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PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2010 8:39 pm 
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How to start High Elves

A lot of new players have been asking questions about starting HEs so I thought I'd write a guide to starting HEs, what to buy, how to paint them, how to play them (just roughly :)), and the general strengths and weaknessess of each unit. So here goes...

What to buy?
I have to admit that the battalion, whilst not the most efficient set of models is good value. The cost of the archers, spears and RBT (repeaters bolt thrower) is roughly the cost of the battalion and the SH (silver helms) are essentially free. However that and a character will struggle to give you 1K points so you may want to consider some special choices. Value wise it is worth buying either WL (White lions), SM (swordmasters) or a chariot as all of these work well in small units, if you buy some get ten. You can proxy your SH as DP (dragon princes). As for characters it is up to personal preferance, either the plastic Mage or noble kit works great though I would advise against a dragon at the start. Obviously also buy the army book and rule book ;). You should also buy some plastic glue, paint brushes, clippers, movement trays, sand, grass, green stuff and some paint and some black or white spray, depending on your colour scheme. If you bought WL or SM then you should also get super glue.

Building your models
When you open your battalion box you will be swamped with sprues. First you should sort them into piles based on what models they build, one for each unit. Spears are fairly easy to build, first locate your command parts such as the banner, champion sword and trumpet. Then clip out the legs, bodies and heads needed to build these three models. Once they are built attach them to their bases and leave them alone. Then procede to build the rest of the unit. As you build make sure the unit ranks up neatly. Then start on the archers. I don't recommend building the command group on the archers though as they are rarely fielded in more than 12 you can swap in command as needed. Some archers can be built knealing and this can really make the unit look dynamic. Obviously they should only be knealing on the front rank. Make especially sure that the archer unit rank up as you build them as it is often difficult to make them work. Now that's your core stuff done, now for more exciting things!

The SH are easy to build. The horses can simply be stuck together in I belive 4 parts though it is very very important to use greenstuff in the gaps. Simply mix the yellow and blue parts and they will turn green and slowly solidify. Only mix a little at a time because once it's mixed it used up. For the riders it is important not to stick them to the horses. That lets you paint the tricky areas easily.

The RBT is also easy to build. There is one important point though. One of the crews arms is holding a piece of wood. If you use this arm attach the other end to the bolt thrower, mine looks rather comical as he holds the wooden thing in his hands at looks quizzicaly at his instructions, "Oh crap, how do I stick this thing back on!?"

The noble or Mage kit has loads of bits and it's really up to you how you build yours. With the noble kit I recommend building one as a BSB (battle standard bearer). Just use the standard holding arm. Depending on your list you may want a mounted or unmounted BSB but in friendly games it is fine to use a model without the large standard. I also recommend not attaching riders to horses unitil they are painted for these also.

Thanks to Baerion for how to build the WL and SM. Cut them from their sprues and then cut of any bits of flashing (thin bits of metal that shouldn't be there) and slot them into their bases. If there is a large gap in the bases then use greenstuff to make them fit.

That's you built your 1K point force (roughly). A sample list with these models could be:

Noble w/ great weapon, armour of caledor, skeinsliver: 118
Noble BSB w/ Barded steed, lance, dragon armour, shield, helm of fortune: 163

10 archers: 110
15 spears w/ command, Banner of arcane protection: 185

7 SM (or WL) w/ champ: 117
6 DP: 180 (use SH models)

RBT: 100

Total: 1998

I would appreciate if the "more experienced" players would not start too much of a debate about this sample list. It may not be an absolute powerlist but for the available models it is decent. If you'd bought some mages then change the list accordingly. Some good mage items are: seerstaff, annulian crystal (defence only), silver wand (to combine with ring of fury or dispel scrolls).

So now your ready to play a game. You should have looked through your army book and the rule book. Find a willing opponent (your local GW will have some to spare :)), idealy one who is willing to spend some time telling you how things work. Don't excpect to win your first few games, especially against experianced players. Even with demons you will be beaten at the start. In fact even if have played a different army before you will still lose at the start. 

Playing your high elves
This will not be a in depth guide, just a quick description of how to play, tailored specifically to a similar list to the one above.

General strategy
There are lots of strategies for playing HEs however here are two basic ideas which are fairly easy to use:
Castling
Idealy done around a hill. Simply deploy the archers and RBT on the hill and your other troops as guards, spears in the middle and DPs and SMs on the flanks. This tactic is greatly aided by a few march blockers like eagles, shadow warriors and ellyrian reavers. Focus on causing lots of damage to your enemy before they reach you.
Charge and attack
This is pretty self explanotory, march forward and attack the enemy. Use RBTs to target dangerous units that will kill you and archers to kill weak fast things.

