Monday, June 21, 2010

High Elves in 8th - Units

First thing is first:  The entire way armies are constructed have changed.  Even though there's no official statement saying that High Elves ignore any type of restrictions, there is an official statement saying that these rules trump everything else:

25% Max Lords (Including mounts)
25% Max Heroes
25% Min Core
50% Max Specials
25% Max Rare

You must take a minimum of 3 units, not including characters.
No 3 of the same type of Specials.
No 2 of the same type of Rares.
These numbers increase when games reach 3000 points.

With this in mind, let's go over and look at our unit choices in 8th Ed.

30x Spearmen with Full Command (5x6) = 295
30x Lothren Sea Guard with Full Command (10x3 to shoot, 5x6 to fight) = 415

How come no archers?  Because I don't like archers.  The only reason why I took archers last edition was to fill that 0-2 min core requirement.  In 8th Ed, models with the ASF rule get to strike first before their opponents just like last Ed.  In addition to this, if your Initiative is equal or higher than your opponent, you can re-roll to hit in all phases of combat.  This is another reason archers died for me and Spearmen/LSG is in.  Even though our Spears are 9ppm and our LSG are 13ppm, our Spears fight an in an extra rank more than normal spears thanks to Martial Prowess.  This means that in a 5x6 formation of 30, you get 4 ranks of Spears to fight back and 10 extra bodies to pull.  Since everything fights strictly in initiative order now, 21 S3 spear attacks at I5 with ASF and re-rolls to hit before most opponents strike is definitely something to write home about.  The LSG pretty much function as both Spear and Archer and you definitely pay the points for it.  You start off the game by shooting in 2 ranks + 5 (half of every other rank for Volley) for a total of 25 shots in a 10x3 formation.  When the opponents get closer, you reform into a 5x6 "fighting spears" formation.  Charging, not charging, it doesn't really matter, you always go by initiative and fight in 4 ranks of pointy goodness.

20x Phoenix Guard with Full Command (5x4) = 330
20x White Lions with Full Command (5x4) = 330
11x Dragon Princes with Full Command (6x2) = 380
Lion Chariot, Sword Masters, Ellyrion Reavers

Now we before we start, there's a pretty serious discussion going on on various gaming forums about the ruling of Great Weapons in the new edition and High Elves' ASF.  The rule in 8th basically says that if your unit has both a Great Weapon with Always Strike Last on a model with Always Strike First, then the two special rules (ASL/ASF) cancel eachother out and you strike at initiative.  How does this work with the Speed of Asuryan rule that applies to all High Elves?  The army book states that models with this rule have the Always Strike First rule regardless of what weapon they're carrying.  Do High Elves completely ignore the ASL/ASF rule from the BRB and follow ASF regardless of what weapon they're using?  For now, I'll go with the 8th Ed. rulebook and pretend that White Lions strike at normal I5.

First, Phoenix Guard and Dragon Princes got pretty amazing this edition.  The reason why is because they're both I6 and using weapons that are not great weapons.  Phoenix Guard will ASF in 2 ranks with re-rolls to hit.  That's 11 hits at WS5 with re-rolls to hit.  Take that new magic standard that gives the unit Armor Piercing and you've got yourself a fierce, durable unit that can stay in there because of their 4+ ward.  If you really want to get fancy, throw in Korhil to add some killing power and make the unit Stubborn.  Be careful though, with units being able to strike back always, Korhil will be a pretty big target for your opponent.  Another good option for Phoenix Guard is the Banner of Arcane Protection.  MR2 and 4+ ward stacks onto each other for the purposes of anti-magic missiles and direct damage for a lovely 2+ ward save.

If the slow killing power of Phoenix Guard isn't good enough for you, try some Dragon Princes.  WS5, I6 and 2 attacks a piece at S5 and re-rolls guarantee things will die in combat when they hit.  Since the riders in the back rank can also fight once they reach combat, the combat power of the unit goes up considerably.  Let's say you have a BSB with a Lance in the unit of 11 (he's in the front) and charge a unit at speed 8 + 3d6 pick the highest 2.  When you hit, you're hitting with 20 S5 (3 of them at S6) attacks that will strike first and re-roll to hit.  If you have the Warbanner on your cavalry, and you should because cavalry can now charge through terrain with no penalty to speed, you're looking at +3 to combat res before the bodies start flying.  Banner of Ellyrion is good.. and was a staple to most Dragon Prince builds in the past, but until they give them the 'Strider' rule or make it so they ignore terrain completely, I'll stick with the extra combat res.

Next, we have White Lions.  Even with Great Weapons and no errata, they're still I5 WS5 Elves that have S6 weapons.  Stubborn got hell of a lot better in 8th Ed. and the Woodsman rule will probably turn into Strider.  The new Stubborn basically says that units with Stubborn are Steadfast regardless of ranks when making break tests.  Steadfast is a new rule that allows units to use their normal leadership when taking break tests (this includes using the general's leadership).  Another thing about White Lions is that since all units can fight in 2 ranks, 11 WS5 S6 attacks hitting you before you swing is going to hurt.  A lot.  If everything goes our way (the High Elf way), then we'll also have ASF and will get re-rolls to hit with Great Weapons.  Until that is so, I'll take White Lions over Sword Masters any day.  Whether you like it or not, the High Elf army simply can't afford to lose 15ppm infantry to something like Goblins because they can just step up and attack.  The entire design of High Elves last edition was to use their superior speed and weapons to cut down enemies before they can strike back and maul them.  In 8th Ed and the introduction to stepping up, Elves can still dish out damage, but they'll be taking a lot more damage in return.  In terms of cost effectiveness, this doesn't go our way unless we win combat.

