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My intention with this Tactica is to provide a reasonable guidlines for using battle standard bearers.i will show tactics, ways to hunt BSB , and a quick summary of each armies options for BSB. so i will look into each codex and their options so this will take a while ( i dont actually own every codex, so ill go to my local hobby shop to do this)
Brief rules overview: What is a BSB
Battle Standard Bearers are historically a rallying point for armies. they carry some ancient relic or family standard that is somewhat sacred to its followers. a standard is the essence of the army, and can give courage to soldiers. however, such is the value of standards that they are often ransomed. Roman legion banners were solid gold eagles, and were considered invaluable, often ransomed for the equivalent of millions of dollars
In warhammer BSBs allow all friendly units within 12" can reroll break test. the BSB carries a banner( duh) that gives 100 pts for being a normal banner, and an additional 100 victory points for being a battle standard. also BSBs give an additional +1 to combat res the are involved in. A BSB usually runs bare at 80-90 pts. the option of giving it a magic banner of any points cost is available, if it has no other magic items. The BSBs usually have access to extrtemely powerful banners ( griffon banner, battle banner ( HE), Royal standard of ariel( WE) and others) however, this means they cannot take any other magic items. the choice is yours, give your BSB a magic item, such as armor or a "trick" item, or give a magic banner.
Equiping your BSB
BSBs usually run at around 85 pts, but considering how many victory points they give, it is important to give BSBs armour. Armies such as empire and dwarves can give their BSB rather high armour saves. Although usually on foot, it might be a good idea to mount your BSB on some kind of barded steed. By mounting him, it makes possible a 2+ save for some armies, or a 3+ for most ( access to full plate armour) . however, mounting BSB means that they cannot get look out sir rolls if they are in an infantry unit. If you decide to mount your BSB, it is best to put him in a cavalry unit. Also, BSB have access to magic items. Usually magic items that are best taken by BSBs are magic armour to protect them or trick items.
Magic banners: choose banners that fill in holes of your army, such as ones that give magical resistance or ward saves. Also , certain banners add specialized rank bonuses. example: griffon banner- doubles rank bonus. add this banner to a somewhat hardy unit that has a full rank bonus, greatswords work best. the rank bonus shoots up to a +6, in addition to standard, battle standard and outnumber, the unit has a base +9 combat res, in addition to kills, making it a fearsome opponent. Be careful, choosing a magic banner limits magic item use, and are usually expensive, this leaves the BSB a tasty little victory point snack, that most likely has a 5+ save. because they are best used as infantry to ancor your battle line, choosing a banner leaves a BSB on foot vunerable to basic infantry attacks.
Magic items: BSB have access to 50 pts of magic items ( 75 for dwarves) . A common thing to do is to buy a suit of magical armour. many races have some form of armor that gives superior protection, some 1+ saves or 2+. Choosing such items will allow your BSB some protection, and allows him to stay in the game longer. Also, you can give BSB a magic weapon, ddoing so is unusual but is also not expected. a magic weapon can allow you BSB to still have killing power, but still give the benifits of a BSB. Also there is the "trick" items, the best example would be moonstone of hidden ways or hail of doom arrow ( both WE items) These trick items can be a nasty surprise to opponents. BSBs are usually bare, and equiping them with a trick item ( usually powerful one use items) is not suspected. These options are there, but most of the time BSBs are bare or use magic banners. People will expect one of these, so trick items can catch them off gaurd
A BSB i a ralling point for your army, as such, your not going to put your BSB in a unit of peasants. It isusually best to put BSBs in duable hard core units. This allows you to focus more in the magic phase to protect this unit, and therefore protecting both the expensive character and your elite unit. However, be careful not to place BSBs in flmisy units, as good as flaggelents are, they are T3 with no save, this is an example of a unit not to put a BSB in. Try hardier units, in the case of empire, greatswords, Black orcs work for this, as do eternal gaurd, white lions, black guard, or chosen choas warriors ( not sure if choas can even have a BSB, but this unit is a good example of a bodygaurd) when choosing a bodygaurd unit for BSB, it is important to focus on three aspects, staying power, combat damage, and leadership.
