View Full Version : Whats so bad about wood elves?

17-08-2012, 22:11
Been a big fan of the look of the army for ages but I'm nto really a fantasy player and there seems to be a lot of people down on the poor welfs. Why is this?

17-08-2012, 22:16
Wood Elves are a book design for 7th edition where skirmish was very useful. 8th edition introduced steadfast making large infantry blocks the norm, lots of WE units struggle to deal with thisv change.

Basically WE pay a premium for skirmishers and fast units that struggle to break units unlike in 7th, where mulitcharges once worked well they now tend to bounce. We manipulate the battlefield and try to overwhelm enemy units rather than get dragged into drawn ut combats, something that is near impossible to avoid in 8th.

Saying that the army is not terrible there are a number of decent units just nothing that sticks out as being really good for the points. My biggest issue is that half the book is boarderline useless (overcosted and out-dated), but I still love the army none the less.

WE new book is expected around March next year depending on who you listen to.

Units you can count on most of the time;

Dryads (units of 8-10 being skirmish no much point in going big)
Glade Guard (units of 10-12, maybe 20 if you want a banner, get in close range to use s4)
Treekin (one of only a few units that can deal with drawn out combats, flammable makes them a liabilty vs fire)
Treeman (see Treekin, Treeman work best in pairs)
Great Eagles (my favourite unit, re-directing is oh so important for WE)
Spell Weaver (Beasts is IMO more verstaile than life and gives you options fr dealing with monsters, something WE struggle with)

If you like the army and fluff go for it but I would think about waiting for the new book as WE look like they will be gwtting quite the update next year.

17-08-2012, 22:37
Eternal Guard no good? Aren't they the only unit that actually has ranks?

How come going small on skirmishers is better?

I ask out of genuine ignorance, I'm a total fantasy newby :)

17-08-2012, 22:45
Eternal guard can work but they need a whole bunch of combat tricks to make the unit reliable at which point they feel like a deathstar, but it isn't a deathstar if that makes sense. They are not terrible by any means but I won't go back there as they never seem to deliver for me.

Skirmishers don't benefit from the steadfast rules so you are better of using Dryads to support combats/re-direct when needed this means you can have multiple smaller units that have better manoverability.

Playing WE you want to avoid the close combat phase for aslong as possible, and where possible use Treekin/Treeman to hold the line and get Dryads into the flanks.

re-direct, re-direct, re-drirect, shoot, shoot some more, and some more, then engage in unfair combats that you can win in 2 turns or less. Sounds simply but it really isn't.

17-08-2012, 22:49
Generally it's because they don't exist, not really... They get hardly any attention from Games Workshop, they got ignored in 5th edition, Ravening Hordes made them a "get-by" list that was laughable, they got one of the smallest books of the 6th Edition with little fluff and less variety than most other armies. It's had practically nothing in support since. They barely get a mention in White Dwarf (which focuses too much on 40k anyway), Forgeworld doesn't even consider Wood Elves, special characters are less detailed. When it comes to game balance; wood elf troops are often overpriced and fragile, they don't have much variety in magic and even less for warmachines. Really, it's just clear GW considers it a filler army. Compare it to the Empire, Chaos, even Vampire Counts they all seem like there's at least the favourite of one of the writing staff. Wood Elves just doesn't feel like it's anyone's favourite, even Chaos Dwarves has Forgeworld support and a small but devoted fanbase. That's why I think Wood Elves get a bad rep, they're just not appreciated... no-one cares.

17-08-2012, 23:03
Wood Elves get a bad reputation, but they're not as bad as public opinion makes them out to be. They're not a top tier book, but they are absolutely viable at high-level competitive play.

The biggest hurdle for Wood Elves is other books having undercosted spammable options, whereas the best units in the WE book like Glade Guard and Dryads are instead fairly costed. This has led to a metagame dominated by monstrous cavalry/infantry units and high armour saves, which WE really struggle with.

Gary wyper
17-08-2012, 23:09
I would like to know how you deal with mounsterous cav with youre wood elves tom, ive watched youre youtube vids and you seem to know what you are doing

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17-08-2012, 23:41
monstrous cavalry/infantry units and high armour saves, which WE really struggle with.

Don't think we can limit this to just wood elves tom ;)

In regard to teh actual question, doommaster's pretty much hit the nail on the head. The army has very little staying power in combat, and those few things in the book whih do (treekin and treemen) are made a bit of a liability due to their lack of ward against magic and flammability.

