Monday, 16 February 2015

Game 72 - Wood Elves - 2013/06/17


A friend of mine asked me for a game as he had a very long break and has never played with 8th edition rules before. I was very happy to bring him back to the light and we set up a game in the local store. My friend brought his Wood Elves. I was very intrigued because somehow I didn't have many opportunities to play against Asrai. He brought a nice army with a little bit of everything, painted in the autumn colors. Which looked very nice on the battlefield indeed!

Wood Elves - Army List

Spellweaver, level 4, Ranu's Heartstone - Lore of Beasts
BSB, Hail of Doom Arrow, Asyendi's Bane
Branchwraith, level 1, A Cluster of Radiants - Lore of Athel Loren
Wardancer Noble, Blades of Loec

14 Glade Guards
10 Glade Guards
10 Glade Guards
8 Dryads
8 Dryads
8 Dryads
5 Glade Riders

3 Treekin
8 Wardancers

6 Waywatchers
Great Eagle

After changes to the High Elves army book a match up against Wood Elves became even more interesting. They are still far better archers and I am jealous about their shoot-after-move rule as well as S4 at short range. In a shooting contest I was definitely at a disadvantage.

The combat specialists are also quite interesting. Both Dryads and Wardancers have initiative 6 meaning my infantry elites would strike after them. What is more, the fact Dryads cause fear can mean big trouble if I fail that test. Fortunately Dragon Princes could deal with these regiments quite well. Also, "lowly" sea guard or archers might be even better tool for the job thanks to their ASF rule. I would not get re-rolls but Asrai troops are fragile too. In particular if I could get Enchanted Blades on them too.

I have never played against Treeman or Treekin so I was looking forward to meeting them on the battle field. The number of units in the WE army was also high enough to limit my usual advantage in the deployment phase.

Outcasts - Army List

Archmage, level 4, Earthing Rod, Golden Crown - Lore of Metal - 255
Battle Standard Bearer, Dragon Armor, Halberd, Charmed Shield, Potion of Strength, Reaver Bow - 157

15 Archers, Light Armor, Full Command - 195
15 LSG, Full Command - 210
2 x 5 Ellyrian Reavers, Musician, Spear, Bow - 2 x 105

2 x 5 Dragon Princes, Musician - 2 x 155
2 x 12 Swordmasters, Bladelord, Musician - 2 x 176
10 White Lions, Muscian, Banner of Eternal Flame - 160
10 White Lions, Muscian, Gleaming Pennant - 155
6 Shadow Warriors - 85

Eagle Claw Bolt Thrower - 70
2 x Great Eagle - 2 x 50
2 x 5 Sisters of Avelorn - 2 x 70

I intended to shoot down enemy archers if possible. I also wanted to use flaming attacks against the treemen or treekin. With their relatively high armor save metal magic spells can actually deal damage too. As I have mentioned before, Dragon Princes and Militia can be very good against enemy units. However, Swordmasters with their high WS and high number of attacks should be dangerous too. White Lions need more support here but are very useful against big guys if not fighting alone.


Deployment just before the vanguard moves

And after vanguard

Both, WE general and BSB, joined big unit of glade guards. Wardancer noble led his troupe to the battle while Branchwraith joined the Western group of dryads.

Archie ordered his Swordmasters to stay in the rear as reinforcements but Bob the BSB was leading from the front.

Respective wizards got following spells:

Spellweaver - Wyssan's Wildform, The Amber Spear, The Curse of Anraheir, The Savage Beasts of Horrors
Branchwraith - Treesinging

Archie - Searing Doom, Enchanted Blades of Aiban, Gehenna's Golden Hounds, Transmutation of Lead

Wood Elves won the roll off and moved as first.

Wood Elves - Turn 1
Wood Elves move forward

Forest Spirits lead the way

Entire Wood Elves army moves forward either to close distance to the enemy or to get into shooting range. High Elves archers become the main target and they loose exactly third of their numbers but the survivors hold their ground.