Staying power is being able to be outnumbered and still hold on, and possibly win combats. Cavalry have fairly bad staying power, as they loose their charge bonuses the 2nd turn, and have litle in the way of ranks. To provide staying power, it is best to have high WS, armor , and be stubburn or unbreakable. Eternal gaurd are a great example of a bargain staying power troop.
combat damage is not as important as staying power and ld, it helps. I am referring to the ability to win combats even though outnumbered, great combat damage comes from cavalry on the charge, and units like wardancers ( and the new swordmasters). however. units with good combat damage usually loose out in some area or another. Units such as black orcs, and choas warriors are exceptions to this.
Ld is tied in to staying power, a low ld unit, no matter how tough it is, might run at the worst moment, and might get your BSB killed. a ld 7 stubburn unit might still fail break tests. as will any other non-stuburn/ unbreakable units that are outnumbered and out gunned. Low ld checks will still fail, even with the reroll from BSB. so do not, unless you have no other options, put your BSB in low ld units, be careful, BSB do not allow you to reroll panic/ terror checks, so be careful.
Examples: body gaurd units for each race
beasts of choas: Beastigors/ khorngors
bretonnia: grail knights/ knights of the realm
Dark elves: black gaurd / executioners
Dwarves: Iron breakers/ hammerers/ longbeards
High elves: Swordmasters, white lions, pheonex gaurd ( best)
Hordes of Chaose: chosen choas warriors/chosen knights may work
Lizardmen: Temple gaurd/ even saurus
Ogre kingdoms: ? ironguts
Orcs and goblins: black orcs ( big uns)
Skaven: stormvermin ( always use lead from the back)
Tomb Kings: tomb gaurd ( be careful of crumbling)
Vamp Counts: Grave gaurd ( be careful of crumbling( may change wirh remake)
Wood elves: Eternal gaurd
Last edited by Lord of Dawn; November 2nd, 2007 at 00:17. Reason: adding more/spelling
Interesting you should bring this topic up, I too am very fond of a good BSB in many of my armies. My 3 primary tournament armies all feature a powerful BSB that both adds character and substantial support to the units they join/are nearby.
#1) Reman Legions (Empire):
My Empire force is based upon the late Republican Legions 1st Century BC (essentially the armies of Ceasar, Pompeii, Octavian, etc...). The rally point from which an army of lowly humans gain inspiration must be powerful and the Empire Army List allows such a powerful Banner in the form of the Imperial Banner! (fitting name for the Legions)
The Imperial Banner provides re-rolls on not just Break Tests, but also rally, panic, fear, terror, and restrain-pursuit tests! Pretty much any test that could be taken by a unit of Empire troops is covered by the banner making it the most important model in the army. This banner allows my over 200 troops (in 2250 pts) to gain valuable re-rolls to help keep the battle line is working order. Many games it has saved my from duel Screaming Skull Catapults, or Terror-causing Dragons as well as helping me make several successful fear tests to counter-charge undead/ogres with my detachments. Also my Archer screens are used to flee/divert enemies and once broken, they still need to rally to prevent the loss of nearly 200 VP's and theis banner allows for this rally wih a high chance of success.
To protect the banner I simply used a normal infantryman, no steeds for added armor, but Full Plate and toughness 4 do the trick in most situations while the nearby champion or general can also help accept challenges for him. However if it were not required for proper theme I would mount him on a steed and give him a respectable 2+ save to help keep him alive!
#2) Thebain Phalanx (Wood Elves):
My Wood Elves follow the basic principles of the Greek Hoplite Phalanx. They are a sturdy infantry unit of spearmen (Eternal Guard) with deep ranks and Stubborn. The BSB is there to make sure my Stubborn LD 9 never fails! And so far in over 40 Battles the Primary Phalanx has never failed a break test. The BSB also serves a secondary, but still extremely important role. The BSB lets the enemy know that thjese are no mere citizen levy Hoplites, but the dreaded Sacred Band! (the only regiment to defeat the Spartans until Phillip of Macedon) The purpose of this in game terms is to cause fear using the Royal Standard of Ariel. The Royal Standard makes the unit it joins cause fear and also provides MR(2) within 12". Since the Sacfred Band Phalanx of Eternal Guard is 70-strong, they tend to quickly break the enemy with little serious resistance. To help protect the unit and especially the BSB my General is in the same unit using the Annoyance of Netlings to accept challenges and the Rhymer's Harp to give everyone a 5+ ward save! The BSB then is rather well protected with his ward save and few combat slast more than 1 turn due to the fear and massive CR the unit produces. Withoutthe BSB the unit is still good, but not great. They really earn their points when causing fear and having the extra CR bonus from the BSB in the unit.
