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 Post subject: High Elves versus Skaven
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 9:43 pm 
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I'm looking for some good pointers for playing Skaven. A friend of mine plays them and plays them well. He runs HPA, Doomwheel, clan rats, slaves, Grey Seer on a bell, plenty of detachment and warmachine shooty. I typically snipe his BSB with the death lore but I just can't do enough to survive his use of steadfast to force me into attrition wars that I can't win. Since magic doesn't scale well and HE dont' get template shooty.... How do we turn the tides?


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 12:51 am 
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There's a great thread on here about the best ways of playing high elves and it's great for these attrition battles, I'll find the link later and edit it in(I'm on iPhone) - but it comes down to surgical strikes with immense power that make that steadfast horde useless due to the casualties sustained.

So in short have a powerful strike force, chariots are great here for corner to corner full attacks combined with perhaps knights or swordmasters. You breaktrough, consolidate and keep it moving. Of course your enemy tries to stop this so you still need to play smart, but try to put nough into the enemy that your going to take in down in a turn or two.

Edit: viewtopic.php?f=66&t=33518

I train in muay Thai and I've had a couple of bout's myself but i've sure been to watch a lot, and if you ever do watch, you'll see the fighters do indeed get a feel for each other, but once a weakness is shown it capitalised upon, going in for kill so to speak.
Example, fighter get rocked with a left cross and he gets shook. The other fighter doesn't allow him to recover he strikes hard and repeatedly to end te fight if he can.

Point being made is, we don't want to apply force that's just enough, we need to apply more than enough at the right moment to and take the win from there.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 18, 2010 9:53 pm 
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Check here as well: viewtopic.php?f=66&t=33819


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 12:33 am 
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I've looked through those threads and played a few games and I'm still having real, real problems playing competitive versus Skaven.

He runs a lot of slaves which screen his grey seer and bell and uses the storm banner (no flying and -2 to hit in shooting) to keep me from sniping his General and BSB with ranged shooty. Without flying I can't get anything close enough to use Death Lore spells to get at the General or BSB (who likely both have a near 2+ save vs magic). He typically has more units and it is a near impossibility to get a flank with a sizable enough force to disrumpt his 'Strength in Numbers'. His HPA and Doomwheel are a challenge but I can typically handle those. I've tried Lore of Life but I'm just wasting Teclis' power dice killing slaves with Dweller's Below. I typically get sucked into attrition battles and lose 200+ points of Swordmasters to a Doomrocket... I run with the Teclis/BotWD/PG bunker but I ultimately drown in slaves. We generally play 2250-2750 and occasionally I'll win by objectives I'm typically almost out of models every game. Calvary seems wasted as it can't disrupt SiN unless I spend a lot of points on it, which would in turn just make it the new Doomrocket target. I'm really not sure what adjustments I can make. Storm banner effectively kills my flying/shooting long enough for the slaves to arrive and his Gutter Runners have picked off my 2 wound Bolt Throwers....

It is my impression that dragons suck. Cannons and templates hitting both rider and mount is mean and couple that up with everything wounding on a six I've had my dragons and chariots run off or buried by simple slave unit attrition.

So many fun things I want out of the Elves really seem like they aren't an option. I'm one of those people who refuse to 'ban' something in a codex because I think it cheapens a win so I'd like to find a solution to that crazy banner and at least provide a challenging game... Rough to do much with an army that can't fly, can't depend on shooting, and can't win attrition battles, and can't get to the BSB and General to cut the head off of the rat...

Thoughts? Skaven are nasty for Elves....


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 17, 2011 6:08 pm 
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Vespius wrote:
So many fun things I want out of the Elves really seem like they aren't an option. I'm one of those people who refuse to 'ban' something in a codex because I think it cheapens a win so I'd like to find a solution to that crazy banner and at least provide a challenging game... Rough to do much with an army that can't fly, can't depend on shooting, and can't win attrition battles, and can't get to the BSB and General to cut the head off of the rat...

