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Sylvaneth armies provide a unique challenge for opponents in that they have unprecedented mobility and ability to control board space. There are also several related, but slightly different, rules relating to Sylvaneth Wyldwoods which means it can be hard to keep track. This episode will explain how Wyldwoods work and how to counter them.
- Sylvaneth Wyldwoods – the rules
- How Wyldwoods benefit Sylvaneth armies
- How Wyldwoods can be brought onto the table
- How to beat the Wyldwoods
Sylvaneth Wyldwoods – the rules
A Sylvaneth Wyldwood consists of up to 3 Citadel Wood bases placed within 1″ of each other. Each base must be set up within 1″ of each of the other bases in the Sylvaneth Wyldwood (i.e. the 3 bases must be in a cluster or clump, rather than a long thin line) – see the FAQ.
Before we go any further, if you are attending a tournament, it is worth checking to see whether there are any house rules limiting the number of bases which can deployed in one go, or be summoned over the course of the game.
There are two main rules for Sylvaneth Wyldwoods – a modified form of the Deadly terrain rules and the potential for mortal wounds.
Potentially Deadly to models other than Monsters or Heroes
If a model makes a run or charge move across, or finishing on, a Sylvaneth Wyldwood, roll a dice. On a roll of 1, the model is slain and removed from play. You do not need to roll for models with the SYLVANETH, MONSTER or HERO keywords. So a Sylvaneth Wyldwood is more forgiving than Deadly terrain.
Note that this rule is not disjunctive – the Sylvaneth Wyldwood only captures run or charge moves, not any other type of move or set-up finishing on the Wyldwood (such as one occurring in the hero phase or a pile in).
Roused by Magic
Whenever a spell is successfully cast within 6″ of a Sylvaneth Wyldwood (even if it is unbound) roll a dice. On a 5 or more, all non-SYLVANETH units within 1″ of the Wyldwood suffer D3 mortal wounds. Note that:
- both these measurements are in relation to the Wyldwood, rather than any particular Citadel Wood base (so you could hit models approximately 28″ away); and
- any non-Sylvaneth units included in a battalion or as allies would also be attacked.
How Wyldwoods benefit Sylvaneth armies
An army with the Sylvaneth allegiance can place one Sylvaneth Wyldwood anywhere on the battlefield that is more than 1″ from any other piece of scenery. This Wyldwood is placed after all other pieces of scenery are set up but before the battle begins and players choose territory or set-up their armies. In essence, as soon as you approach the table at tournament.
Wyldwoods benefit Sylvaneth armies in four main ways:
- cover and other bonuses;
- mortal wound output; and
- board control.
Wyldwoods offer Sylvaneth armies flexibility in both deployment and movement during the game.
Deployment in the hidden enclaves
Instead of setting up a Sylvaneth unit or battalion, you can deploy it in the hidden enclaves. In any of your movement phases, you can transport the unit (or battalion) to the battlefield. When you do so, set it up so that all models are within 3″ of a Sylvaneth Wyldwood and more than 9″ from any enemy models. This is their move for that movement phase.
Navigating the Realmroots
If a Sylvaneth unit is within 3″ of a Sylvaneth Wyldwood at the start of your movement phase, it can attempt to traverse the spirit paths instead of moving normally. If it does so, remove the unit from the battlefield, then set it up within 3″ of a different Sylvaneth Wyldwood, more than 9″ from any enemy models. Then, roll a dice and consult the Spirit Path table:
- On a 1 the unit can’t do anything else for the rest of the Sylvaneth player’s turn (this result doesn’t apply to Treelords, Treelord Ancients or Spirits of Durthu, who can also navigate the realmroots regardless of whether they are in a Sylvaneth allegiance army or a mixed Order army);
- On a 2-5 they cannot move further (but can act normally otherwise); and
- On a 6+ they can move again during that same movement phase.
Two things to note here:
- the Sylvaneth player must teleport between separate Sylvaneth Wyldwoods (rather than between Citadel Wood bases in the same Wyldwood); and
- the teleporting unit only needs to set up within 3″ of that different Sylvaneth Wyldwood. Unlike with the deployment rules, there is no requirement for all of the unit to be set up within 3″ of the Wyldwood. Therefore, you can place one model within 3″ and then string the rest of your models out in a line (on to an objective for example) – see the main rules FAQ, page 2.
