Author Topic: Dark Elf Faction Review  (Read 6637 times)

BubblePig

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Dark Elf Faction Review
« on: July 13, 2011, 10:40:42 PM »
OK, I'll take a shot at this.

General Army Construction for Dark Elves:
Stay true to the Dark Elven principle that dying is for Lowbloods and Halfbloods. They should form a large contingent of most builds. Many opponents will be worrying about what they are going to do about the Fearsome/Terrifying Highbloods/Purebloods or the Lashmistress/Coven ability to pull/push their units out of formation or the Drakes flying ability. You may be tempted to make all their fears come true, but you won't have the points to do it. That's OK. You will find it more than adequate to train the lesser races by focusing on just one or two of those fears at a time. And above all have fun making your opponent suffer. That's what Dark Elves do best.


Dark Elf abilities:
Premeditation I love a discount, so I usually spend extra army build points on this before command cards.

Pain Touch Usually this takes some foresight to use, since it automatically triggers, and it is wasted if it triggers in an overkill. I often place it on units where I think an extra point of damage is moderately likely to force a rout check on my opponents turn rather than mine, and also on non-speedbump units that I am unlikely to waste a red card on.


Dark Elf units:

I'm going to shamelessly steal Kevin's rating system, which he shamelessly stole from Ajax.
(OK maybe he had permission, maybe he was wracked with shame, but it just flows better saying it that way.)
Quote
General guideline to what the stars mean:

*:  It looks like this unit might be able to do this, but I've found that this is a trap.
**:  In select cases, the unit might not completely embarrass you trying to play this role.
***:  The unit plays the role competently.  Generally it won't work miracles, but it justifies its points in most games.
****:  The unit is excellent at that role.  I'll try to "upgrade" other units in that role to this one if I can.
*****:  Centaurs!

Stars are points-adjusted, so you'll often see a unit that's better on the table getting fewer stars at a role, because it isn't enough better to make the points worth it in my opinion.

Roles:

Tank: This is a unit you use to soak up hits and last long enough for relief to arrive, without planning on it doing significant damage.
Other roles should be self-explanatory, or are explained in their write up.

Dark Elf Infantry:


Slave Warriors

Disposable Fodder ****
Damage *
Tank ***
Overall ****

With a morale of 12, 3 green boxes, and 3 yellow boxes, these guys have a decent chance of sticking around for a while. They are more expensive than brownies or skirmishers, but also more durable in a stand up fight. They are good for absorbing charges, plugging holes, or extending your line. Six dice can hurt on a pinch.


Lowblood Levy

Disposable Fodder ***
Damage **
Tank ***
Overall ***

A compromise between the much more expensive Halfbloods and cheaper Slaves, I don't find myself taking this unit as often as when I started playing this faction. If you are just absorbing a charge or plugging a hole the extra points spent rarely make sense. The extra 36 points can be justified if you know they are going to be sent to the flanks, if the ability to use Pain Touch is called for, or if Slaves just wont cut the mustard.


Standard Bearers
Damage **
Tank ****
Overall ****

High Elf Battlesquads with better morale, slightly better offense, slightly worse defense. The 14 morale can come in handy when playing Inspiration of the High.


Halfblood Levy

Hurting Stuff **
Hurting Cavalry ****
Tank ****
Overall ****

The bread and butter 200ish point spear unit. Throw a Slave in front of them and you have a 310 point answer to Knights and Centaurs. (325 with Premeditation.)


Highblood Blades

Damage ***
Tank ***
Overall ***

A versatile line unit that I usually upgrade to Blade Dancers if possible.


Blade Dancers

Damage ****
Tank ** 1/2
Overall ****

If only they were core.

Highblood Duskblades

Damage *** 1/2
Tank **
Overall *** 1/2

For when you need that 6 offensive power. BladeDancers plus Premeditation is the same cost, Lashmistress minus Premeditation is almost the same cost.


Highblood Lashmistress

Shenanigans *****
Damage ****
Tank **

Overall *****

By completely changing the dynamic of my opponent's line, this unit has pulled my chestnuts out of the fire more than any other. Can turn a liability into an asset by turning an opponents flanker into an obstacle for his other units just before his final rush turn. Also good for pulling cavalry into spears.

Dusk Lord

Stand and Shoot ****
Close and Hose *
Overall ****

A great damage producer from range (would be a ***** if it didn't cost so much.) Synergizes well with Coven. Does not go well with Drakes or Dusk Lances. Have yet to use/remember that special routing rule.


