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Dark Riders in 8th 
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Dragon Lord
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I haven't used dark riders in 8th edition *at all*

I just don't find them as useful anymore.

6th - 4 units of dark riders pretty much all the time
7th - 1, occasionally 2 units of dark riders
8th - 0...

Lets see what changed.
Between 6th and 7th edition, harpies became Core, and single handedly removed Dark Riders' most common use - charge redirectors... They do it at less cost, and they can't cause panics even if they get destroyed. At the same time Shades became better, so if you wanted a small shooting unit behind enemy lines - Shades were the go-to unit. More models at lower cost. win win.

Then 8th edition came around, Charge distances became unpredictable, flee distances became shorter (and unpredictable). Before I knew I could part a unit of dark riders 2" in front of enemy infantry and stand a good chance at successfully fleeing. Now I just won't risk it. And fleeing from a larger distance simply means the opponent doesn't have to charge them at all... just go around them.

So what are your thoughts? Do you still use the Dark Riders? If so how? and do you find them useful?

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Fri Apr 20, 2012 2:57 pm
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I like to use them in combination with Cold One Knights.

i.e. screen and vanguard move ahead of COKs, pepper enemy from distance, draw out a charge and flee for the heavies behind to deliver a counter charge.

I like all of our 'scout' troops, and employ them for different roles

i.e. in comparison to DR:

Harpies - fly, more sacrificial (cheaper), cant shoot

Shades - pop up behind enemy lines, more shooty, possible assassin-delivery system, less mobile

In regards to old editions, they have lost their fire and flee rule which I used to love and as you say fleeing is more risky, but overall I still tend to use at least one unit.

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Fri Apr 20, 2012 3:17 pm
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I've used them 3 times now in 8th. Twice against Lizzies where both times they became pin cushions (first time to Razordons and second time to Skinks). At that point I was a little bit jaded, that was until I played them against VC and they were ace. 5 Dark Riders singled slaughtered 2 units of Skellies thanks to rear charges. I know Skellies are pretty weak but still I was fairly impressed. I went with a fast paced raiders list so they fit the theme. Considering 5 of them is about 100 points (with crossbows) they performed much better than the Chariots.

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Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:23 pm
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I should mention that now, units of 10 Corsairs with handbows fill the Dark Rider role for me... they do it better, more accurately, and can take more punishment.

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Fri Apr 20, 2012 8:48 pm
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I'v tried in a few games, they are ok, but just too expensive, and they are too soft, for what they can do.

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Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:10 pm
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I am an extreme noob when it comes to 8th edition...I love my new converted Dark Riders...so I wish to use these models, but no matter how hard I try I cant figure out any original strategy/excuse, which would justify spending points for them.

At one point I was so desperate that I even thought about huge unit of DRs (as if it wasnt hard enough to justify sensible unit size. :cry: )

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Fri Apr 20, 2012 11:19 pm
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I am going to see if I can get a game in tommarow. I'll tell you how they fair.

It's been a while since my last game so I don't remember how well they work.

But what I think is a pain is the fact that dark steeds do not give the Fast Cave rule, otherwise I'd probably use them more often (fast cave, lore of metal wizard...fun times).

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Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:01 am
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I've used them aplenty, back when I use to play 8th ed, Dark Riders, Harpies and Shades were staple units in most, if not all my lists. They all fill similar roles, but have slightly different ways of fulfilling them plus other roles its other two counterparts can't quite fulfill.

It's honestly hard to try and justify them, simply play them lots and get use sticking them 12" to an enemy unit without dying.

Dark Riders are essentially Harpies and Shades wrapped into one, they have firepower, they have mobility. On the plus, they're more resilient than their counterparts. It might all not look like much since we're talking about firepower on 5+ and AS on 5+, but it does make a difference when you face them off against the right targets.

My competitive lists use to have three units of DR, two units of Harpies and one to two units of Shades. You try and deal with that much mobility and harassment. Most opponents cannot deal with that much small harassing units, not without wasting valuable resources that should be used elsewhere.

