Saturday, December 3, 2011

Email in: Dark Elf Cauldron Advice

Toramouse writes...

"I have been reading your blog for several months now and am really enjoying it, especially the stupidity on the internet section which has taught me a lot of stuff. I know you have done many stupidity articles on dark elves, but i think i have found a gem for you to mine on warseer labelled "Do i need a Cauldron in my Dark Elf army".

 It involves a noobish question and a variety of answers before going into a huge argument between a veteran warseer poster and a new one. It was a hugely entertaining read for me, but i would like a bit of feedback on the posts so i can get a better idea about the army, as i am looking to start dark elves and every bit of advise from a good dark elf player helps.

Yours sincerely,

I painted this
I'm not going to go into the abyss of Warseer today, though that particular thread is quite high on the stupid, but I do have some general thoughts about Cauldrons I'll share with you.

Cauldron buffs scale.  The bigger your unit is, the more benefit that unit catches from a cauldron.  So the first thing to remember is, an MSU list, or a list with lots of singleton units (like my beloved chariots n' Hydras) doesn't gain so much relatively speaking.  So the first thing to consider is, "am I playing a list that benefits GREATLY from a Cauldron?"  If you have a Corsair deathstar or playing some god awful Executioner list, or a Witch Elf list, you just might. 

I could see a Cauldron hanging with a triple/double Blackguard list but herein lies the problem with that strategy: If I have three units of BG walking across the board, you can just focus on the two units that don't grab the buff and boss them around.  So really, it's not gaining you a ton.  I know there is better stuff for a BG list to spend its points on that add a lot more.

Either you go with a basket with all your eggs in it backed up by a Cauldron, or you play multiple Cauldrons a la my Witch Elf list.  So it's either one giant unit with one cauldron, or a couple mid-size units with a couple of Cauldrons.  I think the latter option is better, hence why I use it in my Witch Elves.  However, remember that if you are dropping all your Hero level points on Cauldrons, you are going to be magic light.  So neither option is completely good.

You are just starting a Dark Elf army so lemme give you some specific advice: skip the Cauldron unless you have a really good plan for it.  Obviously, if you are playing beer n' pretzels battleforce lists, do whatever you want.  But if you're looking to be at least semi-competitive, come up with a list idea first.  Chances are, any competitive idea you come up with will be better off spending its Hero points on level two casters.  Remember: Dark Elf sorceresses can generate their own power dice so having a 3rd caster doesn't leave you in a diminishing returns scenario other books suffer from in regards to Hero magic.

When you come up with a list idea, send it over and I'll give you some feedback.  But for now, hold off on a Cauldron.  The same amount of $$$ will buy you a Hydra, and buying as many of those as you are allowed to play at your chosen points level is the optimal purchasing decision.

Anyone else have any advice to offer Toramouse?

1 comment:

  1. I actually like Cauldrons a lot. Well, I like to have *one* in my list. Thing is, BSB is extremely handy to have, and I don't really like that option on a Chariot, since oftentimes the chariot will be away from the rest of my forces, and be unable to use his bubble of awesome (reroll leadership checks) on everyone.

    However, if the BSB is behind the rest of the army, the Warriors and Black Guard, (as well as the Hydras and Charriots while advancing) get to make use of the BSB. It also makes the Black Guard hit much harder (I run them in 7x3 w/ Dreadlord) and also more survivable, whichever I need.

    Thus far I've used a Chariot BSB w/ other chariots, and the Cauldron as BSB about equally in 8th, and the Cauldron has been by far the more useful.

    That being said, it's the sort of 'deathstar' Nike was talking about, and the Cauldron *does* have a specific plan/role in the list. His advice is good, listen to him - I think the majority of Dark Elf players won't want to use one (competitively speaking), when all is said and done.