View Full Version : DE - beginner army composition help

Da Boyzz
01-05-2007, 09:06
Ok, well i will give you the rundown first;

My friend is wishing to start Dark elves to play my chaos slaanesh mortal army on a regular basis.

He has $400 au to spend on models [not including paints and set up.]

So i am coming to you people at warseer for help.

What are the best options for him to be near his budget, have a competitive list and for us to have some good close battles. I was thinking maybe he should use a fast list? to give my guys the run around? I have no idea.

Thanks for your help.

Count Zero
01-05-2007, 10:35
i dont know prices in AU$, but generally the things to pick up 1st would be a couple of boxes of warriors, these are the only plastics we have so they are a necessity. Dark riders too, the problem here is that 1) they are metal and pricey and 2) the models are nothing that special imo. If you friend is into converting i know some people taking the newer wood elf box (glade riders?) and covnert.

reaper bolt throwers are a must, probably at least 2 to start.

With the other choices it really depends on how he likes to play. Cold one chariots are nice, good models, and are 2 for 1 in specials (where DE are limted generally, having 6 troops to choose from) and provide a punch. Either shades or harpies are usefull as well,

the main metal troop units are corsairs, witch elves, Executioners and Black Guard. i'd immeadilty drop BG, they are lovely models and are great to have for the army, but not somehting to buy first (as they will rarely be used). I'd probably buy Exec's, great models again (and could be used to represent BG if he wants to try them out). Also i would buy witch elves b4 corsiars, mainly beacuse i believe corsairs will be most likley made into plactic with the revison.

I persoanly dont take Cold one knights, i am not keen on the stupid apsect and fnd it a lot of points.

if he wants more info on DE they have a great website: www.druchii.net

Holy Crap! Manticores!
01-05-2007, 14:38
a lot of good answers can be found in this thread. (http://www.warseer.com/forums/showthread.php?t=81610)
Druchii.net is a good place to learn also. With DE, you can ask 10 players and you'll come up with 9 or 10 opinions, so just get a few small games started and figure out what he wants to do next.

OPS, specifically against Slaanesh, I'd lay off some of the really cool psych stuff, such as fear and terror sources. That's not to say a WarHydra wouldn't be cool... although the current model mostly sucks.

01-05-2007, 16:27
also consider getting some minis from gamezoneminiatures.com, I think the take they provide on dark elves (especially crossbows and spears) very refresshing, and there cavalry is very nicely done as well

02-05-2007, 09:53
when do you a DE revision could come about?
i'm starting up a DE force and dont want my models to be immediately outdated

02-05-2007, 10:03
Newest rumour are putting them at about 12 months from now and will probably get a whole range makeover, i.e. all new models.

the vicar
02-05-2007, 11:30
I would personally suggest 3 boxes of warriors. This will provide your friend with enough models (48) to build a nice big 24-man unit of spears, and two 12-man units of crossbows (without command, of course).

After that, I'd pick up at least two Reaper Bolt Throwers, maybe even max out on four. The easiest way to begin to play Dark Elves is to go shooting-heavy. Dish out for an Executioner and/or a Black Guard command, and your friend has nobles.

Looking at the Australian site, it looks like 3 boxes of warriors, plus two Bolt Throwers, plus one command blister comes to $226 au. That leaves a bit of room, so toss in a sorceress or two, and some witch elves. The thing about witch elves is that they don't have any armor, and so have trouble sometimes making it into combat without getting shot up. When they do make it into combat however, they own everybody and everything with their frenzied two poisoned weapon attacks. Possibly even add two cold one chariots. Don't bother with just one, two is necessary.


02-05-2007, 13:35
Aargh, I hate the misconception that Reaper Bolt Throwers are so awesome. They're perfectly decent, I'll give them that, but no better than a lot of other stuff you can spend points on.

The most important thing to know about Reapers is that they don't actually kill more points than a similarly-prices unit of missile troops. What you're paying for is two perks: Good fire power in a very small package (meaning it's easy to get full effect out of it, even through narrow passages between troops and terrain), and flexibility. However, as soon as you buying the things in bulk, you don't really reap full benefits of these perks, as you start to run out of good firing lanes. Also, instead of four flexible Reapers, you could have brought more cost-efficient and more specialized units instead (like crossbowmen).

