The Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game/Tactics/Lothlorien
Why Play Lothlorien?
- Amazing shooting no matter which theme you go for
- Solid close combat, assuming you win the duel roll
- One of the most cost effective spell casters in the game
- Reasonably diverse warrior list
- The cheapest elven army cash wise, for only £50 quid you can get Haldir+ Celborn and 24 Galadrim Warriors/Galadrhim Guard giving you a 500 point list.
- Low defense if you're going pure wood elves
- Traditional Elvish high point cost
- No named mounted Heroes
- Some of their warriors sculpts are a little lacking
They Say a Great Sorceress Lives in These Woods: Resistant to Magic across your entire army. Fantastic against some armies, useless against others.
Like the high elves, wood elves carry elven blades, which count as both a normal weapon and two-handed weapon. Additionally, Wood elves tend to carry wood elf spears, which act just like normal spears, but give you the ability to use the shielding rule, with or without a shield. Wood Elves, more than most any other faction, have access to elven cloaks, which make you invisible so long as you are partially hidden by terrain, meaning you cannot be shot, spelled at, or charged from any distance greater than 6". Another thing most Elves have in common is the 'woodland creature' rule which, depending on the local boards, can be a huge boon when it comes to moving through trees and woods.
- Galadriel: The Lady of Lothlórien is your Hero of Legend, and she's a caster who's very irritating to deal with to say the least. Much like other major casters, Galadriel gets to spend 1 free Will Point per turn, though she specialises in buffing spells rather than causing having a mix of buffs, debuffs and damage. She's also surprisingly hard to kill, despite only being Defence 3 since she can re-roll her dice when using Fate Points, and the Mirror of Galadriel, which you absolutely should buy if you're getting her, can refill her Fate back up to its full total. This doesn't mean you should leave her in the open though, always put her behind a screen of Warriors so that your opponent has to deal with In the Way rolls, rendering her as hard to kill as the toughest Heroes and preventing her from getting in combat, especially since she's only Strength 3. Just remember when you use her, that Galadriel is always going to be a support Hero first and foremost, and as a Hero of Legend has the prime warband to fill with your core force. This is important to remember because if you have some sort of asshole opponent who wants to make you play Contest of Champions, where the win is determined mostly by your Leader's kill count, then you might as well concede immediately. Also make sure to shoot out the enemy Cavalry, otherwise they might be able to blitz through her bodyguard, leaving Galadriel exposed.
- As far as her spells go, Blinding Light is going to be the spell you're likely going to want to cast first, and you absolutely should channel it. Defence is a major issue in your army, and even with elven cloaks, you are vulnerable to bow fire. Getting a permanent debuff around Galadriel that causes all enemies to only hit you on 6's is a great cure for this issue, and it goes a long way towards securing your dominance on the battlefield especially against bow-heavy lists. Upgrading it to an exhaustion power is absolutely worth it, since you can still only cast one spell per turn and you don't want to run into a situation where you want both Blinding Light and another spell, or manage to roll shockingly poorly for it. Blessing of the Valar is her next spell, and it's unique to Galadriel. Using it on a friendly model gives them a Fate Point, and you'll likely find yourself casting this a lot if you take characters on horses in your army. While your named characters cannot have horses your Galadhrim Captains can, and if they're out of range of her Mirror then it's worth it to refill their Fate so they can spend it again on their mount. Immobilise is a great spell to use on enemy Monsters, allowing you to freeze them in their tracks and preventing them from striking back if you happen to lose your Duel role against them, and it can also be used to render enemy Heroes helpless. Command is your final spell, and depending on the list, it might be the most useful. You can walk banners away from their respective combats (and then shoot them, which means the banner cannot be passed to a friendly model), you can move support Heroes away from their protective screen of Warriors and then fill them with arrows, you can walk Monsters away from their targets, and even against models such as War Beasts, you can seize control of the driver, allowing you to move the beast and messing up its movement for a while. In addition it also comes with the exact same effects as Immobilise, preventing the target from swinging back if you lose the Duel roll, and giving you excellent utility against all of the above. Just make sure Galadriel never goes down to 0 Will Points or Blinding Light will get turned off.
