End Times: Khaine – Alarielle
Greetings fellow warriors of the Asrai, Asur and Druchii; I bid you welcome to my first look at the Everqueen and Chosen of Isha, Alarielle.
As the former consort of Tyrion and one of the greatest Elven leaders in their extended history, Alarielle has a lot to live up to if she wants to match the background; her 8th Edition High Elf incarnation definitely satisfied both theme and competitive oriented players alike. I am pleased to report that the End Times versions of Alarielle are similarly impressive, although some of the more significant benefits provided by the High Elf army book variation are sadly unavailable. Still, there is a lot to like here and I am truly glad the rules designers have deigned to make the Everqueen as immensely powerful as she should be by divine right.
As the first of two profiles introduced for the Everqueen as part of End Times: Khaine, this one in particular bears the most similarities to Alarielle’s rule-set in the 8th Edition High Elf army book. Her stat-line is identical with an unusually high Weapon Skill 6 for a wizard, while she possesses three Toughness 3 Wounds and a single attack at Strength 3. One of the best aspects of Alarielle was the fact that she was natively Leadership 10 unlike almost any other Wizard Lord choice in the game, and this remains true even here, making her a fine General choice even despite her lack of armour saves. The special rules are also shared such as Always Strikes First, Lileath’s Blessing (providing a +1 bonus to cast any High Magic spells), Martial Prowess (which is useless on a character) and Valour of Ages (which received a slight boost in End Times: Khaine as it now works against any Elf army). She remains a Level 4 Wizard that is capable of using spells from all three of the Lores of Life, Light and High Magic – a trait made even more valuable due to the new End Times Magic rules that effectively give her the old form of Loremastery for each of the three spell lores.
Her Star of Avelorn and Stave of Avelorn remain unchanged, allowing her to restore lost wounds either to herself or other characters within 12″ at the start of each friendly Movement phase, while also providing her with the opportunity to cast the same spell twice in a single phase regardless of whether the casting attempt failed or it was miscast, albeit only once per game. The changes become much more apparent with her unique special rules, however. She is still Anathema to Chaos – manifesting as D6 automatic Strength 4 hits inflicted on all units with the Daemonic or Daemonic Instability special rules within 12″ at the start of each friendly Magic phase – though the drawback of reducing her casting attempts by D3 has been removed, meaning just fielding Alarielle can prove to be a massive pain for Daemons of Chaos or Legions of Chaos. The major addition however is that Alarielle no longer simply provides an immunity to Fear and Terror as well as a 5+ ward save to her unit, but instead gives this to all friendly Elven units within 12″.
For a quarter of a century’ worth of points more than her High Elf army book incarnation, this version of Alarielle gives a staggering 5+ ward save to all Elven units in a big area (only a single model needs to be in range for an entire unit to get the benefit) while giving them an improved form of Immune to Psychology that still allows them to flee as a charge reaction if necessary. Considering Elf units are traditionally fragile but make up for it with staggering mobility and damage output, a 5+ ward save that effectively ignores a third of all wounding hits is absolutely insane considering it applies to not one but potentially several regiments at a time. Essentially the only real downside here is that Alarielle no longer confers the Magical Attacks rule on to her unit, but instead only has them herself – her Touch of Purity has also been modified into a more consistent form, always wounding on a 2+ and inflicting Multiple Wounds (D6) against the Forces of Destruction. That she doesn’t impose any armour save penalties (unless her attached unit has the Razor Standard) means this is still situational, but also easily far more deadly against the typically poorly armoured Monsters and Daemonic characters from the Forces of Destruction.
Ultimately, the only issues one can really have with the new Alarielle are that she resides in the Host of the Phoenix King list and doesn’t allow you to take those two superb magic items (the Horn of Isha and Banner of Avelorn) elsewhere in the army, but for only a tiny points increase her support abilities have increased almost two-fold and serve to make her a vast and easily worthwhile improvement. If you have a choice between Alarielle as the Avatar of Isha or Alarielle as the Everqueen, the former should be your competitive choice each time as providing that 5+ ward save to everyone within 12″ rather than just a single unit is just incredible. While lacking the ability to give her unit Magical Attacks does make them potentially counter-able by massed Ethereals, allowing them to engage other units with the Banner of the World Dragon in a mirror match-up without penalty can make a huge difference – especially as the Host of the Phoenix King (and thus this form of Alarielle) will almost always be facing off against the Aestyrion in a themed battle.
