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Greetings chaps. After a nice trade-off and a really great Ebay snag I have ended up with a High Elf army book and an Island of Blood box on its way to my location. As a player of both Bretonnians and Vampire Counts I am rather excited to be building an army that tends to hold its own against the scarier forces of this game (and to finally have my own rulebook to reference too!). Now whilst I do enjoy an overwhelming victory just as much as the next general, I am more of a hobbyist and I am hell-bent on getting a dragon model. My brother (WoC player) and I have plans to build our collections into massive 4k points Grand Armies in which we will have plenty of over-the-top characters and I will likely have no less than three dragons fielded (for these are for fun games for those days where nothing much seems to be happening and no one is busy).
However, I do not believe that 4k points will be the size of the games I will find with other friends and/or chaps at the local gaming store. As such, I will field a 2k army from my collection. Now the question here is: Can I fit a dragon into this force and still make it effective? Or must I leave the scaly centrepiece at home or else be stomped flat? I'm fairly certain that my lord should be an Archmage, but I thought that also taking a Dragon Mage could be effective if used right. With a large block of Lothern Seaguard or Phoenix Guards keeping an enemy tied down from the front a dragon crashing into their flanks seems like a painful thing for an enemy to experience. Unfortunately, I have no experience with High Elves (I've not even played against them) and I really do not know how this flank-dragon tactic (along with Fireball and Flaming Sword castings) compares to similar tricks our other units could pull off.
Thanks for reading chaps, and thanks for the help.
Most of the games at the shops have moved to 2250-2500 points at a minimum with the new 8th rules. And, to no one's surprise, any big baddy you have on the battlefield becomes a shooting/magic target. You may not find your strategy of having the rest of your troops engage the enemy while your dragon gets a juicy flank charge is possible and you will probably find you need to get him into battle as soon as possible to avoid him dropping before turn 3.
If you browse the HE Army List section you will find some great lists, of which some include dragons as either mounts or other. This could help get you to think about the supporting troops needed.
Also, I have two of the IoB HE sets and they figs are really outstanding!! You will enjoy painting them - I know I did!
Short answer - if you want to stay effective, no, below 5k SOM games, you won't be able to fit a dragon in.
The Silver Knights of Tor Adrac (He): 26/2/4
The Spears of Slaanesh (Woc): 7/2/5
Battlegroup Chalybso (GK): 7/3/3