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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
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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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.

Bit of a long read, but I hope it's some help.
 

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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.
 

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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.

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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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. :laugh:
 

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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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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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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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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Well thank you every one for their input this should make it very easy for me to deside on what put in my new army.

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Now that I have an idea of what units to use what kind of lord build should I put out there. I would love a nice beefy combat machine maybe on cold one or something like that. Any ideas would be much apreciated. Thanks.
 

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In 8th the first lord should almost always be a Lv4 mage of some sort, so for DE a supreme sorceress is your go to girl. Thats an instant +2 to dispel over a lv2 plus extra spells and +2 to cast... very very very useful. But at that point I duck out of the discussion... while I might know a bit about their units I know almost nothing about builds of DE lords other then that the damn pendant of khaleth on a supreme sorceress always bugs the hell outta me :p
 

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For extra spellage potential, give the Supreme Sorceress the Sacrificial Dagger. This combo was good in 7th, but now in 8th it basically is the first step to breaking the magic phase. Combine it with a level 2 and Tome of Furion and you should be pumping out so many spells it's not even funny. :)
 

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Jackal has it spot-on. A Supreme-Sorceress, casting Power of Darkness then unleashes a hail of missles and offensive magic is nasty. Pendant of Kaelith is perfect for a solid defensive, and I would probably invest in the Bound item containing Power of Darkness too, putting her on a Dark Pegasus.

Heavy Cavalry seems... outdatted now, but Cold One`s with a Dreadlord and Banner of Hag Graef still hits bloody hard. Hell, I`m always tempted to go for Potion of Strength and Bane of Caledor to take down Steggies and Dragons, especially the former.
 

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Jackal has it spot-on. A Supreme-Sorceress, casting Power of Darkness then unleashes a hail of missles and offensive magic is nasty. Pendant of Kaelith is perfect for a solid defensive, and I would probably invest in the Bound item containing Power of Darkness too, putting her on a Dark Pegasus.
No, bound items require dice now which means you're basically paying 55 points for a half chance to get power of darkness off, and sucking away your pool. Very much not worth it.
 

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Dark Elves got both hurt (harpies, witch elves, death hags, and execs) and helped by 8th edition (RXB warriors, spearmen and RHB corsairs with frenzy are all much better units now and the new rules allows for more of the undercosted rare choices) but remain a tier 1 army that is very competitive. Hatred no longer forces dark elf units to pursue or overrun and the new reforms are incredibly valuable. I've won a total of 6 full games withn no losses playing DE in 8th edition with no losses against good armies (Daemons, two warriors of choas, one vampire counts) and very good players (people that play in competitive tourneys) but lost one 5000 point (2500 points per player) team game (paired with Warriors of chaos against Vamprie Counts, which have a very competitive build, and Daemons of Chaos). I've also done a lot of testing in numerous simulated partial games with a variety of the more popular armies and believe a DE army always has a good chance of winning in the 2250 to 2500 points limit range due to its balance of units and multiple good core choices that some other armies lack.

The Druchii Internet site has some excellent 8th edition DE army summaries. The ability to rank up and supporting attack in ranks with steadfast makes DE warriors with spears slightly better. The ability to shoot in two ranks was a substantial boost to RXB (repeater crossbow) warriors, as now they can be run in two ranks of 10+ per rank and swift reform into more ranks (to be steadfast) with the musician if needed and do a lot of damage from shooting but still fight effectively with hatred and a parry save with a shield (always take the shield).

Dark Riders get a vanguard move and can still march and shoot and feign flight.

RHB (Repeater handbow) corsairs are also far more effective when run with a magic banner (the Sea Serpent banner gives them frenzy). They can avoid being baited and forced to charge with a LD test (which is almost guaranteed to pass if within range of the BSB and a general). The have good armour to shooting and magic, have no move and shoot penalty but short range, and can stand and shoot when charged from short range.

Dark Lore is one of the better lores to work with 8th edition magic (reasonably low casting casts for the effects of the spells and special spell to boost power dice count). But I, also, recently ran Lore of Metal on my Level 4 to boost those units with a spell that gives RXB warriors and RHB corsairs +1 to hit if both shooting and combat and AP and magic attacks. I march the corsairs into 8' range or right in the face of a horde unit (usually hordes have lower T of 3 or 4 and AS of 5+, 6+ or none) shoot em up and then stand and shoot if they charge (hitting with +1 both times and AP). I also used a lvl 2 to cast a & cost spell to put enemy units at WS 1 if they are a threat in combat or to do some serious damage. I can also use the Lore of Metal spell to increase the AS by adding 5+ scaly skin. Finally, I can use the Lore of Metal big spell to auto-kill with no saves any one wound models in a unit on a 5+.

I also can use the 5+ ward save of a cauldron of blood to make those units more resilient, killing blow if facing something with high armour and toughness, or +1 attack when facing a weaker horde unit.

Hydras did not get nerfed very much. In fact, the ability to do 2D6 breath weapon attacks in combat and thunderstomp against infantry makes hydras quite devastating when supporting ranked infantry or heavy cav on the charge. I ran 2 hydras and two repeater bolt throwers (2500 points battles) and hydra one took out half a unit of 10 horrors of Tzeentch and then held off and bested a unit of 12 fleshhounds while hydra 2 took out 4 fiends of slaanesh with shooting from an RBT having added some wounds and then came back to help funish off a bloodletter horde unit (initially 33 plus a champ and herald of Khorne) that had been substantially reduce by more than half by RXB and RBT shooting before it charged a RXB warrior unit with a dreadlord (armour save of 1+, re-rollable AS talisman, stubborn enchanted item).

At 2250, one can run either 2 hydras and 2 RBTs or 1 hydra and 3 RBTs depending on the opponents one is likely to see. At 2500, one can run the 1 hydra with 4 RBTs if needed.

At 2500, I can comforatbly run a decent Lvl 4 sorceress and a dreadlord general with excellent armour and stats.

The remainder of the hero slots are typically one Lvl 2 sorceress and one death hag with a cauldron of blood. The cauldron of blood gives a ward save and magic resistence to its unit and blesses other units, so it is now worth a lot more than in the past.

The power of darkness base spell is a huge advantage in the winds of magic/magic phase. I either cast it first with two dice (97% chance of success and force opponent to use up dispel dice or let it go and risk adding dice to immeidiately cast a bigger spell) or or save one die to cast it last (two-thirds probability) and, if it goes off, cast another spell. With a pendant of kal. and focus familiar on the lvl 4, I can run her outside of units (sometimes close enough for Look Out Sir! on 4+) to avoid miscast damage and avoid any wounds 5 out of 6 times from miscasts (except for the worst outcome) and extend her casting range by 6" (with 360 LOS) and cast while hidden (behind building or unit) using the focus familiar.

While the value of the Always strikes first banner is a bit less valuable for a black guard unit than before, it is still worthwhile with Black Guard, especially against premium warriors of chaos and high elf units and against many fighting heroes and lords. Also, with a dreadlord in the black guard unit, the ASF banner gives the lord re-rolls to hit after the first round of combat in most instances. Black guard are still stubborn and ITP and have great synergy with a Cauldron of Blood and the Lore of Metal on a sorceress. Black guard can cut through a horde unit with the cauldron as a boost and tar pit a tough unit long enough for a hydra or other supporting unit to get in on the flank (hydras don't disrupt ranks but they do get a flank bonus for CR and face limited attacks from the flank).
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Well thank you for everyones advice I have a lot to think about and when I have my army ready Ill post it in the army list area.
 
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