Next on the list of special characters is Eltharion. In this edition, Eltharion has the option of being on foot or on his Griffon. Personally, if I was going to take him, it would always be on Stormwing (although they do come in just under 500 points). From a rules perspective, I find Eltharion to be quite interesting as he is fairly versatile.
- Eltharion has 4 Strength 6 Attacks at Weapon Skill 8, which ignore Armour Saves (with Always Strikes First and Initiative 8)
- Stormwing adds in 4 Strength 5 Attacks at Weapon Skill 6 (also with Always Strikes first, but “only” Initiative 7)
- Stormwing also has higher Weapon Skill, Wounds, Initiative, and Leadership than a typical Griffon
- Eltharion’s helm increases his armour save by 1 (giving him a 3+ when on Stormwing) and it also grants them both a 5+ ward save
- Magic Resistance (1)
- Level 2 Wizard (can choose from any of the 8 rulebook lores)
- Eltharion also has hatred against Orcs & Goblins with a +1 To Hit against Grom
- Oh yeah, he has a Longbow and is BS 7
Eltharion is quite the toolbox. The ability to choose from all 8 of the rulebook magic lores gives him flexibility to be able to support the army however you want. On a level 2, I always assume that I will end up with the Signature Spell, since that is the only one that I can reliably get. My first thoughts are using Heavens or Death. His Leadership 10 makes Spirit Leech quite effective. Also Iceshard Blizzard is useful in many situations. You could use Life, which would give him the ability to heal himself or Stormwing, but you might end up with useless spells (the Signature Spell is wasted on him).
While Griffons don’t have any armour saves, the 5+ Ward and extra wound for Stormwing help out a bit. The ward save actually gives him better survivability than dragons against cannons, but makes him more susceptible to lower Strength shooting. They still will need 6s to wound, but you don’t have the armour save to protect you.
Although he isn’t quite as good of a fighter as Tyrion, I think that Eltharion might actually be more useful in a game. He can be taken on foot to protect him better, but he can be quite scary roaming around on Stormwing casting spells (and shooting his bow), before charging in and finishing off a unit.