Monday, August 30, 2010

The Complete IoB Guide for High Elves

In this post, you'll find that the "tactics" I recommend doesn't just cover gameplay mechanics, but it'll also cover some smart buying options to save on money before the next wave of releases.  Before we begin, let's see what we actually get from the Island of Blood starter set.  I will only list the things that are important to High Elves since I can give a damn about Skaven.

With each box, you get:
1x Mini-Rulebook
1x High Elf Prince on Griffon
1x High Elf Mage
10x Sword Masters in Full Command
10x Lothern Sea Guard in Full Command
5x Ellyrion Reavers w/ Champ

Points wise, it looks something like this:
1x Mini-Rulebook = Priceless (grab one ASAP)
1x High Elf Prince on Griffon = 350 without any upgrades
1x High Elf Mage = 100
10x Sword Masters in FC = 180
10x LSG in FC (Shields) = 155, 145 without shields
5x Ellyrion Reavers w/ Champ (Bows) = 112, 92 without bows

The breakdown of points to percentages look like this:
Total points = 867 without any upgrades
Lords = 40.37%
Heroes = 11.53%
Core = 16.72%
Special = 31.37%

So what does this tell us except that GW has no idea how to follow their own rulebook?  You need more shit.

Here's what you do in bullet point fashion:
  1. Buy two boxes of Island of Blood.
  2. Keep a rulebook for yourself, sell the other one for greatly inflated prices since everyone and their dog wants one.
  3. Sell the Skaven.  Package them with the rulebook to make the offer look more attractive.
  4. Design your army list with all the units left over.
  5. Learn the rules, spam some games and buy sparingly.  I will cover more of this as I go.
NOTE:  Personally, I would keep only 1x of the Prince on Griffon and sell the other one.  The Prince on the Griffon is a subpar choice and almost always a point sink.  The model is great, but sell the other one to get more on your return.  Besides, there's almost no reason to ever, ever take two in a army list unless you want to get laughed at.  Not only is it illegal to play the Prince on Griffon in games under ~1500 points, but if you want to take a large flying cannon-bait Prince, the Sun Dragon is always a superior choice.

Now that you have 2 boxes of IoB, here's a sample army list you should use.  It's fast, it's fun and it doesn't suck ass.  Before you ask, let me first explain the odd number of 17.  Well, the IoB boxes comes with figures that pre-set as the Champion, the Standard Bearer and the Musician.  Your second box will contain similar models and thus you have to subtract 3 from your list.  That is, unless you want to use those 3 models and just pull them off first so you don't ruin the aesthetic feel to your army.

Here's a sample army list.  Comes out to 994 points.

Lv.3 Archmage (Silver Wand) = 235
High Magic

17x LSG (FC, Shields, War Banner) = 266

17x Sword Masters (FC, Banner of Eternal Flame) = 295
5x Ellyrion Reavers (Musician) = 99
5x Ellyrion Reavers (Musician) = 99

Since the IoB box comes with a great Mage model, there's quite a few things you can do with it.  For the purposes of this army list, I have given my Lv.3 Archmage a Silver Wand.  This gives him an extra spell, so when rolling to pick spells, he'll get 4 over the regular 3.  As a Archmage, he also has a extra wound and higher leadership than a regular Mage on top of the +3 to cast and +4 to dispel.

This, however, does not mean that you have to take the Archmage.  Feel free to downgrade him to a Lv.2 Mage with Seerstaff of Saphery.  This gives you a Lv.2 Mage that can pick the spells that he wants instead of rolling on the table.  When building army lists, that kind of flexibility is something that other races wished they had.  There's 8 magic lores in Warhammer and High Elves know them all in addition to High Magic.

Another cool thing you can do is take the extra Sword Master champ you have from the 2nd box of IoB and call him a Noble.  Give him a Great Weapon, Armor of Caledor and Dawnstone or Guardian Phoenix and you're in business.  Nobles are great fighters with WS6, I7, S6 with a Great Weapon and a 2+ armor save, 5+ ward that's immune to fire attacks.

