The armies of our cruel and dark kin are a fearsome force on the battlefield. Rows of spear-armed Warriors march alongside crazed Witch Elves and deadly Assassins, accompanied by vicious monsters in the form of War Hydras, Manticores and the fabled Black Dragons of Naggaroth, backed up by the fearsome Reaper Bolt Throwers and vicious repeater crossbows. As with all elves, the Druchii are exceptional warriors and their skill with arms is responsible for many a raid on the people of the Old World.
1.1 Special Rules & Terminology
- Eternal Hatred
All units in the Druchii army (with the only exception being Harpies) have the Eternal Hatred special rule. This rule has two effects. The first of them means that all models (both riders and mounts in case of cavalry or monstrous mounts) can re-roll missed hits in the first turn of any combat, and in every turn of combat when fighting High Elves. This makes Dark Elves extremely reliable and efficient in combat – or at least, in the first turn of any combat. Remember this for any of your in-game calculations – Druchii are extremely reliable in the first turn of any combat!
The second part of the rule means that if their opponent breaks from close combat, they must pursue. All other units can take a Leadership test to stay still. The units with Hatred must always pursue. The same rules are applied with an overrun charge, meaning Druchii units must always overrun.
This rule is simple. Some Druchii units or characters are considered to be Khainites. What does that mean? Well, a few things. First of all, Khainite units can only be joined by Khainite characters. However, Khainite characters can join all Druchii units. In the case of characters, they are different to the norm in that none of them can take the usual magic items, but instead they can spend their points on Gifts of Khaine, which are not accessible for non-Khainites. That means they will rarely have magical attacks (it is possible, but very, very rare!) nor any armour.
2. Druchii Units
- 2.1 Lords
- Dread Lord
Dread Lords are the Druchii equivalents of our Highborns. They are not as versatile as our Highborns are, as they do not have access to "kindreds“, but on the other hand with access to a really deadly magic items arsenal, they are pretty deadly opponents. Remember that Druchii lords are extremely deadly in close combat, and very resilient most of the time. Even without magic items, they can have really great Armour saves – 2+ against both shooting and close combat when taken on foot (or on a monstrous mount), increasing up to a 1+ Armour save (0+ against shooting) when mounted a Cold One.
And what about their usual magic items? From the defensive items, they usually wear the Pendant of Khaeleth (grants a Ward save inversely equivalent to the attacker's Strength) or the Armour of Eternal Servitude (heavy armour, grants Regeneration). Sometimes they wear both but as they become extremely resilient, their killing power is reduced. Usually this "unkillable monster" also carries Caledor's Bane, a lance which provides him with Strength 7 on the charge and ignores Scaly Skin.
Most other defensive items you don't see often, but some of them are worth mentioning. The Ring of Darkness halves the Weapon Skill of any attack directed against the wearer, and the Ballistic Skill of any shooting attack directed against the unit he is in. There is also the Shield of Ghrond, which decreases the Strength of any hits taken by the wearer, or the Cloak of Hag Graef which halves the Strength of any shooting hits (including all spells!) against the wearer.
In the case of the killing toys, the choices the Druchii have are awesome. Caledor's Bane has already been mentioned. Sometimes you will also see Crimson Death, a magical two-handed weapon which provides the wearer with Strength 6 which cannot be modified, or Deathpiercer; a lance with the Killing Blow special rule. Rarely you see infantry lords carrying Soulrender - a cheap great weapon with the Armour Piercing rule.
Also worth a mention is the Potion of Strength – a One Use Only item, which provides the wearer with a +3 Strength bonus for one turn.
Supreme Sorceress are the high-level magic users in Druchii army. I will take a look at Druchii magic later, so now we will speak only about their possible magic equipment. But before anything else is discussed, remember one thing. Supreme Sorceresses are very, very strong magic casters with access to a tremendous number of Power dice and strong spells but at the same time, they can become one of the most resilient magic users in the whole Warhammer world! Remember that and respect them, as a good Druchii general can turn them into a real nightmare if you are not careful.
Well, it is time to talk about their possible equipment. If there is any Supreme Sorceress on the table, you can bet she wears the Pendant of Khaeleth. With it, she becomes really resilient and the nastier the character hunter you send after her, the more resilient she becomes.
Alongside this item, there are a few options of what she can wear with it. Some players provide her with the very dangerous, albeit overpriced, Black Staff with a Level 4 bound spell of Power of Darkness (that spell will be discussed later – all you need to know right now is that if successfully cast, it gives her D3+1 Power dice). Other players replace this item with the Darkstar Cloak, which provides the wearer with an additional Power die in each magic phase. Sometimes you can also see the Focus Familiar, which can be used to allow the sorceress to cast spells from a different position on the battlefield using the familiar's Line of Sight. It allows the wearer to cast the spells even when she does not have Line of sight on her own; and with this thing, she can also cast magic missiles even when engaged in close combat!
One other possible option for the Supreme Sorceress is to give her the Lifetaker crossbow – a strong magical weapon with range of 30“, which shoots three arrows with Strength 4, which always hit on 2+. Although it is a magic weapon, it is important to remember one very important thing – according to the Dark Elves FAQ it does not have magical attacks and so, the Forest Spirit Ward save works against it.
- 2.2 Heroes
A Master is the Druchii equivalent of our Nobles. As with Dread Lords, they can be very strong in close combat or very resilient. Not as much as their Lord choice counterparts, but they are still pretty scary, especially with their great "natural“ Armour save they can achieve without use of any magic items – see the relevant paragraph in Dread Lord section.
A Master can be also the Battle Standard Bearer. According to the standards of the new army books, they can use any weapon choices or shields.
You will not often meet a Druchii Battle Standard Bearer with a magical standard. If he does have a magic banner, he will usually ride a Cold One and carry the infamous Hydra Banner – the wearer and the unit around him gets +1 attack in the first round of any combat. Another option but rarer than the Hydra Banner is the Banner of Nagarythe. This banner is pretty costly, but it provides the bearer and all friendly units within 12" with an additional +1 bonus to their combat result, plus the bearer and the unit he is with count as Unbreakable.
