View Full Version : khainite tactics AKA magic, schmagic

28-08-2008, 04:55
ive played dark elves in some form or another since 4th edition, and after suffering under the yoke of a wretched army book for so many years its an absolute treat to finally have a great list!

unfortunately, for me thats part of the problem. there is so much good stuff, its easy to get carried away and load up on good things and not have a balanced force. so instead of actually figuring out a good, balanced army, ive opted to play strict khainite for the next little while! hooray for themed fluffy armies!

the restrictions i put on myself are thus:

-no wizards
-no monsters
-no RXB, too expensive for not enough payback
-must have witch elves, hags, cauldron, assassins and executioners
-MSU (i am die hard MSU fan, no blocks for me)

with that in mind, here are some guidelines ive come up with.


hags. hags are great. (hag is my nickname IRL too, so that probably has something to do with my love of them.) fairly cheap, quite killy and very fragile. putting a hag on a cauldron as your general and running it behind your units is great, giving everyone your ld9 and khainite units stubborn. the terror and 4+ ward can deter small units. i am keeping my general cheap, just her and the cauldron.

battle standard hag. its tempting to have a combat general and have the BSB on the cauldron, but then you miss out on the standard of hag graef. this standard is great in executioners, and being able to move from khainite unit to khainite unit in the early game depending on the threat is great. i give her the 5+ ward gift also, just to give her some hope of survival if she gets hit with anything other than a wet rag. i also run her on the outside of the unit, so when 7 wide, not many models will be able to attack her back.

assassins. man, these guys will wreck just about anything with the right kit. and i believe the best kit is this: additional hand weapon, killing blow, +d3 attacks and black lotus. any other kit is inferior in this list (and quite possibly in any other list as well). this guy will let you stick a unit out in front of a scary charging unit and wipe the floor with them, leaving the witch elves/execs to clean up. added bonus: ld 10 stubborn near the cauldron. could be used to hold up entire units by himself after he kills everyone in base with him, letting you flank and crush. havent done it yet myself, but its got potential.


3 units of dark riders fill out your core requirements and let you do many, many things. redirects, wizard assassination, take away ranks, the list goes on. i dont think rxb on these guys is worth it, you just dont get a lot of hits and it tempts you to use them in ways that are inferior to baiting/fleeing/warmachine hunting. musicians are a must.

harpies are amazingly cheap and very versatile. you can redirect with them, while its not as efficient as the dark riders it doesnt sting so bad when they get caught or run over...55 points is a pittance. multiple units of 5 are key here, they can crossfire, kill warmachines, take table quarters, march block, assassinate wizards, etc etc. can screen frenzied witchelves too if necessary. the no panic clause is also fantastic, feel free to exploit that at every opportunity :).

other core choices dont really have a place in a khainite list. i tinkered with crossbow elves in addition to 3 units of dark riders, but honestly, they just dont fit. corsairs are tempting to screen/flank with, but theyre expensive and cause panic when they break while harpies dont.


for me, 2 units of witchelves are mandatory, just from a fluff standpoint. i use units of 12 in a frontage of 7. they will carve through anything with light armor, and the hag with manbane can deal with heavier targets. assassins go here too. when i first found out that they lost ws5, i was bummed, but its actually quite the hookup. with hatred you get more poisoned hits, which help out a lot against higher toughness guys (like plaguebearers). with killing blow from the cauldron, they can even tangle with heavy armor just from sheer number of attacks. the MSU purist in me hates taking standards here, but with hatred making them hit so hard in the first round and stubborn from the cauldron a case can be made for giving the ladies a banner.

when i first got my mits on the book, i was dismayed that the execs paled in comparision to the black guard. i still think the black guard are superior, but from a fluff standpoint, they actually work really well here. again, ran 12 strong 7 wide with +1 attack from the cauldron will give any unit fits and with the BSB they can take a charge and still kill everything in front of them. as for banner, the same thoughts on the witchelves apply.

initially, shades seem like they would be a good fit here with great weapons and scouting and having accurate shooting to deal with small problem units, but they are prohibitively expensive and ive found that dark riders and harpies do these things much better.

chariots dont suit my style in this army, it gives cannons something to shoot at that isnt a waste of time, and i really hate stupidity.

