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D.R.A.I.C.H.-Waging Woodland War: Flaming the Wood Elves 
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Noble

Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:55 pm
Posts: 401
Location: Ontario, Canada
Many thanks to Auere for his assistance in preparing this anti-tactica and his devilish tricks for dealing with the elusive fey foe :lol:

Waging Woodland War: Flaming the Wood Elves

Based On: Wood Elf Army Book dated 2005, Druchii Army Book dated 2008 and BRB v 7.0 rules.


The following is an analysis of the tree hugging, nature loving, vile and weak inhabitants of Athel Loren from a Druchii perspective. That they share a faint and distant trace of our own noble blood is perhaps their only redeeming quality for the Asrai, or wood elves as they are more commonly known, are cowards in the extreme who hide deep within their enchanted forest. On rare occasions, they venture forth to aid the despised horse lords of Bretonnia and thus it is difficult to understand why the Druchii should bother to study such a feeble foe. Apart from making the world better by destroying and enslaving the weak, the Asrai are of interest as their fey land is home to valuable plants and treasures that are there for the taking by the bold and intrepid raider. Although cowards one and all, in defence of their homeland, the Asrai provide good sport and can even pose a threat to the uninitiated through their effective use of guerrilla tactics and the support of the fey creatures of Athel Loren. Accordingly, it is necessary to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the Asrai so that they treasures may be sought with minimum loss of precious Druchii blood.


STRENGTHS:

The Wood Elves are a guerrilla style army that employs hit and run raids before launching overwhelming numbers at a depleted foe. In support of these tactics, they have three major strengths:
1) Shooting
2) Forest Spirits, Spites & Kindreds; and
3) Mobility.


SHOOTING:

The Wood Elves are excellent archers. Their shooting does not suffer from move and shoot penalties and is comprised entirely of long bows so the effective range is well beyond 30” once movement is added. All characters gain these benefits and there are four major shooting units:

1. Glade Guard
– core archers with strength 4 at ranges below 15” so they effectively have a 35” range and 20” for S4 since they do no suffer a penalty for moving. They can be upgraded to scouts but lose their S4 at close range and are very expensive so this option is rarely taken.

2. Glade riders
– core fast cavalry with 9” move and longbows (48” range)

3. Warhawk Riders
– flying cavalry with longbows so they have an effective range of 50” that makes them very dangerous to any sorceress who thinks they are hiding behind terrain!!! Due to the cost, they are generally fielded in units of 3 and they also have a hit-and-run attack when they charge. The hit-and-run gives them the option if they win combat of fleeing and then autorallying (they must do this is they do not win). It is a very effective attack against war machine crews, dark riders/RXB flank, or lone characters.

4. Waywatchers
– a rare and expensive scout unit that comes with BS 5, two hand weapons and their shooting has killing blow inside of 15” (essentially 20” with the ability to move and shoot). They also have special deployment rules that allow them to set up within 2” of the enemy if in cover and camouflage makes them harder to hit by –1.


There are a number of magic items that Wood Elf characters can draw upon related to shooting and the most common are:

5. Bow of Loren with arcane bodkins:
the lord can shoot as many times as they have attacks (usually 4 but sometimes 5) and there are no armour saves versus any wounds – very lethal for CoKs or any character on their own.

6. Hail of Doom:
a one-shot item that grants 3d6 x S4 magical shots with no multi-shot penalty. Since the character using it is BS 6, this item can easily wipe out a unit of dark riders at long range or severely deplete elite infantry.

7. Strangleroot:
The last and perhaps most tricky shooting in the army is a strangleroot attack from a treeman or treeman ancient. The strangleroot has 6” range, can be done after marching, does not require line of sight and can be use as a stand and shoot reaction. It does an artillery dice worth of magical, S4 autohits (misfire=0) and can be very lethal to T3 troops if the dice roll is favourable.


Sethayla:

What is that Sethayla?
Wood Elves as usually not missile and combat-avoidance oriented, they tend to be just as combat-oriented as Dark Elves are. There's only one pure combat avoidance/shooting build, which is generally nicknamed the "Sethayla" variant (just as we Dark Elf players have our own variants, i.e. Temple of Khaine). Sethayla is very nasty, especially against other elves. It can all be countered, but frustrating to fight if you don't realize what you're up against during deployment.

Sethayla Army list.
The Sethayla variant features nothing but Alter characters (one will have the Hail of Doom Arrow, the other Bow of Loren/Arcane Bodkins to shoot up heavy cavalry) and the rest of the army will consist of nothing but Glade Guard for Core, Warhawk Riders for Special and 10-strong Waywatcher units for Rare.

Sethayla tactics.
The Glade Riders and Warhawk Riders can march or fly their respective 18-inch and 20-inch movements with 360 degree mobility and still hit at short range on a 3+. The 30 inch range on longbows guarantees they can sit outside of repeater crossbow and magic missile range for most of the game. That's the pure combat-avoidance build, and is not particularly fun to play against with any army, let alone Dark Elves with their abundance of T3, poorly-armored models.

Countering Sethayla.
A lord on dragon is probably the best counter to it, since all those S3 shots still suffer to hurt a Toughness 6 model with 3+ armor that's just as fast as the Wood Elf units are.
If you're not running a Dreadlord on dragon though, the best bet is protect your ranged units as long as possible and try to narrow off sections of the board that the Sethayla units can flee to. Protecting bolt throwers should be a high priority, since they have the range, strength and accuracy to carve VP off of Sethayla units. Dark elf infantry regiments will be useless, but they're better off trying to "herd" the Sethayla units into areas of the table where they're easier to deal with.
If you play with buildings, put as as many shooting and Sorc units in them for added protection. Hydras should be ready to charge down Waywatcher units, breath on them and charge into combat.
Once you get close, he has little to pit against you. Anything you can throw at him before he has time to shoot you to pieces is going to help you.