- Keep in mind that the Mirror of Galadriel is a Heavy Object, not an immobile one (so you can always have two Heroes carrying it along to where you want to be) and its range is surprisingly large. At 6" after moving it up the field a bit you should be able to get it in a position that most of your Heroes can reach with relative easy, and at only 25 points it's not too much to risk, especially since Galadriel doesn't need to stay near it if you want it supporting a more difficult area.
- Consider getting a Galadhrim Captain to go along with Galadriel. Heroic March will help move her, her warband and her Mirror into position faster, and/or you can use it to escape a bad engagement. Without it, you're going to be relying entirely on Galadriel's magic to protect you from Monsters, and while this can work, just make sure that you don't have more than one Monster/War Beast coming at her group at a time, or you might be in a bit of trouble.
- A last note on Galadriel's unit upgrade: it's not worth it. Not only do those points add up in the end, but you can get a similar effect by buying a war horn instead, which will buff everyone on the field rather than one specific model type. Besides that point, your Galadhrim Warriors should be by a Hero anyway, and they already have Courage 6 for when your army breaks (and you shouldn't need the extra Courage to pass Terror tests).
- Celeborn: When fully kitted out Celeborn is a melee Monster, sporting great stats, Heroic Strike, Heroic Defence, and the Lord of the West rule. Strangely enough you can feature him unarmed, in case you wanted to use that robed model for some reason, but this is obviously a terrible idea. Give him the heavy armour, sword and shield he deserves, and use him as an Elrond-like hybrid caster/fighter character. His high Fight value and Heroic Strike should ensure he beats everyone but other Elves, especially when you factor in Lord of the West (giving him a free re-roll on both his Duel and To Wound rolls) and with only a war horn on one of your Galadhrim Warriors, Celeborn is effectively Fearless (and confers this to all Warriors within 12" of him thanks to Lord of Lórien). Unfortunately it's not all great news, Celeborn cannot be given a horse, which means that as Infantry he's vulnerable to every Cavalry model. If he's charged he will be knocked over, which will prevent him from striking back after he wins the Duel roll. Fortunately you can mitigate this by placing him behind some Warriors, allowing them to take the charges for him before opening up a spot for him to charge back through. You can also use his Immobilise spell to lock down Cavalry that got too close but this isn't recommended. Celeborn doesn't have many Will Points, and these are better spent on Enchanted Blades while leaving Immobilise to Galadriel. Aura of Command isn't worth casting either since you already get the channeled version of that by taking a war horn.
- When looking at which Warriors to support Celeborn with, skip his buff. An extra point of Courage is not going to help them much, especially since they can buy a war horn to give that buff to everyone in the army. Those extra points also do add up after a bit, especially when you buy them other upgrades as well. To consider the Warriors themselves however, consider a mix of Galadhrim Warriors and Guards of the Galadhrim Court, with one or two Wood Elf Sentinels. The Galadhrim Warriors can support him in the front, the pikes support them and Celeborn in the back (providing Fight 6 to your regular Warriors as well) and the Wood Elf Sentinels can take advantage of the low Leadership of Evil armies to move models out of position, exposing support Heroes, and allowing you to charge in with Celeborn to murder them. Just be aware that the pikes should be a minority in your warband, if you take too many you'll find your models getting Trapped, and it's better to only give one model's support than two to everyone and take double the attacks if you somehow roll poorly.
- Since Lothlórien and the Fellowship are Historical Allies you could consider allying with them to get Gandalf. He can use Strengthen Will on Celeborn, which means you're going to get more uses out of Enchanted Blades. In addition, Gandalf can use Sorcerous Blast to knock over enemy Monsters, allowing Celeborn and your other models to charge in to finish them off. He'll also provide a good source of Immobilise, which allows you to skip out on Galadriel if you wanted to for some reason.
