Sunday, May 4, 2014

Company of the Damned - 2014 Wood Elf Army Book Review- Part Two: Embracing Change - Army Special Rules, the Armoury and Changes.

Part Two: Embracing Change - Army Special Rules, the Armoury and Changes. - Continued...

In the last post I discussed briefly the layout of the book and what changes had taken place between the previous army book and the new one.  I listed what had not made the transfer into the new book and what critical items and rules had been lost. 

I think the most critical items/rules that had been left out were:
Asrai Archery
Rhymer's Harp
Kindred Rules
Wand of the Wych Elm
Lore of Athel Loren

These items were fairly critical to the Wood Elf theme and back story and added a level of customization to the army that was not present in any of the existing army books.  Now that we have listed what has been lost let us now discuss what has been changed...

What was changed...

1.  Bodyguard - This rule was changed and made obsolete by Eternal Guard being Stubborn without needing a Highborn or Noble in the unit.
2.  Forest Spirit - This rule has been changed whereas it no longer grants the 5+ ward save against non-magical attacks and the restrictions about grouping with units that did not have this special rule was lifted.  The ward save was lessened to a 6+ against all attacks
3.  Forest Stalker - This rule used to be a specific rule for Waywatchers were it provided an additional -1 to hit the unit and allowed their deployment to have no minimal distance from the enemy when scouting.
4.  Forest Walkers - This rule was folded into the new Forest Stalker rule.
5.  Woodland Ambush - This rule was rolled into the Ambush from the Worldroots only instead of a 6" wood you now get a Citadel wood.
6.  Glade Guard Longbows - One of the favorite items of any Wood Elf general is now gone, Wood Elf longbows are no longer Strength 4 at short range.  This special rule was changed into the Asrai Longbow item.
7.  Strangle-root Attack - This is now a Strength 5 attack that does D6+1 shots with a 12" range and the Multiple Shots special rule.
8.  Talismanic Tattoos - These no longer provide the MR 1.
9.  Tree Singing - This spell is provided by an arcane item and replaces one that the wizard knows.  You may also no longer "surf" units with it as the woods now must be unoccupied to be moved.
10. The Spirit Sword - the language on this weapon was cleaned up and you no longer suffer the drawbacks for not beating your opponents leadership test and Ward saves may now be taken.
11. Daith's Reaper - They added the option to reroll failed To Wound rolls.
12. The Bow of Loren - My personal favorite item was changed to be "A+1" number of shots that may not be combined with Magical Arrows (i.e. no Arcane Bodkins or Hail of Doom Arrow). 
13. Moonstone of the Hidden Ways - This is not only no longer "One Use Only" but you may not use it to take your unit out of combat anymore.  It losing it's "one use only" designation means that it's utility just increased tenfold.  Also units count as "marched" after teleporting.
14. The Hail of Doom Arrow - The Arrow gained Armour Piercing and Multiple Shots special rules.
15. Calaingor's Staff - This staff no longer allows you to cast Tree Singing over and over but rather allows you to take the "Tree Singing" spell in place of one you would normally have generated. 

The changes to items and abilities may not seem that game changing at first until you evaluate how much of a subtle impact they had on the tactics used for the past nine years of Wood Elf players.  Let us evaluate how these 15 changes affect the Wood Elves:
A. Forest Spirits are now both better and worse because of how the rules affect them.  Their ward save went from a 5+ to a 6+ but rather than it being negated by magical attacks it is constant. 
B.  Forest Stalkers directly impact the durability of the Waywatchers as they lose a very important -1 to being hit with ranged attacks.
C.  Glade Guard Longbows - This is a huge impact as this now means that Wood Elves may not be skirting around the board trying to get into short range because their bows get better.  This and the loss of Asrai Archery was a devastating combo for Wood Elves to lose.  This means that Wood Elves; dependent upon what Lore, Unit and Arrows they choose will become either more static in their shooting or be forced to use specific combinations to recreate some of the strategies of the older book.
D.  The Bow of Loren and Arcane Bodkins - were my favorite combo as I used to put this on my general and combined with my Waywatchers , just delete units of Knights and heavy cavalry each turn.  The bow will now need to fill a new role in the army.
E.  The Moonstone of the Hidden Ways - This item went from being a "bait and switch" one use or a "Come and get me, ha ha POOF!" item to a now viable assault item which allows the unit to teleport all over the board with skirmishers and loose fire all over.

The actual list of strategic changes are legion as they usually are when a new book comes out that changes how an army functions but those are my top 5 ways that the "changes" to the existing rules affect the Wood Elves.  More specific changes will be listed when I break down the units and begin to discuss actual themes and strategies in future posts.


The next post will include "What was gained..."  in the Part Three: Embracing Change - Army Special Rules, the Armoury and Changes.