Like the mighty Phoenix, the High Elves are reborn through the release of their new army book. Initial reception is quite positive, with the possible exception of the Banner of the World Dragon and its 2++ against magical attacks/spells. It’s fun to see the Internet up in arms about how this screws over some of the top-tier (or at least former top-tier) armies.
This magic banner aside, people are loving the addition of more units to the Core section (Silver Helms and Ellyrian Reavers). You can pay the obligatory 25% Core tax with Spearmen, slightly cheaper Sea Guard, cheaper Archers and now these two cavalry options. This is way more flexibility than before, and it even allows you to do an all-cav force if that’s your thing. Overall, expect many people to be ranking up 3-deep for High Elves, as all models can fight in melee or shoot missile weapons thanks to Martial Prowess. All the benefits of a horde, without having to take a bajillion models. Nice!
In terms of Special/Rare, you still have a variety of elite Cuisinart style infantry, Dragon Princes for heavier hitting cavalry, and a ton of flying monsters, chariots and flying chariots pulled by monsters. Due to High Elves losing their magical bullshit ASF, their great weapons now just strike on initiative via regular ASF (which cancels out the great weapons’ ASL), and as such you have a stronger case than ever for taking Phoenix Guard. Combined with either a High Magic user or someone with the Ring of Fury to trigger the Shield of Saphery lore attribute, and you have a unit with some impressive durability (for an elf, anyway).
One neat combo looks like it could be the Sea Helm on Skycutter with Reaver Bow and Khaine’s Ring of Fury. He would be shooting 3xS5 magical shots per turn, which isn’t bad at all, and he gives the chariot 4++ against shooting, which then stacks with the Lore Attribute for more bonuses every time he casts the bound spell successfully. After a couple turns of shooting/spellcasting, he should have a decent ward save when he jumps into combat, supporting your main line wherever it needs help.
The Loremaster of Hoeth is another character I feel compelled to build armies around. Having 8 signature spells on a L2 mage with combat stats and the ability to wear armor is crazy. So many possibilities! If you have the Ring of Fury available, I would try to squeeze it on him to provide stacking ward saves and whatever signature spells are necessary. Book of Hoeth is a good bet here as well, as it will help you reliably get spells through (he’s only L2 remember, so lacks the +4 casting bonus most lords get).
The takeaway from the book is that internal balance suddenly exists, and like the Tau Codex, there seem to be many different ways to structure an army. Let’s take a look at a few sample army lists from Warseer…
7th Edition + (2500) posted by Knifeparty
Alarielle the Everqueen (High Magic) (joins Swordmasters)
Noble, BSB, defensive magic armor/talismans of choice (joins Phoenix Guard)
L2 Mage (Shadow), Dispel Scroll (joins Sea Guard)
34 Sea Guard, Full Command, Shields
2×5 Ellyrian Reavers, Bows & Spears, Musician
27 Swordmasters, Full Command, Banner of the World Dragon
20 Phoenix Guard, Full Command
6 Dragon Princes, Standard, Banner of Eternal Flame
2x Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower
2x solo Great Eagle
The first army list is very similar to the old army book, just with a new special character/magic items to buff things up. The Swordmasters in this setup have 5++ against mundane attacks due to Alarielle, and 2++ versus anything remotely magical. High Magic strips away the effects of enemy spells and the lore attribute stacks with Alerielle’s 5++ against mundane attacks. The Phoenix Guard are rocking 4++ against everything and so you have two units that can both dish out and tank damage quite well. I’m guessing the Sea Guard with Shadow Mage just hang back in support, shooting and slinging magic around, and help out if absolutely necessary. If you somehow manage to get Mind Razor going, then they can certainly keep up on the front lines.
Overall, not too bad at all. Three solid blocks of infantry, monster hunting Dragon Princes, and some war machine hunters/chaff/redirectors in the form of Reavers and Great Eagles.
Wood Elves + (2400) posted by Gloryseeker
L4 Archmage, Dispel Scroll, Golden Crown of Atrazar
Loremaster of Hoeth, Book of Hoeth, Talisman of Preservation
Noble, BSB, Great Eagle, Reaver Bow, Heavy Armor/Shield/Lion Cloak (3+/1+ vs. shooting)
15 Silver Helms, Full Command, Shields
33 White Lions, Full Command, Banner of the World Dragon
2x Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower
This one caught my eye, as it almost looks like more of a Wood Elf army than anything (only with better cavalry). Swapping out the L4 for a L2 Mage might be a good idea, as there won’t be enough power dice to go around. Those extra points could go a long way elsewhere. Magic items could probably be optimized a bit better also, as the BSB not having any ward save makes me nervous. Reaver Bow/Dragon Armor/Ring of Fury could definitely give him a chance at a ward save, similar to the Skycytter hero I mentioned earlier. Dragon Armor has a 6++ built-in (and the 2++ versus flaming), and then the ward saves would start stacking from there with every casting of the bound spell.
MSU Party (2500) posted by N0th1ng c4n b34t 3lv3s
L4 Archmage, Book of Hoeth, Golden Crown of Atrazar, Khaine’s Ring of Fury
Sea Helm, BSB, Reaver Bow, Shield of Merwyrm, Dragonbane Gem, Ironcurse Icon
21 Archers, Musician, Standard Bearer, Banner of Eternal Flame
21 Archers, Musician
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Bows, Musician
5 Ellyrian Reavers, Spears, Musician
3×9 White Lions
5 Dragon Princes, Standard Bearer
5 Dragon Princes
4x Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower
2x solo Great Eagle
Wow, this list is incredibly weird! The poster admits that he wants to experiment with MSU to become a better general, instead of just running a death star unit directly ahead and hoping for the best. The list has a lot of moving parts to it, with weak infantry blocks supported by a trio of 3×3 “detachments” of White Lions. These little cubes of stubborn S6 death could be an interesting idea. They’re Stubborn, they all get to swing in combat, and are fairly resilient against incoming shooting so it could possibly work. Still, I’m struggling to get my head around this army! The million different conditional ward saves on the Sea Helm amuse me, as I used to pull similar stuff for fun with old books.
All Ahead Full (2000) posted by Kahadras
Prince, Moon Dragon, 50 pts of magic gear
Noble, Griffon (Swiftsense upgrade), Lance, Dragon Armor, 50 pts of magic gear
L2 Mage (choice of Lores), Barded Steed, Dispel Scroll
2×10 Silver Helms, Full Command, Shields
2x solo Great Eagle
Not the most competitive looking army, as it lacks flaming/magical attacks for dealing with Ethereals/Regeneration, and Breaking Point will be an issue as well. Still, this list packs ludicrous speed and can do hefty damage via combo charges. Could be fun just to mess around with!
I hope you enjoyed this early look at some army lists, hopefully I’ll be able to get my copy of the book from Warp 3 tonight and start messing around with ideas myself. If I come up with something especially cool themed around Sea Guard, I can see me doing up a small/medium army based on all the starter set figures I have lying around.