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 Hillbilly Carl's Wood Elf Summary
Hillbilly Carl
Posted: Apr 26 2012, 04:08 PM
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Spear of Orion
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Joined: 28-December 05

A guy in my local league is thinking about starting a wood elf army and asked for my thoughts on the army. I wrote this up for him but I figured I might as well share it here as well:

Ok, so the wood elves are a very diverse army. You can go a lot of ways with it and have success. The army I normally go with is different than the usual "internet" lists but I've had pretty good success with it and it suits my play style. My normal list is as follows:

Alter Kindred Highborn, Great Weapon, Bow of Loren (# of shots = # of attacks), Arcane Bodkins (no armour saves vs. arrows), Amaranthine Brooch (3+ ward save vs non-magical attacks), Light Armour
This guy takes down knights all day. He has 5 BS6 S3 shots allowing no armour saves so he'll kill 2-3 knights on average per turn of shooting. He's really fragile though and for 300ish points he either wins the game for you or becomes a huge liability.

Spellweaver - Level 4, Lore of Life, Starfire Arrows (wounds from arrows cause panic), Wand of the Witch Elm (re-roll failed dispel attempts)
This is your magical defense and offense all rolled into one. The wand gives you great dispelling power and the lore of life can support your units and heal your multi-wound models like treekin and the treeman. His arrows add a bit too since he can panic units, it doesn't usually do anything though.

Wild Rider Kindred Noble - Great Stag, Helm of the Hunt (+1A & WS on charge), Spear of Twilight (Killing Blow)
This is the general, he lends some real combat power to the wild riders and can go toe-to-toe with a lot of Lord-level characters. His stag removes the wild riders' fast cavalry rule but that doesn't really matter too much since they are still M9.
10 Glade Guard, std, mus
10 Glade Guard, std, mus
12 Glade Guard, std, mus
Glade guard are great, they are bait for your enemies since they are rather static compared to the rest of the army so the enemy naturally targets them. They have good range and BS and at close range their shots become S4 which really tears up the normal flanking units. The ability to move and shoot without penalty also makes it tough to flank them. They also provide your army with much-needed banners for the blood or glory scenario.

16 dryads
Dryads are an interesting unit. They have good hitting power (Fear, 2A) and decent defense (T4, 5+W against non-magical attacks) but they are skirmishers so they don't get rank bonuses. In a forest they are really good (skirmishers are stubborn in forests) but that doesn't happen too often.

6 Treekin
These guys rock. They are ogres on steroids with WS4, T5, 4+ armour and 5+ ward. A unit of 6 will give you the ability to take on pretty much anything. They are flammable though so be careful when facing flaming attacks. They are your anvil.

8 Wild Riders, Full Command, Razor Standard (Armour Piercing)
The heavy cavalry of the wood elves. They are good on the charge with S5 and even better on subsequent turns since they gain an attack and are base S4. The razor banner adds to their hitting power immensely. They are your hammer.

2 Giant Eagles
Good distracting units, they have so many uses I can't list them. Always good to have at least 1 but 2 are better.

1 Treeman
Lots of people see the treeman as a liability and against an army with cannons they can be but their benefits greatly outweigh the risks of losing them in the first turn. One treeman can hold up a whole unit on his own.

That is the list I normally run in 8th edition. I've tried other combinations and this is the one that works best for me. Next I'll outline the turns of the game and give you some strategies and thoughts on each.

The wood elf army excels at this phase. You can play all kinds of mind games with your opponent in this phase. My favorite trick is the "abandoned flank" where you put down a unit of archers and then your fast stuff on one side of the table making it look like you are deploying there. Then once your opponent has committed, you put down the rest of your army on the other side. Once the game starts you move all your fast stuff over to the rest of your army. The unit of archers can be sacrificed, its only 120 points and your opponent will probably need to spend more points than that taking it out.

The wood elves rely on good movement to win. You need to be setting up multiple charges and threatening your opponent every turn. Fleeing from charges at should set up counter-charges and you always have to be thinking a few turns (or at least a few rounds) ahead. Giant Eagles help a lot in this phase, they can re-direct charges or even threaten a flank charge if you're desperate. skirmishers work well in this phase too since they can move and re-form at will. Glade riders and glade guard scouts can also be useful for harrying the enemy flanks although they can quickly become a liability since they are so fragile.

