Author Topic: Dark Elf Faction Review  (Read 8053 times)

Hannibal

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #15 on: April 25, 2014, 12:46:46 AM »
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Seth only took Drake Riders once...and he lost that game.

Heh.  I don't think its anything but correlative that he took Drake Riders and lost, but that's still funny.


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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.

I beg to differ.  Highblood Blades on the charge will do +.25 damage vs Ravenwood and +.11 damage vs Romans.  That's an extra point on average against Ravenwood armies every 4th charge.  With Duskblades, they do and extra .42 damage every charge.  Similarly, Dwarves take .11 damage less against Highblood Blades.

Certainly changes like that will have an effect on the meta.  I'm not arguing which effect it will have, but its going to have an effect that puts an asterisk on any conclusions drawn from those games.


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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:

Fair enough.  I did say that I didn't know if those house rules mattered.  Turns out they didn't.   ;D


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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.

Sure.  I'm not saying that Dark Elves are a weak faction.  Actually, I think they're a really powerful faction.  I just think the power comes from things other than there "shiney" which I feel have been errata'd to the point that they're not worth it, except in one (boring) build.  IMO, the list goes:

Drake Riders:  Usually not worth it as most times you can get the same threatening effect with the Slavetakers (who are much cheaper, much more forgiving in terms of command & control, and still very solid on the charge).  For inexperienced players, difficulty in using the Drake Riders actually makes them a net negative as to what they bring tot he army.

Lashmistresses & Coven:  These units aren't bad, but pre-nerf they were slanted towards stand-and-shoot.  Now they're wasted IMO as anything but standing and shooting.

Lord of Dusk:  This unit wasn't nerfed, but it strongly leans towards stand & shoot (IMO) and I feel as though its not worth the points to advance with it.

So you've got 1 unit that is really hard to use (and you can often get the same results for cheaper--both in points and CAs), and 3 units that are really only worth taking in a single build.  That's a quarter of the army that stays in the box if you attempt to close.  Combine that with the fact that what makes the DE so powerful is that they have the whole gamut of infantry (Slaves, Lowbloods, Halfbloods, Highbloods, Duskblades) plus specialist units like Blade Dancers and the tanky Standard Bearers and two really nice cavalry units.  And so while you can build some really strong builds there, the "cool" units will stay in the box.

Again, I'm not saying that the Dark Elves are weak.  And if I said/implied that before, I take it back.  They're a really good faction.  They just feel . . . almost dull.  They have these really neat units like Lashmistresses and Drake Riders that you take out during army muster, stare at lovingly, and then put back in the box behind the Halfbloods and Highbloods that are going to win the game.


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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.

True, but the nerfs only exacerbated that fact.  

For example, I could probably live with the Lashmistresses sucking an enemy unit into final rushing and then getting to fight that unit if there was a nerf that was tailored against their ranged attack as part of a stand and shoot.  Because if they're advancing, they will get fewer shots.  So I (as an opponent) can live with them getting 1-2 shots and then fighting in melee.  No different than Centaurs.  

But where Lashmistresses get really nasty is when they get 3-4 shots and then get to fight.  The disruptive effect is higher and the (5 + 7) dice in one turn comes after getting 10-15 dice already.  However, taking away the ability to attack on the charge turn (when they're already giving up half of their shooting dice) makes it really not worth it to advance with them.  So in any close & hose, you're better off saving the 60pts over Highblood Blades.



Since I'm waxing rhetorical on the faction, I kinda wish Niko had gone harder with the whole "purity" aspect.  I wish that there'd been an army wide rule to reflect that caste system that is hinted at in the titles.  For example, I think having there be a pitch-to-play rule on the 'lower castes' would have been cool.  Off the top of my head:

Untouchables:  pitch 1 Command Card to play a Command Card. 
Units:  Slave Takers, Lowblood Levy

Mongrels:  pitch 1 Command Card to play a Blue or Green Command Card.
Units:  Halfblood Levy, Halfblood Slavetakers, Drake Riders

Base-Born:  pitch 1 Command Card to play a Blue card.
Units:  Highblood Blades, Highblood Duskblades, Lashmistresses, Blade Dancers

True Elves:  No restriction.
Units:  Lord of Dusk, Coven, Dusk Lances

I left out the Standard Bearers, because under this system I would strongly be inclined to have a unit of "Exiles" in the Untouchable category.  A unit of Highbloods (with commensurate stats) that have been cast out from the upper echelons of Dark Elf society for some perceived sin.  Heck, if you wanted, you could have done like High Elves (who have a bunch of Elder blade variants of units) and create Exiled variants.  Exiled Dusk Lances, Exiled Lords of Dusk, etc.

