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Still competitive without the obvious choice 
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Malekith's Personal Guard
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I intend to ask you if we can build up a competitive list without most of our obvious and stronger choices: in particular
- pendant
- assassins (with or without stars)
- banner of hag graef
- shades

This is not simply a discussion about what could substitute this or that item/unit, but an overall view about the tourneistic environment and the approach when building the list.

In particular I'd like to hear of your experience (especially in a tourney contest), where you went knowing that your list was not "so competitive" or better, didn't rely on the most common choices when speaking about De.

I'll write about what happened to me yesterday: I went to a limited tourney @ 2400 pts and I faced 2 times a De with a similar list: the first was

Dreadlord +D3 attacks, potion and pendant, on steed
1 lvl1 sorc with 2 scrolls
Caudlron bsb
1 assassin with rhune, manbane and 2 hand weapons

10 spears with shields and mus
2x5 drs with xbows and mus
2x10 xbows with shields
2x6 harpies
12 bgs with champion
13 bgs with ring of hotek and asf
7 shades
2 Rbt
hydra

the second had

Dreadlord +D3 attacks, potion and pendant, on foot
1 lvl1 sorc with 2 scrolls
Caudlron
1 assassin with rhune, manbane and 2 hand weapons
1 assassin with manbane and rending star, second hw
10 spears with shields and mus
5 drs with xbows and mus
2x10 xbows with shields
12 bgs with champion and ring of hotek, warbanner
13 bgs with crimson death and asf
7 shades with gw
2 Rbt
hydra

Mine was

Dreadlord +D3 attacks, potion and seal of ghrond, on steed
2 lvl 1 sorc with 2 scrolls and staff of sorcery
cauldron

20 spears fc with shields
2x6 harpies
2x10 corsairs with hb, champion with the pair and mus
2x12 exes with champion and mus
15 bgs with champion
6 coks with champ and cold blooded banner
2 Rbts
hydra

Now, as you can see, they had asf units, that would have killed easily mine, more shooting (2 xbows and 1 shades with some drs in front of my corsairs) and the pendant (the ring was uneffective vs my light magic).
I managed to take a deuce on the first match (+100 pts for me) and a minor win with the second list (+500 pts for me), but really I had to do my best to get those results (even if I committed some bad errors in the last turn in each game!), so I started to think about the effectiveness of the list vs the player's skills, ending up with this thread.
Did you had succesful experience with your uncommon list against armies with a standard set up/average tournament set up? how?

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Last edited by Master of arneim on Tue Mar 24, 2009 1:29 am, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:17 pm
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Lord of the Dragon Caves
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Master of Arneim wrote:
I intend to ask you if we can build up a competitive list without most of our obvious and stronger choices: in particular
- pendant
- assassins (with or without stars)
- banner of hag graef
- shades


The only one of these items/choices that have been in all of my lists since the new book came out is Shades. I have successfully run lists without any of the other 3.

1) Pendant -- This item is an obvious "crutch" item that is very powerful for its points cost. Nevertheless, I have run lists without it and have done well with them in a very competitive gaming group. I have run an army with a High Sorceress as the Lord choice and left the Pendant off of her. Also, when I go with a Dreadlord on a Manticore, I prefer the Ring of Darkness or Null Talismans since they give some prtection for the Manticore against Ranged attacks. If you lose the Manticore, the Pendant won't save a lone Dreadlord who will get beaten by any unit with a rank bonus.

2) Assassins -- Based on what others say, they're good, but still pricey, and I like a lot of units on the field. I have not used assassins at all and haven't missed them

3) Banner of Hag Graef -- Definitely a no-brainer if you are fielding Black Guard, but not if your army has no Black Guard.

4) Shades -- I admit that I love my Shades with Great Weapons! I think you could do without them though. It would be much easier to give them up than it would be to give up Harpies or Dark Riders ... those are the two units I consider to be truly indispensible.

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Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:50 pm
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DE army is a very well balanced army I must say. Every unit has its role on the table. So I would say that the army list really depends on your play-style. Some people find a cavalry army good, others infantry, some moster-themed. You can actually win with any well design list.
People tend to choose "common" lists becouse you dont know witch army will you play against.

Thanks

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Mon Mar 23, 2009 5:51 pm
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Excidium666 wrote:
DE army is a very well balanced army I must say. Every unit has its role on the table.


That's a point of contention if I've ever seen one.


