|The True Kin of Aenarion
An Overview of the High Elf Units from Warhammer: Diskwars
|Warhammer: Diskwars | Published 19 December 2013|
“We are the Asur, the true kin of Aenarion, and Ulthuan shall never fall.”
–Prince Tyrion, Defender of Ulthuan
As the assorted armies of the Old World march toward the field of battle, we continue to prepare for the brutal skirmishes of Warhammer: Diskwars with a review of the High Elves and their troops.
Skilled with bows, blades, and magic, the High Elves are an ancient race whose history is full of memorable battles. Throughout them all, one truth stands evident of their considerable prowess; their island homeland, Ulthuan, has never fallen.
An Impenetrable Defense
In Warhammer: Diskwars, the High Elves are arguably the most defensive of the four Core Set races. They don’t boast the hardest-hitting units in the game, but they own a wide range of abilities designed to keep their foes at bay. For starters, the High Elves feature more units with ranged attacks than any other race. Several powerful Casters offer targeted Magic damage, as well as helpful protective and restorative abilities. Finally, since it’s nearly impossible to avoid melee combat, the High Elves rely upon a number of swift units to win engagements before their foes can strike.
Developer Michael Gernes explains that the High Elves have developed their tremendous defensive abilities over the centuries as a point of racial pride and out of a need to keep their foes from discovering their weaknesses:
“Hailing from the island continent of Ulthuan, the ancient High Elves are proud to the point of haughtiness. On an individual basis, High Elf soldiers are some of the most skilled warriors in the Warhammer world, though they need all their skill and grace in their battles against foes with greater strength and toughness. Additionally, the princes of the High Elves can call upon massed bowfire and the formidable power of High Magic to protect their hosts.
“These points help explain why the High Elves are perhaps the most defensively-oriented army in Warhammer: Diskwars. As an example, the High Elf Militia Spearmen are at their best when pinned, and they excel at blocking chokepoints. There, enemy units will find themselves threatened by the long range attacks from High Elf missile units like the Militia Archers or Maiden Guard.
“To make the most of the High Elves, a player needs to keep his best melee units in reserve until he can launch them to pin enemies that have already pinned his own disks. He will also want to find strategies to move his excellent ranged units into position to react to trouble spots.”
Three heroes arrive in the Warhammer: Diskwars Core Set to lead the High Elves into battle: Alarielle the Radiant and the twin brothers, Teclis and Tyrion.
Alarielle the Radiant
Alarielle the Radiant is a Caster with a powerful restorative ability. She can activate to remove a wound from any target disk within short range. While there are relatively few units in the game that can even take wounds in the first place, those that can tend to be central to your army; all the Core Set units with stamina are heroes and elite units. The fact that Alarielle the Radiant can help to bring these units back from the brink of destruction makes her worth serious consideration in any Order army, not just High Elf armies. Meanwhile, when she’s forced into a more active combat role, Alarielle the Radiant can blast her foes with Magic 2 or serve as a solid defender with her four swift counter strength.
Meanwhile, the next High Elf Hero is also a Caster. In fact, Teclis is the mightiest of all mortal Mages in the Old World. In Warhammer: Diskwars, this translates to a powerful Magic rating of “4,” enough to destroy most units and enough to soften up all others so that any ally’s ranged attack or Impact damage could finish them off. Moreover, with his Immune () keyword, Teclis earns the distinction of being the only unit in the Core Set with immunity to arcane damage; in fact, he’s the only unit Immune to any form of damage whatsoever. As with Alarielle the Radiant, his Caster trait permits Teclis to take advantage of command cards with Caster abilities, and the High Elves feature one of the strongest such cards in Shield of Saphery.
A likely target for Shield of Saphery is the third and final High Elf hero, Tyrion. The greatest living warrior among the High Elves, Tyrion possesses six attack strength and five counter strength, enough to slay or wound nearly any foe in combat, whether he’s pinned or pinning that foe. Additionally, he stands a chance of wounding any foe he engages, whether as attack or defender: “When this disk engages an enemy, roll d6. If you roll 6, deal that enemy .”
In order to shore up their defenses, many High Elf units feature ways of dealing damage before enemies can hurt them in the Melee Phase. Some of the best examples of these units include the Militia Spearmen, Swordmasters of Hoeth, Maiden Guard, Ellyrian Reavers, Bolt Thrower, and Sun Dragon.
The basic Infantry unit of the High Elves, the Militia Spearmen cost one recruitment point more than their Empire and Chaos counterparts and boast a significantly reduced attack strength when compared to their Orc counterpart. However, because of their swift () keyword, they are the most tactical of the basic Infantry units in the Core Set, permitting players to establish formidable lines of defense for their ranged units or to hold important choke points.
Swordmasters of Hoeth
The five attack strength of the Swordmasters of Hoeth make them one of the hardest-hitting units in the High Elf army. Nonetheless, it’s their swift () keyword that makes them truly formidable and fully worth their nine recruitment points. Best held in reserve until late in the Activation Phase, this High Elf Infantry unit excels at cutting down their foes faster than the eye can see.
There are many units with ranged attacks among the High Elf army, but the Maiden Guard stand out for two reasons. First of all, their bows deal arcane damage rather than physical damage. Second, their unique ability allows them to treat any result as a result. As a result, their ranged attack is more powerful than it first looks, and the Maiden Guard stand a slightly better chance of hitting their target than most ranged units with three ranged dice.
Impact 2 isn’t going to destroy any unit outright, but it’s not a bad way to start. With their Impact, Flank, and Scout keywords – as well as their astonishing nine movement – the Ellyrian Reavers excel at engaging key enemy units to neutralize them from your very first activation. Of course, with only four stamina, the Ellyrian Reavers are vulnerable to any range of attacks, so you may wish to target them with the protective magic of Shield of Saphery.
One of the High Elves’ three elite units, the Bolt Thrower is a bargain at ten recruitment points.
Though, it lacks any melee abilities of note, it’s an impressive War Machine capable of hurling mighty ranged attacks across the full length of the battlefield. When you consider that each attack offers three chances at a result that could place an activation token on a key enemy unit, it’s easy to understand how the Bolt Thrower can be an important component of any High Elf army that focuses on cutting down foes as they approach.
The most expensive High Elf unit in the Core Set, the Sun Dragon is a fearsome, flying and mobile Monster that supplements its impressive melee prowess with an equally impressive special ability: “Deal d6 to target disk within medium range, and all disks that are engaged with the target.”
If you’re willing to absorb the hit on your own unit, this ability can create an impressive area attack, but it can also be just as useful (and less risky) when it’s directed against a single, important enemy unit.
Ulthuan Shall Never Fall
As a race with tremendous defensive potential, the High Elves of Warhammer: Diskwars present an approach to the game’s challenges that’s certain to interest a great number of players. Are you one of them? How will you coordinate your assaults with all your defensive abilities? These are answers you’ll be able to answer very soon; Warhammer: Diskwars arrives at retailers later this week!
In the meantime, stay tuned for our final preview of the Core Set races when we explore the raw power that the disciples of Chaos can unleash!
Warhammer: Diskwars is an epic game of heroes, armies, and brutal warfare for 2 - 4 players. At the game's heart art its disks, which represent heroes and units from the Old World. These maneuver across the battlefield by flipping end over end, and if any two disks overlap at the end of the round, they must fight!