High Elves – Rare

Now we have reached the final section of the High Elf book. The two choices from the old book have been joined by three new entries.

Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower

What Has Changed?

30 points cheaper!

Thoughts

Since I never owned any bolt throwers before the switch to 8th edition, I haven’t used them before. I think that they seem great now. With a 48″ range and the only High Elf ranged weapon that can somewhat reliably penetrate armour, they are kind of a special unit. It is unfortunate that they only have 2 Wounds, because they are extremely vulnerable to enemy ranged attacks. At least the cheaper points cost makes their loss easier to deal with.

The bolt throwers offer superior range and the utility of either the single shot with no armour save, or the multi-shot for more lightly armoured targets. It is also nice that you can still include 4 of them in a lower points list.

Great Eagle

What Has Changed?

We can no longer take 4 single eagles. However, they can now be taken in units (if you so desire). Also, you can give the eagles Armour Piercing and/or Always Strikes First upgrades.

Thoughts

It really is too bad that you can’t take the 4 single eagles anymore. I only just recently purchased my 2nd pair of them right before the new book came out. Oh well, maybe I will give them a try in a unit sometime.

The eagles are great at getting in the way or running down fleeing troops. They can help to buy an extra turn for your fighting blocks, too. I tend to use eagles as throwaway units. With that in mind, I like to keep them cheap. Is it really worth 10 points to let your eagle to hit first or potentially re-roll its 2 attacks? What about 5 points for the 2 Attacks to have Armour Piercing? There might be times when these upgrades are nice, but I will most likely keep the eagles cheap.

Maybe the upgrades will be useful if they are added to a unit of eagles, but then the eagles start becoming a little expensive. I might try out a unit of 3 eagles sometime, as I could see them being a decent threat, but I’m thinking for now that they will remain ‘units’ of one.

Flamespyre Phoenix

What Has Changed?

These guys are the new hotness (lame joke, I know, but believe me, I thought of so many)

Thoughts

In case you haven’t noticed, I like phoenixes, so I was very excited when these models showed up. Also, I guess that I have been with school of thought that they are fire birds, so I like the idea of the Flamepyre over the Frostheart. They’re roughly around the statline of a Sun Dragon and can receive a stat bonus based on your Winds of Magic roll. They also have the very important (in my opinion) ward save. So, 1/3 of the time (or 1/2 if the winds are favorable), they will ignore the wound altogether.

The Flamespyre has a couple of other tricks, like the potential to be reborn if it is killed. Sure, it’s not a very good chance, but some chance is better than no chance. One thing that I really do like about this guy is that he doesn’t have to be in combat to cause damage. He can fly over enemies to do some Strength 4 hits. I will admit that it most likely won’t do massive damage, but at least he can still have a use if you don’t want to commit him to combat.

Overall, I have to admit, that he’s probably not as good as the Frostheart, but I still like him.

Frostheart Phoenix

What Has Changed?

These guys are the old new (old version of a new entry in the list). Just think: great grandpa phoenix.

Thoughts

Only 15 points more than the Flamespyre, and almost all of his stats (not Initiative) are a point higher. He loses the ability to come back to life if he has died, and can’t do damage by just flying over an enemy, but he has his own nice rules. He receives a 5+ armour save (anything that doesn’t negate the save will need 6s to wound anyway due to his Toughness) and the important Blizzard Aura. The Blizzard Aura is the big deal because it lowers the Strength (this is the big deal) of enemies in base contact and gives them Always Strikes Last (not generally as big of a deal since High Elves usually strike before their opponents). -1 Strength when you are attacking a Toughness 6 creature is not very welcoming. Also, it helps to keep your Toughness 3 elves alive when the Phoenix is supporting them in combat.

The Frostheart is pretty solid and becomes a great addition to the High Elf list. I expect to see these more than the Flamespires due to their increased statline and support abilities.

Sisters of Avelorn

What Has Changed?

Could these be considered Maiden Guard? If so, they are back after their 3 (?) book vacation. Otherwise, they are new.

Thoughts

So, BS 5 with Strength 4, magical, flaming bows that are armour piercing against bad guys. That’s not too shabby. It is unfortunate that the bows only have a range of 24″, but I guess that you can’t have it all. The Sisters are a pretty decent ranged unit, providing the High Elves with their only non-war machine ranged unit that stands a chance against armour. Also, now that the Archers can’t carry a magical banner, the Sisters represent the best option for flaming ranged attacks (the only other one being the BSB carrying the flaming banner).

Along with the shorter range bows, the other drawback to this unit is that they can’t take a musician. So, no quick reforms before shooting. Adding a Handmaiden to the unit gives them Quick to Fire, but the Handmaiden is a decent-sized points investment and I don’t think that you would be including her just for that special rule. The obvious choice for these is in a themed Avelorn force, with the Everqueen and Handmaiden(s).

This concludes my review of the new High Elf book. Be sure to let me know your thoughts about the units or provide some suggestions. Thanks for reading.

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