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Hi all -- I may have posted this list before (or a very similar list), but I have some new variations to discuss and I'm curious about people's thoughts. I'm posting the list from memory so it might be slightly different. If the points don't quite add up for whatever reason, it's probably because I'm remembering something slightly wrong.
Alter Highborn w/ GW, LA, Sh, Bow of Loren, Arcane Bodkins, Glamourweave
Alter Noble w/ GW, LA, Sh, Helm of the Hunt, Hail of Doom Arrow
Alter Noble w/ GW, Sh, Briarsheath, Amaranthine Brooch (or Amber Pendant)
Spellsinger w/ 2 scrolls
2x 10 Glade Guard
5 x 8 Dryads
2x7 War Dancers
6 Wild Riders w/ FC, War Banner
3 Warhawk Riders
The idea behind this list is to field a list that is deceptively competitive -- in other words, it comps in relatively high but is strong on the table. In my area they don't use any formalized comp systems opting instead for a standard, subjective multi-judge panel. My impression is that taking heavy magic, lots of core missile troops, and big monsters are all liable to cost you points comp points, so I'm avoiding falling into those traps.
The other thing I like about this style is that I think it fits nicely into the metagame. Right now there are a lot of big nasty monsters floating around in the metagame. Lots of armies take dragons and the like. As such, there are a lot of high strength weapons out there designed to take out those kinds of targets. My army doesn't feature anything that is particularly vulnerable to high strength attacks. I'd much rather face low numbers of S6 and S7 attacks than high numbers of S4 or S5 attacks. So when I face off against other armies that are prepared for big monsters, I'll be at an advantage.
So far I've played three games with variations of this list. One was against a 12 power die +bounds VC army with two varghulfs, two black knight units, and lots of small core ghoul units along with vampires that raise them over their starting strength. I somehow managed a solid victory in that game (without killing his general). The second game was against a much softer Dark Elf list which I massacred. The third game was against a pretty tough Skaven opponent who took 3 fully tooled warlocks + storm daemon + the reroll a d6 item, killy warlord, 3-4 blocks of clanrats, 3-4 blocks of slaves, some tunnelers, some skirmishers, some globadiers, two units of 8(ish) jezzails, and a dogs of war Giant. That was a tough game as he killed my highborn early and blew away a lot of units with warp lightning spam, but I ended up with a draw and could have come off with a minor victory had I rolled a bit better on the last turn.
So I'm pretty satisfied with the results so far. That said, I'm considering a few changes to the list:
1. Drop the highborn for another alter noble (likely would end up with amber pendant + briarsheath on one and amaranthine brooch + enchanted shield on the other, plus the standard alter). This would free up ~120 points to spend on something else.
2. Switch the glade guard for glade riders. This is possibly the toughest switch. I generally like glade guard, but so far they have underperformed in the games I have played. They do a good job stripping a rank or two off infantry units but they are very vulnerable themselves and basically never kill their points worth. The fact that my dryads inevitably end up blocking their LOS is also a problem. Glade riders, on the other hand, would give me less firepower but better march blocking and they would be able to fire the whole game rather than get stuck in the backfield. Furthermore, they can negate ranks in a flank charge in a pinch. If I switch both units of glade guard for glade riders, I might consider dropping the warhawks for something else.
3. Add in a lot more command models. I know these guys are points inefficient, but in a comped environment where taking command models makes your army look softer, they may actually be worth considering. A lord's bowman only sets you back what, 6 points (maybe even 3, I don't recall) and makes the comp judge think "wow, this guy takes champions in his archer units!" I probably wouldn't go so far as to put standards in glade guard units, but I might consider it for glade riders (who aren't likely to cough the standard up in combat).
Thanks for the comments as always!
I pretty much agree with you about the highborn, especially given that there are quite a few WoC players in my local metagame. I just wanted to float it out there to see what others think.
Regarding the glade guard vs the glade riders dilemma, I agree with all of your points but am still not sure which choice is better. The problem lies in the fact that unless I have really good hills their line of sight gets blocked really early, sometimes as early as turn 2 or 3. Also, they are a huge pain in the ass to deploy. This army takes up a LOT of space on the table due to its high number of skirmishers and relatively high model count (94 models is quite a lot for a wood elf force, I think). So is it better to get two to four turns of shooting out of 20 glade guard or four to six turns of shooting out of 10 glade riders?
Another thing to take into consideration is the "who is the aggro?" question. The following armies are likely to have more shooting (including long range magic missiles) than me:
Other Wood Elves
Tomb Kings (I think?)
These armies have a moderate chance of outshooting me:
WoC (if very magic heavy)
These armies are unlikely to outshoot me and/or have little incentive to try:
So I'm likely to end up being the aggressor in at least two thirds of games. In the other third I can sit back and wait for the enemy to come to me, which is a bit better for the glade guard setup (as they will have fewer line of sight issues and will actually benefit from short range). That said three of the six matchups that are likely to come at me should also be really easy matchups to win, and I don't think brets will be that hard either. The kinds of DoC and VC armies that actually score in my comp range shouldn't be too bad either.