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Monday, March 9, 2015

Conquest Warlord Focus: Packmaster Kith

The Dark Eldar are, arguably, the most evil inhabitants of the Warhammer 40,000 world. Even the Chaos gods are merely human weakness made manifest in the Warp - in that way, the Chaos gods lack a sort of free will. The Dark Eldar, on the other hand, are fully cognizant of their actions, and their entire existence is based upon the infliction of pain and torture on their prey. The Dark Eldar have become so corrupted that without drinking in the agony of their victims, Dark Eldar would wither and die. Thus, to save their own souls, they condemn the "lesser races" to torment.

This is the reason the Dark Eldar make war: not to capture territory, but to bring suffering upon their victims and drag as many as possible back to their home lair, Commoragh. They're a lightly armed, lightly armored raiding force. Games Workshop has been able to capture this essence in the tabletop game, but how does this fair in Conquest? And how does their current warlord option, Packmaster Kith, fit into the mystique and the card game?

The calling card of a Dark Eldar deck is the "choke" style of play. Over the course of a game a Dark Eldar player is hoping to force his opponent to discard as many cards from his hand as possible, thereby limiting his options of what he can play. When the opponent is sufficiently weakened, then the Dark Eldar player strikes hard. He has to be careful, however, because one mistake and the entire plan can unravel.

Let's get started by looking at Packmaster Kith.

Her stats are pretty solid (matching those of Cato, in fact), and her ability is interesting. Dark Eldar (DE) Khymera tokens are very good, hitting for 2 attack with 1 health, the same as an Eager Recruit or 10th Company Scout. Over the course of a game, and DE always hope to play the long game, this can build to a horde of tokens. If only there were other cards that could also generate these wonderful Khymera...

Kith comes with 4 units of Khymeramasters, who can't swing for very much, but add to the ability of DE to bring a horde of tokens onto the table. There really isn't a whole lot to say about these guys, since the crux of the Khymera token strategy hinges on Kith's support card...

This card is a monster, but there will only ever be one in your deck. Honestly, this card is something worth mulligan-ing for, as it really allows a DE deck to bring the pain. Being able to send the Khymeramasters all over the board, winning command, and then moving tokens to a battle after the enemy has exhausted is the premier combat tactic of the DE. Sure, they have plenty of other surprises to spring upon their hapless foes, but being able to bring multiple 2-attack units to wherever they're needed most is incredible.


So far Kith's cards have been focusing on straight-up fighting ability, but her signature event ties in nicely with the "choke" strategy mentioned earlier.

Usually you're going to be playing this card to sacrifice a Murder of Razorwings, but in a pinch you could sacrifice a Khymera token or even a Khymeramaster. I like to play these kind of cards after my opponent has deployed his opening units in a turn, like his Void Pirates or Rogue Traders, that way his hand will be thinner and it'll increase my chances of making him discard a valuable card.

We round out Kith's signature units with her attachment:

Maybe I'm wrong, but I've never actually played this card except to use it for 3 shields.

So, clearly Kith's squad cards synergize nicely with each other, but having played Kith for a while I actually don't think she fits in very well with the "choke" style of play that many of the other DE cards specialize in.

At this stage in the game, this duality is a strength. The DE can fight very well, and then can also "choke" an opponent very well. However, part of me wonders if, in the future, Kith's lack of synergy with the "choke" style will end up being a weakness. After all, as good as DE can be in combat, they will still get wrecked by Area Effect attacks, Warpstorm, and even the oft-maligned Dakka Dakka Dakka. There are plenty of factions that are better in a straight-up fight.

That said, I think the designers have done an incredible job translating the DE's background into gameplay. They hit hard, but can't survive too many punches in return, and opponents feel literally tortured when playing against them. Just ask Brandon of CotR how he feels about DE:

Anyway, Kith has proven that she is a top-tier warlord, but time will tell if she stays there. Thanks for reading!

What do you think of the Dark Eldar in Conquest? Please sound off in the comments below, or let us know on our forum!

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