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November Releases - Firepower Elves & Strategy Article

Posted November 24th, 2008 at 05:27 AM by NamibianScaper
Last month we released three Squads of Warriors of Ashra and the utility Elves--Ulginesh & Emirroon.

This month we finally gave the Elves their muscle:

Arkmer
Chardris
Jorhdawn

General Comments: These three Elves are outstanding. They don't look that good compared on paper next to some other units such as Q9, Q10, Nilfheim, Kaemon Awa, or when compared with Squads such as 4th Mass or Stingers. You have to play with them, see deeper, and then realize how good they are. More comments after reviews.

Arkmer: Arkmer is the Einar coloured Elf. Since you can't see his pointy ears and you can cut off his staff, his sculpt can easily be used as a custom medieval spy for Einar's army. (Think M2TW.) Anyway, his colors look great. I'm glad they got away from Ullar greens for the Elf Wizards after Morsbane, Acolarh, and Ulginesh. (You can't really confuse those three anyway.) Arkmer is cheap, tough when by his Elf friends, and packs a 4 dice normal attack. Out of all the Elf Wizards he's near the top of anyone's list.

Chardris: Chardris is awesome. He's got a fireball in his hand. Someone commented somewhere that figures should not "show their powers." I couldn't disagree more. Bring on the power displays. Chardris ripped off Utgar's wardrobe so he should be able to infiltrate their army. Look for that to happen in a comic book or something. Some people say he's low on defense and expensive. You have to agree but two things make the difference: 6 life and Ulginesh. I'll get to Ulginesh later but 6 life on a small figure like him is great. It's much better to me than 3 defense and 4 life, or even 5 life. Guys with low life can get plunked away by Squads if they roll bad defense while a guy with high life doesn't care. He's still alive the next round to hit back. Before I played with Chardris I really thought his max attack should have been 6. After playing with him I think 5 is fine and it's nice that he starts out with an attack of 2.

Jorhdawn: It's a little bit of a stretch but I thnk Jorhdawn follows Vydar's color scheme just as Arkmer/Einar, Chardris/Utgar, Emirroon/Jandar, and Kyntela Gwyn/Aquilla (it's the hair! ). I also very much appreciate seeing her special power in the sculpt like Chardris'. Jorhdawn is great, absolutely great. Her 7 range is devastating. She tackles most common Squads before they can get in range. If they get in range and she takes a wound or two, with 6 life she can stay right where she's at and do it again. Her ability is not that easily countered if you are a little agressive with her and position Ulginesh well. Even if your opponent does spread out all of his or her units, Jorhdawn can make taking high ground less attractive. In a recent game, there were three hexes of high ground. I had a choice--cluster my Stingers on those three hexes to get height advantage, or spread them out to avoid the Rain of Flame. The advantage became Jorhdawn's in any case. My only complaint is I would have liked to see her get a true area of effect attack that didn't worry about targeting a figure or even clear sight but I suppose that would have been too powerful and/or complicated.

Ulginesh part 2: I previously thought of Ulginesh as allowing you to waste turns doing silly things like try a Negation every turn (Morsbane) move Elves around way too much (Emirroon) or always keep your hopes of Home Tree Aura alive (Acolarh) for free. I thought wrong. The real power of Ulginesh is combining two of the three attacks of the figures listed above, every turn.

One of my primary concerns with the Elf Wizards was having the ability to make a good army for a low cost. These Elves solve that problem.

The starting block is Ulginesh (150). Without Ulginesh there is no competitive Elf Wizard army.

Next you choose at least two out of the three Elves above as your firepower combo. This will depend on what kind of army you'll face and what kind of map you'll be on. In most situations it would be best to take all 3.

I value Chardris' attack of 5 more than anything else. Arkmer can match his attack if he gets height advantage but he can't match his range or life. Jorhdawn beats his range but can't match his attack and he's 10 points cheaper.

If you will be facing more Squads or are playing on a crowded map, Jorhdawn (100) is your next best choice.

If you're facing mostly Heroes or tougher units, take Arkmer (50) instead of Jorhdawn. His normal attack means you can bump it up to 5 with height advantage.

If you are going to face nothing but cheap Squad figures, like an Ashigaru army, definitely forget Chardris and take the other two. Just imagine if your opponent's Yari try to Encircle Arkmer. Ouch!

