Thursday, 26 September 2019

No Substitute: Discontinued Units in Cities of Sigmar - Part 2: Aelves


Welcome back to my two-part guide on how to incorporate discontinued units both recent and dating back to the last millennium into your Cities of Sigmar force. Part 1 focused on humans and duardin (and halflings!), and in the concluding instalment it's the aelves' turn.

Despite having suffered the most losses of the recent wave of discontinued models ahead of the launch of Battletome: Cities of Sigmar, when it comes to finding appropriate warscrolls, aelves have once again proven themselves to be frustratingly good at everything compared to the other races, with most of their discontinued units having at least two very good options for you to choose to represent them with, where most human and duardin units only have one. This is in no small part thanks to the overlap between the former High Elf, Dark Elf and Wood Elf ranges, a lot of which are effectively White, Black and Green variants of each other.

For ease of browsing (I know a lot of you are aelf purists who would never deign to even consider fielding the likes  of humans or duardin, and won't wan't to sully yourselves looking at the previous post), I'll repeat Part 1's grading system, quickly identifying when some discontinued units are better represented by existing warscrolls than others.

  • A - A perfect (or near perfect) fit, the old unit's appearance, background, how it fights, and what it looks like fully fulfilled by the suggested warscroll, and likely to earn your army serious cool points.
  • B - Good enough that it's obvious to your opponent what the model represents, but maybe not the most harmonious fit when it comes to the comparative status, fighting ability, or even equipment options of the old unit and what it's supposed to represent side by side.
  • C - Any Longbeard will tell you the regrettable truth that some units, characters and war machines simply have finite shelf lives, and find themselves orphaned, with no rules representing them, and no real suitable proxy. Thankfully the units this happens to usually aren't mainstays, and are normally niche units or characters on unusual mounts most players aren't likely to have more than a handful of. They're probably best left on the shelf as a reminder of happier days, but if you're really insistent on finding ways to still use models you love, I've included at least one suggestion for each.

Also flagged are the entries where existing models require some varying degrees of conversion work to better fit a new warscroll, or are best represented by allies instead of Cities of Sigmar units.

I've made the decision to not include suggestions using a warscroll with the human, duardin or aelf keyword to represent a discontinued unit of a different race, as I believe that doing so is confusing and against the spirit of the game's background. Obviously everything expressed here is one player's opinion, and I'd never want to impede on your enjoyment; if you want to run Skaw the Falconer as a Stormcast Retributor, then that's between you and your opponent.

I've been a little eager putting this guide together, and it will be updated in full as soon as more information on Battletome: Cities of Sigmar becomes available. I'd also love to fill it with pictures of models from players' Cities of Sigmar armies (as well as my own) instead of stock photos of units painted by the 'Eavy Metal team, and if you'd like to show off you models here, then please contact me.


WOOD ELVES AND WANDERERS

Glade Guard:

Sisters of the Watch (A): "But some of them are boys!" I hear you exclaim. Sisterhood's a prohibitive term (I'm really hoping the unit gets a different name in the new book), and if you're a former Wood Elf player who wants to keep using his 100+ Glade Guard in a Cities of Sigmar army then the Sisters of the Watch are your best choice. Both are elite units of archers volleying off enchanted ammunition, and the Sisters of the Watch retain the crucial Wanderers keyword shared by all surviving non-Sylvaneth Wood Elf units. Sadly their standard bearers and musicians will either have to go, or become ornamental with no special rules.

Whew, getting the controversial entries out of the way early!

Darkshards (B): If you really, really want to differentiate your Glade Guard and Sisters of the Watch I guess?


Wood Elf Scouts:

Sisters of the Watch (A): See Glade Guard.

Shadow Warriors (A): I mean they are scouts, but so's everyone else in a Living City list.


Glade Riders:

Dark Riders (A): Obviously they're not very dark, but Shadowblades are described as masters of disguise able to change their own faces, and who knows what Dark Riders from Ghyran look like?


Waywatchers:

Sisters of the Watch (A): Again, elite archers with a certain flair. If you're already using your Glade Guard as sisters of the Watch, then you might want to try using Waywatcher models as unit champions.

Shadow Warriors (A): The running theme of Wood Elves is that they're great archers who are also scouts. If you want you Waywatchers to be slightly worse archers and slightly better scouts, then consider using them as Shadow Warriors instead.


