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How do you use your Darkshards? 
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Warrior

Joined: Thu May 30, 2013 7:01 am
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I've had a solid bit of luck with mine, but they still consistently fail to see the end of the game, as SOME enemy will inevitably find and kill them (they're not great fighters). Generally speaking, I use units of 16-20, but only one per army list. Full command and that's all- they're very good at cutting down enemy Knights or even heavily-armored troops, but like I said, a Dragon, Varghulf or whatever can eventually hit the unit (with their wide frontages, there's not a lot of easy ways to hide) by Turn 4-5, when the rest of my "killer" units are elsewhere, doing important killing of their own.

So what sizes do you use for the units? Typical deployment? Do you bother to keep "bodyguards" up front, or do you just leave them be? The only reasons I take as few as I do is because are cost and vulnerability.


Sat Dec 13, 2014 9:34 am
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Your DS survive Knights and heavy infantry :shock:

Mine die to a stiff breeze usually.

I like to use them as a Sorceress bunker in the back line, backed by RBT. Rest of list is mobile, so the opponent usually has hands full and doesn't spend a lot of resources on the DS.

Anything between 14-20. Two unit of 10 has more redundancy, but one of 20 has more staying power if it is charged.

I've tried running larger blocks in a duel role (auxillary combat infantry) but have found its too many points which could be instead spent on Witches or Dark Riders (or even Corsairs).

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Sat Dec 13, 2014 11:44 am
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Warrior

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LOL- no, they don't survive Knights & Heavy Infantry, they just kill a bunch of them- those types of units tend to get thrown right into my meaty units and main battleline, not against piddly Missile Troops who are better off being charged by solo characters or small Monsters.


Sat Dec 13, 2014 1:34 pm
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Ive had my darkshards go toe to toe with silver helms and empire knights and survive 2-3 rounds of combat (albeit usually with some luck). Giving them shields makes them fairly suvivable, and they can usually weaken said units with their ap xbows before they get in to soften the impact.


Sun Dec 14, 2014 2:03 pm
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I put them in units of 10 with shields and full command. They are versatile and surprisingly resilient if they are forced into melee, and still not overly expensive.

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Sun Dec 14, 2014 2:57 pm
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I usually play 2k-2,5k games. I use mine fairly small, 10-21. My usual choice now is 13 with shields, full command and flaming banner. Cost little, but they have great synergy with fairly large amount of bolters (2-4), and core has enough space for WE and DR too, which are other needed choices for core, and still hit only about 25% of your army.

They are important link in the army, as they tie up with other shooting, remove fodder and regen BUT they also help other units to advance if needed.

But outside their context as grease between other big gears of the army, they don't have any solid role. I think in current meta you can't use them as blocks. They are completely needed, but should be suited grand lines of your armys composition, but "never" the basis of it. Their weak shooting and meager block sizes aren't good characteristics for infantry block nowdays. RBT should be base of shooting, and more sturdier (killy or stubborn) infantry blocks. Anyway, using infantry as base of your army in 8th with dark elves is not optimal for this state meta, but darkshards are definitely going to fit solid armies now.


Mon Dec 15, 2014 8:24 pm
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Would you take them over Glade Guards in a combined DE/WE list nowadays? I need a tiny boost to core in an MSU list and feel that with better range the GG might perform better, out way back in a wood. To reliably hit taking advantage of multiple shots, it feels like Darkshards should be near the action - thus getting into fights they'll lose... But I don't use them, so can't properly advise!

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Mon Dec 15, 2014 11:13 pm
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I stopped using darkshards ass soon as the new book came out. looked back a few times as I have multiple converted and painted units. But in the current merlta they are just too expensive for what they can do.

I would include GG if I played a combined force.

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Thu Jan 29, 2015 10:12 am
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I typically field a unit of 30 that become a block unit if they are charged. I find they have enough bodies to last until one of my other units can rescue them but they can throw out some decent damage if they're not dealt with. If I were playing a Legions list, I would replace them with multiple units of Glade Guard but I still find to be one of the best units in our arsenal.

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Thu Jan 29, 2015 2:26 pm
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Mine usually mostly die, then when they aren't throwing out so many shots, my opponents leave them alone.
Later in the game, they creep up to help during clean up. Any elf is good in combat versus an opponent that's had it's toughness reduced. When you're cleaning up a deathstar, every attack counts (especially when is turn 6 and you really want to table your buddy)

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Fri Jan 30, 2015 7:54 am
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Here's my problem with them: I like them, they usually deliver for the cost BUT
- They don't deliver as well on turn 1 because moving+shooting and their short range usually means a turn to get in effective range.
- I find it hard to incorporate them into my battle plan.
We have an inherently offensive army, and I tend to play it with different degrees of agressiveness. A defensive "keep in the back" unit at such a cost is what always makes me doubt them.
If it's wounds in the second round, and combat support, then why not choose for even more combat? Dark Riders, Monsters, Chariots... We have them all.