Just a quick blurb on Lion Chariots and Ellyrion Reavers.  Chariots changed a good amount since last edition.  S7 no longer instantly kills chariots and chariots no longer get slowed by difficult terrain.  Instead, they now take dangerous terrain checks and if you roll a 1, you take D6 wounds with no armor saves.  Regardless, the Lion Chariot is still dangerous.  The White Lions are top are now S6 because mounted Great Weapons don't lose any of their deadliness and 4 WS5 S5 Lion attacks that cause Fear is still vicious as ever.  Ellyrion Reavers can use Vanguard movement because they're fast cav and can reform any time during their movement.  Vanguard basically allows them to make a Scout move in 40K in Fantasy.  Before the game begins, they can go ahead and make a free 12+ move.  You can possibly get a first turn charge if you so desired in some lucky cases.  I probably won't do anything that extreme because I'll probably use them to setup a flank/rear charge.

RBTs and Eagles.. what a selection!

I am no longer comfortable with RBTs.  The reason why is because of these things:  There's no more randomization when hitting warmachines and crew, anything can wound anything on a roll of 6 and our RBT only have 2 dudes.  When someone aims at our RBTs, they simply aim at our warmachine and fire into it.  Because we only have 2 dudes, the Warmachine only has 2 wounds at T7.  If we get wounded twice by something like a S3 bow or something, our WM is dead, period.  That kind of sucks.

Eagles are still good though!  Being able to march block units and redirect charges, Eagles have always been pretty good for 50 points.  Having an Eagle redirect the enemy by landing in front of them on an angle and forcing them to either charge you (you would flee) and expose their flank, or attempt to charge another target's too far away and fail.  The thing about 8th is that when you want to charge a unit and it flees, you can opt to charge another target if you pass a leadership roll.  If you place an Eagle right in front of a unit, he has to either go around or do one of those things above.  Either one is not that great for your opponent, and that's what you need to do to make his life miserable.  Another use for the Eagle is to use him to charge a fleeing unit.  Say you have a big bad deathstar unit that's going to charge one of his units.  He's not going to stay and get their teeth kicked in, he's going to run.  As soon as they run, declare a charge with your Eagle at his fleeing unit.  If you catch him, he's gone.  Just like that.


Anonymous said...

i dont think you should discount archers this edition considering they can actually wound war machines now. a unit of 12 averages 1 wound/turn @ their 30" long range.

Anonymous said...

also, are you sure that dragon princes would get to use both of their attacks in the second rank?

HERO said...

Let's see now. I was pretending we had a Noble in there as a BSB. That would mean 3 attacks from him, 3 attacks from the Champ, 8 from the other DPs, and 6 more from the back. So it looks like the result would be 20 attacks total.

Anonymous said...

good call :P

Alex said...

I could be wrong here, and I'll have to double check, but I thought cavalry did not get the bonus attacks from the back rank. For some reason I thought that was only infantry, but there's so much of a mix of rumors and actual rules in my head I can't remember which is which right now, heh.

I disagree that swordmasters will be worse than white lions, in fact by your own logic. White lions, with fewer attacks, will be more likely to lose to the goblins (in your example) and will go through them more slowly. Swordmasters will kill more and thus be more likely to win, and even if the goblins stick around the SM will kill them more quickly. Goblins (and a lot of other units) win a war of attrition against WL, they don't against SM.

HERO said...

But if our normal Spearmen would dominate Goblins, why commit our elite White Lions? White Lions should be better off killing their elites or charging cavalry. But yes, SM will definitely be stronger than WL against Goblins in the long run.

Alex said...

You're right on that point, but it's not just goblins. More attacks is going to be better even at Str 5 over 6. If you're banking on losing or just need someone to hold a unit up, WL are better, but that's always the argument against them (and other stubborn units) and has been. You don't want to plan on losing in the first place;)

HERO said...

Absolutely. White Lions are a fantastic roadblock with their new Stubborn, and hopefully their Woodsman rule will turn into Strider. Even though cavalry got hit pretty hard with the nerf bat, I bet by deploying Sword Masters across from some beefier horde-style units like Chaos Warriors and White Lions across from some Chaos Knights, they'll think twice before charging in.

Anonymous said...

Unoffically confirmed by the future erratas and FAQs: ALL High elves will get ASF (and so rerolls) regardless of weapons... you can consider it as confirmed :)

Anonymous said...

About Great Weapons and "Speed of Ass" :P

There is a passage in the 8th ed rule book that states that if there is a rule clash between the Rule book and Army book, the Army book overides it. Which puts a good case for the High Elves. *fingers crossed*

Anonymous said...

White lions are the better choice because they are more resilent vs. shooting 3+ save beast 5+ save against those goblins....I would also suggest the flaming banner on the lothern sea guard, flaming attacks ranged and in close combat means, fear against cavalry, beasts and chariots, means re rolls for wound rolls against enemies in buildings, means no regeneration for the rest of the turn.

I also suggest to field the white lions in a 7 wide fashion (if there are mortars on the table perhaps even single file) if they reach combat you can reform even after loosing if you manage a leadership roll with the bsb around this shouldn´t be a problem. Also with more attacks even if you loose the combat or the enemy is steadfast he will melt like a snowball in Dragon fire. Same thing with spears actually if you win the combat you could reform for more attacks to overwhelm enemies with more numbers.

at 3000 points I think about

2 units lother sea guard 30 strong 2 units of 10 archers with banner (breaking point upper)
2 units of white lions
4 great I don´t know yet

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