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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Comparison: High Elf Silver Helms, Dragon Princes & Ellyrian Reavers

Well I’ve been painting madly and am not going to finish all the Gants. Some will just be your basic 3 colors if that but I’ll have all the models in the army list done (just need to finish off a T-Fex, Tervigon and touch up the Hive Guard & Raveners). And my back is killing me, I need to stop imitating the curved carapace of the Tyranids and sit up straight when I paint. So here I am rambling on and you’d actually like a post, right? Well ignore this paragraph then and read on my stalwart pink army (aka: readers)!

So back to the Fantasy posts. I’ve noticed a bit on some blogs, BoLS and Warseer that there are some strong opinions for Dragon Princes over Silver Helms in the High Elf codex (strong as in “you’re an idiot if you take Silver Helms! Why would you take Silver Helms when there are Dragon Princes? I mean come one! Dragon Princes). I may have edited so you could actually understand the English... Let’s see if I can do an analysis on not only these units but Ellyrian Reavers as well (that’s all of the HE Calvary options).

On paper Dragon Princes are easily the best. 30pts for a WS5, M9(8), S5 on charge, 2A, I6, Ld9, 2+ save cavalry who ASF w/re-rolls against 99% of everything? Why are we questioning this? Well for 9 points less our Silver Helms clock in the exact same with 1 less WS/I/A/Ld/Sv and with ASF & re-rolls, the WS & I aren’t huge deals. Pay a further 2 points for each Silver Helm and their armor is the same (less the immunity to flame weapons) so what we’re really looking at are the Ld and A values. Ld not so big an issue with a General’s bubble but the A can be a big swing in the Dragon Princes favour as your output in combat is doubled. A less noticeable difference between the two, is Dragon Princes can also take a magical banner *cough Ellyrion Banner cough* which can provide a lot more mobility to DPs.

So Silver Helms and Dragon Princes both fulfil the same role as fast, hard hitting assault units and both are pretty good at it. For 7/9pts more, Dragon Princes do it better but those extra points per model build up quickly and as all HE in 8th, prolonged combats are bad for both units. Whilst 2+/3+ cavalry will last a fair time against mundane troops, T3 hurts. This makes the extra points you are paying an even bigger premium. Before we decide what’s ‘better’, let’s take a peek at the Ellyrion Reavers (who have some very nice models coming out in Island of Blood). These pointy ears on horseback play a bit differently to Silver Helms and Dragon Princes as they are not a hard hitting assault unit. Whilst they have Spears, they are no where near as effective in combat with only light armor, no shields and no barding. Whilst their Fast Calvary rule + M9 can be effective for dropping bow hits on your enemy or support assaults with flank attacks, these guys are the same points as a Silver Helm when given a bow and far less effective in combat which is hard to make up with their shooting. If you’re going for an assault unit give these guys a miss but a couple of smallish units can be great as support and to annoy your opponent with bow fire (and the models are so pretty!!!).

We still haven’t decided about DP or SH though. Whilst we would all prefer masses of DP, points are a problem we have to consider. DP die just as easily as Silver Helms w/shields as well, so those extra points we are paying for only come into play if they make combat. With that understanding I would lean towards Silver Helms with shields. Depending on the army list, a few Silver Helm squads supporting 1-2 squads of Dragon Princes seems like the best bet. You are able to compensate for the less attacks with more models, still have the same staying power and can combine your assaults with lots of MSUs to break units you’ve whittled down. You also have a big beefy scary unit(s) of horse barding which will crush your face and can ignore terrain with a magical banner (only one unit of course).

So, does anyone else have any ideas on how to use Reavers? I really do like their models... I know a lot of the forum community seems to be poo-pooing Calvary in the new edition because of some change (I think it’s the back rank dying instead of the front rank? Plus being able to fight in more ranks) but with combined assaults these guys still hit hard, especially with a 2+ save & ASF.

9 pinkments:

Kuolema said...

I think the biggest change to fast cav is you need to be in two ranks now to negate your opponents rank bonus, in 7th you could do it with 3-5 horses.

But you can use them to hunt warmachines or other small units.

Chumbalaya said...

I think I'll be doing the same, 1-2 units of DPs and cheaper Helms to give me numbers and more units.

Reavers I don't see much use for beyond vanguarding up and going after war machines. Re-rolling to hit is very handy in assault. I doubt I'd even give them bows for 4 points per model.

Cavalry in 8th is going to be more of the same from 7th, smash into a unit and kill tons of them so they'll break. However, it won't be as easy to do from the front, so flanking or multiple charging is the way to go. Chariots help a lot here because they can kill so much on the charge and have a relatively small frontage so you can fit plenty of stuff in.

It's looking like HE are going to be everything my Skaven aren't. Cav and chariots, defensive magic and reliable, killy CC units.

Dhinanta Aloke said...

I think you're on the right track with pretty much all of these conclusions. Typically you pay ~4 points per model for barding on cavalry, and 2 points for an extra attack is an incredible deal. Immunity to fire is a little gimmicky, but can be useful.

Dragon Princes are a much better deal, but points add up, like you said. 1 unit of them supported by 2 units of Silver Helms it probably the way to go, as opposed to even just 2 DP units.

Reavers...Never underestimate cheap, ranged fast cavalry. They're supportive, but that's not to say they're useless. They're very good for baiting your enemy with there feigned flight, war machine hunting, and flank charges. (Remember: They get a free 12" move after all deployment, and can march and fire. That can easily be, and has beenin some games I've seen, a first turn dead Bolt Thrower.)

People are upset that they can't steamroll entire units with 5 heavy cavalry into a flank anymore. There was a lot of "Flank charge, massacre everything that could hit you, take not damage back, win combat, they break, you run them down." in 7th Edition with some of the better cavalry, like Chaos Knights (which cause fear and, in 7th, that was an auto-break if you weren't immune to fear).

Cavalry are more of a support unit now, much like magic has become. Infantry is your main stay, which I kind of prefer because it makes a little more sense. You can still pull off all cavalry lists, but it requires more setup and effort, like all shooting lists or even all magic lists (though magic is still up in there for how possible it is).

Junx said...

I think u are forgetting that fast cav can still charge in the flank or rear and give a combat that +2 you need during that final round of combat (when the enemy doesn't have steadfast).

In the early game, vanguard does help in charge redirection and forcing that leadership test to not's not as useful now, but they are still able to fulfill this role...just not as well as in 7th Ed..

Kuolema said...

The only prob with using fast cav into the flanks or rear is it can be counter productive if your opponent gets more combat res from killing your squishier fast cav. Just something to be careful of =]

Eltnot said...

A unit of SH's in two ranks costs 90 point less than it's counterpart in DP's, gets 10 attacks instead of 15. If you don't have the points to spare for DP's, then the two rank unit of SH's will be invaluable for removing rank bonuses still.

Kuolema said...

Hmm your paying a lot of points to remove rank bonus thou and one casualty and you can't remove ranks or steadfast. You would also be a huge war machine target.

Kirby said...

Ya I'd stick with the 5 man squads. I'm still not sold on Reavers, mainly for their lack of defense and Eagles can tie up Warmachines just as well whilst Shadow Warriors can screw around with early deployment thanks to Scouts.

Anonymous said...

What I would use reavers for is hunting enemy fast cav, archer/handgun, chariots and other light units. With your asf you should be able to butcher other fast cav groups even if they charge you. with your vangarud move you should always have a good flanking position.

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