Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Elfs, Part 3: You Guys Wanna Get High?

I’ve got lots of stuff coming down the pike in terms of my hobbies, so I thought it best to try and finish my thoughts on elves before I get waylaid by any one of the three projects that are about to start.

As much as I love the Wood Elf models, they’re eliminated from contention until a new book drops. Since the internet doesn’t seem to think it’s likely in the next year or more, it’s probably best to move on. Kind of a bummer, I know, but the book is just too old and has too many leftovers from a totally different design era. I’m sure they have some good builds hiding in the book; I’m just not interested in suffering long enough to find them

Which brings me to the High Elves.

Again, I’m going to be approaching this from a rules standpoint as well as the aesthetic and convenience standpoints. Really, I need all of those things to be in palce for me to have a good time with the army and the game in general. The rules need to be solid, the models have to grab me and the model range shouldn’t require me to have to go well out of my way to field the units I want.  Each of these categories can be all good and well, but why play with models or rules you hate?

In a stark contrast to the Wood Elf musings, I’m going to address these things specifically.  For the most part, I'm also going to try and ignore all the associated douchery that the High Elves are most in contact with.  We all know it's there.  We can't do anything about it.  Let's just move on.

As cool as the High Elves can be, it's really hard to shake a legacy like this.

Rules: Very solid from what I can tell. Near army wide Always Strikes First is quite cool and allows for an MSU style army to do some horrific things to people. This gives you a pretty great ability to field lots of different kinds of units – which is pretty ace from a P&M standpoint. Add to all that a solid ability to participate in the magic AND shooting phases and you have the solid frame from which to build an army. And, the icing on the cake, the High Elf FAQ lifts the limit on repeat units in the ‘special’ category. Nice.

Aesthetic: While there are other armies that I think look better as a whole, the High Elves are still at the top end of the cool scale. One of the biggest draws are all the flowing robes and banners that really give you the opportunity to do some amazing things with paint. Lots of areas to play with bright colors as well. Beyond that, there are a ton of very cool dragon themed units and all the weapons manage to have this elegance to them despite the fact that they’re comically oversized.

Despite all of the above, the aesthetic is the one place the High Elves leave me a bit cold. I like dragon motifs, hearts, jewels and big hats as much as the next guy, but far too many of the High Elf Models are pushing the line between ‘bad-ass’ and ‘fruity’ a bit to hard. Which is not to say that this is a deal breaker – far from it - there are a good deal of the models that are really quite cool. However, there’s enough weirdness going on with some of the models, that the Dark Elves are much more appealing in this regard.

Convenience: I guess a bit of explanation is in order. What I mean by convenience is a combination of the cost of the kits, the amount of plastic I can get my hands on and how many of the kits can be had for the standard 20% off. This is one area where the High Elves shine. A few of their special choices are only metal, but by a wide margin, the majority of the go to units are plastic. What really sends the High Elves through the roof, is the imminent release of the Isle Of Blood starter kit. If you can find someone to go in with you for the Skaven, you can get a ton of quality plastic stuff for 40 bucks. Seriously, the shear availability of cheap, plastic models papers over any other minor quibbles I have with rules and aesthetics. Even there chariot is plastic. The Dark Elves don’t even have a model for theirs!

When I started writing this post, I had the full intention of writing off the High Elves in Favor of the Dark Elves. Having been forced to do a bit of research, I managed to convince myself to put them back in the race. Firstly, it’s just too early to make a hard and fast army decision. Hell, by the time I get around to Fantasy, a new Wood Elf book may be out or something entirely non-elven may have grabbed me. Second, the model range is just so damn excellent in terms of completeness and economy.  the High Elves are just too good to not consider if I'm feeling elfy.

Now, if I could just do something about the High Elf names. Ugh.

Actually, this does a lot for that.  Also, THIS COMES IN THE ISLE OF BLOOD!  OMGWTFBBQ!!

Oh, before I forget.  I'd relly love to hear all of you guy's thoughts on the High eEves as well.


  1. I <3 HE. I think they play excellently on the table from what I can ascertain with my limited Fantasy knowledge and the IoB models are ...well you know, fucking awesome.

    Not a huge fan of the archers/spearmen but I imagine these can be replaced w/LSG conversions or Wood Elf conversions, etc. The Lion Chariot is also pretty bad-ass. :)

  2. Must pick between HE and DE. I wanna see what Lauby does first :P

  3. I have...

    (hang on, this part's difficult for me)

    I have a lot of respect for the High Elves.

    They don't have quite as many tools to be successful in melee as the Dark Elves do. Swordmasters and Dragon Princes are excellent and their Lion Chariots spank Cold Ones, but the lack of a tough (and underpriced) melee monster in Rare is telling, as is the inability to stuff an Assassin in any unit you're worried about.

    High Elf Rares are about cockblocking (Great Eagles) and punishing the cockblocked (Repeater Bolt Throwers).

    High Elf magic works on a similar principle; whatever Big Red Book lore you take for spanking people (I suggest Shadow, it'll turn your Spearmen into killing machines), I'd advise one proper High Mage, just for the superb Curse of Arrow Attraction and Drain Magic (I actually hate Drain Magic, having played two armies which need that phase running at optimum to work).

    The Spearmen and Archers are unquestionably the best there is at what they do, too (those extra ranks are killers). I'm personally impressed by Seaguard's ability to contribute something every turn, but many are not as impressed by them as I.

  4. it would seem that article titles aren't coming down the pike.....

    don't hit me

    precknes (n.) calling another person out on their failures in the manner of an asshole. eg. my precknes knew no bounds as I made fun of Lauby forgeting to title his article.

  5. Son of a bitch. I really need to get my shit together on titles.