Wednesday, 8 April 2015

The Wood Elf Host: Looking at the Warhammer Fantasy Battle 3rd Edition Wood Elf Army list.

In the third of my updates looking at 3rd Edition Warhammer army lists from the Warhammer Armies book, I will be examining the Wood Elven army.

From personal experience at the time of 3rd Edition, the Wood Elves seemed to be one of the more popular armies. Whilst I never collected my Wood Elf army until sometime after 3rd Edition, a lot of people did, including my regular gaming opponent Justin (whose own wonderful Wood Elf Army can be viewed here: http://themasterworkguild.blogspot.co.uk/ ), and so I had a lot of experience gaming against Wood Elves with several different armies.


Overview. 

 In the Warhammer World, the background states that the Wood Elves are the remnants of the High Elves who were left behind or chose to stay behind after the Elves lost the Elf-Dwarf Wars. The High Elves that were left retreated into hidden places in the forests and built hidden Kingdoms to live at one with nature and kill anything which disturbed them or which was Evil or Chaotic.

There is a similarity in some of their background and design aesthetic that is similar to Tolkiens Elves, especially the Silvan Elves, and I am sure that could be a factor in them being popular. Many Wood Elf Armies are clad in woodland colours, greens and brown (although I painted mine in Autumnal colours), and count woodland creatures, Treemen, and Halflings among their friends and allies.

Four special rules concerning Wood Elves should be considered before looking at the army list proper.:
  1. The Lornalim Longbow: The Wood Elves only can have Lornalim Longbows, which combined with their natural skills with the bow means that they can add an extra 6 inches to the range of their Longbows, increasing the range to 36 inches. 
  2. Elves can move through Woodlands and Forests without any move penalties. 
  3. Wood Elves, like all other Elves, suffer doulbe the movement penalty for armour, except of just save of 6 which has no penalty. 
  4. Like all Elves, Goblins are subject to Fear of Elves if the Goblins do not outnumber the Elves by more than 2 to 1. Poor Goblins :(
The army compostion is a good mix of melee orientated Infantry, Archers, Scouts, Cavalry, Chariots, Monsters, Beast Handlers, and a few more unusual options such as Shapechangers, Wardancers, and Falconers. Where the army is lacking is in Warmachines, in that they have none.
The compulsary troops are low in numbers compared to most of the other armies, 30 Archers. Only their cousins High Elves have less with zero, as does the Chaos army, and Slann in only having 10 compulsary troops.  Given the background and special rules for Wood Elf bow, is not something too difficult to live with. At the time of 3rd Edition, Wood Elf armies were always considered to be a more longbow armed oriented army, although not necessarily exclusively.


 The Army List.

Army Selection.


The Wood Elf army is fairly standard and in line with most armies in their army composition. They must have at least one hero, up to one third of the army may be Allies, and at least one third of the army must be Rank and File.
Equipment wise, Wood Elven heroes have access to a fair range of weapons and armour with most of the basic options covered. As for riding animals, apart from the horses, heroes have the option of riding winged Dragons allowing the more controlled inclusion of a very large monster. Other than that, the inclusion of a 'Goodly' fariy tale Unicorn, for female riders only, or a (Giant I assume it's meant to be) Eagle gives a couple of other choices of mount, both in keeping with the Wood Elven feel of the army.
One last option is that any hero can ride in a Chariot.

As for the number of heroes, the Wood Elf Army is blessed with a larger number, 24 in total, but not excessive. This is the fourth largest number of Heroes, the Dwarves having 33, the Dark Elves 25, and the Skaven 25. Within the trio of Elven lists this is in the middle, with the High Elves having a mere 18.  This allows a good mix of levels of heroes, and not having to worry too much about running out of higher levels heroes.

Wizards. 

Wizards wise Wood Elves have 8, which is the same as Dark Elves, 3 more than the High Elves, and slighly above the average of other races. Wood Elven Mages have no special rules regarding magic or spells other than that they do not Necromantic or Demonic spells. That seem to be in keeping with the general goodly nature to the army, although strange regarding Necromantic magic considering they are allowed an Ethereal host. I assume the Ethereal host are ancestor spirits or nature spirits.

