Thursday, October 10, 2013

Exploring Dark Elves list building

Damn Morathi, lookin' fine.

After playing a good amount of games now, I think I got a pretty good feel of the new Dark Elves book.  I'm pretty happy my lists have evolved and I think it's time to finalize it here.  Here's what I'm currently building towards and why I feel it's the right direction to go to for Dark Elves in general.  I know, that's a pretty bold claim, but I'm a pretty bold guy and I have no problem telling it like it is.

First, the list without Hellebron.

11 drops

Lv.4 Supreme Sorc, Scroll, DBG = 250

Master BSB, 1+ RR, SoMight = 155

31x Witch Elves, FC, Razor Standard = 416
5x Black Riders, Shield, RXB, Mus = 110
5x Black Riders, Shield, RXB, Mus = 110

32x Executioners, FC, SoDisc = 429
10x Shades, GW = 180
4x RBT = 280

5x Warlocks = 125
5x Warlocks = 125
Kharibdyss = 160
Kharibdyss = 160

For me, this list is exactly what I would field if the Blood Queen is out of the picture.  It's an extremely balanced list with a good amount of magic, shooting, chaff, monsters, and melee prowess.  Although the Witch Elves are not hitting as hard without Hellebrone, their power is still nothing to scoff at because they single-handily rip through other core-equivalents in the game.  Sure, Saurus and Nurgle Warriors will give them trouble, but if you roll into Mindrazor, watch out.  Everyone starts fearing a high volume of attacks a lot more than durability, especially when you have I6 ASF and solid WS.

Let's face it:  Crone Hellebron is expensive.  What she offers is very unique in the fact that she can single handily plow through knights, monsters, lords and armor, but she's pretty expensive for what she brings to the battlefield.  Some tournaments out there don't allow SCs and others penalize comp because they fear the illusion that she's too powerful.  Offensively, yes, she's a god damn beast.  When you have 10 possible S10 attacks at WS7 I9 ASF Poison Re-roll 1s to wound, things get really really real.  What keeps her in check is your utter tunnel vision at keeping her alive so she can apply the killing blow.  After all, she's completely naked in terms of protection with T3 3W and no saves of any kind.  This kinda means you have to commit to Lore of Life, keep moving her around constantly in a unit, or relocate into a house if you need to keep her alive.  In short, the girl's a lot of work, just like any classy broad.

Alright, let's say you don't want to play SCs and would rather roll with a straight up DE list.  I think the list that I've experimented with over the last week has reached the pinnacle of optimization for my playstyle.  It's very balanced and effective in all stages of the game.  The only real weakness that stands out to me is that it doesn't have staying power, but that's something unique about Dark Elves a whole.  Maybe with DE entering the tournament scene, more HE players will take High Magic?  That waits to be seen.  Whatever the case, I'll tell you one thing:  DE absolutely needs shooting to be effective.  You need to be able to deal with enemy chaff because a lot of your power units have Frenzy, and cannot be misdirected because you're too fragile to drag ass around the battlefield.  If you don't have enough shooting, you will lose the movement war, and if you lose the movement war with Dark Elves, you lose, period.

I have a ton of accurate and powerful shooting:  Plowing through the air with 4x RBTs (24x S4 AP rounds or 4x S6 no AS D3 wounds shots), 2x Black Riders packing Repeaters, and 10x Shades Scouting in with BS5 Repeaters.  My magic is solid because I have Warlocks to channel and support with Soulblight, as well as hunt down flanking chaff with Doombolt.  Shadow is a super strong lore to have on a Lv.4, and she only really needs a scroll if you think about it.  Tome is useless outside of Dark Magic, Sac Dagger is too chancy for my tastes and other options are fairly cost ineffective.  At this point, you might as well go with something that's tested and true, and can potentially save your otherwise vulnerable units from a kill spell that's just outside average dispel range.

