In one of my recent posts Adam asked what my ideas of Wood Elves were in 8th. It got me thinking, since only one of my locals plays WE and he has probably only played a handful of games of 8th, so his force certainly isn't optimized. All you read on the internet is how bad they are, but is it true?
Yeah, it's pretty true. Their stuff is way over priced. Compared to Dark Elves and High Elves their units are extortionately priced. And the price they pay for their models isn't made up for durability. They are the Eldar of Fantasy. The similarities to Eldar don't end there, but I digress...
They do have the following strengths...
1. Glade Guard are super awesome. Compare them to Repeater Crossbowmen and High Elf Archers. Slightly on the expensive side, but they can move and shoot without penalty. That alone makes them superior to High Elf Archers. Mathhammer says that even with moving RXB still get more hits and more kills all else being equal, but it's close. They have a longer range than the Dark Elves, and their shorter range attacks hit harder. But the moving and firing with no penalty is key in an army that doesn't stand in static gun(or bow)lines.
2. Treeman Ancient. This is one of the better Lord choices in the game when combined with Lore of Life on your caster, but he is only available at 2,500 or more without losing a Lord level mage. Since a Lord level caster is imperative at 2k or higher this means WE don't get him until 2.5k.
3. Treekin. They are expensive, but they are tough and hit hard. In an army that isn't tough, and doesn't hit hard, they are exceptional.
4. Waywatchers. These guys are uber-scouts. They aren't as brutal as Dark Elf Shades, and they are more expensive, but their special deployment rules are very strong. Being able to deploy 1" away from someone is nice indeed. It all gurantees that someone will have to reform to death with them. But unlike shades they are difficult to shoot away. The killing blow is nice, but when most of your shots will be against warmachines it isn't going to be super useful. However, against Warriors of Chaos it definitely, definitely comes in handy.
5. Treemen. They are good, but not feasible to take below 3k IMO. You're almost always better off adding more Treekin.
So what's bad?
1. Cavalry. The idea of fast cavalry that can move and shoot with no accuracy penalty is nice in theory but when the cheapest unit has 24 point models and gets one shot per model it's a snooze fest. Wild Riders are nice, but cost way too much. The Hawk Riders are even nicer, but cost way too much.
2. Ranked units. You aren't getting them, just give up the idea. You won't win combat by having more ranks than your opponents, it just won't be happening. Eternal Guard just aren't worth the points, even with Life buffs they are not anything like Swordmasters, and for the points you pay, they should be in that area.
3. Characters. WE characters aren't especially survivable or tough in CC. Your casters are generally naked because there are no "OMG TAKE ME" magic items for them. Your hero level fighty characters don't have the killing power or defensive power of their HE and DE brethren. It's just a losing proposition to put points into making them lethal. Hence why you need Treeman Ancient to be your general at 2.5k or higher. Buffed by Life magic he becomes a nearly unstoppable force in an army that lacks it.
4. Killing ranked units. You groan when you see Skaven slave hordes and Vampire Counts armies. You can't kill enough Slaves to matter, and you can't kill zombies fast enough to matter. This is when Dwellers Below matters most, it will be virtually your only way to kill hordes. This isn't the best solution, I might add. But the army is fatally flawed in this respect, so it's the best you have. Plus, there is one other trick up their sleeve that can help with both.
So how can this army win?
By shooting and from the edges and moving backwards 5" a turn as the enemies approach to give you more turns of unmolested shots. Since your Waywatchers can deploy virtually anywhere you want, you will almost certainly get the opponent moving his army in every direction at once instead of acting as a cohesive force and thats when you can pick him apart piecemeal.
To deliver the hammer blow to isolated units you will need Life-buffed Treekin and maybe some Dwellers Below. They are your
primary only good means of killing stuff in CC. If your opponent has a source of flaming attacks, adjust your target priority accordingly.
So what do I see as a starting point 2k list? Please bear in mind I've never played WE before and I could be way wrong, but here is what I came up with, I'd love to hear the opinions of seasoned WE players.
-Lore of Life
[WE relied on Magic Resistance to defend against magic in 7th Edition. That doesn't work now. A Dispell Scroll should hopefully get you through the first turn without a major magic catastrophe.]
[Cheap BSB which the army needs. Ironcurse Icon is great in a WE force. Hunters Talon is your gem. This allows you to snipe characters inside units. Also known as: the only way to beat Skaven and Vampire Counts. Put him in a unit with the Flaming banner and he can kill most Vampire characters who rely on the regen banner to keep them up. Picking out the soft Skaven characters who give leadership boosts to the cheap rats is your only chance of beating them. This is a great and necessary item in 8th.]
20x Glade Guard
20x Glade Guard
[I considered going MSU on these, but I didn't want to waste the points on musicians all over the place, and I wanted a large unit to make use of the Flaming banner. And the mage needs a bunker to cast from. This might be wrong based on people who actually play the army so please correct me. It could be I'd be better off with one unit of 20 with the banner and then 2 more units of 10. Decide for yourself.]
[These are your beef. Again it may be better to combine them into one unit of 9 to better take advantage of Life buffs, but I feel that 3 units will be necessary to defeat MSU armies. But one unit of 9 is pretty mean with Life buffs so I'll leave that to the experts.]
[Put one of these on each flank (or even behind the enemy units) and they will either force your opponent to divide up his forces, or he will rapidly lose his warmachines and then get flanked all day. And unlike Shades, they can't easily be shot away. In heavy cover your opponents are at -4 to hit. Good luck trading shots with them.]
[These are also excellent at killing warmachines, and also for causing fleeing units to run off the table. If you charge with treekin and they flee react, declare a charge with these from up to 20" away and the enemy will fall back another 2d6.]
So my thoughts is the army relies way too much on Treekin, but it's the only real choice at 2k. I was considering a Noble on great eagle tooled for combat with Warhawk riders, but I gave up on that quick as Treekin is just a better plan. I think WE become a lot better at 2,500 as you can bring a level 4 and Treeman Ancient and add a lot more shooting.
So veteran WE players, how did I do?