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Witch Elves: Ever? Never? 
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Cold One Knight

Joined: Tue Dec 16, 2008 6:01 pm
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Unfortunately for me, Witch Elves are what originally drew me to the Dark Elves. Of late I've completely abandoned using them at all, which seems to be in accordance with the opinions of players on this forum and others.

My question is are they just so badly overshadowed by other choices in the codex that they're hopeless? Or if you take Hellbane, and have Witch Elves begin counting as core, are they THEN worthwhile as they won't be competing for precious specal slots?


Fri Jul 24, 2009 3:55 pm
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My question is are they just so badly overshadowed by other choices in the codex that they're hopeless? Or if you take Hellbane, and have Witch Elves begin counting as core, are they THEN worthwhile as they won't be competing for precious specal slots?


Unfortunately no, the core choices are brilliant and mostly overshadow the witch elves too, if just for the versatility.

As you've said, there are just better ways to spend the points, and in the grand scale of things they're only really good against certain armies.

Having said that, you could get away with running a single unit, they're not particularely expensive and you don't need many in a unit. 14 with a champion with Rune of Khaine would work well, or standard and Banner of Murder. Just keep them cheap and don't center your battleplan around them. ;)

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Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:08 pm
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Their problem is that they struggle with armour, and struggle when getting shot at. Our other special choices are however much more resilient to this!

If your fighting a goblin horde, i think witch elves should always be in your list. I would also take them against VC in small units with a hag brew. possible against beastmen...

If you have some really powerful units in the list which will draw fire away from them they can work really well, but the problem is witch elves are a unit you have to build an army for, and thats not how most people build armies!

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Fri Jul 24, 2009 4:14 pm
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The problem with Witch Elves is that they are very specialized. If you know what type of army your opponent runs and his typical troop choices, then Witch Elves can be an excellent choice. They do very well against Undead and Daemon infantry in particular.

Problem is that due to Frenzy-baiting, inability to flee, and problems with armor, they can be a liability in a tournament environment where you don't know what you will be facing.

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Fri Jul 24, 2009 5:09 pm
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Alternatively, the problem with Witch Elves is that you aren't taking the Cauldron of Blood. Rectify that situation and you'll find that they can be absolutely brilliant on the tabletop. I might suggest adding an Assassin to give the unit some ASF hits in order to mitigate the potential fallout from getting charged/fighting High Elves.

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Fri Jul 24, 2009 6:24 pm
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The SkaerKrow has a good point -- The Cauldron is really designed to cover the weaknesses of Witch Elves, giving the 5+ ward to protect from ranged attacks, making them Stubborn so that since they can't flee from a charge they can at least stick around, and giving them Killing Blow to help penetrate armor.

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Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:08 pm
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Although the poisoned attacks tend to mitigate the KB blessing a tiny bit. One time I tried Witches, needed them to KB the Chaos Warriors they had just charged and instead I rolled 7 out of 11 6's for Poison attacks, the remaining 4 hits failed to wound.

That would have been amazing against anything but Chaos Warriors, who managed to save all of those poisons.

Although as small flanking units of 5-7 I could see some use there.

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Sat Jul 25, 2009 1:30 am
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I run a unit of 13 with FC banner of murder and an ASF death hag BSB. Manbane and RoK on the DH and manbane on the hag.

Basically it give 10-12 ap S-5 attacks versus chaos warriors and is my standard setup. Against orks or skaven 20 strong unit as above, but with the dread banner works as well.

ItP is very useful on the girls, but the BG with their 50 point banner are always a more logical choice.

Witches need screening, both to stop baiting and so they charge the right thing, but are relatively cheap and hit like a truck load of broken glass.

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Sat Jul 25, 2009 5:57 am
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fuzzydeath wrote:
My question is are they just so badly overshadowed by other choices in the codex that they're hopeless?


My problem is not so much with them but my opponents. At the moment, I play lots vs all cav chaos, 2 corpse cart VC (All ASF, all the time :roll: ) , HE and steg-heavy lizards. None of them is a good match up for WE. Either I'm getting shot/magicked to pieces, bouncing off high armour multi attack units or ASF multi attack troops (or both) or pulled all over the table by cheap units, sometimes raised in the magic phase.

The next group of armies scheduled to come out are all infantry armies so we'll have to wait and see how they work. Witches (and corsairs and spears) may become more useful vs them. But for now, they are too much of a niche unit to work well against the armies I face.

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Sat Jul 25, 2009 6:32 am
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As pointed out, you can still have a competitive force with a unit of Witch Elves, but you're likely end up torn between keeping them as cheap as possible in case they're ineffective and spending a decent chunk on kitting them out and supporting them, and then hoping they have something to be effective against.

I still run my DE's as Cult of Slaanesh so have a unit of Witch Elves to represent Devote and don't use Hydra or Black Guard. As you can imagine they're not a huge amount of fun against most armies, hence why I rarely use them anymore.

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Sat Jul 25, 2009 7:51 am
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Witch elves are still good, they are, in fact, better than in the 6th edition.

Without a Cauldron, 1 unit isn't bad but more, you may struggle, just like in 6th edition but with a Cauldron 2 units aren't that bad since Stubborn changes their power by a mile.

However, if you want to use KB with them, sadly I would say that a unit of corsair with the Frenzy banner would perform better to get these KBs, simply because, as Zardock said, some of the KBs will be migrated in the poisoned attacks.

Otherwise 1 unit of Witch Elves isn't bad though.

