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Themed Army Ideas
From Idea to Reality
Getting started <> Color schemes <> Raider Squads <> Transports <> Warriors <> 
Haemonculi/Talos <> Reavers <> Wyches <> Warp Beasts <> Archon <> Final

From Idea to Reality, Part 11: Final 
When I began this army, I painted up one Raider Squad and one Warrior Squad and postponed building other Troop units so that I could work on other units. I did this for the sake of the series, as I seriously doubted that anyone would want to read about how I assembled yet another batch of Warriors, just like all the others. 

Once I was finished with the Archon, I went back and started to work on the rest of the Troops. I also started playing more games with my Dark Eldar, including a campaign and two tournaments (which you can read about here and here). These games drove a number of changes to the army, which I’ll elaborate on below.

HQ
Archon. I used to give Syryx Lynatharr just about as many toys as he could have: Reaver jetbike, shadowfield, power weapon, hell mask, tormentor helm, combat drugs. Lately, however, I’ve tried to make him a smidge more affordable, points-wise. He still gets the jetbike, the shadowfield, and the power weapon, for reasons I discussed previously. But no hell mask, tormentor helm, or combat drugs. I’ve found that the hell mask is not all that useful: opponents never seemed to fail their Leadership checks when fighting Syryx. Using a tormentor helm on a bike is, at the time of this writing, of dubious legality, so I just “don’t go there.” And while I used to think the drugs were mandatory, I’ve realized that they’re just frosting on a really nice cake: the Archon is a bad mofo in close combat without them. One thing I have added is a trophy rack: Dark Eldar, even Archons, need all the help they can get with Leadership tests. 

Haemonculi. I’ve changed my tactics to rely heavily on using at least one—and often, two—webway portals in each game. Usually, one or more Haemonculi and a few Warrior squads (as bodyguards and bulletcatchers) start on the board, always in or behind cover (preferably area terrain). This works well even in games using the Escalation rule. The Haemonculi and the Warriors advance to about the middle of the board, then open the portals, whereupon the rest of the army—and I mean, EVERYTHING ELSE IN THE ARMY—comes out.

Usually, this little “Jack-in-The-Box-From Hell” trick works beautifully, as it denies the enemy at least two turns of shooting or assaulting any meaningful targets, which is always a good thing, as Death Twinkies are about as tough as newborn kittens. I’ve found that opponents often can’t resist the urge to move in closer, usually in an attempt to surround the portal(s): this only makes it even easier to jump them with the rest of my army, which (as you’ll learn), I’ve built up for hand-to-hand combat. 

This is not to say that using webway portals makes the army unbeatable: my experiences at Counter Offensive 3 show that not to be the case. But it definitely helps. Once the portals are open, the Haemonculi can lend a hand in assaults or provide some shooting, but their job is basically over. Thus, I don’t give them lots of wargear or weapons: the portals are expensive enough, thanks.

Dracon. There’s a big difference in points cost and combat effectiveness between an Archon and a Haemonculus, and a Dracon nicely fits that middle area. My pal Dwayne Powell was kind enough to paint and send me the Warhammer Fantasy figure below; such a cool model deserved a place of honor in my army, so she became Dr’zzllah, Dracon of the Ozone Scorpions and daughter to Syryx Lynatharr. 

Dr'zzllah

Dr’zzlah is equipped with an agonizer (that black sword) and combat drugs (the goblet). Fluff-wise, she was apparently imprisoned (by persons as yet unrevealed) in an alternate dimension before being released (as described at the end of the 01/17/2004 RTT writeup) by Lynatharr. She serves him by keeping the Haemonculi in line, but she has ambitions of her (some of which are mentioned in the batrep Women’s Work) and Lynatharr is careful to keep her from becoming too powerful: at one point he demoted her to a Succubus, but later re-appointed her as Dracon. 

Elites
Wyches. Experience has taught me that when you’re playing “assault” Dark Eldar, the more Wyches, the better. Indeed, had I not already wedded myself to using Taloses, I’d be sorely tempted to turn the Ozone Scorpions into a Wych Cult army. Thus, I’ve added two more Wych squads to my army: the Handmaidens and the Ring of Honor.

First, the Handmaidens. While visiting the Millenium Gate forum, I came across some photos posted by Marc (“Da Pain Train”) Smith, who had used Warhammer fantasy Witch Elves for his Wyches. Duh! Why hadn’t I thought of that before? 

