Friday, 2 May 2014

Pierce the Armour! Wood Elf Review Part 1

If you have an Armour Save we will modify it, or ignore it. That should be the tag line of the new shiny 8th ed Wood Elf Army Book. Its here and now that i have had some time to digest the new book i am ready to present you my review of the Wood Elf Army Book, anti armour edition. My review will start off looking on what we lost from the book, then we move onto the Army Wide Special rules, after that we look at the Magic items and units (Lords, Heroes, Core, Special, Rare), then its both magic lores with a final look at the special characters. This will be a multiple part review as trying to squeeze all the rules and my opinions on them into one post would make for a very big post. So sit back and enjoy.

We are back! On Stags!

 So lets start with what was removed from the book:

-Strength 4 at short range long bows are gone

-All Forest Spirits lost a point of strength

-The abilty to ignore the -1 move and shoot penlity is gone

-The Forest Spirit ward save is now 6+

-Kindreds and Sprites are gone.

So we say goodbye to the beloved S4 Longbow, reliable 5+ Wards save, Sprites (but we sort of still have kindreds) and the ability to move and shoot free of consequence. And thats what we lost from the book, i will admit that i am sad to see the S4 bow and the ability to move and shoot free of consequence go, but what replaces it provides more variety and combinations than we had before. Onto the army wide special rules:

-Armour Piercing (joking.......sort of)

-Forest Stalker: Basically we get both Martial Prowess and Murderous Prowess if the majority of the unit is in a wood. Now we don't get a "(inserted M word here) Prowess" instead we get this rule and i have to say that i would have rather had a shooting related prowess rule than this. In most games Wood Elf players are only certain that we will get our free wood (yes we still get that) unless you take a certain magic item that i will talk about in some length later. So while Wood Elves kick ass in woods it came at the expense of a prowess rule.

-Blessing of the Ancients: If a wizard with this rule is in a wood then they gain +1 to cast all spells. A nice little addition and not to hard to get either considering we get a wood to start with (i originally missed this rule out, thats what you get for writing a post late at night)

-Forest Strider: Self explanatory, we had it in the last book and it served us well and i believe that i can do so again.

-Forest Spirit: So sad. The only thing that changed was that the ward save can now be taken vs magic attacks and said ward save was reduced to a 6+. This is part of the reason why i no longer take any Forest Spirits (bar Wild Riders) in my Wood Elf Armies. A 5+ that can only be taken against mundane attacks is better than a 6+ save that can be taken all the time. A 6+ save is effectively useless and seriously blunts the Forest Spirits survivability.

-Wood Land Ambush: Good news! We still get our free Forest. Bad news! It has to be a citadel wood, so if you don't have one and want to get the many bonuses Wood Elves receive for fighting in a wood then you better cough up 54 NZD, or your regional equivalent. On the upside the citadel wood has a huge base and so you will probably be able to fit 2 units inside of it.

-Asrai Long Bow: Strength 3, Range 30 and Armour Piercing.  Not as good as it used to be but still not bad. The addition of the AP rule means that all Wood Elves (every unit that has a bow in the book has this bow) will be able to knock off lightly armored chaff with ease, and slowly peck away at the higher armour save targets.

-Asrai Spear: Strength as user, fight in extra ranks, if mounted +1 strength on the charge and Armour Piercing. Not bad but considering that this is the weapon of the Eternal Guard i would have liked to see +1 strength in the place of Armour Piercing, but its still not bad. 

-Blackbrair Javelin: Strength as user, range 12, poisoned and probably Armour Piercing. This is the weapon of the Sisters of the Thorn and its quite a nice little shooting attack to give the sisters. It can certainly sting and considering that the sister's talents lay elsewhere its quite a nice ranged attack. 
Ok so now we get onto the real damage dealer of the new book. When i was listening to the Kiwihammer review of the Wood Elf book on Friday morning this was the section where i knew the damage would come from. Lets get into them:

-Arcane Bodkins: -3 Armour Save
-Hagbane Tips: Poisoned, Armour Piercing
-Moofire Shots:+1 Wounding vs Forces of Order, Flaming
-Starfire Shafts:+1 Wounding vs Forces of Destruction, Flaming
-Swiftshiver Shafts: Multiple shots (2), Armour Piercing
-Trueflight Arrows: Do not suffer to hit penalties, Armour Piercing

The units that can take these arrows are the Glade lords/captains (Lord and Hero noble choices), Glade Guard, Glade Riders and Scouts, in addition a unit can only select one type of arrow. The same arrow can be taken by different units in the army. So lets start from the to. 

Arcane Bodkins: -3 Armour save whats not to like. It gives us a way to deal with those pesky high armour save targets and the majority of our shooty units can take it. The only issue its that it is 5 points per model, so that raises the cost of a Glade Guard with this arrow to 17 points, but well worth it in my opinion

Hagbane Tips: Posined and Armour Piercing. This is the cheapest of the arrow options at 3 points per model and at that price its still a decent choice. Giving your unit of 20 Glade Guard the ability to auto wound on a 6 isn't too shabby. A nice way to use them would be to give a unit of 10 scouts this arrow and send them off hunting monsters, or any other slow high toughness unit you can think of.

