PDA

View Full Version : High Elf core units: a viable army "backbone"?



happy_doctor
01-07-2008, 18:13
Greetings to ye all,

Most lists I've faced/seen online since the new HE book was published have something in common: They steer away from the core choices, usually investing in the minimum core requirement (more often than not a couple of archer units).

Before the book came out, amongst the general whining and doomsaying, were some voices who actually claimed that the price drop in the core choices will make them a dominant aspect of most successful High Elf builds.

So, what's your opinion on this trend? Would an army based predominantly on militia levy be able to pull its weight?

To give further food for thought, I'm posting below a sample list of a rather controversial HE build that I'd like to try out sometime, even if just for the challenge!


HEROES:
-High Elf Prince, Great Weapon, Dragon Armour, Radiant Gem of Hoeth, Jewel of the Dusk,2xDispel Scroll, Great Eagle

CORE:
-12 Archers
-12 Archers
-20 Spear Elves, full command
-20 Spear Elves, full command
-20 First Lothern Seaguard, full command, shields, banner of ellyrion

SPECIAL:
-6 Silver Helms, shield, musician
-6 Silver Helms, shield, musician
-6 Shadow Warriors
-6 Shadow Warriors
-2 Tiranoc Chariots

RARE:
-2 Great Eagles
-2 Repeater Bolt Thrower

For a total of 2250 points!

What I was trying to do was to make use of all the "core units", (including silver helms, as they were once core and are now completely forgotten, gathering dust in most gamers' cupboards) while keeping the special choices as a way to add a little flavour and cover areas I thought were lacking (namely harassment/mage hunting and the extra punch of the chariots).
To make things even worse, I limited myself to a single character, tooled up to be a bit of a jack-of-all-trades: modest magic defense/offense and the capability of lending his combat prowess where it's most needed each turn.

Fire at will, people! (be it concerning the list or the general subject at hand)

Until next time,

Happy_doctor

Marwynn
01-07-2008, 19:05
Tiranoc Chariots are one choice each. The saved points can let you upgrade the SHs to Dragon Princes.

It's viable but not attractive to go this route. For one thing, the Spearblocks require character support. The other is that they're still just T3 5+ troops.

The LSG don't need the Banner of Ellyrion, though it's an interesting choice.

I think your Prince is going to get killed. First off, he's mounted so the Great Weapon's only +1S, the Halberd provides the same thing. Secondly, his monstrous mount is easily killed with normal shooting. Thirdly he has a 5+ save.

It's unconventional and a little crazy, but even then I think it's not going to pay off. A single scroll caddy can keep his magic offense, such as it is, shut down. He's a L1 Mage, so he doesn't really need an extra PD. He won't even be able to use the 3 PD he has.

Also, with all that infantry it is practically necessary to have a BSB.

If you want a Core-heavy army the best characters to have are an Archmage, a BSB, and a Fighty Noble.

Oh, and trim the Archers to 10.

happy_doctor
02-07-2008, 00:07
Thank you for your reply, Marwynn! Let's see:

-Chariots: I noted them as a single choice in order to save some space and effort re-typing it! They were still counted as seperate choices for the purpose of army selection.

-Silverhelms/Dragon princes: That's what I was thinking of in the first place; how people suddenly changed from massed units of silverhelms in 6th tosmall elite units of dragon princes. Dragon princes are more effective, but surely silver helms must have their uses, right? I consider them to be on par with the empire knights in terms of effectiveness. Chasing off skirmishers, fast cavalry and performing flank charges in their role.

-As for the LSG and the banner of ellyrion, I have a cunning plan:
a) In an infantry-heavy army, a forest somewhere near the middle of the board can ruin your plans and bottle-neck your forces. The banner helps get around this little inconvenience, taking into consideration the lack of white lions.
b) I was thinking of using it as an anti-dragon trap; since flying monsters can't charge into forests using their 20" move, a unit of seaguard inside such terrain can pepper monsters with arrows (all 3 ranks, in fact) and still pose a threat to any unit daring to come close.
c) if no forest/large monster is present, they can always advance and target enemies standing on hills...