More often, you will see the Battle Standard Bearer without a magical banner, but with the Pendant of Khaeleth or Armour of Eternal Servitude and the Sword of Might, often on a Dark Steed or Cold One. Other popular builds feature the same items, but on an unmounted Master with a mundane great weapon in a unit with the Standard of Hag Graef which grants the Always Strikes First rule.
The basic magic user in the Druchii army but beware of them! Even a single Level 2 Sorceress can be a devastating magical force to be reckoned with, let alone two or three!
Anyway, the Sorceress is exactly as anyone of Druchii kind should be: damn offensive, careless about defensive. They have awesome magic offence, and many tools to increase their power. They have access to items which provide them with an additional spell, with an additional power dice etc. but mainly, they have access to the Sacrificial Dagger. This awesome item is the true blessing for any Level 2 Sorceress!
What is this item good for? Well, after (remember, after!) the sorceress rolls her casting dice, she can sacrifice a single model out of the unit she is in and roll one additional (free!) Power die. Once per spell, but infinite times per round! So if you see a Sorceress deployed within a large unit of Warriors, you can usually guess what will come next. But be wary, as some skilled generals put such a sorceress even within units like twelve-wide units of Black Guard, and use the Dagger only as a bonus. On other hand as you can see, this item is not that good for the supreme sroceress, as her pressure on the lives of any unit she is within is simply too high.
The Death Hag is the main Khainite character in the Druchii army. She wears no armour, she has Poisoned Attacks and she is Frenzied. She also has access to the Gifts of Khaine instead of magic items. This character can fulfil one (or two, often) of the following roles in the Druchii army:
1) Cauldron of Blood. The most versatile unit in the whole Druchii arsenal. The Cauldron counts as a war machine (so it can never charge or march), is led by a Death Hag accompanied by two Hags (Witch Elf champions), and the Cauldron provides them with a 4+ Ward save, Terror and Magic Resistance (1). Besides that, the Cauldron makes all Khainite units within 12" Stubborn. These are quite trivial compared to the Cauldron's real power though.
At the beginning of each Druchii turn, the Cauldron can provide a single friendly unit within 24“ with one of the Khainite blessings. These blessings include +1 Attack, the Killing Blow special rule or a 5+ Ward save. This effect cannot be stopped by any means. The effects do not work on mounts, monstrous mounts or Harpies but beware – the Hydra can benefit from the blessings!
As you can see, this is a really great and versatile tool, so you may think it will be good idea to take out the Cauldron as fast as possible. This is easier said than done. In the case of shooting, all hits against the Cauldron are ignored, and your hits are distributed against the 4+ Ward save protected crew on 5+ only. In close combat, you must remember the Cauldron is Stubborn (because it is a Khainite unit), Terror-causing and the crew is made up of a single character and two champions (so never throw a single character like an Alter against this unit!), all guarded by the 4+ Ward save. On the plus side, the Death Hag with the Cauldron almost never takes any Gifts of Khaine.
2) The Stubborn-providing character. This role works in cooperation with the Cauldron of Blood. As Khainite characters can join non-Khainite units, any unit joined by a Death Hag becomes Stubborn if within 12“ of the Cauldron of Blood. This is a really awesome thing, as you can easily imagine. The only drawback is the Frenzied Death Hag. Remember that and use this against any Druchii player who will try to use this strategy against you – if you put any of your units within charge range of the Hag, the whole unit must charge, otherwise she will leave the unit and charge alone. This can be used to disturb the enemy battle line...
3) The Battle Standard Bearer. The Death Hag, no matter if accompanied by a Cauldron or not, can be the Battle Standard Bearer. This is a good option for Druchii players. Why? For defensive-oriented (or infantry-heavy) Druchii armies, the Cauldron with Battle Standard is a really great backup for the main battle line. While hidden behind other units, it provides Break Tests re-rolls for all units and makes all Khainite units Stubborn, while the bearer is nicely protected with a 4+ Ward save, two champions and the arrow-attracting Cauldron.
When on foot, the Death Hag with the Battle Standard will usually take the Standard of Hag Graef and provide the Always Strikes First rule even to the units who usually cannot access it along with the additional Stubborn rule if the Cauldron is present on the battlefield.
The Assassin is a very special character accessible to the Druchii. He does not use any character slot, but up to one assassin can be attached to each Druchii infantry unit on the table.
The Assassin has many special rules and he is a really scary warrior. He has 4 Attacks basic, both his Weapon and Ballistic Skills are 10, he has the Always Strikes First rule with Initiative 10 and Poisoned Attacks. He starts the game hidden within any Druchii infantry unit (and yes, you do not know in which, nor how many Assassins there are prepared to kill your units!), and can be revealed at the beginning of any Druchii turn, or at the beginning of any close combat phase (even yours!)
As long as the Assassin is within the unit he does not provide it with his Leadership nor make it Stubborn (because of being Khainite) due to his A Killer Not A Leader special rule, but when he leaves it and moves (and fights) around on his own, he starts to benefit from his Leadership 10 and Khainite rule! So, be aware of any single Assassin, as with the support of the Battle Standard bearing Cauldron, he can hold even elite full ranked infantry units locked in close combat with ease, not to mention any of our Asrai units.
Beside all this, Assassins have access to the Gifts of Khaine instead of magic items. Each Khainite character can take each gift only once, but each gift can be taken multiple times by multiple characters. That means you can easily meet two or three Assassins using the same gifts.
