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Here's a question that's been buzzing about my head for a bit. I was discussing how to combat Wood Elves in another forum, and I was talking about what most people I've talked to and read about consider the most popular option for Wood Elves, which is bringing as many trees as army organization restrictions will let you. Most of you know the drill by now - Tree Kin out the nose, 2 Treemen and maybe even an Ancient as well (if you can still afford a Lore of Life Spellsinger while doing so), Dryad squads, along with enough shooting to threaten people into coming closer.
Now, that notion was challenged somewhat by a recent (successful) list that revolved around a "true MSU" approach, with loads of 10-man squads of Glade Guard, 8-man squads of Dryads, a unit or two of Waywatchers to harass, a Hail of Doom Arrow BSB, a L4 rocking the Lore of Beasts, and a central unit of GG's with the Flaming Banner for dealing with Regen (and the mandatory Treeman, though that one made an appearance at higher points totals). The more I think of it, this might be the way to go - you have a formidable collection of firepower (and move-and-shoot Longbows hitting on 3's and popping people at S4 hurts just about anything, when you apply enough numbers to the equation), and those minimum-size squads of GG and Dryads simply don't cough up enough VP's for you to lose the game if that's all your opponent can get to (plus wiping their chaff is decidedly not an issue, and several turns of focused fire followed by a combo-charge could threaten even a Horde). That said, this is all extremely high-execution, high-risk operation, and it screams collapse if you meant to move 10" away but you ended up 9" away, or if the dice run cold on you for a critical stretch, or if your opponent rolls a 11+ on a charge he wasn't supposed to make (or if you flub a 5+ charge), etc.
So... what say you? Will you be considering the more hit-and-run approach described above, or are you still putting your faith in the trees? I don't know if there's a good answer to this question, but I'd love to hear some discussion on it.
Last edited by rothgar13; January 25th, 2012 at 02:13.
I would never favor the Hit'n'Run approach. As you said, there's just too much room for that entire strategy to fold. A hybrid of your two proposed methods would work best.
I put very little faith into Dryads these days - their inability to count ranks, plus the fact that they only have a 5+ wardsave for defense, makes them a bit fragile in my eyes. They can get into combat and kill things, but they aren't going to kill enough things to ultimately win that war. I know that Treekin aren't much better really, but at least they have a high damage output, some ranks, and a better 'erosion profile' (3 wounds before you lose even a single attack).
Likewise, your Waywatchers lose those S4 shots and are just too pricey for any role you field them in. If they hang back and shoot all game, they're not going to net any kills with a couple of S3 bows. If they stand firm and present a nuisance to your foe, they're just asking to be killed off. I've played on both sides of the Waywatcher coin, and I think that scout/skirmisher units of Glade Guard fill the role better.
I do agree that 10-12 man blocks of Glade Guard are the way to go for Core however, and that a L4 with Beasts is a great addition to the army (Life is as well, but that goes without saying). The HoDa bowman could be useful, but I'm not really advocating anyone use him.
Your "hit and run" list, as you have it, focuses on keeping the enemy just out of charge range. Unfortunately, even Wood Elves can only retreat so far before they run out of table. I think this army would do well enough, until about Turn 4, when you're pinned against the back edge and your enemy just starts rushing you. 4 turns might be enough to whittle a few units down, but you lack anything that's going to actually finish them off. That's why people field Treekin - they can get in there and finish enemy units off, and do it more quickly than the usual Dryad rush.
It seems that a lot of people look at Treekin and go for the largest units of them that they can field. Honestly, 4-6 of them, in 2 ranks, is all you need. If you're not worried about having a rank bonus, 4 is enough, otherwise you run 6 of them and leave it at that. Likewise, Treemen don't have to be upgraded with a boatload of Sprites and other silly frivolities. Just field them naked, let them handle everything else on their own. Their Strangle-Root, plus the Glade Guard shooting, makes anything with 12" an absolute killing field. Which is awesome, because that's the reliable charge range for your Treekin.