-The prince: Well, I have to admit you're right about this bloke... He's really vulnerable, nearly as vulnerable as a dragon-mage, but without the dragon... It's obvious that he can't afford protective items (all of his magic item allowande went to arcane/enchanted gear).
The idea behind this setup was to give him a 3+ ward save versus shooting in the form of a giant eagle...Hence, the great weapon, since I expect him to be fighting on foot sooner or later.. (cruel, I know)
As for his gear, don't forget that if he picks high magic, he gains access to two spells by default:drain magic and the 5+ ward save spell. They both have a good chance of being cast with 2 dice, and if the mage-hunting goes according to plan, maybe he'll be able to shut down the enemy magic phase for a turn or two.

-BSB/other characters: somehow, a huge army under the command of an influential individual appeals to me a lot. I can see the benefits of getting a BSB in there, but then the theme would be negated. I'm hoping that with a ld of 10 (general's),ASF and weight of numbers, I'lll be able to hold on most fronts...

-Archers: I just had points left over, that's why I made them 12-strong... If I dropped the general's eagle and 4 archers, I could maybe fit in a third unit of archers, or even the BSB you mentioned (no gear for him, I'm afraid, though!)

My logic behind this whole list is that what wins games is how accustomed you've become with your army (providing that there are not any tragic mistakes in the army building process) and how you can use its strengths to your advantage.

So, did my explanation lessen any of your objections?

On a more general note, if a list is invigorating and fun to play for both parties, then it's successful, right? No-one could categorize this list as ultra-competitive, so all that remains is figuring a way to deal with its inherrent weaknesses...

Sitll, I'd like to hear from more people! Come on, what makes you scoff at the core choices? (apart from those god-awful monkey hands the spearmen miniatures were cursed with :P)

esk34
02-07-2008, 09:26
I dont think the core choices are bad, just not as cool as the special/ rare choices.
I ammaking a list for my wife at the moment, and so far it had a sun mage, standard bearer, lion chariot, swordmasters, and dragon princes as she likes the look of the mini's.
The only core she will have is a large unit of spear elves.
I don think it will do well, but should look really nice on the tabletop. :)

Ethlorien
02-07-2008, 15:13
I agree with esk34. While I fieled about 50 soldiers from Core, I tend to use the specials a lot more. Not for any game advanage really, just because I like the look/fluff/special abilities of these blokes a lot more. I don't see why a dominant core army couldn't work, or even an all core army. But I just like the add variety to my lists, spice things up a bit with swordmasters and white lions and lion chariots, etc. Also, I get bored easily with painting the same units over and over again so the idea of fielding 100 lothern sea guard is just too much for me.

Condottiere
02-07-2008, 17:49
While a large militia army is effective against any other T3 list, it's real problem is that any T4 army can pretty much absorb the initial damage the HE can dish out, and then make mincemeat of the front rank.

You're committing yourself to a battle of attrition, which, purely on a mathematical standpoint, you will lose. HE must dominate in at least one phase of the game, whether it's movement, combat, ranged or magic.

It's pretty much like getting whacked with a marshmallow.

DarthBinky
02-07-2008, 19:34
-BSB/other characters: somehow, a huge army under the command of an influential individual appeals to me a lot. I can see the benefits of getting a BSB in there, but then the theme would be negated. I'm hoping that with a Ld of 10 (general's),ASF and weight of numbers, I'lll be able to hold on most fronts...
Am I reading you correctly that you basically want the eagle to be a meatshield? If that's the case, why not just save yourself 50 pts and stick him in one of your Cores?

To be honest, the general really doesn't make any sense to me whatsoever, and I'm stuck on that. He's got an eagle, which suggests you want mobility, which is totally fine, don't get me wrong. But that mobility lends itself best to someone shooty (ie a wizard, Reaver Bow, etc) or someone kitted for close combat. But your Prince is neither- ok, he's a wizard, but at level one, he's incredibly weak at the mystic arts; he'll have one easily dispelled spell (two if you go with High, but then they're probably not offensive) or one very hard to cast spell. His weakness in combat has already been pointed out.

