Thursday, 28 January 2016

Unit Review #2 - Tree Herder

Tree Herder


The Random Number Generator has spoken and decided that the Tree Herder is next on the chopping block. The Tree Herder can be found in the Elf and Forces of Nature lists. Lets look at his profile and pull it apart. 





Profile 

Speed of 6 puts it at a good speed to keep up with most units and not be left behind. Considering it's other stats this perfect for the unit in most cases. 

Melee of 3+ puts it into the "Elite" Category. Fitting for this model. 

Defense 6+ puts it into god mode. The highest Defense available means many attacks will fail against him. Defense 6 alone puts him as a better anvil than most hordes (especially with his nerve). 

7 Attacks is ok but this is certainly not where he shines. 

Nerve of 18/20 puts it close to a horde in nerve value. This combined with De 6+ and his frontage of 50/50mm means he is one big hard to shift stump. 

Points value of 260 is ok. Considering the cost of many other monsters out there it is pricey however many monsters hit on 4+ or have shambling and other drawbacks. There are better monsters out there and worse out there for points. When the only draw back to the tree herder is his lowly 7 attacks he certainly is not suffering. This guys points are not going into his damage output but this is definitely ok.

Monster means he has a height of 4. On many of the glass cannon monsters this can be an issue as hiding isn't always guaranteed. But with high defense and high nerve height 4 won't be a hindrance most of the time. 

Overall you have an elite monster who excels at everything except dishing out the damage. A bit pricey at 260 points but when you look at his abilities you begin to see where he differs from the more "simple" monster units. 


Abilities

Crushing strength 3, most hits will wound most units with ease. A little wasted on 7 attacks but if you ever flank a unit this rule comes into play a lot more. Whats important here though is it's perfect for an anvil role. CS means when it's held up on long combats it can always hurt it's enemy, slowly grinding down anything that charges him. 

Inspiring is great for any Anchor unit. Unlike more aggressive units with inspiring he shouldn't often stray away from other parts of your army. Really he can hold the line physically and morally in his area. On a unit with high nerve and defense 6+ this is huge. Be sure to take this into consideration when selecting your hammer units. 

What kind of tree herder would he be if he couldn't herd his trees? Thankfully with Surge 8 he can herd his forest Shamblers around the board. A surge of 8 isn't going to do huge wonders but it's nice to have this option here. Realistically the Tree Herder will be in combat stemming the tide of enemies so when you are using surge you are wasting his potential. Ultimately this Surge as an extra bonus to his "use when nothing else" list of abilities. 

And finally Vanguard. As with all the Trees in Kings of War he comes stock with Vanguard. A one use free move before the game begins. You don't want him straying too far from your lines but this is a good option if you need to secure an objective (and never leave it) or you need to place him into a more prime position. Use this move carefully so you don;t waste this 260 point investment. 

His abilities are a bit mismatch, it is clear he is meant to be used as a leader monster with supporting abilities but I think this guy does it best when he is in combat holding up enemy units. Inspiring and crushing 3 make up the best options for this unit so be sure to maximize this when you use him. Really his abilities help him anvil better with a few toys chucked in you might use every so often. 


Tactics

As you may have guessed after reading all of that ANCHOR HIM! Keep him holding up a line get some hammer units in there to help him finish the job. Remember his frontage is only 50mm so getting in some counter attackers is going to be easy. In the Elf list the tree herder contends with the Dragon. Now the Dragon is a better choice for threatening flanks and harassing (and so much more but we will get to that) but a defense 6+ dragon is 85 more points than your base Tree Herder. Sometimes it is better (if you just want the anvil) to go for the Tree Herder but think long and hard about this because the Dragon (for 85 points more) can do the Tree Herders job and more. Tree Herder is best as a sole anvil only monster and it saves you 85 points to put elsewhere. 

There are many ways to improve the Tree Herder in his role as Anvil. For the Elves one way is to consider taking the Green Lady. A defense 6+ flying mage with heal 8 will mean any damage done to the Tree Herder is wasted. This doubles as an excellent points sink in missions such as Dominate or Invade. Yes this costs about 460 points but it will do very well if you play your cards right. For forces of nature the Winged Unicorn is a good choice being 30 points cheaper than the Green lady for 1 less heal. This makes the points investment easier to swallow. Remember too the heal can be used on surrounding units so on those turns your Tree Herder is hardly hurt you can heal something else in need. 

Another way to use him is Forest Shamblers. Now this isn't ideal since he can only surge one unit and he will have to baby sit a unit of Shambling Trees but when they reach combat you can use the surge to get in a good flank charge here and there. I think this was the intent (after all he is the Tree Herder) but Realistically you want to get this guy anviling as fast as possible. What you use as the hammer is up to you and with the anvil only being 50mm in frontage your choices of Hammer open up a lot. 

One more point on Inspiring in relation to his points cost is that he saves you having to get a source of inspiring saving you a good 60 points or so. if he is being used as an anvil he will hold his line and the troops around him. Inspiring is a great rule to have on a unit that can do more than inspire as ultimately it saves you getting units elsewhere. 


Verdict

The Tree Herder is a safe unit to take with no real downside and excels as an anchor. As long as he keeps the enemy from moving he is doing his job. 

Overall I would rate him as an Excellent Anchor but a Mediocre Attacker. 

Don't expect him to cut down all who stand before him but expect him to not be cut down himself. The perfect unit for a Loot Counter...



Since there are 500 or so units I will have to type pretty fast to get them all done. So the goal is to do 1 a day, maybe 2 on quiet days. 

Next Up:

Gigas - Trident Realms

The number Generator has spoken.