Monday, July 5, 2010
High Elves in 8th - Tactics
Fellow Princes, we are less than one week away from 8th Edition and there is still a lot to cover. In this blog post, I will talk about the different tactics we'll use to maximize our army's potential. I will also cover some units that are not featured in today's list and how we'll use them.
First, the list:
Teclis = 475
Lore of Shadow
Noble (BSB, GW, AoC, GP) = 168
Caradryan = 175
20x Spears (FC, War Banner) = 225
20x Spears (FC) = 205
20x Spears (FC) = 205
20x Phoenix Guard (FC, Banner of Sorcery) = 380
20x White Lions (FC, Banner of Eternal Flame) = 340
8x Dragon Princes (FC, Banner of Ellyrion) = 305
Before we dig into the list, let me tell you about this dilemma that I have:
What do I take for my core choices? Right now, I have the following choices at 2500 points: The choice I have listed above; 60 spears total broken up into 3 units of 20 with Full Command. My second option is the 30x LSG unit with Banner of Eternal Flame and another unit of 20x Spears in Full Command. The bonus of the first is that I have 3 units top play with instead of 2. Body count is 10 higher and each spear unit is fighting in 5x4 formation and have a lot of attacks going back against the enemy. The advantage of the LSG combat formation is that they have bows that can shoot from 24" away and do a decent amount of damage. They only have 10 less guys than the Spear regiment, but each LSG is 13 points and each dead is very costly to my army. Personally, I think the 3 units of Spears are the way to do it. More bodies means more combat efficiency and more units gives my opponents more to shoot at than just 2.
Let's see now. I have a good amount of core, and they'll be used to push up the lines and provide an anchor for my elite infantry to chew up the enemy. Phoenix Guard can take a lot of damage from the enemy and my White Lions with Caradryan gets a comfortable 4+ ward from magic. Banner of Eternal Flame on the White Lions eats up enemy Hydras and other big scary things while my BSB goes happily in a unit of my choosing. The only thing that stands out is my rather bizarre formation of Dragon Princes that goes galloping down one of the flanks.
A key note on how you should use these units. In my first 8th Ed game I noticed one crucial aspect of war that High Elf players MUST adjust to: Stone Throwers. How will we avoid these giant rocks of doom? The idea is to use a new game mechanic called "Swift Reform". Before we go anymore in depth, this is how SR works: In your remaining moves phase, if you have a musician, you can take a leadership check to reform however you like, followed by a normal move. You cannot charge or march, but you can advance normally and shoot. Now how does this help us? Against Stone Throwers, Cannons or Bolt Throwers, we want to form lines of 10x2 instead of blocks of 5x4. A ST (especially Dwarven ones) landing in the middle of our nice big block will kill a good amount of our expensive infantry. We do NOT want that. Instead, we keep our guys in nice lines until we're comfortable with our marching range. This is really helpful with LSG as we can march up, shoot in the next round or reform and shoot in the next round if we're expecting a charge. Just be mindful of your opponent's unit's position at all costs. The last thing you want to do is get stuck in an advancing formation instead of a spear formation on the turn that he charges. Not only will you lose rank bonuses, but you'll have less guys to attack back and will most definitely break from combat.
Contrary to what a lot of people have said, cavalry is still a very important part of your army. You need it to decimate the enemy ranks so they cannot steadfast and chase down the enemy should they break from combat. They are also great flanking units that can hit your opponent's flank or rear for an extra CR and give you movement advantage on the battlefield. Another thing about cavalry is that they are always a target; especially heavy cavalry like Dragon Princes. The way I'm running them is 6x3 with 3 extra bodies behind the main front. I don't need them to get a rank and break the enemy, I just need them to flank charge and annihilate standard troops so the rest of my guys can run up the field. The way I see it, High Elves have two hammer units in 8th: Dragon Princes and Sword Masters. Both deliver an unhealthy amount of attacks but one of them is faster (both in M and in I), have more armor and is immune to fire. You don't need a rocket scientist to figure out which one that is. Sword Masters, on the other hand, are used as MSU (Multiple Small Unit) that sit on the flanks of larger units of Spears, Phoenix Guard or White Lions and function as supporting charge units. You can use them to bail one of your units out of combat when the enemy has too many dudes, or you can just double charge them in at the same time and watch the fireworks. Sword Masters will remain the MSU unit they were in 7th Edition. Unless you want to +4T them every turn and just run them up the battlefield as fast as you can, they should never be taken in a large unit.
Now for what I plan on doing with Teclis. He debuffs the enemy and casts Pit of Shades on anything that has low I or a warmachine that needs to die (auto-fails). Okkam's Mindrazor makes charging something like Spearmen suicidal because they'll be taking a crap ton of S8 attacks in return with re-rolls to hit. Getting to Teclis will also be a challenge because he'll have Smoke and Mirrors to play switch-a-roo with Caradryan. That's going to be good at keeping him away from assassination attempts and force the opponents to think much harder than he otherwise would. Don't be afraid to cast 4-5 dice at a simple debuff if it means it'll save Teclis' ass or prevent damage onto a unit that you need to stay in the fight. The last thing you want to do is hold back with Teclis because he's not that kind of character. He's there to power through your enemies' defenses so be really ballsy when using him to get off the spells you need.
I honestly see Teclis playing a much bigger role in 8th Ed than I do in 7th. Spells got much more devastating and the Star Dragon is pretty much out of the picture because of all the field artillery. Is taking him cheesy? I think Teclis is even more risky than he was in 7th Ed. There's almost no guarantees on how the battle will turn out. Some spells have a chance to backfire, your casts and dispels have a chance to shut you down and random charges keeps Teclis on his toes more than ever. With TLoS, I can't even take Teclis out of a unit for the fear of someone gunning him down. All in all though, with careful play and precise execution, I think Teclis will be THE competitive build for High Elves in 8th Ed. We need magic now more than ever.