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View Full Version : Khaine themed DE army... thoughts?



Fraser Green
04-03-2009, 22:59
Hello all, I am a long time wargamer wanting to get started on WHFB. All my armies so far have had a theme to them and I would like to do the same with a Dark Elf army, specifically a Khainite army led by Hellebron.

Does anyone have any advice on how to go about building this force? I know Hellebron and Witch Elves are a bit of a glass cannon, so I thought I would ask around before jumping in cluelessly. Any help would be appreciated.

Time of Madness
04-03-2009, 23:14
The biggest problem is the lack of magic defence and no armour saves.

If GW would have allowed executioner/witch elf champs to take magic items (ie ring of hotek) the army might have been viable.

If I was designing a list I'd do something like this

- With elf hag bsb with ASF banner in large unit of executioners.
- Cauldron
- Large unit of witch elves led by a hag general
- Fill the core slots with x-bows

Time of Madness

sroblin
05-03-2009, 00:32
Witch Elves and Hellebron maybe glass cannons, but they are still cannons. Witch Elves and Executioners maynot be some of the less 'optimal' units in the DE codex, but they're still very deadly on the charge. The problem is how to get them A) across the field in the face of enemy shooting B) make sure they are the ones getting the charge.

You might wish to taka BSB with the ASF banner or one unit to help out with the charging issue. Of course, for such a list the cauldron is a must have. But I'm not sure how I would solve the problem for the army as a whole- magic is out. The more you open yourself to the inclusion of non-khainite units, the larger your tactical tool box is to help you out with this problem. Particularly, having some fast or tough units to reduce enemy shooting and pin down knights and so forth would be very helpful.

Magic defense? Personally, I think the Army book is mistaken in creating this strict dichotomy that no nobles can be khainites, only witch elves. Surely there are executioner heroes and aristocratic-adherents of the cult? It wouldn't bother me personally to field a noble in such a list with the ring of hotek or more fluffily but less effectively, the seal of Ghrond; of course, he would have to be part of a non 'khainite' unit. Once again, I personally figure there would be ordinary warriors, dark riders, chariots etc. as adherents of the cult. But I don't know where you would draw the line for the theme of the list.

Fraser Green
05-03-2009, 00:45
I would imagine that a Khainite force would still consist of a fair amount of "normal" troops, city guards and the like drafted in to form the bulk of a campaign force. I am just wondering if I should have Hellebron as a "Naked chick on a monster" or "Naked chick in a unit". She might be a little "exposed" on her oen riding around, it might be a good idea to put her with some Executioners or somesuch.

Should I go with a few big units of Witch Elves, or more smaller units, do you think?

sulla
05-03-2009, 02:44
I would imagine that a Khainite force would still consist of a fair amount of "normal" troops, city guards and the like drafted in to form the bulk of a campaign force. I am just wondering if I should have Hellebron as a "Naked chick on a monster" or "Naked chick in a unit". She might be a little "exposed" on her oen riding around, it might be a good idea to put her with some Executioners or somesuch.

Should I go with a few big units of Witch Elves, or more smaller units, do you think?

Put hellebron in a unit of black guard. That way, at least you get the ring of hotek and the strikes first banner as massive boosts to her. You don't want a frenzied large flyer. Far too easy to pull around the field for an experienced opponent.

Keep your witch elf units small in case you come up against armies that can bait them, outcharge them or amies that can autobreak them in combat (VC in particular)

dwarfhold13
05-03-2009, 03:58
i've thought about the list too..
a few things i've thought..
units of 18 witch elves running 6 wide
2 cauldrons on opposite ends of the table
of course hellebron, but not on a mount
and at least two units of executioners to boot
oh.. and don't forget the assassin option!

shredshredxx
05-03-2009, 05:02
IIRC, gw said that the null talismans are like dispel scrolls,

and thus some unit champs can take them,

and characters can take multiples.

you can have them spread all throughout your army, which makes magic defense less of an issue.

at least, i'm hoping this is the case, as i was hoping to make a khainite de list for my next army, with the aow dreadlord as my urial-ish lord of khaine, and a whole grip of executioners.

nice.

sroblin
05-03-2009, 10:54
you can have them spread all throughout your army, which makes magic defense less of an issue.


The problem is that Khainite units and heroes can't take items from the magic-item list, only from the gifts of Khane list. Which unfortunately enough includes fluff appropriate equipment like the null talisman or the seal of ghrond. So you'll have to go for some non-Khainite elites or heroes to field those.

