|Lost it at the eyes.|
Alright, here we go. Onto the Specials and Rares! I'll probably end up talking about Special Characters and Items tomorrow along side some sample army lists that I want to try out. I'm really liking what I see so far and I'm pretty eager to get my army onto the tabletop ASAP.
Sword Masters of Hoeth - 2.5/5
I can't really say I like what they did with the SM. Taking away their re-rolls on Great Weapons while keeping all their other stats the same is really bad for them when Martial Prowess is factored. They will forever be used as MSU units. Being WS6 I5 and striking at I with 2A S5 is still good, but without their re-rolls they'll be missing a lot more. The points drop is the only thing that's giving them any validity as of now but I can't see them being used outside of pseudo detachment units. Take a unit that you know will hold Steadfast and then flank charge 5-7 of these the next round. Even without re-rolls, you'll still be able to add a good amount of combat res.
White Lions of Chrace - 4.5/5
These have always been solid units and with Martial Prowess, these will remain top dog. The reason why this is so is because they lose nothing with their 1 attack base unlike Sword Masters. WS5 S6 hits all the right targets and striking in 3 ranks allows them to actually deal more damage than their previous re-rolls. The delta for damage is definitely greater, but there's a chance you might fark your rolls. Stubborn is pretty king for an Elite unit and Lion Cloak protects them from getting shot. I can see a unit of 3x3 w/ Champ to be really popular. Cheap, tiny ass footprint, puts out high quality attacks, and doesn't die to a sneeze like Sword Masters.
Phoenix Guard - 4.5/5
Still rock solid units. Has Fear because they don't talk about the 4+ Ward is still there. They only got better because of their Martial Prowess extending to the third rank. This gives them more damage potential than they had last book while maintaining all the great things that made them a solid anvil. No Unbreakable means that every character can join them, and no change in points cost makes them outright better than they were before.
Dragon Princes - 4.5/5
I've always liked these guys and I like them even more now that they have improved in almost every way. They retain all their stats but their Dragon Armor now gives them 6+ Ward as default in addition to their 2+ Ward vs. Fire. Add on the fact they now move 9 because of Ithilmar Barding and are cheaper to boot, you're literally looking at a 9 point WS5 I6 2A S5 on the charge Elf with ASF. Why 9 points? Because Dragon Armor alone costs 20 points on a Prince. How's that for math? I'll probably take these guys in 5-6x and call it a day.
Shadow Warriors - 3/5
Scout Skirmishers who hate on Dark Elves, carry Long Bows and do their jobs well for the points they got decreased to. Overall, solid units but I see them as backseat riders compared to our other Elite infantry.
Tiranoc Chariots - 3.5/5
Much better than before, especially now that you can take them in a squadron of 1-3. Chariots have always been an odd thing with High Elves. They're flexible in that they can shoot, charge into combat, but can't really do all that damage outside for Impact Hits because they're still Elves. The chariot, however, does most of the heavy lifting but with their defensive stats, if they get stuck in combat, they're pretty much toast.
Lion Chariot - 3.5/5
I want to give these guys a 4, but I just can't. They went down in price sure, but the point decrease and Stubborn doesn't justify the fact that the White Lions on top lost ASF. If the chariot was T5 or the AS was 3+ or maybe even both, then these chariots would be quite nice. However, the fact that you're paying a fairly expensive price for a single chariot that has Stubborn but can't handle damage in return. I'm a little disappointed. Still a pretty solid choice with all things considered.
Skycutter Chariot - 4/5
First of all, the thing flies. The Eagle Eye Bolt Thrower isn't the best thing in the world because it only shoots from 24" at S5 D3 wounds no AS, but the fact that you get a movement penalty when shooting the thing is disappointing. Regardless, you're playing for a flying chariot that can negotiate the battlefield and apply constant threat. It's mobility will allow it to get those flank shots and the price tag on this bad boy is what's really helping its score out. The Warhawk pulling it so no slouch and the High Elves on top can still put out some decent damage when M10 S5 Impact hits gets in there on-demand. A good choice for sure, probably the best chariot in the arsenal.
Great Eagles - 5/5
The best re-director in the game for High Elves have not changed one bit. If anything, they just gave him more options than ever before, allowing you to take huge units of them due to 1+ and giving them all special abilities. Want some ASF for that Eagle? Why not. What about some Armor Piercing? We can do that too. Although the ASF is what's really going to be amazing, I'm not sure if I want to drop 10 points on something that's just going to annoy/redirect most of the time. I love these things, and so should you if you plan on playing High Elves. A lot of people argue that Ellyrion Reavers will replace the Great Eagle as redirectors, pfft, not unless they fly imo.
Flamespyre Phoenix - 4.5/5
Although I'd rather see more dragons flying around in High Elves, I can't say I'm disappointed with the Phoenixes. The Flamespyre Phoenix is a solid bird with decent stats and good abilities. His special rules are nice and so is his 2+ ward vs. Fire and ability to resurrect. I'd say he's one of the best designed monsters in the game with all things considered. He's a threat on the battlefield when flying over units, when in combat with units, and when he dies with a unit nearby, he's always a threat due to that 3-5 on the Phoenix Reborn (large blast S4 flaming) or if he just comes back to life! Great rules and balance on this unit that matches the fluff perfectly. If you take the Anointed with him, he becomes a great points denial unit that will come back on a 5+.
Frostheart Phoenix - 5/5
I'm not going to lie to you and say these guys are a little better. These guys are ridiculously good for their points because for 15pts more than a Flamespyre, you get +1WS/S/T/A/Ld. S6 and T6 is huge because it puts them in the sweet spot for damage and resilience. Combine this with the fact that you're flying around with a Ward save and this is pretty significant. Sure, you lose the ability to resurrect, but you gain something infinitely more worrisome for your opponent: Blizzard Aura. Blizzard Aura is absolutely huge: It's a meta-changer and one of the things that will carry the High Elves to victory on many battlefields. The ASL element of the aura is fantastic; stripping away ASF on blenderlords or other high-profile units, but it's the -S that really takes the cake. With the Frostheart in contact with an enemy unit, you're essentially looking at +1T High Elves with better armor saves (which negates the High Elves' only true weakness). Not to mention the bird himself is harder to wound with his virtual T7. Regardless of who you're pitting the bird against, I have high expectations for this unit changing the battlefield much more than any other unit in the book. Well, that and one more little thing we'll cover later.
Eagle Claw RBT - 3.5/5
Went down in points and you can still take 4 of these. You can either shoot a normal Bolt Thrower shot or choose to Volley with 6 shots at S4 AP. Overall, not a bad pick but I'd rather see these guys go down to 50. S6 shooting is powerful, but compared to a cannon for a few points more and it's not even close. Still good though, and will probably see play in more shooting-based armies.
Maiden Guard of Avelorn - 3.5/5
At first, I can't say this unit impressed me. Flaming, magical S4 shots sound great on paper, but they're expensive and die to a soft breeze much like Sword Masters. The key here is to not go too expensive on these girls but use them to deal damage and strip Regen. The 24" is a limitation, but the BS5 more than makes up for it. A unit of 15 will do a good job clearing up any chaff and put out good damage vs. Forces of Destruction with their -1AS. Not a bad unit, but they will take up points in your list so you have to be careful not go crazy.