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Oakwolf

Dark elves...what to do with them?

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We're in a little bit of a lull with this team. It's one of the favorite team around but whoever plays with them looses almost every time (they never won in multiplayer), plus they get especially crushedin 2 player games (something they may not be designed around, but just for emphasis).

 

They were (again) beaten badly tonight and it's getting some negative play experience burn on us because we all want the players to have fun. The goblins mauled them so badly they set a new record (64).

 

We've given them a Sneering Assistant at start up to try and balance them up, but to no avail, they still loose the individual match up their players are in.

 

So what do you do with them to win those match ups, how do you fight off other rosters who have 4 power players, more sprint and/or typically more ball.

Edited by Oakwolf

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I think otherwise but you know that already :) However I do have some follow-up questions out of interest which might prove being relevant for what you seek:

 

1- How do they fare compared to Wood Elves and Skavens in your group?

2- Does the team feel hermetic or complex to the player, in such way that they eventually find hard to play it compared to other teams?

3- How conservative/defensive are your players with regards to taking risks?

4- Can you say that most of the time your players make the correct decisions as for what upgrades to go for with a particular team?

 

I can probably point out a few things based on your answers, but one thing I do have noticed with this game is that some players (even experienced) sometimes get completely paralyzed over the course of the game as they have problems figuring out how to get their team up to speed.

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1 - Wood elves and Skaven win games through their roster management (sprint) over here. They are perceived to be in the top tier of the teams, especially once they get star players to cycle.

 

2 - Yes a part of the team is seen as more "work" for the player in order to get results that other teams achieve rather easily by simply managing their players correctly. The concensus here is that this "work" comes from the assassins and runners. These same guys also give you a choice in different skill sets, which while making them more flexible, don't always help winning the match up themselves (partly because the Dark elf team starts with low power in the roster).  Admitedly the witches and blitzers are far less of an issue and are good players, but like vampires, they have only 4 of them.

 

3 - The Dark elves seems to be guided toward a risky game in order to have a shot (at least that's what we've seen) at winning even regular match ups, the most obvious part of it is the dauntless 1D block by the assassins to try and get an edge in star power. Perhaps we should play them even more risky...

 

But this leads to the downed skill issue. A downed skill is less valuable than a standard one, first because they are not always useful (or even used). Second, downed skills are hardly worth planning for use, because they imply a loss of star power that handicap them winning the match up in the first place...and puts the player prone to being injured. Rarely have i seen a downed skill helping enough to compensate for that loss (again, dark elves have less star power from the start). They are fun, and personally i think it's a good mechanic, but it's not enough for the team to get wins vs the top teams. Franky we'd be ok with them being just average, but as it is...they fail to even achieve that.

 

4 - I'm not sure myself what is the correct decision when it comes to upgrades or payout to hunt in general for this team.  I typically go depending on the situational needs, unless a team has a real advantage to go for a payout (ex. wood elves and star players). Their team upgrades seems to be okay-ish but some have a random factor which doesn't garantee their use. Drawing Sneering assistant ain't a cause for much glee on the third turn.

 

You seem to be a cheerful dark elf coach, perhaps the only one i've read of...so please give us insights on how you get that success.

 

So far we've tried house rules:

 

  • Giving a downed Tackle skill on the assassins, proved to be useless given dauntless doesn't work once downed.
  • We've then switched to a free Sneering assistant, but even if it came into play once per turn in some of our games, it was still not enough to bring the team even close to a fair game (let alone win).
  • We'll now test giving the runners and assassins a full line of skill instead of a choice of skill set. For example, an assassin would get Tackle and Sprint, while the runner would get Pass and Sprint. We believe this should help the team alot.
Edited by Oakwolf

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Well like I said before, I am always happy to draft this team and it might even be that it's my favorite one as well. This being said, I do not win every game I play with the Dark Elves, but they are always a good contender for the pole position on the fan track.

But yeah, there is no auto-pilot function with the Dark Elves like there would be with other teams like Humans, Undead etc. You cannot sit with 2-3 highlights and a tournament thinking that you have a decent shot at winning all of them just by using the players in your hand. With the Dark Elves, you really need to go all-in for the rewards you truly need. Obviously there will always be cases when committing one single lineman to an empty spot will earn you an easy reward, but most of the time I tend to pack my Dark Elves together and thus try not to be everywhere at the same time (bearing in mind we have 5 highlights and a tournament in our games).

