My Dark Elves were, despite the initial rush, my Big Hobby Mistake of 2010.
Compared to previous projects, what went wrong was fairly simple to identify. I bought a 2000 point army in one fell swoop, pretty much, seizing on the bargain as it flew past; I decided to cement its Khainite theme and attempt a tactical enhancement by adding the Cauldron of Blood. This was unwise on several levels.
For one thing, what I enjoy about Dark Elves is the mid-ranged shooting, which other armies frankly do better (High Elves outrange them and shoot them up before they reach their optimal range band, which starts in midfield; Empire not only outrange AND out-penetrate with regular crossbows, but have the Outriders, who can Vanguard into place and deliver a volley of lead that makes the repeater crossbow weep into its quiver – incidentally, I tried an Empire army several years ago, and the volume of miniatures involved in even a 1000 point force demotivated me very quickly), and what the Dark Elf army that I owned did was… not mid-ranged shooting, anyway.
For two things, it was another rush into games larger than is my preference (if you cast your minds back with the aid of this handy link, you’ll remember that I started with 1500 and the trouble started when I hit 2000; even against the damn High Elves, 1500 led to a tense cat-out-of-the-bag job and 2000 was just misery and Griffons), with an army that I hadn’t developed myself through smaller games (and which I wasn’t playing the way its original owner had developed it, largely because his patient spatial reasoning is a long way from my brutal melee grind).
For three things, I gimped it with the addition of a linchpin unit to a force already burdened with Not Good Stuff, which I spent money on expanding rather than doing the sensible thing and simply purging it out. With Dark Elves, I had the unwelcome discovery that there’s the stuff that’s Good, there’s the stuff I like, and there’s the stuff I actually owned, and none of these three categories were entirely in alignment.