The Sethayla Style Army

Articles dealing with strategics, tactics and generalship, as pertaining to the 6th Edition army book, used in 7th Edition Warhammer.

The Sethayla Style Army

PostAdded by LEAF Bot » December 30th, 2009, 19:13

Sethayla Style Army

A Sethayla Style army is a force based on the Sethalya Kindred fluff described in our armybook. It is an army that focuses on speed, mobility and shooting to an extent that no other army can equal. This is not because other armies cannot build an army that consists of units just as fast, but because no other race can build such a fast force with such a large amount of accurate shooting which cannot be tied up in close combat.

1. What does a Sethayla Style army look like?
    The Sethayla Kindred features Special slots filled with Warhawk Rider units, 4 or even 5 models strong. Rare slots are filled with large units of Waywatchers, up to 10 models per unit, or Great Eagles.

    Character choices feature Alters or Eagle-riders, with equipment based around shooting (heroes wielding the usual Hail of Doom Arrow/Helm of the Hunt combo, Lords, perhaps Alter, with Arcane Bodkins/Bow of Loren, and perhaps scouting heroes with Shrikes and magic bow or arrows. There are usually 0 - 1 mages ).

    Finally, you will fill your core troops with 5-men strong Glade Rider units with a musician. Somewhat less fluffy, but very useful is swap one or two of them (depending on how many Glade Rider units you have points for), for Glade Guard to increase your firepower.

    Sethayla Style lives up to the stereotype of Wood Elves as viewed by many opponents: an extremely fast shooting army but, to the surprise of many opponents, a Sethayla list has very solid Close Combat capabilities. With superior movement you are able to choose when, where, and even if you wish to fight, and then you can hit-and-run with your Warhawks causing decent Close Combat causalities to your opponent, but without losing your speed and without worrying about ending up stuck in combat or failing any Break Tests.

    On the other hand, you will have serious problems with certain models and/or armies. You have nearly nothing to use against monsters like dragons, hydras or Steam Tanks. You also have almost no magic defense, so you depend a lot on Warhawk Riders and Waywatchers to kill enemy mages. This is an extremely dice-dependent strategy, and it is almost impossible to kill monstrous or very hard casters like vampires or daemons. Your Waywatchers can help you here with their Lethal Shot and accurate shooting, but this may not be enough against many rosters.

    Sethayla also changes a lot about Wood Elf strategy. You have incredible speed, so if your opponent deploys in a large line, you can easily exert pressure against his right wing in the first turn, then continue with extreme pressure against his left wing in the second turn – and that's all with the same units!

    On other hand, Waywatchers are very expensive, but you will use them in such lists not only as great source of firepower, but also as great anti-magic and anti-shooting source. Your opponents will soon learn to fear them and will do nearly anything to stop them, and so will concentrate most, if not all, of both his auto-hitting shooting and magic against them.

2. Basic Sethayla army unit choices
    2.1 Characters
      Eagle Noble
      This is a Noble sitting on Great Eagle. That means he is equipped with a spear, light armor and shield, and has the Helm of Hunt and Hail of Doom Arrow combo, very similar to the Standard Alter Noble.

      For his 181 pts, you get a very useful character who is basically made to be a Sethayla general and is the most used character in Sethayla armies (in other words, you will field him in every roster). You can fire your Hail of Doom Arrow whenever you need and then simply hide this character to prevent him from being hurt. With his speed, eagle "ward“ and 4+ armor save, he is very likely to survive the battle. He also can fly around, providing his Leadership 9 to any fleeing units to ensure they will rally.
      But also, if necessary, he features very solid close combat potential. On the charge, he have 4 attacks with Strength 5 and Weapon Skill 7, plus 2 attacks with Strength 4 and Weapon Skill 5 provided by eagle. With this, he is able to kill many mages or help you to create some combat resolution if necessary.

      Machine-Gun Alter Highborn
      This is another basic character choice, but this time for 2000+ pts games only. He features good shooting potential, great movement abilities, great close combat capabilities if necessary, and is very resilient at the same time.

      This character is a 289 pts Lord choice with Alter kindred, who carries the Bow of Loren, standard Light armor, Shield and great weapon. The basic all-round build then features Arcane Bodkins arrows (which can be swapped for Starfire Arrows if you know you will face some low-Leadership opponents like Empire or Skaven). The rest of the magic items selection is your choice, but from my experience, the best build features Glamourweave and Enchanted Shield.

