Raiders, Pirates, Ravagers of the World!

PirateSo I’m in a hobby and immersion mood lately. As such, I seek ways to play a styled or themed army to fit a storyline that I could fit into my army’s fluff or attempts to expand. And what better place to start than with raiding?

So strap on your boots mateys! Load up that Repeater Crossbow.. or Handbow.. or peg leg gun! We’ve got some pillaging ahead of us! We’ll steal all their treasures, enslave their husbands and consume the wenches. Well, if we’re into that kind of thing.

The Corsair side dish

I’ve been looking into a way to integrate the outcome of the casual game in a one-man campaign system. As my army battles, so does the army grow… or shrink. It had me think differently of the Dark Elf army. If I’m to assume I have a base somewhere in Naggaroth and I want to expand my wealth or power, then what kind of army would I send out?

  • Regiments of regular troops to the Towers of the North with Warrior regiments where the weak need to be cleansed from the ranks of the strong. That’s a nice theme, but I wasn’t in the mood for fielding Dreadspears en masse. Additionally, we lack active Chaos players in midst.
  • Cavalry regiments to patrol between the Towers of the North, which is an interesting take on it. They could also be deployed south or across the coast for a variety of opponents. It’s a nice theme but I didn’t feel like starting a cavalry dominated army just yet.
  • The Temple of Khaine isn’t the kind of army that would set out for skirmishes. It tends to be reserved for larger scale campaigns or wars. Or for civil wars and internal battle. They are a heavy weight kind of army: not easily transported. They also show very little affinity with ships in general. It really brings in the big guns and it just didn’t feel so casual and light hearted to me. I’ll keep this one for larger sized battles… for now.
  • The coven of magic is a good candidate, but it’s all about powerdice. To give it a nice touch, it could add in Bloodwrack Shrines and Medusae. Maybe some warlocks to sprinkle around? It’s a good choice, but I don’t have all the units available yet and I didn’t want to go mad on magic right away. I’ll keep that flavour for later.
  • City defense… wouldn’t be sent out for battle. Never the less it’s a style to keep in mind for the future!

And so, after excluding all logical answers the only remaining choice, however illogical was the corsair raiding theme. Except it didn’t turn out to be a single theme!

Raiders! By Land, by sea, by boat, by Ark, by air!

Dark Elves are all about looting and pillaging, and so they offer a great diversity in their stories on how to go about this day to day profession.

  • The Corsair ships raiders.  They are the majority of the Dark Elf fleet. They set out each year for a season of pillaging and looting, as soon as the ice of the sea of chill thaws. Their troops usually consist off:
    • Corsairs, obviously, in all manners and forms. I’m including Corsair flavoured Shades here.
    • The odd horse or pegasus, but this is to be limited to characters mostly.
    • Harpies, depending on what edition of fluff you read.
    • Some sea monsters, provided the monster can actually be carried on boar, or towed/lured along.
    • The occasional sorceress, which would be welcomed but a rare sight never the less.
    • Bolt Throwers, for these are mounted and dismounted from the ships.
  • The Black Arks. These are islands set to float on the water, carrying whole armies in their fort and monsters in their sunken hull. While this permits all unit selections, assuming it isn’t an all out war, it would be focused on:
    • Sorcery, for Sorceresses control the Ark.
    • Land and Sea monsters, complimented by beastmasters.
    • All sort of infantry troops, but probably without temple of khaine because of the rivalry with the coven of magic.
    • A bit of cavalry, heavy or light, but not a lot.
    • All types of Warmachines, though Elves don’t exactly have that many.
  • Raiders by land. These are regiments of light troops sent to harass and pillage any settlement they can reach by land, from Lustria to the Northern wastes and the coast lines in between. They could also serve as an advanced party for a Black Ark and I presume they are mostly composed off:
    • Fast cavalry, Dark Riders or Warlocks.
    • Corsair infantry though regular troops could be used
    • Shades, in all their splendour
    • Mounted characters, magical or not.

Why settle for one, when you can have two?

The new book makes each flavour easy to apply! When I set out to make a single raiding list, I noticed I could never settle on a single style and do all aspects of raiding justice. The reason was that there were multiple styles to go for, and so I decided to build a list for each style, starting with Raiders by Boat and Raiders by Land. When Dimetrius revealed he’s into 1200 point games, I quickly took up my notebook and started tuning the units for 1200 point lists. By using some troops as a common choice, I’d also make it an achievable painting challenge for myself, and a goal to look forward to!

The common selection of units would be:

  • A Master on Pegasus. This makes for a flexible character that can put pressure in different ways. A single pegasus is transportable by boat and land. 
  • A bunch of Corsairs. No other rank and file infantry. This also ties together the main bulk of the lists.
  • Shades, mostly Corsair flavoured for now. Shades are, probably, the most versatile unit rule and style wise in the entire book.

Then each list would add support, depending on the flavour of the list.

The Corsair Ship Raiders

  • 188 pts – Master, Peg, mundane armor kit (1+ save), Cloak of Twillight, Lance
  • 365 pts – 30 Corsairs, Banner, Musician, Banner of Swiftness
  • 172 pts – 9 Shades, Banner, AHW
  • 172 pts – 9 Shades, Banner, AHW
  • 140 pts – 2x Reaper Bolt Thrower
  • 160 pts – Kharybdis

It’s a fast, rush-in, assault and capture the flag army. The main troops can run in, towing a Kharybdis along for confusing, fun and terror. The Shades pave the way, using flags to mark captured towers, ahh! And then there’s the Bolt Throwers to cover the troops and their retreat, while the big chief can use his pegasus to assist wherever his subordinates need disciplining and to keep a good control over the battlefield.

The big drawback is the lack of magic. But in 1200 points, even Raiders have to take risks.

The Land Raiding Party

  • 188 pts – Master, Peg, mundane armor kit (1+ save), Cloak of Twillight, Lance
  • 189 pts – 14 Corsairs, Repeater Handbow, Full Command, Gleaming Pennant
  • 110 pts – 5 Dark Riders, Repeater Crossbows, Musician
  • 110 pts – 5 Dark Riders, Repeater Crossbows, Musician
  • 172 pts – 9 Shades, Banner, additional hand weapon (though I could take great weapons)
  • 172 pts – 9 Shades, Banner, additional hand weapon
  • 125 pts – 5 Warlocks
  • 125 pts – 5 Warlocks

Now this is an extremely mobile army, designed to harass both in the story and the game. It has a low body count, which usually makes it vulernable to offensive magic. It also has a lack of high strength attacks, even if I would equip the Shades with great weapons. I hope this is where the Master can help out, but that’s no assurance.

I still have 9 points to spare on this list, but I’m not sure what to spend it on. A Crossbow for the Master maybe?

Final thoughts and painting plans

With these two lists, I hope to have a varied playing style available to get started even though the background and the bulk of the army is similar. As a bonus, it defines which units should be painted first.

I have my Master on a Pegasus almost ready to be primed, but I still struggle to attach his shield. The Corsairs are half way. The Shades still need a lot of work, but they will be my next project!

The rest of the models I have in store, though some are in grey-mode still. Alas, I’m a slow painter… But in time this will get ready. Meanwhile, I’m thinking of my black ark lists, my covenant of magic list, my city guard list and the patrol lists while I’m at it.

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