Monday, June 28, 2010

High Elves in 8th - Strategy

Now that you have an army, what do you do with it?  Let's go over my unit bucket really quickly and I'll go over the various strategies I plan on doing with them.  Keep in mind that there's a ton of units that'll have all kinds of great expectations, but these will probably fade once the games start rolling in.  Units such as Sword Masters, Lothern Sea Guard and Ellyrion Reavers all look pretty good on paper, but nothing says what works and what doesn't than spamming games.

Let's go over my units:

Teclis - Between Banner of Sorcery and the Moonstaff of Lileath, Teclis can generate an average of 11/12 Power Dice for himself at the beginning of every turn.  What you do with this is strictly up to you.  For me, the general options are:  Throw a giant spell like Purple Sun of Xereus out, full blown with 6-7 dice because even if you roll double 6s, you ignore your first miscast.  Once that thing hits the table, it will cause absolute havoc for your opponent.  You can also choose to cast more cautiously, throwing 3 dice at medium cost spells and up to 4-5 for high cost ones.  With an average roll, you should be able to IF these spells without dropping your concentration or anything else too drastic.  Just keep in mind you always have that Scroll of Hoeth in your inventory and use it when it matters.  Also keep in mind that just because Teclis is awesome at casting, doesn't mean you have to sit in the unit and cast without fear.  He is still the most fragile mage in the game with T2 and 3W with no saves of any kind.  Don't be afraid to run him out of the unit and cast some support spells because keeping him alive means absolutely everything if your army is focused on him.

Archmage [Book of Ashur or Hoeth] - For 330 points, the Lv.4 with Book of Ashur is now one of the best buys in the book.  The fact that the mage gets +6 to dispel before any dice are thrown is just gigantic.  That, combined with the fact that he also gets +5 to cast means that most low-medium spells are cast much easier.  Since you can now switch out spells for anything that rolls a double when you're randoming spells, getting the spells you need is much more reliable for a Lv.4.  The Book of Hoeth on the Archmage is also a pretty solid buy.  Having IF on any doubles as long as you reach the casting value lets you break through magical defenses if you throw enough dice at it.  Just be mindful of what spells you're trying to cast and always cast the big ones first if you can.  Casting a lower level spell and having the chance to lose concentration and not being able to cast anything else is bad.

Mages (Lv.1 or 2) - One of the reasons for having a supporting mage is to cast spells once/if the Archmage loses his concentration.  The Lv.2 can pick up the slack and cast some spells from his support tree.  A good example of a supporting caster mage is a Lv.2 with Seerstaff of Saphery.  Being able to pick the exact spells you want is absolutely vital on low level caster.  For example, a Lv.2 support can pick up Glimmering Robes and Enchanted Blades from the metal tree and be an awesome buff mage.  If you're looking for someone cheaper that adds something to the army, you can go with a Lv.1 Beast lore mage that carries the Annulian Crystal.  The +1S and +1T basic spell is a great buff to your army and doesn't cost much to cast.  The Annulian Crystal just adds a lot to the army since it takes away your opponents' PD and gives you an extra DD to dispel.  This happens every turn so it's almost always a good investment.

BSB (Mounted or on Foot) - If you're going for the mounted version of the BSB, make sure you put him in a big unit of Dragon Princes.  The reason why is because you'll have a hell of a lot of leadership tests to make per game and you don't want him dying under any circumstance.  If you're mounted, you can only be in a mounted unit to get that LOS! rule because they have to be the same unit type.  Helm of Fortune/GP on your mounted dude and Armor of Caledor/GP if you're playing footsies.  There's absolutely no incentive to bring magical banners unless you're tailoring for anti-magic (Banner of World Dragon) or feel like bringing your nicely painted Battle Banner.  Dragon Princes should be doing enough damage on the charge that the +D6 extra is no longer mandatory, and the fact that magical banners take away from your precious save.  BSBs are now a vital part of your army and you want to keep them alive at all costs.  Survival before anything else!

Korhil and Caradyan - I've always liked these two guys and I like them more in this edition.  Korhil has I7 with ASF on a +2S Killing Blow weapon.  If you're going first and re-rolling to hits, Korhil is going to be a challenge monster.  Also keep in mind that when he's in a challenge, he's going to be just fine if he kills his intended target.  If he doesn't or your opponent refuses with the Champion, Korhil might get face stomped by return attacks.  Be very careful where you put him because the last thing you want is for him to die and not get his points back.  The best place to put him is on the corner of your unit so you can minimize the amount of attacks back from a standard 5x5 unit.  Also, feel free to put him in a unit where you can constantly buff the units survivability.  I find that to be the most reliable way of keeping him alive.  Korhil also makes a unit Stubborn, so having him in a unit of Phoenix Guard will make sure they stay in the fight as long as he's alive.  As for Caradryan, he's just awesome.  175 points is a very generous amount to pay for a dude with ASF S5 flaming attacks that deal D3 wounds (most likely to cavalry+ sized units).  Dead or alive, he's dangerous to your enemy and that lovely MR3 will give White Lions the 4+ ward save from hostile magic.