By the time the Darkshards become effective, we needed a round (maybe 2) which:
- weakens their support for our combat troops if we rely on quick combat
- weakens our fire superiority if we play against a defensive army
The opponent with the biggest return of investment on Darkshards is an opponent that tries to assault us head-on, that we can delay and which doesn't have a 1+ save.

Never the less, they can be effective... A spam of units of 10 Darkshards offers great control and mobility and will work against many a thing (not Dwarfs). A bigger unit can work effectively too, but I've seen those suffer more for some reason. It makes them a tempting target for tricks or spells that disable the unit.

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Fri Jan 30, 2015 8:48 am
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I recently fielded 3 units of 10 each, one with flaming banner. Used them defensive as firing line, but could easily sacrifice one or manouevre them into better positions. They all shot all turns as my enemy didn't advances fast enough or unit for unit to I could deplete them with concentrated fire or combat. They killed about 40 infantry (25 plague monks, 5 giant rats, 10 clanrat) in four turns.

No matter that you have to throw 6'es for hitting or wounding 6's against monsters. Out of 60 with a little bit of luck you always do at least some damage, sometimes more than average, sometimes less than average. Short range without moving will really add up fast which will happen eventually.

I liked them concentrated near the general (and BSB) and divided in different units. If you lose one unit by chaff, you still have 40 bolts the next turn. If your big unit of 30 is stuck into combat that are 0 bolts. Spells like soulblight which every dark elf army get with the warlocks will double the killing.

If I face an enemy who outshoots me I just use them for screening my special and rare combat units, they might even survive as the enemy does not have that much shooting to kill them all in 1 turn. They might even be in range of his shooting units after one march.

Against avoidance armies it is also deadly, play agressively with them so they can shoot the mobile fast cavarly, your units of darkshards will win the missile war between fast cavarly beside of sheer number of hits (and good AS with shield).

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Fri Jan 30, 2015 2:24 pm
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I think they can be great in a horde. 10 wide and 3 deep with shields gives you 40 shots a turn and enough attacks and staying power to act as an extra combat block or simply be too hard to kill by things that normally kill smaller units. I've never run 30 Darkshards, but have run 30 Archers in my high elves at a lot of tournaments. Dark shards are better because they get more shots and also come with a 5+ armour and a parry save in combat. That's before you buff them with whatever magic you are running. Between the shooting, stand and shoot and then combat attacks things like wild riders simply are getting enough models in to do any damage, and more substantial units are being taken out of the fight if they're going after Darkshards


Tue Feb 03, 2015 6:36 am
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Whilst the horde formation does have a use, it does however limit the choice of target and takes valuable points that could be utilised elsewhere. My main and really only reason I have taken them is for chaff clearance. Having multiple units of 10 in this case gives you far more tactical choices, allows multiple targets and is not held up and prevented from firing by lone characters or other such trickery.

And welcome to the forum Nick86.

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Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:39 am
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Lore of Heaven's harmonic convergence bubble buff is really good in a gunline type style. Those re-rolls make up for alot of weaknesses that DS have.


Tue Feb 03, 2015 4:16 pm
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marcopollo wrote:
Lore of Heaven's harmonic convergence bubble buff is really good in a gunline type style. Those re-rolls make up for alot of weaknesses that DS have.


I am going to playtest that tomorrow ! I will keep track how many hits / wounds harmonic convergence will add.

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Tue Feb 03, 2015 5:11 pm
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I don't tend to use them often. only when i use my 'Magic' army. then i generally field 2 units, a largish one and a 10-man.
the big unit will be for focused firing and bunker for a support Sorc, the second is Chaff hunting and speedbump.
if possible i'll give the big unit the flaming banner for those pesky regen monsters, and the Fear in Cav does help aswell (and takes alot of ppl by suprise ;) )

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Tue Feb 03, 2015 8:51 pm
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Thanks Amboadine!
I agree, it's a bit if a catch 22, you either have the ability to split fire or to be a good anchor. I think both have their merits, and of course it comes down to list design. I think the worth of units needs to be measured not only in damage output, but also in terms of board control. With a horde you get the ability to hold a flank very well, which creates a 24" bubble that no enemy units really want to enter. What this gives u of course is then an area of the board that you have freedom of movement in. Coupled with that if you are taking something like metal magic for example, suddenly Darkshards aren't simply clearing chaff, but can also reliably put big dents into things like monstrous Cav and knights after 1 plague of rust.

As I've said I've never run big blocks, as I think there are so many good units competing for points that I can't justify it, I just think it's not a bad option if you want to. Also I can see the merits of MSU Darkshards, splitting fire when necessary, however as with my high elves I find very rarely that I wish I could split fire, as I find it's better to destroy one unit rather than deplete a couple if them. In fact I love when my opponent leaves me with 1 dark rider from a unit because they actually perform their chaff role far better than the units of 5.

The final thing to keep in mind is points conservation, it's far harder to get points out of 1 unit of 30 with shields than it is to get points out of 3 units of 10. However both formations have their pros and cons. Both are great.


