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Unit of the Week: Archons

Unit of the Week Archon Dark Eldar

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#1
Vel'Cona

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Completing the Kabalite "core" are the masterminds of Realspace Raiding, the Archons!  It's fair to say that in the new 'dex, the Archon is a critical model simply because they're nearly required to run Kabalite Detachments.  That being said, the Archon is definitely not just an accessory character as they offer a host of benefits for your forces and are solid fighters, too.  Consider the following:

 

+Very fast 8" move keeps up with other units

+Hits on 2+ in shooting and melee (with re-rolls!)

+Five base attacks

+Re-roll to hit rolls of 1 aura

+Access to powerful Warlord Traits and Artefacts

+Benefits immensely from Kabal Obsessions

+Excellent wargear options

+Shadowfield standard 2+ Invulnerable save until failed

+Power From Pain

+Relatively inexpensive

 

-Poor Strength 3 can make wounding in melee difficult

-Toughness 3 and 5+ Save means his 5 Wounds won't last long once Shadowfield drops

 

As you can see, I couldn't think of many downsides for the Archon on closer inspection, and it's easy to see why!  The Archon offers immense flexibility and can be built to handle nearly any task; if you need him to hang back and shoot, a Blaster (Index ahoy!) is a great option, while he can be equipped to handle high Toughness targets via an Agoniser or to mow down MEQ with a Huskblade (or Djinn Blade).  As for support, the hit re-roll aura is nice, but it may just be that access to Kabal-specific Warlord Traits (like Labyrinthine Cunning) is the real showstopper, here.  Just about the only issue for the Archon is that once you do fail a Shadowfield save (or just get MW spammed) he'll fold very quickly, but as DE players I'm sure the "glass cannon" approach is to be expected.

 

So, how do you equip your Archons?  Any "favoured builds"?


Edited by Vel'Cona, 14 May 2018 - 01:37 PM.

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#2
micahwc

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Blaster and Agonizer is my default build. I love blasters and take them wherever I can. Agonizer makes it easier for the Archon to wound most infantry.


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The Codex Astartes no doubt has guidance that covers that kind of situation - long, detailed advice that would essentially boil down to "shoot the choppy ones, chop the shooty ones".


#3
Ranwulf

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Biggest pet peeve with the Archon is that an army whose vechile can go up to 14", and fly, he cant support them properly if they want to move away to a different position because of his 8" move. I seriously think that Archons needed a jump pack/wings as they often dont stay inside their vechiles to be useful.

 

Ran


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#4
Jacques Corbin

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Husk blade, and Blast Pistol. Add 4 Sslyth and a Venom for an obscene amount of poison shots. His aura does not work while embarked, but still. The plan is to have him, his ride, and his bodyguards camp near a blob of 20 warriors, with 2 Dark Lances, and 4 Blasters, and just let the shooting commence. I am going with Obsidian Rose, for the extra range on everything but the Blast Pistol. Their Warlord Trait of +1 damage on all non relic weapons is nasty, and the Armor of Misery makes him a bit more survivable. He will be bubble wrapped nicely, and have his own ride to go cause trouble elsewhere as necessary.

Edit: corrected myself. Their obsession is +6 range on all but Pistols and eyebursts.

Edited by Jacques Corbin, 15 May 2018 - 10:56 PM.

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#5
Vel'Cona

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Biggest pet peeve with the Archon is that an army whose vechile can go up to 14", and fly, he cant support them properly if they want to move away to a different position because of his 8" move. I seriously think that Archons needed a jump pack/wings as they often dont stay inside their vechiles to be useful.

 

Ran

 

Indeed, I've definitely noticed that he can get left behind at times.  It's possible to burn CPs to get him moving faster, but this can get expensive quickly and we need those CPs elsewhere in the list.  The Blaster may just be the best choice for him shooting-wise since it's Assault and he can Advance with it (and the penalty doesn't hurt him much), though honestly sometimes he'll just get left behind :(


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#6
Lord Asvaldir

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Biggest change to the archon I think was making the huskblade so much better. It's no longer overpriced, and giving it +1 strength makes a huge difference. S4 isn't amazing, but I'll take it with d3 damage and 5 attacks base, which is better than a lot of other characters. 

 

As far as relics go, man o man do I love the djinn blade. It turns the archon from a decent melee combatant to a beast. Combine that with the famed savagery trait flayed skull and he's 8 s5 attacks on the charge. Man o man is that potent, I've had him rip through chapter masters and whole squads of marines. Eternal hatred is also a pretty good trait as well if you want a little more consistency. Also have him armed with a blast pistol because why not have the extra damage. If he ever ends up in a protracted combat the blast pistol will absolutely fry any character without an invul save. 

