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Of witches, corsairs and CoB. 
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Noble
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I have been thinking what infanrty to use nowadays as horde formation and what CoB brings to them.

Mostly the heart of the infantry is still formed by our BG(and sometimes ExE instead) but a single hammer in never enough so I was considering either witches + banner of murder or corsair + SSS as secondary hammer and what the CoB can give to them.

The thing is that most of the times the CoB will be providing the 5+ ward to the BG on most occasions.

Now if we assume that either corsair or WE end up in cc and we give an ofensive buff to them instead it's either +1 attack decent overall or killing blow.

Corsair would seem to proffit more from the killing blow rather than witches and their poison attacks profit more from the +1 attack buff for obvious reasons (if poison is scored there's no killing blow)

Now the problem gets more complex when we realy need to use 5+ ward on BG and our secondary horde of corais or witches is in cc with another unit. In this case the units need to work on their own and unbuffed. in this case the unit of witches with poison + AP attcks obviously will have the edge with or without any CoB buff over the use of corairs who bring merely 3s3 attacks on the table and nothing else.

So this leads me to the conclusion that although Corsair get benefited more from the CoB witches seems to do ok even without CoB wich means a CoB buff elsewere for eample 5+ ward on BG or EXE(depends). So witches can work ok as with or without CoB while Corsairs need the CoB to be effective.

Therefore I am considering on a CoB list from now on to include Witches instead of Corsairs since that would leave the CoB free to babysit our more expensive and hardocre units BG/EXE instead of Corsairs.

There is however an issue here the points and the core limit. The >=25% is rather punishing to us since our strong units are on special/rare so I'd have to fill the core gap with either warriors or DR or even more rxb but usually 20 of them are more than enough and since hapries do not count towards core using a combo of harpies + shades becomes a luxury.

So the only way I can see favouring Corsair over witches is as a filler of the needed core points and nothing else.

Everyone are welcome to bring in more thoughts and theorycrafting...

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Thu Sep 06, 2012 12:40 pm
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Aren't we forgetting a few factors here? IF you do not bless your secundary infantry with 5+ ward save, then, in my humble opinion, the corsairs are the better choice.
Although they miss out on poison and armour piercing, they have a easier time catching the enemy, they have a much better save (4+ against range 5+ in close combat) and best of all (as mentioned) they're core. They also allow you to join in any character, which might be nice if your up against a warmachine heavy army and your guard get depleted.
Although the witches have the advantage of stubborn when in 12" of the cauldron, they are rarely in range when they need it and rarely are in need of it. + if you want a unit to hold rather then to win, you have your blackguard, or you take a dreadlord with crown or a large unit of warriors.


Last edited by Flash29 on Thu Sep 06, 2012 1:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Sep 06, 2012 1:00 pm
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You seem to have concluded with the same thoughts as me about the matter.

In my conclusions, I've found that for the same amount of points, the witch elves also gets the AP banner, which means they are actually better at taking down most armored units, even when you consider the KB on corsairs vs. witch elves.

Another benefit is the extra khainite buff from the cauldron. Being stubborn means that you can use witch elves as both hammer and anvil.

As you also mention, the times you actually need to consider the corsairs, is when you haven't got enough for core. In some of the deathstars we can field, I see corsairs as a possible choice. At least I thought about it for my shadestar list, however I decided that two units of 40 spear elves did a more important job for me.

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Thu Sep 06, 2012 1:06 pm
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I hate relying on it, but a lot of folk would argue that the Corsairs could be buffed by using Mindrazor from Shadow, leaving the COB free to help with other units.

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Thu Sep 06, 2012 2:25 pm
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i agree on the mindrazor, for me personally i go with corsairs because they are plastic...

what characters (builds) do you put in a corsair unit?


Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:01 pm
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Interesting opinions this far...

Up untill now, I have found that if we run a lvl4 sorc for example then the unit of 30 spearmen becomes a must, we almost always should by a unit of 20 rxb with upgrades due to it's important role on supporting our infantry so there are few points left for core since we already filled about 19% of it hence 1 unit of DR does the trick( backed by harpies + shades).

Therefore it makes more sense to me to include corsairs only when that 30 spearelf bunker doesn't exist and that is mostly when we do not deploy a lvl4 sorc. For example on a Dragonlist 30 corsairs are more cost effective for what they bring to the table since they can resemble the witches although a bit under but they also cover the needed core.

So all in all corsairs have their uses but if I had the luxury to choose between corsairs and witches I think witches would do the trick slightly better.

