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I play 1000 pt games with a friend who uses Dark Elves and have had a tough time beating him. He usually runs a sorceress in a unit of crossbows, with another unit of xbows, 5 dark riders with repeaters, and a war hydra. then he will use either a unit of black guard or bolt throwers.
My plan to tackle this using the models i have is to build a cavalry and artillery army. The problem is that with his high initiatives he always attacks first, and his shooting, though weak, always kills a couple expensive knights through sheer numbers. Let me know what you think of the army.
Captain on barded warhorse: FP armour, Sword of Strife, shield --- 114
Battle Wizard: Lvl. 2 (joins swordsmen) --- 100
23 Swordsmen: Standard, Duellist --- 158
8 Knights: Standard, Preceptor --- 216
6 Inner Circle Knights: Standard, Preceptor --- 188
2 x Helblasters --- 220
The two units of knights could choose their targets, likely the dark riders and xbowmen. The helblasters would try to take down the hydra as nothing else i have is strong enough. The swordsmen are there to present a more expendable target for the shooting and magic...I hope it's a good call but if i were to replace them with another mounted or shooting unit i'd feel i had too few models on the field.
Any C & C is welcome.
Honey badger don't care.
I strongly recommend painting a white flag on all of your unit banners and surrendering as whomever this DE player is has mad skills, I'm stoked to try taking on this build though
Anyways, I find that taking Hero level Wizards isn't really worth it. Randomly determining 1 or 2 spells isn't reliable enough to plan a strategy around. I would go for a Lv 3 with Crimson Amulet, as DE have two really nasty spells that could kill this guy straight up (Purple Sun and Pit of Shades). He comes in at 195 points. Try Lore of Fire, as flaming attacks negate Regen, take that Hydra! In larger games try Life or Light.
You probably won't need a BSB because your army will be moving fast and be spread out. You could try a mounted Warrior Priest, for a Shield, Heavy Armour, and Barded Warhorse he comes in at 110 points. He won't be doing much in combat, but his purpose is to give one of your Knight's units hatred, generate an extra dispel dice, and buff his unit with prayers.
Make your Swordsmen unit 20 to 25 strong with only a musician (if you want you can use a standard bearer, but it probably won't come into use much.) Keep you Wizard here and keep them out of combat! Don't bother with a Champ, if you do get into a fight you want them to challenge you so your wizard can decline and he can hide at the back of the unit.
Keep your Knight's units around 8, and only give them a musician. If you give them a banner, give them the Banner of Swiftness or the Standard of Discipline. Drop the IC on the 2nd unit of Knights, as DE are only T3 and they won't really need the extra strength. If you feel they are getting shot up to much, give them Lances and Shields. In larger games, you'd want them to have Great Weapons. Put these units on both your flanks, and get them into combat as soon as possible.
Last you can probably drop one of the HVGs for a Mortar. Its 35 points cheaper, and the template weapon is stupid destructive against low T armies. After you hit the Hydra with a Fire spell, you can follow up with the HVG if it's still alive because after a unit with Regen is hit by a Flaming Attack it loses Regen for the rest of the turn.
If you have any points left, give your Swordsmen a detachment of Crossbowmen. They are S4 and have a 30" range. You will be able to outrange and out gun his Dark Riders and Crossbowmen. Since your Swordsmen aren't trying to fight, they can just sit back and if you do get charged, you will get a Stand and Shoot before the battle begins.
Hope this helps!
All very good advice, especially from you Ben. As to the battle resolution of this game, he didn't bring out the hydra and ran corsairs intsead. Turn one, one helblaster destroyed his dark riders. Turn two, the other one took out 16 black guard and turn three did the same to his corsairs. He blames poor deployment, but personally I blame poor choice of opponents. Needless to say, big guns won the game, although I might consider turning one in for a cannon because at one point nothing was within range. Swordsmen fled at one point and rallied, never actually fighting. Reiksguard's armour held up to everything and more, but the general eventually succumbed to a bolt thrower. Wizard miscast, became level 0. Pretty much all about the big guns lol.
Honey badger don't care.