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So, if you wanted to field a Hoeth themed list, would it be possible? Could you make a decent force from Hoeth?
Noble, battle standard, heavy armour, great weapon
Mage, level 2
Mage, level 2
18 spearmen, full command
17 spearmen, full command (BSB goes here)
5 (!!) x 12 Swordmasters, musician, champ
So you have the decent magic of Hoeth (mages could maybe use some equipment), the Swordmasters and a whopping 60 of them at that, and total numbers of an impressive (for HE) 108! How many points? Well, it is still a fair bit under actually. 1857 points, you could add another unit of some kind, maybe a bolt thrower, or a bit of equipment for the mages. I was even toying with the idea of throwing out the noble for a dragon mage. Now that would make the magic phase impressive, and add some much needed support. Which brings me to the army's main weakness; no support units. The archers to take off a rank or target shooters, but thats about it. Magic should be able to weather most enemies. The list will be very weak to shooting, and will rely purely on straight out combat, and getting lots of kills. Could be fun.
It opens up the doors though, does it not? How would an army focused around a lot of elite units like this work? Remember, the mages are expensive, especially for what they do, ditch them and swap the SM for a tougher type.... Try the Chrace themed version; 5 units of 12 White Lions, the spears and archers, 260 extra points free on what there was before upon removal of the mages. This list would be weak to magic, but you could add a lion chariot or two, maybe another noble with great weapon, even potentially drop one of the WL units for more points to add some magic defence in the form of banner of arcane protection and the like.
Or go for the Phoenix Guard themed list, and with a bit of help from shield of Saphery you could have almost every unit in your army with a ward save! Most of them 4+.
this is what I first envisioned when I heard about how good the SM were going to be. To complete the fluffyness of the list, I think the radiant gem of Hoeth should be put on your BSB. Effectively this gives you 3mages (better defense = longer living SM) I think a RBT would be better at removing sources of shooting than the archers.
Problem is, this army could still be flanked, or if you flub on the to hit rolls, your guys could get rolled and ldshp 8 is not the greatest. Plus, anything with large doses of impact hits, could clean your clock as well.
Personally, I have a problem with going all of one unit (just like the all-goblin list) It looks fun on paper, but usually has several glaring weakness's. A good player, (of which there are several in my club) would pick it apart. The other problem is, combat is my weakness. I can't roll to hit. Most of my lists I have been playing lately are hit on 3s and wound on 2-3s. I'm still losing combats, because 70, sometimes 80% of my to hit rolls are 1s and 2s.
Chrace is probably the more balanced list, but I don't think it will work all the time (MSU style doesn't provide enough kills to outweigh Combat Res) and it's hard to keep the chariots alive.
PG are still pretty weak (I haven't played them yet, but they are only Str4) Even with fear, I don't see them killing enough to win a game. And I really know how to roll 3 and under for a ward save.
Basically, I think this would be fun for a modelling project, but onthe gameboard, I don't like it.
The easiest way to make this army more survivable is just a couple of quick alterations. If you were to drop 1 of the elite units and change 2 of them to white lions your force would be instantly more resistant to shooting, while still keeping it's close combat punch.
The points saved from the spare unit could go on things like bolt throwers, great eagles or even cavalry/dragon mage, which would instantly toughen the army up.
Personally I like the idea of a large number of troops like this, but as you have said, the shooting would be problematic. I personally see the army ending up like this:
Dragonmage Lvl 2: 435pts
Mage Lv2: 185pts
Seer staff of Saphery
Mage Lvl2: 185pts
Ring of Fury
17 spearmen: 183pts
17 spearmen: 183pts
12 White Lions
12 White Lions
2 Great Eagles
This is the new, multi elite unit army that could be doing the rounds soon. Because of the adaptability of the elite units, and their costings, this army could be easily changed to suit any fluff requirements.
As for the rest of the list, I don't want to sound like a downer, but people may start trying to use lists like this but I dont see it being hugely successful. You have a dragon that has no cavalry or anything to support it. No RBT's or Archers to take out fast cavalry/flyers that will marchblock or redirect. The Eagles could try to support the dragon I guess, but in my opinion they are still pretty weak and are better used for marchblocking.
If you wanted to make a hoeth themed list that had a fighting chance. I would go with what Gingerninja suggested, however I would drop the white lions for some Reavers or Dragon Princes, and try to get the Banner of sorcery in there somewhere. Also find the points for some archers, or drop a spearmen unit to get some so your mages have a better place to go. It would also be nice to see an RBT or two in there somewhere, but I'm not sure where you could get the points.
"I am the architect of fate!"
That is the beauty of this list. The elite infantry can be changed in for cavalry and chariots as combinations of troops. You could easily drop two of them for 2 tiranoc chariots and a unit of 6 Dragon Princes with a musician.
This wouldn't leave any points for the banner of sorcery, but there is a lot of magic anyway, 11 potential dice, if you include the potential free ones from the dragon mage. The only reason I want the skeinsliver and guardian pheonix on the dragon mage is to protect it and get the first turn.
I hope this helps
True about wanting protection for the dragon.
Maybe Silver Wand + Guardian Pheonix, and then the RoF on the foot mage?
Getting first turn would definitely be a benefit, I just try to find points on a champ somewhere for the skeinsliver, rather than waste points on a lord or hero.
"I am the architect of fate!"
I personally love these themed army lists and have tried out 2 or 3 of them in recent small games 1-2000pts. They are fun to collect and paint but dont seem to perform as well as a balanced army list against a variety of opponenets. If you wish to continue using this type of list I would agree with everything the ninja has said, but a more balance list i think will be more sucessfull but possibly not as much fun depending on your point of view.
I think a balanced list with some cavalry and shooting support is probably the way to go as well. But then you really suffer from lack of numbers. My lists with infantry, elite infantry and cavalry were only numbering 40-60 models in 2k, which is why I decided to play around with these themed lists. You can get a hell of a lot more models in, and IMO most of our elite infantry can at least hold the line until support arrives.
I'm definitely of the opinion that the dragon mage should be given the silver wand all the time too. 10 points for an extra spell and an extra power dice every turn, pretty much making him a level 3 wizard? Oh hell yes.
I like the idea for the Hoeth list of giving radiant gem to the BSB, that would make the list very well themed. Of course, mixing up the elite infantry choices will probably make the army better all round, especially to take on all comers, but then the theme goes. 2 SM, 2 WL and a PG could be used for example, which would give you untis that could weather shooting, units that can sneak through trees and up flanks, a tough to kill centre unit, really really hard hitting but fragile units and overall give your list more versatility. But then your theme goes, and you are probably better off dropping one of the units for a unit of DP to give some faster support.
I'm still not sure what direction to take my HE. There seems to be lots of possibilities, but its tough to build effective lists without having big weaknesses since everything is so expensive.