Again, I'm just speculating here.  It may not be a workable idea in point of fact.  And of course its easy for me to look back and say "oh Niko should have done XYZ" after the Dark Elves are out and we've had several years to ruminate on them. 
« Last Edit: April 25, 2014, 01:01:05 AM by Hannibal »

BubblePig

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #16 on: April 25, 2014, 11:28:09 AM »
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.
I still think Lashmistresses are worth the points, especially if you suspect you are going to get chump stacked. As for all the other 'shiny' I don't think the errata changed the fundamental picture. IMO (see above quote) they were always going to be 'stare at lovingly, and then put back in the box behind the Halfbloods...' or at best, situational units. Pouring your points into one shiny unit can be worth it, if for no other reason than to keep your opponent guessing what you are going to pull out of the bag of tricks this time. I keep on meaning to build an army to take advantage of the Dusk Lord routing modification, but it is hard to justify sacrificing over two halfbloods-worth in one unit when I often forget to follow that rule anyhow.
« Last Edit: April 25, 2014, 11:37:00 AM by BubblePig »

Hannibal

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #17 on: April 25, 2014, 12:54:48 PM »
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I still think Lashmistresses are worth the points, especially if you suspect you are going to get chump stacked.

Chump stacking is much less effective with the dice charge and the auto-backup if you destroy the unit.  I'd rather have the all-around better unit in the Duskblades.  Taking a Lashmistress for anti-chump stacking means you have to try and get matched up on a chump unit for them to effectively do their job.  The Duskblade not only does more damage on the charge but has more utility in that it can do other things.

I think the Blade Dancers are just as good at mowing through chump stacks and they're 10% cheaper too.


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IMO (see above quote) they were always going to be 'stare at lovingly, and then put back in the box behind the Halfbloods...' or at best, situational units.

I think that's a flawed design philosophy.  I believe in the theory that there should be no units that are stay-in-the-box.  Especially not the units that give the faction its flavor.  YMMV.

BubblePig

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #18 on: April 25, 2014, 01:06:59 PM »
I think that's a flawed design philosophy.  I believe in the theory that there should be no units that are stay-in-the-box.  Especially not the units that give the faction its flavor.  YMMV.
I agree with that design philosophy and I would have liked the DE to get hit a little less hard with the nerf bat; I am just saying that (and admittedly this might just be because of my preferred style of play) that for non beer and pretzels games those units were mostly stay in the box before the errata anyway.

Hannibal

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2014, 01:39:15 PM »
I agree with that design philosophy and I would have liked the DE to get hit a little less hard with the nerf bat; I am just saying that (and admittedly this might just be because of my preferred style of play) that for non beer and pretzels games those units were mostly stay in the box before the errata anyway.

That could be true.  The variety of infantry units the DEs can put on the table is such value in the metagame, that they were always were going to be the smart buy.  However, if its true pre-nerf, its more true now than before. 

And I'm very concerned about how this faction plays to the layman.  Its one thing to find out that your candy units aren't the best value.  Its another to find that they are so bad they are stay in the box.  A player can continue to play sub-optimal builds for fun if they give him the chance of winning.  When those units are so completely scuttle his chances to win, then the player feels cheated:  "I bought this faction for the cool stuff, but if they suck, I don't want to play this faction." 

Mind you, my knock isn't that the DEs got hit too hard with the nerf bat.  Its that they got hit in such a clunky, knee-jerk manner that the nerfs not only 1) didn't do what they were intended, they 2) had other negative consequences.

Kevin

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2014, 02:42:31 PM »
The problem wasn't the nerf bat--the problem was designing units which would be at their best when standing-and-shooting vs. a close-and-hose army.

We balanced those units just fine for what they do best [1] (as evidenced, since I evidently need to type everything more than once, by Seth's victory).  If folks don't like what the units do best, then the faction isn't for them.  Or, if you wish, point your finger at the playtesters for failing to point it out at the time.


[1] Which is essentially what units should be balanced for.  Maybe you shouldn't balance a light cavalry unit for a field of chumps and skirmishers, but you don't want to make it worth its price when you cap it at mc3.5 and use it like line infantry either.
However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results. - Winston Churchill

Hannibal

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2014, 02:57:00 PM »
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The problem wasn't the nerf bat--the problem was designing units which would be at their best when standing-and-shooting vs. a close-and-hose army.