Mon Mar 23, 2009 6:20 pm
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I have been wondering something similar for a while now. I would still classify myself somewhat as a beginner (so arguably need the cheese in order to be competitive) but for an upcoming tornament I am considering handicapping myself by not taking:
Assassins
Hydra
Pendant
Standard of Hag Graef
(I didn't think Shades were such an issue).

The reason I am still in two minds is because my primary motivation is to have good close fought games. My fear for handicapping myself is that as a relative beginner, it will be little fun for either me or my opponent if I get thrashed. Which arguably would be as bad as me taking Full Cheese Ahead.

In general though I hate the idea that there should be must have's in every list. I will watch this thread closely.

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Mon Mar 23, 2009 6:38 pm
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Hyrdas are fun so 1 is no problem

Assassins are easiliy countered and fragile, so I have stopped running them

I don't run BG or CoKs so I have nowhere to put the ASF banner

Shades are crap so I don't run them either.

Pok/ SoM is on a combat master who's job is to flank charge treekin mostly against my usual opponent, but the AoD and CD is what I would take in a tournament, as it is 18 points cheaper.

I have lots of fun but don't win very often versus wood elves (3 treekin and a treeman at 1500) but can hold my own versus most other opponents.

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Mon Mar 23, 2009 9:59 pm
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how do u guys feel about self imposed "nerf"?
for example PoK will fail on 1 & 6 for CC.
for the Ring of Hotek maybe a reduced range? 10 or 9 inches. might be a thing to try out in casual games.


Tue Mar 24, 2009 8:41 am
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Master of Arneim wrote:
- pendant
- assassins (with or without stars)
- banner of hag graef
- shades


You don't need these to be competitive, in fact I used the assassin once, never used the ASF banner and used the Shades once. The only thing in your "Obvious choice" that I used the most is the Pendant but I could do well without it.

They become "essentiel" only if you really keep relying on these. Remember that we could be competitive with 6th edition Druchii? We didn't have these but we could still be competitive, it wasn't easy, I agree but it was possible, now it's easier to be competitive.

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Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:44 am
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Crawd: he never called them essential. he called them "the obvious choices" and they basically are.


Tue Mar 24, 2009 3:43 pm
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Of this list of 4, I think only the Pendant is the "obvious" choice. It's kind of like the Hail of Doom arrow in a Wood Elf army, the Jaguar Charm under the old Lizard book, or the Book of Arkhan in a VC army -- it is pretty rare to see an army without the Pendant. But I see plenty of Dark Elf armies without assassins, shades, or the Banner of Hag Graef.

On the other hand, the item that I think is missing from this list is the Ring of Hotek. Unless a Dark Elf player is going magic heavy, you will almost invariably see the Ring.

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Tue Mar 24, 2009 5:29 pm
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Quite a bit of my recent armies don't have the PoK :P it's not as good as people like to think.

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Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:10 pm
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i think a pretty competitive list is totally possible without the items in the OP in a 2250

characters:
-level 4 with black staff, level 2 with dagger, level 2 with familiar, and a cauldron, none of whom have the pendant or ring

core:
-25 spearmen
-2x dark riders
-2x harpies

special:
-block of witch elves
-cold one knights
-2x chariots

rare:
-2x RBTs
-hydra


powerful magic, decent shooting, fast enough to handle enemy war machines, hits hard with the hydra/knights/chariots/witch elves, who can all be supported by the cauldron


Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:20 pm
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When I first purchased the new DE, I quickly noticed how undercosted the PoK was. I for one will not use it on a DL or Master. My thinking was that this item should be with Sorceresses and it should almost be arcane. As for the Other stuff BoHG works with the Exec's, shame they couldn't go 35 points for their banners. BG doesn't need it. Shades are Shades. Two Hydras are pushing it. I think that they are under costed, when compared to a manticore or Shaggoth.

My personal restrictions are as Follows:
No Dragons
No PoK except for Sorceresses
No BG

There may be some minor ones but none I can think of at the moment.

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Tue Mar 24, 2009 10:04 pm
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I have found with the new book it seems for me as well as many others that it is hard to resist simply taking all the strongest choices and while Dark Elves have a great ability to make a large variety of armies almost every army is becoming the same which is to my mind a shame.

It takes just a glance at the army list forum to see every army has the following
PoK, RoH, ASF BG, Harpies, Shades, Dark Riders, Hydra and 2 RBT.
Most of our magic items are not used or when mentioned everyone simply says drop it and take Crimson Death or Pendant of Khaeleth.