Thoughts? Skaven are nasty for Elves....


I think you're overreacting, and need to adjust your tactics. Losing to the same opponent can be frustrating, but plenty of Elven players fight plenty of Skaven players and are able to win, even facing the same obstacles that you are. Skaven are undoubtedly nasty in 8th edition, but there are solutions to what you're describing.

-First, just how dependent are you on shooting and flying? Even without the Storm Banner, you're probably not killing THAT many slaves or thinning very many numbers using High Elf shooting. I find that the Storm Banner was the worst when I was trying to take out weapon teams, the Hell Pit Abomination or using a Dragon, but otherwise you should just use your Eagles or other fliers conservatively until the Banner has been activated and the effect ends.

-Do you really want to use Dwellers Below on Slaves? There are probably more valuable targets out there for your magic. Remember, it doesn't allow Ward Saves, so Grey Seers are vulnerable to it. Also, how is your opponent getting such a strong Ward Save versus magic? Is he stacking up Magic Resistance on his characters, combined with a regular Ward Save?

-Why are Slaves posing such a threat? They should really struggle to hurt Phoenix Guard, who are probably overkill on them anyways. Basic Spearmen are great for tying down a Slave horde, engaging it early and distracting it to your better troops can fight more valuable targets. Don't send your best stuff after Slaves, your opponent will love that.

-Really focus on going after the stuff that's actually worth Victory Points, and don't get distracted by the cheap bad rats. Use your Core to occupy their Core, use your Heroes and Special choices to tear up the enemy units that are both dangerous and worth Victory Points.

-With Teclis, you should easily have the magic advantage, so put your Augments/Hexes to work. It's easy to win a battle of attrition if your opponent's Strength is debuffed to 1, or your elite infantry is Toughness 5+.

Edit: Also, make sure that you're using units that are big enough to stay functional over multiple rounds of combat. Perhaps posting more information about your list would let us focus our feedback? Taking a unit of 15 Phoenix Guard obviously won't perform as well in a drawn-out fight as a unit of 24-30 Phoenix Guard.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 1:10 am 
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Hear hear

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The Dwarf begged the Dice Gods for Insane Courage on his re-rollable Break Test, failed to achieve it, and the Dice Gods mocked him horribly by giving him Double 1s for his flee distance immediately after. My White Lions promptly ran the Warriors down.
Lord Tethlis' account of slaying fowl Dawi.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 11:22 am 
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You could try Teclis with Lore of Fire. Put a tarpit on those slaves and then give them some Fulminating Flame Cage. You can cast it on them even when they are in combat (it's a Hex). If the slaves break or pursue then it will be very bad for them. If you cast it on them before they are in combat then you give the player a tough choice and leverage the psychological part of the game. Boosted Fireballs are very powerful (except against Heavy Cav or WoC), and Flaming Sword is always useful. Really any lore is great once you have the hang of using it (ok, maybe not Beasts). Find a lore you like and learn it backwards and forwards. Learn its advantages and disadvantages. Sometimes the fact that we can choose any BRB lore works against us if we don't really think through how to best use the lore we choose.

I think Chariots, Heavy Cavalry and ridden Monsters are hard to use in 8th. Consider spending those points elsewhere, like on making your units larger.

I'm not a big fan of High Elf shooting. S3 is too weak to reliably kill, and points spent on shooting troops could instead be spent on combat troops where we get ASF and often hit on 3s. It's much easier and more effective to use magic to boost combat strength than it is to boost shooting strength.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 4:47 pm 
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Slaves are usually steadfast 10 rerollable and do not flee when they break from combat, so flame cage is worthless.

yes, sniping the seer off of the bell with spells is problematic due to the 2+ ward save, but isn't that why you can use dwellers?

I fail to see how you can't get within 24 inches of the bell.


Also, It is laughable to mention banning anything if you routinely run teclis, since he is one of the best special characters in the game.


