The comments have kept rolling in following the battle report so I thought I'd go through them before our next game. The first is from Zeb on the Warhammer Forum.
It seems like your friend is playing De the way you play Khorne... Except for the 8 levels of magic.
As others stated, he needs to slow down. Also to concentrate fire with his RBT's.
One thing that seems to have been wrong is that the lvl 4 can't be in a chariot, and that the four furies (in the pic they seem to be four) shouldn't have caused the Dark Riders to auto flee, since they still have Unit Strength 6 vs the Furies US 4 (or possibly 5).
Which also brings me to wonder about the first round of that combat, he did no wounds and you did one = a draw. But does he play Dark Riders without musician???! He needs to include that, just for the sake of rallying easier.
Good Luck, I know it takes time to learn the rules, I'm still learning 20 later...!
How come the lvl 4 can't be in the chariot? Is it something specific to DE?
As for the furies, there were 8 in the starting unit and they killed 1 dark rider for no casualties. That meant a draw. In the second round I think I killed another dark rider for no losses. That meant US 8 vs 6 and the Dark Riders auto fled. The furies pursued but didn't catch them and then got peppered by fire from the repeater bolt throwers and crossbows which took them down to four models.
I'll have to check if there was a musician in the unit - if not I'll recommend he includes one.
AndyP posts a lot of battle and campaign reports on the Warhammer forum. He has some strong views on the game and I am a fan because he plays warrior heavy Chaos lists. He wrote:
Characters can only ride in chariots if the unit entry in the army book (the bit with all the point costs) specifically allows them to ride in one. Compare the entries for the highborn and high sorceress. Neither of the DE sorceresses can ride in chariots.
Other than that, I like the pictures with arrows - it's very clear what's going on.
Regarding your friend's dismay with the dark elves. I would encourage him to keep at it - it takes a lot of practise to compete with DE. He shouldn't expect to win straight away. I would advise against making radical changes to the list. Keep practising with similar lists before trying something new - otherwise you're back to square one.
The rules queries regarding the chariots were a new one on me and I didn't even think to check with Gary during our game. I'll e-mail him these comments so he can make the relevant changes for our next game.
I think Andyp's thoughts on the Dark Elf army list are spot on. It's difficult to get to grips with a new game system, especially if you are playing an army that fights in a way that is outside your comfort zone. Gary's attempted solutions have been to put successively harder models on the board but these have all failed because fundamentally the Dark Elf army is not supposed to be played that way, and certainly not against Chaos. Whatever model Gary plays I can pick a harder version in my list. No, what he needs to do is press his own advantages which are manoeuvrability, magic and shooting while avoiding his weakness which is combat.
Chopping and changing the lists is not helping because he has no time to get used to how each unit works. My own experience has shown me that in Warhammer the way the army works as a whole is more important than how powerful each individual unit is, and that deployment is crucial. I think it would be more beneficial for Gary to concentrate on his tactics and deployment than tweaking his army list.
There was also an actual comment on the lone pilgrim blog itself. Glory be!
The Dark Elves are squishy. They should NOT be in combat earlier than turn 3. Turn 4 better. He needs to make you come to him (in the center) and then pounce your flanks.
He tends to throw the Dark Elves immediately forward, which really comes as a surprise..
The Dark Riders fled off the field? Perhaps musicians are needed specially since now a fast cav can MOVE after it rallies he can be just 10 inches away from the knights and since you have to charge him, he flees, rallies and then moves back to where he is denying you a march.
the Dark Riders that got charged by the hounds should never have been charged in the first placed.. Since either a) the riders have longer range. (14 inches for the hounds right?) and b) he could flee. He could have creeped the Dark Riders a bit first to ensure that he was in range but the hounds weren't.
Tag teaming units against one enemy is going to be needed.
And remember Chaos is a Large Hammer, the Dark elves are a Scalpel. The DE is a finesse army.
Good luck and good hunting.
btw did you make your fear/terror checks when you charged the hydra? if you pursued into it, did you make your checks
Looking at the last pic it looks like the Hydra went out alone. that's bad.. Treat it as a slower chariot .. One hitting a full unit in front cant win. It needs support. 2 chariots hitting at the same time though.. is another matter. :)
We did make the relevant fear/terror tests - we tested at the start of my third turn because the hydra was within 6" of the chosen (with the lord) and chariot. Then we tested when both units charged.
I don't think I need to test when the hydra is fleeing as it's not quite so scary when it has it's tail between its legs.
Don't forget that my lord (on fear causing mount) was in the chosen so I had 9 LD with the re-roll for being Chaos Undivided.
Thanks for all the tactical insights, everyone. I'm passing them all on to Gary and I'm sure he'll put them into practice soon.