That being said, I'd consider them one of the few armies where small arms fire will actually (and fairly reliably) do something (them, lizards and dwarfs) and because of this, range is where the army excels.

Magic wise, IMO, they've got a bit of the short end of the stick due to their lack of BRB lore options (this is more me stating my disliking of the majority of BRB lores than saying that beasts and life are bad lores, they are good lores, just overshadowed by light, shadow and death)

As far as dealing with monstrous cav, from a person who doesn't play wood elves, I'd say it looks like throwing eagles and units of dryads or glade riders in front of them is the way forward. There's basically nothing you can do to them with small arms fire or magic (bar a lucky amber spear down the flank) and combatwise, the only reliable option would be getting a double charge off on them with treemen, so really your best bet is to take them out of the game for as long as possible to not let them get into your big points (characters).

18-08-2012, 00:23
Lots and lots of fleeing and redirecting is pretty much the only answer to monstrous cavalry. Or, try to panic them off by killing small units with 6"- it offends me when Ogre players are careless with their sabretusks, but that's no reason not to take advantage of it.

18-08-2012, 01:10
Generally the fact that the game moved towards large blocks of infantry, imposed more restrictions on skirmishers and added in the mysterious terrain rules (which my opponants were always keen on). The fact that it's been a while since the WE book was released and there has been progressively more powerful army books around has made things difficult.

I just found it hard to compete with things like a shooting/magic heavy DE list or a current Ogre list featuring Mornfang cavalry and a huge blocks of Ironguts. I'm actually planning to dust off my Wood Elves again at some point and have another go but I think I'm going to have a serious think about how I'm going to re-tool my army.


18-08-2012, 01:21
I play wood elves and I win games. I only have a few units to pick from and one mistake will most likely cost me the game.

Wood elves have weak characters, very little staying power, half the army is very overcosted, they have the worst hero mages in the game and as a whole the army is difficult to use effectively.

What wood elves do well in is shooting glade guard a one of the few units costed well and that's why they make up the majority of most wood elf armies.

Wood elves are not as terrible as the internet wise men would have you think. They just need a update more than any other army.

Gary wyper
18-08-2012, 09:58
apparently the book is done,gw just pushed back the release for more important rhings

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18-08-2012, 10:42
Just started playing 2 months ago with some friends. I've seen Wood Elves win and lose against Beastmen, Tomb Kings, Dwarfs, and Ogre Kingdoms ranging from 1000 points to 2500

As a new player, to me the main weakness in the Wood Elf army is combating high toughness models especially artillery models like the Iron Blaster. The eagles and scouts rely on high rolls to get a chance to wound especially after the first round, and this goes hand in hand with the other weakness of being vulnerable in prolonged combat because the Wood Elves become weak and they're already squishy. The tree units and dryads seem like they would take too long to get to the artillery.

Having more pieces of forest/woods terrain on the table might also helps the Wood Elves if you find them struggling. They are a glass cannon guerrilla warfare kiting army, whereas armies like the Ogre Kingdoms are like a brutal hammer. A mantra I've read online about the Wood Elves is that they often "play not to lose rather than play to win"

The Wood Elves are a very finesse army but one that can string your army like it was on a kite in the movement phase.

Love their models though especially the tree/forest spirits, but in 8th edition they can be overpowered seemingly easily

18-08-2012, 11:05
The basic problem is that Wood Elves excel at a kind of game that most gamers hate to loose to. Back in 6/7th edition this turned Wood Elves into an extreme glasshammer army to make sure that powergaming with multiple small units wouldn't make Wood Elves dominate competitive gaming.

Progress in 7th and 8th then increased the resilence of armies which suddenly turn Wood Elves into a Glasshammer forced to strike hard rocks.

In general I think that Wood Elves are ill-suited to the the typical Warhammer mentality. People hate gun lines but they hate getting their deathstars stuck in a forest even more :P. So GW is either going to have to seriously rethink the Wood Elf gaming style or it is always going to be an army underpowered to deal with the fact that they play in an "unfair" manner.

18-08-2012, 11:33
Cheers guys, this is all really interesting and if anything is just giving me the "challenge accepted" mentality ^_^

TO channel Columbo for a moment:

Just one more thing, Waywatchers, does that ranged killing blow do anything anymore? Or do they have to get too close?

18-08-2012, 13:48
Has anyone tried working (with some kind of consensus) on a fan-made update to the army book? One of my friends collects them and I've always loved the models, so it'd be great to be able to face them on an even footing. At the moment their best use seems to be as High Elf proxies/Allies.

