1850 List Building

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hobby time has been tight this past month, but the one thing I can do pretty much anywhere is list build in my head. I'm focusing on 1850 points since that seems to be the magic number around here for any organized play. I also need to make a decision on which army to prepare for NOVA, now only a few short months away. The Necrons aren't really in the running anymore as I'm more interested in working on my other armies and I'm sure they will be well represented at the tournament anyway. That leaves Dark Eldar and Raptors as main army choices. Depending on the upcoming Eldar release, they are certainly under consideration as an allied detachment for either army if I can get them ready in time. So with that being said, here's the 2 most recent list ideas I've been kicking around. I'll start with the Raptors since this is the most recent (and I still have no idea which direction to go with DE at 1850):


Dreadnought w/ Multi-Melta; Heavy Flamer; Drop Pod
Dreadnought w/ Multi-Melta; Heavy Flamer; Drop Pod
Dreadnought w/ 2 Twin-Linked Autocannons

10x Tactical w/ Multi-Melta; Flamer; Rhino
10x Tactical w/ Lascannon; Flamer
10x Tactical w/ Multi-Melta; Flamer; Sgt w/ Combi-Melta; Drop Pod
5x Scouts w/ Close combat weapons; Sgt w/ Power Fist & Combi-Melta

Land Speeder Storm w/ Heavy Flamer
Storm Talon w/ Twin-Linked Lascannons; Twin-Linked Assault Cannons

Thunderfire Cannon
Vindicator w/ Storm Shield

Aegis Defense Line w/ Quad Gun

This list builds off of a 1500pt list I used at a tournament earlier this year. I feel like this list is really solid and offers a variety of options for facing various missions and opponents. Drop Pods certainly have an effect on the enemy's deployment, as does an outflanking Storm w/ close combat scouts and escorting Storm Talon. There's a decent amount of scoring options, an OK amount of anti-flyer, and what seems to be a nice balance of AV and Infantry with both being able to dish out anti-armor/horde shooting. No real close combat capability, but this list is clearly focused on shooting; if I can soften things up enough first, then marines/dreads should be able to hold their own if the situation calls for an assault.

I should also note that both of these lists were built with a focus on the units I have already built and started painting, simply because I can start play-testing these now and if I like them I'm not starting from scratch. I really don't want to have to rush the painting on either of these armies or pull any last minute heroics the night before the GT. So with that in mind, this DE list is very much a "throw everything you have already assembled into a list" and see what it looks like. I have far fewer unit options built for this army, but I still have several kits to go that will open things up quite a bit while I get a feel for the army basics with what I already have.

Dark Eldar 1850 "what I got" list:

Baron Sathonyx
Haemonculus w/ Liquifier; Webway Portal

5x Trueborn w/ 4 Blasters; Splinter Cannon; Haywire Grenades; Venom w/ dual Cannons
5x Mandrakes w/ Nightfiend

5x Warriors w/ Blaster; Venom w/ dual Cannons
10x Warriors w/ Splinter Cannon; Raider w/ Splinter Racks
5x Wracks w/ Acothyst; Liquifier; Raider
10x Wyches w/ Haywire Grenades; Hekatrix w/ PGL & PW; Raider

4x Beastmasters w/ Clawed Fiend; 5 Khymerae; 4 Razorwing Flock
6x Reavers w/ 2 Heat Lances; Arena Champion w/ Venom blade
5x Scourges w/ 2 Haywire Blasters

Cronos w/ Spirit Vortex
Ravager w/ Nightshield

I know it looks bad, I really do. But these are the models I have furthest along and I've been chomping at the bit to play my DE. Of course this list has massive holes (no Flyer D being the most obvious) and some units that don't get a lot of love on the Internet for various reasons, over-priced or lack of synergy with the rest of the army blah blah (looking at you Mandrakes and Cronos). But forget about all of that! You know why?

Say what you will about their in-game abilities, but their models are completely badass looking, and that's a good enough reason as any to play them! The great thing about this list is the variety of units and the various deployment options. I can mount all the infantry up in their fast skimmers or keep the fragile troops in reserves to enter via the portal later on. I can outflank the Mandrakes, Deep Strike the Scourges or change my mind for both if I get the WWP in a sweet position. I'll get a chance to try out all of the basic troop choices in the book (minus hellions because I don't have any), same for the Fast Attack slot. I absolutely love the DE FA section and it's always a challenge for me to balance how much I want to invest in that slot versus the rest of the list. Again, great models and there are Beasts, Jump Infantry, and Jetbike unit types/tactics to play around with. Overall, I like this list because I'll get to try out so many different units and hopefully will start to discover some interesting combo's. There is a lot of tough choices in the DE codex because there are so many options and no way to include them all in one list. But this will be a good start for me learning how the basic troops interact with some of the more "fun" units. I'll still have many more things to try out and swap in, but I hope this will provide a nice starting point for learning the army and beginning to develop my own flavor for how I'd like to run my DE force.

So there you have it. The first list is a more serious attempt at building a balanced list that I can take to a tournament. The second is merely a starting point for learning my newest army and working through the myriad of options in hopes to narrow down the units that could eventually make it into a true all-comers list.

Coming up in a semi-related post, I want to talk about the impact of Flyers on list building given the current state of 6th edition. I'm also hoping to have some actual hobby progress updates to share in the near future!


  1. I would almost argue "Go for what you love the look / hobby of." After all, if your list takes a licking for its first few rounds or "out-bracket," you're going to wind up with roughly peer lists anyway when the rubber hits the road for the bracketing ... and that'll give you plenty of opportunity to climb back up the Renaissance and Battlemaster standings. Play what you want to play with, and just tweak it a little to add some octane booster if you can pull it off w/out killing yourself.


    1. I definitely agree with that approach and for me, whether I like the look of a model or not will always trump what the model can actually do in game terms (stats, math-hammer, etc) when determining what makes it into a list. Although, ideally, I'd like the units to be able to perform well and not suck! But regardless, I think that is great advice to follow for any hobby / game system!

  2. I don't really know the DE dex very well (I've played them a few times but it was a limited set of units between the 4 or 5 games ive played), but for anti-air I'd say an aegis with an icarus lascannon is a decent addition that you could squeeze in (plus you could build it out of a darklance to make it fit in, and the dl itself could be plasticard easily to fit your army). I don't know how that fits in your list, but if there's a way to get a BS 5 model on it, that thing is pretty damn effective

    1. Absolutely, and I've actually already started on the model for the Icarus and I have plans for building the dark quad gun variant; basically building a gun platform on top of a skyboard. It should look the part, now all I need to do is craft an eldarish looking defense line then I'll be set.

  3. I'm with Mike on this one. Always take a list that you enjoy playing, that way even if/when you lose, you still have a good time. Trying to bring the most uber competitive list is only really good if 1.) you think you are going to win. 2.) You enjoy playing it. Otherwise when you end up out of the running, you end up regretting not bringing the army you really like.

    1. That's very true! There's nothing wrong with those who choose to take the nastiest most competitive list they can muster if that's what they are going for. But I see myself somewhere in the middle of the competitive vs fluff spectrum; I want my armies to be able to make things happen and not get steamrolled every game, but first and foremost I have to enjoy the actual army I'm fielding on the table or else I am limiting the fun for myself (and probably my opponents' as well).