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how many ranks to play with in 8th ed rules 
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Executioner
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Joined: Wed Jan 21, 2009 1:53 pm
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Location: Belgium
I recently dug up my 4000pt Dark Elf army and want to finish-up my paintjobs.
However after over 7 years of not playing I am no longer up-to-date on the kind of army you play with and want to make sure I painting the right amount of ranks (and broadness of ranks) for each unit. I have a few questions:

-What dark elf units got stronger and weaker with the 8th edition rules?
-Is it still good to play with two hydra's, chariots and bolt throwers?
-Do you still play with stuff like 14 Black Guards or Corsairs in two ranks? Or rather with 20 units in 4 ranks?
-Do you guys play your cold-ones in multiple ranks?
-Are executioners and Black guards any good in the new rules?
-Do you guys play assassins?
-I read in some summary of the 8th edition: "Models can take armour and invulnerable or regeneration saves. You can not have a ward and regeneration. Bad times for Dark Elf characters and plaguebearers! This also applies in combat." Can anyone explain this?

If you have any army lists you did well with on tournaments or local games, it would be great if you could send me some.


Mon May 08, 2017 5:00 pm
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Chief Cultist
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howdy welcome back to the forum, it's pretty quite around here these days.

I'm not much of a player so can not really comment on your questions, I'm more active in painting and modelling - please post some photos up of your army when you get some paint on them.

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Tue May 09, 2017 3:56 am
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Corsair
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Not playing anymore 8th. What is useful depends on the meta, i.e. the usual troops brought by your usual opponents.
The D.R.A.I.C.H. should lead you to answers to your questions.
D.R.A.I.C.H. - The Druchii Art of War 8th ed.

IIRC, BG are good to play 2x7, while AHW corsairs are much better 5x4. RHB corsairs would be 5x2. COK are good in 2 ranks, no more. Execs are often considered better than BG, but a bit harder to use. Assassins are hardly useful.

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Tue May 09, 2017 1:39 pm
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Generalissimo
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You're thinking of 7th Calisson.

I'm a bit rusty, but 8th ed was when I last played, so here is what I recall:

- Hordes got better and initially warriors were an awesome choice. Then the 8th ed dark elf book came around and the price per model spiked by three points, which was dire. The Executioner Horde came into its own, now that ASL and ASF cancel out, initiative decides striking order, and Druchii got ASF. You no longer need a Death Hag to make their attacks amazing good. A horde of 30 will slice through anything that is not elvish or a massive column.
- Hydras are still a decent choice, but the nerfing of regen and flaming breath, as well as the 6+ always wounds new rule dials them back a bit.
- Cold One Knights become very strong in two ranks due to the two ranks fighting rule, which means that you get 10 attacks from a unit of 5x2. Cold Ones got their attacks doubled to two each in the new book, but mounts don't get to fight in two ranks, so that's one downside of that. CoKs also got ITP now that Stupidity confers that rule. Adding the BSB in the unit or somewhere within 12" mitigates the risk of succumbing to stupidity too. Of course, their price went up in the 8th ed dark elf book.
- Blackguards remain meh and in the new book they went up by 2 points a model in the 8th ed dark elf book - no thanks.
- Assassins are never-takes now that many units run as hordes. Take them for fluff reasons if you want, but otherwise, no.
- In 7th ed a character could have three saves: an armour save, a ward save, and a regen save. In 8th, a character can have only two: an armour and either a ward save or a regen save (you get to pick which you prefer). A decent alternative is to use the dawn stone, which lets you re-roll an armor save. With the 7th ed dark elf book, you could combine dawn stone with the cloak of halves the strength of incoming attacks to create a real brute of a character, but the 8th ed dark elf book killed that combo.
- Magic in 8th ed is a good way to go. Get a single level 4 and choose a powerful lore (I liked metal, others preferred shadow or dark). Get acclimatized to its strengths and weaknesses and go for glory.

