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With the new Dark Elf book out, we need a to figure a way to beat them. I saw a game of new DE versus skaven, they were outnumbered in every sense of the word. Yet they still won, riding down the warlock general and his screaming bell. The DE player was using 3 sorceresses and 2 hydras, some corsairs a cold one chariots and the rest were regular spearmen. The DE magic phase was just obscene as all these power dice came out of noowhere and the rats were torn to pieces. When the DE player does get into CC, he unleashes his assassins and it gets really messy from there, the hydras alone were a real nuisance, getting most of the close combat kills. Add those assassins and The skaven army was gone by turn 4.
My advice, RBT, lots of them. The De are as frail as us HE, so volleys of RBT fire will thin their ranks pretty quick. Take out their sorceresses quickly. Our princes if properly equipped, can handle a dreadlord. We dont have much of a chance at dispelling their spells since they can use as many power dice to cast a spell as they can afford. I saw this coming back when the HE book came out, the dark elves getting a way to negate Drain Magic. Dispel scrolls are more important now than ever.
I think you should use Drain Magic, shutting down their magic phase, and an assassin may be awesome in closecombat, but doesn't he have two wounds, no armour and toughness 3? That's what it seemed like in White Dwarf (September). Bolt throwers inflict D3 wounds, so you should always fire at any core units he has (that's where assassins are hidden). You should also take something like White Lions, because they are needed to take out Cold One cavalry. As for me, I'm sneaking off with some Shadow Warriors to get some news from Naggaroth. See ya!
I really like the DE book, it is very balanced while there are aspects that can be exploited I don't think that it is broken in many ways.
The big problems that it presents are:
Hydra, this is nasty and even RBT's cannot take it out really effectively, large units winning on static res, combined with killing the beastmasters in combat are our best bet here, big blocks of Phoenix gaurd would be ideal as it won't kill many of them. Ring of Fury or Fire spells can help here, see below about offensive spells though.
Magic Phase, that spell is a pain in the but Drain magic and the annulian crystal will help out here as does the tricksters pendant. If they have a stacked magic phase then Drain magic at least once is a must. Force them to cast their base spell on 2 dice and dispel it where possible. Taking out one of their pool dice is useful as this limits some of their flexibility. Scrolls as mentioned are handy and one or 2 are pretty necessary.
Watch for Ring of Hotek, as it is a double edged sword, any caster within 12" is affected so be very careful. Tricksters pendant really punishes miscasts and they happen reasonably frequently, remember you get to choose the result (slightly different to a straight re-roll). They do have some excellent magic defense against offensive spells but not so good at stopping global effects or spells that enhance your own units etc. I would take Ring of Fury to use on Hydra if I were focusing on magic.
Shooting, RXB they got nastier with armour penetration but we can still outrange them with longbows. The Dark Riders are still a unit to be worried about though, shoot them where possible they are a real nuisance same applies to Harpies. Cold One Knights and chariots are better bolt thrower targets than Hydra IMO (this is debatable though) Hydra untouched will massacre elves with a S5 Breath weapon.
In combat I have found that Speed of Asuryan stands us in very good stead, they have a banner and a weapon that give them always strike first so be careful of Black Gaurd, Cold One Kinghts and a BSB but otherwise we should have the upper hand here, use their hatred to your advantage with eagles, reavers* and Shadow Warriors**, charge in flanks lose, flee and he presents a flank to your infantry blocks (or at least makes them turn and reform, change line of sight etc). (*/**Not as good because they might not lose* or might not get away**)
In closing I guess things that I would consider must haves now in an army for facing DE at 2000pts...
At least 2 mages + Ring of Fury + (1 or 2) scrolls + tricksters pendant (I normally take 2 mages and a Radiant Gem of Hoeth + Ring of Fury) This gives multiple attempts at Drain magic and the Ring plus some security on defense but means I have no room for the Annulian Crystal.
A dragon could be good but I am not totally sold on them, I don't think I use them properly yet.
Core, A unit or 2 of archers (debatable again but they can damage fast cavalry and/or harpies)
A big block of Spearmen is good DE are T3 and the number of attacks is great.
Special, The elites infantry are a matter of preference, each unit has a different purpose really and depends how you want to play, PG or WL are probably a better bet than SM due to the amount of magic and shooting that you could possibly face.
Cavalry is great but again depends on what you are trying to do with your army, Executioners and Cold One Knights could cause cavalry headaches with S4 base + Gt Weapons and Lances.
