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How to deal with a Druchii Flying Circus 
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Executioner
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Hi there,

Warning: long post ahead:

I don't know if you guys are familiarized with the ETC (European Team Championship) or if you are interested at all. This tourney is not a GW initiative and is supposed to have a format that balances the game. In order to achieve such goal, they have a very special comp ruleset.

Wether you know about it or not, or wether you are interested in it or not, I'd like to bring to your attention one of the most popular DE's lists in the ETC environment so far.

I'd like to know which strategy/approach would you have against it. That is, how would you play against this list? Which are the main flaws you see to it? How would you exploit them? How would you counter it?

The list is the following and you'll understand why is it called like that:

So, what is a Druchii Flying Circus? This:


2400 - ETC - DE Flying Circus:


Lords:

Dreadlord: General, PoK, Dragonhelm, Soulrender, Crown of Command, mundane armor and Pegasus

Dreadlord: Armour of Eternal Servitude (Reg), Dragonbane Gem, Black Dragon Egg, Whip of Agony, mundane armor and Pegasus

Heros:

Master: BSB, Talisman of Preservation, mundane armor, Lance and Pegasus

Sorceress: Lvl2, Death, Tome of Furion, Seal of Ghrond

Sorceress: Lvl2, Fire, Dispell Scroll

Core:

31 Warriors: FC, BoEF
30 Warriors: FC
32 Warriors: FC


Special:

Cold One Chariot
18 Witch Elves: Banner, Musician, Banner of Murder


Rare:

War Hydra


Other:

5 Harpies
5 Harpies
5 Harpies


·So let me explain how this list works. It has 3 flying characters, 2 of which are fully kitted Dreadlords and a BSB, the three of them very well protected and with a relatively good killing power. These will be used either to tarpit deathstars or kill support units. On the other hand, both Dreadlords may join one of the Warriors unit so that the enemy may choose to attack the Dreadlords or the Lordling, which means they make virtually 1 wound (the Lordling) and the Warrior+Dreadlord get some wounds and SCR, negate Steadfast and easily wins combats.

·Harpies, together with the 3 flying characters make for a perfect flying nightmare. Harpies delay enemy threats, Characters kill some easy VPs, the Dreadlord may tarpit uber threats while the rest of the army deals with minor threats. You get VPs, your opponent gets Harpies.

·The 2 Sorceresses are there to provide magic defence and some key spells to counter specific things. Fire Sorceress to blast Hydras/HPA/Ethereals/Varghulfs and Death Soreceress to throw all dice at Purple Sun or go for the Hex, the -3L spell or some character "killing" spells.

·Then, we have the Core troops. Warriors. They are there to tarpit, to become incredibly resilient and killy bunkers with the Dreadlords presence and to keep the Sorceresses safe.

·Then, we have a Chariot to add CR to ranked infantries and a few WEs for...well, we all know what WEs are for.

·And a Hydra. Again, no need for explanations here.




So, let's sum it up:

-Anti-uber/elite-threats measures: PoK Stubborn Dreadlord, lots of Harpies, the Warrior+Dreadlords bunker.

-Anti-rank&file hordes: Steadfast Warriors, WEs, Hydra

-Nice killing power, in the form of Killy Dreadlords, WEs, Chariot, Hydra

-Nice staying power: Steadfast Warriors, Stubborn Dreadlords, Warrior bunker

-Nice magic offence: with the possibility of max power Fireballs or Purple Sun, Hexes, etc with all dice available if needed to overcome most magic defences

-Nice magic defence: With a Dispell Scroll and one extra DD.


·So, as you can see, the list has a great synergy. Most units serve different purposes and there's a lot of redundancy so that the list is highly reliable. If you need something done, there's high chances that you will have the tools necesary to achieve it. It also means that most units are relatively expendable if it helps the overall strategy because you have more units to deal with problems.

·Also, note that the list composition makes it resistant to some key spells like the Dreaded 13th (let them kill Warriors), Purple Sun/Pit of Shades (no BSB-CoB; the Hydra not being an important part of the strategy). Still it is weak to Dwellers, but chances are that you may smash your flying, unkillable, Stubborn Dreadlord in the face of the caster, end of the problem. And you've got a Dispell Scroll after all.