cold one knights hit incredibly hard. like freight train hard. and giving them +1 attack with the cauldron will tear anything apart. giving the champion the ring of hotek can cause wizards trouble if theyre in the middle of your lines. im torn as to whether or not to give them a standard, as they should be able to kill whatever they charge already and since they dont get stubborn from the cauldron, they may well run away from a combat if the goin gets tough. of course getting the 3d6 ld magic banner could practically guarantee your charge when you need it...nothing is more frustrating than setting up the perfect charge only to have your lizards wander around.

black guard are amazing, but no points to spare, competing for special slots and not being fluffy for the list take them out of contention (plus i dont have the models :D).


hydras are stupid good, but i dont have the models and they dont really do anything that your other troops arent already capable of (aside from the terror aspect and breathing fire). plus theyre fire magnets for things like cannons that otherwise dont do much to the army.

reaper bolt throwers are important to this army, not so much from a fluff standpoint but they let you reach out and touch things to whittle them down for your troops to deal with. knocking off a rank or two of a brick unit or shooting a single bolt at a knight unit that has exposed its flank after a flee from the harpies/dark riders is just good times. plus it gives you hope against big gribblies that the list otherwise has fits with.

i realize that against some armies, a khainite list will struggle immensely (slaan mage priest comes immediately to mind), but with clever tactics i think a khaine themed list can compete and be fun to play. that said, there are some serious issues that such self imposed restrictions inflict upon you, such as...

-magic heavy lists, especially lots of magic missiles
-heavy cav lists
-shooting heavy lists
-big scary monster lists
-lots of fear causing enemies
-im sure there are more, thats just what comes immediately to mind

here are some quick thoughts i had in dealing with these threats.

magic heavy lists. as near as i can tell, dealing with super magic lists consists of either screening your guys, killing the wizards, neutralizing their magic or all of the above. since sorceresses are out, so are scrolls. since khainite characters cant have magic items, only gifts, the seal of ghrond is out, and unless there is a unit of COK, the ring of hotek is out. that means screening your guys and killing the wizards.

killing or tying up the opposing wizards is actually a reasonable tactic with a khainite list. harpies are cheap and can be thrown into a combat against a unit containing the wizard and direct as many attacks as possible (usually 6, a reasonable chance of clipping a lv2 wizard of most armies). dark riders can also do this with hatred and str 4, although with less attacks and at nearly twice the price.

if you cant kill the wizards, then screening your important units with cheap harpies can buy you some time to get to grips with them.

super shooty lists

having lots of light, fast units can give shooting armies fits. target saturation is the key here. 2-3 units of dark riders and 2-3 units of harpies are fast and can charge missile units on the second turn, and if you have lots of these the enemy missile units are forced to deal with them instead of your fragile MSE units, leaving them to advance unmolested.

heavy cav lists

naked chicks/t3 heavy armor guys dont want to be charged by cav. if they get the charge off against the cav though, all is well! a good khainite army will be loaded with killing blow (execs, assassins, cauldron) and knights hate that. redirecting knight charges is the key here, so multiple units of dark riders and harpies are a must. redirects are an MSU staple, so if you dont know how to do that, research MSU. bolt throwers are also good at knocking off a few knights down to a manageble number.

big scary monster problems (ie. dragons, hydras, bloodthirsters)

dragons are laaaame. okay, thats not true, but they can give a khainite list fits. reaper bolt throwers can deter the dragon and funnel it towards a unit with an assassin. basically these things can totally wreck the entire army, so you just kinda have to cross your fingers and hope the reapers can get the job done.

lots of fear (ie. vampire counts, demons)

with the cauldron giving stubborn to khainite units and elves having a generally high leadership, losing a combat isnt that tragic, but losing to fear causing units that outnumber you is. harpies wont reliably charge anything and the meager shooting wont do much to big fat units of raisable skeletons or ward save demons. redirecting the enemy into favorable positions for you to win the combat via combat resolution is the only way to sort them out, and with lots of killing blow you can sort out vampires with (relative) ease. harpies are great for setting up flank charges with the MSE units, which either are frenzied or have decent enough leadershp to charge scary things.

