Saturday, 29 March 2014

The First Whisper of Spring: Wood Elves in May

I am 98% certain that May will see the release of the new Wood Elf book. To say that this book has been a long time coming would be the understatement of the week. But i don't want to dwell on the bad but instead look optimistically to the future. So what do we know about the new book? Nothing. But the mere fact that we are getting one is good enough. Instead i present to you a list of things that i am hoping for in the new book, i did publish a list like this a few months ago but i have now used almost every unit in the Wood Elf book (bar special characters, Glade Riders, Warhawk Riders and Branchwraiths).

1: Strength 4 Longbows for all!
This is a big one. If Waywatchers, Scouts, Warhawk Riders and Glade Riders all got strength 4 longbows (and by strength 4 i mean strength 4 all the time, not just at short range) then those units would not only instantly be worth (or in the case of the Glade Riders, who are 24 points each, partly worth) their points cost but people would actually consider taking those units. Right now in my 2400 point list i am  debating taking two units of 6 Waywatchers or 1 extra Treeman. If Waywatchers got strength 4 shots then i would take them over the extra Treeman instantly. I may even consider Glade Riders if they get the bow, but at 24 points a pop maybe not.

Wood Elves live by the bow, so lets give them a decent bow

2: Even more Strength 4 weaponry
The Eternal Guard are a decent unit, they can become stubborn leadership 9 very easily and stubborn leadership 10 isn't that much harder. On top of that the front rank counts as having extra hand weapons and the back ranks count as having spears. But they lack the killing power to make them truly effective. I don't think it would break the game to give Eternal Guard a strength 4 close combat weapon. This would mean that they could threaten most core close combat units, and considering that you pay 12 points for them i think it would be a reasonable move. 

3: A better Lore of Athel Loren
Again not a game breaking suggestion considering that the Lore of Athel Loren is about the most useless thing in all of 8th ed Warhammer right now. Personally speaking i think  mash up between the Lore of Life and Beasts would suit the Wood Elves fine, with a little terrain manipulation thrown in fluff purposes. 

4: Buffed Treeman Ancients
Treeman are some of the best monsters in the game, Treeman Ancients are not the best monstrous characters in the game. For 40 points extra you get one more point of LD than a normal Treeman, character rules and access to sprites. What would be great would be a buff to strength, toughness and wounds. After all the Ancients have been around for far longer than normal Treeman and so should be harder to kill.

5: Marksmen Prowess
High Elves have Martial Prowess and Dark Elves have Murderous Prowess, so it makes sense that Wood Elves would have Marksmen Prowess. As for what it does? It will probably be that you re-roll ones when rolling to hit with shooting. But what i would like is on a roll to hit of 6 (for shooting attacks) that shot ignores armour. That would go along way to dealing with the issue Wood Elves have with armour. 

6: Better Forest Spirits
Forest Spirits are great. They give the Wood Elf army something the other elves don't have and thats T4 and S4 core troops. While the other elves have cavalry that can get decent strength on the charge Wood Elves have dyrads who have decent strenght all the time. However the forest spirits (talking specifically about Dryads, Treekin and Treemen) could be better, like having a 5+ ward save all the time, or being unstable as kit doesnt quite make sense for ethereal spirits inhabiting bits of trees to runaway.  

Forest Spirits: Virtually fighting trees
7: Ambush Theme.
Reading Wood Elf lore makes one thing very apparent: Wood Elves don't go for the battle line/pitched battle thing. They prefer Ambush and hit and run tactics over direct confrontation and it would be nice to see some rules that reflect that. Perhaps the ability to buy the ambush rule for certain units would be a good idea, or a way of manipulating the way terrain is set up.

8: Improved "Old" Units
Wardancers and Waywatchers are great lore and model wise. Rules wise they aren't as effective as other units and so miss out on slots in the army. A boost in the new book would be great for these guys. Improved Dances for Wardancers and themey ambush/master marksmen rules for the Waywatchers would be a great boost for these units.

9: Army wide points reduction
Dark Elf Level 1 mages are 80 points, High elf level 1 mages are 85 and Wood Elf mages are 90 and can take only one lore. This is repeated across the whole army with no core units being below 12 points a model and Glade Riders being 24 points. Ever wondered why there didn't seem to be many models in your opponents Wood Elf army? Well this is why.  

10: Monstrous Stagilry 
Dark Elves didn't get monstrous Cavalry, High elves didn't get drake riders, will Wood Elves get Stag Riders? Who knows but out of all the elf armies Wood Elves seem like the ones for who monstrous cavalry make the most sense. Wood Elf nobles already can ride great stags so i think it fairly likely the Wood Elves will get monstrous Cavalry.

So there you have it, my list of things i would like to see in the new Wood Elf book. I dont that list makes Wood Elves broken. It just makes them a waay bigger threat. It will be interesting to see what May brings, but remember Wood Elves are currently in the depths of winter, there is no way for the army to get worse so at this stage any news is good news. Until next time.


