Saturday, May 11, 2013

High Elves: Another Perspective

Put 'em up, shut 'em down.

What perspective might this be?  From the other side of the table of course!  Played a few games recently against High Elves with my VC and I must say:  Don't take monster mash lists.

Here's the list I've been running:

13 deploys

Lv.4 Vampire Lord = 553
Lore of Vampires
Quickblood, Red Fury, Beguile
Heavy Armor, Shield, Barded Nightmare
ToPreservation, Ogre Blade, OTS

Lv.2 Vampire = 228
Lore of Death
Aura of Dark Majesty
Heavy Armor, Lance, Barded Nightmare
Enchanted Shield, Scroll, PoFools

40x Zombies (Standard) = 125
37x Ghouls (Ghast) = 380
5x Dire Wolves = 40
5x Dire Wolves = 40
5x Dire Wolves = 40

12x Black Knights (FC, BoSwiftness) = 357
5x Hexwraith = 150
Spirit Host = 45
Spirit Host = 45
Spirit Host = 45

Terrorgheist = 225
Terrorgheist = 225

Having played very little with my VC in the new edition, I'm enjoy my VC quite a bit despite the rust build up.  One of the strangest things I've found with the new HE book is that people tend to gravitate towards the new and shiny.  Of course Frosthearts are great, but I don't think people should be running lists with minimal magic protection, a bunch of Frosthearts, and that silly Anointed running a Frostheart as well.  That's just way too much points investment with very little gain.  I honestly don't feel that Frosthearts at meant to be used as killy units.  They don't do jack shit in combat res compared to a lot of the other meanies out there, and their damage potential to points ratio is outright pitiful.

A lot of people don't realize that Frosthearts are not designed to be killy units.  They're a really strong support element for the High Elf army, and that's the key thing.  They're meant to be played with other elements in the book that takes advantage of the bonuses they provide.  Frosthearts are defensive, denial units, designed to be used in support with the rest of the army.  Alone, they're just bad for the points.  When you compare them to something like a Hellpit, Hydra or Chimera, they just fall flat in terms of expectations.

What else have I found out?  Monster mash lists run into really bad match-ups vs. a list like mine.  I out deploy their list every time; cavstars and Silver Helms just get baited around all day with good chaff, and the Anointed on Frostheart is just trash for his points.  For a lord hovering around the ~500 mark, the guy puts out no damage.  Three S6 attacks is hardly anything to write home about, especially when the bird has a max of 5 attacks on a good day and will frequently hover around 4.  Once the "damage" is dealt, you add up the points and notice that you killed nowhere close to the amount you paid for with the lord.

I'm jumping around a bit so I'll highlight the key weaknesses of the monster-mash list.

  • The VC list I have above has 13 drops.  The typical monster-mash list I've seen runs with Dragon Prince buses, Anointed on Frostheart, Lv.2 Mage, 2x Frosthearts, and Silver Helms/Reavers for core.  Let me tell you something right now:  The current style of HE Monster-mash will get out-deployed, out-manuevered, and outplayed if you're a capable general.  I just re-direct all day, force my own combat scenarios and force the HE army to fight my rock solid units.  My VC Lord obliterates Phoenixes, caring not for your ASL and -1S because I just power spells through your weakling Lv.2.  Your other birds just eats tarpit after tarpit and I'll just scream to death any other unit not carrying BotWD.  A couple of days ago, I just looked at a bunch of Silver Helms and they disappeared from the battlefield.
  • That's another thing:  Magic superiority.  God honestly, I don't know if monster-mash can survive with cannons and strong magic on the battlefield.  As if cannons aren't enough, a Lv.2 just can't compete with a Lv.4 in terms of casting potential.  I have better dice management, more spells to through and you're not going to stop all my spells regardless of how hard you try.  I understand that no other faction can throw out damage and cast spells like VC, but I find a solo Lv.2 to be outmatched completely in very circumstance in this match-up.
  • Overall damage:  You don't have a lot of units that can hit hard and break lines.  A big unit of Dragon Princes will always see a bunch of re-directs, undead fodder, tarpits, followed by a flank-charge or rear-charge from my Lord's bus + Terrorgheists.  Once you accurately scale the amount of damage Dragon Princes can do, you realize that their subsequent rounds in combat are meaningless.  This is why you need to run characters in Dragon Princes and not run around flying in giant stupid birds.  A Frostheart's damage potential cannot and will not bail you out of combat once your DP bus has run its course.  The best way I can describe HE cavalry is this:  They're meant to be precision-based combat res generators.  They hit hard as hell in the first round of combat, but they're wet noodles in the subsequent rounds.
  • I walk away this week with 3 wins and a draw vs. HE monster-mash.  I don't know why people insist on playing these kind of lists because it's just not good.  Frostheart's don't do enough damage, cavalry lists might seem like fun until they realize any unit not carrying the BotWD will just get blended/screamed to death, and these lists suck hard vs. Steadfast/Undead tarpits because they don't generate enough damage themselves.  Sure, they negate a lot of damage, but if they don't get themselves out of there they're completely worthless, and easy to gank/kill.

TLDR:  Don't run monster-mash with HE.  Stick to the basics; mixed army, combined arms, and a balanced approach.


Jack Champion said...

I completely agree, yes its great that cavalry are now core, but HE strength has always been its infantry and mechanisms if support. I even find it hard justifying an expensive prince over AM with book.

Truthiness said...

Just to clarify, when you're talking about a "weakling level 2" I assume you're talking about a basic hero level scroll caddie correct? I've been having good success using a Loremaster with a Book of Hoeth and a level 1 scroll caddie and I know Tethlis was having similar luck before he started experimenting with a Lv4Shadow/Lv2Heavens. I don't miss the +2 to dispel thanks to the BoH and I prefer the Loremaster's flexibility to the Level 4's raw power.

pskontz said...

I'm still waiting for my book WAAAAHHH.

but even then I know enough to make a comment. I do love the frostheart but I know I will never field more than 1 (maybe 2 if Im running two cav pincer formation but I love infantry)
plus I'll usually play dwarves with 2 canons or bretonians with monster killers. to risky.

Artaud said...

Indeed, I agree Hero. But I do not understand why do you not forsaw that. 8 ed is not a monster edition. A canonball o poisoned attacks can errase a 200pts+ monster. I recall a friend crying for his brand new Karl Franz on griffon.

Also, a rule of thumb. A 200+ caracter or monster in a 2000 pts list is a waste of points, sauf Teclis or archmage.

Still I am going to deplay a griffon hero on the flank to confuse my enemy away form my 58 shadow lore buffed lancers.

Post a Comment