Monday, June 21, 2010

High Elves in 8th - Lords and Heroes

So 8th Ed brings a lot of new things. The entire game has changed and thus, my unit selection has to go through intensive revision in order to stay competitive. I'll start with Lords and Heroes since I want to cover everything over the next couple of days.

Archmage builds:
Lv.4, Annulian Crystal = 300
Lv.4, Book of Ashur (new item) = 330

The reason why these two will work is because they're relatively cheap and have specific purposes. The Silver Wand and Seerstaff is no longer a good choice for Archmages because of the way magic selection works. I still roll 4 dice randomly pick spells, but for each double I roll I get to pick the spell instead of re-rolling to see what I get. Chances to me to get the one or two spells I really want is pretty high already. Another reason not to take these two items is because I can only take one Arcane item and both Annulian Crystal and Book of Ashur are superior choices. This also means that dispel scrolls cannot be taken if the Archmage already has an arcane item.  Book of Hoeth will be covered later so I purposely left it out here.

I'll go ahead right now and explain to you why I think these two configurations is the way to do it. Annulian Crystal takes 1 PD from him and gives me 1 DD. This gives be a better chance to defend against his magic because he rolls 2d6 for power dice during his magic phase and I get the highest for dispel dice. By taking away one of his PD for an extra DD, I nerf his magic and buff my defense. The Book of Ashur is a fantastic choice because it's basically Starwood Staff and Staff of Sorcery on one item. For 10 points less and the fact they're both arcane items, this is as good as it gets. My Lv.4 Archmage now has +1 to cast and +1 to dispel. This gives me magic offense with +5 to cast and +6 to dispel because of High Elves' innate +1 and this item. Beautiful.

Mage builds:
Lv.2 Mage, Seerstaff of Saphery = 165
Lv.1 Mage, Annulian Crystal = 140
Lv.1 Mage, Jewel of Dusk = 115

The Lv.2 and the Seerstaff is self-explaintory. You have a Mage with 2 spells that you can choose from any lore in Warhammer. This is a pretty solid investment. The Lv.1 Mages are there as magical defense and magic offense. The crystal's purpose is already explained above.. which gives you more long term usability than say a single dispel scroll. As for the Lv.1 with Jewel of Dusk, this item is much better than the new item, Channeling Rod that gives the bearer +1 to channel an additional energy or dispel. You don't want to ever rely on channeling to give you an extra DD, you want absolutes and results. The Jewel of Dusk is simply +1 PD to your power pool and the Annulian Crystal jacks him and supplies you with an extra DD.  You can always just take a Lv.1 with High Magic and give him a scroll if you want as well.

Prince builds:
Prince as DP, Dragon Helm (new item), Vambraces of Defense, Lance = 257
Prince as DP, Helm of Fortune, Guardian Phoenix, Blade of Sea Gold = 276
Prince on Foot, Armor of Caledor, Vambraces of Defense, GW = 242
Prince on Foot, Armor of Caledor, Guardian Phoenix, White Sword, Talisman of Loec = 250

I went with 2 types of build for each type of Prince; both offensively and defensively. The ones with Vambraces are obviously defensive.. with the first DP on the barded elven steed having a 1+ re-rollable, immune to fire and a 4+ ward. He's also sitting with 35 points that you can add a weapon to. The Prince on foot is going with a 2+ re-rollable and 4+ ward with a humble Great Weapon. As for the offensive princes, the first one has a Helm of Fortune which gives him a re-rollable 1+ armor save and 5+ ward. The Blade of Sea Gold ignores armor saves and is great for punching holes in something like enemy knights. Since ASF with higher or equal I gets to strike first and re-roll hits, WS7 and I7 with ASF just became a little better at hitting his target. The only thing that slightly nerfs weapons that ignore armor saves is the fact that parry bonus now gives the unit 6+ ward in close combat. Things brings us up to next Prince setup.. which is a popular setup from 7th for those that like to play their princes on foot. The 2+/5++ save is pretty meager, but the White Sword and Talisman is a hero-killer. With +2 strength and KB, re-rolls to hit because of the new ASF rules and the talisman to force your opponents to re-roll his successful ward saves, the White Sword Price is a challenge machine.

