Author Topic: Re: Dark Elf Faction Review  (Read 3706 times)

gornhorror

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Re: Dark Elf Faction Review
« on: February 25, 2016, 05:31:14 PM »
Ok, so now I've had another experience with playing against the Dark Elves this past Championship tournament.  Also, nothing against Eric.  He played very well and deserved to win.  I'm thinking that there would a be a few changes I would make to balance this faction.  IMHO, it's way too good.

My changes would be:

1.) Make Slave Warriors standard.
2.) Get rid of Low Blood Levies altogether.  
3.) Take away the fearsome ability from all units except Drake Riders and Lord of Dusk(I would even say, make Lord of Dusk Fearsome instead of Terrifying to lower it's cost a bit.
4.) The Slave Taker unit is just freakin' awesome.  How is this unit only 181 points?   For a light cavalry unit it gets 3 green boxes, 2 yellow and 2 red.  Also, let's throw in a offensive and a defensive bonus on the charge.  It also has an impact hit and a faction ability that will allow it to do another damage(pain touch).  Oh, and did I mention that it moves 7" which better protects it from ranged units.  AND IT'S CORE!!!  Something needed to be omitted from this unit for it to make sense to me.  Perhaps only 2 green boxes? or no offensive (+0/+1)bonus on the charge, kinda like Hawkshold scouts.  

I guess basically what I'm saying is that this unit is freakin maxed out and in this faction it really shouldn't be.

The nerf that was imposed on this factions ranged attacks just wasn't enough to bring it down to earth, IMHO.



« Last Edit: February 25, 2016, 10:09:25 PM by gornhorror »
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Kevin

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Re: Dark Elf Faction Review
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2016, 01:00:03 AM »
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1.) Make Slave Warriors standard.

Totally agreed!  Mainly because this prevents "4 slaves and lots of wacky Death!" armies.

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2.) Get rid of Low Blood Levies altogether.

Why?  IMHO they're a pefectly fine, balanced unit.  A little bit weaker than Goblin Raiders & Swarmling Warriors, a bit better than Hawkhold Militia.  Other than having Spears, they're quite vanilla.  (OK I assume you guys are aware of the print error where their Offensive Skill was printed at 5 rather than 4.  If you had them at 5 I could totally understand your hatred of the unit.)

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3.) Take away the fearsome ability from all units except Drake Riders and Lord of Dusk(I would even say, make Lord of Dusk Fearsome instead of Terrifying to lower it's cost a bit.

You could, though IMHO Fearsome is slightly over-costed, so if you take it away the units gets cheaper and IMHO better-bang-for-the-buck.  Unless you're saying to take away Fearsome and keep the costs the same.

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4.) The Slave Taker unit is just freakin' awesome.  How is this unit only 181 points?   For a light cavalry unit it gets 3 green boxes, 2 yellow and 2 red.  Also, let's throw in a offensive and a defensive bonus on the charge.  It also has an impact hit and a faction ability that will allow it to do another damage(pain touch).  Oh, and did I mention that it moves 7" which better protects it from ranged units.  AND IT'S CORE!!!  Something needed to be omitted from this unit for it to make sense to me.  Perhaps only 2 green boxes? or no offensive (+0/+1)bonus on the charge, kinda like Hawkshold scouts.  

IMHO it was a minor design goof to give the unit 7 red boxes instead of 6 since it only has 4 dice and both hit points & attack dice are suggestive of how many soldiers are in the unit.  That said, I think it's fairly priced.  Let's look at some comparable 4-die cavalry:

Hawkshold Scouts:  Has one less green box and doesn't get the +1 power on the charge, and costs a full 35 points less!  (146 vs. 181.)

Roman Equites:  Doesn't get the +1 Power on the Charge, but is a 2/2 rather than a 2/1.  (So if Equites & Slave Takers charge each other it's a push.)  One less yellow box; one lower courage.  MC 6" rather than 7".  33 points cheaper.  (148 vs. 181)

Spanish Cavalry:  Doesn't get the +1 Power on the Charge, but is a 6/5 rather than a 5/5.  MC 6" and one less red box.  4 points more expensive.  (185 vs. 181.)

