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Before I begin, I may as well state that this tactica is centred on tactical use. Most people know the stuff I’m saying in chapter one, but some points might seem useful. The real “meat” of Tactica Asuryan is the “Tactical Devices” section, but the other chapters are just as important, for beginners and experienced players alike.
Chapter 1 (Intro) – High Elf Units (just basics, I will get on to tactical usage in other chapters)
Section 1.1 – Archers
Our archers are indeed the greatest. For a magnificent bargain of 12 points we get BS 4 and strength 3 bows. Oh Yeah, it’s a real bargain. 12 points for leadership 8, initiative 5, weapon skill 4, and the ability to take light armor so that we can bludgeon our opponents to death with our bows in cc.
Well, on a more serious note, there are a few ways to use high elf archers. First of all, it is important to understand that our archers are not there to obliterate units. When coupled with 2 RBTs and curse of arrow attraction they can help cause panic tests and reduce ranks. Archers should first target fast cavalry, and other light armored troops before shooting into rank file. Against armies like dwarfs and empire (and hell-cannon), archers should ALWAYS shoot at war-machines until the crew is obliterated. Archers can also provide half decent protection for mages and RBT. In terms of deployment, they are better deployed in a single rank on a flank. This is better then on a hill because they can, if required become a flanking unit to your infantry block. They don’t have to be on a flank either; they are a decent substitute for a skirmisher screen that intends to flee.
In a 2000-point game, no more than 1 unit of 10 archers should be taken, and even then, they are strictly unnecessary.
Section 1.2 – Spear-Elves
Spear-elves are my favorite unit in the high elf army. There is simply so many things you can do with them. In a mixed list, two units of 20 are usually taken with full command. Without these pincushions, it would be impossible to formulate a proper defensive high elf army.
Like all other elves, they have high weapon skill, leadership, etc. However, never EVER rely on them to take a charge. All it takes is one bad leadership roll and your whole plan is down the drain. Sure, if they do soak the charge then they look brilliant, but it’s a risk I’d rather not take.
Spear-elves can take on a number of roles. They can be deployed front and center to take charges and set up flanks, or they can be deployed on a flank to act as a hard flank guard. I will discuss both in more detail later.
Section 1.3 – Lothern Sea-Guard
Sigh. The sea-guard was a brilliant idea. Elves armed with bows and spears; the perfect fluff. However, GW did not execute the idea properly, simply because of a few flaws. First of all, the range on the bows is only 24inches. Say, a unit of 12, is firing at a unit 24 inches away, they will get at max, 2 volleys before they are charged. Its not only because bows are ineffective, it’s because the sea-guard have to deploy in one rank in order to have their whole unit shoot. 12 models wide is a lot of space, and the table is only so wide. When they do reform and accept the charge, they are just spearmen, most likely they will break when charged. Also, when they do reform, the huge change in formation will result in big wholes in your line, and therefore your flanks will be unguarded. If they could shoot in two ranks they would be good. If they could have a free reform when charged they would be good… but I guess not.
Don’t bother with taking them into battle, they may work against some armies every once in a while, but they’re a definite no-no when going to a tourney.
Section 1.4 – Silver-helms
Silver Helms are our only above average core unit. They have good armor and charge range. However, they are often not used effectively. In a mixed list they should be taken in small units of maybe 5 or 6. In an all cavalry they can be taken in all sorts of ways. Many prefer units of frontage 5 (units of 5 and 10). However, Rob Lane’s Silver Helm arrangement of 12/8/8 is ingenious, as he uses lone characters as support units rather then smaller units of Silver helms. Both ways work I suppose, and it comes down to whether you want MSU, or big blocks of cavalry, or a mix of big and small units.
Needless to say, silver helms should always be taken in full armor. Support units of 5 or 6 should not have banners.
When deployed, they standard way of deploying silver helms is putting one on each flank with a chariot, protecting the spear elves in the center -> everything symmetrical. There are other ways to deploy them, but I would like to save something for my tactical section.
I have never been a fan of having units of silver helms on their own. I believe it is essential that a character be with them to add some punch to the unit. Often, weapon skill 4 is not that great and a character has to be there to add some punch to the attack.
Section 1.5 – Reavers
Reavers are our only fast cavalry unit. Reavers can serve a number of roles. They are excellent bait, mostly because of their fast cavalry rule. However, they serve as decent flanking units and war-machine hunters as well. Reavers have the option to take bows, however they are overpriced. Bows are just ineffective, and buying bows on a unit of reavers just changes a nice cheap expendable unit into a target that yields a good bit of victory points when killed. Reavers are excellent march-blockers as well.
Bait, Mages, War-machines are the three tasks that have to be filled. Reavers are best at the Bait part, but can do the other stuff as well.
