High Elves – Special

Now, we have arrived at the Special choices. This is my favorite part of the High Elf army, because I love the elite infantry and Dragon princes. A change that is present for most of the entries is the cost of the command groups. Also, I think it is worth mentioning that I’ve never used chariots before, so every comment related to them is all based on theory.

Lion Chariot of Chrace

What Has Changed?

The chariot is 20 points cheaper now, and gains Stubborn. Another change worth mentioning is that the riders no longer get their re-rolls on their attacks.

Thoughts

A Stubborn chariot? It seems a little strange to me, since one of the main draws of chariots is the Impact Hits. Also, the chariot only has a 4+ Armour Save, and is Toughness 4. How long is this thing going to stick around in a protracted combat?

The White Lions and War Lions can still put out 4 Strength 5 and 2 Strength 6 attacks a round, but it just doesn’t seem to be enough.

White Lions of Chrace

What Has Changed?

As mentioned for the Lion Chariot, the woodsmen no longer receive the re-rolls with their Great Weapons. Additionally, they are now 2 points cheaper, and have gained the Martial Prowess rule. A couple less obvious changes are that the minimum unit size is now 10 and the champion can only carry a Magic Weapon now (instead of magic items).

Thoughts

So, there are some goods and bad things about the changes. The loss of re-rolls is unfortunate, since they can really save you if you have a bad round of rolling. Taking the hit percentage from 89% to 67% can be a big deal.

Well, now that they are cheaper, and can fight in 3 ranks (even when not in horde formation) this helps to make up for the loss of the re-rolls. The White Lions are still more resilient from shooting than the Swordmasters and hit harder than both of the other elite infantry options.

In my opinion, the White Lions are the big winners out of the changes for this book. Unfortunately, for me, they are the models that I like least out of the High Elf elite infantry.

Interesting Thought

Can somebody explain to me what good the Forest Strider rule does for these guys? The only thing that I can pick up is that if they move through the Venom Thicket, they don’t take the Dangerous Terrain test. Am I missing something or is that it?

Swordmasters of Hoeth

What Has Changed?

The changes are very similar to the White Lions. The one differences are that the Swordmasters can be taken in units of 5 and have gained a 6+ Ward against non-magic, non-template missiles.

Thoughts

I am sad about the Swordmasters. I really like the models and the background behind them, but they have gone down in power, when compared to the other options that High Elves have.

The Swordmasters are still extremely vulnerable to shooting. The White Lions have a 3+ Armour Save, and the Phoenix Guard have a 5+ Armour Save along with their 4+ Ward. The 6+ just doesn’t seem to cut it.

It is nice that they are cheaper, but since they have more attacks than the other elite infantry, the loss of re-rolls hurts them more. Also, gaining Martial Prowess helps a little bit, but since only the 1st row gets more than 1 Attack is not as nice as it could be. It’s not that they are bad ( Weapon Skill 6, 2 Attacks, Strength 5), they just don’t seem to be as good as the other options available.

For me, it seems that the best way to use these guys would be to run them in small units, in a single rank, so that each Swordmaster can get both of their attacks. Otherwise, you might as well just take one of the other options.

Interesting Thought

So, how is it that guys that can swat missiles out of the air with their Great Swords don’t get a Parry save too? I can’t see how hitting an arrow/pebble/bolt would be easier than blocking a sword. I guess that part is supposed to be represented by WS 6. Also, how is it that their blades that are “light as a feather” still incur Great Weapon penalties?

Shadow Warriors

What Has Changed?

They’re 2 points cheaper, +1 BS, and their champion can take a magic weapon.

Thoughts

It’s nice that the Shadow Warriors had some changes. They seemed to be overpriced before, but they’re not too bad now. They are 4 points more than an archer, but have +1 BS, Scout and Skirmish (oh yeah, Light Armour, too).

The Shadow Warriors can be a nice harassment unit to include. Their range is effectively 40″, since they can march and shoot and they can get out of trouble a bit easier than the archers. I have some of the old metal models of these guys that were collecting dust, but I might have to break them out some time, since they seem more useful now.

Phoenix Guard

What Has Changed?

