Thursday, August 26, 2010

Elfs, Part 4: The Darkest Dark Before Total Darkness

I'm actually, doing it, I'm finishing an article series.  Huzzah!  After this post on the Dark Elves, I've got just one more bit of writing to do and I think I can call this one done.  Not too bad, if I do say so myself.

Let me just take a second to preemptively pat myself on the back.

The Dark Elves

They may still have a huge collection of teribad names, but some of them actual manage to sounds scary.  Of course, most of those have to resort to the hackery that is looking up 'evil' in the thesaurus and then making names out of the synonyms, but still...

Have you seen the Avatars of War figures?  Spooge,

The rest of the fluff is more than makes up for this.  I'd be willing to bet money that the authors felt the needed the douchy names so that they could bring the bad-ass-itude of the Dark Elf fluff within the safety limits set by the World Health Organization.  Seriously, if it wasn't for the names, you'd have to have a hazardous materials license and keep the book in a lead case to keep it from melting people's gonads.

They worship a freaking god of murder and have giant floating castle boats.  They ride dinosaurs and crap black magic. They have the only unit that allows you to field scantily clad lady miniatures without needing to resort to creepy conversions and having to try and pass off your own sexual fantasies as legitimate fiction.* 

The Dark Elves are electric dynamite.
The book gets even better once you peep the rules.  As a newer book, they are fully full on ready to kick ass in all the game phases and in a wide array of builds.  For most books, that alone is enough to warrant serious consideration.  Just the sheer amount of good unit choices you have is a bit boggling.  But things don't stop there.  Army wide hatred is so crazy good when combined with their high initiative values that it almost completely makes up for the army wide T3/5+ save.  Then there's the assassins and the solid custom magic lore.  Oh god, and the shooting.  Fap fap fap.

The Dark Elves are almost the perfect storm of interesting and good that would cause me to immediately run out and buy 60 Black Guard were I seriously in the market for a fantasy army at this point.

Notice I said 'almost'.   There is one very critical thing that keeps the Dark Elves from immediately being my Elf choice - the model range.  As I mentioned last time, aesthetics are one thing, but the overall cost and convenience are another.  Unfortunately, the Dark Elf range is a bit spotty in both regards.

Mostly this has to do with the fact that despite the fairly recent army book, the model range hasn't gotten too much of a boost in terms of new models and new plastics.  Since the models that an army uses to represent itself on the table are extremely important for me, simply having good rules isn't enough.

Aesthetically speaking, the Dark Elves are very good overall. But there are a few hiccups in the range - notably the fairly awful spearmen/crossbowmen kit.  The kit you will almost certainly need to have multiples of.  I also can't stand the majority of the heroes and lords.  Sure the supreme sorceress is cool and all, but most of the rest of the characters are fairly uninteresting.  Or Downright terrible and far too old to look good next to the newer kits - the Malus Darkblade miniature is still on the old style cold ones (the retarded looking ones).   Like I said, the army is very, very good looking overall and, luckily, the problems with these select few kits are overshadowed by how awesome the good looking units are.


This is only half of that age problem.  The big killers are the missing models and the fact that far too much of the range is metal.  Come on, 13 bucks per Dark Rider?  No thanks.  Going further, the best units in many army books are the special choices.  All of which are metal for the Dark Elves outside of the Cold One Riders**.  All those Black Guard and Witch elves are gonna cost you and there aren't any good alternatives.  On top of all that, is the fact that there are a ton of strange omissions in the range.  Where's the Dark Elf chariot?  Wouldn't it be nice to have some of those special characters the book has rules for?

Either one of the problems (aesthetics and convenience) are something I can work around if its just one or the other.  I don't mind shelling out cash for metal models if I like them and I don't mind shelling out cash for models I don't love so long as there cheap.  Unfortunately, the Dark Elf army has both problems.  Though, thankfully, no one unit suffers from both.

I still really, really like the Dark Elves, but having just spent a metric ton of money on a bunch of metal miniatures I actually love, I am just a bit wary of spending another metric ton of cash on models I'm don't.  For now, the Dark Elves are still in consideration (which is more than I can say for the Woodies), but are neck and neck with the doofy High Elves.

------[Foot Notes]-----------------
*This includes the only female model with a fully exposed nipple currently for sale (if I remember right).
** Reliable sources tell me the rider portion of the model sucks anyway


  1. I'm in the same boat dude. I think I'll convert the IoB elves into DE.

  2. I agree about those piss-awful Spearmen and Crossbowmen. The only reason I own 'em's 'cause I bought the army second-hand and it had sixty in it already.

    At least Corsairs are Core and plastic, and there's a decent Black Guard conversion you can do with Corsair bodies and Spearmen legs and halberds (at least, I think it should be decent, though I've not gotten around to building them yet).

    By curious co-incidence, this may give you the parts for some not-totally-awful Crossbowmen models left over as well, and arms for some Shades if you pick up some Glade Guard bodies.

    Shame the Dark Riders are fifteen years old, looking it, and priced to make a Saudi oil prince think twice. Still, you may be able to do some fucking about with Glade Riders...

    I think you can do a nice-looking Dark Elf army with kitbashes involving some Wood Elf stuff, the question is whether or not you want to sit around filing off scales and thorns and other incidental details...

  3. Dark Elves are one of the few armies that can function well even without the expensive elite rank and file models (which are usually either priced like Goldswords or metal).

    Your most expensive acquisitions is the Hydras and Shades... the rest of the army can be just made up of Xbowmen / Spearmen and Harpies.

    Throw in 3 - 6 Assassins, a BSB and a Dreadlord and you are good to go.

    You can be a real douche and play a 60 rxb-men double hydra list but that is another article all together.