Callous Drowboy Cheerleaders
Above: Handmaidens (Wyches). And such nice girls they are....

I stole—errr—borrowed Marc’s idea, giving a few of them splinter pistols and some funky weapons (nets and a big fork). Combined with the spiky swords the models came with, this unit would count as having wych weapons. 

Callous Drowboy Cheerleaders
Left: Wych with net. Right: Wych with Tuning Fork of Death

The Succubus (below) sports a huge wrist blade (made from a Raider bit) that acts as an agonizer. 

Callous Drowboy Cheerleaders

I painted them in Enchanted Blue and Mithril Silver to coordinate with the rest of my army. Fluffwise, they were, at first, Dr’zzlah’s bodyguards, thus the name “Handmaidens.” As Dr’zzlah becomes more powerful and popular (especially after her excellent showing at Counter Offensive 2), Lynatharr seeks to keep her in check: he has recently re-assigned the Handmaidens and now they answer to him.

Next, the Ring of Honor. When I first started putting together the army, I envisioned that Sybarites with poisoned blades, leading Raider Squads, would help assault the enemy. WS 4, three Attacks on the charge, wounding on 2+…what’s not to like? Looked good on paper, but it didn’t work well in real life. So I pulled the Sybarite figures out of their squads and banded them into a third Wych squad. Because my “Wyches” aren’t really “Wyches” (i.e., gladiators-for-hire), they’re exceptional Warriors hopped up on combat drugs, they’re painted like the rest of the army. 

Wych from the Ring of Honor squad
Above: Ironically, the Ring of Honor is the only 
"Wych" squad in my army that uses actual Wych figures 

The “fluff” behind this unit is that to further tighten his control on the Kabal, Lynatharr “promoted” several prominent Sybarites and put them into one fighting group, led by the overly-ambitious Eklavdrah (below). They help keep the others squads in line and spy on each other. Having them all in one group makes them easier to keep an eye on. Lynatharr may be insane, but he’s not stupid…. 

Eklavdrah
Above: Eklavdrah, ruthless leader of the Ring of Honor. 
She appeared in Tooth and Claw and the short story The Grey Tiger

As I’ve mentioned, one of the inspirations for this army is the Dallas Cowboys (American) football team. The Ring of Honor Wych squad takes its name from the real “Ring of Honor” at Texas Stadium that lists names of famous Cowboy players. Also in keeping with the Cowboy theme, I’ve nicknamed the Handmaidens “The Callous Drowboy Cheerleaders.” 

Warp Beasts. I pulled the bases out from under my Warp Beasts. As you can see in the photos below, the scorpion models I used for my Beasts are pretty large anyway, and the bases just made it that much harder for all of them to get into hand-to-hand combat, where they belong. Not to mention that I didn't do such a good job of securing the Beasts to their bases when I first made them, so they always tended to fall off. 

Those bases are way too big....Warp Beast attacking Fighting Tiger
The bases were cool, but they had to go. The Warp Beasts are much better off without them.

Without the bases, I can get more of my "long-legged beasties" into the fight. They balance just fine of the tips of their legs, despite how front-heavy those claws make them.

Troops
Raider Squads. As I mentioned, I had thought that Raider Squads would be able to do okay in hand-to-hand combat. Actual practice showed that while WS 4 was nice, Strength 3 and Toughness 3 sucked. The change regarding “Rapid Fire” weapons (no assaulting after firing) that came out with the latest rulebook drove me to an easy decision: from now on, my Raider Squads would be dedicated to shooting.

Because I don’t intend to get the Raider Squads into close combat, there are few reasons to upgrade any of them to Sybarites, as Sybarites are probably the only squad leaders in 40K who do not have better Leadership than the troops they lead. So, each Raider Squad is just made up of regular guys (albeit one with a splinter cannon—one of my favorite weapons—and one with a blaster). There are only nine in each squad so that a character can join them, if need be. 

You'll note that my Raider Squads are "cookie-cutter" units with no variation. I think redundancy is a good thing for Troop units, and especially for Dark Eldar, who can expect to take lots of casualties. I tell the Raider squads apart by little white dots on the back of their bases: one dot means Squad I, two dots mean Squad II, etc. I do something similar for their transports, so I know which squad goes to which Raider. 

Speaking of Raiders: originally, I had equipped all my Raider transports with scaling nets, thinking that this would help my maneuverability: they did not. Only twice in about 20 battles did I found it necessary to use the scaling nets. So I stripped them off and saved myself the points. 

