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Unit of the Week: Kabalite Warriors

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Welcome to Drukhari "Unit of the Week" series.

Each week a different unit will appear, with the idea being that we discuss how best to use that model on the battlefield. This series will focus on Codex entries initially. If/when we exhaust those possibilities, we will start looking at Forgeworld and Legends if people are interested in those units.
These threads are not to discuss proposed changes to units or long complaints about poor behaviour. I would like to keep them constructive and focus on making the best use of the units as they stand. Inevitably, in a codex as large as ours, there is going to be some overlapping of battlefield roles. For this reason, I will allow comparisons against other units that fill similar roles provided the posts remain primarily focused on the unit under discussion.
Mentioning other units in the context of synergies and army building is of course permitted (even encouraged). This week's entry are:

Kabalite Warriors
What are you thoughts here folks? How best would you use Kabalite Warriors?
  • To compliment a list, or to build a list around? Will the beta rules affect your list(s)?
  • Will you be running multiple units?
  • Which weapon options are you taking and are they affects by the above?
  • Are you buffing this unit? If so, how?
  • Stratagems of note?
Over to you.


Edited by Karhedron, 04 May 2020 - 09:58 PM.

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Sanguinius stood up, stretching his wings to their full extent. He flexed his hands. "I need no blade".
It was as though Sanguinius gleamed with pale light, his face white, eyes becoming blood-red, surrounded by the golden crown of flowing hair. Guilliman had witnessed glimpses of of his brother's wrath before, but had never seen the true Blood Angel unleashed. Sanguinius surged forward on alabaster wings, half a meter from the floor, whiteness streaming from him like flames.




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Should you want your model on display here (or on another thread from the series), then submit a photo here please.
Sanguinius stood up, stretching his wings to their full extent. He flexed his hands. "I need no blade".
It was as though Sanguinius gleamed with pale light, his face white, eyes becoming blood-red, surrounded by the golden crown of flowing hair. Guilliman had witnessed glimpses of of his brother's wrath before, but had never seen the true Blood Angel unleashed. Sanguinius surged forward on alabaster wings, half a meter from the floor, whiteness streaming from him like flames.




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This is perfect timing for me, though my first squad is locked in from aeons ago I will of course be adding more. Unfortunately this means I have little to add myself tongue.png My original thoughts and plans were to focus them mostly on anti-infantry duties. This is generally the work of line troops anyway along with other standards like holding ground, but with the old poison rules it was more so. Though rules have changed a fair bit since then I think this idea still applies.


My current squad just has splinter cannon, though I do have a primer shredder somewhere (or is it a blaster?). I think these have merit too to round off their shooting and make it more diverse in the role so I'll be interested in hearing more here. An alternative is scooting around in a transport causing mischief and generally making a nuisance of themselves?


I do think about a lance sometimes, perhaps for a backfield unit, but realistically aren't most Warrior squads going to be closing on the enemy or in a Raider etc? The option is good of course, but I think AT duties are probably going to rest elsewhere (Scourges and skimmers come to kind). Looking forward to hearing what others have to say thumbsup.gif

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In the grim predictability of online 40k, there can be only Sun Tzu quotes

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DE Warriors | Tyranids Genestealers




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Kabalites are the mainstay of my army and probably for the majority of other players. I prefer to run them at the bare minimum: 5 man squads, just a rifle on the Sybarite and one special weapon and also in Venom although I think I'm going to switch to Raiders (a point for another time I think).


Minimum squads and Special Weapons

As most people will have guessed, Dark eldar are all about their speed and mobility. They want to outpace and (generally) outshoot their opponent. The best way (IMO) to do this is to run minimum, bare bones units in transports. 5 man kabalite squads with no upgrades are 30 points, dirt cheap but don't really provide much beyond some poison shots. Generally I wouldn't run them like this, as unless you're using them to sit on an objective  they will struggle to make their points back. From there, there is two ways of running them: Anti-infantry or anti-tank.


The Shredder is the special weapon of choice if you want some anti-infantry, at strength 5 and -1ap it really can do some work against low to medium toughness with low armour saves. The downside is that it's only 12" range and D6 shots, less than ideal but can definitely come in clutch against hordes. The range being that low means that you have to get close which Kabalites definitely don't want to do. in a pinch, this could also be pretty great against power armour as the strength 5 is higher than most space marines's toughness.


The Blaster is the other option if you want anti-tank. At 17 points, 1 shot and D6 it can be quite expensive for what it does but it does have some upsides. With 18" range it makes it easy enough to stay out of harms way and with -4AP it also ignores most Imperial vehicles armour save  and most don't have Invuln saves. At 17 points it puts a 5 man squad to 47 points which IMO is a steal for the damage potential.




6+ man squads and Heavy weapons


The problem with bigger squads is that the bigger weapons unlocked at 10+ are too underwhelming for their points.


