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Best Dark Elves Units in AoS 
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Malekith's Best Friend
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YEah, I ran into some delays. I'll finish the comparison ;)
Meanwhile: two cheap methods of getting BGs are either e-bay for older models. But an interesting alternative could be to convert Dreadspears to Black Guards using the spare bits from the BG kit. So with a box of 10 Dreadspears and 10 Executioners you can make 10 Executioners and 10 Black Guards. I think there are some pictures in the P&M section on that conversion. I don't have one ready available though.

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Wed Aug 05, 2015 2:47 pm
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Malekith's Best Friend
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Comparing the Black Guard and the Executioners
First off a brief recap of the stats.

Black Guards have 2" range, 2 attacks, 3+ to hit, 3+ to wound, -1 Rend, 1 damage. Their Eternal Hatred gives them re-rolls of failed hit rolls of 1. They have battle shock synergy with Malekith, but that's it.
This gives them per attack a 51.9% chance to wound before saves.

Executioners have 1" range, 2 attacks, 3+ to hit, 3+ to wound, No Rend, 1 damage. They have the Severing Strike which gives them 2 Mortal Wounds on a hit roll of 6.
The only synergy I could find was from the Exiled Blood Cult... which isn't bad but immediately puts us in the realm of themed armies.
Executioners score:
- 33.3% chance to score a single wound, before saves.
- 16.6% chance to score 2 Mortal Wounds.

Comparing 1 model to 1 model, we see that Black Guards have a smaller chance to "fail", but this difference is small and offset by the Executioners who have a considerable chance at delivering 2 mortal wounds.
This is before comparing them against different adversaries and as a unit, when range comes into play.

The problem with comparing range is... well it's hard to model. A brief examination of formations shows that 1" range allows you to fight in 2 ranks and 2" range bumps this to 3 ranks. We could assume that this allows BG to bring up to 50% more models in contact with the enemy, thereby outclassing the executioners, but in a fluid game like AoS Executioners can adopt a different formation that brings more models in contact.
It's safe to assume that you'll be fielding and using them differently. Executioners need more close-up space.

Instead of modelling the impact of the extra range which is inaccurate at best, we can compare the performance and translate this to "how many more models (in percentage) do the BG need to bring into the fight to rival the executioners". As this percentage increases, we may realize the challenge that BG's are up to if they want to rival Executioners. Or perhaps we may realize that this is an easy task for them.

Performance comparison, per model, per enemy:
  • vs Save 6.
    • Executioners: 1.22 wounds. 54.5% from Mortal Wounds.
    • Black Guards: 1.04 wounds.
    • Black Guards need 17.9% more models in combat. Easy.
  • vs Save 5.
    • Executioners: 1.11 wounds. 60% from Mortal Wounds.
    • Black Guards: 0.86 wounds.
    • Black Guards need 28.6% more models in combat. Doable.
  • vs Save 4.
    • Executioners: 1.00 wounds. 66.7% from Mortal Wounds.
    • Black Guards: 0.69 wounds.
    • Black Guards need 44.6% more models in combat. Difficult. Might work in large units.
  • vs Save 3.
    • Executioners: 0.89 wounds. 75% from Mortal Wounds.
    • Black Guards: 0.52 wounds.
    • Black Guards need 71.4% more models in combat. Unlikely.

Right. A few observations:
- BGs match the Executioners easily against regular troops
- BGs struggle to rival Executioners against elite troops, and are flat out beaten against the toughest of opponents.
- The Severing Strike of Executioners counts for more than half their damage. As the opponent gets tougher, it becomes ever more important.

The severing strike is what gives the Executioners their edge. Rolling 6's seems like a fickle strategy but with 2 attacks a model you're quickly increasing the odds on getting some mortal wounds in.
On one hand, a larger unit will temper the risks of not rolling 6's and we can assume that Executioners function more reliably in larger numbers. On the other hand, their range makes them a little less effective in larger units, as it will force them to lap around the enemy to maximize contact.