18-08-2012, 16:08
There is a fan made list on asrai by shandrakor here. (http://asrai.org/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=22620) I haven't read the later versions of it but it's the only one I'm aware of.

Regarding waywatchers, getting in close doesn't really gain you anything as they don't have glade guard longbows, and their killing blow is borderline useful at best, relying on 6's form a 5/6 man unit is not great. Having said that, they are extremely cool.

18-08-2012, 19:00
Waywatchers are very expensive, but I think they're vital as they add something that nothing else in the army can which is the ability to worry Scar-Vets and Pegasus heroes. Without WWs, these are an absolute nightmare.

I always run 2 units of 5-7 depending on points. I like 7s because they're still under my magical 200pt limit, and at short range they hit on 2s which statistically is 6 hits and 1 KB, with the second unit there to help against 4++s.

Of course, it doesn't always work like that- I've KB'd characters with single Waywatchers, but I've also put 17 short range shots into Scar-Vets and not gotten a single 6.

In short, I am a big fan. Just do yourself a favour, and don't look at the points cost or statline of a Shade, ever...

18-08-2012, 20:32
Or chameleon skinks and gutter runners.

I find it sad that a great deal of armies have better ninja uber scouts than wood elves, even maneaters are better at shooting with that dumb sniper thing. How an ogre is a better shot than the best archers of the best archers is something I have yet to understand.

I don't use waywatchers because I just get angry when I think of all the other stuff that does the same role better and for cheaper.

18-08-2012, 20:55
There is a fan made list on asrai by shandrakor here. (http://asrai.org/viewtopic.php?f=29&t=22620) I haven't read the later versions of it but it's the only one I'm aware of.

Looks good actually, I might have to pass that one on.

18-08-2012, 23:00
Alright awesome cheers guys. Just found out today I missed out on a 4000 point welf army for just 95 :cries:

18-08-2012, 23:25
Alright awesome cheers guys. Just found out today I missed out on a 4000 point welf army for just 95 :cries:

Damn, it'd cost 3-4 times that to buy that kind of army from GW at least. Wonder who the lucky person was who got it.

18-08-2012, 23:32
I would like to know how you deal with mounsterous cav with youre wood elves tom, ive watched youre youtube vids and you seem to know what you are doing

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Unfortunatly the only answer to high armor and toughness for wood elves is with magic. My friend takes a level 4 of life and of beasts and does well coping with these things. It stinks to have to rely on magic, believe me, I play tomb kings, but that's the card were dealt.

19-08-2012, 00:37
A friend of mine played woodies. Magic was his answer to the things he couldn't take on.

Though Hail of Doom Arrow is good.

And Arcane Bodkins against armoured targets.

19-08-2012, 11:29
My main opponent is Dark Elves. :( Any tips? Or should i ask this in tactics now?

19-08-2012, 17:24
Well, the changes to Fear and the Skirmish rules hit Dryads the worst; they can't auto-break an enemy any more by doing plenty of damage, and if a single round doesn't go their way then they're in danger of fleeing. They do however still pack a hell of a punch as a unit, but they need something to hold the front. Unfortunately this is where Wood Elves have the problem at the moment as while I like Eternal Guard, they're not great for the points, and while Treekin are one of the best monstrous infantry out there, anything flaming (particularly magical fire) will destroy them, same goes for Treemen which can be really nasty otherwise.
Investing in strong anti-magic can help keep the Treekin and Treemen alive, but it can get costly to do…

Glade Guard aren't that cheap either, but they're still very effective while moving so you can get the most out of their Strength 4 at half range quite easily, which will really hurt the enemy. Trouble is keeping them safe at that distance, as they've no defence whatsoever so any return shooting just mows them down. Hiding in forests only does so much; personally I'm hoping they'll either become skirmishers as standard, or it'll be a basic option in future, as it would at least give them some defence. Magical saves and other buffs really help in this regard though, so if the enemy does have shooting you'll want to use them to give your Glade Guard a chance to deal with it, or get stuck into other targets.

I mean, it's not like Wood Elves can't do anything, it's just that you have to work pretty hard to make a list work. I mean, Wood Elves should be a mobile list that shuns direct combat, but they could do with better tools to do that, especially when core units like Dryads have been so heavily crippled by 8th edition; even 7th didn't do them many favours really.

21-08-2012, 20:22
Just my 2 cents, but wood elves arenot a bad army if you are able to get into the proper mindset to play. You have to play them completely different than you would with any other army. At the last tournament I attended the overall winner was a Wood Elf player that won 5 straight with no spellcaster and no BSB in his list. His battleplan was to avoid combat with everything except Treekin and Treemen, redirect everything, and kill 100 more points of stuff than his opponent.