But then you go on to say that you plan on using him for his Ld boost- but if he's on an eagle, and he's going for mobility, then he'll probably be too far from your troops to grant that benefit. You already have two eagles in your list, so using him for march-blocking duty would be kind of silly (especially given that he doesn't really have any shooting to make him slightly more annoying). If you're just throwing the eagle in there as a meatshield, then it's not really an efficient use of points, since by sticking him in a unit, he's nearly invincible as long as there's 5 guys with him. (of course, once he's in HTH, both the eagle and the unit will cease to protect him)

I guess he'd be ok at hunting down war machine crews, but is that really what you want to do with him? Especially since your opponent will probably see it coming (the only character, and he's out front, by himself, and on an eagle) and do everything possible to whack him before he gets close. He'll have the "3+ save" from randomization that you referred to, but he can only dodge so many cannonballs/bolts/stones that way before he gets really dead.

So I'm kind of stuck on what role you're going for with him. I perfectly understand you want to try something different/unexpected (I like to do that myself), but this guy just makes no sense to me. Unless you're just going for a totally background-based character, and are throwing tactical sense out the window (which I've also done on occasion).

W A L 5 H Y
02-07-2008, 19:48
Spearmen are a rock hard unit now. Due to them always striking first, using two ranks on the charge turns three from then on, a decent WS (for core) good LD also (beacuse there elves) and now there cheaper! I mean a full armed elve with a shield light armour and a spear and the ability to strike first all for 9pts! Not bad eh?

W0lf
02-07-2008, 20:27
spearmen are not 'rock hard' when faced with any solid save infantry.

Take any unit with T4 and a 4+ save for example and lets run maths ->

Assuming a 5x4 block of spearmen fighting unit Orcs that is T4 with a 4+ save.

16 attacks (champion)
-> 10.666 hits (hitting on 3's)
-> 3.555 wounds (wounding on 5's)
-> 1.7 dead. (4+ save)

Hardly rock hard now is it?

Try against dwarf warriors (who are of equal cost)

16 Attacks
-> 8 hits (hit on 4+)
-> 2.666 wounds (5+)
-> 0.8 dead.

Thats pretty un-impressive to me.

Anyone who knows what they are doign will throw untis that can handly spearmen at spearmen. Sure they are great if they end up massacring gobblins but thats moot.

happy_doctor
02-07-2008, 21:55
esk34/Ethlorien:I agree to some extent with the diversity issue you brought up; painting 100 core troops can be tough, but from a "background" perspective, it's core troops that make up the majority of every elven host. I really wonder how in every battle involving high elves these days you're bound to find caledor's finest fighting along with the phoenix king's personal bodyguard and the select few who guard the (one and only) temple of Asuryan!! I'm not judging anyone for their choices, but I can't help but wonder where did all the militia levy go??;)
What's more, if you were to add a special unit or two in the mix I suggested, they would stand out far more than when included in a rag-tag assortment of elite and hard-to-find (in fluff terms) regiments.

Don't forget that my sample list is a bit extreme in that it includes no elite units. That's personal preference and you can always break the monotony by adding a couple of small special units...

As for the need to excel in a domain or two that Condottieri pointed out, I think that it's possible: My sample list has approximately 50 archers and a couple of bolt throwers;not a gunline, but still quite respectable firepower! Magic is minimum, that's for sure, but with a couple of chariots, expendable heavy cavalry and eagles, movement is taken care of, right?

Moving on to the final phase, combat: Spearmen aren't the best fighters in the Old world, they are weak and can only guarantee enough kills to break an enemy if that enemy has low armour and a basic toughness. Still, if a ranked unit of clanrats/goblins/dark elves/empire state troops can win combats in this system - with careful maneuvering- then I figure that my spearmen blocks have a chance as well!
As for the match-ups that aren't favorable, who forces you to send them in alone? Even a unit of shadow warriors in the flank of a unit can tip the combat to your favor! The army suggested has more than enough support units, and the prince on the eagle is one of those as well.

DarthBinky: Ah, yes... The fighter-mage Prince is mainly based on the narrative of the army, and aims to fill in support roles rather than being a combat monster. When designing him, I opted for the following things:

-Magic defense: 3DD and two scrolls are the equivalent of a scroll caddy...Maybe the Jewel of the Dusk is pointless, but I can't figure what equipment to give him instead...

-Combat support: He won't be winning any combats on his own, but combined with any of the fighty units, his 5 S5 attacks will do some good. When/if eventually the eagle dies, then the extra 6 points for the great weapon might pay off!