Waywatcher Lord:

Sister of the Watch or Shadow Warrior champion (B): With no ranged aelf hero option to sub for, the Waywatcher Lord is the first aelf character on this list joining the likes of Tzar Boris with a choice between unit championdom and retirement.


Wardancers: 

Witch Aelves or Sisters of Slaughter (B, allies): Wardancers are up there with Trollslayers and squigs as far as iconic Warhammer units go, and I dearly hope they one day return with a new plastic kit. Unfortunately they're so iconic that they're not easily represented by anything else. Daughters of Khaine units are probably the best bet for now, both unmistakably being aelves not wearing a great deal and on a night out, but that's where the similarities end, and you may be left wanting a lot more from their special rules.

Assassins (B): Single favourite Wardancers, possibly unit champions or heroes could also act as Assassins if you've got the hero slots; hidden in your units like members of a flash mob I guess.

Tree Revenants (B, Living City or allies): Another option for Wardancers is Sylvaneth Tree Revenants, especially in a Living City force, but they're an even clunkier fit than Daughters of Khaine.


Treekin:

Kurnoth Hunters (A): Er, ogre-sized walking trees... it would be hard to mistake Treekin for anything else. Might be hard pressed to justify the bow option though.


Waystrider/Wayfinder/Glade Lord or Glade Captain on foot:

Nomad Prince (A): As the only remaining Wanderer hero this guy's warscroll is gonna be seeing a lot of use. The Nomad Prince is also armed with a spear, meaning it's pretty safe to run an old Glade Captain Battle Standard Bearer as one should you be so inclined.

Sister of the Watch, Shadow Warrior, Glade Guard or Wildwood Ranger champion (B): If you've got an abundance of old Wood Elf character sculpts that you want to show off (and I don't blame you, most of them were pretty nice) and they don't object to the demotion, then there's no reason why you shouldn't slip them in as champions leading appropriately armed units.


Glade Lord or Glade Captain on Elven Steed:

Dark Rider or Wild Rider champion (B): An uncommon option, but one I'm sure at least a few people took, it's unfortunate that there's no better way to represent Wood Elf cavalry characters.


Glade Lord or Glade Captain on Great Stag:

Wild Rider champion (B): An even more uncommon option, and one GW actually produced a model for, this guy can look forward to the other Wild Riders asking him if he's thought about putting his stag on a diet plan.

Glade Lord on Forest Dragon:

Dreadlord on Black Dragon (A): Not really mistakable for much else really. Wanderers players have been asking for this model back, and now they've got it without having to use allies.


Sisters of Twilight on Forest Dragon:

Dreadlord on Black Dragon with Repeater Crossbow (B): A considerably less elegant substitution than the one on offer for a conventional Forest Dragon, Naestra, Arahan and Ceithin-Har can still be represented by an option many weren't aware the Black Dragon Dreadlord had, largely on account of how bad it is - trading his shield and a point of save for 4 rather measly 4+/4+ Repeater Crossbow shots. You'll also have to justify the Sisters being terrible shots too, which is actually pretty easy when you remind yourself that they're surfing a dragon.


Characters on Great Eagles:

Anointed on Phoenix (B, minor conversion): Great Eagle riding characters were another rarity in the armies of Athel Loren, but one of my regular opponents was a frequent advocate, and I can only assume there are more out there. Far too small to represent a modern AoS monster on their own, I recommend putting your Great Eagle character on a 120mm oval base, accompanied by a couple of Warhawk Riders or another Great Eagle (with or without a rider), and calling the finished result comparable to a Flamespyre or Frostheart Phoenix on the battlefield.

Unfortunately neither Great Eagles nor Warhawks are particularly elemental, and you might want to spruce them up with a paintjob, or model or some fire or frost effects.


Warhawk Riders:

Khinerai Heartrenders (B, allies):
Awesome flying high rules, solid ranged and melee, and a Wood Elf appropriate saving throw.

Anointed on Phoenix (B): See Characters on Great Eagles.

Dark Riders (C): Beyond confusing for anyone you're playing, but there should you absolutely wish to continue using individual Warhawks.

Akhelian Morrsarr Guard (C, allies): I mean I suppose they're aelves on flying steeds.


Great Eagles:

Unridden Phoenix (B): Similar to the suggestion for Characters on Great Eagles above, mount a couple of riderless Great Eagles on a 120mm oval together, paint or model fire or frost effects as appropriate, and call them a pair of smaller Phoenixes. (Phoenices? Phoeni?)