Section 1.6 – Dragon Princes
‘Dragon Princes are rightly feared through out the war-hammer world.’ Ever heard that line? That’s first class BS. Dragon Princes have their roles, but not as Chosen Knight shock troop roles. There has been many a discussion about whether dragon princes are worth taking over silver helms. I refuse to give a straight answer, but I must say that there are places where dragon princes are definitely worth the three points more then silver helms. Their biggest advantages are the 18-inch charge range and the ability to take magic banners. DP are great flanking units because of their large charge range, and they also give the High Elves an added touch of maneuverability. However, they are not meant to charge head on into enemy units, because for all their fancy names and shiny armor, they are still only strength 5 on the charge, T3 and just a 2+ Armor save.
About taking a magic banner, the best choices for the Dragon princes are the standard of balance, the banner of sorcery and banner of ellyrion. The standard of balance should be there if you the enemy has a stubborn or frenzied unit that you want to break through. Banner of Sorcery should be take if you need an extra PD. Banner of Sorcery should NOT be taken on an elite infantry unit as they have unreliable and generally easy to kill. The banner of ellyrion is great for positioning great charges through trees.
Dragon Princes are recognized and should therefore not be taken in large numbers (unless you want them to be shot). Units of 5 or 6 are the best for this unit even in an all cavalry army.
Section 1.7 – Swordmasters
Well, with the release of the wood elves, the sword-masters are no longer the only WS 6 rank and file unit in war-hammer. However, they do have their own use. They are elite infantry, and although I’d love to take them in big blocks of 20 or 24, they are the best as a support unit. Units of 12 or 15 are the best, protecting and then flanking a nearby spearmen block. The concept is that the spears provide the static combat resolution, and the sword-masters negate ranks and provide kills.
All our elite infantry is weak when charged. Just like a spear elf we they have T3 and 5+ AS. Sword-masters MUST MUST MUST charge!!! And although they are not the best support unit out there, they should be used in this role.
Blessed Tome is excellent for the blade-lord, gives a +1 leadership to probably both spearmen units.
Section 1.8 – Shadow Warriors
Shadow Warriors have a number of tactical uses, as they are our skirmishers. In the Bait, War-Machine, Mage hunting set, they are the best at war machine hunting, as they can deploy close to a potential threat and charge them on turn 2. However, they make good mage hunters as well, as they can suicide charge units, kill the mage, and run from combat. Also, if your opponent pursues, it will disrupt his battle line even more.
In a standard 2k game, the general best unit size is 5 or 6. Anything larger will just be extra models and will be hard to hide. A unit of, say, 9, will draw attention to themselves, as the enemy will recognize it as a threat rather then a disruption unit.
Do not take a shadow walker; it is a completely useless upgrade. Shadow Warriors are great for a number of tactical ploys, but I will describe them later on.
Section 1.9 – Chariots
Chariots are great units. I believe they are the best special choice for the high elves. Their great effectiveness is because of the number of roles they can serve. They are the best infantry support units we have. A chariot and a spear elf unit is a great combination. Chariots are also the best cavalry support units we have. The lack of being able to march makes them a little bit more difficult to use, but there are ways to bypass all obstacles.
Chariots work the best in pairs, and with an 18-inch charge range, it makes them a great flanking unit. More on chariot tactics later.
Section 1.10 – Phoenix Guard
Once again, a decent concept by GW, but executed horribly. It really has to do with the formulation of how they come up with the point costs of each unit. Really, there are three reasons why they are not used. First of all, the fear special rule is only useful if you have large numbers, and with the high point cost, it is just ineffective. The second reason is that they are frail, just T3 and 5+ AS. Finally, they are a rare choice. RBT and eagles win the rare spots hands down.
Section 1.11 – Repeater Bolt Throwers
RBT are just amazing in my opinion. They are just so effective and accurate. They can also be used in different roles with their multi shot and volley rules. They cannot misfire, and the have BS 4, which means hitting on 3s @ close range.
Once again, RBT should not be used to shoot into rank and file. 2 RBT can potential cripple one support unit per turn. They are excellent against fast cavalry and expensive troops with low toughness or armor save. Against some armies, it’s an excellent choice to split up the RBT and attempt to cause as many panic checks as possible (skaven, empire, etc).
When using RBT, it is very important to protect them properly as they can’t stand up to any kind of charge and yield huge amounts of victory points. Sometimes it is better to position them on a hill, and sometimes it is better to position them in between units (this will limit Line of sight).
Section 1.12 – White Lions
The white lions are the third elite infantry unit for the high elves, and unfortunately they take up a rare slot as well. Even when RBT and eagles take your rare slots, white lions can still be fielded when a character has the lion guard honour.
The white lions are our only unit that has base strength four. Additionally, they have a couple of special rules that almost make them useful. The woodsmen rule is decent, and there is a special way on making full use of this rule (in the tactics section).
Unfortunately, they are still vulnerable to missile fire and only have a 6+ save in combat. If not stubborn, they are meant to break on the charge, because T3 and 6+ save in combat + always strike last is not good.