Now that you have your leader, what about the rest of the units?  The LSG are great units because you can be deployed in 6x3 formation, shoot and reform to fight anything.  Full Command always, Shields always and take a War Banner simply because you can.  If you want, you can drop the War Banner and give your Archmage a Seerstaff to pick 3 spells from any lore.  I personally like the War Banner because it helps you familiarize yourself with adding up your combat res.  It has also won me a couple of games in the past where that extra +1 can make or break the situation.

Sword Masters should almost always deploy wide.  I personally like 6 wide myself because I find 7 too unwieldy when maneuvering around the battlefield.  Each of these badass swordsman have WS6, 2 attacks each with S5 and ASF w/ re-rolls.  Once they hit combat, a lot of people will drop dead.  Keep in mind that their performance ties directly to what magic lore you take.  My Archmage has chose High Magic so I can sub any spell I want for Shield of Saphery which gives me a 5+ ward on my Sword Masters.  The fact that they also carry the Banner of Eternal Flame makes them chew through anything with Regen like a hot knife through butter.  For a better explanation of what magic lores to take vs. what army, I suggest you look through my magic tactica for High Elves.

This leaves me with the two units of Ellyrion Reavers.  I kept them dirt cheap with just Spears and a Musician because I wanted them to be fast flanking units that can hit from the flanks and rear.  With Vanguard movement and a 18" march + free reform, they can loop around the table and get to all those hard to reach places.  This gives you protection against enemy warmachines or missile units since you want those tied up ASAP.  Who cares if they get shot and die, they will die gloriously in battle as your LSG and Sword Masters move up the field unharmed and ready to kick ass.


Alright, that's that.  You have a 1k army to play games with for a good long time and all the units you get are from 2 boxes of IoB.  So the question now is:  How do I expand?

The best way to do this is know the current rumors:

"This October is devoted to the scions of Asuryan, as we release a series of new High Elf miniatures."

4 Plastic Box Sets.
White Lions, Dragon Princes and Phoenix Guard.
The fourth box is a new battalion, including 20 Archers, 20 Spearmen, a Repeater-Bolt-Thrower and a High Elf Chariot.

2 Metal Box Sets.  No idea what these are yet.
A new blister for a Prince on Foot.
A deck of spell cards for High Magic.

So what does this mean?

Proxy your Ellyrion Reavers as Silver Helms and Dragon Princes before you buy so you know which ones you want.  Do NOT buy anything that's metal right now and is rumored to be in plastic soon.  That means White Lions, Dragon Princes and Phoenix Guard should only be used in proxy games.  Ask your friends, I'm sure they'll be OK with it.

Personally, my recommendations will be the following for what units to buy and in what order:
  1. Prince/Noble box set.
  2. Spearmen box.
  3. Chariot box.
All of these won't be updated anytime soon and if you want to expand your army, this is the way to do it.  The Noble BSB is one of the most important units for High Elves and you don't want to miss that.  Spearmen, even though they're questionably looking, is one of our best units on the battlefield and the Lion Chariot just looks amazing.  It also eats things in combat so you might want 1-2 of those.

Alright, I typed enough for now.  Take from this what you will.  If you have any more questions, feel free to ask here.


Anonymous said...

I believe that as of 8th ed not only must you list the lore you will be using in the army list but if you are able to pick spells via something like the seer staff, the spells must be listed on the army list too.

HERO said...

Yes, that is correct :)

bhsman said...

Say you only picked up a sole box of IoB, would it be better to just pick up the LSG and Swordmaster units individually from bits shops? I think the Warstore has all 10 Swordmasters going for the same rate as the metal Command set, with the LSg being a similar price.

HERO said...

If you can find another person to split the box with, I would do that. It's just cheaper that way. Otherwise, the Warstore is a good place for the LSG/SM if you only need them.

Anonymous said...

Nice to see a good ol HE article again. You really gave some great advice, athough I believe in an early post you said you would never take SM in bigger units than ten. Im suprise you just won't have run 2X10 swordies

HERO said...