I think you may be on to something there, Cap'n, provided that the Tree Kin are used defensively (which is to say, you don't rush in, but instead run at people that come within comfortable charging range). I think the original MSU list I was shown is just too fragile for me to consider it a threat, but if you throw 2 units of 6 Tree Kin in there, it starts looking a lot more formidable (though I think the entire point of the previous list was to always be able to shoot an incoming foe, as there's no way a unit of Dryads was lasting 'till T3 in any sort of serious fight, and even T2 is iffy). I'll play around with it, and see if I can find a "happy medium" between the two, though I still fancy at least a couple of bare-bones Dryad units being way on the outside.
Well, here's the list I've been using to a pretty great effect, nicked from another player after he disappeared from our local shop:
Treeman Ancient w/ Cluster of Radiants
Lvl3 Spellweaver w/ Divination Orb, Elven Steed
9 Glade Riders w/ Musician
12 Glade Guard
12 Glade Guard
12 Glade Guard
10 Glade Guard w/ Scouts
Army total: 2500/2500
Here's how the list plays out. Use the 10 Scouts in the backfield to harass their flank or chase their warmachines. The Treekin units go between the Glade Guard units, ready to charge anything that would hit their squishy point-eared friends, and the Treemen go wherever they're needed. Remember that your Ancient has an 18" Inspiring Presence. The Spellweaver hangs out with the 9 Glade Riders and usually has Lore of Beasts to make them a bit more of a harassment unit, although her main use is hanging around with the Orb and a +3 to dispel attempts early in the game. Don't keep your army in one place, keep them spread out and create a pocket of S4 GGBows that your enemy has to get into if he wants you in close combat. No lie, 36 shots at S4 plus the StrangleRoots will make a mess even of Chaos Warriors.
The biggest problem this list will encounter are other shooting armies, and armies with a lot of Horde units. Otherwise you can do a surprising amount of damage with this "bottom of the barrel" armybook.
Hm... I have to say, I like that list a bit more than what I have right now. While tons of Glade Guard make for great fun and lots of fire power, they really only shine against opponents who didn't bring shooting of their own - if that's the case, they will cough up their points. I'll keep tinkering with my list.
I take the stance that yes, our book is pretty crippled against certain types of foes. To say that I stole this list is a bit untrue, I had a lot of conversations with the person who played it before me, and we worked out a lot of the kinks together. In a way, I provided the "theory" and he provided the execution and playtesting. This list was built for a small local tournament and it actually did quite well.
The mindset that we agreed upon going into the tournament was that Wood Elves do badly against certain types of opponents, but although winning may be almost out of the question, careful play and a bit of luck can keep you from losing too horribly. Instead, focus on fighting the list styles that Wood Elves truly shine against, and obliterate them.
The record for his tournament games was:
Rnd1 - Major Loss vs Warriors (my army, I had intentionally taken Flaming Weapons because of this list,and a dual Hydra DE army - also had Wulfrik coming in behind him)
Rnd2 - Massacre vs Empire (Empire ran combined arms. His cannons were easy targets for the Skirmishers and Fast Cav, while the GG shot up his advancing blocks before the Trees finished them off)
Rnd3 - Major Victory vs Dark Elves (they ran a fast-cavalry army and attempted to out-shoot him with an 20" range... it went horribly for them, a Pegasus and 2 Hyrdas proved the only threats, and even then, the Trees ripped them apart)
Pretty solid results, actually. I'm looking at this at the moment:
Wood Elves - 2500 points:
Core - 964 points:
18 Glade Guard, Musician, Standard-Bearer, Banner of Eternal Flame [Elf characters go here]
6 x 10 Glade Guard
Special - 780 points:
2 x 6 Tree Kin
Rare - 385 points:
2 x Great Eagle
Heroes - 120 points:
Noble, BSB, Hail of Doom Arrow
Lords - 600 points:
Spellweaver, L4 Wizard [Lore of Beasts]
Grand Total: 2499 points
Not quite as defended against magic as your list (something I'm looking to remedy), but it has a LOT more arrows flying out there.