If slaves are really your problem, consider buffing your spears with spells and get them into combat ASAP, so you can grind them quickly.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 8:55 pm 
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Keith wrote:
Slaves are usually steadfast 10 rerollable and do not flee when they break from combat, so flame cage is worthless.
Everything before your comma is perfectly reasonable. Everything after it is not.

There's a huge distance between "not always going to work out" and "worthless". Two tactics come to mind immediately:

1) Cast Flame Cage on slaves (or any Skaven unit, really), then Flaming Sword on the unit they are in combat with. If you tarpitted them with a largish unit (isn't that what a tarpit is?) then you should get lots of attacks with +1 to wound. Take a rank or two off and now you've got something. You may get lucky turn one, you probably will succeed turn two.
2) If the slaves aren't in combat, it gets mean. Assuming you generate more than 10 dice (easy with Teclis and Banner of Sorcery): Cast flame cage, D6 S4 hits. Cast Piercing Bolts of Burning for xD3 S4 hits where x = number of ranks beyond the first (now his large unit size is his undoing). Finish with a boosted fireball, 2D6 or 3D6 S4 hits (plus additional D3 casting value). That should get a panic test on most units, and may have taken the unit below 3 additional ranks. If they panic then they take all the Flame Cage hits. If they don't, we come back to the agonizing decision of whether to move them next turn or not. Controlling your opponent's movement is pretty huge. All those spells have 24" base range (compare with 12" base range on Dwellers) and lower casting costs than most other spells in the game.

If you aren't running MSU then you have a great chance of killing a whole bunch of slaves in almost any combat and having more ranks, so that can take care of Steadfast. And you know what? Steadfast units do break sometimes, even when testing on Ld 10.

Just because you have other (even better) ideas about what works in Warhammer doesn't mean that ideas that are not yours are "worthless". I win games against excellent players using Lore of Fire, which doesn't mean it's the best thing out there, but it does mean it is viable. Even if it weren't, there's no need to be insulting.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 18, 2011 9:06 pm 
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Going back to the OP, you've told us already what you should change. Kill your darlings. If sniping his general and BSB and using flying Death magic are not working for you, then stop even trying. Try a whole new approach. It's clear your opponent has tailored his list against you somewhat, so if you compeletely change strategy you will at least have one game of having him off guard.

Go for winning combat and attacking his weaknesses. Play to the High Elf strengths, namely ASF and magic. Try Spearmen for core, try hordes, try hordes of Spearmen. A horde of 50 Spearmen lead by a Prince and BSB will have little to fear from most Skaven units, except for the Plague Furnace and Censor Bearers.

Once you've got some good combat units built, look at some magic buffs for them. Get the most out of every ASF attack. The simplest idea that comes to mind is add two scroll caddy Lvl 1 mages with Lore of Beasts alongside Teclis. The scrolls will help against Dreaded 13th and with Wyssan's Wildform you can buff even Spearmen up to S5 T5 if you're lucky in the magic phase. There's tons of ways to buff/debuff units to combine the two things Elves do best into a great army.

There are tons of tactics that will work, I think the most important thing that may help you is to abandon the tactics that you already know do not work. You could even consider ditching Teclis and go for a regular Archmage with Book of Hoeth and save 115 points. Mix it up! Experiment. If you're really nice you will report back on your succeses and/or failures.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 5:00 am 
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Thanks for the responses.

One of the things I run into is that we typically play a 2500 point game and that is about the extent of my army due to core restrictions. This means at 2500 points I typically have one main configuration and a few adjustments I can make for flavor. This means the Skaven player typically knows 90% of my list as it doesn't change and although he'd never admit it, his lists are fairly tailored to fight High Elves.

As to not wanting to ban things from gaming and playing Teclis; I more meant that I didn't want to get into a "I won't bring this if you don't bring that' kind of thing.