I agree that Slave Takers are good, but have a hard time saying their price is off if we consider these units' prices OK.

All that said, I will acknowledge that the +2-die-charge somewhat helps 4-die units (+2 dice is a large % increase than it is on 5 or 6-die units.  It especially helps 4-die cavalry (who get an awesome charge).  As you may recall, when we all were debating charges, I advocated that cavalry get 1 die + the impact hit (and infantry get 1 die and large/colossal get 2 dice.), in part for this very reason.  But I lost that one.
« Last Edit: February 26, 2016, 05:03:05 PM by Kevin »
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RushAss

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Re: Dark Elf Faction Review
« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2016, 02:25:01 PM »
If there is any one of those that I'm 100% in agreement with it's the Slave Warriors being Core.  That right there allows you to achieve just about any build you want.  I don't think Low Blood Levies are a problem.  And Slave Takers are pretty darned strong for a sub-200 point cavalry unit.  I'm not really sure what the fix for that would be if any.
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Kevin

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Re: Dark Elf Faction Review
« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2016, 04:10:24 PM »
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And Slave Takers are pretty darned strong for a sub-200 point cavalry unit.  I'm not really sure what the fix for that would be if any.

Not 100% needed, but what would improve the flavor as well as the balance is to erase one hit box.  I'd probably be conservative and erase a red box, but you could do a yellow if it makes you feel better.  :)
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. - Winston Churchill

gornhorror

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Re: Dark Elf Faction Review
« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2016, 05:10:55 PM »
I think as soon as you move 7" your green boxes should be limited to 2.  Otherwise make the damn things move 6"
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Kevin

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Re: Dark Elf Faction Review
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2016, 05:35:27 PM »
Alexander also has a 3-green-box 7" mover.  One less hit box of a different color (I forget which.) and 1/1 defense.  159 points.
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. - Winston Churchill

gornhorror

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Re: Dark Elf Faction Review
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2016, 06:55:25 PM »
Alexander also has a 3-green-box 7" mover.  One less hit box of a different color (I forget which.) and 1/1 defense.  159 points.

Yeah, I'm not sure if I agree with that either.
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BubblePig

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Re: Dark Elf Faction Review
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2016, 07:11:31 PM »
On the Slave Warriors, I have been saying for ages that the most broken thing about the dark elves is a great sub 100 core unit, and that was before the nerf bat got applied to Coven and Arrogant Spite. Like a few weeks after they were released, basically as soon as a stopped orgasming over the ridiculously underpriced Lowbloods (which turned out to be a misprint.)

But on every other point I strongly disagree. Slave Takers are a really good unit, but every faction has at least one really good unit so I am baffled why the need to single these out for the nerf bat. Overall, at what they do the Lowbloods are not even as good as Slave Takers, so I am even more baffled there. I assume fearsome must have been priced in to the units, so taking it away just seems unfair and unbalanced. If there are specific things which make the dark elves too strong, then by all means address those specific things, but I am especially not buying the whole 'you have to be large to be fearsome' thing.

Hannibal

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Re: Dark Elf Faction Review
« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2016, 08:05:29 PM »
Slave Takers are a really good unit, but every faction has at least one really good unit so I am baffled why the need to single these out for the nerf bat.

I'm pretty much in agreement with this sentiment.  Orcs have Axemen & Wolf Kin, both of which are great values for their points.  High Elves have core Chariots which are also phenomenally good for their points and are Core.  I don't think that because a unit is good means it needs to be adjusted.


Alexander also has a 3-green-box 7" mover.  One less hit box of a different color (I forget which.) and 1/1 defense.  159 points.

Yeah, I'm not sure if I agree with that either.

And if the game functioned under the rules of the tournament you guys just played in, I absolutely wouldn't let those two units make it out of the design stage.  The ability to flank an enemy when you're 5" to their front would be insane.  However using the 3.1 rules (the rules they were tested under for several years), I think they're a great unit but not overpowered.


