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Greetings, fellow Druchii generals!
I'm rebuilding my DE army to better suit my (read: 'the Witch King's') needs, so I'm going to be fielding some units I've never used before, while removing others that I've relied upon. I know what role every unit is going to play in my army but not how to properly set them up for it. Since there seems to be a lot of gaming experience on the DE forum, I thought I might just be as bold as to ask for your assistance in this matter. I don't get to play as often as I'd like to, so time for experimenting on my own isn't really on my side. In addition to this, I often tend to get sidetracked by my opponent's deployment and forget my own strategy.
I've been trying to search LO for deployment strategies, but couldn't find any through the search function. Browsing through the hundreds of pages would just take too long. If this has already been done, or if there's any reading on the subject you can recommende me, just point me in the right direction!
While at least parts of this thread would belong in the WHFB Tacticas part of the forums, I still feel that it's geared specifically enough towards the DE army to warrant it a place here. (Besides, we don't want other generals catching on to our plans, do we?)
So, what I'm looking for is first of all general do's and don'ts when deploying. (Alas, I've also forgotten in which order units are deployed.)
How to set up for a given strategy. Or, if the strategy is doomed from the beginning, how to set up flexibly enough to allow for a quick regroup.
How to get the opponent to set up the way you want him to.
How to take advantage of terrain when setting up.
Also, unit specific hints on deployment, and how to develop your units once they're deployed; general movement strategies.
What I'll be fielding is something like this, but if your strategies usually involve other units, by all means, feel free to include them as well:
2 units of Dark Riders with RxB and musician
1 unit of Cold One Knights
1 unit of Repeater Crossbowmen
2 Reaper Bolt Thrower
2 units of Warriors
1 unit of Executioners
1 unit of Blackguards
2 units of Corsairs
1 unit of Harpies
1 unit of Shades w/ gw
I'm trying to accomplish a balanced list for tourney and friendly use, but it might be a bit on the soft side. Which is all the more reason to set up properly for tactics to work. The Warrior units are ranked up, with full command, for SCR anvil units. The 2 Corsairs, the Executioners and Blackguard are all smaller hammer units for flanking. Although Corsairs wouldn't perhaps be a very efficient means to this end, they would at least protect flanks and deny rank bonus. Dark Riders are for march blocking, harrassing, warmachine hunting, screening and flanking. Same goes for Shades. Harpies are for screening and warmachine hunting.
I've never fielded Harpies or Dark Riders before, and my scouts have seen little or no action to this date. Also, it might be a bit too soft to have so many different fast and light units like Dark Riders, Shades and Harpies.
As for characters, I usually prefer to have my general in a block of Warriors for the Ld and extra punch, or protection, if it's a sorceress. Characters are more flexible and can be geared up to support the army as a whole in many different ways, so I'm not going to go into any details here. An assassin would be nice as well for one of my anvil units (it's like duct tape; never leave home without it!) but that's again going into specifics.
So, what is your take on deployment? How do you set up for rolling that flank or eating away at the opponent's warmachines with your light cav or flyers? How would you fool your opponent into deploying according to your plans, or better yet, set up one way, then change your plan in an instant to tangle up his whole line?
Well what I see here is a perfect army to use the oblique order A web site that explains this deployment pretty well: Peter DeFlorio's 4th Edition Tactica - Page 5 - Warmongers
This a classic formation for achieving local superiority, that was most famously used by the Thebians against Sparta at the battle of Leuctra and used 2000 years later at the battle of Leuthen by Frederick the Great against a much larger Austrian army lead by Charles of Lorain. Either battle can of course be wikied. (wiki isn't the greatest, but for this purpose it is sufficient)
As for this list there is nothing wrong with it, but it will have trouble against high toughness or good armor units, as you lack strength of attacks (the volume is great, will chew up T3 armies, but you really need more high Strength) A chariot, hydra, or more knights would help here. The executioners will not work well, unless they get the charge, they won't get to attack.
What point level are you playing, I can't tell from your list as you don't include characters. If you give a points level I can make an optimized list including all/most of the models you want to use and the characters required.
Assuming you are playing 2000, and since Magic is one of those fickle things that doesn't always work out, I have created for you a 2000 point list that uses everything you have here excluding the executioners, and I removed a couple of luxury options. I didn't have points for them once I added in the characters. All of the characters are pretty important, so there really is no room for them.