Tuning a list against Sethayla.
QUICK CHARGE. No ranked infantry. A lord on dragon - Hydras - Harpies - Characters on steeds - a pair of chariots (Chariots often work as a valuable area denier).
SHOOTING. DE shooting is better than WE once you're in range, and shielded RXB will survive a lot of WE attention. RBT work great in order to eliminate any glade guard masses. Multiple (3-4) units of Dark Riders with RXB's are perfect for keeping small units and Wild Riders honest, but hide them from shooting.
MAGIC. A strong magic phase would be ideal, WE suffer more than any other army from magic. Consider Dark Magic, chillwind, Doombolt, Bladewind are all fine spells. Take a Focus Familiar




FOREST SPIRITS, SPITES & KINDREDS:

Underestimating Wood Elf CC abilities is sheer folly. Expect them to outmaneuver you and hitting your flanks with combined charges, as a wood elf chooses when and where to fight.

Wood elf lists rarely field more than 20% pointswise in shooting. The shooting units purpose aren't to decimate the opposing army, but instead to weaken their units, just enough to make the odds in their favour, to prepare the charge. WE shooting lacks the high powered artillery needed to deal with monsters or heavy armor, so as such WE need other units to deal with these threats.


Forest Spirits:

In addition to very fragile, mortal elves, there are a number of immune to psychology and fear causing troops in the Wood Elf army that give it some decent fighting troop choices. All forest spirits also receive a 5+ ward save versus non-magical attacks. Mortal characters can only join mortal units but they may become a forest spirit with an upgrade, allowing them to join forest spirit units.

The following is a breakdown of the available choices:

1. Dryads
– a core choice of skirmishing, T4 infantry with 2 x S4 attacks with decent WS and very high initiative. They make excellent screens against missile attacks due to the skirmishing, toughness and ward save. A good flank support unit in close combat or able to tackle troops without SCR such as RXBs or dark riders on their own. Their ability to charge 360/ignore terrain penalties gives them great mobility and threat range versus any light troops.
Dryads easily have enough hitting power to cleave through any Dark Elf infantry unit that doesn't have Banner of Hag Graef. Initiative 6 means they'll hit before most of our infantry in subsequent rounds of combat, and will even tear up Witch Elves and Black Guard if they won the previous combat.
The branchwraith is essentially a dryad character that can be upgraded into a 1st level wizard.

2. Treekin
– multi-wound M5/T5/S5 troops with decent armour save but flammable.
Treekin are also very resilient, and given their high Toughness, multiple wounds, Fear-causing, Ward Save and armor save, there aren't that many units that can charge them and reliably win. Even Cold One Knights and Black Guard aren't that impressive against them unless boosted by the Hydra Banner or Cauldron.

3. Wild Riders
– a unique forest spirit in that they only cause fear on the charge. They are fast cavalry with a 9” move, magic resistance and a 6+ ward if hit by magical attacks. They are most effective in combat when they have not charged as both the riders (S4 but S5 on the charge) and mounts get 2 attacks each. An excellent flanking unit as they can charge 18” and negate ranks.

4. Treeman / Treeman Ancient
– a large, stubborn and very tough monster with a good armour save that has a bound tree-singing spell to move forests (the ancient casts twice) and a strangleroot attack. The Ancient can be an excellent (and common) lord choice. Neither can join a unit or be joined.

5. Character's Mounts
– characters that become forest spirits may choose a horse, unicorn (wizard only) or giant stag. Strangely, only non-forest spirit characters can ride a dragon that has normal stats but a S2, -3 to armour save breath weapon.

Spites:

Spites are magical powers akin to daemonic gifts, gifts of Khaine, etc. Only one of each can be taken per army and only one per mortal character whereas forest spirits can use up to their magical points allotment toward multiple spites. The most common ones used include those that give +1 dispel dice, +d6 x S2 magical & poisoned attacks and the annoyance (need 6s to hit the character in a challenge). If there is a treeman ancient on the board, it will almost certainly have the annoyance spite.

Kindreds:

Kindreds allow a mortal character to gain the same abilities and join certain units such as forest spirits, scouts, wardancers, wild riders and waywatchers. The alter kindred gives move 9”, I9 and +1 attack but prevents them from being a general or joining any unit. Due to the plethora of spells/ powers/attacks that can target without LOS, the alter kindred is a disposable hero. A typical alter noble has the hail of doom, +1 attack helm on the charge and a great weapon. This gives a one-use 3d6 x S4 shooting threat and is a hazard to small units as the noble has 5 x S6 attacks, 18” charge and 360 LOS.


MOBILITY & COUNTER-MOBILITY:

As a guerrilla army, the Wood Elves rely on their mobility to avoid combat until they have overwhelming odds in their favour.
Except for the flyers, all units may run through woods as though it was open terrain. Extreme caution must be taken in looking over the battlefield to take this ability into account as a favourite tactic is to park mostly behind/in a forest, safely out of enemy charge range due to difficult terrain and then come blasting through with impunity during the wood elf turn. Wild riders are extremely good at this thanks to an 18” charge range, causing a fear check and ability to negate ranks.

In addition, if an entire unit is within a woods, the woods may be moved d3+1” via the treesinging spell any number of times during the magic phase. This allows the unit to be “surfed” across the board – very nasty when the surfer is a treeman ancient with strangleroot and terror that is hidden from view. A Treesurfing Ancient is bad enough, but a Treesurfing Ancient (casting twice treesinging) accompanied by an Alter Noble and 8-strong Wardancers can be delivered straight into a Dark Elf battle line without the Dark Elves ever having gotten line-of-sight on them.

