OK, I'll take a shot at this.General Army Construction for Dark Elves:
Stay true to the Dark Elven principle that dying is for Lowbloods and Halfbloods. They should form a large contingent of most builds. Many opponents will be worrying about what they are going to do about the Fearsome/Terrifying Highbloods/Purebloods or the Lashmistress/Coven ability to pull/push their units out of formation or the Drakes flying ability. You may be tempted to make all their fears come true, but you won't have the points to do it. That's OK. You will find it more than adequate to train the lesser races by focusing on just one or two of those fears at a time. And above all have fun making your opponent suffer. That's what Dark Elves do best.Dark Elf abilities:Premeditation
I love a discount, so I usually spend extra army build points on this before command cards.Pain Touch
Usually this takes some foresight to use, since it automatically triggers, and it is wasted if it triggers in an overkill. I often place it on units where I think an extra point of damage is moderately likely to force a rout check on my opponents turn rather than mine, and also on non-speedbump units that I am unlikely to waste a red card on.Dark Elf units:
I'm going to shamelessly steal Kevin's rating system, which he shamelessly stole from Ajax.
(OK maybe he had permission, maybe he was wracked with shame, but it just flows better saying it that way.)
General guideline to what the stars mean:Dark Elf Infantry: Slave Warriors
*: It looks like this unit might be able to do this, but I've found that this is a trap.
**: In select cases, the unit might not completely embarrass you trying to play this role.
***: The unit plays the role competently. Generally it won't work miracles, but it justifies its points in most games.
****: The unit is excellent at that role. I'll try to "upgrade" other units in that role to this one if I can.
Stars are points-adjusted, so you'll often see a unit that's better on the table getting fewer stars at a role, because it isn't enough better to make the points worth it in my opinion.
Tank: This is a unit you use to soak up hits and last long enough for relief to arrive, without planning on it doing significant damage.
Other roles should be self-explanatory, or are explained in their write up.
Disposable Fodder ****
With a morale of 12, 3 green boxes, and 3 yellow boxes, these guys have a decent chance of sticking around for a while. They are more expensive than brownies or skirmishers, but also more durable in a stand up fight. They are good for absorbing charges, plugging holes, or extending your line. Six dice can hurt on a pinch.Lowblood Levy
Disposable Fodder ***
A compromise between the much more expensive Halfbloods and cheaper Slaves, I don't find myself taking this unit as often as when I started playing this faction. If you are just absorbing a charge or plugging a hole the extra points spent rarely make sense. The extra 36 points can be justified if you know they are going to be sent to the flanks, if the ability to use Pain Touch is called for, or if Slaves just wont cut the mustard.Standard Bearers
High Elf Battlesquads with better morale, slightly better offense, slightly worse defense. The 14 morale can come in handy when playing Inspiration of the High.Halfblood Levy
Hurting Stuff **
Hurting Cavalry ****
The bread and butter 200ish point spear unit. Throw a Slave in front of them and you have a 310 point answer to Knights and Centaurs. (325 with Premeditation.)Highblood Blades
A versatile line unit that I usually upgrade to Blade Dancers if possible.Blade Dancers
Tank ** 1/2
If only they were core.Highblood Duskblades
Damage *** 1/2
Overall *** 1/2
For when you need that 6 offensive power. BladeDancers plus Premeditation is the same cost, Lashmistress minus Premeditation is almost the same cost.Highblood Lashmistress
By completely changing the dynamic of my opponent's line, this unit has pulled my chestnuts out of the fire more than any other. Can turn a liability into an asset by turning an opponents flanker into an obstacle for his other units just before his final rush turn. Also good for pulling cavalry into spears.Dusk Lord
Stand and Shoot ****
Close and Hose *
A great damage producer from range (would be a ***** if it didn't cost so much.) Synergizes well with Coven. Does not go well with Drakes or Dusk Lances. Have yet to use/remember that special routing rule.Dark Elf Cavalry:Halfblood Slavetakers
Fighting other cavalry *
Dying horribly vs. anything holding a spear ****
I can not remember a single occasion when I regretted fielding one of these. I have on occasion regretted not
fielding one.Drake Riders
Fighting other cavalry **
Fighting anything with spears **
Just the threat of being able to fly can be worth the ~50 point surcharge. If you need a large unit this is your only choice.Pureblood Coven
Stand and Shoot Shenanigans *****
A must for a Stand and Shoot build.Dusk Lances
Heavy Damage ****
One of the best knight units in the game, but also one of the most expensive. Not exactly fragile, but for some reason I can rarely justify putting that many points into a unit with 7 damage boxes, but that could just be because of my style of play.
I welcome any comments or additions to this.