Run down of units
Archers
Typical size: 10, no command
Good range and balistic skill are barely able to make these guys useful. Strength 3 is just low. A standard powerlist setup is 2 units of 10 of these at 2K-3K points.

Spearmen
Typical size: 15-20, command
Despite fighting in 3 ranks they are still only strength 3 attacks and low save troops. Static res is their friend. They are normally taken with a magic standard using first among equals. A large block of these is often found in a balanced list.

Lothern sea guard
Typical size: 10-15, sometimes command
Our most versitile core unit.  Sacrifices range to be able to fight in 3 ranks. Like the other core units they are not hugely strong though used correctly they are probably our best choice. These are also a popular choice in balanced lists.

Sword masters
Typical size: 6-14 with frontage 6 or 7 and maybe some command.
These are our meatgrinders. 2 strength 5 attacks is brutal and can often kill the front rank of enemy units. They're disadvantage is low protection, shooting or attacks back will most likely kill them fast. For this reason they are not taken in large blocks because that is like drawing a bullseye on them. A sneaky trick is to put talisman of loec on the champion and challenge an enemy character. You will probably deal at least one wound at the cost of your champion.

Phoenix Guard
Typical size: 15-25
These guys are immpossible to kill. Unfortunaltley they won't deal much damage either. Their 4+ ward and immunity to fear make them our most dependable unit, they will take a lot to kill. With a combat character they can deal damage as well which makes them fearsome. A common home for banner of sorcery.

White lions
Typical size: Either 6-14 without command as flanking unit like SM or 15+ with command as a combat block.
These guys are in the middle of SM and PG. With only one attack they won't deal as much damage but with a good armour save to shooting they can reach the enemy intact as well. They can also move through woods so make sure that you have some that you can use in every game :).

Silver Helms
Typical size: 5-7 
Up until now the special have seemed to be great, and they are, but these guys are not. The best way I've seen these guys summed up is: "5 SH with shields and command: 155, 5 DP: 150. Dragon princes are far far better. For 7 points more you get: an extra attack, better WS, better Ld, better I, immunity to fire and the ability to take magic items.

Dragon Princes
Typical size: 5-7
These are mounted, better armoured swordmasters. Basically these guys are awesome. A few common strategy is 6 DP with a champion with helm of fortune and joined by a BSB with battle banner. If the enemy challenges then your champ accepts with a 1+ rerollable save. It has 1+D6 static res and if you add a SB then it had 2+D6 static combat res. This unit single handedly front charged 15 saurus with a saurus hero and beat them in combat. They didn't catch them and they rallied and I charged them again. My unit killed them all, except the hero who fled and was caught. They also suceeded in beating a chaos dragon who charged them. Anyway, I'll stop rambling...

Ellyrian Reavers
Typical size: 5 with musician and possibly standard bearer.
Our fast cavalry. They may be given a bow which is often a good choice. 18" move means they can go really fast and march block very well. I personally love these guys but there are those who moan that dark elf dark riders are better :(.

Shadow warriors
Typical size: 5 with no command
Overpriced for what they do, especially as they are compared to shades. They are however our only scouts and our only skirmishers so we have to make do.

Tiranoc chariot
Fast but not very strong. They have a bow which they can always shoot as they never march. They are not as scary when they hit as a lion chariot but they are faster and cheaper.

Lion chariot
These are scary. Slower than a tiranoc and more expensive but they hit hard. They also cause fear which is mostly just immunity as how often does a chariot outnumber? Really great these.

RBT
Deadly. Plain deadly. Never leave home at 2K points without at least 1 ideally 2 or even 3. Great to target the flanks of knights :D.

Eagle
Very good unit. Redirect, bait, march block and generally annoy the enemy with these.

Run down of Characters
Prince
A prince is our combat lord, however he is not limited to just that.

Weapons:
On foot a great weapon and if mounted a lance. Magic weapons aren't great.

Armour:
Dragon armour is always worth buying unless using magic armour.

Mount:
Depends on lots of things but:
Barded steed: Joining dragon princes or sometimes infantry units. Remember that you only get +1 strength from a GW when mounted.
Eagle: Often taken with reaver bow to fly around an enemy shooting them.
Griffon: Only if you don't have the hero slot for a dragon or because of fluff
Various dragons: If there's a dragon it's almost always a star dragon. This is one of our most competitive builds and for friendly play it's not very nice :). Often taken with vambraces of defence and standard mounted kit to make a powerful combat lord.
Chariot: Not sure about the use of this one.

