The rumoured release of a new High Elf Armybook had me jumping and vibrating in anticipation over a month before the expected release. I saw doom and darkness in the removal of many of the magic items I loved (as a side note – my first Armybook was the 6th  and my frame of reference was based on the editions I had experienced). I did not know what to make of the rumoured drake riders – are they coming as a second wave? And was equally bemused by the flying chariot and the phoenix rumours. Would the honours make a return?
So the book came, and just before people who got their hands on the book early, in their FLGS, revealed what they had spied. It did not seem too bad. But I took it with my usual forward conservatism – chronologically: “1) it was better before, 2) what will I make of this now, 3) ‘ueagh’ (neg) with a simultaneous ‘yeah’ (pos), quickly followed by a 4) ‘hey those are awesome’ ”.
The Loremaster sounded cool as an idea, and is what seems to be a well-priced character that seems to have very good potential without being over the top power wise, and requires skill to use to the fullest.
The Anointed of Asuryan is another interesting lord choice having an inbuilt decent ward save and some other nice special rules. He pays for these special rules but what you get is a fighty lord that can take some punishment. This is nice as many of the good-save-items found in the last Armybook are now gone. The potential to take a phoenix mount is also very nice, especially in medium sized games where a dragonlord is too expensive. Still the sun dragon lord can be fitted in already in at around 1600 pts.
But why Imrik have you left us naught but thy lance?! The existing special characters seem decent though, most have a decent save, which I like. Teclis is not as killer as he used to be, but as his talents left some of the points he used to pay for them seem to have stayed – well, whatever. They all seem to be decently priced in the end. Especially for when you gather up all the boys for a big all weekend game.
While some of my favourite items are gone, I soon realized that these are the ones that have been iconic since the early days. Or so my veteran friends made me think of it. The only slip I see is the Banner of the World Dragon. Personally it will not affect me most of the times. If I play daemons, or perhaps chaos, I leave it at home. But that last sentence actually describes the problem – it is not entirely balanced against most armies. The biggest issue I am facing right now is the durability versus damage output conundrum with fighty characters. Especially a Battle Standard Bearer on foot I find very squishy these days. Dragon armour in combination with the High Magic lore attribute do go together well, though. So well I am looking at fielding a Dragon Prince unit of 10-15 with a prince, a battle standard bearer and a high archmage (<- not drug related) – 2+ armour with a 4+ or 5+ ward save, yes please.
The now more friendly Teclis, as viewved by me, who mostly represent a Archmage in my games. The future is predicted to see him fielded with the Book of Hoeth and the Talisman of Preservation. I apologise for the blurry pictures.
After a few weeks of preparations for my friends’ wedding – congratulations guyz! – I finally got some games in! These weeks involved both a stag and a hen party for my part, the plotting to make these work, and also taking a trip to the Aland Islands for the wedding ceremony and festivities. (“I’m getting too old for this shit!”, where ‘this shit’ is equal to partying three weekends in a row.)
The first game was against my (friendly) nemesis – a Dark Elf pirate force at 2000 pts. We had decided prior to the release that as our games are traditionally bloody this should be the first test run. We rolled up a Dawn Attack, which is an unfortunately random scenario for play testing a new book.
The druchii scum was deployed to my far left – a 20 strong Black Guard unit, and more to the centre some 16 crossbowmen.
To my far right was then, from left to right, a unit of spearmen with a witch (level 4 with a crossbow, a one use ward save and a sacrificial dagger – maybe a hydra egg), a Cauldron of Blood with a BSB, a hydra and some 25 frenzied corsairs. Two units of shades scouted.
Above: The dark elf force.
I fielded (from left to right): two bolt throwers, one far left, one in the centre, a great eagle to the right centre. The main force was then fielded in the far right – 40 Phoenix guards with the Razor standard, another bolt thrower, a Frostheart, 15 archers and 31 archers with my level 4 Archmage.
Above: The high elf force. The dragon is a conversion from a orc wyvern and stands in for the frostheart.
The improbable deployment rolls were as odd as the rest of the rolls during the game. The phoenix guards were assailed by the witch’s foul magic, namely Final Transmutation. In the end, as a result of some bad manoeuvres in combination with a large ruin in the middle of the battlefield, all they did all game was being turned to gold (and keeping my left flank safe). As a result of the 3 successful castings I failed 3 stupidity tests with my archers/Archmage unit stumbling forward towards the hydra and the corsairs. They took the charge and held as a result of bad rolls from the opponent – which resulted in them keeping steadfast. This could have been averted if the Frostheart had successfully charged the corsairs previously, but it failed in spite of needing a “meagre” roll of 6 to reach them. Soon it managed to come and support them and helped them win the hydra and the Corsairs.
As a side note we found out that the Frostheart really is a powerful addition to the High elf force. But it is not always quite so simple to use. The archers were deployed wider (10×4) than the corsairs (7×4, but only 14 left), and the Frostheart was just clipping the combat. The casualties the archers and frostheart could do might have been enough to hit the Frostheart out of base contact with the Corsairs. This in turn would have led, not only to the loss of thunderstomp attacks, but also to the corsairs losing their strength penalty of -1.
In the end the game was settled the final turn as the Phoenix Guard, with only 6 models left were facing the Black Guard. They backed away as they could not quite fit around them into the forest. (Walk between worlds would have been an invaluable spell here). They fled from their charge and did not succeed to rally! 675 point down the drain! The game ended in a draw, with the Asur 5 points from victory!
Above: Endgame situation in the lower right corner – my perspective. Black guard and the crossbowmen finally reached the elven force.
Well, well… I think I’ll be sure to take a BSB next time…
 – Warhammer Fantasy Battles Lexicanum – http://whfb.lexicanum.com/wiki/Warhammer_Armies:_High_Elves_%286th_Edition%29, retrieved 2012-05-24. 🙂