I’ve been playing Warhammer for quite a few years. By which I mean: I have been collecting Warhammer for quite a few years. When it actually comes down to playing I think I have fewer than 20 completed games under my belt. I’ve been creating a lot of scenery, painted a lot of models and done quite a few illustrations of my armies securing victory though.
My army of choice has always been the High Elves. I think I have every rulebook made for them… one of them is even signed by… some people. The signatures are largely unreadable. I prefer to think it’s a random prize from the Warhammer staff and not the mailmen who decided to pull my leg.
I have always enjoyed the High Elf imagery and identity. Graceful, ethereal, aesthetic, civilized, mystic… in other words: the elfgasm effect.
On top of that the High Elves have always suited a certain part of my temperement when it comes to strategy games. I tend to be a cautious player in many games but when it comes to chess, Star/Warcraft or Warhammer I enjoy being on the offensive.
In chess I favor a furious assault with white. In Star/Warcraft I rely on blitzing and rapid expansion. In Warhammer I feel right at home with the dependable, fast and deadly High Elf warriors.
A lot of people argue that the key to a High Elf army is to play on all it’s aspects: elite infantry, hard hitting cavalry, precise artillery and superior magic. This has always seemed like a bad idea to me. I prefer a specialized force. One of the key features of the High Elves is their high points cost. In my optics you can’t cover all your bases for the points avaliable leaving you with an army that is trying to be a sword, an arrow, a wand and a shield at the same time. I prefer an army that is an unpleasantly sharp blade and then manifesting the flexibility in how I choose to weild it.
In an attempt to get some more games going I am currently assembling/painting a 2000 point army:
Level 4 Archmage (Lord): 260
Dragon Mage on Sun Dragon (2 Hero): 350
Army Standard Bearer on Tiranoc Chariot (Hero, Special): 195
36 Spearmen (Core): 349
-Sentinel, Musician, Standard
14 Archers (Core): 164
16 Silver Helms (Special): 408
-Champion, Musician, Standard
Tiranoc Chariot (Special): 85
Lion Chariot (Special): 140
Great Eagle (Rare): 50
Great Eagle (Rare): 50
The leftover points I am saving for equipping the characters/tweaks.
I have always enjoyed the fact that the High Elf warriors are highly elite and expensive troops. A compact force is much easier to get into position. I also enjoy the mobility and discipline. As such the army is mostly composed of fast troops: cavalry, chariots and of course an awesome dragon and a couple of eagles. Obviously these can close on the enemy really fast but in my experiene such a force doesn’t need to engage on the first turn. I often have a great deal of success deploying my army in a way that clearly suggests which units I intend to move forward where. Then, as the enemy commander deploys his units to counter this, I spend my first turn changing that layout completely. It’s entirely possible to condemn slow armies to having one entire flank of their force never seeing any battle at all because they spend their time moving across a now empty field.
The spearmen and archers seem out of place in this force, I know. I hate the fact that Silver Helms are no longer considered a core unit. I simply don’t see the point in having them in the force at all when you can choose the Dragon Princes as a special choice as well. Once I have the models avaliable replaced they will be. As it stands the force must have a core segment and I have found that its not a complete disaster. The spearmen, being quite fast themselves (some times even with a magic banner to add to their movement), can choose to advance with the rest of the force if need be. They also work quite well as a guard for the mage (who in my precious setup was flying around on one of the eagles) and when used defensively in tandem with the archers can draw away a big chunk of the enemy force. As a defensive unit they are quite lethal (especially against masses of cheap troops wiht light armor). Still I would have preferred spending those points on even more mounted warriors.