Section 1.13 – Eagles
These birds are God’s gift to the High Elves - simply amazing. They can do any of the three tasks – War machine hunting, baiting and mage hunting. They are particularly great at mage hunting though, as they can suicide into a unit of infantry with a mage, kill him off and then most likely escape with 3D6 flee movement. Most likely, the enemy might not pursue either, as it will mess up a battle line.
They can do a load of other things. However, It should be stated here that in an all cavalry army 4 eagles are the best choice, and in a mixed, 2 is the bare minimum (and 2 RBT).
Chapter 2 – Combat Characters
Characters in a High Elf army are not like those of dwarves, lizardmen or Chaos. Our combat lords are not meant to kill whole units on their own, but are meant to support the unit they are with in combat. This is usually done by the magic items they take.
Section 2.1 - Princes
Princes are our combat beasts….errrr…beasts? No. If you use a Prince like I plan to use my Wood Elf Highborn Teleporting Lord of Doom, your prince will hardly make an impact. However, with the great magic items he can take, Princes can be very useful. Even more importantly is their ability to bring a fluffy dragon or griffon into combat. Unless your Prince has a specific role to fulfill leave him at home and take a commander instead. Princes can be on foot, mounted on a steed, or on a monster.
Princes should only foot if they have a specific reason and job to do, such as making a unit stubborn by taking lion guard. When Princes are on foot, your first priority should be protection, as your Prince will most likely be charged and therefore not attack first. Vambraces of Defense or Armour of Protection should be taken for the ward save. It depends on the role you want him to serve and if you have enough item point allowance. For a stubborn prince, you will be looking at lion guard, vambraces of defense and full armor. However, although I do not recommend it, you can attempt to take a killer lord, with Armor of the Gods, blade of leaping gold. However, I don’t suggest it, as a 3+ armor save is not the greatest. Another known configuration is a Prince with shadow armor and the bow of the seafarer, to be your sniper lord. It has advantages, but, like the AotG + BoLG configuration, I would only take it if I knew what army I will be up against.
Princes on Steed are rarely seen, mostly because commanders often do the job better. Sure, a Prince can load up on items that help the unit like loremaster’s cloak or sacred incense. However, when it comes down to simple hitting power, the lord choice, extra wound and extra attack is just not worth it. This is because of the need for Princes and Commanders to be equipped with lances for the strength bonus. A Prince on a steed makes an excellent scroll caddie by taking loremaster, 2 scrolls, dragon scale shield for a 1+ AS and 6+ Ward. Also, a prince on steed is the best option if you want to take the Radiant Gem of Hoeth to add some punch to both offensive and defensive magic (one of rings is probably a better choice if you just want a boost in offensive magic).
Princes on Eagles are a complete waste, because the Prince doesn’t get his armor save, and because eagles are not all that great in going into heavy combat and their vulnerability to magic and shooting.
Princes on Dragons and Griffons are great. However, focusing on the dragon first, many people say it is too expensive for a 2k game. It is my honest opinion that 120 extra points from a griffon are worth it. When using a dragon, it is best to move up a down a flank and always wheeled towards the center of the line so you have a good look of battlefield and so that you have the option of charging more units. The dragon is a great flanker, and it should never be used to charge a large infantry block in the front. Dragons have nothing to fear accept cannonballs, and even them, they can use cover, no big deal. However, if you choose to engage a unit, make sure that the enemy can’t flank you in subsequent turns in case you don’t break. Usually, a dragon in the flank and a silver-helm unit in the front will see off most units. Dragons are also great when it comes to fluff. When taking a dragon, make sure you use him properly as he is more then a quarter of your army.
I am not a fan of taking griffons, because of their weakness in combat. If you want a lord with the bow of seafarer mounted on a terror-causing monster, a griffon would be your best choice. Either way, when you do not know whom you are playing against, it is better to be left at home. Griffons are very weak to missile fire as well, 4 wounds at t5 with no armor is not a lot. Anything with half decent strength can take this out in a turn or 2. I believe it is well worth the points to upgrade to a dragon.
Section 2.1 – Commanders
Commanders are great, will being almost 60 points less expensive then a Prince, they often fit in to the army well and are excellent support characters. Commanders can be mounted on foot, steed or eagle.
Commanders on foot are a waste unless, like the princes, has a specific role to accomplish. Also, like the prince, a commander on foot is very easy to kill. Occasionally, a commander with the lion guard could be taken on foot to make a unit stubborn, but still, in general, it’s a waste. Commanders on foot can take the reaver bow, but the larger line of sight cannot make up for superior protection and movement.
Commanders on steed are probably the best character choice for the high elves. Full armor, lance and the helm of fortune and blessed tome give the cavalry unit he is with Leadership 10, and 3 St6 attacks with a 1+ rerollable armor save. Even a cheap commander with just full armor and enchanted shield is a great addition to any unit for just 107 pts.