There are three basic builds of the Assassins: the first and most common build features the Rune of Khaine and Manbane toxin. That means that the assassin loses his normal poison, but he has D3 additional attacks and counts his Strength as always being one higher than the Toughness of his target (with the maximum being Strength 6). That means that he has between five and seven attacks which are nearly always wounding on 3+ or better. This is not a big deal for the Asrai, as the only thing you must be aware of is your Treeman – he can easily take two or three wounds from the Assasin's Strength 6 each turn! This build is the most common and is very good at killing things (and characters), and you will likely meet it in most cases.
The second build again features the Manbane toxin, plus the Rending Stars gift. This version of the Assassin is not tooled for close combat, but for shooting instead. The Rending Stars are throwing weapons with three shots, a range of 12" and Stength as user +1, and in combination with Manbane they will always be at least one higher than the target's Toughness. As a result, this means the Assassin has three shots hitting on 2+ and nearly always wounding on 2+. As the maximum Strength of this build is 7, it is a really great tool against chariots but the only things which can be really threatened by it in the Asrai army are Treemen, Treekin and lone characters (Alters, obviously).
The third build is a means of supporting the unit the Assassin will be in with a high combat result, and thereby allows them to break nearly any enemy. This build features the Dark Venom toxin, Touch of Death, and again the Rune of Khaine. With this combination the Assassin has D3 additional attacks (so again five to seven attacks each turn) and the Killing Blow special rule. In addition to this killing power, all the wounds inflicted by him in a challenge are doubled for the purposes of Combat Resolution.
All Druchii characters can ride Dark Steeds, the Druchii equivalent of Elven Steeds, or Cold Ones who are Stupid and with Movement 7", but provide a +2 bonus to Armour saves, cause Fear and are Strength and Toughness 4. Besides these two options, there are several monstrous mounts the Druchii can choose from.
In terms of statistics, the Black Dragon is the same as the usual dragon most armies have access to. What makes him special and dangerous are other things.
The first speciality of a Black Dragon are the riders. The Dragon can be ridden not only by a Dread Lord, but by a Supreme Sorceress as well. The combination of fighty Dread Lord and nasty dragon is pretty obvious, but the mixture of the magic caster may look like a bad idea, but not in case of Druchii. When properly equipped with Focus Familiar and the Pendant of Khaeleth, she can use the fighty potential of the dragon to the maximum without losing anything of her magic power. The Pendant of Khaeleth will make her tough enough to be able to survive most attacks, while the Focus Familiar allows her to cast even magic missiles while in close combat, with no restriction to her line of sight
The other special thing about a Black Dragon is its breath. It hits with Strength 4, but when any unit who is not Immune to Psychology takes casualties from it, it must pass a Leadership test with a -3 modifier in order to declare any charge in their next movement phase. As most of our units are Immune to Psychology, this is not such a big deal but still be aware of this, as the single blow of the dragon breath can destroy your battle plan in the most crucial moment, especially if you use Eternal Guard.
A Manticore is exactly what Druchii should be - a killing monster. Well, a little unreliable one and not really that strong. It has 4 Attacks with Killing Blow. It can Fly, spread Terror and it consumes no additional slot when ridden by the Dread Lord. And each turn, if it fails the leadership test, it is subject of frenzy.
As a result, Manticore is nice and fluffy, but also somehow unreliable and costly (200 points? Oh, come on...) in comparison with a Black Dragon and what he can do, so you will not see many Manticores in larger Druchii armies. However in the small games played under 2000 pts, it can be equivalent to the small Asur dragon. 4 Attacks with To Hit re-rolls and Killing Blow, plus the occasional bonus attack from Frenzy can be great in smaller games.
Basically, the Dark Pegasus is for the Druchii what the Great Eagle is for Asrai. The differences are simple – Weapon Skill 3, +1 Strength on the charge, and ground Movement of 8. It can be ridden by all characters except Death Hags, with everything stated earlier still being valid.
- 2.3 Core units
Warriors are cheap. That is the best thing about them. Usually they are played in large blocks as main anvil units of Druchii, and in combat they usually use hand weapons and shields instead of spears to get the 4+ Armour save thanks to the Parry bonus, and they work as very solid anvils like this. The other option is to field them as a "naked" unit accompanied by a Sorceress with the Sacrificial Dagger.
They may also carry a magic banner, but usually they will not have any with the possible exception of the Warbanner sometimes.
The main shooting unit in the Druchii arsenal. They are relatively cheap, and with the shield upgrade, they have really decent staying power as well! But their main weapon is not the staying power, but their shooting, of course. They use repeater crossbows – crossbows which allow them to fire 2 x multiple shots and which provide their arrows with the Armour Piercing special rule. The only drawback of this weapon is the range of 24“.
Be aware of this unit as with their Ballistic Skill 4 they can fire pretty accurate mass volleys, especially at short range.
Usually, you will not see these in most competitive lists because of their price. On the other hand, they can still be useful and dangerous (and have one of the most beautiful models in whole Warhammer range).
When they are fielded, usually it is because of the fluff or aesthetic reasons but they can still be used effectively. They have a 5+ Armour save increasing to 4+ against all ranged attacks, including magic, which provides them with good staying power against shooting. They also have two hand weapons, which gives their units decent numbers of attacks. The second weapon can be replaced with the repeater handbow. It is another 2 x multiple shots weapon in the Druchii arsenal with a range of 8“ and no Armour Piercing rule, but on the plus side this weapon does not suffer any penalties for moving and shooting or for shooting at long range, and can always stand and shoot. Also, when they break any unit in close combat, Corsairs can force any fleeing unit to re-roll the highest dice when determining their flee distance thanks to the Slavers special rule.
On the table, Corsairs are usually used in one of two ways. The first is the denied flank, where only one small Corsair unit covers the whole flank of the army. They have decent staying power against shooting thanks to their 4+ Armour save, and one small unit is usually not worthy of concentrated firepower, while their possible counterattack can block any flanking units.
Another way presents one or two small units of Corsairs equipped with the handbows. They can be pretty scary against ranked infantry – they come near, shoot, and then stand and shoot. In this case, they operate as a threatening unit, charge redirectors or as flank chargers.
