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Well, I'm trying to put together a 1k point list for a trial/proxy game, before I seriously consider investing in the army. And then I got stuck when I hit the elite infantry.
The idea of the 1k list is to try to fit things which are characteristic of the army, and will give me a good feeling for what the army is like. But I can't really work out how the 3 elite infantry types differ in their roles. Here is the best I've come up with:
White Lions: The obvious use is as a flanker through woods that would otherwise guard an opponent's flank. Other than that, I guess they'd be alright at knocking down heavily armoured things due to their higher strength, or hunting archers/warmachines given their missile resistance, except I would have thought that role would go to cavalry or eagles.
Phoenix Guard: I guess the best I can come up with is for blunting the attacks of heavy cav/ogre-sized models that none of the elites could knock out before they struck (although every time I think of Swordmasters, I wonder what they couldn't kill). I guess the advantage is that when they win by denying kills and using static CR, they cause fear... But that means they've got to come in a big, expensive block. (hmm, having completed my post and coming back, these guys would probably fair better than the others at dealing with impact-hit causers like ogres and chariots, since they won't rely on killing things before they strike).
Swordmasters: Just seem like simple killy death on legs to me. Seems like they have enough high strength attacks hitting on 3s that there isn't much they couldn't knock over. A rank of 7 with a champ is killing 2 ogres, 7-8 Empire Swordsmen, 5-6 Saurus Warriors, or 2-3 Empire Knights. All quite impressive. Even against the heaviest infantry around, Ironbreakers, they're still knocking 3 over before they strike. Just OUCH!
So in summary:
White Lions = Flankers, used more aggressively than the others. Flank guard in a pinch (stubborn). So I guess either way, they deploy on the flanks with aggressive intentions.
Phoenix Guard - Flank guard, plain and simple. Or put opposite the opponent's big nasty unit.
Swordmasters - Simply to generate kills for CR. Probably used best against lighter opponents where they can really hack them up, since they don't get much help if they fluff their attack rolls (as opposed to WL stuborn and PG ward saves).
Have I got this about right?
Also, how much elite infantry do people think will be the common thing? Will people only be able to afford 1 unit in 2k generally? (if they're going for a balanced army). I think it's safe to say that in 1k, one small unit is about all that could be justified...
I agree about most of it. In terms of numbers that depends on whether or not you include a Dragon Mage. You can not have one of them and include 2 to 3 elite units (Dragon Princes included) in the army at 2k.
My personal favourites are the WL, I play dwarves and chaos alot, S6 is good, striking first its great.
SM will be called broken initially and i am taking path of least resistance by leaving them out, for a while anyway. Also I expect to be facing alot of shooting to start with.
PGAgree entirely, actually a bit stuck on these guys myself since what they will do best is not die, then scare you away through outnumbering.Phoenix Guard - Flank guard, plain and simple. Or put opposite the opponent's big nasty unit.
Swordsmasters will be vunerable in shooting but you dont need many in combat. White lions arent vunerable to most shooting and will amazingly well agaisnt heavy infantry/cavalry. PG are good as they get a 4+ that cant be reduced at all and have decent ws and s. Also the cuasing fear helps as well, especialy agaisnt low ld stuff.
I would say (this is fora tourny list mind) take one or mabye small units of swprdsmasters, a small unit of white lions for protecting or assulting the flanks, and mabye the pg but im not so sure about it in 1k. It all depends on what else you take though.
. "Stop complaining ponce and hit stuff with yer shiny new axe"
Not too bad of summary, depending on your playing style, however, You will be hard-pressed to get a decent feel to the army with a 1k game. HE used to be really bad in low point games due to their cost, they are even worse now, because while the core costs went down, the specials went significantly up. Your whole army will be vunerable to shooting (no matter what the save) because they cost 2-3 times what the other guy's basic model costs. For a smaller game and maybe even in a larger game, I've thought about taking the minimum of swordmasters with maybe only a champion and white Lions in slightly larger groups for tromping thru the forests and maybe shielding the SM from shooting a bit and then seeing if my guys could make it into combat (where, they should munch through most things) I think decent magic defense is necessary and cheap nobles to bolster the leadership and provide cheap str6 hits.
I'm having a hard time seeing the cavalry being worth it, due to their cost and efficiency ( I love DP's, but they are expensive) No matter how good your guys are in combat, if they get surrounded by 8 dozen flank and front goblins, they may still get eaten by the swarm. In other words, your other units need to be able to remove their march blockers and at least hold up or distract shooters, so you can get into combats you want, with troops enough to do the fighting. I think bolt throwers and great eagles may be even more important than they used to be because of this.
I spent some time the other night doing some mock fights with each of the three elite types. Phoenix Guard fare the best against tough/large enemies that use ward saves. The swordmasters are awesome, but because of their weak save (relative to the Phoenix Guard), they are slightly vulnerable against the aforementioned tough targets. The white lions should indeed be a flanking force, and ideally, used only against light troops they can hack to pieces or as a support unit, since they have the worst save.
