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D.R.A.I.C.H. The making of your army. 
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In this thread, I will try to determine factors to be taken into account when writing a list for the 8th edition.
The constraints of the army in 8th edition are known.
See D.R.A.I.C.H. 7th => 8th analysis for a quick analysis.

1. 3k-1?
One aspect which is not clear yet is how many pts are going to be standard.
2.250 Pts is gone. It has no justification anymore, and it is not easy to calculate 25% of it.
Overall, it seems quite easy to increase the size of the army, using some units you owned but you could not previously take because of the character or special slots limitations.
Given that there is much less limits for characters, you could consider adding more characters to your usual 2,250 pts. You could spam more small elite units as well. Or you could just grow one or two units in size.

I would expect the new standard to be set either at 3k or at 3k-1 (2,999 pts), the only difference being the ability to spam 6 same special and 4 same rare instead of 3 and 2. Therefore, 3k is practically “no limit” while 3k-1 seems more reasonable.

Magic has critical influence on smaller games. I'd recommend, for friendly 1k games, either to agree not to take any wizard, or to specify beforehand that magic is going to be used.
Reversely, the larger the game, the lesser importance has magic, as you're limited by the pool. This pool limitation is harsher when you play allied battles and have to share the precious PD.

However, whatever the set size, the first thing is to figure out what is 25% of it.

2. Size matters.
2.1. Size matters for Lords.
A Lord, his dragon, or a Level 4 are each in the 300 pts range.
Hard to squeeze one of them below 1k, two of them below 2k, three of them below 3k. If you try, they will not get their full amount of magic objects, so they will become unreasonably vulnerable.
You’ll be better off with no Lord below 1k, a single Lord or High Sorceress (without dragon) at 1k-2k, and either a Dragonlord, or a Footed Lord & a High Sorceress, or 2 High Sorceresses at 2k-3k.
As we are going to see in the 2 next chapters, in small games, it is important to get a Sorceress but your Hero allotment is going to be in high demand, so a Level 3 is a good option.
My recommendation would therefore be a Level 3 at 1k, a Level 4 at 1k-2k and a DragonLord at 2k-3k.

2.2. Size does not matter for Magic.
Magic is commanded by the pool of dice, which is 2-12 whatever the size of the army.
In order to optimise the use of that pool, you’ll probably aiming at a total of 5 levels of magic-users, with the ambition to cast 3 spells each turn.
More Sorceresses could be useful in order to grant you more Lores to choose during the battle, using the most useful one against your specific foe and letting the unused Sorceresses cut daisies.
Or you could wish to take a level 2 with the same Lore of the Level 4, so that the junior Sorceress selects junior spells, increasing the odds that the senior Sorceress gets the most powerful spells.

In small games, if you struggle for scarce pts, then any Sorceress empowered with many PD is probably better than taking any fighting Lord.
In large games, Sorceresses will struggle for Powerdice; two of them is probably optimal, at levels 4+2 or 3+3.
Remember, you may arrange your plans for magic according to the other Characters you take. You may take only Lord slots, Hero slots or mix.

In larger games, if your army is going to fight alongside with an ally (but can we really call anyone as such?), then you should take half the magic users as usual, because the pool will be divided evenly.

Also, the choice of the Lore depends on your army:
if you run large units, the Lore should be chosen with them in mind.
If you don't then the Lore should be chosen with an opponent large unit in mind (with its own vital supporting characters).

2.3. Size does not matter for some Heroes.
The single most important hero is the BSB. Whatever the size of the army, you get 1.
Only if you play MSU can you afford not to take one. If you intend to run one or more large units, you need desperately one BSB.
If the army is small, you must take him, eating most of your hero pts (and therefore take a Level 3).
For us DE, another very important unit’s buff is granted by the COB.
A cheap solution is to merge the two requirements into a single BSB COB. This is an excellent solution.
The BSB is going to be a high priority target for your opponents. Therefore, I suggest to be very careful before giving him a magic banner, unless that banner increases his life expectation. Not only he would be more vulnerable with only mundane protection rather than magic protection, but also the bounty would be higher.
Exception: the COB BSB. Not many banners would be that useful, however I see a benefit in the ranger’s standard, the strider’s rule being handy for a warmachine for which otherwise any terrain save hill is impassable.
Be it a Master of a DH, it is worth providing all the defences you can afford. This guy/girl is essential to your plans, and your opponent is likely to know it.

