Author Topic: Faction Preview: Wood Elves  (Read 6128 times)

Jubal

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Faction Preview: Wood Elves
« on: March 25, 2013, 09:32:37 PM »
FACTION: THE WOOD ELVES

THE BACKGROUND

The Asrai are the Elves who remained in the Old World after the Elves abandoned their settlements there many years ago. Residing in the forest of Athel Loren, south of Brettonia, they are a vindictive and capricious - but powerful - race.

Athel Loren faces many threats, and any neighbour of the Elves is potentially among them. The Skaven of Mousillon are particularly hated, but the humans of Brettonia or the Dwarfs of Karak Norn are reviled among many elves too. They have never forgiven the lesser races for driving them into the woodlands so many years ago, and now their sole aim is to make the world green again - to bring the forests to the doors of their enemies, tree and branch and dryad and spirit.

The elven armies are primarily based around archers, both mounted and on foot. Of particular note are the powerful waywatchers, whose deadly ability with the bow makes them hugely feared on the battlefield even among the most powerful enemy troops. This means that Wood Elf armies thrive on skirmishes and forest fighting, but are weaker in set-piece battles (a fact any aspiring War Leader of the elves would be wise to remember).

The Asrai are a noble race, and a cruel one. They protect much that is good and could be lost, but at the price of hating that which they cannot protect. They are the caretakers of nature, and no outsider is welcome in their garden.




IN CAMPAIGN



The Wood Elves have just two starting provinces - one of the least of any faction. In addition, they are one of the only factions in the game to have no rebel provinces on their borders to capture. This is their greatest problem in the early game - deciding which enemies to take on to start with. A war with Brettonia is the obvious choice, and tends to occur eventually regardless of whether the Asrai will it. The results can be indecisive - in northern Brettonia or the plains around Brionne the Brettonian knights can easily run down the lighter-armed Elven troops, whereas in the forests of Athel Loren or Parravane the elves have a decisive advantage with their heavy shooting and ambushing abilities. The Dwarfs of Karak Norn can be one of the easier early targets, but can also provide a buffer zone against the Empire wanting to expand over the mountains. If killing bad guys is your thing, moving swiftly to attack Mousillon and cleanse it of Skaven can be both rewarding in destroying evildoers and drive a wedge through the centre of Brettonian territory. Alternatively, moving out to the east and attacking the Orcs around Pheildorf can allow the Elves to control the Tilean Pass - the road to Karak Varn and Miragliano.

The Wood Elf building trees (no pun intended) are worth a look. The temples are vital for training wardancers and summoning dryads to aid your forces. The glades allow most of the other elfin troops - wild riders, glade & eternal guard, and glade riders - to muster, and then there's the guardian tree for the Waywatchers and Walking Woods. The mustering glade is obviously the core of what you need. You can get by with dryads, but they're not the hardest close-combat troops in the world and they're not that fast either. Your specialism in the early game is with your archers, who far and away outshoot any of the bowmen or crossbowmen the nearby humans can throw at you. The only ranged troops you're likely to face to begin with on anywhere near the same level are dwarf thunderers, and given how slow Dwarf armies are your glade riders should be able to run rings around them.

As the game progresses, you'll start facing new threats; the Empire (Altdorf or Middenheim), Araby (if you try and fight over Estalia), Luccini and the Dwarfs (in Tilea) are some of your more likely foes, though Orcs, Undead, Skaven, and Chaos are all possibilities too. Artillery can be a real pain for the Asrai: they can't mass infantry effectively due to its cost, and so heavy counter-shooting can hurt a lot. Using glade riders well is key here; wild riders can also be used as warmachine-hunters, but be careful as once they go berserk you've no way of controlling them after that. The addition of your specialist troops will help a lot in countering new threats (see the tactics notes below). Heavy knights are well countered with waywatchers, artillery by using glade guards effectively. Against the most powerful combat enemies (say, a Khorne-heavy chaos horde) resorting to defence and letting them waste themselves against walking woods whilst you shoot them is often a good plan before going on the attack again. The Old World has a lot of forests, and you'll generally find your troops perform better in them, so the northern Empire can be a good area to expand into once you get the chance.

Good luck, dear War Leader; the fate of these forests may depend on you!



TROOPS

Tactically, the Wood Elves are a skirmish and ambush force par excellence. They can hit hard as anything and their general shooting is fantastic, but caught on an open field they have few units that can really absorb a lot of hits. In combat, try and get into the enemy's flanks and rear with dryads or wild riders - don't let your precious specialists and elves get caught out in the open against heavy cavalry or powerful artillery, you don't have enough of them to spare for that.

When attacking, your eternal guard and dryads are likely to take some hits whatever you do; take a decent number of them, particularly dryads. You need them firstly to soak up enemy shooting, but more importantly to pin the enemy in place. Once that's done, the wardancers and wild riders can really get to work. The power of the wardancers against enemy elites should never be underestimated; hit elite enemy infantry in the flanks and rear with these more powerful combat units to get the best out of their hitting power without exposing them to the enemy front line too much. Wood elves will find sieges of settlements with stone walls or larger to be difficult: use dryads/eternal guard to get ladders or towers up to the walls, then send waywatchers and other elites to cut through wall-defenders and get the gates open.

