It's sort of a mixed bag for me. I'm happy with a lot of it. I'm not unhappy with much of it. A lot of changes make us more streamlined but less interesting.
WHAT I LIKE:
* Mandrakes are pretty durable and can start the game shooting. I actually see these guys being a solid harassment unit now, though I'll mourn not being able to use them alongside Malys redeployment tricks.
* Courts and beast packs' new unit configuration gives you a lot more freedom to do what you want with the unit.
* Webway portals. I don't like that they only work on a single squad, but they're much easier to make work now (compared to the old double haemonculus first turn scoot thing you had to do). Plus, multiple detachments mean I can take enough ICs with portals to let most of my army deepstrike if I want. I'm seeing gunboats on the board turn 1 to lob lances at the foe with my infantry deepstriking in starting turn 2.
* About half the warlord traits. The others are redundant or meh.
* The beautiful new art.
* Drazhar went down in cost while also gaining the ability to hang out with more types of units. At the same time, he also gained a buff to incubi squads that encourages you to keep him with them. This pleases me.
* Haywires everywhere. Now my warriors and sybarites can lob haywire blaster and haywire grenade attacks. Losing them squad-wide on wyches isn't a huge loss for me as many of my opponents interpret the current rules such that only one model per squad can haywire in assault.
* New drugs are a bit bland, but they're also more relevant. Also, +Toughness drugs on reavers is scary.
* We have night vision! This actually makes first turn dark kin fight rather fluffily. I like it.
* Grots got stronger.
* Wracks got the ossefactor, and it's a grotesque enough gun to make me happy.
* REavers got a buff. A power gamer I'm not, but their new rules make me want to actually use the 6 FA slot formation.
* The flyers seem reasonably priced to me.
* Scourges got better, and I consistently use scourges. Plus, they can pack all the haywire I could ever want!
* Dark scythes.
* Phantasm Launchers. It's a cool mechanic that synergizes in fun ways with some of our other stuff.
* Our relics are actually pretty neat, and I see a use for all of them. Compare to the craftworlder's magical feather that lets one guy run really fast. It's cool, but rarely helpful.
STUFF I DON'T LIKE
* Power From Pain. It's nice that you don't lose all your pain when you lose the squad with all your tokens, but it feels like it takes forever to get revved up. We're even squishier than before for the first few turns, and maxed out FNP only manages to equal what it originally was in the last'dex if you buff it with extraunits. On the plus side, your whole army benefits now. It's a pretty fair trade-off. I just don't see it meshing well with how I used to play my dark kin.
* Cronos. I liked these guys last codex. They weren't amazing against most armies, but they were fun, and it was nice to watch them buff the rest of your army as they did damage. Now, they cost more, they don't buff anyone with their attacks, and their template got weaker. You can run them in squads of three if you want to, but there are few situations where I see it as an advantage to pay that many points for a squad with such little offensive power, especially when you could just run them separately to expand you buff range. I guess having less reason for shooting means I have less reason to pay for their overpriced upgrades and can focus on running them to help them keep up with other units?
* Harlequins are gone. I was crossing my fingers that they would get an overhaul that fixed some of their ongoing issues. Instead, we get tantalized by harlie fluff, but the rules are simply missing. Maybe we'll get lucky and get some sort of splat for them later? Ah well. New fluff is always nice I suppose. Shadowseers have it rough in a psykerless army anyway.
* Many of our wargear items just became a bit bland. They aren't bad. Just bland. Mindphase gauntlet ceased to be a cool way to shut down heavy hitters and instead simply became concussive. A ton of our weapons are simply instant death now. Which isn't bad, just... bland. The wych weapons all feel like they're minor variations on the same theme. Also, the pricing on stuff is awkward. Agonisers are really
steep for what they do, as are power swords. And I do mean power swords. No axes or lances for you. Or am I the only one who liked power lances on eldar for the bonus strength? As an aside, what's the difference between a whip-shaped agoniser and an electrocorrosive whip. They both seem to be slimy whips that poison/zap people.
* Lack of special characters. GW's reasons for removing them irk me, and I really liked the fluff of each of them.
* I take personal offense to the treatment of my kabal of choice, the Poisoned Tongue. They don't get their own fluff block alongside several other kabals I either don't remember or haven't heard of. There's even a bit of fluff under one of the modelling pictures talking about how Malys often fights through her emissaries. I actually like that bit, but it just sort of exagerates my feelings that Malys feels missing.
*Lelith. I'm iffy on this one. She's actually probably more effective than she was before, and her price is lower, but a League Apart now only works in challenges and no longer lets you get ALL THE ATTACKS. The whole point of the rule before was to let you slice and dice entire squads of infantry guys so you could show off how much better the true kin are than the lesser races (even if you usually only killed a couple guys). She's probably more useful now, and she's a good challenge fighter. It just feels off. I miss my anime-style whirlwind of graceful death.
*New archon model. Is it new? I remember liking the one from before with the helmet. Scarface looks like a cartoon villain that you beat down before you're allowed to face the serious villain. "dohohoho. Look at the little mon-keigh. did you really think you could stop my evil plan? Mwahahaha!"
*Klaivex lost bloodstones. Because reasons. Seriously, I know most people didn't take them, but did you really need the extra page space badly enough to delete them? A copy paste would have been fine, and I actually kind of liked having them just so I could do some
sort of overwatch when my incubi got charged.
* Hellion changes to the stun claw. See the bi about wargear. Plus, this deprives us of a potentially neat way to counter deathstars by pulling out key models.
* Kabalite raiding party. This is almost
really cool. Mandatory scourges confuses me, but I use them anyway. Mandatory hellions means I can't use it, but I'm not sure why you need hellions specifically to play a swift raiding force. Maybe GW just really wanted to push more hellion models? Or maybe hellions have just been finding new work since their buddy the baron vanished into the webway? Anywho, the main problem I have with it is Hunt from the Shadows. A little piece of cover is nice, but jinking already gives me a better save. I guess I can avoid having to jink if I don't mind a reduced save on the first turn, but I'd rather not put all my eggs in a 5+ basket. And that's when it's a 5+. For a lot of units, it's a measley 6+. Simply guaranteeing nightfighting first turn or something would probably be more consistently useful (for me at least). On the other hand, it does provide infiltrating mandrakes with a 2+ cover save on turn 1, so that's nice. It's not bad really. I just don't get some of the mandatory units required for it, and Hunt from the Shadows is only really useful for those of you comfortable not jinking turn 1. And even that is less of an issue if you also have night shields.
It's a solid book. I just wish they didn't feel the need to take away the nice stuff from the last codex while making this one. Also, poor Cronos.
Still, I see myself having fun with it.