Sunday 3 May 2020

Game 142 - Sylvan Kin - 2020/04/29


It's been a while since I played against Ed. In fact, exactly 10 games ago! You can read about this battle here:

It was thus about time that we played against each other again! Fortunately for me, despite the fact that Ed is playing quite often these days (at least in from my point of view :)), he was kind enough to save a spot for me in his gaming calendar.

This time, Ed used his Sylvan Kin version of the army that is designed around Forest Shamblers. In addition, we played at 2300 per side. If you are interested, here is the link to the topic Ed writes on KoW Forum where you can check the photos of his growing Sylvan Kin army:

And here are the details of Ed's Sylvan Kin army:

Sylvan Kin - Army List

Forest Shamblers Horde (FS1), Large Infantry - 200
Forest Shamblers Horde (FS2), Large Infantry - 200
Forest Shamblers Horde (FS3), Large Infantry - 200
Forest Shamblers Horde (FS4), Large Infantry - 200

Forest Shamblers Regiment (FS5), Large Infantry - 120
Forest Shamblers Regiment (FS6), Large Infantry - 120
Kindred Archers Regiment (A), Infantry - 120

Wild Gur Panthers* Troop (GP1), Cavalry - 85
Wild Gur Panthers* Troop (GP1), Cavalry - 85

Wiltfather (W), Hero (Monster), Sacred Horn - 315
Tree Herder (TH), Hero (Monster), Mace of Crushing - 265
Forest Warden (FW), Hero (Large Infantry) - 90
Avatar of the Green Lady [1] (GL), Hero (Infantry) - 185
Master Hunter (MH), Hero (Infantry) - 115

Not many Elves in this army :) The Shambling contingent of the walking trees is even more dangerous than usual (you may have noticed that Ed's Forces of Nature also have a lot of Shamblers) with the notable addition of Wiltfather. Not only he is a a bit better version of a Tree Herder, he also trades Radiance of Life for Cloak of Death and grants Elite to nearby units. That Aura effect is further increased by Sacred Horn that extends it to 9" radius. Very good indeed!

The Panthers, Green Lady and Master Hunter were all new elements and I wondered how they would perform. Each adds a different value to the army. Panthers can be good at fighting other small troops, that otherwise may outmanoeuvre the Shamblers. And if allowed, they can still add some damage with a timely flank charge.

Green Lady is a great hero to support the army. She can either remove the damage with Heal and Radiance of Life or switch to Cloak of Death. 

Master Hunter cam be quite annoying to deal with. It's not easy to shoot at him and with his high mobility, he may be able to avoid enemies. At the same time, he can always join the fight and disrupt the foe if necessary.

I must admit that I am still trying to figure out how to play in 3rd edition with my own army and having to face Ed's unique force was additional challenge. I thus decided to focus on what not do first. For example, deploy a bit further from the edge of the deployment zone and do not charge on the first occasion! :)

Although it would be good o inflict some damage with shooting, I did not expect to do much prior to melee. I would still try to shoot at more vulnerable Warden or Panthers if there is a chance. I would shoot at Shamblers anyway but considering the effect of Radiance of Life and Heal, combined with Defence 5+ and most likely some sort of cover, it is unlikely I would be able to rout any units in this way.

In order to have a chance to win I would need to find a way to outmanoeuvre the Shamblers and not get caught in the war of attrition.

I also needed to upgrade my own army and this is the force I took:

Outcasts - Army List

Stormwind Cavalry Regiment (S), Cavalry - 215
Palace Guard Regiment (PG1), Infantry - 160
Palace Guard Regiment (PG2), Infantry - 160
Tallspears Regiment (T1), Infantry - 140
Tallspears Regiment (T1), Infantry - 140

Drakon Rider Regiment* (DR1), Large Cavalry, Dwarven Ale - 180
Drakon Rider Regiment* (DR2), Large Cavalry, Staying Stone - 170
Forest Shamblers Regiment* (FS1), Large Infantry - 120
Forest Shamblers Regiment* (FS2), Large Infantry - 120

Silverbreeze Cavalry Troop* (SB1), Cavalry - 130
Silverbreeze Cavalry Troop* (SB1), Cavalry - 130

Lord on Drakon (DL1), Hero (Large Cavalry) - 170
Lord on Drakon (DL2), Hero (Large Cavalry) - 170
Elven Archmage (M), Hero (Infantry), Inspiring Talisman, Lighting Bolt (5) - 115
Elven Archmage (M), Hero (Infantry), Lighting Bolt (5) - 95
Army Standard Bearer (AS), Hero (Infantry), Lute of Insatiable Darkness - 85

I decided to upgrade the army from 2000 to 2300 rather than building it from the beginning. One constraint I imposed is that I wanted to add only the units I have models for. 