Magical Equipment.

Apart from the standard magical weapon option of one attribute per level, the Wood Elves do have access to a few interesting other magical things. Being a bow oriented army they can choose up to 4 characters to be armed with magic missiles. Very few armies really had access to magical missiles, they seemed to be confined to the Elven armies, although strangely the Dark and High Elves both have unlimited access to magical missiles, whilst the Wood Elves have only 4. Perhaps this is an oversight in the writing of the lists, or represents the more back woods (excuse the pun) nature of the army and less warlike approach of Wood Elven culture?  I found that that Wood Elf players, almost always opted for the 'Hail of Doom' arrow.

Other than the above, the Wood Elves have good access to scrolls and magical rings (perhaps you get the three rings for the Elves Kings? ;)  ). They are about average with two items of magical armour, more than most armies, but less than Dark Elves, Bretonnians, and Dwarves. 
The main surprise is the army standard, which can have up to three abilities, more than any other army with the exception of the Dwarves who also have three. 
In summary:
  •  Any hero can have a magical weapon, with one ablity per 'Level', for example a Level 15 Hero can have a weapon with three ablities.
  • Wizards can be equiped with up to 3 scolls of level 3 or lower.
  • 3 character may have magical rings or level 3 or lower
  • Two characters may have magical armour
  • The Army Standard may have up to 3 abilities.
  • Four character models may have magical missiles.

Rank and File.

As noted above, one third of the army must be spent on Rank and File. The only complusary troops are 30 Archers, costing a mere 330 points in total.

Elven Lords.
Pro's.
+1 Shock Elite. 
Warhorses.
Opition of Magical Standards/Musicans.

Con's.
They are expensive in points although in line with other armies elite cavalry. 
There's no option for heavy armour. Whilst this is in keeping with nimble Wood Elves living in the forests, it does give them a disadvantage against other elite cavalry. Also, many of the Elven cavalry models of the time had heavy rather than light looking armour on them. This could be solved by paint the armour in leather colours. Also, very few of the non character models had Warhorse Barding.

Wood Riders.
 Pro's.
Good, cheaper cavalry, great alternative to the Elven Lords.
Option for a longbow upgrade, which is very useful as mounted Elven Longbowmen are good for riding around out of range picking off enemy, or acting to plug the gaps.
One unit may also skirmish. 

Con's
No light armour, only a shield and mounted save, reduced to 6 if shooting bows. 
Strangely, they were given spears as part of their basic equipment instead of being an option. This increases the points value unnecessarily if you just wanted mounted archers. Also, the model of the time did'nt have miniatures armed with both bows and spears, however mixing mounted archers and mounted spearmen together in a unit could overcome this.
Wain Lords.

Pro's
You get the option of up to 4 heavy chariots, which provides some heavy mobile melee punch in the army, and can be an alternative option to using the Elven Lords Cavalry.
The upgrades are good, scythed wheels, long bows, shields, and one chariot may have magical standard/musical instrument. You even get a Falconer option!
The main benefit is that you get to use Jes Goodwins beautifully sculpted Elven Attack Chariots.
(I need to assemble mine now after writing this!) 

Con's.
Not many really, unless you count the fact that the Elven Attack Chariot model is not always easy to buy now. Other than that the crew only has light armour, and that heavy chariots can be difficult to manoeuvre.

Guards.


Pro's.
+2 Missile Elite.
The +1 to BS gives an excellent 2+ to hit up to a range of 18 inches (remember the Loralim Long Bow range). The +1 Initiative gives a good melee advantage if you are fighting other Elves.
They have Light armour. 
Options wise, with +1 Initiative the double handed weapon is great as it's use only reduces you down to the normal Elven Initiative of 6. Shields and spears are useful other options to consider.
You have to option of one unit having a magical standard/musical instrument. 
They can also be used as skirmishers. 

Personally, I would consider a unit of 20 of these, with magical standard/musical instrument, and double handed weapons (and hero) to be a good heart to an army.

