Middle Earth SBG – Playing the Forces of Fangorn

“To land of gloom with tramp of doom, with roll of drum, we come, we come “

The sound of crunching bone, crushing feet, of stone and wood torn asunder, marks that the Ents of Fangorn are marching once more, and with doom they come. With many a poignant quote, this review is to highlight the army of Fangorn’s pros and cons in the battle for Middle Earth.

Let’s not deceive, its a small army. Two entries…and that’s it. The Ents are comprised of very little, both list and model wise, but each of those things offers a lot. A single Ent is capable of ripping through a warband while possessing the ability to deal with those pesky heroes at the same time. First off we will start with the one and only Hero [literally,i’m not being poetic]; Treebeard.

Tree?!’m am no tree, I am an Ent”.

 Treebeard is the only hero choice this army has but he is a Hero of Legend. Sure, he may be your only option, but he does have a lot of abilities to make up for it. I will cover the Brutal Power attacks later, as general skills across the whole army, so this bit will be about the man, I mean tree, I mean Ent.

He’s expensive. No denying it. And with the option of taking two tag alongs by the name of Merry and Pippin, he does round off at a nice number of points, but he’s not cheap. Why you ask? Well, with a fight value of 8, that pretty much means any other hero fighting him needs to boost their fight value with a Heroic, or watch helplessly when Treebeard rolls a natural 6. But the 8’s don’t stop there. Oh no. Treebeard has many 8’s across his stat line, meaning it’s hard to wound him, and he hits harder than a troll.

He comes with the normal Might and Fate you’d expect from a Hero of Legend, but also has as much Will as some of the mighty wizards across this land. Mixed with the Army bonus, which I will also cover later, Treebeard is reasonably resisted to magic.

we have agreed, you are not Orcs”.

But by far, the addition of the two Hobbits in this edition sets Treebeard well above the rest of his fellow treemen. For one, they are half the points in the Fangorn army list as they are in the Fellowship list while retaining all their stats line and wargear options. They are resistant to magic and best of all, can throw stones up to 8 inches while mounted safely upon the shoulder of Treebeard, without any modifiers should the lumbering giant move. This is quite handy for pelting the heads of any supporting spearmen attacking Treebeard as the hobbits are not engaged in the fight, nor are the spearmen.

They can dismount and move around freely, and remount by simply moving back into base contact with Treebeard. As to why you would want to get two such small and squishy characters down from their safe location, well, its a double edge sword. While grounded they can take objectives and hold ground but can be easily targeted or charged which they can’t be while mounted. Equally they can be placed to surround an opponent Treebeard has charged, or used as a counter charge should your opponent have charged him. If placed correctly, they not only trap your opponent but also add two more dice to your Duel roll, taking it to a total of 5 attacks, with 10 rolls to wound should you win. [okay, 4 of those will be at S2, lets not kid ourselves too much, but then again 6 attacks with Rend is going to ruin someone’s day]. If Treebeard fails to win the fight, your opponent will probably go for the softer target so it’s a risky move.

The only other entry for this army is the bog standing, I mean bog standard Ent. Pun aside, facing off against any Ent would be harrowing fight for even the most stalwart of warriors. With a stat line very similar to Treebeard, these high strength, high defence monsters also boast a fight value worthy of any champion. They move the same speed as any normal foot soldier and can hurl stones up to 18 inches at the highest strength the game goes to. Although they aren’t the greatest shots, and given the option of crushing one opponent with a giant rock, or bludgeoning anyone silly enough to be in base contact with you, I know which one I’d go with. Although, its still an option if used at the right moment. I’d still go with plan B. Why? Because Bludgeon really is a rule that is unique to the Ents, and only the Ents.

Its a new Brutal Power Attack that enables the Ents to pick up one of your opponents and use him to bash the brains in of anyone else in the fight. Perfect for those moments when an entire warband of goblins has surrounded your Ent, and 3 basic attacks is just not enough to get the job done, bludgeon enables the Ents to quickly reduce an opponents warband’s numbers in seconds. This means surrounding the Ent in an attempt to trap him can quickly back fire, so it will make your opponent think twice when charging you. If they even make it into combat, let’s not forget that Ent’s cause Terror so there is a chance they might not even get the charge in the first place.