***Notice I didn't include any Star Dragon builds? That's because the cost to play them is in 2500 point games. Since we don't know what's going to be the "popular" points to play at yet, I'm going to just make builds for 2k. Besides, the Star Dragon build with Armor of Caledor and Vambraces of Defense will hardly change.***

Noble builds:
Noble as DP, BSB, Battle Banner, Lance = 218
Noble as DP, BSB, Helm of Fortune, Guardian Phoenix, Lance = 188
Noble on Foot, BSB, Armor of Caledor, Guardian Phoenix, GW = 168

Notice a trend here? I don't take the noble other than BSB purposes. If I want combat potential, I look at Caradryan and Korhil because they're both better choices for the cost. I'll explain why in a bit. So anyways, the noble on the horses have a 2+ save with the Battle Banner and a 1+ re-rollable, 5+ ward without. The survivability here is absolutely huge. If you don't take magical banners, your noble will be a hell of a lot more survivable. In 8th Ed, the BSB is a HUGE player in how things turn out. That's because the BSB allows re-rolls of ALL leadership related tests within 12" of it. If your general is in range, you're using his leadership and re-rolling any failed tests. Another thing that makes me sad is that the noble on the horse cannot really join infantry units (unit type) and feel safe. Sure, ranged attacks like Bolt Throwers, magic missiles, bows and guns go into the unit, but indirect weapons such as Stone Throwers or Cannons or something that's magical template will be able to hit him with confidence. But what about Look Out Sir! you say? When models are the same unit type and in a unit, characters get a 2+ Look Out Sir. If he's on a horse, this is reduced to a 4+. I don't know about you guys.. but that doesn't give me confidence in knowing that my Battle Banner can be sniped out from under me. That's a BSB, a character and a 80 point banner to lose in one cannon shot.

Special Characters:

I'll only cover 3 special characters because I either have little experience playing the others, or think they suck. It's probably because I think they suck that I have little experience playing them. For example, I'll start with Tyrion really quick: He's the fastest elf at I10, has WS9 and rides a M10 mount. That's nice. Last edition, he had a 0+ armor save, 4+ ward and 4+ regen. This Ed, the max armor save he can have is 1+ and he can only make a ward or regen roll, not both. Sure, the MR2 and S7 is nice.. but not 400 points nice. Maybe if they re-do some of his rules in the FAQ, put him on a normal cavalry sized base and errata the fact he has regen and ward, we can look at him again.

As for Alith, Eltharion and Dragon Mages, I don't think they're worth their points. Alith just doesn't add enough combat potential, Eltharion and Stormwing is poor man's version of Prince on Star Dragon and Dragon Mages are overpriced for what they do.

Well, first thing's first. Let's talk about Teclis and he offers us in 8th Ed. First, his price makes him playable at 2k points because of the 25% rule. Since all casters pull from the same pool and Teclis generates +D3 power and dispel dice every turn, this helps immensely. Teclis was a greedy little bastard to begin with when it comes to magic, so this works heavily in our favor. In 8th, you'll only see 1-2 casters in most lists simply because the bonus to cast and dispel much more important on big casters. Annulian Crystal, move aside. +D3 possible dispel dice per turn with his +5 innate dispel is huge. To make things even better, Teclis still has his uber forget scroll when no other Archmage can take a arcane item and a dispel scroll. Now comes the big winner: Teclis scores IF on any doubles and his Warhelm of Saphery dispels his first miscast every turn. Now how magic works in 8th Ed is that when you IF, you lose control and miscast. Also when you IF, it doesn't matter if you hit the casting value or not, the spell will go off regardless. So let's say you want to cast the 20+ version of the uber Beast spell and turn yourself into the Dragon. Now you can on a roll of 1,1 and 2 if you throw 3 dice at it. If you lose control because you throw double 6s, good for you. The spell still goes off but the warhelm prevents the miscast. See where I'm going with this? Either the Book of Hoeth and Teclis need a errata or they're going to be absolutely hated. The fact that the entry for BoH and Teclis both state that IF goes off on any doubles on "any successful casting roll" means that by RAW, they must hit the 20+ need to cast.. but then again, the BRB specifically states that IF causes the spell to go off whether or not it hits the casting value or not. We will definitely need a errata on this one!