Hence I replaced Archers with Tallspears and added second unit of those. I want to see if a unit with Phalanx is going to add new element to the army. Because of that I also thought Bane Chant is very much needed and that's why the Army Standard got his brand new Lute!

I also wanted a few upgrades on Drakons as they tend to get wavered a lot. And suddenly I discovered that 300 points extra is used really quick! So I brought an Apprentice for the the Archmage to round up the army.


Terrain details

Deployment and Scenario

Deployment of the Armies

This time we got "Salt the Earth" scenario. I have never played one before so it was very interesting to have this one.

I decided to spread the objectives so that I could use my greater mobility to grab them. I did not prevent Ed from placing his two, however, on the middle line and on the right half of the board. It meant that he would be controlling those right from the start after his Scout moves.

Although it was expected that Ed would focus on the right half of the battle field, it was not easier to come up with the plan to counter it! Part of it was the problem with super tough Tree Herder and Wiltfather.

Assuming Ed would move forward as quickly as possible, I deployed some fast units on the centre left to be able to outflank his army there. And to keep some pressure on the middle token that cannot be removed. Hence the presence of Palace Guard and Tallspears there.

When Ed decided to place Wiltfather in the centre, I chose to deploy Storm Wind cavalry on the right flank. First, it was quite open anyway and second, I had a chance to charge unhindered. Even Forest Shamblers Horde may be defeated by Elven knights in the open!

And this is how the situation looked like after Scout moves! I won the roll off for the first turn and I took it!

Deployment after Scout moves.

Outcasts - Turn 1

Cautious moves by the Elves

Elves begun cautiously. Some outflanking manoeuvres only and a few shots at one of the Hordes of Shamblers. In general Elves maintained the distance to avoid being charged just yet.

Sylvan Kin  - Turn 1

Forest Shamblers control the objectives.

The army of Shamblers did not move forward much. The units in the middle of the battle field consolidated their positions, while those on the right shifted a bit sideways to bury the treasure hidden there. In this way Elves were not able to take control of it.

The healing powers of the Green Lady removed all the damage done on the Shamblers too.

Outcasts - Turn 2

Sudden attack on the right flank

Elves sensed the opportunity and charged on the right flank. Storm Wind cavalry with Drakon Riders caught Shamblers in the open and did not give them any chance to hold the ground. Drakon Lord protected the other flank of the knights as well.

The rest of the army kept the safe distance and kept shooting.

Sylvan Kin - Turn 2

Counter attack!

The Sylvan Kin army did not stay rooted in its positions but pushed forward and out towards the flanks to contain the Elven attacks there. Tree Herder grounded the Drakon Riders while nearby Shamblers and Panthers attacked the Drakon Lord. However, he managed to stand his ground!

Unfortunately for Elves, unattended Panthers on the opposing flank found another treasure and took it to the unknown location. Another objective lost to Elves!

Outcasts - Turn 3

Elves attack again!

Elves noticed an opportunity to inflict more damage on the flanks and took it! On the centre left, one of the Forest Shamblers horde was surged a bit too far forward and exposed its flank. Combined attack by Drakons and Palace Guard destroyed it. However, this course of action blocked the path for Tallspears to assist Elven own Shamblers fighting their counter part on the hill.

In the meantime, Drakon Lord was rescued (for now!) by Storm Wind Cavalry who routed small pack of Panthers. Nearby Drakon Riders withdrew to make room for Palace Guard to keep the Tree Herder busy.

Despite all this effort, Elves made one crucial mistake that would soon cost them dearly!

Sylvan Kin - Turn 3

Shamblers catch Silver Breeze!

It seemed it was up to Wiltfather to stop Elves from attacking the centre but he was the best choice for this job in the entire army. He quickly routed Drakon Riders and stepped to the side to protect the flank of the unit guarding the objective in the middle of the forest.

In the meantime, the unit of Shamblers in the centre right used the opening Elves foolishly left and charged nimble Elven fast cavalry. Not only that manoeuvre allowed this horde to avoid any counter attacks but they also destroyed the treasure Elves guarded here! When Sylvan Kin Archers did the same with theirs, there were only 3 pieces of treasure left to control.

Outcasts - Turn 4

Elves try to fight back.