30x LSG/Spears in Full Command - I think Full Command is always worth it now.  The Musician gives you free reforms and the Standard is always great for adding combat res.  The 30x LSG should be shooting whenever they can, whether in 10x3 or 5x6 formation.  The banner that I recommend for them is either the War Banner or the Banner of Eternal Flame.  Flaming attacks on everything they got is just amazing.. being able to lob flaming arrows or attacking with flaming spears.  If you shoot in 5x6 formation, they get less shots than the 10x3 formation, but you will never get caught with your pants down should those silly Dwarves roll boxcars on the charge.  Always remember that one of your core units can take a 25 point magical banner.  The best place to put that banner is on a good unit that can reliably hold the lines.  As for what buffs you should take to compliment these guys, go through the spells I listed below and use your imagination.  Keep in mind that Spears and LSG get 4 ranks to attack because of Martial Prowess.

White Lions, Phoenix Guard, Sword Masters - These guys are the bread and butter of our army.  At 2500 points, we should be running min core (625 points is 30x LSG and 20x Spearmen) and as many of these guys as possible.  Phoenix Guard got much better because of all the spells that can buff their durability, plus the fact that they have 2 ranks to attack now at I6 ASF.  White Lions with ASF GW with re-rolls and S6 makes sure the heaviest armor gets cleaved to death before they can swing, and Sword Masters are paper Elves with giant scissors whenever they touch the enemy.  Just make sure you understand that these 3 units have very different functionality:  Phoenix Guard holds the line, White Lions break armor, Sword Masters murder infantry.  Banner wise, you can go with the Standard of Blades for Armor Piercing, +1 Movement for a cheap banner, and Standard of Balance is always good.  Just keep in mind that with enemies being able to step up and kill our elite infantry now, we must adapt and conquer with our magic and not rely solely on kills.  I will list some examples of how you can use magic to better your foes:

  • Shield of Saphery - Dirt cheap, gives our Sword Masters and White Lions a 5+ Ward save.  Phoenix Guard need not apply.
  • Enchanted Blades of Aiban - Allows Sword Masters to hit most things on 2+ with re-rolls to hit and S5 Armor Piercing.  S6 AP on White Lions absolutely murders any type of heavy cavalry.
  • Glimmering Robes - Gives our elites a 3+ armor save because of the 5+ scaly skin.  Gives White Lions a laughable 1+ save vs. shooting.
  • Flesh to Stone - +2-4 Toughness on Elves is insane.  Prevents all types of damage from shooting, to magic, to close combat.
  • Enfeebling Foe and Withering Hex - Debuffs on your enemy that takes away from their S (prevents damage on you) or their T (which increases your damage on them).
  • Pha's Illumination and Speed of Light - WS10 from SoL means that WS4 troops hit you on 5s.  Pha's Illumination is a cheap way to negate damage as it decreases the chance of your unit getting hit by 1.  Both of these stack, so you can make a unit close to unhittable.
  • Soulblight - This makes enemy units -1S and -1T, which is basically both the Shadow spells combined into one.  Slightly higher to cast, but the principle remains the same:  Prevents damage on you and increases damage on them.
  • Wyssan's Wildform - Gives the unit +1S and +1T for a basic spell.  Probably the best buff for the cost in the game and I can take it on a puny level 1.  Worth it every time.
  • Flaming Swords of Rhuin - Gives you flaming attacks and makes you wound at +1 is just amazing.  This means you wound things on 5s instead of 6s and makes regen monsters like Hydras and Grave Guard with Drakenhof that much easier to kill.

11-12x Dragon Princes in Full Command - Cavalry in general has decreased in value, but these particular knights are still good.  The reasons is this:  WS5 I6 and 2 attacks with ASF each means that I get to re-roll all my hits and inflict a lot more damage than regular knights.  Dragon Armor is always good because it protects me from the likes of Metal and Fire; something that other knights fear greatly.  They're also one of the better buys in the book because they're only 30ppm and has good damage potential.  Their charge range is now a random value between 11 and 20, which averages out at 15.5".  That's not that bad but poor dice can always wreck your day.  As for Banners, Banner of Ellyrion is still a good choice because we'll get the Strider USR and will therefore ignore dangerous terrain checks.