As I've said in many DR questioned posts before, their greatest advantage is mobility, being able to have a free 12" move before the game started, then run another 18" forwards, they'll easily get behind enemy lines by turn 1. That in itself, has its psychological impact on your opponent.

No one likes to get surrounded, now if you have THREE units of DR in their back lines, they really will have something to worry about. Combined with Shades positioned 12" away from enemy units before the game has started, my list would have five units of shooters within short range of the enemy by turn 1.

They're also great for baiting because they're able to rally and move at the same time, which Harpies cannot, if they ever can rally from fleeing at Ld6.

So...they're pretty good if you look at them, most people don't enjoy using them because they're expensive, but honestly, they're not too overpriced if you use them smart. If you think about it again, you're paying 85pts for a unit of AHW Shades, then a separate 55pts for mobile redirecting Harpies. That's 140pts for the two units to do the job a single unit of DR's can do, DR's save you 30pts for all in one!

Anyway, in my past games of 8th ed, they always found a use against every type of army and list. I always made sure to shut down enemy skirmishers and redirecting troops, giving my army supreme control of the battlefield and all the time in the world to position my troops for the upcoming combats.

I remember pouring three units of DR and a unit of Shades onto one flank, and they scythed an enemy unit of 15 HE Swordmasters down to 4 in one turn. It took four units, but it was worth it, I'll gladly fight 4 Swordmasters instead of 15.

Another game vs Wood Elf I remember facing like 5 or 6 units of 10 GG. There was no way I could safely escort my three units of DR and a unit of Shades and Harpies past them to flank charge, so I rushed them all down one flank. I was prepared to allow a couple of units to get crippled to allow the others to be in position to roll down his line of GG. My Harpies fled from panic, but the Riders and Shades stayed, and well, that was pretty much gg whilst the rest of my army safely marched across the field virtually unscathed by the rest of this GG units.

These two examples might be only against T3 5+ (or no) AS. But it still shows what they can do for your army in an indirect way aside from killing units to earn their fair share of VP.

Facing Chaos with no Marauders? Focus fire on their Warriors of Knights, killing a few will make a difference. There's a Giant? Focus fire at it with everything, it has no armour! Or hardly any. Support flank (or better yet, rear) charge an enemy with S4 spears and S3 horses.

There's an abundance of what they can do for your army, might not be as good as Shades and Harpies because they fulfill both unit's jobs, but doesn't excel at either overly well. They're your typical all rounder unit, so use them as a backup unit to fill in for your Harpies or Shades where needed. Sometimes your Harpies might fail to rally, or die too soon. Send the DR's in to redirect or take out that War Machine. Shades out of position? Send the DR's in to assassinate that enemy wizard with those S4 spears, or send them in to shoot down that unit of Vampire Dire Wolves.

I thoroughly enjoy using DR's, and they rarely let me down. Like any other unit, it simply takes practice to find your use with them and to get good with them. Hope my mumbo jumbo had some useful information.

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Sat Apr 21, 2012 1:41 pm
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Meteor really sums up my experience with them as well. I never leave home without them! In larger games, I usually run between 2-3 units of five.

Remember, it's not how well they work for you, but how well you make them work for you!


Sat Apr 21, 2012 2:02 pm
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Well, DR are still in my 8th armies as all tourneys I played since new edition, victories belong to those who can capture and keep objectives with a banner.

I always have 1 or 2 units of 5 with musician and banner. But without xbow. In 8th, units are too large and warmachine to difficult to kill for only 5 xbow.

Otherwise, I played them also in large unit of 10, in 2 rows WITH xbow.
They can shoot 20 bolts that's becoming fairly effective. But I never go into close combat. Only few rounds of shooting and I try to capture an objective at the last turn
Even if cost is high, remember you give away unit points only once the all unit is wiped out. And 10 very mobile DR are a difficult target.

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Sat Apr 21, 2012 9:48 pm
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I havent used them in 8th yet however would if I had the models! (still holding out for new plastic models!)

After reading the Sundering novels I just think they are great fluff wise at the very least. Although when I do buy some I intend to use them as already mentioned, more and more shooting with the repeater crossbow (more mobile fire power also).