The challenge I face is that his slave tar pits are so deep that they are difficult to avoid and I can't risk getting tied up or I get flanked by Doomwheels and HPAs. Since he knows I go heavy in the magic phase his general is typically configured with a 2+ magic save and on a bell to offset characteristic based magic attacks. If I can't get rid of the general or at least the BSB I'm fighting LD 10 steadfast slaves while my flanks are assaulted by annoying random movement of HPAs and Doomwheels. Also when he negates flying I can't get within 24 inches as he's good about keeping his Bell just close enough to give the 18" inspring presence but far enough to avoid the 24" range of the Death Lore. I could typically get past his units with magic carpets, eagles, and dragons but those are all typically grounded and with their slow ground movement they usually fall prey to whatever he decides to throw against them. My other option was to shoot up the bell but the banner really impedes that so my options are to wade through attrition battles which High Elves just aren't designed to do.

My core typically consists of a block of 20 spearmen and a block of 15 spearmen, 2 x 10 archers and 1 X 10 LSG. This is simply what I have for core. I've considered consolidating the spearmen but that just makes them a huge target for templates and plague. I have 10 SM that are typically wiped out by a doom rocket in the first turn. I also have 10 PGs that provide Teclis a bunker but I’m assembling 10 more. I have a little bit of everything of the HE army, just not enough to matter.

For our next game I'm going to try a split deployment to try to get at his flanks. I don’t have much luck with dragons and eagles (especially when they can’t fly) so I’m going to just retire those for a few games. I like the Lore of Life but I do think I need to switch to the fire lore. My goal is to get some fireballs the HPA and flame cage one of his forward units to limit his mobility in the early part of the game. This should buy me a little more time for the banner to potentially wear off.
I also decided to start an Empire army just to get a change of scenery to keep the hobby fresh. I figure with a couple armies I have the potential to force him into taking more of an ‘all-comers list’ and should balance our games a bit.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 9:10 pm 
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Well, since you know your army list is pretty consistent and you know his list, why don't you give us more specific details so we can provide better analysis and ideas?


My suggestion would be to drop some stuff (Eagles and Bolt Throwers maybe?) and bring some Dragon Princes. A man naked unit is only 150 points, but still has Move of 8, swiftstride, 2+ AS, and 10 St5 Ws5 ASF attacks on the charge (and 5 Ws3 St3 attacks from the mounts). These guys should give you the movement edge to hunt down characters, weapons teams and maybe even war machines.

Don't be afraid to charge them in to the front line of a Skaven unit that has the General or BSB in the front rank and direct all attacks at them (don't challenge Skaven), knowing that you'll lose the unit to static CR and attrition, if you think you can kill the general or BSB first.

My second suggestion comes in two parts:

1 - Controversial perhaps, but I'd say maybe drop Teclis for a regular Archmage. Make sure you keep the Banner of Sorcery in your list though. It is a little cheesy to tweak your Lore towards a specific opponent, but I would suggest Fire in this case.

2 - Pick up a Mage-Knight Prince - Prince w/ RGoH and give him Death and take the signature spell. Put him on a Barded Elven Steed w/ Dragon Armor, Great Weapon and Vambraces of Defense, and you get that movement you need to close for sniping, and you get 4 St5 ASF attacks, 3+ Re-rollable AS and 4+ WS. You can stick him in with the DP's to give him Look out Sir rolls, but in that case you would want to take him out of the unit before you charge it in to certain death (if you decide to do that).

The reason to drop Teclis is the IF on doubles he gets. I've found that if I take the Book of Hoeth and get IF on my Archmage, my opponent has plenty of Dispel dice to throw at whatever my second mage tries to cast. By not getting IF so often, I actually put my opponent in the difficult place of trying to decide what to dispel.

Flaming Cage + Piercing Bolt will help deal with Big ranked units. Fireball is good for taking out weapons teams and putting hits on units. Flaming attacks help alleviate HPA's. Spirit Leech from the Prince will threaten his characters, WM's and so on. He will have a lot to think about in the magic phase.