I think the Dark Elves have unexpectedly decent odds against the top-tier teams. Mid/low-tier teams need to go all-in in order to compete at all, so psychological warfare doesn't really apply against them as they need to go for the easiest target, which you often are due to your overall low star power. Against top-tier teams however, the Dark Elves are in a very particular position. As opposed to mid/low tier teams, top-tier teams always have a choice to make in order to make the most powerful play they can achieve in the situation. This is where your players are seldom the prime target (unless you're winning already) because using a 4-5 star power player to tackle your star power 2 player and get a backfire in response is not necessarily “the best play out there”. I digress a bit, but I think top-tier teams seek each other out in this game, leaving some room for other teams to try and compete. If I play Humans and a buddy of mine has the Undead then I would try to limit his capabilities as much as possible instead on focusing on a team that has a lot less chance to fare as well as ourselves. So yeah, I would try to commit players to match ups against these teams early in the game and try to avoid Chaos, Goblins, even Orcs and Vampires as much as possible in the early stage. Wood Elves are a good target because they are good to tackle (this said they are not top-tier in my meta).

Then regarding play style. I think Dark Elves need to be played very aggressively. By this I don't mean that you’re going to tackle anything at any range, but that you want every skill to count and force your opponents to make bad decisions by using the downed skills or the team upgrades to your advantage. I actually think that a passive opposition is almost worse for the Dark Elves because they cannot compete based on star power alone, so you won't win match ups if all you do is pile up players in front of an opponent doing the same thing. You need to tackle players, and be tackled in response. You need to trap their attention.

How to use the players in the roster is key to that. A few thoughts about the things you mentioned, is that you WANT the runners to be tackled. I really think the 2 star power is great because it incitates your opposition to bring them down. And if they do, dump off the ball and cycle a card. You need that sprint skill. The way I use Assassins is that I commit them to match ups with an interesting enchanted ball so that if I miss the tackle then I can grab the ball and execute another skill. I nearly always go for the cheating token when I commit Witches or Blitzers, unless I don't think I can lose the match-up I commit them in.

About the downed skills, I agree that you don't have full control of those since they rely so much on your opposition choosing to tackle the player with these skills. But I truly believe it's more powerful than you think because there aren't many coaches out there that want you to strip them off the ball, get a potential +3 power cheating token or cycle another card. So yeah, they tend to leave these players alone unless they are star players with great influence in the match up they're in.

I think some coaches are overly defensive in games like BBTM and try to be consistent from the beginning to the end. I don't think this type of strategy pays off very well with the Dark Elves. I would really not be too afraid of tackling stronger players, and committing players to match-ups against top-tier teams. I would grab a cheating token for my split skills players, and so on.

About upgrades and how to make choices for the match ups you need to commit players to. The star players deck for the DSS provides plenty of resources for the Dark Elves so that's what I tend to go for first. The star Vampires are really good for the Dark Elves. As always, I tend to get rid of my linemen as I draft non-freebooter players. Now the thing is that drafting big fat players automatically makes you more of a threat to everybody especially in tournaments. Which is why I tend to time/delay these star players the best I can (unless said player is the only sprint player in a hand full of linemen) to allow the core of my team to operate in the dark (like I said, good players choose flashy and juicy targets) until I can slam them into play and win on the spot.

Now this is where I'm not 100% sure what the best approach is in terms of payouts bar star players which you're going to need anyway. The “safest” approach brings your team in pair with the other ones quicker, at the price of competitiveness for the things that make Dark Elves so tricky to play against. You would typically go for staff upgrades and try to get a set of coaches and a few scoreboard phase abilities that allow your fan track to stay high. That's not how I play though. I usually go for the team upgrades and no staff upgrade at all. I mean, a staff upgrade is always a good thing, but I always strive after getting all my team upgrades. The team upgrades for this team takes the things I just described and help you making these as relevant/succesful as possible. Death lace in particular is a game changer ability. Dark Sorceress strips the ball off players who can't drop it by normal means etc. Dice re-rolls, double tackles etc. I don't know, I always find a use for these abilities. I would gladly trade one of the weaker ones for a sprinting coach, but that's not exactly how it works heh.

Anyway, that's how I set my mind when I play this team. From there **** can hit the fan anytime, especially under the Foul Play rules :)

Edited by Indalecio

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Thanks for the insight. When i get them, i play rather aggressively although i don't tackle 2D against as a rule, but i'll 1D tackle if i need to (odds are still with me even though it's far worse than a 2D tackle).

