|Coolness factor: Bred with Daemons!|
Let's start with the basics:
1. Acute Senses Unit Special Rule - We don't know a lot about the special items that Dark Eldar get. We already know that their units have the Night Vision special rule, which gives them a slight advantage in Dawn of War games. Well, so do we with our Acute Senses. Are the Dark Eldar going to have some unit, upgrade or item that lets them summon a shroud of darkness and extra turns of Night Fight? I hope not, but if they do - we will be prepared.
2. Powerful anti-tank weaponry - Dark Eldar are a pretty elite, glass-jawed army rumored to have a lot of ways to deal with vehicles. Their abundance of lance weapons (now possibly AP1), meltas AND melta lances will prove to be extremely scary against anything with AV above 12. To read more about the ways Dark Eldar might change the current meta game read this blog post by Fritz 40k. Basically, you will no longer be save hiding in Land Raiders, but Land Raiders were never really necessary in a Space Wolves army. We just don't have anything points efficient to transport in them. Dark Eldar vehicles are also apparently more expensive now and spamming Dark Lances could be harder for them, which would be nice.
3. Strength Through Pain – The unit gains an upgrade every time it wipes out an enemy unit (3 max). 1st Feel No Pain, 2nd Furious Charge, 3rd Fearless. Add that to their high Initiative and it's pretty easy to see that Dark Eldar players will try and beat you in close combat where they will have an easier time catching and sweeping advancing you precious units. They are assaulty and that means that our Counter Attack abilities will be priceless against them. In addition, your Counter Attack ability means that your army will be less hurt by the Wyches' Shardweb that reduces the attacks of models in Base to Base Contact because even when assaulted you have a chance of mitigating that by getting the +1A from Charging.
4. Poisoned Weaponry - All of the Dark Eldar's Splinter guns are Poisoned Weapons that always wound on a 4+. This will give your Thunderwolf Cavalry the ouchies, but at least they won't get to re-roll to wound against you and their AP doesn't ignore your armour.
SPACE WOLF TACTICA:
Grey Hunters in Rhinos
You want to play defensive. Castle up. Maybe you envision a fearless, brutal army of vikings when you play your Space Wolves, but you need to remember that as Space Wolves we are cunning strategists. A wolf will stalk its prey for days until it is weak, it will chase it so it runs towards the pack where his dinner will be entrapped. Remember this and you will succeed. Make the enemy come to you. Use his weakness against him - slow him down, fight him on your own turf and when he realizes that you've been toying with him all this time it will be too late.
The Dark Eldar will always, always outmaneuver you and you will pretty much always hit them on 6's in close combat so let your heavy support units deal with them. Do not split your forces, because your opponent will have an easy time allocating forces to whatever flank you have weakened by spreading out too thin. If he somehow manages to surprise you and wipe out a unit you will have 2 or 3 more that will punish him for his reckless assault. Remember that shooting them will probably be the best way to deal with Dark Eldar. Thinning their numbers will be easy because of their low Toughness and you want to minimize their assault-winning potential to a minimum, thus reducing their chanceto get Feel No Pain, Furious Charge and/or Fearless. If their units somehow fail to assault you or you manage to get close to them do not hesitate to unleash your Rapid Fire bolters on them. Then let them charge you. This is standard Space Wolves tactica especially if you run a lot of Grey Hunters like me, but sometimes even veterans forget.
Do not forget to shoot your Storm Bolters! You can now glance Dark Eldar vehicles with them and even manage to wreck them. If no vehicles are around then enjoy peppering their perverted elves with some bolter rounds.
Hide in Difficult Terrain - Apparently Wyches and Dark Eldar Warriors maintian the same equipment as before and I don't think they have frag grenades (or at least they are not listed on the website). So, if their units are painfully close to you and your Rhino gets destroyed, then remember thas at the vehicle's owner you have the right to put a crater or other similar piece of terrain in its place. Put your marines inside and watch as their high Initiative means nothing as they charge through difficult terrain. It's something you learn when playing against Tyranids.... with Orkz.
I am not sure if the Blood Claw units will be of any use against the Dark Eldar. Their lower WS and Initiative values will let the Dark Goths to strike before you and hit you more often. Besides, Blood Claws are only effective if they charge and this will be difficult given the fast and furious Dork Eldar. If you hide in difficult terrain it means that you're not charging, thus - less attacks , thus - less effectiveness. Even Skyclaws, with their 12'' move will be weak against the assaulty new codex. I guess the one good thing is that if (but why wouldn't he??) a Wolf Priest accompanies your Blood Claws or Skyclaws, even if they get charged, they will get to re-roll against the enemy. That and the low Toughness of the Dark Eldar will hurt them, but then you might as well use Grey Hunters who will get the same number of attacks if not more (remember - terrain means you hit first, thus - less casualties on your side).