-Leadership: Ok, the eagle and advanced mobility MIGHT take him away from the battle line, but at least he will be able to relocate rapidly.

-Mobility: That doesn't necessarily mean charging headlong to the enemy; with a 20" movement, he'll be able to evade danger easily, and fast cavalry/skirmishers/lone characters had better be afraid of his combat prowess... I wish I could fit the reaver bow somewhere, but I'd need to drop both of my scrolls to do so. (that kind of nullifies the whole "magic defense" set-up, doesn't it?) How about giving him a plain old longbow? It would give him something to play with while relocating and generally playing chicken... :)

-Bullseye/fire magnet: So, other people use giants as fire magnets and I can't use a high elf prince? If it takes a turn to gun him down (which I believe only a dedicated gunline can do in a single round of shooting), that's a turn of march movement for my unscathed blocks and chariots. (A weak argument, I must confess, but one has to justify his choices!)

Thanks for your replies, people! Keep them coming!

Marwynn
02-07-2008, 23:11
spearmen are not 'rock hard' when faced with any solid save infantry.

Take any unit with T4 and a 4+ save for example and lets run maths ->

Assuming a 5x4 block of spearmen fighting unit Orcs that is T4 with a 4+ save.

16 attacks (champion)
-> 10.666 hits (hitting on 3's)
-> 3.555 wounds (wounding on 5's)
-> 1.7 dead. (4+ save)

Hardly rock hard now is it?

Try against dwarf warriors (who are of equal cost)

16 Attacks
-> 8 hits (hit on 4+)
-> 2.666 wounds (5+)
-> 0.8 dead.

Thats pretty un-impressive to me.

Anyone who knows what they are doign will throw untis that can handly spearmen at spearmen. Sure they are great if they end up massacring gobblins but thats moot.

Good numbers however hardly any HE player will run his unit in a 5x? formation. Try the numbers at 18 or 21 attacks, plus one more for the unit champ.

That should be 2.32 wounds for 21 attacks against the Orcs.

We'll ignore the Noble who'll likely be in this unit chopping things up. That's how HE players (nominally) deploy their spearblocks, 18-20 strong and with character support.

DarthBinky
03-07-2008, 06:31
-Bullseye/fire magnet: So, other people use giants as fire magnets and I can't use a high elf prince? If it takes a turn to gun him down (which I believe only a dedicated gunline can do in a single round of shooting), that's a turn of march movement for my unscathed blocks and chariots. (A weak argument, I must confess, but one has to justify his choices!)

I just got out of work and I'm tired, so this'll be quick:

I assume you're kidding about the fire magnet thing... but a Giant costs a little less and isn't that army's general. Don't forget the other factors- a dead general means a Ld drop for your guys (and Ld tests, especially Panic, are going to be a major sore spot for you unless he's around), and an extra +100 VP's for your opponent.

Also, don't overestimate the difficulty in killing an elf- as you said, that's a weak argument. He's on a monster, so he doesn't get the -1 to shooting to help protect him. And then even the eagle isn't terribly hard to kill- its T is decent but not great (and it's lower than that Giant's T), and it has no saves. One about average round of shooting from two units of handgunners or crossbowmen on a hill at long range (or one really good round of shooting from one of those units) should be about enough to put his eagle down, and probably him with it. At short range it's even easier. Bows will have a harder time taking him down, but if you're facing bows, there's probably some kind of "bolt thrower" in the army somewhere (or you're facing Wood Elves, which is another can of worms).

As for giving him a longbow (since you can't get a Reaver Bow in there)... it's up to you to decide if a single S3 shot per turn is worth the 10 points. His BS is good enough that he'll generally hit his target... but will he hurt it and get through saves? IMHO, it's not worth it.

W0lf
03-07-2008, 09:36
18-20 strong and with character support.

there being my issue.

I bet that w/o using caradryan (korhil fine) i can beat a spearblock with character with most units with a character of equal points.

They simply are not cost effective once you add a character in.

happy_doctor
03-07-2008, 15:53
You have a point, Wolf, but why on earth would anyone pit his M5 elves against any unit of elite infantry with character inside (they usually they have a low movement value, especially the troops with T4 and good armour save: Saurus, Chaos Warriors, Dwarves, etc), on their own?

