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View Full Version : Wood elves are tactically easier to play than Beasts of Chaos



moonlightpines
13-12-2005, 09:37
I know there will be some disagreement with that statement but let me outline why I think it is so.

This is not an army X is better than army Y, or that Wood Elves would beat Beasts were they to play, just that the tactical decisions on the battlefield are easier for a Wood elf general to make as opposed to a Beasts general.

The caveat to the above is that for beginners I feel that Wood Elves would be the tougher army to use, but for experienced generals they are the easier option.

The discussion is regarding Beasts of Chaos (i.e. a Beasts general) with allowed options from Hordes of Chaos.

I have been playing wood elves for 15 years and Beasts for only 6 months so naturally I find wood elves easier to play with, but even so I have come to the conclusion that overall Beasts are a harder army to use tactically.

1. Army composition

Not really to do with ‘tactical’ ability of the army, but a good starting point for the discussion.

There are many ways to build each army but Beasts have:
a) Many more units to choose from
b) Restrictions on composition once General is chosen (Mark Chaos)
c) Ability to choose a range of magic lores
d) Ability to be magic defensive without buying scroll cadies (Khorne)

With all the different army types to play with a Beasts general is more likely to try a wider multitude of options as opposed to a WE general, therefore over the course of the same number of games a WE general will become more focused and adept at using his army.

Since though, there are so many different ways to play with Beasts and an army can be tailored more to a playing style, overall I would say Army Composition comes out:

Slight advantage – Beasts.

2. Ranged attack

Wood Elves now have a very strong ranged attack, no penalty for move-and-shoot with S4 at short range being very powerful.

This coupled with the ability to damage the enemy at range is a useful tactic for causing panic tests, reducing opposing units below half strength, weakening combat units so they can be attacked and defeated in combat, removing light threats (fast cav. Flyers) from the game.

This is a huge advantage and the ability can be used to reinforce battlefield decisions without much in the way of tactical thinking required, as the best targets are often obvious.

Huge advantage – Wood Elves

3. Flank removal

A large part of the ability to win combats is the ability to remove an opponents flanks, the easiest way to achieve this is with the use of fast cavalry.

Wood Elves have a core fast cavalry unit – Glade riders, good multi-functional if slightly expensive.

Special unit – Wild riders, unquestionably the best fast cavalry unit in the game.

Beasts have Marauder horse and mounted daemonettes, which take up a precious special slot much more important to Beasts than to Wood Elves who have such good core troops.

I have seen many Beast lists on the web and I have never seen one with Marauder horse in, which leads me to the conclusion that they are not worthwhile. Mounted daemonettes are a good unit, but not as good as Wild Riders and they cost more.

Centigors are also used in the role, not as manoeuvrable as fast cavalry, but able to move through woods.

Advantage – Wood Elves

4. VP denial

a) Most WE units do not require a standard to operate, therefore easing the decision of risking combat due to losing 100 VP’s after the standard has been captured.
b) Most individual WE units are relatively cheap and their loss is not a severe dent in the win/loss ratio
c) Beasts can have 5 Warhounds @ 30pts but most of their combat effective units cost considerably more than the corresponding WE ones

Advantage – Wood Elves

5. Manoeuvre

Thought of by many as the key element determining success or failure in Warhammer.

Wood Elves are known to be the most manoeuvrable army in WH. The ability to move quickly away from trouble and easily move to the desired point on the battle field lends them the chance to recover from deployment mistakes.

In contrast the Beasts only have Herds and flyers as truly manoeuvrable units. The herds are much bigger than typical WE skirmish units and are much more unwieldy, coupled with the 25% in range to charge rules makes them second best in the manoeuvre stakes.

The ability for herds to carry CR in a skirmish unit is a very strong ability; IMHO the best 3 skirmish units in the game are Herds, Dryads and Wardancers.

Wheeling 4 Minotaurs through a gap in terrain is much harder than moving 8 wardancers over difficult ground.

Advantage – Wood Elves

5.1 Charging/Charge range

Both armies have foot based troops as the core damage dealers, with Minotaurs/ Ogres etc. Beasts have the advantage in range, whereas with the majority of combat foot troops as skirmishers the Wood Elves have the advantage in ability to position for the charge – draw.

Cavalry wise, wood elves are much more manoeuvrable and have much greater range 18" fast cavalry, whereas Beasts have harder hitting, but slower and less manoeuvrable elements – Chaos knights, Dragon Ogres.

Wood Elves are renowned for their ability to set up favourable charges, whereas sometimes Beasts have to take the charge in order to engage in combat.

Slight Advantage – Wood Elves

5.2 Redirection

A useful element in gaining a favourable charge is baiting and redirection.

Wood elves have the excellent great eagle whose 20" flying movement means that they can, to a large extent, be easily placed at the important point on the battle field and aligned in any direction.

Conversely the Beasts use Warhounds for their redirection, which are restricted to ground movement, wheeling and 14" range. The Beasts flying units are skirmishers and therefore cannot be used to redirect, only to interdict.

There can be many Warhounds but only a maximum of 2 eagles. For that single, crucial, game winning engagement I would say Advantage – Wood Elves, but overall I will go for a Draw.