Again, go for disruption on his blocks as that will negate SiN. Use Spearelves, Archers, PG, SM's, WL's, whatever you have that has 2+ ranks for it. Also remember WL's are stubborn and likely won't run. If you do run with Life on Teclis, you can just keep regrowing them if they get stuck in combat.

Really, again, we need to know what he's fielding to give you specific advice. I know you said he has a Grey Seer on Bell normally - is that usually his General? How many Rats does he usually have in that unit? What Weapons Teams and how many? How many units of slaves and how big? How does he field them (horde or super-deep and 5 wide?)?


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 12:57 am 
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Try playing Teclis,AM with Silver Wand and Mage with Seerstaff using High magic all with Flames of Phoenix and Shield of Saphery. Once you control both magic phases any big roadblock units can disappear in the first 2 turns while also allowing ward saves on most critical units not to mention making his casting ability almost non existant drain magic and dispelling multiple flames.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 1:10 pm 
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KJSparkz wrote:
Try playing Teclis,AM with Silver Wand and Mage with Seerstaff using High magic all with Flames of Phoenix and Shield of Saphery. Once you control both magic phases any big roadblock units can disappear in the first 2 turns while also allowing ward saves on most critical units not to mention making his casting ability almost non existant drain magic and dispelling multiple flames.


um. Wow that is a lot of mages :P


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:27 am 
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I'm noticing you mentioning the storm banner quite often, your opponent is aware that it is a one-use-only item right?

I agree with those who have said that you shouldn't rely on high elf shooting to beat the skaven hordes. Magic and combat will be your best friends. Flames of the Phoenix should thin their numbers reasonably fast. Try to use the tactic of Local Numerical Superiority. There are several articles on the subject in the Tactics Forum. To sum it up, he may have more troops on the table than you, but if you can concentrate your force on a single point at a time, his numbers will not save him. Your goal should be to make sure that you always have more force invested in each combat than your opponent. You have to force him to fight unfair combats that pit one of his units against two of yours.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 24, 2011 12:47 am 
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Jedra wrote:
um. Wow that is a lot of mages :P


Thought you liked that nasty combo Jedra :wink:

Besides its managable with Teclis and 2 Mages as well and does limit opportunity for big killer Skaven spells.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 30, 2011 5:49 am 
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Vespius wrote:
I'm looking for some good pointers for playing Skaven. A friend of mine plays them and plays them well. He runs HPA, Doomwheel, clan rats, slaves, Grey Seer on a bell, plenty of detachment and warmachine shooty. I typically snipe his BSB with the death lore but I just can't do enough to survive his use of steadfast to force me into attrition wars that I can't win. Since magic doesn't scale well and HE dont' get template shooty.... How do we turn the tides?

Why don't you take high magic on Teclis instead of the rulebook lores. It's so versatile and with the low casting values, you could easily cast every spell, every phase with teclis. That means your skaven opponent has to decide between dispelling vaul's or flames of the phoenix and letting everything else go (don't even bother chasing IF, just focus on making sure you throw enough dice to succed on each spell). Keep a lvl2 death mage in teclis' unit if you want someone handy to spirit leech his big mounts.

You should be back to shooting him in no time after destroying that banner in turn 1 or 2...

Other than that, small units of shooters are good for the versatility of hunting things like warpfire throwers and jezzail teams, rather than big blocks which are template bait. Once the banner is wiped out, a normal elven force should work just fine.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 02, 2011 7:25 pm 
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Lore of shadow. Miasma + pit of shades. If literally kills everything.

If you want to be cheeky, take a lvl with miasma as well. -2d3 is pretty ridic. For me and the way I've recently got my HE army to play they way I want. There are two key lores lvl4 w/ silver wand and shadow. lvl 2 w/seer staff enchanting blades and glittering robes. At 2500 I have a death or beast prince.

Shadow makes the most of our S3, while the two metal spells make us more hitty and more survivable.

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