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Articles Tagged with “Athens 2016”

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  • ETC 2016 - Athens : Sylvan Elf list commentary (or how I realized I was bringing a knife to a gunfight)


    The fun thing about participating in a tournament as big as the ETC is that your own views of what works and what doesn’t are totally different than the ones of players from other countries. When you’ve spent as much time as an ABC member discussing units/combinations during the design process, it is always interesting to see how many things you missed in your evaluations.


    In today’s post we’ll be looking at the Sylvan Elf lists of the ETC 2016, the similarities, the differences and what surprised me from the ABC point of view.



    At first glance, there seem to be two approaches to the SE this year: Avoidance with Thicket Beast block and Close Combat MSU/Mixed arms.

    Starting with the former, playing it safe seems to be the motto here: Most of the lists went for a mobile firebase (Sentinels and Pathfinders maxed out) with long-ranged magic support by the Fire and White magic paths. A good deal of the avoidance lists have a Thicket Beast anchor unit, as well as a Shapeshifter prince with the Whirlwind blade to mop up survivors.


    However, I find that these lists have a fundamental flaw: the long-range output is not good enough to whittle down horde armies, and it is not sufficient to force the hand of an opponent going for a small win. I see Vampire Covenant being a real issue for the avoidance lists, especially now that Fire magic is almost ubiquitous and grants enough tools for dealing with the Sylvan Skirmishers.


    It all boils down to personal playstyle, team strategy and the pairings, though. The overall event rules don’t favor going for the big win, leading to the rise of Shooting-heavy lists that will not lose a lot of points easily. ( @blonde beer did an excellent video on the ETC list philosophy that I suggest you check out)

    The ABC design approach to the Sylvan Elf book was to go back to the roots of what makes Sylvan Elves special: their relationship with the forest, their maneuverability and guerilla tactics, the fact that they hit hard and fast in close combat. In this vision, avoidance was secondary and shooting was intended to be a support tool rather than the means to winning a game.



    For example, I find it much easier to invest small amounts of points in archers and have them take a wound or two off some of the more menacing enemies, allowing the combat part of the force to sweep in and kill them in one go. The battle line remains fluid and ever-moving, but it’s moving to get into position for close combat, not to avoid it.


    Which brings us to the second list paradigm, and one that I feel makes the most of the book’s potential: combined Elf/Tree lists, with shooting support (2-3 units) and a good mix of cheap small combat units and bigger anvils.


    What surprised me is the relatively low amount of Bladedancers, Wild Huntsmen and Kestrel Knights. The first two are the most iconic of all our units, and definitely part of the reason I play Sylvan Elves. Kestrels are an MSU general’s dream: fast, hard-hitting, easier to control than Wild Huntsmen, with good leadership that allows them to act independently. They die fast, but that’s part of playing the Sylvan Elves anyway. In all of the lists I wrote up, 2x3 Kestrels, 2x5 Wild Huntsmen and 2x7 bladedancers were the first things to include, but it doesn’t seem like many of the international players share my impression.


    What lacks from all of the lists are Treefathers, but that is a direct consequence of the cannon-heavy environment that is the ETC, as well as the option to get a 30-wound Steadfast block in the form of the Thicket Beasts. (In my humble opinion, too many points get sunk into that unit, I’ve found that 5-6 are more than enough) The second big loser was Sylvan line infantry (be it Forest Guard or Forest Rangers), which I also feel doesn’t do the units much justice: 15 Forest Rangers with command clock at 195 points, and they can definitely pull their weight when used correctly. As for Forest Guard, they keep surprising me in a positive manner every time I field them, and I’ve been doing so ever since I put the first layer of paint on those beautiful 6th edition metal models.


    TOP 3 Sylvan Elf lists:


    These are the lists that drew my attention for their originality, versatility and overall feel, in descending order.



    1)French team Sylvan Elves by @vvalor


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