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I am building a dark elf list for my next army after I've finished my current ones, and I think I've now found a good balance. I don't want any wizards in my army, I dislike going magic heavy or oriented, and at most I'd take a wizard for anti-magic purposes. My first army is dwarfs after all, and some habbits stick with you.
The master is intended to be dead cheap, starting with a 4+ armoursave that increases after he does a few wounds, so 3 and he'll be at 1+. My original intention was to make the army slightly themed towards a city garrison, with warriors, bolt throwers and the city nobles ( cold one knights ). The master is just commander of this force, nothing too fancy. I absolutely love reaper bolt throwers because of the volume of good strenght shots at high BS.
And to fill up the force I took a strong unit of shades. BS 5 repeater crossbows are awesome, they are swift, scouts, skirmish, have high WS and with the great weapons make a terrific unit to support charge into a combat.The ring of hotek is my magic defence for this points level. The banner of murder is fun, grants the master a -4 modifier in combat ( epic knight killer ) and makes the unit rather good in combat, reducing 4+ saves to 5+ makes quite a difference, and less armoured knights find their 2+ saves reduced to 3+ ( which can make the difference for saving throws ).
Sea dragon cloak
Ring of Hotek
20 Dark elf warriors ( master goes here )
Banner of murder ( armourpiercing )
10 Dark elf repeater crossbowmen
5 cold one knights
Reaper bolt thrower
Reaper bolt thrower
Is full command and a SCR banner going to be that useful on the CoKs? In all honesty paying for it isn't going to make them break a big block in the front, and they are able to take out small units and flank big blocks without the upgrades. I can see the banner being useful, but the music and the dreadknight are IMHO too costly for what they do.
Ring of hotek actually isn't that effective at this points level. Most people aren't going to be throwing 3 per spell at this level, usually it it 1-2 dice, for a simple non game changing effect, or bound spells. The ring only has a 1/6 chance of nailing a spell if 2 dice are rolled, and zero if 1 is rolled. A seal of ghrond is usually more effective at this level of play, or possibly just go with no magic defense at all. (its not like very many armies can really bring much magic and still have an army at this size)
Spear warriors aren't really going to kill that much, even with AP. Their good WS (for core) and hatred sounds good, until you go to wound at S3. Really not going to get there IMHO. They are meant for SCR, let an attached character kill things, they are just bodies. If you go with a magic banner, the war banner is good. Also, if you want to get the most out of them, extra bodies are always useful (25 + war banner is a solid unit)
I think it might be best if you split the shades up. You can only get so many shades in combat, extra bodies are wasted. Also it allows you to have the ability to target more units in a turn. Shades have really good BS, so often just 5 will kill most or all of the support units they should be firing at.
I was pondering about splitting them up, apparently I had some reason to use 10 together but have no idea why, 2 units of 5 can do the same, it's not like I'm depriving a unit of shades of rank bonus or anything.
Silly me, hadn't noticed the seal of Ghrond.
I am thinking about switching the banners on the units. Warbanner on the warriors ( with master in it ) for extra SCR, and armour piercing on the cold ones so they will always have a -2 armoursave modifier, -4 on the charge. That's nasty stuff, even against ironbreakers and chaos warriors. All of the shooting ( 2 reaper bolt throwers , 10 repeater crossbowmen and 10 repeater crossbow shades, a possible 52 shots a turn, most of which hit on 3's ( reapers and shades ) and all of which are armourpiercing ) is supposed to be directed onto the most immediate threat to weaken enemy units severely before they get into combat with the elves. Ws4 with a reroll isn't bad at all, you just need some 4's to wound usually. With the armour piercing banner however it does make quite a difference in combat. Hand weapon-shield - light armour only gives 5+ instead of 4+ then.
Thank you for your comment.