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My friend has talked me into starting Warhammer Fantasy Battle. I'm a big time RPG/cRPG fan, so learning the rules and understanding things was not that hard. My first choice, made by intuition only, was Dark Elves. However, after a few battles with him (Orcs and Goblins, usually 750-1250 point battles), I got sick with my T3, his fanatics and my inexperience. I have switched to dwarfs for their war machines, T4 and shooting. Long story short, it was boring for me, it was boring for him, even though he won only once since then.
Then a breakthrough came and I decided to return to what I liked from the beginning. Dark elves. Much better looking, taller, without beards. After that, I finally won a battle with my friend and in the heat of the moment, I bought the DE batallion, 5 black guard command, 5 black guard and a hero.
Right now, I have a few questions to the experienced people who play Dark Elves.
1. I have read threads about army composition, but always preferred to start on my own from scratch when thinking what to field for a battle. Now that I experienced a victory, here's what I had at the table at that point (from the top of my head), 1000pts, 7ed:
- 19 warriors, full command
- 10 black guard, full command, hag graef plus the lovely S5 (or S6 was it) sword on my champion
- 2 bolt throwers
- 10 crossbowmen, naked
- 5 cold ones, naked
- master, leading the 19 warriors
I was afraid to field the master in such a small unit as 10 black guard. Anyway. The warriors were a very good SCR unit with the master giving them extra killing power, the black guards went through his orcs like they were made of butter and the bolt throwers and crossbowmen both had their share of support fire and kills.
Does anything immediately strike you as stupid in this army composition? If you were to make only 1 or 2 changes, what would that be? Should this be different for 8ed now (like increase warriors to 30 or 40 and ditch one ballista)?
2. I have never fielded a hydra yet. Is it really as good as I keep reading about? I am sure his doom diver and spear chukkas would be pointed its way all the time.
3. I have mixed feelings about Corsairs. I fielded them before, but they were always a disappointment (7ed). Does 8ed change them much in your opinion? Will they ever form a valid infantry block or are they only good for protecting important stuff from shooting?
4. The new handbook states that crossbows are S4. Does that mean that our crossbowmen fire at S4 now or are repeated crossbows another story? Did not find an entry for them there.
5. How the hell do you deal with fanatics? Because of them, I'm afraid of maneuvering my CoK unit or charging with a block of infantry. Thinking of fielding 5 dark riders and moving them forward in a suicide attempt to force his fanatics to come out in the middle of his deployment zone.
6. So far, we played only once with magic. We usually discuss things so either none of us has it or we both do. Is it viable in 8ed at 1000-1250pts?
Sorry for the length of this post
Last edited by br13; July 20th, 2010 at 16:16.
1. The army composition sounds kinda like mine when I first started, you've got the essentials; Black Guard with Hag Graef Banner, 2 Bolt Throwers and a nice strong group of spearmen, perhaps you might wanna start thinking about putting a Hydra in there. Also what is the Master armed with?
2. Yes Hydra's are an excellent fall back option when I came up against Orcs & Goblins I managed to fry 9 Black orcs with the flaming attacks then proceeded to dominate the rest of the unit with the 7 strength 5 attacks as well as the Beastmasters. I normally run 1 Hydra and 2 Bolt Throwers in a 2000 point game and it's pretty useful!
3. Alot of people are saying that the Corsairs are excellent within the 8th ed. but for me it doesn't cut it, I normally tend to stick around Warriors more than anything and maybe stick a Mage in there for Magic Defence, because with the new rules on magic being more randomized and initiative strikes firsts instead of being charged then Elves normally dominate.
4. Nah I think our Crossbows are still strength 3 because ours is the Repeater Crossbows not the normal ones.
5. Having Dark Riders are a must because they are sooooo annoying, group of 5 are perfect for War machine hunting, but with the fanatics i'm not sure on how to deal with them because their the ones who dominate me lol.
