|Motivation made manifest. Now, go out and sell, sell, SELL|
Without further bullshit, here's Matt's take on Wood Elves:
The suck... the life out of people like me who laboured for weeks to get the rockenest autumn colors evah.
I've only played a practice game with Wood Elves in the new rules - despite having a metric butt ton of games in 7th edition (aka the days when combined charges mattered). So my advice will be half-articulated and poorly reasoned.
Wood Elves have some of the best magic defense. Wand of Wych Elm got awesome since you can A) take a Lord-level caster and not block yourself entirely on a sweet Highborn and B) adding +4 makes you more dispel-die efficient. You can play risky odds knowing you have 2 shots at every dispel and really only need to dread phases when the winds of magics are heavily skewed (times where the dice are 5 and 5 or 6 and 6). Turns where the dice come up 6 and 1 are pretty safe. Only thing you have to fear are Irresistables but in that case, hopefully your opponent losing too.
The Dryad/Treeman spite that gives you +1 dispel die (cluster of radiants) is gold. Seal of Ghrond (dark elves), Annulin Crystal (high elves) and other items that are raw, solid dispel dice are no-brainers these days, and the spite is very cost effective.
Wood Elves still have the weakest magic offense of the elven races, but Lore of Life got waaaay better and the augments, regrowth, and dwellers are all spot-on in just about any build or matchup. Also, being able to bounce a heal with each spell is pretty golden if you're running a Treeman Ancient with a Hero caster or two out there. Lore of Beasts would be great if Transformation didn't blow and if you were playing in a game where you had both a Treeman Ancient and a Spellweaver (think you need like a 3000 point game for that) so you could do the +3S, +3A thing on him and laugh heartily.
Lore of Athel Loren is easy to cast but kinda sucks. Too bad Spell #6 is great for being one of the rare move-out-of-sequence abilities in the game. Awesome for flank charges, sucks that you have to waste a mage hoping to get one useful spell.
The rule-that's-not-a-rule-but-everyone-calls-it-a-rule that lets all enemies fight to the last model borked Wood Elves something fierce, as did steadfast, so I'm trying to focus on what Wood Elves can do... and to me, they can master the deployment phase by having everything be a scout/vanguard.
The original printing had Elven Steeds with the Fast Cav rule, then they errated it out and now they errated it back in. Whatever. End equation is that characters can be fast cav and blend into a vanguard unit. Hells yeah.
So, you could use any of the combination of Glade Riders, Glade Guard Scouts, Wild Riders, Waywatchers, and all the Asrai characters you want and advance onto your enemy before the game has even started. This isn't going to magically change the fact that most armies can facerape you with return attacks in steadfast, but Wood Elves are so incredibly anti-gunline that the Dwarf/Empire players who get off on cannons, mortars, stone throwers, and move-or-fire gunner troops have all of 1 turn to try and hurt you.
Another thing Wood Elves can do very well is assassinate mages. There's an oft-overlooked clause in the new rules that champs can decline challenges with no penalty. So Warhawks, Wild Riders, and Glade Riders can charge into mage bunkers and not let a sacrificial champ soak up injury - the champ in your unit can ensure an extra attack in that limited but of frontage and hopefully knock out a mage.
The ruling that BSBs can have spites is pretty sweet. You can now protect your BSB just a weee little bit.
Common magic items made the Highborn on Eagle hilarious. He gets Toughness 4 (rules weirdness) and with Armor of Destiny or Crown of Command or Annoyance of Netlings (can't combine all at once but some variation of that) he can be a total cockmunch tarpit sticky piece of shit.
If you're insane and do the Treekin horde block, it actually could work if you back it with sweet sweet augments - like the basic Beasts spell. But it still seems like more points (and $$$) than is worth it. The sort of thing that'll seem awesome the one game it goes right and it'll trick you into running it a ton of times over in a vain attempt to recapture that one time it worked (aka Wraithguard).
My favorite change is really subtle and nothing all that great, but shooting in two ranks makes basic Glade Guard way better. 5x2 and no penalty for moving in shooting means you can pretty much guarantee every turn you're hitting something and doing something and not cocking up the board with a fat-ass 10x1 traffic jam.
And while Wild Riders are kind of overpriced now, striking in Initiative order makes using their +1 Attack when not charging clause kind of awesome. Bait and Flee tactics may be dead but getting charged is actually kind of fun with these guys - you'll probably drag a ton of dudes with you. Too bad you'll rarely get your points back but it almost works against glass cannon troops like Black Guard, Greatswords, and such. Hey, grasping for straws here.
Another strength of the Wood Elves is their ability to field a high number of enemies with a theoretical charge range of 21"+ inches. This means if an enemy flees once, you can start declaring additional charges and force a unit to flee over and over again (since your long charge range means you legally declare a charge as long as the unit didn't flee crazy far). That whole flee-more-than-once thing is whole new can of nuttiness. You need to have a well-positioned fast cav/eagle force to do it, but you can dick over an enemy that feel backs out of a fight with you (though in truth, hard to find an enemy who won't tangle with Wood Elves but... whatever).
Things that you probably can't get away with anymore:
* Alter Kindred... he loses -1 for being by himself. Stupid but true.
* Waywatcher butt rape super scout deployment. Lame that they errated this but... whatever.
* Dryads - having zero ranks means 5 models of anything non-skirmishy is steadfast against you... maybe nice for chewing down small units but... not sure how often you'll see that.
* Wardancers - sorry guys, just kind of sucks to be a non-shooting skirmisher these days. They're not totally useless anymore - they act as a very excellent character escort crew and the 3 attack killing blow Wardancer champ can enjoy that new and oft-overlooked clause about additional VPs for a champ killing a character... but yeah, hardly as awesome as they used to be.
* Thinking you'll ever win against High Elves - I'm not convinced that any amount of tactical brilliance can overcome the terrible rules lopsidedness that occurs between these two factions.
So yeah... things are bleak for the Wood Elves but I think they have deployment and magical defense going their way. Hardly game winning strengths, but you can really cock-up shooting armies and undead armies (the ones that can't benefit from steadfast and so enjoy every ounce of your attack output).
Oh, and I just rubbed two braincells together and realized the Alter Kindred can get a look out sir roll standing next to some glade guard - as of the new rules, he doesn't have to be standing actually *in* the unit to take cover. Damn... throw a Helm of the Hunt and a magic bow on him and he actually might be worth it... hmmmm...
Sure, the LOS roll is 4+ but if you're running an Alter Kindred, you're all about high risk/high reward crapshoots so what do you have to lose? Besides, even the biggest GW haters will admit that the Wood Elf character sculpts are top-notch masterpieces.
Well, that about wraps up the motivational seminar for today and closes out another No Pants Friday. Just a quick note: none of you are being paid for this time. Now, lets all go see if Dash of Pepper and Stelek can 'prove' something about Orks and their level of suckiness.
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