      Some players argue that for his points, you can have 2x 12 Glade Guard, who statistically provide significantly better shooting. That is true, but they lack many things this character has. They lack his movement abilities, and they need a lot of space to be fielded effectively. They lack his great close combat abilities as well. They also lack his magical shooting attacks, which can prove to be useful against ethereal creatures. The final decision is only up to you, but personally, I will never run "big“ Sethayla without him.

      Sniper Noble
      Less common then the previous two, but also a good choice. He is usually an eagle-mounted (do not forget he does not have fast cavalry rule, so on horseback, he can not shoot his bow after marching!) noble with spear, light armor and shield, wielding Hunters Talon and Pageant of Shrikes.

      The usefulness of this character is open to debate. On one hand, he is good at sniping warmachine crews and wizards, preferably unarmoured. On the other hand, statistically he needs 2.5 turns to kill one 2-wound, unarmored mage. I tested this choice several times, and for me, he is too dice-dependent. I remember the game where he took down all 4 enemy mages alone, but I can also recall several games where he failed to do anything. But if you run "big“ Sethayla and have some excess points, he is your best bet; and if you like him, just field him anyway!

    2.2 Rare choices
      In a Sethalya-style list, this will be your exclusive rare choice. Most often, they are fielded in 10-men strong units (and without Sentinel, of course), but if you need to save points to be spent elsewhere, you can slightly decrease their numbers. The use of these units seems to be pretty clear, but it is not. In fact, there are two ways to run Waywatchers in Sethayla army. The first one is obvious. You will use their special deployment ability and will slow down your enemy line, while you will use their Killing Blow shooting to take down some heavily-armored targets or characters, or to finish off some units weakened by other shooting. On other hand, this will also expose them in a position where they can be outmaneuvered, or killed by shooting and/or magic. That means, if you field them like this, you must be ready to sacrifice this 240pt unit, as they will most probably die in the first turn or two. On other hand, if played properly (and with luck), they are able to make really significant damage to the enemy army before that. Especially if you face some monster-mounted characters like dragon riders, they will have a hard time to survive your first volley!

      The second way to play them is more defensively. You will field them in cover on your half of the table (or even inside of your deployment area). Their role here will be to control the space around them, which not many opponents will be willing to enter. In this case, they will not be able to mess with your opponent as much, but they will have an easier time while surviving the battle. And, if properly used and played, they can still make a really great impact on the battle result.

      Great Eagles
      In large armies, your Rare slots are filled by Waywatchers, but at 1000 points a Great Eagle may be a better choice. You need plenty of "Multiple Small Unit" (MSU) units, plenty of shooting, and plenty of Active Magic Defense (AMD, Kill the Mage!) in a Sethayla army, but one full unit of Waywatchers can use 24% of your points. A 50 point Great Eagle becomes a disposable warmachine/mage hunter, march blocker, that also helps with target saturation. You can even park it in fron of a warmachine. If they shoot the Eagle, another unit charges over the corpse and slaughters the crew. If they do not, the Eagle attacks the crew. In any case, a more valuable and important unit did not get shot.

    2.3 Special choices
      Warhawk Riders
      These ones will be your exclusive special choice. The only question is how many of them? After several tests, I have come to this conclusion:

      3-model wide units: Small, cheap. Can do a good job while hunting warmachines and works well against unarmoured mages. On the other hand, they quickly fall under Unit Strength 5, so they are often not able to destroy fleeing units, claim flank/rear bonuses and/or claim table quarters.

      4-model wide units: The best size in my experience. With four they have pretty good close combat results and they can take more causalities before being weakened too much (or killed). Four models is also the number you will usually get into combat against most units. I field them in such units most the times.

      5 or more model wide units: For increasing price, you will usually not get anything besides durability. Most of the time, only four of them will be able to enter the combat while even with 5 or 6 Warhawks, you will have a hard time outnumbering anything but small units.

      As for the Wind Rider upgrade, you can take him if you wish. He works well against warmachines where the extra attack helps, but he can decrease your chance of killing enemy characters because of challenges (They will challenge the champion, so only they can fight) . For 20 pts I do not field him, but this choice is very style-dependant and you may find useful to have him in one of your units.

