View Full Version : I need help collecting Wood Elves

20-03-2009, 09:12
I recently tried to get back into Fantasy, but found that, since my most common opponent plays Dark Elves, my horde Skaven army was getting completely smashed, and I really don't want to make a SAD army just so I can compete, because, while Skryre is awesome, I prefer hordes and Pestilens to them. The only other armies I can see myself collecting are Ogres, Tomb Kings, Vampires and Wood Elves. Ogres and Tomb Kings would both be taken apart in moments by any Big Three army, so I don't want to collect them. I also don't want to have to fight cheese with cheese, particularly when Vampires have such a bad reputation, and the main reason I liked Vampires was for the awesome Lahmian stuff, so they're out. That leaves me with Wood Elves, and while I'm having a hard time convincing myself that collecting pansy Elves would be a good thing, they do seem to be the best army for countering a Black Guard-supported gun-/mage-line, thanks to their tricksy avoiding and a shooty approach that requires more effort than throwing dice until someone explodes, I thought they would work.

Then I read the army book.

Grrr! This army is meant to be all about running around and shooting stuff, which is cool. That's what I want. However, ranked up units are not so appealing to me. I've already got Skaven for that, and I would be much happier if I did not have to buy and paint even one more model that is only ever used to give the ones at the front rank bonus and outnumbering. Besides, they lack the mobility that I need to avoid Black Guard and Hydras. So I was a bit miffed when I saw that I needed a very expensive upgrade to promote Glade Guard to skirmishers. I became a bit annoyed when I noticed that I had to have a ranked unit of Glade Guard for every skirmishing unit. When I have to pay such a large number of points for my troops to forget how to arrange themselves in lines, I don't expect such limitations. But I was ready to take a few minimum-sized units of ranked Glade Guard until I saw that dispersing makes them trade in their defining feature, their S4 bows, for the bog-standard S3 version. Now this is what I really don't understand.

The Glade Guard Longbows rule is pretty cool. It encourages Wood Elf players to play a shooty army in a non-traditional way - running up to the enemy and shooting them at short range, using tactical maneuvers and skillful use of Treesinging and other movement-related abilities to stop the enemy from charging your vulnerable archers. It makes them sorta like Tau in 40K, in that they are expensive and not as good as they look when distant, but really start to get scary when you use your superior mobility to gang up one on unit and pour a devastating amount of firepower into the enemy unit at short range. If a Wood Elf/Tau army tries to sit back and shoot against a Dwarf/Imperial Guard army, they're going to be massacred, because they just don't have the firepower and durability required to fight a ranged battle of attrition. So GW makes a rule that's fluffy, fun to play with and pretty cool, and then gives it to the one unit in the army that can't use it properly. Really, when I'm paying almost 50% extra to make my Glade Guard maneuverable, why do they have to lose the only thing that made them worth taking before the upgrade? I'm having to choose between having a special rule that I can't properly use or being able to use a special rule I don't have. It's quite frustrating.

So today, while bored on the train, I started to think about what I could do to make an army that would work how I imagine Wood Elves to function; running around like the tricksy elfs they are, outmaneuvering the enemy and then unleashing a deadly hail of arrows. Since I don't have the army book yet (since I was undecided, I only read the rules stuff, I didn't buy the book), I'm having to use my memory, and my memory tells me that I can get Glade Riders as Core rather than Glade Guard. They're plenty maneuverable, although I'd prefer to have more Elves and less horses. So I'll take them, but focus on some sort of skirmishing Elf unit rather than fast cavalry. What's an elf that skirmishes and kills stuff up close but not far away... Waywatchers! Awesome! So I entertain myself for a train trip, thinking of what I could do. They're pretty neat, I think, but nothing near a Treeman, so they'd likely be Special units, not Rare. And I remembered that they got Killing Blow at short range, although I figured that they'd keep S4, because otherwise they wouldn't be an improvement over Glade Guard, more just a sideways shuffle.