In my mock fights, the Phoenix Guard (9 with Caradryan) did the best against the tough Tree Kin, but against 10 dryads and drycha with murder of spites, domination was spread fairly evenly.
The units I used:
9PG with Caradryan
I played it in rounds, where a round was won by forcing the opponent to flee from combat.
3000 points Tyranids
2000 points Blood Angels
1500 point Orks
I agree with most of the comments put here, but if you are using magic, you can alter what these units are more useful for.
Swordmasters: Against infantry these are probably the best at taking a head on charge, merely because of the amount of attacks they can chuck into an enemy before they strike, but if they are charged by a set of Brettonian Cavalry they are going to really struggle, (they will only kill 1-2 knights and the return attacks from the lance formation will kill them outright, no save).
Their survivability can be increased with a simple casting of the first spell on the High elf list. The 5+ ward will help them survive, especially against the high grade shooting of the dwarves or empire, and even aid them in combat. Really they need to be unleashed when you are near the enemies lines, so using the white lions, or pheonix guard to absorb shooting, is probably your best bet.
White Lions: Against Heavy Cavalry, these guys are a god send. High weapons skill and strength will carve through most armour like a hot knife through butter. They are a great flanking unit, but their new heavy armour + cloak combo makes them a viable anti shooting unit. Again, if you use the first HE spell on them, the 5+ ward will make them laugh at all but the strongest shooting.
I will be using them to stand at the front, absorb the shooting and first charges, along with the final unit.
Pheonix Guard: These guys have improved aye!!! The new ward save makes them a real anti shooting unit, and their above average strength attacks mean that they can do some damage against infantry. They will struggle against cavalry, but that is to be expected, but when an enemies shooting has at best a half chance of killing one, they are much better at absorbing fire.
Fear causing front line troops are rare for high weapon skill armies, so these guys should be a must have for all HE armies that will be facing shooting. They can absorb a charge, and counter for you, or in combination, they can be devistating.
Just my Thoughts
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In my view we now have killing cakes with three different toppings/flavours.
SM--> über killers. Die easily due to the elven t3 and low AS.
Get them into CC and let them do their thing. Protection required to make it into CC.
WL--> The middelman. Good CC potential due to good Ws and a good enough S to open a can or a knight. Good protection due to their ability to move thorugh forrests and the lion cloaks.
PG--> the leats killing power of them all but sdue to their ward can take a lot of punishment. Still a good fighter though with high WS and respectable S.
Fear is a nice added bonus.
This is it as i see it.
Hope it helps
"Ask not the Eldar a question, for they will give you three answers; all of which are true and terrifying to know"
I'm not all that crazy about the HE elites simply because generally speaking, 15 points is far too much to pay for an infantry model in the current edition (Plaguebearers, Daemonettes, etc. being an exception). I think that in the right list they might work, but they're still very likely to get ran over by the attacking units of the top table armies. I think the best of the best in terms of the elites are the small, speed bump White Lion units. I also like the small, move through terrain, dryad-killing Sword Master unit.
Here's another crazy notion I have, and one that hasn't seen a proper play test yet so take it with a grain of salt. On paper, I fancy the notion of using 2 units of Phoenix Guard in a "HE posing as Slaaneshi/Tzeentch Daemons" sort of list. Sprinkle in 3 or so Killer Kitty Karts and you could be in business. At 15 or so models, a PG unit comes in around 300 points and though resilient, doesn't really frighten anyone. However, crash into that enemy unit with a Kitty Kart on each side of your PGs, or a dragon rider on one side and a buggy on the other, and you've got some yummy, autobreaking goodness. Looks good on paper at any rate.
all the best,
wow- 2 units of Pheonix, and 3! WL chariots?! People are already debating the cost of those Kitty Mobiles. That list of yours is going to be HIGHLY outnumbered.
The trick with HighElves is that we really are outnumbered. Gone are the days when we could arrange a large extended front and try to avoid a spearhead. Now we're looking to take that spearhead on the nose, and hope to still be standing when the rest of their line moves in.
There are two ways we can do this. We can set our elite out on their own, go heavy on the elite infantry and have them hold the line. If you do that, use the mandatory core choices as your flankers and auxiliaries. If you choose the opposite, and go with large units of core soldiers, you'll need to cut back on elites and put them into a flanking role.
It's your choice, sometimes the core infantry is enough to cause ALOT of trouble for the enemy. Goblin armies for example aren't worth our elites, same for non-shooty Empire.
I've played daemons and elves for many editions so being outnumbered is nothing new. I can always play my Skarsnik list when I want to be the one doing the outnumbering.
Seriously though, in much the same way as playing Tzn or Ngl DL, you've got all these points sitting in those units and the enemy really does have to come to you if they want to get a substantial number of VPs. I know, I know, they're not Plaguebearers, but they're very resilient, cause Fear, and should have a BSB nearby so I would imagine they will be tough to shift. You've also got some major benefits that the other fear-causing armies lack (DL, TK, some VC). It sounds daft I know, but I plan on play testing it never the less.
all the best,