      With Warhawk Riders, be very careful how you use them! Many players tend to use them in Sethayla rosters as fast shooting units, but this means they are not used to their best potential. When shooting, Warhawk Riders produce one Strength 3 attack hitting on 3+ per model, but when they enter close combat, they produce two Strength 4 attacks usually hitting on 3+ per model, with only a small risk of being hit back (remember that it is you who chooses the fights and opponents!). That means about 300 % more effectiveness! With their Hit-and-Run rule, they cannot be locked into combat and ground down. The only danger is landing on top of impassible terrain, wood or enemy unit when withdrawing, but such threats can be predicted and with their 20“ charge reach and 360° LoS you really can choose the best and safest option. As a result, the Sethayla army can easily change into several "bumping" Warhawk Riders annoying the opponent, with the support of some Glade Riders and heroes who are circling around.

      The only thing you must be aware of are frontal charges because of champions and occasional characters in the first rank, plus a possible Parry bonus. Basically (and statistically) it can be stated that frontal charge against units with Movement 3 is safe; against Movement 4 still favorable on pain/gain scale; against Movement 5 risky; and against Movement 6+ really hazardous. But with some planning, you can use your Glade Riders here to block such eventual charges easily and effectively. For more detailed information, look at the LEAF article on Warhawk Riders.

      It is worth noting, that it is usually a good exchange if you lose a complete unit of four Warhawk Riders and kill a magic user or a warmachine. You get the points for killing the enemy unit and you save your own troops from the enemy attacks in future turns.

    2.4 Core choices
      Glade Guard
      They are not as fluffy as other units in a Sethayla army, but they make your army much more competitive and much harder to defeat! Unless your personal fluff prevents you, never field Sethayla army without two Glade Guard units. On the other hand, think a lot before fielding more than two Glade Guard units because, depending on terrain, you can have a hard time deploying them properly and using them to their maximum effectiveness.

      Why should you include them? They are not fast moving, but they are your cheapest units (for only 120 pts) and your most numerous. They will provide you with a lot of shooting and, at close range, Strength 4 shooting. They will be your best chance to kill such units as Hydras or Varghulfs and can destroy many light supporting units. Beside that, they provide you with great tactical potential. You can manoeuvre your units in such a manner that they will never block the Glade Guard's line of sight to any potential targets while you will be able to easily delay anything heading towards them. They will be able to withstand a lot of causalities (in comparison to your other units) without risking too many points. And with their slow movement, they will provide a very obvious target for your opponent to attack. This can be a big mistake for them.

      Glade Riders
      Fluffy and very useful core choice. Field them at minimum size of 5 models, only with a musician. With that they are cheap while fast, and with their Fast Cavalry rule, they can stop your enemy from charging your Glade Guard or Waywatchers. They will be also your only chance to negate your opponents’ ranks in case you need to enter close combat and they can also successfully hunt enemy warmachines. Beside that, entering close combat with Glade Riders (beside in situations where you can be sure to break or overrun; or where you have no other choice) is not a good idea. Three or four units of Glade Riders is the best number to field. Two can be too few to do their job sometimes, while five or more can get into each other's way easily.

3. Less common Sethayla army unit choices
    3.1 Anti-magic Branchwraith or Scroll Caddy
      Basic Level 1 Branchwraith with Cluster of Radians, to increase your number of dispel dice to 4. That is not a bad thing, but on other hand you will either have a lone, unprotected and single-purpose 140pt character hiding somewhere behind your lines or you will be forced to deploy a unit of dryads to protect her, and so this changes the whole roster and how it works, or you will have even more redundant units and points.

      You can hide a 140pt single-purpose lvl1 mage Scroll Caddy with 2 Dispel Scrolls inside your Glade Guard units but still, beside their dispelling, they will provide only one Strength 3 shot per turn and are unlikely to cast any spells. Provided that you have the terrain available, the best protection is probably an Elven Steed and hiding. The purpose of the scroll caddy is to protect your army from a magic assault in the first enemy game turn, which may occur before you get a chance to do any mage killing.