Dark Riders are Druchii Fast Cavalry. The best thing about them is the fact that they are damn cheap, and that they come with the light armour. They can be upgraded to have repeater crossbows as well. Besides that, they are simply what any other Fast Cavalry unit is: annoyers, marchblockers and redirectors.
Harpies are one of the best units in the Druchii arsenal. They are not scary in close combat (but they can threaten your Glade Riders or Glade Guard, if they can hit their flank) but the best things about them are that they are cheap, they skirmish and they Fly, and what's more they do not cause Panic in other units in the Druchii army!
It is also worth mentioning that Harpies cannot be targeted by the Cauldron of Blood effects, and that they are the only unit in the Druchii arsenal without the Eternal Hatred special rule. They also do not count towards the minimum number of Core units.
- 2.4 Special units
- Black Guard
Black Guard are one of the most popular units in the Druchii arsenal. They are Immune to Psychology, Stubborn with Leadership of 9, and have the Warrior Elite special rule which allows them to reroll all failed To Hit rolls in each round of a combat. They also have 2 Attacks with Strength 4 each, and 5+ Armour save. They can also carry a magic banner of up to 50pts, and the unit champion can have magic items of up to 25pts.
Black Guard are a popular Death Star unit. They can have the Standard of Hag Graef which provides them with the Always Strike First special rule, and the champion usually wears the Ring of Hotek to increase the magic resistance of the army or the Whip of Agony, which gives him one additional Attack, Strength 5 and the Armour Piercing rule.
When they have the Standard of Hag Graef, it is usually a really bad idea for the Asrai to charge such a unit in any way with anything else than a Treeman or Treekin. Nearly every other unit will lose the combat, often even when flank-charging. On the other hand, as they are infantry with only a 5+ Armour save they are a pretty easy target for shooting.
Witch Elves are often underestimated but when used properly they are a really scary and extremely dangerous unit. They are real killing machines in the hands of a capable player.
They are Khanites (so they become Stubborn when near the Cauldron), have two weapons and the Frenzy special rule (so 3 Attacks each, with Hatred re-rolls), plus Poisoned Attacks; but also no Armour Save. They can carry a magical banner of up to 25pts and their champion can have Gifts of Khaine of up to 25pts.
At first glance everyone can think that they are just another Frenzied unit, and a slow infantry one. But the Druchii have a lot of ways to drive them wherever they need them, and with the support of the Cauldron they are really scary. It can provide them with a 5+ Ward save to increase their survivability, or give them additional attacks to increase their killing power.
Witches are usually fielded in units of fourteen models, and in combination with the Cauldron of Blood. They can be (and often are) supported with the Banner of Murder, which provides them with the Armour Piercing special rule. Often they also have the Witchbrew Gift of Khaine, which prevents the enemy from claiming the outnumber, flank, rear or high ground Combat Resolution bonuses. And remember, the Frenzy makes them Immune to Psychology...
And now, why are they so scary? Imagine the frontal charge of such a unit. 22 Attacks (29 with the Cauldron support!) with Poison, re-rolls to hit, and sometimes with Armour Piercing? Ouch!
Executioners are also often underestimated, but they can be very dangerous. They are Khainites, wear heavy armour, wield great weapons (which provides them with Strength 6) and have the Killing Blow special rule. They can have a magical banner but only up to 25pts which means they cannot take the Standard of Hag Graef.
So, how can they be so dangerous? Well to do so, the Death Hag Battle Standard Bearer must join them, and she must have the Standard of Hag Graef. Are you starting to see it? With the Cauldron of Blood nearby they are Stubborn, have Strength 6, Killing Blow, (often) Warbanner, Battle Standard Bearer bonus, and 5+ Ward save or one additional Attack from the Cauldron. Such a unit of thirteen Executioners is really dangerous and can chop through just about anything and they can threaten even the Treeman easily. On the other hand, they are still just Toughness 3 elves with only a 5+ Armour save.
Shades are just about the best all-round scouts in the Warhammer world. They have Weapon and Ballistic Skill 5, Hatred, repeater crossbows and can carry great weapons! Against some Asrai units, they can be really dangerous when charging, but generally, they are great annoyers, war machine (and small unit) hunters and great flank chargers.
There also exists a concept of the Shade Death Star unit. It consists of a large unit of Shades (fifteen or more models, often even more than thirty), joined by a Battle Standard Bearer with the Standard of Hag Graef and a fighty Dread Lord, and supported by the Cauldron. This concept is really hard to play, but when used properly, it can be surprisingly effective. Just imagine the unit with something like sixty Armour Piercing shots, then sixty Stand and Shoot Armour Piercing shots, then with two Strength 5 attacks each, always striking first, plus the hidden Assassin and you get the picture.
The most dangerous thing about them is the fact they can have an Assassin hidden inside, and with it one really nasty trick. As you probably know, Scouts can be deployed out of your line of sight and more that 10" away from your models and so out of the charge reach of the shades. But, when the assassin is revealed, he replaces one of the Shade models. This model, in the case of skirmishers, can be placed anywhere within 1" of any other model – so, in this case, 9" out of your troops, and within charge range. Yes, only one model will reach but that one model will be the deadly Assassin.
And now imagine this scenario: the Druchii player deploys his Shades 10" away from your troops, and wins the first turn. At the beginning of the turn he reveals the Assassin, then he declares the charge. Before you even get a chance to react, your Wild Riders are history and the Shades are overrunning into another of your units. Really great, right? So, remember this nasty trick and when your opponent has Shades, be sure to NEVER EVER let him deploy them only 10" away from your troops (which is where our free wood can really help him!).
Cold One Knights
Cold One Knights are the heavy cavalry of the Druchii. They have 2+ Armour saves, Movement 7, both rider and mount have Strength 4 (and the riders have lances!) and they have Hatred. They are also Stupid. Even with their high Leadership, this unreliability makes them much less popular than they should be.
