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New to miniature gaming and in need of some guidance 

Which army should I start with?
Poll ended at Thu Sep 01, 2016 7:10 pm
Dark Elves 83%  83%  [ 5 ]
High Elves 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Lizardmen 17%  17%  [ 1 ]
Total votes : 6

New to miniature gaming and in need of some guidance 
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Slave on the Altar

Joined: Thu Aug 25, 2016 5:41 pm
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Greetings, brethren! I am new to miniature gaming and need some help in getting started. I have not yet decided which army to start with, and I have some questions that I hope you can answer to hopefully leave me better equipped to make a decision. Dark Elves/Exiles is of course one of the armies I am considering, along with Lizardmen/Seraphon and High Elves. I realize posting here may get me some biased answers, but even if they are, hopefully you will still answer guide me in the right direction with the information you give me anyway. If this is the wrong place to ask this, please feel free to point me to the right place!

There are three major points that are important to me in my choice of army, which I will describe in more detail below. What I am wondering then is how dark elves compare to my other options on these points, and whether they would be a good choice for me with these requirements in mind.

One important thing to note is that I want to dabble in multiple editions, including 6th, 8th and Age of Sigmar, without having to use a different army for each edition. Wanting to play multiple editions influences more than one area, but the main thing this affects is the models available. While I am not averse to buying some models online, I would like to be able to get most of my models in stores, especially when starting out. From what I've gathered so far, all the models from previous Lizardmen army books are still available as Seraphon models in Age of Sigmar, either in local stores or the official GW webstore. Additionally, I understand that the High Elf core units from previous editions are no longer available with the switch to AoS. Am I correct on these two points (Lizardmen are safe, High Elves core units are trickier), and how do Dark Elves fair in this regard? Of course, I realize I will have to get square bases for my models to play them in Fantasy, but can I still use them in Age of Sigmar without rebasing them?

The second major point is that of play style and strength. I am not planning on playing this competitively, but I do want an army that won't just get destroyed by every opponent. More importantly, I want an army that offers varied gameplay and can play different strategies. This could be achieved by having a wide selection of units to choose from to deploy in different games. Even better would be if the standard units were versatile enough to be able to pivot to a completely different strategy in the middle of a game! I don't know if this is something that is possible with any army, but if there is one that is capable of this, it would be perfect! The strength of the army compared to others is something I could see easily changing between editions, so I hope there is someone who have experience with both newer and older Warhammer that can answer this.

My last major requirement is that I need to be happy about the aesthetics of my army. There isn't really any objective answer that you can give me here, but this is what has led me to exclude the human, dwarven and ogre armies, because I find them rather dull. I have also more or less excluded Vampire Counts because I don't want to paint and play ranks upon ranks of skeletons. I want units with some strong colors, either through ornate elven armor and weapons or their skin/scales like the lizardmen. I also want my models to look menacing, again either because of impressive armor or because they are bad-ass monsters. I am not really a fan of the straight-up hairstyles of the Dark Elves, but if I can choose heads with either other hairstyles or helmets for all or most of my models, that is not a problem.

Lastly, a minor point is the price. I realize this is not a cheap hobby, and I expect to have to spend quite a bit on it. I would however like to limit the spending to a degree, so if any of these armies are significantly more expensive than the others on average, that is also something I would take into consideration. I don't know what causes a certain army to be more expensive than an equivalent one from another faction, other than needing more different kits of models, but if someone has some insight here it would be more than welcome!

I think this should cover most of my thoughts and questions, and I hope that there are some more experienced players than me here who can answer some of them! Any answers or other tips are most appreciated!


Thu Aug 25, 2016 7:10 pm
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Welcome Athrenax - I voted Dark Elves (your on a dark elf forum and I have a weakness for them)

I'm not into playing that much I prefer to paint them so there would be more members on the forum that can help you with your questions.

Looking forward to seeing your work in P&M sometime.

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Thu Aug 25, 2016 11:37 pm
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Slave on the Altar

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Cultofkhaine wrote:
Welcome Athrenax - I voted Dark Elves (your on a dark elf forum and I have a weakness for them)

I'm not into playing that much I prefer to paint them so there would be more members on the forum that can help you with your questions.

Looking forward to seeing your work in P&M sometime.


I expected I would get some biased responses, but I'm sure there's someone here who has some experience they are willing to share anyway :) Thanks!


Fri Aug 26, 2016 5:57 am
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I have a fairly huge High Elf army as well - but Dark Elves are my first love.

Unfortunately they are a bit up in the air at the moment fluff wise with not much direction from the new GW release.