Blocking Treesurfers
If the Treeman uses Treesurfing, then you can move any model into base contact with the Treeman to halt the forward movement of the forest. Treesinging can't move a forest over units, so you can literally block off the trees. The major downside here is that a Treeman still has his Strangleroot attack which doesn't require line-of-sight, so he can still damage an hurt any unit you use to block to the forest. The Hydra is a great choice for slowing down moving forests though; his high toughness, armor and Regeneration can easily shrug off Treesinging.


Counter-mobility:

Wood Elves may place a free 6” woods anywhere on their half of the board prior to deployment – an excellent way to block LOS of RBTs or RXBs. Furthermore, there is a strong hindrance of druchii movement by the treesinging spell. Any woods within 18” of the caster can be moved and it is difficult to counter as the casting value is very low, it is the default spell, bound versions exist in the treeman and a caster can take a cheap item that allows multiple castings per turn and adds +1” to the distance. The trees can be moved to block line of sight or movement but must stop before contacting an enemy unit or other terrain. Last, and most dangerous, the treesinging spell makes entering woods very dangerous as it can be cast offensively, anywhere on the board, inflicting d6 x S5 hits on any enemy in a woods not engaged in combat.


Fri Feb 26, 2010 3:28 pm
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Noble

Joined: Thu Jan 29, 2009 4:55 pm
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Location: Ontario, Canada
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WEAKNESSES:

While the wood elves are good shooters and scooters, they have several weaknesses that can be exploited:

1) Limited Static Combat Resolution
2) Vulnerable Characters and Units
3) Magic Offence


LIMITED STATIC COMBAT RESOLUTION:

The wood elves are relatively weak in close combat owing mostly to a lack of hard hitting troop choices, poor protection and terrible ranked infantry. While they are reasonably effective against poorly armoured, T3, opponents, they have great difficulty with tough adversaries like dragons, hydras or chariots.

The one ranked infantry unit in the army, Eternal Guard, is subject to psychology, is little better than spear warriors while costing almost twice as much and only becomes stubborn if joined by a noble/highborn character. Kill the noble/lord and the unit ceases to be stubborn.

The wood elves lack static combat resolution (SCR) and don’t have any really hammer units apart from treekin and treeman/ancient.

Wardancers are an expensive, immune to psych, elite, skirmishing infantry that can use a “dance” to give them either killing blow, +1 attack, ASF, or a 4+ ward
but are T3 with no armour and die like flies if shot or hit by anything stronger than a loud whisper!!
They can be very dangerous on a charge as they will have 3 x S4 attacks each but are S3 in all other instances and thus tend to get crushed if charged and since they cannot flee this is easy to do with cavalry or a chariot.

Overall, the lack of SCR and hard hitters mean wood elves generally need multiple charges to take out even a standard block of regular infantry.

The one exception to a weak close combat list is the all forest spirit variant of the army. With multiple dryads (360 charge thanks to skirmishing), treekin and treeman/ancients, the army is effective in close combat as it is immune to psych, has magical attacks and causes fear/terror. However, even this version will lack SCR and will have little or no shooting.


VULNERABLE CHARACTERS & UNITS:

Most units have either no armour save or only 5+. The mortal elves are all T3 and the “cheapest” troops are 12 points each, making for very expensive meat shields – dryads are the only effective choice in this regard.

While the treekin and treeman/ancient are tough, they are flammable and a single flaming based spell attack can wipe them out and any magical attack negates the ward save.

Characters are restricted to, at best, a 3+ armour save. Apart from the annoyance spite (which works ONLY in a challenge), there are two talismans that grant 3+ ward but one is only versus non-magical attacks and the other breaks if it fails once. They also have access to a source of Regeneration and 4+ Ward Saves versus different effects.
If you charge a Wood Elf Highborn, you may find that it makes enemy chargers and ASF models strike last and also has a 3+ Ward Save. Similarly, being charged by an Alter Highborn with an 18-inch charge range and six Strength 6 Attacks isn't anything to shrug off either, especially considering he can also have a 3+ Ward and is only hit on 6s in a challenge.
Anyway, as a result of the poor armour and despite the talismans, the mortal characters can be killed even by spear elves whereas elite troops pose a major threat to them.


MAGIC OFFENCE:

Apart from the hindrance and avoidable dangers of the tree-singing spell, the Lore of Athel Loren is extremely weak, the spell casters are very expensive and only a lord choice can choose another lore and that is limited to the lore of beasts. The magic close combat weapon choices are equally poor and the magic banners are truly laughable compared to Druchii options.

However, saying that Wood Elves lack offensive magic is also a bit misleading also, given that any enemy unit that touches a forest can be battered to death by spell-spammed Treesinging that does Strength 5 hits and has infinite range, requiring no line-of-sight.



DRUCHII TACTICS:

Understanding the Asrai strengths and weaknesses, we can now look at how to tackle them during the game phases and get the most out of the various Druchii units.

Deployment Phase
– As the wood elves will get a free woods and move through forests without penalty, try to limit the number of woods on the board during terrain set up and selection. Hills, rocks, walls and buildings are far better choices as they provide cover but, more importantly, help limit wood elf mobility and ability to "surf" forests. Also, watch for terrain location if your opponent has waywatchers and remember to keep your own scouts out of woods and far from any possible strangleroot attack range. Screen expensive troops with spears and/or terrain to protect them from the inevitable shooting.