You can fight as a pure skirmishing force with just waywatchers, glade guard, and riders; this can be good in ambushes and set-piece battles, particularly against infantry-heavy opponents. Be wary of enemy knights if you do this, as while your archers can pin them down to allow wild riders to get a charge a lot will die in the process. Waywatchers are, model for model, incredibly good archers; use them when you need to puncture the armour of enemy heavy infantry and cavalry. Don't underestimate glade riders as a medium cavalry; they're not simply about flouncing around on ponies, whilst they're certainly not heavies and will die quickly in a set-piece straight-up melee, using them as flankers or for swamping a unit cut off from the main enemy force can be very effective. Finally, whilst it's hard making a really good fast skirmish force with no wild riders, be careful! The berserker ability they have makes them extremely potent in combat, but means you can't control them once they've heard the call of the hunt, so enemy light cavalry setting the ability off then leading them away from the main battle is something to watch out for (as is them going berserk then being tempted to charge straight at a line of Tilean pikes).

Finally, defense. You'll note that one unit is missing from the attack and skirmish tactica - the walking woods. These are just too slow to use in attack, your enemy can just keep edging back and you'll basically be forced to abandon your trees to go in for an assault. In defense, on the other hand, the walking woods are one of the most powerful magical units in Warhammer Total War. Their attack is relatively low, granted. But it's a tree. An actual tree. That means, for one thing, a lot of hitpoints. They're also in units of sixty and cause fear, which is always a plus. So they can be used, basically, as the absolute ultimate in pinning the enemy down where you want them. Once they're struggling to cut down sixty trees that are, at the time, trying to crush them with their lower-hanging branches, then you can shoot them full of holes with your glade guard, or send in your better infantry into the flanks and rear. Walking Woods are just particularly good because they're so hard for enemies to deal with; if the elves/dryads are all dead they can slowly chop through them, but doing that whilst under a hail of deadly arrows is rather challenging for anyone!

Core

Glade Guard
Wood elf archers, the Glade Guard, are some of the finest in the old world. They are deadly accurate in their shooting - at close range barely an arrow is wasted.  They are trained in the use of their elven longbows from birth, and as such are a formidable force; while ineffective in combat, they are some of Athel Loren's most numerous and deadly defenders, and their firepower alone kills enough to put many armies to flight.


Dryads
These forest spirits are tough close combat infantry, formed of the very stuff of the forest to attack and destroy its enemies. Dryads are spirits that form into humanoid shapes when the forest is threatened; they trust no-one and are bitter and implacable enemies of any who seek to threaten the woods. Even the elves fear the wrath of an angered dryad...


Eternal Guard
These wood elves have been trained in close combat. Fighting with halberd-style weapons, their grace and elegance belies real combat power. They are the baseline infantry for wood elven close combat fighting, powerful in offense but lightly armoured.


Glade Riders
The glade riders are made up of the most athletic and agile of the elves, and the feats they can perform  fighting with bow and sword from the backs of their noble steeds have in many lesser races {and even among the elves themselves} become the stuff of legend. They are powerful horse archers, and also act well as a good medium cavalry force, providing the otherwise shooting-heavy armies of the Asrai with some much needed hitting power. The unit of glade riders shown include a captain of the Asrai.



Special & Rare

Wardancers
These graceful infantry are barely armoured at all, but are deadly in close combat with powerful swordfighting techniques. Wardancers train from a very early age, and wear no armour to allow themselves to move faster and fight with more agility than warriors of lesser races.


Wild Riders of Kurnous
Devotees of the elven God of the Hunt, the Wild Riders are frenzied fighters mounted on war-deer who will chase and attack enemies with their spears. They are essentially led by the spirit-god of the Asrai, Orion the Hunter, and as part of his "Wild Hunt" will often charge through Athel Loren seeking out any enemies of the forest in a bloodthirsty rage. They are closer to the forest spirits than most elves, and consider themselves more part of the forest itself than part of elven society.


Walking Woods
A treesinger, one of the elven wizards, has brought this forest to life. These trees may only be small but the sight of them lumbering across a battlefield can be terrifying, and can tie an enemy up whilst Wild Riders or Wardancers do the real killing.


Waywatchers
The Waywatchers are the guards of Athel Loren - they silently prowl the forest edges with sword and longbow, allowing none to pass them. They are invisible to all, when they wish to be. It takes many years to be allowed into the ranks of the Waywatchers, but this ensures that though there are few of them, each Waywatcher is a powerful archer, capable of hiding in all terrain, and is also more than a match for all but the greatest of the lesser races' troops.
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comrade_general

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Re: Faction Preview: Wood Elves
« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2013, 11:25:15 PM »
Tree? I am no TREE!

;D

Excellent, Jubal!
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Silver Wolf

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Re: Faction Preview: Wood Elves
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2013, 08:40:33 PM »
All the troops look great (glade & eternal guard especially), but personally, I find moving forest a bit awkward. :P

Are those trees animated or are they just floating around?
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Jubal

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Re: Faction Preview: Wood Elves
« Reply #3 on: March 26, 2013, 11:28:12 PM »
They are animated, they just use the human anims and wave their branches menacingly at people. And shuffle around slowly.

Admittedly they look somewhat imperfect, but for giving the Wood Elves something really unique I felt it was worth doing.
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Scarlet

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Re: Faction Preview: Wood Elves
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2013, 12:05:51 AM »
The trees are awesome. Seriously.
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