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Black Guard vs Witch Elves 
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Executioner
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Joined: Sun Dec 06, 2009 12:14 am
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Hi there,

So i've decided giving elite infantry a try. Having opted for a CoB, i'm not counting on Execs (they'd need an extra Hag to give them ASF).

So question is BG or WE?. I've been told that WE can dish out a real pain with some help from the CoB and that they really shine at munching through light infantry. In my local gaming club they seem to be very enthusiastic about WEs, but i can't see how are they any better than BG.

Comparing stats:

·WEs have 3 S3 attacks each plus 1 extra attack from second rank.
·BG have 2 S4 attacks each plus 1 extra attack from second rank.

I can't see how WEs are supposed to be harder hitters than BG. Furthermore, BG have the "warrior elite" and Stubborn rules, higher WS and Heavy Armour. How on earth are WEs any better than BG?. nWEs are cheaper, OK. They're 10 points each and BG is 12 points each. Wouldn't any of you pay 2 points for +1WS, +1L, +2AS, "always-reroll-to-hit-rule" for your troops?

Also, AFAIK, both units can go for the same banners.

So, unless i'me missing some special combo, i'll go for BG.

Any thoughts?


Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:13 pm
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Executioner
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BG work better in a big(ish) group, WE work better as little groups of 10 for flank charges and taking out skirmishers/small units.

WE of course are cheaper points wise and with a CoB will also be stubborn.

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Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:21 pm
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Malekith's Best Friend
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You need to also take poison into consideration for the WE. Pretty nice when rolling loads of dice.

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Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:35 pm
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There are more differences:
BG can take more expensive banners
BG champ can take magic items, while WE champ can take gifts of Khaine.
BG can shelter any character (general, BSB, sorc), WE cannot.
On the other hand, KB is best given to WE than to BG.

Why don't you try both?
A larger unit of BG, let's say 15, FC
and thwo smaller units of WE, let's say 6-7, no command (I won't say naked for the sake of not upsetting D.net's ladies).
The COB blessing goes to whoever requires it most.
Then, after a few games, you increase the one which fits you best.

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Wed Oct 06, 2010 6:52 pm
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Executioner
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Hi there,

@Calisson:

BG is supposed to make better use of KB, aren't they?. They reroll to hit every turn and have no poisoned attacks so...they are supposed to get a higher number of hits, therefore they'll make better use of KB, isn't it right?

Any way, i'll get to test both in the next game but i'm afraid WEs won't live up to my friends expectations...


Wed Oct 06, 2010 7:11 pm
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Noble
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On the other hand, Witch Elves have more attacks, and need that killing blow to actually kill stuff more.

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Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:13 pm
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Malekith's Best Friend
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Is it Armour piercing that doesn't stack with poison? (sort of OOC)

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Wed Oct 06, 2010 8:34 pm
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Not to mention that WE are cheaper, thereby allowing you to field more models for the same cost.

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Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:07 pm
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Poison is the key ingredient here. Poison + Armor Piercing can force an absurd number of wounds on almost any target, and with a Cauldron to help buff Witch Elf attacks further, they can bring down tougher opponents than Black Guard can.

The other major advantage of Witch Elves is that they are not limited to 20 models. The cap on Black Guard hurts them quite a bit in 8th edition, whereas Witch Elves are not only cheaper but can be taken in very large units.

That being said, I like Black Guard tremendously.

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Wed Oct 06, 2010 9:28 pm
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Beastmaster

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The closest direct comparison is frenzy corsairs, and even then it breaks down into what functions the unit has.

To compare them simply: BG get better the higher armour your opponent has, while WE get better the higher toughness your opponent has. BG are also better in drawn out combats (making them perfect anvils), while WE really want to break on the charge (making them perfect hammers)

At the start of 8th I used to only field BG units and no WE. Now I field lots of WE (usually 2 units) without a BG in sight. They almost always kill their points back, usually 4 times over and with little support, and little things you can do with them just make me extremely happy. One of my favourites is mindrazor, suddenly even a 60 point unit will give your opponent nightmares and paranoia that will stay with them to the grave. I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the semi-naked ladies.