The reason why I do not take under considerable account magical buffs is because they are based on pure luck while the cob buff is active on demand. If they do get magicaly buffed then that's for the better but I'd rather build my strategy towards things I can predict or control to an extent.

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'And lo, he shall rule with a dark hand and his shadow shall touch uppon every land.'

Single combat I await
My shadow brings them fear
The spikes upon my chariot
Will grind them when they're near...


Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:06 pm
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Red... wrote:
I hate relying on it, but a lot of folk would argue that the Corsairs could be buffed by using Mindrazor from Shadow, leaving the COB free to help with other units.

Relying on one spell to get through at one certain time is way to risky in the long run. And I guess that's why you hate relying on it :)

Witch elves can be buffed by mindrazor too, but unlike the corsairs, the witch elves can do quite well without such buffs. The main reason for this is that you have poisoned attacks on the witch elves, and with hatred you will get lots of sixes. With AP as well as Initiative 6, I have a hard time seeing how the corsairs can be better if you have room to choose between them.

I guess I'd pick corsairs if I met shooty lists, but that's about it.

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Thu Sep 06, 2012 3:27 pm
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my vote goes to WE too. the AP banner is HUGE, and the fact that they become stubborn near the cauldron has saved me more than once (damn mournfangs). ALSO we are talking about half naked chicks. if you can chose to include half naked chicks in your army OR not do that... well, you see my point?

Witches do indeed make minced meat out of many units without cauldron buffs. Corsairs do benefit more from KB than WE do, but this factor is very often overestimated. KB is most powerful against units with high armour, but remember, witches get armour piercing from their banner. if you run the maths (yes, ofc i did it, but it was long ago so i do not have the numbers here and now) you will find that in many cases the armour piercing benefit outweighs the loss of some KBs. obviously this does not work versus 1+ saves and multi wounded models, but in many cases witch elves will prove better.

Naturally the corsairs armour is a nice buff, but this too should not be overestimated. Many times, the armour will be reduced to 6+, and then it becomes much less significant. There is no answer like "unit X is always better than unit Y". it all depends on who you are fighting, buffs and such. In this case they are both very similar units that preform very similar roles. Just go for the best looking one (raging heroes' blood vestals) or the cheapest one (corsairs). both are good choices. I for one have no problem filling core requirements since i use a block of 40 warriors, some RXB and even DRs, but if you do not want the warriors, sure go corsairs, or why not both? :D

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Thu Sep 06, 2012 7:31 pm
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Yep. I vote Witches as well.

My unit of 30 with AP banner has carved a bloody name for itself in my little group. Murdering Gor and Bestigor hordes, Necrosphinxe's, Necropolis Knights, Screaming Bells, Hordes of Clan rats, Minotaurs, Treemen, Chariots... The list goes on and on :)

As for my Corsairs? they've seen some glory before, but its not as often, nor up to the standard of the witches. In fact I'm having trouble getting them to succeed in my lists at the moment :/ I think the problem with Corsairs is they only really seem to be good at fighting low toughness and low armour save troops without buffs.

Whereas the witches on the other hand for the same point cost, can pretty much fight anything that isnt a Chaos Warrior and come out on top. As I don't field a Black guard unit at the moment; I tend to favour my witches with the 5+ ward blessing most of the time and I don't bother with other 2 so much. As said before in this thread, AP tends to deal with your anti-armour needs and witches throw enough attacks around as it is without the +1 attack.

Theres my thoughts on the subject :)

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Fri Sep 07, 2012 10:01 am
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Here, here! Witches for the win. I run them in multi darts of 5, throw them into valuble things and pitch bucket loads of dice at mindrazor. Such unbridled tactical acumen :roll: Or killing blow from the cauldron to assassinate a character who has strayed too far from home. These darts (as they have poison), have also been known to down big beasties on the regular.


Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:12 pm
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A Noobs two penneth:

I often find the cauldron gets left behind and becomes a bit redundant in the later stages of the game as the whole point of Dark Elves is to be manouevrable (sp), if I'm having to keep a unit within 12 inches, it greatly devalues it's worth.

I didn't really get a lot of use out of my witches as they are basically dependant on rolling sixes, plus they take up special choices which I would much rather use on Exes, BG, COKS or Shades all of which I prefer.

I always run with a spear bunker as with buffs they can do some damage, without buffs they are a roadblock whilst also supplying fodder for my sac dagger. However being so cheap you need extra core and since I've found RXB's to be less than useful with 5's to hit mostly and 4 if not 5's to wound, just aren't great.