2.4. Budget your Heroes.
Besides the BSB, it would be nice to get a second COB, one or two Level 2, and a couple of chariot-riding Masters., plus Lokhir and Malus.
OK, stop dreaming.
A kitted BSB is around 180pts, a COB is 200 pts, a COB BSB around 250 pts. At 1k, this is it.
A level 2 is around 200pts, a Master on Chariot/Peggy or a Named Hero are close to 250 pts.
At 1k-2k, a second hero can be considered, at 2k-3k, there is room for a third one.
The BSB is the first to be taken, unless you play MSU. A COB is always useful, so the best is to merge them.
Next on your shopping list comes a sorceress. Therefore, named characters or dual COB are to be expected in larger games.

Finally, if you need more heros than the 25% allows, don't hesitate to take an assassin. Also Kouran could be taken for no price to pay on the Hero budget.

2.5. Character combinations.
Level 3 and COB BSB (if you’re running one large unit).
Footed Dreadlord and Level 2 (MSU).

Level 4 and BSB + COB
Lord (no Monster) and BSB + level 2

Dragonlord and BSB + 2 Level 2.
Lord + Level 4 and COB BSB + Level 2.
Level 4 + Level 3 and Peggy Master + Named hero.

Which is the best combo?
Build the rest of your army and come back to determine the appropriate support that your characters are designed to bring.
Your characters are not there to win the battle, but to support the rest of your army doing so.

Last edited by Calisson on Tue Jul 20, 2010 7:54 am, edited 5 times in total.

Mon Jul 19, 2010 10:59 pm
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3. To Mammoth or no to Mammoth? That is the question.
I make a hypothesis:
Mammoth units are going to be much more important than in 7th edition, to the point of playing a predominant role. I explain why in chapter 1 of D.R.A.I.C.H. The new Age of Mammoths.

Now, when making an army list, the most important question, as far as I understand 8th edition logic, is to decide to go Mammoth or not.

The qualities of each unit is discussed in D.R.A.I.C.H. Dark Elves units under 8th edition..
There, I discuss the merits of diverse categories of troops:
- Heavy units: hard hitters, useful for their sheer killing power, and their reistance; but never Steadfast.
It includes Monsters (Hydra, Dragon; Manti if you're a gambler) and cavalry small units: COC, 5-10 COK, 5-10 shielded DR.
- Mass R&F units: the Mammoths. Including mass shooting infantry. Their role is to absorb massive damage and become steadfast against most opponents (especially heavy units). A small unit of stubborn R&F like BG (or a crowned unkillable Lord) fulfill the same role, for cheaper.
- Agile units: scavengers like Harpies, Shades, unshielded DR, Pegasus. Their role is to hunt warmachines and, as scavengers, to hunt fleeing troops or last survivors, in order to get the precious VPs. They should not be sacrificed except under dire circumstances because their role in the ending turns is vital.
- Sacrificial support units, mostly Elite R&F infantry units: either small commando squads of special troops, or small amounts of shooters, or small corsair screens. Their role is to support the Mass R&F unit by covering the flanks, absorbing heavy units, defending the COB, suicide-attacking opponent's characters... They can be sacrificed, it's their job, however it gives VPs to the opponent so don't do it lightly. I would place assassins in that role as well.
- Influence units. In this category are units which are not designed to withstand tough melees, but whose support is vital to help the main units win melees. They must be defended and should nevber be sacrificed.
They include precious characters: General (for his Ld), BSB, COB and Sorceresses.
Finally, they include fighters (including champions) who will enhance the fighting power of other units (either the heavy units, making them hitting harder, or the mass units, enhancing their staying power, or acting as bodyguards - they are also there to take out ethereal creatures).

In a first approach, a sample of each of these categories must be taken (except Mammoths, discussed below), but to decide which particular unit is to be taken within that category is not essential, so go for the models you have.
If your army is lacking either heavy units, or agile units, or sacrificial units, or enough influent characters, then you'll probably find yourself wishing you had them during the battle.

4. No Mammoth.
If you have chosen not to run any Mammoth, then you have to be prepared to fight against one.
At least, you need not to worry to protect your own large unit, because you don’t have any.
Therefore, you can afford not to take any BSB, which is very extreme in the 8th edition.
This is a very good opportunity to run a Dragonlord supported by two Level 2 at 2k-3k.
Also, you can afford to have all your units considered sacrificial. Still, you need to kill more (and to the last man) than you get killed. But it opens very different options than having a Mammoth around which the whole army is made.

