Wood Elf Tactics

Taken with permission of Skavenblight

Author's notes: Here is the beginning of an ever expanding article discussing tactics for Wood Elves. I already have a article containing tactics for Wood Elves by Olle Hellmen on my page, so this article is designed to complement his. I have tried to bring up things not already contained in other Wood Elf tactic articles. In the future this article will expand so you will get a complete overview of the Wood Elves. I love Wood Elves and wish to share my enthusiasm with other Wood Elf players and help them.

Picking Magic Items

Most probably you want you characters to have some piece of the action, to make sure he survives and kills his value in points at least, then you need to keep the wits of a Dwarf runesmith about you and pick some killer magic items. Here are some of my ideas...

Ogre Blade  (+2 Strength, 40pts) - I use this item a lot, mainly because Wood Elves find it hard to wound tough targets, and if you are fighting more than one round of combat then you will have the added bonus that say Potions of Strength don't give you. In larger battles (2-3000pts) I might go for something like the Sword of Teclis.

Jade Amulet (2+ saving throw against first wound suffered, 5pts) - This item can be a life saver, very good in small armies where points on big things can be scarce. It could spell the difference between defeat and victory.

Black Amulet (4+ rebounds wounds save, 50pts) - Rather good, if overused item. Fits in with the Wood Elves character and offers a nice surprise for your opponent.

Hail of Doom Arrow (3D6 magic arrows, 25pts) - This is one of the best "cheapo" magic items in the game. Give it a Archer champion, and watch 'em fall. Another tactic for this which I tried recently was to give it to a Warhawk Rider Champion in a unit of Warhawk Riders with bows. The Warhawk can choose their targets easily and get within close range. If you are threatening a small unit and cause a lot of casualties but they don't flee then you can simply charge to finish them off. My opponent was quite surprised with this.

Magic War Paint (3+ for shooting, 5+ hand to hand save, 5pts) - I like to use this for Wizards, as they can still cast spells while it is on.

You should try to keep with the background of the Wood Elves when picking your magic items, amulets, staffs and bows all suit the Wood Elf character. Also most benefit the character/unit in question rather than inflicting large amounts of damage on the enemy.

Some other ideas include, Amber Amulet, Amulet of Fire, Skull Staff, Bow of Loren, Cloak of Mists and Shadows, Potion of Knowledge etc.

Selecting your Wood Elf army

Selecting your Wood Elf army is the first thing you will do before you go into battle. Here I will give you a few pointers on how to go about selecting your army, what types of styles there are and tactics to use against certain armies.

1. Fast attack

Enemy: Slow or defensive armies; e.g. Dwarfs etc.
Troop types: Fast ones; e.g. Chariots, Glade Riders, Warhawk Riders, Scouts, Great Eagles etc. 
Deployment: You could concentrate all your troops onto one flank, being so fast they will be able to react to enemy deployments and threats.You could deploy in an oblique line, deploying your fastest units on an extreme flank and then working your way across your battle line. When deploying terrain, put a wood in the middle of the battle field.
Tactics: Charge forward and engage. Try to concentrate a few regiments on one of the enemy regiments. This way you will be sure of breaking them and may cause panic among the enemy lines. You can manoevre around the flanks of the enemy and pick off the most vulnerable or most threatening troops. Pick your fights and pick them carefully. Pick ones that you will be sure you will win and if you are not sure if you will then use the advice above. Wood Elves can move through woods with no penalty, you can put this to good use. Deploy your Glade Riders behind it, shielding them from war machines and then charge through them when the enemy gets close.

2. Defensive

Enemy: Aggressive armies; e.g. Skaven, Lizardmen etc.
Troop types: Mostly defensive, but try to get a mixture of all. Most of your army should be archers, archers and more archers! Then take some hard troops which will act as the archers' "guardians". Your general should be on foot and put to good use with a bow. Take a couple of Great Eagles.
Deployment: Deploy your archers in units of 10-20 near each other. On each of the flanks or in the middle deploy the guardians of the archers. 
Tactics: Simply stand back and shoot at the advancing hoard. Concentrate all your archers on one enemy unit that seems the most threatening until it is dead. Keep on doing this until the whole army is dead or they have reached your lines, when they do charge in with your guardians and characters to finish them off. The Great Eagles can stand behind the enemy and stop them from march moving, thus giving your archers more time to shoot the foe.

The types of play above are very extreme tactics. If you are fighting against an unknown opponent or don't know what to expect then you will obviously have to choose as balanced army as possible. Follow the guidelines given above and mix the two. You should end up with archers and some shock troops to go out and smash the foe.

Troop types

If you look at Olle Hellmen's Wood Elf tactics article then you will see that he has gone over the various troop types. I don't need to bother going over them because he already has them. However, I will cover some gaps left by Olle.


Mages - In my opinion Wood Elf mages are some of the worst in the game. They are high points value, but only level 4 mages can take High magic. Lower levels can take the very poor Battle magic spells. I do not see the point in taking a mage unless it is level 4 or you decide to take the old coloured deck. You could always take the Book of Asur...

Champions - Champions are very good for several reasons. First they can take simple cheap magic items like Hail of Doom arrow or magic items that benefit the whole unit. Secondly they accept challenges on behalf of good characters like Generals. Thirdly they are cheaper than Heroes but do much the same thing and if they are in regiments like archers then they are not going to get in combat very often are they?


Treemen - These are the hardest thing in the Wood Elf army. Instead of tooling up your General to be a mad killer, just use one of these guys instead. They are a lot tougher and if he gets killed your whole army doesn't have to take a break test. They have a psychological effect on your opponent as well. He will concentrate a lot of effort trying to kill him taking the heat off your characters.

Dryads - I didn't really take these very often until recently, now I take them as often as I can. They are totally brilliant, being able to take most of your enemies shock troops. You don't have to have such a big regiment because of they have 2 wounds and can really kill a lot of enemy with their special attacks. The models are really cool too.

Spearmen - I have never really taken these but everyone thinks they are really bad. I agree but they have their advantages. They are cheaper than archers and have an armour save, have 30 of them deployed in as many ranks as possible, stick in a hero/mage/general give them the Banner of Defiance and watch them beat anything the enemy can throw at them.

Special Characters

Orion - This guy is really cool. Have around 10-20 hounds and take on the best of enemy regiments. Accompany him with a Treeman and your opponent will be really worried.

Thalandor - If you are low on points and want a General and Mage in one then this guy is for you. Pity he is only a level 3 Mage, but he does have good stats as well as riding a Great Eagle. The model is not out yet so I converted mine the following way. You will need: A Warhawk rider with a spear, a Great Eagle, Mage on horse's body. Chop the Mage and Warhawk rider's body in half at the waist. Glue the Warhawk rider's legs on the Mage's torso. Chop off the Mage's arm at the elbow. Chop off the spear arm on the Warhawk rider at the end of the glove. Glue the hand/glove of the Warhawk rider onto the mages elbow. If you have the models in front of you, you will know what I mean. Then stick on the neck of the Great Eagle. Simple.


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