I don't think they're bad by any means, but they're horribly overrated.

If I were your friend, I'd start out with the models he likes the look of, and build an army he believes he'd have fun playing, that would suit his style. Don't listen to other people too much. I started out with a relativly balanced army at 1000 points just to get the bearing of things, with some spearmen, crossbowmen, a Reaper, and generally all that standard stuff. I got my ass kicked, brought 30 Witch Elves at eBay, turned the army list around, and now enjoy relative success with a low-magic, non-shooting list nobody thought had anything going for it, but turned out to be great, both in performance and enjoyment.

02-05-2007, 13:51
I'd leave out Witch Elves for now.. they are not easy to play and experienced opponents will easily deal with them.

I'm a long time DE player so here's my input.

First you need to decide how you want to play your force.. offense or defense.

Offense means you gear up everything to deal as much damage as possible on the attack with the hope to break the units right there or do enough damage that the backlash won't be severe.

Let's look at DE core choices for this.. Dark Riders are a must have. At least two 5 man strong units with Repeater Crossbows.. they are very handy to zip around the field, deny march moves, snipe at targets of opportunity (foolish mages outside of units).
Even if he places them in a unit it might be a good choice to sacrifice a unit for a frontal attack and then getting all attacks possible on the weak mage to take him out.. 127 points lost for a mage who's sometimes easily this costly and the added bonus of a weaker magic phase for the opponent.

Next would be Corsairs.. very well protected against shooting (for core troops anyway) and two attacks means they can go toe to toe with a mediocre infantry unit even if they are half their size.
I use mine in 12 man units.. Elves are expensive enough and i don't see the point in investing for 3 ranks because you don't want to be stuck in close combat against anybody to need the rank bonus.

Repeater Crossbows are a waste of points in my opinion.. way too costly for a weak ranged attack is not something i value. Using multiple shots they'll hit on a 4, most likely you'll be shooting at long range means a 5 to hit and shooting against skirmishers means a 6.
Strength 3 is also nothing to write home about.. leave them at home for now until the new armybook arrives which will hopefully make them a valid choice again.

Special Choices

Knights.. very good choice after they boosted their LD to 9 though you still have to be prepared to fail the stupidity roll at least once or twice in the game (usually prior to a critical charge).
5-6 Knights with a Hero in it however is a unit that can make the game for you.. they can deal quite some damage.

Chariots are a tricky thing.. still at LD 8 means that every stupidity roll is a risk and they are slow too.
Keep your General near (possibly in a unit of Knights) and you really have a powerful attack formation.. if it doesn't succumb to stupidity that is.

Harpies.. never leave home without 'em. Perfect for crunching up small enemy skirmisher units or warmachines. 6-7 is the minimum to survive mediocre shooting because once they run it is unlikely you can stop them with their low LD.

Executioners.. good support unit with a hefty punch though they won't win the game on their own. Might be worth looking into because their price is good for what they can do.

Witch Elves.. perfect against certain opponents and a total waste against others. I'm not really convinced about them so i rarely field them in an offensive force.


Repeater Bolt Thrower.. 'nuff said. At least 2, possibly 4 for some added psychological warfare. I will never understand the over the top fear about them.. they are good but very fragile. I've lost so many of them over the years that the DE forges must be working overtime.

Hydra.. very nice alternative choice (especially the Royal Hydra). Packs good punch though she can't win on her own.. always suuport with infantry or something else.

Cauldron.. maybe in a defensive force.. though maybe not.

Black Guard.. total waste of space and points. Way too expensive for a blocker unit and way too fragile. I have rarely seen them fielded in any DE and personally don't even own the models.

So this is my short analysis of the units.

Now if you want to play defensive there is only one way to do that.. deny the opponent close combat contact.

You core choices are still very fragile.. most other armies get their core infantry for less points, get equal armor or they have better stats for roughly the same points.
So what works best is to take small units of Spearmen and just sit back or evade their advance.