Let’s not stray too far from the Brutal Power Attacks, as its these abilities that truly make the Ents a force to reckon with. Basically, the whole army can Rend, Hurl, Barge [and Bludgeon!] every time they win a fight. There is nothing like Barging all those annoying shield walls and bodyguards back 3 inches so you can step in and immediately fight your opponents Captain or Hero, who thought he was safe behind his men. Another good use for Barge is to push the banner bearer away from the fight, denying it’s bonus before plowing into weaken troops. And if that banner is too far away to push back, have you thought about Hurling some hapless swordsman at him instead, knocking down everyone else on the way? And last but not least is Rend. Most heroes have high defence values, but as you roll to wound against strength instead of defence with Rend, it’s the perfect choice for taking out multi wound characters. Additional, you can use combinations of these powers if positioned well. Push your opponent around, use the first Ent to Barge models into trapping predicaments for the next Ent to get double attacks on, or Hurl into crowded ranks for maximum effect, especially if only engaged with a single model. Oh the choices! Choose wisely, they are game changing moments [as well as being great gaming memories to share for years! Like the time Treebeard hurled an Orc Captain clear off the walkways of Lake Town into freezing water, killing him instantly. Good luck rolling for Fate from the bottom of the ocean.

Don’t be hasty” 

Not only the motto of the Army bonus, but a sound piece of advice if thinking of taking any allies with Fangorn, because as far as Army bonuses go, its a good one and worth keeping, but there is a hitch. “Side? I am on nobody’s side, as nobody is one my side.” Which is true, because Fangorn is convenient or yellow allies with everyone. They have no green allies and would therefore lose their army bonus if allying with another army. It’s a tough choice and one I would not take lightly. I’ll tell you why.

Fearless, for starters! Wow. Fearless mixed with Terror. Ouch. It means Trolls are scared of Ents, but Ents aren’t scared of them. Lose more than 50% of your army, who cares! The Ents aren’t going to run away. Why? Well, it’s time for another quote to clear that up. “Come, my friends. The Ents are going to war. It is likely that we go to our doom. The last march of the Ents.”[wipes tear away]. Need I say more.

If that’s not good enough, how about impervious to any magical power or special ability that prevents them moving, or moving them around? No longer can your opponent Transfix or Command an Ent, or affect their movement in any way [with the exception of losing a duel of course]. That’s quite a game changer since the last edition of the game.

Furthermore, Nature’s Wrath and Wrath of Bruinen no longer has any effect on them. That’s a lot of magic that has suddenly lost its shazam over the rampaging relentless trees, with additional salt being added by Treebeard’s high Will value.

That’s quite an army bonus, or three really. It will make any Fangorn player think again before slapping down some beefcake Hero from another list to “complete” his army. Not only does this stop any power creep from mixing armies, but like above, its true to the form, the feel, of the Ents, which is one of the reasons I love this game.

But enough with the pros, its time to hear the hard truths. The cons. The Ents will be out numbered 99% of the time. Due to the high points cost of even a single Ent, you will not have many, and can guarantee points left over unless playing certain combinations like 550, 800 or 1400. Ents are slow, many armies will move around them, or try to avoid the Ents at times, box you them in. Even though Ents have a high defence, they are not invulnerable. Other monsters or models that get +1 to wound [and there is a lot that can], can easily ruin your day and make Ents easy prey given the number of models you will have in your army. Lets not forget a siege weapon will kill one with a single wound. They do not have any banners, so no rerolls in Duels, and Treebeard is the only model in your army that has any Might to boost a dice roll when needed.

All in all, Fangorn is a tricky but an enjoyable army to use. Great for fun themed games against mates producing many of those great gaming moments i mentioned earlier, but you may struggle at tournaments in certain circumstances due to the problem of points. You need to use those Brutal Power Attacks to your advantage at all times. Although the current model range is a bit limited, it may get more should Fangorn ever get an update to their army, but for now, Treebeard and his merry band of walking trees are facing down the rise of evil alone. Especially if you want that awesome Army bonus. 

Written by Benjamin Morgan

A Year in Pictures 2018

Well it’s been a long year and I have been spotty at best with keeping up with this, hence the delay in getting it out there.

I set out to keep track of how many models I paint in a year, not with a specific goal in mind or as a figure to beat, but to just have a look at the numbers. So without further ado my painted figure count for 2018 was…


Not a bad number to be honest, but this year I think I’ll break it down even more. I want to look at how many figures I paint for each game that comes my way, board game, tabletop, or anything else that may happen. This is one ofthe things I’ll be adding to my painting goals for the year, which I’ll talk about soon.

Anyway, enough rambling, here’s the 175 models I painted this year…

Middle Earth SBG – The March of the Ents Begins!