Despite the obvious blunder, Elves kept on attacking in order to get to the remaining objectives. Unfortunately for them, their charges did not do the damage they hoped for. Only on the left flank, the lightning cast by the Archmage scattered second pack of Panthers and the fight on the hill saw Elves victorious.

Elsewhere, the Sylvan Kin units kept on fighting. The failure of Storm Wind cavalry to rout their opponent was disappointing in particular. It was now clear they would be too late to help the Palace Guard trying to stop the Tree Herder.

Sylvan Kin - Turn 4

Elves keep losing the war of attrition.

It was now clear that Elven attack was blunted as more and more Elven units were either destroyed or badly wounded.

The opening that Elves left for the Shamblers to exploit was not sealed properly and another Silver Breeze cavalry unit was badly hurt. What is more, bad positioning of Tallspears and healing done by the Green Lady meant this horde of Shamblers was able to survive even the rear charge of the Drakon Lord.

Elves had to change the plan again.

Outcasts - Turn 5

Small successes for the Elven army.

There was still a glimmer of hope for the Elven army so the units mustered some more strenght to keep fighting.

Tallspears on the left attacked Wiltfather to keep him busy together with the battered Palace Guard. Another unit of Tallspears approached the centre of the battlefield in an attempt to control the objective there.

Drakon Lord and Stormwin cavalry were finally free to move but would they be able to arrive in time?

Sylvan Kin - Turn 5

More losses for the Elves.

While the Wiltfather destroyed another units of Elven infantry and withdrew to face Tallspears if they dared to attack, the Tree Herder run towards another objective and destroyed it before Elves could get there.

It was now up to Tallspears to attack and hold the positions in the centre. With a very important mission for the Drakon Lord to accomplish.

Outcasts - Turn 6

Drakon Lord fails to kill the Tree Herder!

Tallspears attacked in unison and braced for the counter charge. Their attacks did not do much damage but if they held their position they may just snatch the victory out of the jaws of the defeat in the last possible moment.

Unfortunately, the Drakon Lord, the only one who could reach the Tree Herder, was not able to rout his adversary and the chances that Tall Spears would survive were very slim now.

Sylvan Kin - Turn 6

Death of all hope.

Wiltfather and Tree Herder left no illusions to hopeful Elves though. Both attacked mercilessly and both infantry units were left scattered and utterly crushed.

Elves were left with no chance for the last, glorious cavalry charge either and had to withdraw conceding a defeat.


Turn-by-turn animation summary.


Many thanks to Ed for another great game and congratulations on a well deserved victory! The perseverance of the Forest Shamblers, and in particular, the Tree Herders, allowed the army to emerge victorious! Well done indeed!

I really like Ed's army for its uniqueness and character. It also takes patience as Shamblers are not known for dealing a lot of damage on their own. Especially against well armoured opponents. Squishy Elves are, of course, a different story!

Two Tree Herders and the Green Lady complement this force perfectly. They make the Shamblers more deadly and tougher too. You could see the effect of Heal and Radiance of Life in this game.

It was a unique challenge and I would gladly have a rematch against this force to see if I can do it better next time!

What do you think about this army? How would you use it against my force? Would you change anything in the deployment and/or during the battle?

As to my upgraded army I was, in general, happy with it and I think I may be able to make it work. I would love to have more units, however, but I have not arrived with any good alternative to the composition yet.

I have already hinted where I think I made mistakes in this game. Let me elaborate on a few points in particular.

Deployment. I should have anticipated that my shooting is not going to make a huge effect on Forest Shamblers with Green Lady nearby. In addition, I scattered the objectives on purpose and I did not use it to my advantage.

If I were to play this game again, with the same placement of objectives, I should probably leave both units of Silver Breeze, as well as both wizards on the centre left. In this way I would be able to control one of the objectives better and send at least one unit to chase away the Panthers. Maybe even keep Master Hunter busy!

I am now going to point out a few things I kept thinking about in the turn order in which they situations occured.

In Turn 2 I was happy with the attack on the right and I gambled on the Lord to hold against the Panthers and Shamblers. What I also did was to withdraw Tallspears T2. What I should have done was to keep them behind the obstacle but closer to the blocking terrain. In this way only one unit of Shamblers would be able to attack them. With Palace Guard nearby and hindered charge, they would be at disadvantage if decided to attack. And Spears would be closer to the action.

