Wood Elf Tactics

by Richard Kottmeyer and Lone Wolf

Taken with permission of Skavenblight


Wood Elves - What Kind of Army Is it?

From a general view, the WE army appeals to a player wishing to avoid direct combat, wishing to out maneuver any enemy, who would rather focus on coordinated attacks than getting stuck in any battle for too long and who is comfortable with a lack of core blocks of offensive units and prefers multiple small units of special attack units all of which must act in unison. It is one of the most unconventional armies in WHFB. This army, can be related to another type of army from the 1960's to early 1970's. The vietnamese, the tactics are both just about the same. You play guerilla warfare!

Strengths : Charriots with 4 horses (3crew), increased archery range, ability of calvary to charge repeatedly, treemen, wide variety of special characters, only flying cavalry in game, waywatchers hide ability, great scouting potential, wierd and wonderful dances of wardancers and aspects of Dryads. THE ABSOLUTE BEST MANUEVEABILITY in the game period!

Weaknesses : A very very fragile army, doomed if the enemy controls the flow of the battle! Lack of armor, high cost troops with low strength mean you will have few units that can really get stuck in with orcs, dwarfs or even knights for that matter. Strength 3 attacks save treemen (280 pts), dryads (35pts a piece) and of course cavalry and chariots. You must rely on your wits and speed rather then the brawn of your army.

Picking Terrain : Remember WE's always add an additional piece of terrain. There is a tendency to always use the extra woods to hide scouts near the enemy. Think of all the possibilities. Your goal is to slow down your opponent and to make him guess what is coming. A well placed forest in deployment zone can have a general wondering what you are fielding until the glorious WE charge. Rivers are useful because they can take up to two turns to cross, leaving lots of time to arch arch arch. Buildings are always a plus, except the one with the roof and battlements from CoW, that allows archery without fear of flying creatures. Give yourself a chance to combat when you are ready. Woods also now destroy the line of sight of mages!!!!!

Deployment : The only question you should ask after deployment is can my opponent reasonable predict how the battle is going to unfold because of how or what I deployed? WE's need never to tip their hand this way. First, deploy whatever you can in woods so that the opponent will not know what you have fielded until YOU decide. Second, I tend to deploy wardancers behind and slightly off to the side of an attack unit. They can bound over and deal a devastating attack. Against armies without shooters, think of wardancers upfront. With fast moving chariots, glade riders etc behind. Start the enemy day off with shadow coil followed next turn by a nice flank or read charge. Remember, you won't have rank bonuses often set up to deliver flank or rear charges for your main combat units. Scouts are interesting. I tend to field them behind enemy lines whenever possible because they can both attack the rear or pepper with arrows. I would field them in my own deployment zone with fast moving armies that field a large number of units (Skaven and Gutter Runners). If you don't shoot them down the first turn you are in trouble. Also, they can be instrumental in some attacks, if you do have a chance to flank an enemy with them do so, but only if you have a force charging that turn! As if they charged alone it would certainly spell D-E-A-T-H for them! SPREAD OUT in deployment. Your units are fast, have high leadership and don't need to present concentrated targets, and if you clutter up they can easily find a way to destroy your plans of outmaneuvering them. Deploy so archery can be concentrated or can cover the vast track of the board. Most importantly, don't be afraid to run, especially through woods at your opponent or away from him.

Unit by Unit Analysis

Chariots : WE chariots are phenomenal. 4 horses with attacks, 3 crewmen and scythed wheels. Yes, expensive but worth it against armies with knights, or no shooting. Sometimes they are even good against armies with shooting. Most armies will not be able to shoot apart your chariots prior to their devastating charge. Take spears for the extra strength on impact.

Glade Riders : Often misunderstood. They are not good heavy cavalry as their str 3 gets in the way. Their lack of armor suggests avoiding prolonged battles. They are at their best delivering crushing flank attacks, feign flighting while another unit engages and delivery another and another charge. You can also move frenzied troops back way away from the battle line by sneaking up on them, forcing the charge, then feigning flight BEFORE ANY combat, and just continuing until he frenzied troops play no role in the game!! Best used to lure frenzied troops into a woods and away from the crux of the battle, especially savage orcs with shamans (with new LoS rules). It is also nasty, when you charge an opponent and the next turn and then charge again! Bows on glade riders are usually not worth the points, unless their fast movement can take them close to an unprotected target that is screened.

