The 9th Age/Tactics/Dread Elves
- 1 Why play Dread Elves
- 2 Tactics
- 3 Unit Analysis
- 4 Magic Items
Why play Dread Elves
The tactics are current as of second edition.
Killer Instinct Close combat attacks re-roll natural to-wound rolls of 1. All of your elves to a model have this special rule. Dread Elves are scary close combat monsters because of this rule, anyone unlucky enough to be in melee with you will be getting trashed.
Death Trance Close combat attacks gain +1 to wound during the first round of combat, models with multiple instances of death trance instead get +1 to wound for all rounds of combat. Combined with above, your elves are destroying in melee. Because this is a modifier to the wound roll, not to strength or resilience, even if your opponent is resilience 10 you're going from 6s to wound to 5s.
Scent of Blood The model gains Frenzy and Fearless in close combat. Only available on your raptor models and some monsters makes them more likely to not pursue after winning combat and being caught out. It will also help them not lose combat from fear, which is unlikely due to your high discipline elves, but ensures you won't lose for any stupid reasons.
Fleet Commander Given to a Dread Prince & Captain instead of a cult. The model gains Kraken's Hide and for each character with this rule in the army, a single unit of corsairs may be upgraded with vanguard. Your already quick elves can move up even faster than they should and Kraken's Hide makes your elven characters far tankier than they should be allowed to.
Beast Master Given to a Dread Prince & Captain instead of a cult. Discipline tests taken by Krakens and Hydras within 12" of this model are minimized and each round pick one monster nearby to re-roll failed to-hit rolls in melee. Bring 1 or 2 to buff up your monsters.
Kraken's Hide The bearer gains +2 armor (only +1 if mounted). Your characters can have a 2+ on foot before any armor enchantments or other defensive buffs. Your elves are far tankier than any elf should be allowed to be.
Repeater Crossbow Your standard shooting weapon, pretty good range, not as good range as a normal crossbow, but 2 shots and no unwieldy holding it back. Walk up quick and start shooting with your nutty elven to-hit for a 29" threat range.
Repeater Handbow Shorter range and no AP, but retains the 2 shots and gains quick-to-fire and march-and-shoot. Available on your tanky corsairs and characters, more flexible than the crossbow but weaker when directly compared.
Cult General If the general belongs to a cult and your army includes no models from any other cult than all dread legionnaires, repeater auxiliaries, and corsairs gain the same cult as the general. Putting a cult onto your core troops can be strong, but generally not as strong as the unit choices you're blocked from taking.
Cult Rivalry A model cannot belong to more than one cult and characters with a cult cannot join a unit with any models belonging to a different cult (characters with no cult can still join units with a cult).
- Cult of Nabh The model gains hatred and loses killer instinct. Depends on the model, but your elves will usually be hitting on 2+ anyways, so the killer instinct rerolls to wounding is usually better. They also adds Occult Spells to wizards.
- Cult of Yema The model loses killer instinct and gains strider, +1 advance, and +2 march (including mounts). Lets foot elves move 6"/12". When you need fast, this is the way to go.
- Cult of Cadaron The model gains +1 to-hit with shooting weapons in short range. The model only loses killer instinct if it also has shooting weapons. If you want to run a cult army, this is the best choice for a gunline.
- Cult of Olaron Discipline tests taken by a dread prince with this cult is minimized, all other models just gain +1 discipline. A good general choice, but is usually outclassed by other options.
Crippling Fatigue Hexes an enemy unit, all failed to-wound rolls against the target get to be re-rolled in melee (boosted, shooting instead). Gives you the means to double down on killing a unit quickly.
Dread Prince A wild number of attacks at an amazing offensive skill and incredible agility makes him scary to look at, now add in the dread elf options to make him stupid tanky and the normal elf options for killing everything and you have one of the best characters in the game. But don't just think that you can throw him anywhere, he is still an elf with a pitiful resilience and bog-standard HP. If you play smart with him, there is no reason he won't do plenty of work.
Captain The kid prince with all the same options but with mildly worse attacks, offensive/defensive skill, and agility. Play smart with him and he will make his points back. A BSB isn't necessarily required for your high discipline elves, but this is where you would take one.
Cult Priest Your cheapest character and exists to buff your cult units. Worse combat stats and fewer options for staying alive, but will either add Killer Instinct back into the cult unit he's in or be placed on a Divine Altar. He is must choose a cult. so know where you're going to put him and plan accordingly.
Oracle Your spellcaster, a great selection of magic paths and irresistible will makes this caster a pain in the ass for your opponent. He still has killer instinct so he can hold his own in combat, it'll take more than any common flankers to assassinate your wizard.