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Spanish Cavalry:  Doesn't get the +1 Power on the Charge, but is a 6/5 rather than a 5/5.  MC 6" and one less red box.  4 points more expensive.  (185 vs. 181.)

This particular example is a bit off, because the Spanish Cavalry should cost 165pts.  Chad confirmed that they were miscosted due to a typo (along with Vet Equites & Gallic Cav).


If there is any one of those that I'm 100% in agreement with it's the Slave Warriors being Core.  That right there allows you to achieve just about any build you want.

Hawkshold can do the same with Mobs & Militia.  Wuxing can have almost any build they want with Salvaged.  Carthage & Rome have Core skirmishers.  Umenzi have Initiates.  And of course Undead have Core.  Freakin'.  Zombies.

I agree that Slaves are pretty min-maxed.  I mean, Spears and Cge 12?  On a unit with "Slaves" in the title?  IMO that's pretty much the issue with the Slave Takers and the Slaves.  And, before the Pow charge was changed, the faction in general was min-maxed because it was a D:3/1 faction.

However I don't believe that any of this rises to the level of needing to be changed.  One thing we found out when playing with the 3.1 rules (dice charge & no flank-from-front) is that you don't need wide lines and in fact can do quite well with lines as narrow as 7 units.  Given that points density, Slave Warriors aren't as useful because they end up getting beat up pretty quickly.

RushAss

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Re: Dark Elf Faction Review
« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2016, 10:15:38 PM »
If there is any one of those that I'm 100% in agreement with it's the Slave Warriors being Core.  That right there allows you to achieve just about any build you want.

Hawkshold can do the same with Mobs & Militia.  Wuxing can have almost any build they want with Salvaged.  Carthage & Rome have Core skirmishers.  Umenzi have Initiates.  And of course Undead have Core.  Freakin'.  Zombies.
Oh yeah, no doubt.  The boat with the uber cheap core units sailed with the initial release of the game.  But the other factions you mention don't have game changer units like Lash-mistresses, Covens, and Drake Riders.  The Slave Warriors themselves are not a big problem.  The problem as I see it is that you can satisfy Core requirements for less than 400 points and then pretty much take whatever you want.  It's easier to do with Dark Elves than any other faction.  Plus:

Peasant Mobs still need to have Bravery marked to be playable 90% of the time

I agree about Wuxing, but satisfying Core at 2000 points with Wuxing costs 532 points as opposed to 384 points for Dark Elves.  That's significant.

I'm really not a fan of Skirmishers being Core myself.  However, I understand that historically they where a significant portion of both Rome and Carthage.  And it's not like either Rome or Carthage have any near game breaker units.  And even without Skirmishers Rome is ridiculously easy to satisfy Core requirements with.

Initiates require leadership.  So you are not just paying for them, you also need to provide at least a Shaman in most cases to make them work.  Or make sure you keep Worthy or Chosen close by.

And if you take Zombies, you are stuck moving slowly to keep your line together.  No big deal on an open map, but toss in terrain and it becomes a bother.

Slave Warriors don't slap you with any of those limitations.
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Will still capture our imaginations"
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Hannibal

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Re: Dark Elf Faction Review
« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2016, 12:58:59 AM »
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Oh yeah, no doubt.  The boat with the uber cheap core units sailed with the initial release of the game.  But the other factions you mention don't have game changer units like Lash-mistresses, Covens, and Drake Riders. 

I simply don't believe that any of those are game changers, especially post nerf. 


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Slave Warriors don't slap you with any of those limitations.

You mean besides the limitation of being a D:1/1, 3 Green box unit.  The one place where I think they get a free advantage is being spears.  A crap unit like that is seldom going to want to engage so them being on Hold w/Objective would be something you'd do anyway.  Being spears means that they practically suffer no penalty for it.

gornhorror

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Re: Dark Elf Faction Review
« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2016, 02:07:37 PM »
I've played enough battleground to know that the Dark Elf faction has a bit too much going for it.  

