Saturday, April 14, 2012

Email In: Picking a Fantasy Army

Feliks writes:

"Hi there, 

I've been avid reader and fan of your blog for some months now (after stumbling upon it on a random google search) and really enjoy your articles - being humorous - and hugely useful.

 I am a 40k player by definition, but reading over your Dark Elf army lists has really inspired me recently to take up Fantasy as I am intrigued by the Magic phase and other aspects of it. So I bought the rulebook, read it cover to cover etc. and have decided I'm ready to start properly. I was wondering whether you could help me to do this; I have seen your two articles on Daemons and WoC and did find them very interesting, but I think they were aimed at a more noob level? - At least that was what the comments seemed to reflect. 

Basically, I am asking for your advice/help in what to collect and what to buy for it, perhaps an army list up to 2000, with a 1000 one in between, would help? I would really appreciate it, especially if you included some basic tactics on how to play the build. I do pretty much play to win, so any army is ok and my price range is infinite (within reason). I only really ask for a couple of restrictions; no Tomb Kings and no Vampire Counts (I just detest self-rezzing armies probably stemming due to my hatred of Necrons) and I would like it to be an army capable of dominating in Magic because of my new found interest in this phase. 

One final thing is if the army could be good, competitive but not ridiculous like the one-turn win possible capable of war machine O&G armies (I think this happened at Adepticon?), anyway, I would really appreciate it.

On a side note; my local gauntlet seems to be a lot of Lizardmen, followed by mediocre amounts of Wood Elves, High Elves, Warriors of Chaos, Dark Elves, a little Orcs and Goblins and a fair amount of Tomb Kings coupled with a small amount of Vampire Counts.

Many thanks and I would reeally appreciate it, even if just a brief email back to me :)



Thanks for the kind words Feliks.  If you want to dominate the Magic phase, but still be able to throw down in close combat you have a few choices.  High Elves, Dark Elves, Lizardmen, Daemons, and Vampire Counts.  

Vampire Counts is out since you don't want undead.

High Elves are pretty good.  The army is relatively cheap to build, and their magic (with Teclis) is among the best in the game, especially with a Phoenix Guard bunker.  Sword Masters are also among the best fighting units in the game.  The upside to this army is you can build them a bunch of different ways and still be competitive.

Dark Elves are probably better than High Elves at magic, unless the HE have Teclis, in which case it will probably be edge HE.  Dark Elves' good combat units are among the most cost efficient in the game.  Unlike High Elves, the Dark Elves have a lot more dead entries in their army book.  I should also add that High Elves beat Dark Elves in head to head fights usually.  So if your local meta is heavy High Elves (thanks IoB!) you might want to avoid the DE.  However, if your locality is is a mixed bag like yours sounds, DE are pretty great.  This is a bit biased for me, but I'd say that DE have a much cooler aesthetic than High Elves.  Evil Elves with a dark color scheme are a lot cooler in my opinion than your stock High Elves.

Lizards are fairly insane in the magic phase but less so in combat.  Honestly, they aren't so much better than High Elves or Dark Elves at magic to make up for their lesser combat abilities.  That said, they have a cool aesthetic imo, and a list with skinks, temple guard, salamanders and Slann etc is pretty competitive.  Personally, I would only favor these over High Elves if you prefer the Lizards' aesthetic more.  I would say HE are near the top to Tier 1 armies, and Lizards are near the bottom of Tier 1.  They are both tops, but HE are a pip or two better.

Daemons are pretty sweet, unfortunately they are a bit of a monobuild.  You add a big unit of Horrors, Tzeentch wizard with Master of Sorcery (or two) to give them a 4++ and Skulltaker to keep people from trying to CC them to death.  A unit of Bloodletters with a cheap Khorne Herald is your beater unit, and you spice it with Flamers of Tzeentch and/or Flesh Hounds.  It's a competitive build for sure, but its a fairly linear strategy and you might get bored of it.  And unfortunately the Nurgle and Slaanesh stuff is pretty much uniformly unplayable.  If you enjoy the Chaos aesthetic, and don't mind a mono-build these guys are more than capable of taking down a tournament.

Lastly, Skaven.  I know I didn't mention them before.  Mostly because they can't dominate the magic phase.  Don't get me wrong, they have really good magic, but their magic can't really compete with the above armies.  They make up for being tier 2 magic with awesome warmachine shooting, and very cost effective horde units with excellent leadership.  I sounds like a broken record, but if the rat horde backed up by warp lightning warmachines blowing holes in the enemy sounds like a cool look, go for 'em.

In conclusion, the above mentioned armies are all capable of putting in a very strong magic phase, and also throw down in combat.  Which is why they are tier 1 armies, in my opinion.  I would pick the army from that list which you are most visually attracted to, because you have a lot to paint and you might as well enjoy painting them.  You won't go wrong with any of them.

One last thing I want to mention is that warmachine armies (Empire, OnG, Dwarves) tend to have weaker magic phases to balance out their epic shooting phases.  If you want to play a 'balanced' army that might be slightly weaker at magic but can shoot cannons and fight close combat, Empire and OnG are fun.  Personally, shooting cannons doesn't appeal to me as much as dominating the magic phase, so I don't go for these, but you may.

After you pick an army write me back and I'll give you some places to start with purchasing units and building a list.

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