High Elves have a great selection of magic items in most categories. However, I find the close combat magic weapon options quite disappointing.Â Some of them have very similar functions and others are just not better than other options for less points.Â Crunching some numbers for the weapons is quite instructive. The table below shows the effectiveness of a high elf prince in one round of combat against a variety of foes (they all assume a higher WS than the opponent). At the top of the table are all the mundane weapon options for comparison- they can all be magic with the amulet of light if ethereal/wood elf targets are likely.
Initially it looks a bit confusing, but if you remember that the more red the better, and light and squishy on the left and big and gribbly on the right. You can easily see that the Blade of leaping gold is good against light infantry but pretty awful against anything tougher.Â I will broadly categorise the weapons into the good, the bad and the ugly.
The Ugly (weapons that cost lots and don’t give much back)
The Blade of leaping Gold- this costs most of a Prince’s magic item allowance and gives mediocre performance.Â Averaging across all the examples it is only about as good as the sword of might at a 1/4 of the price. Extra attacks just don’t cut it when your hero is only strength 4. Why ever take this?
Sword of Hoeth- again, hideously expensive and not that great against anything with an armour save. If you want to be effective against high toughness monsters, Foe bane is nearly as “good” and less than half the price.
The bad (not truly awful, but just less good than other choices, ….and at least much cheaper than the real stinkers)
Foe bane- ineffective against armour, useless against most rank and file. Good against large monsters with high toughness and no armour- but this is seriously limiting the options for your general.Â Sword of might is better against everyone else and cheaper too.
Sword of striking- +1 to hit is worse than +1 attack for both noble and prince unless the opponent has greater or equal WS. As their WS is so high,Â this really means enemy heroes/lords who will have a good armour save. The Sword of Battle is better and cheaper and the sword of might is much better all round.
Sword of battle- the sword of Might is better in every test and cheaper.
Biting blade- the only things going for it are it is magical, cheap and still allows you to carry a shield. Not a great recommendation. Many of the mundane weapons give better performance- always strikes first makes great weapons great.
The Good (or weapons I can see taking for many builds)
Blade of sea gold- ignoring armour saves is just great, particularly against heroes. The weapon is good against everything apart from from large monsters. It is particularly useful when you consider that most of the high elf army is poor against heavy armour.
The white sword- effectively a great weapon with killing blow. If you combine it with the talisman of Loec, see enemy lords and heroes tremble (and this can be taken by a noble). If you are on foot, this is quite good really .
Star lance- S7 and ignore armour saves, fantastic. Only working for the round you charge, less good. Requires careful use, but very effective providing you can break your target on the charge.
Sword of Might- cheap and effective, what more need be said? Good on champions or nobles, or even a dragon mage. This really makes a lot of the other weapons look bad as it is so cost effective.
Halberd/Great weapon/lance with amulet of light- magical attacks and great effectiveness plus the mount/unit gains the benefits too.