Wed Feb 04, 2015 4:39 am
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Found your way to Druchii.net, huh Nick? ;)

HE archers are much better than DE crossbowmen. The extra 6" range really is significant, also firing in three ranks makes the horde actually worthwhile when shooting. Finally, they are cheaper than the overpriced crossbowmen, which again adds up when you are taking 30 of them.

I miss the 7th ed book, I took a unit of 20 crossbows with the Guiding Eye all the time, was great! Now you can't get the Guiding Eye, crossbows are more expensive, and other core options are far better.

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Wed Feb 04, 2015 6:45 am
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Nick86 wrote:
The final thing to keep in mind is points conservation, it's far harder to get points out of 1 unit of 30 with shields than it is to get points out of 3 units of 10. However both formations have their pros and cons. Both are great.


Points conservation.. maybe. It's easier to get some points out of 3 units of 10, but it's harder to get all points out of 3 units of 10. You can not let your damage overkills run over to the other units.. And it is more difficult to debuff and focus fire on 3 units of 10.
Personally, I have seen big blocks being washed away with more ease than smaller units.

Taking a step back, though, I try to discern a pattern in the arguments and testimonies.. The most obvious pattern is who gets the buff or debuff: a larger unit of darkshards is easier to buff for greater effect, but easier to debuff and ruin. I wonder if this perception isn't influenced by a general tendency for Dark Elves to prefer debuffing or damaging lores of magic, such as Dark, Shadow and Death. Maybe if we would be playing more augmenting and protective lores, we'd be more inclined to larger units?

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Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:15 am
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and to the point conversion it takes 1 spell to make 30 xbows innefective or 1 hero to tie them up in CC. where with multipe units its not that easy.

next shootiong prioreties. shooting 30 xbows at a single unit is nice but shooting then at a single fanatic is a waist. wih 3 u its you can still get 30 xbows on a single target, and you only have to put 10 xbows on a single target.

I'm having a nice discussion with Red concerning xbows and I dont use mine because they loose the shooting war vs anything but WoC and gobli archers... agai as to the goblins its fair game. And if Im using them for combat .... well yousing archers to do meel is pointkess better take a CC unit in stead. They are a multy tool but they are weak in combat and weak at shoiting. something like the HE seaguard can do both but not as good as other options.

and yes you can find a use for them.... but they will always be sub optimal, so why not use a better option?

I have around 80 rxbs glued and painted .... unfortunetly dont get much use in this edition. when GW will want to sell more they will change some rules and they will be good again...... but that might be in a few editions.

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Wed Feb 04, 2015 9:44 am
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Isn't Harmonic convergence a little redundant for DE's? I'd sooner take lore of metal, have my warlocks soulblight a target and buff my shooters with enchanted blades. That gives me a 3+ & reroll at long range against many. And gives me a 4+ to wound w/1-rerolls even against dwarves. After modifiers, factor a modest 5+ armour save. Take a minimum 20 shots for a 10 model unit. You're converting 5-8 wounds easily. Now throw 2 units of 16 for 64 shots per round. You can obliterate a small unit (10-15) at long range every round.

Do the same buff/debuff with RBT, and a plain 2 x 6 shots will be a really efficient war machine hunter. Easily knock one out right off the bat. With some luck split your shots and take down two in the first round. You're successfully wounding at about a 50% rate, from 48" away, so long as you can deploy in range.


Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:07 pm
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Harmonic convergence bubbles to 12" radius easily. Thus you can get the effect on a gunline with not too much problem. The soublight bubble is not as easy to cast and echanted blades doesn't bubble.

With the other spells like chain lightning or commet, the Harmonic convergence is not typically prioritized to dispell and your opponent may not fully realize the potency of the spell until the gunline has crippled him -- which is too late. And remember, the bubble only needs to touch the unit to effect the whole unit. So the effect of bubble is actually much bigger than a 12" radius with proper deployment. Practice the set up a few times with 4 RBT's and some small unit of DS. That is a whole bunch of H.C. re-rolls in the shooting phase.


Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:36 pm
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For me ballistics always fall on their face against armies like dwarves. Where you have to approach them, and their high toughness makes wounding difficult. Negating the long distance penalty and reducing target toughness go a long way, especially if he decides to keep sitting there. And I don't worry about bubbling soulblight. I just go at it one unit at a time. What I like about Metal is when against a heavily armoured dwarf army, the no AS and reverse armour save to wound lore attributes are HUGE.

But before I get ahead of myself, help me out. I feel like I'm missing something from your strategy. DE's reroll for all failed hits (well, most of the time), and To Wound's of 1 already. The armour modifying is the only change with Harmonic convergence. What's the benefit you're drawing?


Wed Mar 04, 2015 5:58 pm
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DE don't reroll hits/wounds for shooting. HC does that. That is why a gunline approach is with heavens works well.

I played it a few times and it was pretty nasty. There are other good lores too. I am not saying it is great all the time against everything. Nothing is. But in structuring a gunline army, heavens is pretty decent. That is also why having a level 2 heavens scroll caddy is a nice choice. Decent chance of HC and the sig spell is good in all situations.


Wed Mar 04, 2015 7:57 pm
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