here is the list im using for now. im not claiming that it is liek omg tehwin!!1!!, but its fun and fluffy.

death hag w/cauldron (general, 200)
death hag BSB, standard of hag graef, dance of doom (180)
assassin w/addtl hand weapon, touch of death, rune of khaine, black lotus (171)
assassin w/addtl hand weapon, touch of death, rune of khaine, black lotus (171)

5 dark riders, musician (92)
5 dark riders, musician (92)
5 dark riders, musician (92)
5 harpies (55)
5 harpies (55)

12 witchelves, musician, hag w/manbane (160)
12 witchelves, musician, hag w/manbane (160)
12 executioners, musician, champion (162)
5 cold one knights, champion w/ring of hotek, banner of cold blood (207)

2 reaper bolt throwers (200)

1997 total, 10 units, 2 dispel dice (:o). good times!

El Haroldo
28-08-2008, 07:41
Too bad you don't have someone with the Seal of Ghrond in there because the 'no offensive magic' list tends to suffer even though the ring is brilliant.

Other than that I like it.

Those assassins are ridiculously expensive but very capable. It just seems very character heavy.

28-08-2008, 12:29
If we're speaking about a strict Khainite list, would you ever consider Hellebron? She's fantastically killy, and makes witch elves core?

29-08-2008, 02:08
If we're speaking about a strict Khainite list, would you ever consider Hellebron? She's fantastically killy, and makes witch elves core?

in a bigger game, i would definitely take her. that many str10 attacks will flatten pretty much anyone and the amulet of fire does offer some much needed magic protection. the only prob i have with her is that she is really expensive for next to no defense. i really like the cauldron/bsb combo and to keep that and have hellebron would be prohibitively expensive. at 2500 points it would probably be a lock however.

i played a game today against a manfred vampire count list, it looked somethin like this:

manfred on horse with book
vampire on foot w/ghouls
vampire on foot w/grave guard

grave guard
2 units of skeletons
1 unit of ghouls
banshee w/3 wraiths

i knew this game would be tough since it has lots of fear and a ridiculous number of magic dice. in hindsight, my deployment was less than stellar but in the end i pulled out a draw. quick lessons learned-

-set up better bait/flee tactics. i only pulled off one good one and didnt really get any awesome ones off.
-get an assassin on vampires ASAP. assassins killed both konrad and manfred.
-charging dark riders into the rear of an undead unit with +1 attack from the cauldron will tear them up. the easy way to kill vampires is to crumble them!
-witch elves with +1 attack will put out an obscene amount of attacks. between the assassin and the witches, they won a combat against manfred and skeletons by 11.
-the cauldron can hold its own against a vargulf. that many poison attacks will tear almost anything with light/no armor down quickly.
-ethereal troops are a problem, since i have next to no CR and no magic attacks. the wraiths/banshee and a spirit host gave me no end of trouble.

all in all it was a good game, though the amount of dice the vamps can put out is tremendously unfun to play against. luckily assassins are worth every penny, they will lay any scary pests way low (suck it carsteins!).

12-09-2008, 22:23
How about Hellbron and shadowblade?? they will alow you to get more anti magic(shadow blade can kill most mages easily)and hellebron will make witch elves core units.

13-09-2008, 01:54
How about Hellbron and shadowblade?? they will alow you to get more anti magic(shadow blade can kill most mages easily)and hellebron will make witch elves core units.

You'll have next to no points left after taking those two models. In 2k points its a little more than a quarter of your army. Not such a good idea imo.

13-09-2008, 05:21
He is spending about that much with the two hags and two assassins.

13-09-2008, 14:22
In a larger point game you could justify taking Hellebron, not too expensive compared to most lords. In a unit with ASF banner she is ridiculous, most units committing suicide if they come near all those S10 attacks! No save is a slight problem for her though!

Warlord Broken spear
13-09-2008, 14:49
the only problem with the list is it is too character heavy,

but it looks very playable and fun

13-09-2008, 16:17
I meant just one of the 2 charecters.

13-09-2008, 21:32
Would you consider dropping the CoK and a unit of DR to squeeze in a master on a manticore with RoH? He should be able to do a lot of the things you might want them to, plus add a different dimension (plus still being fluffy).

Just a thought