As for the stat difference:
-1WS can actually generate more poisoned hits by getting more dice rolls
-1L with ITP isn't such a big deal. Frenzy can be irritating
-2AS is more concerning, but you can make up for this with price. Bare in mind that you often can't even use the 5+ save on BG as any challenging opponent probably s4 or more.


Wed Oct 06, 2010 10:11 pm
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I agree that the 5+ save is negligible much of the time. The only time it becomes a decent factor is if you're facing a primarily Strength 3 army in big extended combats (against Skaven, for example, that heavy armor can actually be quite nice, also against High Elves with Strength 3 arrows and Strength 3 spearmen.) Stacking the BG's heavy armor 5+ save with Lore of Metal, or with the Cauldron's 5+ ward, can also give good survivability for situations where it's valuable. Those are fairly specific circumstances though, and for the most part it's not a huge factor when comparing both units.

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Wed Oct 06, 2010 11:12 pm
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Cold One Knight

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Just to show the point difference:

20 x bg with full command 25 point item and 25 point banner costs 345
27 x we with full command 25 point gifts and 25 point banner costs 345


Those who are stats happy can go crunch all their numbers but the units tend to do different things.

BG tend to be more of a tar pit the witches more of a hammer.
So think about what you want if you are going one vs the other but again in combination especially if you are bringing sss corsairs (witch can sub as more survivable we) small witches and big BG will likely prove most effective.


Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:36 am
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Corsair

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20 witch elves, full command, hag has rune of khaine, banner of eternal flame 260 pts

Deploy 10 by 2 to lock down a flank puts out maximum of 42-54 attacks, Itp, is usually stubborn and re-rolls frenzy tests. Re-rolls wounds in buildings with 20-22 attacks, ignores regen, causes fear in war beasts and cavalry.
Lots of utility in a buff heavy army (42-54, I6, S8 hatred attacks on 10 wide frontage is especially broken and cant be replicated with black guard).

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Thu Oct 07, 2010 12:42 pm
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Dark Rider

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i use 3 units of each, 6 models a unit and they work great and with totally different roles.

BG are there to act as a tarpit in a flank, being stubborn they stick around, and in a flank, they dont get many return attacks

WE are there to assasinate those high toughness critters, spawns, giants, chariots, capitalizing on their (many) poisoned attacks mostly.

both can act as a speedbump (park them 1" before an enemy unit, charge and they lose the M value inches on the overrun, and while a 10" charge is quite feasible to pull off, a 9" overrun is far from guaranteed.

and 3x2, they can be send on a char assassination mission as well, for 60 or 78 pts, that is a good gamble in my opinion.


Thu Oct 07, 2010 3:58 pm
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Executioner
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Witches sure perform better against high tougness low armour save targets, poison is just powerful when they're delivering 3 attacks each at the front.

Killing Blow isn't a great blessing for witches, it works still of course, but most of your 6s will be gone to poisoned wounds, reducing your chances for possible killing blow wounds.

Frenzied Corsairs are the better unit for a killing blow blessings since they put out just as many attacks whilst frenzied, but don't lose dice due to poisoned wounds.

Black Guards will benefit the most with an AP banner, allowing them to go against heavy armour infantry units toe to toe and send them packing. Witches lose their value when they lose combat but don't break, Black Guards on the other hand, have stubborn guaranteed, and always reroll misses, so are great all-round combatants.

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Thu Oct 07, 2010 4:29 pm
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It really is not that easy to say BG clearly overtops WE. For example, my witches killed yesterday a giant in a single round of combat. Lots of poisoned attacks make wonders not only against cheap infantry, but basically against any low AS model. WEs are very usefull indeed.

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Sun Oct 10, 2010 12:04 pm
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I use both units in my armies all the time. I favor WE's , but that is mostly due to theme. The BG are far less dependent on support (CoB blessings, stubborn from 12", being near the general...) and that can be very important when you consider some of the 8th scenarios that can really screw up your deployment. BG are much more independent than WEs.

I agree with Meteor that BG are the best choice for the banner of murder. If you have BG in your army then they should have the BoM. They chew through just about anything with rerolls, Str4 and -2 AS.