In terms of melee, I have 2 units that I'm very happy with:  One can deliver an enormous amount of Poisoned attacks and the other one just chops heads.  If the need calls for it and I have Mindrazor, guess where that spell is getting thrown?  Not just that, I have two K-Beasts hanging out on the sides of my Executioner's unit to counter-charge anyone wanting to get in on the action.  With their leadership debuff and 5 S7 Poisoned attacks, I can deal out some serious damage to high-armored targets that would otherwise tank the Witches with good rolls.  For me, the K-Beasts are my guard dogs.  Not in the fact that they lunge forward and kill whatever I need, but as reserve units that will bail my units out of trouble.  As you've probably seen in my battle reports, never send these guys out of general range.  Their low leadership just can't handle the volatile nature of the battlefield.  In the case of armored targets, not so much for Executioners because no one in the right mind would want to charge into Executioners that's S6 re-roll 1s to wound.  I don't care if I lose a couple, just as long as the target unit is dead or broken.  This is where I think Stubborn can cause some problems for either of these units as you're then forced into a game of attrition.  In case anyone failed to notice, Dark Elves suck at attrition.

Well, there you have it.  The only thing that I would change is probably drop 4x Executioners for a Ring of Hotek on the SS.  It doubles a player's chance to miscast if they throw big dice, and gives your Executioners' unit a decent 4+ ward vs. magical.  Overall, I'm pretty happy overall how the list have progressed over the last couple of days.

Deployment looks something like this..

Shades are hiding somewhere..


Duncan Wright said...

Laughed out loud at the end of paragraph 3. List is definitely a good one, but unit sizes and model count are both a bit small if you're considering the points this list is.

HERO said...

I think it's the Kharibdyss frankly, they eat some points and dropping 2 of them can buy me another unit of Executioners.

Furbyballer said...

Hve you toyed around with the leadership bomb list yet with Kbeasts, Fellheart, and death/dark combo magic?

Brandon said...

"In short, the girl's a lot of work, just like any classy broad."

^ Worth the read all by itself.

Brandon said...

It has got to be the Executioners. The way he described running them with the to K-Beasts on the flanks of the unit means people will hesitate on getting involved with them. You might see Chaff or Character bombs(Great Eagles and Reavers from HE) run straight at it, but without ASF, they'll get chopped down as soon as they make contact.

Duncan Wright said...

'Tis a shame, but they are fairly massive pointsinks which, in total, are worth about 25 exec's.

HERO said...

No, because leadership bombing in general needs a lot of work. It's too many moving parts and conditional scenarios to invest points into. They're also really gimmicky, with it either working exactly the way you want or not at all.

HERO said...

I'll post a picture up in Battle Chronicler, stay tuned.

Brandon said...

Also, the K-beast ability doesn't work on Fear causers. That knocks out all Undead, Daemons, half of Wood Elves...

HERO said...

Yerp, he's essentially just a beatstick at that point.

Khurdur said...

nasty list....those warlocks are particularly nasty for low points. A solid WoC list with a two hellcannons will probably send your squishy elves packing, though

HERO said...

Hellcannons send everyone packing :D but yes, them and Dwarfs are going to rock expensive, squishy Elves!

HERO said...

Hmm, what happens if I drop the 2x Kharibdyss for 2x units for 10x Sisters of Slaughter with Musician.

Liam said...

I don't understand why you think the dagger is "chancy"? Sure it's not an automatic thing like last time, but as you can just try again on a fail it really only means you'll be burning through extra sacrifices faster than before. I played a game against DE the other night and he was averaging 1-3 sacrifices per casting, which still isn't all that bad considering.

HERO said...

You average 2 dead per casting. I have Executioners and Witches, do you think I'm ready to sac 22-24 points worth of units every attempt? No. Even with pleb Spears, I'm looking at 18 points dead every time I use the thing on average. That's not something I'm willing to spend points on, especially when after 2 average casting, failure or not, you've paid for the dagger. No thanks.

Ryan Langner said...

How do you feel playing Blood and Glory? I'd prefer another banner somewhere.

Timbucktoo said...

I've noticed that you've dropped Shades in every list since this one. Were they not working out?

HERO said...

Shades are just fine, I've just been trying different things.

starpilot said...

Hi, noob question, what does +1RR mean?

HERO said...

It means 1+ armor save, re-rollable.

Chris T said...

How do you make him +1 AS rerollable if he is bsb? another noob question

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