Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Preparing for Axemaster

Axemaster is now only a bit over a week away, so I finally had to submit my army list the other day. General opinion seemed split as to whether I should take Wood Elves or Orcs and Goblins, but in the end the decisive factor was that the Orcs were going to be a bit too much work to get ready in time. After fidgeting with Wood Elf lists for a while, this is what I eventually submitted:

  • Highborn on Great Eagle with Longbow, Light Armour, Shield, Helm of the Hunt, Stone of the Crystal Mere, Ogre Blade, Potion of Foolhardiness
  • Glamourweave Spellweaver (Level 4, Lore of Beasts) on Unicorn with Longbow, Dragonbane Gem
  • Noble (Battle Standard) with Asyendi's Bane, Hail of Doom Arrow
  • Branchwraith
  • Branchwraith
  • Branchwraith with Cluster of Radiants
  • 10 Glade Guard with Standard, Musician, Banner of the Eternal Flame
  • 10 Glade Guard with Standard, Musician
  • 16 Dryads
  • 15 Dryads
  • 12 Wild Riders with Standard, Musician, Gleaming Pendant
  • Treeman
  • Treeman
  • Great Eagle

Total Army Cost: 2599

The list above may well confuse some people. It's a bizarre combination of relatively competitive choices and silliness. I'll try to explain some of it for you. The worst decision in the army is the level 4 mage. Putting her on a Unicorn (and consequently upgrading her to Glamourweave kindred) costs 85 points and really just makes it harder to protect her. But I converted a model for her years ago, and she's one of my favourite conversions. She was one of the reasons I decided to use Wood Elves. 
I chose the Lore of Beasts because I didn't particularly want to be "one of those" Wood Elf players seen to be using Lore of Life as a crutch. I also really wanted to make use of a goodly number of Branchwraiths and Dryads, and the Lore suits this. I'll be hoping to cast the odd boosted Savage Beast of Horros. As a whole, Branchwraiths are a disappointing selection. They are just glorified Dryad champions - same Strength, Toughness and Attacks. Even their Leadership is no better. However, they are pretty affordable for a character with a moderate profile and a built-in ward save (albeit only against mundane attacks). As targets for Beasts magic they could be worse. I originally imagined up to half a dozen of them in this list, but a few of them had to make way for other choices.

My army has very few archers. I don't particularly like fielding armies packed with missile troops - I get more excited by things that can actually go after the enemy. I've actually never bothered to field Glade Guard in my previous Wood Elf tournament lists; I have only entered 4 tournaments with the current army book (old as it is), and the only non-Forest Spirit model I have previously taken was a Spellsinger. In one of those events. OK, so I like angry trees and vengeful tree spirits. So sue me. I have broken the pattern this time, in acknowledging that Glade Guard are really one of the strengths of the current list. Taking 2 units of 10 is not really making good use of this strength, unfortunately. Ah well.

I don't like my BSB. She really just serves as a caddy for the Hail of Doom Arrow, which has pretty much been an automatic inclusion in my Wood Elf armies since 4th edition. Obviously she also provides leadership re-rolls, but she can only join the Glade Guard units. This means she is stuck in the back line where her re-rolls will be less influential. She's also extremely vulnerable, both due to the flimsiness of her bodyguard units and her lack of defensive gear. I fiddled with different approaches, like trying to make her a capable combat character either in a Wardancer unit or on an Eagle, but ended up frustrated by the lack of protection available. The Wood Elf love of prancing through the forest groves means they refuse to wear armour like sensible warriors. In the end I decided if I couldn't protect her properly, I wouldn't bother trying at all. So she is unencumbered by armour, and ready for prancing. Pity about the enemy weapons and all the bashing and stabbing that will probably ensue.

I have no Treekin in the army. I couldn't find the points for them. This might seem foolish given that they're the only tough thing in the army other than Treemen, but 6 of them would have set me back 390 points, which I just couldn't justify. I preferred to include my Wild Riders, because (like the suicidal Unicorn-riding mage) I like my converted models and want to use them. I also like their speed, which Treekin lack a bit.