5.3 Fleeing

All of the forest spirits in the WE army cannot flee, whereas non-daemon, non-Slaanesh units in Beasts can.

Big advantage – Beasts

5.4 Moving through woods

All non-flying units in a WE army can move through woods without penalty. This ability allows for ease of setting up flank charges by moving and hiding units in the woods. Baiting enemy units into the woods who then become stuck for a large portion of the game etc.

A beasts general sees forests as difficult ground (non-skirmishing) and has to move units to avoid them.

With the ability to move those self-same forests and block enemy units from positioning, this makes the whole manoeuvre phase a much easier prospect for WE’s than for Beasts.

Big advantage – Wood Elves

5.5 Scouting/Ambush

Wood Elves can set scouts, which could potentially before the opponent has moved block march moving, especially with Waywatchers.

Beasts can ambush, which is a useful if random ability that cannot be relied upon and which forces the Beasts player to start the game with less points on the table than the opposition.

Overall – Draw.

6. Psychology

With all forest spirits immune to psychology and base of Ld8 vs. renowned poor leadership of beasts units it makes taking panic/psychology tests problematical for a Beasts general and consequent careful placing/manoeuvring of units to minimise the risk.

Huge advantage – Wood Elves

7. Magic

Wood Elves are more vulnerable to magic and their offensive magic is more supportive in style, plus their mages cost more.

The options on the battlefield can be more tailored by Beasts since the magic lore can be chosen.

Advantage - Beasts


8. Susceptibility to missile fire

Beasts overall have medium-level armour saves, herds generally have none, Minotaurs none, a number of units at 5+ all the way through to Chaos Knights at 1+.

Wood elves have either none; little, or 5+ ward for forest spirits.

Largely Beasts have T4, WE’s T3 and beasts have greater numbers.

Big advantage – Beasts


In conclusion, I feel that overall the tactical options available to Wood Elves make them easier to play with as regards decision making, favourable manoeuvre etc.

The above comments are my opinion and should not be taken as statement of fact. The only fact I can offer is that some people will disagree.

I am interested in arguments for/against the motion.

gorenut
13-12-2005, 11:05
While I do agree with many of your points, I don't get what the point of this comparison was. It's like comparing Lizardmen with HoC or something.

SuperBeast
13-12-2005, 11:58
While I do agree with many of your points, I don't get what the point of this comparison was. It's like comparing Lizardmen with HoC or something.
Agreed.
Beasts are a horde army, and WE are maneouvring army.

The winner of a battle between the two sides would simply be down to who put what where and when.

But that's the same for all games of WFB anyway...

moonlightpines
13-12-2005, 12:11
My point is that, Wood Elves are thought of as a “Tacticians” army and Beasts are generally thought of as only slightly higher than Bretonnians, in that you just move them forward and smash things.

It is my contention that in actual fact Beasts are more of a “Tacticians” army than Wood Elves.

SuperBeast
13-12-2005, 12:35
It is my contention that in actual fact Beasts are more of a “Tacticians” army than Wood Elves.
I would actually say they're more akin to O&G; luck and "hit-and-hope".
If you're lucky with your ambush rolls, you can finish a game almost before it's begun.
Beasts troops are fast and strong, but they are ill-disiplined and are lacking in the "secondary" combat characteristics.

They work best as a horde army, multiple units swamping an opponent and crushing them before moving on to the next, relying more on brute strength and force of numbers rather than innate skill.

Wood Elves are a "true" tactical army in the sense that they are highly maneouvrable and a lot of their units won't panic.
As such, you can generally plan a turn or so ahead with reasonable certainty.

I would say that using beasts is more of a challenge than using WE, certainly; but that doesn't necessarily make them more or less tactical - just "different".

Morph
13-12-2005, 12:57
It is my contention that in actual fact Beasts are more of a “Tacticians” army than Wood Elves.

I'm a little confused as well. Are you suggesting that because Beasts are mostly worse than Wood Elves (from your comparisons) then you need to be better at tactics to use them? Therefore they are a tacticians force? I don't agree.

If anything you've already suggested that Welves are better at manouvering, removing flanks, charging, moving through terrain and VP denial and at the same time are worse at being shot at. So surely from your comparisons it suggest Welves are the tacticians force.

LaughinGremlin
13-12-2005, 20:52
If anything you've already suggested that Welves are better at manouvering, removing flanks, charging, moving through terrain and VP denial and at the same time are worse at being shot at. So surely from your comparisons it suggest Welves are the tacticians force.

BECAUSE the beasts aren't as wieldy or shooty, a better tactician (general) is required to use them effectively; hence it's a "tactician's army."
I'm going out on a limb to say that what I have said is what moonlightpines meant. Ya know what I mean?:p

Mad Doc Grotsnik
13-12-2005, 21:40
My point is that, Wood Elves are thought of as a “Tacticians” army and Beasts are generally thought of as only slightly higher than Bretonnians, in that you just move them forward and smash things.

It is my contention that in actual fact Beasts are more of a “Tacticians” army than Wood Elves.

To be honest, I couldn't agree less with the above comment.