#3) Cursed Army of Mousillon (Vampire Counts):
My Vampire Counts force is based upon an Arthurian-like world where Mordrid (Arthur's son aka: King Leoncouer) is a Vampire. His bodyguard are Grail Knights serving the Black Grail of Maldred (read the stories of the incident of the False Grail sometime, in the Bret book). The deceased Duke Maldred is the fluff-based BSB in my army carrying the False Grail a rally point for the undead of Mousillon. The BSB in this case joins the Blood Dragon's unit of Knights and carries a magic banner for both effect and fluff reasons. The Knights are suppossed to be undead Grail Knights, so the unit carries the Banner of Barrows to represent their martial prowess; while the BSB carries the Banner of Doom to represent the blessing they still carry even in death. Most Black Knights have to make due with 1 banner or the other, but to get a truely effective unit and to keep with good fluff I have to kit the BSB in this way. This means that Mt Vampire and his retinue are relatively save from missile fire and still are extremely dangerous in combat plus the BSB adds an additional +1 CR to the combat beyond his 3 Killing blow attacks... and since he's mounted he gets a reasonable 3+ armor save.
So there you have my personal experiences/tactics for using BSB within my armies. And I suggest most people use them since each army can field them in so many different ways.
Just a few points:
Im not sure if loosing a BSB banner to the enemy gives avay an additional 100pts, i think its just 100 like normal banners.
Also, Beasts of Chaos, no BSB? We can have a wargor with banner.
Good tactica though. Are you planning to expand it at all? Using detailed info foir each race, this thing could be huge.
Some additional options that I've used/seen used in various armies:
The Bretonnian BSB has two real options depending on points you are willing to spend. First they can choose the Banner of the Lady and use the unit as a Rank Piecing unit of super-cavalry. The kills made with the unit plus the banner, and ranks of the Bretonnians will quickly break any enemy regiment of infantry that relies on static CR to win. The second option is to go for a cheap CR boost; for 25 points a War Banner on the BSB can be a serious help. In both cases you also want to add the Virtue of Duty onto the Banner cost (Bretonnian rules allow this and taking advantage of it is an important step in building a good army). The results are as such... Banner of the Lady + Virtue of Duty = +2 CR for the Brets and -0 to -3 CR for the enemy. The War Banner + Virtue of Duty = +3 CR for your Brets (and a savings of 75 points compared to the Banner of the Lady). Of course you also have the option to not use the magic banner, but since you get a free ward save and good armor, there is little reason not to! If you want to make the BSB more killy you can take advantage of the ability to take a magical lance and he'll hit as hard as any paladin while still providing a boost to morale.
#5) Chaos Mortals:
Mauraders and Chaos Warriors as infantry blocks can be powerful; if left in combat for a while, but they are moderately expensive and tend to break when surrounded... not a good sight for a general who just spent 250 points for a block of elite infantry. The BSB can help you out big-time here; for 125 points the Banner of the Gods (Stubborn to all friendly units within 6") given to a mounted Aspiring Champion can boost up to 3 blocks of Infantry that keep close formation... add in an Exaulted champion or even a Lord to the BSB's unit with Helm of Many Eyes and a sturdy weapon and you get a character that can strike first protecting the BSB and you also get infinite rounds of combat until the enemy is completely dead! Perhaps a Hell Cannon or a pair of Dogs of War Cannons will help encourage the enemy to engage your blocks even though they are solid. Of course you could instead use the Chosen and regular Knights as your anvil units and their better armor an dslightly cheaper cost will give you that dangerous killing power with survivability and also negate their vulnerability to static CR troops.
#6) Chaos Daemonic Legions:
This is a no Brainer, since your entire unit can disappear with a single bad instability test having a re-roll is amazingly valuable! Just keep him inside one of your infantry units for best effect and near the general!
Besides the Imperial Banner noted earlier the BSB can also be given the Griffin Standard that will boost a unit by +3 rank bonus that combined with the War Banner being given tothe unit and a regular standard and the BSB's bonus CR will = 9 CR from just ranks and standards... throw in a flanking detachemnt and you've now got outnumber and a flank bonus as well as negating their ranks meaning the enemy might getCR=1 (for a banner), whilew you have CR=11... name a unit that can kill over 10 soldiers to stop that combat monster. Of course you will not be able to pursue the enemy with the unit with the banner, but you can pursue with a combat detachement meaning the enemy will likely be destroyed with little real effort!