Both models look fantastic, so no winner there (although I slightly favor Witchelves in this regard also).

Witchelves do phenomenaly in the first round of a combat(re-rolls from hatred giving a second chance at poison), after that they get significantly worse. BG are very consistent in the grind. In 8th I have found that I see those 2nd and 3rd rounds of combat more often, so it is important to be good at drawn out combats.

ATM I am heavily running witches and running BG much less, BUT that is mostly due to the BG being SOOOOOOO overplayed in 7th. You saw a unit in every single DE list. Frankly, I am a little sick of them :>

Witches still have that new car smell :p I play people all the time that say stuff like "I have never seen anyone play with that unit before." hahah
Just for reference, I have always used WE in my armies (due to theme) and they are much much better now in 8th than in the last 10 years.

Both units are excellent, but have slightly different "fields of expertise." Nothing but nothing chews through undead horde units or stupid steadfast throwaway units (like slaves, gobbos, gnoblars, etc...) like WE's. On the flip side there are very few units that BG don't absolutely mess up.

You can't go wrong with either unit. If you had to choose one or the other and were only concerned with power level, then go with BG. Witchleves offer you a different flavor for not much loss. :>

-Erik

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Sun Oct 10, 2010 2:15 pm
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Khordale wrote:
IATM I am heavily running witches and running BG much less, BUT that is mostly due to the BG being SOOOOOOO overplayed in 7th. You saw a unit in every single DE list. Frankly, I am a little sick of them :>

Same here. They were pretty much the only unit that worked vs my powergaming friends back in 7th so I try to avoid them as much as possible now. Plus, they are the ugliest of the elites too IMO.

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Sun Oct 10, 2010 6:12 pm
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Cold One Knight

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greg wrote:
Just to show the point difference:

20 x bg with full command 25 point item and 25 point banner costs 345
27 x we with full command 25 point gifts and 25 point banner costs 345


Those who are stats happy can go crunch all their numbers but the units tend to do different things.

BG tend to be more of a tar pit the witches more of a hammer.
So think about what you want if you are going one vs the other but again in combination especially if you are bringing sss corsairs (witch can sub as more survivable we) small witches and big BG will likely prove most effective.


For 345 pts, you can have:

44 warriors, full cmdt, 25 pts banner, cost 348 pts
30 RxB, shield, Banner, musician, cost 345pts


20 BG in 7-7-6 will do 22 S4 armor piercing attacks (average 13 wounds on T3, before armor but at -2)
27 WE in 8-8-8 will do 33 S3 armor piercing poison attacks (average 16 wounds before armor on T3 -1armor)
44 warriors in 10-10-10-10-4 will do 41 S3 armor piercing attacks, but can be steadfast too (average 15 wounds on T3 with -1 armor)
30 Rxb in 10-10-10 can dish 20 attack S3, and 40 S3 bolts. Ward 6+ in close combat (average 5 wounds in close full armor, average 7 on shootings with -1 armor)

With killing blow blessing, warriors beat black guards, same armor, they just don't re-roll each turn. They loose 10 attacks on the charge though
With 5+ ward, WE are probably the best unit.

Warriors can kill more than BG, providing that the ennemy got enough wide unit. And the biggest point: even on 10 wide, they got 4 deep, so can remove steadfast way more easelly than BG, so can win more often.

All in all, WE and BG stay on my shelves. I play warriors and RxB, combined with 28 executionner (that always receive the 5+ ward blessing). Str6 is so strong and almost kill anything. Couple with flaming banner, they can strike very hard on a building or any regen opponents, and it let free the armor piercing banner for my warriors!


Tue Oct 12, 2010 7:26 pm
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I have never found Strength 3 to cut it, even with Cauldron blessings, and if I saw a horde spearmen unit with Killing Blow, i would narrow my frontage or hit it with a monster or monstrous infantry. I haven't tailored a list for an opponent in years, so have to be prepared with my lists to fight a variety of opponents, and I find that spears and crossbows can't kill nearly enough different units types to justify taking them over Black Guard or Witch Elves.

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Tue Oct 12, 2010 10:41 pm
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Executioner
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Which is why spears are in the core section, just to make them a bit on the mandatory side to fulfill that 25%.