Also great for charging fleeing units and pressurisiing the flanks early on.

Alandrian


Sun Apr 22, 2012 5:23 pm
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i use two units of harpies, one of shades and one of DRs (in 2400p) and i find all of them very useful. DRs are expensive, but they are so incredibly versitile (with crossbows) that i just cant stop loving em :)

if you want a specific use for DRs that no other units have you can handle deathstars much easier with DRs than with the other two units, tho you do need two units if DRs.

place one unit of DRs right in front of the deathstar (1"). place another unit of DRs right behind. your opponent can now chose to stay still, or charge the DRs. he will charge. you flee through the DRs behind, and no matter how high your enemy rolls on the charge range he can not reach your DRs, cause there is another unit in the way. he now tries to redirect at that one, and you flee again, most likely through the first unit (since it should be fairly close behind). he can now not reach the secon unit cause the first unit is in the way (he might not even reach that far). and NO, he is not allowed to run through and murder the 1st unit cause he can not move in to base contact with a unit he isnt charging (and he isnt, he redirected on unit 2, remember? :)). so, the deathstar fails charge and stumbles forward a handfull of inches. next turn, you rally, and since you are allowed to move after a rally you just repeat the process.

there are some uncertainties that can screw this up. the 2nd DR unit has to take a panic test when unit 1 flees through it, and if that fails, it will not be able to move in the next turn. you could also be incredibly unlucky with flee rolls (fleeing FAR with unit one, and only 3 inches with unit 2) but thats a risk you will have to take. you could also fail to rally, but if you keep a general or BSB close by. chances are that said deathstar will be kept occupied for the entire battle, or at least till your enemy "wastes" firepower on killing your DRs. however, he will have to kill all of them. even a unit of two can do this tactics efficiently.


anyway, if you think the above is cheesy, then just use them normally as a very very mobile unit for shooting and redirecting. thats what i do, and i love em :)

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Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:57 pm
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Eventually you run out of table space and your dark riders no longer have room to manoeuvre. Or they just get shot and your 100+ points is dead.

Harpies can land 1" away from enemy and angle nicely, when charge they will hold and die. And your opponent will waste his turn reforming after scoring 55 points.. and moving an entire inch.

In the meantime corsairs take the opportunity to sneak beside the unit and drown them in handbow bolts, and believe me, unless you're shooting at chaos warriors or other T4+Heavy Armor troops, the casualties will rack up quickly.

10 corsairs with crossbows and 5 harpies are roughly the price of 5 dark riders with crossbows (a bit more expensive)

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Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:47 am
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Quote:
place one unit of DRs right in front of the deathstar (1"). place another unit of DRs right behind. your opponent can now chose to stay still, or charge the DRs. he will charge. you flee through the DRs behind, and no matter how high your enemy rolls on the charge range he can not reach your DRs, cause there is another unit in the way. he now tries to redirect at that one, and you flee again, most likely through the first unit (since it should be fairly close behind). he can now not reach the secon unit cause the first unit is in the way (he might not even reach that far). and NO, he is not allowed to run through and murder the 1st unit cause he can not move in to base contact with a unit he isnt charging (and he isnt, he redirected on unit 2, remember? ). so, the deathstar fails charge and stumbles forward a handfull of inches. next turn, you rally, and since you are allowed to move after a rally you just repeat the process.


It wouldn't really work that way I'm afraid, what he would do is:

1) Charge DR #1 with deathstar. DR #1 flees
2) Redirect into DR #2, who also flees
3) If DR #2 is now blocked by DR #1, charge DR #1 with another unit. This forces them to flee again, leaving DR #2 open for charge by the deathstar. (This charge can also be redirected, either into DR #2 to scare them off or at any other unit).
4) Repeat above with a third unit if applicable.
5) If DR #2 is still within charge range, roll for charge with the deathstar against DR #2 as normal. If they make the charge, they will move into base contact with DR #2, kill them, and make a free reform.