Also you can mae an anvil unit (as opposed to the hamme runit with the Griffin standard), the Anvil unti will hold it's ground no matter what by having a BSB with the Banner of Sigismund. This will make them stubborn and add in a General of the Empire with Icon of Magnus and give the unit the Banner of Valor so they are immune to fear and panic and that unit will never flee the field. Giving you ample time to circle them for a flanking kill with cavalry or simply hold the elite enemy up long enough to kill the rest of his force without them using their hammer to break through your lines.. very annoying to Bretonnian Generals)!
# Wood Elves:
Wood Elves tend to take BSB's only for their Eternal Guard and/or their Treemen, rarely are hey worth it otherwise. Treemen can serious ruin an enemy's day with a properly built army. The BSB means you will last through several more combats, usually more combats that you will see in an entire battle, without failing a break test. If the Treeman can whittle down the rank bonus a bit a flanking group of Dryads can easily charg ein and win the battle, but of course they don't have to if there are other things that need your attention, the Treemen will be just fine without support beyond the BSB and the 24" diameter of protection means 2 treemen can be used and the BSB can hide in woods with minimal chance of being harmed... especially since the trees can be moved alogn with the Treeman with a little singing.
Now Dwards can get soem cool bonuses from their BSB. They can get +1 CR to all units using the Stromni Red Beard Rune. You can also use the Rune of Grungi giving all units with 6" a 5+ ward from shooting further encouraging the enemy to go ahead and engage your units. The Stolaz rune will give you an extra 6" move before the game meaning you have increased your movement value to an average of 4" instead of 3" (over the course of the game). A Dwarf BSB also has the option for serious protection. If using a runic banner he can gain a personal 5+ ward as one of his runic banner using the rune of guarding and this in addition to his 4+ armor means you'll have essentially a 2+ save or better! If the runic banners are not needed, then go ahead and take the master rune of Gromril gaining a 1+ armor save and then equip him with a runic weapon for extra killiness!
Without all the kit the BSB still is very useful, the Dwafs have high leadership and good toughness and saves meanign they'l lose combat, but not by much, so lots of tests will be on LD 8 or 9 and a simple BSB re-roll will easily hold the infantry line.
Lord of dawn in your examples of bodyguards for different armies you put no bsb for some. What do you mean by no bsb because the ogres can definetely have a bsb.
I used to be superbock, if anyone cares.
Hordes of Chaos and Lizardmen can also get BSB's
GEN 29:The 1st time you see this copy into your sig and add 1 to the generation
I have told you all this, I dont own every codex, and i havent gotten to my hobby shop, what i meant by no BSB is that i didnt know they did, or i didnt know what units stat lines are by heart. i swear to you, fri is gaming night, ill look everything up, then ill fix it. i just gotta look at codex. I DO plan to expand this, it is gonna be huge, thats the point. Im just really busy, at school and work 25 hours a week, so im a bit swamped. but this will be expanded.... if it is good enough maybe ill send it to WD...Strategos.... do u wanna make a run through of best options and strategies for each race in terms of BSB ( Like what you just posted) except for each race, and we will add it in....8Y ...i just might argue with you or add something... thanks for the help so far, ill change the no BSB to pending or something... oh an i mentioned griffon banner.. ( i love that combo) I will also add formations to effectively use BSBs, and how to hunt bsbs, This is gonna be really long
Last edited by Lord of Dawn; November 2nd, 2007 at 00:20.
Formations For BSB;
The shell: this tactic uses a BSB in a bodygaurd unit, not in unit of basic infantry. Put this unit at the center of your battle line. prefferibly put a strong unit on each side of the bodygaurd. This way, you advance all three units forward, slightly stagger each unit, so its harder to flank them. but not enough to have any get flanked from the other direction. (this possitioning requires skill, if done hastily or clumbsily, you will find the outer units flanked. this strategy relies on the banner to give the units the reroll from combat, and give the extra benefits of the magic banner. The units engage the ennemy, be careful not to seperate the unit unless it is safe to do so. use banners that give extended bonuses with this tactic, like magic resistance or immune to phycology. Warning, it is best not to persue broken ennemies from combat in this formation. doing so might leave a unit in a position to be flanked. even with the BSB nearby, the outer units dont stand much of a chance if flanked. as soon as you loose one of you flanks, your BSB is in danger of being flanked and overwhelmed.
