Wednesday, 5 March 2014

The Problem with Wood Elves.......

.......Is that the book is just too dammed nice. After my complete pasting at the NZTC i took some time to reflect, by myself and with others, upon what was wrong with the Wood Elf book, besides it being written for 6th edition. My conclusion is that the Wood Elf book is trying so hard to balanced, it actively restricts combos of items and units that were broken in 6th but are now common place.

One of the last softback army books

 A prime example of how balanced this book is is the way it limits the combination of magic items. You cannot combine the Magic bow The Hunter's Talon (gives a character the Sniper rule) with any of the magic arrows, the best of which to combine with the sniper rule are The Hag's Bane Arrows (if you take a unsaved wound take a toughness test or die), Dragon Tooth Arrows (if you take a unsaved wound you suffer from stupidity), of the Hail of Doom Arrow (splits into 3d6 strength 4 magical shots, one use only). 

The balance doesn't end there. Wood Elf Glade Guard are universally known for their strength 4 at short range bows, but thats only the Glade Guard who get those bows and other units like Glade Riders (core fast cav), Scouts (like a normal glade guard but 6 points more expensive and doesn't get the good bow) and Waywatchers miss out on this bow. And i can fully see the reason why. Back in 6th if you had fast cav that could sprint up to the enemy lines, not take penalties for moving and shooting and let loose a hail of BS 3 strength 4 shots well that would be hard to take for most 6th ed armies. Its the same with Wood Elf Heroes sniping your general and making him stupid, of killing him in one shot....or 12.

And it also can be seen in the points costs. The Wood Elf monster of all monsters, the Treeman is a whooping 285 points. You get a lot for those points but consider that a Skullcannon (which can easily destroy a Treeman) is only 135, and that a Frostheart Phoenix is only 240 points.

And now we come to the crux of the issue, which i see as this. Different editions of Warhammer Fantasy Battles had different levels of balance. 6th edition Warhammer had internal army book balance to match the 6th ed rule set and 8th edition Warhammer has internal army book balance to match 8th ed. But when you take a book balanced for a certain edition of Warhammer and  put place it in another edition, and have it face that editions army books then issues will arise. If you took the current Lizardmen book and used in in a 6th ed game then it would be broken and over powered. And we all know what happens when you take a 6th ed book and throw it into games with 8th ed army books. 

So when facing a Wood Elf, Beastmen, Skaven (yes even Skaven, although they seem to be doing fine) of Bretonnia army, remember that their books were balanced for a different era of Warhammer, and try to go easy on them..........please. Until next time.


  1. Hate to point it out, but Skullcannons are 135 pts.

    1. Well you know, wood elves can cannons dont mix. But it has been corrected

    2. Im on a run of 14 wins with my wood elves using multiple units claimed to be crap eg. Scouts, wardancers, glade riders, warhawks etc. Have played 13 of the games against hatdbacks including all of the most recent only paperback ive played was beastmen. I also play skaven amd im on a run with them of a couple of years without defeat. Army book age just means you need new tactics, I think if someone is suffering from playing with a older book they should look at themselves first and ajust thier style of play according to what works best with the book.

  2. The only thing that broke the woodelf back was the introduction of 2+/1+ as multiwound things that were not characters. Up until the release of the Empire book I would still happily play anyone with my woodies competitively and be confident I could win (except vs storm banner sigh). 70-90 gladeguard, Treeman ancient, Treeman, 2 eagles, chaff dryads, lvl4 life, HODA BSB and token wildrider unit will run circles around most lists and pick up the points through volume of fire.

    Enter armies with Stank (not an issue) and 8 Demis (an issue) and the woodies are stuck with no answer other than "avoid 50% of the army and hope you can get the rest". Anything above 30% of an army being untouchable = woodies cannot push for the 11-9 as they will trade more than they take. (on that - play in a win/loss/draw event and woodies are more lethal)

    WoC are even worse with t5 core, slaanesh magic and speed...but everyone has to have a REALLY bad match up.

    Demons: sure Skillcannons are a problem (and so is metal magic)...but if a woodie army cannot hide at least 1 treeman behind terrain and somehow manage to not kill all the horrors, the Greater Demon and the solo beasts then they have had some real bad luck...heck even the skillcannons should be points for the taking.