Outcasts - Turn 1
High Elves move forward to meet their savage kinsmen
And reply with ranged attacks in kind

High Elves move on the flanks in their favorite pincer maneuver. On the East Dragon Princes force Glade Riders and Waywatchers to retreat and abandon their positions. The center holds still to shoot. But before that Archibald the Archmage has a field day when he manages to pass through Spellweavers defenses and his powerful spell topples down mighty treeman. Nearby eagle is also quickly plucked from the sky by High Elves sharp shooters. Even Wood Elves archers are attacked and suffer casualties in that shooting contest.

Wood Elves - Turn 2
Wood Elves keep advancing
And their shooters are very efficient too

Wood Elves, a little more reluctant due to heavy barrage that claimed their treemen, keep moving forward. On the West, glade guards shoot down entire unit of Reavers all by themselves, thus forbidding the enemy to access their rear.

The rest of the glade guards continued shooting and High Elves archers were again significantly reduced in numbers.

Outcasts - Turn 2
High Elves attack again
Powerful flank charges encircle the enemy

Outcasts attacked without hesitation. On the West White Lions and Swordmasters charged Dryads who where quickly overwhelmed. Swordmasters pursued surviving forest spirits while White Lions reformed to protect their companions. On the East both heavy cavalry charged another group of Dryads and destroyed them too. One of the regiments pursued into nearby glade guards to stop them from shooting.

In the meantime eagles swooped down to block the enemy units in the center while the bow armed troops continued shooting contest. This time only 5 glade guards remained to protect their general and BSB. They decided it is time to retreat and save their leaders.

Wood Elves - Turn 3
This picture is actually the beginning of HE Turn 3

Wood Elves general fails to rally!

Wood Elves try to break though the center before the encirclement is completed. Wardancers fail to catch the great eagle and move further away from flanking Swordmasters. Dryads attack the great eagle too but this one holds and refuses to break either. Finally, Treekin charges White Lions. Their woodsmen skills were not good enough, however, and they lost combat and had to retreat only to be caught by vengeful spirits.

Glade Guards fight the best they can and manage to hold down Dragon Princes.

Outcasts - Turn 3
High Elves surround their enemy
And clean up the flanks

White Lions spotted fleeing glade guards with the leaders of the enemy army and charge them. Wood Elves escape but do not return.

On the East, Ellyrian Reaver charge the brave Glade Guards and break them. Both cavalry units pursue into nearby waywatchers.

Unfortunately, Archmage draws too much energy and only the magical rod he carries lets him escape the vortex that would inevitably suck him into the realm of chaos. However, he still suffered due to the magical feedback and his powers were almost completely drained for the reminder of the game.

Wood Elves - Turn 4
Wood Elves could not reach the enemy
The last chance for the attack and break through
Wardancers and dryads tried to reach High Elves archers but could not complete the charge. Even Glade Guards tried to help out but their attack back fired when Reavers killed a few of them before they could strike their enemy. Waywatchers were thus broken and run down by High Elves.

Outcasts - Turn 4

Only 3 units from Wood Elves army are left
The center is crushed too
Wardancers are attacked from 3 sides. Sea Guard champion challenges and Wardancer Noble cuts him down. But his companions cannot dodge multitude of spears and lances. He is the only survivor and he quickly shares the tragic fate of his troupe.

Dryads are in turn almost decimated by arrows and bolts. Only 3 units from Wood Elves army are left at this stage.

Wood Elves - Turn 5
Last attempt to charge by Wood Elves

Dryads and Treekin try to catch Shadow Warriors and then make it to the bolt thrower but fail to do so. The last attempt to charge and die in combat was lost.

Outcasts - Turn 5

High Elves control the center
Dragon Princes charge the Treekin
High Elves controlled the center. last dryads where shot down and Dragon Princes charged the Treekin but the forest spirits refused to break.

Wood Elves - Turn 6
Glade Guards attempt to shoot at Sisters of Avelorn

The Treekin still hold against Dragon Princes

Glade Guards now safe from the pursuing White Lions unleash their arrows at Sisters of Avelorn but that last salvo failed to change anything either. The Treekin kept fighting against Dragon Princes.