Movement Phase
– The wood elves are expert guerrillas and must be forced into combat – if you try to dance with them, you will get burned!! The aim should be to use cover (including spear warriors and terrain) to protect your key troops while preventing the wood elves from flanking your lines, ideally forcing them into contact with your own troops by occupying gaps and advancing between terrain pieces they cannot run through and slowly squeezing the noose on them. Using a large block of spears in extended line (say 10 x 3) protected by the CoB’s 5+ ward save makes the approach more bearable and provides excellent cover. Alternatively, a ring of darkness in the unit will provide excellent protection if no CoB is taken. RXBs and RBTs can do a lot to keep wood elf units at a distance or to force them to concentrate in certain areas where you combat troops can get into contact. Characters should be kept in units as long as possible as one exposed shooting phase could finish them. Ensure that wizards have LOS, if necessary, to the desired targets at the end of the movement phase. Lastly, try to block woods with a cheap unit to prevent any “surfing” during the magic phase.

Magic Phase
– For defence, stop only the tree singing that is vital to stop as there will be multiple attempts and some will get through – if the movement was done right, the trees will be blocked either by troops or other terrain. STAY OUT OF THE WOODS unless you have killed all or most of the casters of treesinging!!

Offensively, it is possible to dominate the wood elves. Just about any offensive lore will work well (fire, metal, death, dark) and the choice will depend on the mix of wood elves. If there is a lot of shooting, dark magic with chillwind will cause casualties, possible panic checks and let you dominate the shooting phase while fire is excellent against forest spirits and any mortal elves! A heavy magic list can be very deadly as multiple magic missiles will quickly decimate the T3/T4 troops and even S4 will get lucky vs the tougher, flammable choices in the list and negates forest spirit ward saves.

Missile Phase
– The ability of RXBs to mass fire shots make them very effective at dealing with wood elves but they will take some casualties prior to getting close enough to the wood elves’ longer range. Accept the damage and advance to firing range to help support the approach of the close combat forces. RBTs have excellent range and can wipe out not only entire units of glade guard or fast cavalry but are also effective at wounding treeman and treekin. The one drawback is that the RBT crews can be taken out by the longbows or a single hail of doom arrow shot. Perhaps the most effective missile weapon is the hydra. The ability to march and shoot means a flame template can be dropped on a line of archers, generally killing the majority who will then have to pass panic and terror.

Priority targets should be archers and wild riders followed by wardancers with shooting at other targets used only as a last resort or for tactical purposes to weaken the target if it is about to charge your troops. Lifetaker is lethal and will earn its points back multiple times by taking out waywatchers, wardancers, wild riders or just plain archers.

Close Combat Phase
– If you can touch the wood elves, you can kill them J However, if multiple units get the charge in on your own forces, they can quickly overwhelm them and thus ASF is the best defence (either assassin, hag graef or both!!). The most effective fighters are forest spirits and, since they are immune to psychology (and cannot flee) and move 5” (except wild riders 9”), it is possible to set up charges on them with faster troops.

The best tactic is to set up a hammer unit (ideally CoKs or hydra + mounted character with S6 magic weapon) to charge dryads/wardancers. This will allow a tactical wheel that will redirect the overrun into more troops – ideally more dryads or the flank of treekin. A unit with a character and/or champion with a magic weapon can easily rip through an entire dryad screen of several units in a couple turns through the use of tactical wheels and overruns. The addition of magic banners to add SCR will ensure the wood elves break. Of note, chariots are extremely useful due to the 14” charge range, toughness and the S5 impact hits which are deadly to T3 wood elves and can injure any of the forest spirits – just don’t overrun into the forest!!

Treekin are best dealt with by a well protected character with a S6 magic weapon and/or a hammer unit. If the treekin can be wounded before combat, spears hiding an assassin with manbane/rune of khaine can break treekin quickly through SCR and some active wounds. Executioners in small numbers (buffed by the CoB if possible) used to hit the flanks are also good in this regard – assuming they pass their fear check to charge!

The last part of the combat is the pursuit. As noted earlier, if charging dryads (or wardancers), arrange a favourable overrun path that brings you into contact with more enemy, close enough to charge during your next turn or presents a threat that forces the enemy to move where you want them to.


Dealing with treemen.

Avoid. Treemen are a real pain and should be avoided as much as possible. The treeman and treeman ancient are the most difficult to tackle and should be left until last. The treeman is not fast, just try to stop him from treesinging the forest closer to you. Often you just have to resign yourself to not being able to kill the treeman and focus on killing the rest of the army.

Shooting. A combination of Doombolts, RBTs and regular crossbow fire brings it down over time. RBTs do not do a lot of damage to the treeman, but their presence on the battlefield is often enough to keep the treeman in check.
There's a good chance you'll need bolt throwers to help deal with fast cavalry though, so firing single-shots at the Treeman should be a relatively low priority.
An Assasin with Manbane and Rending Stars is probably a good bet overall, but you have to be careful to keep him in a unit so he doesn't get killed by a Strangleroot attack as it's adept at destroying Shades. Good for a few wounds.

Magic.Dealing with it is simple enough if you can get line of sight (just shoot and lore of fire it) but usually it will be hiding in a forest where you can’t see it.

Finish it off. Bolt throwers and magic can similarly be ineffective if the Treeman remains hidden. But if you can get the treeman ancient down to only a couple wounds, charging with a hydra and two characters in a unit (character with S6 and assassin with manbane/rune of khaine) will finish him off as you simply refuse the challenge, remove the offending character, and then hammer him with the hydra and remaining character.

Hydra.The hydra can hold it up for some rounds, but do not expect it to chew through a treeman or break it for that matter. A Treeman may beat a hydra in combat within 2-3 turns (assuming you actually hold). Keep him locked in place until you can bring in more troops to help break the stalemate.
But do NOT try to flame it. The chances of a breath attack going through is toughness, armour and ward is next to nothing.