I would almost prefer to return to the days of 6th edition where all our troops were equally bad and it took great generalmanship to win rather than relying on crutches

@ Dalamar how is the pendant not that good it almost gives you a 2+ ward save for just 35 points! Yes it isn't invulnerable but it is fanatasic for when your heroes are about to get pounded by everything from giant rocks to a Bloodthirster

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Tue Mar 24, 2009 11:35 pm
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Something I need to underline is the tourney view. It is indubitable, in my opinion, that there is indeed a stronger list today (at least in my country) and it relies on dreadlord with regen, pendant and crimson death, 3 assassins with stars and manbane (thanks gw for not listening to what Gav said!) and at least 2 units of shades with gw. Now, this is what you usually face at tourneys here and 2 weeks ago I went to a big event where there were 5 druchii: 1 was me, 3 had the list with the things above (without bg because in their opinion it's easy to kill, so they prefer going all skirmish and shooting, adding the ring etc) and 1 was the one I've encountered with asf bg, 2 assassins, xbows, drs (20-0 for me with the list I posted in the first post, without the cauldron).

What I'm trying to understand is how much higher is the chance to win with the "obvious choice" (not essential, essential are indeed harpies or drs or even Rbts for someone) than with an uncommon list, and I'm looking for succesful experiences in tourneys.

As I proved in the first post, it is indeed possible winning against those list, but how much does it cost? When, trying to compete with a "strange" list, it becomes silly (I'm not saying that I want to have fun, but to compete going the "other way") and becomes really an underdog approach?

22over7 said something that really meets my opinion: "How much am I handicapping myself without using pendant etc?". Because in the end is this what we are doing when not choosing some great item/units that we have. Please pay attention again on the "tourney" view: while I could agree with Dalamar that in a single battle the pendant (in example) could be not that great, in a tourney contest it becomes huge, as are assassins with stars etc.

Note that this is not a post whining about the cheese in certain choices, but only a way to understand how much spread there is between those 2 approaches (the "official/most used" and the alternative).

@ RiverRat: I don't think that yours is a valid argument. I mean, you take the item or not. It's unthinkable limiting by yourself the item, because this would mean rewrite the book, adjusting things that seems wrong by your side, but it doesn't fix any other bug (for example the whole concept of the Daemons). Then this is not achievable in a tourney contest when you're not deciding the limits or the scenarios/special rules.

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Wed Mar 25, 2009 12:15 am
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The last tournament I was in was last December. It was a 1-day, 3-game tournament at the 2250 point level. Although it was a pretty small touenament, the competition was high quality--my gaming group is stacked with people who have won Best General and Best Overall awards at both GW Grand Tournaments and major Indy GTs in the United States. I won Best General for the tournment with no Pendant, no ASf banner and no assassins. I did have 1 unit of Shades with Great Weapons.

I agree that going without the pendant on a Lord-level character is a big handicap. But I don't think doing without any of the other things you list are a significant handicap. The ASF Banner may be a no-brainer for Black Guard, but I don't run Black Guard and I prefer the War Banner on my Knights. Also, I think taking 3 Assasins can actually be a handicap against shooty or magic-heavy armies since if you spend that many points on assassins, your overall army is a lot smaller. I always seem to run into Wood Elves at tournaments, and taking a small army against them is usually asking for trouble.

What this thread really seems to be about is trying to answer the question -- what is the best composition for a tournament army? In that case, I think the strongest army that the Dark Elves can field at the 2000/2250 level would meet the following criteria:

1) Dreadlord on Dragon (w/Pendant) -- Very good for both points denial and collecting points from the enemy

2) Low magic + Ring of Hotek for magic defense -- Heavy magic is too unpredictable and will likely cost you a game in a tournament due to a bad miscast ast some point. Ring of Hotek is the best item in the game for magic defense, so an optimal list will make use of it

3) Moderate to heavy shooting -- Massed fire is probably our best weapon against Daemon lists which are both popular and powerful on the tournament scene

4) Cheap, mobile, and hard-hitting combat units -- Since missile fire can't take care of everything, you need something to clean up. Hydras fit the bill since they are less than 200 points, hit very hard, and are durable as well. Chariots and knights also work, but then you have to deal with stupidity. Chariots hit hard enough and are cheap enough that I would take the stupidity risk with them.

5) 5 or more units of harassers -- Dark Riders and harpies to control enemy movement.