·It also deals with some nasty problems liek ethereals (Fire Lore, Death Lore, 2 magic weapons in the hands of a pair of Dreadlords).

·When it comes to surviving shooty armies, 6 flying units are a pain.

·When it comes to close combat, the list relies on tarpiting/delaying main threats to gain easy VPs from minor threats to taker care of the bigger ones later, with a little bit of help from Death Magic or Flamming Sword if possible.



So. If you were to face this list, how would you use your all rounder lists to counter it? Also, I'd like to know what the d.net community opinion is about this list. Many people here in Spain claim it is a truly over the top list (both with ETC restrictions and in standard whfb). Don't bother with the ETC issue (unless you are interested in it, ETC PoV is apreciated ofc). Imagine you faced this list in a standard tourney.


Your thoughts?



See ya



EDITS: Spelling mistakes and all that stuff


Wed Feb 09, 2011 8:32 pm
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Black Guard
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There is a 5th draft now, and it comps our flying to 0-3. So the flying part of the circus is no more. But i have heard that people will start to move the chars on to steeds in stead. I dont know yet.

But the point is that this list doesent work anymore.

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Last edited by Kaleth stinson on Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:13 pm
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Kaleth Stinson wrote:
There is a 5th draft now, and it comps our flying to 0-3. So the flying part of the circus is no more. But i have heard that people will start to move the chars on to steads in stead. I dont know yet.

But the point is that this list doesent work anymore.

This is true. In addition. peglords are not allowed to have the Crown anymore, so I think that steeds are the next for Dark Elf lords. Have to convert a couple my self :P


Wed Feb 09, 2011 9:28 pm
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Executioner
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I already knew, and I'm perfectly fine since my list is my standard 2500 list XD. But some tourneys are going to be played recently with the 4th Draft here in Spain.

Regardless of all that, I still want to know how this list would be coutnered, since I'm planning to making a new list based on flying, avoidance stuff.

Any thoughts on how to counter/understand this list is welcome.


See ya


Wed Feb 09, 2011 10:54 pm
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Malekith's Best Friend
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This is why I always found ETC to be foolish... Impose rule restrictions, and you'll just change the flavor of which builds are powerful or popular. No matter what, players with the right mindset will naturally identify what it takes to build a powerful list, regardless of the limitations placed on them. It's like trying to administer the flu shot; try to shut down one particular brand of illness, and another one that's immune to your cure will simply rise up to take its place, and then you have to administer a new "cure", and a new strain will rise up that's resistant to that, and so on.

Anyway, to deal with the topic at hand:

-Counter Stubborn with Stubborn. I run an unkillable Dreadlord just so I have a counter to units that nothing else in my army can handle. If the Dreadlords are planning to sweep away support units, I can intercept with my own Dreadlord and keep the other occupied.

-I don't have my rulebook in front of me; are Pegasi-mounted characters immune to KB, or are they vulnerable? If they're vulnerable, the Cauldron provides an easy solution.

-Lore of Metal: Any time I'm in a tournament environment, I see the value of taking a supporting caster with Lore of Metal. The ability of the default Metal Spell to take down problematic units is tremendous.

-Lore of Death: Snipe characters. Pretty straightforward, for those who like using Death. Keep the Sorc doing the casting well-insulated from Pegasus charges.

-Make the most of a ranged presence: Crossbow fire is great for simply forcing an enemy to come to you. All of their support-unit-hunting and mobility is tempered by the fact that they have little or no shooting to sweep away your own support units, so put them to good use and don't let your more mobile troops be isolated and destroyed. Use your own missile troops to thin harpies, Witch Elves and Spearmen to give yourself an advantage, and be ready to use your crossbowmen as bait if those Pegasus Riders come to harass them.

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Last edited by Tethlis on Fri Feb 11, 2011 12:32 am, edited 1 time in total.



Thu Feb 10, 2011 1:05 am
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I hear about the ETC lists- and there's a few places that throw them around for Tourney rules; I find it fallacious- Comps are thrown into areas that may have a HUGE problem or a similar vacuum.

Since the DPegs can't actually join units (and they still have a query if they can FORM a unit because they're similar) , I'd hit them hard first round. shooting, magic, anything I could. The Chariot is easy: make sure it has to make terrain tests.