Dragon. A Lord on a Dragon will do the job - as long as the Treeman is not a Treeman Ancient with the Annoyance of Netlings. Then you are setting yourself up for another stalemate situation, and not a good one, since you will have more points tied up than the enemy does.

Lord. Assuming you're not dealing with an Ancient, then any combat character with decent strength and Pendant can grind the Treeman down over several rounds of combat. Consider Dreadlord with Pendant and S6, or Dreadlord with Executioners Axe. However, a footed dreadlord is very difficult to get into combat with the treeman.

Execs + COB. If you have the Cauldron of Blood in your army, a unit of Executioners with +1 attack can put a hurt on a Treeman if they can overcome Terror and get the charge. Knights can too, but Knight units tend to have few models and can get devastated by the Treeman's attacks back.

Infantry. A lone treeman can be held up by a large (~25) block of spears with FC and may fail a stubborn check while a well protected character in the unit with crimson death/soulrender can slowly grind it down. The same approach works versus a treeman ancient but it may lock up the unit forever in a challenge as your character will only hit on 6s (annoyance spite) and likely won’t wound it while the ancient is stubborn on LD 9. If a BSB is nearby, kill him quickly so there is no re-roll when the treeman/ancient fails a break test!!




TUNING A LIST:

While it is generally best to be ready for any foe, there are times when you can tailor your own force to bring the most effective troops available. Simply decide on how you would best like to defeat the wood elves and choose your troops accordingly.

A hydra is a no brainer due to toughness, breath weapon, combat ability and the fact that there are no flaming attacks other than one weak magic weapon in the entire army.
Dragons are even more effective due to breath weapon, excellent strength/toughness and flight ability.
For a combat heavy list, spear blocks leading the way supported by chariots or CoKs (the latter two for the 3d6 pursuit and higher movement) will do well as a line of troops can be spread out that advances inexorably toward the enemy leading to eventual contact. Chariots, with fear causing, T5/S5 and a good armour save, can survive a lot of missile fire and provide excellent support to infantry or a deadly threat to any T3 troops within charge range. They also provide good flank protection for advancing infantry.
Elite infantry with ASF (either assassin or hag graef) can be effective but must be screened by terrain/spears or it will get shot to pieces by the wood elf archers before getting into contact.
A CoB is almost a must as it will grant a 5+ ward to screening troops as your army closes in and traps the wood elves and will then make the combat forces overwhelming with extra attacks (KB is generally wasted as the army has no armour save of note except for multi-wound units/monsters that are immune anyhow).

One surprisingly effective choice versus a forest spirit list is a block of witch elves with the banner of murder and buffed by the CoB with +1 attack. Between the poison and armour piercing, they can drop almost anything in the list, are immune to psych and pursue into the next unit.
Executioners are also effective versus forest spirits but making them ASF becomes almost a necessity as they will get shredded if charged as well as being subject to fear/terror.
Hydras provide excellent flank security and can further direct the wood elves onto the infantry blocks as well as providing a very hard hammer unit.
Any reasonably equipped combat character (on a cold one or with the pearl of bleakness to protect the unit from forest spirit’s fear/terror) with a magic weapon will provide the necessary punch while SCR will do the rest.
A combat list should be supported by some magic and missiles that focus on removing shooting threats or enemy units attempting to flank.

A shooting and/or magic heavy list works equally well, simply focus on killing the archers first and then dealing with the remaining troops. Spear blocks will protect your sorceresses from shooting but you will need a hydra and at least one other hard hitter to smash any surviving wood elves that make it to your lines.
Even a block of corsairs is a good choice as it will provide greater protection against enemy shooting.

Three troops choices that tend to do poorly are harpies, dark riders and shades. These units are all relatively expensive and vulnerable to shooting – strangleroot in particular as well as the 360 charge of dryads. Elite infantry must be carefully protected to get it into combat but will be very effective once it makes contact, especially if buffed by a CoB and given ASF through the banner or with an assassin.


SPECIAL CHARACTERS:

The three special characters in Athel Loren deserve mention and they are Orion, Drycha and the twin sisters, Naestra & Arahan.

Orion is a terror causing foe that can charge 18” with S7 on the charge (S5 afterwards). He is unbreakable but suffers from instability like undead so a survivable character in a block of spears will drop him rapidly through SCR. His army will include wild riders as core troops.

Drycha is dangerous as she is a level 2 wizard and will be part of an all forest spirit list (i.e. no shooters!!). She can move herself and her unit from one woods to another during the remaining moves phase or can summon forest spirit units placed in reserve during the game. These reserve units appear in any woods on a 4+ and the entire army can be placed in reserve!! The drawback is the random appearance of the units allowing you to deal with them piecemeal. Also, keeping units in charge range and facing woods will give your own troops the charge advantage and the fact that you can simply move and prepare for any charge from a flanking unit during your own movement phase will limit the hazard significantly.

The twin sisters ride a mount (dragon or great eagle) and one fires a bow that, if it hits, uses a S3 small template, randomized like a stone thrower, while the other causes a unit to do a strength check in order to move the next turn. The sisters are BS 6 and thus seldom miss. Both must be killed in the same phase or they come back fully healed so focus on finishing them off entirely, which should not be too difficult as they are T3 with no saves!!



LEARN FROM YOUR ENEMY

If you really want more: spy them, the Druchii way! A good place to look in addition to druchii.net might be asrai.org. They have plenty of threads and articles on tactics against Druchii. That will give you a good idea of what kinds of things they'd try and do.
Specific links you might find interesting and/or useful are at:

http://www.asrai.org/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=15019 - LEAF, their equivalent to DRAICH. That link should lead you to the section on Dark Elves.
http://www.asrai.org/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=16183 - and that's a discussion on Druchii vs Asrai tactics in one particular battle.