Wrong on both accounts, as I'm sure you would have known, and I found out when I popped into my FLGS this afternoon. They're a bog-standard elite unit, an improved version of skirmishing Glade Guard, and yet they sit in Rare alongside cannons, tanks and giant ogre-dragon things. And for some reason, the hardened elites of the Wood Elves are equipped with worse bows than the basic troops. Having Glade Guard lose their best asset when they become scouts was bad enough, but having your prized bow replaced by something a Goblin could have made when you become a super-elite archer of death? Sure, they get Killing Blow, but that's worse against basic infantry. A short range shot from a Glade Guard longbow has around a 38% chance to kill a standard T3, 5+ save infantryman. A short range shot from a Waywatcher has a 32% chance. That's with BS5 instead of 4, and a much larger price tag. Sure, they can't be shot, they have fancy deployment, they can beat up another ranged-oriented skirmishing unit in close combat, but that's all irrelevant if they're so weak that they can't actually do anything. In an army designed to be mobile and hit-and-run, there are no meat shields, because your important units survive by not being hit in the first place. That means that anything that focuses on durability over damage is entirely worthless, because there is no reason to attack it in the first place when your glass cannon units are a much better target. Waywatchers may be better against cavalry, but the elite and highly expensive units should not be inferior to the basic troops at such a vital task. They don't even have the luxury of being weak against basic infantry due to anti-cavalry specialisation, because they aren't very good against cavalry either. I didn't check to see if Glade Riders get to keep their good longbows, but I'm starting to think that they won't.

I really want to like Wood Elves, because they're the light at the end of the tunnel that's keeping me vaguely optimistic about Fantasy. Can someone please show to me why they work? Can someone dispel my n00bish analysis of the race? Can someone show me what I'm missing that makes Wood Elves a fearsome army that uses tactics and positioning to win games rather than just an obnoxious VP denyer that kills far too few enemies with shooting and then runs off?

Sorry about the rant, but I'm finding this really frustrating.

20-03-2009, 10:05
To be honest, it seems as though you'll probably end up selling the army in a bit. Why not collect an army you like, instead of what you think will beat your friends army? No need to complain about the book then - if you really dislike the rules for them, then go for something else.

I find the Wood Elf book to be pretty good at building lots of different types of army, within the same race. They can take opponents apart with very little return damage, if used correctly. And the model range is pretty good across the board too.

20-03-2009, 10:31
That's the thing - I do like Wood Elves. I have a general aversion to anything with the word 'elf' in its name, but I like fluff and the idea of a mobile ranged army. They also seem to have a highly fragile force that will die in close combat whether you charged it with Black Guard or Gnoblars, which means that I don't have to get worked up about the BG, since their cheese doesn't affect me. I like a lot of their magic items, and some things (in particular the forest-jump, mind war sword and super-dispel staff) have a huge amount of potential that I can't wait to use. Their magic (well, Treesinging, and that's all that matters) is awesome and allows for lots of tricksy play. When I look at anything other than the units themselves, I think "Wow, that's awesome, I want it".

I mainly made this thread because I feel that I must be missing something, because right now it seems that nothing in the army works properly, but most people list them as one of the best armies around. I want my arguments to be pulled apart and proven false, because I want to like playing as Wood Elves.

The Red Scourge
20-03-2009, 11:15
The wood elf army isn't about the elves. The wood elf army is about elves AND forest spirits.

WE shooting doesn't have high strength attacks, what it does have is precision and mobility. Your BS is above average, and the ability to move and shoot without penalty is powerful. This will allow you to concentrate fire on enemy key units.

Waywatchers power doesn't come from their damage dealing potential, but from their superior deployment rules. They march block, hunt warmachines etc.

Also you seem to have ignored the CC elements of the wood elf army; dryads, wardancers, tree kin, wild riders and treemen. All very powerful troops if you're able to combine your charges – and they have the mobility to do so.

Compared to the other elven armies, wood elves have toughness. Not in the usual way of armor, but because of forest spirits high T and ward saves and because of the high number of skirmishing units.

You'll need skills and tactics to win with a WE army, as there are no super item/unit/deathstar combinatitons to rely on. You'll need to learn to choose when, where and whom to fight, but you'll also have the means to do so.

My wood elves usually massacres their opposition, this involves VC, Empire, High Elves and Dark Elves. So they are very capable of dealing death I assure you.

Head over to asrai.org to learn how to use them, but if you want an army with superior stats, magic combinations etc., where you'll be able to build a super list of invincibility, you'll need to choose another army. Their power comes from movement AKA tactics.