- Rúmil: Brother to Haldir, Rúmil is focused on defence while Haldir is focused on offence (even though they're supposed to be opposites with bow and blade instead). Rúmil is the Hero you take when you want a miniature Celeborn, he costs a lot less and is all right in combat, though having only 2 Attacks really hurts him. This is helped out by his Swift Parry rule, where he can force an opponent to re-roll a D6 for the Duel roll (so you can just "NOPE!" that Troll's 6) but even with that, Rúmil is a hard sell. He has no Heroic March so it's hard escaping from a bad situation, he lacks Heroic Strike so it's hard to get him to beat other Heroes who do have access to it, and he lacks a horse, so he'll be knocked prone by models on horses if he's charged by them (and can't boost his attacks either). Because of this he's not usually seen in competitive lists, and you won't miss him if you give him a pass.
- If for some reason you want to use Rúmil anyway, play him like he's Celeborn. Get him an escort that he’ll stay behind to block charges from enemy Cavalry and Monsters, and spend his Might Points on Heroic Defence and modifying his To Wound rolls. Support him with Pikes to boost the amount of dice you roll in a Duel roll, and use Swift Parry to cancel out the 6's of models who try to use Heroic Strike on him. Going after objectives with him is also a good idea because if Rúmil manages to sit on it, his Swift Parry and pike support can make him very difficult to dislodge. Also consider getting him a Captain for Heroic March, since Rúmil and his unit are better in combat while holding objectives, and the sooner you get there, the better. He'll also allow you to escape really bad engagements if you really need to.
- Haldir: The offensive counterpart to Rúmil and a good choice for your army, provided you don't want a horse of course. Haldir should always be given his bow and heavy armour (putting him at 85 points, 5 more than a similarly armed Galadhrim Captain) which makes him into a very solid Hero in his own right. He gets Expert Shot to fire his Strength 3 bow twice while hitting on 3+, he has a respectable Defense 6 and his elven cloak allows him to shoot from cover while being immune to enemy bow fire (and magic) in return. To make him better, Haldir has 3 Might, allowing you to use Heroic Accuracy alongside Wood Elf Warriors to snipe out supporting elements such as banners and Shamans, as well as spears and other supporting Heroes. Having access to Heroic Strike is also a boon, it allows him to keep up with enemy Heroes who try to use it to get a leg up on him in combat, and unless he's up against Elves (or very specific combat Heroes) he's not likely to have worse Fight values than his enemies.
- Note that One Final Blow is an active ability, so if Haldir is under the effects of Transfix or any other ability that prevents him from using active abilities, he won't be able to use it.
- If you're looking for a Hero specifically focused on getting your foot troops stuck in, then give Haldir a pass. His lack of Heroic March, and his lack of a horse make it very hard for him to get your Warriors to where they need to be or escape bad engagements in comparison to a Galadhrim Captain. So long as you don't spend points on somebody like Celeborn however then you could easily bring both, Haldir for your bows, and the Galadhrim Captain or two for your frontline Warriors.