Assassin Same price as a captain but exists to murder in melee and don't care for Cult Rivalry. You will be giving him paired weapons, beyond that, it's up to you how much you want to blow on him. Has a few options specific to him:
- Path of Bloody Murder: Gains (Cult of Nabh), Distracting, and Aegis (4+ vs melee). Makes your assassin a close combat monster, but won't help him kill anything.
- Path of Silent Death: Gains (Cult of Caderon) and specialized throwing weapons. Makes your assassin scary to even be near and he will additionally count towards raiders.
- Master Poisoner: apply to all close combat and shooting attacks, but not attacks with enchanted weapons. Nightshade: attacks always wound on 3+, helps your assassin chip tanky models. Wolfsbane: AP is set to 10, now your assassin can chew through any elite unit. Bloodroot: +1 str/ap and multiple wounds (2 vs characters), this is the one to take out the enemy general.
Elven Horse Quick, tanks up your character, and better agility than most army's core troops. A great choice for any character. If he is cult of Caderon, he loses out on some armor but gains light troops.
Pegasus Slower than the horse, but can fly. Less armor, but bumps your res up to 4. You won't be able to hide the character but is handy for a mobile character of any sort.
Raptor Slower than the horse or Pegasus, but most certainly worth it. Attacks on par with your elite infantry and a boost to res to boot. Watch out for frenzy drawing your character into a bad situation and don't plan on your raptor hitting anything first.
Raptor Chariot Look above, now add another raptor, more health, and impact hits. You won't be able to hide your character anywhere, but you'll move fast enough to murder things if you plan well.
Manticore A monster to ride on. Slightly faster than the raptor chariot with better attacks and the same downsides. It's up to you which one you run with, the manticore and the raptor chariot fulfill the same role, it really comes down to which models you like more.
Dragon It's a dragon, does what you expect. Pretty strong for what he is and decent value. If you play it be aware that every shooting weapon on the other side of the table will be looking at it and plan accordingly.
Dread Legionnaires Better offensive/defensive skill than most core and move at a significantly faster pace. Spears will get the most bang for your buck unless you're planning on throwing them at elite infantry to make use of parry.
Corsairs Your kickass elf pirates. Legionnaires with a +1 more armour Instead of a shield. Give them paired weapons to dump truck everyone else, only bother with the repeater handbows if you want some tanky mobile shooters and don't want to bother with dark raiders. Sounds pretty great right? Well, they are Base 160 for 10 + 15ppm before you invest in making them useful. But your buff murder infantry with vanguard is worth the price.
Blades of Nabh (Cult of Nabh) 3 attacks a model, making full of use of hatred and poisoned attacks. They are scary core troops in melee, the only issue is getting them into melee. Only 3 res and no other defenses of any kind. Make sure you have the means to get them into melee if you're going to run them.
Core + Raiders
Repeater Auxiliaries The repeater crossbow is a very strong shooting choice and auxiliaries are pretty spammable. Take shields if your opponent has shooting at all so you can out trade them.
Dark Raiders(Cult of Cadaron) Your misdirection annoyance cavalry. They still be given repeater crossbow so they can full-power shooting from stupid angles.
Raven Cloaks (Cult of Cadaron) +1 to hit on your auxiliaries and comparable defenses. If you want a full gunline, this is the way to go. With scout and the options for melee weapons they can be surprisingly scary flankers.
Tower Guard (Cult of Olaron) Bodyguards. Two attacks a model and halberds make them scary. They will be hitting most other units on 2+ and str 4 will help them grind through other units. If the general is Cult of Olaron one unit of tower guard can take 2 standards up to 100 points, essentially another BSB.
Dread Knights Each base is essentially the same stats as three Dread Judges. They are expensive but will make their points back with their nutty amount of attacks and maneuverable unit size.
Raptor Chariot Cheaper than a unit of dread knights but gets you essentially two dread knights with impact hits and repeater crossbows. A handy unit and certainly a strong choice, but it will be out on its own soaking up a lot of shots.
Harpies Dirt cheap and fast, defenseless and insignificant. Don't expect them to do much, but make great meatshields by being in inconvenient positions for your opponent.
Dread Judges (Cult of Nabh) Pretty buff elves with lethal strike and multiple wounds (2 vs standard). Most standard models will only have 1 HP anyways, but lethal strike makes them rough to fight and scary for some armies (WDG).
Dancers of Yema (Cult of Yema) Incredibly fast, weapon master with an incredible number of weapons, and aegis (4+ in melee). Get them into melee and they will tarpit until the game ends.
