Age of Sigmar: Wanderers & Sylvaneth Lessons Learned


Hello all, Reecius here from Frontline Gaming to talk about some of what I’ve learned in Age of Sigmar with my Wanderers & Sylvaneth Warband so far. Be sure to check the Tactics Corner for more great Age of Sigmar content!

So now that I’m about a dozen games in with my Warband, I feel like I’m starting to get a good feel for how it plays. Wanderers are a finesse army for sure, they are fragile and don’t hit terribly hard in general terms (with a few notable exceptions) but they are FAST. They also have the inherent advantage of being a primarily shooting force in a game that definitely favors shooting over melee. I would LOVE to see some improvements to melee by increasing the number of models that actually get to swing in combat. In our games, big melee units can all get killed in a fight but cannot all swing. It creates situations where they feel like a bit of a liability. If you could swing with more models in a unit than just the first row or two, it’d be a bit more equitable. But, as it stands, you cannot. Therefore, shooting units that can fire at full efficacy–even while in combat–simply are more efficient than their melee counterparts. Perhaps with more experience that opinion will be overturned, but as is that is where our entire studio is at.


Frankie’s Magmadroth! Still WIP, but looking awesome!

The notable exception to this of course, is monsters/characters. They get to concentrate all of their force into a single model and as such, get all of their swings in melee which means we see them doing more damage than entire units of infantry models. Again, a simple and easy fix would be to allow large units of models to swing deeper into the unit so you actually get to utilize more of the models in a squad, but, that is perhaps a topic for another article!

My WIP Durthu

My WIP Durthu

So, back to big monsters! I have been using one of my favorite models in our 50 wound games: Durthu…and WOW! He is a complete beast. Looking at the rumors of a 400pt price tag, I have to say that that is absolutely fair. He is just monstrous.

My first game with him he ate a couple of cannonballs to the face and was turned into Kindling with a quickness. I didn’t really understand how to use his Tree Singing ability and totally misplayed him. However, now I have the trick to using his abilities to maximum effect and he is a beast!


Reinforcements: trees!

He’s slow as mud with move 5″, but when you use his ability to teleport from Sylvaneth Wyldwood to Sylvaneth Wyldwood, he becomes crazy fast. You just have to plan a few turns ahead to make it work for you. We used the South Coast GT guidelines for placing two Wyldwoods before deployment (minus their offensive abilities) as that felt fair to us. I place them along the middle line of the board to give me lots of options for movement. Then, I leave one corner of my deployment zone empty of all models so that Durthu can create a Wood in the Hero Phase in order to teleport to one of the central Woods on turn 2. Alternatively you can place one of the Woods in your deployment zones so you can start flying around the table on turn 1! First though, be sure to try and cast Shield of Thorns on him with Sisters of the Thorn as it allows him to reroll saves. While in the Woods, his save goes up to a 2+, which means only weapons with Rend or Mortal Wounds are going to damage him. As he pops up 9″ away from enemy units when teleporting, it is unlikely he is going to make a charge that turn, so he needs to max out his defense to survive the inevitable attention he will receive. This is a good example of why you really need the ability to deal Mortal Wounds in your army, even if just Arcane Bolt from a Wizard. In AoS, big nasty Monsters get weaker as they take damage, and especially Durthu becomes MUCH less potent after taking just 3 wounds.


Image by Hobby Hammer.

So, with Durthu in place to pounce on turn 2 or 3, and hopefully in range to blast a unit with his Lamentations of Despair, you have applied a LOT of pressure to your opponent. They either have to go all in to destroy Durthu, or move away from him and hope to stay away. Either way, you are imposing your will on the battlefield which plays to your advantage.

If Durthu goes into melee with 10+ wounds…wow. It is brutal to see. His Sword automatically does 6 wounds which is devastating. I had him destroy an 18 strong unit of Fyreslayers in a single attack! Not normal of course, but he just wrecks things. With his high save–particularly when buffed with Shield of Thorns–if the enemy can’t inflict Mortal Wounds they will struggle to deal with him.


