I had the pleasure of facing them last night, and also watching them play against another army, and it was very interesting.
The army that the WE player used consisted of a tree-lord or whatever those damn big ents are called, a branchwraith, a spellsinger, 3 10-man dryad groups, 10 archers, 6 wild riders, 10 wardancers, 4 treekin, 8 waywatchers - and I do believe that was it. Not a ranked unit in sight, as such, apart from the bowmen, and they were deployed in a long line.
I had convinced my good friend, the tree-hugger, to skip all ranked units and go for skirmishers, fast stuff and monsters, since they nowadays pretty much outclass the old way of playing Warhammer. Also, it seemed very elfish.
Here are some quick reflections on the units I have seen used.
The Treelord was the generals army and performed admirably in taking out light support units with his power to shoot out roots, and he drained dispel dice with his excellent ability to cast bound spells. He also supplied well-needed dispel dice to the WE army. He managed to win combat against ranked units with full command from the front, thanks to great rolling and his little spites with poisonous attacks. Nothing to be said here, he is a rock-hard monster (nigh invulnerable) with good LD and an excellent choise as general.
The Branchwraith didn't exactly shine, but it is a cheap hero with good abilities and stats. The lv 1 mage upgrade would probably have been worth it, since it adds a power dice and a dispel dice to the army as a whole. Accompanying dryads, as he should be, he is in his right element and ensures that dryads have a decent chance against ranked units with full command in a frontal charge, if you are in a pinch (otherwise, always go for the flanks - but I don't have to say that, do I).
The Spellsinger - a level 2 mage with a great lore. Nuff said. However, she also sported a longbow and some enchanted arrows which forced the enemy to take panic checks even if only one casualty is suffered. This came in very handy in forcing untimely panic checks and, on one occasion, the flight of a light enemy unit.
The dryads were, as we had speculated pre-game, very nasty indeed. Fast, mobile and hard-hitting. They are an excellent core for a WE army, and most likely the best mainstay skirmishers in the game, point for point. 12 pts for something of a dryad's power is just crazy, don't know what they were thinking when they wrote the book! My friend, the tree-hugger, used them to create pincer movements. Their biggest flaw is their inability to flee, which can cause great trouble for the WE player - you don't want them to stand and await a charge from chaos knights, for instance.
The archers were very good for knocking off support units - as one would expect. Naturally, noone fires volleys of S3 arrows into ranked main combat units. Only common sense, but they do provide a good fire base, and if I where to play the welvies, I would probably go for 2 units of 10 of these.
The Wild Riders Amazingly, these performed rather poorly, while their rules and abilities definitly suggest otherwise. Due to some sub-standard rolling, they were almost wiped out to a man, even though they came at the flanks. Their low toughness and armour save is a great drawback for them - thankfully they have their ward save. But in the games I witnessed, they did not reach their full potential, which is, doubtlessly, very impressive.
The Wardancers Well, these fellas aren't exactly as good as their last incarnation. None the less, they supplement a mobile, hard-hitting WE force well and just need to stay out of trouble. Had the Wood elves faced a magic-heavy list with lots of magic missiles, these deadly dancers would most likely not have gotten very far. They excel at clearing out terrain from other skirmishers, however. And in combined charges they are lethal (then again, so is virtually everything in this list).
The Treekin What is that term? Most Victorious Unit? Most Valuable Unit? Whatever it is, these guys fit the description - they are hands down, without a doubt, the best ogre-sized monsters in the game and excel at all roles - tarpits, full offensive combat, taking on main combat units... you name it. Nothing could touch these overgrown bitc... sorry, I meant birches. S5 T5, 4+ armour and 5+ ward save - who could ask for more? They are pricey, but well worth every investment you make in them. Run them in units of 4, is my tip. Their ability to walk through woods at full speed (as all wood elves/living trees do) gives them opportunities to threaten the enemy's lanes of advance that normal monsters can't even dream of!
The Waywatchers Definitly useful, but also didn't see their full potential in the games we played. Against armies like Chaos they come into full blossom as march stoppers and armour piercers (killing blow means that chaos armour is just about as useful as tinfoil). I dread the day I have to face Wood Elves with my Chaos boys - no longer will I have combat on my terms!
All in all, The Wood Elves look like a very strong and quite balanced list with less of the non-engagement tactics that some players without scrouples used to pull with the old list. A blast to play against! Anyone else got any experience with the new Welvies?