- Galadhrim Captain: Just like the other Captains, he is the baseline for the rest of the faction. Galadhrim Captains gain the usual elf bonuses of having a high Fight as well as Courage, but unlike all of your named Heroes, they have access to an armoured horse, as well as Heroic March. While the horse you might pass up on, the Heroic March you definitely won't since it could be the sole reason you take these guys. You don't have any way of escaping the bow limit, which means that you're going to want to get in combat where your Fight 5/6 across the army can really make a difference, and in the event that something comes towards your models that you weren't expecting, Heroic March can usually give you the Movement you need to escape it for a time (which could be long enough to get your bows to bring it down, or Immobilise it with Galadriel). Galadrhim Captains can also be used in other supporting roles; they're the only Heroes you have that can ride a horse so you'll be using their Heroic Moves to run down enemy models if you decide to get some Cavalry (or ally in some Rohan Cavalry), they can get up to Defence 7 with a shield (and with Expert Rider you still get this bonus so long as they're on a horse) and a Galadhrim Captain with a bow can use Heroic Shoot to allow your bows a chance to snipe out the enemy ranged assets and Cavalry before they can cause much damage, though if this is all you want them for then consider getting Haldir instead. Captains are also especially useful for getting Heroes like Celeborn into the thick of it, and no matter what you can practically always find a time and place to use them effectively. For this reason it's generally recommended to save points for your Captains, and fill out the rest of your army first. After that get just what you need with them, and if they're on foot, always remember to support them with Pikes. They're one of the few sources of Strength 4 in your army which, combined with their hand-and-a-half weapon, mean they're one of the few ways you can cut through heavy armour.
- Wood Elf Captain: The sneaky version of your regular Captains, Wood Elf Captains are ideal for hiding in the backfield behind cover, taking shots at the enemy while remaining effectively invisible in return. Together they and the Wood Elf Warriors they're with can be effectively immune to the enemy army, whittling down enemy bows and before turning to shoot enemy troops while moving up to claim backfield objectives themselves. Just make sure you don't invest too hard in them. If you get too many Wood Elf Captains and Wood Elf Warriors you'll find you'll run into problems against horde armies that can swarm you with the weight of numbers, and your Wood Elves don't stand up so well in protracted fights. To this end it might also be worth getting the warbands a Sentinel, if only so that you can try and move away models that are coming close, or possibly scare them off with Terror.
- Since they're less likely to need to move around the field, make sure you spend their Might on Heroic Shoot. Doing this early in the game will allow you to pick off a lot of enemy bows and Cavalry before they can do much harm, but once again just be warned Haldir is better in this role. Wood Elf Captains are only better than him if you're worried you'll have to run through the woods to approach or escape from enemies.
- Galadhrim Stormcaller: Pound for pound identical to his High Elf cousin, exit he has Enchanted Blades instead of Strengthen Will. Galadhrim Stormcallers are a bit more important in a Lothlórien list than a Rivendell list, as they're the only models you have that can knock enemies prone, and this is especially important when it comes to Monsters. Your pikes will absolutely massacre a prone Monster, as will your combat Heroes like Celeborn, and this is a perfectly acceptable alternative to Galadriel if you wanted to try something different. Just don't expect miracles, they'll get much fewer spells off and you'll need to be in a good position to take advantage of the Monster they blow over when it happens. He's also a cheaper way to unlock 6 more models for your army, compared to your other Heroes anyway.
- Don't try casting Enchanted Blades with them. Celeborn is much better at casting the spell since not only is he less vulnerable to focus fire, but it's much easier for him to get the spell if he needs to thanks to his bonus Might.
- Always keep models in between them and enemy bows. Their Defence of 4 will not hold up well to bow fire, and while they still have Will they're worth protecting.
- Galadhrim Warrior: Your front line Elf infantry. With Elf-standard defense 5, and the normal elf equipment they are a solid core troop. They should avoid spears (the wood elves like them more) unless you're running a pure Galadhrim force, and also consider avoiding bows. Wood Elf Warriors are better at using them and are cheaper, since they can shoot from afar while remaining effectively invisible so long as they're even partially concealed by cover. This leaves just the shield for the Galadhrim Warriors to pick up, and if nothing else this is a great upgrade. Your Fight 5 makes Shielding a great idea since you can fend off some of the stronger characters from enemy armies that way, and with the option of using your Elven-made hand-and-a-half swords as single or two-handed weapons they're good choices for dealing with both lighter and heavier armour. Upgrade one to a banner and support them with pikes and you'll be golden, very few other Warriors in the game will be able to break your formation.