Make them chase you all the while you lay in a hail of RBT fire to soften up critical units and deliver a final charge with the few attack units you have (Chariots, Knights, Character in Manticore or Dragon).

Magical superiority in a defensive force works good to though DE pay quite much for their sorceresses.

For a really indepth analysis of the entire army go to druchii.net.. it is one of the best Warhammer race sites i know (and they were responsible for the rewrite a few years ago).

A neutral shade of black.
02-05-2007, 14:38
The bare-bones DE force that you should be able to use in a Border Patrol games is two boxes of warriors and five dark riders. This gives you a unit of twenty warriors (optimally equipped with shields and just a musician and standard) as anchor, twelve crossbowmen (optimally equipped with shields and just a musician) as missile support and an optional flanking unit (with a reform), and a unit of light cavalry (give them a musician, and if you have the points, crossbows to make them more versatile). That should already be around or above 500 points if my maths and memory serve.

Other than that, just go to d.net and read around; and if you feel you still have to ask questions after that, make a thread there - they're very helpful people.

General Veers
02-05-2007, 16:05
As a long time player (4ed to 7th ed with DE) I agree with Archaon.

Excepting the bit about the Black Guard. In general he's right but I think they are useful under certain conditions. They are not and should never be condisered as viable as most other units. However, the models look nice and as a unit they're suprisingly resilient. Note that I only use them in "Mega" games at 3000 points or more.

Da Boyzz
02-05-2007, 21:39
Thanks guys i will tell him everything you's have said and we will get his army up and running in no time :)

02-05-2007, 21:52
I also have to agree with Archaon except about the Cauldron of Blood. I admit, I never used it in games but it looks like a perfect Race Choice for a themed offensive force. The 24" radius is big on an average board so unless your opponent is playing really defensively (I'm thinking of Dwarfs gunlines and similar armies), all of your crucial combat will happen within that area and adds to your combat units' punch.

Using four RBT can be a points sink and is being frowned upon by many DE players. I also think that you'll run out of targets quite easily when playing offensive. RBT definitly are nice to have since you don't have to do much but rolling dice when using them and the rest of the druchii army requires much thinking so it's a relief not to have to bother too much about coordinating this unit with another but, as mentioned before, RBT seem to have a huge psychological impact on opponents and they will have at least one beefy unit with the mission to get rid of the RBTs. Lately, I've been considering Hydras more often. 7th edition gave then a bit of a boost (actually usable breath weapon, skirmisher-like movement) and I'm kind of paranoid about the thought of running out of targets for the RBT once the big carnage starts in turn three.

03-05-2007, 11:08
When using the RBT, you have to realise that its main role isn't to actually kill things (since the only way you can really do that is by breaking a unit - actually trying to kill everyone is madness) but to help give you dominance in the movement portion of the game - RBTs are a fast cav's nightmare as a pair can quite happily remove smallish units in one shot or at the very least get them to test for panic. Afterwhich your fast cav is unopposed and can often win the battle for you.

Around 1000-1500 I usually take 2 units of 20 spears, sorceress 2 RBT, 2 units of 6 dark riders and chariots + crossbows depending on how many points I have left. Numerous times the battle has been won with the main battleline of spears and chariots just sitting back as a target for the enemy to line up against whilst the fast cav have done their thing.

03-05-2007, 14:42
Knights.. very good choice after they boosted their LD to 9 though you still have to be prepared to fail the stupidity roll at least once or twice in the game (usually prior to a critical charge).
5-6 Knights with a Hero in it however is a unit that can make the game for you.. they can deal quite some damage.

I have never been a great fan of cold one knights. I think they are heavily overrated for what they can do. They hardly hit harder as your basic empire knight, and are a lot more expensive and more vulnerable. Stupidity is still an issue even with Ld9. Fear isn't hardly as usefull as people think, especially on faster units which are not that likely to get charged anyway. To really make the most out of fear, you need to outnumber enemies, which is way too expensive with CoK.

That aside, they are fire magnets like no other; there is hardly a better target in the dark elf list to point your war machines or handguns/crossbows at. And at such a huge price per model (T3, 2+ save hurts a lot here; it is simply not enough), it will kill you.