Outcasts - Turn 6

Treekin finally breaks from combat but very tired Dragon Prince just cannot catch them. In a quite difficult position some of the High Elves shooters aim at the glade guard but there are still 2 survivors after the salvo and they refuse to flee.

With that last act High Elves let the remnants of the enemy withdraw as they won anyway.


Turn-by-turn summary animation
 After-battle thoughts

I honestly didn't expect the game is going to end so badly for Wood Elves. They have some very good counters to my small units and they can keep the distance while shooting at you. Lack of experience in playing 8th edition games in general and against MSU in particular certainly didn't help my friend to fight back. I would like to stress, however, that he has a proper warrior spirit and I am sure he will learn from that harsh lesson!

I am very happy with the result, of course but I still made some unnecessary mistakes. Fortunately for me they didn't have impact on the game but looking at a bigger picture I should have done things differently.

First mistake was with Ellyrian Reavers on the Western flank. I simply gave them away. I simply should not enter short range of the Glade Guard. If I had them intact on that flank I could have kept harassing them. Sure, I won on that flank but on principle it was not a good idea.

Even more crucial mistake was to move the archmage to join 5 Archers and then allow them to be a target for a charge. I was very lucky that the enemy didn't reach him. The odds were slightly in my favor but it was unnecessary risk.

Another mistake was with positioning Dragon Princes so that when one unit charged, the other was not in place to help them. I was lucky here not to lose them.

I think my friend could still play aggressively but he spread his forces too much. That resulted in inability to focus his potent shooting. And his units fought in isolation. Despite the fact the formation was spread he still left flanks a little open so that I could attack there. Since I had local superiority with numbers his dryads could not hope to hold against 2 units at the same time.

Treemen was a huge threat to my troops (even if I had lions with a flaming attacks nearby) but unfortunately was exposed too early. I think he can be a great reserve, kept in the back line to be sent where there are some gaps to be filled.

When I said aggressively I meant that he could play maneuver battle with me and keep constant pressure. Since his regiments can move and shoot without penalty, they could stay away from my shooter and shoot at my combat troops. Or make my units move and limit their efficiency. At the same time having his own combat units, far less fragile if we consider S3/4 shooting, in a position to counter. I know it is easier said than done but I believe that would create a more cohesive battle line, with less gaps to exploit and force me to pay more if I advanced.

Thanks for reading!


  1. Great match Swordmaster!

    I tried to look at this match and see how I would go about it from your opponents perspective. As you said, he was at an advantage in shooting so perhaps he could have held back his combat troops and given his shooting more time. His shooting probably should go against lightly armored combat troops and reavers initially. He could then try to set up a war dancer/Dragon Princes combat. War dancers have killing blow I believe which could help against tough DP armour. Then try to get the other unit of DP into a combat with treekin. He lacked many anti armor options and you had a greater threat range with your DP so him finding a way to get a favorable matchup against them should be key in his battle plan.

    He gave up his eagle early for no real gain other than target saturation which really didn't work since the treeman was removed that same turn as well! You played well, tough to criticize anything you did. Letting your opponent have a shot at the archmage was really the only big one that I'd avoid if possible since that's a 355VP swing in one fell swoop.

    But other than hold back/maneuver to get more shots at your light armored infantry and try to contain the dragon princes with the pieces that I had (if I were your opponent), I'm not sure how I would have played differently. You had a very solid plan and deployment and executed well which will always be a tall task for any of your opponents.

    Thanks SM!

    1. Hi Dan,

      Thanks for the comments! As always they are very much appreciated. It is a good idea to try and look at the game from the point of view of your opponent. Given time I would love to play 2 games in a row with an army swap! That would be great lesson for sure.

      I am happy with how the game worked out although I felt bad that the first game my friend was playing after long break was so painful for him. He has a new army book now and I am sure with new toys it would be totally different story!