- Do remember when supporting the Galadhrim Warriors with pikes, that you can only Make Way with one model. If you don't want to risk trapping your models you might have to stagger your formations in a way that causes some models to be supported by only one pike instead of two, but it's better than having your models die because they couldn't shuffle backwards.
- Always get a war horn; they make your Heroes near Fearless while putting your Warriors on the same level as the Heroes of most other armies when it comes to staying power when they hit their break limit. Just remember to keep the war horn in the back, even if you have to hide him somewhere.
- Galadhrim Knight: Faster Galadhrim warriors on faster-than-normal horses. Unfortunately this is all they really are, and once you give them a shield they're up there with Rivendell Knights for the cost, and nowhere near the effectiveness. Strength 3 will not help them win any contests, especially against other Cavalry (doubly so if they have lances) and they'll also find it hard to crack open heavy armour, even when they're able to knock them prone. The only upside is they can use bows and shields on horses without penalty, but doing that just makes you wish you were taking Rivendell Knights instead. Considering how you could just ally in Rivendell Knights (who cost the exact same as Galadhrim Knights with bows and shields), ally those into your force instead since Lothlórien and Rivendell are Historical Allies, and use the models as proxies if you don't have Rivendell Knights.
- Alternatively if you don't want to use Rivendell Knights, get Riders of Rohan. They are also Historical Allies with Lothlórien and like Rivendell Knights, they're going to be much more effective on the charge. They hit at Strength 4 or 5 depending on whether or not they chose to use Piercing Strike on their axes, and for the rest of the time they can chuck spears at their enemy while being immune to the bow limit. In other words, they're the skirmish and hard-hitting Cavalry the Galadhrim Knights want to be.
- If for whatever reason you absolutely have to use Galadhrim Knights, then give them a Captain, keep them as bare-bones as possible (only get them a shield and banner) and march them through the woods to be a sweeper unit for all the opponent's ranged tools in the back. Your armoured horses will keep them relatively safe from bow fire, since both rider and mount should only be wounded on 6's, and avoid anything with a Defence higher than 5.
- Guard of the Galadhrim Court: These guys are nuts. Sporting Hero level Fight 6 and armed with pikes, Guards of the Galadhrim Court make for are amazing frontline fighters, but even better second and third line supporting infantry to bestow that Fight 6 onto any allies or regular warriors in front of them, forcing even named heroes like Aragorn and Imrahil to use Heroic Strikes to be sure of winning fights with basic infantry. In addition to all of this, their pikes allow them to use the shielding rule, just in case they get flanked by Cavalry or dive into something too big. They also fix the problem your named Heroes have in that they can't get horses, leaving them stuck with only 2 or 3 Attacks and pikes will happily fix that issue so that the Duel is biased in your favour. Never give them the banner though, they should always be supporting another unit and all of your other units are capable of getting their own banners (and it's not worth trading in the pike).
- When using Guards of the Galadhrim Court, you're always going to want to support them with a bunch of Elf bows. The reason why is because the Guards themselves are weak to Strength 3 ranged weapons, and a lot of armies have access to those in some fashion. Rohan and Warg Cavalry can easily get them, and even Gondor has them on their Citadel Guard. A few shots on your Guard will see them dropping like flies, and the cost of losing them is going to add up quickly so make sure you can snipe those models out ASAP.
- Do keep in mind that when you support a frontline fight with these guys that you are at risk of trapping your own models since only one friendly model can Make Way for them. While it is possible to stagger your formation in a way that prevents you from trapping anyone, a few of your Warriors might have only one pike supporting them rather than two, but it's better than getting them killed because you rolled badly for their Duel rolls.
- Wood Elf Warrior: The squishy elves we all know and love from D&D. These are the elves you really want to have your bows, since not only are they great with them (much better than they are in combat) but their Elven cloaks render them effectively invisible so long as they're shooting out of any form of cover. This is the prime reason you take them, so that they can get bows that are effectively immune to retaliatory fire. Place them somewhere they'll be hidden, place a Captain among them so you can use Heroic Shoot to focus down the enemy bows, and force the enemy to fight you in combat, where they'll need to deal with your Fight 6 pike formations.