Alarielle, Incarnate of Life
While almost everyone jumped up and down about the amazing combat prowess or survivability of the combined monster profile-bearing characters such as Malekith, Imrik, Mannfred and Orghotts Daemonspew with the recent End Times releases, I think Alarielle as the Incarnate of Life may very well stand tall as the best special character in practice with the new rules. For one, her stats are heavily increased with four Toughness 4 Wounds, three attacks at Strength 4, that self-same Weapon Skill 6 and Initiative 6, as well as the ever useful Leadership 10 and typical (for an Elf) Movement 5. She is more in line with a Monstrous Infantry character in terms of survivability than perhaps even a Chaos Lord or Empire General, while hiding in a unit on a tiny base means she can easily stay out of harms way – especially when that unit bears the ever-derided Banner of the World Dragon.
However, even when considering how good Alarielle as the Avatar of Isha was, this variation is even more insanely useful and powerful which seems almost impossible given how Alarielle has always been considered over-powered (or at least under-priced) as far as unique characters are concerned. Firstly, she is a Level 5 Wizard as opposed to a Level 4, while she is also a Loremaster of the Lore of Life; this makes her one of the most powerful spellcasters in the game short only of all the multi-lore wizards such as Nagash, Mannfred and so on. Solely knowing the Lore of Life rather than also being able to use the Lores of Light and High Magic does reduce her versatility quite significantly, but the additional bonus to casting attempts and ability to re-roll all casting attempts – whether failed or successful, meaning with Throne of Vines she essentially says “get lost” to miscasts – does serve to lessen the pain here.
It helps that Life is a very nasty lore in the hands of Alarielle; Movement 5 and being able to re-roll all casting attempts means getting the boosted form of Dweller’s Below off each turn is hilariously easy, while providing tonnes of defensive spells on top of her innate support abilities is just ludicrous and effectively turns her Elf army into the most survivable force around. This is because of her all-new Incarnate of Life special rule which replaces the Blessings of Isha; instead of providing a 5+ ward save and immunity to both Fear and Terror to all friendly Elven units within 12″, Alarielle instead gives those same units a 6+ ward save and the Regeneration special rule. Before you spit out your coffee, closely read the previous sentence; any friendly Elf unit with even a single model within 12″ gains the Regeneration special rule, meaning every model in that unit will freely gain a 4+ Regenerate save on top of all their usual saving throws. If the enemy somehow ignores that Regenerate save either through Killing Blow or Flaming Attacks, your regiments can then benefit from a 6+ ward save instead.
If your jaw hasn’t hit the ground yet, let me explain in detail how ridiculous this actually is and why I am amazed more people haven’t brought attention to it. Flaming Attacks are noticeably rare outside of Daemons of Chaos and Dwarfs because it is too easy to get a 2+ ward save against them across a few characters or even units, while Killing Blow is reserved almost exclusively to both sides of the Undead Legions. With that in consideration, most forces aren’t going to be ignoring your 4+ Regeneration saves much at all; that is a saving throw that ignores half of every single unsaved wound inflicted on a model after armour saves have been accounted for, making the high-damage but consequently low-survivability Elves have practically no weakness whatsoever. I say good luck to any opponent trying to beat a sizable regiment of Black Guard, Har Ganeth Executioners or even Witch Elves in combat when they ignore half of the wounds they suffer – remembering that each of these units has insane damage output in a melee – while you can laugh at their attempts to stop War Hydras when they also get their special form of regaining wounds.
