Total War: Warhammer is finally getting a new faction after months of unit and hero DLC’s. The Wood Elves, long rumored and now confirmed and getting their own DLC. The last DLC faction detailed in my Beastmen preview was a huge success; they added depth in a lacking grand campaign mode, where the empire would grow practically unchecked and the Warriors of Chaos had pretty much next to no help when it came to factions located in the far south.
Wood Elves will bring their own very unique set of tactical options to the battlefield. Their tactics are mostly comprised of ranged units and highly mobile, yet lightly armored specialized infantry. Being Wood Elves, they also have the ability to call upon some seriously devastating forest spirits/monsters to batter through even the stoutest of opposing lines.
That being said, Wood Elves are not the army you want to use if you enjoy direct combat. On the tabletop and in the game, Wood Elves are abysmal in melee combat. They are first and foremost a highly mobile, ranged force. Take away their ability to move and you will all but killed them.
Other mobile armies, like the Beastmen for instance who are great in melee (but nothing to write home about with their missile infantry) may find success against them just because they stand the chance of out-maneuvering them. The Empire can also see some success against the Elves due to their excellent cavalry along with a rather strong ranged contingent these days.
The two factions most likely to struggle against the Wood Elves are more than likely the Vampire Counts, who have absolutely no ranged units and have had there speed nerfed quite a few times since the game released and the Warriors of Chaos, whose slow moving powerhouse units will have circles ran around them.
Chaos v. Elves is a particularly worrying match-up (being a chaos player myself). Heavily armored and highly armed infantry units may become quite useless against the quick and nimble Elves. These Elves sport a variety of Archery units and a variety of different arrows to go with them. Some of the arrows will be magically charged and capable of debuffs or morale damage while other, more practical, arrows simply kill effectively.
One problem I see for Wood Elf players is that they are pretty much guaranteed to be a micro-heavy army. You literally cannot leave your units to themselves for too long, they have to be constantly moving, positioning and activating abilities, etc.
This is not going to be an easy army to use, even for the seasoned Warhammer players. The Dwarves will also probably have a mighty hard time with them, considering they have no cavalry whatsoever. This further weakens their already horrible mobility against them. Did I mention the Wood Elves have access to a dragon? Yes, one of their fifth tier units is a dragon.
Maps with a lot of open space will be their friend, whereas sieges where the Elves are attacking is something I can see them struggling with. Forced into the tight quarters of the ramparts or a town’s square may do them in. As the Creative Assembly releases more information on them I will keep a sharp eye on their development.
The Total War: Warhammer – Realm Of The Wood Elves DLC drops on December 8th, and is available right now for pre-order on Steam.