Some weeks when I research and write this series are easier than others. I won’t sugar-coat it… Sylvaneth are in a rough spot competitively. It can be really hard as a tournament player to have an upfront ask that players purchase a large number of terrain pieces before even starting the investment in an army. When one’s reward for that is an army sure to struggle, it can be outright frustrating.
Fortunately I own these and gave them a thorough dusting, putting them through their paces against armies of all sorts. Here are the results of those findings. They likely will not surprise, but can hopefully be useful.
Over-Performer: Kurnoth Hunters with Great Swords (I guess…)
The premise of this series is to find not necessarily the best or most popular units, but the ones with the best outright value. Point efficiency is an unsung hero sometimes, and math is still the engine driving most tabletop games. That said, raw efficiency is the book-wide issue with plagues Sylvaneth. In saying Kurnoths are your best bet, just know that I actually mean they are how a player can make the most of a rough situation.
Luckily, this appropriately costed unit is pretty good. With fair offensive output, this unit will more reliably kill for you than flash-in-the-pan heavy hitters such as Durthu. A little smattering of Mortal Wounds potentially before and after the bulk of their damage, adds a bit of spice, and their ability to plant on objectives and re-roll saves can make them reasonably durable.
The unit is further helped by supports which benefit them more than most of the book. As beacons of Heroes Command Abilities, Kurnoths are positionally self-sufficient, are a good target for heals, and can at times replace lost models.
Run as “Winterleaf” and with the help of an Arch-Revenant, a larger unit can meaningfully contribute to a battle, while small units of three can be just hearty enough to deter smaller flanking forces trying to snag an objective.
Under-Performer: The book?
I genuinely try not to be too hard on specific armies. Editions and power-levels ebb and flow. In this snap-shot in time, and speaking purely to point efficiency, Sylvaneth are in bad enough shape that I feel it needs to be said.
I genuinely suspect that when designing this book, its writers grossly over-estimated the scenario power of Sylvaneth mobility tricks, and Wyldwood buffs. At a glance, it is easy to see the authorial intent. It is a fun premise filled with over-taking a board with life, and then using powerful guerilla tactics to win scenarios.
In practice, no unit in this book matches favorably to their counterparts in other armies. IF the “tech” afforded them worked however, this would make sense. In practice, countless armies now have equal or better mobility, alpha-strike potential, and more, while also possessing better units.
The models are frequently gorgeous, and their fluff is cool. There is a lot to love here, but for those who need to be competitive, caution needs to be had. Fortunately, their issues do not require a new book, so much as an aggressive re-pointing. Never a lost cause in this hobby, the Sylvaneth may very well be a General’s Handbook away from better days.
And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!