Con's.
Not many really.
 You can always want more in an army, but 20 seems a good number.
The magical standard is the only drawback in that it is limited to the 25 point options.

Lord's Bowmen.
Pro's.
+1 Missile Elite.
Option to equip any unit with light armour and or shields.
Option for magical standard/musical instrument.
You get 30, 10 more than the Guards.
You can Skirmish with up to 2 units of them, so 2 units of 15 would be a good option.

Con's.
Low points value magical standard.
Limited options for weapon upgrade, no double handed weapons for instance.
Other than that, still a good unit.
Archers.
 Pro's.
You get up to 60, and they can be fielded in units up to 20.
Up to 2 units may Skirmish. 
They are the only complusary unit in the army, and are the 'Heart and Soul' of a Wood Elf army, and act as a good base from which to build the army around. The Lornalim Longbow and BS 4 mean that they are effective missile troops.
Releatively cheap points allows you to max out on 60 basic Archers for only 660 points. 

Con's.
Only one unit can have light armour. Given that most people will be using Jes Goodwins wonderful Skarlocs Wood Elves, who generally have light armour, this seems a little odd. Also odd is why just one unit? It might be a background idea, in that the Archers as a unit are more of a milita from the general Wood Elven population, and so are less likely to as well equipped as the more professional Lord's Bowmen and Guards?
Other than that, other weapon options are limited, but this is'nt too much of a problem.
Wardancers.

Pro's
Wardancers are subject to the special rules and have the ablities above.Wardancers are best used to slow down, distract and hamper your enemy, especially if you need to buy time to brings up other troops to deal with a threat. They are also good for picking off smaller units, mdeium sized monsters, lone heroes/Wizards, or finishing off remians of units.
It would take an article in itself to list all the different ways each of the Wardancer attacks could be used against each and every foe they may encounter. I will comment that from experence, 'Transfix' is useful for tying up enemy units.
Wardancers have a wide range of weapon options avalible in order to carry out their role.
They look good on the gaming table, allowing you to add some flair and colour to a Wood Elf Army. 

Con's.
The small unit size means that if they do fail with any of their attacks, they can be wiped out and overrun by larger units with relative ease. They are also vunerable to missile shooting, despite the -1 to hit on them from the skirmishing rules.
Due to their reputation they can attact a lot of missile fire and so need to be used wisely to ensure they are killed before they have a 'chance to dance'.
20 points each before equipment makes a small unit expensive in points. 

Glade Runners.
 

Pro's.
Scouts with are always useful in an army for small scale operations and skirmishing, as well as driving off enemy Scouts and Skirmishers, and of course just getting in the way.
Personally I found it a good idea to put a low level hero armed with a magical missile in a Scout unit to act act a 'special forces' unit to pick off particular targers. Again 'Hail of Doom' or 'Arcane Arrow' are good for this.
Model wise, Scout units can allow for a little more individuality for miniature selection, painting, and basing.
You also get 30 Scouts, which is a good number for most armies.
One unit can have a magical instrument. 

Con's.
No armour other than shields. Limited weapon options.
Bizzare maximum number per unit, why 12 and not 10 or 15?

Warrior Kinbands. 
Pro's.
Good quality Elven Infantry.
Options for light armour, sheilds, and one unit may have Double-Handed Weapons, or Additional Hand Weapons.
Good maximum unit size allowing the option of larger blocks of infantry.
One unit may have magical standard/instrument.

Con's.
Very few, the Kinbands are a basic Elven infantry option.
Other than only being allowed lower level magical standard, and limiting one unit to Double-Handed Weapons, and one unit to Additional Hand Weapon, they are a useful addtion to the army if you require solid infantry.

Beastmasters.
 Pro's
Like all Animal Handlers they are great at supporting the flanks on infantry units. They provide a nuisance value for getting in the way/slowing down enemy, and well as picking off other Animal packs/Hosts, or hunting down lone monsters/Wizards/heroes.
As they are normally fast, they can be use to keep contact with an enemy unit if when it routs, allowing other units to not pursue and look for other targets.
The Wood Elves have a good selection of creatures, all fitting the woodland theme. Bear and Wild Cats are especially good.
From a miniautres point of view, the models made by Citadel in the 1980's were lovely, and they look great on the table top.

