This will be less of a battle report than a recap of the game played on Friday vs Steve. This is for a number of reasons including: it was the first time I had played the wood elves in 20 odd years, so for once I wanted to concentrate on the game and also Steve only decided to play high elves after I bought my army along for him to have a look at so I didn’t have my normal battle rep templates prep’ed.
We had decided in advance to play the wicked woods scenario and two other Club members (Luke and Paul) were also trying it out on the night so we were able to get some good feedback on the scenario.
My list can be found here.
Steve’s High Elf List
His list was rather hurriedly put together as he had been planning on bringing his WoC and as such, he missed out a few crucial bits (armour on the bsb, upgrading the archmage to lvl 4…). It was something like:
Archmage – general – ToP – Lvl 3, I want to say book of hoeth (which I think he forgot to use all game).
BSB – with light armour…
Level 1 Mage – MR (1) item
16 Archers – music/standard
6 Silverhelms – standard, shields
6 Silverhelms – standard, shields
5 Silverhelms – standard, shields
15 Phoenix Guard – standard
15 Phoenix Guard – standard
15 White Lions – standard
7 Swordmasters – standard
7 Swordmasters – standard
I’ve obviously missed a few bits as this is around a hundred points short of 2500.
We rolled map pack 4, so that was 4 hills (2 were scree), a river and a wood (which turned out to be normal).
We were both trying High Magic. Steve took a Soul Quench on both the level 1 and level 3 and he also got Tempest and something else he never used.
I also took Soul Quench, Fiery Convocation, Apothesis and walk through worlds (no doubles).
After Terrain was laid it looked like this. The central wood is the ‘Wicked Wood’. The wood to the left is the one from the terrain chart and the one to the right was the wood elf ‘free’ wood (for which I chose the almost compulsory venom thicket). Due to being player ‘B’ on the terrain table I was lucky to be able to place the wood and with my wood form a forest barrier.
Its worth noting that both armies were new for us. I last used WE in 4th edition and he has never played High elves. The unfamiliarity, together with breaks from the table (to drum up support for the competition) and just generally chatting, meant we really didn’t get too far with the game. A lot of rules were forgotten by both sides.
After deployment it looked like this. The sisters did vanguard forward slightly, as did the warhawks. The leftmost glade guard were those with the flaming banner and poison. The two glade guard with trueflight (no modifiers) were in the centre of my lines. The waywatchers also gained poison from being in the venom thicket (which of course I forgot).
Steve won first turn (despite me having finished deploying first) and he immediately advanced as swiftly as possible (which wasn’t too fast as it a moment of genius he had placed the river in front of his lines). Having normally played WoC he was surprised that he actually had a shooting phase! The bolt throwers and archers opened up on the sisters and gladeguard respectively, with both units taking a few wounds. Magic was highly ineffective as with 3 dice each (thanks to my channel) I was able to block soul quench.
The wood elves responded by pushing up aggressively on the left with the warhawks blocking the silverhelms (this might have been a mistake, I probably should have charged them rather than using them as I would an eagle, in order that they take advantage of the killing blow and additional strength on the charge). The sisters decided to withdraw to save their points. The Spellweaver joined the scouts in the woods so she could get the casting bonus.
Remembering (for once) a tactica I read about removing the greatest threats first, Scarlock and his unit swiftly removed the bolt thrower opposite them but the scouts on the other flank failed to repeat the task and only wounded the other one. The waywatchers showed why they are so feared and wiped out one of the silverhelm units. The waystalker started his operation assassinate and picked on the enemy bsb wounding him. The 2 central glade guard units took down most of the right most swordmasters and a boosted soul quench removed a number of the archers (though I failed to show this in the below diagram!).
The high elves realising they were outclassed in the shooting war pushed forward. A number of charges were declared but only the frost Phoenix and nearby Silverhelms completing theirs. The wicked woods claimed its first four victims of the game. A double casting of Soul Quench against the spellweaver was shrugged off. The eagle moved to threaten the back of the elf lines and the remaining 2 Swordmasters on the right realising the folly of charging bow armed troops, decided that actually they would just march up to get in the way.
In combat, one warhawk was slain and the others beat a hasty retreat.
The Warhawks rallied and the nearby Dryads moved over to protect the archers by blocking charges. The remaining sisters moved over to prevent the eagle charging the flank of the glade guard. The Phoenix Guard took a further 4 casualties from the wicked woods.
The scouts again failed to remove the remaining bolt thrower. The waystalker not wanting to be shown up, also failed to wound (and thus kill) his target, in his case the opposing bsb. The remaining 2 swordmasters were killed and the other unit took a number of casualties. The high elf archers once again took a shoeing.