If I were to choose one situation that had the most profound impact on the game, it was my mistake in turn 3. I left the door wide open for Shamblers to attack my Silver Breeze. I was so focused on shooting at the Warden I didn't protect the cavalry. Even moving Spears forward, although too far to attack, could have narrowed the passage and make it less likely to go through.

That mistake was in particular costly because I lost an objective. And then I followed in Turn 4 with more mistakes where I lost both, Army Standard and Silver Breeze (wavered, but killed shortly after).

Failure to break Shamblers with Storm Wind in turn 4 was disappointing but made me think if I should have withdrawn Palace Guard and let Drakons attack the Tree Herder instead. They may not do the same damage (although wound better) and I would most likely have lost them turn after. But I would have had Palace Guard ready to attack again. And keep the Tree Herder busy for one more turn.

At the same time, when I won with Tallspears T1 on the hill on the centre left, I could have reformed them to move towards the objective in the bottom left corner. I had slim chances to do anything in the centre (as was shown later) but much better chance to reach the objective without much damage, even from Master Hunter.

In turn 5 I decided to go after the objective in the middle regardless. I did not use the advantage of the fact that Drakons wavered Archers the turn before. What I should have done was to pivot them towards the left and fly over the building to threaten the centre from that direction too.

Instead, I left a lot hanging on the luck and the odds were not necessarily in my favour. As it turned out, Elves paid dearly for their folly and daring to enter the forest where the Tree Herders rule!

I hope you enjoyed this battle report and thank you very much for reading!


  1. Nice report. Almost every Sylvan army I have seen uses the same combo. Boring but effective.

  2. Swordmaster, you produce fantastic content with deep insight that I truly appreciate. I'm new to the game and wish to get into it with my girlfriend once things calm and stores are open again.

    I was looking under your tactics section and I thought of a suggestion I believe someone with your experience and knowledge may be able to offer. Would it be possible to do an analysis of the elves units in 3rd edition, and break down what you gain or give up playing at different unit sizes like msu? You express your learning in such a way that it really helps me learn and has inspired me to take on elves.

    Thank you again for your content!


    1. Hi Clay!

      Thank you very much for your kind words, I am really happy to know you like the reports!

      It is also great to know that you and your girlfriend intend to get into the game. Do you have any models yet? Which armies (apart from Elves!) do you plan to focus on first?

      Thank you very much for your suggestion too! In fact, I always wanted to write an article in the same fashion as I did for Warhammer and my army of MSU back then. I thought I collected enough examples for the discussion but then, the editions changed and I often feel like I am learning from the scratch. You can tell that by the results I am getting from my recent games. :)

      However, for time being, I think it may be a good idea to talk about the units I considered for the current version of the army, with some justification as to why they made it into the list at this stage. Especially that it is hard to predict when I would be able to create such an article in the future.

      I will do my best to write something up! Thank you very much for that idea!


    2. Im glad you like the idea Swordmaster! I'm looking forward to it!

      In terms of the armies, I am more certain of the girlfriends first army layout over mine! Lol. She is very much unconfirmed of nature with the green lady and various tree herders, dryads etc to make up her force. I will be printing plenty of sylvaneth from aos for her.

      I don't have much collected on this front yet. Mostly have aid projects in the grey at this point. I'm taking the opportunity to practise my painting and build some momentum. I've just come to realize I don't really connect with the game as I seem to be trying to always connect to classic fantasy armies. I think because KoW has those fantasy archetypes with creativity encouraged, I feel much more inspired and hence why I'm bringing the girlfriend along for the adventure!

      I'm having difficulties getting product at this time from GW or mantic at this time through local business. My idea was to proxy dark elves from raging heroes as the troops. I know they should be twilight kin but that transition from 2nd to 3rd is all I fear in these games: gutting a traditional fantasy archetype for something completely different rather than just making another faction or theme.

      I have liked the units in your lists and was likely going to try them at different unit sizes. Since Erin will use so many trees I thought I'd use pure elves and was thinking of replacing the herders in your list with something else did related.

      I'll be sure to keep in touch along this journey.

      Have a great day.


    3. Thanks Clay, I hope I will be able to accomplish this relatively soon :)

      It sound really interesting about your and your girlfriend armies! From the pure modelling point of view, they seem to be completely different - which is great! Always good to have armies that complement each other for even greater variety.

      I hope that despite the shortcomings due to current situation there will be some progress made in the meantime. I am looking forward to hearing more news!


  3. Still loving the summary at the end and the afterthoughts!

    1. Thanks! I like writing about the battle even if I make mistakes during it! It is always interesting how many options I can see after the game :)