Ah, High Elves. Few races are as iconic for Warhammer Fantasy as the High Elves, and few armies prompt such revulsion amongst opponents. The cries of "blatantly overpowered" to "girls in dresses" are commonly applied to the Asur.
However, I am a fan of Elves in general, and the High Elves are no exception. Of all of Games Workshop's products, it was the High Elves who first caught my eye when I was 8. Their armybook was the first GW product I ever owned, and although I have focused my hobbying efforts on other projects, more notably the Wood Elves and Dark Elves, the High Elves have always been a good side-project.
Now, I plan to put them in the spotlight, using the campaign to really develop my playstyle for them from the ground up. Here are a few notables about the High Elf list:
1) Always Strikes First. Better known as ASF or Speed of Asuryan, this rule allows the High Elves to strike before their opponents while also ignoring great weapon penalties (a very useful rule, exclusive to High Elves.) Even better, ASF allows High Elves to re-roll to hit against opponents with equal or lower Initiative, giving them an even stronger version of Hatred. This is great, because my rolls tend to be incredibly poor, so gaining this reliability is perfect.
2) Ain't nothing but Elves. High Elves are fragile. Really fragile. In addition, they're very "vanilla" compared to Wood Elves and Dark Elves, meaning that they can't rely on Forest Spirits, Hydras, the Cauldron of Blood, or other ways to work more durability and toughness into their lists. For the most part, it's all Elves, all the time, without the mobility of Wood Elves or versatility of Dark Elves. High Elves need some help to gain an edge, because they're just as fragile as all Elves are but cost even more points since they have to pay for Always Strikes First. To gain an edge, this brings me to my next point...
3) Offsetting fragility. To keep my squishy T3, 5+ armor save forces alive, magic is key. In fact, I view High Elf magic as fulfilling the same role as the warmachines of other races, both the destructive variety (cannons, stone throwers, bolt throwers) as well as the unit-buffing variety (Cauldron of Blood, Engine of the Gods, War Shrine). I think 8th edition High Elves really need magic to make the opponent manageable in combat, keep High Elven troops alive, thin out horde enemies, and provide the decisive advantage necessary to win.
4) Offsetting bad Core. High Elf Core is largely regarded as poor. When compared to the cheap point value of the Dark Elf Spearmen, the feared missile power of Glade Guard and crossbowmen, or the excellent combat prowess of the Dryad, High Elf Core seems pretty poor by comparison. However, the value of ASF should not be underestimated, since it provides a much-needed advantage that the other races cannot access. By capitalizing on my idea of magic supremacy, you can turn Core High Elf bowshots and spear pokes into workable offensive solution by including some good hexes/augments in the right place. By hexing the opponent or augmenting your own Core, you can transform 25% of your army from Dead Weight into lethal, precise killing machines. When Archers are wounding a Hydra on a 3+, or Spearmen are hitting Chosen with 28 Strength 8 Attacks that re-roll to hit, you'll see how decisive a single spell can be in the course of the game.
With that in mind, I intend to run something like the following:
Mage (Level 2) with Seerstaff (knows Enfeebling Foe, Okkam's Mindrazor from Lore of Shadow)
-With only a Level 2, I opted to take the Seerstaff so I can have precise control over the spells I want, and be sure I'm taking two spells that are of the greatest help to my Core units. Even Chaos Warriors will be messily devoured by spearmen, or gun down en masse by Archers, if their Toughness is reduced to 1 or 2. I can even take down a much-feared Stegadon using Swordmasters if that Stegadon's only Toughness 4. Okkam's Mindrazor is clutch too... Turns any unit in this list, even the archers, into Strength 8+ combat monsters.
Archers (20) with full command, Banner of Discipline
-The general goes in these guys, and the entire army will benefit from his Leadership 9.
Spearmen (28) with full command.
-These guys should be Steadfast versus almost anything in this campaign, and able to do nearly anything I ask of them since they can attack in 4 ranks. Tag their opponent with Enfeebling Foe, or give them Okkam's Mindrazor, and this unit becomes incredibly nasty.
Swordmasters (14) with Champion with Ruby Ring
-These guys seem like they would be a lot of fun in smaller point games, where there's less shooting and magic to zap them. I gave the champ the Ruby Ring so that I have something to use power dice on when noone's in combat for Okkam's Mindrazor. So I can toss out Fireball and Enfeebling Foe in the early turns, then switch to Enfeebling Foe/Mindrazor once combat starts. Tossing out a few extra S4 hits is always useful in those early turns, and it will be useful for sniping scouts, weapon teams, monsters, that sort of thing.
Total: 999 points.