Tuesday, November 30, 2010

WFB: Thoughts on Wood Elves

Having played Warhammer Fantasy for a while, I'm excited to dive into this campaign. In particular, it will be interesting to haul out my Wood Elves and get them active again. In late 6th edition and the first half of 7th edition, I managed to get in over 200 games with them at 2250+ points value, and they are undoubtedly my favorite force on the tabletop. However, as army books started to get leaner and meaner, the Wood Elves lost a great deal of their competitive edge and I looked towards my Cult of Slaanesh (an ancient project, dating back to the Storm of Chaos campaign) and adapted my collection for the outstanding Dark Elf book. With the release of 8th edition, many players felt that Wood Elves lost whatever viability they may have had as a functional army. To the contrary, I think they're in better shape under the new ruleset than they have ever been before. Here is what I plan to utilize for the 1000 point value for our games:

Noble with spear, light armor, shield, Helm of the Hunt, Stone of the Crystal Mere, rides a Great Eagle.
181 points.
-Fly around, provide leadership, and either hassle a backline or contribute some damage for combined charges. Pretty well protected with a 3+ armor save, 3+ Ward (though the Ward disappears if you fail it even once.)

Dryads (12)

Dryads (12)
-Dryads are great. They have amazing value for a Core choice, and are still a staple for a Wood Elf army even though skirmishers aren't quite as hot as they used to be. Their ability to take on fully ranked Core units with a minimum of support continues to impress me.

Glade Guard (10) with musician, standard, Banner of the Eternal Flame.

Glade Guard (10) with musician, standard.
-No penalty to moving-and-shooting combined with being able to fire in two ranks makes these guys even better than they were before. I can keep them in compact formation of 5x2 and run them around the table as necessary. I have never really bought into the idea that Wood Elves are a "shooting" army; Dwarves, Empire, Dark Elves and Tomb Kings all do it better than Wood Elves do. However, that doesn't stop Wood Elf shooting from being consistent and lethal, and a very important part of the list. These guys are also one of the few units that can carry standards, so they'll be a valuable addition. Banner of the Eternal Flame will be great once I start running into Hydras or any other Regenerating nasties in larger point games. I find the major factor here is 30 inch range; suddenly outranging Dwarf Thunderers, Empire Handgunners and Dark Elf crossbowmen makes a big difference in dictating the opening turns of the game.

Treekin (3)
-Point for point, probably the best mid-size monster in Warhammer Fantasy. Their survivability is unparalleled, and base Strength 5 means even their stomp attack hits quite hard. With 8th edition, these guys went from being on the bottom of the Wood Elf "useful unit" pile to the very top of it. I would love to fit in a 4th model, but that would take me over the 25% limit so I'll content myself with three of them for now.

Great Eagle
-Versatile and useful. Not outstanding in terms of killing power, but brilliant for a quick rear charge for easy combat resolution or for controlling your opponent's movement phase.

1000 points.


  1. After a bit of thought, and assuming it's not too late (I already emailed my list in) I'm hoping to change my Hero selection slightly:

    Noble with spear, light armor, shield, Dragon Helm, Amaranthine Brooch, Potion of FoolHardiness, rides a Great Eagle.
    181 points.

    Not much reduction in hitting power, but a little more well-rounded survivability.

  2. So after my first day with this list, I'm feeling pretty decent about it. The Dryads are real winners, when they can roll decently. Their mobility, flexibility, and the fact that I can pile on a ton of attacks at Initiative 6 really gives them an edge over basic Core troops.

    The downside here? They're unforgiving. If I have a round of terrible rolls, I don't have enough static combat resolution to stick around. Since they're skirmishers with no command options besides Champion, they can't count on ranks, steadfast, standard, etc. to help them stay in the fight. That's one reason I love my Dark Elves and High Elves; re-rolls to hit give them so much reliability to avoid rubber lancing, since I have never been able to count on my rolls to save me.

    Besides the Dryads, the Glade Guard have performed pretty well. The problem here is that 8th edition games are much more fast-paced, and much less linear. Random charge distance and the inability to marchbloock means that an enemy can be on you quite quickly, which allows fewer turns for sustained shooting. Since baiting/redirecting is tougher too, since opponents can now redirect charges, it can be tough to deflect incoming opponents using disposable troops and buy your shooting regiments more time. I'll have to experiment a bit more, because that short-range Glade Guard shooting can be decisive. It definitely saved me in my second game versus Daemons, where my Dryads in the flank of the Daemons had a terrible round of rolling, broke, and were going to be run down before 15 Glade Guard shot down the 6 remaining Bloodletters and left the Khorne Herald all by his lonesome. The Glade Guard then turned the tide with their customary late-game charge (opponents rarely see it coming) and giving me the oh-so valuable standard, flank charge and charge bonus to really help break an opponent's back late-game.

    The Treekin have been glorious though. The tricky thing that I see with them is that (like with everything in the list except a Treeman) they really rely on generating kills in order to be viable, and the killing power of three models versus the killing power of 6 models, buffed by Lore of Life with a BSB nearby for support, is pretty severe. I'll keep using them, because they run over S3/T3 Core enemies with ease, but I'll have to be cautious.

    As for my Hero, he's had a rough couple of games so far. In the first game versus Skaven, he was hamstrung by howling Warpgale (pretty sure it was up for 4 game turns, despite my best efforts to dispel it) so his movement was laughable. He did help break and run down a Clanrat unit, but being zapped by two rounds of warp lightning did him in pretty quickly. I knew that non-flaming magic missiles would be the major weakness in his defenses, and Skaven are one of the few races still using those in abundance...

    I'm excited for 1500 points, but that's still a ways away. This list is pretty functional, all things considered, and I have the tools to handle the Core-heavy lists I'm running up against, but I can't wait to get a BSB and some magic defense into it. In hindsight, a Clusterwraith as a general and an Asyendi's Bane/Hail of Doom Arrow BSB probably would have been a better choice for Heroes, but I'll do what I can with it.