First up GW Australia got back to me extremely quickly and have already dispatched a replacement army book for me which is just awesome. Damage to the book aside I have to say its pretty damn good.
Now I know there are bundles of reviews of the book out there but another can't hurt. The key thing the new book has to say is "Don't believe everything you read on the interweb thingy"
One of the key rule changes that people kept mentioning was the loss of Swordmasters ASF and re-rolls in return for the ability to deflect non-magical missiles. Now this bothered me as honestly I like the re-rolls so the first rule I checked was this one and.... the interweb was wrong... all High Elves retain ASF including those with Great Weapons meaning they still get to re-roll misses in combat (unless of course I missed something in the FAQ's) - Thanks to Tane for clearing this up, quick check on Ulthuan gave me more info - yes unfortunately GW weilding HE have lost their re-rolls but given we're all I5 or I6 they should strike first regardless. Other than that what are the changes that stick out for me...
Archmages, Mages & Nobles are all significantly cheaper. While a 15pt reduction on the Noble may not seem a lot its significant as thats 15pts that can now go into your Special choices, add in the 40pts I now save on the L4 Archmage I usually take and thats a 3rd Eagle in my typical 2400pt list.
Special infantry units have also had their points reduced by 2 e.g. Swordmasters are now 14pts each. Again a subtle change but a big one. My typical White Lion block had 28 bodies in it - drop 2 pts from each and I can put them up to 30 at approximately the same points cost. Chariots and various mounts (not Dragons) are also cheaper - Tiranoc Chariots in particular.
All in all the points changes are welcome but there are a couple of things that sneak in. First Champions in Special unit can no longer take "25pts of magical items". Now it is restricted to "25pts on magical weapons" or for Drakemasters "25pts on magical weapons or armour". That is a big change as that 25pts was extremely useful for giving units items like: Amulet of Light (all attacks magical), Gem of Courage (basically roll l/ship like a lizard) and of course the Ruby Ring. If you want these items (those that still exist anyway) they now have to go on characters.
The points reduction in Archers & Seaguard also means you have to take slightly more bodies as part of your core choices - if, and only if, you continue to field traditional core. With Reavers and Silver Helms in core you have huge options available to you but... Silver Helms still come without a shield as standard and still cost 21pts which is too high IMO for something thats only S3/T3 regardless of its mobility & AS.
The Dragon Mage can take armour, becomes stubborn if within 12" of the Banner of the World Dragon (which is better than I realised) and still gets 50pts of magical items. This guy will definately be in my first new HE list as I really like the model and the idea behind them - not a "meta" unit but who cares.
Nobles can ride Griffons - and Griffons (Eagles too) can get bonus like ASF and AP which is just awesome, particularly as it makes those nice IOB models useable now. I tricked one out last night as a Griffon BSB and he came in at a shade under 400pts which is expensive but not bad. If I get another model I could maybe take two of them?
The Loremaster is cool has all the Signature Spells from the core lores but is only L2 and at 230pts will mean making sacrifices somewhere else. But.... in 2400pts you have 600pts on Lord choices so I see him fitting in nicely with...
The Everqueen @ 350pts the rules for her are just great really like the idea, the fluff, the rules and the model and she will be getting a regular run with my lists particularly if local tournaments continue to allow Special Characters. The key rule for me with her is the 5+ WS she grants herself and any units she's with. Couple that with High Magics new attribute that adds +1 to any WS and your looking good.
The other characters are nice as always but aside from Alith Anar - who has some nice changes and Cadaryan who I have also liked I am still unsure of the other options except to say that I still don't like Teclis.
Finally there is... HIGH MAGIC
This was a seriously undervalued/underrated lore in the old book and it has gotten a major boost here and it will be my default lore for High Elves now. Some solid changes there with good/fair casting values.
- Not quite sure about units of Tiranoc Chariots & Eagles (need for Warmaster ones)
- Would like them to start releasing the IOB Swordmasters as standard kits
- The Flamespyre is pretty cool
- Still not sold on RBT's in 8th Edition even with the points reduction
- Don't see myself running a Silver Helm bus anytime soon, but 2 units of Reavers as standard core definately.
Currently have 10 IOB Swordmasters and my AoW Female Mage in the process of being repainted in what will be my new High Elf army colour scheme (in honour of the new book) can see myself spending endless hours working on new lists.
Horned Rat is not that far off either...