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Fri Aug 26, 2016 6:08 am
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Lizardmen, no question. They have a Start Collecting box, so they're relatively cheap price-wise. They don't have core units whose miniatures are OOP (*cough*High Elf Spearmen*cough*). They have remained a single faction in AoS, with enough choice of Battleline units to make it easy to build multiple Matched Play legal lists. You can really go to town on interesting colour schemes, with slightly different hues and patterns of scale and skin for each unit (for example, bright shiny colours on the skinks and duller, 'drier' versions of the same basic colours on the saurus) without the army looking like your paint collection just exploded on them. They're also a strong army without any glaring weaknesses in both 6th edition and AoS (I've never played 8th). DE (and to a lesser degree HE) are very unforgiving for a new player, at least in 6th.

Personally, I hate Lizardmen and would never collect them myself. But going by the priorities and concerns in your post, they're the best of the three for you to start collecting.

You'll need to order a whole bunch of square bases, though, because AFAIK all the Lizardmen/Seraphon have been repackaged with rounds now. Using square bases in AoS is fine, but not vice versa. You could put pins in the models' feet and have two sets of bases if you wanted, but that probably isn't worth the effort. If you're not going to be playing in AoS tournaments (some of which do mandate round bases), just put everything on square WHFB-legal bases and you're good.

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Fri Aug 26, 2016 6:22 am
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Slave on the Altar

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I suppose the fact that you as a lizard-hating Dark Elf player recommends them so strongly should be enough to make the decision clear! May I ask what you hate about them, though? Is it the flavor, the play style or something else?

Is there any reason why I couldn't just use Dreadspears as my High Elf Spearmen if I wanted to play High Elves?

I've also heard other people refer to the Dark Elves as an unforgiving army to play. What is it that makes you characterize them as such?


Fri Aug 26, 2016 4:13 pm
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It might be unfair 19 years later, but I hate the Lizardmen because of the ill-judged 'humorous' (and arguably racist) portrayal they got in their original (5th edition) army book.

Turning non-European cultures into a monstrous (even if not strictly evil) 'Other' while basing all the human 'good-guy' factions on European nations was always a big problem in WHFB, but the 5th edition Lizardmen were especially egregious. Reducing a bunch of real-world ethnic groups who suffered historical genocide and still face significant systemic prejudice and discrimination to a mess of stereotypes of human sacrifice, colourful feathers and stone-age (yet also alien magitek) technology, with stupid faux-Nahuatl joke names like Tenehuini and Inxi-Huinzi, is just not cool.

Their portrayal was improved and made more serious in later editions, and I admit to quite liking the Slann-memory-daemons version that has become the Seraphon, but their original portrayal still leaves a nasty taste in my mouth. It ranks alongside 'Orks are space Zulus' in the list of reasons why GW seriously needs a more diverse team of designers and writers.

Converting Dreadspears into HE Spearmen would work. I think converting WE Eternal Guard would be easier and look better, though.

Dark Elves are unforgiving (in 6th edition at least) because their troops are fragile (T3, light armour or less) and cost a lot of points per model. They don't really have any units expendable enough that you can afford to lose them to a mistake or bad luck (like Skavenslaves or Goblins). Nor do they have any units that are so tough you can pretty much just point them at the enemy and rely on them cause havoc regardless of how many arrows/cannonballs get lobbed their way (like Chaos Warriors or sufficiently huge greenskin units).

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Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:07 pm
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Shadowspite wrote:
Turning non-European cultures into a monstrous (even if not strictly evil) 'Other' while basing all the human 'good-guy' factions on European nations was always a big problem in WHFB, but the 5th edition Lizardmen were especially egregious. Reducing a bunch of real-world ethnic groups who suffered historical genocide and still face significant systemic prejudice and discrimination to a mess of stereotypes of human sacrifice, colourful feathers and stone-age (yet also alien magitek) technology, with stupid faux-Nahuatl joke names like Tenehuini and Inxi-Huinzi, is just not cool.

Their portrayal was improved and made more serious in later editions, and I admit to quite liking the Slann-memory-daemons version that has become the Seraphon, but their original portrayal still leaves a nasty taste in my mouth. It ranks alongside 'Orks are space Zulus' in the list of reasons why GW seriously needs a more diverse team of designers and writers.


Maybe it's time that GW did a Southlands army book then they could have "real" zulus and make them good guys for a change - just a thought :) (although the last time I checked, the Lizardmen were supposedly good guys, so why not have Southlands humans as their allies - you know the sort of thing - if the general is human then humans are core and lizzies are special - or vice versa and so on)

Sadly I think that GW's writers and designers are stuck in the days of British Empire colonialism :(

Or am I being a little unfair on them?