We balanced those units just fine for what they do best [1] (as evidenced, since I evidently need to type everything more than once, by Seth's victory).  If folks don't like what the units do best, then the faction isn't for them.  Or, if you wish, point your finger at the playtesters for failing to point it out at the time.

Obviously, I don't agree with that philosophy.  That same line of reasoning could used to justify removing the "M+S" modifier from the game because "shooting units should just stand and shoot.  If you want to advance with bowmen or crossbowmen, you're playing them wrong." 

The frustrating part of Coven & Lashmistresses wasn't what they could do when they were part of a close & hose.  Yet the nerf hit them hardest when they were used in that role.  The Coven & Lashmistresses were at their best when part of a stand and shoot, and the nerfs didn't really hurt them in that role. 

I'm not even saying they shouldn't have been nerfed[1].  I'm just saying that "This unit is annoying/broken at X and balanced at Y.  We'll nerf their ability to do Y and leave X alone" was the wrong implementation.

I'm also not pushing for a change, just to clear that up.  I'm really just ruminating at this point. 


[1] Except for Drake Riders.  I think the nerf went too far there and they're really not worth it anymore.

gornhorror

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #22 on: April 30, 2014, 12:56:40 PM »
What exactly were the nerfs to the Lashmistress and Drake Riders again?

I know that the lashmistriss can no longer make a ranged attack and an engaged attack on the same turn.  I totally agree with this change. 

What was done to the Drake Riders?
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Hannibal

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #23 on: April 30, 2014, 01:39:06 PM »
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I know that the lashmistriss can no longer make a ranged attack and an engaged attack on the same turn.  I totally agree with this change.  

So then I guess you're against Centaurs making a ranged attack and engaged attack on the same turn?


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What was done to the Drake Riders?

Technically the change was to the main rules, but the only unit affected are Drake Riders.  The change was that flying units can't land on the turn they have their order changed or are DC'd.  "Agile" units ignore this.  The Red Dragon and Ancient Red Dragon become Agile.

This one bugs me even at the implementation level.  Rather than just putting an errata to one unit, it was buried in the rulebook and then two units had to be errata'd to ignore this rule.  It would simply be easier to assume units can land and put text on the back of the units who can't.  It would be akin to how ranged attacks work (indirect fire unless states otherwise).

BubblePig

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #24 on: April 30, 2014, 11:27:12 PM »
IIRC the drake riders could effectively final rush 3L, see any center point, for the low price of about 50ish points. Which is just crazy powerful. I believe I advocated for an overhaul of the flying rules rather than a bandaid fix (but got no love at all.) As it stands imo drake riders are still an ok unit if somewhat situational.

gull2112

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #25 on: May 01, 2014, 07:38:11 AM »
I will say this about that, the current DR rules don't feel right. Having flying dragons that have to land and then lope along like chickens to charge just doesn't feel right. I realize that giving them omnipotent zap from the skies powers just isn't balanced, or would at least make them too expensive to ever come out of the box, but the current solution seems sub-optimal.

Were DR rules back on the table, I would say that:

A) Dragon Riders can Final Rush from the air, but on the turn they FR they cannot turn (their target must be directly in front of them) and they are considered to have landed once they become engaged. This means the opponent will know on his turn where the DR's can final rush.

I would have also liked to have seen a raking attack where the DR's fly over a unit and rip them with their claws.

B) If the DR moves over an enemy unit during the M&C phase and is unengaged at the beginning of the Combat phase it may make a Rake Attack against one such unit. This attack is treated as a missile attack for die roll mods and disruption effects. The defending unit gets a Counter Attack, with die mods just as if it were engaged. If either unit fails a courage test as a result of this combat it is Disrupted.
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Hannibal

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #26 on: May 01, 2014, 09:33:10 AM »
IIRC the drake riders could effectively final rush 3L, see any center point, for the low price of about 50ish points. Which is just crazy powerful.

I don't think they could final rush 3L.  Here's the 3.0 rules:  "While airborne a unit may not engage or become engaged with units on the ground. A unit must begin the turn on the ground in order to final rush."  (The 3.1 rules are substantively the same on this issue).

As for seeing any center-point, I'm not sure what you mean.  I know for Close they followed these rules:  "Unless directly controlled, an airborne unit with the Close standing order will land if its move takes it within its ground final rush distance of the nearest enemy and it will land as close to that enemy as possible. If possible it must land on what was at the start of the turn the facing side of that enemy. If it started partially or fully above the nearest enemy unit it will land on the far side of that unit if possible."  (Again the 3.1 rules are basically the same)

So flying units have to land and then wait a turn before they can final rush.  