Now that Teclis is done, let's talk briefly about Korhil and Caradryan. Both of them haven't really changed since last edition except for two main rules: Stubborn and MR3. Stubborn now gives the unit Steadfast regardless or not he has more ranks. What Steadfast is (new USR) is that any unit with more ranks than the enemy will always take a leadership test without combat modifiers when making a break test. This means that you can use the BRB and your general's leadership as well. So basically, Stubborn just got better. Good for Korhil, and the fact that he still has that lovely S6 Killing Blow.. that only got better because he gets to re-roll to hit because of ASF and I7. Caradryan's MR3 no longer gives units dispel dice vs. magical attacks, but now gives them a 6+ ward save for each level of MR. MR1 will give units without a ward save a 6+ and MR3 will give them a 4+ ward vs. magical attacks. This includes missiles or direct damage attacks.. not buffs or hexes. The cool thing about this is that it also stacks with the Phoenix Guard's natural 4+ ward, so Caradryan in a unit with PG will have a 1+ (or 2+, I don't know if it's capped) ward vs. magic. Besides, I'd probably just stick them with a Banner of Arcane Protection if I wanted MR. You know what's funny? Korhil works better with Phoenix Guard and Caradryan works better with White Lions. It's true. White Lions with a 3+ vs. shooting and 4+ ward vs. magic is pretty damn good and Korhil's Stubborn makes Phoenix Guard even more annoying. Not to mention both character and their units have Stubborn and the two dudes add damage and killing potential.


Somewhatdamaged said...

wouldn't matter if wards were capped or not, as nothing can decrease them and a 1 always fails, so there's no difference between having a 1+ and 2+ ward save

Alex said...

Magic appears to be so high risk/high reward, it will be interesting to see if it is worth investing in the archmage or not. A failed spell means that mage is done casting. A heck of a cost for a 300pt model.

An interesting choice will be a prince with the Radiant Gem and a couple of other items, along with another prince if you want it...

I'm not clear why your noble with the battle banner (and halberd) has a 2+

As for some other things, The seerstaff on an archmage was never a good idea for 30 points, though the silver wand was, and you give some good reasons for that. As for the princes and bsbs, they are common builds this edition already, but at least you may see the prince more.

Finally, a few days before the edition is actually released, there are going to be PDFs that will (hopefully) clarify things.

HERO said...

The Noble with the Battle Banner is classified as a DP; which means Dragon Prince. That means he comes with Barded Elven Steed, Shield and Dragon Armor. That also means he has a 2+ save when mounted and is immune to fire :)

Alex said...

Yeah, I saw that, but it's only a 2+ if a halbred is no longer a 2h weapon. (though he would still have it to shooting)

One of the other new rules is that if your model has a special weapon (like great weapons) they won't be able use their hw in cc.

HERO said...

Oh? Good to know. Musta missed that one. In that case, the Battle Banner will probably go with a HW/Shield over a Halberd.

Alex said...

Or a lance would be good.

Anonymous said...

HERO, you considered the ChickenHawk Noble/Prince?

(That is a Noble/Prince mounted on Great Eagle with the Reaver Bow and normal equipment+lance)

Seems to have taken a nice boost in this Edition with merged profiles and TLoS makes it a nice sniper. Random charged ranges mean nothing as it only charges situationally.

HERO said...

The problem with the Chickenhawk is that the rules of TLoS also applies to enemy shooters and cannons. I would really hate it if my Prince/Noble died because it got hit in the face by a indirect cannon. That's the only reason why I think it's not as viable anymore :(

Anonymous said...

Maybe I'm missing something, but why take a lance when mounted? A Great Weapon gives you that +2 Strength and you still strike first and since none of your mounted Princes and Nobles have shields, I don't see any point.

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