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Friday, August 20, 2010

Wood Elves and Eighth Edition

If you've read my previous what not about Beastmen in Eighth Edition, you'll probably note that I have a pretty low opinion of the average internet forum doomsayer. Beasts seem to work great in Eighth, and yet every knuckledragger with a dial-up connection has decided they are a bottom tier army.

Likewise, the Wood Elves are decried as a totally useless army by the masses. The old style Wood Elf army of multiple small skirmishers dancing around the table and hiding behind terrain is gone for good. It won't do enough damage, and it won't be able to break large units. Because this style of army doesn't work, the argument goes, Wood Elves are now the worst of the worst.

The problem with this example, like how people view Beastmen, is a anti-Darwinesque inability to adapt to the new rules and strategies that come with a new edition of the game (combined with the self-confidence that it takes to declare someone else's army terrible without letting Eighth breathe for a few months). The haters are correct: the MSU Wood Elf army is not in good shape. Luckily, that style of play isn't all that the Wood Elves had to offer, and I think they'll be just fine.

The other day, my opponent Brad brought two Treemen, an Alter Lord, an Alter Noble, a big units of Dryads, a Level Four Sorceress with Lore of Beasts, and lots and lots of bows. Those suckers were lined up to fire at me until I made pee pants all over the forest. I had my Lore of Death Beastmen and was feeling good.

Brad's army didn't conform to the old MSU way. There were big ranks of bowmen. The dryad unit was big and punchy. There was a Level Four Mage, and she didn't know treesinging! Instead, Brad used some new strengths. He used his shooting to whittle down the troops that he could shoot, and ignored the ones that he couldn't. He tag teamed down my Ghorgon with his two Alters, using their superior speed and movement (and they were equipped, tellingly, with items from the new Common Magic Item list). He used his treemen to threaten my flanks and then charge in when the opportunity presented itself, smashing enough rank and file to scare off my Gors (and my General). He held back where he needed to, and pushed where he needed to until my army fell under the pressure.

There are a lot of neat things in the Wood Elf book that didn't make an appearance yesterday, like Treekin or access to the Lore of Life. However, Brad did something that I think more entrenched players might have a bit more trouble with: he played differently in order to fit in with the new edition. Conventional wisdom has Wood Elves trying to "fit in" poorly with the new rules by taking big blocks of expensive ranked infantry, or just struggling miserably against the big blocks of Eighth. Instead, Brad used different strengths of his book, and hit me hard.

Eighth hasn't really sunk in yet, and we don't know who the winners and the losers among the army books really are just yet. All I know is that I'm not willing to count anyone out yet.


  1. I'm definitely interested in seeing Wood Elves vs Skaven, Dark Elves, Dwarves, Warriors, and Orcs... the powerhouses of 8th Edition so far.

  2. I'm not arguing that they're going to be a very top tier army, just that they are quite feasible. Certainly not "Ogres of 7th Ed." bad.


  3. Thanks for the post! I might start painting a few more of my wood elves soon. Its good to see a positive note.

  4. My wood elves have been extremely effective in 8th edition. I've won more games than lost. My first real loss was tonight actually to a Bloodthirster lead Chaos Daemon army and honestly, they did pretty damn good! Screw the internet "top tier" lists - the game is about how players can play vs. what list is tits!