20-03-2009, 14:23
I mainly made this thread because I feel that I must be missing something, because right now it seems that nothing in the army works properly, but most people list them as one of the best armies around. I want my arguments to be pulled apart and proven false, because I want to like playing as Wood Elves.

I don't have a lot of experience, but bear with me here.

For one, I don't think you should confuse ranked glade guard with the immobile shooters of other races. Glade guard have long range and get no penalty for moving and shooting. That is the key feature when you are playing against an army like dark elves. The fact that you get s4 at close range is nice but does not matter that much because you don't want to BE in close range vs. them. You need to stay away because their repeater crossbows will tear you apart if you get too close to them. You can keep them at long range or at the very least shooting on -2/-3's. Even at long range, they will kill you as fast as you kill them. You need to keep them in range but stay out of theirs.

I think that saying your army is not maneuverable because you have maybe 1-3 minimum size units deploying in an archery line rather than as skirmishers is a bit of an exaggeration.

20-03-2009, 14:41
I sometimes play shooty WE based on glade guards, glade riders and some trees for close combat support and my view on these units are the following

Glade guard, flexible shooting unit that do not want to be in close combat. Long range S3 shooting to kill DE and other low armour targets (My DE opponents really dont like these guys), S4 shooting for short range shooting against targets with more armour or toughness. Support them with a musician to reorganize them after fleeing as a charge reaction and possibly a shooty hero (with for example hail of doom) or a mage (scroll caddy or treesinging). Dies to everything in close combat either due to getting killed or due to CR.

Glade guard, to expenisve in points but as fast cav they are god at march blocking or baiting the enemy while killing one or two of them with shooting. Bounces of almost everything in combat although they might kill a few low toughness things on the charge.

Dryads, compared to everybody except for daemons they are cheap for what they bring into close combat. skirmishers, cause fear. I have seen these guys kill hydras and other tough things but the ward save dont work against magical attacks.

Waywatchers, to expensive for what they do. Only pays their points back at very specific occasions. I never use them but know that some other people love them.

Wardancers, Really good at killing low tougness units and decent at killing other things. really poor saves and low toughness gets them killed in prolonged combats.

Treemen, really good but beware of flaming attacks, bring two and a BSB and many armies will start to dislike playing against you.

Treekin are also good but since you wanted to play mostly elves you can do without them.

20-03-2009, 14:45
Try something along the lines of:

3 units of 5 glade riders
1 unit of 10 GG
1 unit of 10 Scouts
Unit of 3 Warhawks
2 units 10 waywatchers
Alter Highborn with machine gun (Bow of Loren+arcane bodkin arrows)
Alter Noble with Hail of Doom Arrows

The rest can be round out with some small hard hitters (perhaps some dryads and wildriders for backup) and possibly a scroll caddy to serve as a dispeller and "general" (as alters cannot be generals.)

I've used builds around this principle before, and they require some finesee, but generally you can move, shoot, annihilate one unit, and next turn- repeat.

20-03-2009, 15:09
You do relaise you're not paying extra points to get skirmish, you're paying extra points to get skirmish and scouts right?

20-03-2009, 15:44
I'm still fairly new to the Wood Elves, but as a whole, I love the army. They have some of the best models in the Fantasy line, and on the table top they are fast and manueverable. This allows them to really pick and choose what fights they get into. I'm limited right now to what I have painted, but, I've had alot of success with these style lists.

Wardancer Lord (Annoyance of Netlings, Amber Pendant, and Blades of Loec)
Alter Noble (Hail of Doom Arrow, Helm o/t Hunt and a great weapon)
Spell Singer (Calignors Staff and a dispell scroll)

8 Dryads
8 Dryads
10 Glade Guard (with musician)
10 Glade Guard (with musician)
5 Glade Riders (with Musician)

8 Wardancers


That's obviously not 2000 points, but, these units tend to find themselves in my army over and over. What I tend to do is tree sing my free woods in front of units I don't want to fight. I'll hail of doom either a fast cav unit or a shooty unit, to limit my opponents abilty to manuever or to shoot back. Even better is if you can Hail of Doom an enemy Wizard, my last game I popped a lvl4 Dark Elf Sorceress (I doubt he'll make that mistake again though).

