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Friday, 10 December 2010

Long, sharp and pointy - Dark Elf spears

A bit of an aside about spears.

When I was picking up Warhammer one of the things I really wanted was an army with loads of spears, pikes or other polearms. I do a bit of medieval re-enactment and use the spear, and I generally think they're pretty cool weapons.

Most obvious choice in that case was High Elves, they've got plenty of spears and are even able to fight in a further extra rank with them. But they're a bit too clean and shiny for my tastes. So eventually I ended up drifting to the Dark Elves instead.

Dark Elf spearmen are cheap and plentiful, which is a good start. A high initiative gives them a good shot at landing plenty of hits before the enemy fights back, and their weapon skill is respectable too. As you'd expect from an Elf the strength and toughness is lacking, but there's ways to get around this with magic if needs be. And while we're on the subject of magic a good leadership combined with Occam's Mindrazor on all those spears will cause some quality pain.

As a unit they're defensive - the spears won't get that extra rank if they charge. This makes for a good anchor unit, a big block of spears to stand in the way and block enemy movement so that a more powerful combat unit can charge the flanks or rear to cause casualties and boost combat resolution. As the spearmen are mostly there to hold the enemy in place you don't actually need to worry too much about causing casualties with them; instead you can reform for extra ranks to remove the enemy unit's steadfast as well as getting a bit of extra combat resolution for extra ranks.

In a Dark Elf army spearmen have another role, as ammunition for the sorceress' sacrificial dagger. If things get desperate then you've got a fantastic pool of potential power dice waiting to be used. Of course with more power dice there's more miscast opportunities, but with spearmen as cheap as they are it's not so big a loss.

All that said, I've not actually got a lot of spearmen in my army. I'm putting a bit of thought to reworking my list and either bulking up the spearmen already there or adding another unit. Coming from 40k I still look at units of 20 or so as a big unit, and really have trouble getting my head around units in the 40-50 model range. I guess it's really the type of thing I'll only get used to with time.

Monday, 15 November 2010


The advantage of actually sitting down and getting some painting done (spear block mostly finished now) is that I can put some thought to what's actually in my army, and what else I might need.

When I'd just started the army I was leaning towards a corsair/raiding-party idea with few if any Khainite units. The idea being that this army was concerned more with getting out there and getting rich instead of acting on behalf of anyone else. But this gives a pretty one-dimensional type of Dark Elf force, missing out a huge part of Druchii society.


Of all the Khainite units, in fact of most of the Dark Elf range, the Executioners are the nicest models. They look utterly deadly. Although I could probably have made better use of some Black Guard the models just don't do it for me.

So I've now got 10 Executioners waiting to go into my 1500pt force. Against Shrooms' Goblins I'm not expecting huge results here; I'm not bringing many attacks, and striking last. However against tougher foes, particularly those in good armour, this unit will be a great little tin-opener. Tie up a tough unit with a mass of spears, then hit them in the flank or rear with Executioners and they should start to crumble before too long.

Cauldron of Blood

Reading up on tactics at puts the Cauldron of Blood pretty far up the list of awesome units. For a bit over 200 points you're getting a battle standard with multiple wounds, ward save, gives nearby units stubborness and one unit gets a nice buff. Now that I've got other Khainite units in my army (See the Executioners above) I wouldn't feel so bad taking a Cauldron. In fact, I expect the Executioners would be the ones most likely to get the buff from it, particularly the armour boost as striking last with two-handed weapons leaves them a bit vulnerable.

Witch Elves

Longer term I'm giving some thought to a decent sized block of Witch Elves to deal with large units of cheap troops. Frenzy, multiple weapons and poison attacks should carve through anything lightly armoured without too much trouble. And against something like a huge block of Goblins an attack boost from Cauldron of Blood will clear through them in no time.


Most of what I'm thinking about here involves pretty heavy synergy between whichever units, the Cauldron, Sorceresses, etc. It's got me thinking that these types of combos may be worth a seperate blog post, so I won't go into them too much here and now. But what I will say here is that's a big thing that's changed moving from 40k to Fantasy, I'm thinking a lot more about how my units will cooperate.

Monday, 11 October 2010

Cold One Knights

I'm still thinking through how I want to set up my Cold One Knights. I've got 10 of them so far, but until I decide what I'm doing with them only five are built.

The original plan was to run a single unit of 9 Cold One Knights, a Battle Standard Bearer and a Sorceress. Or potentially 8 Knights and add a Dreadlord. The danger there is that there's a lot of points tied up in just 11 models; a good hit with a cannon, rock lobber, magic, etc. could make a real mess of things. Throwing in a magic item like Ring of Darkness would help protect from shooting, but I'm just not convinced it would be enough.

I've also considered running two units of five. This way I could have a small unit on either flank which would hopefully be able to clean up any skirmishers or bypass the enemy battle line and pick off war machines and shooty units lurking up the back. The down side here is that both units will suffer Stupidity without the Battle Standard Bearer re-roll, and the Sorceress could only accompany one of them.

Despite the vulnerabilities I'm still liking the idea of the big unit. A Battle Standard Bearer with the Hydra Banner in a unit like this is a devastating charge, and a Shadow Sorceress to debuff the enemy Strength is going to go a long way to help survivability in combat. Alternatively metal magic can boost the units ability to hit (Enchanted Blades) and survivability (Glittering Robe). And let's not forget the BSB reducing the risk of failing Stupidity, taking it from a 17% chance of failing to less than 3%! Add to all that the fact that at two ranks of five they're capable of disrupting flanks and you've got something pretty heavy-hitting to roll down one flank.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Da Boss will see you now...

So far so good. Armed with nothing more than a need for a pint and pay day I went to the GW and got myself De Slag Om Skull Pass because it was cheap (being slightly out of date and Dutch) and gave me both a small number of Gobbo's and Dwarves as I was still undecided which to play.

A check of rule books and a bit of thought later and I went back down for some fanatics aswell!

So I'm off to build my Gobbo's and maybe get some painted before I bother you with pictures.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Akhrin always strikes first

Or at least strikes with higher initiative than my fellow bloggers. Yes, Akhrin has picked up the start of his army. Into Games Workshop after work (allowing myself to be delayed only by a quick pint down the pub with Shrooms) to spend silly money on toy soldiers.

I've now got my Dark Elf army book, battalion (28 Warriors, 20 Corsairs, 5 Cold one Knights), an extra regiment of 16 Warriors, another 5 Cold One Knights and a Reaper Bolt Thrower. I'm also waiting for my Sorceresses to show up from mail order and I can start getting this army well and truly together!

Unfortunately (from the hobby point of view, at least) I'm away on holiday for the next fortnight or so, but you'll be left in the capable hands of my co-conspirators (and maybe another blogger into the mix, with any luck) until I get back and can really grind on with my army.

Nagarythe, here we come!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

What's it all about? (Who we are and what we do)

I've got a confession to make: we don't do Warhammer Fantasy. I've not played it in about 10 years, I expect Shrooms is somewhere similar, and I'm not sure Dair ever played it at all. Myself and Shrooms play 40k, and for all intents and purposes Dair doesn't really do wargaming.

But from the looks of the blogosphere we're not the only people putting down our tanks and boltguns to pick up blade and shield to do battle in the Old World now that 8th Edition is out. So here we are, three of the laziest gamers you're ever likely to meet. With any luck keeping a blog will give us the encouragement we need to keep modelling, painting and gaming. Expect the first few posts to pop up over the next week or so as we start to pick up our models and begin our armies.

Now, where did I put my chainmail?