So now you're either at 390, 340, 300, or 290, with a decent amount of room to finish building your army for a normal game of Heroscape.

If you didn't take all 3 Firepower Elves, you will need at least one more Elf Wizard to get the maximum power out of Chardris and/or Jorhdawn. Which one will you take? We'll look at that below. For now it's more important to see what you have already.

Offense and Efficiency (Productivity):

What you've got at this point is two attacks per turn-- one for 5 and one for 4 that is an area attack, or a potential 5 attack if it's Arkmer with height advantage. Now we're talking about something on the level of an A+ unit's efficiency.

Compare to other units of note. Kaemon and Q10 can give you 2 attacks of 4 from close range. The Elves beat that. They've got longer range and even with their clustered space restriction of 3 spaces, they can easily branch out to hit two widely separated targets on the same board. Q10 and Kaemon cannot do that.

Q10 and Q9 can both give you 4 attacks of 2 from long range. I'm not saying the Elves can do everything

But compare to Common Squads mentioned above such as 4th Mass and Stingers. Stingers can easily give you 3 attacks of 4 (3x5 with Height!) but the Elves still beat that. (My next battle report being an example.) Stingers move 5 and have 5 range. They approach the Elves. The Elves move 5 and attack with 5-7 Range. If you took Chardris and Jorhdawn the Stingers are ashes before they can close in. But let's say only 1 of the 3 Stingers go down. Now when they get close enough to attack they are probably not even matching the Elves any more. If you take out 2 of the Stingers, they're much less effective than your Wizards. But let's say you don't take out any. The Stingers close in and put wounds on your Wizards. Unless you're having a real bad day some Stingers will die on the next turn and your Wizards still stand in their place. Meanwhile your opponent has to send in reinforcements who you will get to blast before they're in range just like the previous ones. That's where the Elves' other strength--their defense comes in.

Defensively:

Defense isn't just that number in the blue portion of your Heroscape cards. It's also the life points. Anyone who has tried to take out a Marro Hive knows this already. If you take Jorhdawn and Chardris as your firepower combo, they have a combined 12 life. That's huge! When facing a literally "huge" enemy like Nilfheim, they can easily win. Let's just say Nilfheim is in range of Ulginesh, Jorhdawn, Chardris, and some other Wizard. He attacks 3 of them for 4 each turn. They retaliate with an attack of 4 and 5. Because they have much more combined life, Nilfheim is statistically toast. He's taking more than twice as many attack dice per turn and his extra 2 defense dice don't make up for that.

If you add Kyntela Gwyn to your elf army, those 12 life points just got freaky.

Speaking of Kyntela Gwyn, who else are you going to put in the army?

Arkmer - Like I said above, I would first recommend taking all 3 of the Firepower Elves. That would settle the question because with the three of them and Ulginesh (of course) you've got your fire attacks powered up. You've got two options of how you're going to use Arkmer. The most obvious use is to send him out front to take advantage of his Engagement Strike and short range. But when you do that he isn't that tough any more and, face it, he's gonna die. That's okay because I'm going to recommend one more Elf Wizard to keep Chardris' and Jorhdawn's attacks alive. BUT the better use of Arkmer is to keep him back, packed among your other Elves. Then your opponent will have to make a choice. When Arkmer is adjacent to your other Elves, he'll have the highest defense of them all. Your opponent's most obvious choice will be to attack the lower defense Elves who are hurting him the most. But if your opponent does that and kills those Elves, Arkmer will still be around with his 4 attack, unhindered by the losses. If your opponent wants to attack him first, to get rid of his attack and weaken the attacks of the others, he risks doing no damage at all because Arkmer's defense can be 5+. The last reason to keep Arkmer back with the pack is to use Engagement strike when/if your opponent wants to engage your more important Elves. They are more likely to do that than charge straight in on Arkmer alone.

If you weren't there before, he'd bring your point total up to 390.