A lot of these are somewhat similar to lists I've seen. Main diff is that I have some shooting in my core and Corsairs to try to carve up the warrs and harpies (I like Corsairs, esp vs fliers and swiftstride)

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Thu Feb 10, 2011 4:58 am
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Dark Pegs can join units can't they? The only restriction is that they don't get LOS as they are not the same unit type.

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Thu Feb 10, 2011 9:28 am
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Hi there,

Characters that were originally vulnerable to KB (that is, before buying them mounts) will be affected by it despite their mounts. A Dragonlord is vulnerable to KB.

I played a game against this list today, here is some feedback:

Having the CoB, most of my units pose an immediate threat to the regen lord as well as being considerably dangerous for the PoK/BSB. And if my troops were hexed with the -1S/T spell from death, all the better (S2 KB).

Having my own stubborn unkillable Dreadlord, I can tarpit the "double Dreadlord in Warriors" bunker. I knew, my opponent knew and I knew he knew XD. He avoided that combo and tried to tarpit my CoK+Dreadlord instead. His two other Peg characters (regen lord and BSB) seeked to multicharge my BG from the beginning, so I changed my strategy a bit. Switched the Dredlord to the BG, protecting one flank (the other one being protected by warriors) and he then avoided charging the BG. Doing this I was able to delay the fatal charges for another turn.

Eventually, he decided to charge all characters and the Chariot into the BG, managed to kill a lot of them, but 6 remained. Next turn they KBed the BSB and then died. My dreadlord tarpited them all. CoKs were given no attention and rampaged all through the table killing 60 warriors, WEs and the 2 Sorceresses...

At the end of the day I lost my BG, my Harpies and my DRs. He lost 2 units of Warriors, the WEs, the Chariot, 2 units of harpies and the BSB. Very little blood in the ground, I played very, very conservatively, moving my Dreadlord from CoKs to BG to deterr him from multicharging all into 1 unit and destroy it. He made a big mistake charging the BG because he was starting to feel a bit anxious (he was too confident in the beginning...) because he felt like he wasn't getting any VPs by turn 3, so decided to charge at the BG to get the points and thought that he would be able to delay my CoKs with Harpies, but I chased them with my own Harpies and DRs. Eventually the CoKs gained all the VPs available and that was the game.


Not very satisfied with the result, I don't like being that conservative and felt like his list totally conditionated my plans. But so did my Dreadlord. I hadn't thought of my Dreadlord as being such an influentiating unit in the oponent's plans XD.


Well, I don't think that the same strategy would work in a second game, but at least I had a chance. The CoB was greatand, if everything else fails, I can just wait for him to enter into combat to then try an KB some VPs...



See ya

PS: Peg-lords can join units


Fri Feb 11, 2011 8:41 pm
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Good first-hand experiences by PjEOs.

I definitely reiterate my point about the Cauldron of Blood and Killing Blow being an easy solution to multiple flying Dark Elf pegasi. The worse the unit they charge, the worse the Pendant Save, and the easier it will be for Killing Blow to do its job.

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Fri Feb 11, 2011 11:53 pm
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First, that armylist would be a lot improved by max shooting (under ETC restrictions). When you write that "well, we all know what WEs are for" I am like, ehh what? I have absolutely no idea what they are there for. In my book WEs are totally unplayable in a competetive list.

With no shooting, that DE-list is much easier to play against than if it would be packed with it. While it's still nasty, it's far from it's shooty version.

A demonarmy with a BT is a hard matchup.
Another hard MU is a maxxed out empire gunline with 5 warmachines that got it's own flying circus and a war altar. It will shoot down that list faster than the dreadlords can wreck havoc.

And yes, in general, death magic & low str KB-attacks might be the best response to those flying chars.


Sat Feb 12, 2011 11:36 am
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Yea, DP characters USE to be immune to KB, but that got errata'd in the BRB updates.

It's not much of a flying circus either when half of the army is on the ground walking. If I had my way, I'd simply gun down towards those spear blocks and smash them till they break. Any units getting tied up by the flying lords will handle them themselves, allow the tarpit to happen, and hit the not so threatening blocks of spears head on.

Well I assume there's more combat units for the opponent since this list is quite character heavy and a good 150pts is spent on flying horses, which can get you quite a substantial unit.

