[Grr. having issues capturing some card images. I can NOT get a good save for some of the elf cards on this computer. Apologies. I’ll work it out]
Elves are super fast. Like, really. Their base units are usually faster or as fast as other races’ swift units.
No gold here! Elven settlements generate gold at a painfully slow pace. Couple this with generally expensive units, and an Elf player needs to be very considerate in regards to where and what cards they play. Elves really need to find Human, Goblin or Dwarf settlements to help bolster their gold generation.
Elves use a lot of mana. Luckily, they have a number of heroes that can produce mana when used correctly.
Elves are at their best when projecting power. Unfortunately, this is a bit contrary to some of their best cards only being used in forests. So, they end up being good at defending their “home” settlements, and then project outward at a fairly decisive pace.
Elves excel at clearing graveyards - though to do this it takes a bit of micromanagement.
Lets look at the cards:
The premiere movement manipulation and crowd control hero in the game. I feel the Whisperer is an autoinclude. At 8 mana for a 12 hour freeze, its a good deal. Whats really nice is that its a focused ability, as opposed to the Human Wizard’s freeze/damage… so you get only what you need with your mana expenditure. 12 hours is the longest freeze in the game, and is particularly useful when it is performed in front of a settlement near a zombie graveyard. You can use the freeze so that other hordes walk into the previously frozen group and become frozen themselves (hint: always look for choke points with the Whisperer).
The ultimate cooperation card. The High Elf works best when your buddies loan you their mana. Six leagues is a good amount of distance, though not mind blowing. High Elf’s downside is the blown 20 mana + 10% more of the mana used is gone (not cheap) and the initial gold cost of getting him into play. Thuis, High Elf is a strong middle-game card. Smart and cooperative use of the High Elf can move a game from ‘desperate’ to ‘handled.’
One of the few Elf units with reasonable power. Better yet, that power comes with coupled with amazing speed. Assassins are versatile, they can form the core of Elf armies, capture settlements, and sneak in behind zombie lines to clear graveyards. They are a bit on the expensive side, but very worth it.
The downside of the Assassins is (also) their speed. The tendency to want to couple them with the Elven Princess to up their overall power is there, but including her in an army slows the Assassins down. I’m not a fan of slowing anyone down in Blight except in very rare cases, and this isnt it. So, the Assassins have to operate without a good fit in terms of heroes who can buff.
Dark Forest Witch:
“DFW” Is never a bad play. She grants a light (but useful) area attack with good range, and when faced with multiple hordes can then also generate MORE mana than she used. So, you get damage across a large area and a net gain in mana (and remember, Elves love mana). With a judicious use of DFW, you can chain plink multiple large hordes into nothing.
The rarity of this card hurts, but its worth always putting a few in your deck if you have them. Elder Mages can form the cornerstone of mana generation for Elf players - and synergizes amazingly well with a number of elf and other races’ cards. The long range of their ability allows them to be placed far away from danger, while still producing large amounts of mana. Like the DFW, its never a bad play.
The other guys:
… and then there are the situational cards…
Forest Dryad is a very powerful, but very situational hero. She is best in decks on Hard and Nightmare levels, when a player expects to start a game in a desperate defense. A single Forest Dryad can change the complexion of a zombie invasion by herself - staving off multiple attacks for 12+ hours.
Healer. I love the healer. So much. This is one of the few times I’ll add Assassins to an army (if there is a Healer present). She is also great with human, Orc and Troll units – making multi-racial armies really tough.
Eagle Scout is really expensive but is the premiere graveyard sweeper. They are also really useful for capturing far flung Human, Goblin or Dwarf villages (where the return on investment for sending a 400gold unit away from combat makes sense).