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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Wood Elves vs Empire, 1500 pts

This past weekend I tried out part of my Wood Elf Host against the might of an Empire army. We decided to play at a smaller point level than usual - 1500 points each - which actually makes for an enjoyable little battle, while still giving off a feel of two actual armies engaging. I definitely felt more comfortable with my MSU army at slightly less points.

I had brought a Lifeweaver with a Dispel Scroll and a Noble BSB with the Hail of Doom Arrows and Asyendi's Bane. They would run with ten Glade Guards, while two units of five Glade Riders made out the vanguard. 8 Dryads went into my forest, while three Treekins and a Treeman made out the Forest Spirits. Finally, a Great Eagle was flying above the battlefield. My spells were Awakening of the Woods, Flesh to Stone, Regrowth and Shield of Thorns. Not my most effective spellbook, for certain.

The Empire forces were led by an Archlector on foot, a Captain with the Banner of Eternal Flame imbued on the Battle Standard, possibly imbued by the Bright Wizard who was walking by their side. All three of them joined up with a grizzly unit of around 20 Greatswords, while a unit of around 30 Swordsmen marched next to them and 10 Flagellants were howling from their side. On the far flank, five Knights awaited next to a regiment of 10 Crossbowmen, protecting the artillery train consisting of a Great Cannon, a Mortar and a Rocket Battery. A Master Engineer stood nearby with a Hochland Long Rifle. The Bright Wizard knew the spells of Fireball and Fulminating Flame Cage.

Things of note:

Great Cannon - Of all the Empire artillery, I figured the Cannon was the greatest threat to my Host and decided to focus my arrows on that one early on. When playing Wood Elves, I believe it is of utmost importance to focus your fire and take out the greatest threats to your army - usually very mobile enemies or artillery that can threaten your Forest Spirits. After I deployed both my Glade Riders and Dryads on one flank, my Empire opponent commited a slight mistake in placing his Cannon slightly ahead of his Crossbowmen. This usually doesn't mean much, but against my Longbows that meant I could move out of firing range of the Crossbows while still within range of firing at his Cannon. My Glade Riders vanguarded out of harm's way, while the Dryads remained within the forest for a total of -3 modifier to the Crossbows. With Regrowth available, I felt quite comfortable in letting them get shot at.

Meanwhile, I unloaded all my arrows into the Cannon while my Treeman hid behind a large boulder to hopefully keep him safe. Despite rolling poorly for my Hail of Doom (firing a mere 4 shots) I managed to take out the Cannons in two rounds of bowfire, after it had failed to hit one of my Treekins with the Treeman hiding out of sight. The Crossbowmen, rather than moving out early, elected to fire into the forest but couldn't do much against the Dryds hiding there while tempting the Knights to charge in to fight them. Frustrated by their targets, the Crossbowmen moved into range of the Glade Guards after two rounds, but by then I could move close with my own longbows and shoot them down. I was quite pleased by this move, abusing my mobility and the terrain to my favour, as Wood Elves must do.

Forest Spirits - With the Cannon disposed of, I felt comfortable moving out with my big hitters. Hiding behind a huge rock meant charges would be awkward to complete, so I had to move out close to my foes if I wanted to engage them. The Treeman marched up close in front of the Greatswords and roared his challenge (while forgetting to strangle root them!) while the Treekin moved up towards the Swordsmen. Each of them were protecting the flank of the other, preventing any combination of charges: if the Empire wanted to charge, each unit would have to charge the foe I presented them with, or not charge at all. I felt comfortable with the Treekins against the Swordsmen, with them wounding me on 6's, but the Treeman would be stung on 5+ by the Greatswords, and the Archlector would even harm me on 4+. I hoped to improve my odds in the Magic phase, but my attempt at Flesh to Stone was dispelled, barely.

The Empire, with no real shooting to threaten my Forest Spirits and magic being so fickle, elected to charge in, which was probably a good idea. You always want to charge an army with Lore of Life when their spells are either not active or remaining in play, rather than being charged and then unable to counter their spells in their own phase. Despite Hatred in their first turn, the Greatswords only managed to hurt the Treeman twice, after revealing their flaming attacks, amounting to four wounds on the giant tree. But it was a little too late, as by then the Treeman had cleared out the entire regiment of Greatswords, who held on stubbornly until the end, leaving only the characters remaining. Although the Archlector was never wounded, he was also no longer stubborn once his men died in droves to the stomping of the Treeman, and he promtly broke from combat and was chased down. The Swordsmen, sadly, suffered a similar fate to the Treekins, whom they were wounding on mere 6's, and were trampled to their deaths or chased off in the latter rounds, with the Treekins having suffered only a single wound from several rounds of combat.

That left only the single unit of Flagellants alive, as my Great Eagle chased down the Mortar crew and some Glade Riders rode down the Rocket Battery. However, not before the Rocket Battery could fire off its final load and watch as the rocket landed directly ontop of my Glade Guards, killing every single one of them and sending the Lifeweaver and the Noble scrambling for cover. It was short lived, sadly, as the Lifeweaver then blew up his Noble friend after a horrendous miscast, and later paid for his mistake as the Bright Wizard threw a Flame Cage around the fragile elf and fried him alive. Still, even with my General and Battle Standard disposed of, the Empire army had been cleared of resistance and broken in combat. Victory was mine.