Jan 6, 2010

Wood Elves and You

This one goes out to all the Eldar players out there who have seen me distracted with my Imperial Guard lately. I haven’t done anything particularly focused on the Eldar in a while, so I thought I would bring this discussion up.

If you don’t know me that well, you’ll probably not know that my first venture into this hobby was with a pre-owned Wood Elf “army” that I picked up so I could get into the game. I got the Army Book as part of the deal, and I began to look through it, so I could get an understanding of the army.

I want to say this; I think that every Eldar player out there should pick up and play Wood Elves at some point. There has been no army or challenge to me that has been greater than the Wood Elves, and it has made me a much better player.

Why Wood Elves you ask? Well, for quite simply the reason is they have a certain stigma attached to them, or at least implied by the earlier fluff. Reading through an old Wood Elf book made Wood Elves (at least to me) seem to be the masters of the shooting phase with their longbows. Naturally, being the young fool I was, I really took this to face value at how the army was supposed to perform on the table – that is, do lots of shooting and defeat the ranks of my opponent. Boy, was I ever wrong.

The secret of the Wood Elves evaded me for a time, until I began to really sit down and think of what I could do with the army. While everyone else would be running around the table in their great big blocks of dozens of troops, I would run circles around them - after losing game after game in a crushing defeat, I decided not to play the same game that my opponents were playing. I decided I would play like a Wood Elf.

In Fantasy, Wood Elves are masters of the movement phase, although at first it may not seem apparent if you don’t know that much about the army. While I won’t bore you to death on why that is possible I’ll just say this; it is comparable to say taking an entire army of Bikes and Jump Infantry that ignore some terrain! Now, yes, I know that’s not a perfect comparison.

I must say at this point, I haven’t played a game of Fantasy in probably 5 years; instead I’ve been far more focused on 40K, so no doubt my comparison may be a bit off.  Even still, the Wood Elves are a very fragile force. (Sounds very similar to Eldar, yes?)

With a mastery of movement, Wood Elves are the perfect “trap” army - a philosophy that can be best described as not giving any favorable options to the opponent. With more complex movement rules in Fantasy, you can literally run circles around units, while you move terrain on your enemy, blocking them and constantly evade their charges, just to regroup and pelt them with (ineffective) arrows. While physically it won’t remove a lot of models from the board, it will frustrate, confuse and disrupt the enemy.

When the time is right, that is when you strike,  pounding a unit to death that has been weakened in resolve, and separated from any help. When a Wood Elf army is in full swing, they are hard to stop, due to the few numbers of people who run the army, resulting in unfamiliarity in how they are played.

The movement phase in Fantasy and 40k has always been an important phase for me, and it remains in my mind the most important part of the game. When I set out to build by Eldar army, I wanted them to exemplify this philosophy, taking it to an extreme and speed not possible in Fantasy.

If you haven't played Wood Elves, I recommend you have a look at the army. It was a real eye opener for me.


zealot January 6, 2010 at 11:27 PM  

Great post. I've played 40k for years, and getting into WE for fantasy was a bit of a 'whoa'. Def put me in the right mode of thinking to dominate the game through movement.

once again, great post!

Faolain January 6, 2010 at 11:38 PM  

Wood elves were the first army I ever played in any GW game. I quit fantasy years ago but I may return for the new edition, if so I may take up the Wood Elf arboreal mantle yet again. The worst part about playing Wood Elves is that no one will let you put any forests down on the board as part of normal terrain set up (same goes for Lizardmen and water features).

Akenseth January 7, 2010 at 9:25 PM  

That is so true about the forests. Luckily the rules at least give you a freebie - or at least they used to.

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