Spellweaver or Spellsinger on foot:

Sorceress (A/B, dependant on model): Watch as I contradict/complicate everything I just said about using various former Wood Elf units with bows as Sisters of the Watch....

Darkling Covens Sorceresses are now Cities of Sigmar's only available non allied aelf spellcaster option, and would perfectly represent former Wood and High Elf wizards of all stripes if it weren't for the prohibitive name. I feel an individual hero with a gender specific name feels more restrictive than a whole unit like the Sisters of the Watch described above. Unmistakably obvious that you're using an aelf wizard as an aelf wizard, but maybe worth explaining to your opponent before deployment if you're using a male model.

Battlemage (A, minor conversion): Human Battlemages are now really very good when running endless spells. If you've got a spellcasting aelven chap that you absolutely don't want to run as a Sorceress, just pop off his head and replace it with a suitable human one (ideally with the most gaudy feathered hat and facial hair available).

Isharann Tidecaster or Isharann Soulscryer (C, allies): Not sure if either of these would be any good outside a Deepkin list, but there you go.


Spellweaver or Spellsinger on Elven Steed or Unicorn:

Sister of the Thorn champion (B): They'll still be casting spells, just with a quartet of backing wizards in tow.


Orion:

Spirit of Durthu (A, minor conversion, Living City or allies): Like your army's going to come from anywhere but the living City if you're running old Wood Elf models!

With his Warhammer Underworlds: Beastgrave descendants the Kurnothi having recently gained AoS rules and the Sylvaneth keyword, it stands to reason the Master of the Wild Hunt would be cut from the same cloth. Simply plonk Orion on a suitably overgrown rock or piece of ruin to give him the appropriate stature to not be accused of being beardy, and mount him and his hounds in a mini-diorama on a 105mm oval base to use as the biggest, baddest Treelord going. His bow's even represented by the Spirit of Durthu's Verdant Blast.

Kurnoth Hunter champion (B, minor conversion, Living City or allies): Don't consign Orion to Tzar Boris's fate when the above option is so much more appropriate and cool!


Orion's Hunting Hounds:

Gryph-hounds (A): If you absolutely must use them on their own.


Ariel:

Sorceress (C): If you want a Sorceress that's approximately three times easier for an opponent shoot at than than the garden variety version, then be my guest. I would suggest pinning her to the back of the Wardroth Beetle to use as Alarielle, but at that point you'd own an infinitely nicer Alarielle model that you could do exactly that with instead.


Wood Elf Chariot:

Scourgerunner Chariot (A, minor conversion): Will need something suitable to represent the crew's Ravager Harpoon. Perhaps a vacant Waywatcher Lord?


Attendant Beastmaster pets:

Gryph-Hounds (A): These models are older than I am. Look at that price point!


DARK ELVES

Shades/Mengil Manhide's Manflayers:

Shadow Warriors (A): Basically the same thing before the world blew up.

Black Arc Corsairs with Repeater Handbows (A): Also similar, and able to retain Mengil's standard and musician.


Reaper Bolt Thrower:

Stormcast Celestar Ballista (A, requires new crew): Add a couple of attendant Stormcast, and you've got the perfect moody ballista for an Anvilgard or Anvils of the Heldenhammer force.


Dreadlord or Master on Foot:

Black Ark Fleetmaster (A): It's not like you didn't give all your characters Sea Dragon cloaks anyway.

Black Guard or Executioner champion (B): I always saw Malekith as more the type to order the execution of his underlings than demote them.


Dreadlord or Master on Dark Steed:

Dark Rider champion (B): A very competitive choice during WFB's twilight years to the point that entire regiments of them weren't an uncommon sight. Now rejoining the unit you made minimal effort to convert them from.


Dreadlord or Master on Cold One:

Drakespawn Knight champion (B): Malus Darkblade would throw a fit.


Master Battle Standard Bearer:

Black Guard, Executioner, Dark Rider or Drakespawn Knight standard bearer (B): See previous three entries.


Sorceress on Dark Steed or Cold One:

Sister of the Thorn champion (B): Saying your Sisters of the Thorn come from Anvilgard buys a lot of mileage.

Doomfire Warlock champion (B, allies): Like Sisters of the Thorn with 10% more attitude.