Even in units characters are not safe, I've had great success with Dryads killing enemy wizards trying to hide in rank and file units you'll likely lose the dryads to static combat resolution, but, it's well worth it to kill the enemy caster. Also, since Dryads are skirmishers you can move them quickly to where the trouble spots are. Usually I try and set up a charge with Wardancers to the front and Glade riders on the flank. This works pretty well in that the fast cav will eleminate the enemy rank bonus while the wardancers rack up kills.

All in all Wood Elves are a fairly tough army, I forsee problems going up against some Demon and Vampire builds, but, most armies are hard pressed to deal with these two armies uber builds.

20-03-2009, 15:57
Wood Elves have been my main army for many years now and I've won far more games with them then I have lost(this is not a back pat for myself), the army is still quite competitive.

The army itself is made up of several fragile powerful fragments and you will need learn to use them together. As far as I am concerned they are one of the most enjoyable and rewarding armies to play. Because you need to use the whole army together as one to have a chance of winning.

Couple thoughts:

-Glade Guard are fantasic missle troops, theres just no denying it. The suffer no penalty for moving and shooting, this is HUGE what other missle troop can do that ? They suffer no penalty for moving through woods. S4 at short range!!! One of the best fire bases in fantasy if you ask me.

-Glade Riders are your superior fast cav/harrassment units. I would say that DE riders, got us beat overall, but you cannot discount what Glade Riders can do for a WE army. Again moving and shooting without penalty is huge. They are great bait and flee units to help set up combo charges.

-The Wardancer can be just insane. Yes they dont have any armour, but if you want armour saves, your playing the wrong army. Wardancers are used to finish off your combats. The fact that their save in close combat is not all that good, is kind of a moot point. Usually ran in units of 7, that would be 21 attacks at WS 6, put those into a flank of a unit while a unit of dryads engage the front, there really shouldn't be a whole lot to attack back, thus making your save in combat not needed. If you get stuck in combat, I m sure you've read all the rules for their dances, you can get a better save if you like. Keeping them safe from shooting is skill that you will learn, terrain, using other units as screens...moving the terrain to them sheilded.

-Waywatchers are a great unit. Its not the fact that they are ninja snipers with bows. Killing Blow is great, but I agree with you, its not all that hot. You still need to roll a 6 for it. (Can't tell you the delight I've had in watch a unit of 7 roll three 6's into the flank of 5 knights. Pure joy.) Its there super duper scout rules that make so valueable. They will most likely not kill enough to earn their cost back. Its what they to your opponent's mind set. The are great for march blocking, toss them in a wood and they are quite hard to shoot at. Not too mention they have 2 attacks each. Just great for taking down Warmachines, or smaller units of enemy archers. In my opinon Waywatcher fit in just right with Wood Elf play style.

-Glade Guard scouts, I'll agree with you here. I'm not a fan of these guys, but I usually take some Way Watchers so my scout requirements are met and exceeded with these guys.

I love the different lists WE can do. Heavy on the shooting, heavy on the MSU combat(probably the best in Warhammer at this, cant really think of anyone that would come close, but someone else will). An all forest spirit list can be a lot of fun. Even the Special Characters are somewhat balanced and fun to use. I don't think anyone will cry cheese if you field Drycha or the Sisters on an Eagle.

I've played all kinds of lists with them over the years and found each one has its own rewarding style. Next for me will be a Sethayla list(Glade Riders for core and Warhawk riders for special all characters on Eagles and a sprinkle of Waywatchers if there is room). This is THE most mobile list ever. It's not rock hard in combat by anymeans, but it isn't meant to be. Its about movement and disruption and march blocking and shooting, the army shoot over 40 times a turn and I have over 20 models that fly.

I think maybe, your looking at Wood Elves in the wrong light, comparing our units to other units in the game. As I said before you need to look at this army as a whole and what it can do. The army is a glass cannon, which is why it relys on the general fielding it to be competitive and not so much on the units themselves.

Get your hands on the book and give it a good read and look at how units will work together. Or watch a good player with them and you can see how nasty the can be. They are not a top 3 army, but that doesn't mean you can't be competitive with them and that doesn't mean that aren't rock hard in the right hands.

Hmmm...I didn't really get into how crazy it is that we can move terrain very much,but thats kind of self explainatory I suppose.