The amount of great magic items the commander can take to help his unit out is excellent. Sacred Incense, Loremaster’s Cloak, Blessed Tome, Amulet of Purifying Flame, Talisman of Saphery. He can also help out with magic with his ability to take the Ring of Corin, Ring of Fury, Loremaster or Radiant Gem. The reaver bow can be taken to help out the shooting phase if you wish.
Commanders on eagles are risky, as against some armies it is useful, while against some they are just pointless. Pretty much the same applies to mounting a prince on eagle. See above.
Chapter 3 – Magic
Section 3.1 – Magic Lores
High Elves can choose from the eight basic lores and High Magic as well. Coupled with some neat discounted magic items and +1 to dispel, High Elves are a strong magical race. The ability to choose so many spells so not go to waste, therefore I suggest that if your casting mage is a Lvl 4, he has the silver wand (5/6 spells) and if it’s a level 2, seer, channeller, and silver wand. Only one ‘casting mage’ is required. The idea is that you chose your lore based on countering what is most dangerous to you or based on which spells support your army the best. Here is a personalized summary of the 8 basic lores and high magic:
High Magic: Needs Range
Anti Magic + Anti Magic Item Lore
Lore Specific Spells Generalized Spells
- 2 Anti Casting Spells - 1 Basic Magic Missile (2d6)
- 1 Anti Magic Item Spell - 1 Anti Infantry Spell
- 1 Shooting Support Spell
- 1 Mage Defense Spell
Fire: Needs Range
Magic Missile + Flaming Lore
Lore Specific Spells Generalized Spells
- 1 Special Damage Spell - 2 Basic Magic Missiles (d6 and 2d6)
- 2 Straight Line Magic Missiles - 1 Mage Booster Spell
Metal: Needs Range
Anti War Machine + Equipment Lore
Lore Specific Spells Generalized Spells
- 2 Anti Armour + Weapons Spell - 2 Basic Magic Missiles
- 1 Anti Magic Item Spell (weak)
- 1 Anti War-machine Spell
Shadow: Needs Range
Friendly Support Lore
Lore Specific Spells Generalized Spells
- 1 Unit Movement Spell (fixed distance) - 1 Anti Infantry Spell
- 1 Character Movement Spell - 1 Anti Armor Magic Missile
- 1 Fear Spell - 1 Shooting Protection Spell
Beasts: Needs Range
Anti Beast + Beast Support Lore
Lore Specific Spells Generalized Spells
- 2 Anti Beast Spells - 1 Magic Missile
- 1 Unit Movement Spell (random distance + beasts only) - 1 Auto Rally Spell
- 1 Mage Booster Spell
Heavens: Unlimited Range
Damage without Need Line of Sight Lore
Lore Specific Spells Generalized Spells
- 2 Re-roll Spells
- 4 Damage Spells that don’t require range or line of sight.
Light: Needs Range
Anti WS and BS Lore
Lore Specific Spells Generalized Spells
- 2 Anti WS and BS spells - 1 Mage Booster Spell
- 1 Healing Spell - 1 Basic Magic Missile
- 1 Auto Rally Spell
Life: Unlimited Range
Damage + Terrain Lore
Lore Specific Spells Generalized Spells
- 2 Anti Movement Spells - 2 Shooting Protection Spells
- 2 Terrain Based Damage Spells - 1 Basic Magic Missile
Death: Needs Range
Anti Psychology Lore
Lore Specific Spells Generalized Spells
- 1 Multi Unit No Armor Save Spell - 2 Basic Magic Missiles
- 1 Anti Psychology Spell - 1 ‘Fight Back’ Spell
- 1 ‘Steal a wound’ Spell
I always take a chart somewhat like this when I go to battle. The idea is to look at the lore specific spells and choose which spell you want to really get off. With seer, you can choose the spell you want and some other filler spells like magic missiles. Magic missiles are great because they are not always high casting value and your opponent will want to dispel them. Let me give you 2 examples.
Example 1: Vs Gun-line Empire with a Mixed List
Empire’s number one weapon is devastating shooting and war-machines. The lore that automatically comes to mind is Metal because of its anti war-machine spell (but it doesn’t have any other useful support spells). However, if you look at the other lores you will notice that there are two other missile defense spells, one in shadows and two in life. When examining the other spells in shadows I see that there are 3 others that might help me against empire; the fear causing spell, the extra movement spell, and one anti infantry spell. However, the shadows anti- shooting is a remains in play spell, so it can be dispelled by my opponent in his magic phase before he shoots. Also, the movement spell might not be too helpful as I don’t have an all cavalry army and I will not be looking to engage him immediately. When looking at life, I notice that one of the anti shooting spells is not a remains in play, and can potentially shut down whole units for the whole game. More importantly though, I realized that missile troops will most likely be deployed on a hill, and therefore master of stone will be an excellent choice. I would decide to go with Lore of Life.