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Tue May 09, 2017 2:51 pm
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Malekith's Best Friend
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D.e. warrior wrote:
I recently dug up my 4000pt Dark Elf army and want to finish-up my paintjobs.
However after over 7 years of not playing I am no longer up-to-date on the kind of army you play with and want to make sure I painting the right amount of ranks (and broadness of ranks) for each unit. I have a few questions:

-What dark elf units got stronger and weaker with the 8th edition rules?
-Is it still good to play with two hydra's, chariots and bolt throwers?
-Do you still play with stuff like 14 Black Guards or Corsairs in two ranks? Or rather with 20 units in 4 ranks?
-Do you guys play your cold-ones in multiple ranks?
-Are executioners and Black guards any good in the new rules?
-Do you guys play assassins?
-I read in some summary of the 8th edition: "Models can take armour and invulnerable or regeneration saves. You can not have a ward and regeneration. Bad times for Dark Elf characters and plaguebearers! This also applies in combat." Can anyone explain this?

If you have any army lists you did well with on tournaments or local games, it would be great if you could send me some.



I will add in a little age of sigmar into this as well:


Quote:
-What dark elf units got stronger and weaker with the 8th edition rules?


The biggest problem is not so much what works best as a hoard as most units in the army are prohibitively expensive to do so. I got in about late 6th ed, and most of our army was pewter.. Crossbowmen and spearmen were cheaper, but the moment they stopped being 16 minies a pack was what made them more difficult to make a hoard. As things became ressin or plastic they were often in kits that had either/or units.

Once you get past this point, by either growing your druchii empire slowly, buying it online, or both, there are some units that do better then other. The other main problem is as a large unit they take alot of room on the board, and they can be seen as a easy target as you obvioucse sunk most of your points here. There are reasons builds like these are often called "Death Stars."

Most units that do best as hoards tend to be cheap point wise, and in ourcase spearmen and swordsmen fit that bill. Either way, this is also the unit that will have the sorceress with the sacrificial dagger in it.

If its lots of attacks, Spearmen, Corsairs, and Witch Elves come to mind.

Executioners are just executioners, and therefore the best unit in the army. Killing blow, S6 attacks. A banner that gives them armor peircing or the one that gives them terror. Nuff said.

There are ways to work around this. Cauldron of Blood and Bloodwrack Shrine being it as both chariots can join units, are about 4 minits wide and about 6 minies long.

Age of Sigmar: Never leave the home without everything you got.


Quote:
-Is it still good to play with two hydra's, chariots and bolt throwers?


Hydras yes in 8th and Sigmar, they are great units, but are support units not the main show.

Have not tried chariots in a while, and need to try bolt throwers.


Quote:
-Do you still play with stuff like 14 Black Guards or Corsairs in two ranks? Or rather with 20 units in 4 ranks?


Never played Black Guard. Corsairs in this build are the shooting kind.


Quote:
-Do you guys play your cold-ones in multiple ranks


Yep. Currently have a unit of 15, and can make a unit of 18 for 3 ranks with a Dreadlord, Battle Standard Bearer, and a Sorceress. Going to get another 5 for age of sigmar.



Quote:
-Are executioners and Black guards any good in the new rules?

Havn't played with black guard myself. The executioners get a chance to get extra wounds in and mortal wounds at that, so still potential to kill lots of people.


Quote:
-Do you guys play assassins?

Havn't in a while, but I will test them out soon.


Quote:
-I read in some summary of the 8th edition: "Models can take armour and invulnerable or regeneration saves. You can not have a ward and regeneration. Bad times for Dark Elf characters and plaguebearers! This also applies in combat." Can anyone explain this?


In 6 and 7th edd it was you had armor then ward then regeneration if you have all three.

In 8th ed I guess they didn't want impossible to kill lords so you have to choose between regeneration or a ward save once armor save fails.

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Thu May 11, 2017 8:59 am
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Always a good a time to get back into 8th edition ;)

8th edition changed the combat system, making it more deadly than ever. This has a big impact on unit sizes.
* The second rank always gets to make 1 attack per model
* If the unit is 10 models wide, the third rank also gets to make 1 attack per model
* If the unit that lost combat has more ranks left than its opponent (including 1st rank), then it is steadfast (stubborn)

This gives units playing for defensive in 5 wide, or offensive in 10-12 wide. Occasionally units come 7x2, but this is usually a more specialized or supportive role.


-What dark elf units got stronger and weaker with the 8th edition rules?

Dreadspears got a tad stronger in combat, but relatively more expensive. This makes them a mediocre choice, but they can serve well in smaller games or as a bunker for characters on foot.