Dreadlord, Master or Sorceress on Dark Pegasus/old Morathi:

Dreadlord or Sorceress on Black Dragon (B): As with every other smaller monster on this list, mount on an appropriate piece of scenery for sufficient elevation, and then a 105mm oval base with some accompanying beasties (possibly Harpies) to account for the improved profile.


High Beastmaster or other character on Manticore:

Dreadlord or Sorceress on Black Dragon (B): While clearly a large flying monster with a Dark Elf on it, a manticore isn't a dragon, making this an obvious fit, but not the smoothest one. Consider modelling or painting on some elemental flare to represent the dragon's breath attack?

Anointed on Phoenix (B): If you're already running a dragon and want to differentiate your manticore, here's a different aelf riding a different monster to call your Beastmater.


HIGH ELVES, ORDER DRACONIS, SWIFTHAWK AGENTS, ELDRITCH COUNCIL AND LION RANGERS

Dragon Blades/Dragon Princes:

Order of the Blood Drenched Rose mercenary Blood Knights (A, allies): There are probably more plastic Dragon Prices in the world painted up as vampires than there are representing their actual unit entry, and with Blood Knights now part of the Order of the Blood Drenched Rose mercenary company detailed in the General's Handbook 2019, and able to be hired as allies by any army regardless of grand alliance, it's never to late to jump on the bandwagon.

Drakespawn Knights (A): Elite aelves riding horses dressed up as dinosaurs become elite elves riding actual dinosaurs, minimal explanation needed.

Akhelian Morrsarr Guard (A, major conversion, allies): They'd be a bit of a mission to convert, but ever since I first saw Fangmora Eels, I always thought they'd look a lot better ridden by Dragon Princes than the rather underdressed guys they come with as standard.


Swordmasters:

Executioners (A): After hours of careful deliberation on the subject, the best suggestion I can offer here is to continue to use the heavily armoured, elite aelves with double-handed swords who are part of a sub faction run by wizards as... the other heavily armoured, elite aelves with double-handed swords who are part of a sub faction run by wizards.


Loremaster:

Living City, Hallowheart, Phoenicium, Anvilgard Annointed, Nomad Prince or Black Ark Fleetmaster (A): Fighter dude who casts spells. The Living City, the Phoenicium and Anvilgard each have a command trait that lets your general cast spells, while Hallowheart has an artefact that lets any hero do it. Combat character who does magic, huh.

Executioner champion (B): The fact he's casting a spell might raise a few questions, but otherwise he's no different from any other recently relegated hero.


Lion Rangers/White Lions:

Wildwood Rangers (A): Outdoorsy types - check. Big axes - check. Already share half their name - check. Enjoy the perks of having the Wanderer keyword!


Lion Chariot:

Drakespawn Chariot (A): It's an aelven chariot pulled by things you absolutely wouldn't want to pet, it'll do.


Chariot/Tiranoc Chariot:

Scourgerunner Chariot (A, minor conversion): As with Wood Elf Chariots, you'll want to equip the crew with something suitable to represent the Scourgerunner's Ravager Harpoon, possibly some javelins, or even a Ravager Harpoon itself taken from a kit used to build a Drakespawn Chariot.


Reavers/Ellyrian Reavers:

Dark Riders (A): Masters of disguise. And sometimes those disguises involve dressing up as the Mortal Realms' one-time postmen.


Spireguard/Lorthern Seaguard:

Eternal Guard or Dreadspears (B): A hybrid spear and bow unit, Spireguard/Seaguard aren't really represented by any remaining warscroll, and best fit the silhouette of rank and file aelven spearmen. The silver lining of this is that as with a lot of the ex High Elf units below, they're equally qualified to represent two different units, with the deciding factor being how Wanderer or Darkling Coven aligned the rest of your army is.

Shadow Warriors (C): Keep that Swifthawk flame alive! While Spireguard and Shadow Warriors are both melee/ranged hybrid units, Spireguard don't look like they're exactly dressed for blending in and out of the shadows, and are probably better off pretending their bows are ornamental and staying on guard duty.


Skycutter:

Grundstock Gunhauler (A, major conversion, Tempest's Eye or allies): Probably the biggest casualty of the models recently discontinued, as a flying chariot the Skycutter is a hard unit to substitute for anything else. Dekay has suggested gutting his Skycutters and replacing the aelf crew with duardin to run as Kharadron Grundstock Gunhauler's in a Tempest's Eye list, which I naturally think is a brilliant idea, but handing the keys to their prized ride over to a bunch of commercialistic dwarfs may be too bitter a pill to swallow for a lot of High Elf players.