I don't think assassins are necessary at all. If I were going for a tournament list where the only thing I cared about was winning, here's what the army would probably look like at 2250 points:

Dreadlord - Black Dragon, Deathpiercer, Armour of Darkness, Pendant of Khaeleth
545pts

Master - lance, heavy armour, sea dragon cloak, shield, Dark Pegasus, Ring of Hotek
169pts

Sorceress - 2x Dispel Scroll
150pts

Dark Elf Repeater Crossbowmen x10
100pts

Dark Elf Repeater Crossbowmen x10
100pts

Dark Riders x5 - repeater crossbow
110pts

Dark Riders x5 - repeater crossbow, musician
117pts

Dark Riders x5 - repeater crossbow, musician
117pts

Harpies x5
55pts

Harpies x5
55pts

Cold One Chariot
100pts

Cold One Chariot
100pts

Shades x5 - great weapon
90pts

Shades x5 - great weapon
90pts

War Hydra
175pts

War Hydra
175pts

Other than the dragon, everything is under 200 points and so everything is potentially expendable. The army puts out 100 shots per turn (+ potentially 3 breath weapons). It is highly mobile, and with 2 hydras, 2 chaiots, a dragon, and 2 units of GW-armed shades, it can hit very hard in combat as well. No assassins, and no ASF banner.

I thiknn the consensus I have seen in my gaming group at least is that the most powerful things in the Dark Elf list -- the "obvious" choices that opponents complain about the most -- aren't necessarily the things you list. They would be:

1) Dreadlord on a Dragon
2) Hydras
3) Ring of Hotek

All of which are reflected in the list above. ;)

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Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:15 am
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This is mutating into a tactics discussion. Moved.

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Wed Mar 25, 2009 4:55 am
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I don't use the Ring of Hotek, Pendant, Assassin, or Banner of Hag Graef and I do fine against my regular opponents. I like using Shades though.


Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:18 am
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Ring of Hotek: Compulsory in my lists
Pendant of Khaeleth: Preferably on a BSB on CO :P
Assassins: Almost never, as I tend to field cavalry a lot
Banner of Hag Graef: Nope, I prefer CoK over Black Guard in my highly mobile list, and the Banner of Hag Graef isn't better than an extra CoK in this case
Shades: S3 shooting always comes in handy, but my specials are at 1500 pts already filled with 5 Witch elves and 2 units CoK. 2000 pts. gives me some shades however (with GW :twisted: )

So well, you don't need all those items and units...

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Wed Mar 25, 2009 8:55 am
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The problem with the Pendant is that its the only practical ward save option available. Give me a decent alternative and I'll use it instead, rather than the over priced, circumstantial ones that are in the book right now. Regeneration has too many weaknesses, and armour saves alone aren't enough.

I think that the only real crutch is ASF BG. Against WoC, my BG held up a fully ranked unit of Warriors in the front with Chaos Lord and Wulfrik and full compliment of Marauders in the rear. Swinging first and always re-rolling, I was chewing up Marauders 7 or 8 at a time and only ever taking a few wounds from character who, without hatred, weren't landing all of their attacks the way I was. This lasted three rounds and long enough for me to throw a unit of warriors in the Chaos Lords flank and win combat w/ Warbanner. It was ridiculous, and not a reflection of skill at all.

Like most of you, it seems, I never use assassins either. Every time I make room for one in a list, I always end up dropping him in favor of more troops.

I think Shades are fair game. At 19 pt/model for GW and lite armour they are hardly a bargain and still suffer huge to-hit penalties like the rest of our shooters do. They take skill to use well and can give up their points easily if miss-handled. And there is no unit that can fill the roll that they have. They're a tactically sound unit with obvious weaknesses, and they're expensive.

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Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:41 pm
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Dyvim Tvar wrote:
I thiknn the consensus I have seen in my gaming group at least is that the most powerful things in the Dark Elf list -- the "obvious" choices that opponents complain about the most -- aren't necessarily the things you list. They would be:

1) Dreadlord on a Dragon
2) Hydras
3) Ring of Hotek

All of which are reflected in the list above.


You added something I should specify before. The list of items I posted on top wasn't necessarily a closed one. As you correctly pointed out, asf and pendant could easily be left at home, but you really extremize the list (in example yours above). Now the discussion is properly about this point: I listed pendant, shades etc, only to be short and strichtly record what mainly our opponent are whining about (still I should have added the ring and maybe the hydra).

Now, the question is about how much harder becomes playing without the obvious choice in a tourney. It's not easy to understand the main point of it, also because I'm not that great with my english expression, but the idea is here:
Master of Arneim wrote:
In particular I'd like to hear of your experience (especially in a tourney contest), where you went knowing that your list was not "so competitive" or better, didn't rely on the most common choices when speaking about De.
...
Did you had succesful experience with your uncommon list against armies with a standard set up/average tournament set up? how?


