Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Preferred Enemies - High Elves, the White Lions of Chrace

Preferred Enemies - High Elves, the White Lions of Chrace

This installment of Preferred Enemies will deal with the Special choice for the High Elf army, the White Lions of Chrace.  They serve as the vaunted bodyguard of the Phoenix King and their Woodman’s Axes carve up their enemies with little difficulty.  Garbed in a lion’s pelt that the White Lion hunted and slew himself, this Lion’s pelt provides the warrior with additional protection and prestige.  A White Lion’s cloak excels at deflecting arrows and his axe slices through wood as easily as it would bone.  The White Lions are truly a fearsome opponent for the Wood Elves to face.
Let us evaluate the unit and its abilities.  The White Lions of Chrace are what I consider to both a hammer and an anvil unit.  They are clad in Heavy armor and wear a Lion cloak which affords them an additional +2 to their armor save against shooting attacks.  Their Woodman’s Axe is considered a great weapon so they are granted a +2 bonus to their Strength in close combat.  In addition to being Stubborn, the unit also has the Speed of Asuryan which provides every High Elf with the Always Strike First special rule. 

White Lion 5 5 4 4 3 1 5 1 8

So right off the bat we are facing an enemy with a Weapon Skill equal to or higher than most of the Wood Elf units and an initiative that also is just as fast so against most of the Wood Elf units, White Lions will be granted a reroll to their missed strikes.  The unit has a base Strength of 4 which becomes Strength 6 when in close combat.  So against even the Treeman this unit would hit on 4’s and wound on 4’s which is not a favorable situation for a Wood Elf general.

The unit is generally fielded in one of two ways; either the High elf player will field a unit of 20-25run them 5x4 or the High Elf general fields 40 and deploys them in horde formation with a flaming banner.  For the most part this unit will slaughter whatever they run into when horded out.  This unit functions as an exceptionally good Monster Hunter and Monstrous Cavalry/Infantry slaying unit.  When this unit is horded out, it can reasonably put out 31 attacks at WS5 and Str6.  With the Speed of Asuryan, this unit is also more than likely rerolling their misses which only adds to their already high combat effectiveness.  Monstrous Infantry like Treekin is suddenly being hit on 3’s and wounded on 3’s with only their 5+ ward save to rely on. 

Things are looking rather grim for Wood Elves…

With enemies that strike before we do with strength high enough to cancel out most of our armor saves, not to mention special rules that make them more difficult to wound with an arrow, how exactly are Wood Elves expected to be successful?

1.       Blacken the sky with arrows – While the White Lions of Chrace do gain a 3+ armor save against shooting, the unit is still only Toughness 3.  If you mass firing at the unit at short range the unit will be hit on 3’s and wounded on 3’s.  You will also reduce that 3+ to a 4+ armor save which never hurts.  If the unit is horded out, this will then require several rounds to whittle down to a size that they may be successfully engaged.

2.       Death from below – Dweller’s Below is still probably one of the best options for capsizing a unit such as the White Lions.  Their base strength is 4 which means that you have a good chance of crippling the unit with a successful casting.

3.       Strangling Annoyance – If you tend to use Treemen in your lists, it never hurts to position one of two of them to the flank of the unit and strangleroot attack them.  Granted they still receive a 4+ armor save but it will still inflict casualties.

4.       Axes! You dare! – The axes that the White Lions wield are not magical therefore they do not negate the Forest Spirit Ward Save so engaging with units like Dryads is not a bad idea since this negates the White Lion rerolls on misses and the Ward Save is a 5+ regardless of the Strength of the attack.

5.       Petrified Forest – While the White Lion’s may be Strength 6, augmenting the Wood Elf close combat units like the Dryads, Treekin and Treemen with Flesh to Stone and increasing their Toughness by +2 or +4 will require the White Lions to need 6’s to wound.  While any wounds that get through will negate an armor save, the Ward Save is still there and functional.

6.       Dragonflame! – The Forest Dragon Breath Weapon in close combat and ranged is strangely effective against White Lions.  It is not however recommended to change into combat against White Lions without augmenting your Forest Dragon with Flesh to Stone.

7.       Misdirection and Redirection – this is a difficult approach to pull off with White Lions due to their high combat effectiveness and high leadership.  It is very useful if you are able to draw the unit away from the front lines but you don’t want to engage the unit with a chaff roadbump and negate a round of shooting at the unit.

The standard configurations you will see for the White Lions of Chrace are as follows:
1.       20-25 White Lions fielded 5x5 or 5x4.  This is a mobile and effective bunker for a hero or lord that allows the High elf player to maneuver and position his hard hitting unit easily.  Options 1,2 and 3 work very well against this smaller unit while Options 6 and 7 do not.

2.       40 White Lions fielded 10x4.  This horde formation is an effective blender for the High Elf army.  Anything it runs into dies unless lucky, and the sheer number of attacks this unit can unload makes front charges on this unit extremely unwise.  The best method to handle this unit is Option 1 and 2.  If you are to engage this unit in close combat is must absolutely be either in the flank or rear in order to minimize the number of attacks coming back at you.  So if resorting to close combat against this Cuisinart, use option 4, 5 or 6.  It is recommended that if you are exercising Option 4 or 5, Treeman and Dryads are the best option since Dryads negate their ASF rerolls and Treeman will be able to Thunderstomp and will require them to hit on 4’s rather than 3’s.     

3.       2 units of 20-25 fielded 5x5 or 5x4.  When your opponent fields 2 White Lion units, you are going to have a tough time ahead of you.  You will need to make the decision to either:
a. focus fire on one unit until it is destroyed or fled

b. split fire where one unit eats up all your arrow fire while the second unit suffers Dweller’s below.

Optimal Units to combat the White Lions of Chrace:
1. Glade Guard – short range Glade Guard will generate so many wounds upon the Toughness 3 White Lions that you will force casualties upon them.  But you must maintain proper range and charge arc movement.

2.  Treeman – I recommend the Treeman because he is able to not only use Strangleroot but also handle himself quite well in close combat – provided he is augmented with Flesh to Stone.  He will cause many wounds against the White Lions and more importantly reduce their combat effectiveness.

3.  Dryads – normally Dryads I use for defense to protect my archers, however in this instance I would be using them to flank charge and tie up the White Lions.  I chose Dryads over Treekin because Treekin will garner too many wounds unless augmented and will be hit on 3’s.

4.  Waywatchers – their Lethal Shot going off on a 6 to wound is amazing and will drop White Lions without the benefit of a save.

5.  Spellweavers w/ Lore of Life – Dweller’s Below. Sup

Treekin, Wild Riders, Eternal Guard and Great Eagles will garner too many wounds in order to make them effective against the White Lions of Chrace.  It is not recommended to engage the White Lions with those units.

 The main thing to remember when facing this type of unit is to keep calm and keep track of how your opponent handles them.  If your opponent is keeping them in the back field for a later in the game charge, then that allows you to deal with the other units first.  If your opponent is ramming them down your throat turn 1 then you have no choice but to deal with that unit first.  My advice is to maneuver your army away from the core of your opponent’s army and hit this unit with surgical precision.  Many players will depend on the stat line to carry this unit rather than appropriate movement and charges.  While this unit has some serious firepower it can be defeated if properly handled in all 4 phases of the game.

I hope this Preferred Enemies edition provides helpful advice and an accurate and effective method of handling and dealing with the Special selection from the High Elf army book, the White Lions of Chrace.