Con's
Having said that they look pretty, they are'nt always easy to buy now, the Bears being especailly expensive. However alternatives of good quality are'nt too hard to fine.
Other than that, the only con's are that Beastmasters unit can be vunerable to missile fire, and with pack of Warhounds and Boars, a larger unit can take up a lot of room on the table. Also, if they get caught by a more formidable foe they can be wiped out quickly.

Falconers.
Pro's.
The rules for Falconers (WFB page 97) mean that you can have an usual missile unit, or light flanking melee unit.
They fit in very well with the design concept of the Wood Elf army, and would look great on the table. I have never seen a unit of them used.
As a unit they also have good armour and weapon options.
A small unit size of 5-10 means you don't need many miniatures to field the unit.

Con's
Falconers are'nt very good, with a Strength 2 Falcon attack in either shooting or melee.
They may make for an interesting small units, but the army has already has Wardancers/Scouts/Beastmasters for that role.
Still they might be good to add to an army for character.

Shapechangers.
Pro's.
If they change into a Giant Wolf or Bear, they can be quite scary. They also automatically enter Frenzy once they are in combat.
They are hidden in units, so are a nasty suprise to your foe. 
Again, they are another unit which adds character to the army, giving the idea of shape changing shamanic Wood Elves.

Con's.
You have no control over them when they change into Were-form, nor what form they assume.
You only get 8. The Norse get 40.
On a practical level if you buy all 8, then in thoery would would need 8 Bear, 8 Boar, and 8 Giant Wolf models to cover all of their changing.
Unlike Goblins Fanatics, they can still be killed by missile fire if in their parent unit.
Once they are not longer in Were-form they resume back to Elven form, meaning that they have to scurry back to a friendly unit as soon as possible, or else become a target. This also alerts your enemy to where they now are.
They are 28 points, which may be considered expensive by some people (I don't think it's too bad).

Treemen.
Pro's.
This is the best and most scary thing you can have in a Wood Elven army! (unless you buy a Dragon 6 with Level 25 Hero on it I suppose).
Personally I don't think 280 points is a lot to pay for them. 
Make no mistake, Treemen are awesome. The profile alone, with Weapon Skill 8, Toughness 7, Wounds 6, means that it is difficult to take on (or out!). 
They cause Fear in all living things under 10 feet tall.
Unsupringly they can move through Woodland with penalty.
They have a basic 5,6 saving throw.
If (or when) they hit you in melee, they reduce your armour save by -2.
If for some reason they don't wish to engage in melee, they can throw rock at an enemy, causing D6 Strength 5 hit with -2 save.
They hate Goblinoids, and so add +1 to hit any poor Goblinoids unlucky enough not to get out of the way!
Despite being Flammable, they then become subject to Frenzy meaning the Treeman can literally go out in a blaze of glory.
Finally, the models look really cool
...and you get 3 of them.

Con's.
Any enemy general worthy of  the name will try to kill the Treemen as soon as possible. This may mean that your foe will be ignoring other things in your army, but they may be trying to kill the Treemen.
They are Flammable, so whilst going into combat for Frenzy might seem a good idea, the Treemen will take an automatic D3 wounds per turn. So it is probably best to head towards water to put out the fire. If there is no water, Treemen move in a random direction before they burn to death! :(
Hating Goblinoids might also seem a good idea (again, poor Goblins :( ) but an unscrupulous Goblinoid commander might me able to lure Treemen away from the main battle and have the Treeman pursue them off the table.

Skirmishers.
The Wood Elves have access to quite a few skirmishers, as you might except in a woodland army. Leaving aside the Scouting Glade Runners, you can have 2 units of Archers, and 2 units of Lord's Bowmen. As the maximum skirmishing size for an infantry unit is 15, you can have up to 30 ordinary Elves, and 30 +1 Missile Elite Elves. Added to that there you can have up to 10 Elven Riders, by which I assume they meant 'Wood Riders' as skirmishers have to have missile weapons, and the Wood Riders are the only one of the two Wood Elf Cavalry units to have access to them.
This, including Socuts, brings the total to 90 Infantry skirmishers and 10 Cavalry.
The great usefulness of skirmishers in a Wood  Elven army is that if it allows you to shoot all of the bows, rather than just the front rank.