Warriors. After playing a few games, I discovered that my army had a problem during missions like "Cleanse," where you have to hold a section of the board. My only unit that was suitable for holding table quarters and such was my sole (at the time) Warrior Squad, but they lacked long-range firepower. So my opponent would either shoot them from afar with impunity or stay out of their weedy 24" range and ignore them altogether. 

I can't stand any opponent of mine doing anything "with impunity," and if I had wanted portions of my army to be ignored, I wouldn't have painted them in those god-awful Dallas Cowboy colors, now would I? Clearly, I would have to rectify this revolting situation. 

I'm not a big fan of the Nigh-Ubiquitous "Dark Eldar Sniper Squad": a smidge of Warriors, two of whom have dark lances. However, sometimes you have to go with what works. I painted up two guys with dark lances, using leftover bits from Raider kits. Each dark lance rests on a post which I imagine is driven into the ground in front of the gunner. It's a handy visual explanation of why the dark lance can't be fired on the move. 

Dark lances
Above: Dark lances, in case my Warriors need to hold some territory...

The two dark lances also add a smidge more anti-tank firepower, which the army could use. Before I came up with these, I had three dark lances (mounted on Raiders) and a bunch of blasters (carried by Warriors and mounted on Reaver jetbikes); while blasters are nice, their short range can sometimes be a considerable pain in the rear.

Close-up
Above: The dark lance was painted in Chaos Black 
and drybrushed with Boltgun Metal

Recently, I was going through my bitz box and found enough Warriors to fill out some more squads. The nice thing about Warrior Squads is that you can take two heavy weapons (splinter cannon or dark lance) AND two special weapons (shredder or blaster) in each squad, so I made sure each squad had plenty of good guns. Purists might sneer that doing so is “min/maxxing,” but Dark Eldar need all the dirty tricks they can use.

Fast Attack
Reavers. As you can tell from my original article about Reavers, I used to really like them. But the more games I played with them, the more disenchanted with them I grew, until finally, I concluded that they suck. But what to do with the ten models I already had? 

Rather then throw them out or “retire” them, I split them into three squads. Two squads would have blasters and be dedicated to hunting vehicles (which my army has always had problems with); the other squad would have shredders (to attack infantry) and would accompany Lynatharr. 

Reaver w/ shredder
Above: Reaver jetbike armed with a shredder

Heavy Support
This army is built for close combat, and until I finished my three Taloses, my Dark Eldar were struggling. No more. I've found that it's fun to double- or triple-team Dreadnoughts and to smash into full squads of enemy troops, even tough nutcases like Space Wolves. I've also had some success with using all three Taloses as fire magnets, but even with Toughness 7, they don't last as long as one might think. It's usually better to pop these three out of a webway portal and get them into hand-to-hand (hand-to-claw?) combat as soon as possible.

The triplets
If you were expecting the Dahm Triplets, you'll be disappointed...

Going along with the Dallas Cowboy theme I have with this army, I've nicknamed my Taloses "The Triplets," after Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin, the original "triplets" who guided the Boys to three Super Bowl victories in the early '90s. I painted all of my Taloses basically alike, with a few minor variations, such as the Fighting Tiger helmet on the Talos below.

Talos with Fighting Tiger helmet
Above: Talos with Tiger helmet and Scorpion "victim" bolted into it

I hope you've enjoyed this series and found it useful. If you're interested, there's more about the Ozone Scorpions here.  The latest version of the army is here

I'd like to thank my friends at the Millenium Gate forum for their input, enthusiasm, and encouragement, and I'd especially like to thank Matthew Hunt (known across the Internet as the fearsome Kurgan the Lurker) for his invaluable painting tips. 
 


From Idea to Reality
Getting started <> Color schemes <> Raider Squads <> Transports <> Warriors <> 
Haemonculi/Talos <> Reavers <> Wyches <> Warp Beasts <> Archon <> Final

Related Pages
Themed Army Idea: Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions
Armies of the Jungle: Kabal of the Ozone Scorpions
 

Posted December 2003. Revised September 2006
 

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Fighting Tigers:
Codex <> Tactics <> Gallery <> Allies and Enemies <> Tales of the Tigers

Other Pages:
Main <> What's New <> Site Index <> The Tiger Roars <> Themed Army Ideas
Events and Battle Reports <> Campaigns <> Terrain <> FAQ <> Beyond the Jungle