To deal with the flying lords in a general manner, SCR comes to mind, except for the stubborn lord, but even then, if you make him take enough break checks, he'll eventually flee provided he's not near the BSB. But the other two DP characters should be quite easily handled with SCR to force them to flee. The turn you get charged, you take the hits and hold, then in the second combat round you'll challenge with your champion because of the lack of rerolls will help mitigate the overkill points a little.

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Sat Feb 12, 2011 2:27 pm
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MarkusSWE wrote:
First, that armylist would be a lot improved by max shooting (under ETC restrictions). When you write that "well, we all know what WEs are for" I am like, ehh what? I have absolutely no idea what they are there for. In my book WEs are totally unplayable in a competetive list.

With no shooting, that DE-list is much easier to play against than if it would be packed with it. While it's still nasty, it's far from it's shooty version.

A demonarmy with a BT is a hard matchup.
Another hard MU is a maxxed out empire gunline with 5 warmachines that got it's own flying circus and a war altar. It will shoot down that list faster than the dreadlords can wreck havoc.

And yes, in general, death magic & low str KB-attacks might be the best response to those flying chars.


I agree on the shooting, rxbs would have been a much better way of taking out the black guard, but on witch elves being unplayable, Im confused? I cant say Ive seen any shooting which my infantry get saves against. Mortars, hell cannons, WLCs, war machines kill as many WEs as they do any other elves. With frenzy having no downsides and WEs being so cheap whats wrong with them?

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Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:18 am
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WEs got low T, low Str & no saves. Dies fast to any shooting and also in CC.

Even just HA (Black guards) or LA/Shld (Spears) or LA/SDclk (Corsairs) is a lot more AS than nothing. Obviously mortars, hellcannons & trebs are nasty vs any elf. However, there are lots of other str3 shooting BS/templates and magic.

Corsairs with SSS will always be a better choice than WEs 1) for AS 2) for taking up core pts & 3) because we can have a fighty char there.

We got so much better special choices, especially in shades. But, if restrictions doesn't allow us so many of those, chariots or black guards (w banner of murder) are fine!

Now really, what unit do you want your WEs to be fighting? Especially without cauldron, in the list in this thread. Skaven slaves and night goblins?


Sun Feb 13, 2011 2:21 pm
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Hi there,

As I said, there a wide variety of flying circus lists. The one I posted is only one of them, the one I would be facing in a test game. I've been this list played splitting the WEs into 2 units of 10 recently, worked nice too:


WEs in this list are thought to take on R&F units with multiple charges (i.e: chariot+WE). Also, they are played in this low numbers because this list is heavily focused towards points denial. There are 90 Warriors, 3 super tough flying characters, Chariots, Hydra...WEs and Sorceresses work at minimum points costs.

You won't see a Skaven player casting the Dreaded 13th on 10 WEs, nor a Gateway, a Dwellers, etc...So the list is as a whole very resilient to mega-spells, and can manage to dispell minor spells with ease.

WEs are vulnerable to shooting as much as other elves (their cost pays for the lack of armor) but...how many shooting will they be facing with 6 flying units and a Hydra and a Chariot? You won't see a Trebuchet aiming at 10 WEs, nor a Catapult...maybe Organ Guns. Those will be chased/blockd LoS by flyers...

At the same time, WEs backed up by the Death Lore hex (dunno the english name) can cause a lot of damage to any dwarvish/imperial/bretonnian infantry. Add a Chariot or a Hydra in there and they'll make a horrible amount of damage for only 100 points...

When it comes to playing with the big unit, you just make sure there will be enough WEs when they reach combat, and they may not even need support to take on enemy units. Problem is that they will get a lot more fo attention, but the opponent still needs to decide between the Hydra, the Chariot(s), the WEs, the 90 Warriors...And most usually the opponent will only have 1 or 2 turns of shooting before Pegasus arrive to shut the shooting down.


Regarding the issue with Shades...maybe that would make for a tougher list, or maybe not. How many Shades can you work in with the points of the WEs? 13 Shades. And you loose a lot of hitting power when in CC. You can expect to win combats with a Hydra and a Chariot, specially since it is very likely that almost any list you face is prepared to deal with the Hydra. You still have the Warriors, true, and a combined charge Warriors+Hydra/Chariot is deadly. But can you entirely rely on 1 Hydra and 1 Chariot?