 

My only issue with the archon is their effectiveness seems to decrease if you have to take a lot of them. In a kabal heavy list that's a given. 70pts is a bit much for taking say 3 archons. One combat beast is enough for me, so I usually have my second archon cheap as possible with the venom blade hanging backfield with some ravagers. Haven't had that backfield archon in combat once yet, and with m8 plus rerolling advances a foot archon can move reasonably fast to stick around with ravagers. 

 

There's also of course the labarynith cunning/living muse archon which seems to have become a fan favorite of many, but that's not my style. I want my archon ripping through lesser races on the front line alongside an escort of incubi or wyches. 


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The Night is Dark and Full of Terrors...

 

 


#7
Withershadow

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If you aren’t using a Writ/Lab Archon, having one baby-sitting Ravagers seems unnecessary. Those 72 points can go toward more stuff that kills things (that’s most of a Razorwing) that will benefit you more than rerolling 1s on your Ravagers shots. This also unanchors the Ravagers completely to fully utilize their speed for positioning.

#8
Lord Asvaldir

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Problem is finding space for that archon in one of my boats. Already made my wych unit smaller so I can run a succubus and archon with them, don't particularly want to make room for a 3rd character. Plus I haven't had an issue yet with my ravagers mobility, the archon is decently fast with m8 and advance, and if I really need to I can move out of the aura. Plus the archon has functioned as good backfield protection against deep strikers in a couple cases. 


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#9
Vel'Cona

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Problem is finding space for that archon in one of my boats.

 

I've definitely experienced this issue quite a bit.  For the Succubus it's easy because reducing Wyches to fit their character in doesn't impact them as heavily, and so far Haemonculi have generally been walking into combat (to support Talos).  With the Archon, I feel like he really wants to hitch a ride UNLESS he's being used as a buff bot, and when I want to stack Battalions for CP generation I often find myself 1 character "extraneous to requirements".  I think that the buff bot Archon offers something of a middle-ground in applying this character, especially due the lack of mobility options once your Kabalite transports fill up.


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#10
Withershadow

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Problem is finding space for that archon in one of my boats.

 

I've definitely experienced this issue quite a bit.  For the Succubus it's easy because reducing Wyches to fit their character in doesn't impact them as heavily, and so far Haemonculi have generally been walking into combat (to support Talos).  With the Archon, I feel like he really wants to hitch a ride UNLESS he's being used as a buff bot, and when I want to stack Battalions for CP generation I often find myself 1 character "extraneous to requirements".  I think that the buff bot Archon offers something of a middle-ground in applying this character, especially due the lack of mobility options once your Kabalite transports fill up.

I strongly disagree.  Wyches gain more than warriors from being 10-strong, those extra two hydra gauntlets make all the difference in their damage output (presuming Hecatrix has power sword or agonizer, and another has the impaler and net).  Warriors can be easily taken 5-strong with a special weapon.

 

We also have Incubi and Mandrakes that can form either melee or shooty retinues (the latter don't have to deep strike), as well as the Court of the Archon, which is great in everything except wonky tournament formats that impose kill points on everything.

 

My lists so far are featuring the following Archons:

 

Black Heart, LabCunning, Writ - cheapo with nothing but a venom blade for 72 points. 

-OR-

Flayed Skull, Famed Savagery, Djin Blade, PGL, blaster or bpistol - 86 or 93 points, this guy is a straight-up blender.

 

Then the other 1 or 2 archons in the list are just generalists with blaster, huskblade and PGL, with optional helm of spite if I'm facing psykers.

 

I got a Drazhar conversion in mind using the Vysarch and some left-over bits from Kingdom Death Monster, but I'm waiting on them to make him not crap.



#11
Lord Asvaldir

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I think the issue is that you don't want to take a warrior unit at anything between 5 or 10 strong, which means there's no room in the transport for the archon unless you're running just a 5 man unit in a raider and leaving all the rest of the space for the archon. Wyches on the other hand you could run at say 8 strong and leave room for 1-2 characters. Ideally though I'd really like to get some incubi as a character escort since they don't care about being under 10, as I really do like having 3 wych cult weapons in a wych unit. 

 

I agree that being forced to take the extra generalist archons are a tad annoying, wish I could just take my one beatstick archon. 