Medusa (Cult of Yema) A single model of Cult of Yema with a good amount of attacks, very fast, and will not break in combat. They make great support units, they cast deceptive glamour as a bound spell and give bonuses to friendly units in the same combat. Give them halberds to make the most of their attacks and watch out for supernal, if combat doesn't go their way they will crumble.
Dark Acolytes Small units of fast cavalry with aegis 4+ and wizard conclave with great support spells. Run them vanilla to buff/hex other units and support the rest of your army, or give them Cult of Yema to change their spell selection into being scary damage dealers.
Divine Altar A large support tank. Pitiful armor for its size but Aegis (4+) and res 5 will keep it alive. It also buffs all units within 12" with Aegis (6+). Having one of these will make all your stupid defenseless units have a chance against anything. This aegis can be swapped out for a turn to maximize charge rolls or give units death trance. A flexible support unit and will be a boon in any list.
Hunting Chariot A quick chariot with a harpoon on it. This is the biggest "fuck you" to any monster your opponent could possibly field, especially flying monsters. A dread reaper is more flexible, but if your opponent wants to monster mash this is a great choice.
Dread Reaper A flexible war machine, can fire 1 strong shot with multiple wounds or fire 6 weaker shots. No matter what it's pointed at it will do the job.
There are only two things in The Menagerie and they are better reviewed together. Your options are the Kraken and the Hydra. Both are gigantic beasts that cost around the range of 400 points each. They have the same movement and defensive stats, but the Kraken will be harder to hit with distracting and hard target and the Hydra is more survivable with Fortitude (4+). The Kraken has fewer attacks than the Hydra, but the hits are at strength 7 and multiple wounds (d3). The Hydra has more attacks at a decent strength and a breath attack to harass nearby enemies. The choice is up to you which one to run, the Kraken is better at killing big single models, it's a monster hunting monster, the Hydra is better for stomping big units.
Death's Kiss on foot and great weapons only. +1 str/ap and multiple wounds (2). A great choice, will be very consistent for your character and will scare anything from getting too close to him.
Transcendence The weapon gains lethal strike, but that's not why you take it. For each unsaved wound inflicted by this weapon it gains +1 str/ap for the rest of the game (capped at +2). A win more option, your already scary characters will only get scarier as the game goes on.
Moraec's Reaper The wielder's attacks are always at least 4, str at least 4, AP at least 3, gains death trance, and for each unsaved wound this model inflicts you gain a veil token. A strong choice for its cost and works great on your spellcasters to make them scary in combat, your characters will have better attacks/str/and ap than the weapon offers.
Terrifying Visage Shields, the bearer gains distracting. Your characters already have great armor, making them unlikely to be hit is the perfect defensive bonus.
Seal of the Republic Does nothing at the start of the game, but for each unsaved wound the wearer deals in melee they gain +1 armor for the rest of the game. Another win more option, but you need the armor for first turn shooting, not for turn 5 combat.
Banner of Gar Daecos all friendly units in the same combat as the wielder gains death trance. Helps your flank chargers break the enemy on first turn.
Banner of Blood models in the bearer's unit gain devastating charge (+1 attack). Incredibly powerful for obvious reasons. You should plan on breaking your enemies on the charge and this banner will make that happen.
Academy Banner +1 AP during the first round of combat. Elves tend to have trouble punching through tougher models, but this is essentially a better rending standard to help you do just that.
Midnight Cloak The wearer has devastating charge (multiple wounds (d3)) and Aegis (3+ vs ranged attacks). Helps your character stay alive out on the field and helps them murder when they close in.
Pendant of Disdain The bearer gains Aegis (4+ vs strength 5 or more). Situational, but is the biggest middle finger to armies like ogre khans.
Ring of Shadows all models in the bearer's unit gain hard target and enemy attacks suffer -1 offensive skill. Helps your blades of nabh get into melee.
Beastmaster's Lash Friendly gigantic models nearby get to maximize the number of stomps roll. Enemy gigantic models minimize their stomp rolls. If you even have one monster, this item is worth it.
Wandering Familiar The bearer can drop the familiar up to 6" away and cast spells from the familiar's location. Your wizard can hide behind obscuring terrain and blast the shit out of your opponent from around the corner.
Amulet of Spite Before each friendly magic phase you gain a magic die, before each enemy magic phase you discard a magic die. Helps your magic do its thing better, you shouldn't worry too much about losing out on a single die for dispells, pick one spell your opponent has and throw all dice at that one. Will help you blast magic phases to the next level.
Elixer of Shadows one use only, assassin only. for one round of combat the bearer gains divine attacks and rerolls failed to wound rolls in melee, but loses 1 health at the end of the phase. Helps your assassin do their jobs faster at the cost of killing them a little.
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