Allies.
The Wood Elves do not employ Mercenaries, but they can call upon allies.
The three Ally Contiengents they can call upon fit the theme of the Wood Elven background.

The High Elves, being cousins of the Wood Elves can lend aid. If you take any High Elf Aliies, you have to take a complusary Level 20 Contingent Commander, and at least 10 Warriors Kindreds: ordinary High Elf Infantry, but with access to heavy armour and a good range of melee weapons.
Other than that the main things are access to 20  +2 Shock Elitie Cavalry in the form of Silver Helms; another 40 +1 Missile Eilite archers (with ordinary Longbows, not Lornalim), and mixed ranked Merchant companies. 

The next set of Allies are the Halflings, which fit in well with the semi-Tolkien idea of Elves and Hobbits. As allies they are cheap, not very good in combat, but have access to bows and slings, and so would make good cheap missile troops. They also have access to 20 bow armed Scouts. Halflings also get an extra 4 inch range to thier slings, and can move through woodland without penalty. 

Zoats are the final ally contingent and are well worth a look. The only complusary Zoat is the commander, who is a Level 15 Wizard as they don't have any heroes. Zoats are powerful warriors, and a unit of Zoats, albeit at 50 points per model, would prove a problem for any enemy.
The only practical concern is that Zoat models are expensive to buy and difficult to get, although Impact Miniature produce a 'Bloodbowl' type of Zoat model. 

Hosts. 
The Wood Elves can bind two types of host: Monstrous, and Ethereal. 
The Monstrous host has small but useful selection of creatures. The smaller creatures are the same as the  Beastmaster options, minus the Wild Cats. You have the option of a Dragon, in case you failed to take a hero on a Dragon, and the universal option for a swarm. 
The main item to be aware of in the host is the Giant Eagle, which can prove very useful, and fits in nicely with the natural feel of the Wood Elf army. Giant Eagles are useful for two roles. Firstly as a 'fire and forget' creature that can fly off and attack a specific target and either kill it or delay it. Secondly, if you fly the giant Eagle within 4 inches of an enemy unit then it either has to shoot it, charge it (in which case the Eagle can just fly off), or it will not be able to reserve move.
The Second host is an Ethereal host. 
Wood Elves have access to the usual range of Ethereal creatures in roughly the same numbers as other armies. As I mentioned earlier it seemed strange to include these in a Wood Elf army given their adversion to Necromantic magic, but as the background text suggests, they are 'Faded Elves', rather than raised undead. This allows for some nice paiting of Elves in Ethereal colours. 
I would suggest taking at least one thing from an Ethereal host as is again adds a some character to the army, and creatures such as Spectres can do some real damage to an enemy army.

A final note on Baggage in a Wood Elf Army. The army list suggests that Wood Elves don't really use bagagge trains, and so you don't have to take them. If you wanted to, it would be the standard 5 basic Elves with no armour and improvised weapons, and a waggon, per 1,000 points. 

Conclusion. 

Bows! Bows, bows, bows, bows!

Well, maybe not just bows, but bows are an important part of a Wood Elven army. The special rules for Lornalim Longbows do give a Wood Elf army a considerable advantage in shooting. The extra 6 inch range out-ranges all other armies. Non Wood Elven Longbows are 30 inch range, as are Crossbows. That being said, Wood Elves have no Stone throwers, Cannon, or Bolt Throwers, and so should be wary of the range that these afford an enemy. 

