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Right so I have finally got myself something resembling a decent sized army and have got some of those Modular Movement Tray things, but I got to thinking what sort of formations should I have? I'm horribly new to the rules (have the big rule book at least) and don't know what kind of formations are ideal for the various different choices I have. This isn't an army list as such, but more of a general guideline for what kind of formations are viable for this new edition. Any suggestions you guys have will be appreciated.
List is as follows:
30 DE Warriors Spears and Shields
20 Repeater Crossbowmen
20 Corsairs with 2 Hand Weapons
10 Cold One Knights (Dreadlord/Master on Cold One can join them)
7 Dark Riders (with Sorceress on Horse can join too)
10 Black Guard
The Manager at the local GW has been spouting on a lot about how huge units of as many men will do well, and that does seem to make sense, but I don't want to have all my men running around in huge blocks. For a lot of what I have so far I couldn't even do so. 10 Black Guard isn't exactly a horde. And speaking of Hordes, is it worth making the Warriorsinto 3 ranks of 10 for some extra support attacks?
Big blocks of crappy infantry are still just that. Nothing has changed there. The only thing that they do is stay in combat longer, which is a bit of an improvement over what they used to do.
Of Course an Official at a GW Owned Store is going to tell you to buy lots more stuff. GW like big dumb units because they sell more boxes of really cheap models at really high prices. (they produce lots of basic troops, so their margins on those are higher due to economy of scale)
As for list specifics: I run my warriors as 25 strong, but 30 isn't that much bigger and they will potentially have steadfast longer. Running them wide is what I call a bad idea. You lose ranks, in exchange for 6 extra attacks... (2 from each rank, against the typical 5 wide formation). In addition it leaves you open for dangerous multi charges, for instance a full block of knights and a ranked up unit, neither one likely to break you in a turn, combine to remove your steadfast (by having more ranks at end of combat) and generate lots of SCR and active CR. Feel free to give them full command since its so cheap, and they among all DE can make the most value out of it. I usually give them a magic banner, though with the ability to take 2 armor piercing banners on them I'm a bit torn over which one to recommend (I usually give the banner of murder to witches, it seems fitting)
I don't like the idea of running Cold ones in large units, with stupidity and a relatively high cost per model, I would just run them naked at 5 strong each. 2 units is better than 1, and its not like 10 is going to remove enemy ranks by the time you get done with combat (either getting shot up, or hacked up) I don't attach characters to them anymore, as combat guys who aren't the BSB have no appeal to me other than as dragon or manticore riders (and thats a dangerous place to be these days).
Don't attach a character to the Dark riders. I'm pretty sure they lose their fast cavalry rules if they are joined. Which means you lose out on the vanguard movement and the free reforms and feigned flight and pretty much every rule that makes dark riders good.
I think it might be a good idea to expand your black guard unit a bit more. With the step up rule they are going to take more casualties than they used to, and since you get supporting attacks with them, having an extra layer for the second round of combat means you don't have a falloff in offensive power the second round of combat.
I don't like corsairs much, and I especially don't like 2 HW ones, but some people swear by them. My advice is to get them the banner of frenzy (sea serpent standard), run them 2x7, maybe also give them music, but no champ. That is 3 attacks each from the front rank and 1 attack from the back. So 28 attacks in total. Personally I think witches are better doing that... So an alternative is to give them a similar formation but give them an armor piercing banner instead. Or to run them in 10 man disposable units (my favorite if they are hand bow ones, 2HW ones aren't as good bait)
I've got some more Black Guard, making 15 in total with full command, is that enough, and does a 3x5 formation seem ok? I figure that a 6x5 Warrior formation seems ok, so am going to run with that. Plenty of ranks, so should hopefully keep Steadfast for longer and with the Spears, they can still get an ok amount of attacks formation wise.
Your initial list seems fine, although the Corsairs and Warriors are slightly redundant. If you want a good way to field a sorceress, try a squad of 2x5 Corsairs with handbows and at least a musician. They're durable against shooting, have decent shooting of their own and are disposable enough to misdirect a charge if need be.
You can't go wrong with a block of 30 Warriors--an excellent centerpiece for a low-points game, and still useful in bigger games--but don't expect them to kill much even with the extra attacks they can get. They need an assassin or Cauldron to do serious damage.
"My tanks have names, my men have numbers." -Col. Edmund Grahvess, 23rd Kronecker Prison Guard