WARHAWK RIDERS : Flying Calvery at its Finest. Expensive and Fragile, their main purpose is flying archers. Movement of 24" and a bow range of 36" make them one of the most versatile "FAST" cavalry units in the game.Armed with bows they can pick apart witch elves, etc that hide behind armored troops. With spears they go warmachine picking. If bolstered by characters this unit can be amazing, otherwise, leave at home. One okay use of the birds is to flank or rear attack. Even with WS 5 they are very easily beaten. Remember only one model actually needs to fight the unit being flanked as warhawk riders are scirmishers. Be very careful not to get driven off or flee.

Wardancers : Amazing troops for a variety of special functions but definitely not your main combat force! Magical 4+ dispel and dodge can be useful. Use 2 hand weapons. Uses: Great for taking out character models with no armor and relatively low toughness. 20 attacks with 5 even at str 3 on a single character in the front rank (10 wardancers using storm of blades) is frightening. Shadow coil charges can set up enemy for devastating flank and rear charges that turn or next. Remember, enemy characters are in front rank, thus, shadow coiling into front rank and then attacking with treemen or dryads in flanks, rear will break most units and cause there to be a lot less casualties to you. Woven mist is amazing against low ld troops that stray too far from their general. Blades of Steel is one of the better dances, as it allows you to almost kill all of the front rank save characters. But you should remember str 3 attacks are not going to clear the front rank of all units, unless they are in a narrow front. And with toughness 3 and no armor, after your attack you will be punished. Wardancer champions can be fabulous character assassins. With shadow coil ensuring they can charge and not be harmed and storm of blades, wardancer champions ensure that they can deliver the gem of gnar, three or four attacks of a weapon suited to destroying your opponent. Immunity to psychology with the right champion makes Wardancers perfect for harassing the big hero hammer models.

Archers : Don't undervalue these guys for scouts. At 11 pts vs. 16 you get some bargain with BS 4 and a range of 36". Remember! short range is 18" that is simply amazing. Their ability to form tight regiments in close combat and use a magic standard are extremely useful. Think about a regiment with the banner of wraith. You just have to watch out for the flying monsters from hell, a trick I use a lot is give them a Scarecrow Banner. Most enemies are not bold enough to charge, because they might face 20+ shots!!!

Glade Guards : For 9 pts you might be thinking they are expensive, BUT they truly are wonderful because of their high initiative, and can take a magic standard which can make them more powerful! Imagine a unit of Glade Guard with a hero or lord in the front to ensure a win in combat and a Banner of Dread(causes fear), they(enemy) auto break if you outnumber them! IF you can take the charge, round after round you will have good attacks. Still, these troops will move no mountains for you.

Waywatchers : Best archers in game. Special Deployment, 4+ needed to shoot at, charge or cast at them, traps! BS 5 ensures plenty of hits. Hence, traps and their potential devastating results tend to keep enemy units from attacking the waywatchers at all. Hail of Doom Arrow is a nice item for the Unit's champion as BS 5 allows over half hits! Pipes of Doom is excellent against Bretonians. After all, charge them in the woods and face traps or accept they are knocking you off your horses turn after turn. 18pts is a bargain for these guys.

Scouts : Well, they are no waywatchers, but they can really control the tempo of the game. By deploying last, you can shoot, surprise the enemies flanks long enough so that the attacking troops break the unit or offer the enemy the choice, change direction and attack this threat or pursue crashing into the battleline head-on and assume the casualties from these dead eyes.

Treemen : 280pts a pop better make you think twice about fielding too many! Str 6 is good but not amazing, toughness 7 and the unmodifiable save really make the difference. Just pick weak st targets and maul them. Great for flanking as it has the wounds to destroy rank bonus. BEWARE OF FIRE. Low iniative and susceptibility to fire make this guy dangerous to play against war machines and casters. One of best uses against skaven is to destroy the bell, possibly doing that thing which damages their eardrums and wipes out a good amount of their troops. And remember you have to wound it to cause him to break a very good thing especially when facing low str opponents!

Dryads : The real beef of the wood elf attack force. Str. 4 Toughness 4 2 attacks and 2 wounds is nice. So is a 5+ save vs magic and attacks. Aspect uses are self explanatory. I often like to use dryads as the force that attacks my enemy's front. Oak aspect gives WE's a rare toughness 5 and str 5 creature. Willow can be devastating especially on flank and rear attacks where there are no multiple attack characters. Dryads and wardancers coordinate nicely in making coordinated attacks. I only use the extra attack (birch) aspect on the charge if I think that will break my enemy.