A friend has chosen the mighty Ents of Fangorn for his good army and I’ve been tasked with painting them up! So far it looks like a great oppertunity to flex my painting muscles with lot’s of variety, both painting and model wise, coming along with the job.

Since there’s a fairly limited range in place for the Middle Earth Ent model range, he’s chosen to pick up a few from the Warhammer range. It’s these two Wood Elf Treemen that I’ll be starting with. One which is almost finished…

And one who I’m just getting started on…

They look just the part for Middle Earth and I’m really looking forward to the rest of this project.

Middle Earth SBG – The Witch King Summons Allies!

With the drop of the new Armies of the Hobbit book, it’s time to get the Witch King and the spectral Castellans onto the table!

I used the Witch King on Fellbeast flaming sword arm to add that wee bit of extra flair to him. The plan is to paint this up as spectral blue fire, something I will likely carry over to the other wraiths and the Castellans…

A fairly expensive reinforcement, and with a limit to their fighting time, these horrific spirits also offer a massive level of survivability, as they can use their Will as Fate.  Also, Morgul Blades for 5 points? Yes please!

I’ll be painting these up much like the wraiths, keeping to the ghostly, ancient appearance to tie them into the rest of the Dol Guldur, and the touch of blue to tie them into the force as a whole.

A Month in Pictures – November!

November began with the first few models of my White Council force, Gandalf and Elrond. I really enjoyed cracking into these as it was my first real attempt at a textured highlight. It was also the first time I really felt like I’d acheived the effect I wanted with the swords, and I’m really proud of the result on both.

The only new addition to the Azog’s Legion were the Mirkwood Spiders. A fun addition and something i’ve been loving using in games.

And last but not least I painted up 8 figures for a painting guide in this months issue of Tabletop Gaming Magazine.

I want to get a lot more done in December and round out my first year doing this with a good number 🙂

Models Painted: 13

Total painted in 2018: 164

Middle Earth SBG – Reinforcing the White Council!

Gandalf and Elrond were in dire need of some help and it wasn’t difficult to muster up a few friends for them…

The first of which is the Lady Galadriel herself. Mustering up a respectable profile, she provides a great deal of support. Helping to stop incoming shots as well as offering some help with resisting magic for those needing to get stuck in.

She seems like an easy paint, but I want to keep her fairly dark using her hand as the light source of the model.

Following on from such a powerful sorcerer, is the second Lord of the West to make it into the list, Glorfindal. A combat beast, with impressive defences to match, he’ll make mincemeat of the opposition.

This one’s going to be a lot of fun to paint. It will be my very first time tackling that beautiful elvin armour.

That’s the reinforcements for now, just awaiting availability on a certain brown wizard and to find the right model for a certain white. Once they’re in there I’ll have the White Council properly ready for battle!

Middle Earth SBG – What’s Next for Azog’s Legion?

I want to look into expanding my Azog’s Legion army by the way of allies. With ‘Master of Battle’ being such a strong addition to Azog I knew I needed to look at green allies. That kind of thematic link being something I look for in a force anyway. That meant Azog’s Hunters or the Dark Powers of Dol Guldur.

If you’ve been reading my recent Middle Earth SBG posts you’ll know I have a history with Dol Guldur and it didn’t take me long to look in their direction, especially with those tasty Nazgul models. This was my nine from around 8 years ago, no longer with me unfortunately…

So the first port of call was a few of the Nine to start them off. After looking through the profiles and what came in each pack I settled on this lot…

The Slayer of Men was on the radar straight away. +1 to wound is always a great boon, especially on someone I wanted leading some troops. The Dark Headsman made the cut partly because of the awesome sculpt, but a nice special rule for that chance of killing a juicy target helped too. With the Witch King coming along too, I was sold. +1 Might is another no brainer over some of the other rules the Nine offer and for the captain like purpose I would like to use them for.

You’ll notice the Witchking is missing his sword, just awaiting a peice so I can do a small conversion on him.

With some ‘captains’ to lead some Dol Guldur warbands I also wanted some unique units to go with them. Whilst I could easily throw in some Gundabad Orcs, an advantage that makes this list a natural ally, I wanted something I couldn’t get anywhere else. This inevitabally led me down a nostalgia path once again…

That’s right, Spiders. Alongside my Necromancer force I used to collect a force of giant spiders led by the Spiderqueen. I said I didn’t want to repeat my past armies, but here we are.

These should give me a nice wee boost in choices and offer some different tactical options. I’ll take a look at that once I’ve had a few games with them.

Nxt up will be some more reinforcements for Azog’s Legion, not allies, but some of the big guys!