I considered a number of Lord options, and in the end (rather at the last minute really) I put in the Highborn on the Eagle. He's fast, moderately dangerous and reasonably tough. It's a good combination of things, and means my Spellweaver doesn't also have to take on leadership responsibility for the whole army (translation: she will not cough up 100 bonus points every time she dies). The Highborn costs a fair few points, but I he'll give my opponents something else to worry about.

I would have liked to include some Wardancers (maybe including a character), but in the end they didn't make the cut. Like many things in the list they're too expensive and vulnerable, but I like their flexibility and damage potential. Maybe if I'm brave and take Wood Elves again to an event in the near future, they will get their turn. If the Wood Elves don't get beaten out of me this time around, that is.

Anyway, that more or less explains where the army list came from. I will be content if it wins 3 of its 6 games. In terms of getting the models ready, this is a pretty gentle project. I'm updating the 15-year-old paint jobs on 20-25 of my old Glade Guard models, as well as painting up a new standard bearer for one of the units. There are some other things I could be doing, like modelling up a fancier standard for my Wild Riders. Whether I get around to that will probably depend on how I feel in the coming week.  
Everything old is new again: The guy on the right is the old paint scheme. The guy on the left has been updated.
The Glade Guard I'm working on are old single-pose Wood Elf Archer models, like the ones you see above. I have 56 of this model, painted in 5 different colour schemes. They all display the same lack of shading, etc. They were painted a very long time ago, and as with so many of my figures, they were done in a hurry for a tournament. My original plan was to hit them with a wash and call them done, but of course my plans never seem to work out that way. Most of the model got shaded and highlighted, and I ended up with my usual pile of about 20 paint pots in front of me, wondering how I could have needed so many. Still, it didn't take forever and he is an improvement, so it's probably the plan I'll go with. We'll see how they turn out.


  1. As long as you are satisfied with the list, that is what counts. I like the updated figure, I should probably get around to doing something similar myself.

  2. The touch up on the paint job looks good, In terms of your list I've never played against wood elves and have no idea what any of those things do seriously glad not to many people are taking them (I've got the art of war just haven't read it). Oh Except for the Dragonbane gem don't waste your fireball at that one. ;)

    1. There could be as many as 4 Wood Elf armies at Axemaster, so it might be worth your looking them up beforehand. Or you can just wing it and ask people to explain things before the game, but it's not really the ideal preparation.

    2. Thanks for the tip, I'll have another listen to the dwellers wood elf review. Don't like my chances of getting a practice game in before Axemaster I've only got Tuesday nights free at the moment

  3. Is that old model painted with Bronzed Flesh? When I first got into GW every non-lizard model I owned used Bronzed Flesh... it took a few years before I realized there were other options I think.

    That's a fun looking list. I'm definitely looking forward to seeing how it does. It may even encourage me to convert a new unicorn riding spellweaver (just because I like the concept...)

    1. Nah, the metal bits were painted with Shining Gold. The colour was dramatically different back when GW paints were still sold in tall hexagonal, slightly soft-sided pots. I still have that pot of paint and use it as the top highlight on the gold things I paint now. It's only relatively recently that I got my hands on some pots of Bronzed Flesh.

      A Unicorn? I can't say I recommend it. The only units you can join will be Treekin and Wild Riders, and neither will grant you Look Out Sir. Nor can you flee charges because you're a Forest Spirit and immune to psychology. It's a very risky/foolhardy way to expose a level 4 wizard. Of course, that didn't stop me. Just so long as you know what you're getting yourself into...

  4. Nice! I have just found a box of those archers myself and looking to update the scheme and move away from greens and browns. It's not easy!

    1. Beware, if you stray too far from the dull, neutral tones people expect from Wood Elves, you start to get very odd responses. Apparently purple Treemen, orange Dryads and dazzlingly bright Scouts are not the done thing. So I hear, anyway. I wouldn't know from experience, of course...