Saturday, 25 June 2011
Wood Elf Unit Tactics Part 4 - Glade Guard and Scouts
I love Glade Guard both in game and in model terms. They look fantastic and when used right they can be devastating. They have a few special rules that let them hit targets from 3ft away, the most powerful long bows to name a few. You would be foolish to run an army without a solid core of Glade Guard in my opinion.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Being BS4 is the most obvious advantage they will be hitting most targets at short range on a 3+, but this by itself isn't that special compared to most other archers. What does make them superior is the ability to move and shoot without any penalty meaning you essentially have a 35" range and even at that range you are still hitting on 4+ when most armies will be hitting on 5-6+ after moving. Finally, at short range you become very deadly indeed coming in with S4 shots hitting on 3+. And all this for 1 point more than the High Elf equivalent...you cant complain with those results!
The downsides are that you have 0 armour meaning you cant take much punishment especially when you are toughness 3. This has been made even worse in 8th since magic has had a bit of a boost meaning your armour-less archers become ideal targets and there is very little you can do to combat that.
When it comes to Glade Guard you want to keep them cheap since they are vulnerable and any ranged or magic attention will seriously hurt them. This means a command group is pretty pointless on the surface. Look deeper and you will see that they can be very helpful overall. Champions are pretty much useless, the extra +1 BS wont make much difference making him a waste of points. Musicians on the other hand are very good to have around. When a unit charges your glade guard fleeing is often a good tactic and the Musician will let you regroup. Finally the Standard Bearer...you dont want to be in combat so the +1 resolution is not needed however Blood and Glory (Mission) requires standards otherwise you automatically lose the game. Glade Guard are some of the only units able to take them so you might as well. Remember though, if you flee your standard bearer is killed so dont flee unless its ABSOLUTELY necessary. The other bonus is the ability to take a magic standard up to 25 points...which we will go into more detail in a moment.
My favorite way to use Glade Guard is to take a few units (3-4) of 10 glade guard usually with musician and possibly standard bearer. You have 3-4 mobile archer units that can just wreck havoc on the enemies lines. Cheap and effective. However you can opt to turn your cheap archers into very expensive Anvils. Taking units of 40-50+ in horde formation you get about 35 shots a turn, just before the enemy charges you reform into 5x10 formation stand and shoot and lock them in combat with steadfast leaving the enemy open for flank charges. You will want full command and probably a character with Rhymers Harp and maybe even a BSB in or nearby your unit. Its a good idea but i am not a big fan of it. My second favorite idea is to run a unit of 20 Glade Guard with the Banner of Eternal Flame probably with a hero packing the Hail of Doom Arrow. You have a rather mobile unit getting 20 flaming shots a turn making you ideal for taking down regenerating monsters, flammable targets and more importantly damaging units in buildings as you get Rerolls to wound when attacking such units. And having your noble throw out 3-18 shots with his arrow once per game also flaming you have some serious firepower. Have them supported by 2 units of 10 glade guard and your good to go. Optionally you can combine this tactic with the horde tactic mentioned earlier but that is up to you!
So far i have only mentioned Glade Guard, however for 5 points more you can upgrade them to scouts. Scouts lose their S4 bows however become skirmishers with the Scout special rule. They can take command options as usual but cant have more than 10 elves per unit and unfortunately you can only take 1 unit of scouts per unit of glade guard.
Strengths and Weaknesses
Being Skirmishers makes you much harder to hit with ranged attacks esspecially if you keep in cover (forests for example) making you a bit more survivable, you are also much more maneuverable thanks to being able to March and Shoot giving you a total range of 40" with no penalty when moving and shooting. Finally, with the scout rule you can deploy further up the field and use them as harassers, lone character assassins and war machine hunters.
Unfortunately they are very expensive to take, their bows are only S3, they still have no armour and are just not that effective in game. They are basically a poor mans Way Watchers who are ironically over priced scouts...when it comes to our scout units unfortunately they just don't perform as well as we would like (more on Way Watchers later!).
Lone Characters are common in fantasy whether it be a Mage trying to get into a key position, a character mounted on a flying mount or monster etc. Using your scouts you can get into a good position and use your high volume of fire to weaken or kill the target early before he causes trouble later on. War Machines are a bit issue for wood elves as we have very few reliable units able to handle them, scouts are a good way of taking them out thanks to their scout move and long ranged weaponry and maneuverability. Wizard Protection...believe it or not scouts make for good wizard body guards since they are so resilient to ranged attacks thanks to being skirmishers. A small unit of 5 can keep you wizard pretty safe throughout the game. Harassers, because they move 10" a turn and can still fire (accurately) they can run circles around larger infantry blocks and their is not much the enemy can do to stop you...using this to your advantage is key.
Glade Guard are almost a must have unit in any army (out side of a themed list) and scouts, whilst full of weaknesses can be used to achieve certain things...even if it is for a extortionate price!
Look out for more tactics!