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I'm playing against a friend who uses Dark Elves primarily (occasionally Dwarves). And I have to sadly admit I've tried a dozen different army styles, with little luck. I've been absolutely DESTROYED a time or two (hordes of marauders against DE crossbowmen not good), but usually I can play to a draw.
But I'm ready to kick some DE tail. He always runs two units of twenty crossbowmen, ten wide for the horde bonus, so each turn and during stand and shoot he gets 40 shots per unit. My knights can usually handle this, but he also tends to bring in Executioners or Black Guard with a BSB carrying an ASF banner, plus a cauldron that gives them either killing blow or an extra attack. Plus usually a sorceress or lord of some sort.
Anyone have any ideas? Warriors take four or five turns to reach the archers, knights can reach them but often get tarpitted by corsairs or spearmen long enough for the Black Guard to show up. Anything like marauders or horsemen can't survive more than a volley or two (80 total shots per turn on a single unit murderous).
I'm open for suggestions!
How many points are you playing?
Sona si Latine loqueris.
don't focus on his archers!
try bringing a few units of 10-15 hounds to hunt the archers, so he has to shoot on them, and so giving your marauders the time to get in cc
i play lot's against dark elves to... it's a bitch and i lose a lot to, but my rolls are bad, have some bad luck and terrain isn't always in my advantage...
but a do win more and more...
and i still try to bring new things and so on
but just don't go for the archers, only if i run into them, after beating an other unit
(my friend always brings 24 archers, something in one, otherwise in 2 units with a sorcerer in it to sacrifice an archer for PD)
i mostly bring 5 knights with fire banner to hunt the hydra down
one or 2 units warriors (at least one tzeetch unit with shield, with my tzeentch BSB in it)
sometimes a 40man strong marauder unit but a prefer full plate against them)
i love 18 chosen of khorne with halberds terror banner and favour of the gods on champ...
lot's of chance you get stubborn and 4+WS
otherwise a +1 str, +1T, +1 attack or +1 AS
i prefer +1 attack then, allready wound on 2's and normaly no more AS for the pointy ears.. thats 4 STR 5 attacks each pretty awesome
of you want to protect a unit of warriors or knights more against shooting you can give them the blasted standard, a 5+WS against shooting (becomes 4+ if you give them mark of tzeetch)
on the other hand, as he shoots on your marauders, your knights and warriors get there "safely" in cc...
i prefer a shooting fase then a magic fase
Cheap: Hounds for screening.
Mid: Wulfric/MoK/marauders Festus/MoN/Warriors
Expensive: 10 kniights MoT/Blasted
Magic: Lore of Heavens [drop a comet between his two gunlines, also hurts his hydra - since it can fly ^^], Shadow/MoN combo = BS-0
Sona si Latine loqueris.
throgg and a few trolls are fun to
Don't be discouraged, Dark elves are not the most balanced army out there right now. However they do have some weakness to exploit.
Slaneesh Magic: the level 6 spell will kill any of his troops on a 4+. and only power level 12 to cast. This is definatly the fastest way to blast him back, trick is getting the spell and getting it off without blowing yourself up. there are a few other spells in the lore that work well. Also delusiouns can force 1 of his huge unit of archers to march directly towards your unit of big nasty. I think this lore is worth a shot. for those 2 spells alone. all units take a panic test within 18" is never a bad thing either, esp if he puts his gun line close to the table edge Drop one of these with the Doom totum and something may leave the table. Elves have good LDR but i've seen plenty of failures.
Shadow Magic: Miasma will lower BS by d3, turnign his Xbows to crap. -D3 Str on the executioners will help them not kill you so bad. -d3 toughness on whatever the maraders are fighting to make them punch harder. versitile lore but not as good against the High I of Dark elves as it is vs some other armies.
Third Eye: if he has dark magic then he will probably have chillwind. Blast his archers with this and they cannot shoot (I think thats chillwind?)
Tactics: screening has already been mentioned. Hounds work OK, but really are no threat. they are crap ld crap ws and crap s. DE crossbows can take Light armour and shields, giving them a 5+AS and 6+ ward. dogs will just bounce off the archers and if he knows it then ur done.
Blasted standard on warriors is ideal. putting it on the knights isn't as good IMO as they have a 2+ save vs the shooting. Knights with nurgal and double-tapped shots are -3 to hit at long range (12") and stand and shoot. If he protects his archers with executioners, bait them out and try and set up a flank charge with your warriors. Also, see slaneesh magic earlier =P
Hellcannon: will wound any elf it hits on a 2. definatly woth considering.
Xbows: If he is fielding them in only 2 units, and only 2 things that can get hit on a turn. Chariots, shaggoth, warshrines are all T5 or more and can scare people. if you can give him enough threats to target before you get into combat.
Can you fit this all into one single army? no. it's up to you to pick and choose what you want to use and how you want to use it. These are just some of the tools availible to you.
Now I want a piece of some scummy elves. gnrrrr
LOL Krull has a really good point too. These guys can boogy fasy, are imune to the KB that excecutioners get by defauly, and the more regen saves they make the more rolls on EotG table they get. If he puts 40 crossbow shots on them a turn he is doing you a favor as much as himself. by the time they cross the board they should be extra scarey.
Wow awesome advice guys, I'm gonna give some of these things a shot, maybe a few more trolls, though their low leadership can be a pain. I guess if I keep them close to the general we're in good shape. I'll give each of these a shot and let you know how it pans out