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As far as Games Workshop and even most Grand Tournaments are concerned, it's a perfectly viable army, and refusing a game against an ET army is - to them - the same as refusing a game against a regular High Elf army.
I will admit that I do not really have much to do with the tournament scene (largely due to the stereotypical "tournie players", who I accept may be minority, but they are all I ever meet) so I don't know about GW 's policy about End Times and Tournaments. My local GW treats End Times like Storm of Magic, ie, it's a supplement, we'll promote and sell it because we're paid to, if you wanna play it good for you, if you don't that's fine, here's a couple of games and a "tournament" for it. Now I know this is one store out of the many, many, many stores around the world, but it's the one I play in. The vast majority of the excitement is coming from the kids in the store, no-one else really gives a cr*p (bar one or two exceptions).



How many times do I have to tell people that you can't test units by just tossing them against each other. It's basic scientific method: you need a constant and a variable. The unit in question is your variable (PG or BG) and their opponent is the constant. If you just compare how well a unit kills another unit, you ultimately learn nothing. For example, Executioners are extremely good at killing White Lions, but against practically any other foe in the game they are the inferior unit
First of all. GOD I LOVE YOU SO MUCH FOR THAT FIRST SENTENCE!!! Also, I should have elaborated on with the BG/PG. My bad. I started that thought and then got distracted and lost my train of thought.
My point was supposed to be that Black Guard and Phoenix Guard, one being offensive and one being defensive, have very different battlefield roles. I wasn't meaning to throw them together against each other (in hindsight I probably shouldn't have used "vs"), I was meaning to imply a point I have made in other posts before: That you cannot take the stats of one unit on paper and compare them to the stats of another without taking into consideration what their use on the battlefield is. This is my main gripe with Mathhammer. Don't get me wrong, I believe it is a good way to show statistically the ideal/average potential of a unit. However, for all your talk of constants and variables you do not take into consideration that this game is a game of chance. Yes, you can calculate the percentage of hits and wounds you will get with 24 attacks from a unit of White Lions but how often does this happen? Warhammer does not belong in a vacuum.
But I digress. I am aware that there is no equivalent for Phoenix Guard in Dark Elves, hell no army really has an equivalent to them. However, Dark Elves never needed Phoenix Guard, because they didn't fit the overall playstyle of the army. I do believe that simply mashing together High Elf/Dark Elf/Wood Elf lists or even just taken one and claiming it is a host of the Eternity King is not the way to go. In the latter case yes it does improve your units, but at the end of the day you are still a High Elf army. Same s**t, different day. The best Eternity King lists I believe will be the list who merge the playstyles of the 3 armies together: A solid High Elf line to take the charge, swift Dark Elf units to counter-attack and act as line-breakers and Wood Elves for speed and disruption. I know it's idealistic but I firmly believe an armylist built loosely around that ideal will function better than a "durr, moi 'Igh Elvs be der Eternity King's army for der Murderous Prowess" list.

Also,
White Lions vs. Executioners... is there really a challenge here? I mean, Swordmasters (2S5A vs. 1S5A) are better than Execs, and they're pariahs in their own army.
Phoenix Guard vs. Black Guard - when you have access to 2S5A, Sv5+ (Swordmasters) or 1S4A, Sv5+/4++ (Phoenix Guard) why the heck would anyone keep taking Black Guard?

Anywhere that you can compare a Dark Elf unit right smack against a High Elf one, the HE's win out. The exceptions are:

DarkShards vs. Archers/LSG
Corsairs vs. Spears/Archers/LSG
Dark Riders vs. Reavers (because oh my god, only 1pt more for RXBs instead of bows, plus sv4+ FastCav if you want)
Really? How many times do I have to tell people that you can't test units just by tossing them against each other.....oh wait....that sounds familiar....
(yes, yes, it's a low blow)





Now the case of Shadow Warriors and Shades.
To be pedantic: High Elf and Dark Elf armies do indeed use them, that's why their unit entries are in their respective armies. Sorry, had to get it out my system.
Now seriously though, how can you possibly know that? I use both (admittedly that's because my High Elf army is led by Alith Anar) and Shades are amongst the best skirmishers in the game. Admittedly I did forget that the Wood Elves have that kinda covered (to be fair, I'm guessing I'm not the only one who forgot Wood Elves in the list). As to why a combined host would use them? Maybe someone wants to? Could be a variety of reasons, they own the models and have no Wood Elves, they like the background/fluff, they want skirmishers but don't like Wood Elves, they want to spite someone they spoke to on the internet.




