Welcome to High Elves . net

[ Strategy and Tactics ]

What do we do with our Silver Helms?

Many High Elves player lament the move of our Silver Helms (SH) into the Special section thereby competing with the Dragon Princes (DP) for a fighting slot in our army builds. While the Dragon Princes are a no brainer, I believe the Silver Helms still have a role to play.

A debate at Ulthuan.net between Seredain and Prysitha explores this issue very well. Seredain writes:


You do make an excellent point. In MSU armies especially, SH sometimes really can’t justify their slot, and a unit of 11 hardly fits with the theme…

It just so happens that I do use scouts and elite infantry, but have the slots to spare because I prefer the concentration of force, using fewer and more powerful units, the 2 main fighting units being supplemented with fighting characters- one infantry (WL) and one cavalry (SH). For the cavalry this means, however, that a smaller unit relying on kills isn’t necessary with the BB’s +D6 CR: I just need to ENSURE victory in round 1 (which is why I use a character- I want to KNOW my knights will win every time against basically anyone), and have enough elves left over to cover the BsB and take out enemy rank bonuses for the rest of the battle. So, numbers are the key for me.

Even on kills, though, the maths is interesting. 11 SH’s (285 pts inc. SB and Champ., unit strength 22) will clear the front rank of average infantry easily enough, as will 8 DP’s (280 pts inc. SB and Champ., unit strength 16), especially if they have a character. But what about eilte infantry or decent cavalry?

Let’s use the rock solid example of 25 Dwarf hardcore infantry (5×5) with SB and Champ. (WS5, T4, AS 2+),
charged by our cavalry and HERO, with 6 models in the front rank (we’ll forget about horse attacks)-
11 SH: 6 attacks, 4+ to hit, 3+ to wound vs AS 4+ (US 24 inc. hero).
8 DP: 11 attacks, 4+ to hit, 3+ to wound vs AS 4+ (US 18 inc. hero).

Our knights kill on average:
DP- 5/6 hits, 3/4 wounds= 1/2 kills.
SH- 3 hits, 2 wounds= 1 kill.
Hero- 2 Hits, 1/2 wounds= 1/2 kills.

The Dwarfs kill (on average):
0 DP’s (1 wound at AS 3+)
0 SH’s (1 wound at AS 3+).

Our knights’ combat res=
DP’s- 1/2 kills, 1 banner =2/3;
SH’s- (1 kill + 1 banner + 1 rank + 1 outnumbering) =4;
plus BsB- 1/2 kills + 3/4 for Battle Banner =5.

Dwarfs’ combat res.=
vs DP’s- 1 banner + 3 ranks + 1 outnumbering =5.
vs SH’s- 1 banner + 3 ranks =4.

The result is a win for the Dragon Princes of 2/3, and for the Silver Helms of 5. Especially if the dwarfs have their general nearby, the difference between those results becomes enormous: the Dwarfs will take a break test on Ld 8/7 against the DP’s, but on Ld 5 against the Silver Helms. If there’s no general near, then the dwarfs will test on Ld 4. Watch them flee, laugh, then run them down.

Interesting, eh? Remember both units have the same character and cost roughly the same points (the SH 5 pts more).

Prysitha wrote:
Putting a character into the Helms unit make them THAT much more expensive. Also, if you plan to put a character into the unit to make it effective, putting the same character into the DP will make them even more effective.

In certain situations, then, this isn’t true. Out there are hard-as-nails units of massed armoured infantry which can shrug off the extra attacks which Dragon Princes give you. But, for roughly the same points, the combat res. from the rank and numbers of Silver Helms will go through any toughness and armour…

Use your Dragon Princes to slaughter mobs of anything or flank the hard bastards, but if you want to crack the hardest units front on you’ll always need a powerful character and he’d be better off with Silver Helms (unless you can afford 10/11 DP’s and don’t mind wasting all those attacks in the rear rank). Those dwarfs tend to put their unbreakable/stubborn units on their flanks. Just watch the look on your opponent’s face when you decide not to flank him and just run over his centre! For the same points the DP’s+hero COULD do it, but the SH+hero would take all-comers. In a game of dice, fixing the odds is a good idea. In my 2500 pt all-comers list I like the feeling that my block of Silver Helms can run over basically everything, and they even gain Ld 9 from the BsB. Joy.

My reply slightly edited as it was not clear before:

Seredain is right on the money with his analysis.

Let me put it to you in another way. Most people who play this game for a while, do their very best to never rely on dice. If you can get a benefit without rolling a dice it is a CONFIRMED benefit.

In this case an extra rank and outnumber as per Seredain’s analysis, is worth its weight in gold! This means you are up against your opponent with two kills, and your opponent has to kill you back 3 of your SH to break even.

The problem with DP as I have playtested is while they have a huge ass amount of attacks they can bring to bare, the moment they start taking casualties you lose your effectiveness very quickly as its 2 attacks each.

Let’s use a unit of 5DP full command (200pts) vs a unit of 7 SH FC (201pts)

What I am saying is that most of the time a unit of CAV will take 2 hits (magic/shooting) before they hit another unit.

So the reality of it is there is no real difference between the attacking potential two, as a unit of 5 DP taken 2 hits is the same as unit of 7 SH taken 2 hits.

Wait, that is incorrect as you have 5 horses vs 3 horses and we all know the horses do the killing!

In other words as a DP as 2 attacks each, the attacking potential drops very quickly when each DP dies. And a DP dies as easy as a SH. T3, 2+AS .

By only seeing the 2 attacks each as the main thing, you rely too much on your dice, and to me that is a risk i rather not take.

Finally, I will rather a bigger unit of SH to escort my character rather than the DP, a bigger unit takes more hits before it gets to its panic from shooting.

You see the main issue here I’m finding out from my play testing is that HE units need to be self sufficient, as we just don’t have enough units to gang bang anyone these days.

ASF helps alot making each unit self sufficient, but I am finding MSU in our new list is just not enough.

I think we need to be extra careful and consider the use for each units not more than ever. DPs have their role, but i would not weed out SH completely. It is perhaps we are not playing them correctly.

2 Comments, Comment or Ping

  1. Jinx

    I’ve been away from the game for some time but just decided to get back to the game. And this new army list is very interesting.
    One thing that stroke me when I fist read the list was that my favorite cavalry unit, the SE had become a special choice AND that they (together with ER) are the only special unit that cannot have a magic banner or magic item.. This is the real set-back if you ask me.. My opponents always have a hard time when I field my army because almost ANY unit can carry a banner. This moment of surprise and uncertainty is a major advantage, especially when playing with people who doesn’t like to take a chance..

  2. Hi Jinx,

    Yes the Silver Helms has been nerfed if you ask me. However we have become stronger with Dragons. But in last edition, when everyone plays SH, no everyone plays Dragons. Getting boring if you ask me.

Reply to “What do we do with our Silver Helms?”


Subscribe via RSS feed?

RSS Feed

Elsewhere on the Web

Other websites I own and manage that you might be interested in.