0.0 Introduction to the High Elven Armies
Okay, so the introduction to the High Elves.
Things I plan on covering:
-High Elves - Are they competitive? If so, what makes them so?
-High Elves - How to make an effective Army
-More to come!
Are they Competitive?
So, with all the nasty ideas on "Army Tiers" and the hierarchy of armies, where do High Elves fall? That's a difficult question, given a limited context of comparing them to Daemons of Chaos (who seem
to be the ultimate in power-armies). They are certainly more substantial than Orcs and Goblins (in terms of shear competitiveness), yet less-so than their dark cousins, the Dark Elves. I would therefore have to say they're somewhere in the middle, with the likes of the Empire and Brettonians.
Now, what makes the High Elves competitive?
High Elves do have a lot of good things going for them: Army-wide Always Strikes First, high Weapon Skill, high Initiative (in addition to ASF, of course), high Leadership, High Movement.
It makes sense, then, that they have some drawbacks: each individual model is expensive (often several times the cost of an analogous unit), all elves are Toughness 3, a general lack in armor.
So, how to capitalize on these pros and cons? Often times, the most capable armies of the High Elves are very focused, and hence create a Glass Cannon of sorts (they can dish out the damage, but can't take it). As such, they have two main builds: The Prince on Star Dragon build, and the Archmage/uber magic build.
Prince on Star Dragon
As this name implies, this list revolves around the powerhouse that is a Prince on Star Dragon. These guys are just as nasty as they can come; one of the most devastating Dragons in the Warhammer universe, with a considerable Prince in tow. These lists emphasize the use of fast movers, namely the two varieties of Chariots and plenty of Dragon Princes of Caledor in support. A scroll caddy often accompanies these forces, so they tend to have minimal magic support.
How to combat this list? If you can somehow neutralize the Dragon (not the rider, just the dragon), you'll cut off a lot of the army's offensive power. Or, if you can neutralize the benefits of the Charge, namely by preventing the High Elf cavalry from decimating things, you will often find success. Odds are, movement and Close Combat will be the realm of this type of army. Magic and Shooting, however, will often be the bane of such a setup, especially under an unlucky general.
These armies employ a finely-kitted Archmage, combined with a pair of Level 2 mages, and sometimes a BSB. They emphasize defensive troops like Phoenix Guard and White Lions to hold the lines while the Mages do their deeds. Archers and RBTs tend to buffer any remaining fast movers who can threaten the mages, who are often bunkered within an Elite unit. Obviously, these armies tend to favor the ability to whittle down the opponent's forces rather than face them in combat (since Combat units tend to be more expensive).
How to tackle this list? Again, an emphasis has been placed on Magic here. Odds are you won't stop the nasty spells, or at least the ones you would otherwise need to stop. Instead, you should just focus on taking down the mages in some way. If that won't work, you can always focus on taking down the relatively small accoutrement of troops that protect the mages.
There are also the Balanced lists. These armies tend to be less competitive, yet more fun all around. Since these lists are far more open, I can't generalize them too accurately. But we know that High Elves do have the capacity to bring more Special and Rare choices to the board, so that should say something.
How to make an effective High Elf army.
I'll carry on with what I had described above, for simplicity's sake.
Prince on Star Dragon
-Emphasize Fast Movers that can keep up with the Dragon. This includes cavalry and Eagles.
-Focus on Offensive Power. Since the Magic Phase is essentially non-existent, you'll have to tie your units in combat to lessen the effectiveness of your opponent's magic and shooting.
-Your primary unit is the Dragon. Everything else is to ensure that it remains in play.
-The Prince and Dragon should be able to take down anything your opponent offers. If necessary, take down monstrous mounts before the riders and run them over in Combat Resolution (if the opportunity presents itself).
-Take the Banner of Sorcery, and other Offensive magic items. Your ability to pump out the magic and overwhelm your opponents is your biggest weapon. Use it well!
-Archmage with a Book of Hoeth will do wonders. Two Lvl2's can carry the +1 Power Die and +1 Spell to keep the rest of the magic phase in line.
-You won't need too many Dispel Scrolls if you know how to use them wisely.
-You MUST keep all the Mages alive. Bunker down and get ready for them to come to your lines.
-Harrying the opponent's flanks is nice, but don't put too many points into it. March Blockers on the other hand can do wonders. Keeping those Marauders pinned for three turns under the fire of your Mages? Beautiful! (albeit unlikely)
-Remember your ridiculous Elite units. Making an infantry army is easy, but will need some strong flank-charging units.
-As good as the Core units are, don't worry too much about them. Keep them at the minimum number of units; Spear Elves can be kept in units of 15+, but archers should be in naked units of 10, while Lothern Sea Guard are often too expensive to be put into large units (though detachment units of 10 are apparently effective).
-Use your Rare slots effectively! Eagles and RBTs are both very useful. Don't worry about defending them too much, though. Your main force should usually advance forward, leaving them to their own devices.
-Characters should be left as support. A Noble or two, with a Mage or two is often adequate for a strong army.
Overall, High Elves have a tendancy to thrive in large games. At 2000pts, they aren't top notch, and are often fighting a slight uphill battle. At 3000pts, High Elves really begin to shine. At this point, they can fill our ranks of Elite Troops and can finally bring those numbers to bear. However, at too grand a game, their advantage of greater numbers of Special and Rare units begins to deminish (only slightly, though).
Okay, this is what I have thus far. If you guys have questions, comments, or critique, fill everyone in!