- When using Wood Elf Warriors with bows, consider getting them Haldir. Not only does he have an extra Might Point for Heroic Shoots, but he also has access to Heroic Accuracy, allowing you to snipe out hiding enemy bows and supporting elements behind enemy models with ease. Using that skill, your Wood Elf Warriors should have no issue shooting banners, Shamans and the weaker support Heroes as well. If you're allowed to use it multiple times you might even be able to take down some truly tough opponents, regardless of how many models they hide behind.
- Don't bother with upgrades beyond the bow, as Wood El Warriors stand a good chance of losing to Orcs in combat. Not only do they have only average Strength, but their Defence of 3 will cause them to take serious damage from practically everything, and even with Fight 5 having only one or two dice in the Duel roll is a risky proposition. To that end getting the throwing daggers is also risky, since if you're within range to throw them you're within range to be charged, so it's also not recommended.
- Wood Elf Sentinel: These are Wood Elf Warriors with an extra attack and the ability to sing a song which buffs/debuffs nearby models. Wood Elf Sentinels would be auto-includes if it wasn't for their price, however it's still easily possible to fit them into a few lists, especially since their songs provide great bonuses. To start, The Hymn of Elbereth is basically instant Fearless for one model, and since you can use it on your Captain (or equivalent) you can guarantee you'll be staying on the board so long as the Sentinel's around. This might not sound so useful for Elves, but do remember they can be allied to other armies, and in those cases the effect can be a game changer, especially if a Nazgûl is on the field spamming Drain Courage. Eldamar Madrigal is a fun little gimmick that can cause you to take control of an enemy model, and unlike the spell Command, it cannot be resisted in any way. Should it work you can open up enemy lines, exposing the weaker supporting Heroes, moving out banners (or moving them just far enough away that they can't be passed along should they die) and if you're using this song as a part of a Heroic Move and it works on an enemy Hero, that Hero now can't declare their own Heroic Move (and have it help them) since they can't move any further that turn. The final song is The Lay of Gondolin which causes the Sentinel to cause Terror. This is significantly less useful than the other two songs, however if they're being looked at by a bunch of Courage 2 Orcs or Warg Riders, there's no harm in popping the song and hoping for the best. At the very least it might save them until they can get behind some other Warriors at least.
- Do remember that Enchanting Song is an active ability, which means if these guys are hit by Transfix or something else that affects Active abilities, their Enchanting Song is turned off. If you're relying on Terror to keep Courage 2 Orcs away, this will all but guarantee you will lose the Sentinel.
- Like regular Wood Elf Warriors, never get Sentinels into combat. A single bad roll is going to make you lose that 25 point model and you're going to feel the loss the second it hits.
The Fellowship: Primarily useful if you want to grab a specific hero (read: Aragorn) without losing your allegiance ability. So if you want to take Aragorn, here is the way to do it.
Rivendell: Galadhrim Warriors and High Elf Warriors are exactly identical, as are your Stormcallers and High Elf vs. Galadhrim Captains (except Galadrhim Captains have Fleetfoot). Rivendell has much much better Cavalry but you have a wider variety of infantry available, so a Warband filled with Rivendell Knights led by a powerful hero is definitely an option, but don't take them for their infantry.
Rohan: You have great magic and fantastic infantry, but underwhelming Cavalry. Rohan has fantastic Cavalry but no magic and underwhelming infantry. Theoden can lead a small group of Cavalry to form the spearhead of your attack. Including Théoden also means you're no longer forced into taking Galadriel as your leader.
The Dead of Dunharrow
The Kingdom of Khazad-Dum
The Misty Mountains
The Wanderers in the Wild
Army of Thror
Garrison of Dale
The White Council
Army of Laketown
Survivors of Laketown
Iron Hills Dwarves