I'm not a big fan of Sword Masters.. they should of packed White Lions instead! But since the box only gives us Sword Masters (and they look fantastic), we have to make the best of it :)

Brandon said...

Gotta say I disagree with your sentiment concerning Sword Masters. I used to actually share your opinion until the new edition. I now run a full infantry list at 2500 that contains an Anvil of 24 Phoenix Guard, a Hammer of 24 Sword Masters, and a small flank unit of White Lions, 12 strong. Combined with my two bricks of 24 Spear Elves and a throw away Archer unit, 10 strong, it has performed amazingly well for me. People tend to ignore the Sword Masters in favour of going after whatever unit my characters are in. I've been experimenting with the +1 movement banner in the Sword Masters to even further capitalize on the beat stick action that they perform. White Lions, to me, make a great tarpit, even at only 12 strong, simply due to stubborn. They allow me to confront potentially dangerous enemy infantry and stick in long enough for counter charges from other units, preferably that beatstick Sword Masters unit. Again, polite disagreement on the opinion about Sword Masters, but great article otherwise.


HERO said...

"People tend to ignore the Sword Masters in favour of going after whatever unit my characters are in."
Good experiences vs. bad people doesn't make Sword Masters good.

You should give them some advice and make them understand that WS6 S5 with 2 attacks each and re-rolls to hit with ASF is NOT something they should ignore.

Anonymous said...

If they don't learn that something like a SM is bad to have in CC after the first game, then why should I correct them from making the same mistake again?

HERO said...

Right, but it doesn't mean Sword Masters are good because your opponents are slow learners. Against anyone worth a damn, they'll get shot up, magic'd to death or Stone Throwered into oblivion. T3 5+ saves become a serious liability at 15ppm.

Alex said...

I would agree that WL tend to edge SM slightly in cost effectiveness and versatility. There are situations where Swordmasters are better. WL have better protection against shooting but are just as vulnerable to magic. I think swordmasters are still a good choice, just not as versatile as WL. If someone takes them because you like the models better or something like that, I don't think they'd be terribly disappointed.

Alex said...

Just wanted to add that I think Hero makes a good point. If you want to get better competitively, you'll want to give your opponent tips in debriefing after friendly games that you win, or ask for advice in those you lose. Heck, when I play my Blood Angels in 40k, I tell my opponent (especially new ones) in advance that he will want to kill my Blood Talon DC Dread. Usually, they still only put a half-hearted effort into it and fail and then the dread rips through a couple of units and they realize how serious I was. This actually helps me in their second game because I get a better understanding of how effective the Dread is against an opponent who is actually aware of it's deadliness.

Sure, you may be able to continually beat your opponent by not letting him in on what's doing him in, but no one's getting better in that situation.

Anonymous said...

Wow, those LSG on the Warstore are a great deal, they're cheaper then normal spearmen and better looking too. How long do you guys figure they will still be available there?

HERO said...

Probably immediately after release.

Dargan said...


I found this guide very interesting on how we can use smartly the starter box.
That said, some people i know from a french forum could also really be interested. I would like your permission to translate it for them if it dont bother you of course !
No need to say i would also put a link to your blog in the post and dont take credit :)

thx for this guide anyway !

HERO said...

As long as proper credit is given, you can feel free to translate to whomever this article will help!

b4z said...

Good Article.
Exactly what i was looking for.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Great article, found it really useful

Anonymous said...

your guide is very good and i think you must be a good player but i still think swordmasters are better

Anonymous said...

I found this really useful. I have just bought 2 IoB sets to split with a friend. Looking at your next step advice of spearmen and a loin chariot, wouldn't it be better to buy the battalion? I like HE for the chariots and the dragons. What is the best way to get a dragon in the army, prince or mage?
If you're bored you could come up with a list based on 2 IoB, a battalion and a dragon!!!!!!
Oh, and if you have time you could pop round to my house and give me a few tips :) !!!!!

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