Not worrying about restraining themselves, the Wildriders charged the Silverhelms, who took one look at their crazed whooping loony cousins and legged it. Barely missing a step the frenzied riders careened into the frosty but with its ward strengthened by the strong winds, it shrugged off all damaged. They still won combat thanks to the musician, so retained frenzy but their position was now looking perilous.
We did faff around a bit with 3rd turns but not much happened bar some more failed charges and the Phoenix guard in the woods being further decimated by the dangerous terrain rolls.
After game thoughts
I’ll ignore the lack of turns played and just give some general thoughts on the army build and the scenario.
We really enjoyed the concept of the wicked woods (as did Luke and Paul) however there were a couple of things taken away (and this backed up feedback received from Dan and a different Luke in their game a few weeks before). Firstly, there is no incentive to enter the woods before the final turn. The potential damage from the dangerous terrain and the woods attacking, combined with the removal of any form of save, meant it was too risky to enter it. 15 Phoenix guard (even with a 3++ ward) were decimated in two turns and Paul had 17 of his 30 strong unit of Chaos Dwarves similarly ‘culled’. As it stands it is more likely that most players will hold off and rush it in the last go, or avoid the woods and treat the game as battleline, killing the other army before then moving into the woods in the last turn. In this respect it is similar to the KOW dominate scenario.
We all talked about it for a bit afterwards and whether the damage should be changed and a few of us will continue to discuss it further. However, to keep it as simple as possible, one option maybe to award 1 or 2 VP’s for each turn you hold it (uncontested) instead.
Half a game isn’t enough to give any in depth analysis, however even in the few turns played I was able to make a few observations.
Waystalker, I love the idea of him but I think you realistically need 2 (one with the bow perhaps the second with the fireball ring), if only because the individuals you are targeting (BSB/support mages etc), you want to take out asap and this improves the alpha strike. The issue is that they still only shoot with S3 and I question if you would ever make back their points. A lvl 1 deathweaver could potentially do the same job for similar points (with a shorter range) and could add more utility with a dispel scroll and the chance to add more dice through both channels and the Lore attribute. Still I’ll persevere at least for another game or 2.
Lord on Stag. I love the leadership boost and the loadout but I worry that the extra point of toughness and other advantages of putting him on a monstrous mount are outweighed by the total lack of any lookout sir, meaning he is an easy 288pts for anyone sporting a cannon. I wonder if I wouldn’t be better off putting him on a normal steed, which would free up some points. Alternatively giving him the armour of destiny for the 4++ ward (which would in turn boost his armour save) should improve his survivability. I just struggle relying on a 50/50 chance of a save.
I have a similar dilemma with the bsb on eagle. He benefits more from the mount but has the same drawbacks. I should probably change his helm for the charmed shield. Yes he would lose a pip of armour but it would give him a measure of protection from warmachines. I was also too timid in his use, he should have supported the Wildriders attack on the frosty. It might have made the difference in routing it, if only for the flank charge.
Spellweaver on unicorn. Seemed ok (bit too early to tell). The MR(2) combined with her ward, completely stopped one round of magic missiles. Again I worry the mount might make her a target but the ward and Lore attribute should give her much more protection than the lord.
Lore of High Magic. I quite like the Lore as it is really versatile, however that is also where is falls over. It doesn’t specialise in any one thing. About the only thing either of us successfully cast all game was Soul Quench. The Lore attribute for wood elves is potentially good (not that I remembered it in our game). I am still thinking shadow maybe the way forward but probably only if I ran an eternal guard block as without them I would, in the main, just be wanting withering to help out the shooting.
The waywatchers were everything I had read they would be. I can see why a lot of players take two units.
The archers were all solid, both hagbane and the trueflight variants. 4 units (including scouts) seemed to be about right though I’d be tempted to just take two units of the scouts if running EG in core.
I used the sisters incorrectly to start with and need to make more of their spells. Curse is excellent and shield of thorns is a great way to replace any models lost.
Likewise I used the warhawks incorrectly and should have just charged them in. It might have failed but if not, they would have stood a chance of removing the silverhelms save. Apart from forgetting stand and shoot, I’m not sure holding was the best option.
I probably shouldn’t have charged the wildriders into the frosty but with the number of attacks they were pumping out, the odds were I should have gotten at least 1 or 2 wounds through. Losing 3 from it’s return attacks just goes to show how much of a glass hammer they are and you need to ensure you break their targets on the charge.