Dark Elf Cavalry:

Halfblood Slavetakers

Fighting other cavalry  *
Dying horribly vs. anything holding a spear ****
Pinching ****
Overall  ****

I can not remember a single occasion when I regretted fielding one of these. I have on occasion regretted not fielding one.


Drake Riders

Fighting other cavalry **
Fighting anything with spears **
Shenanigans ****
Overall ****

Just the threat of being able to fly can be worth the ~50 point surcharge. If you need a large unit this is your only choice.


Pureblood Coven

Damage **
Tank **
Stand and Shoot Shenanigans *****
Overall ****

A must for a Stand and Shoot build.


Dusk Lances

Heavy Damage ****
Overall ****

One of the best knight units in the game, but also one of the most expensive. Not exactly fragile, but for some reason I can rarely justify putting that many points into a unit with 7 damage boxes, but that could just be because of my style of play.
--------------------------------------
I welcome any comments or additions to this.
« Last Edit: January 25, 2015, 03:50:07 PM by BubblePig »
 

Jatha

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #1 on: July 15, 2011, 06:18:46 PM »
This is great. Thanks BubblePig.

elgin_j

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2011, 07:49:12 AM »
I tried out the Dark Elves today in a solo game.  Not bad, especially the Drake Riders who are awesome.

Here are my thoughts on the way to best utilise them in a game...

The key to the Drake Riders is taking advantage of their manoeuvrability.  Tactically, I think the secret to best utilising them is always working in pairs, ordered Close but with a terrain and fly modifier.  This allows them to zip over the enemy line, land on, and then wallop units in the rear with some pinching action.  Holding them off until the enemy approaches an infantry line of dross will limit the opponent's manoeuvre options and allow Slaves et al to act the anvil to the DR hammer.  Ideally you should give Drake Riders Premeditation as standard to ensure they are hitting for maximum damage on the charge turn and have Blue cards saved to ensure they can one-shot the enemy unit.  Always ensure you are hitting 2-4 Drakes per enemy unit to take him out immediately and target well to prevent the enemy from counter-attacking on their turn.  You need to get in there, wipe the unit out, and then take to the skies to hunt down a new target.

Here's a build that I think is pretty tasty for such a scheme:

4 x Drake Riders
2 x Standard Bearers
4 x Slaves

2,000pts exactly.

Dependent upon terrain (which works to the Drake Riders' advantage even more) hold all your infantry units in one corner of your deployment  with the Drakes in the opposite, all on Hold, and start drawing cards and ticking Pain Touch on the Drakes.  Once the enemy has closed sufficiently re-order the Drakes to fly beyond the line to wreak havoc.  Watch the Slaves and Standard Bearers get walloped and care not a jot as all your points are invested in the Drakes and that is where the enemy needs to get you but can't as you dance around the battlefield.

This tactic would also work well with a Lash Mistress if you could site her well.

Smash!!!
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elgin_j

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2011, 08:01:38 AM »
Regarding Blade Dancers I think this unit is going to get found out pretty quickly.  Sure, they're cool.  Sure, they're pretty punchy.  Still, you're paying points for a unit that only reaches its full potential in a drawn out fight.  With Dark Elves this is not how you want to be fighting.  This is a brittle faction that is all about doing damage as quickly as possible in order to win the fight and start pinching.  Dragging out a slugging match is only going to work to the opponent's advantage.  They have their place but I'm going to make an early prediction that over time this unit will not feature much in the highly regarded army builds.
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BubblePig

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2011, 05:22:57 PM »
Regarding Blade Dancers I think this unit is going to get found out pretty quickly.  Sure, they're cool.  Sure, they're pretty punchy.  Still, you're paying points for a unit that only reaches its full potential in a drawn out fight.  With Dark Elves this is not how you want to be fighting.  This is a brittle faction that is all about doing damage as quickly as possible in order to win the fight and start pinching.  Dragging out a slugging match is only going to work to the opponent's advantage.  They have their place but I'm going to make an early prediction that over time this unit will not feature much in the highly regarded army builds.
I beg to differ. Against most factions, these can work mighty fine. They aren't as resilient as they were during the golden age of ultra powerful fear rule, but match them up against the opponents weak units and they often start gaining dice before they reach the yellow. The Dark Elf command cards are slanted towards offense, and the shenanigan units often create a good command card advantage on top of that. Add that all together and it often spells absolute havoc on the opponents line.
 