  1. No please dont give them rending bows. Seriously that sucks in 40K, cant be any good in fantasy either.

    1. Rending Bows. That is funny. The issue is that Armour is a big thing in warhammer. If 20 Empire knights lower their lances at my Glade Guard and may way towards them (like they might do tomorrow) then there isn't a whole lot i can do. If Wood Elves had "Rending Bows" then perhaps the empire commander rethinks going after the Glade Guard, perhaps the unit is some what reduced when it reaches the Glade Guard.

      Remember in 40k less is more (unless you are nids or orks) so small squads are hurt far more by shots that ignore armour

    2. True but there is nothing worse than having your 1+ armour save reduced to nothing. This hurts high armour low toughness models than anything else.

      Fanatics are the same. When they crashed into my knights they had a 5+/6+ (cant remember now) save to make on a ton of wounds. From a measly fanatic. All dead. I know its only on a roll of 6 but there is nothing worse than having you expensive units die so easily.

      I wouldnt mind if they could choose to rend or get S4 or get reroll of 1 to hit. Like choose before firing or something. But limit it. That way the high armour guys are getting hit by rending S3, which will make a big difference.

    3. I like the choose option, both are legitimate choices.

  2. Rex, your not getting rending bows. full stop, second is S4 at 30" and quick to fire would be broken, what i would reckon is more likely is a S4 bow but at 24",or a S3 bow at 30" with armour piercing. If that is the case i expect the hunting prowess would be re-roll 1's to wound with shooting (would fit with dark elves being the best combatants, wood elves best shots and high elves all rounder).

    also with the addition of all lores of magic the Eternal guards problems gonna melt away, you will see shadow on every lvl 4 (i can drop toughness and movement, shoot them more and then ASF with S9 Eternal guard? why not)

    just my two cents

    1. Rending bows are wishful thinking right now. But remember that Vs horde armies and units they would be ineffective, so an argument could be made for them as undead, tomb kings, orcs and goblins, skaven, ogres (whats that armour stuff?), certain empire builds and demons (who favor ward saves) all wouldn't care for rending bows. Your bow may indeed ignore armour on a 6 but you still need to kill 30 more of us.

      Now S4 longbows would be effective Vs hordes but ineffective Vs high armour. Both options i presented have counters. But i agree its more likely that we will see re-rolls of one to hit for the Wood Elves prowess. I do think S4 long bows are likely, i think it would go a long way to make wood elves just better

  3. You have to remember that it was only the core rule mechanic changes in 8th that turned the woodies into a shooting army (thank goodness for glade guard bows!). in 6th and 7th they were a lethal combat army. The rules meant that skirmish infantry that struck hard (ie enough to kill 5 models) would dominate R&F. Forests slowing movement and blocking LOS made treesinging a super powerful spell - especially as a bound that went off automatically (hence the price increase for an Ancient who also took up a rare was soooooo worth it - add nettlings - couldnt refuse challenges back in the day - and call of the hunt FTW).

    If anything any armybook update will return Woodies to their origins - hit and run combat. Strike hard, strike fast, but don't particularly want to get stuck in a steadfast FTW grind. The rise and rise of Monsterous Calv has changed that a little bit, so I suspect Woodies will get a tool to deal with them (other than the current "chaff it up" approach).

    I think the only given is forest spirit ward becoming a true ward (like the Daemons when their book was last, last updated). and possibly ASF on elves. Other than that it is all up in the air...heck Dryads used to be a special super tank unit, not the core chaffy unit they are today. Add in the old fear and terror mechanics + old limited application BSB re-rolls and woodies were a top table army up until 2007/8ish.

    There is also the problem of "what to do" - ie the last book kinda reinvented the Woodies and gave them a very distinct character that fluffwise has held its own. Where do you take a book that already has all the character and fluff that it needs (especially for narrative gaming - where GW's focus seems to be)?

    1. Also look at Storm of Magic for clues. Sadly Storm of Magic "fixed" all the woodie problems in 8th...growing new forests, moving them onto enemy units (add deepwood sphere for lolz), fortified forests etc etc

      All that stuff is "GW legal" already = not going to be in the new book- however post Storm of Magic Armybooks have incorporated the monster upgrades from Storm of Magic...could be the shape to come for stags, unicorns etc etc

      This is also where the stag knights rumour comes from too...

    2. I have the 4th (?) ed Wood Elf book where Dryads got fighting forms that made grown men cry. Things like reducing the opponents attacks by one to a minimum of zero, and adding extra toughness would have made them horrifying to face.

      I do think ASF, better Forest Spirit ward save, a redone lore of Athel Loren and access to all 8 rule book lores are the only givens (If DARK elves can use the lore of LIGHT then why cant wood elves?). The good news is that GW cant make Wood Elves worse, it can only get better.