Friday, 26 September 2014

Dynamic Elves

On my recent Wood Elf tactics post I got a comment that seems to sum up peoples view of the new Wood Elves:

Ok granted HoDA's effect is amazing. However, the cost is not 30 points.

The true cost of HoDA is 105 points. A glade captain + HoDA.

There is no material reason to take a Glade captain (including BSB) other than to take HoDA. He's weak in CC, Arrow of Kurnous is a gimmick and a BSB is no help in any type of MSU army (which is the competitive only way to play WE).

The only decent Lords / Hero choices are spell casters, and HoDA on a BS4 Multiple shot for 30 points is not nearly as effective.

Now feel free to disagree, but think about your list for a second. What does that Glade Captain (or even worse: lord) really contribute? And would you be better off having taken 105 points worth of something else?
 Perhaps 5 more Waywatchers or 4 more Wild Riders.

HoDA is amazing, but the army is stronger without the one carrying it.

Now I am not singling this commenter out, indeed I encourage anyone who has a view about my posts be it a view that agrees with mine or disagrees to comment. But the above comment perfectly encapsulates the view many people have about the Wood Elves, that there is only one build that works and that anything that doesn’t fit into this build should be cast aside.

To me this a narrow minded view, indeed there are units in the book that you probably shouldn’t use, and there are units that should be chosen over others but to rule out using the majority of units is foolish. To think that the only good Lords/Heroes are spell casters shuts the door on some unique units that while not as reliable as spell casters can be as good.

Take the Waystalker and Shadowdancer as two examples. Both are decent hero level characters that can perform useful roles. The Waystalker with the Bow of Loren can spell death for Wizards be they full wounds or half and if you take Araloth you can use his Sniper Falcon to augment the Waystalker, keep the Waystalker close to Araloth and snipe characters out of oncoming units to your hearts content. The Shadowdancer is a great character to place in your Eternal Guard/ Wild Wood Rangers, if you get charged by 40 Skeletons in ranks of 5, then go onto deny them rank bonus you can easily turn a potently lost combat into disaster for skeletons (or any other low WS/High Mode count unit). On top of that with 4 attacks, 8 Weapon Skill and Initiative you can quite easily Killing Blow (or just plain old fashion kill) out enemy infantry characters who happen to have charged your unit, chances are you will be re-rolling to hits most of the time and with the 3+ Ward Save dance he can challenge out and hold up a deadly enemy character for a turn.

Another much maligned unit is the Glade Lord/Captain. I always take one,  nowadays as a tooled up General because I am sick and tired of my level 4 mage general sucking himself down a hole when I least need him to.  My current build is Great Eagle for mount, shield, Asrai Spear, Bow of Loren, HODA and the Armour of Destiny. What this gives me is a highly mobile Chaff/ Warmachine  hunter who can also charge units damaged by my bowfire who need a quacking finishing off. Combined with the War Hawks (which I prefer over Wild Riders as they have more movement, are not frenzied, their mounts having killing blow on the charge, have better toughness and can shot things) he can easily mince a weakened unit or pick off small units/lone characters. 
The Wood Elf book is far better than people seem to want to admit. Yes it may well have been written by Matt Ward and it did indeed loose some of the best things from the old book but that doesn’t make it bad, and it certainly doesn’t mean there is only one competitive build.  At present I am running a MSU style list with Glade Riders in core, Wild Riders (to be replaced by Warhawks as soon as I can afford them) and Scouts in Special, Waywatchers in rare and a Glade Lord and 2 Waystalkers in Lords/Heroes.  However my list changes after very battle and I really want to try out a Combat Wood Elf List with Wild Wood Rangers, Eternal Guard and Araloth.

The book has a lot of choices, the arrows, the new units and the revamped old ones mean that we now have a lot of variety when making our lists.  I was disheartened when hearing people say that the only arrow that made statically/mathematical sense was the Hagbane and that arrow would be the only one they would take, to me that’s cutting out some of the best parts of the book without even trying the things they are discarding. Don’t be like that, try all the arrows and units and cone you have then go back and make up your mind about which ones suit you but don’t discard choices without trying them. Keep in mind that people won games with the old Wood Elf book while making a lot of use from Glade Riders and Warhawks. Until next time.


  1. Hi Rex. I agree WE are dynamic and flexible, my statement was more absolute than it should have been. I should have said all other character options are subpar when compared to other options (not limited to chars).

    Now please feel free to disagree with the validity of my conclusion but I'd appreciate your consideration of my premise: optimal resource management.

    In your glade lord example you sink 250 points into a single model. Could that not be better spent elsewhere for greater effect?

    For the same price you could get 10 wild riders or 6 warhawks. What would your opponent prefer not to face?

    Way stalker or 5 waywatchers?


  2. I agree, if we were looking at optimal resource management then you are right, Spell casters are the best of the heroes and forest spirits shouldn't be considered (and the only decent arrow choice would be hagbane). However taking a risk and selecting choices that are not optimal can also pay off, you can find a combination that works that you weren't aware of before.

    For the Glade Lord i could go bare bones and have him with no gear chilling with one of the scout units but thats wasted potential. Yes the point i used on him could be spent on more Wild Riders/Way Watchers but i am taking the risks that by gearing him up he can be a useful component of the army, now he may not he may well die on turn one and if so then he will be swapped out for an other choice (they way i do lists i change mine after every game, i swap out "bad" options with new ones) but if he works then the risk was worth it.

    On your final question, if i could combo the Waystalker with say a shadow/death/fire (flaming sword) mage then i would take the Stalker otherwise it would be the watchers. As you have pointed out S3 shooting (even with Sniper) has quiet a hard time killing things so i would want to balance the situation a bit before taking the stalker

  3. Rex there is always a vaild reason to take a bsb, the re-rolls will save u hundreds of points every game! you crazy not to especially in msu where your unlikely to ever had steadfast

  4. BSB really depends. In a WE list built for movement and avoidance the army will be all over the table, and the BSB can't be everywhere. LD8-9 is pretty good by itself. Avoid combat, and board edges.

    1. rex even if its protecting your core units or bunker for lvl4 its soooo worth it, what do you do vs doom and darkness and leadship tests? flee, hope... both?
      its good im sure every elf player would agree!