Finally, Tree-Revenants have a unique ability to move via the Wyldwoods. If the unit still has a model with Waypipes left in it, then instead of moving in the movement phase, the unit can be immediately removed from play and set up so all of its models are within 3″ of a Wyldwood and more than 9″ away from the enemy.
Cover and other bonuses
At a more simple level, the Sylvaneth Wyldwoods provide units with cover and other buffs.
To be in cover, the entire unit must be in the terrain feature for the cover bonus to apply (see main rules FAQ, p 2). Now there is some debate as to whether a model placed in the 1″ gap between the Citadel wood bases in a Wyldwood negates cover for the unit. If in doubt, get a ruling from the tournament organiser before the tournament.
Sylvaneth units also get specific benefits from the Wyldwoods.
- Branchwyches get +1 to hit if within 3″ of a Wyldwood; and
- Branchwraiths and Dryads are -1 to hit if within 3″ of a Wyldwood.
Mortal Wound Output
Sylvaneth armies in general lack mortal wound output (outside of Alarielle, Drycha, the Hunters’ Trample Underfoot rule and two spells). So the Roused by Magic ability of Sylvaneth Wyldwoods provides a useful way to chip away at enemy units and characters, especially if you are running the Gnarlroot wargrove and casting 6 or more spells a turn.
A Treelord Ancient can also cast its Awaken the Wood spell, which has a similar effect to the Roused by Magic ability but on units within 3″ rather than 1″.
Finally, the Wyldwoods provide the Sylvaneth player with board control – an essential element to success in Age of Sigmar. You will often see a Sylvaneth player place their free Wyldwood onto an objective, or close enough to an objective that they can use the Wyldwood to seize the objective late in the game.
A good Sylvaneth player will also use the Wyldwoods to limit their opponent’s movement and zone off sections of the board. Most tournaments that I am aware of will play that the trees in the Sylvaneth Wyldwoods can be removed, for ease of gameplay (imagine models brushing aside branches), but not allow models to move through the tree trunk holes on the Citadel wood base. This means that Sylvaneth players can place their models in such a manner as to reduce the number of incoming attacks from their opponent or to prevent a large model from hitting a unit.
Now there are limits on how effective this strategy will be because of course models in Age of Sigmar are free to climb trees and other terrain (as long as they pay the necessary movement and are still within range with their weapons). I myself have found myself defending an objective from a Stonehorn balancing precariously on top of a tree. If you struggle with that mental image, just pretend that the Stonehorn has spent the extra movement to knock the tree down.
How Sylvaneth Wyldwoods can be brought onto the table
As mentioned earlier, each Sylvaneth allegiance army gets a free Wyldwood at the start of the game. Subsequent Wyldwoods must be summoned by a spell, artefact or ability.
A Treelord Ancient can generate a new Sylvaneth Wyldwood in each of your hero phases on a roll of a 4+.
The Verdant Blessing spell can be given to any Sylvaneth wizard – Alarielle, Treelord Ancients, Branchwyches, Branchwraiths and Drycha – and it can generate a new Sylvaneth Wyldwood. Alarielle also has the Metamorphosis spell allowing her to turn a destroyed enemy unit into a Wyldwood. Finally, a Sylvaneth wizard can be given the arcane treasure, Acorn of the Ages – which allows the holder to generate a new Wyldwood
Each of these spells and abilities have slightly different rules about where the Wyldwoods can be placed (including at what range and how far away from terrain and enemy models). Therefore, it is important to check the rules that apply to the particular method relied on.
How to beat the Sylvaneth Wyldwoods
Now, how do you beat the Wyldwoods and stifle the Sylvaneth?
- deny the Sylvaneth player the ability to generate the Wyldwoods;
- you stop them using the Wyldwoods once they are in play;
- you neuter the effectiveness of the Wyldwoods by your own choices; and
- you destroy the Wyldwoods or turn them to your advantage.
