Monday, January 16, 2012

Email In: Dark Elf Match Up Breakdowns

Daniel writes,

“Starting out my DE army im currently looking at either running a chariot list close to your own for 2.5k or a mish of witches and black guards and more of a foot aproach, so I figured id ask how does your chariot list do vs warriors of chaos, vampires, ogres and tomb kings? :/

Id appreciate any response, thanks in advance and keep up the good job i allways enjoy reading your articles when I come across them.”

My Chariots Are Fight

Reply: Thanks for the praise, Daniel.  It’s been a while since I’ve posted my Dark Elves Chariot list.  The 2,500 point list is here, and the 3,000 point version is here.  I have a few tweaks to them since I posted them, but those are more or less the deal until next tourney season rolls around and I post the current lists.

In regards to specific match ups, it really comes down to the different styles of those army books.  Obviously, the match up with a Chosen Deathstar list is different than a Marauder horde list, but there are a few generalities for each.

Warriors of Chaos:  This is generally a good match up for the chariots.  They don’t have much shooting, and their movement is generally slower than mine.  This means that most of the time I will get the charge off, and usually the desired multi-charge.  The lack of shooting means that quite often my Hydras and Chariots will reach combat unscathed, whereas my shooting and magic will soften their units up somewhat.  Hellcannons can bring some shooting, of course, but generally blast template shots don’t scare my list since I don’t have big blocks to be vulnerable to them.  Additionally, 8th Edition really hurt WoC magic, and really buffed DE magic so that is a big advantage that further punishes them for their lack of ranged attacks.

Vampires:  I’ll be honest, I haven’t played against the new book yet so I don’t know how differently they play now.  My initial impressions are that the fighty characters are rather scary since they have easy ways to get ASF and have equal or higher initiative compared to our fighty characters.  Their large Core units aren’t too scary since Hydras and chariots kill them by the handful.  As always, the key to the match up is killing the casters who can bring back their minions as quickly as possible, since they can tarpit chariots easily.  I believe we still have the advantage in the magic phase and their army is low Initiative, so our Shadow/Death Magic stuff will hurt them badly.  With Grave Guard losing regeneration, we don’t have anything to fear from them, nor any of their other elite units.

Ogre Kingdoms:  This wasn’t a great match up with their old book, and it isn’t any better now.  Why?  Because Ogres are essentially chariots.  They have impact hits, medium movement distance, high toughness, high strength etc.  They play like a chariot list plays, but with the bonus of having better combat resolution bonuses.  The best thing you can do if they have a large deathstar type unit is to tie it up for as long as possible with an invincible-dreadlord and kill the rest of their army.  If they have a more balanced approach, you have to hope you get the charges off and are able to multi-charge their units.  Using your fast cavalry to redirect their units will be the key to ensuring you get combat to work out the way you want it to.  The one advantage we have is that DE magic is better than theirs, and we can use that to swing things in our favor.  Additionally, regeneration is one of their best tricks, and our Hydras can mitigate that nicely.  That said, this is far from a favorable match up.

Tomb Kings:  This is very dependent on their build.  They can run really shooty, or chariots, or heavy on monstrous creatures.  The shooty lists don’t bother us since we have high toughness, good armor and a lot of wounds.  Their chariot list is a lot like the Ogre match up, except theirs are more numerous, but not as good as ours.  I don’t particularly fear their chariot list as much as I fear a good Ogre list.  Their monsters can be a massive problem, since they don’t really fear impact hits, and their Sphinx monster eats Hydras for breakfast and is nearly impossible to kill.  Their magic isn’t bad, either.  In my experience, if you can win in the magic phase you can de-buff their monsters enough with Shadow to make the fights in your favor it will go a long way towards winning.  Unfortunately, there are those games where magic isn’t effective and that Sphinx monster eats your whole army.

I hope this breakdown helps you out.  If you have any specific questions or comments please feel free to comment. 



  1. thats a nice breakdown thank you :)
    with the chariot list is mindrazor still the big spell to get off? on what then, a chariot/hydra? or am I better of going for the debuffs?
    maybe swap the magic team to a lvl4 death and a lvl2 shadow for some purple sun tricks?

  2. The great thing about the Lore of Shadow is the "big spell" changes depending on your opponent. With Death, if you're against Elves, they won't be falling into too many Purple Suns. With Shadow, if you're matched up against high T or high Armor save enemies, Mind Razor is a blowout. If you're against hordes, then Pit of Shades becomes a blowout. Heck, depending on the situation, Miasma can be a blowout.