They fight in 3 ranks now and have to be taken in units of 10 or more.

Thoughts

Well, now the Phoenix Guard can fight in 3 ranks, with their Strength 4 attacks. Also, out of the elite infantry, they are the only one to retain the re-rolls To Hit (since they are not using Great Weapons). These changes have added slightly to their combat power. If you throw the Armour Piercing banner on them, enemies will have -2 to their Armour Saves.

The Phoenix Guard still represent the most resilient of the elite infantry options. The 4+ Ward can be amazing, at times, since the High Elf armour is usually negated, but the Ward Save sticks around.

In my opinion, these guys are better than Swordmasters. They will survive longer, and hit almost as hard now. Also, if they have Mindrazor on them, those attacks turn into Strength 9. Also, don’t forget that the cause Fear for the (rare) times that it matters.

Interesting Thought

Since the Phoenix Guard have seen the future, they take a magical vow of silence. However, in one of the High Elf novels, one of the Phoenix Guards communicates with a guy by hand signals. So, what’s to keep these guys from passing this information along with their hand signals?.

Dragon Princes of Caledor

What Has Changed?

Dragon Princes can now move 9″ due to their Ithilmar Barding. They have also gained a 6+ Ward save and are 3 points cheaper. So, everything is a positive change here.

Thoughts

So, the Dragon Princes have only become better, so they should be definite includes, right? I still think that they are not as good as the infantry options. They are great on the charge, with 2 Strength 5 Attacks a piece. However, they suffer from the same issues as other cavalry: it’s hard to break people on the charge, and they are only Strength 3 on the subsequent rounds of combat. Also, the subsequent ranks only get 1 Attack, so attacks from more than 1 rank are wasted.

The nice thing about these guys (as opposed to Silver Helms), is that they can take the Banner of the World Dragon, giving them a 2+ Armour and Ward Save against magical attacks. There is still a place for them in the army, if they are supported by other units. I’m sure that some people will try a large unit of them packed with characters, but that’s not really for me.

Lothern Skycutter

What Has Changed?

A flying chariot!

Thoughts

The chariot itself and crew have the same stats as a Tiranoc Chariot, but this chariot is 25 points more. So, what do we get for 25 more points? An extra crew member (they carry bows instead of longbows), Fly, 4+ Armour Save, and the Roc pulling it is WS 5, Strength 4. Also, you have the option of swapping out a crew member to carry an Eagle Eye Bolt Thrower.

For me, this is my favorite chariot of the High Elves. While the White Lion chariot hits much harder in combat, this chariot (with the bolt thrower) gives you the option to remain out of combat and still do some damage. Then, if the need arises, it can provide combat support. Sure the bolt thrower only has a  24″ range and is Strength 5, but the chariot can still move 10″ and fire it. This allows it to more easily set up flank shots than a normal bolt thrower is able to do. Also, I find the Fly ability to be great, since you can charge over the top of units.

The model looks great, but I find it rather unfortunate that it costs twice as much (money) as the other chariots. For that reason alone, it will be a while before I think about fielding one of these.

Interesting Thought

There are so many things about these Skycutter Chariots. Since they accompany the High Elf navies on their expeditions, do they land on the boats for the rocs to rest. Also, how do they inflict impact hits without damaging their sails/fins that they have on them?

Tiranoc Chariot

What Has Changed?

A 15 point reduction and the riders now carry Longbows (instead of Bows). Also, you can take them in units up to 3.

Thoughts

It’s great that the points cost for these has come down. You can almost buy 2 of them for the price of a single Lion Chariot. However, I think that the Lion Chariot can do more damage than 2 of these guys. They still retain their Toughness 4, 4 Wounds, and 5+ Armour Save, so they won’t be sticking around very long in a sustained combat.

And that concludes the Special section for the High Elves. I really like how we have some pretty solid options. Each one of the chariots and elite infantry units is different enough from the others to validate a separate entry in the list and each unit has special situations where it can excel. Also, the Shadow Warriors provide another means of war machine hunting and ranged support. The Dragon Princes have only become better, and can still be a solid choice, especially in a themed, all cavalry force. Only one more section of the book left now…

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