 

I agree with you, some of their team upgrades are exceptional (deathlace, seething hatred). Sneering assistant ain't always useful unless you're being tackled, but combines with the "risk" of tackling Dark elves with downed skills. But when you get deathlace -and- sneering assistant, tackling any of your player is quite a gamble...in fact i wonder if it's not worse than using a 1D roll.

 

I take it that you play multi-player games often, wheareas here we often play 1v1 when we can't get more players. I think their flaws are really emphasized in 2 player games.

 

We've made a test with the 2 power players getting both skills rather than a choice, but it was too good. We'll try it next time with just the runners having the 2 skills.

 

Thing is, other teams have good upgrades as well, but they just start out better...those extra star power points in the beginning, or access to a bunch of skills that are not downed often give them a headstart vs dark elves, who then play a risky catch up game just to try to keep heads over water.

Edited by Oakwolf

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Oh dear..

Yeah you are 100% correct and apologies from me for forgetting to state the CORE assumption in my analysis, which is that I base that on a multiplayer setting. We play 4-5 players games and I have exactly zero 1-vs-1 games in my bag backing the things I've said.

I guess some of these things would still valid from the duel perspective, but the part about deciding which teams to go against falls completely flat in that sense.

I don't think I would change my tactics if I were to play this team in a 3-players game, for a duel I would just try to rely on luck alone :) Well not quite, but I mean the part about going all-in for the star players/team upgrades is really vital here. Then it highly depends on your opposition. Since you are playing duels, you may already have a matchup reference for the Dark Elves, e.g. which teams they have most favorable odds to win against and -likewise- which team they have unfavorable chances to win against.

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Rating the strength of Dark Elfs, one should consider the fact that most oft the teams are Rock Scissor Paper like, especially Dark Elfs. The downed ablilites are activated when you get tackled by an enemy (or fall by an own tackle). Especially the Runners depend on an anemy kicking their ass.

Both, Runners and Assassins, are of greater use for you when they fall down. You lose one Starpower but get a Sprint or even a Pass, wich is in most cases of greater use than this boring one Starpower. Yeah, even the Blitzers and Witches benefit from getting kicked, but not as much, because they lose 2 Starpowers being downed.

 

So, the best matchup for Dark Elfs is an enemy that has a lot of STR3 Tacklers in his hands. Those STR3 Tacklers are often forced to tackle one of your STR2 "Fallers" and activate their downed ability (or they do not even want to apply their tackle, wich is also an advantage for you). What teams have the most STR3 Tacklers?

Dwarf = 6

Chaos = 5

Vampire = 4

Orks = 3

Human = 3

Woodelf = 3

Undead = 2

Skaven = 2

 

But also STR4 Tacklers in enemy hands let you profit. They will down your Witches and Blitzers. This is not as useful for you, as a downed Assassin or Runner, but still better than having no downed ability. What teams have the most STR4 Tackles?

Orks = 3

Undead = 2

Chaos = 1

Human = 1

Woodelf = 1

Skaven = 1

Vampire = 0

Dwarf = 0

 

If you rate a STR3 Tackle of double the use for you (as Delf) compared to a STR4 Tackle, you get the following order of beloved enemies:

Dwarf = 12

Chaos = 11

Orks = 9

Vampire = 8

Human = 7

Woodlef = 7

Undead = 6

Skaven = 5

 

Therefore Dark Elfs are best vs Dwarfs, Chaos, Orks and Vampire. Unfortunately those are the teams that are overall in average weaker than the others, and the strength of the Delfs might not show up that much. But having that in mind, you should be able to benefit in a multiplayer game with at least one of your favourite enemies.

Edited by arwaker

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OK so I read your first paragraph - which I agree with as it confirms what I had said previously - , but then you suddenly jump off to the conclusion that the best matchups for the Dark Elves are against the teams with statistically the most tacklers available to take down the Dark Elves players with downed skills? I mean, that's a hell of a simplification :) Besides, the final result of this analysis is exactly what I find as being the worst matchups ever for this team (which is quite funny).