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Sat Jul 25, 2009 11:10 am
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Witch elves are ace in one unit of 5 models. This way the enemy has to take care of them, as they can dish out 15 - 20 (cauldron) possible KB poison hatred S3 attacks, which is a lot. I have even had one player blast away my last remaining witch elf with his 5 flamers because it would be able to charge his unit of horrors with wizard in the next turn...

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Sat Jul 25, 2009 4:04 pm
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I take Witch elves every game. I think they're awesome. They tear through light infantry better than most other things in the game and even though they may lack the flexibility of other special choices they are much more fun to use. I run a unit of ten or twelve and they generally perform quite well.


Sat Jul 25, 2009 4:38 pm
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Usually use them 12 FCG + Banner of murder + Manbane (if enough pts). They are awesome )
Even against Brets and Dwarfs they could act well. Just don't expect miracles from them )

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Sat Jul 25, 2009 6:39 pm
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I have always used Witch Elves and found they are usually very hit and miss. Against many armies they simply cant do anything as the opponent is too tough or fast for them plus they are easily baited out of position and ran down.
However other times they can be pretty good. Although they have no armour I have found just taking them in a large unit is enough to stop people shooting at them at all. This is a bit strange but usually they are more preoccupied with all my dark riders and harpies racing towards them.

I have found the main problem is magic missiles and other such spells which can easily kill 7+ in one go and thats with a fairly basic easy spell so putting the effort into stopping it means you might miss even worse stuff.

To stop this i try to keep them near the ring of hotek which is a fairly good shield as the threat of a miscast is often too big for my opponent and he will leave them alone.

Even when they do make it unhurt into a combat though they often struggle. I have been using a unit of 21 with Death Hag BSB with ASF banner and Banner of Murder and usually they have to kill almost every model in base contact otherwise they will lose. Against Warriors of Chaos, Lizards and Dwarves its hard to even kill 1 or two of the buggers and then their characters will smash 5 or 6 witches dead. So obviously this isnt a great use for them.

As other people have mentioned smaller units can also work in a support role but their effectiveness is quickly reduced by enemy shooting and magic and they dont have any static combat res.

So overall they are def a sub optimal unit but i think they are still quite fun to play as they get lots of attacks and against less armoured opponents they can easily wreak massive amounts of damage. Yesterday they managed by themselves to take out a unit of 20 Lizardman Temple Guard and Slann!!! as well as the Stegadon which attempted to counter charge them!

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Mon Jul 27, 2009 4:59 am
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By the way, it is always nice to see two killing-blow-blessed witch elves give a killing blow to a lord on dragon :lol: . Ok, your witch elves then get killed by the dragon, but well, if it were only 5 of them at the start of the battle, it is worth the trade.

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Mon Jul 27, 2009 7:06 am
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with my hellebron lists, i use a lot of them in 6 big units.

8 units of 6 or so, are really not nice for your opponent, if ye combine it with a couple of smallish exec units and a coB or 2.

for 50- 60 pts you have:
- a unit that can really put the hurt to low armoured troops on their own (high T is no real problem due to poison, 3+ AS or better is).
- will not panic
- will not be scared
- will stick around if near a CoB

and if Khaine wants their blood as well, another unit can take revenge.

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Mon Jul 27, 2009 12:42 pm
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The beauty of witches and of execs for that matter is that you for less than 100 pts can have a small support unit thats too small to be worthy of shooting at but too dangerous to be allowed to live so you force your opponent to make discissions he dont want to make.

Everything in the DE armybook is more or less specialised at what they do and witches are one of the most specialised units in the game.
Bringing witches against brets is not going to go down well but your gonna love your witches when you see 100+ zombies in the enemy deployment zone.

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Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:46 pm
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Irtehdar wrote:
but your gonna love your witches when you see 100+ zombies in the enemy deployment zone.
...but not when you see 8 zombies raised on a 45 degree angle to your witches and allowing a charge into them and an overrun into your army's flank. ;)

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Mon Jul 27, 2009 11:52 pm
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funny you should say that: I usually run them with the hag brew, so a flank charge doesn't mean much. Zombies still strike last, and if there 2 Deep chances are you'll kill all in base contact meaning no attacks back.

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Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:55 am
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Mr_PieChee wrote:
Zombies still strike last,


Nope, afraid not, if they charge you they go first unless you have ASF blag.

The Brain dead rule is gone since the new Vampire book, now they just suck instead.

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Tue Jul 28, 2009 4:55 pm
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my bad.

There still not too bad: vs WS 1 it will be 5s to hit, 4s to wound, and with a side charge, there not likely to get many in base contact, and high Ld means there likely to stay (average on 2d6 is 7, so you're unlikely to run... unlikely).

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Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:06 am
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5's to hit and 5's to wound, actually... zombies are now str 2 :D

I love the MSU concept... frenzy seems like a good way to make it work reliably :)

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Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:55 am
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Mr_PieChee wrote:
my bad.

There still not too bad: vs WS 1 it will be 5s to hit, 4s to wound, and with a side charge, there not likely to get many in base contact, and high Ld means there likely to stay (average on 2d6 is 7, so you're unlikely to run... unlikely).
It's not zombies that will hit your flank. They will raise in front of you on an angle away from their main lines. You will beat them by a million, then overrun, right into range for a flank charge from anything in the VC army. You will lose combat and be autobroken (failing double 1's). VC are the best army in the game at dealing with frenzy. 5+ to raise a unit which will force you to charge, then be flank charged, and every single caster can know it and recast it.

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Thu Jul 30, 2009 6:17 am
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Even without a flank charge they can still easily defeat your witches I have found. Grave Guard especially can easily soak up your attacks and then the Vampire in the unit strikes back and kills 4 Witches and wins the combat causes fear and outnumbers.

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Thu Jul 30, 2009 6:49 am
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