The Knights should take a magical banner, and the champion should choose a magical item of up to 25 points. Many players choose the Banner of Cold Blood, which allows the unit to take any Leadership tests in a single turn by rolling 3d6 and discarding the highest roll. Other players prefer the Standard of Slaughter which adds d3 to Combat Resolution on the turn the unit charges, while others simply prefer the Warbanner. The Knights can also take the Standard of Hag Graef.
The best thing about Knights is that they hit hard, and they hit much harder if supported by the Cauldron of Blood. They hit even harder if there is a Battle Standard Bearer with the Hydra Banner (which grants all models in the unit +1 Attack in the first round of combat) accompanying the unit!
The Knights can be a very expensive but extremely durable and really hard-hitting Death Star. A unit of between nine and eleven Knights with the Standard of Hag Graef, accompanied by a character (ideally the above mentioned Battle Standard Bearer) and with an additional attack coming from the Cauldron of Blood, are real killers. If we consider a unit of ten Knights, Champion and Battle Standard Bearer in two lines of six, they produce 21 attacks with Strength 6 and 12 attacks with Strength 4 on the charge, all with rerolls from Hatred! Even when they get charged, 33 (!!!) Strength 4 attacks with Always Strike First and Hatred can guarantee that they can warmly welcome just about any unit in the whole Warhammer universe.
Cold One Chariots
The Cold One Chariots are simply what any other chariots are, only with Hatred and Stupidity. Both the crew and Cold Ones have Strength 4 attacks, with the crew gaining Strength 5 on the charge. The chariots have Toughness 5 and a 3+ Armour save so they are really resilient against our shooting and even against most of our close combat troops. On the other hand their price, their Stupidity and the fact that they take up a Special slot makes them one of the least popular units in the whole Druchii army.
- 2.5 Rare units
Well, the infamous Hydra. For her price, she is a real bargain and any Druchii army should benefit from having a Hydra (or two) alongside them.
Why is the Hydra so scary? Besides the fact that she causes Terror and moves (but not charges!) like a skirmisher (so ignores any difficult terrain), and the fact she can benefit from the Cauldron of Blood? Well, in close combat the Hydra has 7 Attacks with Hatred and Strength 5 and is accompanied by two Beastmasters, each with three Attacks at Strength 3 and with Armour Piercing. In the Shooting phase, she can use her fiery Breath Weapon, with Strength equal to her current number of Wounds (so starting with Strength 5). And if you attack her, she has Toughness 5 and a 4+ Armour save covered by Regeneration! Up to this, the handlers are hiding from shooting behind the Hydra and in combat, you can attack them only if you are not in base contact with the Hydra!
A Hydra is really hard to kill, but it is not impossible. If you can get two units of Dryads or Wardancers into her flanks (or rear), she will most probably lose the fight and hopefully break. As much of our army is made up of skirmishers, with such a charge you can force the handlers to come out, and get some additional Combat Resolution from killing them, and if they do die (and the Hydra does not become Unbreakable after a failed Monster Reaction), the Hydra will face any Break Tests with the ridiculously low Leadership 6.
Reaper Bolt Thrower
Repeater Bolt Throwers are notoriously known not only from the previous Druchii armybook, but from their noble Asur cousins as well. They are war machines with Ballistic Skill 4 which can either act as a standard bolt thrower or fire six bolts with Strength 4 and the Armour Piercing rule, plus no multiple shots penalty.
Bolt throwers are notoriously feared by many armies and players, but against Asrai they are not so scary. Many of our troops have relatively high Toughness, are protected by Ward saves, or are skirmishers; all these advantages are combined in a single unit – Dryads.
3. The Druchii Strengths
- 3.1 Magic
- The Druchii armies are capable of having very nasty Magic phases. It is not only because their sorceresses are able to use an unlimited number of dice per spell, but also because they have access to the Power of Darkness spell, no matter which Lore they choose. This spell is cast on 4+ and if cast, the sorceress gains d3+1 Power dice. I think everyone can imagine how powerful this spell can be...
As well as these things, the Druchii also have access to great magic items which enhance their Magic phase. They have the Darkstar Cloak, which provides the wearer with one extra Power die. They have the Tome of Furion, which grants the wearer one additional spell. They have the Black Staff which contains Power of Darkness as a Level 4 Bound Spell. Finally they have the Sacrificial Dagger, which allows the bearer to sacrifice one model from his unit and then add one dice to his casting attempt.
The Druchii sorceresses have access to the Lores of Fire, Shadow and Metal in addition to Dark Magic. The Dark Magic Lore, unique to the Druchii, is a really powerful one and most of the time Dark Elf players will choose to use it against the Asrai. The most notable spells are Chillwind, which is a magic missile with range of 24" inflicting d6 Strength 4 with the side effect that any unit wounded by it cannot shoot in its next turn, Word of Pain which reduces the Weapon Skill and Ballistic Skill of the target unit to 1 until the start of the caster's next Magic phase and finally Black Horror – a large template spell, which forces every model even partially under it to pass the Strength test, and if failed he suffers a wound with no Armour save.
3.2 Magic Defence
- In fact, this whole section will be about a single magic item the Druchii are able to field: the Ring of Hotek. This item, which should be – and usually is – carried by unit champions (usually Black Guard, or sometimes Cold One Knights), has a special effect that causes each spell cast or targeted within 12" of the wielder to suffer a Miscast on the roll of any double. So, even on two dice, you will miscast every one in six spells!
This item has only two significant drawbacks. The first is that it does not have any effect on Bound spells. The second, and much more important, drawback is that it affects all mages – friend or foe, the Ring does not care!
So, if you see a Druchii army with no visible magic defence (or with one Scroll Caddy), you can bet your socks there is a Ring of Hotek somewhere on the table. It will not only stop several spells but the threat of multiple Miscasts can easily scare most of the magic heavy armies so much that they will become pretty impotent. All that for few points, no character usage and with many free points to be used to improve the close combat capabilities of the army instead of fielding caddies.