6. Dark Elf magic is quite good because for example; You could perhaps cast one spell off using 3 dice, then use the Power of Darkness to replenish those dice you've used. But with the new 8th ed. I tend to not go for magic heavy lists no more because it's ALOT more random than in the 7th ed.
1. It's a pretty solid list, you seem to have grasped the concept of DE. However I must say that the Hag graef banner is pretty useless now. I6 is almost ALWAYS going first man, no need for ASF when you already have hatred, hehe.
2. Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes, they are definitely worth it. All the spear chukkas and artillery pointed at it? GOOD. if it's getting shot at, that means something else isn't, and that something else will arrive full strength ready to shred. If it isn't, it's just vice-versa. Don't forget it's T5, 4+ and regen with 5 wounds. It's not goin down easy.
3. meh, not a fan. You could run em with handbows I guess?
4. Crossbows were always S4, but no, we have repeater crossbows, which are way more awesome in my opinion.
5. DR are great but I guess if you're list tailoring, then harpies would work pretty well. Cheap, and I wouldn't be too afraid to just plop them down on the fanatic and suicide em.
6. DE magic is very, very good, and it's absurd in low point games. If you take a lvl 2 with a tome you have 3 spells that you should almost always have enough dice to cast. Magic in this game is scaled to the 2000-3000 point level game. Anything more, it sucks, anything less, it's absurdly good. On the higher spectrum, you can't bring enough spells and dice to make a real impact, on the lower spectrum, there are way too many dice in play for so few models on the board.
My best advice to you would be to embrace the dark elf within, hehe. In 8th ed. things die, lots of things die, and so the key here is being the callous DE general you should be. Don't be afraid to sacrifice half your army in order to rout the enemy. Something will die each and every game and you have to adapt to that, evaluate and finish the battle with what's left. I personally try and make all my units roughly the same points range and the same damage capabilities. The goal is to have all my power spread throughout the whole army, making all losses acceptable and all units useful. Also a fun little trick. Decide what unit you need the least that game. Now hype it up to your opponent and explain to them how it's gonna chew them up. Tell them all the ways it can hurt them. Even if they tell you your full of it, you're planting doubts about that unit in their head. Hopefully they'll blast it to all hell (that's fine, the traitorous champion was out to get you anyway) and now they've wasted shooting on something you didn't need that much.
Last edited by insomniac666; July 22nd, 2010 at 07:57.
Did not give him any special items. I just needed a general, so equipped him with a great weapon for extra kick + some misc. choices from his list. I somehow get the feeling our heroes are not a great fighting force. Lords seem quite weak too. For my next 1000pt game, first one in 8ed, I think I'll try a lvl2 sorc in a large block of warriors plus another lvl1 sorc somewhere.Also what is the Master armed with?I wonder if giving Dark Riders a sorc hero is a wise move. They are easily killed, however she would also have superior mobility to cast her spells right in the middle of the enemy ranks. 1000pt games don't exactly have room for this, but for war machine hunting I was thinking of an Assassin hidden in a unit of shades. Question about it below.Having Dark Riders are a must because they are sooooo annoying, group of 5 are perfect for War machine huntingYeah, the games I played were still 7ed before the rulebook arrived. It's definitely pretty useless as I will almost always strike first anyway and hatred already makes me reroll to hit dice. I would only consider it against High Elves and even then it wouldn't be an obvious choice for me.However I must say that the Hag graef banner is pretty useless now.In the first few games, I had a real problem with that But I guess this fear of losing troops comes from all the RPGs I played. Have to learn to let things go and die as long as it brings me closer to my objective.In 8th ed. things die, lots of things die
Thanks guys for all the tips and a view on DE magic. I will definitely try a Hydra in the next game I play. Will still be a 1000pt one, but I'll just go for fast troops, offensive magic and some hit power instead of the shooty army I usually ended up with before.