    3.2 Dual Treemen
      An army containing dual treemen cannot really be described as Sethayla, but a Sethayla army supporting two treemen can be very effective. In exchange for the Waywatchers, and for about the same cost, you get two Terror-causing, Stranglerooting, Treesinging monsters. Normally, warmachines are a bane to Treemen, but the Sethalya support is the best choice to destroy those dangerous warmachines. You may even be able to afford a Battle Standard Bearer to let those Stubborn Treemen hand around longer. When combined with dual Treeman and sniper Battle Standard Bearer, such semi-Sethayla army can be really nasty against many opponents, as it combines good combat capabilities, still above-average speed and manoeuvrability and a strong shooting phase. Such a roster will have a chance to work in high point battles, where the usual Sethayla rosters will have problems with too many weak units running around the table.

    3.3 Dragon rider
      At first look, a dragon-mounted lord with Bow of Loren seems to be a really great Sethayla choice but in fact he is not. Saying that, he is not that bad either, so if you wish you can try him with all his pros and cons. He usually features light armor, shield and spear, and wields Bow of Loren, Arcane Bodkins (or Starfire Arrows) and any protective items of your choice.

      His main plus is great close combat potential, good survivability and Terror. His cons are his price (320+ pts over normal Lord), providing an obvious shooting target and one less shot from Bow of Loren each turn. Sethayla armies are small and expensive in points. The cost of the dragon reduces their size to dangerous levels.

    3.4 Skaw the Falconer
      As long as you can use special characters, you can consider to fielding this guy. He is Alter Kindred but he provides 3 shots with Strength 4 each turn always hitting on 2+, which can be useful for mage-killing or warmachine hunting . Beside this (and his Always Strike First and attack-prohibiting abilities for potential combats) there are not too many advantages for him.

4. How to deploy a Sethayla army
    4.1 Deployment Strategy
      Usually it is a good idea to deploy all your units out of enemy Line of Sight behind interposing terrain, or with their front up to 2“ from the back of the board. Why? Remember that your units have effective shooting range of 35“ (Glade Guard and Waywatchers), 39” (alter) 48“ (Glade Riders) or 50“ (Warhawk Riders and eagle hero).

      On the other hand, the standard range of magic missiles is from 18“ to 24“ and the standard movement value of unmounted (so most) mages is from 8“ to 10“ when marching. That means that their usual effective range is 34“ or less so at least 1“ less that the range of a Glade Guard unit! At the same time, most of our enemies do not have Rank-and-File units with effective shooting range of 35“+. That is because only a few have even the weapons with range of 30“, and even then, many of such weapons are move-or-fire.

      That all together means that if you deploy like this, and if you win the roll for first turn and let your opponent start the battle, you have a good chance to effectively cancel his first magic phase and from his shooting phase, only some warmachines and Fast Cavalry units will be able to shoot. On other hand, if you will start the battle for any reason, all your units will be able to get into range and cause some causalities. If he does advance to shoot with Fast Cavalry, they will not kill much and are unlikely to survive to fire a second time. This increased distance may provoke your opponent to advance with his fast units and in your next turn, you will kill most of them.

    4.2 Deployment of the units
      This is highly terrain-dependent and personal style matters quite a bit too, but I will still try to share some basic strategies I consider useful.
      From my personal experience, the basic strategy of how to place units is simple: Glade Guards should be placed against the largest open space available. Glade Riders are best deployed in the centre of the table edge, and Warhawk Riders on the wings. Heroes should be deployed always in cover to be protected against anything unexpected.

      With such deployment, you will be able to use your first turn movement to move against one enemy flank so that you may be at long range, but certainly out of reach of his opposite flank shooting and/or magic. Then you can concentrate all your strength to destroy or weaken all his troublesome units on this flank, while effectively avoiding all (or most) opposite wing threats. Then in the second turn, you can repeat this strategy against his other flank, this time easily at close range (with Glade Guard excepted). With such manoeuvring, you will be able to destroy or severely weaken most of your opponents dangerous fast units in the first two turns while avoiding at least some of his remaining dangers and, at the same time, set up Hit-and-Run charges for the third turn.