Scourgerunner Chariot (C): If a better match that didn't involve extensive conversion work existed I wouldn't include this one. At least the Skycutter already has a harpoon I guess.

Akhelian Allopex (C, allies): It's a flying animal transporting aelves and a bolt thrower of sorts.


Skywarden/Sea Warden on Skycutter:

Anointed on Phoenix (B): Not a perfect fit, but not likely to be mistaken for much else. Strong potential to save with converted or painted fire/ice effects.


Seawarden on foot:

Nomad Prince, Black Ark Fleetmaster or Anointed (A): This should really be a personality questionnaire in a future issue of White Dwarf.


High Warden/Prince or Noble on Griffon/Eltharion:

Dreadlord on Black Dragon or Anointed on Phoenix (B, minor conversion): Depending on the size of your griffon consider bulking out with smaller monsters as described for Wood Elf characters on Great Eagles. Elemental effects modelled on to represent the dragon's breath attack/whatever comes out of a Phoenix always a plus.


Spearmen:

Eternal Guard or Dreadspears (A): Are you more leaf or spike inclined?


Archers:

Darkshards (A): If the crossbows are too much of a stretch for you just say they're firing their bows sideways.

Sisters of the Watch (B): High Elf Archers are decidedly less elite, in background and appearance than their Wood Elf counterparts, and running them as Sisters of the Watch Feels like a bit of a stretch when Darkshards exist.

Shadow Warriors (B): Depending on how much armour your Archers are wearing and how they're posed they may be a good fit for Shadow Warriors if you're keeping Ulthuan above the ocean in your heart.


Silver Helms:

Wild Riders or Drakespawn Knights (B): Not really elite, or riding anything exotic enough to fit either properly, if you've got Silver Helms that you're looking to run, then here are your defaults.

Order of the Blood Drenched Rose mercenary Blood Knights (B, allies): Why would you call these guys vampires when you can call the High Elf heavy cavalry unit that looks like vampires vampires?


Repeater Bolt Thrower:

Stormcast Celestar Ballista (A, requires new crew): As with Reaper Bolt Thrower but less angsty and likely to cut your hand when picked up.


Dragon Noble/Prince or Noble on foot:

Nomad Prince, Black Ark Fleetmaster or Anointed (A): Largely dependant on what your Prince or Noble is equipped with and what other units you're fielding.


Dragon Noble/Prince or Noble on Elven Steed:

Order of the Blood Drenched Rose mercenary Vampire Lord (A, model dependant, allies): If you've got a suitably Caldedorian character on horseback and are running Dragon Princes as mercenary Blood Knights anyway, why not call him a Vampire Lord? Can elves become vampires? The End Times say... maybe.

Drakespawn Knight champion (B): Assuming your Drakespawn Knights are Dragon Princes.


Prince or Noble on Great Eagle or Pegasus:

Anointed on Phoenix (B): See Wood Elf character on Great Eagle.


Dragonlord:

Dreadlord on Black Dragon (A): That was hard.


Archmage/Mage on foot:

Sorceress (A/B depending on model used): See Wood Elf mages.

Battlemage (A, minor conversion): Aelves and humans possess about the same height and build, so clip off that sour aelf head and replace it with a nice ostentatious Freeguild one. You probably couldn't do the same with a Runelord.


Archmage/Mage on Elven Steed:

Sisters of the Thorn champion (B): Imagine running a "High Elf" sisters of the watch unit, made up entirely of mounted mages.


Archmage on Dragon/Drakeseer:

Sorceress on Black Dragon (A/B, depending on model): Maybe just consider crossing out the "ess" on any Sorceress warscrolls you plan on running male mages as?


Handmaiden:

Nomad Prince (A): Sisters of the Avelorn are now Sisters of the Watch and Wanderers, so it only stands to reason that a Handmaiden would become a hero from the same faction with similar equipment options.


Well, there you have it! I hope this two-part article has been useful, or failing that at least entertaining. If you have any feedback, or feel that I've missed something obvious, then please hit me up, I'd be delighted to hear it.

1 comment:

  1. I thought maybe an elf on peg or eagle could be that stormcast dude with the bow, Venetor I think it is

    ReplyDelete