|Note the image doesn't depict actual Wood Elf tactics|
The Wood Elf magic item selection has been severely reduced but we all knew that it would be. The question is do the items that remain make up for the items that where removed? Lets start by looking at what is on offer for Wood Elf Lords and Heroes. (Credit for the item descriptions goes to 40k Warzone)
The Spirit Sword. 85 points: Armour saves cannot be taken against Wounds caused by the Spirit Sword. Furthermore, immediately when an enemy character, champion or monster suffers one or more unsaved Wounds from the Spirit Sword, both he and the wielder must roll a 2d6 and add their respective Leadership values. If the wounded model's total is higher or the totals are the same, nothing else happens. If the wounded model's total is lower, it immediately suffers a Wound for each point by which it's total was exceeded, with no armour saves allowed.
So for a mere 30 extra points the item lost the all hits automatically wound ability but gains a ignore armour save rule and its extra ability doesn't damage the wielder. Not really worth it as it doesn't allow much in the way of protective gear and Wood Elf characters cant get good armour saves with mundane equipment (unless you count a 3+ save as good).
Daith's Reaper. 50 Points: All failed to hit and to wound rolls made with this weapon must be re-rolled. All armour saves taken against wounds caused by this weapon must be re-rolled.
For 50 points you can mount a Glade Lord (the old Highborn with a new name) on a Horse, give him the Enchanted Shield and the Talisman of Protection and have a fighty ASF character who re-rolls to hit, to wound and forces the enemy to re-roll successful armour saves. All in all not a bad option and it gives you points to spend on defensive gear.
The Bow of Loren. 20 Points: Asrai longbow. Multiple Shots (Attacks + 1). Cannot fire enchanted arrows.
Perhaps the best magic item in the new book and its price tag allows all characters to take it. A nice shooty item at a decent price.
The Helm of the Hunt. 20 Points: +1 to armour save. Grants Devastating Charge and +1 WS on a turn in which the wearer charged.
Once again not a bad item and a decent price, it makes a character better on the charge. Combo this with Daith's Reaper, light armour, a shield, a mount and you can get good close combat cavalry lord (also with 30 points left over you can get a 5+ ward save from the Talisman of Endurance)
Acorns of the Ages. 100 Points: One use only. At the start of the game after battlefield has been set up, but before deployment, place d3 citadel woods on the battlefield. Can be placed anywhere at least 1" away from another terrain feature and the edge of the battlefield. Once all forests have been placed, scatter each 2d6". If that lands within 1" or on top of other terrain, or within 1" of battlefield edge, reduce or increase scatter by smallest amount necessary to avoid obstruction. Once this has been done, delcare which type of Mysterious Forest you want these to be - all forests must be the same type.
I resent this item, because with the new Forest Stalker rule we need this item but damn 100 points hurts. If you think you can win your games without much help from the Forest Stalker and Blessing of the Ancients then good on you, but if you think those rules are vital (like i do) then bite the bullet and take this item on one of your level 4s.
Moonstone of the Hidden Ways. 40 Points: If bearer's unit is wholly within forest at end of your movement phase and not in combat, it can forest walk. If it does so, remove it from the battlefield and immediately replace it wholly within any forest on the battlefield in the same formation, but facing any direction. Cannot be placed within 1" of an enemy unit. Counts as having marched in the movement phase.
Combo this with a combat unit and the Acorn of the Ages and you can do some sneaky tricks. Its slightly worse due to the inability to escape combat but its still a good item
Hail of Doom Arrow. 30 Points: One use only, Model with Asrai Longbow only. Used instead of making shooting attack with the bearer's Asrai Longbow. 30" Range, Str 4, Armour Piercing, Multiple Shots (3d6)
Ah the old faithful HODA, it got better with AP but slightly worse that its now a Multiple Shot attack, but the characters who carry it have excellent ballistic skill anyway so it doesn't matter. Its the only auto include item in this list.
Calaingor's Stave. 20 Points: Bearer generates one less spell than normal but knows the Tree Singing Spell;
Cast on 8+: Augment spell that targets single forest within 18" of the caster. If there are no units within the forest, it immediately moves up to D6+1" in a direction of the casters choice. Cannot move to within 1" of units or other terrain features.
If there one unit (friendly or enemy) within forest, then it does not move. Instead, choose single enemy unit at least partially within forest; unit immediately suffers 2d6 str 4 hits. Wizard can choose to target all forests within 12" - casting value increased to 16+.
The first in a spree of bad magic items. If you really miss Treesinging then this is the item for you. If you didn't then pass on this item.
Banner of the Eternal Queen. 100 Points: Bearer has Magic Resistance (3). Once per game, all models in same unit have Unbreakable until end of the turn or until bearer is slain. Declare you are using this ability at the start of any turn.
The obligatory over priced useless magic banner. If the Unbreakable rule stayed for the whole turn then it could be good but the Unbreakbale goes away with the death of the BSB, which wont take long as he is a fragile elf with no armour save. Also If it cost 50 points then it might have been interesting to try it out but its 100 points so pass.