The expendible shield: use a BSB, place it in its bodygaurd unit behind a waek unit in your main battle line ( dont give this unit a standard) form a regular line around that one, on the sides of the weak unit. ( place your bsb behind an archer unit/ranged unit) make a tempting sacrifice. When the ennemy charges this frontal unit. flee as a charge response. this will lead the unit through the BSBs unit ( causing a panic check) , to avoid mass panic, use a banner that gives imune to phycology or rerolls these tests ( imperial banner). charge the attacking unit, making your BSB hop up to the line with the rest of your units. this cnarging unit will most likely die. however, beware persuing it, for the same reasons mentioned in the last tactic. If the units in the original front line attack, you could oersue with the BSB unit. many times you can actually have this decoy unit survive. to increase the chance of rallying, use musicians. draw heavy cavalry out with this tactic, and defeat them with your bodygaurd unit.
The hidden wedge : this tactic uses, you guessed it, a wedge ( i wish there was a wedge formation for units in fantasty). create with three units. like in the shell, create a battle line, but place the BSBs unit back from the other two, forming a V like shape. advance relatively, keeping this formation. when you have the option. charge with your BSB unit forward. engaging an ennemy. move your other units to cover its flanks, wheeling slightly, this turns the V around to form a wedge. the BSB bodygaurd should break the unit with its gained advantages. note, the two side units move to the BSBs flank, and wheels, preventing it from being flanked. do not charge anything with the side units following the BSB, but get them in a position that they wont be flanked on your opponents turn. after this you have many options. Once the ennemy center unit is broken, you could have counted on this and had your cavalry following behind the bsb bodygaurd unit. when the ennemy unit breaks, sweep the BSB unit around to one side to charge another ennemy unit, while the cavalry sweep in behind the ennemy line to attack war machines, archers, and attack other units in the battle line next turn.
Please note, pictures will accompany this, i just am having problems making them look good, if anyone knows any good programs ( prefferibly free) that can make good examples for unit strategy. please tell me
The Anvil: the anvil tactic relies on a hard to kill infantry unit with a BSB, killing power is not as important as survivability for this one. place your BSB unit with one or two friendly ranked units in a line. like in the shell. place a hard hitting cavalry unit away from the edge units, a little behind. advance with the unit. when you are in charge range, do not charge, wait to recieve the charge. however do not let these units be flanked. the cavalry should advance behind. when your lead units are charged. the BSB will hold them in combat for that one turn. sharge the flank with your heavy cavalry on both sides, and watch the central line crumble.
The Hammer: place a BSB bodygaurd unit , along with one or two accompanying ranked untis. place a large mass of heavy cavalry, or hard hitting cavalry to the side of the line. make your bsb be on the side of the heavy cavalry. advance. when possible, charge with the heavy cavalry, hittting his center units. if possible, try to direct attacks against an ennemy BSB. if viable. make sure the bsb is within range of the cavalry, and you have to hold out on your opponents turn with your cavalry. placing a lord or hero of some type in the cav unit helps. when your next turn arrives. smash into the flank of the ennemy units engaged by the cavalry, over run these units, and utilize this break to attack the gun line or mages, or more importantly outmanuever other ennemy units in the main battle line. ( this is complicated, will make more sense when done with picture) Also, another option, use a mounted BSB, and put him in the charging cav units, the flanking infantry, if moved right, will be fine without its presence.
Note, there are many basic ways to use BSB, i just presented some more strange ones, these are not the only ways to use BSBs. ill create pictures, then move on to anti BSB tactics.
Great tactics thread!
Just couple of things from an Empire generals view.
I always take my BSB with the griffon banner in a unit of 30 swordsmen with 1 detachment of halberdiers.
The massive combat res plus the decent saving throw is usually enough to repel most threats, and as you say the detachment can pursue!!
I do take a unit of greatswords but with no character. The stubborn rule combined with the re roll within 12" of the BSB gives me two units that are very tough to displace.
One tiny rule clarification, the BSB cannot be put in a unit of Flagellants as no character without unbreakable can join a unit with that ability.
Shame really that would have been a solid tactic!!
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