Without fail, all of the Wood Elf armies I have faced or seen, including my own, have bowmen as the core of the army. Not only is it in keeping with the spirit of the army, but it makes sense. The Wood Elves can deploy large number of archers, which can out range everyone elses bowshooting. The classic approach to using the Wood Elves is to take a large number of bowmen and deploy them towards the back of your table edge, but be careful. The further back you deploy the less room you have to manoeuvre, and the closer the table edge will be if you rout.
It may be wise to consider taking 20 strong units of the Elite archers, and placing them on hills in two ranks, with one rank on the hill and the other on the ground level (or the level up if it's a big hill). Give them a good level hero (15+), a Standard Bearer, Musican (both magical ones if you can) and equip them for melee (shields, and spears or double handed weapons). That way they can all shoot as the enemy closes in, and if the enemy gets too close they can reform into ranks and fight it out, with rank bonuses on a higher elevation and a hreo to bolster them. Also consider a magical weapon for the hero. This can easily be an option for ordinary Archers as well (minus the Magical Standard/Musican of course).

Having several skirmishing archer units and or Scouts allow you to slow down and harrass incoming enemy, or to go after specific targets, such as enemy Warmachine crew. Scouts are great for flanking or advance forces. The advantage of skirmishers is that all the models in a unit can shoot, and that to your enemies shooting they are -1 to hit due to their loose formation. If possible, add a hero with a Hail of Doom arrow. Mounted Archers are good for this role too as the are more mobile.

But don't rely on just the archers.
Despite being able to deliver lots of bowshooting, this will not always win a game as Strength 3 Longbows will not wound higher toughness creatures easily. Even against Toughness 4 Slann and Orcs they can struggle sometimes. Also, when facing horde armies you might not be able to shoot everything before they get too close. Like other armies it is a good idea to have a more balanced army and take some more Melee based units. Warrior Kinbands, especially with spears, can add some melee backing. In additon there are the 'Heavies' of the army.

I consider the 'Heavies' of the army to be the Cavalry, Chariots, and Treemen. The Cavalry, especially the Elven Lord's and allied Silver Helms can act to counter charge enemy or to pre-empt enemy charging to denied them the charge bonus and get the charge bonus especially from lances. Chariots can also do this, and from experience of fighting a battle against Wood Elves recently, they can be difficult to damage. Using Chariots in the role of frontal chargers, with Cavalry or Beastmasters as support can work too. 
The other 'Heavy' are the Treemen. Treemen, when not on fire, are awesome. The can wonder off killing units on their own, they can kill other monsters, or due to their fear causing just scare things away. They are great for counter charging, and with movement 6 can relocate faster than most infantry. I have found that  apart from setting them on fire, the best way to stop a Treemen is either with bigger monsters, other Treemen, or Demons/Elementals. The latter cannot be harmed by Treemen as they are magical creatures. But on the whole, Treemen are a useful addition and a worry for your opponent. 
The final thing to be considered are the Heroes. Mounting a hero on a Dragon, or in a Chariot can add a punch to melee. Adding a hero to archer units can do the same, and in additon the use of magical missiles can add an edge to a shooting phase.


In conclusion, my personal conclusion is that the Wood Elves are a great shooting army. However, over relance on shooting will lead to problems, and you will require some counter charging melee troops to hold the line and bolster your defence. Skirmishers, Wardancers,  bound Giant Eagles, bound Ethereals, and Scouts will slow down and harass incoming enemies, whilst Beastmasters and Wardancers will be able to act to flank charge in conjucnction with melee units. Treemen, Heroes on Dragons, Chariots, and Cavalry will provide a punch to the army. Balance with an emphisis on shooting up the enemy as much as possible will defend their woodland home.

Most of all, a Wood Elf army will allow you to collect some lovely old Jes Goodwin (or Aly Morrison) Elves from the 1980's, and paint them up in a natural colour scheme of either greens and browns, or to match a seasons of the year.


Next weeks update will be more Slann, and after that a look at the Wood Elves cousins: The High Elves.

14 comments:

  1. Great post Lee! - The thing about wood elves is they have expensive foot troops that cant protect themselves with armour, so therefore they are very brittle.

    The best and worst thing about the Wood Elves is that it is a shooting army! If you can set them up correctly using hills (I think hills are better than woods for archers!), then the weaker armies stand very little chance. However, stronger armies (with Toughness 4) will still do well against you, as your Str 3 arrows bounce off them. I like the idea of wardancers being able to slow down approaching enemy units, but all they will do is slow their advance for a couple of turns whilst you relocate your firing line (if you can!). Sometimes its just delaying the inevitable.