With maneuverable armies such as elves, you can coordinate charges and take out your opponent in smaller chunks! Thus, saying "this unit costs X and it can be beaten by that unit with an equal cost" reminds me of rock/paper/scissors and has "math-hammer" written in bold! ;)

On the prince's longbow sublect, I think I'm going to go ahead and give him one, on the off chance something like a ratling gun comes my way (why waste a whole unit's shots when your hero can do it, right?)

As for the number of kills mentioned in some posts, what statistics don't take into account is the damage potential. Sure, dwarf warriors(with great weapons) and elven spearmen will statistically kill about the same number of foes, but the elves have the POTENTIAL of killing 3 times more troops...
This fact not only acts as an intimidating factor, but will sometimes come true and your enemy will suffer because of it!

Arguleon-veq
03-07-2008, 17:38
As somebody that plays against High Elves often, I fear Spear Elves far more than things like White Lions.

Those Orcs aren't much cheaper than the High Elves and will only do 1 wound back in return, meaning they lose combat by at least 1, maybe 2 if the units started with the same numbers.

Against those Dwarfs, they draw the combat against an equally pointed foe who are regarded as a very tough unit to beat.

Add in a cheap Noble striking first with a Great Weapon and the unit beats even most enemy units who are also packing a character. Especially with the Talisman of Loec. Your character will then get killed in a challenge of if his base lines up with the noble and the Elves win by a few and that Elven character probably costs less than your character.

Against T3 infantry they come into their own even without a character for support. Theres also the option of a magic banner too.

I don't really rate Archers but if I had to play against an Elf army with a solid backbone of Spears I would be more concerned than when facing the typical Special Heavy lists.

Marwynn
03-07-2008, 17:54
there being my issue.

I bet that w/o using caradryan (korhil fine) i can beat a spearblock with character with most units with a character of equal points.

They simply are not cost effective once you add a character in.

Quite possible. A 20-strong Spearblock with full command is 205 points. A cheap Noble, which is the character support most of these blocks get, would be given the Armour of Caledor (2+ save) and a Great Weapon, he'd total 118 points on his own.

Granted, that's a 2+ AS character with 3 WS6 S6 ASF attacks that's immune to fire (and Rule of Burning Iron sniping). So he'll account for some wounds on his own.

The greatest strength of having a noble amongst your Spearelves is that you're not totally reliant on receiving the charge anymore. That's a mindset most HE take because it's the most optimal solution for them. With mostly cheap Noble support that psychological limitation is eased and even removed.

How much are Orc Boyz each now?

Xzazzarai
03-07-2008, 19:14
Thank you for your reply, Marwynn! Let's see:

-

-Silverhelms/Dragon princes: Dragon princes are more effective, but surely silver helms must have their uses, right?


The Dragon Princes can do anything the Silver Helms can. It's just that they do it better. For 7 pts more (if you take shields for SH, to get a 2+ AS like the DP) you get a unit that hit allmost TWICE as hard! 7 pts/model (35 pts/unit commonly) and double damage. It's not a hard choice!

There are two things how ever that makes the SH a little more attractive.
1. They are cheaper than DP. (Though, when comparing ability to price, they aren't cheaper...)
2. They are less likely to be targeted by enemy magic and shooting than DP. (Meaning your enemys focus will move to something else...)

There is really no argument to take SH over DP other than personal preference/fluff.
But for pure gaming? No one sane uses SH.

Dragon Prince of Caledor
04-07-2008, 02:41
first of all i hate painting the spearmen and archers and am not too fond of the models. I play for the models i like and i like the phoenix guard and swordmasters (hate the white lions but they are versatile in the game admittedly) and LOVE the dragonprinces. I think their effectiveness would be solely based on their opponents army. All infantry high elves vs. brets or stunties...=death for coneheads. Seaguard are pretty cool though. The static res and 16 attacks hitting first against enemies with toughness three is wonderful. Against everything else not so great:) .
In summary i play for the models and the core models and silver helms are not great. I use my silver helms just because they are painted but they are not worth it compared to dragon princes who are beautiful and far better.
But if you like the core unit models go for it.

Condottiere
04-07-2008, 03:13
Silver Helms are often cited as being an ideal unit for a flank attack, while the Dragon Princes strike frontally. Reavers are easier to maneuver into this position, or preferably, in the rear.