As for Witch Elve, I think I wouldn't field them larger 18 (6x3). Though certainly, with such fragile unit, there might be an incentive to field them MSU in unts of 12 (either 6x2, or 7 in front and 5 in rear rank.) Even elf infantry isn't that slow, and with enough targets you migth be able to swam over enemy ranged attackers. On the other hand, when concentrated in larger units a larger numer of Witch Elves gain the benefit of the ward save from the cauldrons, and they are more likely to actually defeat the enemy when they reach the other side. I think I would take two 'heavy' units of 18 (they're still not that expensive) and maybe a few smaller units too, but it depends how many units of Executioners and support troops you are taking too to fit into the army.

I have to admit, I would be very tempted to field Hellebron on Manticore because monsters are cool and an infantry army can really use a flying fast attack unit, though it is true that she would basically be forced to charge every turn of the game. However, there are a few tricks to consider for mitigating this: first, on turn 1 make sure that can't have line of sight to the enemy battlefield (block it with terrain or face her the wrong way.) This is to keep her from being baited before you have a chance to position her. Then, on your first move use her flight move to guarantee she has a good charge to a unit that matters. It doesn't matter that she is forced to charge by frenzy, because she's fast enough to choose her preferred target to charge (which with her magical prowess, should be a 'heavy' enemy unit like knights, infantry block, or a large monster.) Between hatred and the S10 deathsword, she should be able to defeat most units in CR alone, as long as there aren't many left to hit back at her!

There is another major downside, however, to her be mounted besides frenzy, and it is that she is much more vulnerable to enemy ranged attacks. Even archers will readily victimize the poor hag.
One benefit to putting her in a unit, btw, is that she passes the effects of her anti-magic ring, and magic protection is at premium in this sort of army.

stonehorse
05-03-2009, 11:33
A Khaine themed army can work, it all depends on how much of the options available you cut out, it may be obvious, but the more army options you don't take the more you'll struggle. Dark Elves like all Elves are a combined Arms force.

One way I've found to help Executioners get the charge is to screen them with a cheap unit of Harpies. If and when the enemy goes to charge the Harpies they flee, if you've kept your Executioners back enough you can charge next turn.

It doesn't always work, but it is at least something to think about. Other than this the only other way is to use Executioners as a small 10 model strong flanking force, that works along side Dark Elf Warriors.

Harpies go well in a Khaine themed army, as do War Hydras... take as many as you can fit in and this should help a great deal.

Fraser Green
05-03-2009, 13:49
Thanks for the interesting replies, gentlemen. So I'm looking at multiple units of 18 or so Witch Elves, Hellebron in a unit of Black Guard, some Executioners to be choppy and a number of Harpies, War Hydras (maybe), Cauldrons and assassins (because they are awesome).

I wish you could give Hellebron more options regarding the mount, but as I don't want to mount her anyway (oo-er) I guess the point is moot.

Would there be any advantages to using larger units of Witch Elves as opposed to smaller ones? It seems clear from the replies smaller units would be better, but I'm not 100% sure why. If someone could explain I would appreciate it.

Commissar Vaughn
05-03-2009, 14:00
I was thinking over a Khainite army last night:

I reckon its dooable, more or less.How about:

unit of Execs with hellebron and Hag bsb (asf) plus warbanner or somethin. and that special champ.
at least one cauldron.

some units of core witch elves, not too big so they can have a go at out manouvering your enemy, and find picking fights better.
Spread a few assasins and magic banners around.

Id reckon a few of the non khainite units have a place: Shades could be assassins in training for example and a few units of those will be very handy.

I spose u could have a sorceress in as an alternative "khainite" priestess but maybe thats going to far. If you can afford it add shadowblade in to take up that last hero slot.

Potentially nasty: A horde of skirmishers, assasins, frenzied nutters and a bit of a deathstar unit to boot.
No magic defence though. doesnt bother me much, some people wont like it though.

Fraser Green
05-03-2009, 14:46
What Gifts of Khaine should I take often and which should I avoid, by the way? Should I give my Witch Elf units full command?

sroblin
05-03-2009, 18:54
Would there be any advantages to using larger units of Witch Elves as opposed to smaller ones? It seems clear from the replies smaller units would be better, but I'm not 100% sure why. If someone could explain I would appreciate it.