Banner of the Hunter King. 75 Points: All models in same unit as this banner have Vanguard Deployment. In addition, bearer's unit re-rolls first failed charge attempt.
Why must both the magic banners be burdened with a excessive cost? A nice set of rules but its 75 points so the BSB is the only one who can take this item. Not as bad as the Banner of the Eternal Queen but its still pretty bad.
So thats the magic items, some good some bad, overall i think that Wood Elf players will get better use out of the rule book magic items than the ones listed above. Now lets take a look the unit selection, starting with the Lord options.
Treeman Ancient. 290 Points.
3 attacks at strength 5 oh how the mighty have fallen. I used to take one with the Annoyance of Nettlings for squishing characters, but i can do that no longer. On the upside he still has toughness 6, 6 wounds and leadership 10, so he is now a proper leader. He is also a level 2 life mage who can go to level 4 for 35 points for both level 3 and 4. However with no access to magic items and the inability to bunker him in a unit he is cannon fodder through and through, and if the enemy has a cannon then he would be mad to not target him. If you can think of a cunning way to shield him from enemy fire then you get a 18 inch LD 10 bubble, and a life mage who has the Blessing of Ancients special rule, so he isn't bad as a caster. Could be interesting to try him out and see what happens but i wouldn't recommend him for a tournament list.
Glade Lord. 145 Points.
The Glade Lord is the old Highborn with new tricks, namely ASF and a very interesting rule called the Arrow of Kurnous, which means if a model with that rule (Glade Lords and Captains have it) can see the enemy general and is within 36 of said general at the start of the game then the enemy general suffers a S3 no armour save auto hit. Not bad at all. Otherwise he can be kited out with all of the enchanted arrows,100 points of magic items and can be given either a horse, eagle, great stag or dragon as a mount. If the Spellweaver wasn't as good as they are then i would say go for it and kit him out however you wish, and enjoy making your opponent have a moment of panic as his general potentially looses a wound.
Spellweaver. 180 Points.
The lord of the lords. This is the only lord choice that is a auto include. Why you ask? Well in addition to getting access to all 8 rule book lores the Spellweavers are the only model in the book with access to both High and Dark magic. If you upgrade him/her to level 4 (and you will) and place him/her in a wood then you get 5+ to cast. The access to all 8 rulebook lores is very important and will be nice addition to the Wood Elf magic arsenal, although the Lore of metal isn't as important as it once was due to the Arcane Bodkins and other things.........
My pick for top 3 lores on your Spellweaver is High Magic, Death Magic and Life Magic.
Glade Captain. 60 Points.
He is the BSB and holder/firer of the HODA! For 60 points he is easily affordable and, if you filled your lord choices up with spellweavers, he has the arrow of Kurnous rule, so enemy generals beware.
Spellsinger. 80 Points.
The lesser Spellweaver but still quite good. All 8 lores and the Blessing of Ancients makes for quite a good spell caster. These guys can pick up the lores that you like but didnt put on the Spellweaver. Beasts, Metal and Heavens all make for good lores to put on this guy, Wyssans and Doom for Beasts and Metal, and hopefully you get Harmonic Convergence for Heavens. A good hero choice overall.
Waystalker. 90 Points.
Some of my fellow Wood Elf players hate him and some love him. I land firmly on the love him side. He comes with all the Waywatchery goodness (which will be addressed when i get to the Waywatcher entry) with the added bonuses of 20 points of magic items (bow of loren anyone?) and sniper. Take 2 bare bones Waystalkers and finish off what the Arrow of Kurnous started.
Shadowdancer. 100 Points.
Weapon Skill 8, Strength 4 and 4 attacks with all of the wardancer's dances. Oh and for 60 points he/she can become a level 1 shadow wizard. A nice trick is to put him/her in a unit and use the deny the rank bonus dance, tipping the combat in your favor. Or you could challenge a enemy hero out and then killing blow him with your 4 ASF strength 4 attacks, the possibility are endless. Way better than the old Kindred wardancer hero. Take him for a game and see what he does.
Glade Guard. 12 Points Per Model.
The Glade Guard, always the staple of the Wood Elf army and that wont change. With ASF (ok its not that good on a fragile shooty unit) and access to the wonderful enchanted arrows these guys will continue to be a common sight in all Wood Elf armies. Due to the extra points that the arrows added on i would advise units of ten, with a arrow upgrade and a Musician. That why when they die (and they will) you wont lose huge chunks of points, that and you can try out more arrow options in a single army.
Glade Rider. 19 Points Per Model.
They used to be ignored but no longer. With the Asrai Long Bow and access to all the enchanted arrows, on top of them being fast cav i firmly believe that they will see a come back. The only issue is that they have the Ambush rule so they have to start the board off the game, rending vanguard useless and potentially seeing them not showing up at. Use them to support your Glade Guard, i would advise against having them be the only unit in your core. Oh they did get the Asrai Spear so +1 strength on the charge and Armour Piercing, not bad.
Dryads. 11 Points Per Model.
