Monday, April 29, 2013

High Elves: Brainstorm #1

Getting pretty excited man.

With High Elves rapidly approaching, I wanted to make a blog post every day until the book comes out this weekend.  These posts will hopefully capture your interest in the army and expand your mind along side mine.

Like I said before, I'm looking at 2 key playstyles with High Elves in their new book.  Those playstyles are the Dragon Lord and the Mage Lord.  To give an idea of the direction I want to go in, I'm going to post up some rough hypothetical army lists.

Dragon Lord
Prince on Star Dragon ~625
Lv.2 Mage, High Magic, Scroll ~160
Noble BSB, Dragon Prince ~175
11x Dragon Princes, Banner of World Dragon ~410
Core of Archers and Ellyrion Reavers ~625
2x Ice Phoenix ~480
2x Great Eagle ~100

Mage Lord
Lv.4 Archmage, High Magic, Book of Hoeth ~315
Lv.2 Loremaster, 2+ AS, Scroll ~250
Sea Helm BSB, 2+ AS, Luckstone ~150
30x Sea Guard, Eternal Flame ~625
+rest of core with Archers and/or Reavers
30x White Lions, BotWD ~470
5x Dragon Princes, Musician - 160
Ice Phoenix ~240
4x RBT ~280
2x Great Eagle ~100

Both of these lists are above the 2500 points window, but that's because I want to give you the best case scenario.  The prices I've listed are pretty ballpark, some we know like the 12pt LSG, the White Lions are rumored to be 13pts a piece, and I'm using a lot of the old values for our heroes/lords.  The Loremaster is complete guesswork, but to give you an idea, the current Prince is 150 points with full SoA benefits.

Alright, let me take you behind the scenes of these two lists and show you what I want to do.  I'll start with the Dragon Lord.  I'm sure as the week goes on and people all around the world gets their books, I'll be able to get a better picture on the points allotment and will adjust as we go.

The Dragon List

First thing's first, the Star Dragon scenario has changed a bit.  We no longer get SoA so we're no longer tooting around a Great Weapon all the time.  However, rumors point to the Star Lance (+3S, no AS) allowing you to use a Great Weapon after you've charged with the SL.  That's pretty cool.  With the current knowledge of the items available to us, I'm going to go with Star Lance, OTS, 4+ Ward.  Extra points will buy a GW most likely, otherwise I'm fine with just that.  The Star Dragon himself is now T7, so I'm really happy that they made that change.  If you guys remember what I hypothesized before, you'll know that they brought all the dragons up to Storm of Magic status.

Along side the valiant Prince and his Star Dragon rides the Dragon Princes of Caledor with the Banner of World Dragon.  I'm hoping for a points decrease on the DPs, but if that doesn't come, I'm fine with that too. The big thing here is the Banner of World Dragon for 50 points.  That means a unit like the Dragon Princes can carry it, as well as all of our Elite infantry (if things remain unchanged).  This gives them an edge over the Silver Helms and frankly, one of the only reasons to take the DPs over SHs.  With Martial Prowess giving full advantage the SHs, the DPs have a more defined role:  2+ ward vs. fire because of Fireborn, 6+ ward comes built into Dragon Armor, and the ability to wield one of the strongest banners in the game.  The current rumors gives the Banner of the World Dragon a 2+ Ward vs. all wounds caused by magic spells, weapons and attacks.  This is huge because it essentially allows our DPs to challenge walk through most lords/heroes and spells and not worry.  Unfortunately, the banner does not work vs. the likes of Dwellers or other unsavory characteristic tests.  No worries though, the Banner also gives all Dragons within 12" of it Stubborn.  There's just no chance a Ld.10 Prince is going anywhere with a BSB re-roll + Stubborn.