On the subject of Slann though, does anyone else here remember the old days when they rode into battle on litters carried by "lobotomised human slaves"?

Those were the days :) - I wasn't even playing WFB back then, though I had a kind of peripheral interest in it since parts of the WFB background tied into the roleplaying games I was more into back then. I think that stuff was in 3rd edition? I'm sure that somebody in here will correct me if I'm wrong on that...

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Fri Aug 26, 2016 8:41 pm
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I don't think GW is capable of doing a respectful and nuanced Zulu analogue, even now. They certainly weren't in 5th edition days. They don't really do respectful and nuanced portrayals of any of their armies or in-game cultures. And when they stick to European cultural and mythological touchstones that's fine. It's when they pillage cultural aspects from societies we Europeans have historically enslaved, murdered or otherwise oppressed and turn them into deliberately 'humorous' caricatures that it becomes distasteful.

I don't think it's colonialism as such, just cluelessness caused by distance and unfamiliarity. Some stereotypes are more obviously dodgy than others. GW would never have considered giving Skaven Yiddish-sounding names, for example, because the problematic implications there are really obvious. But 5th edition Lizardmen are not objectively any better than Skaven with Yiddish names would have been. It's just that the bunch of straight, white Englishmen running the GW design studio in 5th edition days were unfamiliar with how offensive indigenous South and Central Americans might find such a portrayal, whereas antisemitism is much easier to spot, since, you know, our parents and grandparents fought Hitler...

I remember the old version of the Slann with their lobotomized slaves. They were in 3rd edition, but (IIRC) were introduced in 2nd. Of course, they were not a GW original, but taken from a sci-fi novel by Alfred van Vogt.

EDIT: And, umm... let's not take up any more of Athrenax's thread with this sidetrack, OK? ;)

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Sat Aug 27, 2016 11:48 am
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It is worth mentioning that you can buy multiple 'Start Collecting: Seraphon' boxes (potentially via an online retailer with a 15-20% discount), sell off all the Oldblood/Carnosaur models you don't need (probably all but one of them) on ebay and almost break even on money, meaning your Saurus Knights and Saurus Warriors can end up pretty close to being free.

For reference:

Start Collecting: Seraphon ~£40 online (£50 from GW)
Oldblood on Carnosaur (complete but without box) ~£30-40 on ebay
8 Saurus Knights =£20 from GW
12 Saurus Warriors =£13.80 from GW (actually £23 for a box of 20)

So you're getting £33.80 worth of Saurus Knights and Warriors for between £0 and £20 each time, depending on how lucky you are with your ebay sales and the cheapness of your source for the Start Collecting boxes.

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Sun Aug 28, 2016 10:06 am
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Slave on the Altar

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Shadowspite wrote:
It is worth mentioning that you can buy multiple 'Start Collecting: Seraphon' boxes (potentially via an online retailer with a 15-20% discount), sell off all the Oldblood/Carnosaur models you don't need (probably all but one of them) on ebay and almost break even on money, meaning your Saurus Knights and Saurus Warriors can end up pretty close to being free.

For reference:

Start Collecting: Seraphon ~£40 online (£50 from GW)
Oldblood on Carnosaur (complete but without box) ~£30-40 on ebay
8 Saurus Knights =£20 from GW
12 Saurus Warriors =£13.80 from GW (actually £23 for a box of 20)

So you're getting £33.80 worth of Saurus Knights and Warriors for between £0 and £20 each time, depending on how lucky you are with your ebay sales and the cheapness of your source for the Start Collecting boxes.

That's an interesting suggestion, actually. I checked sold listings on eBay, though, and could only find two sold unpainted Oldbloods on Carnosaurs. You're right that I probably wouldn't need more than one of the lords, but it seems unlikely that I would be able to sell the extra one in a reasonable amount of time. Thanks for the suggestion nonetheless!

I think I've decided to go for the lizardmen this time around, mainly because of the starting collection. Thanks for all feedback! Maybe I'll expand and try out a Dark Elves army some time in the future, as I do still like their flavor


Sun Aug 28, 2016 1:09 pm
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Remember that in AoS you can field Seraphon and DE units in the same army, since they belong to the same Grand Alliance. So when you feel like trying out the DE you can add a unit at a time to your existing Seraphon army to see how they perform rather than having to start a whole new army from scratch.

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Sun Aug 28, 2016 2:21 pm
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Slave on the Altar

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Good point! Then I can even use just the cool ones and ignore the ones I don't like. Thanks again for your input!


Sun Aug 28, 2016 5:00 pm
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