As you rightly said, the revenge of the ambush rule is that you start with fewer things on the board, and risk being taken apart piecemeal whilst waiting for your reinforcements to arrive.

Such a random factor makes Beasts far removed from the Bretonnian style of play.

And, as you said, they have a far wider range of troops than any other army. As such, your tactics depend greatly, if not entirely, on your chosen composition. You can either go for a horde of largeish, resilient units (Marauders, Gor and Bestigor) a Cavalry force (Marauder Horse, Chariots galore and so on) or even Beasly forces (Minotaurs and such up the wazoo).

Wood Elves however, also require cunning tactics. Yes, your ranged attacks are fairly good. However, you utterly lack any kind of artillery, and thus, the ability to significantly damage big stuff. Like Dragons. And Giants. And so on. You have a fairly limited pool of pokey, but expensive units, which don't always compliment each other that well. Yes, your shooting gets vicious, and your highly manouverable, but cock up one manouver, and your precious shooting troops will have the snot beaten out of them by even mediocre troops. Your stats are high. Your points are high. Your numbers and your armour are pitifully low! Thus, what you do have you can only commit when the odds are at their most favourable. And when are they at the most favourable? Well my friend, therein lies the tactics, and the finesse of Wood Elves!

Frankly, at 24", my Dark Elves can happily outshoot their Woodelf kindred. Which, to me, suggest Wood Elves need to play a dangerously close ranged game for such a weedy army!

Keller
13-12-2005, 23:50
I think it depends a whole lot on what the WE player comprises their army with as well. With as many wardsaves as they have in the force, they can be extremely difficult to defeat, unless you can get combat res going against them.

With the T4 5+ Ward on skirmishing Dryads, my Imperial shooting has proven horribly inneffective, even when they cross an open field at me. The only way to beat them is to get them trapped with ranked units, standards, and flanks, since wounding them is pretty difficult in and of itself, especially when their 2 S4 attacks cleave through most units with little difficulty. Facing an army with several units of these things can prove very frustrating. I can't even tell you about treemen, as I have never been able to kill them. I have put atleast 15 cannonballs into them over 3 games, and they always make the ward save. They are the only monster than can ignore cannons & bolt throwers, and have the S, T, and A to take on any unit a non-elite army can throw at them.

An army with lots of Glade archers and Eternal Guard is little problem though, as you can easily wound them. Their speed and skill is more easily delt with an something you keep hitting to no avail.

Wardancers are a nice mix of the two, and can be a lot of fun to fight. They can dish out a lot of damage, but they fall apart much more quickly than their spirit bretheran.


Frankly, at 24", my Dark Elves can happily outshoot their Woodelf kindred. Which, to me, suggest Wood Elves need to play a dangerously close ranged game for such a weedy army!
My Imperial archers, at 8 points a pop, have consistantly outshot WE Glade archers. Unless they can bring their S4 into play while keeping me at long range, the skirmishing formation negates their skill advantage. Handguns and crossbows haven't proven as effective, despite their greater ease in wounding the T3 elves, due to the fact the elves hit more easily, and can match their strength with little problem.


In the end, the WE shooting isn't extremely dangerous, alteast not in my experience. Their archers aren't nearly as manuverable as last edition, since they now need 10 per unit. Skimishing Scouts and Way Watchers can cause havoc, but their cost prevents them from being too overwhelming. If you can keep them out of the trees, or turn non-BS weaponry on them, they fall fast. I'm stilll learnign to cope with the forest spirits, but atleast they are providing an interesting challange for me. Too bad I don't get to play much anymore, as I really do enjoy playing against the WE, especially when they have a little bit of everything.

kanluwen
15-12-2005, 02:20
The trick is to use treesinging to move your glade guard units closer and closer. it works really well, if performed right.

Mad Doc Grotsnik
15-12-2005, 23:39
And if your opponent is wise, he will block such a useful spell as often as possible!

Bingo the Fun Monkey
16-12-2005, 17:34
I feel that every army requires some measure of thought. Maybe O/G aren't the right army for me, but despite animosity and other random things that could happen, I still find myself planning at least 2-3 turns ahead to make sure I can get my counter charges off (against a faster foe) or to coordinate everything so that I can win decisively (though occasionally things go really *really* wrong). I also always feel offended when people say OGs are about as easy as Bretonnians. Anyways back on topic. Beasts have a huge diversity and unless the player finds a winning combination from the get go, he'll take longer to get a hang of his army as he tries this and that. Being a headstrong bunch w/ relatively bad Ld, Beasts armies merely require the player to take the eventual failure of units into account in his battleplan.
Wood Elf players are equipped with everything they need to win the game quickly and decisively and this requires a measure of skill. With Wood Elves you shouldn't have to plan on things going horribly wrong as I (a greenie) or my beastial compatiriots have to.
When it comes down to it, it's just different styles of play. Wood Elves brook no failure and any mistake could really spell doom for the player (this is more pronounced in the other two elven armies). With Beasts, someone fleeing, rubber sword syndrome, etc, are all part of the game plan. I think both sides deserve their credit, though I'd like to see an end to elven players sticking their noses up and thinking they're the creme of the creme.