Playing my first major (solo) game of 8th tomorrow night vs. Calebs Warriors of Chaos army. We are both trying out some new combos to see how things work with our respective armies. With my Dwarfs all well and settled I thought it was time to drag out the High Elves again and seriously contemplate using them at my final WHFB tournament of the year - Skitterleap in October. With the points limit for that tournament being 2400 it offers some good options as far as list selection goes.
One thing 8th Edition army composition rules have done though is force all High Elf generals to bulk up their core unit selection. No more can you get away with a 2250-2500 pt list containing a bare minimum core of 2 110pt units of Archers. In a 2400pt list its 600pts of core minimum 380pts more than the usual core points expenditure in most High Elf armies.
In this High Elves are more restricted than say my Dwarfs as our core choices are limited - Spears, Archers or a more expensive combo of both. So I expect every High Elf army from now on to field either a single large horde block of Seaguard or Spearmen or 2-3 smaller blocks of Spears backed by 1-2 units of Archers.
The other effect this extra 380pts of core expenditure has is it effectively takes a special unit choice out of your army. I used to be able to field Swordmasters, Phoenix Guard, Dragon Princes and White Lions in an army. Now those 380 core points effectively remove one of those units. The question is which one do you lose?
Phoenix Guard - offer an incredible 4+ WS and cause fear but only strike at S4 with 1 attack each. Step up helps as do the new magical banners especially the Razor standard. Expect to see more of these guys taken, I for one will be buying more of them.
White Lions - only real heavy hitting hitting HE infantry at S6, they are also Stubborn but only on L8 and have Forest Strider. But with terrain being less restrictive to movement in general that bonus is now not as great, nor is Stubborn as wonderful when units can gain steadfast.
Dragon Princes - still a good cheap cavalry unit and a nice place to bunker a BSB behind your battleline. But as they still only strike at S3 after charging they will continue to suffer. Key bonus with them now is that as they have Dragon Armour they and their mounts are immune to fire and therefore to the fear caused by flaming attacks under 8th Ed rules.
Swordmasters - after PG my favourite unit and with step-up, ASF with re-rolls the No.1 killing machine in the HE army. However, they still suffer from only having a 5+ AS although you can give the Champion the Ironcurse Icon for 5pts to protect against warmachines.
So what will I take tomorrow?
HIGH ELVES @ 2400pts
Archmage Level 4 (w. Phoenix Guard)
w. Book of Hoeth, Lore of Shadow
Book means all doubles count as IF but not miscasts unless a double 6. Lore of Shadow is great for toughing up and strengthening your weaker Spear Elves and for killing the enemy. Putting him with PG means they get WS vs. any miscast damage
Noble (w. Phoenix Guard)
w. GW, Armour of Caledor, Guardian Phoenix
Standard set up 2+ AS, 5+ WS striking at S6 goes with PG to protect Archmage.
BSB (w. Dragon Princes)
w. Barded Steed, Dragon Armour, Halberd, Talisman of Endurance
Standard set up again 2+ AS and 5+ WS hitting at S5 with Halberd.
Mage Level 2
w. Dispel Scroll, High Magic
Principle purpose is to cast after the Archmage focusing on Drain Magic to weaken opponents magic phase.
w. Full Command, Shields, Banner of Eternal Flame
Deploy in 5 ranks of 5 means they attack in 5 ranks in close combat (3 ranks for spears + step up + marital prowess) and shoot in 3 ranks in shooting phase w. 13 attacks all flaming. Put LoS on them and those attacks will at increased strength.
w. Full Command, Shields
Phoenix Guard x20
w. Full Command, War Banner
Considered Razor Banner but War Banner is better choice as these guys have the same job they did under 7th Ed which is to act as a sponge soaking up enemy units while not dying.
w. Full Command, Standard of Balance
Immune to psychology these guys will be going hell for leather at the strongest enemy units protected by LoS as much as possible.
Dragon Princes x5
No RBT's why? Because they only have 2 wounds and will die to damn easily. Yes the lack of anything with a 48" S6 kill range makes things easier for your opponent but that is balanced out by magic phase.
Total 2,396 - Characters 33%, Core 30%, Special 35%, Rare 2%
I have no idea what Caleb will bring on Thursday but expect a couple of Chaos Chariots, a Warshrine, 2 units of Knights and a couple of big blocks of Marauders. But one advantage I will definately have over him is that he has no shooting outside of his fast cavalry which I can kill off reasonably quickly.