My personal belief is no, not until 2.5k... and then hell yes.
I find that a treeman ancient is vital to how I use my army, while a spellweaver did nothing for me in the games I used her in (and she blew herself up most of the time).
Life is a great lore for HE because they have big combat units, but for WE its a bit of a waste unless you are taking a big unit of eternal guard or possibly if you are using wild riders. Beasts on the other hand is quite useful, being able to up the damage a small units of elves can do/sustain, do a bit of direct damage and generally mess about... but I dont think its vital to an army, just a nice boost.
Athel Loren doesn't really compare very well with beasts/life, but I prefer a Lv2 with scroll (feedback/normal) and an ancient with cluster of radiants then a Lv4 with life/beasts.
It's not the lores that make a level 4 useful, it's the additional +2 to cast/dispel. I've always preferred using level 2s, but have found that they just don't cut it with the proliferation of level 4s at 2k+. Gone are the days of lordless armies (leaving more points for troops).And scrolls counting as your one arcane item really hurts, as there are so many others that are so nice, too.
I've gone back to MSU after a brief time as Phalanx'ed Wood Elves, and now, I'd say no, unless I'm going for 3K - in which case I have 4 Treemen Running around (Ancient + 3 Treemen), and a Lore of Life Weaver and Singer gives me the ability to just restore units.
So, personally - Phalanxed - yes, but only after you take a Rhymers Highborn. MSU+Trees, 3K Plus. I've heard that in 3K+ games, you can get a Phalanx with 50 S4 AP Attacks, and T8 5+/5++/4++ Regen Saves, making it a dirty little fucker. But it's still fairly situational, and unless playing Phalanx, I'd be taking an Ancient over the Weaver any day.
In all honesty life and beasts are about my least favorite lores in the rulebook... and I'm seriously considering taking a wizard hat highborn just for shits and giggles. Could even make him a wardancer to boot- I love wardancer lords/heros and since I normally just go with the blades of loec it isnt too much of a loss... but is a huge pts cost.
If you are going for a treespirit army then I think beasts may be vital- S5 T5 dryads would be awesome, especially if you have thrown in lots of cheap branchwraiths to boost them: get a +3T off on all characters within 12" and suddenly those 2-3 branchwraiths you threw in for 150pts look pretty darn nasty... and a T9 treeman ancient would be laughing at GW enemies
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