A unit of corsairs is going to get that 25% closer, deal out 3 attacks for the front rank and get shot and survive. Sure they aren't as killy as the witches but then what use is a stabby unit that only stands up if it's in 12 inches of a slow moving COB?

As I said before - N00b opinion, pinch of salt required.

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Fri Sep 07, 2012 2:45 pm
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The Cauldron of Blood has a 24" range for its blessings. not 12". The 12" range is only for making units Stubborn and honestly, if you're not winning combats with Witch Elves and Executioners, it isn't the Cauldron of Blood that is the problem...

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Sat Sep 08, 2012 3:37 am
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(@ phierlihy, it would be nice if you please could keep your comments constructive.)

-=-=-

Back to original question.
kristo wrote:
what infanrty to use nowadays
and what CoB brings to them.
The infantry units to consider are:
Exec: KB, high S, 1 attack => best against chaos & dwarf like (armoured, high T, human sized).
BG: good S, 2 attacks => all around.
WE: low S, poison, 3 attacks => best against ogre-like (little armour, high T) or hordes.
SSS corsairs: low S, 3 attacks => best against hordes.
Spearmen: low S, fewer attacks => defensive. I won't consider spearmen anymore.

So we see that each unit is more adapted to specific foes, with WE and SSS corsairs in competition for many S3 attacks, and Execs and BG in competition for few high S attacks (BG have more, Execs have deadlier).

Next thing is buffing units, with COB or spells such as mindrazor.
Some buffs are all the more interesting as the unit has more attacks (KB, mindrazor). Some buffs are all the more interesting as the unit has less attacks (+1 attack). Some buffs are all the more interesting as the unit is more expensive (5+).
Moreover, some buffs improve the units's specialization, while other buffs transform a specialized unit into an all around one: Buffed Execs are improved in their specialization, while buffed WE and Corsairs become all-around. Buffed BG remain all-around, becoming better but not outstanding. Actually they are not the best unit to buff.

This is where we have to consider the army's synergy within the meta-environment (do you play more often Skaven, OK, Dwarf?) rather than the individual units.
People should be able to count on units well adapted against low T hordes (WE or SSS corsairs) and units well adapted against foes protected with high T, good armour or both (WE or Execs for high T, Execs for good armour).
COB's buff can be counted upon in order to get what you lack (KB on corsairs, bodies on BG.
Mindrazor can be reliably obtained through selection of spellcaster, but cannot be reliably cast. It is most powerful for SSS Corsairs and WE, which it transforms into all-around killing machines.
Take into consideration that Shadows Lvl4 are best used with the dagger in spearmen unit.

Next thing to consider is that Execs and WE can't get dreadlors and masters, while BG and corsairs can. Do you need to babysit your BSB? Alternatively, is your DL or BSB providing what you lack? That's an argument for corsairs and BG.

Final consideration, core 25%: if you fill your core slot with spearmen, RXBmen and DR, corsairs are not required. If you like better harpies and Shades as agile troops and you don't like much shooting, then corsairs are for you.


Overall, I could easily envision two standard all-around infantry armies:
- SSS Corsairs, with Execs, buffed by COB, complemented by Shades & harpies. Death or Metal magic.
- WE, with Execs or BG, buffed by COB and Shadow Lvl4 in spearmen bus, complemented by DR and RXBmen.
In both cases, you've got antichaos and antihordes, and the COB provides the flexibility where it is needed.
The first army relies more on maneuver and melee, the second one uses more magic and shooting.

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Sat Sep 08, 2012 7:02 am
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Well said Calisson.

As for the reason to have stubborn on Khainite units, there are situations where your Witch Elves or Executioners will loose your battle. Especially against faster moving units.

I have had a good use of it when I couldn't get away from a charge by black knight deathstar. The vampire lord did heavy damage and I ended up loosing the fight. Hadn't I planned those losses already, I'd loose my flank, but instead I held my ground, gave them +1 attack and mindrazor on my turn. Voilä.

As for executioners, they die easily if something like daemonettes or witch elves get into close combat with them... Being stubborn then would be great.

Also, finally, you can make yourself just one long blocking line and stay your ground forever with a big unit of khainites.

What you say LordNOOB, is true. Getting the cauldron within 12 of your khainites can be hard, so you gotta have a good gameplan. I'd suggest trying the witch elves out a bit more after having played corsairs for a while. You'll be amazed how deadly the witch elves are, and that 1/3 of the attacks you hit with, are poisoned :)

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Sat Sep 08, 2012 5:54 pm
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I've seen a list with Banner of Swiftness on the Cauldron's Hag, BSB of course.
So reroll stubborn kept at 1" closer every turn. Not a bad deal.