Bleakswords lose a rank of combat compared to dreadspears, but the hand weapon shield gives thema 6+ ward save against normal attacks, making them the preferred devensive bunker.

Darkshards have become better in combat thanks to ASF and the shield+hand weapon rule. Unfortunately, this improved combat potential is rarely utilized and so the steep point increase made them a tougher choice. I've seen units of 10-14 pop up occasionally though. Their combat resilience makes them annoying for light units and who wants to waste a big unit on a support unit?

Dark Riders now have a 4+ armour save while retaining fast cavalry rules, and are more popular than ever. Units of 5 with crossbows are commonplace, but we also see units of 10 now, as bunker for characters. Characters now also get fast cavalry rules when riding a dark steed, hence the fast cavalry combat units.

Corsairs are a mixed bag. On one hand they have a 4+ save now, and their ASF makes them a tad better. They lost the banner that gave them Frenzy. This can be replaced with a Hag that gives frenzy to the unit, but then the unit is no longer as cheap and self sufficient as it was in 7th. On paper they look great, balancing offense and defense, but in practice they seem to be traded for either a cheaper defensive unit, like Bleakswords or a more offensive unit like Witch Elves.

Witch Elves are now core, and all the more popular for it. Having such a hammer unit from core troops is effective. They have all sizes and shapes... the units I mean. They come in 5x2, 7x2 or bigger blocks of 21+ models, sometimes up to 35.
The Cauldron of Blood is practically designed to be fielded with them, in the same unit. The cauldron is 3 infantry models wide and 5 deep, but the space it takes still counts for ranks and horde formation. As a result, a unit of 28 witch elves with a cauldron of blood has its points split over core and heroes, while giving an incredible hammer unit of 10 infantry models wide, 4 ranks. The Cauldron also grants them some protection, making it a textbook deathstar and something that requires the enemy to deal with. (which they can.. but still)

Executioners are equally blessed, in the special section. Always strike first cancels their Always strike last, letting them hit at S6 with killing blow on initiative. At their cheap cost, a large unit is still affordable. You can throw in a Death Hag with frenzy, to give them an extra attack and you have a large unit with up to 40-ish S6 Killing Blow attacks. Yikes.

Black Guard suffered with the update to 8th edition. Their high initiative and built-in re-rolls wastes most of the benefits from ASF yet they paid the steepest price for it. Their stubborn rule has many cheap alternatives due to Steadfast. Their S4 attacks can easily be beaten by the Executioner S6 roll. Never the less they are good, even more so on paper. A unit with the armour piercing banner will wreck almost anything in their path, but they are expensive and still only 5+ armour save.

Cold One Chariots are good value. That's about it. Chariots only seem popular in lists that focus on chariots, one hit wonders and monsters. Because of steadfast, it's unlikely they'll break a unit on the charge. As a support unit in a combined charge with infantry, they do OK-ish, but the damage can also be attained by beefing up the infantry unit itself.
Stupidity is less of an issue thanks to higher leadership and re-rolls from the BSB.

Cold One Knights are still great. They have one of the best attacks in the game... the downside being that it's only 1 attack ;)
I have had mixed results with units of 5, and dearly recommend taking 6 models at the least. Every attack counts.
They also work admirably in 2 ranks of 5 or 6 models.
A popular strategy is to fit a Master or Dreadlord in them with a re-rollable 1+ armour save and a 4+ ward save. For weapon a great weapon is enough (they still strike on initiative!). I don't think I've seen such a Lord die once... or maybe just once. Suffice to say, they are durable and can tie up a unit of a long time.

Scourgerunner chariots are a bit meh. I haven't actually fielded them myself, but I've yet to see them impress anyone.

The Hydra is a bit like the chariot: good value, nice, but restricted to support role. The low initiative and steady wound regeneration forces you to limit the incoming damage before and during combat to keep the monster effective. So essentially it's an aggressive support unit that you need to use with point precision or use defensively.

Shades are slightly stronger and more expensive. A small unit normally fares better with 2 hand weapons, which is the most efficient choice to dispatch smaller units like warmachine crew. Larger units (10-ish) bring enough attacks in to make Great Weapons interesting, and with it a larger selection of opponents.
Their shooting is impressive as always.