Lion Chariots - Since Chariots can charge through terrain more reliably (just don't roll a 1), we gain much more maneuverability on how we setup our charges and counter-charges.  The White Lions are also S6 on top because Great Weapons no longer get decreased in S when mounted.  Fear isn't as good, but the War Lions themselves are still excellent killers at WS5, 2 attacks each at S5 I4.  Impact hits are always lovely and S7 cannot instant kill the chariots anymore.  Keep in mind that the Beast Lore gets a bonus when casting on Dragon Princes and the Chariots.. so something like +1S and +1T can get cast at very cost effective prices and turn these guys into real killers.

There we go.  I didn't bother covering the rest of the units because I feel that we need serious playtesting with them.  Once July 10th rolls around, I'll be spamming games all over the place to get a feel of the new edition and what High Elves have to offer.  I'm pretty excited overall - we seem to have it pretty good.  Magic, will definitely be one of the things that'll decide the battle for High Elves.  There's too many things going for it and I think HE players need to incorporate it in every list they play.  Just like the previous editions, High Elves will require tactical precision to pull off the big win.  With less brute force Dragons and Battle Banner deathstars on the field, victory will lie with those who seek it; and I will be the first to find it.


Anonymous said...

chariots still can't march

HERO said...

Hmm. It appears that my sources were wrong about that! I'll go edit my post to be more accurate :)

Anonymous said...

I just wanted to let you know that I've been finding all of these posts to be very informative and valuable. Can't wait to read more once the rules and FAQ are out!

Anonymous said...

Book of Ashur, its fairly solid but isnt it better to have another dispell dice than having just +1 to dispell (on the +5 inclusiv high elf abilties) and 1+ to cast ... and that for 70 points!

i would rather take the dispel dice instead of just having +1 to the dispel

what u think hero?

btw can u dispel with 1 mage all the time or is 1 mage only able to dispel 1 time?

HERO said...

I think if you want that, you should take a supporting Lv.1 with Lore of Beasts and an Annulian Crystal. 140 points is pretty cheap for a small little buffer that can take away from his magic phase :)

And yes, you choose which mage you want to dispel. If you fail that dispel, that particular mage can't dispel anymore in that phase. Kinda like losing concentration when casting. Another reason why I find the +6 to dispel worth it.

Quannum said...

Hey Hero,

Been keeping on eye on things on, and Warseer and I've gotta say I love your blog. Very insightful.

Certainly my support mage is taking the Seerstaff and Lore of Metal for Enchanted Blades and Glimmering Robes. Genius idea.

However, you say that one core gets a FREE 25pts banner - I thought you still have to pay the points for it. Don't have my Army Book to hand, but I'm pretty sure the rule reads they have access to a magic banner worth up to 25pts....


HERO said...

Yes yes, I mean they get a 25pt Banner. Not free, just that they have access to a magical banner.

Arasaka said...

Hero, with your inclination to leave RBT's in the box, what do you have in mind to take in your list to deal with Steam Tanks, Hydras, and other high Toughness/Wounds enemy models?

White Lions seem decent, but I don't think it's wise to rely solely on them (nor the vaguaries of a random Magic pool).

CW said...

I'm really enjoying a 25 man block of Phoenix Guard with Razor Standard. You will pretty much always have 3 rank bonus, and if you stick the BSB in there, that's not only some awesome killing power (with GP/AoC/GW), but 5 static res to boot :)

HERO said...

@Arasaka, to deal with high T/W models, I'll probably use stuff like Lore of Shadows to debuff their toughness so I can add on more wounds. Against Steam Tanks, that's something I have to figure out since RBTs are such a point sink now.

@CW, yah, I gotta try the 25-man block of PGs. Razor Standard would turn the unit into a solid fighting block with Armor Piercing and Banner of Eternal Flame on White Lions will make them into Hydra eaters.

Anonymous said...

Chariots Can March, all warmachines can unless I have missed something

Anonymous said...

dont stop posting hero! less 40k and more fantasy!!

Anonymous said...

Just a question. Where in the 8th ed Rulebook does it say that you can reroll failed wound rolls when your unit has flaming attacks?

Anonymous said...

Awesome posts man! keep them up!! XD

And it says Flaming attacks re-roll failed rolls to hit when shooting at, or assaulting a building, under the special rules page for it.

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