[WFB] House of Kerithion

Trying a new tack with the Dark Elves – away from the Khainite bias and into something that forces me to adjust my style away from RUN FORWARD SHOUTING.

Lord: Supreme Sorceress: 350
– level 4 wizard
– Pendant of Khaeleth
– Dark Pegasus

Hero: Master: 113
– heavy armour, Sea Dragon cloak
– Crimson Death
– Army General

Hero: Master: 329
– lance, heavy armour, shield, Sea Dragon Cloak
– Manticore
– Ring of Hotek

Core: 39 Warriors: 293
– shields
– standard, musician, champion
– Banner of Murder

Core: 10 Crossbowmen: 105
– musician

Core: 10 Crossbowmen: 105
– musician

Core: 5 Dark Riders: 131
– repeater crossbows
– musician, champion

Core: Assassin: 171
– additional hand weapon
– Rending Stars, Cloak of Twilight, Manbane

Special: 7 Shades: 130
– Bloodshade

Rare: 2 Reaper Bolt Throwers: 200

Overall: 1955
Lords: 350/500
Heroes: 442/500
Core: 805
Special: 130/1000
Rare: 200/500

Another of those ‘the best you can with what you’ve got’ jobs, I’m afraid. I’m acutely conscious that it doesn’t include any of the best stuff (a problem I’ve often had: the financial cost of Rare units and their position at the end of the army list combine to push them out of my awareness when list building), but I feel it should play a decent denial/attrition game, especially with the Lore of Shadows around to drop some hexes and reduce the resilience of key targets.

The Manticore Master and Assassin are both counter-attack units, who can also be recast as artillery/wizard hunters should the need arise. At a pinch, I can also slingshot the Master with Crimson Death out of his unit with Shadow Magic, if there’s something out there that absolutely has to die. Shades and Dark Riders put pressure on the enemy, either by being upfield and chucking out some respectably reliable firepower or just serving as delivery systems for the aforementioned characters. Crossbowmen and Spearmen move up and hold the midfield…

… I’m still not convinced there’s enough hitty in this list. Maybe I need to squash some Chariots in there somehow? What would you drop to fit them in, Internets?

[WFB] Down In The Dumps

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.

[WFB] That’s Not The Way To Do It At All

There are two ways to learn a new edition of a wargame.

There is the sensible way, where you wait for an appropriately-priced rulebook to be released, read through it several times – once for squee, once for confusion, once for slow parsing and then once more for actual tactical application – and play a series of smallish games using forces you’re comfortable with, concentrating on the interaction of new mechanics, in a safe and quiet environment free of pressures, with time to look up and discuss complex interactions as they emerge.

Then there’s the stupid way where you play a five-player team game in a Games Workshop branch with a rowdy, rambunctions bunch of old mates, only two of whom have seriously read the new rules, and a high chance of backseat gamers, self-appointed Sun Tzu, hobby elitists and all the other nuisances of the shop environment.

I am stupid. THEREFORE:

Dark Elves 8th Ed Test Run – 2498/2500
Lords – 470

Dreadlord (General) – 180
– repeater crossbow
– Tormentor Sword
– Armour of Darkness

Supreme Sorceress – 290
– Ring of Darkness
– Sacrifical Dagger

Heroes – 595

Master – 340
– heavy armour, shield, sea dragon cloak
– Deathpiercer, Ring of Hotek
– Manticore

Death Hag – 226
– Cauldron of Blood
– Army Standard

Core – 626

39 Warriors – 288
– shields
– standard, musician, Lordling

10 Crossbowmen – 100

10 Crossbowmen – 100

5 Dark Riders – 131
– repeater crossbows
– musician, Herald

Special – 637

21 Witch Elves – 275
– standard, musician, Hag
– Witchbrew, Banner of Swiftness

16 Executioners – 232
– standard, musician, Draich-master
– Banner of Eternal Flame

7 Shades – 130
– Bloodshade

Rare – 200

2 Reaper Bolt Throwers – 200

Dreadlord is in to snipe at things like Fanatics should any be present, and to provide an Ld10 bubble from the heart of the army. Was tempted to merge Crossbows into one big unit and give him the reroll-misses-when-shooting talisman. He gets a cheap magic sword in case of Wraiths – he can join the Spearmen and at least try to slap some wounds on them.

Sorceress goes in the Warrior horde and uses them as ablative wounds and power dice on legs (which should hopefully compensate for her lower level).

Master on Manticore dive-bombs whatever needs dive-bombing – trashes something big and scary like a War Altar and annoys people with his miscasty doom aura.

Death Hag does what Death Hags do – follow the army, being a very tough BSB that also hands out Stubborn to my signature units and buffs like they’re going out of fashion.

Spearmen horde take point. Deliver Sorceress into range and move up, daring charges – Sorceress will have something that still works in combat, be it a Soul Stealer, a Word of Pain or a Black Horror. If she rolls three missiles I’m entertainingly buggered.

Crossbows and Bolt Throwers are flank and rear guards for the army, chucking out volume of fire until they die.

Dark Riders are bait and blockers, as are Shades. Any casualties inflicted by them are a bonus.

Executioners are crap in the new rules but I’m taking them anyway so I can see how crap they are and whether the Cauldron helps them be not crap. Will probably use them to outflank anything fighting the Warriors.

Witch Elves move forward apace, charge in, chop up what they can and keep going until something dies. Switched their configuration around a bit. Suspect will miss Manbane/Armour Piercing combo after a while. Can’t be helped though.

Entry increasingly terse due to exciting sixteen hour day of restoring formatted computer to ordinary functioning, and being placed on hold by Department for Work and Pensions.

Has just occurred to me – members of Dark Elf team have not discussed who will take which items and spell lores to avoid duplication. Pre-game pre-amble could be VERY interesting…

Will try to report on game.

Bed now.