Witch Elves ... how best to use them ?

How to beat those cowardly High Elves?

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Witch Elves ... how best to use them ?

Post by Vallers »

Im a fairly new Dark Elf player and like the idea of Witch Elves in my army.

Ive used them alongside an ally (also DE) when he has taken Hellebron, and we've units of 5's on flanks and they can be devastating, they've taken a unit of 25 Big Un's with FC and also munched through 3 spawn ...

But I want to field a unit of 15 with FC (Witchbrew on Hag), I was thinking of adding an Assassin with Manbane and RoK ... inbetween two units of 15 BG as a solid centre ...

But regardless of how I form it up, Id like peoples opinions on best ways to use and get the most out of the Witch Elves

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Post by Thanee »

The important thing to keep in mind with Witch Elves is, that they are BAD against heavily armoured opponents. While the Banner of Murder can somewhat negate that disadvantage, your primary targets should be units with a low armour save (4+ or worse).

One thing, that works now (recent FAQ ruling) is quite important to know.

When you have a "screening" unit (i.e. 5 Harpies) in front of your Witch Elf unit, so that the WE can still see enemy units, but the Harpies block the path (so they do not have to charge due to being Frenzy), then if you declare a charge with the Harpies, you can (and must in this case, due to Frenzy) declare a charge with the WE as well.

Because of this, screening them from some annoying fast cavalry luring them away is a good idea, and Harpies work well, since they usually should have no problems finding a charge target somewhere in their vast field of vision.

Witchbrew - I believe that Manbane on the Hag is in almost all situations the superior choice.

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Post by Thanatoz »

I don't think the Assassin is mandatory, and best reserved for other units. The way I see it, WE have two weaknesses.

Number 1: Poison and armour don't mix. To make them more effective against heavily armoured troops, consider adding the Banner of Murder.

Number 2: Arrows and naked women don't mix either. Or a little too well, depending on how you look at it. So screening them with 10 man RHB armed corsairs seems like a good option. Harpies work for this too, and don't cause panic.

To get the most out of them, especially when combining with other infantry as a solid centre, consider the Cauldron. It is a great buff for them.

Just my thoughts, hope it helps.
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Post by Vallers »

Im facing VC this evening hence the use of Witch Brew, the S3 v T3 should be OK, Ill have an assassin in with them with RoK and MB ... dont expect to face cavalry, if so placing them centrally should be OK as opp always places them on the wing

Need a shielding unit now !!

Any extra views ?

Ive a Cauldron in also and can give the WE's KB ...

Thanks Thanatoz

Not sure Id use them against Empire or a shooty army, Ive faced them with Empire and murdered them, however the joy with VC is they have no shooting :-)

Banner of Murder is a good shout !

Will tweak to add shieding unit, will try your suggested Corsairs with HB's :D

Note: I've merged your posts together, next time remember about the edit button.
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Post by Thanatoz »

Don't need much shielding against VC, they have no missiles, except maybe in spells. Assassin should do fine, focus all your attacks on the vampires, let the WE take care of the bodyguard. Try the banner of murder, it will reduce a 4+ save to a 5+ save, making a huge difference in kills, due to the fact that if you win combat, you double kill against VC.

EDIT: I keep crossing people's post, first Thanee's, now your latest post :P
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Post by Dalamar »

As this topic contains no army list as such, I believe it fits better in the Tactics forum. After all it's a question about tactical use of witch elves ;). Moved.
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Post by Dyvim tvar »

Surprised that nobody has mentioned it yet, but like Executioners, Witch Elves can benefit mightily from the Cauldron of Blood. It can help make up for the two big weaknesses Thanatoz meantions a few posts above:

1) Lack of armor -- use the Cauldron blessing to give them a 5+ ward save

2) Inability to penetrate armor -- use the Cauldron blessing to give them Killing Blow

And you get Stubborn when within 12" of the Cauldron.

Obviously, it's probably not cost-effective to have a Cauldron for each unit of Witch Elves in your army, and there will be times when you would like to have both the 5+ ward and killing blow. Nevertheless, a Cauldron is a great force-multiplier for Witch Elves. As others have noted, Banner of Murder is a good idea for helping to punch through armor. Too bad you can only take 1 of them ...

