This topic is meant to help elven players to handle this army and to help other players to fight the Elves. If you have some comments, tips, advices or questions, feel free to post them ! I sincerely hope this topic will help beginners (and perhaps even veterans !) playing this army.
Warning ! Huge text ! If you don't want to read everything, you can skip and go the section IX - Some armies in 1200 pts (end of post) to have some armylists. The last section, X - Fighting the Elves is for players who want some tips to fight elven armies.
I - Generalities
The Elves have the best archers in the game (no one would have guessed !) and some special melee-oriented units (like Badger People or Cailanirs). Due to their low number of elements per unit, the Elves should not engage in melee until the middle of the game and try to rout their opponents as quickly as possible to avoid being outnumbered. As the Elves have a high initiative (and quite a good power, especially with the "Power of the Goddess" spell), it's quite easy to do casualties before sustaining any (and get some critical hits). Anyway, the low armour values and the low number of elements make the units very fragile. Once again : do whatever you can to avoid long melees !
A good elven army is a guerilla army. Move quick, deploy in line formation to maximize the shoots and shoot, shoot shoot. You know the joke "shoot first, ask after" ? Well, with the Elves, its "Shoot. Don't ask." The more casualties you inflict to your opponent, the less elements will come to fight you in melee. Move back and use forests/brushes to slow you enemy's movements. Use your melee units only when the enemy is too close to your archers. Get a hero nearby to intercept that annoying summoning that will come to stuck your archers in melee (who said "Pain Demons" ?).
Your opponent will use troops with a good armour and/or very numberous, or play magic (e.g. "Blizzard" from Isthak) to prevent sustaining too much losses by your shoots. To counter this, you can deploy in a flank only and force your enemy to spend turns to move and manoeuver. The longer it takes to him to come to you, the better. Do not let any of your units alone (even the best ones) : due to the low number of elements, it will be surrounded and destroyed.
Be carefull against impetuous units who will strike before you. Move back and manoeuver to avoid obedience tests. Against high armoured units, do not hesistate to support your attacks. The point is to cause damages AND prevent the enemy to strike : each element lost by your opponent is an attack less.
II - Shoots
Most of the Elves units have a ranged weapon. Use them. Even that javelins which seem ridiculous... an attack is an attack, preferably when the opponent cannot strike back. Also think that with your incredibl great range of shooting (14 hexes !), you can hunt down sorcerers or at least prevent them to cast spells on your troops. Just keep an Hold Position order...
Only the Empire and Thaïn's Horde of the Eagle can shoot like you, but you'll have more range. Manoeuvering is the key ! Other armies will use number (waves of units), units without morale or sommunings or behemoths to engage and stuck your archers or magic to reduce the line of sight. Don't panic : shoot as long as you can and try to intercept the threats with your heroes and melee units.
Don't forget your own magic : some spells are very usefull to slow the enemy (Hands of the Goddess or Peace of the Goddess...).
Beware of artilleries : as Elves don't have any, the enemy will be tempted to use some. Move in line formation and try to get out of the range / angle of attack. Use the forests to hide.
III - Melee units
Some units are dedicaced for melee, like the Badger People or Swordmasters. Unfortunately, those units are expensive, limited in recruitment or with a low armour (and, again, only 6 elements). Nevertheless, you must have one or two melee units to intercept the opponents so your archers can continue to shoot. Reinforce your troops with magic if you have a Loreath or a Bard (Power of the Goddess is very effective, but the Bard's spells are quite good too) but only after having casted the spells that slow the enemy.
As mobility is a key of the elven play-style, you should favourize the "quick" units (Wood Elf Spearmen, Thirgars, Cailanirs..) instead of slow ones (Wood Elf Heavy infantry, Na Aroth...) in most case. The "armoured" units are good too, but need to be well deployed because they are slow.
Your heroes can stand alone, but do not hesitate to make them join a unit : they will support each other well. This depends of the conditions.
Please note that even a single Orc Archers unit can do some damage to your melee units due to the lack of armour : counter this by using your own archers.