If the second and third units are disposable (say Harpies), an alternative solution would be:

1) Charge DR #1 with Harpies (preferably in the flank!). If they flee, redirect to DR #2.
2) If the first unit holds, charge DR #2 with a second unit of harpies.
3) If any unit holds, charge that unit with the Deathstar. If they now flee, redirect into the other (if that held too). If they have already fled, redirect into anything.
4) Since the DR held vs. the Harpies they will only get one fleeing roll (from the deathstar). The harpies can now redirect if they wish, or complete the charge against the DR unit (they will not flee again), almost guaranteeing that the DR will be caught and destroyed.


Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:19 am
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Personally, shades outperform the dark riders any day, so I choose them if I want something with little protection. At least they are skirmish, so they won't die at once when they get shot... also, you loose less points if you loose an equal amount of shades vs dark riders.

I've used dark riders in two matches in 8th edition... they are just not worth that much points.

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Thu Apr 26, 2012 6:58 am
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Setomidor wrote:

It wouldn't really work that way I'm afraid, what he would do is:

1) Charge DR #1 with deathstar. DR #1 flees
2) Redirect into DR #2, who also flees
3) If DR #2 is now blocked by DR #1, charge DR #1 with another unit. This forces them to flee again, leaving DR #2 open for charge by the deathstar. (This charge can also be redirected, either into DR #2 to scare them off or at any other unit).
4) Repeat above with a third unit if applicable.
5) If DR #2 is still within charge range, roll for charge with the deathstar against DR #2 as normal. If they make the charge, they will move into base contact with DR #2, kill them, and make a free reform.


in 3), how would DR2 be blocked by DR1? last i checked you could flee through units.

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Thu Apr 26, 2012 9:42 am
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Lord Tsunami wrote:
in 3), how would DR2 be blocked by DR1? last i checked you could flee through units.
He means "the path from deathstar to DR2 is blocked" rather than "DR2 movement is blocked".

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Thu Apr 26, 2012 1:54 pm
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Quote:
Eventually you run out of table space and your dark riders no longer have room to manoeuvre.


You can move off the table in 8th ed, as long as you return to it before the end of your movement, IIRC anyway.

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Thu Apr 26, 2012 5:43 pm
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Red... wrote:
You can move off the table in 8th ed, as long as you return to it before the end of your movement, IIRC anyway.

You can't move out of the board with the exception of fleeing or pursuing troops. That's what's said on page 27 at least.

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Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:12 am
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Dragon Lord
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Only new change is that you can partially leave the table while wheeling or pivoting, if it would moe you out of the table.

Imagine a hydra right next to the left end of the table. In 7th it was actually unable to turn. Now you can pivot it, moving its ass off the board, but you have to complete the move entirely on the board.

You can't deliberately move off the table except for the above reason.

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Fri Apr 27, 2012 3:32 pm
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If you want to be 'TFG'... In 8E nowhere does it say that you can complete a charge against a different facing if the unit turns and flees. It breaks down like this:

1) Declare charges. At this point, you determine which facing of the target unit you have to hit to complete the charge. (BRB p.21, Flank and Rear Charges, 2nd paragraph, last sentence)

2) Unit declares a Flee! reaction, pivots to face directly away from the center of the charging unit and flees along that line. (BRB p.17, Flee!)

3) Roll charge range to see if the chargers could potentially reach the target unit. (BRB p19, Calculating Charge Range)

4) The chargers are restricted to a single 90-degree wheel. (BRB p.20, Move Chargers, 2nd paragraph)

5) The unit must actually be able to legally complete the charge against the fleeing unit to destroy it. (BRB p.23, Charging a Fleeing Unit)

6) At no point in any of the rules is it allowed to complete a charge that is NOT against the original facing of the unit as determined at point 1).

So RAW, to charge a fleeing unit in the ORIGINAL facing, they must be able to reach that facing with that single 90-degree wheel, or the charge cannot be completed and is a failed charge... which is going to be virtually impossible. :shock: Basically, the only way you can complete a charge against a fleeing unit would be if they were already facing away from you. This makes fleeing a VERY save bet, doesn't it? ;)

Now I have no doubt whatsoever that GW intended for us to be able to run down fleeing units regardless of their original facing... but they sure as heck forgot to write that little tidbit into the rules anywhere. Truly a DOH!!!! moment for GW.