Last edited by Stonecutter on Sat Feb 27, 2010 12:42 am, edited 2 times in total.



Fri Feb 26, 2010 4:06 pm
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Malekith's Best Friend
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EDIT by Calisson.
Thank you, Tethlis, for your comments in this post.
I've incorporated all of them above in the appropriate sections.



Stonecutter wrote:
POOR CLOSE COMBAT:
I'm not sure I agree with this one.

Dryads and Wardancers easily have enough hitting power to cleave through any Dark Elf infantry unit that doesn't have Banner of Hag Graef. Initiative 6 on both of them means they'll hit before most of our infantry in subsequent rounds of combat, and will even tear up Witch Elves and Black Guard if they won the previous combat. Wardancers are also hitting on a 3+ versus virtually everything in the list, and Dark Elves definitely aren't a fan of multiple S4 attacks from a high Weapon Skill source.

Treekin are also very resilient, and given their high Toughness, multiple wounds, Fear-causing, Ward Save and armor save, there aren't that many units that can charge them and reliably win. Even Cold One Knights and Black Guard aren't that impressive against them unless boosted by the Hydra Banner or Cauldron.

Really, the concept of "lining up charges" against them can be a bit misleading. If a Wood Elf player is running a Wardancer unit in the open, in a position where you can line up a charge on them with Cold One Knights, then you shouldn't need a D.R.A.I.C.H. article in order to beat them.

Treesinging:
You mention Treesinging, as well as the Treesurfing Ancient which is much beloved of Wood Elf players, but I think you could go into a bit more detail on countering it. A Treesurfing Ancient is bad enough, but a Treesurfing Ancient accompanied by an Alter Noble and 8-strong Wardancers can be delivered straight into a Dark Elf battle line without the Dark Elves ever having gotten line-of-sight on them. Also, saying that Wood Elves lack offensive magic is also a bit misleading also, given that any enemy unit that touches a forest can be battered to death by spell-spammed Treesinging that does Strength 5 hits and has infinite range, requiring no line-of-sight.

Vulnerable Characters and Units:
You're right in that Wood Elves can't get a good armor save. However, they have access to two items that give 3+ Ward Saves, as well as a source of Regeneration and 4+ Ward Saves versus different effects. You also mention the Annoyance of Netlings, which I think qualifies as pretty excellent defense on its own. I think your readers might be a bit mislead if they charge a Wood Elf Highborn only to find that it makes enemy chargers and ASF models strike last and also has a 3+ Ward Save. Similarly, being charged by an Alter Highborn with an 18-inch charge range and six Strength 6 Attacks isn't anything to shrug off either, especially considering he can also have a 3+ Ward and is only hit on 6s in a challenge.

Sethayla:
You touch upon the Wood Elves as being very missile and combat-avoidance oriented, which I think is misleading because Wood Elves tend to be just as combat-oriented as Dark Elves are. There's only one pure combat avoidance/shooting build, which is generally nicknamed the "Sethayla" variant (just as we Dark Elf players have our own variants, i.e. Temple of Khaine.) The Sethayla variant features nothing but Alter characters (one will have the Hail of Doom Arrow, the other Bow of Loren/Arcane Bodkins to shoot up heavy cavalry) and the rest of the army will consist of nothing but Glade Guard for Core, Warhawk Riders for Special and 10-strong Waywatcher units for Rare. The Glade Riders and Warhawk Riders can march or fly their respective 18-inch and 20-inch movements with 360 degree mobility and still hit at short range on a 3+. The 30 inch range on longbows guarantees they can sit outside of repeater crossbow and magic missile range for most of the game. That's the pure combat-avoidance build, and is not particularly fun to play against with any army, let alone Dark Elves with their abundance of T3, poorly-armored models.


It's a good writeup overall, and a great addition to the D.R.A.I.C.H. library. However, Wood Elves used to be a top-tier tournament army, and I think it's important to remember that they have plenty of toys that can kill off other Elves with ease :D

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Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:36 pm
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Thanks, Stonecutter and Auere for the article. :D
Undergoing the task to write a decent antitactica requires some courage that you definitevly displayed.

Thank you as well, Tethlis, for the very valuable complement. :D
Viewing your signature, you probably know quite a lot about Wood Elves!
Nobody can claim to have a comprehensive knowledge of a complete army, so it is nice to confront different knowledges and different experiences in order to get the most useful advice for D.netters.
I am sure that Stonecutter will find a way to take your comment into account.

I wish more to come! :P
For example, how can we counter the fearsome opponents described by Tethlis?



EDIT: Some interesting tips I've found in previous threads:

Setting Terrain:
When you are setting up the terrain, end this as soon as possible.
He will only add more forests and you want as few of these on the table as possible.
Against him hills are not very valuable either so a clean table is generally preferred.



Final advice:
The important thing to remember: Go on offence! push them back! they will soon run out of space to retreat to and they can't stand up to a fight.
If you play their game of baiting, sneaking and shooting you are more likely to lose than win.
But be aware: W-E need the flank charge. Don't let them outmaneuver you and you should be fine. WE can't handle SCR without flanks, so protect the flanks, and they can't touch you.

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Last edited by Calisson on Tue Mar 16, 2010 8:22 pm, edited 9 times in total.



Fri Feb 26, 2010 9:54 pm
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I think we are actually in agreement as the main threats described (dryads, treekin and treeman) are all part of the listed strengths of the woodelf army and the anti-treesinging is covered in both the movement and magic phase recommendations. However, it never hurts to reinforce the dangers so I will revise the narrative to put a little more emphasis on the items mentioned.


Fri Feb 26, 2010 11:49 pm
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EDIT by Calisson.
Thank you, Tethlis, for your comments in this post.
I've incorporated all of them above in the appropriate sections.