There is some merit with using them with the soul shadows standard, but opponents will see that one comming too after a few games.

03-05-2007, 15:32
You can't compare it directly to other units in the same role.

COK are the only heavy cavalry the DE have and as such they are really needed (at least i need them most of the time). I rarely lose them to shooting so they tend to arrive more or less intact for the first combat.. what happens then is up to the dice.

I'm using them mostly with the Banner of Murder.. +d6 inches on the attack has helped many times to get that upper hand when you are facing another heavy knight unit and you have similar charge ranges.

As i said.. i usually put in at least a combat hero if not the Highborn with them. Especially with the Highborn they have LD10 and an added combat boost.. if i manage to place them properly and attack a flank there is not much that can stand up to such an attack.

Of course that doesn't happen all the time and even when it happens the dice can fail you.. regardless i find them very important in DE armies.

03-05-2007, 16:06
That they are the only heavy cavalry available doesn't really make them needed in my opinion. If you were looking for hitting power, I rather take a cold one chariot or monster (though the latter is again very expensive), or perhaps some executioners. For speed, there are dark riders...

Even if hitting other cavalry, they aren't that amazing. Assuming you get the charge (which can backfire horribly if you rely on a banner of murder roll), you are still only hitting with S5 lances. Against 1+ saves, that tends to be not enough in my experience. Adding a character to the unit offsets this partially, but makes them even more of a target. A 6 man unit with full command, character and magic banner will be around 350 points then, more if the character is a highborn or is tooled with some magic items. That is way too many points stuffed into a few T3 2+ save wounds if you ask me. Also, each casualty drastically impacts the hitting power of the unit.

But then, I play Dark Elves almost without characters, and maximize on infantry supported by multiple units of fast cavalry and smaller infantry units. Practically no unit of mine tends to cost more as 200 points.

01-03-2010, 03:30
Hello my name is DAn and I'm an alcha:shifty:... wrong thread.

I have been doing research and my reading, and I think I MAY be ready for my first fight, but I'm not sure how to finish it all off.

I am taking a test run and want to know how efficacious and efficient this will be...

Corsairs- 14 of them (196 points)
-- Musician, Standard Bearer, Sea Serpent Banner
Dark Riders- 10 with a musician and standard bearer (is that FULL command)
-- Gonna whip up Repeater Crossbows on them, because I want my Shoot Round come from an unexpected source.

My General is somewhat generic, and built off the the GW tactica thread-
Dreadlord (214 pts)
-- Hvy Armour
-- Shield
-- Hydra Blade
-- Black Dragon Egg

Now that's a nice 651 points. too big for the baby 500 fight, but not enough for a nice easy 1000. So as a FINISHER I was thinking 3 options.

A: Shades 7 of them (119 pts)
-- Lt Armour

A1: 2 Sins w Rune of Khaine (230 pts)- These guys are going into these guys and the Corsairs. I heard you can surprise rush with them by establishing LoS upon exposing the Sin.
TOTAL: Even 1000

2: 2 RBT's Pretty much that. Nuff said. TOTAL: 970

C: THE HARD IDEA. Supreme Sorceress to make a magic round. I would just use the normal 225 version because the TOTAL is 995. I've heard that magic isn't usually around @ this level, so it would be a 2 edged sword- it breaks my rule of using the KISS Method, but...No one would expect magic @ this level. This is also my long shot because I heard you have to go add up to lev 4 caster to have more accurate fun.

Any ideas?

01-03-2010, 06:44
Hi Dan, welcome to warseer.

Two things:
1) Try not to ressurect a thread so old. The last reply is almost 3 years old, and dates back to the previous dark elf army book. It makes little sense to use threadmancy to revive it; just start a new topic ;) (check the forum guidelines)
2) Your army compositions are illegal I'm afraid. Both the Dreadlord and the Supreme Sorceress are Lord level characters, which are only allowed in games of 2000 pts or more (and even then only a single one of them).

01-03-2010, 12:32
Scythe speaks the truth.

Thread closed.


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