Reaper Bolt Throwers are still very good. 2 is nice, 3 is great, 4 is an investment but a good one.

Harpies are very unpopular now. They can now panic your own troops. A small unit still has its uses, but there are other, more effective choices for each use they have.

The Sisters of Slaughter are a very technical unit. They are very expensive, can be shot with too much ease but then they can dismantle an elite unit in close combat with surprising efficiency. I've never fielded them myself though.

Bloodwrack Medusa have only seen a few appearances. They appear to be fielded in units of 1, used as the cheapest redirector while harassing the enemy.

Bloodwrack Shrines on the other hand, are an effective unit support. They beef up the ranks and bring enough damage to compensate for the loss of attacks on their footprint. I've fielded a unit of dreadspears/bleakswords with such a shrine a few times with mixed results. The executioner unit boosted by a Bloodwrack Shrine did a whole lot better, but is also quite expensive.

Kharibdys are more fragile than hydras and... more of a hit or miss as a result. I like their theme better than their rules and playstyle to be honest. I have yet to be impressed once, but then they are a fun unit to put down :)

Warlocks are the bees' knees, the new cheese and the one unit that makes people hate you. I've seen a single unit of 5 turn the tide of battles up to 1.5K single handedly. Fast cavalry makes them evasive. Their 2 poisoned attacks per model makes them effective against any chaff. Their 4+ ward save makes them durable. Their magic is good, but mostly they keep their 4++ against miscasts, which only gives D3 wounds, and so they can 6-dice their spells with little to no penalty. I've had them run to the middle of the table and soulblight the entire enemy army in a single cast, with irresistible force and no penalty.
This unit can ruin armies and friendships with equal ease. Better yet, take a unit of 10, put all your characters in them and you have a fast cavalry deathstar that will blast anything to bits in combat and magic and sportsman score.


-Is it still good to play with two hydra's, chariots and bolt throwers?

You can still play that, but it will take something more to deal with death stars. To evade enemies until you are ready, you will probably need fast cavalry as well.

-Do you still play with stuff like 14 Black Guards or Corsairs in two ranks? Or rather with 20 units in 4 ranks?

5x4 is reserved to bunker units and not a popular formation. 7x2 is still used, but only for support or technical units. I can see black guards do well with that, or corsairs with handbows.

-Do you guys play your cold-ones in multiple ranks?

Yes. Up to 2 ranks is efficient.

-Are executioners and Black guards any good in the new rules?

Executioners very much so. Black Guard are good, but a bit expensive. Other units can do the same or better for a cheaper cost.

-Do you guys play assassins?
They are a bit tricky to use. A lot of characters are invulnerable or too easy to protect, meaning you have to kill them in a single shot and usually that's quite difficult to achieve. They don't have their overpowered poisons and shooting anymore, which makes them a rare sight now.

-I read in some summary of the 8th edition: "Models can take armour and invulnerable or regeneration saves. You can not have a ward and regeneration. Bad times for Dark Elf characters and plaguebearers! This also applies in combat." Can anyone explain this?


As explained above: after armour saves, you get either a ward save or a regeneration save, never both. The regeneration save can be nullified by fire attacks.


If you have any army lists you did well with on tournaments or local games, it would be great if you could send me some.

A competitive list, no. I play too casual a level... But in my local meta, this 1.5K list has proven stronger than I expected it would:
280 - Sorceress, Lvl 4, Black Amulet - Random lore
146 - Master on Cold One, HA, SDC, Dawnstone, Great Weapon, BSB
300 - 30 Dreadspears, FC, Std of Discipline
192 - 14 RXBs, Shields, Mus
110 - 5 DRs, Shields, RXB, Mus
200 - 6 COKs, Champ, Mus
125 - 5 Warlocks
140 - 2 RBTs

It has 6 magic levels, quite some speed, firepower, staying power and the 30 dreadspears become quite good with magic support. I mostly use the dreadspears as a mid-field blocker: something you can't ignore but don't want to get stuck. With some magical help (ie: Soulblight from those pesky warlocks), they have beaten elite infantry using ranks to break them and wreck the enemy battle line.

The choice of magic lore should be part of your army list, but most opponents agreed to my offer to roll it randomly. I can't say any lore proved disappointing so far.

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Thu May 11, 2017 11:54 am
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