- The Druchii have really great shooting capabilities. If you compare their repeater crossbows to our Asrai archery, you will learn that they have shorter range but about the same (or slightly better!) shooting power. On the other hand they are more resilient thanks to their armour, and they are significantly cheaper. In addition, Druchii have access to Reaper Bolt Throwers.
When fighting against Asrai however, their shooting is not that strong. As long as you can screen your troops with Dryads, they will not be able to do any significant damage to your troops plus we have the woods (and Treesinging) at our disposal. The effects of Reaper Bolt Throwers are also more psychological than actually damaging to our units, with the possible exception of Glade and Wild Riders, and maybe the Treeman.
3.4 Close Combat
- Thanks to Hatred, Druchii troops are very reliable in close combat (or, at least, in the first round). That, combined with their above-average combat capabilities, makes them very strong fighters. On the other hand, they are not so strong if they get stuck in a fight for multiple rounds. Also Hatred is of no benefit if there is no one left to attack back. That is a really important thing to remember and keep in mind because Druchii units, when charging (or with Always Strike First), are really scary opponents.
- Druchii armies are very fast. They have Movement 5 for infantry, 6 for Hydras, 7 for Cold Ones and 9 for their Dark Steeds. Yes, they are not as manoeuvrable as the Asrai, as most of their units are ranked, but with the skirmishing, flying Harpies as Core units, they can still outmanoeuvre you. For most Wood Elf generals that is the worst thing that can happen so always bear this in mind when playing against Druchii, and do everything you can to prevent it from happening. Your shooting is capable of doing so, and your Treesurfing as well...
- The Druchii are one of the most versatile armies available these days. They can play all-round forces, they can play gunlines. They can bring super-heavy magic armies to the table, as well as the super-combat army. They can run super-fast Sethayla-esque armies as well as really strong, all-cavalry ones. They can bring all-infantry armies as well as monster-heavy ones, and they can support any (or none) of these builds with the Cauldron of Blood (or two) to increase this versatility even more. And all of these options can be really competitive.
So, when you are going to face the Druchii, it will always be hard to say what to expect. On the other hand, once fielded a Druchii army can hardly surprise you. They have very few magic items which are not expected and straightforward. And they, as well as our Asrai armies, need to make all their units work together in order to win.
4. The Druchii Weaknesses
- 4.1 Hatred
- No matter how awesome Hatred is for making Druchii reliable in close combat, it also has it's dark side. As has already been mentioned, a unit with Hatred must always pursue and overrun, with no possible exception. This can be used against the Druchii very effectively. One well-placed charge can disturb their battle line very easily and create a gap that your units can use to break through. Also, you can use this rule to easily lure enemy units (and chariots especially) into the woods to delay them and again break your opponent's battle line.
A good general who is trying to defeat the Druchii should always remember this and should always be looking for ways to use the Hatred rule against his opponent. True, a good Druchii general will be aware of this too and will always try to minimize the damage you can do to his line but he can never negate it completely!
- No matter that they are now a race with a nice improved army book the Druchii are still just elves. There is nothing wrong in that, but at the end of the day they are just expensive elite models with Toughness 3 and poor Armour saves. And, as they lack our Asrai forest spirits, all of them are just thin elves!
That means that with notable exceptions of Hydra, Cold One Knights and Cold One Chariots (and characters, of course), all Dark Elves have 5+ Armour saves at best. That, combined with the high cost of their elite regiments, makes them very vulnerable to shooting.
Yes, the Cauldron of Blood can help this with additional 5+ Ward save a little, but one Cauldron cannot protect more than one unit each turn. What's more, if the Cauldron is helping to protect one unit from shooting, it means it is not supporting another unit in close combat. Not much, but still something you can feel happy about.
To the resilient units now: the Cold one Knights are very vulnerable to the Arcane Bodkins and Bow of Loren combination, as the lack of Armour saves hurts them a lot. Waywatchers at close range are also scary for them.
The Chariots are tough ones – with Toughness 5 and 3+ Armour saves they can take a lot of shooting, though our short range Glade Guard arrows can be dangerous to them. Statistically, 36 close range arrows is enough to kill an entire chariot. On the other hand, many times it is easier to simply ignore them or divert them.
The last one is the Hydra. With Toughness 5, 5 Wounds, a 4+ Armour save and a 4+ Regeneration save, she is pretty hard to shoot down but still, our Glade Guard at close range can cause a wound (or three) on a Hydra. This doesn't stop her still being scary in close combat, but the breath weapon is significantly weaker then. Overall, the Hydra is the only Druchii unit that is resilient to all our shooting.
5 Fighting Druchii
- 5.1 What To Do
- 5.1.1 Field Treekin
There are not many things in the Druchii arsenal that are capable of taking care of Treekin. You need to fear the Hydra, Cold Ones, Dragon riders and the Witches of course, but all their other units will have really big problems dealing with three or four Treekin. So take these underestimated models off your shelf and field them once again. You will be surprised how strong they can be, at least against Druchii.
- 5.1.2 Screen with Dryads
Dryads are another wonder against Druchii, mainly because their screening abilities work against both shooting and magic. Against magic, it is pretty obvious. Dryads are Toughness 4 while most of Dark Magic Lore is Strength 4 (with the only notable exception being Doombolt – D6 Strength 5 hits) so Dryads can survive a lot of them even without their Ward save. They are also Immune to Psychology, so they do not care about any possible Panic tests either!
Against shooting, they are even better. Against repeater crossbows another -1 To Hit modifier, cumulative with the -1 for multiple shooting, is a great thing. When combined with Toughness 4 against Strength 3, plus negating the Armour Piercing rule due to having no Armour saves anyway, they can soak up an incredible amount of shooting without any need to care.
