Battlefleet Gothic – Dark Eldar Tactics

Welcome to the second part of my Dark Eldar theme week. Today I’d like to take a look on Dark Eldar weaponry and some basic information on ship types. If you play the dark kin in Warhammer 40k, you will find yourself relatively comfortable fielding them in Battlefleet Gothic as well. They are very fragile, though not as paper built like their Eldar Pirates counterparts, yet still not that durable. To compensate this, DE ships rely on high speed, maneuverability (both of which are kind of more streamlined then their Eldar counterparts) and of course fearsome weapons. Some of the latter are quite alike their Eldar equivalents. Others are entirely unique to the dark kin. Dark Eldar weapons, as with any other force can be split into actual weapons and ordnance, such as torpedoes and flyers and direct weaponry such as lances and weapon batteries.

1. Weapon batteries

These do work quite like Eldar weapon batteries and are therefore quite superior to other races. A basic mechanic in Battlefleet Gothic are shifts on the gunnery table to take distance, target size and movement into account when determining the actual efficiency of some broadside. Usually weapon batteries suffer a right shift, for being fired targets passing by or departing from your ships position. The Dark Eldar however ignore these modifiers and treat any target as closing in instead. If you take a closer look at the gunnery table in the rulebook, you will recognise the significant change in efficiency compared to ordinary weapon batteries. This makes them a smart tool with loads of powerful tactics to build on them.

2. Shadowlances

Very much like bright lances with one significant change. They always cause one point of damage on 4+, though any 5+ is causing two points of damage. This means they are more efficient compared to other races lance weaponry and compared to Eldar lances calculating is a lot easieron set dice rolls.

3. Torpedoes

Being Eldar torpedoes, they only get hit by defense batteries on a 6, which makes them particularly useful and difficult to counter. Even though this standard configuration is frightening, personally I would consider the specialised Leech torpedo as the actual star in Dark Eldar weaponry. Whilst doing damage isn’t their main purpose, they can slow down enemy ships even further, as any successful hit subtracts 10 cm movement from the target vessels maximum movement. Multiple hits do not accumulate, but need to get repaired separately before normal movement speed is restored. If the enemy fleet contains mighty Flagships with fearsome weapon batteries, it might be worth it to fire this kind if torpedoes in order to cripple the ships maneuverability and evade its main weapons. An Emperor class batteleship for example will be reduced to 5cm movement and therefore wont be able to turn for a while, which means your vessels can stay in its back and turn that mighty battleship into shreds.

4. Fighter

Dark Eldar Fighters gain much alike Space Marine Thunderhawks a 4+ save against enemy ordnance. The effect is much more efficient fighters which can make up for being outnumbered quite easily.

5. Bombers

As for fighters, Dark Eldar bombers utilise Eldar flyer rules with same effects.Assaulting enemy capital ships, they can rain havoc and despair on the foe.

6. Assault boats

As One Dark Eldar special rule grants dark Eldar in the turn they attack a +1 modifier to boarding actions. Also, sabotage benefits from an additional +1 modifier. Instead, one gets the option to hunt slaves, which means, the boarding action does not cause damage, yet grants you an additional 10 victory points.

7. The fearsome Impaler

Finally my most beloved weapon in the entire fleet. It is quite riky and I would never equip capital ships with it. The Impaler is essentially a very large, though range limited assault craft. Its maximum range is 60cm, which means your ships usually need to get close to utilise them. For me it worked fairly well to hide in or behind asteroid fleets before launching these weapons. Aside of its limited range, any failed boarding action, means, the Impaler got destroyed and can not get used again. That aside, the effects of a successful boarding action are usually devastating. First of all, Impaler boardings use the entire damage table, rolling two dice. Hence high dice rolls cause serious trouble for the boarded vessel. As for other DE flyers, the Impaler gets a 4+ save and turrets hit him only on 6+ which means, once launched it is likely they reach the target unharmed.

These were the standard weapons getting used by Dark Eldar fleets. There is however some equipment as the cameolin generator, which will be discussed later, when talking about equipping your fleet. Despite the fact, that there are just two different ship types, you can get due to different equipment and weaponry a variety four different Escort load outs and five different cruiser variants.

Do you play Battlefleet Gothic as well? in which way do you think Dark Eldar weapons are superior or inferior to these of your fleet?

To end this post, here is a nice battle report I found on youtube, so in case you haven’t seen it already, enjoy:

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