It isn’t so much the save itself that is ridiculous but the fact that any unit within 12″ of Alarielle gets this so long as even a single model is in range, meaning she can bubble it across almost her entire army if you so desire. Remembering that she has four wounds at Toughness 4 with her Star of Avelorn that allows her to heal herself or a friendly character each turn, that 4+ Regeneration save makes Alarielle a pretty crazily durable character as well – that it buffs other characters as well is insane enough, even forgetting about the units it benefits for just a moment. She somehow manages to combine with monsters and characters even more amazingly well by restoring a single lost wound to both herself and every friendly model within 12″ at the start of each of her Magic phases – this stacks with her Star of Avelorn, hilariously – which is sure to leave non-Elf players sighing with relief that Elves lack monstrous unit types in abundance. Don’t forget that the Lore of Life (which she is conveniently a Loremaster of) restores lost wounds to friendly models within 12″ with each successful spell cast due to the Lore Attribute, meaning character or monster heavy Alarielle lists are virtually unstoppable.
It’s too bad that that a Host of the Eternity King can spam proper Monsters with ease, though, able to bring them in every slot barring Core with ridden monsters, Treemen Ancients, War Hydras, Kharibdyss’, Phoenixes and so on. Considering those units also get her 4+ Regeneration save in that exact 12″ radius, it is a good thing Alarielle as the Incarnate of Life (in addition to Malekith as the Eternity King) has been banned at almost every local tournament I have seen as otherwise only Dwarfs and maybe Daemons of Chaos would have even a slight chance of stopping me! Her other exclusive special rule, Locus of Renewal, gives her the exact same in-built miscast protection that Malekith and Nagash possess, re-rolling any result on the Miscast table – the 4+ Regeneration save (and probable Banner of the World Dragon) means being part of a unit when this happens won’t do much damage to friendly models, if at all, so you can use this to re-roll the hugely crippling 1-4 and 10-12 results. She is practically the safest End Times Wizard in the game with Loremastery of the Lore of Life, Throne of Vines, access to the Banner of the World Dragon and in-built miscast protection.
It bears mentioning that she keeps her Stave of Avelorn as well, made more ridiculous by the fact that she is a Loremaster – she can easily cast the Dwellers Below twice in the same Magic Phase, annihilating up to two separate units. Her melee capabilities are also insanely good against any of the numerous Forces of Destruction armies – including non-Khaine Dark Elves, Skaven, the various constituents of the Legions of Chaos and so on – which are all commonly found in tournaments. Her Touch of Purity remains unchanged which means all “evil” units are wounded on a 2+ with the Multiple Wounds (D6) special rules; that she has three of these attacks and re-rolls 1s to wound in combat due to Murderous Prowess makes her a practical hard counter to “evil” Monsters and even characters, especially as Strength 4 and possible Armour Piercing from the Razor Standard give her either a -1 or -2 modifier to armour saves.
Always Strikes First and Weapon Skill 6 with her Touch of Purity serve to make her a deadly combatant against the Forces of Destruction easily capable of killing a Khemrian Warsphinx or similar entity in one round of combat; that she loses her Anathema to Chaos special rule is virtually a non-issue in that sense. Her incredible healing capabilities, strong profile, insane combat stats against Forces of Destruction, bubbled Regeneration save for friendly units and awesome spell-casting potential make her arguably the best investment of just over 500 points one could ever ask for – she is your combat character, wizard lord and buff-machine all combined into one delicious profile. Just pray that as a neutral or opposing player you don’t ever have to play against both her and Malekith as the Eternity King in the one army list; it basically breaks the game.
Thank you all for reading the final entry in my End Times: Khaine rules analysis. Alarielle remains as strong as ever and has, in fact, gained some insane new abilities that serve to make her one of the most useful special characters in Warhammer Fantasy. There is absolutely nothing to dislike about this ultimate support model, especially in the context of a combined Elf army that has stamped itself as perhaps the single most versatile and powerful force in the game.
I look forward to seeing more players make full use of the incredible Everqueen and all her new abilities; in the mean-time, if you have any opinions on her I would be delighted to read them! I appreciate any and all feedback and hope you have a lovely day!