4.1. Hunting the Mammoths.
You need the tools to hunt the opposing Mammoth.
As recalled in chapter 3 ofD.R.A.I.C.H. The new Age of Mammoths., these are:
- scores of RXBmen, in a single large unit or (better) in several small units
- Dark Magic with good chances to get spells #5 and/or #6 (i.e. two level 3 or a level 4 and a level 2).
- Good magic defence (the same sorceresses can do that).
- MSE: Dragons, hydras, chariots, medium/small units of COK, WE, AHW corsairs, in order to eat the beast.
- More of the above to avoid countercharges and get rid of opposing light troops & shooting troops.
- Suicide squads of 6 WE, 10 AHW corsairs or 5 DR, COB-boosted with KB, or hiding an assassin, to kill the opposing BSB. It is nice to kill the general, too, so take several of them.
- Scavengers like DR, Harpies, Peggy or Dragon, to catch the fleeing beast.
- More Harpies, or possibly Shades or DR, to canalise the Mammoth unit forwards.
- BG, Execs/WE&COB, hydra or dragon to stop the Mammoth progression if required.
- A forest (this one needs not to be planned in your army list, but given the opportunity to place it in a likely Mammoth’s path during terrain deployment, don’t miss it).

OK, you don't need all of this stuff. You just need most of it.

There are tools that you don’t need specifically.
You own general, unless it rides a dragon. A BSB. A hero without a Peggy.

4.2. What’s to bring back home when there’s no Mammoth to hunt?
Well, you could face an opponent who does not want to get into the race for the largest size.
In this case, you just need to kill as many of his units as possible while retaining yours alive, in a good old 7th ed’s way.
Just remember that VPs are granted only for full destruction or by fleeing off the board.
Also, a zero-rank unit charging a R&F unit has chances to see the R&F keep 1 rank, enough to be Steadfast.
These two points make quite a difference compared to 7th edition.

4.3. Balancing the army
All of your shopping list should allow plenty of each stuff.
Just remember to check again the limits: >25% core, <50% special (no more than 3 same), <25% rare (no more than double hydra & 4 RBTs).

Last edited by Calisson on Mon Aug 02, 2010 7:54 pm, edited 7 times in total.

Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:01 pm
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5. Breeding Mammoths.

5.1. One single über-Mammoth?
There is a choice to make.
“Survival of the largest” incites you to grow a single Mammoth to the largest size. In that way, it has greater chances to overcome opposing Mammoths. Also, it will not release any VP until utterly destroyed.
This tactics is probably feasible, but it requires a very good protection for your single Mammoth: warmachine hunters, witch hunters, monster repellants.
You will need an appropriate place for both your general and your BSB, where they are very safe (probably along with the Mammoth).
If your Mammoth/BSB fails, your whole army crumbles.
If you go along htis path, then probably spearmen are the best.
You need buffs which improve the whole unit: a single COB, a magic banner up to 25pts (so that it remains unkillable with the pennant bearer) and magic augments.

5.2. A horde of Mammoths?
“Don’t put all your eggs in the same basket” strategy makes some sense.
The good point is that your Mammoths can support each other.
Also, taking away opponent’s warmachines and sorcerers is good for all your Mammoths.
Finally, you may sacrifice even one of the Mammoth and not loose the war.
However, you’re not likely to win a Mammoth’s fighting, as the opposing Mammoth is more likely to be larger.

5.3. Which race of Mammoth?
Naggaroth grows smaller Mammoths than in other parts of the World, however these are aggressive ones.
Spearmen, RXBmen, AHW Corsairs, RHB corsairs, Shielded DR, COK, WE and Execs are dealt with in chapter 4 ofD.R.A.I.C.H. The new Age of Mammoths..
I’d recommend spearmen for a single large Mammoth because they can grow the largest ones.
AHW SSS corsairs make a good, aggressive Mammoth, especially with a COB BSB behind.
WE and Execs go very well along with several COB, but they don't count as core, so you need to find either enough DR or another Mammoth to spend the core pts.
RHB corsairs and RXBmen are the only Mammoth able to get rid of their cages by themselves.
Shielded DR and COK make very unconventional racing Mammoths, the viability of which is far from established.

5.4. Protecting your Mammoths.
Chapter 3 ofD.R.A.I.C.H. The new Age of Mammoths. lists the many dangers faced by Mammoths. You need to take care of all of them:

- larger Mammoths
You need to either slow them down (the cage) or grind them down to a manageable size.
The cage is best done by 3-4 units of Harpies (only 2 are required but they may die in the process).
You can reduce the size of the opposing Mammoth with Magic, with lots of RBTs (if your Mammoth unit is made with them), with a pair of Hydras.

- template weapons
Get at them, quickly, with agile troops: Harpies, Shades and DRs, plus the Pegasus Master (or sorceress).
Of course, they will be protected so you need more agile troops so that sufficiently survive to get the job done.