In front of the Dragon Princes are the key to this list; the beloved Ice Phoenix.  You can quote me on this when I say that the Ice Phoenix will single-handily change the meta.  It's to a point where 2x of them will see bans from multiple comps because of how good they are.  For 15 points more than Fire Phoenix, you get a crapton of stat improvements, including T6 and an extra Wound.  This is huge because it not only gives the Ice Phoenix durability, but when combined with its Blizzard Aura, it essentially makes the bird T7 in close combat.  The reason why I say the Ice Phoenix will change the meta is because Blizzard Aura gives units in BtB with it ASL and -1S.  The ASL part is huge because it negates the greatest strengths of some killy characters.  VC Blenderlords will suffer from this the most because they take a double whammy in -S and losing Quickblood bonuses.  ASL also gives our combo-charges more meaning; allowing our WS7 S7 I2 Dragon to strike first with its 6 attacks, and also allowing our Phoenix to bash in his attacks as well.  This combined with the threat range of a flyer makes the Phoenix ideal at supporting any charge in the game.  As if the ASL wasn't good enough, the -1S makes the Phoenix himself T7 in CC, the Star Dragon T8 and the Dragon Princes T4.  It's a pseudo-buffer that negates the primary weakness of High Elves:  Low Toughness. This combined with the fact that the Ice Phoenix still benefits from his natural 5+ AS and 5+ Ward, but depending on the role of the magic phase, he might become even better (or worse on 1-2).

The rest of the list is pretty explanatory.  I would like to try 2 things in this area:  Shooting heavy and mobility heavy.  I currently own 2x 5x Ellyrion Reavers, but I have a crap ton of archers.  Shooting, ideally, will compliment this list the most because it removes chaff that would otherwise hinder our combo-charges.  Ellyrion Reavers with Bows and Archers should be able to take care of this issue.  Otherwise, a unit of 30x LSG in 3x10 formation can put out an enormous amount of shots due to Martial Prowess to a point it can't be ignored.  The same could be said about 15x Archers in 5x3.  I can easily see most core elements composing of 3-4 Ellyrion Reavers and the rest being 10-15x Archers.  The idea is to present multiple drops to your opponents allow you to line up your more powerful elements (Eagles, DP, Phoenixes, Star Dragon, in that order) to his.

Lastly, we have the Lv.2 supporting Mage using High Magic.  Offensively with +3 to cast due to Blessing of Lileath, I plan on using him to dispel spells where needed, give back wounds via Apothesis, or buff up the WS of certain units into -1 hit range.  Both the Phoenix and Star Dragon is WS6+, so a few points in the right direction can bring them to WS9, the sweet spot for WS4 and under whereas even a single successful cast can put them out of hitting range of WS3 base troops.  Spells I would like to see are Apothesis and Hand of Glory for sure.

The Mage List

On the other side of the spectrum, we have a magic heavy and shooting heavy list in the form of the Mage Lord list.  Ideally, we are able to take the Lv.4 with High Magic and Lv.2 Loremaster in the same list.  The Loremaster can then double up with the Sea Helm to provide us with Noble-ish fighting prowess as well as having a good magic phase.  I chose High Magic for my Lv.4 because it gives us flexibility and coverage, and that fact I want to take advantage of Lileath's Blessing (+1 to cast for High Magic).  However, that's still up in the air because I can always look at more specific lores since the Loremaster himself gives us enough flexibility.  Shadow is always a good option, but then again so is Light.  If I want to take Light, I might look into a Lv.1 supporting Light Wizard just so he can carry the scroll while the rest of my guys do the serious work.  The main benefit of that is having a S6 Banishment; which vs. most armies is considered a must-dispel spell.

Now, let's take a look at the spell flexibility of the Loremaster:

Fireball - Pumpable MM.
Wyssan's Wildform - +1S/+1T augment, super good sig, good in EVERY situation.
Spirit of the Forge - That's right. Enough said.
Burning Gaze - Kills Ethereal, just another Fireball, but better vs. Undead.
Earth Blood - 5+ Regen, good every time minus flaming attacks.
Iceshard Blizzard - Hex, -1 to hit and Ld, low casting cost, super good every time.
Melkoth's Mystifying Miasma - Shadow sig, good every time.
Spirit Leech - We even get a snipe.

All the MMs and Forge are conditional, but solid spells.
Every augment is great, every hex is great.
In short, there are just no bad spells. And to have them all? Unlimited flexibility and spell supremacy. Most of these spells you can throw 2 dice at, every time, that's 8 spells that's being cast off a Lv.2.
And the best thing? Effects stack. -1 to hit from Iceshard with Pha's? Nerf his WS via Miasma + buff ours with High Magic. +1S/T combined with Ice Phoenix's ASL and -1S? Amazing.

