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A First Look at Warhammer 8th Edition High Elves Tactics

It looks like the 8th Edition Rule Book has been pre-released at certain Games Workshop stores for all to see and trial. With that Desert Rain, High Elves Chapter Master at the Warseer has written a brief 8th edition High Elves tactics or tactica article. Not everything is 100% confirmed, but do enjoy the read and I love to hear what you think?

Now that we basically have confirmed rumours for most of the new rulebook and test games are being held in the GW stores I think that it’s time to start a new tactica thread for the High Elves.

As we all know 8th edition brings a lot of changes, and some of them benefit us, some of them don’t.

Here are some of my thoughts about the new rules and how they might effect our units.

First of all the Sea Guard gets a significant bonus. They will fight in an extra rank, for a total of 4, or even 5 if you have enough models for a horde unit. They will also be able to fire in several ranks, thus negating one of their biggest downsides in 7th edition.
With the new requirement for a minimum 25% in core units they also help us out since they are more expensive than the Spearmen and the Archers.

If you want to go for the benefits of the horde rule Spearmen might be the better choice since they are our cheapest troops. It still remains to be seen if it is worth it though. Archers get a boos with the shoot in 2 ranks rumour since you can field units of 10 without them taking up a lot of space, thus giving you a tighter deployment which is good.

Of our elite infantry units it seems that Phoenix Guards are getting the biggest boost. We have, as you all know, ASF on all our units and it seems that if you have both ASF and higher initiative you will get to re-roll to hit rolls. Since Phoenix Guards have I6 they will almost always get those re-rolls. They also get to double their number of attacks thanks to the fighting in 2 ranks rumour, thus making them much better at killing stuff than they are now.
Their 4+ ward save also makes them less vulnerable to the high amount of return attacks that will come their way.

Both Swordmasters and White Lions will get a significant boost as well, Swordmasters will be able to put out an insane amount of attacks. Unfortunately this comes with a big downside, since the opponent almost always gets to strike back at us, and our fragile but expensive Swordmasters and White Lions doesn’t like that very much.

Since it seems that you need to have a rank in your unit to cancel out the opponents ranks if you hit them in the flank our cavalry units gets a lot more expensive if we want to do that. This might lead to some people starting to use Silver Helms in this role since they are cheaper to buy ranks to.

Chariots, and especially the Lion Chariot seems pretty tempting in the new edition as well. With S7 auto kills gone you can play them a bit more boldly if the enemy has access to such high strength weaponry in his army. The impact hits, and possible “crush them” attacks will help us deal with large enemy blocks quickly which I believe that we need to do in order to not get bogged down in long wars of attrition which we will be hard pressed to win.

Shadow Warriors and Reavers doesn’t seem that tempting to me, with skirmishers being nerfed out Shadow Warriors seems even poorer than they are today. Reavers seems to get a free 12″ move at the start of the game so perhaps they can be useful. The viability of these 2 units are something I’m uncertain of at the moment.

Great Eagles and Repeater Bolt Throwers are as good as they’ve ever been. A slight nerf in the Eagles ability to march block doesn’t make them any less worthwhile to take.

This is all for now, I’ll write my thoughts about characters and magic later.

But wait there is more! EmeraldW shares a confirmed view from the BRB on our ASF (Always Strike First).

Just read the rulebook and I just want to bring some clarity to what people have been talking about with elves.

First we reroll to hit if we have EQUAL or higher Ini. Very important.

Second it makes it clear that Great Weapons “grant” the ASL rule. As stated in the ASL section.

SoA gives ASF, Regardless of the weapon being used.

ASF and ASL “Cancel” each other in the BRB.

High Elves then have ASF. Great Weapons “Grant” ASL. Normally, they would cancel. However SoA says they have it no matte what weapon they are wielding. Great weapons essentially remove ASF from High Elves, but SoA prevents this. As a result, ASF cannot be removed from High Elves and as such ASF with great weapons.

It is quite clear based on the rules, intent of SoA and how previous editions have worked with regards to High Elves and great weapons. Further, this is based off of reading the rules straight from the 8th BRB and using its own language.

High Elves ASF with Great Weapons.

It is looking promising overall with significant boosts in our hand to hand combat! High Elves (Swordmasters etc.) will become a regular blender of armies! LOL. What I’m a little concerned is the high cost of our High Elves units. From what I understand, blocks of infantry will rule the day, and if our cost per unit Elf does not drop, I’m not sure how well we will fare as we will pay for every elf that falls.

2 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Drakew

    I’m a little confused about the ASF rule. I was under the impression that you never actually get to strike first. Just that if you do have ASF PLUS equal to or higher ini. then you get to re-roll your misses, but combat still goes in initiative order. So if this is true, if the enemy has higher initiative, you don’t get any bonus for ASF. If this is the case, it really should’nt be called ASF at all really, lol. This is just how I interpreted it but I really don’t see them letting us strike first and reroll misses.

    Also march blocking was an excellent tactic, reminding me of setting up pieces on a chess board (just one more strategic maneuver gone). With no armor and just 2 attacks, it’s what I use my eagles for 90% of time. This is hardly a ‘slight’ nerf and I don’t see how this makes them anywhere near “as good as they’ve ever been” Even against war machines, they’re not a sure thing. Especially if the machine is on a hill (giving it a +1 combat res), unless they changed that too.

    I do agree that if they keep ASF the SM’s will be a nice choice. However, if they don’t get to strike first then they’re just t3 A.S. 5+ and will probably be creamed before they can attack back. I agree that the point cost is a bit steep for this. But I usually go with WL’s or PG for their survivability already 🙂 (stubborn is awesome! I hope they lower the point costs considering stubborn isn’t exactly all that special anymore, Esp if ASF is removed)

    So thanks for the post! I’m really curious as to if our ASF is gone or not.

  2. Hey Drakew,

    This ASF has been clarified in the latest HE FAQ. We still have it! Check it out here: http://www.highelves.net/official-high-elves-8th-ed-faq-released/

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