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I was discussing this with a mate, and here's something that was said:
I sort of get the impression that due to the skirmishing nature of Wood Elves it would be harder to use a distinct over-arching strategy than it would be for Empire. By that I mean that most of the thinking with WE would go into smaller areas, how this unit and that unit are going to combine to kill that unit, while with Empire, I see it as involving a more overarching strategy, ie the strategy for this battle is to turn your left flank using cavalry and cannon fire while I hold your right flank using a heavy infantry unit. And then to do that would require the finer tactics.
Now, this isn't meant to be insinuating that WE require any less thought than Empire, but rather, that the thought goes into more tactical areas, with less onus put on strategy, whereas an army like Empire, where all its units will usually form up into a line (with support elements of course) would give a bit more thought to its higher level strategy.
What say the pointy-ears?
I must say, I'm a little surprised this question didn't provoke a bit more discussion.
I was mainly expecting people to leap to the "defense" of the Wood Elves and insist that they use as much higher strategy as anyone. I was then going to ask for them to explain it in a bit more detail, since I'm still struggling to see how it would work.
(I said "defense" because there's nothing wrong with using smaller-scale tactics over grander strategy, unless the player is looking for a bit of the latter).
I don't know if I'd say a "smaller" scale, but definitely a different one. Wood Elves have the flexibility to react quickly to changes in the opponent's perceived strategy, and therefore usually end up finding and exploiting holes in the enemy plan - this is, on its own, a larger scale strategy than it is given credit for.
Simply enough, what may take an entire game for Empire will only take a couple of turns for Wood Elves - that being to outmaneuver and favorably position our units against enemy units. The reason Empire strategy may seem more long-term is because they're simply not as good at this part as the Wood Elves are.
However, where WE strategy gets complicated is when it comes time to set up combats that you can actually win. Sure, you can maneuver a charge from dryads to the front and wardancers to the side, but being without banners and unable to negate ranks, are you likely to win that combat? Sometimes even wardancers don't hit hard enough to make up for static combat res. If you are not insanely careful in your estimation of your ability to win combat, you will lose, and it will hurt.
And even if you win, if you haven't set up your angles right, you can easily find yourself with an important unit in the middle of nowhere, easily in position for a charge in the next turn. The benefit of mobility comes with the responsibility of making sure you use it wisely.
The overall WE battle plan relies on setting up traps and having your enemy fall into them. Sometimes you're lucky and your opponent just doesn't see the traps. This, however, is rare and tends not to last. More often than not, you have to leave your opponent no choice but to fall into the trap. This is just not an easy feat to accomplish, and takes a lot of preparation and long-term strategy. You have less than one turn to start setting up your traps.
Without sufficient combat res, and being very thin in the expendable units department, Wood Elves have very little fat to sacrifice to the fire. Anything that hurts is hitting meat and bone.
ok i play wood elves since 2-3 months, i played the empire too several times, and i play a skirmisher/GG WE army, i found that its not hard to overmaneuvre the empire tactics, and as cryric said, its easy to make the moves an empire army would make in a game, in just 2 turns, like i could easilly charge at turn 1, or destry the cannons at turn 2, only weakness that WE have is anti - "tank" units, especially the vapor tank of the empire. playing that we WE are 99% doomed.
"A Moment of Laxity spawns a Lifetime of Heresy...
Never Repent, Never Forgive"Warhammer 40k:Space Marines Army:
Dwarves Army (retired):
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Upon reading my post again, I want to clarify - I'm in no way trying to imply that Empire is easier to play than Wood Elves. I just mean that with Empire, and indeed most armies, your plans to exploit a flank or trap a unit take longer to pull off, due to the block nature of most of your troops. Wood Elves, and their skirmishing nature, have more flexibility with this aspect of play, but less flexibility in others - so while you can play wood elves without a far-reaching strategy, doing so is likely to work out poorly for you.
Yes WE can out maneuver most other armies, but that is because that is their strength. Skirmishers can't negate the 3 rank bonus the empire troop will get etc. It is a price we pay for with cloth for armor and T3 haha. I would say that the strategy for WE relies more so on the Movement phase than most becuase that is the major strength and way to win. Else you get slaughtered . Just like some rely on their magic phase etc. It is a very different strat than the average army from what I've gathered playing so far.
Armies: Wood Elves, High Elves
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Alright, admittedly, I just got back into my WE army after a break resulting from the new core book. But I can tell you that the army I play is entirely made of skirmishers and fast cavalry, so it's your ideal template for this discussion.
WE strategy is indeed different from my other two 'field armies' -Empire and HE- in that you don't go into the game with a defined plan of what units to kill when/where. You also lack any units with the means to single-handedly crush an enemy or mount a long defense. The WE strategy is similar to partisan/guerilla tactics wherein the last thing you want is a full engagement. So that's the strategy, it's just very loose.
The higher thought comes in avoiding such a confrontation while scoring enough VPs to win the game. So you need to be thinking first: how can i stay away, how can I get the charge, how can I get supporting units into the fight, how's CR going to be? Wood Elves always need to plan several turns ahead because you can't strike on impulse. Your friend may not understand this, because good WE players strike with an element of randomness and surprise so that they can't be trapped in the large engagements that we mortally fear.
So, the overall WE strategy is very simple, loose, and simultaneously very rigid (in that we must always strive for the same situation). However, the opponent dictates much of the in-game strategy as we react to their moves and formulate strikes on the fly. We always have to think 2 turns ahead.