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Dark elf stragety Advice.

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Quite honestly, we use them like any other all-around team like Humans, Skavens or Wood Elves. They are just that good, the Assassins especially since they steal the ball once downed. The split skills is a really good concept making this team the most polyvalent of all. So that we have no specific strategy for them, they just seem to work fine on their own in every way. The team upgrades are okay but not particulary great. I personally like Deathlace as a tacke trick, and Seething Hatred granting you an additional tackle if you succeed with the first one. The other ones are not bad but nothing stellar.

One thing we noticed is that the Dark Elves end up with loooooads of cheating tokens since players tend to choose the skill set granting you a cheating token. If you are lucky to draw the staff upgrade giving you one fan for each cheating token at a matchup then you can truly build up on fans.

So yeah, it's one of the most powerful teams and I do enjoy getting my hand full of options. Sprinting is there, split skills are there, they can pass, they are decent tacklers… All you would require and even more. To me the best team in Sudden Death and in my top 3 overall.


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We've played with the expansion less, so we've seen the Dark Elves turn up only a hanfdul of times so far. They've not won so far, and I think this is because they're relatively hard to use.

Here's my thoughts. First of all, general principles of Bloodbowl, and then how they apply to the Dark Elves…

General Principle 1 -  Winning matches is about Star Power shifts, and players can mostly be assessed off that.

So, for example, a Gutter Runner is great because it has **, and the double pass can normally take from the opposition  ** from ball loss and gain you ** from ball gain. Obviously enchanted balls mix this up, but at maximum efficiency with a ** ball, you're looking at +6* with the card being played.

Compare the Human Blitzer who gains you *** for his value, and on a successful block on the ball carrier gives you ** + ** for possession change, and an average of ** off the opponent for downing him. Thats +9* at optimal efficiency, with a 75% chance of achieving that with a 2 dice block, with a failed block dropping it from +9* to just +2*. Average that out though, and you're looking at a typical +7.25* which makes him better at gaining victory than the gutter runner.

Of course its not quite as simple as that. You also have to consider how reliable a player is (gutter runner achieves that), how flexible in timing the player is (human blitzer wins that, as he can be played well early or late in a turn, whereas gutter runner works poorly early on as he's too easy to tackle), how well they fit the team as a whole (both good, but human blitzer better, because of team upgrades that give points for downed targets), the nebulous value of the Sprint skill (basically sprint helps more if you have Star Players you need to reach) and considerations of value as the game progresses beyond the basic (Gutter Runners win that over Human Blitzers, as you can take a ball off a 5* Star Player still, whereas a Human Blitzer struggles there), and finally the value of Blocks in taking out Injured players (generally multiplied if you are last player, so you can claim all the prizes).

But all in all, the Skaven and the Humans have got an excellent basic team that synergise well with their upgrades, which is why they're top tier.

Bringing it back to topic, we now examine the Dark Elves. I don't have the cards in front of me, so excuse me for any inaccuracies.

Linemen are just linemen. All teams have them, some are better at sprinting them out than others.

Assassins are just strange. 2* power, block or sprint, dauntless, pass on downed. Look at them with the above analysis and they appear to suck. If you sprint with them early in the hand you're likely wasting them, as thats just +2* gained with a single sprint. Unless you're desperate to sprint, don't do it. Optimal play with them is a block on a high value Star Player / Big Guy carrying the ball. Then you'll get a 50% chance of downing a big guy (maybe -2* to -4* depending on your target), -2* to opponent for ball loss and 2* from their value. 50% chance of effective +8*? Not brilliant, but you then factor in that only 1/3 of the time are you just failing your block (+2* effective), but 1/6 of the time you are faceplanting, and getting a pass out of it. IIRC they're 1* when downed and that means +3* effective on an X. This mitigates their lower odds a little.

But if we step back again we see Assassins retain value in the long run better than the human blitzer. as the game goes on, you'll see Assassins become more and more useful - as their game fluff suggests, they're still good for taking down high value players, and they'll have more opportunities to do so.

Witch Elves are the real heavy hitters of the DElf team though - Frenzy and 3* means they get 2 dice even against the 3* targets. The question with them is do you take the Cheat token? Answer - almost always. The chance of being sent off is only 1/5, and that's generally worth the risk, unless you're looking at a match up that only has the Witch Elf there and which has significant participation prizes which you can't risk even a 20% chnce of surrendering. As for their Cheat token on being downed, thats just there as a mini-version of the dwarf effect - you're likely to remain relevant if you're downed, thus diminishing the +* advantage players get from downing her.

Dark Elf Blitzers seem weaker than their human counterparts to me. Cheating is a nice bonus, but not nearly as nice as the human's potential extra pass.

Runners are of less utility in the Dark Elf team than they might be, as 2/1 Run/Pass with a Dump-off isn't that great.