Maybe droping the Chariot too to work in more Shades would work, to get 20 Shades...but that's loosing more and more hitting power...dunno, I wouldn't feel comfortable with that. And, after all, 20 Shades are nearly as fragile as 18 WEs, so the vulnerability is not a proper point agaisnt WEs for me. So shooting or CC? I personally prefer CC. Other armies can easily outshoot us, but very little can say they're comfortable in CC when facing DEs...

My humble opinion.


I went last Saturday to the first clasificatory tournament in Spain for the ETC national tourney (in Madrid). I'll try to write a battle report if I can remember well the lists and the turns, etc. There were very skilled players (2 of the Spanish Team and lots of people who were very well rated in last years national tourney). I faced a "soft" version of the flying circus list (all clasificatory tourneis will be played with the Draft 4th) and the test game provided useful. The KB was golden, gave me a lot of VPs and tactical advantage. I must thank Tethlis for highlighting it, so that I made sure I worked with it. Profitable :)



See ya


Sun Feb 13, 2011 4:12 pm
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OFF TOPIC:

Oh, by the way, I won that tourney (1st place, highest VPs gained) with my standard 2500 list (2400 points version): CoKs, BG, Dark Riders, 0 shooting, 0 Pegasus, Shadow Magic, pure and heavy close combat force :twisted: 8) :D


Byee


Sun Feb 13, 2011 4:18 pm
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Compliments for the win, PjEOs!
Winning a tourney would deserve its on thread.

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Sun Feb 13, 2011 9:23 pm
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thats awesome Pj!

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Sun Feb 13, 2011 10:04 pm
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Grats PjeOs!

One strength of our army is that it is versatile enough to both be CC or shooty-oriented. Also, some mix works too!

Personally, I like shooty or mixed lists. Last tournament I played, I had a very shooty list and in the finals I played another DE-player with a mixed one. Simply by pure overpowering in rpxshots I got a 20-0 result.

Granted, the list I then played had more shooting than current ETC-restrictions allow. But, I think that this strategy still is overall stronger against most armies. Especially DoC, which I think is the other top tier army in ETC.

There is a reason DE got restrictions on repeater crossbows. Certainly, that's not because other "armies can easily outshoot us", but that we so easily can outshoot them.

If WEs works for you, I am glad. Imho though, there are so many better choices for us.

If you like CC-DE, do you not play CoB BSB? Isn't that an obvious choice if you go CC?


Mon Feb 14, 2011 8:46 am
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Hi there,

Thanks for the compliments all :)

I do run a CoB of course XD. Also, I don't run WEs, I prefer BG mainly because of the Frenzy in the WEs. IMHO, close combat works better, but oh well, there are hundreds of different lists out there that work XD.



EDIT: Btw, I think that the reason why DEs got Xbows restricted further than other armies is because we are the only ones that can combine massive shooting with debuffing Resistance, but we're going too off topic XD


Mon Feb 14, 2011 9:23 am
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PjEOs wrote:

EDIT: Btw, I think that the reason why DEs got Xbows restricted further than other armies is because we are the only ones that can combine massive shooting with debuffing Resistance, but we're going too off topic XD


empire? their even more shooty then us and have acces to all the debuff lores like shadow and death


Mon Feb 14, 2011 11:35 am
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As a reference, here you can see two ETC-lists I am considering (draft 5).

Dreadlord: Whip of Ag, PoK, Crown of C, Dark Steed, Mund arm
Supreme S: Lifetaker, Sac dag, Lv4, Shadow
Master: Dark peg, BSB, AoES, Drag Gem, Mund arm, Lance, 2RHbw
Master: Dark peg, Dragonhelm, Dawn stone, Mund arm, B scrg, 2RHbw

14 Rep Crossbowmen: mus
10 Corsair: RBw, mus
19 Warriors: FC, gleaming pend
30 Warriors: Std/mus, Banner of Murder
5 harpies
2x 10 shades add hw
2x bolt thrower
hydra

As you can see, I compensate the cap on repeater crossbows by other shooting like bolt throwers and corsairs. I am not sure about the repeater handbows on the masters yet, as they can only shoot if they fly 10''.

With this list I am taking into consideration that DoC is probably one of the main threats and I want a composition that works well against them.