Sun Sep 16, 2012 3:16 am
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SilverHeimdall wrote:
I've seen a list with Banner of Swiftness on the Cauldron's Hag, BSB of course.
So reroll stubborn kept at 1" closer every turn. Not a bad deal.
Still limited by any terrain, across which the COB cannot move at all, being a warmachine.

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Sun Sep 16, 2012 4:37 am
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It's a horses for courses question for me.

Up against Ogres? A horde of Witch Elves will do the job.

Up against Skaven? A horde of RHB Corsairs will rain on their parade.

That said I tend to use these two troop types for different roles.

    Corsairs - "Skirmishers that can't skirmish". Screen other troops, fill gaps in the line, harass both enemy chaff and blocks.

    Witch Elves - Tearing into enemy hordes and elites.


I quite like the idea of including both -> corsairs vs enemy core and WE vs enemy special. If forced to make an either/or decision, I would take WE because of the potential damage they can do, and leave core as Spears, RXB and Dark Riders.

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Sun Sep 16, 2012 2:36 pm
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When spell buffs are taken under consideration both units beneffit exactly the same so that doesn't add much while the CoB comparisson on the other hand makes more sense since different units will get a different buff the optimal for their situation.

In the end of it however it falls down to a matter of playstyle and personal prefference both units tend to excel(hordes of light armor troops) or fail(heavy armor) against similar opponents although statistically AP WE fairs better than KB Cors vs lightly armored troops and while Cors realy need the KB from CoB the WE can even do without any other CoB buff(well they already get stubborn for free).

So in my opinion there's no point to have both on a 1500-2500 pts list since you need other units to fullfill the role of high armor counter.

Theoreticaly hordes of WE + ASF ExE would give us an optimal arsenal vs most opponents backed up by a unit or two of rxb warriors and some magic.

In practice however the only unit I see failing is the ASF ExE they have yet to impress me vs veteran players since the Hag BSB even with a ASF is squishy and can be neutralised.

So the WE must be suplemented somehow by a second hammer. Either knights, chariots or BG are left.

Knights: They hit hard and the risk of a knight unit loosing stupidity is minimal if banner of discipline is used or there's a DL in unit(not my choice there are better roles a DL can fill) they get ld 10 and rerollable from BSB that's < 0.007 probability of failing it. However they have been nerfed due to step up rules so all those S6 attacks matter not furthermore the knights themselves can't use step up at it's full potential due to it's "only rider and only 1 attack" limitation so the cost doesn't justify any extra ranks.

Chariots: They hit hard, they have abetter ld now so less problem with stupidity but a single canon shot can easily kill them and that's 100 points lost right away too much risk too little gain.

Black guard: This is our only reliable multipurpose unit. In my opinion it's not a pure hammer since S4 can hardly be considered a potential danger to heavily armored foes but add in there the rerolls every turn, stubborn champion upgrades and a banner of murder or razor standard(if BoM is taken by WE) and suddenly the unit seems darring. They can hold on their own and most of the times they will either route the enemy or stay in combat for 3-4 rounds untill the last man.

So overall although the purpose of this thread was WE VS Cors since units do not work indipendently and neither is it optimal to have only one unit choice on the entire armylist(although a full we list would be nice fluff wise hehe) I guess it was mandatory to discuss a bit further on details about other units and potential combos we can make.

The hydra should not even get mentioned since I consider her/it to participate on every single DE list therefore mentioning her is realy not neccessary. A hydra will always be there no matter what it's our best hammer overall.

Personaly I'd like to see ExE + WE combined on the table but at this point I can hardly see it as a feasible solution vs competitive opponents therefore the optimal infantry combo I can see at the moment for us would be a WE horde aided by 20 BG backed by 1-2 units of rxb and at least a lvl 4 spellcaster. The rest is the obvious fillers 3-4 units of hunters and a sacrificial spearbunker.

PS: Maybe I should have made a suplementary thread entitled "To ExE or Not to ExE... that is the question..."

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Single combat I await
My shadow brings them fear
The spikes upon my chariot
Will grind them when they're near...


Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:12 pm
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What Tyrannus Deathbringer says I agree with.

Firstly I would use Witches and/or Corsairs as the large primary Hammer units of 30-40 depending on the Battle size. Both these units are great and depending on the army you are fighting 1 will be slightly better than the other.

The Blackguard are also great but their smaller size means they will not survive as long so I tend to use them as a support unit, rather than the main one.

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Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:03 am
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