Magic stuff:
Okay this is gonna be a big list of good stuff.
Sword of might: allows you to use a shield whilst mounted and still get bonus strength.
Bow of the seafarer: Generally thought to be not as good as the reaver bow but can be very effective.
Star lance: Very popular whilst on a dragon. Some say it's a bit useless as at strength 7 armour saves are unlikely anyway.
Reaver bow: Very good. Especially on an eagle.
Armour of Stars: not nessisarily good but just plain awesome and hilarious.
Shadow armour: Put it on your character and deploy with SW to add some punch.
Armour of Caledor: This is a great item. Allows you to get a 2+ save on foot! And still use a great weapon!
Helm of Fortune: Also a good item. Normally on a BSB or it would be on your prince.
Dragonscale shield: Enchanted shield with a small ward, okay.
Vambraces of Defence: Very good, combine with Armour of Caledor for an awesome save.
Loremasters cloak: Normally taken when on an eagle. I guess it could be pretty awesome in a unit as well.
Sacred Incense: Good to join SMs to give them some much needed protection.
Guardian Phoenix: For the worried among us you can get a nice ward save.
Radiant gem of Hoeth: sneaky and occasionaly very good.
Ring of fury: same as ring of hoeth but more often very good than gem of hoeth.
Cloak of Beards and Pendant of Vengeance: very situational.
Skeinsliver: Nifty item
Amulet of light: For dealing with ethereal enemies.
Gem of courage: to get that key break test.
Talisman of Loec: Very good item, almost guarantees some wounds on an enemy character in a challenge.

Archmage
I will refer you to Warpphoenix's excellent post "Archmages and You" for a great run down of an archmage. 

Noble
Our combat hero has great potential.

Weapons: Same as a prince

Armour: same as a prince

Mount: same as a prince with the terror causers gone.

Magic stuff:
I'm going to have to say "same as a prince" but with the 50+ stuff gone.

BSB:
Our noble can become a BSB which is a very useful thing. I have already mentioned the Battle banner and DP combo but there are many others. The main question is, do I give him a magic banner? If yes then you have to worry about protection. A unit champion to take challenges is needed. If no then you must also make sure that he lives with magic armour. Helm of Fortune is good for this.

Mage
Our basic caster has a few different builds:

Standard:
Level 2 with the seerstaff
Basic and good magic phase, combine with BoS and an archmage and you have good magic power.

Defensive:
Level 1 with annulian crystal
Steal a power dice each turn is quite good, however this build is often overshadowed by...

Caddy:
Level one with 2 scrolls
The standard defensive caddy. Make level 2 with silver wand to make a small magic phase.

Bound carrier
Level 2 with ring of fury and silver wand
Ring of Fury is a great item, using at least one dispel dice every turn. Silver wand and level 2 means he contributes to your magic phase.

Those are the main builds at 2Kish points.

Dragon Mage
Ooh, a dragon under 2K points!

Pretty much the only dragon Mage build is silver wand and guardian Phoenix or ring of fury. Silver wand takes advantage of the special rule to add a dice to every spell they cast since they can cast more spells. The Dragon Mage needs a tactica of it's own and I belive there was one "Caledorian Fire: Using the Dragon Mage" Does anyone have a link?

Painting your High Elves
Now that you've played some games you will be a bit tired of looking at grey plastic. So you need to paint your models. Painting is a huge subject but when you first start as a complete beginer then all you really need is clean flat colours, maybe with simple highlights. So that's all I'm going to describe.

Choosing a colour scheme
Probably the most important choice you make is your colour scheme. There is the traditional blue and white and many many others. Look around the painting and modelling section to find some great alternative colour schemes. Depending on your colour scheme you will want to prime (spray) your models black or white. I started priming white but have moved to black now. Personal preferance really.

Painting the models
The most important things that helped me improve my painting where:

Don't paint from the pot: Put some on a white tile and water it down slightly, it shouldn't run or have surface tension like water just be slightly thinner.

Paint white in several coats: One thick coat will look lumpy and ugly so use lots of watered down coats over a light grey, light blue or light brown foundation layer.

Wash or drybrush your armour: If your painting over black then get just a little paint on an old brush by wiping it on some tissue paper until barely any comes off. Then paint it on the chainmail. You only want paint on the upper edges of the chainmail and not the recessess. This tecnique is called drybrushing. If your paintin over white that obviously won't work so paint solid metallic and wash with a badab black wash.

Right at the start you should simply aim to paint neatly with the colours only where they should be. After this you can try a bit of highlighting and even blending!