21-08-2012, 20:42
Dryads are prefectly fine at their cost. They pretty much outfight anything else core in the same point range, with the possible exception of Saurus. Most of the Tree Spirits are actually competitively priced, with the possible exception of the Treeman being a tad overcosted. If they gave these guys Daemon style all the time ward saves, every issue forest spirits have would be solved. I actually expect that to happen in the next book.

Its the elves that are vastly overpriced in the book and the characters having very strict limitations on how they can be fielded in units that hampers the book. The other main issue is the inability of L2 casters to take anything other than Lore of Athel Loren, which was the worst lore in the game before the last Beastmen book came out. If you play with special characters, then a couple of them are overcosted too, particularly Orion. I generally play forest spirit heavy armies, which while challenging are fun (unlike playing the current Beast Book), but its really hard for me to get commands on the table, unless I want to do the boorish spam ten packs of archers thing.

23-08-2012, 17:06
For the cost of a caster lord they are 25 points less than a Slann. That is just so over costed it's not even funny.

Wood Elves have NO access to bonus power dice during the magic phase. This makes them slightly weaker when relying on the magic phase to cast. And to get the +1 Dispel dice it costs 90 points on a character that can be killed easily enough and even if made into a mage will not really add anything to the army for the points cost vs say,.. just 10 more Glade Guard.

The big item, to re-roll dispell dice is Arcane so you would have to take a support caster to get a Dispel scroll. While some people think having a re-roll on every dispel attempt is broken or cheesy the reliability of a dispel scroll outweighs the randomness of dice.

The Caster lords only have access to two lores. While they are fine lores there is little synergy between them. With Beastmen it's easy to get a deathstar down to Init 1 then cast purple sun through th line. You get no combo spells like that. Also the 6th spell in both lores aren't as good for Wood Elves. With no mechanism to re-roll To-Hits, Transformation of Kadon isn't as good, and you have to cast Throne of Vines before you attempt Dwellers Below meaning no other magic that phase and you need some good dice to make it work.

The hero casters only have access to Lore of Athel Loren which while it was an amazing lore in 7th, is a mildy okay augmentive lore now. Has the last magical charge of the game which can make Wardancers fun still (I'll take 33 S4 attacks from 8 WS 6 Init 6 guys) your opponent can stop it fairly easily too. I would say half the spells are okay but nothing to deal with a Horde.

High and Dark elves have good shooting as well and access to the Lore of Shadow spell that reduces toughness (as well as access to Lore of fire for +1 to wound and Lore of Metal for +1 to hit). This makes their shooting pretty good and ours still fairly good but not as scary as it was in 7th edition.

The be effective in 8th ed as a combat threat you need a mechanism to re-roll To-Hit, either through Hatred or ASF. Wardancers can get ASF but suffer to get it, and have no defense for what could be almost the most expensive infantry in the game.

While Treeman are great at taking out Grey Seer's and Treekin are pretty resiliant they rely entirely on dice rolls. Flub a round and your Treekin are dead. It's as simple as that. Plus with the Flaming banner, Bestigors, Executioners, White Lions will tear through Treemen/Treekin very fast. Even a core unit like Gors or Halbrediers with a buff will tear apart Treekin.

Eternal Guard cost 12 PPM. Goblins cost 3. Who cares goblins only hit on 5s, they are 4 times as many and the same Str/T.

That is just off the top of my head.

23-08-2012, 21:09
Wood elves feel like the only army where you are constantly trying to win by a small margin; you'll trade 150pts to shoot down 300pts.

In my opinion, competitively, w-l-d tournament scoring makes wood elves manageable, where 20-0 scoring is near impossible to win. It's very hard to play a smart opponent and cream them with a WE army.....except my DE have been creamed at 1500pts by WE.

And if I was GW, I would make sure shooty armies are not top tier--no one wants to run there army up to a WE army, get shot to death, and never reach close combat, feeling like they never had a chance.

And even if you loose with wood elves, you usually controlled the game. You usually set up last, allow your opponent to come to you, and knowingly leave charges open for him.

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23-08-2012, 22:24
Comparing our slightly above human level casters cost to a slann puts a lot into perspective.

@dragon, toptier is top tier, doesnt matter what phase it's in, I don't want them holding back on the Wood Elf shootyness because people want to throw stones at that phase with prejudice.