Daeron’s Two Tower list

Two towers

When I first glanced through the Dark Elf army book, I was quite enthusiastic about the ability to take Witch Elves as a core choice. Combined with Executioners as the special, elite infantry, this would make it possible and perhaps viable to make a Temple of Khaine list. A Cauldron of Blood would be essential to the list and the synergy with the Witch Elves is implied in both rules and model show cases. Looking at other players who used these three building blocks as a corner stone of their army, I learned there is need for another Large target and there is one that works well with the Executioners: a Bloodwrack Shrine. The combination of these two units, each with their “tower” has been given a name: a Two Towers list. This is my take on it.

Basic building blocks of a Two Towers list

As mentioned above the basic constructs of a two towers list is two large infantry blocks, each with either a Cauldron of Blood or a Bloodwrack Shrine. The combination of a Witch Elf unit with a Cauldron of Blood and the Executioner unit with a Bloodwrack Shrine is one of the more popular, and presumably powerful combinations.

The theory behind taking two towers is that it boosts two large infantry blocks in combat power and at the same time provides two cannon targets, in hopes at least one survives the early cannon shots before combat is reached.

The core list

For my own list, I start as follows.

  • 220pts – High Sorceress, Level 4
  • 193pts – Master, Peg, Full armor, Cloak of Twillight, Lance, RXB
  • 300pts – Death Hag, Cauldron of Blood, Battle Standard Bearer
  • 383pts – 28 Witch Elves, Full Command, Banner of Armor Piercing
  • 110pts – 5 Dark Riders, Shields, Musician, RXBs
  • 110pts – 5 Dark Riders, Shields, Musician, RXBs
  • 354pts – 27 Executioners, Full Command
  • 210pts – 3 Reaper Bolt Thrower
  • 175pts – Bloodwrack Shrine
  • 125pts – 5 Warlocks
  • 125pts – 5 Warlocks

This list leaves me with 95 points more to spare which can be spent in a multitude of ways.

Core strengths

The list already offers a great deal of strength at this point:

  • Fast support: with 4 fast cavalry units and a flying pegasus master, the army has 5 units offering mobility and fast support. This feels like a lot, for an army that seems to be focused around its combat infantry.
  • Solid shooting: three reaper bolt throwers and 10 repeater crossbows give the army quite some shooting. This is augmented by the magic, which offers at least two doombolts from the Warlocks, and possibly a third. The shooting power from magic all depends on the same power dice pool, so this is less “sure”.
  • Heavy magic: with a single level 4 and two warlock units, the magic is better represented than my usual style in the previous book. It also offers three channeling attempts which gives about 40% chance of giving extra power dice. But what really is going to make this fun is that the warlocks already offer basic destructive power through Doombolt. This permits us to pick a lore less focused on damage on the level 4. Dark Magic and Shadow come to mind.
  • Heavy combat: while neither Witch Elves nor Executioners are unbeatable, they do rack up the attacks and deliver a solid punch. By giving the Witch Elves armor piercing, they counter their major weakness (armour) and are left vulnerable only to the most defensive of units. And let’s face it: combat is fun! It satisfies some hunger in a most gory manner.

With a list that offers such strength on these fronts, the list impresses me as powerful overall. That is, provided its weaknesses can’t be exploited.

Core weaknesses

Of course, the list comes with a price.

  • Somewhat unwieldy infantry. As both are stuck in a large unit, the army needs space to move, and needs mobile support to ensure it gets where it needs to go. The cauldron of blood and bloodwrack shrine may ramp up the impact of the unit, but it also makes them more vulnerable to clever tacticians. The units will have to be gunned down through sheer firepower or be beaten by a highly tactical game… In both cases, the opponent is pushed into position.
  • Weakness to anti infantry tactics. Elves, and especially Dark Elves, always have had a weakness for this sort of tactics. With T3 and a lack of defensive armour, the army’s main weakness is horde killing machines. There are ways to counter or minimize such risks but it is something to keep an eye out for.
  • Lack of anti regen mechanics. Regen can not be countered so easily with this list. This could be solved by giving the mage the lore of fire, but there are more powerful lores in the game to give a level 4. Still, for this reason alone, I’d consider it.

The final bits and pieces

With 95 points to customize the list (a 100 if I part with the Master’s RXB), we have options to tune the list.One tempting way is to keep the Sorceress cheap with a 25 point dispell scroll or Tome of Furion and spend the remaining 70 points on a fourth Reaper Bolt Thrower. This impresses me as a powerful choice. In this manner, the list really puts down the hammer in the shooting phase. But it would leave the Sorceress, the general, somewhat vulnerable. While she can hide in an infantry unit, and this keeps her safe against many, she could be taken out by a suicide tactic.

Alternatively, one could invest in defense for the Sorceress. I would argue that the best solution is the Talisman of Preservation and a dispel scroll. The remaining points… Well… there’s always a banner of swiftness for the Executioners. This would give them more mobility and permit them to deploy farther away, where they are safer. The counter for this is that the Sorceress may not have the luxury of range on her spells.

The most “fun” configuration would seem to be the Black Amulet, giving her a bit of a nasty surprise, and the Tome of Furion to handpick a spell depending on my opponent.

Final notes

The list impresses me as fun, challenging and powerful enough to present a threat to most players. It feels like a good goto list, fit for general gaming purposes unless scenario’s or flavour would ask me to take a different direction. So, that will be the list I will be building soon and begin to paint…  After I finished my Corsairs.

2 thoughts on “Daeron’s Two Tower list

  1. Not a bad list I have to say, having been on the receiving end of this.

    Just you wait Professor Higgins… I mean, Daeron, just you wait!

  2. It could use some refinements, but it really packs a punch. ‘Some’ people claim it can be tackled easily. I do think it has weaknesses that can be exploited, but for non tournament lists I think it will offer a fair challenge.

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