Moofire Shots: +1 Wounding vs Forces of Order, Flaming and Armour Piercing. Now for those of us who have never taken allies in fantasy you may not know what the "Forces of Order" are. Well the Forces of Order refer to Empire, Lizardman, High Elves, Dwarfs, Bretonnia and Wood Elf armies. And this arrow gives you +1 to wound any unit from those armies. Now that means that your unit of 20 Glade Guard can now wound Frostheart Phoenixes on a 5+, same goes with Stegadons, Characters on Dragons, Warmachines or any high toughness unit. And or course its a nightmare for any toughness 3 or lower unit that finds itself the target of these arrows. Points wise these are the mid tier arrows adding a extra 4 points per model. A nice solid choice that should make all Forces or Order armies fear your bowline. Like their twin Starfire Shafts they are better in non competitive play where you can tailor your list to face your opponent. In tournaments its all up to the luck of the draw if you end up facing a "Force of Order" army, but its effect on enemy units cannot be ignored.

Starfire Shafts: +1 Wounding vs Forces of Destruction, Flaming and Armour Piercing. Just like its twin only this effects Dark Elf, Orc and Goblin, Chaos, Beastmen, Vampire Counts and Skaven (so Tomb Kings and Ogres are ok). This arrow has just the same pros and cons as the Moonfire Shot only as there are more armies from the "Forces of Destruction" you may end getting more use from them than the Moonfire Shot. Once again 4 points per model.

Swiftshiver Shafts: Multiple shots (2) and Armour Piercing.  20 archers can now now throw out 40 strength 3 Armour Piercing shots a turn, and for 4 points per model whats not to like. The idea of 120 shots from my 60 Glade Guard is blood thirstily exciting one. Skaven, Tomb Kings, other elf armies and Empire armies should fear this arrow and the carnage it will bring. 

Trueflight Arrows: Do not suffer to hit penalties and Armour Piercing. If you liked your Glade Guard ignoring the move and shoot penalties then you will love this arrow. Marching, Cover and Multiple shots no longer effect your to hit roll. Once more its 4 points per model.

There isn't a option there that i wouldn't consider or flat out rule out for including in my army. All those arrows are magic so they do turn your shooting attacks into a anti ethereal (and the Banner of the World Dragons dream) storm. I would advise that Wood Elf players try all of the arrows before settling on a combo that you like.

That concludes part 1 of the review, over the coming week part 2 and 3 will be released. Part 2 will included a look at the magic items and unit selection and part 3 will cover the magic lores, special characters and overall thoughts. This book is looking good and i cant wait to try it out on the battle field. Until next time.


  1. However, against say, phoenix guard with Caradryan, they already have a 4++ save, add the MR(2) Caradryan gives them, and suddenly all these arrows have a 2++ ward save against them. Same goes for all other magic resist, that's something to be aware of.

  2. magic resistance only procs on magic missiles and other such damaging spells. magical attacks are unaffected by it (the only thing that can ward those is the banner of the world dragon, only because it states magical attacks from any source)

    Rex, i would not be so hasty on your dismissal of the trees as a redundant form of attack for the woodies. looking at all the 8th books the key is comboing (except warriors, but that's warriors for you). since tree-kin have dropped 20 odd points for the loss of one strength and ward i reckon with beast/shadow combos they could rip a new one in quite a few lists.

    just some thoughts

    1. What has happened to the forest spirits pains me. They have lost combat effectiveness as well as durability. Mean while on the elf side of he aisle they only got better. My 8th ed list, for instance has 40 glade guard (in units of ten) with ether the starfire or moonfire arrow, 2X10 scouts with arcane bodkins, 2X6 waywatchers and 30 wildwood rangers. The idea is that the bow fire while seriously weaken then oncoming enemy and then the rangers will charge in and deliver the killing blow. Now i picked the rangers over Treekin/Treemen/Dryads because they are cheaper, have a greater strength value then both Dryads and Treekin and are on par with Treemen, They has ASF, They get +1 attack is fighting models that cause fear/terror and they get the forest stalker rule.

      If in a llist i had some points spare then i may well take some trees, but right now they will always loose out to the elves.

  3. A correction: The Armor Piercing on five of the six arrow types is not redundant, nor is it incorrect. The profiles given on the bottom of p.37 REPLACE the basic Asrai longbow profile, not augment it. Arcane Bodkins do NOT have Armor Piercing; their total save penalty is -3, not -4.

    See the paragraph under "Enchanted Arrows" on p. 37, third sentence.

    1. Ah i see it, cheers and thanks for the correction

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  5. Nice review I must say, but just 2 quick things I was wondering; first one is, since the arrows are Arcane Items, the rulebook states you can only have one and cannot repeat that item, wouldn't that mean, we can only hace one arrow type in one unit and cannot choose the same one again for another unit? And the last thing, I'm not sure if it's a printong mistake but in the spanish wood elves book it says the magic arrow are paid per unit and not miniature.

    1. I am glad you enjoyed the post. As for your questions GW did a bad job of making it clear that you can/cannot take the same arrow on different units. In my upcoming game with my Wood Elves i am taking the same arrow mainly because there isn't a clear section in the book saying that you cant. And i do believe that you pay by the model rather than the unit

  6. Just to help clarify the issue with several units taking the same arrows, this is from the Skaven FAQ, and the way I read it, you can take several of the same type of arrows. Unless, of course, you interpret "standard piece of equipment" as something that's not an option to buy.

    Q: Can you take more than one Vermin Lord in an army? If you can,
    will they both have a Doom Glaive magic weapon? (p40)
    A: Yes to both questions. Whilst you can only opt to take each
    magic item once, where it is a standard piece of equipment it
    can be duplicated

    1. Thanks for that, i think most Wood Elf players have come to the conclusion that you can duplicate enchanted arrows as i am seeing more and more lists that have different units on the same arrow, but thank you as you have provide something i can link people too when debating the issue