Writing an anti-army tactica is a huge task, and I find that a lot of good tips, tricks and input can be gained by asking other forum members what they've experienced firsthand. The more comments, the merrier.

Sethayla is very nasty, especially against other elves. A lord on dragon is probably the best counter to it, since all those S3 shots still suffer to hurt a Toughness 6 model with 3+ armor that's just as fast as the Wood Elf units are. If you're not running a Dreadlord on dragon though, the best bet is protect your ranged units as long as possible and try to narrow off sections of the board that the Sethayla units can flee to. Protecting bolt throwers should be a high priority, since they have the range, strength and accuracy to carve VP off of Sethayla units. Dark elf infantry regiments will be useless, but they're better off trying to "herd" the Sethayla units into areas of the table where they're easier to deal with. If you play with buildings, put as as many shooting and Sorc units in them for added protection. Hydras should be ready to charge down Waywatcher units, breath on them and charge into combat. It can all be countered, but frustrating to fight if you don't realize what you're up against during deployment.

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Sat Feb 27, 2010 2:03 am
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DE can outshoot elves fairly easily once in range. LT is very helpful, as are magic missiles like chillwind

Their Dryads and Tree kin/men are otherwise their most dangerous units. The rest of the army has more obvious flaws that can be exploited.

Flaming magic attacks are good, but neither fire or metal do well with their spell selection. Fire is only S-4 so unlikely to wound, and metal has the #2 spell which is worthless versus wood elves.

My experience is that Treemen are best avoided, and that dark work as well as fire or metal for killing dryads and treekin.

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Sat Feb 27, 2010 11:39 am
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Quote:
DE can outshoot elves fairly easily once in range. LT is very helpful, as are magic missiles like chillwind

Their Dryads and Tree kin/men are otherwise their most dangerous units. The rest of the army has more obvious flaws that can be exploited.

Flaming magic attacks are good, but neither fire or metal do well with their spell selection. Fire is only S-4 so unlikely to wound, and metal has the #2 spell which is worthless versus wood elves.

My experience is that Treemen are best avoided, and that dark work as well as fire or metal for killing dryads and treekin.



QFT!

I have playedso many games against wood elves now, and I must say that even a balanced Dark Elf army is able match WE shooting. I am not scared of the Bow of Loren / bodkin combination either. If he takes that, he usually doesnt have enough magic defence.

If I was to play against myself with wood elves, I would field something like:

---
A WE anti DE list.

Lvl4 spellweaver with staff of wych elm, dispell scroll, power stone

lvl 1 mage Branchwraith with cluster of radience and annoyance netlings

(maybe standard altar noble)

3x10ish Glade Guard
2x8ish dryads
6 WR FC, warbanner
2x7ish wardancers
2xtreeman

Now THAT would be terrifying to dark elves! Strong shooting protected by great magic defence. 2xstrangleroot and very powerful close combat. Add to that a decent magic phase with 4xtreesinging.

Thank God my usual opponent doesnt do like that!


Sat Feb 27, 2010 8:52 pm
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Tethlis wrote:
Writing an anti-army tactica is a huge task, and I find that a lot of good tips, tricks and input can be gained by asking other forum members what they've experienced firsthand. The more comments, the merrier.
I'm very satisfied to see some comments coming in. :)
This WE antitactica seems to get more participation than the other antitacticas, which relied more on previous threads to take other D.netter's advice.
I hope that the habit will be kept!


EDIT: I've added some green in the articles.
Hopefully it will improve the readability.

EDIT: more information I've received about WE (provided by Malevion).

More WE Strengths.
- Excellent morale
- Decent combat ability (but not comparable to most new armies these days).


Excellent morale
Most of the army is immune to psychology.
It must be noted that wood elf shooters are among the few things in their army that are not immune to psyc so you can panic and terror them.


More WE Weaknesses.
- small numbers (this means that there aren’t many that you need to kill with shooting and magic).
- no real way to deal with monsters

Vulnerability to distance attacks.
Wood elves hate shooting and magic, so take lots of one or both. Magic is probably the more effective of the two as wood elves generally don’t have much in the way of magic themselves and shooting will often have lots of penalties to hit due to skirmishers in forests etc.
Even though shooting will often have multiple penalties to hit do not discount it. Fire enough shots and you will get hits and they don’t have the numbers or toughness to take hits.


Afraid of monsters.
Wood elves can’t deal effectively with monsters and high toughness things. Apart from one special character (Orion) all their shooting is s4 or usually less. If you send t5 or higher things at them they won’t be able to shoot much so monsters and chariots are your friend. So if you really want put the hurt on wood elves take as many dragons, manticores, hydra and cold one chariots as you can. These mostly have good saves and high toughness and wounds. As the wood elves have no static combat resolution and their characters aren’t able to slay monsters these units will make you own the field. The wood elf player will immediately be on the defensive as he cannot effectively hurt these units. The hydra is even able to walk untroubled through forests (PERFECT!!).


More on MAGIC OFFENCE:
Orb of deep woods. This causes a s5 hit on any enemy unit in the same forest as its bearer so it will kill our shades. Be especially careful with the hydra as it can pick out both the handlers forcing a reaction test on ld 6. Not good. The solution is to avoid the woods if you think it is present. Often the bearer will be a suspicious mounted guy hanging around within 18 of several forests. Keep an eye out.


Reducing WE magic offence & defence.
Wood elf players often hide their scroll caddies and other mages in the centre of forests where they think they are safe. They are not=p. Get a sorceress put her on a steed or dark Pegasus and give her the focus familiar. Then ride up to the forest the wood elf is cowering in and put your focus point right next to them=p. KABOOM MWAHAHAHAHA!!The same plan can be used to target a treeman in a forest with lore of fire. Just be very careful with this sorceress, wood elves have many ways of taking out such a juicy target. You can use a supreme sorc on dragon with pendant and focus familiar to great effect against woodies.