20-03-2009, 16:05
Ok... maybe I can shed some light on the Glade Guard.

They are mobile, even though they do not skirmish.
Mv 5 and they do not take the -1 penalty for movement when shooting means you can pull off a lot of nifty tricks.

Deploy back from the line and let all those 24" shooters be out of range. Move into your 30" range and fire. The 24" shooters are STILL out of range. I often deploy them behind hills moving them up onto the hill and firing when the time is right. You can also move through woods with no penalty. So you can deploy behind/in woods, move to the forward edge and fire in the same turn with no penalties. Terrain is the Wood Elf's friend.

Remember how to move your troops. This becomes VERY important. 10 GG in a 2x5 formation can turn into a 1x10 formation for 1/2 of their move. they can then move 2.5" or you can wheel 2.5" and then Change Formation adding up to 5 or subtracting 5 from the front rank. Even better you can do a Right, or Left turn then Change Formation. This uses 1/4+1/2 of your move leaving you 1.25" for maneuvering/wheeling. 2x5 becomes 2x7 facing 90Degs. I've surprised people who forget this little maneuver and try to race past my GGs front arc or run behind them(as turning around is the same as turning to the side).

That being said, lets look at what else Wood Elves have.

Glade Guard Scouts - A bit expensive per model but a small scout unit makes an annoying 85 point March Blocker.

Glade Riders - Much the same as GGS. Not very good in CC but can run circles around normal troops shooting them all the while. Good for a diversion, bait and flee, and marchblocking.

Dryads - Very nasty CC unit. Skirmish so they are fast and able to charge in any direction. Because they don't rank, best as MSU. They can chew through non-elite infantry if you pick your battles right. Their mobility lets you do that but remember the ItP or you will find yourself holding against a Charge you didn't want to take.

Moving into Specials:

Wild Riders of Kurnous - Fast Cav CC designed. They can do a lot of damage, but they need to hit and run. Do not get into a protracted fight with anything that is going to get to strike at you first, or survive your attacks as they do not have the armor to stand up to it.

Warhawk Riders - I have issues with these. I tend to have enough woods ont he board to be useful for all my other troops. That means my fleeing after combat with my Warhawk Riders often finds them landing on Woods and dying.

Wardancers - I know people who won't use them because... well, they dance. Ignore those ignorant people. This is your killer CC unit. Fragile as heck, but when you charge you can usually kill every thing that might be swinging back. Try to go for 7 with a Champ. That usually ends up meaning 22 WS6 S4 attacks on a charge because you will use the Storm of Blades dance for the extra attacks. Watch out for anything that has ASF or can Stand and Shoot as it will ruin your day.

Tree Kin - tough and hard to kill. Usually when I use them they are run down after loosing combat, usually due to static CR and wiffed attacks.

Eternal Guard - Rough to use, you have to dedicate a character to them. Interesting rules but rough to use when the rest of the army is good at MSU. Certain people use them as a solid center, but I have issues with them.

On to Rare:
Waywatchers - Expensive! I mostly use them for the deployment rules. If I can get them in cover near their warmachines most people will find it necessary to deal with them before leaving the area or giving up their Warmachine. Between that and marchblocking they slow down the enemy giving my Glade Guard even more time to shoot them.

One interesting story on Waywatchers. Went up against a VC player who forgot that Way Watchers can be placed out of sight any distance away. He left his General out in the open behind his lines assuming I couldn't place my scouts in the nearby woods. I received first turn and KB'd his General. He basically called the game after first turn as I chewed up other units with shooting.

Treeman - Excellent combat monster with Stubborn. Expensive but with a BSB backing him up he is hard to get rid of. Don't underestimate his shooting attack.

Great Eagle - Cheap effective marchblocker or Warmachine hunter. Good if you would rather spend your points elsewhere. Then again WEs have a lot of other options for doing these tasks.

Characters are a whole other story, but the WE army is best used as a swirling and confusing mess of archery and sudden and devastating CC strikes. Use musicians in your GG units, move every turn, always improving your position, and flee when needed. GG are mobile and can flow and changed ranks as they continuously lay down bow fire. You just need practice with them.