It's also why I take Shadow Lore with me, just to make S3 attacks worthwhile when Withering does work. Or COB KB AFTER they've thrown a unit into my spears :)




Mod's note @ everyone,

Remember, the topic is "Black Guard vs Witch Elves", PjEOs started with "I've decided giving elite infantry a try".
Thanks for your contribution so far, but please don't derail the topic.
Calisson

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Now that we understand each other, lets get down to business.

Jacks -Shade
- WS 5 - - S 3 - - T 2 - - D 6 - - I 5 -

Equipment
Short Sword, MC Long Sword*, Dagger, RxB & RHB [20/10] MC Shade Cloak, 4 Throwing Daggers, 3x Healing Vials, 451C, [3]Dark Venom, [4]Unseen Chains, Food, Dark Steed- Spike

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Eye of the Jabberwock

*Magical properties possibly imbued


Wed Oct 13, 2010 2:38 am
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Cold One Knight

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Quote:
Mod's note @ everyone,

Remember, the topic is "Black Guard vs Witch Elves", PjEOs started with "I've decided giving elite infantry a try".
Thanks for your contribution so far, but please don't derail the topic.
Calisson


Sorry.

On the topic, since Black guard are only S4, the difference between them and witch elves is not enough to justify playing a max 20 strong unit in the 8th universe.

5+ armor save is nothing with elite unit, they will face S4 or higher all the time.

Witches got a big drawback though: when they loose frenzy, they become less effective than our core troop..


Wed Oct 13, 2010 7:06 pm
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a18no wrote:

On the topic, since Black guard are only S4, the difference between them and witch elves is not enough to justify playing a max 20 strong unit in the 8th universe.

5+ armor save is nothing with elite unit, they will face S4 or higher all the time.

Witches got a big drawback though: when they loose frenzy, they become less effective than our core troop..


These are fine points, but you could easily say the same thing against Witch Elves:

They have no armor at all.

If they lose Frenzy (as you mentioned) they suffer a huge setback in effectiveness.

Over extended combats (which there definitely will be) they lose a lot of hitting power without those To Hit rerolls. I think this is a HUGE argument in favor of Black Guard. Combats are rarely resolved in the first turn now, so having consistent re-rolls is tremendous.

To counter your points about Black Guard, I would say:

S4 is a huge improvement over Strength 3, especially with all the buffs/hexes out there from Metal/Shadow that can make such a big difference.

5+ save isn't great on its own, but it combines very well with other saves/buffs to give good protection. A 3+ Save from Lore of Metal, or a 5+/5+ from the Cauldron, is quite good protection that Witch Elves can't get.

Yes, Black Guard are only 20 strong, but Stubborn on Leadership 9 means that they can still hit hard and fight effectively even without a tremendous rank bonus.

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Wed Oct 13, 2010 9:38 pm
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Executioner
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Hi there,

I've been playtesting both units and i've come to the following conclusions:

·BG is FAR better when it comes to long combats (and there are LONG combats) as they hit harder in subsequent rounds of combat and they can stack AS and/or WS thanks to magic/CoB. That makes for a huge difference, really.

·WEs hit harder on the first turn. Also, they are better tooled to deal with chariots and other high T low AS targets. They recently performed an epic win versus Wood Elves when they charged and ripped appart a unit of 6 Treekin thanks to that banner that provides flamming attacks for 10 points. They overrun into a Treeman so all the better. They killed both, instantly winning the game for me.

Looking at my current list, i very much need something to deal with high T units and i'm very short in points while i already have good enough tarpits, so i will definitely go for WEs for a few games.

Thanks you all for your thoughts and feel free to go on with the debate if you feel you have something else to point, i may have missed it :)


See ya


Thu Oct 14, 2010 9:06 am
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Malekith's Best Friend
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Ah, one of my hallmarks for identifying a well-rounded book is that you can have multiple units that are equally valid and fulfill similar roles. It's always great to have choices!

I also have really enjoyed seeing Witch Elves come into their own in 8th edition, and find a role that suits their lore and ruleset perfectly.

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Thu Oct 14, 2010 5:27 pm
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