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7th Edition High Elves Tactica – Introduction

Part 1. — 7th Edition Overview

This thread is the start of a revision to the tactical articles I submitted two years ago in the first weeks of the 7th Edition Army book. I was not, and am not a big fan of the “new” book. This is largely due to the new Force Organization of the High Elves, namely 2+ core, 0-6 special, and 0-4 rare units. In addition the core and rare units are extremely limited with respect to choice, to the point of almost dictating one’s selection, i.e. 2 units each of Archers, Bolt Throwers and Eagles.

Part 2. — The Big Picture

In my previous writings it’s my feeling that the big principles of High Elf play were not adequately covered. The purpose of this introduction is an attempt to set the “scenario” for the discussion of the concepts that are to follow.
Creating one’s Army list is the first thing a General will do in any battle. Unfortunately, many generals apply little thought to this task, prior to dropping them onto the tabletop. For the High Elven army, with its inherent high point costs, errors in unit selection can lead to defeat on the battlefield. It is vital that each unit in one’s army have a purpose, and that the units and characters assigned to that purpose are sufficient to get the job done.

For High Elves, army composition is one opportunity to deal with the critical issues you will face on the battlefield. Games are easily won or lost not only by what you bring to the table, but by failing to understand how what you brought can be used to attack or defend in the various phases of the game.

The second part of the previous sentence, understanding, is why it is so important that a high Elf general play his own list and not a copy of some “winner” from the internet. By playing one’s own creation, where each unit has its purpose, each unit either succeeds or fails in his task under fire. If it should fail, knowing what it was intended to do goes a long way in fixing the problem. On the other hand if a list from the internet fails, one may or may not know the reason why. Did you have assignments for all the units in the list?, were you playing all units as intended?, were you completely outclassed in a particular phase of the game?, why?

When I write of “phases” of the game, I am not discussing the Warhammer phases; movement, magic, shooting, or close combat. For purposes of these articles a phase of the game will be an area of strength or weakness within an army that can be exploited, either by that army or by one’s opponent to gain an advantage on the battlefield. These phases and sub-phases consist of:

~ March interdiction
~ Damage interdiction

~ Mage Hunting
~ Magic Items
Magic Offense
Magic Defense
Melee Troops
Shock Melee

~ Attrition Melee
Maneuver Psychology
Magic Missile Fire
Melee Combat

It can be helpful to think of each army fielded as having a “stat” for each different phase. The higher the “stat” in a phase, the more dominant the army is in that phase, and vice versa. As one gets used to this concept of “army stat lines”you will be able to create a “stat” line for both armies that will help you with immediate pre-battle planning. If you create your own line beforehand, you’ll be able to see your strong and weak areas, and if (like where I play) opponents exchange lists prior to the game, you can create a line for your opponent’s army and than match up strengths and weaknesses building your deployment plan. As an example, heres my list and my opponents list from a recent RTT tournament (2250 points).

My Army (high Elves)

Archmage, level 4 – General, Folaraith’s Robe, Talisman of Saphery, Dispel Scroll – 360 points
Mage, level 2 – The Seerstaff of Saphery, Dispel Scroll – 185 points
Noble – Battle Standard Bearer, Great Weapon, Armor of Caledor, Guardian Phoenix – 168 points
19x Spearelves – Full Command, Lion Banner – 221 points
10x archers – 110 points
10x archers – 110 points
20x Phoenix Guard – Full Command, Standard of Balance – 375 points
5x Swordmasters of Hoeth – Bladelord, Banner of Ellyrian – 114 points
5x Shadow Warriors – 80 points
5x Dragon Princes of Caledor – Drakemaster, Amulet of Light, War Banner – 225 points
2x Great Eagles – 100 points
2x Repeater Bolt Thrower – 200 points
Total points – 2248

My “stat” line:

Speed – 4
Flexibility – 4
March interdiction – 6
Damage interdiction – 7
Psychology – 5
Magic Offense – 6
Magic Defense – 6
Shock Melee – 5
Attrition Melee – 5

His Army (high Elves)

Prince – General, Lance, Dragon Armor, Shield, Star Dragon, Nullstone – 638 points
Dragon Mage of Caledor, level 2 – Sun Dragon, Silver Wand, Ring of Fury – 435 points
20x SpearElves – Full command – 205 points
20x SpearElves – Full command – 205 points
20x Phoenix Guard – Full Command – 330 points
20x Phoenix Guard – Full Command – 330 points
7x Swordmasters of Hoeth – 105 points
Total points – 2248

