Middle-earth SBG: An Extended Elven Family

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Originally I was going to post this as a question to the Great British Hobbit League Facebook group, but it got rather lengthy so I decided to just write a post about it.

As you may know from previous posts I’ve been working on a Rivendell army for the newly rebranded Middle-earth Strategy Battle Game that hit shelves a couple of weeks ago. The new rules and profiles are brilliant and the game features army bonuses and a new ally matrix. There are now three levels of allies, historical (or green) allies retain their army bonuses when playing them together. Rivendell has three green allies: The Fellowship, Numenor and Lothlorien.

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Prior to the new edition I had already been thinking of a thematic alliance between the two elven kingdoms. Elrond was wed to the Celebrian, the daughter of Galadriel and Celeborn. As grandaughter of the lady and lord of Lothlorien, Arwen spent parts of her live in both Rivendell and the realm of the golden wood. My idea for a Rivendell/Lothlorien force would be to represent Arwen’s escort as she traveled back and forth between the two elven kingdoms.

It’s debatable if Rivendell’s army bonus of re-rolling to-hit when shooting if your archers are within 6″ of your general is worth keeping when making alliances (or if Rivendell really needs allies at all) but since Rivendell and Lothlorien can retain their respective army bonuses (Lothlorien’s is the entire army is resistant to magic) I’ve been wracking my brain to see if there’s any kind of synergy that makes an allied list worth building. Now I have no experience playing Lothlorien (and I’m a fairly new player to the game myself) so this is all theory and I’d love to hear feedback from more experienced players.

Let’s start with the basic warrior profiles. The Galadhrim Warriors received an extra point of defense and are now the same point cost as the Warriors of Rivendell. That means they have the same stat profile and the same wargear options. They are identical except for the models and in that case the Galadhrim Warriors have the advantage of plastic spearmen included in the box.

In addition to the Galadhrim, Lothlorien also has access to Wood Elf Warriors. All Wood Elf Warriors now have elven cloaks (which have been nerfed a bit) but now they cost the same points as the Galadhrim, which has annoyed some dedicated Wood Elf players. But Rivendell has access to Wood Elf Warriors as well if you happen to have the Gildor Inglorion model (or proxy of convert the OOP model), that means you can take 12 Noldorin Exiles, these are Wood Elf Warriors but with an increase in movement to 8″ from 6″.

Lothlorien also has the Guard of the Galadhrim Court, these are F6 models with pikes and a special rule that allows them to use the pikes to shield against enemies. Adding in F6 support models to your army is pretty nice and can be a real challenge for heroes from other armies. However, Rivendell has access to F6 warriors as well if you take Gil-Galad and upgrade your warriors to King’s Guard. These can take spears which will also allow you to support. The advantage to the GotGC is the pikes which can support two rows deep, but I’m not sure many people are building pike blocks out of these elite units.

When we get to the cavalry options is where we see things get more diversified. Rivendell Knights are one of the best cavalry units in the game (and the most expensive, points-wise). They’ve got all the gear, shields, elven hand-and-a-half swords, elven bows and lances. They can skirmish and they can hit hard on the charge. And with Elrond you can bring as many of them on the table as you want without affecting your bow limit. Galadhrim Knights are a lighter cavalry, albeit with armored horses which means they will be less likely to have their mounts shot out from under them. They only have elven swords, shields and bows as options. They are a little more mobile with the fleetfoot special rule meaning they can move through wooded terrain without penalty. This may mean they are a little better at grabbing objectives and definitely better at flushing out any pesky units hiding in the trees.

I’m not going to analyze each hero options, but to compare the two, Rivendell mostly has big, beefy combat heroes like Gil-Galad, Glorfindel, Elladan and Elrohir, and Elrond. This would have been the advantage of aligning the two factions, but now Celeborn is no combat slouch. In fact he looks pretty good and can cast Enchanted Blades on himself for extra killing power. Lothlorien does have a shooty hero in Haldir that Rivendell lacks. But the big thing Rivendell brings to the table is mounted heroes. Of the Lothlorien heroes only the Galadhrim captain can take a horse.

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When it comes to magic, Elrond and Arwen bring Wrath of Bruinen and while Cirdan’s profile is much improved, it’s obvious when it comes to magic Galadriel shines the brightest. She’s got 3 might, 6 will plus an extra free will each turn thanks to her The Lady of Lothlorien special rule. But the interesting thing Galadriel can bring is her mirror which restores a hero’s fate to its starting value. She also has Blessing of the Valar which can restore fate as well. As a bonus Galadriel can upgrade Galadhrim Warriors to Galadhrim Guard with a +1 courage. 6 courage seems a little overkill but it means they’re going to stay on the board longer and practically guaranteed to charge anything.

The Rivendell and Lothlorien Stormcallers both have Call Winds, but the Rivendell Stormcaller has Strengthen Will and the Lothlorien counterpart has Enchanted Blades. Oh and then there’s Wood Elf Sentinels that Rivendell does not have access too. Technically not “magic” but it acts just the same.

This is where I’m starting to see the possibilities. Bring Galadriel with her mirror and some big combat heroes from Rivendell on mounts. The mounted Rivendell heroes wreck havoc and destroy enemy units and then turning around and heading back to Galadriel’s mirror to recover fate points as needed. Maybe bring Elrond who is no slouch in combat who also has the Renew spell to recover wounds. Maybe it’s possible to get a system working that means your heroes become very, very hard to kill.

An example of a 1000pt list
Elrond w/armor and horse
4x Warriors of Rivendell
4x Warriors of Rivendell w/ bows
4x Warriors of Rivendell w/spear and shield

Elladan & Elrohir w/armor, horse and elven bows
5x Rivendell Knights w/shield
1x Rivendell Knight w/shield and banner

Galadriel w/Mirror of Galadriel
4x Guard of the Galadhrim Court
3x Galadhrim Guard w/spear and shield
4x Galadhrim Guard w/ bow
1x Galadhrim Guard
1x Galadhrim Guard w/banner and spear

35 Units | 12 Might | 16 bows

Obviously this is a very elite force. My thinking is the twins and knights do the Rivendell knight thing, skirmish, shoot bows, charge in when the time is right. The Rivendell foot troops and the Lothlorien forces focus on shooting and defending the mirror which Elrond, Elrohir and Elladan return to grandma Galadriel to replenish fate and stay in the game longer.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter. I’m a rather inexperienced player and I’ve never played with Lothlorien before. Should the Rivendell Knights be traded in for more foot troops to bulk up the numbers? Use Glorfindel instead of Elrond to save some points?

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