 

Because yeah, like I said earlier, we both agree that you need to capitalize on these downed skills, but in my mind it's not only about the action of getting tackled but also the fact that it forces your opponents to make a choice, and to me an opponent deciding not to tackle one of your players by fear of executing the downed skills has equal if not more importance in the win  factor for this team. You still need standing players like any other team, otherwise you cannot win matchups, however my point was that you can play this type of "cold war" game bearing in mind you don't have as much to lose as your opponent. Or more accurately maybe, your position may be strengthened in the matchup because of the tackle. Or maybe not, that's what the opponent needs to evaluate.

 

But again, I´m 100% in a multiplayer setting thus I might be trolling this thread since the OP clearly stated that this was not his own context, but I would gladly commit players to a game against Humans (best team imho) rather than Vampires (worst team imho) for the reasons I exposed previously. What you do not want to do is being involved in a highlight against a team which you know will want to canalize all focus on one single matchup if the odds point this to the one you´re in. Dark Elves is a juicy target for this type of commitment to a matchup. To each his own experience, I´m not saying somebody's inherently wrong here, but in my experience, teams that are across all boards (because they can, which Dark Elves cannot) will easily be a bit loosy on their focus on each individual matchups and often go for teams equally powerful in order to strip them off a few rewards. You are not a major threat to them is what I´m trying to say, which is how I build my strategy with this Dark Elves team.

 

But with regards with your point system, while I see what you mean and yeah statistically these teams you mentioned have the most chance to down your players, but that's barring a TON of other factors that actually (in my opinion) make the conclusion completely opposite to yours.

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Yeah i suspected something like that was going on since we had such different results in our group. We've done some tests for study purposes only, allowing assassins and runners both their skills instead of a choice set. Results shown that they were propelled to top tier simply because they could cycle their deck so fast (4 sprint players+downed sprints from runners). Just like the wood elves, you'd not see those linemen anymore, and those witches were coming down every turn to great effect.

 

So we've removed that, although it did allow us to put the finger on the problem imho. Loosing 1 star power for a sprint doesn't compute for me. My point of view is that the team is already 2 power below most right from the start, so there's a bleeding effect...plus those downed players often get injured right away.

 

Next time we'll test with just the runners having Ball and Sprint, and a downed sprint, leaving the assassins as designed.

Edited by Oakwolf

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Played with the Dark Elves last night, matched up against Goblins. Last time I played against the goblins, my orcs were utterly demolished by them.

 

The Dark Elves I noted had a lot easier time for several reasons:

1) The downed skills are dead handy against that team, and indeed against any team that can consistently knock down dark elves.

2) The dark elves have light sprint, and light sprint is enough to mitigate the foul skill.

3) The Assassin is basically a lower star power blitzer against a team that has a mass of str 1 players. Not many teams have str2 blockers, so the dark elves are great in this circumstance. Basically, dark elves can throw a lot of mid strength blocks, and thats a nightmare for goblins.

 

I admit though that I was lucky as well, in that my star player draws were all freebooters, and there's nothing the gobbos hate more than teams of consistent above average quality, as fouling becomes useless. The gobbos would much rather face teams with spikes of great players, as they have a chance of disrupting those with their various tricks.

 

I have to say though, that I'm not rating the Dark Elves as that great generally. Against other teams, the assassins feel somewhat weak and the witch elves become the cards that are worth drawing, as the other blocks the team generates are high risk ones, often going off 1 dice.

 

I'd agree they encourage an aggressive playstyle. You often have to play on the assumption that a cheat token is probably a star power, and gamble on winning with that. You often have to make one dice blocks, and hope for that 50% chance.

Edited by Prepare for War

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Despite their "weakness" (low star powers), the dark elves can be very dangerous if they are successful in their tackles.

 

Don't forget that they have both the "frenzy" skill of the orcs and the "dauntless" skill of the dwarfs !

 

Well used, theses skills can do some serious damage on strong opposite players. And don't forget their down skills.

 

I think that the dark elves team is a little under-estimated.

 

The weakness is more on the coach who doesn't use them well than on the team itself, i think.

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We've clocked well over 30 games with them and they're in our bottom pit of strenght for a reason...if you come to other conclusions, it's all cool, but we're not "weak" players either...

 

Sure they are harder to play because you have to think a bit more than other teams, that i am all cool with, but their effectiveness, even taking all skills included and even giving them to our best player, still get them crushed time and time again. Basically the risk vs reward ratio is under what we get from other teams...meaning they will be against the odds a lot.

 

That said, we play 1v1 often, and as stated above, this does affect one's experience, your mileage will vary...etc.etc.

Edited by Oakwolf

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