However, I like a mixed list like this one too:

Dreadlord: Whip of Ag, PoK, Crown of C, Dark Steed, Mund arm
Supreme S: Lifetaker, Sac dag, Lv4, Shadow
Death Hag: CoB, BSB

21 Corsairs: std/mus, SSS
2x 10 Rep Crossbowmen: mus
20 Warriors: std/mus, gleaming pend
2x 5 harpies
18 black guards: std/mus, banner of murder
2x 7 shades: add hw
5 CoK: std/mus, banner of eternal flame
hydra

This list is not as good vs DoC as the list above, primarily because it lacks those masters that are so good against flamers and because it's weaker against a BT (easy targets/no bolters).


Mon Feb 14, 2011 12:10 pm
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On topic.
To counter the flying circus I would take a Skaven army with Storm Banner and plague furnace. The Skaven lists you see around in competitive environments are very hard to counter imo. Think they would deal nicely with the flying circus also. But ofc, as said here, its a defensive and point denial list so winning big against is might be hard for any army.

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Mon Feb 14, 2011 12:18 pm
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Hi there,

Against Skaven, a Death Lore Lvl4/2 can make a lot of damage either by Spirit Leeching the Furnace (unmodified L = 0 = lots of wounds), sniping the BSB (most usually naked), hexing the HPA, or even throwing Purple Sun at the Furnace and kill half the unit (and 50% chance to kill the Furnace too). Skavens around here struggle to beat DEs as easily as they beat other armies...

Also, regarding the lists MarkusSWE posted, I can see your point about shooting daemons to pieces, but I'd like to point out that RBTs are by no means Bloodthirster killers: they no longer get +1 to hit for large target, and the BT easily get's cover now. Also, assuming you can see and shoot him, each BT has a 50% chance to wound and the BT has a 33% chance of saving it, and then you only deal D3 wounds...all this assuming you impact him...I most usually ignore the BT, let him charge wherever he wants, issue a challenge and next turn debuff him/Mindrazor the unit. If he charged any of my elite troops, he'll have a hard time surviving S9 attacks and if he charged crappy units...I'm fine with that XD...

I'm more worried about Guardians of Secrets, but that again is another topic.


Byee


Mon Feb 14, 2011 1:40 pm
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I hear ya (on how to handle BT). I guess I don't like relying on a successfully cast mindrazor to kill him. However, it's definately a working way to kill that powerhouse.

Since your sample list didn't include shadow, or a lvl4 (to get it), a BT is very powerful alone against that list. And, that was your initial question, wasn't it, what to use to beat a list like that?

Again, suggested strategies to use vs the flying circus CC-list.

*DE-flying circus shooty list.
*DoC BT list (I am less worried about keeper of Secrets than BT because flying makes such a big difference - I can catch it and bog it down with the pendant dreadlord without worrying about obsidian armor and fight it with shadow debuffs).
*Empire flying circus gunline with war altar (speculum arch lector) to hold back the DE-general from your warmachines.
*Bretonnia air force. 3x knight core blocks, 3x units of peg knights, 2 trebs, rest chars (lv4 on horse, lord pegs with heroic KB, rest paladins on pegs).

Basically, lists that got their own power on wings and with different elements to counter everything else.


Mon Feb 14, 2011 3:33 pm
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Malekith's Best Friend
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Joined: Thu Aug 31, 2006 2:54 am
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Location: Santa Barbara, CA
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I'm glad that Killing Blow works out nicely, PjEOs. It's certainly the cauldron buff that often gets overlooked, since the 5+ Ward is so useful early-game, and the +1 Attack is so useful once combat begins. I find that not many players expect Killing Blow, and I myself have a tendency to overlook it since Vamp Counts/Dwarves/Warriors of Chaos can all get KB immunity, but having KB on multiple-attack troops with Hatred can easily solve all sorts of problems.

I'm also bad at rolling 6s, even when I hit with 6+ attacks, so that's always unfortunate :( .

With the abundance of Unkillable Lords on the rise, I think I'll be looking to the Cauldron for a lot more Killing Blow now.

Regarding the other discussion, I've always found combat to be more decisive and reliable than shooting. I find that shooting can enhance combat, and that you can combine shooting with combat to achieve a balance of both, but I've never found Dark Elf shooting reliable enough to ever be the basis for my whole strategy.

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Mon Feb 14, 2011 7:17 pm
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