Example 2: Vs Brettonia with an all cavalry list + dragon
Brettonia has a ton of heavily armored knights, so id be looking for something that negates armor. Metal is a good choice as it can destroy the lances, but I’d also like a lore that maximizes the dragon. I could take beasts because I have an all cavalry army and so does my opponent, but the opponent has formed into a tight center with the ld 10 general nearby, so they have good leadership. I would go with death, and choose a magic missile, drain life and doom and darkness. Doom and darkness puts a unit at –3 leadership for potentially 2 turns. Against a dragon causing terror this would be very effective. Also, drain life lets me nail multiple units with no armor save damage at one time. The 2d6 St4 magic missile is just there to soak up DD and scrolls.
Section 3.2 – Defining Your Magic Phase
Many players often have problems identifying how much magic they want in a game. This can result in problems in that magic phase. When designing an army, players have to choose between heavy, medium and light magic. In general, heavy magic means that you are relying on magic to perform a certain task. Medium magic is still a strong magic phase, but usually plays a supporting role rather then be used as a primary weapon. Light Magic is when someone uses the bare minimum of magic defense so that his own units don’t get hurt.
In a Magic Heavy army, you really want to sting the enemy, however, you want to do it without spending a lot of points. A great way set-up is a Lvl 4 with the silver wand, ring of fury, and a scroll, with a level 2 with the ring of corin and the jewel of dusk. That gives you 9 PD + 2 rings and 5DD +1 scroll. That’s pretty good for 495. If you do not want to use a mage lord, you can still achieve the same result by have a Lvl2 with Seer, channeler and silverwand and another lvl 2 with the ring of fury and jewel of dusk. To get a few extra power dice, you can add the banner of sorcery on an elite unit. Beware, that configuration has only 4 DD and no scrolls, but is only 410 Pts.
To most races, ‘medium magic’ is two level 2s with a couple of scrolls. However, I believe that even our ‘medium magic’ should pack a punch. Once again, 2 lvl 2s, one with seer, channeler and silverwand, and the other jewel of dusk + a scroll (a combat character should take a ring).
Light magic is a tricky business, as it consists of trying to get the best magic defense for as little points spent as possible. A prince scroll caddie mounted on a steed is a good idea, equipped with loremaster, 2 scrolls and dragon scale shield. However, 3DD and 2 Scrolls might run out fast. I do not really like scroll caddies too much, as they are expensive and generally run around doing nothing. I do not really like light magic in general, as magic is always going to be expensive, and it will hurt you a lot if you are not protected properly.
My personal opinion is to go magic ‘heavy’, mostly because I believe that mages are too expensive and is worth the extra couple of points to upgrade them to an excellent magic phase. 7 PD + 1 ring is around 360 points, while I can get 8-10 PD + 2 Rings for 440 points; only an 80-point difference.
Section 3.3 – Magic Items
High Elf Magic items are the best in the game. No army simple has as many excellent items as the high elves. Furthermore, we get something like a 20% discount.
Pure of Heart: PoH should generally be given to the best-protected character. It makes the whole unit immune to panic, but nonetheless, it should be given to the character that has the least chance of dying. 100VP is A LOT.
Lion Guard: Very useful for making a unit stubborn. Unfortunately, its rather expensive, and it doesn’t leave you a lot of space to properly protect your lord on foot (or commander) who is taking this item to make an infantry block stubborn.
Loremaster: Excellent for Prince Scroll Caddies. If you want a mage Lord in a magic offensive army take Radiant Gem of Hoeth. However one of the rings is a better choice then both.
Swordmaster: One again, its very expensive, and can only be taken by a hero on foot, therefore the same problem as lion guard.
Seer: Excellent. Best used when coupled with channeller and silverwand on a level two.
Channeller: When coupled with seer, allows your lvl 2 to cast spells with high casting value.
None of the magic weapons are decent, lances and great weapons are the best way to go, as none of the magic weapons give a strength bonus. Also, armor of the gods is only for characters on foot, and a 3+ AS isn’t that great. Sure, you can couple AotG with blade of leaping gold, for 7 St5 attacks, but 3+ AS on a t3 lord that is probably not charging is not good at all.
Armor of Protection is great as it gives you a 4+ ward save. Shadow Armor is great for a sniper lord. But the best magic armor is helm of fortune: +1 to armor + rerollable. Enchanted Shield is great for a cheap and well-protected commander on steed. The other magic items are hardly worth mentioning, as they are unreliable or just useless. Dragon Scale shield is not bad, as it combines enchanted shield + talisman of protection for the same price.
