Age of Sigmar Sylvaneth Tactics
I’ve been using my Age of Sigmar Sylvaneth for a few solid weeks recently as part of a campaign and I thought I’d write a short Tactics article on how I use them.
Firstly, there is no set army list, there’s no points in Age of Sigmar and it’s pretty much ‘take what you like’ in both a tactical and aesthetic opinion. Still, most people will want a good solid collection of models so they can take an army that both performs well and looks great!
In my Sylvaneth collection I currently have a Branchwraith, 45 Dryads (3 squads of 15 with a Branch Nymph in each), two Treelords, a Treelord Ancient and Durthu. I also have 4 sets of the Citadel Wood for the Sylvaneth Wyldwood warscrolls.
Most of the collection was based on the large set (which has just been re-released at time of writing) from Games Workshop and on top of that I added the third treeman and some Dryads.
As the Treelord kit is so versatile you could easily make all of them into Treelord Ancients and go for loads of magic. I personally wanted a unique looking Treelord Ancient so I only went for the one. Durthu I added for collection reasons (though he is brick hard!) despite him not being in the current Sylvaneth section – Durthu along with the Treekin are still (currently) classed as Wood Elves but still have the Sylvaneth keyword.
With the above collection I can run the Guardians of the Deepwood battalion – which consists of 2 units of Dryads, 3 Treelords/Treelord Ancients and two Sylvaneth Wyldwoods (which in itself consists of 2 sets of citadel woods for a total of four woods).
I actually don’t use the battalion rules that often, I prefer to set everything up on the board one at a time. It’s possible to set up the entire battalion at once as one ‘drop’ meaning you’re probably going to go first. The Sylvaneth Wyldwoods are the main reason to take this battalion really. I often play on 4×4 feet boards so I just set one up in the center of each quarter. The abilities they give the army is incredible and makes up for their lack of command abilities and variation.
Firstly Dryads; when they’re within 3″ of a wood the opponent suffers -1 to hit them in both shooting and combat. Put all the Dryads on the wood and you’ve also got +1 armour for being in cover, have more than 12 models and they have +1 save for their Impenetrable Thicket rule meaning they have a 3+ save! Let the enemy charge you and they’re taking Wyldwood dangerous terrain tests (roll a 1 and the model is slain) which is excellent. On the flip side in your own turn they can enchant the enemy unit with their Enrapturing Song rule giving you +1 to hit. They ignore the damaging rules of the Wyldwoods and with their speed and 2″ range on their melee attacks they can do a lot of damage as most of the unit can move into range. Use their 7″ movement to get to the safety of the woods or alternatively use the battalion rules to set them up in the woods in your movement phase.
Treelords are the main monsters of the force. They’re pretty tough with a 3+ save and 12 wounds meaning a single Mystic Shield can make them very threatening. They have a modest 6″ move which can feel slow compared to Dryads and other monsters but they have the brilliant Spirit Paths rule which allows them to effectively teleport between the Sylvaneth Wyldwoods that are on the board. Simply place them within 3″ of the wood and more than 9″ from the enemy – and of course sit on the wood for that extra +1 save! This will put their shooting attack in range and allow you to charge if you roll high enough. I like to teleport all of my Treelord varieties towards the same wood and just obliterate one half of the opponents army and then they can happily teleport away when they start getting bogged down and things don’t go to plan.
Their stomp attack is one of their other great rules and if you have more than one Treelord in combat you can stack the modifier. This makes them even tougher to take down and if you have the Treelords near each other there’s not a lot that can take them on. The Treelords main attack is the Sweeping Blows which have an excellent 3″ range and can cause a lot of damage – I’ve had single Treelords wipe out monsters, Blight Kings and other tough units with lucky damage rolls. To top it off they have the Massive Impaling Talon which is good for finishing off characters and multi wound models. The only downside to the Treelords is I find they either murder everything or fluff all of their attacks and do nothing! That’s probably just my dice though 😉
The Treelord Ancient is very similar to the Treelord but has one less attack and 1″ movement than his younger seedlings in exchange for Magic. He has the standard Mystic shield and Arcane Bolt and then his own spell ‘Awakening the Wood’ which is a fantastic spell when used alongside the Wyldwoods. It causes all enemy units within 3″ of a chosen Wyldwood to take D3 Mortal Wounds – pair that with the Wyldwoods natural ability of disliking spells and on a 5+ units within 1″ take another D3 Mortal wounds! On top of his crazy magic he has his Doom Tendril staff which has a longer range compared to the Strangleroots and a possible D6 damage. He’s not as good in combat as other Treelords but can happily hold his own and inflict some serious damage on enemy units. If he get’s in trouble just teleport away!
One of the two heroes in the Sylvaneth list she makes a good general despite not having any command abilities. The Branchwraith is a magic user and her main spell is to summon more Dryads! It’s a bit different to usual summoning as she needs to be within 12″ of a wood and the amount of Dryads is random – however they only need to be 3″ from the enemy and the Dryads can move in the movement phase making it a very nasty spell for holding up flankers or bolstering the lines. She has modest close combat attacks for a wizard and is pretty fast. I tend to keep her in the middle of some Dryads in a wood for safety either summoning more Dryads or casting Mystic Shield on the Treelords/Dryads.
Finally the big man himself! He’s very similar to the Treelords but with a very big sword and instead of Strangleroots he has his tree spirits. He makes a great general and his command ability is to set up a Sylvaneth Wyldwood! However unless there’s a large open area of space (and you have a lot of Wyldwoods..) the wood is hard to place as it has to be more than 6″ away from any other model (that’s friendly, enemy and even scenery) so I’ve never actually used it.
It’s in combat Durthu belongs though as his shooting attack isn’t the best (12 shots hitting on 3’s but wounding on 5’s). With his Elder Wrath Sword he can mess entire armies up! On the charge he gets +D3 attacks, which each hit and wound on 3’s with -2 Rend…. and then cause 6 Damage each! That’s a possible 36 damage in one combat phase. Even when wounded it does D6 wounds until he’s taken 10+ wounds. If you thought Treelords were nasty Durthu is on another level. There’s not much else that I’ve seen that can put out that amount of damage in a single phase.
I’ve not actually used (or own) any of the Treekin, so I’ll eventually update this article when I do! They fill the gap between Treelord and Dryad with the ability to be healed.
The Sylvaneth is a very fun and fluffy army to play. Teleporting and making use of the Wyldwoods can make for great tactical play. I only bring Durthu out on special occasions though as he can easily slush entire armies on his own. The army heavily relies on the Wyldwoods though as they lack command abilities and special rules otherwise – some opponents don’t like all the Wyldwoods so it’s worth point it out to them! Only use what seems sensible and games can be both fun and narrative when combined with the scenarios.
That’s all from me, and remember if you’re not a Sylvaneth player stay away from the trees!