Dark lances are too swingy in my opinion. You have one shot which if you're in a vehicle you can't re-roll, which while high strength and AP is too random at D6 damage. When looking at the current state of 8th and Math-hammer, D6 dmg weaponry is not consistent enough. Generally lower strength, lower AP but high rate of fire and lower damage has a higher chance of doing damage. It's also 15 points which is too high IMO


10 points for a splinter cannon is not great especially when up against anything primaris or Mech-wall which is the majority of the meta currently. It suffers from the same thing that all poison weapons do curretly: no AP. If you're not running Flayed Skull, this point is made even worse, especially when up against any sort of power armour. However these can be really good picks when against something like Nids with hordes or big monsters and Orks. High rate of fire vs low armour saves is great.


When looking at these two options you also have to take into account the fact that you also have to pay for 5 more Kabalites than the minimum, while at only 30 points this can add up on top of the Heavy weapon and the base special weapon. As pointed out before I think that a splinter cannon can work really well vs orks and nids where you have so many low save models to shoot at.




As I pointed out above, Dark eldar and Kabalites especially want to be outpacing and moving out of harms way of targets. The best way to do this is with Transports, which in my opinion and my experience is really the only way you want to run Kabalites as they are far too squishy outside of them. With this in mide there are only two Transports in the codex, there Forgeworld options but I don't have any experience with these.


The venom is a maximum 5 man transport that comes with a splinter cannon on top and a twin splinter rifle underneath for a base of 65 points. It's fast, it's small and hard to hit. It has a 5+ Invuln save (all Dark eldar vehicles do) and an inbuilt -1 to hit, while only 6 wounds it can move 16" and is open topped meaning the passengers can shoot out of it. It can also replace the twin splinter rifles for another splinter cannon for 10pts, bumping this up to 75 points. There are two other vehcile equipment options options but in my opinion are not at all worth it as they require the venom to be in combat. Obviously this requires your kabalite squad to be a minimum size unit and until the re-do of the space marine codex (with it's ridiculous amount of re-rolls basically making the -1 to hit moot) Venoms were the obvious choice.


The Raider is a 10 man maximum transport that comes with a disintergrator cannon as standard. Where it lacks the -1 to hit that the venom has it makes up for in wounds, damage output and transport capacity. At 80 points with the base gun I think this really has a chance of knocking out the venom as top dog. With a ten man transport capacity it can either be used to transport a full 10 man squad or two 5 mans or even a 5 man and a court of the archon etc. You can switch the disintergrator for a dark lance but as I said above, generally the disintegrator does better statistically. The Raider is great  if you really want to clear hordes, you could take a 10 man unit with a Shredder and a splinter cannon and give the Raider the Splinter racks vehicle upgrade (the only worth while upgrade and it's very situational IMO). This means at 12" range the gun boat will be putting out 3 Disintegrator shots, D6 blaster shots and 22 poison shots which explode on 6s to hit. With the Flayed Skull obsession they can re-roll 1s on poison weapons and ignore cover.




Sorry fo the massvie wall of text, it's a slow day at work. If you have any questions feel free to ask away!

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I appreciate your wall of text; I don't have my Kabalites yet- just wych cult models and a lonely Haemonculus, and your advice is helpful.


I'll offer my contribution to "Unit of the Week" from the narrative campaign perspective, since I tend to grow armies rather than build them.


For me, Kabalites are the lynchpin of Dark Eldar society. They represent a "typical" DE as opposed to a splintered subculture. While I supposed it is possible for Succubi and Haemonculi to be the driving force behind the real-space raid. I see the Archons as being the financial patrons of both Cults and Covens- the folks who bring it all together.


When I build mine, I think I'll use the same approach I used with the wyches- start with small generic kill teams, which basically earn the right to grow through battle, adding special weapons, models and units as they steal from and assassinate each other and their follow inhabitants of Commorragh. They can bet in the wych cult arena, winning court of the Archon models as slaves or partners, eventually building up contacts to mount a raid.


Like the cults, they can barter their dead with the Haemonculi; an Archon might gain immunity from true death rolls between games to represent his or her contract for reanimation with a Haemonculus in exchange for the body of the first casualty to fall in battle every time the Kabal fights. This casualty would then become a wrack in the Haemonculus' coven.


So for me, the Kabalites feed the campaign in a story sense. It literally does not function without them. What I worry about though, is that I can't really create unique Kabals because none of the build your own options even hold a candle to the big Kabals. Wyches were slightly better, and I think I've got two combinations picked out- still though, red grief wyches are awesome, and it's really hard not to go that way.


Kabals, however, don't have a build your own option that even comes close.


Another problem from a personal narrative perspective is that I think the size of the initial Kill Team needs to be larger than it does for the wyches. They have this arena to fight in, and a rules overlay based on gladitorial combat that allowed a 5 on 5 basic format to actually work; Kabals, not so much. In the early stages, I see them doing things like stealing from rival Kabals, assassinating rivals, and running mercenary negotiations in hostile territory- all stuff that merits  a good full kill team table rather than a stripped down arena.


This means I need 3 boxes of Kabalites, where I could get away with two for wyches. It also means I need Commorragh themed scenery beyond the Arena.

Edited by ThePenitentOne, 28 April 2020 - 09:29 PM.

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