- 5.1.3 Field Glade Guard
This is really simple. As already stated most Druchii units are vulnerable to shooting, especially if it is Strength 4 shooting, so simply exploit this weakness to the maximum. What is dead cannot hurt you any more.
- 5.1.4 Dodge and Delay
The fact is that, in most scenarios, Druchii units can beat our units in any 'fair' fight. There are even such units that can beat ANY of ours in ANY fight (Black Guard or Cold One Death Star are the main examples). So, do not care about fighting too much; and if there are any really dangerous units, do not care about engaging them at all. Shooting can do the work for you, and the more you can delay these units, the more volleys will hit them.
So, with these things in mind your tactics are relatively simply: if there is a possible Death Star unit ignore it, delay it and divert it. With the exception of a Treeman (and even he is at risk), our units will simply die if they try to attack such a unit, no matter how good a plan or multiple charge you have set up. Ignore the open flanks and rears, they are the traps. For the Asrai, the best Death Star is the Death Star which does not see combat for the whole battle.
Against all other units do what you do usually, but be even more careful. You need to create the most favourable scenario in order to win the fight so take your time, set up your charges and use your shooting to ensure you will really be on the winning side.
- 5.1.5 Use Waywatchers
Waywatchers are an awesome weapon against Druchii, not only because their Lethal Shots can deal with Cold One Knights - they are much better than that.
The first great thing about Waywatchers is that they can marchblock and delay Druchii units from the very beginning of the battle; and that means you will have one or even two more volleys before the Druchii units reach you. Another asset is that Waywatchers are Skirmishers who are not Immune to Psychology and so can flee as a charge reaction. That is another awesome tool with which to delay your opponent's key units.
Another great thing about them is that in minimum size units, they are relatively cheap and disposable while possibly in a really good position from the very beginning of the battle. Use the Druchii Hatred against them and risk your Waywacthers in losing charges against units, who will be forced to pursue them after the inevitable break into disadvantageous positions.
The last great thing about Waywatchers is that any skilled Druchii general will know all these dangers so he will try to deal with them as fast as possible and, as they are highly resilient against shooting, he will need to use his magic to do so. That means that usually he will spend his first magic phase only to deal with the most disposable unit in your army...
- 5.2 What Not To Do
- 5.2.1 Rush into combat
As has already been stated, Druchii units are basically better than Asrai units in combat. But this does not mean we are weaker or anything like that! We are more manoeuvrable, and that is all we need. Take your time, delay the enemy, weaken him with shooting and set up good charges – that is all you need to deal with Druchii. But if you will not do so, just do not be surprised you will get beaten. They really, really are better fighters than we are. Just deal with it.
- 5.2.2 Charge the Death Stars
With the special exceptions of some unusually designed units and Battle Standard Bearer-supported Treeman, Asrai do not have any reliable way of dealing with Druchii Death Star units in close combat. That is a fact. So, stop caring about them. Dodge them, delay them, shoot them down – but do not engage them. The best Death Star is one which does not see any fighting during the whole battle, while it was taken down under half strength by short range Glade Guard shooting.
- 5.2.3 Fight Fire with Fire
Again, the same old story: Druchii units are better fighters than Asrai units. Do not try to deal with a Druchii Dragon with your Dragon; nor try to take down the Hydra with your Treeman. In the first case you will simply lose, in the second you will get stuck and counterattacked with anything capable of killing him.
- 5.2.4 Rely on Magic
Again, this has already been stated. As long as the Druchii army is magic-heavy, they will have a much stronger Magic phase than you, while having good magic defence to deal with your most dangerous spells easily. Even if they do not have magic, they will have the Ring of Hotek so you will be miscasting pretty often. All together, magic is not a reliable choice for the Asrai against Druchii.
- 5.2.5 Care about the Cauldrons
Yes, Cauldrons of Blood are great tools in the Druchii army. Yes, they are damn annoying and strong. But no, do not charge them. Why?
There are several reasons. Firstly, a Cauldron can do it's tricks even when engaged, as long as there is at least one crewman attached. Secondly, a Cauldron is a Terror-causing, Stubborn Leadership 9 war machine. Thirdly, the crew have 4+ Ward saves as long as they are with the Cauldron. Finally, the Cauldron's crew consists of one character and two champions so you must direct your attacks against each model individually and the excessive wounds will be lost instead of harming any other model in the unit.
That is not to say that you will not be able to kill the Cauldron if you charge it. Not at all! What will happen, however, is that you will trap any of your units for multiple turns (and risk a counterattack) in combat with 200pts worth of character, who has only a supporting role in the enemy army.
