Monday, September 30, 2013

Dark Elves First Impressions

With GW putting up the Pre-orders for the first wave of the new Dark Elves, I thought I would dive into the rulebook and old army book so I might be able to appreciate the changes in the new Army Book when I pick it up this weekend. It became abundantly clear how little concept I have of fantasy in its current incarnation. I plan on reading up more on the rules and forum tactics, but until I play a few games, it will be hard to get a strong appreciation for how the game works and what works best.

For those looking for an Army Book/Codex review, that can be found here. This post focuses on the new kits.

That said, while I might struggle to comment on the rules when I get them, I can comment on my impressions of the new models.

To begin, a little backstory - when the Dark Elves where released in 6th edition, I was immediately in love with the minis. White Dwarf featured How-To articles from the 'Eavy Metal team on how they painted the display minis, which did a great job of showing off some of the finer details of the models. The two units that really sold it for me were Cold One Knights and Executioners, followed closely by Corsairs. As such, the look of the Dark Elves is important, with the shift from the cartoony 4th/5th edition models to the darker, sleeker, and menacing look of 6th edition.

Image Courtesy of www.games-workshop.com
To begin, we have the Warriors (or whatever their new names are), who in theory form the core of a Dark Elf army. My first impression was less than favorable, particularly because of the High Elf style random things stuck on the front of the helmets. This seems to be in the old style. That said, the armor is growing on me a little. I think my biggest issue with the kit is that it only comes with embossed shields, with flat shields sold as a separate pack. Between that and only having 10 men in a box, it makes fielding a shielded unit in any reasonable numbers a bit of a daunting proposition financially.

Image Courtesy of www.games-workshop.com
If I thought the Warriors were a bit expensive, the Witch Elves make them look cheap, coming in at nearly double the cost for the same number of models. I was never in love with the old witch elf models, but I thought they were fine. The new models add more dyanmic motion to the mini, but I'm not convinced they're a marked improvement. They're certainly nice, if pricey models. Of course, part of the reason for the price is that it is a dual kit, which also includes the Sisters of Slaughter:

Image Courtesy of www.games-workshop.com
From the rumors, these ladies will be a very good unit. That said, nothing about the kit particularly "wows" me. I think the models look good, of course, there's just nothing that makes me really want to pick up a kit unless I end up including them in an army list (which short of beginning to play competitively, probably won't happen).

Image Courtesy of www.games-workshop.com
Next up is the Hydra, which is a dual kit with the new monster, the Kharibdyss.

Image Courtesy of www.games-workshop.com
This mini is also the subject of GW's new monthly painting competition. I really like the Hydra, and the Kharibdyss has potential, but I'm not sure how I feel about the secondary heads as they are. I didn't think the previous Hydra was bad, but this model definitely seems much more imposing. My biggest concern/issue with the kit is also an issue I have with the Witch kit, in that I'm not a huge fan of models coming on pieces of terrain. For a monster like this, where there will only be one or two in an army, it's not a big deal, even if it's something I won't always want on my minis. That said, it's not a very big concern, and can look good; I do like this kit.

Image Courtesy of www.games-workshop.com
 Last, but certainly not least, is the Cauldron of Blood and the Bloodwrack Shrine. This is quite possibly my favorite kit of this release.
Image Courtesy of www.games-workshop.com
 The updated version is much more imposing, as well as more logical for being on the battlefield. Additionally, while it is a cool model, I think my favorite part might be that it comes with the extras to make Hag Queen Hellbron, who is a nice model.
Image Courtesy of www.games-workshop.com
 And then there's the Bloodwrack Medusa. I have no idea where she came from in the fluff, but I'm really liking the model as well as the though of how nasty she might be on the field.
Image Courtesy of www.games-workshop.com
If I pick up any of the new kits, it might end up being a tossup between the Bloodwrack Shrine and Hydra combo-kits. Fortunately, I have a good number of Warriors and Witches already, so probably won't be dropping much money on the new kits unless I start getting really wrapped up in Fantasy, but right now, 40k is calling much more strongly. I might be a little harsh on the Warrior and Witch kits, but I was honestly a bit disappointed; they'd been talked up so much as fresh and new beautiful models that no matter what, the minis probably wouldn't have lived up to the hype.