And now we come to the little kitty in the corner. The Jack-of-All-Trades. White Lions. So yeah, for 1pt more you get Stubborn, Forest Strider and +2 AS vs shooting. Except Forest Strider generally means jack s**t and Stubborn is easily obtained through ranks in combat. So basically you're getting +2 to your armour save vs shooting for an extra point. Now that is very good. However, White Lions need that more than Executioners need it. Why? Psychology.
When you line up Executioners and White Lions side by side, your average gamer is going to pour fire onto the White Lions. Why you may ask? Because their reputation precedes them as you and everyone in Warhammer who uses or has encountered them knows very well what they do and how well they do it. Executioners, as pointed out by yourself, are generally considered to be not as good and therefore are considered less of a threat. In the context of their own army books this still holds true. Executioners rank up next to Hydras, Witch Elves, Black Guard, Knights and the Kharibdyss. The sheer saturation of targets Dark Elves can throw out on the battlefield means you are generally not concerned with your Executioners being shot. If they are, it means the other threats aren't being shot. In your average High Elf army whats your threat? White Lions. Phoenix Guard don't have the damage output to compare, Swordmasters are considered inferior to White Lions (evidenced by yourself), what does that leave you with? White Lions, your only real threat in combat (that people bother to take). So in a combined army, logically your White Lions are going to take the lion's share (gettit? Hahaha) of hatred whereas the Executioners are going to sidle up to the enemy relatively unharmed (not saying they won't shot at, but not as much as your precious White Lions).




In other words, all of that was essentially useless, as this entire thread is assuming that we're playing an End Times list.
Actually it has a point, the End Times is a Warhammer Fantasy supplement based upon the rules presented in the Warhammer Fantasy Rulebook and the associated Warhammer Fantasy Armybooks. In order to look at the effect End Times has on the game you need to first take into account the game (And honestly, that is the last pedantic thing I have in my repertoire. I don't believe the point I made, it was just an point that could be made).

And yes, the qualities comparison thing was a joke. I actually quite like the High Elf range, it just isn't as good as the Dark Elf range in my opinion.

When it comes to the crux of the argument, I agree. The armies are incredibly similar on paper. However as I said extensively before, they both have different strengths and playstyles. Simply cherry-picking the best I think is a bad way to go. You effectively end up with two different armies under the same banner. A combined list should harness the strengths of both lists into one cohesive force (again idealism).

I have to say, I have missed debates like this. Thanks Cap!


Also, I still don't like White Lions (yes, this does mean my opinion on Executioners vs White Lions is likely biased).
 

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Dunno but I like the idea of my reaper crossbow men with martial prowess and my cold one knights for that matter throw ins some silvers and some treemen and I'm sorted :)
 

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I will admit that I do not really have much to do with the tournament scene (largely due to the stereotypical "tournie players", who I accept may be minority, but they are all I ever meet) so I don't know about GW 's policy about End Times and Tournaments. My local GW treats End Times like Storm of Magic, ie, it's a supplement, we'll promote and sell it because we're paid to, if you wanna play it good for you, if you don't that's fine, here's a couple of games and a "tournament" for it.
Your game store is pretty awesome then, especially if it's a GW. In actuality, a lot of players have been dodging the End Times to a degree. So far I haven't heard any stories of anyone starting a new army or armies just because of End Times.
Tournament players aren't all bad, either. A lot of us actually have nothing but love for the game, and that's why we can get so up in arms about this. If we just wanted to run rampant and face-smash in every game, we wouldn't care that the armies are unbalanced.
In the mid-range, (aka "the way GW intends the game to be played") players don't notice these balance issues as much. If two players sat down and threw darts at a list of regiments from their army, and then played those armies, the game would likely be very close. The game isn't as terribly unbalanced as people pan it out to be. The catch is that you can't start putting much "pressure" on the system.
GW doesn't like the tournament guys because we do put pressure on. We will sit down and crunch all the numbers and will tell people to buy White Lions over Swordmasters because of a few tenths of a wound per round of combat. In my experience, even "friendly" gamers will replace units that underperform if they're losing games all the time. There is an "arm's race" of sorts, since this is an adversarial experience - two people playing a game. So eventually, all armies gravitate towards that top tier, and the closer you get, the more it becomes apparent that some books start to taper out.
On the other end of the spectrum, some books have a hard time writing a truly terrible list (Warriors of Chaos). Other armies - usually the weaker ones - can write absolutely god-freaking-awful armies without even trying. Look at Beastmen or TombKings. If you don't pick the three good units in their book (exaggeration, but not by much) you're gonna have a bad time against almost anyone.