His “stat” line:

Speed – 10
Flexibility – 8
March interdiction – 6
Damage interdiction – 3
Psychology – 9
Magic Offense – 5
Magic Defense – 3
Shock Melee – 8
Attrition Melee – 7

The Battle Report:
The archmage takes High magic and rolls for spells,(Curse of Arrow, Courage of Aenarion, Fury of Khaine, and Flames of the Phoenix). The mage selects Beast Magic and takes the Crow’s Feast and the Beast Cowers. His Dragon Mage rolls and gets Fireball, Conflagration of Doom, and Wall of Fire. He defaults “Wall” for the”Flaming Sword of Rhuin”.

Pre-deployment planning:
The scenario is Battlefield Supremacy from the 7th Edition rulebook, The victory conditions are who controls the most table quarters. It’s an open battlefield with no significant terrain. He has 7 units, 4 of which cause fear, I can’t march block the dragons, however his magic defense is weak, only 3 Dispel dice and the Null stone. He has no ranged damage other than dragon’s breath, and once committed it appears that he has little flexibility. The big question, Where will he deploy the Swordmasters?

I plan to match off his dragons with my attrition melee units, line up my Archers and Shadow Warriors directly across from the Swordmasters, Team my Swordmasters with the Phoenix Guard and the Dragon Princes with my Spearelves. Put my bolt Throwers as a Battery in the center with a interlocking range of fire over the entire battlefield.

I have the most units, therefore by RTT rule I deploy first.

An Eagle on the left flank. He counters with the Star Dragon across from the eagle. I inform him that the Prince is a character and by rule must be deployed last. He then deploys his Swordmasters in the center of the table.

I deploy an eagle on the right flank. He deploys a unit of Phoenix Guard to the right of Swordmasters.

I deploy my Bolt Throwers as a battery in the center of the table. He deploys a unit of Phoenix Guard to the left of his Swordmasters.

I deploy a unit of archers to the left of my bolt Throwers. He deploys a unit of Spearelves on the right end of his line.

I deploy a unit of Archers to the right of my bolt throwers. He deploys his last infantry unit, a block of spearelves on the left end of his line.

It’s been pretty easy up to this point, but which flank will he place the Prince on Star Dragon? I want to team my Dragon Princes and Phoenix Guard against the Prince. Well he tried to put him on his right flank earlier, SO I deploy the dragon Princes on my left flank outside the eagle. He deploys the Dragon Mage on his left flank. I wait and he says, “your turn”. I ask, “where are you putting the Prince?” He says, “I don’t have to tell”. I answer, “I agree, but you do have to deploy ALL characters as your last unit, simultaneously”. He disagrees, and we review page 3 of the rulebook. He deploys the Prince on his right flank. Perfect!!!

I now deploy my Phoenix guard on the left flank inside the eagle

My Spearelves on the right side inside the eagle and my Swordmasters on the right flank outside the eagle

The noble joins the Spears, the Archmage joins the Phoenix guard, the mage joins the Archers on the right

The Shadow Warriors (scouts) go last and are between the Archers on the left and the Phoenix Guard

The Battle:
He holds the +1 and won the roll off for first turn.

Full on advance, Dragons fly up 20 inches on each flank, all infantry march 10 inches in the center

Eagles fly 20 inches straight up the table, turn and face the center

Dragon Princes move to flanking position outside of Dragon’s line of sight on left flank

Phoenix Guard turn to face the dragon

Spears turn to face the Dragon Mage

Swords move to flanking position on left flank.

