|Runewars | Published 17 February 2010|
With a twisted pride, Varikas gazed across the blackened landscape of his homeland. From atop the highest tower of the stronghold, he reflected on the simple perfection of his master’s vision. A vast mountain range protected them from the south, while to the north lay nothing but ocean. Hundreds of miles to the west, the war was going well; the enemies of Waiqar were falling by the thousands, only to rise again as his unholy servants. All was well... until he heard the faint sound of a war horn echo from the southern mountains. Varikas spun around, gripping the edge of the battlement and squinting through the smoking air. “Impossible...” he muttered, backing away. At first, there were only a few, but soon the sky was filled with winged stallions, each one carrying an Elvish warrior clad in golden armor.
One of the keys to maximizing your effectiveness at Runewars is knowing your faction’s strengths, and capitalizing on them early and often. Last time, we looked at the vile Uthuk Y’llan, and we saw a few ways to use their focus on Tactics Cards to their advantage. This time, we’ll look at the cunning Latari Elves, and we’ll discuss three important topics: initial placement, units, and Influence.
Before you can thrive with the Latari Elves, you must survive. As we’ll see below, the Elves are a late-game powerhouse... but they struggle a bit in the early game, particularly given their relative lack of food (they are the only faction whose food dial begins at two, rather than three). This must be addressed, as soon as possible, or you’ll find your first winter to be an especially harsh one.
Luckily, there are some steps you can take. First, during setup, try to position your home realm as close as possible to extra food. If you can’t manage to do this, then you’ll have to build a “Resources” development at your home realm stronghold, to pick up the slack on any future Harvest orders you play. Remember one important rule, though: this development can only provide a resource type that already appears in the area in which it was built. So don’t place your first stronghold in the wrong area of your home realm tile, namely the one area that doesn’t already produce food!
Once you’re over the initial challenge of scaring up extra food, you’ll begin to see that the strength of the Latari Elves is actually in wood (sure, they begin with less food than anyone else, but they begin with more wood). Why is this important? Two reasons: first, they can spend their extra wood on an early development more comfortably than any other faction, and second, because it makes the Archer their most abundant unit... and the Archer is deceptively powerful.
Consider this: the Archer is an “Initiative 1” unit, so it strikes first in battle... but even better, its special ability lets you choose where to apply its damage. That’s huge! Rather than letting your opponent apply the damage to his large units, where it may fail to make a difference, you can make the call. Which brings us to the second most abundant Latari Elf unit, the Warrior. The Warrior’s special ability lets you choose (again, this choice is key) a damaged unit and destroy it. Look at the potential synergy between these two special abilities; even with massive enemy units like dragons and giants, the Archers can set ‘em up, and the Warriors can knock ‘em down! Once you can get a sizable detachment of Archers and Warriors, you’ll have a relatively inexpensive force capable of taking down large foes.
Influence is another area in which the Latari Elves excel. Their high starting Influence sometimes allows them to win ties in bids... but this isn’t something you should leave to chance. Make sure that you have the upper hand in Influence bids throughout the game by grabbing the title “Primarch of the Wizard’s Council” as early as possible. And don’t be cheap about it; the more Influence you drop on a title when you claim it, the harder it is to wrestle away from you. Go nuts... it’ll pay itself off soon enough.
That’s because whenever a “Wizard’s Council” seasonal event comes up, you collect more Influence (that’s arguably a greater benefit than winning ties, the other boost from this title). And since most summer and winter events are “Wizard’s Council” cards, you’ll soon have plenty of Influence to throw around... and this will help you dominate the late game.
What about you? Have you found a particularly strong strategy with the Latari Elves, or any other faction? Comment below!
And don't forget... The Realms of Terrinoth Event, three days of epic adventure in the world of Runewars, is April 16th-18th at the Fantasy Flight Games Event Center! Check out the details, then register today!
Runewars is an epic board game of conquest, adventure, and fantasy empires. Two to four players raise armies, gather resources, and race to collect the elusive and powerful dragon runes in the high-fantasy universe of Runebound.
I find that the best strategy with the Uthuk are to cover ground fast and put mass troops on the front lines, but this article makes me like the elves...much..much more
I got impression that Elves starting values have been changed to 3F 2W 2O or was it other way around?
I played my first game as the Elves, and was entirely shut down by an attempt to recruit some early-game Beastmen. It didn't work, they trashed me, and I learned that this wasn't the best use of early game influence. Then a friend of mine played the elves to great success until he got greedy and spread himself too thin.
Seems to me, the best early game strategy really is to turtle, which works well when you're playing towards influence-driven objectives. This might make an early-game city almost as important as an extra space or two of food, though you're then stuck playing the terrain to protect the city with your limited forces. Still, extra neutral units and influence definitely help both ways.
I'd also add, if your army isn't moving, your heroes should be. Really, despite their offensive trickery, the elves are most often a hardcore-defensive game.
I like the elves, and have only won the game playing as them, but never pick them if you're going first/placing your home realm last. If they cannot choose a starting location, they will likely fail to get food and iron, which shuts them down entirely. But playing the influence game is very important.