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post #1 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-09-10, 07:26 AM Thread Starter
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Default whats so good about dark elves

I am going to star a new army and I think that i might go with Dark elves. Mainly because no one else seems to want to play them any more at least at my GW. Now Im just trying to figure out what the dark elves have to offer. Im kind of tierd of painting hores of infantry and having next to no fire support such as archers and war machines. I was just wondering if anyone could give me some assistance on what a good start would be and how to make it tournament capable while keeping the model count low if possible.
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post #2 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-09-10, 08:05 AM
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I am going to star a new army and I think that i might go with Dark elves. Mainly because no one else seems to want to play them any more at least at my GW. Now Im just trying to figure out what the dark elves have to offer. Im kind of tierd of painting hores of infantry and having next to no fire support such as archers and war machines. I was just wondering if anyone could give me some assistance on what a good start would be and how to make it tournament capable while keeping the model count low if possible.
Dark Elves are foremost a fragile, but deadly force, though their versatility can mitigate that somewhat. If you want to shy away from painting hordes, well, you don't have to field that many hordes with Dark Elves. Warriors and Repeater Crossbowmen are pretty much the only troops you're going to have a large bulk of to paint, recommended if you want to have a competitive list.

To keep the model count low, but effective, Dark Elves can make effective use of smaller units. Witch Elf suicide squads, Cold One Chariots with a character, Hydras, a decent sized Black-Guard unit, any of these can get good mileage with a relatively low model count. Certainly, you're going to want to get big units under the new edition, but smaller units can work well with Dark Elves.

To start making something tournament-based, start with a solid core. There are essentially 4 viable options for this. The first is a large Warriors unit. This is probably what you don't want to deal with, so I'll skip them. Second is Repeater Crossbowmen. These have gotten ridiculously good under the new rules. Either take small units of 10 or a large unit of 20-30. It is quite easy to fill your entire Core selection with these if you want.

Third and Fourth are the Black Ark Corsairs, or rather, the two different configurations for them. With Repeater Handbows, they make god, cheap screening units, just resilient enough to shooting to keep them from being worthwhile to kill, and just annoying enough to be a real problem for your enemies. There are also additional hand weapon Corsairs, often taken with the Sea Serpent Standard, who get a ridiculous number of attacks. Probably not as viable in a tourney though, in my opinion.

Considering these, Crossbowmen and RHB screens are the way to go with what you've stated as your preferences. Special units are a much more diverse group, with so many tactics and discussions about their worth that me putting them here would make this post even longer than it is. Pick what looks good, but be wary that Executioners are only really good in a large unit, and Cold One Knights have lost some effectiveness. Even then, all the specials are viable.

Now for Rare, Hydras, Hydras, Hydras. No brainer. For Lords and Heroes, Dark Elves can put out an obscene amount of magic, so one High Sorceress with the Sacrificial Dagger and a secondary Sorceress, perhaps with Death could fill a good amount of points. Always take a Cauldron.

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post #3 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-09-10, 08:11 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you very much that will help me out with starting my dark elves.
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post #4 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-09-10, 09:16 AM
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As an addendum to the above post (which is mostly 100% good) I would mention that Executioners are terrible. Terrible and bad and almost never worth taking. Black Guard, on the other hand, are very good.

Rare-slot wise, Hydras got nerfed in the new edition. The addition of Thunderstomp, but the loss of multiple breath weapons and effective Terror means that I think their average power level has gone down. In a balanced army, I would take 2 Bolt Throwers and a Hydra, and in anything less than 2000pts I'd take the Bolt Throwers alone.

90% of people think they are above average.

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post #5 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-09-10, 09:32 AM
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As an addendum to the above post (which is mostly 100% good) I would mention that Executioners are terrible. Terrible and bad and almost never worth taking. Black Guard, on the other hand, are very good.
Perhaps. Maybe I just want those lovely models to work. They're still the best damage-dealers that Dark Elves have, when boosted by the cauldron however, but that slot is easily filled, and executioners are very fragile. Worth noting that a flanking unit has reasonable survivability because there's only a small amount of return attacks, and they can deal a lot of damage in return.

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Rare-slot wise, Hydras got nerfed in the new edition. The addition of Thunderstomp, but the loss of multiple breath weapons and effective Terror means that I think their average power level has gone down. In a balanced army, I would take 2 Bolt Throwers and a Hydra, and in anything less than 2000pts I'd take the Bolt Throwers alone.
They did get nerfed somewhat, but look at a couple other things. Beastmasters can't be hit in melee, always there until Hydra's last wound, and, while you can't use the breath weapon more than once, in my experience Hydra's never lasted long enough to blast a unit multiple times anyways! Without partials, you can take off a huge chunk of a large enemy unit, then effectively hold them in combat solo. Very much still worth it. Bolt Throwers do serve a purpose, but I think there's better ways to plug that hole.

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post #6 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-09-10, 09:48 AM
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My mate's Dark Elf army is enough to make anyone sit down and cry. Turn after turn he shoots a horde of arrows/crossbow bolts at you and fighting in the shade turns out to be cold comfort...
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post #7 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-09-10, 10:02 AM
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My mate's Dark Elf army is enough to make anyone sit down and cry. Turn after turn he shoots a horde of arrows/crossbow bolts at you and fighting in the shade turns out to be cold comfort...
Ah, the gunline/magic sort of list. Horribly gimped, but it might be great in the new edition. How many repeater crossbows can you get in one list? Enough to go from board-edge to board-edge, with enough abuse of magic to get up to 18 dice used per magic phase.