Archmage casts, “Courage of Aenarion” on Phoenix Guard, three dice – 10, “Curse of Arrow Attraction” on Dragon Mage, two dice – 7 , he dispels, three dice -9 Mage casts “the Beast Cowers” on Prince, three dice – 12

Archers open up on swordmasters, 17 hits, 7 wounds, 3 saves

Shadow Warriors shoot at Prince, 4 hits, randomize 3 hits on Prince one on Dragon, Prince suffers one wound

Bolt thrower one shoots six shots at Dragon Mage, 5 hits, randomize 3 on Dragon, 2 on Mage. 2 wounds on the dragon, 2 wounds on the mage, mage dies. Dragon rolls on own leadership – 11, fails. Dragon rolls on Monster reaction table – 4, Whimper (Monster is unbreakable,but can’t move or fight unless engaged for duration of game. It will turn and face the nearest enemy and use its breath weapon if in range)

Bolt Thrower two shoots six shots and the remaining three swordmasters, 4 hits, 3 wounds, no saves. Both Phoenix Guard units take Panic tests on own leadership, Both pass

Manuver:Magic:Missile Fire

Dragon(no mage) turns to face my spear block
Spears and Guard all march another 10 inches maintaining their line

Swordasters declare flank charge on the Dragon(no mage)

My Spears declare frontal charge on his Spears

Dragon princes declare rear charge on Prince

Phoenix Guard declare frontal charge on Prince

Shadow warriors move to screen Phoenix guards flank from his spear block

Eagles move towards the center behind and within eight inches of his infantry blocks to set up march block.

Swordmasters take Terror check – 7, pass and move into flank of dragon(no mage).

Dragon Princes take Terror check – 8, pass, and move to the rear of the star dragon.

Phoenix Guard moves to front of Dragon.

SpearElves move to front of opposing Spear Elves.

Mage casts “The Beast Cowers” on the Prince, three dice – 15 irresistible force Archmage casts “Fury of Khaine” on spears off the flank of my Phoenix Guard, three dice – 9, he attempts two dice dispel – 9 dispeled, Archmage casts “Curse of Arrow Attraction” on spears off the flank of my Phoenix Guard, two dice – 7

Archers and Shadow warriors open up on Spear Block on my left, 19 hits (with rerolls),10 wounds, 3 saves

Bolt Thrower #1 shoots six shoots at wounded spears,6 hits (with rerolls), 4 wounds, no saves, spears take panic check on General’s leadership, pass

Bolt Thrower #2 shoots single shot at Prince, hits, randomizes to Dragon, 2 wounds, no saves.

Prince has highest initiative and elects to use the 4 attacks against the Dragon Princes, 2 hits, 1 wound, 1 save. Dragon Princes get 9 attacks against the Dragon, 5 hits, 2 wounds, no saves. Phoenix Guard elect to use their 5 attacks against the prince, 3 hits, 2 wounds, no saves, Prince dies. Star Dragon takes leadership, 9 passes. Combat resolution: Me: 4 wounds, 3 ranks, rear charge, war banner, outnumber, win by 12. Dragon tests for insane courage, 4 fails, breaks, runs 12 inches, Dragon Prince pursuit, 11 inches. Phoenix guard pursuit, 8 inches

Swordmasters on Dragon (no Mage) 11 attacks, 8 hits, 3 wounds, no saves, dragon dies. Swordmasters declare overrun, 7 inches which moves the into the flank of the engaged Spearelves. 11 attacks, 9 hits, 6 wounds, no saves. Against his Spear Elves, BSB has best Initiative, has three attacks, 2 hits, 1 wound, no save, my spear elves go first due to dice roll-off, spears get 10 attacks, 4 hits, 2 wounds, no saves, his spears get 7 attacks back, 5 hits, 2 wounds, no saves. Combat resolution: Me: 9 wounds, 3 ranks, flank attack, Banner, BSB, outnumber; Him: 2 wounds, Banner, I win by 12, he rolls for insane courage, 11 fails and breaks 6 inches, Sword master pursuit 10 inches and runs unit down and takes banner.

Manuver:Magic:Missile Fire:Melee Combat:

Conceded a massacre victory
His: Turn 1:Turn 2:Turn 3:

I hope this illustrates the power of the comparative army “stat” lines. In this example I was able to quickly see that I had the edge in magic, missile fire, and overall number of units. His Army obviously wins through melee combat, therefore that had to be neutralized. His lack of magic defense verses “Beast” magic was his undoing. My bolt throwers and his large targets did not hurt, and my overall number of units allowed for an optimum deployment.

The question,, then, is what kind of a “stat” line do you want your army to have? The follow on articles will attempt to give detail to the various phases and which units fill the objectives for the phase.

Reproduced with permission by PaperElf, additional source material for these articles can be found in the General’s tent at Machiara’s web site, Battle Glade.


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