IV - Thanaril Alliances
One of the best categories of the elven army is the Alliances. Unfortunately, you will recruit only one unit among the six available, so choose well (this depends of the enemy you will fight and of what you already have recruited in the basic Thanaril category). Recruit Unicorns if you know you will fight many wizards (e.g. Isthak...), Badger People or Swordmasters if you have recruited Archers in the basic Thanaril category and Lord of Arrows on the contrary. Do not hesitate to boost the unit you have chosen, by spells and/or with the Kettle of Life.
A note about Badger People and Swordmasters : the first are very effective against all enemies especially cavalries / behemoths, but the second have a initiative of 4 and are more powerful against small foes (e.g. Dwarves).
The Pegasus and the Rangers are very effective units, but hard to play. Pegasus should fly above the battlefield and try to engage in the back a unit who has already moved, while Rangers have to move in M-order and shoot weak units (or support). Take your times to learn how to play those units. Remember that Peasus can shoot while flying... even if it's a weak attack, you can easily target a sorcerer with it and prevent him to rest (and force him to hide in a forest so he cannot cast spells).
At last : do not let your Alliance unit alone. It is powerfull, but you have only one... and their armour values are low, so beware or archers...
V - Ilah Ris
The Ilah Ris grant you some armoured units, but once again they are very limited in number and in quotas. If you want to recruit some, you need to recruit one of the two commanders (Caliar Ildriel or Athulain Gilfar) and this means less points to buy the units. Caliar is good if you want to recruit 2-3 units, and Gilfar is better because of its stats (but you will recruit only 1 unit). The choice is up to you.
Cailanirs are good melee warriors, well protected and still a quick infantry. One of the best infantry you can have with the Elves. Lutharis are nearly the best archers in the game and they are quite good in melee two : a must-have. Bel Ludains are a heavy calvalry... not much to say about them. Na Aroth are very good for defense, but you'll find them too slow for the guerilla play-style (and they are expensive).
Don't forget the Lorea Dragon. It is a very effective piece when you know how to use it. Try to overrun, engage in melee to force the enemy to stay close to you, move back (leave melee) and breathe / overrun again. It can fly to become an "impredictible" threat. truly, the Dragon is a weapon of mass destruction... of you use the overrun and the breathe attacks. Beware of heroes and sorcerers ! And don't stay in melee too long : you have only one attack (+ the tail...) !
VI - Orea Vanars
Like with the Alliances, you will only have one unit among three. The Avandril Bellir are very effective against armoured units (Dwarves, Empire), the Galorea can move very quick to get an unprotected foe (like a sorcerer) and the Til Dolandor are war machines with 2 HP (but costly). They're all good units and the choice depends of what you'll fight (and of what you already have recruited). Please note they all have a special protection against shoots : always usefull.
VII - Centaurs and Treemen
Centaurs are cavalries for an offensive play-style, Treemen are more defensive (and don't use them against Empire or Dwarven armies because of the fire). Once again, they're all good units and the choice depends of what you'll fight (and of what you already have recruited).
VIII - Magic
The Elves spells are very usefull but very oriented.
Hands of the Goddess can slow the enemy, allowing you to shoot him more ; Power of the Goddess will increase your melee power ; Peace of the Goddess will stuck a cavalry ; Anger of the Goddess is difficult to cast but devastating... the Loreath have very good spells, but coslty and you will often recruit the lvl 2 (for 270 pts). Choose well what to cast and do not hesistate to try some new tactics. Guerilla play-style means you set traps...
"IT'S A TRAP !"
The Dyreas have some good spells too : Beauty of Age is very usefull on your commanders ; Visions of Fear can rout an enemy unit ; Protection against Magic will ward you against those annoying spells that modify stats (Orcs, Empire...) and against the "Clanngett's hammer"-like spells ; Mental Strengh is excellent on Skirmishers ; Mental Strikes add shoots... and Power of Reason is one of the best spells in the game - but the hardest to cast. Try to cast it in mid-game to be able to protect your precious sorcerer easily. Once again, a lvl 2 sorcerer while prove more useful than a lvl 1.