If you play them early for the Sprint, then you're inefficiently wasting their dump off skill. If you play them late, then its only a single pass icon, and unlike the human thrower they've got no-one really worth dumping off to. Witch Elf seems the best target, but you'd rather have a Catcher or a Big Guy to pass to.

General Principle 2 - Team Upgrades have to be worth the fans you miss out on for

For humans (who you may have noticed I rate as one of the best teams) the Upgrades are totally worthwhile, especially converting Star Players to points, which if you play with the FAQ and Errata in become an even better upgrade, as they become one fo the few ways to gain double figure points from an upgrade at the end of the game. For skaven, upgrades are awesome too, with stuff like Warpstone Souvenirs and Sewer Go-Map being real power cards.

The Dark Elves, meanwhile, have Upgrades that look awesome, but which are rarely worth over-investing into.

Deathlace looks great, as if you play it you can potentially have another player AND the player he's blocking get downed. The natural instinct is to play it in these circumstances. Think though - does this help you win fans? The answer is probably not, unless it happens at a Tournament. Essentially what you're looking at is a card that helps you win tournaments mostly, relies a lot on luck to come up, and which sometimes makes blocking you a scarier and more random prospect. It feeds into the Dark Elf idea of opponents being reluctant to block you in case they end up helping you, but its not as powerful as it first seems. If nothing else, it sometimes stops opponent vs opponent blocks being made which might benefit you overall because they're too worried about you using it. Where it shines is as a diplomacy card - you can negotiate at the table well with Deathlace there. Not to say its a weak upgrade, just one that has less effect on you winning the Fan race than you might expect.

Dark Sorceress is risk free, but won't often give you much points swing. Enough to win a match up or tournament, but nowhere near as strong a card as some upgrades.

Hag's Hex - bleugh. Can stack odds a little in your favour around blocks against you, and can make random effects less likely to favour others. Again, a card that has more value in tabletalk than absolute terms.

Body Count and Sneering Assistant are nice points gainers. Not as nice as Warpstone Souvenirs, but few cards are.

Seething Hatred - now we're talking. Injure the player you've knocked down AND get a couple of fans? I like!


So how does this translate to Dark Elf strategy?

Overall, I'd say Dark Elves are a fairly weak side - maybe even Dwarf/Chaos weak, and definitely not as strong as the best teams in the game.

They do well with extra star players, though who doesn't? They synergise less well in Star Player chasing than humans do though (because of the human upgrades) or than more sprinting adept teams do, as they can't sprint without sacrificing their strength in other ways. If you do get Star Players, I'd strongly consider just looking for someone with high Star Power who you can dump-off to, or failing that, players who can sprint out your linemen.

They are strong in "deterrent" strategies, and are well suited to players who play the table-talk / negotiation game well. You can often talk other players into committing their resources against people other than you, thanks to cards like Deathlace and Seething Hatred. Likewise, your downed skills make it less efficient for you to be blocked than most teams.

Team upgrades are worth grabbing opportunistically, but you don't want a team--upgrade focused victory plan.

So generally speaking, devote most of your energy to gaining fans. Grab Team Upgrades and Star Players with equal priority, but don't over commit resources to getting either. If you get Deathlace, use it in tournaments.

Cards to play early, usually: Linemen (unless you can sprint them out), Blitzers (on a ** ball carrier), Witch Elves (on a *** ball carrier).

Cards to play late/opportunistically: Assassins and Runners, though don't expect Gutter-Runner levels of performance from them, and bear in mind these cards get more useful as the game goes on.

Synergies: Witch Elf with Seething Hatred. Runners with high value Star Players on your side. Deathlace with Tournaments. Assassins against high value players.

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And another thing I forgot to mention:

Dark Elves benefit more from making 1 dice blocks more than say humans or orcs.

If your witch elf makes a 1 dice block against a **** guy, then she's either going to drop him for -** (and hopefully knock the ball loose to), or achieve nothing, or down herself, and gain a cheat token as consolation.

Downed skills mean that risk taking behaviour is generally less risky.


I've come **** close with winning with the Dark Elves just once by being much more incautious than I normally would be and embracing the 1-dice blocks in situations I'd never normally consider. It was only those **** Cablevision tokens that randomised me off the win!

I'd still stand by my assessment, however, that they are not a top tier team. In fact, of the three new teams, I'd say they are the weakest.

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a really good play that ive seen in use with the darklace upgrade in a four player game, was when my friend used it to apply both * * thus removing the player out of that particular highlight so the next turn he could then play his witch there and perform a tackle on the opposing team, worked like a charm.  so as far as strategy goes, keep in mind that when a great highlight is takin up than and your turn is next, you can allways apply the double and injure the opposing team so you can place one of your cards there to get that payout.  just sayin after seeing it done, id suggest it when you don't have a tournament in play.

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