- massive BS shooting
This is very dangerous for us. Well, Corsair Mammoths may endure quite a lot of these, but you really need some quick hard hitters to get rid of them. Dragonlords, hydras, COK. Possibly chariots but they are very slow.
Small units of corsairs could help: they can screen your units, and they will threaten the shooters.

- mass magic
Magic defence is required, of course, but it is helpless against IF.
The only real defence is to kill opposing sorcerers. In case they are protected inside a unit (as they should and will), you can either snipe them with some magic (uncertain) or assassinate them with small suicide squads of 6 WE, 10 AHW corsairs or 5 DR, COB-boosted with KB, or hiding an assassin.

- several hard hitters (dragons, ethereal units…)
If they start to attack your Mammoth, then they will take their toll.
You could use some small corsair unit to delay their arrival (and if 5 corsairs survive, they are steadfast!). You’ll need a similar hard hitter (dragon, hydra, COC, COK) to countercharge them and, with the help of your own massive SCR, get rid of them.
In order to get ethereals, you need magic or magic weapons. Be sure you’ve got several of these.

- loss of your BSB
This is very dangerous for you: the strategy of the Mammoth relies on the BSB (and the size of the Mammoth).
You need to prevent as much as you can the loss of the BSB. Provide him the best armours you can afford. Buff magically the unit he is in. Challenge with a champion or with a Lord.
Alternatively, put the BSB behind, for example in a COB. It still need to be protected, but at least it will not deliberately look for combat.
In case you have several Mammoths running alongside, keep the BSB in the least exposed unit. That is another reason not to take any magical banner for whatever unit’s buff, which will vanish as soon as the BSB is killed.
Of course, the BSB can be sniped by cannons of magic. Another reason for getting rid early of this annoyance.

- loss of your general
The Lord general is important to increase the Ld 8 of our Mammoths to Ld 10.
His loss, or him getting too far can happen with a dreadlord on dragon (despite his Ld being felt at 18"), so this setting should be avoided with Mammoths. Dragons and Mammoths don't go well alongside.
A footed Dreadlord heading his Mammoth could get in trouble if the opposing Lord is really tough, or if the opposing magic snipes him.

- scavengers
Even if your Mammoth is made fleeing, it has not surrendered its VP yet, as long as it has not been caught again or it has not run off the board. In order to increase the survival rate of your Mammoths, it is nice to get rid of any fast cavalry or light flyer. Your own shooters should be able to take care of them.

- skirmisher’s cage
This tactics can be attempted against you. Fortunately, a few shots suffice to disrupt that threat, and we have many of these.

- unkillable stubborn unit.
The best is not to be touched by that kind of unit. If you have a screen, then that annoyance may glue to the screen (who cares) rather than pin down your largest unit.

- forests.
Just remember not to put your Mammoths inside a forest.

5.5. Mammoth’s fights.
Well, sometimes, it will happen: your Mammoth will meet an opposing Mammoth.
In that case, both of them loose their fat rather quickly, however the fight is likely to take a great while.
With the present movement rules, once the two Mammoths are facing each other during the deployment, there’s little you can do to avoid the confrontation.
This is why you’ll need magic and hard hitters to downsize the opposing Mammoth. You can delay him with good old bait’n flee tactics if you need more time. Of course, the opponent will try the same against your own Mammoth.
This is when you’ll appreciate to have chosen an aggressive Mammoth, especially boosted with a COB.

5.6. Getting VPs.
Killing one Mammoth brings many VPs.
Killing all the smaller units bring many times smaller amounts, which is equally important, especially since most of these small units are either deadly for your Mammoth or deadly for your own small units.

That's all for now.

I hope that these insights will help people deciding on their first army lists in the 8th edition.
Of course, this article will need amendments when everyone will have got more experience.
Please report!

Winds never stop blowing, Oceans are borderless. Get a ship and a crew, so the World will be ours! Today the World, tomorrow Nagg! {--|oBrotherhood of the Coast!o|--}

Last edited by Calisson on Mon Aug 02, 2010 8:02 pm, edited 2 times in total.

Mon Jul 19, 2010 11:03 pm
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Very nice Calisson,

this will be very helpfull to all of us.


I was once a dwarf, but then a big dragon appeared. I rose my axe,ready to fight, but the rider said:come to the dark side...
we have cookies!
Well i couldn't resist that!
Now i am the mighty general of a dark elf army MUHUHAHA (still need to work on that evil laugh though)

Tue Jul 20, 2010 12:04 am
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Posts: 379
Location: Minnesota
Another question will be: How will people fight battles in 8th? Will the random scenarios be used or will it be straight up slug fests?

Tue Jul 20, 2010 2:18 am
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