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Wood Elves: Warhammer 8th edition special units

Updated on May 31, 2014

Wildwood Rangers

A new addition to the Wood Elves army in 8th edition are the Wildwood Rangers. They are armed with great weapon and have WS5. They also have the asf, forest stalker, immune to psychology and guardians of the wildwood rule. This last rule grants them an additional attack if in base contact with an enemy with the fear or terror special rule. Given the number of models with the fear rule this will be quite often considering they are three armies that entirely cause at least fear Tomb Kings, Vampire Counts and Daemons of Chaos.

The bonus from asf is lost with great weapons leaving them with no rerolls to hit, though still striking at I5 they are faster than or equal to many other enemies. They are also relatively cheap for what they are so expect to see these against a lot of armies as the Wood Elves have little else that is constantly S5.

The downside of Wildwood Rangers is they are T3 with only light armour meaning they are going to die in droves, you will just have to make sure the trade off is worth it.


Wardancer return in 8th edition and are fairly similar to before, with a WS and I of 6 they come with a whole bunch of special rules. These are asf, forest stalker, immune to psychology, skirmishers, talismanic tattoos and shadow dances of loec.

The shadow dancers of loec allow them to choose a variety of special rules in melee combat. These are killing blow and armour piercing, +1 attack, 3+ ward save or negate an enemy units rank bonus.

Gone in 8th edition is the wardancer weapon special rule. Talismanic tattoos no longer give magic resistance just a ward save of 6+. They are also stuck with S3.

Wardancers are mainly going to be used as a support unit to engage enemy units which are already fighting another unit. Whilst Skirmish makes them more manoeuvrable then ranked up units Wildriders are more hard hitting and much faster. Sadly I feel Wardancers do not fulfil a specific roll that is not covered elsewhere in the Wood Elves army though they do have some flexibility so would expect to see them on occasion.

A Wood Elf Wardancer
A Wood Elf Wardancer


Treekin return much the same in 8th edition as they were. Like all Forest Spirits Treekin have taken a bit of a knock due to the changes to the Forest Spirit rules. They have also lost a point of strength. In return though they have come down considerably in points cost which in my opinion makes them fairly balanced. The maximum unit size has also disappeared so you can horde them u if you want.

The main bane of Treekin is the flammable special rule meaning enemies with flaming attacks deal double damage to them, this can make them a poor choice against certain armies with flaming cannons for example (Daemons of Chaos and Dwarves). Also almost every army has access to the flaming banner. Otherwise they are a decent hitting unit that are tough to damage in return.

Deepwood Scouts

These are now the "basic" Wood Elf scouting unit. They have access to all the enchanted arrows available to the Wood Elves though with the addition of the scout and skirmish special rule. Unusually for a skirmishing and scouting unit they can take both a standard and a musician.

Scouts can easily be used to be a constant thorn in the enemy side whittle down his units with bow fire or engaging targets such as war machines in combat. With a base unit size of 5 neither are they a massive investment in points. Expect to see 1 or 2 units of these guys making an appearance in most Wood Elf armies.

It is also possible to take a larger unit equipped with the enchanted arrow to deal with a specific threat you expect to face. the ability to deploy as scouts makes it more likely they will be in a good position. For example a decent sized unit with hagbane tips (poison) could be positioned to take down a lightly armoured enemy monster.

Warhawk Riders

In 8th edition Warhawk Riders have gained an extra wound for a total of 3 they have also gained a point of toughness up to 4. They are however slightly more expensive then in 7th edition. Gone however is the Hit and Run rule.

The riders being Wood Elves have gained asf and asrai spears and longbows making all their attacks armour piercing. The Warhawks also have armour piercing and gain the killing blow special rule on the turn they charge. This gives the model 3 S4 armour piercing attacks on the charge, 2 of which have killing blow.

Warhawk riders are excellent for taking out small units such as enemy fast cavalry, war machines and wizards. Three Warhawk riders are also cheaper then a Glade Captain riding a great Eagle so are a good substituent for him.

Wild Riders

Wild Riders make a strong comeback in 8th edition. They are also no longer Forest Spirits but have gained fear, frenzy also makes them immune to psychology whilst it lasts. The Wild riders themselves now have asf, frenzy and devastating charge. Combined with their strength of 4 and asrai spears this gives them each 3 WS5 S5 asf armour piercing attacks on the charge. The mount also appears to benefit from frenzy giving it 2 WS3 S4 attacks. They also retain the fast cavalry rule and both mount and rider appear to benefit from the Forest Stalker rule

Whilst frenzy can be a liability with a leadership of 9 you should be able to keep them under control most of the time, watch out though as you do have to overrun if you wipe a unit out. Wild Riders are excellent at finishing off units whittled down by bow fire and magic and are strong enough to damage most foes and pierce heavy armour on the charge.

The downside of Wild Riders in that they are relatively easy to kill in return being T3 with a 6+ ward a save due to Talismanic Tattoos and a 4+ armour save if you elect to buy them shields. With this is mind do your best to limit enemy missile fire and magic and choose fights where you will likely wipe out most of the enemy with few return attacks.

Sisters of the Thorn

Sisters of the Thorn are another new unit for Wood Elves in 8th edition. They are a fast cavalry unit with numerous special rules. These are as follows asf, Daughters of Eternity, Deepwood Coven, Fast Cavalry, Forest Stalker and poisoned attacks. They ride steeds of Isha that have an enhanced strength of four. They also come with a BS of 5 and are equipped with Blackbriar Javelins (poison javelins)

The Daughters of Eternity special rule gives the Sisters a 4+ ward save. Even better the Daughters of the Deepwood Coven special rule makes the unit of sisters a level 2 wizard. They automatically know the Lore of Beast spell Curse of Anratheir and the Lore of Life spell Shield of Thorn.

I would expect almost every army of Wood Elves to have at least one unit of these they cost a little bit then than a level 2 Spellsinger but have much more to offer. You know which spells you are going to get, they have a decent ranged attack and are fairly decent in combat with poison and re-rolls to hi. To top it all off they have a 4+ ward save and suffer D3 wounds rather then roll on the chart when they miscast. They also make a good back up wizard for emergencies.

Which is your favourite Wood Elves special unit? Comment why below

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© 2014 Gordon D Easingwood


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      General Woodhead 

      4 years ago

      Wildwood Rangers cheap and strong, Wild Riders and Sisters of the Thorn too.


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