21-03-2009, 00:54
Wood Elves aren't really a shooty army for the reasons you mention. Yes you can get lots of bows but the low toughness and no armour means you will not win a shoot out, even taking into account the benefits from skirmishers. I think it is best to use the shooting as support.

The general Wood Elf playstyle is more of one where you use their speed to get your high impact CC units to gang up on a target of your choice and avoid the fights where the odds are against you.

In this sense the glade guard are really for softening up targets before your wardancers/dryads/wild riders strike. Scouts and Glade Riders are more for march blocking, baiting and general harassing. Warhawk Riders meanwhile can do this and mage hunt pretty effectively. Waywatchers are an interesting case as whilst they may look overpriced they have a remarkable psychological effect on your opponent. Their killing blow ability basically gives them a zone of control where enemy characters won't enter, even when the odds are against a KB occuring. Although this depends on how brave your opponent is really.

There is one approach that I think fits your image of the army which is known as Sethayla style (after the wind rider kindred). I think a post further up had a sample list but it is basically mobile characters (eagle mounted or alter kindred), Glade Riders as core, Warhawk Riders as special, and 2 large waywatcher units as rare. The idea is combat avoidance and massed shooting. The Bow of Loren/Arcane Bodkins combo helps kill knights as does the Waywatchers killing blow. The rest just avoid combat and shoot, killing what they can and ignoring the rest. This will cost a lot though given the price of warhawk riders and may make your opponents complain as its a seriously frustrating army to play against (even by WE standards). Still those who can see it as a challenge will probably enjoy the game.

Asrai.org has a section called the LEAF which has some very good tactics articles and is very useful for those new to Wood Elves. I don't think there is a specific tactica for fighting DE yet though nor one for the Sethayla style, but I highly recommend browsing through.

21-03-2009, 04:55
I had someone complain about my 1500 point WE army played in a pseudo-tournament. Their complaint was that they hadn't had one charge against my army in 6 turns while I had charged them several times and otherwise weeded them down with ranged. My friend running the store turned to him and said, "That's what Wood Elves do. Whatdidya expect?"

The Red Scourge
21-03-2009, 07:49
Yup, we haven't got many units able to take a charge – the ones we do have, do the job perfectly – treeman and tree kin :)

22-03-2009, 12:25
Alrighty then, so they aren't as shooty as they are depicted in the fluff? There seem to be very few accounts of the Wood Elves winning combat by using melee ambushes and a lot of things saying that they snipe from the shadows and then vanish before the counterattack can occur, I hoped that was what they did in the rules too. That's a bit disappointing, but I suppose I can still make a workable army. Then again, having troops that get stuck in and kill stuff is pretty much necessary if you want to kill hordes, and Wardancers do seem pretty tasty, even if I do feel a bit iffy about them for basically being less awesome Harlequins. I'll see what I can do.

Thanks for the comments.

24-03-2009, 16:22
I'm a newbie, and started with wood elves because of their playing style, guerrilla type warfare, not alot of models, every elite-like units.

A lot of people have posted good positive points on them.

I can tell ya that they're ALOT of fun to play. Yes, the elves themselves can't take charges, but they can dish ALOT of damage. Mostly an all offense, very little defense.

Your defense comes in with Treeman, Treekin and dryads. (I'd say these guys play both).

I've lost to Orcs n Gobbos, and Bretts quite a few times, mostly due to inexperience, and I had a draw against a really good VC player. I took on his Black Guard unit with dryads and wardancers, and held onto combat for about 3 turns,until the game was over.

Wood elves are da *****. Yes, you can play shooty, but in fact, the list I'm using now has only 1 unit of 10 glade guard. I've found they don't kill enough for me. Instead, I'm running 3 units of 8 dryads, 2 units of 7 wardancers w/ musician, 1 unit of wild riders of 6models with banner, 4 treekin, 1 treeman, 6 waywatchers, 2 scroll caddys, one alter lord with the standard helf of da hunt and Hail of whoop azz arrow, 2 baiting units of glade riders, 5 each, musician. I've had alot of success with this list, the losses were with a different list.

Like a previous poster said, grab the book, check it out, and if they let you at your local club, proxy models you own and give the wood elves a shot. They're trully a blast to play.

I know this has been mentioned, but give it a shot, asrai.org, ALOT of good useful wood elves info.