I was going to try and break units down into a variety of different tiers based on whether I’d want to bring them to a GT, local tournament, want to beat the WAAC player at your local club or just want to play a fun narrative game. That seemed excessively complicated so I’m just going to say Great, OK, Meh.
- Great – Nearly always worth taking and will find a place in any top tier list.
- OK – Will usually earn it’s points back or achieve a goal but might not find a spot in a top tier list.
- Meh – Usually won’t be worth taking unless you’re building a list around it.
I am known within the RapidFire Wargaming meta as a player that sticks heavily to the narrative of a list. I was recently voted “Most fluffy” in a 30k heresy league for steadfastly sticking to my theme despite it probably (definitely!) costing me more victories. If I like the model and its backstory it is more likely to make an appearance on the field, even if it isn’t considered a top tier choice. I recognise a points efficient unit when I see one and I have a couple of local tournament victories to fall back (one of those a Custodes – Guard alliance with Garfield) on to support my credibility – or lack of it.
So, let’s start this off with some Kabal units!
Archon – Great / OK
Archons are kind of competitive by default because they’re the only non-special character Kabal HQ option and you’ll need at least one to unlock all the detachments!
- Standard Aeldari statline for the most part, but BS and WS 2+ is always nice to have. Strength (S) and Toughness (T) of only 3 can leave them a bit weak when trying to take on tougher opponents – especially those which are S6 or T6.
- The shadowfield is an amazing piece of wargear the Archon comes with at his points cost. It gives him a 2+ invulnerable save that can’t be rerolled under any circumstance. Statistically you should roll around 6 dice before this fails so if you’re not unlucky you can tank a few hits. Once it fails you’re left with a 5+ save and T3 so I usually find it’s a good time to fall back on a preplanned exit strategy (Archon don’t run obviously)
- One of the additions in the codex is a reroll 1s to hit aura which is a nice bonus. The thing to consider is that fact that it doesn’t work if the Archon is in a transport and won’t affect units that are in transports.
- Ranged weapon options are a blaster, blast pistol or a splinter pistol. Blasters are 18” range melta gun without the melta rule and blast pistols are the same but 6” “ range. Splinter pistols are the budget option, blast pistols are relatively cheap whilst blasters are a fairly pricey 17 points.
- I usually run blasters on my Archons, so they can stay safe whilst taking advantage of the BS 2+ and I’ve been running them as the Kabal of the Obsidian Rose recently as well (+6” range to rapid fire, assault and heavy weapons) which I think makes the blaster even more of an obvious choice. However, if I was going to build a pure close combat Archon I could see the argument for a pistol as you can fire it in close combat and it’s a bit cheaper.
- I also tend to give my warlord Archon the “Hatred eternal” trait which lets him reroll all wounds (I’m not convinced it’s the best option) which gives the blasters a bit more oomph – especially when facing off against T8 targets (say when a certain person brings 3 Plagueburst crawlers to friendly games…)
- Melee weapon options are something I find a bit strange as it feels like there’s an obvious choice. You can choose between an agoniser (poison 4+, AP-2), power sword, venom blade (poison 2+) or a Huskblade (S+1, AP-2 Dmg D3). The options are all similar in price, cheapest is 2 points and most expensive is 6.
- I typically run one Archon intended to get stuck in combat and one that tends to guard the backfield and provide the reroll one aura.
- The combat Archon is obviously getting a Huskblade, it’s a great weapon. There is also the option to upgrade to the relic Djinn blade which gives an extra point of AP and a whopping extra two attacks! That “Hatred eternal” trait also works with this giving you a total of 7 attacks that hit on a 2+ with a reroll of 1s, S4 with reroll failed wounds, -3AP and D3 damage. Tasty. Kaerahd my friendly Archon took out Champs’ Daemon Prince of Nurgle in a single round of combat with this set up. Champs took this very well.
- Normally with a backfield character I recommend taking the cheapest possible melee weapon and maybe giving them a gun. However, the choppy options are all so cheap it feels like a waste not to take another Huskblade, I like the insurance you get from having your backfield character able to fight off any deep strikers for only an extra 4 points.
- The final option I wanted to mention was the Phantasm grenade launcher which does some negative leadership shenanigans and costs a couple of points. The secret sauce is the “Torment Grenades” stratagem. For the bargain price of 1CP this lets you try and beat a targets leadership on 3d6 (achievable with most targets – vehicles tend to have surprisingly low leadership!) and if you succeed you get to smack them with d3 mortal wounds. Great for surprising people who didn’t think they had to worry about smite. Fingers and his custodes were big fans of this cheeky stratagem.
Ravager support Archon – Great
I find this guy a little boring personally but it’s impact on the competitive scene has been immense already. You take a Black Heart spearhead with this guy and 3 disintegrator Ravagers. I’m not convinced the weapons matter much on this guy but probably give him a blaster to throw a bit more pain. This guy gives you access to:
- Reroll ones to hit for the Ravagers from the Archons bubble.
- Reroll ones to wound from the relic “Writ of the living Muse”.
- CP farming from the Black Heart warlord trait “Labyrinthine Cunning.
- 6+ feel no pain on the Ravagers from the Black Heart obsession.
- And the big one – the “Agents of Vect” stratagem. This lets you cancel enemy stratagems on a 2+ and is brutal against some stratagem focused armies like Blood Angels or Chaos. I recommend playing a tiny violin or making a cry baby face whilst using this just to throw your opponent off even more.
I think its an incredible “No brainer” detachment to throw into an Aeldari tournament list but I think it’s a bit dull for normal games personally. Besides I have a losing reputation to uphold…..
Stabby Archon – OK
I’ve discussed load outs earlier in the article, but I think the Djinn blade and either a blaster of a blast pistol is the way to go. This guy works best in a transport of some kind and I like to support him with a few Court models. Again I’m a fan of the obsidian rose obsession but I don’t think any of obsessions do much for the Archon in a vacuum.
The Lhamean is a nice cheap option so that if you roll 1 when the transport dies she can take the explosion and throws out a surprising number of mortal wounds. I also like to take a SSlyth because he’s a cool snake man but he’s Meh at best.
Generally, I’ve been really impressed by the amount of work this guy gets done and people don’t really expect it out of Drukhari characters. I like to hold him back and shoot people before sweeping into mop up any stragglers in combat after the bigger hitters soak up some overwatch.
Next up – Drazar and the Court of the Archon! For anyone interested in finding out more about the Dark Eldar I recommend “Path of the Dark Eldar” by Andy Chambers
Cheers – Fish