I just want GamesWorkshop to put as much effort into providing a balanced game at the top levels as possible. The people who play competitively will appreciate it. The people who play "for narrative" or "for fun" won't notice the difference. There can still be terrible choices in books, like Alith Aenar and the Shadow Warriors, because if people want to use those units, they'll use them no matter how good they are(n't). But whenever GW just says "hey, we don't care, here's a narrative-style army that is also balls-to-the-walls powerful", and drops that into the mix, competitive players are the first to notice and get edgy about it.

My point was supposed to be that Black Guard and Phoenix Guard, one being offensive and one being defensive, have very different battlefield roles. I wasn't meaning to throw them together against each other (in hindsight I probably shouldn't have used "vs"), I was meaning to imply a point I have made in other posts before: That you cannot take the stats of one unit on paper and compare them to the stats of another without taking into consideration what their use on the battlefield is.
Exactly. Compare Phoenix Guard (an "anvil") to Core Spears. You will lose combat by a narrower margin, because the PG's take roughly half the casualties, and can deal a few more wounds on average thanks to S4. The difference is that Spears are Core, and you already have to invest 25% of your army in some kind of Core choice. HE players do use Phoenix Guard regiments, and some use Spear Elves as well (I'm talking competitive play), most won't use them both in the same list though, because of the way that they fulfill roles.
So if you want offensive capability, compare BlackGuards to Executioners. Or compare them to Witches, Spear Elves, and so forth. In my experience, DarkElf Core is plenty capable of ripping up lightly armored opponents. It's the tougher, more armored units that they have issues with. They don't have S5 in the army, and just one unit with constant S6 (I know, and CoKs on the charge). Heck, I can take Corsairs and swap out +1S for +1SV and count them in Core.

You have to compare a lot more than just role. You need to compare units within that role, and consider how badly your army even needs that role fulfilled. Anything in Special or Rare will carry a "core tax", which is a hidden cost imposed by having to fill 25% Core with something, so Core units might have lower stats but still be more popular because taking Spears instead of Guard will free up points to take heavy-hitting infantry in your Special or Rare - something that you can't get from your Core choices.

This is my main gripe with Mathhammer. Don't get me wrong, I believe it is a good way to show statistically the ideal/average potential of a unit. However, for all your talk of constants and variables you do not take into consideration that this game is a game of chance. Yes, you can calculate the percentage of hits and wounds you will get with 24 attacks from a unit of White Lions but how often does this happen? Warhammer does not belong in a vacuum.
You're forgetting how averages work. It's a problem that a lot of the newer players make - they see a huge number somewhere and fixate on it.
"I have 50 attacks with these Spears, and your Skullcrushers only have 9 Wounds. I'm gonna wipe you out!"
Not realizing that they basically need to roll 4+, followed by 5+, and then 1's to cause a wound.
If you record every dice roll that you make over the course of several games, you'll see that you average out at 3.5 per dice. I know that my unit should, on average, inflict 24 wounds. If I score 30/30 wounds, I'm elated. If I score 0/30 wounds, I'm a little griefed, but it's not the end of the world.
Knowing averages also helps me pick the right tool for the job. My WhiteLions get fewer attacks than my Spears, but they're more likely to cause a lot of damage to those Skullcrushers. So I send them.
One player in my group doesn't understand this. He thinks that his rolls are terrible, but he doesn't realize how insanely often he requires his units to roll above average in order to win a fight. We even point it out to him, "Nate - you couldn't have won that fight without rolling, literally, nothing but 5-6's for 10 straight rolls." You wouldn't sit down a gamble $100 that you could roll 10D6 and get nothing but 5-6's on each one. Why would you expect to win a combat on the same odds?

