BoLS logo Tabletop, RPGs & Pop Culture

LotR TACTICA: Elven Kingdoms by the Numbers

9 Minute Read
Jul 10 2009

A guest tactica by: iamaddj

In part five of our ongoing “War of the Rings By the Numbers” series I am going to talk about the Elven Kingdoms army list. The Elves are considered by many to be one of the underpowered army list. I however disagree, and find the Elves to be a very powerful list. A few things to keep in mind when discussing Elven armies:

-In general Elves have a high fight, but a low defense making them a more offensive army.

-Elves also get some of the best archers in the game, and should be able to outshoot most other armies.

-All Elven units cause terror and have Pathfinders (Master), as well as high movement. These advantages are not to be over looked, as they mean that they are a very menverable army, and failed terror checks by enemies will really play up the Elves high fight.

Anyway on with the list.

Galadhrim Infantry Regiment
: One of the two basic infantry options for Elves, the Galadhrim are a costly lot. At 50 pts with shields (and I would always take this option, they lose nothing but gain a lot) you won’t see too many of these guys on the field. At F6 with their glaives they will get a lot of attacks but strength 3 will limit their destructiveness. With shields they are the match of most other armies rank and file troops, but still more expensive. They have the advantage of being able to take a caster, but like most unit upgrade casters, I would see if a epic hero can’t do his job better for not much more. In general this is a unit I would skip.

High Elf Regiment: The other basic Elven infantry unit, is another unit I am not too fond of. 5 pts more then their Galadhrim cousins, the High Elves (Elves from the olden days of the Last Alliance) gain a point of fight but lose a point of defense and the option to take a caster. They don’t have shields so will be better off if they get hit the flank/rear then Gladhrim, but it will be bad anyway. Since the drop in defense means that the average enemy will now hit them on a 5+ rather then a 6+ this is a pretty big deal, meaning for me it will be Galadhrim over High Elves here (the drop makes no difference against S4 troops so if you’re fighting Uruk-hai these guys are the better choice). One advantage of these troops is having a F7 captain, who is great for duals.

High Elf Cohort: The High Elf Cohort is really one of the shining gems of the Elf list and I would not leave home with out this unit in some form. Elf warriors are already good so give them defense 7 (normally their weak point) and you have a killer unit. Though they may seem like little more then really expensive versions of other armies rank and file units, they have some unique advantages. Movement of 8, the high fight, pathfinders (master) and terror all combine to make this unit very potent, but the captain is really where it is at. Though the Commander (what they call the captain of this unit) is only 50pts like other captains he is F7 and most importantly comes with 3, read that 3 Might. This means that he can really take other heroes and epic heroes apart, whats not to love about these guys?

Guards of the Galadhrim Court: Same stats as High Elf Cohorts, but with Pikes rather then glaives. They also have orcbane and can take a caster. Not a bad unit. They will really make Warg Riders cry. I can take or leave these guys and the price means then even if I take them, I won’t take too many.

Rivendell Guard: A legendary unit of High Elf Cohort, I like these guys quite a bit. While they lack any real stat advantage over the regular Cohort (stalwart being the only real difference) they do have two advantages. First they are a Legendary unit rather than rare and second they have a max size of 6 companies rather then 4, so you make a really beefy unit out of them. They seem to find their way into every Elf list I make.


Guardians of Caras Galadhon: While at first glance this unit may just seem to be a Legendary unit of “Guards of the Galadhrim Court” it has some major advantages. For no cost increase the Guardians of Caras Galadhon gain S4 and Stalwart, as well as a 3 might hero, making them a rather tough unit. In particular S4 and Orcbane will serve you will when fighting armies of Mordor, plus these guys just got some nice new models!

Galadhrim Archer Regiment
: Galadhrim Warriors with bows, these are some of the best archers in the game, and can make up the common part of your elf army. They have the ability to take a Caster with wilderness spells, and I mostly see this option being used to cast “guide arrows” on the unit, but consider this, for the cost of the caster (who gives each company an extra shot) you could just buy two more companies of archers. Which is better? I leave that to you.

High Elf Archer Regiment: Similar to the Galadhrim Archer Regiment these guys are just the High Elf Regiment with longbows. These guys represent a good medium infantry unit for the Elves as a large unit will often put out 50-60ish shots a turn as well as being a fairly solid CC unit. I would take these over the regular High Elf Regiment any day as the loss of the point of fight from having glaives is more then made up for by their having longbows. Still these guys will die in droves if hit with a really CC unit. All in all they make a good core of your army and are a good (if expensive) way to fill up common slots.

Wood Elf Warband: While it is possible to field wood elves without giving them longbows I don’t know why you would as they only really shine as archers. However they do make amazing archers! Longbows, shot value of 3+ and enchanted cloaks means that they will put out 11 shots a company at long range and not be shot back at, simply amazing. Keep them out of combat however or they will end up as dead as the trees they take their name from.

Mirkwood Sentinels: Another good archer unit. This superior unit of Wood Elves has all the same things going for at as the regular Wood Elf Warband, with the addition of a nifty special rule, Enrapturing Song (this give the sentinels a chance to reduce the strength of enemy units fighting them in close combat to 1). While it may seem that Mirkwood Sentinels are simply a replacement archer unit for Wood Elf Warbands, I prefer to use them on the flanks of my main line, and charge them in with a real combat unit in the hopes of reducing the enemies strength thus helping the rest of the army out.

