Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Dark Elf Warlock Redux

Back when the Dark Elves were released i wrote a post in which i stated that i thought that the Warlocks would be of limited use selling as power dice pools aren't as reliable as they once were and that the unit would be competing for valuable power dice, also without their magic role they were "Dark riders with a ward save". Well after a far few games Vs the new Dark Elves and their Warlocks i have deiced to return to this argument, this time with Evidence!

The Warlocks in question

First lets start off with the facts and then move onto opinion. The facts are as follows:

- They are 25 points each, 125 for a standard unit of 5

-They are fast Cavalry

-They have poisoned Attacks

-They have WS:4 BS:4 S:4 T:3 W:1 IN:5 AT:2 and LD:8

- They have a 6+ Armour save and a 4+ Ward save against all non Slannesh attacks.

-The unit counts as a Wizard who knows 2 spells, Doombolt and Soulblight

-They are a Rare choice.

-They have Always Strikes First (or the Elf trait as i refer to it as), and the rest of the Dark Elf army wide special rules

Those are the facts of this unit. Now i have faced this unit on multiple occasions and to be honest i don't fear it at all. T3 with a 6+ armour save and a 4+ ward isn't very tough (especially since i don't see them in units bigger than 5), but then again i only play Wood Elves and so have alot of shooting attacks to kill them with.

When i published my last post on this issue much was made of the 2 attacks, poisoned and strength 4. However i don't think this is a issue. The only combat role in which Warlocks could be effective is in War machine hunting. Why? Because T3 in a five elf unit is a major issue. I also doubt their effectiveness in the magic phase. Dark Elves now have access to all 8 lores, and for 80 points you can buy a Dark Elf sorcerers who has access to better gear and can cast Doombolt and Soulblight much easier than the Warlocks can.

I do think they have a place, as cheap(ish) offensive casters and War machine hunters. I do not generally use personal experience when arguing a point, but in all my games against them they have been ineffective and then got shot full of arrows by my Wood Elves. And if Wood Elves don't find these guys a threat they probably aren't. Until next time.


  1. I think you're looking at it too closely through the lense of a very specific (and rare) army build. Against other Elves (WE in particulary) I agree they are not the strongest option. There are 16 armies in the game though....

  2. Seriously doubt you'd find a Dark Elf player that said they were much less than broken... So many uses across the board.

    Re your comment of limited combat effectiveness, I've seen them regularly punch through 2+ Cavalry just through shear weight of attacks, combined with decent survivability from that Ward. They do much better than Warmachine hunt.
    Re your comment about them vs Lvl 2s, A lvl 2 cant get both Doombolt and Soulblight, she cant reliably chuck 6 dice with no worries about the consequences, at the very least she'll drain D6 dice from the pool, where the Warlocks don't and will not die much either. And multiple Soulblights is absolutely amazing! also for 40 pts more you get a very decent combat unit rolled in. I'm not sure how that can possibly be worse?

    However as you say, the easiest way to kill them is via BS shooting, (along with the rest of the Dark Elf army) which you have in abundance which probably tempers your experience vs them, though I'd still expect them to be pretty useful vs Woodies imo so interesting to see your experience so differs from the norm!

    1. Here a DE player that disagrees 100% with you James.
      They are no where near broken. They have limited use at the best in times. Sure, on paper, they look great, but in practice they bring a channel and two high casting value spells to the table. They become a lot better when you run 10 with some magic resistance for your caster, but that is a big investment.
      The simple get removed to missile fire as they are only T3 with a 4+ save. I units of 5, they are there to get around the comp and bring more fast cav units to the army. They are well priced for what they are, but by no means broken.

  3. @ Jeff
    I do agree that i am looking at through the WE lense, but really ANY army that includes around about 30 ranged troops of any type will have a easy time of dealing with these guys. That also goes for any army with a great deal of offensive spell casters

    @ James
    I dont think they are broken, they have positives and negatives. Combat wise i would have thought that you would have had to take 10 at least at get decent at combat. I just cant see units of 5 being scarey. The big issue i see is yeah they have good offensive capabilities but they are still T3 elves, the 4th ward saves helps but not if you are drowning them in attacks. Magicwise yes they do have a combination of spells that others cant get but they have issues casting those spells as they cant easily get bonuses. I do agree though that its a very good ability of theirs to be able to cast spells with no care about miscasts.

    1. Ok maybe broken was a strong word, but very good for the points and requiring alot of effort to deal with vs many armies.

      They are M9 fast cav, the dark elf player should be easily able to make sure they are never in a position to be drowned in attacks unless the dark elf player wishes them to be? If your opponent wants to spam MMs at them then they need to get at least 2 (3 a fair bit) through before they die and lose potential and they arent doing other things with those dice. Soulblight only needs 2-3 dice which still leaves a ~4 for the L4 to use. Think everyone gets carried away with the Doombolt too much

    2. Any army with 20 to 30 ranged attacks will be able to easily deal with them. T3 is the big issue and even if you are hitting on a 5 chances are your are probably wounding on a 3 (Empire, Dwarfs, Wood Elves) or a 4 (any other army bar ogres whole will shred them with Lead Belchers)

  4. As a character bus rocking 2+ ward vs MMissiles, +5 to cast and supported by usual Dark Elf chafff they are scary (and a huge crutch). A unit of 5 (or 2 units of 5)...they are not as scary...but still a consideration. I do think there is a PD tension between them and a lvl4 that needs to be managed carefully and is not simply "6 dice soulblight FTW followed by 6 dice 4d6 doombolt and purple sun every magic phase".

    Also all Elves die easily to Woodies. Glade Guard are the quintessential counter to t3, little/no armour armies of elite troops. Heck - even the Forest Spirits give the Elves grief. Also the lack of monsterous Calv in Elven armies helps too!


    1. @Joel
      I absolutely agree that there is PD tension between Lvl 4s and Warlocks, I would go further and say that there is PD tension between ALL Dark Elf mages and Warlocks. If we were back in 7th where PD pools were far more reliable this wouldn’t be a issue and I would be singing the warlocks praises. But we don’t have a reliable PD pool and more and Warlocks only can only ever be de-buff and offensive casters, where as other Dark Elf mages can be whatever you need them to be (provided the dice fall how you want them).
      AS for Woodies being the one of the best anti elf armies, I do tend to agree. We are the only elf army with S4 and T4 infantry units in core, so that does help.