Black Guards seem to permit some excellent defensive lines from middle sized units to large units, but it looks like they are more effective against regular infantry and will struggle against characters and buffed elite units.

I think both are viable. I'm tempted to say I'll prefer the way BGs play. But Executioners are definitely ace and my limited experience with AoS showed that 1" range weapons can still bring a ton of models in combat range.

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"I move unseen. I hide in light and shadow. I move faster than a bird. No plate of armour ever stopped me. I strike recruits and veterans with equal ease. And all shiver at my coldest of whispers."
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Wed Aug 05, 2015 3:46 pm
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I think starting with an exiled blood cult is pretty good as well as looking at the individually betterunits (although there are some no-brainers). A death hag on cauldron, 3 witch elf units and 1 executioner unit do mortal wounds on to wound rolls of 6+ and if you wipe out a unit in close combat, all your units gain +1 attack of all melee weapons (as best I understand it). Depending on whatever arbitrary comp you use you can probably flesh out a decent number of RBT, shades and warlocks at that point. The death hag strength of khaine ability also lets you add +1 to your wound rolls, so you start getting mortal wounds with unit on a 5+.


Wed Aug 05, 2015 3:49 pm
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Corsair
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Vulcrist wrote:
I went ahead and made them up as Executioners, though I do like the BG better (they have a bit better synergy with other models, and just look cooler). I'll just have to track down another affordable box of BG and build them up--might as well use one of each instead of deciding between the two.
Having a single large unit is likely to be more efficient than two small, different units: a single unit charges as a block, two units may have one miss a charge; buffs may only improve one unit; one unit piles in and hits at a time...

This said, having two different units is more fun and experience.

Conclusion: go for two different units! :D

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Wed Aug 05, 2015 4:11 pm
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Thanks everyone, and especially for the breakdown. Like I said, I went ahead and modeled them as Executioners. But, I've decided to get 2 new units of Black Guard (or one big unit of 20....or, 4 units of 5 each--just kidding, I won't do that) to supplement the 10 Executioners. I didn't plan on getting many models, as I'm awaiting the new factions aesthetics to make a final decision, but I ended up changing my mind just to help flush out what I had.

Too bad BG don't get shields. I really love the look of those models and I think them standing in a shield wall would look tight.

Again, thanks.

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Wed Aug 05, 2015 8:05 pm
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Dragon Lord
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One big unit is better on the offensive, as you only need to activate them once to do all their attacks.

Two smaller units are better on the defense though as you can position them one behind the other so that the enemy can only attack one, but to do so will have to enter within 3" of the second one, allowing you for a pile in and attack before the second unit can sustain any damage.

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Thu Aug 06, 2015 12:17 am
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Oh, good point. Still, though, a unit of 5 single-wound models doesn't seem like it's going to be alive very long on defense OR offense.

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Thu Aug 06, 2015 2:03 am
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Druchii Anointed
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In 3 games, the Executioners seem to have been more effective to me. They chewed through Saurus Cavalry and Bestigors pretty well.

As far as small 5 model units go, I am liking the Sisters of Slaughter. They work well to slow or block enemy movement using the 3" zone of control, and it's a bonus to be able to deliver some casualties when the other unit is attacking.

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Fri Aug 07, 2015 12:49 pm
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I have found that 15's are the optimal size for executioners as it is relatively easy to get them all in a position to strike in combat and on average they generate 10 mortal wounds from a unit that size which puts a significant hole in most things

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Tue Aug 18, 2015 7:29 pm
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Rotting skull on the Glottkin trail
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Executioners and Sisters of Slaughter (esp in cover, or even better garrisoning a building) put out an insane number of mortal wounds. Dealing mortal wounds is potentially the most powerful mechanic in the game.

I'm in love with both units.

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Mon Aug 24, 2015 3:06 pm
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