The Battle Banner, probably the greatest banner in the game. However, against a player worth his salt, the bearer will die, because, like all our characters, protection is a problem. The banner of ellyrion is excellent, and could be called the ‘default silver-helm banner’. The Lion standard is great on a corner stone unit of spear elves. Banner of Sorcery and Standard of Balance are both banners for the dragon princes, and depending on strategy, you might not take either. Banner of Sorcery is obviously great for magic based armies. Standard of Balance is excellent for all cavalry armies in order to be able to charge through stubborn units, etc.
High Elves are spoiled in the Talisman department, starting with vambraces of defense, the best protection item in the list. Sacred Incense and Guardian Pheonix are also great choices. The others are good, but only really have certain uses and therefore makes them unsuitable to take to tournaments.
Once again, we are spoiled with choices. Annulian Crystal is a great anti-magic item, even though I’d rather have something cheaper that just gave me an extra dispel dice. Sigil of Asuryan is decent as well, although its slightly unreliable. In terms of offensive magic, the Jewel of Dusk and silver wand are both cheap and excellent items. Staff of Solidity is a good choice on an Arch-mage you takes seer instead of the silver wand. And finally, there is Book of Hoeth. Wow. For the really heavy magic users, this is a fine magic item. For it to work properly, depending on how many power dice you have, you should use 3 or 4 dice to cast spells. The only disadvantage is that you only get 4 spells, so there is a chance that you might not get that spell combo that you so desperately need.
If you haven’t noticed the trends yet, the extremely cheap magic items are usually the best. The Amulet of Purifying Flame is an excellent anti magic item. It works very well on a unit champion of a unit that is likely to be targeted by magic (i.e. that 10 strong dragon prince unit). Blessed Tome is also excellent for a unit champion, probably the ideal choice for an elite infantry unit beside your spear blocks. The Rings are amazing. They are excellent for heavy magic, if you have to choose between one, choose the ring of corin. There is only one spell in the game that can destroy magic items, whereas there are a lot of magic missiles. Also, there is a huge difference between power level 3 and power level 4. For example, if an opponent really wants to dispel it, he will use 2 dice to dispel a PL 4. However, for a power level 3, he will still use 1. I would stay away from using the rings when there is a book of Hoeth in your army list, as with all the IR you are casting, any other spells will be smothered by dd and scrolls.
Chapter 4 – Army Composition and Tactics
Since mixed high elves was the original reason to write this tactica, I am not going to explore all cavalry armies.
Section 4.1 – Composition Standard Mixed High Elves
Well, this is the most popular type of High Elf list to play. It is also the most challenging, as only the strongest of tacticians can succeed on a regular basis.
The idea behind mixed lists is that there are two blocks of ranked infantry to accept charges supported by flanking units of elite infantry, cavalry. All of these are supported by missile fire and magic. The most common setup for the ranked infantry is two units of 20 Spear-elves with full command. Spear elves are the best suited for this job, as they are the cheapest infantry unit and can fight in ranks (and core). This is your ‘army’ everything else is ‘supporting’ these two units.
After I choose my main block units, I chose suitable flankers. Silver helms are excellent flankers, and coupled with chariots, they make excellent punch units. So, two units of 5 silver helms with full armor, no command, and two chariots (one of each on each side of the spear-elves). I also want a unit of infantry can pack a punch in combat. Therefore, I chose 12 sword-masters with a champion and blessed tome, deployed in between the two blocks of spear-elves. Now, I need some magical and missile support. I decided to use a Level 4 Archmage with silver wand, scroll, and ring of fury, which is complemented by a Lvl 2 Mage with ring of corin and the jewel of dusk. In terms of missile fire 2 RBT are my first choices. Finally, I need a few units that can hunt war-machines, mages, march-block, bait. The best units of these roles are a unit of shadow warriors, preferably 6, and 2 great eagles.
20 spear-elves w/Full Command
20 spear-elves w/Full Command
5 Silver Helms
5 Silver Helms
5 Shadow Warriors
12 Swordmasters w champ +blessed tome
Lvl 4, Silver wand, scroll, ring of fury
Lvl 2, Ring of corin, jewel of Dusk
Total: 1963, leaving 37 points for additional magic items/fillers. The plan is to soften up advancing units with missile fire + magic, and then accept the charges with the spears, and then, if they hold, flank with silver-helms, chariots and sword-masters.
Section 4.2 – Castle Formation
For the purpose of this section, I will use one of my recent personal army list:
Level 4 Arch-mage, Silver Wand, Scroll, Blessed Tome
Commander, Steed, Barding, Radiant Gem of Hoeth, Shield, Lance, Dragon Armor, In Dragon Princes
18 Spear Elves wSB
18 Spear Elves wSB
5 Silver Helms
5 Silver Helms
5 Dragon Princes + SB + Champ + Amulet + Banner of Sorcery
5 Shadow Warriors
Pretty much, I’ve got two pincushions in the blocks of spear-elves. Depending on the enemy, I can be in 6x3 or 4x4 +2. In terms of missile support I have the 10 archers and the 2 RBT. Magic can do a number of things, and it will support me based on what I need most. There is a chariot each for both spear units, acting as flank protectors, and two units of silver helms (one on each side) to act as pincers. I can throw the dragon princes with the commander anywhere I like, to act as shock troops.