One question that still bugs me. I read a lot that an assassin with rending stars and manbane is a real artillery killer. But to shoot the crew, I still have to wound the T of the artillery unit itself. With the mentioned setup, I will have S7 max which might make me wound on 4's only. With 3 shots, chances are high I would not kill more than 1 crew per round. Also heard that S7 is not an automatic chariot killer this edition. Worth it?
Last edited by br13; July 22nd, 2010 at 09:48.
1. Our generals may seem weak on paper but, boy are they hard! I equip mine with a 1+ saving throw, he strikes at strength 6 every turn and also give him the Peandant of Khaeleth for the reversible ward save.
2. Personally I wouldn't give them the sorceress because I think they lose their Vanguard bonus which means they can boost forward an extra 12" when you've deployed.
3. Yeah the Hag Graef Banner really is useless now with the Black Guard being I.6 anyways, I give mine a Master with BSB with the Hydra Banner and the Black Guard has the Banner of Murder which pretty much equals at 22 strength 4 attacks, hitting on 3's re-rolling and wounding on 4's and it's -2 to your saving throw.
For your last question, personally I don't really use assassins because the Bolt Throwers have a range of 48" so your hitting stuff most of the time across the board, but if I do take an assassin I will take Shadowblade and deploy him in any artillery he has on the board
DE characters are good mostly for their relative difficulty in killing them. A 1-2+ save, a pendant of khalaeth save, and you are looking at a very survivable guy. Killing power? Not really, able to get a couple of easy kills or wound an opposing character is the most you should expect out of them.
As for the assassin issue, keep in mind that against non elf war machines, they need to have at least 2 crew to use it. An assassin hits on 2+, wounds on 4s, and I don't think many war machines will have saves. So 1-2 dead crew means its out of commission. Add that to the fact he should be in a unit of shades who have a good chance of putting at least one wound on crew as well. (the nice addition of everything wounded on 6s). If it fails to kill, and it survives the return fire, you can easily be in range to CC it.
Personally I use assassins in small shades units, to make good use of the good fire power that unit gets for cheap, and to scout a deadly and reliable "gun" right up on the enemy.
On the issue of adding a character to a dark rider unit: Try using the new look sir! rules. Its an interesting read and gives you more options to put your characters safely.
1. switch hag greaf with banner of murder, you already strike first (I6 most likely) and the rerolls u already get from warrior elite and hatred, and also, i think you should squeeze a lvl2 in there for added magic bonus
2. i love it. its probably one of the most useful models in my army
3. i dont think so, they can have handbows but why? you already have crossbowmen and 2 bolt throwers, in such low point games thats all the DEs need, and to be honest i see them as expensive warriors
4. nope we still get the cool crossbows
5. if not a suicide unit just pick thm off with ur bolt throwers or crossbows, i hate them with a passion, but if you take a lvl2 with lore of death she'll blow them up easily (LoD tends to be aimed at character sniping).
6. magic is awesome in low point games and we can have 3 spells for 160 points (sorc. lvl2 tome).
hope this helps.
There are three kinds of people in this world, those who can count and those who cannot.
Well, that's settled then. Right now I still have:
- 10 black guard with command
- cold one dreadlord
Will buy one or two more boxes of warriors to be able to field 10 crossbowmen (2 x 10 in bigger games) and at least 1 unit of 25-30 warriors. Then the bolt throwers, a hydra and one or two sorceresses. I guess August will be another month of Warhammer heavy on my pocket. Will also try battling my friend with some of the following combinations:
- 2 sorceresses, shooter heavy, 2 bolt throwers + any big infantry block I may fit into this;
- 2 sorceresses, no shooter (or 10 crossbowmen), hydra, black guard and warriors;
- mixed army - sorceress, master, some crossbowmen, hydra + 1 bolt thrower, etc. Will have to be 1250pt I guess.
Will have to see how it goes, what works good for my style. Thanks a lot for all the tips.