1. The best command deck hands down.
2. Their line units are fearsome (laugh)
3. Unbelievable ranged capability.
4. Plethora of (really)cheap core units that are spears.
5. A maxed out fast light cavalry unit that is practically invulnerable ranged attacks.  3 green boxes, cavalry and MC7" means that even if you concentrate fire on it the chances are good that it will still hit you at full strength when it engages.  
6. A really good flying unit.
7. An army ability that guarantees another point of damage if you do a damage.
8. And how can I forget about the Lashmistress.  This unit's abiliity is just wrong and is broken in my honest opinion.  I guess it wasn't enough that the faction is just awesome, it needed a unit that can do damage AND disrupt your line so you get your best units pinched into oblivion.

Now, perhaps many things would fall into place if we could just say that slave warriors aren't core.  I'm not even sure that would be enough, but it's start.





« Last Edit: February 27, 2016, 06:39:02 PM by gornhorror »
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Zelc

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Re: Dark Elf Faction Review
« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2016, 09:18:40 AM »
I think Dark Elves are better than the average faction, but are not broken. Dark Elves have a good deal of strategic flexibility. Their problem is 1) not having any unit with a great defensive profile*, 2) an utterly predictable defense profile, and 3) their strong units aren't actually that strong if you can deal with their tricks. You want to bring some ~330+ point units that can beat Duskblades/Lashmistresses/Lords of Dusk, and have a plan to deal with stand and shoot and the Drake Riders (which then turn into expensive bad cavalry). Dark Elves require a different approach to beat them, but it's absolutely doable. The worst thing you can do is going in there without dealing with the tricks Dark Elves can pull out in either your army building, deployment, or initial orders.


*Great being 5 total defense. I'm not counting Knights since they've only got 8 boxes.
« Last Edit: February 28, 2016, 11:20:59 AM by Zelc »

BubblePig

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Re: Dark Elf Faction Review
« Reply #13 on: February 28, 2016, 11:03:25 AM »
That is a nice list of what are the Dark Elves strong points, but every faction has strong points. It seems to me that dialing it down a notch would do more to convince people than turning it up to eleven. Because the list IMO goes a bit overboard (see next post for specific example) it undercuts the point that you have played enough games to be an authority on this subject.

I agree with everything Bohan said, and would add that Dark Elves ranged units are just as unbelievably expensive as they are capable. Most of the ranged damage has neat effects but that is not a substitute for attack dice. Dark Elves have no vanilla archers, which hurts more than you would think if ranged damage is not just a bit of frosting on the cake but is instead an important part of your strategy. When it comes to unbeatable stand and shoot, Ravenwood will beat DE every single time.

Flavor wise, I do think Ancients and Red Dragons should be immune to pureblood terrifying, but other than that I don't see the problem with stipulating that Dark Elves are a race so ancient and contemptuous that they have thoroughly conditioned every other race to instinctively fear them. Can you help me understand what makes that so unacceptable to you?
« Last Edit: February 29, 2016, 02:01:06 AM by BubblePig »

BubblePig

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Re: Dark Elf Faction Review
« Reply #14 on: February 28, 2016, 11:52:12 AM »
Factions that have faction ability plus command deck combo as good as or better than Dark Elves

Orcs (wolf rider car bomb, ikym, plus DE best card, seize the moment, at will)
Lizardmen (faction ability just crazy better than pain touch, synergizes well with CCs)
Monsters and Mercs (the real best command deck hands down)
Rome
Carthage

Not familiar enough yet to say Wuxing or AvP belong in there or not but the last three on this list have straight up a better command deck than Dark Elves. I love my CC options for all three an overwhelming amount of the time, but I find Butcher the Unworthy difficult to optimize, and Contempt on average as frustrating as Oathbound. I also think it is debatable whether Umenzi belong in there on the pure strength of their faction ability even though their command deck is mediocre.
« Last Edit: February 29, 2016, 02:05:45 AM by BubblePig »