More on DRUCHII TACTICS:
Movement Phase
In addition, you should keep your units together as much as possible. If you allow a unit to become isolated it will quickly be surrounded and overwhelmed. If your units are supporting each other so that if one is charged others can counter charge in the next turn you have the advantage. You also need to guard your flanks. This can be done by having a hardass unit that wood elves cannot break on the flank ie a hydra or ASF blackguard or pretty much any unit with an assassin. Use shooting and magic to control where the wood elves will go. They won’t be able to encircle you if you are blowing away any unit that dares to show its face.

Go on the offensive. Hound the wood elf player mercilessly. Advance hard and fast with hydrae going though the woods and flushing out his units and chariots and dragons smashing down anything that stands before you. If he attempts to charge your units his weaklings will be torn asunder. If he retreats try to back him into a corner. Just make sure your flanks are guarded will tough units and shooting so he isn’t able to get past you.

Avoid using frenzied units. Wood elves will have a field day baiting and ambushing them.

Take the defensive. Advancing into a well wooded battlefield against wood elves will often lead to you being assaulted on all sides and destroyed. So make them come to you. Have shooting and magic ready to kill anything that comes in sight. Have chariots and other units prepared to charge anything that comes towards you. This battleplan is not so exciting but it is sensible. It gives the wood elves 3 options come at you and probably be slaughtered, avoid you and play for a draw (lame!!) or engage you in a ranged duel that they won’t win.



More on some WE units.

3. Warhawk Riders
3. Wild Riders

Wild riders are quite lethal in combat and warhawks are a highly maneuverable flying pestilence. Luckily there is a simple solution. Shoot them.


4. Waywatchers
Waywatchers need a special mention as they get killing blow at half range (although the shot remains s3). They can therefore be a threat to the unkillable dragon lord. So how to deal to it? Chillwind is always good.


1. Dryads
What kills them? Magic which they get no save against. Chariots and/ or monsters. Having ASF.

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Last edited by Calisson on Sat Mar 13, 2010 8:17 am, edited 2 times in total.



Sun Feb 28, 2010 9:17 am
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EDIT by Calisson.
Thank you, The Virgin Forest, for your comments in this post.
I've incorporated all of them above in the appropriate sections.


As a Wood Elf player I find it rather interesting to see that woodies are regarded as a shooty army.

Wood elf lists rarely field more than 20% pointswise in shooting. The shooting units purpose aren't to decimate the opposing army, but instead to weaken their units, just enough to make the odds in our favour, when they charge. WE shooting lacks the high powered artillery needed to deal with monsters or heavy armor, so as such WE need other units to deal with these threats.

Underestimating Wood Elf CC abilities is sheer folly. Expect them to outmaneuver you and hitting your flanks with combined charges, as a wood elf chooses when and where to fight.

Ze darkies do have quite a few nasty surprises though. CC assassins will ruin many good maneuvers, Lifetaker and magic missiles ruins our defence (skirmish), and the hydra with its breathweapon CC power will cause havoc among the woodies.


Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:31 pm
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The Virgin Forest wrote:
As a Wood Elf player I find it rather interesting to see that woodies are regarded as a shooty army.

Wood elf lists rarely field more than 20% pointswise in shooting. The shooting units purpose aren't to decimate the opposing army, but instead to weaken their units, just enough to make the odds in our favour, when they charge. WE shooting lacks the high powered artillery needed to deal with monsters or heavy armor, so as such WE need other units to deal with these threats.

Underestimating Wood Elf CC abilities is sheer folly. Expect them to outmaneuver you and hitting your flanks with combined charges, as a wood elf chooses when and where to fight.

Ze darkies do have quite a few nasty surprises though. CC assassins will ruin many good maneuvers, Lifetaker and magic missiles ruins our defence (skirmish), and the hydra with its breathweapon CC power will cause havoc among the woodies.


While I agree with you that Wood Elves are predominantly a close combat army, where the glade guards (usually 20-30 strong) represent only a marginal number of the points value while the elitist close combat storm in to finish off, they are regarded as a shooty army because to dark elves, the shooting can hurt a lot, where combat will sometimes the safest place to be, if you can get the charge off (not easy!).

S4 shooting is devestating, and with no move and shoot penalty the number of shots can hurt a lot. Not too mention it kills of our agile troops like dark riders and harpies very easily (even in long range).

But RXB can outshoot them when in range (as others have mentioned), but the forest spirits (well, except the wild riders) aren't good targets for them, they'll be lucky to kill one.

The problem is indeed picking charges, because almost everything is skirmishing and thus more mobile than our regiments, and the less mobile troops are usually hard as nails (like treekin, never fought eternal guard, so I wouldn't know).

30 glade guards (a mere 320 points!) can kill off 8-10 dark elves per turn, provided they are in short range). Even if that's only 3 turns in the battle, that's 24-30 dead elves, or 2 elite regiments, while the dryads finish off with our rxb's.

That's why I have found battles versus Wood Elves always very tense, as there are good match-ups and bad match-ups on both sides, so movement becomes a determining faction more so than in other battles. So the best is to pick your targets wisely, and try to stop your opponent from doing the same.


Thu Mar 04, 2010 4:56 pm
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Then again, Reaper Bolt Throwers will tear through wood elf fast cav, warhawk riders and glade guards with ease - and send a treeman into hiding :)

But you're right a DE/WE matchup usually results in a bloodbath. The two armies are very evenly matched, good movement and devastating on the charge. DE have better options, when you go for the extreme cheese builds, but beyond that the battles are always fun :)


Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:21 pm
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