Rare, 2 Bolt Throwers and 2 Eagles (I have a list with 3 RBT and 1 eagle and a hero on an eagle to make up the second eagle, it does well)
This is by no means definitive and is based on a breif read of the DE Army Book, and a few friendly games against a player that plays a relatively soft list. There are almost certainly combinations that I have missed that are devastating. I think the following legal DE list would be difficult to deal with if someone were to exploit DE,
Dragon Mage Lord, Manticore Hero, Mage on Steed, 2 units of Harpies, 3 Units of Dark Riders, 2 Units of CoK, CoChariot/Shades, 2 Hydra, I might be wrong but the speed and High Toughness of this army makes me think it is pretty good.
A unit of Dragon Princes should be abe to skirt around the Hydra with little effort, and being resistant to flames, the Hydra can't do much to them unless it can get a charge in...
So if a hydra is anchoring the flank, then use the DP to target getting arounf the rear of that flank, maybe even a dragon in there - a Hydra itself isn't immune to flaming attacks!!
When I went through my copy of the Dark Elf Amry Book I became rather worried when I read the description of the Pendant of Khaeleth. It says: "This gives a ward save, based upon the Strength of the hit. Roll a D6 for every wound suffered by the wearer, on a roll equal to or under the attack's Strength, the hit is ignored. Rolls of 6 always fail"
Now assume the following character: Master mounted on a cold one equipped with heavy armour, shield, sea dragon cloak and this pendant. This character has a 1+/0+ armor save which will let low strength attacks will bounce of his armour and high strength attacks bounce of his ward save.
So how would you deal with this character, especially if he is on his own?
DE can't negate drain magic, it works just as well against them as against any other army. DE are still super fragile and have very little armor. Get into combat and they lose due to ASF. Only one of their units can have ASF at a time so shoot that unit. The Hydra is tough, but goes down just as easily to combat res as anyone. Hit him in the front and the flank and you're guaranteed 2 wounds on the beastmasters. Hydra's terror is lessened by the reroll psychology tests. Our magic will be nullified, but really it's just there as a defense for the most part anyway. We can still hunt mages as easily as anyone but taking out our mages is hard for them as any of our units and ASF will eat things like dark riders and harpies for lunch. other than dark riders, we do have a movement advantage.
No it isn't foolproof but it's what we have. We can also destroy magic items (Vauls Unmaking is great and I often get it but trade it down to the base spell)
DE are not an easy proposition anymore and games with them will be a challenge, they are beatable however and it is a good test of your generalmanship. They have lots of different competitive army builds now as well so you can't gaurantee that you will face one type of army all the time.
There are other options - such as Vaul's unmaking, biting blade or other weapons which negate armour without increasing the strength of the bearer etc etc spirit of the forge is a nice spell as the hits are only at S4, so wounding Elves on 3s, but the target with a pendant has a 4 or less "ward save" as it bypasses the armour. Same with Drain Life
Therre are tonnes of ways open to High Elves to bypass armour without high strength.
I find that the Talisman of Loec is the easiest way to kill the enemy's ubercharacter (whether using the no armor save sword or just a great weapon) letting our ASF Prince reroll hits and wounds usually scores 4 wounds that they have to reroll the saves. Either weapon leaves them with a pitiful armor save. Pendant of Khalieth is great, but having to reroll the rolls lets the opponent sweat it out. I'll usually rack up at least 2+ wounds because of it. With full ranks, banner, and the enemy being in a challenge and my prince with protection, you've got a good chance of beating Mr. bad guy with combat res. If the enemy rides anything bigger than a coldone or dark steed, shoot the devil out from under him (generally a good idea even if he's riding a lesser steed) which will cut down his effectiveness quite a bit. The talisman also works against a hydra as well, but you're asking for trouble with 7 rerollable attacks coming back your way. You have to march block and shoot/magic that beast as well.
Against magic heavy armies, I think taking out the little mage (not the level 4 with the pendant) is the way to cripple them while working the drain magic to the max (just like VC, 1 drain magic will ruin their magic phase, 2 will dominate it)
I don't think I would even change my list up to counter anything in the DE list. White lions 6-7 wide will chew up a hydra. I usually have the lion banner on them if ranked or if not have them close to a general or use the gem of courage. You get to reroll terror tests, etc. Dragon Princes would also tear the hydra a new one. Banner of Ellyrion and if they are 6 wide, you can chase the hydra away. You're getting autowounds practically with the attacks that can go on the beastmasters and all the enemy will get is a regeneration save against on average 5 wounds. Granted, you're going to take some casualties, but you should win everytime with the charge. Eagles and shadow warriors can take out their warmachines, fast cav and keep the enemy march-blocked.
Last edited by buckero0; September 23rd, 2008 at 15:48.