The Dark Elves are my newest army, painted during the first five months of 2009. They are almost complete now. Just a Manticore & Rider, Black Dragon & Rider, Cold Old Riders and Mounted Characters to go.
I’m in no rush to do the Cold One riders, but I could do with finding suitable models for some mounted characters. I want to do a mounted Sorceress and Master (BSB).
I’m not sure how many points the following would equate to, as I don’t tend to count my armies that way. Somewhere in excess of 3000 I’d imagine once Magic Items were factored in.
Lords / Heroes
These three ladies have been seeing a lot of action recently, as I’ve been testing a 3 x L2 build as an option for our annual Warhammer league.
Below are two of the “direct only” characters, one converted to be a BSB. Also pictured is a Pegasus riding Sorceress – another option for my 1500 pt tournament list, but one I’ve not tested.
Sadly these aren’t the best photographs. I’ll try and take some more the next time I unpack the army.
Another interesting option for the combat orientated Dark Elf commander is the Death Hag with Cauldron of Blood. The stubborn buff it grants to Khainite troops is useful, but the optional buffs can be game breaking. Killing blow on your Witch Elves or Black Guard is absolutely brutal.
At 200 pts the Cauldron is a large investment of points, but you’ve got to love the model.
The final character is my Death Hag BSB. She’s not from the GW range of figures, she’s Foundry. She will have a more ornate banner added later, but for the time being it’s best not to draw attention to her presence in the army as there are no prizes for guessing what banner she’ll be carrying.
I like the “Core” options in the Dark Elf list. There’s nothing wrong with the basic Warriors (or Power Dice) as they are sometimes known. I’ve two units of 20.
The two units have different hand-painted shield designs. I’m not the best at freehand like this, but I’m happy with how they turned out.
Each of the spear units has a matching Repeater Crossbow unit with the same shield design. To my mind giving the Crossbowmen the shield upgrade is absolutely vital.
I’ve slung the shields across the backs of the Crossbows (see below).
The Dark Elf list really is spoilt for core choices. Dark Riders are point-for-point amongst the best Fast Cavalry in the game. In my opinion the GW models aren’t worth the price-tag, so like many others I’ve converted mine from Glade Riders (horses and legs) and Warriors (everything else).
Next up we have Corsairs. Perhaps one of the most overlooked core choices. I’ve 2 units of 10, but rarely use both units. I like using one unit in my combat heavy lists. The make a better screening unit for your fragile Black Guard, and their ability to always stand and shoot can be an absolute killer when charged by troops with a poor armour save. Mine tend to get shoved in front of large targets and have killed a Giant and put 3 wounds on a Star Dragon. You can also build them to fight too, extra hand weapons and the frenzy banner could catch a couple of opponents out.
Saving the best core troops for last, we have the Harpies. 11 pts for a flying skirmisher with 2 attacks which doesn’t cause panic in your other troops (or themselves) – what is not to love about them. I’ve 20 of them. 11 are from the GW range . . .
There are only three different models. Two standard troopers and one “special” only available in one of their boxed sets.
The special selections for the Dark Elf army are all pretty good choices and whichever you choose they will give your army a particular flavour. All have particular strengths and weaknesses. You should choose the one that best suits the role required or which best suits your play style.
Point for point the Witch Elves are one of the best low/no armour save infantry shredders in the game. Their lack of armour and Frenzy often lead to their downfall, but I like them and have a unit of 20.
Probably my favourite Dark Elf model is the “summoning” one featured below.
Not that there’s anything wrong with the command models which just ooze character.
In a shooting army there’s the option for Shades. Scouts are always useful, but coupled with an Assassin there’s the potential for some devastating turn one charge against players not aware of the trick. I have 10 of them. Half are standard GW ones, the rest converted from WE Glade Guard, DE Corsairs and Warriors.
Har Ganeth Executioners. Another fantastic group of models, although some of them are too easily damaged. My pinning skills aren’t good enough to pin the sword to the hand, but I’m sure it’s possible. I have 22 of them, partly so I can carry a few spares, and partly so I could field two small units if required.
I’m quite pleased with how the freehand banners turned out.
Cold One Knights – I don’t have any of these painted yet.
Cold One Chariot – I don’t have any of these painted yet.
The final special choice is perhaps the pick of the bunch: The Black Guard of Naggarond. One of the most vicious units in the game, the possible inclusion of the Banner of Hag Graef and/or Ring of Hotek, makes this unit a cornerstone of many a Dark Elf build. They do have one weakness though, a 5+ armour save just isn’t enough.
Their unit champion is a horrible model though. I just hate the arms, which come separate. I just couldn’t get a good contact other than at angle which has the Halberd thrust out across his chest making it impossible to stand many other models next to him.
Their are only two Rare choices available to the Dark Elf army, both are good and I suspect many people take one of each at 2000 pts. My club plays mostly at 1500 pts, which makes the decision much harder.
For a shooting army perhaps the 2:1 choice of the Reaper Bolt Thrower is best. I have 2, but will acquire some more if I see them cheap anywhere.
Finally we have the more combat orientated choice: The Hydra. There’s an argument that this is point-for-point the best Monster in the game, and that its cost could be 225 or even 250 points and they would still be fielded. I’ve got to agree.