Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Wood Elf Unit Tactics Part 6 - Glade Riders

Hey Guys and welcome to my 6th entry to Wood Elf Unit Tactics. Today we are looking at Glade Riders which just so happen to be our cheapest Fast Cavalry unit.

Glade Riders are extremely fast and very maneuverable and are probably the most accurate firing bases in the game being able to move insanely far per turn and still fire their bows with 0 penalty to accuracy. Put it this way, you can potentially 'move' 52" on the first turn of the game and fire your 30" long bow giving you a whopping threat range of 82" on the first turn. Its not all positives however as you will soon discover.

Strengths and Weaknesses
The strength of the Glade Riders comes in 3 forms: speed, maneuverability and harassment. They are fast cavalry which allows them to March and Shoot, they can move 12" before the game starts, they can reform for free and gain a nice little ability called Feigned Flight which essentially means when you flee and regroup you can move as normal...including march however you always count as moving when you come to fire your weapons. Combine these abilities with the wood elves special rules and you can flee, regroup move 18" and fire your bows with 0 penalty to hit...which is insane. Add to this the ability to ignore dangerous terrain tests when moving through forests and it seems like nothing can stop you!

Unfortunately a slight breeze can stop you as you have 0 armour, and your only defense comes from the fact you are on a horse (so a 6+ save)...and being T3 your not going to last long at all. Unfortunately your bows are horribly ineffective since they are only strength 3 (not 4 at close range like Glade Guard) meaning you are struggling to do any damage despite your mobility and accuracy. The final nail in the coffin is the price...at almost 25 points a model you are paying a load of points for very little damage out put with next to no defense...a risky move indeed.

Despite their weaknesses and the general hate they gather from many wood elf players Glade Guard are still in fact rather useful. As mentioned above they can potentially move 52" in their first movement phase...depending on the size of the board. Lets say for arguments sake you have a 12" deployment zone. Deploy on that line, move 12" with vanguard and march 18" and bam you have just reached the other side of the board. Bearing this in mind, what tends to lurk at their board edge? Lone Wizards (occasionally) and Warmachines. That initial burst of speed makes them perfect warmachine hunters as you might well imagine. But they have other roles such as 'Bait'. You place your riders in a position where the enemy can charge you, when they attempt it you flee, escape in most cases rally (Ld9 with a musician) and them move your 18" (for example you move PAST the unit that charged you) not only have you pulled the enemy out of formation and into a possible ambush but you have also managed to slip your glade riders behind his unit making them a very real threat when combat begins as you could come in with a flank or rear charge. Finally using them as light infantry hunters. Some armies may utilize skirmishers which are often small in number and easy pickings for your riders especially in combat where you have the clear advantage. You may as well exploit it! In terms of unit size 5 is probably the safest option as it is not to expensive and you can do your general duties pretty well however if you want to risk it for a bit more of a punch then 10 (max unit cap) is not a bad idea, especially for combat support as you will have enough ranks to deny their rank bonus...providing you dont lose a single rider to magic or ranged weaponry.

A fantastic spell to make riders a bit harder to kill is Hidden Path as it makes you immune to mundane ranged weaponry however even that could be a waste as a simple magic missile could very easily wipe out an entire unit. It is probably best using your magic on other units as riders do not really benefit from it.

Never take a champion and ALWAYS take a Musician as it lets you rally easier letting you Feign Flight more reliably. Standard Bearers are hit and miss. Needed for a certain mission and handy in a combat but when push comes to shove and points become tight dropping this guy is probably a good idea. Whilst not part of the command dont place your expensive heroes and lords with Glade Riders, they are far to fragile to be bodyguards for your general etc. so keep characters out of the unit!

I like them BUT they are nowhere near as 'must have' as Glade Guard or Dryads. Against some armies they can prove to be effective if used right however be constantly aware if your foe chooses to destroy them he can and will do it in a heart beat. This makes them EASY victory points for your opponent. Because of this, if you take them you have to have an objective for them per game like: Take out X number of warmachines etc. This way when they die they have done something to help your armies cause...

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