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Warhammer Battle Reports 7th / 8thNauticans / Design Fantasy Gallery

Lords and Heroes (Dark Elves Warhammer Army Characters)

Dark Elves have the usual nobles and highborns common to all Elven Armies and in addition they can field the Beastmaster and Dark Elf Assassin.

These two characters provide a broader range of tactical options for the Dark Elf General and give you a bit more to think about when choosing leaders for your army. This is especially the case in games (such as most tournaments) which do not permit the use of special characters. In these games you have a small edge of some other forces which only have standard Lord and Hero choices.

Dark Elf Beastmaster

This hero level character has one unique benefit - a powerful monstrous mount. Larger monstrous mounts are usually only available to Lord level or special characters.

The Beastmaster is also adept at 'handling' monsters and profers one excellent benefit and one lesser one. Firstly, any monster within 12" needing to take a monster reaction test can re-roll the dice once. Even better than this, if a Beastmaster is slain any monstrous mount he was riding will fight on as normal with no requirement to take a monster reation test - excellent !

Because of the lack of high toughness and strength options in the Dark Elf army this makes a Beastmaster an almost essential low cost way to introduce a bit more muscle into your army in the shape of a Manticore.

The Manticore is a good fighter with 4 attacks at weapon skill 5 and a strength and toughness of 5. With 4 wounds and the ability to fly and cause terror you can be reasonably confident that this monster will be dishing out some woe upon your enemy.

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The Manticore is best used for direct assaults against war machine crew, special expensive (non-rank and file units) and any lone characters silly enough to be walking around the battlefield on their own.

Do not dither with this monster, choose a target (not in range of too much enemy missile fire) and go for it straight away. The Manticore is impervious to good archers or gunpowder weapons (it doesn't have a high enough toughness or wounds and neither does it's Beastmaster rider). Don't make the mistake of using this monster like a Treeman for instance. Treemen can safely walk around the battlefield all game against armies well equipped with missile troops.

There is some useful low points cost magic armour you can use (Beastmasters can take up to 25 pts of magic items). We will go through some of the more useful magic item options in a later post. Even if you do take some magic armour remember that it will only protect your rider and not the beast itself which will be soaking up most of the missile fire anyway.

Dark Elf Assassin.

The assassin brings something a little different to the Dark Elf Army that not many others share.

Until the assassin reveals himself he (or probably she, given how ruthless and aggressive Dark Elf "maidens" are) is also immune to enemy missile fire. Even ranged weapons which can usually target individuals (like the Empire's Hochland long rifle) cannot be used against assassins while they remain hidden.

Assassins always strike first. Even against enemies with the same strike first rule there is little chance of stopping that 1st attack because the assassin has a whopping initiative of 10 !

The assassin can therefore be moved secretly and effectively to engage enemy characters or even monsters and there's not a lot the enemy can do to stop an assassin from pouncing.

An assassin can use unique poisoned weapons and the artifacts and skills of Khaine the Blood God (a very nasty piece of work I expect). The assassin can also take magical items (with the exception of armour). No more than 50pts can be spent on all of the above combined (which, I guess is just aswell from the enemy's perspective !)

Something I should mention before I forget is that you should always give the assassin an additional hand weapon*. They cannot take any other type of weapon (eg a halberd) anyway so you are paying a measly 4 points for a whole extra attack - how's that for value for money ?

* note don't take an additional hand weapon if you're planning to use a magice weapon because no other weapons can be used in unison with a magic one.

The Assassins's choice of Magical Items and items from the...

Temple of Khaine

Assassins can combine poisons and skills/artifacts to their heart's content so long as they stay within their points allowance. So, unlike magic items 2 or more assassins in the same army can share the same poisons, skills and artifacts. This makes finding the best combinations even more important.

Note that (sadly) poisons cannot be combined with magic weapons. I guess the powerful magic interferes with the poison's properties (?)

There are very few magical items within the assassin's 50 points allowance that are worth taking. There are conversely plenty of things worth taking from the Temple of Khaine.

The most important items in the Temple of Khaine are the poisons so it more or less rules out the use of a magical weapons although there is one worth taking....

The Chill Blade with the Rune of Khaine and here's why...

Any unsaved wounds from the chill blade will result in the enemy not being able to strike back (remember, assassins always strike first on the round they reveal themselves) and usually strike first anyway. The rune of Khaine will simply provide an additional attack (meaning 4 attacks in total *) of those made with the additional hand weapon - not the magic blade). These 4 attacks should result in an unsaved wound against (about a 90% chance) against a model with toughness 4, heavy armour and shield but no ward save. An unsaved wound will prevent that model from striking back (if it lived !)

The other excellent combination of items from the Temple of Khaine is the Rune of Khaine with Manbane poison coated weapons.

Manbane is a great poison and gives the assassin a Dwarf Slayer like skill. It means he adjusts his strength up to a maximum of 6 so that he only ever needs 3's to wound a tougher opponent. The opponent's saving throw is reduced by the 'pretend' strength of the assassin (again, up to a maximum of strength 6)

The above combo (with an extra hand weapon) will give you 5 attacks, you can expect almost 2 of these to result in actual unsaved wounds against a toughness 4 opponent with say heavy armour and shield.

That would be fine against rank and file units, taking out the 1 or 2 other models in base contact is all you need to do. The problem is the assassin's weak resilience against models with higher wounds who will take any punishment you dish out before dispatching you with their own version of the "good news" (good news for the opponent but not so good for your assassin)

The Main Drawbacks of using assassins

Because of their low toughness you need a delivery unit to get your assasssin safely 'on target'

Hired expert murderers don't come cheap !! (179pts if you take all your Temple pts and an additional hand weapon). That's a lot of points for a model with only 2 wounds.

Personally, I like assassins just for friendly games. I would use them (or talk about them lovingly so my enemy thought I was using them) just to get my opponent twitching and checking over his shoulder.

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