Image by Blackmoor

The other little bad ass in my army is this chieftain! The Shadowdancer is such an amazing support character. Formerly known as a Wardancer Lord, the Shadowdancer is pretty mild on her own being very fragile but with solid offense and speed, however, her spell is simply amazing. Bridge of Shadows is a 5+ spell that allows a unit of Wanderers to double their move and count as Flying…wow! You take an already fast army and double their speed and you get insane levels of mobility. I use it on Warhawk Riders and Glade Riders who can threaten nearly any part of the table with lightening speed. They don’t hit that hard, but they are awesome for move blocking and hunting Wizards, MSU shooting units as well as artillery.

Warhawk Riders Wood Elves 6

Image bu GoldMundsWelt

Lastly, Waywatchers are just mean! With tons of shots or 2 wound shots, defensive buffs and more, these guys are incredible! Worth every point, I take 2 units of them in every army I play. They have never let me down and my opponents always make them a high priority target.

Image by MiniCreatures

Image by MiniCreatures

I’m sure I still have tons to learn, but so far in our games these simple tricks have helped me to win more games than I lost with my Warband! Age of Sigmar has been such a pleasant surprise as a game when you simply add in some sensible restrictions. We are pumped for the impending General’s Handbook and think that that will be what brings this game into its own. Also, we’re launching an Age of Sigmar podcast this Thursday, The Ninth Realm! Be sure to find us on iTunes if you are interested in tuning in.

And oh yeah, those new Sylvaneth models are just ridonculously amazing! Can’t wait to get my hands on them.

TNR Logo 4

Thanks for reading and remember, Frontline Gaming sells Games Workshop product at up to 25% off of retail, every day!


About Reecius

The fearless leader of the intrepid group of gamers gone retailers at Frontline Gaming!

23 Responses to “Age of Sigmar: Wanderers & Sylvaneth Lessons Learned”

  1. Blight1 July 6, 2016 4:19 am #

    I think some of the issues with models in big unit getting to attack is that people don’t use the longer reach weapons as much. They tend to have worse stats to pay for the ability to have more attacks.

    I do wish melee could lock down shooting units somewhat. Maybe at least force them to only shoot at the unit they are within 3″ of, hopefully at a negative to hit modifier. Otherwise most melee seems to do higher damage overall.
    A unit that can do both is gold. Skaven storm fiends would be such a unit. Looks like clan sure will do well in matched play.

    • Blight1 July 6, 2016 4:22 am #

      Clan skyre*
      Also suppose with all the bonuses you get for sticking with all sylvaneth units are you going to switch to that alliance or will you stick with your wood elves and go for the basic order alliance?

      • Reecius July 6, 2016 7:18 am #

        Yeah, I wish it was the weapon range from the closest engaged model, sort of like 40k. The range now is too short.

        Models that can shoot and fight are the best, agreed. Another reason why Waywatchers are so good! They have 2 attacks in melee as well.

        I will collect both, honestly. Sometimes I will use all Wood Elves, sometimes Sylvaneth, often a mix of both.

        • Blight1 July 6, 2016 2:07 pm #

          Did you see the preview video for the sylvaneth on the Facebook page? It isn’t just the models they actually talked about their rules and how they play. Showed some shots of their two relic tables, warlord traits, and you can kind of see the alliance trait.
          Would like to hear your thoughts on the addition of these traits and items to the game.

          • Reecius July 6, 2016 4:48 pm

            Oh, awesome! I will have to check that out.

  2. Amberclad87 July 6, 2016 5:27 am #

    Glad to hear AOS taking off. I knew all it would take would be for people to just play the game to get rid of the huge aura of negativity surrounding it. Keep up the good work!

    • Reecius July 6, 2016 7:14 am #

      Thanks! Yeah, the game is good fun.

  3. SactownBri July 6, 2016 6:13 am #

    Since when can any of the monsters fit into a Sylvaneth Wild Woods?

    • Reecius July 6, 2016 7:14 am #

      Why would they not be able to, Bri?