The magic phase is good, but not as devastating or offensive as in some armies. It is usually there to support your units with augments. The dwellers below is a very useful spell to take ranked infantry down to a manageable level and the healing ability of the lore of life will help keep your characters and big guys healed up. The regrowth spell helps to keep your smaller units alive as well. Alternately the lore of beasts can make your characters truly fearsome but I've found that the army works better with fewer characters and they usually operate independantly of each other so are often out of range of the lore of beasts augments.

You have no war machines or high-strength shooting, but you make up for it in volume and accuracy. Glade guard should always choose a target and focus all your shots at it. Panic tests are your goal but also taking out ranks so that you can avoid prolonged combats. Your alter kindred can operate independantly, targetting high-armour units since your glade guard won't usually find much success against those units. Waywatchers can also be a great deterrent to knights and independant characters since their killing blow ability at short range puts the fear in your opponent. Hitting on 2+ at short range is also nice. Often your opponent will deploy their knights more conservatively if they see that you have waywatchers waiting to be deployed which is already a bonus for you before the game has even started.

Close Combat:
Generally the wood elf army is a hammer army rather than an anvil. You can dish it out but you can't take it, with a few exceptions. Treemen and Treekin provide you with some staying power. Eternal guard are also a decent anvil unit but you need to take a lot since they die pretty quickly. Their stubbornness will keep them around but in the end they are still T3 with very little armour. I've never used them but lots of people swear by them. It's a matter of personal preference I guess. Your hard-hitting units are your wild riders, treeman and treekin, the alter kindred highborn can do some damage too. Wardancers are great with 2-3 attacks each and +1 S on the charge, they can take some damage with the option of a 4+ ward save for 1 round of combat but they won't stick around for long and they die in droves to shooting. They used to do better in 7th where they could take out the whole front rank on the charge and so avoid being hit back.

Now for some miscellaneous notes:

The special characters in the book are not great, they are either underpowered and/or overpriced or they put unneccessary restrictions on your army choices. Taking a Wood Elf special character pretty much dictates your army choice and strategy which in my opinion destroys the advantage of being unpredictable to your opponents.

Spellsingers (hero-level wizards) are ok, they can only take the lore of Athel Loren which is not as great as the lores in the Big Red Book but has some unique abilities that can sometimes catch your opponet off guard wich is always a good thing. The biggest issue is that you can't take the wand of the witch elm with a hero so you still need more for magical defense.

Wardancers used to be my favorite unit in 7th edition. A unit of 5 with a hero-level character could dish out 21 attacks. Unfortunately their use has really decreased in 8th edition since they can't take on big units anymore and they die more quickly to shooting as well. I'm thinking about taking a couple of units of 5 without characters though just to see what will happen.

Branchwraiths and Treeman elders aren't usually worth it. The branchwraith tries to do a lot of things but don't really do any of them well. The Treeman ancient can be a beast in close combat but is really not that much better than a regular treeman and costs way more.

With the addition of the common magic items in the Big Red Book, Wood Elf characters have become much more competitive. A dragon rider can be made quite killy and defensive at the same time which wasn't really the case before. I'm thinking about trying out a dragon-riding lord for the first time in a long time just for fun.

The bood or glory scenario on paper looks like the wood elves lose every time. You don't have many banners and the ones you do have are on your T3 no armour glade guard units. Looks like it will be easy for your opponent to just pick them off. Not so. Your main combat units (dryads, treekin, treeman etc.) have no banners. Your opponent's banners are probably all on his main combat units. So if you just play your game, protecting your archers behind your comat line you should do ok. Let your opponent bring his banners to you!

That's what I sent him, does anyone have anything to add or any comments?

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Posted: Apr 27 2012, 12:10 PM
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Eternal Artist
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That seems fairly solid mate, it could probably do with having every unit having a brief but I suppose you can only talk about what you use so sounds good. Feel free to point him over here if he needs any help :)
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Hillbilly Carl
Posted: Apr 27 2012, 08:50 PM
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I've included my thoughts on pretty much every unit and character type in the book at some point in my rambling. The only unit I forgot was warhawk riders but I wouldn't have much to add on them since I never use them.
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