    Three cheers for three Treemen though!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Justin,
      you're right in that the Wood Elves are lightly armoured and brittle in combat, but they are better than some other races, such as Goblins, Humans, and Skaven. I do sympathise in that they are expensive in points though, but you do get to strike first, and rarely rout. Still you suffer from the Toughness 3.

      Yes, your Elven shooting can be a double edged sword, er, bow. The times I've played you and the sheer amount of bowshooting which bounces off of Toughness 4 Slann. The delaying tactic with shooting, and Wardancers did work last year, and has worked before.

      The approach which seems to work and which I was suggesting is the mass shooting of bows from lots and lots of archers to whittle down your enemy, and then counter charge with Cavalry/Chariots/Treemen/Infantry, and using some of the archers as infantry. Couple that with flank attacking Beastmasters, Scouts, Wardancers, and maybe Falconers (go on, try them out!), and you could hold your own in combat. All this while, as you said, relocating your firing line.
      You have used that in the past and it can work. I used a variation of it in 40k for my Imperial Guard.

      Three Treemen :( . Need to set them on fire next battle ;)

      Delete
  2. Fantastic dissection of arguably the most overpowered list in the book.
    The fire and flee tactic works exceptionally well with this army, especially when counter charging with treemen.
    By the nine I hate them, more cheese in this list than in the dairy isle at the grocers.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, glad you enjoyed the article.

      I agree that despite it's drawbacks with lack of armour and low Toughness, the Wood Elf army was overpowered. I used to have difficulty with them at during the time of 3rd Edition.

      The shoot and flee tactic does work very well for them, and the extra range of the Lornalim Longbow gives them a signifiant advantage. By keeping the army mobile, it can hold up a foe with Wardancers, Giant Eagles, and small units, and then counter charging with Chariots, Cavalry, and those very scary Treemen!

      I used to hate the army, but on collecting and painting my own Wood Elf army I have warmed to them. Also I have worked out several tactics which prove useful and level out a battle against them a little more.

      Delete
  3. Another fantastic army breakdown, Goblin Lee! After reading this all I want to do is get out my Wood Elf army!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you,
      I had the same feeling to paint up some more Wood Elves after I wrote it. Might wait until Autumn to paint more though to get the vibe right. :) .
      Glad you enjoyed the article, I am enjoying writing them.

      Delete
  4. Replies
    1. Cool, good to know that you found the update useful.

      Delete
  5. Another great article - I'm following these with interest. You obviously have loads more experience (and memories!) of 3ed than I ever will! They're interesting, in depth and you cover everything in well written, plain English, thanks ;)

    So these tactics you've worked out to fight against wood elves... care to share? I can see my currently forming Dark Elf force being stumped all too easily by their leaf-eating, tree-hugging, bush-whacking brethren.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you, very kind of you, I am pleased you are enjoying the articles and finding them interesting.
      I played a fair bit of 3rd Warhammer at the time recall a lot of my experiences from then, as well as discussing gaming with friends over the years. It helps that I have one each of all the main armies in the Warhammer Armies book, and so I have spent a lot of time considering each list and putting together armies.
      I had tried to make the articles as clear as possible, interesting, and not repeat too much of the same anaylsis. Good hear that it seems to be working.

      Dark Elves vs Wood Elves was always a fun game to play against my old gaming opponent Justin with his Wood Elves. The main problem is the range difference between the Crossbow and Lornalim Longbow.
      Dark Elves get shot up more often than not before they get to use the Crossbow. I suggest adding shields, which whilst slowing down the Dark Elves, adds +1 save onto the light armour.
      Take some skirmishing Crossbows as the -1 to hit can help. Also consider mounted crosswbows. You will have real problems if you try to just outshoot Wood Elves, and try an kill mounted Wood Elf archers as soon as possible.The combination of the horses and Lornalim longbows gives them an outstanding battlefield reach.
      Witch Elves with Crossbows and poisioned attacks gives you strength 5 shots. Buy a level 5 Heroine and give her a Hail of Doom bolt and then shoot a 3D6 strength 5 shots at something!

