As recent posts here will have shown, I am far into Age of Sigmar at the moment (Sylvaneth force going together right now!), but we are still in the latter stages of a Fantasy Battle campaign and a new campaign will be starting soon.
I have yet to decide whether to do HIgh Elves or Dark Elves in the new campaign… but just in case it is Dark Elves, I thought the odd reinforcement here and there might not go amiss. I don’t want to spend too much time or energy here, as I really want to concentrate on Age of Sigmar at the moment, but the odd unit here and there won’t hurt and will get me away from my current 2,000 point mono-build force.
Being elves, Dark Elves tend to have very expensive units, so when a bunch of Harpies popped up on eBay, I swooped in – the idea of a chaff/cheap disruption unit for an elf force is quite novel for me.
I had originally intended to go for a block of ten, but twenty were going cheap on eBay, so I went for all of them and was trying to decide whether to have a block of twenty or two blocks of ten. Then I had an epiphany.
That is completely the wrong way to go with Harpies. Twenty of them comes to 300 points, which is quite an investment, especially for a unit that has no armour, is Toughness 3 and cannot benefit from ranks. So, I decided to go the other way – have multiple blocks of five.
This makes them far easier to fit into an army (I imagine I will typically go for one or two units which, at 75 points a throw, is easy to slip in) and won’t cause too much concern if (when) they get annihilated. This will allow them to be used as true spoiler units. Most enemies are not going to be too worried about them, but they are decent enough to add a Flanking bonus in an existing combat (and mobile enough to get there), can disrupt formations trying to march, and remain potent enough to cause trouble to any lone war machine or wizard.
However, they can be taken further…
If a wizard is buried in a unit, they will have the ability to sweep in, charge the entire unit but concentrate two Harpies on that wizard – together, they will have a decent enough chance to take him out (Initiative 5 means they will likely be striking first against, well, everything but elves) and even if they don’t and just get hammered by the rest of the enemy, all I lose is 75 points. Maybe they just knock one wound off the wizard – fine, next turn the second wave gets in.
Perhaps they get lucky and do not break after the first round of combat. In that case, a 75 point unit is holding up something likely far more costly. If it is a war machine they have charged, they are stopping it firing for at least a turn, even if they are finally beaten back.
Those are the plans, anyway. My Dark Elves need something to divert the enemy away from the heavy hitters in the force, and these guys are going to be at least part of the answer…