Typical Deployment for me would like something like this:
Mage is in unit of archers, and with his blessed tome, and 5/6 chance of being general, the RBT, spears, archers have leadership 10, and the chariots have leadership 9.
The general tactics is to soften up the enemy with missile + magic until my spears absorb my charge for a turn until I counter charge with a chariot and silver helms in the flank. Easier said then done. The dragon princes with the commander are held in reserve, just incase. Remember, to protect your archers and RBT against flyers, deploy them right at the hill edge with the spears right in front of them. Therefore, the enemy models won’t be able to fit into combat making them unable to charge the warmachine.
Unfortunately, this setup sometimes causes problems. The opponent may have flank shock units that will be threatening your silver helms flanks. Both the Silver helms AND chariots have to flank because one chariot wont negate ranks and the silver helms alone will not cause much damage. Therefore this setup is often better:
Here, we have the chariots in the center, FLANKED by the spears. Two units of silver helms and the dragon princes are protecting the flanks. When the spears accept a charge, one will wheel in to expose the flank to BOTH chariots and the other will wheel the other way to expose the flank to a unit of cavalry. Once the chariots charge, the other unit of spears should shuffle over to protect the flank of the chariots.
Section 4.3 - Flank Attack:
This is an offensive tactic that is performed with about 2 infantry blocks and multiple small units of cavalry. The idea is to overload one flank with fast shock units and hopefully rolling up the flank after the enemies flanking unit is broken and run down. On the other flank, the enemy should be march-blocked and slowed down before it hits the infantry. It is important to understand that the flank has work quickly because your infantry will be overrun if they are not aided.
Sample Army List:
Prince, Steed, Barding, Shield, Lance, Heavy Armor, Loremaster, Scrollx2
Commander, Steed, Barding, Heavy Armor, BSB, Battle Banner
5 Silver Helms w/champ +Prince
5 Silver Helms w/champ +BSB
5 Dragon Princes w/champ
19 Spear Elves wSB
14 Spear Elves wSB
5 Shadow Warriors
Well, this is how typical deployment would look like. The fastest unit we have are the dragon princes, therefore they would go on the far flank. Next, we have both units of silver helms. In the center of the battlefield are the two chariots. Chariots are excellent to place in the center of the field because of their inability to march, and their huge charge arch. They fill a couple of roles. First, if a little more hitting power is needed, they can move in as a second wave. However, if the infantry flank is in a little bit of trouble, they can also help them. Also they are great at protecting the flanks of the spears. Take a look at the next diagram.
In that diagram, you can see how the chariots fill up the space in front of the infantry blocks, creating a zone that your opponent will not want to enter because of not wanting to get two chariots in the flank. The flanking cavalry units will protect the chariots’ flank.
I chose two blocks of spear elves to get some numbers and some units that the enemy can target while the real threat is on the other side of the field. Archers guard a flank, stopping any kind of fast flanking unit of trying to sneak up behind my line.
On the cavalry flank, it is important to position your cavalry units in a way so that a flank of the enemy will always be open.
The placement of the cavalry is obvious, but the eagle is place 1 inch behind the corner unit so that they unit cannot shuffle backwards and reposition/reform so that all cavalry units get a frontal charge. Reavers can also be used for this job. Also, when you charge and break that unit, the eagle will force that unit to flee to the right, allowing your units to pursue into the enemy.
That pretty much sums up flank attack.
Chapter 5 – Random Tactics and Diagrams
Well, this is the last chapter. Here are a number of different maneuvers and tactics that you will find useful in many games.
Section 5.1 – Skirmisher Screen
The skirmisher screen is a tactic that can be done with all armies. Many armies do it more effectively then high elves because of cheaper skirmishers (and core rather then special). Therefore, this tactic will be displayed on the offensive and defensive side.
Using the Skirmisher Screen:
Well, since shadow warriors are so expensive, let us say that we have a unit of 5 shadow warriors. Skirmisher screens are used to block line of sight between the enemy and your defensive unit (usually spear elf block), as shown in the following diagram.
Since your missile power and magic is superior, your opponent will have to charge that unit into the screen. You have two choices. You can flee, or you can hold. If you hold with the shadow warriors, there is a good chance that the enemy unit will destroy them. Your opponent will have the option to overrun into your spears or stay where they are. If you choose to hold, you flanking unit should be in a position to flank the enemy regardless of whether he chooses to overrun or not. If he chooses to overrun, you can flank with your flanking unit in your turn, which means your flanking unit will attack first. You can also choose to flee with the skirmishers. However, if you do that, make sure that the enemy unit can’t just redirect into the spear unit. Also, position your flanking unit to charge the enemy unit in the flank when he fails his charge. The next few diagrams will illustrate this.