gull2112

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2011, 10:05:24 PM »
Regarding Blade Dancers I think this unit is going to get found out pretty quickly.  Sure, they're cool.  Sure, they're pretty punchy.  Still, you're paying points for a unit that only reaches its full potential in a drawn out fight.  With Dark Elves this is not how you want to be fighting.  This is a brittle faction that is all about doing damage as quickly as possible in order to win the fight and start pinching.  Dragging out a slugging match is only going to work to the opponent's advantage.  They have their place but I'm going to make an early prediction that over time this unit will not feature much in the highly regarded army builds.
I beg to differ. Against most factions, these can work mighty fine. They aren't as resilient as they were during the golden age of ultra powerful fear rule, but match them up against the opponents weak units and they often start gaining dice before they reach the yellow. The Dark Elf command cards are slanted towards offense, and the shenanigan units often create a good command card advantage on top of that. Add that all together and it often spells absolute havoc on the opponents line.

I gotta agree with Ron here, that BD's can pack a whallop, and I must underline and put in bold his comment that they need to be matched vs. weaker units. This is true of any unit in general, you never want your heavy hitters to be facing off, or you're just going to neutralize them, and put the whole game to the vagaries of the dice. BD's are not tanks, they will not hold a line, but you can match them up against some lighter units and say, "La Machine." This they do as good, if not better, than other units available in the DE arsenal.
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RushAss

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #6 on: July 16, 2011, 10:35:33 PM »
Regarding Blade Dancers I think this unit is going to get found out pretty quickly.  Sure, they're cool.  Sure, they're pretty punchy.  Still, you're paying points for a unit that only reaches its full potential in a drawn out fight.  With Dark Elves this is not how you want to be fighting.  This is a brittle faction that is all about doing damage as quickly as possible in order to win the fight and start pinching.  Dragging out a slugging match is only going to work to the opponent's advantage.  They have their place but I'm going to make an early prediction that over time this unit will not feature much in the highly regarded army builds.
I beg to differ. Against most factions, these can work mighty fine. They aren't as resilient as they were during the golden age of ultra powerful fear rule, but match them up against the opponents weak units and they often start gaining dice before they reach the yellow. The Dark Elf command cards are slanted towards offense, and the shenanigan units often create a good command card advantage on top of that. Add that all together and it often spells absolute havoc on the opponents line.
Yeah, I look at Blade Dancers and I think Dwarven Hammermen.  They will mow through lesser units like Snoop Dog mows through joints.
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RushAss

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #7 on: April 03, 2013, 03:35:54 PM »
I was kicking around wacky army build ideas the other day and I came up with this oddball.

4 x Slave Warriors
2 x Lords of dusk
1 x Drake Riders
1 x Dusk Lancers
1989 points

I'm thinking the objective of this build is obvious.  How much would your opponent hate you if you took this?
"I have memory and awareness - But I have no shape or form
As a disembodied spirit I am dead and yet unborn
I have passed into Olympus as was told in tales of old
To the city of Immortals, marble white, and purest gold"
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Kevin

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #8 on: April 04, 2013, 07:31:04 AM »
Quote
4 x Slave Warriors
2 x Lords of dusk
1 x Drake Riders
1 x Dusk Lancers
1989 points

I'm thinking the objective of this build is obvious.  How much would your opponent hate you if you took this?

In general I don't like to mix shooters and fast-moving units, as either you hold everything back and waste the speed, or you send everything forward and get off too few shots.  This army does have an ability to concentrate a huge amount of hurt at one point, so a quick breakthrough is a scary possibility.  But overall if my opponent laid this down I'd be smiling inside.
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. - Winston Churchill

GoIndy

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #9 on: April 04, 2013, 08:26:52 AM »
My thinking is much more basic.

How many F$%%ing  Lashmistresses do you have?  None.  You suck.

RushAss

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #10 on: April 04, 2013, 05:09:32 PM »
I'm thinking you guys aren't seeing it.  I'll keep this on the back burner to torture somebody with in the near future  8)
"I have memory and awareness - But I have no shape or form
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gull2112

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2013, 08:56:23 AM »
I recently saw something where the elves were divided into two basic types; Dark Elves and 'other Elves.'

That's some DE spin doctoring!
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gull2112

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2013, 09:02:26 AM »
Quote
I'm thinking you guys aren't seeing it.  I'll keep this on the back burner to torture somebody with in the near future  Cool

  For the ultimate show of chutzpah, Marcus, you want to show that build before your opponent buys his army. Just to say, "This is what I'm bringing and there is nothing you can do about it!"