An army-wide T3 stat means that they cannot afford to stay out of their vehicles for long. Even with the rumored 5+ Invulnarable save their vehicles are open-topped and either 11/11/10 or 10/10/10. Just treat them as prettier Ork Trukkz that can fly. Long Fangs will have the choice of splitting fire and destroying two vehicles a turn. I also wound't really count on using tons of Melta Guns against them - you want to destroy their vehicles when they are away from you so their cocaine-addicted cargo does not omnomnom your Space Wolves. Try and make their vehicles explode. S4 hits on their T3 will wound them on 3's!
Something very important: While your Land Raiders, Predators and Vindicators will be very easy to destroy due to Dark Lances remember that your Long Fangs will have extra durability against such weaponry. Add a Razorback to that unit with your chosen weaponry and you'll get yet another way to deal with Dark Eldar. Bonus: Razobacks also happen to not give a rat's ass about Lance weaponry.
My favorite built is a 6-man Long Fang Unit with 5 Missile Launchers with a Cyclone Missile Launcher Wolf Guard in Terminator Armor. That's 7 missiles a turn that you can split.
Rune Priests will be simply amazing against Dark Eldar and for once I can see myself getting the Master of Runes upgrade. Chooser of the Slain, Living Lightning and Tempest's Wrath. Man, is that combo deadly! While we don't know a lot about the Dark Eldar codex they will surely have some unit that can Infiltrate (like Mandrakes for example) so your familiar might prove useful for something else besides +1BS for your Living Lightning.
Living Lightning - d6 S7 AP5 with Unlimited Range. You hit on 2's. This will devestate any Dark Eldar vehicles, especially their transports. You'll need 3's to glance and 4's to penetrate and even glances will be able to destroy them. Remember, their vehicles are skimmers and while Turbo Boost gives them a 4+ cover save it means that Immobilized Results will wreck them. So once you hit, pen and go through their cover you will wreck their vehicles on a 3+. Neat. Oh, and your S7 means that you will instant kill any Dark Eldar units, since you will double their Toughness.
In addition, Murderous Hurricane could be very useful. Give it to a second Rune Priest with Living Lightning and now you'll have someone who is usefull in long and short range. When you remember that on average you will get 12 automatic hits on their units and because of their low T3 you will wound on 4+ you suddenly get a nice way to add some oomph to your bolter fire. Then, when they try and get a charge on you they will have to roll difficult and dangerous terrain twice and hopefully will lose some more perverts AND fail to assault you. ;P
Useful if your opponent forgets to move his Ravagers in his deployment zone (but then why wouldn't he??), but especially if he has stuff on his flanks (which he will by turn 2). I wouldn't bother with Melta Bombs.. you'll need 6's to hit pretty much all the time. However, Melta Guns are your friends if you think you'll need extra anti-boat (let's face it - Dark Eldar don't have tanks.. they have boats). However, I'd go with the x2 Plasma Pistols and a Heavy Flamer. Give you versatility, you know? The plasma shots will be good against vehicles with their S7 and the Heavy Flamer can obliterate a disembarked unit after which you could assault them. Keep them useful, keep them cheap.
Personally, I have never used Land Speeders but I know that a lot of Space Marine players swear by them. I also agree with their usefulness and the only reason I haven't used a few is because.. well... I don't have any. The Space Wolves blog has a few nifty thing to say about Land Speeder Tactics. All of the builds seem really, really useful, guys.
The multi-melta and Heavy Flamer (70 pts. each) will be able to pop up from the sides, destroy vehicles with ease (12'' S8 AP1 Melta.. on open-topped vehicles.. yum!) and the flame template will be able to fry clustered up Dark Eldar (if you have wrecked or destroyed their vehicles with something else) and wound them on a 2+. Their mobility also gives you a way to counter the speed of your opponent. In some cases you can even use them to Turbo Boost and block the path of disembarked units while generating your own 4+ cover save and if your opponent decides to assault you, he'll need 6's to do so.
The x2 Heavy Bolter version (60 pts. each) gives you 6 S5 shots that can glance and penetrate vehicles and shred Dark Perverts from far, far away.
To Be Continued..