It is good to hold with the skirmishers against an infantry block or something slower then your spears. Fleeing would be ideal for getting a charge with your spears against something faster like a chariot, or a combat that you don’t want your spears to get into (chosen knights or something like that).
Holding with Skirmishers (against >10 movement troops):
Fleeing with skirmishers:
Section 5.2 – Eagle Diversions
I call this maneuver an eagle diversion because if literally forces the enemy unit to divert away from the battlefield towards a desired position. It is easier to bait frenzied units, but if positioned properly, it can force any unit to move away.
I absolutely love this. The eagle is positioned in a way that prevents the enemy unit from wheeling away (the unit would clip if it tried to wheel). You might ask why this is useful. Lets zoom out a little.
No matter whether the enemy unit overruns or not, his flank will still be open to the unit of shock cavalry. Frenzied have to overrun, so if you catch an opponent with a frenzied unit on a flank it is easy to divert it away from the field.
Section 5.3 – Protecting Stubborn Characters in Units
Often when using a lion guard commander, high elf players find that T3 5+ AS is not enough protection. Usually, once the enemy finds out that he has the lion guard honour, he will divert his attacks towards him and most likely kill him. However, there is a way to save your character. It is required that the commander be placed in a corner of a spear-elf unit. When the enemy unit gets into charge range, wheel the unit so that your opponent charges your flank rather then your front. However, wheel them in a way that doesn’t make it suspicious.
Section 5.4 – Shutting Down War-Machines w/ Skirmishers
Often, our shadow warriors are only allowed to charge war machines on their second turn be cause they have to be deployed in cover. That one turn is sometimes enough to wreck your plan. Also, grapeshot is 8 inches and our charge range is 10, so we should use that to our advantage. Set-up your skirmishers so that they are blocking line of sight for the warmachine on the turn before they charge.
Phew. There it is. In a couple of days im going to update it an add somemore stuff, since its been 3 or 4 months since ive written this. Comments?!? surely theres somthing to talk about in here?
Last edited by Lord Anathir; November 12th, 2005 at 01:54.
Excellent tactica, I throughly enjoyed it, and diagrams were well presented. I do have to hand it to you, youve outdone yourself. I'm going to try some of those tactics in my next battle. Keep up the good work.
Thats a really well written tactica and really helpful, thx.
i esp like the great eagle idea... genius lol
-SONS of RUSS member-
Exiled until 5thED redo...
nice tactica, good work
"Ask not the Eldar a question, for they will give you three answers; all of which are true and terrifying to know"
This was very well written and is far better than most i have seen. It was very helpful (esp to me as i am new to high elves and fantasy) it offers lots of iformation that you wouldn't get unless you tried and tested alot. Thank you for writing it that is all i can say and as Valvaogan said you have out done your self.
Last edited by ike36; August 9th, 2006 at 15:52.
Dnt judge my judgments plz
Its not my fault, blame some other guy
man this is the greatest tactica ive read, I'm starting high elves and this tactica showed me some little things to check out! ty for this work again
I am new to these boards and very much enjoyed the tactica. The thoughts on magic were especially interesting as I have found myself agonizing over mage choices and options. For a race that is supposed to be innately magical, our mages are the most expensive I've seen point wise and it seems critical to get the most out of the points spent there.
Great diagraming too! Thanks for all your work!
I am trying to muster a HE army.
The only thing I don't get is. . . several times you mention the Dragon princes having a greater range than any of the other units. All Elven steeds have M of 9 so their charges and M are all the same, even the chariots. So their really not faster or long range, unless Im missing something.
My other question is, shouldn't you keep the Swordmen? They're the only unit w/ WS6 and they are not that much more expensive than spearmen. Or do they get killed so much faster when trapped or caught swinging their swords last?
Warhorses with barding suffer a -1 to Move, so our Silverhelm's movement is only 8". Dragon Princes' mounts have special ithilmar barding which does not suffer that penalty, so they can move/charge farther than other mounts.
Swordmasters do indeed cost about the same as spearmen, but you get a lot for the couple extra points. However, it isn't the WS 6 that makes them so valuable. WS, unfortunately for we elves, doesn't have as much impact as a new player might think/hope.
The two attributes which make Swordmasters so useful are: 1-They use Great Weapons which add +2 Strength which matters a LOT for determining wounds and reducing Armor saves, and 2) that they strike in initiative order rather than last like all other great weapon wielders.
If Swordmasters get to charge, they will likely get two full sets of Str 5 attacks that hit on a 3+. Not many units will stand up to that.
They have the same armor as spearelves too, so I'm as confused as buckero0 as to why they are seen as more fragile than spears. I'd be surprised to see any infantry/balanced lists that don't have plenty of Swordmasters.
Last edited by Aiglos; September 1st, 2006 at 13:24.