This is probably my 6th post this weekend. They seem to be like buses, none come along for ages and then suddenly a whole bunch arrive at once.
My next battle is lined up for the 28th against last year’s TO Steve. We have agreed to try out one of the new scenarios, Wicked Woods.
What he hasn’t decided yet is what to bring on the above date (or even to enter into the competition). He is considering several options, one being High Elves and in the spirit of club comradeship (and because I know where he lives), I’ve offered him the use of my HE army if he wants.
That aside, I have decided that I am going to breakout the Wood elves for a game in the first time in 20 odd years. As such you may see a number of posts in the next few months actually involving painting (shocking behaviour i know!). The Dryad post, a few ago, is the first of the new burst of enthusiasm for some of my oldest models.
Every time I read about wood elf tactics I seem to hear about shoot and scoot. The stereo type image of the elves appearing from the trees, a rain of arrows decimating the enemy before they fade away into the shadows. Sounds promising, so with a couple of thoughts in my head I sketched out a list.
So what have I decided to take and why?
Well I’d previously done some WE list bashing here but I ended up going a slightly different route if only because I decided I wanted to take a lot more archers in my list, after all it’s what wood elves are best known for! As normal it’s a 2500pt list
The Host of Tal Shavoc
Haldrin Stormlight (Glade Lord) – General – Ogre Blade, Glittering Scales, Dragonbane Gem, Potion of Foolhardiness, Great Stag, Shield, Bow – 288pts
(Glade Captain) – BSB – The Helm of the Hunt, Hail of Doom Arrow, Great Eagle, Starfire Shafts, Spear, Bow, Light Armour, Shield – 208pts
Merilel of the Moon (Spellweaver) – Level 4 Lore of High Magic, Dispel scroll, Talisman of Endurance, Unicorn, Bow – 340pts
(Waystalker) – Bow of Loren – 110pts
Glade Guard (10) – Musician, Standard, Banner of Eternal Flame, Hagbane Tips – 180pts
Glade Guard (10) – Musician, Standard, Trueflight arrows – 170pts
Glade Guard (10) – Musician, Standard, Trueflight arrows – 170pts
Dryads (10) – 110pts
Deepwood Scouts (10) – Musican, Standard, Hagbane Tips – 180pts
Wildriders (8) – Full Command, Banner of Swiftness, Shield – 269pts
Warhawk Riders (3) – 135pts
Sisters of the Thorn (5) – Musician – 140pts
Waywatchers (10) – 200pts
Well first off the list has 62 ranged attacks. This seems suitably wood ‘elfy’ to me.
I envision the list working in almost 2 distinct wings that are both separate but can also work in harmony.
This is made up of:
The Glade Lord on Great Stag, likely within the unit of Wildriders. He will greatly increase their combat potential and more importantly his LD 10 should help keep the frenzy under control. Joining will also allow him to benefit from the banner of swiftness. The unit size should allow for some casualties to be sustained without it losing combat effectiveness. Combat lords are generally not taken, not because they are not effective but because its around 300 odd points that can be spent on another unit and a lot of players just use their level 4 as the general. However I like taking them, especially if it means your mage isn’t the general as I’ve seen them sucked down a hole once too often. I also like having combat characters. It’s probably a throwback to my herohammer days. This lord will consistently reroll his attacks against most foes and strike at strength 6. On the charge he gains an extra attack and this, coupled with the mounts attacks and impact hits, will increase the alpha strike. His defence isn’t great with just a 4+ AS and mainly relies on his high WS combined with the -1 to hit to mitigate damage. The 2++ Ward against fire based attacks will help against a number of cannons and the Toughness 4 conferred by the mount will help a little too.
The lord and wildriders will be supported by the Warhawk riders who can either act as a screen or strike out for warmachines/lone wizards or bunkers. I suspect the warhawks killing blow skill on the charge is more gimmick than actually effective but we shall see.
The BSB will be a roaming threat. He can join the attack wing to add combat res, also take on assassination tasks or go where his re-roll might be needed. He is somewhat vulnerable with only a 3+ AS so i’ll need to be careful with his deployment and although the eagle makes him a reasonably easy target, the additional wound and point of toughness from the mount should help offset this. On the charge he will be outputting 4 Str 5, WS7 AP ASF attacks (+ his mount) and this combined with his ranged threat (the HODA and starfire shafts) should make him a force multiplier in any given situation.
The 3 units of glade guard are the first elements of this wing. They are supported by the deepwood scouts, waywatchers, Waystalker and dryads.
They each have a slightly different role.
The guard unit with banner of eternal flame and hagbane tips are to be primarily used against regenerating monsters.
