The Might of the High Elves

This is an army I have been working on recently – High Elves for Warhammer.

These started off as a handful of models for Warhammer Quest and a bit of a joke. I did not want the traditional GW ‘white with blue’ uniforms and so went with white and pink, simply because I thought pink was a bit elfy/girly, and therefore fitting. I gooped them up (used the Magic Goop for shading – 1 part Ronseal Quick Dry Walnut Wood Varnish, three parts water), and they looked alright. A bit dirty, but alright.

When I came into possession of a few High Elves from the Island of Blood set, I used the same paint scheme, but split the painting into two cycles – do all the silver, white and other main colours, goop the model, then do the pink with a seperate red wash. The effect was much ‘cleaner’ and much more in keeping with High Elves.

I have had a few games with these guys so far, and they very much get my vote. Extremely fragile, and always outnumbered, they can act as a very surgical army, picking apart an enemy piece by piece. They remind me of nothing more than Craftworld Eldar in 40k. Against Vampire Counts and Skaven, they so far have an unblemished record (so I am probably due for a big fall soon…).

Anyway, on to the army itself…


The Sea Guard form my core or base line. Armed with Spears and Bows, they can pelt the enemy as he closes in and are not to shabby at seeing him off as he gets close. The trick here is the High Elves ability to fight in one more rank than normal, so in a unit of 24 models arranged in 4 ranks of 6, every man can fight with his spear and with the Always Strikes First rule, even a low Strength elf is going to ruin many people’s day.

I have a second unit on the way, though I need some more elves to pad it out, and a movement tray.


Incidentally, I changed the way I do bases for this army. I fancied something a bit different, so I picked up a box of GW’s ‘snow.’ This, on top of a sanded base that is painted black and drybrushed grey, sets the High Elves off very nicely, and seems to really bring the pink out.


My other core choice are the Reavers. At first, I could not really see the point of them – lightly armoured, they would never see close combat and so were left prancing around with their five bows. I only used them to begin with to fill in the points, but I quickly saw how they could be used.

Their Vanguard move gets them right across the table before the game starts and, from there, you can play merry havoc in your opponent’s back line, forcing nearby units to walk rather than march (giving more time for your bows to do their work) and picking off lone warmachines and wizards.


The last ‘core’ unit are my Archers. These tend only to appear in larger games, as the Sea Guard are a better multi-purpose unit (more expensive too, of course). However, these Archers do have ‘proper’ long bows, meaning they can outrange the Sea Guard. Really need to pick some more of these up.


Leading the force, I have always gone for a Level 4 Archmage on an Elven Steed (keeps him out of trouble!). The High Elves get some really nasty spells (the Firey Convocation springs to mind, a Strength 4 hit on every model in a unit, and it keeps on burning every Magic Phase), as well as some useful magic items. The Book of Hoeth is a good one, allowing you to re-roll a single dice on every casting and dispel attempt.


The Archmage is usually backed up either by a Level 2 Mage or…


A Dragonmage! This guy is a little bit tasty. For a start, he is the only Hero I have seen in any army that can take a dragon (all the others require Lords). He is a Level 2 Fire Mage, so while he rains down Fireballs and the like, the dragon is swooping about and laying waste to entire units with its breath (I have never got this model into close combat, as the fire attacks are generally enough).  The icing on the cake is the Gem of Sunfire, a 20 point magic item that gives you a +1 bonus to wound on all fire attacks your model makes – including his mount. So, your dragon drops next to a bunch of zombies and breathes on them, Strength 4 vs. Toughness 3 – but with that +1 bonus, you are killing them on a 2+.

However, the thought has occured that a Gem of Sunfire on an Archmage with Firey Convocation could be just plain rude…


The Dragon Knights are among my favourite models of this army, but they are very expensive in points and I have been a bit shy in risking them. However, they hit like an absolute hammer (it is the Lances and two Attacks per model that does it), have a 2+ armour save and, with the Banner of the World Dragon, a 2+ Ward save against anything magical. The banner also makes the Dragonmage a bit steadier in battle too.

That said, what this unit really needs is a third rank – they would all get to fight, being High Elves, and 45-odd attacks with lances on the charge is going to sweep away some pretty large units.


They are usually led by this chap, a Noble with a Star Lance. Cheap enough, yet capable of knocking off some major characters on a lucky charge. As an aside, I really like this model, and it is a good illustration on how far GW have come with their plastics these days.


From the Island of Blood set, I also have a Noble on a Griffon but, due to my love of having as many Mages as possible in the army, I haven’t been able to squeeze him into an army yet. However, I think this chap is going to be a very effective wizard/war machine hunter.


The other elite unit I have been mucking about with are the Swordmasters. I desperately need to add another rank or two to these guys, as the 2 Attacks a piece with Great Weapons can seriously mess up any attacker. Haven’t found a suitable magic weapon to give to the leader yet, as a model that Always Strikes First with a Great Weapon does not really need magic to help him…


The Lion Chariot I tend to use as a ‘fill in’ unit, to bring an army up to its points level. That said, it is a refreshing change to use a chariot use animals can actually fight effectively (the crew are not too bad either with their big axes).


Finally, the latest addition to the army, and a model I have yet to use in anger. On picking up the Phoenix model, I spent a long time humming and harring as to whether I should go fire or frost, mounted character or not. As tempting as the resurrecting Hero is, I went with unmounted to frost to a) keep the cost down and b) I really liked this bird’s frost ability; it goes screaming headlong into the biggest unit of ‘standard’ troops it can find (zombies, skeletons or clanrats in my case) and bogs them down. A unit in contact with the Frostheart Phoenix has a -1 penalty applied to its Strength. Models that are normally Strength 3 can suddenly no longer hurt the Toughness 6 Phoenix.

Now, granted, they have ranks bonuses and banners for me to worry about, but a bit of help from the Dragonmage or Noble on Griff0n should sort that out…

Anyway, those are my High Elves as they stand right now. I need to get hold of more Swordmasters, Sea Guard and (maybe) another rank of Dragon knights, and I would not mind trying out the Bolt Throwers (especially the sky chariot ones that allow you to move and fire in the same turn…), and I already have a mounted Battle Standard Bearer waiting in the wings. Just need to clear my painting table first!



One Response to “The Might of the High Elves”

  1. The Sky Turns Black… | A Tabletop Gamer's Diary Says:

    […] be able to resist taking them – and he would have been right, as I was dying to try out the Frostheart Phoenix for the first time and, well, Dragonmages are just cool all over. However, I did not fancy them […]

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