      The main thing to do with Dark Elves against Wood Elves is get into melee soon and then smash the army. Warriors should really be at least 20 strong to survive shooting, but don't take too many units. Save the points for allied infantry.
      With the Wood Elven Treemen, Chariots, and Cavalry this can be tough, so use the Chaotic hosts (especially flying things), an Ethereal host (a mounted Spectre especially), and a Hero on a Dragon. If you think that the Wood Elves might try to take advantage of Woodland on the flanks or centre of the battlefield, put some Giant Leeches into it.

      Also look at the Chaos allies. Chaos Dwarf Bazookas and Mortars give you ranged Warmachines. Wood Elf shooting suffers from shooting at toughness 4 creatures, so Beastmen give you excellent durable troops with 2 Wounds. Minotaurs with double handed weapons can hack at Treemen.
      If you can, use Fimir (or proxy models, I use Snakemen). They are a basic toughness 5, meaning Wood Elf Bows have to wound on a 6! Failing that there is also the bulk option of massive amounts of Skaven to overwhelm, but they can run away. Warpfire Throwers come in handy.

      Back to the Dark Elves, Whelp Masters can be good at flank attacks and be small units which can get in the way and force the Wood Elves to divert shooting. I would be careful in using Cold One Riders as they can be difficult to use, but they will inflict damage.

      Don't forget about using advance forces to get your troops that bit closer, and outflanking force to hit them in the side and roll up their battle line.

      Finally there's magic. Some people don't use Demons or Elementals asthey can unbalance a game, which is fine (Dark Elves Can't use Elemental Magic, but some allied Mages can) . Other than that, Necromantic magic summoning Skeletons is good, as they get in the way, act as a screen for your other troops, and cause fear.
      Finally don't forget lightning bolts and fireball spells. You can cast one per level, and so a Level 20 Wizard shooting 3 lots of D3 Strength 4 Lightning bolts (5 for Flammable targets) with no save for infantry (6 for mounted) per turn can wreck a Toughness 3 Wood Elf unit. Take a Talismanic Standard to double your Magic points.

      I hope this all helps, and look forward to hearing how you get on. :)

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  6. Any chance of you doing a similar post about 3rd ed high elves?

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    1. No sorry, if I do a version for the High Elves it will be a very long time in the future.
      I am currently undertaking a large Rogue Trader 40k project and so will be focusing on that. Each of these updates used to take up several evenings and so took a long time to do. I ended up not getting any painting done. :(

      I do plan to come back to the Warhammer armies project, but it will not be for at least a year.

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  7. Good article.

    Only disagreement I have is model wise. As I'm repainting my 3rd edition force I cant really see using Skarloc's Wood Elf Archers for anything other than Guards or possibly Lord's Bowmen. This is despite the picture of the Guards in the Army Book clearly being that of a archer from the awesome Plastic Warhammer Regiment boxed set (what a value back in the day!)

    Skarloc's Wood Elf Archers neatly solves the issues of upgrades for a unit of Guards or Lord's Bowmen as you as they have light armor and shields.

    The Archers are easy to solve model wise with the a fore mentioned box set and in my opinion look better model wise representing those troops. Of course YMMV.

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    1. Thank you, glad you enjoyed article.

      I used Skarlocs archers as they were the Wood Elf archers that most people tended to use at the time of 3rd Edition. The box set was great, and as you mentioned it covered a lot of the option upgrades. I have collected a number of them over the years, and my main Wood Elf using opponent used them as the bulk of his army.

      For Guard and Lord's Bowmen, perhaps either Skarloc's archers with different painted shields, or in a uniform colour scheme, or perhaps some of the other archer Citadel produced? The 1980's Lord of the Rings range, which later became part of the Wood/High Elf range, had some nice archers.

      I have about 30 of the plastic archers from the Regiments boxset, but I found the static look of them and the same pose suggested more regiments of High Elves for a 3rd Edition army.

      I will be interested to see how your archers, and the rest of your army, turns out.

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