The rest of the list should be pretty explanatory.  Fill in the rest with shooting elements and solid infantry blocks.  Depending on the points of the Phoenix Guard, I might bring them a long too.  A solid unit of LSG combined with RBT supporting fire will give the army a huge edge in the magic/shooting phase.  I've always viewed magic as an addition to shooting, and if the points cost of the units are cheaper than usual, I'll be bringing along even more bodies on the battlefield.

Let me know what you guys think.


Chronowraith said...

A little early to listhammer but a few comments.
The Dragon list really won't perform well. Archers will remove small chaff but the larger chaff will still exist to bog units down. Skaven slaves, zombies, goblins, etc will still bog down your knights and allow them to be flank charged. Most of those are unbreakable, LD10 in the early game, and most will have a BSB nearby. Also, steadfast is steadfast. Throw in that you currently only have a single unit in the entiire list that will disrupt ranks in a flank charge and your list will simply become bogged down trying to remove the sacrifice units. Those units aren't supposed to do damage so reducing their stats or making them ASL won't matter either other than maybe chew through them a little quicker.
As for the phoenix, this happens every army book with new monsters/creatures and what happens? Everyone rushes out to try a bunch of them and then they find out that cannons, death magic, and other nasty monster hunting things still exist. The Ice Phoenix is really cool, don't get me wrong, I just don't agree with the sentiment that it will be an auto-include.

Both lists need some steadfast units. I'm not saying that you have to have boatloads of them, but you need soemthing that can withstand a charge by something nasty and hold them in place. You can't rely on getting the charge off except for possibly the Dragon Knights and even then, I'd play it safe with guestimates.

concobara said...

I have discovered your blog just few days ago. And I have to say that I found it very interesting. Good job man ... I am exited into new HE same as you! ... I was thinking about dragon list as well. I just prefering bigger unit of SH before DP in my mind...

Vilicate said...

I think Silver Helms will be one of the go-to choices for core along with Ellyrion Reavers. You can build up a unit with two or three ranks for roughly the same price as the Dragon Princes you have in there now. That way you can knock out Steadfast. With the increase in available models able to lend out supporting attacks, you're getting just as many S5 attacks out of the unit; albeit without the 2+ Ward against flaming attacks and WS5. Otherwise I think it's a decent list.

I'm going to be rocking a unit of each (DP and Silver Helms) in my current build, but I'm going to go for the more shooty/fleeing style list with several decent sized units of Ellyrion Reavers, backed up by combat blocks of Silver Helms and Dragon Princes, and some shooting support from RBT's.

HERO said...

Steadfast is a problem, yes. But hopefully the Stubborn from the BotWD will be enough to tear through those ranks.

Chronowraith said...

I wouldn't worry too much about running away. I'm pretty sure you'll win most combats. I'd be more worried about being locked in combat and being flank charged by something fierce like Chaos Chosen, Executioners, or Ogre Ironguts. They will eat through enough of the unit (it's only 11 strong afterall) that it won't recover even with the BotWD.

I don't mean to sound harsh. I"m actually glad that someone is thinking about something other than Teclis or Light Council builds for High Elves.

Just curious but why not take maiden guard? You mention wanting a ranged list and I'd think that a bunch of S4 magical flaming attacks would seem irresistible.

CptCosmic said...

I would change the dragon list for more dragon power :)

Prince on Stardragon not sure about items
Dragonmage with Dragon Armor, Enchanted Shield, Sunfire Gem and Dispelscroll

BSB on Steed goes into Silverhelms, not sure about his items

Core Silverhelms with Banner of Swiftness and some Reavers
Special Dragon Prince with Banner of the Derp Dragon

Rare phoenix and eagles

CptCosmic said...

you have reavers in core now thus you can play cat and mouse with those units for quite long now

Chronowraith said...

While redirect and bait units like Reavers play a useful and necessary role I wouldn't put them in the 100% effective range. Most of the hardcore steadfast armies (Skaven, Orcs, Empire) will simply have too many units on the board to deal with and bait. Also, if your bait units are too close to your combat units, they will simply redirect the charge.

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