priority is a MUST. With so many heavy weapons, you should be constantly talking to yourself: “Does what I’m shooting at really need to die this turn?” If the answer is no, move on to something that DOES need to die. Generally, if you force a unit to jink, you can move on to the next one. The exception here is if it’s a transport loaded up with assault troops. This will wreck your day, so popping those transports is a must.
Longevity is provided by heavy armour (Russes, Sentinels, etc.), and good cover (going to ground as-necessary, with orders to get them back into the fight). Anything that negates your cover should obviously be very high on the ‘kill list’.
Depending on how the battle is unfolding, you can shift from a defensive emphasis (going to ground quickly) to an offensive emphasis (Bring it Down! & Fire on My Target!) if you think you can absorb some casualties.
A Dark Eldar player might think twice about assaulting your blob squad with the 3 D3 wounds at AP5 it would be taking in Overwatch.
The list is certainly a bit flexible, and consideration could be given to swapping out the Vendetta for a Manticore (*EHEHE*) in order to keep those Venoms from clumping up. You could then put the PCS on top of the Quad Gun for a nice bonus to its ballistic skill. This hand-cuffs your mobility however, but some people don’t mind that… Also, the second Russ could be just about anything you want it to be. I might suggest an Eradicator or an Exterminator, because they’re cheap, and would benefit from the Old Grudges warlord trait better than the Battle Cannon.
Should also be noted that this list might have issues with heavy armour. Consideration could be given to swapping Pask’s heavy bolters for Multi-meltas & Lascannon as needed.
Anyways, I’m open to further suggestions or further discussion! Hit me up in the comments below.