But I digress. I am aware that there is no equivalent for Phoenix Guard in Dark Elves, hell no army really has an equivalent to them. However, Dark Elves never needed Phoenix Guard, because they didn't fit the overall playstyle of the army. I do believe that simply mashing together High Elf/Dark Elf/Wood Elf lists or even just taken one and claiming it is a host of the Eternity King is not the way to go. In the latter case yes it does improve your units, but at the end of the day you are still a High Elf army. Same s**t, different day. The best Eternity King lists I believe will be the list who merge the playstyles of the 3 armies together: A solid High Elf line to take the charge, swift Dark Elf units to counter-attack and act as line-breakers and Wood Elves for speed and disruption. I know it's idealistic but I firmly believe an armylist built loosely around that ideal will function better than a "durr, moi 'Igh Elvs be der Eternity King's army for der Murderous Prowess" list.

Also,


Really? How many times do I have to tell people that you can't test units just by tossing them against each other.....oh wait....that sounds familiar....
(yes, yes, it's a low blow)
I didn't mean the two units fighting each other. I made the same "vs" mistake that you did. Compare Archers and RBXs - you trade 6" of range for the ability to double tap, at practically no cost. And you can take Shields. And, since the army isn't a vaccum - it's easier to get a solid shooting phase with Dark Elves.



Now the case of Shadow Warriors and Shades.
To be pedantic: High Elf and Dark Elf armies do indeed use them, that's why their unit entries are in their respective armies. Sorry, had to get it out my system.
Now seriously though, how can you possibly know that? I use both (admittedly that's because my High Elf army is led by Alith Anar) and Shades are amongst the best skirmishers in the game. Admittedly I did forget that the Wood Elves have that kinda covered (to be fair, I'm guessing I'm not the only one who forgot Wood Elves in the list). As to why a combined host would use them? Maybe someone wants to? Could be a variety of reasons, they own the models and have no Wood Elves, they like the background/fluff, they want skirmishers but don't like Wood Elves, they want to spite someone they spoke to on the internet.
Yes, and I admitted that players are welcome to use whatever units they want to. The game should, idealistically, be balanced so that this works and wins games. But it's not, so if they army doesn't win games, or it doesn't win against an optimized army, there's no room for that players to start whining about "powergamers" or how often they're getting stomped in their games.




And now we come to the little kitty in the corner. The Jack-of-All-Trades. White Lions. So yeah, for 1pt more you get Stubborn, Forest Strider and +2 AS vs shooting. Except Forest Strider generally means jack s**t and Stubborn is easily obtained through ranks in combat. So basically you're getting +2 to your armour save vs shooting for an extra point. Now that is very good. However, White Lions need that more than Executioners need it. Why? Psychology.
When you line up Executioners and White Lions side by side, your average gamer is going to pour fire onto the White Lions. Why you may ask? Because their reputation precedes them as you and everyone in Warhammer who uses or has encountered them knows very well what they do and how well they do it. Executioners, as pointed out by yourself, are generally considered to be not as good and therefore are considered less of a threat. In the context of their own army books this still holds true. Executioners rank up next to Hydras, Witch Elves, Black Guard, Knights and the Kharibdyss. The sheer saturation of targets Dark Elves can throw out on the battlefield means you are generally not concerned with your Executioners being shot. If they are, it means the other threats aren't being shot. In your average High Elf army whats your threat? White Lions. Phoenix Guard don't have the damage output to compare, Swordmasters are considered inferior to White Lions (evidenced by yourself), what does that leave you with? White Lions, your only real threat in combat (that people bother to take). So in a combined army, logically your White Lions are going to take the lion's share (gettit? Hahaha) of hatred whereas the Executioners are going to sidle up to the enemy relatively unharmed (not saying they won't shot at, but not as much as your precious White Lions).
1. 1pt for Stubborn and Forest Strider, and +2Sv is huge. I would say that my Executioners were getting Steadfast if I were fielding them with 5 ranks of models and not taking massive casualties as a result of being T3 Sv5+. I have rarely been in a situation where my White Lions would have been Steadfast against an opponent, excepting Knights or other small solos.
+1pt would be worth it just for the save though. Every passed armor save keeps a 13pt model in the game. That's worth it to me.
2. A smart opponent will shoot your Execs. Handgunners and Bowmen won't do squat to a T5 Hydra. They will wreck an Elf unit though. And if Execs are the hardest hitting, and likely one of the smaller, T3 Sv5+ units on your side of the table, you can bet that I'm going to shoot them into oblivion. I'll need to find another way to handle that Hydra, but before I die, I'm taking the points for your Execs with me.
Also, welcome to End Times. You can have a Hydra, Witch Elves, Black Guard, Knights, and a Kharby in that army right next to the White Lions. So now, for any reason other than spite or appearances/fluff, are you going to take Execs over Lions?