Dread Lord: cold one, sea dragon cloak, heavy armor, shield, hydra blade, potion of strength, pendant of Khaeleth ~ 285
Master: BSB, heavy armor, sea dragon cloak, shield, great weapon, seal of ghrond ~ 149
5 dark riders: music, RxBs ~ 117
5 dark riders: music, RxBs ~ 117
20 warriors: FC, shields ~ 155
20 warriors: FC, shields ~ 155
10 corsairs: extra hand weapons ~ 100
10 corsairs: extra hand weapons ~ 100
10 RxB warriors ~ 100
5 harpies ~ 55
12 black guard: FC, ring of hotek, banner of hag graef ~ 251
5 Cold One Knights: no options ~ 135
5 shades: no options ~ 80
2x bolt throwers ~ 200
Total ~ 1999
It might be better to combine the corsairs into a unit of 15-18 and give them command. I normally don't advocate that, but with the suggested formation they actually will do just fine. It is up to you how you want to do it. (combining them has the advantage of saving points)
The master goes into a warrior block. The Dread lord goes with the cold ones, giving them a much harder punch. The cold ones are the lock that keeps your lines back field protected, they are meant for counter charge purposes.
The back guard are the anchor unit, either use them to protect the extended flank, or uses them as the hinge of the line. Since they have the ring, they are key to your magic defense.
The shades are meant for harassment, so keeping them cheap lets them get ignored. They don't get the great weapons unless you can free up some points. (for instance the dark riders don't really need music)
The bolt throwers and the RxBs are your fire base, deploy them on a flank to give your opponent an incentive to advance towards you. The farther he advanced towards the fire base, the easier it becomes to roll his flank with the sweeping flank.
If you are playing 2250, then you add in the executioners, and/or more bolt throwers. If you want magic it is going to take a larger reworking to fit that in.
Please pardon the late reply: I've had to focus elsewhere for quite some time. Now, this is exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for. So far I've only given it a brief glance, but as far as I am able to tell, you've really given it some thought and seem to know what you're doing. The link to the tactica especially is something I'll be taking a closer look at.
I especially like your touch on the Blackguards with the FC, ASF banner and Ring of Hotek. They will be able to hold an enemy long enough for a flank charge and are stubborn and fight well, so even a small unit could benefit from FC, something I had previously overlooked. The Ring of Hotek, I will definitely be placing there. With this in my army centre, magic should be little trouble to my important anvil units.
After reading up on some tacticas, I've decided to use both my DR units to run up one flank if I get the opportunity. The shades are good even without gw, although I'd like to free up the points needed for them as they'd add quite a punch to a unit that just begs to be overlooked if they stay relatively safe.
Regarding the executioners... The thought behind this unit is to always get a flank charge in conjunction with a larger SCR unit, by acting as a can-opener. Would you say that another small unit would fill this role better, or that for the points, I should invest in a hydra instead? (I'm a bit reluctant due to the actual monetary cost of the model - but then again, if it replaces a whole regiment, maybe it ends up even-Steven). If I go with a hydra, where would you place him in relation to my anvil units (e.g. two warrior regiments and blackguard)?
As for characters, in the back of my mind, I had probably already decided to use at least some magic, and once I start thinking magic, I don't stop. Having no casters is therefore a completely new area for me. I will have to try both approaches before I decide to stick with one. But with the oblique line strategy, a CC specialist (or two) will likely be more effective. Having the lord with the CoK as a locking unit behind my lines would also perhaps enable him to provide leadership where needed, while making sure that the other units can march forward without having to worry about turning back.
My aim points-wise is 2,250 or 2,000 points, meaning that I will either go for a dreadlord general and two aggressive sorceresses, or just two sorceresses. At least, that was the plan. I think that trying out a dreadlord/master combination might also work, but I'd feel more comfortable with my general parked in a SCR unit of warriors. I'm just a bit anxious that my five CoK will be blasted very soon, taking my dreadlord with them as they go. Perhaps a master could provide the same kind of punch with less risk? I do feel that a BSB definitely fits in the warrior regiment at the centre, in the strategy you have suggested, however. Again, I've never tried it out, so I will try to stay open-minded.
I have a friendly little tourney coming up in April, so I'll have the opportunity to try the new army out against High Elves and Dwarves (with the Anvil of Doom). The Dwarves' 7 dispel dice, I should get through with only minor discomfort if I take two offensive casters, and against High Elves, it's anyone's guess, as I don't know what he'll be fielding. But in taking two sorceresses, I lose the benefits of having a BSB smack in the middle of things. I'm not sure what a BSB does without a magic banner, but he seems rather inexpensive if he does anything good.
Thank you for your thorough analysis and feedback! I will definitely be taking what you've said into consideration when I hone my army into a wicked knife's edge. I will try to do some kind of battle report as well and get back to you on details from the fray of battle.
A basic BSB gives you a nice SCR bonus, and lets you reroll failed break tests close to the standard. Which is nice since warrior blocks really aren't anvil units, and are often on the razor edged of winning/losing combats. Getting a reroll on a break test is really good, since it gives you better options to out flank.