Oh why, whhyyyyyyyyyyy. They lost skirmish, dropped their ward save to 6+ and lost a point of strength. In addition they don't get access to a standard or a musician. Being positive they dropped a point cost wise, still have 2 attacks and now gain hatred. So they aren't that bad, they are undoubtedly worse than they were but they still can be a good unit. And if you cast Wyssans on them they can be as good as they once were....sort of.
Eternal Guard. 11 Points Per Model.
They became permanently core and stubborn. Sadly they didn't get a +1 strength weapon but they did get they the Armour Piercing spear. Decent as a mage bunker, or just a character bunker in general but they aren't the best at dealing damage but they will stick around, and with a BSB they will stick around even longer.
Wildwood Rangers. 11 Points Per Model
Great weapons, ASF, Forest Stalker, Immune to Psychology and they get +1 attack if fighting a model that causes fear or terror, these guys are the elf infantry damage dealers. They are the only unit in this army that i would take in a unit size bigger than 10, in fact i would take these guys in a unit of 30-40, and then buff them up with life and beasts. Add to all that the excellent models and you have a unit that should be appearing in quite a few Wood Elf armies.
Treekin. 45 Points Per Model.
Worse than they were but they dropped in points. Apparently a point of strength and dropping your ward save to 6+ means that you go down 20 points yaay! Other Wood Elf players have dropped them due to the lower strength but not I. They are still a good unit in my view and for the cheap price of 270 points you can get 6 of them. They are still good in my book.
Deepwood Scouts. 13 Points Per Model.
In the old book the only way to get scouts was to pay 5 points extra on Glade Guard, lose the Strength 4 longbow but gain scout and skirmish. In the new book you have a entirely separate unit in special, one point more than a a Glade Guard with the Asrai Longbow and access to all the arrows. A far better option than before and yet another unit that can take the arrows.
Wild Riders. 26 Points Per Model
Frenzy, Devastating Charge, Immune to Psychology, Stags! These are the stag riders of Myth and Legend. On the charge they will slaughter most infantry unit with 3 strength 5 armour piercing attacks each. However if they are charged or fail to wipe out their target in one round they will get bogged down hard. Best used as the clean up crew to mop up units that your archers have weakened. Best taken in units of 10. On a side note the models look amazing, so even if you don't want to take some, buy them anyway.
Sisters of the Thorn. 26 Points.
Effectively Female Warlocks that cost a point more, are better at shooting, worse at combat, have their ward save vs all attacks, have a worse miscast result and have different spells. The spells they do have (Curse of Anraheir and Shield of Thorns) are good, especially Curse which can be used to great effect on high armour save low model count units (like Knights). Whilst not as good as Warlocks they are still pretty damn good.
Warhawk Riders. 45 Points Per Model.
Cheaper with Killing Blow and Armour Piercing (for the Hawk only) on the charge, in addition to both the Asrai Spear and Bow for the rider. Better than they were and yet another unit with killing blow, also each hawk has 2 attacks. Take em for chaff and warmachine hunting, or just charge them into the flank of a existing combat. But don't expect them to last long with T4, no armour save and 3 wounds each.
Wardancers. 15 Points Per Model.
They got cheaper, ASF and better dances. While they may still be T3 elves with a 6+ ward save the dances they have now make them far better. Either a 3+ ward save, Killing Blow and Armour Piercing (now with re-rolls for even more Killing Blow fun), +1 Attack or deny the enemy rank bonuses. Wardancers may be glass cannons but if they get into combat they will hurt. Try to combo charge and use the deny the rank bonus dance.
Treeman. 225 Per Model.
Like all Forest Spirits they dropped and point of strength and got a worse ward save, but came down 60 points. Strangleroots is now a 20 point upgrade that does d6+1 strength 5 multiple shots. It can no longer be fired in a 360 arc with no LOS needed and requires a roll to hit, but with Treeman having a high BS it wont really mater. Not quite as good as before but still a good choice, and now they are cheaper so you can other things in rare now.
Great Eagle. 50 Points Per Model.
Its a Eagle, nothing changed, no upgrades available. Use em like you used to.
The Best Till Last. Waywatchers. 20 Points Per Model.
Oh Waywatchers. In my Wood Elf Wishlist post i wrote about how i wished these guys would get a nice set of rules to go with the excellent model. And they did. They are a skirmishing unit with the Asrai bow, no access to the arrows but they don't need as they (and the Waystalker) have the rule Hawk Eyed Archer which allows them to fire either 2 shots with AP, or one shot that ignores Armour Saves entirely. This along with Arcane Bodkins and the Lore of Metal (and all the Armour Piercing in the book) is how we will deal with armour. This is the only unit that Wood Elf players shouldn't leave home without, and they dropped 4 points so you can fit even more into your army!
So there you have it, my take on the magic item selection and unit selection. The phrase not bad comes up quite often and thats the main issue. In the Dark and High Elf books there were quite a few units and magic items that i thought were excellent, and in this book there are not as many and this is part of my overall issue that i have with this book that i will cover in part 3 of my review. Until next time.