Thursday, 30 June 2011

Wood Elf Unit Tactics Part 8 - Wardancers

Hey guys and welcome to part 8 of my Wood Elf Unit Tactics. Today we are taking a closer look at Wardancers, the first of our full time special choices.

Wardancers are the super fast ninja assassins of the wood elves. Every member of the troupe is capable of killing even the mightiest general in a single blow as well as cut down hordes of enemies with ease. Wardancers combine sold rules with a great statline to produce a kick ass unit (the models are not bad either!)

Strengths and Weaknesses
The base statline of a wardancer is good, but it actually worse than a dryads in nearly every regard and 6 points more expensive to boot. Luckily, they have some special rules that bring them up to scratch. They wield Wardancer Weapons which grants +1 attack as well as +1 strength when charging. This gives them a hefty 2 attacks at strength 4 WS6 I6. The real meat comes from the Shadow Dances. Wardancers can pick between 4 dances and they either let you land Killing Blows, have an additional +1 attack, have a 4++ ward save or Always Strike First with a -1 attack modifier in place. Despite their lack of armour they pack a 6++ ward save naturally and have a magic resistance of 1 so against magic they have a nice 5++ ward save and being skirmishers means hitting them with ranged weaponry is more difficult. Finally being immune to psychology means even fear and terror causing units wont hinder your slaughter.

The downsides however are that they are pricey and very fragile. Yes a 6++ ward save is handy but its not going to save you reliably and having no armour and only being Toughness 3 you are going to fall to supporting attacks REALLY fast. The dance that grants always strikes first is a complete waste since you get less attacks and your high initiative should be hitting first or at least at the same time as most other units in the game. And unfortunately only being S4 some of the time really hinders their attack power in prolonged combats...oh and they suffer from Skirmishers which means they cant break your opponents ranks...fantastic.

The idea is to use them in 1 of 2 ways. You either want to have them as a supporting unit where you get flank charges in whilst your anvil holds up a unit (Ancients for example). And in most cases you want to be using the +1 attack dance giving you a hefty 3 S4 attacks each letting you pile on the hurt against weaker foes and since you are on the flank you shouldn't take to much damage from counter attacks. The other use is assassination. You want to find and challenge powerful or vulnerable characters and take them out with a few well placed Killing Blow strikes. Unit size is important when running Wardancers, they cant have more than 15 and to be honest you never want that many anyway. 8 is the magic number as any more and you are just wasting attacks. 8 wardancers doesn't set you back to much in terms of points either letting you focus on other portions of your army.

As with most wood elf units Hidden Path is a life saver  as these really lack any sort of protection. Becoming immune to most ranged weapons is just to good to pass up. The Lore of Life is simply overkill and not needed since you shouldnt require the defensive bonuses...and certainly not as much as other units in your army. The Lore of Beasts is perfect however as Wyssans Wildform really gives them a combat boost and is reccomended when charging...heck its recommended every combat phase.

I would possibly being a Champion along as it gives you and extra attack in combat however he certainly is not a must have upgrade, and musicians are simply not worth their points in such a unit. Heroes and Lords can have a great effect on combat however. A Noble can simply pack Blades of Loec and Wardancer Kindred and become a handy tool in your unit giving you an addition 4-5 S4-5 attacks that get rerolls to hit and to wound. If you want a particularly beefy character take a Highborn with Blades of Loec, Helm of the Hunt and Stone of Rebirth and Wardancer Kindred. This guy has a 2++ ward save when reduced to 1 wound and gets 6-7 attacks with rerolls. Remember that Blades of Loec can be used in conjunction with Shadow Dances which makes this character particularly deadly against characters as 6 killing blow attacks with rerolls could mean the death of just about any character in the game.

Wardancers are good unit. Fun to field, fun special rules and great stat lines over all. Are they worth the extra 6 points when compared to Dryads? yes and no. Dryads are more reliable however wardancers have more potential for insane damage output. Its up to you to decide which one you prefer.

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