Since I've been painting High Elves recently, I've started to think about army lists, and therefore character builds and magic items. This has caused me to consider the High Elf specific items in the army book. As such, I'm going to review each of them, using the Lenny Rating System, which works as follows -
A - An excellent magic item, you'll see this in a lot of lists.
B - A very good magic item, worthy of serious consideration in an all-comers list.
C - A decent magic item, could see some use, mostly in less competitive play or an average magic item that is excellent in very specific situations.
D - An OK magic item, won't see much if any competitive play but could see situational use.
E - A poor magic item, you'll rarely see this used.
F - An awful magic item, there is no reason to ever use this.
The Blade of Leaping Gold - Very similar to the Sword of Bloodshed, but for an extra 10 points you ignore armour saves on a 6 to wound. Sounds decent on paper, but the major problem with this weapon is that it is going to be wielded by a S4 elf. It's a lot of points for a weapon that you're going to struggle to wound with and if you don't get that 6 to wound, you're barely modifying your opponent's save. There are a lot of better options than this weapon. E
Star Lance - +3S and ignoring armour saves sounds fantastic. Only being allowed to use the weapon on the charge though is a major downside to this weapon, and the fact that it will do high strength hits means that the armour save modifier will already be good (although if you don't allow your opponent to make saves, he can't pass them). The real value of this weapon is the ability of the wielder to carry an alternative weapon to use when he's not charging, as opposed to a regular lance when you are stuck with a hand weapon instead. B
The Reaver Bow - I don't usually give characters shooting weapons, as I don't really think giving a character a longbow is a waste of his other uses. I would make an exception for the Reaver Bow. With 3 shots and using the character's Strength+1, it's usually going to have a decent chance of doing some damage and it's very reasonably priced at 25 points. I especially like the idea of this on an Eagle Noble. B
Armour of Caledor - For a further 5 points more than the Armour of Silvered Steel, the Armour of Caledor gives the character the same armour save but also provides a 6+ Ward Save (increased to 2+ against flaming attacks), it's worth considering. Most mounted characters can get a similar save with mundane equipment, but if you want to take a character on foot and give him decent armour this would be a good choice. C
Shadow Armour - Heavy Armour that also gives the character Scout and Strider. I don't really value this sort of item, although I'm sure there are players who love this sort of thing. You either end up not using Scout (making this choice pointless), Scouting alone (which leaves a reasonably expensive character out on his own) or joining a Scouting unit, in this case Shadow Warriors, which I think are best used as a small, cheap, expendable unit, and a character means they're no longer cheap or expendable. D
Shield of the Merwyrm - This shield gives a 4+ Parry save, which is nice on a character in a unit who isn't going to have to worry about being shot at or spelled much. As it's a Parry, it's effectively limited to characters on foot, but it does allow you to use a magic weapon and still Parry. It's a nice item, even if only certain character builds will get any use from it. But it is nice and cheap, and will get used. B
Golden Crown of Atrazar - I've seen this type of item around Warhammer for a long time. A 2+ Ward Save for a first wound. I never really used this type of item, as I'd rather just get a decent regular Ward Save instead. The Golden Crown of Atrazar is different, as it's only 10 points so it's cheap enough to be worth considering. This could be very nice on an Eagle mounted character who goes off warmachine hunting if he's going to get cannoned. Has it's place, but won't be in every army. B
Moranion's Wayshard - Allows the bearer and a unit of Spearmen or Archers to gain Ambushers. Expensive at 50 points, so if you give it to a Hero you'll be using up his entire magic item allowance, and are you going to use a Lord with this item? If you were able to use it on a unit of elite infantry, maybe it would justify some use, but I think this is one for the friendly games. D
Khaine's Ring of Fury - Soul Quench is a decent spell in the normal course of the game, but there may be better choices at times. Having it as a Bound Spell with only a Power Level of 3, even better. Can usually be cast on a single dice, so you can use that to your advantage by holding back a single dice to the end of your magic phase, keep your opponent and his dispel dice usage thinking. 2D6 S4 hits is going to be useful at some point against most opponents, you can compare this item to the Ruby Ring of Ruin, you get an extra D6 hits but 6" less on the range. Can be a useful option on a mobile character - maybe an Eagle Noble? B
Gem of Sunfire - Another one use only item, for one turn all of the bearer's (and his mount's) attacks and spells gain +1 to wound, as long as they are flaming attacks. Nice bonus, but for 20 points? How often will you fit this in? Maybe a Lore of Fire Archmage or a Dragon Mage might get some use out of it, but how often do you see those? Limited to very specific builds. D
Cloak of Beards - Unless you're playing Dwarfs, all you get for this item is Fear, but at least it's cheap enough. However, if you are playing Dwarfs, this could be excellent, as models in base contact with the bearer can lose the benefit of their runic items, which for a 10 point investment could easily destroy many times it's own points value. Not that useful in an all-comers list, as it's too situational. C
Book of Hoeth - In an army with an Archmage in it, you can expect to see this item in nearly every case. Being able to choose to re-roll a dice on every casting attempt and every dispel attempt (and as the highest level caster in the army, he'll be the one dispelling when possible) is fantastic, and it's just the right points value to allow you to give that Archmage a Talisman of Preservation as well. A
Banner of the World Dragon - People complain a lot about this item for very good reasons. Giving a 2+ Ward Save against magical attacks of all kinds and only 50 points so you don't even need to give it to a very vulnerable Battle Standard Bearer. This will nearly always be useful, and against certain armies and builds it's game breaking. Deathstar units are built around this for a reason. A