The other options:

Emirroon - If you're depending on Emirroon to run around, you're going to lose. Only really large maps and really lucky D20 rolls will allow you to run around and constantly evade the enemy. You only have a decent chance of summoning two Elves with you so who are you going to leave behind? It is much better if you want to run to just use your turns with the more important units and move them. I definitely don't see Emirroon as nearly as good, useful, or necessary as some people do. I think he's a fun unit but competitively speaking, attempting to summon Elves to safety is much less useful than using one of them to move and attack. Like I said in my release review, if he had a ranged attack that you could definitely use as you run around and hope to summon, he'd be a lot more interesting. A much better choice than Emirroon is a squad of protectors or Raelin, see below after the Wizards.

Acolarh - I don't know why I even bring him up but yeah he's an option. The funny thing about the ability he has that works--the Amulet--is you'd almost never want to use it in the Wizard army. The Elven Wizards need to stick together. I used it in one game to send Emirroon on a hike. Otherwise it's only good with other Ullar figures / non Elf-Wizards.

Morsbane - Our family has made good use of this guy so I always think he's better than he looks on paper. The problem is he doesn't really kill anything and he's almost worthless against Common figures. He doesn't complement your low-cost firepower Elf army very well. Save him for an odd day or those big point total battles.

Kyntela Gwyn - I like the Gwyn. She's only 20 points so there's not much use in arguing over her. She'll make you keep your army closer together to get some use out of her but even if she only helps one figure (+2 next to Arkmer) she's worth it.

Ulgy + 3 x Firepower + Gwyn = 410. Now you're running out of points. How should you spend the rest of the 90-185 points, assuming you're playing in the 500s?

Defenders - I have to give props to Jexik's "What's in and Order Marker?" here. And none of his terms make more sense to me than "Defender" although I call it "Protector" . Your firepower Elves are Sharks that function as Bread&Butter units with Ulginesh. If you're familiar with Jexik's breakdown, you know they will benefit most from some Defenders who can go engage units, take glyphs, and just generally get in the way. Ironically, some of the other Elves, the Warriors of Ashra are good for this. If you're confident in their protection abilities you can take more of them in place of Arkmer or Kyntela. Think about it--Kyntela only comes into play if the opponent can attack your Wizards in the first place. I also like the Izumi Samurai and Sentinels of Jandar for this job. Deathreavers go without saying. When our Deathreavers are released next year, the first army I'll try will be the 410 points in the paragraph above + 2x Deathreavers.

Knights of Weston, Romans, and Heavy Gruts are all units you could use as Bread&Butter early and then transition them to Defenders later in the game. Unfortunately I can't try this until I get ahold of some Knights of Weston but I'd really like to try a squad of them and Finn Viking Champion. Mess with your opponent early, grab some glyphs, and try to thin out his army. When Finn dies, both Arkmer and Ulginesh are good targets for his attack + 1--Arkmer if Finn goes early and Ulginesh if he goes late. Arkmer is classified by Jexik as a "Cleanup" unit and Ulginesh becomes one when the other Elves are gone. There is probably no one better in the game than Ulginesh for running and shooting.

Cheerleaders - From another one of Jexik's categories that applies to the Elf Wizard army, Raelin is a good option but I don't like her rear-defense as much as I like putting Defenders out in front. She doesn't hold glyphs well but she does make the Elves' life points go a lot further. She actually makes Jorhdawn and Chardris each as tough as Nilfheim.

Take to heart what I said about the "Niche" unit Emirroon and I think you'll have a lot better chance of forming a competitive Elf Wizard Army.
Total Comments 3

Comments

Old
NamibianScaper's Avatar
Aldin has posted a counter-point here, Buying Multiple Ranged Special Attacks
Posted November 25th, 2008 at 01:37 AM by NamibianScaper NamibianScaper is offline
Old
NamibianScaper's Avatar
Looks like a whole lotta work went into this without any comments. Shame. Perhaps year 3 will improve on that. I changed my Emirroon strategy in a later post but otherwise nailed this stuff, later verified by Nadom's tournament report I reposted.
Posted June 6th, 2011 at 12:37 AM by NamibianScaper NamibianScaper is offline
Old
Arch-vile's Avatar
This is a really good guide on the Elf Wizards. I never thought about not taking Jorhdawn, yet it is a good strategy when facing a hero-heavy army I suppose. Arkmer is my favorite Elf Wizard. He can't be beat for the price when facing melee, imo.
Posted December 20th, 2012 at 12:07 AM by Arch-vile Arch-vile is online now
 
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