Of course, I'm suggesting you try this on the Jersey boys, I wouldn't try this on Kevin!
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Hannibal

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2014, 07:13:39 PM »
(Replying here to some good points Kevin made in the Kublacon thread)

Of course, the last time a top-tier player took the current (a.k.a. "nerfed") Dark Elves in a major tournament (The biggest in the history of the game.) he won the thing.  While taking Covens, Dusk Lords, and a huge gaggle of Lashmistresses.

True, however, I'd offer a couple of counter-points:

--The rules in 2012 had several major differences to the rules now.  For example, the flank-from-front was still legal and the Pow charge was in effect (which made Skill factions much better).  For example, being able to flank-from-the-front greatly increases the threat of those flying units, even if they're not Agile.

--The tournament has its own set of house rules.  I don't know if this matters as much as I'm not sure what they were.

--IIRC, Seth was one of the desgners (or at least involved in the playtesting) of the Dark Elves.  He's going to be very familiar with that faction, even in its nerfed form.  Its like Alexander & Persia.  I expect opimius & I are going to be rather good at playing with and against those two factions for some time.

--Other than the Drake Riders (which I don't think Seth took more than once), I think my original comment over-stated my opinion.  I think Coven and Lashmistresses are worthwhile to take if you do a stand-and-shoot.  If you're not, then I don't think they're worth their points.  IMO, those units were most annoying in a stand-and-shoot and the erratas made them not worth it in a normal build while still leaving them annoying in a stand-and-shoot.


Of course, none of this takes away from Seth's skill as a player.  I'm reasonably sure that if he took Dwarves or Lizardmen under that context, he would have done very well.

Kevin

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2014, 10:53:53 PM »
Quote
--The rules in 2012 had several major differences to the rules now.  For example, the flank-from-front was still legal and the Pow charge was in effect (which made Skill factions much better).  For example, being able to flank-from-the-front greatly increases the threat of those flying units, even if they're not Agile.

Seth only took Drake Riders once...and he lost that game.  (IIRC he flew them up to a hill in the center..in front of a really big enemy unit (Chosen?) which didn't care and beat them up anyway.)


True, the Power charge was in effect, however, I recall that Seth beat 3 or 4 Ravenwood armies, plus the Romans in the finals.  So in those matches changing the charge bonus was a push.

It also was before a bunch of command cards got changed, though I highly doubt that ever made a difference. Especially because no Roman or Ravenwood cards changed.


Quote
--The tournament has its own set of house rules.  I don't know if this matters as much as I'm not sure what they were.


I found the rule document from Championship 2012.  Few "home rules" than later on, and most of the rules we had have since become official:  3 CAs to direct control an auto-close unit, Witching Hour costing 1 CA to cast.  Umenzi got hit with a nerf-bat that didn't become official, and Dwarves got a slightly-better version of Sprint than what they ended up with.  Both of which were irrelevant.  Oh, plus there likely were a few homebrew Special Situations, designed to be balanced, which showed up in a few games, and Ticking Clock got a "nightfall turn" so that both sides moved the same number of times.


Quote
--IIRC, Seth was one of the designers (or at least involved in the playtesting) of the Dark Elves.  He's going to be very familiar with that faction, even in its nerfed form.

OK that's fair.  Though at that point the Dark Elves had been in regular circulation for about 1.5 years.

Worth noting that Seth took Dark Elves in 2 other 1-day tournaments.  One of those he won (albeit those were pre-nerfed).  The other he lost in the semifinals after his Coven charged my Ghoul pack and my guys refused to rout.  (Had they routed I'd have lost.)  Jaime also took 2nd place with Dark Elves in a one-day tournament (He beat Seth's Carthaginians in the semifinals.), losing to my Umenzi.


I agree that Coven & LM are better in a stand-and-shoot.  Of course, that applies to all range attack units that can shoot at long range. [1]  There's really just no getting around the mathematics that if your army is on Hold you get off more shots before the lines engage.  (Though a single archer to peck at a weak spot can be a viable part of a close-and-hose army.)  Though their ability to mess with the enemy line makes the Coven and LM extra good.

Worth noting that the Dusk Lord never got any special rules--the only units which got "nerfed" a bit were the Coven, LM, and Drake Riders.


[1] OK in practice that doesn't apply to the historical Moorish or Cretan archers, but only because those guys are Elite and only have 3 dice, so with only two pea-shooters there isn't enough weight of archery to make it worth putting your entire army on Hold.
« Last Edit: April 24, 2014, 11:06:52 PM by Kevin »
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. - Winston Churchill