From a quick search, the initial complaint was that Drake Riders with a single CA could reroute to a landing spot where they could 1) get a pinch and 2) no enemy unit could intercept them.  

Its possible that this is another one case of something that is much less nasty when you can't flank-from-front.  For example, if the aforementioned landing spot (that achieved #1 & #2) above was somewhere in front of the enemy line, then they become much harder to deal with.  Because the Drake Riders are protected by their buddies and still can get the flank because of how charges used to work.  Whereas now, if they have to actually start in the flank or rear, that's closer to the enemy line and less able to be supported. 

(I wish I had my digital camera and could snap a couple pics to show what I mean)

It may not be the case at all.  I don't know.  It may not change anything.  It may be that regardless of rules changes, the ability for a 300pt flying unit to get on the flank was too good.  It may be the solution was, as Ajax said at the time, to take either a fast unit or a ranged unit to blow those guys out of the sky.  I don't know if it is possible for a player to leave a unit in the backfield and successfully nullify the Drake Riders. The rule was changed so long ago that I don't know if I ever even played a game with pre-nerfed Drake Riders.  

And I'm not terribly interested in finding out.  I'm tilting at enough windmills when it comes to rules changes that I don't have the energy to take on this fight as well.  When it comes to Drake Riders, I put them in the same category as Trolls:  a really cool unit that a lot of people like that only gets taken for coolness value or in (very) situational cases because often some other unit can do the same job for cheaper.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2014, 01:51:51 PM by Hannibal »

BubblePig

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #27 on: May 02, 2014, 11:54:14 AM »
I think the issue was getting the pinch bonus too easy, and for some factions the ajax solution A) was too expensive B) created an untenable rock paper scissors scenario during army build C) just wasn't feasible either because of scenario conditions or lack of the right type of units. As for the Drake Riders being protected by their buddies, that is largely irrelevant IMO. 300ish points is an acceptible price to pay in order to blow a smoking hole or otherwise create havoc in the enemy formation.

Hannibal

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Re: DE Faction Review
« Reply #28 on: May 02, 2014, 02:17:24 PM »
I think the issue was getting the pinch bonus too easy, and for some factions the ajax solution A) was too expensive B) created an untenable rock paper scissors scenario during army build

And I've always said that the real power of the Dark Elves is that they had a huge meta advantage.  They have every type of infantry from 90pt chump, to 200 pt line unit, to 350 Duskblades plus the ability to do a stand-and-shoot, plus all the shenanigans of the special units.

Edit:  which is the reason why I'm couching my thoughts on the Drake Riders in a lot of "maybe."  Having to drop 200-300pts on units you intend to leave in the back because he might take Drake Riders is a powerful advantage for the Dark Elves.  So its entirely possible that Drake Riders need that nerf to prevent the faction from being too good.  (Although I still think their nerf should be on their card, and not a tweak in the rulebook that requires two M&M units to be errata'd.)



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As for the Drake Riders being protected by their buddies, that is largely irrelevant IMO. 300ish points is an acceptible price to pay in order to blow a smoking hole or otherwise create havoc in the enemy formation.

This is where I wish I had pictures.   :P

When I say "protected by their buddies" what I mean is that if you land in the flank of the end unit on my line, I can charge them (potentially in the flank) with one of my fast units that I'm keeping back there on "Drake Rider duty."  But with flank-from-front, you can land the Drake Riders in the front of my line, where I can't do that.
« Last Edit: May 02, 2014, 02:57:26 PM by Hannibal »

gornhorror

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Re: Dark Elf Faction Review
« Reply #29 on: April 19, 2018, 01:23:58 PM »
These are some of the changes I would make to the Dark Elves:

Slavetakers are a harassment unit.  They shouldn't be slamming into the opponents units and coming away without a rout check.

This is what I would do:

Perhaps, allow them the scout health bar with one extra YELLOW box.  So they would be GG/YYY/RR
Take away the offensive cavalry bonus but keep the defensive bonus.  So they would be a (0) 0/0  +1/0 on the charge
Let them keep Pain Touch
Let them keep the 7" move.
Take away their core status.


Any unit that has fearsome, the opponent gets a (-1) 0/0 on the charge.  That's it.

Fix the lashmistress's ability somehow.....You know my solution. 

Either take away the spears on the slave warriors or take away their core status.

Also, somebody said give the Standard bearers an aura that helps with courage....that could work too, but it's not like Dark Elves need much help with courage....
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