    Joel v

  3. S4 high ballistic skill shooting is still horribly tough and will keep many armies at bay. Under 7th Ed I would see Wood Elf armies at tournaments all the time and they would regularly chew people up. From the current WE book like the old Dwarf book (the last 6th Ed book written but one aimed at 7th) is that it doesn't allow you to field a balanced army across all the key phases of the game - magic, movement, shooting and combat. You can either going shooting heavy with some Treemen (like you did at NZTC) to hopefully keep things at bay or try and move a lot (with fast cavalry) but lose some shooting. Combat wise you don't have that many decent infantry units (although 8th Ed seems to hate infantry) particularly compared to HE and DE. Hopefully new book gives you a better chance to build armies that compete across every phase and one that doesnt destroy its character i.e. it needs to stand out from HE and DE but also retain some common elements like ASF.

    RE: Skaven I really really REALLY shudder to think what they will get in the new 8th Ed book and am hoping that they get nerfed with various elements going bye bye - particularly the whole Screaming Bell/Plague Furnace + Grey Seer bus and all the cheap weapons teams.

  4. I think the WEs need a proper infanty hammer, a decent ward save a-la-Witch Elves (Buff machine? ) on the softer units, or mobile fast cavalry w a sting a-la-warlocks; to keep within the Elven idiom, or at least some decent dragon/monstrous flyer like the HEs. A new book is looong overdue. Think the beastmen suffer from the same problem. Cannon and Monstrous Cavalry will always be a problem for any type of elf.

    1. wood elves should not get an infantry hammer unit. They are my favorite army and I play them because they are different from all other armies. they play totally different. they need something to buff them where they can keep their guerrilla tactics. they need be a high risk high reward type army where they have lots of sneaky maneuvers to win

  5. @ Joel
    The other thing that contributed to the WEs fall from power was the appearance of Hordes. When facing 49 Skaven Slaves there isn't alot a WE gunline can do about it. And i agree the Monstrous Cav have been a huge obstacle for the WE. But like i said other armies have ways to deal with these things were as WE dont because those things didnt exist back in 6th.

    @ John
    There are some issues with WE shooting: 1) The S4 is only at short range, so the true "killzone" is only 15 from the Glade Guard. 2) Only the Glade Guard get this ability, if Waywatchers of Scouts got this the WE shooting would be scary. Bye bye chaff, lone characters, fast cav and anything else with bad armour saves. 3) Its not able to deal with hordes (skaven slaves, Zombies and the like) and 4) at 12 points a model you can get a high number of shots but not much else into your army. And i have nightmares about 8th ed Skaven, the horror.

    @ Herman
    All it would take would be to buff Eternal Guard and then WE would have a decent core infantry unit. Right now they are too expensive and too fragile. Dryads are cool but are skirmishers and cant get a command so combat rez relies soloy on wounds caused. Glade Riders do have access to spears but at 24 points a model they don't make for a good core troop option with their stat line.

    1. Hordes ain't a problem. Chuck and eagle/8 dryads in front and shoot 70 shots at it. Eagle/8 dryads die...Treeman Ancient and Treeman smash into it....profit.

      Skaven are a special case. There is no Woodie answer to the stormbanner. Unless you run a pure combat list (which sucks vs everything else) you lose 90% of your army's power for 2/3 turns and by then it is game over...sadly.

      biggest "issue" with the list is that 90% of the options were cool and fun in 6th/7th...are now not even worth looking at in 8th. Alter nobles?, wardancers (the old power unit of the game), warhawk riders (kinda)...Playing with moveable LOS blocking terrain...those were the days.

      8th has made the woodies play more like a bowline ambush list which is cool...I just wish dryads were combat units not 96pt eagles

    2. 70 Glade Guard is a big investment. And having them focus fire on one unit may destroy said unit but leaves others to have free reign. I just played a game last night with a far more balanced list and it was far more effective than the gunline lists i have run in the past. If Glade Guard were 10 points then a gunline could work because you would the points to spend on CC units, but with GG at 12 points and everything else at the same points cost or higher i cant get the guneline to work.