Fri Apr 27, 2012 4:51 pm
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ye, i saw that one too, but anyone would slap your face if you tried that and i dare you to find a big competition that will allow it :P

even the really cheesy way op using DRs i suggested (note that im not saying thats the reason DRs are worth using) is WAY less rule abusing than that :P

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Sat Apr 28, 2012 9:24 am
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Like I said, if you want to be TFG...


Sun Apr 29, 2012 11:18 pm
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Ah, my bad on the off the table part - at least I got it partly right :)

I do use Dark Riders with regularity now. Two units of 5 with crossbows and musicians. For me they have several advantages that put them alongside harpies and shades. So here they are, in no particular order:

- Take up core points. Yes, harpies are not specials, but they aren't true core either. Shades are special. So only Dark Riders take up those mandatory core points.
- Quick move, which allows them to get across the battlefield quickly to either re-deploy or make longer charges. In far too many games I have won the battle on one half of the battlefield, discovered that this is the same half as my shades is on and struggled to make them relevant for the rest of the game. My Dark Riders, in contrast, are always able to stay close to the action (if they want to) and never become irrelevant.
- Leadership 8. That's the same as shades, but 2 pips higher than harpies. Yes, its less impactful with the general's inspiring leadership and BSB re-rolls, but across the other end of the battlefield from them, that leadership 6 can turn a attempted bait and flee into a genuine rout of the unit.
- S4 on the charge. Both harpies and shades are limited to S3, which makes them more likely to bounce against high toughness or heavily armoured opponents. Dark Riders face that risk slightly less due to S4 on the charge.
- Higher resilience. 5+ armour save and immune to stomp is much more likely to survive an enemy attack than no armour save (6+ max for shades, but no one ever takes that) and vulnerability to stomp.
- They look nicer on the table. I like having at least one unit of cavalry on my flank, it just looks more army-eseque.
- They combine the strengths of harpies and shades in a single unit. They are both super fast (like harpies) and can shoot (like shades).
- They can get out of the way of enemy charges. I have found that my shades often find that with a max 10" march, they cannot get out of a 90' charge arc of oncoming enemy cavalry or other similar threat. My Dark Riders can run circles past them, reducing their chance of getting killed in CC.
- There may be more, which I temporarily forget.

I usually take a single unit of harpies, a single unit of shades, a single pegasus master and two units of dark riders in my 3k lists. I just find they get the job done and rarely let me down.

I think, to some extent, the key for Dark Elves is to have fast troops - it doesn't really matter whether they are shades, harpies, dark riders or pegasus masters, as long as you have enough of them in your army to get that role carried out (warmachine hunting, re-directing, mage hunting, etc etc). I find that easiest to do with Dark Riders, others prefer shades and harpies. That's fine - it's one of the joys of Dark Elf armies: everyone is different, but they're really all the same. (Yes, that is from a Carebears theme song...)

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Mon Apr 30, 2012 8:41 am
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I have been experimenting with an all Dark Rider core for some months now and the results have been extraordinary depending on unit size and the remaining army composition. They have proven to be (as Red notes) a constant thorn in my opponents side which they can never seem to easily be rid of without dedicating a substantial amount of firepower to. My units tend to be 7 strong because this increases their general survivability and means that they are also a sufficient threat (shooting and combat wise: thrust them into the flank of that enemy level 4s archer or core slot combat bunker and pop doom and darkness/soul blight on the enemy and they'll be worried!). And yet when they fire their 12 man unit and a D6 hits magic missile into them, it usually leaves 1 or 2 men standing: who then run away and save their points.

Its a rather nasty way to play an army (particularly as my special are all filled with shades) and I only ever use it in tournaments or practise games for tournaments so its not one to make friends with but it works! I should have scored 5 straight victories at the last throne of skulls but alas I only made 4 and still won the best dark elf player with this list so I must be doing 'something' right! ;)

Have a search for Death of a Thousand Cuts if you wish...

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Mon Apr 30, 2012 6:40 pm
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