Execs are a solid unit in a purely Dark Elf army. When you start mixing and matching, you have better options out there. There's no denying that Lions and Execs fill exactly the same role on the battlefield. So it should be clear that the White Lions are the superior choice mechanically - Execs get shelved in a Legion army.

When it comes to the crux of the argument, I agree. The armies are incredibly similar on paper. However as I said extensively before, they both have different strengths and playstyles. Simply cherry-picking the best I think is a bad way to go. You effectively end up with two different armies under the same banner. A combined list should harness the strengths of both lists into one cohesive force (again idealism).
That's the problem! Every army can already play to a certain style. Everyone has their hammers and anvils, everyone has their shooting phase, magic phase, and chaff. What differentiates the armies is the way that they lean towards certain phases or abilities over others. The difference between High Elves comes down to shooting and armor. The Dark Elves have better shooting, and less armor over all. High Elves have weaker shooting, but more access to more resilient units on the line.
Sticking with the WhiteLions/Execs example, you're saying that if you were given the choice in your Dark Elf army, you would not field a White Lion statline over Executioners. If they reflavored them and released rules for 'Dark Elf Ravagers' and created new models with all new fluff, you still wouldn't take them?
End Times is giving players those choices. High Elf players who are using Archers now, or who want to have a shooting phase, can now poach Repeater Crossbowmen into their list, and for practically no additional cost over Archers. The big "tell" is in the RBTs, actually - why would a High Elf player field the exact same warmachine for 25pts more in Rare, and be limited to just fielding 2 of them, when they could take Dark Elf RBTs and get six in their Special choice? They could even use the same model, as the units are not different in any way except where they fit in the armybook. Dark Elf players using Executioners can now replace them with White Lions. They can get one of the most solid "anvil" units in the game and grab Phoenix Guard.

It doesn't change the army's cohesion or style at all. It gives players the option to augment that style and cover their weakness. Where the armies were balanced somewhat by the options which they could not field, or which cost more points, were more limited, or were not as powerful - now they can mix and match solid units together.

Look at allies in 40k.
That's what the ET is doing with Fantasy. There are limitations and restrictions yes, but players are still being give the option to completely flip the tables.
 

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Haha, awesome. Yep, I pretty much agree with everything you've said there (and again, apologies for earlier bursts of pedanticism).

With the refluffing/remodelling of White Lions.....they wouldn't be White Lions, they'd be Dark Elf Ravagers. And honestly, I would probably give the unit a chance, but in the end my preference would probably still be Executioners. They were the first unit in my army back in 2001 and I started Dark Elves because of that unit. My opinion on them over White Lions is completely biased, and for other players I can understand their taking White Lions in an End Times list over the Executioners, but against all odds I will back my favourite unit to the hilt. Plus I've just never liked White Lions, it's just a strange irrational thing about them.