At last but not least, the Bard can cast some useful spells too. To render the Bard very effective, play only Thanaril and deploy in a very tight formation. Chants for Morale or Melee bonus, and use "Sounds of Dread" to rout an enemy unit (very effective !). The "Onward to the Battle" chant is very good to make one or your unit (and associated commander) quicker and allow you to intercept a unit easily (especially if you cast the spell on your Heavy Infantry...). Another advantage of the Bard is the low cost of its spells and the fact he doesn't need to cast them again and again but just one time (less risks of critical failures !).
Please note that most of your "offensive" spells do not work against heroes / commanders. Beware of them. Weaken units with magic, and shoot the characters (or fight them with your own heroes).
IX - Some armies in 1200 pts
* A basic army would be : Archers x2, Spearmen, Badger People, Alvandrel Elforien with the Kettle of Life (on the Badger People), Lord Ulathir with the Lordbow. Not much to say about it : everything has already been told !
* An army with the Rangers : Hunters x2, Thirgars, Rangers, Thinuviel the Swift, Lord Elvandar, Alvandrel Elforien with the Kettle of Life (on the Thirgars OR the Rangers). A very mobile army with cavalries : use the Thirgars and Elvandar to prevent the Rangers being engaged. Hunters are archers but can fight a little in melee if needed.
* An army using the Unicorns : Hunters x2, Wood Elf Heavy Infantry, Unicorns, Lord Ulathir with the Lordbow, Alvandrel Elforien with the Kettle of Life (on the Unicorns). This army is more defensive and will lack of a good striking power. Keep the Unicorns behind your infantry (to shoot above and benefits from their anti-magic ability).
* The "Royal Elf Force" : Hunters, Thirgars, Pegasus, Lorea Dragon, Caliar Ildriel, Faldriel Valian. This army is hard to play because of the very few elements... so use the Dragon well ! Faldriel will boost your Morale and frighten the enemy. You can use Ilea the Nymph instead of Faldriel : heal the Dragon and boost the Pegasus with Power of the Goddess...
* Shoot first, don't ask anything after : Archers x2, Thirgars, Lord of Arrows, Athulae the Arrow, Lord Elvandar, Alvandrel Elforien. Not many melee fighter here... but so many arrows flying in the sky. You know the tale of the French cavalry charging the English archers during the 100 Years War ? As the English used white feathers on their arrows, there was so many arrows in the sky that the French though it was snowing ! And all the knights died this day, long before engaging the fight...
* So, you like the armour, heh ? : Wood Elf Heavy Infantry x2, Skirmishers, Lutharis x2, Caliar Ildriel with Rhavandor, Alfarion Foruthir. Reinforce the Morale of the Skirmishers with magic, shoot with Lutharis, and wait for the enemy to impale on the spears of your Heavy Infantry. Don't forget to cast "Beauty of Age" on Caliar !
X - Fighting the Elves
Deploy carefully when fighting an elven army : your opponent may deploy in a flank only to force you to lose time manoeuvering. So, think about it twice and look carefully the field trying to guess what will do your opponent.
As the Elves will strike first (shoots and melee due to their initiative of 3+), you should favour troops with armour and/or number. Do not hesitate to boost your units (armour, initiative) and move them in waves - elite behind basic - to prevent your elite to be weakened by the enemy shoots. You will need to engage the melee fight as soon as possible : you'll benefit from the low number of Elves in this case (and their low armour values). Summonings, behemoths, and cheap heroes can be sent in the first wave to engage the archers (even if one element of the unit fights in melee makes the whole unit unable to shoot).
Try to be impetuous to strike before the Elves and/or try to outnumber them. Reinforce the morale with spells or by associating heroes / commanders : the longer the melee lasts, the better. They are exceptions of course : don't be stuck with Skirmishers...
Because of the great range of the elven bows, you won't be easily able to cast spell on the elven units. Boosting you own troops and summoning are then your priorities. Reducing the sight (Blizzard, Firewall...) is a very good option too.
Even if the Elves' archers are the best in the game, you should always have at least one archer unit, especially if this unit can use fire arrows to fight Treemen. As the elven units haven't much protection, you can easily destroy some elements with a simple Orc Archers unit... just aim the melee oriented ones (who said "Badger People" ?).
Discussion on the Demonworld rules. Tips and tactics are welcome!
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