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#12
Vel'Cona

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I think the issue is that you don't want to take a warrior unit at anything between 5 or 10 strong, which means there's no room in the transport for the archon unless you're running just a 5 man unit in a raider and leaving all the rest of the space for the archon.

 

I think this where the Court is meant to come in, but as I'm too lazy to convert 4 Sslyths I probably won't be able to test it out any time soon! :P


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#13
Lord Asvaldir

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I like ssylths, I converted up a couple orgryns as my slave bodyguards to stand in as ssylths, but the court still isn't the best choice. Ideal escort for my archon wouldbe incubi, from a thematic standpoint that just seems very cool. 


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#14
Lord_Caerolion

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Actually, that does work. Archon, 4 Court members, and 5 Warriors in the Raider.

 

What I'd love to see, though, is a "Command Throne" variant of the Venom, similar to the Catacomb Command Barge that the Necrons have. Something like a Venom/Archon hybrid, that boosts the range of the aura, maybe some sort of leadership penalty to enemy troops? To differentiate it from the Barge, maybe not have it a single unit, but rather a special single-capacity Venom, so the Archon can still disembark for some stabby goodness.


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#15
Withershadow

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I think the issue is that you don't want to take a warrior unit at anything between 5 or 10 strong.

Why? They are only 6 points and depending on your Kabal, can still do quite good work.  For example, Flayed Skull in a raider with splinter racks, I will certainly consider an additional 4 warriors. Since this unit is ablative for the Archon, having a few extra bodies is not a detriment.

 

Or, of course, as mentioned above, you can take the Court. Sslyth are a bit too expensive to spam, but 1 or two is helpful (especially if you got a djin blade), and the Lhameans are great for 15 points. Ur-ghul is kinda eh, but it has 6 S4 attacks on a re-rollable 3+ when in charges, so it's not all bad. Medusae is the only crappy one because the range can't be boosted and the cost is too high. Ur-ghul should probably be like 10-12 points, while the Medusai no more than 16.

 

As for Sslyth, they are the easiest thing in the world to convert. The Blood Sisters models make for easy-peasy Sslyth, just add a second set of arms with a shard carbine you no doubt have left over from your Scourges.



#16
Vel'Cona

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As for Sslyth, they are the easiest thing in the world to convert. The Blood Sisters models make for easy-peasy Sslyth, just add a second set of arms with a shard carbine you no doubt have left over from your Scourges.

 

You underestimate my laziness, sir! :lol:


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#17
Brother Captain Firelupus

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Actually, that does work. Archon, 4 Court members, and 5 Warriors in the Raider.

 

What I'd love to see, though, is a "Command Throne" variant of the Venom, similar to the Catacomb Command Barge that the Necrons have. Something like a Venom/Archon hybrid, that boosts the range of the aura, maybe some sort of leadership penalty to enemy troops? To differentiate it from the Barge, maybe not have it a single unit, but rather a special single-capacity Venom, so the Archon can still disembark for some stabby goodness.

 

So basically Vect. As I run pure Black hearts, this gets my vote.


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My three armies for 8th Edition 40K.

The Flame Wolves Chapter. Motto: 'igne purgabitur' - By Fire be Purged

Craftworld IL-KAITHE - Autarch Firelupus Commanding. 

Black Hearts Kabal , Shard of the Breathless Host, Fire Wolf Splinter - Archon He'rach Commanding.

 

Name                         Games Played 8th Ed 2017 / 2018  Miniatures Painted 2017 / 2018

Flame Wolves                                         8- 1 - 17  /  0 -0 - 0                                     6 / 0

Craftworld IL-Kaithe                               7 - 0 - 4  /  12 -1- 6                                  42 / 23

Flame Wolf Splinter, Black Hearts              0-0-0 / 5-0-4                                        0 / 0                      

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#18
Lord_Caerolion

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Well, Vect would have an upscaled version, the Dais of Destruction. This will be the min-Vect. We're told that Archon's use Venoms as personal, single-occupant transports, let's give them one that's worthy of carrying such an esteemed individual.


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#19
Vel'Cona

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If you can model an Archon sitting in an ornate throne on the Venom, that'd be crazy impressive!  Perhaps surrounded by his Sslyth bodyguard? :)


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#20
Lord_Caerolion

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Oh, I’m basically planning that for my Archon’s Raider, working on putting the Coven Throne model on the rear section of the Raider, above the keel. As for representing the Phantasm Grenade Launcher on it, did you know that the massive spirit host holding up the Coven Throne is also perfectly shaped for holding up a Raider? ;)
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