6. Druchii Armies
- 6.1 Samples of typical armies
- 6.1.1 Average aggressive force – 2000pts
Dread Lord on Dark Steed ~ 233 pts
* Pendant of Khaeleth, Crimson Death
Master with Battle Standard on Cold One ~ 181 pts
* Sword of Might, Armour of Eternal Servitude
Death Hag with Cauldron of Blood ~ 200 pts
Assassin ~ 146 pts
* Rune of Khaine, Manbane
3 x 5 Harpies ~ 3 x 55 pts
5 Dark Riders, musician ~ 92 pts
10 Crossbowmen, shields ~ 110 pts
23 Warriors, shields, full command ~ 176 pts
10 Executioners, musician ~ 126 pts
12 Black Guard, full command ~ 251 pts
* Standard of Hag Graef, Champion with Whip of Agony
6 Cold One Knights, musician, standard ~ 186 pts
War Hydra ~ 175 pts
2 x Reaper Bolt Thrower ~ 2 x 100 pts
6.1.2 Magic Flux – 2250pts
Supreme Sorceress on Dark Pegasus, Level 4 ~ 370 pts
* Pendant of Khaeleth, Focus familiar
Sorceress, Level 2 ~ 185 pts
* Darkstar Cloak, Dispel Scroll
Sorceress, Level 2 ~ 185 pts
* Sacrificial Dagger, Dispel Scroll
Sorceress, Level 2 ~ 185 pts
* Tome of Furion, Power Stone
Assassin, additional hand weapon ~ 166 pts
* Manbane, Rune of Khaine, Cloak of Shadows
24 Warriors, full command ~ 183 pts
2 x 10 Crossbowmen, shields ~ 2 x 110 pts
2 x 5 Dark Riders, musician, repeater crossbows ~ 2 x 117 pts
2 x 5 Harpies ~ 2 x 55 pts
5 Shades, great weapons ~ 90 pts
Cold One Chariot ~ 100 pts
5 Cold One Knights ~ 135 pts
2 x War Hydra ~ 2 x 175 pts
6.1.3 The Dragon – 2000pts
Dread Lord on Black Dragon, Sea Dragon Cloak, shield ~ 569 pts
* Armour of Eternal Servitude, Potion of Strength, Caledor's Bane
Master, Battle Standard, heavy armour, Sea Dragon Cloak, shield, Dark Steed ~ 177 pts
* Pendant of Khaeleth, Sword of Might
Sorceress, Level 1 ~ 150 pts
* 2 x Dispel Scroll
21 Warriors, shield, full command ~ 162 pts
2 x 5 Dark Riders, musician, repeater crossbows ~ 2 x 117 pts
2 x 5 Harpies ~ 2 x 55 pts
5 Cold One Knights, musician
14 Black Guard, full command ~ 277 pts
* Standard of Hag Graef, Champion with Ring of Hotek
War Hydra ~ 175 pts
- 6.2 Samples of unusual, but still nasty armies
- 6.2.1 Druchii Circus – 2250pts
The Monster army with one simple idea – put as many nasty monsters in your army as possible, and then add things to make it legal...
Dread Lord on Black Dragon ~ 545 pts
* Crimson Death, Armour of Darkness, Pendant of Khaeleth
Master on Manticore ~ 336 pts
* Sword of Might, Armour of Eternal Servitude
5 x 5 Harpies ~ 5 x 55 pts
3 x 5 Dark Riders, repeater crossbows ~ 3 x 110 pts
6 Cold One Knights, full command ~ 269 pts
* Banner of Cold Blood, Champion with Ring of Hotek
5 Cold One Knights, musician ~ 143 pts
2 x War Hydra ~ 175 pts
6.2.2 Druchii Sethayla - 2250pts
Unfortunately, this list was heavily inspired by our very own Asrai army style. So, this is the answer Druchii generals come up with after seeing our Sethayla force! This army features awesome speed, a supreme magic phase, considerable shooting and very solid close combat potential; and can be extremely hard to defeat.
Supreme Sorceress on Dark Pegasus ~ 400 pts
* Level 4, Pendant of Khaeleth, Black Staff
Sorceress on Dark Pegasus ~ 230 pts
* Level 2, Tome of Furion, Lifetaker
Sorceress on Dark Pegasus ~ 235 pts
* Level 2, Darkstar Cloak, Dispel Scroll
Sorceress on Dark Pegasus ~ 235 pts
* Level 2, Focus Familiar, Dispel Scroll
3 x 5 Dark Riders, repeater crossbows, musician ~ 3 x 117 pts
3 x 5 Harpies ~ 3 x 55 pts
1 x 6 Shades, great weapons ~ 108 pts
2 x 5 Shades, great weapons ~ 2 x 90 pts
2 x War Hydra @ 2 x 175 pts
6.2.3 Druchii Shadestar - 2250pts
The previously-mentioned Shadestar. Looks weird, but when played properly by the capable player it is an extremely dangerous list! Note that all the characters will join the Shades unit. Army created by Furgil from Druchii.net; also known as King Leonidas at Asrai.org.
Dread Lord ~ 250 Pts
* Repeater crossbow, Soulrender, Armour of Darkness, Null Talisman (x4)
(Strength 6, Magic Resistance 3, 1+ Armour save)
Master ~ 164 Pts
* Great weapon; repeater crossbow; heavy armour; Sea Dragon Cloak; shield, Battle Standard Bearer, Standard of Hag Graef
Master ~ 154 Pts
* Great weapon; repeater crossbow; heavy armour; Sea Dragon Cloak; shield, Gem of Nightmares; Pearl of Infinite Bleakness
(the unit is Immune to Psychology; and for one turn, whole unit causes Fear)
Master ~ 154 Pts
* Great weapon; repeater crossbow; heavy armour; Sea Dragon Cloak; shield, Whip of Agony, Ring of Hotek
(4 attacks with Strength 5 and Armour Piercing; enemy Miscast on any double)
Dark Elf Assassin ~ 156 Pts
* Additional Hand Weapon; Repeater Handbow, Manbane, Rune of Khaine
40 Shades ~ 778 Pts
* Great weapons; repeater crossbows; light armour, Bloodshade
5 Dark Riders ~ 117 Pts
* Repeater crossbows; Musician
5 Dark Riders ~ 117 Pts
* Repeater crossbows; Musician
5 Dark Riders ~ 117 Pts
* Repeater crossbows; Musician
6 Harpies ~ 66 Pts
War Hydra ~ 175 Pts
- The Druchii are probably the best all-round army in the Warhammer world. All of their units are statistically above average and very reliable in combat, their magic power is exceptional and they have access to some very powerful magic items. They can field any unit they have and use it as a very effective weapon in their arsenal. They can use any possible strategy and be very good at it with an appropriate roster. In other words, they are a really good army. But...
They are not unbeatable. They have their weaknesses and if you can exploit them, you can defeat any Druchii army out there. And, believe it or not, the Asrai have all the weapons needed to defeat the Druchii at their disposal; and many Druchii players consider us, the Asrai, as their nemesis and their most difficult match up. Do not become overconfident, however. In the hands of a good general, the Druchii are a force you need to fear and respect. Maybe they are not as obviously strong as Daemons are, but they definitely can be just as nasty if played properly by capable player...
Written by: Unicorn