Stopping the Sylvaneth player generating Wyldwoods
The two simplest methods of limiting the impact of Sylvaneth Wyldwoods are to stop them coming onto the table in the first place. You either do this by:
- unbinding the Sylvaneth’s spells (for instance, by using a caster with superior range, think a Lord of Change in a Disciples of Tzeentch list unbinding at 27″); or
- denying the Sylvaneth player the space to place the Wyldwood on the table. A Citadel wood base is 7.5″ x 10.5″ and as a general rule will need to be between 1″ and 3″ away from other terrain and units. Therefore, if you are playing a game on a well-stocked table (say 8-10 pieces of terrain) you can use fast-paced chaff units to move into the gaps on the board and deny the Sylvaneth player any space to place the woods or push them to put the woods in sub-optimal places.
Stop them using the Wyldwoods once in play
As discussed earlier, in order to teleport to the woods or deploy from them, the Sylvaneth player must be able to place the unit either wholly or partially within 3″ of the wood and more than 9″ from you. So if you can place a model or two in the centre of the Citadel wood base then the Sylvaneth player will have nowhere to place their unit and can’t use that wood for their movement shenanigans.
Neuter the effectiveness of the Wyldwoods
There are a number of ways you can reduce the impact of the Wyldwoods when they are in play.
If the Sylvaneth player does deploy a unit from the hidden enclaves then they are arriving in the movement phase and won’t have the benefit of a Mystic Shield. Hit them when they pop up before the buffs arrive.
Remember that the Sylvaneth Wyldwood’s Deadly ability only works on run and charge moves. So when charging a unit in a Wyldwood, send only one model in to 0.5″ to complete the charge. Leave the remainder of the unit outside the wood, but able to pile-in in the combat phase. Even if the one model you sent into the wood dies to the Deadly test, you have still completed the charge and can pile-in.
Heroes and Monsters also do not have to take the Deadly terrain test, so if you have combat heroes (such as Gordrak or a Bloodthirster) then they are perfect for removing units entrenched in a Wyldwood.
Finally, Grot Spider Riders can also ignore the effect of Wyldwoods thanks to their ability to ignore the effects of all terrain.
Destroy the Sylvaneth Wyldwood or turn it to your advantage
You can also destroy the Sylvaneth Wyldwood or turn it to your advantage.
Destruction – Nothing Left Standing
As it now stands, and this may change with GHB2017, Destruction have an Allegiance ability called Nothing Left Standing. In your hero phase, pick a terrain feature that is within 6″ of your general and at least 5 other friendly Destruction models. That terrain feature no longer provides cover, and any scenery rules it has can no longer be used.
Knight Heraldor – Toot toot!
A Knight Heraldor is also an effective counter to Sylvaneth Wyldwoods. In your shooting phase, pick a terrain feature within 15″ and roll a dice – each unit within that many inches suffers D3 mortal wounds. This can have a massive impact on a Sylvaneth army huddled round its woods.
Auric Runemaster – Boom!
An Auric Runemaster can turn a Sylvaneth Wyldwood into an active volcano. In your hero phase, pick a terrain feature within 20″ and roll a dice for each model within 1″ of it. For each roll of a 6, that model’s unit suffers a mortal wound. In addition, until your next hero phase, roll a dice for any model that makes a run or charge move across, or finishing on, this terrain feature. On a roll of a 1, the model is slain.
And last, but according to local players Jim and Aiden, certainly not least, Skaven Pestilens – which has two abilities to turn Sylvaneth Wyldwoods to their advantage.
- The Virulent Procession battalion can pick a terrain feature within 13″ of the Verminlord Corrupter at the start of the Skaven player’s hero phase. Roll a dice for each enemy unit within 3″ of that terrain feature on a 4 or more that unit suffers D3 mortal wounds.
- The Pestilent Clawpack (in the compendium) – After you have set up your force, pick a terrain feature within 13″ of at least two units from the Pestilent Clawpack. That terrain feature is befouled. Units from this battalion automatically pass battleshock tests if they are in or on any such terrain. Roll a dice for all other units that start the hero phase in or on befouled terrain; on a 1, that unit suffers D3 mortal wounds (Nurgle units never suffer mortal wounds as the result of this ability).