Regarding shooting at Executioners, it is a sad thing, but a lot of the players I've played don't shoot the Executioners (I run a unit of 30, 6x5 (I discovered a love of 6x5 for elite Elf units a couple of years back and it hasn't failed me yet)). The last time they shot at was by a hellcannon (which killed one). With regards to shooting I seem to have the most ridiculous luck with them, however they have seen more than their fair share of screw-ups in combat (I think the best one was running into a unit of Hammerers that had been debuffed to S2, T2, WS1, BS1, hitting with 2 attacks and didn't kill a thing, before losing 7 men to WS1, S4 Hammerers...).

Yeah, it is a pretty awesome GW. It's always been quite funny, being on the forums and hearing other people talk about their horror story experiences with GW staff and stores.

I think the main issue I have is that the idealistic balanced list for the ETK armies appears to really just a "best of the best" list, which rubs me slightly the wrong way. By nature I am an extremely competitive person (always had the "if you're not first, you're last attitude"). But when it comes to Warhammer I always try to subdue that competitiveness for the larger enjoyment of the game between me and my opponent. It does creep out occasionally. I could easily be a tournament player, but I try not to be ( if that makes sense), which is why that "best of the best" thing rubs me the wrong way. My competitive nature says it's brilliant, but the enjoyment side of things says it wouldn't be very fun for my opponent (although by that argument my old 1500pt 49 Witch Elf horde army wasn't either....or having ~250 repeater crossbow shots and 4 RBTs with Morathi in 2.5k).
 

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My competitive nature says it's brilliant, but the enjoyment side of things says it wouldn't be very fun for my opponent (although by that argument my old 1500pt 49 Witch Elf horde army wasn't either....or having ~250 repeater crossbow shots and 4 RBTs with Morathi in 2.5k).
Yep, I agree. It shouldn't be on the players to make the call on whether or not their army list will ruin the game for someone else. An old Highschool friend of mine is back in town for the holiday, and still has his WHFB stuff, and asked the old group if we'd like to play. We actually passed on the offer, because for half of the group, our games of Warhammer were usually just an exercise in frustration and hurt feelings. It's not fun to feel like you've wasted money, or that someone else got something better ("you're Skullcrushers get how many attacks at what strength?!")
We ended up playing D&D 4e instead, and had a blast. That game is decently balanced (a few spiky bits here and there) but because everyone is working together, it's less of a problem. Eyebrows were raised at the huge damage my character could lay down, but nobody was really angry about it. It's one thing for a DM to limit himself, because as the joke of the night went: "you detect no traps, at least, none that a 24 could spot..." If he wanted to kill us, he could have a Lvl30 Dragon sweep in and gobble us all down as soon as we reached the first village.

Warhammer, to me, isn't like D&D. I do understand that people enjoy playing narrative games and basically playing it like an RPG, but if I were in that camp, I would rather that GW posted rules for stringing battles together and "leveling up" rather than pouring their efforts into new army lists and similar supplements. More like Mordheim (great game, btw) for example.

I want to sit down, unpack my minis, and have a game. By default, the only agreement should be what points value we're playing it. Anything more than that is (to me) a "non standard" game, and I could just as easily add in crazy house rules. And I do add in crazy house rules when playing with my group; we practically rewrote entire sections of how Warhammer works in order to build a game that we enjoyed even more.
If I want to plan a battle three days in advance, work out specific lists, and lay down 'gentlemanly agreements' between the players, I'll play a game that isn't considered by many to be a "beer and pretzels wargame" like WHFB. Something like refighting a campaign using 'Napoleon's Battles' rules or something to that effect.

Warhammer should be played as a game. Sit down, fight a battle, have a blast, and then pack it up and go home. It's not fun getting your face crushed in by Legion Elves or any other super-powered army, and I would hate to find myself faced with such prospects outside of a tournament game. In a tournament, I'm angry that I wasted my entry fee on a face-kicking by such a ridiculous army, but at least I can't be angry at anyone for bringing it to the table, since I had fair warning. I can, however, be angry that GW would publish something so crude in the first place. It's a game, and while it will never be (and I'd hate for it to be) as balanced as Chess, I still expect it to be balanced than a game of "let's pretend Transformers" with my gf's nephews.
 
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