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post #8 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-09-10, 10:03 AM
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As an addendum to the above post (which is mostly 100% good) I would mention that Executioners are terrible. Terrible and bad and almost never worth taking. Black Guard, on the other hand, are very good.
This is certainly true for 7th ed, but I think in 8th that its far closer then it used to be. Black Guard used to be immense because they could take hag graef inside the unit, have the ring of hotek on the champ and have 2-3 attacks against the enemy before they could strike back (so stopping them attacking) and then they were stubborn and ItP in case things started going wrong. Exercutioners used to have very few attacks and strike last.. meaning they rarely got to attack much at all...

Now, in the new rules hag graef isnt as good since they hit almost everything first anyway and already reroll to hit, also the ASL of the exercutioners is less important so long a they have enough models to take the wounds they receive without touching the first 2 ranks. The second, and very big aid to exercutioners and reduction to black guard is that supporting models only get 1 attack max, regardless of their stats. This means that if you put 10 models of each in 2 ranks with a champ (ie, the front of a standard unit) the black guard have 16 S4 attacks while the exercutioners have 11 S6.

I recon that in 8th we'll see a lot more people taking exercutioners, and a lot of smaller black guard units being used: rather then being the best deathstar in the game that it was in 7th it is now relatively easy to deal with... howvere being a cheap stubborn unit with good damage output that strikes before almost everyone units of 10-15 would work great as flank screens or speed bumps: a unit of 15 black guard charging the flank of a huge 50 model hoard are going to win (flank, rank, charge, banner vs banner so the DE need to suffer 3 more kills then they make- not likely when they have lots of attacks and the enemy doesnt get supporting attacks/spears), and wont take much damage back unless characters are around to smack them... sure the enemy is steadfast but they likely need to face the BG to beat them (so need to pass two Ld tests) and in doing so they open themselves to the main DE line.
- mainly I think that its an exciting time to play DE; there are lots of new tactics you can try and old units that have been dismissed are now coming through to stand on their own.

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post #9 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-09-10, 10:11 AM
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This is certainly true for 7th ed, but I think in 8th that its far closer then it used to be. Black Guard used to be immense because they could take hag graef inside the unit, have the ring of hotek on the champ and have 2-3 attacks against the enemy before they could strike back (so stopping them attacking) and then they were stubborn and ItP in case things started going wrong. Exercutioners used to have very few attacks and strike last.. meaning they rarely got to attack much at all...

Now, in the new rules hag graef isnt as good since they hit almost everything first anyway and already reroll to hit, also the ASL of the exercutioners is less important so long a they have enough models to take the wounds they receive without touching the first 2 ranks. The second, and very big aid to exercutioners and reduction to black guard is that supporting models only get 1 attack max, regardless of their stats. This means that if you put 10 models of each in 2 ranks with a champ (ie, the front of a standard unit) the black guard have 16 S4 attacks while the exercutioners have 11 S6.

I recon that in 8th we'll see a lot more people taking exercutioners, and a lot of smaller black guard units being used: rather then being the best deathstar in the game that it was in 7th it is now relatively easy to deal with... howvere being a cheap stubborn unit with good damage output that strikes before almost everyone units of 10-15 would work great as flank screens or speed bumps: a unit of 15 black guard charging the flank of a huge 50 model hoard are going to win (flank, rank, charge, banner vs banner so the DE need to suffer 3 more kills then they make- not likely when they have lots of attacks and the enemy doesnt get supporting attacks/spears), and wont take much damage back unless characters are around to smack them... sure the enemy is steadfast but they likely need to face the BG to beat them (so need to pass two Ld tests) and in doing so they open themselves to the main DE line.
- mainly I think that its an exciting time to play DE; there are lots of new tactics you can try and old units that have been dismissed are now coming through to stand on their own.
Great synopsis, thanks Tim. Also, a couple more points: Executioners are *the* best recipients for Cauldron blessings, and if they're close enough, are stubborn. An secondly, on a somewhat unrelated tangent, Banner of Hag Graef for Cold One Knights! ASF allows for rerolls in subsequent rounds, which is where the CoK would start to suffer. With good strength, WS and armor-save, they could chop through some units pretty decently, and can work as a large unit. I've been testing out 10-man, and I've been pretty pleased so far.

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post #10 of 19 (permalink) Old 08-09-10, 11:12 AM
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Great posts here guys! As a fairly new DE player, good to see some balanced opinions on how they run.

Bio, The reason I love the DE is that you can do so many things with it. As mentioned above the units have a wide variety of abilities with great tactical uses. However for me the big draw card.... was after years of playing empire... (which I still do time to time) was not having to paint 10000000 figures to a good standard. The elf figures are very forgiving with black and chainmail. This too me was the biggest draw card of all! For the points with a couple of batallions you can with a character or two have a decent army. 24 spears, 40 corsairs, 32 RXB, 10 cold one knights. Although as mentioned above the corsairs are not the BEST of the BEST.... you have to consider they are average of an elite style army.... they still even with handbows stand a damn good chance of going toe to toe with other foes, especially with a character or a banner thrown in or being used as a flanker. Many people discount some of the DE choices, but they each can fufil a role on the field and do it well. Heck... for the points, RXB guys with shields are not too shabby in HTH combat... its all about when you reform.
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