Basing
Okay, so your unit looks lovely. But it is still sitting on a black piece of plastic which just won't do. First paint the whole base in a brown grey colour, I use charadon granite. Make sure you let the paint dry completly on the base or you will end up with a bit too much grass stuck to the wet paint :). To base you models water down some PVA glue and paint it on to the models bases. Avoid getting the glue on to your model. Then dip the base into a pot of sand. Brush any paint of the sides of the base and touch up any thin areas. Then water down your glue even more and put it on the sand to attach it solidly to the base. Then water down either a dark grey or dark brown paint (depending on what colour you want your bases) and paint it on all the sand. This paint should be watery enough to run spread across the base a little to save using lots of paint. You could probably also use a wash. Then use a lighter brown or grey and drybrush it on. Finally choose a very light brown or grey and drybrush it on lightly. If you want some rocks then chop up some spare sprue and glue it to your base. Unless you want a barren wasteland your still not done though. Apply some slightly watered down PVA to patches of the base making it look like where grass is growing, again avoid getting glue on your model. Then dip in a tub of grass and clean the sides of the base. Touch up the sides of the base and the models feet and your done!

I hope you've found this guide intresting and useful. If you have any comments, questions or things I should add then don't hesitate to post.

Thanks for taking the time to read!

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This is a very bizarre argument. I build my roster around earning victory points, not around giving them away.


Last edited by Sturen on Sun Jan 17, 2010 7:44 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 15, 2010 9:29 pm 
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WL and SM "If anyone can give me a short description of building those models that would be appreciated ."

These are easy! Pull them out of the box, clean off any flashing (extra pieces of metal) and glue them into the slotta base and they're done. All SM's and WL's come in one piece. If the slotta bases have big holes in them when you're done flip the model over and push some greenstuff through the base and let it dry. File it down and you're good to go.

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 2:35 pm 
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Thanks, I'll add that in :)

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 11:30 pm 
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Stickied.

Also, do you mind us putting this is the library?

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 9:03 am 
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A very good run trough if you ask me,
maybe one minor detail I've noticed a lot of young ones tend to get wrong,
always let the paint on your base dry before carrying on.
seems like a silly thing to mention but it's worth it ( especially when they dip it into the grass :D)

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 7:41 pm 
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Ah yeah, I've done that before. Very grassy chariot base :oops:

Thanks for the comments :)

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 7:48 pm 
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Wow, sorry, I had not seen your post. I'd be honored if you'd put this in the library!

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:16 pm 
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I'm in school right now, but give me 2 hours then it wil be done.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 7:46 pm 
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Thanks Sturen, I'm a newbie but have put about 1500 points worth together already. I'll use the above guide as a basis for bulking up the rest pf what I want.

Slug


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2010 9:01 pm 
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Thanks feed :)

Glad to help Slug, It's good to hear that this is useful for new players cause your who I wrote it for :)

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:11 pm 
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As a complete HE newb, have you considered the HE army deal? It would give somebody a nice amount of basic core units to work with. Linky http://www.games-workshop.com/gws/catalog/productDetail.jsp?catId=cat40028&prodId=prod1050174&rootCatGameStyle=

Do you think being able to use basic core units to garner victory has value in an army like HE where we seem to see heroes and special units winning the battle, not the core guys.

Would these two points help add more to your guide?

cheers,
Black Sword

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 24, 2010 1:08 pm 
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Wow, I didnt even know you could get a high elf army box! I think though that for £100 I could get a better set of models.

For £108.50 I could get:

A battalion
A chariot
The plastic noble box
10 SMs

which is a good 1K point force, the army box is far too much core, I wouldnt use all those troops until something like 4K and even then I'd leave the SHs at home. I think that really you couldnt win with just that army. Bring it to 4K by adding a dragon and lots of special and then its useful. Almost anything can go through spears like a hot knife through butter. Against a skaven horde you might have a chance because your spears can actually deal damage! And so can archers!

Thanks for asking though, I will add in a bit about that when I have some time :)

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 26, 2010 9:08 pm 
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It is in now, but I think this stupid Mac OS (tiger) wouldn't let me use the editor.

EDIT: It failed. Later tonight...
EDIT: Fine now. Fixed

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 7:02 am 
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Sturen wrote:
Wow, I didnt even know you could get a high elf army box! I think though that for £100 I could get a better set of models.



It should be no longer available. It's a good buy if you can get your hands on one. Most of its contents are useful.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 28, 2010 10:19 am 
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A spear block with a properly equipped BSB can be useful.

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 04, 2010 12:22 am 
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Okies here are the essentials if Buying High Elves

2 x 10 Archers
2 x RBT
1 Eagle

Prince or Achmage Character
Mage
Nobles X2 (BSB +1)

The Special Choices depend on what style of army you wish to run so try out some lists before buying to many models.

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