Well, obviously larger units can take more casualties and have a larger rank bonus. But Wich Elves aren't exactly cheap, and the vast majority of the value from a Witch Elf unit comes from them killing things, rather than a rank bonus. In the best of situations, they can kill alot. So the front rank is the one that matters most- and wider front ranks means more attacks, and therefore more kills. The rear ranks are most useful for absorbing casualties so you can still have a full front-rank of attacks by the time you hit the enemy. If you can have a rank bonus left by the time you hit their lines, that's a nice bonus- but it's not a very important one. Even when taking two units of 18, keep in mind that it is intead of taking 3 units of 12. I don't think more than 18 is particularly worth it. If you didn't have to worry about shooting, than even units of 18 would rarely be worth it, but as it stands shooting is a problem most of the time, so padding the unit up further is worth considering.

Command on Witch Elves: Standard I think is worth it, if you expect to win combats with them. Musician as well: because you don't want to be caught without one on a tie. Champion? Only worth it for challenging or for taking Gifts of Khaine. Otherwise, one more attack ontop of 18 doesn't make a big differece. However, both challenging and gifts of Khaine can be useful.

Regarding standards: War Banner is useful her as it is with any other unit. However, the Banner of Murder is practically tailor made to increase the effectiveness of witch elves, and at a cheap price. The biggest problem with Witch Elves is their lack of armor piercing, this banner doubles the number of wounds they will inflict on Knights (still not a lot, but a definite improvement.)
Gifts of Khaine tend to be prett

Witchbrew: I used to take it standard, but it is somewhat expensive. Nonethless, if you expect to be fighting lots of infantry blocks, negating the enemy's outnumbering bonus is as good as having a warbanner (which you can stack it with, in theory.) Negating the flanking and high-ground bonuses is more situational.

Gifts of Khaine for Witch Elf champions:
A number of these are pretty dubious, but a few stand out for their potential utility.
Cry of War: if this power works, it can help Witch Elves defensively against WS5 and WS2 opponents, and offensively against WS4 opponents. That's not bad and it's not very expensive, but the problem is that it only works if they fail a leadership test, and most units will pass those on average. Still worth considering, though.
Cloak of Twilight: I don't know if Witch Elvs can technically take this, I am pretty sure they can't use it on themselves. However, a champion could in theory use the cloak to give flight to a nearby assassin or hero. Only appropriate as part of a specific strategem, but (it looks like) the options it there if you want it.
Manbane: I don't like most of the poison 'upgrades' because they take away the poison special rule. This one, however, offers a useful upgrade in hitting power which helps penetrate armor- something Witch Elves can always use. Generally, your Hag will be making 4 S4 or S5 attacks instead of S3 poisoned ones. If you fight large T5 or T6 large monsters, she becomes S6 or S7!
Rune of Khaine: This is another obvious combat upgrade, adding 2 attacks on average; however, while it is a no-brainer on Assassins, it's not as useful on the hag because her individual attacks aren't as powerful (and because it takes up all of her allowance, the power can't be comboed with, say, Manbane.) Though I wouldn't generally recommend it, it is another straight forward combat upgrade if that's what you're looking for.

In general, investing in the champion with gifts is pretty expensive and with only modest benefits, but it can be fun. The ones most worth considering are Cry of War because it's cheap, or maybe Manbane (situational, but usually useful.)

sroblin
05-03-2009, 19:08
It occurred to me you might also be referring to Gifts of Khaine for assassins and Hero-Hags. Well to expand my consideration a bit:

Rune of Khaine: standard way of pumping up offense by 2 attacks on average. Still needs to be comboed with something else, usually...

Touch of Death: killing blow basically gives the assassin or hag a chance at penetrating armoured targets (oh, and killing them instantly, of course), which is where they struggle most with only S4 attacks. It's really a must have IMO for a melee fighter. However, poison does interfere with it by skipping it with to wound roles. Which means that combining it with-

Black Lotus: replaces the poison special rule, allowes you to reroll 1s to wound. I thought this power was crappy, until I realized that re-rolling 1s gives you another chance to roll a killing blow if you have touch of death- and by taking away poison, it also increases to-wound rolls. So worth considering.

Manbane: also good because it can help beef up strength, and armor piercing however, it won't help at all against T3 models. Against T4 and T5, it is pretty decent. And by replacing the poison special rule, you are also more likely to get off a killing blow.

