Y’know that Dark Elf list I spent a week planning, back in August?
Turns out it’s bobbins. A 1500 point stripdown worked fairly well, fighting a bunch of castly High Elves to a draw, but the 2000 point version was outranged (anyone with a thirty inch range on their missile weapons can fire on me from turn one, while the Dark Elf Crossbowmen usually have to move for a turn or two to reach effective range and preserve lines of fire, which makes them rather less effective despite their buckets of dice) and… actually, just outranged, with the Executioners suffering from poor positioning and consequently being spanked before they had the chance to shoot anything.
The trouble is, it was conceived for a particular set of opponents that want to come towards the middle and engage. An opponent who doesn’t, and who isn’t particularly threatened by the list’s missile fire and therefore doesn’t have a reason to do what they don’t want to do, is a much tougher proposition. A list which cannot take all comers (in this case, which cannot cope with any sort of castling/gunline tactics) is a Bad List, and suffers the fate of such.
So, what do we do about fixing it? I confess that having played High Elves, the Warhammer World’s Official Best At Everything twice (with their stupid longer ranged bows that fire in more ranks, their Swordmasters and their Banner Of Dark Elves Go Home), I’m feeling a bit dejected and inferior. I’m also increasingly bitter about the Temple of Khaine theme that I’ve inherited; the models I own tie me down to a melee infantry TakeCasualtiesHammer build that isn’t particularly fulfilling when you have no way to make your dead stand back up again.
I suspect that expanding the collection to include more cavalry, Shades, Harpies and general Fast Stuff might not be a bad idea, as might using the bloody Manticore next time. I also suspect that what Robbie said after the game was right – there were two list concepts in those 2000 points and they were starving each other out of what they needed to be effective. It may be time to split the concepts up and concentrate on either a block-movement-and-whittle-down attrition army or a Khainite build centred around buffed up melee infantry.
That actually feels a bit like a poor man’s Warriors of Chaos, which makes me wonder if Pete – whose High Elves are responsible for the current malaise – might not have had a point when he suggested playing them instead. Thing is, I’m trying to expand my tactical repetoire beyond ‘melee infantry and disposable chaff’, which has been my old familiar standby for many years of WFB gaming… but then again, I’ve never been into the idea that gaming has to be a form of personal development to be enjoyable. Maybe I could try sticking to what I know?
For now, it’s time to think about two different Dark Elf armies using the collection I already have. I’ll be in touch.