The Deepwood scouts are tasked with warmachine hunting and supporting the monster hunters
The Waywatchers are for taking out high armour, low toughness troops (such as cavalry).
The 2 guard units with trueflight are for removing chaff and skirmishers and generally supporting the other elements.
The Dryads will either protect these units as a screen (as their arrows will then ensure there is no modifier to hit) or they will be a road block/redirector or will act as chaff deterrents. At only 110pts it is my one real throw away unit.
The Waystalker will definitely be tasked with character assassination. Primarily scroll caddies and BSBs.
The last two elements of the army are the Sisters of the Thorn and the Spellweaver on Unicorn. I’ve included them under the support wing but there is no reason why they can’t run with the attack wing. Likewise the weaver can run solo, with the sisters or even with the Wildriders to lend defensive tokens, though this last option makes the unit a mini deathstar and it will be an even greater priority for foes to target. I actually like the idea of her running solo. That way she won’t impede the fast cav status of the sisters and the protective tokens from the magic should help protect her from harm.
On paper and with my chosen builds, most of the army is a total glass hammer that should hit very hard but will tear like wet tissue paper if struck back. It means I’ll have to be very careful with targets.
A note on magic lore choice. I almost went with Shadow. I still really think the lore compliments wood elves, especially if you are taking forest spirits and eternal guard. However it is my ‘comfort lore’. I find it a very straight forward and easy to use lore and inevitably always take it with my Beastmen. As such, i’ve rarely taken any of the other 7 basic lores. So for a change I thought i’d try something different and decided on High Magic.
The wood elf lore attribute is, every time you cast a spell successfully (and it is not dispelled), you gain a protection counter that is removed instead of a wound. With the low cast level of a lot of the spells, you could be building these up really quickly!
High magic itself is really versatile. It is one of only two lores that has two signature spells. The first is a magic missile (Soul Quench) with a fairly short 18″ range that causes 2d6 str 4 hits. Where it shines is the ability to boost it to 4d6 hits. That could be truly frightening. Historically, I would have taken this one at the drop of a hat. However the other spell (Drain Magic) has the ability to remove any spell impacting a unit, whether friend or foe and it applies to any spell including Hex’s and augments. Recently I have really struggled against these kinds of spells and the ability to remove them is staggeringly powerful. If I was running a more combat orientated army, this would be the auto include of the two.
The other spells in the lore are in the main equally as good.
Apotheosis allows you to heal a model of a wound on a cast of 5+ and they also gain fear. You can boost it for D3 wounds. It’s like having the lore of life ability. As most of my army has one wound this may not be the most useful spell but it depends on the foe (having fear negates the enemies fear ability if they have it). And regaining wounds is never a bad thing!
Hand of Glory allows you to boost the M, I, WS or BS of a target by D3 or a boosted version to increase all 4. A very handy little spell for archers. It is almost the opposite of the miasma spell from lore of shadows. Where it shines is it is another 5+ cast for the basic spell.
Walk between Worlds is an 8+ cast and allows you to move an unengaged unit within 24″ up to 10″ (and they gain the ethereal rule for the movement).. A boosted version allows the move to be 20″. In a game that is all about movement, this is a phenomenal spell. It can easily allow you to get a powerful unit behind enemy lines.
Tempest is the weakest spell in the deck. You place a large blast anywhere and scatter it. Everything underneath suffers a S3 hit (S4 for flyers). If it suffers a wound it gets -1 to hit in both shooting and combat. Things that don’t use BS can only fire on a 4+. This spell seems confused, You really want to use it on warmachines but that relies on you rolling a 6 to wound to gain a 50/50 chance of it not firing. The -1 to hit is fine but at a casting value of 12+ there are just better spells to take.
Arcane Unforging is a great spell. It works like a lore of metal spell. You target anyone with a magic item within 24″. If you roll equal or above the armour value, they suffer a wound but even if they don’t, they must reveal the magic items that person has and randomly select one and it is destroyed on a 2+.
The final spell of the deck, Fiery Convocation, is the High Magic answer to the other nuke spells. It is a remains in play, direct damage spell, cast on a 19+ (so 14+ if your spell weaver is in a wood). It causes a S4 wound on every model in the target unit (with the flaming effect). If they don’t dispel it, it then does the same again at the end of every subsequent magic phase. With a 19+ cast value, if they didn’t dispel it to start with, they are very likely going to have to waste their magic phase (or a good chunk of it) removing the spell. Especially if it was cast on a horde. I love this spell (or at least the threat of it) as it should allow you to get through a number of the smaller spells and each time you do that, you are gaining protection tokens for your mage. The odds favour that you only need 5 dice to get it off (vs 6 on other spells). 5 dice gives around 85% chance (4 dice would only give around 56%).