Rending Stars: are also a potentially powerful form of attack if you want a ranged assassin, and can be comboed with poisons and other abilities.

Things to avoid:
Venom Sword: Ok, it can be situationally useful against multiple-wound creatures with low armor like ogres or a giant. However, against most things it is a (very expensive) gamble with a low chance of payoff, because 3-4 S4 attacks have a low chance of actually penetrating the defeses of an average character. And if you take it, you can't take anything else to enhance that chance.

Draconian77
05-03-2009, 19:14
Your going to need a lot of Harpies.

A) They are an aspect of Khaine after all.
B) You'll need them to screen/hunt or funnel the enemy in certain directions.

I would definately not put Hellebron on a Manticore.

I would squeek something non-Khainte into the list so that you can get the Ring of Hotek in. Maybe just a Master with the Ring and the Armour of Darkness, but with no spellcasters you could have problems without it.

If you have a choice between a Death Hag or an Assassin, take the Assassin. Has nastier combos and generally they look much cooler.

Fraser Green
05-03-2009, 21:51
Your going to need a lot of Harpies.

Ugly looking unit is ugly :( They shall not darken my miniatures case.


I would definately not put Hellebron on a Manticore.

Indeed, she is going in a unit of Black Guard as bodyguards with the ASF banner and the
Ring of Hotek


If you have a choice between a Death Hag or an Assassin, take the Assassin. Has nastier combos and generally they look much cooler.

Yep, Shadowblade is going in there as part of my "magic defense" strategy. A quote anyone who has read the Jhereg series of novels might recall: "No matter how subtle the wizard, a knife between the shoulderblades will cramp his style."

Also a pair of Sorceresses (TWINS THEY WERE) carrying a bag of Dispel Scrolls each. I seriously might convert a golf club bag for them to carry around full of scrolls.

sandinista
05-03-2009, 23:46
Here's an idea I was going to use, if they ever got around to making plastic, attractive witch elves: use an eldar Avatar as a proxy hydra, complete with hag/beastmasters. Or, even better, the Forgeworld version as a giant. Not that these choices are tactically needed, but I always thought, if done well, it could be a wicked center-piece.

Fraser Green
06-03-2009, 00:46
Here's an idea I was going to use, if they ever got around to making plastic, attractive witch elves: use an eldar Avatar as a proxy hydra, complete with hag/beastmasters. Or, even better, the Forgeworld version as a giant. Not that these choices are tactically needed, but I always thought, if done well, it could be a wicked center-piece.

Judging from the Morathi model, I don't think any of GW's sculptors have seen a female face, let alone an attractive one.

sroblin
06-03-2009, 01:22
I actually like the current witch elf models, but if you find these ones unpleasant, wait till you see the 5th edition sculpts!

If you don't like the current harpy models, maybe you could find some assorted winged daemons or beasties from another army (for example, DE used to have the same 'furies' as Chaos in 5th edition) or even a different model range more to you're liking. Skirmishers for screening would be very helpful for this kind fo army.

Ultimo ninja
06-03-2009, 01:58
if harpie models are ugly, use the furies demon minis and paint em purple.

Thurizdan
06-03-2009, 06:21
Furies are just as ugly.

You won't mount Hellebron but you'll take Shadowblade...what? They're both just as fragile and situational but Hellebron on Manticore looks cooler and still has some use against Night Goblins.

spartan41
06-03-2009, 08:05
I like the witch elf models too. If you paint them right they can look awesome. It takes alot of time and attention to the face though. Put alot blush, eyeshadow, and lipstick to make them look sexy and evil. I'll agree though, pre paint, they do not look very feminine. Its all about the paint job.

shredshredxx
11-03-2009, 18:07
since you're down for taking sorceresses, i assume you're willing to bend the lore or mor specifically the khainey-ness of your army.

i strongly suggest taking a master, or maybe even a dreadlord just so you can take the null talismans/ring of hotek.

they'll add the magic defence which is what an army like this needs,

and you could portray them as being master executioners, which are uber-khainey,

or, if you've read the malus darkblade novels, badass priests of khaine all armoured/armed to the teeth. think urial!

W0lf
11-03-2009, 22:26
Helebron
3x 18 witch elves
3x 14 Executioners
Tons of harpies
Assasins
master on pegasus with ring.

Job done.