Gildor’s Household: A legendary unit of Wood Elves led by Gildor. Gildor might only have 2 might (low for the leader of a legendary formation) but he is a Mastery 2 caster which makes up for this. Add in Ambusher to the unit’s rules and you get a very versatile unit.

Haldir’s Elves: Legendary Galadhrim Archers. This is the unit in every army that gains the Take Aim! rule (allowing them to increase their shot value). While they are not a bad unit, they are nothing really special and Haldir in my eyes is too good an epic hero to waste in this unit. I would skip them.


Galadhrim Knight Regiment
: The lone unit of Elven cavalry, the Galadhrim Knights are a beating and a half. Though many focus on their low defense as a major weakness they overlook the advantages of Galadhrim Knights. The first is that unlike EVERY other cavalry unit in the game they have 4 base attacks! That is twice as many as any other cavalry unit in the game. This not only means that the option to take longbows is a very attractive to me (expert riders plus 6 shots a company makes them the best mounted archers in the game) but also gives them a whole lot of attacks. Combine them with a hero like Celeborn and on a turn they charge a unit that fails its terror check they will have 18 attacks apiece, not too shabby eh?

Glorfindel, Lord of the West
: He’s a caster! He’s a monster! He flies! He’s amazing! Glorfindel (the Elf so awesome they had to cut him from the movies so he didn’t outshine all the heroes) is indeed a mighty beast. Combining the abilities of a caster, the ability to move like a flying monster, several banes, and a solid stat line Glorfindel is a solid choice in any army.

Galadriel, Lady of Lothlorien: A solid caster, with “Touched by Destiny” and several other good rules, Galadriel is in many ways a lesser version of Gandalf. Cheaper, with almost all the same abilities, but just a little worse.

Galadriel, Protectress of Lothlorien: A combat version of Galadriel with no casting. The only thing this hero has over the cheaper combat heroes is a fight of 10, a truly awesome stat that is not to be overlooked. Sadly her rules Spirit Grasp and Spirit Walk have no actual effect on the game (since the special rules of heroes don’t transfer to the units, pg. 69) but maybe that will change at some point, for the moment it does not really take away from the power that is Galadriel.

Celeborn, Lord of Lothlorien: Celeborn is a mediocre hero in normal use, clocking in at 175 pts, for a good caster, with good stats. He lacks epic strike, a huge weakness, but has epic defense (nice to help buff up that weak Elven defense). Taken at face value he is a little expensive for what you get. There are both better casters and better combat heroes for the same or cheaper cost, though he represents a good blend of both. However placed in a unit of Galadhrim where his Lord of Lothlorien rule comes into effect (giving his fight to the whole unit) he can really shine.

Thranduil, King of Mirkwood: This guy is one of my favorite Elf heros. Good stats, a mastery 2 caster, epic strike and epic shot combine to make him a real beast. I particularly like combining him with a “consular” in order to boost his might and unleash 4-6 epic shots in a turn; devastating to a unit and death to a monster. At only 25pt more then an Elven Sormcaller (their unit upgrade caster) I would take him anywhere I had planned to take a Stormcaller.

Elrond, Master of Rivendell: A good caster who can handle himself in a fight (Fight 8) Elrond is not a bad choice. Epic Renewal allows him to spread some might around and Epic Restoration allows him to do some healing, but for his point cost you could easily take two other casters who are also not bad in combat.

Legolas, Prince of Mirkwood: Legolas, son of King Thranduil (and favorite of Fangirls everywhere) is another amazing Elf hero. Though somewhat weak in combat (fight 6 with no epic strike) he allows his whole unit to fight before they normally would, a great boon to the weak Elves who are now able to strike before their enemies. In addition he has “Crippling Shot” which allows him to reduce an enemy monsters resilience to 1. Combined with Epic Shot this means Legolas can kill almost any enemy monster he sets his eye on. Pricey but worth it.

Cirdan of the Havens: A cheap caster (75pts) that also gives him unit a 6+ save. Not much to see here but a good choice over all.


Gil-galad, High King of the Elves: As befits the Last High King of the Elves, Gil-galad is one heck of a hero. Fight 10, 6 Might, and he gives his company a +2 bonus to hit! What more could you want? How about Epic Defence, Epic Sacrifice, and Epic Leadership (which allows friendly formations to re-roll courage tests) as well as Inspiring hero. Able to both lead his army well and kill just about any other hero in the game Gil-galad is truly a hero of the 2nd Age. Alas all this awesome comes with a price. Gil-galad clocks in as the most expensive good Hero in the game, (only Sauron, Lord of Rings is more exspensive), but boy will he earn those points back!

Liv Tyler (Arwen Evenstar): Thought by many to be an unnecessary addition to the movies Liv does not do a good job here of proving her worth. Priced the same as Thrandil but far worse, the only thing that can really be said for Liv is that she’s better then a Stormcaller, for not much more. It would appear she is unnecessary addition to the army list as well.

Elladan and Elrohir: Twin sons of Elrond these two heroes are each a low, low (one time only offer, going fast!) 35pts each, making them cheaper then a captain. Though a little worse than your average captain (only 1 might) they do have the advantage of sometimes sharing their might. One has Epic Strike the other Epic Defence, use them as captain replacements in your units to save a few points.

Haldir, Guardian of Lorien: Another cheap hero, Haldir has Epic shot and Epic Sacrifice rounding him out to be a solid hero.

~Well that’s it for the Elven Kingdoms, tune in next week for our next installment.

  • The Dwarven Holds by the Numbers