Kirb your enthusiasm!


"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, January 19, 2012

Armies in 8th: Dark Elves Part Three: The Cavalry


Despite the title, not every unit in this review will be cavalry.  I only titled it as such because the previous article was titled ‘The Infantry’ and this is everything else.  Titling it ‘The Not-Infantry’ might have been somewhat trite.  One of the things that make the Dark Elves unique is the oddball units that are scattered through the armybook.  It gives them a non-traditional aesthetic that is quite appealing.  Even better, many of the units are aggressively costed and help make the book quite competitive on the table top. 

Dark Riders:  These guys are Core, but you really don’t want your entire Core to be comprised of them, since they are a bit overcosted, especially once you pay through the nose for the repeater crossbow upgrade.  Despite the high price you pay for them, they are still useful.  Fast cavalry is huge in 8th Edition, thanks to feigned retreats enabled by Musicians.  If your opponent doesn’t have the shooting ability to blast them, they will be a huge menace.  Their ability to sit on a unit’s flanks shooting repeater shots while waiting for the right time to charge with their Str 4 spears attacks are very disruptive, as is their ability to dominate the movement phase with feigned retreats.  Lastly, on my blog I describe how to use their vanguard move to effectively re-deploy from a balanced deployment into a strong flank.  This ability to re-deploy can take a slow moving opponent completely out of the game.  It bears repeating, these are not very points efficient units.  However, they provide a specific utility that the army cannot get elsewhere, and if your list requires that utility you should bring them despite being overcosted.

Cold One Knights:  These guys took a pretty mean hit in 8th Edition, as did all heavy cavalry.  That has somewhat reduced their rating from “amazing” to “pretty good.”  27 points isn’t really too expensive for Str 6 (on the charge) with a 2+ armor save and the ability to carry a magic banner, so they can dish out some serious offense for the points they cost.  Their big drawback is Stupidity, but you wouldn’t play these without a BSB nearby, would you?  These guys are one of the best Cauldron targets in the army thanks to their high strength and innate Dark Elf ability to re-roll misses in close combat.  Giving them (and their Cold One!) a 2nd attack from the Cauldron increases their offensive capabilities greatly, and unlike ranked infantry where only the first row benefits, most times your COK are only going to have one rank so nobody misses out at the extra attack party.  In total though, thanks to 8th Edition reducing the effectiveness of heavy cavalry I can’t really say that these guys are awesome.  They are simply an average choice.  But often times, a good balanced army is made up of average choices.

Cold One Chariots:  Ah, my favorites.  Cold One Chariots are quite excellent.  Other armies can bring more chariots, or get them for cheaper, but few armies chariots are as great as the Cold One Chariots.  D6+1 Impact Hits, 2 strength 5 Initiative 6 spear attacks (with re-rolls to hit) and two Str 4 Cold One attacks.  Oh and they have two Repeater Crossbows in case you ever want to shoot.  A lot of offense there.  Wrapped in a 5 Toughness, 4 Wound package with a 3+ armor save.  These are essentially Monsters, who are only outclassed by Hydras.  I could expound on their virtues for a long time, but suffice it to say that for 100 points you get a ton of offensive ability in a really hard to kill unit.  Their weaknesses are an inability to march, as well as Stupidity.  But since you’ll be giving your BSB a chariot, the Stupidity isn’t so bad.  They do have Swiftstride, so their charges will average 15” which means that against anything but enemy cavalry units and sometimes Ogres, they should get the charge off and unleash hell.  They are vulnerable to getting stuck in with ranked units and worn down, but that’s why you try to multi-charge with multiple chariots and/or Hydras, in order to ensure you crack open infantry squares.

Reaper Bolt Thrower:  The one warmachine in the book (not counting the Cauldron.)  It fires like a normal bolt thrower, or can fire multiple weaker shots with no penalty for multiple shots.  The drawback is that with only two crew members they are rather easier to kill than most equivalent warmachines in other books.  Another drawback is that for 100 points they are about 50% too expensive.  If Dark Elves could take Goblin bolt chukkas, they would.  At 50 points each I would bring them in almost every list because they do good work, but unfortunately at 100 points they are only strongly applicable in defensive lists that want to sit back and blast enemies with magic and shooting.  Also, they compete with Hydras for Rare points, which means there isn’t often much left for them after the (nearly) obligatory 2 (or 4!) Hydras are purchased.

Warhydra:  When people say Dark Elves are overpowered, these beasts are usually the first unit cited.  Between the Hydra itself and the beast masters they put out 13 attacks per turn, plus a fiery breath attack in the mix.  13 base attacks.  Breath attack.  Thunderstomp.  On average a single 175 point Hydra can drop 23 attacks on an enemy unit.  23 attacks for 175 points is some good I heard.  Luckily for everyone else they are easy to kill!  Oh wait scratch that, they are T5, 4+ armor and 4+ regeneration with 5 wounds.  Nevermind, they are insanely tough to kill.  These guys (along with Hell Pit Abominations) are the reason why almost everyone crams the Flaming Banner somewhere in their list.  The biggest drawback to these things is how much the model costs.  $120 for the two Hydras most DE lists require is somewhat steep for new players, and it is a modeling nightmare.  I haven’t assembled one of the Finecast Hydras, but the old metal model (of which I had the misery of assembling four of) was so difficult that I once told a buddy, “Assembling two of them on the same day will break you down emotionally and physically.”  What does this all mean?  It means there is a high barrier to entry for the Hydra club, but once you’re in, you’re in man.

That’s a wrap on the non-infantry units in the book.  Next up I’ll be doing the Lords and Heroes, and touch on the magic items that are worth a damn. 

Comments, questions, polemic, vitriol?

Follow us on Facebook!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...