With respect to unit formation, you mention that you plan to use a unit of 15. This tells me that you likely intend to deploy them 5-wide and 3-deep. I think that's the wrong way to go. Witch Elves are about dealing damage, not rank bonus. I would deploy them in 7-wide units. That way, even against a narrow 5-wide infantry unit, you can get a massive number of atatcks. I think units of 14 deployed 2-deep is a good way to go. You have a reasonable number to absorb casualties, but the units aren't overly expensive, which is good, since big fenzied units often mean a large number of points that are easily diverted from doing anything useful.
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Post by Entreri bloodletter »

I agree with Dyvim Tvar, witch elves are best used in conjunction with a Cauldron. Now to me there's basically two ways to use witch elves:

The first is as a cheap small unit that can still beat up on small units or can be used as a tarpit( with CoB stubborn). I prefer this setup myself, I use a unit of 11, deployed 6-5 and their job is to go after light infantry if possible. And if no good targets are available then I use them to hold up nasty units ( provided they dont cause fear as stubborn won't matter then). Just yesterday that unit of WE held up a unit of chaos warriors for 4 combat rounds, I just reformed them to give a smaller frontage and let him charge me. I held out long enough for my CoK to charge and run them down.

The other way to set them up is with a larger group. It could be as high as 18, probably with FC, banner of Murder, and the hag with some goodies. Possibly even as assasin if you really want killing power. The problem with this is that because of frenzy it is harder to get them where you need them, and if they do get distracted its a much larger points sink. Another problem is that this unit still isn't necessarily better against heavy cav and will still beat light infantry without a problem. So IMO the smaller unit is better for its cost which is really cheap but can still output a lot of damage.
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Post by Fingol23 »

I use a unit of 14 with asf bsb with rune of khaine, full command with banner of murder and witchbrew. They can take most things short of heavy cav in combat and as for shooting they suffer but they will never run.
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Post by Ehakir »

I use a unit of 5. At 50 points they are able to cut through light to medium infantery, and are expandable. I sometimes even use them to screen other stuff.
People tend to have 2 reactions to this unit:
WHAAHAAHAA OVERKILL THEM!; One of my opponents gave them a flames of tzeentch, and afterwards there was 1 witch elf left to charge the building in which his tzeentch heralds were in, so he shot her with his unit of 6 flamers. They bring their points back in this case

Hmmm, elves without armour can be negated if there are only 5 of them...; This guy was playing skaven and thought that his 25 plaquemonks including priest could hold a charge against them. Ok, I added a manticore in the flank of the monks, but the crazed girls would have won the combat anyway... :D

And I pay 50 points for the stress that this unit gives to my opponents... gosh.

One thing you should always remember, is that you shouldn't put too many points in a frenzied unit; the enemy will be able to redirect them very easily too troops they cannot beat. Heavily armoured troops to be more special. And if the unit is expandable, this is not a problem. If you put 300+ points in the unit however (Assassin, banners, etc.), this becomes a bigger problem. Witch elves give you ACR, they get shot down too easily to provide you with SCR
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Post by Rabidnid »

Ehakir wrote:I use a unit of 5. At 50 points they are able to cut through light to medium infantery, and are expandable. I sometimes even use them to screen other stuff.


And I pay 50 points for the stress that this unit gives to my opponents... gosh.

Yeah, I use 6 for the same thing. They tend to lurk behind my RXB. The beauty is that they ignore routing RXB due to ITP, and if they take casualties when losing combat they are usualy under 5 so the RXB ignore them if they rout.

I was scared to death by a nurgle herald that would have made my assasin strike last, so my 2x6 witch units have hags and manbane at the moment and he has been swaped for a master with an armour save. I will try it in a couple games and see how they do.
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Post by Skilgannon »

I have been running 14 with Manbane and banner of Murder for a while now. I have also added in a BSB with ASF, manbane, rune of khaine but this does mean the unit costs more that 400 points.

For the units of 14 they are amazing against Vampires and Daemons. The killing power helps cut these units down to size really quickly which is great against both armies (unless you have lots of Black Guard).

Manbane is a fantastic buy for this unit as you get a -3 save against T4 which really makes a difference against the armoured units you sometimes face. Screening with 5 Harpies is defintely a good idea, Especailly since shooting does absolutely horrible things to the unit.

I would normally put the Witch Elves more to the flank of your centre (or just on the flank) They make a bit of a softer centre and if you have Black guard you are proably better letting them go forward to leave room for the Witch Elves to rip through his lines once he is engaged.
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Post by Sulla »

In 5-6's either as colour for you army or as the cheapest darn way to get an extra assassin in your force (he should leave the unit for better protection ASAP)...

Keep em cheap and sacrificial. If they hit, 3 pack quite a whack that can tip an otherwise finely balanced fight. If not, you haven't lost much and they will almost certainly be such a small unit as to no longer trouble the rest of your army with panic.

You can spend hundreds of points on assassins, ASF BSB hags or cauldrons for your witches but really, frenzied troops are safer in small units that don't wreck your battleline by taking a huge lump of points in the wrong direction at the wrong time.
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Post by Dubhgilla »

[quote="Thanatoz"]So screening them with 10 man RHB armed corsairs seems like a good option. Harpies work for this too, and don't cause panic.[quote]

The Corsairs wont cause panic to the FRENZYed witchs
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