What is it about Elves?


As you will already be aware of Thursday night saw us gamers get together for another round of beat on the Elf.  Last nights battle was a lot of fun.  As ZombiePirate has already informed you it was a battle for the pass game with us basically having to kill as much of each other as possible [I love simple games].   My army had seen a few changes since its last use – out went the Ent which had done next to nothing in 3 games, and I’ve also been trying out lots of different characters – in last nights match I used Glorfindel, Thranduil and Cirdan.  The rest is pretty familiar; 3 companies each of Galadrim, Galadrim Archers and Galadrim Knights.

I deployed my army across the board to take full advantage of the longbows, whilst ZombiePiarte used a refused flank stance.  In general the battle went as follows – Elves got attacked by the wood; Galadrim Archers shot the crap out of stuff; Glorfindel had a fantastic failure of a combat with the Winged Nazgul (more later); the Galadrim Knights saw off the Haradrim Raiders, then got finished off in combat against the Haradrim Infantry with Dalamyr (though they did take out about a third of the unit); the Nazgul spent half the game having fantastic magic rolls, whilst despite having 3 casters, mine flopped like a bad perm; Glorfindel later redeemed himself by finishing off the Haradrim, the Easterlings and the Nazgul and at the end of it all there was 4 Morgul Knights and Dalamyr left on the table.  Total whip out for the Elves [my third in a row now!].

So what are my feelings towards my army?  I like the Elves, despite the losses sustained so far – I’ve 1 game out of 4 and like I said the last 3 there was nothing left of my army, but at least this time there wasn’t much left of my opponent’s either.  For some reason I like the Elves (and Elf-type) armies in wargames.  I have a Wood Elf army for Fantasy, an Eldar army for 40K and the Thaniras Elf fleet for Uncharted Seas.  And now after playing some games of War of the Ring I’ve noticed a theme; that they all aim for the hit hard, hit fast principle.  They are all incredibly fast armies with a lot of hitting power, but somewhat lower defences and so tend to lose out in a war of attrition.  The Elves of War of the Ring are no different.  After having spent some time thinking about the army, I’ve identified what I see to be the main strengths and weaknesses of in the army.

Strengths

  • Speed – all the Elves move at least 8 inches (their cavalry move 12), they also all have pathfinder master, meaning that they ignore difficult terrain.
  • High Fight – even the basic Elf is Fight 5 (equal to many other people’s Epic Heroes) and their own Epic Heroes often have Fight values of 7,8 and 10.  So that’s LOTS of attack dice.
  • Terror – they all cause terror.
  • High Courage – basic Elf courage is 5, with captains and most Epics at 6, making them very reliable and making the Spirit Grasp rule pretty pointless against them.
  • Longbows – 36″ range weapon with at least 10 dice per company, it massacres lightly armoured units and even heavy units need to watch out.
  • Magic – the only Good army to have magic users in their list and there are plenty of them; out of 12 Epic Hero choices 6 are magic users, plus there are 2 Legendary formations and the Galadrim can be upgraded with Stormcallers.  This gives you access to Dismay, Command and Wilderness spells.
  • Characters – they have more Epic Heroes to choose from than any other army save Mordor, so that’s plenty of choice.

Weaknesses

  • Expensive – most companies of Elves cost at least 50pts; that’s enough for 2 companies of Minas Tirith Warriors or almost 4 companies of Orcs/Goblins.  This means you can expect to be outnumbered by at least 2:1.  It also means that you often can’t afford the a lot of unit upgrades.
  • Low Defence – they’re defence is often a point or two lower than most units; e.g. Galadrim Warriors 4(6), Easterling Cohort 5(7).
  • Limited unit options – a lot of the units do similar things, and they’re is no artillery.
  • Characters – too much choice leaves you pondering on which characters to use and the expensive units means you can’t get a lot of Might points in your army.

So how do I feel about the army that I used last night? And how did these strengths/weaknesses play out?

Glorfindel: I decided that I wanted to use this guy partly because I thought I could do with a monster to replace the Ent and partly because I enjoyed painting the model [it’s the big green one in Servitob’s post].  The beginning of the game went really badly for him – he charged the Winged Nazgul, declared a Heroic Duel and did nothing, then came regular fighting between them and again nothing.  What should have been a dramatic combat between two monsters was a huge pile of fail from both characters, no hits were scored.  He failed a lot of his spells and failed to hit a single Morgul Knight in a later combat.  He later redeemed himself by killing the said Nazgul along with the Easterlings and the Haradrim.  His speed and the sheer number of dice you roll in combat makes him a formidable character, and at defence 7 and Very Hard to Kill, he’s not easy to hurt.  Would I use him again? Most definitely, but at 250pts he’s probably a bit too expensive for a 1000pt army.

Overall rating so far: 4/5

Thranduil: Another new hero for me to try.  His epic shot surprised ZombiePirate and his Fight 7 and Wilderness Spells are useful – though I did manage to fail a lot of my magic rolls (especially focus rolls) with him.  On the plus side he is (125pts) and you get a good combat character who is also a wizard.  Chances of me using him again; good.

Overall rating: 3/5

Cirdan: A new choice for me.  I thought his Command Spells would hurt the Nazgul and repair damage to his unit, but he got Black Darted at the beginning of turn 2 and had done nothing in the game.  If he had survived longer, then perhaps something may have come from him, but at Resilience 1 I’m not sure I’ll be in a hurry to use him soon.

Overall rating 2/5

Galadrim Infantry: I’ve had a mixed amount of success with these troops.  As my main combat unit they tend to get a lot of attention, but at the moment I’m only fielding 3 companies of them, and the damage absorption just isn’t there.  One the plus side they do have a habit of really hurting stuff in close combat and at defence 6 they can take some punishment.  They have worked well when supported with a Hero with Epic Defence and the Spells of Command to replenish depleted companies.  A good, dependable unit, just don’t hit it too many times.

Overall rating 3/5

Galadrim Archers: Probably the one unit that has done the most damage.  At the risk of offending the dice gods they have a habit of doing a lot of damage with their longbows, hence why I added a third company to the unit since my last game.  At fight 5 they’re also no pushovers in combat and when they have a Hero with Epic Shot or Epic Defence, they become a unit to fear.  This unit I intend on taking every time I go to the field.

Overall rating 5/5

Galadrim Knights: Another useful unit.  I’ve yet to use the shield armed variety as I find their longbows and Expert Rider ability just too much of a temptation.  They do a decent amount fo damage at range – destroying the Haradrim Raiders after 3 volleys, and they can deal a lot of damage in combat.  There one big weakness – defence 4, so pick your targets carefully.  This being said, I fully intended on keeping the unit in my army.

Overall rating 4/5

So how did the army as a whole work?  Ignoring the bad dice rolling that plagued us both this game I think it went well.  Although I had nothing left, it was probably the most tightly fought game so far.  The speed, high fight and longbow strengths really came out, how ever so did the lacking in numbers and the loss of Might points to the Black Dart.  What would I change for next time?  I think that the army was to character heavy, especially for 1000pts, so a change of characters will probably take place before the next battle.  Good thing I have plenty to choose from.

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