      • SactownBri July 6, 2016 4:32 pm #

        Sure we remove the trees when we play 40k but for AoS the terrain has a warscroll so we leave the trees in place so that we aren’t modeling for advantage. Area terrain is just that and gets the random terrain role from the rules but a Sylvaneth Wildwood is a very specific model with specific rules. It does make it quite an equalizer when you hide your puny troops in the forests and the monsters don’t get the defense advantage when trying to dislodge them. Also makes a great place to hide objectives from monsters too. At least that’s how we play so I was trying to get a feel for what I might encounter in a tournament by asking an open question.

        • Reecius July 6, 2016 4:47 pm #

          Ah OK, yeah, we just move the trees to make room for the monsters.

  4. Chris July 6, 2016 7:36 am #

    For us the wood elves have been pretty competitive even against the beastmen I run. Around here the wood elves/sylvaneth guy has beat me as many times as I have beat him. Shooting is hard to go up against if you are slower. With the run and charge and extra movement the beastmen can get you can stay out of their shooting range and then be able to make the charge on your turn. It’s nuts. The warherd only isn’t as good but they are much harder hitting and with realmgates or even just relying on their 4 wounds they hit like trucks. With a 7″ move they can still get up the field fast. Melee can be brutal at least for us so far. We have just been using the scenarios out of the different books. Some of them work where if everyone dies you win but a lot aren’t that way.

    • Reecius July 6, 2016 8:09 am #

      Nice, sounds like you’ve been having fun with it!

  5. Ytook July 6, 2016 9:56 am #

    A lot of units that are ‘meant’ to to be taken in large units get bonuses based on units sizes, +1 to hit or wound or extra attacks for example, so that helps. Also always worth bearing in mind that units in combat make melee attacks in both yours and your opponents turns, that’ll come into play more in larger games with more larger units that can survive better.

    Melee weapons with ranges is one of my favourite little things in AoS, combined with the fact that once you are as close to an opponent model as possible (so base to base really) you aren’t allowed to pile in to make room for other models, it effectively makes flanking and positioning in combat a thing that naturally emerges from the rules (particularly with long based models like cavalry, they’re heavily shut down if you out position them).

    If I could change one thing about AoS it’d be changing shooting while in combat, not much mind, maybe you can only target units that are within 3″ and the range is changed to 1/2″, or just negatives to hit if there’s enemies within 3″. Nice to see in the generals handbook that ranged units do cost a fair bit more than melee so they’re aware of their relative power.

    • Reecius July 6, 2016 11:41 am #

      Yeah, as we play larger games we may see that flanking and positioning becoming more important. So far we’ve only had 1 or 2 melee units per side so it hasn’t come in to play.

      And agreed, shooting in to and out of combat with no penalty is rough.

  6. gvcolor July 6, 2016 9:56 am #

    Man Durthu is one cool model – one of my top picks from GW!

    I really think shooting into or out of combat should be at least a -1 on the dice roll, but alas…
    We’ve been trying the Realm Gates out and they’ve added another layer of outguessing what the other is going to do… fun stuff

    • Reecius July 6, 2016 11:40 am #

      Yeah, shooting in to and out of combat without penalty is a bit much, we agree. -1 or something would help.

  7. Fagerlund July 6, 2016 10:08 am #

    I think the key to using large melee units is to try and utilise that footprint as much as possible, to try and wrap around the enemy on the charge. As ranks isn’t a thing in this game you might as well spread out.

    • Reecius July 6, 2016 11:39 am #

      Yeah, that helps but we’ve found that it’s hard to do as your opponent tends to stay out at max range, not allowing full strength charges very often.

  8. Requizen July 7, 2016 5:30 am #

    I’m still working on two 40k armies, but the news and hype has gotten me really interested in trying an AoS army. Seraphon look pretty cool…

    • Reecius July 7, 2016 7:44 am #

      It is seriously a blast! Simpler than 40k, but with depth. And of course, the models are simply incredible.

    • punchymango July 7, 2016 11:15 am #

      The Sylvaneth minis are just amazing, I’ve been thinking about picking some of them up. Those Kuronos Hunters are just gorgeous.

      • Reecius July 7, 2016 1:04 pm #

        Yeah, they’re all so amazing looking.

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