      There is another reason for the deployment of the Glade Riders in the center. Some opponents will try to defeat your Sethayla by outmanoeuvring you (yeah, it is possible) They will try to trap part (Glade Guards, Glade Riders and alters – so, non-flyers) of your units against one table edge with a solid battle line, which will not allow you to ride through or around it; while ignoring all your other units completely. Empire armies, Vampires, Skaven, Tomb Kings and Orcs (and some Dark Elves rosters) are really capable of doing this very effectively. You will be able to make them suffer some casualties with shooting, but with your relatively small combat potential, you will not be able to break through their line without some luck. It is a good idea to be aware of such strategy and placing your Glade Riders (one of the most vulnerable units in your army when facing this strategy) in the middle of the line will make their escape easier. If you place, say, all of them on one wing and Glade Guard next to them, your opponent will be able to trap you very easily and effectively.

5. Sample rosters
    Sethayla Style armies are not efficient at all points levels because once you have used up your Special and Rare slots, you are limited to Glade Riders as Core (or some Glade Guard if you include some foot support) and you can use only so many of these units effectively.
    Because of this, I will say that the best basic roster sizes are 1000, 1500, 2000 and 2250.

    5.1 1000 pts (ArchMagosAlchemys' roster)

    Noble, general, La, Sp, Sh, Great Eagle @ 161
    * Hail of Doom Arrow
    2x12 Glade Guard @ 2x144
    2x5 Glade Riders, muso @ 2x129
    2x3 Warhawk Riders @ 2x120
    Great Eagle @ 50

    997 pts, 43 models

    5.2 1500 pts
    Noble, general, La, Sp, Sh, Great Eagle @ 181
    * Helm of the Hunt, Hail of Doom Arrow
    11+10 Glade Guard @ 132+120
    3x5 Glade Riders, muso @ 3x129
    2x4+1x3 Warhawk Riders @ 2x160+1x120
    10 Waywatchers @ 240

    1500pts, 59 models

    5.3 2000 pts

    Highborn, alter kindred, La, GW @ 289
    * Bow of Loren, Arcane Bodkins, Glamourweave, Enchanted shield
    Noble, general, La, Sp, Sh, Great Eagle @ 181
    * Helm of the Hunt, Hail of Doom Arrow
    2x10 Glade Guard @ 2x120
    2x5 Glade Riders, muso @ 2x129
    3x4+1x3 Warhawk Riders @ 3x160+1x120
    2x9 Waywatchers @ 2x216

    2000 pts, 66 models

    5.4 2250 pts

    Highborn, alter kindred, La, GW @ 289
    * Bow of Loren, Arcane Bodkins, Glamourweave, Enchanted shield
    Noble, general, La, Sp, Sh, Great Eagle @ 181
    * Helm of the Hunt, Hail of Doom Arrow
    2x11 Glade Guard @ 2x132
    3x5 Glade Riders, muso @ 3x129
    4x4 Warhawk Riders @ 4x160
    2x10 Waywatchers @ 2x240

    2241 pts, 76 models

    5.5 2800 pts semi-Sethayla roster

    Highborn, general, La, Sp, Green Dragon @ 571
    * Bow of Loren, Arcane Bodkins, Stone of Crystal Mere, Enchanted Shield
    Noble, La, Sp, Sh, Great Eagle @ 181
    * Helm of the Hunt, Hail of Doom Arrow
    Noble, BSB, La, Sp, Great Eagle @ 190
    * Hunter’s Talon, Pageant of Shrikes
    11+10 Glade Guard @ 132+120
    3x5 Glade Riders, muso @ 3x129
    4x4 Warhawk Riders @ 4x160
    2x Treeman @ 2x285

    2793 pts, 60 models

6. Conclusion
    The Sethayla-style rosters can be a lot of fun to play with and extremely annoying to play against, if you choose so. Your opponent may not have much fun at all. Outside of tournaments and competitive matches, try to avoid the pure dodge-dodge run-run Sethayla style, as it will not bring you many friends. Even then, most probably, there will be many players who will consider your roster cheesy because they cannot come to proper grips with it while you systematically shoot their army down.

    The truth is that Sethayla have many great weaknesses, so as long as your tournaments did not have any composition rating system, you may not do as well as you might expect. Not only magic and shooting heavy armies can hurt you – even many basic all-round armies based on large numbers of cheap models can outmanoeuvre you to death and armies can play points denial against you, not giving you enough targets to get the massacres you need.

    On the other hand, Sethayla is not a weak army. Even in a really competitive environment without any restrictions and against the nastiest opponents, you will usually be able to outmanoeuvre them to a draw if you play the army properly in the best Wood Elf traditions.

Written by: Unicorn

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