Special Characters and their Uses

Orion : Lots of Attacks for a WE, lots of wounds, 4+ unmod save and dispel. Orion is perfectly suited to take out knights and large monsters. Throw the spear and watch knights drop. Solitary characters watch out. The horn of the Wild Hunt is wonderful at chewing up your opponent's dispells. After all, even a ld10 unit will get scared 1-6 times. With the flyers of the WE's you can count on that being lethal.

Ariel : WOW. Ariel has a 4+ unmod save and dispel. She can fly and thus can move around to make the best use of two of the most powerful mage items: acorns of oak of ages 12" diameter forest (get flyers,chariots, war machines etc caught up in the forest and they can't do anything!!!!) I once got Thanquel and his bell stuck in this forest. If they moved the bell would break and Thanquel would be stuck guarding a broken bell until the end of the game. Her wand allows you to cast one spell of hers (determined at the beginning of the game) free of cost each of your magic phases. Combine this with her power to fly and you have a lot of 3 power spells coming your way. Her wine will restore her wounds assuring that if she does get a round of hard hth she can hold her own. Dart is fabulous against nasty mounts and gives Ariel a much better chance of living until she can cast some nasty spell at the mounted hero who decided to attack.

Naieth : Buy her for her items. Rod allows you to have one more power card. Othu for 15pts can make all the difference in getting the shots off you need to cause panic! Other than that she's just a regular mage that dies easily, and is always picked out by your opponents!

Thalandor : A General/Mage perfect for small battles. His equipment makes it unlikely you will ever damage him but does little to help offensively. Nice that it is a spear and you get the +1 str when you charge. Only one in 6 normal wounds will even get through the three layers of magical saves Nice protection for the Eagle so Thalandor won't wind up on foot.

Lothlann : 5+ save 12" around is not a great save esp under the one save rule. He can only take that standard and no one else can take his! He really isn't worth the points.

Durthu : Unmod 4+ save. Sprites are fun so is this guys enormous strength and toughness. For 90 pts though you could get a dragon with similar stats, more attacks and a breath weapon. I leave him at home, unless you are playing a low strength army!

Whchwethyl : The drum isn't that bad, as it does allow unexpected charges, but it isn't that great either! Being able to pick opponent is great. You can get 4 str 4 attacks on a character fig every other round (Blades of Steel). Dance of Doom is devastating against such things as archers. Of course getting wardancers to archers is a problem. Has 5+ unmodified save, that's nothing to write home about!

Drycha : WOW for 60 pts 3 st 5 attacks with a 4+ save vs weapons, spells and magic weapons. With oak aspect she has almost the hitting power of a treeman. Her song is deadly against such things as giants. A must if you take a dryad unit!

Skaw : What an ASSASSIN. The falcons are wonderful at picking off enemy mages and in time will kill them. Also, Skaw is incredible at taking a charge. (2 st 4 and 6 str 3 attacks) all of which are first strike. Falcons ability to fight in hth is nice. Basially, skaw is used to peg enemy wizards or other unarmored threats. Ability to deploy with scouts guarantees that from round 1 he will be in range to have falcons pick off enemy's vulnerable wizards and other unarmored characters.

Gruarth: He is a different type of character, one that is good for only the WE. He himself is pretty weak except for the 2 wounds, but his tigers on the other hand are about as good as they come! If you can get those kittens to help another unit charge something your gonna kill an enemy really good! His magical item is actually very useful for flanking an enemy, wait till they come to you then throw the bolas and set up a counter charge from flanks and the front!

Guerilla Warfare

WE are excellent for this type of warfare as they have unlimited amounts of skirmishers and powerful individual models! What you are to do is not get stuck in hand to hand, and have units of scout, warhawks, and waywatchers scuttle around to all the defensive positions of the battlefield and harass the enemy. The main trick, is to single out small units and hit them with powerful characters, treemen, chariots, and monsters. If this works, you will wind up only getting into combat where and when you want to, which spells victory for you(usually by only 2-3 points). If you can't control the tempo of the game though you might as well quit right then, because if the enemy can pick out his fights he will definitely crush your army! When I play, I always take at least one treeman, with a unit of warhawks and at least one scout unit, followed with chariots, waywatchers and sometimes Orion. Since you are almost all skirmishing you don't really need the general's leadership. Still the big thing is not to get stuck in HtH you can't win the first round! Happy Huntings!

 

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