I hope this would clearify which are my intentions with this discussion.
Your list Dyvim is surely a good start and you show your skill when presenting this set up (only 3 dd in an unlimited contest, the master on pegasus without a significant save, chariots that still suffers from S7 shots), but on the other side I don't think that this is a weak or better underaverage list (many shots as you showed, still the pendant, double hydra, shades and dragon, many drs and still the ring of course).

I know that my point could sound strange:"what? You want to hear about succesful tourney experience with a strange/underdog/underaverage/uncommon, but nobody should bring a list that he thinks has low chance to win". Yes, that's what I want, and in particular I would understand how much effort is there to make a "strange" list work over a "common" one.

So here again:
Dyvim Tvar wrote:
What this thread really seems to be about is trying to answer the question -- what is the best composition for a tournament army?

No, it should be more like "Which is the worse list you brought at a tourney, getting an important result (that doesn't mean victory, but even only getting a nice ranking"), "worse" meaning, as I said, strange, uncommon etc. But it doesn't end here. I would even know how did it work and how hard was, reaching the point to understand how much spread is there between the "2 lists" and how much the player's skill can overshadow differences in the list (between "stronger" and "weaker" again).

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Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:49 pm
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Those items are there to use.

You can variate in what to use becouse there are a number of items your opponent will expect. Your opponent wont be able to prepare for all your magic or special items.

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Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:29 pm
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Master of Arneim wrote:
No, it should be more like "Which is the worse list you brought at a tourney, getting an important result (that doesn't mean victory, but even only getting a nice ranking"), "worse" meaning, as I said, strange, uncommon etc. But it doesn't end here. I would even know how did it work and how hard was, reaching the point to understand how much spread is there between the "2 lists" and how much the player's skill can overshadow differences in the list (between "stronger" and "weaker" again).


In that case, here's the list that I won Best General with at the 1-day, 3-game, 2250 point tournament I mentioned previously:

Characters:

Dreadlord on Manticore
Deathpiercer; Armour of Darkness; 2 Null Talismans; Pair of repeater handbows

Master on Dark Pegasus
Lance; Pair of repeater handbows; Heavy armour; Sea dragon cloak; Shield; Ring of Hotek

Core

20 Warriors; Shields; Standard; Musician
20 Warriors; Shields; Standard; Musician
10 Repeater Crossbowmen; Shields
10 Repeater Crossbowmen; Shields
5 Dark Riders; Repeater Crossbow; Musician
5 Dark Riders; Repeater Crossbow; Musician
5 Dark Riders; Repeater Crossbow; Musician
5 Harpies
5 Harpies

Special

14 Executioners; Champion; Standard
14 Executioners; Champion; Standard
5 Shades; Great Weapons

Rare

War Hydra


It is definitely not optimized for the tournament scene and I think my success was due in no small part to the match-ups I drew: (1) Empire Pope-mobile list; (2) Dwarfs; (3) Wood Elves. I got lucky that I didn't draw any opponents with really heavy offensive magic. The Woods Elves were led by a level 4, but the Lore of Athel Loren is not all that devastating and so I was able to get by fine with no casters of my own.

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Wed Mar 25, 2009 7:54 pm
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I came 2nd at Bristol Brawl:

http://www.druchii.net/viewtopic.php?t=59738

I limited myself by basing the Army around Witch Elves and Cold One Knights. I also wanted to make the army hard to use as there was an army swap at the event. Therefore I didn't take the following:

Assassins
Hydra
Black Guard
Ring of Hotek
Dark Riders
Shades

I did take the pendant and the ASF banner as they can be gotten around and it isn't always obivious how to ge the most out of them. This event was comped though and my army benefited from that. But the army itself has really good synergy so you don't feel anything is missing.


Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:43 pm
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Location: Stranded on an iceflow in the Sea of Chill
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The only of the above mentioned I really use regularly is an assassin(not the stars version but rather the 100 KB attacks per turn version)
And I usually have him camping out in a random unit for most (if not all) of the game. In my steady group my mates have gotten to the point that ''theres an assassin somewhere but where is he this time?''

I think its very much possible to get a competitive list going and going well without having to use any obvious choices. But when I think about it a friend of mine stared in disbelief when I fielded an all core choices army against him recently.

_________________
Daddy! I sorta kinda had an accident... I was playing with my slave and it sorta... Umm... It's arm fell off!
*sobs*

"3/4 of games are won by deathstars. Copy this into your signature if you still use real tactics to win"

Any idiot can measure strenght. Against properly played MSU you must measure something you cannot see.


Thu Mar 26, 2009 1:14 pm
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